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Pope's statement about evolution was mistranslated (Talk.Origins)

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Response Article
This article (Pope's statement about evolution was mistranslated (Talk.Origins)) is a response to a rebuttal of a creationist claim published by Talk.Origins Archive under the title Index to Creationist Claims.


Claim CA660:

Pope John Paul II's statement that evolution is "more than a hypothesis" is a mistranslation; it should be "more than one hypothesis," implying a lack of unanimity among scientists.

Source: No source given.

CreationWiki response:

The Pope's message was indeed mistranslated, but in a way opposite to the claim. The phrase which, in the original French, means "more than a hypothesis" was mistranslated into English as "more than one hypothesis."

The official Roman Catholic newspaper would disagree with the author here, as it, too, translated the word "une" (which can mean "one" or "a/an") as "one". Not only would that newspaper know a little more about French than the author, but it would also know more about what the Pope was saying.

Looking at the document as a whole, it is clear that the Pope accepts evolution as a scientifically accepted fact. The sentences following the one in question refer to a convergence of acceptance by researchers. The message expands on Humani Generis, which "had already stated that there was no opposition between evolution and the doctrine of the faith about man and his vocation," provided certain spiritual points were not disregarded.

Note that what the author is really saying is that the Pope was simply saying that evolution is widely accepted among scientists today. The Pope did not make any statement of he himself accepting or denying evolution. But to me it appears that the author is choosing his words carefully so that it would seem to some of his readers that he was saying the Pope accepts evolution himself.

The science is not in dispute.

If the science weren't in dispute, Talk.Origins would not exist.

The question of unanimity among scientists should be addressed to scientists, who show substantial unanimity in agreement with the theory of evolution (NCSE, n.d.).

What does the author mean by this? Does he mean that scientists show "substantial unanimity" in agreement that the theory of evolution is true, or does he mean that scientists are unanimous on the points of the theory of evolution (i.e. the mechanisms of evolution)? It doesn't matter, because he would be wrong on both counts. Perhaps the author misworded what he was really saying, but "substantial unanimity" means 100% unanimous, and it is clear that there are thousands of scientists who do not believe in the theory of evolution. Scientists are very divided on the smaller points of the theory of evolution, mainly because they can't really do much more than hypothesize about how things might have happened.

And the National Center for Science Education is just that: it is not a group dedicated to scientific research, and wouldn't know too much about how many scientists believe in creation, especially considering the fact that it is overwhelmingly a secular humanist organization.

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