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Sunday, September 14, 2008

Church of England to "apologise" to Darwin

A news article says,

The Church of England will concede in a statement that it was over-defensive and over-emotional in dismissing Darwin's ideas . . . . .

The apology, which has been written by the Rev Dr Malcolm Brown, the Church's director of mission and public affairs, says that Christians, in their response to Darwin's theory of natural selection, repeated the mistakes they made in doubting Galileo's astronomy in the 17th century.

"The statement will read: Charles Darwin: 200 years from your birth, the Church of England owes you an apology for misunderstanding you and, by getting our first reaction wrong, encouraging others to misunderstand you still. We try to practise the old virtues of 'faith seeking understanding' and hope that makes some amends."

I was not aware that the Church of England ever officially condemned either Darwin's or Galileo's ideas. The Catholic church officially condemned Galileo's ideas and apologized several years ago. It is possible that the Church of England was not even aware of Galileo's ideas because the Catholic church tried to suppress them.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, head of the Church of England, is not ready to "apologise" to Darwin -- the archbishop recently called evolution theory a "pseudo-science" and other nasty things.

Also, the United Methodist Church recently adopted some pro-evolution resolutions. IMO organizations should not take official positions on controversial issues where there is disagreement among the organizations' members.

Hat tip to FortheKids of the Reasonable Kansans blog for pointing out the article.

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4 Comments:

Blogger Nada Platonico said...

Larry wrote, I was not aware that the Church of England ever officially condemned either Darwin's or Galileo's ideas. The Catholic church officially condemned Galileo's ideas and apologized several years ago. It is possible that the Church of England was not even aware of Galileo's ideas because the Catholic church tried to suppress them.

Considering the news article states (quoted above by Larry himself): The Church of England will concede in a statement that it was over-defensive and over-emotional in dismissing Darwin's ideas . . . . ., I think we can assume that they are apologizing for something they did.

Regarding Galileo, wikipedia notes:

By 1616 the attacks on Galileo had reached a head, and he went to Rome to try to persuade the Church authorities not to ban his ideas. In the end, Cardinal Bellarmine, acting on directives from the Inquisition, delivered him an order not to "hold or defend" the idea that the Earth moves and the Sun stands still at the centre. The decree did not prevent Galileo from discussing heliocentrism hypothetically. For the next several years Galileo stayed well away from the controversy. He revived his project of writing a book on the subject, encouraged by the election of Cardinal Barberini as Pope Urban VIII in 1623. Barberini was a friend and admirer of Galileo, and had opposed the condemnation of Galileo in 1616. The book, Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems, was published in 1632, with formal authorization from the Inquisition and papal permission.

Pope Urban VIII personally asked Galileo to give arguments for and against heliocentrism in the book, and to be careful not to advocate heliocentrism. He made another request, that his own views on the matter be included in Galileo's book. Only the latter of those requests was fulfilled by Galileo. Whether unknowingly or deliberate, Simplicius, the defender of the Aristotelian Geocentric view in Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems, was often caught in his own errors and sometimes came across as a fool. This fact made Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems appear as an advocacy book; an attack on Aristotelian geocentrism and defense of the Copernican theory. To add insult to injury, Galileo put the words of Pope Urban VIII into the mouth of Simplicius. Most historians agree Galileo did not act out of malice and felt blindsided by the reaction to his book.[81] However, the Pope did not take the suspected public ridicule lightly, nor the blatant bias. Galileo had alienated one of his biggest and most powerful supporters, the Pope, and was called to Rome to defend his writings.


This shows that Galileo's ideas were published. His ideas were criticized at different times by Church figures.

Larry's idiocy is further evidenced by his comment, IMO organizations should not take official positions on controversial issues where there is disagreement among the organizations' members.

Many Catholics do not agree with the Church ban on birth control, to name one example. Does this mean that the Church has no business making an official statement about what Catholics should do? Of course not. An official position is one thing, practice (especially in this case) by others is another. The fact that Catholics do use birth control does not make the position any less official, even if it is a sin according to Church officials. It simply makes it a controversial position -- one that many Catholics want changed. If the Archbishop of Canterbury doesn't want to take part in the apology, he doesn't need to. But he will be at odds with the official position of his church, nothing else.

Sunday, September 14, 2008 5:27:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

>>>>> Considering the news article states (quoted above by Larry himself): The Church of England will concede in a statement that it was over-defensive and over-emotional in dismissing Darwin's ideas
. . . . ., I think we can assume that they are apologizing for something they did. <<<<<<

That does not prove that they actually officially did what they are apologizing for, bozo.

>>>>>> This shows that Galileo's ideas were published. <<<<<<

That still does not show that his ideas were officially condemned by the Church of England, doofus.

>>>>>> Many Catholics do not agree with the Church ban on birth control, to name one example. Does this mean that the Church has no business making an official statement about what Catholics should do? <<<<<

Good point -- but the Church considers birth control to be a moral issue. A much better example is the abortion issue -- the Catholic church's position on abortion as a moral issue is especially strong. But the Catholic church has not taken an official position on evolution, except to oppose the use of evolution theory to deny the existence of god or a god-given human soul. So is belief in evolution a moral issue? And should churches be taking official positions on issues that are not moral issues, or leave their members to decide those issues for themselves? Just as I am opposed to the idea of churches taking positions in favor of evolution, I am opposed to the idea of churches taking positions against evolution. As for the Archbishop of Canterbury, I feel that his position against evolution (and creationism too, BTW) was as an individual and not as a representative of his church.

Sunday, September 14, 2008 10:17:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

Here is the extent of the Church of England's persecution of Darwin, according to a webpage of the church:

Initial responses from the Church of England to Darwin's theories were hostile - even from former Cambridge tutors Revd John Stevens Henslow and Adam Sedgwick (1785–1873), the latter drawing on his faith to propose a difference between moral and physical truths. In 1860, a public debate in Oxford saw the Bishop of Oxford, Samuel Wilberforce (1805–1873), known as Soapy Sam due to his passion for public debating, arguing bitterly against the pro-Darwin voices of botanist Joseph Hooker (1817-1911) and biologist Thomas Huxley (1825-1895).

That justifies an apology today?

Monday, September 15, 2008 5:53:00 PM  
Anonymous Michael said...

Anglican theologian Charles Kingsley accepted Darwinism when he (Darwin) was alive. Nada goes on about Rome (Catholicism) which doesn't even mention church of England's role in censoring Galileo...lol

Charles Kingsley accepted Darwinism without no rebuke from his so-called church, this means the church of England was pretty flexible with the idea of evolution. So why are they saying their sorry now? Well, it's simple. They want to distance themselves even more from fundamentalist Christians...

I wouldn't be surprise if they adopt Darwin's b-day as official church holiday...lol

Tuesday, September 16, 2008 12:13:00 AM  

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