Evolution’s Emily Litella?

In July Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn of Vienna wrote an eyebrow-raising op-ed in the New York Times that favored Intelligent Design over evolution. Now, as far as I can tell from this Reuters story, he’s claiming he was misunderstood.

“Maybe one did not express oneself clearly enough or thoughts were not clear enough,” he said. “Such misunderstandings can be cleared up.”

Now he’s saying that evolution’s fine as long as biologists don’t conclude that evolution proves there’s no creator. Darwin’s theory is “one of the very great works of intellectual history.”

Compare this with his claim in July that “neo-Darwinism” was invented “to avoid the overwhelming evidence for purpose and design found in modern science.”

I’d be curious to see the entire speech on which the report was based. As far as I can tell from the report, Schoenborn seems to be doing his best impression of Emily Litella: “Never mind.”

0 thoughts on “Evolution’s Emily Litella?

  1. Well, back in July, Reed Cartwright predicted that Schoenborn was just confused (Victim of the Wedge?) and that his statement didn’t illustrate support for ID or signify a shifting of the Catholic stance like many were saying.

  2. I don’t like to hint darkly at backstage maneuvers in such an august institution, but could it be that the bishop got a little note from the distinguished theologian who is now Pope, to the effect that he’d misread the tea leaves and there’s no change planned in John Paul II’s position on evolution? One may not like Mr. Ratzinger much, but he’s not stupid.

  3. … Except Pope Benedict has said that John Paul II was misquoted – and Schonborn agrees – that nothing he said should be construed to mean that evolution is unguided:

    The problem, according to Schonborn, is that this quotation is only part of the commission’s statement on philosophical questions linked to Darwinism. In particular, its statement warned that a much-quoted — and misquoted — 1996 letter on science by Pope John Paul II cannot be “read as a blanket approbation of all theories of evolution, including those of a neo-Darwinian provenance which explicitly deny to divine providence any truly causal role in the development of life in the universe.”

    The commission’s verdict was especially blunt: “An unguided evolutionary process — one that falls outside the bounds of divine providence — simply cannot exist.”

    Once again, stressed Cardinal Schonborn, the crucial distinction for Catholic believers is that they are not supposed to embrace versions of Darwinism that teach that evolution was and is an impersonal and random process.

    Sounds like Intelligent Design to me.

  4. If one presupposes a truly sovereign God, then by definition everything that happens is directly caused by divine providence. This makes questions about whether this or that particular event was an “act of God” moot.

    If Calvin came after Darwin, we might be arguing a lot less about this today.

  5. Of course neoDarwinism was invented. So was Darwinism. Wallace and Darwin, both having read Lyell and Malthus, naturally dreamed up the same scenario. Wallace completely abandoned his youthful enthusiasm in his later book – “The World of Life; A Manifestation of Creative Power, Directive Mind and Ultimate Purpose.”

    Science is discovery of what is there and what was there. It is interesting that the so-called “Age of Enlightenment” includes a view of evolution that is purely a matter of faith, a concept for which discovery played no role whatsoever and that flies in the face of everything we know from centuries of human experience, the experimental laboratory and the undeniable reality of the fossil record.

    Phlogiston died in the eighteenth century, the Ether in the nineteenth century and Darwinism should have died about the same time when St George Jackson Mivart asked the simple question – how can Natural selection affect a structure which has not yet appeared?

    There is only only one explanation for the persistence of neoDarwinism. It is the only intellectual refuge for mentalities which are incapable of accepting any role for an Intelligent Designer even one that, as I believe, is no longer present and does not need to be as the design has been fully realized.

    We are all victims of our destinies which includes our view of the world. Don’t take my word for it.

    “Everything is determined… by forces over which we have no control.”

    “Our actions should be based on the ever-present awareness that human beings in their thinking, feeling, and acting are not free but are just as causally bound as the stars in their motion.”

    “The main source of the present-day conflicts benween the spheres of religion and science lies in the concept of a personal God.”

    “Then there are the fanatical atheists whose intolerance is the same as the religious fanatics, and it springs from the same source…. They are creatures who cannot hear the music of the spheres.”

    Albert Einstein

  6. Let’s stop the euphemisms. What the word “intelligent” in “intelligent design” means is quite clearly “magical”. Or as near as we all can tell.. derived from a supernatural spook in the sky somewhere waving a magic wand. It just doesn’t sound as stupid to call it by this euphemism. There is no question about the magical supernatural power of the Christian creator…it has nothing whatsoever to do with intelligent scientific planning and meticulous creation in a science lab somewhere by angels wearing white lab coats.
    The primary resistance to the acceptance of the science of evolution… as a proven and accepted fact.. by creationists hiding as so called id proponents may be that doing so would be tantamount to recognizing that ones formerly cherished creation myths were intellectually no more sophisticated than those of any New Guinea stone age tribesman’s. People dont like to recognize their own simplemindedness. Ignorance and stupidity is not a compliment, especially in an age of science.

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