"As I said in a previous post, I am new on the net and am somewhat confused
on the use of some terms. For instance, am a creationist if I believe that
there is a Creator but have not committed myself to a particular view on how
the Creator brought the universe into being?"
I checked the Oxford English Dictionary which we have online here at
the University of Alberta, and it has the following definitions:
creationist (kri:'eIS&schwa.nIst). [f. as prec. + -IST.] One who believes in or
1859 DARWIN Life & Lett. II. 233 What a joke it would be if I pat you on the
back when you attack some immovable creationists. 1882 FARRAR Early Chr. I.
463 The verbal controversy between Creationists..and Traducianists.
creationism (kri:'eIS&schwa.nIz(&schwa.)m). [f. as prec. + -ISM.] A system or
theory of creation: spec. a The theory that God immediately creates a soul for
every human being born (opposed to traducianism); b The theory which
attributes the origin of matter, the different species of animals and plants,
etc., to `special creation' (opposed to evolutionism).
1847 BUCH tr. Hagenbach's Hist. Doctr. II. 1 The theory designated
Creationism..was now more precisely defined. 1872 LIDDON Elem. Relig. iii. 102
The other and more generally received doctrine is known as Creationism. Each
soul is an immediate work of the Creator. 1880 GRAY Nat. Sc. & Relig. 89 The
true issue as regards design is not between Darwinism and direct Creationism.
However, it hardly seems fair to me to allow only special creationists
to be called creationists (leaving aside the older conflict with traducianism).
Maybe one should try to get the OED definition changed.
I did note that the fourth of the following OED definitions of "black
hole" now includes the quantum possibility that particles can tunnel out. (I
must admit that it took me some time to realize who had written the OED last
quoted use of the phrase.)
black-hole, black hole. (Beside obvious application to any dark hole or deep
1 Mil. The punishment cell or lock-up in a barracks; the guard-room. (The
official designation till 1868.)
2 gen. A place of confinement for punishment. (Often with allusion to that
3 The deep dark pool under a waterfall; as `the Black Hole at Aira Force.'
4 Astr. (As two words.) A region within which the gravitational field is so
strong that no form of matter or radiation can escape from it except by
quantum-mechanical tunnelling, and thought to result from the collapse of a
massive star; also fig.
1968 J. A. WHEELER in Amer. Scientist LVI. 9 Light and particles incident
from outside emerge and go down the black hole only to add to its mass and
increase its gravitational attraction. 1971, 1974 [see s.v. SCHWARZSCHILD 2].
1977 Sci. Amer. Jan. 34/3 A black hole weighing a billion tons..would have a
radius of about 10[min13] centimeter. 1978 PASACHOFF & KUTNER University
Astron. xii. 326 Once matter is inside a black hole, it loses its identity in
the sense that from outside a black hole, all we can tell is the mass of the
black hole, the rate at which it is spinning, and what electric charge it has.
1980 Time 16 June 64 To the 1.7 million people added to the jobless rolls in
April and May, the U.S. economy may well seem to have..been sucked into a
black hole. 1986 Nature 8 May 111/1 Quantum mechanics allows a particle to
tunnel out of a black hole... Eventually it evaporates to such a small size
that the semiclassical approximation becomes invalid, and quantum mechanics
must be applied to the gravitational field of the black hole itself.
So maybe the OED definition of "creationism" should also change. As a
January 1994 message by Alan Hughes, Chief Science Editor, said,
An Appeal to the Scientific Community
Work has recently begun at Oxford University Press on a comprehensive revision
of the Oxford English Dictionary, to be published in 2005.
As part of the process of revising and updating the Dictionary, we would like
to encourage scientists who have information relevant to the OED to draw it to
Such information may include:
1. The coinages of particular scientific words
2. Factual errors in their definitions
3. Scientific words and meanings not in the OED
4. Earlier referenced examples of words and meanings already treated in the
dictionary (and later examples of those described as obsolete)
Category 4 is especially useful: the OED is a historical dictionary which
attempts to trace every word and meaning back to its earliest known use in the
English language, as well as giving references to the coinages of foreign
precursors of English words.
As an example, Professor Joshua Lederberg has mailed us about the omission of
C. S. Peirce's philosophical sense of `abduction', not recorded in the OED, and
his own coinage of the words `eugram' and `eugraphy'.
Please email email@example.com, or write to:
Chief Science Editor
Oxford English Dictionary
Oxford OX2 6DP
And pass this message on to whomever may be interested.
Chief Science Editor January 1994
Don N. Page