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Catholic Dogma

In fideism, irrationalism on 08/09/2011 at 7:59 am

Edward Feser has a strange argument in favor of the possibility of reconciling evolutionary theory with Catholic dogma.

Supposing, then, that the smallest human-like population of animals evolution could have initially produced numbered around 10,000, we have a scenario that is fully compatible with Catholic doctrine if we suppose that only two of these creatures had human souls infused into them by God at their conception, and that He infused further human souls only into those creatures who were descended from this initial pair.  And there is no evidence against this supposition. (bolded)

Put aside that, as far as our scientific theories indicate, that the first biological human male and first human female existed, at minimum, thousands of years apart. Instead, focus on what Feser has done: yes, it is a possibility that an omniscient being imparted a particular cognitive structure (which Feser calls ‘souls’) into two biological humans, but possibility amounts to very little. It is possible that other humans are in fact androids, and to save this theory from attempted refutation, a defender can easily claim that no, this particular being is a human, but androids walk among us! There cannot be, by the very structure of the argument, evidence against this supposition.

Within the larger scheme of things, if we see how Catholic dogma began, their stances on epistemology, the historical structure of their ‘holy’ texts, their gradual refinement and replacement of dogmas under pressure from within and without the Church, then who cares if it is possible to reconcile even the most de-clawed version of Catholic dogma with evolutionary theory? It’s retreated too far, for too long. No, the Israelites never were slaves in Egypt. It’s just a story. No, Adam and Eve never lived, and certainly never were given dominion over all other creatures, and they never lived in a magic garden with a talking snake. There was no Noah’s ark, and to think otherwise would be intellectual suicide. I’m sure, or at least I hope that Feser would agree with me on all these points. But what remains? He can have his supposition for all I care, he can attempt to square the circle by redefining both until the two are one (we’re not talking about biological humans, but humans with souls!), but I take it as seriously as attempts to reconcile origin stories from other — now-defunct — religions.

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