Wednesday, June 17, 2015


10 Things That Won’t Be In Pope Francis’ Encyclical ‘Laudato Sii’


First off, I haven’t read any translation of the leaked draft of the upcoming encyclical. Doesn’t make sense to. Like most rational, level-headed, non-crisis monger Catholics (and non-Catholics, too), I’m waiting for the publication of the real deal. Then I’ll read it, and then, if I feel it’s necessary, I’ll write about it. And while some equally rational, level-headed, non-crisis Catholics (and non-Catholics, too) have read the leaked draft, it’s the ideologues who seem to be getting most of the attention. Ah well, let them. Crazies gonna cray, right?

Despite the fact the encyclical is still a couple days from publication, I’ve compiled a list of 10 things that won’t be in it. Absotively posilutely won’t be in there. In no particular order:

10) “An Inconvenient Truth” will not be required viewing for RCIA classes.

9)  Vasectomies and tubal ligations will not be declared the 8th Sacraments.

8)  Indulgences will not be granted if you install solar panels on your house.

7)  Anthropomorphic climate change skeptics will not be ex-communicated latae sententiae.

6)  Al Gore will not be declared a Doctor of the Church.

5)  Abstinence will not be encouraged as a means of reducing carbon dioxide emissions due to eliminated heavy breathing.

4)  Capitalism will not be declared a sin which cries out to heaven for justice.

3)   Mary, Mother of God will not be defined as “Mediatrix of All Greenhouse Gases”.

2)  Incense will not be replaced with the eco-friendly “E-Thurifer” (due to air pollution concerns).

1)  All parishes will not be required to have windmills installed on their property for sustainability.

Bottom line? The encyclical will be Catholic, and will espouse and expand on Catholic teaching.

Faithful Catholics needn’t get their biodegradable knickers in a twist over Laudato Sii. Those who are…well, they have an agenda to push. Will there be some things in the encyclical that might make us a bit uncomfortable? Sure, I fully expect it – because being a Catholic sometimes makes you a bit uncomfortable. Comes with the territory. Let the Right and the Left yammer about it – ignore them. Online at least – read the thing and be able to discuss it cogently and coherently with flesh and blood folks, like family members and coworkers.

A couple fellow Patheos bloggers have written about the upcoming encyclical - Mark Shea provides reasoned speculations, and Artur Rosman has an interview with Catholic climate change expert Anthony Annett. Check them out, and they both ultimately come to the same conclusion:

Laudato Sii will be Catholic. Not Left. Not Right. Not applauding any narrow world view. Not appealing to any particular political bent. We’re called to be stewards of creation, to recognize our role and place within creation, and how we, made in the image and likeness of God, have grave responsibilities towards creation, which includes our neighbor. Is that a simplification? Perhaps. Let’s see what the Holy Father really has to say, and then try our best to follow through.

The crazies are gonna cray. You and me, let’s keep our heads, and just be Catholic about it. 

My comment: Yes, Amen and Alleluia especially to the last sentence!


Supertradmum said...

Thanks for this and I linked this to my blog.


Anonymous said...

The secular media is already commenting on the leaked encyclical and it sounds as if he is looking towards the US to lead the way. "How rich do you fee?" and I wonder if the American people are going to wear this encyclical:

"How Many Windmills Has the Pope?

Pope Francis has become a deeply problematic figure, all the more so after his encyclical on global warming was leaked to an Italian publication ...

The Pope’s letter is full of concern for the poor, of course. But the poor would suffer most from any prohibition against efficient energy (i.e., fossil fuels). Francis’s suggestion that “rich” countries–that means us, how rich do you feel?–should subsidize the majority of the planet, apparently forever, is fatuous. As Steve notes in the post immediately below this one, quoting Bjorn Lomborg, there is no prospect that leftist energy policies will help poor nations. The poor need, as much as anything, cheap energy, which frees resources for everything else. To deprive poor nations of cheap energy is to condemn them to long-lasting if not permanent poverty.

Maybe I am missing something, but so far, at least, I don’t see any sign that Francis would consider that a particularly bad thing. I disagree. Jesus said, “The poor you have with you always,” but he didn’t mean that we should conspire to keep them down."


Anonymous said...

Maybe this has been a deliberate leaking of the encyclical - see how the world reacts, and give yourself a few days up the sleeve to enable a row back on some of the points if it goes over like a lead balloon. Just wondering ...


Lefebvrian said...

As I have just written in the other thread, to prejudge this encyclical as "Catholic" (whatever that means) without having read it is the same as prejudging it "not Catholic" (whatever that means) without having read it. If you really, honestly want people to "wait and see," then there should be a completely neutral atmosphere going in instead of a preconception, whether it be for or against.

Just because the pope wrote it doesn't make it good and true.

Just because Pope Francis wrote it doesn't make it bad and false.

Lefebvrian said...

This encyclical is a wonderful opportunity for the Holy Father to elaborate on the social reign of Christ the King. It seems to me that we should all want to be good subjects for His Majesty, which always involves offering to Him the best that we can produce. In that sense, we have some level of obligation to offer to Him an earth that is its "best" to the small extent our humanity is able to do that.

Lefebvrian said...

It seems like this encyclical would be a nice time for the pope to reinstate the Rogation Days and Litanies for you in the Novus Ordo crowd. Surely those lost liturgical events and days of fasting, focused as they are on blessing the environment to God's purpose and our salvation and health, would be in line with the Catholic teaching on this subject.

Anonymous said...

"...the 'social reign' of Christ the King.' whatever that means....

Lefebvrian said...

Anonymous, read Quas Primas, and then you'll have a better idea.

Mark said...

Dear Father,

I find your approach to the Encyclical holy, uplifting, and rational...100 percent Catholic.

Unfortunately, I just read the following from a priest whose blog enjoys a substantial following...not only from "fans" of his, but his "enemies" as well.

The priest in question wrote the following: "The Italian was leaked and now there is an English version out. There are some good moments in it. There’s something for everyone. However, it’s pretty hard on free markets. I don’t care much for that discussion.

"So, here’s an initial approach. Perhaps we can pay as much attention to the sections on markets and environment, as the catholic Left pays to Humanae vitae.
We will pay as much attention to this as the libs pay to Summorum Pontificum."

That is sad. Why would a priest take such an approach to a Papal Encyclical? Why would a priest exhort his spiritual children to play such pathetic games with the Vicar of Christ's Encyclical?

As we await His Holiness Pope Francis' Encyclical, we have certain priests playing childish games..."na, na, na, na, na...since you don't like Summorum Pontificum, I won't like this or that part of Pope Francis' Encyclical...take that, libs!"

This is akin to angry children sticking out their tongues at each other. Is this what we've sunk to within Holy Mother Church?

Must Catholics, clergy and laity, reduce the tired, old, boring "this teaching is liberal...therefore, it's not for me...this teaching is conservative, therefore it's not for me...this document is liberal and I will ignore it...this document is conservative, therefore, I will ignore it".

In effect, we hold Church teachings and documents hostage to our ideology.

I believe that in great part, the tired liberal vs. conservative/Traditional war, at least as it's been fought within the Latin Church, is the result of the brokenness of the Roman Liturgy.

I go back to the days of Pope Saint John XXIII. I realize that in those days, there were liberals and conservatives within the Church. There had been well prior to those days Modernists who were determined to overthrow the TLM and Holy Tradition.

But things then were not as they are today in regard to the Church. That is, every document that had come from Rome, every Papal pronouncement, was not subjected to..."well, that's liberal, it's not for me"...or "well, that teaching is conservative, it's not for me".

When the Roman Liturgy was fractured during the 1960s, the balkanization of the (Latin) Church had begun in earnest. Every group suddenly claimed it's own Mass...the liberal Mass, conservative Mass, charismatic Mass, Polka Mass, English Mass, Spanish Mass, Korean Mass...this is "my" Mass, that is "your" Mass, and I'm not interested in "your" Mass.

I see that each weekend at my (Novus Ordo) parish. English Mass...once that group has been dismissed, in come the Spanish speakers for "their" Mass. Later it's the "Contemporary" Mass. Then it's the "Conservative" Mass. At 6:00 P.M., it's the "Spirit-Filled Youth Mass".

I am convinced that the horrific liturgical divisions within the Latin Church have extended to the sorry situation that we have, for example, in regard to upcoming Encyclical. The Encyclical is "liberal". Therefore, the Encyclical is not for conservatives.

Everything within the Church today is politicized. Everything. That is why we have a certain influential priest/blogger playing games with the Encyclical. He has suggested that we stick it to "libs" by treating with disdain certain sections of the Encyclical.

I pray that Rome stabilizes the Roman Liturgy. From there, I believe truly that at least some relief will come our way in regard to the sorry situation — the balkanization of (Latin)Catholics — that has engulfed the Church.

Mark Thomas

Joe Potillor said...

Mark, you are absolutely correct!, The Liturgical problem has manifested itself in the Church through divisions.

Precisely the problem when weighing in on situations that are prudential judgement in their nature. Of course the earth is not an end in of itself, and precisely because it's not an end in of itself, we can't do anything we want. (If the earth were an end, it wouldn't matter what we do, and we could be wreckless with the environment)...How we be stewards of God's creation is up for debate. Yes, cutting down trees can be good for an environment, and yes, setting old brush on fire to clear the way for new life, is a good thing.

I'm waiting until the official one is released, then I'll probably have some things to say.

Anonymous said...

Mark, you would do well to read some of the articles written by Mons Brunero Gheradini particularly on the magisterium where he states:

"The Church exercises a real control on Tradition: a discernment that distinguishes what is authentic from what is not. The Church does this with an instrument not wanting in "the charism of truth," provided that the temptation to absoluteness does not gain the upper hand. This instrument is the Magisterium, whose title-holders are the Pope (as successor to the Apostle Saint Peter, the first Pope on the Roman chair), and the bishops (as successors to the Twelve in the ministry or service to the Church) wherever it may exist as a local expression. It is not necessary to note the distinctions within the Magisterium (solemn, if exercised by the Pope or ecumenical Council; ordinary, if exercised by the Pope in his specific activity and by the bishops as a whole and in communion with the Pope). It is far more important to define within which limits the Magisterium is guaranteed the "charism of truth.""

There is not a blanket guarantee that everything put forward by the Magisterium is guaranteed free from error and that is why Catholics are able to disagree when what is put forward differs from past Church teaching and that is what the dispute since Vatican II has been largely about.

Mons Gheradini is in good standing with the Church but he and, for example, the Prelate of Opus Dei hold widely differing views on the Second Vatican Council. Mons Gheradini pointing out that Vatican II was a pastoral council and not a dogmatic Council. Opus Dei is one of the major proponents of this view that Catholics have to have a blanket acceptance of the Magisterium even where it breaks with tradition. This has never been Catholic Church teaching. And, yes, Mons Gheradini is a pre-Vatican II Catholic so this view that is being conveyed from section of Catholics that Catholics before Vatican II never disputed anything is not correct.

Mons Gheradini has written two excellent books on the Second Vatican Council, now available in English. Monsignor Brunero Gherardini resides “at the Vatican as a Canon of St. Peter’s Basilica, he is the secretary for the Pontifical Academy of Theology, professor emeritus at the Pontifical Lateran University, and the editor of Divinitas magazine.” Divinitas is a respected Roman journal of theology.

So you see, Mark, there are those in good standing with the Church, not sedavacantists, who find some of the Vatican II documents promblematic - and they are what is at the root of the dispute over all these years. Even the Prelate of Opus Dei admits there are errors in the documents but he seems to want to avoid re-opening the documents for discussion. While those documents remain unchallenged actually the liberals really have a case based on those documents. It is much more than the spirit of Vatican II that has put us into this mess - it is the very documents themselves that break with the traditions of the Church.


Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Jan there is nothing new in what you are saying, except it goes back the the spirit of Vatican II 1960's and 70's. I was taught in the seminary, especially with those confounded papal teachings and a Pope Paul VI who at the time was reneging on his earlier progressiveness, that Catholics, especially academic theologians, could for a loyal opposition. In fact the academics wanted to be a parallel magisterium to counteract the actual Magisterium when necessary.

I have no issue with people disagreeing with the imprimatur Pope Francis has or will place on certain theories concerning global warming and the devastation it will bring. He could be wrong on this. But I would have to write that or say that with some scholarly substance and I would say it in a polite way.

I would not, though, use any belief that I have that the pope has his science wrong as a crown of thorns to shoved on His Holiness Head or prepare a cross for his crucifixion.

There is something very nasty, ugly and not only anti-Catholic but unchristian with so-called trans-Catholics who denigrate in a open way the Vicar of Christ on earth. It is unseemly and signals the triumph of my 1970's progressive ideology concerning dissent. However, there is nothing loyal about it.

I've heard all this before and in a cogent way, but not from orthodox Catholics, but left-leaning ideologues. I hate seeing it now espoused by those who are using tradition as a weapon against Catholic teaching concerning obedience to the Magisterium and respectful assent to their teaching authority.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, Father, but it is coming more across to me that nobody is free to dissent from statements of the Magisterium that break with the traditional teaching of the Church, and that is patently wrong.

This dissent against some of the Vatican II documents has been going on for 50 years. In this the liberals are not in fact dissenting at all from those documents. While those documents remain as they are then the liberals have more than a leg to stand on. What is being promoted as the "spirit of Vatican II" is a whitewash of what lies in some of the Vatican II documents that are problematic. It is actually documents that break with the traditional teaching of the Church and that is what Traditionalists have been complaining of for years.

Pope John Paul II The Great and Pope Benedict clarified some of the teaching and brought them more into line but still the problem remains. Even Cardinal Kasper is on record as saying those documents were deliberately worded ambiguously.

For instance, the Church always taught that outside the Church there is no salvation: extra Ecclesiam nulla salus That was redefined by the Council documents. Tidied up by Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict, but nonetheless it has led to a lack of evangelisation in the Church - admitted by the Dutch Bishops as they announce the closing of two-thirds of their parishes.

What I am pointing out to Mark is where the dissent has arisen - from the Vatican II documents. Mark says "this teaching is liberal...therefore, it's not for me...this teaching is conservative, therefore it's not for me...this document is liberal and I will ignore it...this document is conservative, therefore, I will ignore it". In effect, we hold Church teachings and documents hostage to our ideology". What he is failing to grasp is that there is a break with the traditional teaching of the Church in some Council documents which have led to the sorry collapse of the Church and it is not people's personal ideology at all.


Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

The idea that there is no biblical and theological warrant for respecting the environment is nonsense.

“The Lord has made the human person to be a partner with him in dialogue. Only in dialogue with God does the human being find his truth, from which he draws inspiration and norms to make plans for the future of the world, which is the garden that God has given him to keep and till (cf. Gen 2: 15). Not even sin could remove this duty, although it weighed down this exalted work with pain and suffering (cf. Gen 3:17-19).” (Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, 452)

NOTE that the relationship we have with God and with creation (natural resources) is established is Sacred Scripture and the duty we have to “keep and till” the earth remains, even after sin has entered the picture.

St. Pope John Paul II: "This principle [the universal destination of goods] is to be applied above all — although not only — to the earth's resources and to safeguarding creation, the latter of which becomes a particularly delicate issue because of globalization, involving as it does the entire planet understood as a single ecosystem." (JP2 Address to Christian Workers’ Association, 27 April 2002)

NOTE that the “universal destination of goods” is the doctrinal point on which criticism of rapacious capitalism is rightly criticized.

The definitive salvation that God offers to all humanity through his own Son does not come about outside of this world. While wounded by sin, the world is destined to undergo a radical purification (cf. 2 Pet 3:10) that will make it a renewed world (cf. Is 65:17, 66:22; Rev 21:1), finally becoming the place where “righteousness dwells” (2 Pet 3:13). (Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, 453)

NOTE that salvation does not come about “outside this world.” The notion that the created world doesn’t ultimately matter ultimately is contrary to the doctrine of the Church.

“The biblical vision inspires the behaviour of Christians in relation to their use of the earth, and also with regard to the advances of science and technology.” (Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, 456)

NOTE that this understanding is most certainly biblical.

“A central point of reference for every scientific and technological application is respect for men and women, which must also be accompanied by a necessary attitude of respect for other living creatures. Even when thought is given to making some change in them, “one must take into account the nature of each being and of its mutual connection in an ordered system” (Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, 459)

NOTE that the relationship we have with nature must be marked with respect for all living creatures.

This [genetic manipulation] has led to the painful realization that we cannot interfere in one area of the ecosystem without paying due attention both to the consequences of such interference in other areas and to the well-being of future generations”. (Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, 459)

NOTE that the Church wants about the dangers that “interference” in ecosystems can produce.

“He must not “make arbitrary use of the earth, subjecting it without restraint to his will, as though it did not have its own requisites and a prior God-given purpose, which man can indeed develop but must not betray”. (Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, 460)

NOTE that our understanding of the right relationship of humans with our environment springs from Divine Revelation; we must respect the “God-given purpose” of the earth.

Much more on the biblical/doctrinal aspects of environmentalism can be found in the Compendium, numbers 466-487.

Dialogue said...

Well said, Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh. It always pleases me whenever I can agree with you.

Angry Augustinian said...

Once again, there is no Biblical theological basis for eco-theology. The above statements of the Church are interpretations of certain Scriptures which rightly encourage care for the Creation and awareness of the earth as our (temporary) home. They do not represent an eco-theology such as many pop theologians attempt. These do not "spring from Divine Revelation." The God-given purpose of the earth is not an end in itself. There is nothing in Divine revelation about saving the earth or about humans saving the earth. That is Pelagianism.

Anonymous 2 said...

Jolly Angry:

“Scriptures which rightly encourage care for the Creation and awareness of the earth as our (temporary) home.”

So what is the problem Jolly, if you agree to this extent?

As to temporary, even the most atheist scientist agrees the Earth (indeed the entire Universe) is temporary. And for those of us of Faith, temporary can still be a long time, for no-one knows the day or the hour.

Anonymous 2 said...

Jolly Angry,

Yesterday you clearly asserted “[T]here is no basis in Holy Scripture for ecological concern…unless you squeeze the 'stewardship' concept as I mentioned in my earlier post. It is simply foreign to the Biblical mentality…a wishful modernist reading into Scripture of today's cultural and political values and fads. This is simply bad theology”; and you wrote dismissively of, for example, “The Green Bible.”

Today you concede the existence of “Scriptures which rightly encourage care for the Creation and awareness of the earth as our (temporary) home.”

Darwin was right after all. Evolution is real.

Angry Augustinian said...

No, Anonymous 2, the fact that there are Scriptures that can be interpreted to mean we should care for God's Creation is not the same thing as a basis for an eco-theology. See my original post regarding theologic in Biblical theology.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Angry Gene - "Eco-theology" is your term. I have never used it and don't expect to do so.

Much of our theological thinking is derivative. There was no "environmentalism" in Biblical days, hence there is no environmentalism to be found in the Scriptures. There was no genetic manipulation in those ancient days, either. But the basis for our theological/moral reasoning regarding genetic manipulation derives from the basic moral teaching found in Scripture.

What is taught about environmentalism does spring from Divine Revelation as does our doctrine regarding genetic manipulation.

Anonymous said...

Angry Fr Michael Kavanaugh, while the Church is busily engaged on global warming that is yet to be proven - now being aided and abetted by someone who is being regarded in many circles as an extremist on the issue - we are all being diverted away from the the things that are destroying our society: abortion, euthanasia, poverty, elder abuse, poverty, famine, moral decline, violence etc.

How many people these days go out to save the whales and care nothing for human life being snuffed out?

In the past man turned to God to resolve problems of nature but now man - with no belief in God - has embarked on a forlorn venture to save himself and now it seems segments of the Church are joining in led by an athiest.

I can't wait till I get told in confession to "go hug a tree" for my penance. In the past that may have seemed extreme but reading some of the above I don't think it's too far off.

I note that as Fr K quotes from the Social Doctrine of the Church, "Only in dialogue with God does the human being find his truth". How is that possible then with an athiest leading the charge and helping to write the Pope's encyclical as has been reported?


Lefebvrian said...

Anonymous 2, Darwin wasn't right, and evolution is not real.

Angry Augustinian said...

Eco-theology is not my term. It is a current theo-fad.

Angry Augustinian said...

Lefeb, My God! You are going to bring down a torrent of outrage from Kavanaugh. He was a biology major, you know.

Hey, maybe you and Anon 2 could re-enact the Monkey Trial right here on the blog. I'll get the popcorn...

George said...

Jan, you touch on the importance of man's relationship to God. Man's intellect, his capacity for knowledge, his capability to effect change and improve his lot, all derive from the Divine Creator. These are God given gifts-attributes of our human nature. Man's relationship to God determine how he will use these,for good or ill. It is not just what man decides to create, but how and in what way those things he creates are to be used and applied. If man's relationship to God becomes corrupted or deficient, then his intellect becomes clouded and his propensities and inclinations become disordered. It is fortunate that there is enough good still in the world ( and in no small part due also to Gods continuing solicitude toward us) that man with his scientific and technical acumen has come up with advances that enable six billion people to inhabit the earth without mass starvation. How many scientific "experts" warned in the past that there was no way this could be. I was amazed to see a picture not long ago of how bad air pollution was in Los Angeles sixty years ago, and yet with a much larger population living in the area today, it is now nowhere near as bad.There have been amazing advances in solar cell technology and electric battery storage capacity which will eventually have a substantial impact in the reduction of the use of fossil fuels. Thanks be to God and his continuing mercy to us there are a lot of good things going on. Yet there is also not only promise, but potential problems, in the fields of genetic manipulation, artificial intelligence and robotics. Also,t his is not to discount the environmental damage that man has wrought and which must be remediated. In the end though, it is man "losing his religion" that is the greatest danger both to himself and to his environment.

Anonymous 2 said...


I was of course talking about evolution in the Gene gnome.

Anonymous 2 said...

Angrily Jolly: I see you. =)

Angry Augustinian said...

Gene Gnome…very good, Anon 2. LOL!

Fr. MichaelJ. Kavanaugh said...

5) Discussions about ecology can be grounded in the Bible and church tradition.

Wisely, Pope Francis begins the encyclical not with a reflection on Scripture and tradition (the two pillars of Catholic teaching), which might tempt nonbelievers to set aside the letter, but with an overview of the crisis—including issues of water, biodiversity and so on. Only in Chapter Two does he turn towards “The Gospel of Creation,” in which he leads readers, step by step, through the call to care for creation that extends as far back as the Book of Genesis, when humankind was called to “till and keep” the earth. But we have done, to summarize his approach, too much tilling and not enough keeping. In a masterful overview, Pope Francis traces the theme of love for creation through both the Old and New Testaments. He reminds us, for example, that God, in Jesus Christ, became not only human, but part of the natural world. Moreover, Jesus himself appreciated the natural world, as is evident in the Gospel passages in which he praises creation. The insights of the saints are also recalled, most especially St. Francis of Assisi, the spiritual lodestar of the document. In addition to helping nonbelievers understand the Scripture and the church’s traditions, he explicitly tries to inspire believers to care for nature and the environment.

-America Magazine

Anonymous said...

I go along with Gene and Lefeb, I don't believe in Darwinism either. You only have to look at the fact that Piltdown Man was a hoax, temperatures have now been skewed to know that you don't believe all that scientists claim. And an Almighty God is just that almighty and could and did create man in an instant. However, if Angry and Anon 2 wish to be considered "the missing link" and join their brothers swinging in the trees, then good luck to them. Hope they get plenty of popcorn.

George, yes, no doubt we have to be careful with the planet but in the end anything that we can do will be so minimal that in the end it will be God who decides our fate, and prayer is the answer not science. I'd much rather put my faith in God than an atheist scientist any day who is on record as saying we can reduce carbon to the levels it was before the industrial revolution. What a brain!


Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Jan, Piltdown Man was a hoax, but would you say the same about these hominids?
Sahelanthropus tchadensis
Orrorin tugenensis
Ardipithecus ramidus
Australopithecus anamensis
Australopithecus afarensis
Kenyanthropus platyops
Australopithecus africanus
Australopithecus garhi
Australopithecus sediba New
Australopithecus aethiopicus
Australopithecus robustus
Australopithecus boisei
Homo habilis
Homo georgicus
Homo erectus
Homo ergaster
Homo antecessor
Homo heidelbergensis
Homo neanderthalensis
Homo floresiensis

As to your irrational fear of atheists, are you going to stop trusting the work of
Neils Bohr
Francis Crick
Thomas Edison
Paul Erdős
Richard Feynman
Edmond Halley
Peter Higgs
Joseph Lagrange
Ernst Mach
J. Robert Oppenheimer
Linus Pauling
Carl Sagan
Erwin Schrödinger
Alan Turing

Anonymous said...

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh, it doesn't matter how many bones they come up with I simply don't believe in evolution. But as you obviously believe you descended from the apes can you tell me why you were the only species of ape to evolve and will the current set of apes eventually catch up in a few thousand millennia?

Your statement "An irrational fear of atheists" I won't bother to comment on, save to say that when people make statements like that it I feel they're not super confident in their own positions or beliefs. When it comes to advising Catholics on how they should live there lives I would put my faith more in a man who believed in God than one who doesn't and it gives me little faith that Pope Francis actualy knows what he's doing. It puts me in mind of the song "you can tell a man who boozes by the company he chooses and the little pig got up and walked away".


Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

"Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh, it doesn't matter how many bones they come up with I simply don't believe in evolution."

Translation: I will ignore the evidence because I want to. That's more irrationality.

"But as you obviously believe you descended from the apes..."

Not one scientist maintains that humans descended from apes. Not one.

"Humans did not evolve from monkeys. Humans are more closely related to modern apes than to monkeys, but we didn't evolve from apes, either. Humans share a common ancestor with modern African apes, like gorillas and chimpanzees. Scientists believe this common ancestor existed 5 to 8 million years ago. Shortly thereafter, the species diverged into two separate lineages. One of these lineages ultimately evolved into gorillas and chimps, and the other evolved into early human ancestors called hominids." -

"...can you tell me why you were the only species of ape to evolve and will the current set of apes eventually catch up in a few thousand millennia?"

Yep. Here's the answer:

I am confident in my own position which is why I can say that your fear of atheists is irrational. I am confident that all of the atheists I named have improved your life more than you imagine, and that such improvements will continue to come from theists and atheists alike as long as we walk this planet.

Or are you ready to discard Bohr's, Crick's, Edisons's, Erdos', Feynman's, Halley's, Higgs', Lagrange's, Mach's, Oppenheimer's, Pauling's, Sagan's, Schrodinger's, and Turing's contributions to your life? If so, turn off and throw away the computer you are using that the atheist, Turing, gave us the fundamental structure and function for.

Lefebvrian said...

Why would one trust an unverifiable scientific hypothesis instead of the infallible Magisterium of Christ's Holy Church? No thanks. Evolution is false.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

There is no Magisterial statement denying Darwinian evolution.

The Infallible Magisterium on Darwinian Evolution said...

Whether in particular the literal and historical sense can be called into question, where it is a matter of facts related in the same chapters, which pertain to the foundation of the Christian religion; for example, among others, the creation of all things wrought by God in the beginning of time; the special creation of man; the formation of the first woman from the first man; the oneness of the human race; the original happiness of our first parents in the state of justice, integrity, and immortality; the command given to man by God to prove his obedience; the transgression of the divine command through the devil's persuasion under the guise of a serpent; the casting of our first parents out of that first state of innocence; and also the promise of a future restorer?

Reply: In the negative.

Angry Augustinian said...

Augustine had some awareness of the rudiments of "evolution" and his doctrine of "rationales seminales" was an attempt to explain the discrepancies. It can be found in the "City of God" and in some of his treatises. Remember, the hard logic of Darwinism is atheism…there are certainly versions of so-called evolution that are compatible with Christian belief. I sort of like Augustine's foundation for understanding these things. But, if it comes down to Darwin or "through him all things were made," I'll go with Trinitarian theology.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

The "special" creation of man (sic) can easily be understood to have occurred by means of Darwinian evolution.

Darwinian evolution does not address "the creation of all things wrought by God in the beginning of time." Evolution addresses only the development of living organisms AFTER they appear / are created.

None of the rest obtains. There is no Magisterial statement denying Darwinian evolution.

Angry Augustinian said...

Most Darwinians, however, believe that Creation by God is an unnecessary hypothesis and are, therefore, atheists or agnostics. Hard core Darwinism is positivistic. Occam's Razor and all that.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

What "most Darwinians" believe doesn't change what Darwinian evolution says.

Anonymous 2 said...

Anon. Jan, Lefebvrian, and Infallible:

As Father Kavanaugh explains and as the Jolly Gene Gnome himself concedes, it is only the theory of evolution understood in a certain way that is incompatible with our Faith. Thus the CCC states:

283 The question about the origins of the world and of man has been the object of many scientific studies which have splendidly enriched our knowledge of the age and dimensions of the cosmos, the development of life-forms and the appearance of man. These discoveries invite us to even greater admiration for the greatness of the Creator, prompting us to give him thanks for all his works and for the understanding and wisdom he gives to scholars and researchers. With Solomon they can say: “It is he who gave me unerring knowledge of what exists, to know the structure of the world and the activity of the elements... for wisdom, the fashioner of all things, taught me.”

284 The great interest accorded to these studies is strongly stimulated by a question of another order, which goes beyond the proper domain of the natural sciences. It is not only a question of knowing when and how the universe arose physically, or when man appeared, but rather of discovering the meaning of such an origin: is the universe governed by chance, blind fate, anonymous necessity, or by a transcendent, intelligent and good Being called “God”? And if the world does come from God’s wisdom and goodness, why is there evil? Where does it come from? Who is responsible for it? Is there any liberation from it?

In one sense the whole debate here is silly. And for that proposition I can invoke the authority of Pope Benedict (you know, the one that people in these parts tend to like so much). Here is a link to what he said on the subject in 2007:

In this speech he states that

“They [i.e.., creationism and evolution] are presented as alternatives that exclude each other,” the pope said. “This clash is an absurdity because on one hand there is much scientific proof in favor of evolution, which appears as a reality that we must see and which enriches our understanding of life and being as such.”

He said evolution did not answer all the questions: “Above all it does not answer the great philosophical question, ‘Where does everything come from?’”

This is perfectly consistent with the CCC. Interestingly in the same speech Pope Benedict said that

“We must respect the interior laws of creation, of this Earth, to learn these laws and obey them if we want to survive.”

“This obedience to the voice of the Earth is more important for our future happiness ... than the desires of the moment. Our Earth is talking to us and we must listen to it and decipher its message if we want to survive”

Hmmm, who else does that sound like? Can’t quite put my finger on it . . . .


Anonymous 2 said...

I suspect that the reason why Protestant fundamentalists (and others), for example, deny the theory of evolution of the Universe and of Man is because they are afraid of the implications for their faith – How can the idea of a personal God possibly be compatible with an apparently impersonal Universe so vast in space and time? This thought used to scare me too, and I pray for the continuing grace not to be made afraid by it. I try to remember two things especially. First, space and time are phenomena and problems for us, not for the God Who created them and Who is beyond them in a way that our puny little human minds cannot possibly fathom. From His perspective they may even be an illusion. Moreover, He has revealed the vast difference in perspective through inspired Scripture: “My ways . . .”; “A thousand years. . . . ,” and all that. Second, God chose to become part of His creation in the Incarnation. For believers this establishes God’s undeniable personal connection and involvement with His creation in space and time. Moreover, perhaps He did this to redeem us not only from sin but also from such fear.

Bottom line: The truth cannot hurt us, if we believe in a God of Truth. Perhaps anxiety-producing theories such as the Big Bang theory and evolution of the Universe in 14.2 billion years are intended as a test of our faith. And remember, to the humble little, massless photon that has travelled 14.2 billion years from our perspective, by definition (according to relativity theory) no time at all has passed. That is a consoling thought too, I think.

And this entire discussion has occurred because I suggested the Jolly Gene Gnome had evolved! Wow!

Anonymous said...

Fr Kavanaugh, there is plenty of scientific evidence that questions evolution. Aside from the scientific evidence, it is much easier to accept that God being almighty created man without the need to go through the process of evolution which appears so hit and miss.

The following article raises a number of questions about your and the apes' common ancestor and shows that evolution cannot be scientifically proven:

" Where Are All the Half-Evolved Dinosaurs?


June 7, RUSSIA (PRAVDA) — Millions of people are taught that the fossil record furnishes proof of evolution. But, where are there fossils of half-evolved dinosaurs or other creatures?

Java Man skullFossilNeanderthal Skull

The fossil record contains fossils of only complete and fully-formed species. There are no fossils of partially-evolved species to indicate that a gradual process of evolution ever occurred. Even among evolutionists there are diametrically different interpretations and reconstructions of the fossils used to support human evolution from a supposed ape-like ancestry.

Even if evolution takes millions and millions of years, we should still be able to see some stages of its process. But, we simply don't observe any partially-evolved fish, frogs, lizards, birds, dogs, cats among us. Every species of plant and animal is complete and fully-formed. being raised.

Another problem is how could partially-evolved plant and animal species survive over millions of years when their basic organs and tissues were still in the process of evolving? How, for example, were animals breathing, eating, and reproducing if there respiratory, digestive, and reproductive organs were still evolving?

In fact, precisely because of this problem more and more modern evolutionists are adopting a new theory known as Punctuated Equilibrium which says that plant and animal species evolved suddenly from one kind to another and that is why we don't see evidence of partially-evolved species in the fossil record. Of course, we have to accept their word on blind faith because there is no way to prove or disprove what they are saying. These evolutionists claim that something like massive bombardment of radiation resulted in mega mutations in species which produced "instantaneous" changes from one life form to another. The nature and issue of mutations will be discussed later and the reader will see why such an argument is not viable.

The fact that animal and plant species are found fully formed and complete in the fossil record is powerful evidence (although not proof) for creation because it is evidence that they came into existence as fully formed and complete which is possible only by creation.

Evolutionists claim that the genetic and biological similarities between species is evidence of common ancestry. However, that is only one interpretation of the evidence. Another possibility is that the comparative similarities are due to a common Designer who designed similar functions for similar purposes in all the various forms of life. Neither position can be scientifically proved."


Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Anon 2 - The first reason people oppose/fear Darwinian evolution is that they simply don't understand what it contains. (The same can be said for many people who oppose/fear Catholicism - they really have no idea what the Church teaches/believes.) These folks have "heard" or "read" this or that about evolution and, with no critical foundation to consider what they have heard, simply accept it as factual.

People who don't understand evolution assert that Darwinian evolution proposes that we are descended from apes, that Darwinian evolution denies the existence of a creating God, or that Darwinian evolution can't explain why there are still monkeys and apes. All of these assertions are, of course, false.

Beyond those basic misunderstandings, with evolution you have to have a grasp of basic genetics - how that system works. As we know, there is a dangerous level of ignorance in western culture when it comes to science.

Biblical literalists also oppose/fear what they do not understand. Now, with this phenomenon, you have to bore through a wicked thick stratum of political conservatism. And I have no idea how to get through that amalgam of religious and political thick-headedness.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 2 people are free to believe what they like in this area and to weigh up the evidence on both sides. Looking at evolutionists, perhaps it is they who do not have enough faith; like Thomas, unless they see it for themselves they do not have the faith to believe that God is almighty and not subject to any constraints as we know them.

Even Pope Francis himself said that God is not a magician with a magic wand. With that statement to me Francis appeared to limit the power of God perhaps showing his own limited faith and understanding. That could even be seen to be presumptuous on his part: presuming what God can do and not do. But hardly surprising that he came to that view now that we know who he is being advised by.

And Anon. myself, Lefebvrian, and Infallible are not alone in our views - over 900 scientists dissent from Darwinism

"A Scientific Dissent From Darwinism: We are skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life. Careful examination of the evidence for Darwinian theory should be encouraged. There is scientific dissent from Darwinism. It deserves to be heard."


Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...


First, “hit and miss” is not a bad thing. It is exactly how Darwinian evolution works. This does not mean that it is an un-created process, or that it happens outside the plan that God established from the beginning of time.

Also, "hit or miss" (aka "random") doesn't mean "without purpose." Your intestines are currently digesting your last meal in a random way, but this random process certainly has a purpose - to provide nourishment to your cells.

Two things drive evolution – genetic mutations and natural selection.

Genetic mutation is, by its nature, extremely hit and miss. Mutations occur all the time in every organism. Many are inconsequential – they have no effect on the development of the organism. Many are deleterious – they result in the death of the organism or they result in an organism that is severely malformed and incapable of reproduction. An organism that is unable to reproduce is, as they say, “Out Of The Gene Pool!” Some mutations result in changes in the organism that give it an advantage in survival and/or in reproductive capacity.

Natural selection is also “hit and miss.” A milkweed seed pod has hundreds of seeds inside, each with a fluffy ballooning material that allows the seeds to “float” on the air for distribution. Some of those seeds will fall on the footpath where the birds of the air will devour them. Some will fall on rocky ground where there is little soil. They will spring up quickly, but when the sun comes up they will wither for lack of roots. Some seeds will fall among thorns, sprout, but be choked by the thorn bushes. Some will fall on good soil, take root and sprout, and yield a crop of a hundredfold, sixtyfold, or thirtyfold. The ones that fall on good soil have "hit" while the other have "missed."
Those that "hit" can reproduce making them "winners" in the evolutionary scheme of things.

“Survival of the Fittest” is not entirely adequate to describe the “drive” in evolution. Sometimes the “fittest” in the community doesn’t pass on his/her genes in spite of being the “fittest.” It is better to think of “Survival of the Reproductively Successful.” The organism that reproduces is the one that has, evolutionarily speaking, succeeded.

Ranganatham is incorrect when he states that we see no partially evolved (transitional) organisms in the fossil record. First, fossilization is a very “hit or miss” process. Only under very specific conditions will a dead organism be fossilized. It has to dies in the right place at the right time, and that just doesn’t happen often. Second, soft-tissue organisms are rarely found because it is extremely hard for them to fossilize. Soft-tissue organisms were the first to evolve, the earliest to come from the primordial ooze. We don’t expect to find them in the fossil record. (I have two glorious fossils – one is a spiral ammonite with a hard shell that was EASY to fossilize. The other is a small fish – the soft tissue is gone, but the bones are almost perfectly preserved in the sandstone in which the fish entered immortality.)

There are numerous examples of transitional fossils (fossilized remains of a life form that exhibits traits common to both an ancestral group and its derived descendant group). A few of them are named and described here:

I’ll get to, “Another problem is how could partially-evolved plant and animal species survive over millions of years when their basic organs and tissues were still in the process of evolving?” in my next post.

Lefebvrian said...

Jan, you rightly say that people are free to believe what they like in this area. But the choice is one between what the Church teaches and what the Church has condemned as error. It is a choice between belief and unbelief. The Church has clearly spoken in this area, it is our task to humbly submit to the Magisterium, as you and I are doing.

It shouldn't surprise us when priests espouse the error of evolution. We need to pray for our priests as always: Oh Lord, grant us holy priests!

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Lefeb - The Church has never condemned Darwinian evolution as an error.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Jan - “Another problem is how could partially-evolved plant and animal species survive over millions of years when their basic organs and tissues were still in the process of evolving? How, for example, were animals breathing, eating, and reproducing if there respiratory, digestive, and reproductive organs were still evolving?”

This is one of the arguments against evolution, known as “irreducible complexity,” found in Michael Behe’s in book “Darwin’s Black Box.” Ken Miller shows that Behe’s assertion does not hold water, beginning with Darwin’s own words: “Yet reason tells me, that if numerous gradations from a perfect and complex eye to one very imperfect and simple, each grade being useful to its possessor, can be shown to exist;…” (Miller pg 135) Those gradations from simple to complex have been shown to exist.

Miller continues, “…all that we really need to show is existence of “numerous gradations” from the simple to the complex. Then all natural selection has to do is to favor each step in the pathway from simple to complex, and we have solved the problem.” (ibid)

The problem with Behe’s (and Ranganatham’s ) assumption, that a less complex eye is of no use to the organism that has it, is that it is false. Many organisms have far, far less complex eyes than the highly evolved and complex eye of humans. Cnidarians (jellyfish, sea anemone, and corals) all have light sensing organs. They are in no way “eyes,” but the same molecule – opsins – that catch photons (light) “trigger a series of chemical reactions that causes the photoreceptor to send an electrical message towards the brain.”

For purposes of cnidarians, this light sensing organ works just fine. These organisms also function with no brains, just loose collections of nerves. Not only does the very simple eye work for them, but a very simple nervous system, far, far less complex than ours, works just fine for them.


Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Behe and others suggest that a complex organ without ALL its parts in place exactly as they are today would serve no purpose. Miller demonstrates that this assumption is wrong. Here’s the explanation from the Wiki:

“Behe uses the mousetrap as an illustrative example of this concept. A mousetrap consists of five interacting pieces—the base, the catch, the spring, the hammer and the hold-down bar. All of these must be in place for the mousetrap to work, as the removal of any one piece destroys the function of the mousetrap. Likewise, he asserts that biological systems require multiple parts working together in order to function. Intelligent design advocates claim that natural selection could not create from scratch those systems for which science is currently unable to find a viable evolutionary pathway of successive, slight modifications, because the selectable function is only present when all parts are assembled.

In his 2008 book Only A Theory, biologist Kenneth R. Miller challenges Behe's claim that the mousetrap is irreducibly complex. Miller observes that various subsets of the five components can be devised to form cooperative units, ones that have different functions from the mousetrap and so, in biological terms, could form functional spandrels before being adapted to the new function of catching mice. In an example taken from his high school experience, Miller recalls that one of his classmates

...struck upon the brilliant idea of using an old, broken mousetrap as a spitball catapult, and it worked brilliantly....It had worked perfectly as something other than a rowdy friend had pulled a couple of parts --probably the hold-down bar and catch-- off the trap to make it easier to conceal and more effective as a catapult...[leaving] the base, the spring, and the hammer. Not much of a mousetrap, but a helluva spitball launcher....I realized why [Behe's] mousetrap analogy had bothered me. It was wrong. The mousetrap is not irreducibly complex after all.[48]
Other systems identified by Miller that include mousetrap components include the following:[48]
+ use the spitball launcher as a tie clip (same three-part system with different
+ remove the spring from the spitball launcher/tie clip to create a two-part key
chain (base + hammer)
+ glue the spitball launcher/tie clip to a sheet of wood to create a clipboard
(launcher + glue + wood)
+ remove the hold-down bar for use as a toothpick (single element system)

The point of the reduction is that - in biology - most or all of the components were already at hand, by the time it became necessary to build a mousetrap. As such it required far fewer steps to develop a mousetrap than to design all the components from scratch.

Thus the development of the mousetrap, said to consist of five different parts which had no function on their own, has been reduced to one step: the assembly from parts that are already present, performing other functions.

The Intelligent Design argument focusses on the functionality to catch mice. It skips over the case that many, if not all, parts are already available in their own right, at the time that the need for a mousetrap arises.

Anonymous 2 said...

Father Kavanaugh:

Thank you for that very instructive account about evolution. I wonder of you might add that our bodies are far from perfectly designed. One would expect a perfect design if God had created us from scratch but not if He created us through the mechanism of evolution:

I suppose one answer creationists might give is that imperfections in nature, including in our bodies, are the result of the Fall and that in Paradise all was perfect. While perhaps plausible in strict logic, such an explanation seems to discount the scientific evidence for the theory of evolution. In any event, as you confirm, the Catholic Church does not condemn the theory of evolution (micro or macro). It is a perfectly permissible option for the believer, which is presumably why the CCC acknowledges it and recent Popes endorse it.

As for magisterial pronouncements supposedly condemning the theory of evolution, if the Church is stupid enough to insist on articles of faith contrary to the evidence, then so much the worse for the Church (and that means us). We have been there and done that, and thankfully have learned from the humiliating experience that Augustine warned us about.

George said...

Well, one certainly has to admit that there was an intelligence of some degree
who figured out how to put the mousetrap parts to a different use.

This I believe: whatever process one believes in,whether evolution or something else, it didn't happen and it doesn't happen without God.

Anonymous said...

Fr Kavanaugh, for every argument you can put forward for evolution there is a scientific argument against it. Here is a summary from the scientific dissent from Darwinism. There are non-religious people who find it scientifically not proven:

"What Scientific Evidence Challenges Darwinian Evolution?

The signers of the Scientific Dissent from Darwinism List have many scientific reasons for being skeptical of Darwinian theory. In writing this, we do not intend to speak for any of them in particular, but the following section briefly lists some of the types of scientific data that are often cited by those challenging Darwinian evolution:

Genetics -- Mutations Cause Harm and Do Not Build Complexity: Darwinian evolution relies on random mutations that are selected by a blind, unguided process of natural selection. This undirected process has no goals. Being random, it tends to harm organisms and does not improve them or build complexity. As biologist Lynn Margulis, a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences until her death in 2011, said: “New mutations don't create new species; they create offspring that are impaired.”1 Similarly, the past president of the French Academy of Sciences, Pierre-Paul Grasse, contended that “[m]utations have a very limited ‘constructive capacity’” because “[n]o matter how numerous they may be, mutations do not produce any kind of evolution.”2
Biochemistry -- Unguided and Random Processes Cannot Produce Cellular Complexity: Our cells are like miniature factories using machine technology but dwarfing the complexity and efficiency of anything produced by humans. Cells use miniature circuits, motors, feedback loops, encoded language, and even error-checking machinery to decode and repair our DNA. As Bruce Alberts, former president of the U.S. National Academy of Science, observed: “[t]he entire cell can be viewed as a factory that contains an elaborate network of interlocking assembly lines, each of which is composed of a set of large protein machines.”3 Darwinian evolution struggles to explain the origin of this type of integrated complexity. Biochemist Franklin Harold admits in a book published by Oxford University Press: “There are presently no detailed Darwinian accounts of the evolution of any biochemical or cellular system, only a variety of wishful speculations.”4
Paleontology -- The Fossil Record Lacks Intermediate Fossils: The fossil record's overall pattern is one of abrupt explosions of new biological forms, and generally lacks plausible candidates for transitional fossils, contradicting the pattern of gradual evolution predicted by Darwinian theory. This non-Darwinian pattern has been recognized by many paleontologists. University of Pittsburgh anthropologist Jeffrey Schwartz states: “We are still in the dark about the origin of most major groups of organisms. They appear in the fossil record as Athena did from the head of Zeus -- full-blown and raring to go, in contradiction to Darwin's depiction of evolution as resulting from the gradual accumulation of countless infinitesimally minute variations.”5 Likewise the great evolutionary biologist Ernst Mayr explained that “[n]ew species usually appear in the fossil record suddenly, not connected with their ancestors by a series of intermediates.”6 Similarly, a zoology textbook observes: “Many species remain virtually unchanged for millions of years, then suddenly disappear to be replaced by a quite different, but related, form. Moreover, most major groups of animals appear abruptly in the fossil record, fully formed, and with no fossils yet discovered that form a transition from their parent group.”7


Anonymous said...

Neo-Darwinian Evolution Has Been and Continues to Be Critiqued by Mainstream Scientists: Everyone agrees that microevolution occurs. But mainstream scientific and academic literature is saturated with skepticism about the neo-Darwinian claim that microevolution offers an adequate basis for justifying macroevolutionary claims. Günter Theißen of the Department of Genetics at Friedrich Schiller University in Germany wrote in the journal Theory in Biosciences that “while we already have a quite good understanding of how organisms adapt to the environment, much less is known about the mechanisms behind the origin of evolutionary novelties, a process that is arguably different from adaptation. Despite Darwin's undeniable merits, explaining how the enormous complexity and diversity of living beings on our planet originated remains one of the greatest challenges of biology.”8 A 2011 paper in Biological Theory stated, “Darwinism in its current scientific incarnation has pretty much reached the end of its rope,”9 and in 2012, the noted atheist philosopher Thomas Nagel argued in an Oxford University Press book that “the materialist neo-Darwinian conception of nature is almost certainly false.”10
Evolutionary biologist Stanley Salthe likewise describes himself as “a critic of Darwinian evolutionary theory,”11 which he insists “cannot explain origins, or the actual presence of forms and behaviors”12 in organisms. Biologist Scott Gilbert has stated in a report in Nature that “[t]he modern synthesis is remarkably good at modeling the survival of the fittest, but not good at modeling the arrival of the fittest,” and evolutionary paleobiologist Graham Budd admits: “When the public thinks about evolution, they think about the origin of wings and the invasion of the land, . . . [b]ut these are things that evolutionary theory has told us little about.”13 Eugene Koonin writes in Trends in Genetics about the increasingly undeniable reasons to doubt core neo-Darwinian tenets, such as view that “natural selection is the main driving force of evolution,” indicating that “the modern synthesis has crumbled, apparently, beyond repair” and “all major tenets of the modern synthesis have been, if not outright overturned, replaced by a new and incomparably more complex vision of the key aspects of evolution.” He concludes: “Not to mince words, the modern synthesis is gone.”14 Because of such criticisms, Cornell evolutionary biologist William Provine believes the Darwinian claim that “Macroevolution was a simple extension of microevolution” is “false.”15

There are many scientific objections to Darwinian evolution, and again, this is not to say that any particular signer of the Dissent from Darwinism list makes any one of these specific arguments. Instead, this article simply indicates some of the common scientific objections to Darwinian evolution."


Angry Augustinian said...

We know, of course, that there really is no theory of evolution…only a list of the species Chuck Norris has allowed to survive.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

George – I completely agree with you. Whatever happens, it happens because it is in the plan of God.

Jan – That a tiny minority of scientists find aspects of Darwinian evolution questionable does not alter the facts. I imagine you can find a tiny minority of scientists who do not agree that a water molecule is made up of hydrogen and oxygen atoms. They are wrong.

We have recently seen a tiny minority of scientists claim that vaccinations are dangerous and should be avoided. They are wrong.

There are STILL people who insist that the earth, not the sun, is the center of our solar system. They are wrong.

The assertion “The Fossil Record Lacks Intermediate Fossil” I have already shown to be false. See above.

The assertion that “Mutations Cause Harm and Do Not Build Complexity” is not correct. Mutations can be neutral (neither helpful nor harmful), strictly harmful, strictly helpful, or whether they are harmful or helpful depends on the environment. Here are two examples of a beneficial mutations:

1. “Atherosclerosis is principally a disease of the modern age, one produced by modern diets and modern life-styles. There is a community in Italy near Milan whose residents don't get atherosclerosis because of a fortunate mutation in one of their forebearers. This mutation is particularly interesting because the person who had the original mutation has been identified.”

2.” The sickle cell allele causes the normally round blood cell to have a sickle shape. The effect of this allele depends on whether a person has one or two copies of the allele. It is generally fatal if a person has two copies. If they have one they have sickle shaped blood cells. In general this is an undesirable mutation because the sickle cells are less efficient than normal cells. In areas where malaria is prevalent it turns out to be favorable because people with sickle shaped blood cells are less likely to get malaria from mosquitoes. This is an example where a mutation decreases the normal efficiency of the body (its fitness in one sense) but none-the-less provides a relative advantage.”

To say that the theory is “scientifically unproven” is absolutely correct and it also scientifically meaningless. We also have not “scientifically proven” cell theory, but that does not stop us from accepting is as fact. We have theories about solar neutrino flux, but, while none of them are “scientifically proven,” the flux continues.

Too often people, because they do not know how science works, jump to conclusions about this or that question. These conclusions are not based on a knowledge of the facts, but on the ignorance of the person making the claim. There is a mistaken belief that scientific progress is always advancing in a straight line, with certain facts being added permanently to what we know as they are discovered. In her book, Am I Making Myself Clear? A Scientist’s Guide to Talking to the Public, New York Times science reporter Cordelia Dean writes: “They do not understand that, instead, research is an ungainly mechanism that moves in fits and starts and that its ever-expanding path of knowledge is complicated by blind alleys and fruitless detours.”

Anonymous said...

Fr Kavanaugh, these scientists would agree with you that the conclusion of evolutionists/Darwinists "are not based on a knowledge of the facts, but on the ignorance of the person making the claim".

In fact, I was just reading recently how Behe has debunked Kenneth R Miller as recently as February this year.

I think we will just have to agree to disagree because there is excellent science on the part of those who don't accept evolution and it's growing.

But aside from science, I know that God is almighty. He has absolutely no need for evolution and could and did create man in an instant. Jesus Himself rose from the dead but how many evolutionists would believe that. Very few I'd wager.

If you want to believe in evolution then, Father, that is your choice.


Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Jan, No, I am not going to agree to disagree because there is not "excellent science" on the part of those who reject evolution and the cadre of those who reject evolution is not growing. Your scientist claimed, "Mutations Cause Harm and Do Not Build Complexity" and I promptly showed that that statement is false. Whoever made that statement is not practicing "excellent science."

You scientists who claimed there are no intermediate fossils are wrong, as I showed withy a list of intermediate fossils. Again, this is far from "excellent science."

Jesus' resurrection has nothing whatsoever to do with evolution.

The ignorance I referred to was yours. From the get-go, when you made the remark about "man descending from apes," you revealed that you have little grasp of one of the most basic aspects of Darwinian evolution. You are, in the end, railing against something you don't understand and, in my judgment, have no desire to understand.

Anonymous said...

Fr Michael J Kavanaugh, no, you are perfectly right, I have no desire to understand something like Darwinism that I believe to be nothing more than a fairytale designed by Godless men, even though you imbue it with the idea that God was somewhere involved. On the other hand, I don't think you understand the science against it either. You have a one-eyed view. The fact that you can say that there is no excellent science on the part of those who reject evolution proves your one-eyed view. These are men with Phds etc who find problems with Darwinism/evolution and are in a much better position than you or I to judge whether evolution is credible or not, eg:

"Nine-tenths of the talk of evolutionists is sheer nonsense, not founded on observation and wholly unsupported by facts. This museum is full of proofs of the utter falsity of their views. In all this great museum, there is not a particle of evidence of the transmutation of species." (Dr. Etheridge, Paleontologist of the British Museum)

"What is so frustrating for our present purpose is that it seems almost impossible to give any numerical value to the probability of what seems a rather unlikely sequence of events... An honest man, armed with all the knowledge available to us now, could only state that in some sense, the origin of life appears at the moment to be almost a miracle... (Dr. Francis Crick, Nobel Prize-winner, codiscoverer of DNA)

"Once we see, however, that the probability of life originating at random is so utterly minuscule as to make it absurd, it becomes sensible to think that the favorable properties of physics, on which life depends, are in every respect DELIBERATE... It is therefore, almost inevitable that our own measure of intelligence must reflect higher intelligences.. even to the limit of God." (Sir Fred Hoyle, British mathematician and astronomer, and Chandra Wickramasinghe, co-authors of "Evolution from Space," after acknowledging that they had been atheists all their lives)

"I admit that an awful lot of that has gotten into the textbooks as though it were true. For instance, the most famous example still on exhibit downstairs (in the American Museum) is the exhibit on horse evolution prepared perhaps 50 years ago. That has been presented as literal truth in textbook after textbook. Now I think that that is lamentable, particularly because the people who propose these kinds of stories themselves may be aware of the speculative nature of some of the stuff. But by the time it filters down to the textbooks, we've got science as truth and we've got a problem." (Dr. Niles Eldridge, Curator of Invertebrate Paleontology at the American Museum)


Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Jan - I gave you examples of how the citations you posted in opposition to Darwinian evolution are incorrect. These dealt with mutations and transitional fossils. You simply choose to ignore these. That's too bad.

There are many scientists who are both believers in God and believers in evolution. It is not a plot by "Godless" men.

Your anti-evolution sources are highly questionable.

For example, Dr. Etheridge: "The people the antievolutionists quote are not always who the antievolutionists say they are.
"Dr. Etheridge, world-famous paleontologist of the British Museum" is commonly quoted by evolution deniers but turns out to have been an obscure nineteenth century figure who was an assistant at the British Museum and was never famous at all."

Niles Eldridge is solidly in the pro-evolution camp. From the website of the American Museum of Natural History: Niles Eldredge has been a paleontologist on the curatorial staff of the American Museum of Natural History since 1969. A specialist in mid-Paleozoic phacopid trilobites, Dr. Eldredge, along with Stephen Jay Gould of Harvard, formulated a theory challenging Darwin's premise that evolution occurs gradually. Their theory, known as Punctuated Equilibria, asserts that evolution occurs in dramatic spurts interspersed with long periods of stasis. Dr. Eldredge has also analyzed the relationship between global extinctions of the geologic past and the present-day biodiversity crisis, as well as the general relationship between extinction and evolution. Today, he continues to seek integration of repeated patterns in the history of life with evolutionary theory through scientific research. Dr. Eldredge has embarked on a major program to compare patterns and processes of biological and material cultural evolution, using his extensive database on the manufactured diversity of cornets. Most recently, Eldredge has curated the exhibition Darwin, and has written a companion book entitled Darwin. Discovering the Tree of Life (2005).

A review of "Darwin-Discovering the Tree of Life": "A riveting tribute to Charles Darwin's life and ideas in celebration of his 200th birthday.

Charles Darwin's ideas resonate deeply in Western culture today, and his theory still lies at the heart of modern scientific evolutionary research. As other nineteenth-century figures fade, Darwin's theory of evolution still provokes controversy, spilling over into curriculum battles at state and local school boards in the United States and around the world.

In exploring the everyday artifacts of Darwin's life, his notebooks, and early manuscripts, Niles Eldredge "a candid, no-punches-pulled interpreter of the core ideas of evolutionary biology" (Science News) provides a rare glimpse into the mind of this highly intuitive, creative scientist. The celebration of Charles Darwin's 200th birthday in 2009 begins in November 2005 with the opening of a major exhibition at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, curated by Eldredge, that will travel across the nation. More than a companion book to the exhibit, Darwin is a rich and inspiring reconstruction of Darwin's life through his writings and discoveries.

Your anti-evolution scientists are not as anti-evolution as you think.