Last Update: 08 May 00
Return to "Evolution vs. Creationism" essay
REPLY #62 TO
"EVOLUTION VS. CREATIONISM"
(R) In the literature that I have read, one can divvy up the evolutionist and creationist camps in many ways.
Evolutionist divide into neoDarwinist (a la Dawkins), punctuated equilibria (a la Gould) and other (a la Lovejoy and others) schools.
(MB) You're confusing one of the mechanics of evolutionary change with the whole of the science. You're also forgetting that no debate over particular mechanics includes any doubt whatsoever that evolution itself is very real.
(R) Naturalistic evolution opponents divide into young earth creationist, old earth creationist, design, and theistic evolution schools.
(MB) This is a much bigger problem which Creationists will have to resolve before they can hope to challenge science. Since these can't all be true, the outright rejection of any of them will put a serious crimp into a cornerstone of one or more forms of Christian doctrine. This doesn't even consider that Christianity is not the only religion which has creation myths. Therefore, it is entirely possible that *all* Christian arguments are wrong. In addition, some forms of the design and theistic evolution arguments do not reject evolution at all! They are more concerned with the ultimate origin of life (something which evolution does not address) and are happy to accept evolution as a tool used by the supposed Creator. Finally, there are many Christians who accept evolution as science presents it with the sole exception of reserving the special creation of Man.
(R) Do you differentiate at all, these different schools of thought among naturalistic evolutionary opponents, or are they all the same kind of creationist "garbage" to you, as you stated in reply 42?
(MB) In addition to differences cited above, any system which requires the existence of a particular deity must first prove that deity's existence before it can be taken seriously. If they can't do so, then they can all be reasonably classified as "garbage".
(R) I have to complement those of you on the pro-evolution side of the debate for your remarkable unity and faith.
(MB) Why shouldn't a view be unified when it is based upon such a vast amount of solid evidence? This also means that science is not "faith", since "faith" is belief *without* evidence. This is the domain of religion, not science.
(R) Despite your differences, (and they are real and they are important), your side shows a remarkable ability to come together to defend your point of view. This is a remarkable strength, and you are to be complemented on this.
(MB) What "real and important" differences are there within the science of evolution and why should they cause one to denigrate upholding the science? It's easy for science to present one coherent picture (as opposed to the abundance of fragmented and mutually-exclusive ideas of religion) since there is only one set of facts. Would science be better if there were thousands of different denominations and sects?
(R) In the polls, about 85-90% of the American public believes in young earth or old earth creationism, other forms of design, or theistic evolution. Yet, our camp is remarkably ineffective in getting our points across, compared to the 10-15% that support purely naturalistic evolution.
(MB) That 85-90% figure only reflects the Christian population of the United States -- each of which is naturally going to have an opinion concerning evolution which is in compliance with their religious views. Fortunately, the percentage which has active fundamentalist views is rather small and have almost as many disagreements within their own number as they do with science. Unfortunately, since they can appeal to the Christian majority by invoking the Bible, their views will continue to gain adherence whether or not they have any facts to support them. Certainly, you can't claim that "your camp" has been ineffective at getting its points across. If they had been having any trouble, the percentage of people who reject those points would be far higher than it is and we'd never hear of any issues like the recent Kansas Board of Education debacle.
(R) I know you will say that is because of the evidence, but you have to admit, you are remarkably lucky to have as opponents some people on our side. Young earth creationists call old earthers, designists, and theistic evolutionists unsaved liars (and worse). The latter call the former scientific simpletons and worse (sometimes in language worse than any naturalistic evolutionist ever uses). The theistic evolution group sometimes seems to take the worst of the insults, being held in contempt by some elements of all the other camps to the left and right of them.
(MB) I would have to agree with this! But, you must consider just why the people on your side are so rough on each other. The answer is simply that when there are no facts or evidence on which to base an argument, emotions and blind faith are going to take over. No arguments can be won using those methods and it's rather likely that the only accomplishment will be an increase in animosity. This has been a feature of religious differences for thousands of years and is likely never to change.
(R) Some evolution opponents are very scientifically oriented, and produce literature of a high order (in my opinion anyway).
(MB) Would you have any examples in support of this claim?
(R) Other's produce questionable tomes, rife with errors or false assumptions, often with more of a theological bent than scientific. The overall pattern is one of remarkable disunity, and ineffectiveness.
(MB) Needless to say, I'll agree with this assessment. This makes it the more surprising and disappointing that these same folks are normally the ones whose blitherings form the core of the Creationist cause. If you've read many of the Creationist arguments posted in this section, you'll find that such intellectual lowlights as Kent Hovind, Henry Morris, Ken Ham, and Carl Baugh still have the largest number of adherents -- both among the gullible public and among other Creationists.
(R) Some of the same problems with quality and false assumptions are also apparent on the naturalistic evolution side. But, your superior position in the academy, much greater discipline, and unity, counteract many of these issues, among your other strengths.
(MB) Again, could you provide some examples in support of these claims? Whose writings are as nonsensical as those of Henry Morris and whose arguments are as vapid as those of Kent Hovind?
(R) So I begin again in discussions with you with a complement. I am well aware that your side is composed of flesh and blood human beings not sadisitic unsaved infidels ready to fool America's children into believing your godless ideology.
(MB) Evolution is not "godless" nor is it based or dependant upon atheism. Evolution has absolutely nothing to say about whether or not any deity is involved in the process. While most atheists support evolution, most people who support evolution are not atheists. When Creationists claim otherwise, they only demonstrate their ignorance of evolution or their need to mask their case's own weakness.
(R) Most of creationism's problems are caused by we creationists. Their is a lot we can learn from you guys, even tho you are profoundly wrong on this issue, regarding organization, tactics, methods, and poltical skill.
(MB) You have this exactly backwards. Science wouldn't have to make such efforts to defend evolution to the laymen if it was not under the concerted and organized attacks of Creationists and if those Creationists had not succeeded in winning over such a significant percentage of the public. On the contrary, Creationists deserve a measure of thanks. Without their efforts, evolution would not have been subjected to the intense scrutiny it has undergone over the past few decades. That scrutiny has resulted in evolution theory becoming stronger than ever and has laid bare numerous problems with fundamentalist Christianity.
(R) Have a good holiday weekend. I'll be reading your Night Owl work looking for a point to comment. So long.
(MB) Thanks! That's why this site exists.
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