We need to immunise ourselves against this virus too.
Abridged by Owen McShane from Creationism: Why the Controversy by Brian Henderson
“Scientific” creationism claims to have every bit as much scientific evidence to back it as evolution and, according to some adherents, much more. “Scientific” creationists claim that science is suppressing the evidence of their hypothesis, in order to back up evolution, which in turn supports all manner of atheistic world-views, including New Age beliefs, communism, humanism and a myriad of other perceived evils. According to Tim LaHaye, a fundamentalist minister very much involved in the creationist movement, “Much of the evils in the world today can be traced to humanism, which has taken over our government, the UN, education, TV, and most of the other influential things in life.”
Duane Gish, vice-president of the Institute for Creation Research sums it up best when he says: “The scientific case for special creation, is much stronger than the case for evolution. The more I study and the more I learn, the more I become convinced that evolution is a false theory and that special creation offers a much more satisfactory interpretive framework for correlating and explaining the scientific evidence related to origins.”
He apparently has a rather strange definition of the word science, however, as he has this to say in Evolution? The Fossils Say No!: “We do not know how the Creator created, [or] what processes He used, for He used processes which are not now operating anywhere in the natural universe. This is why we refer to creation as special creation. We cannot discover by scientific investigation anything about the processes used by the Creator.”
So which is it? Is creationism scientific, as in the first quote, or inherently religious, as in the second? It seems that either is used depending on the intended audience. In 1974, Dr. Henry Morris, director of the Institute for Creation Research, wrote a science textbook intended for public school use. He really wrote two texts, one for public schools and one for private, Christian schools. The difference? The private school version had an additional chapter citing Biblical support for creationism. Despite repeated claims to the contrary, it seems clear that there is no substantive difference between Biblical, religious creationism and so-called “scientific” creationism.
But the question ultimately comes down to “is creationism scientific”? If, as Gish claims above, we cannot learn anything about the creative methods used, then creationism fails to be scientific. Even if we do not currently know, to say that we “can never” know will immediately remove creationism from the table of scientific endeavour.
However, perhaps Gish simply meant that we do not currently know anything about how the creation occurred, but believes that we can learn through scientific inquiry. If so, we come to our second part of the question, “How does science operate?” Scientists spend much of their time engaged in research and performing experiments to help better understand the workings of the universe. Do creationists perform similar research and experimentation designed to show how and why creation happened? Absolutely not! The amount of genuine scientific inquiry that has been performed by creationists over the past 20 years can be computed on the fingers of one hand. Most of their efforts are directed to discrediting evolution, as if by somehow doing so, the piecemeal ideas of “scientific creationism” will some how become scientifically valid.
On the evidence creationists are amateur, anachronistic philosophers of science, acting to alter the content of scientific knowledge piecemeal through plebiscite and lawsuit rather than systematically through influencing professional debates and research activities.
Ultimately, the purpose of scepticism is not, as has been suggested, to deny inquiry into “outside” realms of knowledge, for we would be as hypocritical as the pseudo-scientists if we did so. The purpose of scepticism should be to keep claims and claimants in all areas of inquiry, be it pseudo-science or scientific research, honest and even-handed. The record shows that “scientific” creationism has left forever the realm of scientific inquiry, and has headed forever down the road of scientific failure.