Apr 10, 2012

Disproof of Catholic theology

I'm watching the show "Q&A", where Richard Dawkins and George Pell are having an open debate, fielding questions from the audience. One of the questions centers around evolution, and the Catholic church's viewpoints there. A short summary is that Pell admits that evolution happened (although completely botching the details, claiming humans evolved from Neandertals somehow... facepalm), but that somewhere there must have been a "first human" who had a "soul".

While this is great for those Catholics who are looking for a way out of being both Catholic AND avoid disbelieving in scientific fact, if you scratch it a bit, it reveals the entire house of cards that the Catholic religion is, and it comes tumbling down.

A transcript is here:

RICHARD DAWKINS: Well, I’m curious to know if Adam and Eve never existed where did original sin come from? But I also would like to clarify the point about whether there was ever a first human. That’s a rather difficult and puzzling question because we know that the previous species from which we're descended is probably homo erectus and before that some sort of australopithecine but there never was a last homo erectus who gave birth to the first homo sapiens. Every creature ever born belonged to the same species as its parents. The process of evolution is so gradual that you can never say, aha, now suddenly we have the first human. It was always a case of just a slightly different from the previous generation. That’s a scientific point which I think is quite interesting. I’m not sure if it has a theological significance except that I think successive popes have tried to suggest that the soul did indeed get added, rather like gin to tonic, at some particular point during evolution; at some point in evolution there was no soul and then later there was one so it is quite an interesting question to ask. Now we have rather a good fossil record from Africa of the descent of humans from australopithecines to various species of homo, perhaps homo habilis, perhaps homo erectus, then archaic homo sapiens and then modern homo sapiens. At what point did the soul get injected and what does the idea of original sin mean if Adam and Eve never existed?

TONY JONES: I’ll just quickly let you respond to that, George?

GEORGE PELL: Yeah, well, I mean God wasn't running around giving injections and if there is no first person we’re not humans.

Dawkins does an excellent job of explaining the problems, and I will go further than he does. He asks the question "I’m not sure if it has a theological significance". I think it does have a distinct theological significance, and I've highlighted my problems with Catholic theology and why it is disproved by evolution here.

A quote:
The Catholic Church teaches
"By his sin Adam, as the first man, lost the original holiness and
justice he had received from God, not only for himself but for all
human beings. Adam and Eve transmitted to their descendants human
nature wounded by their own first sin and hence deprived of original
holiness and justice; this deprivation is called "original sin". As a
result of original sin, human nature is weakened in its powers,
subject to ignorance, suffering and the domination of death, and
inclined to sin (this inclination is called "concupiscence")."
Catechism of the Catholic Church, 416-418

Therefore the sins of Adam give rise to original sin. Since Adam
didn't actually exist and/or actually commit any actual sin, then the
"taint" that Adam's blood carries is non-existent because he himself
is non-existent, therefore the concept of original sin is inconsistent
with the theory of evolution.

Note to the readers: In my quote, by "Adam" I mean "the first human" that Pell is discussing.

It's simply a closed case here. Catholic dogma is that there was some kind of "Adam" which was capable of sinning, which did sin. This is patently in contradiction to evolutionary thought, so it is the very admission by the Church (and of course, the mountains of evidence in support of evolution) that disproves Catholic theology: something that is defined as being inerrant, is errant.

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