Before time erases the salience of these items I would like to bring them to your attention. First, I'd like to recommend Martin Hilbert's "Darwin’s Divisions" (June Touchstone) as a spot-on analysis of the issues in the evolution debate in the Catholic Church.
Second, an article (subscription required) in Physics Today on examining biological systems from a physical point of view contained a provocative graph:
[From the caption: binding energy (purple); bending energy (blue); fracture energy (green); electrostatic energy (orange)]
The text explains
As the characteristic size approaches that of biological macromolecules, all the energies converge. The convergence is remarkable, since the energies range over 20 orders of magnitude as object size scales from subatomic to macroscopic; its existence is an opportunity for complex physical phenomena and processes that are evidently utilized by life. Broadly speaking, the interplay between thermal and deterministic forces is what gives rise to the rich behavior of molecular machines. For example, thermal effects permit such processes as diffusion, conformational changes, the dissolution of hydrogen bonds, and the wandering of charges from their molecular hosts.
Is there any particular reason that this should be so from known physical principles? Unfortunately I don't know the more fundamental physical details, but I suspect that many of these processes are "emergent" in the chemistry (e.g., of hydrogen bonds). Perhaps one could call the convergence an "anthropic coincidence," but I think it's better to say that it is a manifestation of the limitations of science (I'll explain why this better in a future post, but for now you might look at this).
Third, an opinion piece by Murray Peshkin in this month's Physics Today is worth examining as a indicative of the "religion-science dialogue."
Science and religion have different assumptions, different rules of inference, and different definitions of truth or reality. The fence that surrounds science is the test by experiment. That fence is both the greatest strength and the most fundamental limitation of science, and it needs to be respected from both sides. Scientists may have opinions about religion, but they cannot honestly invoke the authority of science when they try to apply the logic of science on the other side of the fence. Similarly, creationists and advocates of intelligent design should not pretend to be conducting a scientific argument.
Notice how he observes the empirically-based fence surrounding science. The article (as is all too typical) doesn't even attempt to describe what real bodies of knowledge exist outside the fence. Religious faith lacks any objective meaning and is relegated to pure subjectivity. So much for the "science-religion dialogue": it might more accurately described as the "science-to-religion diktat."
Peshkin later writes,
K. E. Miller, in his book Finding Darwin's God, dissects the objections to evolution and genetics. He then reconciles his Catholic religion with science by invoking the indeterminacy of quantum mechanics.
I like the way he says Miller reconciles "his Catholic religion", because it's not clear that Miller believes in the Catholic Christian Faith—the one given us by Jesus through His Apostles and continued by an unbroken succession of bishops. Peshkin's piece is too brief to handle the subject, but the general assumption among evolution apologists is that somehow the fact that Miller claims to be Catholic in his Faith (and very well may be in a practical sense) and a Darwinist makes it unnecessary to actually compare the intellectual content of that Faith with the tenets of Darwinism. (But then if religion is pure subjectivity, how could it be incompatible with anything?) For a real analysis, see the Hilbert article I recommended first.