Arthur Caplan claims that the decoding of the human genome should settle the debate over evolution vs. creationism once and for all. That, however, is exceedingly unlikely to happen.
The main problem is that Caplan seems to think there is such a thing as “scientific creationism” but every version of creationism I’ve seen is most decidedly not scientific. Which is not to say that creationism is necessarily false, but that most formulations of it are beyond the realm of science to evaluate.
Take, for example, the critic of evolution Philip Johnson who is quoted by Focus on the Family as saying the evidence is completely against natural selection. In fact the creationists quoted by FOF consider the fact that primates, rats and humans share common genes to be proof of special creation rather than evolution from common ancestors.
But to return to Johnson’s views, in his book Darwin on Trial Johnson argues that the problem at the core of evolution is the widespread acceptance among scientists of what Johnson calls “doctrinaire naturalism.” Johnson essentially argues that scientists simply leave God out of the universe by definition by assuming that any given observed phenomenon occurs through naturalistic processes.
Take something as important as the orbits that planets take around the Sun. Prior to Isaac Newton there were lots of speculations on what caused planets to maintain their orbits including a theist answer — God intervened to make sure planets maintained their orbit and didn’t crash into each other. Newton and other scientists, however, looked for a completely naturalistic cause and Newton was the first person to prove that elliptical orbits of planetary objects was explained by the inverse square law of gravitation.
Johnson essentially argues that by constantly looking for only naturalistic explanations for phenomenon such as the orbit of planets, scientists write God out of the picture without giving him a chance. This is to some extent true, but it’s hard to imagine how to create a theistic science that would involve God unpredictably intervening in the universe. In fact Johnson retreats at this point and has yet to give an adequate explanation of what he would put in place of naturalistic explanations.
The decoding of the human genome will settle nothing as far as the creationism debate goes since it merely adds the longstanding accumulated evidence of the similar genetic composition of a wide variety of species. Evidence which has already been rejected by creationists as proof of natural selection.