Creation, Evolution, and Catholicism (Guest: Dr. Gerard Verschuuren)

February 23, 2024 01:03:59
Creation, Evolution, and Catholicism (Guest: Dr. Gerard Verschuuren)
Crisis Point
Creation, Evolution, and Catholicism (Guest: Dr. Gerard Verschuuren)

Feb 23 2024 | 01:03:59

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Hosted By

Eric Sammons

Show Notes

Man has always wondered about where we have come from and how we were created. Religions have given various answers, and in recent centuries so has science. How does a Catholic evaluate these claims in light of our faith?
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Episode Transcript

[00:00:10] Speaker A: Man has always wondered where we have come from and how we were created. Religions have given various answers, and in recent centuries, so has science. How does a Catholic evaluate these claims in light of our faith? That's what we're going to talk about today on crisis point. Hello, I'm Eric Simmons, your host, editor in chief of Crisis magazine. Before we get started, I just want to encourage people to hit the like button, to subscribe to the channel, let other people know about what we're doing here. Also, you can follow us on social media at Crisis Mag and subscribe to our email newsletter. Just go to crisismagazine.com entering your email address, and you'll get our article sent to you every day, usually about two articles a day. Okay, so we have a great guest today, Dr. Gerard Verschurin. He told me I pronounced right beforehand, but I still probably messed it up. He's a human biologist, a writer, a speaker, and consultant. He's working at the interface of science, philosophy, and religion. He specializes in human genetics and also earned a doctorate in the philosophy of science and has studied and worked at universities both in Europe and the United States. He's the author of many books. I have three of them. I own three of them myself, including in the beginning, which is the one we'll talk about the most today. A catholic scientist explains how God made earth our home. Welcome to the program. [00:01:26] Speaker B: Yes, thank you, Eric, for inviting me. [00:01:29] Speaker A: Yes, it's great. I've been wanting to have you for quite some time, so I'm glad we were able to work out a schedule. Like I said, I have a number of your books. In fact, it was a number of about a year or two ago. I really wanted to look into the ideas of creation, evolution, big bang, and kind of the catholic faith and science because I didn't really have strong opinions on that. And so I got a bunch of books. I have a whole shelf over there of books. I got a bunch of the library, everything from Richard Dawkins and Stephen Hawking all the way in catholic ones, non catholic ones. And I will say, I think of all of them. This is probably my favorite, is probably the in the beginning book as far as just giving this overview. So I'm very excited is what I'm trying to say. Now, why don't you give us a little bit of your background in both science and your faith, like your catholic background and your scientific background. [00:02:28] Speaker B: I will try not to do that more than an hour because there is so much in my life that I would like to mention, but I won't. So I'm a cradled Catholic. But as happens a lot when you go to college, you lose a lot of your faith until you wise up and you discover that there is much more to it. And so when I was studying human biology, I was brainwashed that science knows everything. Well, I learned better when I was dealing with scientists and I thought that can't be true. So I gradually got back into my faith and now I am a very dedicated Catholic. I have to acknowledge that beforehand. So I am very proud of that actually, that I'm dedicated, though it's a gift from heaven. I did my part, so we are going to do that. And so I learned to study more the background of science. So I went into philosophy of science, and that's what was my thesis about, the philosophy of science. Some people call it the science of science, but it's not an experimental science of God. It is based on philosophy, and philosophies can be very strong in its arguments. And the catholic church has a very strong tradition of faith and reason. There is no faith without reason. So there are a lot of faiths, but a lot of them reject reason because they don't want to be attacked by reason. So that's where I am now. And I started to publish books on that issue more and more. And I always was trying to fight all the attacks that we received from all kinds of angles, not only atheists or scientists, but also people who just are, let's call them nothing. They don't believe in anything. And as Chesterton always said, if you don't believe in God, you can believe anything. And that is true. I think that was a wise statement of Chesterton. So I learned my lesson in life and that's where my books come from. Is that an answer to your. [00:05:00] Speaker A: Absolutely. So now, before we get into some more specifics, because we want to talk about the beginnings of the universe and creation and all those things, but I want to just ask a more kind of high level question, which is, what are the principles for doing science from a catholic perspective? Obviously, certain principles are the same if you're catholic or non Catholic. But as a Catholic, when you're doing science, what are kind of the principles in your mind while doing it? [00:05:29] Speaker B: I think catholic scientists do the same as non catholic scientists. They use the scientific method with all its limitations, but they do basically the same. But maybe their questions are different. They might say, why is this so? And what I do in the book in the beginning is, can I say more than science can tell us? And that's where we part the non scientists and the scientists in general, I would say there are many scientists who are Catholics, and there are many Catholics who are scientists. So the two do go together, but sometimes they come to different conclusions. When it comes outside the field of science, for instance, when it comes to creation, creation is not a scientific issue. So if I say something about creation, I'm not talking as a scientist anymore, but I am talking as someone who has also a philosophical background and a religious background, and that turns things sometimes a little bit around, and we need to be aware of that. So in the book that we are discussing today, in the beginning, I am a scientist with also a religious cap on, and I'm a religious thinker who also has a scientific background. And scientists are usually a little bit skeptical. They say, can you prove it? Can you prove it? Well, in philosophy, there is not much you can prove, except what I always say, all the arguments for God's existence. In another book, I showed that you can really prove that, and everyone who accepts certain starting points has to come to the same conclusion as I do, that there is a God and that there is a creator. [00:07:37] Speaker A: Now, one of the things you mentioned in this book, I think in other books as well, you talk about the differences between the Book of Nature and the Book of Scripture as two different books. That kind of God reveals himself to us in. Can you explain those differences in how they interact with each other, but also how they are different? [00:07:57] Speaker B: Yeah. That separation, the Book of Nature and the Book of scripture is basically traced back to Galileo, but he didn't invent that, of course. We find it already from St. Augustine and people before him. It was a very common distinction. And what they said is, when we study nature and we are basically little scientists, even if we are not trained, we are scientists, but if we talk about the book of scripture, we are not really scientists anymore. So there is a difference between those two propositions. And I would say that the Book of nature is what most people accept, that there's not much discussion about that. Of course, the details you can discuss about is there really a big bang, and when did that happen? That is a scientific issue. But the book of creation is very different from that. The Book of Scripture tells us how to go to heaven, and the Book of Nature tells us how the heavens go. That is a very big difference. So when I try to read the creation account, some people call it the creation story, where that makes it look like it is all fantasy. That is definitely not my intention. The Book of Scripture has reports about the creation, but always seen from God's point of view. And before we go into that discussion, I want to stress that there are two creation accounts. The first one is, let's say, in the first chapter of the Book of Genesis. It is about the day one, two, three to seven. The second one is basically starting in chapter two, and it has a completely different approach, but they are both talking from God's point of view. So you cannot just say creation is day one through day seven and forget the rest of the story, which is a completely different one. That is the Adam and Eve story account, I should say. Story is confusing, as I said already. So we have to read all of that. I always say that when you read the first story, which is probably the most popular one, we can't read it as a literal description of how creation was done. First of all, when God created this universe, he also created time. Time is a creation is a product of the universe. Einstein will definitely stress that. He say time is also like gravity, the part of nature. So to talk about what happened before the universe was created is a little weird because there was no time in our mind, in our thinking. So the time came in when the earth was created, when the universe was created with the big bang. And then what the book of scripture does, it creates a split. It's not a chronological story. That is my main point that I try to explain in the book quite extensively. On day four, he adorns everything. He adores the day and the night with the sun, the moon and the star. On day five, he begins to populate all of them, the sky and the sea with birds and fish. On day six, he populates the land between the divided waters. So it is a different structure than we think. We read it as a scientific account, which it's not. I can almost prove that by going extensively into all the details, but I don't think that is fair. All that the genesis story is trying to say, it all came from God. And if you read that literally, you come into all kind of problems. So he creates the day and the night. Before, there is a sun and a moon and the stars. That couldn't be possible if that were a literal account. And then he populates the sky and the sea with birds and fish. On day six, he populates the land between the divided waters. And without plants on the land with oxygen, for us, we could not even exist. So it's a little weird to think that it was done in that order. So they call that a structural approach of Genesis one. I am not talking it away, because I'm a firm believer that Genesis one has a beautiful account to tell her. It is actually saying it all comes from God. And in the populations around Israel at that time, it was very common to create gods. The sun was a God, the moon was a God. If you ever watch all the documentaries on the pharaoh ocean, you will see how pagan they were. Everything is God. And then they have forks and birds that are also that kind of thing. So we have to see Genesis one as a proclamation of monotheism. There is only one God, and all the other elements that have become gods in the minds of some are all created by God. He is in charge of everything. [00:14:19] Speaker A: One of the things that you mentioned in the book that I think is a great distinction is you talk about the difference between creating and producing, and that a lot of people talk about, like, what is creation? They just assume the word creation is used in two different ways, though. So talk a little bit about the difference between the two and how the creation out of nothing means something philosophically, religiously different than when scientists might talk about producing something out of nothing. But they might use the term creation out of nothing. What are the differences there? [00:14:52] Speaker B: Yeah, if you want a healthy discussion, you have to distinguish terms, and that's what you are referring to. We have to see that creating is different from producing. And scientists don't make that distinction because almost by upbringing, they don't believe in creation. So still they use the word create. What is happening is. Thomas Aquinas came up with that important distinction. He says, when you produce something, like we do almost every day, we produce something from something else. But creating something, we can't do that. God is the one who creates things, and to do so, he creates something from nothing. Nothing is not another mysterious thing in the table of elements. It is nothing, literally nothing. There was nothing yet, and even a lot of nothing is still nothing. Nothing is a no thing. God creates and human beings produce. [00:16:12] Speaker A: Essentially, what science is doing is while religion is explaining in some sense, the creation out of nothing, scientists, all they can do is talk about something produced from something else. Correct, correct. [00:16:27] Speaker B: You said that. Right. Let me add one more thing. When scientists say you create something out of nothing, that is not creating, it's producing something. And I always like what the particle physicist Steve Barr said. If you have an account and there is no money in it, you still have an account. And I like that image very much. When scientists talk about annihilation, that something disappears completely. It doesn't disappear completely. It just goes from one form to another form, from another element. So when a proton disappears in a reaction, because we work with accelerators, then it doesn't really disappear. It just goes into another entity. Because science is always about physical entities. It is not about nothing. So even a vacuum has always something in it because it is what I say. It's the bank account that may not have nothing, that may have no money in it, but it's still a bank account. And we have to keep that terminology straight is vital in our discussion. [00:18:02] Speaker A: So when we talk about, let's get specific, like the big Bang theory. So the big Bang theory, a lot of scientists, they will talk about it as basically creation out of nothing. And what you're saying is, no, it's very different. So could you kind of explain, on a high level, for people like me, the big Bang and what the theory actually says and why it's not the same thing as saying creation out of nothing? [00:18:30] Speaker B: The big Bang assumes already that there are laws of nature, because that's how we can understand what the big Bang does. And it also assumes that there was already something to begin with. Famous physicist father George Lamatra, who came up with the big Bang idea, he says there was a primedal atom, a big force, and that where did that come from? It was created by God. Without God, there would be nothing. So what that did is it kept evolving and evolving. That's why we can study the Big Bang and what happened with it. But some scientists thought that the Big Bang created itself, that it was a spontaneous creation. You mentioned already before, the one you said, the atheist that you read. I forgot his name. [00:19:38] Speaker A: I'm reading Carl Sagan or Stephen Hawking or people like Richard Dawkins. [00:19:44] Speaker B: Yeah, they all say hawking even speaks of spontaneous creation. Well, philosophically, that is complete nonsense. If things could make themselves exist, then they would have to exist before they came into existence, which is absurd and must therefore be rejected on rational grounds. Nothing can make itself exist, but then it would have to exist before it came into existence. So how did it come into existence? Only God can do that. He can create something out of nothing, but that there is a big bang and that there was a pineal atom or whatever element you want to use. That is something that had to be created literally out of nothing, and only God can do that. That was a heavy discussion. [00:20:48] Speaker A: Yeah, because even the primer atom has to come from somewhere. And so, like you were saying, it can't spontaneously create. Now, one of the things about the Big Bang theory and just general science that sometimes concerns Catholics has to do with the timescales, the age, because one of the things that a lot of times, atheists, particularly like atheist evolutionists, would say is that we have this all this long time, and that allows for the creation of life and everything we see around us through random chance. And so there's no need for a creator. Can you first just address the age of the universe? How do we even know? Because obviously none of us were there at the Big Bang. So how do we even know what the age of the universe is? And what does that kind of tell us about the universe? [00:21:43] Speaker B: The age of the Big Bang is nowadays assumed to be 13.8 billion years. We do that more or less. By going backwards in time. We can see that the universe is expanding. That happens since the big bang. It expands and it goes, and all the elements, it creates the galaxies, and all of that is getting farther into the universe. So if we can measure how long it took to get that far out, then we know more or less going backwards, how long it took for them to begin, and that is 13.8 billion years. And I always find those time frames so confusing because what does it mean to us nowadays? We know that when we talk about finances and debts of the country, we talk about billions and trillions, but it doesn't mean much to people anymore. It is beyond our capacity. So what I do in the book is I'm going to use the frame of a day or even a year based on a day frame. The big Bang was at 12:00 a.m. In the morning. And on a year date, it was on January 1. Well, planet Earth is. We can measure that more by measuring the decay of isotopes in all kind of rocks of the earth is 4.5 billion years. That would be at 417 in the afternoon. Imagine how long it took for the Earth to come into being, or on a deer scale, in September 3. That is very recent compared to the Big Bang. And life started at 3.9 billion years. That was on September 15. The dinosaurs, so popular nowadays, was December 24, almost the end of the year. If we take the end of the year as now, and the origin of humanity, approximately 80,000 years, December 29, imagine that is a huge time frame. So for a lot of people say that is all a matter of numbers. High numbers. High numbers. High numbers. So they came up, and that is very popular with a lot of scientists. They came up with a law of numbers. I call that, it's not an official name, but I call it a law of numbers. If you have a large enough numbers, then everything can be explained. Then everything is basically a matter of luck, luck, luck. It is sort of absurd thing to accept all of that for us, because large numbers, what do they do? They say, if you have a monkey typing on a typewriter, just at random, completely at random, then, yeah, someday maybe we typed something that could qualify for Shakespeare. But I call that fantasy. It's complete fantasy. It's romantic nonsense. So it actually explains everything as a cosmic accident, the mystifying result of billions of years of random events. I try to explain in my book that there is no way that that can explain much. So, Hawkins, for instance, he came up with multiple universes. He said, if you have multiple universes, I bet there is one that is like our universe. Well, he is replacing the idea of a God with a plurality of universes. That's what falking is doing. And I can't really prove a plurality of universe because I can't even talk about it. I am one of them. So how can I talk about other universes? How can I ever prove that? It is very unscientific. But why do they do that? Because they believe in the law of large numbers, which makes everything possible by mere randomness, by mere luck, by mere chance. I don't think there is any hope for that kind of explanation. So we have to come up with a better one. And that is, in my idea, a creator. A creator who did all of that, who has a design in mind. That's where we are getting to our now. [00:27:03] Speaker A: Now, some Christians, in response to the people like Stephen Hawking or Richard Dawkins or Carl Sagan, who say, we have all this time, so anything can happen, and what we are is one of those anythings that happened, they will then argue, well, then we kind of reject the old earth, old universe, and we want to posit that the earth is only maybe 6000 years old or 10,000 years or something like that. Why is it, as Catholics, that we shouldn't go that way either? Why should we accept the age of the universe? How confident are we in the fact that it's 13 billion years old and the earth is 4 billion years old? [00:27:43] Speaker B: Because that is based on scientific methods, and scientific methods can be discussed, and you can prove that they are wrong, or you can never prove that something is right, but you can at least prove that it's wrong. But it's very likely that that works. But it has worked for many other things. So to say that, like we find sometimes with protestant theologians, they say that the earth is basically very young. The famous man who did that was the one usher. He was the episcopal or anglican archbishop of Ireland. He came up that the first day of creation was at, I think at 4004 before Christ. He just read the Bible as a book of nature and not as a book of scripture. So he added all the ages of people and kings and all of that. And he came up to 4004 bc. I can't see how that is possible because that is not based on anything scientific. It is based on misinterpretation of the book of scripture. So can you defend that? I think that is very hard to do. So there must be a way that we can do it better. And that is what I say, the scientific methods. Why is the universe so old? Some people think, couldn't it be 4000 years? No, because the universe makes in its stars and in its supernovas it makes the elements that we know nowadays. We know there are 92 elements and we find them probably all over the universe because we have no indication that it's not true. It's like a law of nature that they exist. So there must be a way that those were created. No, produced. I have to be very strict in my terminology, they were produced. The first one is hydrogen and then we got helium and all the rest up to uranium. And they come out of the furnaces of the stars when they explode as supernovas, they get spread through the universe. And that is a very time consuming process. That's why the universe is so old. And why is it so fast? Because it's expanding, expanding, expanding. So if it didn't expand far enough, if it didn't have the right size, then it would not have lasted more than a few minutes or even seconds. Too short for elements and for life to develop. So we have to think in different timescales when we are talking about the book of nature. That's why I'm going into the whole story as I do in the book. Use it in a day frame or in a year frame and you can see what we are trying to do. So can we hold on to the old story that the universe was created 4000 for BC? I do not see a way to accept that. There's no way. [00:31:31] Speaker A: Now, when we talk about then the age of the universe, obviously you're talking about a development over time. The word obviously, everybody uses evolution over time from the big Bang to what we have today. And I think that the primary thing that you address in the book, but that we need to address here is how does that relate? God being the first cause being the cause of all things, the creator of all things. With these secondary causes, how are they related between there being secondary causes? Does that somehow invalidate or undermine the idea of God being the creator and the cause of all things? [00:32:07] Speaker B: No, for the secondary courses could not exist without a primary cause. Without the primary cause, there could not be secondary causes. So if we think just in terms of secondary courses, which scientists tend to do, because that is all they can manipulate and experiment with in the laboratory and that kind of things, if that's the case, then where do those secondary causes come from? As I said already at the beginning, they cannot make themselves exist, but then they would have to exist before they came into existence, which is philosophical nonsense. So there must be a primary concept. God is their primary core. We can only accept the primary core. Let me use an example. Thomas Aquinas uses the terminology of primary and secondary courses. He didn't quite introduce it, but he was famous for using it. He said, let me give you an example. If I say, what is the cause that the shelf on my book doesn't fall down? Because the shelf folded up. But how come that the shelf doesn't fall down? Because it's in a bookcase. And how come that bookcase doesn't fall down? And we are going back in explanation, some say in time, but this is not a time issue. So where does that bookshelf come from? And so we can go back and back and back, but we could go on forever. And that is in Philosophy. That is a method with no regression. It goes on endlessly, endlessly, endlessly. So it doesn't explain anything. It can only be explained if we assume that eventually that bookshelf and the bookcase and the house are all kept in tow by the primary court. But that primary court cannot be an element of the bookcase or the book or the house or whatever it is of a different level, but it makes all the other stuff exist possible. And without that, there is no way we can explain anything in life. It will be an endless story if we do it with primary course, with secondary courses. So we have only one thing, the primary cause. That's where the buck stops. [00:34:56] Speaker A: Now, when we talk about this, God is the primary cause, and you have secondary causes in nature. How is that not, though? Deism. Because obviously Catholicism doesn't have same beliefs as deism, of this idea that God just starts it all, and he kind of just sits back and watches it go. Kind of like the clock maker winds up the clock, and then he just lets it go. How is this not deism, because deists. [00:35:20] Speaker B: Think that all God does is start the machinery. But God has to do much more. He has to not only make it come into existence, but also keep it into existence. He is not a landlord that just puts his hands off the hands off approach. He has to keep things into existence. If he doesn't keep things in existence, they fall apart. They go back to nothing. He poured them out of nothing, and they will go back to nothing if he doesn't sustain it. And that is what theism. Sorry, my th is not the best. He has to make it keep going. If God stops sustaining the secondary courses, it will go back to nothing. And that is where theism has to say much more than deism does. And besides, theism will add to it that God is also the designer behind it. He has something in mind that he keeps working on. That is what we call in scientific terms. No, in religious terms, that's what we call providence. God's providence. God makes it possible. Even randomness is basically only possible if God allows it. God will do that. I always like the story of father appeal, who said, if you think that everything is a matter of chance and luck, you don't believe in God, because God is the one who lets everything happen. Even the chances that we talk about the design of the world is in God's mind, and he makes it happen day after day after day. He is the sustaining force in our universe. [00:37:36] Speaker A: So we see then, of course, the universe over billions of years, which, as you said, is just almost sounds like a made up number if you try to really think about it. But things are evolving. So you have your suns that are exploding, and then, so the elements are basically being produced out of this. And then we have what we have now. A lot of scientists would say this is like random chance. And what you say in your book is kind of, you almost answer that yes and no. And can you go more into that? How does God then direct? Or does he direct? Like, how we get to where we are today, where we have rational human beings? We'll talk a little bit about the creation of life and rational life in a minute. But what is God's kind of involvement there in random chance? Is it just. I know you kind of talked about a little bit, but I want to get more into that. This idea of we go from a big bang, just a bunch of elements kind of, to what we have today. [00:38:37] Speaker B: Yes, it's a very important issue there. We have to realize that, first of all, the laws of nature come from God. They don't come from themselves. I don't have to say that anymore. I think they were implemented in this universe. There is no universe without the laws of nature. Things do happen according to certain laws. That doesn't mean that there is no randomness at all. Of course there is randomness. That's also part of God's design. So we think that when you put things together in a test tube, that they will just interact randomly. Sorry, that is not quite true. There are quite some affinities between elements. Some elements have already enough electrons in their shells, so they won't react very easily with other ones. Radicals, on the other hand, which are elements that have non paired electrons, they try to hook up to an electron from another element. So they come together in certain elements, in certain combinations. That is not ruled by randomness exactly, but mostly by the laws of nature. All the elements, the gases in the table of elements, they are kind of stable. They will not react easily with anything. But what is not a gas can easily react with something. So when you put oxygen and water together, or hydrogen and oxygen, whatever you want, they respond to each other, more or less respond is of course, a human expression. But they will create water, for instance. And to get them separated again requires quite some energy or quite some interaction of elements in the human or plant's body. So there is some lawful lawrence in there. And the laws come from God. So he is definitely interacting with that, that there are also chance events. How do we know? Do they come from God or do they come from nature? I cannot prove that they come from God, of course, but I said already, all secondary courses assume that there is a primary course. So the providence is a matter of how things are related to God. And chance is an issue of how things are related to each other. It is an important distinction again, and thanks to that distinction, we can say that God is still actively involved with this world. So did life come on God? In a way it did. He made certain elements come together according to the laws of nature that he implemented. And he more or less also steered the random events, like mutations. Are mutations really random? It's hard to tell, because the word random is again a source of different kind of meanings that interfere with each other. So to have a decent discussion about randomness is not so easy. And scientists sin against that. Very often they change halfway the meaning of the word random. And that's always a dangerous discussion. Does that answer your question? [00:42:47] Speaker A: Yes. Jumping in. Then there's some people who. They see the evolution of all things, of life and everything. And then they talk about, though I hope I'm not messing this up too much, but like an intelligent design. And some people who would say then that God kind of intervenes at certain points because there's no way really it can be explained how we go from x to y scientifically, or at least as of right now. And so they talk about potential because, like a darwinian evolution would say that something develops only because it helps somebody at that moment, some creature at that moment, to survive. And so then that gets passed on. But there are certain developments that look like they don't really help at that point, or lots of things come together at once. And so would you say that that is a plausible idea, that at times God kind of jumps in and does certain things, or is it more a matter of. No, we can just eventually. No. Science will kind of say how that eventually developed. [00:44:02] Speaker B: The idea that God interferes in evolution all the time, it makes God a secondary. And not only do I not like that idea, but it's also rejected by the catholic church. They say there is no interference from God all the time. I know it's very attractive to say that even Newton thought when his theories of planetary motions couldn't explain everything. He said God had to. From time to time, he has to reorder things and make undo things again, that makes God a secondary cause. And God is not a secondary cause, he's a primary cause, so he is the source of it all. And then to say that he changed things on the spot, which is not a sound philosophical idea, is also dangerous, because then we fill the things we can't explain yet with God, he becomes the God of the gaps, as it's sometimes called. When we have certain things that are not explained yet, we call God in. Poor God. He becomes our anchor when we are in trouble. No, that's not the way it should be. How does God rule the way? Because he has a design in this world and that design regulates more or less what can be done. When you talk about Darwin, Darwin is very controversial, even for me. I know what he said is basically true. He said, all we do is everything will be regulated by the survival of the fittest. That word is not really from him, but his idea of natural selection is that the most fitted one will survive. But where does the word fittest come from? That means it is in harmony with its surroundings, with the design of this universe. And so there is no talk about natural selection without acknowledging that there is a design. Darwin will not accept that. He doesn't believe in design, especially not later in life. In the beginning, he was, he was a very dedicated Protestant, but he finally gave up on all of that in his own opinion. So he is ignoring somehow that survival of the fittest assumes that there is a design in the universe, a design that certain things are necessary. A bird that doesn't follow the laws of nature will not fly well. Where do the laws of nature come from? Part of the design of this world. And the fish, if they sin against hydrodynamic laws, they will not swim well and they will disappear. So even Darwin has to accept somehow, though he does not acknowledge that, that there is a design in the world. And the design is basically a religious concept of philosophical, if you want it more noteful. [00:47:49] Speaker A: Now, we've talked a lot about the universe and all of creation and all that, but let's focus in here on earth, because to our knowledge, as of right now, only life that exists that we know of is here on mean. There's obviously, there's a lot of efforts to find potentially life on Mars, on Europa or something like that. But right now, the only life we know about is here. And so how does that fit God as the great designer this idea? I know a lot of Catholics, a lot of Christians, religious people struggle with this idea of life being produced out of non life. And so first of all, what is kind of the scientific reasoning behind that, but also what is kind of the religious look of that, of life being created out of non life? [00:48:45] Speaker B: I think that is very well acceptable. Let's face it, in the Bible, we are created out of dust. Dust is a very material thing. So why can't life come along from non life sources? Of course, it requires a lot of development. There is no doubt about it. When the first experiments were done by operine and people like that, they put in test tubes certain elements that they thought were in the primitive atmosphere of the earth, and they put electric energy through it and gradually new molecules developed, because they follow, again, laws of nature. It's not all randomness. So he found that there were the beginnings of amino acids, the beginnings of certain carbohydrates. And that proof, I call it basically a proof, has only got stronger and stronger and stronger. Can we deny it? Hard to do, but I know I cannot force anyone to accept evolution. But there are definitely very strong indications that the first life on Earth, which probably originated near thermal vents, that is where gases from the inner side of the Earth come out, which is very warm, very hot, actually. And that creates what we did in that experiment. It's like electric energy and heat combined. And there was electric energy from all the lightning that was taking place in the atmosphere. There could be new molecules, new compound that did not exist before. Again, is there randomness involved here? A little bit, but it's more regulated by non random elements, that certain molecules have a stronger attachment to others. And so when we study nowadays the carbon elements, the carbon has a very strong feature that it can make very long change, change of carbon, carbon, carbon, carbon. When we talk about carbohydrates, that is basically a whole series of carbon, carbon, carbon, carbon. Starch is a long strange of carbon, carbon. Did that exist before? Not really. Does it exist on other planet? We don't know. But if the law of nature all over the world, there is a possibility that they could exist on other planets, we have no idea yet. So people who say, oh, yeah, there must be life on other planets, I got to say, hey, wait a minute, that is going a little too fast for me. We don't know that. I don't believe there is life on other planets, but don't quote me on that. I am very strongly convinced that that is not the case. But because this earth has so many elements that we do not find on other planets and even in other galaxies. And in my book, I go extensively into those arguments, why is this earth so unique? It has so many elements that we do not find anywhere else. That is quite amazing. Earth is, if it wouldn't be as close to the sun, that we would burn up, but not as far that we would feel salt. If we were much closer to the sun, it would be too hot to have liquid water. If much farther away, it would be too cold. If the earth were much smaller, then it would not have sufficient gravity to retain an atmosphere. If it were much bigger, it would retain a lot of hydrogen in its atmosphere, which would be wrong kind of atmosphere for life. It has plate tectonics. We have not found that on any other planet or so far, not anywhere else in the universe. And plate tectonics, that is the shells we talk about. Thanks to those plate tectonics, we get sometimes, unfortunately, we get earthquakes and all that kind of things, where plates come over each other and collide. And the earth has all those features. It has a unique combination of features that I think is very hard to find somewhere else, even according to the law of numbers. If you have enough numbers, enough planets, there must be one somewhere. Maybe not. Maybe not. So somehow our earth has all those conditions needed for life, including you and me. [00:54:25] Speaker A: It is amazing. You go through it in your book about how unique. Not unique is not exactly the right word, because we don't know for sure, but that it's exceptional, that what the earth is, how it's so much geared towards life and our life. Now, one of the things I read often when I read the atheistic evolutionist is they basically do not see man as fundamentally different than animals. That we might have certain talents that an animal didn't have, but an animal has certain talents that we don't have. You see this all the time from atheists and really kind of trying to diminish. But yet, as Catholics, we know that there is a fundamental, radical difference between animals and us because we're rational animals. The mean I know the catholic church teaches that basically God creates the soul. So is that like a situation of God kind of intervening in the development of man in that he inserts a soul, so to speak, at some point in history? I mean, how do we look at that from both a scientific and a religious standpoint? [00:55:39] Speaker B: I don't think he intervenes so much because the soul is a non material entity, so it comes directly from God. The soul is not something you create from material entities. So what we are dealing with, and you say Catholics believe that humans are unique in a way, even philosophy will agree with you. The fact that we have language. I know some people say animals have language too, but there is a lot to say against that idea, because language is based on concept. Concept is a very important philosophical idea element. A concept like tomorrow. Let's say we talk about tomorrow all the time. Can I point at tomorrow? No, I can't. Yeah, I can point at it on the calendar, but I can't point at a concept. Concepts are very immaterial, abstract entities. And when we talk about circles, that is a very intricate concept that is connected to a radius, diameter and all that kind of stuff. But you will never find a circle around you. There is never an ideal circle. It is a concept. And concepts are not ethereal entities, as I said. And that explains why when we talk about truth with rationality and truth, there is no physical element in this world that is covered by truth. We reason in our mind and we say some things are not possible just based on rationality. Where does that come from? Truth is an element that is non material, and concepts are elements that are non material. If we say that's always explained by neurons. Certain neurological network is the basis of a concept. The neurological network in itself is a concept. It is a concept from neuroscientists. So we are reasoning in a circle, if you do that. So you cannot say that a concept is a material thing. A neuron is a material thing. But is neuron the basis of concept? No, but then you make a concept physical thing, and concepts are not physical things. Circles, we know what that is. Most people do. But neurons, you only know when you have a concept of a neuron. So you need that. And the same story is about morality. Morality comes with duties and rights. Have you ever found rights in this world? Yeah, we say, of course there are certain rights. Yeah, but you can never point at a right. It's not something that you can put under the microscope. And the same with duties. We have duties to do. We have duties to respect life. Can you put them under the microscope? No, because duties and rights are non material entities, and they are unique to humanity. That's why animals don't have duties and rights. Nowadays, we assign all kind of rights to them, but they don't have rights. They don't expect other animals to respect their rights, because animals don't have rights. And if a bear malls you, we can't call them to court because they have no duties and rights. So we have nothing to defend. Morality is a human issue. It's a human concept. It's a human faculty. Language is a human faculty. Of course, dogs can make all kinds of sounds, but sound is not a language and sounds are not concept. There was a lot. Again. [01:00:10] Speaker A: Now on the. We're going to wrap it up here in a second, but just. We get a lot in our world today. In our modern world, Catholics, all, Christians, religious believers, we get attacked a lot from the quote unquote science that the atheistic and evolution proves God doesn't exist. The age of the universe proves God doesn't exist. All these things. What would you recommend for Catholics who want to look more into this? Obviously, your books, I'm going to link to the book here in the beginning and your other. [01:00:42] Speaker B: Like you mentioned it. [01:00:44] Speaker A: Yeah, exactly. I think that's a good place to start. But where would you say, like, if somebody wants to say, okay, I want to understand the science behind this on a lay level, I'm not talking about scientists, but like a lay level, understand the science behind it, but also from a catholic perspective, that doesn't inject a lot of the atheistic stuff into it. What are some resources besides your book? Do you have any other recommendations? [01:01:05] Speaker B: Yeah, I wrote many books on that issue, and I think the best thing to mention is where my website is. I'm not trying to sell my own toko my own business here. [01:01:19] Speaker A: Please do. [01:01:20] Speaker B: It's okay, because those books are written by a scientist who is a religious person. My website is. Sorry, it's a long word, where do we come from? But all separated by dashes. Where do we come from? [01:01:41] Speaker A: And I'll put a link to that in the show notes so people can. [01:01:43] Speaker B: Go to it easily, or that would be great. I have many books on that issue. You can see some behind me. They are all written from a religious kind of view. So if you just read what scientists say, they tell you probably only their scientific view, and that is only half the story. And the other half has to come from somewhere else, from people like me. And a man that thinks a lot in this and does a good stuff is Stephen Barr. Oh, yes, he has written a lot of stuff. He's sometimes a little more technical, though, than what I try to do in my books. But if you can handle that, he is a perfect person to read his book. [01:02:36] Speaker A: Modern physics and ancient faith. I think it's. I honestly, I thought that was one of the best books I've ever read on the topic. And like you said, it's more like your book in the beginning is very good in the sense that you can see it's relatively short. It's more just trying to give the high level. And then Stephen Barr goes more into, like, he gets more technical. Like you said, there were some parts where I admit it was kind of glazing over me, but it was well worth it to still go through it because it had a lot of great insights. [01:03:04] Speaker B: Oh, yeah. It's a good challenge. It's worth the challenge. [01:03:08] Speaker A: That's right. Exactly. It's one of those books where you have to work, but it's well worth the effort. [01:03:13] Speaker B: Correct. Very good. I hope you can fall asleep. [01:03:17] Speaker A: No, your books are very readable. They're very good. Okay, well, thank you for all that you've done, all the books and work, and thank you for being on the podcast today. I really appreciate it. And like I said, I'll link to these different resources in the show notes so people can follow them as well. [01:03:34] Speaker B: Thank you so much, Eric, and I love your. Oh, thank you. [01:03:40] Speaker A: I appreciate that. Okay, until next time, everybody. God love you. It's.

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