On Tuesday, Christoph Cardinal Schoenborn clarified comments that he has made in recent months about Darwinian evolution, Intelligent Design, and creation. Reuters reports:
"Without a doubt, Darwin pulled off quite a feat with his main work and it remains one of the very great works of intellectual history," Schoenborn declared in a lecture in St. Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna on Sunday. "I see no problem combining belief in the Creator with the theory of evolution, under one condition -- that the limits of a scientific theory are respected," he said.
Science studies what is observable and scientists overstep the boundaries of their discipline when they conclude evolution proves there was no creator, said the cardinal, 60, a top Church doctrinal expert and close associate of Pope Benedict. "It is fully reasonable to assume some sense or design even if the scientific method demands restrictions that shut out this question," said the cardinal.
Of course, it's no surprise that Reuters cannot seem to think outside the silly little box it creates — a box we might call "Fundamentalist Creationists vs. Enlightened Evolutionists Box for Those Stuck on Stupid" (sorry, I couldn't resist!):
Schoenborn, who ranked among the papal hopefuls last April, caused an uproar in the United States last July with a New York Times article that seemed to say the Church no longer accepted evolution and backed intelligent design.
Proponents of intelligent design argue that Darwin's natural selection theory is flawed and alternatives should be taught. Scientists reject this as a disguised form of Creationism, the literal belief in Creation as described in the Bible and barred by the U.S. Supreme Court from being taught in public schools.
1). The Cardinal condemned "neo-Darwinism", not evolution in general, in his New York Times piece. I figured that out by reading the piece. Yes, it was that simple.
2). More complicated is the Cardinal's criticism of what he calls the "neo-Darwinian" attempt to "to explain away the overwhelming evidence for design in biology is ideology, not science." This is what the fuss was mostly about among scientists.
3). Keeping it real and simple (even real simple): The Catholic Church still believes in God and still (gasp!) teaches that God created all things. This is, it is hard to deny, a form of Creationism.
4). There are a number of forms of "creationism," but most folks in the MSM seem blissfully unaware of this fact, just as they seem to think that all Christians are Bible-thumping morons who flunked out of the third grade.
5). Intelligent Design is not synonymous with the belief in a literal 7-day creation, nor even with an ardent, evangelical Christianity. As one of its key proponents, William A. Dembski, writes in his book Intelligent Design (IVP, 1999): "Within biology, intelligent design is a theory of biological origins and development. Its fundamental claim is that intelligent causes are necessary to explain the complex, information-rich structures of biology and that these causes are empirically detectable. ... Intelligent design properly formulated is a theory of information. Within such a theory, information becomes a reliable indicator of intelligent causation as well as a proper object for scientific investigation. Intelligent design thereby becomes a theory for detecting and measuring information, explaining its origin and tracing its flow. Intelligent design is therefore not the study of intelligent causes per se but of informational pathways induced by intelligent causes. As a result, intelligent design presupposes neither a creator nor miracles. Intelligent design is theologically minimalist." (pp. 106-7; emphasis added).
Dembski, for the record, has a Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Chicago and a Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Illinois at Chicago. He also has degrees in theology and psychology. I'll bet my Miles Davis collection and a case of Coke that he's smarter than most journalists, who apparently never bother to read what proponents of Intelligent Design actually write: "Hey, why bother taking Christian scientists at their word when their critics can conveniently skew what they are saying?" Yeah, why bother?
6). As Dembski openly states, Intelligent Design is a theory. Darwinian evolution is a theory. But the first is almost always condemned as some form of Fundamentalist silliness, while the latter is touted as proven fact. Go figure. Even more strange is the insistence from many quarters that the Catholic Church openly teaches evolution. Uh, no, she doesn't. Nor does she deny that forms of evolution might be compatible with Catholic doctrine. The question is an open one, no matter how hard some try to slam the door shut on the fingers of those who know better...