Re: Pope says universe made by 'intelligent project'

From: George Murphy <>
Date: Sat Nov 12 2005 - 20:36:06 EST

MessageMy "theory" is simply that one must be careful with technical language.

& though Denyse may consider it a "cheap shot" I'll point out that (a) popes, like other diplomats, often use deliberately ambiguous language & (b) Schoenborn isn't the Pope.

  ----- Original Message -----
  From: Denyse O'Leary
  To: 'George Murphy' ; 'janice matchett' ;
  Sent: Saturday, November 12, 2005 8:14 PM
  Subject: RE: Pope says universe made by 'intelligent project'

  Fine, if you want theories and cheap shots, listen to George. Otherwise, go to the Post-Darwinist and then proceed through the link to Schonborn's site, where S. uses the term "intelligent design" in English, and see for yourselves what is happening.

  cheers, Denyse
    Again I point out something Denyse has shown herself to be opaque to but which may be helpful for others. "Intelligent Design" as used by Behe, Dembski &c is a technical term IN ENGLISH. In order for the Pope to "identify with" ID he should do it in English. Translations in German, Italian or any other language simply produce ambiguity in such a situation, & a claim by Cardinal Schoenborn, z.B., that the Pope "really" meant ID is a statement by a translator. In the same way, a theologian who is making a formal statement about, z.B., something in the Augsburg Confession will refer to the German (or secondary Latin), not a translation in some other language.

    & in addition (as I've also noted) the distinction between "intelligent design" as a religious belief & as a putative scientific theory has to be borne in mind. So until the Pope (a) makes a statement using the English terminology and (b) explicitly identifies "intelligent design" with the idea that such design can be detected scientifically & should be part of a scientific theories, it cannot be said that the Pope has "identified" with ID. (& of course if he does I'm quite prepared to follow Luther in saying "Popes and councils have erred.")

    This is not "spin," though Denyse's dizziness may make her think it is.

        -----Original Message-----
        From: [] On Behalf Of janice matchett
        Sent: Saturday, November 12, 2005 6:40 PM
        Subject: Pope says universe made by 'intelligent project'

        Pope says universe made by 'intelligent project'
        Waterbury Republican-American ^ | November 12, 2005 | Associated Press
        Posted on 11/12/2005 2:23:11 PM EST by Graybeard58

        VATICAN CITY -- Pope Benedict XVI has waded into the evolution debate in the United States, saying the universe was made by an "intelligent project" and criticizing those who in the name of science say its creation was without direction or order.

        Benedict made the off-the-cuff comments during his general audience Wednesday. The Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, published the full text of his remarks in its Thursday editions.

        Benedict focused his reflections for the audience on scriptural readings that said God's love was seen in the "marvels of creation."

        He quoted St. Basil the Great, a fourth century saint, as saying some people, "fooled by the atheism that they carry inside of them, imagine a universe free of direction and order, as if at the mercy of chance."

        "How many of these people are there today? These people, fooled by atheism, believe and try to demonstrate that it's scientific to think that everything is free of direction and order," he said.

        "With the sacred Scripture, the Lord awakens the reason that sleeps and tells us: In the beginning, there was the creative word. In the beginning, the creative word -- this word that created everything and created this intelligent project that is the cosmos -- is also love."

        His comments were immediately hailed by advocates of intelligent design, who hold that the universe is so complex it must have been created by a higher power. U.S. proponents of the theory are seeking to get public schools to teach it as part of the science curriculum.

        Critics say intelligent design is merely creationism -- a literal reading of the Bible's story of creation -- camouflaged in scientific language.

        Questions about the Vatican's position on evolution were raised in July by Austrian Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn, who attended Wednesday's audience.

        In a New York Times op-ed piece, Schoenborn seemed to back intelligent design and dismissed a 1996 statement by Pope John Paul II that evolution was "more than just a hypothesis." Schoenborn said the late pope's statement was "rather vague and unimportant."

        Schoenborn attended Wednesday's audience. He was seated on the dais behind Benedict in St. Peter's Square, along with other Austrian bishops making a regularly scheduled visit to the Vatican.

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    Read brief excerpts from my book, By Design or by Chance?: The Growing Controversy On the Origins of Life in the Universe (Augsburg Fortress, 2004) at

    Study Guide:

    My blog:
    (go to other blogs from here)

    Denyse O'Leary
    Tel: 416 485-2392
    Fax: 416 485-2392

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Received on Sat Nov 12 20:36:27 2005

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