Why Creationism is Unscientific


Thomas's educational background includes a Ph.D. in the field of evolution and molecular systematics. Thomas may be reached for comments or feedback by email (tartass@hotmail.com) or on the NAiG Discussion Board.

The creation model is unscientific for a number of reasons. Before I begin, it is worth noting that creationists have never been able to demonstrate to the courts that their model is scientific (at least not in a decision that has not been overturned). Take the McLean v. Akansas trial - the creationist "experts" including Gish and Morris were so unsuccessful in their efforts to have their model seen as scientific that Judge Overton's decision listed it as a religious model (and a thinly disguised one at that). The point is that the entire reason that creationism is not taught in schools is because it is a religious model and not a scientific theory. The fact that the courts rule this way time and again should indicate that this is not an isolated sentiment, and that even the experts in the field can't pass it off as science to any court in the country.

Quite simply, creationism fails as a science because it hinges centrally on the notion that events and their consequences were aided by divine intervention. The earth, biodiversity and patterns in nature are all viewed as the result of God's will. Thus, creationism insulates a central portion of its explanatory system from investigation and falsification.

For example:  the patterns of diversity of organisms on earth can be explained by creationists as God's will. Creationists could argue that it is God's creation, and this is how He chose to create things. However, a lack of such patterns could equally be explained invoking the same reasoning. Never having the luxury of knowing God's will, everything and nothing can be explained by creationism. Secondly, the creationist models hinges on the notion that the Bible is the inerrant and literal word of God. Therefore, all scientific data must be interpreted with specific reference to the Bible, and any conflicting evidence must be rejected or considered inaccurate.

Creationists could argue that all life on earth shares the same genetic code because this is the way God wanted it (or more disingenuously, that this is evidence of a common creator). However, if all life on earth did not use DNA, but rather a million different molecules for heredity, then the Theory of Evolution would likely be immediately falsified. However, the creationist model could just as easily argue that this is the way God wanted it, or that this was obvious evidence of a common creator. Creationists can have it both ways - or any way it wants.

Creationism fails the three main tests of a scientific theory: testability, predictive power and explanatory power. I have already shown how creation science is unfalsifiable, not because it addresses the issue of origins, but because no conceivable test result would be incompatible with it, nor any empirically verifiable hypothesis constructed to falsify it.

For example
:  if there were no genetic continuity between taxa, this would be evidence that would falsify the theory of natural selection. However, the creation science paradigm could explain this by claiming that it is the way the Creator intended it.

Closely related to the absence of testability in creation science is its lack of predictive power. Based on historical or existing evidence, creation science can not make testable predictions since no conceivable test results could challenge predictions levelled by creationists.

For example:  creation science could predict that genetic continuity should, or should not exist, according to the desires of the Creator. Since it is impossible to know the intentions of the Creator in His design, one can not make accurate predictions regarding existing trends or phenomena (such as genetic continuity among taxa) or anticipated changes in design given the parameters of a system (such as physiological adaptations necessary for resistance to a pesticide). Predictions in these cases are impossible to make unless one has Divine Intervention. While such insight is acceptable and anticipated in religion, such a qualification is entirely unacceptable in science.

Creationism explains everything, and in so doing, explains nothing. The beauty of the creationist model is that by invoking the whims of a Creator, they are able to explain any and all phenomena.

For example:  biochemical similarities between organisms can be explained as sufficiently as biochemical dissimilarities if one does not know the design plans of a purported Creator. However, it is obvious that teleological explanations fail totally as valid scientific explanations. A valid scientific theory could offer only one, true explanation for a phenomenon an explanation that logically followed from the theory. Just as creationism fails in its ability to make reliable predictions, so too it is unable to offer explanations that do not rely on Divine fiat.

So creationism fails totally as a scientific endeavour. I'm sure that many creationists know this - surely they must have read some court decisions. Surely they must know that the courts invariably rule that creationism is a religion. Surely they must know that this is why creationists now prefer to slander the theory of evolution by calling it a religious model. Having failed totally to pass off their own model as science they are now trying vainly to have a bone fide theory passed off as a religion. Clever - but transparent.