Bronze-level articleCreationism

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Goddidit!

Creationism

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A wise man once said...
Several thousand years ago, a small tribe of ignorant near-savages wrote various collections of myths, wild tales, lies, and gibberish. Over the centuries, the stories were embroidered, garbled, mutilated, and torn into small pieces that were then repeatedly shuffled. Finally, this material was badly translated into several languages successively. The resultant text, creationists feel, is the best guide to this complex and technical subject.
Science Made Stupid (1985)

Creationism is any belief that asserts that some god(s) created the universe and/or its contents via magic, rather than that the universe arose through purely natural processes. "Creationism" is often used as a synonym of Young Earth creationism, but the two are not identical.

Despite design proponents' (dishonest) protests, religious faith in the (often literal) truth of holy texts, such as Genesis, is the foundation of creationism. Literalism is a tenet shared by fundamentalists and creationists of Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, and others.

Primarily due to the existence of many and varied religious beliefs (and secondarily due to varied attempts to make several tenets of creationism "scientific"), creationism itself also takes many forms. Old Earth creationists believe in deep time for the universe but may reject evolution, common descent, or deep time specifically for the Earth. Young Earth creationists hold the universe is less than 10,000 years old, assert the historical truth of the Bible, including a Fall and a Global flood, and reject evolution (to varying degrees).

Due to the assertion of divine involvement, the many people who agree with science on deep time and evolution but think that a God of the gaps created the universe or influenced reality at some crucial instances (e.g. caused the Big Bang or kickstarted abiogenesis) are still creationists.

Contents

[edit] Categories

Creationists can be categorized according to the specifics of their belief, including:

  • Religion: Creationists can be of virtually any religious stripe (and allegedly, none at all).
  • Acceptance of evolution: Some creationists think no genetic change can happen; others accept evolution wholeheartedly, but with the intervention of a deity.
  • Age of the universe (and its contents): Creationists hold the age of the universe to be anywhere from the scientifically-accepted 13.5 billion to the Biblically-obtained 6,000 years.

[edit] Age of the universe

From most to least.

[edit] Old Earth creationism

See the main article on this topic: Old Earth creationism

Old Earth creationism (OEC) accepts deep time and the methods used to reach this figure. Nevertheless, OECs believe that life was deliberately created/guided/etc. by a religious deity. OECs generally fall into five categories:

  • Theistic evolution asserts that God caused abiogenesis and/or guided the process of evolution.
  • Day-age creationism is a literal interpretation of Genesis concluding that creation took place as claimed in Genesis, but that each of the "days" represents a vast period of time.
  • The framework interpretation of Genesis, advanced by biblical scholar Meredith Kline, is a literal interpretation of Genesis that posits that the Genesis account is not to be taken as a historical or scientific description of creation, but as an allegorical and theological one.
  • Progressive creationism is predicated on accepting mainstream scientific findings regarding the age of the Earth, but positing that God progressively created new creatures over the course of millions of years.
  • Gap creationism asserts that God created the universe and Earth, but then laid waste to Earth and remade it as described in Genesis 1:2 over the course of six, 24 solar hour days.

[edit] Young Earth creationism

See the main article on this topic: Young Earth creationism

Young Earth creationism (YEC) rejects the scientific consensus on the age of the Earth and universe in favour of dating creation via the Bible, using Bishop James Ussher's biblical genealogies and accepting Genesis as history. In order to justify their literalism, YECs must reject numerous branches of science and ignore significant evidence against a recent creation.

YECs fall into a few categories on the age of creation:

  • The universe and earth were created 6,000-10,000 years ago over 6 days, and show evidence of that age (common, utterly unscientific).
  • The universe and earth were created 6,000-10,000 years ago over 6 days, but was designed to look old to test believer's faith. (uncommon, unfalsifiable)
  • The universe was created 13.5 billion years ago, but the Earth (and sometimes the Solar system) was/were specially created 6000 years ago. (uncommon, less unscientific).

And on evolution:

YECs created "creation science" to bolster their biblical claims regarding the age of the earth and their opposition to the theory of evolution. When that wasn't "sciency" enough to teach in schools, they produced "intelligent design".

[edit] Religion

Pick a god, any god.

[edit] Judeo-Christianity

You saw it here first!
See the main article on this topic: Young Earth creationism

Particularly in the United States, the most prevalent YEC belief is based on the Judeo-Christian mythology laid out in the Old Testament. This includes interpreting the various stories scattered throughout the book as historically accurate, such as the Tower of Babel and the global flood.

Creationism is most prominent within fundamentalist and evangelical Protestant churches. While the Roman Catholic Church's official is that evolution is compatible with the Bible, many conservative Catholics still reject evolution.

There are several additional issues with Christian creationism:

[edit] Islam

The original Islamic creationism. That's an angel supporting a fish supporting a goat supporting a flat earth.
See the main article on this topic: Islamic creationism

Although creationism is more usually associated with fundamentalist Christianity, the Islamic world has its own version of creationism. Unlike the Christian YEC movements, few Muslim creationists insist that the world was created in a matter of days a few thousand years ago, largely because the Qur'an is less explicit about the subject, making Islamic creationists into Old Earth creationists. However, many reject evolution, and the vast majority reject common descent.

There are several additional issues with Islamic creationism:

[edit] Hare Krishna

See the main article on this topic: Hindu creationism

Hare Krishna creationism (HKC), based on a literal interpretation of the Vedas, has grown with the rise of Hindu nationalism and has been embraced by some writers, such as Michael Cremo. HKC asserts that mankind has existed for one-two billion years, has not evolved, and point to "out of place artifacts" and paranormal reports for evidence. HKC has been dismissed by the scientific community as pseudoscience.

[edit] Raelianism

Raelian creationism is a form of creationism practiced by the followers of the Raelian religion. Raelian creationism believes that the world and all life on it, including humans were created by the scientists of a humanoid alien race called the Elohim which Raelians believe early humans mistook for gods.

[edit] None

See the main article on this topic: Intelligent design

Intelligent design (ID) proponents, as part of an attempted "mainstreaming" of creationism, have argued that "design" isn't an inherently religious argument, but instead can operate under the secular framework of science.

ID proponents generally raise two arguments for ID's secularity:

In turn, this nonreligiousness would allow ID into the classroom. Yet ID proponents are almost always Christian fundamentalists, and don't hide it well; consequently, ID proponents often effectively rule out anything but a religious explanation (e.g., rejecting directed panspermia). Mishaps such as cdesign proponentists have only made this more apparent. This has led intelligent design to be "politely" referred to as creationism in a cheap suit.

[edit] Acceptance of evolution

From most to least.

[edit] Deistic evolution

See the main article on this topic: Deistic evolution

Deistic evolution asserts a range of ideas:

  • Natural history is true and God is the nonintervening and disinterested creator of the universe. (Like someone who accidentally created a universe, didn't know what to do with it, and put it in storage.)
  • Natural history is true and God is the nonintervening but interested creator of the universe. (Like a scientist observing an experiment they can't or won't control.)
  • Natural history is true and God is the nonintervening creator who nevertheless set up the universe to work towards a certain end. (Like a watchmaker.)

The more 'severe' forms of deistic evolution are often indistinguishable from mild theistic evolution.

[edit] Theistic evolution

See the main article on this topic: Theistic evolution

Theistic evolution (or evolutionary creationism) holds that evolution happened, but God guided it somehow. Many theistic evolutionists hold that God somehow made humans "special", via addition of a soul, morality, consciousness, etc., somewhere along the evolutionary path. Others assert that God ensured the evolution of life, of intelligent life, and/or of humans specifically, either via merely setting up the environments, through ensuring the proper mutations via undetectable manipulation of electrons, via directly "inserting" mutations, or even via controlling individuals of a species. The most extreme forms of theistic evolution are indistinguishable from intelligent design.

[edit] Intelligent design

See the main article on this topic: Intelligent design

Intelligent design is the same as theistic creationism, but argues that not only did God intervene, but God's intervention was necessary for some aspect(s) of life (e.g. Irreducible complexity). Such arguments are almost always based on personal incredulity. Interestingly, all "arguments" for ID currently consist of picking holes in evolution, rather than positive evidence for design. However, principles of emergence or complexity theory are fundamentally incompatible with ID, as they explain complex structures under naturalism, without a designer.

[edit] Rapid speciation

See the main article on this topic: Baraminology

Some creationists, in order to fit the history of the Earth into 6000 years, and in order to allow a massively smaller number of species/kinds necessary to fit on the Ark, or in order to explain the existence of carnivores and other animals that couldn't be part of the Garden, argue that speciation rapidly occurred after the Fall or after the Flood, allowing the current diversity of life.

Hey, at least they accept evolution happened.

[edit] Microevolution only

See the main article on this topic: Microevolution

Some creationists assert that (macro)evolution is impossible, meaning that no new species/"kinds" can be created. Instead, either (a) only mutations happen, which allows microevolution, meaning in-species evolution happens and stuff like different-colored fur is possible, or (b) mutations can only reduce "information content" of the genome, and so all evolution is merely the breaking-down of lifeforms.

[edit] No evolution

Lastly, some assert that no mutation or genetic change occurs whatsoever. This type of creationism is mostly dead, but had some followers until the discovery of genetics and DNA.

[edit] History

Creationism as a distinct, important belief did not originate until the development of modern science from the late 1600s on. Before then, the assumption of a young Earth was almost universal in Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East, because of religiosity (whether Christian or Muslim or Jewish) and because of a lack of counterevidence. As such, many believers believed in a young Earth solely on subjective faith, not on objective scientific grounds.

[edit] Church fathers

Not every church father embraced the young earth view, though. Some questioned, even rejected the young earth dogma altogether, including St. Augustine, [1] who became one of the first Church leaders to question the authenticity of the Genesis account of creation and the Flood. In fact, no one knew for sure how old the Earth was back then. Their guess about the planet's age and how long a day was when God created the universe (which, in some cases, is based on a Bible verse in II Peter that refers to the day of the Lord being like a thousand years) is about as good as it can get. In recent years however, during the 18th and 19th centuries, scientists, Christian and Non-Christian alike, began to uncover evidence that points to the planet being much, much older than thousands of years. This scientific evidence, they discovered, points to the age of the planet being billions of years old. Thus, giving the people the true age of the earth that is far, far older than anyone could have ever imagined.

Even historically, there have been many writers within the Christian tradition (historically at least as important as the actual text of the Bible) who do not hold the Genesis account as literal. The oldest commentary, by Philo, which was written even before the birth of Christ, holds to an allegorical view of the text. There is only one Church father who is known to have held to a view which is even somewhat literal, St. Basel, and there are a plethora who are known to have held to an allegorical interpretation (St. Augustine, St. Ignatius of Antioch, Origen, etc.). Also, in Galatians 4:24, St. Paul presents the relationship between Abraham, Sarah, and Hagar allegorically for the purpose of instructing the church at Galatia, which means it is possible that he applied this allegorical interpretation to the entire story of Abraham, though the text of Galatians does not state or imply that.

[edit] Seventh-day Adventism

However, according to Ronald L. Numbers' book The Creationists (University of California Press, 1993), the Seventh day Adventists, spawned the YE dogmatic cult (even Henry Morris (1918-2006), the so-called "father of the modern creationism movement" as mentioned below has acknowledged this) in response to Charles Darwin's so-called "dangerous idea" as told in his book, On The Origins of Species Through Natural Selection, published in 1859. While Christians observe the Sabbath Day as a day of worship on Sunday, this religious sect observes their Sabbath on Saturday in honor of the Creation Week which occurred as told in Genesis 1 of the Bible in a six day, 24 hour time period according to their interpretations of it. When they heard about Charles Darwin's revolutionary new idea that theorized that all life evolved through natural selection, they became disturbed by it. This new teaching did not fit into their religious preconceptions. But then, their mistress and founder of Seventh-day Adventism, Ellen G. White, (1827-1915) a self-proclaimed prophetess and a cult leader, claimed, in one of her writings from 1864, that she allegedly had seen a vision from God who showed her how He created the universe and Earth in a six- day period, and that the fossils were all the result of plants and animals that had perished during the Great Flood of Noah. To her disciples, this alleged vision solved the whole problem and they began to take her visions and her teachings to heart.

One of Ellen's disciples, George McCready Price (1870-1963) became so hooked on this idea that he began to endorse it and distribute magazines about this new form of creationism to many people in order to win converts. Then in 1923, Price published a book called The New Geology which told his ideas about Earth being 6,000 years old, created in 6 literal 24 hour day periods, and which was later covered with the great flood of Noah, which destroyed everything and turned all of the plants and animals into fossils. This concept is highly based on the writings of Archbishop James Ussher, who concluded by adding the genealogies and the historical dates of the Bible and other Major events that happened after the Biblical events leading up to Ussher's time, that the earth was created in 4004 BC on Sunday, October 23.

[edit] Current

Most people disregarded creationism, but Christian fundamentalists took it to heart. One was Henry Morris, a civil engineer, who became one of Price's most loyal disciples. In 1960, Morris paired up with John Whitcomb, another YEC advocate, to write and publish The Genesis Flood. The book created a sensation among many fundamentalist Christian groups and started the modern creationism movement that continues to this very day.

Over the years, many organizations sprang up to advocate this questionable dogma. The most notable current creationist groups include the Institute for Creation Research founded by Henry Morris, Answers in Genesis founded by Ken Ham, the Discovery Institute, Creation Ministries International, and Creation Science Evangelism founded by Kent Hovind.

[edit] Demographics

Young Earth creationism exists primarily among Christian and Jewish fundamentalists, and is most popular in the USA.

[edit] Developed nations

A 2012 Gallup poll[2] reveals that 15% of Americans agree with the statement: "Human beings have developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God had no part in this process" (the option that's actually backed by science). 46% believe that "God created human beings pretty much in their present form within the last 10,000 years or so" (the "YEC compatible"-option). 38% fall somewhere in the middle and think that "Human beings have developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God guided this process" (the "Sure, evolution is a thing, but I need God to be involved to feel comfortable about it"-option). While these results would seem to indicate that 46% of Americans are Young Earth creationists, the poll's focus on human beings coming about through evolution ignores the possibility of a belief in God personally creating mankind accompanied with acceptance of evolution in regards to non-human life. What we can conclude from this poll, however, is that, rather disconcertingly, a whopping 84% of respondents fell back on some form of Goddidit-explanation when the issue of mankind's origin came up.

A 2006 poll among adults in developed nations showed only 40% of adult Americans as accepting evolution. Only Turkey had a lower acceptance rate (25%), while acceptance in Japan and Europe is typically higher than 60%. Though similar as with the Gallup poll from above, the poll focused on the evolution of humans, asking whether people agreed or disagreed with the statement “Human beings, as we know them, developed from earlier species of animals.”[3]

Although it has little political traction, creationism exists in the UK. An article in The Guardian in September 2008 put the number of people believing in YEC ideas at 10% of the population.[4]

[edit] Middle East

Contrary to popular belief, YEC beliefs are not common in the Muslim world. Although some Muslim cultures reject the theory of evolution and almost all reject common descent, most accept that the universe was created billions of years ago and do not insist on a six-day creation as young Earth creationists do, and the schools in many Muslim countries include evolution in their biology curricula.

[edit] Not all theists are YECs

Young Earth creationism and intelligent design are largely limited to more conservative or "fundamentalist" branches of religion. The vast majority of theists worldwide - including Hindus, Jews, Buddhists, some Muslims, deists, and many mainstream Christian churches including the Anglican Communion, the United Methodist Church, and surprisingly the Roman Catholic Church - accept evolution as scientifically and morally valid.

[edit] Creationist arguments

See the main article on this topic: List of creationist claims

[edit] Scientists/philosohers were creationist!

Assertions that Isaac Newton, Abraham ibn Ezra[wp] (ca. 1089-1164 CE), or Josephus (ca. 37-ca. 100 CE) embraced a young Earth may be true, but without significance. They were creationists because of a lack of an alternative, rather than on its merits.

[edit] Intelligent design

See the main article on this topic: Intelligent design

[edit] Science is flawed

See the main article on this topic: Antiscience

Creationists often reject scientific theories and discoveries that go against their ideas - but rather than presenting evidence, they resort to attacking modern science. This is based on not only a misunderstanding of how science develops but also on the false dichotomy that if science is wrong (in any way), creationism and Biblical literalism must be true. Since creationist ideas are based on faith rather than evidence, they are not falsifiable and are not classed as science. Ken Ham admits as much, having stated in his debate with Bill Nye that "[He's] a Christian], and so no amount of independent, consilient evidence would ever alter his beliefs in any way.

Popular methods of discrediting modern science include:

This is the practice of isolating quotes from their original context in order to support a particular view. This often is used in conjunction with the argument from authority—i.e., an authoritative person said this, so it must be right, even if the quote is out of context. The ellipsis—the omission of intervening text—is one way of quote mining and is often of staggering magnitude (the sections on either side of the ellipsis might be pulled from opposite sides of a book, for instance[5]).
Claiming modern science is politicized and biased because "most scientists are liberals or moderates." This is, of course, untrue, and even if it were true, it constitutes a fallacious appeal to motive.
Usually the phrase "only a theory" is passed about without any sense of irony, as creationists themselves sometimes attempt to pass creationism off as a "theory," albeit one unsupported by any evidence. This is also due to a misunderstanding of what a scientific theory actually is. Yet for them somehow the Bible is not "only a theory."
This is often combined with the above method of citing the fact that science is theory. Indeed, science has been wrong, but when it is found to be wrong it changes and becomes more accurate. Fundamentalism, on the other hand, by definition doesn't change, maintaining, at best, a constant distance from reality. But since YEC as it's presently articulated is quite a recent phenomenon - Henry M. Morris' The Genesis Flood wasn't published until 1961 - in this particular respect fundamentalism has actually gotten further from reality.[6]
This can be wide reaching, from the speed of light changing over time to support the apparent age of the universe to bizarre hypotheses and suggestions that help support a global flood event.
As not all people are experts in all fields of science, a lot of people have to make do with popularised and slightly inaccurate versions of scientific theories. The inaccuracies or dramatisations of these theories which slip into popular culture (such as natural selection being termed "survival of the fittest") are easily exploitable. So is saying that intelligent design is right because it (sort of) happens in 2001: A Space Odyssey.
This technique solves many problems, like the starlight problem and explaining why incest was not an issue for Adam and Eve's offspring as well as for those aboard Noah's Ark. From a materialistic view, these are unsatisfying answers. Often this is abbreviated to "goddidit." Where this excuse might generate problems, YECs are known to resort to the related but more specific Flooddidit, Falldidit and Satandidit.
  • Referring to obsolete sources:
Science thrives on change. When discrediting evolutionary theories, creationists will often cite Charles Darwin's original The Origin of Species and point out issues which were poorly understood at the time. As all of science is a work in progress the specific details of the theory of evolution have changed much since Darwin's time and continue to be improved. Evolution is referred to as Darwinism (often to establish a false equivalence with religion), ignoring progress since Darwin. It's also a form of special pleading: they never refer to physicists as Newtonists or Einsteinists, nor chemists as Lavoisierists,[7] nor microbiologists as Leeuwenhoekists, optical scientists as Alhazenists, or mathematicians as Archimedeans. Alternatively, creationists say that Darwin was wrong and overlook that later theories give a better picture of evolution.
For example, a physicist writing about DNA analysis or geologists commenting on biology. In science, this is of course perfectly acceptable, but it does not by default give them authority over someone who has proved themselves as a specialist in an area. This is possibly most apparent in the published list of scientists who disagree with evolution, where only a small handful are qualified biologists. Denial of climate change uses the same tactics.
Similar to divine intervention, the Flood is often cited to explain the presence of fossils, sedimentary layers, The Grand Canyon and to explain why radiometric dating would be flawed. However, this presumes a flood occurred and that it would adequately explain these features of the earth, which it wouldn't do well even if it was feasible to have occurred. See petrified forest.

Mainstream scientists classify young Earth creationism as a pseudoscience, putting it on par with astrology. Indeed, at the Dover trial, Michael Behe, arguing that intelligent design should be allowable in public schools, admitted that his definition of science was broad enough to include astrology.

[edit] Problems

Creationism has several problems.

[edit] Ethical

Apart from almost every field of science, creationism based on biblical literalism also has some ethical criticism to face.

[edit] Slavery

Based on a literal interpretation of the Cain and Abel story, in which Cain got a "mark" on his skin for being bad, (mostly) American Southern creationists decided that blacks were really black because of the Curse of Cain. In turn, this justified slavery -- because all blacks were nothing but immoral descendants of Cain, and because God specifically stated that Cain's descendants would be subservient.

[edit] Population growth

One main objection is that, in the ever so lauded KJV version of Genesis 1:28, God says to the first humans,"God blessed them and said to them, Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground." Implying humans can do what they wish to all animals. See here for more details.

Some few Christian movements - ever fewer since the introduction of contraception - interpret the aforementioned passage as forbidding contraception (in the case of Roman Catholics), and even of having as many children as is possible (such as in the case of the Quiverfull movement). Ever since Thomas Malthus introduced the idea that population may outgrow food supply, advocates of population control fear these sorts of beliefs will lead to mass starvation, and therefore a severe decrease in the quality of human life, and even mass death.

[edit] Falsified

See the main article on this topic: Evidence against a recent creation

[edit] Unscientific

Creationism is not science because it makes no testable hypotheses, is generally not falsifiable (and those parts that are falsifiable are rarely conceded by creationists), appeals to the supernatural, and is bullshit. It is a pseudoscience at best, and religious dogma at worst.

Creationism and "Intelligent Design" are not theories. The reasoning behind this is simple: theories offer explanations for facts that are consistent and useful, making predictions that allow us to understand the world (such as drawing a distinction between what happens and what does not or could not, happen), whereas ID and biblical creation, by contrast, do not attempt to offer an explanation for any aspect of the world.

[edit] Testable

Some people are so concerned about the evidence for (or against) creationism (or evolution) that they overlook the preliminary: Evidence for what? If creationism does not have any substantive content, then there is no point to talking about the evidence. The finest argument is pointless if there is no point to it. Suppose an irrefutable argument which shows that evolution cannot explain something-or-other is found to exist; that alone would not tell us about alternatives to evolution. If you ask "what is the theory of creationism?" you can expect the response to be a refutation of evolution, not an exposition of what creationism has to offer.

Creationism - and especially, Intelligent Design - does not even come up to the standard of answering Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How, which was observed as a fault in theorizing by Cicero: "Can you also, Lucullus, affirm that there is any power united with wisdom and prudence which has made, or, to use your own expression, manufactured man? What sort of a manufacture is that? Where is it exercised? when? why? how?"[8] Creationism does not attempt to offer a description of what sort of things happen when a creation - or design - event takes place, this having been pointed out at least as long ago as 1852 by Herbert Spencer[9] and by Charles Darwin in Origin of Species.[10] While Young Earth Creationism does make some attempts to specify who the Creator is and when creation took place, versions that attempt to sound more scientific, such as Intelligent Design, make a point of not addressing even these major issues (specifically they do this as a way of secularizing the belief to survive scrutiny by US courts). Nor is there any clear treatment of, or interest in, where, how or why creation/design happens. As a consequence, even though it attempts to be "scientific", ID is even more distant from the elements of descriptive prose, much less being a theory. Far less can we expect creationism to meet any additional standards of being a scientific theory, such as an interest in what might count as evidence for or against it.

The first and foremost criterion of a scientific idea is that it must inform our understanding of the world. It must make a hypothesis about the nature of reality, and there must be a conceivable experiment that could falsify that hypothesis. If that hypothesis is rigorously tested and is not falsified, then it becomes part of that scientific theory. If a hypothesis predicts something that cannot be tested (i.e. if no test result could clearly show the prediction to be false), or if it predicts nothing at all, then it cannot be science.

A hypothesis about the supernatural world cannot be tested, and so is not scientific. So the concept of God, Allah, or other supernatural designer(s), capable of designing the whole universe, can neither be proved nor disproved. Hence any claims that any supernatural being or force cause some event is not able to be scientifically validated (however, whether that event really occurred can be scientifically investigated).

[edit] Falsifiability

Science has proof without any certainty. Creationists have certainty without any proof.
—Ashley Montagu

Another hallmark of science, as mentioned above, is that it can always be proven false in future experiments. However many creationist ideas, especially the central premise that a supernatural being (or beings) created life, are not falsifiable, even in principle. Anything observable in the natural world is consistent with the idea.

Some forms of creationism (especially Young Earth Creationism) do make falsifiable predictions that natural events record in some holy work (e.g. The Bible) did occur. The occurrence of a natural event in the past is testable, so does fall under the category of science. However, these creationists put forth their Hypothesis™ as irrefutable dogma. According to Answers in Genesis: "No apparent, perceived or claimed evidence in any field, including history and chronology, can be valid if it contradicts the Scriptural record." [11] Therefore, as no experimental result is allowed to invalidate their hypotheses, they are not scientific in methodology either.

[edit] Naturalism

As there is no experiment that can measure, or even determine, any supernatural effects, testability and falsification require science to be limited to the natural world, where things can be manipulated and the effect of that manipulation observed. Therefore, science must assume a position of methodological naturalism.

[edit] Stakes

What will happen if science starts accepting supernatural explanations?

  • Inconclusive 'chaotic' debates: Virtually anyone can justify his own theory using supernatural explanations. Any observations you cannot explain? Just say "it is a mysterious phenomenon designed by invisible gremlins that can't be detected if they don't want to be detected." Even if people don't agree with you or are not satisfied by your explanation, they can never 'falsify' you or prove that you are wrong. (A real-world example: Creationist viewpoints have been around for millenia. Science has never been able to falsify them, as they are non-testable).
  • Change of Focus: Once unfalsifiable hypotheses are allowed , the focus of science will change from genuine research to publicity stunts for winning public opinion. After all, if no evidence can point to one idea over another, the only deciding factor will be marketing. (A real-world example: no creationist "research" has been published in standard peer-reviewed journals. All creationists' material either targets common audience or are published in dubious non-standard journals.)
  • No Practical Applications: Since supernatural explanations are not 'predictive', they do not produce any new applications. Scientific research would essentially stop, as nothing new could come of it. (A real-world example: Young Earth Creationists movements have been around for over a century. There is no industrial or agricultural application where the YEC viewpoint has been instrumental.)
  • Religious Conflicts: Without evidence to settle the matter, strong personal religious biases will interfere with each religious group accepting its own non-falsifiable version of the world, justifying its own holy book as a historical account, dangerously turning healthy scientific debates into religious conflicts. (A real-world example: Apart from the Bible-based YECs there are Quran-based creationist movements too, although perhaps less funded). It is not hard to imagine creationist movements based on Hindu or other religions. No amount of scientific debate can decide which of these 'non-testable' theories is better than the other. These movements lead to nothing else, save for religious conflicts in a science classes and scientific debates).

[edit] Tu quoque

Creationists, failing to prove their studies to be scientific, often try to bring evolution down to their level by denouncing that evolution is a religion or claiming that it isn't science because it can't be falsified or doesn't make predictions[12]. Regardless, creationism remains unscientific whatever the status of evolution is (it is, of course, valid science).

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

[edit] Footnotes

  1. http://home.austarnet.com.au/stear/saintaugustine.htm
  2. In US, 46% Hold Creationist View of Human Origins, Highly religions Americans most likely to believe in creationism [1]
  3. U.S. Lags World in Grasp of Genetics and Acceptance of Evolution Live Science, 10 August 2006 [2]
  4. 10% of UK population creationists
  5. Ooblick.com: Quotations about Evolution - The longest ellipsis in the world
  6. Morris famously stated that "When science and the Bible differ, science has obviously misinterpreted its data." Morris and other YECs clearly view themselves as greater authorities on the subject than the Church Fathers, as Augustine of Hippo noted that the purported perfection of scripture means that any apparent disagreement between science and a particular interpretation of the Bible simply means that the interpretation is not the correct one.
  7. Who is the Father of Chemistry? [3]
  8. Cicero, Academica II (Lucullus) XXVII, 87 translation by C.D. Yonge, London: George Bell and Sons, 1875. "...quae fabricata sit hominem? Qualis ista fabrica est? ubi adhibita? quando? cur? quo modo?" Latin text. See also Cicero, "On the Nature of the Gods', I, 8, 19
  9. The Development Hypothesis in Wikisource Herbert Spencer in Wikiquote
  10. final chapter, 6th edition page 423 Wikisource for The Origin of Species
  11. Summary of the AiG Statement of Faith
  12. Sarfati, Jonathan & Matthews, Michael Argument: Creationism is religion, not science in Refuting Evolution 2


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