The marriage of Joseph and Mary

Super Flumina

under the patronage of St Joseph and St Dominic

By the rivers of Babylon there we sat and wept, remembering Zion;
on the poplars that grew there we hung up our harps. . . Ps 136

St Dominic


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Professor Solomon's Introduction to Philosophy

11th September 2001


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© 2006 Website by Netvantage



He fixes the number of the stars;
he calls each one by its name. Ps. 146, 4

I was handed recently a copy of Gerard Keane’s Creation Rediscovered [1].  It has set me to a careful consideration of the words of the Divine author of the Book of Genesis and to weighing Keane’s thesis, shared by many others around the world, that those words compel one to the view that all the proofs given by science for the great age of earth and universe must be discounted.

Conversations in the evolution debate today are larded with the phrase ‘intelligent design’.  Scientists are beginning to think that nature can only be explained by such a phenomenon.  This hesitant, and apparently reluctant, endorsement of formal and final causality is a step in the right direction.  But there is a long way to go.

Evolution has never been an issue for those with insight.  As a philosophic theory it has always been simplistic and fatuous.  As a scientific theory explaining the appearance of natural phenomena, time has only shown it to be increasingly incompetent.  Michael Denton’s Evolution, A Theory in Crisis, published more than twenty years ago [2], demonstrated its impossibility.  That work ought to have resolved the issue.  It is a measure of the inertia of the scientific community that it has taken so long for the theory’s defects to begin to unsettle its members [3].  In 1993 David Attenborough blandly asserted that the evolutionary connection between birds and reptiles is no longer in doubt [4].  It has not been established, nor will it ever be.

Indeed, evolutionary theory has never been anything but bland assertion, yet another branch of that universal evil of the age, always grounded in assertion, subjectivism.

Mention of Attenborough reminds us of the miracles that science has worked through cinematography to reveal to us, who could never see such things otherwise, the majesty of God’s Creation, and the part that Attenborough, all unconsciously, has played in revealing that grandeur.  While he was hard at work endeavouring to demonstrate evolutionary theory, his efforts showed the world ever more convincingly the inevitability of ‘intelligent design’ and of the over-arching mind and loving care of a Creator.  I am minded of Chesterton’s history of his own intellectual development—

It was Huxley and Herbert Spencer and Bradlaugh who brought me back to orthodox theology.  They sowed in my mind my first wild doubts of doubt.  Our grandmothers were right when they said that Tom Paine and the free-thinkers unsettled the mind.  They do.  They unsettled mine horribly.  The rationalist made me question whether reason was of any use whatever; and when I had finished Herbert Spencer I had got as far as doubting (for the first time) whether evolution had occurred at all.  As I laid down the last of Colonel Ingersoll’s atheistic lectures the dreadful thought broke across my mind, “Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.”  I was in a desperate way. [5]

Let one fact of nature among the thousands exposed by Attenborough stand for all the rest.  The male Emperor Penguin, a creature made for the sea, against every norm of evolutionary theory, marches away from security and self preservation over the ice into the depths of the frozen Antarctic Continent in black mid winter—permanent night for more than one month—where it stands in its colony unfed, in temperatures as low as minus 70 degrees centigrade for more than 110 days to protect and nurture the egg, then chick, produced by its mate [6].  The female returning, well fed, at the end of this period must walk perhaps 100 miles to get back to her mate and her chick.  How could anyone assert that these facts of nature served to advance evolutionary theory?  Or that they did not show demonstratively the extremity of the love of God in the procreation of his creatures?

Evolution was, in truth, never a philosophic, or scientific, but rather a moral, and ultimately a theological theory.  Darwin was driven to formulate it by a moral claim.  If man could explain the grandeur of nature and creation by recourse to merely material means, he need concern himself no longer with assertions about God and His existence.  And once God was disposed of, well, there could be no moral limits on what a man could do.

We know God through His effects, St Thomas teaches.  Those effects are multitude, their intricacy a constant source of wonder.  For those whose minds are not stultified by secular humanism, rather than simply evidencing ‘intelligent design’, the world (as Hopkins wrote) is charged with the grandeur of God.

How welcome it was, then, to hear the new Pope, Benedict XVI, endorse the emptiness of evolutionary theory at the inaugural Mass of his pontificate—

We are not some casual and meaningless product of evolution.  Each of us is the result of a thought of God. Each of us is willed, each of us is loved, each of us is necessary.

*                                              *

It is another thing, however, to assert that the folly of evolution necessarily compels one to the view that the observations and calculations of science establishing that the earth and universe are of great age can be rejected.

Michael Baker
6th February 2006—St Paul Miki & his companions

[1]  Creation Discovered: Evolution and the Importance of the Origins Debate, Gerard J. Keane, Tan Books, Illinois, 1999, Second and Expanded Edition.

[2]  Burnett Books, London, 1985.

[3]  Consider the qualified dissent from Darwinism by a group of ‘over 400 scientists’ reported in July 2005 and reproduced at : We are skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life.  Careful examination of the evidence for Darwinian theory should be encouraged.

[4]  The Big Freeze, episode 5 in the series Life in the Freezer, BBC DVD, originally transmitted by the BBC in the UK in November, 1993.

[5]  G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy, Fontana Books, London, 1963, p. 83.  Thomas Huxley (1825-1895), a British biologist and agnostic, known as ‘Darwin’s bulldog’; Herbert Spencer (1820-1903), not Charles Darwin, promoted the idea of evolution as a philosophical theory; Charles Bradlaugh (1833-1891) was a British atheist and political activist.  Thomas Paine (1737-1809), one of the founding fathers of the United States, was a Deist, that is, one who believed that reason, rather than revelation, should be the basis of belief in God; hence, ‘the rationalist’.  Colonel Robert Green Ingersoll (1833-1899) raised and led a regiment in the American Civil War.  A celebrated atheist and freethinker, he was a renowned orator.

[6]  Cf. The Big Freeze, op. cit.