Catholic News - Catholic Telecommunications, a devision of Catholic Resources





Vatican Observatory sponsors conference on evolution

The Vatican Observatory has convoked a range of experts to reflect on a question that at times seems to be forgotten in scientific research: Is there purpose in evolution?

From 24-26 June the Vatican Observatory is holding a conference to challenge what it describes as "the widely accepted scientific worldview that human beings or any other product of evolutionary diversification is accidental and, by implication, incidental".

In a statement reported by Zenit the organisers of the conference say "The purpose of this symposium is not to dispute this worldview, but to inquire whether it is sufficient and, if it is not, to consider what we need to know and ultimately how we might discover the requisite information with one or more research programs".

The news agency reports the symposium at the Vatican Observatory will gather 13 participants, researchers in the areas of biology, biochemistry, ecology, geology, neurosciences, paleontology, philosophy of science and theology.

They are asked to address these five questions:

  • Can we speak of a universal biochemistry?
  • How do levels of complexity emerge, and are they inevitable?
  • Can we properly define evolutionary constraints?
  • What does convergence tell us about evolution?
  • What do we mean by intelligence? Is intelligence an inevitable product of evolution?

    Zenit - Vatican Observatory plans Symposium on Evolution

    Pope John Paul II's comments on evolution in 1996
    Vatican Observatory website

    22 Jun 2004