Anyone familiar with the creation/evolution debate should know that anti-creationists love to lob the accusation that creationists are “anti-science” or that they “reject science.” Evolutionists frequently label creationists “flat-earthers” and even go as far as suggesting that consistent creationists should deny the law of gravity!
What’s more, these assertions are sometimes made with the implication (or outright allegation) that creationists are openly anti-science.1 So, for those who haven’t already made up their minds before hearing us out—or reading what we’ve written many times on this website—are we truly against science? Not at all! Answers in Genesis (like other creationist groups) affirms and supports the teaching and use of scientific methodology, and we believe this supports the biblical account of origins. So why all the disagreement?
Much of the problem stems from the different starting points of biblical creationists and Darwinists. Everyone, scientist or not, must start their quests for knowledge with some unprovable axiom—some a priori belief on which they sort through experience and deduce other truths. This starting point, whatever it is, can only be accepted by faith; eventually, in each belief system, there must be some unprovable, presupposed foundation for reasoning (since an infinite regression is impossible).
For Bible-believing Christians, God’s Word is our starting point: our presupposed foundation through which we interpret and balance fallen man’s ideas, including those derived scientifically. Although some may consider this a foolish faith, everyone has such faith in something. But which is foolish: faith in the unmovable Word of the omniscient creator God or faith in man’s fallible, changing ideas?
Two Kinds of Science
Also causing confusion is the simple distinction some try to make between “faith” and “science.” Answers in Genesis believes this dichotomy is in error, because some form of faith (in a religion) is required to believe in creation or evolution. Both creation and evolution make claims about an unrepeatable past that was not observed by humans. Thus both creation and evolution fall under the category of historical science. This is distinctly different from operational (observational) science, which is a methodological system governing directly observed, repeatable results (such as laboratory experiments). Take a look at the differences between operational science and its counterpart, historical or “origins” science, which requires extrapolation beyond the presently available data—in other words, faith in a story about the unobserved past.
|Operations science||Origins science|
|Based on:||the senses (assuming they are reliable)||assumptions about the past|
|Deals with:||the present||the past|
|Results in:||repeatable conclusions, technology||unrepeatable stories about the past|
Operations science is used by millions of scientists worldwide, who perform experiments and tests that result in discoveries about the world around us and new technologies. A perfect example would be the work of scientist-monk Gregor Mendel, father of genetics. His meticulous operations science involved careful cross-breeding of various pea plants, along with copious notes on the combinations and results. His years of work led to our knowledge of how genes work in the present, and have led to significant scientific advancements.
On the other hand, examine the origins science of Charles Darwin (and others like him). Darwin made observations, yes; he then borrowed the already-existing idea of natural selection and mixed it with a view he assumed was true (based on his rejection of the Bible): uniformitarianism. Thus, by combining observations, scientific ideas, and anti-God philosophy, Darwin published a speculation on how all of life could have descended from a common ancestor.
Although Mendel had presuppositions about how created things would behave, based on biblical ideas, his work was borne of observations + careful, repeated experimentation + testable conclusions. Mendel produced hypotheses whose predictions could be tested. Darwin’s work was the result of observations + philosophical presuppositions + speculation. Darwin produced a story about a past that could neither be observed nor tested experimentally.
Thus, Answers in Genesis argues that evolutionary ideas are origins science, not operational science; evolution is, itself, a religious worldview, just as creation is part of a religious worldview, which affects how scientists do origins science. It is impossible to escape the presuppositions that give rise to one’s theory on origins. Those who portray evolutionism as solid science (contrasting it with [construed as blind] “faith” in creationism) ignore the fact that scientific data must be interpreted through a worldview.
As for operations science, creationists are staunch supporters of it. Furthermore, we believe that the basic principles required for operations science are specifically biblical (that is, operations science requires belief in a understandable universe, in the ability to discover truth, and in the consistent workings of nature). See “The Creationist Basis for Modern Science” and “The Biblical Origins of Science” for more on this topic.
Another way our opponents attempt to mislead the public is by claiming that no scientists accept the Bible’s account of creation. But once again, this claim is far from the truth. There are many PhD scientists alive today who accept biblical creation, and many famous scientists of the past accepted the Bible’s account as well. Visit Creation scientists and other biographies of interest to read about some of these individuals and articles about how creation scientists are discriminated against. Answers in Genesis itself employs several PhD scientists, including (for example) Ivy League-educated, award-winning anatomist Dr. David Menton.
The allegations that creationists reject, dislike, or hamper science are all flat-out wrong and/or deceptive. They distract from the real issue and lead to misunderstandings about the nature of (and philosophical assumptions behind) origins science, produce errant stereotypes of creationists, foster close-mindedness and discrimination against creationism, and cause people to forget the biblical basis for science. Creationists are strong supporters of science—but not of naturalistic philosophy masquerading as science.
What about the classroom?
Another of the popular caricatures of creationists in general is of the “book burner” who wants to remove all vestiges of evolution from the public schools. In fact, we are often accused of wanting to force the teaching of creation and suppress all disagreement. However, this is certainly not the case. The classroom is exactly where the evolutionary model should be taught. In fact, we believe that when students are taught evolution—with all its flaws—they are better equipped to understand the bias each scientist carries and better able to understand the differences between operational and origins science. After all, students will encounter Darwinism when they turn on the TV or go through a museum, etc.; it’s important that they understand the theory and the faith behind it.
We are also against mandating the teaching of creation in public schools (although a fair treatment of the issue would be ideal). After all, staunch evolutionists, in particular, may be unlikely to accurately present the creation view if they are forced to discuss both sides. We want students to hear the truth of God’s Word and how science shows a young earth and a global Flood, but forcing someone to teach what they do not accept may be counterproductive. Although creationist teachers have been forced to exclude the Bible from science classes for years and, in many cases, cannot even question the evolutionary paradigm without fear of losing their jobs; we are not asking for the reverse from evolutionists. A searching student should be able to find ample information on the creationist worldview from their churches, parents, or reputable creationist websites. There is a special section, in fact, on AnswerInGenesis.org for students.
We believe that the evidence, when speaking for itself, attests to the faith required to assemble a viewpoint on origins. When students have access to both sides of the argument, we have no doubt they will see that evolution, like creation, is a position supportable only through faith. When they see that many of the “evidences” for evolution are simply suppositions, they will understand that only God can give an eye-witness account. And, as we know from science, first-hand experience is much more reliable than just-so stories.