Old-Earth Creationism vs. Intelligent Design: What is the Difference?

We have pointed folks to a lot of resources regarding the creation/age-of-the-earth/evolution debate here at Veracity (just go to the main blog page, scroll down to where is says “search” and type in something like “creationism” and click GO, or go to our 2013 Symposium page for starters).  But in my discussions, some get confused over a few of the terms used by different Christians in the debate.

One nagging question concerns what is the difference between “Old-Earth creationism” and “Intelligent Design.” The difference between “Young Earth creationism” and the “Old-Earth” view should be pretty straight forward:  the “Young Earth” view holds that our planet is only 6,000 to 10,000 years old, whereas the “Old-Earth” view is consistent with mainstream science regarding the age of the earth in terms of millions years.

The “Old-Earth” view differs from “Evolutionary Creationism” in that the “Old-Earth” view does not accept the idea that humans are a product of biological evolution, instead affirming that all humans are descended from a literal, historical Adam and Eve, specially created by God in a uniquely different creation event. In contrast, “Evolutionary Creationism” accepts the mainstream scientific consensus, yet nevertheless affirming that it is the God of the Bible who used the process of  biological evolution to give us human beings, though there is quite a debate among Evolutionary Creationists as to the exact role Adam and Eve play in all of that (are Adam and Eve historical persons, or are they symbolic somehow?).

Sometimes you will hear “Evolutionary Creationism” referred to as being “Theistic Evolution.” But most evangelical Christians in the Evolutionary Creationism camp are moving away from the “Theistic Evolution” term because it does not boldly emphasize the Biblical concept of creation strong enough. Many who believe in “Theistic Evolution” believe in a “God,” but not necessarily the God of the Bible.

But what about “Intelligent Design?”

“Intelligent Design” is mostly opposed to “Evolutionary Creationism,” viewing the process of Darwinian evolution, particularly of man, as being completely inconsistent with the notion of an Intelligent Designer.  “Intelligent Design” as a movement in general is a bit wary of the Young Earth view that rejects the old age of the earth. So does that mean that “Intelligent Design” is the same thing as “Old-Earth Creationism?”

Not quite.

There is indeed quite a bit of overlap between the two positions, but there are important differences. “Old-Earth Creationism” self-consciously is about defending a high view of the Bible.  “Intelligent Design” as a movement, on the other hand, is not necessarily identified with the Bible or Christianity. Sure, there are evangelical, Bible-believing Christians who believe in “Intelligent Design,” such as Stephen C. Meyer, author of the best selling Darwin’s Doubt, but there are also many other proponents of “Intelligent Design” who do not embrace Biblical faith, such as popular author Jonathan Wells, a member of the Unification church (or the “Moonies”).  The following video by Krista Bontrager, affiliated with the Old-Earth Reasons to Believe apologetics ministry, tells you more about it, in a language you can grasp from the bottom shelf.

As might be implied from the video, the “Intelligent Design” movement, particularly as it is articulated by the folks at the Discovery Institute, makes some helpful arguments that should be engaged by thoughtful Christians. However,  “Intelligent Design” is not explicitly tied to a Biblical concept of creation as are the three dominant models: Young Earth Creationism, Old-Earth Creationism, and Evolutionary Creationism. For that reason, while I fully affirm”intelligent design” (notice the small letters), I am not entirely excited about “Intelligent Design” (large caps) as a movement that Christians should uncritically embrace. I do not believe, as some Intelligent Designers speculate, that the Intelligent Designer of human life may have been some super extra-terrestrial life form. I also have friends of mine in the New Age Movement who subscribe to a type of “Intelligent Design,” but who nevertheless reject the Biblical teaching of a distinction between the Creator and the Creation.

In my view, Christians should be about winning others to the God of the Bible as the Creator, not just to some nebulous concept of an “Intelligent Designer,”, though I can concede someone might be persuaded of the existence of an Intelligent Designer as a type of first step in their journey towards Christ. Instead, I believe that Scripture is quite clear: God created humanity, and this God of the Bible created humans, male and female, in the image of God. We may debate exactly how God did the Creating, and over what type of timescale it happened in, and what role (if any) evolution has in this, but there should be unified agreement among followers of Christ that it is God, and God alone, who created us.

Can someone give me an “AMEN?”

About Clarke Morledge

Clarke Morledge -- Computer Network Engineer, College of William and Mary... I hiked the Mount of the Holy Cross, one of the famous Colorado Fourteeners, with some friends in July, 2012. My buddy, Mike Scott, snapped this photo of me on the summit. View all posts by Clarke Morledge

17 responses to “Old-Earth Creationism vs. Intelligent Design: What is the Difference?

  • ksocreative

    “In my view, Christians should be about winning others to the God of the Bible”

    Why when there’s so much fallacious nonsense in the bible?

  • Clarke Morledge

    Ksocreative: If I understand your basic question, you are interested to know the relationship between the God of the Bible and the creation of humanity. Here are a couple of thoughts about that:

    (a) the fundamental teaching in the Bible about the creation of humanity is that humans were created by God in His image (Genesis 1); that is, to reflect the glory of God. In other words, we were created by God to act sort of like a mirror, in that, when we look at humanity we see something of God’s characteristics on display. For example, when we see humans express love towards one another, this reflects God’s desire to have a loving relationship with his human creatures.

    The problem is that, according to the biblical narrative, human nature has gotten distorted along the way, due to humanity’s rebellion from God, or desire to do things in a self-centered way, instead of a God-centered way. So, there are times where we are unable to see God’s glory clearly reflected; such as, when humans commit acts of hatred and violence towards one another. The Bible calls this the problem of “sin.”

    (b) as to all of the other details that you find in the Bible about the creation of humans, these are all minor when compared to the major Christian teachings about creation and sin, summarized above. Christians do debate among themselves over relatively minor matters, particularly over how literal you should read the minute details of the text; such as, was there really a “talking snake” in the garden, or was that essentially a literary metaphor signifying the presence of evil in the midst of God’s good creation? While these interpretive debates can be quite interesting, they should not distract us from the central elements of the Bible story described above.

    (c) the problem with the long list of Bible absurdities and contradictions in the SkepticsAnnotatedBible, is that they vary so much. Most of the difficulties mentioned can be explained fairly easily, with quite of number of them being rather trivial. However, there are a few that are genuine difficulties, and it would disingenuous to ignore them. On the Veracity blog, we have written about quite a number of these difficulties, offering a variety of approaches to them (If you had one or two difficulties in mind, instead of such a long laundry list, I can link you to some other ideas for us to discuss. For example, we have a number of blog posts dedicated to the question of how biological evolution relates to the teachings of the Bible). So while many, if not most, difficulties have good answers, there are some that still leave us scratching our heads. But it is important to point out that in all of these difficulties, none of them really touch on the central tenets of the Christian faith.

    For example, it is quite well known , as mentioned in the “contradictions” page of the SkepticsAnnotatedBible, that there are two different creation stories in early Genesis, in chapters one and two, respectively. Some of the details can be harmonized easily. Others are more difficult. There are even other possible reasons why we need NOT try to harmonize some of these details!

    But both creation stories tell us a great deal about the nature of God as Creator, and we as humans, as His creatures, that are central to the fundamental themes of the Bible. The harmonization difficulties do not really any impact on these fundamental themes of the Christian Scriptures.

    A lot of people get hung up on supposed Bible “absurdities” and “contradictions,” but these only distract people from the really important things: Are we created to reflect God’s glory? Why is it that humans generally do not tend to reflect God’s glory, offering a distorted picture instead? Is there a solution to this problem? Are we willing to read the Bible with the expressed purpose of being open to hearing any solution that the Bible presents to us?

    I could go on, but unless you wanted to focus in on one or two particular “absurdities” or “contradictions,” I would only ask if you would consider yourself open to focus on the central claims of the Bible, and not focus on the minutia.

    Thank you for your interaction here on Veracity.

    • ksocreative

      A. If humans were created in God’s image and humans are
      diseased does this not imply god is also diseased. God created an imperfect product, therefore he “himself” is imperfect and apparently unable to right his wrongs. What exactly is what i read as nothing more than a subjective statement that would vary from continent to continent and religion to religion, “god’s glory” ?

      Further, since we know simple life arises 4.3 billion years ago, why isn’t the almost 99.9 percent of life that has ever existed now extinct and the dinosaurs that roamed the eart for some almost 200 million years not the image of god before the advent of multiple species of conscious hominids spanning only the past (roughly) 3 milllion years?

      Humans (homsapiens) are like # 20 is the list of hominids fossils catalogued to date.

      http://humanorigins.si.edu/evidence/human-fossils/species

      We know that as recent as the neanderthals that these beings were already showing signs of group behavior, empathy and altruism c/o injured elder specimens that shows signs of broken bones healing where such beings would have otherwise been left behind as would have been done by previous hominid species. And, all done so before the advent of anything that we would call religion.

      Further, our first ritualistic practices of burying our dead is evident at about 70k years ago. All religious ritualistic practices from then to about 5000 years ago were animalistic in nature. Animism the dominant theme throughout humanity, so that highly contradicts many claims about the prominence or clarity of the Christian god specifically throughout that time period. That’s 65k years of no monotheism by my math. Around 5000BCE polytheism arises. And the cascade of other religions arising and diversifying furher on other separate continents over time highly convultes any assertions of who/what the Christian god is since there are so many differing theistic and non-theistic religions.

      Our oldest discovered religious temple is Gobeke Tepe in turkey dating around 10k y.o. Our carved idols go much further back than that, but again the point is here, those cultures weren’t worshipping a god where Christian theology ascribe to a singular truth.

      B. The bible is a not a science book. The problem is even trying to apply a biblical narrative to a body of knowledge that has 1000’s of religions and 1000’s of geographically separate human cultures. To reverse engineer the past 200 years of modern science and use Christian apologetics to ascribe our current understandings of humanity is a fools errand. I mean you can try to paint such a narrow view, but you suffer many biases and fallacies that elucidate themselves as half-truths and untruths outright when looking at other religious claims, a study of natural history and anthropology.

      C. the problem with the list of absurdities and contridictions, well see all of the above honestly. If the bible is dictated, or inspired by a singular existing deity that speaks directly to all of humanity and since of all time, why such divergence from a “singular truth” across humanity? Short-sightedness??? Insularity? Group-think?

  • Clarke Morledge

    Ksocreative, Please allow me to narrow the scope of your response to try to get at your central challenge to the Christian faith, namely, what theologians generally call “the scandal of particularity.” You gave some good examples of the problem, such as why make humans to be co-regents of creation among the myriad of other species, existing and extinct, within such a relatively small slice of cosmic time. Your other examples include:why Christianity among all of the many religious expressions found in the world, and why the Bible, when you have other spiritual books, etc.

    Actually, the problem is even more serious than that: Why would God choose one particular group of people, the Israelites? Why did God take so long to introduce the Messiah into the world, if the problem of evil had been going on for such a long while? How can the life, death, and resurrection of one person have any meaningful impact on an entire globe of people across many, many generations? You can even go into the realm of ethics: why the Christian claim about marriage between a singular man and a woman? Why does the Bible teach that we should not have sexual relations with as many people as possible? Why limit that to just one person? I could go on with many more examples, too.

    To answer this, I would first agree that the Bible is not a science book. Rather, it is more about giving us a window into God’s perspective on reality, a lens upon which we can view the human condition, as well as disclosing to us the character of God, where humans have fallen short with respect to honoring God, and then God’s solution to the problem. The Bible uses a wide array of literary genre to reveal His truth, whereas too many people think that the Bible is some sort of “holy database” that can be indiscriminantly mined for out-of-context truth claims.

    We can surely ask why God did not simply take out some giant, cosmic billboard saying, “Love and worship God,” and put it on universal display, instead of selecting an obscure moon-worshipper, namely Abraham, who would be the father of the Jewish people, whereby through that people a particular Jew would rise up from this culture to be the Savior of the entire World. The Bible does not give one definitive answer to this condundrum. But it may suggest that the God of the Bible is One who desires to use the small and most insignificant to accomplish His most large and universal purposes, such that the particular might become a blessing upon the universal. The exclusive becomes the catalyst for the healing of the inclusive.

    I will concede that this is not naturally intuitive to the human mind. I can understand why it sounds “short-sighted.” But this is partly the point. The Christian story ultimately claims to be a revelation from God, not based on the relative foolishness of humanity. If we glorify human reason and science, no matter how wonderful science is, as the “be all and end all” of knowledge, then it becomes impossible to see these things. But if are open to the possibility that we have been created by a God who knows actually more than we do, whome we are called to worship, then it might become possible to see how God could use that which is obscure and miniscule to shower His love upon a rebellious humanity across all times and places.

    • ksocreative

      Clark, here’s the problem: theologians are biased toward their own theology and morality is not universal. If morality were universal, then many edicts made in the old testament would still hold true and you and I (and any other fans of religion) know there’s a whole host of commandments that have no place in a modern “moral society”. To argue that the god of the bible inspired such nonsense is gullibility beyond what any reasonable person not blinded by a singular faith’s claims can concede.

      Christian theology, which argues vicarious redemption will alway face naturally occurring barriers (mountain ranges, oceans, forest, deserts, etc.) which will relegate populations absent and unaccounted for to such faith claims rendering Christianity’s specific faith claims untruths to these geographically separate cultures. This will always be a problem throughout humanity.

      Worship is unessential to human condition. Other than specific religious populations whom would otherwise direct one to worship in a certain fashion (Pentecost vs the 7 sacraments vs meditation vs fasting vs [insert varieties of other religious practices]) there is no other force or cue from nature in which to carry out subservience other than mimicry of group behavior for the sake of herd survival.

      Your position is equivalent to that of the Borg of Startrek in which total domination and/or dissolution of geographically separate cultures are essential to the survival of the ideology. Christianity is known for borrowing other cultural ideas. Heaven and hell are both borrowed from the egyptian narratives of the afterlife. the flood, the epic of gilgamesh, pagan solstice vs christmas, etc, etc, etc; all Ideologies rooted in mythology nonetheless.

      This is not the foundation of a sound ideology and a theology rooted in prophet worship, saviours, and book worship are in danger of simply being bad ideas that do more to discriminate than unify. That happens within Christianity, so it doesn’t take a scientist to see the fruits of bad ideas populating the tree.

      Christ wasn’t the only being capable of speaking ethical positions in the 1st century and to assume that in the 20 centuries that have passed that Christ was perfect based on 2nd and 3rd person oral translated and compiled 300 years after the fact.

      “If we glorify human reason and science, no matter how wonderful science is, as the “be all and end all” of knowledge, then it becomes impossible to see these things. But if are open to the possibility that we have been created by a God who knows actually more than we do, whom we are called to worship, then it might become possible to see how God could use that which is obscure and miniscule to shower His love upon a rebellious humanity across all times and places.”

      Here’s the problem, you’re missing points because you believe in this particular world view. Science is a process in which we describe reality. It isn’t glorified other If god knows more than we do, he’s taken no time to cure childhood cancers and/or starvation. To say that we have to be open to believing in invisible deities whose characteristics differ from culture to culture to experience love or describe our reality is quite possibly a perfect example of an insular mindset as i can think. Humanity is not rebellious, it is simply humanity. It has always been competitive, cooperative, constructive, destructive, creative, artistic, and the list goes on

      That said, my original question still has yet to be answered and all i’v so far gotten is proseletyzing more or less:

      Can you define what roles the Christian god plays in the life of all humans, and what measurable actions, and/or design influence this specific deity has contributed to the physiology of hominids in the past 1.6 million years since losing our tails?

    • ksocreative

      Also, pardon obvious typos, but to the assertion that the christian story is a revelation DIRECTLY from god (who is communicating with all of humanity via revelation), again a singular entity who has a specific message to share, why all the different religions across different continents? It would seem the christian god, the deity attributed to the bible has a communication problem speaking clearly and plainly.

      That’s a theological if you ask me.

      What i find truly, truly scary is that even in a modern first world, plural culture like the US, the many Christians are so religiously illiterate that they have no awareness of these simple facts:
      If you were born in Israel, you’d probably be Jewish.
      If you were born in Saudi Arabia, you’d probably be Muslim.
      If you were born in India, you’d probably be Hindu or Muslim.
      if you were born in the East you’d be any one of the variety of Eastern spiritual philosophies. But, because you were born in North America, You’re Christian. Surprise. Wow.

      The miracle of your specific belief is absolutely, mind-blowingly uninteresting in it’s origins. If the world were the size of a basket ball, the area in which all the stories of god arise happen in only and area the size of a bible.

      It’s obvious how populations spread, how languages spread, how art movements spread, how religions spread, even how internet memes spread, but people blinded by faith can’t connect the dots beyond their own confirmation biases to understand the basic observable SCIENTIFIC FACT that religious beliefs are not inspired by some divine, constant truth, it’s simply geography.

      Geography.

      Your belief in the bible and its specific version of god are a result of nothing more than the continent you live on, the dominant religious culture on that land mass, and familial traditions. Had you been born anywhere else the world, you’d be arguing with me that some other specific religion was the one true faith and that your random subjective interpretation of that prophet’s/teacher’s teachings were the only one that’s true. Another theological fail. This is the kind of knowledge the process of science gives us.

  • Clarke Morledge

    Ksocreative, It appears that we are getting somewhere in that you agree with me that from a human vantage point, the Christian faith is not naturally intuitive to the human mind. Good! This is progress! But you are not seeing the most important next step. The Christian claim to revelation is also about God intervening in concrete, particular ways in order to self-disclose universal, binding truth.

    So, your point about the limitations of geography only show a fraction of the problem. It is worse than that! Much worse. It is astronomical! Why would God reveal Himself on a tiny planet moving about a singular star, in a galaxy of millions of stars, in a universe with countless galaxies? Not very humanly intuitive or rational, if you ask me.

    But to follow your own logic, your own worldview suffers from the same provinciality, I am afraid. Please allow me to demonstrate. Much of the progress in science has been made only within the last few hundred years. What about all of the time periods and cultures before modernity? Does it not seem to you to be a step of arrogance to say that only now do we really understand the world properly, and every generation of human observer prior, to say, Newton was completely wrong? Is this not chronological snobbery?

    Furthermore, if you have studied any postmodern philosophy, you must recognize that many today have lumped the contemporary scientific enterprise into yet another culturally-bound, particularistic meta-narrative that makes yet another claim to universality, when it only demonstrates the particular biases of the philosophical commitments of modern “scientism,” as a world-view rooted in the Western cultural tradition. Is that not “truly scary” to you? For example, why would one say that the laws of physics are applicable across all times and all places? This is exceedingly difficult to prove. At best, it remains an undemonstrative, a priori commitment. It is a good and correct commitment, but a priori, nevertheless.

    But lest you misunderstand me, I do agree with you about the universal applicability of scientific thought, against such post-modern critiques, albeit for different reasons. Correct me if I am wrong, but you see the transcendent quality of scientific reasoning because you see it to be somehow self-evident in your mind.

    However, I approach it differently, trying my best to submit to a Biblical approach, which teaches that God created the world — including the “physiology of hominids in the past 1.6 million years since losing our tails,” as you so aptly described it — and He made that world intelligible so that we, being created in God’s image, could indeed understand that world, thus making the scientific enterprise possible and worthy of human pursuit, for the glory of God.

    Your critique of the geographic limitations of Christian revelation only demonstrates the weaknesses of its own critique. A friend of mine recently directed me to a quote taken from apologist William Lane Craig, that addresses this more succinctly than I can:

    “Or to give another example, it is frequently alleged that Christian particularism cannot be correct because religious beliefs are culturally relative. For example, if a Christian believer had been born in Pakistan, he would likely have been a Muslim. Therefore his belief in Christianity is untrue or unjustified. But this again seems to be a textbook example of what is called the genetic fallacy. This is trying to invalidate a position by criticizing the way a person came to hold that position. The fact that your beliefs depend upon where and when you were born has no relevance to the truth of those beliefs. If you had been born in ancient Greece, you would probably have believed that the sun orbits the Earth. Does that imply that your belief that the Earth orbits the sun is therefore false or unjustified? Evidently not! And once again, the pluralist pulls the rug from beneath his own feet: for had the pluralist been born in Pakistan, then he would likely have been a religious particularist. Thus, on his own analysis his pluralism is merely the product of his being born in late twentieth century Western society and is therefore false or unjustified.”

    Furthermore, much of the weakness of some of your arguments against Christianity is that they rely on assertions that lack an awareness of the latest modern scholarship on these questions; such as, your ideas that “Heaven and hell are both borrowed from the egyptian narratives of the afterlife,” or “pagan solstice vs christmas…all Ideologies rooted in mythology nonetheless.” If you only appeal to ideas that were once popular in the 19th century, and are thus easily replicated in the public domain on the Internet, then you are pretty much ignoring the fruit of more recent, peer-reviewed scholarship that show these assertions to be without sufficient warrant, despite some of the minor merits propping up these assertions . Even your claim that the New Testament is based on “2nd and 3rd person oral translated and compiled 300 years after the fact” shows a sweeping generalization that recalls more of the pseudo-scholarship of Dan Brown’s DaVinci Code than it does on genuine New Testament historical research. I only point these out as we have written a number of posts on this blog that address those exact assertions, which I can link to, if you’d like, but I want to stay focused on your central contention.

    I admire your love for science, and the ability of much of contemporary science to provide the type of explanatory power that pre-modernity lacked. But I am concerned that the foundations you have rely on philosophically shaky footing, whereas a Biblical perspective, that also makes a way for science, is grounded on a more compelling narrative, possessing an even broader explanatory scope.

    The bottom line is this: Yes, the universal truth validity of the particularist, singular claims of Christianity seems counter-intuitive to human wisdom. Yes, it is hard to see how the idea of a God, who supposedly created the entire universe, including modern humans and those predecessor species without tails, would condescend to reveal Himself in the form of a helpless human baby some 2000 years ago in the backwaters of a mighty empire, for the purpose of redeeming the whole world, through His death and resurrection, thus setting in motion God’s plan to eradicate the treachery of evil within the fullness of time. Sure, it does not seem very rational from a human perspective. But this is the point, and the very point that challenges each and every person. Other religious traditions, such as Hinduism and Buddhism would not resort to such a scandal of particularity. Nor would even a more particularistic faith like Islam stoop as low as suggesting the Christian doctrine of the Incarnation, representing the presence of God in a single human person, who upon birth could not even feed Himself.

    The question, no matter how scandalous it might appear to our supposedly enlightened minds is this, what if, dare I say it…. if it was true? What if the story of God as told through the story of Jesus of Nazareth in the Bible is indeed TRUE?

    • ksocreative

      This is a lot of content. Of which, many assertions aren’t rooted in an objective reality. Most are subjective and relative to the theology in which you are familiar. Again though, your belief is that there is a singular god, in which his edicts to humanity for all time are revelational. This assertion would imply that a singular entity should have a singular message to and through humanity. The fact that there is no consensus on the singularity, plurality, or absence of gods across humanity is a problem for any assertion who is actively communicating with humanity. By this logic, or absence of, all geographically separate societies should have 1. monotheistic beliefs, 2. believe the bible is the only doctrine, and 3. that jesus is god incarnate. Such is not a truth, so any indicator that the story of god and/or of Jesus are non-evident. The fact that even you say that “singular claims of Christianity seems counter-intuitive to human wisdom” is an admission of the problem that exist challenging the what is merely a relative truth of christianity versus an absolute truth.

      Appealing to science, We have that which is repeatedly and independently verifiable. It is a scientific fact that religious beliefs vary depending on what part of the world youre born into. that’s independently verifiable. The absence of Christian beliefs in geographically separate cultures of Christianity represents roughly a third of religious observance in belief “pie” is a glaring logic gap in your assertions. The fact the Christian god and/or the truths of Jesus have to be discovered/learned by reading and/or teaching versus experienced are another logic gap in your assertions.

      There is no weakness in this position as these are basic observations of belief biases and the realities of faith-based assertions.

      You speak of the Jesus birth as a means to remove evil, but truly how successful is that assertion over the past 20 centuries?

      Again, had you been born into another religion, you’d be arguing that religion, prophet, book were the one “true” religion.

      I see no scientifically verifiable positions in any of your response.

    • John Paine

      Hello Chris. The dialogue that you and Clarke have been having is interesting. Your worldview is heavily influenced by scientism, but your syllogisms are incomplete and, ironically, built on subjective foundations. Science cannot explain the warp and woof of human existence. Logic can take you a little further towards an understanding of metaphysical realities, but subjective cynicism can be quite blinding. One particular weakness in your arguments is an apparent belief that consensus establishes truth. Here an appreciation of analytic philosophy can be helpful. You might want to give some thought to the Correspondence Theory of Truth. Regarding your comments on religious particularism and pluralism, Ravi Zacharias points out that the nature of all truth claims is that they are exclusive. You might want to read Jesus Among Other Gods. I appreciate your willingness to engage in this type of dialog–I wish more people would put some effort into studying the questions and objections you raise.

    • ksocreative

      What evidence do you have that science cannot explain the fabric of human existence? Paleontology, paleobiology, archeology, anthropology,
      backed by genetics and further, natural history and art history are all “sciences” that have elucidated the rise of humanity quite well. The earliest evidence of hominids (post all primate forebearers) napping stone for the earliest tools discovered to modern arrow heads, and later carved idols, to the advent of controlled usage of fire, to the controlled usage of fire to cook, to the earliest cave paintings to the advent of symbology and later written languages all exist in a continuum of the advancement of human knowledge. Similarly, the evidence of the transition of early hominids to hunt and gather versus the transition to the domestication animals and widespread usage of agriculture illustrating the change in humanity from hunter-gatherer troops to the advent of early tenements, to the first cultures and kingdoms. These are pretty well laid out and a non-understanding of the breadth of knowledge these fields offer versus simiply throwing the baby out with the bathwater simply to trade it for an ancient book written during the height of superstition is laughable. I do not have to rely on [one] science when the body of knowledge speaks for itself.

      I’m not arguing for consensus. I could ask a whole group of Christians is the bible “true” and the majority response would be “yes” even though we know that many parts of the bible are wholly incorrect based on basic sciences.

      Regarding your appeal to the metaphysical; to date, there is no evidence of a metaphysical reality beyond what we have already measured through physics, big bang cosmology, and quantum theory. To interject supernatural justifications where no supernatural explanation has ever, literally ever, explained a scientific observation, or that i would have to do further reading about Jesus versus other gods when I’ve already pointed to the geographical problems your theology already faces means it’s you doesn’t understand the problem, not I.

  • John Paine

    Have you ever experienced love, heartache, emotional stress, loneliness, joy, contentment, or laughter? Why don’t these realities have length, width, weight, temperature, pH, or any other physical properties? So much for cuddling up with science, great as it may be. I missed the turn where ‘art’ got put on the shelf with science. Again, your arguments are subjective–how do you know “many parts of the Bible are wholly incorrect?” If you take the time to study, for example at reasons.org, you might be surprised to discover the beautiful truths that are in the biblical narrative. You like science? OK, let’s focus on one of your comments. Where did all matter, space, energy, and time come from 13.8 billion years ago? What caused the Big Bang? I’ve heard just about every anti-creationist argument on this topic, but am always willing to listen to new ideas. I doubt from your comments that we’ll convince each other of our positions, but it would be a shame to take a pass.

    And just so we don’t get off track, while I appreciate good theology, l feel no need to defend it–so fire away.

    • ksocreative

      I’ve experienced all of those things, but belief in the supernatural, or belief in deities is not necessary to those experiences. Such is a theist fallacy that keeps proliferating against atheists by theists with poor moral arguments. As for your cuddling up with science, empathy is something we experience when we see pain in others. That trait existed prior to your religion and spoken languages for that matter. Have you ever studied a culture outside of a Christian culture? If so, then you should understand why your first question is disqualified if it’s a justification for Christian theology

      Secondly, through art history, we are able to ascertain where and, more importantly [when] such things as early tool making, carving of fertility idols and former deities, the advent of writing, and the wheel exist in the continuum of specific religious tenets. We can put each of these items into a timeline of how human cognition is something that has been built over lonnnnnnnnnnnnng periods of time and not something that was “given” by god.

      I am highly familiar with reasons.org which is an insular body interested only in using apologetics to prove their own theological presuppositions. They are the equivalent of Answersingenesis and/or the Discovery Institute. There’s a reason such sites aren’t used to teach biology, physics, etc in the college level institutions.

      Where did all that matter come from? That’s a reasonable question.

      But to assert that a singular existing complex, conscious being who exists outside of time and space just wished itself into complexity and consciousness out of nothing doesn’t really do much to shed light on what created that entity now does it?

      It’s an equally absurd notion as arguing that the cosmos came from nothing when it is clearly filled with somthing. But, using a god of the gaps argument, aka arguments from ignorance; ie., “we do not know what preceded the big bang, therefore God did it” is not evidence of your particular thelogical position, it’s just your culture religious presupposition that differs with other geographically separate cultural presuppostion.

      But, atheists, agnostics, and scientists (anywhere on the belief spectrum) are not arguing that the big bang arose from nothing. Only theists and/or Christians with bad arguments proffer this argument. The true answer is no one knows what preceded big bang cosmology. What we “know” is that our universe arose from a point of expansion. This does not describe what banged, how it banged, what preceded the bang and/or the origin of the bang. In our current view, this is only event we can measure based on the evidence. Nothing more. Until you can find proof of supernatural faculty being the author of this event, your claim is merely a faith-based assertion lacking any testable scientific merit.

      That aside, I was raised in a Christian family, and have two preachers in my family. I need not review the bible B/C it is not a science book. When the bible’s authors assert that the plants were put on earth before the sun , or that a man lived in a fish, or a donkey talked, or that the population of the earth (animals and people) proliferated from a boat 1/3 the size of the titanic (a real boat) built by a 900 year man…or that you will recieve all the plagues of the bible for knowing more than what is claimed in the bible per Revelations, well, you lost most people at the first few absurdities.

      I assume you’re familiar with how photosynthesis works for plants and why believing the assertion that the plants were placed on earth before the sun was created is gullibility at it’s finest. Further, there is no day or night without the sun and the moon in the sky, so how can days be counted as being created on the fourth day without the sun? See how revelation fails the accuracy test when we’re being specific? Now you can sincerely move the goal posts and say these are just parables or metaphors, but this is not how the bible is sold. “It is the inerrant truth of god.” Find one fallacy and that entire statement is falsified.

      I submit the following from Genesis:
      The Genesis 1 creation account conflicts with the order of events that are known to science. In Genesis, the earth is created before light and stars, birds and whales before reptiles and insects, and flowering plants before any animals. The order of events known from science is just the opposite. 1:1-2:3
      God creates light and separates light from darkness, and day from night, on the first day. Yet he didn’t make the light producing objects (the sun and the stars) until the fourth day (1:14-19). And how could there be “the evening and the morning” on the first day if there was no sun to mark them? 1:3-5
      God spends one-sixth of his entire creative effort (the second day) working on a solid firmament. This strange structure, which God calls heaven, is intended to separate the higher waters from the lower waters. 1:6-8
      Plants are made on the third day before there was a sun to drive their photosynthetic processes (1:14-19). 1:11
      God lets “the earth bring forth” the plants, rather than creating them directly. Maybe Genesis is not so anti-evolution after all. 1:11
      In an apparent endorsement of astrology, God places the sun, moon, and stars in the firmament so that they can be used “for signs”. This, of course, is exactly what astrologers do: read “the signs” in the Zodiac in an effort to predict what will happen on Earth. 1:14
      God makes two lights: “the greater light [the sun] to rule the day, and the lesser light [the moon] to rule the night.” But the moon is not a light, but only reflects light from the sun. And why, if God made the moon to “rule the night”, does it spend half of its time moving through the daytime sky? 1:16
      “He made the stars also.” God spends a day making light (before making the stars) and separating light from darkness; then, at the end of a hard day’s work, and almost as an afterthought, he makes the trillions of stars. 1:16

      Science, it works. It continues to work. Theology and religion haven’t provided anything more than a social construct for people to form groups. these groupingS happen all across humanity regardless of a particular theology.

  • John Paine

    Chris, you’re sidestepping your own arguments. You challenged that metaphysical reality exists, prompting my comments about love, loneliness, joy, etc. Yes, I have studied other cultures and religions, and have a tremendous appreciation of art. So what? My arguments aren’t about me or my positions, presuppositions or beliefs. Putting Reasons To Believe on a par with Answers in Genesis is sad–I wish you could appreciate the difference. How do you respond to evolutionary creationists who believe that much of Genesis is allegory? (Allegorical but true.) There are some very intelligent people in that camp. I have also studied Creationism, and am saddened by your interpretations of the Genesis text. As one example, there is an enormous difference between “let the lights appear” and making the sun. Have a go at the Cambrian Explosion or irreducible complexity or ORFan genes. If you can’t tolerate the idea of a divine creator, maybe you can at least appreciate Intelligent Design.

    We’re talking past each other. We’re on opposite ends of an eternal debate. I respect your intellectual capacity but feel the weight of your frustrations with people like me. I apologize if I have in any way added to that weight. I wish you well.

    • ksocreative

      John, if the bible is true, it should be in plain text and align with science. It doesn’t. While I appreciate your thoughts and conversation, there’s a reason the bible isn’t used in science and hence why the bible as a source of knolwedge shouldn’t require apologetics to align with science.

      But, you’ve moved the goalposts as I said you would. With regard to the plants and the lights, You’re apparently not a botanist and willing to be intellectually dishonest to trade incorrect biblical cosmology for what most 1st graders knows about the plant cycle.

      Assuming that dessert locked shepherds 2000 years prior to the advent of the microscope and the telescope got the creation narrative of the universe correct based on an assumption via revelation versus testable empirical data is why the process of science is continually falsifying the validity of revelations from 2+ millennia ago.

      If intelligent design is valid, why is it that we have come to understand that 99% of all life that has ever evolved/existed has already gone extinct? that’s not a very good design if 99% have already lived and disappeared.

      Further, arguments of irreducible complexity have been debunked thoroughly. And i’m not sure what your point is about ORFan genes, but :
      http://ncse.com/creationism/analysis/orfans-genes

      And, the cambrian explosion is a period of time comprised of 20-50 million years and follows another 70-80million years in its entirety. The diversity of just our ancestral lineage of the hominid population that populated the globe spans only the past 3-4 million years. Hominids represent just 1 branch of the tree of life and creationist are suspect that all other species whom share verterbrae related to the bony forebearers of the cambrian period couldn’t have arisen in diversity over 20-50 million years??? c’mon.

      If the earliest forms of life arise at 4.1b years ago, such as stromatolites, stromatolites to the cambrian period and planetary conditions being most favorable to complex life then, i see no problems with evolution as it currently sits sans divine intervention. But, i guess if you want to attribute an asteroid wiping out the dinos whom roamed the earth for a couple hundred million years leaving the door open for mammalia to proliferate sans predation as “divine intervention” it’s truly not much of an intelligent design process more so a as hapless and wreckless design process.

  • ksocreative

    Further John, if you don’t think Reasons.org isn’t equivalent to Answers in Genesis and/or The Discovery Institute, listen to this talk from their site regarding the biblical flood which there is no geological evidence of, Adam, a highly fallacious narrative, the ark story and “wicked and soulless animals” around 17mins. Nothing that is claimed around the middle part of this conversation is reconcilable with actual geology, paleontology, and archaeology.

    http://www.reasons.org/podcasts/i-didnt-know-that/best-of-i-didn%E2%80%99t-know-that-best-argument-against-evolution-where-are-the-fossils-from-noah-s-flood-could-adam-comprehend-the-meaning-of-death

    This is why America is falling behind in education and STEM. unbelievable.

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