Intelligent discussions on evolution and intelligent design

Maybe it’s happened to you. Conversations with friends or acquaintances veer somehow onto the topics of creation, evolution, intelligent design, faith and various other equally innocuous notions guaranteed to heat the blood and bring tempers to the boiling point in short order. Perhaps someone you know has thrust a book by Richard Dawkins or Sam Harris in your face, telling you to “read this and get yourself free of those antiquated notions” of God and faith (and, of course, that madman Jesus), all those things that have kept you in chains of ignorance all these years, so you can set your intellect free to soar with them the Empyrean heights of atheistic realism—

Pardon me. I may have to barf.

Well, I’ve been reading and listening and talking and writing as I struggle to answer the many charges leveled against myself and my religion in the course of the conversations I’ve been having with an acquaintance who happens to be an atheist—and of a particularly vocal strain, not to mention, aggressive and fairly hostile, to boot. Just in case you’ve been going through something similar in your own life, I’m going to list below some resources I’ve found recently. I’m downloading a bunch of podcasts as I type this and I’ll let you know later what I think about them.

  • Dr. Benjamin Wiker co-authored with Scott Hahn a book called: Answering the New Atheism: Dismantling Dawkins’ Case Against God. I haven’t read it yet. I can’t find it in a bookstore around here, so I’m going to order it online. Funny, ain’t it: all the stores have Dawkins and Harris, et al. But not one of them carries the Catholic response to their hostile (and ridiculous) accusations. What a world we live in.
  • Dr. Wiker has written many articles about evolution, Neo-Darwinism, and the New Atheists.
  • Intelligent Design The Future “carries on Discovery Institute’s mission of exploring the issues central to evolution and intelligent design (ID). IDTF provides listeners with the most current news and views on evolution and ID through brief interviews with key scientists and scholars developing the theory of ID, as well as insightful commentary from Discovery Institute senior fellows and staff on the scientific, educational and legal aspects of the debate.”
  • Discovery Institute aims “to make a positive vision of the future practical. The Institute discovers and promotes ideas in the common sense tradition of representative government, the free market and individual liberty. Our mission is promoted through books, reports, legislative testimony, articles, public conferences and debates, plus media coverage and the Institute’s own publications and Internet website.”

I’m still downloading and reading at this point, but I can tell you I’ve heard Dr. Wiker speak before. I heard him on Franciscan University Presents a little while back, and I heard him recently on Johnnette Benkovic‘s The Abundant Life, and I thoroughly enjoyed both shows.

I’ll write more about all this after I’ve had time to digest some of what I’m learning. My conversations have shown me where I need to concentrate on learning and clarifying my understanding and also my ability to express and share those ideas. Friday night’s conversation was particularly humiliating, but it did show me exactly what I need to work on right now. So I guess that is a silver lining, after all.

4 thoughts on “Intelligent discussions on evolution and intelligent design

  1. I’m not sure I would depend heavily upon sources that argue for Intelligent Design. I would suggest reading some Kenneth Miller, Catholic biologist from Brown University, who wrote “Finding Darwin’s God”, in which he argues the compatibility of God and evolution.


    1. Disciple

      Hey, there, Dharmashaiva (Waves) How ya been? :)

      Well, I don’t know that I would say I’m depending heavily upon anyone but Christ and the Church. But I appreciate the lead. :) Christoph Cardinal Schönborn, OP, has written about this, too, in his book, Chance or Purpose. A friend gave me a copy, but I’ve only read part of it so far. I have listened to some audio of a conference on the same subject. But I kept falling asleep every time I played it. ;)

      I’ve only reacently starting to download material to read and listen to/watch. I have to say that I find Intelligent Design much more plausible than Darwinian evolution. The fact that there are more notions of evolution than Darwin’s is something most people don’t seem to notice. Darwinian evolution is pretty much atheistic and I don’t see any way of getting around that, so it is, by definition, incompatible with Christianity of any stripe.


  2. Hi, Aaron :)

    From what I’ve heard and read of Dawkins, he certainly seems to have a problem with God Himself, with religion, with Christianity, with just about everything I hold dear. Other Christians are precisely what helped draw me to the Church. But they are not ultimately why I chose (and continue to choose) to be a Christian.

    Ghandi was a great man, fond of many religions, as I myself once was. (I wasn’t a great man, but I was fond of many religions.) I thought of them all as being one and I had a lot of trouble picking one to settle down with. But I was wrong in the way I viewed religions then, as I was wrong about a great many other things.

    If one is going to choose a religion based solely upon what other adherents of that religion do, then what does one do when one finds that there are both faithful and unfaithful followers, both good and bad devotees? One should search for truth and embrace it when one has found it, no matter what other people do or do not do.

    As for Christianity being something that has been “built around the person of Jesus Christ”, this notion is a little more troubling than it might seem at first glance. I don’t see Christianity (or the Church, either, for that matter) as something extraneous to Christ. I see Christ as the Second Person of the Most Blessed and Holy Trinity Who founded the Church and taught her and promised to be be with her until the end of time.

    I see Christianity as the development of the very real deposit of faith handed on to the Apostles by their very real Lord, and handed on to their successors, generation after generation. This is not something that has been “built around” Jesus. This is, rather, something that Jesus Himself founded, began, and continues to nourish and sustain. The Church is the Body of Christ; Christianity is the way of living within that Body. And of remaining alive within that Body.


  3. I wonder if with Dawkins it is as much an argument against our God as it is against the religion that has been built around the person Jesus Christ. Perhaps much of the criticism is in the spirit of Ghandi’s sentiment: I would be a Christian if it were not for other Christians.


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