What hard evidence supports creationism

Arguments of creationism and their refutation

the psychology of irrational thinking

Here is the second part of the creationism article - unfortunately it took a little longer than I expected. The biblical creation story cannot be taken literally (see last blog post), but nonetheless, especially in the USA, religious groups hold on to the fact that humans did not arise naturally.

In the last few decades you have built up an astonishingly large network of institutions and foundations to propagate your opinion. Let's take a closer look at the individual arguments.


1. Young Earth Creationism (short-term hypothesis)

The followers of this direction assume that the earth and man were created directly by God less than 10,000 years ago. In doing so, God apparently attached great importance to making everything look as if he did not create the earth. The short-term hypothesis believers rely on the Bible's seven-day account of creation to justify their idea. As already shown, this is only one of three stories of creation that contradict each other. One of the more grotesque excesses of the movement is the claim that humans and dinosaurs lived together before the Flood. Unfortunately, the giant lizards did not get a ticket for the ark and drowned (here is a nice cartoon). The big churches in Europe and the USA reject this idea. In the USA it still has a surprising number of followers, in Germany only very few.

Of course, no one can disprove the fact that God created the earth with a perfectly constructed but faked past only 5,000 or 10,000 years ago. This is somewhat reminiscent of the Boltzmann Brains. Of course, it could also be that God is creating the earth just as you are reading this article. Ultimately, you can neither prove nor disprove that. So it's pretty pointless to discuss it.


2. The argument of the universe made for man (teleological argument).

The universe is such that man can ideally live in it, so it must have been created with the intention of housing humanity. The natural constants are just right for us. If they differed by only a few percent, there would be no sun, no earth and no life. If this argument is correct, the universe would be a kind of open space in the zoo, created with the intention of keeping a certain species of animal. But seen in the light of day, that makes no sense. We are in the situation of a lottery winner who realizes that he has won even though the odds are 1 in 13.9 million against him. All balls in the drawing must have been mixed exactly the right way and picked up exactly right for him to win. Can it be a coincidence? Of course, because with the many millions of lottery players, the probability is very high that someone will actually win.

The natural constants determine what the universe looks like and what life could be like. With the billions of planets in our Milky Way alone, life is anything but improbable. Intelligence always arises through evolution when it offers an advantage. So sooner or later it will almost inevitably occur.

Only if we assume that people will arise from the beginning should, we must accept the intervention of a planner or creator. But then we come to a circular conclusion: a God is necessary precisely when we accept a pre-existing plan. On the other hand, there can only be a plan if we accept a pre-existing God. Circular conclusions were already known as logical errors in antiquity.


3. The argument of irreducible complexity

The basic idea is based on the clock analogy published by the English theologian William Paley in 1802. If someone finds a pocket watch in the bushes, then they would rightly assume that someone has lost that watch and that a watchmaker built it. After all, it could not have been created by natural forces. Likewise, the proponents of creationism argue that living things are too complicated to have evolved naturally.

However, this analogy is wrong. Living things have a metabolism, an energy supply and they reproduce. A watch cannot do all of this. In the process of reproduction, changes occur that may be beneficial and then persist. To put it very simply, a species in the biological sense does not consist of all the same organisms, but - at least in the case of multicellulars - all of individually different living beings that can reproduce with one another. Just a spatial separation between populations can lead to a divergence. If you want to compare a clock with a biologically produced system, then a snail shell or the shell of an ammonite would come into question. They are undoubtedly created, but that does not prove that the creating animals are intelligent, or were themselves created by an intelligent Creator.

The representatives of intelligent design have refined the argument. They say that there are biological structures that only work when a large number of individual parts are in the right place. An evolution would have to have created them all randomly and then put them together correctly. Individually, however, the parts would not have any advantage in terms of selection. So they would have disappeared again in evolution before they could come together to fulfill their present function. So someone, preferably the Christian God, must have helped.

The scourge (i.e. the movement system) of bacteria is often cited as an example. An explanation and a refutation can be found here, for example. It was created by employees of the Evolutionary Biology group, which deals with evolutionary biology and particularly deals with objections from the religious side.

The argument of irreducible complexity is very weak. Ultimately, she only says: “I know how, how this structure came about. I just can't imagine a mechanism. So a higher being must have intervened who can override the laws of nature. "

This logical short circuit (“what I cannot explain has no explanation”) is of course not based on a scientific basis. With that one could actually consider the matter as settled, but unfortunately the argument is brought forward again and again when one cannot explain a property. And because we can never know everything, it cannot be definitively refuted, but only pushed back bit by bit. Proponents know that very well.

Ultimately, it is an argument ad ignorantiam. It appeals to ignorance and draws a conclusion from it. This type of reasoning has also been known as a logical error since ancient times.


The American intelligent design movement

The one founded by religious creationists Intelligent design movement claims to provide scientific evidence that humans and other living beings could not have originated naturally. What is striking is the dishonesty of their arguments. The center of the movement is the religious-conservative Discovery Institute in Seattle. It has existed since 1990. Its founder, the conservative ex-politician and Reagan employee Bruce Chapman, is the institution's president to this day. The institute lives largely on donations from evangelical groups and organizations. For the propagation of the idea of ​​intelligent design, this is Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture responsible, whose best-known representative is called Philipp E. Johnson. He is not a biologist, but a lawyer. Nevertheless, he wrote a book in which he describes the theory of evolution as unproven. He accused their representatives of being guided by prejudice (Darwin on Trial). The book was described by experts (including evolutionary biologist Stephen Jay Gould) as grossly flawed. Johnson then designed the wedge strategy (the wedge).

Creationism was to be disguised as a scientific theory so that it could also be taught in universities and schools. Teaching religious content is prohibited in American education. The Discovery Institute then invented the term "intelligent design" and tried to "scientifically" prove the impossibility of continuous natural evolution. "Scientific" journals such as Progress in Complexity or Information and designthat supposedly upheld the standards of scientific peer review.

The intelligent design movement is imitating the form of scientific publications to spread belief. Why are they bothering so much anyway?

The declared aim of this game of hide and seek is to introduce religious content into American school lessons. If Intelligent Design is a scientific theory, it should be taught, even if it deviates from general consensus, argue its proponents. “Teach the controversy” is the keyword. Because of these strange arguments, the movement is often accused of intellectual dishonesty.

Interestingly, the climate debate follows a similar pattern. Conservative think tanks and industrial firms claim that scientists disagree on whether carbon dioxide emissions are harmful at all. In fact, there is a broad consensus among experts. The dissenting opinions are rare and come mainly from non-specialists. But there are institutions with a lot of money that pay for climate-critical articles. The tobacco companies have used a similar strategy to tackle the medically secured connection between smoking and lung cancer. All of these attempts ultimately failed.

Science is defined by content, not form, and it is our responsibility to keep it that way.