Response to Michael Tkacz’s Critique of ID

In my previous installment, I discussed St. Thomas’s views of creation and his understanding of how God interacts with the world. The subject could easily fill a long book, of course, but I hope to have provided enough to serve adequately as background for evaluating the criticisms of ID from a few Thomists. One such Thomist is Gonzaga University philosopher Michael Tkacz, who wrote an article criticizing ID in This Rock magazine, published by Catholic Answers, back in 2008. I read both This Rock and the Catholic Answers website frequently. Both are generally very reliable, orthodox sources of information. So the piece would never have seen the light of day if it had been called: “Why God Is Only Allowed Read More ›

Why David Coppedge’s Story Isn’t Being Told

“We tell ourselves stories in order to live.” That’s the memorable opening line in Joan Didion’s essay “The White Album” and, in following the Darwin debate, I often think of it. Making sense of disparate personal experiences and bits of information gleaned from the news or other sources, we are powerfully moved to weave a narrative that makes sense of it all. Darwinians and creationists alike have complained precisely that intelligent design refuses to offer a tidy historical narrative of how a designer might have exercised “his” creative influence. This refusal annoys and confuses people beyond belief. Of course, some stories are true. Others are fabrications, maintained only by steadfastly turning your face away from contrary evidence. Either way, human Read More ›

What Was Thomas Aquinas’ View of Creation?

The Influence of St. Thomas St. Thomas Aquinas holds a special place of honor in Roman Catholicism. To be sure, one can be an orthodox Catholic without following Thomas’ philosophy–indeed, his influence is minimal in Eastern Rite Catholic Churches. And in the Western Church, not everyone follows Thomas. Franciscans, for instance, generally prefer Bonaventure. Moreover, even those who consider themselves Thomists have all manner of disagreements with each other and even with Thomas himself. Still, Thomas’ influence in the Western Church is hard to overestimate. Catholics refer to him as the Angelic Doctor. In many ways, Thomas is the high water mark of what has come to be called “scholasticism” and “classical theism.” In fact, if you survey the writings Read More ›

Responding to “Thomist” Critics of Intelligent Design

Preliminary Matters I’m currently editing a volume called God and Evolution that deals with the general subject of theistic evolution (to be released by Discovery Institute this fall), and I am contributing a couple of chapters to the volume on Catholicism and ID. I’m also working on a book-length treatment of the same subject. As a result, over the last six months, I’ve been studying the relationship between Catholic theology and contemporary arguments for intelligent design. Various “Catholic” assessments of ID have been appearing on for years, and no doubt will continue to do so. (See this 2007 article from the New Oxford Review, for instance.) But recently, a certain “meme” has begun to emerge that ID is somehow un-Catholic, Read More ›

Right for the Wrong Reasons: Michael Zimmerman Ignores the Science that Challenges Evolution (Updated)

Michael Zimmerman, the biologist who founded the pro-theistic evolution “Clergy Letter Project,” has an op-ed at the Huffington Post, “Redefining The Creation/Evolution Controversy,” which poses the following question: What do the following have in common? A. Sarah Palin’s claim that health care reform will lead to “death panels.” B. The birthers’ claim that President Obama was born in Kenya. C. The constant refrain that the evolution/creation controversy is a battle between religion and science. The simple answer is that there is overwhelming evidence demonstrating that each statement is false while proponents of each hope that the frequency and volume of repetition substitutes for truth. Of course Zimmerman is right to highlight the inaccuracy of saying “the evolution/creation controversy is a Read More ›