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.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."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? Three of 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 Jaki, a priest who misplaced his mind and Roman collar
FATHER STANLEY L. JAKI : EVOLUTIONIST
I. First Principles and Paley’s Stone
The Purpose of it All (Regnery Gateway, 1990) is certainly Fr. Jaki’s most brilliant tour de force.
George Sim Johnston in his fine but totally uncritical review (Catholic World Report, Nov. 1991, pp. 69-70) says:
A fatal flaw of our culture is its commitment to a world view which rejects any knowledge other than the “scientific”. That science itself in no way warrants this savage reductionism is the crux of Fr. Jaki’s message.
If this is really the crux of Fr. Jaki’s message, then no one could disagree with him on any rational grounds.
However, it is my contention that what Fr. Jaki means by science and the progress of science is not entirely clear. That he accepts the scientific method of empiricism seems evident from all his works, and it is also my contention that this method, by rigorously and on principle, ruling out God is a self-inflicted reductionism, not only savage but diabolical in origin. That Fr. Jaki’s emphasis is primarily upon technology and applied science rather than intellectual disciplines seeking truth and from which certain practical advantages may or may not proceed, seems confirmed by the opening chapter of Purpose which gives an account of scientific progress starting from the Voyager-2 space probe and working back to the steam engine.
Fr. Jaki seems to disavow the forms of progress that the 19th century delighted to see as manifestations of humanity’s forward march: Condorcet’s “progress of reason and the defence of liberty ... with man restored to his natural rights and dignity...” (p. 5); the steam engine, the Great Exhibition’s Crystal Palace in England in l85l, the proliferation of the railroads, and finally the “Social Gospel” and “economic theory of progress and purpose” put forth by Marx end Engels. (p. 14) Fr. Jaki does not identify himself with any of these.
Perhaps Fr. Jaki comes closest to telling us exactly what his idea of progress is when he quotes Newman (p. 16) as to the contrast
between the essentially non-progressive character of the humanities, above all of theology, natural and supernatural, and the progress, mostly a process of accumulation, of the sciences.
Newman is, of course, a highly esteemed Catholic author and historical theologian, an authority for some kind of progress. He lived and breathed the air of the rationalist’s dogma of progress and his Development of Christian Doctrine (l845) was certainly one of his century's prize productions.
Also, Newman was most astute when he recognized the cumulative character of the physical sciences as opposed to the unchanging, non-progressive nature of literature and the arts and of theology. That insight is echoed in clearer and more certain accents by Dr. Jerome Lejeune in his book, The Concentration Camp (Ignatius, 1990, p. 132):
The cleverest discussions can change nothing. The ethical committees will solemnly proclaim their contradictory oracles and the anxiety will remain: technology is cumulative, wisdom is not.
Then what remains for us?
Wisdom remains for us.
If the technicians fail to recognize this, we have everything to fear from a denatured biology, but if the physicians remember it, the most sophisticated technology will remain at the service of the family of man.
An unforgettable wisdom that summarizes in a single phrase, the standard by which all will be judged:“What you have done to the least of my brothers, you have done to me.” (Matt. 25-40)
What is needed for the salvation not only of the sciences but of the entire world is the wise control of all things by a true and living theology, the science of Wisdom par excellence.
Dr. Lejeune tells us in a few simple words, unmistakably clear and emphatic, what we will never find straightforwardly expressed in all the pages of Fr. Jaki’s scintillating prose.
Fr. Jaki concludes the first chapter of Purpose, which is titled “Progress with scant purpose”, with one of his usual pirouettes:
In view of this obvious debacle of secularism, nothing would be more tempting than to turn to the sacred as the true foundation and safeguard, historically as well as conceptually, of belief in progress … (p. 30-31)
Why tempting? Perhaps if Fr. Jaki told us why, he would find himself caught in his own contradictions.
But he rejects as a temptation that supernatural wisdom that Dr. Lejeune so keenly knows to be our only salvation.
In his book about Fr. Jaki, Creation and Scientific Creativity (Christendom, 1991) Fr. Paul Haffner quotes Fr. Jaki as saying that Faith in the possibility of science is a most conscious derivative from the tenets of medieval theology on the Maker of Heaven and Earth. (p. 33)
Again, I am not clear as to Fr. Jaki’s meaning. Aristotle in the 4th century B.C., opens his major work, the Metaphysics, with the observation that “All men by nature desire to know.” If that is not the very basis for all science, what else could be?
All of Aristotle’s works, far exceeding in scientific value those of his predecessors, on such subjects as the heavens, the history and parts and generation of animals, physics and the soul -- all indicate in a most incontrovertible manner, that science in all its aspects was not only seen to be possible but was actually begun with Aristotle himself. It seems totally unreasonable to require an explicit belief in God as Creator in the Christian sense for men to believe in the very possibility of the natural sciences.
I may seem to be contradicting myself, as it has just been shown that science needs theological wisdom to be saved from itself. The way I see it is this: before the Incarnation, pagan peoples had lost the original revelation given to Adam, especially after the Flood at the Tower of Babel from whence all the nations dispersed, taking with them only remnants of the true religion; and these remnants quickly became corrupted. By the time of Aristotle, the polytheistic mythology of the Greeks no longer made sense to thinking men like Plato and Aristotle, and so they began from reason alone, discarding the childish and irrational myths. But they knew from reason alone that a Supreme Being must of necessity exist and that He is, in some way, the Cause of all things. What Aristotle did, building on that tenet alone, is a really astounding witness to the power of unaided intellect when it is submissive to reality.
The science of our times is not nearly so rational. Indeed, it is perverse in the extreme because it denies the existence of God Who makes Himself known to our reason in countless ways through His creation. Besides that, science today could have the benefit of a fully developed philosophy awl theology, had it not been willfully rejected at the Renaissance, particularly in the persons of the new empiricists like Galileo, Descartes, and Bacon.
And so there is, if you will, a kind of rise and fall in the movement of history: Aristotle was preparing the way for the great synthesis of the 13th century, and everything, from Roman times was on the way up to the apex of Christian achievement in that marvelous civilization we call Christendom, wherein Christ Our Lord was truly King of Heaven and of Earth, by right of Creation on the one hand and by right of conquest in Redemption on the other.
But since the 13th century, for many reasons, things have been going downhill. Christendom has fallen apart, Christ the King is rejected by the nations and states who must acknowledge Him and His Sovereignty if they are to be blessed by God. And perhaps most insidious of all, we have come to be dominated by a God-denying scientism, built on the three great errors of the primordial atheism of empiricism, a pagan heliocentrism, and a great new myth of evolution. All three of these errors are based in principle on a denial of the Christian Scriptures on which our Catholic Faith is based. Now science, free of all restraints from either Church or State, continues to attack not only the minds of men but their very bodies by such unnatural and barbaric practices as abortion, the implantation of organs from other species, and the euphemistically termed “fetal research” wherein the brain tissue of an unborn child is suctioned out with a plastic tube while the child is still alive in the uterus of its mother and its other organs are “harvested” in the same inhuman manner.
People of ancient times constructed idols of iron to which they sacrificed their babies, as in the furnaces of the god Molloch. The Aztecs, as late as the l520’s, were sacrificing their young people to demonic gods and tearing out their hearts while they still lived. Today, we are our own idols as men and women collaborate in the holocaust of the unborn on the altars of unimaginable selfishness. Our Lady came to save the Aztecs from their evil ways. Perhaps She will also come soon to change the hearts of modern people.
Fr. Haffner probably has the true explanation of Fr. Jaki’s idea of progress when he tells us that he, Fr. Haffner, proposes to show us the “manner in which Jaki forges the link between Christian faith and modern science. ...“ (p. 33)
That link, of course, is John Buridan’s profession of faith in the creative act of God which imparted an impetus to the heavenly bodies in the beginning and which enables them to continue in motion as true secondary causes under divine supervision. This subject has been discussed at length in Fr. Stanley L. Jaki: Revisionist and it has been argued there that any link between Buridan, Galileo, Newton and Einstein is tenuous at best and can only be “forged” by a distortion of historical facts.
The main reasons for the absence of a true origin of modern science in Buridan or in the medieval and especially Thomistic syntheses are
1) the fact that the epistemology of modern empiricism, seen already in Galileo and going back to William of Ockham (fl. 1350) is radically separatist, pulling apart the knower arid the known in a quantitative exclusion and separating also all the natural sciences from their proper place in the hierarchy of sciences, a hierarchy that reflects the created order;
2) a commitment to the heliocentric and/or a-centric theory of the cosmos, which theory is based in a radical un-realism, a denial of the very basis for science -- the evidence of the senses processed by the intellect but unable to contradict each other;
3) an embracing of evolutionism which begins early, even with Descartes and Newton as they explain the temporal formation of the heavenly bodies. Fr. Jaki’s evolutionism shows in his “progress of science” which is a positivist progressivist view of history strongly reminiscent of that of Auguste Comte (l798-l857). This theory of history’s movement is radically opposed to the Catholic view which can be found in classical authors from Saint Augustine’s City of God to the Thomistic works of Fr. Denis Fahey (d. l955). According to this Catholic view, history is not perfectionist by any natural means and exhibits a linear movement that is filled with the swirls and eddies of falls and restorations, beginning with Creation and ending with the Day of Judgment. The kind of linear perfectionist movement seen in the accumulation of technological inventions and cultural improvements that Fr. Jaki seems to envisage for science is seen in our times to be a Frankenstein monster without any soul. The reason for this is the rejection of God in the higher wisdom of nstura1 Philosophy, especially metaphysics, and a radical rejection of the supernatural wisdom coming from divine revelation.
These three great deformities of modern science: empiricism, heliocentrism, and evolutionism, were present from the beginning and have grown apace in such a manner as to make this child of Fr. Jaki a monster that he should either disown or labor to reform, because, unlike a human child, this offspring of the adulterous Renaissance has freely chosen from the beginning to follow the disastrously wayward path it has taken.
In other words modern science could only achieve what Fr. Jaki claims to be its essential "self-propelling” dynamic "on-going” process of accumulating ever better instruments of pollution and destruction unhindered by any directives from above by having broken away from and continuing to reject the good order of the medieval hierarchy of sciences. Buridan, then, by his submission to higher authority and wisdom, marks an end rather than a beginning.
Again, Fr. Jaki seems to be saying that true and certain science can only come from Catholics. In a sense this is true, but in another sense it is not entirely so. We have seen that Aristotle and other pagans working in the strength and light of natural reason alone, without benefit of divine revelation, have left a marvelous deposit of natural human wisdom. But it is undoubtedly incomplete and often distorted; in the ancient mythologies and practices, the original revelation is even horribly corrupted. It is only in the full light of divine Faith in God’s complete revelation in Our Lord Jesus Christ that science can achieve its true and full potential.
A great fund of scientific knowledge was given to Adam in the beginning. He knew more of the secrets of nature than scientists know today, and this knowledge formed the basis of the high civilization and developed technology of the pre-Flood peoples. But all had to begin anew after the Flood, while much of the original revelation, both of nature and of the supernatural life, was corrupted and lost as tribes and nations migrated away from the centers of civilization in the Middle East. Even those centers, such as Ur, Babylon, and Nineveh, lost the true religion and degenerated, due mainly to evil rulers. The power for good as well as for evil that has been given to rulers, especially to kings, can be seen in the example of the king of Nineveh (Jonas 3:6). But the worship of Baal became widespread in the Holy Lands. Only a promised line of Semites guarded the faith and hope in the Messiah to come; and when He came, only a remnant of Israel received Him.
But we know from the wisdom of the Magi that a vast fund of natural knowledge mixed with supernatural prophecy must have been preserved amongst the peoples of the ancient East. The treasures of knowledge left by Plato and Aristotle came into the West by way of the Arabs in the 12th and 13th centuries.
This is the crucial juncture. The works of Aristotle, all are agreed, provided the basis for the development of western science. It is possible, even highly probable, that technology would have developed in a slow and very limited manner, always under the control of the higher wisdoms of metaphysics and theology. But given the fallen nature of man bearing the consequences of original sin, and because of other convenient opportunities brought about by Satan and evil men, such as the longing for the luxuries of the East cultivated by the returning Crusaders, there came about that Age of Expansion and resurgence of classical culture we call the Renaissance, accompanied by a neo-pagan way of life in the capitals of both East and West, with a consequent decline of religious life.
During this crucial time, some men rebelled against a Church they saw as corrupt and produced a Luther, a Calvin, a Zwingli, and others; and so Christendom, due to the religious wars provoked by the ideas of these so-called reformers, disintegrated. Other men, as excited by intellectual independence as the Protestants were by religious freedom, rebelled against the authority and higher wisdom of theology that presided over the arts and sciences in the schools, and they produced a Galileo, a Campanella, a Bruno, a Foscarini. Modern science took its rise in this rebellion against the “Aristotelians” and the Thomistic theologians of the universities.
Just as the Masons of some years later met secretly in taverns and private homes to plot revolutions, these philosophers of science, as they were then called, abandoned the universities and began to form semi-secret societies, such as the Lincean Academy to which Galileo belonged. In England, they culminated in the Royal Society founded in 1662 under Charles II but from which Sir Isaac Newton carried on his most vicious campaign to destroy the last Catholic King of England, James II.
Such is the true beginning of modern science, as it is also the beginning of anti-Christian political systems and heretical sects that continue to plague both Church and State with their divisions.
The God-intended fulfillment of all the sciences in the hands of Catholic saints and scholars resembling Augustine, Bonaventure, and Thomas is yet to be realized. Fr. Jaki’s view of progress and his strategy of compromise with error do not and can never lead to that desired goal.
In the Introduction to The Purpose of It All (pp. ix-x) Fr. Jaki states:
….design is not the same as purpose. In fact, designs have been registered before anything specific could be ascertained about their function, let alone the purpose of their functioning. The purpose remains in fact often in the dark, while more and more scientific light is shed on the specifics of the function.
Fr. Jaki’s books are exceedingly sparing of concrete examples, especially from the life sciences, and so I am hard pressed to know exactly what is being referred to here. But it reminds me of what the evolutionists call “vestigial organs”. Such parts of the human body as the appendix, the coccyx or tail-bone, the tonsils and adenoids, were all believed at one time to have been left over from a previous more animal-like existence, especially the tail-bone. However, all of them have been found to have very specific and specifically human purposes. (See “Vestigial Organs” are Fully Functional, by Jerry Bergman and George Howe. (CRS Books Monograph No. 4, 1990.) Recent research shows that even so minor a disorder as the taken-for-granted morning sickness of pregnant women may actually be the. body’s way of protecting the developing infant from the mild toxins that adult bodies easily throw off but which the embryo is not yet able to neutralize. (BSN, 30:5, p. 10) Fr. Jaki continues:
Apart from the closeness of the design argument to the cosmological argument and at times plain identity with it, forms of the design argument can be very defective in coming to grips with the notion of purpose. One cannot read … purpose into mere biological processes in which there is no evidence of a conscious aim at work. Seeing purpose at work in the purely biological domain demands therefore a careful philosophical consideration, which, so it is argued in this book, comes only from the doctrine of the analogy of being.
While the Thomistic doctrine of the analogy of being is always relevant, I question that it is the crux of the difference between purpose and design or that it would be of much help to the biologist examining processes of nature in which he can descry “no conscious aim at work.”
Rather, I suggest that what is needed is a return to first principles and a consideration of Aristotle’s four causes, because the difference between design and purpose resides precisely in the difference between formal-material causes (design) and finality or teleology (final cause). I must confess that Fr. Jaki’s discussion of design and pattern in the present book leaves me more confused than otherwise. For the sake, then, of those of us who are called, in one way or another, to deal with the activities of modern science, I offer the following consideration of first principles.
The first act of the mind is to apprehend reality in its intelligibility which is twofold: 1) the fact of its existence and 2) the fact of its essence or nature. This primary object of the mind, twofold in its being, is not God, nor self, but the being that exists in the world outside the mind. We can only know this real being through our senses, but what is grasped as intelligible in the sense-object is grasped immediately in and from the sense-object by the intellect, first as it recognizes an existing thing as existing, i.e., as real, and secondly, as it recognizes the existing thing as some kind of being.
Thus all our knowledge comes to us through our senses and such knowledge is based in a self-evident, undemonstrable and irrefutable, incontrovertible manner on the given fact that things exist outside of us.
If this first given of all knowledge is not recognized, granted and submitted to as given, with a basic humility of the intellect, then all consequent acts of the mind are vitiated at their source. Such deviants are the philosophy of Plato, of William of Ockham, of Descartes, Kant, and all their fellow-travelers.
This realism of sense knowledge received, abstracted from and possessed in the unity of knower and known, is the realism of Thomism and the only realism that will serve as a true and fruitful basis for all the sciences.
Secondly, as a consequence of abstraction whereby the intellect grasps the very formal nature of a being, there is consummated a real union of form between the concept in the mind and the nature of the individual being known through the senses, for the individual being or substance is known simultaneously as unique individual concrete substance and as an individual possessing and exhibiting a universal nature or essence that it shares with the other individuals of its class or kind. It is this actual form which constitutes its conceptual intelligibility and which the mind grasps and makes its own intra-mentally without in any way diminishing the concrete individual in itself.
Here is the basis for all scientific classification.
In this way does Thomistic realism solve the dilemma set up by Platonic idealism on the one hand and positivistic, radical empiricism on the other. We must deal especially with the latter because radical empiricism, stemming from Ockham’s nominalism in the 14th century, reduces reality to sequences of phenomena, thus stripping the real world of those first principles of being that alone render it as fully intelligible to us as God intended it to be.
Once the real world is seen and acknowledged and esteemed as the given that it is, certain other principles follow directly, principles equally self-evident, undemonstrable and irrefutable except by a denial of reason itself. These principles are the necessary and objective laws of reality, of all that is or that can be.
Rising directly from the first apprehension of being is the principle of contradiction. Some call it the principle of non-contradiction, for it simply means that the mind recognizes as a self-evident fact that a thing cannot be and not be at the same time. Being, therefore, is absolutely opposed to non-being, to nothingness. A positive correlative to this principle but in the realm of essence rather than existence, is the principle of identity, which states the self-evident fact that a thing is what it is and not something else. As Gertrude Stein, in the face of some idealistic nonsense, put it: a rose is a rose is a rose is a rose.
One would imagine that it would be very difficult indeed to get away with denying these self-evident first principles. Yet it is being done all the time by the evolutionary scientists. Here is an example given by Phillip E. Johnson in his book Darwin on Trial (Regnery Gateway, 1991, pp. 74-75)
Paleontology ... has taken Darwinian descent as a deductive certainty and has sought to flesh it out in detail rather than to test it. Success for fossil experts who study evolution has meant success in identifying ancestors, which provides an incentive for establishing criteria that will permit ancestors to be identified. Gareth Nelson of the American Museum of Natural History has expressed in plain language what this has meant in practice:
“We’ve got to have some ancestor. We’ll pick those. Why? Because we know they have to be there, and these are the best candidates.”
That’s by and large the way it has worked. I am not exaggerating. Obviously, “ancestors” cannot confirm the theory if they were labeled as such only because the theory told the researchers that ancestors had to be there.
Besides being a blatant example of circular reasoning, this practice manifests a far more serious sin against reality itself. Circular reasoning is a sin against logic, but to assume that there was a being present in the past which had a certain nature “ancestral” to some being with an identified nature in the present, and then to claim that the past being is certainly a true being with such and such a nature simply by labeling it so, is an unconscionable manipulation of facts. It is a combination of purest nominalism with a denial of the principle of identity which states that a thing is what it is because we have known it to be such by science, i.e., by certain knowledge.
Flowing directly from these first principles of knowledge as from the fountainhead of affirmations of the real comes the principle of sufficient reason, not to be confused with what Leibnitz (1646-1716) claimed to be such. Leibnitz only muddied the clear waters of Thomism. The principle of sufficient reason in its true form states another self-evident fact: every real being has the reason for its existence, its raison d’etre, either in itself or in another. This does not mean reason in the sense of cause, but reason in the sense of knowing. As Brother Benignus puts it:
Everyone, in all his thinking and acting, takes the principle of sufficient reason for granted. ... Obviously it cannot be demonstrated, because every demonstration presupposes it. ... Its truth is what makes us reason. Reasoning is impossible without this principle -- not merely in the sense that without it we would not know what to conclude from premises, but in the much more fundamental sense that without an intuitive knowledge of it we simply would not reason at all, we would never ask a question or try to answer one, we would never give or seek a reason for anything. To reason is to apply the principle of sufficient reason to objects of knowledge; to be rational is to be able to grasp this principle.
(Nature, Knowledge and God. Bruce, 1947, p. 400)
This principle is that which causes the mind to know, self-evidently, that things “make sense”, that the order of nature, the cosmos, is not an absurdity.
Brother Benignus, in this same work, also makes a very important point about this principle in regard to science. If the principle of sufficient reason did not specify an irrefutable aspect of reality, then the following events could be real possibilities in the physical sphere:
1) something could begin to exist from nothing and with no antecedents whatsoever;
2) something could cease to exist at any time and for no reasons
3) something could have or acquire any properties at any time, no matter how incongruent, unfitting, or unnecessary for its being;
4) a being could perform any operations whatsoever, needing no particular nature to determine its operations nor any particular circumstances to call them forth.
If any one of these propositions expressed a real possibility, science would be impossible. (page 399)
And yet we see every day examples of evolutionary scientists -- so-called -- violating every one of these propositions with impunity. Such is the price we have paid for neglecting our inheritance of sound metaphysics and theology.
Closely related to both the principle of identity and that of sufficient reason is the recognition that every being exists in one of two ways: as substance or as accident. Substantial being is that which first and directly receives the act of being or existence, whereas accidental forms receive their being from the substantial form. Thus, Jim Jones is a man whose substantial form or substance is an individual determination of human nature, and his human nature remains the same beneath all the accidental changes that happen to him from conception until death. If it is true that all the cells in our body change entirely every seven years, then we must say that the basis of the change is accidental because we know that the human person remains the same beneath all the changes, not so as to obviate growth and accidental changes but in such a way that the human person remains human. The principles of substance and accident play an enormous part in such sciences as biology and psychology. The false philosophies of mechanism and evolutionism are both due to a failure on the part of philosophers of nature to deal with the sciences in terms of their first and necessary principles.
Enter now Aristotle’s Four Causes which St. Thomas made an essential part of his own philosophy. The four causes are included within the principle of sufficient reason because no being ultimately “makes sense” unless all four of its causes are recognized. St. Thomas put it this way:
When I ask the reason why, I must answer by one of the four causes:
1) Why has a circle these properties that it has, i.e., its boundary line equidistant at all points from its center? Because of its intrinsic nature. This is the nature of a circle. A circle is not a square but a circle. This we call its formal cause. It is what causes a circle to be what it is. Also worth noting about this cause is that quiddity, the formal cause, does not require actual existence in the extra-mental world for its validity. This is why it is so easy for mathematicians to construct worlds out of geometric figures and mathematical formulae. It is also a good reason why all four causes should always be considered together when studying any being. Otherwise, one may construct a “science” of the mind alone, and that’s not real science, but imaginary science.
2) Why is this iron red hot? Because it has been heated by fire or some agency imparting heat. This agent is the efficient cause of the heat in the iron. It must be noted here that the agent-efficient cause must always be an act with respect to the effect to be caused, i.e., ice cannot cause heat in another being.
3) Why did you come here? For such and such a purpose. Final Cause.
4) Why is man mortal? Because he is a material composite, hence corruptible. This is the material cause of man’s mortality.
Brother Benignus quotes St. Thomas again on these four causes by way of summation and showing their relationship. Furthermore, St. Thomas shows that the four kinds of causes can be analytically deduced from the nature of any production of being, without recourse to illustrations taken from human art. Thus:
There must of necessity be four causes: because when a cause exists, upon which the being of another thing follows, the being of that which has the cause may be considered in two ways. First, absolutely; and in this way the cause of being is a form by which something is a being-in-act. Second, insofar as an actual being comes to be from a potential being; and because whatever is in potency is reduced to act by something that is a being-in-act, it follows of necessity that there are two other causes, namely the matter and the agent that reduces the matter from potency to act. But the action of an agent tends to something determinate, just as it proceeds from some determinate principle, for every agent does what is in conformity with its nature. That to which the action of the agent tends is called the final cause. Thus there are necessarily four causes.
It is when considering the four causes, especially the efficient and the final causes, that we necessarily infer the existence of a Supreme Agent and a Supreme Destiny or Finality for all things. But more of that later.
There is one more set of principles that must be laid out clearly before we have, though only in barest outline, the basis for all the sciences, the only basis which will keep them from going astray into error.
“The doctrine on act and potency is the soul of Aristotelian philosophy, deepened and developed by St. Thomas.” (Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, O.P. Reality. B. Herder, 1950, p. 37):
… all corporeal beings, even all finite beings [i.e., the angels included] are composed of potency and act, at least of essence and existence, of an essence which can exist, which limits existence, and of an existence which actualizes this essence. God alone is pure act because His essence is identified with His existence. He alone is Being itself, eternally subsistent.
This conceptual difference [and this real distinction] in the primordial division of created being into potency and act has far-reaching consequences,
Brother Benignus says further:
The concept of being as essence and existence is sufficient by itself for the attainment of that of possibility; but the experience of change is necessary for the formation of the idea of potentiality. Change in the concrete is known by direct experience; our sensio-intellective mind is given change as directly as it is given being, although the understanding of change presupposes the understanding of being. The intellectual grasp of change implies the notions of potentiality and actuality, which become explicit upon analysis of the concepts of change.
Beings are perceived to change: we see the leaves stirring in the wind; we see them appear, open out, and grow in spring; we see them change color and fall to the ground in autumn. Whatever we perceive we grasp under the aspect of being; the green leaf of May and the red leaf of October are both beings. We see the green leaf come into being out of the branch, and we see the red leaf come into being out of the green; and in the winter we do not see the leaf at all. Last winter, the leaf I see now in spring did not exist; it was not; it was not-being. But it was a certain kind of not-being -- a kind which, I see now, was to be a leaf. It was not not-being as the impossible is not- being; it was possible, at least. It was, in fact, something more than possible. Possible being is related, in the mind, only to thought, not to experience. The non-existent leaf of winter was, I see in spring, definitely related to experience. It had a relation to existence which is quite different from the relation which a mere possible has; it had a relation to a concrete future existence grounded in some concrete present existence. Even while it does not exist actually, it is rooted in the actual being of something which does exist and which is capable of becoming it. It possesses potential being.
Please notice how every word of this explanation is directly relevant to the theory of evolution, shining, as it were, a bright light upon the evolutionists’ sins against reality.
Thus, by analyzing the changing being given to it by immediate experience, the intellect attains the concepts of actual being, or being which has present existence, and potential being, or being which has a real capacity for existence rooted in some actual being. From these concepts it forms the abstract notions of actuality and potentiality. Quite as important, by a simple comparison of actual and potential being with the principles of identity and contradiction, it arrives at an immediate judgment which is one formula of the principle of causality -- that something can come to be only from something which is, or, in other words, that every potentiality presupposes an actuality. And still another principle of importance in Thomistic metaphysics follows this one -- that every changeable being is a mixture of actuality and potentiality.
That covers the most important necessary principles of all being which we need to use in our defense of creation against evolution.
Now back to the four causes which are most relevant to Fr. Jaki’s present book. The efficient and final causes of being are extrinsic, whereas the material and formal causes are intrinsic. This is an important point because evolutionists, insofar as they recognize teleology or purpose at all, will insist that the only purpose of any design or pattern in nature is to function as a mechanism for evolutionary change. In other words, the mechanism itself becomes both the efficient and the final cause, whereas it is only the material-formal cause. The mechanism is intrinsic to the being, whereas the efficient and final causes are extrinsic. The mechanism cannot, therefore, be either efficient or final cause. As Fr. Jaki says: “The celebration by Darwinists ... of the saving of teleology by Darwin, could only mean a not at all sophisticated encomium of mechanism.” Darwin wrote in 1870: “I cannot look at the universe as a result of blind chance. Yet I can see no evidence of beneficient design, or indeed any design of any kind, in the details.” Remarkable blindness! Fr. Jaki comments:
Darwin was much too shortsighted philosophically to realize that in order to see design one needed, in addition to physical eyes, mental eyes. They alone can make a philosophical inference equivalent to registering the presence of design. (Purpose, pp. 49-50)
Note well that Darwin did not need any supernatural help in making this inference. Quite the contrary. He needed only to use his natural reason. He was either too weak-minded to do this or he deliberately refused to recognize and submit to the evidences of his reasoning powers.
The final cause asks and answers the question: Why does this mechanism function the way it does? Darwin answered that it did so in order to perpetuate the good of the being at some future time by evolving it into some other kind of being or by making modifications that would ultimately lead to major changes in the nature of a being. He thus made the mechanism itself both the efficient and the final cause of things, which is impossible because it would make the being itself to be the cause of its own being. Darwin stated in Origin of Species (l859) that “natural selection works solely by and for the good of each being and “all corporeal and mental endowm