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Creation versus Evolution

Creationism: the belief that a literal interpretation of one's preferred religious scripture is more in line with the empirical observations of science than the Darwinian paradigm (and any similar paradigms, e.g. Punctuated Equilibrium, Lamarckism, etc)

The Creationist-Evolutionist controversy represents a clash of paradigms, of two ways of relating to the world. This clash is like a mighty battle between the two pillars of our Western society - the scientific rationalistic approach (stemming ultimately from the Greeks, men like Thales and Aristotle, and reinterpreted through Galileo, Newton, and others of their calibre) and the Judeo-Christian theistic but also in its own way rationalistic approach, deriving from post-medieval religiosity, especially the Protestant revolution with its reliance on strict biblical literalism.

It is precisely because Creationism comes from the same Protestant milieu as Science, Creationists try to take a scientific slant on things.  In fact, they claim that they are actually the one's who are scientific and rational, and it is the evolutionists who are the irrational, religious dogmatic ones!  Strange claim indeed!  Is there is any truth in it?  Well, I am not here to persuade anyone, but if you want to decide for yourself you can check out some of the links assembled here (and the links from those links).

But first, my own opinion on all this...

As an evolutionist (albeit a metaphysically orientated one) I find it strange that in a civilisation as technologically and scientifically advanced as our own people should still be arguing - indeed, should even be considering - the idea of a pre-scientific creation mythology as a viable alternative to the extraordinary mass of evidence accumulated by scientific method.  Such unfortunately is the case.

Now don't get me wrong.  I am as much against rigid reductionistic materialism as I am against fundamentalistic religion!  I would actually consider myself a "Creationist" in that I derive the cosmos ultimately (via a process of emanation) from a transcendent Godhead or Absolute Reality.  But I am not a "creation scientist" in that I do not seek to reconcile, or to deny, my evolutionary beliefs according to the dictates of a particular scripture.

It should also be pointed out here that there are many forms and variants of religious Creationism.  It's not just Christian Creation Science.  There is a Judaic Creation Science, an Islamic Creation Science (consider the attitude of the other otherwise very intelligent and articulate contemporary Islamic philosopher and Traditionalist Sayyed Hossein Nasr to modern science), and even a Hare Krishna Creation Science (e.g. the talks of Swami Prabupad, who called scientists "rascals", and the book Forbidden Acheology of Man by Michael Cremo, with its anti-Darwinist rhetoric).

If Creationism serves any purpose at all it is that it has shown the materialists and strict Darwinists that not everyone see things in a logical empirical manner.  They are suddenly confronted with a huge mass of people who see things very differently!  It is apparent that there is no way they (and I, for I may not be a materialist but I am still an evolutionist!) are going to get the vast masses out there to accept an evolutionary worldview.

The reason for this is not education or lack of it (as many scientist naively believe), but simply psychology. Creationists, like all religionists, they come from the heart, from feelings, rather than from the head and from thinking or understanding.  I have found Christian Creationists who i have spoken to - like most other Christians - to be really nice and decent people, good-hearted, well meaning, but with an incredibly limited sphere of comprehension. Creationists I have met, whether in real life or over the Net, are basically feeling-centered individuals. Their emotional development is quite good, but their intellectual development less so.  And this is the psychological profile that best matches the bulk of humanity. For this reason, and through no fault of its own, scientific understanding tends to be elitist.  All the education in the world won't change the fact that only a relatively few people, being what Jung would call the "thinking" type, and more specifically the intuitive-thinking type, have the specific type of understanding, the unique and highly developed mental faculties, that allows them to understand abstract concepts like deep time (an Earth billions of years old), the transformation of life, and the relativity of religious scriptures.

Time is a particular stumbling block.  Most people cannot envisage anything beyond a few thousand years - in fact even anything back beyond a few centuries is difficult!  Hence it is much easier for these people to take comfort in certainties like religious dogma (it is also easy mind you for evolutionists to take comfort in certainties like scientific dogma ;-)

The war between Creationism and Evolutionism is therefore a clash caused by a profound psychological difference - the heart-centered (emotional feeling ) religionist concerned with feelings, and the head-centered (mental-intellectual ) scientific type concerned with empirical facts.

To be an evolutionist therefore you have to see the world in a certain way.  You have to go beyond the cozy certainties of exoteric  religion and anthropocentric chauvinism and leap into the void of uncertainty.  You have to realise that reality is much much bigger than what your comfortable ideology or scripture book tells you.  And that moreover you have realise that the universe is always changing, always unfolding.  And that time is vast, and that man's existence is just the tiniest most insignificant moment in the grand scheme of things.

and also:

internal link Goethean Science - Metamorphosis

internal link Rupert Sheldrakes Morphogenetic Fields

internal link For these and others see also Different Evolutionary Hypotheses

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page uploaded 18 June 1998, most recent revision 22 October 2005