Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Aquinas vs. Intelligent Design

The eminent Francis Beckwith points us to a very good essay by Professor Michael W. Tkacz, published last year by This Rock magazine, entitled Aquinas vs. Intelligent Design. Tkacz makes a number of good points with respect to a Thomistic point of view, some points which I have been attempting to articulate (lacking background, skill, credibility, experience, etc) for some time:
Both Darwinism, with its secular challenge to the unity of faith and reason, as well as the attempt of ID theorists to disprove evolutionary theory vindicate Pope Leo’s selection of Aquinas as the model for Catholic intellectuals. Thomism has something useful and corrective to say on both sides of the debate. At the same time, Thomism does not replace the natural sciences, or perhaps to put it better, a Thomistic intellectual synthesis includes precisely the sort of research found in the modern natural sciences that have produced so much understanding of nature. In the Thomistic view, the teachings of the faith are fully compatible with what we learn of nature through scientific research, provided we both understand those divine teachings correctly and we do our scientific research consistently and rigorously. The truth or falsity of the claim that the diversity of living species is due to some sort of evolutionary process is a matter to be settled through biological research. Whatever the outcome of this research, it can never replace the need to explain the existence of the natural world in terms of a creation ex nihilo according to God’s divine design.
What does this mean for Intelligent Design? He continues (emphasis mine):
Clearly, the secular claims associated with modern Darwinism require the sort of corrective provided by Thomism. Does this mean, then, that Catholics should make common cause with ID advocates? Insofar as ID theory represents a "god of the gaps" view, then it is inconsistent with the Catholic intellectual tradition. Thanks to the insights of Aquinas and his many followers throughout the ages, Catholics have available to them a clearer and more consistent understanding of Creation. If Catholics avail themselves of this Thomistic tradition, they will have no need to resort to "god of the gaps" arguments to defend the teachings of the faith. They will also have a more complete and harmonious understanding of the relationship of the Catholic faith to scientific reason.
I, too, think this approach is best when we are dealing with the abiding secularism and, indeed, atheism that is rampant in the modern, scientific world.

No comments:


Related Posts with Thumbnails