Note: the heading of a key comment is emboldened and underlined.
Discussion Topic-If Evolution is considered a religion, does Creationism become a more acceptable alternative to it?
The concepts of creation and evolution are both religion, but we can use science to come to a scientifically sound conclusion regarding them. Both creationists and evolutionists have the same set of evidence to use to support either side. In my research regarding the evidence we see all around us it seems creationism is a very much more acceptable alternative to evolution. As I have mentioned in a previous topic, either creation or evolution must be true. All the scientific evidence I have encountered points to evolution being faulty (irreducible complexity for example.) While using scientific evidence we can also have historical and geological evidence as well. As with scientific evidence, we come to a conclusion based on our interpretation of the evidence. When I look at this evidence (billions of dead things laid down by water all over the earth (Noah's flood), flood accounts of worldwide cultures etc.) I see it clearly supporting creationism.
A reliance on a "creator of the gaps" hypothesis has proven time and time again to fail. The gaps continue to recede.
For those of you who may not know...The "creator of the gaps" or "god of the gaps" theory is (if I am not included in the aforementioned group) a term describing the observations from a theological perspective that there are gaps in scientific knowledge, and that these gaps can be/are filled by a god. As LT has commented, the gaps seem to be steadily receding as rational, scientific explanations for natural phenomena are discovered. This sort of philosophy is visible in many, especially pagan, religions (the god of harvest etc.), as a way to explain these phenomena. Indeed, there may SEEM to be no place for God outside these "gaps." However, many Evolutionists seem to rely on the "creator/god of the gaps" theory as much as Creationists do...more in my next comment.
As I was saying, evolutionists rely on the "creator of the gaps" concept just as much, if not more, than Creationists do. These gaps, however, are not always gaps in naturalistic knowledge (although in the case of things such as the origin of the universe etc. this may be the case), instead, they are gaps in observable facts. We do not know how microorganisms managed to evolve through progressive adaptation to the point that they are at today, neither have we discovered any undisputed transitional forms. We just assume that where there is a gap in observable facts,"the facts that support evolution exist, but they have not turned up yet." However, as we discover more, and our knowledge of science increases, we begin to find that the facts really do not line up to the evolutionary paradigm. Indeed, the gaps in our knowledge and understanding of the universe continue to recede, and as we learn more, the less the Theory of Evolution begins to fit the facts. The gaps have not receded, however, on topics that are impossible to prove scientifically (the origin of the universe, the origin of life), but these topics are argued over due to differing opinions on HISTORY not science. These areas, interestingly, are the areas that God comes into, areas that it is impossible to (through objective knowledge) be completely sure about (that is, unless we manage to build a time machine that can allow us to observe these events).
"However, as we discover more, and our knowledge of science increases, we begin to find that the facts really do not line up to the evolutionary paradigm. Indeed, the gaps in our knowledge and understanding of the universe continue to recede, and as we learn more, the less the Theory of Evolution begins to fit the facts. "
Patently untrue. It would help if you would provide concrete examples when you make such claims.
LT, here are some concrete examples for Evolution not "fitting the facts" as our scientific knowledge increases:
1. In Darwin's day, homologous structures (similar structures found in different kinds of organisms) were an excellent evidence for evolution, for, if all organisms had evolved from a common ancestor, we would expect them to have such similar structures. However, with today's understanding of genetics, we often find that these homologous structures are actually specified by DIFFERENT gene sequences between the different kinds of organism with homologous structures. If all kinds of organisms had evolved from a common ancestor, we would indeed expect the structures to specified by similar, if not identical, gene sequences.
2. For his theory/hypothesis, Darwin was worried about the absence of "transitional forms" or "missing links" in the fossil record. He was reasonably sure, however, that the new scientific field of Paleontology would eventually begin to find them! However, even though over a hundred years have passed since Darwin, no "missing link" has been found that does not seem contrived, or is not heavily contested. In other words, "missing links" are still missing!
3. In the Zoological realm, it is becoming more and more common to find living specimens of organisms that were thought to have gone extinct millions of years ago. Interestingly, these "living fossils" have very few, if any, differences from their fossilized counterparts, in other words, they have not EVOLVED at all, even after (supposedly) millions of years. If Evolution was true, you would expect organisms to evolve some over millions of years.
4. And last, but probably not least, in recent years, it is becoming increasingly common to find soft tissue (such as blood cells and bone marrow) in dinosaur bones that are reportedly millions upon millions of years old. To our understanding, these soft tissues should not be able to last that long, but we shall see where the research leads!
I am the theistic evolutionist in the bunch, so there will be people who won't want to hear what I have to say. What you need to know, however, is that I am both a sincere scientist, a sincere Christian, and a sincere scholar of the Bible. I wake up every day with a song in my heart, today it was Lift High the Cross. Some days like yesterday I am singing hymns all day in my head. I believe that God truly did form us from the dust of the earth, as Genesis records, but it is a fact that in Hebrew, the word used for day can easily mean longer periods of time than a 24 hour day, with many, many instances of that in the Old Testament. I actually looked up each and every one once. Hebrew is an imprecise language, and Moses was painting with a broad brush.
I refuse to negate clearly established science and the clear evidence of my senses (e.g. fossils), but also anything in scripture as well. All of history changed because of Jesus, and the evidence of his life, death, and resurrection cannot be refuted. We have more evidence for the resurrection than we have for Shakespeare's existence for heaven’s sake!
In fact, I am more interested in understanding the case for Jesus than the case for young earth creationism, because for me I can still be a semi-charismatic Christian and believe much of the basic posits of evolution (but not that we came from Neanderthal man.) I am far richer for reading material that posits an evolutionary point of view, such as The Righteous Mind by Johnathan Haidt, or Intimacy and Desire , by David Schnarch, although mentally I will substitute my beliefs about the origins of man for their presuppositions about man's evolution as I read them. Understanding the reptilian and mammalian aspects of the human brain is very helpful to many things I do, even though I do NOT believe we evolved from reptiles or apes. I believe that a God of order and not chaos choose to use the best of these models when he fashioned us from the dust of the earth.
Many practical scientific issues like finding oil or many natural resources ultimately flow from an evolutionary perceptive, and understanding the broad story of evolution is essential in these endeavors. Because of the Genesis account, I thoroughly disagree with the evolutionists on the origin of modern man, and do believe that in God’s breath we received our soul, which makes modern humans unique in all creation.
In my belief system, that God took millions or even billions of years before he created man gives me additional confidence that I will spend billions of years in eternity with him, and reinforces to me how much he loves us (having waited that long for us!) And frankly the basic tenets of evolution reinforce to me how special and precious we are to God, considering He choose us uniquely from the millions of species that now live - and ever lived. I am amazed that God choose us - even me! He gave me a soul! Praise and thanksgiving to God almighty!
I see far more danger to Christians in the Internet, social media, and big data than I do in beliefs about young vs old earth or evolution vs creationism, and actually believe that the mark of beast is www. The sixth letter of the Hebrew is W - see Psalm 119 - keeping in mind there is no "W" in Greek, Latin, or Aramaic. I, like the God I serve, am more focused on the present and future than the past, and frankly, today's problems are hard enough.
So, after four decades of pondering these issues, I am largely peace about the past - but very troubled about the future, which is where I put my time, energy, resources ... and prayers. As Christians we long for certainty and control - even in our beliefs about God - as all around us an end times world staggers into chaos and lawlessness. In the face of many uncertainties, all of us as Christians must choose courage to change the things we can change, find serenity to accept the things we cannot change, and seek God's precious wisdom to know the difference.
Theistic evolution deman's compromise between creation and evolution when they really can't both be true according to Genesis.
First, evolution demands death. All the dead animals said to have been buried millions or billions of years ago would have to have had died then to be fossilized. This contradicts with Genesis, which states that there was no death before the Fall.
Second, the order of events according to evolution and Genesis are incompatible. For example, the sun, moon and stars were created after plants, so why would plants evolve without sunlight? These among other contradictions suggest that the two views are not compatible.
On a side note regarding the mark of the beast: I don't want to make this post to long but this site has some interesting information regarding www and 666. www.av1611.org/666/www_666.html
Indeed, the mark of the beast may be a bit beside the point of the discussion...
And there was evening and morning the first, second, third, etc. day in Genesis 1 creates a huge problem for those who want to make a day into billions of years.
A couple of things. . .
God in the gaps: I don't think the assertion that evolutionists rely on a "creator in the gaps" theory as much as creationists do is quite right. The fundamental difference is that gaps in scientific knowledge are areas for further research, which can be carried out by the scientific method. For example, in Darwin's time there was nor detailed knowledge about how traits could be passed down from one generation to the next. The advent of modern genetics represented a very vulnerable time for the theory of evolution simply because it introduced the ability to examine the genomes of organisms and make very detailed comparisons between species. Evolution implies a number of predictions about what should be observed in the genomes of related species, and if these predictions were not borne out in the data the theory would be in serious trouble. That didn't occur, however, and many would now contend that this genetic data is some of the strongest evidence for evolution. This is in contrast to a God-in-the-gaps theory in which any gap in knowledge is said to be filled by God. There is no room for further inquiry with this type of thinking, which is why I think it's a dangerous route for believers to take when it comes to science. If and when the gap is filled by a clear naturalistic explanation the God that was filling that gap suddenly becomes superfluous. There are examples of this throughout history--Newton's belief that all the planets orbiting in the same plane being proof of a divine designer of the solar system, for example, an observation that was later shown to have a natural explanation.
Reading Genesis: I'm not a fan of the day-age theory. I think the genre argument is much stronger. The Bible contains passages of many different genres--poetry, history, theology, law, etc.--and it's useful to consider what genre a particular passage belongs to when trying to understand its meaning. For example, when in the book of Job God asks if he (Job) had entered the "storehouses of snow or seen the storehouses of hail", we understand that God is speaking poetically and not that there are literal storehouses of snow and hail. How do we know to interpret this poetically? One way is that we have a good scientific understanding of where snow and hail come from, and it's not from storehouses in the sky. God's making a bigger point, He's not trying to teach a scientific truth. A similar argument can be made for the first chapters of Genesis, especially when you contrast them with other creation accounts from the ancient near East. You can read the creation account more theologically with an eye toward learning what God is teaching about Himself, the nature of the universe, and you.
The Posted Topic: I'll take this opportunity to complain about how we're defining terms. I've said before that the working definition of "Evolution" on this site is too broad, and most people who use it in a scientific context don't also mean to imply a full philosophy of "scientism". I've mentioned before the confusion between methodological materialism/naturalism and metaphysical materialism/naturalism. Science operates on the former, but our overly broad definition of "Evolution" assumes the latter. Evolution (narrow definition, just the scientific theory of how species came to be, presupposing life) is not much of a religion and would probably never be considered one. A broader philosophy/worldview of materialism is probably already considered a religion by many, but because this worldview explicitly rejects God (or takes a hard agnostic approach) and religion often implies God or an immaterial element of some kind, I don't think the word is well applied here. Consequently, I don't think labeling Evolution as religion make Creationism any more acceptable (in science at least, I don't think it's having any problems being accepted in other circles). I should also point out that Evolution v. Creationism is a bit of a false dichotomy. There could be a third theory tomorrow, so a refutation of one does not constitute proof of the other.
A couple things...
An explanation of my Evolution relying on the "God of the Gaps" hypothesis: We do not KNOW how the forces that started (let alone created) the "big bang" came to be, but it is just assumed that it happened because that is the best (or at least, most popular) naturalistic explanation for the formation of the universe that has been conceived. We do not know how the insurmountable amounts of "luck" that would be required for evolution to work came about (and came out just right in favor of evolution) but it is believed that it "had to happen" because a "divine foot is not to be allowed in the door." So, in the very end, evolutionists depend on the god "omnipotent chance" (a.k.a:"luck") to fill in the gaps in our knowledge of a more reasonable, naturalistic explanation for these things.
Also, about the genetics argument, the genetics PhD from Answers in Genesis can explain it much better than I! Here is a link: https://answersingenesis.org/genetics/dna-similarities/untold-story-behind-dna-similarity/.