«Evoluzione e religione sono compatibili»

da LaStampa.it e Mercatornet.net, 21 e 24 gennaio 2008
da Lastampa.it (di Marco Tosatti), 21 gennaio 2008
L’Accademia Nazionale delle Scienze, (NAS) la più eminente organizzazione scientifca degli Stati Uniti, ha reso pubblico qualche giorno fa un libro, il terzo della serie, sulla teoria dell’evoluzione, dedicato in particolare al pubblico non specializzato. Le persone che vi hanno lavorato affermano che si tratta di un testo inusuale per la NAS, perché vi si dedica molto spazio per chiarire le differenze fra scienza e religione, sottolineando – secondo un reportage del New York Times – “che accettare l’evoluzione non significa abbandonare la fede in Dio”. Barbara Schaal vicepresidente dell’Accademia ha detto: “Volevamo produrre un testo di valore, accessibile ai membri direttivi delle scuole, agli insegnanti e ai religiosi”. Il libro di settanta pagine, intitolato “Science, Evolution and Creationism” dice fra l’altro che “tentativi di porre scienza e religione l’una contro l’altra creano una controversia laddove non c’è il bisogno che ve ne sia una”. E offre testimonianze di eminenti biologi e leader religiosi che condividono questa ceduta. Nel gruppo degli scienziati che ha preparato il testo era presente anche un ex domenicano. "Come il libro mette in risalto – si legge in un comunicato del NAS – l’evidenza dell’evoluzione può essere pienamente compatibile con la fede religiosa. Scienza e religione sono strade diverse per capire il mondo. Metterle in opposizione in maniera non necessaria riduce le possibilità per entrambe di contribuire a un futuro migliore”. La polemica negli Stati Uniti fra i sostenitori dell’evoluzionismo e i creazionisti è particolarmente accesa. Il testo appare come un contributo per stemperarla, e secondo i commentatori appare meno dogmatico di quelli precedenti in tema di evoluzione e creazione. Anche perché si moltiplicano le voci perplesse sulla possibilità che l'ipotesi evoluzionistica fornisca risposte definitive.

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Una recensione del testo in Inglese
da Mercatornet.net (Phil Elias), 24 gennaio 2008

La difficoltà di discutere serenamente di evoluzione e religione
In recent years the words evolution and religion in a single sentence have been like firesticks which almost burst into flame on the page. It is rare to find a calm, detached discussion of the major issues. That’s why I was fascinated to read this landmark publication from America’s leading scientific organisations.

Un libro in controtendenza
Science, Evolution, and Creationism was written by a committee on science and creationism the National Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Medicine. This is a fascinating book. Its fascination lies not so much in its description of the evolution of picture-winged Drosophilids but rather in what it says overall and in who is saying it. Essentially, this is the first explicit statement by a significant scientific body asserting that that acceptance of evolution and belief in God are compatible.

Posizioni evoluzioniste degli autori
Science Evolution and Creationism emphasizes the importance of evolution in modern science and technology, and provides a concise summary of the evidence supporting evolution by natural section and the arguments against various creationist positions.
It was written in the context of recent debates regarding the teaching of evolution in US public schools. Indeed, the book gives some very useful excerpts from historical court cases touching on this precise theme. The authors are adamant that there is no room for creationism in science classroom.

Una definizione di scienza
But the school-room scuffles ought not overshadow what is really significant about this book. Not only do the authors attempt to pull apart scrimmaging scientists and creationists, they also chalk in boundaries between the two by offering and applying a definition of science: "The use of evidence to construct testable explanations and predictions of natural phenomena, as well as the knowledge generated through this process."

Ambiti diversi per scienza e religione
Really this entire debate is about boundaries and definitions. Religion has historically stepped into the domain of science, often disastrously. Science has also stepped outside of its own definition to offer explanations of aspects of reality beyond its scope.

Dibattito alterato dagli opposti estremismi
The failure of many to accept the basic tenets of evolution is a source of continual angst for science educators, especially in the United States. Clear and concise explanations of evolution may help. But what is probably more important is that science knows its own boundaries. Disaffection with evolution in the past 150 years has probably come as much from scientific philosophizing as from creationist fundamentalism. This book acknowledges that: "regrettably, those who occupy the extremes of this range often have set the tone of public discussions."

A cosa risponde la scienza e a cosa non risponde
Science studies the testable aspects of natural phenomena. This means that outside of science lies not only "supernatural phenomena" (theology) but also phenomena that are partly natural, and partly supernatural (anthropology and metaphysics) AND those aspects of natural phenomena that are non-testable (philosophy of nature). Science can never really answer the question: Why is it so? It cannot fully answer questions about the human person. It cannot even say why it cannot answer these questions. And importantly, science cannot answer the question: how ought we to live (ethics)?

Con l’evoluzionismo la scienza rischia di invadere campi non propri
All this could be very frustrating for a scientist. Doing science properly means that, at least during working hours, one cannot seek answers to the really important questions in life. With the theory of evolution it is tempting to drift into the realm of philosophy and theology, something many people, at least unconsciously, consider more exciting.
Real scientists however can go all day on picture-winged Drosophilids. Chesterton once suggested that "a history of cows in twelve volumes would not be very lively reading", but science ultimately depends on its dryness for its success. Boredom is its particular strength.

Un passo avanti nella riflessione sulla compatibilità tra evoluzione e religione
This publication issued by the National Academy of Sciences is a careful, sober account of what science is, what it has achieved, and what its boundaries are. For New Scientist magazine, the attempted reconciliation of science and religion is "pure pragmatism". This may be, or it may be just jittery self-reassurance on the part of the editor. I believe that this booklet is an important step on the part of the scientific community towards a deeper, more general acknowledgement of the compatibility between evolution and religion.