The Battle of Reason:
                  Creationism vs. Evolutionism
                         by Shawn Tyler

     Despite all the overwhelming evidence in support of Darwinian
evolution, the creation debate continues. The most powerful force
in the effort to discredit evolution is Fundamentalist
Christianity. Up until about twenty-five years ago, the argument
for creationism has relied on faith and biblical scripture. But
over the last three decades, the creationists have started on a new
course in their efforts to debunk evolutionary thought.
     The vehicle by which creationists have taken this course is
the creation science (scientific creationism) movement. There are
various creation science organizations throughout the country. As
a norm, members do not present their arguments to scientific
journals due to the weaknesses of their theory. Because of the weak
scientific grounds for creationism, the creationists must take
their case elsewhere. Kenneth R. Miller reveals why:
     "Creationists, realizing that the enormous weight of
scientific evidence is stacked in favor of evolution... have
concentrated instead on political lobbying... a reason for this
strategy is overwhelmingly apparent --no scientific case can be
made for theories they advance" (Miller 168).
     In the 1920's, the creationists embarked upon the effort to
remove the teaching of evolution from public schools. After this
idea was ruled as unconstitutional, the creationists set out to
promote the "two-model" system. This two-model approach proposes
teaching both evolution and creationism in the classroom, leaving
it up to the students to decide which to accept. Creationists claim
that their origin theory can be presented scientifically, without
biblical reference.
     A general overview of the creationist beliefs and their
evolutionary refutations will shed some light on just exactly what
scientific creationism is all about. The following beliefs are a
fair representation of the majority of creation science
     The vast majority of creationists believe that 6,000 to 15,000
years ago, God created the universe and the earth. they believe
that God completed his creation in six, twenty-four hour days.
Canyons, sedimentary rock strata, and other geological formations
that are the result of slow, natural processes that have occurred
over billions of years, are explained away by the creationists as
the result of a world wide flood at the time of Noah (Morris 66).
The creationists also believe that a man named Jonah was swallowed
up by a large fish and survived. Of course, to the average person,
these stories seem unbelievable in the light of modern science. But
there are still millions of Americans today that insist on not only
taking these stories literally, but also insist that our public
schools teach them in science classes.
     Although the fundamentalists insist on a literal
interpretation of Biblical scriptures, they do compromise at times.
Psalms 24:1-2 states that God founded the Earth upon the seas, Now,
not even the fundamentalists believe that the earth rests on water.
Another biblical verse the fundamentalists do not insist on taking
literally is Psalms 93:1: "The world is firmly established, it
cannot be moved." Thus, while the fundamentalists maintain that all
scripture is the word of God, and must be taken literally, they
will makes exceptions when the truth slaps them in the face.
     One may ask: Hasn't the evidence for evolution slapped these
guys on the face yet? Well, that is what scientific creationism is
all about --attempting to debunk any and all evidence that supports
evolution. The main reason creationists spend so much time trying
to debunk evolution is because their own theory is too ridiculous
to pursue. In other words, the majority of time spent on creation
"research" is not spent on researching out in the field to gather
evidence for the creation model; rather, creationists spend their
time attacking evolutionary evidence. The creationists will argue
on any argument presented to them, regardless of its proven
     As mentioned earlier, the creationists believe that the
universe is about 10,000 years old. A challenging question to this
claim (which creationists try to avoid) is the light-time-distance
factor. This issue deals with the time it takes for the light from
other stars and galaxies to reach our planet. Astro-physicists have
determined that many of celestial bodies that can be seen from the
planet earth are millions of light years away; hence, it takes
millions of years for the light of these stars to reach our planet.
For example, the galaxy Andromeda is approximately two million
light years away. The distance of Andromeda implies that since the
universe is only 10,000 years old, we will not be able to see
Andromeda for another one million, nine hundred ninety thousand
years from today! But that isn't the case, because we can see
Andromeda now. Dr. Robert E. Kofahl, Science Director  of the
Creation-Science Research Center, writes of two Australian
scientists, Dr. Trevor Norman, a mathematician, and Dr. Barry
Setterfield, a physicist, who have proposed that the speed of light
has slowed down to its present speed (Kofahl 82). This, according
to Norman and Setterfield, the speed of light used to be faster
than the speed of light! Now, if this theory is true then virtually
every law of the universe has been altered. Another explanation
some creationists offer is that God put up the photons of light
before the stars were actually formed so that Adam and Eve would
have the opportunity to enjoy the beauty of God's universe. As the
light-time-distance argument shows, the creationists will argue
with any fact that interferes with their mythic beliefs.
     As with the dispute over the age of the Universe, there is
also an argument for a young earth. The creationist will argue on
every subject from radiometric dating methods to paleontological
evidence. Radiometric dating includes several methods of dating
fossils, rocks, artifacts and many other objects. These methods
involve measuring the radioactive decay that has occurred with
these objects. Dr. Kofahl argues that various radiometric dating
measurements are probably inaccurate. He points out that scientists
mistakenly assume that the rate of decay has remained constant
(Kofahl 78). Dr. Kofahl shows if the speed of light has changed,
then the rate of radioactive decay would also change (Kofahl 80).
This is absolutely correct. If the speed of light has slowed down,
then everything has slowed down. But this whole idea of the laws of
the universe changing is quite far-fetched. Gerald Schroeder
exposes the absurdity of such beliefs:
     "Imagine the bedlam of our lives if we were forced to test the
consistency of gravity each time we put a glass on a table, or the
rate of passage of time... each time we had an appointment to keep.
The constancy of nature's laws is an integral part of life as we
experience it... Our experience with the laws of nature, including
those that govern radioactivity, is that they are unchangeable"
(Schroeder 15-16).
     It is ironic that the creationists, in their attempts to
refute the evolution of life, actually propose that the very laws
of nature have evolved to their present condition. Even Dr. Kofahl,
who is unwilling to accept radiometric dating methods, admits that
"the evidence generally supports the constancy of radioactive decay
within narrow limits" (Kofahl 78).
     As with the aforementioned arguments for the youthfulness of
our universe and the earth, the creationists also attempt to refute
the mounting evidence of fossil remains. This is a field of science
that offers an overwhelming amount of evidence for human evolution.
In their attempt to discredit the fossil remains of ape-like human
ancestors, the creationists continue to blow a couple of historical
incidents out of proportion. Henry Morris uses this method of
     "The past sixty or so years even witnessed a number of
noteworthy scientific blunders by evolutionists. In addition to the
Piltdown hoax, there was the case of Hesperopithecus, a tooth found
1922 in Nebraska and promoted by Henry Fairfield Osborn of the
American Museum of Natural History as an ape-man... Two years
later, however, the complete skeleton was found, and it proved to
have belonged to an extinct pig" (Morris 58).
     The creationists continue to tell the stories of a few
mistaken identities and hoaxes in order to discredit the whole
realm of fossil findings, although the creationists have done a
very poor job while addressing the authentic hominid fossil
findings. As for the case of the Australopithecus fossils,
creationists have fumbled around trying to argue on this issue. The
skeletal remains of Australopithecus indicate that they were
definitely an ancestor to man, and showed physical similarities to
both modern men and chimpanzees. Most researchers agree that they
were fully bipedal (Johanson and Edey 51).
     Despite the humanlike appearance of the Australopithecus, and
the fact that they were bipedal, Henry Morris insists that "this
creature was an extinct ape, with no evolutionary relation to man"
(Morris 58). Creationists conveniently neglect to address the
physical appearance of Australopithecus. This is an issue they are
better off leaving alone, for to tackle the implications set forth
by the appearance that these creatures bear would be to present
evolutionary evidence which is virtually irrefutable. Dr. Kofahl
quickly dismisses the ancestral significance of Australopithecus by
noting the lack of evidence that these creatures used tools (Kofahl
54). But tool using is something that is hard to determine through
fossil findings. In fact, Jane Goodall's work with chimpanzees has
revealed that those primates not only use tools, but make them too!
This fact was unknown until actually witnesses by humans. Something
that obviously can't be done with Australopithecus. Creationists
also deal with other fossils findings such as Homo habilis and Homo
erectus in the same manner, claiming that these various ancestors
were either human or ape, not transitional. Stephen J. Gould, a
professor at Harvard, and a victim of deceptive misquoting on the
part of creationists, expresses his feelings on the creation
     "The fundamentalists, by 'knowing' the answers before they
start, and then forcing nature into the straitjacket of their
discredited preconceptions, lie outside the domain of science --or
any honest intellectual inquiry" (Gould 16).
     The above arguments of the so-called scientific creationists
are just a small sample of the whole controversy. Due to the
overwhelming evidence in support of evolution, most of the
mainstream Christian religions in the world today have had no
trouble accepting evolution. It is primarily the fundamentalist
groups that insist on a literalist perspective of biblical
scriptures. "The conflict between religion and evolution has
outlived its usefulness, and it is high time it was allowed a quiet
demise" (Carmel and Domb 268). This "conflict" the fundamentalists
have with evolution is what they believe to be the atheistic nature
of evolution. Kofahl writes of the "chance" nature of evolution:
     "Darwinian evolution in both its original and its modern form
proposes evolution only by completely random chemical and physical
processes. In this theory no trace of intelligent purpose, plan,
design, or goal is allowed" (Kofahl 4).
     Henry Morris is also adamant in pointing out that belief in
evolution is atheistic. Morris asserts that "Naturalism and chance
constitute the very essence of evolution" (Morris 39). When
creationists call the theory of evolution atheistic, they are
making what might be called a semantic error. Rather than being
atheistic, evolution is non-theistic. Evolutionary theory does not
account for the origin of life. Contrary to the fundamentalists'
claim, science does not attempt to answer ultimate questions of
meaning. What really started it all still remains a mystery, and
this is a philosophical issue which science will probably never be
able to answer.
     Just as evolution need not conflict with theism, neither does
it necessarily have to conflict with the world's creation myths. As
for the creation myth of fundamentalist Christianity, a literalist
viewpoint is shattered by Darwinian evolution, but may have taken
a mystical and allegorical look at this ancient myth of origins. As
the prolific Isaac Asimov points out:
     "If the primeval history of the Book of Genesis falls short of
what science now believes to be the truth, the fault cannot lie
with the Biblical writers, who did the best they could with the
material available to them" (Asimov 3).
     Rather than reading Genesis as a historical account, modern
biblical commentators are saying that a better understanding can be
held by reading it as a myth. Labeling the biblical story of
creation as a myth does not demean the moral and philosophical
significance of Genesis. As some biblical commentators have alluded
to, viewing the biblical account of creation as mythology can
actually uphold its authority as a divine account of creation --or,
if you like, emanation. People often mistake the word "myth" as
meaning fairy tale or fable. Random House's College Dictionary
defines myth as "a story or belief that attempts to express of
explain a basic truth; an allegory or parable."
     On a final not, I leave you with a few questions posed by Leon
R. Kass:
     "Let us assume that creation is evolution, and proceeds solely
by natural processes. What is responsible for this natural process?
What is its cause? What is the ultimate source of intelligibility
of the natural order or of the actual intelligence that emerged
within it with the coming of man? Can a dumb process, ruled by
strict necessity and chance mutation, having no rhyme or reason,
ultimately answers sufficiently for life, for man, for the whole?"
(Kass 39)