Evolutionism

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Evolutionism, as opposed to Creationism, is the advocacy of or belief in biological evolution.[1] Therefore one who believes in or supports a theory of evolution[2] would be referred to as an evolutionist. Evolutionism, used in a general sense, encompasses any type of biological evolutionist. Broken down into two categories, "Evolutionism" and "Evolutionists" usually involve Atheistic/Agnostic Evolutionists (evolution without God) and Theistic Evolutionists (evolution with God). Those categories can be further broken down, but they are the main two.

The term evolutionism is used differently in different circles of thought. Generally Young Earth Creationists use it as a reference to what they believe is the worldview or presupposition aspect of the scientific theory of evolution. The term is not necessarily used as a worldview unto itself, but is more based off of and is possibly an extension of a variety of other worldviews including Materialism, Naturalism[3], and Humanism in its broadest sense. Many that hold to the theory of evolution have been known to be atheists as well, but this does not represent the entirety or whole.

Evolutionism is a world-view, which seeks to explain every aspect of this world in which we live. It encompasses a wide variety of topics, from astronomy to chemistry to biology. At its core, it teaches that there were different stages in the evolution of our universe...[4]

Evolutionists think of themselves as well-read and learned, but know virtually nothing about the Bible (unless they learned it in their childhoods). Evolutionists almost never read the Bible or are even willing to discuss it.

Contents

Theistic Evolution

Theistic Evolutionists believe that God created the universe and did not intervene directly in the evolutionary process. In general, theistic evolutionists accept the evolutionist ideas of the age of the earth and common descent. Theistic evolutionists believe that at some point God intervened in a metaphysical fashion to give souls to some small group of human ancestors. The Catholic Church holds that this is consistent with the Catholic faith.[5] Roughly twice as many people in the U.S. believe in this type of evolution (30%), as opposed to godless evolution that most atheists believe in (just a mere 13% of people). However both of these combined is still less people than the amount of people who believe in Young Earth Creation (48%), as told by the Bible[6].

Foundational question/starting point

All the viewpoints take a step of faith as some might refer to it. In other words, there is a common starting point or foundational question (it's a God-related question) that each one asks, and then forms their conclusions around.

According to biblical Creationists (Young Earth)

  • God exists (worldview)
    • Therefore we need to explain everything based on that "fact"
      • Thus science is done on the basis that "God exists"
        • The Bible comes before science. The science is based on the worldview.

According to biblical Theistic Evolutionists (Old Earth)

There is disagreement among Theistic Evolutionists, as not all hold that God is not involved presently in His creation.

Impersonal God

  • There is no personal/involved God (worldview)
    • Therefore we need to explain everything based on that "fact"
      • Thus science is done on the basis that God is not involved in His creation
        • Theistic Evolutionism comes before the Scientific Theory of Evolution. The science is based on the worldview.

Personal God

  • There is a personal/involved God (worldview)
    • Therefore we need to explain everything based on that "fact"
      • Thus science is done on the basis that there is a "personal God"
        • Theistic Evolutionism comes before the Scientific Theory of Evolution. The science is based on the worldview.

According to Atheistic Evolutionists

Some proponents of the scientific theory of evolution reject the idea of a philosophy or worldview that guides their conclusions in scientific experimentation. However evolutionists who are 'strong atheists' and who make a positive assertion that there is no God, do in fact have a worldview; whereas 'weak atheists', who maintain there is probably no God due to lack of any objective evidence of Him, rely on science.

Strong Atheism

  • There is no God (worldview)
    • Therefore we need to explain everything based on that "fact"
      • Thus science is done on the basis of there being no God (i.e. naturalism)
        • Naturalism comes before the science. The science is based on the worldview.

Weak Atheism

  • So far, there is no objective proof of God
    • Therefore, we do not need to interpret evidence to fit in with the "fact" of God's existence
      • Thus science is not done on the basis of there being a God (i.e. naturalism) (unless His existence becomes objectively proven)

Comparison

The various viewpoints can be compared in general ways as they all have some sort of starting point. The general Creationist starting point is God, which then all the universe is based on including that of science. Some Theistic Evolutionists hold to a similar God idea, yet emphasize a somewhat secondary origin[7] in the evolutionary process. Atheistic evolutionists say that we must prove God by science, therefore their intellectual starting point is science itself.

Controversy

Usage of terminology

The term evolutionism uses the suffix -ism, which is commonly used to designate varieties of philosophical opinion, and some people who support evolution prefer to use other terms. Others are happy to call themselves evolutionists, and the terms have been in common use for a century. For example, the most popular American proponent of evolution called himself an evolutionist,[8] and his obituary read "Evolutionist Stephen Jay Gould dead".[9] This is all part of the controversy over evolution itself (see Origins debate).

Some Atheistic/Agnostic Evolutionists say that the term Evolutionism is simply a false Creationist perception, or pejorative assertion that science represents merely another religion. They disagree that the theory of evolution is based on a philosophy or worldview. They say that the perception finds no grounding in reality, other than as a rhetorical dramatization. However, according to creationists, this disagreement arises from a misunderstanding of terms. Biblical Young Earth Creationists hold both terms in philosophically equal light, up to a certain point. They would say that the term "Evolutionism" has the same or very similar meaning to "Creationism" as it relates to a supposed philosophical/foundational starting point or question (does God exist?). They say the term "Evolutionism" refers to a subset of a combination of worldviews, while the scientific theory of evolution is the result of the Evolutionist presupposition. In other words, they say that Evolutionism is the collective worldview behind the scientific theory of evolution. However, that's where the similarities end with Creationism.

Religion and Evolutionism

Some Creationists point out that they see various religious aspects, not in the theory of evolution itself (although they don't exclude that necessarily), but in the Evolutionists themselves. Some will say how Evolutionists have a religious fervor over what Creationists believe is false science. Some Evolutionists have historically misunderstood this for Creationists labeling science itself as a religion. Dr. Marjorie Grene, a philosopher, put it this way in her article "The Faith of Darwinism" (emphasis added):

Today the tables are turned. The modified, but still characteristically Darwinian theory has itself become an orthodoxy, preached by its adherents with religious fervor, and doubted, they feel, only by a few muddlers imperfect in scientific faith.[10]

Evolution has been a recent source of controversy in the United States[11]. Some prominent Americans seriously question evolution[12], based on a feeling that it conflicts with religious beliefs. However, according to Evolutionists, at least one aspect of religion and evolution is not mutually exclusive. Some deeply religious evolutionists believe that God set evolution into effect, which is no detraction to His majesty. This is referring to the theory of Theistic Evolution.

Religiosity and the cult of personality surrounding Charles Darwin

There is a cult of personality and type of religiosity currently surrounding Charles Darwin. Stephen Jay Gould wrote the following in 1978: "[A]ll theories [of natural selection] cite God in their support, and ... Darwin comes close to this status among evolutionary biologists".[13] In 2002, Michael White similarly wrote: "Of course today, for biologists, Darwin is second only to God, and for many he may rank still higher."[13]

Biblical Young Earth Creationist's problem with a Biblical Old Earth

Taking the Bible literally, there are no gaps permitting an undocumented period of time between the creation week and the fall of the temple in Jerusalem in 587 BC [14], which is well established by archaeology and secular history. Accordingly, the creation of Adam can be placed at approximately 4,163 BC and the initial creation of the universe six days prior.

Quotes supporting the position that evolutionism requires faith[15]

J.W.N. Sullivan (science author)
The hypothesis that life has developed from inorganic matter is, at present, still an article of faith....[16]
Dr. M.G. Grene
Today the tables are turned. The modified, but still characteristically Darwinian theory has itself become an orthodoxy, preached by its adherents with religious fervor, and doubted, they feel, only by a few muddlers imperfect in scientific faith.[10]
Dr. L.H. Matthews
The fact of evolution is the backbone of biology, and biology is thus in the peculiar position of being a science founded on an unproved theory—is it then a science or faith?[17]
Dr. R.L. Wysong
"Evolution requires plenty of faith; a faith in L-proteins that defy chance formation; a faith in the formation of DNA codes which, if generated spontaneously, would spell only pandemonium; a faith in a primitive environment that, in reality, would fiendishly devour any chemical precursors to life; a faith in experiments that prove nothing but the need for intelligence in the beginning; a faith in a primitive ocean that would not thicken, but would only haplessly dilute chemicals; a faith in natural laws of thermodynamics and biogenesis that actually deny the possibility for the spontaneous generation of life; a faith in future scientific revelations that, when realized, always seem to present more dilemmas to the evolutionists; faith in improbabilities that treasonously tell two stories—one denying evolution, the other confirming the creator; faith in transformations that remain fixed; faith in mutations and natural selection that add to a double negative for evolution; faith in fossils that embarrassingly show fixity through time, regular absence of transitional forms and striking testimony to a worldwide water deluge; a faith in time which proves to only promote degradation in the absence of mind; and faith in reductionism that ends up reducing the materialist's arguments to zero and forcing the need to invoke a supernatural creator."[18]
Dr. T.M. Lessl
By calling evolution fact, the process of evolution is removed from dispute; it is no longer merely a scientific construct, but now stands apart from humankind and its perceptual frailties. Sagan apparently wishes to accomplish what Peter Berger calls "objectification," the attribution of objective reality to a humanly produced concept . . With evolution no longer regarded as a mere human construct, but now as a part of the natural order of the cosmos, evolution becomes a sacred archetype against which human actions can be weighed. Evolution is a sacred object or process in that it becomes endowed with mysterious and awesome power.[19]
Dr. M. Ruse (evolutionist)
Evolution is promoted by its practitioners as more than mere science. Evolution is promulgated as an ideology, a secular religion — a full-fledged alternative to Christianity, with meaning and morality. I am an ardent evolutionist and an ex-Christian, but I must admit that in this one complaint — and Mr. Gish is but one of many to make it — the literalists are absolutely right. Evolution is a religion. This was true of evolution in the beginning, and it is true of evolution still today.[20]

See also

References

  1. "Evolutionism" (2009). The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th ed. (Boston: Houghton Mifflin). Retrieved from The Free Dictionary on September 14, 2014.
  2. "Evolutionist". Random House Dictionary. (New York: Random House). Retrieved from Dictionary.com Unabridged on September 14, 2014.
  3. Multiple references:
  4. "Evolutionism—A broad overview" (2007). All About Philosophy. Accessed on September 14, 2014.
  5. Brumley, Mark (January/February 1997). "Evolution and the pope". Catholic Dossier. Retrieved from Catholic.net as archived at Internet Archive on September 14, 2014.
  6. College politico (2008). "Poll: Most Americans don't believe evolution". HubPages. Retrieved on September 14, 2014.
  7. Some Theistic Evolutionists believe that God created the universe and yet He is no longer involved in it. Therefore "secondary origin" is referring to the idea that God is the origin of the universe, but not necessarily You and Me.
  8. "I count myself among the evolutionists", Gould, Stephen J. (May 1981). "Evolution as fact and theory", Discover, vol. 2, pp. 34-37. Retrieved from the Unofficial Stephen Jay Gould Archive on September 14, 2014. Also "Evolutionists have been very clear about this distinction of fact and theory".
  9. Davidson, Keay (May 21, 2002). "Evolutionist Stephen Jay Gould dead / Paleontologist proposed punctuated equilibrium theory". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved from SFGate on September 14, 2014.
  10. 10.0 10.1 Grene, Marjorie (November 1959). "The Faith of Darwinism". Encounter, p. 49. Reprinted in Grene, Marjorie (1974), The Knower and the Known (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press), p. 187. Retrieved from GoogleBooks on September 17, 2014.
  11. Linder, Doug (2014). "The evolution controversy". University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law website. Retrieved on September 15, 2014.
  12. BSR (May 6, 2007). "Mike Huckabee does not believe in evolution alone". Mike Huckabee President 2016. Retrieved on September 15, 2014.
  13. 13.0 13.1 Bradbury, Andrew J. (2006). "Part 1: Metaphors and myths". Charles Darwin—The Truth?, part 1, sec. "Darwinism as a Religion", par. 1. Retrieved on September 15, 2014.
  14. Redinger, Ruby (2007). "Biblical age of the Earth". Biblical Age of the Earth. Retrieved on September 15, 2014 from July 1, 2007 archive at Internet Archive.
  15. "Evolutionism quotes" (2004). Northwest Creation Network. Retrieved on September 15, 2014.
  16. Sullivan, John W.N. (1933). The Limitations of Science (New York: The Viking Press), p. 95. Quoted in review by New Catholic World [preview], vol. 138, p. 520. Preview retrieved from GoogleBooks on September 17, 2014.
  17. Matthews, L. Harrison (1972), "Introduction" to Darwin, Charles (1872), The Origin of Species, 6th ed. (London: J. M. Dent), pp. x-xi. Quoted in "Evolutionism quotes".
  18. Wysong, R.L. (1976). The Creation-Evolution Controversy (Midland, MI: Inquiry Press), p. 419. Retrieved from GoogleBooks on September 17, 2014.
  19. Lessl, Thomas M. (1985). "Science and the sacred cosmos: the ideological rhetoric of Carl Sagan". Quarterly Journal of Speech, vol. 71, no. 2, p. 178. Quoted in "Evolutionism quotes".
  20. Ruse, Michael (May 13, 2000). "Saving Darwinism from the Darwinians.". National Post, p. B-3. Retrieved from Omniology.com as "How evolution became a religion" on September 15, 2014. Caution: may be copyrighted; for fair educational use only.

External links

Notes

Affirmative articles that attempt to rebut the faith claim of creationists.
Critical articles that claim evolutionism involves faith.
Affirmative Critical

TalkOrigins

EvoWiki

DrDino

Creationists.org

Northwest Creation Network

Creation Ministries International

Answers in Genesis

CreationWiki

Institute for Creation Research

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