Catholic Church: Evolution & Bible Compatible

The Australian reports,

The Vatican has issued a stout defence of Charles Darwin, voicing strong criticism of Christian fundamentalists who reject his theory of evolution and interpret the biblical account of creation literally.
Cardinal Paul Poupard, head of the Pontifical Council for Culture, said the Genesis description of how God created the universe and Darwin’s theory of evolution were “perfectly compatible” if the Bible were read correctly.
His statement was a clear attack on creationist campaigners in the US, who see evolution and the Genesis account as mutually exclusive.

Full story.
See previously: CC: Bible Not Historically/Scientifically Accurate

46 thoughts on “Catholic Church: Evolution & Bible Compatible

  1. Well, you could say that the first five days were not 24hour days as we know them to be and that evolution happened as part of creattion, or you could go further and say that each day was 24 hours and that ‘history’ was sped up during that time while evolution was happening.
    I’m not reading any Yushian theology, don’t know how it’s related to Jews posting about the catholic church and it’s warped version of the torah.

  2. So Adam was a monkey?
    or he was the first fully evolved human?
    the missing link?
    I guess it may be possible we evolved through millions upon millions of mutations and all these half formed amoeba-to-human corpses fill the world and soil along with every other creatures ancestors.
    oh! thats where fossil fuel comes from! genius!
    they all jumped into big pits and died together, decomposed and become fuel for the good of future decendants who one day will use their decayed corpses to fuel their hummers(tm).
    now it all makes sense.
    and jesus died for our sins!
    plan and purpose, amazing!

  3. I am encouraged, I hope the trend keeps up, maybe I’ll become religious again. If I must choose between being rational in religious. Religion will lose.
    Again please not from AC, good Jews are now expected to be bible literalists too.

  4. A terrific blog which addresses these issues from an Orthodox perspective (and funny, too!):
    [email protected]
    (but, warning: it assumes its readers have a very solid knowledge of Orthodox Judaism.)
    Finally, I agree with Dameocrat: No giving up rationality.

  5. Since I’m in the proccess of deXtianising myself and I’m avoiding further exposure to Xtian theology et al I don’t want to read him again right now but de Chardin had very interesting points, and one day I’ll certainly be back to read his books. . .

  6. I may certainly be the only person who doesn´t believe in Darwinian theory for non-religious reasons.
    I don’t think it necessarily contradicts Torah, but I’m not impressed by the evidence, from a scientific standpoint.
    Microevolution (change within a species) is easily observed, but speciation (fossil evidence proves nothing as far as speciation, because you can’t tell whether or not something was able/not able to interbreed with something else, the definition of a species)? Never been observed, never been proven.
    Their proof?
    Analagous structures and similar mitochondrial DNA. More recently its been proven mitochondrial DNA isn’t as reliable and constant as was once believed, and analagous structures don’t prove anything.
    The truth is that evolution, while plausible, is no more rooted in science (you can’t prove/disprove evolution, therefore by definition, unscientific) than is the notion that Ayers Rock was formed by a giant magical snake.
    If you believe that you’re the descendant of an ape, fine. But don’t blanket everyone who doesn’t as a “fundamentalist”

  7. “If you believe that you’re the descendant of an ape, fine. But don’t blanket everyone who doesn’t as a “fundamentalist””
    This is the case with all scientific theories that have political and/or religious implications.
    If Darwinian theory was just another scientific theory, no one would care too much about it, and there would be plenty of mainstream scientists who openly questioned it (or at least certain aspects of it). However, since this theory supposedly strikes a blow to the very heart of Christianity, the left treats it as dogma, and labels all who dare question it “extreme.”
    Another example of this is with regard to gender and racial genetic differences. Within the serious scientific community there is no controversy or debate over the notion that there are large genetic differences between races, and that intelligence is almost entirely genetic. However, since this has major political implications, academics and media outlets will quickly brand all those who even raise this as a possibility as an ignorant racist.

  8. Samuel,
    you are not the only person who disagrees with the idea of evolution for reasons other than religion.
    i personally dont bring religion in as my initial rejection to the theory, nor my secondary.
    evolution truly is far from a realistic possibility to creation,
    simply based on the amazing complexity of life, how can random mutation occur at such high frequency to a large scale of organisms which not only culminate their development at the precise same time, but leave little or no evidence of their intermediate development. the earth should be littered with billions upon billions of dead mid-development organisms with useless and unevolved limbs and functions.
    the fact that it doesnt jive with the torah really doesnt come in here because it is a non-issue unless the indivual never investigated further than the Torah and dismissed the theory based on the Torah itself which i guess we all did as children.

  9. N, the answer is it´s a scientific theory (please, distinguish from the non-scientific use of the word). As far as can be observed, what goes up must come down. However, it is plausible (though unlikely) that an event could occur that would disprove the theory of gravity.
    Speciation, however, has never been empirically observed and is therefore, not a valid theory!

  10. Just because you creationist claim microevolution can’t account for macroevolution doesn’t make it so. In fact it does. You are just arbitrarily making a some rule and expecting people not to question it. Furthermore there are many examples of intermediate(transitional) species in the evolution of numerous species including the human beings and the horse.
    BTW, transition is the proper scientific term. Intermediate was the term invented by creationists to create the false impression of progress in evolution. It fit their meme or their famous strawman argument, “if humans evolved from apes, why do apes exist!” They still exist because evolution in the scientific sense represents adaptation not progress.
    Fundyism really does make it impossible for those of us educated in Biology, Anthropology or Paleontology to be religious. I have loved archaelogy for years, which makes it impossible for me to participate in Any biblical literalist religion presuming I wanted to. It is like joining the aryan nations if you are black. Contrary to what others have stated there are no mainstream scientists in the field of biology, anthropology, or archaeology, that question evolution, unless you want to count a few fundamentalist engineers,mathmaticians or computer scientists, and people with degrees from creationist colleges, who work for the discovery institute, and they aren’t specialists in genetics or biology.

  11. Dameocrat-
    I am not a creationist, nor do I necessarily have any problems with these theories. What I do not like are people like you who try to marginalize everyone who questions your liberal orthodoxy and has an opposing viewpoint.
    Your point about how there are no mainstream scientists who question evolution demonstrates this. Even if I were to provide you with the names of mainstream scientist, you would just call them fundamentalists, or creationists. And what if there are no mainstream scientists who question evolution? Does this mean you should not even entertain the possibility and question further?

  12. Ok, shoot provide me with the name a field biologist, anthropoligists, and Paleantologists, with non honorary degrees, from accredited Universities that question it?
    Also you realize that unlike creationists, real scientists don’t sprend their time making taking points against evolution. They actually study in the field, and do productive things.

  13. “Also you realize that unlike creationists, real scientists don’t sprend their time making taking points against evolution. They actually study in the field, and do productive things.”
    This is just silly. I (and im sure most others) have seen top scientists from harvard and MIT “making talking points” on news programs and articles.

  14. Here are the words of Tim Wise, the one person with a degree in Paleontology talk orgins mentioned.
    . . . try as I might, and even with the benefit of intact margins throughout the pages of Scripture, I found it impossible to pick up the Bible without it being rent in two. I had to make a decision between evolution and Scripture. Either the Scripture was true and evolution was wrong or evolution was true and I must toss out the Bible. . . . It was there that night that I accepted the Word of God and rejected all that would ever counter it, including evolution. With that, in great sorrow, I tossed into the fire all my dreams and hopes in science.
    See what I mean about pathetic? Most revealing of all is Wise’s concluding paragraph:
    Although there are scientific reasons for accepting a young earth, I am a young-age creationist because that is my understanding of the Scripture. As I shared with my professors years ago when I was in college, if all the evidence in the universe turns against creationism, I would be the first to admit it, but I would still be a creationist because that is what the Word of God seems to indicate. Here I must stand.

    This man marginalized himself. Biblical literalism is more important to him than evidence. Why he bothered to get a degree in science, other than to look good for his fellow creationists is beyond me, but he isn’t a scientist anymore once he does this.

  15. “Ok, shoot provide me with the name a field biologist, anthropoligists, and Paleantologists, with non honorary degrees, from accredited Universities that question it?”
    Btw, here is a name (one of the more famous pro ID people): Michael Behe (phd from upenn). There are actually many many scientists who question evolution (not whether it exists, but as an explanation of the origin of man). This is especially true in the field of mathematics and physics, where many consider it improbable.
    I guess i win.
    btw, your last post is idiotic, and not at all relevant to this discussion.

  16. You don’t decide what is relevant to the discussion, and aren’t actually discussing anything. You just change the subject when someone refutes your points.

  17. dame,
    i think the fact that some one went to so-and-so university and has such-and such degree means very little actually.
    evolution is propmoted in the schools and universities as the sole possiblity for creation.

  18. That is because there is no theory of creationism other than the bible, which is religion. Unless you want include the hindu, Olympian, American Indian, and African stories about the Earths origins, what would be the point.

  19. Jak, mathmatician, and physicists, are biologist anthropologist or Paleontologists, though the guy I mentioned was, and I quoted his view that it wouldn’t matter if their were evidence. Anyway, that doesn’t have anything to do with the actuall theory and I refuted your actual knowledge of the subject.

  20. for all those idealistic truth searchers
    I, too, had a hidden agenda in believing in evolution, although mine was not theological, but sociological. Even years after I had committed myself to observing the commandments of the Torah, I still clung to a belief in evolution. Why? I didn’t want to be one of them. The Creationists, Jerry Falwell and his ilk, made my skin crawl. Denying the Theory of Evolution would have put me on their side of the fence, and jeopardized my image of myself as an enlightened, scientific thinker.
    Then I read a thin volume which irrevocably changed my perception. Rabbi Avigdor Miller, in his book “The Universe Testifies,” discusses the humble peach pit.
    Pointing out that the peach pit is so hard that no animal can bite into it and harm the delicate seed within, he informs the reader that the cement-like substance which holds the two halves of the peach pit together cannot be dissolved by anything — except a solvent excreted by micro-organisms in the soil.
    In the exact right place where the seed needs to be released, Voila! there’s the chemical solvent needed to release it. Could the micro-organisms in the soil know that the peach tree was “evolving” its cement-like sealant? Yet without the soil solvent, the first generation of peach trees would have been the last.
    Continuing with his rebuttal of the Theory of Evolution, Rabbi Miller points out that every egg shell must be a precise thickness — strong enough to hold the developing chick or turtle or crocodile within, but thin enough so that the new creature can break its way out at the right moment. Moreover, the egg of each species has to be a different precise thickness, an ostrich egg thicker than that of a wren, etc.
    Getting the thickness of the eggshell right (over and over again for each species) cannot be a matter of chance, because if the eggshell were not the perfect thickness the very first generation, there could be no second generation. The baby organism would have been trapped inside the too-thick egg, unable to reproduce. Moreover, no fossil has ever been found of an egg with the embryo imprisoned inside, although evolution assumes millions of such false tries.
    “Thousands of degrees of thickness were possible,” Rabbi Miller writes. “That the shell is not too thick and not too thin is incontrovertibly the work of a Designer.”
    Bringing dozens of further illustrations of phenomena in nature which simply could not have evolved by chance, Rabbi Miller’s logic devastated my belief in evolution. I was convinced.
    I discarded my belief in organisms evolving by chance like taking off a pair of sunglasses. Then a funny thing happened. I saw a different world.
    If instead of haphazardly evolving, everything was deliberately designed by God, then EVERYTHING WAS A GIFT OF GOD’S LOVE. It was the difference between receiving a box of chocolates because Hersheys is giving out free samples to today’s first hundred customers, and receiving a box of chocolates as a gift from my husband.
    I had always loved flowers. But now, every time I looked at a rose, I felt God’s love for me. The form, the color, the fragrance — none of it had to be there. God had designed it purposely so that human beings would enjoy it. My walks in the Knesset Rose Garden became a rendezvous with God.
    When I looked at an orchid, I was no longer blown away just by the beauty of the orchid; I was blown away by the love of a God who would design orchids for me to enjoy. When I went to my Senior Prom, I was delighted with the single orchid corsage my date had sent me. But God is a much more attentive and generous beau. He lavishes on the world tens of thousands of varieties of orchids.
    Now I feel sorry for the Evolutionists. They live in a world of accidental beauty. I live in a world of deliberate love.”
    ”In his commentary on the book of Genesis, Rabbi Avigdor Miller (1987) quotes the Talmud (Hullin, 4b) saying that: “Persuasion is solely by means of food and drink.” Rabbi Miller goes on to explain that, “Even to be persuaded to serve G-d more enthusiastically, the Torah uses the means of food and drink.” (p. 422) In various places the Torah describes festive meals as occasions that evoke gratitude toward one’s benefactor and, indeed, toward the “Great Benefactor,” (G-d) for the blessings He has bestowed upon man. ”
    R’ Miller offered another understanding of this maxim.
    On the first level, we understand that in order to realize the maximum powers of persuasion it is imperative to provide the person with a meal. ex. taking a buyer to dinner.
    Physically this will put the buyer in a more receptive mood because certain hormones are released when a person eats and his stomach is filled.
    On the next level, we can understand that G-d is constantly trying to ‘persuade’ us by giving us food, air, sunshine, eyesight and life… But what is the object of G-d’s
    efforts? That we should believe in Him.”

  21. “correction” they “aren’t”biologists,an thropologists or Paleontologists”
    The name i mentioned IS a biologist from upenn. You asked for a name, and I found one of an accomplished scientist.
    Time to concede, and while you’re at it, learn how to write.

  22. I already conceded there were people will such degrees, when I mentioned Wise. I think you mean I should learn how to type.
    Anyway, your persecution complex is too subjective to debate.
    So why don’t you try talking about problems you have evolution

    oh and he’s so loving. he’s so loving he made leukemia just for kids! a great benefactor, your god-with-balls.
    jak – Another example of this is with regard to gender and racial genetic differences. Within the serious scientific community there is no controversy or debate over the notion that there are large genetic differences between races, and that intelligence is almost entirely genetic.
    the last i heard there was more genetic difference between any two individuals of any ‘race’ than between different “races”. also, it sounds like you are saying intelligence, being genetic, can be ascribed to races as well. leaping forward, i know plenty of dumb jews. non-intelligent. and plenty of intelligent people who are from “races” that have been seen in the modern era as less intelligent races.
    –>what is a race? – those of us who have some ashkenazi in us have lots of stuff in our DNA that’s not ‘jewish’ – tartar, cossack, khazar, hun, “aryan”…
    –> what is intelligence? can you breakdance? well? well enough to make people gasp? can you play the bata drums, and make them speak? can you run 50 yards faster than the fastest human on the planet? can you paint a picture that many thousands of people think is beautiful? can you listen to someone you don’t know, and talk to them in a way that they leave you feeling better about their existence, in a way that will make them think about what you talked about when they are in the shower?

  24. “the last i heard there was more genetic difference between any two individuals of any ‘race’ than between different “races”.”
    You heard wrong. There are 2 majors studies, among others, that have recently come out, from stanford and the APA (2 very liberal institutions), which say otherwise. Also the whole notion that race is a social construct was a theory from the 70’s which now finds very little support, due to the proliferation of genetic discoveries in the past decade.
    “leaping forward, i know plenty of dumb jews. non-intelligent. and plenty of intelligent people who are from “races” that have been seen in the modern era as less intelligent races.”
    Intelligence is distributed over a curve. There are retarded Jews and brilliant blacks. What psychologists generally focus on when comparing intelligence is the median scores of a race, and how they deviate from the scores of other races. For example: the avg/median Iq score of a black is 85, white 100, ashkenazi jew 115.
    For a long time science has attributed this to environment. In the past decade there has been a major shift and now the general consensus in the serious science community is that the differences are almost entirely genetic. However, anyone who openly tried express these thoughts, has been marginalized and lost funding.

  25. Neisser, U., G. Boodoo, T.J. Bouchard, Jr., et al. 1996. “Intelligence: Knowns and unknowns.” American Psychologist 51: 77-101.
    Edwards, A.W.F. 2003. “Human genetic diversity: Lewontin’s fallacy.” BioEssays 25: 798–801.
    Tang, H., T. Quertermous, B. Rodriguez, et al. 2005. “Genetic structure, self-identified race/ethnicity, and confounding in case-control association studies.” American Journal of Human Genetics 76: 268–75.

  26. ok, i read around those the best i could. it all seems to come back to edwards, he is like the lone cowboy of the link between race and intelligence. where is the general consensus?
    but put it this way. working with the middle of any curve of any group’s results, if you took a bunch of kids (and their families) and moved them to a totally different environment, say to another country, and made sure they had access to quality resources, housing, job opptys, services, and especially a quality education, over three generation they would score much higher on IQ tests, educ achievement tests, whatever.
    for the lowest part of the curve, it might take six generations, or something like that. throw in a society that gives models and messages like “it’s cool to be smart”.
    and if i took a bunch of ashkenaz jewish kids (which i assume you are, caw caw little crow) and made them and their families collect refuse in a dump in lima peru for three to six generations, no hope of escape, a system that told them they were ugly and stupid… they would score lower on IQ tests, etc.
    even murray notes that “The black-white difference in scores on educational achievement tests has narrowed significantly” since the 70s and that for IQ, “harbingers of a narrowing difference are starting to emerge.”

    the Black/White differential in test scores is not eliminated when groups or individuals are matched for SES – but it is lowered.
    you probably pass for white, so you should know that race is a still a construct. but since white is the default, you might feel just assumed up in it. if you passed for something else, you wouldn’t even need to argue the point. genetic differences are interesting, but they seem to be changing…
    i love people who argue the master narrative argument, that whites are smarter, men are smarter, blah blah blah, totally negate all socioeconomic and historical factors as quickly as they can, focus on one construct of intelligence (IQ), and then say
    “anyone who openly tried express these thoughts, has been marginalized and lost funding.”
    look at your low ass IQ president, or look at a one dollar bill (which is “funding”). “white men are the bestest” is like america’s rallying cry, always has been. boo hoo no one will listen that you think you are superior.

  27. Test scores for some non-whites are lower when the participants are told beforehand that the test is a measure of intelligence, an effect that does not occur in whites. Who knows what mediates this effect, but it is measurable. They say that when this is controlled for, there is still a difference in mean IQ scores. But what other factors that are not known cannot be controlled for. Expectancy effects might play a role in what sorts of toys parents and children seek out (think puzzles vs. basketballs). Then consider that a percentage of the people at or beyond two standard deviations of normal IQ are black, meaning that these individuals are more “intelligent” than 95 percent of the population. Those mean score comparisons are meaningless; it is better to say (and you shouldn’t even say this) that there is an overrepresentation of one race in the category of “high intelligence” than to say that their is an overrepresentation of “high intelligence” in once specific race.

  28. brian : i like the way you put that, pana.
    more info:
    The Black-White gap is smaller in the UK than in the U.S. Another example (of divergence within a group) is Jews who score much lower in developing nations and Koreans who score much lower in Japan.

    and: A large (21,260 children) and probably the most recent (1998) study found that the Black-White gap for young children in reading and math scores was much smaller than in earlier studies, and that all of the remaining difference could be explained by a few environmental factors.
    https://mitpress.mit.ed u/journals/pdf/rest_86_ 2_447_0.pdf
    i wouldn’t call this dispositive, but it does hack away at the tree the crow is cawing from.
    and just for people who aren’t going to read jak’s links, the tang paper doesn’t talk about intelligence at all. still interesting tho.

  29. for all you folks holding on to your leftist dreams and refuse to recognize reality (much like right wing folks who wont acknowledge evolution) here is a study PUBLISHED BY THE APA in 2005 (they are considered the authority in psychology publications, and happen to be very liberal). This isnt some neo nazi, or some whack job science organization. This is the consensus among the scientific and psychological community.
    After what happened when the bell curve was released, it is no surprise that the APA kept this article on the down low; it was not for public consumption. And unlike the bell curve which receive dozens if not hundreds of attempted refutations, this article only received 2 by less notable academics, and which did not gain any acceptance in the psychological community.
    So read the study, and enjoy.


  30. Just for the record Rushton and Jensen’s critics allege outright fraud.

    Although Rushton (1988, 1990a, 1991) implied that Blacks are consistently found to have smaller brains than Whites, some of the studies listed in his reviews actually show opposite trends: North American Blacks were superior to American Whites in brain weight (see Tobias, 1970, p. 6:1355 g vs. 1301 g) or were found to have cranial capacities favorably comparable to the average for various samples of Caucasians (see Herskovits, 1930) and number of excess neurons larger than many groups of Caucasoids, for example, the English and the French (see Tobias, 1970, p. 9). In general, skulls from people in countries with poverty and infant malnutrition are smaller regardless of race. This trend is apparent even in Rushton’s (1990b) tabularly summary of Herskovits’ s review: Caucasoids from Cairo had far smaller crania than North American Negroes (see more details in Cernovsky, 1992). In this respect, Rushton (1990a, 1990b, 1990c) also repeatedly misrepresented findings by Beals, Smith, and Dodd (1984) on cranial capacity. [b]Rushton implied that Beals et al. presented large-scale evidence for racial inferiority of the Blacks with respect to cranial size.[/b] De facto, extensive statistical analyses by Beals et al. showed that cranial size varies primarily with climatic zones (e.g., distance from the equator), not race. According to Beals et al., the correlations of brain size to race are spurious: smaller crania are found in warmer climates, irrespective of race.
    And, although Rushton misleadingly reported Tobias’s (1970) and Herskovits’ s (1930) surveys of cranial data as confirming his theory, their data are more consistent with the model presented by Beals et al. As already mentioned, in their reviews, cranial size and number of excess neurons of North American Blacks compared favorably to those of Caucasoids. It is only by pooling their data with data for Negroids from countries in hot climatic zones (notorious for famine and infant malnutrition) that Rushton obtained an illusory support for his postulates.
    Rushton’s (1988, Table 1) use of brain and cranial size as indicators of intelligence in humans is statistically absurd: Rushton’s (1990a) own data showed that brain size and intelligence, in Homo sapiens, are only weakly related (average Pearson r = .18) and the highest correlations reported by Rushton were only .35, implying only 12.3 % of shared variance (see critique by Cernovsky, 1991). In the past decades, even some persons with extremely small cerebral cortices were found by Lorber to have IQs in the superior range (> 120) and performed well in academic settings (Lewin, 1980). Rushton’s pseudoscientific writings perpetuate lay public’s misconceptions and promote racism.
    Rushton (1990a, 1990c, 1991) also misrepresents the evidence for racial differences in brain/body size ratio. For example, Herskovits’s (1930) data suggest that there is no consistent Black/ White difference with respect to stature or crania. And, with respect to Rushton’s claim about the relationships of the brain/body size ratio to intelligence, this conceptual framework is suitable for some species of animals but not necessarily for the restricted range of data. The comparison of gender differences on three different brain/body indices by Ho, Roessman, Straumfjord, and Monroe (1980) led to inconsistent results (see their tabularly summaries on p. 644). Further empirical data in this field are necessary: Authoritarian statements “about the reality of racial differences,” based on conveniently selected trends in the data, do not qualify as a scientific contribution.

    On the similarities of American blacks and whites: A reply to J.P. Rushton.
    by Zack Cernovsky

  31. Rushton also says that a simple tape measurement of the head is a good measure of IQ, yet asians, the group that scores the highest also have small average head sizes compared to blacks and whites. Whites have smaller head measurements on average than blacks. It seems his methodology is nothing but a revival of 19th century Eugenics and Phrenology frauds. Furthermore it seems he probably knows he is a flim flam man.

  32. I have always wondered why white racists in America who are always looking for “scientific” proof of black inferiority in culturally (and economically) biased IQ tests always leave out the findings that many Asian ethnic groups test higher than good old white Americans. Now I am wondering why I am reading this racist crap on a Jewish blog. After all, we all know that we Jews are racially superior in matters involving money, craftiness, media manipulation and general world domination. Just measure our skulls and you’ll see why. By the way, some “scientists” in the 19th century thought that women receiving a college education would interfere with the health of their unborn children by diverting blood flow to the brain instead of the uterus.

  33. “Now I am wondering why I am reading this racist crap on a Jewish blog. ”
    this “racist crap” was published by the APA. Yeah, keep believing the earth is flat.

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