One of the objections against evolutionists by young-earth creationists is that their conclusions aren’t observable or duplicable. A common response to evolutionary claims is: “Were you there?” This is meant to dismiss the claim because no one was there to see it happen.
Another question used by young-earth creationists is “Can you duplicate it?” The purpose here is to show that evolutionist conclusions are mere theory, since the scientific method requires that conclusions be tested by many experiments and that experiments must deliver consistent results in order to be valid.
Examples of Creationists Objections
For example, when an evolutionist states that evolution occurred, the creationist asks “Were you there to observe it?”; “Was anyone there to observe it?”; or “Can you provide any example of evolution being observed today”.
The obvious answer to each of these questions is ‘No’. There was no one to observe evolution occurring in the past because we have only been been aware of evolution for the last couple centuries, and we cannot observe evolutionary developments today because evolution is a very slow process. This would be different if we had time travel ability, but we don’t.
However, the claim is: since no one has ever observed evolution occurring, evolution is only a theory—it is not science.
But this isn’t the only question used to discredit the science of evolution. The other is “Can you duplicate evolution in the laboratory?” This seems to be a very strong objection if science is described ONLY by the scientific method–but it isn’t.
A potential refutation comes to mind in the case of dogs bred by humans to produce a vast number of very distinct varieties, but it does not hold up. If purebred animals are allowed to mate freely with each other, over a short period the distinctions disappear. No true evolution ever occurred in this case; evolution is too slow to present over a span of a thousand generations of dogs.
But what if there were a situation where generations occurred far more rapidly—like in viruses?
Evolution works on two principles: mutations and selectivity through survival and the producing of descendants. In our fight against dangerous viruses, we often control them successfully by developing effective defenses. But then they mutate, and the mutated virus is destructive until we find a new defense. Viruses change through mutation and successful multiplication.
This gives us observable insight into evolution, but the science of evolution is based more on the analysis of very observable features from the history of the earth, including fossils and layers of rock formation.
Questions for Creation Science
Since young-earth creationists question the observability and testability of evolutionary claims, I have some questions regarding creationist claims.
Young-earth creationists state that God created the Universe in six literal days, that he created each ‘Kind’ individually, and that that he created Adam individually as well. My questions: “Were you there? Did you observe it?” Of course the answers are ‘No’.
If they reply that God revealed the information to Moses, my questions are “Were you there? Did you observe God telling Moses about creation?” Again the answer is ‘No’.
Next I would ask how they know Moses even wrote the creation stories rather than using stories written by other ancient writers reflecting on the nature of the world and the life experiences of humanity. “Were you there? Did you see Moses writing the Genesis stories under the inspiration of God?” The answer can only be ‘No’.
After that I would ask “Do you observe creation of new ‘Kinds’ today, and can you duplicate such creation in the laboratory?” I will let you determine what the answer must be.
The Foundations of Evolutionary and Creationists Theories
Neither the science of evolution nor the conclusions of ‘Creation Science’ is based on observation of things that occurred in the distant past; and neither system is based on the ability to successfully test conclusions by experimentation, so it is unreasonable for creationists to accuse evolutionists of not being scientific.
The science of evolution developed from observation of fossils, layers of rock formation, comparison of species, and other natural phenomena, and it is supported by stringent peer review and other observations such as genetic research.
Creation Science is completely dependent on a few stories written by pre-scientific ancients, reactions to genuine discoveries in the scientific community, and an unreasonable commitment to an extreme form of biblical inerrancy.
Science begins with ‘What does analysis of the facts suggest?’, while Creation Science begins with ‘How do the facts harmonize with the Genesis creation stories?’ You choose which approach makes better sense.
Next time we will entertain the question of whether evolution and creationism are incompatible.
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Have a great day! ~Tim