Did Darwin Get It Right?: Catholics and the Theory of Evolution

Did Darwin Get It Right?: Catholics and the Theory of Evolution

Catholic teaching leaves the theory of evolution as an open question but with qualifications based on Catholic teaching about the origin and nature of man that make the theory problematic at best.

Did Darwin Get It Right? is an excellent starting place for Catholics studying the question since it's not written as dogmatically as most other such books. Some might say the author waffles a bit and contradicts himself, but I can see where his approach makes it easier for someone who leans toward evolution to begin to consider that it might be wrong.

Johnston begins the book with a brief history of Darwin and the development of his theory. He then works through a number of topics that tend to undermine Darwinian theory: the fossil record, lack of transitional forms, microevolution (changes within species) attributed without evidence to macroevolution (change of one species into another), irreducible complexities, and some of the other major arguments. He also addresses the impact of Darwinism on ideology such as, the eugenics movement, Nazism and Communism, as well as its impact on religious belief. Johnston tells us, "Darwin is quite blunt: We have to choose between a Creator and natural selection...." (p. 66).

Johnston points out that dissent from Darwinian theory even comes from within evolutionary camps, including some of the most prominent scientists such as Stephen Jay Gould.

In a few chapters fairly unique to this book, Johnston discusses Church teaching, comments from recent popes, and the works of modern Catholic writers as they contribute to or have affected the discussion.

While Johnston avoids taking a "young earth" or literalist position that might be identified as Protestant, he uses essentially the same arguments used by other Christians to make a strong case against Darwin's theory of evolution.

The author purposely targets a general audience rather than a scientific or technical audience. There are no footnotes, but there is a substantial bibliography and suggested additional reading for each chapter. At only 155 pages with fairly large print, this book is brief enough for teens as well as adults just beginning to investigate the question.

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Did Darwin Get It Right?: Catholics and the Theory of Evolution

Did Darwin Get It Right?: Catholics and the Theory of Evolution
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Instant Key

  • Learning Environment: independent study
  • Religious Perspective: Catholic
  • Grade Level: grades 9-12
  • Educational Approaches: worldview
  • Special Audience: adults

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