Other Religions Atheism and Agnosticism Is Creationism a Scientific Theory? Share Flipboard Email Print WLADIMIR BULGAR/Science Photo Library/Getty Images Other Religions Belief Systems Atheism and Agnosticism Logic Ethics Key Figures in Atheism Evolution Atheism Myths and Misconceptions By Austin Cline Atheism Expert M.A., Princeton University B.A., University of Pennsylvania Austin Cline, a former regional director for the Council for Secular Humanism, writes and lectures extensively about atheism and agnosticism. our editorial process Austin Cline Updated June 25, 2019 What are the Criteria of Science?: Science is: Consistent (internally & externally)Parsimonious (sparing in proposed entities or explanations)Useful (describes & explains observed phenomena)Empirically Testable & FalsifiableBased upon Controlled, Repeated ExperimentsCorrectable & Dynamic (changes are made as new data is discovered)Progressive (achieves all that previous theories have achieved & more)Tentative (admits it might not be correct rather than asserting certainty) Is Creationism logically consistent?: Creationism is usually internally consistent and logical within the religious framework in which it operates. The major problem with its consistency is that creationism has no defined boundaries: there is no clear way to say that any particular piece of data is relevant or not to the task verifying or falsifying creationism. When you deal with the non-understood supernatural, anything is possible; one consequence of this is that no tests for creationism can be said to matter. Is Creationism parsimonious?: No. Creationism fails the test of Occam’s razor because adding supernatural entities to the equation when they are not strictly necessary to explain events violates the principle of parsimony. This principle is important because it is so easy for extraneous ideas to slip into theories, ultimately confusing the issue. The simplest explanation may not always be the most accurate, but it is preferable unless very good reasons are offered. Is Creationism useful?: To be “useful” in science means that a theory explains and describes natural phenomena, but creationism is not able to explain and describe events in nature. For example, creationism cannot explain why genetic changes are limited to microevolution within species and don’t become macroevolution. A true explanation expands our knowledge and understanding of events but saying that “God did it” in some mysterious and miraculous way for unknown reasons fails in this. Is Creationism empirically testable?: No, creationism is not testable because creationism violates a basic premise of science, naturalism. Creationism relies on supernatural entities which are not only not testable but are not even describable. Creationism provides no model that can be used for making predictions, it provides no scientific problems for scientists to work on and does not provide a paradigm for solving other problems unless you consider “God did it” to be a satisfactory explanation for everything. Is Creationism based upon controlled, repeatable experiments?: No experiments have ever been performed that either demonstrate the truth of Creationism or suggest that evolutionary theory is fundamentally flawed. Creationism did not originate out of a series of experiments that produced anomalous results, something that has occurred in science. Creationism has, instead, developed out of the religious beliefs of fundamentalist and evangelical Christians in America. Leading Creationists have always been open about this fact. Is Creationism correctable?: No. Creationism professes to be the absolute Truth, not a provisional assessment of data which can change when new information is discovered. When you believe that you already have the Truth, there is no possibility of future correction and no reason to look for more data. The only real changes which have occurred in the creationist movement is to try and push the biblical arguments further and further into the background to make creationism look more and more scientific. Is Creationism progressive?: In a sense, creationism could be considered progressive if you say “God did it” to explain all previous data as well as previously unexplainable data, but this renders the idea of the progressive growth of scientific ideas meaningless (another good reason for science being naturalistic). In any practical sense, creationism is not progressive: it does not explain or expand upon what came before and is not consistent with established ancillary theories. Does Creationism follow the scientific method?: No. First, the hypothesis/solution is not based on analysis and observation of the empirical world - rather, it comes directly from the Bible. Second, as there is no way to test the theory, creationism cannot follow the scientific method because testing is a fundamental component of the method. Do Creationists think Creationism is science?: Even prominent creationists like Henry Morris and Duane Gish (who pretty much created scientific creationism) admit that creationism is not scientific in creationist literature. In Biblical Cosmology and Modern Science, Morris, while discussing catastrophism and the Noachic flood, says: “We cannot verify this experimentally, of course, any more than any of the various other theories of catastrophism [e.g. Velikovsky], but we do not need experimental verification; God has recorded it in His Word, and that should be sufficient.” This is a statement of religious faith, not a statement of scientific discovery. Even more revealing, Duane Gish in Evolution? The Fossils Say No! writes: “We do not know how the Creator created, [or] 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.” So, even leading creationists basically admit that creationism is not testable and clearly state that biblical revelation is the source (and “verification”) of their ideas. If Creationism is not considered scientific by the movement’s leading figures, then how can anyone else be expected to take it seriously as a science? Lance F. contributed information for this.