Re: Vienna cardinal draws lines in Intelligent Design row

From: Pim van Meurs <>
Date: Mon Nov 21 2005 - 12:23:50 EST

Denyse O'Leary wrote:

> While we are on this topic, Vatican astronomer George Coyne, who
> attacks intelligent design theory, has a rather unusual theological
> view, which he is prepared to share with the Catholic press:
> "
Coyne's perspective on science and religion is quite refreshening as he
seems to understand that Intelligent Design is scientifically vacuous.
Seems that Denyse may agree with his assesment as she is focusing on his
unusual 'theological views'.

Coyne is joining the voices of many others, even in the vatican such as
Cardinal Poupard

<quote>A Vatican cardinal said Thursday the faithful should listen to
what secular modern science has to offer, warning that religion risks
turning into “fundamentalism” if it ignores scientific reason.</quote>


Cardinal Paul Poupard, head of the Pontifical Council for Culture, said
the Genesis description of how God created the universe and Darwin's
theory of evolution were "perfectly compatible" if the Bible were read

His statement was a clear attack on creationist campaigners in the US,
who see evolution and the Genesis account as mutually exclusive.

"The fundamentalists want to give a scientific meaning to words that had
no scientific aim," he said at a Vatican press conference. He said the
real message in Genesis was that "the universe didn't make itself and
had a creator".

This idea was part of theology, Cardinal Poupard emphasised, while the
precise details of how creation and the development of the species came
about belonged to a different realm - science. Cardinal Poupard said
that it was important for Catholic believers to know how science saw
things so as to "understand things better".

His statements were interpreted in Italy as a rejection of the
"intelligent design" view, which says the universe is so complex that
some higher being must have designed every detail</quote>

As such it is important to distinguish between the term intelligent
design and Intelligent Design. The former indicates that there is a
Creator, the latter as arguing that based on ignorance we can infer this
designer scientifically. The former is good theology, the latter is
scientifically vacuous and in fact theologically risky.

In other developments, the clergy project is nearing 10,000 signatures


    An Open Letter Concerning Religion and Science

    Within the community of Christian believers there are areas of
    dispute and disagreement, including the proper way to interpret Holy
    Scripture. While virtually all Christians take the Bible seriously
    and hold it to be authoritative in matters of faith and practice,
    the overwhelming majority do not read the Bible literally, as they
    would a science textbook. Many of the beloved stories found in the
    Bible – the Creation, Adam and Eve, Noah and the ark – convey
    timeless truths about God, human beings, and the proper relationship
    between Creator and creation expressed in the only form capable of
    transmitting these truths from generation to generation. Religious
    truth is of a different order from scientific truth. Its purpose is
    not to convey scientific information but to transform hearts.

    We the undersigned, Christian clergy from many different traditions,
    believe that the timeless truths of the Bible and the discoveries of
    modern science may comfortably coexist. We believe that the theory
    of evolution is a foundational scientific truth, one that has stood
    up to rigorous scrutiny and upon which much of human knowledge and
    achievement rests. To reject this truth or to treat it as “one
    theory among others” is to deliberately embrace scientific ignorance
    and transmit such ignorance to our children. We believe that among
    God’s good gifts are human minds capable of critical thought and
    that the failure to fully employ this gift is a rejection of the
    will of our Creator. To argue that God’s loving plan of salvation
    for humanity precludes the full employment of the God-given faculty
    of reason is to attempt to limit God, an act of hubris. We urge
    school board members to preserve the integrity of the science
    curriculum by affirming the teaching of the theory of evolution as a
    core component of human knowledge. We ask that science remain
    science and that religion remain religion, two very different, but
    complementary, forms of truth.
Received on Mon Nov 21 12:25:09 2005

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