Slowly wise and meanly just

The Vatican has decided that Charles Darwin was not really wrong. In a remarkable display of mealy-mouthed post-hoc rationalization, it claims that Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection is not inconsistent with the idea of a biblical creation of life. Vatican Buries the Hatchet with Charles Darwin, says TimesOnLine.

A leading official declared yesterday that Darwin’s theory of evolution was compatible with Christian faith, and could even be traced to St Augustine and St Thomas Aquinas. “In fact, what we mean by evolution is the world as created by God,” said Archbishop Gianfranco Ravasi, head of the Pontifical Council for Culture.

. . .

Father Giuseppe Tanzella-Nitti, Professor of Theology at the Pontifical Santa Croce University in Rome, said that Darwin had been anticipated by St Augustine of Hippo. The 4th-century theologian had “never heard the term evolution, but knew that big fish eat smaller fish” and that forms of life had been transformed “slowly over time”. Aquinas had made similar observations in the Middle Ages, he added.

Exactly a 150 years after Darwin’s publication of his book on evolution is the Roman Catholic church coming around to the idea that Darwin was right, but even now they are reluctant to admit that they were wrong. It is really pathetic. Brings to mind Samuel Johnson’s lines from “The Vanity of Human Wishes“:

See Nations slowly wise, and meanly just,
To buried Merit raise the tardy Bust.

It’s really shameful how monotheism retards scientific inquiry. Large segments of the populations of the advanced industrialized world — people you would have expected to be informed and educated — believe in absolute nonsense. Here are some frightening figures that Richard Dawkins quotes:

Polls in both Britain and the United States show a majority wanting “intelligent design” to be taught in science classes. In Britain, according to MORI, only 69 per cent want evolution to be taught at all. In America, more than 40 per cent believe that “life on Earth has existed in its present form since the beginning of time” (Pew) and that “God created human beings pretty much in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years or so” (Gallup).

. . . I am loath to admit, in Britain. The Guardian reported that, in February 2006, “Muslim medical students in London distributed leaflets that dismissed Darwin’s theories as false”. The Muslim leaflets were produced by the Al-Nasr Trust, a registered charity with tax-free status. The British taxpayer, that is to say, is subsidizing the systematic distribution of scientific falsehood to educational institutions. Science teachers across Britain will confirm that they are coming under slight, but growing, pressure from creationist lobbies, usually inspired by American or Islamic sources.

The US is an astonishing place. There are people who do the most cutting-edge science and there are those who build creation museums costing tens of millions of dollars.

India is not far behind, I think. Since literacy and educational levels are very low in India, I am sure that those who know of, and agree with, Darwin’s theory are fairly low. But the government of India is trying its best to dumb down the population, especially the Muslim population of the country. Recently it was decided by the UPA government that madrassa education (schools that are run by mullahs where they primarily teach Islam) is equivalent to a high school diploma (CBSE, if I recall correctly). Islam emphatically denies a rational scientific view of the world and therefore those who are indoctrinated into that faith, are condemned to wallow in the most dangerous superstitions. The madrassa eduation will ensure that those Muslims are denied a real education and thus perpetuate their dependency on government handouts and therefore guarantee their continued political patronage of the Congress government.

Author: Atanu Dey


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