Creationism is the belief that life appeared abruptly on Earth with most of their typical features already present and that species have not evolved from a common ancestor. There are many different kinds of creationism, but all of them include a rejection of most parts of modern evolutionary biology. Because the evidence for common ancestry is massive, creationism is a pseudoscience akin to anti-vaccine activism, astrology, climate denial and HIV/AIDS denialism.
In fact, creationism uses the same kinds of rhetorical techniques, including quoting scientists out of context, false balance, butchering simple scientific facts, conspiracy theories, logical fallacies and so on. Because creationism in its modern forms stem from the early and middle of the 1900s, the arguments used by creationists have been around for a long time and keeps getting recycled over and over. In many cases, creationists themselves do not understand their arguments because they spread and mutate over time.
A recent article (cache) written by a creationist student recently appeared as an online feature on The Cauldron website, which is the student newspaper of Cleveland State University. Flynn Burchfield describes himself as a “sophomore Accounting major at CSU” wrote about the evolution versus creationism struggle from his perspective as a Christian student. Unfortunately, it is an article that mostly contain poorly constructed variants of creationist claims that have already been refuted thousands of times and a strong dose of logical fallacies (such as appeal to consequences).
Scientific facts cannot rob us of our humanity
[…] I believe the theory of evolution takes away the humanity of humans. If we are descended from apes and amoebas, then we are creatures, animals, just as they are. We do not truly have consciences or morality — these things would be human constructs created by our instinct.
This clearly highlights that the major problem that Burchfield sees with evolution is not related to the scientific evidence, but to alleged social and psychological consequences. However, these are not true. Evolution is merely a well-supported explanatory model for the origins of the diversity of life. Nothing more, nothing less. It is not about philosophical issues regarding conscience or morality. Does Burchfield think that atomic theory of matter, that states that all matter (including humans and their brains) is made up out of atoms, “take away the humanity of humans” and that we must insist that atoms are not real unless we risk loosing our conscience and morality? Probably not.
Many scientists who laid the foundation of evolution were devout Christians
As a human race, some of us are so arrogant that we’d rather deny our spirituality and morality than to accept that we are created, because really, that’s why the theory of evolution was postulated as an alternative to creation in the first place.
This is a standard creationist trick: try to claim that evolution was just invented to explain away the creator deity of the Bible and thereby scare people away from understanding the science. In reality, many of the researchers who laid the foundations for evolution (including taxonomist Carl Linnaeus, naturalist and mathematician Comte de Buffon, and zoologist and paleontologist Georges Cuvier) were Christian and often even creationists. Although none of them saw the entire picture of the evolution of life, they made the scientific discoveries and developments necessary for the science of evolutionary biology to emergence.
Not all creationists believe in a young Earth
Creationists believe in a young earth, anywhere from 6,000 to 10,000 years old.
Not true. Creationism is an umbrella term for people who reject evolution for some religious ideology. However, they can have very different stances on issues such as the age of the Earth. Some, called young Earth creationists, think the Earth is around 6000 years old. Others, called old Earth creationists, accepts the modern scientific dating of the Earth (~4.5-4.6 billion years old), but usually do not accept evolution. These different groups can be subdivided further, but this is the largest division among creationists.
This is another common creationist trick: try to make it look like there are only two positions (young Earth creationism and modern evolutionary biology) and then make various arguments against evolution thinking that it demonstrates young Earth creationism. This is a logical fallacy called false dilemma (or sometimes false dichotomy), because there are, as we saw above, more positions than these two.
Carbon dating is not used to date the Earth
This is commonly objected to by evolutionists, as they reference carbon dating “proving” the earth is billions of years old. Long-term carbon dating has serious problems with the assumptions it makes. It assumes that lead and carbon, which affect decay rates, weren’t present early in the earth’s history.
No, carbon dating is not used to date the Earth. This is because carbon-14 has a half-life of 5730 years and thus decay too fast to measure the age of the Earth. To date the age of the Earth, one can use multiple methods, including argon-argon dating, rubidium-strontium dating and many others. These methods independently converge, within the margin of error, to the same general date of the Earth.
Burchfield even butchers some of the creationist objections to radiometric dating. The real creationist arguments is that these methods make assumptions, including amount of initial material, that rocks are closed systems and that the constant decay rates. In reality, these are not arbitrary assumptions, but can be tested by looking at the material and measuring supernovas. This is discussed in additional details in the article Refuting “Radiometric Dating Methods Makes Untenable Assumptions!” that include graphs and sources.
There was no global flood
According to the Genesis account, there was a worldwide flood shortly after the creation of the world as a punishment by God for the wickedness of man. Before this flood, there had been no precipitation and the atmosphere was essentially a canopy of water vapor.
No, the idea that there was no precipitation before the Genesis flood and that all water was collected as a canopy of water is not based on the Genesis text. It is an invented story by creationists during the 1900s. There are many problems with the notion that a global flood happened a few thousand years ago. For instance, if the geological record was deposited in a short period of time (such as on the order of a single year), all the radioactive decay and magma flow we have evidence would have had to happen during that single year, which would produce enough heat to boil off the atmosphere and all the oceans and make the temperature so hot that nothing can live on the planet. Because of this and many other problems, many creationists have opted for an old Earth and that it was merely a regional or local flood instead.
The Cambrian radiation is evidence for evolution
The “Cambrian explosion,” for example, refers to a sudden appearance of a large number of fossils on the archeological record. A worldwide flood would account for this sudden appearance of fossils, and evolutionists have no good explanation for this “explosion.”
This is only sudden in geological terms. The Cambrian radiation likely lasted for at least 20 million years and show a gradual transition from small shelled fossils, trilobites and echinoderms, to the full Cambrian fauna. Most common animal groups we think about today, from reptiles, amphibians, birds, and mammals did not arise during the Cambrian and most of it happened in the ocean. We also have a good idea of why the Cambrian radiation occurred. Oxygen concentrations in the atmosphere increased substantially to support larger animal bodies, exiting an ice age, origin of Hox genes that control body plans, and increased in skeletons. A great review paper on the Cambrian radiation is Marshall (2006). In particular, Figure 1 shows that the Cambrian radiation is more compatible with evolution than creation of life in its present form.
Whale bones in the Andes?
Also, scientists have found other unusual unexplainable phenomena to evolutionists that only creation and a worldwide flood can explain, such as whale bones that have been found in the Andes Mountains.
This can easily be explained by science. The Andes were formed due to plate tectonics because the Nazca Plate and Antarctic Plate subduct under the South American Plate. The mountain chain grew due to these processes and eroded due to other processes and so the whale fossils on the Andes come from the ocean originally.
Evolution is not random chance
Mathematically, creation is much more likely than evolution. As a creationist I look at the theories of evolution and they seem absurd. The odds that evolution could occur have been quoted as being “one in a billion trillion” according to the Institute of Creation Research.
This is not how math or evolution works. Mutations are one of the main originators of the biological diversity that natural selection and other mechanisms work on. These are approximately random in the sense that they occur without respect to whether they are beneficial or not in the future. However, most mechanisms of evolution, such as natural selection, is decidedly non-random. Biological variation that contributes to reproduction gets accumulated over time, which lead to complex adaptations. Because evolution is not random, these probability calculations (which are arbitrary and false) do not apply.
Appeal to consequences is not a valid argument against a scientific model
Finally, as I referred earlier, morality is an extremely strong defense for creation, or more specifically for an intelligent creator.
Go ahead and believe in a creator deity if you want. There are many people, from scientists to the Catholic church, who accepts the existence of both a creator deity and evolution. Morality is not at all an argument against evolution, just like it is not an argument against the atomic theory of evolution.
We as humans innately have some concept of right and wrong. Yet, people want to believe that morality is a human construct, created for survival.
It is certainly true that humans seem to have an innate sense of right and wrong, and so do other species, from chimpanzees to some birds. Yet this is not a perfect system. Irrational hostility towards strangers, for instance, might be innate or evolutionary beneficial, but that does not mean that it is moral. Burchfield is essentially confusing the evolutionary origins of moral psychology with the intentional act of moral reasoning. These are not the same.
The Bible says we are created in the image of God, this is what differentiates us from animals. If morality is just a higher form of survival instincts, what’s the point of living?
Again, evolution is a scientific explanation for the origin of biological diversity. It is not an answer to the meaning of life and does not pretend to be. It is like asking what is the point of living if all matter consists of atoms or diseases are caused by pathogens. It is just a red herring and a rhetorical device.
If we are really just animals, living an existence for 60, 70, 80 years or more if we are lucky, what difference does any of this make? But since I believe in a creator, life makes sense to me. I have a purpose. I know why I’m here, to glorify God, to be transformed into his image and to praise Him. I am an eternal being, my life has meaning.
That is not how it works. You are an animal just like a crocodile is a reptile, regardless of whether a deity exists or not. It is just a matter of taxonomy. Also, the consequences of a belief is not relevant for the truth or falsehood of said belief. There are many true beliefs that produce unfortunate consequences (such as the discovery that someone has cancer) and many false beliefs that produce beneficial outcomes (such as the belief that wars do not exist reducing some anxiety).