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The Scientific Revolution: 

The Scientific Revolution New systems: Copernican Revolution, Galileo, Descartes, Newton New reliance on experiment Separation of science from politics (ie religion andamp; government) New interest in arguments for the existence of God, especially the argument from design 16th – 20th Century Philosophy of Science

The Argument from Design: 

The Argument from Design Natural Theology – Rev William Paley, 1802 'In crossing a heath, suppose I pitched my foot against a stone and were asked how the stone came to be there, I might possibly answer that for anything I knew to the contrary it had lain there forever; nor would it, perhaps, be very easy to show the absurdity of this answer. But suppose I had found a watch upon the ground, and it should be inquired how the watch happened to be in that place, I should hardly think of the answer which I had before given, that for anything I knew the watch might have always been there.  Yet why should not this answer serve for the watch as well as for the stone?  For this reason, and none other, viz., that when we come to inspect the watch, we perceive what we could not discover in the stone, that its several parts were put together for a purpose..'

Philosophy of Science: 

Philosophy of Science Since Newton, science is: -Based on reductionist explanations (Ockham’s razor, parsimony) -Uses only natural explanations (methodological materialism) -Addresses 'How', rather than 'Why' -Testable -Correctible -Extendable

Discovery of Deep Time: 

Discovery of Deep Time late 18th century – mid-19th century -Hutton No vestige of a beginning, No prospect of an end -Cuvier Following Newton, Kant, Laplace, Earth must be 100 million years old. Successive creation andamp; extinction events. Catastrophism, Progressive creationism -Lyell, Whewell et al The search for a natural explanation for 'mystery of mysteries' origin of species.

Charles Darwin: 

Charles Darwin 'On the view that species are only strongly marked and permanent varieties, and that each species first existed as a variety, we can see why it is that no line of demarcation can be drawn between species, commonly supposed to have been produced by special acts of creation, and varieties which are acknowledged to have been produced by secondary laws.'

Charles Darwin: 

Charles Darwin 'There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.'

Reconciling Natural History & the Bible: 

Reconciling Natural History andamp; the Bible Major 19th- andamp; 20th- century views: Gap Creationism- God created as in the Bible, but there was a gap of indeterminate length, perhaps millions of years, between the first creation in Genesis 1:1 andamp; the second creation in Genesis 1:2. Evolution may have occurred during the long period of Genesis 1:1, but that creation was replaced with the current one. Day-Age Creationism – Interprets the word 'day' in Genesis as a metaphor for a period of time (see Peter 3:8 'with the Lord one day is as a thousand years and a thousand years is as one day' '). The days of Genesis are long time periods or ages depicting the order of events in the creation of the world as corresponding to what we see in the fossil record, eg the age of invertebrates, then the age of fishes, then the age of reptiles, the age of mammals, the age of man, etc.

Reconciling Natural History & the Bible: 

Reconciling Natural History andamp; the Bible Major 19th- andamp; 20th- century views: Progressive Creationism– Acknowledges the patterns in the fossil record andamp; among living beings, but says the hand of God creates the new species, not natural causes -------------------------------------- Theistic Evolutionism – Progressive creationism grades into theistic evolutionism, which sees God deriving new forms of life from old ones. Some theistic evolutionists are very like Progressive Creationists as they see the hand of God intervening directly in the biology of organisms to create the new species. Others accept the natural processes of evolutionary biology as explanatory, but believe that the system was preprogrammed to give rise to humans. Still others believe God intervened in human evolution at some point to bestow a soul (possibly around 30,000 years ago when we see the first clear signs of art andamp; religion). The Pope, and the vast majority of working scientists in America are theistic evolutionists.

Reconciling Natural History & the Bible: 

Reconciling Natural History andamp; the Bible Omphalos Creationism– Acknowledges the appearance of deep time andamp; evolutionary progression, but interprets this as a sign that God created the universe with the appearance of age in order to test our faith. Satanic Tampering– Acknowledges the appearance of deep time andamp; evolutionary progression, but interprets this as the result of the devil tampering with God’s creation in order to lead us away from God. Rev Henry Cole, 1830s 'the subtle enemy of God and man' has put 'the infernal artillery' of 'the popular new science of Geology' into 'the hands of his vassals' to 'aim at this everlasting monument of revealed truth' ie scripture. 'sophisticating geologians have been allured by his implacable subtleties to enlist themselves in the service of his infernal policy.' Cole rejects the argument from design: 'if the word of God does not satisfy them, no scientific hypotheses will.' … 'Let such be turned out of the field of sacred argument…as not worthy of being heard.'

Theological Issues: 

Theological Issues These concerns go to the heart of Christianity and are involved in theological debates that date back over 1500 years. Even well before the scientific revolution, and due only to close examination of scripture, the fathers of the church emphasized that a literal interpretation of Genesis is not possible. Saint John Chrysostom (ca 347-407 AD) stressed it was essential to bear in mind that Moses tried to write only of the appearances of things, adapting his language and metaphors to the mindset of the Isrealites, who had only recently been released from Egyptian slavery and did not have a long tradition of scholarship. Saint Basil the Great (ca 330-379 AD) explained: 'It is probable that something existed before this world; which we may conceive of in our understandings, but of which no narrative has been left.' Homil. I in Hexahemeron

Theological Issues: 

Theological Issues -Martin Luther (1483-1546), leader of the Protestant Reformation in the introduction to his commentary on Genesis: 'God has reserved to himself alone this majesty of wisdom, and the sound understanding of this chapter; leaving to us the general knowledge, that the world had a beginning, and was created out of nothing by God. This general knowledge is clearly derived from the text. But with respect to the particular things, there is very much that is involved in difficulty and doubt, and about which questions without end are agitated.'

Theological Issues: 

Theological Issues It is absolutely certain that reason is among all things the most excellent, the best of all other things in this life, yea, something Godlike; as it is the inventress and directress of all sciences, the medical art, jurisprudence, and even of all wisdom, energy, virtue, and honor that men possess in this life. God has not deprived reason of this glory since the fall of Adam, but rather has confirmed it. What then is contrary to reason, is much more contrary to God. -Martin Luther

History of Creationismfmi see Ron Numbers’ book, The Creationists: 

History of Creationism fmi see Ron Numbers’ book, The Creationists 1855-1900 – Universal acceptance of Geology among scientists andamp; clerics (ie no publicatiuons rejecting the antiquity of the earth, or the progressive nature of the fossil record, nor any attaching geological significance to the Noachian deluge). Acceptance of evolution by the vast majority of denominations. 1917-1968 – Anti-evolutionism The rise of the fundamentalist movement included criticism of evolution. Scopes trial 1925, illegal to teach evolution in many states until 1968. Most fundamentalists of the time were Day-Age, Gap, or Progressive old-earth creationists. Many, like William Jennings Bryan, were theistic evolutionists except as regards human beings. 1960s-90s Young Earth Creationism Roots in 7th Day Adventism, 6 literal days, flood geology. Asserted there was scientific evidence for the Bible’s creation story andamp; that evolution was at odds with the known laws of physics, eg 2nd law of thermodynamics. 1980s - 'Creation Science' Promoted laws requiring equal time for young-earth creationism in public schools. These laws were opposed by most Christian denominations, including Southern Baptists, as well as Jewish andamp; Muslim groups In 1987 US Supreme Court ruled these unconstitutional. 1990s – Neo-Creationism –uses scientists’ tentativeness andamp; criticism of each others’ ideas to imply that evolutionists are promoting unfounded, philosophical andamp; political positions as an attack on religious belief.

History of Creationism: 

History of Creationism Young-Earth Creationism– Interprets the word 'day' in Genesis to mean a literal 24-hour day (even before the sun andamp; planets existed). Sees no life before Eden, and no death before the Fall. Sees fossils andamp; geological strata as the result of Noah’s flood. This movement was started by Henry Morris with his 1963 book The Genesis Flood. Morris’ most decisive move was to attempt to take Genesis literally, including not just the special, separate creation of humans and all other species, but the historicity of Noah's Flood. Although efforts to make a literal interpretation of the Bible compatible with science, especially geology, occurred throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, The Genesis Flood was the first significant twentieth-century effort. This book made it possible for religious antievolutionists to argue that evolution was not only religiously objectionable, but also scientifically flawed. This led to the 'Creation Science' movement. Morris founded the Institute for Creation Research in CA. It was the most influential creationist organization in the late 20th century, but has recently been challenged by groups with different creationist philosophies, eg Reasons to Believe, the Discovery Institute, and Answers in Genesis.

History of Creationism: 

History of Creationism The legal battle over 'Creation Science' Laws from the Scopes era were struck down in 1968 because they privileged one religious view over others, a clear violation of the Constitution. The idea emerged among some fundamentalists that even if it were no longer possible to ban evolution, they could get around the establishment clause of the Constitution by presenting their religion as science. In 1978, a Yale law student named Wendell Bird wrote an article in the Yale Law Review presenting a legal justification for teaching both evolution and creation science, saying that the any scientific evidence in favor of creation should be given 'equal time' in public school classrooms. Bills promoting 'equal time' for creation science were introduced in at least 26 state legislatures. Most of them were clones of a model bill developed by a South Carolina respiratory therapist, Paul Elwanger, which was influenced by an ICR model resolution for equal time. The bills defined creation science as including the ideas of 'a worldwide flood' and other YEC mainstays, including the special creation of human beings.

History of Creationism: 

History of Creationism 'Creation-Science' or 'Scientific Creationism' Sudden creation of the universe, energy, and life from nothing; The insufficiency of mutation and natural selection in bringing about development of all living kinds from a single organism; Changes only within fixed limits of originally created kinds of plants and animals; Separate ancestry for man and apes; Explanation of the earth's geology by catastrophism, including the occurrence of a worldwide flood; and A relatively recent inception of the earth and living kinds 1981 Arkansas Equal Time Law

Is it Science?: 

Is it Science? Sudden creation of the universe, energy, and life from nothing Criterion Yes/No Based on reductionist explanations Maybe Uses only natural explanations Maybe 'How', rather than 'Why' Maybe Testable Yes Correctible Yes Extendable Maybe Basically, the assertion is too vague to tell just what it’s claiming except that the universe had a beginning, this issue is somewhat contentious in physics, but is supported by considerable data in the reductionist mode. The word 'sudden' is especially unclear. If it means that life appeared at the same time as energy and matter, then there is no evidence to support it andamp; a great deal that demonstrates otherwise – that the universe began about 14 bya, and life on Earth began about 4 bya .

Is it Science?: 

Is it Science? The insufficiency of mutation and natural selection in bringing about development of all living kinds from a single organism Criterion Yes/No Based on reductionist explanations No Uses only natural explanations No 'How', rather than 'Why' Yes Testable Maybe Correctible Maybe Extendable No The assertion does not make a positive claim. It is a statement of doubt, not a hypothesis. It might be testable depending on how the word kinds is defined. It does not offer a research program.

Is it Science?: 

Is it Science? Changes only within fixed limits of originally created kinds of plants and animals Criterion Yes/No Based on reductionist explanations No Uses only natural explanations No 'How', rather than 'Why' Maybe Testable Yes Correctible Yes Extendable Maybe The claim is contradicted by a tremendous number of examples of evolving lineages in the fossil record (eg fish to tetrapod, reptile to mammal, reptile to bird, ape to human) as well as the genetics of all life forms thus examined.

Is it Science?: 

Is it Science? Separate ancestry for man and apes Criterion Yes/No Based on reductionist explanations No Uses only natural explanations Maybe 'How', rather than 'Why' Maybe Testable Yes Correctible Yes Extendable Maybe The claim contradicts hundreds of fossils and all the genetic and embryological data on living primates. The correction is simple: Common ancestry for humans and apes.

Is it Science?: 

Is it Science? Explanation of the earth's geology by catastrophism, including the occurrence of a worldwide flood Criterion Yes/No Based on reductionist explanations No Uses only natural explanations Maybe 'How', rather than 'Why' Maybe Testable Yes Correctible Maybe Extendable Maybe The claim for a universal flood is not supported by the enormous quantity of data geologists have accumulated so far. As no date is given, it’s hard to tell what exactly is meant. It’s not out of the question that the entire land surface of the Earth might have at some point been entirely covered with water. However, thus far, plate tectonics suggests that some land surface has always been above water.

Is it Science?: 

Is it Science? A relatively recent inception of the earth and living kinds Criterion Yes/No Based on reductionist explanations Maybe Uses only natural explanations Maybe 'How', rather than 'Why' Maybe Testable Yes Correctible Yes Extendable Maybe The assertion makes a positive claim. The claim is inconsistent with a mountain of data. The corrected statement is: A relatively ancient inception of the earth and living kinds, specifically an origin approx. 4.6 bya for planet Earth, and at least 3.9 bya for life.


ICR Tenets of Scientific Creationism The physical universe of space, time, matter, and energy has not always existed, but was supernaturally created by a transcendent personal Creator who alone has existed from eternity. The phenomenon of biological life did not develop by natural processes from inanimate systems but was specially and supernaturally created by the Creator. Each of the major kinds of plants and animals was created functionally complete from the beginning and did not evolve from some other kind of organism. Changes in basic kinds since their first creation are limited to 'horizontal' changes (variation) within the kinds, or 'downward' changes (e.g., harmful mutations, extinctions). The first human beings did not evolve from an animal ancestry, but were specially created in fully human form from the start. Furthermore, the 'spiritual' nature of man (self-image, moral consciousness, abstract reasoning, language, will, religious nature, etc.) is itself a supernaturally created entity distinct from mere biological life. The record of earth history, as preserved in the earth's crust, especially in the rocks and fossil deposits, is primarily a record of catastrophic intensities of natural processes, operating largely within uniform natural laws, rather than one of gradualism and relatively uniform process rates. There are many scientific evidences for a relatively recent creation of the earth and the universe, in addition to strong scientific evidence that most of the earth's fossiliferous sedimentary rocks were formed in an even more recent global hydraulic cataclysm. Processes today operate primarily within fixed natural laws and relatively uniform process rates but, since these were themselves originally created and are daily maintained by their Creator, there is always the possibility of miraculous intervention in these laws or processes by their Creator. Evidences for such intervention should be scrutinized critically, however, because there must be clear and adequate reason for any such action on the part of the Creator. The universe and life have somehow been impaired since the completion of creation, so that imperfections in structure, disease, aging, extinctions, and other such phenomena are the result of 'negative' changes in properties and processes occurring in an originally-perfect created order. Since the universe and its primary components were created perfect for their purposes in the beginning by a competent and volitional Creator, and since the Creator does remain active in this now-decaying creation, there do exist ultimate purposes and meanings in the universe. Teleological considerations, therefore, are appropriate in scientific studies whenever they are consistent with the actual data of observation, and it is reasonable to assume that the creation presently awaits the consummation of the Creator's purpose. Although people are finite and scientific data concerning origins are always circumstantial and incomplete, the human mind (if open to the possibility of creation) is able to explore the manifestations of that Creator rationally and scientifically, and to reach an intelligent decision regarding one's place in the Creator's plan.


ICR Tenets of Biblical Creationism The Creator of the universe is a triune God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. There is only one eternal and transcendent God, the source of all being and meaning, and He exists in three Persons, each of whom participated in the work of creation. The Bible, consisting of the thirty-nine canonical books of the Old Testament and the twenty-seven canonical books of the New Testament, is the divinely-inspired revelation of the Creator to man. Its unique, plenary, verbal inspiration guarantees that these writings, as originally and miraculously given, are infallible and completely authoritative on all matters with which they deal, free from error of any sort, scientific and historical as well as moral and theological. All things in the universe were created and made by God in the six literal days of the creation week described in Genesis 1:1-2:3, and confirmed in Exodus 20:8-11. The creation record is factual, historical, and perspicuous; thus all theories of origins or development which involve evolution in any form are false. All things which now exist are sustained and ordered by God's providential care. However, a part of the spiritual creation, Satan and his angels, rebelled against God after the creation and are attempting to thwart His divine purposes in creation. The first human beings, Adam and Eve, were specially created by God, and all other men and women are their descendants. In Adam, mankind was instructed to exercise 'dominion' over all other created organisms, and over the earth itself (an implicit commission for true science, technology, commerce, fine art, and education) but the temptation by Satan and the entrance of sin brought God's curse on that dominion and on mankind, culminating in death and separation from God as the natural and proper consequence. The Biblical record of primeval earth history in Genesis 1-11 is fully historical and perspicuous, including the creation and fall of man, the curse on the creation and its subjection to the bondage of decay, the promised Redeemer, the worldwide cataclysmic deluge in the days of Noah, the post-diluvian renewal of man's commission to subdue the earth (now augmented by the institution of human govemment) and the origin of nations and languages at the tower of Babel. The alienation of man from his Creator because of sin can only be remedied by the Creator Himself, who became man in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ, through miraculous conception and virgin birth. In Christ were indissolubly united perfect sinless humanity and full deity, so that His substitutionary death is the only necessary and sufficient price of man's redemption. That the redemption was completely efficacious is assured by His bodily resurrection from the dead and ascension into heaven; the resurrection of Christ is thus the focal point of history, assuring the consummation of God's purposes in creation. The final restoration of creation's perfection is yet future, but individuals can immediately be restored to fellowship with their Creator, on the basis of His redemptive work on their behalf, receiving forgiveness and etemal life solely through personal trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, accepting Him not only as estranged Creator but also as reconciling Redeemer and coming King. Those who reject Him, however, or who neglect to believe on Him, thereby continue in their state of rebellion and must ultimately be consigned to the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.

History of Creationism: 

History of Creationism 1980s - 'Creation Science' Arkansas' equal time law was declared unconstitutional in 1982 after a full trial. Opposing the law were leaders of many religious organizations. Joining the lead plaintiff, Methodist Rev. Bill McLean, were bishops andamp; other leaders of Roman Catholic, Episcopalian, African Methodist Episcopal, Presbyterian, and Southern Baptist churches, and Reform Jews. A leading New York law firm assembled an all-star cast of witnesses from the fields of science, philosophy of science, education, and theology. The McLean v. Arkansas decision was a rousing victory for the anticreationists: Federal District Judge Overton not only struck down the law, but declared that creation science failed as science. Having lost badly, the state did not appeal. The failure of the Arkansas equal time law slowed but did not halt the effort to pass legislation. At virtually the same time as the Arkansas decision was being issued, Louisiana passed a similar equal time law which was challenged by both proponents and opponents: one side suing to immediately implement the law, and the other requesting an injunction. The was no full trial. In 1987, the US Supreme Court decided in Edwards v. Aguillard that equal time laws like Louisiana's violated the establishment clause of the First Amendment of the Constitution because they promoted the views of a particular religious sect.

History of Creationism: 

History of Creationism The religious agenda of Creation-Science is clear: 'God used processes which are not now operating anywhere in the natural universe. This is why we refer to divine creation as special creation. We cannot discover by scientific investigation anything about the creative processes used by God.' --Duane Gish, Evolution: The Fossils Say No, p. 42 'As a missionary organization, ICR is funded by God's people. We believe God has raised up ICR to spearhead Biblical Christianity's defense against the godless dogma of evolutionary humanism. Only by showing the scientific bankruptcy of evolution, while exalting Christ and the Bible, will Christians be successful in 'the pulling down of strongholds; casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exaltheth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ' (II Corinthians 10:4,5).' --ICR Webpage 'The only way we can determine the true age of the earth is for God to tell us what it is. And since he has told us, very plainly, in the Holy Scriptures that it is several thousand years of age, and no more, that ought to settle all basic questions of terrestrial chronology.' --Henry Morris, Remarkable Birth, p. 94

History of Creationism: 

History of Creationism 1990s-present: Neo-Creationism Intelligent Design Creationism- a homage to Paley’s argument from design, in large part, Intelligent Design Creationism is used today as an umbrella anti-evolution position under which creationists of all flavors may unite in an attack on scientific methodology in general. A common tenet of IDC is that any acceptance of evolution equates to metaphysical materialism (ie the belief that all aspects of reality are explained by natural causes, ie that science has proven that there is no God.). Non-Christian Creationisms- Accept various anti-evolution arguments (like those of Intelligent Design) but say their religion offers a more adequate creation account.

History of Creationism: 

History of Creationism Intelligent Design relies on the failure of scientific explanations. If those explanations should happen not to fail, 'Design' would become 'superfluous.' 'What I want to focus on here, however, is not the testing of Darwinism and design against the broad body of biological data, but the related question of which theory can accommodate the greater range of biological possibilities... First off, let's be clear that design can accommodate all the results of Darwinism. Intelligent design does not repudiate the Darwinian mechanism. It merely assigns it a lower status than Darwinism does. The Darwinian mechanism does operate in nature and insofar as it does, design can live with its deliverances. Even if the Darwinian mechanism could be shown to do all the design work for which design theorists want to invoke design (say for the bacterial flagellum), a design-theoretic framework would not destroy any valid findings of science. To be sure, design would then become superfluous, but it would not become contradictory or self-refuting.' -William Dembski


Daniel Lietha’s comics highlight the differences between a scientific approach to the natural world andamp; one based on attempts to interpret the Bible literally. See more of his cartoons at:


The cartoons demonstrate that the creation-evolution debate is not science vs religion, but religion vs religion, ie competing interpretations of the Bible.


How do Young Earthers differ from Progressive Creationists? Example: Hugh Ross andamp; Duane Gish – debate on Jim Dobson’s Focus on the Family evangelical radio program: Gish: Now Hugh in his view - in his big bang cosmology, big bang cosmology is a natural process that begins with this big bang, and following the big bang then as this hydrogen and helium distributed itself throughout the universe and as stars evolved and galaxies evolved and our solar system created itself and so on.. That's been going on for, say, 15, 16, 17, 18 billion years. Well in a process like that, you see, I don't see any difference between that view and that of any atheist cosmologist or any unbelieving cosmologist who believes in the big bang, I can't see the difference and I don't see the agreement between this natural evolutionary origin of the universe and the universe that God created in the book of Genesis. In other words certainly if creation is not finished - Hugh believes that stars are still forming today you see, so we still - evolutionary creation has been going on for 18 billion years. See the whole debate at


How do Young Earthers differ from Progressive Creationists? Dobson: For those who have not read on this subject - they may be lost already - explain what the big bang theory is. Ross: Well the big bang theory is the theory that there's a beginning - a creation event, and that moreover this creation event was caused by a being that transcends matter energy length, width, height and time - that's what I mean by transcendent. If you go into Hinduism or Buddhism they say that time is eternal that the cosmos is eternal, that the cosmos oscillates. And what the big bang does for us is prove that these religions are false and that only the Christian interpretation of the cosmos is correct. See the whole debate at


'Evolution is at the foundation of communism, fascism, Freudianism, social darwinism, behaviorism, Kinseyism, materialism, atheism, and in the religious world, modernism and neo-orthodoxy' -Henry Morris 1963, Genesis Flood p. 24

Theological Debates: 

Theological Debates     'There is still a great need today to reaffirm the fundamental doctrines of Christianity, especially when we consider 'The Jesus Seminar,' 'Evangelicals and Catholics Together,' the current push by the Mormons to present themselves as just another Christian denomination, and a host of other groups claiming to be Christian who deny these core truths. John MacArthur's book Reckless Faith, published by Crossway Books is an excellent, brief analysis of present day doctrinal compromise.' From The Fundamentals website:

Theological Debates: 

Theological Debates 'We are concerned with Christian faith; not Catholic or Protestant faith. There is only one Christ. There is one God.' -Billy Graham

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