Papas fritas

Something I wrote a long time ago — Doesn’t this current state of ignorance about the origins of life give room for creationist? — sticks with me because its one of those things that are terribly-obvious-but-seemingly-disputed-and-yet-disproved.

I’m in good company. The Pope said something similar recently:

Debaters wrongly present the two sides “as if they were alternatives that are exclusive – whoever believes in the creator could not believe in evolution, and whoever asserts belief in evolution would have to disbelieve in God,” the pontiff said.

“This contrast is an absurdity, because there are many scientific tests in favor of evolution, which appears as a reality that we must see and enriches our understanding of life and being.

“But the doctrine of evolution does not answer all questions, and it does not answer above all the great philosophical question: From where does everything come?”

(h/t DarwinCatholic)

3 thoughts on “Papas fritas”

  1. It gives room for ANY cosmological account, including but not limited to, the world being defecated into existence by a cosmic monkey king. There are a practical infinity of alternative, mutually exclusive, conjectures about eras previous to our furthest scientific investigations. And we have no reason to discriminate between them, by assumption (we don’t know, so we really don’t know).

    “You don’t know, so I must be right.” is fallacious.

    Using current ignorance as a hiding place for theological notions has been inefficient in the past. The boundary of human knowledge expanded, religion retreated. — But the funny thing about a boundary is that if you’re talking about one, there are always two sides. This side, what we know, and beyond the boundary, ignorance. So by this strategy, religion can avoid conflict with science ad infinitum.

    But, ignoring all this, I thought that praying and so on are good ideas because you believe, not because you don’t know. — If religion concerns itself with what’s beyond the boundary of science, wherever that is, then science can’t confirm nor infirm it. But that doesn’t make it respectable or believable or true in any sense.

  2. My remark, and the Pope’s, aren’t defenses of religion. They’re simply statements of the obvious fact that religion and science aren’t conflicted… one talks about mechanisms and the other talks about origins.

  3. I’m wary of simplifying the religious into a collection of simple minded cultists who attack anything they don’t understand. Isaac Newton was a deeply religious man, too.

    You might note that the loudest creationists don’t follow the Catholic church.

    It’s the idea of accidental creation that the serious creationists object to. Their world view requires a deliberate, divine will behind every object and event. The idea that things can happen on their own, even if set into motion by divine influence, removes the absolute and immediate presence of the divine from the field. This is unacceptable to them.

    Think about it: Evolutionary theory speculates that the Earth floated around for a bit over 4 billion years after forming before humans arose. Literal creationism states that the Earth was specifically created for humans in around 6 days. Evolutionary theory speculates that the universe was around for something like 5 or 6 billion years before the Earth even formed, long enough for generations of stars to burn out and create the heavier elements we depend on for life. Literal creationism states that everything has pretty much always been as it is now. Mountains, rivers, coastlines, the stars, the moon, all placed by divine will. Science has it all sort of coming together by accident.

    If you’re a person who needs deep, deliberate meaning in every object and event in your world, would you accept a compromise?

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