Catholics, Intelligent Design & Darwin's Theory

January 2007By Mark Cole

Mark Cole writes from Warren, Pennsylvania.

In October 2004 a media firestorm engulfed the Dover School Board in Pennsylvania when it required that teachers read a statement about Intelligent Design in the classroom.

This was no isolated incident. Darwinian evolution enjoyed the status of an unquestioned orthodoxy for decades, but now it has suffered an ever-swelling number of challenges. Thanks to the work of a small number of scientists, the concept of Intelligent Design (ID) has become part of our public discourse -- and scientists who once disdained any effort to answer creationist challenges are now entering public debates with some of the most prominent members of the ID movement.

Many Catholics have no idea what to make of all this. After all, isn't ID merely the latest disguise for a creationism based on an overly literal Fundamentalist interpretation of Scripture? Didn't Pope John Paul II endorse evolution? Aren't there serious philosophical problems with any scientific attempt to identify design in nature?

You have two options:

  1. Online subscription: Subscribe now to New Oxford Review for access to all web content at AND the monthly print edition for as low as $38 per year.
  2. Single article purchase: Purchase this article for $1.95, for viewing and printing for 48 hours.

If you're already a subscriber log-in here.

Back to January 2007 Issue

Read our posting policy Add a comment
The odds of the universe having been created as it was by chance are for all practical purposes nil, and the odds that life started by 'accident' are also close to nil. And those are the findings of science!

As science progresses, it has become increasingly difficult to get at the 'root' of things. There are terrible difficulties now extant in physics string theory, and the Darwinists are experiencing extreme angst as they are forced to face the fact that there is very little direct evidence for their beloved theory (and much evidence in direct contradiction of it).

In short, and this is one of the huge stories of our time - science itself is increasingly pointing to a Creator!

Many atheists are running scared. They should be.

Bob Bitler
New Jersey
Posted by: luke
January 29, 2007 11:25 PM EST
I want to make two points re the article and Bob's comments.

First, one must distinguish between the God of the Bible and the God of metaphysics that some call the God of science . The answer in neither case has anything to do with chance or odds!

We BELIEVE in the God of the Bible, and metaphysics tells us, in no uncertain terms, that there MUTBE a first Cause, or First Mover whom we KNOW to exist."For all practical purposes nil," or "Close to nil" is not enough. Metaphysics leaves no room to uncertainty or hesitation. It is a black or white proposition or we have no argument. If we cannot close even the most remote possibility, then we cannot argue with the evolutionists.
Sandor Balogh, Ph. D.
Posted by: blueskies
June 05, 2007 10:59 AM EDT
The chief objection I have always had to evolution is that it contradicts the laws of thermodynamics. I mean, everywhere we look we see entropy: the universe becoming less organized, not more so.

But recently it occurred to me that Adam's sin resulted in consequences not just for man, but for the whole universe. What if, prior to Adam's fall, the universe was not subject to entropy. Well, evolution would then be the natural and reasonable thing to have happen, wouldn't it?
Posted by: Droddy
June 07, 2007 09:53 AM EDT
Droddy, all self-organizing systems "violate" the laws of thermodynamics on a local scale. They are like a ball rolling uphill, and they tend to greater and greater complexity, not less. If your understanding of biology is restricted to physics, then you are going to come up short.

The issue with evolution is not that it is wrong, but that it has poor explanatory power. Get the distinction? If you ask Dawkins why elephants have no wings, he will say that it's because there's no selection pressure to favor flying elephants. This is absolutely true. But it is also true that it is more or less impossible to make a wing structure that will support them out of the materials avaiable. So the answer based on natural selection is true while failing to answer the question.

At this point, evolutionary theory has moved beyond Dawkins' conception of it. So Creationists and proponents of ID are arguing against the Modern Evolutionary Synthesis, which is 1 part Gregor Mendel, 1 part Darwin, and 8 parts Selfish Gene theory. Plenty of evolutionary scientists have issues with this; see "How the Leopard Changed its Spots" for a treatment of newer (well, as of the '90s) theories with better explanatory power.

This is the kind of thing that Dawkins dismisses as "magical thinking" or Aristotelian vitalism. So we're really in the middle of a clash or religions or at least a culture war.
Posted by: brothercadfael
June 21, 2007 11:24 AM EDT
Brothercadfael, indeed, all self-organizing systems seem to violate thermodynamics on a local scale. But how does non-life count as a self-organizing system? How does non-life become life? This is the tipping point from physics to biology.

My point remains that entropy may well be the result of Original Sin at the level of physics. There is just no evidence of things getting more organized on their own. When a plant turns non-living things into plant matter, it is organizing things at its own level. Plants don't assemble matter into animals.

Even biological creatures have to obey the laws of thermodynamics, and of basic philosophy. You can't give what you don't have.
Posted by: Droddy
July 11, 2007 08:18 AM EDT
Brothercadfael points to the key weakness in Dawkins and most other evolutionists argument: “This is the kind of thing that Dawkins dismisses as "magical thinking" or Aristotelian vitalism. So we're really in the middle of a clash or religions or at least a culture war.”

They givcreationsimit a derogatory name and they (and many naďve dummies) think that they won. But they never prove, because they can’t, that “Aristotelian vitalism” is wrong.
Posted by: blueskies
November 08, 2007 09:19 AM EST
I think it was Michael Creighton (author of "Jurassic Park" and "State of Fear" and creator of TV's "ER" to mention a few of his credits) who said that Darwinism is like a tornado going through a junkyard and leaving a 747 in its wake.

People also should be told about how Darwinism is a racist theory that in the 1920s fueled eugenics in this country and Nazism as well. The theory today is little more than an adjunct to the promotion of godlessness and Marxism.
Posted by: j17ghs
November 08, 2007 09:37 PM EST
Add a comment