Friday, August 25, 2006

"Eppur, si muove..."

Many more enjoyable posts to come soon-- this one infuriates me. Derb tipped me to the fact that Pope Benedict has apparently fired the Vatican astronomer for casting aspersions on what we here refer to as "intelligent" design.

From The Daily Mail:

"Benedict favours intelligent design, which says God directs the process of evolution, over Charles Darwin’s original theory which holds that species evolve through the random, unplanned processes of genetic mutation and the survival of the fittest.

"But Father Coyne, the director of the Vatican Observatory for 28 years, is an outspoken supporter of Darwin’s theory, arguing that it is compatible with Christianity."


" "God "is not constantly intervening, but rather allows, participates, loves," Fr Coyne wrote, adding: "Religious believers must move away from the notion of a dictator or designer God, a Newtonian God who made the universe as a watch that ticks along regularly.

" "Perhaps God should be seen more as a parent or as one who speaks encouraging and sustaining words."

"The priest later attacked intelligent design theory as a "religious movement" lacking any scientific merit.

"Speaking at a conference in Florida a year ago, Father Coyne said that "intelligent design isn't science, even if it pretends to be".

"Then in a November interview, the 73-year-old priest said the Pope should withhold judgment on the issue, saying he "doesn't have the slightest idea of what intelligent design means in the U.S."."

Hear, hear! Coyne may not be diplomatic, but he says what needs saying.

As one who was taught evolution "straight up" by nuns in the late fifties and brothers in the sixties, I know that a God who pokes in to intervene at random moments is absurd and inelegant. I have always enjoyed pointing out that a Catholic priest (Lemaitre) conceived of the Big Bang, and a Jesuit (Teilhard de Chardin) discovered Homo erectus (then called Sinanthropus, Peking man). Now, for the moment, I am embarassed for my heritage.

Truth will out. If Galileo didn't say "Nevertheless, it moves", he should have. Nobody argues with him any more.

By the way-- haven't you noticed that anybody who argues for "ID" DOESN'T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT EVOLUTION??

Excuse me.

A couple of updates.First, for those with non- Catholic backgrounds: this is NOT dogma. Catholics can continue to believe in "real" evolution-- or as I called it above, evolution straight up; "evo- lite", AKA "I"D; or if they are retrograde enough, creationism. But it is a shame that so intelligent a man has so blinkered and uninformed a view of biology.

Second, re "inelegant". Scientists do use this phrase for everything from theories to equations. Consider a universe expanding from an infinitely small point, bearing endless choices unconscious and conscious, bushy trees of descent, contingencies, free will, and decisions.

Now, contrast it with one where God, like a mechanic messing with a balky and poorly- made engine, keeps poking his fingers in to tinker with the mix, fixing this, then that, leaving it to run until the next problem pops up...

1 comment:

Heidi the Hick said...

Well. Here's a rebellious little Christian weighing in with an uninformed opinion!

I do believe in God but I cannot believe that God controls everything. Apparently we have something called "Free Will."

And wouldn't an omnipotent God have other things to do than get picky about the way things develop here on this little marble?

Steve, so much to read...and here I am on dial up this week. AAUUGH!

Seriously- Rack Em Up? Antler King? That's supposed to be funny, right, because I think it's funny.