Geocentrism and Young Earth Creationism among TLM Traditionalist Catholics?
  • GerardH
    Posts: 411
    @francis Then we agree.

    p.s. ALL CAPS don't help ones image on the internet.
  • francis
    Posts: 10,668
    I don't care about my image. I care about your soul. (I forsook what people think about me decades ago.)
  • tomjaw
    Posts: 2,704

    Truth can't contradict truth. Science can't contradict divine revelation - and divine revelation can't possibly contradict science.

    I still don't understand your use of truth, what has science got to do with Truth?
    If people think that science is true, they have found a god worthy of them.

    Science gives us at the best facts, sometimes given as a law (i.e. the Law of gravity), usually theories (i.e. The theory of evolution), and sometimes in the worst examples just plain lies (

    I am very uncomfortable describing even the Law of Gravity as being true, because we do not fully understand Gravity. While we can reliably predict what various objects of varying mass will do, and on or around earth our predictions are accurate. But what about on the other side of the universe? Do our Scientific Laws work in the same way? Are they universal? Is there a better expression of the phenomenon? There is so much that we don't know as scientists... and we can look back and see even the greatest scientists have been wrong on some occasions.
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  • From the perspective of Catholic doctrine, Schoenbergian, the largest problem with accepting macro-evolution is that no scientist has risen to the challenge posed by Pope Pius XII: explain within your theory how there is a first man and a first woman who commit Original Sin, and pass this damage on to their progeny. If original sin is merely an analogous explanation for evil in the world -- that is, if original sin doesn't really exist -- then the purpose of a savior becomes comically unclear. From what do we need to be saved?
    Thanked by 2tomjaw Chris_McAvoy
  • MarkB
    Posts: 1,025
    No need to reinterpret Original Sin as metaphorical expression for evil instead of an actual sinful act by Adam that resulted in a loss of Original Holiness, which was passed on to all Adam and Eve's descendants. The explanation Chris thinks is lacking has been given by numerous philosophers and scientists and theologians. Take as one example this from philosopher Ed Feser:

    Longtime readers will recall that I there rehearsed a proposal developed by Mike Flynn and Kenneth Kemp to the effect that we need to distinguish the notion of a creature which is human in a strict metaphysical sense from that of a creature which is “human” merely in a looser, purely physiological sense. The latter sort of creature would be more or less just like us in its bodily attributes but would lack our intellectual powers, which are incorporeal. In short, it would lack a human soul. Hence, though genetically it would appear human, it would not be a rational animal and thus not be human in the strict metaphysical sense. Now, this physiologically “human” but non-rational sort of creature is essentially what Pius XII, John Paul II, and the philosophers and theologians quoted above have in mind when they speak of a scenario in which the human body arises via evolutionary processes.

    The Flynn-Kemp proposal is this. Suppose evolutionary processes gave rise to a population of several thousand creatures of this non-rational but genetically and physiologically “human” sort. Suppose further that God infused rational souls into two of these creatures, thereby giving them our distinctive intellectual and volitional powers and making them truly human. Call this pair “Adam” and “Eve.” Adam and Eve have descendents, and God infuses into each of them rational souls of their own, so that they too are human in the strict metaphysical sense. Suppose that some of these descendents interbreed with creatures of the non-rational but genetically and physiologically “human” sort. The offspring that result would also have rational souls since they have Adam and Eve as ancestors (even if they also have non-rational creatures as ancestors). This interbreeding carries on for some time, but eventually the population of non-rational but genetically and physiologically “human” creatures dies out, leaving only those creatures who are human in the strict metaphysical sense.

    On this scenario, the modern human population has the genes it does because it is descended from this group of several thousand individuals, initially only two of whom had rational or human souls. But only those later individuals who had this pair among their ancestors (even if they also had as ancestors members of the original group which did not have human souls) have descendents living today. In that sense, every modern human is both descended from an original population of several thousand and from an original pair. There is no contradiction, because the claim that modern humans are descended from an original pair does not entail that they received all their genes from that pair alone.

    Of course, this is speculative. No one is claiming to know that this is actually what happened, or that Catholic teaching requires this specific scenario. The point is just that it shows, in a way consistent with what Catholic orthodoxy and Thomistic philosophy allow vis-à-vis evolution, that the genetic evidence is not in fact in conflict with the doctrine of original sin. Naturally other Catholics and Thomists might reasonably disagree with it.
    Thanked by 2bhcordova Elmar
  • CCoozeCCooze
    Posts: 1,259
    Suppose that some of these descendents interbreed with creatures of the non-rational but genetically and physiologically “human” sort.

    I would just like to say that the above "supposition" borders on bestiality at best, and sexual abuse at worst, and therefore couldn't be in any "way consistent with... Catholic orthodoxy and Thomistic philosophy."

    Actually, I'm not sure that either is an "at best..."
  • MarkB
    Posts: 1,025
    If you'd read the entire essay, Feser has a reply to the bestiality charge:

    Back in 2011, when Flynn, Kemp, and I first wrote on this topic and the Flynn-Kemp proposal was getting a lot of attention in the blogosphere, some people objected that interbreeding of the sort in question amounted to bestiality. But of course, no one is suggesting that we should approve of the interbreeding in question. The claim is merely that in fact it may have happened, even if this was contrary to natural and divine law (just as Cain killed Abel even though this was contrary to the natural law, and just as Adam and Eve ate of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, even though this was contrary to divine law).

    Nor would it be a good objection to suggest that no one would plausibly have been tempted to engage in such interbreeding. After all, the scenario in question would hardly be comparable to that of the average member of contemporary civilization being tempted to have sex with an ape, which would of course not be psychologically plausible. For one thing, the sub-rational but genetically and physiologically “human” creatures in question would not be like apes, or indeed like any of the non-human animals with which we are familiar. They would more or less look like us. Furthermore, they would even act like us to some degree. As I noted in a recent post, though a purely material system could never in principle exhibit true rationality, it might simulate it to a significant extent (just as if you add enough sides to a polygon you will get something that looks like a circle even though it could not really be a circle). The sub-rational creatures in question would have been sphexish, but a sufficiently complex sphexish creature might seem not to be on a superficial examination. Recall Popper’s distinction between four functions of language: expressive, signaling, descriptive, and argumentative. The sub-rational creatures in question would not be capable of the latter two functions (which presuppose rationality) but they might have exhibited very sophisticated versions of the first two functions.

    Meanwhile, the earliest true humans would not have had anything like the modern civilizational accompaniments of sexual activity, especially given the effects of original sin. Obviously it would be absurd to think of their liaisons as involving smooth techniques of romantic seduction, contemporary standards of personal hygiene, etc. So, the cultural “distance” between primitive true human beings and the sub-rational creatures in question need not have been so great as to make the sexual temptation psychologically implausible. It might have been comparable to a very uncultured and unsophisticated person taking sexual advantage of an even more unsophisticated and indeed very stupid person. Not that it was exactly like that, since even a stupid person is still intelligent in the strict sense, whereas the sub-rational creatures in question wouldn’t even rise to the level of stupidity. The point is that the situation could have been psychologically close enough to that for the temptation to be real. (As I indicated, partly in jest, in one of the earlier posts, we might think on the model of Charlton Heston’s character “Taylor” being attracted to the Linda Harrison character “Nova” in Planet of the Apes -- not that the early sub-rational creatures would have looked quite that good!)

    Recall that Genesis 6:5 begins the passage where God decries the wickedness of men on the earth.

    As Feser notes, that such interbreeding may plausibly have occurred does not mean that the behavior would have been moral.

    The scenario is indeed consistent with Catholic orthodoxy and Thomistic philosophy. Catholic doctrine does not require that everything the earliest humans did was morally praiseworthy. Indeed, if we take original sin seriously, it becomes all the more plausible that some of the earliest humans could have, in their disordered spiritual state of original sin, mated and generated human offspring with genetically compatible mates who were not metaphysically human in the authentic sense because they lacked rational souls.
    Thanked by 2GerardH Elmar
  • Church Music Forum

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  • francis
    Posts: 10,668
    Because without The Faith we would not be here as musicians of the same. So defending the Faith will always be the front line of the Church Militant.
    Thanked by 2MarkB Elmar
  • dad29
    Posts: 2,217
    If the tipping point of belief leans into unbelief over how rocks were formed on earth the personality of your parish priest and steals away ones eternal destiny, then flee science that priest and embrace Truth for the sake of your very soul, I implore you.

    Other substitutions could (and often ARE) "contraception," "homosexual behavior"....etc. There are millions of excuses for walking away from the Faith.

    (But only "Eagles' Wings" is a genuine and valid reason to leave the church.)
  • Comment removed.
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,943
    Quem Iuppiter vult perdere dementat prius.
    Thanked by 1Elmar
  • On the one hand, I understand that what is presented as the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church is not always in continuity with history. So many people within the Church fall into different factions, there is a disunity and confusion about what the faith is. This is reflected by certain commentary on this forum as well. On the other hand I expect no one is able to be educated in all matters of the faith, being of the variety of all it encompasses... but...

    Nevertheless, the very essence of what has been said by certain people here in denying the ability of God to work great and wonders seems to me to be tantamount to an atheist Godless understanding, bearing very little formation in what the Holy Mother Church has always preserved. I can't help but look upon many intelligent design people as essentially immature in their prayer life and in their faith, with one foot in the world and a huge temptation to deny the faith at large.

    As I have stated, if you disagree with the Fathers of the Church, with the foundations of the faith, you can not be Catholic. I certainly believe that those who believe in intelligent design are denying the faith and are self excommunicating themselves. One of the many reasons why I am Russian Orthodox, where unity in faith is preserved. Though I shall pray for the Church of Rome and for unity, that's God's love enlighten your hearts and humility of spirit is there.

    Half the time I can not understand what my good friend Hugh Owen (we visit regularly) and his Kolbe Center are actually meaning, but what I do know is I have never understood any of what he said to contradict the magisterium and the faith of all the councils and Holy Fathers and Popes have taught. So they complement the views preserved in the Eastern Orthodox Church. I see in him a humility and willingness to self sacrifice and have a strong prayer life, to carry the cross of Christ, two of his own children are long time monastics. I do not have to rationally understand every detail of an idea to recognize what is true and what is not.
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,943
    " . . . you can not be Catholic."

    so says the non-Catholic.
  • A more Orthodox Catholic I should hope to be, preserving the unity of the faith, with the general benefits of greater local autonomy at every level. When you have a very strong central organization, as the Church of Rome currently has, then if the center goes bad, the whole organization suffers. If you have more distributed authority, so that separate local Churches are more autonomous, then some local Churches (Russia/Guatemala) will flourish and persist and create mission churches. Those that go bad will decline, but not bring all the others down with them.
  • bhcordovabhcordova
    Posts: 1,152
    The earth is 4.5 billion years old, evolution happens. Nothing in that contradicts Church teachings. Deal with it.
    Thanked by 3CharlesW MarkB Elmar
  • Also, who here is denying the ability of God to work wonders? He could've created the entire universe last Thursday, but did not. My ability to recognize that the world existed before last Thursday in no way is a denial of God's omnipotence.

    I'm disappointed that such a direct ad-hominem attack would be made against a total strawman argument.
    Thanked by 2dad29 Elmar
  • CCoozeCCooze
    Posts: 1,259
    The claim is merely that in fact it may have happened.

    That is all sorts of wishy washy.
    Having "a reply," doesn't negate the charge.
    Having read what you've posted, thus far, I'm not interested in reading the rest of his essay.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 9,158
    As the Catechism reminds us (para. 47), quoting the teaching of Vatican I:

    "The Church teaches that the one true God, our Creator and Lord, can be known with certainty from his works, by the natural light of human reason (cf. Vatican Council I, can. 2 § 1: DS 3026)"

    So reason is capable enough to discover this most important truth, even without the aid of divine revelation.

    Yet apparently some people seem to dismiss the findings of natural reason in regard to the age of the earth, a less important topic.
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 2,767
    What a queer notion, that one may choose one's 'truth' based on which alternative is more attractive. It's undeniably widespread: a self-identified traditionalist who's since left our parish wished it so that praying to Buddha and forwarding a chain letter to the choir would bring all of us a million dollars each.

    Lest we snowflakes hesitate to laugh any ridiculous idea to scorn, remember to mock the flat earth science, not the science-ists.
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  • francis
    Posts: 10,668
    Did you know that there are hundreds if not thousands of flat earth believers around the globe?
  • Last time I was able to participate on this forum was this past September, when I was surprised to find this thread on science/evolution. Coming back today, I find not only has this one continued these past several months, but a second thread has also been added. Reading some of the posts, there are many places that I would like to add clarification on church teaching or the understanding of the methods of science and philosophy. Unfortunately, as a parish priest I don’t have the ability to engage in too extensive a manner online.

    With the danger of oversimplifying, I have tried to very briefly summarize Chapter III of my master’s degree thesis Evolutionary Science and the Church Church. (Sorry that I exclude direct quotes and citations, but these can be found following the links below.) There are four main areas that the Church has addressed concerning biological evolution.

    1. Philosophical and Theological Truth

    The Church recognizes all three areas of science, philosophy, and theology as legitimate ways of gaining knowledge. Each of these have their own methods and limitations. The Catholic Church has no official position on biological evolution as a science. It leaves investigation into the veracity of specific scientific questions to scientists. But the Church has much to say when someone goes beyond the limits of the methods of science to make philosophical and theological claims that are in opposition to the faith. She rejects all false philosophies that have used biological evolution as justification for their erroneous beliefs (including materialism, communism, atheism, new age, etc.). In doing so, she does not reject the science itself, but a scientism that often masquerades as science. In defending philosophy and theology as legitimate ways of knowing, the Church rejects the idea that science is the only means of gaining knowledge (scientism). In order to investigate if biological evolution and revealed Christian truth are compatible, one must utilize philosophy (in particular metaphysics).

    2. Divine Providence and Random Processes

    The Church rejects the idea that our world, including ourselves, is the result of mere chance with no place for God’s divine providence. She defends the truth that God is the origin of all things, and that he continues to actively work his divine plan in creation. God’s action extends to everything that exists, so an “unguided” evolutionary process, one not subject to divine providence, would be impossible. At first, this may seem like the Church is rejecting biological evolution, since this theory sees random processes as playing a large part in the development of different forms of life. But once again, the Church is rejecting false philosophies rather than the science itself, since concepts like “mere chance” or “completely random” used to exclude God are philosophical ideas not scientific ones.

    3. Uniqueness of the Human Person

    The Church allows for science to investigate into the origin of the human body from already existing and living matter. But the faith obliges us to hold that spiritual human souls are directly created by God, and could not have emerged only from matter. The creation of the human soul can rightly be called a “divine intervention” and would mark an “ontological discontinuity” between man and all other creatures.

    4. Original Sin

    The Church defends her divinely revealed teaching on original sin. Sin began by a personal act of our first parents and is transmitted to all humans by propagation. “It is not at all apparent” how polygenism can be reconciled with the revealed truth concerning original sin. The Church rejects any claims that 1) sin was always a part of man’s existence, 2) there were no first parents who personally sinned or 3) sin was transmitted by imitation.


    There is much more that can be said about each of these four areas. I am sure that some who read these four could conclude evolution is completely compatible with Christianity, while others will interpret it to mean evolution is irreconcilable. But putting forth what the Church has said about evolution is only the start of further philosophical discussions that I make in the following Chapters IV and V. Overall I try to show the extent to which Catholic Christianity and the strictly scientific theories of biological evolution can be reconciled and what questions are still to be answered. While careful distinction among the methods of empirical science, philosophy and theology leads to the resolution of many objections to their compatibility, there are some aspects that will continue to cause tension. For a fuller explanation read the complete chapter:
    Or here is the full thesis:

    God bless,

    Fr. Vogel
  • As for my view as an experimental chemist, the cell is an incredibly complex design, to suggest it formed by chance shows a lack of understanding about the complexity of the chemistry involved in its workings.

    @tomjaw: in a previous life, before retirement and before the industry I worked in collapsed, I was an analytical chemist. I agree with your statement.


    Thanked by 2francis tomjaw
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 3,371
    That the complexity of a cell could arise by chance seems to me completely implausible. But a demonstration of it happening would not undermine my belief in God.
    When Darwin was still a student intending to enter the clergy of the Church of England, he remarked that 'The Lord seems to have an inordinate fondness for beetles' (the subject of his first published work). Apparently his faith depended on the immutability of species.
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  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 9,158
    I really am too indulgent about this off-topic discussion. Sinking the thread. Restarts will be deleted.