Pope John Paul II begins his message by recalling the work of Pope Pius XII in his attempt to rectify the conflict between the doctrine of faith and the development of scientific research. Pope John Paul II follows the footsteps of his predecessor in by engaging in a dialogue with the Academy of Sciences concerning the origin of life and evolution.
Pope John Paul II recognizes that the conclusion of evolution seems to be a direct contradiction to Revelation. In order to come about a solution, Pope John Paul goes on to clarify the different functions of the scientific and religious views.
The development of scientific research brings the ability to give rise to new inquiries in its ...view middle of the document...
Pope John Paul II makes an important note—when the authority of the sacred scripture conflicts our understanding of the real world, it is necessary rethink our interpretation of the sacred scripture.
Pope John Paul II views evolution theory as an academic endeavor, and is accepting of it. However, he does admit that there is an incompatibility. In evolutionary theory the human soul is largely overlooked (though some would argue that the soul would be emergent.) John Paul II maintains the existence of the human soul and that it is directly made by God. He explains that this incompatibility concerning the soul is of a different ontological order and in no way detracts any scientific endeavor. In this way, he can accept the scientific view, but not as the complete view.
He concludes that these seemingly conflicting views is an opportunity to understand these different viewpoints for what they are, giving us the ability to see the world from both perspectives.
Dawkins attempts to respond to the article. Conveniently glossing over Pope John Paul II’s praise of evolutionary theory, Dawkins skips to the incompatibility of Revelation and evolutionary theories in their account of the human soul. John Paul II still is able to accept evolution theory, but doesn’t believe that evolutionary theory itself gives a complete picture for the basis for the dignity of the human person.
Dawkins is admittedly (and ironically) confused when referring to the possibility of reconciling the religious and scientific views. John Paul II abstracts that an appreciation for the different methods found in religious and scientific thought would not only give a greater perspective of the world. Science accumulates objective information to analyze many manifestations of life. Manifestations in the spiritual realm cannot be observed in the same way. Familiarity with both viewpoints is necessary in order to attempt to reconcile the two views.
Dawkins provides a clear example of an argument for scientific claims that would not be supported by science itself. He argues that a supernatural presence would be “fundamentally and qualitatively different” than a universe without. Using science to prove the existence of supernatural beings is...