Creationism vs Evolution
Among the most controversial topics in contemporary American political discourse is that of creationism and evolution. While many have argued that these two models of human and planetary history are at least theoretically compatible, the present essay will address a version of creationism that is, indeed, incompatible with the theory of evolution. This version of creationism is widely known as “young earth creationism”
(henceforth, “creationism”). Both the DNA evidence for human evolution and migration, and the poor quality of the evidence for creationism, suggest that the latter theory is far inferior to that of evolution.
Creationism is inconsistent with the DNA data regarding human evolution and migration. Contemporary models of DNA derived from (among other things) fossil research indicate that human DNA and its antecedents emerged between 40,000 and
90,000 years ago. By contrast, creationists insist that the earth is 6,000 years old. While the scientific community bases its opinion on contemporary analysis of the human genome, creationists base their opinion on a literal reading of the book of Genesis. When confronted with the evidence of the scientific community, creationists concoct ad hoc historical scenarios in an attempt to reconcile the known facts with their convictions. For example, In the documentary “Did Darwin kill God?” they argue that Noah’s flood explains the appearance of the fossil record. Likewise, faced with evidence of an old earth such as ancient dinosaur fossils, creationists refer to the biblical Book of Job, which
refers in passing to a giant, scaled creature. Creationists insist that this proves that humans and dinosaurs inhabited the earth at the same time, contrary to the findings of modern geology and evolutionary biology. In other words, creationists themselves make clear the incompatibility of contemporary DNA data with their theory.
As the contorted arguments of the creationists demonstrate, the evidence for creationism is far inferior to that of evolution. Above all, creationism cannot be tested; it must be accepted on the basis of faith. This, however, poses an immediate problem for anyone who is not already convinced of the theory’s merit. With so many incompatible faith claims being made the world over, how is one to determine the reliability of creationism over the theories of, for example, Scientology. According to Scientologists, humans originate from a volcano into which aliens long ago inserted “souls.” Should a committed Scientologist confront the evidence of contemporary evolutionary theory, s/he might simply claim that the aliens in question have deceived scientists by strategically altering the fossil record. How is one to distinguish between this view and that of the creationists regarding dinosaurs, for example? There is no evidentiary criterion for making such a distinction. By contrast, contemporary evolutionary theory argues from the evidence of biology, chemistry, geology and paleontology, to name only a few fields.
Each of these areas of study come to independent conclusions regarding human and planetary history, all of which may be (and are) disputed by the other areas of study.
There is an ongoing, open-ended discussion, in which facts are multiply verified and also