In November of 2002, a talk.origins poster asked if any contributors to the group were former creationists who had become convinced of the truth of evolution. This question garnered a flood of positive replies, and the entire thread, rather than a single post, was nominated for Post of the Month. While this is not standard practice, it was too good an opportunity to pass up. Reproduced below is the text of the original post, along with excerpts and Google links to the replies. In the interests of fairness, replies from former evolutionist contributors have also been provided.
Author: SLDER Subject: Former Creationists Out There? Newsgroups: talk.origins Date: November 17, 2002 Message-ID: email@example.com
I am interested in hearing from former creationists who changed their views about creationism and became convinced of evolution.
What was it in the end that convinced you?
Did you completely abandon Christianity, or did you just switch over to a more "mainline" church?
How has it affected your social life? Have your fundy friends and family disowned you? Or do you keep it quiet?
From Frank J.:"In part Catholic school, circa 1967. One example that I vaguely recall was my 7th grade teacher, when discussing geologic time, put some confusing qualifiers on it that made me start thinking critically. And since I was not allowed to bear false witness, the rest was (pre)history..." (read more)
From David Jensen:"Creation-evolution was part of my move to ELCA from Wisc. Synod Lutheran (WELS). Many things contributed to my decision not to bother worshipping." (read more)
From JS:"It was a matter of intellectual integrity for me.... There came a point when the contradictions were too obvious to ignore and the answers were lacking. I realized that I would have to leave sooner or later so I decided I might as well go sooner than remain shackled in what I felt to be a lie...." (read more)
From R. Baldwin:"I took an anthropology class in high school from an excellent teacher. It included hands-on activities such as making stone tools. I realized that the succession of stone tool technology alone was inconsistent with the Genesis story. I also realized that the anti-evolution arguments badly mischaracterized what scientists actually had to say." (read more)
From AC:"When I actually checked the references in the Creationist literature, and discovered the distortions and outright lies...." (read more)
From Fross:"I was raised in a Baptist family, went to a Baptist public school and my family went to church every Sunday morning, evening and Wed. evening. I was taught creationism and they also taught me this weird twisted view of what evolution was and how it was bad...." (read more)
From Mark Nutter:"I started out really enthusiastic about creationism, and wanted to become a contributor. I thought the place to start was to take creationist quotes, look up the original evolutionist sources, and see what else I could find. What I found was that creationists were being misleading (to put it kindly) with regards to what evolutionists were really saying. That was the beginning.... I read some books detailing scientific responses to creationism, and found that, rather than running around worrying about the alleged lack of answers, scientists had quite a lot of rather good answers, backed up by hard data, as well as telling critiques of flaws in creationist arguments...." (read more)
From Dunno:(in response to "What was it that convinced you?") "Information. Something I wasn't exposed to until college." (read more)
From Rich Hammett:"When I started grad school in engineering, I had some free time, and read a couple of books about evolution...I don't even remember what they were. By the end of the first book, I was convinced that the YECs were either stupid, liars, or both...." (read more)
From June:"When I was around 12 to 13, I started asking questions about the contradictions between what I read in the Bible (I had started at Gen 1:1 and was working my way through the whole thing!); what was preached at my church; and what I was learning in school and personal studies, about science especially. My parents sent me to our preacher to counsel me. Over the period of about a year, our preacher became very frustrated with me because I wouldn't just take his word for what was true or not... He eventually stopped the counseling sessions with the cautionary words (more or less yelled at me) that if I kept questioning, I would be damned to Hell." (read more)
From Melmoth:"When I was in high school I started reading real science and that pretty much did it. For anyone with an inquisitive mind, the half-supported and half-logical postulates of creation science just don't hold up." (read more)
From Kermit:"...by the time I was ten or so, Grandpa made it clear that one could not be a fundamentalist ("bible-believer") and friendly to science. So, naturally, I chose science...." (read more)
From Edward T. Babinski:"My belief in young-earth creationism died the death of a thousand qualifications. It didn't change overnight. I kept having to stretch it to accommodate more and more info that didn't fit with young-earth creationism until my belief in young-earth creationism and especially "Flood geology," snapped." (read more)
From Dirk Murcray:"Even before college however, I took notice of the local geologic formations as I made my daily rounds in the oil field, and realized that a young earth was simply not a possibility. It led me to check out an old historical geology text from the public library and read it. Even though it was badly outdated, it made evident to me the basic facts of earth's natural history...." (read more)
From K-Man:"Short answer: the preponderance of the evidence." (read more)
The original poster went on to ask if there were any former evolutionists on talk.origins. In the interests of fairness, we present the two substantive responses produced by that thread, one of whom was a person who went from evolution to creationism and back to evolution again: response #1, response #2.
[Return to the 2002 Posts of the Month]
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