|The divine comedy|
“”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.
|—Tom Weller, Science Made Stupid (1985)|
Creationism is the belief that asserts a God or gods created reality (the universe and/or its contents) through divine intervention.[note 1] This is opposed to the scientific consensus that the universe arose through (at least apparently) purely natural processes. As a result, creationism is a pseudoscience. Practitioners of Creationism are referred to as "Creationists" by their fellow cultists, and as "Primate Change Deniers" by anyone with even a modicum of understanding of science.
"Creationism" is often used as a synonym of Young Earth creationism, but the two are not identical. Due to the existence of many and varied religious beliefs and due to varied attempts to make creationism into something "scientific", creationism takes many forms. The two major strains are:
- Old Earth creationists, who accept deep time for the Universe but may reject evolution, common descent, or deep time specifically for the Earth
- Young Earth creationists, who insist the universe is between 6,000 and 10,000 years old, assert the historical truth of the Bible (including The Fall and a global flood), and almost always reject evolution
Despite intelligent 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
disease tenet shared by fundamentalists and creationists of Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, and other religions. It also goes without saying that the entity that created everything is always the one of the creationist's faith and not any other.
Because of the assertion of divine involvement, 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 most certainly creationists under the broad definition of the term, though they are frequently included under other labels such as believers in theistic evolution or other toned-down positions.
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. Probably a plurality are in between, accepting evolution at the small scale but denying it on the large scale, usually drawing the line at speciation.
- Age of the universe (and its contents): Creationists hold the age of the universe to be anywhere from the scientifically-accepted 13.8 billion to the Biblically-obtained 6,000 years.
Age of the universe
From oldest to youngest.
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. (Leaving it apparently in the rather odd state of being both "literal" and "allegorical".)
- 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.
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:
- Some YECs accept theistic evolution or intelligent design, despite the (contradictory) requisite billions of years. (uncommon)
- Animals rapidly speciated after The Flood, from a few original "kinds". (common)
- Only "microevolution" (evolution without speciation) occurs. (common)
- No evolution (not even heritable mutation) occurs. (uncommon)
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".
Pick a god, any god.
Insofar as it is a religion, Buddhism sees no requirement for any type of deity, creator god or no. So in this respect, Buddhism is agnostic when it comes to the creation of the universe, and any beliefs regarding creation are left to the individual Buddhist practitioner's discretion. In some cases, Buddhism is held to teach that the universe has no creator, having existed eternally.
Particularly in the United States, the most prevalent YEC belief stems from 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 those of the Tower of Babel and the global flood.
Ordinarily, Creationism does not sit well with Judaism, and in fact, a large number of Jews, even Orthodox, reject the concept of creationism. This is because Jewish teaching stresses a more compressive and edificatory interpretation of Scripture as opposed to a literal interpretation. This is the case especially with the Book of Genesis - most Jewish scholars affirm that it is in fact a fable or at worst an embellishment of pseudo-historical events. This does not, however, preclude the fact that numerous Jews, albeit rather a minority, do indeed subscribe to a creationist ideology.
Creationism appears most prominently within fundamentalist and evangelical Protestant churches. While the Roman Catholic Church officially states that evolution is compatible with the Bible, many conservative Catholics still reject evolution. Even the Church's acceptance is somewhat half-hearted, insisting that the "spiritual soul" (which equates to the human higher mental faculties) was directly created as it could not have evolved (contrary to mainstream evolutionary scientific findings), while Adam and Eve literally existed because The Fall could not have occurred otherwise; without it there wouldn't be any Original sin (oh no, how horrible!).
There are several issues with Christian creationism:
- Flawed Biblical literalism
- Biblical contradictions (especially during Creation Week)
- Biblical scientific errors (and lack of Biblical scientific foreknowledge)
- Failed Biblical prophecies
Although certain culturally blinkered groups may usually associate creationism 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 Muslims reject the idea of evolution, and the vast majority reject the concept of common descent.
There are several additional issues with Islamic creationism:
- Qur'anic contradictions
- Qur'anic scientific errors (and the lack of Qur'anic scientific foreknowledge)
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
nonsense pseudoscience. However, Hinduism is not so much a single religion as it is a loose, fuzzy category comprising many distinct, but related (if only barely at times) sects. Some denominations of Hinduism are, or rather, were, agnostic and/or atheist about the existence of deities and the creation of the universe, such as the Ājīvika sect of Hindu philosophy, thereby making Ājīvika more aligned with something like Jainism or Buddhism than orthodox Hinduism.[note 2]
Raëlian creationism is a form of creationism practiced by the followers of the Raëlian religion. Raëlian 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 Raëlians believe early humans mistook for gods.
Michael Connolly, a Kullilla and Muruwari Aboriginal artist and "Indigenous Australian Ambassador", claimed in 2007 that the ancestors of Indigenous Australians coexisted with the galloping ancestors of modern-day kangaroos, based on a Dreamtime story from New South Wales which tells of kangaroos having been cursed to hop on their hind legs. Never mind that these galloping kangaroos lived 25 million years ago, well before any humans.
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:
- The designer need not be the Christian God (and the favored "secular" explanation is directed panspermia).
- Irreducible complexity requires a designer, because science can't explain how something evolved.
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 proponentsists have only made this more apparent. This has led intelligent design to be "politely" referred to as creationism in a cheap suit.
Acceptance of evolution
From most to least.
Deistic evolution asserts a range of ideas:
- Natural history is true and God is the non-intervening 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 non-intervening 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 non-intervening 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.
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.
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.
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, even if it would be more of a hyperevolution. Few of them appreciate the irony of that, however.
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. Sometimes this is tied in with the supposed decline of Man since the Fall, as reflected in the ages attained by people in Genesis over time.
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.
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 (and no reason to think otherwise), not on objective scientific grounds.
Even among the church fathers there was doubt regarding the six-day creation. St. Augustine was one of the first Church leaders to question a literal Genesis creation and Flood. 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. 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 points to the age of the planet being in the billions of years, thus giving people the true age of the Earth.
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.
Plutonism and Neptunism
At around the year 1750, a division took form on the view of which forces had shaped the Earth's geology. The two camps became known as Plutonism and Neptunism. Plutonists believed that igneous rock soldified from magma, while Neptunists believed that water - and in particular, the Great Flood - was the primary force shaping the world, with rock layers crystallizing out over time.
As you have no doubt guessed, they got their names from two Roman deities: Pluto, who ruled the underworld, and Neptune, who ruled the seas. Interestingly, even the Neptunists were saying the Earth was older (placing it at about 75,000 years) than the 6000 years that had been calculated from the Bible (and even today, the most liberal number YEC Bible scholars can get is 20,000 years).
Uniformitarianism and Catastrophism
In both of these groups, there were people who felt that the Earth had changed in the past, as it did in the present, while others held that a series of catastrophes - both small and large - had shaped the Earth (a model that would allow for shorter timespans). By the year 1790, this division solidified into what would later be known as Uniformitarianism and Catastrophism.
Based on Uniformitarianism, the Earth was turning out to be far older than even the Neptunists had figured - on the order of millions of years older. It was at around this time that Creationism itself schismed into Young Earth Creationism and Old Earth Creationism, though the latter would largely go unnoticed until brought back into the discussion in the late 1960s, thanks to W. Dennis Burrowes.
Uniformitarianism on its own was creating a host of problems with Young Earth Creationism:
- Young Earth Creationism did not agree with observations based on Uniformitarianism Geology (1787)
- Young Earth Creationism could not explain the placement of fossils and rocks in layers (1794)
- Young Earth Creationism got overly complicated beginning with Cuvier’s double flood theory (1813) and ended up with 6 “Gardens of Eden”
- Young Earth Creationism could not explain alterations of fresh and sea water animals in stata as had been explained in Principles of Geology (1830–1833)
- No amount of mathematics could keep Noah’s Ark from sinking even at the Genus level (c1840s) and you had the issue of how the various animals got from the Ark to their various locations around the world.
By the time Darwin (and Alfred Russel Wallace) came up with the idea of evolution through natural selection in the late 1860s Young Earth Creationism was already in trouble.
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 Origin of Species Through Natural Selection, published in 1859. While most Christians observe the Sabbath Day as a day of worship on Sunday, this religious sect observes their Sabbath from Friday sunset to Saturday sunset in honor of the Creation Week which occurred as told in Genesis 1 of the Bible in a six-day, 24-hour (somewhat) 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, Ellen G. White, (1827-1915) a self-proclaimed prophetess and a cult leader, claimed, in one of her writings from 1864, that she 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 related his ideas about Earth being 6,000 years old, created in six 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.
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. So, the next time a fundamentalist is insisting to you that YEC is correct, you can chide them about their heretical Seventh-Day Adventist beliefs...except you're more likely to draw a blank stare, since most of them are unaware of the Adventist origins of modern YEC.
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.
A 2012 Gallup poll 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. When the poll was repeated in 2017, 19% agreed with the scientific description, and the results were evenly split between the other two options, at 38% each.
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.”
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.
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 - will accept the facts of evolution and even the Big Bang, though they still maintain some belief that God created everything.
Scientists/philosophers were creationist!
Assertions that Isaac Newton, Abraham ibn Ezra (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. Also, any modern creationist should be aware that any heretical act committed in Europe during the sixteenth or fifteenth centuries would've been punishable by death, so it's no wonder Galileo never actually fell from the faith.
Science is flawed
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), Christian 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 they were actually saying something opposite what you're making them out to say. 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).
- 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".
- Pointing out science has been wrong before:
- This is often combined with the above method of citing the fact that science is theory. Of course, 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.[note 3]
- Exploiting the existence of non-uniformitarian views:
- 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.
- Invoking divine intervention:
- 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 his time. It's also a form of special pleading: they never refer to physicists as Newtonists or Einsteinists, nor chemists as Lavoisierists, 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. (To turn it around, would you accept the authority of a biologist about questions in nuclear physics? Maybe tentatively, but if nuclear physicists pointed out that he got his information all wrong, he was clearly out of his depth.)
- 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 worldwide 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.
Creationism has several problems which are looked into in detail in this section.
Specificity of deity
Almost all arguments for any creationism can be applied to any creatio ex nihilo. Wikipedia lists at least eight such creation myths besides the story recounted in Genesis:
- Ancient Egyptian creation myths
- Islamic creation myth
- Māori myths, including:
- Popol Vuh
Many such myths make a standardised claim: "<fill in deity's or deities' name(s)> created the world (or universe) <fill in preferred number of years> years ago."
One might accordingly feel tempted to surmise one or more of the following:
- Judeo-Christian enlighteners have spread the idea of Divine Creation, which then evolves (as in the case of Abrahamic religion feeding into Islamic tradition)
- Judeo-Christian recorders of myths have mined the mythological corpus for obscure details which reflect "correct" or familiar tales[note 4]
- Human psychology has a tendency to drift into vague mystical concepts when unscientifically confronting any concept of ultimate origins (as in "Turtles all the way down").
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.
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.
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 compelling followers to have 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.
Creationism is, in large part, not falsifiable; where it is falsifiable it has been falsified.
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.
Impacts of accepting creationism as science
What will happen if science starts accepting supernatural explanations?
- Inconclusive 'chaotic' debates: Virtually anyone can justify his own
theoryspeculation 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 millennia. 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 a 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 Creationist 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 (indeed, some already exist). No amount of scientific debate can decide which of these non-testable claims is better than the other. These movements lead to nothing else, save for religious conflicts in science classes and
Appeal to hypocrisy
Creationists, failing to prove their studies to be scientific, often try to bring evolution down to their level by claiming that evolution is a religion or that it isn't science because it can't be falsified or doesn't make predictions. Regardless, creationism remains unscientific whatever the status of evolution is (evolution is, of course, valid science: denial of the evidence behind it doesn't make that evidence go away).
- Old and Young Earth creationism
- Creation science and Intelligent design
- Creation Week
- Creationism in public education
- Creationist escape hatches
- Evidence against a recent creation
- List of creationist claims
Want to read this in another language?
Русскоязычным вариантом данной статьи является статья Креационизм
- See the Wikipedia article on creationism.
- The Creationists: From Scientific Creationism to Intelligent Design, Expanded Edition, by Ronald Numbers
- A list of Things Creationists Hate. It's a big list.
- talk.origins's index of creationist claims and their refutations
- Scientific American: 15 Answers to Creationist Nonsense
- Scientific American: The Latest Face of Creationism in the Classroom
- The “Threat” of Creationism, by Isaac Asimov published in Science and Creationism (in 1981!!! still relevant after all these years)
- Geological Society of London doesn't like creationism (or Intelligent Design or creation science)
- Neither does the Geological Society of Australia. Part of many statements in the Voices For Evolution series by the National Center for Science Education.
- Lewis Black explains Creationist Bullshit
- A list of Christian "Creation Museums"
- Ebon Musings: Why Creationism Isn't Science
- The Skeptic's Dictionary: Creationism and Creation Science
- Why Phillip Johnson's Darwin on Trial and the "Intelligent Design" movement are neither scienceâ€”nor Christian
- Explanation and History of Creationism, Jeffrey Koperski
- Everything Wrong with the Creation Museum and the Ark Encounter
A few critical books
- Scientists Confront Creationism
- Evolution : What the Fossils say and Why it matters by Donald Prothero, PhD in Geochronology
- Why Evolution is True by Jerry Coyne, PhD in Biology
- The Counter-Creationism Handbook by Mark Issak
- Evolution Slam Dunk: Why the Reptile-mammal Transition Proves Macroevolution & How Antievolutionists Ignore It by James Downard
- Science and Earth History by Arthur N. Strahler, PhD in Geomorphology
- Why Darwin Matters by Michael Shermer
- Inside the Human Genome : A Case for Unintelligent Design by John Avise, PhD in genetics
- Science on Trial : The Case for Evolution by Douglas Futuyma, PhD in Zoology
- Unintelligent Design by Mark Perakh
- The Greatest Show on Earth : Evidence for Evolution by Richard Dawkins,
- Why Intelligent Design Fails, anthology
- Evolution : Nature and Scripture say YES! by Denis Lamoureux
- Darwinism defended : A guide to Evolution controversies by Michael Ruse, PhD in Philosophy of Biology
- The Rocks Were There: Straight Science Answers to bent Creationist Questions by James Downard and Jackson Wheat
- Tower of Babel: The Evidence against the New Creationism by Robert Pennock, PhD in history and philosophy of science
- God, the Devil, and Darwin:A Critique of Intelligent Design Theory: A Critique of Intelligent Design Theory by Niall Shanks, PhD
- Denying Evolution: Creation, Scientism and the Nature of Science: Creation, Scientism, and the Nature of Science by Massimo Pigliucci, PhD in biology
- Foundation, Fall and Flood by Glenn Morton
- Grand Canyon : Monument to an Ancient Earth, anthology by various geologists
- Abusing Science : The Case against Creationism, by Philip Kitcher, PhD in philosophy of science
- Adam and the Genome by Scot McKnight and Denis Venema
- Doubting Darwin?: Creationist Designs on Evolution by Sahotra Sarkar
- Why Evolution Works (and Creationism Fails) by Matt Young
- For the Rock Record: Geologists on Intelligent Design, anthology
- Only a theory: Evolution and the Battle for America's Soul by Kenneth Miller, cell biologist
- Living with Darwin: Evolution, Design, and the Future of Faith by Philip Kitcher
- Intelligent Thought: Science Versus The Intelligent Design Movement, anthology
- Although, technically, this was not an act of "intervention", because prior to the creation there would have been nothing to intervene with. So it is more properly stated that God created the universe as an act of divine will.
- Notice that all three of the mentioned religions, Jainism, Buddhism, and Hinduism, are Dharmic religions derived from the same common source, Indo-Aryan mythology, which itself ultimately derives from the same root as various other disparate Indo-European mythologies, that is, the religion of the Proto-Indo-Europeans.
- 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.
- Compare the "discovery" of a Maori-Polynesian Supreme Being in 1913: Io Matua Kore
- Several thousand years ago, a small tribe of ignorant near-savages wrote various collections of myths, wild tales, lies, and gibberish. Over the centuries, these 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.
- Amusing Quotation on Creationism and the Bible
- Royal Society statement on evolution, creationism and intelligent design (11 Apr 2006)
- "Scientific" Creationism as a Pseudoscience (Creation/Evolution Journal | Volume 6 | No. 2 | Summer 1986)
- Greener M. Taking on creationism. Which arguments and evidence counter pseudoscience?. EMBO Rep. 2007;8(12):1107-1109. doi:10.1038/sj.embor.7401131
- Scott, Eugenie Carol. Antievolution and Creationism in the United States. Annual Review of Anthropology. November, 2003. Researchgate. Archived from the original on July 26, 2021.
- Irons, Lee. The Framework Interpretation: An Exegetical Summary. Ordained Servant. vol. 9, no. 1. January, 2000. Orthodox Presbyterian Church. Archived from the original on May 20, 2021.
- Kline, Meredith G. Because it had not Rained. Meredith G. Kline. Archived from the original on September 22, 2020.
- Price, Robert. The Return of the Navel, The "Omphalos" Argument in Contemporary Creationism. National Center for Science Education. 1980.
- Huda. Creation of the Universe and Evolution in Islam. Learn Religions. Updated January 17, 2019. Archived from the original on July 10, 2021.
- Chang, Kenneth. Creationism, Minus a Young Earth, Emerges in the Islamic World. The New York Times. November 2, 2009. Archived from the original on August 14, 2021.
- Chapter 7: Religion, Science and Popular Culture. The World's Muslims: Religion, Politics and Society. Pew Research Center. April 30, 2013. Archived from the original on August 26, 2021.
- Compare: Shoaib Ahmed Malik (2021). "Muslim opinions on evolution". Islam and Evolution: Al-Ghazālī and the Modern Evolutionary Paradigm. Routledge Science and Religion Series. London: Routledge. p. 135. ISBN 9781000405255. Retrieved 8 November 2021. "Jalajel (2018) uniquely divorces the connection between the creation of Adam with the start of humanity. [...] In this narrative, when Adam descended to earth from heaven (as opined by most scholars), the Qur'an doesn't affirm nor negate the idea of there being already-existent humans on earth. [...] there is equally the possibility of [...] there being human beings before Adam's descent [...] allowing for all people thereafter to share in common descent with all life on Earth as well as a lineage going back to Adam."
- Ashliman, D.L. The Creation of Life on Earth. sites.pitt.edu. January 8, 2003.
- Gould, Claire S. Science Replacing Supernatural: The Raëlian Movement and their Reinterpretation of the Judeo-Christian Bible. Religious Studies Honors Papers. Connecticut College. 2010.
- Frequently Asked Questions. Intelligent Design. Discovery Institute. Archived from the original on August 8, 2021.
- Luskin, Casey. A Slightly Technical Introduction to Intelligent Design. Intelligent Design. Discovery Institute. Archived from the original on January 22, 2021.
- Saint Augustine by Ken Smith (archived from August 20, 2006).
- Philo. On The Creation. Translated by Yonge. The Works of Philo. Early Christian Writings. Archived from the original on April 24, 2021.
- Moore, Edward. Origen of Alexandria (185—254 C.E.). Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Archived from the original on July 22, 2021.
- Beach, Maxine Clark. The School of Alexandria. Excerpt from The Bible the Book the Bridges the Millennia. UMC. Archived from the original on September 7, 2011.
- Neptunism. Chemeurope. Archived from the original on September 26, 2021.
- Olson, Edwin A. et al. The principle of superposition of rock strata. Geochronology. Britannica. Archived from the original on October 17, 2020.
- Plutonist. Merriam-Webster. Archived from the original on February 27, 2021.
- Fit to Rule, Darwin's Revolution: Day the Universe Changed by James Burke (1985)
- In US, 46% Hold Creationist View of Human Origins, Highly religions Americans most likely to believe in creationism by Frank Newport (June 1, 2012) Gallup.
- Swift, Art. In U.S., Belief in Creationist View of Humans at New Low. Gallup. May 22, 2017.
- U.S. Lags World in Grasp of Genetics and Acceptance of Evolution by Ker Than (August 10, 2006) Live Science.
- Science lessons should tackle creationism and intelligent design: Teachers need to accommodate the differing world views of students from Jewish, Christian or Muslim backgrounds – which means openly discussing creationism and intelligent design as alternatives to evolutionary theory by Michael Reiss (11 Sep 2008 11.43 EDT) The Guardian. 10% of UK population creationists.
- Quotations about Evolution: The longest ellipsis in the world by Andrew Arensburger (Last updated Aug 3, 2001) Ooblick.com.
- Who is the Father of Chemistry? It depends on whom you ask by Anne Marie Helmenstine (Updated February 24, 2020) ThoughtCo.
- John N. Swift and Gigen Mammoser, "'Out of the Realm of Superstition: Chesnutt's 'Dave's Neckliss' and the Curse of Ham'", American Literary Realism, vol. 42 no. 1, Fall 2009, 3
- Stop the Stampeding Stupid! Critters, Cruelty, and Creationism. And the History of World War II by Jim R. Linville (July 17, 2009) Dr. Jim's Thinking Shop & Tea Room (archived from January 5, 2010).
- Refuting Evolution 2: Argument: Creationism is religion, not science by Jonathan Sarfati & Michael Matthews (2011) Creation Book Publishers. ISBN 0890513872.