Survey: Range of beliefs

David E Hurst (
Tue, 26 May 1998 10:51:53 -0500 (CDT)

I've a question (actually, a few questions) for the list at large. There
seems to me to be a wide range of beliefs/theories/whatever concerning
creation/evolution. For example, at one end of the scale is the
"young-earth creationist" belief that the world was literally created in
7 days, that the earth is therefore only a few thousand years old (anybody
know what the official YE number is?). At the other end of the scale is
the purely naturalistic or materialistic evolutionist belief that not only
is life the result of pure naturalistic phenomenon, but matter is "all
there is," with the implication that there is no such thing as free will,
or absolute moral values, or God.

But even between these two extremes there appears to be a rich set of
additional beliefs. For example, Intelligent Design, which believes that
the scientific evidence points to the existence of, if not God, at least
an intelligent designer outside of our "reality". Or Theistic Evolution,
which believes that God created us through the process of evolution as
scientists understand it. Closely related would be Deism, or "The Blind
Watchmaker", which believes that even if there is a god, he did not
actively participate in evolution.

So, on my short list of beliefs, ranging from the strongest Creationist to
the strongest Evolutionist (forgive the term "strongest"; a more suitable
word simply wouldn't come to mind quickly enough):

+ Young Earth; Creation Science
+ Intelligent Design
+/- Theistic Evolution (I picture this one exactly half-way between YE
and NE)
- Deism; Blind Watchmaker
- Naturalistic Evolution (or Materialistic Evolution, or perhaps purely
Atheistic Evolution)

Now, my questions to the group are these:

1. Have I incorrectly defined or misrepresented any of these beliefs so

2. Are there any other beliefs which you would insert into this scale?
For example, there seems to me to be a large gap between Deism and
Naturalistic Evolution. Any ideas what could be inserted there?

3. What books or web sites or other resources would you recommend to
someone who wanted to learn more about that particular belief? For
example, Behe's book DARWIN'S BLACK BOX would be a good place to learn
more about ID theories. Dawkin's book THE BLIND WATCHMAKER could be
associated with both Deism and NE.

4. This is a simple one-dimensional scale I'm proposing here. Obviously,
there are beliefs that are tangential to the scale without actually being
on it. The Hindu's, for example, have a creation belief that would on the
one hand appear to coincide with YE, but obviously is not equivalent to
YE. Are there any other examples of this out there?

I'm not looking to start any long debates on the merits or demerits of
each individual belief, so if any such debate gets started, it is not my
fault. Toward that end, I am encouraging you, if you have any input for
me, to mail it to me directly, not to the mailing list. My email account

I am making no judgements on anyone's beliefs, so don't be afraid to share
them with me. You will get no flames from me. If you do, may I be banned
from the list forever!!

I am also interested in more than just your personal beliefs. If you are
aware of any additional beliefs out there, whether you buy into it or not,
go ahead and share them with me.

Erich Hurst
Houston, TX