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Creation Science or scientific creationism is a branch of creationism which attempts to provide scientific support for the Genesis creation myth, and disprove generally accepted scientific facts, theories and scientific paradigms about the history of the Earth, cosmology and biological evolution. Its most vocal proponents are fundamentalist Christians in the United States who seek to prove Biblical inerrancy and nullify the scientific evidence for evolution. The main ideas in creation science are: the belief in "creation ex nihilo"; the conviction that the Earth was created within the last ten thousand years; the belief that mankind and other life on Earth were created as distinct fixed "baraminological" kinds; and the hypothesis that fossils found in geological strata were deposited during a cataclysmic flood which completely covered the entire Earth. As a result, creation science also challenges the geologic and astrophysical evidence for the age and origins of Earth and Universe, which creation scientists acknowledge are irreconcilable to the Genesis account. While creation science purports to be a genuinely scientific challenge to historical geology, the antiquity of the universe, and the theory of evolution (which creation science proponents often refer to as Darwinism or as Darwinian evolution), is a religious, not a scientific view. Creation science does not qualify as science because it lacks empirical support, supplies no tentative hypotheses, and resolves to describe natural history in terms of scientifically untestable supernatural causes.
The earliest creation science texts and curricula focused upon concepts derived from a literal interpretation of the Bible and were overtly religious in nature, most notably linking Noah's flood in the Biblical Genesis account to the geological and fossil record in a system termed "flood geology". These works attracted little notice beyond the schools and congregations of conservative fundamental and evangelical Christians until the 1970s when its followers challenged the teaching of evolution in the public schools and other venues in the United States, bringing it to the attention of the public-at-large and the scientific community. Many school boards and lawmakers were persuaded to include the teaching of creation science alongside Darwinian evolution in the science curriculum. Creation science texts and curricula used in churches and Christian schools were revised to eliminate their Biblical and theological references, and less explicitly sectarian versions of creation science education were introduced in public schools in Louisiana, Arkansas, and other regions in the United States.
The 1982 ruling in McLean v. Arkansas found that creation science fails to meet the essential characteristics of science and that its chief intent is to advance a particular religious view. The teaching of creation science in public schools in the United States effectively ended in 1987 following the United States Supreme Court decision in Edwards v. Aguillard. The court affirmed that a statute requiring the teaching of creation science alongside evolution when evolution is taught in Louisiana public schools was unconstitutional because its sole true purpose was to advance a particular religious belief.
Most creation science proponents hold fundamentalist or evangelical Christian beliefs in biblical literalism or biblical inerrancy, as opposed to the higher criticism supported by Liberal Christianity in the Fundamentalist-Modernist Controversy. However, there are also examples of Islamic and Jewish scientific creationism that conform to the accounts of creation as recorded in their religious doctrines.
Creation science rejects evolution's theory of the common descent of all living things on the Earth. Instead, it asserts that the field of evolutionary biology is itself pseudoscientific or even a religion. Creation scientists argue instead for a system called baraminology which considers the living world to be descended from uniquely created kinds or baramins.
Creation science incorporates the concept of catastrophism to account for Earth's geological formations. Creation scientists employ the concept to attempt to reconcile current landforms and fossil distributions with Biblical interpretations, proposing the remains resulted from successive cataclysmic events, such as a world wide flood and subsequent ice age. It rejects one of the fundamental principles of modern geology (and of modern science generally): uniformitarianism, which means applying the same physical and geological laws observed on the Earth today to interpret the Earth's geological history.
Sometimes creation scientists attack other scientific concepts, like the Big Bang cosmological model or methods of scientific dating which measure radioactive decay. The Young Earth Creationist branch of the creation scientists also rejects current estimates of the age of the Universe and the age of the Earth, arguing for creationist cosmologies with timescales much shorter than those determined by modern physical cosmology and geological science, typically less than 10,000 years. (See The objection that evolution's evidence is unreliable or inconsistent and RATE for details of the rejection.)
One young earth creationist concept proposed by D. Russell Humphreys, called "white hole cosmology", proposes that while the Earth has been in existence for only several thousand years, the universe has been in existence for billions of years even while God created them at the same time. The difference in time frames is explained as being due to the effects of relativity within a short span of time on Earth after the Earth's creation. This model places the Earth at or near the center of the Universe and inside a kind of white hole at the time it was created. This idea has been endorsed by the Institute for Creation Research and Answers in Genesis, but has been criticised by the scientific community for: failing to explain why that white hole no longer exists; badly mangling the standard general relativity treatment of gravitational time dilation (which would require a black hole, not a white hole for time to pass more rapidly far away from the Earth).
The scientific community has overwhelmingly rejected the ideas put forth in creation science as lying outside the boundaries of a legitimate science. (See also: List of scientific societies explicitly rejecting intelligent design.) The foundational premises underlying scientific creationism disqualify it as a science because the answers to all inquiry therein are preordained to conform to Bible doctrine, and because that inquiry is constructed upon theories which are not empirically testable in nature. Scientists also deem creation science's attacks against biological evolution to be without scientific merit. Those views of the scientific community were accepted in two significant court decisions in the 1980s which found the field of creation science to be a religious mode of inquiry, not a scientific one.
The doctrine of creation is a fundamental and ancient precept of many religious faiths. The Christian creation myth comes from the first two chapters of the Book of Genesis in the Bible, Christianity's holy scripture. It describes a six day creation of the Universe, all the plants and animals, and the first human beings, Adam and Eve. Since the earliest days of the Christian Church, its theologians and lay followers viewed their scriptures as religious truth while applying a variety of methods and approaches to their interpretation, including allegorical, literal, historical and contextual interpretations. The 5th century theologian Augustine of Hippo was the first to question how best to interpret the story, and adopted a naturalistic view of the events described. He accepted the Bible as religious truth but not scientific truth, and where biblical interpretations were at odds with known and observed facts in nature he concluded the fault lie with the interpretation. He asserted that it was wrong to interpret the creation story literally because to do so imparted meanings to the passages which put them in direct conflict with known certainties derived through reason and observation. He believed that the creation did not unfold over a typical solar day like those he experienced, so those passages were not to be read literally. Augustine concluded that Genesis described a derivative creation, a creation of simple semina rerum, or seed forms which develop gradually via forces and properties which are intrinsic in their nature. The work of many other leading Christian thinkers, such as medieval theologians Thierry of Chartres and Thomas Aquinas, also described the Genesis creation event as a derivative process.
Later theologians were often more hesitant to reject literal interpretations to resolve incongruities to reason and nature. A significant opponent to Augustine's gradualism was the 17th century theologian Francisco Suárez, who insisted the Genesis account was a literal depiction of a six day creation. Suárez and others within this school of thought rejected the naturalistic interpretation as a relic of pre-Christian pagan philosophy, and introduced in its place the doctrine of special creation. He delineated features of the scriptural passages as a sequence of explicit and complete stages of creation conducted over the course of six 24 hour days, and culminating in the creation of the world in its final form. Owing much to the influence of Catholic Suárez and his contemporary the English poet and Protestant John Milton, who used a similar interpretation of the creation event in Paradise Lost, the doctrine of special creation came to dominate western thought until the middle of the 19th century.
Both the derivative creationists and the special creationists were primarily concerned to answer questions about the relationship between God and humanity, and understanding the true nature of the natural world was secondary. These thinkers did not think of science and religion as separate and often competing truths—they viewed theological and philosophical intellectual thought as aligned with naturalistic and epistemological thought in one unified and internally consistent package. Even so many prominent theologians noted pitfalls when using the Bible to make scientific claims. Aquinas and John Calvin, for example, warned about looking to the Bible to understand astronomy. But it wasn't until the end of the 17th century that the learning from science and theology began to deviate sharply. As new discoveries in natural history expanded what was known and believed about the natural world, it became much more difficult to reconcile science with biblical literalism. Gaps widened as naturalists uncovered more and more identifiable species, and new findings in geology furnished the first strong scientific evidence that the Earth's age was far older than the estimates derived from biblical literalism, as detailed for instance in the Ussher chronology.
It was during this period, from the late 17th through the mid 19th centuries, that natural theology grew increasingly popular, with the view that Christian faith should be based on what can be rationally demonstrated, and the study of nature should reveal the intelligence, benevolence, and power of God. In a complex and lively debate over these various viewpoints including deism and materialism, several of the ideas put forward to explain these new discoveries about the natural world anticipated modern creationist arguments. For example, catastrophism attempted to reconcile geological findings showing an ancient Earth with the biblical flood. Various ideas about the transmutation of species were put forward, and although they conflicted with the doctrine of fixity of species (now known as "special creation") and were harshly condemned as a threat to the aristocratic social order and the established Church of England, by the 1840s they had wide public acceptance and were favored by liberal theologians, Unitarians and some Dissenters as well as by Freethinkers and atheists. After Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species was first published in 1859, the scientific establishment came to accept the common ancestry of all species, and by the 1900s evolution through descent with modification was widely accepted as the unifying principle of biological development.
The teaching of evolution was gradually introduced into more and more public high school textbooks in the United States after 1900, but in the aftermath of the First World War the growth of fundamentalist Christianity gave rise to a creationist opposition to such teaching. Legislation prohibiting the teaching of evolution was passed in certain regions, most notably Tennessee's Butler Act of 1925. The 1957 Soviet Union's space program successful space launch Sputnik sparked national concern that the science education in public schools was outdated. In 1958 the United States passed National Defense Education Act which introduced new education guidelines for science instruction. With federal grant funding, the Biological Sciences Curriculum Study (BSCS) drafted new standards for the public schools' science textbooks which included the teaching of evolution. Almost half the nation's high schools were using textbooks based on the guidelines of the BSCS soon after they were published in 1963. The Tennessee legislature did not repeal the Butler Act until 1967.
Creation science (dubbed Scientific Creationism at the time) emerged as an organized movement during the 1960s. It was strongly influenced by the earlier work of Canadian armchair geologist and Seventh-day Adventist George McCready Price who wrote works such as The New Geology to advance what he termed "new catastrophism" and dispute the current geological time frames and explanations of geologic history. Price's work was cited at the Scopes Trial of 1925, yet although he frequently solicited feedback from geologists and other scientists, they consistently disparaged his work. Price's "new catastrophism" also went largely unnoticed by other creationists until its revival with the 1961 publication of The Genesis Flood by Henry M. Morris and John C. Whitcomb, a work which quickly became an important text on the issue to fundamentalist Christians and expanded the field of creation science beyond critiques of geology into biology and cosmology as well. Soon after its publication, a movement was underway to have the subject taught in United States' public schools.
The various state laws prohibiting teaching of evolution were overturned in 1968 when the United States Supreme Court ruled in Epperson v. Arkansas such laws were unconstitutional. This inspired a new creationist movement to promote laws requiring that schools give balanced treatment to creation science when evolution is taught. The 1981 Arkansas Act 590 was one such law that carefully detailed the principles of creation science that were to receive equal time in public schools alongside evolutionary principles. The act defined creation science as follows:
"Creation science means the scientific evidences for creation and inferences from those evidences. Creation science includes the scientific evidences and related inferences that indicate:
This legislation was examined in McLean v. Arkansas, and the ruling handed down on January 5, 1982, concluded that creation-science as defined in the act "is simply not science". The judgement defined the following as essential characteristics of science:
The court ruled that creation science failed to meet these essential characteristics and identified specific reasons. After examining the key concepts from creation science, the court found:
The court further noted that no recognized scientific journal had published any article espousing the creation science theory as described in the Arkansas law, and stated that the testimony presented by defense attributing the absence to censorship was not credible.
In its ruling, the court wrote that for any theory to qualify as scientific, the theory must be tentative, and open to revision or abandonment as new facts come to light. It wrote that any methodology which begins with an immutable conclusion which cannot be revised or rejected, regardless of the evidence, is not a scientific theory. The court found that creation science does not culminate in conclusions formed from scientific inquiry, but instead begins with the conclusion, one taken from a literal wording of the Book of Genesis, and seeks only scientific evidence to support it.
The law in Arkansas adopted the same two-model approach as that put forward by the Institute for Creation Research (ICR), one allowing only two possible explanations for the origins of life and existence of man, plants and animals: it was either the work of a creator or it was not. Scientific evidence that failed to support the theory of evolution was posed as necessarily scientific evidence in support of creationism, but in its judgment the court ruled this approach to be no more than a "contrived dualism which has not scientific factual basis or legitimate educational purpose."
The decision was not appealed to a higher court, but had a powerful influence on subsequent rulings. Louisiana's 1982 Balanced Treatment for Creation-Science and Evolution-Science in Public School Instruction Act (Balanced Treatment Act), authored by State Senator Bill P. Keith of Shreveport, judged in the 1987 United States Supreme Court case Edwards v. Aguillard, and was handed a similar ruling. It found the law to require the balanced teaching of creation science with evolution had a particular religious purpose and was therefore unconstitutional.
In 1984, The Mystery of Life's Origin was first published. It was co-authored by chemist and creationist Charles B. Thaxton with Walter L. Bradley and Roger L. Olsen, the foreword written by Dean H. Kenyon, and sponsored by the Christian based Foundation for Thought and Ethics (FTE). The work presented scientific arguments against current theories of abiogenesis and offered an hypothesis of special creation instead. While the focus of creation science had until that time centered primarily on the criticism of the fossil evidence for evolution and validation of the creation myth of the Bible, this new work posed the question whether science reveals that even the simplest living systems were far too complex to have developed by natural, unguided processes..
Kenyon later co-wrote with creationist Percival Davis a book intended as a "scientific brief for creationism" to use as a supplement to public high school biology textbooks. Thaxton was enlisted as the book's editor, and the book received publishing support from the FTE. Prior to its release, the 1987 Supreme Court ruling in Edwards v. Aguillard barred the teaching of creation science and creationism in public school classrooms. The book, originally titled Biology and Creation but renamed Of Pandas and People, was released in 1989 and became the first published work to promote the anti-evolutionist design argument under the name intelligent design. The contents of the book later became a focus of evidence in the federal court case, Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District, when parents filed suit to halt the teaching of intelligent design in Dover, Pennsylvania public schools. School board officials there had attempted to include Of Pandas and People in their biology classrooms and testimony given during the trial revealed the book was originally written as a creationist text but following the adverse decision in the Supreme court it underwent simple cosmetic editing to remove the explicit allusions to "creation" or "creator", and replace them instead with references to "design" or "designer".
By the mid 1990s, Intelligent design had become a separate movement. The creation science movement is distinguished from the intelligent design movement, or neo-creationism, because most advocates of creation science accept scripture as a literal and inerrant historical account, and their primary goal is to corroborate the scriptural account through the use of science. In contrast, as a matter of principle, neo-creationism eschews references to scripture altogether in its polemics and stated goals (see Wedge strategy). By so doing, intelligent design proponents have attempted to succeed where creation science has failed in securing a place in public school science curricula. Carefully avoiding any reference to the identity of the intelligent designer as God in their public arguments, intelligent design proponents sought to reintroduce the creationist ideas into science classrooms while sidestepping the First Amendment's prohibition against religious infringement. However, the intelligent design curriculum was struck down as a violation of the Establishment Clause in Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District, the judge in the case ruling "that ID is nothing less than the progeny of creationism".
Today, creation science as an organized movement is primarily centered within the United States. However, creation science organizations are known in other countries, most notably Creation Ministries International which was founded (under the name Creation Science Foundation) in Australia. Proponents are usually aligned with a Christian denomination, primarily with those characterized as evangelical, conservative, or fundamentalist. While creationist movements also exist in Islam and Judaism, these movements do not use the phrase creation science to describe their beliefs.
Creation science has its roots in the work of young-earth creationist George McCready Price disputing modern science's account of natural history, focusing particularly on geology and its concept of uniformitarianism, and his efforts instead to furnish an alternative empirical explanation of observable phenomena which was compatible with strict Biblical literalism. Price's work was later discovered by civil engineer and Gideon Henry Morris, who is now considered to be the father of creation science. Morris and later creation scientists expanded the scope with attacks against the broad spectrum scientific findings that point to the antiquity of the Universe and common ancestry among species, including growing body of evidence from the fossil record, absolute dating techniques, and cosmogony.
The proponents of creation science often say that they are concerned with religious and moral questions as well as natural observations and predictive hypotheses. Many state that their opposition against scientific evolution is primarily based on religion.
The overwhelming majority of scientists are in agreement that the claims of science are necessarily limited to those that develop from natural observations and experiments which can be replicated and substantiated by other scientists, and that claims made by creation science do not meet those criteria. Duane Gish, a prominent creation science proponent, has similarly claimed, "We do not know how the Creator [sic] created, what processes He used, for He used processes which are not now operating anywhere in the natural universe. This is why we refer to creation as special creation. We cannot discover by scientific investigation anything about the creative processes used by the Creator." But Gish also makes the same claim against science's evolutionary theory, maintaining that on the subject of origins, scientific evolution is a religious theory which cannot be validated by science.
Creation science makes the a priori metaphysical assumption that there exists a creator of the life whose origin is being examined. Christian creation science holds that the description of creation is given in the Bible and that empirical scientific evidence corresponds with that description. Creation scientists also view the preclusion of all supernatural explanations within the sciences as a doctrinaire commitment to exclude the supreme being and miracles. They claim this to be the motivating factor in science's acceptance of Darwinism, a term used in creation science to refer to evolutionary biology which is also often used as a disparagement. Critics consider creation science to be religious rather than scientific because it stems from faith in a religious text rather than by the application of the scientific method. The United States National Academy of Sciences (NAS) has noted, "Religious opposition to evolution propels antievolutionism. Although antievolutionists pay lip service to supposed scientific problems with evolution, what motivates them to battle its teaching is apprehension over the implications of evolution for religion."
Creation science advocates argue that scientific theories of the origins of the universe, Earth, and life are rooted in a priori presumptions of methodological naturalism and Uniformitarianism, each of which is disputed. In some areas of science such as chemistry, meteorology or medicine, creation science proponents do not challenge the application of naturalistic or uniformitarian assumptions. Traditionally, creation science advocates have singled out those scientific theories judged to be in conflict with held religious beliefs, and it is against those theories that they concentrate their efforts.
Fideists criticize creation science on theological grounds, asserting either that religious faith alone should be a sufficient basis for belief in the truth of creation, or that efforts to prove the Genesis account of creation on scientific grounds are inherently futile because reason is subordinate to faith and cannot thus be used to prove it.
Many Christian theologies, including Liberal Christianity, consider the Genesis creation myth to be a poetic and allegorical work rather than a literal history, and many Christian churches – including the Roman Catholic, Anglican and the more liberal denominations of the Lutheran, Methodist, Congregationalist and Presbyterian faiths – have either rejected creation science outright or are ambivalent to it.
Theistic evolution and evolutionary creationism are theologies that reconcile belief in a creator with biological evolution. Each holds the view that there is a creator but that this creator has employed the natural force of evolution to unfold a divine plan. Religious representatives from faiths compatible with theistic evolution and evolutionary creationism have challenged the growing perception that belief in a creator is inconsistent with the acceptance of evolutionary theory. Spokespersons from the Catholic Church have specifically criticized biblical creationism for relying upon literal interpretations of biblical scripture as the basis for determining scientific fact.
|Scriptures contain an accurate literal account of the origin of the universe, Earth, life, and humanity.|
|Related scientific disciplines|
|Anthropology, Biology, Geology, Astronomy|
|George McCready Price, Henry M. Morris, and John C. Whitcomb|
|Institute for Creation Research, Answers in Genesis|
The United States National Academy of Sciences states that "creation science is in fact not science and should not be presented as such." and that "the claims of creation science lack empirical support and cannot be meaningfully tested." According to Skeptic, the "creation 'science' movement gains much of its strength through the use of distortion and scientifically unethical tactics" and "seriously misrepresents the theory of evolution."
For any hypothesis or conjecture to be considered scientific, it must meet at least most, but ideally all, of the above criteria. The fewer which are matched, the less scientific it is. If it meets two or fewer of these criteria, it cannot be treated as scientific in any useful sense of the word.
Scientists have considered the hypotheses proposed by creation science and have rejected them because of a lack of evidence. Furthermore, the claims of creation science do not refer to natural causes and cannot be subject to meaningful tests, so they do not qualify as scientific hypotheses. In 1987, the United States Supreme Court ruled that creationism is religion, not science, and cannot be advocated in public school classrooms. Most major religious groups have concluded that the concept of evolution is not at odds with their descriptions of creation and human origins.
A summary of the objections to creation science by scientists follows:
By invoking claims of "abrupt appearances" and other miraculous acts creation science is unsuited for the tools and methods demanded by science, and it cannot be considered scientific in the way that the term "science" is currently defined.
Historically, the debate of whether creationism is compatible with science can be traced back to 1874, the year science historian John William Draper published his History of the Conflict between Religion and Science. In it Draper portrayed the entire history of scientific development as a war against religion. This presentation of history was propagated further by followers such as Andrew Dickson White in his essay A History of the Warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom. Their conclusions have been disputed.
In the United States, the principal focus of creation science advocates is on the government-supported public school systems, which are prohibited by the Establishment Clause from promoting specific religions (see Edwards v. Aguillard).
Subjects within creation science can be split into three main categories, each covering a different area of origins' research: creation biology, flood geology, and creationist cosmologies. These subjects correspond to the scientific disciplines of evolutionary biology, earth sciences and cosmology respectively. Other topics include planetology and geophysics (including radiometric dating and radiohaloes).
Creation biology centers around an idea derived from Genesis that states that life was created by God, in a finite number of "created kinds", rather than through biological evolution from a common ancestor. Creation scientists consider that any observable speciation descends from these distinctly created kinds through inbreeding, deleterious mutations and other genetic mechanisms. Whereas evolutionary biologists and creation scientists share similar views of microevolution, creation scientists disagree that the process of macroevolution can explain common ancestry among organisms far beyond the level of common species. Creationists contend that there is no empirical evidence for new plant or animal species, and deny fossil evidence has ever been found documenting the process.
Popular arguments against evolution have changed since the publishing of Henry M. Morris's first book on the subject, Scientific Creationism in October 1974, but some consistent themes remain: that missing links or gaps in the fossil record are proof against evolution; that the increased complexity of organisms over time through evolution is not possible due to the law of increasing entropy; that it is impossible that the mechanism of natural selection could account for common ancestry; and that evolutionary theory is untestable. The origin of the human species is particularly hotly contested; the fossil remains of purported hominid ancestors are not considered by advocates of creation biology to be evidence for a speciation event involving Homo sapiens.
Biologists challenge creation scientists who claim the fossil evidence disproves evolution. Richard Dawkins has explained evolution as "a theory of gradual, incremental change over millions of years, which starts with something very simple and works up along slow, gradual gradients to greater complexity", and described the existing fossil record as entirely consistent with that process. Biologists emphasize that transitional gaps between those fossils recovered are to be expected, that the existence of any such gaps cannot be invoked to disprove evolution, and that instead the fossil evidence that could be used to disprove the theory would be those fossils which are found and which are entirely inconsistent with what can be predicted or anticipated by the evolutionary model. One example given by Dawkins was, "If there were a single hippo or rabbit in the Precambrian, that would completely blow evolution out of the water. None have ever been found."
Flood geology is a concept based on the belief that most of Earth's geological record was formed by the Great Flood described in the story of Noah's ark. Fossils and fossil fuels are believed to have formed from animal and plant matter which was buried rapidly during this flood, while submarine canyons are explained as having formed during a rapid runoff from the continents at the end of the flood. Sedimentary strata are also claimed to have been predominantly laid down during or after Noah's flood and orogeny. Flood geology is a variant of catastrophism and is contrasted with geological science in that it rejects standard geological principles such as uniformitarianism and radiometric dating. For example, the Creation Research Society argues that "uniformitarianism is wishful thinking."
Geologists conclude that no evidence for such a flood is observed in the preserved rock layers and moreover that such a flood is physically impossible, given the current layout of land masses. For instance, since Mount Everest currently is approximately 8.8 kilometres in elevation and the Earth's surface area is 510,065,600 km², the volume of water required to cover Mount Everest to a depth of 15 cubits (6.8 m), as indicated by Genesis 7:20, would be 4.6 billion cubic kilometres. Measurements of the amount of precipitable water vapor in the atmosphere have ranged between zero and approximately 70mm, depending on the measurement date and location. Nevertheless, there continue to be many adherents to flood geology, and in recent years new theories have been introduced such as catastrophic plate tectonics and catastrophic orogeny.
Several attempts have been made by creationists to construct a cosmology consistent with a young universe rather than the standard cosmological age of the universe, based on the belief that Genesis describes the creation of the universe as well as the Earth. The primary challenge for young-universe cosmologies is that the accepted distances in the universe require millions or billions of years for light to travel to Earth (the starlight problem). An older creationist idea, proposed by creationist astronomer Barry Setterfield, is that the speed of light has decayed in the history of the universe. More recently, creationist physicist Russell Humphreys has proposed a theory called "white hole cosmology" which suggests that the universe expanded out of a white hole less than 10,000 years ago; the apparent age of the universe results from relativistic effects. Humphreys' theory is advocated by creationist organisations such as Answers in Genesis; however because the predictions of Humphreys' cosmology conflict with current well-established observations, it is not accepted by the scientific community.
Cosmology is not as widely discussed as creation biology or flood geology, for several reasons. First, many creationists, particularly old earth creationists and intelligent design theorists, do not dispute that the universe may be billions of years old. Also, a number of creationists who believe that life was created in the timeframe described in a literal interpretation of Genesis are open to the possibility that there may have been multiple cataclysms and creations, or a lifeless Earth, prior to the Edenic creation.
Various items of evidence are claimed by creationists to prove that the age of the solar system is of the order of thousands of years (in contrast to the scientifically accepted age of 4.6 billion years). Commonly used arguments relate to the numbers of comets and the recession of the moon from the Earth, and have been thoroughly refuted by planetologists.
In response to increasing evidence suggesting that Mars once possessed a wetter climate, some creation scientists have proposed that the global flood affected not only the Earth but also Mars and other planets. People who support this claim include creationist astronomer Wayne Spencer and creationist cosmologist Russell Humphreys.
An ongoing problem for creationists is the presence of impact craters on nearly all solar system objects, which is consistent with scientific explanations of solar system origins but creates insuperable problems for young Earth claims. Creationists Harold Slusher and Richard Mandock, along with Glenn Morton (who later repudiated this claim) asserted that impact craters on the moon are subject to rock flow, and so cannot be more than a few thousand years old. While some creationist astronomers assert that different phases of meteoritic bombardment of the solar system occurred during creation week and during the subsequent Great Flood, others regard this as unsupported by the evidence and call for further research.
Young Earth creationists make a number of claims in the field of geophysics, mostly related to flood geology and the age of the Earth. The overwhelming scientific consensus is that these claims have no scientific basis.
Creationists point to experiments they have performed, which they claim demonstrate that 1.5 billion years of nuclear decay took place over a short period of time, from which they infer that "billion-fold speed-ups of nuclear decay" have occurred, a massive violation of the principle that radioisotope decay rates are constant, a core principle underlying nuclear physics generally, and radiometric dating in particular.
The scientific community points to numerous flaws in the creationists' experiments, to the fact that their results have not been accepted for publication by any peer-reviewed scientific journal, and to the fact that the creationist scientists conducting them were untrained in experimental geochronology.
The constancy of the decay rates of isotopes is well supported in science. Evidence for this constancy includes the correspondences of date estimates taken from different radioactive isotopes as well as correspondences with non-radiometric dating techniques such as dendrochronology, ice core dating, and historical records. Although scientists have noted slight increases in the decay rate for isotopes subject to extreme pressures, those differences were too small to significantly impact date estimates. The constancy of the decay rates is also governed by first principles in quantum mechanics, wherein any deviation in the rate would require a change in the fundamental constants. According to these principles, a change in the fundamental constants could not influence different elements uniformly, and a comparison between each of the elements' resulting unique chronological timescales would then give inconsistent time estimates.
In refutation of young-Earth claims of inconstant decay rates affecting the reliability of radiometric dating, Roger C. Wiens, a physicist specializing in isotope dating states:
There are only three quite technical instances where a half-life changes, and these do not affect the dating methods [under discussion]:
- Only one technical exception occurs under terrestrial conditions, and this is not for an isotope used for dating. ... The artificially-produced isotope, beryllium-7 has been shown to change by up to 1.5%, depending on its chemical environment. ... [H]eavier atoms are even less subject to these minute changes, so the dates of rocks made by electron-capture decays would only be off by at most a few hundredths of a percent.
- ... Another case is material inside of stars, which is in a plasma state where electrons are not bound to atoms. In the extremely hot stellar environment, a completely different kind of decay can occur. 'Bound-state beta decay' occurs when the nucleus emits an electron into a bound electronic state close to the nucleus. ... All normal matter, such as everything on Earth, the Moon, meteorites, etc. has electrons in normal positions, so these instances never apply to rocks, or anything colder than several hundred thousand degrees. ...
- The last case also involves very fast-moving matter. It has been demonstrated by atomic clocks in very fast spacecraft. These atomic clocks slow down very slightly (only a second or so per year) as predicted by Einstein's theory of relativity. No rocks in our solar system are going fast enough to make a noticeable change in their dates.
In the 1970s, young Earth creationist Robert V. Gentry proposed that radiohaloes in certain granites represented evidence for the Earth being created instantaneously rather than gradually. This idea has been criticized by physicists and geologists on many grounds including that the rocks Gentry studied were not primordial and that the radionuclides in question need not have been in the rocks initially.
Thomas A. Baillieul, a geologist and retired senior environmental scientist with the United States Department of Energy, disputed Gentry's claims in an article entitled,"Polonium Haloes" Refuted: A Review of "Radioactive Halos in a Radio-Chronological and Cosmological Perspective". Baillieul noted that Gentry was a physicist with no background in geology and given the absence of this background, Gentry had misrepresented the geological context from which the specimens were collected. Additionally, he noted that Gentry relied on research from the beginning of the 20th century, long before radioisotopes were thoroughly understood; that his assumption that a Polonium isotope caused the rings was speculative; and that Gentry falsely argued that the half-life of radioactive elements varies with time. Gentry claimed that Baillieul could not publish his criticisms in a reputable scientific journal, although some of Baillieul's criticisms rested on work previously published in reputable scientific journals.