EVOLUTION: "LET US MAKE MAN IN OUR IMAGE"

Position of the Church: The Dogma / Doctrine
  1. The Church has no position on evolution per se, other than evolution must, ultimately, be directed by God; it is not the result of random effects, blind chance, uncontrolled by God:

Nothing exists that does not owe its existence to God. (CCC 338)

  1. Evolution may be a "secondary cause", i.e. a means whereby God directs change:

God is the first cause who operates in and through secondary causes. (CCC 308)

  1. The human body may be a product of evolution, but the soul was first instilled by God:

...the teaching authority of the Church does not forbid that, in conformity with the present state of human sciences and sacred theology, research and discussions...take(s) place with regard to the doctrine of evolution, in as far as it inquires into the origin of the human body as coming from pre-existent and living matter[but] the Catholic faith obliges us to hold that souls are immediately created by God. (emphasis added; Pius XII, Humani Generis).

That is to say, the human soul is specially created; it did not evolve, and, unlike our bodies, it is not inherited from our parents.

  1. Are humans descended from 1 man + 1 woman (monogenism), or were there many human ancestors (polygenism)? It is not clear whether monogenism is doctrine or dogma (see CCC 360). The question is, can "Original Sin" be said to have occurred without monogenism? If not, then monogenism is dogma.



Evolutionary Models.
  1. Distinguish between evolution--descent of species from some common ancestor or organism--and the Darwinian model for evolution:



  1. Evidence for evolution:

Graph above shows similarities between myoglobin structure of human (HU), chimpanzee (CH) and gorilla (GO), differences with pig (PG), whale (WHK), alligator (AQ), tuna (TUY), shark

SPECIES

GENE SEQUENCE THAT CODES PROTEIN

RANDOM DNA SEGMENTS BETWEEN GENES

Chimpanzee

100%

98%

Dog

99

52

Mouse

99

40

Chicken

75

4

Fruit Fly

60

About 0

Round Worm

35

About 0



Mechanism for Evolution: DNA and Heredity.




DNA provides instructions (through the synthesis of RNA in the cell) for synthesis of proteins, which in turn govern metabolism and construction of cells. DNA consists of four organic bases, adenine (A), cytosine (C), thymine (T) and uracil (U) which link to each other across DNA strands in a very specific way. A sequence of 4 bases, e.g. AGCT, or GGAC, forms a "word", i.e. an instruction for protein synthesis from amino acids.




Evidence Against the Darwinian Model?




    Problems with the Darwinian model for evolution:












Evidence For the Darwinian Model?







A Path for Human Evolution: Mitochondrial Eve:







CRITIQUE OF INTELLIGENT DESIGN AND THE DARWINIAN MODEL

Is Intelligent Design  science, rather than philosophy?   Can it be falsified?   Can it offer predictions to be verified by observation or experiment (the Anthropic Principle, i.e. a finely tuned universe did offer one such prediction:  that of the excited carbon-12 nuclear level that facilitated the three-alpha process.)   One has to worry about "God of  the Gaps" type arguments, that because science  does not offer an explanation (at a given point in history), no such explanation is possible and therefore direct (as distinguished from "Second Cause") Divine action must be operative.    Moreover, there are some subtle flaws in Behe's mathematical probability arguments (see class lecture).

Although the phylogenetic tree, the similarities in DNA and proteins between closely related species,  behaves like an evolutionary tree, it only shows common descent, i.e. that organisms evolved from a common one-celled form; it does not verify the Darwinian mechanism for that evolution.   No mathematical analysis has, to my knowledge, shown how complicated genetic structures could be changed in a random way to form the code for different phyla.

THE ORIGIN OF LIFE

The biggest question materialism/physicalism has to answer (and has not yet answered) is how life arose in the beginning.   Frances Krick, co-discoverer of DNA's structure, has suggested it might have been planted here by aliens or arrived via cometary debris.   That just begs the question, and one can ask where did the life from the aliens or on the cometary debris come from?