Creation Science

"Creationism" can also refer to creation myths, or to a concept about the origin of the soul. For the movement in Spanish literature, see Creacionismo.
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History of creationism

Types of creationism

Young Earth creationism
Old Earth creationism
Gap creationism
Day-age creationism
Progressive creationism
Intelligent design

Mythology and theology

Creation myth
Genesis creation narrative
Framework interpretation
Genesis as an allegory
Omphalos hypothesis

Creation science

Flood geology
Creation geophysics
Creationist cosmologies
Intelligent design


Public education
Teach the Controversy

Particular religious views

Deist · Hindu · Islamic · Jewish

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Creation Science or scientific creationism[1] is a branch of creationism, which attempts to provide scientific support for the Genesis creation narrative in the Book of Genesis and disprove generally accepted scientific facts, theories and scientific paradigms about the history of the Earth, cosmology and biological evolution.[2][3] Its most vocal proponents are fundamentalist Christians in the United States who seek to prove Biblical inerrancy and nullify the scientific evidence for evolution.[4] The main ideas in creation science are: the belief in "creation ex nihilo"; the conviction that the Earth was created within the last 10,000 years; the belief that mankind and other life on Earth were created as distinct fixed "baraminological" kinds; and the idea that fossils found in geological strata were deposited during a cataclysmic flood which completely covered the entire Earth.[5] As a result, creation science also challenges the geologic and astrophysical evidence for the age and origins of Earth and Universe, which creation scientists acknowledge are irreconcilable to the account in the Book of Genesis.[4] Creation science proponents often refer to the theory of evolution as "Darwinism" or as "Darwinian evolution".

The overwhelming consensus of the scientific community is that Creation Science is a religious, not a scientific view, and that Creation science does not qualify as science because it lacks empirical support, supplies no tentative hypotheses, and resolves to describe natural history in terms of scientifically untestable supernatural causes.[6][7] Creation science has been characterized as a pseudo-scientific attempt to map the Bible into scientific facts.[8][9]

Creation science texts and curricula emerged in the 1960s. They focused upon concepts derived from a literal interpretation of the Bible and were overtly religious in nature, most notably linking Noah's flood in the Biblical Genesis account to the geological and fossil record in a system termed "flood geology". These works attracted little notice beyond the schools and congregations of conservative fundamental and evangelical Christians until the 1970s when its followers challenged the teaching of evolution in the public schools and other venues in the United States, bringing it to the attention of the public-at-large and the scientific community. Many school boards and lawmakers were persuaded to include the teaching of creation science alongside Darwinian evolution in the science curriculum.[10] Creation science texts and curricula used in churches and Christian schools were revised to eliminate their Biblical and theological references, and less explicitly sectarian versions of creation science education were introduced in public schools in Louisiana, Arkansas, and other regions in the United States.[10][11]

The 1982 ruling in McLean v. Arkansas found that creation science fails to meet the essential characteristics of science and that its chief intent is to advance a particular religious view.[12] The teaching of creation science in public schools in the United States effectively ended in 1987 following the United States Supreme Court decision in Edwards v. Aguillard.[4] The court affirmed that a statute requiring the teaching of creation science alongside evolution when evolution is taught in Louisiana public schools was unconstitutional because its sole true purpose was to advance a particular religious belief.[12]


Beliefs and activities

Religious basis

Creation science is based largely upon chapters 1-11 of the book of Genesis. These describe how God (Hebrew Elohim) calls the world into existence through the power of speech ("God said, 'Let there be light'," etc) in six days, calls all the animals and plants into existence, and molds the first man from clay and the first woman from a rib taken from the man's side; a world-wide flood destroys all life except for Noah and his family and representatives of the animals, and Noah becomes the ancestor of the 70 "nations" of the world; the nations live together and speak one language until the incident of the Tower of Babel, when God disperses them and gives them their different languages. Creation science rarely goes beyond these stories, but the bible also contains a complex internal chronology which places the initial act of creation some six thousand years ago, and creation science therefore frequently attempts to explain history and science within this timeframe.

Modern religious affiliations

Most creation science proponents hold fundamentalist or evangelical Christian beliefs in biblical literalism or biblical inerrancy, as opposed to the higher criticism supported by Liberal Christianity in the Fundamentalist-Modernist Controversy. However, there are also examples of Islamic and Jewish scientific creationism that conform to the accounts of creation as recorded in their religious doctrines.[13][14]

The Seventh-day Adventist Church has a history of support for Creation Science. This dates back to George McCready Price, an active Seventh-day Adventist who developed views of flood geology,[15] which formed the basis of Creation Science.[16] This work was continued by the Geoscience Research Institute, an official institute of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, located on its Loma Linda University campus in California.[17][18]

Views on science

Creation science rejects evolution's theory of the common descent of all living things on the Earth.[19] Instead, it asserts that the field of evolutionary biology is itself pseudoscientific[20] or even a religion.[21] Creation scientists argue instead for a system called baraminology, which considers the living world to be descended from uniquely created kinds or baramins.[22]

Creation science incorporates the concept of catastrophism to account for Earth's geological formations. Creation scientists employ the concept to attempt to reconcile current landforms and fossil distributions with Biblical interpretations, proposing the remains resulted from successive cataclysmic events, such as a world wide flood and subsequent ice age.[23] It rejects one of the fundamental principles of modern geology (and of modern science generally): uniformitarianism, which means applying the same physical and geological laws observed on the Earth today to interpret the Earth's geological history.[24]

Sometimes creation scientists attack other scientific concepts, like the Big Bang cosmological model or methods of scientific dating which measure radioactive decay. The Young Earth Creationist branch of the creation scientists also rejects current estimates of the age of the Universe and the age of the Earth, arguing for creationist cosmologies with timescales much shorter than those determined by modern physical cosmology and geological science, typically less than 10,000 years. (See The objection that evolution's evidence is unreliable or inconsistent and RATE for details of the rejection.)

The scientific community has overwhelmingly rejected the ideas put forth in creation science as lying outside the boundaries of a legitimate science.[25][26][7] (See also: List of scientific societies explicitly rejecting intelligent design.) The foundational premises underlying scientific creationism disqualify it as a science because the answers to all inquiry therein are preordained to conform to Bible doctrine, and because that inquiry is constructed upon theories which are not empirically testable in nature. Scientists also deem creation science's attacks against biological evolution to be without scientific merit. Those views of the scientific community were accepted in two significant court decisions in the 1980s which found the field of creation science to be a religious mode of inquiry, not a scientific one.


The teaching of evolution was gradually introduced into more and more public high school textbooks in the United States after 1900,[27] but in the aftermath of the First World War the growth of fundamentalist Christianity gave rise to a creationist opposition to such teaching. Legislation prohibiting the teaching of evolution was passed in certain regions, most notably Tennessee's Butler Act of 1925.[28] The 1957 Soviet Union's space program successful space launch Sputnik sparked national concern that the science education in public schools was outdated. In 1958 the United States passed National Defense Education Act which introduced new education guidelines for science instruction. With federal grant funding, the Biological Sciences Curriculum Study (BSCS) drafted new standards for the public schools' science textbooks which included the teaching of evolution. Almost half the nation's high schools were using textbooks based on the guidelines of the BSCS soon after they were published in 1963.[29] The Tennessee legislature did not repeal the Butler Act until 1967.[30]

Creation science (dubbed Scientific Creationism at the time) emerged as an organized movement during the 1960s. It was strongly influenced by the earlier work of Canadian armchair geologist and Seventh-day Adventist George McCready Price who wrote works such as The New Geology to advance what he termed "new catastrophism" and dispute the current geological time frames and explanations of geologic history. Price's work was cited at the Scopes Trial of 1925, yet although he frequently solicited feedback from geologists and other scientists, they consistently disparaged his work.[31] Price's "new catastrophism" also went largely unnoticed by other creationists until its revival with the 1961 publication of The Genesis Flood by Henry M. Morris and John C. Whitcomb, a work which quickly became an important text on the issue to fundamentalist Christians[4] and expanded the field of creation science beyond critiques of geology into biology and cosmology as well. Soon after its publication, a movement was underway to have the subject taught in United States' public schools.

Court determinations

The various state laws prohibiting teaching of evolution were overturned in 1968 when the United States Supreme Court ruled in Epperson v. Arkansas such laws violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. This ruling inspired a new creationist movement to promote laws requiring that schools give balanced treatment to creation science when evolution is taught. The 1981 Arkansas Act 590 was one such law that carefully detailed the principles of creation science that were to receive equal time in public schools alongside evolutionary principles.[32] The act defined creation science as follows:

"Creation science means the scientific evidences for creation and inferences from those evidences. Creation science includes the scientific evidences and related inferences that indicate:

  1. Sudden creation of the Universe, energy and life from nothing.
  2. The insufficiency of mutation and natural selection in bringing about development of all living kinds from a single organism.
  3. Changes only with fixed limits of originally created kinds of plants and animals.
  4. Separate ancestry for man and apes.
  5. Explanation of the Earth's geology by catastrophism, including the occurrence of worldwide flood.
  6. A relatively recent inception of the Earth and living kinds."

This legislation was examined in McLean v. Arkansas, and the ruling handed down on January 5, 1982, concluded that creation-science as defined in the act "is simply not science". The judgement defined the following as essential characteristics of science:

  1. It is guided by natural law;
  2. It has to be explanatory by reference to nature law;
  3. It is testable against the empirical world;
  4. Its conclusions are tentative, i.e. are not necessarily the final word; and
  5. It is falsifiable.

The court ruled that creation science failed to meet these essential characteristics and identified specific reasons. After examining the key concepts from creation science, the court found:

  1. Sudden creation "from nothing" calls upon a supernatural intervention, not natural law, and is neither testable nor falsifiable
  2. Objections in creation science that mutation and natural selection are insufficient to explain common origins was an incomplete negative generalization
  3. 'Kinds' are not scientific classifications, and creation science's claims of an outer limit to the evolutionary change possible of species are not explained scientifically or by natural law
  4. Separate ancestry of man and apes is an assertion rather than scientific explanation, and did not derive from any scientific fact or theory
  5. Catastrophism, including its identification of the worldwide flood, failed as a science
  6. "Relatively recent inception" was the product of religious readings and had no scientific meaning, and was neither the product of, nor explainable by, natural law; nor is it tentative

The court further noted that no recognized scientific journal had published any article espousing the creation science theory as described in the Arkansas law, and stated that the testimony presented by defense attributing the absence to censorship was not credible.

In its ruling, the court wrote that for any theory to qualify as scientific, the theory must be tentative, and open to revision or abandonment as new facts come to light. It wrote that any methodology which begins with an immutable conclusion which cannot be revised or rejected, regardless of the evidence, is not a scientific theory. The court found that creation science does not culminate in conclusions formed from scientific inquiry, but instead begins with the conclusion, one taken from a literal wording of the Book of Genesis, and seeks only scientific evidence to support it.

The law in Arkansas adopted the same two-model approach as that put forward by the Institute for Creation Research (ICR), one allowing only two possible explanations for the origins of life and existence of man, plants and animals: it was either the work of a creator or it was not. Scientific evidence that failed to support the theory of evolution was posed as necessarily scientific evidence in support of creationism, but in its judgment the court ruled this approach to be no more than a "contrived dualism which has not scientific factual basis or legitimate educational purpose."[33]

The judge concluded that "Act 590 is a religious crusade, coupled with a desire to conceal this fact", and that it violated the First Amendment's Establishment Clause.[34]

The decision was not appealed to a higher court, but had a powerful influence on subsequent rulings.[35] Louisiana's 1982 Balanced Treatment for Creation-Science and Evolution-Science in Public School Instruction Act (Balanced Treatment Act), authored by State Senator Bill P. Keith of Shreveport, judged in the 1987 United States Supreme Court case Edwards v. Aguillard, and was handed a similar ruling. It found the law to require the balanced teaching of creation science with evolution had a particular religious purpose and was therefore unconstitutional.[36]

Intelligent Design splits off

In 1984, The Mystery of Life's Origin was first published. It was co-authored by chemist and creationist Charles B. Thaxton with Walter L. Bradley and Roger L. Olsen, the foreword written by Dean H. Kenyon, and sponsored by the Christian based Foundation for Thought and Ethics (FTE). The work presented scientific arguments against current theories of abiogenesis and offered an hypothesis of special creation instead. While the focus of creation science had until that time centered primarily on the criticism of the fossil evidence for evolution and validation of the creation myth of the Bible, this new work posed the question whether science reveals that even the simplest living systems were far too complex to have developed by natural, unguided processes.[37][38]

Kenyon later co-wrote with creationist Percival Davis a book intended as a "scientific brief for creationism"[39] to use as a supplement to public high school biology textbooks. Thaxton was enlisted as the book's editor, and the book received publishing support from the FTE. Prior to its release, the 1987 Supreme Court ruling in Edwards v. Aguillard barred the teaching of creation science and creationism in public school classrooms. The book, originally titled Biology and Creation but renamed Of Pandas and People, was released in 1989 and became the first published work to promote the anti-evolutionist design argument under the name intelligent design. The contents of the book later became a focus of evidence in the federal court case, Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District, when a group of parents filed suit to halt the teaching of intelligent design in Dover, Pennsylvania public schools. School board officials there had attempted to include Of Pandas and People in their biology classrooms and testimony given during the trial revealed the book was originally written as a creationist text but following the adverse decision in the Supreme court it underwent simple cosmetic editing to remove the explicit allusions to "creation" or "creator", and replace them instead with references to "design" or "designer".[40]

By the mid 1990s, Intelligent design had become a separate movement.[40] The creation science movement is distinguished from the intelligent design movement, or neo-creationism, because most advocates of creation science accept scripture as a literal and inerrant historical account, and their primary goal is to corroborate the scriptural account through the use of science. In contrast, as a matter of principle, neo-creationism eschews references to scripture altogether in its polemics and stated goals (see Wedge strategy). By so doing, intelligent design proponents have attempted to succeed where creation science has failed in securing a place in public school science curricula. Carefully avoiding any reference to the identity of the intelligent designer as God in their public arguments, intelligent design proponents sought to reintroduce the creationist ideas into science classrooms while sidestepping the First Amendment's prohibition against religious infringement.[41][42] However, the intelligent design curriculum was struck down as a violation of the Establishment Clause in Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District, the judge in the case ruling "that ID is nothing less than the progeny of creationism".[43]

Today, creation science as an organized movement is primarily centered within the United States. However, creation science organizations are known in other countries, most notably Creation Ministries International which was founded (under the name Creation Science Foundation) in Australia. Proponents are usually aligned with a Christian denomination, primarily with those characterized as evangelical, conservative, or fundamentalist. While creationist movements also exist in Islam and Judaism, these movements do not use the phrase creation science to describe their beliefs.


Creation science has its roots in the work of young-earth creationist George McCready Price disputing modern science's account of natural history, focusing particularly on geology and its concept of uniformitarianism, and his efforts instead to furnish an alternative empirical explanation of observable phenomena which was compatible with strict Biblical literalism.[44] Price's work was later discovered by civil engineer and Gideon Henry M. Morris,[45] who is now considered to be the father of creation science.[46] Morris and later creation scientists expanded the scope with attacks against the broad spectrum scientific findings that point to the antiquity of the Universe and common ancestry among species, including growing body of evidence from the fossil record, absolute dating techniques, and cosmogony.[47]

The proponents of creation science often say that they are concerned with religious and moral questions as well as natural observations and predictive hypotheses.[48][49] Many state that their opposition against scientific evolution is primarily based on religion.

The overwhelming majority of scientists are in agreement that the claims of science are necessarily limited to those that develop from natural observations and experiments which can be replicated and substantiated by other scientists, and that claims made by creation science do not meet those criteria.[50] Duane Gish, a prominent creation science proponent, has similarly claimed, "We do not know how the Creator [sic] created, what processes He used, for He used processes which are not now operating anywhere in the natural universe. This is why we refer to creation as special creation. We cannot discover by scientific investigation anything about the creative processes used by the Creator."[51] But Gish also makes the same claim against science's evolutionary theory, maintaining that on the subject of origins, scientific evolution is a religious theory which cannot be validated by science.[51]

Metaphysical assumptions

Creation science makes the a priori metaphysical assumption that there exists a creator of the life whose origin is being examined. Christian creation science holds that the description of creation is given in the Bible and that empirical scientific evidence corresponds with that description. Creation scientists also view the preclusion of all supernatural explanations within the sciences as a doctrinaire commitment to exclude the supreme being and miracles. They claim this to be the motivating factor in science's acceptance of Darwinism, a term used in creation science to refer to evolutionary biology which is also often used as a disparagement. Critics consider creation science to be religious rather than scientific because it stems from faith in a religious text rather than by the application of the scientific method.[52] The United States National Academy of Sciences (NAS) has noted, "Religious opposition to evolution propels antievolutionism. Although antievolutionists pay lip service to supposed scientific problems with evolution, what motivates them to battle its teaching is apprehension over the implications of evolution for religion."[53]

Creation science advocates argue that scientific theories of the origins of the universe, Earth, and life are rooted in a priori presumptions of methodological naturalism and uniformitarianism, each of which is disputed. In some areas of science such as chemistry, meteorology or medicine, creation science proponents do not challenge the application of naturalistic or uniformitarian assumptions. Traditionally, creation science advocates have singled out those scientific theories judged to be in conflict with held religious beliefs, and it is against those theories that they concentrate their efforts.

Religious criticism

Mainstream Christian churches criticize creation science on theological grounds, asserting either that religious faith alone should be a sufficient basis for belief in the truth of creation, or that efforts to prove the Genesis account of creation on scientific grounds are inherently futile because reason is subordinate to faith and cannot thus be used to prove it.

Many Christian theologies, including Liberal Christianity, consider the Genesis creation myth to be a poetic and allegorical work rather than a literal history, and many Christian churches – including the Roman Catholic,[54] Anglican and the more liberal denominations of the Lutheran, Methodist, Congregationalist and Presbyterian faiths – have either rejected creation science outright or are ambivalent to it.

Theistic evolution and evolutionary creationism are theologies that reconcile belief in a creator with biological evolution. Each holds the view that there is a creator but that this creator has employed the natural force of evolution to unfold a divine plan.[55] Religious representatives from faiths compatible with theistic evolution and evolutionary creationism have challenged the growing perception that belief in a creator is inconsistent with the acceptance of evolutionary theory.[56][57] Spokespersons from the Catholic Church have specifically criticized biblical creationism for relying upon literal interpretations of biblical scripture as the basis for determining scientific fact.[57]

Scientific criticism

Creation Science
Claims Scriptures contain an accurate literal account of the origin of the universe, Earth, life, and humanity.
Related scientific disciplines Anthropology, Biology, Geology, Astronomy
Year proposed 1923
Original proponents George McCready Price, Henry M. Morris, and John C. Whitcomb
Subsequent proponents Institute for Creation Research, Answers in Genesis
Pseudoscientific concepts

The United States National Academy of Sciences states that "creation science is in fact not science and should not be presented as such."[25] and that "the claims of creation science lack empirical support and cannot be meaningfully tested."[25] According to Skeptic, the "creation 'science' movement gains much of its strength through the use of distortion and scientifically unethical tactics" and "seriously misrepresents the theory of evolution."[58][59]

For a theory to qualify as scientific it must be:

  • consistent (internally and externally)
  • parsimonious (sparing in proposed entities or explanations)
  • useful (describing and explaining observed phenomena)
  • empirically testable and falsifiable
  • based upon controlled, repeatable experiments
  • correctable and dynamic (changing to fit with newly discovered data)
  • progressive (achieving all that previous theories have and more)
  • tentative (admitting that it might not be correct rather than asserting certainty)

For any hypothesis or conjecture to be considered scientific, it must meet at least most, but ideally all, of the above criteria. The fewer which are matched, the less scientific it is. If it meets two or fewer of these criteria, it cannot be treated as scientific in any useful sense of the word.

Scientists have considered the hypotheses proposed by creation science and have rejected them because of a lack of evidence. Furthermore, the claims of creation science do not refer to natural causes and cannot be subject to meaningful tests, so they do not qualify as scientific hypotheses. In 1987, the United States Supreme Court ruled that creationism is religion, not science, and cannot be advocated in public school classrooms.[60] Most major religious groups have concluded that the concept of evolution is not at odds with their descriptions of creation and human origins.[61]

A summary of the objections to creation science by scientists follows:

  • Creation science is not falsifiable : The act of creation as defined in creation science is not falsifiable because no testable bounds can be imposed on the creator. In creation science, the creator is defined as limitless, with the capacity to create (or not), through fiat alone, infinite universes, not just one, and endow each one with its own unique, unimaginable and incomparable character. It is impossible to disprove a claim when that claim as defined encompasses every conceivable contingency.[62]
  • Creation science violates the principle of parsimony : Parsimony favours those explanations which rely on the fewest assumptions. Scientists prefer explanations which are consistent with known and supported facts and evidence and require the fewest assumptions to fill remaining gaps. Many of the alternative claims made in creation science retreat from simpler scientific explanations and introduce more complications and conjecture into the equation.[63]
  • Creation science is not, and cannot be, empirically or experimentally tested : Creationism posits supernatural causes which lie outside the realm of methodological naturalism and scientific experiment. Science can only test empirical, natural claims.
  • Creation science is not correctable, dynamic, tentative or progressive : Creation science adheres to a fixed and unchanging premise or "absolute truth", the "word of God," which is not open to change. Any evidence that runs contrary to that truth must be disregarded.[64] In science, all claims are tentative, they are forever open to challenge, and must be discarded or adjusted when the weight of evidence demands it.

By invoking claims of "abrupt appearances" such as saltation[65] or hopeful monsters,[66] and other miraculous acts creation science is unsuited for the tools and methods demanded by science, and it cannot be considered scientific in the way that the term "science" is currently defined.[67] Scientists and science writers commonly characterize creation science as a pseudoscience.[8][9][68][69]

Historical, philosophical, and sociological criticism

Historically, the debate of whether creationism is compatible with science can be traced back to 1874, the year science historian John William Draper published his History of the Conflict between Religion and Science. In it Draper portrayed the entire history of scientific development as a war against religion. This presentation of history was propagated further by followers such as Andrew Dickson White in his essay A History of the Warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom. Their conclusions have been disputed.[70]

In the United States, the principal focus of creation science advocates is on the government-supported public school systems, which are prohibited by the Establishment Clause from promoting specific religions (see Edwards v. Aguillard).

Areas of study

Subjects within creation science correspond to the scientific disciplines of biology, earth sciences and astronomy.

Creation biology

Creation biology centers on an idea derived from Genesis that states that life was created by God, in a finite number of "created kinds", rather than through biological evolution from a common ancestor. Creation scientists consider that any observable speciation descends from these distinctly created kinds through inbreeding, deleterious mutations and other genetic mechanisms.[71] Whereas evolutionary biologists and creation scientists share similar views of microevolution, creation scientists disagree that the process of macroevolution can explain common ancestry among organisms far beyond the level of common species.[28] Creationists contend that there is no empirical evidence for new plant or animal species, and deny fossil evidence has ever been found documenting the process.[72]

Popular arguments against evolution have changed since the publishing of Henry M. Morris's first book on the subject, Scientific Creationism in October 1974, but some consistent themes remain: that missing links or gaps in the fossil record are proof against evolution; that the increased complexity of organisms over time through evolution is not possible due to the law of increasing entropy; that it is impossible that the mechanism of natural selection could account for common ancestry; and that evolutionary theory is untestable. The origin of the human species is particularly hotly contested; the fossil remains of purported hominid ancestors are not considered by advocates of creation biology to be evidence for a speciation event involving Homo sapiens.[73]

Biologists challenge creation scientists who claim the fossil evidence disproves evolution. Richard Dawkins has explained evolution as "a theory of gradual, incremental change over millions of years, which starts with something very simple and works up along slow, gradual gradients to greater complexity", and described the existing fossil record as entirely consistent with that process. Biologists emphasize that transitional gaps between those fossils recovered are to be expected, that the existence of any such gaps cannot be invoked to disprove evolution, and that instead the fossil evidence that could be used to disprove the theory would be those fossils which are found and which are entirely inconsistent with what can be predicted or anticipated by the evolutionary model. One example given by Dawkins was, "If there were a single hippo or rabbit in the Precambrian, that would completely blow evolution out of the water. None have ever been found."[74]

Earth sciences and geophysics

Flood geology

Flood geology is a concept based on the belief that most of Earth's geological record was formed by the Great Flood described in the story of Noah's ark. Fossils and fossil fuels are believed to have formed from animal and plant matter which was buried rapidly during this flood, while submarine canyons are explained as having formed during a rapid runoff from the continents at the end of the flood. Sedimentary strata are also claimed to have been predominantly laid down during or after Noah's flood[75] and orogeny.[76] Flood geology is a variant of catastrophism and is contrasted with geological science in that it rejects standard geological principles such as uniformitarianism and radiometric dating. For example, the Creation Research Society argues that "uniformitarianism is wishful thinking."[77]

Geologists conclude that no evidence for such a flood is observed in the preserved rock layers and moreover that such a flood is physically impossible, given the current layout of land masses. For instance, since Mount Everest currently is approximately 8.8 kilometres in elevation and the Earth's surface area is 510,065,600 km2, the volume of water required to cover Mount Everest to a depth of 15 cubits (6.8 m), as indicated by Genesis 7:20, would be 4.6 billion cubic kilometres. Measurements of the amount of precipitable water vapor in the atmosphere have ranged between zero and approximately 70mm, depending on the measurement date and location.[78] Nevertheless, there continue to be many adherents to flood geology, and in recent years new theories have been introduced such as catastrophic plate tectonics and catastrophic orogeny.[79][80]

Radiometric dating

Creationists point to experiments they have performed, which they claim demonstrate that 1.5 billion years of nuclear decay took place over a short period of time, from which they infer that "billion-fold speed-ups of nuclear decay" have occurred, a massive violation of the principle that radioisotope decay rates are constant, a core principle underlying nuclear physics generally, and radiometric dating in particular.[81]

The scientific community points to numerous flaws in the creationists' experiments, to the fact that their results have not been accepted for publication by any peer-reviewed scientific journal, and to the fact that the creationist scientists conducting them were untrained in experimental geochronology.[82][83]

The constancy of the decay rates of isotopes is well supported in science. Evidence for this constancy includes the correspondences of date estimates taken from different radioactive isotopes as well as correspondences with non-radiometric dating techniques such as dendrochronology, ice core dating, and historical records. Although scientists have noted slight increases in the decay rate for isotopes subject to extreme pressures, those differences were too small to significantly impact date estimates. The constancy of the decay rates is also governed by first principles in quantum mechanics, wherein any deviation in the rate would require a change in the fundamental constants. According to these principles, a change in the fundamental constants could not influence different elements uniformly, and a comparison between each of the elements' resulting unique chronological timescales would then give inconsistent time estimates.[84]

In refutation of young-Earth claims of inconstant decay rates affecting the reliability of radiometric dating, Roger C. Wiens, a physicist specializing in isotope dating states:

There are only three quite technical instances where a half-life changes, and these do not affect the dating methods [under discussion][85]:
  1. Only one technical exception occurs under terrestrial conditions, and this is not for an isotope used for dating. ... The artificially-produced isotope, beryllium-7 has been shown to change by up to 1.5%, depending on its chemical environment. ... [H]eavier atoms are even less subject to these minute changes, so the dates of rocks made by electron-capture decays would only be off by at most a few hundredths of a percent.
  2. ... Another case is material inside of stars, which is in a plasma state where electrons are not bound to atoms. In the extremely hot stellar environment, a completely different kind of decay can occur. 'Bound-state beta decay' occurs when the nucleus emits an electron into a bound electronic state close to the nucleus. ... All normal matter, such as everything on Earth, the Moon, meteorites, etc. has electrons in normal positions, so these instances never apply to rocks, or anything colder than several hundred thousand degrees. ...
  3. The last case also involves very fast-moving matter. It has been demonstrated by atomic clocks in very fast spacecraft. These atomic clocks slow down very slightly (only a second or so per year) as predicted by Einstein's theory of relativity. No rocks in our solar system are going fast enough to make a noticeable change in their dates.[86]


In the 1970s, young Earth creationist Robert V. Gentry proposed that radiohaloes in certain granites represented evidence for the Earth being created instantaneously rather than gradually. This idea has been criticized by physicists and geologists on many grounds including that the rocks Gentry studied were not primordial and that the radionuclides in question need not have been in the rocks initially.

Thomas A. Baillieul, a geologist and retired senior environmental scientist with the United States Department of Energy, disputed Gentry's claims in an article entitled,"Polonium Haloes" Refuted: A Review of "Radioactive Halos in a Radio-Chronological and Cosmological Perspective".[87] Baillieul noted that Gentry was a physicist with no background in geology and given the absence of this background, Gentry had misrepresented the geological context from which the specimens were collected. Additionally, he noted that Gentry relied on research from the beginning of the 20th century, long before radioisotopes were thoroughly understood; that his assumption that a Polonium isotope caused the rings was speculative; and that Gentry falsely argued that the half-life of radioactive elements varies with time. Gentry claimed that Baillieul could not publish his criticisms in a reputable scientific journal,[88] although some of Baillieul's criticisms rested on work previously published in reputable scientific journals.[87]

Astronomy and cosmology

Creationist cosmologies

Several attempts have been made by creationists to construct a cosmology consistent with a young universe rather than the standard cosmological age of the universe, based on the belief that Genesis describes the creation of the universe as well as the Earth. The primary challenge for young-universe cosmologies is that the accepted distances in the universe require millions or billions of years for light to travel to Earth (the starlight problem). An older creationist idea, proposed by creationist astronomer Barry Setterfield, is that the speed of light has decayed in the history of the universe.[89] More recently, creationist physicist Russell Humphreys has proposed a hypothesis called "white hole cosmology" which suggests that the universe expanded out of a white hole less than 10,000 years ago; the apparent age of the universe results from relativistic effects.[90] Humphreys' theory is advocated by creationist organisations such as Answers in Genesis; however because the predictions of Humphreys' cosmology conflict with current well-established observations, it is not accepted by the scientific community.[91][92]


Various claims are made by creationists concerning alleged evidence that the age of the solar system is of the order of thousands of years, in contrast to the scientifically accepted age of 4.6 billion years.[93] It is commonly argued that the number of comets in the solar system is much higher than would be expected given its supposed age. Creationist astronomers express scepticism about the existence of the Kuiper belt and Oort cloud.[94][95] Creationists also argue that the recession of the moon from the Earth is incompatible with either the moon or the Earth being billions of years old.[96] These claims have been refuted by planetologists.[97][98]

In response to increasing evidence suggesting that Mars once possessed a wetter climate, some creation scientists have proposed that the global flood affected not only the Earth but also Mars and other planets. People who support this claim include creationist astronomer Wayne Spencer and creationist cosmologist Russell Humphreys.[99]

An ongoing problem for creationists is the presence of impact craters on nearly all solar system objects, which is consistent with scientific explanations of solar system origins but creates insuperable problems for young Earth claims.[100] Creationists Harold Slusher and Richard Mandock, along with Glenn Morton (who later repudiated this claim[101]) asserted that impact craters on the moon are subject to rock flow,[102] and so cannot be more than a few thousand years old.[103] While some creationist astronomers assert that different phases of meteoritic bombardment of the solar system occurred during creation week and during the subsequent Great Flood, others regard this as unsupported by the evidence and call for further research.[104][105]



See also


  1. ^ Numbers 2006, pp. 268–285
  2. ^ Plavcan, J. Michael (2007). "The Invisible Bible: The Logic of Creation Science". In Andrew J. Petto and Laurie R. Godfrey. Scientists Confront Creationism. New York, London: Norton. pp. 361. ISBN 978-0-393-33073-1. "Most creationists are simply people who choose to believe that God created the world-either as described in Scripture or through evolution. Creation scientists, by contrast, strive to use legitimate scientific means both to disprove evolutionary theory and to prove the creation account as described in Scripture." 
  3. ^ Numbers 2006, pp. 271–274
  4. ^ a b c d Larson, Edward J. (2004). Evolution: The Remarkable History of a Scientific Theory. Modern Library. ISBN 978-0679642886. 
  5. ^ Edwards v. Aguillard, 482 U.S. 578 (Supreme Court of the United States). , cited by Numbers 2006, p. 272 as "[on]ne of the most precise explications of creation science"
  6. ^ National Academy of Science (1999). Science and Creationism: A View from the National Academy of Sciences, 2nd edition. National Academy Press. pp. 48. 
  7. ^ a b Amicus Curiae Brief Of 72 Nobel Laureates, 17 State Academies Of Science, And 7 Other Scientific Organizations at the Wayback Machine, Edwards v. Aguillard
  8. ^ a b Sahotra Sarkar; Jessica Pfeifer (2006). The Philosophy of science: an encyclopedia. A-M. Psychology Press. p. 194. ISBN 9780415939270. 
  9. ^ a b Shermer, Michael (2002). The Skeptic encyclopedia of pseudoscience. ABC-CLIO. p. 436. ISBN 9781576076538. 
  10. ^ a b Numbers, R.L. (2002). "21 Creationism since 1859". Science and Religion: A Historical Introduction. Retrieved 2008-01-19. 
  11. ^ Toumey, Christopher P. (1997-04-01). God's Own Scientists: Creationists in a Secular World. New Brunswick, New Jersey: Rutgers University Press. pp. 38. ISBN 978-0813520445. 
  12. ^ a b Larson, Edward J. (2003). Trial and Error: The American Controversy over Evolution. Oxford University Press. pp. 288. ISBN 0195154711. 
  13. ^ "Islamic Scientific Creationism: A New Challenge in Turkey". National Center for Science Education. 1999. 
  14. ^ Scott, Eugene (2001). "Antievolutionism and Creationism in the United States". National Center for Science Education. 
  15. ^ Numbers 2006, pp. 88–119
  16. ^ Numbers 2006, p. 268
  17. ^ GRI 'About Us' page
  18. ^ Numbers 2006, pp. 320–328
  19. ^ "creationism." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2007. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 20 Oct. 2007
  20. ^ Antidote to superstition, Answers in Genesis
  21. ^ Wright v. Houston I.S.D.
  22. ^ Get Answers: Created Kinds (Baraminology), Answers in Genesis
  23. ^ What About The Ice Age?
  24. ^ "Science and Creationism: A View from the National Academy of Sciences, 2nd edition", Steering Committee on Science and Creationism, National Academy of Sciences, 1999
  25. ^ a b c National Academy of Sciences
  26. ^ Edward J., Larson (2004). Evolution. Modern Library. p. 258. ISBN 0-679-64288-9. "Virtually no secular scientists accepted the doctrines of creation\ science; but that did not deter creation scientists from advancing scientific arguments for their position."  See also Martz, Larry; McDaniel, Ann (1987-06-29). Keeping God out of the Classroom (Washington and bureau reports). CIX. Newsweek Inc.. 23–24. ISBN 0028-9604. "By one count there are some 700 scientists (out of a total of 480,000 United States earth and life scientists) who give credence to creation-science, the general theory that complex life forms did not evolve but appeared 'abruptly'." ;
    ^ Judson Poling (2003). Do Science and the Bible Conflict?. Zondervan. p. 28. ISBN 9780310245070.  (same quote, citing the June 29, 1987 issue of Newsweek magazine).
  27. ^ Skoog, Gerald (April 1979). "Topic of evolution in secondary school biology textbooks: 1900–1977". Science Education (1979 Wiley Periodicals) 63 (5): 621–640. 
  28. ^ a b Scott, Eugenie (2004-06-30). Evolution vs Creationism. Greenwood Press. pp. 1590–1628 Kindle ed.. ISBN 9780313321221. 
  29. ^ Numbers 2006, p. 265
  30. ^ Tennessee Evolution Statutes, Chapter No. 27, House Bill No. 185 (1925) and Chapter No. 237, House Bill No. 46 (1967)
  31. ^ Numbers 2006, pp. 88–119 In one of his many correspondences with Price, David Starr Jordan of Stanford University, who was then the United States' foremost authority on fish fossils, explained to Price his flawed works were "based on scattering mistakes, omissions, and exceptions against general truths that anybody familiar with the facts in a general way can not possibly dispute." p106
  32. ^ Act 590 of 1981--General Acts, 73rd General Assembly, State of Arkansas. Abstract available at ERIC.
  33. ^ Decision by U.S. District Court Judge William R. Overton, McLean v Arkansas, sec IV(A), copy available Talkorigins Archives
  34. ^ McLean v. Arkansas Board of Education
  35. ^ Understanding the Intelligent Design Creationist Movement: Its True Nature and Goals. A Position Paper from the Center for Inquiry, Office of Public Policy Barbara Forrest. May, 2007, pp. 8–9.
  36. ^ Edwards v. Aguillard, 482 U.S. 578 (1987).
  37. ^ Numbers 2006, pp. 178, 218, 373, 383
  38. ^ John A. Thomas, "The Foundation for Thought and Ethics", NCSE Reports 10(4), pp. 18–19.
  39. ^ Numbers 2006, p. 375
  40. ^ a b Numbers 2006
  41. ^ "...the first thing that has to be done is to get the Bible out of the discussion. ...This is not to say that the biblical issues are unimportant; the point is rather that the time to address them will be after we have separated materialist prejudice from scientific fact." Phillip Johnson. "The Wedge", Touchstone: A Journal of Mere Christianity. July/August 1999.
  42. ^ The Evolution Debate Can Be Won at the Wayback Machine (archived May 18, 2008), Phillip Johnson
  43. ^ wikisource Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District/2:Context Page 31 of 139
  44. ^ Numbers 2006, pp. 107–111, chapter 5
  45. ^ Numbers 2006, pp. 217–219
  46. ^ Scott, Eugenie C. (2007). "Creation Science Lite". In Andrew J. Petto and Laurie R. Godfrey. Scientists Confront Creationism. New York, London: Norton. pp. 59. ISBN 978-0-393-33073-1. 
  47. ^ Eugenie C. Scott (2004). Evolution vs. creationism. Berkeley and Los Angeles, California: University of California Press. ISBN 0520246500. 
  48. ^ How can creation have anything to do with science?, Origins Research Center.
  49. ^ How The Universe Began, Thomas F. Heinze
  50. ^ "Introduction", Science and Creationism: A View from the National Academy of Sciences
  51. ^ a b "Where Is the Science in Creation Science?", Roger Lewin in Science, vol.215, 8 January 1982, pp.142–146, Copy used in class lesson; Archive copy at the Wayback Machine; Lewin attributes Duane Gish's quote to, Evolution: the Fossils Say No!; Lewin attributes Gish's claim that scientific evolution is equally religious to Gish's letter to Discover magazine, published July 1981.
  52. ^ Mclean-v-Arkansas
  53. ^ Antievolutionism and Creationism in the United States National Center for Science Education, February 13th, 2001
  54. ^ Roman Catholic Church (1996) National Center for Science Education
  55. ^ Scott, Eugenie C. (2000-12-07). "The Creation/Evolution Continuum". National Center for Science Education. Retrieved 2009-01-28. 
  56. ^ Teaching Evolution, March 2006
  57. ^ a b "Vatican Official Defends Evolution Against 'Useless' Creationism". Associated Press. 2008-09-19.,2933,424942,00.html. Retrieved 2009-01-28. 
  58. ^ Joyce Arthur, Skeptic (U.S. magazine), Vol. 4, No. 4, 1996, pp. 88–93
  59. ^ Creationism: Bad Science or Immoral Pseudoscience?
  60. ^ "The legislative history demonstrates that the term "creation science," as contemplated by the state legislature, embraces this religious teaching." Edwards v. Aguillard
  61. ^ "Indeed, many scientists are deeply religious. But science and religion occupy two separate realms of human experience. Demanding that they be combined detracts from the glory of each." Science and creationism
  62. ^ Root-Bernstein, Robert (1984). "On Defining a Scientific Theory: Creationism Considered". In M. F. Ashley Montagu. Science and Creationism. USA: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0195032536. 
  63. ^ Alston, Jon P. (2003). The Scientific Case Against Scientific Creationism. USA: iUniverse. p. 21. ISBN 9780595291083. 
  64. ^ Gallant, Roy A. (1984). "To Hell With Evolution". In M. F. Ashley Montagu. Science and Creationism. USA: Oxford University Press. p. 303. ISBN 978-0195032536. 
  65. ^ Roberts, Elijah; Anurag Sethi, Jonathan Montoya, Carl R. Woese, Zaida Luthey-Schulten (September 16, 2008). "Molecular signatures of ribosomal evolution". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 105 (37): 13953–13958. doi:10.1073/pnas.0804861105. 
  66. ^ West-Eberhard, Mary J. (March 1986). "Alternative adaptations, speciation, and phylogeny (A Review)". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 83: 1388–1392. 
  67. ^ Gould, SJ (1987). "Creation science is an oxymoron". Skeptical Inquirer 11 (2): 152–153. 
  68. ^ Gregory Neil Derry (2002). What Science Is and How It Works. Princeton University Press. p. 170. ISBN 9780691095509. 
  69. ^ Gregory J. Feist (2006). The psychology of science and the origins of the scientific mind. Yale University Press. pp. 219. ISBN 9780300110746. 
  70. ^ Medieval Science, the Church and Universities
  71. ^ E. Scott, "The Evolution of Creationism", Goucher College lecture March 13, 2006, mp3 format.
  72. ^ The Vanishing Case for Evolution, Henry M. Morris, Institute for Creation Research
  73. ^ Comparison of all skulls, TalkOrigins Archive
  74. ^ Time Magazine, 15 August 2005, page 32
  75. ^ Howe, G. F.; Froede, C. R. .J.r. (1999). "The Haymond Formation Boulder Beds, Marathon Basin, West Texas: Theories On Origins And Catastrophism". Creation Research Society Quarterly Journal 36 (1). Retrieved 2008-06-13. 
  76. ^ Snelling, A. A. (2008). "Catastrophic Granite Formation: Rapid Melting of Source Rocks, and Rapid Magma Intrusion and Cooling" (PDF). Answers Research Journal: 11–25. Retrieved 2008-06-13. 
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  78. ^ Total Precipitable Water, NWCSAF.
  79. ^ Froede, Carl R. Jr (1995). "Stone Mountain Georgia: A Creation Geologist's Perspective". Creation Research Society Quarterly 31 (4). 
  80. ^ Howe, George F.; Froede, Carl R. Jr (1999). "The Haymond Formation Boulder Beds, Marathon Basin, West Texas: Theories On Origins And Catastrophism". Creation Research Society Quarterly 36 (1). 
  81. ^ Nuclear Decay: Evidence For A Young World, D. Russell Humphreys, Impact, Number 352, October 2002.
  82. ^ Young-Earth Creationist Helium Diffusion "Dates" Fallacies Based on Bad Assumptions and Questionable Data, Kevin R. Henke, TalkOrigins website, Original version: March 17, 2005, Revision: November 24, 2005.
  83. ^ R.A.T.E: More Faulty Creation Science from The Insitutute for Creation Research, J. G. Meert, Gondwana Research, The Official Journal of the International Association for Gondwana, November 13, 2000 (updated February 6, 2003).
  84. ^ Claim CF210, Mark Isaak (editor), Index to Creationist Claims, TalkOrigins website, 2004.
  85. ^ Dating methods discussed were potassium-argon dating, argon-argon dating, rubidium-strontium dating, samarium-neodymium dating, lutetium-hafnium, rhenium-osmium dating, and uranium-lead dating.
  86. ^ Radiometric Dating, A Christian Perspective, Roger C. Wiens, American Scientific Affiliation, p20-21
  87. ^ a b "Polonium Haloes" Refuted - A Review of "Radioactive Halos in a Radio-Chronological and Cosmological Perspective" by Robert V. Gentry by Thomas A. Baillieul. Copyright 2001–2005. Last Updated 22 April 2005.
  88. ^ Polonium Halos: Unrefuted
  89. ^ Robert Day (1997). "The Decay of c-decay". 
  90. ^ Russell Humphreys (1994). Starlight and Time. 
  91. ^ "Claim CE412, TalkOrigins Archive"]. 
  92. ^ Evidence for the Big Bang, Björn Feuerbacher and Ryan Scranton, TalkOrigins Archive
  93. ^ IAP STATEMENT ON THE TEACHING OF EVOLUTION, Interacademy Panel on International Issues.
  94. ^ Danny Faulkner (1997), Comets and the age of the solar system,, retrieved 2010-03-31 
  95. ^ Jonathan Sarfati (June 2003). "Comets—portents of doom or indicators of youth?". Retrieved 2010-03-31. 
  96. ^ Jonathan Sarfati (September 1998). "The Moon: The light that rules the night". Retrieved 2010-03-31. 
  97. ^ TalkOrigins Index to Creationist Claims Claim 110 edited by Mark Isaak. 2005.
  98. ^ TalkOrigins Index to Creationist Claims Claim 261 edited by Mark Isaak. 2004.
  99. ^ Dr Russ Humphreys (August 1997). "Water on Mars: A Creationist Response". Retrieved 2007-02-14. 
  100. ^ "How Good are those Young-Earth Arguments: Hovind's 'Proofs'". TalkOrigins Archive. Retrieved 2008-08-11. 
  101. ^ "Comment: I no longer support the ideas in that book. The arguments are typical young-earth arguments which I have totally rejected as being totally fallacious." — "Publications by Glenn R. Morton". Retrieved 2009-08-02. 
  102. ^ Kumagai, Naoichi; Sadao Sasajima, Hidebumi Ito (15 February 1978). "Long-term Creep of Rocks: Results with Large Specimens Obtained in about 20 Years and Those with Small Specimens in about 3 Years". Journal of the Society of Materials Science (Japan) (Japan Energy Society) 27 (293): 157–161. Retrieved 2008-06-16. 
  103. ^ Morton, Glenn R.; Slusher, Harold S.; Mandock, Richard E. (1983). "The Age of Lunar Craters". Creation Research Society Quarterly 20 (2): 105–108. 
  104. ^ Danny Faulkner (April 1999). "A biblically-based cratering theory". Retrieved 2007-02-14. 
  105. ^ Wayne R. Spencer (April 2000). "Response to Faulkner’s ‘biblically-based cratering theory’". Retrieved 2007-02-14. 
  106. ^ Origin Myths Introduction to a number of alternative origin myths from varied cultures around the world (archived from the original on 2006-02-09)
  107. ^ Position Statement: The Teaching of Evolution
  108. ^ Science and Creationism: A View from the National Academy of Sciences
  109. ^ 15 Answers to Creationist Nonsense by John Rennie
  110. ^ Introduction and criticism of creationism.
  111. ^ Index of Creationist claims with rebuttals


Further reading



  • Vernon Blackmore, and Andrew Page, Evolution, The Great Debate (Oxford: Lion Publishing, 1989)
  • V. L. Bates, Christian Fundamentalism and the Theory of Evolution in Public School Education: A Study of the Creation Science Movement (Ph.D. dissertation, University of California, Davis: 1976).
  • R. M. Frye, Is God a creationist? The religious case against creation-science ISBN 978-0-684-17993-3 (New York: Scribner's, 1983)
  • P. Kitcher, Abusing Science: The Case Against Creationism ISBN 978-0-262-61037-7 (Boston, MA: The MIT Press, 1983)
  • R. Lewin, Where is the Science in Creation Science? (Science v.215, pp. 142–146.)
  • R. Pennock, Tower of Babel: The Evidence against the New Creationism ISBN 978-0-262-66165-2 (The MIT Press, Reprint edition, February 28, 2000)
  • B. Vawter, Creationism: Creative Misuse of the Bible, in R. M. Frye (ed.), ibid. pp. 71–82.
  • D. B. McKown, The mythmaker's magic: Behind the illusion of "creation science" ISBN 978-0-87975-770-0 (Buffalo, N.Y.: Prometheus Books, 1993)
  • L. Tiffin, Creationism's Upside-Down Pyramid: How Science Refutes Fundamentalism ISBN 978-0-87975-898-1 (Prometheus Books, August 1, 1994)
  • M. Zimmerman, M. Science, Nonscience and Nonsense ISBN 978-0-8018-5774-4 (The Johns Hopkins University Press: Reprint edition, December 1, 1997)
  • Synoptic Position Statement of the Georgia Academy of Science with Respect to the Forced Teaching of Creation-Science in Public School Science Education, Georgia Academy of Science: March 22, 2000 (ISBN B0008JBPNY)

External links

  • Edwards v. Aguillard 1987 U.S. Supreme Court ruling preventing the teaching of creation science in public school science classrooms.
  • McLean v. Arkansas 1981 challenge to Arkansas' Act 590, which mandated that evolutionary biology instruction be balanced with "creation science".

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