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ROME — A Vatican-backed conference on evolution is under attack from people who weren't invited to participate: those espousing creationism and intelligent design.
The Discovery Institute, the main organization supporting intelligent design research, says it was shut out from presenting its views because the meeting was funded in part by the John Templeton Foundation, a major U.S. nonprofit that has criticized the intelligent design movement.
Intelligent design holds that certain features of life forms are so complex that they can best be explained by an origin from an intelligent higher power, not an undirected process like natural selection.
Organizers of the five-day conference at the Pontifical Gregorian University said Thursday that they barred intelligent design proponents because they wanted an intellectually rigorous conference on science, theology and philosophy to mark the 150th anniversary of Charles Darwin's "The Origin of Species."
While there are some Darwinian dissenters present, intelligent design didn't fit the bill, they said.
"We think that it's not a scientific prospective, nor a theological or philosophical one," said the Rev. Marc Leclerc, the conference director and a professor of philosophy of nature at the Gregorian. "This makes a dialogue very difficult, maybe impossible."
He denied the decision had anything to do with Templeton's funding for the conference. "Absolutely not. We decided independently within the organizing committee, in total autonomy," Leclerc said.
The Pennsylvania-based Templeton Foundation, which has an estimated endowment of $1.5 billion and awards some $70 million in annual grants, seeks to fund projects that reconcile religion and science.
"Vatican teaching holds that Roman Catholicism and evolutionary theory are not necessarily at odds. The church under Benedict has been trying to stress that, along with its overall belief that there is no incompatibility between faith and reason."
Originally posted by Iago18
It seems that the Church has been ramping up its outspokenness on science and ET related issues in the past 3 months. Look at the Vatican Observatory as well... perhaps they know a little more than we do?
I certainly think so.