A Conversation for Evolution and Creation - an Introduction and Glossary


Post 1

Jock Tamson's Bairn

It is absurd to state, as it does in the glossary, that an evolution"ist" BELIEVES in evolution.

There are two quite distinct reason why I say this:

(a) Someone who beleives that evolution took place is not a believer IN anything.

(b) Evolution is a fact and, as such, exists quite independently of adherents.

Can you not do something about this absurd glossary entry?



Post 2


You are quite right, people who are referred to as "evolutionists" do not "believe" in things in the same way as Creationists "believe" in whichever creation myth they prefer.

However, "evolutionist" IS incontrovertibly a term often used by Creationists to refer to their opposition, and therefore it requires a glossary entry.

I don't propose to get into the phenomenological argument which suggests that belief is all any of us have, because apart from anything else it's tedious. The definition is here because the average member of the public may never before in any other context have seen the word "evolution" with the suffix "ist", and may wonder why it exists. This entry attempts to make clear that it most often exists to define someone who opposes the teaching of Creationism. In that sense at least, it IS a belief - the belief that children should not be taught superstitious garbage in science lessons as though it was fact. I for one believe that very strongly.



Post 3


I do *believe* in evolution - but not in the same way a creationist *believes* in the bible. The problem is a fallacy of equivocation - ignoring various meanings of the word "believe" and treating them as all equivalent.

For instance, you probably believe that the sun is going to rise tomorrow - it might not, but all the evidence says it will. You might also believe that a giant purple squid lives under your lawn and eats stray cats. For this you have no evidence and it is almost certainly not true - it would be an act of "faith" (or delusion, if you prefer). But both instances can be described by the word "believe".

I believe in the fact of evolution because, since Darwin suggested his theory of evolution by natural selection, evidence from astronomy, physics, chemistry, biology (DNA & the genome project, for instance), geology, paleontology, anthropology, history, linguistics, etc, etc have all backed up and strengthened the likelihood of Darwin being substantially right.

Christians (or at least the fundamentalist variety) believe in creationism because a book written hundreds of years after the events supposedly described within it, from the oral histories of nomadic goatherds, says it's true. That various other cultures came up with different creation myths no more or less silly than theirs seemingly gives them no pause for thought, nor does the fact that the science that says they're wrong works (hence our ability to use computers, make heavier-than-air flying machines etc). This is belief against evidence and has no basis beyond "faith".

A belief in evolution and a belief in creationism are not equivalent.


Post 4


Fundamentally I agree that the concept of an evolutionist is unsound. But I'm not too unhappy with the definition in the glossary. Perhaps it has changed since you posted. On the other hand the entry for evolution is patently incorrect. Evolution is an observable phenomneon not a theory. The theory of evolution (and potentially other theories of evolution that may modify or supplant current understanding) is an attempt to provide an explanation of how it works and what its effects are and have been. its the "due to natural selection" that is theoretical not the evolution.

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