Schoenbrun on “Intelligent design”

Well, we’ve come a long way since Galileo was shown the instruments of torture.

In the last few days the Vatican astronomer, a Jesuit of course, and the cardinal archbishop of Vienna (formerly a Dominican friar) have taken the public position that "intelligent design" is an interesting and plausible idea, but not "biblical" in the sense that Protestant Evangelicals seem inclined to assert.

It is a long time now that the Roman Church has accepted that "science" is in Caesar’s realm and not its own.

This positions the Catholic Church as an ally of science and strengthens its role in its insistence on moral  judgments about the sanctity of life, which it can plausibly argue fall within the boundaries of spiritual conviction.

Pat Lang

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8 Responses to Schoenbrun on “Intelligent design”

  1. I saw that on the front page of Yahoo and was shocked. Pat Robertson on the next 700 Club:
    “I’d like to say to the good citizens of Vatican City: if there is a disaster in your area, don’t turn to God, you just rejected Him from your city.”

  2. ked says:

    You can count on the Vatican to take a stand – especially when it’s obvious & a hundred years late.
    I’m looking forward to married & female priests + a sensible population / reproductive rights policy… maybe in the 22nd Century.
    Meanwhile, the spectre of Papist Science should invigorate dumb-ass Fundementalism for a while.

  3. Dan says:

    Interesting, enjoyed it, and generally respect the Catholic’s approach to science. But he did say this: “Common sense tells us that matter cannot organize itself,” he said.
    He has much to strong a background in logic to make a statement like this…

  4. Curious says:

    The noted endocrinologist, John Cortelyou, President of De Paul University in Chicago, was elected secretary of a newly founded organization for Roman Catholic scientists. He promptly set about disbanding the group. Cortelyou, whose specialty is the study of endocrine glands in amphibian animals, explained his actions thus: “There are no Catholic frogs.”

  5. W. Patrick Lang says:

    Interesting. A friend, Brother David Carroll, A Christian Brother possessed of two Ph.D.s in science was recently elected president of the group you mention. pl

  6. Rev Zafod says:

    One of my problems with officials of the Catholic Church [CC] [and others] is that they always obscure their statements in arcane language, even when they pretend to be clearing things up. They state things in a way that leaves it open to both present and future obfuscation and interpretation.
    As a [retired] scientist who is not an athiest, I would ask for more clarity from Cardinal Schoenborn. In the interest of clarity, I will state that I am not an athiest, because that would imply that I believe affirmatively that there are no gods. I call myself an agnostic. If the Kansas Board of Education can redefine “science” to include other things than natural phenomena, I can create my own definition of agnostic beyond the original Greek “I dunno”. Agnostic to me means that I generally accept the findings of experimental, peer-reviewed science; that I also understand that there are questions that science cannot address, and that you cannot prove a negative. I accept my eventual death, and I expect nothing beyond it, so all that matters to me is how I live now, which means I try to treat my fellow creatures well in general and resolve moral conflicts as well as I am comfortable with.
    I know that some facets of the science that people living today believe to be true will be proven otherwise in the future, for that is the nature of science; we’re always learning more. However, evolution has enough proof from many scientific fields whose data tie together to be beyond general dispute; just the details. One major problem is between the commom and scientific definitions of “Theory”. In common parlance, a theory is just an idea. In science, a theory is something that has gained the status of enough proof that is generally accepted to be true. The Theory of Evolution has garnered enough proof for the latter status.
    I have no idea whether any tenets of any religion will ever be proven true at any time in the future. So far I’ve seen no such proof. Personally, I tend toward disbelief. However, I think these arguments belong in a separate category of education from science. Philosophy? Morals? Comparative studies of these or others? Certainly they may be subjects for discussion in other areas of learning, but they have not met the criteria to be discussed as science. Science requires the ability to be disproved; aka proved wrong. Religious beliefs cannot be disproved {I can’t go to heaven to show there are no god[s] there}, so they are not part of science. Therefore, religion should not be taught in science classes.
    Science needs to be ‘pure science’; to hold its ideas and discoveries and arguments and progress above the political arena. Intelligent Design is a philosophical argument and as such, must be excluded from science classes. Discuss it elsewhere if you must, but exclude it from science classes.
    “Common sense tells us that matter cannot organize itself,” the Cardinal said. Here he intrudes on science, and it’s where he errs on the boundaries between religion and science, and pronounces himself to be a prejudiced religionist observer; aka a charlatan. “Common” sense says that the world is flat as far as I can see it from my home, and many other common ideas disproved by science.
    Cardinal Schoenbrun seems to allow evolution while disputing “evolutionism”, a term which he seems to have invented without explicitly explaining it. I realize that I’m using reports translated and filtered thru news media, but this is the level of report that reaches even a high level of media watchers like me. Much less the dumbed-down reports the average person gets on ‘TV’.
    As I understand the Cardinal’s digested-and-excreted comments, evolutionism means expecting science to explain everything in the universe.
    I’ve never met an evolutionism-ist. I’ve never even heard of one. As defined by the Cardinal, an “evolutionism-ist” would be someone who recombines science and religion via the back door and says science explains all; there is no room for anything else. I believe the Cardinal has invented a straw man to knock down.
    That’s not what a scientist does. A true scientist never says she knows anything for certain. It’s always open to future disproof.
    The Cardinal is a typical weasel. He’ll probably wind up as a Pope someday.
    Dan Prall

  7. Curious says:

    ~~~ One of my problems with officials of the Catholic Church [CC] [and others] is that they always obscure their statements in arcane language, even when they pretend to be clearing things up. They state things in a way that leaves it open to both present and future obfuscation and interpretation.
    Posted by: Rev Zafod | 23 November 2005 at 01:21 AM~~
    That’s the very core of religion problem. It has to maintain coherent dogma derived from some text while at the same time adapt to every changing new social condition and new ideas.
    At practical level religion is really an organisation to interpret a body of text. Without it, it might as well be a weekend social gathering club with lousy food.

  8. Term papers says:

    Interesting really enjoying it….!And respect the Catholic’s approach to science.

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