Category Archives: Evolution

Spreadsheet of Every Catholic Church in Chicago

I am working on a project with a friend of mine and it became necessary to discover the location of every Catholic Church in the City of Chicago.

I discovered a list here on the Archdiocese of Chicago Web site. It's perfectly informative, but it doesn't 100% serve my needs, so I copy/ pasted the stuff, made a spreadsheet out of it, added some columns, and started filling it out.

Behold a Complete List of Catholic Churches in Chicago. It has Parish name, Address, Phone/ Fax, Web address, Mass Times, and Notes. I've just started on it, but I've found a number of Web sites that the Archdiocese didn't know about, and I want to compile all of the Mass times into something cohesive.

We've got a lot more on the way– stay tuned. If you've got info and want access to edit the document, hit me up. Thank you, and God bless America.

Little People and Their Tools

It’s been a great week for Science in the NYT. My favorite science writer, John Noble Wilford, and his colleagues have been filing tons of reports. Today was a look at the debate over the little people of the Indonesian island of Flores, who may or may not be a different species than home sapiens.
Quoted was my former antropology teacher:

Moreover, James L. Phillips, an anthropologist at the University of Illinois at Chicago and a co-author of the new journal article, said the style and workmanship of tools found with the fossils were so advanced "that there is no way they were made by anyone other than Homo sapiens."

Brought me back to a large brick and concrete lecture hall where Dr. Phillips (who is not exactly tall himself) showed us how homo habilus made tools. He struck two stones against each other swiftly, flaking off the objects of great technological advance– little blades of stone.

God bless us all.

Male Fear and Monkey Cuckolding: “Two Splits Between Human and Chimp Lines Suggested” (NYT)

There’s an amazing story in the NYT this morning about new evidence in molecular biology supporting the idea that there was a hybrid species that rose after the split between chimp and human lineages. The  idea is that females of this hybrid species (which eventually led to humans) mated with males from the  chimp world since all the hybrid-style males were sterile.

Hybrid populations often go extinct because the males are sterile, Dr. Reich pointed out, so hybrid females may have mated with male chimps to produce viable offspring. The human lineage finally re-emerged from this hybrid population, Dr. Reich suggests, explaining the younger genetic dates, while the very early fossils with humanlike features may come from the earlier period before the hybridization.

David Page, a human geneticist at the Whitehead Institute in Cambridge, said the design of the new analysis was "really beautiful, with all the pieces of the puzzle laid out." Whether the hybridization will turn out to be the right solution to the puzzle remains to be seen, "but for the moment I can’t think of a better explanation," he said.

These crucial events in early human evolution are hard to judge dispassionately, Dr. Page noted. "We’d like to have a more Victorian view of our genome," he said, "and this reminds us that we are really animals and gives us a glimpse of our past and of a story that we might like to have told in a different way."

Just wait til the neurological psychiatrists get a hold of this. It seems useful in explaining all sorts of irrational male fear.

The image “http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2006/05/18/science/0518-nat-webEVOLVE.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Evolution is a Fact

So today I taught a first grade CCD class. I read the Genesis creation story to them. One of kids said, "well, when the Earth started there were a lot of volcanoes." I took this as an opportunity to tell the children that "evolution is a fact" about 8 or 9 times. I’m not an intelligent design guy at all. Just a Catholic with an anthropology degree. And I can read a bunch of kids a story about the start of the world while planting a deep seed to be opened when (hopefully) some teacher first tells them what evolution is.

My Pope’s Evolution

Great piece in the NYT Magazine called "Unintelligent Design" poking logic holes into pseudo-science creationist stuff. Here’s something I didn’t know about my pope:

That is why Pope John Paul II was comfortable declaring that evolution has been ”proven true” and that ”truth cannot contradict truth.”

Here’s the complete text of the Address of Pope John Paul II to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences (October 22, 1996) called "Truth Cannot Contradict Truth".

In his speech, the Pope refers to the work of his predecessor:

In his encyclical
Humani Generis (1950),
my predecessor Pius XII had
already stated that there was no opposition between evolution and the
doctrine of the faith about man and his vocation, on condition that one did
not lose sight of several indisputable points.

Further:

Taking into account the state of scientific research at the time as well
as of the requirements of theology, the encyclical Humani Generis
considered the doctrine of "evolutionism" a serious hypothesis, worthy of
investigation and in-depth study equal to that of the opposing hypothesis.
Pius XII added two methodological conditions: that this opinion should not
be adopted as though it were a certain, proven doctrine and as though one
could totally prescind from revelation with regard to the questions it
raises. He also spelled out the condition on which this opinion would be
compatible with the Christian faith, a point to which I will return.
Today, almost half a century after the publication of the encyclical, new
knowledge has led to the recognition of
the theory of evolution as more than a hypothesis.

[Aujourdhui, près dun demi-siècle après la parution de
l’encyclique, de nouvelles connaissances conduisent à reconnaitre
dans la théorie de l’évolution plus qu’une hypothèse.
]
It is indeed remarkable that this theory has been
progressively accepted by researchers, following a series of discoveries in
various fields of knowledge. The convergence, neither sought nor fabricated,
of the results of work that was conducted independently is in itself a
significant argument in favor of this theory.

This part I don’t really understand & I need to delve further into it:

And, to tell the truth, rather than the theory of evolution, we should speak
of several theories of evolution. On the one hand, this plurality has to do
with the different explanations advanced for the mechanism of evolution, and
on the other, with the various philosophies on which it is based. Hence the
existence of
materialist, reductionist and
spiritualist interpretations.
What is to be decided here is the true role of
philosophy and, beyond it, of
theology.

But here’s the essential germ of what the pope has to offer here:

Consequently, theories of evolution which, in accordance with the
philosophies inspiring them, consider the
spirit as emerging from the forces
of living matter or as a mere epiphenomenon of this matter, are incompatible
with the truth about man. Nor are they able to ground the dignity of the
person
.

Yes, we are subject to geologic time and the vagaries of disinterested evolution, but that is not all we are.