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Archive for May 14th, 2005

A couple of days ago a discussion on Amy Wellborn’s blog wandered, very off-topic, into the question of evolution. (I’m not bothering to link because it was only a few comments, which I’m about to reproduce here, out of sixty or seventy on a totally unrelated subject). The usual observation was made that Catholics are ok with the basic scheme presented by the theory of evolution because we aren’t committed to any particular view of the physical facts as long as God is not excluded. Well, that’s fine as far as it goes, but it’s never been very satisfying to me, and I replied:

I respectfully submit that, contra [what someone else had said] the question of evolution does matter to the Catholic faith. Quite a lot. If you want to know what I mean, it’s here (the July 11 entry, if that link doesn’t land you on it).

The only response to that, from someone who just signed himself "Rick", was:

The death that enters the world with Adam is not biological death
per se but the loss of "integrity" – the preternatural gift by which
human passions and biological processes are fully subject to the
rational soul.

The biological processes of death and decay didn’t begin with our
first parents; but if they had remained sinless, they, and we, would
have been held aloft from them through the gift of integrity.

To which I replied:

Sorry, Rick. I have tinkered around, so to speak, with that view of death and about the best I can say about it is well, it could
be that way. It certainly doesn’t fit with scripture in a
straightforward way, and it’s not really any more satisfying than just
saying "we don’t know." Which, as I noted in the piece I linked to, I
can live with, but I don’t like it.

If anybody wants to read that piece of mine that I linked to above (it’s an old Sunday Night Journal entry about intelligent design called Great IDea) and has a better counter to the questions I raise, I’d certainly be glad to hear it. I really think the acceptance as fact of the standard evolutionary timeline has far more influence on the climate of our times than is generally recognized. Note: I am not suggesting that we’re free to decide the facts otherwise in defiance of the best scientific conclusions, but I think we are hiding our heads in the sand if we think we can reconcile Christian faith and the standard picture with a little philosophical smoke and mirrors.

Maclin Horton

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