ID creationism

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In the thread “Meyer’s Hopeless Monster,” the question of what “creationist” means arose.

At one point., Wesley quoted Phil Johnson:

Persons who believe that the earth is billions of years old, and that simple forms of life evolved gradually to become more complex forms including humans, are “creationists” if they believe that a supernatural Creator not only initiated this process but in some meaningful sense controls it in furtherance of a purpose.

and Richard Wein replied,

Most ID advocates (including, I believe, Sternberg and Meyer) are creationists in a much stronger sense than this. They believe in divine separate creation of “kinds”, not in gradual evolution from common ancestors.

I agree with Richard on this, and would like to discuss more generally this issue of the important sense in which IDists are creationists.

There are at least three meanings of creationists, and as with all terms in these ID discussions, we need to find some ways to keep our meanings straight.

1) Creationist = Biblical literalist, young-earth creationist, etc.

Often the IDists will complain that when we call them creationists, we are unfairly confusing them with these real creationists, the YEC.

2) On the other hand, creationist = believer in God as Creator.

This is very broad: among other things, it includes the theistic evolutionists (Keith Miller, Denis Lamoureux, Howard Van Til, the Pope, etc.) who are denounced by the ID movement.

3) Creationist = special creationist

This is the ID creationist - one who believes that somehow, someway, someplace God has stepped in to override natural processes; although, of course, the ID movement is notoriously loath to actually get very specific about this. It seems clear to me that the common arguments against “macroevolution” and the “gaps in the fossil record” imply that many of these people believe in a progression of special creations, with each species (and there certainly are a lot of them) being created ex nihilo.

There are, though, it seems (again, they never seem willing to discuss this openly) those who accept common descent but still claim that natural processes are insufficient to account for this - that somehow natural processes can work within certain limitations (“microevolutionarily” staying within the variational limits of the species), but are incapable of bridging some gap that would bring about new species.

For these people, it seems the belief is that special creation has been transferred to the molecular, genetic level - that occasionally God intelligently intervenes and “pushes” genetic change over the boundaries that it can’t surpass on its own.

It would be interesting to hear what the IDists envision this would look like in the actual world. Would we have offspring being born that would be dramatically different than their parents? - enough alike to develop, be born, and be nurtured and yet different in some significant way? Or would these changes be spread out imperceptibly over many generations?

Similarly, would these changes take place one individual at a time, or would whole populations be effected simultaneously?

Another line of questions: if in fact God special created in this molecular fashion, and He did this imperceptibly over many generations and with only a small subset of a population, would this in fact look any different than what we think we see when we explain this as happening through natural processes without any special creations?

That is, where is the line here between the theistic evolutionist and the ID creationist? Perhaps God intervenes in extremely minute ways in every moment of cellular reproduction in gametes, acting in ways that would appear to us indistinguishable at any moment from what natural processes would do if these small acts of special creation were not present.

The IDist position seems to be that this intervention is empirically detectable - that somehow we can, at least in theory, distinguish those interventions that push natural process past its natural limitations from those that stay within those boundaries.

But is God really like that. One of the primary theological critiques of ID is this: what is God doing when he’s not involved in special creation? - just sitting back and letting natural processes go on their merry way until He feels it’s time to step in again?

It seems to me, then, that ID creationism is one of what I call “punctuated deism” - long periods in which natural processes proceed on their own, punctuated by occasional periods in which God steps in to make his next creative move.

My friend Keith Miller has written the following on this topic:

It is often argued that if God does not intervene in creation by breaking the continuity of natural process, then God is not acting in a way that really matters. Those Christians who accept a gapless evolutionary description of the history of life are often labeled as deists. However, such a characterization could not be farther from my view, in which all natural processes are the personal, purposeful act of a creator God. God is both transcendent over creation, and immanent in creation. Creation was not a past accomplished act, but rather is a present continuing reality.

God’s creative power is continually at work, even now. I believe that the biblical view is that God upholds all physical reality moment to moment. God is intimately and actively involved in what we perceive as “natural” or “law-governed” processes. I thus see no distinction between God’s activity in “natural” and “miraculous” events. If one accepts this theological view, which I believe is thoroughly orthodox, then a completely seamless evolutionary history of life would be entirely acceptable theologically.

In other words, such a scientific description would not violate one’s understanding of the nature and character of God. I would argue that an interventionist view of God is much closer to deism than my view. It implies that God is somehow withdrawn, or at least uninvolved in creation, except during special exceptional events. Others have noted that a doctrine of God’s occasional intervention is really a doctrine of God’s usual absence.

This succinctly expresses, I think, both the nature and the theological weakness in ID creationism. In their effort to address their fear that “if God does not intervene in creation by breaking the continuity of natural process, then God is not acting in a way that really matters,” the ID creationist is committed to looking for acts of special creation at some empirically detectable level.

Last question: Why aren’t the IDists asking these questions? Where is this “theory of ID” we hear referred to so often? It seems to me that the questions I ask are relatively obvious - why does it seem that often the ID critics do a better job of thinking about the empirical implications of ID theory than the IDists themselves do?, and of posing possible hypotheses about ID (irrespective whether those hypotheses are testable or not)?

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In one of the comments at the Panda's Thumb post Richard linked to on the Intelligent Design post below, the following statement appears: The fact that an early foetus is less sentient than a carrot doesn’t matter because its visible... Read More

In one of the comments at the Panda's Thumb post Richard linked to on the Intelligent Design post below, the following statement appears: The fact that an early foetus is less sentient than a carrot doesn’t matter because its visible... Read More

In one of the comments at the Panda's Thumb post Richard linked to on the Intelligent Design post below, the following statement appears: The fact that an early foetus is less sentient than a carrot doesn’t matter because its visible... Read More

In one of the comments at the Panda's Thumb post Richard linked to on the Intelligent Design post below, the following statement appears: The fact that an early foetus is less sentient than a carrot doesn't matter because its visible... Read More

40 Comments

Jack Krebs Wrote:

That is, where is the line here between the theistic evolutionist and the ID creationist? Perhaps God intervenes in extremely minute ways in every moment of cellular reproduction in gametes, acting in ways that would appear to us indistinguishable at any moment from what natural processes would do if these small acts of special creation were not present.

IDers and TEs may in fact adhere to the same exact origins model. What makes them, ironically, polar opposites in the “debate” is not their origins model or hypotheses but how they portray science. Although Michael Behe proposed a “front loading” hypothesis in “Darwin’s Black Box,” his subsequent statements indicate that he might not take this seriously. And reading between the lines, what he probably does accept is virtually indistinguishable from Darwinian evolution. But so is Kenneth Miller’s suggestion that the designer intervenes in real time using quantum indeterminacy. And Miller is perhaps Behe’s #1 critic.

What’s going on?

Simple: ID is a strategy to misrepresent evolution that exploits the audience’s misunderstandings of science and willingness to unquestioningly accept a false dichotomy between a caricature of “Darwinism” and its favorite origins myth. That ID is primarily a semantic strategy that uses “bait and switch” tactics whenever possible is exemplified by the widely varying definitions of “creationist” within the ID camp. While Phillip Johnson’s definition includes even the Millers (Kenneth and Keith), Behe’s definition is apparently excludes even OECs. But do IDers beat each other up over those differences, as mainstream scientists would? No. That would disrupt the big tent.

Jack Krebs Wrote:

Last question: Why aren’t the IDists asking these questions? Where is this “theory of ID” we hear referred to so often? It seems to me that the questions I ask are relatively obvious – why does it seem that often the ID critics do a better job of thinking about the empirical implications of ID theory than the IDists themselves do?, and of posing possible hypotheses about ID (irrespective whether those hypotheses are testable or not)?

Jack, you know the answer: The ID strategy exists specifically to discourage asking those questions.

It’s certainly true that almost all ID advocates are “creationists” in a stronger sense than Johnson outlines. This means that Johnson’s usage provides a “big tent” that the ID advocate will not reasonably be able to step out from under.

There’s no restriction that one may not point out where ID advocates make clear that their commitment to creationism is stronger than the threshold established by Johnson, as in Meyer’s apparent concurrence with the special creationist stance of Palm Beach Atlantic University.

Last question: Why aren’t the IDists asking these questions? Where is this “theory of ID” we hear referred to so often?

Jack, if you find out what it is, let me know. I’ve also not seen it.

I think your question regarding the line between theistic evolution and ID creationism is a fascinating one.

You wrote:

One of the primary theological critiques of ID is this: what is God doing when he’s not involved in special creation? – just sitting back and letting natural processes go on their merry way until He feels it’s time to step in again?

This may be a primary critique, personally I have never read it, but regardless it certainly is not a valid critique, theologically speaking. There are many possible responses, including the most obvious, which is that God is done with special creation. That is, even the most extreme case of God’s “absence”, that he is no longer creating, is not a theological problem at all. He is simply done with it, and is now doing other things.

Miller is wrong to consider what you are calling ID Creationism “more deistic” that theistic evolution, just as your notion of “punctuated deism” is wrong, unless you carefully restrict the discussion to the domain of creation. But creation is not the only arena in which God intervenes. The fact that He may be done, or perhaps not very involved, at any given moment, does not restrict Him from being thoroughly engaged in other matters. That is why the “primary theological critique” has no teeth.

I also do not understand

The IDist position seems to be that this intervention is empirically detectable – that somehow we can, at least in theory, distinguish those interventions that push natural process past its natural limitations from those that stay within those boundaries.

Would not the ID creationists argue that the fossil record is the evidence of the intervention?

David Heddle Wrote:

Would not the ID creationists argue that the fossil record is the evidence of the intervention?

Chief IDer Michael Behe claims that it is not, and in fact accepts common descent. Speaking of Behe, what is your opinion of Terry Gray’s critique?:

http://www.asa3.org/evolution/irred_compl.html

To Charlie: I don’t get it. What is the point of the picture?

To David: Yes, “ID creationists argue that the fossil record is the evidence of the intervention” - they are special creationists. That’s the point. The vast majority of scientists say they’re wrong in their interpretation of the fossil record (even though they seldom, as I pointed out, actually say what their interpretation is.)

Also, I’m curious – what is God doing if he is no longer creating - what “other things” are you referring to?

I misunderstood then, for I thought you were implying that there should be empirical evidence but ID creationists offered none–we agree that they offer the fossil record. You ask:

Also, I’m curious – what is God doing if he is no longer creating - what “other things” are you referring to?

Well, as a Christian I would say that He is continuously involved in His plan of salvation/reemption. The life and public ministry of Christ is the most obvious example, to a Christian, of God not in the act of creating, yet intimately involved with his creation.

Frank J,

I am not familiar with Gray’s critique. I will add it to me semi-infinite to-read list.

David Wrote:

I misunderstood then, for I thought you were implying that there should be empirical evidence but ID creationists offered none—we agree that they offer the fossil record.

The fossil record in no form supports the non existent ID hypothesis other than by appeal through ignorance. The fossil record does not provide ANY evidence of intervention other than by a selective representation of the data such as presenting the phyla as lacking (known) ancestry in the Pre-Cambrian for instance.

Pim,

What’s your point, nobody here was arguing as such–only that the ID creationists point to it as evidence. Whether or not it passes muster as evidence was not the issue.

Right - I think everyone in htis discussion is in agreement about that.

Jack wrote:

To Charlie: I don’t get it. What is the point of the picture?

It’s a painting by Pieter Bruegel - “Parable of the Blind leading the Blind” Creationists, theistic evolutionists, YECs, ID creationists, OECs, darwinists, christians, atheists, special creationists and a host of others are all in the same catagory: the blind leading the blind. No one has a clue which ideology is truth. I prefer science where, as Isaac Newton said “if I have seen further, it is because I stand on the shoulders of giants”. By the way, where do you put me in your neat little compendium of weltanschauungen?

Most Creationists and ID folks I’ve read are really closet scholastics—I was going to write Aristotelians but their position is actually closer to Aquinas than to Aristotle. They believe in the reality of substantial forms, hence their willingness to believe in species-level changes but not changes between kinds. Between species only accidents change, which is OK. Genera can’t transmute because that involves divinely created and therefore eternally distinct substantial forms. Which is probably also why so many of the same people who are unhappy with evolution are also upset about abortion. The fact that an early foetus is less sentient than a carrot doesn’t matter because its visible characteristics are accidents just as the communion wafer, which certainly looks like a cracker, is substantially the body of Christ. It all makes sense, always assuming you can still take universal hylomorphism seriously in these later days. By the way, the dogma of Transubstantiation will be 453 years old next month. Happy Birthday!

In his recent book Promethian Ambitions William Newman of Indiana University points out how the arguments of Leon Kass and other opponents of cloning and stem cell research faithfully duplicate the church’s traditional objections to alchemy, whose would-be adepts outraged piety by claiming to be able to change one element into another and proposed to create life, i.e. the humunculus, by artificial means. Newman’s book is not polemical and only refers to creationism in passing, but reading the book makes you wonder if the central foundation of ID and many other forms of obscurantism might not just be the old matter/form metaphysics resurfacing as common sense.

Incidentally, I’m not blasting the poor scholastics. At least Aquinas had a philosophy that makes sense out of theism and gave God something to do. In contrast to modern theism, he maintained an intellectually respectable position and defended it with rational arguments. He didn’t just play to the cheap seats.

Jack Krebs Wrote:

Right - I think everyone in this discussion is in agreement about that.

Are we all in agreement that not all IDers consider the fossil record to be evidence for their alternative “theory”?

IIRC, Behe even called it “irrelevant.” That doesn’t mean that he never suggested otherwise; IDers are notorious for trying to have things both ways.

I know that the “argument from authority” does not count as evidence for a theory, but it is still worth noting that the IDer who arguably best understands evolution concedes common descent at least.

It’s also worth noting that IDers who appear to doubt common descent rarely if ever challenge Behe directly on it.

Hi, I think that it may be important and relevant to draw distinction between aspects of Meyer’s sweeping definition of “intelligent design”, which is so generalized that he may be trying to sneak ID in the back door by way of a valid natural design hypothesis:

Meyer said: “What natural selection lacks, intelligent selection – purposive or goal-directed design – provides.”

I’m sorry, but “goal directed design” doesn’t necessarily have to be intelligent in its origin, and “purpose” can be plausibly seen to arise from some natural “need” for it.

For example, it isn’t speculative to note that an expanding universe that has an increasing negative pressure componenent will necessarily isolate the forces with increasing earnest to enable whatever phenomena are necessary in order to abide by the principle of least action on a grand scale in a less than symmetrical world.

You could derive a valid natural teleological hypothesis from that observationally and theoretically supported model, where intelligent human life arises as an entropically favored means for efficiently satisfying the second law of thermodynamics.

You could then point comparitively to the many examples of our outstanding ability to accomplish this “task”, in a similar macroscopic manner to Darwin’s observations, where it can be stated that the “leap” serves as proof, because it can be shown that it enabled the human contribution to the entropy of the universe to increase exponentially.

Beware, the usage of terminology like, “purposive or goal-directed design”, because the vast abuse of the anthropic principle by creationists already has evolutionists on a reactionary-edge, where they will automatically reject any and all teleological theories out of hand as if they necessarily have religious connotations.

He may be baiting the hook!

I think the most appropriate term for so-called “intelligent design” is actually “volitional design.” The bottom line in the arguments that biological phenomena are intelligently designed is that they were meant to be: that humans in particular were meant to come into being according to the volitional plan of some intelligent agency.

RBH

That’s good, RBH. It has a nice counterpoint fit with “evolutional design.” Wish I’d come up with it.

Bob

You’re going to hate me for saying this, but any form of tendency toward higher order can be considered to be “un-natural” or at least, less-natural, in a universe that has an expressed predominant tendency to do just the opposite.

The saving grace being that an increase in order represents an increase in the potential for disorder, and this effect gets compounded by an increasing cosmological constant.

Anyway, I’m sorry for the intrusion if I’m off-topic, but I read the article and felt that it was important to make sure to draw distinction, or look-out.

Jack, I’d like to draw attention back to the point of my original post, which was to emphasise the distinction between the belief held by all ID advocates (that God was somehow involved in evolution) and the belief of most ID advocates in divine separate creation of “kinds”. Your article seems to obscure this point. It’s not clear whether your category 3 is supposed to include all those who believe that “occasionally God intelligently intervenes and ‘pushes’ genetic change over the boundaries that it can’t surpass on its own”, or only those who have the stronger belief in “a progression of special creations, with each species (and there certainly are a lot of them) being created ex nihilo.” (Note also that, creationists do not generally believe in separate creation of every species, only of “kinds” of species.)

The best response to people like Meyer and Sternberg, when they complain about being called creationists, is to point out that they really are creationists: they believe in divine separate creation. This point is simple to understand, and is true regardless of whether it’s correct to label ID generally as “creationism”. Reasonable people can agree that Meyer and Sternberg are creationists without necessarily accepting that ID should be labelled creationism. So it’s worth keeping the two assertions separate.

I’ve deliberately used the term “separate creation” rather than “special creation”, because I’m not sure that the latter term is clearly defined. I’d be happy to switch terms if anyone can show that “special creation” has a generally agreed definition.

It might be useful to compile a list of which leading ID advocates actually do believe in separate creation, i.e. deny common ancestry. It’s also worth noting that the Discovery Institute’s CRC has put out material attacking common ancestry, which supports the assertion that this is a creationist organisation.

One thing not to forget is that a common model for God’s interaction with the world is that God is constantly maintaining things through ensuring that what we discover as natural laws get followed, though occasionally allowing or pushing things to go differently. Natural laws, on this model, are general tendencies of God’s activity, not independent facts about the universe that God has to get around to act in a miraculous way. This is the metaphysical response to the false dilemma of deism + occasional miracles vs. an inability to countenance what might be called special miracles outside the laws of nature. I think this is behind what David Heddle was suggesting above, though his primary point was about the assumption in these discussions that special creation would be the only purpose God might have in creating, which is just stupid given what most religions believe about God.

Richard,

I agree that there is a critical distinction between those who deny common descent and those who propose some type of God-guided evolution through the processes of genetic change and biological continuity , and I believe this should be emphasized: we are in agreement about this.

I also think it is valuable to push IDists/anti-evolutionists to make their position explicit and clear on this. As you point out, in many places (including the Ohio model lesson plan,) there is an emphasis on the claim that macroevolution can’t happen through natural processes, but the consequent claim of special creation is left implicit and unacknowledged.

As to the taxonomic site of special creation (which I think is a generally accepted phrase for this in the creationist literature,) the common claim is that micro-evolution, which involves changes within the variational limits of a species, is OK, but macro-evolution, the evolution of species themselves, is not: hence, each species must be specially created.

However, I understand that they fall back on the much less well-defined idea of created kinds, especially when examples of speciation are pointed out. The problem here is that there is no clear statement of where the line is, or why: genus, family, phylum…?

So I think it’s clearer to just assume they draw the line at species unless they are willing to be more specific about what a “kind” is.

Hi Jack Krebs,

Good day to one of my favorite non-creationists.

You suggested:

1) Creationist = Biblical literalist, young-earth creationist, etc

I would define a creationist as someone who believes the Genesis account. The degree of literalism yields several kinds (pun intended):

1. Young Earth Creationist (ICR, AiG, Walter Brown)

2. Old Earth Creationist

3. Day Age Creationist

4. Progressive Creationist (Walter Bradely)

2,3,4 are about the same and sometimes are called collectively OEC (Old Earth Creationists). Prominent IDist OECs would be: 1. Walter Bradley 2. Hugh Ross 3. Gerald Schroder

Princeton mathematician Berlinski is Jewish, and I don’t know where he stands. Dawkins calls Berlinski a creationist, however. Spetner is also Jewish, but he calls himself a creationist.

Within YEC, there are several brands. I least like (gasp) ICR and most like Walter Brown’s YEC. I’m not dogmatic about YEC, but if true it would be the greatest scientific discovery.

There are IDists or important sympthizers who are not creationists:

1. Frank Tipler 2. Michael Denton 3. Michael Behe

almost forgotten would be sympathizers like

1. Marcel Shutzenberger 2. Eugene Wigner (Nobel Laureate) 3. Michael Polanyi 4. Townes (Nobel Laureate) is a Theistic Darwinist who also believes in intelligent design.

So I think

creationist = believer in genesis

in most literature that I’ve seen. But we have to be careful to not insist creationism is only the Young Earth variety.

But after all is said and done, it’s really a discussion about what are the prevailing conventions in literature.

ID is the big tent which includes the purely scientific side of creationism as well as non-creationist ID oriented theories.

The scientific model of YEC is basically a “ready-made” universe. It is defensible empirically for obvious reasons primarily because of arguments from entropy (thermal and otherwise). Scientifically falsifiable postulates are derivable from YEC ( genomic deteriation, contraction of biodiversity, smoothing of lateral heat gradients in the Earth’s crust, anything related to speed of light decay). Basically anything that can be formulated as some sort of increasing entropy argument.

There are other falsifiable postulates as well as good experiments that would be very informative. I even posted something at ISCID in Cornelius Hunter’s thread pertaining to nematode evolution. The amount of reasearch that can be done in support of the creationist model is staggaring, but there are many obstacles, not the least of which are politcal and economic.….

ID is an avenue by which creationism can be argued on purely empirical and theoretical grounds with no reference to the Bible. I argued the YEC case at ARN going from a purely theoretical and empirical approach. Sure the Bible is my personal belief, but as Michael Polanyi (mentor of 2 Nobel Laureates, Wigner and John Polanyi), the methodology is dispassionate, but the motivation is not. If science discovers the Earth is Young, it would be the greatest scientific discovery of all time. It is a legitmate scientific question.

I was a near agnostic, an old-earth theistic darwinist. The empirical evidence has given me a change of heart, particularly the possibility of speed of light decay and problems reconciling big bang cosmology with celestial dynamics in the solar system. The idea of the “ready-made” universe of the creationists is empirically defensible for obvious reasons. The age of the universe is the big issue.

3 professors from my alma mater, GMU, have publicly dissed the big bang. 2 publicly professed YEC PhD biolgistst graduated from there (Standish and Wilson), and this is where Morowitz and Trefil teach as well as 2 Nobel Laureates in the Econ faculty. GMU is a modest secular university, but by no means a Bible Thumping school. The issues are more scientific than what most are lead to believe. There are serious problems in the prevailing paradigms. In contrast there is no such crisis with the theory of electro-magnetism.

As far as what persuades me of YECs viability, from thermodynamics, I knew there were problems with Old-Earth models. I saw a fiasco in the geologicial belief system, and the whistle would eventually be blown:

www.mantleplumes.org

From a purely empirical and theoretical perspective I saw it coming. It had little to do with Biblical literalism, but principles of entropy. Here is a case where Old-Earth orthodoxy hindered scientific inquiry, imho, and people were willing to sacrifice sound scientific principles of thermodynamics and materials science to support a ridiculous paradigm.

Fiascos like this have made me entertain YEC as viable scientific theory, with falsifiable empirical tests which would distinguish it from competing theories.

I will say on a personal note, it is not hard for most people to believe in a deity. The impression of design is overwhelming. I know some at PandasThumb are theists, but the questions of biological origins are ultimately scientific and must be answered via the scientific method.

“Some of the greatest scientists who have ever lived ­ including Newton, who may have been the greatest of all ­believed in God. But it was hard to be an atheist before Darwin: the illusion of living design is so overwhelming. “ – Richard Dawkins

Hope this helps, Salvador

I think it is important to note that when people use the term “creationist” without any qualifier, they usually mean “special creationist.” The same way “pickle” defaults to mean “pickled cucumber.”

Mr. Cordova or Mr. Heddle,

Does the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics preclude the possibility of the god of Christians being a mere puppet controlled by a group of “uber-gods”?

Would any of the propositions that the ID apologists are trying to establish preclude the possibility of the Christian god being a mere puppet controlled by a group of “uber-gods”?

Thanks for any input. Obviously, there’s no point putting off these obvious questions until the imaginary day arrives in the imaginary future.

Richard Wein Wrote:

I’ve deliberately used the term “separate creation” rather than “special creation”, because I’m not sure that the latter term is clearly defined. I’d be happy to switch terms if anyone can show that “special creation” has a generally agreed definition.

“Special creation” is a weasel word, and IDers and creationists know it. “Separate creation” would just be another term for them to exploit. I prefer “independent (or separate) abiogenesis,” as it is specifically how an organism or group thereof would be created if not by descent with modification. And it doesn’t suggest a false dichotomy.

Richard Wein Wrote:

It might be useful to compile a list of which leading ID advocates actually do believe in separate creation, i.e. deny common ancestry. It’s also worth noting that the Discovery Institute’s CRC has put out material attacking common ancestry, which supports the assertion that this is a creationist organisation.

As I keep saying, we may never know what these individuals privately believe, and they have plenty of reason to promote something that they do not necessarily believe anyway. What they promote is what counts, and if it is what they accept, then Behe accepts common descent, Wells does not (although, AIUI, he equivocates slightly in “Icons of Evolution”) and Dembski is on the fence. Since Meyer needs to go back to the Cambrian to spin his incredulity argument, he may think that modern humans are related to other species even if he generally rejects common descent. I’d be very surprised if he admitted it, though.

IDers lately seem to be directing more of their incredulity arguments against common descent - even Dembski has jumped in - but they have not taken the first step to provide positive evidence for independent abiogenesis. Because they know that they have none. Even without evidence, though, they could have at least expanded on Schwabe’s “independent origins” or Senapathy’s “independent birth” arguments. But those would conflict with their pretense of a false dichotomy, so they are not part of their main bag of tricks.

OK, I guess I have to jump in here…

Salvador T. Cordova Wrote:

As far as what persuades me of YECs viability, from thermodynamics, I knew there were problems with Old-Earth models. I saw a fiasco in the geologicial belief system, and the whistle would eventually be blown:

www.mantleplumes.org

Apparently Mr. Cordova is no longer satisfied with his meager understanding of thermodynamics being demolished by more knowledgeable physicists or his abysmal grasp of evolution being used as a punching-bag by Messrs. Cartwright, Elsberry, Meyers. Now he deigns to step into physical geology and the age of the Earth. Apparently he desires to receive a further drubbing.

Salvador, what in God’s name, causes you to draw a YEC inference from a debate about the nature of flow in the mantle? AFAICT, there is nothing young Earth about the mantle plume website you refer to. And even if there was, how would that affect the hundreds of well-characterized crustal and meteoric samples dated by a wide variety of radiometric methods? Or the beyond debate realities of relative dating, whose origins predate Darwin birth? The very fact that you refer to a “geological belief system” truly puts you on the precipice of joining Bart Sibrel or Richard Hoagland!

Salvador T. Cordova Wrote:

The empirical evidence has given me a change of heart, particularly the possibility of speed of light decay…

Here, son, you have truly crossed over into madness. To accept the idea of orders of magnitude changes in the speed of light is tantamount to marching through the streets of Manhattan wearing a sign saying “ I have money! Please let me play 3-card monte!”

Rather than tediously repeat what is so well-discussed elsewhere (or cut and paste it), let me direct you to the Talk Origins archive and have you look up the excellent work there on geologic time.

For the record, there is nothing about an ancient Earth or biological evolution that implicitly or explicity is in opposition to the concept of a creator. For the life of me, I cannot grasp how a putatively intelligent person could have such a resistance to reality.

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In the interest of having us stay on topic, let me say that the topic is the meaning of creationist, not whether creationists are right - plenty of other threads cover that.

Thanks

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Salvador, please read my opening post carefully.

1) YEC creationists who “believe in Genesis” are only one kind of creationist. In general, a creationist is one who thinks that some special action, other than natural processes (with or without the presence of God), has been necessary for the creation of some aspects of life is a creationist. Just believing in a Creator in the broadest sense, such as the way theistic evolutionists do, does not count as a creationist as far as this conversation is concerned.

Also, the phrase “Darwinian evolution” is a misleading term. If you mean “atheistic evolution” (and therefore atheistic science”, then you should use a term that makes it clear that is what you mean. If “Darwinian evolution” just means the mainstream science viewpoint, then there are lots of Christians who accept Darwinian evolution and are also “believers in Genesis” – these are not mutually exclusive. The issue is really all the different meanings of “believing in Genesis,” and the Christian God in general; and this is a theological problem, not a scientific one.

Jack Krebs Wrote:

In the interest of having us stay on topic, let me say that the topic is the meaning of creationist, not whether creationists are right - plenty of other threads cover that.

Whatever we call “them,” be it creationists, anti-evolutionists, or whatever, the biggest distinction should made between those who simply misunderstand evolution, and those who deliberately misrepresent it. The former are usually willing to learn, and admit when they are wrong. The former may criticize anti-evolution models that differ from their own, while the latter increasingly adopt a “don’t ask don’t tell” policy about the mutually contradictory anti-evolution models. Whether an anti-evolutionist believes in an intelligent designer is moot if not downright irrelevant, because many “evolutionists” also believe in an intelligent designer. Unless of course if the question is who confines his designer to the gaps.

Jack Krebs Wrote:

If you mean “atheistic evolution” (and therefore atheistic science”, then you should use a term that makes it clear that is what you mean

Jack “atheistic evolution” is compatible with “theistic evolutionists”

atheist is separate from evolution in reality. The “theistic evolutionists” aren’t at odds with the “atheistic”. They might debate abiogenesis but evolution is pretty neatly worked out.

The confusion isn’t with evolutionist. Evolutionists believe in common descent the specific process of natural mutation might be up for debate.

Jack Krebs Wrote:

there are lots of Christians who accept Darwinian evolution and are also “believers in Genesis”

?err I won’t debate that but most logical thinkers can see that you can’t have “believers in Genesis” that believe in common descent. I think most people that are “believers in Genesis” are literal interpreters and that is mutually exclusive. You can’t believe god created all the animals, including humans, as they are 6000 some odd years ago AND believe that they almost all living organisms share a common ancestor about 4 billion years ago.

While you can label theistic evolutionists as IDers this is not what is meant by the ID camp. ID camp is anti-evolutionists and thus special creationist or specific creationist. Therefore while you can almost label me as a creationist, because I’m agnostic and don’t rule out that a god set it in motion, it is not really accurate when you think of the common sense of the term.

You know the real difference between “theistic evolutionists” and “Believers in Genesis”. “theistic evolutionists” believe god is powerful enough and smart enough to be able to set the universal ball in motion and let it go while “Believers in Genesis” believe god has had to make a bunch of mistakes and constantly intervene because god didn’t get it all right at the start.

I appreciate the discussion that’s taken place here. Since the weekend, I’ve been too busy to spend much time responding, but I would like to say a few things about what Waynefrancis has written.

Wayne wrote,

Jack, “atheistic evolution” is compatible with “theistic evolutionists”

This, I think, is true in one sense and not in another. Given that science looks at the material manifestations of the world – those parts of the world that are empirically observable, or leave behind empirical evidence, science is compatible with many metaphysical belief systems.

On the other hand, metaphysically, “atheistic evolutionists” (and I really should have called these “materialistic evolutionists:) and theistic evolutionists disagree fundamentally about what is going on behind the materials world.

Wayne shows a common misunderstanding of theistic evolutionism when he writes later “ “theistic evolutionists” believe god is powerful enough and smart enough to be able to set the universal ball in motion and let it go while.” That is deism, not theistic evolutionism. TE’s believe that God is always actively present within each moment, and through that activity he expresses his will and plan (need I say design) for the world. However, he does this neither through spectacular pre-planning (deism) nor through an endless sequence of little supernatural miracles – rather he does this through natural processes in ways that are beyond our observation and comprehension. That is my understanding of what TE’s believe.

Wayne also writes,

I think most people that are “believers in Genesis” are literal interpreters and that is mutually exclusive. You can’t believe god created all the animals, including humans, as they are 6000 some odd years ago AND believe that they almost all living organisms share a common ancestor about 4 billion years ago.

This of course depends on what being a “believer in Genesis” means. I agree literal believers in Genesis, with a 6000 year old earth, etc., are the most visible kind because they advertise their anti-evolutionism. However, for instance, I have a friend who is a Presbyterian minister, and he believes (and gives sermons on this) that the Genesis story can be seen as a metaphor for the evolutionary history of life.

So the question is not whether one “believes in genesis” or not, but rather what kind of beliefs one has about the contents of the Bible - and that, of course, is a sectarian question that is clearly not a part of science.

This is the first time I am posting a few words to PT, although I have been following many threads with interest. The reason I am doing so is the appearance in this thread of several posts by Salvador Cordova. While he is not as rude as Robert O’Brien (properly referred to as a clown by some contributor to PT) essentially he is not much different. I think you, PT denizens, display a lot of patience and tolerance discussing Cordova’s ruminations seriously. Some time ago he has the gall to falsely accuse Perakh in lying (on ARN site). In fact it was Cordova who misrepresented both Behe’s paper and Perakh’s reference to it. When Cordova’s misrepresentation was pointed to in some other posts, wherein direct quotations from Behe and Perakh were juxtaposed, clearly showing that Cordova’s asssertions were false, he did not apologize, as would be a proper behavior of a decent person. Whether Cordova simply is not capable of comprehending the plain text of Behe’s and Perakh’s publications, or he deliberately distorted what these authors wrote, in any case an apology was in order but did not follow. Where I came from, such a behavior was viewed as shameful, and the guy would not be allowed any more into a decent company.

Where I came from, such a behavior was viewed as shameful, and the guy would not be allowed any more into a decent company.

Salvador is afraid to answer any of the questions I’ve asked him about his evangelizing at colleges.

Meanwhile, his li’l buddy the professional evangelist David Heddle has been reduced to calling evolutionary biology “foolishness,” after having been called on his bogus fake physics and complete lack of understanding of biology too many times.

what about thw racism in darwins theory? His cousin (I’ve read) started eugenics, Hitler used evolution as a justification of the holocaust. darwin himself had some racist bias’s and he made his theory before the fossil record. it’s been used for too much seperation that is’nt scientifically acurate. how can humans depend on our microscopic view of reality alone anyway?

what about thw racism in darwins theory? His cousin (I’ve read) started eugenics, Hitler used evolution as a justification of the holocaust. darwin himself had some racist bias’s and he made his theory before the fossil record. it’s been used for too much seperation that is’nt scientifically acurate. how can humans depend on our microscopic view of reality alone anyway?

Sigh - where to begin.

Concerning Hitler

The first point is So What? A lot of things have been used as justification for atrocities. The Bible, the Quran etc. Do you claim that the theory of evolution leads to nazism? Then argue this point. By the way look at This page for a refutation of your claim.

About Darwin being a racist, first point, So What? This does not affect his theories, second point: When Darwin lived it was common to look at other “Races” as inferior to white Europeans. There no indication Darwin was particularly “racist” when compared to other from his culture group. Look at This Page for further discussion.

Now for your opening point the racism in Darwins theory - what is that? And why focus on Darwin, we’ve had 150+ years to improve on it since then?

Concerning the fossil record. Darwin did in fact look at fossils himself - so I fail to grasp your point - but for sure - we have found many more fossils in the intervening years since Darwin lived, but how is that pertinent?

/Søren

As moderator of this thread, I’d like the discussion to stay on the topic of what is creationism and to what extent is ID is creationism. Please discuss Hitler, racism, etc. on more appropriate threads (either here at PT, or elsewhere.)

Thanks

Right now, categorizing the various sects of creationists is an entertaining but otherwise idle taxonomic exercise. However, if we reach the point where ID is presented as an “alternative theory” in classrooms, it will reach critical mass. What student would NOT ask who the designer is, and where the designer came from. And there is no way to answer that question without causing schisms in the Big Tent. I also don’t see any way to dodge the question.

In my dreams, I envision parents, armed with vouchers, trying to decide whether to have their children attend the YEC public school, the OEC school, the day-age school, the panspermia school…

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This page contains a single entry by Jack Krebs published on September 6, 2004 10:42 AM.

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