How the Catholic position on evolution is similar to the liberal position

In another entry, Buck raises the interesting question, how do liberals, who believe in the Darwinian evolution of man from animals, also believe that man is utterly distinct from animals and has inviolable rights?

He wrote:

The very people who make others out to be racist Nazis have as one of their principles that man is descended from the ape. When? At exactly what point in time or where on earth did this finally and completely happen? When did the last vestiges of the ape vanish? When did all, every scintilla of ape or monkey select out leave only a pure and complete man?

I agree with Buck that the position of the liberal Darwinists doesn’t make sense. Believing in evolution by Darwinian survival of the fittest, how do they arrive at human equality? Everything about Darwinism (a.k.a. “evolutionary science”) militates against equality. So the liberal Darwinists’ belief in equality seems pretty arbitrary, indeed entirely contradictory.

But the funny thing is, when it comes to evolution, the pro-Darwinian Catholic position, which I’ve named Theo-Darwinism, is surprisingly similar to the liberal position.

Pro-Darwin Catholics say that all life forms, including man, came into existence as the result of the Darwinian process of random genetic accidents naturally selected; but then, once the human form, descended from animals, had been brought into being by purposeless materialist forces, God suddenly entered the picture and injected the soul into man, giving him consciousness and will.

Liberals say that all life forms, including man, came into existence as the result of the Darwinian process of random genetic accidents naturally selected; but then, once the human form, descended from animals, had been brought into being by purposeless materialist forces, human consciousness and purposeful choice simply came into existence on their own and therefore … uh, therefore … all humans have the equal right to have their choices satisfied.

Both the Theo-Darwinians (most of whom are Catholics) and the secular Darwinians believe in a biological realm that came into existence through purposeless naturalistic forces; but, because both the Theo-Darwinians and the liberals require, for their own respective reasons, the existence of a freely choosing human soul or self, they arbitrarily inject such a free soul or self into an otherwise strictly materialist, determinist creation.

- end of initial entry -

August 6

Alan Roebuck writes:

That’s a useful insight. In both cases, they cede to science the right to describe how man came into existence physically, but then they have to add something more. It’s this “something more” that makes their system more realistic and livable, but since it’s an “unprincipled exception,” it makes their system less coherent.

Both parties need to understand that since Darwinism by itself leads to something that doesn’t work, it must be rejected fundamentally.

Bruce B. writes:

I don’t think that Theo-Darwinists imagine that man is an accidental creation that the deist god then accepted. I think Theo-Darwinists imagine that man’s creation was an result of God’s positive (not permissive) will but also envision the possibility that the physical mechanism God used was/is stochastic.

LA replies:

But that of course is the whole problem with the Theo-Darwinists. They assert two mutually incompatible principles: that God created and designed life including man, and that the evolution of life occurred by purposeless Darwinian processes. And the way they try to make this absurdity seem plausible is by invocation of a magical word: “stochastic.” As soon as the magical word “stochastic” is uttered, the human intellect goes down on its knees, goes down on its belly, and gives up the principle of non-contradiction. The “stochastic” argument is that God in his infinite power could have set up a cosmic process which appears to be purposeless and random but which is really directed by God to a certain end. But as I’ve said many times (e.g. here and here), if the process is directed by God to a certain end, it’s not random and therefore Darwinian evolution is not true. But the Theo-Darwinists continue to disagree with me on this, and I long since gave up having the debate.

James P. writes:

Liberals reconcile evolution with “human equality” through the assertion that human evolution stopped 10,000 years ago, through the claim that there is no biological basis for the concept of “race” (i.e., we’re all fundamentally genetically the same, the races do not represent a meaningful distinction from an evolutionary standpoint), and through the more specific claim that humans are neurologically uniform (i.e., differences in IQ result from social/economic/environmental factors, and are not the product of genetics and evolution).

LA writes:

The other day talking with a friend over lunch who shares my fascination with this subject, I came up with a simple way to reconcile Christianity and Darwinism.

God created (by whatever means) all the forms of life including man. But once human beings came into existence, they spread out geographically and under the pressure of localized climatic conditions differentiated via the Darwinian processes of random genetic mutation and natural selection. Thus we have both the divine creation of man, and human differentiation and inequality, including racial inequality. Wow, I felt like Henry Drummond (Clarence Darrow) in the last scene of Inherit the Wind, fondly holding both the Bible and The Origin of Species.

But as soon as I thought of this, I realized the problem. Darwinism does not simply claim that subspecies of a species (i.e., races) came into existence by random mutation and natural selection; it claims that distinct life forms came into existence that way. If evolution does not mean the evolution of new species, it’s not evolution, but just differentiation within an existing form.

So I haven’t reconciled Christianity and Darwinism.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at August 05, 2012 11:30 PM | Send

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