Re: Evolved creationists?
Thu, 2 Jul 1998 20:30:50 EDT

In a message dated 7/2/98 3:33:56 PM, wrote:

>There does indeed appear to be a breed of creationists which can be
>by these traits:
>(1) They do not dispute, but rather fully accept, the standard scientific
>of the evolution of the universe, the Earth, and life on Earth. This is a far
>from the six days of Genesis. (In fact, they see the "Cambrian Explosion",
>rapid appearance of most forms of life known today in a geologically short
>of time, as evidence that something other than random mutation was at work.)

This isn't a new breed; it's quite old. These are the people who believe that God
"hides in the nooks and cannies of the universe" (I can't remember who originally
coined that phrase). Back before Darwin's time such people cited species as proof of God's existence. Whenever humans successfully crack another mystery of
the universe, they pack up their bags and retreat to the next mystery. Really,
there's nothing to their arguments save the argument from incredulity - "I can't figure it out so God must have done it".

For some reason, such people seem generally to be behind the times (although not
scientifically illiterate). For example, the Cambrian "explosion" is pretty well
understood not to have been an explosion at all. The genetic distances for well-conserved sequences like ribosomal RNA indicate that the different animal groups had been separated for something like 200 million years prior to the Cambrian. Lo and behold, we're now finding animal fossils well back into the Ediacaran period. Turns out the Cambrian "explosian" was just the results of an arms race between teeth and shells which made fossilization far more likely.

The origin of life is a currently favored hiding place for such people as we're only
now starting to develop plausible speculations for the origin of self- replicating
molecules (e.g., catalytic closure). I should think we'll have good theories for
the origin of life in the next 50 years or so and such people will have to decamp
for the Big Bang. Some did back in Darwin's day, and I know a number of such today.