For the few not already aware of it factual status, The Independent reported last week that Pope Francis has stated that evolution is a fact, and in the words of the paper ‘put an end to the “pseudo theories” of creationism and intelligent design ...’
It is the sort of news that is not really new. Many Christians have long come to the conclusion that evolution was an easily verifiable fact so there is nothing all that novel about Pope Francis’s announcement. The Catholic Truth Society has even put out a booklet on the matter, Darwin and Evolution. John Paul 2 almost twenty years ago prolaimed 'evolution as more than an hypothesis.' It was only common sense therefore that a writer on the Teilhard de Chardin webpage would state that 'the remarks made by Pope Francis were consistent with statements made by his predecessors and Catholic theologians.'
Old style creationism in its young earth form has long been dismissed as bunkum. The more modern Intelligent Design was not a "science" of evolution underpinned by a supreme being, as suggested in The Independent, but was unremittingly hostile to evolution. Intelligent Design was better understood as Intelligent Deception that sought to overcome some of the more blatant flaws in creationism while maintaining its fundamental principle of special creation and no evolution: we arrived on earth as the full package, Adam and Eve-like, with no history of life prior to the abracadabra moment of creation.
But ID too was exposed as rubbish and judicially viewed as such during the Dover Trial, where one of its advocates Michael Behe conceded it was science on a par with astrology. The judge in the case expressed bemusement at the extent to which the ID lobby lied in order to dress up its case and bunk into school classrooms as religion masquerading as science, ‘just the Logos theology of John’s Gospel’ as put by one of its chief proponents, William Dembski, in 1999.
Evolution is not in essence anti-religious, although it is probably not too far wrong to claim that all atheists are evolutionists but not all evolutionists are atheists. Many Christians have long understood the strength's of science's claims. They simply do not subscribe to a godless evolution and many find unpalatable Darwinian natural selection as the driving force behind it. Opposition to Darwinian natural selection is not confined to religion: within an evolutionary biology that places nature not god as the dynamic there are some disagreements over what drives nature.
None of is likely to matter to the anti-science lobby who will continue to promote magic. The Caleb Foundation in the North shall carry on persisting with a timeline that in real terms has the world created after the Giants Causeway had been formed. That’s what gets into government in the North unfortunately.
Despite the sheer volume of evidence, real measurements will continue to be challenged by religious measurements. The magic men will deny the evidence in front of their eyes and believe in some cultic myth like the world being created 6000 years ago, which is sort of on a par with the assertion that that Derry and Belfast are three centimeters apart. No reason for denying them the right to believe whatever they want; even the court can’t force a belief on them no matter how sensible. It is a person’s right to believe the moon is made of cheese or that a Flying Spaghetti Monster created the universe.
The right to hold that view should never extend as far as allowing it to be inflicted on others. It is when the demand is made for magic and myths to be taught in schools as an alternative theory to hard science that it becomes a problem. The US education system has been prone to attacks on science and logic in this form under the guise of "teach the controversy." What controversy? Discussing astrology as an alternative theory to Astronomy is fine for a pub, not a centre of learning.
That's a thought: teach evolution in schools and Intelligent Design in pubs, just not my local.