Scientific Creationism is Not Just a Religion – Part 1

By: Dr. John Ankerberg and Dr. John Weldon; ©1999
The sixth and final false assumption in this series is that: Scientific creationism is only a religion and has not scientific merit whatever. Drs. Ankerberg and Weldon explain why this is not the case.


False Assumptions About Evolution:
False Assumption 6 – Part 1

False Assumption 6: Scientific creationism is only a religion and has no scientific merit whatever.

When considering the issue of the nature of creationism it must be remembered that the real problem is not with a scientific formulation of the creation concept, but with materi­alism and its inherent limitations. These not only wrongly restrict creation solely to the religious sphere, they also tend to skewer the interpretation of scientific data. The bon mot that evolution is “1/10 bad science and 9/10 bad philosophy” has more truth to it than many scientists are willing to concede. For example, in Darwin and His Critics, philosophy profes­sor David L. Hull of the University of Wisconsin points out that evolutionary theory has been criticized philosophically from the beginning, “…the leading philosophers contemporary with Darwin, John Herschel, William Whewell, and John Stuart Mill, were equally adamant in their conviction that the Origin of Species was just one mass of conjecture. Darwin had proved nothing! From a philosophical point of view, evolutionary theory was sorely defi­cient. Even today, both Darwin’s original efforts and more recent reformulations are repeat­edly found philosophically objectionable. Evolutionary theory seems capable of offending almost everyone.”ref>David L. Hull, Darwin and His Critics: The Reception of Darwin’s Theory of Evolution by the Scientific Community (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1974) p. 7, empha­sis added.</ref>

The reason that evolutionary belief is deficient philosophically is because it attempts to address the issue of origins on the basis of an inadequate approach. The issue is argued exclusively at the level of naturalism, while it is forgotten that theology itself is a legitimate discipline of knowledge that should also be considered in the debate on origins. Why? Because approaching the issue of origins only materialistically leaves too many major problems for explaining the data, data that everyone agrees is there. Thus, meaning or interpretation that is assigned on the premise of materialism alone will be deficient because the data is incapable of organizing itself adequately solely on this basis. This is why many scientists are currently unhappy with the nature of the case for evolution.

What is needed is a more objective discussion of the issue of origins at the world-view level. This is really what is occurring in both creationist and evolutionist camps anyway, whether or not this is recognized.

The components of science itself—classification, theory, experiment, etc., reflect a framework of concepts which transcend scientific data. All attempts to explain or interpret data are to some degree impositions on the data. So are attempts to disprove or disallow alternate explanations. In other words, because the data of science does not automatically organize itself, interpretive structures which themselves transcend the data must be im­posed upon it. Again, the question is whether or not a solely materialistic structure is ad­equate.

We think that an approach that attempts to look at the data without a bias against larger theological implications is more productive. And there is nothing unscientific about this. The world view of theism is just as adequate an explanatory framework for the scien­tific data as is the world view of naturalism. For example, the data from science (e.g., thermodynamics, astronomy) clearly indicate a point of origin for the universe. Thus, despite the dogma of eternal matter, “all the observable data” produced by astronomy indicate the universe was created at a point in time.[1] The data from science also confirm a high degree of complexity throughout the history of life and such complexity requires explana­tions which not only include but also transverse natural processes alone. In addition, the data from science reveal an incredibly high degree of fine-tuning or balance within the structure of the universe at all levels. This also calls for an explanation that transcends natural processes and invokes the need for a supernatural Creator.

In other words, a compelling case from philosophy, logic and science itself suggests that natural laws alone are woefully insufficient to account for the existence of the universe and the complexity of life that inhabits it. This becomes especially true when we consider the distinctive character of man, such as his abstract reasoning powers, moral sensibility, complex personality, spiritual nature, etc. Humans are so far removed from the level of the animals that we simply cannot account for them on the basis of purely natural processes. (cf., Mortimer Adler, The Difference of Man and the Difference It Makes.)

The value of science is undeniable as a part of the larger picture explaining the world but it cannot explain the entirety of that picture. But theism—in terms of its ability to explain a much larger range of data, as well as the integration of data in other disciplines—actually offers a more coherent “big picture.” Thus, when creation is affirmed in the context of the­ism, it meets the criteria of good science: it is testable, unified and fruitful in a heuristic sense.

Thus, creation science cannot simply be dismissed, as it often is, as a religion in dis­guise, designed, e.g., to underhandedly put Genesis back into the school system. Although creationism is certainly a religious philosophy, it can also be a scientific doctrine, not just dogma. This is something attested to by many noted scientists and experts on the nature of the relationship between science and religion. For example, the volumes by Bird, Moreland (ed.), Geisler and Anderson and Morris and Parker are only some of those demonstrating that creationism can be scientific.[2]

Dean H. Kenyon, Ph.D., professor of biology and coordinator of the general biology program at San Francisco State University wrote the foreword to the latter text. Dr. Kenyon is one of America’s leading non-evolutionary scientists and has the Ph.D. in biophysics from Stanford University.[3] A former evolutionist and co-author of Biochemical Predestina­tion, a standard work on the evolutionary origin of life, Kenyon now believes that the cur­rent situation where most consider creation science simply a religion in disguise “is regret­table and exhibits a degree of close-mindedness quite alien to the spirit of true scientific inquiry.”[4] Kenyon is only one prominent scientist who has “extensively reviewed the scien­tific case for creation” and finds it legitimate.[5]

For example, in presenting the scientific evidence for the theory termed “abrupt ap­pearance” (which incorporates relevant data from paleontology, morphology, information content, probability, genetics, comparative discontinuity, etc.), Bird observes, “These lines of evidence are affirmative in the sense that if true, they support the theory of abrupt ap­pearance. They are not negative in the sense of merely identifying weaknesses of evolution….The theory of abrupt appearance is scientific. It consists of the empirical evi­dence and scientific interpretation that is the content of this chapter. The theory of abrupt appearance also satisfies the various definitions of science….Its many testable and falsifi­able claims are summarized in sections 10.3 (a) and 10.4 (a).”[6]


  1. Roy Abraham Varghese, introduction in Henry Margenau and Roy Abraham Varghese, (eds.), Cosmo, Bios, Theos: Scientists Reflect on Science, God, and the Origin of the Universe, Life, and Homo Sapiens (LaSalle, IL: Open Court, 1992), p. 5.
  2. J. P. Moreland (ed.), Twentieth Century Science and the Theory of Creation: An Evi­dential Approach (tentative title) (Downer’s Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1994); Bird, passim; Norman L. Geisler, J. Kirby Anderson, Origin Science: A Proposal for the Creation-Evolution Controversy (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1987); Henry M. Morris, Gary E. Parker, What Is Creation Science? (San Diego, CA: Creation Life, 1982).
  3. Bird, Vol. 1, p. xvi.
  4. Morris and Parker, p. III.
  5. Ibid., p. 3.
  6. Bird, Vol. 1, pp. 44-45.

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