Creationism is the belief that God created all of the life on Earth, as well as the Earth itself. Creationist beliefs, therefore, stem from literal interpretations of the Bible, particularly the early chapters of Genesis, and from sweeping explanations that reject all of the scientific evidence that goes against those beliefs. In particular, creationists do not believe in evolution. Over 40% of Americans subscribe to some form of creationist belief.
Some arguments that creationists use to refute the theory of evolution are that transitional fossils between life forms have never been found, that the vastly complex biological systems that make up human life are too complicated to have formed by accident, that evolution has never been proved beyond a theory, that God made everything older than 6,000 years only appear to be that old, and that humans were designed "intelligently" by a creator. These concepts, however, have little if any scientific validity.
Here are some of the most widely-held beliefs in creationism, and how science has disproved them.
Young Earth Creationism holds strictly to the definition of creation in Genesis - God made the world in six days, with time beginning around 4,000 BC. This definition has been prominent in Protestantism since the Reformation, with Martin Luther being among its first notable proponents. While there are strands of creationism that don't accept this, instead believing in the scientifically given age of the earth, all creationists believe that humans were created by God, either directly or through divine intervention.Various surveys over the last two decades have found that as many as 47% of Americans believe in some form of Young Earth Creationism, with God making the universe in six days, and creating humans in His image. No compelling scientific evidence proving Young Earth Creationism has ever withstood scientific scrutiny.
This rhetorical question is often put forth by casual creationists to try to discredit evolution. As recently as May 2016, Rush Limbaugh was pontificating on this exact subject when discussing the death of Cincinnati Zoo gorilla Harambe - essentially claiming that the gorilla can't actually exist if evolution is real.This is based on a common misunderstanding of how evolution works. The modern human didn't evolve from the modern ape. Rather, both evolved from a common ancestor who existed between five to ten million years ago. At some point, this ancestor's offspring went in two directions, some on the path to the modern human, others toward the modern ape. Evolution has never involved apes spontaneously turning into humans.
Creationists believe that if evolution were true, life forms would constantly be "transforming" into other life forms, and that fossils of such transitional creatures would be found everywhere - yet none have. This principle is best seen in prominent creationists Kirk Cameron and Ray Comfort's "crocoduck" meme - a "genuine species-to-species transitional form" with the head of a crocodile and the body of a duck.
The "crocoduck" was a joke intending to raise a common creationist argument - that no transitional fossils have ever been found.This is simply not true. Transitional fossils don't need to be "half-this/half-that," and dozens of fossils have been found that show characteristics of two different creatures, yet are not wholly one or the other. Examples include invertebrates with bones, ancient jawless fishes with primitive jaws, fish with amphibian characteristics, semi-aquatic whales, dinosaur fossils with bird-like bone structures, and innumerable primates with humanoid features. Creationists usually explain these away as being either fraudulent, misinterpreted, or simply made up.
Needing a way to explain the fossil record of dinosaurs, creationists simply decided that the massive reptiles lived at the same time as the earliest humans. They cite anomalous geological finds, such as supposed fossilized footprints in a Texas river bed of a man and a dinosaur walking together, or a fossilized hammer found in Cretaceous-era rocks (the so-called London Hammer). They also point to ancient myths and Biblical mentions of dragons and giants as proof that dinosaurs made their way into human folklore.However, all of this supposed evidence has been disproved: the Texas footprints are actually of two dinosaurs from different eras, while the London Hammer is simply a miner's hammer that became caked in mud. There has also not been a single trace of human remains found in any dinosaur fossil bed.