Thursday, 29 May 2014

Understanding creationism: An insider’s guide by a former young-Earth creationist

David MacMillan, a technical writer and former YEC has started a series of articles at the Panda's Thumb blog explaining the self-deception required by YECs to dismiss evolution despite the overwhelming evidence in favour of it. In Part 1 he notes:
We understand the theory of evolution to be a series of conclusions drawn from over a century of research, predictions, and discoveries. This theory allows us to understand the mechanisms in biology and make further predictions about the sort of evidence we will uncover in the future. Its predictive power is vital to success in real-life applications like medicine, genetic engineering, and agriculture. 
However, creationists don’t see it the same way. Creationists artificially classify medicine, genetic research, and agriculture as “operational science,” and believe that those disciplines function in a different way than research in evolutionary biology. They understand the theory of evolution, along with mainstream geology and a variety of other disciplines, as a philosophical construct created for the express purpose of explaining life on Earth apart from divine intervention. Thus, they approach the concept of evolution from a defensive position; they believe it represents an attack on all religious faith. 
This defensive posture is reflected in nearly all creationist literature, even in the less overt varieties such as intelligent-design creationism. It dictates responses. When creationists see a particular argument or explanation about evolution, their initial reaction is to ask, “How does this attack the truth of God as Creator? What philosophical presuppositions are dictating beliefs here? How can I challenge those underlying assumptions and thus demonstrate the truth?” Recognizing this basis for creationist arguments is a helpful tool for understanding why such otherwise baffling arguments are proposed. (Emphasis mine)
I should point out that this applies to both young and old earth creationists. This instinctive special creationist belief that the basis of evolution is ultimatley an attack on theism can be seen in Andrew Perry's conflation of methodological naturalism and philosophical naturalism as highlighted in my recently concluded series of posts criticising his February 2014 article in The Testimony.

Future posts by David MacMillan will be linked to at my blog as they appear.