mardi, septembre 23, 2008

"You think you want some evolution??? Well...

Last week the Church of England apologized to the late Charles Darwin for having “misunderstood” his theory of evolution.

Posted on the Church of England’s website, the apology by the Rev. Dr. Malcolm Brown has given journalists like Daily Mail reporter Jonathan Petre (Church makes ‘ludicrous’ apology to Charles Darwin - 126 years after his death Mail Online) an occasion for barely disguised incredulity, not to mention mirth.

Here’s the lede:
"The Church of England will tomorrow officially apologise to Charles Darwin for misunderstanding his theory of evolution.
In a bizarre step, the Church will address its contrition directly to the Victorian scientist himself, even though he died 126 years ago."
Challenging as it might be, it would have been nice if Petre had been able to resist the temptation to treat the whole contretemps as satire. Almost every person he quotes (with the exception of the kicker quote at the end), from one of Darwin’s great-great grandsons to the British President of the National Secular Association, has something mocking to say about the statement.
If there must are theologians and clergy defending the denomination’s attempt to make reparations, they don’t appear in Petre’s article.
That being said, there is a deliciously guilty pleasure in reading quotes like this:
Former Conservative Minister Ann Widdecombe, who left the Church of England to become a Roman Catholic, said: ‘It’s absolutely ludicrous. Why don’t we have the Italians apologising for Pontius Pilate? ‘We’ve already apologised for slavery and for the Crusades. When is it all going to stop? It’s insane and makes the Church of England look ridiculous.’
Kudos to the Times Online for its more balanced approach (Catholic Church to hold debate on God and evolution -Times Online) to the news that the Catholic Church is going to hold a conference about evolution in March 2009,. 150 years after Darwin’s Origin of Species appeared. Reporter Sara Delaney takes a straightforward approach to the story, offering both context and explanation for the Catholic Church’s historical and contemporary position on this controversial topic.
Not until the fifth paragraph that she quotes a Catholic Church official, who distinguishes the Vatican’s position from that of the Church of England with delicate but deadly diplomacy.
Mgr Ravasi termed the Anglican apology for having condemned Darwin both “curious and significant”. He said that it showed “a mentality different than ours". An open dialogue between faith and science especially in the light of new developments should be encouraged, “without forcing an accord that doesn’t exist,” Mgr Ravasi added. Other organisers cited Pope Pius XII who said in 1950 that the Church did not prohibit the study of evolution, and Pope John Paul II who said in 1995 that Darwinism was no longer considered “a mere hypothesis."
On the topic of the church’s response to evolution, Delaney plays it straight, while Petre goes for the obvious potshots. Shedding light instead of heat, her article is much more illuminating.

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