Creationism and life in general

Some people believe in a literal six day creation. My question is, so what? What practical problem could possibly be caused by this? Oh, I know some people are afraid this might end up in schools. I get that. But so far, I’ve seen zero credible evidence to suggest it is a significant problem.

Thoughts?

Peace,
Ed

Um, that there is no physical evidence to back it up? What could you put in the history/biology book?

Jews, Christians, and Muslims believe the world was created in 6 days by the God of Abraham, based upon a literal interpretation of the book of Genesis.

I mean what else?

Fossils being a different levels, carbon dating, and science in general point to evolution. Yes, at the current time it is a theory, but then again, so was every scientific fact at one point or another.

[quote="Redratfish, post:2, topic:238856"]
Um, that there is no physical evidence to back it up? What could you put in the history/biology book?

Jews, Christians, and Muslims believe the world was created in 6 days by the God of Abraham, based upon a literal interpretation of the book of Genesis.

I mean what else?

Fossils being a different levels, carbon dating, and science in general point to evolution. Yes, at the current time it is a theory, but then again, so was every scientific fact at one point or another.

[/quote]

Agreed. Also, if this came up in a religious debate this would be a major flaw and possible reason for an atheist not to convert.

An interval of time is relative to the periodic motion of, e.g., planetary bodies (e.g., moon or sun relative to the earth), to the oscillation of a cesium atom in an atomic clock, or a swinging pendulum. But before there were even these bodies, how can Genesis say “1st day,” etc.? The Hebrew word used for “day” is yom (as in “Yom Kippur”). It can mean both “the time between two consecutive sunrises or sunsets” or “a period of time in general, be it an instant or a duration.” So Genesis uses the word to delineate a sequence of events, beginning with creating light, water, the stars and culminating in the creation of man and woman.

We must believe in the six day creation because all the senses of scripture are based on the literal. It is figuring out what a "day" means that we are speculating.

The "so what" moment also comes from the Church, as, in that if the answer mattered concretely, she would propose it definitively because God would not keep this from the Church nor us.

From the document 2004 "Communion and Stewardship" of the International Theological Commission, ratified by then Cardinal Ratzinger, now the currernt Pope:

(Diverse emphases added.)

vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/cti_documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_20040723_communion-stewardship_en.html

  1. The endeavor to understand the universe has marked human culture in every period and in nearly every society. In the perspective of the Christian faith, this endeavor is precisely an instance of the stewardship which human beings exercise in accordance with God's plan. Without embracing a discredited concordism, **Christians have the responsibility to locate the modern scientific understanding of the universe within the context of the theology of creation. **The place of human beings in the history of this evolving universe, as it has been charted by modern sciences, can only be seen in its complete reality in the light of faith, as a personal history of the engagement of the triune God with creaturely persons.

  2. **According to the widely accepted scientific account, **the universe erupted 15 billion years ago in an explosion called the “Big Bang” and has been expanding and cooling ever since. Later there gradually emerged the conditions necessary for the formation of atoms, still later the condensation of galaxies and stars, and about 10 billion years later the formation of planets. In our own solar system and on earth (formed about 4.5 billion years ago), the conditions have been favorable to the emergence of life. While there is little consensus among scientists about how the origin of this first microscopic life is to be explained, there is general agreement among them that the first organism dwelt on this planet about 3.5-4 billion years ago. Since it has been demonstrated that all living organisms on earth are genetically related, it is virtually certain that all living organisms have descended from this first organism. Converging evidence from many studies in the physical and biological sciences furnishes mounting support for some theory of evolution to account for the development and diversification of life on earth, while controversy continues over the pace and mechanisms of evolution. While the story of human origins is complex and subject to revision, physical anthropology and molecular biology combine to make a convincing case for the origin of the human species in Africa about 150,000 years ago in a humanoid population of common genetic lineage. However it is to be explained, the decisive factor in human origins was a continually increasing brain size, culminating in that of homo sapiens. With the development of the human brain, the nature and rate of evolution were permanently altered: with the introduction of the uniquely human factors of consciousness, intentionality, freedom and creativity, biological evolution was recast as social and cultural evolution.

(The document goes on to stress the special creation of the human soul.)

[quote="edwest2, post:1, topic:238856"]
Some people believe in a literal six day creation. My question is, so what? What practical problem could possibly be caused by this? Oh, I know some people are afraid this might end up in schools. I get that. But so far, I've seen zero credible evidence to suggest it is a significant problem.

Thoughts?

Peace,
Ed

[/quote]

  1. It is an apologetics disaster. Refusal of living up to "the responsibility to locate the modern scientific understanding of the universe within the context of the theology of creation" (quote from Communion and Stewardship, cited above) makes a ridicule of Christian faith and will prevent atheists from converting.

  2. As the Catholic Church teaches, there cannot be a true conflict between faith and science, betwen religious truth and scientific truth. Yet Bible literalists, once they discover the scientific truth and thus feel the false and artificial choice between faith and science, will then "choose science" and become atheists (I have seen that mainly with fundamentalist Protestants). In fact, these atheists then often are among the most radical and fanatical ones, see for example certain participants on the blog "Debunking Christianity".

So yes, this is a serious issue, and the saving of souls is at stake.

  1. I have heard that a number of times.

Pope Benedict has clearly stated the Church's position. The primary mission of the Catholic Church is to preach the Gospel to all nations. Nothing about science in there. However, there is no certainty with this theory. And, respectfully, to all atheists reading this: Do you need a Church, any Church, to confirm to you that it accepts a particular scientific theory?

Peace,
Ed

[quote="edwest2, post:8, topic:238856"]
1. I have heard that a number of times.

Pope Benedict has clearly stated the Church's position. The primary mission of the Catholic Church is to preach the Gospel to all nations. Nothing about science in there. However, there is no certainty with this theory. And, respectfully, to all atheists reading this: Do you need a Church, any Church, to confirm to you that it accepts a particular scientific theory?

Peace,
Ed

[/quote]

"It not infrequently happens that something about the earth, about the sky, about other elements of this world, about the motion and rotation or even the magnitude and distances of the stars, about definite eclipses of the sun and moon, about the passage of years and seasons, about the nature of animals, of fruits, of stones, and of other such things, may be known with the greatest certainty by reasoning or by experience, even by one who is not a Christian. It is too disgraceful and ruinous, though, and greatly to be avoided, that he [the non-Christian] should hear a Christian speaking so idiotically on these matters, and as if in accord with Christian writings, that he might say that he could scarcely keep from laughing when he saw how totally in error they are. In view of this and in keeping it in mind constantly while dealing with the book of Genesis, I have, insofar as I was able, explained in detail and set forth for consideration the meanings of obscure passages, taking care not to affirm rashly some one meaning to the prejudice of another and perhaps better explanation."

(Emphasis added.)

St. Augustine, one of the greatest Church Fathers
Source: The Literal Interpretation of Genesis 1:19–20, Chapt. 19, written beginning of the 5th century

No certainty with which theory? That the universe is far more than 6,000 years old, thus there cannot have been a literal 6-day creation? This would be a foolish thing to say.

Or no certainty that evolution is a fact, regardless of the actual mechanism? That would be a foolish thing to say, too.

And, respectfully, to all atheists reading this: Do you need a Church, any Church, to confirm to you that it accepts a particular scientific theory?

I am not an atheist, but I would become one if the teachings of my Church would clash with established scientific facts. Fortunately, this is not the case.

I agree with those who are saying that creation was billions of years and not six days, but what about when they try to teach in schools that we (probably) descended from multiple "first parents," for example? What do we do about that? That part is not compatible with our faith. If I understand Church teaching correctly we must believe in one "Adam" and one "Eve."

And I have seen St. Augustine quoted many times. What does Pope Benedict say?

"Evolution has not been “scientifically” proven and science has unnecessarily narrowed humanity’s view of creation, Pope Benedict has said in his first reflections on the origins of life.

"In comments to students, published yesterday in German, the Pope – who took office in April 2005 – stopped short of endorsing intelligent design and said “faith alone” could not “explain the whole picture”.

"But, he said: “We cannot haul 10,000 generations into the laboratory.”

"He advised the students not to choose between creationism and evolutionary theory but to adopt “an interaction of various dimensions of reason”.

"He said: “I find it important to underline that the theory of evolution implies questions that must be assigned to philosophy and which themselves lead beyond the realms of science.”

"Benedict reflected on comments of his predecessor, John Paul II, who said that theories of evolution were sound as long as they took into account that creation was the work of God, and that Darwin’s theory of evolution was “more than a hypothesis."

"He said: “The pope [John Paul] had his reasons for saying this. But it is also true that the theory of evolution is not a complete, scientifically proven theory.”

All I'm trying to point out is that the Church's position is far more nuanced than a simple accept/deny.

Peace,
Ed

That’s right. Here we find a place that science has not yet understood, and may not for a while.

“It is equally impermissible to dismiss the story of Adam and Eve and the fall (Gen. 2–3) as a fiction. A question often raised in this context is whether the human race descended from an original pair of two human beings (a teaching known as monogenism) or a pool of early human couples (a teaching known as polygenism).”

We must be on our guard in those cases where science intersects divine revelation. For through one man, sin entered the world.

Peace,
Ed

[quote="edwest2, post:1, topic:238856"]
Some people believe in a literal six day creation. My question is, so what? What practical problem could possibly be caused by this? Oh, I know some people are afraid this might end up in schools. I get that. But so far, I've seen zero credible evidence to suggest it is a significant problem.

Thoughts?

Peace,
Ed

[/quote]

I agree. I think that studying and researching the material world through the eyes of both creation and evolution is probably the most objective way, if not the most interesting way, to dig out and explain scientific discoveries. I believe, though, that the teaching in the secular world that the theory of evolution is a proven thing, and thereby suppressing or denying other possibilities, is to throw roadblocks in front of honest scientific inquiry. But on the other hand, since science deals with only those things that can be tested, it doesn't really matter if the scientists doing the testing are creationists, evolutionists, atheists, agnostics, or Christians. It is an impossibility for science, by just the sheer technical and detailed way in which science views things, to reflect the worldview of any individual. In other words, the world combines the words "creation" and "evolution" with the word "science" when dealing with a person's presuppositions.

You are talking about the educational system and how the world is taught. The Church is not ignoring science and it can’t ignore Divine Revelation either. Critics of the Bible have a hard time dealing with the Old Testament and Genesis in particular. The Church cannot ignore the attempts to place science in the role of sole arbiter of the truth.

Some are concerned about a Theocracy. I am concerned about a Technocracy run by imperfect human beings who stained by sin, as we all are, can twist things around because of money.

hup.harvard.edu/catalog.php?isbn=9780674047143

Peace,
Ed

Aside from the fact that anyone that actually believes this is totally ignorant of science (in virtually all aspects), I don't see a particular problem with it, so long as they do not attempt to impose their ignorance on others.

[quote="edwest2, post:12, topic:238856"]
And I have seen St. Augustine quoted many times. What does Pope Benedict say?

...]

"He advised the students not to choose between creationism and evolutionary theory but to adopt “an interaction of various dimensions of reason”.

[/quote]

I agree. You can fully accept the science of evolution and still be a "creationist" in the wider sense of believing that God creates the whole process (that is what I am doing).. But the latter belief is a philosophical position about which science cannot say anything. The same holds true for the philosophical position that God is not needed, i.e. the laws of nature that allow for evolution are not designed, they simply are. Science cannot say anything about that either.

"He said: “I find it important to underline that the theory of evolution implies questions that must be assigned to philosophy and which themselves lead beyond the realms of science.”

Precisely. See my comment above. Both the theistic and the atheistic position go beyond the realm of science.

All I'm trying to point out is that the Church's position is far more nuanced than a simple accept/deny.

As I said, accepting science is just that, accepting science. Of course there comes a different layer of philosophy that accompanies such acceptance -- for theist and for atheist alike. The philosophical layer adds the nuance for a believer and, in general, for the Church.

Thank you for your reply. It still does not explain the evangelical efforts of Richard Dawkins or Sam Harris. They both have a vested interest in connecting science with a dismissal of all gods/God. This is problematic since they are using the same 'mountains of evidence' to convince the public that God is not needed to explain a purely "natural" process. Further, there are those who claim that scientific knowledge is all the knowledge there is. That religion is simply wishful thinking and therefore, irrational. We accept our teachers both in school and out of school as worthy of trust.

That is the crux of the problem: When a scientist appears on TV, for example, and states unequivocably that science has made any concept of God superfluous; this is an abuse of both science and the mind of the public.

Mr. Harris has been quite vocal:

secularhumanism.org/index.php?page=harris_27_2&section=library

Of course, anyone has the right to properly criticize things they don't believe or agree with. It is quite another thing to attempt to stigmatize, as Mr. Harris does, other scientists for agreeing with the Pope, for example.

This mixing of the science that is silent about religion with religion is a non-sequitur. It should not follow, but in the mind of the public, it clearly does.

Peace,
Ed

[quote="edwest2, post:18, topic:238856"]
Thank you for your reply. It still does not explain the evangelical efforts of Richard Dawkins or Sam Harris. They both have a vested interest in connecting science with a dismissal of all gods/God. This is problematic since they are using the same 'mountains of evidence' to convince the public that God is not needed to explain a purely "natural" process.

[/quote]

And with this they go beyond what science can demonstrate. The problem is that also many theists are confused about God not being needed to explain a purely "natural" process. Both parties do not realize that "natural" causes does not necessarily mean "godless" causes -- as if God were "in competition with nature", in competition with His own creation.

Further, there are those who claim that scientific knowledge is all the knowledge there is. That religion is simply wishful thinking and therefore, irrational. We accept our teachers both in school and out of school as worthy of trust.

That is the crux of the problem: When a scientist appears on TV, for example, and states unequivocably that science has made any concept of God superfluous; this is an abuse of both science and the mind of the public.

I agree. Confusion of philosophy with science. That is bad for not just clarity about worldviews, but also bad for science proper and for its public image, since that image becomes distorted.

This mixing of the science that is silent about religion with religion is a non-sequitur. It should not follow, but in the mind of the public, it clearly does.

Because rather few know about the borders between philosophy and science. Most don't, both scientists and non-scientists.

And should an academic be known to harbor views favorable to Intelligent Design in a University, even if he does not teach them to others, he is ferreted out, press releases are issued and in some cases, he is officially disavowed or reassigned.

I do not fault portions of the public but I do fault some scientists for actions like this.

Peace,
Ed

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