Creationism


As someone that formerly taught creationism over a period of several decades, this is a humbling post to make, but a necessary one.

Creationism comes in numerous forms, even within a single belief system like Christianity, and therein lies a valuable key to understanding the phenomena, as, simply put, “They can’t all be right.”

If you are a creationist, though, I suspect you are quietly confident in your own particular brand, just as I was for so many years. But it should bother you that there are so many other variations, that they cannot all be correct and that it is rather coincidental and fortuitous that you’ve stumbled upon the correct interpretation.

Let’s look at this with the utmost of honesty… beliefs are irrelevant.

I’ll explain what I mean. For thousands of years, mankind believed the Earth was flat and that the sun orbited the Earth. As sincere, well-meaning and prevalent as that belief was, it was wrong. Not only that, but that belief made no difference to reality; the Earth spun on its axis as it orbited the Sun, just the same.

And this raises another important point… Facts are irrelevant to the debate.

If you want to understand the facts about creationism you can visit brilliant websites like TalkOrigins and learn about the observable, testable facts supporting our modern understanding of how life arose in this vast universe. But, equally, if you feel threatened by science and would like those facts refuted, you can visit creationism.org and find all manner of wild, speculative rationalisations to soothe your irrational beliefs.

According to creationism.org

  • radiometric carbon dating is not testable, repeatable science
  • fossils preserve the record of Noah’s flood
  • evolution is “still lacking any evidence”
  • the grand canyon was carved out in less than a year
  • there are no vestigial organs, they all have a “distinct purpose” (appendix? wisdom teeth? male nipples?)

Looking back now, I am deeply ashamed to have been lured into such intellectual fraud.

Throughout the creationism site one word abounds, “belief.” It is used of creationist beliefs and scientific beliefs, even though the phrase “scientific beliefs” is a contradiction in terms. Beliefs are irrelevant to science.

It is sad, disappointing and, honestly, quite upsetting, that the facts are irrelevant in this debate. Beliefs reign supreme and unchallenged when it comes to creationism. It is as though we have been transported back in time to the days when everyone knew the Sun moved around the Earth (Ecclesiastes 1).

In reality, the real issue is the agenda… Creationists cannot accept science, but not because it’s wrong, because it undermines their position.

Sorry, that’s just not honest.

If you enjoyed this post, check out the post on vestigial relics, those parts of our bodies that reveal our evolutionary past.

Advertisements

15 thoughts on “Creationism

  1. I believe science and religion do not have to be at war. Science supports many of my basic beliefs. I fail to understand those that think the world was created within the last 4,000 to 6,000 years and believe that dinosaurs and man coexisted at the same time. I also believe in a higher power. Great post.

    • Creationism is so entrenched in our Western thinking that even Charles Darwin once noted that admitting species evolved “felt like confessing murder.” It was much the same way for me 🙂

  2. I’m very confused by you. Throughout your piece you claim many things about all creationists, yet choose not to substantiate your evidence as to why creationists are willfully ignorant and narrow minded. Science does not disprove, or even challenge the basis of creation, which is that design points to a designer. If you could show unbiased science which proves a naturalistic beginning of all things, I would be happy to embrace it – as it would make so much more sense. The problem is that to embrace a totally naturalistic view is a choice to ignore the mountain of objective scientific findings. May I recommend the book, “The Case for a Creator” by Lee Strobel? If you have any works to recommend, which actually reflect unbiased observation, I would love to read it.

    • David,

      Having been a creationist for quarter of a century, I understand your position entirely as I felt much the same way. You might be surprised to hear that when Charles Darwin first figured out the concept of Natural Selection he said he felt like he was “confessing to murder.” So it seems you, he and I have much more in common than at first seems apparent.

      Darwin’s Origin of Species is a little tough for 21st century reading, but if you have the time and interest, I’d highly recommend getting hold of a copy. You’ll wonder what all the controversy was about. If you find it too granular in its detail, skip to the concluding chapters, as they are easy to read.

      For me, The Language of God was an eye opener. Dr Francis Collins is one of the world’s leading geneticists and led the Human Genome project for a decade. If there’s any one Christian that can speak authoritatively on the subject it’s Dr Collins.

      I find the subject of vestigial relics fascinating as they reveal our evolutionary past in unmistakable detail.

      I know this is a potentially emotionally-charged subject, so, if I may, I recommend taking plenty of time to work through the subject as it can be quite challenging. Dr Collin’s work, though, is a great place to start.

      Kind regards,
      Peter

      • Thanks so much for your response. I will go back and look at Darwin’s comments again, though I also know that he recanted his own theory later in his life. I would still recommend that you read “The Case For a Creator” by Lee Strobel. The book is actually his research to refute creationism and support naturalism. However, he was forced to reexamine his belief in light of many scientific disciplines.

        I think what bothers me most is that Evolution isn’t even seen as a theory any more – it’s proclaimed as fact, which makes evolution more of a religion than science. I believe strongly in intra-species evolution, however there has never been a single example of evolution between species. I believe that nowhere in the observable natural universe does order come from chaos. I also do not believe that any closed system can do anything other than degenerate and degrade, which is basic physics.

        Again, I am so appreciative of your thoughtful response. I am hopeful that you will continue to be as open as I believe you are and read the book I recommended. It will definitely be food for thought.

        David

      • David,

        * Even creationist websites admit Darwin did not recant his theories on his death-bed
        * Evolution is both fact and theory. Evolution is a fact in that it can be observed, and a theory in that there are scientifically-valid concepts that describe the observed facts
        * Evolution has been observed in nature and under laboratory conditions. Lenski’s experiment demonstrated (a) continued common evolution of isolated strains and (b) the emergence of a new species of bacteria
        * There are numerous examples of order coming from chaos in the natural universe. Rings of Saturn, formation of solar system, appearance of spiral galaxies, etc.
        * Earth is not a closed system, it receives massive amounts of energy from the sun every day. Although universe as a whole is a closed system, the equivalence of mass/energy ensures the mix within the universe is dynamic rather than static
        * Don’t think of evil-ution. Keep things simple. Darwin did. Artificial selection has given us chihuahuas and greyhounds from wild wolves. Natural selection is simply the result of too many seeds falling from a tree, too many puppies being born in a litter, etc. Those that survive, survive for a reason, they have some natural advantage over their siblings. They’re stronger, faster, lighter or heavier, as the case may be. And as those successful traits extend over innumerable generations, species branch out into different forms, with new species emerging from their parent species at a distance of millions of years. There is no abrupt change, just slow, gradual change. There’s really nothing controversial about Natural Selection, except it contradicts a literal interpretation of the Bible.

        If you want to understand these concepts, read Richard Dawkins Climbing Mount Improbable or Greatest Show on Earth

        If you want to participate in a forum to discuss this further, I recommend Talk Origins

  3. Hi Peter.

    I do not wish to monopolize your time, but in your responses I have not heard a willingness from you to consistently reexamine your conclusions. It seems the desire is to find material which gives the best likelihood of affirming your belief.

    I would sincerely like to hear your thoughts on Strobel’s research, which is actually a compilation of research from a multitude of disciplines, from the position of a naturalist..

    In all honesty, the resources you have recommended will definitely require more investigation on my part, as my goal is to see what true observable science has to say. To this point, I have found more true observable science which points to intelligent design. I obviously have yet to finish exhausting your recommended resources, but I have yet to find anything that overrides the study that has brought me to the point I am at.

    I would simply hope that our interaction would drive you to continue to explore the possibilities, for when we become unwilling to do so we are indeed lost.

    David

    • Oh, David, you’re forgetting I spent 25 years studying and teaching creationism… Why, you ask, am I not willing to “consistently re-examine [my] conclusions?” For the same reason you are not willing to consistently re-examine alchemy. How much effort do you put into re-examining Buddhism? Are you constantly re-examining astrology? Why are you not willing to consistently re-examine Islam?

      Perhaps a little humour will shed some light on things…
      Teach alternatives
      When will churches give equal time to evolution?
      Different approach
      It's just a theory
      Lack of evidence
      Inconsistency

  4. See the only problem I have with this article is it generalizes all creationists as the radicals that believe in 6 day creation from the bible. However if you look at the original Hebrew text the word used for day doesn’t mean a physical day but an age or an era. I believe that God set in motion the process of evolution. The only people that believe God created the world in 6 physical days are people that don’t actually study scripture and think scientific evidence goes against their religion so they refuse to listen to it.

    • I once held to a similar quasi-creationist belief that squeezed in vast amounts of time but, honestly, it’s just as flawed as the six days approach. Under the day/era concept, you’ve got Earth floating through space as a rogue planet for eons before either the sun, moon or stars are formed. If that was the case we should be able to find complex forms of life with no evidence of tides, and yet the geological record has evidence of tides stretching back billions of years to stromatolites, some of the earliest lifeforms ever to grace this planet.

      Sorry, I know it’s hard to take, but there’s just soooo many problems with each and every interpretation of Genesis other than that Genesis is a myth

    • Bryson, good question. The key to answering that question lies in the careful observation of the universe around us. Astronomers and physicists have been able to discern a remarkable amount of information from looking deep into space and from looking at the nature of atoms, quarks, etc in the Large Hadron Collider. We have learned an astonishing amount about our universe in just the last century. Imagine what we’ll know a century from now!

      Having come from a religious background, I can understand the appeal of Genesis, but Genesis does not contain any information beyond what we would expect from the observations of someone living in the Bronze Age. I know this may be hard to accept, but Genesis gets fundamental points wrong. Earth did not exist before the Sun. Plants cannot grow without the Sun. The emergence of life occurred over 3.8 billion years, not a few days, etc.

      We live in an astonishing time, where claims can be verified independently by science. We still don’t know the answer to your question, but we’re getting closer to answering it every day. If you would like to read something about how life arose on Earth, I highly recommend The Greatest Show on Earth by Richard Dawkins.

      Thanks for dropping by

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s