Stephen Hawking, Charles Darwin, and the Pope

SOME DENOMINATIONS reject evolution, while others embrace it. In ANSA, a major news agency in Italy, we read Vatican kicks off creation powwow. Excerpts, with bold added by us:

The Catholic Church’s stance on the creation of the universe is not incompatible with empirical science, Pope Benedict XVI said Friday.

”Saying that the foundation of the cosmos and its developments are the fruit of the Creator is not saying that creation is only about the beginning of the history of the world and of life,” he told participants at the start of a five-day conference on evolution being held by the Pontifical Academy of Science.

We’ve reported earlier on Pope Benedict’s 2007 Statement on Evolution. Continuing with the ANSA article:

Pontifical Science Academy President Nicola Cabibbo said Friday that the Vatican conference will concentrate more on ”the evolutionary process than on the transcendental origin of living beings or the creation of the world” over the next five days, although he admitted these themes would be indirectly touched upon.

Most impressive. In fact:

The conference is the latest initiative in the Vatican’s drive to promote dialogue between scientists and theologians.

In September it announced a new interdisciplinary conference to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s Origin of the Species that will take place in Rome in March next year, while Pontifical Council for Culture President Gianfranco Ravasi reiterated that evolutionary theory was ”not incompatible” with the teachings of the Catholic Church and the Bible.

The article also mentions that:

World famous physicist Stephen Hawking is among speakers invited to the Vatican for the event.

We found another article on that. In the Times of London we read Stephen Hawking to address Vatican conference on evolution. A few excerpts:

Stephen Hawking, the cosmologist and author of the bestselling A Brief History of Time, is to take part today in a conference at the Vatican on Darwin, evolution and intelligent design.

We look forward to a transcript. Here’s a bit more:

The Catholic Church accepts evolution, but sees it as part of the divine plan. Pope Benedict has been described as a “theistic evolutionist” who believes that God created life through evolution, and thus that there is no inherent clash between religion and science.

The Catholic Church does not take the Genesis story that God created the world in six days literally, regarding it instead as an allegory. However some Christians – not least in the United States – do take the Genesis account literally and object to evolution being taught in school.

That pretty much sums it up. One more excerpt:

Cardinal Paul Poupard, Monsignor Ravasi’s predecessor as head of the Pontifical Council for Culture, said that Genesis and Darwin’s theory of evolution were “perfectly compatible” if the Bible was read “correctly”. The real message of Genesis was that “the universe didn’t make itself and had a creator” he said.

This is a good article. It’s worth reading in its entirety.

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2 responses to “Stephen Hawking, Charles Darwin, and the Pope

  1. I agree with Professor Agazzi, who says: If you read Darwin’s books, Darwin directly, You can see that he was never opposed to the idea of Creation. Never. He was always opposed to the idea of individual species being created by God or by Someone, Separately rather than being the result of a transformation. What happens nowadays? Unfortunately once again in the United States there is a minority of fundamentalist Evangelicals, Seeking to take the Bible word for word, as a discourse that tells us how the world was created. They call themselves creationists. Once again the term has been seized for another use. The term “creationists” does not mean in the slightest. That the book of Genesis should be taken as a true story about the Cosmos. But for them it does. They say yes, here is something that at the very least. Should be taught alongside the theory of evolution.. Once again a mistake has been made. And people say, Creationists are enemies of science and enemies of Evolution.
    Santiago Chiva
    Granada, Spain

  2. Santiago, thanks for the comment.