You are here

The Pillars of Creationism

Although creationist movements differ in some of the details of their positions, they all rely on three main claims which are used over and over again. These claims can be very appealing and effective to people who are not well-informed about evolution. It is useful to be ready with some responses to these claims.

"Theory, Not Fact" Policies — What's Wrong?

(Download this document as a pdf file here! )

  1. Legislation or regulations that single out evolution for restriction, ignoring other scientific topics, are unconstitutional (Epperson v. Arkansas)
  2. Legislation that requires teaching evolution as "theory" or "belief" only, or that it not be taught as "fact", without defining these terms, is too vague to give real guidance to school districts and teachers about what may be taught.

How You Can Support Evolution Education

People often ask us, “How can I further the cause of evolution education?” We've compiled some practical and effective suggestions:

Project Steve

NCSE's "Project Steve" is a tongue-in-cheek parody of a long-standing creationist tradition of amassing lists of "scientists who doubt evolution" or "scientists who dissent from Darwinism."

Rebutting Creationist Claims

NCSE advises -- try not to get drawn into a direct debate with a creationist. Sometimes, however, it is important to explain why a creationist claim is misleading or just plain wrong, especially if you are talking with a confused friend, parent, school board member, or interested citizen.

The claims you are most likely to run into:

  • There is no evidence for evolution
  • Evolution leads to atheism
  • There are no transitional fossils or there are huge gaps in the fossil record

Why It's Wrong to Teach Creationism in Public Schools

It's religious discrimination.

Teaching creationism privileges a single religious viewpoint. Most mainstream Christians, Jews and Muslims, along with Hindus, Buddhists, deists, and those of other faiths, reject many or all of the doctrines held by self-styled creationists.

Covering the entire spectrum of religious beliefs about origins might be appropriate for a comparative religion class, but it is not appropriate for science classes.

The List of Steves

Meet the Steves

As of April 17, 2014, 1332 Steves have signed the statement. Will you be the next Steve?

Stephen T. Abedon
Associate Professor of Microbiology, Ohio State University
Ph.D., Microbiology, University of Arizona
Creator of The Bacteriophage Ecology Group, Home of Phage Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (



Steve Abel******



Facing Challenges to Evolution Education

In 1983, The National Center for Science Education (NCSE) was founded to promote excellence in science education, improve public understanding of evolution, and defend evolution education from sectarian attacks. In 1987, when the Supreme Court struck down a Louisiana anti-evolution law, many observers thought the "creation science" controversy had been put to an end. Instead, it returned to the local level, where new strategies appeared in countless communities and at the state level, as well.

Getting Started

Each controversy over the teaching of evolution is unique. However, these basic principles have proven to be valuable for opposing anti-evolutionism whether it occurs at a local school or in national discussions.

Basic Principles for Taking Action

  • Don't go it alone; coalitions are powerful, especially if parents, clergy, scientists, and teachers work together.
  • Local people acting locally have the most impact.
  • Work behind the scenes whenever possible. Conflicts are more easily resolved when people are not publicly cornered.


Subscribe to taking action