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Philosophy of Evolution: Survey of Literature
Neo-Scholastics in Spain
North America
South America

Irenaeo Gonzalez (1957).104 Irenaeo Gonzalez is a Spanish Neo-Scholastic Jesuit author with a specialty in ethics. He participated in a three volume series of philosophy texts prepared for students in Jesuit colleges in Spain. He also is a professor, and prepares students for examinations at a pontifical university. He writes in Latin.

Gonzalez treats Evolutionism. As an ethical system, Evolutionism, which teaches that everything comes from evolution, is a system that must be rejected. Due to Materialism, it destroys spirituality. Further, it is Mechanicism in regard to general laws to which everything must be regulated in a deterministic way. Evolutionism does not teach good morals, but rather predicts from the knowledge of evolutionary laws what will actually happen in the future. Gonzalez rejects all these aspects of Evolutionism.

Gonzalez has other adversaries related to Evolutionism. He notes that among ethical errors are Socialism (denying private property), Racism (practical denial of the unity of mankind), Communism (the state is the norm of morality), and Historicism (history as the norm of morality).

Gonzalez also rejects Fundamentalism as an ideology.

Josepho Hellin (1957).105 Josepho Hellin is a Spanish Neo-Scholastic Jesuit author with a specialty in cosmology and theodicy. He participated in a three volume series of philosophy texts prepared for students in Jesuit colleges in Spain. He also is a professor in the faculty of philosophy at the University of Madrid. He writes in Latin. He introduces cosmology as "natural philosophy." He uses the traditional thesis form. His books have ecclesiastical approval, and follow the teaching of St. Thomas as required by the Holy See in the Apostolic Constitution, Deus Scientiarum Dominus.

Hellin treats evolution in cosmology. He notes there are other physical laws in nature. He affirms finality in nature. He rejects Mechanicism in nature. He affirms the Hylemorphism of Aristotle. He defends the thesis that this world is neither the best nor the worst possible world. In short, Hellin’s philosophy of nature is both traditional and modern. He does not want to ignore any scientific facts. He hopes that serious controversy can be solved by dialogue.

Hellin treats theodicy, the philosophy of God. Hellin rejects Pantheism. Hellin favors creation of the world as its primary motion. He notes that only God can create. He maintains that God is still concerned with creation by His conservation of the cosmos. He defends divine providence for the future of man and the world.

Jesu Iturrioz (1957).106 Jesu Iturrioz Gonzalez is a Spanish Neo-Scholastic Jesuit author with a specialty in general metaphysics. He participated in a three volume series of philosophy texts prepared for students in Jesuit colleges in Spain. He also is a university professor. He writes in Latin and gives an emphasis to the philosophy of Aristotle and St. Thomas.

Iturrioz treats evolution. He especially rejects evolutionary Materialism because of its claim not to need finality He endorses the principle of finality. He defends the limitation of acts in created beings. He rejects Mechanicism. He rejects Materialism. He notes the reaction in favor of vitalism by Hans Driesch (1867-1941) in biology, and the reaction by W. Dilthy (1832-1912) in the field of history. Iturrioz also rejects Bergson on final cause. Although Henri Bergson admits vitalism, he does not admit a proper final cause. He endorses the fundamental unity of the human being.

Leovigildo Salcedo (1957).107 Leovigildo Salcedo is a Spanish Neo-Scholastic Jesuit author with a specialty in logic and epistemology. He participated in a three volume series of philosophy texts prepared for students in Jesuit colleges in Spain. He also is a professor at a pontifical university. He writes in Latin and in thesis form.

Leovigildo Salcedo treats the nature of philosophy. He gives a history of philosophy, especially treating the birth of Neo-Scholasticism. He gives the properties of scholastic philosophy: that it be Christian, with a special relation to theology; that it be Aristotelian philosophy, which so influenced St. Thomas; and that it be traditional, just as all true science should be.

Leovigildo Salcedo describes the history of philosophy. He gives the origin of Neo-Scholasticism. He mentions the popes that were involved and their official writings promoting the philosophy of St. Thomas. Pope Leo XIII wrote the Encyclical Aeterni Patris (1879) which was the original springboard for Neo-Scholasticism. Pope Pius X wrote the Encyclical Pascendi (1907), which acted against some philosophical errors. Pope Pius XI wrote the Encyclical Studiorum Ducem (1923). The 1918 Code of Canon Law promoted philosophy in its cannon 1366. Pope Pius XII in the Encyclical Humani Generis (1950) commended the doctrine and method of St. Thomas.

Ferdinando M. Palmes (1959).108 Ferdinando M. Palmes is a Spanish Neo-Scholastic Jesuit author with a specialty in rational psychology. He participated in a three volume series of philosophy texts prepared for students in Jesuit colleges in Spain. He also is a professor in the philosophy faculty at the University of Barcelona. He writes in Latin, and uses the thesis form. All of rational psychology among the Neo-Scholastics touches evolution, so Palmes is in many ways the most interesting of the Spanish Neo-Scholastics. He also notes that natural philosophy is composed of two parts, cosmology for inorganic mobile beings, and rational psychology for organic mobile beings.

Palmes treats evolution. He affirms that there is an essential difference between man and the other animals. He rejects abiogenesis. He rejects evolution as a fact. He rejects the evolution of man unless there is a special intervention of God. He affirms the creation of the soul of man by God. He holds Hylemorphism and the unity of man. He holds that the human soul is by its nature immortal.

Jose Maria Riaza Morales (1961).109 Jose Maria Riaza Morales is a Spanish Neo-Scholastic Jesuit author with a specialty in science. His title to Neo-Scholasticism is his training as a Jesuit, his fidelity to Church requirements for teaching, his ecclesiastical approval for his book, and the scholastic treatment of philosophy in his book. He did not participate in a three volume series of philosophy texts prepared for students in Jesuit colleges in Spain, but his book, on modern science and philosophy is referred to by Hellin who wrote in cosmology, almost as part of the series. Jose Maria Riaza Morales did his License in Physical Science. He is a professor of philosophy at two schools. He is a Neo-Scholastic by training, but writes in Spanish in a popular style. His book is also directed to the cultured public.

Jose Maria Riaza Morales treats philosophy of nature. It is necessary for philosophy to have scientific knowledge. Modern man should know science in general, but the philosopher has a special need. The philosopher needs to know perfections in the world. The Church demands that ecclesiastical faculties present scientific questions to students. Professors must show how modern scientific questions are related to philosophy. A course in scholastic philosophy needs the completion of modern science. The Church wants biology, anthropology, mathematics, physics, and chemistry to be taught to the university student. The book of Jose Maria Riaza Morales does the philosophical problems in the last three subjects: mathematics, physics, and chemistry. He treats the new geometries, logic and mathematics, antiparticles, hyper-matter, anti-matter, wave mechanics, quantum mechanics, nuclear fusion, and both determinism and indeterminism in the cosmos.

Jose Maria Riaza Morales is especially helpful to this dissertation relative to the cosmos. He treats the expansion of the universe. He treats entropy and the final death of the universe.

Jose Maria Riaza Morales can be compared to Josepho Hellin. In 1957, Hellin writes in Latin and in thesis form mostly for students for the priesthood. In 1961, Riaza Morales writes in Spanish and in popular form for college students and the general public. Hellin treats philosophy in the traditional metaphysical elaboration. Riaza Morales needs more facts to explain a smaller amount of philosophy. Both are Jesuit teachers and trained in Neo-Scholastic philosophy. Both seek ultimate explanations. Nevertheless, around the year 1960 there seems to be a change in Neo-Scholasticism and the change is most apparent in the philosophy of nature. Is Riaza Morales better than Hellin? There is a loss of brevity and clarity, and in some cases the student must make his own application of the facts to philosophy. On the other hand, the student is more integrated in the discovery element of philosophy, in the presentation by Riaza Morales.

Jos Mari Bermdez de Castro (2005).110 Bermdez de Castro is a Spanish paleontologist who attended the international congress on evolution at the Pontifical Atheneum Regina Apostolorum in Rome between 23 and 24 April 2002. He submitted a paper. He participated in the discussions. Is he, strictly speaking, a Neo-Scholastic philosopher? He was invited to a Neo-Scholastic congress on evolution; he not only delivered a paper at the congress but actually entered the dialogue; he is an evolutionist; he affirms the principle of finality; he explains the facts using cause and effect (e.g., Homo antecessor eventually generated Homo sapiens neanderthalis); and he provides solid material for philosophical analysis. His presence shows the need of Neo-Scholasticism not only to read natural science, but to dialogue with archeologists and other scientists in order to accurately and fully discern the facts upon which philosophy can build.

Bermdez de Castro excavated at Atapuerca, in (Burgos) Spain. His helper and his co-author of the presentation at the international congress was Susana Sarmiento. Both are primarily paleontologists. The Siera de Atapuerca has considerable Pleistocene fossils that have been systematically excavated since 1978. The excavations have uncovered the oldest presence of hominids in Europe. The approximate date of the fossils is prior to 500,000 years ago. The excavators apparently have discovered a new species of hominid, Homo antecessor. This is a most important discovery because it appears that Homo antecessor is the progenitor of two lines of descent. One, in Europe, is H. antecessor to H. heidelburgensis to H. sapiens neanderthalensis, now extinct. The other, African, is H. antecessor to H. rhodesiensis to H. sapiens sapiens, or modern man.

Bermdez de Castro may also be helpful about the future of man. Bermdez de Castro notes the extinction of the Neanderthal. He also speculates about the end of the Homo antecessor. One possibility is that the entire population moved north; another possibility is the H. antecessor were absorbed by various groups technically superior; while a third possibility is that H. antecessor mated with African immigrants technically superior who eventually became H. sapiens sapiens, or modern man.

CONCLUSION: The conclusion for the Spanish Neo-Scholastic philosophers brings to light a number of valuable conclusions. One most interesting phenomena is the difference between the Neo-Scholastics before and after the mid-twentieth century. Even just past the mid-century, authors like Gonzalez, Hellin, Iturrioz, Palmes and Salcedo all wrote in thesis style, in Latin, for prospective clerics, with technical details, with ecclesiastical approval, and with more or less traditional questions. The new trend began about 1960 or so, with Riaza Morales and Bermdez de Castro as examples, who wrote in popular style, in Spanish, for both university students and the general public, with details for interest, without ecclesiastical approval, and with questions so new and complex that Bermdez de Castro is called on as an expert, although not technically a Neo-Scholastic.

Conclusions of the Spanish can be drawn about the evolution itself. Proof of evolution from scientific facts, a posteriori, appears to be given by Bermdez de Castro. However, Hellin prefers creation to explain the world, and only God can create. The need for finality is endorsed by Hellin, Iturroz, and Bermdez de Castro. Arguments against Mechanicism were given by Gonzalez, Hellin, Iturroz. Arguments against Materialism were given by Gonzalez, and Iturroz. Hylemorphism was endorsed by Hellin and Palmes. Iturroz endorses the fundamental unity of the human person.

Conclusions of the Spanish can be drawn about man and evolution. The essential difference between man and the other animals is defended by Palmes. The origin of man’s body appears to be confirmed by the excavations of Bermdez de Castro. The origin of man’s soul is by the creation of God, maintains Palmes. Hellin rejects Pantheism. The future of man is not predicted by Evolutionism, says Gonzalez, who maintains that perfect happiness cannot be obtained in this world, no matter what evolution says about the future. The extinction of the Neanderthal, which may be a human species, was noted by Bermdez de Castro, and had been abstractly considered by the South American Neo-Scholastic Leonardo Boff.

Conclusions of the Spanish can be drawn about evolution as a fruitful concept. Abiogenesis is rejected by Palmes. Cosmic evolution may involve such facts as an expanding universe, but the law of entropy will eventually cause the universe to die, according to Riaza Morales. Hellin maintains this world is neither the best nor the worst of all possible worlds. Social evolution is rejected by Gonzalez, especially Marxist Socialism. Gonzalez maintains that morality has to arise from free acts, so sociological morality must be rejected. Atheistic Evolutionism is implicitly rejected by all. Not only does God exist, but God conserves the cosmos and directs it by divine. providence, says Hellin. 

Author:  John Edward Mulvihill, S.T.D., D.Min., Ph.D.
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