Evolution as Heresy?

by Frank M. Rega

As published in "Christian Order," August/September 2006 issue, pp. 66-77, and subsequently reprinted in "The Remnant" and in "Daylight" magazines.

Important Note: Shortly after this article appeared in print, Fr. George Coyne was replaced as Director of the Vatican Observatory.  Fortunately, there is no evidence at all that this article, which is highly critical of his stance on evolution, had anything to do with that action; such an occurrence was the furthest thing on my mind while writing it, and was not in the least intended.

"Science, my son, for all its greatness, is still an inferior thing; it is less than nothing when compared to the formidable mystery of Divinity."           St. Padre Pio.

In an address by Pope John Paul II to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences on October 22, 1996, entitled "Truth Cannot Contradict Truth," 1 the Holy Father made this controversial statement: "...new knowledge has led to the recognition of the theory of evolution as more than a hypothesis."  This assertion greatly enflamed many in the anti-evolution camp, who felt that it set back the causes of creationism and "intelligent design," which had been making great headway.

However, one aspect of evolutionary theory is "natural selection", and in certain limited cases dealing with changes within a species, natural selection is in fact "more than a hypothesis."  For example, some studies have shown that beak sizes in finches can vary depending on selection due to environmental factors.  The same phenomenon of variation has been found in classical studies of the survival value of changes in wing coloration of peppered moths. Yet, in the end, we still have finches and peppered moths.   The changes are due to natural selection and the environment acting on variations in the genetic information within members of a species.

However, the aspect of evolutionary theory that is most often questioned and debated is the supposition of "common evolutionary descent." It is questionable because there is no experimental, scientific proof that one species or family has descended from another. It is merely a hypothesis, and has not progressed beyond this stage for a century and a half. The term evolution in this essay will refer to this concept of common evolutionary descent.

In recent years the work of scientists who employ intelligent design theory has effectively debunked the notion of neo-Darwinism, i.e. evolution of new species arising from the interaction of natural selection, the environment, and genetic changes primarily due to mutations. Among the active pioneers in the intelligent design community are the London-educated Michael Denton, and the Americans William Dembski, and Michael Behe, a Catholic. Nevertheless, the new developments that have effectively challenged neo-Darwinism have not prevented evolutionists from brazenly referring to their model as the "fact of evolution." But evolutionary descent can be labeled neither a fact, nor as "more than a hypothesis", since it has never been scientifically proven that higher animals and plants developed from other species or simpler forms of life. Controlled laboratory experiments on genetic mutations have failed to produce evidence of new species evolution or even an "improved version" of an existing species.





Read the complete article in the above book, available in print or Kindle format.


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Frank M. Rega is the author of: 
 Padre Pio and America,
St. Francis of Assisi and the Conversion of the Muslims,

The Greatest Catholic President: Garcia Moreno of Ecuador
 The Truth about Padre Pio's Stigmata and Other Wonders of the Saint

Vatican II, Evolution, and Medjugorje: Hubris, Heresy, and Mystery
Life of the Mystic Luisa Piccarreta - Journeys in the Divine WIll - volume 3 in preparation

www.frankrega.com      www.sanpadrepio.com   www.thepoverello.com    www.lifeofluisa.com

This page was last updated on 06/26/14