Home » Evolution, Intelligent Design » Are All Coynes Made of Dross? — First Jerry and Now George!

Are All Coynes Made of Dross? — First Jerry and Now George!

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.

http://www.breitbart.com/news/2005/11/18/D8DV0FEO0.html

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114 Responses to Are All Coynes Made of Dross? — First Jerry and Now George!

  1. And next, they’ll say that abortion isn’t really so bad. What is happening to the Catholic Church?

  2. the catholic church is doing a lot of damage with absurd anti-biblical statements such as this (and then claiming that theyre on the side of the bible!):

    “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 bible says exactly the opposite of what coyne claims here. im rather confused as to how on earth the catholic church itself continues to even call itselt christian when it throws out the very idea of a designer God! has coyne not read Genesis? of course the bible makes it quite clear that God is, indeed, a designer God and a creator God. not a God of trial and error.

  3. I wouldn’t confuse the Rev. George Coyne’s opinion with official Church teaching. When he give his opinion—that’s what it remains: his opinion. When Cardinal Schoenborn speaks, that is much more authoritative (even though he might not have the same level of scientific training).

  4. Ultimately, it all boils down to the Pope’s position on the matter, and to the best of my knowledge, the evidence suggests that he concurs with Schoenborn.

    David

  5. Even worse, in my mind, is the fact that it DOES all boil down to the Pope’s position. Sorry, but I don’t care what the pope (a position not established in the Bible) says, I care about what the word says. And I don’t understand why most Catholics, it seems, think that what the Pope (and the lower hierarchy) says IS more important than what the Bible says. Sadly, the Catholic Church seems to put too much importance in what a man says as opposed to the Word.

    Top Vatican scientists saying these sorts of things…it cannot be helping the overall Christian church in general. Doing, it seems, all you can to destroy the word of God to prop up a hierarchy that is anything but biblical seems to be the worst of ideas in this matter.

  6. Careful, Josh. Don’t stray too far into theological matters, or you might really offend someone.

  7. Josh is just outlining the general protestant position; don’t see how that can offend too much.

  8. I’m not bashing anything or anyone really…I’m just saying that it disturbs me when Christians turn away from the word of God and try to put a traditional position over it. I’ve no doubt that many Catholics out there would see these attacks on ID and even a creative God and be fine with them, merely because they came out of the Vatican, and even tho they go against what the Bible teaches of God and how he acted in the universe.

    Trashing the Bible, and saying…accept this teaching because it comes straight from the Church Hierarchy is mind boggling to me. Of course the Bible teaches of a designer God (you can hardly argue the Bible even implies that God never designed it all and just set into motion some laws- that’s a deist God which is so far from the God of the Bible it’s creepy that it would come from anyone even related to the Vatican.) Tho, that’s the big problem…Too many Catholics, it seems, too often throw out the Bible in order to follow what the Church (with a big ‘C’) teaches, no matter how anti-biblical it is.

  9. Are they hidden disciples of Teilhard de Chardin and his omega point philosophy?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omega_Point

  10. oh wow. the theory in that link is beyond scary. i skimmed thru it, but a computer system of sorts that will recreate all humans via storing their natures somehow. i dunno. too insane for me!

  11. FYI, Frank Tipler is a signatory of “A Scientific Dissent from Darwinism” and a society fellow at iscid.
    http://www.discovery.org/scrip.....038;id=443

  12. was my summary of the theory close? or did i get confused by that article?

    im all for immaterial worlds…ive no doubt they exist. as does an afterlife and such. but in the form described in that link? not all that clear as to what it says exactly, but the part i did understand and scanned thru sounded totally whacky.

  13. Well since I didn’t know anything about Coyne until just know I did a little googlin and guess what I found:

    “A Symposium sponsored by the John Templeton Foundation

    Chaired by
    Martin J. Rees
    Council Chamber
    Pontifical Academy of Sciences
    The Vatican
    Rome, Italy
    (7, 8, and 9 November 2000)

    The meeting is supported in full by the John Templeton Foundation. The organizers are: John Barrow, George V. Coyne, George Ellis, Michael Heller, Martin J. Rees.

    A provisional agenda in four headings:

    1. Physics of the universe: scenarios for the long-range future:

    (A) Towards asymptopia: evolution of cosmic structure, death of stars, decay of atoms, formation and evaporation of black holes, behaviour near cosmological singularities, etc. What would an eternal cosmos be like at each era between the present and the final ‘omega point’? ”

    Interesting. What we have is a convergence of Teilhard De Chardin’s Omega Point philosophy (evolution of the universe to a universal apotheosis), Coyne, and Templeton. What do they all have in common? Teilhard De Chardin was a palentologist who spent his life trying to prove evolution and searching for the “missing link” between ape and man. He was infamously involved with two famous missing link frauds (piltdown man and peking man). Templeton attacks ID and supports evolution, Oyne, ands De Chardin. Coyne attacks ID and supports evolution and also has put forth in his writings and speeches the idea of the “evolving universe”, essentially the same thing as Teilhard De Chardin. He also edited a publication by the Vatican Observatory called ‘Physics, Philosophy, and Theology: A Common Quest for Understanding’ with an article by Tipler called “The Omega Point Theory: A Model of an Evolving God”. (Robert J. Russell, William R. Stoeger, S.J., and George V. Coyne, S.J. (eds.),. Vatican City, Vatican Observator)

    They all seem to believe in and want to promote the idea presented in the Omega Point philosophy. And at the same time they want to attack people who oppose their views i.e ID, by attack I mean spend lots of money to try and convince the public that ID is wrong.

    So the big question is…why?

    Why do they feel it is important to fight in the court of public opinion that the omega point doctrine is true and God is not directly controlling the universe and everything in it? What I wonder is why they feel it is important to actually put energy into trying to discredit ID.

    Here’s a thought. They have a kind of vision of God where God is a kind of collective unconsciousness who is not an omniscient omnipresent entity. From Coyne:

    “But, if we confront what we know of our origins scientifically with religious faith in God the Creator – if, that is, we take the results of modern science seriously – it is difficult to believe that God is omnipotent and omniscient in the sense of many of the scholastic philosophers. For the believer, science tells us of a God who must be very different from God as seen by them.”

    “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. God lets the world be what it will be in its continuous evolution.”

    God in their vision is some kind of impersonal force of nature or impersonal supernatural force which “loves” in some abstract fashion, like how “the womb loves the child”.

    Essentially they want to remove the conception of morality based on fear. In other words most religions teach that God will punish you if you “sin” in some way. God is not only the provider of life but also the Law. If you take God out as an active participant on Earth and our lives then you remove the fear of sinning. If God isn’t aware and just some kind of Force then that means you shouldn’t be afraid of sinning. You can be immoral and God is impotent to punish you. This is the kind of philosophy which is greatly admired by tyrants who need a religious ideology to suit their own purposes.

    If God doesn’t punish because he doesn’t involve himself directly with us, but is just some kind of loving force, and if evolution is actually the plan of that loving force, then if we aid evolution…we do good.

    Hmmm…How do we aid evolution? I know!! Let’s support eugenics, genocide, slavery, exploitation of inferior races, malthusian concepts of aiding the destruction of the less evolved people. Bingo!!! Ya see it’s alright that the white rich guy in his castle in Europe exploits third world countries by empowering dictators. It’s alright if a genocide in Rwanda or Congo or Sudan or West Africa takes place. In fact it’s a good thing and we should help them. It aids evolution in ridding the world of less evolved people. The first humans according to evolution were black people. Therefore they are the least evolved and the least wanted. We should do everything possible to aid “God” in evolving humanity to the “omega point” the apotheosis of evolution. Where we all become Godlike. Don’t worry about “love your brother” or “the meek shall inherit the earth”. God can’t see you, God’s just an impersonal force of love. You can do what you like. God won’t punish you.

    These people are not Christians. They are fakes using Christianity for their own agenda. Their philosophy was quite popular from the 17th to the 19th century. The whole “occult revival” period of the late 19th century was greatly influenced by the the same kind of thinking. It’s essentially Rosicrucian dogma. Modernized.

  14. After reading these comments by Coyne, I’m even more worried over the state of the Catholic Church. Heck, does the Catholic Church even have any use for the Bible anymore?

  15. Omega Point?

    That’s essentially where the universe imagines weightless green pastures.

    Or green pastas.

    One of the two, anyhow.

    The Catholic church sure seems internally conflicted. But aren’t we all?

  16. Coyne doesn’t represent the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church has been for some time split on various issues and ideologies. The Jesuits and other orders have been at odds with the Vatican and others have other ideas. It’s not Coynes view’s are the views of all or even many Catholic clergy, more likely very few believe as he does. Malachi Martin has written and spoken about the various cliques and ideologies presently at play within the confines of the Catholic Church.

  17. Well, either way…hes connected to the vatican, and it seems odd that someone connected to the vatican would adhere to such anti-biblical views.

    QUESTION: What do you see as being the role for God in an evolutionary universe?

    FATHER COYNE: I think the role for God in an evolutionary universe is an extremely rich concept. I think the God of an evolutionary universe – a universe that has a spontaneity to it, that has a dynamism to it, that has a development to it, and an uncertainty to it – that is a much richer God to me than a God of a deterministic universe, a universe that’s predetermined. Because God to me – an essential characteristic for God – is freedom and spontaneity. And I believe that a universe participating in that freedom and spontaneity is an evolutionary universe. QUESTION: How would you respond to that claim that some people make, that when they look at the universe they don’t see any sign of God?

    Where he gets this view, I’ve no idea…it certainly isn’t from the Bible itself.

  18. I’m shocked as to why so many people, such as Coyne, can’t grasp ID. I think the reason why it’s instantaneously down played is because first hand critics automatically conflate it with creationism. When they do that, they pass that around to others. Most second hand critics would say that it’s just philosophy since there’s no science behind it. This assessment couldn’t be farther from the truth. Read ‘Darwin’s Black Box’, ‘The Design Inference’, and ‘No Free Lunch’. I think once critics read this, then, their whole concept will change. If not, then they’re just a bunch of lazy dogmatists.

  19. Bill, Did you get a transcript from Cody College????? I know Michael thinks your a ‘swell’ guy, colleague and all. Why not share it with the chatterbugs in this ‘grope’? cheatin, eh?

  20. jboze3131: Notice that Coyne doesn’t say anything like, “Catholics believe that evolution is a theory……..” He’s literally not pontificating. He’s giving his opinion. It has a certain standing because of his educational background and because of his position as head of the Vatican Observatory. But, it’s his opinion. He’s speaking as a scientist, not as a Catholic.

    Since you’re obviously not Catholic, let me tell you what happens when a solemn feast is celebrated in the Church. The Mass begins with a procession. First incense, then a cross, then ministers, then the deacon carrying the Book of the Gospels high above his head. When the deacon gets to the altar, he places the Book of the Gospels on the altar. When the priest-celebrant arrives, he kisses the altar, and then incenses the altar–with the Book of the Gospels atop it. When it’s time for the Gospel to be read, a procession forms in which lighted candles and incense precede the deacon, again with the Book of the Gospels held high, ending with the Book of the Gospels being place on the ambo (pulpit, more or less). The deacon announces the gospel, and then, yes, you guessed it, incenses the Book of the Gospel.

    Does the Word of God receive that kind of reverential treatment in your church? If the answer is no, then maybe it’s wrong to assume that the Word of God is not important to Roman Catholics.

    The Bible is accepted by Christians as the inspired Word of God. And, of course, we believe that it was the Holy Spirit who first inspired the writers to write, but also inspired the listeners to listen. (Jesus: “Whoever hears you, hears me.”) Catholics believe in the on-going presence of the Holy Spirit in the life of the Church. As a matter of fact, the Holy Spirit is the very “soul” of the Church. And we believe Jesus when he says, “I will be with you (speaking to the Apostles) until the end of time.” (The end of Matthew’s gospel). Thus, the ultimate “teaching authority” of the Church rests in the power of the Holy Spirit. The Pope is given a share in this gift of the Holy Spirit by virtue of his role as Bishop of Rome. Rev. Coyne does not.

    Just compare the language of Cardinal Schoenborn and of Fr. Coyne. Cardinal Schoenborn speaks in the name of the Church; Fr. Coyne does not. Cardinal Schoenborn, through ordination as a bishop (Cardinal is another matter) also shares in the charism of “teaching authority.”

    The Catholic position in most areas is: all things are permissible in moderation. This even applies to opinions. Even to what Fr. Coyne says.

    You seem to come at ID completely from a religious perspective. I don’t. I come at it from a completely scientific basis, as does, for example, Dave Scott. I don’t think it helpful to argue things from a “The Word of God says…” position. People are going to disagree. It will be the Protestant Reformation all over again.

    But, as to the Catholic Church, don’t worry. It takes the Word of God very seriously, as I tried to point out above.

    Benjii: I’m shocked as to why so many people, such as Coyne, can’t grasp ID. I think the reason why it’s instantaneously down played is because first hand critics automatically conflate it with creationism.

    Asa Gray, a brilliant botanist of the 1800′s, a contemporary of Darwin, and a believer (He was at Harvard when Harvard was still a seminary!) saw Darwin’s theory as increasing the magnificence of God’s creative power. He finally had a falling out with Darwin when he realized that Darwin did not believe that these changes in nature were guided by God’s Hand. I think that that is basically Fr. Coyne’s position. I’m not completely convinced that he’s wrong. But in the meantime, I am quite sure that life is telling us that it was designed.

  21. Coyne does not represent the Catholic Church. It is the bishops in communion with the bishop of Rome that teach the faith. Pope Benedict is much more authoratative on the subject of creation (not because he is more authoratative than the Word, but because he serves the Word and his ministry is to teach and confirm it). The Jesuits have gone wacko since the sixties, most of them are heretics. If you havn’t noticed yet, Christianity in the West is in a crisis. It’s not at all suprising that you have folks like Coyne who are closet naturalists in clerical garb. Alas, the wheat and the chaff grow together.

  22. Well, I’m not sure, Phil. At any rate, Coyne, just like Ken Miller and John Haught, believes that life can start by random chance and then build on through natural selection. Now, God, of course, has a part in this, however, his part is “behind the scenes” and “hidden”. Although God plays a role, it’s not scientifically detectable. So this becomes a Kantian form of blind faith. I.E, not supported by empirical data. Nonetheless, Christian theology has never equated God as some form hidden creator who’s ways can’t be discerned. Either God will make us know that he has worker, or randomness can do the playing. In a sense, you can’t have both. This, of course, applies to random evolution. I’m not saying that it is random. There may be good reasons to think that it is teleological(Simon Conway).

  23. PaV you need to study what Coyne says he believes. God in his philosophy is not involved in guiding evolution or nature. He denies that God is inherent within the natural world and he denies that God determines what happens in the natural world. To him the universe and everything in it is evolving or moving to greater complexity not due to the will of God but because it is the natural order. God isn’t directing anything. To him and those who think like him God is some kind of abstract energy beingness, rather then an intelligent willful conscious entity. That kind of philosophy has been popular for a long time amongst many of the european and american aristocracy. It’s roots lay in the middle ages and became consolidated into the doctrines of fraternal societies like the Freemasons. It’s philosophical roots lay in a mixture of gnosticism, hermeticism, and Kabbalah.

    The people who believe and promote that viewpoint seek to use science as a weapon against theistic belief that God is a conscious person who is active in our world and in our lives. But the science they use is outdated. Evolution is discredited, the Big Bang is discredited and the second law of thermodynamics discredits their philosophy of the natural world moving towards greater complexity.

    They are the actual psuedo scientists. In their spastic futile flailing away at ID they reveal their own pathetic state of stale discredited sophistry and spiritual philosophical vaccuousness.

  24. Wait a minute… The Big Bang is discredited?

  25. You can see in this bit taken from a wikipedia article and from a Lurianic Kabbalah site how the nature of God and the universe in Coyne’s views are similar to a variant of Kabbalistic views:

    Ein-sof

    “Ein-Sof, the Infinite God, has no static, definable form. Instead, the Kabbalists conceive God, the world and humanity as evolving together through, and thus embodying, a number of distinct stages and aspects, with later stages opposing, but at the same time encompassing, earlier ones. The Kabbalist¹s God is both perfectly simple and infinitely complex, nothing and everything, hidden and revealed, reality and illusion, creator of man and created by man,. As Ein-Sof evolves it is progressively revealed as “nothing whatsoever” (Ayin), the totality of being, the Infinite Will (Ratzon) , Thought and Wisdom, the embodiment of all value and significance (the Sefirot), the wedding of male and female, and ultimately the union of all contradictions. Ein-Sof is both the totality of this dialectic and each of the points along the way. Ein-Sof must be constantly redefined, as by its very nature, it is in a constant process of self-creation and redefinition. This self-creation is actually embodied and perfected in the creativity of humanity, who through practical, ethical, intellectual and spiritual activities, strives to redeem and perfect a chaotic, contradictory and imperfect world.

    The Kabbalists used a variety of negative epistemological terms to make reference to the hidden God; “the concealment of secrecy”, “the concealed light”, “that which thought cannot contain” etc. (Gershom Scholem, Kabbalah, p. 88) each of which signifies that this God is somehow beyond human knowledge and comprehension. However, there are other terms, e.g., “Root of all roots”, “Indifferent Unity”, “Great Reality,” (Scholem. Major Trends, p. 12) “Creator,” “Cause of Causes” and “Prime Mover” (as well as the term, Ein-Sof, “without end”) which signify that God is the origin of the world, the reality of the world, or the totality of all things. Yet in spite of the positive connotations, even those Kabbalists who utilized such terms held that they referred to a God who is completely unknowable and concealed. Of this God, the proto-Kabbalistic work,Sefer Yetzirah had earlier said “restrain your mouth from speaking and your heart from thinking, and if your heart runs let it return to its place” (Sefer Yetzirah. I. 8, as translated in Tishby, The Wisdom of the Zohar. Vol , 1 p 234).

    As explained in Symbols of the Kabbalah, Chapter Two, Ein-sof provides a rational/spiritual answer to the questions “Why is there anything at all?” and “What is the meaning of human life?” Ein-sof begets a world so that He, as the source of all meaning and value, can come to know Himself, and in order for His values, which in Him exist only in the abstract, can become fully actualized in humanity. Ein-sof is both the fullness of being and absolute nothingness, but is not complete in its essence until He is made real through the spiritualizing and redemptive activity of mankind. Ein-sof is mirrored in the heart and soul of man, but, more importantly, He is actualized in man’s deeds.”

    Sefirot

    “Most forms of Kabbalah teach that the Sefirot are not distinct from the Ein Sof, but are somehow within it in a potential manner. Kabbalists speak of the second aspect of God as being seen by the universe as ten emanations from God; these emanations are called sefirot. See also Kabbalistic use of the Tetragrammaton.

    The sefirot mediate the interaction of the ultimate unknowable God with the physical and spiritual world. Some explain the sefirot as stages of the creative process whereby God, from His own infinite being, created the progression of realms which culminated in our finite and physical universe. Others suggest that the sefirot may be thought of as analogous to the fundamental laws of physics. Just as gravity, electro-magnetism, the strong nuclear force, and the weak nuclear force allow for interactions between matter and energy, the ten sefirot allow for interaction between God and the universe.”

  26. jbose

    Are your ears burning?

    http://www.pandasthumb.org/arc.....ment-58872

  27. Cambion you wondered if the Big Bang theory has been discredited. The answer is yes. But like evolutionary theory it’s hold over mainstream academia is still dominant, although there are many scientists who dispute it. Here is a huge list of scientists who oppose the Big Bang theory. See http://www.cosmologystatement.org/

    The Big Bang theory was conceived of by a monk scientist named Georges Lemaître working on the order of the Vatican to come up with a scientific explanation of creation ex nihilo based on the new physics of day popularized by Einstein. Later it was expanded on by other scientists and it has been tooled around with ever since.

    There is a lot of data that refutes the Big Bang theory. See:

    http://bigbangneverhappened.org/
    http://nowscape.com/big-ban2.htm
    http://www.newtonphysics.on.ca.....gbang.html
    http://www.angelfire.com/az/BI.....index.html
    http://www.holoscience.com/news/science_bang.htm
    http://ucsdnews.ucsd.edu/newsr.....quasar.asp
    http://www.thunderbolts.info/t.....igbang.htm
    http://www.thunderbolts.info/t.....14star.htm
    http://www.thunderbolts.info/t.....1sofar.htm
    http://www.spaceflightnow.com/.....ackground/
    http://www.spaceandmotion.com/.....Theory.htm
    http://public.lanl.gov/alp/plasma/TheUniverse.html
    http://www.electric-cosmos.org/
    http://www.holoscience.com/

  28. mentok: The Kabbalist¹s God is both perfectly simple and infinitely complex, nothing and everything, hidden and revealed, reality and illusion, creator of man and created by man,. Does Fr. Coyne sound like he’s saying anything like this at all? I don’t think so.

    There’s a fair legitamacy in thinking that God, in his infinite Wisdom, already set in place all the physical constants and parameters for the evolution of life on earth. Michael Denton sort of takes that position. For theology, maybe this is problematic; but for science it’s not.

    They are the actual psuedo scientists. In their spastic futile flailing away at ID they reveal their own pathetic state of stale discredited sophistry and spiritual philosophical vaccuousness.

    But maybe he’s just wrong. You make him sound evil. Why demonize those with differing views?

    What would you do if it was proven that RM+NS can account for macroevolution? I would simply believe that God guided that process. No problem. Look at the problem of grace and freedom. We have free will; but if God didn’t help us with His grace, we couldn’t do the good He ask us to. I, for one, admit that except for very rare cases, I don’t really “feel”, or “detect”, that grace at work. But surely it must be at work. Well, can’t the same be true of the natural order as well?

  29. In the first sentence of the 2nd paragraph, it should end: “from the beginning of the Universe (Big Bang).” Sorry.

  30. that is absurd. we werent discussing science in this thread, we were discussing theology. PT CONSTANTLY posts about religion and uses their stuff to attack religion and religious groups…so, with their logic, theymust be lying and theit theory is really all about religion.

    so absurd. many things in science affect a persons worldview and religion is part of a persons worldview. side discussions on religion in NDE or ID are not shocking. dawkins said it allowed him to become an intellectually fulfilled atheist, so HE must be lying and NDE must be all about religion, right?

    their is simply no logic over at PT.

  31. pav you wrote:

    “The Kabbalist¹s God is both perfectly simple and infinitely complex, nothing and everything, hidden and revealed, reality and illusion, creator of man and created by man,. Does Fr. Coyne sound like he’s saying anything like this at all? I don’t think so”

    I didn’t say that Coyne teaches an exact copy of kabbalah, I said he teaches in a similar way. They both believe in more or less the same thing, there is a little difference, but not much.

    “the Kabbalists conceive God, the world and humanity as evolving together through, and thus embodying, a number of distinct stages and aspects”

    That is pure Omega Point doctrine and what Coyne says he believes. Both also believe in an impersonal God who doesn’t get involved with the world e.g because it is a universal impersonal “God” not a conscious entity. They both believe that the universe is working not by God’s direction but through “Gods” intermediary e.g natural forces which are evolving. In other words God to them is a kind of universal being non-being, not a conscious entity.

  32. Just because ID has strong religious implications doesn’t make it a religious concept; undirected evolution is in the exact same boat. Anybody with an IQ over 90 can understand that. Comments like those are the reason I don’t bother with Panda’s Thumb.

    David

  33. Why does Coyne pretend to be a Catholic priest? He clearly doesn’t believe in nor teach Catholic doctrine. What’s the point of calling himself a priest? Just because he has some convoluted belief about God doesn’t mean that he should be recognized by the Catholic Church as a priest. Why not let priests preach voodoo or scientology or islam or judaism as being superior to Catholicism? What is the purpose of having a priesthood if the priests can teach a religion different then what the religion teaches? I can understand having a difference and allowing a difference over philosophy and theology. But the differences should be able to be supported in some way by the religious doctrine. If there is difference over birth control or other non essential theological points that can be acceptable. But Coyne teaches a completely different religious belief then Catholicism. He has that right. But why should the Catholic Church recognize him as their priest, and why should be misrepresent himself as one?

    He openly teaches against and vociferously opposes the very basic tenets of Christianity. If he had an ounce of integrity he would remove his collar and resign as a priest. If he wants to teach that the traditional teachings of Christianity are all wrong, that is fine by me. Good luck. But for him to pose as a priest of the Catholic Church is a dishonest and unethical charade on his part.

    He talks about how ID is psuedo science, well, he’s a psuedo person.

  34. I meant pseudo. I think psuedo is some kind of soup :)

  35. Well, Mentok, at least the Catholic Church sticks to its canon better than the Episcopal Church. Look at John Spong and Gene Robinson. I know the Vatican wouldn’t put up with that!

    David

  36. An uncomputable number somewhere between 11 and 13…

    What?

    Angels can dance on the head of a pin….

  37. “Does the Word of God receive that kind of reverential treatment in your church?”

    Yes, there is an outward form of reverence, but that would be moot if the Word were not followed internally. BTW, I agree with the catholic church on many more issues than I do with postmodernist liberal protestant churches.

  38. jboze: ” After reading these comments by Coyne, I’m even more worried over the state of the Catholic Church. Heck, does the Catholic Church even have any use for the Bible anymore? ”

    Don’t be worried, just read Vatican II and the Catechism of the Catholic Church if you have any doubts about the official teaching:

    “Since, therefore, all that the inspired authors, or sacred writers, affirm should be regarded as affirmed by the Holy Spirit, we must acknowledge that the books of Scripture, firmly, faithfully and without error, teach that truth which God, for the sake of our salvation, wished to see confided to the sacred Scriptures. Thus ‘all Scripture is inspired by God, and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction and for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work’ [2 Tim 3:16-17]….”

    AND

    “The Church has always venerated the divine Scriptures as she venerated the Body of the Lord, in so far as she never ceases, particularly in the sacred liturgy, to partake of the bread of life and to offer it to the faithful from the one table of the Word of God and the Body of Christ. She has always regarded, and continues to regard the Scriptures…as the supreme rule of her faith. For, since they are inspired by God and committed to writing once and for all time, they present God’s own Word in an unalterable form, and they make the voice of the Holy Spirit sound again and again in the words of the prophets and apostles. It follows that all the preaching of the Church, as indeed the entire Christian religion, should be nourished and ruled by sacred Scripture. In the sacred books the Father who is in heaven comes lovingly to meet his children, and talks with them. And such is the force and power of the Word of God that it can serve the Church as her support and vigor, and the children of the Church as strength for their faith, food for the soul, and a pure and lasting fount of spiritual life. Scripture verifies in the most perfect way the words: ‘The Word of God is living and active’ [Heb 4:12] and ‘is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified’ [Acts 20:32; cf. 1 Thess 2:13].”

    There are also late 19th and 20th century encyclicals on Scripture written by Leo XIII (Providentissimus Deus), Benedict XV (Spiritus Paraclitus) and Pius XII (Divino Afflante Spiritu) that are easily available online.

    As for Catholic doctrine on creation, Ludwig Ott in his Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma (TAN Books, 1974, orig 1952) affirms these points (De Fide are infallible dogmas “of Catholic faith”).

    –All that exists outside God was, in its whole substance, produced out of nothing by God. (De Fide)

    Ott points out that what is in view here by the First Vatican Council are those heresies of ancient pagan and gnostic-manichean dualism (where God is not responsible for the entire created world, since mere “matter” is evil not good, etc), along with modern materialism or pantheism (Ott, page 79). Further:

    –God was moved by His Goodness to create the world. (De Fide)
    –The world was created for the Glorification of God. (De Fide)
    –The Three Divine Persons are one single, common Principle of the Creation. (De Fide)
    –God created the world free from exterior compulsion and inner necessity. (De Fide)
    –God has created a good world. (De Fide)
    –The world had a beginning in time. (De Fide)
    –God alone created the world. (De Fide)
    –God keeps all created things in existence. (De Fide)
    –God, through His Providence, protects and guides all that He has created. (De Fide)

    That’s the official teaching of the Church. As for Fr. Coyne’s position, you can read the full article published in The Tablet rebutting Cardinal Schonborn’s editorial in the New York Times (which Schonborn is clarifying in a new series of catechetical lectures).

    See Schonborn’s first catechetical lecture 10/2/2005 on Creation and Evolution here

    http://www.bringyou.to/apologetics/p91.htm

    The Tablet article here

    http://www.thetablet.co.uk/cgi.....blet-01063

    FR. GEORGE COYNE:

    “It is unfortunate that creationism has come to mean some fundamentalistic, literal, scientific interpretation of Genesis. Judaeo-Christian faith is radically creationist, but in a totally different sense. It is rooted in a belief that everything depends upon God, or better, all is a gift from God. The universe is not God and it cannot exist independently of God. Neither pantheism nor naturalism is true….”

    “This stress on our scientific knowledge is not to place a limitation upon God. Far from it. It reveals a God who made a universe that has within it a certain dynamism and thus participates in the very creativity of God. Such a view of creation can be found in early Christian writings, especially in those of St Augustine in his comments on Genesis. 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. Perhaps God should be seen more as a parent or as one who speaks encouraging and sustaining words. Scripture is very rich in these thoughts. It presents, indeed anthropomorphically, a God who gets angry, who disciplines, a God who nurtures the universe, who empties himself in Christ the incarnate Word. Thus God’s revelation of himself in the Book of Scripture would be reflected in our knowledge of the universe, so that, as Galileo was fond of stating, the Book of Scripture and the Book of Nature speak of the same God…..”

    “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. God lets the world be what it will be in its continuous evolution. He is not continually intervening, but rather allows, participates, loves. Is such thinking adequate to preserve the special character attributed by religious thought to the emergence not only of life but also of spirit, while avoiding a crude creationism? Only a protracted dialogue will tell. But we should not close off the dialogue and darken the already murky waters by fearing that God will be abandoned if we embrace the best of modern science.”

    I don’t see any conflicts with what I quoted as De Fide dogma above. Although as pointed out, Fr. Coyne doesn’t speak officially for the Church, the Popes and Magisterium do (see Vatican Council II, the Catechism, the papal encyclicals, Ludwig Ott, or Denzinger if you want the sources of Catholic dogma). Fr. Coyne is simply giving his understanding as a professional astronomer and priest how he reconciles science (evolution) and religion. It is basically a theistic evolution position which has been non-controversial in the Church since Pius XII (Humani Generis in 1950).

    Phil P

  39. Good post Phil. Mentok, I hope the quotations Phil provided helps.

  40. “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”

    His invocation of “modern biblical research” worries me as much as postmodernist liberal protestant churches do.

  41. phil you must be kidding. You haven’t read or heard everything Coyne has said.

    –All that exists outside God was, in its whole substance, produced out of nothing by God. (De Fide)

    That’s a logical contradiction. From nothing comes only nothing. I’m not a Catholic so I don’t accept on faith that the impossible can be possible. In my belief God created everything from something. That something is God. Panentheism (not pantheism).

    -God was moved by His Goodness to create the world. (De Fide)

    Coyne says that God didn’t create the world and that he also didn’t plan on creating the world. He says that the universe in it’s form today came into existence through a natural process of increasing complexity and that God didn’t involve himself in it. He said that God wanted the universe to exist but did not cause it to exist. He teaches that the universe is evolving on it’s own into the world we see today. God is somehow responsible for the natural laws of physics but not for the actual creation of the universe.

    –The world was created for the Glorification of God. (De Fide)

    Coyne doesn’t belive the world was created, nor does he believe that it came about purposefully. He seicifically says it came about by a natural process without guidance from God.

    –The Three Divine Persons are one single, common Principle of the Creation. (De Fide)

    Coyne has written that he doesn’t believe that God is omniscient. That rules out the Holy Spirit. If you are omnipresent then you are also omniscient if you are God.

    –God created the world free from exterior compulsion and inner necessity. (De Fide)

    Coyne doesn’t believe God created the world.

    –God has created a good world. (De Fide)

    Coyne doesn’t believe God created the world.

    –The world had a beginning in time. (De Fide

    Coyne does believe that.

    –God alone created the world. (De Fide)

    Coyne doesn’t believe God created the world.

    –God keeps all created things in existence. (De Fide)

    Coyne doesn’t believe anything was created. Coyne doesn’t believe God is omniscient.

    –God, through His Providence, protects and guides all that He has created. (De Fide)

    Coyne doesn’t believe God created the world. Coyne doesn’t believe God is omniscient.

  42. I see PuckSR is over at PT attacking IDers as crazy…and claiming that all IDers do is try to “disprove” evolution. That, and he seems to be taking part in the religion bashing. I love PT- it’s a great site to send your friends to to show you what religious bigotry is like. Well, religious bigotry and closed minded science and logical thinking.

    They’re still over there discussing religion, trying to claim Mr. A and Mr. B are liars and that ID is all about religion- yet no one talks about religion more than the posters over at PT themselves!

    Anyone with 2 brain cells and common sense knows we were discussing theology NOT science in this particular thread…PT posters seem unable to comprehend the fact that science affects a person’s worldview, just as Dawkins (a hero to many at PT) said Darwinism allowed him to become an intellectually fulfilled atheist. Dawkins saying that is pure gold…but when someone on an ID site discusses theology, that’s somehow a conspiracy and proves that ID IS theology.

    Common sense is rare at the site, as you can obviously see.

    I’ll wait for more comments to see how many other people claim to know ANYTHING about my religious views or ANYTHING ELSE about me at all. I know none of those people, but of course they’ll claim this and that about me and others posting comments to UC. My advice- get a hobby and worry about your own views, instead of taking time to make up imaginary views of others.

  43. –God alone created the world. (De Fide)
    –God keeps all created things in existence. (De Fide)
    –God, through His Providence, protects and guides all that He has created. (De Fide)
    —————————

    my problem with this is coyne has basically said that mud to man evolution is the case. if thats true, then how would god have created everything into existence and the 3rd item i pasted about proecting and guiding all he created?

    is coyne asserting theistic evolution? if so, MAYBE those 3 above could fit with his views…but from his talk i saw on cspan, it seemed to me that he was asserting the unguided (possibly front loaded) view or maybe total darwinian view of unguided processes without meaning or ultimate purpose (which, of course, isnt science to begin with, but thats the basic claim of NDE).

    i doubt hes asserting theistic evolution even, because behe is on record as saying that ID, to him, is a type of theistic evolution since hes fully fine with common descent. so, that said, it seems odd coyne would attack ID to begin with. then again, i dont really know how common descent even fits with the bible at all. well, with a straight forward reading of genesis (which seems to be written as history, not poetry or anything else…and christ seemed to think it was a literal book as well from his own words.)

  44. This idea of a God who is 100% superfluous to the origin of the universe and life really borders on the heretical (if the Bible is the basis).

  45. i should also point out:

    These should be the first words of instruction as well. Belief in God the Creator, belief that He created the heavens and the earth, is the beginning of faith. It launches the credo as its first article. That already implies that here is the basis of all, the foundation on which every other Christian belief rests. To believe in God and, at the same time, not to believe that he is the Creator would mean, as Thomas Aquinas puts it, “to deny utterly that God is.” God and Creator are inseparable. Every other Christian conviction depends on this: that Jesus Christ is the Savior, that there is the Holy Spirit, that there is a Church, that there is eternal life: they all presuppose belief in the Creator.

    If Coyne doesn’t believe the Bible teaches a creator and designer God, then according to Aquinas, he’s utterly denying that God is. Someone said that he doesn’t speak for the Vatican, but it seems to me that if he’s the Vatican astronomer and he goes out on TV and print and attacks a designer God, then most people would assume he’s speaking for Tha Vatican…and it would further seem that The Vatican officials need to get their stories straight. The hierarchy, as I said, I don’t totally understand- it’s not rooted in the bible, but Catholic tradition, so I’m fairly clueless to the top down line of officials. Point is- most people would assume, I think, that this is official Vatican position since he’s always given the title the Vatican Astronomer, and his views contradict the Catholic Church’s official written views wildly.

    How does the Cardinal here speak FOR the Vatican but Coyne doesn’t? Confusing. Most people outside the church, I’d think, easily assume they both speak for the official church and its position.

  46. “Most people outside the church, I’d think, easily assume they both speak for the official church and its position.”

    That’s true, but I think this issue of Coyne vs. Cardinal will be moot once the pope takes an official side. And he is most likely to be on Cardinal Schonborn’s pro-ID side.

  47. well, i just read schonborn’s essay linked above…and he says he has no problem with evolution as long as it stays in the bounds of science and doesnt attempt to claim purpose. so, i guess hes going for theistic evolution then? tho, i still dont see how you can adhere to that and still stick with a straight reading of genesis.

    im all for long ages in the ‘days’…but still. the competing views that seem to me to be at least semi-official are confusing.

    theyre still proving my point over at PT that most people who comment there are hate-filled bigots who have too much time to personally attack others anytime they want. its a pleasure to say something then be proven right after less than an hr! and by 2 different people! (my belief in an immaterial soul tells K.E. all he/she needs to know about me..and max says that everyone posting here at this site is lying and we all know were liars!) hate-filled rants from bigots. gotta love it.

  48. Over at PT, they’re not disappointing to show how childish they all are. I’ve seen Dembski compared to Nazi figures, Stalin, a liar, a religious nut, an idiot, and more.

  49. FR. GEORGE COYNE: “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. God lets the world be what it will be in its continuous evolution. He is not continually intervening, but rather allows, participates, loves.” (from The Tablet article)

    Conclusion: God creates through natural evolution and there is no conflict with Catholic dogma and science.

    CARDINAL SCHONBORN: “I see no difficulty in joining belief in the Creator with the theory of evolution, but under the prerequisite that the borders of scientific theory are maintained….When science adheres to its own method, it cannot come into conflict with faith….I am thankful for the immense work of the natural sciences. Their furthering of our knowledge boggles the mind. They do not restrict faith in the creation; they strengthen me in my belief in the Creator and in how wisely and wonderfully He has made all things.” (10/2/2005 catechetical lecture)

    Conclusion: God creates through natural evolution and there is no conflict with Catholic dogma and science.

    CARDINAL RATZINGER / POPE BENEDICT: “Today we hear of the Big Bang, which happened billions of years ago and with which the universe began its expansion — an expansion that continues to occur without interruption. And it was not in neat succession that the stars were hung and the green of the fields created; it was rather in complex ways and over vast periods of time that the earth and the universe were constructed as we now know them….We cannot say: creation or evolution, inasmuch as these two things respond to two different realities. The story of the dust of the earth and the breath of God, which we just heard, does not in fact explain how human persons come to be but rather what they are. It explains their inmost origin and casts light on the project that they are. And, vice versa, the theory of evolution seeks to understand and describe biological developments. But in so doing it cannot explain where the ‘project’ of human persons comes from, nor their inner origin, nor their particular nature. To that extent we are faced here with two complementary — rather than mutually exclusive — realities. But let us look a little closer, because here, too, the progress of thought in the last two decades helps us to grasp anew the inner unity of creation and evolution and of faith and reason.” (In the Beginning: A Catholic Understanding of the Story of Creation and the Fall)

    Conclusion: God creates through natural evolution and there is no conflict with Catholic dogma and science.

    INTERNATIONAL THEOLOGICAL COMMISSION: “In freely willing to create and conserve the universe, God wills to activate and to sustain in act all those secondary causes whose activity contributes to the unfolding of the natural order which he intends to produce. Through the activity of natural causes, God causes to arise those conditions required for the emergence and support of living organisms, and, furthermore, for their reproduction and differentiation. Although there is scientific debate about the degree of purposiveness or design operative and empirically observable in these developments, they have de facto favored the emergence and flourishing of life. Catholic theologians can see in such reasoning support for the affirmation entailed by faith in divine creation and divine providence. In the providential design of creation, the triune God intended not only to make a place for human beings in the universe but also, and ultimately, to make room for them in his own trinitarian life. Furthermore, operating as real, though secondary causes, human beings contribute to the reshaping and transformation of the universe.” (paragraph 68)

    AND

    “A growing body of scientific critics of neo-Darwinism point to evidence of design (e.g., biological structures that exhibit specified complexity) that, in their view, cannot be explained in terms of a purely contingent process and that neo-Darwinians have ignored or misinterpreted. The nub of this currently lively disagreement involves scientific observation and generalization concerning whether the available data support inferences of design or chance, and cannot be settled by theology. But it is important to note that, according to the Catholic understanding of divine causality, true contingency in the created order is not incompatible with a purposeful divine providence. Divine causality and created causality radically differ in kind and not only in degree. Thus, even the outcome of a truly contingent natural process can nonetheless fall within God’s providential plan for creation.” (paragraph 69)

    Communion and Stewardship: Human Persons Created in the Image of God (July 2004)

    Conclusion: God creates through natural evolution and there is no conflict with Catholic dogma and science (see also Catechism 159, 283-284).

    The theme of “man created in the image of God” was submitted for study to the International Theological Commission. The preparation of this study was entrusted to a subcommission whose members included: Very Rev. J. Augustine Di Noia, O.P., Most Reverend Jean-Louis Bruguès, Msgr. Anton Strukelj, Rev. Tanios Bou Mansour, O.L.M., Rev. Adolpe Gesché, Most Reverend Willem Jacobus Eijk, Rev. Fadel Sidarouss, S.J., and Rev. Shun ichi Takayanagi, S.J.

    As the text developed, it was discussed at numerous meetings of the subcommission and several plenary sessions of the International Theological Commission held at Rome during the period 2000-2002. The present text was approved in forma specifica, by the written ballots of the International Theological Commission. It was then submitted to Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, the President of the Commission, who has given his permission for its publication.

    http://www.bringyou.to/apologetics/p80.htm

    These Catholic folks have said more, but they’ve at least said the above. You guys aren’t being fair to Fr. Coyne. If he is a heretic, Pope Benedict would be after him. And he’s not. It is best to err on the side of charity when interpreting him.

    Phil P

  50. god creating thru natural evolution is a complete contradiction. if god created thru natural evolution, then he really didnt create anything besides starting it all. which means he didnt create humans (they just naturally evolved). even the pope seems to be confused as to what natural evolution means.

  51. “Through the activity of natural causes, God causes to arise those conditions required for the emergence and support of living organisms, and, furthermore, for their reproduction and differentiation.”

    That alone goes against everything the Bible itself says. This statement makes God out to be some sort of minor player who merely started it all out and let purely natural causes do the creating.

  52. jboze: “That alone goes against everything the Bible itself says.”

    I agree with you if you would only add the important and necessary phrase “the Bible as interpreted by jboze” says. That alone goes against everything the Bible as interpreted by jboze says.

    I’ve already quoted what the Catholic Church officially teaches on creation, and what the leaders in the Church accept on evolution. We have no argument with the natural sciences, and God the Primary Cause works through natural, secondary causes according to official Catholic teaching. I see no conflict, and neither does the greatest theologians and scientists in the Catholic Church today.

    159. Faith and science: “…methodical research in all branches of knowledge, provided it is carried out in a truly scientific manner and does not override moral laws, can never conflict with the faith, because the things of the world and the things of faith derive from the same God. The humble and persevering investigator of the secrets of nature is being led, as it were, by the hand of God in spite of himself, for it is God, the conserver of all things, who made them what they are.” [Vatican II GS 36:1]

    283. The question about the origins of the world and of man has been the object of many scientific studies which have splendidly enriched our knowledge of the age and dimensions of the cosmos, the development of life-forms and the appearance of man. These discoveries invite us to even greater admiration for the greatness of the Creator, prompting us to give him thanks for all his works and for the understanding and wisdom he gives to scholars and researchers….

    284. The great interest accorded to these studies is strongly stimulated by a question of another order, which goes beyond the proper domain of the natural sciences. It is not only a question of knowing when and how the universe arose physically, or when man appeared, but rather of discovering the meaning of such an origin….

    Cardinal Schonborn was the general editor of the Catechism (paragraphs 159, 283-284 cited above).

    Phil P

  53. Boze, the Catholic church isn’t going by a literal reading of the old testament. I can hardly blame them because anyone that claims it’s literal instead of allegorical gets about as much respect from modern society as someone that believes in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. The Catholic church doesn’t want that.

  54. A God that can create a universe with such precision that He knows it’s going to produce rational man 14 billion years later is pretty awe inspiring if you ask me. What could be more omnipotent and omniscient than that?

  55. Are you being sarcastic or idiotic?

  56. In fact I’ve got a lot of respect for theistic evolutionists. It’s a perfectly consistent view IMO and fits quite well with ID. Keep in mind that ID only posits that design is detectable in nature. The inference is warranted by virtually impossible odds being routinely defeated in the production of life. Those odds can be beaten by stacking the deck 14 billion years ago and letting it play out without interference from that point onward.

  57. “Are you being sarcastic or idiotic?”

    I’m being objective. You ought to try it sometime.

  58. “A God that can create a universe with such precision that He knows it’s going to produce rational man 14 billion years later is pretty awe inspiring if you ask me. What could be more omnipotent and omniscient than that? ”

    Are you being sarcastic?

  59. actually phil, you might want to change that to the way the great majority of christians (especially in the US) interpret the bible. genesis was clearly written as a historical narrative…not poetry or anything else. there had to be an actual adam and eve, or why on earth did christ claim to have come from the very bloodline of adam? was christ mistaken (which makes it obvious he wasnt god)? or was he trying to trick us?

    im not sure how anyone on earth could get a reading of genesis that asserts a natural evolution of life on earth as opposed to god creating all that we see as the bible asserts over and over.

  60. “Are you being sarcastic?”

    No.

  61. the only way we COULD get to this point of reading genesis as saying a natural evolution via purely natural processes and god not creating all of life, just kick starting it all- wed be left with a fable. if genesis is a fable, then why did christ die on the cross? if adam and eve werent real people, what of the numerous mentions of original sin in the bible? if theres no adam and eve, theres no fall, if theres no fall- why then is there death at all? if theres no fall, theres no sin, then why a need for christ? if no need for christ, then why even call the religion christianity? if no need for christ, then he died for nothing? this natural processes view of god kick starting things- it causes more problems in doctrine than we could possibly name in this entire thread.

  62. “was christ mistaken (which makes it obvious he wasnt god)? or was he trying to trick us?”

    Or are the accounts recorded thousands of years ago in the bible innaccurate, distorted, and/or fabricated?

    I’m going with option #3. In a court the bible would be called “hearsay”. Let me know when they find Noah’s ark. I’m real curious as to how at least 2 of every animal was fit into it, how Noah managed to round up animals from the four corners of the earth, and how he managed to get them relocated after the flood was over. Or maybe it just didn’t happen that way…

  63. Dave Scot…now you’re really making no sense. You’re on record as saying your peronsl role model is Christ, yet you just said that the Bible is a fabrication (a lie)…so, you’re role model is a man who supported and helped spread a lie?

  64. I’m also wondering why you even respect Dembski, who surely doesn’t share your view of the Bible being a fabrication…you respect his science ideas, yet you think he’s a quack in his worldview. Massive problems with even that view.

  65. “your role model” that is.

  66. i should also point out that, in a court, EVERY historical document from ancient history would be hearsay. unless we can find some 3, 000 yr old guy sitting around waiting to testify.

  67. The manuscript evidence for the Bible, specifically the New Testament, is more reliable than standard works of history which are considered fact. The New Testament was originally written between 50 and 100 A.D. There are presently some 5,000 Greek manuscripts in existence, with as many as 25,000 more copies. The earliest manuscripts can be dated back as far as 120 A.D. Scholars who have compared the earliest written manuscripts with manuscripts written centuries later – there is virtually zero variance. They remain consistant in an uncanny way. The science of textual criticism has demonstrated that what we have in our Bible is incredibly reliable… I would venture to say that God has preserved his word.

    http://www.leaderu.com/orgs/pr.....-docu.html

    http://www.equip.org/free/JAR011.htm

  68. I agree with Bombadill and Jboze, however, I find DaveScot to erratic and inconsistent in his assessements of many things.

    Sorry Dave, I’m just having a hard time understanding you.

  69. phil:

    What Coyne wrote in an article attacking ID is done for his own propaganda purposes and different from what he teaches at universities. He teaches to students what I wrote. At this link http://clavius.as.arizona.edu/.....Talks.html

    You can see a lecture and slideshow in Arizona called “The Dance of the Fertile Universe”. It’s over an hour long and incredibly boring. But at the end he brings up the question of God. Before that he gives a childlike presentation on how the universe “evolves” and then he asks rhetorically “How does God fit into all of this” He answers “He doesn’t”. He goes on to explain how God isn’t involved in the evolution of the universe as it progresses in complexity from atoms to stars to planets to humans. God somehow set in motion the laws of physcis and then he let the universe evolve without interference.

    Then there is another lecture at:
    http://tinyurl.com/9gulp (only the .mov file works)

    It is called something like Sacred Cows: When science and religion meet. It is essentially the same lecture as the previous one. At the end he goes into a bit about how God fits into the “evolving universe”. Here are some notes I took from what he said with my comments in brackets.

    1) “God is not a source of knowledge, just love”.

    [God is the source of all knowledge. God is the supplier of all knowledge because he gives us life and mind and intellect and maintains them without which we cannot understand anything. God is also designer and the creator of all things knowable. At every moment we only know what God has created and what God is showing us.]

    2) “Humans evolved from the universe”.

    [Human bodies were designed by God. Human consciousness or souls have been created as well by God out of his own infinite consciousness or soul]

    3) “It was inevitable for the human brain to come to be due to increasing natural complexity”

    [There is no known mechanism in nature which can provide a rational explanation for the "increasing natural complexity" paradigm to "evolve" matter into living forms. So saying that it is "inevitable" for humans to evolve from molecules is based on no actual scientific basis. Even if evolution of species were true, there is no proof and it has been proven impossible for abiogenesis to take place. Therefore humans and in fact all life could not have come about due to the universe becoming more complex.]

    4) God did not design anything that exists in the universe, he made the conditions for evolution. Ever more complex things came into existence due to the natural flow of increasing complexity or evolution.

    [Why wouldn't God design the stuff in the universe if he could create the laws of nature? What is God doing in the mean time while he sits and waits for something to happen? According to Coyne the Earth came about by chance, it exists where it does in space in relation to a star by chance, the conditions on earth for life as we know it came to exist and flourish by chance. I say God did it all by design and effort.]

    5) “There is no scientific rational basis for belief in God”. “Only through God’s personal gift to the person through love can you believe in God”.

    [The natural world screams out the necessity of an organizing principle, a prime mover. Numerous top physicists say the same exact thing. The natural world is a very delicate balancing act, everything is just right for life as we know it. A slight change from over 40 physical laws or qualities and there would be no life at all, no stars, no nuclear bonding, no elements, no planets, no life etc. The anthropic principle is accepted by numerous scientists as showing the natural world as being dependent on an intelligence working on a cosmic scale in order for the natural world to exist with the extreme precision which it does.]

    6) “Does God know human life will come to be before it evolved? No
    God hoped but did not necessite or cause that humans come to be”.

    [Coyne says God gives no knowledge. Then how would Coyne know what God knew before humans came into existence? How does Coyne come to speak for what God knows? doesn't know? did know? when he knew it? etc? How does Coyne know what God "hoped" for?]

    7) Question from audience: Why does Coyne believe there is a God?
    God is love. You cannot explain why people believe in God, it’s “ineffable”.

    [God is love? And here I was thinking that God is an intelligent person. An infinitely massive powerful unified field of infinite hyper dimensional energy/consciousnes/mind/psyche. A cosmic force which pervades and is the ground of being for the universe of matter and energy. The substratum of the natural world, a super conscious, super intelligent, very ancient entity which subsumes and creates, maintains and destroys, everything that exists or can ever exist. Silly me. Coyne says "God is love". Kind of like a feeling or something which is all warm and fuzzy and wishes us good luck if we should ever chance to exist.]

  70. “Why Abiogenesis Is Impossible” -

    http://www.trueorigin.org/abio.asp

  71. by hearing coynes views, the cardinals views, and even the views of the pope that the creation of humankind is the result of natural processes that god merely kicked off- im wondering what catholics in general believe. if youre picking and choosing what parts of the bible to accept as reality and whats just nonsense story telling- where you draw the line? who chooses and how do they choose which parts are actual history and what parts are fabrications?

    these ideas make no sense to me. and with this attitude, no wonder theres such a divide between protestants and catholics. if i viewed the bible as mere story and god as not a creator and designer, then id have to do away with most of christianity- the first man and woman, their purpose, the fall, original sin, need for christ, etc.

    if the pope and the others mentioned believe a natural process that god simpky started is how we all got here- why the need for christ? if adam and eve werent real, then there was no fall…if no fall, then what role does the catholic church see for christ? any role at all?

    thats my beef with the catholic church overall- too little bible (you can hold the bible above your head and light candles before it all you want, but if you neglect what the word says for your own manmade traditions- its worth nothing), and way too much in the form of catholic doctrines that were decided upon by vote basically. the church tries way too hard to put itself above the word, which the bible makes clear is never a good thing. then again, learning about the church- im seeing more and more extra-biblical traditions that have become solid catholic doctrine. also a big no-no in my book if were to respect the word.

  72. We just don’t know how God did it all? What I do know, is, that it surely wasn’t a product of chance.

    I wonder if Behe will ever have a blog of his own, kind of like Bill?

  73. jboze:

    Many Christian theologians accept the bible as teaching through metaphor and symbolism. They reject the literal interpretations of mnay parts of the Bible i.e creation less then 10,000 years ago, adam and eve, original sin, fall of man, redemption through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ etc. They will tell you they don’t reject those parts of the Bible (old and new testament) but that they interpret them from an esoteric viewpoint. Although people like Coyne fall into another category altogether. He doesn’t attempt to explain his beliefs as being metaphorical interpretations of the Bible. His beliefs appear to be based on certain Kabbalistic beliefs, or that could be coincidence. But I doubt it because he is so sure of himself and doesn’t speak about the possbilities of his ideas, but about the absolute truth of them. He is on a type of crusade to preach his message of the evolving universe and the evolution of God and life. He is either extermely egotistic or he has faith in a specific religious doctrine which he is trying to push forth.

  74. by hearing coynes views, the cardinals views, and even the views of the pope that the creation of humankind is the result of natural processes that god merely kicked off- im wondering what catholics in general believe.

    I’d say that there’s a huge difference between Coyne’s beliefs and the Pope and Cardinal’s beliefs. The two of them believe that humans were intended by God, and that He acted in such a way as to guarantee this outcome. Thus, even if humans were created through an evolutionary process of some sort, it wasn’t random, much as a programmer develops a computer program over time instead of doing it all at once. Coyne, on the other hand, believes that God (or whatever) created the universe (maybe), but isn’t in control of it, and didn’t intend anything in it. At best, he (or it) hoped that something like humans would exist, and got a lucky suprise. In the Cardinal’s view, humans were an intended goal, in Coyne’s view, they were an unintended byproduct.

  75. well these many theologians are clearly wasting their time. if they dont see a literal fall, a literal adam and even, a literal reading of original sin…then they cant possibly have a literal reading of christ or his miracles or his resurrection. which means their theology, in general, is completely bankrupt. if theres no literal christ (or to a lesser degree a literal rising from the dead, healings, a need for his redemptive powers, etc…what on earth do these particular theologians worship and why?)

    if all of these things and more are merely symbolic- theres really no religion at al. if youre entire theology is symbolic, then you really have no theology. if all of these things are seen as symbolic, what of heaven and hell? if no heaven or hell, why christ? christ has no role if hes not needed to redeem us from our sin. there are dozens of problems with this view.

  76. yeah. but both the pope and the cardinal posit purely natural processes that god used to create life and finally humans. i see problems denying creation itself…but i see even bigger problems with positing natural processes and not god guided processes that bring man about.

  77. the kids over at PT are actually complaining that Bill deletes certain comments. someone said they came over here and posted just to start trouble…then complained that bill would surely delete it! golly- someone deleting comments merely meant to start trouble? what nerve!

    then again, this is the same site with the hate-filled PZ Myers and the dishonest Nick Matske posting their views…so this isnt much of a surprise.

  78. I’m not sure if it’s amusing or sad, or both, that the Panda’s [quite useful and well designed] Thumb folks spend so much time sitting around like a bunch of old busy-body gossipy grannies, pasting things from Dr. Dembski’s blog and such.

    Perhaps they should take up a hobby or craft… like Canasta, for instance.

  79. “then again, this is the same site with the hate-filled PZ Myers and the dishonest Nick Matske posting their views…so this isnt much of a surprise.”

    I totally agree with you. I actually am thankful to P.Z and Nick. They made me lose my faith in Darwinism. They remind me why I am not a darwinist. I don’t even waste my time looking at their postings. It’s all drivel to me, to be honest.

  80. It find it funny that they think Bill even reads the site, let alone (as they claim) monitors their site. Hardly. Everytime anyone of the ID persuasion posts anything, they’re attacked as idiots.

    Just look at the the numerous personal attacks against me (I made no personal attacks…I said they were acting like children, and they ARE…heck, they’re over there talking about posting comments here just to cause trouble- that’s the definition of childish.) Anyhow- check out the attacks on me personally. Sounds like a bunch of kids, yet sadly one of the most hateful posters on the site is PZ Myers, who is, sadly, an adult. Leaves me little doubt that most of them are adults merely acting like children.

  81. Ol’ Nick I saw numerous times on TV…and I just wanted to slap the screen and hopefully put some honesty into him. He would sit there and make bogus claims again and again- sometimes the interviewer would actually call him out on his constant lies, which is always hilarious. He IS with NSCE (or is it NCSE? I always forget) right? It seems all manner of dishonesty comes out of that organization!

  82. He has a big head. However, it seems like his brain is small.

  83. The role model is the image of Christ as a man of love, forgiveness, charity, and kindness to all living things. I don’t really know if that’s historically accurate or not. It doesn’t really matter if it’s historically accurate or not.

  84. So why did God need to speak through human representatives? Seems a bit odd to me that the creator of the universe needed some lice ridden beduins to write his messages down on clay tablets. You guys are free to believe whatever you want of course.

  85. Bombadill

    “The manuscript evidence for the Bible, specifically the New Testament, is more reliable than standard works of history which are considered fact.”

    There’s an elephant in the room you seem to be overlooking. Standard works of history don’t describe supernatural acts of gods and goddesses.

  86. “Seems a bit odd to me that the creator of the universe needed some lice ridden beduins to write his messages down on clay tablets.”

    I wonder if you can be a bit more rude concerning the holy book of 2.1 billion people.

    You expected what? God to come down daily and express his message throughout all of history?

    The issue isn’t supernatural acts of God- it’s hisorical reliability, reliability concerning prophecies, etc. I take it you know little to nothing of biblical studies.

  87. Each blog has its overtly zealous ideologues, which is understandable, given the extremely polarizing nature of the issue at stake. Scientific investigation into biological origins touches a very sensitive nerve in the human psyche; it meddles with an issue strongly connected with a person’s metaphysical faith, be it theistic or non-theistic. Personally, I choose not to post on the Panda’s Thumb because I know little, if any, good can come from it. As someone who thinks ID has some merit, I realize I will be showered with scorn, bigotry, and hatred, and I can surely do without that. I won’t say everyone over there is that way, but they’re certainly not hard to find.

    Let us try, on this blog, to post sensible, thoughtful comments and not resort to personal attacks. Everyone (myself included) needs to try to keep a reasonably open mind. Biases and prejudices inevitably cloud the rational judgement of even the brightest minds if left unchecked; be mindful of that. I don’t mean to police this blog. That’s Bill’s job, and I trust his judgement. I just don’t want to see it descend into the gutter, and I fear that’s where it may be headed.

    BTW, Josh, maybe you should give PT a rest for a while. Try to focus your energies on something more productive.

    David

  88. Ive no use in posting anything else to PT. I just love how the children come out to play and personally attack anyone who doesnt share their views. Youre automatically stalin-like, hitler-like, a fascist, an idiot, anti-science, a theocratic nut, etc. Hate hate hate.

  89. “Seems a bit odd to me that the creator of the universe needed some lice ridden beduins to write his messages down on clay tablets”

    The weak things of this world are used to confound the wise.

  90. “You expected what? God to come down daily and express his message throughout all of history?”

    No, but I certainly expect more than claims from ordinary people recorded thousands of years ago.

    “I wonder if you can be a bit more rude concerning the holy book of 2.1 billion people.”

    Rude? Hardly. Lice ridden beduins and clay tablets is historically accurate. You seem to be interested in historical accuracy. Sorry if I didn’t gild the lily enough for you.

    “I take it you know little to nothing of biblical studies.”

    I read the “Left Behind” series so I figure I’m up to date with the U.S. fundamentalist beliefs. Surely you’re not going to claim that Christian prophecy is a monolithic block with no disputes between so-called scholars? The Jews, the Christians, and the Muslims all have major bones to pick about what the exact same texts prophesize and within those branches of YHWH believers there’s considerable differences of opinion. For God’s sake the topic of this thread is the considerable rifts between members of the Catholic church. And what about a billion Hindus and Buddhists – seems pretty arrogant to just write off their beliefs. That appears to be what some of you here are doing – you got the inside line to God. You know the truth and everybody else is wrong. How very special.

  91. “you got the inside line to God. You know the truth and everybody else is wrong”

    You hit the nail on the head; that’s exactly what the Bible claims.

  92. Claims are cheap.

  93. For more of these fundamentalist beliefs, take a look at Chuck Missler’s site (I think you know him).

  94. what religion DOESNT think it has the line on god? itd be pretty pointless to say “we worship you god…well, if were doing it right, and if youre the right god, and if youre doing what has been claimed you do for us! amen!”

    lets pray to go with the note beforehand that were not totally sure of what we believe.

  95. and i hardly think a series of novels gives you an idea of current christian beliefs in the US or anywhere else for that matter.

  96. Reminder: The blog is entitled

    “The Intelligent Design Weblog of William Dembski” not “The Evangelical Christian Weblog of William Dembski”.

    Less bible thumping and more NFL thumping seems to be in order.

  97. Yeah everyone. Listen to Dave Scot- he’s your boss.

    Wait…I’m looking over to the right panel of the website and I’m seeing the category “religion.” Wait, I also see “philosophy” as well!

    Dave wants us to “spare” him and not talk about these absurd religious notions that are mere superstitious fairytales from lice infested ignoramuses.

  98. 2000 pages of biblical prophecy of the end times with some somewhat shallow fictional characterization to make it more readable, written by a guy with a Doctor of Ministry degree from Western Theological Seminary and Doctor of Literature degree from Liberty University isn’t sufficient to get a handle on what fundamentalist Christians in the United States believe?

    Well excuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuse me. ROFLMAO!

  99. “Wait…I’m looking over to the right panel of the website and I’m seeing the category “religion.” Wait, I also see “philosophy” as well!”

    And which category is *this* article filed under?

    I’ll give you three chances to say “intelligent design”. :-)

  100. “Less bible thumping and more NFL thumping seems to be in order.”

    I agree with Dave. There are places you can go for heated theological debate, but this blog is not one of them. Besides, I think we all realize there are people who love to falsely equivocate ID with theology. Let’s not give them fuel to add to their fire.

  101. #94, a lot of that stuff is conjectural and may not be a good source of info

    I agree we should stay on topic though. How about applying E. Filter to prophecy :)

  102. “#94, a lot of that stuff is conjectural and may not be a good source of info”

    I will certainly agree that the rapture of born-again Christians, armegeddon, rise of the anti-christ, tribulations, etc. etc. etc. is conjecutural in nature. But you’re wrong about it not being a good source of info about fundamentalist Christian beliefs in the U.S. If you don’t recognize the terms you really don’t even know much about doctrinal Christianity. Unless you’ve at least read the Left Behind series, all 2000 pages (or more) you have no idea how accurately it follows fundamentalist doctrine. Granted fundamental Christians aren’t monolithic. Some are pre, some are mid, and some are post… ;-) Left Behind is pre so as to get the maximum evangelical fear factor effect.

    This might help get you up to speed:

    http://www.catholic.com/library/Rapture.asp

  103. Dave, there is no question that we have a modern western prejudice against the supernatural – “I ain’t never seen that before, so must not have happened!” The point I would make is that maybe we shouldn’t be willing to disregard something because it doesn’t fit in to our little prejudiced paradigm. There are compelling reasons to believe that God chose to deal with this ancient group of people and reveal himself in a way that was specific to their need and to their culture. And that He chooses to reveal himself today in the finished redemptive work of Christ.

    As for why God chose people to pen his revelation… I believe that God created us to choose to love and obey Him with true free will. He already revealed himself in a supernatural way and now desires that we read His word to learn of this revelation. The Bible also teaches that He is brought glory through the use of his creation in revealing His word.

  104. I’m getting sick of this thread!

  105. But he definitely did not chose to reveal himself to Mohammed?

    “we have a modern western prejudice against the supernatural ”
    “we shouldn’t be willing to disregard something because it doesn’t fit in to our little prejudiced paradigm”

    Bombadill

    Its not a prejudice against the supernatural. There is just no compelling evidence for supernatural events. Everything we know about the universe suggests that it and everything in it behaves according to natural laws. If someone (in the West) is not indoctrinated with fundamentalist teachings they simply see little reason to believe in the supernatural. Many non-fundamentalist christians believe in the immaculate conception and other biblical events, but for whatever reason are not so apt to believe in modern supenatural events.

    The way I see it
    We ascribe supernatural causes to unexplained events or phenomena. Knowledge about the world has always shown these events or phenomena to be natural. I am not going to say that the supernatural world does not exist or that it cannot interact with us. I could not possibly prove such things. What I can say is that I have good reason to believe in a world governed by natural laws and no reason, as of yet, to believe in the supernatural. To me the human religious experience is perfectly natural and indeed necessary. It does not offer anything in the way of proof as I see it.

  106. jmcd, if there is compelling evidence which demonstrates that a document(s) is historically sound/reliable, and if this document records supernatural events, and if the reliable documentation details numerous eye-witness accounts of supernatural events, then there is grounds for further investigation and consideration. We have governing principles that allow us to test the authenticity and reliability of ancient documents – this is called Textual Criticism. The Bible manuscripts demonstrate an uncanny constency and reliability, more so than other historical volumes which are viewed as indesputible fact. So, it is only logical to consider the legitimacy of the supernatural events presented in the writings and not let lack of experience with certain phenomena cause us to outright reject it. Again, it is entirely possible that God chooses to reveal himself via the finished redemptive work of Christ and scripture clearly demonstrates that God deals with his creation differently now, since the closing of the Apostolic era.

    When you couple the historical evidence with the subjective experience of countless transformed lives today… you can build a cogent case, in my opinion. :)

  107. Phil: The ITC wrote:The nub of this currently lively disagreement involves scientific observation and generalization concerning whether the available data support inferences of design or chance, and cannot be settled by theology. Resist the temptation to use theology to “prove” NS.

    They also wrote:But it is important to note that, according to the Catholic understanding of divine causality, true contingency in the created order is not incompatible with a purposeful divine providence.

    NS is not incompatible with Catholic teaching. That’s not the same as saying Catholic teaching insists on NS. The position stated above, I believe, fully conforms to Michael Denton’s in his Nature’s Destiny. God “could” use NS–and many IDers agree that He does when it comes to “microevolution.” But Nature itself does not confirm that “macroevolution” results from NS.

    jboze3131: yeah. but both the pope and the cardinal posit purely natural processes that god used to create life and finally humans. i see problems denying creation itself…but i see even bigger problems with positing natural processes and not god guided processes that bring man about.

    The Catholic Church would never deny “divine causality.” The argument is–and they give science great latitude in trying to determine this–is the causality “primary”, that is, God “directly” brings something about, or is it “secondary”, that is, God brings is about through created causes (the causal natural order). What is essential, for faith, is “divine causality”, not whether it is primary or secondary. You seem intent on saying, definitively, based on the Bible, that it is primary. I remember what a Jesuit told me once: “Look at the creation account. The sun was created on the third day. How can you have a “day” without the sun?” Moral of the story: let’s be careful.

  108. Bombadill

    I certainly do not reject supernatural events outright, and I do consider their legitimacy. The Bible certainly is an accurate historic document in many regards. I do not view eye witness testimony as particularly compelling evidence. There is no shortage for modern eyewitness testimony of the existence of ghosts.While I would like to believe in the existence of ghosts however history has shown that many such claims are fradulent or a case of an overactive imagination.

    Early this century mediums were the rage. Scientific American offerred a substantial cash reward for any medium that could demonstrate the authenticity of their craft. Many mediums attempted to claim the prize and many were debunked by the review board. There were a few however that were “verified” by the review board and nearly claimed their prize. That is until Mr. Harry Houdini stepped in to expose their quite ingenious tricks. If no one could demonstrate an ability to contact the dead then it is likely that nobody could do so today and that the psychics are almost certainly frauds or victims of self-dellusion, but hey who isn’t.

    Sorry for the digression. As far as my views on the supernatural and the history of life go, I think it a good bit more likely that we are a product of natural processes. I think there is a tremendous amount about the mechanisms of evolution that is not currently understood, but that lack of understanding is not, for me, a compelling reason to abandon the search for natural processes i.e. science.

  109. sorry scratch the however at the bottom of the first paragraph

  110. nobody to anybody at the bottom of the 2nd paragraph

  111. jmcd, I hear you and your approach is perfectly logical. However, I think your analagous examples are a bit limited. If you examine the account of Christ’s bodily resurrection, for example, you learn that he appeared to over 500 people at once in just one of his post-resurrection appearances. And the manuscript evidence across the board, details this. When you combine these accounts with things like, how 12 scattered cowards who feared for their lives, were suddenly willing to sacrifice their lives for what they believed in. It all adds up to a solid case for the supernatural being real. It’s at least worth looking into.

    As for natural processes producing life, I would argue that we are seeing more and more that unguided natural mechanisms cannot produce life at the complexity which we observe. When we consider things like Irreducible Complexity and the Cambrian Explosion, it seems to point towards purposeful supernatural events.

  112. Speaking of mediums… check this out:

    http://www.lilydaleassembly.com/

    This place is like psychic central. It’s about an hour’s drive from where I grew up and has been around for over a century. My family has been going there on occasion since before I was born. My first memory of it is going on 50 years old. I took my children there too. It’s quite an experience and while it isn’t free it’s less costly than Disney World.

  113. I think Coynes is just expressing Theistic evolution, but not the sort of thing ID says. ID argues for things like “irreducable complexity”. Coynes would disagree, and say that natural forces DO have the capacity to cause the complxity we see. But just because they have the capacity does not mean that natural forces alone were responsible.

    Evolution depends on random mutation. But replace the word “random” with “non-deterministic”, and then one could say that some non-deterministic events are indeed random, but some are choices made by God, and/or other creative entities.

    I may be putting words in is mouth, but everything he said is fully consistant with a someone who believes in “process philosophy” and also accepts basic Catholic teachings like God’s creation of the universe, and the miricle of Christ. So that is what I would expect he believes. That, or something very close to it.

  114. “what of the numerous mentions of original sin in the bible”

    Um…can you show me one?

    St. Augustine coined the term.

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