Heliocentrism and evolution changed our understanding of the world forever

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November 24, 2009

Responses:

 

In November 1859 Charles Darwin published his seminal book on the Origin of Species. His studies caused a pivotal change in how we view ourselves just as Nicolaus Copernicus (1473 – 1543) and Galileo Galilei (1564 –1642) changed what we know about our earth.

Heliocentrism

            Copernicus formulated the scientific theory that the earth rotated on its axis and revolved around the sun. After Galileo publicly championed the Copernican theory, the Catholic Church ordered him not to discuss it further and then it condemned the Copernican theory as false. Galileo was quiet for a while, but he publicly defended his views in 1632 and was tried by the Inquisition, found "vehemently suspect of heresy," forced to recant, and spent the rest of his life under house arrest” (1).

            Despite the attempts to squelch this scientific advancement, Galileo is proclaimed the father of modern astronomy. Copernicus and Galileo changed the knowledge of the world. This knowledge was a terrible affront to the Christian sensibilities of the day that a literal reading of the Bible was not correct such as Psalm 93:1 (“The world will surely stand in place, never to be moved”).

Further discovery showed that the sun is only at the center of our solar system, not the center of the universe as the Copernican theory postulated and is merely one of millions of stars. Since then scientists have discovered more than one galaxy. All these discoveries forever changed our understanding of the world we live in. For the first time the biblical and popular notion that the earth is the center of the universe was seriously confronted by an unwanted reality.  Science forced Christians to take a new look at the Bible and what was meant when we say it is the “word of God”.

Evolution

Another fundamental change in understanding our world was precipitated by Charles Darwin when he published his Origin of Species in 1859. This time the challenge was not so much to the order of the physical universe but to life itself, including human life. His studies concluded that the human being is not the pinnacle of creation as depicted in the Bible. Rather we humans have evolved from other forms of life just as all forms of life have evolved over billions of years. Darwin was troubled by his own conclusions because they didn’t mesh with the commonly held belief that the world was only a few thousand years old.  Later scientific discoveries on the age of the world proved the validity of Darwin’s studies. . His studies also tell us how interconnected all living beings are, whether human, animal, or plants. We truly are one with the world around us. Many are still grappling with the consequences of Darwin’s studies.

The Catholic Church’s response to Darwin stands in stark contrast to its position on Copernicus and Galileo. The Church was no longer the center of life and Darwin was not a Catholic. In 1859 Pope Pius IX expressed much concern about modern ideas which he dubbed modernism. He even created a Syllabus of Errors and banned books. It is significant that Darwin’s Origin of Species did not make that list. (2)  In our own time Pope John Paul II apologized for the Church’s treatment of Galileo and supported evolution (3). Pope Benedict XVI has stated emphatically that the clash between creationism and evolution is an “absurdity”. (4)

            The science of evolution has itself evolved since 1859. In continuing the study of the origin of species begun by Darwin scientists have discovered that evolution is taking place right before our eyes. For example they have observed the evolution of the mosquito Culex molestus from its ancestor species Culex pipiens between 1898 and 1998. Other examples abound.  In all of these cases, a population of the original species still exists, and is unable to interbreed with the new species.  Perhaps one of the most striking and undeniable example is the evolution of our plentiful and rich agricultural corn from the rather pathetic Mexican field grass teosinte (5) under the artificial selection by the Native Americans. 

            The science of evolution continues to open new doors of understanding life in our world.  We would do well to remember and honor Charles Darwin and his work, especially this month of November that marks the 150th anniversary of the publication of Origin of Species.

 

(1) Galileo Galilei

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galileo_Galilei

October 26, 2009

(2) “Darwin at 200” by Richard McBrien on May. 18, 2009 Essays in Theology

NCROnlilne, May 18, 2009

http://ncronline.org/blogs/essays-theology/darwin-200

(3)  http://www.nytimes.com/1996/10/25/world/pope-bolsters-church-s-support-for-scientific-view-of-evolution.html

(4) Pope: Creation vs. evolution clash an ‘absurdity’

July 25, 200. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/19956961/

(5) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teosinte

 

Responses:

Reprinted here from the Daily News with permission.

 

Oz the real one wrote on Nov 24, 2009 2:03 PM:

" *sitting back with the everpresent popcorn, waiting for the creationists to spring forth with their version of science* "

 

cliff wrote on Nov 24, 2009 5:17 PM:

" Don't forget, its only a THEORY the earth circles the sun. We should also teach our kids other theories, such as the sun circles the earth and let THEM decide which is right.

 

Stan wrote on Nov 24, 2009 11:23 PM:

" cliff,

I can't help but notice the similarity between your obviously sarcastic remarks and the arguments used by others with regard to other things they think kids should be allowed to decide with respect to right and wrong.

Irony can be so ... ironic. "

 

SP wrote on Nov 25, 2009 4:18 PM:

" Excellent, hard to believe that the MDN let you get this in print. Did Chris Stevens read this, he probalby wouldn't because it means he doesn't exist by his understanding. Excellent Norbert, a well put, factual and interesting article. "

 

cliff wrote on Nov 25, 2009 5:46 PM:

" Stan, maybe you should cite some examples. I think kids will decide what's right and wrong regardless of what we do or say. All we can do is our best. If they make the wrong decision, you lock'em up.

How does a kid decide between evolution and creationism? Does he trust his parents/pastor if they teach creationism or does he trust his teacher/scientists who say evolution has the most facts/evidence? And if they reject either side, how do they trust anything the other says about anything? "

 

Dave wrote on Nov 25, 2009 8:04 PM:

" I hate the fact that evolutionists create a set of rules by which to measure their research and then block others from questioning it.

The current crop in charge teach an ateroid hit as being absolute truth. The evidence is flimsy at best. It is a theory. Carbon 14 dating itself is a theory. Do we know that the rate of carbon loss is the same now as then? No. It is taken for fact. Heat ,climate.exposure, atmosphereic conditions.

Some say that dinosaurs died from disease and famine . For now they aren't favored because the juicy new theory is tooo coooool. It's just so cutting edge . Dang it we have to stop researching or we may prove it wrong. Don't you see ,the experts and trying to prevent further research in order to protect their life work.

They that try to block further discovery or to base facts on possibilities are the true enemies of science. Not the guy that believes in God "

 

STE1 wrote on Nov 25, 2009 10:57 PM:

" I rarely agree with much that Mr. Bufka says – and I consider him to be way to the left of most people I know. As usual, he has some basic facts correct, but implies situations as being worse than they really were, and some facts are just incorrect.

Mr. Bufka says,” After Galileo publicly championed the Copernican theory, the Catholic Church ordered him not to discuss it further…”

Fact – Galileo published his work in 1610 “publically” in a book called “The Starry Messenger”. Following this book, the Catholic Church lauded Galileo “publically”. He had a friendly audience with Pope Paul V, and in 1611 the Jesuit Roman College held a day of ceremonies to honor Galileo. He was in fact never ordered not to discuss his theory when this book came out.

There was little controversy concerning Galileo until 1614-1616. Where did Galileo go wrong in the eyes of the Church? He started to teach his theory as fact, rather than theory. With the scientific instruments of the day, it could not be proven as a fact as we know it is today, so it was really only a theory (though a correct one). Copernicus formulated the theory first, and dedicated his work to Pope Paul III. Why was he not censured? Because he kept is as a theory.

Was the Church wrong to censure Galileo – absolutely, as we now know he was mostly correct. Was it because he went “public” with his theory as Mr. Bufka says – absolutely not, the theory was already public both by Copernicus, Galileo, and many others. "

 

STE1 wrote on Nov 25, 2009 11:01 PM:

" Mr. Bufka says,” Galileo was quiet for a while, but he publicly defended his views in 1632 and was tried by the Inquisition…”

Fact: By 1616 Galileo’s teachings were becoming well known and the Church felt it needed to respond, as the heliocentric view appeared to contradict scripture. In fact, it also contradicted the majority of astronomers in Galileo’s time as well – most of whom still believed in the geocentric view of the earth as the center of the universe. A tribunal called by the Church in 1616 to discuss this never called Galileo a “heretic” but that it was possibly heresy to teach as fact what had earlier been proposed only as theory, as it appeared to contradict scripture. The panel’s ruling was to order him to cease defending his theories as fact, unless he could prove them (which of course he could not). He also asked him to avoid any further inroads into discussion of scriptural interpretation. Galileo agreed. Robert Cardinal Bellarmine, himself an accomplished Jesuit scientist, informed Galileo on March 6, 1616, of the Congregation’s decision to prohibit the Copernican or heliocentric system. We have no reliable document of this conversation, but it is generally agreed that the Cardinal told Galileo that he could discuss the Copernican system as a scientific hypothesis, offering astronomical and physical arguments for and against it, but that he must not advocate the theory. "

 

STE1 wrote on Nov 25, 2009 11:04 PM:

" continued - In 1623, Cardinal Barberini (who was a member of Galileo’s scientific society, someone who had read all of Galileo’s books and was a friend and admirer of Galileo)) was elected Pope Urban VIII. As Cardinal Barberini he had taken credit for keeping the word “heretic” out of the edict of 1616. Pope Urban also believed that the Copernican theory could never be proven and he was only willing to allow Galileo the right to discuss it as hypothesis. Galileo encouraged by Pope Urban, proceeded to write a "dialogue" on the Copernican theory, which he published in February 1632. Galileo was still a free man at this time, as he had since his first book published in 1610. This book was received with massive protest not only by the Church but by the general scientific community as well. There is no room for details in this forum, but it was for this that he was finally censured by the Church – essentially for teaching again as fact his theory, which means he was felt to have gone against what he had agreed upon in 1616. "

 

STE1 wrote on Nov 25, 2009 11:09 PM:

" Finally,

Mr. Bufka says Galileo, “was tried by the Inquisition, found "vehemently suspect of heresy," forced to recant and spent the rest of his life under house arrest.” Again, some truth, some not so true.

Oh, the urban legends about the Inquisition we could talk about. Anyway, did Galileo get tortured, have his nails torn out, be put to the stake?

His “Inquisition” consisted of Galileo, two officials, and a secretary. Horror of horrors! He was never tortured (drat that Inquistion!!). 10 Cardinals did later review the testimony and render judgement, but were not at the “Inquisition”.

However, Mr. Bufka did get it right that Galileo was held to house arrest (in his own home with a servant), and forced to recant. However, he was not hindered in his work, since he published his greatest work of science in 1638, The Discourse on the Two New Sciences. He was found (as Mr Bufka says) "vehemently suspected of heresy", but not for holding the heliocentric view as Mr. Bufka implies, but for teaching it as truth when it was unprovable. The sad part is that Galileo was right and just could not prove it.

However, once scientific instruments were available to prove the heliocentric theory, the Catholic Church allowed heliocentric theory to be taught as fact and in 1741, Pope Benedict XIV granted an imprimatur (essentially an official approval) to the first edition of the complete works of Galileo.

The Catholic Church has apologized (as it should have) for its treatment of Galileo, just as I apologize for being so wordy these last few posts. However, there is more to this than Mr. Bufka seems to know. Too bad the MDN doesn't have 11 fact checkers on hand, LOL! "

 

Jon wrote on Nov 26, 2009 8:09 AM:

" to STE1:

Thanks for supplying the greater detail consistent with what Mr. Bufka wrote. After all, you know he has space constraints, and was probably already aware of most of that. I don't think fact checkers are needed when there is little if anything incorrect, just not room for all those details. STE1, did you suggest fact checkers on Chris Steven's article, where even the whole premise of hte article is false? Maybe suggest Hate-checkers too, there.

Hey, I remember Cardinal Bellarmine! Didn't he say: "To assert that the earth revolves around the sun is as erroneous as to claim that Jesus was not born of a virgin." ?

Thanks for the apology. Yours was much faster than 500 years. "

 

STE1 wrote on Nov 26, 2009 9:24 PM:

" I have not read your quote of Cardinal Bellarmine, but is consistent with the majority of astronomers of the day (Galileo and Copernicus were in the minority). Bellarmine likelly believed the earth was the center of the universe. Why? As I pointed out before, heliocentrism was a theory and could not be proven with the instruments of the day. Without proof, why should anyone believe it? The atheists who post here all want scientific "proof" there is a God, but I suppose would have jumped on the Copernicus/Galileo heliocentric theory without any proof. Right.

Famed Danish astronomer Tyco Brahe, (a contemporary of Galileo), thought to be the most accurate astronomer of his time, did not fully believe the Coperican heliocentric theory. He held the earth to be the center of the universe, though in a unique way. Cardinal Bellarimine was in good company.

Per Mr. Bufka's report, I actually don't think he knows the entire story of Galileo. He could easily have said "after Galileo publicly championed the Copernican theory as truth and not just theory" and would have been spot on and correct. However, that would have added seven words to his article, and as you said, he was probably under space constraints and didn't have room for the extra seven words.

In addition, his reference to the "Inquisition" was, I think, made to be more of an inflammatory remark. While it may have been technically correct - there was an "Inquiry" into this matter, the term "Inquisition" brings to mind the worst of the worst for people, which simply was not the case with Galileo as I pointed out.

Per the "fact checking" comment - sorry you didn't take it with the humor with which it was intended. No offense meant. "

 

Jon wrote on Nov 27, 2009 5:55 AM:

" STE1:

Theories that work well in describing the real world naturally gain acceptance over time, as we saw with Copernicus and Galileo. Galileo was correct in arguing for the simpler model, after many decades had ensued since Copernicus advanced the theory and indeed, was no longer around. Perhaps the growning problem of the Protestant Reformation by Galileo's time, where the the Protestants were condemning heliocentrism, making the Catholic church look "too liberal" for not condemning it too, had something to do with it?

It wasn't a matter of "imprecise scientific instruments", because all observations (even those made today) can be fit into a geocentric model. You know that epicycles were already in use, and simply changing the shape of the sub-sphere accounts for any observation.

You seem to be making all too common mistake that science deniers make that "theory" means "unproven", such that "theory" is subserviant to "fact". Of course, that is not the case. "Theories" are still "Theories" even when shown to be accurate, such as the Theory of Gravity, Germ Theory of Disease, Theory of Evolution, etc.

Speaking of that, I've yet to see a post by you in Chris Stevens' column pointing out his error in denying evolution. Surely, as one familiar with Catholic history, you know evolution is accepted by the Catholic church. It may be just me, but complaining again and again that Mr. Bufka leaves out minor details in his column, while ignoring the huge misstatements in Mr. Stevens' column, seems odd.

Happy Thanksgiving! "

 

STE1 wrote on Nov 27, 2009 9:44 AM:

" Jon, thanks for the comments. I disagree with your comment that "science deniers make that "theory" mean "unproven". What does that have to do with being a "science denier"? A theory is just that - unproven.

In fact, one definition of theory::

"a proposed explanation whose status is still conjectural, in contrast to well-established propositions that are regarded as reporting matters of actual fact." Notice it says is conjecture.

As you are well aware, in science a theory is tested by coming up with a hypotheses, "A tentative explanation for an observation, phenomenon, or scientific problem that can be tested by further investigation."

The problem, and you have to put yourself into the 16th and 17th centuries here, is that the Copernican theory of heliocentricity could not be tested - that is just fact. It has nothing to do with denying science as even the best scientists of the day could not test and verify this theory. However, I would not call men like Tyco Brahe a science denier because he didn't accept heliocentrism as it couldn't be proven. It seems silly for us now as it is a given, but it was not a given then.

Per evolution, I think Chris gets hammered by enough people on the subject, so I have never felt a need to add to it. I will admit I know a lot more about history (especially of the Catholic Church) and general science than evolution, so I don't comment too much on evolution except that I know it is acceptable to believe, at least on a micro level. Still haven't seen the "missing link" between homonids and h*mo sapiens, but I will not be surprised if it is shown some day. "

 

Mike wrote on Nov 27, 2009 2:16 PM:

" STE1,

Gravity is only a theory.

Our ideas of the structure of the atom are only theories.

The concept that bacteria and viruses cause disease is only a theory.

You're abusing the word 'theory' for misleading purposes. It has nothing to do with 'conjecture'. A *hypothesis* is a conjecture. A theory is a proposed explanation for a set of observed facts. "

 

Jon wrote on Nov 28, 2009 6:39 AM:

" STE1:

Um, that's a secondary or tertiary definition, referring to common, not scientific use of the term "theory".

Dictionary.com has this clarifying entry about similarly used words::

*****Synonyms:

1. Theory, hypothesis are used in non-technical contexts to mean an untested idea or opinion. A theory in technical use is a more or less verified or established explanation accounting for known facts or phenomena: the theory of relativity. A hypothesis is a conjecture put forth as a possible explanation of phenomena or relations, which serves as a basis of argument or experimentation to reach the truth: This idea is only a hypothesis. *****

Saying "theory" in a scientific usage means "unproven" is a common deceptive tactic of science deniers of all stripes which plays upon the fact that most people don't know this distinction. It would help us move past the problems science deniers cause if you didn't support the use of that tactic.

Microevolution? That too is a deceptive tactic by science deniers. Micro/macro evolution is a misleading distinction because microevolution simply adds up to form macroevolution.

Also, you are aware that Pope Benedict has stated support for microbes to man evolution, right?

I'll put it in the next post.

Have a fun day everyone! "

 

Jon wrote on Nov 28, 2009 6:50 AM:

" The problem in the 17th century wasn't an inability to "test" heliocentrism - you know as well as I that the observing ability didn't improve much before the 19th century, and heliocentrism was well accepted before that. It was that heliocentrism was simpler - a good application of Occam's razor.

From Pope Benedict, showing his acceptance of microbes to man evolution:

Since it has been demonstrated that all living organisms on earth are genetically related, it is virtually certain that all living organisms have descended from this first organism. Converging evidence from many studies in the physical and biological sciences furnishes mounting support for some theory of evolution to account for the development and diversification of life on earth.... Ratzinger, 2004

I understand that you haven't seen transitional fossils spanning the difference between a chimp-like ancesor, and us. That's a common problem, one I partly blame scientists for, because though evolution is obvious to them, many of them have a hard time seeing that they need to be more active in helping others see all the evidence. Everyone doesn't have the resources of the Pope, after all. So STE1, just use this link- it shows just some of the fossils that fill that gap.

http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/hominids.html

as you can see, the transition is so smooth, that it's hard to notice much change at all between two adjacent skulls, yet the first skull is chimp like, the last is a modern human like you or I.

Take care- "

 

Jenni F. wrote on Nov 28, 2009 9:31 AM:

" STE: Kepler held with Galileo (and was a contemporary of Brahe (who died from overindulgence and bladder failure at a party with the king)).

There was evidence that Galileo and Capernicus were right even then. One of the reasons that Galileo was so confident was because of the advent of telescopes. Remember: Galileo is the one that discovered the four moons of Jupiter. Heliocentism had plenty of evidence in that time.

Galileo often complained to friends about being condemned by people who would not even LOOK through a telescope.

Also, contrary to your portrayal, Galileo was a very religious Catholic. He was frustrated with literalists who could not see the symbolic nature of the Bible and how literalism was incompatible with reality. (sound familiar?)

He "Admonished" by the church in 1616 - which is why he fell silent for a while. He was quiet and respectful and said nothing during this admonishment according to witnesses. The record was destroyed in order to put forth a new admonishment to falsely condemn him in 1633.

The Pope died and the new Pope seemed encouraging, so Galileo published his Dialogues in the early 1630s. He nearly did not get it published because of division in the church and then publishing was halted and he was put on trial in 1633.

They required Galileo - then old and infirm - to travel 200 miles to trial (no cars no nothing recall this is 1633). Then, using the false injunction, they condemned him without even hearing his side. He pleabargained a "confession" to avoid dying in prison.

Inquisitions were not always blood and gore, but they were always fearfilled and unpleasant. "

 

Jenni F wrote on Nov 28, 2009 9:44 AM:

" Just for the record, this is the statement that was used to condemn Galileo in 1633. You will note that there is no wiggle room in it. There is no allowance that he might discuss it as even so much as a "wouldnt it be fascinating if **** but of course we all know that the Earth is the center of the universe" - The debate over hypothesis vs theory vs absolute truth is moot - not relevant:

“At the palace, the usual residence of Lord Cardinal Bellarmine, the said Galileo, having been summoned and being present before the said Lord Cardinal, was...warned of the error of the aforesaid opinion and admonished to abandon it; and immediately thereafter...the said Galileo was by the said Commissary commanded and enjoined, in the name of His Holiness the Pope and the whole Congregation of the Holy Office, to RELINQUISH ALTOGETHER the said opinion that the Sun is the center of the world and immovable and that the Earth moves; nor further to hold, teach, or defend it IN ANY WAY WHATSOEVER, verbally or in writing; otherwise proceedings would be taken against him by the Holy Office; which injunction the said Galileo acquiesced in and promised to obey.” Feb 25, 1616 (Falsified entry later used in the 1633 trial, CAPS added by me) "

 

cliff wrote on Nov 28, 2009 2:53 PM:

" I find it quite amusing when conservatives attack the scientific method while typing away on a computer connected to the internet - technology made possible by scientists using the stringent rules of the scientific method. I guess these strict rules apply to everything and work well unless it happens to conflict with their INTERPRETATION of the a non-scientific religious text. Then suddenly these scientists are nincompoops who don't know what they are talking about. Talk about having it both ways! Those who reject science should reject everything it provides them on a daily basis, not just the parts that are inconvenient to their religious dogma. If you don't trust science or scientists, sell your car and computer, cancel your doctor's appointment and go live off the land. You won't be missed. "

 

STE1 wrote on Nov 28, 2009 3:19 PM:

" Ah, the fun begins – in 300 word snippets, no less, LOL!! I didn’t realize this would need such a discussion. I mean, what is it I am writing that you all are objecting to? Does anyone really think heliocentrism had been “proved” at the time of Galileo and had widespread acceptance in the scientific community? If that is true, it is different than what I have come across. So, instead of objecting so much, show me where I am wrong about this. Give me something that says heliocentrism was a widespread truth (and not just a theory) and was accepted by the majority of astromomers in the late 16th and early 17th century – because if it was, I haven’t been able to find it. Try viewing this as the people of that time would, not with the knowledge we have now. There are way too many comments from Mike, Jon, and Jenni to answer all at once, but I’ll try to slowly get to some of the objections if you can be patient. "

 

STE1 wrote on Nov 28, 2009 4:27 PM:

" Cliff, if you are going to criticize, please give examples. This is what the scientific method is:

"a method of research in which a problem is identified, relevant data are gathered, a hypothesis is formulated from these data, and the hypothesis is empirically tested."

Where has this been attacked? The hypothesis of heliocentrism was formulated by Copernicus and later by Galileo. The other hypothesis was geocentrism. At the time both were part of accepted astronomical science. Both had supporters, both had doubters.

The bible has not been quoted in any comments here - we aren't discussing geocentrism vs heliocentrism and which is true.

Where do you see any aspect of the rejection of science in either Bufka's article or the ensuing discussions? "

 

STE1 wrote on Nov 28, 2009 9:13 PM:

" Mike – it is the dictionary at dictionary.com that uses the word “conjecture”, not me. You say that a theory is a ‘proposed explanation for a set of observed facts. “I agree. It is a proposed explanation – just as Copernicus and Galileo proposed an explanation for what they were observing. However, does a proposed explanation = proof of a theory being true? Given that they talked about circular orbits rather than the elliptical ones which were eventually found to be true, they certainly weren’t 100% correct with their proposed explanation. Jon objected to the use of the #2 definition. Fine – but the #1 definition says:

1. a coherent group of general propositions used as principles of explanation for a class of phenomena: Einstein's theory of relativity.

2. a proposed explanation whose status is still conjectural, in contrast to well-established propositions that are regarded as reporting matters of actual fact.

Galileo and Copernicus before him proposed “general propositions” to explain the phenomena of what they were seeing (correctly known as heliocentrism), but “proof” did not come until later. Thus, it was a proposed explanation (or theory) that was still conjectural in the early 17th century. Some even feel that it wasn’t until the time of Isaac Newton in the late 17th – early 18th century that science finally had enough proof to lead to general acceptance of heliocentrism.

If your reading on this subject is different from mine per when heliocentrism was THE accepted explanation of planetary movement, please say where as I am always interested in learning.

Thanks. "

 

STE1 wrote on Nov 28, 2009 9:22 PM:

" Jon –per evolution - I have never said anything about the theory of evolution being wrong. You won’t find that in anything I write – if you have, please show me. Of course I know the Catholic Church accepts evolution, but within the context of creation. Pope Benedict also said:

“In order to develop and evolve, the world must first be, and thus have come from nothing into being. It must be created, in other words, by the first Being who is such by essence.” (Oct. 08).

Why would he say this? Because Vatican I defined that Catholics must "confess the world and all things which are contained in it, both spiritual and material, as regards their whole substance, have been produced by God from nothing" (Canons on God the Creator of All Things, canon 5).

So, let’s both agree that evolution is a reality of science and I’ve never denied it. I actually got the concept of microevolution vs macroevolution from the website www.talkorigins.org . (which you referred to as well). If micro/macro evolution is a deceptive tactic of some sort, why do they discuss it there, even going on to define the difference between the two? This discussion was on Galileo, not evolution. I was only trying to answer the question you proposed about Chris Stevens, not get into a discussion of evolution which, as I admitted right away, “I know a lot more about history (especially of the Catholic Church) and general science than evolution, so I don't comment too much on evolution…” Hope that helps. "

 

Jon wrote on Nov 29, 2009 5:35 AM:

" The problem in the 17th century wasn't an inability to "test" heliocentrism - you know as well as I that the observing ability didn't improve much before the 19th century, and heliocentrism was well accepted before that. It was that heliocentrism was simpler - a good application of Occam's razor.

From Pope Benedict, showing his acceptance of microbes to man evolution:

Since it has been demonstrated that all living organisms on earth are genetically related, it is virtually certain that all living organisms have descended from this first organism. Converging evidence from many studies in the physical and biological sciences furnishes mounting support for some theory of evolution to account for the development and diversification of life on earth.... Ratzinger, 2004

I understand that you haven't seen transitional fossils spanning the difference between a chimp-like ancesor, and us. That's a common problem, one I partly blame scientists for, because though evolution is obvious to them, many of them have a hard time seeing that they need to be more active in helping others see all the evidence. Everyone doesn't have the resources of the Pope, after all. So STE1, just use this link- it shows just some of the fossils that fill that gap.

http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/hominids.html

as you can see, the transition is so smooth, that it's hard to notice much change at all between two adjacent skulls, yet the first skull is chimp like, the last is a modern human like you or I.

Take care- "

 

cliff wrote on Nov 29, 2009 8:37 AM:

" STE1: Actually my mention of the scientific method had nothing to do with your in-depth discussion of heliocentrism. It was directed at those who dismiss the science behind evolution because it doesn't square with their religious beliefs yet are willing to accept other scientific theories unquestioningly because there is no perceived conflict with the extreme religious views. Either reject all established science or none of it, don't cherry pick. It makes those who do just look plain stupid. "

 

 

By email:

MD

that was good work in Tuesday's paper, Norb.  it is so good to have a scholar in residence here in Midland.  thank you for your wonderful contributions to the common good.

 

KG:

Dear Mr Bufka,

Thank you for your very interesting piece of 11/24/09. Please keep writing. I have also enjoyed you past editorials.