The Creation of Evolutionism

Posted on November 6, 2012 in Bible and Theology, Darwin and Evolution, Dating Methods, Geology, Intelligent Design, Philosophy of Science

A press release titled “The Evolution of Creationism” in a geology journal is just asking for a spoof.

The Geological Society of America (GSA) posted the following press release on its publication, GSA Today:

Throughout history, people have sought to understand how the world came to be and how it has changed over time. This curiosity has produced a rich legacy of science and philosophy and impacted and influenced religion and theology. In the November 2012 issue of GSA Today, David Montgomery of the University of Washington examines both the history of geology and of biblical views regarding Earth’s origins.

Montgomery’s main premise is that throughout most of the past several hundred years, scientists and theologians engaged in extensive collaboration regarding issues like Earth’s age and origin. The common bond that sustained this rich exchange of ideas was a respect for reason and a trust in the scientific process.

As modern science evolved, so did many shared questions and struggles regarding how to best understand Earth’s age as well as how new scientific findings harmonized with or conflicted with theological understanding as conveyed in works such as the Bible. These questions and struggles persist into the present, most notably in geology, where vast differences in the answers to such fundamental questions as “how old is this planet?” both correlate and contrast with some religious beliefs.

In terms of Christian theology, the main problems that Montgomery discusses are Earth’s age and the role of a global flood (“Noah’s flood”) in geological history. While these issues—that the Earth is not over four billion years old, but is actually only a few thousand years old, and that most of the geological history recorded by rocks was formed as a result of Noah’s flood—are commonly raised by modern-day creationists, they have also been vigorously studied by both scientists and theologians over the past several hundred years.

Montgomery shows that geologists have provided a vast array of evidence that refutes both a young age for Earth and a worldwide flood. These conclusions provoked significant debate among Christian writers during the early 1800s, but many acknowledged the validity of the scientific evidence. They subsequently adapted their view of creation as spelled out in the Bible, recognizing that it might be figurative instead of literal, and that Noah’s flood was likely a regional event that involved the Caspian or Black Sea.

Modern-day creationism, according to Montgomery, developed from several influential efforts, beginning in the 1920s. The movement would revive the global (Noah’s) flood explanation for the geological record, resurrecting the older theory mainly in an effort to question scientific conclusions regarding the biological evolution of life on Earth.

The creationists of the twentieth century—and those of today—evolved in order to reject a scientific basis for understanding of the history of our planet. They instead rely on a literal interpretation of Biblical accounts of creation.

These arguments are effective. Montgomery points out that more than 40% of Americans believe Earth is less than 10,000 years old, despite overwhelming scientific evidence to the contrary. However, Montgomery hopes that by pointing to our longer-term history and mutual heritage of using scientific observations of the natural world to inform both secular and religious understanding, the relationship between science and religion can undergo further evolution, and faith in science can be restored.

The press release was reproduced uncritically by PhysOrg and Science Daily.  The full article by Montgomery on GSA Today is open access.  See also the 8/14/2012 entry, “Rock’s Don’t Lie but Liars Rock.”

This is what happens with one-party rule.  Instead of debate and reasoned discussion, you get one-sided rewritings of history.  The following shows how creationists might write the press release if they had influence at GSA:

The Creation of Evolutionism [parody]

Throughout history, people have offered thanks to God for the beauty of the world He created. This gratefulness has produced a rich legacy of religion and theology and impacted and influenced philosophy and science. In the November 2012 issue of CSA Today, Daniel Monotheist of the University of St. Paul examines both the Christian root of science and of materialistic views regarding Earth’s origins.

Monotheist’s main premise is that throughout most of the past two thousand years, Biblical scholars and natural philosophers engaged in extensive collaboration regarding issues like Earth’s origin and age. The common bond that sustained this rich exchange of ideas was a respect for God-given reason and a respect for God’s Word.  This led to the rise of modern science, with stalwarts like Kepler, Newton and Boyle as shining lights.

But as historical science degenerated in the last 230 years into atheism and skepticism, so did the rich legacy of scholarship, as skeptics struggled to re-interpret what was clearly evident in the world’s design.  They set out to rewrite Earth’s age in slow-and-gradual terms, and interpreted new scientific findings to harmonize with their unbelief.  Their motivation was to disparage the Bible, particularly the revelations given to Moses, and substitute their own speculations and call it science. These struggles persist into the present, most notably in geology, where vast differences in the speculations about such fundamental questions as “how old is this planet?” are used as weapons against some Biblical teachings.

In terms of naturalist philosophy, the main targets of the new skeptics are Earth’s age and the role of a global flood (“Noah’s flood”) in geological history. While these issues—that the Earth is not over four billion years old, but is actually only a few thousand years old, and that most of the geological history recorded by rocks was formed as a result of Noah’s flood—are commonly mocked by modern-day evolutionists, they have also been vigorously defended by natural philosophers and theologians over the past two thousand years, but especially by modern theistic geologists who find overwhelming evidence for catastrophic deposition in the vast extent of flood-deposited strata and the explosive appearance of life in the fossil record.

Monotheist shows that these Christian geologists have provided a vast array of evidence that defends both a young age for Earth and a worldwide flood. These conclusions provoked significant debate among Christian writers during the early 1800s, but many acknowledged the validity of the scientific evidence. Skeptics, however, subsequently adapted their view of geology as required by naturalistic philosophy, recognizing that the strata still might be interpreted in slow-and-gradual terms, using copious amounts of imagination and dogmatic adherence to naturalistic assumptions.

Modern-day evolutionism, according to Monotheist, developed from several influential skeptics of the Bible, beginning in the 1780s, such as Buffon, Hutton and Lyell. The movement chose to reject the global (Noah’s) flood explanation for the geological record, resurrecting old anti-Biblical skepticism mainly in an effort to reinterpret the observations into a story about the biological evolution of life on Earth.  In this they were unwittingly fulfilling Peter’s prophecy that in the last days mockers would deny creation and the Flood.

The hard-core evolutionists of the twentieth century—and those of today—gathered together into societies such as the Geological Society of America in order to reject a Biblical basis for understanding of the history of our planet. They instead rely on a literal interpretation of the words of Charles Darwin.

These arguments are effective. Monotheist points out all the public schools teach that the earth is 4.5 billion years old, despite overwhelming scientific evidence to the contrary. However, Monotheist hopes that by pointing to our longer-term history and mutual heritage of using scientific observations of the natural world to illuminate Biblical understanding, and with increasing exposure of the evidence supporting catastrophism that comports with Biblical history, the relationship between science and religion can undergo further mutual reinforcement, and a return to true science can be restored.

 

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6 Comments

Buho November 6, 2012

Clever. It’s still a result of a (fictitious) one-party system (where creationists rule) rather than an even-handed debate and reasoned discussion amongst two parties, but maybe the passerby materialist will see what’s going on with this spoof.

rockyway November 6, 2012

1. ‘A press release titled “The Evolution of Creationism” in a geology journal is just asking for a spoof.‘
– Darwinists have so overused (and misused) the term evolution that it’s now meaningless. e.g. In a series of lectures on time (of all things) Sean Carroll uses the term evolution a couple dozen times; i.e. in reference to sub-atomic particles! I’ve little doubt he does this deliberately, out of his anti-creationist leanings and out of a desire to make ‘evolution’ seem an undeniable aspect of experience.

2. ‘Montgomery points out that more than 40% of Americans believe Earth is less than 10,000 years old, despite overwhelming scientific evidence to the contrary.
– If the ‘evidence’ is so overwhelming how come it doesn’t overwhelm all of us? It overwhelms M. because he’s a materialist, and it overwhelms liberal Christians because they’ve long abandoned an inerrant bible and have taken textbook science as their ultimate authority instead.

People like M. want to portray the conflict over the age of the earth as science vs religion, but it’s better depicted as speculation vs history.

For the Humanist the biggest offense given by Noah’s Flood may not be the actual date involved, but that the ‘idea’ comes from a revealed text and thus is not the conclusion of an autonomous reasoning process. The Humanist is not satisfied with any method that is not naturalistic, and will only use methods that are materialistic and autonomous.

3. I think Montgomery is the guy who wrote ‘The Rocks Don’t Lie’
– While on a banal level it may be true that rocks don’t lie, neither do they tell the truth. The stories we hear about the rocks are human inventions, deductions made in terms of model and method, and they vary and conflict for that reason.

Darwinists like Lyell tended to use rocks in the user friendly way Joseph Smith used peep stones. This gave them an amazing ability to see whatever it was they set out to find. As Uniformitarians, and by peering deeply into the hat of method, they were able to see endless millions of years that weren’t there.

Editor November 6, 2012

That’s why we said Rocks don’t lie, but liars rock.

John S November 6, 2012

Buho, are you suggesting that creationists don’t want “even handed debate and reasoned discussion”? In my travels that’s about all they want. It’s the ‘one-party system’ that won’t debate, that ridicules, ostracizes and has no interest in discussion. No public school at any level even mentions ID/creation/God, they just ban the very terms. Creationists have no power to move forward with any even handed debate and discussion except to beg for it. The ball is in the hands of those in power, and they aren’t coming out to play. Any passerby materialist to this site is most likely here to sharpen their ad hominem skills, not see what’s going on.

Buho November 6, 2012

John, no and yes, though that answer isn’t in my earlier comment. I was just commenting how the editor’s spoof was one-sided (like the materialist’s) and not even, as the editor pleaded.

No, because I too desperately want to see reasoned discussion from both sides, with the evidence in the middle, and the materialist’s starting assumptions laid out for all to see. (Christians are open about their starting assumptions, materialists are not.) But I say “no” because I belong with the underdogs and want a fighting chance. (Materialists know their best strategy is to suppress. Someone once said, First you deny the opponent, then you mock them, then you fight them, then you lose. Materialists are on the second stage.)

Yes, because I find Christian presuppositionalism to be the strongest and most robust theological and philosophical position to hold. If creationists gain a majority in the sciences, I will not fight for secular viewpoints (viewpoints contrary to God’s revealed word) to have an equal position in the scientific community because they are misguided, a priori.* Look how off-track mainstream historical science has gotten when Christians rolled over 200 years ago! I believe this Christian majority will be the default mode in the new world after Judgement Day, after all knees have bended to Jesus. I doubt this scenario will happen prior to that, but one can pray.

* Still, this is done with love, gentleness, and respect (1 Pet 3:15).

J.S. November 6, 2012

Montgomery stated at the end of his article:

Generally left out of the resulting ‘debates’ is the simple fact that creationists lack any independently supported geological evidence to support their views.”

Besides the fact that he appears to not have read the YEC literature, his statement brings to mind the opening scene from “Ferris Beueller’s Day Off,” where Ferris is spouting off about his upcoming test on European socialism:

I mean, really, what’s the point? I’m not European. I don’t plan on being European. So who gives a —- if they’re socialists? They could be fascist anarchists, it still doesn’t change the fact that I don’t own a car.”

In the same way, Montgomery can misrepresent YEC geology all he wants–that still doesn’t change the fact that soft tissues and carbon 14 have been found in dinosaur bones that are supposedly tens of millions of years old.

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