Creationism

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About

Creationism is a counter-scientific theory which prioritizes religious doctrine over part or all of the available scientific evidence regarding various aspects of creation. The source doctrine is usually Christian, though there are also Muslim creationists.

Religious Doctrine

The predominant mythologies of the industrial and information ages, the Abrahamic monotheisms (Christianity, Islam, and Judaism), all hold that a supernatural being (usually referred to as "God", "Allah", or "Yahweh" and presumed to be male) created everything, including the universe, the Earth, life, and humanity.

In the face of scientific evidence showing more credible explanations for these events, modern Abrahamists tend to argue that while it is still literally true that God created all of these things, his role remains hidden from scientific observation in that he is the reason why the laws of physics work as they do and the direct cause of key events not yet observed, such as the first organism (or the first self-replicating molecule).

Many Abrahamists, however, insist that scripture (the Bible, the Qur'an, or the Torah) must be taken literally. Where such insistence clearly violates the available evidence, these beliefs are called creationism.

Christian creationists hold that the creation of life is accurately described in the Biblical Book of Genesis, with God literally creating the first animals and humans from raw materials. (Presumably Jewish creationists would agree with this, insofar as the Book of Genesis is also found in the Jewish Torah. Fortunately, there do not seem to be very many Jewish creationists; Jewish fundamentalists seem to focus more on other issues.)

Advocacy

Creationists -- i.e. those who advocate creationism -- are often vehemently opposed to the teaching of the theory of evolution, and have mounted many campaigns to promote the teaching of creationism in schools (especially United States public schools). These campaigns include:

  • creation science [W]: an early attempt to present creationism as a form of science, it was found to be a form of religion (and therefore unteachable in public schools due to separation of church and state) in the 1980s
  • intelligent design (ID): another attempt to package creationism as a scientific theory; this was largely defeated at the Dover trial in 2005, where clear evidence was shown that "intelligent design" textbooks were just "creation science" textbooks with all instances of "creation science" replaced by "intelligent design"; see cdesign proponentsists, doctroversy.
  • "equal time" or teach the controversy presented creationist ideas as being of equal validity to those supported by the evidence, and argued that those who wanted the schools to teach only evolution (and not creationism) were being closed-minded and not respecting students' ability to rationally weigh the evidence and make up their own minds.
  • "academic freedom" was an argument that teachers and students should be free to express their views in class, including in answers to science tests, without fear of retribution. For example, a geology teacher should be allowed to teach that the Earth is 6000 years old, and "God did it" should be an acceptable answer on a biology or geology test.
    • This is of course a misuse of the term "academic freedom"; it is meant to apply to the results of research, not to teachers at the grade-school level who are supposed to be teaching well-established scientific conclusions.
    • The hypocrisy of this latest tack became plain when a creationist student accused a teacher of insulting Christianity after the teacher exercised his "academic freedom" to express negative views of creationism.

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Essays

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  • 2009-05-28 [Talk|Index] Holier than thou § “...[faith + evolution is] an aggressively dishonest site, too. It consists of lots of people claiming that modern scientific evidence points more strongly than ever to a cosmic designer, which is a flat lie – finding natural mechanisms for complex processes means their designer god is increasingly superfluous.”
  • 2009-05-01 [Talk|Index] High school teacher found guilty of insulting Christians § “James Corbett, a 20-year teacher at Capistrano Valley High School, was found guilty of referring to Creationism as “religious, superstitious nonsense” during a 2007 classroom lecture...”
  • 2009-03 [Talk|Index] Crossing the God Divide § “While the traditional dating scene at Brown is famously nonexistent, many Liberty students marry before they graduate. Professors begin every class with prayer, and creation-studies tests contain questions like "True or False: Noah's Ark was large enough to carry various kinds of dinosaurs."”
  • 2008-11-05 [Talk|Index] Is our children learning science? O, woe is Texas § “Dunbar was not worried about martial law when President George W. Bush actually took the steps she claims to worry about now, assigning troops to domestic crowd control in the U.S.”
  • 2008-09-16 [Talk|Index] Brunswick school board to consider creationism teaching § “The Brunswick County school board is looking for a way for creationism to be taught in the classroom side by side with evolution.”
  • 2008-05-20 [Talk|Index] 16 percent of US science teachers are creationist § [2]“Despite a court-ordered ban on the teaching of creationism in US schools, about one in eight high-school biology teachers still teach it as valid science, a survey reveals. And, although almost all teachers also taught evolution, those with less training in science – and especially evolutionary biology – tend to devote less class time to Darwinian principles.” ... “...a quarter of the teachers also reported spending at least some time teaching about creationism or intelligent design. Of these, 48% – about 12.5% of the total survey – said they taught it as a "valid, scientific alternative to Darwinian explanations for the origin of species".”
  • 2007-10-02 [Talk|Index] Collins and Broder and all the Raccoons played a sick, stupid old ball game § [2]“Weighing in on a Kansas controversy, Vice President Al Gore's office said Thursday he favors the teaching of evolution in public schools but would not oppose instruction in creationism if taught as part of a religious course. .. "They may teach creationism in the context of a religious course; that is clearly up to the local districts to decide," said Alejandro Cabrera, speaking for Gore. He said Gore bases his opinion on court rulings that allow the teaching of creationism as part of a religious course but not as a science.” (emphasis added)
  • 2006-11-26 [Talk|Index] Handing out a little rope § [2]“This fellow, Daniel J. Lewis, from Answers in Genesis has come along and requested a space to defend creationism. ... I'm not too keen on accommodating creationist kooks with demands like that, especially when he could have just said what he wanted on that thread, but OK... I'll give him a chance. Let's see some intelligent discussion of creationism.” An interesting discussion follows.
  • 2006-09-18 [Talk|Index] Three teachers § [2]“Where do we place the blame? Where do we need to take action? (No, the answer is not to fault the existence of atheists in our society, so if that was your first thought, stop reading this page, go sit in a corner and read your Bible.) We don't have to look far; the problem is perpetuated in the same way everywhere... The problem is religion. Religion encourages ignorant people to pretend they know science and to evangelize lies for their beliefs.”
  • 1999-08-29 [Talk|Index] Gore waffling in debate over teaching of creationism? § “According to Eisner, "Several hours" after the initial statement, Cabrera called Reuters again to insist "the vice president supports the right of school boards to teach creationism within the context of religious courses and not science courses."”

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News

  • 2006-11-13 So what's with all the dinosaurs?: "The world's first Creationist museum – dedicated to the idea that the creation of the world, as told in Genesis, is factually correct – will soon open."