Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Progressive Creationism is the most common form of Old Earth creationism today. It accepts that species have changed or evolved and also believes that the process has been continuously guided by God, with various ideas as to how the process operates. While it incorporates most of modern physical science, even viewing the Big Bang as evidence of the creative power of God, it rejects much of modern biology or looks to it for evidence that evolution by natural selection is incorrect.
Progressive Creationists generally believe that God specially creates "kinds" of organisms (genetically unrelated to older kinds) sequentially, thus explaining the order seen in the fossil record.
In the early 19th century many such theories were produced by scientists looking to explain developments in geology but opposed to what they saw as atheistic Lamarckian evolution, disreputably associated with the French Revolution and radical democratic agitators, although the term "creationism" would not be coined until the late 19th century. In the early 1830s the geologist and clergyman Sir Charles Lyell set out a gradualist theory in which each species was sequentially produced in its "centre of creation" and was designed for the habitat, but would go extinct when the habitat changed. This view was supported by John Herschel and developed in the direction of Evolutionary creationism by Charles Babbage.
By 1836 the anatomist Richard Owen had theories influenced by Johannes Peter Müller that living matter had an "organising energy", a life-force that directed the growth of tissues and also determined the lifespan of the individual and of the species. In the 1850s Owen developed ideas of "archetypes" in the Divine mind producing a sequence of species in "ordained continuous becoming". Following publication of The Origin of Species Owen became a bitter critic of Darwin, arguing his own "axiom of the continuous operation of the ordained becoming of living things" in which new species appeared at birth, not through natural selection.
Modern arguments for Progressive Creationism are put forward in the Reasons To Believe website, though this seems more focussed on attacking Darwinian evolution than in explaining alternative theories.
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