This one is so strange that there’s not much we can say about it — except that Catholics have a long tradition of rigorous scholarship, and we don’t see any trace of that here. But you can judge for yourselves.
In the B.C. Catholic, which seems to be incongruously named until we realize that it’s published in Vancouver, British Columbia, we read Sound reasoning requires clarity in evolution debate. The website says they’ve turned off their comments feature.
We can’t find any information about that publication, but their masthead says “Archdiocese of Vancouver,” and the footer of the site’s webpages says “Informing Catholics in Canada since 1931.” It seems to be at least a quasi-official newspaper. The author of the article is Steven Godenir, about whom we can’t find anything, but we assume that they think he’s qualified to express his opinions. We’ll give you some excerpts, with bold font added by us. He begins by mentioning an earlier article that was critical of creationism, and then he says:
The only real facts in science are sensory data, such as direct observations and measurements. They cannot change; hence they can be described as facts. Laws come next. They are the bedrock of science, because they are observable and repeatable patterns for which there is no contradictory evidence. Laws can never be proved; however, they can be disproved by just one contrary observation; hence, they are not facts.
That’s not bad, but we prefer the Definitions of Evolutionary Terms provided by the National Academy of Sciences. Also the National Center for Science Education defines those terms here: Definitions of Fact, Theory, and Law in Scientific Work. Then we’re told:
Evolution is primarily a set of claims about alleged, unobserved events, and so cannot be a fact, and it is certainly not a law. At best, evolution could be called a theory, or can it?
Oh dear, this isn’t going very well. Let’s read on:
Theories are made up of laws and reasonable hypotheses. They attempt to explain a much bigger picture. Reasoned hypotheses generally do not make predictions that contradict laws. Evolutionary belief, however, breaks two of the most well established laws in science: the law of biogenesis; and the second law of thermodynamics. Life only comes from life; and all matter in the universe is moving irreversibly toward a state of completely unusable energy, a heat death.
Aaaargh!! That’s raw, unadorned ignorance. We’ve discussed the fictitious “law of biogenesis” in Common Creationist Claims Confuted. As for the 2nd law of thermodynamics, that’s one of the most boneheaded arguments advanced by creationists, and it’s debunked at the TalkOrigins Index to Creationist Claims right here.
Then, if you can believe it, the article gets even worse:
Evolution is not part of experimental/operational science, which examines directly observable phenomena in the present. Operational science is replicable by anyone who follows the same process. This is the type of science that leads to the development of technology. … Evolution falls under the category of historical/origins science, where claims are made about the unobservable past. Proponents of a historical science position can make predictions and use experimental science to gather evidence that is either consistent or inconsistent with their viewpoint; however, the interpretation of data is heavily dependent on philosophical presuppositions.
Aaaargh!! That’s ol’ Hambo’s argument, which is debunked in our Common Creationist Claims Confuted.
That’s how the article begins, so you’ll understand that we’re skipping over an ark-load of further nonsense until we come to the end:
For Catholics to be truly prudent, we must work with clear definitions, carefully examine claims against evidence, and hold fast to God’s revelation. Interpretations held unanimously by Church Fathers and doctors must be held by us. In the study of natural science, we must follow St. Thomas’s counsel: “In the works of nature, Creation does not enter, but is presupposed to the works of nature.”
So there you are. We thought that Catholics were okay with evolution — see Pope Francis, Evolution, & the Big Bang. Apparently we were wrong — at least in British Columbia.
Copyright © 2015. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.