Archive for institute for creation research

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.