What is creation science?
Partly based on Arkansas Act #590
"The only effective way to get creationism taught properly
is to have it taught by teachers who are both willing and able to do
it. Since most teachers now are neither willing nor able, they must
first be both persuaded and instructed themselves.'' Henry M.
Morris "Introducing Scientific Creationism Into the Public
Sources of this essay:
The following essay is based on three sources:
A state law of Arkansas passed in 1981, titled "Balanced
Treatment for Creation-Science and Evolution-Science Act."
"The Act is codified as Ark. Stat. Ann. &80-1663, et seq.,
(1981 Supp.)." 1It begins: "Public
schools within this State shall give balanced treatment to
creation-science and to evolution-science.'
A statement of belief that the Creation Research Society (CRS)
requires of its membership.
Definition of Creation-Science in the Arkansas law #590:
The act contains in Section 4(a), the following definition:
" 'Creation-science' means the scientific evidences for
creation and inferences from those scientific evidences.
Creation-science includes the scientific evidences and related
inferences that indicate:
Sudden creation of the universe, energy, and life from
The insufficiency of mutation and natural selection in bringing
about development of all living kinds from a single organism;
Changes only within fixed limits of originally created kinds of
plants and animals;
Separate ancestry for man and apes;
Explanation of the earth's geology by catastrophism, including
the occurrence of a worldwide flood; and
A relatively recent inception of the earth and living kinds."
This definition appears to have been adapted from a nearly identical
seven point scientific-creation model written three years earlier by
lawyer Wendell R. Bird. 2,3
Requirements for Creation Research Society membership:
The Creation Research Society (CRS) was formed from a schism in
the American Scientific Affiliation (ASA) 1963. 6,7It
is Fundamentalist Christian group which is one of the largest promoters of
creation science in the U.S. Both voting and sustaining members of the CRS
must agree with the CRS' Statement of Faith. 8
The statement requires members to believe that:
Evolution did not happen. Rather, the earth and the rest of the
universe came into existence by special creation, as described in the
Sometime during the 1980's or 1990's the CRS modified their statement
of belief so that they described themselves as "an organization of Christian men and women of science"
rather than a group of only male scientists.
Further common beliefs of creation scientists:
Biblical catastrophism: Creation scientists believe that the
geological formations that we see today were mainly produced over a
very short time interval during the Noachian Flood. "The
Flood...brought about vast changes in the earth's surface, including
vulcanism, mountain building, and the deposition of the major part of
sedimentary strata." 4
Creation processes: During creation week, God used
processes about which we have no knowledge, because they are not
"operating anywhere in the natural universe" today. 5
More recent processes: Most creation scientists believe that
God created the world less than 10,000 years ago. Thus, scientists who
support evolution are wrong when they point out that certain processes
(continental drift, uplift of mountains, deposits of up to one
mile-thick layers of sedimentary rock, etc.) took millions of years.
The world's deposit of sedimentary rock, in particular, was completed during
the year of Noah's flood.
Noah's Ark: All humans land animals are descendents of the
inhabitants of the ark: of Noah, his family and of the animals that he
loaded on board.
Second Law of Thermodynamics: This law says that the entropy
of all systems in the universe tend to decay and become less ordered.
This is the opposite to what would be expected if evolution occurred.
(Scientists believe in the second law as well. However, they point out
that it only applies to closed, isolated systems. The earth is not
such a system: energy from the sun drives many of the earth's
processes, and permits evolution -- at least for many billion years
until it runs out of fuel.)
Fossil Record: The earth's fossil-containing
sedimentary rocks were laid down during the year-long flood of Noah.
The well-known observation that simple forms of life are found at the
bottom of the geological column and human remains at the top is
explained by three processes:
Hydrodynamic selectivity: Trilobites, brachiopods and
other invertebrates appear at the lowest levels of the sedimentary
rocks. They were already in the sea, and they would tend to fall
faster than other forms of life because of their size and shape.
Location: Amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals would
be buried next, since they lived on the land. Thus, they would
appear in the geological column above the invertebrates.
Intelligence: The larger, more highly developed animals
would have tended to flee from the encroaching waters of the
flood. Humans in particular would be the last to drown, as they
would have climbed to the highest accessible location.
Language diversity: Most creation scientists also believe
that God created the variety of languages seen in the world today
during the incident at the Tower of Babel, as described in
Morality: Many creation scientists consider that the Theory
of Evolution is responsible for much of the moral decline over the
past century. They reason that if people believe that they are
descendents of animals, and not as a result of special creation, then
they might as well act as animals, without a highly developed sense of
Is creationism science or religion?
In his 1982 decision in the case of McLean v. Arkansas Board of
Education, U.S. District Court Judge William R. Overton wrote that
creation science is based on foundational beliefs derived from the Hebrew
Scriptures (Old Testament):
"The evidence establishes that the definition of 'creation
science' contained in 4(a) has as its unmentioned reference the first 11
chapters of the Book of Genesis. Among the many creation epics in human
history, the account of sudden creation from nothing, or 'creatio ex
nihilo,' and subsequent destruction of the world by flood is unique to
Genesis. The concepts of 4(a) are the literal Fundamentalists' view of
Genesis. Section 4(a) is unquestionably a statement of religion, with
the exception of 4(a)(2) which is a negative thrust aimed at what the
creationists understand to be the theory of evolution...'creation out of
nothing' is a concept unique to Western religions. In traditional
Western religious thought, the conception of a creator of the world is a
conception of God. The only 'one' who has this power is God."
The linkage between creation science beliefs and the Hebrew Scriptures
Sudden creation of the universe, energy, and life
The insufficiency of mutation and natural selection
in bringing about development of all living kinds from a single
This is not really a fundamental part of creation
science. It appears to be a simple criticism of evolution.
Changes only within fixed limits of originally
created kinds of plants and animals.
Genesis 1:21-25. The term "kind" is
repeated frequently elsewhere in Genesis.
Separate ancestry for man and apes.
Explanation of the earth's geology by catastrophism,
including the occurrence of a worldwide flood.
This is referred to as "biblical catastrophism."
Genesis, chapters 7 & 8.
A relatively recent inception of the earth and
Implied by the genealogies in the Hebrew Scriptures
(Old Testament). Bishop Ussher estimated that creation occurred in
the year 4004 BCE
The defendants in the case argued that:
Similarities between creation science beliefs and a literal
interpretation of the book of Genesis does not conclusively make the
former a statement of religion. Judge Overton rejected this belief,
pointing out that the "are not merely similar to the literal
interpretation of Genesis; they are identical and parallel to no other
story of creation."
The act implies a creator who has power, intelligence and design
ability. It does not imply that the creator has attributes of love,
compassion and justice. Thus, the first statement is not necessarily a
religious concept. Judge Overton disagreed, saying that "The
idea of sudden creation from nothing, or creatio ex nihilo, is an
inherently religious concept. (Vawter, Gilkey, Geisler, Ayala, Blount,
Hicks.)" He pointed out in a footnote that: "The
concept of a creator God distinct from the God of love and mercy is
closely similar to the Marcion and Gnostic
heresies, among the deadliest to threaten the early Christian church."
Teaching students about the acts of a creator is not a religious
exercise because the students are not required to believe in the
concept of the creator. The student need only understand that creation
scientists believe in this way. Judge Overton replied that this "is
contrary to common understanding and contradicts settled case law.
Stone v. Graham, 449 U.S. 39 (1980), Abbington School District v.
Schempp, 374 U.S. 203, 222 (1963)."
Judge Overton concluded: "The facts that creation science is
inspired by the Book of Genesis and that Section 4(a) is consistent with a
literal interpretation of Genesis leave no doubt that a major effect of
the Act is the advancement of particular religious beliefs." He
ruled that the Arkansas act was unconstitutional.
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
U.S. District Court Judge William R. Overton, "McLean v.
Arkansas Board of Education." A text of the decision is
online at: http://cns-web.bu.edu/
W.R. Bird, article in Acts and Facts, published by the
Institute for Creation Research, 1978-DEC.