Is Creation Science Changing its Tune?


(sy_garte) #1

I think it might be. Recently, Creation scientists have made some concessions to logic and reality. One example is the laudatory acceptance of one kind of Darwinian natural selection by most Creation scientists. Micro evolution has been posited by many creation scientists to explain the otherwise thorny problem of the 500,000 species of beetles, not to mention the many species of monkeys, rodents, and so on. A simple calculation would show that 2 of every living species simply wouldn’t fit on any ark that could have been built by Noah. So now we have God’s creation of the various “kinds” of animals, on Day 5, and the post-Flood micro evolution of each kind into all the genera and species we see today. It appears (although I am not certain of this) that this theory makes use of standard Darwinian evolution, including mutation and natural selection to explain the immense variety of birds, insects, fish and mammals.

Assuming that all of this is true, and I have not misunderstood the idea, then we have experienced a great step forward from the time when Creation science simply dismissed all possible evolutionary change as anti Biblical. While they continue to maintain that a mouse cannot become a cat and so on, the willingness to agree that a cat and a cougar might have undergone common descent from some feline that made it onto the Ark is wonderful progress. I say that because such willingness implies the acceptance of the overarching principle of evolution, namely natural selection and common descent.
I think therefore that we should welcome those who say they believe in micro evolution but not in macro evolution with sincere delight, and encourage them to convey this message as broadly as possible to those who have not heard it. We should not emphasize too strongly that there is no difference between the micro and macro evolution, and that by accepting micro evolution, the creationist has stepped onto the slippery slope leading to full acceptance of evolution as God’s law of biology.

I have not been able to determine when this shift took place, and if it has indeed become general consensus among creationists. It might in fact be limited to some proponents of ID or OEC, and I would welcome any insight readers might have on these questions.


(Christy Hemphill) #2

I am fairly active in a forum for women who homeschool using a certain Christian curriculum provider. Many of these homeschoolers use young earth publishers such as Apologia or Answers in Genesis for their science curriculum.

It is my impression from numerous discussions of YEC/OEC/EC/TE approaches to science education that the YEC crowd does indeed accept micro-evolution. They are always careful to point out that it doesn’t require millions of years to get a great amount of diversity with selective breeding. (Dogs are often brought up as an example.) I think the main sticking point with macro-evolution for them is not the mechanism, but it is the time required for the mechanism to work. If you accept macro-evolution, you have to have an old earth, and that violates their view of an inerrant Bible, since they believe the Bible clearly teaches the earth is less than 10,000 years old.


#3

Christy, I think perhaps just as much the other way around, that YEC do not accept that man descended from animals, rather than being directly created from dust, as scripture says. While age of the earth is an issue, man’s creation is the biggie, as well as death and sin before the fall.

Micro evolution does not violate the general understanding of creating “according to their kinds”, while macro does.

This I find to be pejorative, as if they have some how ignored logic and reality in the past. While they, like evolutionists, have made adjustments and revisions to some of their thinking, they have always employed logic and reality. It would be as valid to say that evolutionists have ignored logic and reality… and it is meaningless, unless you actually provide an uncontested example. They would argue however, that mutations and natural selection is not evolution per se, even thought sometimes referred to as micro-evolution. They are necessary mechanisms for evolution, but just because we see the mechanisms, doesn’t mean evolution on the grand scale has actually happened. (Seeing a car, does not mean it travelled to Seattle.) Mutations have not been shown to add significant beneficial information, but rather have been deleterious. The natural proportion of beneficial mutations compared to deleterious ones would make, combined with natural selection, a process of onward and upward evolution unlikely and highly improbable/impossible through mere random mutations. Natural selection is not evolution, but rather a mere narrowing of genetic variability, and a reduction of genetic information. Evolution requires an increase in genetic information, to allow the development of more complex organisms from simpler ones.

For this reason, some YEC do not like the term micro-evolution, since it tends to be misleading, and allows exactly the kind of misperception and misrepresentation which you Sy are indulging in.


(sy_garte) #4

John

I am sorry that you took offence at my language. What I am trying to do is understand the YEC position on the science of micro evolution. Perhaps the words logic and reality were a poor choice, I could have substituted established biological science, which I will abbreviate as science.

According to science, your comment about mutations is simply false, as has been proven time and again in laboratories all over the world, including my own. This has been discussed by Dennis Venema in his series on evolution and I have expanded on it in my own blog to which I refer you for details. But the main point you raise, which I am interested in, is that you seem to argue that while some YECs do accept microevolution, they do not accept the mutation and natural selection (Darwinian) mechanism to explain it. If that is correct, how do they explain the mechanism of micro evolution?


#5

Dear @Sy_Garte, let me peek a little here with a question. Is it possible to “create” in your laboratory using mutations and natural selection, a flying dog?


(Patrick ) #6

Do you think that parents homeschooling their children in science using anti-science material are doing their children significant harm in that they will be ill prepared for a post Christian scientific world that they as adults will be living in? Could it be considered a form of child abuse?


(Christy Hemphill) #7

Oh, Patrick. I have really strong opinions about this topic and I generally try to avoid talking about things I have really strong opinions about on the Internet, because I usually find myself far from the high road. But here goes…

Most Christian homeschooling parents I know who believe in young earth creationism teach their children the basics of evolutionary science and use at least some secular science curriculum, at least at the upper levels, in order to prepare their kids for college. Many use dual enrollment (community college classes) for high school science. Their kids get fives on the AP Biology test, a quarter of which is based on understanding and applying the evolutionary model. Their kids go on to do fine in the sciences, if that is the path they choose.

The company I get my history and lit curricula from (associated with the forum I mentioned above) sells science curricula for the younger grades that mainly uses Usborne, Magic School Bus, and DK Science books (all secular publishers) with a couple young earth/Discovery Institute resources thrown in for “balance.” The teachers guides clearly point out that Christians believe different things and parents should discuss the range of Christian positions on the topic, as well as the secular viewpoint, so their children are aware.

I was personally homeschooled through fifth grade and taught young earth science. I got A’s in every high school and college science class I took and I don’t feel at all damaged. On the contrary, I think the homeschooling I got as a child (much more than my public school education) taught me to pursue my curiosity, read for pleasure, and enjoy learning new things, which were the very qualities that moved me away from young earth beliefs as an adult.

What I think can be harmful is not the science instruction per se, but spiritual instruction that ties what a child believes about science to their eternal destiny, spiritual well-being, or to their good-standing membership in the community of people who love them.

I think some homeschooling should be considered a form of child abuse, but the lack of exposure to mainstream science is a small issue compared to the other things that are promoted by certain homeschooling cults that masquerade as “conservative Evangelicals” and that have become fairly influential in the world of Christian homeschooling. In addition to young earth science, people in these groups advocate extreme forms of corporal punishment, do not provide adequate schooling to girls because of strict gender role ideology, do not provide adequate instruction to individual children because there are so many children in the household that older children are tasked with the instruction of siblings instead of parents (the groups advocate having as many children is as physically possible and forbid birth control), do not provide adequate opportunities for peer socializing or mentorship outside the family, do not provide age-appropriate sex education, and insist on psychologically twisted courtship and arranged marriage practices at a young age. These are much bigger issues in my mind.


(Christy Hemphill) #8

How to do science education is a pretty hotly debated topic in the homeschool world at the moment. Some of the less conservative curriculum providers at least recognize the diversity among their users and the growing demand for something other than propaganda-ish YEC materials.


(sy_garte) #10

Of course, I have made many flying dogs, also obedient cats, cute snakes and scary rabbits. Any other questions?


(sy_garte) #11

Patrick, You happen to be commenting actively on a web site whose mission and purpose for existence is to prevent the emergence of a post Christian scientific world, as well as a post science Christian world. The goal, (which I and most others who come here share) is to stimulate the emergence of a Christian, scientific world. One of our first tasks is to convince everybody that such a thing is possible. That is the source of our evangelism. Its not an easy task, but it is seems to be making progress.


(Steve Schaffner) #12

To what extent is this actually a recent change? My impression is that creationists have been assuming rapid evolution after the Flood at least for a couple of decades now, and probably longer. Since young-earth creationism is only fifty years old as a movement, I’m not sure this counts as a sea change.


(sy_garte) #13

Thanks Steve, I also had that impression, but do you know if they accept Darwinian mechanisms for the rapid post flood evolution?. For some reason, the YECs themselves dont like to address this question, (see a couple of comments above).


(Patrick ) #14

I thought I have been living in a post Christian scientific world. I guess that is not true given ISIS and the vast dichotomy of what is present day Christian beliefs. Is it fair to say that the US is predominately a secular scientific driven information based society? Regarding why people come here to this global virtual public square, I think it has more to do with the mission of harmonizing science with beliefs - predominately traditional Christian beliefs rather than evangelism. But I really don’t know the real intent of those who fund Biologos. Maybe it is evangelism. It really doesn’t matter to me. I do agree the Biologos is making progress in educating people about real science. I just watch a Biologos video on why evolution is true and it was outstanding.


(sy_garte) #15

I think we are heading in the direction of a more information based society, and there is a large secular portion of the culture, including our government, which is secular by law. I think we are still a long way from being really scientifically driven, although we might be (hopefully) moving more in that direction. One does wonder though, when listening to most of the current crop of Republican candidates for President, about how far we still need to go.

I agree with your comments about the mission of harmonizing science with beliefs, and this is generally mainstream Christianity. I meant evangelism in a different sense than you, I think. Evangelical has become a synonym for right wing fundamentalism, but that isnt accurate. I meant it in the original sense, and the way the National Association of Evangelicals defines it - I have heard a number of Biologos people refer to themselves as evangelicals, meaning people who are trying to spread the message of the good news of Jesus Christ. In this case, that good news not only includes the Gospels, but the reality of God’s creation, including the laws and methods of science as a God given gift to His people to understand that creation.


(Patrick ) #16

I think we are already in a scientifically driven society certainly an information based society. But that doesn’t mean that we are all scientists. It means that each person survival relies on science. How do you stay healthy, how do you live to your 90’s. Medical science. How do you function in the world today? It is mostly virtually. He is one for you, what percentage of people that you interacted with today, you never seen, or will ever meet?

As for evangelism, I thought it was my First Amendment right NOT to be subject to evangelism of any kind by the state.


(sy_garte) #17

Patrick

Your first paragraph makes a good point that I hadnt considered in your initial reply. Yes, of course that is true. And lets hope it remains true.

I dont understand your last line. Are you thinking that Biologos is a branch of the state? And you still arent getting what I mean by evangelize, so lets drop it. I could edit my comment to read “That is the source of our passion for conversation on this topic” Which is what I meant to say. (I wont actually do that edit, since it would be confusing for others who read our later comments).


(Patrick ) #18

You’re right I don’t know anything about evangelism. (and I really don’t want to know about it). But I too am passionate about keeping church and state separate. My favorite Kennedy quote is “I believe in an America where the separation between Church and State is absolute”. So I am always on the look out for church creeping into state run hospitals, state run education, state government, even state funded research centers.


#19

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(Steve Schaffner) #20

I don’t know that I’ve ever seen it addressed, but I do not follow YEC arguments systematically. I’ve never seen any real YEC-based explanation of any kind for the genetics we observe; it’s hard to imagine that there could be one.


#21

According to science, my comment about mutations is absolutely true, especially if you consider useless mutations to be potentially harmful. In addition, even beneficial mutations often have harmful side effects.

YECs accept mutations and natural selection. They argue that some would call this micro evolution, although they do not like the term micro-evolution as it implies a relationship to macro-evolution, which they do not accept. They say that although Darwin employs these things as mechanisms for macro-evolution, their mere existence (of mutations and natural selection) does not prove evolution. Evolution does not just require mutations and natural selection, but it requires specific types of mutations, in particular mutations that create new and additional information for new and additional organs, structures and processes, while at the same time not damaging all the other good and necessary processes that already exist. It also requires in many cases not just simply mutations, but complex mutations which create complex viable organs that did not exist before.

Micro-evolution, such as the narrowing of the genetic diversity of a particular species, into two or more separate lines, or the loss of particular aspects, ie. the loss of a tail or loss of hair, is not really evolution, but merely selection within the existing variety/diversity.