I do not believe in the Theory of Evolution. I am certain that I do not believe in it. I thought that I did for a while, but I realized over the last few months that I never really have.
This is a controversial topic, to say the least, and I think I will actually write about this topic for the next couple of posts but with greater depth. Therefore, this post may act as a sort of “teaser” as to the reasons I do not believe in the Theory of Evolution.
Now, I know that some people are probably lumping me in with a “Fundamentalist”. However, I have a question for you… As Catholics, aren’t we the true “Fundamentalists”? Other Christians don’t take the Bible at its word when it comes to the Eucharist, or Confession, or the Pope, or Original Sin, and a whole host of other teachings that are infallible teachings of our church. In fact, so-called “Fundamentalists” are not really fundamentalists at all. Sure, they read the dates in the Bible as literal, and they deny the Theory of Evolution, but they do not take Our Lord literally at the Last Supper, or when He commissions Peter, or when He commissions his Apostles to forgive sins. They even suggest that Jesus was using some sort of metaphor when he ratified his insistence on physically eating His Body during the Bread of Life discourse. In fact, it would stand to reason that as Catholics we aren’t “Fundamentalists”, but rather that we believe in the Fundamentals of the Faith.
I teach religion classes at a High School. Yes, orthodox believing Catholic religion teachers do exist, we are rare, but we exist. In my class, we use the Catechism, Encyclicals and the Authoritative Councils of the Church as our primary resources. When the kids ask me a question, and I am not sure of the answer, I make sure to consult the Tradition of the Church. When the students used to ask me about the Theory of Evolution, I used to give an answer that I thought was correct, because I had heard it from “experts”. As a side note, I have come to realize that the Theory of Evolution is an area about which even the strongest of Catholics seem keener on consulting the latest scientific journal than the Magisterium. I used to say to my students something like “we are free to interpret Genesis as something like Figurative Allegory, and there doesn’t seem to be a real conflict between Evolution and the Faith.” Now, in fairness to myself, I had consulted some strong Catholic minds on the subject, faithful priests and the like, and they had used words like “Figurative Allegory”, or “Deeper layers of truth”, etc. In addition, it is true, there is something figurative in the way Genesis presents Creation, and there are many layers of deeper meaning to the story than just an initial reading may suggest.
About a year and a half ago, I was listening to the audio version of G.K. Chesterton’s masterpiece The Everlasting Man, which is by far my favourite book. I have since listened to the audio version 3-4 more times. The book was written during the advent of Evolution as a main line theory, and he rejected it. I knew that of course Aquinas and others had not endorsed the theory in the past, but I always chalked that up to an absence of the scientific knowledge in their time. However, Chesterton was familiar with the theory, and he rejected it for metaphysical reasons, rather than trying to combat the material science. In his book, G.K. Chesterton makes the claim that whatever may have happened in material nature, there are simply too many metaphysical separations between Man and Animal. Evolution suggests that there is a gradation of ability and intelligence between us, yet when it comes to the most fundamental instruments of human expression, i.e. language and art, animals don’t even “begin to begin to begin” the process as Chesterton puts it. Even our closest animal relatives do not at any point take up a writing utensil in order to draw a line, let alone a letter, unless they have been behaviourally conditioned by human beings who have a superior intellect and who willingly impose a sort of order onto a lower cognitive agent. Of course, this is just one example, and I admittedly may not be doing the best job in explaining.
Something else also made me really think hard about Evolution. It is clear in Church teaching that we must believe that Adam and Eve were real people, as this is fundamental to the doctrine of Original Sin. It is also clear in the official documents that have touched on this subject in the past. It is worth pointing out that there isn’t an official Church document with any weight that actually blesses the idea of Evolution. In fact, the most recent and weighty encyclical I could find on the subject, Humane Generis, was actually quite scathing of the Theory. Because of this teaching, we have a conundrum. St Thomas Aquinas and the Church fathers are clear in their insistence that the Creation of God was perfect in the beginning. Yet the Theory of Evolution requires a lot of “trial and error” in order for Adam and Eve to exist. Furthermore, if Adam and Eve were not created specially, then of course this means that they were conceived. Now, since we need to believe that Adam and Eve are real people, this would have to mean that they were conceived in the wombs of subhuman primates, and by one chance in a million, they happened to be born of the same species and in the same place at the same time. Of course, this is hypothetically possible, as most things are hypothetically possible. But, it is far from probable, and it is a huge stretch to reconcile with Sacred Scripture. Furthermore, we need to posit a lot of God and His actions throughout the process to “baptize” the process. Of course, we can’t really believe that Evolution is random, because God has a plan. It also raises a real tough question as to what we do with all the death and disease that would have been part of the process, which we are told entered the world with the first Sin. Perhaps the Bible was only referring to human sin and death. Perhaps, but it doesn’t make that distinction.
The strongest objection I have found by a relatively modern theologian comes from St Maximillian Kolbe, the Saint of Auschwitz. He was a giant of intellect with regards to Marian theology, but he was also highly trained in Chemistry and because of this, he had a strong enough command of the natural sciences. He had his own objections to Evolution based on scientific grounds, but it was a theological truth that confirmed his dismissal of the notion. It is worth noting that Theology is the Queen of the sciences, and if material science doesn’t fit, it is not the job of Divine Science to conform itself to the whims of contemporary scholarship. Kolbe had been meditating on the words of Our Lady at Lourdes for some time, and something really caught his attention. At Lourdes, our Lady states, “I am the Immaculate Conception.” She didn’t say “I am immaculately conceived”, or any other variation. Well, if this is true, it would mean that either our Lady isn’t telling the truth, which is impossible, or that Adam and Eve, were either specially created without sin as per the Bible, or they were conceived through an evolutionary process and were also somehow conceived immaculately, that is, without Original Sin. This sort of Theistic Evolution and the approved apparition of Our Lady cannot simultaneously be true. Of course, Our Lord was also conceived and had no sin, but we know that He was specially conceived by the Holy Spirit without a biological father. The insistence of Mary’s Immaculate Conception clarifies how she was conceived with regards to her place within fallen humanity. God by his very nature couldn’t be conceived in any “fallen” way, therefore we don’t say He was “Immaculately Conceived”, but it would be more proper to speak of his Divine Conception. Furthermore, if being conceived immaculately was something that applied to other individuals, one might think that the Church would make this clear, as it would help to buttress the unique Catholic claim of the Marian Conception.
As final point to this article, I should add that we must make sure that metaphysical reasoning can be squared with physical reasoning in order for a theory to be truly viable. For example, in mathematics we have practical and applied mathematics, like arithmetic, and we have theoretical mathematics, like certain types of physics. There are a lot of ideas we can follow down the rabbit whole, but the moment they don’t match the physical reality they purport to portray, they must be disregarded. Darwinian Evolution just simply doesn’t match the logic of the natural world. No evolution has ever been observed at any time in any capacity. By nature, it cannot, as it supposedly takes a long period of time, and we of course cannot know something is evolving, because to see something as evolved would require us to look backwards in time from a seemingly evolved perspective. We can infer that things have evolved, because we can look at a set of data and phenomena and assume that because there are similarities between a group of species that there must be a common ancestor or something along those lines. But, at the same time, we could also see the same set of data and infer not a common ancestor, but a common designer for example. Also, the Theory of Evolution is a way of moving the goal posts on Creation in order to take God out of the equation. We can say that since the Big Bang that all things have evolved. However, we would need to posit a special creation that somehow skipped the process of a necessary Cosmological Evolution of elements that would have to have occurred in order to present the right setting for the Big Bang. And then, if we would like to, we can hypothesize of a Cosmological Evolution and then go from there, but it would still beg the question as to what pre-cosmological conditions must have evolved in order for the right setting for the succeeding evolution. Also, never once has anything in the history of the hard sciences ever truly suggested by use of observable and empirical research that an organism or set of organisms can provide the necessary data and information to create a completely separate and unique species. We have seen many microevolutions like dog to other breed of dog, but never a macroevolution like dog to cat. The scientific method requires us to observe a problem, propose a hypothesis, test said hypothesis, record results, and repeat until empirically verifiable. By the very fact that evolution must take hundreds of thousands or millions of years, we can never actually test it in line with the spirit of the Scientific Method. The best we can do is assume that because there are microevolutions that there can be macroevolutions. But this is a leap of faith that is anything but scientific.
The Evolutionists want us to believe that we come from a Primordial Ooze, yet we are supposed to believe that the Garden of Eden is somehow a fairy tale? The Theory of Evolution is nothing more than a poorly constructed pseudoscientific Creation story.
In any case, my gut always disagreed with the Theory of Evolution for a whole host of reasons, but it was only recently that I found a whole host of serious minds, both scientific and theological who all reject the notion for a myriad of reasons. I have only touched the surface, and I still have much to learn on the subject.
Editor’s Note: For more information on creationism with scientific backing please check out http://kolbecenter.org/ for an in-depth look into creationism through science, theology, philosophy and history.