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Aquinas, Chaberek, Richards: A Cleansing Conversation

David Klinghoffer

Aquinas

I’ve wanted to say something appropriate to Catholic friends about the crisis in their church, but keep failing to think of what to say that would be meaningful. I am very sorry about that. There is probably little comfort in thinking about the fact that Jewish clergy let us down, though they do, as I’m sure Protestants would say the same of some of their leaders. Candid atheists could share some parallel reflections about their community as well, as might citizens of the general pop culture where figures in entertainment and sports are the equivalent of clergy.

Our culture is both degraded and degrading. No doubt the caustic effects of some trends in scientific thought — about biological origins, for example — have played a part in that. What can we do about it? Well, there is something refreshing and cleansing about going back to thinkers and writers of the more distant past who were wiser than we are today. In a new ID the Future podcast, Jay Richards talks with Fr. Michael Chaberek about Thomas Aquinas, a towering figure for Catholics. As Jay points out, Aquinas’ influence in Protestantism is significant, too. Their subject is Chaberek’s book Aquinas and Evolution, referring also to the new website Aquinas.Design. From his way of discussing ideas, you will get a sense of what an impressively lucid writer Chaberek is.

Only a “Postulate”

They consider the question of what a medieval church philosopher who knew nothing of modern science can say about the modern theory of neo-Darwinian evolution. The answer is that while Darwin successfully explained micro-evolutionary change, he only “postulated,” in Fr. Chaberek’s word, his theory as an explanation for macro-evolution, aka, the origin of species. The Darwinian extrapolation remains not a scientific matter by a metaphysical one where philosophy can and does stand ready to meet the challenge.

It’s an excellent and, as I said, very refreshing conversation, a cleansing one, even if you are not a Catholic. Download the podcast or listen to it here. And don’t miss the amazing endorsement of Fr. Chaberek’s book that I mentioned here yesterday.

Image source: Aquinas.Design, courtesy of Discovery Institute.