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Creation Vs. Evolution

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Creation's Critics Countered

by  Bert Thompson, Ph.D.

INTRODUCTION

There was a time when creationists were considered to be on the “peripheral fringe”—few in number and not to be considered as much of a threat. Those days, however, have long since passed. With the publication in 1961 by John C. Whitcomb and Henry M. Morris of the classic text, The Genesis Flood, interest in creation began to flourish. The formation of the Creation Research Society in 1963 heightened that interest. The establishment, in 1970, of the Institute for Creation Research added additional impetus to the creation movement. Today there are scores of creationist organizations—local, regional, national, and even international—all of which are working to make creation a popular alternative to the theory of evolution.

There is clear evidence that these combined efforts are having a serious impact. Consider, for example, the following. In a center-column, front-page article in the June 15, 1979 issue of the Wall Street Journal, there appeared an article by one of the Journal’s staff writers commenting on how creationists, when engaging in debates with evolutionists, “tend to win” the debates, and that creationism was “making progress.” In 1979, Gallup pollsters conducted a random survey, inquiring about belief in creation versus evolution. The poll had been commissioned by Christianity Today magazine, and was reported in its December 21, 1979 issue. This poll found that 51% of Americans believe in the special creation of a literal Adam and Eve as the starting place of human life. In the March 1980 issue of the American School Board Journal (p. 52), it was reported that 67% of its readers (most of whom were school board members and school administrators) favored the teaching of the scientific evidence for creation in public schools. Glamour magazine conducted a poll of its own and reported the results in its August 1982 issue (p. 28). The magazine found that 74% of its readers favored teaching the scientific evidence for creation in public schools. One of the most authoritative polls was conducted in October 1981 by the Associated Press/NBCNews polling organization. The results were as follows:

Only evolution should be taught 8%
Only creation should be taught 10%
Both creation and evolution should be taught 76%
Not sure which should be taught 6%

Thus, nationwide no less than 86% of the people in the United States believe that creation should be taught in public schools. In August 1982, another Gallup poll was conducted, and found that 44% of those interviewed believed not only in creation, but in a recent creation of less than 10,000 years ago. Only 9% of the people polled believed in atheistic evolution.

On November 28, 1991 results were released from yet another Gallup poll regarding the biblical account of origins. The results may be summarized as follows. On origins: 47% believed God created man within the last 10,000 years (up 3% from the 1982 poll mentioned above); 40% believed man evolved over millions of years, but that God guided the process; 9% believed man evolved over millions of years without God; 4% were “other/don’t know.” On the Bible: 32% believed the Bible to be the inspired Word of God, and that it should be taken literally; 49% believed the Bible to be the inspired Word of God, but that it should not always be taken literally; 16% believed the Bible to be entirely the product of men; 3% were “other/don’t know” (see Major, 1991, 11:48; John Morris, 1992, p. d). Two years later, a Gallup poll carried out in 1993 produced almost the same results. Of those responding, 47% stated that they believed in a recent creation of man; 11% expressed their belief in a strictly naturalistic form of evolution (see Newport, 1993, p. A-22). Four years after that poll, a 1997 Gallup survey found that 44% of Americans (including 31% who were college graduates) subscribed to a fairly literal reading of the Genesis account of creation, while another 39% (53% of whom were college graduates) believed God played at least some part in creating the Universe. Only 10% (17% college graduates) embraced a purely naturalistic, evolutionary view (see Bishop, 1998, pp. 39-48; Sheler, 1999, pp. 48-49). The results of a Gallup poll released in August 1999 were practically identical: 47% stated that they believed in a recent creation of man; 9% expressed belief in strictly naturalistic evolution (see Moore, 1999).

In its March 11, 2000 issue, the New York Times ran a story titled “Survey Finds Support is Strong for Teaching 2 Origin Theories,” which reported on a poll commissioned by the liberal civil rights group, People for the American Way, and conducted by the prestigious polling/public research firm, DYG, of Danbury, Connecticut. According to the report, 79% of the people polled felt that the scientific evidence for creation should be included in the curriculum of public schools (see Glanz, 2000, p. A-1).

The amazing thing about all of this, of course, is that these results are being achieved after more than a century of evolutionary indoctrination. Evolutionists, needless to say, have not been pleased with the obvious failure of their efforts at indoctrinating the American public. As a result, an “anti-creationist hysteria” is in full-swing. Resolutions against creationism are being passed, pro-evolution pamphlets are being distributed, “committees of correspondence” are being formed, debates with creationists are being scorned (so that the creationists no longer can “tend to win” and make evolutionists look bad), and anti-creationist books are issuing from the presses at an unprecedented rate. For example, in 1977 the American Humanist Association fired a major salvo by publishing a Manifesto affirming evolution as “firmly established in the view of the modern scientific community” (see The Humanist, 1977, 37:4-5). Following that, Dorothy Nelkin, a professor of sociology at Cornell University, published the first of what became a series of anti-creationist books when she wrote Science Textbook Controversies and the Politics of Equal Time (1977).

Since then, a lengthy list of such books can be documented. As samples, I might list such volumes as: (1) The Darwinian Revolution by Michael Ruse (1979); (2) Abusing Science: The Case Against Creationism by Philip Kitcher (1982); (3) The Monkey Business by Niles Eldredge (1982); (4) Scientists Confront Creationism, edited by Laurie Godfrey (1983); (5) Science on Trial: The Case for Evolution by Douglas J. Futuyma (1983); (6) Science and Creationism, edited by Ashley Montagu (1984); (7) Creation and Evolution: Myth or Reality? by Norman D. Newell (1985) (8) The Blind Watchmaker by Richard Dawkins (1986); (9) Science and Creation by Robert W. Hanson (1986); (10) Cult Archaeology and Creationism by Francis B. Harrold and Raymond A. Eve (1987); (11) Anti-Evolution Bibliography by Tom McIver (1988); (12) Evolution—The Great Debate by Vernon Blackmore and Andrew Page (1989); (13) Evolution and the Myth of Creationism by Tim Berra (1990); (14) The Creationist Movement in Modern America by Raymond A. Eve and Francis B. Harrold (1991); (15) The Creationists: The Evolution of Scientific Creationism by Ronald L. Numbers (1992); (16) The Myth-Maker’s Magic—Behind the Illusion of “Creation Science” by Delos B. McKown; (17) Creationism’s Upside-Down Pyramid: How Science Refutes Fundamentalism by Lee Tiffin (1994); (18) Science and Earth History: The Evolution/Creation Controversy by Arthur N. Strahler (1999); and (19) The Triumph of Evolution and the Failure of Creationism [the sequel to his 1982 volume, The Monkey Business] by Niles Eldredge (2000).

This list could be lengthened considerably, but I think the point is clear. Creation no longer is being taken lightly. A “call to arms” has been made by the evolutionary establishment, and is being answered by many in the evolutionary community. Creationism is enjoying renewed popularity. Were that not the case, evolutionists would not be so busily engaged in meeting what they perceive as a very real threat to the status quo that they have enjoyed for so long.

Argument #1: Creation is not scientific, because creation is not testable, reproducible, or repeatable. Evolution, on the other hand, is scientific, and should be taught in science curricula, while creation should not.

Response: For a theory to qualify as a scientific theory, it must be supported by events, processes, or properties that can be observed, and the theory must be useful in predicting the outcome of future natural phenomena or laboratory experiments. In addition, the theory must be capable of falsification. That is, it must be possible to conceive of some experiment, the failure of which would disprove the theory. It is on the basis of such criteria that most evolutionists insist creation be denied respectability as a potential scientific explanation of origins. Creation has not been witnessed by human observers, it cannot be tested experimentally, and as a theory it is nonfalsifiable. Notice, however, that the General Theory of Evolution (organic evolution) also fails to meet all three of these criteria. No one observed the origin of the Universe or the origin of life. Similarly, no one has observed the conversion of a fish into an amphibian or an ape-like creature into a man. Paul Ehrlich and L.C. Birch, both evolutionists, have stated:

Our theory of evolution has become...one which cannot be refuted by any possible observations. Every conceivable observation can be fitted into it. It is thus “outside empirical science” but not necessarily false. No one can think of ways in which to test it. Ideas, either without basis or based on a few laboratory experiments carried out in extremely simplified systems have attained currency far beyond their validity. They have become part of an evolutionary dogma accepted by most of us as part of our training (1967, 214:349).

In a symposium at the Wistar Institute in Philadelphia (on the mathematical probabilities of evolution actually having occurred), Murray Eden, in speaking about the falsifiability of evolution, said:

This cannot be done in evolution, taking it in its broad sense, and this is really all I meant when I called it tautologous in the first place. It can, indeed, explain anything. You may be ingenious or not in proposing a mechanism which looks plausible to human beings and mechanisms which are consistent with other mechanisms which you have discovered, but it is still an unfalsifiable theory (1967, p. 71).

Neither creation nor evolution is testable, in the sense of being observable experimentally. Both, however, can be stated as scientific models. It is poor science, and even poorer science education, to restrict instruction solely to the evolution model. When evolutionists attempt to depict evolution as the only scientific model, they are no longer speaking in the context of scientific truth. Either they do not know what the data actually reveal, or they are deliberately attempting to deceive. Evolution fails to answer more questions than it purports to answer, and the creation model certainly has as much (and often more) to offer as an alternative model. It is not within the domain of science to prove any concept regarding ultimate origins. The best one can hope for in this area is an adequate model to explain circumstantial evidence at hand. When one observes the undeniable design of every living thing, the complexity of the Universe itself, and the intricate nature of life, the creation model becomes quite attractive. It at least possesses a potential explanation for such attributes. The evolution model does not, but instead asks us to believe that design, inherent complexity, and intricateness are all the result of chance processes operating over eons of time.

Argument #2: Even though it may be true to say that evolution cannot be demonstrated, at least it is based on natural processes, whereas creation is based on supernatural processes. This, in and of itself, proves that creation is intrinsically unscientific.

Response: Actually this argument is intended to be two-fold in its thrust. First, it is intended to convey the idea that since “creation” occurred in the distant past as the result of events not now able to be studied in the laboratory, it is outside the realm of empirical science. Second, it is intended to convey the idea that only those things that are purely naturalistic are of a scientific nature and therefore can be studied scientifically. Let us examine these two concepts.

First, creation and evolution both share one fundamental similarity—the idea that the Universe and life are the products of one or more unique events. Evolutionists speak of such things as the Big Bang and the origin of living from nonliving. Neither of these events, however, is occurring today. In a similar fashion, creationists speak of the Universe and life as the products of divine creative acts, and of a worldwide Flood that helped shape the present Earth. These events also are unique.

Science (in the sense that most people understand the word) normally deals with empirical events and processes—things that can be observed with the five senses. Furthermore, science usually concerns itself with those things that are universal, dependable, timeless, and repeatable. That is to say, a scientist in China can use the same methodology as a scientist in America and obtain the same results today, tomorrow, next year, or at any time in the future.

It should be obvious to all concerned that neither evolution nor creation falls into such a category. Certain of the basic concepts involved (the Big Bang, the creation of man, etc.) cannot be tested using these criteria. Yet there are certain things about both creation and evolution that can be tested. In order to distinguish the things within each model that can be tested from those that cannot, some authors have suggested that science itself be divided into two distinct categories. For example, in their 1984 book, The Mystery of Life’s Origin, Charles Thaxton, Walter Bradley, and Roger Olsen recommended separating operation science from origin science. Others (e.g., Geisler and Anderson, 1987) have followed suit.

Operation science deals with regular, recurring events in nature that require natural causes (eclipses, volcanoes, reproduction, etc.), while origin science deals with singularities that may or may not require a natural cause (the Big Bang, creation, etc.). The term “origin science” may be new but, in fact, it works by the time-honored, standard principles of causality and uniformity. The principle of causality says that every material effect must have a prior, necessary, and adequate cause. The principle of uniformity (or analogy) says that similar effects have similar causes. In other words, the kinds of causes that we observe producing effects today can be counted on to have produced similar effects in the past. What we see as an adequate cause in the present, we assume to have been an adequate cause in the past; what we see as an inadequate cause in the present, we assume to have been an inadequate cause in the past.

None of us denies that creation occurred in the distant past as the results of events that now are unable to be studied experimentally in the laboratory. In this sense, creation is no more a “fact” of science than evolution. But the same limitations are inherent in evolutionary scenarios. Anyone familiar with the works of evolutionists like Robert Jastrow and Fred Hoyle is aware of the fact that these scientists, and others, have pointed out that the origin of the Universe, and of life itself, occurred in the distant past under conditions not necessarily experimentally reproducible and therefore not able to be studied in a strictly scientific manner. Paul Ehrlich and L.C. Birch, both evolutionists, also have addressed these issues.

Our theory of evolution has become...one which cannot be refuted by any possible observations. Every conceivable observation can be fitted into it. It is thus “outside empirical science” but not necessarily false. No one can think of ways in which to test it. Ideas, either without basis or based on a few laboratory experiments carried out in extremely simplified systems have attained currency far beyond their validity. They have become part of an evolutionary dogma accepted by most of us as part of our training (1967, 214:349).

The origin of the Universe (and evolution, which is linked inextricably to it) is alleged to have begun in the pre-human past under conditions that are not now reproducible. That, it would seem to the unbiased observer, would put both creation and evolution on equal footing. It will not suffice to simply say that “creation is based on supernatural processes in the past” and is therefore not scientific. The “supernatural” beginnings of creation are no less available for scientific examination than are the “unique” (though allegedly “natural”) beginnings of evolution.

That would seem, to the unbiased observer, to put creation and evolution on equal footing. Evolutionists likely will disagree, as Trevor Major has observed:

Still, evolutionists may argue that creationists have done themselves no service by making a separate science out of singularities. Defining a nonempirical science is one thing; proposing supernatural causes is quite another. For this reason, they will always view creationism as unscientific. But the idea that history consists of an unbroken stream of natural causes and effects is merely a presumption on their part. Perhaps they fear a new generation of doctoral students invoking God when they cannot explain something in their research projects. Yet this fear is unfounded. As stated earlier, most scientists of the past had no problem with divine intervention. Indeed, one of the driving forces of early Western science was the idea that the Universe, as God’s creation, was open to rational investigation. In doing good operation science, these scientists would seek natural causes for regularly occurring events. Many of them recognized, however, that unique events may require a cause beyond nature. Only analogy with the present can determine whether the cause is miraculous or naturalistic (1994, 14:21, emp. in orig.).

It is not a justifiable criticism to say simply that “creation” is based on supernatural processes in the distant past” and therefore is not scientific. The “supernatural” beginnings of creation are no less available for scientific examination than are the “unique” (though allegedly natural) beginnings of evolution.

Second, whoever defined science as “naturalism”? The word “science” derives from the Latin scientia, meaning “knowledge.” Scientists are supposed to be men and women who are on a lifelong search for truth and knowledge, regardless of where that search may lead. Science is based on an observation of the facts and is directed at finding patterns of order in the observed data.” There is nothing about true science that excludes the study of created objects and order!

To assume that knowledge can be acquired solely on the basis of naturalism, and that only those items that might have come about “naturally” may be studied, is to beg the question entirely. It is at least possible that creation could be the true explanation of origins, and thus it is premature and bigoted for certain scientists to exclude it from the domain of science by definition, all the while leaving the theory of evolution within that domain.

Argument #3: Creationists actually are nothing more than pseudo-scientists, and should not be regarded as “real” scientists like evolutionists.

Response: This charge, which is becoming increasingly common, is nothing more than anti-creationist, humanistic propaganda intended as a “scare tactic.” However, it is easily refuted. First, many of the great scientists of the past were creationists. Men like Kepler, Boyle, Pascal, Newton, Faraday, Pasteur, Maxwell, Kelvin, and a score of others who founded the various disciplines of science, were creationists, not evolutionists (see Morris, 1982). Second, all real scientists are not necessarily evolutionists. There are thousands of bona fide scientists today who are creationists, not evolutionists. They have graduate degrees from accredited institutions of higher learning, and have records and credentials comparable to those of any other segment of the scientific community. There are creationist Ph.D.s, M.D.s, Sc.D.s, etc. in every branch of the pure and applied sciences—biology, geology, physics, engineering, medicine, and so on.

While it is true that the names of evolutionists such as the late Carl Sagan, Stephen Jay Gould, Robert Jastrow, and many others have become household words, it likewise is true that there are thousands of creation scientists at work in the scientific community today who are equally as good at their jobs as men of somewhat greater public stature. The fact that a man is a creationist, and therefore does not agree with evolution, does not make him by definition a “pseudo-scientist.” Evolutionists admittedly are upset by the recent popularity of creation, and thus have resorted to this sort of name-calling in an attempt to undermine the credibility of some creation scientists. But when such men as the late Wernher von Braun, the late A.E. Wilder-Smith, Walter Lammerts, Dean Kenyon, and others like them step forward to espouse creationism, the argument that creation scientists are nothing but “pseudo-scientists” suddenly pales into insignificance, and easily is seen to be devoid of any truth whatsoever.

Argument #4: The creationists’ “ulterior motive” is simply to be able to get their own religious views taught in public schools, under the guise of “creation science.”

Response: This is yet another of the scare tactics offered by evolutionary humanists, and again, easily is shown to be false. Anyone who has examined books on creation written by creationists for use in public school classrooms quickly will notice the conspicuous absence of any religious overtones. There is no mention of God, there are no quotations from religious literature (including the Bible), and there are no references to religion in general. It is going to be a bit difficult for evolutionists to convince the public that creationists simply want to get “religion into the public schools” when some of the most outspoken critics of religion in the public schools (e.g., religions like secular humanism, etc.) are creationists.

Argument #5: The creationists are unable to support their own case with scientific evidence. All they can do is attack the evolutionist’s case with “negative evidence.” Why don’t creationists have any scientific evidence to support their case?

Response: This argument is parroted carelessly by evolutionists who ought to know better. In multiple debates with evolutionists, creation scientists have affirmed piece after piece of positive evidence for the creation model. Evidences from the various fields of science are piled one on top of the other to make the strongest possible case for creation. In fact, entire books have been written on the subject. Creationists continually point out to evolutionists that the Law of Biogenesis states explicitly that life comes only from life of its kind, and that this law is the cornerstone of all biology. Creationists continually point out that the fossil record is replete with gaps, and is devoid of the transitional forms that evolution must have if it is to preserve its case. Creationists continually point out that there are a multitude of evidences pointing to a young Earth (e.g.: oil well fluid pressures, the helium inventory in the atmosphere, population kinetics, the Earth’s rapid magnetic decay, polonium halos in the “oldest” rocks, etc.) that by definition would preclude evolution. Creationists continually point out that genetic mutations reduce viability, rather than changing one species into another. Creationists continually point out that natural selection preserves the status quo and eliminates those organisms that are “changed” from the norm. Creationists continually point out that the laws of thermodynamics clearly indicate that the Universe: (a) could not have created itself; and (b) is running down and becoming less ordered, not building up and becoming more ordered. Creationists continually point out that the Universe is contingent, and that contingent entities ultimately are dependent upon a non-contingent entity—a concept that fits the creation model perfectly, but that is something the evolution model cannot explain.

One by one the arguments of the evolutionist can be, and have been, answered. Name-calling, special-pleading, begging the question, and other such tactics ultimately are inadequate in responding to the scientific evidences presented by creationists. Eventually the subterfuge employed by evolutionists is seen to be both illogical and meritless. The arguments offered by creationists remain unrefuted.

REFERENCES

Berra, Tim M. (1990), Evolution and the Myth of Creationism (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press).

Bishop, George (1998), “The Religious Worldview and American Beliefs about Human Origins,” The Public Perspective, pp. 39-48, August/September.

Blackmore, Vernon and Andrews Page (1989), Evolution—The Great Debate (Oxford, England: Lion).

Dawkins, Richard (1986), The Blind Watchmaker (New York: W.W. Norton).

Eden, Murray (1967), in Mathematical Challenges to the Neo-Darwinian Interpretation of Evolution (Philadelphia, PA: Wistar Press).

Ehrlich, Paul and L.C. Birch (1967), “Evolutionary History and Population Biology,” Nature, 214:349-352, April 22.

Eldredge, Niles (1982), The Monkey Business (New York: Pocket Books).

Eldredge, Niles (2000), The Triumph of Evolution and the Failure of Creationism (New York: W.H. Freeman).

Eve, Raymond A. and Francis B. Harrold (1991), The Creationist Movement in Modern America (Boston, MA: G.K. Hall).

Futuyma, Douglas J. (1983), Science on Trial: The Case for Evolution (New York: Pantheon).

Geisler, Norman L. and J. Kerby Anderson (1987), Origin Science (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).

Glanz, James (2000), “Survey Finds Support is Strong for Teaching 2 Origin Theories,” The New York Times, p. A-1, March 11.

Godfrey, Laurie R. (1983), Scientists Against Creationism (New York: W.W. Norton).

Hanson, Robert W. (1986), Science and Creation (New York: Macmillan).

Harrold, Francis B. and Raymond A. Eve (1987), Cult Archaeology and Creationism (Iowa City, IA: University of Iowa Press).

The Humanist (1977), “A Statement Affirming Evolution as a Principle of Science,” 37:4-5, January/February.

Kitcher, Philip (1982), Abusing Science: The Case Against Creationism (Cambridge, MA: M.I.T. Press).

Major, Trevor J. (1991), “In the News—National Beliefs Polled,” Reason & Revelation, 11:48, December.

Major, Trevor J. (1994), “Is Creation Science?,” Reason & Revelation, 14:17-23, March.

McIver, Tom (1988), Anti-Evolution Bibliography (Jefferson, NC: McFarland).

McKown, Delos B. (1993), The Myth-Maker’s Magic—Behind the Illusion of “Creation Science” (Buffalo, NY: Prometheus).

Montagu, Ashley (1984), Science and Creationism (New York: Oxford University Press).

Moore, David W. (1999), “Americans Support Teaching Creationism as Well as Evolution in Public Schools,” [On-line], URL http://www.gallup.com/poll/releases/pr990830.asp (Princeton, NJ: Gallup News Service).

Morris, Henry M. (1982), Men of Science: Men of God, San Diego, CA: Creation-Life Publishers, San).

Morris, John D. (1992), “Do Americans Believe in Creation?,” Acts and Facts, 21[2]:d, February.

Nelkin, Dorothy (1977), Science Textbook Controversies and the Politics of Equal Time (Cambridge, MA: M.I.T. Press).

Newell, Norman D. (1985), Creation and Evolution: Myth or Reality? (New York: Praeger).

Newport, Frank (1993), “God Created Humankind, Most Believe,” Sunday Oklahoman, A-22.

Numbers, Ronald L. (1992), The Creationists: The Evolution of Scientific Creationism (New York: Alfred A. Knopf).

Ruse, Michael (1979), The Darwinian Revolution (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press).

San Diego Union (1982), “44% Believe God Created Mankind 10,000 Years Ago,” August 30.

Sheler, Jeffery L. (1999), Is the Bible True? (San Francisco, CA: HarperCollins).

Strahler, Arthur N. (1999), Science and Earth History: The Evolution/Creation Controversy (Buffalo, NY: Prometheus), second edition.

Thaxton, Charles B., Walter L. Bradley, and Roger L. Olsen (1984), The Mystery of Life’s Origin (New York: Philosophical Library).

Tiffin, Lee (1994), Creationism’s Upside-Down Pyramid: How Science Refutes Fundamentalism (Buffalo, NY: Prometheus).

Young, Willard (1985), Fallacies of Creationism (Calgary, Canada: Detselig Enterprises).




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