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Re:NBC program: creationist?

GSPaul wrote:

>Although this is not the best place to note this, it is worth pointing out
>that a creationist is anyone who believes that some form of intelligence
>outside our Universe deliberately created our humble home. ...There are all 
>sorts of creationists, ranging from old Universe/Earth creationists who think 
>God" then practised a hands off policy...to young Universe/Earth creationists 
>of the fundamentalist Christian sort. The latter have tended to co-opt the 
>term creationist for themselves...Howevr, some who favor "intelligent design" 
>are rebroadening the term creationist. Anyhow, the NBC program most
>certainly was Creationist, albeit not of the most fundamentalist type.

  Apparently Greg was responding to my recent post noting that the NBC 
program on human origins was at odds with "creationism."  Greg is right that in 
a loose sense a "creationist" can refer to anyone who believes in a creator or 
supernatural origin for the universe.  And until the past few decades, this was 
a common usage of the word.  However, the strict, young earth creationists have 
not only attempted to co-opt the term for themselves, they have largely 
succeeded in doing so. Unless otherwise qualified, when someone says 
"creationist" today they think of strict, young earth creationism (abbreviated 
YEC below), not the broadly defined creationism.
     As evidence, I would like to ask how many readers thought, when Greg first 
refered to the NBC show as being a "creationist" program, thought he was 
referring to broader sense of "creationism."  I doubt if many did.  Langauge, 
like other things, can evolve.  Today, whether we like it or not, the term 
"creationism" is usually taken to mean strict, fundamentalist brand 
creationism.  That was what my post referred to.  I think I even used the term 
"strict creationism," more than once, and often in my posts on creationism I 
preface the word with "strict" just to avoid any misunderstanding.  At any 
rate, the main purpose of my post was to clarify that the NBC show did not 
promote strict creationism (as some may have misunderstood from Greg's post), 
but actually was antagonistic toward it. 
    Moreover, since Greg broad it up, I might note I do not think 
the show particularly promoted creationism even in the broad sense, since it 
contained little if any mention of God, Creation, miracles, etc.   Rather it 
seemed to more generally promote pseudoscience and perhaps subtely the Hare 
Krishna religion (with references to time cycles and such).  Thus the 
producers' motivations may have been parytly religious, but not especially 
"creationist", especially in the sense commonly understood today.  
    I want to thank Greg, though, for mentioning the other uses of the word 
creationist.  Perhaps I and others should be more precise when using the term 
in the future (such as using the term YEC or its spelled out form).  After all, 
one could even consider me a creationist in the sense that I am a Christian and 
believe in a creator.  But I am not a YEC, and therefore do not apply the term 
"creationist" to myself, because I know that most people assume you mean YEC 
when you use the term.  Likewise, most scientists I know who are Christians or 
theists of other sorts avoid applying the term "creationist" to themselves for 
the same reasons.
    As a final note, I might point out that Ronald Numbers, in his excellent 
history entltled, "The Creationists" biefly mentions that "creationism" was 
once commonly used in a broader sense, but routinely uses the term 
"creationism" throughout the remainer of the book to mean young-earth 
creationism, without qualification--apparently assuming (correctly I believe) 
that most readers will understand that unless otherwise qualified.


Glen Kuban