On this page I will give you my take on Creationism and Intelligent Design (ID).
Creationism vs. Intelligent Design
Actually, there is no vs. here – Intelligent Design (ID) is the same thing as creationism. The only difference is that ID avoids mentioning God as the “intelligent designer” and has re-phrased the biblical creation myth to make it sound more scientific.
The term Intelligent Design was invented in the 1980’s for a very specific reason. Evolution has been taught in schools in the United States of America since 19 The state if Indiana in the United States of
Creationism vs. Science
Creationism has nothing whatsoever to do with science, and that is the simple truth. Still, the world is full of people (Christians) who actually believe that creationism is a scientifically valid theory, and that it should be taught in schools as a valid alternative to evolution. It is unclear to me how many creationists that actually believe that it is real science, compared to how many of them that know it is not and just lie about it to sway public opinion, but that doesn’t really matter – creationism is not science and should not be made out to be.
OK, so why isn’t creationism real science? Without going into details, a scientist would use evidence from observations or experiments to form theories, and when data does not fit the theory – you change the theory. That is an essential part of true science. Science looks to what we can see in records and in observation, and follows where the evidence leads, and a good and sound scientific theory reflects how the world actually looks and works.
So what about creationism? How does that fit in with this basic scientific principle? The simple answer is: Not even in the slightest.
Creationism is not a scientific theory, and it is not based on observations or experiments. Instead, creationism starts off with the assumption that the creation myth in the bible is the truth, and then it looks for a way to make it all fit. In other words, creationism is pretty much the exact opposite of science.
The word assumption means “something that is accepted and/or taken for granted without proof”. Regardless of what creationists claim, science has no place for assumptions. Creationism however is completely dependent on several assumptions. Here are a few of them:
- God exists
While science is unable to finally disprove the existence of god (since it is impossible to scientifically prove a negative – science can for example not disprove the existence of fairies and gremlins either), it does show us that the possibility for the existence of god is so infinitesimally small that it is not worth mentioning.
- God is trustworthy
That is, can we trust him when he tells us (through the book of Genesis) how the world was created?
This is actually a huge assumption, a leap of faith if you will, given that even the bible makes him a devious bastard. For example, being omniscient and omnipotent, god must have known from the start that by making Eve exactly the way he wanted her to be, she would be fooled by the snake into eating the forbidden fruit. So why did he (in actual fact) make Eve eat the fruit, then punish her, and all humanity, for it through all eternity?
Even if we keep it a bit more simple it is hard to believe in this assumption: If the earth and the rest of the universe is only about 10000 years old as the creation myth tells us, then why does everything about it scream of being millions (in fact – several billion) years older? If the creationists are right, god must have made it to look older than it really is. To what end? To fool us? In any case, making something look to be something else does not make for a trustworthy person.
- God and man can communicate and have communicated
Even under the assumption that god exists, there is no proof whatsoever that this has ever happened. To be more precise, creationism requires the assumption that this communication took place between god and the bronze age goat herders that wrote Genesis, and that this communication was recorded accurately and remained unchanged over millennia. Likely? Not really.
The list could go on and on, but there is no point in continuing beyond these given assumptions.
Creationists make a lot of claims about “observable evidence” that supposedly support the myth, but none of those stand up to closer examination. In fact, even the creationists seem to know this, because commonly, they don’t even want to name any of those evidences and just revert to “you only have to look around you to see that it’s true”. And no, that is not evidence – that is just the same as saying that the world must be flat, because that’s the way it seems when you look around yourself.
Creationism vs. Evolution
Creationists argue that the world becomes “fantastically complex” when you believe in evolution. Well, of course that’s true when compared to their own childishly simplistic “God did it”, but evolution is not really all that complicated. Only slightly simplified, we can explain evolution theory like this:
Let us look at an arbitrary living organism. Life for any type of living organism (be it bacteria, algae, plants, animals, humans, etc.) is generally harsh, so each generation will produce more offspring than can survive to a point in life where it can reproduce itself. This is a basic fact of life that is not in contention by anyone.
Another basic fact of life is that there will always be variation between individuals within the same species. Most of these variations have no effect on the individual organism’s chance of survival, but a few can increase or decrease its chances to reach an age where it can reproduce itself.
If you look any selection of individuals from one generation of any given species, you cannot with any degree of confidence determine which of those individuals that will survive and reproduce. But when seen over a longer period of time (several generations), it becomes quite obvious that it will be the individuals whose slight variations give them an advantage over their competition, that will be able to survive and reproduce. Of course, not all types of variations can be passed on to the offspring, but some can and will. So the offspring will also have the advantages that made the parent a survivor.
In a longer perspective of time, these (typically) tiny variations from one generation to the next will accumulate into larger variations. So when we look at an even larger time frame, and now we are talking thousands and millions of years, and hundreds and thousands of generations, the changes will be quite dramatic. Creationists seems to believe that the theory of evolution means that a monkey one day gave birth to a human, but that is just ridiculous. Humans and the other primates (such as chimpanzees and gorillas) share a common ancestor – let’s call him the original primate. This original primate lived many millions of years ago (the oldest true primate fossil found so far is 58 million years old), in what is now Africa. Small variations between each generation, accumulated over a million generations or so, have resulted in the human species as well as (for example) our distant cousin the chimpanzee.
So, if the primates of today share a common ancestor that lived roughly 60 million years ago, what did we look like when we look even further back in time? By analyzing DNA from a multitude of organisms that live today, science can actually prove that we all came from a single common ancestor. Of course, now we are no longer talking about some old humanoid proto-primate, but more like a single-cell organism. Well actually not even that, since the organic cell is a rather complex thing that probably took a couple of million years to evolve from the primordial goo that was the original life.
Anyway, by current estimation, the first life on earth arose from nonliving matter (amino acids) around 3.7 billion years ago. If it sounds hard to believe that something as complex as for example the human brain could have formed by evolution, then consider how a fantastically long time it has taken; 3.7 billion, i.e. 3 700 000 000 years.