Friday, July 17, 2009

Why Creationism is False Even Though it is not Falsifiable

This is from a debate with a creationist.

> The basic idea in creationism is that life was created,
> an idea which is falsifiable as you require of a
> scientific idea yet you say creationism is not
> scientific.


What specific scientific discovery could be made today that would falsify Biblical creationism?

Example for evolution: a mammalian fossil found in Precambrian rock.

For all I know, as I write this a paleontologist could be digging up a Precambrian rock containing such a fossil.

Where is your specific example that could be made today that would falsify Biblical creationism?

> Above you say that creationism is a false idea...

Of course it is!

Unless you would prefer the alternative explanation: a deceptive God.

> ...indicating that you agree that it is not only
> falsifiable but that it has been falsified...

It's more that evolution has been so well confirmed that all other alternatives can be discarded.

Let me use my favorite analogy again.

Many centuries ago, eclipses (both lunar and solar) were thought to be supernatural messages from the gods indicating an impending significant historical event. For example the death of the Biblical King Herod was preceded by a lunar eclipse.

That idea that eclipses are messages portending a significant event is not really a falsifiable hypothesis. When an eclipse happens, you'll pretty much always find something that can be called "significant" occurring somewhere on Earth, especially when no time frame is given for that event.

Yet you could call the idea that eclipses are messages from the gods of impending events to be false. I don't know of anyone who still believes that.

So what happened?

Why is an idea that can't be falsified ultimately considered to be false by all rational people?

What happened is that an alternative naturalistic explanation was discovered. That naturalistic explanation made PREDICTIONS. Each prediction was falsifiable and therefore the naturalistic explanation was falsifiable. As that naturalistic explanation passed test after test after test, people naturally became more and more confident that the naturalistic explanation was the most valid explanation. Eventually the old idea of supernatural warnings was considered false by everyone even though it wasn't really directly falsifiable.

Such it is with evolution and creationism. Evolution has passed potentially falsifiable test afterpotentially falsifiable test for 150 years. So all rational people consider it to be valid. That means that all competing theories are necessarily false.

Those competing theories that are necessarily false include Biblical creationism.

But that doesn't mean that Biblical creationism is falsifiable as with a real scientific hypothesis.

> ...but of course you can provide no data or
> experimental evidence to this.

In fact there is NO scientific evidence supporting creationism.

That complete lack of evidence, by itself, would convince rational people that creationism is false.

Another one of my favorite examples: finding an out-of-place fossil (such as a kangaroo or a New Worldmonkey) around Mt. Ararat in Turkey would be compelling evidence in favor of the flood account in the Bible. Conditions immediately after the flood - with all of the probable mud slides, tide pools, etc. - would have been ideal for fossilization. Since specimens of all animals were [supposedly] located there immediately after the flood, it would seem to be a strong possibility that such a fossil might be found in that area.

The fact that no such fossil has been found does not immediately falsify creationism, but it means that one opportunity for supporting evidence to be found has been missed.

Eventually when opportunity after opportunity after opportunity for confirming evidence is missed, rational people become skeptical even though any particular failed opportunity doesn't falsify it.

I'm watching a golf tournament as I write this. A comparable example would be someone who said that they were a good golfer. You take them out once and they don't play well. They might say that they had a sore back.Then you take then out again and they play badly and they make some other complaint. While each event by itself doesn't necessarily falsify the claim, eventually any rational person would say - this hypothesis is false. The person who says that he is a good golfer is lying.

Such it is with creationism. There is NO supporting evidence for it despite the fact that there are many opportunities for such evidence. At some point all rational people stop believing in creationism because it has NEVER met a single opportunity for positive supporting evidence.

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