4/17/07

Ok, I Give Up - Creationism is Not Science

It took a very long time to get it through my thick skull, but I've finally come to the conclusion that despite all the evidence interpretation, all the battles of logic, all the scientific concurrence, the theory that God created the universe does not follow the scientific method and is, therefore, not science. Creationism can't even get past the first step of the scientific method - which is Observation. The plain and simple truth is that we did not see the origin of the universe, therefore there is no amount of Observation that can be done.

But if this is true, then we cannot hold to evolution as a hard and fast truth of origin. We have not observed the first billion years of Earth, therefore we can be no more sure of whether we came from primordial ooze than from divine command. What we have observed, however, is that certain species look similar, species can evolve into different breeds and the fossil record shows that this trend has been true since the Beginning. These observations are strong evidence for evolution, but nonetheless circumstantial. You cannot chart the course of generation after generation of a single family for millions of years through the fossil record. You cannot reasonably claim that because one thing looks like another one is invariably derivative of the other. These are the things which keep evolution in the Theory camp.

Yet for some reason creationism can't even make it there - to the Theory camp. To scientists it always looms outside the realm of possibility. Why? Because it's magic. Oh, call it what you must, a miracle, a divine command, but a scientist will eventually set you straight. It's magic. A fictional mechanism that has no grounds in science or reality. Though I suppose it would be magic to the ancient Assyrians to see words and pictures pop up on a bright box like your monitor. I suppose it would be magic to the Aztecs to watch moving pictures on a giant tapestry. What do you think the ancient peoples would have thought of video games?

Here's the point: if there's anything that science fiction should have taught us by now it's that anything that seems like magic now can eventually be explained by science. Eventually.

Where am I going with this? I started off by saying creationism isn't science. I stand by that. Can creationism be explained by science? Absolutely! Eventually. You see, science is nothing to put your faith in. The best scientists will tell you that science is ever-changing. The moment you think you've got something pinned down, another theory pops up somewhere else to challenge you. It seems that with every Law that is established there is someone who was proven wrong. If anything is evolving in this universe, it's science and our understanding of the universe. A scientist will gleefully tell you that there are some things we just don't know right now and that there are some things we may even be incapable of knowing (at our current state of evolution, of course . . .). What they shy away from is saying that that thing which we don't know could ever possibly be the mechanism of Creation. Why?

It's our fault. We have spoiled Creation Science for them. Darwin said "Hey! Look at this!" and our knee-jerk reaction was to condemn him to hell as a heretic. People expounded on his theory and our knee-jerk reaction was to call them liars. Other people proved it to us and our knee-jerk reaction was to formulate our own science. Why can't our knees just leave well enough alone?!? I hereby declare conservative fundamentalist Christians the knee of the body of Christ. Whenever a dissenting viewpoint is expressed they are the first to cry "Why, that's an outrage!!" The fact that they are outraged makes the well-meaning dissenter outraged. Now there are two groups of outraged people who are fighting to get people on their side. Before you know it the world is polarized over an issue and nothing is solved.

Scientists like to claim the calm, rational side of the argument, but believe me when I say there are some who would no sooner present their facts than smack us in the face. That's not a generalization for all scientists - I know that the vast majority of them are great despite their strong opinion against creationism. But let's be honest. Seriously. Look deep inside yourself, scientists. If you were proven wrong, would you really be able to accept it? Is your staunch hold on our origin a matter of science or a matter of ego and deep faith in science? You know that science is ever-changing. You know that however small the possibility is that we may come to an understanding of the mechanics of intelligent design, the possibility still exists. I am so sorry that my creationist brothers and sisters have spoiled it for you, but you can't actually believe that if those who represent truth come at you with faulty arguments truth must no longer be truth. I know you're more rational than that. Don't give up on intelligent design just because the people who support it are annoying and ignorant. Remember that you may once have been annoying and ignorant, too. That doesn't mean the facts you memorized in school are automatically wrong. It just means that unless you really studied them, there's no way you can give a rational explanation for them.

Creationism is not science - I'll give you that one if you really want it. I can understand where you're coming from with that. But please, whatever you do, don't completely write it off on account of us. And if your rationality means anything to you, don't write it off because of some convincing circumstantial evidence to the contrary. I'm sure you know that the worst thing you can do as a scientist is limit your view of the universe. Well keep the door open for God. Our feet hurt from trying to keep it open.

"I am open to the possibility, but it just doesn't make sense," you might answer. Well, black holes don't make sense. The Bermuda triangle doesn't make sense. Quantum theory doesn't make sense. And I bet it's extremely difficult for you to imagine a fourth dimension - if not that, then a fifth! If it's sense you need, there are a variety of Creation Science resources out there that do a wonderful job of "making sense" of intelligent design. I'm sure you might retort saying they make baseless claims with no grounds in real science, but consider this: Star Trek made many baseless claims with grounds in science fiction and it's now coming to light that maybe many of the things they theorized could actually be possible (except the transporter, of course . . . or is it?). Besides - all you're looking for is sense, not proof.

To sum up, I'm no longer going to argue with anyone about the existence of God and his creation of the universe using "science." When you realize that science is never 100% sure of itself, it's irrational. There's nothing saying that science won't eventually evolve to the point where we understand Creationism and the mechanics behind intelligent design. Only a few hundred years ago we believed the earth was flat, mental illness was demonic possession and the moon was unreachable. If Creationism is real, then it must be incredibly sophisticated and totally beyond our current understanding of science, but not necessarily our future understanding of science. Therefore it is not in opposition to science, merely ahead of current science. Now, give me a philosophical argument any day.



P.S. - I realize that this is a very flammable topic, so I'm going to try and snuff out the flames right now. We're not going to get anywhere by atheists screaming about why theists are stupid or theists bellowing about atheists being fools. That's why in the comment section I will only allow calm, intelligent discourse. If you have a philosophical argument to present, please email it to me and I will post a later entry addressing these topics. Please reserve this comment section to comments about science vs. intelligent design.