Mark Isaak +quot;There lives more faith in honest doubt, isaak@aurora.com Believe me, than

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Mark Isaak "There lives more faith in honest doubt, isaak@aurora.com Believe me, than in half the creeds." - Tennyson ------------------------------------------------------------- A FEW PROBLEMS WITH CREATIONISM ----- Epistomological problems Creationism is useless because it has no explanitory or predictive value. Saying "God made it that way" doesn't tell us anything. Evolution is a theory with applications in plant and animal breeding, conservation, pest control, and other areas; Creationism can't even be called a theory. Creationism is too vague to be useful. For example, what's a "kind"? The argument for the validity of Creationism rests on circular reasoning. Creationism depends on the accuracy of the entire Bible, but the only "evidence" given that the entire Bible is accurate (besides subjective opinion) comes from the Bible itself. ----- Factual problems Life doesn't look designed. In designed life (to use Wayne throop's words), "any heirarchical breakdown of features along functional lines won't show redundancies, and any heirarchical breakdown of implementation details will show redundancies." This is the opposite of what you'd expect in evolved systems, and is the opposite of what we see. If life was designed, the design was often unintelligent. Many plants and animals show examples of vestigal organs and other arrangements which are far from optimal. The human eye, with its nerves between the light source and the light dectectors, is but one example. Such kludges make sense from an evolutionary standpoint, but they contradict the concept of an omnicient creator. The ordering of organisms in the fossil record (and the ordering was determined by creationists before Darwin formulated his theory) contradicts the order of appearances given in Genesis 1. No creation has ever been observed. Evolution, on the other hand, can be seen any day. Creationism, unlike evolution, violates the first and second laws of thermodynamics. The odds of atoms coming together to form just one strand of DNA are extremely low. (I've seen estimates ranging from 10e-50 to 10e-150.) Evolution includes a selection mechanism which makes these odds irrelevant, and indeed probably makes increases in complexity inevitible. Creationism, however, says that not just one DNA strand, but millions of entire organisms came together all at once. The odds against that happening are so low that calling it impossible is almost an understatement. ----- Authoritative problems There is substantial disagreement about Creationism among the authorities on it. Some take a strict young earth position; others reject evolution but believe the earth is very old; many other theologians reject Creationism and Biblical literalism entirely. On the other hand, among those who have studied evoltion, agreement about its basic mechanisms is essentially unanimous. The most vocal Creationist leaders frequently resort to immoral means to promote their cause. Specifically, they often falsely equate evolution with atheism, and they often quote scientists out of context to imply meanings opposite what the scientist said. ----- Moral problems Creationism promotes narrowmindedness and bigotry by focusing entirely on one source for information and disregarding all others. The events in the Bible are contradicted by creation stories of several other religions; why should the other religions be completely disregarded? Those who study evolution, on the other hand, are constantly looking for new sources of evidence. Creationism promotes intellectual dishonesty (and frequently more blatant dishonesty) by actively denying other sources of information. Creationist leaders introduce a false dichotomy between religion and science, instilling a fear and mistrust of science and scientists among their followers. Creationism promotes hubris--indeed, it is based on hubris--because the Creationists themselves ultimately get to decide their own answers to questions. Although they claim that their answers come from the Bible, they get to decide what the "correct" interpretation of the Bible is, and anyone who disagrees with their interpretation is simply wrong. On the other hand, studies on evolution must be checked against reality, and this checking occurs in an atmosphere which is usually hostile to ideas which don't have real evidence to back them up. Creationism further promotes arrogance by considering mankind the pinnacle of existence. It promotes sexism by considering the first woman secondary to man, and by blaming women for evil entering the world. By giving man dominion over the earth, Creationism promotes environmental exploitation. Evolutionary biology, on the other hand, is an indispensible part of the field of conservation biology. ----- Spiritual problems A literal reading of Genesis obscures its deeper meanings. Creationism promotes atheism. It claims that a true faith is necessarily associated with beliefs in factual claims that observably aren't true. People who make those observation have the choice either to deny the facts, deny their faith, or deny a link between the two. Creationists say the last is not an option. Creationists eliminate spirituality from their religion by reducing faith to a matter of belief. Belief by itself is worse than useless, or else God, bigfoot, and UFOs would all be in the same category. Faith does not attempt to pigeonhole everything according to a single inflexible interpretation, but requires an acceptance of God's works the way they are. This is the faith which raises religion above the level of superstition and fairy tale and gives it some meaning, and this is the faith which Creationism destroys.

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