Friday, November 04, 2005

The Vatican's Lack of Reasonable Faith

The Vatican, apparently, now believes that macro-evolution is a scientifically proven fact. However, they rest this claim on the presumption that science is the arbiter of reason. Cardinal Paul Poupard addressed reporters:

"We know where scientific reason can end up by itself: the atomic bomb and the possibility of cloning human beings are fruit of a reason that wants to free itself from every ethical or religious link," Poupard told reporters. "But we also know the dangers of a religion that severs its links with reason and becomes prey to fundamentalism."

This rationale is in error because many scientists themselves are not reasonable and produce results and analyses that are contrived on the basis of the presupposition that all science must be naturalistic. Would the Vatican agree with this? If so, they would have to deny supernatural miracles. They fail to realize that the naturalistic presupposition, by definition, excludes supernatural explanations for the origin of life despite the fact that a supernatural explanation is more likely.

The Vatican's premise is the old Galileo argument:

The Vatican project was inspired by Pope John Paul II's 1992 declaration that the church's 17th-century denunciation of Galileo was an error resulting from "tragic mutual incomprehension." Galileo was condemned for supporting Nicolaus Copernicus' discovery that the Earth revolved around the sun; church teaching at the time placed Earth at the center of the universe.

While the math is much easier to work out using Newtonian physics, Einstein's relativity demonstrates that the orbits of the planets about the sun are merely mathematical constructs. If the physical dynamics were calculated using Pluto's moon as the center, the relative locations of the solar bodies would still be the same over a period of time. (Be that as it may, the whole Earth-as-the-center-of-the-universe notion is more properly understood as regarding the importance of the seat of mankind rather than an actual physical location.) To dredge up Galileo is to found the notion of faith-as-opposed-to-reason on the historical account of a flawed debate.

In the Vatican's attempt to become more reasonable, flawed reason is used:

Said Monsignor Gianfranco Basti, director of the Vatican project STOQ, or Science, Theology and Ontological Quest: "A hypothesis asks whether something is true or false. (Evolution) is more than a hypothesis because there is proof."

First, testing a hypothesis can only disprove something. It can only calculate a likelihood of the truth value of a testable relationship between two things. Therefore, there is no deductive proof of evolution. There is only a likelihood, and that likelihood is not very likely. Instead, the most likely explanation for the evidence at hand is excluded unilaterally because of the naturalistic presupposition. And that’s not reasonable: Presupposition is a matter of faith, and faith in the naturalistic presupposition is in direct opposition to the Christian faith, which holds the presupposition that with God all things are possible.


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