"YEC" v. "Literal Creationism"

John E. Rylander (rylander@prolexia.com)
Wed, 26 Mar 1997 20:39:55 -0600

As usual, I don't have time for any significant reply, but two thoughts come to mind:

(1) "Young earth" creationism was chosen because it clearly points out what is most distinctive scientifically, not because it is in any way intrinsically abusive. To the extent it's abusive, I bet that's simply because of the crudely unscientific connotations of the term, which will gradually be gained by any replacement term. I suspect this will be another politically correct sort of thing, in which the term is continually changed to avoid recurring negative connotations that come not from the term itself, but from what the term refers to -- hence the need for continual replacement. (Crippled, handicapped, physically challenged, differently abled, physically gifted, etc. etc.)

(2) "Literal creationism" seems to -me- a poor choice for a scientific discussion for two reasons: (a) What sets aside YECs is -not- that they literally believe in creation, or believe in literal creation -- even ECs do that. The "literal" applies to their interpretation of the Bible, not to their belief in creation. (b) A few ECs, e.g. Glenn, consider themselves staunch literalists as well.

Given that (i) YEC very clearly expresses what is distinctive in Morris et al's position wrt science, and (ii) hypothetically at least that the point is not to use emotionally loaded or unloaded, derogatory or euphemistic terms, but to be as clear as possible, I'd say stick with YEC at least insofar as one is discussing the scientific position. If one is discussing the theological position, then something like "Biblical literalism" (but not "literal creationism") would seem apt, although that still would confusingly put ECs like Glenn in that camp.

So accuracy would require a clear distinction between the distinct scientific (Glenn: EC, Morris: YEC) and theological (both: literalist) perspectives. Perhaps the combination term could be Young-Earth Literalism, v. Glenn's Evolutionary Literalism.

Curious: did Morris ever give any reason why "young-earth" would be intrinsically abusive? Or is he just transferring people's criticisms of the theory to the term instead, treating it as a scapegoat, to be sent into the desert carrying off YEC's "guilt" along with it? (Such is my suspicion, as politically correct folks commonly do, as noted above.)

My two cents worth, anyway.


-----Original Message-----
From: John W. Burgeson [SMTP:burgy@compuserve.com]
Sent: Wednesday, March 26, 1997 4:41 pm
To: EVOLUTION Reflector
Subject: Reply to Russ

Russ Cannon wrote, in part:

"I appreciate the opportunity to comment on what you shared from the ICR

Many of the things I've read of Henry Morris' and other YEC's about OEC's
and TE's is that we are doing the work of Satan or that we are denying the
infallibility of scripture. (Yes, such terminology has been used from time
to time.)

Henry Morris has been a key player in the various ecumenical groups that
have been brought together to consider whether OEC is heretical. One group
was asked to vote on whether a Christian had to believe YEC to be
considered truly Christian. The result on the question was one vote short
of unanimous that a Christian *could* believe OEC and still be considered
Christian. The one vote against was that of Henry Morris. ..."

Having had personal conversation with Morris on his subject (in 1988), I
have to probe you here. When and where and how documented? How was the
particular question posed?

"The question about whether "young earth creationsim" or "literal
creationism" is a more appropriate term depends on whether we want a
descriptive term or a pejorative term. "

I disagree. My aim is to see if we can draw together, the ICR people and
those of us who think the scientific evidence for an old earth is so
overwhelming as to make irrational a young earth position. The reason for
wanting us to draw together is because we serve the same Lord. I think
that's reason enough. Morris has made a statement about what labels he