Sunday, March 08, 2009

Media Pits Vatican Against Evangelical Christians

Always an interesting debate is creation vs. evolution vs. intelligent design, but the media salivates over such a debate when it's "internal," among Christains.

-- From "Darwin Conference Does Not Speak for Vatican, Says Intelligent Design Proponent" by Katherine T. Phan, Christianity Today 2/7/09

A leading intelligent design proponent said Friday that views expressed this week at a Darwin conference in Rome should not be confused with the Vatican's position on intelligent design and Darwinism.

Organizers of the March 3-7 conference, "Biological Evolution: Facts and Theories," at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome had declined to invite intelligent design speakers because they felt the theory lacked scientific merit.

Bruce Chapman, president of the Seattle-based Discovery Institute, an intelligent design think tank, said he believes the Pope remains in serious "fruitful dialogue" with intelligent design even though speakers of the conference, sponsored by a Catholic Church-related agency, may be critical of the theory.

"The views of the Pope and views of people holding the conference are not the same," Chapman told The Christian Post on Friday. "A large purpose of this conference was to criticize and trash intelligent design and try to make it seem like it's the Vatican's [point of view]. They are intentionally trying to confuse people."

He added, "Not only is the Papal household keeping its distance from this conference, the Pope has said some things friendly to intelligent design and critical of Darwinism."

Chapman, a Roman Catholic himself, emphasized that the conference's sponsor, The Pontifical Council on Culture, is an office of the Vatican but represented neither the Vatican nor the Pope himself.

Moreover, Chapman pointed out that the event was funded by the John Templeton Foundation, which publicly opposes intelligent design.

To read the entire article (above), CLICK HERE.

-- From "Vatican-backed conference snubs creationism" by Nicole Winfied, The Associated Press 2/5/09

ROME - A Vatican-backed conference on evolution is under attack from people who weren't invited to participate: those espousing creationism and intelligent design.

Organizers of the five-day conference at the Pontifical Gregorian University said Thursday that they barred intelligent design proponents because they wanted an intellectually rigorous conference on science, theology and philosophy to mark the 150th anniversary of Charles Darwin's "The Origin of Species."

"We think that it's not a scientific perspective, nor a theological or philosophical one," said the Rev. Marc Leclerc, the conference director and a professor of philosophy of nature at the Gregorian. "This makes a dialogue very difficult, maybe impossible."

The Pennsylvania-based Templeton Foundation, which has an estimated endowment of $1.5 billion and awards some $70 million in annual grants, seeks to fund projects that reconcile religion and science.

At least three of the conference speakers, including two members of its scientific committee, serve on the Templeton Foundation's board of advisers.

. . . some influential cardinals have indicated they support intelligent design, including Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn of Vienna, a close collaborator of Pope Benedict XVI.

In addition to intelligent design, creationism has come under disdain at the conference. In his opening address, Cardinal William Levada, head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, spoke dismissively of fundamentalist Christians in the U.S. who want schools to teach biblical creationism alongside, or instead of, evolution.

Vatican teaching holds that Roman Catholicism and evolutionary theory are not necessarily at odds. The church under Benedict has been trying to stress that, along with its overall belief that there is no incompatibility between faith and reason.

Pope John Paul II articulated the church's position most clearly in a 1996 address to the Pontifical Academy for Sciences, saying the theory of evolution is "more than a hypothesis."

To read the entire article (above), CLICK HERE.

-- From "Vatican official: Atheist theories 'absurd'" The Associated Press 2/3/09

ROME - [Cardinal William Levada, head of the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith] said Tuesday that the Catholic Church does not stand in the way of scientific realities like evolution, though he described as "absurd" the atheist notion that evolution proves there is no God.

Speaking on the sidelines of the conference, Levada said the Vatican believed there was a "wide spectrum of room" for belief in both the scientific basis for evolution and faith in God the creator.
"We believe that however creation has come about and evolved, ultimately God is the creator of all things," he said.

He said that while the Vatican did not exclude any area of science, it did reject as "absurd" the atheist notion of biologist and author Richard Dawkins and others that evolution proves there is no God.

"Of course we think that's absurd and not at all proven," he said. "But other than that ... the Vatican has recognized that it doesn't stand in the way of scientific realities."

To read the entire article (above), CLICK HERE.