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Gems from Father Neuhaus

Richard John Neuhaus, the one-time Lutheran pastor/philosopher who became a Catholic priest (he didn’t just “evolve” into it, however), edits First Things magazine with the kind of scholarship and grace one might hope to find in a particularly sparkling discussion over dinner with an old college friend. His “While we’re at it” column is especially sought out each month for Fr. Neuhaus’ take on topical events. This month he has some tough things to say to the science community that seems to think it is a royal priesthood itself, set above even legitimate criticism.

Landing on the fiasco of South Korean cloning claims that were pumped up by those supposedly flawless “peer reviewed science journals” until the story of the scam was made public–from Korea, not the U.S. science world–Neuhaus proceeds to the “blunderbuss verdict” of Judge John E.

Jones in the Dover case. (Regrettably, the March First Things is not online yet; hence, no link. Break down and buy a copy.)

Discovery is releasing its own new poll this week, but it is useful that Neuhaus calls attention meanwhile to a Virginia Commonwealth University (CVU) poll showing that “only 15 percent of the public thinks only evolution should be taught in public schools, while 73 percent favor teaching also the controversy about evolution.”

Serious scientists should ponder such numbers as they continue to find themselves represented by the National Academy of Sciences and the AAAS. These organizations have taken extreme positions that pretend that there are no scientific flaws in Darwin’s theory and that display total unwillingness to compromise with the public’s desire for a fair hearing of the issue.

“(I)t has become increasingly evident,” writes Fr. Neuhaus, “that much that is called education in science is, in fact, indoctrination in philosophical, moral and ontological assumptions that most people do not share, for good reason.”

Read that sentence over again and think about it.

Fr. Neuhaus points out that

“Huge enterprises such as the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health, along with science programs in the universities, depend upon public support.”

Whose fault is the public’s suspicions of the science establishment? The public? People like Discovery Institute? Or might the science establishment do well to look in a mirror?

One other thing. These comments by Fr. Neuhaus fit nicely with the article released this week by Catholic Archbishop Naumann of Kansas City.

You aren’t going to read about such opinions in the New York Times, because the editorial AND news policy there is that Catholics are just fine with Darwinism, and, by implication, materialism, scientism, and positivism. They continue to cling to the mistaken idea that only “evangelicals” are doubtful of Darwin’s theory, and that mainly because of religious motivation.

Bruce Chapman

Cofounder and Chairman of the Board of Discovery Institute
Bruce Chapman has had a long career in American politics and public policy at the city, state, national, and international levels. Elected to the Seattle City Council and as Washington State's Secretary of State, he also served in several leadership posts in the Reagan administration, including ambassador. In 1991, he founded the public policy think tank Discovery Institute, where he currently serves as Chairman of the Board and director of the Chapman Center on Citizen Leadership.