The Pope and Evolution (and Hitler)

By Anthony | August 31st, 2006 | 10:09 pm

Nancy over at the Front Pew links to this Washington Post article and asks, “Will Pope Benedict XVI embrace Intelligent Design?”

The author of the WaPo article seems to think that its a possibility, saying:

Schoenborn, a close associate of Benedict, raised eyebrows last year with an article in the New York Times suggesting the Catholic Church supported the Intelligent Design movement.

He did not endorse it outright, but agreed with the ID movement’s view that scientists who say evolution rules out God draw an ideological conclusion not proven by the theory.

Benedict has argued this way since his teaching days. At his inaugural mass after his election last year, he declared: “We are not some casual and meaningless product of evolution. Each of us is the result of a thought of God.”

However, one can agree that “scientists who say evolution rules out God draw an ideological conclusion not proven by the theory” without disputing the truth of evolutionary theory. It would be impossible for the theory of evolution – or any other scientific discipline – to “rule out God” in the sense of disproving his existence. Science deals with the natural world, and can’t comment one way or the other on the supernatural. Of course, scientists need to behave as if the supernatural does not exist while they are practicing science, but that’s not the same thing as disproving the supernatural.

An article at Time.com today also seems skeptical that there will be any papal endorsement of Intelligent Design:

Benedict XVI will indeed be hosting a scholarly pow wow this weekend at his summer residence at Castel Gandolfo, south of Rome, to debate evolution and creation. But don’t expect the Catholic Church to start disputing Darwin’s basic findings, which Pope John Paul II in 1996 called “more than a hypothesis.” Moreover, advocates of the teaching in U.S. schools of intelligent design — which holds that nature is so complex that it must be God’s doing — should not count on any imminent Holy See document or papal pronouncement to help boost their cause. This weekend’s private retreat is an annual gathering of the Pope’s former theology students to freely discuss one topic of interest, without the aim of reaching any set conclusion.

Somewhat related: Nancy also recently posted about Coral Ridge Ministries attempts to link Darwin’s ideas to Hitler’s madness, leading to a lengthy discussion in the comments there. What such a theory neglects to consider is that Hitler also used the Bible and Chrisitanity to argue for his worldview, yet I’m sure Coral Ridge wouldn’t claim that Christianity led to the holocaust.

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