Catholics and evolution

  • Thread starter Thread starter raggamuffin
  • Start date Start date
Not open for further replies.
Lora << It seems that while microevolution (within species) has a certain level of evolution, macroevolution (species - species) has no basis in scientific fact whatsoever. >>

Incorrect, and this kind of stuff has been answered over and over and over again – many books published in the early 1980s (at the time of the Arkansas “Creationist” Trial) for example answer virtually all these old “creationist” objections. They are simply not true.



Lora << The fossil record has shown the exact opposite of what Darwin’s theory suggested we should find. >>

Incorrect, there are gaps, but there are plenty of transitionals as well.



Lora << In fact the Cambrain Explosion (the biological “big bang”) amazingly supports the genesis record - that God created the birds/animals/fish -all creatures prior to His creation of man. >>

Incorrect, in the Cambrian we do not find reptiles and mammals and birds, we find very primitive creatures, and there are some pre-Cambrian fossils

Answer 1

Answer 2

Answer 3: Detailed Critique of Wells

I agree the Big Bang is the moment the universe came into existence, it had a beginning. That shows there had to be a First Cause. William Lane Craig does well defending this point to prove theism in his debates with atheists. Good point, but your other points on evolution are incorrect. Print out the TalkOrigins stuff.

Phil P
Evolution is a theory and thus ahs not been proven…

Having said that as catholics we are not required to take a literalist interpretation of Genesis as long as we understand that God is the creator and that man reveled agains God giving us original sin…

So in light of that no there is nothing in the theory of evolution that would be opposed to genesis…
There are basically 2 theories of evolution, Microevolution and Macroevolution. Microevolution is genetic variation. In simple terms, it’s seen in the immense variety within kinds of animals. It is a fact. It is the variation of genetic material that is present in an organism. It is not evolution. Macroevolution (evolution) is the belief that man evolved over a very long period of time by accidental natural causes from his ancient ancestor, the amoeba. It requires that life forms acquire NEW genetic information that had not previously been present. But where did the amoeba come from?

Cosmologists would have us believe that the universe came to exist out of nothing by purely natural causes. Now some might claim that the Big Bang happened by way of pre-existent matter, which means in essence, that the universe always existed. If the universe always existed, then we ought to be able to trace history infinitely, which means we never would have gotten to the present moment.

Further, the Cosmologists think that the Big Bang naturally occurred when all matter and energy converged on a infinitely small point and then BANG! The problem is that nothing can traverse an infinity, so the idea is absurd.

Nevertheless, we are here. According to evolutionists, it rained on the earth for millions of years and a single cell organism somehow came into existence out of nothing in a primordial soup of rainwater. Eventually, the single cell organism manufactured new genetic code for itself (by accident), advanced in complexity, and climbed out of the water. Over the gazillions of years, life forms had been accidentally manufacturing new genetic information for themselves and becoming more and more complex in body and mind until we find highly complex life forms, including human beings. Now the reality is that there is not a single shred of scientific finding that shows this actually happened. In fact, we know that it most probably didn’t happen because there is no evidence for it in the fossil record (among other difficulties). The hypothesis of Punctuated Equilibrium (the idea that radical evolutionary events happened in very short bursts separated by eons of time where no evolution took place) was presented as a hypothesis to bypass the reality of the absence of fossil evidence. In other words, “we have no evidence this actually happened, but it must have because we know it did.” Is this science?

Now, Before science discovered the DNA molecule, some Christians sought to reconcile the tension between creation and evolution. So, they claimed that God created everything and He used evolution to complete His task. Theistic Evolution, as with the scientific hypothesis of evolution cannot explain the mechanism of evolution. DNA is designed so that only variation can occur. The characteristic of DNA is that it does not make new genetic information for itself in order to drastically improve present performance. (Down’s Syndrome is an example of a genetic mutation. Is that beneficial?) A group of scientists zapping fruit flies with high doses of radiation does not constitute proof of evolution, it just makes mutated fruit flies. And, bacteria that has immunized itself from certain vaccines is still bacteria.

It is true that God can do anything. If He used evolution to create everything, there is no evidence for it. If one believes in evolution simply because some scientists in ivory towers keep telling us it’s true, then do your own honest examination of the evidence. Don’t just take their word for it. Find out how Irreducible Complexity and Haldane’s Dilemma absolutely expose evolution for what it is…an unscientific belief that has never been quantified, publicly observable, or repeatable. Keep in mind that these so called scientists have careers to preserve and need enormous amounts of grant money to feed the beast. My dog digs for bones in my back yard, but sadly, I don’t get a cent.
Scientists use the word theory differently than most other people do. Gravity is a theory; so is the kinetic molecular theory (it explains why gases, liquids and solids behave as they do). I have no “proof” that either of these are true but a lot of evidence that supports both. A theory attempts to explain why something happens (ie, the fact that all particles are constantly moving explains why solids eventually melt when heated).

I think that many people use the word theory as a synonym for hypothesis. For example, I might incorrectly say “I theorize it is going to rain tomorrow” when I really mean to say “I hypothesize”.

I taught Biology for several years in a Catholic school and always had a Theology teacher come and give the opening lecture on the evolution unit. He emphasized (as did I) that one is not required to believe this (but you had to explain it correctly for me on the test!!) but it is acceptable as Catholics to do so. The one point that always stood out to me was his emphasis that God starts the process and steps back but must reenter creation to create humans. (By the way, no evolutionist thinks we evolved from apes but that’s a whole different discussion.) My non theological take on this is that God is the “missing link” and we will never be able to find in any archeological record the connector between hominid and human because it is God’s creation of souls that define our human-ness.


Just a question. If you have no ‘proof’ that gravity is true, then according to your statement, gravity may be false?

In other words, has it ever been known that when a rock is dropped off a building it falls up or levitates? (all other things being equal).

Here’s the difference. You can conduct experiments in regard to gravity and molecular theory. You can test and re-test using valid means. You can actually observe phenomena and quantify your findings. Others can repeat your experiments.

None of this can be done with evolution. It is historical wishful thinking, not science.

By the way, if no evolutionist believes we evolved from apes, what exactly did we evolve from and why does every bio textbook I’ve ever seen have that stupid (unverified) cartoon of man’s progression from monkey to human?
My biggest problem with God using evolution is that it would mean that God created the world, prior to sin, to be a place of death, suffering, disease, and bloodshed. This is a ‘very good’ creation?
If God created the world as a place of death, disease, and bloodshed…why? (I’m not asking why is there death and suffering, I’m asking why there would be such PRIOR to sin). And if so, then how is it that the universe is groaning and in decay BECAUSE of sin. And in what way is Christ to restore the universe, if it’s been in such a sad state to begin with? Both Scriptures and the Catechism seem to teach these concepts. (CCC#279 is where the section on creation begins;

I’m a convert (not yet confirmed even!). As an Evangelical, I leaned very strongly towards a literal understanding of Genesis, and still see it as best. My favorite ministry for this, as an Evangelical, was Answers in Genesis ( Obviously they are not Catholic, but I still believe that they make some good points. I realize that many of you out there will scoff at the very notion of recent special creation, but perhaps you could look at some of the material with an open mind? (Keeping in mind that most of the stuff online is intended for lay men). They put a lot of emphasis on the effects of a world-wide flood, when speaking of geology, and the fact that all observed mutations have involved either a reshuffling, loss, or replication of existing genetic data, rather than new data when speaking of biology. There Q&A section ( has hundreds of articles archived by subject, and there is also an archive of articles from one of their magazines (Creation) on the main page. AiG does employ a team of chemists, biologists, and the like with PhDs and such, so they do understand how biological evolution and geology works.

God bless
There is a big problem with trying to reconcile Genesis with any form of evolution. Genesis/evolution theologies presupposes that death had already reigned in the world for millions of years before God infused the souls of Adam and Eve into the human bodies that emerged from the process of evolution. But Genesis teaches that humans had immortal bodies first, and that death entered into creation after our first parents received their bodies.

I don’t believe that we have to resort to the bad science of Creationism to be orthodox Catholics. That is why I favor the parallel universe approach. God created a universe for his children to dwell in that was free of death, disease and decay – this is the universe that contains the terrestrial paradise, and this is the universe that the Genesis creation accounts are describing.

If God created this world where death reigns over everything, and then infused souls into human bodies that emerged by a process of evolution, then God is the author of disease, decay and death. That is a theology that has all sorts of consequences, not the least of which is a denial of the doctrine of original sin.
Have you investigated AiG specifically? Are you sure that their science is that bad?
I think one of the basic problems with the entire discussion has to do with problems in modern philosophy. Objective reality has to do with the truth of the thing under consideration, not what “I” think it is. Rene Decartes probably started the confusion with his “I think, therefore I am” nonsense.

If I look at a pumpkin and my intellect comes into conformity with the objective reality of the pumpkin, I rightly identify it as a pumpkin. If I decide that the object under consideration is a pancake and not a pumpkin, that is intellectual falsehood.

These philosophical problems spill over into all arenas and this is why we have abortion, eugenics, homosexual union, euthanasia…,and confusing science with theology. So, believing that God inserted himself in the process of evolution at appropriate times is totally unknowable by science and not indicated by Catholic theology. So, I think capricious conjecture adequately sums up the belief.
Yes, gravity may be false. Obviously, it has been shown to be true time after time but it would only take one instance to show that this theory has a shortfall.

The molecular theory existed long before we had electron microscopes that showed atoms. Perhaps, in time we’ll be able to better “test” evolution by your standards; but being able to prove something isn’t what makes something a theory and that was the point of my post.

I’m sorry but the teacher in me is coming out so here’s a textbook definition of theory:

Theory: an explanation of an observation that is based on experimentation and reasoning.

Theories are NOT facts and as such can never be proven. A theory is successful if it explains most of what is observed and it is modified as new information is discovered.

We have a theory, a model of what an atom looks like. Early on, we thought atoms were indivisible. Then Thomson did some experiments that suggested electrons; Rutherford the nucleus. Is our model perfect? No. Can it and will it be changed? Probably. (I have hope that there’s some great discovery waiting to be named after me!!)

My point is that no scientist should present evolution as fact. I think that it best explains what observations have currently been made but I could be wrong. I definitely don’t want to argue about the evidence either way.

And the whole ape thing. According to the theory (you don’t have to believe it, just put down the correct answer on the test!!) - we have an ancestor in common - way, way, way back. Just like you didn’t “decend” from your first cousin but you do have an ancestor (ie a grandparent) in common.


If a theory is an explanation of an observation based on experimentation and reasoning, how does evolution fit this definition?
Observation: human arms, whale fins and bat wings are almost identical in anatomy.

Observation: the DNA code for a human hemoglobin is amazingly similar to the DNA code for gorilla hemoglobin

Observation: Fossil record indicates reptiles seem to have existed longer than birds. Their eggs are very similar.

You can interpret these many ways. God very easily could have made it this way from day 1 (or 5 or 6!). But evolution is one way to explain these observations. Again, I said one way. Any one who presents evolution to you as a “proven fact” is lying. No theory is perfect (although I would suspect gravity is darn close). There are many loose ends - which may turn out to be wrong - in evolution. I don’t want to argue and discuss whether you or I should believe this stuff, but I do want people to understand what science does and doesn’t do.

Intr << Now some might claim that the Big Bang happened by way of pre-existent matter, which means in essence, that the universe always existed. If the universe always existed, then we ought to be able to trace history infinitely, which means we never would have gotten to the present moment. >>

Here we go again, another evolution thread. 😃

Its my understanding that modern cosmology today (even those cosmologists who are atheists or agnostics) does not assert the universe always existed. The Big Bang was the beginning of the universe (matter, space, and time came into existence at that point). That’s the position of even atheist cosmologists like Paul Davies if I’m not mistaken (God and the New Physics, and his newer books, but he is not easy reading).

The point about traversing an infinite history is valid, its used as part of the “Kalam Cosmological Argument” and is a good philosophical argument that the universe had a beginning, therefore a First Cause is required, etc.

Stephen Jay Gould explained the difference between “fact” and “theory” this way: a “fact” in science is something “that has been confirmed to such a high degree that it would be perverse to withhold provisional assent.” By this definition, that the earth is ancient (c. 4.5 billion years), that macroevolution occured (“descent with modification from a common ancestor”), and the earth rotates 24 hours a day, and revolves in orbit around the sun approx 365 days a year would all be facts. They have all been confirmed by the evidence to a high degree.

From TalkOrigins –

Biological evolution is a change in the genetic characteristics of a population over time. That this happens is a fact. Biological evolution also refers to the common descent of living organisms from shared ancestors. The evidence for historical evolution – genetic, fossil, anatomical, etc. – is so overwhelming that it is also considered a fact. The theory of evolution describes the mechanisms that cause evolution. So evolution is both a fact and a theory.

Consider Project Steve (again)

Here is the statement that has been signed off by the Ph.D. “Steves”

“Evolution is a vital, well-supported, unifying principle of the biological sciences, and the scientific evidence is overwhelmingly in favor of the idea that all living things share a common ancestry. Although there are legitimate debates about the patterns and processes of evolution, there is no serious scientific doubt that evolution occurred or that natural selection is a major mechanism in its occurrence. It is scientifically inappropriate and pedagogically irresponsible for creationist pseudoscience, including but not limited to ‘intelligent design,’ to be introduced into the science curricula of our nation’s public schools.”

Having said this, there is no “proof” or “absolutes” in science, it is always tentative. Also, let’s not confuse the “origin of first life” with evolution. That’s another issue. I wanna see some more book recommendations, especially by those who hate evolution. 😃 What have you people read recently?

Phil P

If a theory is an explanation of an observation based on experimentation and reasoning, how does evolution fit this definition?
It doesn’t. It ignores the scientific method. Which Phil’s favorite website seems to completely miss.
Melchior << It ignores the scientific method. Which Phil’s favorite website seems to completely miss. >>

Ah ha, TalkOrigins better than AnswersInGenesis and DrDino who explain away, ignore, or deny as much science as they can… 😃

Scientific Proof? Explains the scientific method

The steps are:

(1) Make observations

(2) Form a testable, unifying hypothesis to explain these observations

(3) Deduce predictions from the hypothesis

(4) Search for confirmations of the predictions; if the predictions are contradicted by empirical observation, go back to step (2)

Evolution fits, “creationism” does not. “Intelligent Design” is still being “debated” whether it is science or not. I’ll let Dembski have his say…

Is Evolution science? What is science?

Does science have to be naturalistic?

EXCERPT: If science cannot be used to explain things in terms of what it cannot see and test, this doesn’t rule out other disciplines using non-natural explanations (like theology). It just means that science cannot use it as it undercuts the very notion of science.

There are two ways science cannot be non-naturalistic. It cannot make the assumption that phenomena are themselves non-natural – it has to assume that everything observed is amenable to a naturalistic investigation. Call this methodological naturalism.

Science must also avoid non-natural explanations. This is explanatory naturalism. Any explanation that uses a non-natural explanans (thing doing the explaining) fails to be testable…The hallmark of science, perhaps the only hallmark, is that explanations are testable.

TalkOrigins has spoken, the case is closed. 😛 Evolution is science, creationism is not. There is nothing “testable” about creationism.

Seriously, I haven’t found anything online that goes into the depth this site does. AnswersInGenesis, DrDino, and TrueOrigin are all young-earth creationist sites, and that position has been falsified for 200 years (before Darwin).

Phil P
PhilVaz: AiG has actually publically critized Kent Hovind. It’s not appropriate to compare the two. He does resort to pseudoscience. I’ve read enough of their material to know that they do make hypothesises, they test them, they generate theories, and they revise them as time goes on. Have you heard of TJ? It’s a peer-reviewed creation magazine put out by AiG…their arguments are changing all the time, yet organizations like TalkOrigings continue to refute old and archaic forms of creationism.
For example, a while back Scientific American had a frontline article on “Refuting Creationist Nonsense” or something along those lines…AiG refuting the article within 72 hours. It didn’t even attempt to properly represent creationism. (

(An example of a prediction being made, and then tests demonstrating it to be correct , and

Please tell me what you think of

Kris: You’re observation regarding reptiles and birds is not necessarily true, even from an evolutionary perspective. Are you aware that many scientists now doubt the ‘dino to bird’ model?
Hello Redeemerslove,

You said,
	 	 	 		 		 				**Re: Catholics and evolution** 			
   		 			 				Originally Posted by **De Maria**
  		*I don't know, but as far as being in line with Scripture. This website may provide some answers.…efriends3b.html*


De Maria

Catholics are not bible alone, BTW. We have the three-legged stool of Teaching Authority: 1. Sacred Scripture. 2. Sacred Tradition. 3. The Magisterium.
I missed the part where I said that we (Catholics) believe in the Bible alone.


De Maria
twf: I don’t think the observation is wrong about reptiles and birds but the conclusion that this indicates evolution could very well be. Trying to get students to understand the difference between an observation and a conclusion is always a fun early in the year science lesson. It’s been a few years since I did the Bio teaching thing (Chem is actually my field) so I haven’t paid much attention to recent ideas and I know that I am out of date.

Anyway, the point wasn’t to prove evolution with those observations to anyone but to show how the theory attempts to explain what has been observed.

Theories can’t be “proven” - neither creationalism nor evolution nor atomic theory (the Chem teacher in me coming out again:) ). A theory either works with new observations or not. If not, it is rejected or modified.
Not open for further replies.