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Ten Dangers of Creationism - Rebuttal to AiG's "Ten Dangers of Theistic Evolution"

"Answers in Genesis" (AiG), the most popular Creationist website on the internet and pro-Creationist organization in the world, posted an article on the dangerous and threatening implications of having God involved with evolutionary theory or "progressive creationism": http://www.answersingenesis.org/creation/v17/i4/theistic_evolution.asp
Obviously, one of the website's main goals is to undermine the Theory of Evolution and close off all possible ways you could reconcile religious belief with currently accepted scientific theory. Or what they preferrably call "compromising."
 
The "dangers" of theistic evolution basically boil down to rejecting a literal interpretation based on modern standards of interpreting ancient texts that had their own original social context at the time they were written. With that said, we will be introducing a nice little list of our own on the "Ten Dangers of Creationism":
 
First, AiG begins to explain theistic evolution by their own neat little definition:

In the theistic evolutionary view, God is added:

Theistic evolution = matter + evolutionary factors (chance and necessity + mutation + selection + isolation + death) + very long time periods + God.

In this system God is not the omnipotent Lord of all things, whose Word has to be taken seriously by all men, but He is integrated into the evolutionary philosophy. This leads to 10 dangers for Christians.

In this paragraph, it is obvious that one of the argumental premises is that evolution somehow undermines the omnipotence of a higher power and its role in the universe. However, going by the definition of science and by adhering to its methods, science cannot involve the supernatural by definition. This is not to say that the natural world was not put into place by the supernatural, but instead that it is impossible to detect supernatural involvement by naturalistic means. Practices used in medicine and theories employed in physics are typically not anything of the sort that would bother a theist (or, in these cases, a Creationist) about whether or not God is involved. Our biological origins are not an exception because evolution seeks to provide a framework for the basic workings of our internal biological systems and the external factories that affect them and how nature can be better manipulated.
 

Danger #1 - Misrepresentation of contextual meaning
Before Creationists look into Genesis with critical academic discipline necessary for reading ancient texts, they assume that everything in Genesis is literally true from the start. This misrepresents and undermines the complexity and contextual meaning of the Jewish language and culture, and why they wrote in the manner that they did. How can Creationists logically view a serpent possessing the ability to vocalize linguistically? Before any literal meaning should be taken from any text, it is to be properly assessed and examined by the necessary disciplined criteria before arriving to conclusions already present in the statement.

Danger #2 - "God of the Gaps"

According to AiG, "...in theistic evolution the only workspace allotted to God is that part of nature which evolution cannot ‘explain’ with the means presently at its disposal." This makes absolutely no logical sense at all. How is it that gaps in evolutionary theory become gaps in God's supernatural capabilities? To which AiG goes on to state: "In this way He is reduced to being a ‘god of the gaps’ for those phenomena about which there are doubts. This leads to the view that ‘God is therefore not absolute, but He Himself has evolved—He is evolution’." There is a catchy saying that goes like this: "absence of evidence does not mean evidence of absence." Just because we do not have all areas covered on a particular topic does not mean that we won't discover something in the near or distant future. It also means that because we will never successfully know everything about the universe, that it is very possible a transcendent intelligence created it. The 'god of the gaps' in AiG's terminology is falsified.

 

Actually, it is Creationism that creates a 'god of the gaps' much more so than theistic evolution. Creationism remains the same with little modification or change in the face of new evidence that suggests anything contrary. Creationism is not a "theory" that can be modified to adapt to the evidence, it remains the same. This inevitably makes it clear that as the evidence gets piled up against Creationism, the interpretation remains the same. Thus, as a literal Genesis becomes smaller in plausibility, the view of a God creating the universe is seen as superstitious and primitive. This makes the case that belief in God is irrational and God's existence becomes less and less with new discoveries in science. Such a misrepresentation is to undermine the true message of religion and the supernatural.

Danger #3 - Narrowed scientific analysis

Creationism does not seem to offer anything new to the scientific community. Creationists like to say that "evolutionism undermines true science", but of course have nothing to offer to medical fields and things that would be of benefit to saving human lives from certain diseases and fatal infections. Evolution, on the other hand provides a foundation for the medical and biological field. It is because of observed evolutionary mechanisms based on Charles Darwin's theory that we have an understanding of variation and adaptation. Creationists try to wrap these around according to the reference in Genesis of "kinds bringing forth after their kinds" and create a framework with which to work off of, what they call "microevolution" or preferably, "micro-adaptations." Regardless of what you call it or how you try to make it fit in with the view of a young earth, it is still based on evolutionary theory. Creationism has made little changes to its approach in reconciling scientific evidence to make it fit within their interpretation. Thus, it is less successful in making discoveries that would benefit the human body by biological means.

Danger #4 - Denial of historical syncretism
 

Creationists dismiss stories that resemble the narrative of Adam and Eve in Genesis that originate from neighboring cultures (those neighboring the early Hebrews). Although this is not entirely significant, Creationists view this as imitations of the story "preserved" in the book of Genesis. Despite similarities in neighboring mythology, Creationists still view the book of Genesis as an historical account attesting to real historical events. There is no room for the possibility that the Hebrew were slightly influenced by neighboring cultures and consciously borrowed similar elements while subscribing to a different and more vitally important message.

Danger #5 - Misrepresentation of the Theory of Evolution
Creationists would want you to believe that evolution is all about successive increases in an organism's strength and survival potential. In the Creationist view, that's evolution spelled out in a nice little definition. However, evolution does not just result in the increase of genetic information nor do organisms only get stronger and stronger and stronger with time. This cannot be true if organisms are to adapt to various differentiating environments. If an organism is used to lighted environments and happens to adapt to a darker environment such as a cave, it will lose its eyesight while its other sensory skills (hearing, for example) might improve. Natural selection selects factors that will help the organism survive and adapt, but this does not at all mean that it will continue to get "stronger and better" or that a predictable pattern is involved. Evolution has several "equilibriums", or a balance and conservation of genetic material in organisms despite change.

Danger #6 - Mythologized genealogy?

Our dear old Creationist friends go on to tell us: "The Bible teaches that the first man’s fall into sin was a real event and that this was the direct cause of sin in the world." Or there could be another completely separate possibility; the story is meant to illustrate our fallible human nature. By Adam and Eve partaking in the forbidden fruit from the tree of life, they experienced "death" which was due to temptation. Yet, as demonstrated before, neither Adam nor Eve died physically; instead they no longer had a place in the Garden of Eden. The story's message is describing man in a very understandable way that can be interpreted allegorically: man experiences death by only going after his desires by temptation. Moving on to another AiG quote: "Most theistic evolutionists regard the creation account as being merely a mythical tale, albeit with some spiritual significance. However, the sinner Adam and the Saviour Jesus are linked together in the Bible—Romans 5:16-18. Thus any theological view which mythologizes Adam undermines the biblical basis of Jesus’ work of redemption." Another possibility in response to this is that, while the creation account is largely mythological, that it also serves an illustrative purpose in connecting the dots between "sinner" and "redeemer." This is of very little relevance being that Adam was the first human according to Genesis. A literal interpretation would then suggest that Adam would be our "original" ancestor. Taking away an historical Adam does nothing more to establish a deeper meaning that must be carefully analyzed when reading Genesis. Whether or not Adam existed would not make any bit of difference as an historical Jesus is concretely founded in history. The message of Genesis still rings true, the geneaological connection is still valid even if not literal.

Danger #7 - Biblical timeline (chronology)
AiG says: "Supporters of theistic evolution (and progressive creation) disregard the biblically given measures of time in favour of evolutionist time-scales involving billions of years both past and future (for which there are no convincing physical grounds)." Theistic evolution purports that the Earth is billions of years old and that evolution has occured and is occuring. However, just because it is a view that holds to a very distant past going back farther than 6,000 years in time, does not at all constitute that the Earth will be in contiuance for the same amount of time as it is aged. This is another logical fallacy provided by AiG and is based on pure bias speculation and undermining. Theistic evolution purports that there is billions of years concerned with the past, not with the future that is to come.

Danger #8 - Rejection of scientific theories
Aside from the Theory of Evolution, Creationists also reject scientific theories relating to astronomy and cosmology. Even theories such as the "Big Bang" are in conflict to the Creationist view according to most Creationists. Creationism relies fully on Biblical details, anything that is not specified by descriptive detail in doctrine is immediately dismissed as unscientific and is declared a heresy to the Creationist viewpoint. When relating to the origins of the universe, Creationism offers no scientific explanation for how the universe has gotten here, and no theories can be made that might perhaps fit in accordance with God creating the universe from a singularity. This specific danger reinforces dangers #2 and #3 on the list.

Danger #9 - Misrepresentation of reality
AiG wants you to believe: "The Bible carries the seal of truth, and all its pronouncements are authoritative—whether they deal with questions of faith and salvation, daily living, or matters of scientific importance." If this is true then the Bible should have been responsible for revealing the cures to disease and modern day epidemics. So far, only Creationists such as Kent Hovind have claimed that the Bible contains "the cure for cancer" and other related nonsense. The Bible as a science textbook should have put these into perspective long before research and experimental studies were conducted thousands of years after its composition if indeed revealed by God in all of the above listed genre. It contains none of these. Therefore, is it immediately invalidated?
 
The majority of biological scientists accept the Theory of Evolution. No one denies this, whether Creationist or evolutionist. If the Bible is lacking in many scientific details, and if most biologists are evolutionists, the only "misrepresentation of reality" is by then asserting that these scientists are "indoctrinated" amongst many other things. As Mark Isaac of TalkOrigins states: "Today, virtually all relevant scientists accept evolution. Such a turnabout could only be caused by overwhelming evidence. The alternative -- that almost all scientists today are thoroughly incompetent -- is preposterous."

Danger #10 - Missing the distinction between religion and science

Finally, Creationists believe that the Bible is a literal book that can be used not only as a moral and ethical guide but also as a book that can be used for scientific means. If you happen to go along with this type of thinking, it is no wonder that you see an apparent contradiction between Genesis and evolution. By such a view, the Bible is by large a science textbook and can be used as an authority alongside with other science textbooks. Yet if anything in those other textbooks go against "biblical science" it is therefore a deceptive lie and is not to be accepted as valid on any terms. This inspires atheist organizations to speak against religion and to view it as a handicap on social progress and public education.

 

The meaning of the Bible should be interpreted according to its time period, context, and most importantly of all, according to its religious tenents. This does not mean that the Bible is unimportant or that it is the garbage of a long forgotten yesterday in the distant past. Instead, the Bible should not be seen as a scientific authority but an authority for the meaning to life and man's purpose in the universe. Religion answers questions that include "Why" to our universe, such questions that science cannot answer. Just the same, science answers questions religion cannot, such as the "How" to our universe. Simply put, religion answers things on an ethical and spiritual level, and science tells us what we need to know on the material level. With this distinction in mind, we have a much better and improved chance of avoiding controversy in our politics and education.

 

Conclusion
 
Finally, we will summarize AiG's conclusion to their "dangers" list:The doctrines of creation and evolution are so strongly divergent that reconciliation is totally impossible. Theistic evolutionists attempt to integrate the two doctrines, however such syncretism reduces the message of the Bible to insignificance. The conclusion is inevitable: There is no support for theistic evolution in the Bible." In truth, theistic evolution does none of these things. It is divergent on the issues concerning Biblical literalism. Theistic evolution provides a deeper understanding and respect for science, as well as anthropological and historical factors that Creationists are intentionally trying to ignore. Theistic evolution does not at all reduce the message of the Bible to insignifigance but instead illuminates light on its deeper meaning and what it appropriately applies to spiritually-wise. The only conclusion to be made on the matter is that Creationism is a narrow-minded, literalist intrepretation of religious scripture, as well as the denial and rejection of various scientific theories and evidence that says anything contrary according to literast interpretation.
 
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