A reconciliation with Darwin? Divergent views on evolutionism in Erich Wasmann and Jaime Pujiula, biologists and Jesuits


Unlike the case of Galileo, the Catholic Church has managed evolutionism and Charles Darwin’s work with discretion. Among Catholic scientists, some defend a variety of evolutionism which is peppered with remarkable exceptions, such as the divine origin of life and of the human species. The Jesuit entomologist Erich Wasmann came to the conclusion that the evolutionary theory could explain his observations about myrmecophiles, so he adopted a Catholicism-tinged evolutionism, which Ernst Haeckel considered false and very dangerous. The Jesuit biologist from Catalonia, Jaime Pujiula, continued Wasmann’s work but adopted stances that were more radical than the Austrian entomologist’s, like invoking the inescapable need for God’s intervention in the transition from inert matter to life.


spontaneous generation; origin of life; Ernst Haeckel; Charles Darwin; Catholic dogma

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