The recent publication by the SSPX of the book The Realist Guide to Religion and Science, authored by SSPX priest Fr. Paul Robinson, has engendered a reaction across the broad spectrum of Tradition. Creationists have expressed deep concerns about the modernist and scientist leanings of the author, whilst other traditionalists have commented on the very concerning problems with the Foreword of the book. In an article entitled A Foreword Gone Awry: SSPX Issues Disclaimer concerning Fr. Robinson's New Book, the editor of novusordowatch brings forward some very interesting facts, which show that the concerns about this book reach even to the SSPX itself. The article can be read here: https://novusordowatch.org/2018/03/foreword-gone-awry-robinson-haffner/The salient facts are as follows:1. The SSPX chose a novus ordo publishing company, Gracewing, of Great Britain, to publish Fr. Robinson's book. 2. The Foreword itself was written by Fr. Paul Haffner, "the theological and editorial director of Gracewing."3. Haffner's Foreword contains references to "St. John Paul II" and "Blessed Paul VI."4. Haffner "is a specialist on the work of the late Father Stanley Jaki."5. Fr. Robinson, in penning this book, set out to "provide a philosophical backbone to the thesis of Fr Jaki’s Gifford Lectures of 1974–1975 and 1975–1976."Here is the text of the SSPX disclaimer in full:Note on the Foreword
Fr Robinson would like to express his profound gratitude to Rev Dr Paul Haffner for publishing The Realist Guide to Religion and Science through Gracewing Publishers, of which he is the theological and editorial director. Fr Robinson is also grateful to Father Haffner for writing the foreword to his book. Father Haffner, in addition to being a professor at the Gregorian University in Rome for the past 30 years, is a specialist on the work of the late Father Stanley Jaki and The Realist Guide attempts to provide a philosophical backbone to the thesis of Fr Jaki’s Gifford Lectures of 1974–1975 and 1975–1976 (published as The Road of Science and the Ways to God). Thus, it was most appropriate for Father Haffner to compose the foreword for The Realist Guide, and Fr Robinson is pleased of Fr Haffner’s approval of his attempt to popularize Fr Jaki’s work.In the foreword, Fr Haffner makes reference to the support of the Conciliar Popes for realism. In doing so, he assigns to Pope Paul VI and Pope John Paul II the titles of ‘Blessed’ and ‘Saint’ respectively. As Fr Robinson was not provided an opportunity to read the foreword before the publication of his book, he was not able to express his adherence to the position of the Society of St Pius X (SSPX) on the doubtful nature of the canonizations, because of the many changes in the canonization process. In addition, he was not able to reiterate the particular concerns about the canonization of Pope John Paul II that he expressed in his Nov./Dec. 2013 Angelus article ‘The Difference between a “Saint” and a “Saint”’.Thus, the appearance of ‘Blessed’ and ‘Saint’ beside Paul VI and John Paul II in the foreword of The Realist Guide should in no way be construed as an acceptance by Fr Robinson of the modern canonizations or a deviation from his publicly expressed opinions on that subject or the position of the SSPX. Nor should the foreword be construed as implying that Fr Robinson believes that the Conciliar Popes have been realist in their philosophical outlook.(“SSPX Seminary Professor Releases New Book: The Realist Guide to Religion and Science”, SSPX.org, Feb. 26, 2018; hyperlinks removed.Setting aside the gaping problem presented by SSPX-novus ordo collusion, now grown long in the tooth, we sharpen our focus in order to examine the even more grievous substantive problem. Who is Fr. Stanley Jaki? and why would an SSPX seminary professor take such an avid interest in resurrecting his memory and his work?Thankfully the eminent Catholic writer, Miss Paula Haigh (RIP), in her seminal works on the subject of evolution, devoted a series of articles to exposing Fr. Jaki, who, as she termed it, was a sophist, a revisionist, a surrealist, and an evolutionist.If, then, Fr. Jaki is being raised from the dead, in order to spread his poison throughout the SSPX, why not raise Paula Haigh from the dead, in order that Jaki may be once again exposed - in order that this next generation of traditionalists, entirely deprived of solid formation and primed to embrace all novelties, may have the other side? The four articles by Miss Haigh will be posted on this forum, beginning with "Jaki-Sophist." They will be followed by "Jaki-Revisionist," "Jaki-Evolutionist," and finally "Jaki-Surrealist."
FATHER STANLEY L. JAKI : SOPHIST
In his book, The Savior of Science (Regnery, Gateway, 1988) Fr. Jaki deals with “creation science” in Chapter Six entitled “The Creator in the Dock”, under the subtitle of “Creation science: a strategic error”, pages 198-203. It seems that Fr. Jaki is describing the empirical science of the Protestant creationists as a “strategic error“. What is the nature of this error?
The essence of that strategic error is that it distracts from what can be said about creation as a divine act and shifts attention to something concerning that act about which nothing can be said. About the act of creation one can meaningfully focus on its factuality, namely, that it happened, that it is an act whereby things that did not exist began to exist. This in a sense is not much.. The doctrine of creation out of nothing is possibly the starkest of all doctrines. It is like a huge infinite gap of which only the ramparts or edges can be seen. But those edges put us in contact with the infinite chasm of mere nothing on whose edge perches our puny existence, a gratuitous drop from the infinite richness of God’s existence that alone can arch over the infinite abyss of non-existence.
Is it possible that Fr. Jaki is speaking here of the Protestant creationist scientists connoted by the chapter sub-heading? There is no way of knowing. All that one can say with certitude is that his words make reference to at least two distinct disciplines:
1. The factuality of creation considered as the totality of existing things must be established by the philosophical discipline of epistemology; it must be established not only that we can know things but also how we know, that is, the acts of the mind vis a vis existing things must also be described.
2 The study of God’s creative activity belongs properly to theology, and St. Thomas Aquinas treats of it in Questions 44 through 74 of his Summa -- hardly the “starkest of doctrines” in the work of the great theologians of the past.
According to St. Thomas, creation ex nihilo and in time is a truth of divine faith and cannot be known or demonstrated by unaided reason. It is a truth revealed in the first chapter of Genesis. Fr. Jaki knows this. But what is puzzling is that he should bring in the theological doctrine of creation against “creation science” which, as practiced by both Protestants and Catholics these days, does not pretend to construct a philosophy or a theology but concerns itself only with the empirical evidences for creation and, in the case of Catholic creationists, the empirical evidences along with papal pronouncements and Church documents supporting a literal interpretation of Genesis 1. What can the sciences of epistemology and theology have against these empirical evidences? Students and scholars of creation should not be chastised by Fr. Jaki for studying the empirical evidences, as long as these do not conflict with the truths of Faith. It is therefore difficult to see any kind of strategic error in the work of the creationist scientists. They are simply doing what all scientists do, only they do it in the light of divine faith. What we do see, however, especially we Catholics, is a scandalous rejection of traditional Catholic theology and philosophy in favor of a new false process philosophy/theology seeking to accommodate the truths of Faith with the error of evolution. Here is Fr. Jaki’s second paragraph:
For various reasons it is tempting to grow dissatisfied with that starkly naked vision of the fact
of creation. One reason is philosophical shallowness, very characteristic of modern times increasingly engrossed with the how. This lopsided interest in the how is heavily fueled by science, which is always about the how or manner in which processes take place. One of the prominent victims of that lopsided scientific interest was Teilhard de Chardin. His superb poetry in prose made countless poetic as well as prosaic minds think that the supposed manner of creation was far more important than its fact. In the end, many of them ended up with a universe with no Creator and with a man that was not created.At least Fr. Jaki has here given us an example of one kind of creation science
that he might be talking about. And his point is well made. Teilhard de Chardin reduced everything that could be called “creation” to the evolutionary process, thereby rendering unrecognizable the face of God the Creator known to Christian doctrine. But it is impossible to see that Fr. Jaki could in any sense be speaking here of those scientists usually called “creation scientists” because creation scientists are not studying the how of creation in their empirical work: they are studying the products of the original creation as described in Genesis 1. And they study these contemporary products of the original creation with one aim in view: to disprove evolution, that is, to disprove the claim that the products of creation could in any way arise either by theistic or atheistic evolutionary processes. Fr. Jaki’s next paragraph brings us closer to the real target of his scorn:
The other reason for shifting attention from the fact of creation to its manner is a rather unenlightened engrossment with the Bible and especially with the creation story.
Fr. Jaki is building a straw man. Creation scientists are not engrossed with the how of creation. They are engrossed, as all scientists are, with the how of the operations of nature, with the operations of secondary causes. This is legitimate scientific activity. But if we continue with Fr. Jaki’s paragraph, Catholics will be embarrassed, Protestants will be disgusted, and both with good reason. Still, it must be done in the interest of truth.
I will interrupt Fr. Jaki’s discourse as occasion arises, not in great detail, for all that is done elsewhere, but just enough to let him know that he is not succeeding in his diversionary sophistry for those of us who hold to the constant teaching of the Church and who know the papal pronouncements that anathematize his views as modernist heresy. On the face of it, he says, Genesis 1 is about the manner, the how of creation.. Genesis 1 has always been understood by the Fathers and Doctors of the Church as telling us, by divine revelation, just how creation happened, i.e., by direct Fiat of God in a series of acts during the first six days of the world. During Creation Week, God not only established the entire natural order of things, with its pattern of time, but also gave to mankind the model for him to follow in his own life: work six days and rest on the seventh. (Cf. Exodus 20: 8-11). Modern studies of biorhythms show that this pattern is the best for man and that he suffers if the work-week is lengthened or shortened. One frequently hears the comment that Genesis tells us that God created all things; it is for science to tell us how He did it. And this they refer to evolutionary interpretations of nature. The truth is otherwise: God has told us how He created all things. It is divinely revealed fact, in Genesis 1-3, for those who believe. Fr. Jaki continues:
Such is a self-defeating exegesis for two reasons. For one, it deprives one of seeing the true message of Genesis 1. According to that message, God is a supreme exclusive Lord over all, because all owes its being to Him. Because of this all is good in a most emphatic way.
Fr. Jaki could not name one single creation scientist who does not admit and advertise this “true message” of Genesis l. Obviously, he has not read the literature of the Protestant creationist scientists. But let him continue:
According to Genesis 1, and it is there that it differs most from Babylonian and Egyptian cosmogonies, God, the Lord, can have no rival, let alone an evil rival.
Again, no creationist scientist would deny the truth of this statement. But now we come to the heart of the matter:
For another, the taking of Genesis 1 for an account of the manner of the how of creation leaves one hapless when it comes to explaining what really happened once Adam and Eve began their career, short-lived to be sure, in Paradise. One day they heard nothing less than Almighty God walk through the Garden of Eden in the afternoon breeze, Of course, God can produce the sensory impression as if He were walking. But this is beside the point. The point is rather that if the manner of creation as given in Genesis 1 is to be taken literally, the phrase of Genesis 3, “God walked in the Paradise Garden,” afternoon breeze or not, cannot be taken figuratively. Anyone with a modest respect for consistency will have to grant that. As to those unsure about the meaning of such a big word as “consistency,” the story about the gander, the goose, and the sauce may do the trick.
God is not mocked, nor is His Word rejected with impunity. But we leave that to Fr. Jaki’s Savior and Judge. As for the rest, I have not been able to find Fr. Jaki’s view of “what really happened”, but then, perhaps this, too, is beside the point. The main thing to notice here is that Fr. Jaki is not talking about creation at all, neither its fact nor its manner. Nor is he talking about creation scientists. He is talking about what he sees to be the incredibility of Genesis 1-3, and this, obviously, proves that he is unable to believe the creation story plus the story of Adam and Eve and the Fall. Fr. Jaki is simply our typical modernist whose scientism has destroyed his supernatural Faith.
Fr. Jaki notwithstanding, there is nothing unreasonable in the account of God walking in the Garden of Eden to talk with Adam and Eve. Nor is a sensible illusion at all necessary to account for the occurrence. There are other places in Scripture where God appears in sensible form to His servants: to Abraham before the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 18:1-2); to Moses in the burning bush (Exodus 3:2-14ff); to Elias on Mount Horeb (3 Kings 19:10-13), etc. All these appearances of God to His servants are foreshadowings of the Incarnation. Fr. Jaki speaks often of the Incarnation in his books, so we may hope that he does not doubt this truth of Faith. But now we do come to the open exposure of Fr. Jaki’s loss of Faith in Holy Scripture as the inerrant Word of God, no less an article of Faith than the Incarnation:
Once this modest amount of consistency is lacking, the Creator will be put in a miserable dock. Once there, God the Creator has to perform in a way that is most undignified not only for Him but also for any finite intellect created by Him and to His image. In that dock God has to perform miracles that are nonsensical, such as the making of light before making a sun. He also has to perform the minutiae of creating, and in a most meticulous sequence, millions of species of plants and animals. Heaps of miracles do exactly what mountains of banknotes do: in both cases the currency loses its trustworthiness.
Fr. Jaki demands that God’s ways be the ways of modern evolutionary science and poor human logic. But the main error of this passage, and it is a theological error, is to think of creation by God as a miracle. Creation by God is the bringing into existence of the entire natural order upon which miracles are predicated and which they presuppose. Miracles are the setting aside or the transcending, by God’s own power, of the natural law and order created by Him in the beginning. Creation, being an act of God’s Will and Power, is as natural to Him as natural activity is to His creatures. And so, it is an error to speak of God’s creation as a miracle. Two points to remember:
1. Miracles presuppose the natural created order.
2. Creation by God requires nothing that transcends or puts aside His nature, but quite the opposite: it is of God’s very nature to be able to create beings out of nothing because He is infinite Being, all Actuality, the omnipotent source of all existence, upon Whom all things -- including Fr. Jaki’s impudence -- depend.
These are points of theology that Fr. Jaki should know. It is true that the Protestant creationists often fail to notice or make the distinction between creation and miracle. There is some excuse for them, being only empirical scientists, not theologians. But there is no excuse at all for Fr. Jaki, and he commits this error frequently in his books.
There is no difficulty for God to bring into existence, by an act of His Will and His Power, the “millions of species!" that were indeed brought into being on the third, fifth, and sixth days. As a matter of fact, the real sense of Genesis 1:20, for example, is Let the waters teem or swarm abundantly with the moving creature that has life. The ordinary translation of bring forth is not a good rendering of the original Hebrew.
There is sound exegesis for every one of Fr. Jaki’s objections. I leave for another place the hexameron of St. Thomas which sums up all the hexamera of the Fathers and Doctors that came before. I will turn, instead, for Fr. Jaki’s benefit, to one of those despised creation scientists about whom Fr. Jaki's chapter is ostensibly written.
Dr. Henry Morris, in his masterpiece The Genesis Record (Creation-Life, 1976), after an irrefutable explanation of the word day (Hebrew yom) in Genesis 1 as referring to a literal cyclical light-dark arrangement corresponding to our twenty-four hour day, goes on to explain the significance of the light created by God on the first day:
…it is obvious that visible light is primarily meant, since it was set in contrast to darkness. At the same time, the presence of visible light waves necessarily involves the entire electromagnetic spectrum. Beyond the visible light waves are, on the one hand, ultraviolet light and all the other short wavelength radiations and, on the other hand, infrared light and the other long wave phenomena.
…in turn, setting the electromagnetic forces into operation in effect completed the energizing of the physical cosmos. All the types of forces and energy which interact in the universe involve only electromagnetic, gravitational, and nuclear forces; and all of these had now been activated. Though no doubt oversimplified, this tremendous creative act of the Godhead might be
summarized by saying that the nuclear forces maintaining the integrity of matter were activated by the Father when He created the elements of the space-mass-time continuum, the gravitational forces were activated by the Spirit when He brought form and motion to the
initially static and formless matter, and the electromagnetic forces were activated by the Word when He called light into existence out of the darkness. Of course, God is One, and all three persons of the Godhead actually participated in all parts of the creation and continue to function in the maintenance of the universe so created.
All of this was accomplished on the first day of creation. The physical universe had been created out of nothing and energized, and was ready for further shaping and furnishing in preparation for man, whose dominion it would be.
Catholic theology can find no error in these words. Catholic philosophy will have much to add by way of harmonious and agreeable explanation. Only modernists like Fr. Jaki can object to an exegesis so fully in the tradition of the Fathers and Doctors of the Church.
But Catholic theology has plenty of fault to find with Father Jaki’s exposition of Genesis 1. On pages 54-76 of his book there is a section titled The Universe of Genesis 1, wherein he treats the creation story in a manner one would expect to come from the pen of an atheist like Bertrand Russell or Isaac Asimov. He compares God to a builder whose superiority over his raw materials is sneeringly suggested by his ability to construct first the upper structure of the “cosmic tent”, the vault separating the upper from the lower waters, and then the ground level or solid earth, “safely floating on unfathomable waters ..." This is an utterly false reading of Genesis 1 and displays an unaccountable ignorance of the original language. Here is what Dr. Morris says:
The word “firmament” is the Hebrew "raqia", meaning expanse or “spread-out-thinness.” It may well be synonymous with our modern technical term “space,” practically the same as discussed earlier in connection with the meaning of “heaven”. In fact, this passage specifically
says that “God called the firmament Heaven. …
There is, of course, much more, but it need not be added here. The work of the Protestant creationists is there for Catholic theologians to read and correct if they wish. But it must be said in all honesty - that when one is acquainted with the work of men like Henry Morris, Duane Gish, Richard Bliss, and many others, and what these men have done by way of explaining the implications of Holy Scripture -- one is struck, literally impacted as by a blow, upon reading the likes of Fr. Jaki, by emotions of shock, pity, anger, that a Catholic theologian should be so willfully ignorant and so contemptuous of obvious truth.
But Fr. Jaki really has no idea of the creative power of Almighty God. He further reveals his lack of understanding of this major truth of Faith as he continues to ridicule both God and His defenders in a characteristically sophistical manner:
Once in the dock, where He has to perform endless unnecessary stunts, which the matter created by Him can do just as well, the Creator becomes an easy target of His sworn antagonists.
Jaki does not explain to us what he means by saying that Genesis 1 has God performing endless unnecessary stunts which the matter created by Him can do just as well. Dr. Morris has shown us exactly what God did create, in modern scientific terms, and we can clearly see from this how secondary causes continue to operate since the beginning, conserved in existence and their operative powers by God and obedient to His sovereign Will. But Fr. Jaki goes on in his blindness, leading blind followers:
Not that they could touch Him directly. But they most skillfully cash in on some of the jobs that some of the Creator’s devotees tag onto Him —such as creating each and every species, of which insects alone constitute tens of thousands according to modest estimates.
How transparently he pretends to defend God “in the dock” but at the same time reveals his inability to believe that God is really all-powerful. Is God really incapable of creating “each and every species, of which insects alone constitute tens of thousands”? Of course not. Only modernists like Jaki who measure God’s creative power by their evolutionary science doubt this. Nor has Fr. Jaki even begun to write like the scientist he purports to be. What is a species? Is there not a very considerable amount of variation observed within certain boundaries and genetic barriers? Variation within the genetic parameters of the originally created “kinds” or species is something that secondary causes can accomplish by reason of the genetic potential invested in them by their Creator in the beginning. But Fr. Jaki’s mind is closed tight against such matters because his interests lie elsewhere, and these interests of his clearly, the more one reads of him, do not concern the cause of truth. So let him continue to the bitter end:
One of those sworn antagonists of God the Creator was none other than Charles Darwin. Shortly after he returned from the voyage with the Beagle, he suddenly turned from a Bible-waving fundamentalist Christian into a dedicated enemy of Christianity as well as of Creation.
The change in Darwin according to his own admissions was not nearly so sudden as Fr. Jaki makes out. But let him continue:
Darwin was helped in making that turn by perceiving the ease whereby a Creator busy creating earth and every species discredited Himself,
Well, plainly, Fr. Jaki is blaming the traditional literal interpretation of Genesis for Darwin’s apostasy. This is sophistry at its height. But we know from his own view of Genesis, that Fr. Jaki is of one mind with Darwin in this matter. But on he goes, apparently oblivious of the contradictions into which his sophistry leads him:
Ever since Darwin, this has become the classic strategy of genuinely Darwinist evolutionists, and the keystone of the strategies of their anti-Christian crusade. The strategy sets up huge traps into which fundamentalists -- well-known and anonymous -- fall almost unawares.
At this point, the reader must pause to sort out “strategies”. The heading of a section of Chapter Six
in The Savior of Science is “Creation science: a strategic error”. And that error is supposed to consist in diverting attention away from the act of Creation by God to the how or process of creation. But we have shown that this is not at all the activity which holds the attention of creation scientists and their followers, whereas it is indeed the activity and attention of theistic and evolutionary “scientists” like Teilhard de Chardin and Fr. Jaki who reduce creation by God to an evolutionary process, claiming, as they do so, that Holy Scripture only tells us that God created all things in the beginning, whereas it is for evolutionary science to tell us how He created. But now we have the “strategies” of the Darwinists who apparently wish to entrap “fundamentalists” into trying to explain Genesis literally so that they, the Darwinists, can overwhelm them, the fundamentalists, with their (the evolutionists’) “evidences”. And so:
Among the well-known was William Jennings Bryan. The Scopes trial would not be remembered as an exposure of Christian stupidity if Bryan had not wasted his oratorical powers on defending what he believed to be the manner and tine-table of creation. It did not occur to him that by defending the one single fact of creation he could have argued: admit the existence of the Creator of all matter and no room will be left for materialism. He did not seem to realize that the real target was a materialism, which is almost invariably the creed of Darwinists, a species to be carefully distinguished from the much larger group of evolutionists.
Don’t miss the covert declaration in this last clause, that there are many more theistic evolutionists, of whom Fr. Jaki is currently the most prominent, than there are atheistic evolutionists. And this materialism of Darwin, as opposed to other evolutionists of his time and before and after, is a question that is discussed at some length in another place. But here, it will be conceded that Bryan, being a good Protestant, took his stand on sola scriptura without any theological or philosophical resources, such as a Catholic would have. And in this connection it is interesting — and sad — to note that a search of the periodical literature just before, during, and after the Scopes trial in that summer of l925, indicates no concern whatsoever on the part of Catholics to come to the defense of this primary doctrine of Creation as Fr. Jaki would define it. Was the real target “a materialism
which is almost invariably the creed of Darwinists”? If it was, then why was there no Catholic defense of the doctrine of Creation at this time? I will tell you why. It is because the great majority of Catholic theologians, followed by the Catholic journalists, were much too busy accommodating Catholic doctrine to evolutionism, a task they were fervently engaged in from the turn of the century to their temporary victory with Humani Generis in l950. And so, this is something else that Fr. Jaki and his fellow theologians and scientists of the name Catholic must answer for to God at Judgment. And now we are coming to Fr. Jaki’s gripe against specific creationist scientists:
A similar opportunity has been lost in this very year of 1987. This is not to suggest that the Supreme Court has the competence to rule in matters doctrinal, let alone on the creation of the universe out of nothing. Some members of that august court might have, of course, enjoyed hearing about that doctrine, the most profound of all sound doctrine. Instead they were asked to listen to an essentially unsound doctrine which is creation science. It is unsound because it pretends to be a science about the manner of creation, which is creation out of nothing. That creation is totally different from “creation” from something already existing. The latter is
an art which is best left to fashion designers or to those teachers of creative English writing who, year after year, send some of their students to a class in remedial English.
Let us by all means add to this list of those scientists who believe creation to be from “something already existing”, modern physicists who equate creation with a Big-Bang explosion, those chemists who believe all things evolved from a primeval soup, those biologists who think that the present world of living creatures came into their varied existences through the workings of natural processes alone, and all those theistic evolutionists, like Fr. Jaki, who would make God the mechanism for all evolutionary processes, thereby hoping to have their cake (Catholic doctrine) and eat it, too, the favor of the worldly pseudo-scientific establishment. Here Fr. Jaki is at the height of his sophistry, but the deceitful veneer is wearing thin; it becomes more transparent the more you read him!
Being busy with creation science, or the science about the manner or timetable of creation, is possibly the most self-defeating strategy a Christian can adopt in an age of science.
How he harps on that theme of the manner or how of creation. It’s the strategy of telling a lie over and over in the firm conviction that eventually, human nature being what it is, the lie will come to be accepted as truth. But as fallen-away Catholic, Abraham Lincoln, knew, “You can fool some of the people some of the time, but you can’t fool all the people all of the time.” As for creation science being self-defeating, Fr. Jaki is either unpardonably ignorant or is, again, just practicing the strategies of sophistry. For it is a fact open to all to discover that the number of serious students obtaining science degrees at the graduate school of the Institute for Creation Research and then going out and spreading the true science that refutes evolution on every point is not negligible, nor is the influence of the periodicals devoted to serious science that these Protestant creationists are publishing. They are the resources where one is able to find unbiased descriptions of the multitude of natural processes so attractive to today's empirical mentality. So there is obviously nothing self-defeating about it. Rather, it is proving to be extremely effective. But Fr. Jaki is blind:
The strategy is equivalent to renouncing one's ace and handing over to one’s opponents a full hand of cards. The ace-card is philosophy or metaphysics and a thorough respect for reasoning in depth. Distrust of reasoning in depth is part of that Ockhamist contempt for universals which Luther and Calvin grafted on the spirit of Reformation, including its Bible reading. Contempt for universals can only foster an undue appetite for particulars. In the case of creation science those particulars are taken from Genesis 1 and in such a manner as to foreclose open-minded search about a vast number of particulars that can be found about the universe and its processes. No wonder that proponents of creation science are invariably reduced to the status of carpers, who try to find a hold here and there in the vastness of those data.
In a footnote to this paragraph, Jaki names those creation scientists he has most prominently in mind: H.M. Morris et al., Creation: Acts, Facts, Impacts (San Diego: Creation Life Publishers, l974) and R. Bliss, Origins - Two Models: Evolution/Creation (San Diego: 1978). By choosing two of the most objective, truly scientific and unbiased sources of the creation movement as the target for his very unfair criticism, Fr. Jaki only reveals all the more his own close-minded prejudice. Really, there is something more in Fr. Jaki’s work as a whole: it is a determination to dominate intellectually.
But Fr. Jaki is right in pointing out that modern empirical science stems from Ockham’s Nominalism. The really puzzling and more and more contradictory fact about Jaki’s own philosophy and history of science, together with and based on that of his hero, Pierre Duhem, turn-of-the-century physicist and historian of science, is that all of the forerunners of Galileo and Newton upon
which Jaki-Duhem insist we must find and place the origin and rise of all of modern science is precisely in John Buridan, Nicholas Oresme, and others who were, to a man, of the Nominalist school! Jaki tries to Catholicize empirical and experimental science, cut off as it is from any connection with the higher sciences of theology and metaphysics. But this subject, too, is treated at some length, in another place. As for the present text, a Catholic may reasonably ask of Fr. Jaki: Where is the ace-card of philosophy and metaphysics so desperately needed today to rescue science from its rejection of G0d -- a rejection based squarely on scientific method and the limitation of rationality and truth to what can be measured and experienced by the senses? Fr. Jaki has much to answer for.
The remainder of this section is pure evasion. Jaki claims that the creation science of today “undercuts the biblical doctrine according to which it is man’s intellect which makes him a being created to the image of God.” It is the first chapters of Genesis that Fr. Jaki judges to be irrational, not those believing scientists who accept God’s Word and follow the clues it offers with very fruitful results. The presence of creation science in the world today and the fits of nerves it manifestly causes in the evolutionists, give the lie to Jaki’s groundless claims against creation science.
Finally, the creation scientists are subjected to a kind of ridicule that redounds upon Almighty God Himself. Let it be recorded to Fr. Jaki’s shame:
A sad and ridiculous spectacle indeed. The jumpy marching of people in early movies, which cannot but provoke smiles today, should seem a dignified affair in comparison with that creation science whereby billions of years are compressed into a few thousand years. Creation science puts the Creator in a dock in which all His acts and moves resemble a frenetic shaking of arms and legs. The ridiculousness of the situation can only give credit to the efforts of materialists whereby the Creator is banished on the ground that He is incapable of sitting in the dock for billions of years, let alone for eternity. In both cases Creator and creation are held up for mockery for precisely the same reason: quantities are taken for the measure of the truth to be or not to be, which is patently a non-quantitative truth.
Fr. Jaki’s strategy has been, “If you can’t lick 'em, join 'em!” For he has certainly joined the forces of evolution against creation. The last sentence above is strange in the context of Jaki’s work as a whole, for I believe there is only one verse in the entire Bible that Fr. Jaki does take literally, and this one he takes so literally as to make his entire science rest upon it. He is, in this one instance, a true arid fanatical fundamentalist. The text is Wisdom 11:21, “But Thou hast ordered all things according to measure, number and weight.” So he says of Wisdom 11:21, This declaration makes sense only if any true finding about the quantitative structure of material things is an evidence of the specificity which God gave to the universe created by Him.” (p. 202) Absolutely no quarrel with that! But why, then, does he turn around in the final part of this section arid take the creationists to task for holding to the short chronology of the Bible, a fully respectable course in the tradition of exegesis, not to mention the many empirical evidences, totally quantitative in number, measure and weight, for a young earth? I suppose it’s easier to accuse the creationists of holding Almighty God up to mockery, even though we too respect the quantitative aspects of matter, than it is to investigate the claims of the creationists for a young earth and universe. Fr. Jaki would rather have Almighty God contradict Himself and defend this impossibility on the ground that God is eternal. Such are the labyrinthine ways of sophistry.
From all this it is too painfully evident that Fr. Jaki, for all his pretense and reputation as a Catholic theologian and scientist upholding the doctrine of Creation, is no friend of those Catholics who take their stand upon the tradition established by the Fathers and Doctors of the Church since the Apostles and upon those papal pronouncements and Church documents that uphold a literal reading of Genesis; for this part of the Bible establishes the basis for the primary and indispensable doctrines of creation ex nihilo and in time, for the doctrine of Original Sin, possible only if there really was an individual Adam and Eve, created directly by God Himself and placed in a Garden of Paradise suitable for the State of Innocence in which they were created and from which they fell by disobedience, and for other basic doctrines which we believe because they come to us from the authority of God revealing and interpreted by the Church in a constant tradition living throughout the ages: the Deposit of Faith which cannot change.
Fr. Jaki is simply another modernist, albeit an exceptionally clever one very much exalted by worldly honors. But such honors and talents are no guarantee that he speaks the truth. On the contrary, he uses the God-given brilliance of his intellect and facility of style for deceitful purposes. This is a terrible indictment. I challenge him to disprove it, for the sake of souls.
Thus ends our analysis of the section Creation science: a strategic error. Fr. Jaki has not described any error, strategic or otherwise, of .the creationists. Rather, he has ridiculed, in a shameless and indefensible way, a valiant effort on the part of Protestants to rescue and defend truths that Catholic theologians have jettisoned from the leaky boat of their new church. Fr. Jaki is the one involved in a strategic error -- a strategy of error that strives to defeat the truth. Impossible task!
Paula Haigh l Nazareth Village I - #102 l POB 1000 l Nazareth KY 40048-1000 l USA
Balance of titles in series by this author:
Fr. Stanley L. Jaki: Surrealist
Fr. Stanley L. Jaki: Revisionist
Fr. Stanley L. Jaki: Evolutionist
V V V