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Evolution: Facts, Assertions, Theories and the Catholic Faith Comments

Although evolution is often taken by some as an hypothesis proven beyond doubt, the scientific debate over the theory is one which, due to lack of empirical evidence, shows little if any signs of subsiding. John Bonner, a biologist at Princeton, writes that traditional textbook discussions of ancestral descent are "a festering mass of unsupported assertions". Continue Reading

41 - 48 of 48 Comments

  1. RickK
    4 years ago

    Mr. Bartels, you use the "festering mass" quote by Bonner twice in your article. Can you please cite the origin of the quote - not the website link where somebody else quoted it, but the actual original source? And can you please show the context of the quote - what came before and after the quote?

  2. Bulbajer
    4 years ago

    I have to agree with Mike. I think the opinions in this article, if they're supposed to represent official Catholic teaching, need a little updating. The popes since Pius XII have been a bit more accepting of the evolution of man. Why isn't it possible that Adam and Eve had a non-homo sapiens ancestor? Scientists are not sure exactly which species in the homo genus we evolved from, but isn't it possible that we did indeed evolve? As far as I know, that doesn't contradict the doctrine of original sin.
    In other words, I don't see the reason behind Pius' 3 requirements for Catholics (named right above th section "The First Human Beings That God Created were Adam and Eve").

  3. Joe
    4 years ago

    It's hard to see how anyone could be a steady-stationist (universe always existed) or oscillation theorist (constant expansion and contraction) since modern astrophysical discoveries such as the big bang theory have shown those ideas about cosmological evolution to be bogus. The universe had to have a point of origin as it's expansion and entropy show. This webpage has more on science and faith dialogue:

  4. John Bush
    4 years ago

    For those who are interested in the Church's teaching on creation, I recommend "Creation Rediscovered", published by Tan. As a technically oriented person, I appreciated Gerald Keane's systematic analysis, which includes a number of references to opinions of saints and theologians (on both sides of these issues) throughout the history of the Church. Although I do not base my faith on it, I tend to agree with those who take a historical literal view of scripture and feel that the evidence points to special creation and a 6000 year-old universe. For what its worth, based on my years of education (BS Aerospace Engineer, MS Systems Engineering, fighter pilot, USAF Test Pilot School Grad) and study, it is difficult to analyze the current status of the various branches of science (including theology) and come up with a good argument to the contrary. Agree with Mike that poor Steven Hawking seems to be in desperate need of our prayers – I’m not sure how a knowledge of the scientific properties of math and physics qualifies him to speak on theology any more than it would qualify him to speak on cooking, botany, or parenting, but I guess that’s the unfortunate state of our culture today. Also, as any elementary catechant knows, bishops, cardinals, popes and in fact all church officials are welcome to hold and communicate opinions on any topic they like, but the Holy Sprit’s gift of infallibility occurs ordinarily only when they speak on faith and morals in union with timeless teaching of the magisterium or extraordinarily when the pope speaks ex cathedra. Funny how of all groups, Cafeteria Catholics often seem to be the first to forget this.

  5. Bob Pietlock
    4 years ago

    Mike says that "...we know..." that God created the material universe. I beg to disagree. That is something that we cannot "know". At best you can BELIEVE it because you have faith, but I afraid you are mistaken if you think you can "know" it. Enough with the smoke and mirrors, guys.

  6. David Marchand
    4 years ago

    Pope John Paul II said that evolution was fact.
    There is no lack of empirical evidence, unless one refuses to look at the empirical evidence, and there are mountains of it to look at.

  7. mike
    4 years ago

    Also, this article is telling us that we must believe Eve came from Adam? Is that right? IS that is Pius XII's take on Genesis' account of God making Adam go to sleep then taking a bone from his side? There is also ANOTHER account of human creation in Genesis where God formed BOTH Adam and Eve together out of the dust.

    I think this article doesn't merit publication in its present form, and needs re-written by someone else more familiar with all the issues.

  8. mike
    4 years ago

    Steven Hawking just this week made a statement that seemed to be TOTAL EVOLUTION. your article merely dismisses Hawking without even a footnote.

    "Total Evolution -- also termed material evolution -- is a theory which assumes the eternal existence of uncreated matter, and posits that all living creatures emerged from it through a process of evolution. Such a theory is incompatible with God's revealed truth, for we know that God indeed created the material universe and all the matter within it from nothing. The notion that uncreated matter exists without a point of beginning, uncaused and without origin, stretching infinitely into the past is pure nonsense."

    that's a problem in almost every issue (gay marriage especially)...Catholic scholarship is lacking. Even when talking about PIUSX II' encyclical- he specifically didn't want the general population talking about it, only qualified experts. I think if an article like this is going to be published it should contain links to its documentation. It is not clear from this article even to what extent the Church's infallible teaching about revelation extends, and where it ends. I think maybe that's what PIUS XII was trying to get at from interpreting The Book Genesis.

    This is a great subject that deserves even better, clearer, and more scholarly treatment in these pages.

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