Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Catholic Sociobiology: God, Nature, and Violence


by David Pence 


"You thunder your judgments upon me, O Lord; you shake all my bones with fear and dread...
If you discovered iniquity in the angels and did not spare them, what will become of me? The stars fell from heaven, and I, mere dust, what should I expect?...
There is no holiness where you have withdrawn your hand, O Lord... no helpful strength if you cease to preserve it. If you forsake us, we sink and perish; but if you visit us, we rise up and live again. We are unstable, but you make us firm; we grow cool, but you inflame us."
                                      (from the 15th-century Imitation of Christ)



The earthquake in Catholic Italy on August 24, 2016, has now claimed 300 lives. The 1755 Lisbon earthquake on All Saints Day, immediately followed by a tsunami, may have claimed 100,000 lives. Why such horror in a world ruled by God?

The Enlightenment philosopher Voltaire (1694-1778) scoffed at a fellow philosopher, Leibniz (1646-1716), who had taught that all natural disasters work toward the Good because the world created by an all-powerful rational God is the best possible world. Voltaire countered that the Lisbon quake might provide work for the stone masons, but not the children buried in rubble or drowned by the seas. Voltaire, the rational Deist, said there is evil in the world and there are accidents which do men harm  – deal with it.
                   

What does the Christian say? Let us partially agree with Voltaire. There are evil forces in the world and they often act against us. There are impersonal natural forces in the world which often act against us as well. Thus is the world structured. Death is always close. Life is a gift, not a guarantee. The spiritual world has many death-dealing agents. Nuns who care for the sick  can be wantonly murdered. The physical world has certain natural situations in which the most virtuous and innocent of humanity can be killed. Be careful at the side of a cliff. Be wary of the ocean shore on a stormy day. We live in a world full of both spiritual evils and impersonal natural events which can be the death of us. Be vigilant and you might be spared, but even the most vigilant can be destroyed. When news arrived that eighteen were killed from a tower falling in Siloam (in southern Jerusalem), Jesus said:
"Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish." (Luke 13)
Life is spiritual warfare in which many are slain. The physical world is both full of gardens where we can flourish, and places where the earth will swallow those in the vicinity. Five miles above the earth’s surface and a few miles into its crust, there are no gardens – only consuming heat below or searing cold above where life has no chance. This is our reality; very violent indeed. If there is a lesson for the living from the death of innocents, it is to keep a holy fear -- a sense of the holy -- of the mysterium tremendum et fascinans.

The physical world has been structured replete with violence since the beginning. The Universe teaches us there is a life and death struggle of much more powerful entities than ourselves. It teaches us that we can perish. Be vigilant, be aware. Draw close to Him who is Life Eternal. He is the one whom we should both fear and love:
"I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I tell you, fear him!" (Luke 12)

Monday, August 29, 2016

Map on Monday: SOUTH AMERICA'S NATIONS IN THE NORTH


The Emergence of South America's Nations in the Continent's North

by A. Joseph Lynch

The northern regions of South America were brought under Spanish rule through a series of six military expeditions led largely by the conquistador Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada between 1537-1543. Named the "New Kingdom of Grenada," the vast area was placed under the jurisdiction of the Viceroyalty of Peru (located at Lima to the southwest). Communication between Lima and Bogota - the region's political center - along with the region's large size necessitated an administrative division. In 1717, it was declared a viceroyalty in its own right: the Viceroyalty of New Grenada.

New Grenada's first Viceroy, Jorge de Villalonga, arrived to find limited roads and infrastructure, along with a struggling economy. Due to his strong recommendation to return New Grenada back to Lima's control, the Viceroyalty of New Grenada was abolished in 1724. After 15 years of development, however, Spain reestablished the viceroyalty in 1740 and added Panama to its territory.

The Viceroyalty of New Grenada was not a politically homogeneous region. While it grew economically during the period, culture and geography helped bring about national sentiments that would one day lead to the creation of many nations in the region. In 1777, two areas gained limited autonomy within the Viceroyalty of New Grenada. One area was the Captaincy General in Caracas, which would later become the capital of an independent Venezuela. The other was the Audiencia of Quito, later to emerge as the nation of Ecuador (see map at top).

Battle of Boyacá - August 7, 1819
With the American and French Revolutions and Napoleon's political machinations in Spain, independence movements began to rise in South America. The great military commander, Simon Bolivar, who witnessed Napoleon firsthand, played a central role in the region's independence. In June 1813, Bolivar received the title "El Libertador" (the Liberator) after the successful conclusion of a campaign to drive the Spanish out of Venezuela. On August 7, 1819, the Spanish were definitively defeated by Bolivar's forces at the Battle of Boyacá (in modern day Columbia).

From this great victory came the newly independent Gran Colombia. Simon Bolivar would be its first president. Gran Colombia, however, remained politically divided along emerging national lines. Gran Colombia was in reality three nations held together by the leadership of Bolivar. Despite his successful military career, Bolivar was ultimately unsuccessful in keeping Gran Colombia united. His death in self-imposed exile in 1830 quickly led to the emergence of an independent Columbia, Venezuela, and Ecuador in 1831. Panama remained part of Columbia until in 1903, when, under pressure from the United States for the creation of the Panama Canal, Panama formally became an independent nation. Guyana, the only South American country with English as its official language was settled as a Dutch and then English colony. Her border with Venezuela and the region is disputed.  

Flags of Gran Colombia's successor states: Columbia, Ecuador, and Venezuela

For more Maps on Monday related to South America, see:

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Religion and Geopolitics Review: Saturday, August 27

by Dr. David Pence and A. Joseph Lynch


I. POPE FRANCIS AND THE CATHOLIC CHURCH

POPE FRANCIS AND HIS 'STAYCATION'Leisure by staying home or visiting the neighborhood. Some great insights on Pope Francis. Ratio vs. intellect. The "busyness" of vacations vs. the leisure of staying home in the hood by Austin Ivereigh.

WHERE ARE THE CHRISTIAN INTELLECTUALS? An excellent historical review of the eclipse of the Christian intellectual in American life by Baylor’s Alan Jacobs in Harper's magazine. It leaves one wanting much more.

THE PRIESTS IN GERMANY: About 30 percent of Germans identify as Catholics (23.9 million), 10% attend weekly Mass. In 1965 there were 500 new ordinations to the priesthood. In 2005 there were 122. This year there were 58. The German Catholic Church is the richest church in the world, receiving huge government funds for every registered Catholic. Their priesthood is riddled with homosexuals and their national conference is openly non-orthodox in teaching on sexual roles in the church and sexual morality. The clerical holders of the purse are not hurt by low numbers in the priesthood(fewer slices from the big pie).  Defection of registered Catholics however is a monetary issue for them because that determines their yearly government check. The German Bishops  have threatened people who de-register from the Church that they will be ineligible for sacraments. Consider the 14,000 German priests today (20,000 in 1990). More than half of the best-paid and most corrupt national clergy in the Catholic Church report that they go to confession once a year or less. The CNA article.

THE JEWS IN TOLKIEN: A Jewish father makes a discovery. What surprises me is how this Jewish man and so many lovers of Tolkien have not recognized that "the Dwarves are the Jews." To Tolkien it was embarrassingly obvious. It shows the loss of historical imagination in our age - even among the Tolkien lovers. It was not so of the author whose story written amidst the World Wars of the early 20th century is as much about corporate peoples as individuals.

THE UNIVERSE AND MAN: The anthropological principal in understanding the Cosmos.


II. ISLAM AND THE MIDDLE EAST

TURKEY, ISLAM, AND ERDOGAN: A very readable good short history.

SUNNI AND SHIA FROM THE INSIDE IN SYRIA: A fascinating article on getting the sectarian narrative right in Iraq and Syria. He rejects the "Sunni disenfranchisement" tale. and sees the Assad government as much more mixed than simply Alawite-Shia. Part one by an anonymous, well informed author. Part Two will be featured here next week. It has just been published.

JAMES WOOLSEY (FORMER DIRECTOR OF CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE UNDER BILL CLINTON) TESTIMONY ON WAHHABI ISLAM AND SAUDI ARABIA IN 2005:
"The House of Saud became very, very wealthy and very, very frightened – wealthy because of the huge spike in oil prices by the end of the decade, taking them from a couple of billion dollars a year in foreign earnings to 20 billion dollars, and frightened because of two events: the fall of the Shah and the coming to power of Islamists to govern in Tehran among the hated Shiites, and the takeover attempt in Saudi Arabia, which was really a coup attempt that resulted in the takeover of the great mosque in Mecca by Islamist terrorists for a time.

"But due to the combination of the oil wealth of the Gulf, the compatibility of the Sunni Islamists’ support for the Caliphate and the history of the Caliphate in Sunni Islam, the long-term objectives of the Wahhabis – I believe the Sunni Islamists present an extraordinarily serious ideological threat.

"And the reason I always say 'Islamist' is that I mean to connote precisely a totalitarian movement masquerading as a religion. We do not in retrospect need to accept Torquemada’s claim that his life, which repudiated everything that the Sermon on the Mount preached, was emblematic of Christianity or that he represented Christianity, and we do not need to accept the Wahhabis’ claim that their hatred is emblematic of or represents the great religion of Islam."
FROM FOREIGN POLICY SITUATION ROOM (8-16-2016): And here comes Beijing. Guan Youfei, an official with China's Central Military Commission, was in Damascus Tuesday where he met Syrian Defense Minister Fahad Jassim al-Freij. Guan said that China wants a closer relationship with Syria, and "China's military is willing to keep strengthening exchanges and cooperation with Syria's military," China's Xinhua state news agency reported.

FRANCE SAYS NO COVER-UP ON THE BEACH - MIGHT INCITE SOMEONE: The home of the avant grade and decadent at Cannes finally sees a sight that makes her blush. Banning the Burkini. The Germans might want to focus on figuring out the intentions of their male refugees. Here is an article with some useful definitions and pictures of Muslim veiling practices. Governments often find it is easier to regulate the law-abiding than stop the criminals.

CATHOLICS DEBATE "IS ISLAM A RELIGION OF PEACE?" A very important debate. We think Robert Spencer at Jihad Watch is over the top in many things, but  read his daily report to hear about things not reported elsewhere. In this debate, the Monsignor is proposing an untenable option, and then ascribing a level of magisterial authority which should make the most extreme papist blush. Robert Spencer and Msgr. Swetland. As Pope Francis says: "Disagree face to face; man to man." We need more of this. William Kilpatrick is a frequent informed source for many conservative Catholics on Islam, Christianity and Atheism. Like Spencer, his rejection of Islam is totalistic. Unlike Spencer,  he doe not seem driven by a palpable hatred. Here is our critical but appreciative review of his important book.


III. PRESIDENTIAL POLITICS

HILLARY CLINTON - WAR PLANS FOR SYRIA AND JOBS FOR INTERVENTIONISTS WHO WILL MAKE HER LOOK TOUGH: An excellent review of who her appointees will be and what that means for policy. Where is the anti-war Left when you need them? If personnel is policy, then see the regime change hawks who support Mrs. Clinton.

TRUMP - A FOREIGN POLICY VERY DIFFERENT THAN REPUBLICANS: Analysis of Trump speech - there is a huge choice here. He is anti-war everywhere except toward ISIS. His focus allows new allies. Russia and Syria, and after the election probably Iran.

"CRIME AND VIOLENCE ARE AN ATTACK ON THE POOR" That was Donald Trump’s best line as he visited Milwaukee after the violence there. There could be nothing more dramatic than a Trump initiative toward the young men of the inner city as FELLOW AMERICANS. The campaign to properly socialize males and the repeated public proposition that police and black males share together a male duty as Americans to protect our cities may not come from Trump himself but it certainly can rise from his supporters. All who see the disaster of anti-male feminist policies of the Democratic Party’s sexual revolutionaries should see the inner city is where the disaster is most obvious. President Obama is the first president who has attacked patriarchy as an evil. That may resonate with feminist careerists, but isn’t the rule of fathers just what the black community needs most? The nation’s cities do not need another white feminist leading America. We have just had eight years of one, if you grant that President Obama is in many ways much more the son of his white feminist anthropologist momma as he is of his absent African dad. Trump in Milwaukee. A very different Trump - most powerful appeal to black Americans by a Republican in decades. Powerline blog, which has been tepid or negative about Trump, has the best take on the speech with a full video was well. The speech that will win the White House.

A CLINTON WAR COMES BACK TO HAUNT: Before Crimea, before Libya and Syria, there was another air war led by liberal interventionists. "No American boots were on the ground" but a major European city was bombed. A baby-boomer President and his female Secretary of State showed their toughness by bombing Belgrade to force Serbia to relinquish control of Kosovo. Madeleine Albright admits the bombing "was illegal but it was fair." This showed the helplessness of the Boris Yeltsin government and led to the rise of Vladimir Putin as a Russian who would protect the Orthodox East from the Muslim-friendly, atheist Westerners. Vice President Joseph Biden recently visited Serbia and was greeted with taunts and 'Vote for Trump' signs by crowds who understand very well the kind of globalism that rained down on their capital for 78 days of "humanitarian bombing" in the spring of 1999. This was one of the pivotal catastrophes of the post-Cold War baby boomer presidents in losing the peace their fathers had bequeathed them. A video news clip. These are the kinds of events that are great opportunities for serious journalists to report and learn from history. It places the discussion of Russia, the Ukraine, and Crimea in an important context. Good review of Bill Clinton's foreign policy. NATO expansion and Serbia.


IV. RUSSIA AND CHINA ROUND UP

RUSSIA AND RELIGIOUS FREEDOMA troubling law.

CHINA AND THE FISH OF THE SEA: Without agreeing to solutions, here is the problem.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Friday BookReview: Bernie Madoff and the snoring watchdog



                                                               
When the SEC was formed in 1934, who was its chairman?
Joseph Kennedy, father of America's 35th president.

"The government agency charged with being the industry's watchdog was deaf, blind, and mute... I realized that I had two opponents, Bernie Madoff and this nonfunctioning agency that seemed to me to be doing everything possible to insulate him."  (Harry Markopolos)


A short and sweet primer on the completely ineffectual Securities and Exchange Commission. In the end, the world started listening to Harry Markopolos.

This segment from '60 Minutes' on the fraud investigator from Boston fleshes out his efforts to expose the crimes of Mr. Madoff. (Now imprisoned in North Carolina, the one-time chairman of the NASDAQ told a reporter on the phone: "I'm not a horrible person." Madoff chooses to ignore the thousands of lives he destroyed, including his own family).





A review of Mr. Markopolos' book which appeared in an actuarial magazine:
Readers of 'The Actuary' may remember a well-known fund manager disparaging the role of actuaries in investment matters... A few months later, her fund shared in the $65 billion loss when Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme collapsed. 
Harry Markopolos studied Madoff’s strategy and investment performance, establishing a decade before its collapse that the two did not tie up. Over several years, Markopolos painstakingly documented a long list of red flags, each of which raised a suspicion of fraud. For example, the strategy should produce far more losses than it did. Returns should have been correlated to the stock market, but they weren’t. Given the funds Madoff had under management and the claimed strategy, the number of options he’d have to buy and sell would be huge — in fact, more than the open interest for the whole market on the options exchanges. Yet, there was no trace of Madoff’s deal flow either on the exchanges or in the over-the-counter market. Furthermore, Madoff organised his business in some very odd ways. Although effectively operating as a hedge fund, his organisation was constituted as an agent running trading strategies for his clients. 
His auditor was a sole trader a few blocks down, who apparently had no other audit clients. All the stock and option positions disappeared each year-end, and the financial statements showed only treasury bills. Madoff wouldn’t let anyone else near the books, even accountants acting for investors seeking to carry out due diligence before placing funds. Madoff was offering substantial commissions to feeder funds, providing high and stable returns. Why pay these costs when bank loans would be far cheaper? And then there’s all the secrecy. Investors widely believed that their ability to invest in these funds was a personal favour from Bernie Madoff, and were forbidden to discuss their good fortune with anyone else. This list of red flags formed the basis of Markopolos’ regular correspondence with the Securities and Exchange Commission. 
Markopolos also discovered why investors continued to invest with Madoff despite the red flags being common knowledge. Madoff ran a large and well- known brokerage. Could he be ‘front running’; that is, buying on his own account ahead of brokerage client buy orders, watching the market price rise and then selling onto those brokerage clients at a higher price? Front running is a form of insider dealing, which robs brokerage clients in favour of investors. Markopolos reckons that Madoff’s investors knew they were benefiting from something illegal, hence the willingness to invest in the absence of due diligence. The critical calculation concerns whether you keep your gains when the crime comes to light. The answer: probably yes if it’s insider dealing, but no if it’s a Ponzi scheme. 
The scheme finally collapsed when Madoff simply turned himself in, after 20 years of trading unmolested by the SEC. Unlike many financial professionals, Markopolos has nothing more to lose from irritating the SEC, which he exploits mercilessly in an outpouring of vitriol that is both shocking and refreshing. A theme of ‘I told you so’ rises in a gentle crescendo as the book progresses. In the end, Markopolos positively revels in the discomfort of senior SEC employees as they struggle to defend their jobs. This smugness has to be balanced by Markopolos’ constant fear for himself and his family. In his whistleblowing days, Markopolos fears retribution from mafiosi types who may blame him for bringing Madoff down. Later, he fears dirty tricks from the SEC as they rush to suppress evidence while scrambling to paint Markopolos as a deranged fantasist whom they were justified in ignoring. 
This was easily the most exciting book I have read this year. The audacity of the fraudster, the complicity of the investment community, the incompetence of the regulator — all are laid bare. But this book is more than a profoundly impressive technical account of a fraudulent investment scheme, more than a keen analysis of regulatory failure. At heart, it is a very human account of lonely life as a whistleblower, with the discouraging conclusion that, most of the time, nobody listens. 



The Great Depression of 1929 was worldwide, and lasted a decade.

In 2006, housing prices began to fall. When the housing bubble burst, the Great Recession was upon us. It lasted from December 2007 to June 2009.

The "subprime mortgage crisis" was caused by banks lending hundreds of billions of dollars to homebuyers, who then were unable to pay them back.




Sept 2008: Lehman Brothers declares bankruptcy -- the largest such filing in US history
(Lehman was the fourth biggest investment bank in the country)

Nov 2008: Senator Obama is elected president

Dec 2008: Bernie Madoff is arrested by the FBI




Here are some of Mr. Madoff's comments regarding the SEC.

(In that article, mention is made of Madoff's niece, Shana, and her marriage to a SEC attorney. More can be found here.)
                                                 
Shana Madoff and husband Eric Swanson


"For three-quarters of a century, the SEC was aggressive, waging high-profile investigations against insider trading, corporate bribery, and fraud... In the last few decades of the twentieth century, however, the SEC had begun filling its ranks with lawyers instead of traders, analysts, bankers, or other people with Wall Street experience. The SEC was established for the sole purpose of regulating the financial industry, yet it was hiring people with no financial background."                                                        (Erin Arvedlund, author of a book on Bernie Madoff) 




UPDATE -- Here is an excerpt from the 'primer' interview with Mr. Markopolos mentioned above:


Why do you think the S.E.C. failed to wake up to Madoff’s $65 billion Ponzi scheme until he turned himself in?
They weren’t even asleep at the switch; they were comatose. They didn’t respond to heat and light, much less evidence of wrongdoing. They were not engaged in the fight.

Mr. Donaldson -- chairman 2003-2005


This was when William Donaldson was head of the S.E.C.? 
Donaldson was too tough on Wall Street, so he got the ax. Then you had Christopher Cox, because he wasn’t going to do his job. That’s why he got the job.

                                         
Mr. Cox -- chairman 2005-2009
(had been longtime California congressman)

You met last year with Mary Schapiro, the current head of the S.E.C. How did that go? 
I would say she was coldly polite. Her general counsel, David Becker, did most of the talking. He and I did not get along at all. He was getting ready to come across the coffee table and strangle me.

2009-2012


Thursday, August 25, 2016

Christian Realism & Christopher Dawson: his WWII book on the Judgment of the Nations


[first published February 18, 2016]


by David Pence

This is a review of his book. Christopher Dawson has been a principal model in our attempt to tell the story of the nations as he did. He wrote as if God existed; and that it mattered to the life of nations. He would categorically reject any attempt to explain the relations of nations without an understanding of Divine Providence and the religious bonds of men. He would scoff that such a truncated de-sacralized view of human history would advertise itself as "realism." He knew what Pope John Paul II knew: that the Incarnation is the pivotal event in human history. We would add that Christ, born of a virgin, ordered public life on an apostolic fraternity of men from Galilee, and charged that sacred brotherhood to baptize those other public masculine covenants: the nations. The interplay of the one truly theocentric international organism - the Body of Christ - and the nations is the true story of Providence in human history. When Christian nationalists emerge from the  smokescreen of atheistic gender ideology, these new actors and personalities will reveal the spiritual, masculine, and covenantal character of nations in the Divine Drama.
             

From Christopher Dawson:
"This great central truth (the Christian doctrine of the transformation of human nature in Christ) has been obscured and often forgotten by the religious individualism of the last two or three centuries which conceived salvation as a happy after-life to be attained by pious individuals as a reward of their moral perfections or religious practices. But the Christian idea of salvation is essentially social. It has its roots in the Old Testament in the conception of the People of God, and the prophetic teaching of the restoration of Israel and the progressive manifestation of the divine purpose in history... The mystery of the Incarnation is the birth of a new humanity through which man is incorporated into the unity of the Divine Body... All temporal events and all changes in culture are in some way to be related to this central reality." 

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

'SHE DOGS AND TOM CATS' -- a poem by William Tell






Gloria Steinem was fond of telling her audiences that monotheism is the root of all evil in the world. Here is a song of a different vision.

                                                                                                   


Shedogs and Tomcats 



She wore the tie and gave the speech
She raised the chalice and spoke the words
She raised her skirt and emptied her womb
And called the bloody sacrifice
A declaration of her right
… against a history of oppression 
… against her very nature

He put away the sword and gun
He kept his job and cell phone
He said it didn’t matter
which flag his own he’d call 
Because he said
He’d never fight
For any flag at all

We shall never bow or genuflect
Both of them had said
For they had learned in college 
That old male God was dead

No sacred precincts of word or love
No strictures ruling from above
A serpent lurked in the suburb’s lawn
And smiled upon his latest spawn 

Then the mothers gathered their children
and covered their heads
as the old man gathered the warriors
who uncovered their swords

They chased the tomcats out of public
They lit up the filthy nests of shedogs
It was then the blood of innocents cried out
…and there was a terrible reckoning


                                     



[Shedogs: slang for a male playing a female role.
Tomcats: slang for a female playing a male role]


Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Catholic Sociobiology: Was there an Adam and Eve?


by David Pence, MD


Most events in the physical world can be explained quite nicely by physical causes. When I ask my students how eukaryotic cells capable of forming multicellular organisms came from the prokaryotic world of bacteria, I expect an explanation of endosymbiosis -- not a shout out to God. There are certain pivotal events, though, that cannot be explained without the direct spiritual hand of God. The manifestation of electromagnetic radiation and matter 13.7 billion years ago is one such event, but it is by no means the last one. The daily sacraments, each conception of a human life, the Incarnation of Christ, the creation of humans, the appearance of the first life all require the direct intervention of God. There is a lot of agreement about these interactions in Catholic circles, with a notable exception that the theological poetry of Adam and Eve is not always so well received. To call the story of Adam and Eve "theological poetry" is no great offense. But to deny the truthful essence of the story in the name of Science is a trivializing of the poetry and a denial of the theology.

Here is a tape of Bishop Robert Barron on the subject. with his critic attaching many relevant Church documents presenting a different interpretation. Bishop Barron is a great defender of the faith, and has brought more souls to the Lord than most of us. However, this video is a good man at his worst as his explanation concedes way too much to a lesser authority.
               

Do all humans have the same original parents? Are all the races and tribes of humanity truly monogenetic? Was human creation a unique shaping by God of a new species and kingdom? Did man by the hand of God come from matter, and woman by that same hand come from man? Was there an original state of unity between God, man, and woman that was disrupted by the disobedience of our first parents leading to the dispersal of humanity deformed by original sin? We answer unequivocally YES to all these questions.

The proposal that accident and adaptation are an adequate explanation of the universe and man -- this becomes more untenable each day to the eyes of both religious men and materialists. We are not here making an extended argument against the materialist evolutionists, but warning good religious men not to concede so much so quickly to a failing paradigm. If Marxism found its last defenders in university professors, it seems Darwinism has organized its last stand among Christian clerics.

Sometime between 100,000 and one million years ago, human beings appeared on earth. We will learn in the next decades that the emergence of new species of living beings will appear more as multiple developments from very primitive forms of life, rather than a well defined animal like a mole altering one protein at a time over a long period of time to eventually evolve into a horse. The Cambrian Explosion of 500 million years ago hints at this quite dramatically. Our picture of the development of species will look like many different stalks of a bush coming from some less differentiated multipotent stem cells in the roots. The oak tree picture with smaller branches emanating from larger branches growing out of larger trunks will become less and less defensible. We will think of the first cell of life as a kind of stem cell from which other stem cells and then more differentiated organisms develop. No one says that a zygote evolves into a human. Speaking of the development of various life forms from the original information-laden cell (a procaryote 3.8 billion years ago) will replace the older term of evolution which is irreversibly tied to accident and adaptation as its chief mechanisms of change.

When God picked up that original matter and breathed forth an adult man, it is not clear what was in the clay. But he breathed into something that looked much more like a primitive cell or chunks of soil than a baboon just waiting for one more protein sequence to break into speech. I am fairly confident that this picture of the development of differentiated life forms from more primitive undifferentiated organisms will become mainstream biology in the next few decades. I am even more confident it will not cause  conversions of hard-core materialists. The source of their disbelief has nothing to do with biological facts or providing adequate causality for observed historical sequencing.

A major difference between Christian biology and materialist evolution is that Christians contend the fulfillment of matter as having already occurred. Our developmental task as a species is to conform ourselves to the new Adam—the fruition of nature and life already present on earth. We are not pointing to some indefinite future moment or mutation that will lead to a more highly evolved human. We look back to when Eternity entered the Temporal, and try to conform ourselves to that Person-Event. The Head has shaped a template meant to be perfected by our participation. We do not seek utopia in an indeterminate future but seek perfection in an interpersonal order which was present in the distant past and is present today. Not only are Christ and Mary the perfect male and female, but Adam and Eve before the Fall are also exemplars of our true nature and ultimate destiny. We are not evolving to some new type of organism. With the grace of God, we are recovering from a Fall.

Biblical truths like the creation of all matter by a spiritual God and the existence of a single set of human parents for all people are indispensable explanatory events in the narrative of reality which we are meant to proclaim to a darkened humanity. The Christian intellect cannot block out these ordering truths. In explaining reality there is no reason to flee from facts which we learn from the Bible because we cannot yet surround them with a continuous biological narrative. We are still piecing together connective tissue but the bones are in place. Christian revelation is the real Enlightenment, and we should not turn off the floodlights to win favor with our atheistic friends by stumbling with them in the dark.

Stammering through Genesis betrays a lack of trust in God (a deficit of the theological virtue of hope) which is deeply tied to courage in facing the atheist court of respectable opinion. Retelling Genesis as a meta-narrative of non-violence is not a better explanation of the full reality of creation. In fact, that modern flight from violence exposes an ignorance of the violence constituent in the universe. This does not help our argument, especially with astrophysicists. The unwillingness to stand by the essential Christian account of God’s work calls to mind the original cowardice of Adam. The science of Satan was offered as the fruit of the tree to the woman -- but only after he had scared the male protector away from his guard post. It is not intellectual rigor but intellectual fear that paralyzes our pastors and "Catholic intellectuals." This leaves the sheep vulnerable as once Adam left Eve with the Evil One. Let us face that Liar and his modern materialist scientists today in a more courageous way than Adam did so many years ago. Our courage will come from a more radical trust in God who has told us the truth in the theological poetry of His Holy Word.  


David Pence practiced Radiation Oncology (treating cancer with radiation) for thirty years. He then earned a Masters Degree in Education with specialty licenses in Earth and Space Sciences and the Life Sciences. He has designed and presently teaches a four-year science curriculum at a Catholic Seminary.