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Creationism Essay Research Paper Creationism is a

Creationism Essay, Research Paper

Creationism is a religious metaphysical theory about the origin of the universe.

It is not a scientific theory. Technically, creationism is not necessarily

connected to any particular religion. It simply requires a belief in a Creator.

Millions of Christians and non-Christians believe there is a Creator of the

universe and that scientific theories such as the the theory of evolution do not

conflict with belief in a Creator. However, fundamentalist Christians such as

Ronald Reagan and Jerry Falwell, have co-opted the term ‘creationism’ and it is

now difficult to refer to creationism without being understood as referring to

fundamentalist Christians who (a) take the stories in Genesis as accurate

accounts of the origin of the universe and life on Earth, and (b) believe that

Genesis is incompatible with the Big Bang theory and the theory of evolution.

Thus, it is commonly assumed that creationists are Christians who believe that

the account of the creation of the universe as presented in Genesis is literally

true in its basic claims about Adam and Eve, the six days of creation, and not

an allegory. Creation science is a term used by certain creationists to indicate

that they believe that Genesis is a scientific account of the origin of the

universe. Reading the Bible as if it were a scientific text contradicts the Big

Bang theory and the theory of evolution. "Creation scientists" say

those theories are false and that scientists who advocate such theories are

ignorant of the truth about the origins of the universe and life on Earth. One

of the main leaders of creation science is Duane T. Gish of the Institute for

Creation Research, who puts forth his views in conjunction with attacks on

evolution. Gish is the author of Evolution, the Challenge of the Fossil Record (

San Diego, Calif.: Creation-Life Publishers, 1985) and Evolution, the Fossils

Say No (San Diego, Calif.: Creation-Life Publishers, 1978). Another leader of

this movement is Walt Brown of the Center for Scientific Creationism. Neither

Gish nor Brown seem to understand the difference between a fact and a theory.

They loudly proclaim that evolution is just a theory and that it is false.

Scientific theories are neither true nor false. They are explanations of facts.

That species evolved from other species is considered by 99.99% of the

scientific community to be a scientific fact. How species evolved is what a

theory of evolution is supposed to explain. Darwin’s theory of how evolution

happened is called natural selection. That theory is quite distinct from the

fact of evolution. Other scientists have different theories of evolution, but

only a negligible few deny the fact of evolution. Gish is not doing science when

he argues against the fact of evolution. He has no interest in scientific facts

or theories. His interest is in apologetics: defending the faith against what he

sees as attacks on God’s Truth. All his arguments are defensive; they are

attempts to show that the evidence does not support the scientific fact of

evolution. Creationists, mistaking the uncertain in science for the

unscientific, see the debate among evolutionists regarding how best to explain

evolution as a sign of weakness. Scientists, on the other hand, see uncertainty

as simply an inevitable element of scientific knowledge. They regard debates on

fundamental theoretical issues as healthy and stimulating. Science, says

evolutionary biologist Stephen Jay Gould, is "most fun when it plays with

interesting ideas, examines their implications, and recognizes that old

information may be explained in surprisingly new ways." Thus, through all

the debate over evolutionary mechanisms biologists have not been led to doubt

that evolution has occurred. "We are debating how it happened," says

Gould (1983, p.256). Creation science, on the other hand, is not science but

pseudoscience and it is connected to a particular group of fundamentalist

Christians. Most Christians, fundamentalist or not, probably never heard of

creation science. Like creationists of all sorts, "creation science"

puts forth its claims as absolutely certain and unchangeable. It assumes that

the world must conform to the Bible. It assumes that the Bible needs no revision

and can contain no error. Where creation science differs from creationism in

general is in its notion that once it has interpreted the Bible to mean

something, no evidence can be allowed to change that interpretation. Instead,

the evidence must be refuted. Compare this attitude to that of the leading

European creationists of the 17th century who had to admit eventually that the

Earth is not the center of the universe and that the sun does not revolve around

our planet. They did not have to admit that the Bible was wrong, but they did

have to admit that human interpretations of the Bible were in error. Today’s

creationists seem incapable of admitting that their interpretation of the Bible

could be wrong. Creation scientists can’t be seen as real scientists because

they assume that their interpretation of the Bible cannot be in error. They put

forth their views as irrefutable. Hence, when the evidence contradicts their

reading of the Bible, they assume that the evidence is false. The only

investigation they seem to do is in an effort to prove some scientific claim is

false. Creation science sees no need to test its theories, since they have been

revealed by God. A theory that is absolutely certain cannot be empirically

tested, but empirical testability is the hallmark of a scientific theory. Claims

of infallibility and the demand for absolute certainty characterize not science

but pseudoscience. What is most revealing about the militant creationists lack

of any true scientific interest is the way they willing and uncritically accept

even the most preposterous of claims, if those claims seem to contradict

traditional scientific beliefs about evolution. In particular, any evidence that

seems to support the notion that dinosaurs and humans lived together is welcomed

by militant creationists. The theory of scientific creationism is a good example

of a non-scientific theory because it cannot be falsified. "I can envision

observations and experiments that would disprove any evolutionary theory I

know," writes Gould, "but I cannot imagine what potential data could

lead creationists to abandon their beliefs. Unbeatable systems are dogma, not

science" (Gould, 1983). What makes scientific creationism a pseudoscience

is that it attempts to pass itself off as science even though it shares none of

the essential characteristics of scientific theorizing. Creation science will

remain forever unchanged as a theory. It will engender no debate among

scientists about fundamental mechanisms of the universe. It generates no

empirical predictions that can be used to test the theory. It is taken to be

irrefutable. It assumes a priority that there can be no evidence that will ever

falsify it. The history of science, however, clearly shows that scientific

theories do not remain forever unchanged. The history of science is not the

history of one absolute truth being built upon other absolute truths. Rather, it

is the history of theorizing, testing, arguing, refining, rejecting, replacing,

more theorizing, more testing, etc. It is the history of theories working well

for a time, anomalies occurring (i.e., new facts being discovered that don’t fit

with established theories), and new theories being proposed and eventually

partially or completely replacing the old ones. Of course, it is possible for

scientists to act unscientifically, to be dogmatic and dishonest. But the fact

that one finds an occasional oddball in the history of science (or a person of

integrity and genius among pseudoscientists) does not imply that there really is

no difference between science and pseudoscience. Because of the public and

empirical nature of scientific debate, the charlatans will be found out, errors

will be corrected and the honest pursuit of the truth is likely to prevail in

the end. This will not be the case with pseudosciences such as creation science,

where there is no method needed for detecting errors (since it can’t err) much

less of correcting them. Some theories, like creationism can’t be refuted, even

in principle, because everything is consistent with them, even apparent

contradictions and contraries. Scientific theories allow definite predictions to

be made from them; they can, in principle, be refuted. Theories such as the Big

Bang theory and the steady state theory can be tested by experience and

observation. Metaphysical theories such as creationism are "airtight"

if they are self-consistent. They contain no self-contradictory elements. No

scientific theory is ever airtight.

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