Creationism is not The Christian Apologist's Only Option




We have a rule in the CADRE about not arguing among ourselves over theology or politics but we can discuss differences if there's an apologetical point to the discussion. I am not attacking Don or arguing with his view point,I am, however,  going to present an alternative view to his post on creationism. It's a matter of apologetical excellence that leads me to take up this issue. I respect Don, he;s my friend, I'm not attacking him.I do not suspect his motive for wanting to reach people with the gospel. Christian apologists should know there's an alternative to creationism.We are not obligated to oppose evolution. Creationism is not synonymous with belief in God, nor evolution with unbelief. Nor are we obligated to take Genesis literally.It'snot a matter of Genesis being wrong but of understanding why it was written.

The creation story is not an attempt to offer a scientific explanation of creation but to stand pagan creation myths on its head;it was written or re-worked by Hebrew slaves in Babylon, surrounded by Pagan religion and tying to hang on to the faith until they return to the homeland. Pagan myth offered a view of order out of chaos, creation came out of the abyss. The Hebrews said Order came out of order, God used wisdom and purpose in creating. It's not a scientific explanation and it makes use of pagan myth extensively. There is no reason to oppose evolution on the basis of it's disregard of Genesis. The story of creation and the fall of man have theological significance and that's what we should be concerned with.


I will take issue with one fallacy that Don presented,Don argues as the major fallacy of evolution opposition to irreducible complexity, then against  the evolutionist answer to that, he argues that  their answer is fallacy of compositor.



The standard evolutionary rejoinder to this sort of argument [irreducible complexity] is to point out that a highly complex system can also be thought of as an amalgamation of not-quite-so-complex but still adaptively useful parts and subsystems. So biologist Ken Miller (who has been known to sport a "tie clip" made from the spring, hammer and base of a mousetrap to illustrate the point) answers Behe by an appeal to the master: "Darwin's answer, in essence, was that evolution produces complex organs in a series of fully functional intermediate stages. If each of the intermediate stages can be favored by natural selection, then so can the whole pathway." Miller is a well-respected scientist, but one could scarcely imagine a more directly stated example of the fallacy of composition. To recognize the fallacy, it may be helpful to plug some analogous referents into Miller's statement, as in: "If each of the soldiers in an army can fit in this foxhole, then so can the whole army." Or, "If each of the atoms in my body is invisible, then so is my whole body." My argument therefore is that evolution explicitly invokes a logical fallacy:[1]
 Then he formulates the argument about fall.comp.


1. Evolution posits that the function of any complex biological system can be adequately explained as the accumulation of countless minor functional adaptations of its individual components. 
2. To say that a characteristic of the whole system can be adequately explained in terms of a characteristic of its individual components is to say that a whole is equal to the sum of its parts.
3. To say that a whole is equal to the sum of its parts is to commit the fallacy of composition.
4. Evolution is a fallacy.[2]

But the major answer is not to say "the function of any complex biological system can be adequately explained as the accumulation of countless minor functional adaptations of its individual components." True though that is  it is not the major answer, but I'll get to that in a bit, Then Don makes an assertion that takes a second major leap in logic when he asserts P2. The answer in P1 is not adequately described in P2. So the answer of evolution: 



the function of any complex biological system can be adequately explained as the accumulation of countless minor functional adaptations of its individual components (or systems are computations of small changes  makimng up a whole)
is not 


To say that a characteristic of the whole system can be adequately explained in terms of a characteristic of its individual components is to say that a whole is equal to the sum of its parts.
The idea systems are computations of small changes  makimng up a whole is nit necessarily the whole is equal to the sum of it;s parts,In fact the answer of whole is equal to sum of parts is indicative of a form of scientific methodology which is considered to be fallacious, that is  certain types of reductionist. One alternative is holism which says the whole is greater than the sum of it's parts. That is a valid scientific theory and its in opposition to reductionist. It's a view that is fashionable now and misused by atheists quite bit, the notion of the emergent property. [3] That is compatible with the answer I would give to irreplaceable complexity: Punctuated Equilibrium.[4] We might summarize this idea as evolutionary development making big leaps. The concept was proposed in 1972  by Stephan J Gould and Niles Eldredge. "Now it is widely recognized as a useful model for one kind of evolutionary change. The relative importance of punctuated and gradual patterns of evolution is a subject of debate and research."[5]


Punctuated Equilibrium is a theory about how the evolutionary process works, based on patterns of first appearances and subsequent histories of species in the fossil record. The theory holds that species originate too rapidly to enable their origins to be traced by paleontologists (punctuation), and then persist unchanged through geological time in stasis (equilibrium). All is due to a mysterious shared homeostasis that is postulated to regulate the collective morphology of individuals. When species-level homeostasis is working, species persist unchanged; when species-level homeostasis breaks down, specialization results. It is difficult to imagine a construct more antithetical to Darwinian natural selection. [6]
This is not a fallacy of composition, by Don's definition,  because it's not saying that the whole is limited to the sum of it's parts, Moreover, the original issue Don proposes is wrong because the answer about small increments stacking up is not a fallacy of composition either. Lack of transitional forms due to limitations of preserving the fossil record.

I recommend the book The Monkey Business by  Niles Eldredge to anyone who wants to kmow why creationism is wrong and evolution is a scientific fact. Te book is a bit dated (1982) [7] but that  was the book that pulled me back from creationism, when I first god saved, I was so excised to know God I was willing to give the creationists  a hearing,I did a lot of research ,My college debate mode was switched on, this book convinced me they were wrong.The main thing is he has respect for religious thinkers and he admired great theologians as brilliant thinkers. His main argument is the foil record he takes apart the creationist;s mistakes in understanding it,

Creationism makes Christianity appear foolish,It;s just a way of saying come back to the middle ages with us, The real point of Christianity is knowing God not being right about science. We should take seriously Rudolph Bultmann's statement that we need to present the world the right stumbling block, Jesus is the right stumbling block,If one is going to stumble better to stumble over Jesus himself then over a side issue like evolution. Now that American society is more pagan  and more secular and fewer people have a background i\n the faith we need to be careful of scaring them off over a side issue.

I know I speak for the CADRE as a whole when I say that we all agree the point of doing this apologetic stuff stuff is to lead people to saving knowledge of Jesus who died on the cross for our sins and rose from the dead to give us a hope of eternal life, Not merely to prove who is right about various issues. We have different ideas of  what reaching people entails.




Notes
[1] Don Mcintosh,"Extraordinary claims,Ordinary fallacies,and Evolution," Cadre Comments blog (July 19, 2017) (accessed 7/23/27)URL: http://christiancadre.blogspot.com/2017/07/extraordinary-claims-ordinary-fallacies.html
[2] Ibid
[3] Issam Sinjab, "what is your definition of an emergent property," Research gate website, (Feb. 21,2013) (accessed 7/23/27)
https://www.researchgate.net/post/What_is_your_definition_of_emergent_properties

An emergent property is a property which a collection or complex system has, but which the individual members do not have. A failure to realize that a property is emergent, or supervenient, leads to the fallacy of division.
In chemistry, for example, the taste of saltiness is a property of salt, but that does not mean that it is also a property of sodium and chlorine, the two elements which make up salt. Thus, saltiness is an emergent or a supervenient property of salt. Claiming that chlorine must be salty because salt is salty would be an example of the fallacy of division.
What is your definition of emergent properties?. Available from: 
Sinjab:Alumni University of Leicester... · Department of Physics and Astronomy

Computational Physics, Fluid Dynamics, Mathematical Physics

Bsc(Hons.), D.Phil, FRAS, ARAeS


One could argue emergent properties to account  for big leaps that would explain irreplaceable complexity in evolution,But I am merely bring it up here to answer the idea that the reductionist whole is equal to sum of it's parts an obligatory evolutionist answer, Certainly some argue emergent property to explain consciousnesses that would definitely involve complexity,


[4] Punctuated equilibrium and emergent properties are not the same idea, the latter is  a theory put forward by the school of holism.  

[5] "Punctuated Equilibrium,"  Evolutionary Library,  PBS,Evolution is a co-production of the WGBH/NOVA Science Unit and Clear Blue Sky Productions.2001, online resource, URL: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/evolution/library/03/5/l_035_01.html

[6] Philip D. Gingerich"Punctuated Equilibrium," Paleintologioca Electronica, Volume 10, issue3, 2007
http://palaeo-electronica.org/2007_3/books/equal.htm
Philip D. Gimgrich, Professor of Paleontology, University of Michigan, director of the museum of paleontology.
[7] Niles Eldredge The Monkey Business: A Scientist Looks at Creationism. New York:Washington Square Press,1982. 







.


Comments

Don McIntosh said…
Joe, the respect you mentioned is appreciated, and of course mutual. I probably don’t need to mention that, but in a disagreement like this it's never a bad idea to clarify. :-)

>>>Christian apologists should know there's an alternative to creationism. We are not obligated to oppose evolution. Creationism is not synonymous with belief in God, nor evolution with unbelief.<<<

Now I went out of my way at the very top of my post to explicitly acknowledge that belief in evolution is not incompatible with faith in God or salvation in Christ. But I will restate it here:

"Also please understand that I neither begrudge fellow believers their views on this issue nor insist that they adopt my own views instead. As the apostle Paul and countless theologians since have argued, to press nonessential dogmas upon others as a litmus test for Christianity can be a serious stumbling block to sincere faith in Christ. But that holds across the board. Believers are not beholden to a particular theory of science any more than they are beholden to my interpretation of Scripture. I repudiate evolution not simply because I find the evidence for God's active, creative power at work in nature overwhelming, but because I find the arguments for macroevolution and common descent unconvincing, if not utterly fallacious. And as a Christian apologist I see no reason why apologists should uncritically concede to atheists the one theory they need most in order to be, as Dawkins remarked, 'intellectually fulfilled'."

Honestly I don't quite follow the rest of your argument. I'm trying to understand how Punctuated Equilibrium escapes the implications of bad evolutionary logic, for example. You're right that p.e. as defined/ described by Gingerich in the quoted bit doesn't appear to run afoul of the fallacy of composition, but I think that's because p.e. is an answer to questions about the rate of change, not about the origin of specifiably, functionally complex systems. Maybe I'll read it again later.

>>>Creationism makes Christianity appear foolish,It;s just a way of saying come back to the middle ages with us,<<<

The cross also makes Christianity appear foolish (1 Cor. 1:18-20), to say nothing of the resurrection. (Bultmann thought the very notion of a historical resurrection as unscientific as a creation ex nihilo.) Clearly the level of ridicule leveled at Christian doctrines by skeptics should not determine the content of our beliefs. And I have no interest in pretending to believe something I do not actually believe just so that some skeptical intellectuals might (but probably won't) think me more sophisticated.
Joe Hinman said…
Honestly I don't quite follow the rest of your argument. I'm trying to understand how Punctuated Equilibrium escapes the implications of bad evolutionary logic, for example. You're right that p.e. as defined/ described by Gingerich in the quoted bit doesn't appear to run afoul of the fallacy of composition, but I think that's because p.e. is an answer to questions about the rate of change, not about the origin of specifiably, functionally complex systems. Maybe I'll read it again later.


evolution takes big jumps that expansion how irreplaceable complexity can come about
Joe Hinman said…
The cross also makes Christianity appear foolish (1 Cor. 1:18-20), to say nothing of the resurrection. (Bultmann thought the very notion of a historical resurrection as unscientific as a creation ex nihilo.)

but that's the proper stumbling block.


Clearly the level of ridicule leveled at Christian doctrines by skeptics should not determine the content of our beliefs. And I have no interest in pretending to believe something I do not actually believe just so that some skeptical intellectuals might (but probably won't) think me more sophisticated.

yes it is when it's totally unnecessary, you have to confront the cross to be a Christian you don't have to confront Darwin,
Joe Hinman said…
I don't think the foolishness of the cross is really reliant anymore, it's about 1500 years out of date. It meant something in Paul's day because a symbol of disgrace, having been conquered, being victimized and suffering was turned into the symbol of the faith that was the absurdity, but it's been so long since anyone was crucified it's been the symbol of Christianity for so long that just has no real meaning now,as a scandal that is. Theologically it does. You have to be into theology to get it.
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Joe Hinman said…
spell casting is not christian apologetic and has nothing to do with creationism we are not here to furnish space for spam,
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