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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    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."