Glossary Evaluation

A few days, @Swamidass looked into the CE-DEBATE glossary, and noted that some of the terms needed some work. After having revised it a bit, I would like to turn it over to fellow forum participants for a “peer review” of sorts, if you will.

Hmmmm… well, is this list intended to be from a young-earth creationist perspective? It’s tricky because YEC will often define words differently than mainstream science, which can be confusing when trying to navigate between the two.

In which case, this might be splitting hairs, but – the definition for “Creationism” ends with “a literal interpretation of the Biblical Genesis account.” Does that mean Creationism requires the view that the creation days were 24-hour days? I realize that for many the term “creationist” is used fairly interchangeably with “young-earth creationist,” but I’m curious why no distinction is made here (since there are creationists who accept an old earth and therefore reject the “literal” idea that the creation days were 24 hours, without rejecting creation).

Also, I’m not a scientist so I could be on the wrong track here, but is it accurate to refer to “microevolution” as a “theory”? Or at least, as a theory that states that changes can only happen within “kinds”? The way it’s phrased sounds more like an extension of baraminology (but again, I’m not a scientist, so this may be a YEC distinction).

Thank you for the comments! Do you know of a good way to define “old earth creationism?”

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I guess it would be a pretty broad umbrella term that would include many perspectives – the BioLogos perspective as well as Reasons to Believe and Old Earth Ministries (i.e. some OEC accept common descent, and others don’t). As much as I often despise the tone of RationalWiki, this seems like a decent summary on their OEC page:

Old Earth creationism (OEC) is a form of creationism that accepts the existence of deep time, and may accept scientific evidence about the age of the Earth. As with all forms of creationism, it maintains that the earth and the universe were created by a god, usually the Abrahamic God (Christianity, Judaism and Islam).

I have added several new definitions based on your recommendations:

  • Young Earth Creationism
  • Old Earth Creationism
  • Evolutionary Creationism
  • Theistic Evolution

I would encourage you all to check it out, and tell me what you think:


Awesome – I think that makes some good distinctions. I think it makes sense that you’ve basically combined EC and TE – I get them confused in my own mind anyway. :grinning:

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Hey @J.E.S,

Instead of having a list of definitions, I think there may be more value in helping people understand how this is a multilingual conversation, especially in our use of the word “evolution”. We use the same words in different ways.

There Is value in asking one another, “what do you mean when you say evolution here?” And then moving forward on those explanations. Ultimately, we cannot police everyone’s use of the words, but we can try and understand each other’s meaning.

Also, to define terms, it helps to point to people who hold those positions. To define theistic evolution or evolutionary creation, perhaps point to BioLogos. To define OEC, perhaps point to Reasons to Believe. It always helps to let those who hold a position define themselves.

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Other than a label, @Elle what do you think the difference is between evolutionary creation and theistic evolution?

Well, looking at the terms by themselves, in one “evolution” is a noun, while in the other, it is used in an adjectival way. So it would seem that “evolutionary creationism” emphasizes creation, while “theistic evolution” emphasizes evolution, and “theistic” seems like a broader term to me, that could include just about any concept of a god or deity. So even just based on that, I can see why BioLogos chose the EC term (and I would too if I had to choose, because creationism is more important to me than the method).

But that’s a grammatical perspective – I’m sure there’s more to it than that.



On the issue of “kinds”, I’ll be promoting this spin, which has the advantage of being very Biblically consistent:

In these verses (below) and elsewhere, a “kind” is a population that can reproduce the next generation, generation after generation. Technically speaking (and surprisingly) Lions and Tigers can produce fertile offpsring, which suggests that they represent a single kind. In contrast, Donkeys and Horses cannot, so they represent two kinds.

Gen 1:21
And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

Gen 1:24
And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.

As for the idea that only micro-evolution is possible, that would pretty much put the “kabosh!” on the whole point of having the “evolved adams” outside of Eden. They are presented as evolving out of the Primate group… from Homo erectus to Homo sapiens. If someone insists that this evolution is impossible, it will pretty much void the point of the scenario.

There have been a lot of new definitions added to the glossary since this topic was last discussed (… :wink:

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