Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Newsflash: US Not Center of Vatican's World!

It is a standard complain of those who know much about science that mainstream media seldom understand what they're talking about when writing about science.

It is an even more common complaint of those who understand religion that the mainstream press is clueless when covering religion.

When these two topics meet, no wonder we find a journalistic trainwreck. Here's a particularly amusing piece on the pope's weekend of discussing evolution (so far as I can tell, this is a re-cut of a Routers story which has the Fr. Fessio quotes):

Pope Benedict and his former doctoral students spent a weekend pondering evolution without discussing controversies over intelligent design and creationism raging in the United States.
The three-day closed-door meeting at the papal summer residence of Castel Gandolfo outside Rome ended as planned without drawing any conclusions but the group plans to publish its discussion papers, said participant Father Joseph Fessio S.J.
Media speculation had said the debate might shift Vatican policy to embrace "intelligent design," which claims to prove scientifically that life could not have simply evolved, or even the "creationist" view that God created the world in six days.
"It wasn't that at all," Fessio, who is provost of Ave Maria University in Florida, said from Rome. The Pope's session with 39 former students was "a meeting of friends with some scholars to discuss an interesting theme".
"We did not really speak much about intelligent design," said Fessio, whose Ignatius Press publishes the Pope's books in English. "In fact, that particular controversy did not arise."
Creationism -- the view that God created the world in six days as described in the Bible -- was "almost off the radar screen of the people in this group," he added. The Catholic Church does not read the Genesis account of creation literally.
Fessio said Benedict took part in the discussions but said nothing different from previous public statements, in which he has recognised evolution as a scientific fact but argued that God ultimately created the world and all life in it.
I keep waiting for the media (and some Catholics for that matter) to realize how much of a non-issue American Protestant-style creationism is for Catholics. Still, after the media feeding frenzy that followed Schonborn's NY Times editorial, I was glad to see that the message that Pope Benedict and the assembled scholars were discussing the philophical implications and assumptions surrounding ounding evolution, not trying to engage in a scientific debate.


John Farrell said...

Great post, although this would come as news to RC convert Bruce Chapman at the Discovery Institute. No doubt he actually was hoping the Pope would throw a bone in their (increasingly desperate) direction.


Steven said...

Dear Darwin,

I keep waiting for the media (and some Catholics for that matter) to realize how much of a non-issue American Protestant-style creationism is for Catholics.

Would that this were true. You might want to fly by some of the traditionalist sites and find out just how much of an issue it really is for some Catholics. I was surprised and a bit disheartened with the realization that there is a strain of fundamentalism that infects certain branches of American Catholicism. They've forgotten how to read the Bible and understand it with the mind and heart of the Church.



John said...

Hilarious post title!

It appears sometimes that many American Catholics assume that the Vatican is at their beck and call.

John Farrell said...

Steven, good point. I can't help wondering if some of that is due to the 'Sungenis' effect. Ex evangelicals becoming Catholic converts--but retaining their hostility to science and their devotion to a literalist approach to scripture....