Difference between revisions of "Evolutionism"

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'''Evolutionism''' refers to doctrines of evolution,<ref>{{cite book |author=Kirkpatrick, E. M.; Davidson, George D.; Seaton, M. A.; Simpson, J. R. |title=Chambers concise 20th century dictionary |publisher=Chambers |location=Edinburgh |year=1985 |pages= |isbn=0-550-10553-0 |oclc= |doi= |accessdate=}}</ref> and more specifically to a widely held 19th century belief that [[organism]]s are intrinsically bound to improve themselves, and that changes are progressive and arise through [[inheritance of acquired characters]], as in [[Lamarckism]]. The belief was extended to include [[cultural evolution]] and [[social evolution]].<ref name="isbn0-550-11000-3">{{cite book |author=Allen, R. T.; Allen, Robert W. |title=Chambers encyclopedic English dictionary |publisher=Chambers |location=Edinburgh |year=1994 |pages= |isbn=0-550-11000-3 |oclc= |doi= |accessdate=}}</ref> The term can be used to refer to acceptance of the [[Modern evolutionary synthesis|modern evolutionary theory]] of biological [[evolution]], and is also used in a broader sense as a world-view covering a wide variety of topics, including chemical evolution as an alternative term for [[abiogenesis]] or for [[nucleosynthesis]] of [[chemical element]]s, [[galaxy formation and evolution]], [[stellar evolution]], [[spiritual evolution]], [[technological evolution]] and [[universal evolution]] which seeks to explain every aspect of this world in which we live.<ref name="urlEvolutionism">{{cite web |url=http://www.allaboutphilosophy.org/evolutionism.htm |title=Evolutionism |author= |authorlink= |coauthors= |date=2002–2008 |format= |work= |publisher=AllAboutGOD.com, Colorado Springs, Colorado 80949 |accessdate=2008-12-05}}</ref>
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'''Evolutionism''', as opposed to [[Creationism]], is the ''advocacy of or belief in biological evolution''.<ref>"evolutionism." The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004. 20 Mar. 2007. <Dictionary.com http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/evolutionism>.</ref> Therefore one who ''believes in or supports a [[evolution|theory of evolution]]''<ref>"evolutionist." Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1). Random House, Inc. 21 Mar. 2007. <Dictionary.com http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/evolutionist>.</ref> 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.
  
In the [[creation-evolution controversy]], those who accept the [[scientific theory]] of biological [[evolution]] by [[natural selection]] or [[genetic drift]] are often called "evolutionists", and the theory of evolution itself is referred to as "evolutionism" by [[creationism|creationists]] who portray it as a kind of secular religion.<ref name=Ruse>{{cite web |url=http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/299/5612/1523 |title=PERCEPTIONS IN SCIENCE: Is Evolution a Secular Religion? -- Ruse |author=Michael Ruse |authorlink=Michael Ruse |date=March 2003 |work= |publisher=[[Science (journal)|Science]] |pages=299 (5612): 1523 |accessdate=2008-12-05}}</ref> This term is used to suggest that evolution is an [[ideology]] such as creationism and other "[[-ism]]s", particularly [[atheism]].<ref name=ICRMuseum>{{cite web |url=http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/icr-visit/linke.html |title=A Visit to the ICR Museum |author=Steven Linke |date=August 28, 1992 |publisher=[[TalkOrigins Archive]]|quote=In fact, true science supports the Biblical worldview... However, science does not support false religions (e.g. atheism, evolutionism, pantheism, humanism, etc.) |accessdate=2008-12-05}}</ref> In this way, creationists support their claim that the scientific theory of evolution is in its basics a belief, dogma, ideology or even a religion, rather than a scientific theory. The basis of this argument is to establish that the creation-evolution controversy is essentially one of interpretation of evidence, without any overwhelming proof (beyond current scientific theories) on either side. Creationists tend to use the term evolutionism in order to suggest that the theory of evolution and creationism are equal in a philosophical debate.<ref>{{cite web |url=http://www.talkorigins.org/origins/postmonth/jul03.html |title=The Talk.Origins Archive Post of the Month: July 2003 |author=Louann Miller |accessdate=2008-12-05}}</ref> The terms "evolutionism" and "evolutionist" are rarely used in the [[scientific community]] as self-descriptive terms.
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The term evolutionism is used differently in different circles of thought. Generally [[Young Earth Creationism|Young Earth Creationists]] use it as a reference to what they believe is the [[world view]] or [[presupposition]] aspect of the scientific theory of evolution. The term is not necessarily used as a world view unto itself, but is more based off of and is possibly an extension of a variety of other world views including [[Materialism]], [[Naturalism]]<ref>[http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CA/CA601.html CA601: Evolution and Naturalism] - TalkOrigins Archive</ref>, and [[Humanism]] in its broadest sense. Many that hold to the theory of evolution have been known to be [[Atheism|atheists]] as well, but this does not represent the entirety or whole.
 +
{{cquote|''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...''<ref>[http://www.allaboutphilosophy.org/evolutionism.htm Evolutionism - AllAboutPhilosophy] - Accessed on March 22, 2007.</ref>}}
  
"Evolutionism" is defined by the [[Oxford English Dictionary|OED]] as "the [[theory of evolution]], evolutionary assumptions or principles".
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==Theistic Evolution==
 +
[[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.<ref>[http://www.catholic.net/RCC/Periodicals/Dossier/0102-97/Article3.html Mark Brumley, Evolution and the Pope]</ref>
  
==Development of usage==
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==Foundational question/starting point==
Anthropologists and biologists refer to "evolutionists" in the 19th century as those who believed that the cultures or life forms being studied are evolving to a ''particular'' form (see [[Platonic form]]). Very few scientists today, if any, believe that evolution in culture or biology works that way, and serious discussions generally take caution to distance themselves from that perspective.  
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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.
  
Evolutionary biology explains biotic changes in terms of internal processes and gradual development as a natural progression of previously existing lifeforms.  Evolution neither denies nor requires a role for [[divine intervention]]. Before the 19th century there were a number of hypotheses regarding the evolution of all material phenomena: suns, moons, planets, earth, life, civilization, and society. The number of hypotheses being propounded increased dramatically in the middle of the 19th century.
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===According to biblical Creationists (Young Earth)===
 +
* God exists (world view)
 +
** Therefore we need to explain everything based on that "fact"
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*** Thus science is done on the basis that "God exists"
 +
**** The Bible comes ''before'' science. The science is based on the world view.
  
In modern times, the term ''[[evolution]]'' is widely used, but the terms ''evolutionism'' and ''evolutionist'' are rarely used in scientific circles to refer to the biological discipline.  The term evolution was popularised during the 19th century by [[Herbert Spencer]] to mean [[cultural evolution]]; i.e. the increasing [[complexity]] of cultures (see [[Cultural evolution#History of the theory of cultural evolution|History of the theory of cultural evolution]]) &mdash; it was only later that it acquired its [[evolution|biological meaning]].  Advocacy of such theory was called evolutionism.
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===According to biblical Theistic Evolutionists (Old Earth)===
 +
There is disagreement among [[Theistic Evolution]]ists, as not all hold that God is not involved presently in His creation.
  
Most scientists object to the terms ''evolutionism'' and ''evolutionist''{{Fact|date=October 2008}} because the -ism and -ist suffixes accentuate [[belief]] rather than scientific study. Conversely, [[creationists]] use those same two terms partly because the terms accentuate belief, and partly perhaps because they provide a way to package their opposition into one group, seemingly atheist and materialist, designations which are considered to be irrelevant to [[natural science]].
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'''Impersonal God'''
 +
* There is no personal/involved God (world view)
 +
** 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
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**** ''Theistic Evolutionism'' comes ''before'' the ''Scientific Theory of Evolution''. The science is based on the world view.
  
==See also==
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'''Personal God'''
* [[Darwinism]]
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* There is a personal/involved God (world view)
* [[Scientism]]
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** 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 world view.
  
==Notes==
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===According to Atheistic Evolutionists===
{{reflist}}
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Some proponents of the scientific theory of evolution reject the idea of a philosophy or world view 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 world view; 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 (world view)
 +
** 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 world view.
 +
 
 +
'''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
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*** Thus science is done on the basis of there being no God (i.e. [[naturalism]]) (unless His existence becomes objectively proven)
 +
**** Naturalism comes ''before'' the science. The science is based on the world view.
 +
 
 +
===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<ref>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''.</ref> 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, <ref>"I count myself among the evolutionists", S.J. Gould [http://www.stephenjaygould.org/library/gould_fact-and-theory.html], also "Evolutionists have been very clear about this distinction of fact and theory". [http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/evolution-fact.html]</ref> and his obituary read "Evolutionist Stephen Jay Gould dead".<ref>S.F. Chronicle, 1981 [http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2002/05/21/MN175165.DTL]</ref> 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 [[world view]]. 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 Creationism|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 world views, while the scientific theory of evolution is the result of the ''Evolutionist'' presupposition. In other words, they say that Evolutionism is the collective world view 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. M. Green, a Creationist, put it this way in his ''Faith of Darwinism'' (emphasis added).
 +
{{cquote|''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.<ref name="mgreen" />''}}
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 +
Evolution has been a recent source of controversy in the [[United States]]{{fact}}. Some prominent Americans seriously question evolution{{fact}}, 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".<ref>http://www.bradburyac.mistral.co.uk/dar1.html</ref>  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."<ref>http://www.bradburyac.mistral.co.uk/dar1.html</ref>
 +
 
 +
===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 <ref>http://web.newsguy.com/rubyredinger/age.html</ref>, which is well established by archaeology and secular history.  Accordingly, the birth of Adam can be placed at approximately 4,163 BC and the initial creation of the universe six days prior.
 +
 
 +
==Quotes==
 +
'''''Evolutionism requires faith'' quotes (by Evolutionists)''':
 +
{{cquote|'''Michael Ruse'''<br />''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.''<ref>MICHAEL RUSE [http://www.omniology.com/HowEvolutionBecameReligion.html HOW EVOLUTION BECAME A RELIGION]</ref>}}
 +
'''''Evolutionism requires faith'' quotes (by Creationists)''':<ref>[http://www.nwcreation.net/evolutionism.html Evolutionism - Is Evolution a Religion?] - Northwest Creation Network</ref>
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{{cquote|'''L.N. Matthews'''<br />''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? <ref>L.N. Matthews, "Introduction" to Charles Darwin, Origin of the Species, pp. x, xi (1971 edition)</ref>''}}
 +
{{cquote|'''J.W.N. Sullivan'''<br />''The hypothesis that life has developed from inorganic matter is, at present, still an article of faith. <ref>J.W.N. Sullivan, Limitations of Science (1933), p95.</ref>''}}
 +
{{cquote|'''[[R.L. Wysong]]'''<br />''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. <ref>R.L. Wysong, The Creation-Evolution Controversy (1981), p. 455.</ref>''}}
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{{cquote|'''T. Lessl'''<br />''"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." <ref>T. Lessl, Science and the Sacred Cosmos: The Ideological Rhetoric of Carl Sagan," Quarterly Journal of Speech, 71:178 (1985).</ref>''}}
 +
{{cquote|'''M. Grene'''<br />''"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." <ref name="mgreen">M. Grene, Faith of Darwinism," Encounter, November (1959), p49.</ref>''}}
 +
 
 +
==See also==
 +
*[[Creationism]]
 +
*[[Faith]]
 +
*[[Humanism]]
 +
*[[Naturalistic religions]]
 +
*[[Religion]]
 +
*[[Theism]]
  
 
==References==
 
==References==
* Carneiro, Robert, ''Evolutionism in Cultural Anthropology: A Critical History'' ISBN 0-8133-3766-6
+
{{reflist|2}}
* {{cite book  |title=World Religions and Social Evolution of the Old World Oikumene Civilizations: A Cross-cultural Perspective |edition=First Edition |last=Korotayev |first=Andrey  | authorlink=Andrey Korotayev |publisher=Edwin Mellen Press |location=Lewiston, New York |year=2004 |isbn=0-7734-6310-0}} (on the applicability of this notion to the study of [[social evolution]]).
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* Review of ''[[William Buckland|Buckland's]] [[Bridgewater Treatise]]'', ''The Times'' Tuesday, [[November 15]], [[1836]]; pg. 3; Issue 16261; col E. ("annihilates the doctrine of spontaneous and progressive evolution of life, and its impious corollary, chance")
+
* Review of [[Charles Darwin]]'s ''The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals'' ''The Times'' Friday, [[December 13]], [[1872]]; pg. 4; Issue 27559; col A. ("His [Darwin's] thorough-going 'evolutionism' tends to eliminate . . . .")
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* Ruse, Michael. 2003. ''[http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/299/5612/1523 Is Evolution a Secular Religion?]'' Science 299:1523-1524 (concluding that [[evolutionary biology]] is not a religion in any sense but noting that several evolutionary biologists, such as [[Edward O. Wilson]], in their roles as citizens concerned about getting the public to deal with reality, have made statements like "evolution is a [[Mythology|myth]] that is now ready to take over [[Christianity]]").
+
  
 
==External links==
 
==External links==
* [http://www.ncseweb.org/ National Center for Science Education] - The [[National Center for Science Education]]
+
'''Notes'''
* [http://www.gate.net/~rwms/EvoEvidence.html Evidence for evolution]  
+
:'''''Affirmative''' articles that attempt to rebut the faith claim of creationists.''
* [http://www.evolutionpages.com/Writing.htm Evolution pages]
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:'''''Critical''' articles that claim evolutionism involves faith.''
 +
 
 +
{| class="wikitable" width="100%"
 +
! Affirmative !! Critical
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|-
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| valign="top" width="50%"|
 +
'''TalkOrigins'''
 +
*[http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CA/CA612.html CA612: Evolution requiring faith]
 +
**[http://creationwiki.org/%28Talk.Origins%29_Evolution_requires_as_much_faith_as_creationism CreationWiki response]
 +
*[http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CA/CA610.html CA610: Evolution religious]
 +
**[http://creationwiki.org/%28Talk.Origins%29_Evolution_is_a_religion CreationWiki response]
 +
*[http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CA/CA001.html CA001: Evolution is the foundation of an immoral world view]
 +
**[http://creationwiki.org/%28Talk.Origins%29_Evolution_is_the_foundation_of_an_immoral_worldview CreationWiki response]
 +
*[http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/evolphil/metaphysics.html Evolution and Philosophy: Metaphysics]
 +
'''EvoWiki'''
 +
*[http://wiki.cotch.net/index.php/Evolution_is_the_foundation_of_an_immoral_worldview Evolution is the foundation of an immoral world view]
  
[[Category:Anthropology]]
+
| valign="top" width="50%"|
[[Category:Evolution]]
+
'''DrDino'''
 +
* [http://www.drdino.com/articles.php?spec=25 Evolution Is Based On Modern Myths]
 +
'''Creationists.org'''
 +
* [http://www.creationists.org/evolutionisreligion.html Evolution is a Religion]
 +
'''Northwest Creation Network'''
 +
* [http://www.nwcreation.net/evolutionism.html Evolutionism - Is Evolution a religion?]
 +
'''Creation Ministries International'''
 +
* [http://www.creationontheweb.com/content/view/1491/ Evolution as religion]
 +
* [http://www.creationontheweb.com/content/view/4139 Leading anti-creationist philosopher admits that evolution is a religion]
 +
'''Answers in Genesis'''
 +
* [http://www.answersingenesis.org/docs2002/0930religion.asp The Religion of Evolution]
 +
* [http://www.answersingenesis.org/home/area/the-lie/chapter2.asp Evolution is Religion]
 +
'''CreationWiki'''
 +
*[http://creationwiki.org/%28Talk.Origins%29_Evolution_requires_as_much_faith_as_creationism Evolution requires as much faith as creationism] - Rebuttal of TalkOrigins Archive
 +
*[http://creationwiki.org/%28Talk.Origins%29_Evolution_is_a_religion Evolution is a religion] - Rebuttal of TalkOrigins Archive
 +
'''Institute for Creation Research'''
 +
* [http://www.icr.org/article/201/ Evolution is Religion, not Science (1)], [http://www.icr.org/article/455/ (2)]
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|}
  
[[cs:Evolucionismus]]
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[[Category:Naturalism]]
[[da:Evolutionisme]]
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[[nl:Evolutionisme]]
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[[ja:進化主義]]
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[[pl:Ewolucjonizm]]
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[[sr:Еволуционизам]]
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Revision as of 06:37, 27 December 2008

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 world view or presupposition aspect of the scientific theory of evolution. The term is not necessarily used as a world view unto itself, but is more based off of and is possibly an extension of a variety of other world views 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]

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]

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 (world view)
    • 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 world view.

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 (world view)
    • 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 world view.

Personal God

  • There is a personal/involved God (world view)
    • 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 world view.

According to Atheistic Evolutionists

Some proponents of the scientific theory of evolution reject the idea of a philosophy or world view 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 world view; 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 (world view)
    • 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 world view.

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 done on the basis of there being no God (i.e. naturalism) (unless His existence becomes objectively proven)
        • Naturalism comes before the science. The science is based on the world view.

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[6] 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, [7] and his obituary read "Evolutionist Stephen Jay Gould dead".[8] 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 world view. 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 world views, while the scientific theory of evolution is the result of the Evolutionist presupposition. In other words, they say that Evolutionism is the collective world view 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. M. Green, a Creationist, put it this way in his 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.[9]

Evolution has been a recent source of controversy in the United States[Citation Needed]. Some prominent Americans seriously question evolution[Citation Needed], 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".[10] 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."[11]

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 [12], which is well established by archaeology and secular history. Accordingly, the birth of Adam can be placed at approximately 4,163 BC and the initial creation of the universe six days prior.

Quotes

Evolutionism requires faith quotes (by Evolutionists):

Michael Ruse
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.[13]

Evolutionism requires faith quotes (by Creationists):[14]

L.N. 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? [15]
J.W.N. Sullivan
The hypothesis that life has developed from inorganic matter is, at present, still an article of faith. [16]
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. [17]
T. 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." [18]
M. 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." [9]

See also

References

  1. "evolutionism." The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004. 20 Mar. 2007. <Dictionary.com http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/evolutionism>.
  2. "evolutionist." Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1). Random House, Inc. 21 Mar. 2007. <Dictionary.com http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/evolutionist>.
  3. CA601: Evolution and Naturalism - TalkOrigins Archive
  4. Evolutionism - AllAboutPhilosophy - Accessed on March 22, 2007.
  5. Mark Brumley, Evolution and the Pope
  6. 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.
  7. "I count myself among the evolutionists", S.J. Gould [1], also "Evolutionists have been very clear about this distinction of fact and theory". [2]
  8. S.F. Chronicle, 1981 [3]
  9. 9.0 9.1 M. Grene, Faith of Darwinism," Encounter, November (1959), p49.
  10. http://www.bradburyac.mistral.co.uk/dar1.html
  11. http://www.bradburyac.mistral.co.uk/dar1.html
  12. http://web.newsguy.com/rubyredinger/age.html
  13. MICHAEL RUSE HOW EVOLUTION BECAME A RELIGION
  14. Evolutionism - Is Evolution a Religion? - Northwest Creation Network
  15. L.N. Matthews, "Introduction" to Charles Darwin, Origin of the Species, pp. x, xi (1971 edition)
  16. J.W.N. Sullivan, Limitations of Science (1933), p95.
  17. R.L. Wysong, The Creation-Evolution Controversy (1981), p. 455.
  18. T. Lessl, Science and the Sacred Cosmos: The Ideological Rhetoric of Carl Sagan," Quarterly Journal of Speech, 71:178 (1985).

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