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Creationism is a religious metaphysical theory about the origin of the universe. It is not a scientific theory. Technically, creationism is not necessarily connected to any particular religion. It simply requires a belief in a Creator. Millions of Christians and non-Christians believe there is a Creator of the universe and that scientific theories such as the the theory of evolution do not conflict with belief in a Creator. However, fundamentalist Christians such as Ronald Reagan and Jerry Falwell, have co-opted the term 'creationism' and it is now difficult to refer to creationism without being understood as referring to fundamentalist Christians who (a) take the stories in Genesis as accurate accounts of the origin of the universe and life on Earth, and (b) believe that Genesis is incompatible with the Big Bang theory and the theory of evolution. Thus, it is commonly assumed that creationists are Christians who believe that the account of the creation of the universe as presented in Genesis is literally true in its basic claims about Adam and Eve, the six days of creation, and not an allegory.
Creation science is a term used by certain creationists to indicate that they believe that Genesis is a scientific account of the origin of the universe. Reading the Bible as if it were a scientific text contradicts the Big Bang theory and the theory of evolution. "Creation scientists" say those theories are false and that scientists who advocate such theories are ignorant of the truth about the origins of the universe and life on Earth.
One of the main leaders of creation science is Duane T. Gish of the Institute for Creation Research, who puts forth his views in conjunction with attacks on evolution. Gish is the author of Evolution, the Challenge of the Fossil Record ( San Diego, Calif.: Creation-Life Publishers, 1985) and Evolution, the Fossils Say No (San Diego, Calif.: Creation-Life Publishers, 1978). Another leader of this movement is Walt Brown of the Center for Scientific Creationism. Neither Gish nor Brown seem to understand the difference between a fact and a theory. They loudly proclaim that evolution is just a theory and that it is false. Scientific theories are neither true nor false. They are explanations of facts. That species evolved from other species is considered by 99.99% of the scientific community to be a scientific fact. How species evolved is what a theory of evolution is supposed to explain.
Darwin's theory of how evolution happened is called natural selection. That theory is quite distinct from the fact of evolution. Other scientists have different theories of evolution, but only a negligible few deny the fact of evolution. Gish is not doing science when he argues against the fact of evolution. He has no interest in scientific facts or theories. His interest is in apologetics: defending the faith against what he sees as attacks on God's Truth. All his arguments are defensive; they are attempts to show that the evidence does not support the scientific fact of evolution.
Creationists, mistaking the uncertain in science for the unscientific, see the debate among evolutionists regarding how best to explain evolution as a sign of weakness. Scientists, on the other hand, see uncertainty as simply an inevitable element of scientific knowledge. They regard debates on fundamental theoretical issues as healthy and stimulating. Science, says evolutionary biologist Stephen Jay Gould, is "most fun when it plays with interesting ideas, examines their implications, and recognizes that old information may be explained in surprisingly new ways." Thus, through all the debate over evolutionary mechanisms biologists have not been led to doubt that evolution has occurred. "We are debating how it happened," says Gould (1983, p.256).
Creation science, on the other hand, is not science but pseudoscience and it is connected to a particular group of fundamentalist Christians. Most Christians, fundamentalist or not, probably never heard of creation science. Like creationists of all sorts, "creation science" puts forth its claims as absolutely certain and unchangeable. It assumes that the world must conform to the Bible. It assumes that the Bible needs no revision and can contain no error. Where creation science differs from creationism in general is in its notion that once it has interpreted the Bible to mean something, no evidence can
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Pseudoscience, Young Earth creationism, Denialism, Creation science, Creationism, Duane Gish, Evolution as fact and theory, Institute for Creation Research, Creationevolution controversy
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