Jim Walsh's Big Hairy Weblog Thingy

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Vatican Gets "Intellegent"

The New York Times reports that the Vatican has weighed in on the "intellegent design" question, and got it right:

The official Vatican newspaper published an article this week labeling as "correct" the recent decision by a judge in Pennsylvania that intelligent design should not be taught as a scientific alternative to evolution.

"If the model proposed by Darwin is not considered sufficient, one should search for another," Fiorenzo Facchini, a professor of evolutionary biology at the University of Bologna, wrote in the Jan. 16-17 edition of the paper, L'Osservatore Romano.

"But it is not correct from a methodological point of view to stray from the field of science while pretending to do science," he wrote, calling intelligent design unscientific. "It only creates confusion between the scientific plane and those that are philosophical or religious."

The article was not presented as an official church position. But in the subtle and purposely ambiguous world of the Vatican, the comments seemed notable, given their strength on a delicate question much debated under the new pope, Benedict XVI.

Advocates for teaching evolution hailed the article. "He is emphasizing that there is no need to see a contradiction between Catholic teachings and evolution," said Dr. Francisco J. Ayala, professor of biology at the University of California, Irvine, and a former Dominican priest. "Good for him."

While the statement is not ex cathedra, it does appear in the "official" Vatican newspaper. The creationist Discovery Institute has nonetheless dismissed the article, saying that it's just "trying to put words in the Vatican's mouth." (In the immoral words of that great theologan Popeye the Sailor: "What th-?")

Can't wait to hear what the rest of the "Answers In Genesis" crowd has to say on this subject.

Actually, I know what they're gonna say: they're gonna say the same old thing they've been saying over and over for years (generally it boils down to the same four or five basic misconceptions). Doesn't matter that they've been debunked repeatedly; they just re-word everything slightly and toss it out again to see if it sticks.

It sticks all right. Smells too.