posted on Jun, 5 2005 @ 03:10 AM
Evolution and creationism can certainly "go hand-in-hand", and in fact, i believe that most people understand the underlying issues at hand, but do
not flesh out the variations of the idealogies involved (which i find surprising and sad). However, just to facilitate more specific and thereby
productive discussion, i thought some clarification was needed.
I apologize for the long post, but the question is really the tip of an iceberg which is formed out of the biggest questions one can ask or answer.
Certainly, evolution vs creationism is a subset of science vs theistic providence. and so i discuss the general issue more than the specific. At
times, it may seam as though i am dismissing theism entirely, but i certainly do not intend this; indeed, see example A below, i think that many will
feel that it is a broad category of beliefs that they can agree with. Anyway, a few thoughts:
The creation vs evolution (+abiogenesis) discussion must necessarily come down to two contentions:
1. An omnipotent god was/is involved. -obviously, if one does believe such a thing as an omnipotent god exists (and usually, just one exists for those
who believe such things possible), then this god is an integral part of any aspect of the universe: biology and evolution included. Indeed, this god
could have simply thought all this up at absolutely any point. it could make such evidence as it wanted to, and no more or less, and start at the
beginning, or just this morning. It could also have started a set of regular processes which lead to what we see today...
2 Life exists/occurs without the meticulous movement of each subatomic particle by a god. -examining evidence, coming up with hypothesese,
evaluating them and theorizing from all this is the lot of scientists. preferred ancient writings do not provide evidence for such theories to
scientists interested in explaining how things happen, and what happend prior to the present which might explain why.
In between, there are many answers... but they are always combinations involving these two contentions (or the refutation of one or the other)... a
god could have chosen to create everything in a systematic way which involves evolution, natural selection and even various forms of abiogenesis... or
could have started everything in the middle, and created evidence for earlier periods. or, perhaps even created evidence that looks really
convincing, but is not at all true.
the belief in contention #1 allows for all sorts of situations, and may allows for any answer to be completely verified by simply stating "that's
what god did". But, that does not require all theists to abstain from the investigation of contention #2. So, let's consider three examples of
the above two contentions being applied to science in general (of course, evolution is subject to the arguments, and is not unique as a theory).
These three examples involve various combinations of belief / disagreement with the above contentions: Either one, the other or both contentions are
true... a bit of a simplification perhaps, but we don't have thousands of years and millions of pages here, so:
A. (#1 True, #2 True)
This omnipotent god could have given life its very first start, and only interacts with the world occassionally. Perhaps looking all the time, but
only moving around such protons and electrons, thus effecting cells, thus affecting animals, thus affecting humans, thus affecting cutlures and their
history as it sees fit. This is much simpler for this being than taking the time/effort to decide how each and every apple drops from a tree... and
thus apples fall from trees in regular patterns which can be studied. thus the study of physics is a worth while pursuit... thus particle physics is
as well... then we wonder where god is, since we don't need him to move every nuetrinos around. So then, we're back at the beginning of the
question, in a more general form: do we need god to explain science, or did he just start it all off?
B. (#1 True, #2 False)
This omnipotent god is even more creative than creationists think. He started the universe several hours ago, but since he is omnipotent, he put all
the subatomic particles in the universe into just such a state that the world exists, you exist, your brain exists, and it is filled with memories of
yesterday, the years before... etc... and of course, the world is stocked full of reasons to think that there was a "yesterday". he even wrote
several books for different cultures to understand him, if they so choose.
C. (#1 irrelevant/unprovable, #2 true)
The universe is a huge place, but with underlying regularities that can be understood. These regularities can be studied, and often described with
math and theories developed. Sometimes, these theories are too specific; only dealing with the large, easy to see aspects of existence (Newton). So,
more general theories are developed (Einstein). But perhaps these theories only explain the large scale, not the minute, so more concepts are needed
(Quantum Mechanics). Then, they need to be explained even more generally so that every observation is needed... etc... and contention 1 may never
The problems that people have mixing science and theism into thier own concept of the world are due to some core problems with contention 1 and 2 and
any combination thereof:
-Neither contention 1 nor contention 2 concern each other, and do not speak to the validity of one or the other. one cannot *prove* contention 1 with
reasoning derived by contention 2 or vice versa. try proving a god exists with mathematics. really, go for it. and try proving that all scientiffic
reasoning is false with contention 1; for one thing "proof" is an entirely contention 2 concept, but what's more, only an omnicapable being would
be responsible for your thoughts, since concept 2 is being refuted... SO... some combination of the two are sought by most people interested in
theism. And atheists may have some trouble with an original event from which everything stems... so the debate goes on and on!
let it go on and on here, then, too!
[edit on 5-6-2005 by TheeStateMachine]
[edit on 5-6-2005 by TheeStateMachine]