Creation Science Does not Predict or Correct Scientific Discoveries

When I was as young Christian, I was told that evolution was an unproven theory promoted by that godless Charles Darwin and taught by secular humanists as an assault against God and the Bible. The argument against this atheistic theory was very simple: God told us how creation happened in the book of Genesis.

This was good enough for me; but soon after I went to college I learned about a new development among creationists called Creation Science. They challenged evolutionists with ‘science’ and seemed to have a scientific argument for everything.

I read The Genesis Flood by John Whitcomb and Henry Morris, and then I absorbed the writings of Morris, Whitcomb, Duane Gish, and others. I was so inspired that I outlined a novel, with an exciting and dramatic plot, for a story of the flood consistent with their writings.

Big Bang

Creation Science

An interesting aspect of Creation Science was that it embraced young-earth creationism which insists that the age of the Universe is only 6,000-10,000 years—not the billions of years claimed by evolutionists.

Many of the ‘scientific’ approaches depended on a worldwide flood scenario (think Noah) as an alternative to evolutionary explanations of observations. For example, the cataclysmic flood produced geological formations in a short period rather than their being formed gradually. The flood also explained fossilization as well as oil and coal deposits—plants and animals were destroyed in mass suddenly during the flood.

To counter the dating of organisms by carbon testing, Creation Science (without proof) denied that carbon-14 decayed at a constant rate in the past, so organisms were much more recent than claimed by evolutionists.

Creation Science is not Predictive

The ‘science’ of creationists did not develop theories from scientific observation but, by using Genesis stories, only reacted against theories of evolutionary scientists. I don’t know of any creationist theory arising from original research rather than being an alternate explanation to conclusions drawn by evolutionist researchers.

Creation Science provides little evidence for creationists conclusions—only harmonization of scientific discoveries with creationist presuppositions. However, they had one exceptional bit of evidence—the Paluxy River fossilized human and dinosaur footprints, which they claimed proved that humans and dinosaurs lived at the same time.

This was a prize exhibit for years, but further research revealed that the ‘human’ footprints were only incomplete dinosaur prints. I recall the dismay in creationists circles when this fact became apparent—indeed, I shared the dismay. One creationist wrote that this was the best piece of real evidence we had!

Creationist John Morris wrote an article describing this reversal. Creationist made other reversals as well. Initial denial of the big bang theory changed to embracing the big bang as God’s creative act. I have no problem with this, but it does not validate the Genesis accounts.

Recently, I saw a creationist film (I don’t recall the title) proposing that the speed of light from the big bang was much faster and reduced in stages to the current speed of light. Therefore, the six literal days of creation, from God’s perspective, were consistent with the billions of years described by scientist from our current perspective of time.

While early creationists denied that one species can produce a different species, more recent creationists no longer define ‘Kind’ (from Genesis) as ‘species’; instead they recognize micro-evolution and reject that one ‘Kind’ can produce a new ‘Kind’. Among other things, this reduces the number of animals needed on the very limited-space ark.

These changes concede selected scientific discoveries while maintaining harmonization with creationism, but creationism does not predict or make scientific discoveries of its own.

Creation Science does not Correct Genuine Evolutionist Errors

Creationist writings put heavy emphasis on a few scientific errors and hoaxes regarding the descent of man from earlier primates. The examples of Nebraska Man, which was formulated from what later was identified as a tooth of an extinct pig, and the Piltdown Man hoax, were used in an attempt to discredit the entire theory of human descent, but these errors and hoaxes were exposed, not by creationists, but by scientists.

Science is self-correcting; proponents of a theory do not stubbornly defend their theory against flaws. A recent article on an exciting scientific theory that was later corrected states:

Everyone wants to be right. Most of us sure hate being wrong. But scientists know that new discoveries often change or even invalidate earlier ideas. Being wrong can mean we have learned something new. This week, a controversy about the Big Bang and the origin of the universe came to light at the American Astronomical Society conference in Boston.

This kind of controversy is completely normal in science. It’s the way science progresses. You put an idea out there and your colleagues — many of them good friends and scientific collaborators — try to shoot it down…But most scientists really don’t care about the “win” — we care about understanding nature.

Science is self-correcting by design, while Creation Science corrects itself only under pressure from scientific discoveries not made by creationists. And Creation Science is also reactive to scientific discoveries instead of producing scientific discoveries.

Next time I will show why conclusions of Creation Science are not observable.

Image credit: Alex Mittelmann, Coldcreation, via Wikimedia Commons

 

I invite your comments and observations below.
If you enjoyed this post or found it helpful, please sign up in the column to the right so you don’t miss future posts.
Have a great day! ~Tim
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29 Responses to Creation Science Does not Predict or Correct Scientific Discoveries

  1. Strong post! Nice angle to talke on the subject. Good to have you back.

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  2. michaeleeast says:

    I have never subscribed to any sort of creationism.
    I find it totally unacceptable.
    Any attempt to make it part of school teaching should be vehemently opposed.

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    • Chas says:

      Vehement opposition might cause the wrong reaction. If the alternatives of a scientifically provable evolution, based on the observable physical laws that enable us to make sense of the world, and a creationist view that conflicts with those physical laws are properly set out and explained, then people can make up their own minds.

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      • sheila0405 says:

        The idea of six day, young earth creation by God is already in many schools. The problem is with the development of critical thinking skill development. If this is ignored in the lower grades, children will not be able to “shoot down”, as Tim put it, ideas that are in conflict with observable science. You can’t present two opposing ideas to students until they have developed critical thinking skills, or else the bias of the teacher, or even the style of teaching, might influence the students one way or another. Creation science is about God, and religion based ideas presented as plausible are problematic. I would like to see religion taught, but all religions, not just the main ones of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. But that’s just me.

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  3. cmgatlin53 says:

    When I finally got around to reading Darwin, instead of reading ABOUT him (by both creationists and scientists), the biggest revelation to me was the way Darwin was driven by the evidence to reject the creationist account in part because it required belief in a “capricious” God. The anti-evolutionary stance in the face of the clear evidence required them to belief that God acted on whims rather than purposefully. The fossil record showed no evidence of a plan, just evidence of change.

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  4. sheila0405 says:

    Tim, I watched the same movie last year, and I can’t remember the title, either. I believe that the presentation regarding the speed of light (making the time of creation 6 days from God’s view to thousands of years in our time) was weak. I believe God exists outside of time. Besides, no one was there to see it all happen. I think the writer put on paper the story, probably an ancient fable, and voila! The beginning of what turns out to be a sacred book to so many. I don’t see any conflict with evolution vs creation. We need to understand the genre of the first several chapters of Genesis as more allegory than anything else. Or, am I in correct in that assessment of the genre? Oral fables written down.

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  5. jamesbradfordpate says:

    In one of the deleted scenes of Expelled, there was an attempt to argue that Intelligent Design was leading to a scientific discovery (I forget what it was). The thing is, I doubt that one would need to presuppose Intelligent Design to make that discovery.

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    • James, I don’t know the context you mention, but I don’t see Intelligent Design leading to a discovery, and I agree that, were there a discovery to be found, it would not likely need ID to find it.

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  6. jamesbradfordpate says:

    On that documentary you and Sheila mention, Tim, could it relate to Russell Humphreys? A creationist friend of mine gave me a book by him, Starlight and Time, and it essentially argued (if I understood it correctly) that God was making the earth in a white hole, and so time here was different from time out there. That was his attempt to account for the travel of starlight taking more than 6,000 years. Humphreys also has a DVD in which he propounds this view.

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  7. Marc says:

    An interesting post Tim. The weight of the data available to us today points to an earth that is c.4.8 billion years old in a universe that is c.13.7 billion years old. Living organisms first appeared about 3.8 billion years ago, and continued to appear in ever increasing complexity until the appearance of humans many thousand’s of years ago. How this progressive appearing of ever increasingly complex life forms took place has not been scientifically settled, so I like what you said about science being self- correcting. For Christians to reject the weight of the data to cling to a literal understanding of Genesis seems as foolish to me as an atheist who insists that the same data confirms that there is no Creator.

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    • Thanks Marc. I agree with you that neither a literal understanding of the Genesis creation stories nor the scientific data on evolution give us much information on whether there is a creator, or what such a creator is like.

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  8. Amen to Marc’s comment at June 27, 2014 at 11:18 am. Spot on!

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  9. Pingback: Creation Science Conclusions are not Observable or Testable | Jesus Without Baggage

  10. fiddlrts says:

    My kids and I just got back from a week at Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah, where we attended the annual astronomy festival. On display were two compelling examples of the natural world. We saw the uplifted deposits of ancient seabeds at 8000 feet, and observed galaxies millions of light years away through the large telescopes. In order to believe that either came about in 6000 years or less, one really has to bend – or outright ignore – the indisputable evidence.

    What I find particularly sad is that so many within Christianity have made YEC a fundamental of the faith. I was raised in, I guess, a mixed family. My mother was more of a YEC believer, and fed us a steady diet of CRI propaganda. My dad was old earth, in part because of his childhood viewing of dinosaur bones, during an era in which conservative Christians believed the dinosaurs were an atheist hoax. A bit hard to believe when one can see the bones in the ground at a dig site. For me, then, a loss of belief in a young earth wasn’t tied to my faith. For many others, I suspect it is. If you believe that young earth creationism is a necessary and indeed crucial part of the Christian faith, then the discovery (often in college) that the science disproves the belief can and does lead to a complete rejection of religion.

    One of the most interesting books that I read last year was Why Does The World Exist? by Jim Holt. (My review of that book is here: http://fiddlrts.blogspot.com/2013/03/why-does-world-exist-by-jim-holt.html) Ultimately, the question of why there is something rather than nothing isn’t answerable by science. Science increasingly tells us the “how,” but not the ultimate “why.” It is a bit ironic, I suppose, that a book written from a secular agnostic point of view ended up helping me through some doubts about my own faith.

    Let me also share my thoughts on the Big Bang. If I were creating a universe, I think it would be fun to start it from a singularity. It’s like a firework, everything neatly packed and ready to go. Once the fuse is lit, it does exactly what it is designed to do, and the ensuing display demonstrates the careful planning and skill of the creator. That would be like the thrill of those little foam animals that expand out of little balls that my kids play with, except more so. Pack that singularity with all the potential of our astounding universe, and light the fuse. Billions of years later, here we are. That would be awesome. If G. K. Chesterton is right, and God is at heart a bit like an overgrown child, still full of wonder and humor, wouldn’t a Big Bang be just the sort of thing He would do?

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    • Fiddlrts, I think creating the Big Bang WOULD be fun. I read your review of Jim Holts book, and it seems quite interesting.

      Your comment was very enjoyable to read. I especially resonated with your statement that “So many within Christianity have made YEC a fundamental of the faith.” This is a real shame; it is one thing to hold a non-conforming view, but it is another to make it a battleground among believers.

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  11. I like to call the creationist approach you described as But-Maybe-ism. But maybe the speed of light used to be faster! But maybe Noah took baby dinosaurs on the ark! But maybe different organisms sank into the muddy water in a way that just looks like they were laid down in strata over millions of years! They’re just making stuff up to, as you put it, harmonize their view of the Bible with observable fact. I haven’t copyrighted “But-Maybe-ism,” so feel free to use the term!

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    • Alan, your “but-maybe-ism” is a very good term! In fact, it anticipates my fourth post in this creation series, part of which I have already written. However, I use a different term for your ‘but-maybe-ism’. I will see what you think of the term when it is posted.

      You are exactly right, when scientist make claims for observations that do not fit the Genesis stories, creationist harmonize the facts to the Bible by describing what ‘might’ have happened, though they have no basis to do so. It is as though having a weak alternative is a sufficient answer against scientific analysis.

      Your examples of this process are excellent. Thanks for your comment.

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  12. Pingback: Evolution is not Incompatible with Creation | Jesus Without Baggage

  13. Pingback: Inerrantists Resolve Discrepancies with ‘It Could Happen!’ | Jesus Without Baggage

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