New Article: Thinking Creationist

(James Stump) #1

Here’s a new article we posted by a law student who used to contribute to Answers in Genesis. The world looks different to him now. Does this way of describing things resonate with your own story?

Thinking Creationist: How Science Denial (and its Undoing) Transformed the Way I Saw the World

Trying to explain to a friend that evolution is science

Hi James.
Definitely does. Especially the early paragraph comparing it to thinking in your language of origin years after you’ve spoken a new one. I wasn’t an AiG contributor by any stretch, but personally made the same arguments and read all the same material for probably close to 25 years. And it is, as he said, exhausting to try to maintain. And while the scientific framework of YEC has quickly come apart, I still find myself thinking theologically in terms of a more literalist view. It’s like having an epiphany and then waiting for the rest of you to catch up as your synapses learn to reconnect again in new ways. It’s happening faster every day though.

(Randy) #3

I resonate with that. I still find myself talking in the same terms, then catching myself and trying to realign my thoughts with what I know now to be true.

"It’s nearly impossible to fully describe. My world — a world I was well-acquainted with thanks to creationism — grew hundreds of millions of times larger in an instant. Everything that had once fit neatly into a small, careful, controlled framework exploded into a space billions of times larger. Everything I had once seen as simple evidence of recent creation and global catastrophe was now imbued with a dizzyingly complex and intricate history…

“I no longer have to know all the answers; I don’t have to struggle to cram creation into a 6000-year-wide box. I’m not afraid of losing my whole worldview over a difficult question. I get to learn rather than having to endlessly debate. Every day is a brave new world.”

(Mervin Bitikofer) #4

This isn’t dissimilar to how I would also describe a maturation of how one approaches scriptures. If one approaches the Bible as a litany of facts to be correctly decoded, then the “faithful” reader is forever being a detective on the look-out for any apparent contradictions so that they can rehearse explanations for themselves and their skeptical audience how it really isn’t a contradiction at all but is resolved - preserving the in-errancy of all passages. This is typically an approach to scriptures associated with young-earthism, though not limited to that outlook, to be sure.

One doesn’t easily leave that behind either, as I still find myself in that same “detective” mindset - though less and less, as I have grown to view the Bible as having a different agenda that transcends our desires to conform it to our own encyclopedic agendas. It is rather freeing to try to read the Bible and just try to let it be the “agenda-setter” rather than trying to force it to conform to mine. [It may be a “Goethian” observation that I should be letting the Bible interrogate me, rather than setting myself up as the interrogator of the Bible - the latter being an ironic position for those who imagine that it is they who uphold the authority of scripture.]

Regarding the phrase “…brave new world”, I have never read Huxley’s book of that same title, but I don’t think that’s a phrase I would celebrate with much enthusiasm as it is probably mostly associated with a warfare mentality between the so-called “new science” and the so-labeled “old superstitious religious dogmas” of a dark past. At least that is my tentative impressions just from things I’ve heard about that title. That is probably not fair to Huxley - I really should read it some time. But I’m suspecting that well has been hopelessly poisoned in terms of trying to steer ourselves toward more accurate understandings of history.

split this topic #5

4 posts were split to a new topic: S/O: Can Plate Tectonics Explain the World We See Today?

S/O: Can Plate Tectonics Explain the World We See Today?

Great article. I can absolutely relate. The idea of learning to see the world as old has been a strange and new experience. “Billions of years” was something I’d heard an awful lot, but never even considered thinking that way until somewhat recently, having always viewed it as something to “defend” against.

I’ve also found that old ways of thinking die hard. I’ve mentioned before how large time periods were almost like swear words in my mind… things you hear a lot but just kind of skip over when you’re reading aloud to a child. “Thousands” or “a long time ago” is like the word “darn” that replaces something else. :wink:

Anyway, I had been somewhat following the progress of " We Believe in Dinosaurs," but hadn’t checked up on it in a while, so I’m glad to hear that’s finally out. I doubt it’ll be coming to my neck of the woods but hopefully it’ll be on a streaming service sometime because I’d love to watch it.

(Amanda F) #11

Nice article. I especially loved this part:

Everything I thought I knew about the world and the universe had turned out to be only the title and cover page of a story far deeper and grander than I ever knew. In an instant, I went from thinking I knew most of the history of creation to realizing breathlessly that the world contained far more knowledge than I could ever hope to learn in a dozen lifetimes.

It wasn’t in an instant for me by any means, but it certainly was a breathless realization of how many more infinite layers there were to the story… how I really didn’t know it all and how there was now so much more to learn that I ever could hope to.


It certainly describes some of my experience…


I must admit I’m a bit perplexed at how he can keep the duality afloat with such liberal leanings towards the creationist mindset, but perhaps he’s the wiser.

@Mervin_Bitikofer the use of the term in the final sentence does seem a bit ominous.

(Christy Hemphill) #14

It’s days like these I feel like you really do need us lit majors around.

Yes, A Brave New World is a dystopian Huxley novel, but that title was an allusion to a line in Shakespeare’s The Tempest, when Miranda, after living her whole life isolated on a deserted island with only her father and Caliban, sees Prince Ferdinand.

Oh, wonder!
How many goodly creatures are there here!
How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world,
That has such people in ’t!

'Tis new to thee.

I think the allusion in the article was to Shakespeare not Huxley and the point was about how wondrous the world looks to someone seeing things for the first time.

(Randy) #15

Thank you @christy! I had a dissonance in my mind as I had only read Huxley"s book. That helps a lot.


Haha, that’s perfect, we do need each other after all.
Need we dig further into the sacred text and the exegesis of Caliban, Ariel etc.? Miranda seems naively optimistic.

(Christy Hemphill) #17

It works in comedies. :slight_smile:


That’s correct! Got to do a wonderful production of that about ten years back. Beautiful play. But yes, Huxley would be probably much more familiar to most folks here.

(Mervin Bitikofer) #19

Well, you’re a full step ahead of me, Randy, as I hadn’t even read Huxley’s novel (but only just knew about it). Thanks for the continued education, @Christy.


If it makes you feel any better, I’m also a lit major but could not have told you that came from Shakespeare. It helps that I’ve had Huxley’s book sitting on my bedside bookshelf for probably over a year now and just haven’t yet felt in the right mindset to read that much dystopia. :wink:

(Mervin Bitikofer) #21

That’s still ahead of me too, as I don’t even have the book around (that I know of). There are a lot of old books at our house and I’m sometimes surprised by what I find.

You at least see the cover sitting there staring at you. Osmosis counts for something, right?

I do thank God for all you lit majors here and am convinced that I too gain something from the osmosis of your presence.

(David MacMillan) #22

Thanks for the kind words, all! It’s one of the more personal things I’ve written to date.

Really glad it resonated…I have often wondered if others have the same experience of “catching” yourself in one frame of mind.

It will be in the Washington, DC area on June 22-23 and then we hope in Seattle thereafter. Once there’s a distribution agreement it should be available streaming.

It’s like a finding a book that you really really love, and then learning that it is only a poor translation of the first chapter of an entire breathtaking series.

How do you mean by liberal leanings toward the creationist mindset?

Astute! Yes, I was thinking of The Tempest. But there’s a sense in which some of the themes of Huxley’s novel – of leaving a small, structured, artificial world for a bigger world that seems scary and uncertain and complex but is nonetheless infinitely more real – has some similarity.

(David MacMillan) #23

Thanks to the team for the opportunity!


It’s so refreshing when we can interact with the writer directly. I was reacting to this paragraph:

When I read about a new discovery from an ancient civilization, my first instinct is to wonder what part of the Old Testament it fits into. Medical research that depends on evolution seems suspicious to me. Exposed rock layers on a cliff face or a roadside cut still represent a global, cataclysmic flood. When I look up at the night sky, I find myself musing on how God could have managed to make starlight traverse billions of lightyears in mere centuries.

The instinct to check back to an old way of thinking is understandable but it felt like an overreach. A true stakeholder of science would not have that luxury.
Hmm, I just watched the trailer and I’m thoroughly confused…