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Tuesday, June 27, 2006

While numbers decline steeply: Episcopalians endorse "evolution"

The American Episcopalian church - currently very unpopular in the 90-million-member worldwide communion - has decided to endorse "evolution."

The statement reads in part:
The theory of evolution is broadly accepted by the overwhelming majority in the scientific community as the most adequate explanation for the emergence of life on earth, and the ongoing adaptation of life to changes in environments. For example, knowledge of how evolution functions is essential in understanding the resistance of bacteria to antibiotics, the resistance of insects to insecticides, and the appearance of viruses such as HIV and influenza.


What has the tendency of bacteria or insects to develop resistance to threats to do with the emergence of life on earth? Or the appearance of specific viruses? All these events take place in a context in which the immense, super-computer-like complexity of life already exists. There is no good theory in science of the emergence of life on earth. (Note: Agnostic Darwin called his book Origin of Species precisely because he knew better than to tackle a problem like Origin of Life cold. Oh yes, he wanted to, but he was way smarter than his Christian evolutionist cheering section in the Episcopalian church.)

Apparently, the Episcopalian decision had something to do with influence from members and aficionados of of the American Scientific Affiliation, whose list serve is a home for all kinds of people who oppose the idea that life shows detectible evidence of intelligent design.

As a former Canadian Anglican (Episcopalian), I was intrigued by the Episcopalian statement because

1. It never once addresses the complete incompatibility of Darwinism with Christianity, which is the only issue that really matters for Christians today. (We can argue all we want about the age of the earth, but if we are told that life shows no detectible evidence of purpose or design - as Darwinists enthusiastically maintain - we must say that such a view is contrary to our most important religious and secular beliefs.)

and

2. As a result, the Episcopalian statement makes an interesting contrast with the Pope's view, which directly addresses the issue of Darwinism, and insists that, contrary to Darwinist claims, each of us is a "thought of God."

No wonder so many faithful Christians from these liberalizing denominations have, like me, crossed the Tiber in their leaky little craft (= become Catholics). Come to think of it, the single most frequent social event that I have attended in the last year and a half has been "receptions" into the Catholic Church. Reading this portentous ecclesiastical prose from the dying American Episcopalian Church helps me understand why.

Yes, the Catholic Church has problems. Who would deny that? But, imagine - I once had to put up with people yapping about how bacteria and viruses supposedly prove things that even Darwin did not argue for - and his successors have never demonstrated - and now I live with people who agree that each of us is a "thought of God." This is more like a home, certainly.

If it gets any better than this, I am all the more blessed. If it gets worse, well ... actually, it can't get worse. Nothing could be worse than the world of materialism, best memorialized by the genocides of the twentieth century, when humans were merely meat puppets, and only ridiculous sophistries about somehow forcing meaning on a nature that rejects it make sense of our world. And that is what the Episcopalian Church has bought into.

I certainly don't have to be one of God's key thoughts. Just a thought. As everyone likes to say, it's the thought that counts.
If you like this blog, check out my book on the intelligent design controversy, By Design or by Chance?. You can read excerpts as well.

Are you looking for one of the following stories?

A summary of recent opinion columns on the ID controversy

A summary of recent polls of US public opinion on the ID controversy

A summary of the Catholic Church's entry into the controversy, essentially on the side of ID.

O'Leary's intro to non-Darwinian agnostic philosopher David Stove ?

An ID Timeline: The ID folk seem always to win when they lose.

O’Leary’s comments on Francis Beckwith, a Dembski associate, being denied tenure at Baylor.

Why origin of life is such a difficult problem.
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