User:Philip J. Rayment/Creationism

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To avoid continually repeating the same answers to people over and over, I've put here some answers to common anti-creationist criticisms.

The answers I provide here are written from the point of view of Young Earth creationism and will not always apply to other forms of creationism.

Young Earth creationism covers more than just opposition to biological evolution. It also proposes that the Earth is only about 6,000 years old, and that about 4,500 years ago, it underwent a global flood.

Is creationism falsifiable?

That depends on whether you are talking about the basic concept or particular propositions that it makes.

Basic concept

I'll agree that the basic concept of creationism is not falsifiable. That is, nobody can formulate any scientific test of whether God did actually create the world.

However, neither can anybody formulate any scientific test of whether the basic concept of goo-to-you evolution, or at least its underlying premise of naturalism, is falsifiable. Evolutionists will sometimes propose ways in which evolution could be falsified, but whether their proposals actually would is another matter. I have responded to some such proposals here. That includes two quotes from three evolutionists acknowledging that evolution is not testable (i.e. not falsifiable). Here is another one:

Biologists are simply naïve when they talk about experiments designed to test the theory of evolution. It is not testable. They may happen to stumble across facts which would seem to conflict with its predictions. These facts will invariably be ignored and their discoverers will undoubtedly be deprived of continuing research grants.
—Dr Whitten, Professor of Genetics at the University of Melbourne, 1980. [1]

So creationism and evolution are both in the same situation in that regard.

Particular propositions

Creationism makes particular propositions that are falsifiable. Examples include:

  • There must have been rapid speciation (within the created kind) in the approximately 4,500 years since the flood. Science has shown that speciation can occur rapidly (i.e. with a few generations).
  • There should be evidence of widespread sedimentation from the global flood. Geology has shown us that something like three-quarters of the rock formations are sedimentary in origin.

Do creationists have a closed mind on the issue?

No more so that evolutionists. Creationists clearly believe that creationism is the correct explanation, else they would not be creationists. Exactly the same applies to evolutionists.

But as far as specific propositions are concerned, the evidence shows that they are no more closed minded than evolutionists. This is clear from the fact that they have changed their minds on a number of creationists propositions. The following are a few examples:

  • That there was a "vapour canopy" surrounding the Earth prior to the Flood.
  • That the speed of light has drastically reduced.
  • That there was no rain before the Flood.
  • That a Japanese fishing trawler discovered the remains of a plesiosaur.
  • That there should be a much thicker layer of dust on the moon if it is as old as uniformitarians say.

Is creationism inherently unscientific?

Creationism is often accused of being unscientific simply because it proposes a supernatural Creator. However, although such a Creator is not Himself scientifically testable, concluding from the available evidence that there must have been a Creator is not in itself unscientific.

The argument is essentially that one is able to propose that particular events could not have occurred (or at least are unlikely to have occurred) in any other way. An analogy is an archaeologist discovering stone tools. The archaeologist is able, without knowing anything about the maker of the tools, to determine that the stones are the shape that they are through the actions of an intelligent being (man) because they do not occur that shape naturally. Similarly, there is nothing unscientific in proposing that the origin of certain things, such as the genetic code, could not have occurred naturally so must have a supernatural origin.

Conversely, evolution is flawed in ruling the supernatural out a priori, rather than being open to leading to where the evidence is most consistent.

What evidence is there for creation?

Creationists and evolutionist have the same evidence. The question is not what evidence there is, but how that evidence is interpreted, and which interpretation is the most consistent.

For example, uniformitarians would postulate that the Grand Canyon is the result of a small amount of water (the Colorado River) eroding the rock layers over a long period of time. Creationists would postulate that the Grand Canyon is the result of a large amount of water (such as runoff of the Flood) eroding the rock layers over a short period of time.

In both cases the evidence is the same; it is the interpretation of the evidence that differs.

Do scientists start with facts and no assumptions?

No, all scientists start with certain basic unprovable assumptions. Some of these are:

  • That the universe is subject to consistent laws that we are able to study. If we instead assumed that water which boils at 100 degrees Celsius today used to boil at 150 degrees Celsius 1000 years ago (in exactly the same circumstances) because the laws of physics have changed, there would not be much point in doing science. An engineer who calculates the strength required for a bridge to carry a certain load could never be sure that his calculations had any merit if he thought that the laws of physics on which his calculations are based might change next week.
  • That our senses are capable of observing the world around us. If instead we thought that what we think we see is a random illusion, we might not be seeing reality. We must assume that our senses are not deceiving us, but any attempt to prove this to be true would rely on our senses to correctly observing the results of the test, and how could we be sure that we are correctly observing those results? Thus this remains an unprovable assumption.
  • Some scientists assume that there was no supernatural creator, and so attempt to find explanations of how things came to be within the laws of physics, but must also attempt to find explanations of how those laws of physics came to be.
  • Some scientists assume that there was a supernatural creator, so attempt to find explanations of how things came to be without being constrained by the assumption of no creator.

Do creationists start with their conclusion?

Creationists start with the assumption that there is a creator. But all scientists start with certain assumptions (see previous section), so starting with that assumption does not in and of itself mean that creationism is unscientific.

The claim that creationists start with their conclusions whilst science starts with the evidence ignores two points:

  • many scientists have become creationists because that is where the evidence led them.
  • Many scientists are evolutionists because they start with that conclusion.

It is not inherent to creationism that one must start with the conclusion. And it is nonsense to suggest that evolutionists don't look for facts to support evolution.

Are evolution and the idea of God contradictory?

You can believe in both evolution and god. What you can't logically do is believe in evolution and believe the Bible, nor can you believe in both evolution and the God of the Bible. That is, if you believe in both evolution and god, your "god" cannot be the God of the Bible.

The Bible says that the entire creation until the appearance of man took six days. That in itself is a clear contradiction of the evolutionary story. The order of creation in the Bible is rather different than the order of appearance according to the evolutionary story. For example, the Bible has the Earth being created before the sun and stars, fruit trees before fish, and birds before land animals.

The God of the Bible created the world without death, suffering, disease, or thorns (these came after the Fall). Evolution has death and suffering as a necessary requirement for human life, as we could not have evolved without the deaths of billions of creatures that we out-competed on our evolutionary struggle to evolve.