The Compatibility of Evolution and Classical Metaphysics
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The compatibility of evolution with Aristotelian-Thomistic metaphysics is defended in response to Fr. Michal Chaberek’s thesis of incompatibility. The motivation and structure of Darwin’s theory are reviewed, including the roles of secondary causality, randomness and necessity. “Randomness” is an analogous term whose evolutionary use, while challenging, is fully compatible with theism. Evolution’s necessity derives from the laws of nature, which are intentional realities, the vehicle of divine providence. Methodological analysis shows that metaphysics lacks the evidentiary basis to judge biological theories. Species are entia rationis whose immutability does not conflict with the evolutionary succession of biological populations. While Darwin’s theory was unknown to Aquinas, he endorses the possibility of new species immanent in the initial state of the universe, nor does his understanding of exemplar ideas offer ground for objection. Finally, five arguments given by Fr. Chaberek are answered.
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