It’s still a theory none the less, and it wasn’t a completed theory.  If evolution can be taught, so can creationism.  You don’t have to follow and organized “religion” to believe in creationism.

Okay, boo, I’mma break it down for you like this. 

1) Creationism refers to the idea that someone or something out in the ether of the universe purposefully created life and everything we know down on earth. While a specific denominational affiliation isn’t necessary for religious beliefs or spirituality, the very idea of creationism specifically necessitates belief in a god/goddess type figure who “intelligently designs” the universe and all contained within. These belief systems are typically what are classified as “religion”.

2) Creationists love to harp on the “Theory” part of evolution, and this largely comes from a complete and total misunderstanding of the word “Theory” – Namely that the word “theory” is no more than an idea, or more pertaining to this definition:

A supposition or a system of ideas intended to explain something, esp. one based on general principles independent of the thing to be explained


A set of principles on which the practice of an activity is based

In terms of a SCIENTIFIC Theory, things get a bit more complicated. A Scientific theory comes in to being in pretty much the same way every time. Based on a previously verified body of scientific law (such as Gravity, or Thermodynamics) and abstractions of observable phenomena, a scientific theory comes together by conforming said theory to available empirical data (see, observable phenomena based on an understanding of previously verified scientific laws and data). Stephen Hawking does a phenomenal job of explaining this  by saying:

“A theory is a good theory if it satisfies two requirements: It must accurately describe a large class of observations on the basis of a model that contains only a few arbitrary elements, and it must make definite predictions about the results of future observations.” – A Brief History of Time

Remember in school when you had to make an observation such as “Sugar melts in my coffee”, then you make a hypothesis such as “Sugar melts in my coffee because it’s hot” and then you prove it by pouring sugar in your hot coffee and watching it melt – after this you pour your sugar in cold coffee and note that it doesn’t melt. from this verifiable and repeatable scientific experiment, you can postulate the theory, officially, that “sugar melts in my coffee because it is hot” and you can back it up with the evidence of your observations and studies. This is exactly how a scientific theory comes in to existence.

The thing where most creationists get it wrong is an understanding of evolutionary science. Most creationists envision poor old, deluded Charles Darwin, long white hair and beard flowing in the wind, toppling over lizards and crustaceans as he shambles about the Galapagos islands, the hot tropical sun slowly cooking his brain until one day he blurts out “The Origin of Species” and dupes the entire scientific community into blindly following him like some kind of evolutionary pied piper and now we’re all doomed to hell for believing him, and this is where our understanding of evolution ends and we all just take this one book’s word for it on how it all happened. (oops, wait, see what i did there?)

That impression couldnt’ be further from the truth. The big key words in this discussion are the following: EMPIRICAL DATA and OBSERVABLE PHENOMENA. Don’t get it twisted and think that evolution is supposed to be some weird, random thing that evolutionary science thinks was done ages ago. Evolution occurs over a period of time in incremental changes that are, especially these days, measurable. What do you think it is when people breed two dogs together to get a specific kind of other dog? What do you think it is when two parents have a certain trait and that trait is passed on to their children? These are all observable phenomena related to evolution. 

3) The other big pitfall that creationists get into is that ANY lack of complete evidence within evolution is automatically chalked up to jesusmagic. Creationists like to talk about the “Missing link” between the big bang and modern society, or more specifically how we have monkeys and we have humans, but where are the half-human-half-monkeys?!

The lack of intermediary evidence, such as the supposed “missing link” (despite the discovery of pre-erect walking mammals and post-erect walking mammals but no specific discovery of the mammal who first went “HEY WAIT A MINUTE!!!!!! LOOK AT THIS GUYSE!”) is not proof for the alternative “theory” (i’m being very gracious using that word for creationism, as it’s only “observable phenomena” to date is millions of people believing in it because it was written in a book that’s been around for a while) (this is akin to people 1000 years from now believing vampires walked the earth because of Anne Rice).

To clear up any confusion from that sentence, lets say this again: Just because the steps leading up to the missing link have been found, and the steps AFTER the missing link have been found, does NOT mean that the default conclusion to reach when unable to find the missing link is “oh! Jesus.” It is particularly laughable to reach this conclusion when the alternative theory has presented no evidence of itself, other than textual knowledge contained within a leather bound and gilded book on your study’s shelf or crammed into the pew in front of you. 

The conclusion to all of this is as follows: Believe what you want, but denying scientific data (or chalking scientific data up to satan confusing you, thanks sarah palin!) is nothing short of foolhardy, because this scientific data is gleaned from intense study of how things work, occur and influence our day to day life on a molecular, biological and social level. The Theory of Evolution is called as such because it is backed up and supported by intense scientific study, not just by scientists that could be claimed to have a “bias”, and has ultimately to be found more or less true, pending further research and greater understanding that is held in the future for humanity as our understanding and technology progress. 

No, you don’t have to be religious to believe in creationism, but you do have to be foolish to think that evolutionary theory is nothing more than a halfbaked, anti-god idea.

{EDIT}: an Important addendum to this, thanks to velocicrafter, is to realize that if you want to teach the christian creation myth in school, then it’s not the ONLY creation myth you can teach. For one thing, Creationism and Evolution aren’t even remotely equatable (see the observable and verifiable evidence thinger above) and so if time is going to be taken to teach an unverifiable, religion based idea of how the universe came in to being, then EVERY unverifiable, religion based idea of how the universe came in to being. 

About Janet Morris

I'm from Huntsville, Alabama. I've got as many college credits as a doctorate candidate, and the GPA of some of them, too. I have a boss by the name of Amy Pond. She's a dachshund. My parents both grew up in Alabama.