This is awesome. If we are honest with ourselves we will admit that, since we’re human, changing our minds in light of rational arguments is something that doesn’t happen easily or often. Kudos, then, to John Zmirak who admits to having changed his mind about evolution. The experience that did it to him was editing the recent book Aquinas and Evolution, by Father Michael Chaberek.
Full disclosure here: I helped to edit this book. Father Chaberek is a brilliant thinker, but he is Polish. So his initial manuscript still sounded kind of … Slavic. I helped to smooth out the prose, and make it more idiomatic. But I didn’t lift a finger to touch his arguments. Those are as clear and as beautifully structured as any crystal. His thesis? That “theistic evolution” doesn’t make any kind of sense. That Intelligent Design is in fact more compatible with Christian theology and more scientifically honest.
I started out working on the book quite hostile to its premise. And then something very strange happened. I’ve only experienced it maybe five or six times in my life. (And never while editing some book I disagreed with.) I changed my mind.
If you knew me, you’d know how epochal an event that really is. But Fr. Chabarek left me no choice. And if you read his book, the same thing will happen to you. You will drop tired arguments about how intelligent design is a “God-of-the-Gaps.” You will see that there is no way to reconcile Darwin’s central premise — that all life’s diversity and complexity happened by a blind process — with any concept of God’s creative providence. Or natural law. Or, finally, morality in any sense whatsoever. If random chance and blind selection are together the fundamental moving force in the world, that leaves no room for God. And that was what Darwin and his popularizers and dogmatizers intended all along.
Zmirak entered the chrysalis as a theistic evolutionist. He emerged as a proponent of intelligent design. It’s hard to imagine a more compelling endorsement for a book. He offers the comments as part of a longer omnibus review of recommendations for end-of-summer reading.
Image source: Aquinas.Design, courtesy of Discovery Institute.