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February 2009

The Great Non-Debate

THE EDITOR

On the twelfth of this month, Charles Darwin turns 200. Yes, he died long ago. Yet in a very real sense he is still alive and kicking. His evolutionary spirit lives on: imbuing and corrupting every sphere of modern life. Hence the hype surrounding the bicentenary of his birth, as worldlings rush to honour their Darwinian god, desperate to shore up their materialistic meaning of life.

Typical of the outpouring of veneration was a feature article by Britain’s leading anthropologist, Desmond Morris. On the editorial page of the Daily Mail [27/12/08], beneath the banner headline “A Hero For Our Age,” he penned his lengthy homage with all the piety and awe of a true believer:

There is a strange object sitting on my desk as I write. It is a shiny sphere of fossilised, primeval slime. Known technically as stromatolites, this blue-green slime was the original ooze from which all life on this planet evolved. This painfully slow process began about 3,000 million years ago and has led, ultimately, to us, the extraordinary human species. Whenever my gaze happens to fall upon my lump of fossilised slime I experience a strange sensation, a deep respect, for I am looking at my most ancient ancestor. Yours, too, unless you still believe in the tale of Adam and Eve and a talking serpent in the Garden of Eden. ... Thanks to him [Darwin], we see ourselves as part of nature, instead of separate from it and superior to it.

This animalistic essence of the Darwinian conception of man permeates the piece as Morris goes on to glory in the “profoundly anti-religious message” of Darwin’s “inescapable truth: that life forms had not been rigidly created by God, but had been slowly evolved from ancestral types, forever changing as they competed with one another and adapted to environmental changes.”

For Morris, the same human adaptability which derives biologically from evolutionary competition (natural selection) also explains the good deeds emanating from unique human traits like rationality, empathy, charity and self-sacrifice:

We are not helpful to one another because of some sophisticated moralising, but because we have evolved that way. It is as much a part of our animal nature as is our uge to compete with one another. That is the way we are, and there is no need to introduce the pious teachings of the Church to make us good - it is already in our genes.

This is the problem with atheistic evolutionists: they never comprehend the logical consequences of their studied illogic. Sure, they are not always irrational, unloving, and immoral, but given their assumptions about the origin of the universe and our accidental place in it, it does indeed mean that they cannot account for things like rationality, love, and morality. Morris would certainly express moral outrage against murder and rape, but if evolution is true, how can there be moral outrage since it was killing and rape that got us where we are today as a species? Animals kill and rape every day. Why is it okay for animals but not for humans, who are supposedly highly evolved animals? As someone wrote: “If evolution is true, at death we are nothing more than dust in the wind and in life we are nothing more than a bag of meat and bones.”

There is, of course, a certain symmetry about an anthropologist venerating Darwin. A pseudo-science established on the back of Margaret Mead’s fraudulent libertine study of Samoan socio-sexual mores, anthropology is a fitting bedmate for the pseudo-scientific tissue of lies and frauds which define Darwinian Evolution from start to finish. Yet even without ready access to the truth and despite daily (albeit unconscious) subjection to an evolutionary worldview moulded by anthropological “experts” like Desmond Morris, significant numbers of the post-Christian hoi-polloi still harbour doubts about the Darwinian fantasy and advocate a fair hearing for the other side.

Just several days before Morris hailed his hero, the same newspaper reported a poll which underlined this surprising openness. It turns out that 37 per cent of all teachers surveyed thought creationism ought to be in the British curriculum alongside evolution and the Big Bang theory, with 65 per cent saying it should at least be discussed in schools. Among science teachers themselves, 73 per cent were in favour of school discussion, with 30 per cent even wanting to include it as part of their lessons.
A spokesman for the Ipsos Mori pollsters who spoke to 923 primary and secondary teachers, said: “Many are trying to adopt a measured approach to this contentious issue. Regardless of, or even despite, ‘the science’, pupils may have strongly held, and arguably equal value, faith-based beliefs.”

As a measure of how few teachers think creationism as an idea should be dismissed outright, just 26 per cent agreed with a view expressed by Professor Chris Higgins, vice-chancellor of Durham University, that creationism was “completely unsupportable as a theory.” It seems that the great majority share the commonsense position articulated last year by Metropolitan Kirill, then Foreign Minister (now Patriarch) of the Russian Orthodox Church. During a lengthy, aggressive grilling by Der Spiegel [7/1/08], the mega-liberal German weekly, he was asked: “How would you approach Darwin’s theories if you were a teacher?” Kirill responded:

I would say that the theory has many adherents, but also a few unanswered questions. For instance, no one has provided precise proof of the transition from one species to another. It would be wrong to treat Darwin’s theory as the only correct one. It is the leading theory today, but it could be replaced by another theory tomorrow. There was also a time when Marxism considered itself the only correct and scientifically justified theory...

In an age of suffocating Darwinian propaganda disseminated en masse by the dissolute likes of Spiegel, the broadminded refusal of many British teachers to be coerced into evolutionary group-think - the amoeba-to-monkey-to-man consensus - is remarkable. It is also consistent with the results of an earlier Ipsos Mori poll of over 2,000 people conducted for the BBC’s Horizon series in 2006. Asked what best described their view of the origin and development of life, 39% chose either creationism or intelligent design, while 48% selected evolution theory - results which shocked the show’s producers who naturally anticipated a blanket Darwinian mindset.

Vatican closed-shop

This surprising level of openness serves as a metaphorical slap to the arrogant face of Vatican bodies which follow the secular lead in treating evolutionary dissidents as the lepers of scientific discourse. The lead up to Darwin’s anniversary celebrations have showcased this unjust and craven attitude.

Last year, from 31 October to 3 November, the Pontifical Academy of Sciences (PAS) ran a conference in Rome to discuss evolution. It was, as usual, a one-sided ‘debate.’ The only data the PAS entertained for discussion was supportive of evolution.
Scientists who oppose evolution sought admission to the PAS conference but were denied a hearing. As a result, they were forced to hold their own conference on 3 November in La Sapienza University’s Pathology Ampitheatre at the Umberto Policlinico in Rome. As one participant informed me: “It was intended as an intellectual confrontation with the Pontifical Academy of Sciences to draw attention to the absence in its programme of any arguments against evolution theory. Our conference provided those arguments based not upon theory but upon empirical fact.”

Those who participated at this alternative conference, who claim to represent thousands of qualified scientists, emphasise that they are neither “creationists” nor members of the intelligent design movement. “We expressly avoid the term ‘creationist’ because of its Protestant fundamentalist connotations. Fortunately we have some first class Catholic scientists who have scientific proof to demonstrate the empirical impossibility of evolution. They avoid all reference to religion and theology. All that is needed is an objective ear to permit their evidence to be heard.”

While many British teachers view the airing of such pertinent scientific facts as fair and reasonable, the PAS has slammed the door on open discussion. This attitude and attendant desire to protect their pet theory from scrutiny at all costs is unconscionable, not to say unscientific! (The strength of science is a healthy scepticism, not a blind acceptance of dogma.) It is also an act of defiance.

In his pre-papal days, Pope Benedict called for objectivity in hearing the arguments for and against evolution. In Truth and Tolerance (2003) he wrote: “This dispute has therefore to be approached objectively and with a willingness to listen, by both sides - something that has hitherto been undertaken only to a limited extent.”

Rome’s Modernist hegemony has simply blocked its ears to this papal voice of reason. Equally keen to shut down any objective debate are the arch-Liberal organisers of another anniversary conference next month. Trumpeted as a milestone in the rapprochement between science and the Church, it aims to appraise evolution 150 years after Darwin’s landmark publication, On the Origin of Species. To be held from 3-7 March, it is being organised by the dissident Pontifical Gregorian University in conjunction with America’s Notre Dame University, another sewer of dissent. 

Professor Gennaro Auletta, head of the Science and Philosophy faculty at the Gregorian, told Newsweek: “We hope this will really be an example of how to hold an open discussion without overtones. We simply wish to dialogue between people whose mission is to understand a little more.”

Really? “An open discussion without overtones”? What supreme mendacity and self-delusion. In fact, all 24 conference talks are based on the assumption that macro-evolution has actually taken place! As per the 2008 PAS conference, no allowance is made for opposing arguments. And so a further alternative Roman conference is to be held this month, on 23 February; a sequel to La Sapienza last year with the same scientists opposing evolution.

Secular convergence

In all of this we see a telling convergence of ecclesiastical and secular Liberalism under the banner of science. The Modernist majority are stamping on anti-evolution dissent with the same jackbooted venom we normally associate with Christophobic sodomites, global warming eco-nazis and the ruling fascist Left in general.

How is the PAS attitude any different to the totalitarian view espoused by the Council of Europe (CofE)? On 4 October 2007 the CofE Parliament, made up of 626 members elected from each European Member State, adopted a resolution to ban creationism from receiving any discussion in schools outside of religion classes. It reads: “The Parliamentary Assembly is worried about the possible ill-effects of the spread of creationist ideas within our education systems and about the consequences for our democracies.” Accordingly, those who question evolution theory and find scientific evidence to back their dissent are depicted as Luddites: “The total rejection of science is definitely one of the most serious threats to human rights and civic rights.” The alarmism peaks with an outrageous warning of a “war on the theory of evolution” by religious extremists “closely allied to extreme right-wing political movements” who “are out to replace democracy by theocracy”!

Prior to its adoption, the European Centre for Law and Justice opposed the resolution, arguing: “This approach can only hamper the educational progress of students by restricting their examination of competing scientific ideas and will necessarily violate the right to freedom of expression, including academic freedom, and the right to free exercise of religion in education.”
Similar repression continues throughout the West.

Last September, a powerful body of atheistic scientists in Britain’s Royal Society forced the resignation of their pro-evolution director of education simply for suggesting that creationism should be debated in the classroom if the subject was raised by pupils. In 2006, the Quebec Ministry of Education ordered that private Christian schools in the Canadian province must teach sex education and Darwin’s theory of evolution or face closure. While Cardinal Schoenborn of Vienna has condemned a U.S. federal court decision that barred a Pennsylvania school district from teaching intelligent design in biology class.

Similarly, in October 2008, a group of Darwinists began contesting efforts by the Texas State Board of Education to allow evolution to be debated in the classroom: opposing the teaching of scientific evidence that shows the weakness of prevailing evolutionary theory. Calling themselves the 21st Century Science Coalition (although clinging to 19th century science!) they claim that teaching such scientific evidence would pave the way to the eventual teaching of religious ideas such as creationism.
“What [the Coalition] is trying to imply, and what it wants to have taught in the classroom, is that evolution is an uncontroversial fact that is absolutely, 100 percent proven to be true and that there are no scientists who dissent from it,” said Casey Luskin of the Discovery Institute. “And they want students to basically not learn about any views that might have scientific dissent from modern neo-Darwinian theory.”

Advocating that teachers should be able to freely teach the scientific evidence for and against evolution, Luskin added that one of the ways that Darwinists try to insulate their theories from criticisms is to relabel any critique as religious attack. “But that is absolutely a false relabelling,” he insisted. “In fact, there are over 700 scientists who dissent from neo-Darwinian evolution and have signed a statement of dissent that’s on a list that can be found at DissentFromDarwin.org. And there are a large number of peer-reviewed, scientific articles that have come out in the last 10, 20, 30 years that challenge various key aspects of neo-Darwinian theory.”

Elsewhere, meanwhile, even Russia is moving away from the sort of dogmatic Darwinian instruction sought by Western ideologues. In February 2007, speaking at an education conference in the Kremlin with government officials in attendance, the leader of Russian Orthodox Christians advocated teaching biblical creation, demanding that the Communist practice of mandating the exclusive teaching of Darwinian evolution in schools be brought to an end. “Teaching the biblical theory of the world’s creation will not harm students,” said the late Patriarch Alexy II. “If people choose to believe that they descended from apes, let them, but without imposing their opinions on others.” Quite.

Explosive findings

Keeping anti-Christian evolutionists at bay is hard enough. To face the same oppressive mentality from the Vatican, bête noire of the Darwinian-rooted Culture of Death, is both utterly perverse and devastating. No wonder the arguments against evolution are so rarely heard and little known. Yet consider the quality of the dissident scientists being sidelined and silenced:

Sedimentology: Guy Berthault, a graduate of the Ecole Polytechnique, France, a member of the French Geological Society and the Association of Sedimentologists. His experiments have been published by the French Academy of Sciences, the Journal of the Geological Society of France, and the Russian Academy of Sciences journal Lithology and Mineral Resources.

Biology: Pierre Rabischong, previous dean of the Montpelier Medical University and an expert in computer-aided surgery.

Genetics: Maciej Giertych, a population geneticist who holds an M.A. in forestry from Oxford University, a Ph.D. in tree physiology from Toronto University, and a D.Sc. in genetics from the Agricultural Academy in Poznan, Poland. 

Geophysics: Josef Holzschuh, a geophysicist with a Ph.D. from the University of Sydney. He works in the field of seismic processing. 

Radiometric Dating: Jean de Pontcharra, head of the Research Group CEA-LETI (Commissariat à l’Energie Atomique, Laboratoire d’Electronique et de Technologie de l’Informatique), who has a doctorate in solid state physics from the University of Grenoble.
One might well ask: what on earth does the PAS or the Gregorian have to lose by inviting comment from such eminent dissenters, as Pope Benedict himself has advocated? After all, if they are so confident of their own pro-evolution position, surely the opportunity to hear, critique and dispense with the opposition can only enhance their own case?

The answer lies in the potentially explosive findings these experts bring to the table.

For instance, there is the “highly embarrassing fact,” as one conference participant pointed out, “that recent laboratory experiments have shown that stratified sedimentary rocks, containing the fossils alleged to prove evolution, formed very quickly. The experiments were conducted by one of the speakers at the conference, sedimentologist Guy Berthault, and published by the Russian Academy of Sciences. A paleohydraulic analysis in the field accompanying these experiments showed that major rock formations deposited not in millions of years but in 0.01% of the time attributed to them by the geological time-scale. The effect of this conference on the global scientific community may well be comparable to the effect of the current financial crisis on the global economy: Nothing will ever be the same!”

Darwinian insanity

We should pray for such a miraculous turnaround because the bicentennial birthday boy has enslaved the world with naturalistic fetters. Whether spiritual, catechetical, doctrinal, moral, political, economic, educational, corporate, social, legal, psychiatric, medical, demographic, eugenic ... there is not a nook or cranny of modern life untouched by Darwin’s animalistic presuppositions.
In Darwin Day in America [2007], John West comprehensively documents how “Darwinism and scientific materialism have reshaped virtually every area of our culture and politics” [CO, June/July 2008]. In other words, there is no protective firewall between science and culture. Ditto science and faith, as highlighted by the corrupting impact on the PAS and Pontifical Universities. Supposedly reconciling modern science with Catholic teaching, these bodies are doing the opposite: adapting the Faith to science. It is no surprise, therefore, that although the PAS is full of atheistic scientists (don’t ask!?) these are almost indistinguishable from their clerical counterparts. Articles by PAS member and Vatican astronomer Fr George Coyne, SJ, for instance, are replete with Darwinism but contain precious little Catholicism.

This is the Roman pattern nowadays. Even L’Osservatore Romano is running uncontested articles by the likes of Italian evolutionary biologist Fiorenzo Facchini, who confidently stated in the May 5-6, 2008 edition: “... at some point God willed a spark of intelligence to light up in the mind of a non-human hominid and thus came into existence the human as a being, as a subject capable of thought and the ability to decide freely.”

You have to admire the bravado. But as G.K. Chesterton remarked about the endless pontificating on soulless animals evolving into ensouled humans: “The evolutionists seem to know everything about the missing link except that it is missing”!

In terms of Catholic doctrine, the contradictions and impossibilities raised by such macro-evolution madness are endless. Someone commented that Facchini’s assertion, for one, “amounts to a flat-out denial of human nature possessing a fully formed rational soul as its substantial form (since a ‘spark’ of intelligence could never be identified with a fully rational soul).”

Yet if the doctrinal fallout is deadly serious, the resultant conundrums hover between hilarious and barking. In this respect, Professor Facchini mirrors our local monkey-to-man enthusiasts. In his superb expose of England’s ‘theistic’ evolutionist FAITH movement, which  claims to possess “God’s Master Key” to the universe as dictated by God to a London housewife, Tony Nevard wrote:

The unresolved logical problems of the development of a true human being from animal parents were recognised a century ago, and are not answered by mere assertions. Nor are their implications unrelated to moral issues. One of the FAITH clergy at a meeting was once asked the question: As according to you, Adam and Eve’s parents were only animals, would they have been entitled to kill their father or mother and eat them for dinner? The answer given, not without some hesitation, was - “YES!” [“The Mystery of FAITH”, CO, Aug/Sept 1999]

Yum-yum! Although we hasten to add that such tasty treats are no longer available in Spain, where our furry forebears have actually been afforded rights hitherto limited to humans. This accords with the atheistic philosophy of Peter Singer, a Darwinian icon who exalts “non-human hominids” such as chimpanzees and gorillas as human equivalents.
When the Spanish parliament’s environmental committee approved the resolutions last year, the director of the Great Apes Project declared triumphantly: “This is a historic day in the struggle for animal rights and in defence of our evolutionary comrades, which will doubtless go down in the history of humanity.”

Well, he’s half right. Like the December 2006 ruling by India’s  Rajasthan High Court granting Babi the elephant the status of a “living creature equivalent to a human being” (as part of a motor accident compensation case), the Spanish decision will indeed go down in history: in the Darwinian annals of imbecility and insanity!

Pope Benedict

So where does the Holy Father stand amid this evolutionary descent into ecclesiastical and secular madness? 
As stated, Benedict clearly desires an even-handed approach to the discussion of evolution; a genuine debate. Yet having allowed the Pontifical Academy of Sciences to fill its ranks with atheists and fellow-travelling clerics he is now reaping the defiant whirlwind of a non-debate on his very doorstep! All the while seeking an impossible accommodation with these intolerant creatures. 

“The problem with the PAS is that it’s not a Catholic academy,” commented Dominique Tassot, during an August 2006 interview with the American National Catholic Reporter. “Instead, it’s the place where the scientific worldview can enter inside the Catholic Church. Two-thirds of its members are not Catholic. It’s also the pontifical academy with the greatest number of Noble Prize winners, who are very well known in their disciplines. I’m not questioning the quality of these people, but the meaning and use of this academy inside the Church.”

The director of the Centre d’Etude et de Prospectives sur la Science (“Centre for Studies and Prospectives on Science” or CEP), a group of 700 Catholic scientists and intellectuals based in France which adopts “a critical approach to evolution theory,” Tassot added: “My concern is simply that the Pontifical Academy for Sciences exists almost by itself, and I’m not sure it’s the tool for the pope that it should be.”

According to Tassot, the present Holy Father is one of the few theologians who understands the difference between micro-evolution (development within species) and macro-evolution (development from one species to another). Without this essential distinction “it’s impossible to say anything meaningful” about the subject - or to make Catholic sense of John Paul II’s seemingly perverse 1996 statement that “evolution is more than a hypothesis.” In fact, the term “evolution” was never defined in his text.
“What does this formula mean?” asks Tassot. “What does it mean to be ‘more than a potato’? It means nothing without further definition and distinction. ... The continuing dominance of evolutionary theory depends upon a voluntary confusion between micro and macro-evolution. Darwin himself relies upon micro-evolution, giving many examples of it, but then he switches to making generalizations about macro-evolution. This is philosophically incorrect.”

In 2006, through a French episcopal friend, Tassot himself had a letter delivered directly to Pope Benedict suggesting a debate within the Church on evolutionary theory. He advised the Holy Father that this would help the Church “reestablish an autonomous world view [in which] the concept of creation is important,” thus regaining the cultural initiative which science has commandeered in setting itself up as the repository of truth.

Even more providentially, the Pope has had personal contact with another important member of the CEP. “Pope Benedict became familiar with the discoveries of Professor Berthault many years ago, from the time he was a cardinal,” Tassot revealed. “He met Berthault at a conference centre and spent several days with him, quite by accident. This is a centre in the Alps that Ratzinger used as a meeting place for a theological conference, and Berthault was one of the directors of the association that owned the place. Ratzinger came several times over a period of years, and got to know Berthault. I think that has had some influence on him. It was an opportunity for him to see that even on the scientific questions surrounding evolution, debate is possible. Most people think that the findings of science are completely established and are beyond discussion. They think it’s the way it’s presented in textbooks in school. But those textbooks are the result of a long process, which in itself is not so simple. Science doesn’t give definite certainties.”

Since Pope Benedict is surrounded by evolutionists this information is most encouraging. Hopefully it marks an advance on his thinking forty years ago when, as noted in the ensuing article, he spoke uncritically of “the evidence of natural science” pointing to “the metamorphosis from animal to human being.” In any event, it is further incentive to pray daily that the Pope is safely guided through all the onerous tasks weighing upon Christ’s Vicar on earth, among the most urgent of which is seeing off the evolutionary threat in its myriad guises, especially within the Church. And to this end, our present Holy Father is in need of particularly fervent  prayer.

Evolutionary Modernism

As Pope St. Pius X so brilliantly expounded in Pasendi (1907), evolution is the doctrinal heart and soul of the Modernist heresy. It is therefore troubling to find that the evolutionary concept, applied philosophically and theologically, permeates the published works of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. Troubling but not surprising, since Pope Benedict’s Liberal pedigree over many decades is not only well established but insisted upon by the Pope himself.

In his landmark 1985 book-length interview with Cardinal Ratzinger, Italian journalist Vittorio Messori referred to him as a “balanced progressivist” and asked if his “engagement with [the magazine] Concilium, a meeting place for the progressivist wing of theology” was “a sin of youth?” “Absolutely not,” the Cardinal answered. “I did not change; they changed.”

“They,” of course, were his radical colleagues, the entire rogues gallery of arch-Modernists including Rahner and Küng, along with whom the young Father Ratzinger was once listed as doctrinally “suspect” by the Holy Office. Presumably this listing was deemed necessary owing to the kind of heterodox thinking critiqued in our November 2008 edition i.e. Pope Benedict’s personal view, as set out in his book Jesus of Nazareth, that St. John did not in fact write his Gospel! Benedict himself invited criticism of his opinion and James Larson duly obliged, defending the unchallenged tradition of the Church against the Pope’s dangerous (albeit “private”) error. In praising the Larson critique and its far-reaching conclusions, a renowned scripture scholar said of Benedict’s view: “There is simply no one in the whole history of Catholicism who has even suggested such a thing, much less put it forth as a working thesis.”

It is within this overall context - the teaching of Pascendi vis-à-vis the self-professed, relatively less radical but nonetheless potentially dangerous “progressivism” of the present Holy Father - that we offer the following critique for the consideration of readers. Regardless of Mr Larson’s personal assessment, and notwithstanding the divine protection afforded the papal teaching office, examination of the evolutionary theological and philosophical threads coursing through and connecting the works of such a pre-eminent Catholic intellectual treats an aspect of the evolution labyrinthe rarely considered - even though, as flagged by St. Pius X, it is the most essential and debate-worthy dimension of all.

His pressing call for open discussion of physical evolution ignored, Benedict will doubly welcome this metaphysical scrutiny instead.  

 

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