Archive for Saturday, November 19, 2005

Vatican official says intelligent design doesn’t belong in science classes

November 19, 2005


— The Vatican's chief astronomer said Friday that "intelligent design" isn't science and doesn't belong in science class, the latest high-ranking Roman Catholic official to enter the evolution debate in the United States.

The Rev. George Coyne, the Jesuit director of the Vatican Observatory, said placing intelligent design theory alongside that of evolution in school programs was "wrong" and was akin to mixing apples with oranges.

"Intelligent design isn't science even though it pretends to be," the ANSA news agency quoted Coyne as saying on the sidelines of a conference in Florence. "If you want to teach it in schools, intelligent design should be taught when religion or cultural history is taught, not science."

His comments were in line with his previous statements on "intelligent design" - whose supporters hold that the universe is so complex that it must have been created by a higher power.

Proponents of intelligent design are seeking to get public schools in the United States to teach it as part of the science curriculum. Critics say intelligent design is merely creationism - a literal reading of the Bible's story of creation - camouflaged in scientific language, and they say it does not belong in science curriculum.

In a June article in the British Catholic magazine The Tablet, Coyne reaffirmed God's role in creation, but said science explains the history of the universe.

"If they respect the results of modern science, and indeed the best of modern biblical research, religious believers must move away from the notion of a dictator God or a designer God, a Newtonian God who made the universe as a watch that ticks along regularly."

Rather, he argued, God should be seen more as an encouraging parent.

"God in his infinite freedom continuously creates a world that reflects that freedom at all levels of the evolutionary process to greater and greater complexity," he wrote. "He is not continually intervening, but rather allows, participates, loves."

The Vatican Observatory, which Coyne heads, is one of the oldest astronomical research institutions in the world. It is based in the papal summer residence at Castel Gandolfo south of Rome.

Last week, Pope Benedict XVI waded indirectly into the evolution debate by saying the universe was made by an "intelligent project" and criticizing those who in the name of science say its creation was without direction or order.

Questions about the Vatican's position on evolution were raised in July by Austrian Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn.

In a New York Times column, Schoenborn seemed to back intelligent design and dismissed a 1996 statement by Pope John Paul II that evolution was "more than just a hypothesis." Schoenborn said the late pope's statement was "rather vague and unimportant."

Church opinion doesn't faze Kansas official

The chairman of the Kansas Board of Education isn't concerned about a new report from the Vatican objecting to intelligent design being taught in school. The Rev. George Coyne, the Jesuit director of the Vatican Observatory, said Friday that intelligent design isn't science and doesn't belong in science classrooms. The State Board of Education voted 6-4 last week to change science standards that critics say will usher intelligent design and creationism into science class. Board Chairman Steve Abrams, a Republican from Arkansas City, voted for those standards, and said Friday the Vatican report doesn't bother him. Abrams said the standards "allow critical thinking and analysis. It's not about whether intelligent design does get in or doesn't."


Jeff Barclay 12 years, 7 months ago

Rev. George Coyne is wrong. Funny how evolutionists want nothing to do with religion until one of the them agrees with them. God as an "encouraging parent?" That is not even Catholic doctrine.

greyhawk 12 years, 7 months ago

So Barclay, it's your version of Christianity or none? Who made you right? Can you prove it by experiment?

yourworstnightmare 12 years, 7 months ago

There was a poor fellow named Barclay who everywhere saw angels all sparkly when god created heaven and earth of brains and intelligence there was a dearth and so none were given to poor Barclay

John1945 12 years, 7 months ago

So what the JW is advocating is that we should allow the pope to create our school curriculum rather than the SBOE. Is that it?

Fred Whitehead Jr. 12 years, 7 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Mr_Christopher 12 years, 7 months ago

wendt said "The irony of having a representative of the Vatican, which used to burn people for asserting that the Earth was not the center of the universe, declare that Intelligent Design / Creationism is not science is beautiful to behold"

wendt you made me laff! Perhaps this is Catholic atonement in action? Their way of saying "ok, we're finally getting this science stuff, please forgive our former indescretions" :=-)

People, do a little research and learn about the Wedge Strategy written and employed by the Discovery Institute to sneak creationism (aka "Intelligent Design")into our public science classes:

The Wedge Stratgy has 3 phases.

Phase I: Scientific Research, Writing & Publicity,

Phase II: Publicity & Opinion-making, and

Phase III: Cultural Confrontation & Renewal

Each of these phases is designed to reach a governing goal of the Wedge Strategy:

A) To defeat scientific materialism and its destructive moral, cultural and political legacies.

B) To replace materialistic explanations with the theistic understanding that nature and human beings are created by God.

What you see in the press is only the tip of their strategy. Be in informed citizen! :-)

Cheers and thanks for the irony/laff!


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