Abstract: Catholic teaching on Original Sin requires a repudiation of polygenism for the origin of the human race which, prima facie, challenges scientific orthodoxy. However, a correct understanding depends on a definition of what constitutes a true human being, and what constitutes polygenism. If a particular random mutation equips a hominid with sufficient development for God to grant it a soul, and this hominid – ‘Adam’ – sins before begetting offspring, then the genetic inheritance of this ‘human’ capacity must inevitably be accompanied by the spiritual inheritance of Original Sin as it spreads through the hominid population. Therefore Catholic teaching is shown not to be in conflict with scientific orthodoxy. Alternative scenarios are also considered, and theological and moral consequences of this position are explored.
Abstract: In August 2003, I delivered four illustrated talks at a Catholic People's Week in North Wales, entitled Great are the Works of the Lord. My brief was to explore topics in science and religion from a Catholic perspective, and the slides used (in the files above) are quite self-explanatory. I would be very happy to present part or all of this course for any group on request.