Joined: Mar. 2008
OK, so I googled "clivecopus". Interesting candidates. Here's one commenting on a BBC article:
The woman is not the most important person to consider in all this and you don't have to be a man to recognise that. Science has conclusively demonstrated that a 20 week old foetus is a living, sentient human being and its right to life is therefore paramount. To suggest otherwise flies in the face of reason and ethics.
Clive Copus, London, England
And possibly the same dude writing into FAITH Magazine (pdf linkage), but almost certainly the one on UD:
Intelligent Design and Cardinal Schönborn
Dear Fr Editor,
I was disappointed to read the dismissive attitude towards Intelligent Design Theory (ID) in the last issue of Faith.
To imply that ID is as flawed and as far away from Catholic teaching as neo-Darwinian evolution is a gross distortion of the truth. Whilst neo-Darwinism seeks to replace God with a wholly materialist and naturalist explanation for life on earth, ID, in stark contrast, is an attempt to demonstrate that God is an essential prerequisite for life.
ID is indeed “creationist” (and why should a word that clearly implies a Creator be regarded with such evident disdain in the Catholic community, incidentally?), insofar as it seeks to demonstrate that life required a creator. Far from criticising it, we should be recognising it as the most rigorously scientific approach, at least in the biological sciences, to proving the existence of God and isn’t that, ultimately, what all those who seek to reconcile Catholicism with science are seeking to achieve?
It is certainly far more persuasive than simply pointing out that the natural world appears to have “an “internal finality”, or that it displays “a remarkable unity and finality in its dynamic development”. Frankly, this will not wash with the likes of Richard Dawkins.
If I could now turn to some of the more specific criticisms, it is simply not true to describe ID as a “God of the gaps” philosophy. This is the type of ill-informed labeling that the naturalists in the neo-Darwinian camp indulge in and which Mr. Conway-Morris himself criticised in his article. In pointing out that there are aspects of living organisms for which design is the only rational explanation, ID theory in no sense excludes or precludes the possibility that design was required elsewhere in the organism. The point is that, having demonstrated that design is required to explain at least one part of an organism, whether or not it is present elsewhere becomes wholly irrelevant, because one need only demonstrate that design was required in one aspect to show that a designer must exist. Nothing is conceded to atheists”.
The fact that some although by no means all) scientists are dismissive of ID is neither here nor there. They are equally dismissive of the Faith synthesis and other theistic evolution theories. In fact, there is a case for saying that the zeal with which ID is attacked by materialist scientists and philosophers is, arguably, evidence of its explanatory force and the threat it poses to the materialist orthodoxy.
Mr. Conway-Morris refers to the many objections” raised against ‘Din the scientific community, but fails to cite a single example. He then attempts to criticise it on theological grounds, describing it as a ‘deist option”, presumably an the grounds that emphasising the machine-like irreducible complexity of organisms at the biochemical level somehow implies the existence of a machine-liike creator. I am no theologian but it seems to me that it implies nothing of the sort? indeed, ID theorists have gone to great lengths to point out that evidence of design tells us nothing about the nature of the designer.
Not content with that, be goes on to describe it as a theology that “turns its back on the richness arid beauty of creation”. This is bizarre. In identifying and describing the interconnectedness and interdependence of life at the molecular level, ID has brought out the true majesty of creation.
Finally, I find it odd that Mr. Conway-Morris is quite prepared to recognise the power of the design argument in the realm of physics, in the form of the remarkable fine-tuning and interdependence of the various laws and constants of the cosmos, whilst at the same time being SO dismissive of the biological equivalent.
Together, the Anthropic Principle and ID provide us with not just the keys to a real synthesis of science and religion, but, potentially, two of the most powerful weapons in the battle for people’s minds.
O Google, how I heart thee!
(edited for crappy formatting, but those weird punctuation errors ARE in the original)
ETA: OK, he has to be the same as the BBC guy, 'cause here's another of his letters-to-the-editor, this time to the Independent:
|The Catholic church and 'eternal truths'|
Sir: I write with reference to Mark Steel's article "The Inconvenient Lessons of Papal History", published on 21 April. The thrust of Mr Steel's piece is that the Church is prepared to adapt its "eternal truths" when it sees fit.
In the article, Mr Steel cites the Church's decision, in the 11th century, to prohibit priests from marrying as an example of an adaptation of an eternal truth. However, priestly celibacy is not, never has been and never will be an "eternal truth"; rather, it is a discipline that the Church can alter (and has altered) as it sees fit.
He goes on to accuse Pope Gregory XVI of declaring, in 1832, that democracy was sinful, and freedom of the press "heretical", and decreeing that every Jew who insulted Catholicism should be killed. No sources are quoted, but I assume that he is referring to Pope Gregory XVI's 1832 Encyclical "On Liberalism and Religious Indifferentism".
Having undertaken some fairly exhaustive research into this I have failed to find any of the declarations attributed to Pope Gregory. There is a reference to the evil and danger of books containing false doctrine, but that is something the Church has believed since Apostolic times. If the declarations are contained in another document, perhaps Mr Steel could let us know which one.
Oh, check it out. I found his "fairly exhaustive research" as mentioned above:
Question from Clive Copus on 6/3/2005:
I am trying to draft a response to an anti-Catholic article in a UK newspaper. The article alleges that Pope Gregory XV1 declared in 1832 that democracy was sinful, and freedom of the press heretical. He also decreed that any Jew who insulted Catholicism should be killed.
Do you know how I should respond to this? What did the Pope really say?
I would be grateful for your advice.
Thanks very much.
Answer by Judie Brown on 6/3/2005:
The Catholic Encyclopedia has a biographical sketch of Pope Gregory XVI which does not contain any of the apparent myths you have seen. Check it out: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07006a.htm
And here's another letter to Faith about ID (again, pdf), which shall not be quoted, except for a bit from his closing:
|Perhaps this can form the basis of a new synthesis of the Faith Movement's Unity Law and the specified complexity of ID. Now that really would have Mr Dawkins quaking in his boots!|
Everyone's gay for Dawkins in ID-Land apparently.
I wouldn't be bothered reading about the selfish gene because it has never been identified. -- Denyse O'Leary, professional moron
Again "how much". I don't think that's a good way to be quantitative.-- gpuccio