A Short Sequence of Thoughts on Creationism

I’ll admit first that I haven’t watched the Bill Nye/Ken Ham debate, whose hype induced me to write this essay, and I probably won’t. I have also invested very little of the past five or six years into investigating the specifics of the creationism controversy, which I am aware still smolders in Evangelical circles.

Some autobiographical information may account for my present general apathy. Defending young earth creationism (YEC) was a major church-culture thing when I was a kid, and the typical centerpiece of apologetics ministry. I traveled to an Answers in Genesis conference with a church group when I was about eleven, and met Ken Ham there. Ham also taught adult Sunday School once in my little Baptist church. (My father, who has no particular leaning on YEC, personally found him evasive.)

My parents did their best to supply me with apologetics materials as my intellect budded. Some, for instance on the textual integrity of the Bible, were helpful; others seemed more contrived. Despite my father’s lack of investment in a young earth perspective, my mother purchased mostly YEC books when it came to science. I might have argued the YEC perspective for much of my teens, but around the time I entered college, I simply let it go. No new challenges made me rethink the validity of my position; I just realized that the issue was not so important and I was not so knowledgeable as to qualify me for an advocate of any position. Noting that I had only seen such arguments stir up discord, moreover, I seriously questioned the value and necessity of militant apologetics. Instead, I turned toward philosophy and theology, trying to understand my faith better before attempting to defend it. I still think this a fortunate shift.

My exposure did continue in low levels. While at Belhaven I read a book, written by scientists, that espoused intelligent design, and it seemed more reasonable to me than YEC. Later, as I started to realize where my assumptions about interpreting Genesis came from, and how novel they were in the history of Christian thought (YEC arose in the 1920s out of Seventh-day Adventism, a heterodox sect), any remaining commitment to YEC disintegrated, and my perception of evolutionary science as intrinsically a sinister, hostile force faded.

However much I enjoyed my six credits of biology in college—as I did, genuinely—science is still not a field in which I am particularly knowledgeable. I was deeply interested in geology and astronomy when younger, and though online chemistry classes dampened my regard, I could see reviving it at some point; nevertheless, the vast field of humanities has dominated my adult education and continuing interests.

So this is how I, a scientifically illiterate non-enthusiast, understand the meat of the question.

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