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3 Feb 02 Update: Evolution Vs Intelligent Design/On Humility/Link to Summa Theologica Online

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  • Zeitun-eg.org
    Ecclesiastes 5:10 He who loves silver will not be satisfied with silver; Nor he who loves abundance, with increase. 1 Timothy 6:10 For the love of money is a
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 1, 2002
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      Ecclesiastes 5:10 He who loves silver will not be satisfied with silver; Nor he who loves abundance, with increase. 1 Timothy 6:10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
       
      Contents at a Glance   >>>>>




      Evolution Vs Intelligent Design    >>>>>

      Similarities within groups of animals actually point to ONE Intelligent Designer
       
      See also: Who is the most intelligent Designer? Human Genome Map Has Scientists Talking About the Divine (San Francisco Chronicle - 19 Feb. 2001 <http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2001/02/19/BU141026.DTL>
       
      The State of Ohio is currently working to produce academic content standards for Ohio's public schools, and has been seriously debating whether or not to include intelligent design in the state standards. Scientists who favour a 'design hypothesis' as an explanation for the incredible engineering found in nature have recommended modifications to the standards. They wish to balance the normal evolutionary explanations with alternative scientific viewpoints.

      The Modifications summary states: "We are not opposed to the teaching of evolution; we just want origins science to be presented in a fair, reasonable, and unbiased manner."

      They have therefore requested modifications which would make students aware of the debate that is going on in the scientific community and would also present biological evolution as theory and not proven fact.

      Dogmatic evolutionists in Ohio have come against the effort to modify the academic standards, stating that intelligent design is simply religion in disguise, and as such has no place in the science classroom. They consider design theory to be 'junk' science, which will bring harm to the students' scientific understanding of the universe. 

      However, design proponents argue that both scientific theories - intelligent design and naturalistic evolution - have religious implications. Design has theistic implications and evolution has atheistic implications, and it is not appropriate to marginalise one in favour of the other. The design theorists state they are not interested in teaching religion or even any particular theory of creation. They want opposing scientific hypotheses to be tested against each other.  According to the Modifications summary - "Intelligent design seeks to avoid these controversies by focusing on scientific, rather than theological, arguments."

      It is important to note that intelligent design proponents have no difficulty with many 'evolutionary' ideas. Most creationists agree with the concept of natural selection and the effect it has on variation within groups of animals. Natural selection can indeed allow finches with larger beaks to survive on one island and finches with smaller beaks to survive on another.  Survival of the fittest does usually decide which genes get passed along to the next generation. This adaptability within a species is often called 'micro-evolution'. The variation already present in the finch gene pool allows some finches to survive and reproduce in one environment, and other finches to do better in another. The argument that design theorists make is that micro-evolution does not add genetic information to the gene pool; the finches will always be finches, regardless of their beak size. They assert that 'macro-evolution', however - the concept that a finch can turn into a hawk, or a trout into a toad - has serious problems that have not been satisfactorily answered by the general theory of evolution.

      In fact, design theorists have been arguing that certain biological systems are so complex and well engineered, they show great evidence of having been designed. These systems must have every part present and fully functioning in order for the system to work at all, and could not have come into existence through a process of naturalistic evolution. Biochemist Michael Behe is famous for the term 'irreducible complexity' which he uses to describe this difficult issue. If the chemicals involved in eyesight are not all present and working precisely, there is no sight. Not only is there no sight, but there is no reason for the eye and all its parts to exist at all. What did the eye do for the millions of years while the various components for eyesight 'evolved'? Design theorists challenge evolutionists to explain the evolution of complex biological systems.

      The State of Ohio will be debating this issue for some time, and both the intelligent design and evolution proponents are seeking support from the public. The Intelligent Design Network has provided a page for comments on this issue, which they should have presented to the Department of Education by January 31, 2002. There are also links provided below which provide contact information for those involved in the decision, including the Ohio Department of Education and the state House and Senate Education Committees. We encourage those of you who have studied this issue to communicate your thoughts and experience on the matter.

      Related Links:
      Updates on the 2002 Proposed Ohio Science Academic Content Standards
       
      Form for Comments on Modifications (Includes Links to Proposed Modifications and Explanations) - Intelligent Design Network
       
      The Centre for Renewal of Science and Culture (An Intelligent Design Think Tank) - The Discovery Institute
       
      In The Beginning There Was...Information - Koinonia House
       
      Reaping the Whirwind - Koinonia House
       
      A List of 'Creation' Scientists - Institute for Creation Research

      On Humility   >>>>> 

      An old man was asked, "What is humility?" and he said in reply, "Humility is a great work, and a work of God. The way of humility is to undertake bodily labour and believe yourself a sinner and make yourself subject to all." Then a brother said, "What does it mean, to be subject to all?" The old man answered, "To be subject to all is not to give your attention to the sins of others but always to give your attention to your own sins and to pray without ceasing to God."
       
      "Humility is the only thing we need; one can still fall having virtues other than humility but with humility one does not fall." --Elder Herman of Mt. Athos
       
      A humble person accepts criticism even if false.
       
      Related Link:
      Mark Sadek's Spiritual Words
       

      General Audience Address on Psalm 18(19)
       
      VATICAN CITY, JAN. 30, 2002 (Zenit.org).- Creation is an open book that speaks of God's beauty, John Paul II said during today's general audience when he meditated on Psalm 18(19). Here is a translation of his address, which he gave in Italian.
       
      * * *
       
      1. The sun, with its increasing brilliance in the sky, the splendour of its light, and the beneficent warmth of its rays, has captivated humanity since the beginning. In many ways human beings have manifested their gratitude for this source of life and well-being, with an enthusiasm that often reaches the height of authentic poetry. The wonderful Psalm 18[19], the first part of which we have just proclaimed, is not only a prayer in the form of a hymn of extraordinary intensity; but is also a poetic song addressed to the sun and its shining on the face of the earth. In this way, the Psalmist joins a long list of singers of the ancient Near East, who exalted the day star that shines in the skies, which in their regions long dominates with its burning heat. It reminds us of the famous hymn to Aton, composed by Pharaoh Akhnaton in the 14th century B.C., and dedicated to the solar disc regarded as a divinity.
       
      However, for the man of the Bible, there is a radical difference in regard to these solar hymns: The sun is not a god, but a creature at the service of the one God and Creator. Suffice it to remember the words of Genesis: "Then God said: 'Let there be lights in the dome of the sky, to separate day from night. Let them mark the fixed times, the days and the years.' ... God made the two great lights, the greater one to govern the day, and the lesser one to govern the night. ... And God saw how good it was" (Genesis 1:14,16,18).
       
      2. Before going over the verses of the Psalm chosen by the Liturgy, let us look at it as a whole. Psalm 18[19] is similar to a diptych. In the first part (verses 2-7), which today has become our prayer, we find a hymn to the Creator, whose mysterious grandeur is manifested in the sun and the moon. In the second part of the Psalm (verses 8-15), instead, we find a wise hymn to the Torah, namely, to the Law of God.
       
      Both parts are suffused with a common theme: God illuminates the universe with the brilliance of the sun and illuminates humanity with the splendour of his Word contained in biblical Revelation. It is almost like a double sun: The first is a cosmic epiphany of the Creator; the second is a historical and free manifestation of the Saviour God. It is not accidental that the Torah, the divine Word, is described with "solar" tones: "The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes" (verse 8).
       
      3. But let us go back now to the first part of the Psalm. It begins with a wonderful personification of the heavens, which to the sacred Author appear as eloquent witnesses of the creative work of God (verses 2-5). They, in fact, "narrate," "announce" the wonders of the divine work (see verse 2). The day and night are also represented as messengers that transmit the great news of creation. This is a silent testimony, which nevertheless makes itself forcefully heard as a voice throughout the cosmos.
       
      With the interior vision of the soul, with religious intuition not distracted by superficiality, man and woman can discover that the world is not dumb but speaks of the Creator. As the ancient sage said, "From the greatness and beauty of created things their original author, by analogy, is seen" (Wisdom 13:5). St. Paul also reminds the Romans that "Ever since the creation of the world, his invisible attributes of eternal power and divinity have been able to be understood and perceived in what he has made" (Romans 1:20).
       
      4. Then the hymn gives way to the sun. The luminous globe is depicted by the inspired poet as a heroic warrior who leaves the chamber where he spent the night, emerges from the heart of darkness and begins his inexhaustible course in the heavens (verses 6-7). It is like an athlete who never pauses or is exhausted, while the whole of our planet is enveloped in its irresistible warmth.
       
      Hence, the sun is compared to a spouse, a hero, a champion who, by divine order, must fulfill a task every day, a conquest, and a race in the sidereal spaces. The Psalmist thus points to the flaming sun in mid-sky, while all the earth is enveloped by its heat, the air is still, no angle of the horizon can escape from its light.
       
      5. The solar image of the Psalm is taken up by the Christian paschal liturgy to describe the triumphant exodus of Christ from the darkness of the sepulcher and his entry into the fullness of the new life of the resurrection. The Byzantine liturgy sings in the matins of Holy Saturday: "As the sun rises after the night totally radiant in its renewed luminosity, so you also, O Word, will shine in a new brightness when, after death, you will leave your nuptial bed." An ode (the first) of Easter matins links the cosmic revelation with Christ's paschal event: "Let the heavens rejoice and the earth exult with it, because the whole universe, both the visible and invisible, takes part in this celebration: Christ, our everlasting joy, has risen." And another ode (the third) adds: "Today the whole universe, heaven, earth and abyss, is full of light and the whole of creation sings the resurrection of Christ, our strength and our joy." Finally, another ode (the fourth) concludes: "Christ our Pasch has risen from the tomb as a sun of justice shining on all of us the splendour of his charity."
       
      The Roman liturgy is not as explicit as the Eastern in comparing Christ to the sun. Nevertheless, it describes the cosmic repercussions of his Resurrection, when it begins its song of lauds on Easter morning with the famous hymn: "Aurora lucis rutilat, caelum resultat laudibus, mundus exultans iubilat, gemens infernus ululat" ("The dawn is radiant with light, the heavens exult with songs, the world dances with joy, hell moans with cries").
       
      6. The Christian interpretation of the Psalm, however, does not cancel its basic message, which is an invitation to discover the divine word present in creation. Of course, as stated in the second part of the Psalm, there is another and higher Word, more precious than light itself, that of biblical Revelation.
       
      Anyway, for those who have attentive ears and unveiled eyes, creation is like a first revelation, which has its own eloquent language: It is almost like another sacred book whose letters are represented by the multitude of creatures present in the universe. St. John Chrysostom says: "The silence of the heavens is a voice that resounds more intensely than a trumpet: This voice cries to our eyes, and not to our ears, the grandeur of the one who made it" (PG 49, 105). And St. Athanasius: "The firmament, through its magnificence, beauty and order, is a prestigious preacher of its author, whose eloquence fills the universe" (PG 27, 124).
       
      [translation by ZENIT]
       
      * * *
       
      [At the end of the audience, the Holy Father gave the following summary in English.]

      Dear Brothers and Sisters,
       
      Psalm 18 praises God for his works of creation. The first part of the Psalm speaks of the heavens and the marvellous signs of God’s glory contained in them. The second part presents a very poetic description of the sun, which by its light and warmth gives life to man. The Christian tradition gives further meaning to this imagery of the sun, seeing in it a representation of Christ’s Resurrection, of the Lord’s triumph over the darkness of sin and death.
       
      This Psalm is an invitation to discover God’s presence in creation, and to welcome his saving word, more precious than the light of the sun. Creation therefore remains a kind of first revelation which speaks to us clearly of the Creator and which can lead us ever more deeply into the mystery of God’s love for us.
       
      Today I offer a special word of greeting to the Vietnamese priests and religious from various countries participating in a spirituality program, and to the priest graduates of Kenrick Seminary in Saint Louis celebrating their 25th anniversary of ordination: may the light of the Risen Savior continue to guide and strengthen you so that you may always bear effective witness to his mercy and love. Upon all the English-speaking visitors, especially those from Denmark, Japan, and the United States of America, I invoke the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ.
       
      [text distributed by Vatican Press Office]

      Pope Encourages Computer Science   >>>>>

      Applauds Digitalisation and Indexation of St. Thomas´ Works

      VATICAN CITY, FEB. 1, 2002 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II encouraged the use of information technology at the service of Christian thought, when he received in audience the group that digitalised and indexed the works of St. Thomas Aquinas.
       
      The Pontiff said this effort will help new generations discover the timeliness of this Dominican thinker (1221-1274), regarded as one of history´s greatest philosophers and theologians.
       
      The Holy Father today addressed the members of the Association for the Computerisation of Lexicological Hermeneutical Analyses (CAEL), which sponsored the production of the "Index Tomisticus," a complete glossary of the linguistic terms (some 9 million words) taken from St. Thomas´ works.
       
      The work, which would fill 56 encyclopaedic volumes, has been compacted into a CD-ROM.
       
      Among the CAEL members who attended the papal audience were Michel Camdessus, former director of the International Monetary Fund; Antonio Fazio, director of the Central Bank of Italy; and Giulio Andreotti, an Italian statesman; as well as Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops; and Cardinal Dionigi Tettamanzi, archbishop of Genoa.
       
      The completion of the "Index Tomisticus," as the Pope acknowledged, was due to the tireless work of Jesuit Father Roberto Busa, a pioneer in the computerisation of human sciences.
       
      The Holy Father encouraged the new enterprise that Father Busa will now begin, with the help of an international team of youths, assisted by university professors. This new endeavour is the elaboration of the "Bicultural Thomistic Lexicon," which over a few decades should translate all the terms used by St. Thomas into modern words.
       
      John Paul II described the work of the Summa Theologiae´s author as an "authentic encyclopaedia of his time, summary of 40 centuries of Mediterranean culture: Jewish, Greek, Latin, Arab and Christian."
       
      "St. Thomas marked an age with his genius and continues to be a luminous figure for research and love of truth, which dominate all his philosophical and theological" work, the Pope said.
       
      Related Links:

      Selected Christian Links  
      >>
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      HH Coptic Orthodox Pope Shenouda III Wednesday's Audience on Meditation/Contemplation (30 Jan 02)
       
      Catholic and Protestant Reactions to Virgin Mary's Apparitions in Zeitun, Cairo (1968)
      http://www.zeitun-eg.org/zeitoun1.htm
       
      From the Clementine Homilies: Peter On Chastity in Marriage
       
      Spiritual Newsletter Archive of St. George Coptic Orthodox Church, Bellflower, California, US
       

      2 Timothy 3:1-5 But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!
       
      Glory be to Jesus Christ.

      In Christ's everlasting love, joy and peace (the fruits of the Holy Spirit),
      --Zeitun-eg.org (
      Our Lady of Zeitun Online/The Holy Bible Web Site - 1996-2002)
      Zeitun-eg.org is an interdenominational ministry.

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