2. How Successful is Creationism?

As stated previously, creationism is a total failure as a science. Even religious scientists don't bother trying to create actual formal scientific theories of creationism, because they know there is no such thing. You could not even express the idea of creationism in the form of a scientific theory; what would you describe as the controlling mechanism? God? How would you define the behaviour of this controlling mechanism? Despite what some creationists may tell you, creationism has zero credibility in science.

Politics, however, is a different story. The following figures are from a Gallup Poll taken of Americans on February 19-21, 2001:

Human beings have developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God guided this process. 37%
Human beings have developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God had no part in this process. 12%
God created human beings pretty much in their current form at one time within the last 10,000 years 45%
Other/Undecided 6%

This is not a typographical error; nearly half of Americans actually believe that the Earth is less than ten thousand years old and that humans were created by God rather than evolving from primitive primates. Or to put it another way, despite their own lack of formal scientific education, almost half of the general population has decided that in their eminently qualified judgment, every major scientific body in the world and more than 99% of individual scientists are completely wrong.

Three questions come to mind: first, we must ask how someone can seriously believe in such a young Earth, when literally every scientific dating method known to mankind says otherwise. Second, we must ask how someone can seriously deny any hereditary connection between apes and men, when we are so similar in so many ways. And finally, we must ask how almost half of the general public came to be so contemptuous of scientists that they think the scientists' years of grueling study and even entire lifetimes of hard work and dedication can be equaled (or even surpassed) by simply browsing the Internet. No classes, no exams, no assignments, no lab work, just browsing the Internet!

Certainly, if you knew someone who was about to undergo open-heart surgery, you would not browse the Internet in search of surgical techniques and then attempt to perform the operation yourself! And if you found a website written by someone with no formal medical background which claimed that open-heart surgery was a fraud, you would not be inclined to take it seriously. Yet most critics of science believe they are capable of doing something very much akin to that: attempting to learn entire complex fields of science with nothing more than some Internet browsing (which often amounts to literally no more than a few hours of reading), and then declaring that all of the experts are totally wrong.

In any case, regardless of the complex social patterns which may have led to such breathtaking contempt for the complexity of science and the value of academic study, politicians have proven far more amenable to creationism than scientists ever will be. In August 1999, the Kansas state board of education removed evolution from its education curriculum. Opinion polls reported by CNN suggested that an astonishing two thirds of Americans believed creationism should be taught alongside evolution in school, as a competing scientific theory.

And this is by no means an isolated example. A Louisana law requiring that creation theory be taught alongside evolution theory was not struck down until 1987. In March 1999, the Tennessee state assembly voted on a bill that would require schools to fire teachers who "present evolution as a scientific fact". In February 1999, the school board in Hall County, Georgia ruled that teachers must present theories "other than evolution" to their students. Beginning in the 2000 school year, all science textbooks in Alabama must carry a disclaimer stating that evolution is a "controversial theory", which is only supported by "some scientists." School boards in Washington State and Ohio are considering the adoption of a "textbook" called "Of Pandas and People", which espouses creationist theories regarding the development of our biosystem.

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