1 Creationism, ID and
2 To Williams on Creationism
CREATIONISM, ID and SCIENCE
(Investigator 108, 1996
Christians accept evolution. James Jauncey, president of Kenmore
Christian College, wrote:
of God as the creator cannot be called into question for the simple
reason that science cannot concern itself with ultimate origins… For
instance, if it should be that science should ultimately conclude that
some form of evolutionary process is the explanation of the origin of
all living things, then the most that could be deduced would be that
God in his wisdom used such a process. (c.1960)
A retired science
teacher and school principal wrote:
convinced Creationism and its close ally, Intelligent Design, should be
rejected as they fly in the face of reason… I am a regular worshipping
church attender and I believe in the theory of evolution. (Michael Ford
is Kenneth R Miller, teacher of biological science at
Brown University, who authored Finding Darwin's God (1999).
Christians, however, reject evolution. Australia has the Creation
Science Foundation, run by Christian Fundamentalists, which publishes Creation
magazine and a website: www.AnswersInGenesis.
Foundation's magazine, Creation, says the Universe was
created in six days, 6,000 years ago:
many Hebrew words for long-age concepts, but the words used in Genesis
1, can, in that context, have no other meaning than that all of
creation was in six ordinary earth-rotation days. (Volume 22, No. 1, p.
Design" (ID) began when conservative Christians founded
Discovery Institute in 1990 in Seattle, Washington. Discovery Institute
finances creationist publications, lobbies politicians, infiltrates
school boards, and calls evolution "a theory in crisis".
creationism of its religious setting and basically argues:
(Phillip Johnson, 1991);
People (1989; 1993);
Box (Michael Behe, 1996);
ID are allies and both focus on complex structures and
the probabilities these originated "by chance". ID differs in:
of living things are too complex and interdependent to have evolved;
- Therefore a
"designer" created them and species popped into existence fully-made
In 2005 the
Campus Crusade for Christ mailed a DVD titled Unlocking
The Mystery of Life to Australian schools.
mention of the Bible and God;
includes comment by ID author and biochemist Michael Behe. He
says: "I remember the first time I looked in a biochemistry textbook
and saw a drawing of something called the bacterial flagellum. It had a
propeller and hook region and the drive shaft and the motor. I looked
at that and I said: ‘that's an outboard motor – that's designed. That's
no chance assemblage of parts.'"
before Behe's book came out a creationist magazine Creation
Research Society Quarterly used the same flagella argument. (See
letter, representing 70,000 Australian scientists and science
educators responded to the DVD:
being able to imagine or explain how something happened other than by
making a leap of faith to supernatural intervention is no basis for any
theory to be
considered scientific it must be testable…by experiment or observation.
The results of such tests should be able to be reproduced by others as
a check on their accuracy (and, importantly, if repeated testing
falsifies the theory it should be rejected…) Finally, a scientific
theory should explain more than what is already known: it should be
able to predict outcomes in novel situations. Evolution meets all of
these criteria but ID meets none of them: it is not science. (Archer et
loaned me three copies of Creation:
No. 1, December 1999-February 2000
No. 3, June-August 2001
No. 4, September-November 2001
examine these magazines.
Veith (22 No. 1), a South African zoologist, speculates on
unknown "mechanisms for rapid variation" – apparently indistinguishable
from rapid evolution.
believes there was a worldwide Flood and only a few hundred "kinds"
survived. These survivors changed (evolved?) into millions of species
in a few hundred years. This, however, is evolution a million times
faster than demonstrated by paleontology, genetics, and geology!
rejection of slow evolution requires belief in unproved rapid
the notion of a "kind" is not part of biology and no
"kind" has been identified. Science teaches that all current life
evolved from previous life of which about 300,000 species have been
found as fossils. Creationists claim all current species came (evolved)
from "kinds" of which none have been identified.
claims, "death and bloodshed among animals only commenced
after the Fall of Adam." (p. 37)
did billions of peaceful animals with eternal life change into
dying predators, dying parasites and dying killing machines that preyed
on each other?
[God] used the existing genetic material and just reorganized the way
it was expressed. (p. 38)
Thus a stupendous
miracle supposedly altered the genes, physiology,
ecology, digestive systems and enzymes of most animals, fish and
insects worldwide! Instant evolution without trace of the previous
fossils worldwide – even in rock layers hundreds of metres thick –
supposedly originated almost instantly in Noah's flood:
we realize that fossils are not millions of years old, but mainly a
record of God's judgment on sin, then there is no record of death and
bloodshed before Adam's Fall. (33/4 p. 38)
and EYE WITNESSES
denies the "big bang" origin of the Universe:
the world in six normal days… (23/3 pp 20, 22)
observed God create. Yet Ken Ham (22/1 pp 39-42) claims
that a young Universe is based on "eyewitness" testimony:
been no evolution and the vast time span is illusory. (p. 15)
we weren't there in the past to observe events, how can we know what
writing about Venus, says:
Word of God who…has revealed to us the major events of the past… (p. 40)
truth about the origin of anything, it helps to have a reliable
eye-witness record… Genesis claims to be a witness of One who was
there – the Creator. (23/3 p. 31)
teaches that gravity collapsed a rotating disc of gas and
dust over millions of years forming the Sun and planets. Telescopes
reveal other solar systems in various stages of formation. But Creation
says astronomy is wrong:
did not always light the earth. It wasn't made till Day 4 of creation
week, while the earth was created on Day 1.This refutes ideas like 'God
created over billions of years', because they all assert the sun came
before the earth… (22/1 p. 27)
If the Sun came
on Day 4, what lighted planet Earth and controlled its
orbit before Sunlight and Sun gravity? God did it supernaturally!
Sarfati denies that the "solar system collapsed out of a cloud of gas"
because the planets "would rotate in the same direction" but Venus
doesn't. Its reverse rotation supposedly proves God set up the Universe
However, computer simulations show that the "collapse" involved
collisions of matter over billions of years, some collisions so big
they changed the rotation of planets. Uranus rotates backwards too, as
do many of the Solar System's moons.
Venus has fewer asteroid-impact craters than Mars. This, to Sarfati,
suggests a young Venus. However, astronomers conclude that Venus was
"resurfaced" about 500 million years ago by volcanic eruptions and/or
asteroid impacts and this wiped previous impact craters away.
Creationists believe their interpretation of the Bible from the start
irrespective of science. Ham admits:
Bible is eliminated in the argument, then the Christians'
presuppositions are gone, leaving them unable to effectively give an
alternative interpretation of the facts. (p. 40)
says of the "Noachian global Flood":
scientists scoff, deliberately ignoring the eyewitness account of that
very event. (23/3, p. 7)
ancient human could have witnessed a worldwide event
because Earth's roundness limits how far people can see. Also the
"eyewitnesses" are unconfirmed people like Noah and Adam. No
creationist was there as eye-witness and saw Noah, God or Adam!
Furthermore science doesn't just trust "eyewitnesses" but investigates
the truth of what they say they saw!
Potassium-argon (K-Ar) dating is often used to date solidified lava.
In Radioactivity Dating Failure (22/1 pp 18-21) Andrew Snelling
says that samples of New Zealand lava flows that occurred in 1949, 1954
and 1975 were sent to Laboratories in Boston for K-Ar dating. The
calculated ages were 0.25-3.5 million years for 50-year-old samples!
trust the use of this same ‘dating' method on rocks whose ages we don't
know? … However, we know Someone who was present when all the earth's
rocks formed – the Creator Himself. He has told us when that was, in
eye-witness account in…Genesis. (p. 20)
radioactive dating is based on three assumptions:
are wrong, we're told, and that's why scientists
calculate millions and billions of years instead of 6,000.
- When the
forms (hardens) there should only be parent radioactive atoms in the
the rock must remain a closed system, that is, no parent or daughter
atoms should be added or removed…
decay rate must remain constant.
However, scientists allow for the above arguments:
will yield a valid age only if none of the argon has leaked out of the
mineral being analysed. Leakage may indeed occur if the rock has
experienced temperatures above 125oC. In specific
localities, the ages of rocks dated by this method reflect the last
episode of heating rather than the time of origin of the rock itself.
(Levin 1981, p. 220)
In dating the
rocks all relevant available information is considered,
not just the three alleged assumptions. For example:
which is never produced by decay, provides a means of detecting
original lead. All common lead contains a mixture of four lead
isotopes. In most minerals used for dating, the proportions of the lead
isotopes are nearly constant, so that lead 204 can be used to calculate
the quantities of original lead 206 and lead 207. These quantities can
then be subtracted from the total to give the amount due to
radioactivity. (Ibid p. 218)
article (23/4) discusses "The collapse of
geologic time" based on measuring "radiohaloes". This is too complex to
explain here, but Greg Neyman (see reference section) responds to it.
Creation has many articles about animals and plants and
their adaptation to the environment. The line promoted is always: This
could not have evolved; Therefore God created it.
far better explanation than random mutations and selection to explain
the specialized features of the sea dragon… (22/1 p. 54)
conclusions – without God showing his creativity in controlled
tests – is mere assumption. If the stages by which something originated
is unknown then the logical conclusion is that it's unknown.
Creation reasoning in effect says:
don't state the first premise because it's obviously false
– since unexplained things can have prior conditions other than God.
For example the unique arrangement of gravel outside my fence and how
it got there is unexplained – but God didn't put it there!
unexplained was done by God;
- The origin
------- is unexplained;
was done by God.
With the first premise false, the third is false also.
In A Whale of a tale (23/4 10-14) Ken Ham and Carl Wieland
criticize a book by geneticist Steve Jones.
We read about Jones: "rambling", "shakes his fist at the Creator God",
"regurgitates", "indoctrinates", "weaves a web of deceit", "cleverly
set up a straw man for unsuspecting readers". We read of Jones'
"rehash", "indoctrination process", "blind faith in unlimited
Darwin, Jones sees a world full of death and decay. He would not, of
course, accept our sin, through the Fall and the resultant Curse on
creation, as being responsible for the mess we observe around us. (23/4
emotive, worthless sectarian stuff. It's almost verbal abuse,
mixed with unscientific claims that a "Fall" and "Curse" produced
worldwide biological change.
has shown that Earth's continents "drift" a few centimetres per
year and have joined and separated several times over 600 million years.
agrees continental drift occurred but claims it
happened about a million times faster!
(22/1, pp 43-45) says: "Any continental separation likely
occurred during the Flood."
calculates back from several ancient writers who estimated when
various nations and cities started. Manasses (d. 1187) of Byzantine,
for example, wrote that the Egyptian state lasted 1663 years. So Pierce
calculated 1663 years from when Persia conquered Egypt in 525 BC and
got 2188 BC. This is supposedly when continental drift slowed down
after the Flood and Egypt started.
lands can be inhabited long before becoming a "state" –
Australia for 40,000 years before Federation. Furthermore, statehood
has no connection to the speed of continental drift. And citing
Medieval writers as if no research has been done since, is simply silly.
continental drift, as measured by science, generates earthquakes,
volcanoes, lava flows and tsunamis some so great that nature takes
centuries to repair the damage. What would continental drift a million
times faster do?
AiG argument is based on population. If Noah's Flood was in
2500 BC, it's eight survivors need only increase 0.75% per year to
become 300 million in the 1st century AD.
however, whether animals, plants or bugs rise and fall.
The Black Death in the 14th century, for example, killed 1/3 of the
populations rise and fall it's irrational to extrapolate
current trends back to determine when a species originated. If we
extrapolate 20th century human population trends backwards we would
calculated that humans began about 1500 AD! And if we calculate a
bacterial population back, we might calculate it began a few weeks ago
– so is the Universe a few weeks old?
says that a long Stone Age did not exist because
"Fossil evidence shows that people buried their dead, often with
artifacts…" This supposedly implies billions of burials along with
artifacts whereas only a few have been found. (23/3 pp 52-55)
it's unknown what proportion of Stone Agers were buried with
artifacts. What is known is that of billions of people who die every
century few become fossils with artifacts.
often speak of their "Creation Model" and claim it's
scientific. Their model is a set of assumptions such as:
This "Model" is
not built upon science but upon unproved religious
belief – upon "Christian presuppositions" – and so is not a scientific
6,000 years old;
- God created
everything in six days;
- There was
death before Adam sinned;
- A worldwide
produced all geological layers and fossils;
- A few
from Noah's Ark produced millions of species.
example, most galaxies are millions of light years away and the
light took millions of years to reach Earth. But Creation
claims the Universe is 6,000 years old and the speed of light was
millions of times faster until recently.
make most of astronomy wrong.
calculated distances between stars would be wrong.
relationship between mass and energy, E = MC2, would
have been ever changing.
changes involving light or energy would have been different.
paleontology, geology, climatology, ecology, biology and
every other science that studies things older than 6,000 years would be
scientific model starts with observations which become the basis for
a theory. The theory predicts results in novel situations and if the
predictions come true the theory is considered unfalsified.
"creation model" is the opposite: It starts with religious
assumptions and rejects discoveries that disprove them by pretending
physical laws used to be different.
includes procedures to test competing hypotheses. Reject
science and there's no way to test what's correct. Anyone who claims to
be correct but rejects science, in effect says, "I can prove something
without proving it". He affirms a contradiction.
and DOVER TRIAL
creationist Christians in the Dover (Pennsylvania) School Board
wanted to add creationism to the curriculum. With legal advice from
Discovery Institute they changed this to giving students a statement
stating evolution has gaps and ID is a scientific alternative, and 60
copies of Pandas appeared in the school library. The case went
to court in 2005 to determine whether the statement violated the
separation of religion and state.
including Behe testified about flagella, the identity of the
"intelligent designer", how he designed, the definition of science and
lots more. Miller, the Christian evolutionist, testified ID is not
textbook Of Pandas and People is being revised, the trial
showed, to appear less religious. Here are two previous versions of one
sentence and a draft of the next edition:
The judge's 139-page
sum-up concluded ID is a religious belief.
that various forms of life began abruptly through the agency of an
intelligent creator, with their distinctive features already intact -
fish with fins and scales, birds with feathers, beaks, wings, etc."
design means that various forms of life began abruptly through an
intelligent agency, with…"
appearance means that various forms of life began abruptly through an
intelligent agency, with…"
BIBLE AND SCIENCE
Genesis story can be understood in ways that don't reject science.
Greg Neyman's "Old Earth Ministries" website, for example,
systematically answers the "AnswersInGenesis" website.
Earth Creationism being wrong, and ID being religious, does not
make the Bible wrong. I've tested hundreds of Bible statements,
including some in Genesis, and submitted the findings to critics. For
this I relied on science – and consistency requires that I accept
evolution to the extent science demonstrates it.
statements that I examined appeared false for a while,
because science was wrong. But science is self-correcting and
subsequent science eventually corrects earlier mistakes. Relying on
science risks being wrong for a while. But if we reject science we're
left without means of correction and risk being wrong permanently.
Smith, B; Serjeantson, S and Carnemolla, P The Australian
October 21, 2005, p. 15.
Ford, M Sunday
Mail December 4, 2005.
C c.1960 Science Returns to God, Zondervan, p. 55.
Levin, H L
1981 Contemporary Physical Geology, CBS, USA.
Advertiser, November 5, 2005, p. 47; November 19, p.
Australian, October 21, 2005, pp 9, 15.
C R S
Miller K R
Daily Record: www.ydr.com/doverbiology/
TO WILLIAMS ON CREATIONISM
Williams (#111 p. 18) approves of my refutation of Young Earth
Creationism (#108) and says he and I are "on amazingly similar ground".
However, he "struggles to make sense of this" because elsewhere I
defended biblical teachings about "Adam and Eve…Old Nick…and the Tower
investigations I rely on mainstream science. I do not assume the
Bible true but check or test its statements using scientific
literature. I did this with Creationism, Adam and Eve (See #110), and
scores of other topics.
Earth Creationists don't do what I do. They instead start with
"Christian presuppositions". I quoted Ken Ham:
Bible is eliminated in the argument, then the Christian's
presuppositions are gone, leaving him unable to effectively give an
alternative interpretation of the facts. (#108 p. 41)
thus start with a body of unscientific assumptions. They
did what science fantasy writers do – they imagined a series of fantasy
science-fantasy world has no sun or stars.
has insects with eternal life.
has God instantaneously altering the genetics and ecology of
all the immortal animals on Earth to make them die.
has continental drift, the speed of light and evolution all
going about a million times faster than they did in reality.
And so on.
quote admits that without such "presuppositions", i.e.
without their fantasy worlds, they cannot "effectively give an
alternative interpretation". My methods are very different!
know what Williams wants when he tells me to let "ideas speak
for themselves" and "self proof is a contradiction in terms". Is he
telling me not to use scientific evidence?
If I want
to check how fast steel balls will fall I would drop a few
and time their descent or consult a book on physics. That's science. I
investigate the Bible similarly.