Return of the Prodigal Son by Pompeo Batoni - 1773

Evolution for the Catholic Student

Order 'Evolution for the Catholic Student' - Click on the image above

Thursday, November 5, 2015

'Evolution for the Catholic Student' - Preview

Evolution for the Catholic Student – Preview

Evolution for the Catholic Student is a recently released ebook designed to help homeschooling parents, Catholic educators, and anyone who is interested in truth, to understand the issues surrounding evolutionary theory and their relationship with Catholic theology.  It is targeted as an educational program to Catholic students in grades 7-12.  (The reading level may be difficult for some junior high students.)  It is completely faithful to Catholic teaching regarding both Creation and evolution.  It also presents scientific evidence and inquiry on both sides of the question of evolutionary theory far beyond what can be found in mainstream text books.  Finally, the inclusion of logic, philosophy, and faithful Catholic theology make it completely unique as a tool for Catholic students and educators.  To find out more or to purchase the program, click HERE, or on the graphic above.  The following is the program’s introduction:


Chapter One: Introduction

One of the great challenges for Catholic homeschooling families, and Catholic educators in general, is how to handle the topic of the Theory of Evolution.  There are plenty of secular approaches to the topic, but they usually accept the theory uncritically, and give it an atheistic slant.  This, of course, is not only bad theology and totally unacceptable to a Catholic, it is also bad science.

            Many Christian approaches to the Theory of Evolution set it up as diametrically opposed to God, and therefore, it and its adherents are anathema.  Or they ignore the issue altogether.  Both of these approaches are problematic as well.  The former is inconsistent with the Church’s approach, which allows great intellectual freedom on the issue (within certain guidelines given us by Revelation).  And the latter leaves children unprepared to defend their faith.  When they are confronted with the theory, they sometimes assume they were not taught it particularly because it is a threat to the Faith.

            Though there surely are good resources available, they are hard to find.  The purpose of this program is to provide Catholic parents and educators a supplement to their regular science curriculum, for the purpose specifically of dealing with the Theory of Evolution.

            The first goal of this program is to break apart the false dichotomy of “evolution vs. God.”  There are certain dogmatic statements the Church has made regarding the origin of man, which God has revealed (and which, incidentally, science has confirmed).  These are to be adhered to.  However, because the Church acknowledges the validity of wide differences of opinion regarding evolutionary theory, this program does as well. 

            The truth is that evolutionary theory does not undermine a belief in God, the divinity of Christ, or the Catholic Church as His Body.  Students will be encouraged to recognize that, so they need not be afraid of it.

            As a scientific theory, evolution should not be accepted uncritically.  It is important to remember that the Church has made no dogmatic statement in favor of evolution.  To say that one’s opinion on this topic determines whether one is a “true Christian” or “orthodox Catholic” is simply false.  That is a foundational principle.

            The next goal of this program is to define the Theory of Evolution for students, which is not an easy task, as it takes many different forms and is constantly being revised.  They will learn the basic principles of the theory and the scientific history that has led to its development.

            They will even be taught some of the erroneous atheistic conclusions that many people come to, and why those conclusions are wrong and unsupported by science as well as divine Revelation.

            Students will also be presented with the many weaknesses in the Theory of Evolution.  Often students are taught to simply believe in evolution, while not learning about the many highly accomplished scientists who believe it is a fantasy.  In this program students will receive a clear understanding of the many problems with the theory.  They will be encouraged to explore evolutionary theory critically, and given the freedom to come to their own conclusions without fear that their faith is at stake.

            These are the aims of this program.  Please supplement it with other materials that meet your family’s specific needs, and most importantly, with prayer.

It might be fairly asked, “Why do we even bother studying evolutionary theory?  First of all, even the most devoted of its advocates can not claim that it has been proven to be true.  Theories of macroevolution do not seem to have any real practical application, such as to the fields of medicine, etc.  And evolutionary theory doesn’t really enhance our understanding of Creation at its deepest level, or our ability to know, love, and serve God.  It seems to be a trivial pursuit, whose only purpose is to satisfy curiosity, which can be a dangerous motive for seeking knowledge.”

Those are extremely valid points, but ask yourself this question: Do you know anyone who has given up their faith, at least in part, because of evolution?  Very likely, you do.  That is a tragedy.  The only reason one would lose his faith over evolution is because the theory had been presented wrongly, possibly as a propaganda tool specifically aimed at undermining faith.

Evolutionary theory is a part of our national consciousness.  It is at the heart of many controversies in education, as well as the fabricated “war” between science and religion.  It is in text books, on documentaries, and a part of political discussion.  We must be equipped to encounter this theory, which is so often propagandized, on a secure footing.  That is the purpose of this program.

After finishing this program, students will know more about evolutionary theory, and the science on each side of the debate, than almost anyone they encounter.  They will be able to analyze it critically and logically, and recognize common fallacies that are present in secular text books and documentaries.

It is important, also, to understand what this program does not accomplish.  It approaches evolutionary theory through the lens of physical science, which is the lens through which our children will likely encounter it, and basic logical thinking.  However, that is not the only valid lens through which to evaluate evolution.  A thorough understanding demands a metaphysical as well as theological evaluation as well.  For a philosophical treatment of evolution, using Scholastic principles, try Father Chad Ripperger’s The Metaphysics of Evolution.  There are numerous worthy theological treatments of the issue.  Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn has written a book called Chance or Purpose? on the topic; Father Michael Chabarek has written essays which approach it from a somewhat different angle; and Pope Benedict’s In the Beginning is another good resource.  Of course, no study of Creation would be complete without the words of the Angelic Doctor, St. Thomas Aquinas, on the topic, some of which can be found in the Summa Theologica.