Cardinal Schönborn has a posse

A comment on the previous entry leads me to a blog devoted to the thought of Cardinal Schönborn. I’m more confused than ever. I think that the distinction he is trying to make is between full-on Dawkins style atheism or scientism, which he calls neo-Darwinism, and a belief in the fact of evolution, which most other people call neo-Darwinism.

According the the blog’s summary of his position:

That point is: Christianity can accept science that attempts to explain how development occurs in living creatures, but it cannot accept an ideology that attempts to explain away Who causes that developments, or in other words, it cannot accept an ideology which refuses to see that God ultimately causes and guides the universe: “Any system of thought that denies or seeks to explain away the overwhelming evidence for design in biology is ideology, not science.”

and we’re back to the bald claim that there is “overwhelming evidence for design” in biology which science must recognise. But the whole point about science is that it shows us a world which works as if there were no designer, but only some regularities. Now, if the claim is that this doesn’t prove that there is no designer, I’m with the Cardinal. But Darwinism does show how we can get design without a designer. The theory of evolution by natural selection really does disprove Paley. It doesn’t — it couldn’t — disprove the Aquinas anthropic argument, that the fact that the world is intelligible proves that there must be an intellegence behind it; but that’s not a scientific hypothesis. It’s a philosophical argument. So where is this “overwhelming evidence for design”?

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5 Responses to Cardinal Schönborn has a posse

  1. RupertG says:

    We won’t have long to wait to find out. Although Dembski has just closed down his blog at Uncommon Descent (the time needed to delete all but the sycophantic postings took him away from his life’s work, one presumes), he promises that the answer to the Dover decision and more will soon be available at .

    It’s a shame that this, and the “15 years of scholarship by scientists and philosophers of science who think there are empirical means to detect design in nature […] including monographs by Cambridge University Press, and technical articles in peer-reviewed science and philosophy of science journals.” that John West is claiming renders the Kitzmiller case null, wasn’t actually available during the trial and that people like Behe seemed unaware of its existence.

    Darn activist judges, deliberately ignoring overwhelming evidence just because it was never presented.


  2. atticus says:

    overwhelming evidence? I guess, for me, it is in knowing the complicated endocrinological system; the feedback mechanisms involved with, for example, the thyroid the hypothalamus releases thyroid releasing hormones, then the pituitary releases thyroid stimulating hormones, then the thyroid gland releases thyroid hormones. If the thyroid gland is underfunctioning, the pituitary gland can detect this and it starts sending out more stimulating hormone…there are mechanisms like this all over the body–for reproductive hormones, calcium release for bones. Evolution states that all of these complexities came about from mutations…sort of a declining system..not a fine-tuning system….not to mention change from one species to the next to get to the human in the first place. I have researched this to some degree and I believe there are no connecting links from one species to the next. The Dover talks called creationist side liars–strong language when you look at the history of many of the evolutionists in history–many, many lies have been uncovered in their trying to make the connections that are not there…no evidence yet.Not all creationists are conservative, non-thinking idiots. I promise I have no weird agenda. I just do not have a problem believing in God creating. I do have problem being called a non-thinker.

  3. acb says:

    No one is going to be personally abusive here, on pain of disemvowelment.

    Lets’s get some stuff clear. I don’t think that you’re on the same side as Cardinal Schöberg, since he accepts the fact of evolution and accepts that this is the mechanism by which all present species have come into being.

    That is the position of the Catholic Church, and he also says If the Darwinist, taking up Descartes’ and Bacon’s project of understanding nature according only to material and efficient causes, studies the history of living things and says that he can see no organizing, active principles of whole living substances (formal causes) and no real plan, purpose or design in living things (final causes), then I accept his report.

    So I think you are denying the fact of evolution, as well as asserting the reality of design. I also think you have misunderstood natural selection if you think that mutation is a change for the worse. It’s a change, that’s all. Whether it is for the worse or for the better is decided by the environment.

    But the question about evidence for design — there are of course lots of finely balanced and extremely complex systems in all living things,not just the ones that you quoted. Even a single cell contains mechanisms of the utmost complexity, some of which took billions of years to evolve. But they’re not the only examples of undesigned complexity in the world. Take the globalised economy in which we all live. Considered as a way of co-ordinating innumberable idependent activities,this is pretty complex — perhaps as complex as a nematode worm. It is extraordinary to think that your and my preferences affect the behaviour of sweatshop workers in Indonesia, or coffee farmers in Columbia. It is an infinitely complex system, resilient to schocks of all sorts. But the world economy isn’t planned. It has no designer and no one would claim that it does. So you can’t deduce a designer from the existence of organised complexity. You have to have better reasons. What might they be?

  4. oli says:

    fwiw, andrew, I don’t think any mechanism in a cell took billions of years to evolve, which doesn’t mean that they weren’t evolved — just means evolution doesn’t work that slowly. Were you thinking of something in particular?

  5. acb says:

    I was thinking of the mere emergence of eukaryotic cells, which took thier time about turning up. If you tel me that the mechanisms within them had all appeared much earlier, and over a much shorter time period, you are bound to be right.

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