George Coyne: ‘Science Does Not Need God. Or Does It?

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Father George Coyne, director of the Vatican Observatory, presented the following speech “Science Does Not Need God, or Does It? A Catholic Scientist Looks at Evolution,” at Palm Beach Atlantic University in West Palm Beach, Fla., Jan. 31:

Father George Coyne Wrote:

Abstract

I would essentially like to share with you two convictions in this presentation: (1) that the Intelligent Design (ID) movement, while evoking a God of power and might, a designer God, actually belittles God, makes her/him too small and paltry; (2) that our scientific understanding of the universe, untainted by religious considerations, provides for those who believe in God a marvelous opportunity to reflect upon their beliefs. Please note carefully that I distinguish, and will continue to do so in this presentation, that science and religion are totally separate human pursuits. Science is completely neutral with respect to theistic or atheistic implications which may be drawn from scientific results.

George Coyne also addresses what he sees as a tragic moment in the relationship of the Catholic church to science: namely the errors in Cardinal Schönborn’s comments in the New York Times.

The most recent episode in the relationship of the Catholic Church to science, a tragic one as I see it, is the affirmation by Cardinal Christoph Schönborn in his article in the New York Times, 7 July 2005, that neo-Darwinian evolution is not compatible with Catholic doctrine and he opts for Intelligent Design. To my estimation, the cardinal is in error on at least five fundamental issues, among others: (1) the scientific theory of evolution, as all scientific theories, is completely neutral with respect to religious thinking; (2) the message of John Paul II, which I have just referred to and which is dismissed by the cardinal as “rather vague and unimportant,” is a fundamental church teaching which significantly advances the evolution debate; (3) neo-Darwinian evolution is not in the words of the cardinal: “an unguided, unplanned process of random variation and natural selection;” (4) the apparent directionality seen by science in the evolutionary process does not require a designer; (5) Intelligent Design is not science despite the cardinal’s statement that “neo-Darwinism and the multi-verse hypothesis in cosmology [were] invented to avoid the overwhelming evidence for purpose and design found in modern science.

Father Coyne expressed his concerns earlier in this interview

So why does there seem to be a persistent retreat in the Church from attempts to establish a dialogue with the community of scientists, religious believers or otherwise? There appears to exist a nagging fear in the Church that a universe, which science has established as evolving for 13.7 x 1 billion years since the Big Bang and in which life, beginning in its most primitive forms at about 12 x 1 billion years from the Big Bang, evolved through a process of random genetic mutations and natural selection, escapes God’s dominion. That fear is groundless. Science is completely neutral with respect to philosophical or theological implications that may be drawn from its conclusions. Those conclusions are always subject to improvement. That is why science is such an interesting adventure and scientists curiously interesting creatures. But for someone to deny the best of today’s science on religious grounds is to live in that groundless fear just mentioned

Father Coyne’s position on “Intelligent Design” is quite clear

The director of the Vatican Observatory has lashed out at proponents of the theory of Intelligent Design, the Italian news service ANSA reports.

“Intelligent design isn’t science, even if it pretends to be,” said Father George Coyne. He said that if the theory is introduced in schools, it should be taught in religion classes, not science classes. ANSA reported that the Jesuit priest made his remarks at a conference in Florence.

Fortunately, Father Coyne does not stand alone in his opinion, a Vatican newspaper

After months of mixed messages from Pope Benedict XVI and his aides, the Vatican directly addressed the issue in the Tuesday (Jan. 17) edition of L’Osservatore Romano by reaffirming Catholic support for the science behind Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.

In an editorial by Fiorenzo Facchini, a professor of evolutionary biology at the University of Bologna, Italy, the newspaper said proponents of intelligent design improperly blurred the lines between science and faith to make their case that certain forms of biological life are too complex to have evolved through Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.

“If the model proposed by Darwin is held to be inadequate, one should look for another model. But it is not correct methodology to stray from the field of science pretending to do science,” Facchini wrote.

Views expressed in L’Osservatore do not affect church doctrine, but the newspaper is thought to reflect Vatican thinking because its content is published with official approval.

Even Schonborn has shifted (or clarified) his position

In a recent interview with Beliefnet in the Austrian capital, Schönborn set out his sometimes misunderstood views, clearly distinguishing between evolution and what he calls “evolutionism.” He explained that while he believes that God is the intelligent designer of the universe, his position on evolution springs from a philosophical rather than a scientific standpoint. His main concern, he said, was not to denigrate evolution as a natural process but to criticize atheistic materialism [the idea that only matter, not spirit, exists] as the dominant philosophy of today’s secular societies.

And Kenneth Miller, Professor of Biology at Brown University and the author of ‘Finding Darwin’s God.’, argued that

The theory of evolution is not inherently atheistic. A random natural process can fall within God’s plan for creation.

207 Comments

I’m not sure how the lack of a conflict between science and religion suggests that science needs God. How badly am I missing the point here?

His main concern, he said, was not to denigrate evolution as a natural process but to criticize atheistic materialism [the idea that only matter, not spirit, exists] as the dominant philosophy of today’s secular societies.

Help me out here. Where is evolution promoting materialism? I was under the impression that the theory of evolution explains speciation through natural selection. Is there an evolution code in Origin of Species? If you start on the 43rd letter of the 2nd paragraph and count every 9th letter (exept the 14th where you have to count the seventh) you get “Materialism is the Satanic Truth of Tomorrow”?

(1) that the Intelligent Design (ID) movement, while evoking a God of power and might, a designer God, actually belittles God, makes her/him too small and paltry

No way! Could he be suggesting it’s beneath God’s stature to be sitting at a drawing board designing tiny outboard motors resembling Mazda engines, affixing them to the posteriors of E. coli one by one, and setting them spinning? Or that maybe an omniscient God would rely on well-established principles of self-organization to arrive at the beauty we see around us instead of patching the whole thing together piecemeal?

According to scripture, “not a sparrow falls” without God’s being aware of it. So I guess by that theory, not a bacterium goes propellerless without God personally stepping in to do something about it. Maybe this view is appealing to some people, but it strikes me as a bit unnecessary. I’m definitely siding with Coyne on this one.

…the affirmation by Cardinal Christoph Schönborn in his article in the New York Times, 7 July 2005, that neo-Darwinian evolution is not compatible with Catholic doctrine and he opts for Intelligent Design.

Schönborn set out his sometimes misunderstood views, clearly distinguishing between evolution and what he calls “evolutionism.”

So when the Cardinal wrote “neo-Darwinian evolution”, what he really meant was “evolutionism”. Call me skeptical, but I suspect that clarity is not really the goal here. If they ever stated anything clearly, they could be clearly wrong. Much better to say something like “the perfection of the totality of everythingness is inherent in the reality of the divine presence within the eternal vision of the, um, thingie”.

All this is very nice and dandy but says nothing about the big elephant in the room, the apparent conflict between the Bible and three branches of science.

These clergymen who respect science must choose between

(1) eviscerating entire portions of narrative in the Bible as not meaning what it appears to be saying, that those parts were never intended to describe actual events and that it is all just allegory for something or other,

(2) Science refutes the Bible and they should just dispense with the claim that it is divinely inspired, or

(3) re-examine the Bible very carefully to see if its words could actually be saying things that are compatible with science.

Now which is it going to be?

Option (1) seems contrived and making excuses,

Option (2) is the preferred option for many but unacceptable to these clergymen,

Option (3) is the option they should look into very carefully since its efficacy HAS ALREADY been demonstrated.

Carol the threadkiller strikes again, and has no original thoughts to offer. Let the disemvoweling begin!

Carol, do you believe in the Christian God?

Do you know why that last comment was, um, I’ll let other, more articulate folks place the adjectives.

Fortunately, although it’s never acknowledged on Panda’s Thumb, Fr. Coyne does not and cannot make statements ex cathedra, so nothing he says can be couched as “The Catholic Church says”. Of course, on PT his statements are considered infallible, and more binding on the Catholic faithful than anything a pope says. Coyne’s opinion that ID belittles god is only his opinion, and it is a nonsensical one. ID may not be science, but it may be true—will Fr. Coyne stand before God and inform Him that He belittled Himself by the methods He chose?

As for complete separation between science and religion, that is utter nonsense—for it demands that God’s creation is manifestly orthogonal to Himself, or, another way of saying the same thing, it demands general revelation (science) is completely independent from special revelation—even though special revelation (the bible and, for Catholics, sacred tradition) states that the two overlap.

Fr. Coyne said ““Intelligent design isn’t science, even if it pretends to be,”” but what is clear is that Fr. Coyne is not a theologian, even he pretends to be.

Surprising you’ve left it for me to point out that you have called Panda Thumb’s prized marionette, Kenneth Miller, “Keith B Mille”. You may want to correct that. He’s also wrong (useful idiots usually are) –evolution, as he described it, is indeed inherently atheistic.

He’s also wrong (useful idiots usually are) —evolution, as he described it, is indeed inherently atheistic.

Sure. So is the heliocentric model of the solar system.

Father Coyne, IMO, is wrong to say that science and religion are not in conflict. Science (and philosophy) are branches of inquiry - they require that whatever one says must be backed up with some kind of reasoning and evidence. Religion is not inquiry - it does NOT require that its claims be backed up by rigorous argumentation; religion is faith.

Now as long as religions make claims that are untestable, do not cohere with everything else we know, are internally inconsistent, or otherwise unreasonable, science and religion will conflict. And such claims are central to most religions - ie that there is a deity whose presence is untestable, that has X,Y and Z contradictory properties, and who acts through supernatural means.

Heddle Wrote:

He’s also wrong (useful idiots usually are)

Pretty bold talk, coming from a guy whose intellectual currency has been invested wholly in logical fallacies, and appears not to realize that the ROI from same can only be payment in kind.

Carol Clouser:

(1) eviscerating entire portions of narrative in the Bible as not meaning what it appears to be saying, that those parts were never intended to describe actual events and that it is all just allegory for something or other, … Option (1) seems contrived and making excuses,

What’s contrived about it? Even if you believe that any part of the Bible is the Word of God, it is clearly an nth generation copy made by fallible humans; anyone who’s played the “Telephone game” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telephone_%28game%29 knows where that leads. Moreover, humans have done more that made transcription errors. They’ve written tons of apocrypha and attempted with varying degrees of success to insert it into the Bible. The exact composition of the books of the Bible, let alone their text, is a matter of controversy between religions claiming it as sacred scripture.

So the assumption that any extant copy of the Bible is accurate enough to accept at face value is the one that sounds “contrived” to me.

Finally, nobody I know of says that it’s all allegory. I imagine that there is some actual geneology recorded in Numbers, that the Israelites probably spent time in Egypt, that there was probably a historical figure corresponding to Jesus. On the other hand, I sort of doubt there was an historical Jonah, and if there was, it is laughable to suppose he was swallowed and disgorged alive by a giant fish. It’s not a bad allegorical tale for all that. Ditto for Job. Humans have been telling allegorical tales since they could tell tales at all. To deny the allegory in the Bible is truly “contrived” since it sets it apart from all other comparable literature.

Oooo, David Heddle AND Carol Clouser. This is sure to be a quality thread.

steve s said: Oooo, David Heddle AND Carol Clouser. This is sure to be a quality thread.

Now, if only we had a way of dropping Larry “my name is Legion” Fafarman on them and watch all three annihilate in a cosmic flash…

Comment #81251

Posted by Carol Clouser on February 21, 2006 01:59 PM (e)

All this is very nice and dandy but says nothing about the big elephant in the room, the apparent conflict between the Bible and three branches of science.

Can you explain the evolution of early Judaism and the reconciliation of the Israeli Kingdom’s Ugartic polytheistic religion (El being the head of the pantheon) with the Judea’s Monotheistic Yahweh cult of which was substantially influenced by Osiris worship? Can you do this within the accepted archaeological evidence in the well recognized (by non-denialists) six great reforms of Judaism?

Can you explain why in Genesis, the female plural is used in the creation story? Would this not be God’s wife, Asherah, who was written out of the picture by the patriarchs during the first great reconciliation of Israel & Judah? And, is it any coincidence that Asherah was the Goddess of Serpents and that’s why Satan is depicted as a serpent?

Why was Asherah’s sacred tree/pole (twined with serpents like the caduceus) present in the first temple for 240 years of it’s 300+ years of existence? Why was Asherah not attacked in the bible until Deuteronomy?

Honestly, I don’t expect you to answer. At least honestly and intelligibly dealing with historical fact and precedent. Frankly, like the vast majority of Christian’s that run into this material, I suspect that you are almost certainly incapable of dealing honestly with the origins of your religion and what that implies. And since you’re in denial (ignorant) about your religion (and it’s origins) why should Lenny (or I, or anyone) give a fig (or respect) your religious opinions on evolution or the origins of life?

After all, your kind rarely know the origins of their religion. And even when exposed to them, your kind tend to end-up preferring denial, rationalizations and fantasy to the reality of the origins and evolution of your religion.

I believe that Carol’s argument works equally well with “Moby Dick.”

Why ignore the Great White Whale in the room, I say.

My rhetorical question of the day:

Why is it Judaism, and it’s variants, accept the evolution of all religions but their own, which they seek to fix unchanging and perfect, like fossilized insects in amber?

It’s just rhetorical. I know the answer. I just find the denials, even among many historians and archaeologists, to be amazing.

Aureola Nominee, FCD Wrote:

Now, if only we had a way of dropping Larry “my name is Legion” Fafarman on them and watch all three annihilate in a cosmic flash…

Nope, that won’t work. The only way you’d get a complete annhilation is if the three of them directly came into contact with PZ, PvM and Rilke’s Granddaughter. That way you would have the necessary ‘thinking - anti-thinking’ pairs.

With just the three you referred to, we’d be stuck with the anti-thinking particles…

Yes, and we all know what happens when you get three or more anti-thinking particles together…

…the repel EVERYTHING else.

Carol, The insistence on Bible inerrancy (i.e. literally true) is a relatively new phenomenon and only held by a small number of very conservative or fundamentalists sects, and mostly in America. Almost all of the mainstream denominations do not hold the Bible to be inerrant for matters outside of the subject of salvation.

In summary: Although you are having trouble understanding this concept, it appears that billions of mainstream Christians around the world do not.

I invite you to examine this site and this site on comparing basic doctrines of the mainstream Christian denominations in regard to Bible inerrancy.

Oh great, Clouser and Heddle are already here with their irrelevant comments. But we can try to discuss issues related to the actual article, and that is my plan.

I doubt that science is neutral with respect to theism and atheism, but certainly those who forgo literalism may be religious without selectively rejecting science. Basically I applaud Coyne, then.

What seems more likely than science needing any kind of religion is that religion needs to agree with science. This is not only in order to avoid massive denial, but also because religion needs to agree with logic and empiricism in order to make claims which are meaningful within religious systems. Religious scientists have often recognized this, or something like it, as they strove for coherent thought both within religion and within science. If religion denies science it becomes even less credible than it is anyway, because not only does it then have to make claims beyond the realm of investigation, it must use claims from beyond our ability to establish fact in order to deny established factual claims.

A religion that agrees with science is able to at least be internally consistent. A religion that does not agree with science is internally inconsistent (at least this is true of most Western religions, since these religions generally agree with the concepts of empiricism and logic and their use in the accepted manner), because it denies the use of the epistemological framework in investigating “nature”, one that it also claims is solid and sound in religion.

God is the author of truth, according to most of Xianity. This is why the Church adopted much pagan science and religion. There were famous glitches in the general attempt to understand true religion according to the truth about nature, but on the whole this idea that God is the source of all truth remains a theme throughout Catholic theology. Importantly, it is not agreeable to Catholic theology to fault the proper consideration of evidence in any area, since truth is where you find it. The Scriptures are quite notable in lacking contextual statements about God (how could they be otherwise?), and thus one must understand the Bible according to its referential situation in “nature” and the environment.

I know that there are any number of Protestant religions that privilege the Bible over the knowledge that “nature” provides. However I cannot see any reason for this other than an ad hoc attempt to shield an unthinking prior commitment to a proclaimed “literalistic” reading of the Bible. The Protestants used Biblical “literalism” to break away from the Church, and many continue to hold onto this “successful weapon”. However, even their Bible states that God is not the author of confusion, which means that their literalism becomes internally inconsistent when it denies the truths of science, given that it is confusing to be told that God designed organisms to appear to have evolved via RM+NS (plus the rest of evolutionary theory).

In particular, little more than confusion ever comes out of IDism. What I have always liked better about creationism is that in most of its parts it has steadfastly refused to question the values and practices of science. On the down side, this is why it is so strenuous in its massive denial and in the projection of evil motives and/or atheism onto scientists–since it can’t hope to show that its beliefs are scientific. On the plus side, creationists rarely try to tamper with the rules of evidence and thought, while ID finds itself unable to oppose science except through distortions of meaning.

The final score is that religion really cannot pick and choose sources of “truth”, because the same cognitive and methodological means are used to determine the truth of these sources in any case. The more sophisticated religionists do know this, therefore they do not oppose science. The rest put God in the traditional place held by Satan, as the source of confusion and as an unreliable guide to truth for his human followers.

Science doesn’t need religion, then, but religion needs to acknowledge God in “nature” for acting truthfully, and without deviation, to his putative creation.

What really chafes most anti-science religionists is, however, the fact that science doesn’t need God.

Glen D http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

(1) eviscerating entire portions of narrative in the Bible as not meaning what it appears to be saying, that those parts were never intended to describe actual events and that it is all just allegory for something or other,…

You don’t need science to do that. Just read the Bible all by itself. It freely self-contradicts. You only need to get about 2 chapters into Genesis before that happens.

If you want to view the Bible as a source of meaning and inspiration, then you must view it as something other (I will go ahead and say “more”) than a direct literal narrative. Just as Jesus spoke in parables, people can find inspiration and meaning in literature (fiction), including Bible stories.

Insisting that the Bible is completely self-consistent in every detail doesn’t make sense irrespsective of any scientific discovery. You can insist that it has a unified meaning as a whole, if you read it that way, but you’re kidding yourself if you try to read it as narrative history and think that it doesn’t self-contradict.

Given that the vast majority of Christians have no problem reading the Bible as other than literal, there’s no elephant; using the Bible as a literary source of enlightenment is not at all in conflict with anything in science.

-Rob

Fr.Coyne Wrote:

”…the Intelligent Design (ID) movement, while evoking a God of power and might, a designer God, actually belittles God, makes her/him too small and paltry;.…”

This isn’t even “Christian” theology, let alone ‘Catholic’ theology. (I would recommend to him “The Fundamentals of Dogma” by Ludwig von Ott. Maybe then he can find himself back to the Catholic Church.)

My question is: if his theology is so bad, why would we think his science is so good?

Father Coyne, as a religious person, may feel the need to reconcile his faith with his science. He may do so as he pleases. Other religious persons will produce different ways of doing so which please them.

Every which way religious folks will twist and turn to fit the things together. Or, they may not bother. They may choose simply to put the finger up to science.

Whatever,we non-religious folks are just happy to have the science. We do not have to justify or reconcile science to anything. For us it’s strictly and purely a science thing. Thank God.

Blast:

My question is: if his theology is so bad, why would we think his science is so good?

Seems pretty clear to me. Theology is a swearing contest, where Coyne professes what he believes, and those whose faiths with conflict call him a poor theologian! Whereas his science is subject to ratification by reality, which has proved over the course of time to be a pretty good yardstick.

I’m always amused at what DOES seem like a solidly Christian doctrine: that if what someone else believes differs from what you believe, you can’t say “Well, OK, we believe different things.” No, you have to claim there’s some sort of absolute theological answer, which you have and others fall short! In this respect, you’re exactly like Heddle: Coyne’s faith is different, therefore Coyne’s faith is wrong, therefore Coyne’s opinion is “not Christian” and “nonsense” and “poor theology”. Hidebound intolerance, more than any other characteristic, seems to describe the faithful creationist.

He may be a priest, he may be a professional Catholic, whereas you are not, but HE has lost his way and needs guidance. We know this is true, because you swear it. Which is the only way ANYTHING becomes true in the religious world.

Option (3) is the option they should look into very carefully since its efficacy HAS ALREADY been demonstrated.

You mean like at Dover?

Carol, your opinion is nice and I’m sure you believe it, but not everyone here is going to agree because many don’t buy your starting assumptions. The fact of the matter is that your option 1 is, for many people, the CORRECT choice in their minds. Denigrate it all you want, but they’ll just believe you have no credibility as a result.

evolution, as he described it, is indeed inherently atheistic

From Heddle above, contrasted with…

that our scientific understanding of the universe, untainted by religious considerations, provides for those who believe in God a marvelous opportunity to reflect upon their beliefs.

&

(1) the scientific theory of evolution, as all scientific theories, is completely neutral with respect to religious thinking;

From Coyne. So, Heddle, if you would, please explain to me how someone who just stated flatly that science is not commenting in the positive or negative with respect to religion and that science provides fodder for one to reflect upon their belief in God can be describing an atheistic science?

Thanks.

Carol: you forgot option 4, which is to remember that the Bible is: a) not really ABOUT science or the material world, but about Man’s relationship to God; and, b) that the Bible is clearly not a literal document like a newspaper or a physics textbook.

As I’ve said before, looking for scientific insights in the Bible is a bit like watching “Brokeback Mountain” and looking for information about the trees in the background: yes, you could get some interesting tidbits of knowledge out of such an exercize, but you’d be MISSING THE POINT OF THE WORK!

Besides, why do we need to learn ancient Hebrew in order to get scientific truth out of the original OT text, when we’d only have to look to modern scientific papers to verfy it anyway? Why not just skip the Hebrew OT bits and stick to the modern papers?

And it suddenly occurs to me that Blast thinks science works just like religion does: If you believe something strongly enough and swear it’s true, it COMES TRUE. Evolutionists have been worshiping at the wrong altar, listing to the wrong saints. They may SAY they understand things like testing, falsification, verification, etc. but that’s really just lip service. Every now and then, as in this case, it slips out that they think science is just another religion.

Regarding standing before God and telling him that the “methods that he chose” to create biological diversity “belittle him,” hey, if Ken/Keith Mille/Miller won’t do it, I will. Why would the esteem-deficient being of revealed religions create in such a way as to appear totally unnecessary to the process? Oooow, but dat wascawy deity is twicksy. Come on. A lot of things “might be true,” but we don’t going around worrying about them. Invisible unicorns might be responsible for internal combustion, but I remain a strict unicorn agnostic–to the point of a-unicornism. Should I live in fear of unicorn retaliation on that great and dreadful day of One-Horned Transparent Equine Judgment? Nah.

A person can use “orthogonal” and still just be Forest Gump with no shrimp recipes.

Syntax Error: mismatched tag at line 5, column 2, byte 237 at /usr/local/lib/perl5/site_perl/5.16/mach/XML/Parser.pm line 187.

Don’t forget listening to music, singing and dancing along with it even though you are skilled at neither.

I prefer making the music. While dancing. And hallucinating. And having sex.

All very zen. I’m sure.

I don’t know why David Heddle is trying to present the views of the catholic Church on evolution. He is a heretic, and a heretic is guaranteed to mislead people on the Church’s view.

I don’t know why David Heddle is trying to present the views of the catholic Church on evolution. He is a heretic, and a heretic is guaranteed to mislead people on the Church’s view.

Why is anyone here talking about Cardinal Schonborn at all? His views on creationism directly contradict the statements of Pope JP-II, as well as respected Vatican scientists, and he flatly said that JP-II didn’t really mean what he had said. He contradicted and brushed off the official Vatican line, and clearly represents no one in the Church but himself.

And another Carol classic:

It’s really very simple, as my previous post explained. God issues a threat and appears not to carry it out in the end. Where is there a lie here?

You are absolutely right that a real God does not change its mind. Where such does appear in the Bible it is meant anthropomorphically. Big word, right? Think of it this way. God acts, for reasons best known to him but we are entitled to speculate, in a way that appears to us that he changed his mind.

In simpler form:

If God appears to lie or change Her mind, then God must not be lying or changing Her mind - we must simply be too stupid to figure out what God is doing. Because God cannot lie or change Her mind because I, Carol Clouser, have said so.

Is there some actual logic hidden in there that I missed?

David Heddle Wrote:

The fact that Coyne has not been called in on the carpet cannot be easily interpreted. (He is, after all, a Jesuit.)

How does Coyne get away with heresy? Not because he is a Jesuit; I do not think. The prestige and authority of science is something to do with it; but more to the point is history. Galileo: his spectre haunts the Vatican, and Giordano Bruno’s ghost also lingers about the Holy City.

The Church tried to use brute authority to silence scientific dissidents and in the end suffered the shame of the damned for doing so, as well as the ignominy of being proved wrong. And would any Pope choose to spend posterity in the same company as Urban VIII?

Can you imagine the furore if the Church authorities set out to silence scientists again? What a spectacle for the world’s press. One can see the headlines: “A Modern Miracle within the Catholic Church — The Resurrection of Galileo.” The recent Dover trial has also helped to concentrate minds within the Church. They can see that it is all but over for the short lived bastard offspring of their own longstanding version of intelligent design. The DI version’s idiotic attempt to bluff its way into the scientific arena has reached its inevitable denouement.

In short, scientists hold a strong dissident hand within the power structure of the CC. Coyne’s own position as the official Vatican astronomer gives him a highly symbolic connection to Galileo. He is virtually immune from censure.

Carol C, The rudeness of your diatribe is only matched by the inadequacies of your erudition. Your puerile propensity for pejoratives is something only the uncouth could envy. I feel sorry for anyone who is incapable of discussing even the most cherished beliefs without vituperation and vilification. One can totally disagree with someones philosophy and still be civil.(big words right)You said “Your long series of citations regarding punishment for one’s own sins is entirely unnecessary. The Bible neither states nor implies anywhere that you or anyone else will die because Adam violated the rules.Then could please explain these biblical statements :1Cor. 15:22 “For as in Adam all die,:Rom. 5:19 “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners”:Rom. 5:12 “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:”,please show me the scriptures that refute those statements.

Jonboy,

I generally do not respond to posts like that last one of yours, but I will in this case to clarify an important point you seem to have missed. Whenever I use the term “the Bible” I am referring to the “Hebrew Bible”, meaning the original version of what christians call the “old testament”. I am at all not getting involved here with the quotations you introduced as they all are not from the Hebrew Bible.

Comment #82029 Posted by Raging Bee on February 24, 2006 12:55 PM

Why is anyone here talking about Cardinal Schonborn at all? His views on creationism directly contradict the statements of Pope JP-II, as well as respected Vatican scientists, and he flatly said that JP-II didn’t really mean what he had said. He contradicted and brushed off the official Vatican line, and clearly represents no one in the Church but himself.

There are some reasons for this –

(1) Schonborn is a very prominent and influential cardinal. He was chief editor of the Catholic catechism, was a major candidate in the last papal election, and is considered to be close to the present pope.

(2) In his 7-7-05 New York Times article, Schonborn pointed out that JP-II’s statement that evolution is “more than just a hypothesis” has been quoted out of context – Schonborn noted that JP-II “did not define” evolution in the speech in which that statement was made. JP-II did not specifically endorse the idea of unguided evolution, and Schonborn’s other quotes of JP-II show that JP-II opposed this idea. Schonborn also pointed out that a 2004 document of the International Theological Commission, headed at the time by the present pope, said that “an unguided evolutionary process – one that falls outside the bounds of divine providence – simply cannot exist.”

I think that the church is playing to both sides of the ID controversy – that is why the anti-ID article was published in the official Vatican newspaper.

For links to articles on the controversy, see Comment #81830 of this thread.

Comment #82071 Posted by Leigh Jackson on February 24, 2006 04:04 PM

The recent Dover trial has also helped to concentrate minds within the Church. They can see that it is all but over for the short lived bastard offspring of their own longstanding version of intelligent design.

“All but over” ? Because of the decision of a single judge ?

It is odd that state governments are eager to challenge the courts on the abortion issue (e.g., South Dakota’s legislature just passed a ban on nearly all abortions) but seem intimidated on the issue of ID. A million-dollar lawsuit is peanuts for a state.

In short, scientists hold a strong dissident hand within the power structure of the CC. Coyne’s own position as the official Vatican astronomer gives him a highly symbolic connection to Galileo. He is virtually immune from censure.

Galileo, unlike Coyne, was not a Catholic priest.

If Coyne made a scientific statement supporting abortion, he would be censured.

Also, it is odd that you try to present Coyne’s views on ID as the mainstream position of the church and at the same time suggest that those views are dissident.

Lawrence Fafarman posting as Andy H.

says:

“All but over” ? Because of the decision of a single judge ?

hahahaha .….yeah Larry because the decision of a single judge imposing the law of the land.

You may think that you can deny those laws and you would be in good company.

right here on Pandas Thumb your little ruse was discussed long before you showed up.

Evolution Deniers and Holocaust Deniers in a locked step.

http://www.pandasthumb.org/archives[…]n_denie.html

Actually Lawrence Fafarman currenty posting under Andy H.

here is something interesting

do a search on Larry + Holocaust on the PT search box

are we in for another name change? B.F. the 2 Bill’s John B etc. etc.

Even if Larry changes his name again (he’s due) I think we’ll spot him immediately. His style is quite, um, distinctive.

To revisit an old question, does anyone here know why exactly Larry/Andy/BF etc. hasn’t been banned for his sock puppetry?

Leigh Jackson Wrote:

Can you imagine the furore if the Church authorities set out to silence scientists again? What a spectacle for the world’s press. One can see the headlines: “A Modern Miracle within the Catholic Church — The Resurrection of Galileo.”

Wait a hundred years or so. Galileo will be sainted.

Carol Clouser,For once I must say I absolutely agree with you !!!!!!!! Now please explain to Davis Heddle,why he is wrong.

No, Jonboy, you respectfully ask David Heddle to respond to your questions above. After you hear what he has to say, you will be in a position to react intelligently.

No, Jonboy, you respectfully ask David Heddle to respond to your questions above.

Buyt Carol my dear, neither you NOR Heddle answer questions.

For instance, I’ve already asked both of you to tell me why your particular religious opinion is any more authoritative than mine or my next door neighbor’s or the kid who delivers my pizzas. Haven’t gotten any intelligible answer yet, other than “because my favorite scholars say so”.

Oh, and I’d sure like to hear Rev Heddle ask YOU why you think the New Testament is full of crap. … .

Even among Larry Farflungdung’s diversions and non-sequiturs, this self-contradictory sentence stands out:

I think that the church is playing to both sides of the ID controversy — that is why the anti-ID article was published in the official Vatican newspaper.

The official vatican Newspaper explicitly takes one side in the ID controversy, and that’s “playing to both sides?” You sound stupider every day.

The CC’s official position is so clear and simple even you should be able to understand it: that God guided, and still guides, the workings of the universe, including the evolution of life on Earth, but that such guidance is not discernable or provable by honest scientific inquiry; that evolution is real science, and can only be overthrown and replaced with real science; and that ID is not real science.

Carol Wrote:

Jonboy,

I generally do not respond to posts like that last one of yours, but I will in this case to clarify an important point you seem to have missed. Whenever I use the term “the Bible” I am referring to the “Hebrew Bible”, meaning the original version of what christians call the “old testament”. I am at all not getting involved here with the quotations you introduced as they all are not from the Hebrew Bible.

It is remarks like this one that remind me of the entertainment value of trolls. Carol responds to posts like Jonboy’s all the time. In fact, she has to, if she wants to post, since generally the only responses to her factually incorrect and logically incoherent posts.

By the way Carol, “christians” should be capitalized. As an editor, I would have thought you knew that.

Arden Wrote:

Even if Larry changes his name again (he’s due) I think we’ll spot him immediately. His style is quite, um, distinctive.

To revisit an old question, does anyone here know why exactly Larry/Andy/BF etc. hasn’t been banned for his sock puppetry?

This is a darn good question. I object, in principle, to the banning of either trolls or cranks unless they are actually disruptive; and Larry is only disruptive because people respond to his dribble.

But he is violating board policy. Why is that permitted?

Carol Clousr,I promised my friend Raging Bee not to post any comments of a religious nature,so I will just make an observation. You said “ask David Heddle to respond to your questions above. After you hear what he has to say, you will be in a position to react intelligently”. I know emphatically that Heddles response would be diametrically opposed to yours,as a Xtian he has no other choice. You do not share the same bible as Heddle,or the same God,or the same Messiah,yet you revere his opinions,and defend his positions to the hilt,many on PT would question your motives.

Yo, JONBOY, I never meant to stop you from having fun with Carol and Heddle! FWIW, I absolve you from your promise, which I never asked for in the first place. (Besides, fair’s fair – I never promised you anythihg.) Party on, dude!

Comment #82846 Posted by Raging Bee on March 1, 2006 08:52 AM

I think that the church is playing to both sides of the ID controversy — that is why the anti-ID article was published in the official Vatican newspaper.

The official vatican Newspaper explicitly takes one side in the ID controversy, and that’s “playing to both sides?” You sound stupider every day.

Wrong. Publication of the article did not show that the church was officially taking sides, because the newspaper’s articles do not necessarily represent official church policy. The only presumption is that the newspaper probably would not publish something that dissented deeply from church policy.

Larry Wrote:

Wrong. Publication of the article did not show that the church was officially taking sides, because the newspaper’s articles do not necessarily represent official church policy. The only presumption is that the newspaper probably would not publish something that dissented deeply from church policy.

Another meaningless comment from Larry.

Larry:

1. Given that you are posting in violation of Panda’s posting rules, are you aware that this makes you look like a dishonest fool?

2. Given that you have no credentials, experience, or education in any of the subjects on which you comment - especially law - why should we take anything you say seriously?

If this cite is saying God is fake you SUK BECAUSE I LOVE GOD SO MUCH AND I HATE YOU IF YOU ARE TALKING BAD ABOUT MY HOLY HEAVENLY GOD AND JESUS AND THE HOLY SPIRT, I LOVE HIM SO MUCH AND YOUR R GOING TO HELL IF YOU ARE NOT A CHRISTIAN.

If this cite is saying God is fake you SUK BECAUSE I LOVE GOD SO MUCH AND I HATE YOU IF YOU ARE TALKING BAD ABOUT MY HOLY HEAVENLY GOD AND JESUS AND THE HOLY SPIRT, I LOVE HIM SO MUCH AND YOUR R GOING TO HELL IF YOU ARE NOT A CHRISTIAN.

well, i guess it being close to easter and all, it’s appropriate to resurrect a thread like this?

er, happy easter, bobby?

You guys are the 77308 best, thanks so much for the help.

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This page contains a single entry by PvM published on February 21, 2006 12:58 PM.

Law debate on ID in Kentucky was the previous entry in this blog.

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