Search This Blog

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Catholics and Evolution (the macro kind)

During the time I am under the weather I am taking advantage of the wisdom of others. This is from Amy Proctor, copied here on my blog with her blessing.

If you read the NSA: Democrats and Aljazeera United you will see the normal interplay between conservatives who know what they are talking about and liberals who do not = business as usual. Within the comments, Amy addresses the concept that Catholics have agreed with the concept of Theistic evolution and does so quite thoroughly.

And now...........Amy Proctor!


"...you have no idea what you're talking about when it comes to Catholics and evolution. I have sitting in front of me a book by Pope Benedict called 'IN THE BEGINNING...a Catholic Understanding of the Story of Creation and the Fall' and the Pope denounces evolution and modern relativeism that has crept into the Church. I don't deny that many Catholics believe in theistic evolution, but 1) they're wrong and 2) it does not support the beliefs of Christ laid out in the Gospels. I think we've had this discussion at length in other threads....

Pius XII wrote in his encyclical identifying the tie between rationalism, modernism and communism, the form of human government founded on atheistic evolution:

“Some imprudently and indiscreetly hold that evolution, which has not been fully proved even in the domain of natural sciences, explains the origin of all things, and audaciously support the monistic and pantheistic opinion that the world is in continual evolution. Communists gladly subscribe to this opinion so that, when the souls of men have been deprived of every idea of a personal God, they may the more efficaciously defend and propagate their dialectical materialism.”

An encyclical is a reiteration based on necessity of Catholic teaching and belief. This is why Pope John Paul II, who believed in theistic evolution, never wrote an encyclical supporting theistic evolution. He COULDN'T. It is not supported by the Church, even if it is supported by many Catholics.


And, a Godly belief in evolution requires a huge disconnect from Holy Scripture and the Jewish religion. The earliest recorded history comes from the Israelites. The Jewish calendar says it is the year AM 5766. These are the people closest to creation, or certainly to man's recorded history. What most if not all theistic evolutionists do is reject Jewish and Scriptural accounts of Genesis saying, "They were primitive", "Error in translation", "We know more now than they did". Oh, really? Without the cloudiness of sin and confusion that we have today, they knew less then? They may not have been as technologically advanced, perhaps, but how would one explain the Tower of Babel or the Egyptian pyramids if man was so inferior and limited?

Theistic evolutionists butcher the Scriptures and Judaism to sustain their beliefs. I know, I have been discussing this issue with peers and clergy alike. They must dispute things like a literal Adam, literal creation, inspiration of the Scripture, genealogies, history and miracles. I asked my priest last week, who is a theistic evolutionist, when he said, "There is never be a conflict between science and Christianity": "Clearly there is, and why do you insist as a Christian clergy on giving the benefit to the doubt to theoretic science rather than the teachings of the Church?" The Church's teachings are very clear on Scripture:

102 Through all the words of Sacred Scripture, God speaks only one single Word, his one Utterance in whom he expresses himself completely:64


You recall that one and the same Word of God extends throughout Scripture, that it is one and the same Utterance that resounds in the mouths of all the sacred writers, since he who was in the beginning God with God has no need of separate syllables; for he is not subject to time.65

103 For this reason, the Church has always venerated the Scriptures as she venerates the Lord's Body. She never ceases to present to the faithful the bread of life, taken from the one table of God's Word and Christ's Body.66

104 In Sacred Scripture, the Church constantly finds her nourishment and her strength, for she welcomes it not as a human word, "but as what it really is, the word of God".67

"In the sacred books, the Father who is in heaven comes lovingly to meet his children, and talks with them."68

II. INSPIRATION AND TRUTH OF SACRED SCRIPTURE

105 God is the author of Sacred Scripture. "The divinely revealed realities, which are contained and presented in the text of Sacred Scripture, have been written down under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit."69

"For Holy Mother Church, relying on the faith of the apostolic age, accepts as sacred and canonical the books of the Old and the New Testaments, whole and entire, with all their parts, on the grounds that, written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, they have God as their author, and have been handed on as such to the Church herself."70

106 God inspired the human authors of the sacred books. "To compose the sacred books, God chose certain men who, all the while he employed them in this task, made full use of their own faculties and powers so that, though he acted in them and by them, it was as true authors that they consigned to writing whatever he wanted written, and no more."71

107 The inspired books teach the truth. "Since therefore all that the inspired authors or sacred writers affirm should be regarded as affirmed by the Holy Spirit, we must acknowledge that the books of Scripture firmly, faithfully, and without error teach that truth which God, for the sake of our salvation, wished to see confided to the Sacred Scriptures."72

Theistic evolutionists, such as my priest, deny the inspiration of Scripture EXCEPT for in circumstances that they wish (like John 6, which is where the Church derives her doctrine of the Holy Eucharist being literal with the real presence of Jesus in the wine and bread). Again, this is hypocritical and a big problem. WHAT OTHER RELIGIONS IN THE WORLD DISHONOR THEIR OWN HOLY BOOK TO ERR ON THE SIDE OF SCIENCE WHEN THERE IS A CONFLICT?

Evolution is different than gravity or electricity in implication because it involves issues of life, origins of humanity, the human soul, the human being and God. True science can never contradict truth, yet there is undoubtedly a movement (the majority of scientists combined are secularists, atheists or agnostics, I understand)

The Catechism says this about Creation:

*********************************
I. CATECHESIS ON CREATION

282 Catechesis on creation is of major importance. It concerns the very foundations of human and Christian life: for it makes explicit the response of the Christian faith to the basic question that men of all times have asked themselves:120

"Where do we come from?" "Where are we going?" "What is our origin?" "What is our end?" "Where does everything that exists come from and where is it going?" The two questions, the first about the origin and the second about the end, are inseparable. They are decisive for the meaning and orientation of our life and actions.

283 The question about the origins of the world and of man has been the object of many scientific studies which have splendidly enriched our knowledge of the age and dimensions of the cosmos, the development of life-forms and the appearance of man. These discoveries invite us to even greater admiration for the greatness of the Creator, prompting us to give him thanks for all his works and for the understanding and wisdom he gives to scholars and researchers. With Solomon they can say: "It is he who gave me unerring knowledge of what exists, to know the structure of the world and the activity of the elements. . . for wisdom, the fashioner of all things, taught me."121

284 The great interest accorded to these studies is strongly stimulated by a question of another order, which goes beyond the proper domain of the natural sciences. It is not only a question of knowing when and how the universe arose physically, or when man appeared, but rather of discovering the meaning of such an origin: is the universe governed by chance, blind fate, anonymous necessity, or by a transcendent, intelligent and good Being called "God"? And if the world does come from God's wisdom and goodness, why is there evil? Where does it come from? Who is responsible for it? Is there any liberation from it?

285 Since the beginning the Christian faith has been challenged by responses to the question of origins that differ from its own. Ancient religions and cultures produced many myths concerning origins. Some philosophers have said that everything is God, that the world is God, or that the development of the world is the development of God (Pantheism). Others have said that the world is a necessary emanation arising from God and returning to him. Still others have affirmed the existence of two eternal principles, Good and Evil, Light and Darkness, locked, in permanent conflict (Dualism, Manichaeism). According to some of these conceptions, the world (at least the physical world) is evil, the product of a fall, and is thus to be rejected or left behind (Gnosticism). Some admit that the world was made by God, but as by a watch-maker who, once he has made a watch, abandons it to itself (Deism). Finally, others reject any transcendent origin for the world, but see it as merely the interplay of matter that has always existed (Materialism). All these attempts bear witness to the permanence and universality of the question of origins. This inquiry is distinctively human.

286 Human intelligence is surely already capable of finding a response to the question of origins. The existence of God the Creator can be known with certainty through his works, by the light of human reason,122

even if this knowledge is often obscured and disfigured by error. This is why faith comes to confirm and enlighten reason in the correct understanding of this truth: "By faith we understand that the world was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was made out of things which do not appear."123

287 The truth about creation is so important for all of human life that God in his tenderness wanted to reveal to his People everything that is salutary to know on the subject. Beyond the natural knowledge that every man can have of the Creator,124

God progressively revealed to Israel the mystery of creation. He who chose the patriarchs, who brought Israel out of Egypt, and who by choosing Israel created and formed it, this same God reveals himself as the One to whom belong all the peoples of the earth, and the whole earth itself; he is the One who alone "made heaven and earth".125

288 Thus the revelation of creation is inseparable from the revelation and forging of the covenant of the one God with his People. Creation is revealed as the first step towards this covenant, the first and universal witness to God's all-powerful love.126

And so, the truth of creation is also expressed with growing vigor in the message of the prophets, the prayer of the psalms and the liturgy, and in the wisdom sayings of the Chosen People.127

289 Among all the Scriptural texts about creation, the first three chapters of Genesis occupy a unique place. From a literary standpoint these texts may have had diverse sources. The inspired authors have placed them at the beginning of Scripture to express in their solemn language the truths of creation - its origin and its end in God, its order and goodness, the vocation of man, and finally the drama of sin and the hope of salvation. Read in the light of Christ, within the unity of Sacred Scripture and in the living Tradition of the Church, these texts remain the principal source for catechesis on the mysteries of the "beginning": creation, fall, and promise of salvation.

*************************************

and

*************************************

296 We believe that God needs no pre-existent thing or any help in order to create, nor is creation any sort of necessary emanation from the divine substance.144

God creates freely "out of nothing":145

297 Scripture bears witness to faith in creation "out of nothing" as a truth full of promise and hope.

301 With creation, God does not abandon his creatures to themselves. He not only gives them being and existence, but also, and at every moment, upholds and sustains them in being, enables them to act and brings them to their final end. Recognizing this utter dependence with respect to the Creator is a source of wisdom and freedom, of joy and confidence:

For you love all things that exist, and detest none of the things that you have made; for you would not have made anything if you had hated it. How would anything have endured, if you had not willed it? Or how would anything not called forth by you have been preserved? You spare all things, for they are yours, O Lord, you who love the living.160

317 God alone created the universe, freely, directly and without any help.

318 No creature has the infinite power necessary to "create" in the proper sense of the word, that is, to produce and give being to that which had in no way possessed it (to call into existence "out of nothing")"

*************************************

You rock, Amy!

29 comments:

creeper said...

"To the Members of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences taking part in the Plenary Assembly,

With great pleasure I address cordial greetings to you, Mr. President, and to all of you who constitute the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, on the occasion of your plenary assembly. I offer my best wishes in particular to the new academicians, who have come to take part in your work for the first time. I would also like to remember the academicians who died during the past year, whom I commend to the Lord of life.

1. In celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Academy's refoundation, I would like to recall the intentions of my predecessor Pius XI, who wished to surround himself with a select group of scholars, relying on them to inform the Holy See in complete freedom about developments in scientific research, and thereby to assist him in his reflections.

He asked those whom he called the Church's Senatus scientificus to serve the truth. I again extend this same invitation to you today, certain that we will all be able to profit from the fruitfulness of a trustful dialogue between the Church and science (cf. Address to the Academy of Sciences, n. 1, 28 October 1986, L'Osservatore Romano English edition, 24 November 1986, p. 22).

Science at the dawn of the third millennium

2. I am pleased with the first theme you have chosen, that of the origins of life and evolution, an essential subject which deeply interests the Church, since Revelation, for its part, contains teaching concerning the nature and origins of man. How do the conclusions reached by the various scientific disciplines coincide with those contained in the message of Revelation? And if, at first sight, there are apparent contradictions, in what direction do we look for their solution? We know, in fact, that truth cannot contradict truth (cf. Leo XIII, Encyclical Providentissimus Deus). Moreover, to shed greater light on historical truth, your research on the Church's relations with science between the 16th and 18th centuries is of great importance.

During this plenary session, you are undertaking a "reflection on science at the dawn of the third millennium", starting with the identification of the principal problems created by the sciences and which affect humanity's future. With this step you point the way to solutions which will be beneficial to the whole human community. In the domain of inanimate and animate nature, the evolution of science and its applications gives rise to new questions. The better the Church's knowledge is of their essential aspects, the more she will understand their impact. Consequently, in accordance with her specific mission she will be able to offer criteria for discerning the moral conduct required of all human beings in view of their integral salvation.

3. Before offering you several reflections that more specifically concern the subject of the origin of life and its evolution, I would like to remind you that the Magisterium of the Church has already made pronouncements on these matters within the framework of her own competence. I will cite here two interventions.

In his Encyclical Humani generis (1950), my predecessor Pius XII had already stated that there was no opposition between evolution and the doctrine of the faith about man and his vocation, on condition that one did not lose sight of several indisputable points (cf. AAS 42 [1950], pp. 575-576).

For my part, when I received those taking part in your Academy's plenary assembly on 31 October 1992, I had the opportunity, with regard to Galileo, to draw attention to the need of a rigorous hermeneutic for the correct interpretation of the inspired word. It is necessary to determine the proper sense of Scripture, while avoiding any unwarranted interpretations that make it say what it does not intend to say. In order to delineate the field of their own study, the exegete and the theologian must keep informed about the results achieved by the natural sciences (cf. AAS 85 [1993] pp. 764-772; Address to the Pontifical Biblical Commission, 23 April 1993, announcing the document on The interpretation of the Bible in the Church: AAS 86 [1994] pp. 232-243).

Evolution and the Church's Magisterium

4. Taking into account the state of scientific research at the time as well as of the requirements of theology, the Encyclical Humani generis considered the doctrine of "evolutionism" a serious hypothesis, worthy of investigation and in-depth study equal to that of the opposing hypothesis. Pius XII added two methodological conditions: that this opinion should not be adopted as though it were a certain, proven doctrine and as though one could totally prescind from Revelation with regard to the questions it raises. He also spelled out the condition on which this opinion would be compatible with the Christian faith, a point to which I will return.

Today, almost half a century after the publication of the Encyclical, fresh knowledge has led to the recognition that evolution is more than a hypothesis. It is indeed remarkable that this theory has been progressively accepted by researchers, following a series of discoveries in various fields of knowledge. The convergence, neither sought nor fabricated, of the results of work that was conducted independently is in itself a significant argument in favor of this theory.

What is the significance of such a theory? To address this question is to enter the field of epistemology. A theory is a metascientific elaboration, distinct from the results of observation but consistent with them. By means of it a series of independent data and facts can be related and interpreted in a unified explanation. A theory's validity depends on whether or not it can be verified, it is constantly tested against the facts; wherever it can no longer explain the latter, it shows its limitations and unsuitability. It must then be rethought.

Furthermore, while the formulation of a theory like that of evolution complies with the need for consistency with the observed data, it borrows certain notions from natural philosophy. And, to tell the truth, rather than the theory of evolution, we should speak of several theories of evolution. On the one hand, this plurality has to do with the different explanations advanced for the mechanism of evolution, and on the other, with the various philosophies on which it is based. Hence the existence of materialist, reductionist and spiritualist interpretations. What is to be decided here is the true role of philosophy and, beyond it, of theology.

5. The Church's Magisterium is directly concerned with the question of evolution, for it involves the conception of man: Revelation teaches us that he was created in the image and likeness of God (cf. Gn 1:27-29). The conciliar Constitution Gaudium et spes has magnificently explained this doctrine, which is pivotal to Christian thought. It recalled that man is :the only creature on earth that God has wanted for its own sake" (n. 24). In other terms, the human individual cannot be subordinated as a pure means or a pure instrument, either to the species or to society, he has value per se. He is a person. With his intellect and his will, he is capable of forming a relationship of communion, solidarity and self-giving with his peers. St Thomas observes that man's likeness to God resides especially in his speculative intellect for his relationship with the object of his knowledge resembles God's relationship with what he has created (Summa Theologica, I-II, q. 3, a. 5, ad 1). But even more, man is called to enter into a relationship of knowledge and love with God himself, a relationship which will find its complete fulfilment beyond time, in eternity. All the depth and grandeur of this vocation are revealed to us in the mystery of the risen Christ (cf. Gaudium et spes, n. 22). It is by virtue of his spiritual soul that the whole person possesses such a dignity even in his body. Pius XII stressed this essential point: if the human body takes its origin from pre-existent living matter the spiritual soul is immediately created by God ("animal enim a Deo immediate creari catholica fides nos retinere inhet"; Encyclical Humani generic, AAS 42 [1950], p. 575).

Consequently, theories of evolution which, in accordance with the philosophies inspiring them, consider the mind as emerging from the forces of living matter, or as a mere epiphenomenon of this matter, are incompatible with the truth about man. Nor are they able to ground the dignity of the person.

6. With man, then, we find ourselves in the presence of an ontological difference, an ontological leap, one could say. However, does not the posing of such ontological discontinuity run counter to that physical continuity which seems to be the main thread of research into evolution in the field of physics and chemistry? Consideration of the method used in the various branches of knowledge makes it possible to reconcile two points of view which would seem irreconcilable. The sciences of observation describe and measure the multiple manifestations of life with increasing precision and correlate them with the time line. The moment of transition into the spiritual cannot be the object of this kind of observation, which nevertheless can discover at the experimental level a series of very valuable signs indicating what is specific to the human being. But the experience of metaphysical knowledge, of self-awareness and self-reflection, of moral conscience, freedom, or again, of aesthetic and religious experience, falls within the competence of philosophical analysis and reflection while theology brings out its ultimate meaning according to the Creator's plans.

We are called to enter eternal life

7. In conclusion, I would like to call to mind a Gospel truth which can shed a higher light on the horizon of your research into the origins and unfolding of living matter. The Bible in fact bears an extraordinary message of life. It gives us a wise vision of life inasmuch as it describes the loftiest forms of existence. This vision guided me in the Encyclical which I dedicated to respect for human life, and which I called precisely Evangelium vitae.

It is significant that in St John's Gospel life refers to the divine light which Christ communicates to us. We are called to enter into eternal life, that is to say, into the eternity of divine beatitude.

To warn us against the serious temptations threatening us, our Lord quotes the great saying of Deuteronomy: "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God" (Dt 8:3, cf. Mt 4:4).

Even more, "life" is one of the most beautiful titles which the Bible attributes to God. He is the living God.

I cordially invoke an abundance of divine blessings upon you and upon all who are close to you.

From the Vatican, 22 October 1996.

*Official translation published in L'Osservatore Romano, "Weekly Edition in English," 30 October 1996."

A Hermit said...

If Amy Proctor is correct (and having taken a look at her site I wouldn't get my hopes up on that point) Benedict would be taking a big step back from his predecessors' opinions.

Questions for Pope on Evolution Stance

Anonymous said...

I encourage everyone to read the comments on the linked post so you can see how the other side treats differing ideas. See how
* Amy, the computer expert, challenges my first-person knowledge on a variety of subjects computer-related.
* Amy routinely confuses Al Qaeda and Aljazeera.
* Amy lectures me on Judaism, a subject on which she has no knowledge, and a subject on which I have a great deal of knowledge.
* Amy recalls arguing with her priest over evolution.
* Amy calls posters on Aljazeera's web site terrorists.
* Radar calls liberals stupid
* Tim (highboy around these parts) uses insults, non-sequitirs and bullying as stand ins for actual arguments.

Wait, scratch that last one, that's just standard operating procedure.

Yep Radar, Liberals don't know what we're talking about.

Just for the record, let me repeat myself on the whole Judaism/Creationism line since you mentioned it in this posting.

The overwhelming majority of Jews reject a literal interpretation of the bible and creationism with it.. That Amy repeats her misguided claim that The people closest to the bible accept creationism only shows how reason, logic and fact don't hold much sway in this debate. She *might* have meant that primitive Jews believed in creationism, but I fail to see how the beliefs of ancient man are germane. Ancient Jews didn't know what *stars* were --why should we trust their beliefs regarding the development of life? Judaism does not and has never required belief in an inerrant bible (ever hear of the Talmud? Ever read it?) and to claim it does shows a profound ignorance of this religion.

Oh, and Tim (highboy), I'd like to retract my suggestion about how you should write more like radar. These past week or so, I've seen a different side of him. I'd suggest you write more like Creeper, Dan S. or Hermit. Those guys know how to formulate an argument. I was going to post a reply to your comment on me being a phony, but I did say that arguing with you isn't worth it, and I didn't want to be a double-phony.

Anonymous said...

Very nice - but Creeper, it's not a encylical. Which is one I haven't heard before, and a better excuse than claiming it was just some off the cuff remarks or insinuating (quite insultingly, imo) that John Paul II was not in full command of his facilities at this point.

So, the issue is not about the reality of evolution, or the beliefs of many Catholics, but the teachings of the Church. Ok.

First off, let me emphasize one point that comes up in the above address to the PAS, that of different kinds of evolutionary theory. There's what I'll call methodologically naturalistic (or scientific) evolution , which does not involve God and sees evolution as, as far as can be determined, an unguided process. This is often taken to be a swipe at religion (and is sometimes used this way, I think, in their popular, non-profesional writing, by one or two scientists who are actually strong antitheists) but I think is more in reference to an old evolution debate from the 19th and early 20th century, over whether there is some sort of life force guiding evolution forward (see orthogenesis at good ol' wikipedia.).

The Church does not and cannot accept this version, at least without changing utterly. How could it?

But then you have Catholic theistic evolution. This accepts the modern scientific consensus as such, but goes beyond science's methodological naturalism, since it works differently and for a different aim, and adds several caveats. The Church believes that there is an ultimate meaning, that God is the Creator, and mankind his most beloved creation, in possession of a soul that is not a product of purely materialistic processes. Therefore, evolution - documented in the rocks and our very flesh - is obviously the way God worked, and and that which makes us special - our soul - was the created product of a divinely guided "transition into the spiritual," which "l cannot be the object of [scientific observation] observation".

Now, this isn't science, but the Church doesn't claim that it is - it's metaphysics. As a atheist I do not agree, but I have no objection. Likewise, presumably implict in Catholicism is the idea that God is the ultimate reason for the existence of gravity and the solar system, science cannot address that issue and deals with things as they are, and I assume it all just happened (given physical laws and stuff). It's all good.

If I can comment the specific statement you quoted from Pope Pius XII:
"“Some imprudently and indiscreetly hold that evolution, which has not been fully proved even in the domain of natural sciences"
Not sure what he means in the last bit. Where else should it be proved? It's a theory strictly within the domain of natural sciences.

", explains the origin of all things,"
ah, he's lumping various ideas, from biological evolution to the 'evolution' of the solar system to that of the univere himself (wasn't he a fan of the Big Bang?). These are very different and not really related ideas, except in that they're seen to provide an alternative explantion to a Creator God.

"and audaciously support the monistic and pantheistic opinion that the world is in continual evolution."
In the phrase you quote, Pius XII is addressing not biological evolution as science, but broader ideas about origins and development as metaphysics. Modern science has nothing to do with pantheism, even though some might see a superficial similarity between its findings and the musings of pantheists, any more than real quantum physics validates or supports any amount of new-agey mystical silliness. (At least, I don't think it does - it's all rather above my head - very strange stuff, though it does have a certain charm . . .)

"Communists gladly subscribe to this opinion so that, when the souls of men have been deprived of every idea of a personal God, they may the more efficaciously defend and propagate their dialectical materialism.”

The Soviet Union at this time completely denied evolution as understood in the West - the Modern Synthesis, combining Darwin's ideas with genetics and population bio - for both political and ideological reasons, replacing genetics with the warmed-over Lamarckism of the charlatan Lysenko (wiki.

And of course, that some depised or dangerous group holds an opinion, even for repugnant reasons, doesn't mean in and of itself that this idea is incorrect. Probably most Democrats believe that doctors should wash their hands before being involved in delivering a baby, but it's still a good idea!

But Pius XII had a point. Besides really not liking evolution, it was not quite as secure back them. It had not been so long ago, at the time he spoke, that the field had been riven by genuine controversy and all sorts of competing theories, prior to the modern synthesis of evolution in its more or less modern form (although a lot has happened since then!). There were a few years to go until DNA was discovered, with its enormous implications for and further evidence of evolution. Warning against hasty acceptance of cutting edge science as doctrine was not unreasonable.

Nevertheless, as John Paul II mentions, the encylical is no blanket rejection of evolution. Indeed, it goes on to say:
"The Teaching Authority of the Church does not forbid that, in conformity with the present state of human sciences and sacred theology, research and discussions, on the part of men experiences in both fields, take place with regard to the doctrine of evolution, in as far as it inquires into the origin of the human body as coming from pre-existent and living matter—for the Catholic faith obliges us to hold that souls are immediately created by God."

Which, souls being a metaphysical matter that science has no way of handling, meets with no objection from science. (Dawkins doesn't like it, but that's him).

Fast forward almost half-a-century, and you have Pope John Paul II, courtesy of Creeper, pointing out what's changed:

"Today, almost half a century after the publication of the Encyclical, fresh knowledge has led to the recognition that evolution is more than a hypothesis. It is indeed remarkable that this theory has been progressively accepted by researchers, following a series of discoveries in various fields of knowledge. The convergence, neither sought nor fabricated, of the results of work that was conducted independently is in itself a significant argument in favor of this theory."

which is very well said. John Paul II had thought deeply about the relationship - and "apparent contradictions" -between science and religion. Three years earlier he had formally aquitted Galileo from charges of heretically supporting heliocentrism (hey, better late than never), and I believe he wanted to help spare the Church further trouble and embarrassment along these lines (and believe me, that's what it is. Just think - forever, as long as we preserve that information, the Church will always have the burden of being known to have opposed on religious grounds the reality of the earth revolving around the sun. That's an staggering handicap for the status and esteem of Christianity in the modern world - and yes, it can most certainly get around it, but it's always there in the background, providing a ready source of doubt and mockery). Meanwhile, it turned out that Christianity could (eventually) get along just fine with heliocentrism, to the extent that John Paul II used it as an example of how science could provide impetus and knowledfe for the Church to seek out a “correct interpretation of the inspired word.” (see The Vatican's View of Evolution: The Story of Two Popes

I haven't read In the Beginning, which I hear is a collection of several homilies written by the then-Cardinal Ratzinger in the early '80s, but as far as razib can tell, it is standard Catholic theistic evolutionism (ie, there is a God, there is ultimate meaning, evolution was not ultimately blind, purposeless, and unguided, and God, not mere material processes, was involved the ensoulment of the human species). If this is incorrect, please tell me!

Meanwhile, as the post goes on to say, then-Cardinal Ratzinger ok-ed the publishing of the document Communion and Stewardship: Human Persons Created in the Image of God (developed and "discussed at numerous meetings of the subcommission and several plenary sessions of the International Theological Commission held at Rome during the period 2000-2002"; Ratzinger was president of the Commission at the time)

. . . According to the widely accepted scientific account, the universe erupted 15 billion years ago in an explosion called the “Big Bang” and has been expanding and cooling ever since. Later there gradually emerged the conditions necessary for the formation of atoms, still later the condensation of galaxies and stars, and about 10 billion years later the formation of planets. In our own solar system and on earth (formed about 4.5 billion years ago), the conditions have been favorable to the emergence of life. While there is little consensus among scientists about how the origin of this first microscopic life is to be explained, there is general agreement among them that the first organism dwelt on this planet about 3.5-4 billion years ago. Since it has been demonstrated that all living organisms on earth are genetically related, it is virtually certain that all living organisms have descended from this first organism. Converging evidence from many studies in the physical and biological sciences furnishes mounting support for some theory of evolution to account for the development and diversification of life on earth, while controversy continues over the pace and mechanisms of evolution. While the story of human origins is complex and subject to revision, physical anthropology and molecular biology combine to make a convincing case for the origin of the human species in Africa about 150,000 years ago in a humanoid population of common genetic lineage. However it is to be explained, the decisive factor in human origins was a continually increasing brain size, culminating in that of homo sapiens. With the development of the human brain, the nature and rate of evolution were permanently altered: with the introduction of the uniquely human factors of consciousness, intentionality, freedom and creativity, biological evolution was recast as social and cultural evolution.

...


70. With respect to the immediate creation of the human soul, Catholic theology affirms that particular actions of God bring about effects that transcend the capacity of created causes acting according to their natures. The appeal to divine causality to account for genuinely causal as distinct from merely explanatory gaps does not insert divine agency to fill in the “gaps” in human scientific understanding (thus giving rise to the so-called "God of the gaps”). The structures of the world can be seen as open to non-disruptive divine action in directly causing events in the world.
Catholic theology affirms that that the emergence of the first members of the human species (whether as individuals or in populations) represents an event that is not susceptible of a purely natural explanation and which can appropriately be attributed to divine intervention. Acting indirectly through causal chains operating from the beginning of cosmic history, God prepared the way for what Pope John Paul II has called “an ontological leap...the moment of transition to the spiritual.” While science can study these causal chains, it falls to theology to locate this account of the special creation of the human soul within the overarching plan of the triune God to share the communion of trinitarian life with human persons who are created out of nothing in the image and likeness of God, and who, in his name and according to his plan, exercise a creative stewardship and sovereignty over the physical universe.


More recently, the director of the Vatican Observatory (and a Jesuit, and presumably not spouting off in defiance of the Pope) made a strong statement against ID, for science, and for a Catholic theistic understanding of evolution:

"Christianity is “radically creationist,” Father George V. Coyne said, but it is not best described by the “crude creationism” of the fundamental, literal, scientific interpretation of Genesis or by the Newtonian dictatorial God who makes the universe tick along like a watch. Rather, he stresses, God acts as a parent toward the universe, nurturing, encouraging and working with it.

In his remarks, he also criticizes the cardinal archbishop of Vienna’s support for Intelligent Design and notes that Pope John Paul’s declaration that “evolution is no longer a mere hypothesis” is “a fundamental church teaching” which advances the evolutionary debate.

He calls “mistaken” the belief that the Bible should be used “as a source of scientific knowledge,” which then serves to “unduly complicate the debate over evolution.”
. . . .

He points to the “marvelous intuition” of Roman Catholic Cardinal John Henry Newman who said in 1868, “the theory of Darwin, true or not, is not necessarily atheistic; on the contrary, it may simply be suggesting a larger idea of divine providence and skill.”

Pope John Paul Paul II, he adds, told the Pontifical Academy of Sciences in 1996 that “new scientific knowledge has led us to the conclusion that the theory of evolution is no longer a mere hypothesis.”

. . .

Christianity is “radically creationist” and God is the “creator of the universe,” he says, but in “a totally different sense” than creationism has come to mean.

“It is unfortunate that, especially here in America, creationism has come to mean some fundamentalistic, literal, scientific interpretation of Genesis,” he stresses. “It is rooted in a belief that everything depends upon God, or better, all is a gift from God. The universe is not God and it cannot exist independently of God. Neither pantheism nor naturalism is true.”

He says that God is not needed to explain the “scientific picture of life’s origins in terms of religious belief.”

“To need God would be a very denial of God. God is not a response to a need,” the Jesuit says, adding that some religious believers act as if they “fondly hope for the durability of certain gaps in our scientific knowledge of evolution, so that they can fill them with God.”

Yet, he adds, this is the opposite of what human intelligence should be working toward. “We should be seeking for the fullness of God in creation.”

Modern science reveals to the religious believer “God who made a universe that has within it a certain dynamism and thus participates in the very creativity of God,” Father Coyne says, adding that this view of creation is not new but can be found in early Christian writings, including from those of St. Augustine.

“Religious believers must move away from the notion of a dictator God, a Newtonian God who made the universe as a watch that ticks along regularly.”

He proposes to describe God’s relationship with the universe as that of a parent with a child, with God nurturing, preserving and enriching its individual character. “God should be seen more as a parent or as one who speaks encouraging and sustaining words.”

He stresses that the theory of Intelligent Design diminishes God into “an engineer who designs systems rather than a lover.”

“God in his infinite freedom continuously creates a world which reflects that freedom at all levels of the evolutionary process to greater and greater complexity,” he said. “God lets the world be what it will be in its continuous evolution. He does not intervene, but rather allows, participates, loves.”

The concludes his prepared remarks noting that science challenges believers’ traditional understanding of God and the universe to look beyond “crude creationism” to a view that preserves the special character of both."


Meanwhile, Cardinal Schonborn's NY Times editorial, which set off the fuss he's responding to here, did not in my reading of it necessarily deny or question(?) evolution per se, only -again - the idea that it is a blind, aimless, unguided process. Science has to say that, as there is no evidence to the contrary that it can see; religion doesn't. (I should reread the piece, though, to be certain)


"And, a Godly belief in evolution requires a huge disconnect from Holy Scripture and the Jewish religion"

Judaism in general has no problem with evolution, actually. There are individual Jewish creationists, and 'fundamentalist' sects who believe that when Torah and science clash, Torah always wins - I'll dig up some amusingly absurd examples if you wish - but the Jewish religion is pretty much ok with it.

"They may not have been as technologically advanced, perhaps, but how would one explain the Tower of Babel or the Egyptian pyramids if man was so inferior and limited?"

People do cool stuff. Nobody's saying they were grunting knuckle-draggers. But they didn't have the internal combustion engine or TV, medicine was pretty iffy, genetics existed only in the form of some commonsense observations about stockbreeding, and people tended to assume that the sun was something fairly small up there traveling across the sky, around (really, above) the earth, whether driven by Apollio, pushed by a great scarab, riding in a boat, etc. In terms of science we know a lot more now (quick, Amy, when would you want to be if giving birth - the most medically advanced civilization in the world two (or even three) thousand years ago, with the best available care or in a halfway decent hospital in 2006?)

If Scripture is the inspired word of God (which I don't believe, but hey) . . . well, anyway, as far as we can tell, it does not appear to communicate scientific ideas in advance of what was understood at the time. (They probably wouldn't make much sense, and presumably God wanted humanity to discover the wonders of bread mold and handwashing before delivering babies by themselves?)

"There is never be a conflict between science and Christianity": "Clearly there is, and why do you insist as a Christian clergy on giving the benefit to the doubt to theoretic science rather than the teachings of the Church?" "

See geocentrism vs. heliocentrism.

"WHAT OTHER RELIGIONS IN THE WORLD DISHONOR THEIR OWN HOLY BOOK TO ERR ON THE SIDE OF SCIENCE WHEN THERE IS A CONFLICT?"

All modern versions, and it's not dishonoring. A leper comes to you for help. Do you treat him in the biblical fashion (I think it's leprosy in the passage I'm remembering - although there's some question whether the condition(s) addressed in the Bible is actually Hansen's disease), or send him to a doctor who, thanks to modern medicine, can easily cure him with a cocktail of antibiotics (although, as anyone whose read Donaldson's Thomas Covenant books know, nerves don't regenerate -though we might be able to fix that one of these days . . .)? If you run into a Wiccan at the supermarket, do you do what scripture suggests?

"Evolution is different than gravity or electricity in implication because it involves issues of life, origins of humanity, the human soul, the human being and God."

Ok, but take germ theory. This is an astounding challenge to the Biblical view. Infectious disease and plagues aren't sent by God, but caused by tiny organisms! The implications are vast - yet nobody bats an eye.

And as we've seen, Catholic theistic evolution deals with these implications in a way that does not reject modern science, yet remains true to the Church's core teachings. I don't understand where the difficulty lies?

"289 Among all the Scriptural texts about creation, the first three chapters of Genesis occupy a unique place. From a literary standpoint these texts may have had diverse sources. The inspired authors have placed them at the beginning of Scripture to express in their solemn language the truths of creation - its origin and its end in God, its order and goodness, the vocation of man, and finally the drama of sin and the hope of salvation. Read in the light of Christ, within the unity of Sacred Scripture and in the living Tradition of the Church, these texts remain the principal source for catechesis on the mysteries of the "beginning": creation, fall, and promise of salvation."

To me, this doesn't necessarily read as an endorsement of Genesis 1-3 as strictly literal truth, but rather as (inspired) texts placed at the beginnning to "express in their solemn language the truths of creation . . . the mysteries of the "beginning": creation, fall, and promise of salvation." One could understand these truths to be different from a strictly scientific account - not how (exactly), but (much, much more importantly to most people) why. But perhaps I am mistaken in my interpretation of this passage. Nevertheless, the quoted points 296-318 do not seem to in any way contradict theistic evolution.

Ok, I had to dash this off in between other things, so back to work - will crosspost this to Amy's blog in a bit - and Amy, we disagree, but it's cool that you think and argue about this issue - so many people hardly think or argue about anything beyond day-to-day events and trivia (what is going on in Lost?) . . .


-Dan S.

highboy said...

"* Amy, the computer expert, challenges my first-person knowledge on a variety of subjects computer-related."

What is your point? Does that hurt her credibility? Are you recognized as a computer genius nation-wide?

"* Amy routinely confuses Al Qaeda and Aljazeera."

Who have the same relationship that the Sinn Fein has to the I.R.A.

"* Amy lectures me on Judaism, a subject on which she has no knowledge, and a subject on which I have a great deal of knowledge."

Yeah, you keep saying that. How about a demonstration?

"* Radar calls liberals stupid"

And you mock Radar's intelligence on your own blog, hypocrite. Clean up your own back yard.

"* Tim (highboy around these parts) uses insults, non-sequitirs and bullying as stand ins for actual arguments."

And as I posted above, you do the same thing on your own site. You're just mad I do it better than you. You've never refuted any of my arguments on Amy's site either, so I guess I do have "actual arguments."

"That Amy repeats her misguided claim that The people closest to the bible accept creationism only shows how reason, logic and fact don't hold much sway in this debate."

And your "I'm an expert so take my word for it" line does?

"I'd suggest you write more like Creeper, Dan S. or Hermit."

Creeper, Dan, I agree. Creeper has had debates with me in the past, and has proven himself right and myself wrong on more than one occasion, for which I had no bones about retracting my argument and apologizing. Dan, who I disagree with most of the time, doesn't say "Hey I'm an expert. I win." He at least provides some intelligent argument, backed by sources. You don't. You assume, as you have admitted yourself on Amy's site. I suggest YOU write more like Dan and Creeper. I won't write like Hermit, who criticizes someone else's country based on liberal media while his own country is a disgrace.

"I was going to post a reply to your comment on me being a phony"

No need, you just proved my point for me yet again.

By the way, just to give everyone else some evidence to your hypocrisy, ike Wrestling With A Pig. Not to mention Bwahahahah But I'm sure no one would find these things insulting.

Let me also educate you a little about your faith:

"Orthodox Judaism believes in a strict literal interpretation of Judaism’s sacred text, the Torah (first five books of the Bible: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy). Interpreting the Torah as such, they view evolution as being contradictory to what Jews should believe in."

As you will read on, it is reform Jews that believe in evolution, making Amy's statement that those closest to the Bible, do NOT believe in evolution to be correct. Thanks for coming out.

As far as Christianity goes, I'm not sure who I'm agreeing or disagreeing with, but there is no set dogma. Some catholics believe in evolution, some don't. Some protestants believe in evolution, some don't. Now I can't speak for the Catholics, but no Protestant denomination that I've read about in the
Handbook Of Denominations has anything regarding evolution in its articles of faith. I could be wrong.

highboy said...

I got a little carried away with my linkage apparently.

"Ancient Jews didn't know what *stars* were"

Did Darwin know that stars were balls of gasses that burned light years away? If so, how did he come to that conclusion?

A Hermit said...

"I won't write like Hermit, who criticizes someone else's country based on liberal media while his own country is a disgrace."

I ddn't criticise your country, Highboy, I criticised the current administration (you need to learn that there is a difference) because of the way it's policies have affected my own nation. I think I've mentioned a couple of times how much I have admired America, its people and its principles. Please don't tell lies about me.

And there are certainly things about my own country I would (and frequently do) criticize, but to call it a disgrace? That was really uncalled for.

Remember 9/11 when every US airport shut down and all those planes had nowhere to land? Where do you think they went, Highboy? Who took them in in spite of the risk that there were more terrorists aboard?

When it became clear that it was Bin Laden and Al Qaeda with the protection of the Taliban who were responsible, who was first in line to offer support for a mission to take them out? Who sent the third largest force to that mission (only Britain and the US doing more) and still has forces actively fighting and dieing in that struggle on your behalf?

And how did your government thank us? By slapping illegal duties on our exports and kidnapping innocent Canadian citizens to Middle Eastern tyrants for torture.

Grow up little Highboy; the real world doesn't fit in your childish pigeonholes. The only disgrace here is in your arrogance and lack of respect.

A Patriotic Hermit

highboy said...

"I ddn't criticise your country, Highboy, I criticised the current administration"

And Reagan, and others...

"Please don't tell lies about me."

Don't tell lies about my president, which is exactly what you have been doing, even if you are just repeating BLATANTLY liberal bias from left wings sources like CBC.

"And there are certainly things about my own country I would (and frequently do) criticize, but to call it a disgrace? That was really uncalled for."

No, it wasn't. Any country that refuses to even lower their flag for troops getting killed for their country is a disgrace. My opinion stands. Go get shot at under orders from someone else and you'll see why.

"When it became clear that it was Bin Laden and Al Qaeda with the protection of the Taliban who were responsible, who was first in line to offer support for a mission to take them out? Who sent the third largest force to that mission (only Britain and the US doing more) and still has forces actively fighting and dieing in that struggle on your behalf?"

Who couldn't affort to piss America off, especially at a time when the entire country is looking for people to take their anger out on? And it isn't our behalf that your soldiers are dying, its your own, unless you think terrorist Muslims would just leave you alone. The only reason you weren't attacked already was because the U.S. is more powerful, and so more of an object of blame.

As for your exports, you are complaining to the wrong person. If we don't need your lumber, we have no reason to buy it from you. Same goes with your meat and all of the mad cow disease that comes with it. NAFTA is a big reason why our drug problem is so bad. You have also accused the U.S. of "kidnapping" Canadian citizens. So far you have linked one, who hasn't been proven innocent of his charges yet. Sure, CANDADIANS are mad, I'm not. The U.S. didn't just pick out some Canadian and ship him off to Syria out of disdain.

"Grow up little Highboy; the real world doesn't fit in your childish pigeonholes."

Nice, but I'm not the one living in a close minded liberal bubble. You have demonstrated repeatedly the bias of your sources and they are therefore not to be trusted. It is YOUR arrogance and lack of respect that touched off my little rant to begin with. I currently live in Canada remember? I have heard enough of cynical liberals flapping gums about a president who is the only one doing anything about terrorism, save Britain. Do you think Britain or Canada would have went into Afghanistan if we hadn't? If so, you are dreaming. By the way, the U.S. didn't take his eyes off the ball in Afghanistan, we still have thousands of troops doing the work over there so don't act like Canada is over there fighting the real fight. They wouldn't even be there if they didn't have the U.S. along.

Amy Proctor said...

Creeper, you quoted:

In his Encyclical Humani generis (1950), my predecessor Pius XII had already stated that there was no opposition between evolution and the doctrine of the faith about man and his vocation, on condition that one did not lose sight of several indisputable points (cf. AAS 42 [1950], pp. 575-576).

Focus on this: "on condition that one did not lose sight of several indisputable points" There is no opposition between TRUE science and true revelation. Evolution is not true science, it is an explanation to the origins of life. It has not been proven, nor can it be. The INDISPUTABLE POINTS include the Church doctrine and teachings which supercede relativism, scientific theory and modernism. Pope Pius went into this in depth.

You'd have to read the entire encyclical, but these are the basic points I would look to:

-Modern rationalism in the Church leads to a "contempt for the Teaching Authority of the Church itself".
-Dogmatic relativism leads to the "Teaching Authority" being wrongly "represented by them as a hindrance to progress and an obstacle in the way of science." So science, even evolution, is elevated over dogma, doctrine and the Church.
-Scripture and holy tradition supercede scientific explanations and theories.

You quoted Pope John Paul II:

Taking into account the state of scientific research at the time as well as of the requirements of theology, the Encyclical Humani generis considered the doctrine of "evolutionism" a serious hypothesis, worthy of investigation and in-depth study equal to that of the opposing hypothesis. Pius XII added two methodological conditions: that this opinion should not be adopted as though it were a certain, proven doctrine and as though one could totally prescind from Revelation with regard to the questions it raises."

Key Words and Phrases:
-evolution is a HYPOTHESIS
-evolution should NOT BE ADOPTED AS THOUGH IT WERE A CERTAIN, PROVEN DOCTRINE

The Church does NOT evolve doctrinally. Customs and ritual evolve, but doctrine does NOT.
As for the rest, Pope John Paul II, who grew up in a Poland occupied by communists that controlled schools and universities, teaching evolution, offered his OPINION that evolution is "more than a hypothesis." This cannot be substantiated by scripture or tradition, which Pope Pius warned against, nor were Pope John Paul's words an encyclical or official Church teaching. There have been Popes who, ye gads, have even spoken error. However, you will find on trace of error in the Catechism (which is the official teaching of the Church) or encyclicals. This is why its important to note that Pope John Paul was not speaking from the Catechism or in an encyclical. Popes have opinions, too.

Aside from that, you have taken Pope John Paul's words out of context and he was not speaking in an authoritative role, but as to his understanding. If you look at what the Catechism says on creation/evolution and Holy Scripture, you'd see that evolution is NOT supported over the creation explanation.

I would be interested to know if you hold so true to the words of the Popes on matters of birth control, abortion, gay unions, divorce and fornication? Or are you using the Church?

Amy Proctor said...

Hermit,

Say what you will about my site, but Pope Benedict is not taking a "big step backwards" from his predecessors. The Catholic faith is very complex. Just because a Pope says something doesn't make it infallible. Infallibility, for example, is only when a Pope reiterates a truth or Church teaching already in existence. The vast majority of the time a Pope does NOT speak infallibly. (an example of infallibility would be when Pope Benedict proclaimed abortion and birth control sins... they are already existing doctrine)

You have to keep this in context when evaluating what a Pope says.

Pope Benedict, when Cardinal Ratzinger, was the Vatican's Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. That is, he was the head of the department that fight heresy in the Church and protected doctrine. That's why he was elected Pope. He is in the perfect position to serve in this capacity.

Anonymous said...

""Orthodox Judaism believes in a strict literal interpretation of Judaism’s sacred text, the Torah (first five books of the Bible: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy). Interpreting the Torah as such, they view evolution as being contradictory to what Jews should believe in."

The student? website you cite discusses four different varieties of Judaism, only one of which has any problem with evolution (Reconstructionism is rather smaller than the big three, but hey). This in itself doesn't contradict your point that the most orthodox tradition, closest to the Torah, one might claim, doesn't believe evolution is correct. But it's not that simple.

As an article on Nosson Slifkin, the "zoo rabbi" whose books inadvertently ignited a firestorm of controversy when they were were banned by a group of ultra-orthodox rabbis, points out

"There is a second, even more basic difference between Jewish and fundamentalist Christian traditions [the first is the YEC mishegas about biblical 'dragons' being dinosaurs]: Jews do not read the Torah literally; they filter its message through the Talmud, the Midrash and centuries of rabbinic commentary. This is because Orthodox Jews believe that Moses came down from Mount Sinai bearing both a written Torah and an oral law. Unlike the fundamentalist Christian debate, which is based on the Bible exclusively, the Jewish debate over evolution and the age of the universe is a whirlwind of ideas drawn from the Talmud and rabbinic tradition.

Rabbis who, for example, believe in a 6,000 year-old universe, do not make this claim based on the Torah alone. Instead, they point to a tractate in the fifth-century Babylonian Talmud that divides the history of time into three 2,000-year periods. “Our Sages have explicitly taught that the world is no more than 6,000 years old!” writes Moshe Sternbuch, head rabbi at Jerusalem’s Rosh HaAyin Yeshiva, in an essay penned shortly after the Slifkin ban. “[Scientists] want to refute the words of our Sages, and undermine the faith that exists among the Jewish people.”

Those who believe in evolution can point to equally compelling source material. Evolutionary biologists were not the first to conclude that the universe was older than the Bible might suggest. Even in Talmudic times, rabbis referred to the first chapter of Genesis as a storehouse of hidden mysteries, not a word-for-word account of how the universe began. Moses Maimonides, the formidable 12th century Jewish scholar, alludes to this in his Guide for the Perplexed and encourages his worldly Sephardic readers to view Genesis in a more scientific light:

“It is impossible to give a full account of the Creation to man…. It has been treated in metaphors in order that the uneducated may comprehend it according to the measure of their faculties and the feebleness of their apprehension, while educated persons may take it in a different sense.... It is therefore right to abstain and refrain from examining this subject superficially and unscientifically.”


The wikipedia entry on Judaism and evolution states that "In general, the major Jewish denominations accept evolutionary creationism (theistic evolution)."

Even in classical times "A minority of . . .rabbis believed that the world is billions of years old, and that life as we know it today did not always exist."

In medieval times, " the . . philosophical rationalists, such as Maimonides held that it was ignorant to read Genesis literally. In this view, one was obligated to understand Torah in a way that was compatible with the findings ofscience. Indeed, Maimonides, one of the great rabbis of the Middle Ages, wrote that if science and Torah were misaligned, it was either because science was not understood or the Torah was misinterpreted. Maimonides argued that if science proved a point, then the finding should be accepted and scripture should be interpreted accordingly. Rabbi Yitzchak of Akko (a 12th-centurystudent of Maimonides, agreed with this view.

Even Nahmanides, often critical of the rationalist views of Maimonides, pointed out (in his commentary to Genesis) several non-sequiters stemming from a literal translation of the Bible's account of Creation, and stated that the account actually symbolically refers to spiritual concepts. He quoted the Mishnah in Tractate Chagigah which states that the actual meaning of the Creation account, mystical in nature, was traditionally transmitted from teachers to advanced scholars in a private setting.

A literal interpretation of the biblical Creation story among classic rabbinic commentators is uncommon (yet there is universal agreement regarding the literal understanding of the time of the creation of Adam). One of several notable exceptions may be the Tosafist commentary on Tractate Rosh Hashanah, where there seems to be an allusion to the age of creation according to a literal reading of Genesis. The non-literal approach is widely accepted within Modern Orthodox Judaism and some segments of Haredi Judaism.

Various midrashim (plural, midrash) reinforce the idea that the Torah's text is not to be taken as a literal, chronological account. Midrash Genesis Rabbah 1:6, and Midrash Leviticus Rabbah 36:4:

Scripture did not come to teach the sequence of the Creation. If you say that Scripture indicates the order of creation be astounded at yourself, for the water preceded, as it is written: (Genesis 1:2) “and the spirit of God hovered over the face of the water,” and Scripture did not yet disclose when the creation of water took place! From this you learn that the water preceded the earth. Perforce, you must admit that Scripture did not teach us anything about the sequence of the earlier and the later acts of creation."

Anything more about modern times? Yes:

"By the early to mid 1900s, the majority of Conservative Judaism and Reform Judaism came to accept the existence of evolution as a scientific fact. They interpreted Genesis and related Jewish teachings in light of this fact. Much of Modern Orthodox Judaism and parts of Haredi Judaism see no real confict. The Rabbinical Council of America notes that significant Jewish authorities have maintained that evolutionary theory, properly understood, is not incompatible with belief in God,, nor with the first two chapters of Genesis. [1]"

SO basically, all of Judaism is ok with evolution except for some Orthodox and ultra-Orthodox Jews.

______________________

"Key Words and Phrases:
-evolution is a HYPOTHESIS
-evolution should NOT BE ADOPTED AS THOUGH IT WERE A CERTAIN, PROVEN DOCTRINE"

Which may have had some validity, sort of, over half-a-century ago, when Pius XII was speaking. That is not the case today.

" Pope John Paul II, . . .offered his OPINION that evolution is "more than a hypothesis."

Pope John Paul II correctly reported the status of evolution within the scientific community, who presumably are the go-to people in regards to the status of scientific ideas within science.

He was - and you are - dealing with the same issue that Maimonides wrote about eight centuries ago (I don't believe that little study (wiki link) claiming to find evidence that the Ashkenazim have experienced intense selection for higher intelligence, but we do have a head start on you guys on this topic, having a very old and continually growing tradition, being not as hard hit by the Middle Ages, and having more of an emphasis on study and learning). What do you do when science seems to contradict your religion? That's what happened a few centuries after Maimonides, when the emerging science of astronomy contradicted the Church's holy tradition of heliocentrism. You guys dealt with that one eventually, and now somebody who claimed that the sun goes 'round the Earth, sourcing this belief in old Church teachings, would be laughed out of the room (in educated company - allegedly a sizable percentage of the US population in fact thinks it does, though I have trouble believing this - more likely they were confused by the choices).

Look at what you wrote, from your summary of Pius XII's encyclical, and presumably? something you endorse, it seems:

"Scripture and holy tradition supercede scientific explanations and theories."

Think about that one. Are you certain of it?

Now quick, draw a picure of the solar system.

"Focus on this: "on condition that one did not lose sight of several indisputable points" There is no opposition between TRUE science and true revelation. Evolution is not true science, it is an explanation to the origins of life.

This is not my understanding of the encylical, which I admittedly only skimmed quickly. It would seem that Pius XII is urging caution and serious, measured, even-handed consideration - as long as one accepts a) that souls are "immediately created" by God, that b) humanity is descended from a single man - something that human genetics, technically, actually agrees with, sortakinda - and c) orginal sin.

I don't understand what you use to determine what true science is, nor how evolution as an explanation for the origins of life - which it isn't, it's an explantion for the generation of biological diversity following the origin of life, but whatever - doesn't, somehow count.

"It has not been proven, nor can it be."
Do you ever watch Law and Order (any of the various versions) on TV? OR CSI, Crossing Jordan, etc? The cops/lawyers/forensics people don't ever observe the specific events, yet in the course of an hour (including commercials) they generally do what one would call 'proving' how they happened - wouldn't you agree?

Same sort of thing - in terms of the historical reality of evolution, that is. In terms of the ongoing process of evolution, those bits visible at human (and human civilization) timescales, it is proven, as much as anything in science is. Creationists, unable, due to the weight of easily observable evidence, to deny this (and probably forgetting that they ever did so) pretend that this isn't 'real' evolution, only microevolution.

It isn't really proof he shot her - it's only gunpowder residue on his hands, and his fingerprints on the gun, and the bullets happening to match those fired from that gun . . .doesn't prove anything!

It's no accident one of the major founders of Intelligent Design creationism is a lawyer!

Certainly the details of evolution, as with many other scientific theories, are the subject of much research and debate, but the central ideas have near-universal acceptance in the scientific community - most importantly, within the part of the scientific community that deals with these issues - and by near universal, I mean high to very high 90s, and am including technicians and folks with dubious degrees working for creationist organizations without any publishing record in actual scientific journals . . . Certainly nobody thinks that the current state of knowledge is the be-all and end-all - far from it, that's what's so exciting - and certainly nobody thinks there aren't surprises up ahead. And equally certainty, you can go talk to anybody in biology, and the overarching idea and master framework is evolution. Without putting up the people with Ph.Ds as all-knowing, infalliable Authorities - definitely not the case - may I ask on what grounds you can so easily decide they're all wrong? This isn't to say you shouldn't use your head and think critically about scientific claims, or not question/consider the evidence, or assume anything scientists say is always the Truth, &etc., &etc, or that you couldn't, in theory, be right - but on what grounds? And do you do this in other scientific fields - medicine, for example, or physics, or chemistry?

-Dan S.

Anonymous said...

"* Amy routinely confuses Al Qaeda and Aljazeera."

Hey, they both start with al, y'know . . .

Then again, so do algebra and alcohol. I can accept that the first one is part of an evil terrorist conspiracy - all this nonsense about letters standing for numbers is clearly meant to sow confusion and uncertainty, and undermine the American way of life - but the second, I don't know . . .

"Amy recalls arguing with her priest over evolution."
I don't see this as a bad thing, though! Now, if she ratted him out to the Inquisition, which tortured him and then burned him to death . . . but that hasn't happened for some time . . .

Amy: What if it was proven to you , beyond a reasonable doubt, that the theory of evolution was, more or less, true? Let's say somebody invented a time-machine-VCR, that could not only play on a screen what happened in the past, but zip backwards and forwards in time, etc, and you could watch large-scale evolution in action. Then what?

"when Pope Benedict proclaimed abortion and birth control sins... they are already existing doctrine)"

At the risk of veering wildly off-topic - I've never understood that bit about birth control being all bad (apparently the vast majority of American Catholics don't, either) - what's up with that?

-Dan S.

Amy Proctor said...

Anon:
"I encourage everyone to read the comments on the linked post so you can see how the other side treats differing ideas. See how
* Amy, the computer expert, challenges my first-person knowledge on a variety of subjects computer-related.
* Amy routinely confuses Al Qaeda and Aljazeera.
* Amy lectures me on Judaism, a subject on which she has no knowledge, and a subject on which I have a great deal of knowledge.
* Amy recalls arguing with her priest over evolution.
* Amy calls posters on Aljazeera's web site terrorists."

AT least I don't hide behind anonymity!

I won't answer your false accusations. Except for the arguing with my priest over evolution, but don't worry, I don't limit my "arguments with priests" to just evolution, I cover areas of scripture and doctrine, and matters of morality as well. The really good priests love me. The bad ones I just irritate... rather like you.

Amy Proctor said...

Anon,

I'm not the one who confuses Aljazeera and al-Qaeda. Why you'd even say that is beyond me.

Dan, I have asked myself that question and my answer is that IF it were proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that evolution were in fact reality, I would reluctantly accept it. I'm not interested in building opinions upon personal preference or falsehoods. I'm in no danger of having the evolutionary theory proven, so I'm not worried. Open to the hypothetical, yes, but not expecting any results.

The vast majority of Catholics aren't fully faithful to the Church or God, which is sad. This is nothing new; Judaism historically has had the same problem. There have always been a handful of faithful Jews who'd fully obey God while the masses do their own thing. It's a sad reality. A great book to read is "Salvation is from the Jews" by Roy Schoeman, a Jewish man who converted to Catholicism.

As for the birth control thing, it is a very deep reality of sexuality, spirituality and human life. I'll post some comments on it when I have time. Pope John Paul II wrote "Theology of the Body" which I would highly recommend.

highboy said...

"At the risk of veering wildly off-topic - I've never understood that bit about birth control being all bad"

I know a lot of Christians who think for some reason it is the equivelant of abortion, though nothing is concieved. I don't understand that logic myself.

Anonymous said...

What is your point? Does that hurt her credibility?
Yeah, it does. When I explained why her comparison was wrong, she chose to ignore my technical reasons that refuted her idea and provided no reason why they weren't valid. That is exactly the kind of behavior that hurts credibility.

Are you recognized as a computer genius nation-wide?

Nah, just well respected by my peers.

And you mock Radar's intelligence on your own blog, hypocrite. Clean up your own back yard.

When someone says a creature from a work of fiction proves that man and dinosaurs co-existed, it's funny. What am I supposed to do? Refute him? Explain to him that dragons don't exist? I believe the point I was trying to make to you is to temper your angry tone. Your responses to hermit in the last post is a perfect example. Read this post on my blog and see how I deal with someone who has a different 'religous' opinion than I. Granted, it's not about religion per se, but debates of this kind can often be just as heated.

In wrestling with a pig, I never mocked his intelligence. I said he was childish and provided a couple of quotes to prove my point. At least I did it with humor and erudition, maybe you just didn't get it (I had a lot of sarcasm in there, so it's quite possible you missed it).

Tim, let me educate you about my faith (although I don't really subscribe to much faith any more). Wikipedia seems to have a very good discussion about this here.
I have only met one Orthodox Jew (my uncle, actually) that takes a literal view of the bible. He is from an extremely small sect (lubbovich) that is not representative of Jews as a whole. Orthodox, Conservative and Reform (do I need to provide a link?) jews certainly do not take the bible literally, and all accept evolution.
I know it really takes the wind out of your sails that the religion that yours branched from disagrees with you on this, but that does not give you the right to do a little web search and lecture me about my religion.

Finally,
"I know a lot of Christians who think for some reason it is the equivelant of abortion, though nothing is concieved. I don't understand that logic myself."

That's the most reasonable thing I've ever heard you say. Bravo. (no sarcasm there, just honesty)

As for Amy, I'm sorry, I don't want to register for a blogger account, I just don't want one. If that disqualifies you from responding to me, then that's more a reflection on your values than mine. You can google for me, and you know who I am. Calling me anonymous isn't really that honest, is it?

Amy, read some Talmud, that's where debate in Judaism is carried out. You don't have a right in this case to say the vast majority of Jews are doing Judaism incorrectly when you don't even know what the rules are.

- aSnCoOnHyEmNous

highboy said...

"I believe the point I was trying to make to you is to temper your angry tone."

Why? I get angry. Liberals make me angry. I will express it.

"I never mocked his intelligence."

then you say

"I said he was childish"

Oh, that isn't insulting at all. (That IS sarcasm)

"At least I did it with humor and erudition,"

So do I, which is one reason Dan never seems to get offended. Most of the regular bloggers I come in contact with KNOW not to take me seriously all the time.

"Orthodox, Conservative and Reform (do I need to provide a link?) jews certainly do not take the bible literally, and all accept evolution. "

No, you don't, because the link I provided already tells us that. The point that Amy made, which I confirmed, was not that ALL Jews reject evolution but that those "closest to the Word" do. If she said the majority of Jews do, then I missed it. Those would be Orthodox Jews. I don't care if you only know one, the evidence shows that Orthodox Jews take a LITERAL approach to Genesis.

"I know it really takes the wind out of your sails that the religion that yours branched from disagrees with you on this,"

Disagrees with me about what? I don't recall saying I believe in Creation the way Amy does. I have said repeatedly on this site that I go back and forth all the time. There is just so much information out there being thrown from all sides, I'm being objective and sifting through it all.

radar said...

Amy, as usual you show you can run with the big dogs. You are an intelligent blogger and individual who is nobody's fool and not easily cowed. Glad to know you!

"When someone says a creature from a work of fiction proves that man and dinosaurs co-existed, it's funny. What am I supposed to do? Refute him? Explain to him that dragons don't exist?"

First of all, I gave numerous examples of saurian creatures being illustrated in literature, primarily historical documents. I did not say anything was proven, but simply that the evidence indicates that they did co-exist. Making fun of the evidence and pretending that they are fantasy is a convenient way of ignoring evidence you cannot begin to explain away.

People who make fun of me on other blogs, that amuses me, because the paucity of their arguments on this blog illustrates their lack of ability to address the evidence head-on. Just like the "dragons" evidence - not one commenter
has yet come up with any plausible explanation for the remarkable amount of evidence in literature, historical documents, sculpture and other art that the same dinosaurs we find represented in stone (fossils) lived with man.

"That Amy repeats her misguided claim that The people closest to the bible accept creationism only shows how reason, logic and fact don't hold much sway in this debate. She *might* have meant that primitive Jews believed in creationism, but I fail to see how the beliefs of ancient man are germane. Ancient Jews didn't know what *stars* were --why should we trust their beliefs regarding the development of life? Judaism does not and has never required belief in an inerrant bible (ever hear of the Talmud? Ever read it?) and to claim it does shows a profound ignorance of this religion."

By writing this you show so very little knowledge of the history of God's people that one hardly knows where to start. Yes, the low regard Jews had for the Bible is why they often devoted their entire lives to simply be scribes, replicating the Bible exactly and painstakingly so not one "jot or tittle" would be wrong or lost. You deserve a "duh" for having no idea what you are talking about here. That you only know liberal Jews doesn't address the faith as a whole or the population of Jews worldwide as a whole.

Sometimes anonymous posters are wise to be anonymous, at least ones as uninformed and unreasonable as the one who wrote the quoted portions above.

highboy said...

Wow radar! I see we're out of bed and breaking heads! Have at it!

Anonymous said...

Tim, Radar, et all:
Did you read the link? Even the majority of Orthodox Judaism accepts an old earth and theistic evolution.

"By writing this you show so very little knowledge of the history of God's people that one hardly knows where to start. Yes, the low regard Jews had for the Bible is why they often devoted their entire lives to simply be scribes, replicating the Bible exactly and painstakingly so not one "jot or tittle" would be wrong or lost. You deserve a "duh" for having no idea what you are talking about here. That you only know liberal Jews doesn't address the faith as a whole or the population of Jews worldwide as a whole."

Radar, please remove your foot from your mouth, it's tough to hear you pontificate when it's lodged in there. I'm Jewish. I went to Jewish camp --in Indiana no less! I've been to Israel. I've met thousands of Jews in my life, and have been to many temples. I've talked to conservative, reform and orthodox rabbis on this subject, as well as jews of all denominations. One of them --a single, solitary ONE that I've met believes in YEC. You cannot include the overwhelming majority of Jews in your cadre of literal bible believers and not expect to be challenged. That the bible isn't taken literally in no way lessens its importance to the religion. Is Romeo and Juliet's impact lessened because it's not perfectly true? I think you're projecting your beliefs on another religion here. Judaism is vastly different than Christianity, questions asked are almost never answered definitively. Instead you're often prodded into doing your own research, and as such, the vast majority of the religion has long abandoned a literal interpretation of the bible.

I suppose Amy's original quote is true if you don't include the 99% of jews that believe in and old earth and evolution as the 'people closest to the bible', but I really don't see how you can do that honestly. That just re-defines the 'people closest to the bible' to mean 'the people that agree with me', and that's not fair.

As to your Grendel was a dinosaur argument, I'd like to see some physical evidence back that up. Color me skeptical. I'm pretty certain that Beowulf's original text describes grendel as ogre-like, so you're already on shaky ground. It's not for me to prove, it's up to you to disprove all the evidence that runs counter to your hypothesis first --and that's a ton.

"Making fun of the evidence and pretending that they are fantasy is a convenient way of ignoring evidence you cannot begin to explain away."

So you believe in unicorns then? How about the minotaur? Lots of art and literature on that. Centaurs? Same there. Pan? I believe Shakespeare wrote an entire book on him. This hypothesis might be silly if it didn't deny so much human creativity and imagination. I suppose in 500 years, Phasar will be lecturing us about how humans and the Flying Spaghetti Monster co-existed.

Actually, I had an interesting thought today. It seems that when science makes a discovery (the value of Pi, dinosaurs) that's not in the bible, eventually a bible scholar will find some reference to it (leviathan, solomon's cauldron) in the text. My question is, why don't we see this knowledge flowing out of the bible first? There seems to be a lot of bible scholars, so why don't they make scientific discoveries? Why leave all that to science?

And for the last freaking time, I don't want a blogger account! I have my own blog on my own server. I'm posting my name at the end of the posts, how anonymous is that? Dan does the same exact thing and you don't pretend that he's anonymous.

Oh, and while I have your attention, I'd like to correct a very minor error in an old post. I'm the one that introduced you to The Mars Volta. I knew you'd like 'em if you gave them a couple listens. I was listening to them on the way back from the city, and thought of you.

-scohen

highboy said...

"Radar, please remove your foot from your mouth, it's tough to hear you pontificate when it's lodged in there. I'm Jewish. I went to Jewish camp --in Indiana no less! I've been to Israel. I've met thousands of Jews in my life, and have been to many temples. I've talked to conservative, reform and orthodox rabbis on this subject, as well as jews of all denominations."

So we're just suppose to take your word for it then, right? Yes, we did read your link. (I did) I had one of my own, if you recall, that said MOST Orthodox Jews believe in YEC, not evolution.

A Hermit said...

"And Reagan, and others..."

You were what, seven years old when Reagan died? Don't believe everything you hear about him.

I always had mixed felings about Reagan; I met too many victims of the terrorists and fascist tyrants he funded in Central America to believe he was the kindly old man he pretended to be, but on the other hand he was pragmatic enough to reverse his tax cuts when he saw they weren't having the effect he intended, and to back off the rhetoric and talk face to face with Gorbachev.

I wish Bush were more like Reagan, I'd at least be able to respect him a little bit.



"Don't tell lies about my president, which is exactly what you have been doing

Truth hurts sometimes son...


"Any country that refuses to even lower their flag for troops getting killed for their country is a disgrace."

That was a recent decision made by our new Conservative Prime Minister, and it's one of the things I would criticize (along with his decision to emulate Bush by not showing the ramp ceremonies of returning casualties. He's angered a lot of us.)

"If we don't need your lumber, we have no reason to buy it from you. Same goes with your meat and all of the mad cow disease that comes with it. NAFTA is a big reason why our drug problem is so bad."


You do need our lumber, which is why your governments try to get it cheap, there have been more mad cow cases in the US then in Canada (our inspection systems are so alike that criticizing Canada on this point is like calling your identical twin ugly) and you drug problem is certainly not due to Canada.

"Who couldn't affort to piss America off, especially at a time when the entire country is looking for people to take their anger out on?"

We recognized the threat and stood up for our friends and neighbours. I'm sorry you feel that it's appropriate to respond by treating us with contempt.

".."kidnapping" Canadian citizens. So far you have linked one"

Here's another one

"who hasn't been proven innocent of his charges yet."

As a matter of fact he has been proven innocent, several times over. Pay attention.

"Sure, CANDADIANS are mad, I'm not. The U.S. didn't just pick out some Canadian and ship him off to Syria out of disdain."

No, they did it because he had brown skin and a funny name.

I think this cartoon describes people like you perfectly, Highboy.

Nice, but I'm not the one living in a close minded liberal bubble."

No, you're in a close minded right wing echo chamber...

"You have demonstrated repeatedly the bias of your sources and they are therefore not to be trusted."

Whining about alleged biases doesn't strengthen your argument. I have presented you with facts. I'm sorry if the facts make you uncomfortable, but you need to look past your own biases.

"It is YOUR arrogance and lack of respect that touched off my little rant to begin with."

You need to read what I actually say and stop projecting your own insecurities, Highboy.

"I have heard enough of cynical liberals flapping gums about a president who is the only one doing anything about terrorism, save Britain."

Terrorism has more than tripled thanks to Bush's bungling. Heckuva job...

"Do you think Britain or Canada would have went into Afghanistan if we hadn't?"

Of course not, we went in as allies to support you. It's what friends do, we just don't expect to be spat on for doing it.

"By the way, the U.S. didn't take his eyes off the ball in Afghanistan, we still have thousands of troops doing the work over there so don't act like Canada is over there fighting the real fight."

Canada is in command in the most dangerous part of the country right now.
It looks to me as if they and those thousands of Americans wouldn't need to be fighting today if Bush had stayed focused onAfghanistan; he took out th especial forces who wre establishing ties with local warlords and closing in on the Al qaeda and Taliban leadership, abandoned the kind of massive reconstruction effort that might have made a difference and diverted money, men and resopurces to Iraq; an unnecessary second front.

You're living in my country now? Have more respect, son . Criticize by all means, but back it up with facts if you can and don't dismiss the whole nation as a "digrace".

A Hermit

Anonymous said...

Tim,
I'm not asking for you to take my word for it, just consider the two sources. My link is from Wikipedia while your link is from some student at Michigan State. He has two outgoing links on his paragraph on Judaism. One doesn't work, another links to a site that has no pertinent information. Furthermore, while wikipedia devotes several paragraphs to each of the denominations with references to the Talmud where the literal interpretation of the bible is rejected (by Maimonides, no less). Your link devotes a sentence to each with no links, no discussion and was written by a single student in 1994 for a class. Furthermore, the paper was written with the express purpose of debunking the statement "evolution is only believed by dogmatic atheists".

So to sum up, my link is more recent, has better sources, and is more in depth (it notes that there are different sects within orthodoxy that have differing views). Dare I say my link is better? That, plus the fact that in this case, I have a lot of internal knowledge which aids me in understanding the subtleties of Orthodox Judaism which my link comports with. I don't ask that you just believe me, but the link I provided plus my knowledge makes my position fairly strong.

Somehow, even though we have two sources that say two different things, it seems you pick the one that agrees with you rather than the most authoratative one. That somehow seems germane to the other conversations on this page. Granted, it's the first link that comes up on google, but that's putting a lot of faith in PageRank.

I'm not saying that all Jews accept evolution, just that the overwhelming majority (over 99% or so) do. I couldn't honstly say all of them do, I've met one that doesn't --and Judaism doesn't work that way. It allows for a wide variety of ideas, but in this case, the evidence against a literal interpretation of the bible is really overwhelming.

P.S. I appreciated the more moderate tone of your last comment.

P.P.S. The belief that increased American military spending caused The Soviets to increase their military spending isn't accurate (if that's what you're saying). Soviet military spending increased at a constant rate throughout the 80's and decreased as their economy tanked. Command economies don't work, that's why China has embraced capitalism.

highboy said...

"Don't believe everything you hear about him."

As you can see, I don't.

"Truth hurts sometimes son..."

I guess when the day comes that you finally speak it I'll know.

"That was a recent decision made by our new Conservative Prime Minister, and it's one of the things I would criticize (along with his decision to emulate Bush by not showing the ramp ceremonies of returning casualties. He's angered a lot of us.)"

Fair enough, we agree on something.

"there have been more mad cow cases in the US then in Canada (our inspection systems are so alike that criticizing Canada on this point is like calling your identical twin ugly) and you drug problem is certainly not due to Canada."

1. Not since we stopped YOUR beef.

2. I never said Canada was the reason for our drug problem. NAFTA is, and Canada is not the only country involved. If it were only Canada and the U.S., I might feel better about it.

"As a matter of fact he has been proven innocent, several times over. Pay attention."

I'll need a source.

"
Whining about alleged biases doesn't strengthen your argument. I have presented you with facts. I'm sorry if the facts make you uncomfortable, but you need to look past your own biases"

Okay, so maybe you can now prove how your sources are more credible?

"Terrorism has more than tripled thanks to Bush's bungling. Heckuva job..."

That's funny, the last attack we had was 9/11 according to my right-wing sources. Not to mention the thousands of terrorists that have been killed in Iraq, but liberals ignore that little fact when talking about U.S. casualties. Sorry to say it, but that won't get them elected.

"It's what friends do, we just don't expect to be spat on for doing it."

Americans aren't spitting on you, Canadians are. We still have thousands of U.S. troops in Afganistan doing the work.

"You're living in my country now? Have more respect, son . Criticize by all means, but back it up with facts if you can"

I did. My disgust is with Canada's lack of respect for Canada, in case you haven't picked that up. Don't talk to me about respecting Canadian troops, I have had the privelage of working alongside some of them and liked what I saw. I did NOT like the lack of respect I saw that Canadians had toward their own military. What kind of man compares his own military to welfare in uniform, and during a Rememberance Day speech no less?

Having said all that, it seems you share my anger, and I unjustly vented my anger regarding this injustice on you when I saw an opportunity. You being Canadian simply made it easier. Anyway, while I disagree with you completely in regards to Iraq, it was unfair of me to lump you in with personal experience I've had in Canada thus far. You obviously are not in the same category with those who my anger is directed. You have my sincerest apologies. But I'm sure you could understand why a veteran like myself would be angered by such things. Anyway forgive me, I've let too much get to me in the last 2 years of Canadian residency. (Not that my experience is all bad)So anyway you deserve an apology, and I hereby give it. I misjudeged you. (Probably why my Lord Jesus said "Judge not..." Sorry Jesus.)

A Hermit said...

"we agree on something"
A couple of things actually, Duane Allman is one of my favourites too...

Thank you for the apology. I hope we can keep things civil in the future.

A Hermit

A Hermit said...

Facts on mad cow

the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has gone on record as saying that, based on its studies and surveillance, it believes that there are, at maximum, a total of between four and seven BSE cases in the U.S., and that a reduction in surveillance seems entirely appropriate...We would disagree. Japan tests every cow, and has so far found 28 cases of BSE. The U.S. tests one percent of its cattle, and we have fewer than 10 cases. The math just doesn't add up.

-----------------

Friedlander said he knows U.S. Agriculture Department veterinarians who sent suspect cow brains to private laboratories that confirmed mad cow infection, but samples from the same animals were cleared by government labs.

----------------------------

Evidence that USDA Covered Up Mad Cow Cases in US in 1997

----------------------

Get that fencepost out of your own eye before looking for splinters north of the border Tim.

A Carnivorous Hermit

A Hermit said...

"I'll need a source."

Pick one.

What happened to "innocent before proven guilty?" Or does that only apply to soldiers in Iraq, while it's "guilty until the false confession extracted under torture is thoroughly and categorically proven false" for brown skinned people with funny names?

Think about it Tim; do you really want to live in a society where mere suspicion is enought to get someone detained wiothout warrant or representation, deported to a third world dictatorship, locked up and tortured for ten months? Or does due process still matter to you?

A Freedom Loving Hermit

A Hermit said...

What the heck, it's a slow day, so let's take on one more comment:

"That's funny, the last attack we had was 9/11 according to my right-wing sources. Not to mention the thousands of terrorists that have been killed in Iraq"

DId you read the link I gave you? Worldwide terrorist attacks more than tripled in 2004 and increased again in 2005, so contrary to what Bush argues, the Iraq invasion has not made the world safer.

Tactics used in Iraq are now being seen in Afghanistan where car bombs and suicide bombers were unheard of in twenty years of fighting.

The reason there hasn't been an attack in the US itself is that the terrorists got everything they wanted from Sept. 11; the Bush administration reacted by lashing out disproportionately against Arab targets thereby weakening existing Arab governments, entagngled itself in an ugly anti-insurgent war, curtailed freedom at home and isolated itself diplomatically.

And killing thousands of terrorists doesn't matter. Body-count strategies didn't work in Vietnam (didn't work in Algeria for the French or in Afghanistan for the Russians either.) For every one killed aggressive occupation tactics create ten more. This isn't some pantywaisted pacifist argument, by the way, it's a purely practical one.

A Pragmatic Hermit

highboy said...

Thanks for accepting the apology hermit. I hope we understand each other a little better now. (I think we do)As for your responses, I'm not sure I can get over the wall of "my sources are better than your sources." The evidence I've viewed in my research (which you would call right-wing bias) points toward the necessity of the invasion of Iraq. I've dealt with combat of this situation personally, and I have no problem with it. We'll just have to see how things pan out I guess.