The only thing that creationists agree on is that they don’t like evolution. Even Genesis gives two contradictory accounts of creation

If someone tells you that creationism provides a better explanation for life on Earth than the theory of evolution, ask them which version of creationism.

Among creationists, there is an extraordinary range of beliefs about how life came to be. A few creationists accept that evolution produced the great diversity of life on Earth – apart from humans. Others think all life evolved but that the process was guided by a supernatural being.

Other creationists accept that evolution can lead to minor changes (microevolution) but deny that lots of little changes can result in new species or even new groups of organisms (macroevolution). Some think a deity created the very first life but then left it to evolve by itself.

Then there’s the vexed issue of timing. “Young Earth Creationists” regard the Genesis account as “inerrant” despite its contradictions (see Evolution is wrong because the Bible is inerrant), and claim the planet was created about 6000 years ago. “Old Earth Creationists” meanwhile accept the hundreds of lines of evidence suggesting otherwise.

God, amok

This schism is just the beginning. Some don’t dispute the earth’s apparent age but believe it is an illusion (the omphalos hypothesis, which some summarise as “God faked it”). Yet others claim that the planet itself is billions of years old but that life on it was created only recently.

Creationists do at least all believe in a creator. But who is it: God, Allah, Yahweh, Brahma, Zeus, Olorunaliens or a giant hermaphrodite?

Those who have studied our planet and the life on it, however, have come to very clear conclusions: the Earth is around 4 billion years old and all the life on it gradually evolved from much simpler forms. There is no evidence of any kind of outside intervention, and no need to invoke it to explain what is known. Yes, there are many debates among biologists, geologists and cosmologists over the finer details, but these will be resolved sooner or later by new discoveries or experiments. Reality is the ultimate arbiter.

By contrast, there is no way to resolve the often vast differences between the numerous forms of creationism. Anyone can come up with their own version of creationism (and many do). How do you convince the followers of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, for instance, that his noodle is not the real creator?


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