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Varieties of Creationism 
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Post Varieties of Creationism
The first chapter or so of the book already makes it clear that there is not one Creationism movement but a diversity of movements with related features. I thought it might be useful if we had a thread to discuss the different varieties of Creationism and the features that dinstinguish them from one another. That should held us to keep them separate in our minds and deal with the unique features of each rather than getting them all in a muddle. So far, I've picked out the following terms and distinctions -- feel free to add any others that you find in the text or elsewhere.

Young Earth Creationists -- creationists who deny that the world has an age measured in aeons rather than thousands of years.

Intelligent Design Creationists -- a recent vogue in Creationism, as I understand it, allied around the notion of directed evolution.

special creationism -- the view that God created species in their present form, and that even if modifications can take place over time, they're never significant enough to defy the category of species.

theistic evolution -- the view that God creates through the laws of nature, potentially including even descent with modification.




Tue Oct 10, 2006 12:32 pm
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Post Re: Varieties of Creationism
While we're at it, we could also throw in some of the terms of some religious beliefs that seem to necessitate a creationist view. What I mean is, there seem to be elements of some doctrines that, once you've accepted those doctrines, you're logically committed to side with creationism rather than Darwinian evolution. Offhand, I can think of one:

literal interpretation -- that is, the belief that everything written in a holy text is not only true, but a realistic (rather than symbollic, metaphoric or allegorical) account of history.

Allied with that is another, less obvious one:

historicism -- by which I mean, the view that the events related in the Bible are historically contiguous with what we perceive as secular history. That may seem like something of a given, but a broader view of the history of religion demonstrates that the Judeo-Christian-Islamic tradition is somewhat novel in this regard. Other religions situate their mythological histories in a kind of parenthesis that isn't necessarily continuous or contiguous with natural time. Someone who makes a strong distinction between what Mircea Eliade called sacred time and profane time can conceivably hold a scientific theory like evolution to be true, while simultaneously believing in the events of the sacred time. Once you've braided the two together, though, it becomes difficult to accept a modification to your worldview (like the conclusions supported by Darwinian evolution) without doing damage to your religious convictions.

And a third occurs to me, one that isn't necessarily limited to religious belief, but the appeal of which can be strengthened by religion:

division into transcendent kinds -- I mean, for example, the desire to maintain a rigid distinction between man and other primates, just to give a familiar example. Traditional Christian doctrine doesn't make much of a point about speciation of that sort, so it makes sense to me to treat it as an element that is, in some ways, distinct from religion, although Creationists have looked to the Bible for scriptural justification of this desire. I suspect that it's a pretty complex bias, and it may be worth talking about the complications that underly it. Obviously, one element may be a sense of shame, but I think that's too easy an answer to account for the prominance of the "special kinds" argument. In that regard, I think it makes sense to look at other aspects -- for example, the complications that arise in morality once you're no longer capable of drawing a strict natural distinction between one species and another.




Tue Oct 10, 2006 12:44 pm
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Post Re: Varieties of Creationism
I think an important distinguishing feature between varieties of Creationism is the kind of ethical responsibility expected from humans toward Creation. In essence, a defining question would be: What does Stewardship look like according to this Creationist model?

One useful resource for this is captured via the Center for the Study of World Religions, Harvard Divinity School Religions of the World and Ecology Series by Harvard University Press.
Quote:
The enormous challenges posed by the environmental crisis in its many complex and interlinking aspects have been much debated. Exploding population, diminishing resources, overconsumption, crippling poverty, rampant pollution, and unrestrained industrialization have created seemingly insoluble problems of global proportions. In searching for solutions to these interrelated problems, it is becoming increasingly clear that what is needed is recovery of mutually enhancing human-earth relations. One approach to reestablish a sense of balance with nature is to draw on worldviews that reflect this sense of reciprocity. This series examines the ecological implications of the beliefs, attitudes, rituals, and doctrines of various world religions in order to discover what they might offer to both the larger interdisciplinary dialogue on the environmental crisis and to the more immediate, pragmatic aspects of public policy and environmental ethics.


The World Council of Churches presents a kind of Creationism
Quote:
To analyze and reflect on justice, peace and creation in their interrelatedness, to promote values and practices that make for a culture of peace, and to work towards a culture of solidarity with young people, women, Indigenous Peoples and racially and ethnically oppressed people.


The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops share a similar approach to Creation
Quote:
For too long, the debate about climate change has been polarized. The science surrounding climate change is often used more as a weapon than as a source of wisdom, insight or guidance. The motives of many are impugned. In this atmosphere, the search for the common good of the human family, as well as the planet, is neglected or lost. Too often, the voices of the poor and of poor countries are muffled or ignored.


The Association of Muslim Sciences and Engineers includes a statement by the founder and director of the Islamic Foundation for Ecology and Environmental Sciences Fazlun Khalid:
Quote:
In our eagerness to 'progress' and 'develop' we have lost sight of the finite and delicate nature of planet Earth and of humanity's place in it. Islamic teaching offers an opportunity to understand the natural order and to define human responsibility....Humankind has a special place in God's scheme. We are more than friends of the Earth - we are its guardians. Although we are equal partners with everything else in the natural world we have added responsibilities. We are decidedly not its lords and masters.

Edited by: Dissident Heart at: 10/19/06 3:13 pm



Thu Oct 19, 2006 2:07 pm
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