Evolution, but not self-evolution

 

The general position of the Christian towards the theories of evolutionism

There are two different views about the evolution: the evolutionistic and the creationist one

Pope Pius XII: Encyclical  Humani Generis, August 22, 1950

Pope John Paul II: the discourse to the members of the pontifical Academy of sciences: October 22, 1996

Benedict XVI, homily at Regensburg : 12 September 2006

Benedict XVI's speech to the Pontifical Commission for Science: november 30, 2008

The critical reaction to evolutionism

The ages of paleontology

Persistent organisms “living fossils”

The leap between Prokaryotes and Eukaryotes: an amazing event

The Cambric or Cambrian Explosion

Sudden appearance of invertebrates

Sudden appearance of vertebrates

Sudden appearance of plants

The lack of intermediate forms

The Archaeopeteryx

The Microraptor gui
The Darwinius Masillae

The genealogical series

Homology of the organs

The argument rudimentary organs

Ontogenesis

The dotted equilibrium

DNA: all functional

The radical inadequacy  of the synthetic theory or neo-evolutionism

The accumulation of mutations

The ecological niches (segregation)

Genetic drift

The casual microevolutions

The microevolutions of adaptation

Abiogenesis

The point on the evolution

The Australopithecinae forms

Sahelenthropus tchadensis

Orrorin tugenensis

Ardipithecus kadabba

Ardipithecus ramidus

Australopitecus africanus

Australopitecus robustus

Australopitecus boisei

Australopitecus anamensis

Australopitecus aehtiopicus

Australopitecus afarensis

Australopitecus bahrelghazali

Australopitecus garhi   
Australopitecus sediba

The phyletic turmoil of the  Pierolapitecus catalanus

Homo prospectus

Footprints of Laetoli

Kenyanthropus platyops

Jaw of a man A.L. 666-1

Homo habilis

Homo rudolfensis

Homo ergaster

Homo erectus

Homo georgicus

Homo antecessor

Homo heidelbergensis

Homo sapiens arcaicus

Homo neanderthalensis

Homo sapiens

Homo floriensis

The polygenism, tank of discrimination

African theory and regional theory

The depreciated human forms

A word from the Bible

The molecular clock

 

The general position of the Christian towards the evolutionism theories

 

The Christian has never accused any delegitimization of the biblical texts from the Genesis before the evolutionistic theories because the Christian faith starts from the meeting with Christ. There cannot be a comparison between a historically proved event -  the Hebraic one and that of Christ - and  a theory, concluding that the science  has impaired the historical-biblical event. It’s a certainty of the Church that a scientific truth, once really ascertained, does not oppose itself  to the Scripture, in what the Scripture wants really to say.

The idea of evolution is completely on the same wavelength of the biblical text (Gn 1,1-31), which presents a succession in the timeframe that goes from the least perfect to the most perfect. Before, the vegetal world (third day), then the fish and birds (fifth day), then the terrestrial animals with the man at the top created in God’s likeness (sixth day).

 

There are two views on the evolution: the evolutionistic and the creationist one

 

Evolutionism
Geroges Luis Leclerc Buffon (1707-1788) is the precursor of evolutionism. Then follows Jean Baptiste de Monnet de Lamark (1744-1829), the true founder of evolutionism. Lamark was confuted by Gergie Cuvier (1769-1832).

Charles Robert Darwin (1809-1882) followed and found in Ernst Hackel (1834-1919), materialist,  areligious the most fanatic supporter.

Lamark’s theory considered that the use fortifies and develops an organ, while the opposite atrophies it making it finally disappear. It’s true that the more the organ is used the more it maintains and develops its functionality, but a new formation of organs is not produced by the function, that is not the originator of the organ, but the final fact to which everything is predisposed. Lamark’s second point is that everything has taken place in a being concerning the development, function, extinction and stoppage of functioning of an organ, is passed on to the new individuals through generation.

Against that there is the fact that only the genetic characters are transmitted. The whole Lamark’s theory lies on the adaptation to the environment. The animal turns itself because it is submitted to the environmental solicitations and the desire to survive makes it form proper organs. It’s true that the animal’s ability concerning environmental adaptation must be considered, but it is not true that this produces the evolution of the species. Lamark’s theory (1809) was  not very lucky.

Darwin (1859) and Alfred Russel Wallace (1823-1913), in agreement with the theory of Thomas  Robert Malthus (1766-1834), introduced the concepts of fight for one’s life and selection in the animal world and in a given environment. Their view was the following: the living beings tend for their nature to grow in number exponentially, but since the environment offers finite resources, they soon saturate it, afterwards, every population is obliged to lose a rate of children of each generation because of premature death.

Darwin, instead of aiming, as Lamark did, at the living being’s inner desire of existence, on the inner factors, he aimed at the natural selection and struggle for life. Hence fore, the evolution of the species. In his work “On the Origin of Species” he wrote: “the natural selection acts so as to accumulate in a certain direction the differences of organization, increasing these differences until the formation of a new species”.

But the natural selection does not create anything, so Darwin had to speak also about the “accumulation in a given direction”,  after all,  he spoke about a project in the living being (that’s why Darwin  never became a militant of atheism). Nevertheless, with all that, we can have new varieties of species but not the formation of a new species, therefore the majestic  phenomenon of the appearance of an endless number of vegetables and animals in the space of millions years.

August Weissman (1813-1914) in 1885, going beyond Darwin, observed that only the modifications that impair the germinal plasma and not the whole body, are transferable. Hugo de Vries (1848-1935) in 1903, after studying the metamorphoses of a midge, the Drosophila melanogaster - that for these mutations did not change its species anyway - spoke clearly digressing from the results of his experiences, of sudden genetic mutations able to create new species. Thomas Hunt Morgan (1848-1935) in 1908 started to undergo the Drosophila melanogaster to all sort of experiments: hunger, thirst, hot, cold, Rontgen , infrared, ultraviolet, luminous rays and other. In thirty years of experiments he obtained a thousand mutations, but none gave rise to a new organ, the creation of a being that could suggest a macroevolution. What could be obtained were bigger or smaller wings, red or white eyes, longer or shorter hair, six or twelve legs and so on, but with the peculiarity that most of the mutations were weakening.

The acquisition of genetics, unknown at Darwin’s age, led to the rise of neo-Darwinism,  or neo -  evolutionism as everybody prefers to call it today. It puts above the natural selections the contribution of casual, small, even slight genetic mutations and therefore hereditary, affirming that these genetic micro-mutations, in the course of time and under the scrutiny of the natural selections - greatly underlined by Darwin - have produced the macro evolutions. This theory has called “synthetic theory”.

 

Atheist evolutionism (autoevolutionism) and theist evolutionism

The evolutionism was used and is used as a proof of the non existence of God. In this case it is to be called self-evolutionism, but it was also conceived as compatible to a theist lecture, that is the first cell (monophily) or the first cells (polyphyly) were created by God. From the first implantation then were born all the other living beings. The theist creation, having to put aside the case, because otherwise a divine creative plan had to be eliminated, thought of an intrinsic programming of the living beings.
The theist evolutionism, as for the creation of man, even making it derive from the animal, affirms a remarkable leap, a remarkable transformation, from the animal to man, being the man endowed of a rational soul, therefore with a body proper to receive it and to form the man unit with it.
It thought of a gradual, linearly ascending morphologic passage between the man and the monkey, planned by God, with a final substantial mutation by God in order to have just the man.

The theist solution of the intimate programming of the living beings has always been scientifically generic, in its formulation, because it is objectively unthinkable that the first gross cells had the totipotence, that should be called omnipotence to give rise to all the living world, in its various forms, under the environmental causes, in a sort of general harmony with the evolutions of the living forms.  The theist solution is rather a philosophical view that saves the existence of God the creator. The dominant reason of the persistency of this evolutionist-theist thought is certainly due to the Jesuit Pierre Teilhard de Chardin’s prestige (1881-1955). His theological writings were refused by the Holy See (Cf. Osservatore Romano, 30 August 1962). Even his carrier of palaeontologist, that has also had scientific merits, has recently been blurred by the knowledge of his involvement in the clamorous counterfeit exhibited at the British Museum. Charles Dawson and the director of the department of geology of the British Museum, Arthur Smith Woodward, were the ones who announced the world that the missing link between the man and the monkey had been found at Piltdown in the Sussex. Teilhard de Chardin, who had worked with Dawson since 1908 and was already a talked-about character, went on that place and found a monkey’s tooth and swallowed a great deal the whopper told by those two. Consequently, he ended up at the professorship of geology in Paris. The Piltdown Man was wholly completed with papier-mâché and placed at the British Museum. The only bony elements were a piece of skullcap and a monkey-like jawbone. The schools had gone to see the Piltdown Man for forty years. Then, in 1953 it was learned that the jawbone belonged to a recently died orang-utan: condyles were filed in order to make them fit in with the skull and the teeth were made older through a paintbrush. The inventors of the Piltdown Man said that they found a mammoth’s  femur next to the findings that was worked with the view to create a club certainly used by their Homo; nevertheless the Mammoth’s bone was taken from the Museum by a certain Martin A. Hinton, that filed and buried it in the place of the digs, then it was object of finding.

Darwin had predicted that there had to be intermediate forms, a link between the man and the monkey, but having not found it, it was built following the Darwinian dogma.
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin had the merit, together with others, to consider the “synthetic Theory” or “neo-evolutionism” not sufficient to explain the macroevolutions, and, as a theist he supported the presence of a finalistic programme, acting through the laws of nature, for the formation of the macroevolutions. But his position is airy because he had to think of the presence of initial omnipotent cells - and that does not find any scientific correspondent – apt to give way to the carrying out of a planned project of formation of all living species thanks to a snap imprinted by the laws of nature. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin  left  the  scientific thought for a sort of mysticism of the matter, in which even affirming the divine transcendence, God is somehow incorporated to the universe, as linking action of evolution: “l’action unificatrice de Dieu”. He arrived at a form of Pantheism that thinks of the divine omnipotence as inexisting the biological substance for an evolution guided from the inner of the biologic matter itself. Teilhard de Chardin, places the secondary causes as absorbed in the primary cause, that is God, that is without a full respect of their own autonomy.

Today exists a theist evolutionism (Anthropologist Fiorenzo Facchini: "Il cammino dell'evoluzione umana, le scoperte e i dibattiti della paleantropologia", ed. Jaca Book. 1985; "Evoluzione, uomo e ambiente, lineamenti di antropologia” ed. UTET, 1988, "Origini dell'uomo ed evoluzione culturale" ed. Jaca Book, 2002, preface to "Il dono di Darwin alla scienza e alla religione", ed. Jaka Book- san Paolo. 2009, by Francisco Jose Ayala, 2005), which gathers the "synthetic theory", but dissociates from Teilhard de Chardin’s pantheism and from the fate. In an imaginary way it limits the
radius of action, to avoid giving up the finalism, and escape the necessity of assigning it to a magical power of the natural selection, which without any doubt exists regarding the formation of varieties and the conservation of the species, but it is ineffective over the creation of new species. The scheme is brilliant, but imaginative, because it doesn’t realize the profound shifts recorded in examining paleonthology’s data; it is quite a wish to avoid theological mistakes rather than proceed with scientific data.
In this vision there is no longer the omnipotence of God in a pantheistic symbiosis with the living reality, but a divine plan inscribed in the living matter, to make it capable of giving way and support to the giant process of the evolution. The first cell should posses, since its creation, the next developments on which also the natural selection will act, but not in a decisive manner; in this way the mutations assigned only to fate are avoided, with the absurd concept of a design without a Designer (Francisco José Ayala op. aforementioned, p. 54s). The theist evolutionism, affirming that a Designer exists, finds a respectful and theological position behind the Magisterum of the Church, but it’s far from the concrete facts of Paleontology; this is a limit, given the statement of John Paul II (on the 22nd of October 1996): "The theory proves its validity insofar as it is susceptible to verification; it is constantly evaluated in terms of facts; if it is not proved by the facts, it shows its limits and its inadequacy".

For the problem of the formation of the human body we think of a phylum (the adaptation  is also used fylum - wire > latin: filum - in italian, german, dutch, spanish, portuguese, swedish, … Phylum derives from the greek phylai: “clans, tribes, people”) specialized that brings man, but the findings fossils present in genus Australopithecus a complexity inextricable for which this phylum represents  only a pure hypothesis.


A curious position occupies Etienne Gilson (1884-1978) author of ("Biophilosophy: from Aristotle to Darwin
and back", Paris 1971, ed. Marietti 2003, translated in italian by Silvia Corradini). He enters in the debate considering the issue of evolution in light of Aristotle’s finalism. Each individual tends to the achievement of a certain structure or form. The nature, once established, tends to the attainment of the perfection to which it is intended. There is a length that encourages bodies to achieve the perfection which distinguished them in their specificity. The development of a living being (embryo) in fact expresses a plan inherent to its formation. The living being, once grown up, acts according to their specificity. Etienne, affirming this, is not an innovator since the finalism, following theist’s point of view, had already been expressed. Given the notion of finalism, at the end of his essay Etienne Gilson introduces the consideration, stretching Darwin and collecting Lamarck’s perplexity, that it makes no sense to talk about species, but only about individuals. Darwin stated that the species is an ideal entity, not for the classification’s complexity, but as the bulkheads of the species were embarrassing. However, Darwin does not deny that species exist, arguing that they were achieved over the time as substantive mutations from one species to another, through the selection, etc.. Obviously Etienne’s finalism could not accept Darwin’s fate and selection theory. Etienne Gilson, considering the fact that we need to look only to the individual, because on the classification we face with the fact that two individuals of the same group are not identical, so at the same time admitting that "there is no hesitation to distinguish an individual of the swallow species from an individual of the elephant species"(p. 227), creates the space to think that everything is in a fluid state, which means that there is only the reality of a living matter enough to itself, able to finalizes producing other forms which are only the manifestations of itself, and then the individual will have the semblance of the living matter, i.e an expression without its substantial form that identifies it, like an individual. It follows that the mankind too, regarding to the body, is the product of the living matter and therefore devoid of its substantial form, which is the spiritual soul. Etienne Gilson unconsciously, while criticizes and examines trying to lead to deeper and clearer horizons, he guides the finalism theory to an idea of a plurimanifestation of the living matter in many forms without a substantial and individual identity.

The creationism

In the past the creationism was polemically called fixism by the evolutionists, that were delighted to relegate it to the narration of the seven days of Genesis, considered in a dull contrast with the very broad carrying out of the eras and the appearance of the various species (Cf. Etienne Gilson “Biofilosofia”. From Arisotile to Darwin, Geneva-Milan, ed. Marietti 1820,2003; “we can say that transformism created the fixism” (p. 53). The Fixism was promoted by Carl von Linneo (1707-1778), who affirmed that the current species are the same that existed at the origin of the world. (“Tot numeramus species quot primum creavit infinitum Ens”).

The creationism today is not so simple, it has remarkable topics in order to outvote the evolutionism, before its dominant spreading, but there is the risk to be lead to a clash between religion and science, faith and science, in an exclusion of the reason. The result of this would be the scepticism. This was what was done in the past and what is still being done (appear le Scienze n°. 446, October 2005, p. 43).

In this field no true believer can make one’s self get bogged down since the reason is not blurred by faith, but having faith means having strength of mind.

The true science is not in contrast with faith, on the contrary, it needs reason and faith, in order not to deny the reason.

 

The creationism is based on three points: 1) full acceptation that the different species appeared not contemporarily, but in succession, going from the simplest to the most complex ones. 2) Refusal to raise the microevolutions until they become macroevolutions that is generators of species from a species. 3)Refusal of the autoevolutionism.