A Grand Bargain Over Evolution

The church doesn't think that there's much conflict between evolution and faith: the Vatican said as much just this year.  Still, the "battle" between Darwin fans and God fans continues to rage.  Now here's Robert Wright, author of "The Evolution of God" in the New York Times today on a "grand bargain," a truce in the evolution wars in the New York Times today.  Here's the heart of the argument: 

The first step toward this more modern theology is for them [believers who oppose Darwinian ideas] to bite the bullet and accept that God did his work remotely — that his role in the creative process ended when he unleashed the algorithm of natural selection (whether by dropping it into the primordial ooze or writing its eventual emergence into the initial conditions of the universe or whatever).


Of course, to say that God trusted natural selection to do the creative work assumes that natural selection, once in motion, would do it; that evolution would yield a species that in essential respects — in spiritually relevant respects, you might say — was like the human species. But this claim, though inherently speculative, turns out to be scientifically plausible.

Read the rest here.

James Martin, SJ

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8 years 12 months ago
Natural selection involves some randomness, which some Vatican prelates still reject.  They should not, since Chaos Theory has proven that there is order in randomness.
The best proofs of God are experiential, not scientific or logical.  Sacramental joy cannot be demonstrated scientifically, but this does not make it any less real.
8 years 12 months ago
I agree that the theory of evolution must be accepted, but what does that do to the ideas of the fall and original sin?
8 years 12 months ago
It was at this point that I knew for sure that he hadn't a real grip on what he was talking about. He's not at all clear.
"The second moral of the story is that, even if evolution does have a “purpose,” imparted by some higher-order creative process, that doesn’t mean there’s anything mystical or immaterial going on. And it doesn’t mean there’s a god. For all we know, there’s some “meta-natural-selection” process — playing out over eons and perhaps over multiple universes — that spawned the algorithm of natural selection, somewhat as natural selection spawned the algorithm contained in genomes"
8 years 12 months ago
I haven't read Wright's book yet,, but I've listened to him in a long radio interview and seen bim on Bill Moyers' Journal.  Then this morning's op-ed piece in the NYT.
As a Catholic open to such discussions, I always have one question I want to ask Wright.  (I imagine most readers of a ''Jesuit'' publication might have the same on their minds.  I wish I also had Hans Kuhn (''On Being a Christian'') at hand to put the question properly.)  I would ask Wright how the prophets, and especially Christ, fit into the one big tent he has raised over both belief and evolution-cum-atheism.
Whatever Wright's response to the Jesus factor, I find Wright's work careful, respectful, honest, noble and intriguing enough to pull us all deeper into the exploration of creation - and (as both science and theology now agree is) an awareness of our own very humble place in the grand scheme.


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