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Religion Recognizes Science

Monday, November 21, 2005, 17:50 EDT Leave a comment Go to comments

Every so often, someone at the Vatican does something so sensible that it gives me hope for the future of the Roman Catholic hierarchy. Such was the case recently when Fr. George Coyne, director of the Vatican Observatory, weighed in on the controversy about the teaching of "intelligent design" as an alternative to the scientific theory of evolution.

"Intelligent design isn’t science, even if it pretends to be," said Father George Coyne…

Father Coyne had criticized Intelligent Design previously, in an article that appeared in October in the British Catholic newspaper, The Tablet. In that article, he took issue with Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, who had published an essay in the New York Times pointing to the weaknesses of Darwinian evolutionary theory. Whereas Cardinal Schönborn argued that a strictly material approach to evolution cannot answer ultimate questions about the origin of man, Father Coyne countered that critics of evolution are underestimating God’s willingness to give "freedom" to the processes of nature.

My thoughts exactly. Who is so arrogant as to insist that an omnipotent creator God did not or could not design the universe to unfold in a complex manner such as evolution? If we believe in the immortal soul of the human being, we need only believe that if humans did evolve from other life forms, there was a point at which God saw fit to infuse them with souls. That possibility is more awesome to me that the idea that God waved some sort of magic wand and—poof!—made the world in what we understand to be the span of six days.

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