The Bible and Society

How God’s Word is True

Why Faithful Catholics should oppose Evolution

Posted by Mats on 09/05/2009

by Clement Butel

 

For anyone who has searched, even only casually, for the relevant affirmative evidence, there can be no doubt that evolutionism invaded the Catholic Church during this century and is now firmly established as “scientific fact” in almost all Catholic places of learning. [1]

EVOLUTIONISM IS NOT TRUE SCIENCE

By “evolutionism” I mean the world view which has as its basic premise the belief that the well-known theory of organic evolution is the only reasonable scientific explanation of the origin of the variety of living organisms we see about us today or of those that once lived but are now extinct.

In combination with the theory of uniformity, which postulates vast geological ages and uniform conditions from the beginning, the theory of evolution purports that all organisms evolved from very simple life forms over those ages. From this basic position the evolutionist concept has in turn been extended to provide what is claimed to be the only likely “scientific” explanation of how the universe, as we now know it, came to be. This explanation, that order evolved from chaos, is put forward despite the fact that it flies in the face of the well-established Second Law of Thermodynamics, which infers that all ordered systems tend towards disorder.

The “science” of evolutionism, as it is taught in universities today, is wholly materialistic, since it requires a “natural” explanation of how things have come about and excludes any consideration of supernatural causes as being “unscientific.” This, of course, is based upon fallacious reasoning which first found its expression in Comte’s “Positivism” in the early part of the nineteenth century.

Contrary to what Comte claimed, the methods of empirical science cannot be employed either to prove or to falsify any theory that attempts to explain the distant unobservable past. [2] As a consequence of this, empirical science can only suggest, through inferences drawn from the circumstantial evidence available to us today, what a feasible scenario of the origin-history of life on earth and all other things might be. If, however, as can be demonstrated, valid inferences cannot be drawn in favour of naturally caused origins, than it is both logical and scientific to consider whether the evidence infers supernatural causes.

Because materialists have been firmly in control of the educational system in this century (more particularly in the second half), education in the natural sciences has been one-sided. More importantly, their dogmatic teaching of most aspects of evolutionism as “established scientific facts” has amounted to a totally unjustified brainwashing in favour of what is no more than materialist philosophy.

CATHOLIC EVOLUTIONISTS

Many Catholics have been deceived in varying degrees by evolutionist dogmatism, but not all of these accept that natural (non-supernatural) causes account for the existence of all things. Some hold to a theistic evolution which requires divine guidance. Others reject organic evolution but hold to the “vast ages” as being scientifically established. Most regrettably, however, there are a highly significant number of Catholics, particularly amongst the well-educated clergy within the Church, who accept Father Teilhard de Chardin’s “synthesis” of theology and evolutionist “science,” which denies God’s role as Creator and instead reduces the position of his Son to the “Omega (or high) Point” of the evolutionary process. [3]

Any of the above-stated positions requires some compromise with what is written in Sacred Scripture concerning the historicity of the early chapters of Genesis: compromises that were not seen to be necessary by Christian thinkers in the eighteen-and-a-half centuries preceding Darwin and, for those who have a proper appreciation of the facts of nature, are not seen to be necessary now. [4]

The most extreme position is taken by those theologians who believe that the “insights of modern science,” as one theologian put it, [5] require not only the demythologizing of Genesis 1 to 11, but also of all other miraculous elements of the Old and New Testaments, including such fundamental articles of faith as the Virginal Conception and the Bodily Resurrection of Our Lord.

FROM HIGHER-CRITICISM THROUGH DEMYTHOLOGIZING TO EVOLUTIONISM

“Demythologizing,” of course, is nothing new. It was first suggested by the higher-critic, David Strauss, in his Leben Jesu, published in1835. Strauss claimed, for example, that the narrative of the Virgin Birth was not intended to be taken literally but was a religious message that meant that Jesus was the perfect gift of God.

Strauss’ demythologizing of all the miraculous elements in the New Testament was based, not upon impeccable scholarship, but rather upon an unbelieving rationalism, instilled into him by F. C. Baur, his master at Tübingen University. Baur was a devotee of Hegel, who rejected the reality of miracles. Hegel in turn had been greatly influenced by the rationalist Rousseau.

Strauss lived long enough to witness the rise in popularity of Darwinism, which he welcomed with the following words:

Darwin has opened the door by which a happier coming race will cast out miracles, never to return. Everyone who knows what miracles imply will praise him, in consequence, as one of the greatest benefactors of the human race. [6]

CONDEMNATION BY THE CHURCH OF HIGHER-CRITICISM

It is little wonder that Pope Leo XIII gave the following prophetic warning in his encyclical letter Providentissimus Deus against the acceptance of higher-criticism and the demythologizing it employed:

It will not throw on Scripture the light that is sought, or prove any advantage to doctrine; it will only give rise to disagreement and dissension, those sure notes of error, which the critics in question so plentifully exhibit in their own persons; and seeing that most of them are tainted with false philosophy and rationalism, it must lead to the elimination from the sacred writings of all prophecy and miracles, and of everything that is outside the natural order.

In his Motu Proprio Praestantia Sacrae Scripturae, St. Pius X reaffirmed the view of his predecessor when he said that the teachings of higher-criticism are “clearly nothing but commentaries of rationalism derived from a misuse of philology and kindred studies.”

It is now claimed by many Catholic biblical commentators (for example, the editors of the Jerome Biblical Commentary), [7] that Pope Pius XII in his encyclical Divino Afflante Spiritu gave permission for the methods of the liberal Protestant critics, which include those of the higher-critics, to be employed in Catholic biblical exegesis. Thus it is inferred that PiusXII overruled his predecessors.

This, of course, reads more into the directions given by the Pope in his encyclical than is really there. What the Pope was concerned about was the solving of long-acknowledged difficulties that appear in Sacred Scripture, and in giving those directions he never intended that they be taken as permission for the unbridled use of rationalist criticism. In any event in the same encyclical he reaffirmed the teaching of Leo XIII that all exegesis must conform with the teachings of the Church, the analogy of faith, and the universal opinion of the Fathers of the Church. Such a teaching is sufficient to rule out almost all of the opinions of the liberal Protestant higher-critics. [8]

Demythologizing has, of course, been carried further in this century by the liberal Protestant form-critic Rudolf Bultmann, who has had considerable influence in leading Catholic scholars away from orthodoxy.

The Archbishop of Osaka, Paul Cardinal Taguchi, now deceased, wrote in 1975 that nearly all of today’s Modernist errors condemned by St. Pius X sprang from the seedbed of nineteenth century liberal Protestantism. He went on to say:

The job of exegesis is now seen to be demythologization. This means that everything in the sacred books which implies the supernatural is dubbed as a myth, a relic of primitive reality, which is said to be repulsive to the modern mind. [9]

EVOLUTIONISM RESPONSIBLE FOR DEMYTHOLOGIZING BY CATHOLIC CRITICS

But why should the idea of miracles be repulsive to the modern mind? After all, do we not have examples before our own eyes of recent miracles? What does the modern mind make of the picture of Our Lady of Guadalupe, which miraculously appeared on a cloak of cactus fibre that had a life of twenty years and is now over 450 years old; and what of the miracles which took place at Lourdes and are thoroughly attested to; and what of the miraculous preservation of the body of the seer of Lourdes, the spiritually beautiful St. Bernadette?

The answer to this question and the reason why many Catholic scholars have gone back to Modernist errors is, in my opinion, clearly that they have been deceived by false evolutionist dogmatism and by the naturalistic, non-supernatural explanation of origins it proposes. I know of no Catholic scholar who rejects that dogmatism but is nevertheless attracted to the excesses of liberal Protestant criticism.

Not realizing that such dogmatism is only materialism disguised as science, deceived Catholics (like the ones mentioned above) consider it to be “unscientific” in the modern sense to continue to hold that miracles can happen: modern man (they believe) requires that everything be explicable as naturally occurring along the lines of evolutionist theory.

I have found ratification of this opinion on numerous occasions when I have read the views of those within the Church who are, or were during their lifetimes, leaders of dissent from the teachings of the Church. I will give a few examples:

The late Father Karl Rahner, amongst other things, did not accept the Church’s Christology, but replaced it with a Teilhardian-based one that represents Our Lord as not being at all times a Divine Person, but merely as one ascending towards divinity. [10] He also rejected Pius XII’s prohibition against acceptance of the evolutionary inference of polygenism.

In his book Original Sin in the Light of Modern Science, [11] the late Father Patrick O’Connell quotes Father Rahner as having said:

The first question a theologian should seriously ask himself is: Can the Church logically leave us free to accept anthropological evolution on the one hand – as she does (DS 3896) – and on the other, condemn polygenism? This is the situation:

(a) If evolutionary hominization is acceptable, we have to accept that ‘Eve’ came about the same way as ‘Adam.’ Any other view can only be a worthless compromise…. The decision of the Biblical Commission in 1909 about the ‘formation of the first man’ is no longer acceptable in the exclusive literal sense if one accepts in general with Pius XII the evolutionary origin of man (which basically conflicts with this decree). We cannot think of ‘Adam’ in terms of evolution and deny this for ‘Eve’…. One cannot therefore accept evolution for ‘Adam’ and then reject it for ‘Eve.’ Polygenism can therefore no longer be rejected in the case of one couple.

Father O’Connell stated that “it constitutes a calumny on the memory of Pope Pius XII to say that he accepted the evolution of Adam.” Although he does not intend them to be, Father Rahner’s arguments, other than the false claims that Catholics are free to accept evolution and that Pius XII accepted the evolution of Adam, amount to good theological reasons why evolution should be rejected.

Apart from Teilhardian contentions, it appears that some evolutionist theologians will not grant Our Lord full divine status because they believe He was in error in referring to certain passages in Genesis 1 to 11 as though they were true history. Father Richard McBrien of Notre Dame University in the United States, who is an evolutionist and dissenter from several of the Church’s teachings, holds that Our Lord was capable of sin and error and did in fact make errors. [12]

Father Raymond Brown, S.S., who has written articles questioning the historical, truth of the Virginal Conception, the Resurrection, and the Infancy Narratives, has stated that the view of the sacred writer of Genesis 1 was “naive and prescientific” and infers that anyone with a grammar-school education would not accept that the whole of creation was accomplished in six days. [13] Thus he subjects the truth of what is written in the divine books to what is said in the profane books of materialists.

In the Archdiocese of Sydney, Australia, a paper was produced for distribution to Catholic high schools which cited a passage from Gaudium et Spes out of context to lead the reader to believe that Vatican II had approved of evolution. The paper claimed that evolution must be accepted as scientific fact and that Genesis 1 to 11 should therefore be interpreted as religious myth. It also claimed that the Church had revoked her warnings against the writings of Father Teilhard de Chardin, and it carried a section devoted to praising Father Teilhard as a great scientist and great theologian. [14]

The author of the paper acknowledged assistance he received in connection with the preparation thereof from four professors belonging to one of Australia’s largest seminaries. [15] He also claimed that it was issued with ecclesiastical approval. After a short interval, the author, previously a science teacher at a Catholic high school, was employed as a religious educator by the Sydney Archdiocesan Catholic Education Office, which reprinted and further distributed the paper in question.

One of the documents annexed to the paper to support the author’s contentions was an article written by an American theologian in which he described Pius XII’s teaching against polygenism as “fundamentalist.” The same theologian was also cited as praising the “theology” of Father Teilhard, which he claimed was now acceptable to the Church.

EVOLUTIONISM ALSO THE CAUSE OF DISSENT BY MORAL THEOLOGIANS

At a later date this same theologian wrote an article entitled, “New Perspectives on Sin.” [16] In it he stated that a number of factors have moved Catholic thinking toward new ways of expressing the doctrine of Original Sin and that “Perhaps the most important factors are the shift from biblical fundamentalism and the acceptance of the general theory of evolution.” These he claims relegated Genesis to religious myth. His new perspectives are mainly based upon the views of Fathers Bernard Haring and Richard McCormick, both of whom are dissenters from some of the Church’s teachings on moral theology. [17]

Evolutionism is thus seen to be the basic premise of most dissent within the Church today, whether this dissent is made on the ground of biblical criticism or of moral theology. [18]

CATHOLIC INACTION IN RELATION TO FALSE EVOLUTIONIST CLAIMS

Pope Pius X recognized the significant role evolutionism played in the thinking of the Modernists. In his encyclical Pascendi Dominici Gregis, speaking of the Modernists, he said:

First of all they lay down the general principle that in a living religion everything is subject to change, and must in fact change, and in this way they pass to what may be said to be the chief of their doctrines, that of Evolution. To the laws of evolution everything is subject – dogma, Church worship, the books that we revere as sacred, even faith itself….

Although Pius X firmly condemned Modernism and required that all entering Holy Orders should take an oath against it, he did not set up any body of Catholic scientists to critically examine the claims of the evolutionists. At that time, however, there existed a Catholic academy of science whose origins went back to the seventeenth century. Its revival, after some apparent lapse, was instituted by Pius IX and encouraged by Leo XIII, who in 1887 gave it a new constitution. It was given its present name, “The Pontifical Academy of Science,” in 1936 by Pius XI. Apart from the individual work of members of the Academy, scientific research was being carried out by members of religious orders, the Jesuits being the most prominent in this regard. The Pope, no doubt, thought that such people of faith would in due course expose the false claims of evolutionism.

Alas, things have not worked out that way; except for a small minority, members of the Pontifical Academy of Science and religious scientists have succumbed in varying degrees to the dogmatism of the materialists.

This trend was more noticeable in the second half of the twentieth century, when there exist only scientists who were, during their university training, thoroughly brainwashed with evolutionist dogmatism.

THE EVOLUTIONISM OF MEMBERS OF THE PONTIFICAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCE

In 1980 Darwin’s gradualism, which had species evolving by minute steps over vast periods of time, was rejected by a conference of evolutionists. meeting in Chicago, on the ground that there was no evidence in the fossil record of the abundance of fossils of transitional forms which should have been found if Darwin’s theory had been valid. A saltatory theory was suggested to replace gradualism and thereby supposedly to overcome the embarrassment of the lack of transitional forms. [19]

Die-hard Darwinists have criticized the new theory on the ground that the sudden leaps which purportedly characterized rapid (saltatory) changes in species were genetically impossible. The criticisms of both sides are valid and consequently, because of these and other factors, no theory of organic evolution is viable. [20]

In 1982, on the occasion of the hundredth anniversary of the death of Darwin, twelve members of the Pontifical Academy of Science are reported to have met at the Vatican and to have been responsible for the following statement:

We freely acknowledge there is room for differences of opinion on such problems as species formation and the mechanisms of evolutionary change…. Nonetheless, we are convinced that masses of evidence render the application of the concept of evolution to man and other primates beyond serious doubt. [21]

This amazing statement concerning the supposed existence of masses of evidence contrasts with one made the preceding year by Dr. Colin Patterson, a leading paleontologist at the British Museum of Natural History, to members of its American counterpart. Dr. Patterson said that, after twenty years of research into evolution, he asked himself to name just one thing he knew for sure about it, but he could not come up with anything. When previously he had challenged groups evolutionist colleagues with the same question, he was met with silence, which indicated that no one was able to give him any certain information about evolution. [22]

In 1985 a book by Dr. Michael Denton, a molecular biologist, was published. [23] In that book the author showed that all the arguments that had been put forward in favour of organic evolution had no real validity and that the most relevant circumstantial evidence relating to the vital question of whether there ever had been a sequential relationship between organisms, not only did not favour the evolutionary theory, but was actually hostile to it. Dr. Denton was (and so far as it is known – still is) an agnostic, and therefore cannot be accused of creationist bias.

That members of a body which has the patronage of the Pope should have stated an opinion which is supportive of materialist philosophy and (as Denton shows) is blatantly contrary to the facts of nature again reveals how deeply entrenched evolutionism is within the Catholic Church.

THE DISASTROUS EFFECT OF TEACHING EVOLUTIONIST DOGMATISM TO CATHOLIC CHILDREN

Most Western countries have public-education systems. However, even in those that have strong Catholic school networks, the curriculum for public examinations is often set by public authorities. Scientific and other textbooks required to be studied under that curriculum are usually written by university trained textbook writers who follow the current trend of opinion in universities.

As a consequence of all this, the evolutionist worldview is usually taught in general studies and in related scientific courses. Even in primary-school classes the children are taught that the human race is descended from brute animals and that the first humans remained for hundreds of thousands of years at a near animal level of culture before they finally learned to grow crops and domesticate animals.

This latter view was put forward in the nineteenth century by rationalist social anthropologists. These people claimed that ancient remains and artefacts of primitive people represented the culture of the first human beings, and they steadfastly refused to consider the likelihood that they were the remains of those who had migrated from civilized areas and whose lifestyles had subsequently regressed to primitive ones.

The ideas of the social anthropologists suited the evolutionist scenario, which now makes the human race two million years old, and so they are retained in our educational system as part of origins “history” and “science.”

All of this is in stark contrast with the teaching of the Pontifical Biblical Commission that the first human beings, Adam and Eve, were created in a state of justice, integrity and immortality. [24] The traditional view of the Church is that Adam and Eve were created as nearly perfect human beings, both physically and intellectually, but that the Fall resulted, not only in a loss of immortality, but also in a substantial deterioration of the other qualities.

Evolutionist dogmatism teaches that death entered the world millions of years before the arrival of the human race and that our supposed animal forebears were all involved in a struggle to exist.

Thus, in Catholic schools where evolution combined with social anthropology is taught as scientific and historical fact, it is little wonder that our school pupils cease to believe in the existence of our common First Parents, and as a consequence many of them, as Leo XIII warned would happen, give up believing altogether. [25]

In Australia, which has a strong network of Catholic schools, over ninety percent of Catholic schoolchildren now are said to give up the practice of their faith after leaving school, even though, in the majority of cases, their parents are practising Catholics. This present situation contrasts with that in the earlier (pre-World-War-II) part of this century, when eighty percent of school-leavers, who had not been subjected to these evolutionist teachings, retained the faith.

THE UNINFORMED ATTITUDE OF ORTHODOX CATHOLICS TO EVOLUTIONISM

One of the tragedies of the present situation is that many orthodox Catholics who publicly oppose Modernism and the unorthodoxy of its adherents do not see the acceptance of evolutionism as being the basic motivating cause of Modernist beliefs, as Pius X saw it in the case of the earlier Modernists (vide supra). The reason for this, in my opinion, is that they now (quite incorrectly) accept that science has since shown the earth and the universe to be billions of years old and the human race to be far older than indicated by a literal reading of Genesis 1 to 11, and they are therefore prepared to compromise the literal and historical meaning of these chapters, even to the extent of regarding “theistic evolution” as being theologically acceptable. [26]

Anyone properly informed concerning organic evolution knows that the genetic changes required to make any theory of evolution viable could only have been brought about by miracle. However, any Catholic believing that this could have happened should ask why God would have worked such miracles without leaving us with any evidence that He ever did so and at the same time inspire His sacred writers to give an altogether inconsistent account of what (supposedly) really happened. The situation is really worse than this for theistic evolution, because the really relevant circumstantial evidence contained in the fossil record and in molecular structures not only does not favour the concept of organic evolution, but is actually hostile to it.

THE “VAST AGES” AND THEIR RELEVANCE TO FAITH

The Roman Martyrology gives the date 5199 (B.C.) as the year “when God in the beginning created heaven and earth,” and the date of 2957 (B.C.) as the year of the Flood. These dates reflect or closely reflect the chronologies of the early Catholic chronologists, Theophilus, Africanus and Eusebius, which in turn are closely based upon those in the Septuagint.. The chronologies in question show that the time of Peleg, when the earth was divided (Genesis10:25), was approximately 750 years after the Flood.

If it is assumed that the earth was still one land mass before the time of Peleg, then the human and animal kingdoms would have had a period of 750 years to regenerate after the Flood and spread to the four corners of the earth. It would seem from a reading of Genesis11 that the Tower-of-Babel incident took place before the time of Peleg, and, therefore, there would have been mass migration of people from the centre of civilization before the earth was divided. By that time migration by animals would have been dictated by the necessity to find food and to avoid predators.

Literally, Genesis 7:19-20 states that the Flood was a universal one, because water must quickly find its own level, and it would be a physical impossibility for floodwaters to cover the highest mountains in one part of the earth and not be those of a universal flood. The universality of the Flood also appears to be affirmed in 2 Peter 3:6. If the Flood had only been a local flood, as some claim, then Genesis 7:8-17 would appear to have no meaning.

Scientists in the seventeenth century, such as John Woodward,27 defended the account of a universal flood on the grounds of scientific observations. Flood geology was thus kept alive until the end of the eighteenth century, when other theories emerged. Cuvier believed that there had been a succession of pre-Adamic catastrophies, while Hutton espoused the theory of uniformity.

Lyell, in his Principles of Geology (1830-1832), promoted Hutton’s theory, but to do so he had to get rid of the evidence for catastrophe. In the process he used arguments described as “a flight of dialectics” by one writer28 and by using such reasoning, according to leading evolutionist Stephen J. Gould, “pulled a consummate fast one.” [29]

There are now scientists who say there is abundant evidence of past catastrophies [30] not presently witnessed, and, as a consequence of all this, the theory of uniformity, which states that present processes explain the past, is in tatters.

Lyell’s theory was later married to Darwin’s, and as a result the prehistoric time scale now shown in geology textbooks is based on organic evolution. [31] In a bout of circular reasoning one theory is said to prove the other.

If, as argued above, both the uniformitarian and the evolutionary theories are not viable, then the geological ages represented by the theoretical geological column are only fantasies.

There are more problems for historical geology in that there are numerous anomalies relating to the supposed geologic order of rocks; so much so that some years ago a leading geologist spoke of the deplorable state of their discipline and the need to reformulate its principles. [32] In addition to all this, a French scientist’s experiments have shown that to date uniformitarian geologists have had a misconceived view of how strata are formed.

Thus, all the so-called laws or principles upon which geologic time is based (i.e., the “law of uniformity,” the “law of superposition,” and the “law of faunal succession”) have been found wanting.

Radioactive methods of dating, which have given discordant results, are nevertheless said to verify the tables of geologic time. However, they rely upon assumptions that cannot be proved. (This question is too large to be dealt with here but it can be definitely said that there is no scientific proof of “vast ages” afforded by radioactive or astronomical methods. Some of these questions are dealt with in the videotape mentioned below.)

RECENT FORMATION OF A GROUP OF CATHOLIC SCIENTISTS OPPOSING EVOLUTIONISM

In recent years (that is prior to 1990, when this essay was first published) a group of Catholic scientists has come together for the purpose of exposing false evolutionist dogmatism. They are associated in a Catholic organization known under the acronym of CESHE (Cercle Scientifique et Historique). CESHE, assuming that nothing known to science can be in conflict with the teachings of the Church, is mobilizing Catholic scientific opinion against evolutionist dogmatism. [33]

CESHE has produced a video tape recording in which five very well-qualified and distinguished Catholic scientists (including the French experimenter mentioned above) are interviewed concerning the validity of evolutionist claims relating to origins in general. These scientists expose the falsehood of the main evolutionist claims that are said to require the demythologizing of Genesis1 to 11. [34]

WHAT CAN FAITHFUL CATHOLICS DO?

Anyone who knows the history of how false evolutionist notions were devised and systematically propagated throughout the civilized world must surely be able to see that the Evil One has created a new false god in evolutionism. The evil fruits of this pseudo-science are also plain for all to see. The Western world, which was formerly Christian, is now substantially agnostic, and an unbelieving “liberalism” pervades not only the Catholic Church but also most Protestant churches.

First of all, in order that this evil be combatted, faithful Catholics should pray. In the final analysis it will be the Holy Spirit Who will bring about the defeat of evolutionism. However, God has allowed Satan to erect this false god so that our faith might be tested. It follows then that we should do everything in our power to try to eliminate its evil influence.

Evolutionists are taking every opportunity to indoctrinate our children with evolutionist propaganda. For example, museums visited by children exhibit (as in Sydney, Australia) huge banners saying, “EVOLUTION IS A FACT.” Evolutionist denigration of supernatural creation is such that the media always portray it as unscientific and give scant regard for the views of those in opposition to evolutionist claims. There is a war going on against our faith, but most Catholics seem to be oblivious of it. Unless we do something about it now, shortly we shall find that most of our children have gone over to the enemy.

All faithful Catholics should therefore inform themselves of the case against evolution. This can be done by reading one or more of the books listed hereafter and by viewing the CESHE videotape. If Catholic schools are presenting evolutionism without teaching the case against it, faithful Catholics should make representations to the schools to try to get them to teach the truth.

Faithful Catholics should also make representations to politicians to try to ensure that books treating evolutionism as “established scientific fact” should not be recommended by public authorities for use in class instruction.

Scientists should contact the CESHE organization with a view to offering it support and research assistance. Hopefully, under the auspices of this organization a highly significant body of scientists will be established, who will provide the Church with information that other groups within the Church have so far failed to do: that is, with information that will show that true science is not in conflict with traditional Catholic beliefs.

(First published by the Roman Theological Forum as “Living Tradition” No 28)

ENDNOTES

1. We are inclined to regard Poland as thoroughly orthodox, but a Polish scientist who wrote a series of articles critical of evolution found opposition from theologians in that country. An evolutionist scientist was given space in a Catholic journal to criticize these articles. In his criticism he claimed that the books of Father Teilhard de Chardin were on the shelves of most seminaries in Poland. (From private correspondence made available to author.)

2. In his Cours de Philosophie Positive (1830) Auguste Comte suggested three great stages of human thought: the theological – which brought about religious “inventions”; the metaphysical – which produced unsatisfactory metaphysical or philosophical abstractions; and the positive or scientific stage – when the “positive truth” will be reached through scientific observation and experiment. “Positivism” was also called the “Religion of Humanity.”

3. For a thorough exposition and criticism of the ideas and philosophy of Father Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, see Professor Wolfgang Smith’s Teilhardism and the New Religion (Tan Books). Teilhard’s “New Religion” had much in common with atheist Comte’s “Religion of Humanity.”

4. As to what was taught by the Church on the origin of man in this period and later, see the authoritative article by Catholic theologian Father P. D. Fehlner, O.F.M. Conv., published in Christ to the World (Jan-Feb 1986 and two subsequent issues).

5. The Priest, published by the Australian Association of Catholic Clergy, Vol. 1 (Spring, 1988) makes mention of the “claimed insights of natural science” as the justification put forward for the reinterpretation of the facts of the Resurrection by a theologian attached to the Catholic Institute of Sydney The theologian, who regards demythologizing as an exegetical tool, subsequently undertook to abide by a direction of his archbishop to realign his views with those of the Magisterium, viz., that the physical remains of Jesus, placed in the tomb after his death, were raised in his Resurrection.

6. As cited by Prof. Gertrude Himmelfarb in Darwin and the Darwinian Revolution (Chatto and Windus, 1959) ISBN 1566631068.

7. See the introductory statement by the editors.

8. The nine “fundamental teachings of the Christian religion” listed by the Pontifical Biblical Commission in their 1909 decisions concerning Genesis1-3 appeared to have been universally held by the Fathers of the Church, having been proposed by Origen and later accepted by St. Jerome.

9. Cf. The English translation, entitled, “Study of Sacred Scripture,” which appeared in L’Osservatore Romano of 15May, 1975 (English edition).

10. See Joseph Cardinal Siri, Gethsemane: Reflections on the Contemporary Theological Movement (Eng. trans.: Chicago: Franciscan Herald Press, 1981), pp. 77-87 ISBN 0819908258; G.H. Duggan, S.M., “Christologies Ancient and Modern,” in The Priest (Australia), Vol. 1 (Winter, 1989).

11. Patrick O’Connell, Original Sin in the Light of Modern Science (Lumen Christi Press, 1973), pp. 78-79 ISBN 0912414154.

12. As pointed out by Msgr. Nelson W. Logal in Confraternity of Catholic Clergy (U.S.A.) Newsletter, October-November, 1980.

13. See article, “Hermeneutics,” by Fr. Raymond E. Brown in the Jerome Biblical Commentary, Vol.2, p.608: “No one with a grammar-school education can read the first chapters of Genesis without wondering if the world was really created in six days; yet considerable training is required to be able to distinguish between the religious teaching of Genesis about creation and the naïve prescientific outlook of the author. To supply a standard, we may say that in order to read the Bible with intelligent appreciation a man’s biblical appreciation should be proportionate to his general education.”

14. See Genesis, Evolution and Creationism by Barry Price (Catholic Education Office, Sydney), 2nd ed. (November, 1986).

15. The author named the four theologians in question, one of whom was the theologian in reference 5 above whose heterodoxy concerning the Resurrection required correction.

16. Article written by Dr. Brennan R. Hill, who teaches pastoral theology and religious education at Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio – appearing in Pace16 periodical, pp.156ff. (edition not known).

17. Amongst other things they reject Pope Paul VI’s teaching in Humanae Vitae concerning the evil of contraception.

18. In an address to the European Doctrinal Commission in May, 1989, Cardinal Ratzinger stated that the litany of seemingly unconnected modernist claims stems from the rejection of the doctrine of creation in favour of evolutionist philosophy.

19. Dr. Michael Denton (see ref. 23 below) argues that the new saltatory theory, known as “punctuated equilibrium,” has a need for evidence of transitional forms to support its feasibility.

20. Apart from this, the electron microscope has shown even the simplest forms of life to be so complex that the case for design is overwhelming and evolution by random changes (chance) is ruled out by the laws of mathematical probability. (See, for example, I. L. Cohen in Darwin Was Wrong, A Study in Probabilities (New Research Publications Inc.: New York, 1984) ISBN 0910891028.

21. Quoted by Barry Price (ref. 14 above) from Interpreting the Scriptures by Edwin Dashbach (Brown: Dubuque, Iowa, 1984).

22. Recorded by G. Parker in What Is Creation Science? (Master Books, 1984), p. 25.

23. Michael Denton, Evolution: A Theory in Crisis (Burnett Books Limited, 1985).

24. Denzinger-Schönmetzer, No. 3514, Denzinger-Rahner, No. 2123.

25. Condemning those who make evil use of the physical sciences to vilify the contents of the sacred books, Leo XIII spoke in Providentissimus Deus (No. 18) of the danger this has, because “the young, if they lose their reverence for the Holy Scripture on one or more points, are easily led to give up believing altogether.”

26. Population growth statistics indicate that the human race is only a few thousand years old.

27. John Woodward, Professor of Physics at Cambridge University, wrote “An Essay Toward a Natural Theory of the Earth” (1693); he is called the “Father of the Science of Paleontology.”

28. Dr. I. Velikovsky, in Earth in Upheaval (Abacus Books, ISBN 0385041136), pp. 31-35. In this book also Dr. Velikovsky presents massive documented evidence of world –wide catastrophe. In addition he exposes the guesswork Lyell employed in establishing the supposed geologically ages and the deception Lyell employed in his claim that the Niagara Falls had a greater age than the Biblical age of the earth.

29. See S. J. Gould, “Catastrophies and Steady State Earth,” in Natural History, Vol.LXXX, No.2, (Feb,1975).

30. I. Velikovsky (ref. 28); S. J. Gould (ref. 29); Derek V. Ager, TheNature of the Stratigraphical Record (John Wiley and Sons: New York, 1973) ISBN 0471938084; W. T. Brown, Jr., In the Beginning (5th ed. 1989: Center for Scientific Creation, Phoenix, AZ); Prof. C. J. Albritton, Jr., Catastrophic Episodes in Earth History (Chapman and Hall, 1989) ISBN 0412291908.

31. W.B.N. Berry, Professor of Paleontology at the University of California, Berkeley, in his well-researched book, Growth of a Prehistoric Time Scale (W. H. Freeman & Co.: San Francisco) (ISBN 0865423261) gives “Based on Organic Evolution” as a subtitle to his book. Professor Berry also indicates that the time scale depends upon the validity of the principle of uniformity throughout time.

32. Dr. R. S. Allen, “Geological Correlation and Paleontology,” in The Bulletin of the Geological Society of America, Vol.59 (Jan.,1948), p.2.

33. CESHE (Place du Palais de Justice 3 – B-7500, Tournai, Belgium) was founded to continue the work of Belgian scholar Fernand Crombette. Itnow has branches in France and the United Kingdom. Executive member: Peter Wilders, 42 Bd. d’Italie, Monaco. Website: http://www1.newsource.net/efob/

34. Evolution: Fact or Belief? Four of the five Catholic scientists who state their views in this video hold or have held the chair in their own disciplines at universities in Italy, the United States and Poland. All are distinguished academics. The fifth is a French geologist, whose original research into sedimentology (that is, how sedimentary rocks are formed) is creating international interest. Finally, there is a statement by a Catholic theologian (ref.4 above) concerning the Church’s teachings on origins and the incongruity between evolutionist claims and those teachings.

RECOMMENDED READING

For essential Catholic orientation:

Pope Leo XIII, Providentissimus Deus (1893) – http://listserv.american.edu/catholic/church/papal/leo.xiii/providen.asc

Pope Pius X, Pascendi Dominici Gregis (1907) – http://listserv.american.edu/catholic/church/papal/pius.x/pascendi.html

Pope Pius X, Praestantia Sacrae Scripturae (1907).

Pope Benedict XV, Spiritus Paraclitus (1920) – http://listserv.american.edu/catholic/church/papal/benedict.xv/b15spiri.txt

Pope Pius XII, Divino Afflante Spiritu (l943) – http://listserv.american.edu/catholic/church/papal/pius.xii/p12divin.txt

Pope Pius XII, Humani Generis (1950) – http://listserv.american.edu/catholic/church/papal/pius.xii/humani.generis

Pope Paul VI, Dei Verbum

Decree of the Holy Office, Lamentabili (1907) – http://www.knight.org/advent/docs/df07ls.htm

Replies of thePontifical Biblical Commission (23 June 1905, 27 June 1906, 30 June 1909, 16 January 1948).

Dei Verbum, the Dogmatic Constitution of the Second Vatican Council on Divine Revelation, is available in Austin Flannery, Editor, Vatican Council II: The Conciliar and Post Conciliar Documents, ISBN 0918344395.

The Grail English translations of all the other documents listed above except Pascendi and Lamentabili are contained in Rome and the Study of Scripture, a collection of papal enactments on the study of Sacred Scripture prior to Vatican II. (7th revised and enlarged edition, 1964: Abbey Press Publishing Division, St.Meinrad, Indiana, ). This is a most useful publication because it shows numbers in its margins that refer to where the text may be found in Enchiridion Biblicum (1961).

For Pascendi and Lamentabili, see Denzinger-Rahner, The Sources of Catholic Dogma (trans. by Roy J. Deferrari: Herder, 1957; republished by Marian House, Powers Lake, North Dakota 58773).

For general information:

Paul Cardinal Taguchi, The Study of Sacred Scripture. See end-note 9 above.

I.Velikovsky, “Earth in Upheavel”. See end-note No. 28 above.

P. D. Fehlner, 0.F.M. Conv., “In the Beginning,” in Christ to the World (international review: Via di Propaganda, 1-C, Rome 00187 Italy), January-June 1988. challenging analysis of the Catholic Church’s teachings on origins that invites constructive debate.

Michael Denton, Evolution: A Theory in Crisis (Burnett Books Ltd., 1985; Adler and Adler, 1986) ISBN 091756152X. Reviewed in Living Tradition No.26 (November 1989).

Wolfgang Smith, Teilhardism and the New Religion (Tan Books, 1988). Reviewed in Living Tradition No.25 (September 1989)..

Walter T. Brown, Jr., In the Beginning (Center for Scientific Creation, Phoenix, AZ 85016) ISBN 1878026054. Contains much information concerning the inadequacy of the evolutionist worldview.

Gary Parker and Henry M. Morris, What is Creation Science? (Master Books, 1984) A textbook for public schools written by two prominent creation scientists, in which they avoid Biblical arguments.

Paul S. Taylor: The Illustrated Origins Answer Book, (ISBN 1-877775- 00-2), 1989 Films for Christ Inc.., Mesa, Arizona. A well organized book than contains numerous references relating to the evidence against evolution.

The above is the author’s edited version of an essay that was first published as part of “Living Tradition No.28” of March, 1990. “Living Tradition” is the journal of the Roman Theological Forum. For other editions of “Living Tradition”, explore the Forum’s website on http://www.rtforum.org .

Other important works criticizing the evolution world-view that appeared after 1990 are dealt with in subsequent essays. Furthermore, Furthermore in recent years another group of Catholics known as “The Kolbe Center” has come into existence for the purpose of returning pre-evolution faith to the Catholic Church, The Center’s website is http://www.kolbecenter.org


Home Page Creation/Evolution  

Theotokos Catholic Books – Creation/Evolution Section http://www.theotokos.org.uk

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One Response to “Why Faithful Catholics should oppose Evolution”

  1. Michael Craddock said

    This is is a very important summary article. It is also dated. I would very much like to be able to communicate by email with a Catholic scientist or philosopher of science who recognizes the specific areas of inadequate empirical support and other weaknesses of evolutionary theory. For example, evolutionists point to molecular biology as a dicipline which has provided “proof” of “evolutionary mechanisms’. I am most earnest in this request. I think your idea of educated Catholics presenting a clear and penetrating rebutal to evolutionary theory in Catholic primary and secondary schools is not only brilliant but a necessity. Mike Craddock, P.hD

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