User:Filll/Creationism Discussion

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Moved from Creationism talk page[edit]

This came up a while ago, when some editors favoured the title evolutionary creationism for their own position rather than theistic evolution, as the two positions are almost the same with just a few exceptional cases. It may be a national thing, in the same way that "evolutionist" was commonplace twenty years ago and seems to still be fairly innocuous in the UK, but has become politically charged in the US. .. dave souza, talk 20:38, 15 August 2007 (UTC)

The problem with this entire field, is that certain terms have acquired certain meanings and connotations, depending on time and location. So there is a huge confusion in the US about what the term "Christian" actually refers to, some of this done on purpose. To some, Catholics are not Christians, and Mormons are not Christians, Methodists are not Christians, Quakers are not Christians, etc. The only people that can call themselves Christians (to some) are those who subscribe to biblical literalism and even deny things like the golden rule (i.e., "love your neighbor as yourself"). The more you talk to people, the more you discover that many groups have their own very narrow definitions and want to claim certain terms for themselves, or apply certain terms to other groups. A similar thing is going on with the term "creationist" in the US at the moment, which is more likely to mean someone who believes that the bible is literally true, that the earth/universe is 6000 years old, that the earth/universe was made in 6 literal 24 hour days, that evolution and/or science is equivalent to atheism, communism, fascism, Nazism, racism, devil worship etc. So some terms acquire negative or positive connotations which they did not have before, in a process called pejoration or a euphemism treadmill (or a dysphemism treadmill). Under these circumstances, some might be uncomfortable about being called a creationist, or an evolutionist or a Christian etc.--Filll 20:52, 15 August 2007 (UTC)

Eh, this is not a problem with "this entire field," but a problem in any language per se. Terms evolve over time and under stress into something completely different; "offend" has changed meaning between the KJV Bible and the 21st Century, as has the word "gay" more recently.
BTW: "[Creationists believe] that evolution and/or science is equivalent to atheism, communism, fascism, Nazism, racism, devil worship etc."? I know of no creationist group which claims this. [At most creationists claim that the acceptance of evolutionary theory (not science) leads logically to social degeneration.] References? -- WolfieInu 08:10, 16 August 2007 (UTC)
Languages evolve? Heresy! Everyone knows they've stayed the same since the tower of babel, or are there "created kinds" of languages too? ;) As for references, well hhere's one there are others, the wedge document is pretty telling, as is most of AiG's propaganda.ornis (t) 08:26, 16 August 2007 (UTC)
Yes, languages evolve. Evolution works if there is an input of information, which can only happen if (an) intelligent being(s) is/are involved (in this case, mankind). And according to AiG, there are "created kinds" of languages, basically every "supergroup" of languages representing an original Babel language. But ... I was purposely angling for that reaction, I guess :)
That quote you linked to is by evolutionist Dr William B. Provine, and I was aware of it. My point, however, was that no creationist group (that I know of at least) takes the position that evolution directly "creates" the social evils listed by Filll. AiG, for example, maintains that Christians can be evolutionists (take Doctor Livingstone for instance), but they would have to be inconsistent in applying exegesis, thereby creating an internal conflict within the Bible.
But ja, sorry for letting the conversation drift like this. It's gone almost completely off topic ... except if we're establishing what constitutes US "fundamentalist" creationism ;) WolfieInu 16:48, 16 August 2007 (UTC)
Doctor Livingstone I presume? Remarkably advanced for someone who was out of touch in Africa at the time the Origin was published, and died 14 years later after prolonged illness. Guid for the kirk. Anyway, there is of course an input of information all the time, as organisms interact with their environment including other organisms. And "fundamentalist" does of course mean the opposition to higher criticism. ... dave souza, talk 23:09, 16 August 2007 (UTC)

Well we clearly know what side of the fence you are on, given that you use the term "evolutionist" which is currently only characteristic of creationists and their ilk (speaking of language with negative connotations...). And this is not the place to debate evolution or creationism themselves, but of course many ordered structures are just created by the laws of nature, and we have literally millions of examples. You are free to call the laws of nature an input of information if you like. Even of action by an intelligent being. Others are free to characterize it in a different way, and they do. However, you are not free to impose by force your views on others. Are we understood? As for some text supporting my claims above (with some references), consider:

It is claimed that many perceived social ills like crime, teen pregnancies, homosexuality, abortion, immorality, wars, etc. are caused by a belief in evolution.[1] R. Albert Mohler, Jr., President of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, wrote August 8, 2005 in National Public Radio's forum, "Taking Issue", that "Debates over education, abortion, environmentalism, homosexuality and a host of other issues are really debates about the origin — and thus the meaning — of human life.... Evolutionary theory stands at the base of moral relativism and the rejection of traditional morality".[2][3] Creationist Ken Ham likens evolution to a horde of termites, weakening society's foundation. In Why Won't They Listen?, Ham suggests that "evolutionary termites" are responsible for pornography, homosexual behavior and lawlessness. He also writes, "I'm not saying that evolution is the cause of abortion or school violence. What I'm saying is that the more a culture abandons God's word as the absolute authority, and the more a culture accepts an evolutionary philosophy, then the way people think, and their attitudes, will also change."[4] Former Texas Republican Representative Tom DeLay claimed that the Columbine school shootings were caused by the teaching of evolution. DeLay is quoted as stating that "Our school systems teach the children that they are nothing but glorified apes who are evolutionized [sic] out of some primordial soup."[5] Henry M. Morris, engineering professor and founder of the Creation Research Society and the Institute of Creation Research, claims that evolution was part of a pagan religion that emerged after the Tower of Babel, was part of Plato's and Aristotle's philosophies, and was responsible for everything from war to pornography to the breakup of the nuclear family.[6]

Rev. D. James Kennedy of The Center for Reclaiming America for Christ claims that Darwin was responsible for Adolf Hitler's atrocities. In D. James Kennedy's documentary, and the accompanying pamphlet with the same title, Darwin’s Deadly Legacy, Kennedy states that "To put it simply, no Darwin, no Hitler." In his efforts to expose the "harmful effects that evolution is still having on our nation, our children, and our world." Kennedy also states that, "We have had 150 years of the theory of Darwinian evolution, and what has it brought us? Whether Darwin intended it or not, millions of deaths, the destruction of those deemed inferior, the devaluing of human life, increasing hopelessness."[7][8] Discovery Institute fellow Richard Weikart has made similar claims.[9] Kent Hovind of Creation Research Evangelism blames the Holocaust, World War I, the Vietnam War, World War II, Stalin's war crimes, communism, racism, socialism and Pol Pot's Cambodian killing fields on evolution, as well as the increase in crime, unwed mothers, and other social ills.[10] Kent Hovind's son Eric Hovind has now taken over the family business while his father is in prison, and claims that evolution is responsible for tattoos, body piercing, premarital sex, unwed births, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), divorce and child abuse.[11]

However, this is probalby a pointless exercise, since I am sure your mind is made up. And I am certain that if you were the least bit honest with yourself or objective, you would know what I said was correct.--Filll 17:02, 16 August 2007 (UTC)

As I said, "...creationists claim that the acceptance of evolutionary theory (not science) leads logically to social degeneration." In other words, evolution is not "equivalent to" these social evils, but leads directly to them if the ethical implications of evolutionary theory are carried to their logical conclusion. In your quote above, Ken Ham says: "I'm not saying that evolution is the cause of abortion or school violence. What I'm saying is that the more a culture abandons God's word as the absolute authority, and the more a culture accepts an evolutionary philosophy, then the way people think, and their attitudes, will also change." Perhaps I misunderstood your intention, and this is what you've been saying all along. If so I apologise.
Be that as it may, no creationist has problems with science, merely with this particular branch of it.
Two things confuse me: 1) you seem to be implying that I'm trying to hide my creationist views? I thought creationism was inherent in all my talk page contributions to date. 2) Also, in what way am I forcing my views on others? I'm just throwing some ideas around that will either change or enhance the current stance of the article. If I can make a case against you, then good! The article gets improved. If you can make a case against me, then good! The article gets improved. We're not debating the validity of creationism (except as a side issue - guilty, Your Honour :) but the nature of creationism, which is what the article is about. Either way a defendable argument on the talk page can lead to edits which will contribute to the overall NPOV. Isn't that what we're here for?
PS. Your response seems to carry with it a slightly offended air. If I've said something that you have interpreted as insulting, then please tell me and I'll try not to repeat it. -- WolfieInu 18:27, 16 August 2007 (UTC)

We are supposed to discuss the article itself, not the subject of the article. And if you want to avoid offense, I would be very cautious about use of the words "evolutionist" or "evolutionary". In some contexts and in some places, they can give offense, for a variety of reasons. I am completely confused about your arguments. Some say evolution leads to all these ills. Some say it is equivalent. It hardly matters, to be honest, in my opinion. You are free to split hairs, however you like. Creationists do not agree with each other on these matters, in my experience. All such claims basically amount to the same thing; that "evolution is a bad bad thing and an evil monster that we have to drive away with pitchforks and torches". And one way to do it is to identify it or associate it in one way or another with a huge range of other social and political ills. And what some creationists call "evolution" encompasses a huge amount of material in science like:

  • the entire basis of biology and immunology and paleontology
  • most of geology (and lots of the rest of the earth sciences)
  • most of nuclear physics
  • huge amounts of astronomy and astrophysics
  • all of cosmology
  • big pieces of chemistry and biochemistry
  • all of dendochronology
  • racemization
  • thermodynamics
  • geomagnetism
  • molecular biology
  • plate tectonics

and so on and so forth. So depending on the type of creationist a person is, they can end up rejecting a huge fraction of science in a frantic attempt to preserve biblical literalism, subscribed to by only a teeny tiny narrow minority of Christians and Jews, and questioned even by Thomas Aquinas and many others since then. And maybe you are not "forcing" your opinions on anyone. I do not know. All I know is that there is an immense movement in the United States to take tax money collected by force from people of all faiths and no faith, and then distribute it to creationists to teach narrow religious views of a tiny group of religious sects to children of all backgrounds and all faiths. And this is inappropriate, in my view and the view of the courts. And so therefore, when I state my views, I often will state my position on these issues. That is, you are free to believe what you want, and so am I. And I will not force you to believe what I believe. And you will not force me to believe what you believe. And in addition, in secular institutions, we will use and promote the use of our best secular knowledge. We will not promote religious agendas, since I do not live under the Taliban, and I do not think you do either. Clear?--Filll 19:18, 16 August 2007 (UTC)

<reply to dave souza> Hm, Doctor Livingstone. Now that you mention it, that story sounds suspicious. Maybe I'll have to recheck my sources.
<to Filll> This isn't "hairsplitting". Let me say it once and for all: creationists do not believe that "evolution = [list of social evils]", but that the application of the implications of evolution (e.g. "kill off the opposition for a better future") will lead to some sort of social evil. There is a distinction, and that was what we were talking about (or at least I was responding to your posts with that assumption).
And again, the elephant-hurling "creationists reject science" bit. Have you ever actually read creationists' positions in creationist journals (e.g. CMI's Journal of Creation)? No "pitchforks and torches", I can assure you. And might I add that I resent your deliberately confrontational tone. It's obvious that something in your life has severely prejudiced you against creationists, and I'm sorry about that, but I had nothing to do with it.
If I have to avoid the words "evolutionist" and "evolutionary," what do I replace them with? If you checked my user page you'd see that I'm not American. I'm not versed in the finer points of the American insult, so if these terms have acquired negative meanings in the US, I don't have those mysterious connotations in mind when I use them. Please provide me with replacements for the offending terms if this is important to you.
I don't "live under the Taliban" either, and I can't see what that has to do with anything. Now what were you saying about "identifying or associating [the opposition] in one way or another with ... social and political ills"?
As you so rightly point out, this no longer has anything to do with the article. If you like we can either stop now, or move the discussion elsewhere and try to resolve the issue. (No, I mean it - "resolve the issue", not "continue the argument".) -- WolfieInu 08:57, 17 August 2007 (UTC)

I have nothing against you Wolfie. However, you have to understand, or you should understand, that being a creationist in the US, where the lion's share of creationists are in the Western Industrialized English speaking world, and probably the majority of readers and contributors to English Wikipedia reside, has certain connotations and certain associations. And they are not all good. Many if not most are associated with very socially conservative policies, not that different than the Taliban in some ways. Many express hatred and bias (and much much worse) against Catholics, Jews, Muslims, mainline Protestants, atheists, agnostics, Mormons, Hindus, homosexuals, liberals, environmentalists, people in favor of gun control, people against the death penalty, assorted racial minorities, scientists etc. Many have advocated a theocracy as a form of government in the USA. Many want to remove separation of church and state. Many want to make it illegal not to belong to their own personal church. There are rallies here with tens of thousands of people or more expressing these desires. All creationists. Many creationists are AIDS denialists as well. Many are rabid conspiracy theorists, or UFO enthusiasts or holocaust deniers. Many are in the Klu Klux Klan or are white supremacists or black supremacists. So when you want to get in bed with the creationists in the US, realize who your bedfellows can be. So maybe none of this applies to you, but it does here in the US, and the US is a non-vanishingly small part of the English speaking western world. So it might be to your benefit to be aware of what it means here. And who your associates are in the US.

And even if you personally do not believe someone who believes in evolution is necessarily an atheist, many do and many have expressed this opinion. Loudly and often. You can claim it does not in your view. That is fine. Creationists disagree with each other all the time. This is nothing new.

And to me, it is hair splitting. Being called a force for social destruction and the cause of wars and death and communism and the Holocaust instead of saying my beliefs are equivalent to communism and Nazism and fascism etc is small comfort. You can claim that I should not be offended, but that is not up to you. It is up to me. And I find both claims silly, absurd, extremely irrational, unsupported, and patently offensive. And one step away from people with pitchforks and torches showing up on my doorstep. And I do not appreciate it, particularly coming from the people I mentioned a paragraph or so above.

Yes I have read CMIs publications. I use them as references all the time. I think they are by and large completely uncredible and as a scientist, I find them to be a joke on any scientific issue. The standards are so low as to be comical.

And yes, if you want to be a Young Earth Creationist and biblical literalist, you will have to discard an immense amount of science because it conflicts with your beliefs. If you do not understand that, then it does speak volumes.

Prejudicing me against creationists? How about screaming and cursing and threats and efforts to destroy my career? How about death threats? How about efforts to turn us into a backwards stone age society like Incoherence of the Philosophers did to the Muslims? If you want it, then get off the internet, get rid of your car, never see a doctor or dentist again, and get rid of every bit of electronics you own. Live in a cave or at least a hut without central heating or air conditioning. Grow your own food. Do not be a hypocrite. You cannot pick and choose. You want to live in a prescience society? Fair enough. Do it. But do not presume to assume that everyone else does as well. And that might not be going on in your country, but it is here. And I take umbrage at it. Whether the proponents of creationism understand it or not, or understand the consequences or not ( I am sure the Muslims did not know what would happen to them when they made their decision on this same matter 1000 years ago.) This is what happens when you do not understand what you are pushing for. There might be unintended consequences. And I will do my best to stop it. Do I not have the right or duty to try to stop us from making the same mistake as the Muslims 1000 years ago when they destroyed their advanced civilization?

I would avoid the words "evolutionist" or "Darwinist" or "evolutionism" or "Darwinism" or the phrase "evolutionary beliefs". They all draw analogies between atheism and communism and an acceptance of the modern neo-Darwinian synthesis. Evolution is not a belief. It is not a religion. It is a theory, well established and accepted by the vast majority of the relevant scientific community, and based on evidence. The evidence is observations and experimental results, which we also call evolution, adding to the potential confusion (since both the theory and the data are called evolution, just as in the case of gravity). You want to call an evolutionary biologist an evolutionist? That is not a good idea, at least in the US. An evolutionary biologist is an evolutionary biologist. Someone who supports the theory of evolution does just that; they support, or accept, or assert, or acknowledge the explanatory power of and evidentiary support for the theory of evolution. If you want to know more, read the scientific literature, not religious tracts.

The reason I mentioned the Taliban is that it was a socially restrictive society that made those who dissented from certain beliefs unwelcome, or worse. That is not the type of society I live in or hope to live in. Do you? Well some of my creationist neighbors here in the US do. And so...--Filll 16:17, 17 August 2007 (UTC)

Reply[edit]

First of all, thanks for moving the discussion. I'm glad we could agree on that at least.
Having read your reply, the first thing that came to my mind was - wow, we definitely are on different sides of the fence, and no mistake. If you weren't an American, I'd think you were Richard Dawkins, and that's not an insult.

No definitely not. I have a few problems with Dawkins.--Filll 20:05, 17 August 2007 (UTC)


It puzzles me that you should be offended by creationists who say that evolution was in part responsible for communism, Nazism, etc., and then to blame creationists for maintaining low academic standards, destroying civilisation, negating Science, screaming and cursing, making death threats, denying reality, belonging to KKK-style militant racist groups, rabid intolerance, etc. Just because you can name examples of creationists conforming to your portrait doesn't mean creationism leads logically to these social and political evils.

The difference is, I have never had someone who is an evolutionary biologist organize a rally with 10s of thousands of people calling to destroy my career or to force me at gunpoint to convert to their version of religious faith, etc. It is fine to draw an analogy between the two, but the two just are not analagous. There is no evidence on the side of the creationists; Gregory S. Paul's study shows that if anything, more belief in God is correlated with more social ills, not less. And lots of evidence on the other side.

Perhaps you do not understand the situation in the USA. I have NO problem with teaching creationism in philosophy class or religion class or public affairs class or social studies class or debate class or public speaking class or current events classes or history classes or even in science classes in religious schools or in science classes in private schools. What I object to is teaching creationism AS science IN science classes in PUBLICLY FUNDED secular nonreligious schools. Period. That is all. It can be taught in any other kind of school. It can be taught in any other kind of class. Just not that one kind of class in that one kind of school. Ok? But that is EXACTLY what the creationists want to do in the USA. And in fact, in the USA it is actually legal in many cases for teachers to decide to teach creationism as science in public schools (as long as they have the support of their supervisors and parents etc), but it is NOT legal to FORCE teachers to teach it against their will and against the will of the parents and administrators, with the threat of putting the teachers in jail if they do not comply. And THAT is what the creationists want to change. They want to have the ability to force teachers to teach creationism to children of parents who do not want it, with the ability to put teachers who will not comply in jail. And that is what we are fighting against here. Anyone is free to believe whatever they want, as far as I am concerned. But FORCING others is not good, and will lead to trouble. And that is exactly what creationists in the USA want to do.


You accuse me of reading only what you so quaintly refer to as "religious tracts". Rest assured, I am studying for a degree in a geographical field, of which geology forms a not inconsiderable part. I understand the time-frames and processes involved, and I can (and do) use evolutionary assumptions to explain landforms, fossils, mineral deposits, etc., even if I personally favour an alternate explanation. You will point out that I'm not a biologist, and you are correct. I confess to fallibility and limited capacity. I am a mere geographer. However, I don't shut myself up with creationist-friendly publications to the exclusion of "real science", and I don't appreciate the accusation - please refrain from repeating it.

Maybe you do not read only creationist and religious tracts. However, if you read science, you would know what words not to use, when talking about scientists who believe in evolution, right? (the over 99.9% of scientists in biology and paleontology, the relevant fields).

I will point out, again, that if you subscribe to plate tectonics, etc you are not much of a creationist, at least in the USA. They would eat you for breakfast. Sorry. And they would hate you with a passion and a fury you can barely imagine. I guess you do not know much about the USA or what creationism really is or really means.


Also, stop equating Christianity with Islam. Muslims believe that, since Allah created logic, he is superior to it; conversely, Christians believe that God is inherently a logical being, and does not act randomly, but maintains His creation by means of scientific laws. Only miracles can ever suspend scientific law, and miracles are so extremely unusual that they cannot be used to explain away scientific results (such as the law of gravity, as you mentioned). Christian civilisation was the only stronghold of organised science during the Medieval period, and modern science was based exclusively on the Christian assumption that miracles and magic are not applicable in everyday science (such as electronics). With this in mind, I don't exactly see what dentistry, central heating, automobiles, or the internet have to do with evolution. Maybe you won't mind clearing it up for me.


I never equated Christianity with Islam. But I will point out that distorting the scientific method to include the supernatural as an explanation is exactly what ruined Islamic science. So as I said, this has been done before. And this is what creationists, at least in the US, want to do again. And I will oppose it, thanks awfully. You are free to advocate the destruction of Western Science if you want. I think it is foolish, but go ahead. However, if you do, I think you should not be a hypocrite. And I would expect you to live your life accordingly, or else I do not think you are very serious or knowledgeable.

The fact that you say God does not act randomly tells me you do not know much about thermodynamics, quantum mechanics, fluid dynamics etc. The Universe is intrinsically random. We do not see any way around it. Maybe in a few centuries someone will. But right now, absolutely not. It is outrageous and naive to suggest otherwise.

If you discard huge pieces of thermodynamics and quantum mechanics and relativity and fluid dynamics and hydrodynamics and nuclear physics and optics and all kinds of other scientific fields in a frantic attempt to defend biblical literalism, then there will be immense effects on a wide range of fields. People think they can pick one teeny tiny part of science and remove it and nothing else will happen. But it is all connected. You cannot claim the earth is 6000 years old without there being wide ranging consequences through every field, since there are literally hundreds of fields which have produced dating methods and evidence which are at odds with this. If you want to insist on the literal truth of Noah's Ark or the Usher Chronology or baramins or deny stochasticity or whatever, then there will be immense far reaching consequences. As I said before, you are free to have those opinions yourself. But forcing them on others at the point of a gun will have very very very negative consequences. And that is the goal here in the USA of creationists (or at least some).


As for the Taliban society - well, we agree there. I don't want it either. Here's some interesting history for you: the first civilisation to abolish slavery was the Christian civilisation. The first ones to encourage religious tolerance were the Christians. The first ones to allow ideas that contradicted their own to flourish were the Christians. We quit while we were ahead, and this is the thanks we get - irrelevance and hatred. You can call that gratitude if you like, but I don't.

I believe some of those facts are debateable, but I will grant you that some of them are correct. However, I think that once creationists/fundamentalists etc leave things like the golden rule behind (do unto others as you would have them do unto you, love thy neighbor, etc), then they have headed down a very dark path. And that is quite common among those who call themselves "Christians" at least in the US. It sounds more like a club to spew hatred unimpeded against those they do not like for one reason or another. Not very Christian if you ask me.

On that note, I request that you end your attacks on the article discussion pages. They aren't productive. Let's get back to being Wikipedians. At least we can agree that's one way to improve the world. -- WolfieInu 18:44, 17 August 2007 (UTC)

I would agree with that. Except there are a very large group of people who want to turn Wikipedia into a tool for proselytizing. And a religious tract.--Filll 20:05, 17 August 2007 (UTC)


We could go on like this forever. In the interest of peace, however, I'll let you have the last say. Do we agree to disagree? Or is it Unitarian(?) vs. "Fundy"? Your call. -- WolfieInu 21:07, 17 August 2007 (UTC)

Ok fair enough. I do not expect to change your mind. Only to

  1. help you understand a bit more what creationism means in the USA, which is where it is most powerful
  2. help you to avoid saying things that create ill will
  3. I am not a Unitarian, but I tested as a Unitarian on that survey. What that means is, I think we should live by the Golden Rule. Live and let live. You believe what you want. And I believe what I want. Tolerance of all, but intolerance of intolerance. Fair enough?--Filll 21:13, 17 August 2007 (UTC)
I'm not too "tolerant" (in the modern sense of the word) myself, but I appreciate where this is going. OK, tolerance. -- WolfieInu 21:33, 17 August 2007 (UTC)
PS. I just thought of something. If Kent Hovind is the creationist you have in mind when you think of creationists ... then fair enough, I agree he's not a good role model ;)


Actually, Hovind is pretty mild compared to some, to be honest.--Filll 21:46, 17 August 2007 (UTC)

I'll take your word for it -- WolfieInu 23:19, 17 August 2007 (UTC)