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Despite fundamentalist Christian arguments to the contrary, Evolution and Faith are not mutually exclusive concepts. Brown University Biologist, Kenneth Miller, is the foremost example of this and has won the highest Catholic award to prove it.

At commencement on May 18, the University of Notre Dame will honor Miller with the 2014 Laetare Medal, an award given annually to a Catholic “whose genius has ennobled the arts and sciences, illustrated the ideals of the Church and enriched the heritage of humanity.”

~snip~

Many consider Miller a paradoxical figure who occupies the thinly populated no-man’s land between science and religion, embracing both with enthusiasm and finding no conflict. He is a life-long practicing Catholic and accepts church teachings on salvation, the virgin birth and resurrection of Jesus. He described himself in the PBS “Evolution” series as simply a “traditional” Catholic, one who has not had to abandon or distort his beliefs to accommodate his other passion: evolutionary biology.

Miller's passionate stance on Evolution is not at odds with the official position of the Catholic Church as articulated by Pope John Paul II in 1996 in his speech to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences,Truth Cannot Contradict Truth:
In his encyclical Humani Generis (1950), my predecessor Pius XII had already stated that there was no opposition between evolution and the doctrine of the faith about man and his vocation...

~snip~

Today, almost half a century after the publication of the encyclical, new knowledge has led to the recognition of the theory of evolution as more than a hypothesis.It is indeed remarkable that this theory has been progressively accepted by researchers, following a series of discoveries in various fields of knowledge. The convergence, neither sought nor fabricated, of the results of work that was conducted independently is in itself a significant argument in favor of this theory.

Kenneth Miller strongly discredits Creationism or "Intelligent Design" but also "Theist Evolution".
Miller certainly cannot be accused of inserting God’s hand into evolution. He even rejects the label used by many Christian evolutionists—theistic evolution—insisting that “evolution” is simply evolution. He told a popular science and religion blog: “I always reject the term ‘theistic evolutionist.’ I am a theist and an evolutionist, to be sure, but the combined term makes no sense to me. Never heard anyone described as a ‘theistic chemist,’ have you?”
An on-the-ground warrior for teaching evolution in schools, he has authored the most widely used science texts in both high schools and colleges. His textbooks are often the target of fundamentalists who prefer the bible were taught instead.
When creationists try to remove evolution from public schools, Miller’s text is often the target. He has written, spoken, and even testified in court on behalf of evolution when it has been under assault. He testified in the Dover trial in 2005, and was instrumental in keeping “Intelligent Design” out of the local schools there.
Miller's path seems to me to be the best one to reconcile the false equation of Faith canceling Science or Science canceling Faith. The spheres of both are Truths, and-- in the Catholic view-- truth cannot contradict truth.

To be a person of religious faith does not mean that you automatically check your brains at the door.

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Comment Preferences

  •  They want to make everyone ignorant (6+ / 0-)

    Replacing science with religion.  Also, since Christianity is only one religion, what about other religions that have different accounts of creation?

  •  Well, Fundamentalists Don't Make Arguments. (3+ / 0-)

    Using that terminology is as ignorant as them saying we "believe" in science.

    It's also dangerous.

    They make assertions and edicts, and about science the issue is that it is incompatible with true faith not "religion." They don't recognize a legitimate pursuit called "religion." --Any more than the Catholics did at some points in their past.

    This is a welcome development from the Catholic church for its potential to build a societal consensus to fight this anti science madness.

    As for the rest of us it's time to move on to terminology and concepts that appropriately describe the threats coming at us.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sun Apr 06, 2014 at 09:39:19 AM PDT

    •  Thanks for commenting, Gooserock. (6+ / 0-)

      Replace the word "argue" with "edict" but it still represents
      Faith". What I am writing here is that faith does not need to preclude science at all.

      I think that the science-side arguments against faith are bound to fail; however, I think that an argument that states they are not mutually exclusive  has a chance of changing minds.

      This is not a recent revelation either. Pope John Paul quotes Pius before him, adjusting it for the current science. He called it the most supported theory in science and recognized it as truth.

      We have it within our power to make the world over again ~ Thomas Paine

      by occupystephanie on Sun Apr 06, 2014 at 09:55:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Who argues that evolution and faith (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    occupystephanie

    are incompatible?  AIG can't argue against theistic evolution if it denies such a position exists.

    •  I believe that Kenneth Miller (5+ / 0-)

      thinks that linking the two is illogical. As above quote, if it makes no sense to be a theist chemist, it makes no sense to be a theist evolutionist.

      Einstein and Darwin were both men of faith who had no problem separating the two.

      To carry Pope John Paul's idea further, you cannot use the tenets of one truth to prove or disprove the truth of the other.

      AIG? Not sure what that means.

      We have it within our power to make the world over again ~ Thomas Paine

      by occupystephanie on Sun Apr 06, 2014 at 01:42:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Miller thinks the name is stupid (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        occupystephanie, Bronx59

        which is different (and mundane) discussion all together.  That said, when you say "theistic evolution," anyone who cares about this debate knows exactly what it means.  

        Einstein and Darwin were atheists (or agnostic, YMMV), so of course they had no problem separating the two.

        I suppose "us[ing] the tenets of one truth to prove or disprove the truth of the other" means attempting to find material proof of the supernatural, or trying to reason materialism from first principles.  Sure.  That works.  Provided you assert a law of no interaction between the supernatural and natural spheres, which is practically atheism.

        •  The inference is that Miller finds the concept (5+ / 0-)

          stupid.

          I ought not to have mentioned Einstein and Darwin for which the jury is still out and likely always will be because they both were fairly private men.

          That said, when you say "theistic evolution," anyone who cares about this debate knows exactly what it means.  
          When we debate the truth of evolution what are we debating?  How can we debate between the two truths if you cannot use the same proofs? The link you gave tries to combine the two but I think it is an impossible task.

          Evolution is not incompatible with faith. There is really nothing to debate since both are truths but inhabit different spheres.

          I think it is important to break through the present endless debate to free evolution and faith from each other.

          We have it within our power to make the world over again ~ Thomas Paine

          by occupystephanie on Sun Apr 06, 2014 at 02:22:13 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Neither was shy about talking about religion (3+ / 0-)

            Summaries of Einstein's views and Darwin's.  Can't blame them for being chatty; after all, I imagine they enjoy talking about these things as much as we do.

            I don't know about this "debating between two truths" deal, but I do know of the epistemological problem of attempting to reach supernatural conclusions using natural arguments.  Or of the parsimony problem of introducing supernatural terms to a natural system.  That we can identify these problems and argue their respective merits seems to me evidence that we can debate them just fine.  About the only thing I've found that's beyond reason is reconciling two conflicting axioms.

            I don't think it's all that important to end the debate.  Frankly, I think it's useful.  It could be more useful of laymen on both sides took it as an opportunity to expand their toolkits, but there is some value in using the passionate clash of one against the other to encourage people to learn more math and science.

            •  Thank you rduran. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              rduran, RiveroftheWest

              I agree that the debate may be useful, particularly among those who are educated. Where I think the concept of two separate spheres is useful is the wholesale rejection of evolution by various religions. And if the debate continues so that it allows evolution to be discredited, I think it adds to the anti-science thinking that leads to things like banning scientific texts in schools.

              I still believe that trying to debate from two different spheres (or truths) is unwinnable.

              We have it within our power to make the world over again ~ Thomas Paine

              by occupystephanie on Sun Apr 06, 2014 at 04:34:19 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I think it's even more useful (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                occupystephanie

                between those who aren't, provided that they translate some of that passion into learning new things.

                I'm pretty sure now you're speaking of debating from different first principles.  In that case, you're correct.  You can't resolve an argument when both sides will invariably deny the others' premises.  On the other hand, so many arguments with creationists deal with narrow, natural topics.  For example, let's say the world was created in six days and in the fashion described in Genesis 1.  Is there anyway to reconcile a literal interpretation of that Scripture with the evidence?  Are there any predictions that would fall out of such a reconciliation?  It's not a useful exercise for working scientists, but it's an interesting intellectual diversion for anyone.

                •  That is the crux of the matter for me... (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  rduran, RiveroftheWest

                  that it is considered an intellectual diversion. Evolution, I believe, is the number one issue for anti-Science attitudes in our society. It is perfect because it is the most widely supported theory in science and has an impact on the education of the populace. For that reason, I believe that it actually needs to be resolved.

                  A debate between Science and Faith is a non-starter for me because too much is riding on it, and it obscures the reality that they are two different worlds.

                  Pope Francis is working on an Environmental document which I am anticipating with pleasure. His namesake St Francis  began the Care for Creation concept and I expect some good things to come from this.

                  We have it within our power to make the world over again ~ Thomas Paine

                  by occupystephanie on Mon Apr 07, 2014 at 08:16:29 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Tom Tomorrow sums up my view (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    rduran

                    very well with his cartoon: Science Stuff.

                    http://www.dailykos.com/...?

                    We have it within our power to make the world over again ~ Thomas Paine

                    by occupystephanie on Mon Apr 07, 2014 at 08:34:56 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  For all intents and purposes it has been resolved. (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    occupystephanie

                    In terms of funding, influence everyday impact, there's just no comparison.  Scientists have satellites, labs, real influence over policy, and the overwhelming majority of the academy and K-12 system. Creationists have a theme park.  

                    So what if large portions of the general public believe in a 6,000 year old Earth or angels?  The majority who don't aren't exactly mathematically and scientifically competent themselves; so whatever your typical American believes about origins or the paranormal has little practical impact on the progress of science.  No, the debate isn't even close to being a central issue where it concerns anti-science attitudes.  Innumeracy is.  After all, most people arguing about climate change here and anywhere else are simply name checking one another.

                    •  I disagree that it has been resolved. (0+ / 0-)

                      On Fb I follow a young man named Zack who lives in AZ who began in middle school to fight the creationists in schools and he continues to devote most of his time to it. The subject of this article, Miller, also fights on the ground.

                      It ain't over yet by a long shot.

                      I believe that recognition that the oldest and largest Christian faith does support Science should be front page news and should give pause to those who base their doubts about Science on religion.

                      We have it within our power to make the world over again ~ Thomas Paine

                      by occupystephanie on Mon Apr 07, 2014 at 10:53:14 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

  •  Not So Remarkable (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RiveroftheWest
    Today, almost half a century after the publication of the encyclical, new knowledge has led to the recognition of the theory of evolution as more than a hypothesis. It is indeed remarkable that this theory has been progressively accepted by researchers, following a series of discoveries in various fields of knowledge.
    That's precisely the way science is supposed to work - new discoveries lead to modifications to the theory, which make it conform more closely to the sum of the knowledge, which in turn, leads to broader acceptance.

    "A famous person once said, 'You can fool some of the people some of the time, but you can't fool all of the people all of the time.' But as I once said, "If you don't teach them to read, you can fool them whenever you like." – Max Headroom

    by midnight lurker on Mon Apr 07, 2014 at 08:51:27 AM PDT

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