Creationism is the supernatural belief that God created the world, its animals and the first human beings within one week according to the Biblical book of Genesis. Creationists usually adhere to a literal translation of the Bible, and, generally, do not believe the earth is billions of years old. Instead, they believe in a young earth only 6000 or so years old. Creationists reject scientific findings of geology, biology, physics and chemistry that explain life on earth from an evolutionary standpoint. Originally, Creationists did not hide that God was the foundation of their nonscientific belief in direct conflict with the theory of evolution. The Scopes trial of 1925 brought the controversy between Creationism and evolution to the world. John Scopes was found guilty of teaching the forbidden subject of evolution in a Tennessee school. The trial exposed the fact that evolution could be defended by scientific findings where the Christian story of creation could not. During a science push in the 1950s in the U.S., evolution was taught in science classes. But, in 1961, the Creationist book, The Genesis Flood, began a revival of Creationist ideas. The new direction was called Creation-science in which proponents declared there was real scientific evidence behind their conclusions. This was the beginning of the misuse of scientific terms, equations, theorems and laws to suit Creationist ideals. To those not well educated in sciences, the discussions sounded convincing. Creation-scientists pushed for their view of life to be included in public school curriculums instead of evolution. In 1982, another trial, this time in Arkansas, ruled that Creation-science failed to meet the definition of a science and instead was a religious-based teaching which violated the Constitution. Additional cases that followed had similar results.
The new Creationism is labeled Intelligent Design which argues that the origin of life and all living things today show evidence of a purposeful ultimate designer instead of simply resulting from evolutionary mechanisms. This idea is dressed up even more elaborately with scientific trappings while leaving out explicit mention of God. Though it still miserably fails the test of science, it is attractive to many people. The majority of Americans are of the opinion that it should be taught alongside evolution to be fair. However, real science is not decided by majority rule and self-proclaimed theories will not be elevated to equal status with the established, useful, well-supported theory of evolution out of fairness. There must be evidence. Decades from the beginning of Creation-science, there is still no accepted scientific evidence to support it. The rise and current popularity of Creationism has a complex social basis and was originally considered a strictly American phenomenon. But, it is currently gaining popularity around the world.
- Sharon Hill (Scientist)