Exposing PseudoAstronomy

September 6, 2008

Why a Scientist Who Is Religious Does NOT Mean that Creationism is Scientific


This post is in response to the Creation Science Evangelism article, “Is Creationism Scientific?” on August 14, 2008.

This is a fairly easy claim to refute. The article and accompanying video states, “Every major branch of science … was established upon the work of creationists.” That, in and of itself, does NOT mean that science is based upon creationism. It simply means that the people who founded those fields happened to believe in the concept that God created everything.

The article goes on to state that, “The creationist understands that science was established by God, and thus seeks to follow the clues in God’s creation that help him to better understand the natural world.” This, again, does not go “against” the modern concept of science. You can believe that God created the natural laws, started the Big Bang, and that this deity wants us to use the clues that were left to figure out how those things were accomplished.

That is how the astronomers/physicists that are mentioned in the article (Isaac Newton, Johannes Kepler, and Galileo Galilei) proceeded if they were guided by this underlying concept: They wanted to use the natural clues in the world they observed in order to better understand it. It does not matter whether they approached this from a materialistic (everything has natural causes) or from a religious world view so long as they sought out natural explanations for their observations. To them, that was one step closer to understanding the mind of God., to understand how the universe worked.

The problem is that modern “Creation Scientists” do not seek out natural explanations for what they observe. They treat the Bible as an unfallible tome that is correct and literal. Starting from that basis, they then try to explain everything in that context. In other words, evidence-based explanations are not present, rather evidence is adapted to fit with their explanation. This is the reverse of how “real” scientists operate today (gather evidence to form, support, or refute a hypothesis) and of how these famous scientists operated centuries ago.

7 Comments »

  1. NIcely thought out critique.

    Comment by RockinRobbins — September 7, 2008 @ 2:05 pm | Reply

  2. I think one thing that a lot of creationists forget is that many scientists who accept evolution, big bang, planetary formation models, etc, are actually religious. They just don’t let the religion cloud their judgment.

    Comment by earthandbeyond — September 13, 2008 @ 9:17 pm | Reply

  3. I think it is all well and good to refute what someone says regarding a specific topic if there is evidence to back up that specific theory. If the evidence is incorrect the theory should be changed. I think creationists have shown by various means that it is impossible for the world to be as old as the evolutionists show it to be, and that it is not possible for life to evolve the way evolutionists believe. In that line, the creationists can explain the fact of creation by the lack of evidence for evolution.

    If evolution has been shown to be incorrect, and creation is not a posibility because it is simply religious – what is the truth. how did we get here?

    Comment by carel wolvaardt — September 15, 2008 @ 2:11 am | Reply

  4. “I think it is all well and good to refute what someone says regarding a specific topic if there is evidence to back up that specific theory.”

    I agree. However, I will note that this has nothing to do with my post.

    “If the evidence is incorrect the theory should be changed.

    I am not sure whether you meant to say this or whether you meant to say, “If the evidence does not agree with the theory, the theory should be modified.” The way you stated it is actually part of my point as to why creationism isn’t science – it generally starts from the conclusion and works backwards to find evidence to support it. Hence, evidence that doesn’t support it is deemed “wrong” or “incorrect” and simply ignored. This is the logical fallacy of “argument from final consequences.” If you meant to say my version of your statement, then I agree, as well, so long as the evidence has been verified/replicated by other reputable, independent researchers.

    “I think creationists have shown by various means that it is impossible for the world to be as old as the evolutionists show it to be …”

    This has nothing to do with this specific post. I have also yet to address several of these claims on my blog, but they will be forthcoming. In addition, I will reference my second post on “Terminology – Wrong By Association” for why me being an “evolutionist” has nothing to do with this.

    “… it is not possible for life to evolve the way evolutionists believe.”

    This is the logical fallacy of a “Non-Sequitur,” meaning “doesn’t follow.” Whether or not life could evolve in a specific manner that “evolutionists” say it has/is/will does not really have anything to do with how old Earth is.

    “In that line, the creationists can explain the fact of creation by the lack of evidence for evolution.”

    Besides (again) having nothing to really do with my post since my post is nothing about evolution, this is the logical fallacy of a “False Dichotomy.” In other words, you are stating there are only two possibilities – evolution or creationism. You are stating that if evolution can be “proven” false, then the only other possibility is creationism. That is a logical fallacy, and there could always be another explanation that no one has yet thought of.

    “If evolution has been shown to be incorrect, and creation is not a posibility because it is simply religious – what is the truth. how did we get here?”

    Again, this has nothing to do with my post, but I am replying to this sentence because it sets up the logical fallacy of a “Straw Man” argument, which is where you are arguing against something that has nothing to do with what you are actually arguing against: Evolution has nothing to do with life’s origins, or how “life” may have arisen from “non-life.” Therefore, whether or not evolution has “been shown to be incorrect” (which is has not), this has nothing to do with life’s origins. Also, you are again invoking the False Dichotomy fallacy.

    Comment by astrostu206265 — September 15, 2008 @ 9:20 am | Reply

  5. “You can believe that God created the natural laws, started the Big Bang, and that this deity wants us to use the clues that were left to figure out how those things were accomplished.”

    you give me this image of life as a game where when we finally figure out a unified theory of everything then god will go “you got it guys, that’s it, that’s all I did, bye” and then switch the universe off.

    You also made me wonder if creationism is such a big issue cos its right at the front of the bible. If quentin tarrantino had written the bible the creation would have been in the middle somewhere and all the believers who havent actually read the bible through wouldnt even know about it. if we want to eradicate creationism, we need to replace all the current bibles with a QTVersion.

    Comment by alex — September 25, 2008 @ 1:34 am | Reply

  6. Good post. In the article you are responding to, the author implies that a scientist is either a creationist or an evolutionist. Ignoring the false dichotomy, you do have to laugh at use of the label ‘evolutionist’. I happen to believe in the law of gravity so I guess I’m a ‘gravitist’. Based upon this logic, I guess that I’m also a helio-centrist, evolutionist, plate-tectonist, big-bangist, and let us not forget ‘realist’…

    Comment by WTF Chuck? — September 25, 2008 @ 8:57 am | Reply

  7. I guess that according to creationists, each scientific theory is a religion. However, I don’t see any Darwin Church of Evolution, Einstein Church of Relativity, or Newton Church of Gravity.

    Comment by earthandbeyond — September 28, 2008 @ 6:13 am | Reply


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