PvM posted Entry 363 on July 19, 2004 08:01 PM.
Trackback URL: http://www.pandasthumb.org/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.fcgi/362

Italian scientists rally behind evolution

At the beginning of March, members of Italy’s scientific community were called to action. Their impetus? A decree by the ministry of education to remove evolutionary theory from middle school science curriculum.

The Rev. George Coyne, director of the Vatican Observatory, said that evolution is a scientific conclusion that does not deny the existence of God. “Whether evolution is true or not is a separate issue,” he said. “It’s true from a scientific view. God could create an evolutionary world just as He could create a static world.”

Pigliucci explained that anti-evolutionist sentiment in Italy is a part of an extreme right-wing political minority that links evolution to Marxism and is uninformed about accurate Darwinian theory. This connection, though, is weak, he said. Out of admiration, Marx wanted to dedicate the capitol to Darwin, but the naturalist refused, recognizing that any political affiliation could taint his scientific credibility.

Overwhelmed with protest —from both the scientific community and the general public — Moratti retracted the proposal within a week. In an official statement, she said: “The teaching of Darwin’s theories are ensured starting in elementary school. A commission headed by Rita Levi-Montalcini will work with me to develop a precise proposal.” The commission has not yet determined when to begin discussions.

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Comment #5456

Posted by Sean Foley on July 19, 2004 10:44 PM (e)

“Out of admiration, Marx wanted to dedicate the capitol to Darwin…”

Surely the good folks at “Science and Theology News” must know the difference between “the capitol” and “Das Kapital.”

Comment #5457

Posted by John Wilkins on July 19, 2004 11:01 PM (e)

And they ought to know it never happened (the dedication offer was from Marx’s son-in-“law” Edward Aveling, for a book he wrote).

Comment #5459

Posted by G3 on July 19, 2004 11:29 PM (e)

Well, the important thing to remember is that the Italians are a bunch of atheists.

In a country that is 97 percent Catholic

Okay, well at least the leader of the Catholics firmly states that evolution is rejected by TRUE Christians.

In 1996, Pope John Paul II acknowledged that evolution and faith in God are not mutually exclusive.

Would you believe scientists are increasingly doubting evolution?

“When the scientific community heard about the decision, there was a wave of protest,” said de Regny.

Ah ha, this proves there really is an evilutionist conspiracy - and it goes all the way to the Pope!

Comment #5473

Posted by Ian Menzies on July 20, 2004 9:08 AM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'quote'

Comment #5479

Posted by Frank Schmidt on July 20, 2004 11:44 AM (e)

As mentioned many times on these pages (and in Pennock’s excellent Tower of Babel), an often-neglected aspect of the fight is within Christianity, with the fundies opposed to their more rational “brethren.” Many evangelicals would not consider mainline Catholics (or Episcopalians, Methodists, etc.) to be “true Christians” since they do not subscribe to Biblical inerrancy. Indeed, there are some within the Catholic Church (e.g., Rick Santorum) who do not subscribe to the Vatican’s official position on this issue.

Comment #5493

Posted by Bartholomew on July 21, 2004 8:15 AM (e)

I believe that Italy has one of the lowest birth rates in Europe, and I doubt that’s just due to Vatican Roulette.

Comment #5494

Posted by Russell on July 21, 2004 8:29 AM (e)

RE: Low Italian birthrate:
I heard a story, from Italian in-law in-laws, about a kid in some northern village who found it remarkable enough to remark upon, the first time he saw another kid!

Comment #5506

Posted by Frank J on July 21, 2004 6:26 PM (e)

Frank Schmidt wrote:

Indeed, there are some within the Catholic Church (e.g., Rick Santorum) who do not subscribe to the Vatican’s official position on this issue.

I’m, not sure whether Santorum subscribes to the Vatican’s official position (evolution) or not. I have read several commentaries from far-right columnists, whereby they admit that they personally have no problem with evolution, but nevertheless defend those who do not. That may be why Santorum begins this masterpiece of misrepresentation:


with the “Voltaire” quote. Santorum is a politician, of course, so one can expect him to be more cryptic than mere columnists about a position that might turn off most of his science-illiterate supporters.

Comment #5507

Posted by steve on July 21, 2004 7:24 PM (e)


This opposition to intelligent design is surprising since there is an increasing body of theoretical and scientific evidence that suggests an alternate theory is possible. Research has shown that the odds that even one small protein molecule has been created by chance is 1 in a billion. Thus, some larger force or intelligence, or what some call agent causation, seems like a viable cause for creating information systems such as the coding of DNA. A number of scientists contend that alternate theories regarding the origins of the human species - including that of a greater intelligence - are possible.

Therefore, intelligent design is a legitimate scientific theory that should be taught in science classes.

If this were the bathroom wall, I would call him a nutsack. But it isn’t, so I won’t.

Comment #5566

Posted by Frank J on July 23, 2004 3:42 PM (e)

Steve, if that’s supposed to convince me that he actually personally believes that nonsense, it doesn’t. Note that I called him something that I think is worse than “nutsack,” and that is “politician.”

Comment #5573

Posted by Reed A. Cartwright on July 23, 2004 5:49 PM (e)

One senator(?) actually scored Catholic senators on issues important to the Catholic Church. John Kerry scored the highest, and Santorum was amongst the lowest scores.

Comment #5608

Posted by Frank J on July 24, 2004 11:02 AM (e)

Reed A. Cartwright wrote:

One senator(?) actually scored Catholic senators on issues important to the Catholic Church. John Kerry scored the highest, and Santorum was amongst the lowest scores.

Santorum’s low score is not suprising, as Catholics tend to be more for government involvement with helping the poor, protecting the environment, etc. That the pro-choice Kerry scored highest, I find somewhat surprising, though. But I have no reason to claim that the scoring was flawed. If evolution was among the criteria, Santorum’s misrepresentations would count against him whether or not they matched his personal beliefs.