June 30, 2008

What Type Of Creationist Are You?

I came across the following definitions from this post at Skeptoid. It is pretty interesting and even enlightening to see someone actually define how theists come to terms(or not) with actual scientific knowledge, while still fitting God into the gaps and/or adding God into the equation.

Theistic Evolution:
Evolution by natural processes is the tool God used

Evolutionary Creationism:
Adam and Eve were the first spiritually aware humans

Progressive Creationism:
Humans were a special creation event

Day-Age Creationism:
Six days of creation were six geological epochs

Gap Creationism:
4.5 billion year gap between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2

Earth was created with the appearance of age and of evolution

Young Earth Fundamentalism:
Invented versions of all natural sciences to explain Earth's age as 6,000 years

To expand:

1. Theistic Evolution. This is the Catholic Pope's officially stated position, and it's embraced by many real scientists of faith. Theistic evolution accepts both the geologic and biologic records, including modern evolutionary synthesis, and posits that these are simply the tools God chose to create the natural world. Theistic evolution allows and embraces scientific research and permits the acceptance of new information.

2. Evolutionary Creationism also accepts the geologic and biologic records, and makes its creationist distinction in that there were a literal Adam and Eve who were simply the first spiritually aware humans, though they came into being in the same way as all early humans.

3. Progressive Creationism goes one step farther. Progressive Creationism accepts the geologic record, and much of the prehistoric biologic record, including the true age of dinosaurs and other early lifeforms, but believes that the creation of humans and perhaps other modern animals was a special creationism event as literally depicted in Genesis. Thus, there can be no biological link between humans and early hominids from the fossil record.

4. Day-Age Creationism is the belief that the six days of creation were really six geological epochs. Usually some effort is made to reconcile specific days in Genesis to specific epochs in Earth history, but since things didn't really all happen separately and consecutively like in Genesis, such efforts are generally somewhat ham-handed. But at least they're trying. Day-Age Creationism is what Jehovah's Witnesses advocate in their Watchtower pamphlets.

5. Gap Creationism is about as far as the Old Earth model can be stretched. This model attempts to unify the true age of the Earth as measured by science with the literal Biblical account. Jimmy Swaggart advocates this model. Gap Creationism states that the first verse of the Bible, God created the heavens and the Earth, was followed by a "gap" of 4.5 billion years, during which time not much happened. And then, the literal creation of Genesis took place in six days about six to ten thousand years ago. Necessarily, this model has to abandon evolution completely, although it adheres to proper geology.

6. Omphalism. This is named after the 1857 book Omphalos, published two years before Darwin's Origin of Species, which explained that the fossil record was God's way of making the Earth appear to be old. Omphalos is Greek for navel, and the Omphalists believe that Adam and Eve were created with navels, thus having the appearance of being created through normal evolutionary biology. Adherents to Omphalism fully accept every scientific measurement of the age of the Earth and every discovery of modern biology, with the important exception that all such discoveries are wrong: God only wanted to make us think that the Earth is 4.5 billion years old, and that life evolved from lower forms. A true scientist doing real research can be an Omphalist. He will arrive at the correct conclusions, though he will believe that his measurement is merely what God wants him to see.

7. Modern Young Earth Fundamentalism. Here is where the train jumps completely off the tracks. Modern Young Earthers, for lack of a better name, are the ones behind the Creation Museum discussed earlier. They honestly believe in alternate versions of virtually every science known, throwing away every shred of modern science that doesn't point to the age of the Earth as 6,000 years. They literally believe in Adam and Eve (without navels) and all the dinosaurs on Day 1, fossilization taking only a few hundred years, and all major geologic features having been created in a few days in Noah's Flood. They reject evolution, cosmology, geology, and every science that supports them; which, by extension, eventually includes every scientific discipline. However, in their minds, they don't reject them at all; they fully embrace completely wrong, misinterpreted, misunderstood, and misrepresented versions of them. Their worldview is based absolutely on the Bible as a perfect, unerring, literal historical account. As a followup, they have invented their own versions of natural sciences that they pretend supports this view. It is not possible to be a thoroughly researched Young Earther and still retain any grasp on rationality. This is the group making the overwhelming majority of noise in the media and modern culture, but it's not clear how large of a group this really is. They have the largest and loudest web presence, with AnswersInGenesis.org and the Discovery Institute, though out of 3.2 million Ph.D.'s worldwide they've only been able to find 700 who agree with their science, according to their list maintained at DissentFromDarwin.org. This represents 2% of 1% of people with advanced academic degrees.

What Best Describes Your Views About Creation?
Theistic Evolution
Evolutionary Creationism
Progressive Creationism
Day-Age Creationism
Gap Creationism
Young Earth Fundamentalism
No Evidence And/Or Need For A God
God Has Been Benign Throughout With No Plan
God Has Been Benign With A Plan
Free polls from Pollhost.com

I'm pretty OK with the first two on the list. I'm a firm believer that we are susceptible to believe in God, that we evolved this trait. Coming to grips with a Godless universe is not that easy once you are indoctrinated. It takes a lot of honesty and objectivity to become an atheist. And I'm not trying to say that I'm better than a theist, you can draw your own conclusions:)

There is a lot of overlap in the first two camps though. I'm not sure how Dr. Ken Miller, a Catholic who is totally anti-Intelligent Design would answer the question of which camp he belongs. I'm sure he thinks God has a plan, and I think I remember reading something about him believing that Adam and Eve evolved as the first human beings, and were actual individuals who God allegorically spoke about in the bible.

I'd like to think that most critical thinking believers fall into one of the first two categories.

I've discussed the idea of special creation with a Muslim on the internet a while back. He still thought that God poofed man here as man after the dinosaurs were killed off. I'm not sure how many people believe that stuff though. Muslims don't seem to readily accept evolution though. Like Day-Age and Gap Creationism Progressive Creationism denies reality, but not as much as the Young Earth Creationists.

I'm sure I've come across a few Omphalist nuts on the internet. At least these people aren't as dishonest and embarrassing as the Young Earth Fundamentalists who will come up with the most mind boggling and idiotic explanations in order to fit science into the bible.

Unfortunately, in the USA close to 45% of the people are not in the first two categories but the last 5 categories. And there is overlap, I'm sure that there are many people out there who wilfully have no opinion on evolution or the age of the earth. They want to keep their head in the sand and not think about it.


  1. Interesting run-down of the different types of ideas on origins. Thanks for sharing. As you said, I thinnk there is some overlap, and the terms can be a bit confusing/misleading themselves. For example, I know several people that would technically fit into your description of "evolutionary creationism" but they call themselves "theistic evolutionists".

  2. A new brand of creationism, which creationists and secular science
    are not familiar with is "Biblical Reality", which is better known as
    the "Observations of Moses".

    This "Old Earth" brand of creationism puts forth the view that
    combines a seven 24-hr day week of original creation (Exodus 20:11),
    with a separate “six 12-hr days of revelation” given to Moses
    (Genesis 1:2 – 2:3). The pseudo discrepancy between the “sixth day”
    in Genesis chapter one and in chapter two is explained as chapter two
    being the beginning of modern mankind (Adam & Eve), and chapter
    one as being an earlier species of prehistoric mankind in an earlier
    restoration period, more than 60 million years ago.

    Biblical Reality is defined as the ordained marriage of Biblical
    Truth, and Scientific Reality. Think of Biblical Truth as historical,
    present, or future data (information) that has been given to us by
    the words written in the Bible, or what we shall call "The Printed
    Word of God". Events which took place in the past, that we may
    not presently be able to confirm outside of the Bible.

    Scientific Reality is defined as “That which has been discovered and
    analyzed to be of true historical existence. That which has been
    observed to be a real occurrence or phenomena, whether or not it
    can be explained.” For example, the discoveries of the extinctions
    of life on Earth in what has been determined to be 245 Million BC
    (dimetrodons) and 65 Million BC (dinosaurs) is accepted as Scientific

    Biblical Reality teaches that there are no “creation accounts” in
    Genesis, and that “Moses Didn’t Write About Creation!”. What
    is actually being said is “Moses wrote about Restoration”. Before
    the advent of “Biblical Reality”, no faction of creationism could
    explain both the “first day” of Moses and the “Fourth Day”, all
    being 24-hr days, without either denying literal interpretation or
    “redefining” the scriptures.

    The “six days of Moses” in Genesis chapter one are actually six
    consecutive (12 hour) days in 1598 BC that God revealed to Moses
    (on Mt. Sinai) from the ancient past. Each day was from the first
    week of each of seven different geological eras in “biblical order”.
    The only day of Creation Week which Moses saw was the
    “Fourth Day”. Creation Week was 168 hours, in 4.6 Billion BC,
    according to the geologist.

    Herman Cummings
    PO Box 1745
    Fortson GA, 31808

  3. As an individual who does not have a set creation story I feel I need to validate, it's much easier for me to believe in theistic evolution-- that evolution happened exactly as science reveals but at the same time, there's some kind of higher power involved.

    I knew a Day-Age creationist in elementary school and even then, at age 8, I thought it sounded a bit ridiculous. I also knew an omphalist and she was actually pretty rational, because she understood that regardless of what the "actual" truth was according to her beliefs, if she used the same techniques as evolutionists she'd get predicted results.