Intelligent Design is NOT Creationism

Until I imbibed the resources listed below, I was absolutely on board with the Catholic position on evolution, which is that there can be no conflict between science and faith, because God created everything.

My faith in and love for God are based on the same kinds of things that my faith in and love for my husband are based on. This is not to say that I ignore my mind in matters of the heart. I most decidedly do not. I did a very serious, intense, intellectual pursuit of all my Big Questions about God before I ever got close enough to be able to meet Him in person. I also dated for years before I met Dearest and had made a long list of things I wanted and did not want in a life mate.

After becoming a Born Again Christian at the age of 17, I read the Bible a lot, visited all kinds of churches, and hung out with many varieties of Christian believers. After a year or so, I felt a need to settle down into a faith community, so I asked God, “Where do you want me to worship, pray, learn and fellowship?” His answer was clear that, for me, it was the Roman Catholic Church.

I’ve had my differences and a few times really, really wanted to leave. Each time, He made it clear that this was His choice for me, so I’ve stuck it out. I have no illusions about my church’s short-comings, particularly in my liberal diocese in my liberal nation. Our official support for the Pro-Life movement has been sickeningly anemic and, until recently, some of the homilies and adult education programs in my parish have been based more on Democrat talking points than Church teaching or Scripture.

My point here is that Catholicism does not teach Creationism.

Pius XII’s 1950 encyclical Humani Generis (36–37) says we need not be hostile to modern cosmology.

And the Catechism of the Catholic Church states,

“[M]any scientific studies . . . have splendidly enriched our knowledge of the age and dimensions of the cosmos, the development of life forms, and the appearance of man. These studies invite us to even greater admiration for the greatness of the Creator” (283).

I believe God gave us the Bible and it’s all true. But what kind of truth are we talking about? Consider, for example, that Catholics take literally what Jesus said about having to eat His Body, but most non-Catholic Christians do not.

With respect to the apparent conflict between the creation stories in Genesis and scientific evidence for things like dinosaurs and the Big Bang, I was taught that there is no conflict. Those chapters are not historical or scientific texts, but a specific type of literature called “mythic.” (And the Psalms and the Song of Songs are “poetry.”)

In this context, the word “myth” has a bigger, deeper meaning than the throw away use it gets in things like “urban myth.” In the latter, the point of the story is to convey some historical and/or scientific truth. Even here, the word “myth” doesn’t necessarily mean “false”, any more than “old wives tales” are always wrong.

Mythic literature is totally different. In this context, the historical and/or scientific elements of the story are not the point at all. It’s only the deeper philosophical, moral and/or theological messages that are meant to be taken as literally true. This kind of literature is what we get in Aesop’s Fables and other morality tales, including the Parables of Jesus.

Examples: Mythbusters could demonstrate scientifically that the quack of a duck does echo. But they could not disprove the moral of The Lion and the Mouse — “Even the weak and small may be of help to those much mightier than themselves” — by demonstrating that lions and mice cannot talk.

There are many creation myths out there, a number of them contemporaneous with our Genesis myth. They posit things like the existence of multiple gods or that the supernatural reality is impersonal or that only the spiritual is good, but the material is evil.

By contrast, our myth tells us that there is one and only one God who is personal, loving and all-good, that He created everything and made it all good, and that evil results from departing from His perfect will.

I’m not a Scripture scholar, so I really can’t go any further with this. If you believe differently, that’s fine with me. I’m not interested in proselytizing or arguing, only explaining what I believe, which so far as I know, is consistent with Catholic teaching.

My big point in belaboring the issue in this blog is to provide a context for why you can take my word that I had no stake whatsoever in the Darwin vs. Intelligent Design debate. I was perfectly comfortable with the Catholic position, “If Darwin is right, it’s because that is how God chose to do things.”

And it’s not just because I’m not a scientist. I have a very devout Catholic nephew who teaches Biology. He also has no problem with Darwin.

However, as much as I am not a scientist, I really enjoy anything about science, provided it is dumbed down enough for me to understand it. So, back when I was having my big epiphany about what a load of donkey doo most of my political assumptions were, I became intrigued by the Intelligent Design  movement. The more I learned, the more I wanted to learn. My personal favorite resources on the SCIENCE of Intelligent Design are:

Unlocking the Mystery of Life DVD

The Privileged Planet DVD

Icons of Evolution, a SHORT book by Jonathan Wells

Signature in the Cell: DNA and the Evidence for Design, a LONG book by Stephen C. Meyer

At this point, I have no question whatsoever that Darwin’s theories are headed the same way that Freud’s went. Real scientists are finding more and more evidence within nature that points to the existence of an intelligent designer. It’s very exciting stuff.

If you enjoyed this, you might also like


Filed under Catholic Church, Christianity, Creation, Evolution, Science

12 responses to “Intelligent Design is NOT Creationism

  1. FranklytheNut

    I strongly disagree with you on this. Theistic evolution is bad science and bad religion. Here are a few reasons why it’s bad religion. (a) The Bible says the world was created in six literal days, evenings and mornings. Extensive linguistic research has been done on this by both Jewish and Christian scholars, to confirm this interpretation. There is no room, in Genesis 1, for long evolutionary eons to be represented by the Genesis “day”. (2) Jesus spoke of Adam, Eve, and Abel as literal people, not mythological figures. (3) The Bible says that death was the direct result of sin. Evolution–the survival of the fittest–requires that death appear on the scene long before there was anyone around to commit a sin. No sin, no death. For it to be otherwise, the Bible would be blatantly, demonstrably false. (4) The 7-day weekly cycle is a world-wide phenomenon among wildly-scattered peoples and cultures, reaching to antiquity. There is no natural explanation (day, month, year, etc.). The weekly cycle has no reason to exist except the Genesis story. (5) Jesus identified in the Bible as the Creator. You’d think, if He was there, He’d know how it happened and how long it took. (6) Jesus and the cross are presented as the Bible answer to sin and death. Genesis explains where sin and death came from; if death (the result of sin) existed before sinners, Jesus had no reason to die and pay the price of sins…since sin and death obviously have no connection to each other. (7) The Bible purports to tell us where we came from and where we are going. My personal, unshakeable belief if that God is so stupid that He doesn’t really know where I came from, or how I got here, there is NO reason whatsoever to believe Him when He claims to know where I’m going, or how I should get there. Obviously, He doesn’t have a clue, and the “promise” of destination and reward is no more to be trusted than the allegations-claiming-to-be-fact regarding origins. I will chuck the whole thing before I choose to believe one without the other.

    Having said that, ID is one of the most interesting things going these days. I am fascinated by creation science, and have tons of books and videos about it, as well as ID. You’re right that Darwin’s theory is crumbling. The weight of new scientific evidence is overwhelming. Why don’t you hear about it? Same reason we don’t hear unpleasant facts about liberals. The truth is suppressed by those with an agenda, and the desire for power. But there is PLENTY of really cutting-edge research going on, and information aplenty for anyone interested enough to do a little digging.

    Nobody has to believe what the Bible says about origins…or anything else, for that matter. But I have never seen the Bible as some sort of spiritual buffet, where you pick out the tasty bites you like, and reject the ones you don’t. That seems to me to be a very risky attitude to take, when the results of wrong choices are WAY more significant than a one-time bad meal.


  2. FranklytheNut

    Oneof the first ID books I read, and still one of the best, is Darwin’s Black Box, by Michael Behe PhD (Catholic, not that it mattered to his research), a professor at a university back East. I forget which one. There were parts of it that were so complex that I just had to keep reading until I got to something I could understand (the clotting cascade would be one of those parts), but what I could understand was WAY worth wading through the medical details that were over my nurse head!


    • chrissythehyphenated

      I had the same “wade through but worth it” experience with The Signature in the Cell. I followed the history and philosophy just fine, because I have backgrounds in those fields, and the biology I got up to a point. The math and computer science stuff left me in the dust, so I skimmed over those bits, which may be the only reason I finished the book at all. It’s a real door stopper!


      • FranklytheNut

        Darwin’s Black Box was never uninteresting, just extremely complex. Darwin never foresaw the discoveries science would make about his “black box,” the “simple” cell.


  3. Ting

    My head is swimming. I may have to think about this later in the summer – when my toes are in the sand and my head is more clear.


    • FranklytheNut

      When I read Michael Behe’s book, with its overwhelmingly persuasive evidence of intelligent design, based largely on the many examples of irreducible complexity in nature, I was disappointed, when I came to the end, that God was never mentioned. Instead, Intelligent Design was postulated from the evidence, but God was not. I thought it was a weinie cop-out at first, being afraid to name the Designer. But then I realized it was a very wise first approach to atheistic evolutionists who would find it VERY difficult to make the mental leap from random chance to Intelligent Design, and downright impossible to take a farther leap from random chance to Omnipotent God. ID allows scientists to discuss evidence if ID without getting bogged down, right off the bat, in religious discussions that would make many of the participants feel uncomfortable and unscientific. Once you get the conversation going, though, it can pretty much go anywhere, and I like the way ID can do that.

      The Bible and science are NOT in conflict with each other. Each disputed point can be reasonably and evidentially explained to either the evolutionist or the creationist, from their respective points of view….at which time it becomes a matter of faith. Which world view will you accept, on the basis of the most compelling evidence? What will you believe be?

      I have done so much read about this. I have books. I have DVDs. I have more books. I got stuff I can pretty much guarantee you not likely to have seen before. I totally adore these conversations, and glom onto them like paste whenever I find one I like. (beats discussing if this is Grandpa’s bowel day and will he be able to go by himself, or will I be digging it out one piece at a time?) I have written stuff on this subject and if there are any others who’d like to form a discussion group (not necessarily here) to research questions you have, I would be thrilled to be a part of it. Or, alternatively, you could borrow some of my books and we could pass them around as long as I can get them back. It would be nice if people volunteered willingly to “chat”; not quite so much fun if you have to dragged into the conversation, kicking and squealing, by your scruff….but, really, 9 miles from the Canadian border, 1/3 mile from the Montana/North Dakota state line, and in a town fully 1/2 mile square, living in a house with once-brilliant man who taught me to be fascinated by this stuff, but who can no longer understand any of it himself, I pine morosely for like minds to converse with.


  4. chrissythehyphenated

    I googled my library and found out Behe’s got a newer book out too, “The edge of evolution : the search for the limits of Darwinism” (2007)

    Summary: Draws on new findings in genetics to pose an argument for intelligent design that refutes Darwinian beliefs about evolution while offering alternative analyses of such factors as disease, random mutations, and the human struggle for survival.

    Haven’t read Black Box yet, so put them both on hold. I may regret this. Together, they’re more than 600 pages LOL.


  5. FranklytheNut

    I’m sure I’ve still got Darwin’s Black Box. (He must’ve left it behind on his last visit here! LOL) I’ll send it to you if you like, and then you can decide whether or not you want to go for his latest, which I hadn’t heard of yet. That man is a genius, and very unpopular with evolutionists.


    • chrissythehyphenated

      I love what I’ve seen of Behe on the DVDs. If you want to part with the book, I’d love having it. Less pressure to read than a library book with a due date.


  6. FranklytheNut

    I’ll have to look. All my books on that subject are in one place, so it shouldn’t be too hard to find. In a sense, Behe IS an evolutionist, believing in long ages of the earth and common descent. He just believes ID started the process, in which case we run into my previous objections to turning the Genesis story into a myth.


    • chrissythehyphenated

      I want to reiterate that I only glossed Catholic teaching on this in the most superficial way AND that “turning the Genesis story into a myth” is NOT what it’s all about. It is a LOT more subtle than that.


      • FranklytheNut

        And I didn’t delve into the depths of creationism, or the evidences for it, although I did prepare a paper once about the subject. It wasn’t “in depth” either, because there’s so much depth to the subject it’s hard to cover…and when you try, as you’ve found out, the books are VERY long!