18 January 2006

Got Cheese?

Apparently not content with merely trumpeting their discontent with news articles as they are released, the Discovery Institute's Media Complaints Division has launched a preemptive whine at the New York Times.

Apparently, a reporter from the Times contacted them looking for comment on a recent pro-evolution piece in L'Osservatore Romano. The Discovery Institute, it would appear, is concerned that the Times might think that this somehow represents a stand that is being taken by the Vatican.

The DI's Rob Crowther quotes from some spinan email outlining the real facts of the matter that he sent to the Times' reporter:
Not surprisingly, The New York Times did not the cover the Pope’s approving mention of intelligent design in one of his Wednesday speeches last November, yet it seems to take seriously as Vatican policy an op-ed by a little known writer published in the L'Osservatore Romano. We reported about this at length ourselves at http://www.evolutionnews.org/2005/11/in_evolution_debate_the_media.html
The Discovery Institute is fond of citing this bit of so-called support from the Pope, so it might be good to refresh ourselves on exactly what it was that the Pope said about Intelligent Design:
With the sacred Scripture, the Lord awakens the reason that sleeps and tells us: In the beginning, there was the creative word. In the beginning, the creative word -- this word that created everything and created this intelligent project that is the cosmos -- is also love.
According to the DI, "intelligent project" should have been translated as "intelligent design." Call me crazy, but reading that as an unambiguous endorsement for the DI's policies seems to me to be a bit of a stretch. The statement is certainly compatible with ID, but it is equally compatible with theistic evolution, or a number of other positions. It does serve as a reminder that the Catholic Church believes that God is personally and continuously involved in His creation. But that is nothing new - the Church never has, and never will, taken any other position.

An op-ed in the official Vatican newspaper by an Italian evolutionary biologist is certainly not at the same level as a clear and unambiguous statement made by the pontiff. However, the material published in the Vatican newspaper is probably a better barometer of the Catholic Church's position on a subject than the views of some third-rate political and media hacks in Seattle.
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