Sunday, August 23, 2015

Blinded Me With Science

Galileo's Revenge

The Church faces a huge attack from the counter-religion of Scientism and its prophets the New Atheists. Stephen Hawking announced he was an atheist, citing the "Multiverse" as his reason. Never mind that the Multiverse has not only not been proven, but cannot be proven, as we simply don't have access to other (imaginary) universes. The once-sacred scientific principle of "falsifiability" is being sacrificed on the altar of atheism.

No doubt these are some clever people, but it doesn't make them right. What, is the Bear smarter than Stephen Hawking? (Answer: is the Bear more Catholic than the Pope?)

The dirty little secret is that Darwin is in trouble, the Multiverse is a fraud, and we really aren't finding "earth-like planets" that are reportedly "discovered" every six months. Gliese 581 -- "in the Goldilocks zone!" -- attained brief fame as the likely home of ET until it turned out there wasn't a planet there at all, just a mistake in data interpretation.

The Bear thinks he may have mentioned the bestseller Darwin's Doubt and how it makes a compelling case against Darwinism. It is a fascinating book about paleontology, full of the wonder that science used to evoke, before it was just another stick to beat religion. Then there's the new kid on the block, epigenetics -- the passing on of traits by mechanisms other than DNA. You ought to read the excellent Privileged Planet. We may not be in the center of the universe, but there sure seem to be a lot of coincidences for us to be anywhere at all. The Spiritual Brain: A Neuroscientist's Case for the Soul (and the more introductory Brain Wars by one of the same authors) land some solid blows against reductionist neuroscience. (All conveniently available through Amazon, to the right.)

All of these books credibly challenge the aggressively promoted theories that are, in turn, used to promote atheism.

Take Darwinism. (All life comes from a common ancestor, and forms change from one into another by the mechanism of non-intelligently-guided chance.) If you are at all suspicious of its story, you are immediately condemned as a backwoods fundy who believes in six days of creation and hates science. There are good arguments, however, that Darwin didn't get it quite right. Too many little animals in too short a time, for one -- the fossil record's a killer for Darwinism. Intelligent Design has some reasonable arguments, too, although it is relatively new.

Yet the forces of Scientism mount a fanatic defense against the most modest questions.

Thousands of very smart guys are beavering away in front of blackboards whose size is measured by the acre, doing their best to gnaw away at the Big Bang. They'll prop up String Theory, the Multiverse, or some other gimcrack, flavor-of-the-month idea.  Anything rather than that horrible Genesis 1:1 Big Bang. Yet the Big Bang still echoes. Literally. To the Bear's mind, if there was a Big Bang, that seems like it might be the way God set creation in motion.

They're even trying to exorcize the ghost in the machine. Neuroscientists are parroting Gertrude Stein's comment that "there's no there there." Only they're saying there's no "you" to have a "you," and that consciousness and free will are illusions. Forget about the soul. But there's a reason it's called "the hard problem of consciousness:" nobody has come close to solving it.

The Church is under attack by Scientism. And the best it can do is roll over and show its belly.

What Does the Pope Mean? (Again)

After saying God is not a "magician," the Pope said: “evolution in nature is not inconsistent with the notion of creation, because evolution requires the creation of beings that evolve.” It almost sounds as if he is saying God isn't powerful enough to have created everything as described in Genesis.

What does the Pope mean by "demiurge" as in "God is not" one (translated "a divine being" in English, which is bad enough)? Are the Gnostics a threat? It's all a good example of those familiar Bergoglioisms that are just unnecessary and confusing.

And what about God not being a magician who waves a magic wand and accomplishes things instantly? [Cue superior chuckles.] The Bear can't even guess, but the Pope seems to be making some sort of humorous contrast between clever people (like him) and the simple and superstitious. Are we supposed to drop a knowing chuckle at the idea of Jesus "magically" changing the water into wine, too, or rising from the dead?

What does he mean by "evolution?" The Bear doesn't know, but he knows what reporters and editors think he means: Adam and Eve is just a myth, and, at best, God is carrying the water for Charles Darwin. They trot out the Aren't-Americans-In-Flyover-Country-Stupid poll showing 42% of us don't believe in evolution. Jolly good, Pope Francis! First homosexuality, now evolution! Once again we find you're one of us!

Always, always, if we accommodate the world's opinions, the world will, if not believe us, at least like us.

Does the Pope Believe in Adam and Eve?

Doomed Couple

Now, you wouldn't know it from the Pope, but it is theologically certain (to use the official term for those teachings near the top of the hierarchy of teachings) that two unique human beings, Adam and Eve, existed in time and place, and their transgression is the source of original sin. That means it is the teaching of the Church, should be believed, and is not subject to dispute. The proposition itself is not de fide (the very highest must-believe) but original sin is, and is hard to explain without an Adam.

Furthermore, the media cannot contain their joy over Pope Pius XII's provisional, non-absolute-rejection-in-principle mention of evolution in Humani Generis. (Finally, the press likes Pope Pius XII! Maybe he'll benefit from the Francis Effect as The Evolution Pope and finally be canonized.) First came the breathless, Francis Changes Church's Teaching on Evolution, followed by stories headlined: Shrug: Church Has Always Believed In Evolution. Both were equally ignorant.

Pius XII's 1950 encyclical could hardly be more cautious, and it reaffirmed the literal existence of Adam and Eve, from whom all humans have their beginning, while rejecting polygenism (human race came from many parents). To suggest that the Church "has always taught evolution" could not be more misleading. To the extent the Pope's statement suggests we "have outgrown" belief in Adam and Eve, it is flat wrong.

What does Pope Francis believe? Who cares as long as the press is eating it up! The Bear's most hopeful guess is he thinks God contrived to create the universe in an instant (Big Bang), very much like a magician with a magic wand. Then God twiddled his thumbs for several billion years because making a man (something even the Bear and his missus accomplished at regular intervals, sometimes two at a time when we wished to show off) was beyond his "magic."

The main thing is that people like Pope Francis, and believe him to be a forward thinker very much like the reporters who write about him. His shining halo seems to best illuminate Pope Francis, though, rather than accomplish anything for the Church.

Global Warming, Si

The one thing we do know is that Pope Francis has an uncritical belief in something that has nothing to do with the eternal destiny of our souls. (Historical note. Once the Church used to spend enormous effort on whether people went to Heaven or Hell. Based on current evidence, it is unclear to what, if any, extent those running the Church still bother with such issues.)

What Pope Francis believes in passionately is Global Warming. (Global Warming is a disproved hoax that provides megalomaniacs and the gullible a means of satisfying their need to feel superior and bother other people.)

The Real Story

The Church formed an intellectual climate that fostered inquiry. Islam is said to have invented algebra in a spasm of uncharacteristic curiosity, but it was the Church that gave the scientific edge to the West. The occasional scientist or thinker, like Galileo, may have run into trouble, but, a little diplomacy could have saved Galileo a lot of trouble. We don't need to put the prestige of the Church behind paradigms that may not last the next generation. We certainly don't need to mislead people by omission about what the Church believes.

The Bear used to have issues with Adam and Eve. But if you're going to accept the Big Bang, everything else seems easy. God may not be a magician, but he is God, and can do things quickly as easily as he can do things slowly. We as Catholics hope that the Divine Magician will repeat his creation of Adam and Eve trick billions of times at the resurrection. The Bear doesn't know for sure, but has failed to be convinced by Darwinism. If some other mechanism, such as epigenetics, satisfies his questions, then, great. It's just not that important to him. What is important is that:
  • Adam and Eve's existence and Original Sin is taught by the Church
  • As a son of the Church, he gives his assent, but doesn't think about it much
  • The Pope should not deliberately mislead people about what the Church teaches
This is a Pope Francis story we are familiar with now. Some ambiguous comment wins the adulation of the press, and causes confusion to Catholics. From now on, let's call it The Franciscan Feint.


*As the Bear is sure his readers know, the Galileo controversy was a bit more complicated than most people think, and had nothing to do with evolution, nor was he burned at the stake. The Crusades were an episode in a long, long series of defensive wars against a militant Islam, and the Church did more to help Jews in WWII than any agency in the world, especially Pope Pius XII.

**Darwinism here means change from one type of animal to another by the mechanism of blind chance. It's what secular media mean by "evolution." It fails to explain the "Cambrian explosion," the fossil record, "specified complexity," and other problems with Darwin's theory.


  1. Souls do not evolve, but the flesh does. The latter is of marginal importance and the only one the media focuses on because of its disbelief in the former.

    As for the Pope saying “evolution in nature is not inconsistent with the notion of creation, because evolution requires the creation of beings that evolve", I don't think I've ever been more disappointed in a Pope failing to clarify the difference between Heaven and earth. Francis never speaks with authority; it's unnerving and we have to pray for him.

    Haha, a second doomed couple, well, let's hope not :-)

    1. Keep track -- that's three doomed couples ;-)

  2. "His shining halo seems to best illuminate Pope Francis, though, rather than accomplish anything for the Church."

    A spot-on observation, Bear, elegantly stated.

  3. Thanks Bear, great column. When I tell my mostly liberal kids I don't believe in evolution or climate change they think I'm just kidding or being intentionally outrageous. When I insist on it and tell them there is no proof for believing in either they go silent and, I suppose, charge it off to my dotage.

    Another point of contention is Pope Francis who some of them think is one of the best Popes in history. When I tell them opposite is true their opinion of me as benighted or worse is only reinforced.

    But we are still talking and that is good. But lately, I have mentioned my admiration for Trump's campaign, so maybe our talking will cease for awhile.

    Conclusion: Liberalism is very hard to defeat. But if folks had enough sense to just look around they would see evidence of it's defeat everywhere. Of course, the devil never admits defeat.

  4. Related: Two Altars at the End of Time - Laudato Si: A Manifesto of Teilhardian Theology (

  5. Liberalism is the chief demon of our time. I believe its root is self-love and pride. It is very hard to separate people from what makes them feel better than other people, that makes them feel kind, and wise, and advanced.

    Thanks to all that read through this article. I'm not particularly proud of it for some reason. I had so much to say, and don't think I did it very elegantly. A better writer would have said as much in half. Scientism is a huge problem, and it is maddening how gullible people are, and infuriating how determined atheists are to appeal to people's legitimate interest in the world around them. Global warming is just one of a half-dozen serious hoaxes poisoning the world now.


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