Ian Fisher of the New York Times Rome bureau had a valuable Saturday story on the discussion at Castel Gandolfo between Pope Benedict XVI and his former theology students (“Professor-Turned-Pope Leads a Seminar on Evolution”). He does err in his description of intelligent design (“life is so complex it requires an active creator”–where do they get these lines?), but he is right, I think, in balancing two probable facets of the Pope’s own thinking: 1) that the problem is not so much evolution, as the way it is applied; and 2) there may really be problems with the science of evolution.
Jonathan Witt understates the significance of his new book, “A Meaningful World,” for the meeting Pope Benedict XVI is holding this weekend at Castel Gandolfo outside Rome. Like George Gilder’s fine treatment of intelligent design in relation to information theory and technology, the new book by Witt and Benjamin Wiker, a Catholic philosopher and science writer, expands the scope of ID and effectively opens it to an examination of genius as evidenced in nature and art, in addition to science. This approach doesn’t negate or replace the scientific claims of ID, obviously, but enlarges the lens for looking at them, so to speak. This makes the topic especially inviting for Thomists and other natural philosophers in the Catholic Church and Read More ›
[Editor’s Note: A single article combining all ten installments of this response to Barbara Forrest can be found here, at “Response to Barbara Forrest’s Kitzmiller Account.” The individual installments may be seen here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10.] In this part of my response to Barbara Forrest, I will assess Dr. Forrest’s usage of quotations from ID proponents supposedly talking about intelligent design in religious terms. Dr. Forrest’s Kitzmiller account discusses what she argued during the Kitzmiller trial about intelligent design: I included the words of two leading ID proponents, Phillip E. Johnson and William Dembski. Under direct examination by Eric Rothschild, I related Johnson’s Read More ›
With the approach of Pope Benedict’s informal gathering at his summer palace outside Rome this weekend to discuss Darwinism and intelligent design, an increasing number of public figures have taken to standing up, waving their hands, and saying, “Pope Benedict, please oh please come to such-and-such a conclusion.” It’s all just a little bit silly, but I want to get in on the action. First I want to say that Darwinist Kenneth Miller, a leading hand waver, doesn’t seem to even know what intelligent design is (or at least pretends not to).
The recent Guardian story that the Pope may be about to endorse intelligent design as a scientific theory is way off the mark, I believe. There clearly is more media interest in this weekend’s meeting than the annual reunion of the pope’s former theology students ordinarily would warrant, even given this year’s special topic. But there will be a lively discussion. Various opinions will be heard. And I suppose you can expect a lot of uninformed spin afterwards. But don’t expect some definitive new Vatican declaration on science questions. (Granted, I COULD BE SURPRISED!)