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November 7, 2005 10:53 AM   Subscribe

Newsfilter: Vatican rejects Intelligent Design. The Vatican has stated that Intelligent Design is not, in their opinion, science and they do not support it. Their announcement is a part of the effort to end the "mutual prejudice" between science and evolution.
posted by delmoi (98 comments total)

 
Boy, you were in a hurry to post that, eh?
posted by you just lost the game at 10:54 AM on November 7, 2005


He totally blew spelling 'intelligent' too.
posted by xmutex at 10:55 AM on November 7, 2005


man, that's as bad as misspeellling speeelling...

heh...made my day, delmoi...thanks!
posted by HuronBob at 10:57 AM on November 7, 2005


There's a mutual prejudice between science and evolution?
posted by kafziel at 10:59 AM on November 7, 2005


What a weird counter-reformation. I wonder how long until the Southern Baptists implode.
posted by The Jesse Helms at 10:59 AM on November 7, 2005


Cue handwaving about how this isn't an ex cathedra statement.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 11:00 AM on November 7, 2005


Intelegent should mean something.
posted by smackfu at 11:03 AM on November 7, 2005


I saw this earlier - is it "official" word from the Vatican, or is the opinion of a Cardinal?
posted by loquax at 11:04 AM on November 7, 2005


The formatting seems broken to me, on both the FP and in the post, with the credit line showing up as part of the body of the post. FWIW.
posted by GuyZero at 11:05 AM on November 7, 2005


Maybe he misspelled "inelegant".

Vatican Rejects Inelegant design.
posted by agropyron at 11:06 AM on November 7, 2005


No doubt inelegant design would provide a better explanation of the scrotum.
posted by srboisvert at 11:13 AM on November 7, 2005


AS much as I do not believe in creationism, I think ID is worse. I can at least have some respect for someone who holds a thing to be true as an act of faith (providing other criteria about that person are met as well). But ID seems just indefensible. It is not science, but it claims to be. it is not accepted church policy. It is crap crap crap.
posted by edgeways at 11:13 AM on November 7, 2005


He totally blew spelling 'intelligent' too.

Huh? What other word did I misspell?
posted by delmoi at 11:16 AM on November 7, 2005


Misspellings or not, this made my day. Ditto what edgeways said - ID is crap.
posted by selfmedicating at 11:16 AM on November 7, 2005


This isn't going to go over well with the Jeebus-is-just-like-Santa-only-he-hates-gays-more crowd. But don't they think that Roman Catholics are all doomed to burn in hell anyway?
posted by slatternus at 11:16 AM on November 7, 2005


Cue handwaving about how this isn't an ex cathedra statement.

For the record, this can never be an ex cathedra statement as the criteria of ex cathedra are very strict and pertain only to that of faith. If I recall correctly it also is sort of a big deal in that there are ceremonies and councils called efore something is marked as infallibility.

That said this isn't really that big of a deal. There are certain enclaves in which evangelical fundamentalism and Catholicism get weirdly intertwined. There was a Trading Spouses episode where some crazy Catholic Southern lady goes crazy over New Age stuff. Her mannerisms and belief are much more evangelical and can probably be considered herectical by the RCC.

The RCC is one of the last sane conservative religious organizations left, keeping religion and secular life separate. I hope with Ratzinger there isn't too much of an appeal to the base and bring it back several hundred years.
posted by geoff. at 11:18 AM on November 7, 2005


I think its cute how the link is to a site called Science and Technology News and the site link looks like St. News.

Now if only the Vatican would come out and publicly ridicule Sony's new rootkit DRM.

I'm sure how you could call science prejudiced against ID. Its like saying apples are biased against oranges because they're jealous of its vitamin C. How's that follow?
posted by fenriq at 11:19 AM on November 7, 2005


A Vatican cardinal said yesterday that the faithful should listen to what secular modern science has to offer, and warned that religion risks turning into 'fundamentalism" if it ignores scientific reason.

Of course, this is assuming that fundamentalism is inherently a bad thing, which fundamentalists sure don't agree with.
posted by hopeless romantique at 11:21 AM on November 7, 2005


This isn't going to go over well with the Jeebus-is-just-like-Santa-only-he-hates-gays-more crowd. But don't they think that Roman Catholics are all doomed to burn in hell anyway?
posted by slatternus at 11:16 AM PST on November 7 [!]

Catholics are Satanic, my friend.
posted by The Jesse Helms at 11:23 AM on November 7, 2005


The RCC is one of the last sane conservative religious organizations left, keeping religion and secular life separate. I hope with Ratzinger there isn't too much of an appeal to the base and bring it back several hundred years.

Amen. I'm a former Catholic, but this news made my week.
posted by gsteff at 11:24 AM on November 7, 2005


Sometimes I just feel really good about being a Roman Catholic.

loquax, from the article "Cardinal Paul Poupard, a Frenchman who heads the Pontifical Council for Culture, made the comments at a news conference on a project to help end the 'mutual prejudice" between religion and science that has been an issue for the Roman Catholic Church, and that is part of the evolution debate in the United States." So, it certainly seems official.
posted by oddman at 11:24 AM on November 7, 2005


Huh? What other word did I misspell?

I don't think it was a misspelling, more the awkward "mutual prejudice" between science and evolution line.

Also, this is nice, I suppose.
posted by panoptican at 11:25 AM on November 7, 2005


I'd just like to point out that this may soon lead to areas where the Catholic HS science classes teach evolution only and the public HS has to split time between Creationism/ID and evolution.
posted by unixrat at 11:26 AM on November 7, 2005


Now if only the Vatican would come out and publicly ridicule Sony's new rootkit DRM

Try John Paul II's response to Rerum Novarum. In which he says, "But if by 'capitalism' is meant a system in which freedom in the economic sector is not circumscribed within a strong juridical framework which places it at the service of human freedom in its totality and sees it as a particular aspect of that freedom, the core of which is ethical and religious, then the reply is certainly negative."

I have no idea why I'm defending Catholicism so staunchly the nuns would be proud.
posted by geoff. at 11:29 AM on November 7, 2005


So, it certainly seems official.

Well, yeah I guess it does, but don't they have a special way of making pronouncments like this? Seems odd that a Cardinal would just say so at a news conference and that would be that. Maybe this is just testing the waters?
posted by loquax at 11:29 AM on November 7, 2005




What could the next lead be? I can see it now:

After 5 years of peaceful coexistence with Christian Fundamentalists, Roman Catholics are rebranded as idolaters and re-destined for the bowels of hell.

posted by psmealey at 11:37 AM on November 7, 2005


After 5 years of peaceful coexistence with Christian Fundamentalists, Roman Catholics are rebranded as idolaters and re-destined for the bowels of hell.

If the televangelists I've seen are any idication, they were never too fond of us anyway. Good riddance.

And there's been a long tradition within Catholicism or trying to reconcile science and spirituality, look at St. Thomas Aquinas.
posted by jonmc at 11:39 AM on November 7, 2005




Wow. I think I just saw a pig evolve a pair of wings.
posted by Soliloquy at 11:49 AM on November 7, 2005


The pope himself said this stuff years ago.

A cardinal saying it pales in comparison.

This is not new, nor a change in policy, evolution has been official RCC policy for ages.


I guess some people in a certain country needed reminding :)
posted by -harlequin- at 11:53 AM on November 7, 2005


Heh. I remember when I was going through catechism when I was a kid and being told by a priest that Genesis was a metaphor, and of course Catholics believe in evolution because Catholics are smart enough to understand science. (This was also back during the brief denim-shirt-and-guitar phase of groovy '70s Catholicism, so we also frequently thanked Our Lord and Savior for the 4 food groups, symbolized by the oatmeal raisin cookies Sister brought to us.)
posted by scody at 11:54 AM on November 7, 2005


This is not new, nor a change in policy

Maybe the support of evolution is not new, but the dismissal of "intelligent design" as a scientific theory is pretty awesome.
posted by Robot Johnny at 11:55 AM on November 7, 2005


Hooray for Cathol!
posted by cows of industry at 11:55 AM on November 7, 2005


DO NONE OF YOU SEE THIS!!!!!!!!

I am stunned at the complete lack of understanding by some of the people on this post!

ID=Refuted by Vatican. Vatican inside the nation of Italy. Italy...creator of Pasta and Meatballs.....Yes! Thats right people do I have to refer to its noodleness directly.

(Oh and for you blasphemers who say the the NA is sooo last months Boing Boing..well they said that about Paris Hilton too..and now look..huh!)
posted by Mr Bluesky at 11:55 AM on November 7, 2005


also, the same priest explained that the parable of the loaves & fishes was not about making fish out of thin air, but about encouraging people to share. "The Lord is not some two-bit magician, child!"
posted by scody at 11:56 AM on November 7, 2005


According to a CBS News poll last month, 51 percent of Americans reject the theory of evolution, saying that God created humans in their present form. And reflecting a longstanding sentiment, 38 percent of Americans believe that creationism should be taught instead of evolution, according to an August poll by the Pew Research Center in Washington.

Meanwhile, only 30% of Americans have at least a bachelor's degree.
posted by The Jesse Helms at 11:59 AM on November 7, 2005


I'd just like to point out that this may soon lead to areas where the Catholic HS science classes teach evolution only and the public HS has to split time between Creationism/ID and evolution.

Well, I got better sex-ed at Catholic school than the public school kids did, and that was way back in the early nineties. Anyway, I'm not Catholic anymore and there are plenty of reasons to dislike Catholicism, but Catholics and crazy evangelical Protestants aren't really anywhere near the same. For instance, at Catholic school we learned that the Bible is a metaphor; you can tell because of where it says things that aren't true. So, uh, learn the difference.
posted by dame at 11:59 AM on November 7, 2005


I'd just like to point out that this may soon lead to areas where the Catholic HS science classes teach evolution only and the public HS has to split time between Creationism/ID and evolution.

Well, I got better sex-ed at Catholic school than the public school kids did, and that was way back in the early nineties. Anyway, I'm not Catholic anymore and there are plenty of reasons to dislike Catholicism, but Catholics and crazy evangelical Protestants aren't really anywhere near the same. For instance, at Catholic school we learned that the Bible is a metaphor; you can tell because of where it says things that aren't true. So, uh, learn the difference.
posted by dame at 11:59 AM on November 7, 2005


I'd just like to say I'm both surprised and happy by the comments in this thread, as it's the first time in a while I've seen a statement about the Catholic Church supporting science without a bunch of flabbergasted folks who had assumed that Catholicism and Fundamentalist Protestantism were pretty much the same.

The change in comments has been so sudden, though, that I'm wondering what you guys did with the Metafilter members that usually hang out on the blue. Y'all just left Soliloquy in here as a token, huh.
posted by Bugbread at 12:04 PM on November 7, 2005


Everyone digs doublepostdame.
posted by Smart Dalek at 12:05 PM on November 7, 2005


Freaking awesome.
Alienated from the scientific community and the pope. Nutjobs.
posted by Busithoth at 12:06 PM on November 7, 2005


So does this mean Dawkings can find God and Paul Davies sleep a bit easier? I kid, I kid.

It is interesting to see that science is the line drawn in the sand drawn between Christian fundamentalism and the Roman Catholic Church. Galileo would be in shock.
posted by furtive at 12:08 PM on November 7, 2005


Wanted: one poofreader.
posted by furtive at 12:10 PM on November 7, 2005


The Jesse Helms:
Catholics are Satanic, my friend.

I had not seen that before. Amazing, really. Another inquisition is coming and it sounds bloody.
posted by dougny at 12:10 PM on November 7, 2005


Don't worry Delmoi, you can join my special club of bad spellers. You can be my newist member.
Let's not get too crazy about what the catholics may or may not be doing. They have been practicing magik for centuries, they just don't know it.
posted by Viomeda at 12:14 PM on November 7, 2005


Was Jack Chick raped by nuns when he was a boy? What the fuck is that guy's problem?
posted by psmealey at 12:23 PM on November 7, 2005


I don't think it was a misspelling, more the awkward "mutual prejudice" between science and evolution line.

Ah, that would be a mistake. heh. Should be "science and religion" of course.
posted by delmoi at 12:31 PM on November 7, 2005


I bet even the Vatican can't convince the believers that Intelligent Design is utter bullshit.
posted by Harry at 12:34 PM on November 7, 2005


'We know where scientific reason can end up by itself: the atomic bomb and the possibility of cloning human beings are fruit of a reason that wants to free itself from every ethical or religious link," he said. 'But we also know the dangers of a religion that severs its links with reason, and becomes prey to fundamentalism," he said.


Can I have an amen, brother!
posted by LarryC at 12:35 PM on November 7, 2005



Don't worry Delmoi, you can join my special club of bad spellers. You can be my newist member.


Asoem!
posted by delmoi at 12:38 PM on November 7, 2005


I bet even the Vatican can't convince the believers that Intelligent Design is utter bullshit.
posted by Harry at 3:34 PM EST on November 7 [!]


Well, given that fundamentalists don't recognize the authority of the Vatican, why would they? I mean, I'm not hot on the fundies, but that's like saying, "I'll bet that Hindus would still believe in reincarnation even if a Budhist priest told them it was a myth".
posted by unreason at 12:46 PM on November 7, 2005


I'm guessing that Harry said that under the impression that a sizeable number of Catholics believe in ID. In my experience, that isn't the case, and the kinds of folks who believe in ID are the kinds of folks who would quit Catholicism and join a fundamentalist Protestant congregation, not remain Catholic and yet creationist.
posted by Bugbread at 12:50 PM on November 7, 2005


Now where did I put my "summon bevets" card...
posted by ObscureReferenceMan at 1:05 PM on November 7, 2005


I hope Camerlengo Carlo Ventresca doesn't find out about this...
posted by hypersloth at 1:12 PM on November 7, 2005


Maybe he misspelled "inelegant".

Vatican Rejects Inelegant design.
-agropyron

No doubt inelegant design would provide a better explanation of the scrotum.
-srboisvert



This is why I read metafilter. Cheers!
posted by mikeweeney at 1:16 PM on November 7, 2005


“With this new statement from the Pontifical Council for Culture, it sounds like we can put those worries to rest,” he wrote. “Good. The religious and secular worlds will both be better off.” said John Rennie, editor in chief at Scientific American in his blog

Well yes Vatican backing, even if only maybe temporary, is a good thing to have in a religious diatribe.

But I'd rather not seek Vatican support to "win" a battle with ID supporting people, as Vatican support isn't something one doesn't pay sooner or later. Maybe the first payment is already delivered in accepting the Vatican as a religious authority...mmhhh...watch out.

If needed, then I'd rather use it for purposes other then telling ID theorist "fuck you too" which is basically what Vatican did even if in a very elaborate way.

Hell I'm able to do that on my own.
posted by elpapacito at 1:24 PM on November 7, 2005


Glad to see it, but not surprising. The RC church has been for the most part pro-science, math, etc. (It taks a lot of engineering to build those huge cathedrals).
They just have large, nutty, disturbing, lapses.

At least we won’t have to wait for a few hundred years for an apology like with Galileo.



"No doubt inelegant design would provide a better explanation of the scrotum."
-srboisvert


*singing*
It’s wrinkled and smelly and covered with hair, but what would you do if it wasn’t there? Ohhh, scrotum! Scrotum. S-c-r-o-t-u-m
posted by Smedleyman at 1:31 PM on November 7, 2005


Somehow I'm not surprised. The world is full of very ostentatiously "Catholic" institutions of learning at which one can actually get a decent education, and the list of contributions to science by Catholic priests is long and illustrious. (Which is not to say it makes up for all those pesky inquistiions and proscription lists...)

I'm hard pressed to think of a single example of an avowedly "Protestant" institution of learning where you could get a good-quality eduction. Maybe someplace in europe -- probably run by Lutherans or Calvinists or something...
posted by lodurr at 1:36 PM on November 7, 2005


No doubt inelegant design would provide a better explanation of the scrotum.

Where do I mail your check, srboisvert?
posted by tkchrist at 1:44 PM on November 7, 2005


Well, color me underwhelmed. The key problem with many versions of ID is that it considers evolution necessary to explain some biodiversity, but not sufficient to explain other biodiversity. At some arbitrary points in evolutionary history, god decides to step in and work a miracle. While I see the affirmation that evolution is "more than just a hypothesis" is good, I still see some ambiguity there to put in the hand of god transforming Charlie the Australopithecine into Adam. This does blunt the wedge strategy a wee bit though.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 1:45 PM on November 7, 2005


Is it just me, or does that Jack Chick stuff y'all are linking look disturbingly like the work of Mike Grell?
posted by lodurr at 1:49 PM on November 7, 2005


but Catholics and crazy evangelical Protestants aren't really anywhere near the same

halleujah, sister.

again:

through an established, official Vatican policy (1994), backed by then-Cardinal Ratzinger, the Vatican rejects fundamentalism and literalism, considering them wrong and dangerous. quote:
The basic problem with fundamentalist interpretation of this kind is that, refusing to take into account the historical character of biblical revelation, it makes itself incapable of accepting the full truth of the incarnation itself. As regards relationships with God, fundamentalism seeks to escape any closeness of the divine and the human. It refuses to admit that the inspired word of God has been expressed in human language and that this word has been expressed, under divine inspiration, by human authors possessed of limited capacities and resources. For this reason, it tends to treat the biblical text as if it had been dictated word for word by the Spirit. It fails to recognize that the word of God has been formulated in language and expression conditioned by various periods. It pays no attention to the literary forms and to the human ways of thinking to be found in the biblical texts, many of which are the result of a process extending over long periods of time and bearing the mark of very diverse historical situations.

Fundamentalism also places undue stress upon the inerrancy of certain details in the biblical texts, especially in what concerns historical events or supposedly scientific truth. It often historicizes material which from the start never claimed to be historical. It considers historical everything that is reported or recounted with verbs in the past tense, failing to take the necessary account of the possibility of symbolic or figurative meaning.

Fundamentalism often shows a tendency to ignore or to deny the problems presented by the biblical text in its original Hebrew, Aramaic or Greek form. It is often narrowly bound to one fixed translation, whether old or present-day. By the same token it fails to take account of the "re-readings" () of certain texts which are found within the Bible itself.

In what concerns the Gospels, fundamentalism does not take into account the development of the Gospel tradition, but naively confuses the final stage of this tradition (what the evangelists have written) with the initial (the words and deeds of the historical Jesus). At the same time fundamentalism neglects an important fact: The way in which the first Christian communities themselves understood the impact produced by Jesus of Nazareth and his message. But it is precisely there that we find a witness to the apostolic origin of the Christian faith and its direct expression. Fundamentalism thus misrepresents the call voiced by the Gospel itself.

Fundamentalism likewise tends to adopt very narrow points of view. It accepts the literal reality of an ancient, out-of-date cosmology simply because it is found expressed in the Bible; this blocks any dialogue with a broader way of seeing the relationship between culture and faith. Its relying upon a non-critical reading of certain texts of the Bible serves to reinforce political ideas and social attitudes that are marked by prejudices—racism, for example—quite contrary to the Christian Gospel
.
posted by matteo at 1:54 PM on November 7, 2005


Most of the Ivy League Schools were founded as Protestant institutions, with a distinctly Christian purpose, though that has been much diluted over time.
posted by empath at 2:01 PM on November 7, 2005


The world is full of very ostentatiously "Catholic" institutions of learning at which one can actually get a decent education,

True enough, but it still leads to some weird moments. I went to a Jesuit college, and a gay playwrighting student put on a very frank play about AIDS, (which featured a full on gay kiss, the two straight drama students playing the parts did not look too comfortable). The school was cool with that, but made him remove the condoms from the ticketing table outside. I managed to snag a Magnum and a packet of lube before they were spirited away.
posted by jonmc at 2:26 PM on November 7, 2005


The Catholic church says Intelligent Design is crap, that'll convince the evangelicals!
posted by my sock puppet account at 3:16 PM on November 7, 2005


That said, the RCC still teaches exorcism classes... nothing scares a Roman Catholic like a demon from hell.
posted by linux at 3:20 PM on November 7, 2005


my sock puppet account : "The Catholic church says Intelligent Design is crap, that'll convince the evangelicals!"

The evangelical Catholics?

Because otherwise we're once again talking about how Billy Graham has been unsuccessful at convincing the Muslims, or the Dalai Lama at convincing the Zoroastrians.
posted by Bugbread at 3:52 PM on November 7, 2005


Hardly news, though. The previous pope, John Paul II said he had no problem with evolution.
posted by Cranberry at 4:21 PM on November 7, 2005


I keep wanting to refer to him as "Pope Ratzenberger."

The passage matteo quotes is a very interesting, very canny piece of theology. It reflects the way that religions actually function over long periods of time: By adapting, by changing as needed to address the needs of their constituents.

At the same time, it's intriguing to remember that the author is one of the more conservative voices in the modern Church.

The passage also reminds me of something that I once read from Dominic Crossan -- something like, "If a biblical literalist could convince me that Jesus literally walked on water, I would tell him, 'How nice for Jesus.'
posted by lodurr at 4:23 PM on November 7, 2005


There's a mutual prejudice between science and evolution?

According to many on mefi, yes indeedy.

As mentioned in numerous ways previously however, not according to me.

I forget who or in which thread, but someone astutely pointed out recently that most of what one sees on mefi is reaction to a very particular type of christianity: American, Southern, and Fundamentalist.
posted by scheptech at 4:48 PM on November 7, 2005


Pope John Paul II had a problem with elocution
but he never had a problem with evolution.
Evangelicals turned the story of creation
into a political struggle over education,
but the Vatican found a brighter solution:
they will claim the Bible is all fiction
-- except those all important portions
where setting up shop in Rome is mentioned.
posted by funambulist at 4:51 PM on November 7, 2005


bevets is slacking...
posted by brundlefly at 4:53 PM on November 7, 2005


I managed to snag a Magnum and
posted by jonmc

Oh you just had to go there, didn't you.
posted by mek at 5:27 PM on November 7, 2005


Sorry, mek, did I say something to make you feel ...small?
posted by jonmc at 6:20 PM on November 7, 2005


This is all quite good news. It's refreshing to hear a major religious institution say such level-headed, reasonable, well articulated things about contemporary issues, especially about such hot-button ones like evolution and fundimentalism.

Now if only we could get them to stop and think about their position on birth control...
posted by Jon-o at 6:35 PM on November 7, 2005


I still don't think they've sorted out the whole priests having sex with kids thing yet, at least not to my satisfaction. So I generally have a hard time listening to anything the Catholic church says.

However, it's good that they've got this in good shape, and are restating it very clearly to everyone else.
posted by zoogleplex at 6:46 PM on November 7, 2005


The previous pope, John Paul II said he had no problem with evolution

I had made this assertion in online debate somewhere and had my ass handed to me when the creationists trotted out his actual statement, which was parseable 6-ways from sunday.

This is from a recent poll:

No human evolution
White evangelicals: 70%
White mainline Protestant: 32%
White Catholics: 31%
Secular: 15%

Man evolved through natural selection
White evangelicals: 6%
White mainline Protestant: 31%
White Catholics: 28%
Secular: 56%
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 7:16 PM on November 7, 2005


Well, I got better sex-ed at Catholic school than the public school kids did, and that was way back in the early nineties.

I'm curious. Please explain.
posted by afroblanca at 7:24 PM on November 7, 2005


Heywood: How was JPII's statement parsed? He's not tooting the natural selection horn from the top of the mountain, but it's pretty clear that he didn't view evolution as contradictory with scripture...
posted by brundlefly at 8:22 PM on November 7, 2005


Well, I got better sex-ed at Catholic school than the public school kids did, and that was way back in the early nineties.

I'm curious. Please explain.
posted by afroblanca at 7:24 PM PST on November 7 [!]


it was a very "hands on" approach from the Priests...
posted by CCK at 8:31 PM on November 7, 2005


brundle: the pope's statement was issued in French, and there's an issue with "more than a hypothesis":

http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CA/CA660.html

From this line in the pope's speech:

"And, to tell the truth, rather than the theory of evolution, we should speak of several theories of evolution."

it can be argued by die-hard catholic IDers:

"Apart from the absence of clear proofs for the intermediary forms of human existence, can we really believe that such marvelous beings, particularly man himself, are products of mere chance?"

http://www.catholic.net/RCC/Periodicals/Inside/01-97/creation.html

So the Pope basically left the door open for ID.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 9:09 PM on November 7, 2005


Is it OK that I really don't believe in the FSM, but I find the stories about his noodly appendage caressing me in my sleep and times of need comforting? It just means I'm a pussy, huh...?
posted by Balisong at 10:02 PM on November 7, 2005


I've always been pleasantly surprised at just how rational many Catholics can be. One of the lead witnesses for the plaintiffs in the Dover ID trial was Kenneth Miller, biologist, textbook author, staunch defender of evolution -- and Catholic. Oh, and let's not forget our dear friend Stephen Colbert.
posted by greatgefilte at 10:30 PM on November 7, 2005


They're obviously learning a thing or two since the days when they'd answer any critical question with "you just have to have faith." Had they adopted this reasonable an approach when I was a kid, hell, I might have stayed in.

Close one.

It does give me grounding to appreciate just how nutty the fundies are, though.
posted by dreamsign at 10:54 PM on November 7, 2005


Heywood Mogroot, you may want to look at how the question was posed. I've been reading too much about Americans and their issues with evolution, and there's a large amount of variation between polls [given that none of them . Some of it is due to phrasing. I'd assume from the percentages that the statistics you quote came from a poll that provided other options. What was the original question that you summarize as "man evolved through natural selection"? I ask in part because I know a fair number of Catholics who wouldn't necessarily be comfortable saying yes to a question implying that God had no role at all in the existence of mankind. That isn't to say that they don't believe in evolution - they may believe something along the lines of "God created life by designing the universe so that life and evolution would be possible." I'd call that a pretty fundamentally pro-science view, but if you ask your questions in a certain way, it's easy enough to exclude them from the ranks of "people who believe man evolved through natural selection."
posted by ubersturm at 11:01 PM on November 7, 2005


"No doubt inelegant design would provide a better explanation of the scrotum."

The scrotum is pretty good at what it's for. If you don't like the look of it, maybe you just aren't fully appreciating its functionality.

Balls, of course, have to be extended and retracted to maintain the right temperature for sperm development. A rigid construction for extending and retracting the balls for cooling (as opposed to the saggy bag model) might be prettier (some kind of sleek aerodynamic design? or balls at the ends of stalks like snail eyes?) but it would be harder to develop and would be more prone to getting in the way and being damaged, broken, maybe snapped right off, while the bag model just tightens and loosens and bounces around as needed (mainly to react to temperature but also to protect the contents when scary stuff is happening). Sure, it is very sensitive to pain (it has to be), but it is also a big pleasure center.

All hail the noble scrotum!

[It is missing one thing, however: the scrotum should be able to inflate, maybe as part of a mating ritual. Inflate and turn bright red. That would be cool.]
posted by pracowity at 1:03 AM on November 8, 2005


Catholicism has been fighting science for a very very long time. They long ago learned that there is plenty of room, to exploit people's hopes and fears for memetic propogation, power, and profit, lying outside the ares where science has worked things out fully. Who knows, this type of announcement might help them convert more of the Muslems living inside France and Germany. Or at least it'll help keep the French from nationalizing any more of the Church's holdings. :)
posted by jeffburdges at 2:00 AM on November 8, 2005


pracowity : the scrotum should be able to inflate, maybe as part of a mating ritual. Inflate and turn bright red.

Yours doesn't - hmmm?
posted by dprs75 at 3:25 AM on November 8, 2005


So the Pope basically left the door open for ID.

No Heywood, he left the door open for a monotheistic religion. Duh!

Of course such a religion will hold to the belief in a divine creator. That still doesn't equal "creationism" as in fundamentalist literal reading of the biblical account of creation, which in Catholicism is a metaphor, and it doesn't equal denial of evolution, which is reconciled with the Catholic theology because that theology is not an attempt to claim scientific truths about the origins of the universe and mankind. It's in the realm of the trascendental, it doesn't even try to make sense in scientific terms.

Look beyond the US, at the predominantly Catholic countries who have more Catholic schools, in Europe, Latin America, Asia... Creationism is practically unknown there. There is no battle over the curriculum and biology classes. That's because creationism is essentially a US phenomenon. The statements made in the articles delmoi linked are a response to that context. It's nothing new outside it.

Here's an interesting read on the topic in relation to Mexico, the approach is rather representative of other Catholic countries too:
In yet another sign that Mexico's educators and students embrace Darwinism, my associates and I are often invited to speak in public and private schools, including those run by Catholic nuns and priests, to talk about the origin and evolution of life. The list of venues includes a conference at the oldest Mexican Catholic seminary. Many of the students and professors at the seminary may have seen evolution as the unfolding of a divine plan, but they also saw no doctrinal conflict between their own personal faith and Darwin's scientific ideas. They even found hilarious the idea of teaching creationism based on biblical literalism.

As shown by the opinion article published on 7 July 2005 in the New York Times by Christoph Cardinal Schönborn, not all members of the Catholic hierarchy feel comfortable with the premises and results of evolutionary theory. It is equally true that some Church thinkers and theologians have tried to criticize the philosophical tenets of evolutionary theory, but most tend to accept the results of experimental research and the general evolutionary framework, while maintaining a spiritualist stand. This attitude, which has been prevalent among Vatican theologians especially since the times of Pope Pius XII in the middle of the last century, owes much to the intellectual sophistication of orders like the Jesuits and the Dominicans.

In his famous 1996 address to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, the late Pope John Paul II acknowledged that the theory of evolution is not a mere hypothesis, while also reiterating the supernatural origin of the human soul. By shifting emphasis from creation per se, to the origin of the soul, Pope John Paul II found a relatively safe common ground to stand on, since scientists are entirely unable to prove (or have no interest in proving) the existence or nonexistence of the soul. In spite of such subtleties, most Mexican Catholics clearly do not view the premises and developments of evolutionary theory as a battleground or as major theological risk. Stealing the spotlight for the moment for Mexican Catholics and other Christians are ethical controversies associated with new and emerging biotechnologies, especially those based on stem cells, fertility research, and genetic manipulation
posted by funambulist at 5:33 AM on November 8, 2005


Me: Well, I got better sex-ed at Catholic school than the public school kids did, and that was way back in the early nineties.

Afroblanca: I'm curious. Please explain.

Uh, what? We got better sex ed. The public schools were influenced by the giant evangelical population and mostly got abstinence and lies about STDs. We got: "You shouldn't really have sex. But if you do . . ." Then again, we also debated things like abortion and euthanasia in religion class. It was a pretty liberal school.
posted by dame at 6:50 AM on November 8, 2005


Sure, it is very sensitive to pain (it has to be), but it is also a big pleasure center.

Not big enough to make up for the pain!

But getting back to intelligent design, only a complete fucking idiot (or possibly a woman) would make sperm and its manufacturing gear so temperature sensitive that it would require an extremely vulnerable external contractible sack to carry it. Having been "squared" far too many times in various sports I have first testicle experience of just how ridiculous the design is. Surely a good designer could have found a better way to satisfy the constraints without leaving men with such an easy to push game over button.

As for evangelicals listening the RC chiefs, why should then when Roman Catholics don't?
posted by srboisvert at 8:11 AM on November 8, 2005


funambulist:

No Heywood, he left the door open for a monotheistic religion.

IMV it is still possible for some Catholics to reject any part of the neodarwin synthesis they wish, just like IDiots do.

Creationism+Darwinism = Deism, and so far I'm not seeing many deists running around.

Creationism is practically unknown there.

I agree that YEC is a US thing (someone call the CDC), but ID is still a flavor of creationism. They just don't toss out/distort as much evidence as eg. YEC.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 10:27 AM on November 8, 2005


I'm tending to agree that this leans toward non-issue because the Catholics I know think ID is a bunch of bollocks anyway. I've always viewed ID as a crazy fundy protestant sort of thing and if anything the cardinal's announcement is just trying to re-assert "hey hey hey, don't confuse us with them, kthanx".

As a side note, I went to Catholic school for 9 years and they also held math and science in rather high regard, as well as having pretty frank and open discussions during sex-ed. And I never saw an issue with having all that along with religion classes and mass once a week.
posted by like_neon at 1:36 PM on November 8, 2005


Creationism+Darwinism = Deism

Um.... what?

AFAICS, Creationism+Darwinism = a very confused ideology. Certainly not deism, though.
posted by lodurr at 8:29 AM on November 9, 2005


.... also, fwiw, i see deist people all over the place. But they don't know that they're deists...
posted by lodurr at 8:33 AM on November 9, 2005


Heywood, I'm not sure what you mean either, especially about that deism thing...

IMV it is still possible for some Catholics to reject any part of the neodarwin synthesis they wish, just like IDiots do.

Well yeah, it is also possible for some Catholics, just like for anyone, to believe in fairies, and leprechauns, and aliens. But unlike evangelical protestants, Catholicism has one central authority on matters of belief and none of those beliefs are endorsed or pushed by it, so... it's completely different from the context where ID and creationism developed (they're same thing, I'm not making a distinction because I don't see any). It's not just a question of numbers.
posted by funambulist at 9:27 AM on November 9, 2005


I also see deists all over the place.
posted by Bugbread at 4:13 PM on November 9, 2005


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