by Denyse O'Leary
The rest of Cardinal Schoenborn's Chance or Purpose? is, I am afraid, a further quiet letdown. We are told that Darwin-based evolutionary psychology cannot explain "the character of unconditional moral imperative attaching to care for a newborn human child." (p. 159) But that is precisely what it does claim to explain, and if it doesn't explain, we need to know in detail why. To clarify, your reviewer thinks that evolutionary psychology (EP) is an almost entirely worthless discipline and has often said so. But like any claim, EP must be countered specifically.
Near the end of the book, the Cardinal acknowledges the fact with which non-materialist educators struggle daily:
"We have to realize clearly that everywhere today evolution is recounted as the valid history. As a form of history, it is dominant in school books, the media, and public debate as well as in advertisements, caricatures, and so on. And it is presented as claiming to tell us how things really happened. What is left to the biblical story is at best the narrow freedom of saying something about the meaning of human life." (P. 168)
But all he offers in response is the presumed co-existence between Darwin's ladder of life and Jacob's ladder to heaven. No coexistence is possible, of course. The point of Darwin's ladder, as Darwin well knew, is to eliminate Jacob's.
And the Darwinists do not rest from their endeavour; indeed they cannot. For one thing, their ladder has lost most of its rungs. The history of life is simply not in any realistic sense a ladder. But if they can console themselves by overturning Jacob's ladder, they certainly will.
Overall, I found Cardinal Schoenborn's book profoundly disappointing. It sounds as though, when he began to challenge Darwinism, the Cardinal simply had no idea how entrenched it is in the academy - beyond the reach of any evidence whatever. So he is trying to placate pundits that, if only he realized, he could merely dismiss.
Cardinal Schoenborn on Book TV
"Cardinal Schoenborn argues that science and religion are not incompatible and that dogmatism on either side is unsupportable. He spoke at an event hosted by the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology in Berkeley, California. "
"Science studies nature, and God is not a part of nature", a review by Frank Wilson, the Books Editor of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Wilson drew attention to Schoenborn's attraction to Teilhard de Chardin:
What is perhaps most interesting is the extent to which Schoenborn is sympathetic to the views of the controversial Jesuit paleontologist Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, whose 1960 book The Phenomenon of Man (boasting a foreword by no less an evolutionist than Julian Huxley) gave a Christological spin to evolutionary theory (Christ "becomes the visible center of evolution as well as its goal, the 'omega-point' ").
Catholic Church A summary of the Catholic Church's teachings on evolution
From The Post-Darwinist:
Return to Introduction Christoph Cardinal Schoenborn's Chance or Purpose? Flickering light on the ID controversy at best
Toronto-based Canadian journalist Denyse O'Leary (www.designorchance.com) is the author of the multiple award-winning By Design or by Chance? (Augsburg Fortress 2004), an overview of the intelligent design controversy. She was named CBA Canada's Recommended Author of the Year in 2005 and is co-author, with Montreal neuroscientist Mario Beauregard, of The Spiritual Brain: A neuroscientist's case for the existence of the soul (Harper 2007).
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