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April 11, 2007

The Pope On The Theory of Evolution: Maybe

Andrew Sullivan's heart just jumped. The Catholic orthodoxy is partly kinda-sorta aligning with the Andrew Sullivan Orthodoxy (TM)!

POPE Benedict, elaborating his views on evolution for the first time as Pontiff, says science has narrowed the way life's origins are understood and Christians should take a broader approach to the question.

The Pope also says the Darwinian theory of evolution is not completely provable because mutations over hundreds of thousands of years cannot be reproduced in a laboratory.

...

"Science has opened up large dimensions of reason ... and thus brought us new insights," Benedict, a former theology professor, said at the closed-door seminar with his former doctoral students last September that the book documents.

"But in the joy at the extent of its discoveries, it tends to take away from us dimensions of reason that we still need. Its results lead to questions that go beyond its methodical canon and cannot be answered within it."

...

Speculation about Benedict's views on evolution have been rife ever since a former student and close adviser, the Vienna cardinal Christoph Schoenborn, published an article in 2005 that seemed to align the Church with the "intelligent design" view.

...

In the book, Benedict defended what is known as "theistic evolution," the view held by Roman Catholic, Orthodox and mainline Protestant churches that God created life through evolution, and religion and science need not clash over this.

"I would not depend on faith alone to explain the whole picture," he remarked during the discussion held at the papal summer palace at Castel Gandolfo outside Rome.

He also denied using a "God-of-the-gaps" argument that sees divine intervention whenever science cannot explain something. "It's not as if I wanted to stuff the dear God into these gaps - he is too great to fit into such gaps," he said in the book.

End material defines "theistic evolution" thus:

The main Christian denominations interpret Genesis as an allegory on how God created life and accept the scientific theory of evolution as an explanation of how species developed. This is known as theistic evolution.

Actually if you read the article it's not terribly clear what exactly he's saying. He speaks mainly in the negative, he doesn't think this and he didn't mean that.

He's like the Alan Greenspan of metaphysics.


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posted by Ace at 11:52 PM

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