Mar 2, 2009

Vatican Conference on Evolution

The Vatican is sponsoring a scientific conference on Evolution on March 3-7 to mark the 150th anniversary of the publication of Charles Darwin's On the Origin of the Species. The liberal Cardinal Paul Poupard and his former office, the Pontifical Council for Culture, as well as the University of Notre Dame and six pontifical universities are co-sponsors. I and others are not optimistic about this conference because organizers say intelligent design "represents poor theology and science."

The Church [needs] to look at Evolution again, "from a broader perspective", explained Professor Gennaro Auletta, the head of the Science and Philosophy faculty at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome and the main conference organiser.

I found that Georges Chantraine will give one of the closing conference talks on the "Theological Vision of Evolution by Teilhard de Chardin.'" Chardin claimed to synthesize evolution with theology and imagined a dazzling array of creative projections of man's evolutionary ascendancy to 'supreme consciousness', a God-like state. I read two of Chardin's books with awe when I was young and impressionable (and stupid).

Then I read "The Trojan Horse in the City of God" by Dietrich von Hildebrand [called (informally) by Pope Pius XII "the 20th Century Doctor of the Church."], who showed that Chardin was a dishonest paleontologist and rogue priest whose disbelief in original sin (and other Church doctrines) meant Christ's sacrifice on the cross had no salvation meaning.
"It was only after reading several of his works, however, that I fully realised the catastrophic implications of his philosophical ideas, and saw the absolute incompatibility of his theology fiction with Christian revelation and with the doctrine of the Church."
Others also believed Chardin's teachings were a perversion of the Christian faith, including Jacques Maritain and Étienne Gilson and many others. Here are some links that show why Teilhard de Chardin remains a dangerous enemy:
Professor Gennaro Auletta, who is head of the Science and Philosophy faculty at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome and the main conference organiser told Edward Pentin of Newsweek (Newsweek Blog): “We hope this will really be an example of how to hold an open discussion without overtones. We simply wish to dialogue between people whose mission is to understand a little more.”

So will creationists ( aren't we supposed to believe God created us?) who believe in intelligent design be invited to the Vatican Conference? Here is what the UK Register says:

The Vatican gave the Creationist lobby a left right sign of the cross today, announcing it would stage a conference on Darwinism next month and declaring that it was one of the Fathers of the Church that thought up the idea in the first place.

At one point the conference at the Pontifical Gregorian University wasn't going to give Creationism or Intelligent Design a hearing at all. But apparently the organisers have relented, and will consider Intelligent Design as a "cultural phenomenon" rather than as a valid scientific theory, giving US-based IDers the chance to be smirked at by a room full of Monseigneurs, Cardinals and Bishops.

Previewing the conference yesterday, Archbishop Gianfranco Ravasi, head of the Church's Pontifical Council for Culture, conceded the Church had been hostile to Darwin on occasion. But, he said, the Church had never formally condemned Darwin, and he noted that in the last 50 years a number of Popes had accepted evolution as a valid scientific approach to human development.

In view of the Vatican 4-day presentation highlighting the 150th anniversary of Charles Darwin's "Origin of Species" (and lots more Darwinian publicity elsewhere), be sure and take a look at this video with three scientists who contend there are major problems with Darwin's theory.

Mar 1, 2009

Merrily We Gently Row....

"Row, row, row your boat..." was always a lot of fun to sing in grade school, and was the song used by the nuns to teach rounds. First one group would begin the first line, then a line later the second group would join in by singing the first line, and the third group would begin singing when the first group had reached "Merrily." [I like the word 'merrily' because it so akin to the lovely word 'gay' which has been ruined in these past thirty years.]
Row, row, row your boat,
Gently down the stream.
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily,
Life is but a dream.
I've canoed downstream on a number of Ozarks rivers, and family canoeing is excellent recreation. We've sung and enjoyed the song many times because it has a good tune and is easy to sin. It's definitely the song to sing while paddling down a beautiful stream in the Irish Wilderness of Missouri. This was where that Catholic priest, Father John Hogan of St Louis, dreamt would be the place where Irish immigrants could escape the oppression of urban life in St. Louis.

However, the song, "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" into its current form teaches children the wrong thing because of the last nihilistic line, "LIFE is but a dream." Moreover, if you gently row downstream in your LIFE, the natural current will leads you to wherever it is going, rather than where you should be directed. The third line emphasizes that you will be quite "merry" at going the easy way. But it is the last line that clearly states that LIFE isn't reality, implying that it doesn't make any difference what you do in your life.

Here is my suggestion for a change to the last line. [There's also a funny multi-stanza version published on Wikipedia without the offending line.] No copyright is in force, because the song was published in The Franklin Square Song Collection in 1881.
Row, row, row your boat,
Gently down the stream.
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily,
To wish is but a dream.
The original tune is credited to the Pennsylvania Masonic educator, Dr. Eliphalet Oram Lyte, who was lauded in his lifetime as:
...president of the Pennsylvania Teachers' Association. He is a life member of the National Educational Association, of which he has served as director for a number of years. He was president of the N. E. A. in 1899, and he has also been vice-president of the council of education of that body. He is likewise a member of the American Academy of Political Science. Fraternally Dr. Lyte is a thirty-third degree Mason, receiving his last degree in 1885....