Creationism: What It Is And Why It Causes Controversy

In some regions, this doctrine is stronger than the scientific explanation of the world.


Since the dawn of humanity, humans have tried to explain their presence in the world. Where we come from, where we are going, how we have come to be what we are or what we exist for are some of the questions that are still the subject of controversy and questioning today. Religion, the firm and science have tried to formulate the answers, sometimes arising conflicts between the approaches of one and the other.

Within the attempts to explain reality from the religious point of view, we can find creationism as one of the best known and currently controversial due to its total rejection of evolutionary theory.

Creationism: what is it?

Creationism is known as a set of different beliefs based on religious doctrine, whose main characteristic is the consideration that everything that exists in the universe has been divine work.

Although in principle any interpretation of reality that has this basis independently of the religion itself is creationist, it is generally known as creationism to that tendency or current of thought based on Catholicism and the Bible.

His opposition to biological evolution

The most classical creationism is also characterized by the fact of maintaining a literal interpretation of the Bible and Genesis, denying the evolutionary theory. It considers that the beings that exist today are those that have existed since the beginning of time, not accepting that they have an evolutionary origin and discarding the existing evidence in this regard or reinterpreting them (for example, fossils can be proof of the existence of the flood universal).

For those who hold this theory literally, the Earth would not be more than ten thousand years old. Although the amount of evidence that contradicts this idea is overwhelming and belongs to different scientific fields (from geology to biology), among those who defend this vision of reality, men and women with university and scientific training stand out, not being their followers necessarily members of the clergy or with little education.

The main principles of this version of creationism are the sudden creation of the entire universe and everything that exists from nothing, the consideration that evolution does not exist and although there may be changes in organisms, they only occur within limits and without greatly varying the animals and plants, which are those that existed from the beginning of creation.

It also considers that the living beings that exist today are those that have always existed, and the orography of the Earth is explained by the presence of catastrophes such as the universal flood.

Smart design

The principles of the creationist theory are not very evident and scientifically sustainable, which is why in principle they should have little acceptance within the academic world. However, a theory based on creationism has subsequently emerged that has tried to defend the creationist position with a language similar to that of science, proposing itself as a hypothesis: the theory of intelligent design.

In this case, it is proposed that the model that natural selection and evolution does not sufficiently explain the development and origin of living things from a few organisms. It also proposes that the great biodiversity, the functioning of the universe and natural laws reveal the existence of a creator who designed them with a purpose. He considers that chance cannot explain the existence of reality and that it exists implies a plan drawn up and designed by something or someone. However, this theory is not falsifiable, so it cannot be verified and therefore cannot be scientific.

Not all creationism is contrary to the theory of evolution

While the truth is that perhaps the best-known type of creationism is anti-evolutionist creationism precisely because of the controversy raised by it when denying the theory of evolution, the truth is that not all creationism is contrary to it.

In fact there is a pro-evolution creationism that although it considers that the universe has its origin in a creator, accepts the existence of evolution and the scientific theories that surround it without denying its value. This shows that religious doctrine does not have to be opposed or opposed to science but can be complementary.

An expanded vision in America

Probably many of those who read these lines have heard on some occasion the existence of a powerful conflict between evolutionary theory and creationism in America, (although from a scientific point of view there is no debate). And it is that in the United States the creationist theory has great power and expansion, coming years ago to be taught in schools in such a way that evolutionary theory was denied and not taught, under the name of intelligent design theory.

During 2004, however, the teaching of intelligent design theory in public schools was declared unconstitutional and prohibited, but this has not prevented this doctrine from continuing to exert great influence at the academic level. Based on this prohibition, the idea of ​​critical analysis of evolution was generated, which today continues to have a notable influence and has even managed to advocate favorable laws. From this modality in which it is not presented directly, the influence exerted by anti-evolutionary creationism has an effect generating doubts about evolution and other issues such as abortion or cloning.

The conflict between the evolutionary and the creationist perspectives has been an issue that can have considerable effects on society. However, on the other hand, it allows a debate that can make both positions be discussed and discussed, exposing the defects and weaknesses that both may have.

Bibliographic references:

  • Collado, S. (2009). Overview of the creationism-evolutionism debate in the last hundred years in the USA. Church History Yearbook XVIII, 41-53.

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