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The Case Against Christian Creationism

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The intellectually honest approach is that each of the two top competing theories must stand on their own in explaining the evidence we find in the real world.

The gross details of evolution are fairly easy to understand.  As the environment changes the plants and animals in that environment adapt.  Those that fill a viable ecological niche survive and produce offspring.  Those that don't fit the environment don't reproduce as much.  Over time, we're left with the organisms which are Good Enough.  The fossil record and general ecology are pretty easy to understand for anyone with even a junior high school education.  Much of the evidence for the great age of the Earth is also covered in jr. high and high school.

The details of how DNA works, the proteins and enzymes in the cells and how they process nutrients to build cells take a bit more work to understand.  Some of the basics are covered in high school biology classes.  A layman who puts forth any effort can reasonably expect to grasp the general concepts involved.  But nobody, not even scientists on the cutting edge of research, can yet say for certain how the world went from a pre-biotic soup of amino acids to complex self-replicating molecules that we would recognize as life.  It's this lack of certainty that most proponents of Creationism point to when attacking evolution.  It's difficult for your average citizen to recognize the mistakes and outright fallacies put forth in most Creationism attacks.  A short assertion by a Creationist requires several minutes of education to refute.

Conversely, the fatal flaws in Creation "Science" are easy to understand for even the high school-educated crowd.  That's what this page is about.

First, let's look at one of the most basic premises put forth by Young Earth Creationists:

When was the world Created?

By counting begats in the Bible (thus-and-so begat so-and-so) and calibrating those with some of the historical figures mentioned, usually kings, it turns out the Biblical flood is supposed to have happened about 4500 years ago.  And Creation itself is set at about 1500 years before that.   Those two dates give us ample opportunities to show that the Christian Creation story cannot be supported by examination of the world around us.

Other Civilizations

Great Pyramid
Great Pyramid

One of my favorite points is that the Great Flood was supposed to have happened at a time when we have cuniuform records describing the Egyptian civilization.  Just about at the time that the first Great Pyramid was constructed at Giza in Egypt.  The other two Great Pyramids were constructed over the next hundred years or so.  Scholars currently estimate that the pyramids were constructed over the course of about 20 years each, and required around 10-20,000 people.

This brings up several problems for the Great Flood story.

First, the Egyptian civilization was in full swing around the time the flood was supposed to have happened.  Yet, there's no mention of it in any of the Egyptian writings.   Did the Egyptian people simply not notice that their wicked civilization had been wiped out by a world-wide deluge?

Next, according to Genesis, after the flood there were only eight people in the entire world, Noah's family.  There's no evidence of flood damage to the pyramids themselves, so they must have been built afterwards.  Even if those eight people and their offspring bred like crazy there could only be a few hundred to a few thousand people in the entire world available to build the Great Pyramids.  So first, there simply weren't enough people.  Second, don't you think that the Bible might have mentioned that everyone in the world dropped what they were doing for a generation and went to Egypt to build monuments to the ostensibly-divine rulers of a Sun-worshiping culture?

Great Age:

Here's a pretty picture

Semeis 147: Supernova Remnant
Semeis 147: Supernova Remnant

Many nebula are made up of the gas and dust remnants of a star exploding.  This is a picture of one of those.  You don't have to be a professional astronomer to understand some of the important points about this image.

First, the nebula in this picture  is about 100,000 light years distant.   That means it took 100,000 years for the light to get from there to here.   That is more than ten times the age of the universe as postulated by Young Earth Creationists.

The standard come-back to that is that God created the photons between here and there.   After all, Genesis says that He created light right after creating Heaven and the Earth.  That's the reason we don't see stars popping into existence as their light first gets to us.

But think again about what we're looking at here.  This is the remnant of a star.   This star exploded about 100,000 years prior to what we're seeing here.  In other words, it exploded about 200,000 years ago.  That means that God didn't just create photons between us and a star.  He created photons between us and a structure that shows every indication of a place where a star used to be.  He seems to be doing the very best he can to fool us into thinking the universe is older than the 6,000 years implied in the Bible.

There are a wide variety of fields of science that exhibit evidence that the Earth is a planet of great age.  Archeology (fossils,) anthropology (early hominids,) cosmology (stars,) geology (plate tectonics,) sub-atomic physics (radiometric dating,) biology (genetic drift,) etc.  Very diverse fields that all yield consistent evidence that the Earth is far older than what the Young Earth Creationists insist on.

Flood water - where did it come from and where did it go

Water Cycle
Water Cycle

To people alive thousands of years ago, with no concept of the global ecology and global climate, where the water came from and went really doesn't look like a problem.   To them, when it rains, there's more water.  When it hasn't rained for awhile, there's less water.  And going to the extremes, when it floods, there's lots of "extra" water, and when there's a drought the water has "disappeared."   That seems self-evident.

Today, even grade school children now know that the water cycle is (for practical purposes) a closed system.  The rain you're seeing today came from evaporation from a body of water somewhere else.  The total amount of water is essentially constant.   Even a few minutes thought leads one to conclude that a flood is always a localized event.  The apparent "extra" water in the flood had to come from a supply somewhere else on the globe.  There's no way for the water to cover all the land because that would mean actually creating extra water that wasn't there previously.   And then removing that extra water, because it's clearly  no longer around.

And we're not talking about a little bit of water.  The average depth of the ocean is two miles.  The height of Mount Everest is over five miles above sea level.  Since oceans cover 70% of the Earth that means you need about five times as much water as now currently exists.

One standard response to that is a very generous interpretation of Psalm 104.   Apparently, some people think verse 8 can be interpreted to say that God raised the mountains after the flood.

8 they flowed over the mountains,
they went down into the valleys,
to the place you assigned for them.

It doesn't say anything about raising the mountains.  But that's how some people choose to interpret that verse.  In other words, they're postulating tectonic activity completely different than we see going on today.  Unprecedented changes in the landscape which one would expect to find common and obvious evidence for.  And yet there is none.

Conclusion

A scientist can say, "Show me the evidence and I'll admit I was wrong."
The Creationist will say, "I don't care about your evidence.  The Bible can't be wrong."

And that's why there's no such thing as "Creation Science."  Pretty much by definition, science changes.  Its advances are based upon the refutation of previous theories.  New evidence is discovered which falsifies some existing theories and supports others.  As the evidence piles up against them, the falsified theories are discarded.

Conversely, "Creation Science" cannot change.  These scientists have a book that tells them how things are, and they're not allowed to entertain any doubts about its perfection.  It's conclusions are static and new evidence must be reconciled against the only existing theory, or (more often) ignored.

One important point to carry out of all this is that even if scientists have somehow bizarrely gotten evolution all wrong, that doesn't mean that the Christian Biblical Creation Myth is automatically true.  That's a common logical fallacy called a false dichotomy or false dilemma.  The disproof of evolution does not in any way prove that the monotheistic Christian God actually exists.  There have been many creation myths throughout history.  There are even competing theories that are closer to real science, such as Panspermia (albeit, there's not much evidence supporting it.)  Even if evolution is wrong, Christian Creationism may also be wrong, and one of those others may be right.

But the evidence is against them, too.

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Last modified: June 18, 2005
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