Monday, July 22

So how did the Catholics respond to evolution?

A fascinating article.

This article discusses Catholic responses to evolution between 1859, the year of publication of Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species, and 2009, the year in which the scientific world celebrated its 150th anniversary. Firstly, I will discuss how the Vatican initially responded to evolution in the period between 1859 and 1907, the year in which Pope Pius X issued the encyclical Pascendi dominici gregis. Secondly, I will explore the responses of Catholic authorities and intellectuals and identify the local factors that influenced their responses. Also, I will demonstrate that, gradually, Catholics have shifted towards a more lenient position concerning evolution. Thirdly, I will demonstrate that, in the end, the Vatican has complied with this pattern. In general, this article shows that not only Protestants, but Catholics too have struggled to come to terms with evolution and evolutionary theory and that local factors had an impact on these negotiations.

One laughs at people who do not believe in Evolution. Seriously, no? they belong at the same level of people who believe the world is flat. But then, this is quite common. I mean, I heard somebody talk about how mountains had pegs inside them. No, seriously. Here’s the argument.


See those troughs? those are supposed to be pegs. Now I studied geography at the masters level while I was preparing for the IAS and my mum’s a professor of Geography. Do believe I have a nodding acquaintance with geography, plate tectonics and geomorphology. Here are few schematics which you may find more appropriate.



Ok so lets see some siesmological evidence on the Himalayas.


This is a seismic perspective of Yunnan South West China, the Eastern Himalayas. a depth of 17-56kms. Can you see pegs? If you are interested in mucking around with this topic, here’s a great overview. A step exists, but no pegs I am afraid.


Here’s another cross section.


So what does the blessed people say? I quote from the Islamic site:

This is how the Quran has described mountains.  God has said in the Quran:

Have We not made the earth as a bed, and the mountains as pegs?  (Quran, 78:6-7)

Modern earth sciences have proven that mountains have deep roots under the surface of the ground (see figure 9) and that these roots can reach several times their elevations above the surface of the ground.2  So the most suitable word to describe mountains on the basis of this information is the word ‘peg,’ since most of a properly set peg is hidden under the surface of the ground.  The history of science tells us that the theory of mountains having deep roots was introduced only in the latter half of the nineteenth century.3

Mountains also play an important role in stabilizing the crust of the earth.4  They hinder the shaking of the earth.  God has said in the Quran:

And He has set firm mountains in the earth so that it would not shake with you... (Quran, 16:15)

Likewise, the modern theory of plate tectonics holds that mountains work as stabilizers for the earth.  This knowledge about the role of mountains as stabilizers for the earth has just begun to be understood in the framework of plate tectonics since the late 1960’s.5

Could anyone during the time of the Prophet Muhammad  have known of the true shape of mountains?  Could anyone imagine that the solid massive mountain which he sees before him actually extends deep into the earth and has a root, as scientists assert?  A large number of books of geology, when discussing mountains, only describe that part which is above the surface of the earth.  This is because these books were not written by specialists in geology.  However, modern geology has confirmed the truth of the Quranic verses.

heh. Anyway, that was funny, I was hiccupping with laughter when I finally managed to close my mouth. But then when people believe in this kind of stuff as a faith item, then one cannot say anything, you can believe that the moon is made of green cheese and that’s fine. But don't give me the bumph about it being scientific. But then the argument remains, remember people who believe in the infallibility of religion go about doing some pretty bad things. We have seen so many examples of how people committed genocide because of religion down the ages. One chap even got sentenced to life in prison for doing that in Bangladesh. These are the people who believe in crap like this.

So how did the Catholics end up reconciling evolution with religion? It took time. It took almost a century since the publication of the On the Origin of Species in 1859 till middle of the last century for the Vatican to reconcile itself with Evolution even though it has serious issues still with evolution of human morality and intelligence. Similarly Islam and other religions will also evolve. If not, people will write more books like this and people will foam at the mouth like here. read the reviews of the people who object to the book. Hilarious. Before you object, there are other books like this, like this one for christians, and this one and this one for Hindus. Here’s an interesting one about Buddhism.

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