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Creationism: the belief that a literal interpretation of one's preferred religious scripture is more in line with the empirical observations of science than the Darwinian paradigm (and any similar paradigms, e.g. Punctuated Equilibrium, Lamarckism, etc)
The Creationist-Evolutionist controversy represents a clash of paradigms, of two ways of relating to the world. This clash is like a mighty battle between the two pillars of our Western society - the scientific rationalistic approach (stemming ultimately from the Greeks, men like Thales and Aristotle, and reinterpreted through Galileo, Newton, and others of their calibre) and the Judeo-Christian theistic but also in its own way rationalistic approach, deriving from post-medieval religiosity, especially the Protestant revolution with its reliance on strict biblical literalism.
It is precisely because Creationism comes from the same Protestant milieu as Science, Creationists try to take a scientific slant on things. In fact, they claim that they are actually the one's who are scientific and rational, and it is the evolutionists who are the irrational, religious dogmatic ones! Strange claim indeed! Is there is any truth in it? Well, I am not here to persuade anyone, but if you want to decide for yourself you can check out some of the links assembled here (and the links from those links).
But first, my own opinion on all this...
As an evolutionist (albeit a metaphysically orientated one) I find it strange that in a civilisation as technologically and scientifically advanced as our own people should still be arguing - indeed, should even be considering - the idea of a pre-scientific creation mythology as a viable alternative to the extraordinary mass of evidence accumulated by scientific method. Such unfortunately is the case.
Now don't get me wrong. I am as much against rigid reductionistic materialism as I am against fundamentalistic religion! I would actually consider myself a "Creationist" in that I derive the cosmos ultimately (via a process of emanation) from a transcendent Godhead or Absolute Reality. But I am not a "creation scientist" in that I do not seek to reconcile, or to deny, my evolutionary beliefs according to the dictates of a particular scripture.
It should also be pointed out here that there are many forms and variants of religious Creationism. It's not just Christian Creation Science. There is a Judaic Creation Science, an Islamic Creation Science (consider the attitude of the other otherwise very intelligent and articulate contemporary Islamic philosopher and Traditionalist Sayyed Hossein Nasr to modern science), and even a Hare Krishna Creation Science (e.g. the talks of Swami Prabupad, who called scientists "rascals", and the book Forbidden Acheology of Man by Michael Cremo, with its anti-Darwinist rhetoric).
If Creationism serves any purpose at all it is that it has shown the materialists and strict Darwinists that not everyone see things in a logical empirical manner. They are suddenly confronted with a huge mass of people who see things very differently! It is apparent that there is no way they (and I, for I may not be a materialist but I am still an evolutionist!) are going to get the vast masses out there to accept an evolutionary worldview.
The reason for this is not education or lack of it (as many scientist naively believe), but simply psychology. Creationists, like all religionists, they come from the heart, from feelings, rather than from the head and from thinking or understanding. I have found Christian Creationists who i have spoken to - like most other Christians - to be really nice and decent people, good-hearted, well meaning, but with an incredibly limited sphere of comprehension. Creationists I have met, whether in real life or over the Net, are basically feeling-centered individuals. Their emotional development is quite good, but their intellectual development less so. And this is the psychological profile that best matches the bulk of humanity. For this reason, and through no fault of its own, scientific understanding tends to be elitist. All the education in the world won't change the fact that only a relatively few people, being what Jung would call the "thinking" type, and more specifically the intuitive-thinking type, have the specific type of understanding, the unique and highly developed mental faculties, that allows them to understand abstract concepts like deep time (an Earth billions of years old), the transformation of life, and the relativity of religious scriptures.
Time is a particular stumbling block. Most people cannot envisage anything beyond a few thousand years - in fact even anything back beyond a few centuries is difficult! Hence it is much easier for these people to take comfort in certainties like religious dogma (it is also easy mind you for evolutionists to take comfort in certainties like scientific dogma ;-)
The war between Creationism and Evolutionism is therefore a clash caused by a profound psychological difference - the heart-centered (emotional feeling ) religionist concerned with feelings, and the head-centered (mental-intellectual ) scientific type concerned with empirical facts.
To be an evolutionist therefore you have to see the world in a certain way. You have to go beyond the cozy certainties of exoteric religion and anthropocentric chauvinism and leap into the void of uncertainty. You have to realise that reality is much much bigger than what your comfortable ideology or scripture book tells you. And that moreover you have realise that the universe is always changing, always unfolding. And that time is vast, and that man's existence is just the tiniest most insignificant moment in the grand scheme of things.
Evolution and Creation Science - the best, fairest, and most unbiased coverage you will find on this subject.anywhere on the Web.
Creation Science at Yahoo - links to sites both pro and contra creationism
Creation/evolution Links - annotated links - at Kuban's Paleo Place
Creation-Evolution Encyclopedia - a huge amount of material here. This would seem to be the best (in the sense of most persuasive, if you are that way inclined) Creationist site around.
CREATION ex nihilo Technical Journal - includes some on-line essays and a and synopsis of published issues of the magazine CREATION ex nihilo
The Philosophy of Science As It Relates to Evolution - an otherwise unusually intelligent and perceptive critique of scientific method and the current evolution paradigm (ignoring the common Creationist reliance on religious dogma weakens the argument). I say otherwise because the central thesis of this fellow's argument revolves around the claim that the early atmosphere was non-reducing, i.e. oxygen-rich. This assumption, which goes against the entire current body of body of knowledge regarding the evolution of the earth's atmosphere, the appearance of oxygen, etc, is based on one single quotation of a tentative "may have" half-way down this page, and other selective quotes regarding assumptions of animo acid synthesis. In view of the powerful critique of the way science works on his previous page, this pathetic follow through is particularly disappointing.
Evolution - the Fossils say No - I like this Creationist site because there are a lot of funny drawings of dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals. The central theme here is that gaps in the fossil record and the absence of links between different groups speak against the reality of continual evolution. Basically follows Dr. Duane T. Gish and Dr.Henry M. Morris, the two foremost creationists. In fact the fossil record is not nearly as incomplete as the fellow who put this site together (and all creationists) indicate.
The Other Side of the New Creation Page
The Talk Origins Archive - Exploring the
a really excellent scientific site that absolutely demolishes all the creationist arguments. And it presents scientific issues in a quite comprehensible way as well.
Frequently Encountered Criticisms in Evolution vs. Creationism: Revised and Expanded - Compiled by Mark I. Vuletic - a neat refutation of all of the main creationist claims and arguments
Evolution and Creationism - An Objective Evaluation - presents the case against Creation Science
Transitional Vertebrate Fossils FAQ - one of the most frequent Creationist arguments is that there are no transitional fossils. Check this site out for the refutation of that claim.
The Creation-Evolution Debate - Jonathon Woolf, brief intro to different forms of creationism, refutation of creationism, and a good annotated list of pro- and anti-evolution books
Evolution - Creationism - good annoitated list of links
The Skeptic Tank
Creationist Occultism Web Page Listing
list of articles - see Does Evolution Have A Goal? An Amusing Answer for some humour
G.L.K file collection - Graham
Kendall's collection of on-line documents
"Compare the total number of churches compared to the number of science centers. These factors help explain the relative popularity of theology in the lives of most Americans, compared to the popularity of science. When Jerry Falwell proposed that laws be passed in every state of the nation threatening teachers with prison if they taught modern science, there was no outcry from the general public or the professional Christians. That is a symptom of a serious problem which may eventually lead this country into a crisis with grave consequences for all. I hope my distribution of these files will help prevent such an outcome, by educating people about the general validity of science and the deep problems of the the fundamentalist point of view. Though science is stronger today than when Galileo knelt before the Inquisition, it remains a minority habit of mind, and its future is very much in doubt. Blind belief rules the populace, placed there by clever cultists."
The Fossil record: Evolution or "Scientific Creation" - for those unfortunate souls who have nothing better to do than plough through thousands of words of argument, some reasoned, some heated, pro and con. There is probably heaps of stuff on the web like this.
An example of evolution from the Fossil Record - Reptiles into Mammals
The Mammal-Like Reptiles - by Dr. Duane T. Gish (IMPACT No. 102 - Institute for Creation Research) - the creationist side of the argument. Duane Gish is one of the founders of modern creationism
Mammal-Like Reptiles - Clifford A. Cuffey - a detailed, very well researched rebuttal
EVOLUTION versus CREATIONISM - at the Panspermia site (life seeded from space)
Towards A Grand Unified Theory of Evolution - presents a radical distinction between the mechanisms of microevolution (intraspecies variation) which is based on Newtonian principals of physical law and is entropic in nature, and macroevolution (evolution of one species into a completely new species) which is here argued to be based on plasma behaviour, quantum physics, the active vacuum, and is negentropic in nature
Goethean Science - Metamorphosis
Rupert Sheldrakes Morphogenetic Fields
For these and others see also Different Evolutionary Hypotheses
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