Montag, 29. November 2010

Talking sense

I haven't said this very often lately, but hooray for the Vatican.

A Vatican cardinal said Thursday the faithful should listen to what secular modern science has to offer, warning that religion risks turning into "fundamentalism" if it ignores scientific reason.

... Monsignor Gianfranco Basti, director of the Vatican project STOQ, or Science, Theology and Ontological Quest, reaffirmed John Paul's 1996 statement that evolution was "more than just a hypothesis."

"A hypothesis asks whether something is true or false," he said. "(Evolution) is more than a hypothesis because there is proof."

He was asked about comments made in July by Austrian Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn, who dismissed in a New York Times article the 1996 statement by John Paul as "rather vague and unimportant" and seemed to back intelligent design.

Basti concurred that John Paul's 1996 letter "is not a very clear expression from a definition point of view," but he said evolution was assuming ever more authority as scientific proof develops.

Poupard, for his part, stressed that what was important was that "the universe wasn't made by itself, but has a creator." But he added, "It's important for the faithful to know how science views things to understand better."

This is what I don't get about some of the creationism proponents: Don't you want your kids to understand the scientific theories that underpin much of what we know about biology, physics, geology, cosmology and so many other sciences? I know that argument can be turned around: "Why are you afraid of letting kids learn about intelligent design?" -- but the thing is, I'm not afraid of that. I am afraid of what happens when religion starts getting taught as science, just as I am afraid of what happens when religion starts getting too cozy with politics. Science class is not the place for the teaching of religious beliefs. You can carry yours in with you, but they don't belong in the textbook. Maybe it's Galileo guilt, but Catholicism has been pretty good about that for the past few decades...

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