Darwin turns 200

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Gokul43201
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Happy birdy Darwy!
 

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Vatican buries the hatchet with Charles Darwin

The Vatican has admitted that Charles Darwin was on the right track when he claimed that Man descended from apes.

A leading official declared yesterday that Darwin's theory of evolution was compatible with Christian faith, and could even be traced to St Augustine and St Thomas Aquinas. "In fact, what we mean by evolution is the world as created by God," said Archbishop Gianfranco Ravasi, head of the Pontifical Council for Culture. The Vatican also dealt the final blow to speculation that Pope Benedict XVI might be prepared to endorse the theory of Intelligent Design, whose advocates credit a "higher power" for the complexities of life.

Organisers of a papal-backed conference next month marking the 150th anniversary of Darwin's On the Origin of Species said that at first it had even been proposed to ban Intelligent Design from the event, as "poor theology and poor science". Intelligent Design would be discussed at the fringes of the conference at the Pontifical Gregorian University, but merely as a "cultural phenomenon", rather than a scientific or theological issue, organisers said.
 
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mgb_phys
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Vatican buries the hatchet with Charles Darwin
The vatican never really objected to Darwin and didn't ban his books.

The Anglican church was the main objector but CofE bishops in the 19c were hardly theological giants, it was more a social club for younger sons of aristocracy.

Surprisingly the Vatican has never been that anti-science, it sees the long term benefits in not looking too stupid. Most of the famous cases of Galileo/Bruno etc were more due to politics than science.
 
  • #4
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The Catholics generally are the good guys in as far as science goes, well with a few hiccups with Copernicus and Galileo. It's the creationists you have to worry about. There all living in some sort of fantasy if you ask me. You can't argue with religious people, they are always right by default. I'm pretty sure if it wasn't for Darwin's wife being a raving creationist and his church being creationist, he wouldn't of sat on his theory for years. By the way that was back in the days when creationism was at least acceptable in civilised well educated societies, er no wait... :tongue2:

I was watching a program last night about a fundamentalist who lived in England - I know I thought we'd burned all the heretics too! - And his 14 kid familly was home schooled, so that he could teach them that evolution had no more proof than creationism. Amazingly I think that's the only way you can really make people believe that guff, isolate, catch them young and brainwash them.
 
  • #5
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He shares a birthday and bicenntenial with Abraham Lincoln.


I heard an interesting interview with Barry Werth, author of Banquet at Delmonico's: Great Minds, the Gilded Age, and the Triumph of Evolution in America, which honored Herbert Spencer.
https://www.amazon.com/dp/1400067782/?tag=pfamazon01-20
In this fascinating study, Werth (The Scarlet Professor) shows how the idea of social Darwinism, as codified by Herbert Spencer, took hold in the United States, underpinning the philosophy of the Gilded Age's social, cultural and financial elite. Anchoring his story with the stunning Delmonico's celebration honoring the departure of Spencer after a triumphant tour of the United States in 1882, Werth rightly depicts the frame of reference Spencer left behind as a predecessor to Ayn Rand's philosophy of Objectivism, with its focus on unrestrained self-interest and unbridled capitalism. As Werth explains, Spencer's interpretation of Darwinism won the approval of not only robber barons but also prominent religious, scientific and political leaders. Henry Ward Beecher, writes Werth, used the most acclaimed pulpit in America to preach the gospel of evolution; that is, that it was God's way to... sort the worthy from the wretched. This was survival of the fittest, which Spencer and his followers saw as not only just but necessary. Thus, Werth elegantly reveals a firm philosophical foundation for all the antilabor excesses of the Industrial Age. . . .
 
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How strange that both Lincoln and Darwin share the same birthday. Actually, if you go by statistics, a shared birthday is not as rare as it may seem. Who changed history more, I wonder.
 
  • #7
turbo
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How strange that both Lincoln and Darwin share the same birthday. Actually, if you go by statistics, a shared birthday is not as rare as it may seem. Who changed history more, I wonder.
Lincoln, by far. His hands-off approach in the early stages of Civil War (a situation left to him by an incompetent predecessor) allowed the Confederacy time to recruit and arm an army when the Union had overwhelming superiority on the field. If he had over-ruled and/or replaced some over-cautious generals early and pressed the Union's military advantage, the rebellion could have been crushed and hundreds of thousands of American lives would have been saved AND the infrastructure of the South needn't have been destroyed.
 
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A leading official declared yesterday that Darwin's theory of evolution was compatible with Christian faith, and could even be traced to St Augustine and St Thomas Aquinas. "In fact, what we mean by evolution is the world as created by God," said Archbishop Gianfranco Ravasi, head of the Pontifical Council for Culture. The Vatican also dealt the final blow to speculation that Pope Benedict XVI might be prepared to endorse the theory of Intelligent Design, whose advocates credit a "higher power" for the complexities of life.

:rofl:
 
  • #9
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There's no way The Pope was ever going to advocate intelligent design, because it has strode ardently to distance itself from fundamentalisms rather odder beliefs. It seems common in fundamentalist communities to claim that Catholicism is not Christianity as well I've found, which isn't just absurd it's ignorant to the point of offence. I mean we may of burned them but we never said they weren't Christian. :rolleyes:

Basically they are now saying that God created the Universe and the world came to be over x time period as according to God's plan. Which is a step forward not back, despite the unfortunate suggestion that Thomas Aquinas might of had the idea, I'm pretty sure they mean that in a very loose sense.
 
  • #10
Ivan Seeking
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Surprisingly the Vatican has never been that anti-science, it sees the long term benefits in not looking too stupid. Most of the famous cases of Galileo/Bruno etc were more due to politics than science.

I haven't considered myself to be a Catholic for decades now, but I can say that we were taught about evolution in my Catholic school; and that was a long time ago. Not once were we ever taught to accept religion over science. The view is that both seek truth so they should be compatible - a line of reasoning that some may recognize from the movie Contact.
 
  • #11
mgb_phys
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but I can say that we were taught about evolution in my Catholic school; and that was a long time ago. Not once were we ever taught to accept religion over science.
Me too, I think the general spin was that the universe is the way it is because God made it so and science is just studying God's handiwork. Which is an easy to defend - or at least impossible to disprove - position.

I think the vatican is smart enough to distance itself from these guys!

jesus_rides_a_dinosaur.jpg
 
  • #12
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I believe God created the World and he used evolution to do it. Genesis can be read to agree quite nicely with modern science without very much bending at all. Actually you have to bend the words more in order to fit it in with what the creationists believe. Which is rather odd.

Keep in mind that Genesis was written 1500 years before Jesus by an Egyptian trained fellow named Moses. Moses didn't write Genesis in the form we see it today (Classical Hebrew) because Classical Hebrew didn't exist in his day. So it probably was either written in an Aramaic script or an Egyptian script. Either way, it was translated at least once and the original lost. Any interpretation of what the words mean must be approached with great care. Basically, no one knows what exactly Moses was thinking when he penned Genesis.

This means that the people who claim the they know the literal meaning of the words are deceiving themselves. They have no idea what they are talking about.
 
  • #13
Gokul43201
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Genesis can be read to agree quite nicely with modern science without very much bending at all. Actually you have to bend the words more in order to fit it in with what the creationists believe.
That's a curious statement, since Genesis seems to make the Earth older than the Sun, and the Sun as old as the Moon, but day and night existed for two "days" before the Sun was created! Also, reptiles were created after birds and whales. And all this stuff happened in 5 days.

And that's just Chapter 1.
 
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  • #14
mgb_phys
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It's not exactly a cosmology textbook - but as mythologies go it's a lot better than the newer 'sprang from the forehead of Zeus' stories.
There was a beginning, objects formed after other objects, different creatures arrived at different times. Chuck in a bit of poetic licence and bad translation and it's nearly there.
 
  • #15
Gokul43201
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That's just so boring though. It's way cooler when man is created by say, an ice-licking cow.
 
  • #16
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Many races believe that the Universe was created by some sort of god or in the Big Bang.
The Jatravartid people, however, believe that the Universe was sneezed out of the nose of a being called the Great Green Arkleseizure. They live in perpetual fear of the time they call "The Coming of the Great White Handkerchief".
The theory of the Great Green Arkleseizure is not widely accepted outside Viltvodle VI.

From Hitch-hikers guide to the galaxy
 
  • #17
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That's a curious statement, since Genesis seems to make the Earth older than the Sun, and the Sun as old as the Moon, but day and night existed for two "days" before the Sun was created! Also, reptiles were created after birds and whales. And all this stuff happened in 5 days.

And that's just Chapter 1.

The point of view of Genesis changes from the universal to the surface of the earth on the second day
If you assume that the view is from the surface of the Earth, then the sun and moon etc appeared after the plants (at least photosynthesis). This is because before photosynthesis, the atmosphere was reducing (opaque) and oxidizing (transparent) after. This agrees quite nicely with the order of things in Genesis and in science.
 
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Say, what?
 
  • #19
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The point of view of Genesis changes from the universal to the surface of the earth on the second day
If you assume that the view is from the surface of the Earth, then the sun and moon etc appeared after the plants (at least photosynthesis). This is because before photosynthesis, the atmosphere was reducing (opaque) and oxidizing (transparent) after. This agrees quite nicely with the order of things in Genesis and in science.

Wow, please don't play scientist. We already pay qualified people to do that. :eek:
 
  • #20
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Wait, photosynthesis existing before the sun agrees with science?

Anyway, happy birthday Darwin, hopefully you'll get a little break from burning in hell today.
 
  • #21
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Wait, photosynthesis existing before the sun agrees with science?

Anyway, happy birthday Darwin, hopefully you'll get a little break from burning in hell today.

I said opaque not totally dark. Photosynthesis works just fine on a cloudy day.
 
  • #22
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Wow, please don't play scientist. We already pay qualified people to do that. :eek:

I'm not. This is not my idea. It is from a physics professor of mine. He taught at California State University at Long Beach. And so that is not Harvard... But it is still a respectable university and he was a respected scientist. But I can't recall his name (it was a while ago).

And there is a whole line of reasoning that goes with it. However one has to keep in mind what I said about it being ancient writings and that recovering the meaning in it is not that easy. And I don't mean that it is some kind of code of something, I mean it isn't like the New Testament where there is a large body of Greek Lit to draw meaning from. There isn't a large body of ancient Hebrew Lit to draw translation information from so recovering meaning and motivation is much more difficult than normally thought.
 
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  • #23
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I said opaque not totally dark. Photosynthesis works just fine on a cloudy day.

Without our star, photosynthesis will not work on a cloudy day. Or a clear one.
 
  • #24
lisab
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Happy 2C Birthday, Charles!

I don't know quite what the heck is up with ~60% of my fellow citizens...

On the eve of the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin's birth, a new Gallup Poll shows that only 39% of Americans say they "believe in the theory of evolution," while a quarter say they do not believe in the theory, and another 36% don't have an opinion either way.

http://www.gallup.com/poll/114544/Darwin-Birthday-Believe-Evolution.aspx
 
  • #25
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I don't know quite what the heck is up with ~60% of my fellow citizens...

I have a few guesses.

Contemporary culture's glorification of ignorance. Viewing the acceptance of ideas with no evidence or even contradictory evidence as a virtue (faith). Emphasis on political correctness over rational argument. People living where I do (southern USA).

Sorry Darwin...give it another 150 years or so.
 

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