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Winston Li wrote:

Hi, guys —

Creation promotes the sanctity of life. Evolution degrades it.

  • Does that mean evolution is bad?


  { If creation promotes the sanctity of life and evolution degrades it, is evolution bad? }

Eric replied:

Hi, Winston —

Whether evolution is true is a scientific question, and, as such, the Catholic Church takes no position on it. She does require that we believe that we are descended from one set of parents and that the soul does not evolve but is immediately created by God.

  • Where did you get this quotation from?

I can't speak for those who uttered it as to what it means. I can however think of two ways in which it might be true.

  1. One, when divorced from sound philosophy and then projected into philosophy, it implies that there is no meaning or sacredness to life. That it is all randomness left to chance. That is to say, if you derive your philosophy from a strictly materialistic evolution, it might lead you to conclude that not every life has intrinsic value. This is not a necessary conclusion if you start off with the right philosophy but not every evolutionist does.

  2. Second, and this is related, is the whole survival of the fittest thing, which, again, implies that the lives of the less fit are less important and, in fact, it is important that the less fit not survive. Where this becomes problematic is with social Darwinism, where people take principles observed in the natural world (or theorized) and try to execute them in the human order.

    For example, it is one thing to observe that the fittest animals survive on the prairie and flourish. This is probably incontrovertible. It is another thing to postulate that sick old people are not fit and so must not be allowed to survive.

Another element is that as soon as you speak of the sanctity of human life, you are speaking on the supernatural order, and evolution, being science, is on the natural order and cannot admit of sacredness, sanctity, or any such thing.

So to sum up, evolution, in and of itself, ascribes no meaning or sacredness to life . . . it is utterly neutral. For that matter, the same thing could be said of science. What matters is the philosophy one holds.

One can hold a philosophy that life is sacred and believe in evolution, but here it is the philosophy that makes life sacred, not the evolution.


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