25 CREATIONISTS' ARGUMENTS &
SLAIN MONSTER CREATION STORIES
"The world was created from the parts of a slain monster."
Indo-chinese, Kabyles of Africa, Gilbert Islanders, Korean, Sumero-Babylonian, Greek
SPOKEN EDICT CREATION STORIES
"The world sprang into being at the command of a god."
Egyptian, Mayan, Maidu Indians, Hebrews, Sumerian, Greek
PRIMORDIAL PARENTS CREATION STORIES
"The world was created by the interaction of primordial parents."
Zufii Indians, Cook Islanders, Greeks, Luisciio Indians, Egyptian, Tahitians
|1.||Creation-science is scientific and therefore should be taught in public school science courses.|
|Creation-science is scientific in name only. It is
a thinly disguised religious position espousing the doctrine of special creation,
and therefore is not appropriate for public school science courses, any more than
calling something Muslim-science or Buddha-science or Christian-science
would require equal time. The following statement from the Institute for Creation
Research, the "research" arm of Christian Heritage College and to which all faculty
members and researchers adhere, is proof of their true beliefs. There is nothing
scientific about "creation-science":
We believe in the absolute integrity of Holy Scripture and its plenary verbal inspiration by the Holy Spirit as originally written by men prepared for God for this purpose. The scriptures, both Old and New Testaments, are inerrant in relation to any subject with which they deal, and are to be accepted in their natural and intended sense ... all things in the universe were created and made by God in the six days of special creation described in Genesis. The creationist account is accepted as factual, historical and perspicuous and is thus fundamental in the understanding of every fact and phenomenon in the created universe.
|2.||Neither creationism nor evolutionary theory is scientific because "science only deals with the here-and-now and cannot answer historical questions about the creation of the universe and the origins of life and man."|
|This, of course, undermines the entire superstructure of "creation-science" and argument #1, but is untrue anyway because science does deal with past phenomena, as found in the historical sciences of cosmology, geology, paleontology, paleoanthropology, and archaeology. There are experimental sciences and historical sciences, using different methodologies but equal in their ability to understand causality, and evolutionary biology is a valid and legitimate historical science. If this statement were true, much of science, not just evolutionary theory, would be sterile.|
|3.||Since education is a process of learning all sides of an issue, it is appropriate for both creationism and evolution to be taught side-by-side in public school classrooms. Not to do so is a violation of the philosophy of education, and of the civil liberties of creationists. i.e., we have a "right" to be heard. Besides, what is the harm in hearing both sides?|
|The multiple sides of issues is indeed a part of the general educational process, and it might be appropriate to discuss creationism in courses on religion, history, or even philosophy, but most certainly not science, any more than biology courses should include lectures on American Indian creation-myths. Not to do so violates no rights, since nowhere in nature or the Constitution does it say everyone has a right to teach creationism in public schools. Rights do not exist in nature. Rights are a concept constructed by humans to protect certain freedoms, but have degenerated into pleas for special privilege by nearly every group and individual in America who want something they do not have. Finally, there is considerable harm in teaching "creation-science" as science because it is an attack on all the sciences, not just evolutionary biology. If the universe and Earth are only about 10,000 years old, cosmology, astronomy, physics, chemistry, geology, paleontology, et al. would be invalidated. Creationism cannot even be partially correct. As soon as supernatural causation is allowed in the creation of even one species, they could all be created this way, and the assumption of natural laws in nature is voided and science becomes meaningless.|
|4.||There is an amazing correlation between the "facts" of nature and the "acts" of the Bible. It is therefore appropriate to cross-reference creation-science books with the Bible, and to look to study the Bible as a book of science, along with the book of nature.|
|The true stripes of the creationists can be seen in
the following quote from Henry Morris, head of the Institute for Creation Research,
that reveals his preference for faith in authority over any possible contradictory
empirical evidence (and thus demonstrating their lack of scientific methodology):
The main reason for insisting on the universal Flood as a fact of history and as the primary vehicle for geological interpretation is that God's Word plainly teaches it! No geological difficulties, real or imagined, can be allowed to take precedence over the clear statements and necessary inferences of Scripture.
It would be ludicrous to imagine professors at CALTECH, for example, making a similar statement of belief in Darwin's Origin or Newton's Principia, such that no difficulties could take precedence over the authority of the book.
|5.||The theory of natural selection is tautological, or a form of circular reasoning. Those that survive are the best adapted. Who are the best adapted? Those that survive. Likewise, rocks are used to date fossils, and fossils are used to date rocks. Tautologies do not make a science.|
|Creationists have a very simplistic and naive understanding of the workings of natural selection and geological forces. First of all, natural selection is by no means the only mechanism of organic change (e.g., Darwin wrote an entire book about sexual selection). Second, population genetics demonstrates quite clearly, and with mathematical prediction, when natural selection will and will not effect change on a population. Third, one can make predictions based on the theory of natural selection, and then test them, as the geneticist does in the example above, or the paleontologist does in interpreting the fossil record. Natural selection and the theory of evolution are testable and falsifiable. Finding hominid fossils in the same geological strata as trilobites, for example would be evidence against the theory. The dating of fossils with rocks and vice versa could only be done after the geological column was established. The geological column exists nowhere in its entirety because strata are disrupted, convoluted, and always incomplete for a variety of reasons. But strata order is unmistakably non-random and chronological order can be accurately pieced together using a variety of techniques only one of which is fossils.|
|6.||There are "only two explanations for the origins of life and existence of man, plants and animals: It was either the work of a creator or it was not." Since evolution theory is unsupported by the evidence (i.e., it is wrong), creationism must be correct. Any evidence "which fails to support the theory of evolution is necessarily scientific evidence in support of creationism."|
|Beware of anyone who says "there are only two..." It is the classic mistake of logic known as the either-or fallacy, or the fallacy of false alternatives. If A is false, B must be true. Oh? Why? Plus, should not B stand on its own regardless of A? Of course. So even if evolutionary theory turns out to be completely wrong and the whole thing was a big mistake, that does not mean that, ergo, creationism is right. There may be alternatives C, D, and E we have yet to consider. There is, however, a true dichotomy in the case of natural v. supernatural explanations. Either life was created and changed by natural means or it did not. Scientists assume natural causation, and evolutionists debate the various natural causal agents involved, not whether it happened by natural or supernatural means.|
|7.||Evolutionary theory is the basis of Marxism, communism, atheism, immorality, and the general decline of the morals and culture of America, and therefore is bad for our children.|
|In this argument we begin to see the cultural background
of creationism as a social and political movement, not a scientific one. This
is, in part, why they have turned to the legal system to try to get the state
to force their "science" on students. But legislation cannot make a belief system
scientific, only scientists can do that.
The theory of evolution in particular, and science in general, is no more the basis of these "isms" than the printing press is responsible for Hitler's Mein Kampf. The fact that the science of genetics has been used to buttress racial theories of the innate inferiority of certain groups, does not mean we should abandon the study of genes. There may well be Marxist, communist, atheist, and even immoral (however defined) evolutionists, but there are probably just as many capitalist, theist (or agnostic), and moral evolutionists. As for the theory itself, it can be used to support Marxist, communist, and atheist ideologies, and it has; but so has it been used (especially in America), to lend scientific credence to laissez-faire capitalism. Linking scientific theories to political ideologies is tricky business and we must be cautious of making connections that do not necessarily follow.
|8.||Evolutionary theory, along with its bed-partner secular humanism, is really a religion, so it is not appropriate to teach it in public schools.|
|To call the science of evolutionary biology a religion is to so broaden the definition of religion as to make it totally meaningless. Science is a set of methods designed to describe and interpret observed or inferred phenomenon, past or present, aimed at building a testable body of knowledge open to rejection or confirmation. Religion whatever it is is certainly not "testable," nor is it "open to rejection or confirmation." Similarly, the "secular" of secular humanism expressly means "not religious," and therefore cannot be considered a religion. In their methodologies science and religion are 180 degrees out of phase with each other.|
|9.||Many leading evolutionists are skeptical of the theory and find it problematic. E.g., Stephen Jay Gould and Niles Eldredge have proven that Darwin was wrong through their theory of punctuated equilibrium. If the world's leading evolutionists cannot agree on the theory, the whole thing must be a wash.|
|It is particularly ironic that the creationists would quote the leading spokesman against creationism Gould in their attempts to marshal the forces of science on their side. Creationists have misunderstood, either naively or intentionally, the healthy scientific debate amongst evolutionists about the causal agents of organic change. They apparently perceive this normal exchange of ideas and self-correcting nature of science as evidence that the field is coming apart at the seams. Of the many things evolutionists argue and debate about within the field, one thing they are certain of and all agree upon is that evolution has occurred. Exactly how it happened, and what the relative strengths of the various causal mechanisms are, continues to be discussed. Eldredge and Gould's theory of punctuated equilibrium is a refinement of and improvement upon Darwin's larger theory of evolution. It no more proves Darwin wrong than Einsteinian relativity proves Newton wrong.|
|10.||The whole history of evolutionary theory in particular, and science in general, is the history of mistaken theories and overthrown ideas. Nebraska Man, Piltdown Man, Calaveras Man and Hesperopithecus are just a few of the blunders scientists have made. Clearly science cannot be trusted and modern theories are no better than past ones.|
|Again, this is a gross misunderstanding of the nature of science, which is constantly building upon the ideas of the past. Science does not just change, it builds on the past and goes beyond to the future. It does make mistakes aplenty, but the self-correcting feature of the scientific method is one of its most beautiful assets. Hoaxes like Piltdown Man and Calaveras Man, and honest mistakes like Nebraska Man and Hesperopithecus, are, in time, exposed. Science picks itself up, shakes itself off, and moves on. As Einstein said, science may be "primitive and childlike," but "it is the most precious thing we have." (It is especially paradoxical for creation "scientists" to cloak themselves in the rhetoric of science, and simultaneously attack the very virtues it claims to possess.)|
|11.||All causes have effects. The cause of "X" must be "X-like." That is, the cause of intelligence must be intelligent. Also, regress all causes in time and you must conclude that there was a first cause God. Likewise with motion (all things in motion proves that there must have been a prime mover, a mover who needs no other mover to be moved God); and purpose (all things in the universe have a purpose, therefore there must be an intelligent designer).|
|If this were true, should not nature then have a natural cause, not a supernatural cause?! But it is not true: causes of "X" do not have to be "X-like." The "cause" of green paint is blue mixed with yellow paint, neither one of which is green-like. Animal manure makes fruit trees grow better. Fruit is delicious to eat and is, therefore, very unmanure-like! The first-cause and prime-mover argument, brilliantly proffered by St. Thomas Aquinas in the 14th century and still more brilliantly refuted by David Hume in the 18th century, is easily answered with just one more question: who or what caused and moved God? Finally, as Hume demonstrated, "purposefulness" is often illusory and subjective. "The early bird gets the worm" is a clever design if you are the bird, not so good if you are the worm. Two eyes may seem like the ideal number, but, as Richard Hardison notes with levity, "wouldn't it be desirable to have an additional eye in the back of one's head, and certainly an eye attached to our forefinger would be helpful when we're working behind the instrument panels of automobiles." Purpose is, in part, what we are accustomed to perceiving. Finally, not everything is so purposeful and beautifully designed. In addition to the problems of evil, disease, and deformities that creationists conveniently overlook, nature is filled with the bizarre and seemingly unpurposeful. Male nipples and the Panda's thumb are just two examples that Gould is fond of flaunting as purposeless and poorly designed structures. If God so graciously designed life to fit neatly together like a jigsaw puzzle, then how do you explain these oddities?|
|12.||Something cannot be created out of nothing, say scientists. Therefore, from where did the material for the Big Bang come? And, from where did the first life forms originate that provided the raw material for evolution? And the Stanley Miller experiment of creating amino acids out of an inorganic "soup" and other biogenic molecules is not the creation of life.|
Science is not equipped to answer certain "ultimate" type questions, such as: "what was there before the beginning of the universe?" "What time was it before time began?" "Where did the matter come from for the Big Bang?" These are philosophical or religious questions, not scientific ones, and therefore are not part of science. Evolutionary theory attempts to understand the causality of change after time and matter were "created" (whatever that means). As for the origins of life, biochemists do have a very rational and scientific explanation for the evolution from inorganic to organic compounds, the creation of amino acids and the construction of protein chains, the first crude cells, and so on. (And Miller never claimed to have created life, just some building blocks of life.) While these theories are by no means robust and still subject to lively scientific debate, there is a reasonable explanation for how you get from the Big Bang to the Big Brain in the known universe.
"SCIENTIFICALLY" BASED ARGUMENTS AND RESPONSES