What is Creationism?

(under construction)

Notes Encyclopedia Britannica says:


    also called CREATION SCIENCE, or SCIENTIFIC CREATIONISM, counterevolutionary, fundamentalist theory or doctrine that postulates that matter, the various forms of life, and the world were created by God out of nothing.

    Creationism grew as a result of the advancement of evolution that was evident after the publication in 1859 of Darwin's Origin of Species. Within two decades, most of the scientific community had accepted some form of organic evolution. Many religious leaders, however, feared that a less-than-literal reading of the biblical story of creation would result in a loss of faith; and well-known spokesmen for the cause - such as William Jennings Bryan - saw modern war and other purported signs of moral decay to be evidence of the damage brought about by the teaching of godless evolution. The issue was argued on a number of platforms, one of the most famous being the Scopes Trial (1925), in which a high school teacher was convicted of unlawfully teaching the theory of evolution. In the United States, creationism faced a strong denial - in legal terms - in 1987, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states may not require public schools to teach the creationist theory of human origin alongside evolution if such requirements are intended to promote religious belief. It was further determined that those states that had sought to "alter the science curriculum to reflect endorsement of a religious view that is antagonistic to the theory of evolution" were breaking the First Amendment ban on the establishment of religion.

"Scientific" Creationism is not a science or a scientific theory because it leads to no falsifiable predictions or unification of knowledge. This is because each perceived difficulty or gap in the scientific theory of evolution is, from the creationist position, filled by a God sized cause and not by an alternative theory that is capable of being refuted.[note 1] The world-view of the creationist is a peculiar one, but not disimilar to that of the familiar conspiracy theorist. Modern science, particularly, evolutionary biology, astronomy, physics, geology and so on, together conspire to obscure the truth about the world, as written in the Bible. The nature of this world-view and the fundamental truth is examined in more detail elsewhere.

It's important to note that the doctrine is invariably associated with conservative, not uncommonly radically conservative, moral and political attitudes. This is most clearly seen in the, alledgedly, "pro-family" movement in the United States and its aversion to the "religion" of "secular humanism," and to some extent in the home-schooling movement.

In many respects the political aspects of creationism and fundamentalism are of far more importance than the theories of creation that they propound. After all, in the grand scheme of things, it matters little how a relatively small and scientifically illiterate religious movement believes the universe to have been created. That being said the regressive, authoritarian and superstitious social attitudes that go hand in hand with the doctrines are important because of the false, but attractive, promise of social stability they hold out: "if we revert to the simpler beliefs of earlier times, all social ills will simply go away".

This is of course simply rubbish, implying as it does, that social ills are exclusive to modern society, when any amount of serious research into the matter will quickly confirm that every society in every age has its problems, and that (for example) teenage crime, drug abuse, crimes of violence and so on are not restricted to this particular society[note 2] and time.

In general we are fortunate to live in a time and place that is relatively benign compared to other periods in history and places in the world. Although society is far from perfect, here and now, it is less likely we will be tortured, burnt, hanged, imprisoned or otherwise molested because of what we are or what we believe than at any other time in history.

This may change and belief in a divinely sanctioned and authoritarian moral code is conducive towards that kind of change. A species of fundamentalist / creationist called "Reconstructionists" have a few ideas in that direction.

Reconstructionists (not to be confused with the Jewish reconstructionist movement of Rabbi Mordecai M. Kaplan (1881-1983)) hold the view that all Old Testament law was not rendered obsolete by the incarnation of the Christ. Only laws specifically overturned by Christ. no longer apply to the Christian.

    Christian Reconstructionsim is a call to the Church to awaken to its biblical responsibility to subdue the earth for the glory of God. While holding the priority of individual salvation, Christian Reconstruction also holds that cultural renewal is to be the necessary adn expected outworking of the gospel as it progressively finds success in the lives and the hearts of men. Christian Reconstruction therefore looks for and works for teh rebuilding of the institutions pf society according to a biblical blueprint. ("What is Christian Reconstruction?" 1988 booklet published by Reformation Covenant Church, P.O. Box 2129, Beaverton, OR 97075).
There is a little more to it than that. Reconstructionists believe that society should be reconstructed to conform with the laws of the Old Testament. This "dominion theology" focuses particularly on Biblical prescriptions of capital punishment for homosexuals, adulterers and incorrigible criminals, amongst others.

A Reconstructionist society would include no prison system - criminals would either die for their crimes or workd as indentured servants to make restitution to their victims. Likewise, there would be no credit system; indigents would be forced to work off their debts. The economy would be based on a gold standard, children would be educated at home and there would be no property or income tax - instead, everyone would give a ten percent "tithe" to the church which would administer welfare projects.

AIDS, for example, is seen by many reconstructonists and fundamentalists, as the result of societies failure to impliment biblical law.

    Wherever a society refuses to exact the required death penalty, there God exacts the death penalty on that society. The basic fact of God's law-order is that, from Adam's fall on, the death penalty has been effective. Societies have fallen in great numbers for their defiance of God, and they shall continue to fall as long as their violation of God's order continues. Every state and every society thus faces a choice: to sentence to death those who deserve to die, or to die themselves. But all they that hate God choose death. Certainly, the sin of presumption is total revolution against God and man; all who permit it have chosen death whether they recognise it or not. [note 3]
This is why, in the Reconstructionist view, babies, haemophiliacs, drug-addicts, the blameless partners of cheating bisexual and straight spouses get AIDS as well as the "primary sinners," the male homosexuals. (It is unclear why female homosexuals are not being punished along with their male counterparts - perhaps the fundamentalist God has somethign in common with Queen Victoria). It is dangerous thinking because it implies that not to "sin" oneself is not enough, one must also root out and destroy sin in society lest society itself be destroyed by God. To execute homosexuals, witches - anyone who transgresses Biblical law - becomes not only a good action - but a required action, if society itself is to survive and prosper. Elsewhere in the world, some of these views have already been implimented:

    KABUL: The Taliban movement publicly executed two men convicted of sodomy in western Afganistan as part of their Islamic law policy, the official radio sad yesterday.

    "The Syariah punishment was implemented on two sodomists yesterday in Herat and the criminals were put under a wall," Taliban-controlled radio Voice of Sharia said.

    The radio said Bismellah, 22, adn Abdul Sami, 18, from Herat province - who were arrested four months ago for sodomy - confessed without any pressure.

    The men were buried under a wall, which was bulldozed over them.

    The purist Islamic Taliban controll two thirds of the country, including the capital, which they siezed in September 1996.

    They have enforced strict Islamic law for criminals and punished dozens of people for theft, adultery, highway robbery and murder.

    Last month the Taliban ordered the execution of three men for sodomy in the town of Kandahar.

    They were ordered burried alive under a pile of stones and a wall was pushed on top of them by a tank.

    They were still alive when the stones were removed 30 minutes later and their lives were spared.

    Source: Reuters in "The Star", (newspaper), 24 March 1998, p28, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Click for scan of original article (12k - 400 x 493).

The Taliban are, of course, Islamic Fundamantalists and not Christian Fundamentalists, yet the urge to return to "that old time religion" can clearly be perceived in both approaches and although each would have you believe that they are headed in opposite direction from the other, it is clear that they will meet somewhere around the back.

  1. Should you doubt this, simply ask a creationist (there are many in talk.origins and some in alt.atheism) if there is any observation or set of observations that could, in principle, be made that would refute the assertions of creationism. After you wade through the verbiage, sift the wheat from the chaff, and arrive at the answer to your question, you will discover that the answer is: "no".

    Click for details on what science is, and on scientific methodology.


  2. By "society" I am referring to what Brandt called "The North," i.e. the developed countries: Europe, the United States, Australia and so on.


  3. Rousas John Rushdoony, The institutes of Biblical Law (Phillipsburg, NJ): The Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co., 1973), p326.