Gereon Wolters, born in Geilenkirchen-Leiffarth, Germany, in 1944. Ph.D. from Universität Konstanz, Germany. Professor of Philosophy at Universität Konstanz.
Fellow (1 September 2008 – 30 June 2009)
PIOUS KNOWLEDGE? CHRISTIANITY AND EVOLUTION
I devoted my time to two projects: one, finishing and introducing an annotated student edition of Ernst Mach’s Analyse der Empfindungen and a conference paper aimed at questioning Mach’s image as a arch “positivist”; and two, advancing my project on Christianity and evolutionary theory. In the latter, I could largely finalise the parts about the Catholic Church. I show that the official Church – after the embarrassing failure in the case of Galileo – showed great hesitation in dealing with evolutionary theory. The first official pronouncement occurred as late as 1950. The basic principles of this document still hold today, and show that there exists an unavoidable potential for conflict with science. This potential is sometimes played down, for example by John Paul II, and – not least for lack of expertise and almost exclusively creationist reading – sometimes emphasised, for example by Benedict XVI and Cardinal Schönborn.