Friday, February 1, 2008

Talking about Creationism

Creationism, young earth creationism especially, makes me mad.

Creation science is a misnomer. Anywhere on the creation spectrum, from young earth creationism to intelligent design, the bulk of time, energy, and money is going into trying to work politically to get creationism taught in public schools, and in efforts at creation science evangelism. Very little real science work -- gathering data, doing experiments, and analyzing the data as part of the mainstream scientific community -- is being done.

When Christians leave a gospel tract instead of a tip at a restaurant, or when we bug out co-workers about Jesus, but show up at work late and take long lunch breaks, we're unable to proclaim the gospel with words, because we're saying the exact opposite without them. In precisely the same way, why ought we expect responsible, methodical, hard-working scientists to listen to Christians when creationists throw spurious, ill-posed, ignorant arguments at them?

At the same time, the mainstream academic community hasn't done much to address creationist fallacies directly. If you went to Barnes and Noble, thinking, say, "I heard that the earth must be young because its magnetic field is decaying so quickly, but I want to see what mainstream science has to say about this claim," you wouldn't be able to find a book that directly addresses that statement.

I know that a hefty chunk of my readers are somewhere on the creationist spectrum. I'd like to do a series of blog posts specifically addressing the issues you raise with cosmic origin, abiogenesis, the age of the earth, and evolution. Also, I'm quite sure that the major reason why creationists are creationists is not that they are compelled to believe as they do from the science, but, first, because they want to take Genesis seriously. However, I think that there's a distinction between taking Genesis seriously and taking it literally, and I'd like to talk about that some, too.

Here's are some questions I have for you:
  1. Where on the creation spectrum, from young earth to atheistic evolution, do you land?
  2. Do you use arguments relating to creation when you do apologetics?
  3. What are your reasons, scientific and theological, for believing as you do?


  1. Karissa sent me.. :P

    1. I currently ascribe to progressive/day age creationism... but am open to theistic evolution as well.

    2. Not sure I understand what you are asking =P

    3. Scientific: it seems virtually impossible to me that the earth is 'young'... therefore YEC is pretty much not an option in my mind.

    Theological: it seems to me that if you take the Genesis story as somewhat literal (which I'm undecided on, really) God created species separately. Progressive Creationism accounts for this will still acknowledging that a template, if you will, might have been used.

  2. 1. I'm pretty much a theistic evolutionist with a lot of questions about how specific evolutionary leaps (molecules to DNA, for example) were made.

    2. Not really, since most of the time I've found they don't really work that well anyway.

    3. Scientifically, the DNA evidence and evolutionary homology convinces me (i.e. mostly stuff I've learned so far in medical school.) Astrophysics and the age of the universe are totally beyond my ability to judge what's good science and what's not; other things like paleontology are so much guesswork anyway that they're not strong evidence one way or the other.

  3. 1. While I certainly believe that God could have made the Earth any way he dang well pleased, I am a theistic evolutionist most days.
    2. That is, I think, putting the cart before the horse. The improbability of my existence is not, as near as I can guess, going to convince people that they are terrible people, but God loves them anyway.
    3. The Young Earth/Worldwide Flood/etc seems a bit bunk to me. My current big thought is that if the flood gave us dinosaur fossils, there ought to be giraffes in there too, and there aren't. I think my Mom found this point to be interesting, which is incredibly remarkable. Theologically, Young Earth/Worldwide Flood/etc is the most obvious way to go (i.e. reading at face value) but that may be because I don't speak Ancient Hebrew. But with the evidence, and a former pastoral intern (this isn't why he's former) having told me that the language is poetic, and my deciding that Theistic Evolution seems to work well enough, that's where I've ended up.

  4. 1. I probably fall somewhere between tim and matthew. I've heard that the opening chapters of genesis are poetic and mythical, and I have been presented with much more evidence for evolution than creationism. Also, I given a lot of thought to the what the literal history and decided that evolution is entirely plausible, if not quite a bit humbling, and that God could still be sovereign. I don't know very much about either view though.

    2. Yes, but only in my head, because i never talk about it, unfortunately.

    3. i think i answered this in #1