Evolution News and Views (ENV) provides original reporting and analysis about the debate over intelligent design and evolution, including breaking news about scientific research.

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"Pope Slams Evolution"

Toady's story about the Pope's latest remarks on evolution is very positive. It is based on an appearance before a huge crowd of 300,000 in Regensburg, Germany. The Pope also gave a scholarly address at the University there on Christianity and hellenism that makes some interesting philosophical points that bear further study.

In the larger gathering covered in this "ANSA" article, Pope Benedict seems to indicate that it is Darwin's theory that is the form of "evolution" he is talking about. So one doesn't have to worry any more that people in the Vatican are failing to distinguish between the bland idea of "evolution" as mere "change over time" or micro-evolution and, on the other hand, Darwinism. The pope has no problem with micro-evolution. Neither do we. Evolution as mere change over time is not Darwinism, no matter how the NCSE apologists try to spin it to the plain folk. The key is that Darwin's theory posits an unguided process of life's development. That is what the Pope apparently can't accept. And if you pretend it's the same process, but somehow still guided, you may get theistic evolutionism, but it ain't Darwinism or neo-Darwinism! (It also doesn't make much sense.) If it is guided, it is not Darwin's theory. It could well be ID, depending on whether the design is detectable.

Please note in this piece, however, that once again a reporter falsely conflates intelligent design with Biblical creationism, and gets the definition of ID wrong. At this point in the debate, reporters who do this have to be counted as hostile, not simply erroneous.

The piece also is speculating without reason that the Pope is endorsing the scientific theory of intelligent design, per se. He doesn't say anything like that -- read the text and see for yourself right here. We at Discovery are not claiming that, and people who attended the Pope's recent seminar with his former students say ID as such didn't even come up.

It is altogether possible that the Vatican will not get into the question of ID. So why keep indicating that it will? I think it is to deflect attention from the growing awareness that Darwin's theory--properly understood in its implications, as, say Richard Dawkins or P.Z. Myers fully do--does challenge serious theism. More importantly, the press teasers that ID may be embraced as scientific theory by the Vatican also distracts from the realization that the Vatican and many others are indeed recognizing that Darwin's theory is false on scientific grounds, or at least is highly doubtful. Once that emphasis gets through to people, not only in the Church but in society as a whole, the sooner people will demand that the scientific claims of Darwin and his followers be examined fairly and openly. No more hand waving and bullying as scientific arguments.

The piece also tries to pit the Pope against "Catholic scientists". Well, we know some Catholics who are scientists who think the Pope is right.