I know a creationist; she is one of the nicest people I have ever known. We had been friends for a long time before I realized she was a creationist. But I came to realize that we couldn’t talk on the subject of evolution although I did try more than once before giving up on the subject. She, of course believes that evolution does not exist. Among many arguments I used to convince her otherwise was the statement that evolution has been observed to occur. I cited a number of examples; this seemed to sway her not at all. I could not understand how this could be possible. She is still a friend though we speak seldom now; still we do have the occasional lunch.

Her friendship lead me to research creationism, I reread my back issues of the Skeptical Inquirer, and searched the Web, looking for new insights, what I came to understand was that despite trying to give creationism a scientific basis from which to attack evolution; creationists are not using rational arguments. They cannot be swayed by evidence. Given this understanding it seems a pointless waste of time to argue with them. Unfortunately, in their zeal creationists are prepared to do grave harm to those of us who believe in science and education, their efforts on many fronts to legislate and control education require us to waste efforts better spent elsewhere to counter them.

Let's see if I can do this objectively - I am one...

A creationist is one who believes that the Universe, the earth, life and all that sort of stuff were created by a higher being (for example, God). The alternative non-creationist hypotheses are: it is has always been around (steady state theory); it just formed spontaneously (e.g. big bang); or it is all a figment of our own imagination (philosophy).

There are several flavours of creationist: not all are strongly attached to the much-ridiculed calculation of Bishop Usher's that the world was created one afternoon in 4004BC. These are called young earth creationists. These tend to form the majority of seven-day creationists who believe that the earth (and usually the universe) was created in six days plus one day rest as in Genesis 1.

Almost objective, but not quite. Let's see if I can keep from thumping too hard.

Far from denying that God exists, science has absolutely nothing to say about the existence of a Supreme Being who created the Universe. The fact that Occam's Razor leads many scientists to be atheists is utterly beside the point. They will accept your belief as long as you don't involve magic.

Big Bang theory, as well as modern cosmological theory that has supplanted it, does not say that the Universe formed spontaneously, it describes how the Universe formed, and that it happened a long time ago. Nothing at all is said about Genesis 1:1 which states

In the beginning, God created the Heaven and the Earth.
The Hebrew creation myth that follows this phrase cannot be interpreted literally. As an example, if God created the Sun the third day, after the Earth, the energy He would have had to expend to keep the Earth from flying off into space, or flying apart from the Sun's gravitation, would have slagged it. So much for the fishes which had already been created.

For scientists, the laws of physics, combined with the physical evidence of processes that take a very long time according to those laws, indicate that the Earth and the Universe have existed for a very long time. Just one example: Scientists have watched uranium decay into lead and have measured the radioactive metal's half-life at about 4.5 billion years. The natural occurrence of uranium with its decay product, lead, indicates that the Earth has existed for billions of years.

This interferes, of course, with the attempts of a narrow group of people to interpret the Bible word-for-word, an interpretation that Bishop Ussher carried to its logical conclusion in the 17th century. This usually arises out of a psychological need for humanity to have a "special" role in the Universe, to validate some Earthly power structure.

Trying to "scientifically" prove that God exists is more a demonstration of one's own lack of faith. Creationism isn't faith, it's desperate clinging to one's teddy bear.

Most mainstream religions (notably the Roman Catholic Church) have realized that literal interpretation of the Hebrew creation myth is irrelevant to their mission, and teach that although God created the Universe, he did it by setting up the laws of physics and letting them run. Deism is averted by God's later intervention in human history.

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