Darwin, Design, and the Catholic Faith

A random natural process can fall within God's plan for creation


| August 4, 2005


Catholicism and neo-Darwinism worked it out. All they needed was a little help from Kenneth Miller, a Brown University biology professor and also a Catholic.

At Beliefnet, Miller leads readers to a common ground between God and evolution in a response to Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn's New York Times Op-Ed piece, 'Finding a Design in Nature.'($$) The professor's punchy retort charges the cardinal with misrepresenting the widely accepted definition of evolution as one that doesn't leave room for divine purpose and meaning. Neo-Darwinian theory isn't inherently atheistic, Miller argues; it just stays within its own purview. 'Science is, just as John Paul II said, silent on the issue of ultimate purpose, an issue that lies outside the realm of scientific inquiry,' he writes.

Miller fills such silence by pointing out that the official Church document from the 2004 International Theological Commission that Schoenborn used in his analysis actually rejects the incompatibility of 'contingency in the created order' and 'purposeful divine providence.' In this way, Miller takes his stand for 'scientists who hold the Catholic faith' and against 'enemies of science.'
-- Archie Ingersoll

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