Friday, December 07, 2007

Creationism is paganism

While in Glasgow, Scotland to give a speech, the papal astronomer unambiguously slapped down young-earth creationism as incompatible with modern Catholicism.
Believing that God created the universe in six days is a form of superstitious paganism, the Vatican astronomer Guy Consolmagno claimed yesterday.

Brother Consolmagno, who works in a Vatican observatory in Arizona and as curator of the Vatican meteorite collection in Italy, said a "destructive myth" had developed in modern society that religion and science were competing ideologies.

He described creationism, whose supporters want it taught in schools alongside evolution, as a "kind of paganism" because it harked back to the days of "nature gods" who were responsible for natural events.

Although he doesn't mention the Intelligent Design form of creationism Consolmagno's statement is still relevant to the evolution/creationism debate in the United States. Most supporters of adding ID to science curricula in public schools are young earth creationists who are cynically using ID as a lubricant for a slippery slope aimed at more religion in all parts of education. Consolmagno can't completely come out against ID, because the official position of the church on science is one of theistic evolution and God as the prime mover. ID was specifically formulated to fudge the line between these positions and the more superstitious nature god paganism that Consolmagno is criticizing.

While Consolmagno can't come out in favor of completely secular science, he is allowed to criticize the worst types of creationism, and does. His words should be required reading for any Catholics who are inclined to support ID or other forms of creationism in the American (or Australian or Canadian or English...) culture wars.

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