Scientist exposes Evolution for the hoax that it is!
And God said: Let the earth bring forth the living creature in its kind, cattle and creeping things, and beasts of the earth, according to their kinds. And it was so done. Genesis 1:24
In the beginning, God created heaven, and earth. Genesis 1:1
And the Lord God formed man of the slime of the earth: and breathed into his face the breath of life, and man became a living soul. Genesis 2:7
EVOLUTION AND THE IMPORTANCE OF THE ORIGINS DEBATE
By Gerard J. Keane
To our great Creator and Saviour, without whom nothing is possible. To my dear wife and children, who had to endure all the inconvenience, but nevertheless helped me to get through the work. To all those individuals who kindly provided so many incisive comments during the development of the manuscript. I am grateful for all the help given to me; the book could not have been brought together without the insights and wisdom provided by others. Scripture quotations are taken from the Douay-Rheims Bible, published by TAN Books and Publishers, Inc., Rockford, Illinois. Paragraph numbers of the English edition of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (1992) are given in parentheses as follows: (400).
Introduction . . xxi
PART I THE BASIC QUESTION
1. The Basic Question 3
2. Evolution Theories . 12
3. Evolutionism . 39
4. The Concept of Special Creation . . 45
PART II THE DISCOVERIES OF SCIENCE
5. The Discoveries of Science . . . 97
6. The Fossil Record . . 99
7. Genetics . 118
8. Entropy . 130
9. How Old Is the Universe? 136
10. Pointers to the Creator . . 166
PART III CHRISTIAN INSIGHTS
11. Christian Insights . . 173
12. Problems in Theistic Evolution 175
13. The Position within Catholicism . . . 185
14. The Inerrancy of Scripture . . . 207
15. The Question of Age 241
16. Problems in Progressive Creation . . 270
PART IV THE INFLUENCE OF EVOLUTION ON BELIEF SYSTEMS
17. The Influence of Evolution on Belief Systems 281
18. Nazism and Communism 283
19. Humanism . . . 288
20. Christianity . . . 296
PART V THE SEARCH FOR MEANING IN LIFE
21. The Search for Meaning in Life . . . 321
22. Religion and Meaning . . 323
23. The Problem of Evil 333
24. Existentialism . 341
25. Creation Rediscovered . . 354
Appendix A: Pontifical Biblical Commission on Genesis . . . 363
Appendix B: ModernismA Snapshot . 367
Bibliography . 371
Index . . 381
By Professor Maciej Giertych
Sometime in 1955, when I was taking Honor Moderations in Science (Botany, Chemistry and Geology) at Oxford University, the O. U. Biology Club announced a lecture against the theory of Evolution. The largest auditorium in the Biology Labs was filled to capacity. When the speaker was introduced (I regret I do not remember his name), it turned out he was an octogenarian with a Ph.D. in biology from Cambridge, obtained in the 19th century. He spoke fervently against the theory of Evolution, defending what was for us an obviously indefensible position. He did not convince anybody with his antique arguments; he did not understand the questions that were fired at him; he rejected science as we knew it. We all had a good laugh hearing this dinosaur. He fought for his convictions against a sophisticated scientific environment, deaf to any opinions inspired by religious beliefs. Today his views are being vindicated by new evidence from natural sciences. May his soul rest in peace.
In 1955, like all in my generation, I was fully convinced that Evolution was an established biological fact. The evidence was primarily paleontological. We were taught how to identify geological strata with the help of fossils, specific for a given epoch. The rocks were dated by the fossils, the fossils by the strata. A lecturer in stratigraphy, when asked during a field trip how the strata were dated, explained that we know the rate of current sedimentation, the depths of strata and thus the age of rocks. In any case, there are new isotopic techniques that confirm all this. This sounded very scientific and convincing.
In my studies I went on to a B.A. and M.A. in forestry, a Ph.D. in plant physiology and finally a D.Sc. in genetics. For a long time I was not bothered by geology, Evolution or any suspicious thoughts. I had my own field of research in population genetics of forest trees, with no immediate relevance to the controversy over Evolution. Gradually, as my children got to the stage of learning biology in school and discussing their problems with Dad, I realized that the evidence for Evolution had shifted from paleontology and embryology to population genetics. But population genetics is my subject! I knew it was used to explain how Evolution progressed, but I was not aware it is used to prove it. Without my noticing it, my special field had become the supplier of the most pertinent evidence supporting the theory.
If Evolution were proved in some field I was not familiar with, I understood the need to accommodate my field to this fact, to suggest explanations how it occurred in terms of genetics. But to claim that these attempted explanations are the primary evidence for the theory was quite unacceptable to me. I started reading the current literature on the topic of Evolution. Until then I was not aware how shaky the evidence for Evolution was, how much of what was evidence had to be discarded, how little new evidence had been accumulated over the years, and how very much ideas dominate facts. These ideas have become dogma, yet they have no footing in natural sciences. They stem from materialistic philosophies.
My primary objection as a geneticist was to the claim that the formation of races, or microevolution, as it is often referred to, is a small scale example of macroevolutionthe origin of species. Race formation is, of course, very well documented. All it requires is isolation of a part of a population. After a few generations, due to natural selection and genetic drift, the isolated population will irreversibly lose some genes, and thus, as long as the isolation continues, in some features it will be different from the population it arose from. In fact, we do this ourselves all the time when breeding, substituting natural with artificial selection and creating artificial barriers to generative mixing outside the domesticated conditions.
The important thing to remember here is that a race is genetically impoverished relative to the whole population. It has fewer alleles (forms of genes). Some of them are arranged into special, interesting, rare combinations. This is particularly achieved by guided recombination of selected forms in breeding work. But these selected forms are less variable (less polymorphic). Thus what is referred to as micro-evolution represents natural or artificial reduction of the gene pool. You will not get Evolution that way. Evolution means construction of new genes. It means increase in the amount of genetic information, and not reduction of it.
The evolutionary value of new races or selected forms should be demonstrable by natural selection. However, if allowed to mix with the general breeding population, new races will disappear. The genes in select combinations will disperse again; the domesticated forms will go wild. Thus there is no evidence for Evolution here.
Mutations figure prominently in the Evolution story. When in the early 60s I was starting breeding work on forest trees, everyone was very excited about the potential of artificial mutations. In many places around the world, special cobalt bomb centers were established to stimulate rates of mutations. What wonderful things were expected from increased variability by induced mutations. All of this work has long since been abandoned. It led nowhere. All that was obtained were deformed freaks, absolutely useless in forestry.
Maybe occasionally some oddity could be of ornamental value, but never able to live on its own in natural conditions. A glance through literature on mutations outside forestry quickly convinced me that the pattern is similar everywhere. Mutations are either neutral or detrimental. Positive ones, if they do occur, are too rare to be noticeable. Stability in nature is the rule. We have no proofs for Evolution from mutation research.
It is sometimes claimed that strains of diseases resistant to antibiotics, or weeds resistant to herbicides, are evidence for positive mutations. This is not so. Most of the time, the acquired resistance is due to genetic recombination and not due to mutations. Where mutations have been shown to be involved, their role depends on deforming part of the genetic code, which results in a deformed, usually less effective protein that is no longer suitable for attachment by the harmful chemical.
Herbicides are custom made for attachability to a vital protein specific for the weed species, and they kill the plant by depriving the protein of its function when attached to it. A mutation that cancels attachability to the herbicide and does not totally deprive the protein of its function is in this case beneficial, since it protects the functionality of the protein. However this is at a price, since in fact the change is somewhat detrimental to normal life processes. At best it is neutral. There are many ways in which living systems protect functionality. This is one of them. Others include healing or eliminating deformed parts or organisms. Natural selection belongs here. So does the immunological adaptation to an invader. Of course such protective adaptations do not create new species, new kinds, new organs or biological systems. They protect what already exists, usually at a cost. Defects accumulate along the way.
Within the genome of a species, that is, in the molecular structure of its DNA, we find many recurrent specific nucleotide sequences, known as repeats. Different ones occur in different species. If this variation (neutral as far as we know) arose from random mutations, it should be random. How then did the repeats come to be? If mutations are the answer, they could not have been random. In this context genetic drive is postulated, as distinct from genetic drift. But Who or what does the driving? The empirical science of genetics knows only random mutations.
Currently there are new suggestions that molecular genetics provides evidence for Evolution. Analyses of DNA sequences in various species should show similarities between related ones and big differences between systematically far-removed species. They do exactly that. Molecular genetics generally confirms the accuracy of taxonomy. But at the same time, it does not confirm postulated evolutionary sequences. There are no progressive changes, say from fishes to amphibians, to reptiles to mammals. Molecular genetics confirms systematics, not phylogeny; Linnaeus, not Darwin. No. Genetics has no proofs for Evolution. It has trouble explaining it. The closer one looks at the evidence for Evolution, the less one finds of substance. In fact, the theory keeps on postulating evidence and failing to find it, and moves on to other postulates (fossil missing links, natural selection of improved forms, positive mutations, molecular phylogenetic sequences, etc.). This is not science.
A whole age of scientific endeavor was wasted searching for a phantom. It is time we stopped and looked at the facts! Natural sciences failed to supply any evidence for Evolution. Christian philosophy tried to accommodate this unproved postulate of materialist philosophies. Much time and intellectual effort went in vain, leading only to negative moral consequences. It is time those working in the humanities were told the truth.
Gerard J. Keane is doing exactly that. In clear and simple language, he reviews the present status of the Evolution-Creation controversy. I am very happy to be able to recommend this book. Indeed, Creation Rediscovered by science comes to the rescue of Christianity. Professor Maciej Giertych, B.A., M.A. Oxon, Ph.D. Toronto, D.Sc. Poznan Polish Academy of Sciences, Institute of Dendrology, 62-035 Kornik, Poland
By Rev. Fr. Peter Damian Fehlner, S.T.D.
Why a theological introduction to a book about Evolution and Creation? Most people would instinctively reply: not because Evolution is a theological question, but because it is assumed to be a scientific question posing a threat to traditional belief in Creation, in a particular way to the doctrine of the unique dignity of Adam and Eve and their descendants, based on creation of the soul and special divine formation of the bodies of Adam and Eve, and therefore to belief in the existence of God and the very possibility of the Incarnation and Salvation as the ultimate goal to which Creation is ordered. Thus there arises a problem of apologetics: are evolutionary hypotheses about the origin of the world, of the differentiation of the species and of man in particular a threat to the traditional dogmatic theism of Catholic theology?
In modern times two ways of approaching this problem have become usual: one is to deny any valid basis for evolutionary theories of origin. The other is to admit as plausible some theories of evolution, those precisely which are not incompatible with Theism. Whence the term Theistic Evolution. In recent years this second approach has gained great popularity among Catholics, in particular among Catholic clergymen and religious. One can subscribe to all the articles of the Catholic creed, so the claim for Theistic Evolution runs, and not be pre-occupied with the final outcome of the scientific debate over the evolutionary hypothesis.
For if one day Evolution should be proved factual, the only evolutionary thesis so to be demonstrated scientifically will be theistic rather than atheistic in thrust. One even hears the (very strange) assertion that God created the world by means of Evolution! Hence, Atheistic Evolution stands condemned by the Church. But Theistic Evolution is not condemned, so it is further claimed, because the Church makes no judgment on the intrinsic merits of scientific hypotheses not contrary to faith and morals. And further, say its supporters, Evolution understood theistically uniquely underscores the prerequisite purpose and intelligence in the world which demonstrates the existence of God.
Now Mr. Gerard Keanes study: Creation Rediscovered, thoroughly revised and expanded, shows that no evolutionary hypothesis has been conclusively demonstrated as factual. Far from it: scientific theorizing about Origins tends more to favor the creationist version than the evolutionist one. But there is one other, often overlooked point about such scientific theorizing about the origins of the world and of the species, very telling for the future direction the discussion of Origins will take. The point is this: These scientific theories of origins cannot be verified or falsified definitively on scientific grounds.
What is the significance of this point? An hypothesis incapable of scientific demonstration, of being verified as true or false, is not, strictly speaking, a scientific hypothesis. It may be true, but the truth or falsity of the theory must be decided on grounds and with methods of reflection proper to other branches of learning: those dealing with the theological, above all dogmatic theology, if the hypothesis is primarily theological. For the question of Originsof the world and of manis not a question of science, but of theology (including sound metaphysics). Sound science recognizes its limits, even in regard to the sensible. Empirical science does not, because it cannot, tell us all that might be known about the material world. Wherever there is a question of the supernatural, of the miraculous, there it is beyond the limits of empirical science to tell us about material reality and what are the principles of its operation.
For example: Creation as a distinctively divine mode of producing; the virginal Motherhood of Mary as a true, but higher mode of begetting; Transubstantiation of bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ; the glorified state of the risen human body. In a word, empirical science has as its object the study of the natural operations of creatures, not the creative or miraculous operations of God, which these processes either presuppose for their existence and operation or which transcend these operations. Dispassionately viewed, the current debate shows that neither the origin of the world in general nor of man in particular is primarily a question of empirical science. It is being decided, one way or the other, on theological-historical premises. Hence the prior truth of such premises is crucial to the entire debate. This is because both origins primarily involve creative and/or miraculous actions possible only to the Creator. It is not rightindeed, it is tragically wrongto conceive of the origin of the world and of man as a scientific experiment and so something to be known per se primo scientifically. Rather, the origin of the Universe, the origin of Adam and Eve, and the origin of every human person at conception is a wonderful, miraculous, historic event, carefully planned and stupendously executed by the Creator (and in the case of Adams children, with the procreator parents).
Now the term Evolution is commonly employed to designate certain explanations of the question of Origins on scientific grounds. Such an approach, because it attempts to explain scientifically the theological and miraculous, inevitably leads to conflict with traditional belief, leaving only the options of rejecting Evolution as false or of reinterpreting fundamental points of dogma so as to introduce a radically new system of belief.
More closely examined, the initial impression that Evolution Theory in some form might be supportive of traditional Christian teleology is revealed as misleading. For Evolution as the explanation of Origins prioritizes change as the basis of existence; whereas genuine teleology prioritizes the unchanging. Before any process can be posited, either as the principle or instrumental cause of existence, there stands the necessary being of the Creator, and those unique acts of production known as Creation and as miracle, which do not fall within the scope of science to explain.
This being so, it will be helpful, while pondering Mr. Keanes study, to keep in mind some basic truths of Catholic doctrine about Origins drawn from dogmatic theology and Christian metaphysics, prior to and transcending empirical science of any kind. Far from being an obstacle to progress, these truths or dogmas will assist immeasurably to appreciate the real contribution of empirical science to understanding the truth about our origins. Sound metaphysics, viz., Christian metaphysics, to employ the term of St. Bonaventure, tells us that something cannot come from nothing except by a creative act; and that the more perfect can only come from the less if the Creator acts miraculously to form the higher species as He formed the body of Adam from the slime of the earth. No natural processread Evolutioncan explain this because it cannot do what it necessarily presupposes to exist and act: Creation. That is why the origin of man is an historical event, not a term appearing at the end of an evolutionary process.
Traditional Catholic theology tells us that the Universe, visible and invisible, was created out of nothing by the triune God and subsequently structured and adorned in the work of six days, culminating in the formation of Adams body directly from inorganic matter and the body of Eve directly from the unique body of Adam. All this: the creation of the world, the differentiation of the species and the ordering of the Universe within limits and for ends set by the Creator (not determined and progressively broadened by the operation of the creature) was principally the work of the Creator alone. Only after the Creator rested from this specific kind of action can the world be said to have begun to function on its own, under the direction of men and angels, and so, in respect to its visible operations, to be the object of empirical science.
The great Fathers, East and West, the scholastics like St. Bonaventure and St. Thomas, are unanimous in their literal, not mythical, interpretation of the first chapters of Genesis on the origin of the world and of our first parents, in the sense just stated. For only thus can the uniqueness and dignity of human nature, in the body as well as in the soul, be securely demonstrated. Some say the teaching of these Doctors in this regard has no more value than their teaching on questions scientific: that of an antiquated opinion. Such persons are mistaken. The question of Origins is not a scientific, but a theological question, uniquely so, for it involves a question of what God did freely and what only He could do when there were no witnesses. Hence, the importance of divine testimony in Revelation, attested by the Fathers, on this point.
There is only one reason for dissenting: the possibility that science might one day demonstrate an evolutionary theory of human origins to be factual in reference to the bodies (not souls) of Adam and Eve. But of this there is no reasonable expectation. Mr. Keanes study illustrates scientifically that reasonableness. The same thing, however, can easily be done theologically, in a manner accessible to any well-instructed believer to whom it might seem the Creator could plausibly have formed Adams body in any number of ways.
What should convince him that the narrative describing the actual formation of Adams body should be taken literally? That not only were the souls of Adam and of Eve created, but that the body of Adam from the slime of the earth and the body of Eve from the side of Adam were formed miraculously by the Creator? That they were not the term of a natural, evolutionary process? Why is it that human nature is beyond the effective limits of merely material agents? It is this: The transcendent character of the human body in respect to any other living body, even the most sophisticated! That body, informed as no other by a soul capable of knowing and loving the Creator, is animated spiritually. To be so animated requires a prior formation, something quite beyond the limits of any natural processread Evolutionto produce.
The transcendent character of the human body, the image of God as no other material being, is directly proportionate to its miraculous origin. It is not the term of a natural or evolutionary process, but of a miraculous action from on high, in which the Creator is the principal agent. This is why God formed (not created out of nothing) the body of the first man from the virgin earth (as the Fathers unanimously understand slime of the earth), or inorganic matter, and why the Creator formed the body of the first woman miraculously from the body of the first man, so that there might be no misunderstanding of the different causalities entailed in forming a species, above all the human species, and its subsequent operation within its natural limits. No human body can exist except by way of descent (generation, procreation) from the first man through the first woman. Man alone procreates; animals only breed. Human intercourse is not merely biological. It is primarily a moral action. That is why fidelity is the essential component of the marriage bond, and why every aspect of marriage is affected by the presence or absence of this virtue.
To this consideration a second of the Fathers of the Church must be added. The miraculous formation of the body of the first Adam from the virgin earth is a type of the even more miraculous formation of the body of the second Adam, Christ, from the Virgin Mother, viz., through a virginal conception and virginal birth. In a word: type and anti-type, figure and reality, prophecy and fulfillment are of the same orderhistorical and miraculous. Denial by many scholars of the historicity of Genesis has ushered in a widespread form of closed Origins mindset, which is now largely self-perpetuating among Christians: question the truth of the Genesis account as the accurate description of a miracle, and one will be disposed (despite himself) to question the historicity of the miracle of the Virgin-birth, and with that the truth of the Incarnation as an historical rather than merely symbolic statement.
Similarly, deny the historicity of the Virgin-birth and one will be predisposed (despite himself) to relegate the narrative of Genesis to the status of myth about Origins in justification. The tendency of all scientific formulations of evolutionary theory for human origins to affirm some form of polygenism for the sake of scientific plausibility confirms this. So, too, in regard to the end of human life, evolutionary theory tends to affirm the mere naturalness of human death, thus fudging and indeed erasing the essential, unbridgeable difference between vestige and image of God, between mere animal and human person, between a duration that is mere succession of moments and a duration entailing eternity, between nature and grace and between human nature before and after the Fall.
These confusions and errors, in particular the denial of the numerical individuality of Adam and Eve, entails the denial of the universal need of redemption by a single Redeemer in a single Church, the new Eve, taken from the side of the New Adam in the sleep of death on the Cross. According to Pope Paul VI, a theory of Evolution is only plausible for a believer to the degree it does not contradict what his faith tells him is simply true, without qualification. Since the uniqueness and individuality of the first Adam are among such truths, and since the inner logic of evolutionary theorizing tends to contradict these, it is difficult to see how such speculation can be reconciled with faith.
With this we see that the question of Evolution is not merely, or primarily, of apologetic interest to believers. Evolution, as it is ordinarily taken to indicate a certain kind of scientific hypothesizing about Origins, is a doctrinal error parading in scientific guise. That is why, as Mr. Keane so ably shows, genuine science either tends to falsify theories of macroevolution, or simply declare that such theorizing is not properly the object of science. Does the term Theistic Evolution have a legitimate place in Christian discourse, or might it designate some insight of Christian reflection, other than being a generic synonym for change or progress? Perhaps it might, but in that case it will be necessary to define the term carefully and explain why it does not entail the radical revisions of doctrine and revealed history which nigh universal convention about this word entails. It is difficult to see, however, how in practice the devilish Hegelian substitution of becoming for being thereby deifying change and directly contradicting the immutability of God and eternity of truths as taught by James 1:17can be exorcised without abandoning the use of this phrase.
This means, therefore, that the phrase is misleading, possesses a built-in ambiguity and is two-faced. Theistic suggests faith in God, the Creator; Evolution suggests just the opposite. Thus, the phrase is a parte rei, apart from the good intentions of its users, misleading. It points to an understanding of the world in terms of progress, an ever upward, spiral-like unfolding of the inner potentiality of matter until it reaches man, and in the version of Teilhard de Chardin, Christ Himself.
What primarily and proximately energizes this process is from within the process itself, the existentialonly incidentally supported and perfected by divine intervention, an intervention defined and conditioned by the process, instead of the process being defined and limited by the prior act of creation and differentiation of essences. The classic, modern formulation of this view is the Hegelian. How different this strange view is from the traditional vision of a created Universe hierarchically structured by the Creator from without, in terms of His own eternal counsels. Each order (grade of being) of that Universe is the direct work of the Creator and by His foreordination subordinated to and recapitulated by the higher orders, each of which is a grace in respect to the lower, the highest being the Incarnate Saviour and His Mother, the immaculately conceived Virgin. Another word for this teleological action is mediation, and it is the only basis for a true, and so humane vision of Origins and existence.
It is no accident that so many prominent promoters of the evolutionary perspective as the basis for a total reconstruction of Christian thought and life are Marian minimalists, indisposed to a hierarchical, mediational vision of the Universe, tending always to collapse the higher orders of grace into a single, naturalistic level of existence. Nor is it a coincidence that many promoting Theistic Evolution in the Church are radically opposed to a dogmatic definition of the universal mediation of the Virgin Mother centering on her role as co-redemptrix with her Redeemer Son on Calvary and during the celebration of the Eucharist.
That role, traditionally defined, excludes in any form an evolutionary vision of the world and confirms the ancient approach of Christian metaphysics in terms of hierarchical, graded levels of being, understood primarily as essence, rather than as existence. This recalls the doctrine of St. Anselm, where First Essence, greater than which none can be conceived, necessarily includes existence, and gives existence to finite or contingent essence by creating and ordering grades of being, the lower to the higher, as much or as little as He wills. Parallelwise, that Saint and Doctor speaks of the purity of the Virgin Mother as greater than which none can be conceived. Only the pure of heart can see God, and the only purity in fact adequate for this is the Marian.
That is why, not Evolution, but the Virgins mediation brings us to the Saviour and salvation. In fact, historically, according to Bl. John Duns Scotus, He wills that His Son become Incarnate Saviour, and so the King and Master of all orders of being and their Redeemer by being born virginally of the Virgin, spouse of the Holy Spirit. Indeed, the Christ is the end of history, not via evolution, but via the grace of being predestined Incarnate Savior, born of the Virgin. Deny this ancient Christian approach to finite being: its origin and structure, and the entire Universe tends more and more to be seen as the product of Evolution. Admit that metaphysicssupported by the first article of the Creedand the illusion of Evolution disappears. It is most important that Catholics have available to them studies of Origins such as Gerard Keanes Creation Rediscovered, which is free of errors in faith and morals and advances sound Origins arguments on the premises of Catholic theology.
Rev. Fr. Peter Damian Fehlner, S.T.D.
Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate
Our Ladys Chapel
600 Pleasant St.
New Bedford, MA 02741-3003
Fr. Fehlner holds a doctorate in Sacred Theology from the Seraphicum in Rome (the Pontifical Theological Faculty of St. Bonaventure). He has taught dogmatic theology since 1959 and contributed to many journals in Europe and North America (Miscellanea Francescana, Wissenschaft und Weisheit, Città di Vita, Miles Immaculatae, Christ To The World, Theological Studies, Homiletic and Pastoral Review, The Cord, Franciscan Educational Conference) and was chief editor of Miles Immaculatae (1985-1989). His scholarly work on Origins, In The Beginning, was published in Christ To The World, Rome (1988).
Since the first edition of Creation Rediscovered was published in 1991, an extensive number of fascinating developments have arisen and so it is timely once again to survey the Origins1 debate for these reasons:
To present a Christian overview of matters relating to Origins
without attempting to address every aspect, and concentrating especially on
the situation within the Catholic Church.
To show that the concept of Special Creation is truly scientific and provides a better explanation of the data than evolution theories.
To demonstrate how belief in Evolution has had a marked effect upon the consciousness of mankind and upon Christian beliefs.
To draw attention to the need for clarification of various senses in Genesis by the teaching Magisterium of the Catholic Church.
While Catholicism is primarily addressed in this book, the book is not intended only for Catholics, for the Origins (For the purposes of this book the capitalized word, Origins, is used to designate the origins of life as we now know it for the sake of brevity and conciseness of meaning.) controversy is important to all those who consider themselves Christians. For Catholics generally, Origins has become something of a forgotten issue. Few see the need to study it fully, apparently because it is considered irrelevant. Not surprisingly, it seems clear that there is now much confusion concerning the doctrine of Original Sin. (Some information is presented here of what has been pronounced in papal encyclicals and in Catholic Tradition regarding Origins.) The controversy surrounding the Origins debate still remains all about beliefs and only secondarily about empirical science. For those who are concerned about the widespread, on-going collapse of religious practice among Catholics, which erupted openly in the 1960s, it is hoped that this book will contribute towards genuine restoration within the Catholic Church. (The writer is not a scientist or theologian, but a layman interested in conceptual problems affecting doctrinal beliefs.)
A strong case can be made that something has been amiss, affecting beliefs within the Catholic Church, since the early 19th century. The rise of pluralist democracies effectively brought an erosion of belief in Christianity. Many came to believe that promotion of Catholic doctrine in society, amidst a multitude of competing beliefs, was an undemocratic and unfair imposition of ones views upon others. But something also went astray within the Catholic Church concerning the comprehension and dissemination of matters relating to Origins.
A clear picture of the Origins controversy has taken about 200 years gradually to emerge. For example, the discovery of multitudes of fossils took many years to uncover, and information gained via molecular biology has only come to light in the last few decades. In many respects, therefore, the Origins debate is still very new, and its relevance to the crisis within Catholicism still is not widely understood. The devastating collapse of faith within the Catholic Church since the 1960s was no doubt influenced by many factors, but in the opinion of the writer, the collapse is not fully explicable unless seen in the historical context of the last 500 years. Nor is the seeming enigma of many conservatives who, by not accepting that Genesis is primarily historical, may now be functioning as unwitting carriers of Modernism while yet being strongly opposed to its overall cancerous effects. (See Appendix B for a brief summary of Modernism.) The historical factors involved can be briefly described in various stages and aspects:
The transformation within Humanism by the late 15th century, and its manifestation in the Renaissance era, helped establish the now common idea that man is no mere creature of God, but rather is an unfinished being capable of creating himself apart from God.
The advent of heliocentrism in the 16th century set in train a certain revolution about mans place in the cosmos which helped give rise to philosophical Idealism: I think, therefore I am became a benchmark for separating subjective inner beliefs from objective reality outside of mans mind, following the speculations of René Descartes (1596-1650) and later of Immanuel Kant (1724-1804).
The late 18th century humanist Enlightenment sought to place man before God in the conduct of society. Liberal democracies would be governed primarily by the collective wishes of the people (or, more realistically, by whichever group could wield dominant power within the system at any point in time). The Kingship of Christ would not be deferred to when framing laws.
The early 19th century assumptions of uniformitarianism brought doubts upon the idea of rapid catastrophism, thus making the Genesis account of Creation days and of the Flood of Noah seem unbelievable and in need of revision.
The mid-19th century impact of rationalist Higher Criticism, emanating from liberal German Protestants, influenced by belief in uniformitarianism and Evolution, radically challenged the literalas-given understanding of the Genesis account of Creation.
The mid-19th century rise of Darwinism appeared to give a plausible evolutionary explanation of the descent of species by natural processes. Many assumed that it also provided an explanation for the origin of life, on the false ground that God was not required.
The late 19th century rise of Modernism, influenced by all the above aspects, constituted a form of religion which by definition is completely opposed to, and tries to supplant, the Christian religion as taught by Christ and handed down for 2,000 years. Almost 100 years after Pope St. Pius X (1903-1914) moved to condemn Modernism, its revisionist impact has undergone a virile rebirth within the Catholic Church since Vatican Council II.
A revolution in consciousness occurred in the Church as a result of these influencing factors, challenging the very meaning of longheld religious beliefs and practices. In particular, the overturning of the Latin rite of Mass in 1969 had the unfortunate effect of much crucial Catholic culture being lost to many individuals, resulting in alienation from authentic Catholicism.
But the relevance of Origins does not affect only Christian beliefs the very cohesion of society is involved. If a higher, transcendent Authority is not recognized, society will continue to experience great strain:
If members of a civilized society considered themselves as the product of blind random chance mutations, they could hardly be expected to believe they were the special creation of God. It follows, quite logically, that they could not reasonably feel themselves subject to the commands of their Creator, if that creator was time, coupled with chemicals and natural selection. If nobody owns them, they are free to make their own rules. Without any absolute authority to guide their moral decisions, they are only constrained by a relative authority, that of the State, whose rules they influence by their vote. Those rules would usually be the result of consensus, and would reflect the wish of the majority. Without any Christian ethic to influence the State . . . laws against divorce, pornography, homosexuality, abortion and suicide would be expected to be removed from the statute book. To reduce pressure upon the health services, a limited movement towards euthanasia would take place. In fact, all the social and moral phenomena we see in society today would be expected.
The importance which individuals place upon Origins beliefs can thus impact greatly upon society. In many countries, abortion on demand is now the de facto reality, and the world is surely in desperate need of rediscovery of the authority of God. (One wonders how long the abortion holocaust can continue with impunity4,000 surgical abortions each day in the USA alone!) But Protestant Christianity is poorly placed to satisfy decisively the latent yearning for true spiritual values or to counter the humanist lifestyle. Divided into thousands of splinter groups, many of which now accept abortion, and beset by liberal theology which denies the divinity of Christ, the quest within their ranks for social justice often seems to predominate over beliefs about doctrine handed down from Christ.
In the Catholic Church, there has been a marked loss of the sense of the sacred, and Mass attendance continues to fall, with little prospect of significant improvement. Modernist forces largely control the Churchs institutions, and authentic doctrine tends to be poorly communicated. On the last page of The Desolate City, Anne Roche Muggeridge ends her disturbing book about the state of Catholicism with a plea:
Catholicism is dying. If the Church of Christ is to survive as a visible light to the world, there must be, there will be, a Catholic counter-revolution. In Gods good time. May it be soon.
The fact that evolutionary philosophy had an extremely bad impact upon Catholicism has been recognized by Cardinal Ratzinger, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Addressing members of the European Doctrinal Commissions held near Vienna in May, 1989, he asked where the difficulties lay which people have with the Faith today, and he went on to discuss the roots of the problems. He spoke of the almost complete disappearance of the doctrine of Creation and its replacement by a secularized philosophy of Evolution. The resultant decline also meant that the figure of Jesus Christ was reduced to a purely historical person. The Cardinal stressed his concern that a renewed Christianity could only be accomplished if the teaching on Creation is developed anewsuch an undertaking ought to be regarded as one of the most pressing tasks of theology today.
But what actually is Evolution? Because of widespread confusion about its true meaning, a definition of terms is important:
Evolution is a molecules-to-man natural transformation in which new, higher genetic information is gained which was not possessed by ones ancestors. However well or poorly grasped in detail, the idea of change to something vastly different (e.g., reptiles supposedly changing into birds) is the understanding now commonly held across society.
Natural Selection is not Evolution. New, higher genetic information is not gained, but instead tends to be lost; at best, Natural Selection only conserves existing genetic information in life forms.
Variety within kind is not Evolution. The wide variety found within each kind of creature or plant, due to reshuffling of genes (recombination), should not be confused with Evolution, because new, higher genetic information is not gained in the process giving rise to variety.
Change of an ecosystem is not Evolution. Changes of faunistic and floristic composition which occur either progressively (in succession) or after a catastrophe (e.g., a forest fire) do not involve evolutionary change.
Growth to maturity is not Evolution. The normal pattern of growth from conception to adult (e.g., seeds growing into mature plants or trees) involves an unfolding and change of shape and size, but new, higher genetic information is not gained in the process.
Theistic Evolution is not Evolution. Ironically, this concept is forced to abandon natural Evolution and resort instead to innumerable divine interventions. (It necessarily rejects the global Flood of Noah and holds that violent bloodshed and death were always part of the good Creation, irrespective of the sin of Adam.)
Prior to the pro-Creation stance of the 1992 Catechism of the Catholic Church (in which the word evolution was not specifically mentioned even once), the last major pronouncement made by the teaching Magisterium of the Catholic Church, affecting Origins, was in the encyclical Humani Generis, issued by Pope Pius XII in 1950. Since then, scientific research has gained many new insights as a result of an immense amount of new discoveries in many disciplinesincluding biochemistry, molecular biology, genetics, geology and astronomy. It is now known, with a high degree of certainty, that the Creators design of DNA will not allow natural Evolution to occur. The Catholic Church teaches that the rational souls of Adam and Eve were created by God in acts of special creation, but Pius XII (Humani Generis1950) taught that Adam and Eve were real human beings, the first parents from whom all of mankind have descended; they are not symbolic representations of mankind.
Most importantly, he did not ex cathedra declare Evolution as the official teaching of the Church. He did, however, allow discussion between specialists about the possible evolution of the body of Adam. The research has taken place, but full discussion within the Church has not yet occurred. What is there to fear from truth? It is time for views other than those of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and the Pontifical Biblical Commission to be heard.
The Catholic Church can never teach that Eves body evolved, nor tamper with the doctrine of Original Sin. And yet, despite the instructions of Pius XII to the contrary, Evolution is being presented, onesided, virtually as fact in many Catholic academic institutions. This censorship ensures that the vital doctrine of Original Sin is not imparted in all its rigor.
Since most textbooks and TV documentaries take for granted that Evolution definitely occurred, it is hardly surprising that many individuals accept Evolution without question. In reality, not only are the required intermediate forms between the various species absent from the fossil record, but also many such supposed forms are conceptually untenable. Evolution Theory now stands exposed as both the worst mistake made in science and the most enduring myth of modern times.
Though many still believe that Evolution has been proved, the arguments in support of it have been shown to be untenable. Evolution is portrayed as a fact to be believed rather than as hypotheses to be tested, but its crucial mechanism continues to be ever-elusive. Ironically, if Evolution cannot occur, there is no mechanism to find! (The notion of ongoing Creation, where parents are seen as co-partners with God in the creation of new human beings, is not at issue here. Nor are we trying to determine what God could have done. Rather, we seek to understand what He actually chose to do in implementing Creation. One profound reason why God would not use a method of naturalistic Evolution is that it could convey the mistaken idea that matter is eternal and thus there is no need for God.)
Evolution beliefs may have had little impact on the doctrinal beliefs of many people, but for many others belief in Evolution has led directly to a loss of Christian faith. If natural Evolution is accepted as historically true, this belief can lead to confusion about the Fall of mankind. There is now a widespread impression that the concept of Original Sin is only religious myth, devoid of genuine historical reality, which has been exposed by theologians. Without the Fall, the idea of redemption and a Saviour makes little sense, and ones faith is undermined. Contrary to the views of most naturalistic evolutionists, it is indeed fully scientific to deduce the existence of a transcendent Creator. But faith in the Creator-God is itself a mysterious gift from God, and so disbelief in Evolution will not necessarily result in conversion to Christianity. Nevertheless, a widespread recognition that Evolution is myth is important to achieve throughout secular society. In addition to this, however, is the fact that the secular humanist beliefs which dominate modern society cannot be effectively countered unless the basics of doctrine are once again proclaimed in schools and from pulpits. A clear grasp of Origins is of crucial importance to both the recovery of nerve and the very teachings to be imparted.
From a Christian perspective, should the Faith as handed down by the Apostles be retained, or should it be overturned to conform with the scientifically unsupportable evolutionary world-view? For the Catholic Church, there are two clearly incompatible alternatives at issue:
Evolution really did take place; the first books of the Old Testament contain errors and are only religious stories; Adam and Eve are symbolic terms for the many early evolving human beings; and Scripture is now open to radical revision, despite 2,000 years of consistently held beliefs handed down from Christ.
Evolution did not take place and was not part of the method chosen by God during His creation; the first books of the Old Testament contain a blending of both natural (i.e., true) history and religious truth, with no errors whatsoever; Adam and Eve were the first two human beings created by God, and interpretation of Scripture can never be open to radical revision.
Terms such as evolutionist and creationist are, of course, very simplified labels and their use can give rise to confusion. Like political labels, they are used out of convenience to categorize a range of personal views and general concepts broadly representative of a movement or a coalition of interests. As with political parties, individuals on all sides may differ substantially on a number of specific points while nevertheless sharing a broad overall position.
Evolutionists disagree substantially about the elusive yet-to-be-discovered mechanism of Evolution, but almost all of them agree on an age of billions of years for the Universe. On the other hand, those who believe in Special Creation agree that Evolution cannot occur, but they tend to disagree substantially about the age of the Universe. In the writers opinion, the question of the age of the Universe cannot be left aside as though it is irrelevant.
The assumption of long ages is crucial to the insupportable idea of Evolution, and the growth in popularity of presumed eons of time has helped validate Evolution in the thinking of those who have not made a careful study of this theory.
This assumption of vast amounts of time involves concepts which ultimately challenge the teachings of the Catholic Church on death and secondary causes.
These inconceivable time-frames have to be read into Scripture against the majority opinion in Tradition from Church Fathers that the sacred writer(s) of Genesis (including God as the principal author) intended to assert a literal-as-given meaning for yom creation days of 24 hours.
Belief in an age of billions of years is, more than any other reason, the major factor preventing the truth of Origins from being taught rigorously in many Catholic educational institutions. This ensures that Genesis 1-11 remains widely regarded as virtually unbelievable mythology, explicable only by revisionist exegesis.
The question of Age should not be regarded as unimportant, nor
should support for a young Universe be regarded as divisive. On
the contrary, since Pope Leo XIII formally directed that the literal and obvious
view must hold pride of place until rigorously disproved, those who support
an age of billions of years have the onus of proof upon them to prove their
case. Discussion of information on the question of Age is warranted
and desirable within Catholic institutions. (Evolution has long been presented
in the public arena as facteven though the crucial mechanism
of Evolution is missingand so has the
fact of a billions of years age for the Universe been presented as though beyond any credible doubt. Unchallenged acceptance of such facts has enabled some aspects of revisionist theology to appear credible to many in the Church.)
The Origins debate has often been portrayed wrongly as one between Christian fundamentalism and science à la the Scopes Monkey Trial. Some perhaps do so in an attempt to control the debate agenda. While atheists say that creationists arguments are based on superstition, liberal Christians say they are based upon a simplistic, overly literal view of Scripture. Nevertheless, many highly qualified scientists, Christians and non-Christians, have pointed out fundamental flaws in Evolution Theory.
For example, those who believe in naturalistic philosophy often try to frame the terms of debate by claiming in effect that only their views are scientific. Other views which recognize the existence of God, or simply deduce the existence of an unseen designer, are dismissed by them as religious in nature and thus unscientific by definition.
It is acknowledged by the writer that terms such as conservative and liberal are very imprecise and can be misleading and unfair, since a wide range of views tend to be grouped together under one label. However, in the interest of brevity the following definitions are used in this book: Conservatives are deemed to be those who hold that the meaning of Scripture cannot be radically revised, and Liberals are those who regard it as being open to radical revision.
The concept of Special Creation holds that the elements and all living things were made by a Creator, who also revealed in Genesis a partial accountnot a detailed scientific textbookof the events of Creation. In addition to faith in God, scientists in their respective disciplines can investigate the empirical data and deduce that an intelligent Designer must have created the Universe. Belief in Special Creation does not mean that Scriptural passages must be understood only in the literal-as-given meaning. Overall, however, the controversy over Genesis ought to be about which passages are not described by the sacred writer(s) in this literal sense. There is much talk today about myths and errors in Scripture and much hostility to the idea that true history is described in Genesis. Many scholars, whether conservative or liberal, tend to regard it almost exclusively in terms of supposed salvation history alone, with little or no place admitted for true history, and this attitude can easily result in acceptance of the idea that errors exist in Scripture. (The supposedly differing Creation accounts in Genesis 1 and 2 are not contradictory and indicative of errors, but are in fact complementary accounts.)
If even one aspect of liberal theology is accepted (e.g., that there are errors in the Bible), on what grounds then are liberal theologians to be rejected when they attempt to demolish such beliefs as miracles, the divinity of Christ and the Resurrection? Where is the consistency in that reasoning which accepts one revisionist aspect but rejects others? Why insist, for example, upon belief that angels rolled the rock away from Christs tomb, and yet deny the historical reality of the Flood? The idea that errors exist in Scripture, which has arisen from revisionist theories of Higher Criticism, did enormous harm to doctrinal beliefs. Revisionism is itself erroneous, by definition, because God is the Principal Author of Scripture. God is by nature Truth Itself and is incompatible with error and chaos.
Also, how can one justify the idea that God intended Genesis to be understood only in terms of supposed religious mythology? Though the laws of nature were not revealed and had to be discovered by human endeavor, information about the Creation events had to be revealed by God. There were no human witnesses to the Creation events, except to some extent Adam and Eve, and thus only the partial revelation by God in Scripture could provide man with some idea of what took place. Let us not forget that the divine Creator-Redeemer is an absolutely reliable eye-witness, incapable of deception! Pope Pius XII was quite firm in his teaching that true history is described in Genesis, though not recorded in the way of modern historians, and Catholic Tradition right from the time of Christ has always upheld the historicity of Genesis. But many conservative Catholics tend to disregard Tradition and may be compromised with elements of Modernism because they are content to consign Genesis to the status of mythology, rather than defend its true historicity and foundational importance to the Church founded by Jesus Christ.
This attitudehowever unintended in its effect on beliefsis thought appropriate to ensure that Genesis cannot conflict with discoveries of modern science. (The cry, Remember Galileo! echoes on and on.) In reality, this attitude only ensures that Modernists go mostly unchallenged in their suppression of crucial Origins doctrine in schools and institutions of higher education. The confusion over Origins and the foundational importance of Genesis lies close to the heart of the many problems in the Catholic Church today, and hinders a complete diagnosis of what has been amiss for many years. Until such matters are addressed fully, the harm coming from Modernist theology seems likely to continue unabated, and appeals for adherence to Church authority will be ignored.
The concept of Special Creation has not been tried and found wanting within the Catholic Church. It has been misjudged as little more than a simplistic answer to complex problems, and thus thought irrelevant and not considered seriously. Nevertheless, we live in an era when the very distinctiveness of Catholic beliefs in the modern world has been profoundly eroded, and doctrinal unity within the Church is now in a lamentable state. By rediscovering Creation doctrine in all its many features, there is nothing to lose and much to gain, because truth has a liberating and enlightening effect upon the human mind.
Let us hope and pray that the Magisterium (following the pro-Creation stance of the 1992 Catechism) will see fit soon to re-examine comprehensively all aspects relating to Origins, and that an encyclical will be issued, further clarifying relevant doctrinal beliefs. After all, the Church founded by Christ is commissioned to work for the salvation of souls, and to promote truth irrespective of popularity. Any attempt to bring God the Creator back to center stage and facilitate moral renewal within this troubled materialistic world can only have good fruits. In contrast to the culture of death and violence which pervades the modern world, the rediscovery of the true story of Creation offers a beneficial impact upon both Church and society.
THE BASIC QUESTION
While many theories are held about the Origins of life as we now know it, in general they can be reduced to three basic beliefs: Atheistic Evolution, Theistic Evolution and Special Creation. Only one of these can be the truth, for the three beliefs are mutually incompatible. Although he originally was a Christian, Charles Darwin came to embrace positivism1 (the belief that only knowledge gained through empirical science is valid and that other forms of knowledge which admit the existence of the supernatural are not legitimate). He thus sought to define causation only in terms of naturalistic philosophy. But the range of aspects in Origins unavoidably involves philosophy and theologyand so the debate is all about beliefs in general, and not simply about empirical science.
Science can be defined as knowledge, the study of reality. It is the study of what is, including things which can be perceived beyond this world. Despite those who would impose the view that nothing exists other than the material Universe, science per se cannot be defined only as empirical science; questions of philosophy and theology are also proper subjects for investigation. Msgr. John F. McCarthy, O.S. (editor of Living Tradition, Rome) explains the crucial importance of reality in comprehending the nature of science: Science is the knowledge of the meaning of reality, and it may be divided into the knowledge of the various kinds and meaning of reality. Intelligence can distinguish between the identity of a sensible object and its form. It can, for instance, distinguish between the cow and its whiteness and blackness. Again, it can distinguish the sensible form of the cow and what it has narrowed down to be the essence of cows as such.
1. The terms positivism, naturalism and scientism are so similar in meaning as to be virtually interchangeable within the Origins debate.
Reality is first and foremost a concept in the mind identified with that portion of mental objects which cannot be recognized to be illusory, deceptive, or fantastic, and referring to their sources as known by intellectual inference to exist extramentally. Being is the general term which includes both the conscious and the extra-conscious modes of existence, including illusions, deceptions, and fantasies. Thus, Gibraltar has real existence, while Oz has only fantastic existence. . . . The number five does not have extramental substantial existence, but it has a real place within the human intellect [It] fits within the concept of reality as a real conscious feature of the concretely existing intellect, standing outside of consciousness and constituting a part of the substance, man. Reality, then, is not identified with physical reality; it is rather a genus whose meaning becomes clear as it is divided into the two species of physical reality and intellectual reality. Reality does not, then, mean merely verification in sense experience; it means also verification in intellectual experience. Reality is the experience of the intelligibility of things. It imposes itself upon the mind, not only as the existence of sensory objects, but also as the meaning which lies behind them.
Arguing that the power and success of modern empirical science has been itself phenomenal to the point of establishing well-entrenched disbelief in the validity and usefulness of any other type of science, Msgr. McCarthy shows to the contrary that The fact that reality is an intellectual object allows the intelligence to study it as an object, and not as identified with ones own subjectivity. . . .
Science is composed of insight on the part of the knowing subject, meaning on the part of the real objects that he knows, and understanding on the part of the intellect which provides his medium of thought. It is not a mere collection of unrelated facts verified by experience. It is structured knowledge, and the structure arises from the natural development of the mind itself. Material science is the collection of facts; formal science is the understanding of the facts in the intellect of the knower. The recognition of the difference between what the intellect knows and how it knows what it knows divides the field of science into material and formal knowledge of reality. It also divides the field into the lower level of knowledge of the facts (scientia) and the higher level of understanding of the facts (intellectus). It is understanding that advances science towards ever greater intelligibility and protects its conclusions from those forms of unscientific understanding called pseudo-science.
The procedure used in empirical science is that an hypothesis is proposed as a tentative explanation for certain phenomena, and then, attempts are made to disprove it. A scientific theory may result, involving a number of observations which in some way can be tested by experiments. (If it is not falsifiableopen to attempts being made to disprove itthen it is not the subject of empirical science as such. Beliefs about the origins of space, matter and time cannot be tested and can only be accepted in faith, and thus are unfalsifiable. But theories about the behavior of matter and possible mechanisms for evolution can and have been subjected to testing and have been found wanting.) The theory may come to be regarded as a law of nature, but later be superseded when better insights are achieved.
While empirical science seeks to develop mankinds understanding of the behavior of matter, it is only because matter is law-abiding that it is possible to pursue such investigation. Empirical science is thus a growing collection of knowledge about the laws of nature and hence is a derived knowledge. Science is the discovery and description of those rules by which the physical Universe operates. These laws of nature must be acknowledged as having objective existence, and are in no way the product of mans scientific endeavors.
Empirical science cannot proclaim absolute certainty, and it is misleading to refer to scientific facts; rather, empirical science is about degrees of near certainty. It cannot explain the existence of matter or of laws of nature; nor can it explain why particular laws of nature are in operation and not some other set of laws. It cannot say anything about such abstract things as good, evil, truth, justice, beauty and love, for these exist beyond its scope of examination. Empirical science thus cannot be expected to explain fully the question of Origins, but yet it can discern the existence of truth beyond empirical science.
Empirical science can, by deduction, shed light on the existence of an intelligent Force at work in the Universe. The existence of coded information impressed upon matter provides a clue to the presence of an intelligent Designer. For example, the fantastic complexity and orderliness of the DNA codecondensed into an incredibly tiny size suggests the work of a brilliant Intellect, rather than random chance processes. The sheer density of information packed into tiny cells suggests that powerful thought has gone into their designjust as human beings use sophisticated intelligence to design and construct jumbo jets, spacecraft and other intricate equipment.
No one believes for a moment that the wonders of computer technology are the result of random chance processes, but rather, such wonders are clearly the design of extremely intelligent human designers. It is hardly unreasonable or unscientific, therefore, and it is consistent with common sense to deduce the existence of a super-brilliant Intelligence at work beyond the material Universe. Another aspect of empirical science also warrants consideration: An established mode of procedure in scientific research is that of the investigation of effects, even though the intrinsic nature of the cause behind the effect may remain a puzzle. For example, gravity is a phenomenon which can be investigated mainly by means of its actions and effects on other bodies. While its effects are known, its intrinsic nature is still only partly understood by scientists.
If radio signals were to be received from outer space, they would be regarded by scientists as evidence of an intelligent source. It should not be regarded as unscientific to postulate an unseen force behind, say, the genes and their coded order and behind the existence of laws of nature. Like investigation by a detective, it is indeed scientific to deduce an intelligent Cause behind the bewildering complexity of life forms (e.g., the message sequence on the DNA molecule alone should be regarded as prima facie evidence of unseen Intelligence). Walter ReMine argues powerfully that nature was intentionally constructed to look like it is the product of a single-source Designer: An artist uses brush strokes, composition, style, and coloring that are often unique to that artist. The chance combination of these features by any other painter would be most unlikely. This same reasoning applies to life. Diverse life forms display strikingly similar characteristics. For example, there is the nearly universal use of: DNA as the carrier of inheritance; the expression of that information as proteins via an RNA intermediate; the genetic code; the use of lefthanded amino acids in proteins; and the bi-layered phosphatide construction of cell membranes. The biochemical similarities extend to proteins and to the cellular metabolism of the most diverse living beings. Adenosine triphosphate (ATP), biotin, riboflavin, hemes, pyridoxin, vitamins B12 and K, and folic acid are used in metabolic processes everywhere. Furthermore, amino acid sequences of common proteins are similar among different organisms. For example, the protein cytochrome-c contains 104 amino acids, yet 64 of these are identical between yeast and horses. Even more impressive is a protein, appropriately called ubiquitin, present in all organisms, tissues, and cells studied so farand it has an absolutely identical amino acid sequence in each case.
The unity of life could not possibly result from chance, nor from multiple sources, nor from multiple designers acting independently. Life must have come from some single common source. Evolutionists say common descent. Creationists say common designer. . . . This is not happenstance. It is premeditated design.
ReMine has also shown that Creation Theory truly qualifies as scientific and that naturalistic Evolution has been shown to be false according to rigorous scientific methodology. But illusion of proof is facilitated by the way some evolutionists constantly shift ground between various conflicting, supposed mechanisms for Evolution. It is sound practice for scientists to recognize the validity of other scientific disciplines, and so the argument from design cannot be dismissed as irrelevant or invalidbelief in an unseen Creator is not a blind leap of faith, but rather faith based on reason. However, an important question must be addressed: In what way does theology, once hailed as the Queen of Sciences, lay claim to being scientific?
Arguing that the science of historical theology is equipped to delve into the meaning of supernatural events, Msgr. McCarthy points out, In the most fundamental sense, God is either known infinitely or He is not known at all, as He is in Himself. Traditional theology admits this fact, yet it finds a middle ground. It is possible for God to reveal something about Himself as He is in Himself that is above the natural comprehension of a created intellect and yet does not require infinite intelligence to comprehend. This is the revelation of God, and, as revealed, God is an object of mans knowledge. Theological science searches for this object within its own specific realm of objectivity.
To turn towards the objectivity of God entails a recognition of the importance of God in the world we face. God is the efficient, final, and exemplary cause of that world. We may find traces of God in nature and the image of God in man. But, above all, we find God revealed in the word of Sacred Scripture, presented to us by the Church. We achieve the fulfillment of our existence by searching for God in the word of His revelation and by finding Him in the objective meaning of His existence, as it is hidden within the word of divine revelation. This is the task of theology.
Since the Origins debate is all about beliefs, it may be worthwhile to recall
here that even those who hold that nothing exists apart from the physical
Universe have also to wrestle with faith. Are we, for example, to believe
that matter has always existed? How have the laws of nature come into operation?
Did the bewildering complexity of DNA arise somehow by itself? Questions such
as these ultimately require answers which unavoidably involve faith in something.
Consider the lengths to which some theoretical physicists are driven to speculate
(reminiscent of the theories of Stephen Hawking) in the futile hope of explaining
reality without a transcendent Creator-God: The heady debate shifts, unresolvedone
of many that sporadically erupt among the theoretical physicists gathered
at the Aspen Center for Physics in the Colorado Rockies. A sense of barely
suppressed excitement fills the air. The Theory of Everything, or TOE, the
theorists believe, is hovering right around the corner. When finally graspedthe
fantasy goesthe TOE will be simple enough to
write down as a single equation and to solve. The solution will describe a universe that is unmistakably ours: with three spatial dimensions and one time dimension; with quarks, electrons and the other particles that make up chairs, magpies and stars; with even the big bang from which everything began.
Grand promises were also heard a decade ago, when string theory gained favor as a TOE. . . .The search for a genuinely unique Theory of Everything that would eliminate all contingency and demonstrate that the physical world must necessarily be as it is, seems to be doomed to failure on grounds of logical consistency.
Regarding another aspect of the Origins debate, Christians know that the Bible cannot clash with science. Some hold that empirical science has contradicted the Bible, but this conclusion is wrong. It must be wrong, by definition, for Godwho is the principal Author of the Bibleis omniscient, Truth Itself, and free from all error. Since God is both the Creator of the Universe (including space, time and matter* It is a general way of speaking to say that God created space, time and matter. In scholastic philosophy, space and time are considered to be mental constructs, having no reality in and of themselves, time being the measure of motion according to before and after, and space being simply the distance between physical bodies. Matter (improperly understood to mean material by those not philosophically trained) has existence, but only as a principle of being, as in prime matter and substantial form; matter does not exist alone by itself, but always with a form, or essence, which gives matter definition as part of a particular being.Editor, 1999.) and the principal Author of Scripture, the Bible cannot contradict science.
In what way is the inerrant Bible relevant to science, both empirical and Scriptural forms? Firstly, it concerns faith in the trustworthiness of God as a reliable eye-witness to Creation. Such faith can enable Christians to begin a particular hypothesis about ancient Origins events with something more than a hunch. Secondly, it also informs us unerringly about the human and divine natures of Jesus Christ.
Regardless of the particular style employed to record the historical events, the biblical testimony on Creation and historical geology cannot be dismissed as irrelevant to modern man. (Archaeological discoveries in the Middle East have established that the Old Testament is surprisingly accurate in its documentation of people, places and events.) If a researcher begins with the belief that the Bible contains a description of true history, he cannot dismiss what it says about Creation eventsan entirely different basis than if one started from Evolution assumptions, or from the simplistic idea that Genesis only informs us of the who and why and not the when and how of Creation.
As with much of everyday life in which we have to trust news reports from places inaccessible to us personally, Origins beliefs necessarily involve faith decisions. The researcher was not there in the ancient past to see if the processes operating today have always held or whether other process rates were in operation from time to time. However, Christians believe also that faith itself, or the ability to believe, is in some mysterious way also a gift from God: The power of faith is not another faculty added to the intellect of man. It is rather a new ability to see, instilled by an act of God into the intellect of man. The existence of revealed truth cannot be shown, except by indirect arguments, to a person who does not have the power of faith. Since faith is a power of intellectual sight different from the power of natural reason but, like natural reason, analogous to the power of physical sight, the existence of the object of faith is evident only to those who have the power of faith, just as the existence of natural meaning is evident only to those who have natural intelligence and the existence of color is evident only to those who have the power of physical sight.
Since the attainment of the goal of man [the vision of God in Heaven] requires the use of intellect and will by each individual to be saved, that personal theology which consists in the comprehension by the individual of the existence and meaning of his goal beyond the confines of his natural existence is also absolutely necessary.
This Christian belief about the nature of faith does not sit easily within pluralist democratic societies, in which various belief systems offer vastly conflicting explanations of reality (all requiring faith from the believer), in an era when there is much confusion about Origins. Put simply, the central claim of each basic beliefAtheistic Evolution, Theistic Evolution and Special Creationis ultimately that of providing an explanation of the origin of the Universe and of the destiny of human beings. A person can believe either that matter was created by a transcendent God or that matter has always been in existence. Belief in either Creation or Evolution has to be made on the basis of faith, either faith in God or faith in random chance. The two-model approach advocated by opponents of Evolution (i.e., the use of Creation/Evolution conceptual models as a comparative basis for prediction and falsification) has been criticized by some evolutionists as unacceptable, on the ground that disbelief in Evolution is not proof of Creation. Well, disbelief in a Designer is not proof of Evolution, either. Evolutionists are themselves open to the charge of double standards, because their arguments are not so much about the validity of Evolution, but rather are arguments against a Designer. By supposedly proving Evolution while firmly denying the existence of an unseen Designer, they can then charge that Evolution must have occurred, as there is no other option.
The scientific arguments of Origins ought to be imparted in colleges (e.g.,
typology versus transformism comparison). Why should a relatively few humanists
be allowed to impose an Evolution-only syllabus by claiming that only Naturalism
qualifies as science, or why should some Christian opponents of Special Creation
do likewise by claiming that such Creation beliefs are unscientific? There
is no more reason for excluding evidence for Creation beliefs on the ground
that it may produce conservative religious believers, than there is for excluding
evidence for Evolution beliefs (if any existed) on the ground that it may
Taken from Creation Rediscovered by TAN Books & Publishers, Inc.
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