Speaker reflects on the reality of God and the Church’s understanding of evolution


On April 7, the president of the Catholic Apologetics Institute of North America spoke on the reality of God, harmonizing creation and evolution in a talk sponsored by the biology department.

Steven Hemler compared atheistic evolution and theistic evolution, providing a harmonious understanding between the Catholic faith and biological evolution. To emphasize how both could cause life in harmony, Hemler focused on the different ways life could be caused, pointing out that God is the primary cause of human life, and biological evolution itself is a secondary cause.

“God ordained and sustained the gradual evolution of life on earth,” said Hemler.

In coming to a harmonious understanding of faith and science, Hemler focused on the probability of the world being fine-tuned by an intelligence, showing how unlikely it would be for life to develop from basic elements, like hydrogen.

Hemler, focusing on the probability of the world being fine-tuned by an intelligence, showed the different complexities of life. Hemler showed a video of how information in the body, like DNA and RNA, is transmitted and copied in the cell. Hemler argued that since other information people encounter is caused by an intelligence, then it is reasonable to believe that this biological information is caused by an intelligence, namely God.

Hemler emphasized the importance of distinguishing between philosophical worldviews and scientific discoveries, understanding the limits of science.

“Oftentimes, science is viewed in opposition to faith,” said Hemler.

Hemler revealed the harmony between the two, showing various Church leaders—including St. Pope John Paul II—affirming the possibility of biological evolution. Hemler pinned down the tension between faith and science as the “misguided confusion with the naturalistic worldview and science.”

Hemler focused on the different types of philosophical and scientific views of creation. Revealing their underlying philosophical worldviews, Hemler showed some quotes of famous atheist scientists. Hemler distinguished between the specific scientific discoveries, like how life evolves and changes, and one’s own philosophical worldview, like Dawkins’ atheistic materialism.

The event wrapped up fairly quickly to allow everyone in attendance to go to the noon Mass. However, everyone was very excited about the talk. Due to the brevity of the morning portion of the talk, Hemler saved much of his talk for the evening. Those in attendance looked forward to the follow-up talk in the evening, where Hemler could go more in-depth and provide a panel discussion.