Can Creationism Be Disproven?

Can Creationism Be Disproven? October 22, 2011

The ideal in science is to come up with testable hypotheses that can be confirmed or proved wrong by evidence, at least in principle. It seems to me that the various forms of pseudoscientific creationisms (young-earth creationism and intelligent design) are inherently unfalsifiable. No evidence is allowed to count against them. If one sees evidence of poor design in nature, you are simply told that the Designer must have had a good reason for designing it that way. If you point to evidence for evolution, you can always be told that God created the world with the appearance of evolution, and you’ll never be able to prove that it wasn’t so. As long as creationists are willing to posit an arbitrary and deceptive God, then there is no evidence that could ever be incompatible with it.

Some Christians will be uncomfortable with holding a viewpoint that can no more be falsified than a claim that the Hindu God Brahma created the world 10 seconds ago, creating you with your memories in tact and even your (obviously wrong) Christian beliefs. I think that most Christians, when it comes down to it, actually want to be able to discuss relevant evidence and adjudicate between ideas. But doing that only works if your own claims and ideas are also open to scrutiny and potential disproof.

I find that it is helpful to separate one’s individual beliefs from one’s faith. One’s belief system is not entirely independent of the individual beliefs that it consists of. But for the most part, changing one belief will not cause the whole thing to collapse – although it might require some remodeling. Discovering that the Bible is not always accurate can be upsetting for conservative Christians, and would require revisions to their worldview. But it doesn’t mean that God does not exist, for instance. That’s a question that has to be addressed separately, and which does not depend on a certain view of the Bible.

I’d like to ask a more fundamental question, however. Why is it that some Christians consider it more important to argue that God did not create by means of evolution than to maintain that God is loving and truthful? To engage in denial of mainstream science sooner or later leads one to accuse God of deception or at least ambiguity, to say nothing of the way that fellow Christians working in the natural sciences get accused of either utter stupidity or brilliant involvement in an impressive conspiracy.

If you are a Christian attacker of evolution, please be aware that in defending one particular doctrine, you are doing harm to others, some of which are arguably more important. If God created through evolution, God still created, and the end product is still human beings with the ability to worship, ponder, love, create, and blog, among other things. But once you deny the truthfulness of God, the ability of the Creator to be known via what has been created, you have done serious damage to the heart of Christianity and the teaching of Scripture.

I should mention in closing that there is a new sub-reddit about origins over at Reddit, and one of the posts there inspired this one.

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