Archive for Christianity

What is a progressive creationist?

Posted in Evolution with tags , , , , , , , on October 19, 2008 by airtightnoodle

Recently on Eric Kemp’s blog, Eric referred to me as a “progressive creationist”.  After telling him I am, in fact, not a progressive creationist (nor have I ever classified myself as one), he insisted on putting me in that category anyway.

So, just what is a progressive creationist?  Let’s set the record straight.

From Wikipedia:

Progressive creationism is the religious belief that God created new forms of life gradually, over a period of hundreds of millions of years. This name is somewhat of a misnomer because all forms of creationism believe that the Earth was created progressively, as opposed to instantly. As a form of Old Earth creationism, it accepts mainstream geological and cosmological estimates for the age of the Earth, but posits that the new “kinds” of plants and animals that have appeared successively over the planet’s history represent instances of God directly intervening to create those new types by means outside the realm of science. Progressive creationists generally reject macroevolution as biologically untenable and not supported by the fossil record, and they generally reject the concept of universal descent from a last universal ancestor.

From the Institute for Creation Research:

“Progressive creationists,” such as Drs. Hugh Ross and Robert Newman, profess faith in the inerrancy and infallibility of the Bible, and reject more radical views such as theistic evolutionism (e.g., Dr. Howard Van Till), but nevertheless believe also in the timetable of Big Bang cosmology. They believe that millions of years separated the (miraculous) appearance of the various kinds of living things.

Answers in Genesis summarized one of the tenets of progressive creationism as follows:

Over millions of years, God created new species as others kept going extinct.

From EvoWiki:

Progressive creationism is a form of Old Earth Creationism. It accepts the geological timescale and the fossil record as such, but rejects evolution as the explanation for the fossil record. The fossil record is interpreted to mean that creatures were created according to the order of the record, successively.  

From Conservapedia:

Progressive creationism or the day-age interpretation is an interpretation of the biblical creation account which, like the Gap theory, attempts to harmonise the Bible with uniformitarian ideas about the age of the earth, while at the same time rejecting evolution.  

As anyone who reads my blog will know, of course there will be some similarities between what I believe and the beliefs of progressive creationists.  (Also, I’m sure there are some differences amongst the progressive creationists about what they believe.)  For example, I agree that the earth is much older than 6000-10000 years old.  This is consistent with any “flavor” of Old Earth Creationism. 

Yet I can’t help but find it funny that someone would group me, who runs a blog defending evolution, as a progressive creationist. 

More on recent conversations with Kemp to come.

*Update 10/20

Apparently some people are too impatient to read a post in its entirety.  After reading this post of mine, Eric still insists on calling me a progressive creationist.  (This comes after some bizarre claim that I have deleted some unknown comment of his…if indeed such a comment ever existed after the recent comment he made to a poster named Pieter, I assume it got sent to spam for some reason, and he is welcome to resend it.)  In any case, in Eric’s latest post he states:

Is this more in line with theistic evolution, which states that God STARTED the evolutionary process, or with progressive creationism which states that God GUIDED the evolutionary process? 

Let’s quickly glance back up to the definitions above, shall we?  Do any of them say that progressive creationists believe God “guided” the evolutionary process?  No.  Instead, they all refer to the fact that the majority of progressive creationists REJECT evolution (at least macroevolution if not evolution in its entirety), that God created different “kinds” through miraculous (not natural) events, and so on.

*Update 10/21/08

Eric retracted his statement about me not publishing his comment to Pieter.

The “n” word

Posted in Evolution with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 13, 2008 by airtightnoodle

The word “naturalism”…something I’ve been intending to post about for a while now.

Anyone familiar with the creationism/ID/evolution debate has probably seen religious types refer to scientific naturalism as if “naturalism” is a dirty word. 

The organizations that speak officially for science continue to deny that there is a conflict between Darwinism and “religion.” This denial is another example of the skilful manipulation of definitions, because there are evolution-based religions that embrace naturalism with enthusiasm. –Phillip Johnson

We live in an era when public high schools and colleges have all but banned God from science classes. In these classrooms, students are taught that the whole universe, including plants and animals—and humans—arose by natural processes. Naturalism (in essence, atheism) has become the religion of the day and has become the foundation of the education system (and Western culture as a whole).  –Ken Ham

Here we see two of the most outspoken Christians against evolution equating naturalism with atheism and saying it plays a major role in “evolution-based religions” (which include what, by the way?). 

Perhaps these two men need to get together to discuss the matter, because they just contradicted each other.  But I digress…

Yes, evolution is naturalistic.  But let us not forget that ALL of science is naturalistic, and necessarily so.  The goal of science is to explain the natural world.  As Henry Neufeld states on his blog, “[Science] is ill-equipped to explain the supernatural, because the supernatural does not function as the natural world does. That’s why we call it supernatural.”  There is nothing inherently wrong, anti-religious, anti-God, etc, about this.  Perhaps Talk Origins explains it best when saying:

The naturalism that science adopts is methodological naturalism. It does not assume that nature is all there is; it merely notes that nature is the only objective standard we have. Supernaturalism is not ruled out a priori; it is left out because it has never been reliably observed. There are many scientists who use naturalism but who believe in more than nature.

Ironically, the same people who often sneer at “naturalism” and the evils of science then insist on using it to support their beliefs in the supernatural.  A quick glance at Answers in Genesis and the Institute for Creation Research show this to be true.  God cannot, and should not, be placed in a box that is regulated by natural laws.  The very idea is contradictory, and insulting, to the idea of God Himself. 

Naturalism may make Christians uncomfortable.  It seems cold, unfeeling, and lacking compassion.  Yet this is irrelevant.  As Neufeld alludes to (can you tell I enjoyed his post?  I thoroughy recommend reading it), we may not like it when a cold, unfeeling hurricane leaves us without power for 13 days (thank you, Hurricane Ike), or when an earthquake causes our home to crumble to the ground.  Our feelings, however, are not going to alter the reality of the situation. 

The Firmament

Posted in Genesis with tags , , , , , on October 5, 2008 by airtightnoodle

I’ve been having a discussion over at Internet Pastor with the blog owner about the mention of the “firmament” in the Old Testament.

This is something I’ve planned on discussing on my own blog, but it looks like it will have to wait this week.

In any case, it’s turned into a rather interesting and somewhat humorous conversation, as I feel the good pastor keeps dodging my questions.

*Update 10-6-8

Internetpastor claims he can no longer have this discussion with me after learning of my gender. 

Noodle,
Having only recently learned the truth of your gender I am obligated to inform you that due to the enormous respect I have for my marriage I have a personal conviction to not engage in intimate conversations (debates) with persons of the female gender. You are involved in other similar debates and I hope you find them stimulating.
You are welcome to comment on any of my articles as you wish.
Be well, sister.

Now, my gut tells me this is a cop-out.  But, I’ll give this man the benefit-of-the-doubt and drop the debate at his site unless he wants to continue pursuing it.  I posted the following as a response:

Well, that’s certainly a new cop-out for me.

Hope you’re truly being honest and not running away from something you’re tired of debating/don’t know how to debate/are worried you might be wrong about.

God bless.

I still plan on writing more about the firmament in the near future.

*Another update, 10/13/08

This guy is really a hoot!  After telling me he can no longer converse with me based on my gender, he then refers to me in his most recent post as a “christian?”. 

Likewise, if you believe as this {christian?}, you really have no clue what to believe, so you just go along with the current intellectual dogma, thereby actually losing your mind completely.

So, if you come across my mind, please return it.  I’ve lost it completely (not partially, mind you).

And, in another post, I left a comment pointing out how Internet Pastor had contradicted himself (again).  He then replies to the post but at the end leaves the following disclaimer:

This comment is to the panel and to no one in particular.

Like I said, he’s a hoot!  Who does this guy think he’s fooling?

What did Jesus say about creation?

Posted in Evolution, Genesis with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 4, 2008 by airtightnoodle

Updated 10-5-08

Many creationists make the argument that Jesus believed in a literal creation story as told in Genesis. Naturally, if Jesus believed it, why shouldn’t we?

For example, in Mark 10:6 Jesus states:

“But from the beginning of creation, God MADE THEM MALE AND FEMALE.”

Therefore, creationists say, there could not have been billions or millions of years of life before humans burst onto the scene. However, this statement ignores the fact that no matter how one reads the text, marriage (which is what this passage is really about) did NOT begin at the beginning of creation. Even if you take the verse out of context, not realizing the passage is talking about marriage, you would have to conclude that Jesus got it wrong.  Mankind was not even created at the beginning but on the sixth day (see Genesis 1). Humanity was created later as the pinnacle of the creation.  By reading the creation account literally, one comes across a bigger problem–you must either admit that Jesus lied or is very forgetful, according to Mark 10:6.

Furthermore, Mark 10:6 is rarely quoted in context when being used to debate creation. Mark 10:1-10 states the following:

Jesus then left that place and went into the region of Judea and across the Jordan. Again crowds of people came to him, and as was his custom, he taught them.

Some Pharisees came and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?”

“What did Moses command you?” he replied.

They said, “Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce and send her away.”

“It was because your hearts were hard that Moses wrote you this law,” Jesus replied. “But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.’ ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.”

When they were in the house again, the disciples asked Jesus about this. He answered, “Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her. And if she divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits adultery.”

Jesus is simply explaining the institution of marriage as was commanded to the first two creatures it applied to. The passage has no bearing on the age of creation.

In John 5:45-47, Jesus gives weight to the word of Moses:

“But do not think I will accuse you before the Father. Your accuser is Moses, on whom your hopes are set. If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me. But since you do not believe what he wrote, how are you going to believe what I say?”

One of the passages in the words of Moses is Exodus 20:11:

For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

Creationists often cite this verse as evidence that clearly Jesus and Moses believed in a literal interpretation of the creation account. This passage instructs the people to keep the Sabbath day holy and not to work on that day. This passage compares the six days of our labor to the six days God used to create. According to creationists, this means that both represent literal 24 hour days.

However, God declared other Sabbaths. A Sabbath for the land consists of six years of cultivation followed by a seventh year of rest (Leviticus 25:2-4). This establishes the principle of six periods of work followed by one period of rest. And in this case, the “days” are not six 24 hour periods.  This 6:1 ratio is used in many instances to express important principles, including 6:1 year cycles in Exodus 23:10-11 and Leviticus 25:1-7.

As I have mentioned previously on this blog, it is important when reading the bible to keep in mind the history and cultural influences of the times.  The ancient Israelites were in need of establishing an identity for themselves.  These people were facing ancient Near East nations that were mostly hostile and polytheistic.  The Sabbath principle allowed them to establish their identitiy and develop an efficient work ethic-first in a nomadic situation and then in a land they were charged to establish as their own. 

Ironically, most Christians recognize the important principle in Exodus without taking it absolutely literally. Most do not rest or devote the actual Sabbath day (Saturday) to worship. If this passage is meant to be taken literally, we should all be worshipping on Saturday. Yet most Christians truly see the significance of the principle stated above, six periods of work and one period of rest, without following the literal interpretation.

In my opinion, I do not feel that one can conclusively say that Jesus was a “creationist” or believed in a literal interpretation of the Genesis creation account. Certainly he affirmed the supremacy of God the Father and acknowledged the Father as creator, but this says nothing about the manner in which God created the heavens and the earth nor how long it took Him to do so.

Later I plan on commenting on what Paul had to say about creation. Stay tuned!

In the meantime, you may find the following posts interesting:

Death Before the Fall?

Should the creation account be read literally?

You may also be interested in the following blog, Servant’s Thoughts.

Evolutionist Open Invite

Posted in Evolution with tags , , , , , , , , on September 12, 2008 by airtightnoodle

Over at Woad Warrior, Bazooka Knight has posted an open invite to evolutionists to share why they “believe” in evolution.  This guy seems truly interested, so I’ve posted my own thoughts there, and would encourage any others to do the same.  It should make for some interesting conversation, hopefully.

Happy reading/posting!

Take down that evolution poster!

Posted in Education, Evolution with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 7, 2008 by airtightnoodle

I have an evolution poster in my classroom.  I teach both biology and AP Environmental Science, and it is part of the curriculum for both classes.  Recently on a science teacher message board, I inquired about activities for teaching evolution, after noticing a few students in class commenting on the poster. 

To my surprise and dismay, I had one teacher reply along the lines of the following:

I do not teach evolution in class as there are too many pit-falls.  I talk about DNA/RNA/proteins and mutations, and that’s where we stop.  The students are sometimes disappointed because they wanted to discuss or even argue about evolution.  If I were you, I’d take that poster down.

There are so many things I believe are wrong with this.  Where to begin…

First of all, I don’t know where this person teaches, or exactly which courses this person teaches, but teaching evolution is indeed a standard that must be taught in many classes, and as far as I know, in every state.  Chances are good that this person is completely ignoring something they are required to teach.

Secondly, I find it sad that science teachers are scared to deal with the issue.  Whether one is scared of the students, the parents, other teachers, or whatever, evolution is a huge part of biology and science in general, and should be taught.  We’re doing a disservice in preparing our students for the future by skipping such a central, unifying concept in science. 

Third, even if this teacher happens to be one that does not agree with evolutionary theory, I still contend what I stated in point 2 above–by not teaching the theory, you’re doing an educational disservice to your students.  After I teach evolutionary theory, if a student still disagrees with it, then at least I’ve taught them what the theory REALLY teaches, and perhaps they’ll be better equipped to argue with it, if they so choose.

Arg.  I’ll end this post feeling frustrated, but at least a little less so now that I’ve vented about it.

*Update: AAAAAANNNNDDDD the frustration comes roaring back.  I actually just got a message from another member explaining to me the nature of the controversy.  All I can do is stare with my jaw open at the screen.  Seriously, are there so many people out there that do not understand why some students don’t “believe” in evolution that this person feels the need to explain the issue???  Well, at least they followed it up with some actual suggestions, rather than just saying, “Don’t teach it”.

Even creationists realize their arguments are stupid, sometimes

Posted in Evolution with tags , , , , , , , , on September 1, 2008 by airtightnoodle

This page has probably been around for some time, but I just recently found it myself. 

Answers in Genesis has a page devoted to “Arguments we think creationists should NOT use“.  Yes, you read that correctly!

The site then lists several arguments creationists should not use and explains why.  However, some of their explanations are, of course, in error.

For instance:

“There are no beneficial mutations.”

This is not true, since some changes do confer an advantage in some situations. Rather, we should say, “We have yet to find a mutation that increases genetic information, even in those rare instances where the mutation confers an advantage.”

Yet increases in information, no matter how you define information, have in fact been observed

  • increased genetic variety in a population (Lenski 1995; Lenski et al. 1991)
  • increased genetic material (Alves et al. 2001; Brown et al. 1998; Hughes and Friedman 2003; Lynch and Conery 2000; Ohta 2003)
  • novel genetic material (Knox et al. 1996; Park et al. 1996)
  • novel genetically-regulated abilities (Prijambada et al. 1995)

Another example from AiG:

“No new species have been produced.”

This is not true—new species have been observed to form. In fact, rapid speciation is an important part of the creation model. But this speciation is within the “kind,” and involves no new genetic information.

Wow!  First we have the creationists admitting that new species have in fact been observed to form!  I’m amazed at this admission.  However, they go on to qualify that it is within the “kind”.  The problem with the concept of “kinds” is that one can continually move the boundary between “kinds”.  And, of course, the genetic information bit was already covered above.

Anyhoo, it’s an interesting read.

Lock all the evolutionists up!

Posted in Evolution with tags , , , , , , , , on August 24, 2008 by airtightnoodle

When one doesn’t visit the blogging world in several days, then one is often surprised to see what has happened during that time.

Apparently I missed quite a bit of good drama.

Via Playing Chess with Pigeons and Pharyngula I came across an article written by a creationist named Tom Willis.  Now, I’m not one to usually throw adjectives like “crazy”, “kook”, and “nutjob” around, but others have already done so in reference to Willis, and I’d be hardpressed to reject those descriptions after reading Willis’ latest article.

To sum up, Willis believe that evolutionists (all of them, apparently–it doesn’t matter what religious affiliation they may have) are ignorant, insane (even criminally so), socialist, etc.  Furthermore, evolutionists are doomed to be put to death by followers of the Antichrist.  In the meantime, however, Willis finds it entertaining to dream about what should be done with evolutionists before their unavoidable demise. 

Willis’ ideas include:

Putting them in labor camps.
Forcing them to wear placards around their necks.
Force them to reject evolutionary theory.

It’s quite entertaining.  In all honesty, it would make a wonderful satirical piece (think: “The Onion”), but since it doesn’t appear to be satirical, it’s just frightening.

Steven Curtis Chapman and family on CNN

Posted in Family with tags , , , , , on August 9, 2008 by airtightnoodle

Steven Curtis Chapman and members of his family talked with Larry King last night about the tragic death of their daughter Maria, who was accidentally killed in an auto accident by her older brother.

The first part of the interview can be viewed below.  There are six segments total.  I’ve provided links to the other segments below the video.

Part 2 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n9nt_FPtK3I

Part 3 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FDQdvYyBu4Q&feature=related

Part 4 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m5qf5gwTO8A&

Part 5 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mY8alyk69vg&

Part 6 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tzv8xf1Omd8&

Wed., 7/16: Austin program speaking about science education and religion

Posted in Education, Evolution with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 15, 2008 by airtightnoodle

From Tony’s Curricublog I’ve learned there is to be a program this coming Wednesday, 7/16, in Austin, Texas, speaking about the dangers of creationism to science education. 

I have no personal knowledge of the speakers or those hosting the event, but I figured those in the Austin area may be interested nonetheless.  Visit Tony’s Curricublog for more information.