by Denyse O'Leary
In Chance or Purpose?, the Cardinal does not want "evolutionism" but he also does not want evidence-based design. What's left?
One thing that is left is the works of the Jesuit paleontologist Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. A number of readers have picked up on Schoenborn's praise for him: "We have to mention here Father Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, whose controversial work has for quite a while been intellectually and spiritually fascinating." (132)
Fascinating, all right. Essentially, Teilhard reimagined Christianity - which is essentially about divine intervention - as a sort of faith in "evolution." The Catholic Church condemned his teachings in 1962 and in 1981: "Prescinding from a judgment about those points that concern the positive sciences, it is sufficiently clear that the above-mentioned works [of Teihard de Chardin] abound in such ambiguities and indeed even serious errors, as to offend Catholic doctrine."
Yet on page 141, Cardinal Schoenborn writes, about Teilhard,
His fascinating vision has remained controversial, and yet for many it has represented a great hope, the hope that faith in Christ and a scientific approach to the world can be brought together "under one head", under Christ the "evolutor".
Christ the evolutor?
Schoenborn makes clear that there are problems with the views of Teilhard, the "mystic of evolution", but insists that he "dared a venture that was full of risks and yet necessary." (pp. 142-43)
But what, in Schoenborn's view, were the problems? And why was the venture necessary?
Often, this book feels as though one is reading the notes of a person who knows what he is trying to respond to, but does not realize that others need some orientation.
For example, why replace faith in a God who intervenes directly (as in the accounts in the Bible) with Christ the "evolutor"? Most Catholic Christians would think that far more was lost than gained. But the key question is, why even consider it? The Darwinists have never had powerful enough evidence to compel such terms.
Next: Part Five: Darwin's ladder knocking over Jacob's ladder?
Toronto-based Canadian journalist Denyse O'Leary (www.designorchance.com) is the author of the multiple award-winning By Design or by Chance? (Augsburg Fortress 2004), an overview of the intelligent design controversy. She was named CBA Canada's Recommended Author of the Year in 2005 and is co-author, with Montreal neuroscientist Mario Beauregard, of the The Spiritual Brain: A neuroscientist's case for the existence of the soul (Harper 2007).
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