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16.1 Scientific Criticism

The United States National Academy of Sciences states that “creation science is in fact not science at all, and should not be presented as such,” and that “the claims of creation science lack empirical support and cannot be meaningfully tested.” According to Sceptic, the “creation science movement gains much of its strength through the use of distortion and scientifically unethical tactics” and “seriously misrepresents the theory of evolution.”

For a theory to qualify as scientific it must be:

  • consistent (internally and externally)
  • parsimonious (sparing in proposed entities or explanations)
  • useful (describing and explaining observed phenomena)
  • empirically testable and falsifiable
  • based upon controlled, repeatable experiments
  • correctable and dynamic (changing to fit with newly discovered data)
  • progressive (achieving all that previous theories have and more)
  • tentative (admitting that it might not be correct rather than asserting certainty)

For any hypothesis or conjecture to be considered scientific, it must meet at least most, but ideally all, of the above criteria. The fewer which are matched, the less scientific it is. If it meets two or fewer of these criteria, it cannot be treated as scientific in any useful sense of the word.

Scientists have considered the hypotheses proposed by creation science and have rejected them because of a lack of evidence. Furthermore, the claims of creation science do not refer to natural causes and cannot be subject to meaningful tests, so they do not qualify as scientific hypotheses. Most major religious groups have concluded that the concept of evolution is not at odds with their descriptions of creation and human origins.

A summary of the objections to creation science by scientists follows:

  • Creation science is not falsifiable. Theism also is not falsifiable, since the existence of God is asserted a priory. If God is a transcendental being, beyond the realm of the observable, no claim about his existence can be supported or undermined by observation. Thus, creationism, the argument from design and other arguments for the existence of God are a priori arguments.
  • Creation science violates the principle of parsimony: Creationism fails to pass Occam’s razor. Many explanations offered by creation science are more complex than alternative explanations.
  • Creation science is not empirically testable: Creationism posits the supernatural which by definition is beyond empirical natural testing.
  • Creation science is not based upon controlled, repeatable experiments: That creationism is not based upon controlled, repeatable experiments stems not from the theory itself, but from the phenomena that it tries to explain.
  • Creation science is not correctable, dynamic, tentative or progressive: Creationism professes to adhere to an “absolute Truth”, “the word of God”, instead of a provisional assessment of data which can change when new information is discovered.

Creation science’s lack of adherence to the standards of the scientific method means that it cannot be said to be scientific in the way that the term “science” is currently defined by the leading world science organizations.