December 5, 2001

Liberal Creationism versus Darwinism

I think a lot of my readers are turned off by my reliance on Darwinian logic. So, one of these days I'm going to need to write a full-blown article about "liberal creationism" that will put it all in perspective.

In general, the more sophisticated religious creationists admit that the various kinds of Darwinian selection (artificial, natural, and sexual) work. They don't deny that, say, germs are rapidily evolving under the impact of antibiotics. None of them have a problem with believing that artificial selection can create new breeds of dogs or pigs or whatever. They call this "microevolution" and it's okay with them. What they refuse to believe is that new species can emerge (what they call "macroevolution").

Now, I believe that the concept of "species" is vastly overrated in importance (e.g., lions and tigers can get together and make perfectly fertile little ligers and tions, so are lions and tigers different species or just different races? And, ultimately, what difference does it make?) So, the differences between microevolution and macroevolution seem unimportant to me.

Still, since most of my interests and all of what passes for my expertise are in human subjects rather than lions and tigers, I can pretty much live with smart Creationists who accept microevolution. If you tell me that the modern human species was flat out created ex nihilo 100,000 years ago, and that humans have been genetically diversifying ever since according to the processes of selection, we can go a long way together toward understanding things like race. (I can't of course deal with people who think the Earth was created in 4004 BC and Noah's flood killed the dinosaurs and dug the Grand Canyon - although the concept of racial diversification is at least introduced in the Genesis account of the sons of Noah.)

On the other hand, liberal creationism - the assumption that these Darwinian selection systems were zooming along for billions of years, but then instantly ground to a halt 100,000 or so years ago when the first modern humans evolved - is simply an intellectual dead end for my purposes. The Stephen Jay Gould-types assume that species evolve, but not races, breeds, subspecies, extended families or whatever. The system that creates species simply shuts down once one is created until it's time to create a new one. This obviously makes no sense. - 12/5/01

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