4. Is Young-Earth Creationism ‘Science’?
Creationists’ Claims typically fall into two categories:
(1) Why Evolution is wrong
(2) How Creation theories can explain the state of the natural world
From what I have read and heard about the Young Earth Creationist movement, holding to a literal interpretation of the first eleven chapters of Genesis is of paramount importance. The argument goes something like this: If you can’t believe one part of the Bible, then how can you know which parts to trust? You might as well throw the whole Bible out. You must believe in Creation as the Bible says it.
Some people happen to think that this is a compelling argument for YEC. I happen to think this is the absolute weakest argument for Creation ever! And I don’t mind saying that out loud. In my life, I have never come across anyone who interpreted the entire Bible literally. Really. The Bible is comprised of many different books and many different writing styles. There are chronologies, poems, songs, narratives, and prophecies to name but a few. These different writing styles can even occur within the pages of one book. Thankfully, YECs concede that the Bible does indeed contain different literary styles. However, they then do something very curious. Instead of embracing the possibility that Genesis could be symbolic or metaphorical or just-not-literal, YECs say that Genesis does not fall into any ‘special’ category – it is straight history. Very strict YECs will not entertain the idea that Genesis 1-11 could be anything but literal.
Astronomy and geology say that the earth is 4.55 billion years old. This contradicts Creationism’s stance that the earth is only 6000 (some ‘allow’ up to 10,000) years old. In case you didn’t notice, it is a BIG difference! Because evolutionary theory (based on science) does not agree with creation theory (based on literal reading of the Bible), YECs have a problem on their hands. How do they reconcile this? By denoucing evolution, of course! Anything that does not agree with a literal interpretation of the Bible is just plain wrong (according to YECs).
Creationists have come up with a plethora of claims of why Evolutionary Theory is wrong. Some of these are based on ignorance of what evolution actually is, eg, “Evolution is only a theory.” Other claims which question the science behind evolution seem to have more substance.
Here is a website that explores various Creationists’ Claims. This website has been very helpful to me in understanding what exactly Creationists claim and that there are answers to those claims! Well-thought out answers.
Knocking the veracity of evolution is not enough. YECs need to fill the gap that is left behind. If evolution cannot be used to explain the state of the natural world, Creation can! Creationists have tried to fill the gaps that evolution either has not filled yet, or have been discredited because they do not fit a young earth model. The problem with these ‘solutions’ is that it is not good science.
If a person wants to say that he/she believes in a young earth, despite what the scientific evidence shows, I don’t really have a problem with that. He/she probably just has a very staunch commitment to a particular interpretation of the Bible. And that is within his/her right. But when these people go out of their way to convince others of their view and calling it SCIENCE, I am not as tolerant. Let’s be clear – believing that the earth is only 6000-10,000 years old does not fall within the realm of science, but rather philosophy/theology. Calling it science does not make it so. Teaching it to others as ‘science’ is deceitful.