by Neil Rickert

It’s a while since I last posted. I’m getting older and I guess I am slowing down.

I participate in several online forums, where creationists are showing up. The way that they argue is somewhat interesting, even if depressing.

In general

Creationists are not all alike. Most Christians are probably creationists of some kind. But the creationists who show up on Internet forums are not typical.

One version of creationism would be for the creationist to say that God created the world that we see as we look around. So if the world that we see appears to be 4 billion years old, then God created the world 4 billion years ago. And if the world that we see appears to use evolution to maintain biodiversity, then God created evolution as a way of sustaining the biosphere.

I do not have any serious arguments with that kind of creationist. As an agnostic, I don’t know whether or not there is a God behind all that we see. And it really doesn’t matter to the science.


The anti-evolutionists are the problematic creationists.

Of course some people may have doubts about evolution. It can be difficult to follow the science and the evidence, so I’m not at all concerned about people who are having doubts. It is certainly possible to live a reasonably normal life while doubting evolution.

The problem is not with the doubters. It is with those who actively oppose evolution.

What I find odd about these anti-evolution creationists, is that they are so certain they are right. They have no actual evidence. But they do make arguments as to why they believe in a special creation. If you point out a flaw in their argument, they may try a different argument. But, before long, they are back to their earlier flawed argument.

There are two main groups of anti-evolutionists — the young earth creations (or YEC), and the intelligent design creationists.

Young Earth Creationists

The YECs believe in a literal reading of Genesis, and often hold to the dating from Bishop Ussher, which sets the date of creation at around 4004 BC. This is contrary to dating estimates from geologists and astronomers, which set the age of the earth at around 4 billion years.

YEC creationists often argue dating methods used by science. They often argue for “flood geology“, according to which the geological layers result from the great flood in the story of Noah’s Ark. Flood geology does not fit the evidence, but that does not deter YECs from arguing for it. But there’s an obvious problem with the flood story. There are too many species for them all to fit onto the ark. So Ken Ham at Answers In Genesis, has had to propose a very rapid evolution at the end of the flood, to explain the variety of animals that we do actually see. It seems far simpler to just assume that the Noah’s Ark story is an ancient fable, and is not history.

Intelligent Design Creationists

The ID creationists usually accept that the earth is old. I’m not sure what they believe about the flood, because they rarely argue that. There main argument is that the biological organisms that we see are too complex to have arisen naturally, and can only be the result of an intelligent designer.

If the ID creationists kept this to philosophical (and theological) discussions, there would be less arguing and less controversy. But they want to insist that ID is science and should be presented in the science class. And, of course, real scientists object to this. The ID proponents do not have any actual scientific evidence to support their ideas. But they have lots of arguments as to why they see evolution as impossible.

Some of the ID proponents do accept that there has been some evolution, but they don’t believe there is enough to explain all. When it boils down, their greatest concern seem to be with humans. They really want humans to have been created separately, and not to have evolved from earlier species.

Common descent

Part of the idea of evolution, is that we descended from a common ancestor.

When I first heard about evolution as a teenager, I took it to be about common descent within the major phyla. It is not hard to see this among familiar animals (mostly mammals) or among insects. And the ideas of evolution did seem to tie together what we knew about these groups.

Some of the anti-evolutionists do agree that there was some evolution. As already mention, Ken Ham agrees with this, mostly because he needs it to explain how all of the animals could fit on he ark. The anti-evolutionists who accept some evolution, argue for a bush rather than a tree. That is, they believe there were many ancestors and descent from those ancestors within a narrow range. They won’t accept ancestry as an account of an entire phylum. They won’t accept ancestry as an account of vertebrates. And they even object to ancestry as an account of mammals. However, they are usually more willing and perhaps even for arthropods (the phylum containing insects).

It really looks as if their objection is to the idea that they are descended from apes. They really want to be able to say that humans are special and specially created.


13 Comments to “Creationists”

  1. Xtian ‘Creationists’ box thinkers limit their bibles to the literal word of god narishkeit. Jews throughout history have mocked and derided these utterly Pius barbarians. Why does the Torah begin with the Creation story? That’s a fair question considering that the Torah exists as an expression of Common Law legalese.

    The Torah opens with the Creation story “aggaditah” (((Most Goyim do not even know what that term means. Yet they pretend & stand upon their soap boxes, and declare they believe the literal word of god narishkeit))), because as a ”’vision”’ of faith – the Torah teaches spirituality and not history. Meaning: the revelation of the Torah occurred outside of the conquered lands of Canaan. The Torah as spirituality, compares to theory in the scientific method. Only Jews who conquer and govern the lands of Canaan can actualize the Torah away from a theoretical idea into practical judicial jurisprudence and justice flowing from the lateral Sanhedrin courtrooms.

    Torah spirituality, only in the lands of Canaan governed by Israelis, can transform itself from a spiritual ideal unto a practical historical reality of Israelis ruling the conquered land of Canaan with justice. Hence the concept of Creation exists on a perpetual basis. Israelis create just rule of the lands of Canaan from nothing, from Chaos and Anarchy, Jewish Sanhedrin Courts achieve Order & Peace in a society which stands upon the foundation of: Two Jews, Three Opinions.


  2. It’s been a while since I’ve debated creationists and IDers. Overall, it’s very hard to convince someone that something they want to be true isn’t, or something they intensely don’t want to be true, is. All we can do is point out the issues with those beliefs, and hope it eventually takes root in their mind.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Over the years, I’ve often wondered why humans are so resistant to simply saying … “I don’t know how we came to be.” Of course it’s interesting and challenging (and even entertaining) to come up with theories and ideas and suggestions … but bottom line, that’s really all they are because we. don’t. know. Yet humans continue to display this need(?) to quantify our genesis.

    Sidenote: I do realize that among the religious, it’s part of their “story” so it must be addressed.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. How about this Neil. I don’t know how old the moon is. You don’t know how old the sun is. Sagan didn’t know how old the oceans were. Tyson still doesn’t know a whit about the alleged ‘bulge’ of the earth.

    For anyone to say they know, it is quite presumptuous. Far better to say ‘it’s my best guess.’

    Stating opinion as certainties is outright foolish.


  5. ‘Creationist’ has never struck me as a label one who either holds certain suspected truths or doubts about certain accepted narratives had chosen for themselves. It seems more like something that has been foisted upon them in rhetorical history, and they either endure the burden or accept it more or less unwittingly because they possess less rhetorical insight than their usual interlocutors.

    True, I’d grant, lots of people operate under that label in discussion forums, once lines of demarcated opinon have been imposed. And lots more as their opponents.

    I organize the whole matter differently in my mind, and believe it makes things clearer and less biased, both historically and conceptually.

    Way I see it, phenomena of countless varieties exist… we experience them. The question then naturally arises why this is so and how it has come to be. Our nature is to pursue explanations for things, and to deepen our knowledge about them, our insight. Sometimes this impulse towards investigation gets us mired in philosophical camps, but that is really a kind of side issue. What matters is if the curious spirit remains open or not, as opposed to becoming frozen within crystallized narratives of conclusions — thereby closing off further inquiry in the belief that a question is closed because final unbesmirched comprehension of truth has been achieved. This is cognitive arrogance and it invariably exists on both sides of any au courant binary opinion fault line. Although it invariably exists in the greater degree on the side of the more ‘popular’ or orthodox position.

    Nowadays the orthodoxy resides with the so-called scientific view of matters, or some consensus assigned upon it. Science, as practiced today, did not exist 500 years ago, and so it. To further muddy things, most science types instinctively characterize pre-science conceptions in this direction (about how phenomena arise) as superstitious, fanciful, fear-driven, or some other nonsense which becomes revealed as false when a researcher engages in non-scientific explorations around past worldviews (such as by deeply involving themselves in literature, art, or what eventually became philosophy).

    When I see someone write (I am paraphrasing) that it doesn’t much matter to them about religious or God-oriented ideas concerning creation of phenomena because it does not really have any effect one way or the other upon “the science”, I think: this person has a forced self-imposed limiting box around their conceptions of things and therefore is unlikely to make any progress towards penetrating to a true understanding of questions. Why should science be accorded exclusive or even central relevance in piercing the truth about such enormous and obviously universally human questions? In fact, it seems to me that science, as presently constituted, is particularly flawed and unpromising when it comes toany expectations about answering such questions.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I give you a great deal of credit for venturing into such discussions, Neil, and I find your breakdown of the Creationists’ varied orientations interesting. Do these exchanges veer off into politics? I ask because it seems to me that’s where the dangerous anti-science, “I have all the answers” attitude seems to lead—to the detriment of us all.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I have to agree with Annie in that you deserve kudos for having the patience to even enter into these discussions where you know people’s minds are set in stone. And … it doesn’t surprise me one bit to hear that the uber-religious, the creationists, tend to be right-wing trumpeters. Partly upbringing, but mostly lack of education, I think.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Hey, Neil.
    I had a face-to-face discussion with a 60 something year-old YEC just the otner day. He told me that the story of evolution has been proven to be problematic. When I asked him how it was problematic, his only answer was he read it on the internet from people smarter than him. It was too “scientific” a discussion for him to follow, but he believed every word he read. When I said I can show him places on the internet that proved evolution was beyond debate, he just said he had never seen such websites and would not visit them anyway. I had been trying to show/advise him that the internet was not a reliable place to find information. Anyone can say anything they want, but that does not mean they can prove what they say. I did not say it in such words, but I tried to show him he was cherry-picking the internet the same way he cherry-picked his bible, but it was lost on him.
    As the conversation continued, I came to the opinion that ne could not accept that the bible could be wrong because if he did, his whole life has been a waste of lies, and he could not allow himself to face that possibility. In a way I can see his problem, how can you live with yourself if everything you have believed for six-plus decades blows up in your face. How can you cope? All his family and friends believe as be does, and to admit difference would destroy his whole life. When I realized this I backed off. Who am I to cause him to be a pariah in his own world?
    I think as humabn beings we have to ask ourselves, when we encounter any Creationists or believers in something we do not believe, is it really that important to win an argument considering such possibilities. With younger folk, they can roll with such punches, but the elderly?
    I am even older than him, and I have often said were some creature named God to reveal Himself to me at this stage of my life, I would still not believe. There is no room in my life for God. How is that any different from this person I was talking to. To take away his God now would be just as unbelievable to him. So, for me, it was time to turn the other cheek.
    I changed the subject.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That seems like a typical experience.

      I think as humabn beings we have to ask ourselves, when we encounter any Creationists or believers in something we do not believe, is it really that important to win an argument considering such possibilities.

      In most cases, you don’t need to do more than express disagreement. It’s okay for people to have different ideas. Many people have crazy beliefs. We can live with that.

      It’s the ones who are constantly spreading their propaganda that need to be answered. And that’s so that people hearing/reading them can know that they need to do some of their own checking.

      Liked by 2 people

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