by Jay Johansen | Nov 11, 2020
Creationism is not "science". An essential element of science is the willingness to follow the evidence wherever it leads. But the creationist starts out with a conclusion: the universe was created by God as described in the book of Genesis. The creationist wants to believe that there is a God and the Bible is true. He then looks for evidence to validate this pre-conceived conclusion.
Likewise, the search for extraterrestial intelligence (SETI) is not science. Almost everyone involved in SETI wants to believe that there is intelligent alien life out there. They start out with the conclusion that there is such intelligence, and then look for evidence to validate this pre-conceived conclusion.
Medical research is not science. The medical researcher starts out with the conclusion that this disease is curable. He wants to find a cure for this disease. He then looks for evidence to validate this pre-conceived conclusion.
Evolution is not science. Evolutionists start out with the conclusion that the universe originated without help from any "god". Most evolutionists want to believe that there is no God and that the universe can be understood in purely mechanistic terms. They then look for evidence to validate this pre-conceived conclusion.
Indeed, by the same reasoning, most of what we call "science" isn't really science. The people involved want to believe that it is possible to predict earthquakes, or to travel to the stars, or to produce energy without causing pollution, or that there are a small number of fundamental sub-atomic particles, or whatever. They then look for evidence to validate this pre-conceived conclusion. It is very rare for a so-called "scientist" to approach a subject with a totally blank slate, to have no pre-conceived ideas about what he thinks the results of his research might be, and no hopes that it might turn out to be something useful or interesting or even wonderful.
So seriously now, the original assertion, that if someone researchers a subject with an idea in his head that he hopes that the result of his studies will be X means that this research is not "science", this leads to a ridiculous conclusion. If we applied this definition across the board, we would have to conclude that there is no such thing as science, because almost no scientist meets this condition of a total blank slate on approaching the subject.
Yes, it is certainly true that most creationists start out wanting to believe the Bible and look for evidence to back up this belief. Just as it is equally certainly true that most evolutionists start out wanting to believe that there is no God and that the idea of God is unnecessary to explain the universe.
There are, I don't doubt, some number of people who started out believing in God or wanting to believe in God, who looked at the evidence, and concluded that there is no God. Just as there are people who started out believing there was no God, looked at the evidence, and concluded that there must be a God.
And just by the way, it's not suprising that people can look at the evidence honestly, evaluate it fairly, and come to opposite conclusions. Honest, intelligent people have come to opposite conclusions about many things. Scientists have competing theories about many things. Sometimes this is because a person gets an idea in his head and refuses to give it up despite the evidence. But often it is because the real world is complicated and rational arguments can be made for both sides.
Personally, I was taught evolution in school, and I concluded that the Bible could not be true. But then someone gave me a book about scientific creation theory -- I don't remember who gave it to me -- and that led me to read more, and I eventually concluded that the evidence for creation was much stronger than the evidence for evolution. I became a creationist on the weight of the evidence, not because of pre-conceived ideas or because I wanted to believe it. The same is true for many of the leading creationists in the world today.
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