Creationism vs. Evolution


Creationism or Intelligent Design is the belief that life and the universe were created by a supernatural being (an "intelligent designer"), an omnipotent, benevolent God. Evolution is the process by which different kinds of living organisms developed and diversified from earlier forms during the history of the Earth. The theory of evolution purports that life on earth evolved from one universal common ancestor about 3.8 billion years ago. It is a "theory" in the scientific sense of the word, which means it is supported by evidence and accepted as fact by the scientific community. The intelligent design hypothesis is not supported by evidence. Since 1929, the term “creationism” in the US has been associated with Christian fundamentalism, and specifically with a disbelief in evolution and a belief in a young earth.

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Introduction Creationism is the belief that life, the Earth, and the universe are the creation of a supernatural being. The belief is also called intelligent design. Evolution is the change in the inherited traits of a population of organisms through successive generations. After a population splits into smaller groups, these groups evolve independently and may eventually diversify into new species.
Testable No Yes
Scientific No; the intelligent design point of view cannot be tested to prove or disprove its accuracy. Yes; a scientific theory can be tested and proved to be false based on evidence.
Types Young Earth Creationism, Gap creationism, progressive creationism, intelligent design, theistic evolution. Divergent evolution, convergent evolution, parallel evolution
Discovered by No-one; Biblical version of truth Charles Darwin and Alfred Wallace
% of believers in US 46% 35% (theistic evolution), 15% (evolution without God).
Proponent organizations American Scientific Affiliation, Christians in Science, Center for Intelligent Design, Creation Research Society, Institution for Creation Research, the Discovery Institute Society for the Study of Evolution, European Society for the Study of Human Evolution, Evolutionary Biology Society

Contents: Creationism vs Evolution

edit The Points of View

Evolutionary theory holds that living organisms that do not adapt to their environment fail to survive. Genetic variations are introduced in species through random DNA mutation. These mutations manifest themselves in different phenotypes, or physical characteristics, in living organisms. Organisms whose characteristics are better suited for the surrounding environment survive and reproduce, passing on their mutated DNA to subsequent generations. This is often called "survival of the fittest", and it is not a random process. As the surviving organisms reproduce, and this process repeats over several generations, the species evolves.

There are many flavors of the creationist worldview. Young Earth Creationism and Gap Creationism believe that humanity was created by God, but while Young Earth Creationism claims the Earth is less than 10,000 years old and was reshaped by the flood, Gap Creationism claims the world is the scientifically accepted age. Progressive creationism believes humanity was directly created by God, based on primate anatomy, while intelligent design and theistic evolution include a variety of beliefs based on the idea that divine intervention led to something that may appear like evolution.

edit Types of evolution

Divergent evolution occurs when one species separates into two species, for example if they become separated geographically and have to adapt to different environments to survive. Parallel evolution, on the other hand, occurs when two or more species develop similar traits, such as growing wings, to survive the same environment. Finally, convergent evolution occurs when two or more species develop similar traits in different environments.

edit The Evidence

Evolution relies on evidence from fossil records, similarities between life forms, the geographic distribution of species, and recorded changes in species. Since the 1920s, for example, hundreds of fossils have been found of creatures in the intermediate stages between primate and human, and fossil records in general suggest that multi-celled organisms only appeared after single-celled ones, and that complex animals were preceded by simpler ones. Geographic evidence includes the fact that, before humans arrived in Australia 60-40,000 years ago, the country had more than 100 species of kangaroo, koalas and marsupials, but no placental land mammals like dogs, cats, bears and horses. Islands like Hawaii and New Zealand also lacked these mammals, and had plant, insect and bird species not found elsewhere on Earth.

Creationism is typically based on a literal interpretation of the Book of Genesis in the Bible. Supporters of Intelligent Design argue that either God created the conditions for evolution or point to patterns occuring in nature as evidence that the universe is not random but created by an intelligent being.

edit Criticism

Here is a video of a debate between evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins and cardinal George Pell, a Catholic priest. They discuss evolution, creation, Adam and Eve and the first humans, as well as the existence of God. A question specifically about evolution is at around 28:40.

A basic tenet of science is the scientific method, which states that

To be termed scientific, a method of inquiry must be based on empirical and measurable evidence subject to specific principles of reasoning.

This mans that scientific hypotheses must be testable. Critics of intelligent design argue that the creationist hypothesis is not testable i.e., the existence of God cannot be proved. Although science cannot test issues of faith, scientific studies have disproved many elements of Creationism, including the age of the Earth, its geological history, and the relationships of living organisms. Anthropology, geology and planetary science reveal that the Earth is approximately 4.5 billion years old, disputing Creationist claims that the Earth was created 6000 years ago. Creationism has also been criticized by several religious organizations, as they maintain that the Christian faith does not conflict with the science of evolution.

Many Creationists argue that evolution is a “theory” and not fact and so should be taught as such. However, this is based on a misunderstanding of the scientific use of “theory,” which does not mean “possibility,” as it does in common usage, but “a scientifically acceptable general principle to explain phenomena.” Creationists also claim that supernatural explanations should not be excluded, and accuse of evolution of also being a religion, not a science. Creationism also criticizes the idea of “common descent” – the theory that creatures with similarities in their genes must have evolved from a common ancestor -- by arguing that such similarities suggest that the creatures shared a common designer, aka God.

edit Contemporary beliefs

According to a Gallup poll, 46% of US citizens believed in creationism in 2012, including 52% of those with only a high-school education or less and 25% of those with post graduate education. 25% of those who do not attend church believe in creationism, while 67% of those who attend church weekly believe. Outside of the US, most contemporary Christian leaders believe that Genesis is allegorical and support evolution.

edit Notable supporters of Evolution

Evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins is a notable and vociferous critic of creationism.

The Catholic church's unofficial position is an example of theistic evolution, also known as evolutionary creation, stating that faith and scientific findings regarding human evolution are not in conflict. Moreover, the Church teaches that the process of evolution is a planned and purpose-driven natural process, guided by God. Catholics regard the creation descriptions in the Bible as parables written to provide moral instruction rather than as literal history, and therefore see no conflict between these accounts and the Theory of Evolution. The Church has deferred to scientists on matters such as the age of the earth and the authenticity of the fossil record. Papal pronouncements, along with commentaries by cardinals, have accepted the findings of scientists on the gradual appearance of life. The Church's stance is that any such gradual appearance must have been guided in some way by God, but the Church has thus far declined to define in what way that may be. [1]

edit Notable supporters of Creationism

Many Protestant, and particularly Evangelical, churches, on the other hand, reject Evolution in favor of a literal, rather than figurative, interpretation of the book of Genesis. However, it is typically not specified which version of the creation account is being considered divinely inspired and hence "literally true". This is problematic since there are two such accounts in the Bible (Gen1:1 - Gen2:3 vs. Gen2:4 - Gen50:26) , and they contradict each other in numerous ways. For instance, order in which Adam vs. the Beasts were created differs [2][3] between the two accounts.

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Comments: Creationism vs Evolution

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Anonymous comments (4)

March 17, 2013, 5:30pm

Who wrote this nonsense? Intelligent design is very different from creationism, with the only similarity being that they both posit at least some involvement of a creator (thought ID makes no assumptions about its identity or characteristics other than intelligence) in life and/or the universe. That's where the similarity starts and ends. Beyond that, intelligent design is an evidence-based, testable scientific theory. Anything but a "biblical version of truth". I suggest some honest reading up on ID, and keeping this article to actual Creationism.
Additionally, the author's understanding of testability and how both evolution and ID hold up to the notion seems shaky at best. Suggested homework in this regard:

— 198.✗.✗.50

April 12, 2013, 7:40pm

Intelligent Design is not testable. Any conceivable evidence that could be gathered for a theory other than Intelligent Design could be claimed to be evidence for Intelligent Design as well, by just claiming that "for reasons unknown to us, the designer chose to design it that way". Likewise, any evidence against Intelligent Design could likewise be dismissed with a similar claim. There is no experiment that could be created, even in principle, that could prove definitively that Intelligent Design is false, since an intelligent designer might have anticipated the experiment and manipulated the results to pass the test. Therefore, Intelligent Design fails the "falsifiability" criteria which are required for a scientific hypothesis or theory.

Furthermore, proponents of Intelligent Design have tended to focus their arguments on attacking Evolutionary Theory rather than on demonstrating via experiment the truth of their own claims, essentially relying on the "false dualism" argument that if Evolution were false (which has not been demonstrated), then Intelligent Design must therefore be true, and ignoring the possibility that other theories could exist as well.

— 67.✗.✗.30

March 20, 2013, 6:37pm

"Intelligent" design is not testable. That's because it is a fantasy. Fact.

— 62.✗.✗.133

November 28, 2013, 6:56pm

When you actually take the time to study the 2 it becomes obvious to any rational thinking person comes to the clear conclusion that Evolution by Natural Selection is a factual factor of life here on Earth regardless of the existence or non-existence of any supernatural being. But still I feel like this comparison has been slightly unfair in that it doesn't take into account that there is a difference between Creationism and Intelligent Design. Personally I find both of them a bit fictitious since they both operate under the assumption that a designer is required for any piece of the puzzle but at least ID takes reality into consideration even if those who employ it clearly don't have a full understanding of just how much mankind knows about these things in the modern day. Everything in the known universe thus far has been quantifiable and reducible, even the eye which creationists have constantly claimed cannot possibly be.

Anyone who's spent a considerable amount of time watching both sides will also notice that much of the time those on the religious side of things tend to argue about things like the Big Bang when at some point in the conversation it becomes clear they don't even know what the Big Bang actually was. In the end it comes down to faith vs fact. There's enough faith to go around today and facts can't be refuted by anything other than contrary facts, which faith cannot provide if it refuses to enter the realm of tangible reality. If any actual evidence was found proving any deity's existence then science will be the first to jump on the band-wagon because science is the search for truth. We're still waiting.

— 68.✗.✗.119


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