Falsifiability of Creation

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Is Creation a falsifiable proposition? In the ongoing dispute between creationism and evolutionism, many have claimed that creation is also an unfalsifiable proposition, the same as is evolution. This is to say that creation is falsifiable, after all—because the Bible does indeed make multiple testable propositions, not one of which has yet been shown to be false.

Contents

Nature of the Bible

Main Article: Biblical criticism
The Bible purports, first of all, to be the very Word of God.[1]
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. II_Timothy 3:16 (KJV)

"Profitable" means that its use can profit its reader for certain things. "Doctrine" is the Greek diaskalia, teaching. "Reproof" means telling someone that he is wrong, while "correction" means setting the person on a straight path. Finally, "righteousness" does not mean "acting in a just manner" but rather "how to be sure that God has justified you," because no person can justify himself.[2]

The Bible, therefore, purports to be far more than a book written by mere men, and different men in different eras.

This very claim is falsifiable, in this way: If anyone can show definitely that any part of the Bible is inconsistent with any other part, then he has shown the Bible to be false. Many have claimed to show precisely that; none have succeeded to date. This is a key test of the Bible precisely because different scriveners set down different parts of it in different centuries, as archaeologists have shown by examining different manuscripts, including the Dead Sea Scrolls and others.

Specific claims

Ancient civilizations

The Bible mentions many ancient civilizations that no longer exist today. If any archaeologist can show that any of those ancient civilizations never existed, then the Bible is shown to be false. In the nineteenth century, many scoffers maintained that no such civilization as Assyria exists or existed. Then archaeologists discovered Nineveh, the ancient capital city of Assyria, and the first of many monuments of that civilization and many of its most prominent rulers.

Ancient prophesies

The Bible predicts many events centuries before those events came to pass. If any one of them did not come to pass exactly as predicted, then the Bible is shown to be false. Again, many have tried; all have failed. Many have suggested that the prophecies of the Bible were all written after-the-fact. This is false; the Dead Sea Scrolls contain manuscripts of many prophetic works, all of which predict events that have come to pass often centuries later. Never once in any such case has anyone shown that an event did not come to pass.

Historicity of Jesus

Main Article: Historicity of Jesus

Jesus Christ is the best-attested Figure in all of human history. If any part of His life did not take place as stated, then the Bible is false. No one has yet shown that the Bible misrepresents any part of Jesus' story.

More to the point, Prof. Peter Stoner at Westmont College once calculated the probability that any one man could, by sheer coincidence, fulfill forty-eight of the more than 400 prophecies about Jesus Christ, written centuries earlier. The probability turns out to be 10-157. That's a 1 followed by 157 zeroes. That's one in ten thousand quinquagintillion, according to the American system of large numbers--higher than the square of the estimated total number of electrons in the universe.

Is Creation Separable?

Creation as a concept is not separable from the rest of the Bible. The chief reason is that Jesus Himself attested to it, and attested to the Creation Week as consisting of six and no more than six (twenty-four-hour) days.

But the direct falsifiability of the Creation story, apart from the rest of the Bible, is closely related to another story: that of the Great Flood. Perhaps it is for this reason that the central focus of scientific skepticism of the Bible has been on falsifying the Great Flood. The nearest attempt to do so has always been the uniformitarianism propounded first by Sir Charles Lyell. But, as has been shown, Sir Charles' assertion that "the present is the key to the past" remains merely that: an assertion. The scientific establishment has attempted to back uniformitarianism (now slightly modified from Lyell's model, because Lyell assumed no "beginning of time") with tools like radiometric dating. Today the RATE Group at the Institute for Creation Research are conducting a key research program to re-examine the entire edifice of radiometric "date" for geologic strata.

In order to be falsifiable, a scientific theory must be able to make testable predictions. In many cases, the results of the prediction may already be known, but if this postdiction really does follow from the theory and is not ad hoc, then it is still a valid test. The prediction must also be able to distinguish between different theories. If two different theories both make the same prediction, testing the prediction and finding that it is true does not support one theory over the other.

  • The Bible records that God created living things to reproduce "after their kind", so creationism predicts that living things will not transform into nor mate with different types of creatures, and there will therefore be no continuum between different types of living things. Evolution, by contrast, should predict that there would not be distinct types of living things, because at some time there would have existed myriad "intermediate" forms that would be impossible to classify as one type or another. The very existence of Linnaean taxonomy demonstrates the existence of distinct types of living things, as per the creationist prediction.
  • The Bible records a world-wide flood, so creationism predicts that there would be world-wide evidence of large-scale sediments. The uniformitarian view, by contrast, proposes that only the processes that we see operating today operated in the past. We observe that sedimentary rocks make up at least 75% of the Earth's surface, and some sedimentary structures are so large that they be thousands of kilometres across,[3] far larger than any being formed today.
  • Creationary physicist Dr. Russell Humphreys has made a number of predictions based on his creationary views, with many of them being tested and supported. For example, in 1986 he predicted that we should find fossil magnetism showing reversals of Earth's magnetic field over periods of days or weeks. In 1989 paleomagnetists R.S. Coe M. and Prévot discovered evidence of Earth's magnetic field changing direction over a period of no more than 15 days.[4]

Extraterrestrial life

Main Article: Essay: Extraterrestrial Life and the Bible

If extraterrestrial civilizations are shown to exist or have existed, whether or not they are visiting or have ever visited the earth, then the Bible is shown to be false and the creation story unreliable. Carl Sagan and others have tried. None have shown extraterrestrial civilizations convincingly. Of all the exoplanets so far found (nearly 200), all have been gas giants, like Jupiter; none has even approximated the makeup of earth. However, this is because only larger gas giants have a significant effect that modern technology can detect. More stringently yet, the Sun lies in a "habitable zone" barely wider than the margin between its own periapsis and apoapsis with respect to the galaxy's core. Where an ET civilization is supposed to have come from is therefore more problematic than ever. There is no scientific consensus on the probability of extraterrestrial civilizations; the famous Drake equation, which approximates this probability, can have many possible values over a wide range.

References

  1. II_Timothy 3:16
  2. Romans 3:10
  3. Panel of the Geodynamics of Sedimentary Basins, National Research Council, The Dynamics of Sedimentary Basins The National Acadamies Press
  4. Snelling, Andrew, Fossil magnetism reveals rapid reversals of the earth’s magnetic field, Creation 13(3):46–50, June 1991
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