Biblical Creationism Is Indefensible: It’s Fundamentalist Myth and Menace

Biblical Creationism Is Indefensible

Creationism is a religious myth that reflects superstitions that emanate from our distant past dating back many millennia, and it is a continuing fundamentalist Christian menace to science education in America

Fundamentalist advocates of biblical creationism continue to pursue their century-long battle in America against the fact of evolution. 

Through their relentless efforts in state legislatures and boards of education, creationists have attempted to infuse the Genesis story into the public school science curriculum. 

Their failure to accomplish this goal can be credited to determined opposition by the science community, the federal courts, and mainstream Christianity. 

These three very different groups have thwarted creationist machinations to impose scriptural doctrine on science instruction. 

Although biblical creationism proponents have repeatedly lost federal court battles to inject their literalist dogma into public school biology classes, they have not given up the fight. 

On the contrary, the anti-evolution zealots have renewed their efforts focusing on local school boards, state boards of education, and state legislatures. 

Their remarkable and thoroughly deceitful schemes include teaching the controversy, multiple viewpoints, equal treatment, alternate theories, weaknesses of theories, academic freedom, critical thinking, anti-Christian bias, religious freedom, promotion of Atheism, and other highly imaginative ploys.

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The misnamed Louisiana Science Education Act adopted in 2008 illustrates just how damaging these forms of stealth creationism can be. Unrelenting pressure from science deniers has caused many Republican politicians with national ambitions to pander to the creationist reactionaries. 

For example, Paul Broun, Ben Carson, Bobby Jindal, Rick Perry, Mitt Romney, and Marco Rubio have all voiced a literal belief in various versions of the Genesis stories. Carson, a retired brain surgeon, asserted that Satan inspired Charles Darwin and that evolution is a religion based on faith. 

Former Congressman Paul Broun of Georgia, also a physician, stated that evolution is a lie straight from the pit of hell and that planet Earth is nine thousand years old. 

Former Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal, who was a Rhodes Scholar, demonstrated again that formal academic qualifications do not inoculate against intellectual infection with creationist viral nonsense. Creationists have been appointed chairpersons of Senate Education Committees in Arizona and Indiana, and one has been appointed a state education commissioner in Maine. 

One of these appointees had previously recommended that his legislature pass a law requiring church attendance in the state, while another pledged to remove evolution from the state’s science curriculum standards. 

Fortunately, they represent a minority of U.S. adults, with recent polls suggesting that about one-third of the population believe that the biblical account of creation is true.

There is actually much more good news for legitimate science education in the U.S. In the past five years, more than a dozen attempts by state legislators to shoehorn creationism into public schools have failed. 

Pew Research Center surveys have determined that three-fourths of respondents under the age of thirty accept evolution as a scientific fact, and two-thirds of Democrats and independents also do. Major textbook publishers have supported sound science education by refusing to put religious ideas into science texts. 

The Orleans Parish School Board in creationism-crazy Louisiana adopted a policy that prohibits science teachers from including creationism in their classes. Even the Rev. Pat Robertson has publicly rejected young-Earth creationists’ claims! 

Atheists and other advocates of science should know the basic facts about this movement to recognize the dishonest tactics and attempts to allow fundamentalist religion to creep into public school science curricula. It’s also important to understand that creationists themselves can’t agree on what constitutes biblical truth.

Not a Unified Theology

There are actually three major schools of biblical creationism promoted by zealous adherents in the U.S. Brief descriptions of them indicate just how different they really are from one another.

  1. Young-Earth creationists (e.g. Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis and John Morris of the Institute for Creation Research) believe that the universe is less than ten thousand years old, humans were created 6,500 years ago, and a worldwide flood occurred 4,500 years ago.
  2. Old-Earth creationists (e.g. Hugh Ross of Reasons to Believe) accept the cosmological/geological time scale of a 13.5-billion-year-old universe and a 4.5-billion-year-old Earth but believe humans were created 150,000 years ago and Noah’s flood was not a global event.
  3. Intelligent Design (ID) creationists (e.g. Philip Johnson and William Demski of the Discovery Institute) exclude all references to god and the Bible, claiming that ID is a secular theory based on newly-invented concepts like “irreducible complexity,” “specified improbability,” and the “law of conservation of information.”

Although each one derives from the creation stories in Genesis 1 and 2, these three creationist theologies are mutually contradictory and therefore irreconcilable. Furthermore, their advocates are not reluctant to criticize and condemn one another as unbiblical, unscientific, or untrue. 

For example, in 2009, Hugh Ross expressed approval of federal court decisions that ruled that young-Earth creationism and intelligent design creationism were unconstitutional because they are religious explanations and therefore not legitimate science. Of course, proponents of the censured doctrines have vilified old-Earth creationism as heretical. 

Two definitions are essential to understanding the factual conclusions about creationism that follow. Biblical inerrancy is the belief that the Bible is without error and absolutely correct in every verse. Scientific evidence refers to information, data, or knowledge that derives from observation, demonstration, or experiment. 

Also, it should be noted that there are many non-biblical creation stories including Islamic, Hindu, and Confucian conceptions, as well as numerous creation narratives of native peoples. The three conclusions below certainly apply to all other versions of creationism.

Not Supported by Empirical Evidence

This conclusion is based on the professional judgments of three intellectual communities that represent very different domains of expertise: science, law, and mainstream Christianity. 

First, every scientific organization in the world rejects biblical creationism. For example, in their 2008 publication Science, Evolution, and Creationism, the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) concluded that no scientific evidence supports any of the varieties of creationism and that creationist ideas lie outside the realm of scientific investigation.



Second, in the past forty-five years, two U.S. Supreme Court decisions and six federal court decisions have ruled that biblical creationism is not science. For example, the 2005 decision by Judge John E. Jones III of the Pennsylvania Middle District Court in Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District ruled that ID creationism is not science because, among other things, it is not supported by any peer-reviewed research or publications. 

Several previous decisions rejected young-Earth creationism because it is a religious doctrine that does not satisfy scientific criteria. Third, the mainline Christian denominations, including Catholic, Episcopal, Methodist, and Presbyterian, reject the literal reading of scripture and endorse the validity of the theory of evolution. 

For example, Pope John Paul II’s 1996 encyclical “Truth Cannot Contradict Truth” concluded that because god is responsible for the creation, evolution is god’s creative mechanism, and thus evolution explains the development of humans over time.

Not Based on Naturalistic Causation

Naturalism is the doctrine that the physical or material universe is all of reality and there is nothing else. In contradistinction, supernaturalism is the belief that a divine agent exists outside or beyond nature and controls nature. To document the dependence of biblical creationism on supernatural belief, four creationist luminaries are quoted.

In The Bible, Science, and Creation (1991), Henry Morris issues ten postulates of creationism, which include the following: the Genesis creation account is accurate, Adam was the first human, god made dinosaurs, all living people are descendants of Noah, and death is not the end of human life. He labeled evolution “the Devil’s work.”

  1. In Reason in the Balance (1995), Philip Johnson lists seven foundational premises of supernaturalism, which include the following: god loves us, god created everything, Jesus is god’s son, Jesus guarantees eternal life, and the Bible is god’s word. He called evolution “nature worship” and “naturalistic mythology.”
  2. In No Free Lunch (2002), William Demski declared that “as Christians we know that naturalism is false.” He said that Darwinian naturalism has prevented people from accepting Jesus and that ID creationism would “revolutionize science.” Scientific and legal evaluations of ID creationism demonstrate Demski’s prediction of a scientific revolution was thoroughly unrealistic, if not completely delusional.
  3. In More than a Theory (2009), Hugh Ross asserts that the creator god must be the god of the Christian Bible. He believes that naturalism’s stark answers to the “big questions of life fail to satisfy the soul’s hunger for meaning, purpose, or hope.” In How to Think about God (1980), philosopher Mortimer Adler disputes the claim that the creator god is the god of the Judeo-Christian faith.

For biblical creationists, it is apparent that supernaturalism is an explicitly Christian theological dogma, and the creator god is their god. In contrast, supernatural causation is rejected by the entire scientific community. 

For example, the NAS asserts that science cannot investigate supernatural causation. In the Dover decision, the Pennsylvania court also declared that invoking supernatural causation violates the rules of science and is an inherently religious concept.

Not a Legitimate Scientific Discipline

Biblical creationism does not follow the accepted rules of evidence known as the scientific method. The key concept in the scientific method is the hypothesis, which is defined as a tentative proposal that can be subjected to empirical tests. 

One essential requirement of scientific hypothesis testing is falsifiability. This means that it must be possible to disconfirm or refute the hypothesis. 

Because biblical creationism is held to be an undeniable truth, it cannot be falsified. In other words, creationism is unfalsifiable and thus irrefutable. When the truth is known a priori, scientific hypothesis testing serves no purpose. 

This is a major reason why these three communities of experts (science, law, and mainline Christianity) say that biblical creationism is not a legitimate discipline. For example, the NAS notes that creationism rejects scientific findings and methods, and it is not a scientific theory because it cannot be tested. 

And in the Dover decision, the court concluded that ID creationism distorts and misrepresents well-established scientific propositions and conducts no scientific research or testing. The most devastating criticism of biblical creationism comes from the Botanical Society of America’s 2003 Statement on Evolution, which demonstrated it to be utter pseudoscience:

  1. Creationism has not generated any testable predictions;
  2. Creationism has not made a single contribution to agriculture, medicine, conservation, forestry, pathology, or any other area of applied biology;
  3. Creationism has yielded no classifications, no biogeographies, no underlying mechanisms, and no unifying concepts with which to study organisms or life; therefore;
  4. Creationism is a scientifically useless explanation.

Finally, eminent scientist and born-again Christian Francis Collins, who is director of the National Institutes of Health, says in his book The Language of God (2006) that “science’s domain is to explore nature. God’s domain is in the spiritual world, a realm not possible to explore with the tools and language of science.” 


Rational people don't need to be able to recite the scientific details from anthropology, astronomy, botany, genetics, geology, paleontology, zoology, and the forty other specialties that constitute the overarching discipline of evolution science. 

Being knowledgeable about the definitive consensus judgments of the recognized communities of experts in science, law, and mainline Christianity is sufficient to reject biblical creationism. 

For those who prefer to be better acquainted with the overwhelming scientific documentation that supports human evolution, I recommend The Ancestor’s Tale (2004) by Richard Dawkins. 

There are two essential conclusions about biblical creationism: It is a religious myth that reflects superstitions that emanate from our distant past dating back many millennia, and it is a continuing fundamentalist Christian menace to science education in America.


Brian Bolton

By Brian Bolton

A retired psychologist, humanist minister, and university professor emeritus from Georgetown, Texas.

More from the author:



First published in American Atheists Magazine 2016 (4th quarter). Republished on Fadewblogs courtesy to the author.

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