VoteCalledFor VectorHermit

Due to the http"great creation debate" in "Evolution as a secular religion" and the disagreement over the meaning of the word, this provisional entry has been established to support a proposed Virian Poll.

Application: The poll results will determine the primary meaning of "Create|Creation" in the Virian lexicon. Should significant support (>20% on either poll) be shown for both meanings, both meanings will be reflected in the VirianLexicon as alternates. Should a geographic bias be apparent (>20% difference after normalization), this will be reflected in the VirianLexicon. Should either meaning not receive all of the votes (after normalization and summing) the word will marked as depreciated.

The dispute over the meaning of "create" and "creation" is characterised by the following excerpts

David Lucifer I already mentioned that the act of creation does not require intent. The universe was created in the big bang. New stars are created out of the remnants of supernovas. The elements that give rise to life were created in stars. None of this happened with intent as far as we know.

Hermit I agree that intent was almost certainly missing in the examples given. However, I disagree that intent is not required for creation. English has a very rich vocabulary which allows us to select the appropriate word to describe phenomena accurately. It is a hallmark of the scientific (and legal) process that words are used in such a way as to avoid confusion. "Creation", being directly descended from "krainein" (to accomplish), undoubtedly requires intent (what is it you wish to accomplish) and thus is avoided in scientific discourse except where intent is involved. Thus

And again

David Lucifer If you really don't believe me, I suggest we have a Virian vote on acceptable usage of the word "create". The vote will have several sentences using the word and we can vote on which ones we find acceptable (whether or not we agree with the truth of the content). I've seen this mentioned in online dictionaries that make use of expert panels to determine acceptable usage of words.

Hermit ...a vote might be interesting. If you establish such a vote, please create two votes. One for North Americans, one for everyone else. I hypothesize that if anyone supports your asserion of the meaning of "creation", that there will be a geographic difference in the results.

Hermit Hmm, given that your Christian neighbors are a majority and in your neighborhood, why bother with dictionaries? Can't you simply ask some of them whether, when they claim "God created the world', they meant that this was done mindlessly and without intent. If they don't mean that, wouldn't that mean that the same word has now two simultaneous and opposing meanings? And wouldn't that make the word itself meaningless?

David Lucifer Your suggestion makes no sense. If I said that someone created an artificact, then there was likely intent. If I said a natural pattern was created (e.g. sand dunes created by wind) there there is no intent implied. The word create can be used validly in both contexts. I never implied otherwise.

Hermit So, by your argument, the word does have two contradictory meanings. To deliberately establish something, and for something that happens by accident. In other words, everything is "created". Now tell me, how is this different from saying that everything that is, is? Given your sense of "created", what is it that makes "created" a useful word? If everything is "created", it is not useful to say that something was "created", as this in no sense qualifies it from anything else.

Hermit Would you say that a child who accidently knocked over a tin of paint had "'created' a mess" or would you say "he made a mess"? How about a painter? Would you say he "made a work of art" or would you say he "created a work of art"? What is the difference between these phrases? Do you see all the above as correct, idiomatic usage?

Hermit If, all things are "created" and there is no difference implied in the process of "creation" and other words like "make" and "happened" and "instantiated", e.g. there is no difference between an intentful action (e.g. creating a meaningful message) and an unconsidered side effects (e.g. "creating" a puddle of coffee) we have to ask why the word "created" exists?


I had a different vote in mind. Regional differences are not relevant to how we define "create" for the CoV, so there is no need for two votes.

Why the reluctance to establish two versions and establish whether there are regional differences? I agree that even if there are regional differences, that we do not need to establish two definitions when creating a lexicon entry.

Are there reasons for not asking the questions about intent and creation directly?

I would answer the above as you have proposed as follows:

1 True (Intent is asserted. But known to be counter to the position held by most Virians). 2 False (Intent is not present. But that the Universe was instantiated by the Big Bang is in accord with the opinions of most Virians). 3 ? 4 False (Intent was not asserted). 5 False (Intent was not asserted). 6 True (Intent is presumed). 7 ?

I am not sure what Options 3 and 7 mean.

I suggest that questions 1 and 2 will create a bias in the response, as my opinion of 'correct' usage is directly contradicted by the sense of the statements. In other words, were the question not about the nature of "create" my answer to Options 1 and 2 would be the exact opposite (although I wouldn't use "created" in 2).

What is an "obviously incorrect option"?

Last edited on Saturday, September 27, 2003 6:42:33 pm.