The Vatican and I.D.
Ben Myers mentions the Vatican's re-endorsement of evolution. Piux XII had tipped his hat to evolution in 1950, and John Paul II embraced it with open arms in 1996. Now Benedict XVI's regime gives another thumbs up in panning Intelligent Design. John Thavis reports here.
"The problem with intelligent design is that it turns to a 'superior cause' -- understood though not necessarily named as God -- to explain supposed shortcomings of evolutionary science. But that's not how science should work, the [Vatican newspaper] article said...
" 'Intelligent design does not belong to science and there is no justification for the pretext that it be taught as a scientific theory alongside the Darwinian explanation,' it said.
"From the church's point of view, Catholic teaching says God created all things from nothing, but doesn't say how, the article said. That leaves open the possibilities of evolutionary mechanisms like random mutation and natural selection.
" 'God's project of creation can be carried out through secondary causes in the natural course of events, without having to think of miraculous interventions that point in this or that direction,' it said."
For whatever reason, Catholics have remained consistently sane on the subject of evolution. I went to Catholic high schools, junior and senior, in the 80s (though I was never Catholic), and was taught evolution as biologically factual. Aside from one silly nun, I never had any teachers who expressed hostility or reservations about the theory. And this was before John Paul II's definitive pronouncement in the 90s.
Catholics aren't bad when they're on top of things.