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“Creation is actually a big mystery.”

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There’s a lot of good sense in this story from The Globe and Mail about the creationism debate in France.

“[Evolution is] often taught in a simplistic way,” [Hervé Le Guyader, a University of Paris biology professor] said. “We have to give [teachers] the philosophical arguments they need to respond.”

Paleontologist Marc Godinot said creationists and their critics draw overblown conclusions from a theory that explains how life developed but not how it was created. The ultimate origin of life is not a question science can answer, he said.

Creationists reject evolution because some scientists say the role of chance in it proves that life has no final meaning.

“We have to decode this, but that’s a job for philosophers and theologians,” Mr. Godinot said. “Creation is actually a big mystery.”

Jacques Arnould, a Catholic priest who works at France’s National Centre for Space Research, said Christians in Europe should not look down with bemusement at creationists abroad.

“They are believers, as we are,” the Dominican theologian told the meeting of about 100 – mostly Catholic scientists but with a few Muslims as well. “There are Christian, Muslim and Jewish approaches that we have to respect.”

Father Arnould said the question of life’s purpose arises naturally in biology class but science cannot answer it. Instead of offering simple creationism, he said, theologians should develop views that respect modern science and faith in a divine purpose.

He said Catholic thinkers should update “natural theology,” the teachings of Saint Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) that married philosophy and science in a view that dominated European thought until the 18th-century Enlightenment divorced the two fields.

“Natural theology was based on the knowledge of the time,” he said. “That knowledge keeps changing, so natural theology has to change too.”

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Written by Curt

March 26, 2007 at 3:28 pm

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