Creation/Evolution Journal

The Creation/Evolution Journal was first published in 1980. In 1997, it became a part of Reports of the National Center for Science Education.

All issues are now available in PDF format. (They are fully searchable using Acrobat Reader's search function; however, the text was converted using optical character recognition software and was not proofread for accuracy, so searches may not be entirely reliable.) Additionally, selected articles have been transcribed for the web and are available here. More articles will be transcribed in the future. In the meantime, feel free to write to NCSE if you need a copy of a particular article from this series.

Download: All Issues of C/E J

Issue 1 (Summer 1980)

Creation/Evolution Journal 1 cover
Creation Evolution Journal
Title: 
Creation/Evolution I
Volume: 
1
Number: 
1
Quarter: 
Summer
Year: 
1980
For a PDF version of the entire issue, please click here.


See below for text versions of this issue's articles.

Yes, Virginia, There is a Creation Model

Creation Evolution Journal
Title: 
Yes, Virginia, There is a Creation Model
Author(s): 
Frank Awbrey
Volume: 
1
Number: 
1
Quarter: 
Summer
Page(s): 
1
Year: 
1980
Though creationists carefully avoid stating their model in debates, thereby keeping themselves off the defensive, they have one nonetheless. Here it is in bold outline as extracted from their books and publications.
  1. The Creation
    1. Accomplished by a supernatural being
    2. Everything created from nothing relatively recently.
    3. The Earth was perfectly designed for life:
      1. Protected by a vapor layer:
        1. Uniform warm climate
        2. Cosmic radiation could not penetrate
      2. No wind or rain.
      3. The land irrigated by water from underground.
    4. All kinds created separately:
      1. Each kind is unique and fixed.
      2. Each kind is genetically highly variable.
    5. Humans were uniquely created.
    6. No decay occurred.

  2. The Fall
    1. The Second Law of Thermodynamics invoked:
      1. Perfect order began to degenerate.
      2. Death, decay, and disorder began.
    2. People began to populate the Earth.
      1. All humans descended from the original couple.
    3. The vapor barrier enabled great longevity.
  1. The Flood
    1. Simultaneous, worldwide cataclysm.
    2. All land was covered within 40 days.
    3. Flood water had two sources:
      1. The vapor barrier.
      2. Underground reservoirs.
    4. The Flood began 1656 years after creation.
    5. The Flood formed and deposited the geologic column.
    6. The Flood split the land mass into the present continents.
    7. The only survivors were aboard one boat:
      1. 8 humans.
      2. One pair of most kinds of animals.
      3. Aboard boat for 371 days.

  2. The Post Flood Period
    1. Left over flood energy caused the ice ages.
    2. Flood survivors repopulated the Earth.
    3. All living species are descendants of the survivors:
      1. They were modified by horizontal change to fill the Earth.
      2. The animals had original genetic variability.
    4. The vapor barrier was destroyed - longevity decreased.
    5. All species degenerate since disorder must increase.
    6. Present geological processes are different from those of the Flood.
About the Author(s): 
Dr. Awbrey is a professor of biology at San Diego State University. He and his colleague William Thwaites teach a special course, Evolution and Creation - Contrasting the Two Models. They present the evidence for evolution in half the course time, and prominent creationists use the other half.
This version might differ slightly from the print publication.

Why Creationism Should Not be Taught as Science

Creation Evolution Journal
Title: 
Why Creationism Should Not be Taught as Science
Author(s): 
Frederick Edwords
Volume: 
1
Number: 
1
Quarter: 
Summer
Page(s): 
2–23
Year: 
1980
The following correction was subsequently made to this article in issue 3 (volume2.1):

Two errors of fact occurred in my article, "Why Creationism Should Not Be Taught As Science: The Legal Issues," published in Issue I of Creation/Evolution.

On page 13 paragraph 3 it was stated that the "Tennessee law which John Scopes was charged with breaking" was declared unconstitutional. This is not so. John Scopes was convicted in Dayton, Tennessee, and fined $100, the usual fine for transporting liquor, which in this case seemed to be applied to transporting information. In June of the next year (1926) the case was appealed in the State Supreme Court. The judges were determined to clear up the issue and prevent a further appeal to the U. S. Supreme Court, so they, "having decided that the law was constitutional, nevertheless reversed the conviction on the ground that the fine had been improperly imposed by the judge," thereby implying that the law in question was simply not to be enforced. (Gail Kennedy, Evolution and Religion. New York: D. C. Heath, 1957, pp. 35-52.)

The second error occurred on page 19, next-to-last paragraph. There I stated that the sample resolutions appearing in the July-August 1975 and the May 1979 issues of Acts & Facts were used verbatim in Columbus, Ohio and Georgia. Popular newspaper accounts frequently declared this, but a careful comparison reveals no similarity in Ohio, or Georgia. The Florida bill, however, does show signs of strong influence, though it was drafted by another creationist organization, Citizens for Fairness in Education, in South Carolina. This same group was behind the Anderson, South Carolina resolution, which did take some sentences verbatim from ICR materials.

Fred Edwords

PART 1. The Legal Issues

The legal objections to placing Special Creation doctrines in the science classroom form what, quite frankly, can only be called an air-tight case. For once one understands the history of what Biblical creationists have been trying; to do, once one grasps the full significance of their new tactic, and once one is aware of the nature of their latest legal moves, no choice is left but to acknowledge that the creationist's aims can never be legal under our present constitution. Let us, then, explore the history, tactics, and legal efforts of the creationist movement so as to better understand why it has never won a constitutional battle.

A History of the Legal Conflict

Large scale challenges to the teaching of evolution by creationists have occurred on three significant occasions in the last century and a half. The first was after the publication of Darwin's Origin of Species, the second was at the time of the Scopes trial, and the third is taking place today. On each occasion, creationists have attacked those in the scientific and. educational community desiring to teach evolution.

Looking back on the first battle, Andrew White, in his 1896 book, A History of the Warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom, recalled that. "Darwin's Origin of Species had come into the theological world like a plough into an ant hill. Everywhere those thus rudely awakened from their old comfort and repose had swarmed forth angry and confused. Reviews, sermons, books light and heavy, came flying at the new thinker from all sides."

Specifically, one English clergyman, who was vice president of a Protesant institute to combat "dangerous" science, had denounced Darwinism as "an attempt to dethrone God." Another creationist, Wheedle, succeeded in preventing a copy of the Origin from being placed in the Trinity College Library. Rougemont had called for a crusade against evolution in Switzerland. And a similar crusade had almost taken place among the scientific community in America until Asa Gray, the foremost American botanist, won it over in a series of stunning public debates at Harvard that defeated the anti-evolution movement for a time.

But a dozen years later it flared up again with Darwin's Descent of Man.

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In England, Gladstone condemned it. In America the Reverend Dr. Hodge of Princeton declared that Christians "have a right to protest against the arraying of probabilities against the clear evidence of the scriptures."

However, the problem of the teaching of evolution in the public schools was not yet an issue. No. In those days the issue was the teaching of science in any form to children. Huxley had his hands full in England just trying to lay to rest the old classical and theological education so as to make room for such "liberal" studies as science, geography, history, grammar, composition, drawing, and physical education.

This meant that it wasn't until the decade of the Scopes trial that teaching children about evolution became an issue. And it became an issue largely because its teaching had finally become frequent enough to alarm the conservative American religious community. So, once again the anti-evolutionists formed their battle lines, thereby setting off the second great conflict.

Between 1922 and 1929, forty-six pieces of legislation aimed at preventing the teaching of evolution were introduced. Of these, only three were passed, all of which were later declared unconstitutional.

Writing in 1927 in the Bulletin of the American Association of University Professors, S.J. Holmes said that "the worst feature of the situation is not so much the intellectual backwardness revealed by the passage of these statutes as the spirit of religious intolerance and disregard of intellectual liberty which prompted their enactment."

Many feel it was this sentiment, becoming widely held, that brought an end to the legislative attacks by fundamentalists. Yet nothing could be further from the truth.

The only real reason the attacks came to an end was because evolutionists made a compromising retreat. As Mayer (1978) points out, "In most American schoolbooks the word evolution simply disappeared." Many times this was done as a mere camouflage maneuver, evolution still being taught under different names like "change through time" or "heredity." But at other times it was done in an apparent recognition of defeat.

As Bette Chambers (1977) noted when president of the American Humanist Association, "Years ago we were made painfully aware that this intricate and beautiful principle of modern biology is taught almost nowhere without extensive apologetics or having first been filtered through a sieve of nervous religious disclaimers." She was describing the case of her own daughter who, in 1965, had come home angrily from junior high school after seeing a Moody Bible Institute nature film in her science class. "Must I believe that the spider makes the web perfectly the very first time she tries because God has `programmed' her brain like a computer?" she cried.

So, even though the legislative track record of creationists was poor, they had an impressive long-term success in convincing teachers and publishers to soft-pedal evolution (Cowen, 1979). That is, they managed to set up an

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environment where evolution was "selected out" of text books by a "slow and gradual process" which went almost unnoticed. No wonder only one piece of legislation attempting to prohibit the teaching of evolution was introduced in the 33 years between 1930 and 1963.

But this couldn't go on forever, not with evolutionary science developing by leaps and bounds. Sooner or later the scientific and academic community would have to wake up to the fact that only a shadow of evolution, if any at all, was being presented in the public schools. And to help bring about this awakening, biologist Hermann J. Muller on the centennial of Darwin's Origin, wrote an article entitled "One Hundred Years Without Darwin Are Enough."

When the drive finally got underway to bring evolution back into the classroom, it seemed the public would be receptive. Russian advances in the space race had parents and school boards calling for more science education. So, in 1964, biology textbooks sponsored by the National Science Foundation went into use with government funding. These textbooks reintroduced evolution and, as a consequence. also reintroduced the creation/evolution controversy.

This time, however, the religious conservatives were not so blunt as to reject all science, or even to reject evolution alone. The new ploy was to appeal to "fairness," and thereby demand "equal time" for creationism. As a result, at least twenty-five pieces of legislation relating to the "equal time" idea have been proposed since 1964. At present, more than 20 states have policies allowing local school districts to include creationism as an alternative. Ellen Goodman reports in her newspaper column that "In 27 states, textbook selection committees are under pressure to accept books which teach Divine Creation — not as theology, but as biology.

And it hasn't stopped there. With the creationists gaining momentum and putting forth ever more sophisticated legal arguments (they at first wanted equal lime for Genesis. but now usually seek it for "creation science"), they have burst forth in a new wave that is beginning to blanket the nation.

So far, three pieces of "equal time" oriented legislation have passed, one of which has already been declared unconstitutional. The real threat, however, has come from the creationist influence on individual school boards to either allow or require their "two-model" teaching program. A large number of local school boards in a variety of states have been persuaded that equal time for creationism is both fair and legal.

The New Tactic

Obviously the creationists have learned a lot in their long struggle to unseat evolution. Trial and error has shown them what doesn't work: Anti-science doesn't, efforts to ban evolution don't, and purely religious invective is also a losing proposition. The idea of being open-minded, religiously neutral, and scientific has gained such wide credence (or at least lip-service) that creationists

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can't successfully oppose it, no matter how much they might like to.

So, their new tactic is to declare creationism scientific, then join in with the majority and espouse the virtues of the times in their own name. In this way they can pose as latter-day Galileos being persecuted by "orthodox" science. They can become the champions for fairness fighting against the "dogmatic" evolutionists who have hauled them into the "Scopes trial in reverse." In fact, they can even declare themselves Jeffersonian fighters for church-state separation against "the religion of evolutionary humanism" in the public schools, as well as revolutionaries for progress bringing new truths into play against "the establishment."

How have the creationists accomplished this? With one simple sentence. Dr. Henry Morris of the Institute for Creation Research probably deserves the credit for it. In his debates he simply says, "Creation is just as much a science as is evolution, and evolution is just as much a religion as is creation."

Such a statement serves three purposes at once. First, it declares creationism to be an alternate scientific theory to evolution. Second, it criticizes evolution for being a belief held only on faith. And third, it confuses school boards and legislatures.

To back up this statement, Morris throws in a variety of scientific-sounding arguments and legalistic appeals for "equal time" and "church-state separation The effect of this on his average audience is one of producing doubt. And in the face of such doubt, these people begin to think, "Since I can't tell who is right, it's only reasonable to let both views be taught." And so it happens: through clever word manipulation and appeals to "equal opportunity," the creationists win the day.

When objections are raised, however, the first one is invariably that creationism is derived from the Bible, that the Bible is a religious book, that it is unconstitutional to mandate teaching sectarian religion in the public school science curriculum, and therefore creationism should not be introduced.

The creationists, however, have a ready answer. The two-model approach, they declare, "is not the introduction of the Bible or Bible stories about creation into the science books or classrooms." (Creation-Science Research Center, 1980.) "It is the fair and balanced presentation of the evidence and arguments both pro and con relative to both models of origins ..."

In addition to this ready answer, they also have ready-made textbooks. Probably the most famous is Dr. Morris' Scientific Creationism, put out by his Institute for Creation Research. The preface states "Scientific Creationism (Public School Edition) ... deals with all the important aspects of the creation/ evolution question from a strictly scientific point of view, attempting to evaluate the physical evidence from the relevant scientific fields without reference to the Bible or other religious literature."

However, in spite of this nice-sounding opener, this textbook is nothing more than a polemical attack on the evidences for evolution, with almost no

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statement of the case for creationism or the nature of the creation model. Such a ploy is necessary since, outside the Bible, there is no creation model. This is readily proved by Dr. Morris' revealing statement, "The Bible account of creation can be taught in the public schools if only the scientific aspects of creationism are taught, keeping the Bible and religion out of it altogether." This seems to mean that Biblical ideas suddenly become scientific once one hides the fact that the Bible is the source.

So, hide the Bible they do. For example, in another anti-evolution book entitled Evolution: The Fossils Say No!, Dr. Morris' colleague, Dr. Gish, writes, "By creation we mean the bringing into being of the basic kinds of plants and animals by the process of sudden, or fiat, creation described in the first two chapters of Genesis." This seems plain enough. But Dr. Gish wanted his book used in the public schools. So, what did he do? He wrote a revision of it that left out this reference to his ultimate authority.

Perhaps he had learned something from the recent experiences of John N. Moore and Harold Slusher, two other creationists. They co-edited the controversial high school science textbook Biology, A Search for Order in Complexity. Although this book was purported to be objective, scientific, and non-sectarian, an Indiana Superior Court found it riddled with religious references such as: " ... the second law (increasing entrophy) is essentially a confirmation of the universal law of decay and death postulated in accordance with the biblical version of the creation model." " . . . most fossil material was laid down by the flood in Noah's time." " ... the most reasonable explanation for the actual facts of biology as they are known scientifically is that of biblical creationism."

The court's verdict, issued by Judge Michael T. Dugan II, was probably the most embarrassing judicial expose of modem-day creationism ever handed down from the bench. The Court declared, "Clearly, the purpose of A Search for Order in Complexity is the promotion and inclusion of fundamentalist Christian doctrine in the public schools. The publishers, themselves, admit that this text is designed to find its way into the public schools to stress Biblical Creationism. ... The question is whether a text obviously designed to present only the view of Biblical Creationism in a favorable light is constitutionally acceptable in the public schools of Indiana. Two hundred years of constitutional government demand that the answer be no. The asserted object of the text to present a balanced or neutral argument is a sham that breaches that `wall of separation' between church and state voiced by Thomas Jefferson. Any doubt of the text's fairness is dispelled by the demand for `correct' Christian answers demanded by the Teacher's Guide. The prospect of biology teachers and students alike, forced to answer and respond to continued demand for `correct' fundamentalist Christian doctrines, has no place in the public schools."

As one watches creationists, one can see that they learn their lessons very well. Scientific Creationism, though it mentions a worldwide flood that occurred less than 10,000 years ago, the "survivors" of which "emerged" "near the site of

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Mount Ararat," and though it refers to a miraculous origin of languages "near Babylon" " . . . where tradition indicates the confusion of languages took place," it never mentions the Bible.

At least it never mentions the Bible in the "Public School Edition." The "General Edition," however, is quite another story. It is "essentially identical with the public school edition, except for the addition of a comprehensive chapter which places the scientific evidence in its proper Biblical and theological context," says the Foreword. This version is for the Christian schools.

In their public debates, the creationists are even more careful to avoid stating their creation model. They invariably start out by saying that what they're talking about has nothing to do with Genesis. After that, the rest of their material is evolutionary criticism. If their opponents try to bring up the Bible, they counter-attack by declaring they came to talk about science, not religion. They further add that they have a right to their religious faith and should not have to hear criticism of it during a discussion of the scientific issues.

This approach seems to do well for them most of the time. But constant demands by evolutionists for creationists to explicitly state their model has lately forced them to formulate a secularized version of what they really believe. This version, contrived by attorney Wendell R. Bird, was published for all the world to see in the December 1978 issue of Acts & Facts, put out by the Institute for Creation Research.

Clearly, Bird felt it was important to carefully define the differences between the Biblical creation and scientific creation models. It was and is his view that a sharp and consistent distinction can be made. Acts & Facts declared, "The scientific creation model is based on scientific evidence, and the Biblical creation model is based on Genesis and other Biblical revelations. Mixing presentation of the scientific creation model and supporting scientific evidence with references to the Bible, Genesis, Adam, Noah, or the Ark will cause scientific creationism to be barred from the public schools."

It would seem by all this that the differences between the two models must be quite radical. Are they? You San find out for yourself by comparing them side-by-side as is done in the box on the next page. No doubt you'll notice that the actual differences between the "scientific" and Biblical creation models are quite small, in some places only amounting to a change of two or three words.

As I pointed out rather bluntly to Dr. Kofahl, a leading creationist, during a recent debate in which we both participated, "The differences between the Biblical model and the science model are so minor, so minute, that nobody is kidding anyone and nobody is being fooled. Once you hear the creationist model laid out, you're going to recognize it immediately as a Biblical model unless you were born in Borneo somewhere and never heard of the Bible."

In response, Dr. Kofahl argued that this wasn't the creationism he was interested in, and that he had no desire to bring Dr. Morris' Scientific Creationism into the classroom. What he wanted to see was "the evolution model criticized

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on the basis of the scientific evidence."

Well, there we have it again. They don't want to talk about their own model. They only want to critique evolution. This is the only real way they can avoid the problem of bringing in the Bible, and they know it.

And yet, when they get careless, they do bring it in. The Creation-Science Research Center, of which Dr. Kofahl is a representative, publishes the Science and Creation Series, which is a set of graded public school textbooks. This set was examined by Richard M. Lemmon for the California State Board of Education in 1975. In his report he drew attention to a number of religious references in the series.

He wrote, "In the 'Handbook for Teachers', page 75, it is stated that 'It is known that the nation of Israel began about 3700 years ago with the patriarch

The Two Creation Models of Wendell R. Bird As Taken From the December 1978 Issue of Acts & Facts
Scientific Creation Model: Biblical Creation Model:
I. Special creation of the universe and earth (by a Creator), on the basis of scientific evidence. Divine creation of the heaven, stars, and earth by God, on the basis of Genesis.
II. Application of the entropy law to produce deterioration in the earth and life, on the basis of scientific evidence. Application of the curse, pronounced by God after Adam's fall, to produce deterioration in the earth and life, on the basis of Genesis.
III. Special creation of life (by a Creator), on the basis of scientific evidence. Divine creation of plant and animal life, Adam the first man, and Eve from Adam's side by God, on the basis of Genesis.
IV. Fixity of original plant and animal kinds, on the basis of scientific evidence. Fixity of original plant and animal kinds, determined by God, on the basis of Genesis.
V. Distinct ancestry of man and apes, on the basis of scientific evidence. Distinct ancestry of Adam and apes, on the basis of Genesis.
VI. Explanation of much of the earth's geology by a worldwide deluge, on the basis of scientific evidence. Explanation of the earth's geology by a world-wide flood in which only Noah, his family, and animal pairs were preserved in an ark, on the basis of Genesis.
VII. Relatively recent origin of the earth and living kinds (in comparison with several billion years), on the basis of scientific evidence. Approximately six thousand year time span since creation of the earth, life, and Adam, on the basis of Genesis.
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Jacob.' ... In `The World of Long Ago, 3T', page 29, it is stated that `The Bible also records a great flood, one that covered the highest mountains.' ... In `Man and His World, 7T', page 11, we find that a French explorer `found timber which he believes came from the Ark of Noah.' . . . In `Beginning of the World, 7T', page 5, there is a reference to `one eternal personal God as the Creator of all things (as in Genesis).' ... In the `Handbook for Teachers', page 77, we find a statement about the ' ... great world catastrophes occurring after the creation, including especially the great flood recorded in the book of Genesis...' "

On the basis of these and other discoveries, Lemmon argued that "The entire purpose of these books is to use science classes to indoctrinate students in a particularly narrow brand of religious sectarianism. That sectarianism ignores most of the world's great religions; its promulgation in the public schools would violate the Education Code, Article 2, Section 9014, and the California State Constitution, Article IX, Section 8."

The New Legal Moves

From the foregoing, it would seem the creationists have been rather clumsy in sticking to their new tactic of secularizing creationism. But, even if they had managed to carry off such a plan with any efficiency, their position would still fall short of legal acceptability.

There are a number of reasons for this; but to understand them correctly, it will be necessary to first reveal what the creationists are trying to do with their new "scientific creationism" now that they have formulated its rhetoric.

In a September 1977 letter of appeal for contributions, Dr. Morris wrote, "As you know, one of our main purposes here at ICR has been to reach the schools and colleges of our nation with the message of creation, so that young people would know there is a valid alternative to the evolutionary humanism that dominates our society today." In October he added, "We especially appreciate the splendid efforts of so many of you to accomplish the goal of getting creation into your own local schools and colleges."

Nell Segraves, Administrative Assistant of the Creation-Science Research Center, and one of the founders of the modern creationist movement, stated in a recent letter to Frank Mortyn of San Diego Mesa College that, "we are advocating the introduction into science textbooks and classrooms of scientific data which support the alternative explanation of origins, namely, intelligent purposeful design and special creation. In other words, we are calling for a reform in the teaching of science."

Segraves authored the Center's "action Manual," a guide for implementing Creation-science curricula in the public schools, the legal rationale for teaching it, and guides for evaluating textbooks. In a recent debate she declared, "We feel that we are entitled to at least 50 percent of the public education system for our point of view."

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Her reasoning is simple and straightforward: The Scopes trial, in showing the illegality of banning evolution, also showed the illegality of banning any theory of origins. Since creationism is such a theory, then by the logic of the Scopes trial, it cannot be banned either.

When confronted with the argument that creationism has definite religious overtones, she responds by claiming that the same is true for evolution. It is "the religion of secular humanism" in the public schools. This means that any school that teaches evolution without balancing it with special creation is operating contrary to the religious neutrality requirement of the U.S. Constitution. It is setting up a state religion in the science classroom.

These are her arguments; and on the basis of these, the Creation-Science Research Center is seeking to cut off millions of dollars in federal funds that come into California. Since the state-supported schools don't teach both theories of origins as science, it is claimed the schools are religiously biased and therefore undeserving of the monies.

CSRC is also suing the state of California for setting up textbook guidelines that leave out special creation. CSRC wants to prevent the guidelines from going into effect and has attempted to get a mandatory court order forcing the state to allow teachers to consider creationism in science courses.

Other creationist groups go further, however, and try to pass legislation that not only will allow creation to be taught, but will require it. The recent battle in Georgia in March of this year was one such example. The joint houses of the state legislature came very close to passing a bill that would have required equal time for creation any time the issue of origins came up.

In the same month, the Florida House Education Committee voted 7 to 6 for a similar bill. An editorial in the St. Petersburg Times declared:

"This bill would not prohibit the teaching of evolution, at least not in so many words. But any school that undertook to acknowledge the theory of evolution — whether in class or merely on its library shelves — would have to give `balanced treatment' to what is called `the theory of scientific creationism.'

"And what is that? The bill defines it with a lot of gibberish and mumbo-jumbo, all of which boils down to this: The biblical account of creation can be proven literally, with scientific `evidence.' ...

"IN PRACTICE, the bill would simply end he teaching of evolution — and perhaps all science — because few teachers and school boards would consent to teach the alternative theories the bill espouses."

And this may be something creationists would like to see. The April 1979 Acts & Facts stated: "We are not trying to exclude evolution from public schools, unless creation is also excluded." Nell Segraves put it more plainly in debate: "It's totally unnecessary to bring origins into a science discussion. Textbooks today can give good science without discussing philosophy of origins at all." Dr. Kofahl, in the same debate, then immediately added, "We would really be satisfied to see the subject of origins removed entirely from public

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school science ... Let's forget about origins. Let's put all origins discussions into the philosophy department."

In Medford, Oregon, it seems creationists easily got their wish. When a young student of "scientific creationism" started stumping for equal time, the Medford School Superintendent, Richard Langton, declared the following:

"Evolution is not taught in any of the schools of District 549C [Medford] ; neither is creation for that matter. Down through the years, educators have learned that this is such a controversial subject that it is far better not to deal with it at all than to try to deal with it, even on a fair basis, pointing out the claims of both sides. At appropriate levels, where it is understood, we do teach simple genetics, but we in no way get into the question of the evolution of man."

We can now see the entire creationist legal program in all its glory. First they stump for equal time on the grounds that creationism is an alternate scientific view. When that fails, they argue for equal time on the grounds that creationism is an excluded religion. When that fails, they say that neither should be taught because both are philosophies. And by the time that fails, the school officials are so intimidated they begin to wish they had never even heard of evolution.

Still, however, the creationists have one more legal gambit up their sleeves. Nell Segraves probably deserves all the credit for it. Her argument runs thusly:

The atheists have won a number of significant court cases that have resulted in the removal from the public schools of everything offensive to their atheistic viewpoint. They have gotten rid of prayers, religious references in text books, religious displays, etc. Women's rightists have also had much success in removing things that offend them, such as sexist language in textbooks. Well, now it's time for Christian fundamentalists to use these same court decisions in their favor — that is, to remove everything offensive to the Christian fundamentalist viewpoint. " . . . we now are on the outside demanding equal treatment and equal recognition for our, point of view under the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution and the Civil Rights Act of 1964," she argues.

Such an interpretation of the relevant court decisions has far-reaching implications, and the Creation-Science Research Center reaches most of them. They aren't satisfied with calling only evolution "offensive," but go on to add sex education to the list. They further object to the teaching in history classes of the theory that human societies evolved from tribe to village to cradle of civilization. (They believe that man was civilized when he came off the Ark.)

In the general public sector they use the same arguments to condemn rehabilitation of criminals, abortion, government grants to Planned Parenthood, and research grants to behaviorists. In their January, 1980 Creation-Science Report they make their position very plain: "As theists and creationists, possessing equal rights and privileges under the Constitution and Federal Civil Rights

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legislation, we can set forth creationist position papers on any and all problems affecting public morals or health, domestic or foreign policy, whenever government funding is required." This is why seeking cutoffs of funds is one of their major tactics.

One can only ask, in the face of this line of reasoning, where it will stop. Obviously, there is no view taught in our schools that at least somebody won't find offensive to their religion or value system. The teaching of physical science in any form is offensive to mystics who hold that matter is an illusion. If the school nurse talks about health, she had better not mention medicine or vaccinations, or it will offend the followers of Christian Science. Teaching English is bound to be an offense to those who uphold the sacred languages of Hebrew or Sanskrit. Any geography or astronomy which declares the world to be round will create problems in the homes of religious children who were raised by Bible-believing flat earthers.

So, we must ask the practical and legal question: how far must the schools go to avoid offending someone's religion, and how far must they go in giving balanced presentations of all viewpoints every time an "offensive" issue is raised? Furthermore, what state and federal programs will have to be cut off because someone comes up with a religious reason for not liking them? Would we have any government programs or modern education left?

Two creationist women I met during a lecture in Seattle had a simple solution. Get rid of public schools altogether. Let parents choose what kind of schooling they want their children to have. In fact, let them opt for no schooling at all, if they so desire.

The Legal Case Against Creationism

In recent months, bills promoting "equal time" have been introduced in 15 states. The Creation-Science Research Center has volunteers working on legislators and school officials, to get them to reform the science curricula, in 37 states. All in all, it appears the creationist legal movement is operating at full tilt.

Some of the creationists promoting such action probably think they can win, that the law is on their side. But many others know better, like Senator Hugh Carter, who, in speaking for Georgia's recent creation bill, declared cynically from the floor of the State Senate look at all the good we can do between now and the time it is declared unconstitutional."

Those on both sides who have really looked into the matter can see hopeless flaws in the legal case for creationism. Right off the bat it starts out with a basic contradiction. First the creationists try to define science so narrowly that it leaves out evolution. This renders evolution a religion, right along with creation. Then they try to so broadly define the science curriculum that it allows both "religions" to be taught in a scientific context. Putting it another way, creationists demand equal time for creation on religious grounds,

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so they can get it into the schools, and then demand equal time on science grounds, so they can get science instructors to teach it! No case this absurd can be tried for long without trying the patience of everyone.

In the new legal battles, creationists will often deny they are trying to replay the Scopes trial. They don't want to ban evolution, they declare, they just want to make sure it won't be taught without creation having a place too. But the idea that evolution is OK only if creation is included is really two ideas in one. First, it is the idea that when evolution is taught, creation is mandated. Second, it is the idea that if creation is not taught, evolution is banned. The two must be dealt with separately. Let's begin with the second.

The banning of evolution on religious grounds has the unenviable legal status of being totally unconstitutional. In the case of Epperson v. Arkansas in 1968, the U.S. Supreme Court held that no religious group had the right to blot out any public school teaching just because it was "deemed to conflict with a particular religious doctrine." For to do so would be to, in effect, establish a religion, or at least a religion's prohibitions, in the public sector. This is contrary to the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution which reads in part: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; ... "

And it doesn't seem to matter if the anti-evolution law is stridently religious, or is vague on the matter, it is unconstitutional all the same. For example, the Tennessee law which John Scopes was charged with breaking, made it unlawful "to teach any theory that denies the story of Divine Creation of man as taught in the Bible and to teach that man has descended from a lower order of animals." But the Arkansas law challenged in Epperson v. Arkansas was less explicit. Both were declared unconstitutional. The Court declared in Epperson that it was "clear that fundamentalist sectarian conviction was and is the law's reason for existence." It was noted that "Arkansas did not seek to excise from the curricula of its schools and universities all discussion of the origin of man. The law's effort was confined to an attempt to blot out a particular theory because of its supposed conflict with the Biblical account, literally read." Recent legal moves, though more camouflaged than ever, seem to come to the same thing. The creationists are trying to remove evolution on religious grounds.

It would seem strange, in the light of the Epperson decision, that creationists wouldn't move to do what the Court seemed to allow, that is, remove all teachings of origins. But I doubt if that is their first preference. They would probably prefer to find a way to teach special creation (or, more correctly, Biblical fundamentalism). And it isn't likely they would be satisfied to have it taught in comparative religion classes either. Why? Because the science classes will continue to teach things creationists regard as persuasive in the "wrong" direction, things that would be devastating to their belief system if true. So, they want to get religion into the science classes also. When they can't ban evolution and teach creation, they usually strive to require creation and neutralize evolution.

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Teaching neither, then, is hardly satisfactory to them. This is probably why they don't really push for that except as a footnote to their bills and lawsuits, as an afterthought in their debates. (The aforementioned announcement by the Medford, Oregon School Superintendent that evolution was not being taught did not put an end to the creationist movement there.) So, let's look into this idea of requiring creationism.

Obviously, if banning a teaching in the schools on religious grounds constitutes the establishment of religion in the public sector, then it is all the more true that requiring a religious doctrine in the schools is to do the same thing! Yet creationists somehow think they can do better with this idea than with the previous one.

True, appeals for "equal time," "fair play," and "academic freedom" are more persuasive with the public. But it isn't the public who decides constitutionality. That operates according to a basic principle, one that is to be unchanging, for the most part.

But even if the doctrine being required wasn't religious, it would still be questionable. As Professor Richard D. Alexander noted in the February 1978 American Biology Teacher, "If evolutionists were attempting to require that evolution be taught it would be no less pernicious.... when anyone attempts to establish laws or rules requiring that certain theories be taught or not be taught, he or she invites us to take a step toward totalitarianism. Whether a law is to prevent the teaching of a theory or to require it is immaterial. It does not matter if equal time is being demanded or something called 'reasonable' time, because there can be no reasonable time in such a law."

In the past when a scientific view was mandated by government, it resulted in disaster and a stiffling of progress. One particular example occurred 40 years ago in Russia. A man named Lysenko temporarily established that Lamarkian evolution was true science and that Darwin was wrong. This resulted in, first, a mandating of Lamarkianism. But following shortly on its heels was a banning of Darwinism. It took decades for Russia to recover from this legal action and catch up to the modern world in the realm of science.

in the recent Georgia battle, Julian Bond, a black State Senator, expressed the point in this way. "Thirteen years ago, I sponsored a bill that called for the teaching of black history in the public schools. Everybody said, `It's a fine idea, but we can't legislate the curriculum.' What will we tell the large body of nonChristian children who sit in Georgia's classrooms and are taught the creation theory?"

In the Georgia State Legislature, Representative Billy McKinney argued much the same way. He noted that if government was now going to enter the business of curriculum design, it should demand equal time for black history. After all, "There are more black folks in this country now than there are scientific creationists."

The Epperson decision, while dealing with a law banning evolution, had

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something to say about requiring creation as well. The Court declared, "There is and can be no doubt that the First Amendment does not permit the State to require that teaching and learning must be tailored to the principles or prohibitions of any religious sect or dogma.... the State may not adopt programs or practices in its public schools or colleges which `aid or oppose' any religion.... This prohibition is absolute. It forbids alike the preference of a religious doctrine or the prohibition of theory which is deemed antagonistic to a particular dogma."

In Zorach v. Clauson in 1951, Justice Douglas wrote the majority opinion, saying: "Government may not finance religious groups nor undertake religious instruction nor use secular institutions to force one or some religion on any person." The comment about financing religious groups is instructive, because the teaching of creation would require the use of creationist textbooks and learning materials. Since only religious creationists offer them, then to make such purchases could easily amount to the financing of religion by government.

In California, religious ideas may be discussed in the schools, provided they "do not constitute instruction in religious principles or aid to any religious sect, church, creed, or sectarian purpose . . . " (Younger, 1975.) In view of recent cases, it is clear the courts would rule that the teaching of special creation would do at least one of these things. There can be no doubt that creationism is a religious doctrine, even the "scientific" version, and that the courts would discover this fact.

As for the question of whether evolution is also a religion, Evelle Younger, Attorney General for California, had this to say to the Creation-Science Research Center in 1975:

The "neutrality requirements" of the First Amendment are not violated by the inclusion in textbooks by the State Board of Education of a scientific treatment of evolution. The degree to which a scientific subject should be made more or less "dogmatic" does not involve considerations of "religion." Such considerations, in the exercise of the Board's sound discretion, turn upon the degree of scientific certainty supporting a subject presented in a textbook. Action by the State Board of Education or local boards of education to modify a scientific theory may be judicially proscribed if it can be demonstrated that it is an attempt to modify such theory because of its supposed conflict with religion.
The issue Younger was commenting upon was the Creation-Science Research Center's efforts to have evolution taught in a less "dogmatic" way in California school, s and textbooks. His arguments indicate that not only can evolution not be banned or "balanced," but it also cannot be modified (at least not unless the scientific facts, as determined by the State Board of Education, warrant such modification independent of religious criteria).

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As for Nell Segraves' argument that prayers in school were removed because they were an "offense" to atheism: this is nothing but more creationist revisionist history. The reason prayers were removed was because they constituted an establishment of sectarian religion in the public sector (Swancara, 1950). This means Mrs. Segraves can gain no legal advantage by claiming evolution is a religi, ous "offense" to creationism.

And if she tries to point to civil rights legislation that bars "offenses" to blacks, women, etc., her argument will still miss the point. The civil rights laws ban disparaging remarks, not courses of study. Therefore, if blacks are depicted as lazy, women as emotional, or Christians as bigoted, then legal action will be taken. But no one can, under these laws, either ban courses or require "equal time" for black studies, women's studies, or creationism.

It is true, however, that in the case of West Virginia u. Barnette, Justice Murphy wrote in his concurring opinion: "Official compulsion to affirm what is contrary to one's religious beliefs is the antithesis of freedom of worship...." But this only applied to the compelling of unconscionable statements. Evolution, as normally taught, does not require the student's allegiance. Only his or her understanding of the objectively presented concepts is sought. Therefore, the teaching of evolution is neither a threat to nor an imposition on the religious freedom of any child. Students are always free to disagree with any theory they learn.

In the case of Wisconsin v. Yoder, the Court granted Amish parents the right to take their children out of the public schools after eighth grade, provided those children were participating in the "long established program of informal vocational education" that the Amish taught. The Court declared that "the values of parental direction of the religious upbringing and education of their children in their early and formative years have a high place in our society." A similar right of parents to send their children to private, religious schools was upheld in Pierce v. Society of Sisters, so long as the children were prepared "for additional obligation" in society.

All these cases, then, seem to offer a solution to parents like Mrs. Segraves. If they are "offended" by evolution, they can send their children to private religious schools, or, as in the case of sex education, have them released from the class when the subjects at issue are being taught.

Regarding this solution, creationist lawyer Wendell Bird rightly points out the unfairness of requiring an individual to make a choice between his faith and a public benefit. He has a right to both. Free education and free exercise of religion need not be mutually exclusive (Bird, 1978). Bird also criticizes the released time plan, citing the case of atheists who were not satisfied with merely having the right to leave the classroom during school prayers. Creationists, too, who in their situation might desire to leave evolution studies "would probably be prevented by pressure from fellow students, respect for teacher opinions, and need for other course material missed." (Bird, Acts & Facts, May 1979.)

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There may be something to Bird's argument that evolution serves to undermine faith in a literal interpretation of the Bible and is therefore a burden on a fundamentalist's rights to free exercise of religion. But this is hardly sufficient to justify forcing all the rest of the pupils to study creationist religious doctrines or to go without learning about evolution and thereby receive an inferior education. It would seem there is a state interest in teaching this material, and teaching it exclusively. This is made clear by the fact that evolution is the one great unifying principle of all science. Students cannot be adequately prepared for scientific careers if they are left in the dark about its existence. And if it is "balanced" with a non-scientific theory, then they will get an inaccurate picture of science and be misled into believing there is a significant split of opinion among scientists on the issue, when there is not.

Probably the best solution would be to set aside one science class wherein origins would not he discussed at all. This would be for conscientious objectors. Such a plan would effectively remove all "offense" and "burden on free exercise," while still leaving the rest of the students free to learn a complete science.

Creationist Guerrilla Warfare

Unlike the Creation-Science Research Center and other similar organizations, the Institute for Creation Research does not engage in law suits or legislation, at least not directly. In the January-February 1973 Acts & Facts, Dr. Morris wrote that "no recommendation is made for political or legal pressure to force the teaching of creationism in the schools. Some well-meaning people have tried this, and it may serve the purpose of generating publicity for the creationist movement. In general, however, such pressures are self-defeating.... The hatchet job accomplished on the fundamentalists by the news media and the educational establishment following the Scopes trial in 1925 is a type of what could happen, in the unlikely event that favorable legislation or court decisions could be obtained by this route."

The clear admission that creationism doesn't have a legal case is even more explicitly stated by Morris in a December 1974 article. He wrote: "Even if a favorable statute or court decision is obtained, it will probably be declared unconstitutional, especially if the legislation or injunction refers to the Bible account of creation."

Since Dr. Morris and ICR, then, clearly recognize the legal shakiness of their two-model position, what is their plan for getting creationism into the schools?

Well, they outline it in detail in a number of issues of Acts & Facts. Here are its salient points:

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  1. Parents should -
    1. Buy and read ICR creationist books, both religious and scientific.
    2. Teach their children and those of other parents about creationism, and encourage them to bring the issue up in the classroom.
    3. Talk to the school teachers about it, and if they aren't receptive, go to the principal or superintendent.
    4. Convince local school boards that the two-model approach is legal, nonreligious, and in no way contrary to the U. S. Constitution.
    5. Purchase copies of Biology, A Search for Order in Complexity and Scientific Creationism (Public School Edition) to show to school officials. Recommend the former for students, the latter for teachers.
    6. Get permission and speak at the next state board of education meeting or meeting of the proper state curriculum authority.
    7. Get permission and speak at the next state textbook commission meeting after seeing advance copies of the textbooks and reviewing them.
    8. Petition that a resolution (not a law) be passed "permitting" or "encouraging" (not requiring) the teaching of creationism.
    9. Establish a community pressure group with an appropriate name like "Citizens for Scientific Creationism" or "Civil Rights for Creationists." Then do things like take a community census poll, raise funds to buy the school and public libraries creationist books from ICR, promote a workshop on creationism for teachers or a seminar for the general public, sponsor debates using ICR experts, and/or work up a lot of media publicity in local and school papers, etc.
    10. Donate money to ICR for further creation research.
  2. School administrators should -
    1. Encourage teachers to teach creationism.
    2. Conduct workshops on creationism for teachers on a graduate credit basis, bringing in ICR experts.
    3. Provide substitute teachers to teach creationism when the regular teacher isn't willing, or have regular specialists in the subject.
    4. Have creationist materials purchased for the school(s).
  3. Teachers should -
    1. Introduce creationism into their own classrooms "no matter what the course subject or grade level may be. . . . whenever the textbook or course plan contains evolutionary teachings or implications." This not only includes science, but geography, history, social science, and other subjects.
    2. Rent or order ICR two-model and creationist audio-visual aids.
    3. Invite creationist speakers to address a school assembly.
    4. Talk to fellow teachers over coffee and win them over to the two-model approach.
  4. Scientists should -
    1. Stand firm to their creationist convictions when faced with the derision of their colleagues.
    2. Serve as consultants and lecturers for schools and citizen groups.
    3. Join the Creation Research Society.
  5. Pastors should -
    1. Promote Biblical creationism in their church and Sunday school.
    2. Lead community-wide creationist movements involving the churches.
    3. Talk with school administrators.
    4. Promote creationism over the airwaves.
  6. Students should -
    1. Give "careful, courteous, consistent Christian testimony" to the teacher in a way that is "winsome and tactful, kind and patient."
    2. Raise questions and offer alternative suggestions in class discussions.
    3. Bring creationism into speeches, papers, and class projects.
    4. Invite the teacher and classmates to creation seminars.
    5. Suggest a creation/ evolution debate in the classroom.
    6. Give ICR tracts and publications to the teacher and principal.
    7. Answer relevant test questions with the prefacing words "Evolutionists believe that. — " when an evolutionary answer is required to get a test question correct.
    8. Withdraw from the course if the teacher is too hostile.
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Dr. Morris has said: "Creationist teachers are in a unique position to play a critical role in this strategic conflict," and he has his strategy all worked out. He notes further that pastors "are especially capable at the arts of persuasion and instruction" and should use these to promote the cause. "Scientists and other professionals who are Christians have a peculiar trust from the Lord." (Acts & Facts, December 197-1.) The aim here is obviously to bring as much pressure to hear as possible in order to "bring creation back into the public schools."

Sample resolutions for presentation before school boards and state curriculum authorities have been published for easy use in both the July-August 1975 and May 1979 issues of Acts & Facts. They have been used widely and verbatim all over the country and have had some success in places like Columbus, Ohio; Dallas, Texas; and Anderson, South Carolina. They were even used in drafting the recent Georgia bill. The 1975 Acts & Facts, however, recommends a bit of secrecy as to the source of the legal wording, saying "it would be better not to mention ICR at all in connection with it [the resolution], so that the officials will realize that it is their own constituents who are concerned with the issue."

What this boils down to is an ICR engineered local grass roots pressure movement to sneak creationism into the schools through every back door they can find. But, failing that, they will settle for the intimidation caused in their wake. knowing full well that such intimidation tends to prevent, or water down, the teaching of evolution.

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Conclusion

It should be clear by now that, legally, the creationists do not have a case. Any effort to ban evolution because it conflicts with a religion is an effort ca bring sectarian religious prohibitions into the public schools. This is unconstitutional. On the other hand, any effort to add creationism to the science curriculum will amount to the teaching of sectarian doctrines. This too would be unconstitutional.

To get around this problem, creationists have sought to establish creationism as secular science. They have gathered data and tried to remove references to the Bible. But, because they have made little effort to work through the scientific community, to participate in the peer review of the journals, to do more than just token field research; and since they have promoted a rather dogmatic "science," the courts have exposed this effort to be a sham.

Yet even if they had become truly secular in their ideas, mandating inclusion of these through legislation would remain illegal and contrary to academic freedom. Even evolution can't be forced in this way. It is not the business of the legislature to determine what is and is not science. This task belongs to the scientific community. Therefore, only if there is a legitimate controversy among knowledgeable field workers on an issue is it proper for more than one model to be taught. Since there is no such controversy at this time, creationism is without academic grounds for inclusion (except, perhaps, as a discredited theory in the same class as Lamarkianism).

This realization has forced creationists to try another ploy: If you can't join them, beat them — that is, ban all discussions of origins from the science curriculum, and send them off to the philosophy department.

Of course there's no need to ban creationism. It isn't part of the curriculum. And if it's proposed that we ban evolution, we're headed for another Scopes trial. We must therefore ask creationists why they want it banned. If it's because it conflicts with their religion, the constitution will prohibit such a move. But if it's because evolution is itself supposedly a religion, they will have to prove that. And they will have to prove it using scientific means, submitting their arguments to peer review, and actually showing that evolution is untestable and non-scientific in nature.

Because of the difficulty of this endeavor, and because they cannot win in the courts, some creationist groups have given up legal action altogether and have emphasized a kind of "religious smuggling." One part of their plan involves telling school officials that the two-model approach is both constitutional and scientific, even though creationists have never won a court case or convinced a scientific symposium. Another part involves gathering pressure groups to intimidate school authorities so evolution can be pulled out, or creation brought in, through the back door. (In such cases, it should occur to school authorities to ask why pressure is necessary if creationism is scientifically sound, and why ICR

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has avoided the courts if their position is supposed to be constitutional.)

So far, not having a good case hasn't been fatal to the creationists. In fact they have flourished! — which shows that the problem will be with us a long time. Obviously it isn't enough for evolutionists to have the law on their side, to sit back and let the lawyers do the work. Creationists have been losing the battles and winning the war. That is, they have successfully intimidated the schools and textbook publishers into near submission. This has effectively won them the Scopes trial. With their continued persistence, and with further neglect by evolutionists, they may, through their "guerrilla warfare," succeed in their primary goal of getting Biblical fundamentalism taught in our public schools.

Meanwhile, their constant battling costs the taxpayers money and gains them the supporters they need. As a result, in time they could feel confident enough to push for a constitutional amendment that would turn the legal case around in their favor.

Because it isn't safe to neglect this threat any longer, the time has come to inform the public of the facts — and to guarantee students an adequate education. Respect for science in America is waning. The popularity of both creationism and mysticism are symptomatic of it. It's no longer possible for academics to ignore the public while advancing their scientific careers. If they try, they will soon find creationism in the schools and anti-science in the electorate.

The public never fully accepted evolution. Now that we realize this, we can work to remedy the situation. We can study the creationist arguments to learn where evolution is being misunderstood or feared. We can then tell the public why scientists accept evolution, instead of telling them merely that they do. We can improve the public relations of science in general, and thereby bring it back into respect. But, most importantly, we can update Muller's statement and boldly declare, "One hundred twenty-two years without Darwin are enough!"

In a future issue, PART 2. The Educational Issues
. Watch for it.

Alexander, Richard D. "Evolution, Creation, and Biology Teaching." The American Biology Teacher. February 1978, pp. 91ff.

Bergman, Jerry. Teaching About the Creation/Evolution Controversy. Phi Delta Kappa Educational Foundation: Bloomington, Indiana, 1979.

Bird, Wendell R. "Freedom of Religion and Science Instruction in Public Schools." Yale Law Journal. January 1978, pp. 515ff.

Bird, Wendell R. "Evolution in Public Schools and Creation in Student's Homes: What Creationists Can Do." Acts & Facts. March and April 1979, ICR Impact Series Nos. 69 and 70.

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Bird, Wendell R. "Resolution for Balanced Presentation of Evolution and Scientific Creationism." Acts & Facts. May 1979, ICR Impact Series No. 71.

Bush, Balanced Treatment for Scientific Creationism and Evolution Act. (HB 107.) Florida House of Representatives, 1980.

Celebrezze, Edwards, and Lively. "Daniel v. Waters," in A Compendium of Information on the Theory of Evolution and the Evolution-Creationism Controversy. National Association of Biology Teachers: Reston, Virginia, 1978.

Chambers, Bette. "Why A Statement Affirming Evolution'?" The Humanist. January -- February 1977, pp. 23ff.

Cowen, Robert C. "Evolution: Equal Time for God." Technology Review June - July 1979, pp. 10ff.

Creation-Science Research Center. Creation-Science Report. January 1980.

Creation-Science Research Center. "Decide: Evolution and Creation - One or Both in Public School Science?" San Diego. (Issued March 19, 1980).

Dugan, Michael T. II. "Hendren v. Campbell," in A Compendium of Information on the Theory of Evolution and the Evolution-Creationism Controversy. National Association of Biology Teachers: Reston, Virginia, 1978.

Ellwanger, Paul. "Proposal to Anderson School District No. 5 Board of Trustees," Acts & Facts. January 1979, ICR Impact Series No. 67.

Gardner, Martin. Fads & Fallacies in the Name of Science. Dover Publications,
Inc.: New York, 1957.

Gilmore, John. "Evolution vs. Creation: New Battle Brews." San Diego Evening Tribune. March 19, 1980, p. A-2.

Gish, Duane T. Evolution: The Fossils Say No! Creation-Life Publishers: San Diego, 1973.

Gish, Duane T. "The Scopes Trial in Reverse." The Humanist. November - December 1977, pp. 50ff.

Goodman, Ellen. "Creationists Get Some Knocks." San Diego Evening Tribune. April 18, 1980, p. B-11.

Hatfield, Larry. "Educators Against Darwin." Science Digest (Special). Winter 1979, pp. 94ff.

Hinton, Richard W. Arsenal for Skeptics. (Chapter 9, part 4.) A. S. Barnes and Company, Inc.: New York, 1961.

Holmes, S. J. "Proposed Laws Against the Teaching of Evolution," in A Compendium of Information on the Theory of Evolution and the EvolutionCreationism Controversy. National Association of Biology Teachers: Reston, Virginia, 1978.

Institute for Creation Research, "Distinction Between Scientific Creationism and Biblical Creationism." Acts & Facts. December 1978, pp. 4ff.

Irvine, William. Apes, Angels, and Victorians. McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc.: New York, 1955.

Le Clercq, Frederic S. "The Constitution and Creationism," in A Compendium of Information on the Theory of Evolution and the Evolution-Creationism Controversy. National Association of Biology Teachers: Reston, Virginia, 1978.

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Lemmon, Richard M. Review of Science and Creation Series. California State Department of Education, February 28, 1975.

Mayer, William V. "Creation Concepts Should Not Be Taught in Public Schools." Liberty. September - October 1978, pp. 3ff.

Moore, John N., and Harold Schultz Slusher (Eds.). Biology: A Search for Order in Complexity. Zondervan Publishing House: Grand Rapids, 1974.

Morris, Henry M. "Evolution, Creation, and the Public Schools." Acts & Facts. January - February 1973, ICR Impact Series No. 1.

Morris, Henry M. (Ed.). Scientific Creationism (General Edition) and (Public School Edition). Creation-Life Publishers: San Diego, 1974.

Morris, Henry M. "Introducing Creationism Into the Public Schools," Acts & Facts. December 1974, ICR Impact Series No. 20.

Morris, Henry M. "Resolution for Equitable Treatment of Both Creation and Evolution." Acts & Facts. July - August 1975, ICR Impact Series No. 26.

Prugh, Jeff. "Georgia Senate Passes Bill to Teach `Creation by God'," Los Angeles Times. March 6, 1980, p. 8 part I.

Saladin, Kenneth S. "Creationism Bill Dies in Georgia Legislature." The Humanist. May-June 1980, pp. 59ff.

Scott-Blair, Michael. "Creationists Seek Say in Schools." The San Diego Union. October 14, 1979, pp. A-1ff.

Segraves, Nell J. (Letter to Frank Mortyn.) Creation-Science Research Center. April 15, 1980.

Stanley, Denise. "Kindell: `Setting Minds Afire." Medford Mail Tribune. March 19, 1978, pp. 1A ff.

Swancara, Frank. The Separation of Religion and Government. The Truth Seeker Company, Inc.: New York, 1950.

Times. "Bunkum in the Capital." Times (St. Petersburg, Florida). March 13, 1980, Editorial Page.

Utt, Richard H. "A Tale of Two Theories." Liberty. January - February 1980, pp. 12ff.

Younger, Evelle J. Opinion. Office of the Attorney General, State of California: April 2, 1975.

About the Author(s): 
Fred Edwords has lectured and debated widely on the creation/evolution question, has designed a two-model slide show on the subject, is Editor of this journal, and is Administrator of the American Humanist Association.
This version might differ slightly from the print publication.

The Fatal Flaws of Flood Geology

Creation Evolution Journal
Title: 
The Fatal Flaws of Flood Geology
Author(s): 
Christopher Gregory Weber
Volume: 
1
Number: 
1
Quarter: 
Summer
Page(s): 
24–37
Year: 
1980
The flood geology theory teaches essentially that the Biblical Flood of Noah buried all the fossils within a year's time, several thousand years ago. Although this theory accepts each miracle explicitly mentioned in the Biblical Flood story, the Institute for Creation Research (ICR) maintains that God uses miracles very sparingly; once He finished using a few miracles to get the Flood rolling, He let it operate according to natural laws to produce the geological features that are now seen in the earth's crust. This part of their version of the flood geology theory purports to explain the structure of the rocks in the crust, and thus makes testable scientific predictions: wherever this theory is naturalistic, it is a scientific theory deserving a scientific response.

The Great Deluge

The ICR flood geology theory relates the events of the Biblical Flood as follows: Before the Flood, a water vapor "canopy" in the upper atmosphere created a greenhouse effect, making the entire earth a tropical paradise. The oceans were shallower, the lands lower and more extensive than today. Because the greenhouse effect kept temperatures the same throughout the earth, there was no wind circulation and no rain, only a mist that watered the ground daily. Underneath the earth lay vast underground water reservoirs.

To start the Flood, God performed some miracles: He made the animals seek out Noah's Ark, "opened the windows of the heavens" to empty the vapor canopy on to the earth, and "broke the fountains of the great deep" to overwhelm the continents with volcanically heated brines. During the course of the flood, the violence of the rains and volcanic waters catastrophically scoured and dumped sediments, burying all sorts of creatures as fossils in the process. In and of itself, this catastrophic erosion and sedimentation was perfectly naturalistic; it operated according to ordinary laws of physics and chemistry, only on a much larger and faster scale than erosion and sedimentation today.

One year later, to end the Flood, God performed one more set of miracles; he made the continents rise and the ocean basins sink along vertical faults. These new basins were necessary to contain all the ocean waters once they had been augmented with all the newly released canopy and subterranean waters. Thus ended the Flood of Noah; thus originated the face of the earth we see today.

Modern creationists no longer calculate precise Biblical chronologies because they say there may be small gaps in some of them. Even so, they believe that

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God created the earth no earlier than ten thousand years ago, and brought on the Flood one or two thousand years after the Creation.

This account summarizes the flood geology model that Dr. Henry M. Morris, Director of ICR, expounds and defends in creationist classics like The Genesis Flood (Whitcomb and Morris, 1961) and Scientific Creationism (1974).

Despite all the miracles in the Biblical Flood story, the ICR members emphasize that their flood geology model is mostly naturalistic. They claim that this model can interpret the known geological evidence in terms of known laws of physics and chemistry better than does orthodox geology. For instance, John C. Whitcomb in The World That Perished (1973) tells us that:

God maintains a definite economy of miracles. Otherwise, miracles would become commonplace and would thus lose their uniqueness and significance.... Apart from the specific miracles mentioned in Scripture, which were necessary to begin and to terminate this period of global judgment, the Flood accomplished its work of destruction by purely natural processes that are capable of being studied to a certain extent in hydraulics laboratories and in local flood situations today. [pp. 67–68; emphasis Whitcomb's]

Thus Whitcomb, as well as his friend Dr. Morris (who wrote an enthusiastic foreword for the book quoted above) commits himself to explaining the bulk of the geological evidence naturalistically. How well do they succeed? This article can scarcely cover all relevant evidence, but it will nevertheless tackle this question.

Let's begin with the problems posed by fossil desert deposits.

Desert Deposits

You don't need a Ph.D. in geology to know that desert dunes and other desert deposits do not form under roaring flood waters. These require not only time, but also dry land. The Flood of Noah supplies neither.

The Old Red Sandstone, which looks for all the world like a collection of fossilized desert dunes, was formed in Devonian times. It has outcrops extending from the British Isles to Poland and Russia's White Sea, and from Germany to Norway (Gilluly, Waters, and Woodford, 1968). Outcrops have even been found in Greenland and North America. In Devonian times, before North America and Europe drifted apart, these dunes covered an entire semi-arid continent.

Several lines of evidence derived from this great geologic formation create difficulties for the flood geology model. For instance, the interfingering of these sandstones with marine sediments shows that the shoreline of this continent advanced and retreated several times. Thus the desert rocks are entangled with rocks that the flood geology model says were formed within the one-year-long flood. Also, redbeds, consisting partly of rust formed above sea level, are also

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found in this formation. These would not have been formed in any catastrophic flood. The Old Red Sandstones also contain typical playas, complete with their characteristic cubic salt crystal deposits. These are desert salt-pan deposits formed after the rainy-season lakes evaporate. Today, in the Mojave Desert, playas can become lakes for a couple of weeks, only to dry out again, leaving a crust of salt deposits like those found in the Red Sandstone. Although a few freshwater ponds did exist on this ancient semi-arid continent, they dried up from time to time. So, we find fossil mud cracks in the shales that came from the dried-up pond bottoms, and we find fossil lungfish, a type of fish that can survive drought by building a mud cocoon in the pond bottom and breathing air. Hundreds of square miles of fossil sand dunes in these deposits contain cross-bedding and sand-blasted pebbles (ventifacts) of the sort found in modern desert sand dunes, and in no other kind of modern sediment. These different independent lines of evidence converge to show that the Old Red Sandstones almost certainly formed over thousands of years in a dry climate, not in any kind of flood catastrophe.

The Grand Canyon contains fossil desert dunes and other sediments that to all appearances were deposited on dry land. The Permian Coconino Sandstones in the upper walls of the Grand Canyon have the frosted well-sorted wellrounded sand grains found only in land-deposited sand dunes (Shelton, 1966). Furthermore, many of the laminae of the cross-bedding contain fossil footprints that could only have come from reptiles or other quadrupeds climbing up the face of a slightly damp sand dune in the open air. (Those climbing down the slopes left no tracks because they simply slid.) ICR geologist Dr. Steve Austin has taught the theory that amphibians resting between underwater dunes made the tracks. His theory is very interesting, but rather implausible since the Flood must have been violently dumping several meters' worth of sediment per day.

The Canyon's Supai and Hermit Shales, found today beneath the Coconino Sandstones, look exactly like river deltas that formed above sea level (Shelton, 1966). Back in Permian times, many quadrupeds (probably reptiles) left their footprints in the soft delta mud. As the mud baked hard in the sun, it formed cracks. The hardness of the baked mud preserved the footprints and mudcracks until the flooded rivers of the rainy season buried them in fresh mud. These fossil prints and mudcracks are found today, as well as iron oxides that form in the open air, showing that these shales formed above sea level.

The pure quarz Navajo Sandstones of Triassic and Jurassic times in Zion National Park, Utah, also look exactly like desert sand dunes (Gilluly, Waters, and Woodford, 1968). They contain extensive cross bedding of the type found in sand dunes, and the frosted sand grains and sand-blasted pebbles found only in dunes formed on the land.

Certain formations in western Wyoming look exactly like deserts that bordered a fitfully receding sea in Carboniferous times (Houlik, 1973). In particular, the Mississippian Lodgepole Formation contains the type of carbonate

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deposits and evaporites found forming in tidal flats today. The Amsden formation consists of sabkhas and desert dunes. Sabkhas are a kind of hardpan that forms in deserts after hard water seeps up through the ground by capillary action and evaporates leaving nodules of calcite, andhydrite, and other salts. They are seen forming extensively in Saudi Arabia today. Unless Houlik has grossly erred, these sabkhas, casts of evaporite crystals, and fossil dunes show that these Carboniferous deposits formed in a desert, not a flood.

Several times at the end of the Miocene epoch (six to eight million years ago), the Mediterranean Sea dried up, leaving extensive desert deposits on the sea bottom (Hsu, 1972). The Straits of Gibraltar opened and closed, causing these complex changes, as the Glomar Challenger discovered in 1970 by using echo soundings and deep-sea core samples. Each time the Mediterranean slowly dried up, first calcite precipitated around the rim of the basin of the Balearic abyssal plain, then anhydrites and gypsum further in, and finally rock salt in the center at the deepest point. This is just the order that these salts would precipitate if you set out a large saucer of sea water to dry. Successive dryings of the Mediterranean produced hundreds of meters of evaporites. Not only did evaporites form, but also land deposits like sun-baked mud cracks, wind-blown sand, and sabkha anhydrite nodules. Since algae can only grow where sunlight reaches, the stromatolites (a common algae deposit) found in deep sea core samples show that the Mediterranean sea floor, now two miles deep, was once dry land. The Rhone and Nile rivers cut their canyons thousands of feet below current sea level to feed the desiccated Mediterranean basin. Desert-style alluvial fans accumulated from debris washed by cloudbursts down the slopes of Sardinia; now these deposits lie far under the water. After the Mediterranean refilled with water for the last time, at the beginning of the Pliocene, sediments began to accumulate over the evaporites; the weight of these sediments forced evaporites up through weak spots in the sediments to form salt domes. Some of these salt domes are a few miles across, and hundreds to thousands of feet high. Even though such structures may not be forming today, a dried-up Mediterranean could have easily formed them, whereas flood geology is hard pressed to account for such things.

Fossil Forests

In Yellowstone Park at Specimen Ridge, a nearby volcano buried 27 forests one atop the other in rocky debris in Eocene times. After a forest grew on top of some old volcanic debris, the volcano would shower fresh debris through the air on top of it and mudslides consisting of volcanic debris would flow through it. The trunks and branches left sticking above the volcanic debris rotted away. Then a new forest would grow on top all this new debris, repeating the cycle. Animal fossils are scarce because the animals living in the forests fled the area as soon as the volcanic dust made the air hard to breathe. However, the falling debris, which broke the branches off the trunks, preserved many fossil leaves and

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twigs (conifers, deciduous trees, and ferns). As the rock erodes today, the petrified trees (which erode more slowly) stand upright and project above the ground. Complete root systems have been found in many of these trees. This entire deposit took over 20,000 years to form, double the maximum age of the earth allowed by ICR, and 20,000 times too long to fit into the Flood of Noah.

Erling Dorf (1964) has calculated all this. He noted that the oldest trees in each layer were about 500 years old when they were buried. Igneous rock requires 200 years to decay into a reasonable soil. Add these two figures, and we get the age per layer; multiply by 27 layers, and we get about 20,000 years, the minimum time in which a formation like this can arise.

Flood geologists, on the other hand, insist that Noah's Flood washed in heaps of uprooted trees between eruptions; they say the trees stand upright because dirt which became entangled in the roots weighted down the bottoms enough to hold the trunks upright. Nevertheless, uprooted trees today that wash onto a beach lie on their sides. F. H. Knowlton (1914), referring to a 12-foot-tall 26'/2-foot-around fossil redwood, says, "The roots, which are as large as the roots of ordinary trees, are now embedded in solid rock." William B. Sanborn (1951) says concerning two nearby pines, "Each stands about 15 feet, and shows a complete root system." Charles H. Brown (1961) says that one of the methods of finding exact forest levels was to find "the expansion of the base of an upright tree trunk immediately above the root system." One would expect the trees to be stripped of most of their roots and buried on their sides if they had been uprooted and buried in Noah's Flood.

In an article in some obscure religious journal cited in Robert Kofahl's Handy Dandy Evolution Refuter, flood geologist Harry Coffin maintains that the tree rings within a given fossil forest layer do not cross correlate. Let's look into this.

Every year, a tree grows a new ring. If the rainfall varies from year to year where this tree grows, then all the rings in its wood will vary in diameter; the narrow rings grew during the dry years, and the wide ones during wet years. Dendrochronologists (tree-ring daters) correlate tree rings from different trees by comparing ring variation patterns in one tree with those in another to see whether they match.

Since Coffin says the petrified trees of Specimen Ridge have rings that vary enough in diameter to be worth trying to correlate, he implies that before the Flood, rainfall varied from year to year. In this, he contradicts the flood geology model without knowing it (if he assumes with Morris that no rain fell in pre Flood times). Also, since the trees all supposedly died within the same year in the Flood, the flood geology theory implies that if their rings vary in diameter at all, then all the trees everywhere in the formation should cross-correlate. Thus Coffin's claims do not stand up under analysis.

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The Earth's Crust

Flood geologists claim that the ocean basins and the continents consist of essentially the same sort of crust; the main difference is that the ocean basins were lowered and continents raised along vertical faults. Their theory creates two problems.

Firstly, if the Flood washed over entire continents, then most of the sediments and sedimentary rocks of the world would be found in the ocean basins. The eastern Washington Scablands show (on a small scale) what the continents should look like if flood geology is true (Shelton, 1966). During the last ice age, a glacier dammed up a lake called Lake Missoula. When that dam melted, 2,000 cubic kilometers of lake water catastrophically denuded thousands of square kilometers of eastern Washington. However, similar denuded igneous rocks are seldom found outside of Washington State. On the contrary, the continents and continental shelves are covered as much as 12,000 meters deep with sediments and sedimentary rock, whereas ocean basins always bear less (usually far less) than a kilometer of sediment except where they abut a continental shelf. The continental shelves gather most of the sediments dumped by rivers. Few sediments ever get to the deep ocean basins beyond. The continental drift theory leads us to expect exactly this result, as any good encyclopedia will show. However, it is exactly the reverse of what flood geology predicts.

Secondly, the continents are mostly slabs of granite about 30 to 60 kilometers thick. The granitic continental crust stands higher above the ocean basins while having roots more deeply sunk than those of the ocean basins because granite is lighter than basalt, and hence "floats" more buoyantly upon the viscous mantle of the earth. These facts about sediments and buoyancy, well known to any freshman geology student, cause grave difficulties for flood geology.

Coral Reefs

Huge coral atolls and reefs require many thousands of years to form because the individual corals that constitute them grow so slowly. Under ideal conditions, corals grow as fast as 1.0 to 2.5 centimeters per year, but conditions are seldom ideal, and reefs as a whole grow much more slowly than the individual corals that make them up. The surf pounds broken coral branches into sand, and the red and green calcareous algae cement this sand together into a form far more compact than the original corals, so a reef complex consisting largely of cemented coral sand actually grows much more slowly than the original corals, only millimeters per year. Such slow growth rates imply that coral atolls and barrier reefs (both fossil and modern) needed tens of thousands of years to grow into their present form; the flood geology model supplies only a fraction of the needed time. The modern Eniwetok atoll, the fossil Rainbow Lake reefs, and the

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complex geology of Hawaii are good examples to illustrate this.

H. S. Ladd (1960) has drilled deep holes on Eniwetok atoll to take samples of coral and coral derived rock. These core samples reveal a huge cap of coral that took millions of years to form. Over a thousand cubic kilometers of coral reef rock cover a sunken basalt volcano cone. Millions of years ago, this cone formed a volcanic island; the parts above sea level were worn flat by erosion. As it slowly sank, the coral reefs that had been growing on its rim grew upwards fast enough to keep at the surface of the ocean, forming a huge coral cap. The cores taken from the drilling show that the deepest corals are so old that they have become chemically altered from aragonite to dolomite. Occasionally in geological history, the volcano temporarily ceased to sink, and lifted the coral cap many feet above sea level (the modern Tonga islands are also former atolls heaved many feet above sea level); the core samples clearly show gaps in the coral where the coral was being weathered above sea level. The deepest core sample of all revealed coral as thick as 1380 meters. Assuming that Ladd is accurate, let us grant ICR two generous assumptions: (1) the reef as a whole grows a centimeter per year, and (2) we ignore the time represented by erosional gaps. Given these assumptions, the atoll must be no less than 138,000 years old.

The flood geology theory allows no more than about 8,000 years for all modern reefs to form, only 5% of the time that Eniwetok needed to grow to its present state. If flood geology is true, then the modern reefs started growing only after Noah's Flood was over with. After all, the Flood itself would have killed off all corals by kicking up a slurry of clay particles in all the ocean waters. These particles would have taken years to settle out. Corals require clear water and cannot stand any turbidity. Even though modern creationists allow gaps in the Biblical genealogies, standard ICR works like Scientific Creationism (General Edition) allow no more than several thousand years between Noah's Flood and today. To fit Eniwetok into their time constraints, the ICR creationists are forced to ignore the findings of Ladd.

The fossil Rainbow Lake reefs formed in Devonian times where Alberta, British Columbia, and the Northwest Territories meet. As Hriskevich (1970), Langton (1968), and others show, these reefs trap important oil reserves. Since they are buried in and intertongue with other sedimentary rocks, they must have formed in the Flood of Noah, if flood geology is true. Nevertheless, they form solid winding barrier reefs consisting of intergrown dolomitized coral and coral-derived debris glued together by calcareous algae. In other words, they look just like modern barrier reefs, not like piles of loose coral that the tidal waves of Noah's Flood threw together by chance. One reef is over 240 meters thick. Unless petroleum geologists have grossly erred somehow, we calculate, using the generous growth rate of a centimeter per year, that this reef required 24,000 years of clear tranquil tropical surf to form, not a one year succession of muddy tidal waves.

If Harold T. Stearns' Geology of the State of Hawaii (1966) is correct, then

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the many coral reefs and other complex geological features of Hawaii form grave difficulties for flood geology. For instance, a strata sequence exposed at sea level near Pearl Harbor (illustrated on page 84 of Steams' work) took many years to form, far too long for the Flood. This sequence contains reef limestone above sea level, which covers volcanic ash that had buried trees growing in place, which in turn covers another layer of reef limestone. Also, on page 21, Steams describes a core sample taken from a hole drilled 332 meters into the ground somewhere else in Pearl Harbor. This sample revealed 15 coral reefs separated by fossil soils, lignite (brown coal), and beach rock. Steams' example of ocean terraces will require some explanation.

Stacked above and below each other, ocean terraces look like steps in a staircase leading out of the sea. Each terrace represents an old shore line above or below current sea level; as the land and sea rise and fall, the surf cuts terraces at the different sea levels. Elevated and submerged terraces in Hawaii, New Guinea, Jamaica, and other tropical seacoasts often bear dead coral reefs (Goreau, 1979). Since many of these reefs took thousands of years to form, and since different terraces formed at different times, the stack as a whole took at least several times as long to form. Recorded history (which begins only a couple thousand years after the alleged Flood) knows no sea level changes amounting to hundreds of feet, so these terraces do not seem to fit very well into the postFlood period. These terraces look exactly like the kinds of reefs and beaches forming today, not like debris thrown together in some catastrophe like the Flood of Noah.

Stearns, reporting about the coral-bearing terraces of Hawaii in some detail, points out that many terraces contain fossil-bearing marine conglomerates. To the orthodox geologist, this is no surprise; river floods, land slides, storm waves, and turbidity flows are only a few of the processes known to bury and preserve animals and plants before they rot away so they can become fossils. However, the ICR creationists insist that no processes except for catastrophes the size of Noah's Flood can bury dead animals fast enough to fossilize. If this theory is correct, and if these conglomerates were formed in the Flood, then the ICR creationists need to explain why these terraces look for all the world like the kinds of reefs and beaches forming by slow processes today.

Evaporites and Shales

Several lines of evidence show that fine-grained evenly-layered shales and evaporites require many thousands -if years to form. Extremely fine sediment particles suspended in water settle to the bottom painfully slowly, and even slight turbulence keeps them in suspension. If you shake a jar full of dirt and water, the water will remain cloudy with clay particles long after the sand has settled out. Not only that, but the concentration of gypsum, calcite, and other dissolved salts in sea water is so low that thousands of cubic kilometers of sea

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water would have to evaporate to precipitate these salts as a typical evaporite deposit. These processes of sedimentation and evaporation are so slow that thick shale and evaporite deposits could scarcely have formed overnight. Since the flood geology model requires that all sedimentary rocks be deposited within one year during the Flood of Noah, the ICR creationists must somehow explain these facts away.

One way they might try would be to suggest that shale-forming clay would settle rapidly out of the flood waters if those waters were supersaturated with clay. ICR has already proposed (quoting Soviet geologist V. I. Sozansky) that evaporites formed rapidly from supersaturated volcanic waters. However, if either of these two theories are true, then thin even laminations extending over many square kilometers are an insoluble problem. The clays and evaporites would have almost certainly settled out in huge globs to form amorphous strata-free rock. The ICR theory that the laminations were caused by a rapid succession of turbidity flows does not satisfactorily explain how the fine stratification of the Green River shales or the Castilian evaporites could form in a one-year-long catastrophic flood. Let us discuss these two formations in more detail.

The finely stratified Green River shales of Wyoming, Colorado, and Utah are 600 meters thick. They accumulated at the bottom of a 30-meter-deep lake in Eocene times over a period of 5 to 8 million years (Bradley, 1929). Several lines of evidence show that each distinctly visible layer is a yearly deposit or "varve." The sedimentary deposits varied so much with the seasons that each varve clearly stands out. The average varve in this formation consists of a layer of clean microscopic clay particles alternating with a layer of hydrocarbons in the form of waxy pollen and spore particles (Clark and Steam, 1958). Apparently, the spring wind and rivers wafted spores and pollen to the middle of the lake, but during the rest of the year, the currents were too weak to carry anything but the finest clay to the center of the lake. In the varves of some of the near-shore limey sandstones in the formation, the sediment particles gradually decrease in size from 0.02 mm at the bottom of the varve to 0.006 mm at the top (Bradley, 1929). The width of the Green River varves varies in cycles of 11 1/2 years, 50 years, and 12,000 years, all superimposed on one another. The 11 1/2 – year cycle corresponds to the sunspot cycle, the 12,000-year cycle to the precession of the equinoxes. Both these processes affected the yearly rainfall, and hence affected the width of each varve. Bradley's concession that he cannot explain the 50-year cycle shows that he was not imagining these cycles. The same kinds of varves are forming today in Sakski Lake (Crimea), Lake Zurich (Switzerland), and Lake McKay (Ottawa, Canada). Only slow processes happening over many years can account for varve formation. Even if an occasional storm did stir up the sediments on the bottom, the sediments could not have settl, ed out so evenly unless the tranquil time intervals between storms were very very long and convective currents were largely absent.

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Creationists (like Whitcomb and Morris, 1961) have argued against the varve interpretation of the Green River shales by citing the beautiful fish fossils it contains. Supposedly, about 200 years' worth of sediment would have to accumulate to, bury one dead fish, and by that time the fish would have long rotted away. However, the precipitates found in this formation show that the lake bottom was unusually alkaline (Press and Siever, 1974). Some shallow lakes in Florida today contain algal oozes that do not decay as long as no oxygen gets into them (Bradley, 1929). Under such circumstances, fossilization would be no surprise.

Since there are no huge evaporite deposits forming today, geologists have debated the precise mechanism by which they formed in the geological past. This gives many creationists the excuse not only to reject the traditional lagoon model of evaporite formation, but also to cite the authority of Soviet geologist V. I. Sozansky as long as his theories seem to support flood geology. Actually, Sozansky's article implicitly contradicts the flood geology model in a couple of particulars — and other geologists have come up with models that explain the observed evidence more easily than the traditional theory, Sozansky's theory, or the ICR theory.

The traditional evaporite theory states that evaporites formed in shallow lagoons in arid areas connected with the open ocean by only a narrow strait. As the water in the lagoon evaporated, precipitating salts in the process, water from the open ocean coming through the strait replaced it. But as the lagoon became more restricted and briney, first calcium carbonate (CaCO3) would precipitate out as aragonite or calcite (limestone), and then calcium sulfate (CaSO4) would precipitate out as gypsum or anhydrite, and finally, rock salt (NaCI) would precipitate out. If rain diluted the brines of the lagoon every rainy season, then a varve of carbonate (rainy season) and anhydrite (dry season) might form every year. This model accounts well for small evaporite deposits forming today, but not for the big ones that formed in the geological past.

Sloss (1969) modifies the traditional lagoon theory. He argues from the results of his experiments that evaporites formed from layers of water of different concentrations (ordinary sea water at the surface, highly concentrated brines on the bottom) that existed in a huge lagoon all at the same time. Schmaltz (1969) argues that huge evaporite deposits like the Castilian evaporites of Texas (450 meters thick and 20,000 square kilometers in area) and the Zechstein evaporites of Germany (600 meters thick) formed in deep basins like the Mediterranean Sea or Red Sea. If the straits connecting these modem seas with the open ocean were much shallower and narrower, then they would start depositing evaporites just like these ancient evaporites. His complex theoretical model explains in detail how several cycles of evaporite deposits separated by deep-ocean mud formed in the Zechstein evaporites of Schleswig-Holstein. It also explains the 1000 meters of evaporites now buried under deep-sea sediments at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico. At the end of the Cretaceous

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when it first formed, the deep Gulf of Mexico basin was joined to the open ocean only by a narrow strait. Schmaltz's model predicts that the evaporites will be reasonably pure and free of other sediments because the river-deposited sediments would be deposited close to shore. These more recent theories explain all the evidence well using everyday laws of physics and chemistry.

The varves of the Castilian evaporites of Permian times in Texas (just like the Zechstein evaporites) are the strongest evidence that these evaporites took hundreds of thousands of years to form. These varves consist of calcite alternating with anhydrite (Anderson, 1972). In both examples, the calcite contains a lot of plankton and organic matter: fusulinids, possibly some algae, and possibly some shells. Even though mobile living things would swim away from the inhospitable brines, at least some plankton got pickled to death and fossilized. Many of the varves in this formation extend as far as 110 kilometers. Although Anderson insists that the yearly varve interpretation is not proved beyond all doubt, he adds that no one has yet suggested a better interpretation. The concentration of the brines never could have fluctuated many thousands of times during the one-year Flood to precipitate such fine yet extensive alternating layers of calcite and anhydrite. So many cubic miles of such microscopic crystals never could have settled out of the water in such even layers, all within a year's time. Since this formation contains over 260,000 couplets of thin calcite/anhydrite layers, the entire formation probably took 260,000 years to form.

ICR creationists who cite Sozansky's article to buttress flood geology have failed to account for his factual errors or for his statements that implicitly contradict their theory. In essence, Sozansky believes that the great evaporite deposits of the earth formed from volcanically heated brines erupting out of the ocean floor. He feels that the traditional lagoon model works fine for small modern deposits, but not for evaporites like the huge Castilian deposits. He argues that evaporites from such lagoons would contain fossils and other organic matter. He cites as an example the evaporites forming today in the Gulf of KaraBogaz in the Caspian Sea. The salt concentration kills, pickles, and preserves fish long enough for them to become fossilized in the evaporite deposits. Since the huge ancient deposits are allegedly free of organic matter, plankton, and so forth, Sozansky concludes that they formed by some totally different process.

Of course, the creationists would like to prove that the evaporites were catastrophically deposited by volcanic brines during the one-year flood. It is no surprise, then, that Scientific Creationism insists that "the studies of the Russian geophysicist Sozansky" have "shown almost conclusively" that orthodox geology is in error. However, Sozansky is a doubtful ally. For one thing, even if his theory is true, the creationists must still explain away the varve evidence. Sozansky never explicitly accounts for the varves. He would have to assume that each varve came from one big eruption, and that the eruptions were separated by

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enough time to let the salt crystals settle. Also, as we have seen, the Castile evaporites do contain a lot of plankton and organic matter. Schmalz's deepbasin theory shows why it does not contain fossil fish graveyards like those of the Gulf of Kara-Bogaz. Even so, Anderson's discoveries of plankton in the Castilian deposits contradict Sozansky's assertions that the great evaporite deposits are free of organic matter. Finally, the ICR creationists have insisted that "The very existence of fossils, especially in large numbers, is evidence of catastrophism at least on a small scale." (Scientific Creationism, p. 100.) They insist that fossils are not forming today because only a violent catastrophe can bury plants and animals in mud before they rot away. The work just cited quotes Sozansky whenever his thesis seems to support ICR creationism, yet never ever even mentions Sozansky's fossil fish graveyard, much less refute it.

Fossil Species

According to the flood geology theory, all "kinds" of plants and animals alive today (not to mention dinosaurs and mammoths and other animals now extinct) lived on the earth before the flood. The Bible says Noah was to take specimens of every type of living air-breathing land animal aboard the Ark (Gen. 6:19-21; 7:2, 3, 8, 9, 15). Thus flood geology predicts that the fossil record should consist mostly of animal and plant species alive today. The extinct fossil species should be mostly delicate types sensitive to environment, because the Flood and the rugged conditions inside the Ark would have killed such creatures off. These predictions fit poorly with the available evidence.

George Gaylord Simpson (1967), world famous paleontologist, says that nearly all fossil species and genera are extinct today. Very few modem species or genera are found as fossils at all. Even so called "living fossils' like the crossopterygian (lobe finned) fish are no exception. The fossil Paleozoic eusthenopteron and the modem latimeria are both lobe-finned fish. However, the latimera resembles the eusthenopteron no more than I resemble a gorilla. The creationists have yet to answer this objection.

Many delicate species of animal survive today in spite of the predictions of the flood geology model. Creationists have not been able to explain the technology by which Noah kept delicate koala bears and marmosets alive on the Ark. Pupfish survived a divine cataclysm only to be threatened with extinction by man-made reservoirs. We already saw how the muddy flood waters would wipe out corals (not to mention many other forms of sea life). The creationists have to postulate so many miracles to keep these creatures alive through the Flood that it would be much simpler and easier for God to create them all from scratch again after the Flood, and just forget the floating zoo.

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Flood Geology Vs. Orthodox Geology

So far, we have covered a small sample of the many types of geological evidence that flood geology cannot easily explain. Personally, it persuades me that flood geology is totally erroneous. Nevertheless, ICR creationists are bound to argue, "So what if you evolutionists can come up with a few difficulties? There is no theory anywhere that is totally free of them. Besides, the problems with orthodox geology are far more serious than any of the real or imagined difficulties you can dream up against Biblical catastrophism. Can you explain how an even layer of sandstone, the Saint Peter Sandstone. which covers much of the United States, was formed? Can you explain how the fossils in the so-called `Lewis Overthrust' got into the wrong order for evolution? The evolutionist. excuse that the `older' rocks were shoved on top of the younger ones is lame because Genesis Flood and other creationist writings have conclusively proved that there is no trace of evidence that any sliding took place. Until you can answer these grave difficulties, how can I take your evolution theory seriously?"

Actually orthodox geology has no such difficulties. Creationists misunderstand the nature of sedimentary facies, and there is plenty of physical evidence having nothing to do with fossils that the Lewis Overthrust is genuine. Creationists often quote their sources badly out of context, sources that prove thrust faulting is very real.

But, it will have to be the task of a future article to investigate these and other alleged difficulties in detail. For now, it is sufficient to say there are fatal flaws in the creationist flood geology model, flaws that render it inadequate to scientifically support the Flood or tell us anything about the age of the earth.

Bibliography

Anderson, Roger Y., et. al. "Permian Castile Varved Evaporite Sequence, West Texas and New Mexico." Geological Society of America Bulletin. LXXXIII (1972), pp. 59ff.

Bradley, Wilmot H. "The Varves and Climate of the Green River Epoch." U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 158 (1929), pp. 87ff.

Brown, Charles W. "Cenozoic Stratigraphy and Structural Geology, Northeast Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming and Montana." Geological Society of America Bulletin. LXXII (1961), pp. 173ff.

Clark, Thomas H., and Colin H. Steam. The Geological Evolution of North America. Ronald Press: New York, 1958.

Dorf, Erling. "The Petrified Forests of Yellowstone Park." Scientific American. CCX (April, 1964), pp. 106ff.

Gilluly, James, Aaron Walters, and A. O. Woodford. Principles of Geology. (3rd ed.) W. H. Freeman and Co.: San Francisco, 1968.

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Goreau, Thomas F., Nora I. Goreau, and Thomas J. Goreau. "Corals and Coral Reefs." Scientific American. CCXLI (August, 1979), pp. 124ff.

Houlik, C. W. Jr. "Interpretation of Carbonate-Detrital Silicate Transitions in the Carboniferous of Western Wyoming." American Association of Petroleum Geologists Bulletin. LVII (1973), pp. 498ff.

Hriskevich, M. E. "Middle Devonian Reef Production, Rainbow Area, Alberta, Canada." American Association of Petroleum Geologists Bulletin, LIV (1970), pp. 2260ff.

Hsu, Kenneth H. "When the Mediterranean Dried Up." Scientific American. CCXXVII (December, 1972), pp. 27ff.

Knowlton, F. H. Fossil Forests of the Yellowstone National Park. U. S. Department of the Interior: n.p., 1914.

Kofahl, Robert E. Handy Dandy Evolution Refuter. Beta Books: San Diego, '1977.

Ladd, H. S., and S. O. Schlanger. "Bikini and Nearby Atolls, Marshall lsland Drilling Operation on Eniwetok Atoll." U. S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 260Y (1960).

Langdon, J. R., and G. E. Chin. "Rainbow Member Facies and Related Reservoir Properties, Rainbow Lake, Alberta." American Association of Petroleum Geologists Bulletin. LII (1968), pp. 1925ff.

Morris, Henry M. (Ed.) Scientific Creationism (General Editions. Creation Life Publishers: San Diego, 1974.

Press, Frank, and Raymond Siever. Earth. W. H. Freeman: San Francisco. 1974.

Sanborn, William B. "Groves of Stone: Fossil Forests of the Yellowstone Region." Pacific Discovery. IV (May-June, 1951), pp. 18ff.

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Simpson, George Gaylord. The Meaning of Evolution (2nd revised edition). Yale University Press: New Haven, 1967.

Sloss, L. L. "Evaporite Deposition from Layered Solutions." American Association of Petroleum Geologists Bulletin. LIII (1969), pp. 779ff.

Sozansky, V. I. "Origin of Salt Deposits in Deep Water Basins of Atlantic Ocean." American Association of Petroleum Geologists Bulletin. LVII (1973), pp. 589ff.

Steams, Harold T. Geology of the State of Hawaii. Pacific Books: Palo Alto, California, 1966.

Whitcomb, John C. The World That Perished. Baker Book House: Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1973.

Whitcomb, John C., and Henry M. Morris. Genesis Flood. Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co.: Philadelphia, 1961.

About the Author(s): 
Chris Weber, a computer programmer and amateur geologist, has followed the creation/evolution controversy for seven years. He prepared this article from his extensive collection of references and notes.
This version might differ slightly from the print publication.

Review: Biology: A Search for Order in Complexity

Creation Evolution Journal
Volume: 
1
Year: 
1980
Number: 
1
Quarter: 
Summer
Page(s): 
38–40
Reviewer: 
William Thwaites
This version might differ slightly from the print publication.
Work Under Review
Title: 
Biology: A Search for Order in Complexity
Author(s): 
Edited by John N. Moore and Harold S. Slusher
Zondervan Publishing House: Grand Rapids, 1974 (Revised).
The director of curriculum development at the Institute for Creation Research has publicly stated that this book is an embarrassment to many creationists because of the large number of errors it contains. Judging from this statement, we might expect it would soon be withdrawn from the market, thereby rendering any review unnecessary. It is my understanding, however, that such is not the case, and attempts are still being made to sell the text to private and public schools all over the country.

Well, errors or no, the book makes thoughtful reading for anyone interested in creationism and creationists - and that's where I come in.

As a practicing scientist I can hardly find fault with the oft stated purpose of the book - the exploration of alternative "models" to explain observed phenomena. This is, after all, a basic component of the scientific method. Too often, biology is presented as a series of conclusions with little or no attention given as to how those conclusions were reached. Certainly, the examination of data in the light of conflicting models would be an excellent approach for a biology text.

I might also compliment the editors with respect to the scope of the book. They have certainly included a wide range of material beyond the traditional discipline of biology. Paleontology, anthropology, radiometric dating, thermodynamics, molecular and population genetics, origin of life, and philosophy of science all seem to find their place. It would be difficult, therefore, to fault them for being too narrow in their coverage.

Unfortunately, the book misses the mark as to what science is all about. This fundamental misunderstanding is evident in the very first paragraph of the preface. There co-editor Moore unequivocally states that "true science" consists of presenting the raw data "as it is." However, if the authors adhered to this ideal, they would present no models at all, a direct contradiction of their aforementioned purpose.

The real aim of the book seems to be the making of slanderous attacks on

- page 39 -

evolution and evolutionists. I've looked in vain for one fair statement on the nature of evolution theory. Simply stated, the book is an attempt by the authors to get even for the omission of their creation theory in modern texts.

Furthermore, I am left with the impression that the authors, because they fully understand the extreme frailty of their model, have chosen to discredit evolution rather than make any case for creation.

A beautiful example of their subtle discrediting technique appears in their treatment of population genetics. This complex subject is incomprehensibly dispatched in slightly over one page. There is little chance that any reader not already acquainted with the subject would ever recognize he had just been treated to a fundamental theorem of the neo-Darwinian synthesis. It seems likely that any intelligent, but genetically naive, reader instead would dismiss population genetics as pseudoscientific double-talk, because that is exactly what page 119 contains.

In addition to muddling the facts, the authors make serious errors. For example, the letter "T" is used for both an allele symbol and an allele frequency with almost no mention of the midstream shift in meaning. Then the word "phenotype" is incorrectly used in place of "genotype." And just in case anyone were still comprehending after all of this, the derivation of the binomial distribution of genotypes in a population is erroneously said to be "from the results of a monohybrid cross."

Muddling and errors aside, however, the thing that really stands out is the fact that the authors rarely miss an opportunity to slander the intellect and intentions of evolutionists. Chapter 21, "Weaknesses of Geologic Evidence" seems to represent some sort of nadir in the employment of this technique, so let's take a look at it.

The mood of the entire chapter is captured exquisitely in the section, "Difficulties with the geologic timetable," (page 423). First the geologic sequence is said to be "artificial," and even the word "sequence" is placed in quotation marks along with the word "time." Then the reader is told that the order of the "sequence" was derived entirely by placing fossils in the order of increasing complexity so they would conform to evolutionary expectation. Nowhere is there a hint that the order of strata is usually pieced together by finding layers ABC in one place, BCDE in another, and EFG in still another, etc. Instead, we are told that the "geological column does not actually exist, but is an arbitrary system in the minds of geologists." The fact that no single locality shows all the strata is supposed, from the authors' view, to show the complete absurdity of the whole notion of the geological column.

On the following page we are told how index fossils are an example of circular reasoning. According to the creationists, the oldest strata are recognized as such because they have the least complicated fossils, while the youngest deposits are recognized by having the most complicated forms fossilized in them. The creationist catch-phrase goes like this: "Fossils date rocks and rocks

- page 40 -

date fossils."

As usual, there are several flaws in the creationist reasoning. So let's cover them one at a time. First, there is no known way of assigning a complexity index to any organism. So, if complexity were used to arrange the strata, the order of the geologic column would be a source of constant bickering among geologists. Such a method would have been thrown out as totally unworkable long ago.

Next, it is obvious that the strata could be ordered correctly even if the index fossils showed no apparent complexity gradient at all. What one would need to do is find an intact series, such as ABC, and then find a fossil type which was confined to the B stratum. The fossil used could have any apparent complexity, yet it would still allow you to recognize B strata wherever they occurred. The only assumption would be that the B-type fossil enjoyed wide distribution during one period of time. I fail to see any circularity in this assumption.

As far as assigning an order to any one sequence, only one more assumption would be needed. That would be that most deposits are found right-side-up. Fossil tracks, and burrows of bottom dwellers would also provide some indication as to whether any particular sequence was right-side-up. Tracks, for example, are usually pushed into the substratum, rather than pulled up from it.

At any rate, we see that creationist claims of circular reasoning are possibly pure subterfuge, or they may indicate an incredible lack of common sense on the part of the authors.

Of course the foregoing hypotheses are not mutually exclusive.

About the Author(s): 
Dr. Thwaites, a geneticist at San Diego State University, teaches a special course, Evolution and Creation - Contrasting the Two Models, with his colleague Frank Awbrey. They present the evidence for evolution in half the course time, and prominent creationists use the other half. The two have also teamed up in two public debates on the creation/evolution question, both times against representatives of the Institute for Creation Research.

Issue 2 (Fall 1980)

Creation Evolution Journal
Title: 
Creation/Evolution II
Volume: 
1
Number: 
2
Quarter: 
Fall
Year: 
1980
For a PDF version of the entire issue, please click here.


See below for text versions of this issue's articles.

Reactions to Creationism in Iowa

Creation Evolution Journal
Title: 
Reactions to Creationism in Iowa
Author(s): 
Stanley L. Weinberg
Volume: 
1
Number: 
2
Quarter: 
Fall
Page(s): 
1–8
Year: 
1980
The following correction was subsequently made to this article in issue 3 (volume 2.1):

The Editors further regret an erroneous biographical note attached to Stanley L. Weinberg's article, "Reactions to Creationism in Iowa," in Issue II. Mr. Weinberg does not have a doctorate. Although he has taught in several colleges, his thirty years' teaching experience was mainly in the high schools. The errors occurred in the editorial office. Mr. Weinberg did not write or review the biographical note.

Phil Osmon

Special creationists have been very active here in Iowa in the past few years. Bills calling for equal time in the public schools for creation and evolution were introduced in the Iowa legislature in 1977, 1979, and 1980 (none of which passed). And during this time there's been intense discussion throughout the state on the creation-evolution issue. The controversy here represents a major creationist effort, and has produced a major reaction by evolutionists.1,2 These events in Iowa also seem to have had a substantial impact throughout the United States. One lesson learned is that evolutionists acting on the state and local level can successfully counter the grassroots campaigning of special creationists. Local involvement by evolutionists would be even more effective if there were more communication between individuals and groups around the country.

The Iowa Creation Bills

It is hard to determine why the creationists chose Iowa--a stable, prosperous, heartland state--as a key target. Politics here are temperate and demagoguery doesn't go down well with Iowans. Perhaps one feature that made Iowa attractive to the creationists is the unique nature of the campus at Iowa State University (ISU) which is academically a first-rate university with outstanding schools of agriculture, home economics, and veterinary medicine. And on campus David Boylan, Dean of Engineering, is a leading creationist. Also there is a 400-member Bible Study Association composed of active and ardent creationist students.

But whatever the cause, in February 1977 a creationist bill was introduced in the lower house of the legislature. It read:

If a public school district offers courses which teach pupils about the origin of humankind and which include scientific theories relating to the origin, instruction shall include consideration of the creation theory as supported by modern science.3

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The bill attracted very little attention or support and it died in committee. Whereupon the creationists undertook a two-year publicity and lobbying campaign in preparation for their next effort.

There were floods of letters-to-the-editor in the newspapers and call-ins to radio talk shows. Meetings were held throughout the state. Duane Gish came to Iowa several times to speak. Legislators and legislative candidates were lobbied and were asked to pledge support for a new creationist bill.

There were some responses from evolutionists to these activities, though in lesser volume. The Des Moines Register, which covers the state, reported it was receiving many more letters supporting creationism than evolution. But the paper printed approximately equal numbers of comments on both sides. The letters pretty well covered ell aspects of the controversy. Editorially the Register supported evolution and opposed equal time.4 Several legislators complained they were swamped with appeals from creationists but were hearing almost nothing from evolutionists. The pro-evolutionists in some degree responded to this by stepping up their lobbying efforts. Pro-evolutionists also organized or participated in various meetings, conferences, and debates. As an example, the writer spoke at the three state universities.

Public bodies began to react to the dispute. In May 1977 a local school district asked the Iowa Department of Public Instruction (DPI) to consult with scientists to determine if the evidence for creationism was credible and if it should be taught in schools to exemplify good scientific investigation. A legislator asked DPI to study the status of creationism in the public schools of other states. Responding to these inquiries, DPI commissioned a study by its science consultant, Jack A. Gerlovich. Questionnaires were sent to all state departments of education. Forty-five states responded. It was found that few states have guidelines for dealing with the controversy. The methods used generally involve either neutrality, or selection or screening of teaching materials by a state committee. Six states, either by legislation or by departmental regulation, require some form of recognition of creationism.

DPI also sent inquiries to two dozen scientific, educational, civic, and creationist societies; to church organizations; and to most Iowa colleges. Interviews or correspondence were conducted with several hundred scientists and other concerned individuals. Relevant legal literature was researched. Finally a position paper was prepared which supported evolution as a valid scientific theory.5 (It has been reprinted in several journals and about a thousand persons in various states and foreign countries have asked for copies.) The paper did not mandate the teaching either of evolution or of creationism, however. The decision to teach both concepts, either, or neither was left in the hands of local boards. Some respondents were not happy with this last, open-option position. It was necessitated, however, by a basic Iowa educational policy, unrelated to the creation-evolution issue, that calls for local autonomy in curricular matters.

- page 3 -

DPI writes no curricula in any field. Nevertheless, creationists were dissatisfied with the DPI position paper.

In February, 1979, a second creationist bill, essentially similar to the earlier one, was introduced in the state Senate. The bill evoked renewed concern and response. Governor Robert D. Ray, who is popular in the state, came out against it. The Board of Directors of the Iowa Academy of Science adopted the following resolution:

As scientists we object to Senate Bill #458 which proposes to equate "scientific creationism" and evolution as scientific theories. We object primarily because "creationism" is not science but religious metaphor clothed as scientific fact. There is an overwhelming acceptance by knowledgeable scientists of all disciplines that evolution is consistent with the weight of demonstrable evidence. We feel that Iowa students deserve an education consistent with views of legitimate scientists and the "creationist" views have no proper place in the science classroom. We fully respect the religious views of all persons but we object to attempts to require any religious teachings as science.8

The academy statement was distributed to members of the Senate on the day of a public hearing on the bill before the Senate Education Committee. At the hearing in the main Senate chamber, attendance by both Senators and the public was good. There was extensive coverage by the press and the electronic media. Creationist students from ISU held demonstrations in the balcony and outside the chamber, but the demonstrations and the hearing itself were orderly. Speakers supporting evolution included professors of science and other disciplines from all Iowa universities; high school teachers; clergymen; organizational representatives; and this writer. Creationist speakers included Dean Boylan and a bacteriology professor from ISU; a Des Moines high school teacher; several students; and creationist Richard Bliss, imported from San Diego.9

Following the hearing, the equal-time bill was referred to the Finance Committee because it entailed an expenditure. The committee in turn deferred the bill to the 1980 legislative session. Several factors probably contributed to the bill's failure to progress. These factors were the required expense, the substantial discussions in the newspapers and elsewhere. The Register's editorial position, Governor Ray's stand, DPI's principled but even-handed position paper, the intercession of the Academy of Science, and the steadfastness of a group of senators committed against the bill. Especially important was the involvement of a large number of evolutionary scientists, both in generating pro-evolution publicity and in speaking at the Senate hearing and other meetings.

- page 4 -

With the bill in limbo, activity continued on both sides. During the summer of 1979, an Interim Study Committee of the legislature was directed to review the controversy and make recommendations to the full legislature. Luther Sunderland, an engineer with General Electric in New York, testified on behalf of the creationists. Sunderland also testified before a committee of the New York State Education Department. Before both groups Sunderland quoted two leading paleontologists, Colin Patterson of the British Museum and Niles Eldredge of the American Museum of Natural History, in support of creationism. Later, both scientists indignantly charged that Sunderland had misinterpreted interviews that they had given him.10

The interim Committee decided not to recommend a new creationist bill to the legislature. Instead, the 1979 bill was revived in a new version:

Whenever the origin of mankind or the origin of the earth is alluded to or taught in the educational program of the public school corporations of this state, the concept of creation as supported by scientific evidence may be included.11

There were two significant changes in this third creationist initiative: (1) The bill would have applied to all public educational institutions, not just to the lower schools. (2) The bill was permissive, not mandatory. Thus it would have been without force, since Iowa law and educational policy already permitted school districts to teach creationism if they wished. I discuss below the probable reason why creationists wanted this meaningless law on the books. In the 1980 legislative session this permissive bill was defeated in a close but decisive vote. Yet nobody in Iowa will be surprised to see a creationist bill appear in a new incarnation in the 1981 session.

The National Impact

What has been the national impact of this three-year development in a placid cornbelt state? First, events in Iowa have been widely publicized in newspapers and magazines across the country.12 Second, the Iowa controversy has served as the epitome of similar creation-evolution disputes during the past two years in fifteen other states. In none of these states have the creationists succeeded in getting a bill through the legislature.

Educational authorities in half a dozen of these states have sought advice from the Iowa DPI in dealing with their own creationist problems. Individuals in these states have similarly been in touch with individuals in Iowa. In each case Iowa's strategic and tactical example was followed. Even in those states that have had no contact with Iowa, the pattern of response has been the same--reliance on ad hoc groups led by local scientists, with no involvement by national organizations.

- page 5 -

Looking at the events in Iowa and elsewhere in the nation, one can reasonably make two predictions: (1) Legislative initiatives by the creationists can be expected in various states. (2) Organized responses to these initiatives, by local scientists and their allies, have an excellent chance of success.

Yet despite the intense legislative action, favorable laws are not that significant in determining the success of the creationist movement. Nor are court decisions, or the creationist bigwigs who fan out from San Diego on countrywide speaking tours (though these experienced and well-briefed speakers do recruit many supporters and supply them with propaganda materials). What really counts are the zealous groups of local lobbyists. They use simple techniques familiar to all lobbyists. They circulate literature, write letters, buttonhole key people, and go to meetings and make their voices heard.

And they are effective at the grassroots level, where it matters. For example, in one of Iowa's fifteen Educational Areas, none of the twenty-six school districts here teaches evolution with any thoroughness. And in another state, Georgia, few school systems teach anything at all about evolution. One Georgia superintendent said that in his county they spend "part of one period of one day" on it.13 These situations are replicated across the country. Teachers who wish to teach evolution are often deterred, either by overt or veiled threats of job loss, or by quiet community pressure--"you really don't want to come on too strong on this questionable topic of evolution." In sum, perhaps half the high schools in the country teach evolution in some respectable measure; the other half touch the subject barely or not at all. To be sure, a far smaller number of schools formally teach creationism.

Perhaps it was the strength of creationism in many local Iowa school districts that prompted the creationists to accept a bill that had no legal effect. The bill could still be useful propaganda. But the Iowa Academy of Science is now also moving into the school districts. The Academy is setting up a panel of scientists who will be available to advise schools in dealing with creation-evolution and other controversial subjects in science.14

What Evolutionists Can Do

The success of creationism is due partly to the creationists' own admirably efficient efforts, and partly to the fact that more often than not they meet no effective opposition. For whatever reason--inertia, political naivet�, reluctance to get involved, or underestimation of creationism's potential--evolutionary scientists have in the past remained overwhelmingly passive in the face of creationist initiatives. Whenever creationists appear before a legislative committee, a local school board, or a curriculum or textbook adoption committee, if two or three evolutionary scientists also appeared, the creationists would not carry the day as they now so often do.

- page 6 -

The events of the last two or three years, in Iowa and elsewhere, suggest that the scientific community is changing; scientists are becoming more willing to be involved. How are their activities to be focused? In 1978 I suggested a two-component strategy for the defense of evolution; one component was education, the other was political activity.15

Respecting the education component: In times when the creation-evolution controversy has been acute, various prestigious scientific bodies--AAAS, the National Academy of Science, and others--have issued pro-evolution statements. These are largely a waste; and the more prestigious are the names attached to a statement, the less effective it is likely to be. Local communities react negatively to being told by distinguished but remote figures how they should think and act. Local individuals--scientists and other public figures--are far more likely to be listened to. Spokesmen for the Iowa Academy of Sciences are welcome in Iowa schools. I wonder if a Nobel laureate from Washington, speaking on an Iowa problem, would be equally welcome. This does not mean that Iowans are especially provincial; they simply reflect a universal trait.

Being "listened to" implies a program of public education. There is widespread ignorance about what the theory of evolution actually says, and about the evidence that supports it. Local scientists can remedy this situation through a persistent, low-key program of writing letters and articles in the papers, appearing on talk shows, addressing local groups, submitting to interviews, and the like. I emphasize the term persistent; education doesn't take place in a day.

The 1978 article helped persuade the National Association of Biology Teachers (NABT) to set up a Committee on Evolution Education under the chairmanship of William V. Mayer. The Committee primarily plans a program of publication, which I am confident will be carried out in excellent fashion.16 It is both unfortunate and inevitable that Mayer's Committee does not plan to address the fundamental question: Who will use its materials, and how will they be used? But any political involvement would jeopardize NABT's tax-exempt status.

Respecting the political activity component: Individuals and ad hoc groups, who are not tax-exempt, would not be under the same constraints as NABT. They will have to be meticulous, however, to conform to state laws covering lobbying, political action, and fund-raising. Evolutionists can carry out the same activities that creationists are. These activities can best be pursued on a local or, at the most, a state-wide basis; not as part of a uniform national campaign. It is a truism, known to and used by every working politician, that American politics is essentially precinct politics. A national or state-wide campaign is basically a summation of a lot of precinct campaigns. As one of many examples, Jimmy Carter started on his road to the presidency by touring Iowa for a year and a half, recruiting workers and supporters in every precinct in the state. The creationists are well aware of this working principle and use it to good effect. Why don't pro-evolutionists use it to the same extent?

- page 7 -

In several states, state-wide pro-evolution groups have already formed. Wayne A. Moyer, Executive Director of NABT, suggested an evocative name for these groups--"Committees of Correspondence." 17 I suggest a term for the leader of each such group--"Liaison' --to indicate the informal, voluntary, nondirective nature of the Committee and its Liaison. The emphasis must be on activity by concerned individuals, not on organization per se. Scientists should form the nucleus of each Committee; they have the credibility and expertise to be effective.

I already have the names of a large number of scientists who are interested in becoming involved in such efforts. If other scientists will send their names, affiliations, and addresses to me in care of this journal, I will send them the names of concerned scientists in their states. Organization of a state-wide Committee of Correspondence will then be up to the group. I am proposing to help autonomous groups to organize themselves, not to organize another national society. If each Committee will also send me the name and address of its Liaison, I will put these persons in touch with each other.

There are several existing or projected media through which communication among the states can take place. Creation/Evolution will publish short items dealing with pro-evolution activities, creationist activities, tactics that have proven successful, important forthcoming legislative and educational meetings where evolutionists should be represented, and the like. NABT is planning a newsletter which will publish the same kinds of material. Items can also be submitted to Science Education News, published by the AAAS Office of Education.

On the basis of the past few years' experience in Iowa and elsewhere and despite the involvement of creationism in the current presidential campaign, prospects seem reasonable that a pro-evolution program of the kind proposed here can give creationism a substantial and permanent setback.

References

1. "Creationism Evolves." Scientific American. July 1979, p. 72.

2. Jack A. Gerlovich et al, letter. "Creationism in Iowa." Science June 13, 1980, pp. 1208-9

3. Horace Daggett House file 254. Iowa General Assembly. Des Moines. February 1977

4. Des Moines Register. "Equal time for hokum," February 2, 1979, p. 10A: "Academic Feedom" March 29, 1979. p 10A.

5. Iowa DPI. Curriculum Division. "Creation, evolution and public education/The position of the Iowa DPI." Des Moines. February 1978.

6. Jack A. Gerlovich, Iowa Science Teachers Journal, September 1978;Capsule XIII March 1978 NABT News & Views, April 1978; Science Education News. Summer 1978.

7. Robert E. Kofahl, "Critique of 'Position paper' (4200-C72966. 10/77)" Creation-Science Research Center, San Diego. December 7, 1977.

8. Iowa Academy of Science, "Resolution." University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls April 7, 1978

- page 8 -

9. Bonnie Wittenberg, "Creationists. evolutionists debate bill at hearing." Des Moines Register, April 5. 1979, p. I.

10. Letters, Niles Eldredge to David Kraus, February 5, 1980; Colin Patterson to Luther D.
Sunderland. October 4, 1979: Colin Patterson to David Kraus, January 21, 1980.

11. Tom Slater and Earl M. Willits, Senate file 5065. Iowa Senate, Des Moines, February 5, 1980.

12. For example: New York Times. November 25, 1979: Wall Street Journal. June 15. 1979. U. S. News and World Report, June 9. 1980.

13. Letter, Kenneth S. Saladin to Stanley L. Weinberg. July 30. 1980.

14. Iowa Academy of Science. Board of Directors, "Suggested guidelines for briefing sessions for IAS panelists/informants on controversial issues." Minutes, May 5, 1980, University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls.

15. Stanley L. Weinberg, "Two views on the textbook watchers." American Biology Teacher, December 9, 1978, p. 541.

16. "Evolution education committee." NABT News & Views, July 1980.

17. Wayne A. Moyer, "The problem won't go away." American Biology Teacher, April 1980,P.234.

About the Author(s): 
Dr. Weinberg is a college teacher of 30 years experience, has authored high school biology and physical science texts, has served as Vice President and Director of the National Association of Biology Teachers, and has been concerned with the creation/evolution controversy for many years.
This version might differ slightly from the print publication.

The New York Creation Battle

Creation Evolution Journal
Title: 
The New York Creation Battle
Author(s): 
David Kraus
Volume: 
1
Number: 
2
Quarter: 
Fall
Page(s): 
8–9
Year: 
1980

Our group, the Science Council of New York City (SCONYC), is a federation of the nine science teachers' organizations in the City. We had run four successful conventions on educational and pedagogical matters in the past, but were totally unprepared when the creation issue came up in the legislature a few months ago.

Although we knew of creationist efforts to introduce the two-model approach into a revision that was being made of the biology syllabus, we were unaware that a creationist bill had suddenly been considered by the Senate Education Committee. By the time we learned that a vote would soon be taken, we had only one week to defend the integrity of science teaching.

Though still unorganized, we managed to send flyers to all the high schools in New York City asking for a flood of letters and telegrams to descend upon the State Capitol at Albany. The flyers supplied names and addresses of key legislators and of the 17 members of the Education Committee: they also mentioned a few crucial arguments. Quantity, not quality, was urged.

- page 9 -

We also alerted The New York Academy of Sciences of the impending legislation. That body speedily appointed a committee which prepared a Policy Statement on the Teaching of Creationism that was sent to members of the legislature. A significant statement included was: "The subject known as 'Scientific Creationism' is lacking in scientific substance; we reject it for inclusion in science curricula."

Most members of the Senate Education Committee seemed to see nothing wrong with "letting kids hear both sides of the story." Our hastily organized campaign apprised them of the serious implications of this proposal and of the existence of an articulate, determined, and organized opposition.

We really don't know how significant a part we played in the decision, but the bill was not brought up again in committee. Thus ended our first successful skirmish. We are preparing for next year's battle with a little more savvy.

SCONYC's Committee for Scientific Freedom is now in the process of organizing an all-day symposium to be held on Saturday, December 6, 1980 in the auditorium of Rockefeller University. The symposium's purposes are to bring science teachers up to date on new ideas in evolution theory and to make them aware of competing arguments advanced by creationists and evolutionists. We shall also include an open forum from which we hope will emerge concrete ideas for organizing a committee of correspondence for the state. Furthermore, we hope to register volunteers for a communications network that will relay notices to schools and communities.

Statewide publicity for the symposium will go to scientists as well as to high school teachers. We hope that scientists will assume positions of leadership in the effort to educate the public and members of the legislature of the need to keep non-science out of science and to separate religion from government.

Now that the creationist bill has failed, the draft for the new state syllabus in biology has been issued for field trial and evaluation. We have not yet seen the preface to this draft but understand that it will describe the procedure followed by the Bureau of Science Education in deciding to omit creationism.

As in all new campaigns, we still have a number of unanswered questions. For example, what are the implications concerning IRS tax-exempt status if science teacher clubs and committees of correspondence engage in a program of educating legislators and the public on matters that lie within their field of expertise and social responsibility? What are the technical definitions of political activity and lobbying? How can we counteract propaganda aimed at school boards and textbook adoption committees? How can we support teachers in small communities in withstanding local anti-evolutionist pressures? Anyone who can answer such questions and provide guidelines for organization will help grassroot efforts everywhere.

About the Author(s): 
Mr. Kraus was formerly Chairman of the Science Department at the Far Rockaway High School in New York City and President of the Biology Chairmen's Association. He claims not to be retired—'just re-treaded."
This version might differ slightly from the print publication.

Common Creationist Attacks on Geology

Creation Evolution Journal
Title: 
Common Creationist Attacks on Geology
Author(s): 
Christopher Gregory Weber
Volume: 
1
Number: 
2
Quarter: 
Fall
Page(s): 
10–25
Year: 
1980

In the last issue of this journal, my article "The Fatal Flaws of Flood Geology" attacked the flood geology model of the Institute for Creation Research (ICR) by citing a number of geological formations the creationists can't explain without inventing hundreds of convenient ad hoc miracles. However, creationists have attacked orthodox geology by citing geological formations they feel geologists are equally hard pressed to account for with the evolutionary model. This article answers several of their most common arguments, those relating to fossilization, sedimentary facies, and overthrusts. It is written in a question/answer format.

Fossilization

Question: Can geologists actually explain fossilization? Creationists argue that evolution requires sediments to accumulate slowly and tranquilly over millions of years, yet dead animals and plants always rot away or get eaten by scavengers unless they become buried quickly after death. This means if the earth's past were as tranquil as evolutionary geologists say, there would be no fossils; all the potential fossils would have rotted away or been eaten long before enough sediments could accumulate to bury them. Creationists therefore argue that only the Flood of Noah could have buried all the fossils fast enough to insure their preservation. How do you answer that?

Answer: Geologists never said that all geological processes were tranquil. Creationists are setting up a straw man and presenting a false dilemma. Their straw man is the imaginary geologist who supposedly says all geological processes are tranquil; their false dilemma is their attempt to force us to choose between this straw man and their Biblical flood, between total tranquility and a monster catastrophe. Actually, the truth lies somewhere in the middle.

Geology operates on the assumption that the laws of physics and chemistry have remained unchanged since the formation of the earth. Geology tries as much as possible to explain the geological past in terms of processes that can be seen happening on the earth today.

- page 11 -

This basic approach is called "uniformitarianism", the doctrine that "the present is the key to the past". Uniformitarianism does not teach, however, that geological processes are tranquil. It does not mean that geological processes always occur at the same rates. It does not mean that rare catastrophes (like an asteroid colliding with the earth) never happen. What it does mean is that processes observable today (either in laboratories or in the field) can explain the vast majority of the rocks we find in the earth.

Question: Can you elaborate on these processes?

Answer: Surely! River floods, volcanic eruptions, turbidity flows, tidal waves, storm waves, and other violent processes observable today are quite capable of burying organisms and preserving traces of them. These processes have been going on steadily for billions of years, as geology text books like Dott and Batten (1976) and Stearn, Carroll, and Clark (1979) show.

River floods bury plants and animals both living and dead in river flood plains and deltas. When Charles Darwin was in Uruguay during the voyage of the Beagle, he learned from one of the local people that several million horses and cattle had died in the drought of 1827-1832; when the drought finally broke, the flooding Parana River buried their bodies in sediments. Even though most of the land surface of the earth is eroding away (and hence not collecting fossils), the river flood plains are accumulating sediments all the time, accumulating fossils in the process.

Out on the continental shelves, most of the sediments are deposited in short spurts separated by long periods of time, as geologist Joseph Barrel pointed out in 1917. Even though river floods are rather rare, they supply most of the sediments to the continental shelves. Storm and tidal waves rework sediments already lying on the continental shelves, burying in the process many sea animals intact (though of course burrowing animals bury themselves, and don't need this sort of help to become fossilized). Turbidity flows are like underwater landslides, only more fluid. In the oceans, these turbidity flows overwhelm and bury creatures suddenly. Across billions of years, these processes have preserved most of the fossils we find today. Only a fraction of a percent of all living things ever become fossils, and of all fossils, only a fraction of a percent have soft body parts preserved. This is just what you would expect if the present is indeed the key to the past.

Question: Are there any tranquil processes that form fossils?

Answer: Yes. Swamps and bogs are often highly acid and free of oxygen, and deep ocean basins like the bottoms of the Caribbean Sea and Black Sea are full of hydrogen sulfide and free of oxygen. Here, decay bacteria cannot live, so many animals are preserved and buried, as Dott and Batten (1976) and Stearn, Carroll, and Clark (1979) point out.

In swamps and bogs, bacteria sometimes succeed in rotting some of the plant matter to an extent. However, they soon use up all their oxygen, and kill themselves in their own waste products.

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This explains how entire animals are sometimes preserved from rotting away. P. V. Glob has shown how numerous human bodies have been perfectly preserved for two thousand years in the peat bogs of Denmark. Similarly, delicate insects of Eocene times have been preserved in the bogs that eventually became the lignite coals of Geiseltal, Germany.

In the deoxygenated ocean basins, neither decay germs nor scavengers can live. It is in deposits like these that soft body tissues are preserved as fossils. For instance, the Burgess Shales of the Canadian Rockies in British Columbia are among the very few deposits in the world that give us fossils of soft-bodied animals of Cambrian times. As Morris and Whittington (1979) point out, these animals were living at the base of a reef of calcareous algae, poised between the reef itself on one side, and a deep deoxygenated basin on the other. Every so often, the sediments at the base of the reef would slump into deeper water, burying all these Cambrian animals where no bacteria could reach them. Thus a staggering array of soft-bodied forms were preserved, most of them found only in this deposit.

Question: You seem as though you have no use for catastrophes.

Answer: I wouldn't say that. There's evidence asteroids have collided with the earth in geological history. As Dietz (1961) has shown, remnants of huge craters many miles across have lasted to this day. He even points out that if a large enough asteroid fell into an ocean, it could generate a tidal wave high enough to inundate half a continent. Isaac Asimov, who doesn't take paranormal claims very seriously, has suggested that the story of Noah's Flood (as well as the Babylonian flood story) may have derived from a tidal wave generated when an asteroid fell into the Persian Gulf, washing someone's boat to the foothills of the mountains of Ararat (meaning Armenia). Just this year, Alvarez (1980) reported evidence for a catastrophe that could have wiped out the dinosaurs. Exposed samples of deep-sea sediments show a peculiar dust layer which exactly divides the Mesozoic sediments underneath from the Cenozoic sediments above. This dust layer is very rich in iridium, an element rare on the earth, but plentiful in meteorites. Apparently, then, the dinosaurs may have died off because an asteroid plowed into the earth and kicked up enough dust to blot out most of the sun's light for a number of years. This killed off many food plants in both land and sea. Since dinosaurs, ammonites, and other creatures ate plants and plant-eating animals, they died off along with their food supplies.

So, if there is genuine evidence for a catastrophe, geologists have no trouble accepting it at face value. What bothers them is not catastrophism, but unwarranted supernaturalism. If a perfectly good naturalistic explanation for some phenomenon is available, and if creationists postulate miracles that make God appear deceptive, it is this form of supernaturalism they have no use for.

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Fossil Graveyards and Facies

Question: Creationists say only Noah's Flood can explain huge fossil graveyards like the Agate Springs Bone Bed of Miocene age in Nebraska and the White River badlands of South Dakota. How do you explain these?

Answer: Simple. The Agate Springs and White River graveyards were formed by flooding rivers. The rivers of the Black Hills dumped and buried the White River bones at the base of the hills because there, the torrents slowed down upon hitting the Great Plains. Also, if Noah's Flood were literal history, we would expect fossil graveyards to consist of a mixture of all kinds of animals, but the Agate Springs Bone Bed does not. It contains mostly bones from an extinct small rhinoceros called diceratherium; there are few animals of other species. Evidently a river flood simply overwhelmed a herd of small rhinoceros.

Question: Yes, but creationists note that the Cumberland Bone Cave in the limestone mountains of Western Maryland contains the bones of animals of many different climates mashed together in one pile. How do you answer that one?

Answer: The creationists do not describe the cave very accurately. Once we understand the evidence, we find that the bones accumulated in tranquil circumstances during the Ice Ages. From Franklin Folsom (1956), we learn that this cave has two openings, a horizontal shaft going into the side of the ridge, and a vertical one on the top of the ridge extending down. In the vertical shaft, pioneers hiding from Indians left their rifles, where they were found in this century. By this very same route, the animals one by one brought their bones to be fossilized. During the ice ages, an animal would every so often get killed falling down the vertical shaft, and rot away, leaving disconnected bones. After tumbling down a stepped slope one by one, the bones landed in a pile at the lowest point of the cave. As dripping water dried, it left calcite that cements the bones together. Today we can distinguish distinct layers of bones of cold-weather animals from the glaciations from layers of warm-weather animals from the interglacial periods; the alternation of these layers is hard to explain if the biblical flood story is literal history. As Mohr and Sloan (1955) point out, rats gnawed on these bones, leaving their tooth marks; this fact is rather hard to reconcile with the catastrophist theory that first a tidal wave from the tropics and then a tidal wave from the arctic smashed animal carcasses into the mouth of this cave.

Question: Creationists often argue that many fossils look as though they were buried alive and writhing in their death agony. How do you reply?

Answer: Adrian J. Desmond (1977) explains that dead animals often become contorted when they dry out. The dried-up ligaments contract and distort the body. If an animal's body dries out in the hot sun a month before a flooding river buries it in sediments, its fossil would look as if it had been buried while still in pain.

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Question: Creationists like Dr. N. A. Rupke, a geologist of the State University of Groningen in the Netherlands, claim that certain fossil trees (which they call "polystrate fossils") extend vertically through many meters of strata. Rupke says they are found in such coal-producing areas as the Ruhr region of Germany, Lancashire in England, and Joggins in Nova Scotia. How do you reply?

Answer: The creationists again mishandle their sources. The evidence shows that the vertical trees were really buried by flooding rivers.

For instance, Scientific Creationism (p. 108) quotes F. M. Broadhurst (1964, p. 866) as saying:

It is clear that trees in position of growth are far from being rare in Lancashire (Teichmuller, 1956 reaches the same conclusion for similar trees in the Rhein-Westfalen Coal Measures), and presumably in all such cases there must have been a rapid rate of sedimentation.

However, Broadhurst has some evidence that river floods buried these trees, evidence that the creationists do not mention. He continues:

... there must have been a rapid rate of sedimentation. This sedimentation occurred, without doubt, in water that could not have been fast-flowing, since the trees were left in a standing position. It is possible that the land surface with its trees was inundated by flood water (possibly on numerous occasions) from adjacent waterways, the flood water bringing with it large amounts of sediment.

He goes on to say that fossil polystrate trees are found only in the coarse-grained rocks, but not in the fine-grained ones. The reason is that the sediments of the latter probably did not settle fast enough to bury the trees before they rotted away:

The most likely explanation of the apparent absence of such trees from these sediments is that the latter accumulated too slowly; any trees decayed and collapsed before they could be enclosed by sediments.

Hence the river flood theory can explain why the trees are found upright and why trees were preserved in some rocks but not others; the creationist catastrophe theory cannot.

Also Stearn, Carroll, and Clark mention the polystrate lycopsid trees in the Pennsylvanian coal deposits of Joggins, Nova Scotia. Their point is simply this: Every so often one or more river floods would bury a forest of lycopsid plants up to ten meters deep in sediment. After each flood, a new lycopsid forest would grow out of the newly deposited sediments. Eventually, as the tops of the trees rotted away, the pulpy interior of the trees would also rot away, leaving the more resistant outer wood surrounding a pit as deep as ten meters.

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Primitive reptiles fell into these pits, died of starvation there, and were buried when fresh flood sediments and plant matter filled the pits. Superficially, these trees look as though they support the Noachian flood theory, but ordinary geology explains the evidence much more easily.

Question: Creationists say the permafrost in the river deltas and offshore islands of Siberia is loaded with the bones of thousands of mammoths. Even more of a surprise is the fact that many mammoths have been found frozen intact, such as the Berezovka mammoth. These animals had subtropical plants like buttercups in their stomachs, and their flesh is so perfectly preserved that some adventurer's club once held a banquet on the meat of the Berezovka mammoth. Can you explain the evidence without assuming that some huge catastrophe overwhelmed and froze the mammoths instantly while changing the climate from subtropical to arctic overnight?

Answer: William R. Farrand (1961) has investigated claims like these, and laid many of the exaggerations to rest. In particular, he proves that these animals were arctic animals, and he proves that the Berezovka mammoth was really rather putrified. He gives a chart of the plants found in the stomach of the Berezovka mammoth: they are all arctic plants like conifers, tundra grasses, and sedges. The mammoths had a thick insulating underwool beneath their shaggy coat of hair to shield them from the arctic cold. Ice age cave artists painted pictures of mammoths in their caves, a fact that should settle once and for all that the mammoths were arctic creatures. Besides, Farrand shows that the Berezovka mammoth took several days to freeze. Predators had had a chance to mutilate it before this happened. The excavators found the stench of the partially rotted Berezovka mammoth unbearable; even the earth in which it was buried stank. Histological studies of the flesh showed "deep penetrating chemical alterations as the result of very slow decay." True, the dogs of the excavators may have been scavengers enough to eat the fresher parts of the meat, but the legendary banqueters would have deserved any ptomaine poisoning they got. These facts alone do not disprove Flood Geology, but they should answer once and for all the more extravagant claims of some catastrophists.

Question: But how do you explain how all those bones got into the river deltas and how all those mammoths got frozen?

Answer: Actually, the cold Siberian rivers could easily wash carcasses of the mammoths to the river deltas during the spring thaw. I'm sure there were thousands of spring thaws which could cause this. But it should be noted that there is really very little frozen mammoth flesh lying around in Siberia. Farrand points out how only 39 mammoths have been found with some of their flesh preserved; of these, only four have been found more or less intact, including the Berezovka mammoth.

But on top of all this, there is additional evidence that a literal Flood of Noah could not have deposited these mammoth remains.

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Farrand points out that we find no other species of frozen animals in Siberia except mammoths and wooly rhinoceri. Since these animals were so big and clumsy, they had trouble crossing crevices in the earth's surface, just as modern elephants do. This evidence fits well with the theory that mammoths fell off cliffs and were killed, fell into holes, were buried in landslides, or were caught and buried in ways that more mobile animals like horses and bison were able to avoid. Yet, if the Flood of Noah were literal history, we would expect to find many different species of frozen animals, not just the mammoth and wooly rhinoceros. Also, the radiocarbon dates taken from various frozen mammoth remains span the time period from 11,450 to 39,000 years before the present, and I dare say, 27,000 years is a little long for Noah's Flood. I can understand how ordinary geological processes can account for the frozen mammoths, but it is hard to see how such animals could stay afloat for one year in Noah's Flood with their last meal in their stomachs and only partially rotting before landing in their final frozen resting places.

Question: Creationists often criticize geologists for assigning different ages to different parts of the same rock formation while assigning the same age to different rocks in the same region. They maintain that geologists cannot explain huge rock formations (like the Saint Peter Sandstone) that cover much of the country. They claim the fossils give the "illusion" of an evolutionary sequence only because the simple round immobile animals sank faster and deeper than the complex light mobile ones during Noah's Flood. How do you reply to these arguments?

Answer: The creationists who make such arguments don't know the first thing about sedimentary facies. I shall explain them here in detail.

Common sense alone will tell you that when sediments are washed into an ocean or lake, the larger heavier sediment articles will settle out closer to shore, and the finer fluffier current-wafted particles will settle out further from shore. So, if the sand settles out in the river deltas, the clays further out, and perhaps calcareous muck the furthest out of all, then you're going to have different types of sedimentary rock forming all at the same time.

Various processes can make the different zones of sediments shift back and forth and vary in width. If the land subsides, the beds of sediment will move to keep up with the receding shore. If the subsidence stops, then the beds of sediment will move away from the land as the coastal flood plains and river deltas build their way into the sea or lake. As the rainfall varies, and as the mountains erode away or get uplifted, the amount of sediments that get into the sea will vary, and hence so will the width of the bands of sediments. Thus, if you could stick a huge knife vertically into the Earth, slice the surface from the ocean to the land, and examine the cross-section of the sediments, you would see the zones of sand, clay, and carbonates deeply interfinger with each other.

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Therefore after percolating ground waters cement the sands, clays, and carbonates into sandstone, shale, and limestone respectively, and after uplift and erosion expose them all to view, different zones are formed which the geologist calls "facies". Different parts of the same facies are of vastly different ages, yet different facies on the same level were all deposited at the same time.

Question: Can you give any specific examples?

Answer: I could give you hundreds of examples, but I'll settle for three. Let's start with the early Paleozoic strata of the Grand Canyon.

As John S. Shelton (1966) pointed out, there are three sets of facies in the lower Grand Canyon: the Muav Limestones, the Bright Angel Shales, and the Tapeats Sandstones. As the land surface subsided beneath the ocean, the western ocean moved eastward covering the land. The limestone far out to sea, the shale closer to shore, and the sandstone right by the shore were being deposited all at the same time. Two lines of evidence prove this. Firstly, these facies intertongue deeply with each other, as the diagram shows. Secondly, species that lived for only an instant of geological time left fossil horizons that slice slantwise across the facies. For instance, the horizon of the Olenellus Trilobite slices right across the Tapeats Sandstone; a little higher up, the Glossopelura Trilobite does the same through the Bright Angel Shales. These fossil horizons each represent an instant of geological time. The two lines of evidence show how the three facies formed together simultaneously, and how different parts of the same facies are of different ages.

Volcanic deposits slice cross facies as well as do fossils. In the southern Rocky Mountains, bentonite beds slice across the facies of the Cretaceous system of rocks. Bentonite is a rock that consists of clays that come from weathered and chemically altered volcanic debris. As Steam, Carroll, and Clark say on page 341:

Because bentonite beds represent a single event of short duration and can be followed for hundreds of kilometers through the changing facies of the Cretaceous clastic wedge, they are invaluable for establishing correlation.

On page 416, Stearn, Carroll, and Clark show a picture of the sedimentary facies that formed as the Taconic mountains of Ordovician times. As these mountains grew on the east coast of what is now the United States, the river deltas consisting of sediments derived from these mountains built their way further and further westward from these mountains. A shale facies in the east near these mountains interfingers with and gives way to a limestone facies (the Chicamauga limestone) in the west. However, a layer of clay that represent, a volcanic deposit slices right across the shale facies into the Chicamauga limestone. As Stearn, Carroll, and Clark say:

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Facies of the Lower Grand Canyon: Thin, highly persistent layers of clay occur within Middle and Upper Ordovician limestones and shales along the miogeocline and adjacent platform. Although these beds are only a few centimeters thick, they can be traced for hundreds of kilometers from the shale into the limestone facies. Because they are independent of facies, they make excellent key beds for establishing correlations.Facies of the Lower Grand Canyon: Thin, highly persistent layers of clay occur within Middle and Upper Ordovician limestones and shales along the miogeocline and adjacent platform. Although these beds are only a few centimeters thick, they can be traced for hundreds of kilometers from the shale into the limestone facies. Because they are independent of facies, they make excellent key beds for establishing correlations.

With this background under our belts, it is easy to recognize the fallacies of the creationist arguments. Those homogeneous sedimentary rock deposits covering thousands of square kilometers are really nothing more than sedimentary facies. If the creationists had read their sources more carefully, they would have found that different parts of the same facies are of vastly different ages; conversely, adjacent facies of different types would often be the same age. Our discussion of facies shows there is hardly any way to prevent different facies from forming within the same geological age. Finally, creationists cannot explain why the fossil horizons slice across facies the way they do. If their hydraulic selection theory were true, the denser fossils would be found in and parallel to the sandstone facies, and the lighter fossils would be found in and parallel to the limestone facies, not slicing across. This means the fossils are a far better clue to the relative ages of the rocks than the rock type. And it doesn't take quotes from technical journals to show this, either. Freshman textbooks in geology are all anyone needs to set creationist misconceptions straight.

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Question: But even if the grosser creationist claims are wrong, couldn't a monster flood produce facies as well?

Answer: Not at all. A flood strong enough to move all the sediments of the earth would tend to mix the different types up into one big mishmash. If a Flood of Noah were literal history, we would expect to find only a post-Flood veneer of well-sorted sediments on top of the poorly sorted ones left by the flood.

Instead we find huge sediment deposits like those of the Gulf Coast. A layer of sediments up to 10,000 meters thick covers the Great Plains, Gulf Coast, and continental shelf. Here the facies of the river flood plains interfinger deeply with the delta facies of the Gulf Coast, which in turn interfinger deeply with the clays of the continental shelf. These deposits first started to form in Cretaceous times a hundred million years ago, and they have been accumulating constantly and without break through all that time on up to this very moment. These sediments are thousands of times too thick to have accumulated in a mere 5 or 8 thousand year period since Noah's flood. Nor could they have been deposited during the Flood, since they are so obviously continuous with and similar to sediments being deposited today.

A similar point can be made on the deep ocean sediments. They are not a mixed-up jumble, and there is no break in their deposition from cretaceous times to today. True, in both cases the rates of deposition have varied; yet, in both cases the sediment types are so similar from top to bottom that the rates of deposition could not possibly have been much faster than the rates of today.

Question: Kofahl (1977) claims that the Mississippi Delta formed in only 5000 years. How do you reconcile his claim with your statements about the Gulf Coast sediments?

Answer: Its current delta is 5000 years old, but it has had dozens of other deltas in the distant past. Every so often it jumps its banks, reaches the Gulf of Mexico by a new path, and starts to build a new delta at its new mouth. In fact, the Mississippi River had partly changed its course in 1955, emptying into the Gulf through the Atchafalaya River, until the Army Corps of Engineers stepped in to plug the leak. In the early Cenozoic, the Gulf of Mexico extended as far north as Illinois; the Mississippi had its delta there at that time. These facts, like those on the Gulf Coast and deep sea sediments, can be found in many freshman geology texts.

Question: Is there any more evidence against the hydraulic selection theory besides the sedimentary facies you mentioned?

Answer: Yes, the fossils are in the right order for evolution but not for hydraulic selection. The light animals refuse to stay in the shallow rocks, and the dense animals refuse to stay in the deep rocks where they belong according to creationism.

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Trilobites, light fragile creatures resembling pillbugs, tend to be found only in the deepest rocks. Pterodactyls (flying dinosaurs) are found no higher than the middle rocks, whereas birds are found mostly in the shallowest rocks. Turtles, dense creatures, tend to be found from middle to high rocks, not in the deep ones. Ammonites, light buoyant cephalopod molluscs that resemble the chambered nautilus, tend to be found in the lower and middle rocks, not in the upper ones. There may be many hundreds of obviously distinct species of trilobites of a given size and general shape; the same applies to ammonites. The ICR hydraulic selection theory predicts that many species of the same size, shape, and weight will be found scrambled together in the same rocks, but real rocks show that each distinct species usually has its own horizon absolutely distinct from the horizons of other species of the same size, shape, and weight. Even within the same formation, geologists often find trilobites of the same size and shape segregated by species into horizontal layers. Thus the hydraulic selection theory bristles with contradictions.

Strangely enough, Whitcomb and Morris (1961), staunch champions of the hydraulic selection theory, show nothing but scorn for an orthodox geologist Daniel J. Jones (1958) where he documents some small scale hydraulic selection. Jones' article merely describes in detail processes having nothing to do with evolution that experts observe in progress today moving microscopic fossils out of their proper order. He describes wave action, turbidity currents, streams, ground water, wind, glaciers, burrowing animals, and other various processes. He even gives specific examples actually observed in various parts of the world today. He lists evidences having nothing to do with faunal succession or evolution that should put an observer on his guard that the microfossils he is observing have been displaced. For instance, if these microfossils are as large as the sediment they're buried with, then small scale hydraulic selection may have sorted them according to size out of their proper sequence. Other telltale signs to look for are fragments of shells, lack of normal series of growth stages, and long fossils pointing in the same direction.

Whitcomb and Morris say that Jones is merely trying to rationalize away fossils that are in the wrong order for evolution by assuming without proof that the damning fossils were somehow moved out of order:

It is not at all uncommon for the smaller fossils on which rock identification is commonly based to be found out of place in the expected sequences. Such anomalies are usually explained as simple "displacements" ... [At this point, Whitcomb and Morris give a quotation out of context from Jones explaining that microfossils get reworked. ] ... Which, being interpreted, means that when fossils are not found in the stratum to which they have previously been assigned by evolutionary theory, it must be assumed that they have somehow been displaced subsequent to their original deposition. (p. 207)

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And all that poor Jones did to deserve this gross misrepresentation was simply to supply a dab of evidence for hydraulic selection having nothing whatever to do with evolution.

Overthrusts

Question: According to creationists, there are plenty of places where the fossils are in the wrong order for evolution. This must mean geologists have to assume evolution so as to arrange the geological time scale so as to date , , the, fossils so as to erect an evolutionary sequence so as to prove evolution, thereby reasoning in a vicious circle. When the fossils are in the wrong order, geologists apparently assume the "older" rocks were shoved on top of the younger ones (thrust faulting), or else, that the strata were overturned (recumbent folds), even though there is no physical evidence for these processes. In particular, Whitcomb and Morris (1961) maintain the physical evidence proves the Lewis Overthrust and Heart M, ountain Overthrust never slid an inch. How do you reply?

Answer: Whitcomb and Morris, again, quote their sources badly out of context. There is plenty of physical evidence having nothing to do with fossils or evolution that show thrust faulting to be very real. Let us consider the Lewis Overthrust and Heart Mountain Overthrust in some detail.

The Lewis Overthrust of Glacier National Park, Montana, consists of the deformed Precambrian limestones of the Belt Formation that were shoved along a horizontal thrust fault on top of much younger (but viciously crumpled) Cretaceous shales. These limestones, by the way, contain stromatolites and mudcracks of the sort seen forming in the Bahamas today. (Stromatolites are a distinct form of calcareous deposits left by algae.) Ross and Rezak (1959) wrote in their article about the Lewis Overthrust that the rocks along the thrust, fault are badly crumpled, but Whitcomb and Morris (p. 187) lift the following words from this article:

Most visitors, especially those who stay on the roads, get the impression that the Belt strata are undisturbed and lie almost as flat today as they did when deposited in the sea which vanished so many million years ago.

But if we read the rest of Ross's and Rezak's paragraph. we fins that Whitcomb and Morris quoted it out of context:

...so many million years ago. Actually, they are folded. and in certain places, they are intensely so. From points on and near the trails in the park, it is possible to observe places where the Belt series, as revealed in outcrops on ridges, cliffs, and canyon walls, are folded and crumpled almost as intricately as the soft younger strata in the mountains south of the park and in the Great Plains adjoining the park to the east.

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Ross and Rezak repeatedly show how "crushed and crumpled" the rocks in the thrust fault are:

The intricate crumpling and crushing in the immediate vicinity of the main overthrust, visible in localities like that near Marias Pass, shown in figure 139, must have taken place when the heavy overthrust slab was forced over the soft rocks beneath....

In some places only a single fault surface formed, with crushed and crumpled soft rocks beneath....

Rocks between these faults were crumpled and crushed in a variety of ways. In some places the zone in which fracturing occurred was as much as 2000 feet thick; generally it must have been at least several hundred feet thick.

Question: Whitcomb and Morris (1961, pp. 189-191) note that their friend Walter Lammerts reported finding a layer of shale-like material 1/16 to 1/8 inches thick lining the thrust fault. If any thrust block had slid over that little layer of shale, it would have obliterated it. How do you explain that?

Answer: Actually, the thrust faulting is the only process that could have created this layer. Notice that the underlying shales are crushed, and the overlying limestones are distorted, whereas this little shale layer is quite level. How could the limestones have been deposited distorted-looking on top of a level layer? Obviously, the shale layer consists of powder that was ground up in the thrust-faulting process and later cemented; the sliding created the shale layer.

Question: Whitcomb and Morris claim that geologists cannot find any possible roots for the Heart Mountain Overthrust of Wyoming. How do you prove that overthrusting could have really formed it?

Answer: Simple! The level Cambrian strata broke off along a bedding plane, and slid downhill. By the way, Whitcomb and Morris misquote their source on the Heart Mountain Overthrust as well. On page 183, they reproduce a photograph from an article by Pierce (1957), and insist that Pierce's picture illustrates the place where the thrust block rests on the underlying rock. They quote Pierce out of context as if he were puzzled that the rocks in the picture show no evidence of sliding even though all good evolutionists know that fossils never come in that order.

Actually, this picture has nothing to do with the thrust block at all. Pierce explains that the thrust block slid over younger rocks, that parts of the thrust block eroded away, and that a volcano finally deposited some debris over the area where a piece of the block had once stood.

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This volcanic "early basic breccia" is illustrated in Pierce's photograph; he only states that the volcanic debris, not being a part of the original thrust block, never slid.

Besides, Whitcomb and Morris ignore some deformation of the thrust block that shows it really slid after all. Pierce notes that the thrust block strata are often grossly deformed even when the underlying strata are not. He even shows how the strata from one piece of the thrust block are often sliced across at a slant, forming an angle with the horizontal strata underlying the thrust fault. Whitcomb and Morris could not explain this fact, but it makes sense if overthrusting has really occurred.

Question: But aren't geologists sort of bound to evolution as a matter of principle?

Answer: If you mean that they are begging the question, then I must certainly disagree. Wherever one small area is undisturbed, its fossils are found in a very definite order from top to bottom. The fossils close to the top resemble modern species far more than the fossils closer to the bottom. When fossils are occasionally found in the "wrong" order, one finds that the rocks' are in disturbed areas like mountain ranges, where the sediments are being squished up and out over the surface of the earth like an ice cream bar crushed in a vice. These mountain sediments show plenty of physical evidence of overturning and overthrusting that has nothing to do with fossils. Therefore geologists who avoid overturned rocks when they determine the fossil sequence are not committing circular reasoning.

Question: But aren't geologists doing a lot of guessing when they fill in big fossil gaps in one area with the fossils of another area? After all, the fossil record in any one place is far from complete.

Answer: Suppose a geologist finds that formations ABCD are separated by an erosional gap from GHIJ in one area. Suppose he finds formations CDEFGH in another area. Logic compels him to infer that the complete record (if there had been no erosion) would be ABCDEFGHIJ. He is scarcely guessing at all.

Of course, the land areas and the sea areas are constantly shifting, though there is always at least some land (and some sea) in any given geological age. The sea areas accumulate sediments washed in from the land, and the erosion of the land will leave a gap in the rocks when the land finally sinks into the sea again. That is how these gaps form. Fortunately, none of these erosional gaps is worldwide, so we can fill the gaps of one area with the sequences of another.

Ironically, the earliest uniformitarian geologists were creationists. Charles Lyell carried his uniformitarianism so far that he believed the species of animals and plants God created in the dim past remain fixed, invariable, and uniform from one geological age to the next.

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The doctrine that species vary was to him the superstition of catastrophists trying to prove the Flood of Noah (among other catastrophes) because catastrophists had argued that the turnover of species throughout the geological ages proved that several times God had wiped out all life on earth with a catastrophe, and then created a new set of living things from scratch. When catastrophists cornered him with evidence that different ages had different fossils, he explained it away by saying that rare species had merely become more common and common species more rare. Only reluctantly at the end of his life after much debate with Darwin and with other geologists did he finally accept evolution.

William Smith, a canal engineer, was the father of modern stratigraphy. He was the first to notice that the higher rocks always had different fossils than the lower ones did. He was always a creationist, and used his discovery only to make money, yet the whole of geology today is based on his discovery. So where is all this circular evolutionary reasoning?

In fact, if anybody is guilty of circular reasoning, it is the ICR creationists. Their Director, Dr. Henry M. Morris (1970) has no reservations about stating what his real attitude to geological evidence is:

But the reason for insisting on the universal Flood as a fact of history . . . is that God's Word plainly teaches it! No geological difficulties, real or imagined, can be allowed to take precedence over the clear statements and necessary inferences of scripture. (pp. 32-33)

Geology is self-correcting, whereas Dr. Morris' beliefs are not. Of course, there is always an infinitesimal chance that he may be right and I wrong in spite of all the evidence I have given. But such a case wouldn't give credit to Dr. Morris. Since his fundamentalist special pleading is not science, his being right could at best be a lucky guess. In the end, it will always be evidence that rules, and today's evidence overwhelmingly favors evolution.

Bibliography

Alvarez, Luis W., et. al. "Extraterrestrial Cause for the Cretaceous-Tertiary Extinction." Science, Vol. 208 (6 June 1980), pp. 1095-1107.

Broadhurst, F. M. "Some Aspects of the Palaeoecology of Non-marine Faunas and Rates of Sedimentation in the Lancashire Coal Measures". American Journal of Science. Vol. 262 (Summer. 1964), pp. 858-869.

Desmond, Adrian J. The Warm-Blooded Dinosaurs. Warner Books: N.Y., 1977.

Dietz, Robert L. "Astroblemes". Scientific American. Vol. 205 (Aug., 1961), pp. 50-58.

Dott, Robert H.. Jr.. and Roger L. Batten. Evolution of the Earth. McGraw Hill. New York. 1976.

Farrand, William R. "Frozen Mammoths and Modern Geology". Science. Vol. 83 (March 16, 1961), pp. 729ff.

- page 25 -

Folsom, Franklin. Exploring American Caves. Crown Publishers, Inc.: N.Y., 1956.

Glob, P. V. The Bog People: Iron Age Man Preserved. Trans. by Rupert BruceMitford. Cornell University Press: Ithaca, NY, 1969.

Jones, Daniel J. "Displacement of Microfossils". Journal of Sedimentary Petrology. Vol. 28 (1958), pp. 453ff.

Kofahl, Robert E. Handy Dandy Evolution Refuter. Beta Books: San Diego, CA 1977.

Mohr, Charles E., and Howard N. Sloan. Celebrated American Caves. Rutgers University Press: New Brunswick, NJ, 1955.

Morris, Henry M. Biblical Cosmology and Modern Science. Craig Press: 1970.

Morris, Simon Conway, and H. B. Whittington. "The Animals of the Burgess Shales". Scientific American. Vol. 241 (July, 1979), pp. 122-133.

Pierce, William G. "Heart Mountain and South Fork Detachment Thrusts of Wyoming. American Association of Petroleum Geologists Bulletin. Vol. 41 (1957), pp. 591ff.

Press, Frank, and Raymond Siever. Earth. W. H. Freeman: San Francisco, 1974.

Ross, C. P., and Richard Rezak. "The Rocks and Fossils of Glacier National Monument". U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 294-K (1959).

Rupke, N. A. "Prolegomena to a Study of Cataclysmal Sedimentation". Why Not Creation? Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co.: Philadelphia, PA, 1970, pp. 141-179.

Sanderson, Ivan T. Investigating the Unexplained. Prentice-Hall, Inc.: Englewood Cliffs, NJ, 1972.

Scientific Creationism. ed. by Henry M. Morris. General ed. Creation-Life Publishers: San Diego, CA, 1974.

Shelton, John S. Geology Illustrated. W. H. Freeman: San Francisco, 1966.

Stears, Colin W., Robert L. Carroll, and Thomas H. Clark. Geological Evolution of North America. 3rd ed. John Wiley and Sons: N. Y., 1979.

Whitcomb, John C., and Henry M. Morris. Genesis Flood. Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co.: Philadelphia, PA, 1961.

About the Author(s): 

Chris Weber, one of the editors of this journal, is a computer programmer and an amateur geologist. He's followed the creation/evolution controversy for many years.

Copyright 1980 by Christopher Gregory Weber

This version might differ slightly from the print publication.

The Return of the Navel

Creation Evolution Journal
Title: 
The Return of the Navel, the "Omphalos" Argument in Contemporary Creationism
Author(s): 
Robert Price
Volume: 
1
Number: 
2
Quarter: 
Fall
Page(s): 
26–33
Year: 
1980

Surely one of the most bizarre efforts to defend biblical creationism was that of Philip Gosse in his nineteenth century work Omphalos. The word is Greek for "navel," and the book addressed itself to the old biblical stumper, "did Adam have a bellybutton?" Why should he, if he were created, ex nihilo, as an adult? Gosse contended that Adam indeed had a navel and that he was not alone. For though God created the world in 4000 B. C., a la Genesis, he created it with simulated signs of age and development. This meant that all evidence of evolution, biological or otherwise, could be safely ignored by creationists.

Such an argument is probably unfamiliar to most people, even those who have followed the creation-evolution debate It is now rarely, if ever, used. Instead, fundamentalist debaters tend to concentrate on debunking evolutionary theory with appeals to its allegedly fatal flaws. After all, how seriously could they expect to be taken if they appealed to a logical circle like the "omphalos" argument? Yet, I contend, this old rationalization underlies much of their allegedly "evidential" polemic. I will go on to consider "scientific" creationism in the light of Thomas Kuhn's theory of scientific revolutions. Finally, I hope to show how, seen in the light of Kuhn's work, the creationist "navel" argument actually tends to argue for evolution instead of against it!

Does the Earth Merely Appear Old?

As already noted, Gosse's "omphalos" argument allowed him simultaneously to admit and dismiss all the biological and geological data for the great age of the earth and the evolution of life. He reasoned that if God were to create a functioning planet (a "going concern" as Martin Gardner puts it), he must have created it already "rolling." Understood this way, the creation might be compared to a movie, the first frame of which depicts an action scene. No sooner does the film start than a holdup or an air battle is already in progress!

- page 27 -

Now if the earth were born full-grown (like the legendary sage Lao-tzu, fully age 75 from the womb!), there must have been telltale signs of age, but the tale they told was false, at least fictitious. A flowing river (let us say, the Euphrates at the border of Eden—Genesis 2:14) from the first moment of its creation must have already possessed an alluvial deposit along its banks. But, strictly speaking, it was never deposited! So with Adam, who had the mark of an umbilical cord which never existed save in the mind of God. And so with the earth's crust, pregnant with fossils of strange life-forms which never walked the earth. All were created as if. Therefore, all those unbelieving biologists and geologists had actually gotten the story correct—the problem was they didn't realize it was only a story.

Why did this argument fail to attract any supporters, even among creationists? Simply because all (but Gosse) could see what extreme special pleading this was. Certainly it was all beyond disproof, but so was the Hindu claim that the world was maya (indeed a very similar claim!). For that matter, who could prove the world had not been created a mere ten minutes ago, with Gosse recalling his formulation of a theory he had never actually formulated? Alas, solipsism has never been very attractive—not even to modern scientific creationists who know too well that such an argument would get them laughed out of the courts and off the debating platforms.

Modern Creationists and the "Omphalos" Argument

Yet if one carefully examines creationist polemical literature, one is surprised to find this "recessive" argument has newly surfaced, though anonymously. A few brief examples will indicate the unacknowledged debt of "scientific" creationists to Gosse's hypothesis. A most obvious instance occurs in the 1973 work Science and Creation by William W. Boardman, Jr., Robert F. Koontz, and Henry M. Morris. In a discussion of astronomy and its implications for the age of the universe, the authors zero in on a trouble spot.

The Biblical record places the creation of the universe at ten thousand years or less in the past; whereas, the presently accepted distance scale held by astronomers measures the universe in billions of light years. If the light rays now reaching the earth were created in transit at the time of the creation of the stellar objects, they must have been created carrying information descriptive of historical physical events (such as super novae) which never actually occurred, because we would now be observing light rays which were created in transit and never were radiated from the stars which they seem to image. [p. 26].

Omphalos!

- page 28 -

Less easy to recognize at first glance is the same book's approach to the question of geographical distribution. For instance, doesn't the dominance of marsupials in lonely Australia, together with their filling in of the same ecological niches as their non-marsupial counterparts on other continents (e.g., the existence of marsupial versions of the rat, woodchuck, bear, and dog) count in favor of evolution? In isolation from competition with more efficient placental mammals, the Australian forms seem to have evolved in parallel fashion to their far-off counterparts. Now what does creationism have to say of this phenomenon? Our authors hastily disclaim:

The general concept of world-wide dispersal of living things including ... limitation in migration by barriers and by diversification of isolated populations into related varieties or sometimes species is not disputed by creationists. [Nevertheless,] the creationist believes that the basic forms of marsupials were created like the basic stocks of mammals and that they survived in Australia because of lack of competition due to isolation. [p. 91]

To begin with, it is not at all clear the authors are actually denying what they think they are denying! They almost seem to be espousing in the name of "creationism" what really amounts to a "theistic evolutionary" view, that God "created" the various species by evolving them in the manner Darwin suggested. But since this would serve only to "refute" an opposing view by renaming it, we should look for an alternative meaning. In fact, the meaning seems to be that the processes which lead scientists to posit evolutionary speciation really do work as the scientists imagine them to, but God specially created the various marsupials despite appearances! Why did God impose such patterns in nature which lead naive scientists to so faulty a conclusion? Well, God just wanted it that way! Omphalos!

We can find the return of the navel implicit in some forms of the creationist attack on comparative anatomy and physiology too:

On the assumption of creation, it is reasonable that there would be resemblances between creatures and that these resemblances would be stronger between those creatures living in similar environments and with similar physiological functions to fulfill. One could hardly imagine any more probable an arrangement than now prevails, if the origin of all things actually were special creation. [Henry M. Morris, Evolution and the Modern Christian, p. 23].

What makes this or any other "arrangement" by a divine creator, "probable"? Couldn't God theoretically have made birds that swim instead of fly, whatever that might mean? Keep in mind that, as a fundamentalist, Morris believes in precisely such zoological marvels, for he envisions the day when "the wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the ox" (Isaiah 65:25).

- page 29 -

He must believe that before the time of Noah, carnivores created in Eden did not eat meat (Genesis 1:30). So anything goes, or should, in Morris' frame of reference. Nothing should be more "probable" than anything else since "with God nothing shall be impossible" (Luke 1:37).

This is not mere carping. The point is that by talking in terms of what is "probable" given the earth's environmental conditions, Morris is quietly admitting the evolutionist's criterion of environmental "fitness." In other words, he recognizes the validity of the processes of evolution but merely short-circuits the whole business at the last minute by appealing to the prescientific notion of teleology. In other words, he grants it looks like creatures are fitted to survive in certain environments, and indeed they are. But this is because God arbitrarily wanted it that way! As a result, God framed a riddle which would seem to call for the solution of evolutionary biology (i.e., an explanation of how life-forms are fit for their environments). But instead, the answer is unrelated to the question. The answer is arbitrary fiat. God could have created grass-eating lions; he did in Eden, and will again in the Millennium! But, in between, he put us on a false trail by creating the interlocking web of life that suggested the theory of evolution. Omphalos!

One more example of this argument crops up in the creationist repudiation of human evolution, the "descent of man." Despite appearances, there wasn't any! The creationist, when he doesn't adopt the expedient of simply denying the existence of fossil "cave men," finds himself (and hopes no one else will find him) in an odd position. He cannot deny the rather obvious chain of creatures (let's not prejudice the case by calling them "pre-human ancestors") which start out looking like lemurs and monkeys, and end up looking more and more like humans. But there must be no admission that these are "transitional forms." Instead, they must be declared as extinct but independent life forms which just happen to look like they fall somewhere between monkey and man.

I am aware that there are other approaches taken by creationists, e.g., the "cave-men" were descendants of Noah corrupted by sin, or that all were merely deformed or arthritic individuals who coincidentally were the only survivors of their otherwise normal tribes, etc. But the first mentioned line of reasoning is repeated in the case of Eohippus and its kin . . . oops, one should say those others which seem to be, but must not be, its kin! The same with Archaeopteryx. Transitional forms they may seem, but the creationist knows better! Why do these fossils have the appearance of chains of development which never actually occurred? Omphalos!

Notice, please, that in none of these cases have the creationists explained the rationale of the omphalos argument as Gosse did. The creationists may not be aware of it themselves! But the implicit logic is the same-the evidence points in the direction of evolution, but that is because (for whatever reason) God simply wanted it that way.

- page 30 -

This is a throwback not only to Gosse's esoteric argument, but also to the prescientific shrugging off of such questions by the catch-all appeal to teleology. Why do birds fly south? Because they were made to do this. As Jacques Monod has observed, the notion of teleology is inimical to scientific inquiry, and has always served to nip it in the bud. How "scientific," then, can "scientific creationism" be? Let us pursue this question along a slightly different avenue for a moment. Then we will be in a position to recognize the final irony of the omphalos argument as it reflects on creationism as "science."

Will Creationists Revolutionize Science?

Creationists often assume the pose of righteous prophets crying in the wilderness, ignored by pharisaical "establishment" scientists. If only their voice of truth were heeded! We would have a scientific revolution! Thomas Kuhn, in his celebrated work The Structure of Scientific Revolutions has drawn a compelling picture of the history of science involving a series of turnabouts just such as the fundamentalists anticipate. Now it is far from clear that the creationists are in reality the "scientific revolutionaries" in the scenario. But we will see that their polemical efforts are helpfully illuminated by Kuhn's schema, which will be briefly reviewed here.

Kuhn writes to correct the naive notion that the progress of science is simply the accumulation of new discoveries. No, while new empirical discoveries do occur, real movement in science comes when scientists accept a new "paradigm," a conceptual model in the light of which the same old data may be better understood. A scientist will notice certain troublesome data which the current paradigm cannot accommodate. Such data sticks out like a sore thumb, as it were. An example would be the retrograde motion of the planets in the Ptolemaic paradigm for astronomy. Everything else in the heavens moved like clockwork, and was tidily accounted for by Ptolemy, but a fantastic and elaborate series of "epicycles" (celestial wheels-within-wheels) was needed to make retrograde motion predictable. Copernicus was eventually to find this unsatisfactory. Could not some new paradigm be formulated that would deal more naturally, more economically, more inductively, with all the data, instead of dealing fairly with part of it and imposing contrivances on the rest? So Copernicus set to work and, going Archimedes one better, he moved the sun. He transferred it from the earth's periphery to the center of our orbit. Now everything seemed naturally explainable—no more epicycles. The lesson we are to learn from this brief history is that a scientific revolution occurs when somebody offers a new, more natural, way to construe the data. The new model must make economical sense of as much as possible of the data in its own right; it must make the most possible sense of it without reference to extraneous factors (e.g., invisible epicycles, dictated not by the evidence, but by the Ptolemaic model itself!).

- page 31 -

Though the model is imposed on the data by the theorist, he has derived the model from the suggestion of the evidence itself. It is like one of those puzzles where one must connect all the dots with the fewest possible lines.

On this basis, might the creationists be justified in expecting to usher in a new revolution in biology? How closely do their efforts match the pattern traced out by Kuhn? First we may observe that much (perhaps most) creationist literature concentrates on only half the job—pointing out epicycles. Creationists never tire of indicating troublesome data regarding the theory of evolution, data supposedly far more troublesome that evolutionists believe. Whether their claims are correct or not, creationists could expect no "scientific revolution," according to Kuhn's scenario, until they had supplied an alternative model capable of doing a better job. But insofar as they restrict their efforts to demolition, they are committing one of the most blatant of logical fallacies. They assume that there are but two options, and that one must be true. And, as if we were all playing "Let's Make a Deal," the elimination of evolution automatically vindicates creationism! Not so fast—Lamarck, Lysenko, and a host of other contestants are waiting backstage.

Our second observation is that when creationists occasionally do try positively to defend the elusive "creation model," they violate the necessary criterion of inductiveness. That is, a paradigm must be derived as much as possible from the data themselves, and as little as possible from outside considerations. But Duane T. Gish is forthright in his admission of where his model comes from; "a sound Biblical exegesis requires the acceptance of the catastrophist—recent creation interpretation of earth history. If this interpretation is accepted, the evolution model, of course, becomes inconceivable." [Evolution: The Fossils Say No!, p. 64.] Henry M. Morris is equally clear that "the general method of [Bishop] Ussher—that of relying on the Biblical data alone-is the only proper approach to determining the date of creation." [Evolution and the Modern Christian, p. 63.]

So the hidden agenda is revealed. After all, "There is nothing hid except to be made manifest" (Mark 4:22). The "scientific" creationists, it would seem, are closer to the Inquisition than to Galileo in whose footsteps they claim to follow. They begin with a biblical dogma imposed heavily on the data. It will put the efforts of creationists in proper perspective if we compare them to another famous school of pseudoscience, the offbeat astronomy of Immanuel Velikovsky. In fact the parallel is virtually exact.

Velikovsky reads in Exodus that the Nile turned red ("to blood"), and in American Indian myths that the sky once turned red. First he concludes that Mars once must have nearly collided with the earth; then he shuffles astronomy accordingly. In the same manner Gish and Morris discover in Genesis that the earth is merely thousands of years old with a six-day period of creation; then they practice ventriloquism with the data of geology and biology.

- page 32 -

In both instances, the dusty pages of ancient legend dictates in advance the results of scientific "research."

And thirdly, we must note the methodological outworking of this a priori dogmatism. With their "paradigm" thus derived from an entirely different quarter, it would seem the wildest stroke of luck if the data happened to conform spontaneously to the predetermined pattern. So it must be squeezed into place. With a skill well-developed in dealing with the contradictions found in the Bible, fundamentalists go to work harmonizing the data of science. Let us return momentarily to the deliberations of Morris et al. on the question of starlight. Listing other options besides the unvarnished "omphalos" approach, they point out that:

There are several possible approaches to the solution of this problem, each of which is worthy of careful study by creationists. Some propose that the distance scale represented by the Hubble constant which relates distance to observed red shift is greatly in error and that the distance scale should be drastically reduced . . . Another proposal made by creationist scientists is based upon the hypothesis made by Moon and Spencer in 1953, namely, that light travels not in Euclidean but in Riemannian curved space with a radius of curvature of five light years, so that no transit time could exceed 15.71 years. And a third proposal ... is that further study of the meaning of the scriptural terms . . . "[the heavens were] stretched out," etc., may give an understanding of how vast distances correlate with Biblical chronology. It is hoped that creationists may be able to gain a fuller understanding of this problem and attain a satisfactory solution in the near future. [Science and Creation, pp. 26-27].

What of the insistent claims that the "creation model" fits the data better than the evolution paradigm? For suddenly the data has become a "problem" requiring a "solution." Notice how various hypotheses are being preferred on the basis, not of their inherent cogency, but rather of how much aid and comfort they provide for the creation model. And this case is symptomatic of the dilemma of creationism in general. The model is prior to the data, and the latter will be coerced and manipulated in any fashion in order to fit the Procrustean bed of the former. Alas, the creation paradigm is almost all epicycle! Obviously, this is the very opposite of what we would expect if the creationist model were the harbinger of a new "scientific revolution."

Now, what is the bearing of the unannounced rehabilitation of Gosse's omphalos argument on all this? Remember that the tendency of the navel argument is always to admit implicitly that the evidence actually does favor evolution, but that it is misleading. Fortuitously, God merely "did it that way."

- page 33 -

In the original version, Gosse's, there were two possible explanations for this. Either God made it all look like evolution in order to test our faith (this was actually suggested by some fundamentalists in order to explain away dinosaur bones). Or, Gosse's own preference, God created the world as if the very real processes now observed in nature (e.g., alluvial deposit) had always been in operation, just so that the curtains could open on a fully set stage. In either case, every time the omphalos argument is invoked, even anonymously, creationists are admitting that they hold to their "new" paradigm despite the fact that the old paradigm (evolution) fits the data better!

Creationist arguments evolve as everything else does, reluctant though some are to admit it. And just as in biological evolution we occasionally run across cases of atavism, such a throwback reveals the origins of fundamentalist pseudoscience. No matter how much "scientific" creationists would like to forget that "black sheep of the family," the omphalos argument of Philip Gosse, now and then its characteristics reappear in the population. And when they do, we see what sort of animal we have been dealing with all along—not scientific theory but religious propaganda.

Bibliography

Boardman, William W., Jr., Robert F. Koontz, and Henry M. Morris. Science and Creation. San Diego: Creation-Science Research Center, 1973.

Chick, Jack, "Primal Man?," The Crusaders, Vol. 6, 1976.

Gardner, Martin. Fads & Fallacies in the Name of Science. New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 1957.

Gish, Duane T. Evidence Against Evolution. Wheaton, Illinois: Tyndale House Publications, 1972.

Gish, Duane T. Evolution: The Fossils Say No! San Diego: Creation-Life Publishers, 3rd Ed. 1979.

Gish, Duane T. Have You Been Brainwashed? Seattle: Life Messengers, 1974.

Kuhn, Thomas S. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1962.

Monod, Jacques. Chance & Necessity. New York: Vintage Books, 1972.

Morris, Henry M. Evolution and the Modern Christian. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1978.

Schaeffer, Francis A. No Final Conflict, The Bible Without Error in All That It Affirms. Downers Grove, Illinois: Inter Varsity Press, 1977.

Segraves, Kelly L. The Great Dinosaur Mistake. San Diego: Beta Books, 1975.

About the Author(s): 

Robert Price teaches ethics and philosophy at Bergen Community College, has an MTS in New Testament studies from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, is working on a PhD dissertation in Systematic Theology at Drew University, and has authored a number of articles on religious and philosophical issues.

Copyright 1980 by Robert M. Price

This version might differ slightly from the print publication.

Evidence Supporting a Great Age for the Universe

Creation Evolution Journal
Title: 
Evidence Supporting a Great Age for the Universe
Author(s): 
Stanley Freske
Volume: 
1
Number: 
2
Quarter: 
Fall
Page(s): 
34–39
Year: 
1980

Most, though not all, creationist organizations are committed to the belief that the universe was created no more than 10,000 years ago. In particular, this is true of the most vociferous one, the Institute for Creation Research (ICR), headquartered in San Diego, California. They apparently feel confident that rejection of evolutionary concepts is sufficient to invalidate all astronomical evidence for a great age of the universe. The following four arguments favoring a great age, three of which directly involve astronomy, do not in any way depend on evolutionary theory for their validity. On the other hand, at least the first two give strong support to the theory of stellar evolution.

Supernovae

Stars in a certain mass range eventually experience a cataclysmic event, known as a supernova explosion, in which most of their matter is blown away. Although current models of stellar evolution predict this event, our knowledge that it actually occurs comes, not from speculation, but from direct observation. An ordinary-looking star flares up, remains very bright for a few weeks or months, and then fades away to end up considerably fainter than it was originally. After the event, all that remains is a small dense remnant star surrounded by a cloud of expanding gas.

Probably the best-known example is the Crab Nebula, which is the remains of a supernova explosion observed and recorded by Chinese and others in 1054 A. D. It consists of an expanding gas cloud surrounding a small dense remnant star. The size and outward radial velocity of the gas cloud have been measured; the date for the explosion calculated from these measurements is in close agreement with the Chinese records. We find many remnants of other supernovae with larger and more tenuous clouds and with radial velocities indicating a much greater age than the Crab Nebula. For example, measurements on the Cygnus Loop indicate that this supernova explosion occurred approximately 60,000 years ago.

- page 35 -

This result disproves the creationist timetable, and leaves only two alternatives: Either the expanding gas clouds we see are the results of explosions which occurred as much as 60,000 years ago, or some creator made these clouds appear old, and in fact created remnants of explosions that never occurred. Would this act have been carried out for the purpose of deceiving modern astronomers into the conclusion that the universe is older than 10,000 years? This alternative, i.e., a false appearance of great age, is of course always a possibility, and for easy reference may be called the Gosse Hypothesis.1

Star Clusters

Stars are not distributed evenly throughout our galaxy; instead many, if not most, occur in clusters. These clusters are undoubtedly the result of the original gas clouds being too large for only one or a few stars to be formed. Creationists deny this, of course, and declare instead that God simply created clusters of stars. But this leads to a problem which, to my knowledge, they have not even attempted to resolve. Before we can discuss this problem, however, we need to look at some characteristics of stars.

Distances to stars can be measured without ambiguity, at least when they are close enough to display a measurable parallax. By combining the distance with the apparent luminosity (the observed brightness) we can calculate the absolute luminosity which in turn tells us the rate at which energy, and therefore matter, is being used up by a star. Furthermore, when stars occur in orbiting pairs their masses can be measured. With this data we can calculate the time required for a star to use up all its available matter; i.e., the life-span of the star. Another characteristic of stars which is easily measured is the temperature. This is done by examining its light spectrum; blue stars are the hottest, red stars the coolest.

When a survey is made of the stars for which all these measurements have been made, some interesting facts emerge. When the absolute luminosity of the stars is plotted against temperature (Hertzsprung-Russell diagram), almost all the stars fall along a straight line called the main sequence; the brighter the star the higher its temperature. This is not too surprising. yet it is important because it enables us to distinguish between main sequence stars and other stars, such as red giants and white dwarfs, which fall off the main sequence on the diagram by virtue of their atypical physical size, large or small. More interesting in the context of the present discussion is the finding that the brighter and hotter main-sequence stars also have the greater masses. We conclude that it is in fact the mass of the star, as formed, whether created or evolved, which determines its position on the main sequence.

But now we come to the crucial finding: The hot, bright, blue stars put out so much energy that in spite of their greater initial mass (actually because of it), they will burn themselves out much faster than the cool, faint, red ones.

- page 36 -

While the first kind may have life-spans of a few million years, the second kind may live for tens of billions of years-longer, in fact, than the current estimates for the age of the universe. Let me emphasize that this finding is not based on some "fancy evolutionary theory," but is the result of simple calculations based on straightforward measurements of mass and absolute luminosity. It is also important to understand that being able to determine the life-span of a star does not mean that we can look at a star and tell how old it is. We know of course that a blue star must be relatively young since it doesn't live very long. A red main-sequence star, on the other hand, can be practically any age.

We are now ready to consider the clusters. If they were created only about 10,000 years ago we would expect all the main-sequence types to be represented since even the short-lived ones live longer than 10,000 years. Some clusters do in fact have the short-lived stars well represented, indicating that they are less than a few million years old and conceivably only 10,000 years. In the case of most clusters, however, the shorter-lived stars above some point on the main sequence are missing, while the longer-lived ones below are present. The location of this point is different for different clusters. All the clusters have the longest-lived stars represented and never do we find a cluster which has the large blue, shortlived main-sequence stars but not the small red, long-lived ones. Again we are stuck with two alternatives. The first is that. the distribution of main-sequence types in a cluster is a function of its age. The second is, of course, again the Gosse Hypothesis; by never leaving out the long-lived stars, but frequently omitting the short-lived ones, our creator has again deceived astronomers into concluding that the universe has existed for several billion years!

Light Travel

An old argument against the creationist notion that the universe is only 10,000 years old is the following. Given such a short time, how is it that the light from stars and galaxies, millions of light-years distant, has been able to reach us? At one time, creationists were less concerned with appearing as bona fide scientists, and their "simple" explanation was that the creator placed the photons in positions already well on their paths from the sources toward the earth, thus giving the universe the appearance of being much older than it actually is. A straight-forward and rather refreshing admission of adherence to the Gosse Hypothesis!

Today, creationists have a seemingly much more sophisticated way of dealing with this problem.2 The argument is based on a strange article by Moon and Spencer3 which actually appeared in a professional journal. This article has nothing to do with the creation/evolution issue; instead, as was still common in the 1950's, the authors apparently had an obsessive desire to disprove relativity, including the special theory, and the article was written to this end. (As it happens, creationists do in general strongly disapprove of relativity.)

- page 37 -

A basic tenet of relativity is that the speed of light is a relativistic invariant; i.e., it is independent of any movement of either the source or the observer. The celebrated Michelson-Morley experiment actually does not exclude the possibility of light being dependent on the movement of the source, and the theory that it is had quite a few adherents for a while. However, on the assumption that this theory was correct, it was expected that certain binary stars would show double images, which in fact they do not. As is almost always possible, Moon and Spencer managed to come up with an "explanation" which would get around this difficulty. They proposed that while material objects exist in Euclidian (flat) space, light travels in Riemannian (curved) space! It is somewhat ironic that Riemannian space with a radius of curvature of billions of light-years, in which everything exists and travels, is used in General Relativity. Perhaps the most sidesplitting assumption in the theory of Moon and Spencer is the size of their radius: 5 light-years. Why 5 light-years? Because this is large enough so that the curvature can not be detected by any experiments performed in the solar system, yet small enough to take care of all the binary stars studied! What we have here is nothing more than a mathematical trick specifically designed to make things appear just the way Moon and Spencer wanted them.

One has to entertain the possibility that the article was written and published as a joke. But creationists certainly don't take it as a joke; to them it must seem like a godsend. With light traveling in a Riemannian space having a radius of only 5 light-years, the time it would take to reach us from any source no matter how distant would never exceed 16 years! Again we see the Gosse Hypothesis in all its glory. The creator decreed that light, and only light, should travel in a Riemannian space with a 5-light-year radius, again for the purpose of making the universe appear to be much older than the actual 10,000 years. As an added bonus, it made us poor fools accept the preposterous notion of relativity!

Although somewhat off the subject, a brief note here will vividly illustrate the sorry state of creationist "science." Slusher still believes (in 1980!) that getting around the evidence of the binary stars would constitute a severe blow against Special Relativity, something he relishes. He apparently doesn't know that the unreliability of this evidence has been recognized at least since the early 1960's, although for a completely different reason.4 He furthermore doesn't know that laboratory experiments utilizing rapidly moving sources have confirmed that the speed of light is independent of the motion of the source,5 thus making the observations of the binaries totally irrelevant.

Distribution of Nuclides6

My final argument is not astronomical but involves physical observations right here on earth, except for one made on the moon. The different atoms constituting the elements and all their isotopes are referred to collectively as the nuclides.

- page 38 -

Some of these are stable, the rest are radioactive with half-lives ranging from a small fraction of a second to tens of billions of years. (The half-life is the time it takes for one half of the atoms of a particular kind to decay.)

There are 47 nuclides with half-lives between 1.000 and 50 million years. If the earth were only 10,000 years old, then there should be detectable amounts of all 47 in nature because 10,000 years is not enough time for them to decay totally. However, only 7 of these are actually found, and that is only because they are continually being generated: 4 of them are members of natural decay series; C-14 is generated by cosmic rays acting on nitrogen nuclei; Np-237 is produced by cosmic rays on the moon; and the 7th, U-236, is generated by slow neutron capture in uranium ore where neutrons are available. Creationists have to explain why the other 40 are missing. What makes this significant is that all 17 nuclides with half-lives longer than 50 million years are found in nature.

Simple calculations show that this division between nuclides which are absent and those that are present is exactly what would be expected if all the nuclides were generated (probably in some star) about 4.5 billion years ago. The longest-lived one among the 40 absentees is Sm-146 with a half-life of 50 million years. If it had existed for 4.5 billion years, only 8 x 10-28 of the original amount would remain today, which would explain why it has not been detected. The same would, of course, be true of those with even shorter half-lives.

Among the 17 that are found in nature, the shortest-lived one is Pu-244 with a half-life of 82 million years. In this case, 3 x 10-17 of the original amount would still exist after 4.5 billion years. This, in combination with the fact that it has been found in a concentration of 9 x 10-20, would give an initial concentration of 0.003 or 0.3% in this particular ore which is quite reasonable.

For the situation of the earth being only 10,000 years old, we can calculate the probability of the 40 short-lived ones being absent and the 17 long-lived ones being present, as opposed to some random distribution between absence and presence which would then be possible; namely 40!17!/57! = 7 x 10-15. (An exclamation mark indicates the factorial.) Actually, if we are assuming that the distribution is accidental, we should really add the approximately 260 stable nuclides to the 17 long-lived ones since they are all found, giving a probability of 6 x 10-52. In either case, creationists are surely not about to claim that the distribution is accidental. This leaves them, at the risk of seeming repetitious, with only the Gosse Hypothesis!

References

1. After Philip Gosse, its originator. See for example Martin Gardner, Fads & Fallacies, p. 124-127. Dover, NY, 1957.

2. Harold S. Slusher, Age of the Cosmos, p. 25-37, Institute for Creation Research, San Diego. 1980.

3. Parry Moon. Domina Eberle Spencer, J. Opt. Soc. Am.. Vol. 43, p. 635, 1953.

- page 39 -

4. J. G. Fox. Am. J. Phys., Vol. 30. p. 297, 1962.

5. J. G. Fox, Am. J. Phys., Vol. 33, p. 1, 1965.

6. Most of the data used in this section was obtained from Chart of the Nuclides, Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory. Sixth Edition, Dec. 1961.

About the Author(s): 

Stan Freske has an MS in physics from San Diego State (with additional graduate work in astronomy) and has many years experience in industrial research and development.

Copyright 1980 by Stanley Freske

This version might differ slightly from the print publication.

An Additional Note on the Omphalos Argument

Creation Evolution Journal
Title: 
An Additional Note on the Omphalos Argument
Volume: 
1
Number: 
2
Quarter: 
Fall
Page(s): 
39
Year: 
1980

Dr. Henry Morris, Director of the Institute for Creation Research, has dealt with the appearance-of-age problem many times in his books. The following quotes selected from one of his works illustrate his position on the question.

The Special Creation Model Must Include an Evolutionary Appearance of Age

"We are limited exclusively to divine revelation as to the date of creation, the duration of creation, the method of creation, and every other question concerning the creation. And a very important fact to recognize is that true creation necessarily involves creation of an `appearance of age.' It is impossible to imagine a genuine creation of anything without that entity having an appearance of age at the instant of its creation. It would always be possible to imagine some sort of evolutionary history for such an entity, no matter how simple it might be, even though it had just been created."

Henry M. Morris, The Twilight of Evolution (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1964) p. 56

. . . But This Does Not Involve Deception

"We insist as emphatically as we know how that the doctrine of creation of apparent age does not in the remotest degree involve a divine deception, but is rather inherent in the very nature of creation. Further, God in grace has even revealed much concerning the true age of the creation in His written Word, but men have simply refused to accept it."

The Twilight of Evolution, pp. 57-58

. . . Except When the Appearance of Age is Interpreted as Evidence for Evolution

"But behind both groups of evolutionists [those that accept or reject God] one can discern the malignant influence of `that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world' (Revelation 12.9). As we have seen, it must have been essentially the deception of evolution which prompted Satan himself to rebel against God, and it was essentially the same great lie with which he deceived Eve, and with which he has continued to deceive the whole world."

The Twilight of Evolution, p. 93

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Evidence of the Quality of Creation Science Research

Creation Evolution Journal
Title: 
Evidence of the Quality of Creation Science Research
Author(s): 
Frank Awbrey
Volume: 
1
Number: 
2
Quarter: 
Fall
Page(s): 
40–43
Year: 
1980

Dr. Gary E. Parker, chairman of Natural Science at Christian Heritage College and one of the most respected members of the Institute for Creation Research (ICR), often appears as the guest on a radio program produced by the Institute. The program, Science, Scripture, and Salvation, is broadcast weekly from 77 domestic and 3 international radio stations. In four episodes broadcast last year Dr. Parker claimed that an issue of Scientific American devoted to the topic of evolution was "just chockful of evidence for creation." (Transcripts for program Nos. 377 to 380 may be available from ICR, 2617 Madison Ave., San Diego, CA 92116.)

The following quotation from page 1 of transcript No. 380 serves as an interesting example of the quality of that evidence.

Radio: We have with us today Dr. Parker, with the last in a series about evidence of creation from the Scientific American issue of September, 1978, an issue supposedly devoted to evolution.

Parker: Today I'd like to talk a little bit about the origin of man. That Scientific American issue includes a nice article titled "The Evolution of Man" by Sherwood Washburn.

Radio: What does Washburn have to say?

Parker: Well, on the picture facing the title page there's a fantastic chart supposedly showing a relationship among various mammals worked out by immunological distances. That's a test that compares antibodies from different animals to try to figure how they're related.

Radio: What does the chart show?

Parker: If you look at the bold, white markings, it is supposed to show that man is very closely related to the chimpanzees and the primates. But if you read the fine print, you find something quite different. 54 animals are listed, 14 of them closer to man than the chimpanzee is: the gorilla is closer, so is the gibbon, the gelada baboon, the vervet, the proboscis monkey, the howler monkey, goeldi's marmoset, and the common tree shrew!

Radio: Here we go again—the article is about evolution; the evidence points in another direction!

- page 41 -

Could that be true? Dr. Goodman had presented the data which the chart is based on in slightly different form during the 1977 meeting of the Society for the Study of Evolution. How did several hundred scientists at that symposium miss the apparently obvious relationship pointed out by Dr. Parker? Are evolutionists so blinded by a pro-evolutionary mind-set that they refuse to see a simple, clear falsification of the theory of descent with modification? These are very important questions because, if the answer is yes, evolutionists are guilty of very poor scholarship. This creationist's interpretation of the meaning of the chart in question demands close examination.

The following illustration, patterned after the Scientific American figure helps clarify the issue.

Immunological Distance

Immunological distance is an arbitrary unit derived from a laboratory technique that measures the cross-reaction between various proteins in different species. Within a species the proteins are identical and so they cross-react completely, so the immunological distance is defined as zero. The evolutionary assumption, based upon descent with modification, is that proteins are less similar in more distantly related species. The more different two proteins are, the larger the measure of immunological distance between them will be.

Referring to our simple illustration, Dr. Parker obviously is reading distances directly from the points where the lines drawn from one species intersects another. Since gorillas, baboons, and gibbons branch off closer to the zero or chimpanzee line (the standard protein) than humans do, he infers that they are more closely related to man than the chimp is.

Dr. Parker could have avoided this erroneous interpretation had he carefully read the caption, the "fine print," accompanying the figure. In the caption it is stated that the immunological distance between humans and Asiatic gibbons is 2 while Parker's own way of reading the figure would give a value of about .3. And had he taken his values from the heavy black line (as is implied by other comments about distance in the caption), he would get a value of about 1.4, still far short of the value mentioned.

- page 42 -

So the chart with its caption is ambiguous and the meaning of the fine branches under the heavy black line (such as within the gibbons) are not explained in either the caption or the article. The only scientifically acceptable way to resolve the dilemma is to examine the original data used to construct the chart. In science, as in all scholastic fields, criticism must be based upon the best available facts.

Much of Goodman's original data were published in Systematic Zoology, Vol. 20:19-62 (1971), in an article entitled "Immunodiffusion systematics of the primates. I. The Catarrhini", coauthored by Goodman and G. W. Moore. The data are unambiguously listed in a series of tables. Astonishingly, Dr. Parker must have done the unthinkable and based his entire case on the ambiguous Scientific American figure because the data immediately show that Parker's "fine print" reading was erroneous and required that the comments given in the figure caption be ignored. In Goodman and Moore's table 1, based on rabbit anti-Homo sapiens albumin serum, the immunological distance data for the species Parker lists as being closer to chimpanzees than humans are: chimpanzees 0.00, gorilla 0.00, gelada baboon 4.67, vervet 4.13, proboscis monkey (not listed), howler monkey 7.31, goeldi's marmoset (not listed but the cotton-top marmoset distance is 6.74) and tree shrew 10.57. Distances based upon a number of other proteins are also listed. The unexplained branches now can be seen to show distance measures within that group only. The supposed dilemma, if it ever really existed, disappears. The results vary slightly, as expected in organisms undergoing selection for such a diversity of niches, but overall agreement with taxonomy based on other criteria is excellent and strongly supports descent with modification. The creationist's predicted mosaic pattern is nowhere in evidence.

Astonishingly then, a leading creation scientist not only misread the graph, he also failed to check the original sources of the data. That would be bad enough in a naive student but it is poor and unacceptable practice for a trained scholar.

Furthermore, on page 2 of the transcript No. 380, Dr. Parker says:

Radio: Again, not much of a pattern.

Parker: Not much of an evolutionary pattern—we see more of a mosaic pattern where you find different kinds of chemicals adapted to the needs of that organism, regardless of what it i, s supposed to be related to. When you try to put together all of the evidence you get some interesting results. On the basis of some blood chemistry tests, our nearest relative is the chimpanzee, but on the basis of milk chemistry it's the jackass; on the basis of blood antigen A it's the butterbean, of all things, on the cholesterol level the gartersnake, on foot structure it's the glacial bear, and on fetal hemoglobin the horse, on tear enzyme it's the chicken.

- page 43 -

As pointed out in an earlier analysis, these statements are not consistent with the published data.

To make matters worse other statements (cf.. page 3 of transcript No. 378) demonstrate a gross misunderstanding of the meaning of population heterozygosity and of the basic difference between population heterozygosity and polygenic inheritance of traits such as skin color (p. 2 of transcript No. 378). The discrepancy between Dr. Parker's credentials and the unsc, holarly superficiality and errors evident in these radio transcripts is difficult to understand. It certainly does not lend any credibility to the creationist claim that the scientific literature is "chock full of evidence for creation."

About the Author(s): 

Dr. Awbrey is a biologist at San Diego State University.

Copyright 1980 by Frank Awbrey

This version might differ slightly from the print publication.

Another Favorite Creationist Argument

Creation Evolution Journal
Title: 
Another Favorite Creationist Argument: "The Genes for Homologous Structures are Not Homologous"
Author(s): 
William Thwaites
Volume: 
1
Number: 
2
Quarter: 
Fall
Page(s): 
43–45
Year: 
1980

I first heard this argument in a public debate with Drs. Gish and Parker of the Institute for Creation Research (7 November 1979). The creationist presentation goes something like this:

Evolutionists claim that homologous structures, for example the wing of a bird and the forelimb of a reptile, evolved from an ancestral leg. If this is fact, then the genes for reptile legs and bird wings should also be homologous or similar. But the evolutionist finds himself in big trouble with this assumption because the world-famous evolutionist, Sir Gavin de Beer, presents evidence that the genes can change completely without the organ determined by the genes changing at all. In fact de Beer concludes and I quote: "It is now clear that the pride with which it was assumed that the inheritance of homologous structures from a common ancestor explained homology was misplaced. For such inheritance can not be ascribed to identity of genes. The attempt to find homologous genes except in closely related species has been given up as hopeless."

- page 44 -

At first glance this seems like a rather exciting observation. If the genes for homologous structures are not themselves homologous, then our understanding of evolution would have to undergo some major revisions. If true, it would mean that the "evolutionary" sequences found in the fossil record cannot be explained by any systematic genetic changes. However, once our excitement wears off, we begin to ask how this most interesting of genetic observations was made. After all I was not aware that anyone had yet been so clever as to identify a gene which is directly responsible for the normal shape of some structure such as a wing. We have, of course, studied many genes in the fruit fly which cause abnormal development of a wing or an eye, but that does not allow us to conclude that these mutations are alterations of the very genes which control the normal structure. These mutant genes affecting structure may act by circuitous routes.

Even when we eventually do identify genes which are directly responsible for controlling normal structures, it will be quite a problem to isolate these genes so that we can determine their molecular structure, the DNA code sequence. I can assure the reader that such developments are at least several years down the road. So how in heaven's name did de Beer reach his startling conclusion? To begin with I found that our library didn't have the de Beer reference Dr. Gish had quoted, so Dr. Gish kindly loaned me his copy. The reference turned out to be one of a collection of "Oxford Biology Readers" written for high school students. Thus, it is neither a research paper nor a scholarly monograph. The particular reader to which Dr. Gish referred is titled "Homology, An Unsolved Problem" (published by Oxford University Press, 1971) and the above quote is found on page 16.

De Beer's conclusion is based on genetic experiments with fruit flies. He notes that a pure-breeding line of flies without eyes has been established by genetic investigators. From time to time this line produces an occasional fly which has eyes. When such a normal-looking fly mates with a standard fly, they can produce eyeless offspring. So the normal-looking parent apparently still had the genes for the missing eyes. Then it holds, de Beer goes on to say, that the normal-looking parent fly enjoyed the use of his eyes because other genes took the place of the missing eye genes. De Beer asks why other genes should know how to stand in for the original eye gene. And he concludes that "Homologous structures need not be controlled by identical genes, and homology of phenotypes does not imply similarity of geneotypes." In other words, similar structures do not imply similar genes. This astonishing conclusion, if substantiated, thoroughly undermines modern evolution theory.

A contemporary geneticist, however, has no difficulty in proposing a viable explanation for this experiment. The occasional normal-looking flies probably were produced from the eyeless line through the action of "suppressor" mutations, i.e., additional mutations which restore the normal appearance of a mutant organism.

- page 45 -

Countless investigations done in the last quarter of a century have shown similar cases of mutant gene suppression in a wide variety of organisms. Suppressors have been shown to act by means of a variety of mechanisms, but virtually none, if any, acts by replacing the function of the original "missing gene." In fact many studies have shown that the original "missing gene" is usually not missing at all, but is merely altered in some minor way so that it can no longer function normally. The only thing that suppressors have in common is that each is a second mutation which is able to negate the mutant expression of the original mutant gene that it suppresses. Perhaps the original eyeless gene causes the production of an incorrect initiator of eye structure, and the suppressor gene makes abnormal cells which can now respond correctly to the incorrect initiation signal. In a sense this is a case of two wrongs making a right.

Surely de Beer could have thought of this or some other non-paradoxical explanation. Perhaps his purpose in the Oxford Reader Series was to stimulate the thinking of his student readers. He may have assumed that his readers would not yet know about suppressor genes, and that the pedagogical value of presenting an apparent paradox would outweigh whatever worth there might be in an attempt to provide an up-to-the-minute answer for every question. Apparently Dr. Gish has never heard of suppressor genes. So instead of trying to resolve de Beer's paradox in terms of modern research, he preferred to use what may be a teaching tactic as the last word on the subject.

Dr. Thwaites, a geneticist at San Diego State University, has teamed up with his colleague Frank Awbrey to publicly debate representatives of the Institute for Creation Research on two occasions.

Copyright 1980 by William Thwaites

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Reagan Favors Creationism in the Public Schools

Creation Evolution Journal
Title: 
Reagan Favors Creationism in the Public Schools
Volume: 
1
Number: 
2
Quarter: 
Fall
Page(s): 
45
Year: 
1980

Presidential hopeful Ronald Reagan told a cheering throng of over 10,000 "born-again" Christians in Dallas that the lack of "that old-time religion" in public schools has led to an increase in human suffering. He was addressing a rally of New Right preachers and politicians from more than 41 states who gathered on August 22nd to participate in a "Roundtable National Affairs Briefing." In reference to the theory of evolution Reagan declared, "I have a great many questions about it. It is a theory, it is a scientific theory only. And in recent years it has been challenged in the world of science and is not believed in the scientific community to be as infallible as it once was. I think that recent discoveries down through the years have pointed up great flaws in it." He then added that if the theory of evolution is to be taught in public schools, so should the Biblical version of the origin of human life.

(Information from the Los Angeles Times and San Diego Union, August 23, 1980)

This version might differ slightly from the print publication.

Issue 3 (Winter 1981)

Creation Evolution Journal
Title: 
Creation/Evolution III
Volume: 
2
Number: 
1
Quarter: 
Winter
Year: 
1981
For a PDF version of the entire issue, please click here.


See below for text versions of this issue's articles.

Self Correction Corner

Creation Evolution Journal
Title: 
Self Correction Corner
Volume: 
2
Number: 
1
Quarter: 
Winter
Page(s): 
Inside cover
Year: 
1981

Two errors of fact occurred in my article, "Why Creationism Should Not Be Taught As Science: The Legal Issues," published in Issue I of Creation/Evolution.

On page 13 paragraph 3 it was stated that the "Tennessee law which John Scopes was charged with breaking" was declared unconstitutional. This is not so. John Scopes was convicted in Dayton, Tennessee, and fined $100, the usual fine for transporting liquor, which in this case seemed to be applied to transporting information. In June of the next year (1926) the case was appealed in the State Supreme Court. The judges were determined to clear up the issue and prevent a further appeal to the U. S. Supreme Court, so they, "having decided that the law was constitutional, nevertheless reversed the conviction on the ground that the fine had been improperly imposed by the judge," thereby implying that the law in question was simply not to be enforced. (Gail Kennedy, Evolution and Religion. New York: D. C. Heath, 1957, pp. 35-52.)

The second error occurred on page 19, next-to-last paragraph. There I stated that the sample resolutions appearing in the July-August 1975 and the May 1979 issues of Acts & Facts were used verbatim in Columbus, Ohio and Georgia. Popular newspaper accounts frequently declared this, but a careful comparison reveals no similarity in Ohio, or Georgia. The Florida bill, however, does show signs of strong influence, though it was drafted by another creationist organization, Citizens for Fairness in Education, in South Carolina. This same group was behind the Anderson, South Carolina resolution, which did take some sentences verbatim from ICR materials.

Fred Edwords

The Editors further regret an erroneous biographical note attached to Stanley L. Weinberg's article, "Reactions to Creationism in Iowa," in Issue II. Mr. Weinberg does not have a doctorate. Although he has taught in several colleges, his thirty years' teaching experience was mainly in the high schools. The errors occurred in the editorial office. Mr. Weinberg did not write or review the biographical note.

Phil Osmon

This version might differ slightly from the print publication.

The Bombardier Beetle Myth Exploded

Creation Evolution Journal
Title: 
The Bombardier Beetle Myth Exploded
Author(s): 
Christopher Gregory Weber
Volume: 
2
Number: 
1
Quarter: 
Winter
Page(s): 
1–5
Year: 
1981

Dr. Duane T. Gish, assistant director of the Institute for Creation Research (ICR) has made some extravagant and unfounded claims about the bombardier beetle (genus Brachinus). This beetle defends itself by shooting boiling-hot fluids out its rear end at its attackers; Gish argues that no ordinary beetle could have slowly evolved into a bombardier beetle through any conceivable transitional forms because a transitional beetle with an incomplete mechanism would have either been burdened with a load of useless baggage, or else have blown itself to smithereens. In this article, we shall see how badly Gish has distorted the facts about this insect.

In his book Dinosaurs: Those Terrible Lizards (Creation-Life Publishers: San Diego, CA, 1977), Gish lays out his entire argument that transitional beetles are inconceivable. He describes how the bombardier beetle's explosive defense system is supposed to work, claiming to derive his information from the German entomologist Dr. Hermann Schildknecht. His argument is based on this description of the beetle's mechanism, and stands or falls with it:

This scientist [Dr. Hermann Schildknecht] found out, first of all, that the bombardier beetle mixes up two kinds of chemicals—hydrogen peroxide and hydroquinone. Now the marvelous thing about this is, if you or I went into a chemistry laboratory and mixed up these two chemicals — BOOM! We would blow ourselves up.

But not the bombardier beetle. He's too smart. When he mixes up these two chemicals he makes sure he adds another kind of chemical, called an inhibitor. The inhibitor somehow prevents the other two chemicals from blowing up. In other words, they just sit there together real peaceful like. The beetle then stores this liquid in two storage chambers, ready to be used when needed. . . .

How does Mr. B. B. make the chemical solution explode just at the right time, in spite of the fact that it contains an inhibitor? Dr. Schildknecht found out just at the exact moment Mr. B. B. wants to fire his two cannons, he squirts in an anti-inhibitor. The antiinhibitor neutralizes (knocks out) the inhibitor, and the two chemicals (the hydrogen peroxide and the hydroquinone) can then react violently together and explode. (pp. 51-52)

- page 2 -

Thus Gish is maintaining that the bombardier beetle juggles four chemicals in its defense mechanism. The hydrogen peroxide and hydroquinone spontaneously explode unless an inhibitor is added to prevent the explosion. The beetle fires off its defense mechanism by adding an anti-inhibitor to this mixture. Gish bases his entire argument on this inhibitor model. If any of the four chemicals, any of the organs, or the nervous system mechanism were missing in any of the transitional forms, then either the beetle would blow itself up, or else it would be lugging around a lot of useless baggage. Obviously, natural selection would not select for either one. At any rate, that's how Gish argues.

Actually, Dr. Gish totally misrepresents Dr. Schildknecht, who says absolutely nothing about an inhibitor. On the contrary, hydrogen peroxide and hydroquinone do not spontaneously blow up when mixed together; they just slowly turn brown as they oxidize. The only time they explode is when the beetle forces them to by adding two catalysts, a catalase to decompose the hydrogen peroxide, and a peroxidase to oxidize the hydroquinones and thereby break them down into the simpler quinones. Apparently Gish's translator does not read German very well. Drs. William Thwaites and Frank Awbrey of San Diego State University in California have even shown Gish there is no inhibitor and that the two explosive chemicals do not explode spontaneously. Yet despite this, Dr. Gish still continues to use this false argument.

Thwaites and Awbrey teach a two-model Evolution vs. Creation course at San Diego State. Leading creationists such as Dr. Gish present the creationist viewpoint during one session, and then Awbrey and Thwaites present the findings of empirical science during the following meeting. At one such rebuttal session in the spring of 1978, Thwaites gingerly mixed hydrogen peroxide and hydroquinone solutions together. The two professors took elaborate precautions to protect the class in case Dr. Gish's biochemistry turned out to be correct. The solutions only turned brown, failing to explode.

This is an easy experiment to duplicate. You- can even try it at home, since hydroquinone can be purchased from your local photography shop (it's used for photographic developer), and hydrogen peroxide is available at your supermarket or drug store (it's used in women's hair coloring). This allows you to prove to your own satisfaction that hydrogen peroxide and hydroquinone do not spontaneously explode.

When Thwaites and Awbrey confronted Gish with this fact, he became flustered, and said that somehow the German word for "unstable" had been mistranslated as "explosive."

- page 3 -

When they asked him what his source was, he replied that he had gotten his information from Hermann Schildknecht, Eleonore Maschwitz. and U. Maschwitz. "Die Explosionschemie der Bombardierkafer (Coleoptera, Carabidae)," Zeitschrift fur Naturforschung, Vol. 23 (1968), pp. 1213-1218. The purpose of this article is to study the nature of the catalysts that make the otherwise inert hydrogen peroxide and hydroquinone explode:

During the "pop," the contents of the paired pygidial defense bladders of the bombardier beetle (hydrogen peroxide and hydroquinone) are squeezed in small portions into chitinous chambers, and there they are explosively transformed into oxygen, quinone, and water. This explosion-chamber reaction is catalyzed by enzymes, which are emptied as a dark brown 40-60% albumin solution out of one-celled annex-glands into the front chamber. [My own translation]

Thus Schildknecht is saying that the hydrogen peroxide and hydroquinone do not explode until the enzymes make them do so, and mentions nothing about any inhibitor. Let us see in more detail what Schildknecht has to say on the beetle's explosion mechanism.

Schildknecht's diagram of the insect's defense organs shows that there are two chambers, the larger inner chamber (called the "reservoir" by Eisner and the "collection bladder" by Schildknecht) empties into the smaller outer one (called the "vestibule" by Eisner and the "explosion chamber" by Schildknecht), which in turn empties into the outside world through an opening near the anus. There are two sets of these organs, one on either side of the anus. The collection bladder collects hydrogen peroxide and hydroquinone, which just sit there without exploding. The explosion chamber collects a brown gooey mixture of enzymes. This chamber has a thick chitin wall with numerous little holes in it through which single-celled glands secrete and deposit the enzymes into the chamber. When the insect becomes excited, a muscle opens up a little door on a hinge. Through this opening the two chemicals are forced into the explosion chamber, where the enzymes make them explode out of the insect's derriere as oxygen, quinone, and water. (The door opens into the explosion chamber so that the explosion will force the door shut and not injure the collection bladder. Schildknecht explains the chemistry of this reaction clearly:

Not only did the results of our earlier work on the defense system of the bombardier beetle give the surprising result that this beetle manufactures a 25% solution of hydrogen peroxide and a 10% solution of hydroquinone, but we can now also show that the enzyme that sparks off these chemicals is also stored in an extraordinarily high concentration. In the explosion chamber a 40-60% albumin solution is stored which consists of one third peroxidase and two thirds catalase. We are concerned here with the secretion of the annex-glands which empty into the front chamber of the pygidial bladder, an extension of the anus.

- page 4 -

Gish was made aware of all this in the spring of 1978. Even though he continued to insist that this insect could not have evolved and that it has some kind of inhibitor to keep the two chemicals from oxidizing, he reluctantly admitted that hydrogen peroxide and hydroquinone do not spontaneously explode when mixed, and that Schildknecht has nothing to say about any inhibitor.

Nevertheless, Gish still continues to use his old description in his debates. For instance, on January 17, 1980, in a debate with Dr. John W. Patterson at Graceland College, Lamoni, Iowa, Gish said:

The bombardier beetle is a remarkable little creature that has this explosive mechanism. He stores two chemicals in a storage chamber, and he puts in an inhibitor to keep it from exploding or decomposing. He squirts it in the combustion tube, and then he adds an antiinhibitor, and there all the enzymes there [sic]—and boom! An explosion goes off right in the face of his enemy. Beautifully timed! Beautiful mechanism! You have to have thick storage chambers, you have to have the two chemicals, you have to have an inhibitor, you have to have an anti-inhibitor, you've got to have those combustion tubes, you have to have the communication network all present and functioning, just as you have to have every part on the rockets to go to the moon present and functioning. How are you going to explain that step-by-step by evolution by natural selection? It cannot be done!

Gish already knew better. Why would he repeat an old error? If he is this unreliable in areas where we can check up on him, then how can we trust him in areas where we cannot? But even if his facts were beyond reproach, we would still have difficulty taking him seriously because he brings up the bombardier beetle to help prove that fire-breathing dragons may have actually existed. In the very book in which he describes the bombardier beetle (Dinosaurs: Those Terrible Lizards), he argues that old legends, Job 41:18-21, and the bombardier beetle all suggest that the unique crests on the heads of some duck-billed dinosaurs were the chemical storage tanks for their flame-throwing mechanisms. These dinosaurs were thus the fire-breathing dragons of myth and legend! Need I say more?

Although the main purpose of this article is to show that Gish's description cannot be trusted, we should take a little time to see how the bombardier beetle's defense mechanism could have gradually evolved. There's no problem explaining where the hydroquinone and the hydrogen peroxide came from.

- page 5 -

As Thomas Eisner shows in his article "Chemical Defense Against Predation in Arthropods" (Chemical Ecology, 1970, pp. 157-215), hydrogen peroxide is a normal metabolic byproduct in insects, and various quinones are used to harden (or "sclerotinize") the cuticle of insects. All kinds of insects therefore secrete these chemicals. As a byproduct, hydroquinone tastes bad to predators and is the chemical that makes stink bugs stink. So, if an insect's cuticle became indented, forming little sacs to store some of this hydroquinone, it would have an advantage over its fellows even if its storage mechanism was not yet very efficient.

Schildknecht himself points out that the carabid family of beetles has little sacs like this. They have glands that exude enzymes into pygidial bladders that empty into the anus, even though these don't explode. So, even though the bombardier beetle is the only carabid beetle to shoot boiling liquid at its enemies, the other carabid beetles, living in different ecological niches, survive very well because, with their thick-walled little sacs, they can poison their enemies but not themselves.

Therefore, all the pre-bombardier beetle had to do was direct some of that hydrogen peroxide into its collection bladder, develop a little valve between the collection bladder and vestibule chamber, and finally supply the catalase and peroxidase in the vestibule. The hydrogen peroxide would make the insect more poisonous to eat than it was before. A muscle that pulled the duct between the two chambers open, and relaxed to let it close, would help the beetle be more selective about its poison discharges. Even if this valve structure was crude at first, it would have survival value until the side of the duct attached to the muscle could evolve into a little door. The enzymes would be useful the moment they appeared. Even if the beetle's new firing mechanism could not be aimed all that well or if the chemicals were not being secreted in the best proportions at first, the mechanism would still be useful from the start, and the beetle could refine it in time.

So, when Gish says, "How are you going to explain that step-by-step by evolution by natural selection? It cannot be done!" he is merely admitting that he has little ability in problem solving.

About the Author(s): 

Chris Weber, one of the editors of this journal, is a computer programmer who has followed the creation/evolution controversy for over seven years. All the German translations in this article are his own.

Copyright 1980 by Christopher Gregory Weber

This version might differ slightly from the print publication.

Why Creationism Should Not Be Taught As Science

Creation Evolution Journal
Title: 
Why Creationism Should Not Be Taught As Science
Author(s): 
Frederick Edwords
Volume: 
2
Number: 
1
Quarter: 
Winter
Page(s): 
6–36
Year: 
1981

Part 2. The Educational Issues

One can ask a number of questions about creationism: Is it a religion? Is it scientific? Is it legal to teach it in the public schools? Would it be practical to include it in the science curriculum?

This article deals with the last of these questions, looking at the educational consequences of creation teachings being given "equal time" in public school science. The legal, scientific, and, especially, religious issues are not ignored, however, for they have a direct effect on this very pragmatic issue of insuring an adequate education for public school students.

The Importance of Religion

Religions play a significant role in our society, particularly those relying on the Judeo-Christian Bible. Furthermore, those faiths promoting various literal interpretations of that book are becoming among the most vocal in the nation.

To neglect this fact in the public school curriculum, to give religion no place whatever, would imply either a myopic or anti-religious outlook. Therefore it is only reasonable that religion, the Bible, and, yes, even Special Creation, should have its place in the education of our youth.

This idea was well expressed by Jerry Bergman in the February, 1980 Acts & Facts, published by the Institute for Creation Research. He wrote, "The very fact that we usually do not mention religion or religious issues means that we are teaching very definite ideas about religion, especially that religion is not important.... To say that the schools can teach the entire world of knowledge but must exclude religion is censorship of the worst sort.... There is no academic freedom where every area of knowledge can be taught except one ..."

Dr. Bergman then went on to add, "If schools are to be a place where students can debate important questions, it would seem that eliminating religious questions would shelter students from an important area of debate which is crucial for living a well-rounded life."

- page 7 -

It is refreshing to see such a liberal (dare I say humanistic?) idea appear in one of the most radical creationist journals of wide circulation. Dr. Bergman seems to be advocating classes in comparative religion, comparative anthropology, comparative sociology, or their like. So am I.

A Category Mistake

Since religious liberals and conservatives both agree that comparative religion belongs in the public schools, where is the point of contention? It is simply this: Creationists, including Dr. Bergman, would like to see religion, at least in the form of Special Creation, brought into the science classroom. And though some creationists have attempted to demonstrate that "scientific" creationism is not religious, Dr. Bergman apparently has not. In the aforementioned article he wrote, "Religion is a belief structure, and all fields of knowledge are based on belief structures, even though some fields of knowledge include more empirical content than others." This would seem to mean he thinks any religious implications should be forthrightly discussed in every subject area.

Certainly Christian Heritage College (a division of which is the Institute for Creation Research) does this. There isn't one course of study offered where the Bible isn't a textbook, a point the college boasts of in its catalog (Christian Heritage Courier, 1979).

But is this effort to religify every subject, from physical education to wood shop, practical for the public schools? Not unless our idea of practical includes pinpointing the religious differences between students so they can form their battle lines and create campus strife.

And there is an interesting contradiction here, too. If Bergman is trying to deny that a line can be drawn between the sacred and secular in education, we must ask if he is using the Constitution to support this. Most creationists cite the Constitution for their own ends. But the very Constitution cited draws just the sort of line between sacred and secular that Bergman seems to deny!

It would make more sense, then, to keep separate studies separate. Religion, including various creation stories, should be taught in a suitable context of its own and not miscategorized in the science curriculum. And within that context, each creation myth and each philosophy of origins should get equal time with the others. This would successfully meet the creationist demand for equal time on religious grounds, and ought to end that part of the battle.

Theories of Education

But what about the demand for equal time on scientific grounds? Assuming, for the sake of argument, that creationism is non-religious, that it attempts to offer evidence in support of its conclusions, and that it is a competing theory to evolution, shouldn't it be heard?

- page 8 -

How one answers this question is determined by how one views education. If the purpose of the public schools is to be a forum for every possible scientific and non-scientific theory, if the job of teachers is to merely expose students to the various trends in our society, and various fringe theories, then creationism definitely has a place in the science curriculum. But this implies there is no such thing as knowledge, or at least there are no reliable experts who can be depended on to tell us any facts. After all, if the student is left to sort truth from falsehood, fact from fallacy, then there must be nothing the teachers feel confident enough about to forthrightly teach. If schools are to be debating societies, then the administration must take a totally non-committal position on what is true, and merely give equal time to all competing opinions. This would be an exercise of radical skepticism — or insecurity.

On the other hand, if education, in large part, amounts to passing on the discovered knowledge of one generation to the next, and if there is such a thing we can label as "knowledge," and if we accept there are some people who have more of this knowledge in certain areas than other people, then creationism could not be included. This is because, at present, the consensus of knowledgeable scientists in the fields related to evolution maintains there is simply no serious ground for holding creationism to be true. The evidence creationism is based upon has been found insufficient.

Now, parents have a right to choose, through the ballot box, the sort of public education they want for their children, the quality of school officials they will support in office. But, if they accept the "back to basics" model of education, if they want their children learning facts and not merely toying with opinions, then there is no ground for them approving "equal time" for creationism in the science curriculum.

This is a bitter pill to take for many. They see "equal time" as something American as apple pie. And it is, around election time. But education which imparts factual knowledge is not a political campaign, it is a learning experience. And truth is not determined by majority vote, but by the merits of the case.

Creationists, however, have two ready answers to this point. They either claim creationism is being discriminated against in the scientific community and so is not given a fighting chance to get its voice heard (evolutionists are narrow-minded bigots), or they charge that evolution is actually not accepted as much as people think (it is a "club secret" among scientists that evolution is bankrupt).

To answer these charges will require a separate article on the science issues. Suffice it to say here that this is the same tactic used by most all the pseudoscientific charlatans in the business. If their views are rejected, usually because of poor evidence, they shout "conspiracy" and go directly to the public. It is an easy thing to reject standards when one's theory doesn't measure up. It is an easy step to take the political route when one's theory isn't hearty enough to make it over the rocky road of science.

- page 9 -

So, in the context of a basic education system that recognizes the existence of knowledge and a body of professionals who have a consensus on some subjects, the introduction of "scientific creationism" into the science classroom would only open a can-of-worms. Soon every crackpot theory that had adherents enough to start a lobby would have to be included. Here's a probable list:

  1. Astrology would be granted equal time with astronomy.
  2. Pyramid power would be matched side-by-side with modern physics.
  3. Divining rod technology would be taken seriously for the benefit of future oil geologists and hydraulic engineers.
  4. The toxemia theory and Christian Science "negative thinking" theory of disease would get equal time with the germ theory.
  5. The flat earth theory would get equal mention with the space program.

It would be easy to go on, but let's stop and detail this last one just to show how serious the issue really is and how similar the demands of these other theorists might be to those of the creationists.

Leveling with the Geographers

Charles K. Johnson is president of the International Flat Earth Research Society, an organization of 1500 members, many of whom are doctors, lawyers, and other professional and educated people. He holds that scientific evidence supports the flat earth hypothesis, and, like creationists, appeals to "well known" and "easily observable" facts. One sample bit of observable evidence for his position is the flatness of water. Anyone can see that water is flat. Therefore, if you expand on what you see right in front of you, the only possible conclusion is a flat earth! Experimental evidence for this disc shaped plane also abounds. For example, when Columbus sailed to America (and Columbus is one of the heroes of the flat-earthers), he didn't fall off like his men thought he would. This is because the earth is not a globe. Johnson's wife, Marjory, comes from Australia, and Johnson declares, "She's sworn out an affidavit that she never hung by her feet in Australia. She sailed a ship over here, and she did not get on it upside down and she did not sail straight up. She sailed straight across the ocean. We consider that a very important proof that the world is flat."

To further complicate matters, Johnson sees the flat earth idea as a religious issue too. No doubt he can quote chapter and verse to show that the Bible, properly understood, supports his position. "The Bible is a great tangle of history and corruption and so forth," he says, "but the aim of it all is a one-world, flat-Earth society, for honesty and decency and that sort of thing." Certainly his view could be mentioned in comparative religion.

Although Johnson isn't hard at work lobbying or fighting court cases, he has gotten his view heard in the public schools. For example, he addressed students at Beverly Hills High School on at least one occasion, and with the continuing good press he is getting he is likely to have other opportunities. NBC and the National Enquirer, not to mention local radio talk shows and newspapers all over the country have given his Society coverage.

- page 10 -

The reason why so many believe the world is a globe, Johnson notes, is because science is promoting "a fraud to keep the common people in the dark." The Apollo moon program was just a movie. "Arthur C. Clarke wrote it and directed it. But he knows the Earth is flat." It seems the only redeeming feature of the globular theory is that it provides jobs.

To get the truth out, Johnson publishes the Flat Earth Quarterly "with the objective to restore the world's sanity." "We consider this the world's most superstitious age," Johnson states. "We try to get people to use their minds logically." (Schadewald, 1977; Ashland Tidings, 1978.)

Theories of Origins

Obviously, the creationists don't have the only alternate science in town. But let's narrow our focus a bit and concentrate on just the teaching of scientific hypotheses about origins. Here the creationists maintain there are only two basic views: creation and evolution. Because many would disagree, let's list some of the other possibilities:

  1. Sudden appearance of chaos from nothing, and out of chaos come the gods who create man and the animals. (Hesiod's Theogony is an example of this.)
  2. Sudden appearance of something superior which is now in a state of decline.
  3. Gradual growth of something inferior into a state of perfection.
  4. Cyclical fluctuation between perfection and imperfection.
  5. An eternal and unchanging universe in which all apparent changes are only local and minor.

When faced with a list like this, creationists attempt to label everything listed as being evolutionary in some way, usually noting that all have some sort of gradual change present. The same criterion, though, would place Special Creation in the evolution pile as well. This is because Special Creation is like number 2, particularly in how the theory requires a declining cosmos in its interpretation of the second law of thermodynamics.

Nonetheless, whenever the point is raised that there are other theories of origins, and particularly other Biblically based theories, the creationists disagree. They regard the various efforts to "harmonize science with scripture" as acts of surrender. It is their position that the harmonizing theories say nothing scientifically different from modern evolution. That is, they make no unique predictions and appeal to no unique evidence; they are simply efforts to fit the Bible into the theories of modern science. For this reason, Special Creationists refuse to call these theories creation theories at all (there is only one true creation theory).

- page 11 -

Dr. Duane Gish of the Institute for Creation Research made this plain in a debate on the religious issues with Dr. Jerry Albert in 1977, when he said, "We can drop this term `Special Creationist' and `Theistic Evolutionist.' You are either a creationist or you are an evolutionist, you can't be both."

That Dr. Gish's way of viewing these theories is inaccurate can be shown if we approach each Bible based theory in its turn.

Alternate Views from Genesis

The Day-Age Theory: This is the position that each "day" of creation in the Genesis account actually represents a "long period" rather than a typical 24hour solar cycle. Some denominations give specific lengths of time to these periods, quoting II Peter, 3:8, which says ". . . one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day." However, most Day-Age theorists prefer to be less specific and allow for millions of years.

What makes this theory unique is its predictions regarding the fossil record. To be verified, it would only have to be shown there was evidence in the rocks of six separate creation epochs, coinciding with the events of each of the six days of scripture. This means six separate and distinct creations (which may or may not have been followed by subsequent evolutions).

It is clear this theory does not harmonize with evolutionary geology. This is so because it requires a different order of events than evolutionists posit. Even creationist Henry Morris sees this. On pages 56 to 62 of Biblical Cosmology and Modern Science, he lists 25 discrepancies between Genesis and the evolutionary sequences. So serious is this problem, it has caused Day-Age Biblical theorist Davis A. Young to propose that the "days" of Genesis actually overlap each other. "If such overlap exists, then all apparent discrepancies between Genesis 1 and science would fall away." (Young, 1977.)

The Day-Age theory also does not harmonize with creationist geology. This is because it doesn't require that most all the fossils be laid down in a single year of world-wide flooding. Therefore, in the light of all this evidence, it appears the Day-Age theory is indeed a unique hypothesis deserving as much public school time as does Special Creation.

The Gap Theory: This is the position that there is a gap between the first and second verses of Genesis. The result is two distinct creations. The first creation involved all the now extinct life forms, like the dinosaurs, and the second, occurring in six solar days six thousand years ago, involved all the life forms we see today. Since the prehistoric animals were destroyed in a catastrophe other than Noah's Flood, flood geology is not as important in this model as it is in Special Creation. However, since they were not destroyed by the normal processes of change and gradual extinction, evolutionary theory plays an even smaller part.

- page 12 -

This makes the Gap Theory unique. And the fact that it has two creations, rather than the six of the Day-Age Theory, proves it even more distinctive. It predicts that no fossil animals should be found this side of the second creation of six thousand years ago unless there is evidence that such animals were separately re-created.

Special Creationists don't like this theory because it accepts the idea of an old earth. However, like Special Creation, it accepts fixity of species and uses the standard creationist arguments to prove organic evolution is "impossible." Its flood model differs scientifically in one major respect from that of Special Creation. That is, it claims only "modern" animals died in the deluge.

Adherents of this unique viewpoint include the Jehovah's Witnesses and Armstrong's Worldwide Church of God, both being religions that claim to be truly literal in their interpretation of scripture, and both being strong propagandizers against evolution and for creation. If Special Creationists get equal time, so should these people.

Progressive Creation: This is the theory that God continually creates new things. There is no evolution. The evidence creationists constantly cite about gaps in the fossil record actually supports this theory better than it does that of Special Creation. This is because unexplained gaps seem to point to the Creator intervening in each gap, not to a one-shot recent creation. In fact, this theory can accommodate the existence of the geological column much better than can Special Creation (which depends on a turbulent flood to stack up the strata so nicely). Frequent evidences of catastrophism over time are another support for this theory which runs against the grain of the Special Creationists' singular catastrophic flood. But this also puts it out of step with evolution, which rejects the notion that catastrophes coincide with every gap, and that all gaps are unexplainable without divine intervention.

So, both Special Creation and Progressive Creation interpret the scientific evidence differently from each other and from evolution. Furthermore, both religious models also differ in theology. This can only mean that Progressive Creation, too, must be heard in any discussion of origins which introduces alternate models.

An Old Earth

The "compromise with evolution" these theories really seem to make is the acceptance of a very old earth; nothing more. Is this grounds for the ICR creationists to take adherents of these theories to task? Not at all, because ICR creationists have, on other occasions, shown apparent tolerance for these viewpoints, indicating they are "open" to this old earth option.

- page 13 -

In particular, the narration that goes with slide 48 of Creation and Evolution: A Comparison of Two Scientific Models (an audio-visual aid for public schools put out by ICR), declares: "The creation model does not require an immensity of time. The Creator could have accomplished creation in six days, six billion years, or instantaneously. A young age for the earth and a recent creation are thus options open for consideration by creationists, who are not committed to evolutionary uniformitarian geology."

This seems to imply that evolutionists are dogmatic, but creationists are flexible and able to consider more than one option. Do they mean it? Is this why they rarely debate the age of the earth, but prefer to ignore that point and get on to other things? Or is this deceptive?

If they are open, they shouldn't criticize "theistic evolutionists," who are also open and offering an option. But if their model requires a young earth, they should always say so, and slide 48 shouldn't say what it does. One thing is clear, however. They can't have it both ways in the public schools. They can't be "open" to "options" and still dogmatically declare there are only two possibilities. They can't throw "theistic evolutionists" in the evolution category simply because these people are willing to accept an old earth.

But Dr. Morris, the Director of ICR, seems to settle this question on page 71 of Biblical Cosmology and Modern Science when he vigorously proclaims, "It is high time that Christians face the fact that the so-called geologic ages are essentially synonymous with the evolutionary theory of origins. That latter in turn is, at its ultimate roots, the anti-God conspiracy of Satan himself!" (Morris, 1970.)

This quote, however, is ten years old. To be fair, what has he said lately? Well, in a cover letter to the March, 1980 Acts & Facts, Morris writes:

One of the greatest obstacles to the return of real creation teaching in our nation is the indifference of so many Christian people to the issue. They often justify this attitude on the basis of their assumption that people can believe in theistic evolution (or progressive creation) and still believe in the Bible. They feel that the evolutionary ages of geology can somehow be accommodated in Genesis, by means (usually) of the "local flood" interpretation of the Noahic Deluge and the "day/age" interpretation of God's week of creation.

That honest and consistent Biblical exegesis excludes this interpretation is clearly demonstrated in ... the enclosed March issue of Acts and Facts. I hope this study will encourage large numbers of sincere Christians everywhere to take a more forthright, Scripture-honoring stand on true creationism.

In analyzing this general creationist attitude Dr. Richard Haas, in a statement signed by six other biologists at Fresno State College in 1972, hit the nail right on the head.

- page 14 -

He wrote: "It seems clear that the attempted inclusion of creationism stems from individuals convinced that not only is creationism a viable alternative doctrine equivalent in scientific validity to the concept of organic evolution, but implicit in the requirement is the assumption that the Judeo-Christian fundamentalist approach is the sole such alternative. . . . It seems clear to us that this requirement reflects an arrogance that supposes that Judeo-Christian tradition is the sole valid framework within which one answers questions of ultimate cause while the myriad of other theological systems adhered to by men past and contemporary are not worthy of consideration. This is clear, for, if it were not the assumption, obviously any teacher would be obliged to consider all alternative creationist doctrines, a task that would occupy all his time." (Haas, 1972.)

Alternate Religious Views

But it doesn't stop there. Other religions have theories of origins which also make scientifically testable predictions. Let's look at a few of these:

The Hare Krishnas are creationists of a sort. They have their own creation research group, called the Bhaktivedanta Institute, which sends out periodic blasts at evolution and gives arguments in support of their theory of "production." As Jnana Dasa (1979) in Back to Godhead magazine explains it, "This theory proposes that biological forms do not arise from the spontaneous self-organization of matter, but rather under the direction of a superior intelligence. Furthermore, it suggests that life and consciousness are not material phenomena, the results of physiochemical reactions. Instead, they result from a distinct, irreducible, nonphysical principle or entity, which is present within the material body during an individual's lifetime, and whose departure from the body leads to the change called death." This nonphysical entity, the "Supersoul," is indestructible and eternal, a "particle of spiritual energy" that has neither birth nor death, but simply passes from physical body to physical body in a process of reincarnation.

Some of the evidence used to support this view is much the same as the negative evidence Special Creationists use against evolution. Krishnas talk about probability, "living fossils," lack of transitional forms, lack of conceivable transitional forms, necessity of design and intelligence in nature, and the inability of scientists to turn matter into consciousness.

On the positive side, however, are appeals to quantum physics. Here the Krishnas are looking for consciousness amid the subatomic particles, as are authors Fritjof Capra (The Tao of Physics) and Gary Zukav (The Dancing Wu Li Masters). They bring the evidence of modern physics into play in order to demonstrate their agreement with British astronomer Sir Arthur Eddington, who declared "the stuff of the world is mind-stuff."

- page 15 -

The Krishnas, after satisfying themselves that "the nonexistence of intermediate biological forms implies some kind of absolute information or guidance that transcends the categories of ordinary science," go on to propose how contact with this "transcendental source" can be made. The avenue "consists of an elaborate scientific method for establishing a personal relationship with the Supreme. This method, called bhakti-yoga, is quite similar to modern science, in that it depends on clearly specified procedures leading to reproducible results. It is experimentally verifiable, for it is based on direct personal experience attainable by anyone who carries out the procedures correctly." (Thompson, 1979.)

Whether most scientists would find this approach scientific is not to the point. Obviously the Krishnas and other mystics think it is, and therefore would probably want it seriously considered in the science curriculum.

A similar position is held by Scientology, giving mysticism even more clout. Scientologists reject evolution as a view that "promotes man as nothing but an animal evolved from mud." But they also reject traditional Christianity, saying, "Man does not have a spirit - he is a spirit." (Rev. Wolery, 1977.)

Buddhism presents an interesting paradox because it is an eastern religion which easily accepts biological evolution. This is because Buddhists reject the notion of an immaterial soul and tend in many ways to be materialists. Most Buddhist sects also reject notions of God. Yet the discoveries in modern physics interest them as much as they interest the Krishnas, though they might put somewhat different interpretations on them. The main cause of life, they maintain, is desire, and this could conceivably be understood in some physical, and hence testable, way.

The Mormons have a special problem all their own. In addition to being Day-Age theorists (God lives on the planet Kolob which rotates on its axis once for every thousand years of earth time, hence a day to God is a thousand years to us), Mormons are also rejecters of ex nihilo creation. Joseph Smith made it plain in the King Follett sermon when he said, "Now, the word create came from the word baurau, which does not mean to create out of nothing; it means to organize; the same as a man would organize materials and build a ship. Hence we infer that God had materials to organize the world out of chaos — choate matter, which is element, and in which dwells all the glory." (Swyhart, 1976.)

This view might also require equal time in science classrooms. Why? Because House Bill 690 of the Georgia State Legislature defined "scientific creationism" as "... the belief, based upon scientific principle, that there was a time in the past when all matter, energy, and life, and their processes and relationships were created ex nihilo and fixed by creative and intelligent design." If other bills attempt to do the same thing, then the Mormon position will have to be viewed as a specie of evolution, a view Mormons surely will not tolerate. (They are among the leaders in the effort to get creationism into the public schools.) Therefore, creation from nothing and from something will both have to be considered.

- page 16 -

Other Classroom Subjects

So far we have only been dealing with the science curriculum. Yet the issue goes far beyond that. In 1976, Creation Life Publishers put out a creationist school history textbook. One of the authors, Mary Stanton, wrote in the March 1977 Acts & Facts that teleology, or God's guiding purpose, must be included in history studies. She sees history and the Bible as "two of God's media for revelation."

An advertisement for this Public School text, which is called Streams of Civilization, says the book offers: "Sound Christian teaching of history. The great men of the scriptures take their rightful places. Presents Noah and the flood as historical fact. Shows Jesus as more than just a man." (Institute for Creation Research, 1976.)

Yet, as if this weren't enough, Stanton opens up the biggest can-of-worms of all by pointing an accusing finger at historians who "continue to make Rome the first center of the Church," and who "give credit to Rome for establishing the solid foundation of Christianity and for spreading the Gospel during the first centuries after Pentecost." (Stanton, 1977.) Her book, of course, changes the emphasis to the Byzantines, a fact that will guarantee a counter equal-time demand by Roman Catholics.

What may be good religion to the protestant fundamentalist is clearly not good secular history for public schools in a pluralistic society.

The Creation Explanation by Robert Kofahl and Kelly Segraves is another creationist book that talks about history. Although this volume isn't intended for public school use, and although it is primarily about science, it does illustrate the creationist position on historical matters. On page 116 it speaks about the origin of human language in this wise:

"Scientific data from the languages of many tribal peoples reveal form as highly developed and structured as our own. This suggests that while language has obviously changed with time, it has not necessarily been evolving upward from primitive simple language. The biblical view is that man has had complex language from the beginning of the race."

On pages 117 and 118 the book goes on to challenge the idea of cultural evolution. In typical creationist fashion, "authorities" are quoted to show the impossibility of early man developing from the hunting and gathering stage through the agricultural village stage to city-state civilizations. "In other words, the factual evidence for the evolutionary transition has not been discovered. That it took place is, therefore, a matter of faith, not historical evidence." To the creationist, civilization springs full blown on the scene from almost nowhere, leaving the Ark as the only possible explanation.

- page 17 -

As creationists begin demanding a two model curriculum in history, as well as science, two novel alternate views of history immediately come to mind:

  1. Erich Von Daniken has gained fame, and wealth, for his "Chariots of the Gods" theory. In his view, "ancient astronauts" from other worlds were the source of most human societies and were instrumental in their development. Another author, physicist Dr. Irwin Ginsburgh, goes even further and maintains that Adam and Eve were astronauts who landed on earth 6,000 years ago. In his book, First, Man. Then Adam!, Dr. Ginsburgh maintains that the coming of Adam and Eve from another world pulled man out of the stone age. Interbreeding between humans and these "astronauts" answers the age old question: "Where did Adam's sons find wives?" (McCandlish, 1979.) Should this get equal time?
  2. Dr. Maxine Asher rejects Van Daniken's hypothesis in favor of her own view that early civilizations sprang up from the remains left by the sinking of Atlantis 92,500 years ago. This idea could easily appeal to the same historical evidence Kofahl and Segraves cite in The Creation Explanation. In the view of Asher and other Atlantis searchers, modern civilization has not yet caught up to the level that was present on Atlantis in its heyday.

We could go on and branch out into still other subjects of study. Then it would be necessary to have psychology students learning exorcism and spell casting. Law students would have to get all the details on trial by ordeal and how to apply the water treatment for the detection of witches. And, of course, let us not forget the stork theory of human reproduction as a requirement in sex education.

When Bette Chambers, president emeritus of the American Humanist Association, was asked in a recent TV interview why she would not favor teaching creation and evolution side-by-side, she replied, "Because creationism is religion and evolution is science. It's mixing apples and oranges and coming up with fruit salad." Of course we can see now how the introduction of creationism will lead to a fruitier salad than most people suspect, one that will have the schools teaching everything from primeval soup to nuts.

Startling Views of Creation Scientists

At this point, some people will sneer incredulously, "All that weird occult stuff isn't factual knowledge. There's no chance it will get into the school curriculum. Who are you trying to kid with this alarmist scare tactic?"

But there is no kidding going on when one realizes that most of this material can already be found in most high school libraries, and when one sees that Transcendental Meditation, astrology, psychic phenomena, and UFO research have already been taught in some schools. These ideas are all around us, students are thinking about them, as are their parents. It is thus an easy thing for such subjects to find their way into the regular curriculum unless a decided effort is made to confine them to the library and possibly to classes in social science.

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But even if we stick our heads in the sand and imagine such problems don't exist, that such studies have no chance in the public schools, we must still face up to the "weird" teachings of the creationists themselves! None of the fringe ideas previously mentioned can hold a candle to creationist astronomy. The proof is in the reading.

On pages 66 and 67 of Remarkable Birth of Planet Earth, Dr. Henry Morris offers his explanation for the existence of certain astronomical oddities — "the fractures and scars on the moon and Mars, the shattered remnants of an erstwhile planet that became the asteroids, the peculiar rings of Saturn, the meteorite swarms ... reflect some kind of heavenly catastrophe associated either with Satan's primeval rebellion or his continuing battle against Michael and his angels."

He adds . . .

"Angels, both good and bad, can be shown Biblically to have considerable knowledge and power over natural processes and, thus can in many cases either cause or prevent physical catastrophes on earth and in the heavens. In any event, this type of cause warrants further research as a potential explanation for apparent disturbances in the stars and planets since their creation." (Emphasis added.)

Dr. Morris says objects in our solar system would behave oddly due to these star wars, "in view of the heavy concentration of angels, both good and evil, around the planet Earth."

Morris even suggests that astrology is true due to "evil spirits" who live on the stars and use their demonic forces against the earth. However, outside these angels and devils, Morris doesn't believe in extraterrestrial life. He explains it in this wise on page 63:

"This possible association of angels with the stars, incidentally, is the only suggestion that Scripture makes concerning intelligent life on other worlds. There are definitely no men, or man-like intelligences, living on other planets or, stars . . ." Perhaps this is why creationists often feel the space program is a waste of time.

Now, will creationism require equal time for this in astronomy and science courses? Must we keep our telescopic eyes peeled for Michael and his angels? And must we teach anti-science in the science classroom, inculcating apathy toward the space program and other scientific research that goes against the grain of creationists?

Yes we must. And we will also have to consider Dr. Duane Gish's position that certain dinosaurs breathed fire. And, since dinosaurs lived at the same time as man according to creationism, this accounts for the dragon legends that are mentioned in the mythologies of various world peoples (Gish, 1977).

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One could list a whole catalogue of creationist oddities or "weird ideas," ones that put pyramid power and the Loch Ness monster to shame! (Oops, I forgot. Creationists believe in the Loch Ness monster too. The proof is in the 1979 Films for Christ production called The Great Dinosaur Mystery.)

A Matter of Academic Freedom

In our day and age, classroom time in the sciences is at a premium, particularly in the secondary schools where the entire field must be covered in one junior or senior high school year. With so much to teach, there is simply no room for side-issues, controversies scientists don't take seriously, wild new proposals, and the like. The student has his or her hands full just mastering the basic material. Can you imagine losing half the time in two-model education? Can you imagine losing much more in the necessary multi-model education that would include astrology, Atlantis, the human aura, and the creation story of the Hopi Indians? So much time would be robbed placating these various pseudoscientific and religious groups that little time would remain for providing the learning necessary for students who wish to pursue careers in science.

The basic question is, should generally rejected theories about science get equal time with established positions which have the weight of evidence behind them and the consensus (or near unanimity) of scientists? Put another way, should any unestablished generally unaccepted theory get equal time with theories that had to go through the long process of proof and production of evidence?

Creationists argue that giving their view equal time is just "fair play." But the idea of applying a "fairness doctrine" to science education reveals a lack of understanding of what science is about. Science doesn't work on "fairness" but on merit. The position that has the best evidence, has withstood a long barrage of criticism, has been modified in the face of new data and is in harmony with it, and has the most support from knowledgeable workers in the field is the theory that should be given the emphasis in education. Any other approach would imply that science is simply a matter of capricious opinion, and that one theory is just as good as another. This may be true in religion, where the ideas cannot be verified, but science is quite another matter. This is why science can neither be treated on a "fairness" system nor mixed with religion.

Furthermore, it is contrary to the idea of academic freedom to attempt to mandate one minority group's ideas of "fairness" in the public schools. In some of the proposed "two-model" legislative bills, teachers not conforming to the creationist idea of fairness could expect fines or loss of jobs. But the teaching of evolution is not similarly required or enforced. As Mayer (1978) argues, "It is a feature of academic freedom that the content of a discipline is not prescribed by law."

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But, as with their approach to science, the creationists have an alternate view on academic freedom too. To them, academic freedom means telling teachers what to do, where to do it, how to do it, and the degree to which it must be done. But there is nothing free about setting such requirements or using intimidation in order to get a particular view added to the curriculum. Nor is it academic freedom to force the teaching of every possible view on a subject.

Correctly defined, academic freedom is the freedom of the scientific community to establish by research and consensus what the most reasonable position is, and then to be allowed to present that position, without coercion or censorship, in the schools.

A Matter of Honesty

But, aside from freedom there is the issue of credibility. Jerry Bergman, in his booklet advocating equal time for creationism (1979), correctly notes: "Establishing teacher credibility requires presenting material in non-dogmatic ways according to the merits of the facts." But this is not what equal time for creationism would do. The "merits of the facts" happen to favor evolution. But the two-model approach implies that informed scientific opinion is equally divided on the issue of origins. To teach that this is the case when it is not, and when the evidence for evolution is clearly demonstrable, is to dishonestly mislead students. Such an act is unethical and the betrayal of a public trust. Furthermore, it is an irony when one considers that creationists profess to do this in the interest of increasing morality in society. (Evolution supposedly promotes amorality.)

If we take Bergman at his word, and go by the "merits of the facts," then we will operate on a merit system in science and give every theory its just due (and no more). This means creationism would indeed have a place in the science classroom - as a discredited theory on a par with Lamarkianism, or as a minority fringe theory on a par with Velikovsky's Worlds in Collision. That would be honest.

And while we are on the subject of honesty, it would be wise to appraise creationist textbooks and audio-visual aids on how they live u, p to that virtue. Let us begin with the Creation-Science Research Center's Science and Creation Series.

Richard M. Lemmon, when reviewing this series for the California State Department of Education (1975) noted that, "The discussions of protein accumulation on the prebiotic Earth (pages 63 to 66 of the `Handbook for Teachers') is a bad and, I fear, deliberate, distortion of the scientific research of the past two decades." He also noted: "The `Handbook for Teachers,' page 27, says that `genuine science gives no firm evidence that the earth is more than several thousand years old.' One hundred years ago that statement may have had some credence among educated mankind. Today it is only laughable. The world's libraries are full of books that give overwhelming evidence to the contrary." His overall conclusion was: "These books are totally unfit for adoption in our schools. Any use of these books in any school will cripple the students' understanding of science."

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The Institute for Creation Research in their audio-visual aid, Creation and Evolution: A Comparison of Two Scientific Models, make a number of statements that scientists in general would regard as false or misleading. Here are just a few: "As a matter of fact, however, neither creation nor evolution is a valid scientific theory.... if the evolution model is a true model, we would expect to discover living things evolving from non-living, inanimate substances.... Creationists maintain that the Second Law of Thermodynamics thus directly contradicts evolution. Evolutionists believe, however, that there must be a way out of this apparent dilemma." Evolutionists are represented as being Lyell-style uniformitarians who believe that "most geological formations have been caused by present processes ... acting at essentially present rates." It should be no surprise, then, that many scientists find this audio-visual aid, and most other ICR two-model materials, a gross misrepresentation of the evolutionary position.

So, if creationists wish to talk about "fairness," something should be said about the fairness of having creationists author the two-model materials without consultation from evolutionists. And shouldn't Hari Krishnas be allowed to author some two-model textbooks, and Day-Age theorists as well?

Clearly, it is dishonest to falsely imply that (1) scientific opinion is equally divided on creation and evolution, (2) the case is equally good for both models, (3) there are only two models possible, (4) the evidence supports creationism, and (5) evolutionists believe absurdities. Yet most creationist school materials make these implications. Therefore, one can only conclude that the two-model approach, as now advocated, is not suitable for the public schools.

A Matter of Courtesy

Besides honesty and quality of education, there is such a thing as courtesy. Nell Segraves of the Creation-Science Research Center said in an interview, "Most of the creation science is anti-evolution, showing the flaws in the evolutionary thinking." This would seem to mean that creationism is mostly polemical attack and denunciation. Such has been a common criticism leveled against creationist textbooks, particularly Biology: A Search for Order in Complexity. Marvin Moore, a creationist writing in Liberty magazine (1978), had this to say about the book: "The three factors that raise a question about its appropriateness as a textbook in a public school classroom are its defense of Biblical creationism, sometimes with religious language; its attempt throughout to discredit the evolutionary theory; and its occasional belittling of scientists who believe in evolution."

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Dr. Conrad Bonifazi, Professor of the Philosophy of Religion at the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, California said, "The art of teaching itself is brought into disrepute by the introduction into it of denunciatory elements." (1972.) Since evolution is not taught in that way, why should creationism be?

There are, however, non-creationists who would enjoy having the two model approach in the public schools. Many of them are atheists and freethinkers who see such two-model teaching as an opportunity to "debunk religion." They want to bring back the good old days of the 19th century when orators like Robert Ingersoll criticized religion at large public gatherings and newspapers published the complete text of the speech the next morning. They enjoy a good fight, and wish for another Darrow to battle another Bryan in a rousing fracas. They feel such opportunities in the public schools will bring about a reduction in the effects of religion on society.

And there is a basis of validity in this. After all, since the Bible is at bottom the basic source of creationist beliefs and the ultimate authority appealed to in every jam, then the Bible cannot help but be part of the creation model. Therefore, where the Bible makes testable claims, it would be fair in any two-model course to test them. Where those claims don't stand up to the test, religion based on them would be effectively "debunked." Is this desirable?

A concern over such possible debate in the public schools led Herbert Stern (1972) of the University of California at San Diego to declare:

The teaching of divine creation as a scientific theory demeans religion and I therefore oppose it. For most people in this society religion is the highest form of spiritual expression which carries with it perceptions of truth that are unknown to the empirical searches of science. To treat a religious vision of [origins] on the same footing as a scientific one is to drag religion into a spiritual gutter and to stimulate a fake conflict in the youngster between a system of thinking which has over the centuries sought to cultivate the loftiest of motivations and a system which has sought to bring meaningful order into the immediacies of human experience. Any educational program which seeks to make these utterly different human concerns into a single and conflicting search for meaning is one which has declared bankruptcy in its own confidence. A scientist who must prove the wisdom of evolution by arguing the absurdity of special creation is as unwelcome to me as the minister who must prove the wisdom of religion by citing the absurdities of science.

Zoologist Richard D. Alexander (1978) warned: "When creation theorists strive to introduce creation into the classroom as an alternative biological theory to evolution they must recognize that they are required to give creation the status of a falsifiable idea — that is, an idea that loses any special exemption from scrutiny, that is accepted as conceivably being false, and that must be continually tested until the question is settled. A science classroom is not the place for an idea that is revered as holy."

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Science Teaching

Creationists, however, argue they will only be teaching the "scientific" creation model, not the religious one. What many fail to remember is that most believers in creationism tie their whole religious value system to that very "science." Therefore their religious morals, sense of meaning in life, and many other things will rise or fall with the rise or fall of "scientific" creationism. If this were not so, if creation "science" were not so important to creation religion, the creationists would not be making such vigorous moves in the direction of getting more religious schools to teach it, in addition to the public schools. And Dr. Morris would not write statements of the type he does in his Director's Column in Acts & Facts—to wit: "We do not know what the future may hold. Unless the Lord returns first, however, we believe the case for scientific creationism is so sound that, by His grace, we may yet see a real nationwide reintroduction of creationism as a viable alternative into our schools and colleges. The ultimate results, in terms of a revival of Biblical Christianity in our national life and in individual lives, are exciting to contemplate." (1974.)

Some freethinkers find it exciting to contemplate too, as an opportunity to create a rise in atheism. But Dr. Morris and other creationists are confident that the efforts to Christianize America will win out over the opposition. Is this confidence well-placed? Yes, because equal-time teaching of creationism doesn't end with just two model textbooks. The next step is to demand that at least half the science teachers be creationists in a sort of "affirmative action" program for fundamentalism. The Creation-Science Report, put out by the Creation Science Research Center, notes that efforts in this direction are already in progress. Vol. 1, No. 2 (1980) says, "Luther Sutherland has been working with the New York Board of Regents to have included questions on the creation model in the Board of Regents exam for teachers. This would force a change in teacher training." Mayer (1978) knew it all along. "A hidden premise is thus revealed. If creationism is to be taught in science classrooms, then teachers must be trained to teach it — not in a general or Christian sense, but in a manner acceptable to a small, fundamentalist minority. It is not simply the textbooks that creationists strive to control, but teacher training as well." (And, one might add, teacher certification.) You see, the end result is the thing the creationists are concerned about, not just the process. Morris has indicated in debate and in writing that an atheist or liberal Christian teacher would probably not do justice to the teaching of creationism or the two-model approach. His opponents agree, in a way. Biologist Richard Haas of Fresno State College (1972) put it plainly: "Whatever the merits of creationist points of view such arguments clearly do not belong within the public schools except in courses devoted to theological subjects taught by persons specifically trained in these areas."

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In other words, if creationists demand special teachers for creationism, let them be religious teachers, because science teachers aren't qualified to deal with this issue.

Stimulating Learning

Richard Bliss of ICR, however, feels he has research to show that the two-model approach is ideal for science teaching. He thinks teachers trained to use it will be better teachers and their students will be better learners. He summarized his research in Impact No. 60 in the June, 1978 issue of Acts & Facts. Let's look at the data presented there.

Using the "Pre-test, Post-test, Control Group" design on high school biology students in Racine, Wisconsin, randomly divided into classes by computer, and using teachers all trained in two-model instruction who were equally divided in their preference for either creation or evolution, Bliss began his experiment. Normal "traditional" material in Biology: Living Systems, by Oram, Hummer, and Smoot, was taught to the control group. Origins: Two Models, Evolution/ Creation, by Richard Bliss, was involved in the experimental group's instruction. The pre-test prior to the course showed no significant difference between the control and experimental groups. Thus both started at basically the same level. After the instruction, the post-test results showed a significant gain (at the .001 level) by the experimental (creation/evolution two-model) group. They did better in learning both the evolutionary data and arguments, and those for creationism. They had more positive attitudes toward the subject of biology in general. Furthermore, "those students in the experimental group in the middle and high IQ range showed a significant increase in preference toward the creation model after they had examined all the data. In other words, they became more creationistic in their point of view and less evolutionary." And finally, the two-model group "seemed to develop more critical thinking habits than those who studied origins from an evolutionary model only." (Bliss, 1978.)

It seems, then, that the student virtues inculcated by the Bliss two-model method are higher motivation, better grasp of the data, more ability and inclination to think critically, and more open mindedness, making students "willing to change their views when new data arrive." Dr. Jerry Bergman (1979) praised this study, adding that "the strongest pedagogical argument for teaching both theories is that it permits comparisons and contrasts. Teaching by contrasts helps the student to integrate new knowledge within the total framework of the subject. Also, by teaching with an open-ended approach where problems are not solved or `closed' and students are left on their own, students are stimulated to continue searching."

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To the average person, or school board member, this sounds highly desirable, and may even make it seem "unconscionable from a pedagogical and scientific point of view, to teach only evolution to students in the public high schools." (Bliss, 1978.) But is the teaching of evolution alone really that backward? Let's use some of the critical thinking Bliss praises and take a closer look at his study.

Bliss had two advantages which make his experiment unfair. First, he designed the supposedly fair and balanced two-model teaching. Second, his own two-model textbook (1976) was involved. Apparently no evolutionists took part in either the training of the teachers in two-model instruction, or in the writing of the two-model textbook. All this was done by Bliss, a creationist at Christian Heritage College.

Previously, I explained how creationist two-model instructional materials are unfair, imbalanced, and inaccurately portray evolution. This is particularly true of Bliss' two-model textbook used in his experiment. It is no wonder, then, that more students became creationists after such a course of study! Creationist two-model teacher training is probably no less inferior. Richard M. Lemmon's previously mentioned review of the teacher's handbooks in the Science and Creation Series published by the Creation-Science Research Center, seems to clearly show this.

But there is another challenge possible. Normal "traditional" material in biology, like that used by the control group, generally doesn't put as much emphasis on origins as does creationist material. This means a student getting a "traditional" biology education will know less about origins than one getting a two-model education. We are thus forced to ask, is education in origins as all-important as the creationists make it out to be? And, if it is, what would be the results of more concentration on origins in the "traditional" curriculum? Surely, in this latter case, the control group would do much better than it did in Bliss' experiment.

All the above points indicate that a new study may be necessary. But this does not clear the air. There is still the thought that a new experiment, of a fairer design, will still show a significant benefit for those learning under the two-model system. Would any criticism then be possible?

Dr. Bergman is quite correct in his advocacy of teaching by "comparisons and contrasts." This is why this has been done in textbooks on many subjects such as history. Students get more involved when teachers inspire them to think for themselves rather than just memorize by rote. But since when is it necessary to teach pseudo-science side-by-side with legitimate science in order to stimulate thinking? Since when is it necessary to give students the option of believing fallacies and misrepresentations of facts in order to get them to think? There are enough real and genuine controversies in science today without dragging in controversies from the 19th century, such as creationism.

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Though students would certainly benefit from learning why creationism was rejected, there is no point in deceiving them into thinking it is a live scientific controversy today. (It is indeed a live social and religious controversy today, which is why it belongs in comparative sociology or religion classes.)

Creationists are constantly citing scientists who challenge various aspects of evolutionary theory in the scientific journals. Where these challenges are not outdated, they could be useful instructional tools for aiding students in the better understanding of evolution in particular and biology in general. This material would supply the valuable "comparisons and contrasts."

Controversy is part of science, and a necessary ingredient of its self-correcting operation. Students should be made aware of this so they will learn to appreciate the primary virtue of science that creationists seek to obscure: namely, that science is not dogmatic and not a creed laid down in advance of the data. Students should also work with the sorts of evidence and reasonings scientists use. This will allow them to learn not only the facts, but the method of science. Then, and only then, will they be ideally suited to forge new scientific revolutions in the future.

But to confuse students with generally rejected pseudo-science would not only be a waste of time, it could have harmful effects. Students trust their teachers to deal in facts. When teachers do not, or combine fact with fallacy in a mixed presentation, students can easily fall for the fallacy. This was made clear in Scot Morris' article "Believing in ESP: Effects of Dehoaxing" (1980) in which he deceived 80% of the university students in his classes into believing in ESP by giving them a deceptive presentation of "evidence."

Obviously, if creationism is legitimate science, students should have a fair chance to learn its evidence. But if it is as nonsensical as Von Daniken's "ancient astronauts" (which is not included in history studies that give alternate viewpoints), it should be left out. The consensus of knowledgeable scientists today, and the science articles published in Creation/Evolution, demonstrate why creationism should be left out.

Fundamentalist Christian Schools

Still, creationists believe truth is on their side. That is their right. And they can therefore teach creationism as much as they please in the Christian schools. But here is where we can test their sincerity.

Do creationists really believe two-model education is superior from a pedagogical standpoint? Do they really value the teaching of critical thinking? If so, then we would expect them to use only the two-model approach in the Christian schools. We would expect them to set an example of "fairness" and "balance" so at least their students would have the opportunity to have their minds stimulated by this superior teaching method.

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And, of course, Christian Heritage College, a division of which is the Institute for Creation Research, ought to be leading the way in this.

Dr. Gary Parker, Professor of Biology at Christian Heritage, explained in the Christian Heritage Courier of November 1979 how he teaches biology. His article is entitled "Bios-Logos: Bible-Based Biology"; here is part of what he had to say:

In our introductory course (Biology 101), concepts and examples of "skin in" and "skin out" biology are presented as reflections of God's power as Creator, Sustainer, Judge, and Redeemer; and students are challenged to live as responsible stewards and ministers of God's reconciliation.... Pathological processes (disease, aging, and death) are presented in terms of the Fall and our mandate — following Christ's example — to bring healing and restoration wherever possible. . . . In Biosystematics, we contrast the evolutionary concept of species origin with the concept of variation within created kinds, and we try to give students the background and interest to proceed, should the Lord so lead them, with the development of a taxonomic system that will be true both to God's Word and to God's world, the twin criteria for true progress in science.

In other words, Dr. Parker teaches creationism, loading in the religious doctrine of the college, and brings up evolution only to knock it down. But maybe this is because these college students have been "brainwashed" by evolution in the public schools before they get to the Christian college. We need, then, to carefully examine the Creationist attitude toward Christian primary and secondary schools.

Scientific Creationism, edited by Henry Morris, is frequently sold to Christian secondary schools. This is a book that gives only the Creation side of the question. Christian schools are encouraged to use it as a central science text, supplemented only by general science material, not by books giving the opposite viewpoint.

In the September 1979 issue of the Christian Heritage Courier, Dr. Morris criticized the progressive education of John Dewey because it caused "the concept of education from kindergarten to graduate school" to be "reoriented from the teaching of a fixed body of knowledge to the teaching of methods of inquiry to be applied to the continually changing facts of existence." He noted that this concept of education was not always part of American education. "There was once a time when a search for truth could lead to truth! ... This meant, of course, that there were absolutes to be discovered, in both science and Scripture, and that man's duty was to find and teach the truth in both." Therefore, when progressive education came in, "human experience and opinion, expressed democratically through the state, became the ultimate arbiter of `truth."'

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The result of all this was a rise in drug addiction and sexual promiscuity, not to mention the confusion and despair of existentialism. Therefore: "Today, the ideal of a wistful search for truth by a community of scholars operating in academic freedom has an air of unreality, to put it mildly, or futility, to put it bluntly." To Morris, the solution is simple. Bring back the Biblical-based education of the past. After all, in its proper and primary role, "education is concerned not with discovery of truth, but the transmission of truth already discovered." Furthermore, "true education is responsible under God for the transmission of truth - not the transmission of untruth! True education is conservative ..." (This last quotation was printed in red in the original.)

We can't forget, however, that some non-fundamentalist educators challenge aspects of progressive education too. They favor more teaching of facts, and a "back to basics" approach. But this is not all that Christian Heritage creationists are saying.

Neal Frey of the Department of History and Social Science at the college develops the idea further (1979), leaving no doubt on where he stands. He writes:

Only two types of knowledge exist — humanistic knowledge, whose view of being is not Christ-centered and whose center of value is nature or man, and Christian knowledge, whose views of origins and value are Biblical and Christ-centered.... "Neutral" knowledge does not exist. There are no value-free facts, nor fact-free values:.. . There can be no knowledge without values, no education without initiation into some value system. From the standpoint of value, all education is moral training. The momentous question is not, Shall education inculcate value? but, Shall education inculcate man-centered value or Christian value? ... All branches of true knowledge are subdivisions of theology, dealing with various spheres of life under an absolute Trinity.... If students are merely exposed to rival systems of knowledge — hence to mutually contradictory assumptions of value — without having Christ-centered, Biblical truth rigorously defined, organized, and persistently brought to bear on the subject in question, those students will commonly select from each system the elements which to them seem most plausible, and will amalgamate them into a world view labeled "Christian." . . . Christian education should not insulate students from humanist scholarship. It should keep humanism at bay, at arm's length, while repeatedly and faithfully inculcating intellectually consistent Christ-centered knowledge based on scripture. It should not deprive students of a truly Biblical liberal arts education by merely giving the Christian side "equal time" with humanism.

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There it is. The alleged education benefits of equal-time two-model instruction are not really accepted by creationist educators. In fact they are rejected as inferior! These further comments by Neal Frey show why.

Nor will Christian truth triumph in competition with humanist error in the disciplines . . . The delusion that Christian truth could so triumph unaided is based on an unscriptural, over-optimistic reading of human nature. It ignores original sin, which predisposes man against the truth. Man has a vested self-interest in error and in the self-centered organization of knowledge.... Truly "free thought" is the liberty to think in Christ-centered terms. Thought which has slipped out of militant subservience to Christian truth — which has become man-centered — is no longer free. But in the current intellectual climate, humanist scholarship passes for enlightened free inquiry, while consistently Christian intellectual enterprise is stigmatized as "biased" and "narrow."

Added to this Christian Heritage College seems to have rigid requirements in the hiring of teachers to go along with the above philosophy of education. Dr. James J. Veltkamp, professor in Education at Christian Heritage lays it down (1979):

In the Christian school, college, or university, the instructor does not have the right to teach or publish without supervision. [In red in the original.] And when such supervision is exercised by the authorities appointed and empowered by God, that direction is not inconsistent with true liberty.... Let us not fall into the snare of much secular thinking about academic freedom which insists that there be no standard of faith and character, of doctrine or life, for faculty members.... We must also be alert and resolute to bar from our classrooms all those in the bondage of humanism who question the inerrancy of the Bible, who doubt the literalness and historicity of the first chapters of Genesis.... and who promulgate uniformitarian evolution under the sanctity of the adjective theistic.

Dr. Veltkamp, a challenger of what he calls "intellectual libertinism" minces no words:

What right have these instructors to such academic freedom with its tremendous potential for influence? . . . Who supervises those thinkers and teachers to whom we entrust so much, while, in the name of academic freedom, safeguards are multiplied to free them from supervision? These questions themselves epitomize the monopolistic power of the national liberal-arts religion of secularism, with its mythological quest for the truth. [Emphasis in red in the original.]

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The illustration with this article includes a communist hammer and sickle under the words "Academic Freedom." A profile of Darwin is to the right of it. This should leave no doubt that bringing creationism into the public schools is a straightforward effort to eventually remove evolution and bring dogmatism back into education. Appeals to more stimulating education through the two-model approach are nothing but pretense. Pleas for "equal time" are nothing but emotional ploys. And the whole thing is just a stop-gap maneuver on the path to a far more radical solution.

Public Opinion

Nonetheless, who can deny the public has strong opinions on this matter? Regardless of the legal, scientific, and educational issues, many people seem to want. creationist doctrines taught in public school science classes. Don't their voices count for something?

That these voices may be in a majority is indicated by a few polls which have been taken. For example, in 1973, a random survey was made of 1,346 homes in the Del Norte County Unified School District in California. Residents were asked the question, "Should evolution be taught in the public schools?" The results were 58% answering yes, 34% answering no, and 8% undecided. When these same people were then asked, "Should creation be taught in the public schools?" 89% said yes, 8% said no, and 3% were undecided. (Bliss, 1978.)

In the same year, creationists surveyed 1,995 homes in Cupertino, California and found that 44.3% believed in creation, 23.3% believed in evolution, 3.5% believed in both, 10.6% believed in neither, and 18.3% were undecided. When asked the question, "Should scientific evidence for creation be presented along with evolution?" 84.3% of these people said yes, 7.8% said no, 6.3% were uncertain, and 1.6% said neither. (Bliss, 1978; Weinberg, 1978.)

The Midwest Center of the Institute for Creation Research conducted a random telephone survey asking, "Should evolution only, creation only, both evolution and creation or neither evolution or creation be taught in the public schools?" The predictable answers came: 5.2% saying evolution only, 18.9% creation only, 64% both creation and evolution, and 11% neither. Bliss (1978) concluded, "While these data are limited, they nevertheless provide a good sampling of what adults feel is fair and proper for public schools." Weinberg (1978) added in his article, "Yet if these very limited investigations reflect anything like the actual situation — as I believe they do — then their results are a tribute to the poor job we have done in teaching evolution."

University students, as well as the public, seem to share this approval of two-model education in origins. This was brought out in a paper published in Origins in 1979 by Jerry Bergman. In reviewing the literature, Bergman noted the Christensen and Cannon survey of Brigham Young University students in the years 1935 and 1973.

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When given the statement, "Man's creation did not involve biological evolution" in 1935, 36% of the students agreed. But in 1973, that figure jumped to 81%. When given the statement, "The world's creation did not take millions of years," the 1935 students gave only a 5% favorable response while the 1973 students gave a 27% favorable response. Over 1000 students were used in each sampling.

Bergman also noted John C. Troost's 1966 survey of secondary school biology teachers in Indiana. This study "showed that 173 out of 325 felt that evolution was a theory and not a fact, and 163 out of 330 thought that evolution should be presented as one of several alternative theories."

Bergman's own study was conducted at Bowling Green State University in Ohio. His subjects were 442 undergraduates in teacher-training programs and 74 graduate students taking courses in the area of biology. The results were that 91% of the undergraduate and 71.8% of the graduate students felt that both models should be taught in the schools.

Bergman admits, however, that Bowling Green is a "conservative" school and that only 5 out of his total sampling of 516 were biology majors. Yet, in spite of this, he maintained he was testing the "assumption" that "the vast majority of teachers would opt for teaching only evolution" and that his study helped demonstrate how "a clear majority of both parents and teachers are in favor of the two-model approach to origins." This conclusion was then used by him to question the opposition given to two-model teaching of origins in professional journals such as the American Biology Teacher. Perhaps a survey of biology teachers, who are more knowledgeable in this area of science, should be taken to answer him.

But regardless of the shortcomings of these various surveys, the question remains, how are we to regard this public outcry concerning the scientific teaching of origins?

One thing to be realized is that this outcry is part of an overall dissatisfaction with the public schools, and creationists have been effectively playing on that dissatisfaction. It also comes at a time when considerable public pressure is being brought to bear against "objectionable" textbooks. Mel and Norma Gabler in Texas challenge textbook selections every year. TV evangelist Jerry Falwell feels that America is in a moral crisis. "For our nation this is a life-and-death struggle, and the battle line for this struggle is the textbooks." (Park, 1980.) As a result, Judith Krug of the American Library Association notes that 300 reports of book-banning or censorship were received by that organization in 1979, a number greater than at any other time in at least 25 years. One example was the Anaheim, California school board which, under pressure, weeded out most of the works of William Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, and Mark Twain in the city schools.

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The people have power, and can have whatever type of education they choose to vote for. So the only response that can be given is that the public seems poorly informed on scientific matters, has not explored all the problems and ramifications of two-model teaching of origins gone into in this article, and is presently taking steps that seriously infringe on the constitutional protection of minorities from majority (or supposed majority) religious views.

It is not wrong to forthrightly declare the public is in error. They have been wrong before. Nor is it wrong to protect the integrity of science and science teaching from those who would impose public rule over matters of fact and evidence.

Creationists, however, don't seem to respect science in this way. Ariel A. Roth, editor of Origins, put out by the creationist Geoscience Research Institute at the Seventh Day Adventist College, Loma Linda University, had this to say in Liberty magazine (1978). "Part of the problem is that evolutionists believe themselves to be the authority regarding the question of origins. They hold that contents of textbooks and curriculum should not be left up to the public or legislative bodies, but to those with 'qualified professional judgment."' He is promoting democracy here, but in a most anti-intellectual manner. Carried to its logical conclusion, this would mean that if the public wants education, they should teach themselves, since Roth thinks they know what they want to be told, and hence must know what is true.

In view, then, of the public's possible favoring of the two-model idea in education, is it right to say they should have it if they want it? No. It is more correct to say they will have it if they want it. It is their choice. And the only task remaining for scientists is to start educating the electorate before the people cut their own educational throats.

There is a freedom issue at stake here, too. The two-model approach, with its obvious religious overtones, won't only bring religious issues into the science classroom, but possibly religious controversy. Science teachers will, regardless of which side they are on, find it hard to keep their own religious views private. Therefore, they will become marked men and women in the community if they are a minority. Children will find themselves exposing their private beliefs during class discussions. Creationists may or may not want it this way, but, in actual practice, that is what will most likely happen. We must therefore ask the public if they support such invasion of privacy.

That the public might not really want two-model education is still a possibility. At least some students are expressing their dissatisfaction with creationism being forced on them, and this is a good sign. For example, when Nancy Leman, a junior college student at Palomar College in San Marcos, California, protested an evolutionary reference in her sociology book, a fellow student, Doreen Rabb, wrote the following letter to the San Diego Union shortly after the August, 1979 incident.

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I and 40 other students had to sit through Nancy Leman's constant interruptions as she tried to force her Christian's view of life on the class. I resent the lost class time spent trying to satisfy Ms. Leman's uncalled-for comments.

Ms. Leman simply does not understand that the entire world is not Christian, and does not want to have religion thrown at them. When I registered for sociology this summer, I was registering for a science class, not a religion class.

Perhaps if more students challenged creationism in this way, or lobbied for adequate education in the disciplines, the public might gain a better understanding of what is at stake.

Conclusion

The American people are somewhat unique in the fervency with which they so often adhere to fundamentalist Protestant beliefs. But this is a fact that cannot be denied, and should not be left out of public education. Material about the nature of various American, and perhaps world, religious beliefs ought to be presented to students. Qualified instructors in this area should be sought. It must be understood, however, that biology teachers are not so qualified, and the science curriculum is the wrong category in which to place religious, or religious based, material. The Constitution makes a distinction between sacred and secular, and so should the public schools.

The public, of course, can have the matter any way they like it, but they should be aware of what each approach to education implies, and what some of the problems will be if one particular minority scientific or religious theory is brought into the science classroom. They should try to understand that mixing religion with science confuses students about the nature of both. They should be informed that there is no major controversy between scientists on creation and evolution, but that the controversy is mostly between scientists and nonscientists. And they should realize that if creation is to be given equal time with evolution, astrology should be given equal time with astronomy; astrology's following being equal to that of creationism, and the theory being equally outdated.

Though education should promote critical thinking, it should do so in an overall context of passing on factual information. Critical thinking is a tool, not the whole ball of educational wax. A debating society is not a school, and mere exposure to variant opinions is not education. The practical necessity of seeing to it that students are adequately prepared for possible careers in science should not be overlooked. The teaching of pseudo-science as science does not further this aim.

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If creationism were just another pseudo-science, however, there wouldn't be the pressure to have it taught. Creationism has such force only because it is a religious theory, or is supportive of one. People, therefore, have a larger emotional stake in seeing to it that it is included. But this guarantees religious strife since there are so many creation theories, not to mention so many non-creation theories, related to origins. Furthermore, there are various religious alternatives on history, geography, and most other courses of study. To bring creationism in, then, would open up an explosive can-of-worms that would quickly endanger the constitutional guarantee of church-state separation. It would also rob the educational system of valuable class time that should be devoted to imparting the knowledge of our day.

Creationists argue, however, that two-model education stimulates students. No doubt it does, but religious pseudo-science is not the only possible educational stimulant. Real controversies in science are far more preferable in this age of rapid scientific progress.

Furthermore, creationists don't seem sincere about the educational advantages of two-model learning. They don't use it in their Christian parochial schools, and in fact claim it is inferior. (An evaluation team from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges felt that Christian Heritage College practiced "indoctrination" not education, and that this would militate against accreditation of the college.) Furthermore, ICR creationists successfully saw to it that a course at Iowa State University in "critical judgement" was terminated because it dealt critically with creationism (Zuidema, 1980). Though creationists participate in a two-model course offered by Drs. Awbrey and Thwaites at San Diego State University, they have not promoted this in a manner consistent with their espousal of two-model education — perhaps because instructors on the evolution side are also included, instructors who are competent at critiquing creationist beliefs.

Creationists want to write the textbooks and certify the teachers. And though they push their creationist-controlled two-model teaching in all tax supported schools, colleges included, and demand equal time for creationism in all tax-supported institutions, such as the Smithsonian, their main emphasis is on the public secondary and primary schools. This is because, there, creationists can more easily involve parents and play on religious sentiments. School boards are far more accessible to public outcry because they are directly elected. College boards of regents are often appointed. Legislation affecting public schools is also easier to obtain than legislation affecting colleges or museums.

Public pressure is what the creationist movement is about, which is why creationists put such emphasis on public opinion polls that favor two-model teaching. But scientific evidence is not determined by majority vote, a fact creationists hope the public will forget.

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The promotion of two-model teaching in science by creationists then, seems only to be a way of getting Christian fundamentalist doctrines into the public schools to neutralize the effects that evolution teaching might be having on the spread of such fundamentalist beliefs. It is also to "win more souls for Christ." Appeals to "fairness" and "equal time" are simply emotional ploys, and two-model textbooks are simply maneuvers. The final aim is a triumphant creationism.

For one to espouse two-model teaching in science, one must ignore or be unaware of the educational havoc it will cause, the social problems, the legal complications, the effect on the quality of science, the effect on religious liberty, and the effect on academic freedom. To still espouse such a view after all these facts are made clear requires a myopic narrowness of view and an incredible singleness of purpose unique to the business of professional religious pseudoscience.

Bibliography

Alexander, Richard D. "Evolution, Creation, and Biology Teaching." The American Biology Teacher. February 1978, pp. 91ff.

Ashland Tidings. "'Flat Earth' Fans Say Columbus Proved Their Claim." Ashland Tidings (Oregon). October 9, 1978.

Bergman, Jerry. "The Attitude of University Students Toward the Teaching of Creation and Evolution in the Schools." Origins. Volume 6, Number 2, 1979, pp. 60-70.

Bergman, Jerry. Teaching About the Creation/Evolution Controversy. Phi Delta Kappa Educational Foundation: Bloomington, Indiana, 1979. pp. 28-37.

Bergman, Jerry. "Does Academic Freedom Apply to Both Secular Humanists and Christians?" Acts & Facts. February 1980, ICR Impact Series No. 80.

Bliss, Richard. Origins: Two Models Evolution Creation. Creation-Life Publishers: San Diego, 1976.

Bliss, Richard. "A Comparison of Students Studying the Origin of Life From a Two-Model Approach vs. Those Studying From a Single-Model Approach." Acts & Facts. June 1978, ICR Impact Series No. 60.

Bonifazi, Conrad. (Letter to Junji Kumamoto.) Pacific School of Religion, Berkeley, California, November 2, 1972.

Chambers, Bette. (TV interview on Harold Keen's Telepulse program. With Neil J. Segraves.) Channel 8 TV: San Diego, Sunday May 11, 1980.11:30 p.m.

Creation-Science Research Center. Creation-Science Report. Vol. 1, No. 2, 1980, p. 2.

Dasa, Jnana. "Evolution or Production?" Back to Godhead. Vol. 14, No. 9, 1979, pp. 27, 28, 30.

Films for Christ Assn. The Great Dinosaur Mystery (film). Chicago, 1979.

Frey, Neal. "Christian Versus Humanistic Education." Christian Heritage Courier. February 1979, Education for Eternity Vol. 1, No. 4.

Gish, Duane T. Dinosaurs: Those Terrible Lizards. Creation-Life Publishers: San Diego, 1977.

Haas, Richard. (Letter to Junji Kumamoto.) Fresno State College, Fresno, California, September 27, 1972.

Institute for Creation Research. "Understandable History for Your Home!" Acts & Facts. September 1976, p. 8.

Institute for Creation Research. Creation and Evolution A Comparison of Two Scientific Models (filmstrip/slides with cassette and text booklet). San Diego, 1977, slides 13, 44, 47, 48, 50, 63.

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Kofahl, Robert E., and Kelly L. Segraves. The Creation Explanation. Harold Shaw Publishers: Wheaton, Illinois, 1975, pp. 115-119.

Lemmon, Richard M. Review of Science and Creation Series. California State Department of Education, February 28, 1975,

McCandlish, James. "Leading Physicist Says Bible Proves Adam and Eve Were Astronauts." National Enquirer. January 16, 1979, p. 37.

Mayer, William V. " Creation Concepts Should Not Be Taught in Public Schools." Liberty. September/October 1978, p. 6.

Mayer, William V. "Dr. Mayer Responds to Dr. Roth." Liberty. September/October 1978, p. 28.

Moore, Marvin. "Should a Creationist Biology Textbook Be Used in Public Schools?" Liberty. January/February, 1978, pp. 7-10.

Morris, Henry M. Biblical Cosmology and Modern Science. Craig Press: Nutley, New Jersey, 1970, pp. 56-62 and 71.

Morris, Henry M. Remarkable Birth of Planet Earth. Dimension Books: Minneapolis, 1972, pp. 63-67.

Morris, Henry M. (Ed.) Scientific Creationism (General Edition). Creation-Life Publishers: San Diego, 1974.

Morris, Henry M. "Director's Column: The Campus Debates." Acts & Facts. March 1974, p. 2.

Morris, Henry M. "Introducing Creationism Into the Public Schools." Acts & Facts. December 1974, ICR Impact Series No. 20.

Morris, Henry M. "Christian Education and the Search for Truth." Christian Heritage Courier. September 1979, Education for Eternity Vol. 1, No. 11.

Morris, Henry M. (Cover letter accompanying March 1980 Acts & Facts.) Institute for Creation Research, San Diego, California, March 1980.

Morris, Scot. "Believing in ESP: Effects of Dehoaxing." The Skeptical Inquirer. Spring 1980 (Vol. IV, No. 3), pp. 18ff.

Parker, Gary E. "Bios-Logos: Bible-Based Biology." Christian Heritage Courier. November 1979, Education for Eternity Vol. 2, No. 2.

Roth, Arier A. "Creation Concepts Should Be Taught in Public Schools." Liberty. September/October 1978, p. 26.

Segraves, Nell J. (TV interview on Harold Keen's Telepulse program. With Bette Chambers). Channel 8 TV: San Diego, Sunday May 11, 1980.11:30 p.m.

Smith, Cheeks, Hasty, et al. An Act to Assure Academic Freedom, etc. (HB 690.) Georgia House of Representatives, 1980.

Stanton, Mary. "Can You Recognize Bias in History Content?" Acts & Facts. March 1977, ICR Impact Series No. 45.

Stern, Herbert. (Letter to Paul Saltman.) University of California, San Diego, California, October 2, 1972.

Swyhart, Barbara Ann. Narratives About Cosmic and Human Origins: Selected Readings. San Diego City Schools: San Diego, 1976, p. 70.

Thompson, Richard L. "The Machinery of Evolution: Out of Gear?" Back to Godhead. Vol. 14, No. 2/3, 1979, pp. 5-7.

Veltkamp, James J. "Academic Freedom and the Christian College." Christian Heritage Courier. April 1979, Education for Eternity Vol. 1, No. 6.

Weinberg, Stanley L. "Two Views on the Textbook Watchers." The American Biology Teacher. December 1978, pp. 541ff.

Wolery, Jimmy L. (Letter to Columbus, Ohio Humanist organization.) Church of Scientology, Mission of Columbus, February 5, 1977.

Young, Davis A. Creation and the Flood. Baker Book House: 1977, p. 131.

Zuidema, Henry P. "Creationism Controversy Continues." Church & State. April 1980, p. 12.

About the Author(s): 

Fred Edwords has lectured and debated widely on the creation/evolution question, has designed a two-model slide show on the subject, is Editor of this journal, and is Administrator of the American Humanist Association.

Copyright 1980 by Frederick E. Edwords

This version might differ slightly from the print publication.

Equal Time For Flat-Earth Science

Creation Evolution Journal
Title: 
Equal Time For Flat-Earth Science
Author(s): 
Robert J. Schadewald
Volume: 
2
Number: 
1
Quarter: 
Winter
Page(s): 
37–41
Year: 
1981

Paul Ellwanger, head of Citizens for Fairness in Education in South Carolina, has promoted a model creation/evolution bill to be introduced in state legislatures. My immediate reaction on seeing this bill was to rewrite it slightly. I preserved most of the creationist wording, but altered the bill to require teaching of flat-earth theory whenever conventional astronomy is taught. I sincerely believe that my bill should be introduced in every state legislature in which the creationist bill is introduced.

In fact, I hereby volunteer to write a flat-earth version of any creationist bill introduced anywhere, if only someone will introduce my version. The parallels between flat-earthism and creationism are numerous and precise. Literal interpretation of certain parts of the Bible is a motivating factor for modern flat-earthers, and they have an elaborate system of "scriptural science" just as do the creationists. The flat-earthers of 19th century England had a skilled corps of lecturers who preached and debated. Because opponents were frequently unprepared for the ingenious arguments of the Universal Zetetic Society (the flat-earth organization), the flat-earthers usually won their debates. Lecturers from the San Diego based Institute for Creation Research use the same debate tactics, and enjoy the same success.

My flat-earth bill is "zetetically" correct, and accurately describes flat-earth theory. It is not really a parody, as it's impossible to parody something ludicrous.

No doubt bills could also be drafted demanding equal time for astrology, Mary Baker Eddy's Christian Science theory of disease, or Von Daniken's "ancient astronauts." This would be a useful pastime for specialists in these areas who, like me, want to make it plain to legislators and the public the absurdity of creationist legislation.

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Bill No.:
Introduced by:
Date:
 

A Bill To Be Entitled
"The Balanced Treatment for Flat-Earth Science
and Spherical-Earth Science Act
"

An Act to require balanced treatment of flat-earth science (Zetetic Astronomy) and conventional astronomy in public schools; to protect academic freedom by providing student choice; to ensure freedom of religious exercise; to guarantee freedom of belief and speech; to prevent establishment of religion; to prohibit religious instruction concerning the shape of the earth; to bar discrimination on the basis of planar or spherical belief; to provide definitions and clarifications; to declare the legislative purpose and legislative findings of fact; to provide for severability of provisions; to provide for repeal of contrary laws; and to set forth an effective date.

Be it enacted by the Legislature:

Section 1. Requirement for Balanced Treatment. Public schools within this State shall give balanced treatment to flat-earth science and to conventional science. Balanced treatment to these two models shall be given in classroom lectures taken as a whole for each course, in library materials taken as a whole for the sciences and taken as a whole for the humanities, and in other educational programs in public schools, to the extent that such lectures, textbooks, library materials, or educational programs deal in any way with the subjects of the earth's form and figure, the sun, moon, planets and stars, the form and dimensions of the universe, and its recent creation.

Section 2. Prohibition against Religious Instruction. Treatment of either spherical-earth science or flat-earth science shall be limited to scientific evidences for each model and inferences from the scientific evidences, and must not include any religious instruction or references to religious writings.

Section 3. Requirement for Nondiscrimination. Public schools within this State, or their personnel, shall not discriminate, by reducing a grade of a student or by singling out and making public criticism, against any student who demonstrates a satisfactory understanding of both spherical science and flat-earth science and who accepts or rejects either model in whole or part.

Section 4. Definitions. As used in this Act:

(a) "Flat-earth science" (Zetetic Astronomy) means the scientific evidences for the earth's being an outstretched plane and inferences from those scientific evidences. Flat-earth science includes the scientific evidences and related inferences that indicate: (1) The earth is an outstretched plane; (2) The known, inhabited earth is approximately circular, with the north pole at the center and a 150 foot wall of ice at the southern limit (outer edge);

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(3) The earth floats on the waters of the Great Deep, and there is fire below those waters (sometimes called Hell); (4) The earth is covered by a dome which also rests on the waters of the Great Deep; (5) The sun and moon are 32 miles in diameter and circle the region of the equator at an altitude of about 1500 miles; (6) Eclipses of the moon are caused by an unseen dark body passing in front of it; (7) The earth and universe were created about 4004 B. C.

(b) "Spherical science" means the scientific evidences for the sphericity of the earth and inferences from those scientific evidences. Spherical science includes the scientific evidences and related inferences that indicate: (1) The earth is a spinning ball; (2) The earth circles the sun, which is 93 million miles away; (3) Eclipses of the moon are caused by the earth's shadow; (4) Other planets are large bodies, some of them larger than the earth; (5) The earth itself is merely a minor planet of a minor star in an undistinguished galaxy; (6) The universe is billions of light years in extent; (7) The earth and universe are billions of years old.

(c) "Public schools" means public secondary and elementary schools.

Section 5. Clarifications. This Act does not require or permit instruction in any religious doctrine or materials. This Act does not require any instruction in the subject of the shape of the earth, but simply requires instruction in both scientific models (of spherical-earth science and flat-earth science) if public schools choose to teach either. This Act does not require each individual textbook or library book to give balanced treatment to the models of spherical-earth science and flat-earth science; it does not require any school's books to be discarded. This Act does not require each individual classroom lecture in a course to give balanced treatment, but simply requires the lectures as a whole to give balanced treatment; it permits some lectures to present spherical-earth science and other lectures to present flat-earth science.

Section 6. Legislative Declaration of Purpose. This Legislature enacts this Act for public schools with the purposes of protecting academic freedom for students' differing values and beliefs; ensuring neutrality toward students' diverse religious convictions; ensuring freedom of religious exercise for students and their parents; guaranteeing freedom of belief and speech for students; preventing establishment of Theologically Liberal, Humanist, Non-theist, or Atheist religions; preventing discrimination against students on the basis of their personal beliefs concerning the shape of the earth; and assisting students in their search for truth. This Legislature does not have the purpose of causing instruction in religious concepts or making an establishment of religion.

Section 7. Legislative Findings of Fact. This Legislature finds that:

(a) The subject of the form, figure, and origin of the earth and universe is treated within many public school courses, such as general science, earth science, physics, astronomy, history, philosophy and social studies.

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(b) Only spherical-earth science is presented to students in virtually all of those courses that discuss the shape and origin of the earth. Public schools generally censor flat-earth science and evidence contrary to the spinning ball theory.

(c) The spherical theory is not an unquestionable fact of science, because it cannot be proved beyond a doubt, and because it has not been accepted by some scientists.

(d) The spherical-earth theory is contrary to the religious convictions or moral values of some students and parents, including individuals of many different religious faiths and with diverse moral values and philosophical beliefs.

(e) Public school presentation of only spherical-earth science without any alternative model of the earth abridges the United States Constitution's protections of freedom of religious exercise and of freedom of belief and speech for students and parents, because it undermines their religious convictions and moral or philosophical values, compels their unconscionable professions of belief, and hinders religious training and moral training by parents.

(f) Public school presentation of only spherical-earth science furthermore abridges the Constitution's prohibition against the establishment of religion, because it produces hostility toward many Theistic religions and brings preference to Theological Liberalism, Humanism, Non-theistic religions, and Atheism, in that these religious faiths generally include a religious belief in a spherical earth.

(g) Public school instruction in only the spherical theory also violates the principle of academic freedom, because it denies students a choice between scientific models and instead indoctrinates them in spherical-earth science alone.

(h) Presentation of only one model rather than alternative scientific models of the earth's shape is not required by any compelling interest of the State, and exemption of such students from a course or class presenting only the spherical theory of the earth does not provide an adequate remedy because of teacher influence and student pressure to remain in that course or class.

(i) Attendance of those students who are at public schools is compelled by law, and school taxes from their parents and other citizens are mandated by law.

(j) Zetetic Astronomy (flat-earth science) is an alternative model of the earth which can be presented from a strictly scientific standpoint without any religious doctrine just as spherical-earth science can, because some scientists have concluded that scientific data best support flat-earth science and because scientific evidences and inferences have been presented for flat-earth science.

(k) Public school presentation of both spherical-earth and flat-earth theories would not violate the Constitution's prohibition against establishment of reli, gion, because it would involve presentation of the scientific evidences and related inferences for each model rather than any religious instruction.

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(l) Most citizens, whatever their religious beliefs about the shape of the earth, favor balanced treatment in public schools of alternative models of the earth's shape for better guiding students in their search for knowledge, and they favor a neutral approach toward subjects affecting the religious and moral and philosophical convictions of students.

Section 8. Short Title. This Act shall be known as the "Balanced Treatment for Flat-Earth Science and Spherical-Earth Science Act."

Section 9. Severability of Provisions. If any provision of this Act is held invalid, that invalidity shall not affect other provisions that can be applied in the absence of the invalidated provisions, and the provisions of this Act are declared to be severable.

Section 10. Repeal of Contrary Laws. All State laws or parts of State laws in conflict with this Act are hereby repealed.

Section 11. Effective Date. The requirement of the Act shall be met by and may be met before the beginning of the next school year if that is more than six months from the date of enactment, or otherwise one year after the beginning of the next school year, and in all subsequent school years.

About the Author(s): 

Bob Schadewald is a free-lance science writer, specializing in the off-beat. He has spent five years doing research on the history of the flat-earth movement and three years researching the creationists.

Copyright 1980 by Robert J. Schadewald

This version might differ slightly from the print publication.

How Not To Conduct A Panel On Evolution And Creation

Creation Evolution Journal
Title: 
How Not To Conduct A Panel On Evolution And Creation
Author(s): 
Craig Howell
Volume: 
2
Number: 
1
Quarter: 
Winter
Page(s): 
42–44
Year: 
1981

The current resurgence of old-time fundamentalism and the attendant revival of the theory of Creationism as a challenge to the principles of evolution have obviously caught many mainstream religious and scientific leaders off guard.

Finding it difficult to take Creationism seriously, and yet wanting to be thought fair to all sides of a growing controversy, these mainstream leaders can easily fall into traps which serve to muddle the issues—to the great advantage of the Creationists.

An unfortunate example of this was provided this past fall at the Annual National Conference on Church and State, sponsored by Americans United for Separation of Church and State (AU). AU describes itself, quite rightly, as "a 33-year-old non-profit, non-partisan, non-sectarian organization of individuals of every religious persuasion (and some of no religious persuasion) who are working together to help preserve and protect our American heritage of religious liberty."

The kick-off event of the AU Conference was a panel discussion on the announced topic: "Scientific Creationism, Secular Humanism, and Public Schools." Inasmuch as AU publications had consistently attacked the Creationist movement as a religious front that had no business dictating public school curriculum, I went into the panel expecting a thorough dissection of our opposition.

To my astonishment and chagrin, I found that the AU panel was stacked against a credible pro-evolution position.

The two major speakers on the panel were attorney Paul James Toscano of Brigham Young University Law School and Julius B. Poppinga, President of the Christian Legal Society. Although both panelists discussed the evolution vs. Creationism controversy, this was not in fact the primary focus of either speaker. Instead, they focused on certain legal issues which they thought were at the root of the Creationism debate. But their manifest confusions on the subject of evolution invalidated both their presentations.

Toscano's speech was a summary of a lengthy law journal article he had just written on "The Establishment of Humanism in the Public Schools: A Dubious Neutrality."

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Toscano declared that the Supreme Court has effectively established secularism as the preferred public religion because it has said that all laws must serve a secular purpose and that no law may favor theistic religious belief over alternative religious attitudes. He provided what he regarded as the axioms of secular humanism and pronounced it a religion, because its assumptions were a matter of personal taste and could not be proven. Toscano then proceeded to serve the same sentence of religiosity on the theory of evolution "and other unseen realities"—all such theories are just as mystical, subjective, and ultimately unproveable as any religious belief. "A religious mystic can refute evolution with as much logic — or as little — as the secular historian can refute the Resurrection of Christ," Toscano asserted.

By this light, of course, it would seem unfair for public schools to teach one kind of "religious ideology" such as evolution without granting equal time to other kinds of religious ideology such as Creationism. Since true religious neutrality is impossible to attain in our public schools, Toscano suggested that parents who send their children to religious schools should not have to pay taxes to support public schools which are dedicated to secularism. (Toscano averred that he was personally committed to secularism and would not want his children in religious schools.) This was the only solution that Toscano could square with our country's tradition of pluralism and diversity; he objected to secular humanists who "imposed" their religious ideologies such as evolution on all public school children.

If you are ready to grant that all science is really religion, or that Creationism is just as scientific as evolution, then Toscano's conclusions might be difficult to evade. But his speech left me (and evidently many others at the Conference) dizzy, as though we had just strolled with Alice Through the Looking Glass, where everything is the reverse of the way they usually are. Unfortunately, the other speaker, Mr. Poppinga, was not a very good guide for getting us back to reality. Instead, in some ways he compounded Toscano's confusion.

Like Toscano, Poppinga equated secular humanism and theism as "philosophies which can be given religious expression." He further declared, much to my consternation: "Evolution is to Humanism what Creationism is to Theism"—an analogy which casually eliminated the very possibility of a theistic religion that is compatible with evolution. Was he unaware that this is the very combination which presumably has prevailed within the general public since the time of the Scopes Trial? Poppinga said he personally preferred the Genesis account over Darwin; but in any case, public schools should not "indoctrinate" students in evolution to the exclusion of Creationism. Students should see both sides and should make up their own minds.

The question and answer period from the audience following the two speakers was just as unsatisfactory and confused as the main presentations. Many of us were greatly perturbed by the analysis offered by Toscano and Poppinga and felt that the pro-evolution position had not been put forward effectively; unfortunately, no one was able to disentangle the chaos into something more sensible.

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Some of the audience seemed to have been persuaded by the speakers into thinking that evolution may not be much better than Creationism after all (although the scientific merits of either case played virtually no role at any point during the panel discussion). One questioner took a somewhat differing approach, arguing that public schools shouldn't be teaching anything at all about the origin of life because different religions had different perspectives.

It is not my purpose in this article to undo all the confusion created by Toscano and Poppinga; other articles in this journal should be addressed to those points. But I think it was a great waste that a leading organization such as Americans United should sponsor a panel so dominated by a position antithetical to its own, especially when the audience had come from all over the country to learn (among other things) how to offset the pro-Creationist pressure on school boards and textbook writers.

It is time we started taking the Creationists seriously as a political force. And that means it is time to sit down and educate ourselves about how to combat them, without apology—much less without surrender.

About the Author(s): 

Craig Howell, a Federal government economist in Washington, D. C., is a longtime activist for church/state separation, gay rights, and other civil liberties causes.

This version might differ slightly from the print publication.

Update On Creation Bills and Resolutions

Creation Evolution Journal
Title: 
Update On Creation Bills and Resolutions
Volume: 
2
Number: 
1
Quarter: 
Winter
Page(s): 
45
Year: 
1981

The chart below shows the states where creation bills and "equal time" school board resolutions have been introduced, and the results thereof. We appreciate the work of the creationist Citizens for Fairness in Education (2820 Le Conte Rd., Anderson, SC 29621) for keeping track of these things. It saves us a lot of trouble.

The promotional piece which featured this chart stated the case fairly: "There is no law in any one of the fifty states prohibiting the presentation of creation-science; nor is there any law mandating exclusive teaching of evolution. That makes creation-science presentation in our public schools optional, and optional it will remain unless balanced treatment is mandated by law." This piece, dated October, 1980, then went on to add, "We do not recommend the 'resolution' (non-mandatory) route because it leaves fairness in the 'options' category." This is the opposite of the position taken by the Institute for Creation Research, in San Diego, California.

States with an asterisk (*) by them have used the 1979 "model" bill draft issued by Citizens for Fairness in Education. Their 1980 "model" seems to have more chrome and bigger fins, and is the basis for Robert Schadewald's article in this issue. The creationist plan is to push the newer version in the 1981 legislative sessions.

State Bill introduced Bill
number(s)
Legis.
yr(s)
Houses passed Resolutions
passed/counties
Comments
Florida* x H. 107 80 0 - - Both died in committee
    S. 90          
Georgia x H. 690 79 2 x (several) Did not get final passage.
80 Bill dead.
Illinois* x S. 1478 80 0 - - Died in committee.
Iowa x S. 261 79 0 - - Died in committee.
Kentucky x H. 889 80 0 - - Died in committee.
Louisiana x   80 0 - -  
Minnesota x   80 0 - - Defeated in committee.
New York x A. 8569 80 0 - - Died in committee.
Ohio - - - - x 1  
            Columbus  
S. Carolina* x H. 3444 80 0 - - Died on House agenda.
Tennessee x H. 749 76,77 0 - - Died in committee.
    S. 997 79,80        
Texas - - - - x (several)  
            Dallas  
W. Virginia - - - - x 1  
            Kahawha  
Wisconsin - - - - x 1  
            Racine  
Washington x S. 2444 74 0 - - Died in committee.
    H. 994          
This version might differ slightly from the print publication.

Issue 4 (Spring 1981)

Creation Evolution Journal
Title: 
Creation/Evolution IV
Volume: 
2
Number: 
2
Quarter: 
Spring
Year: 
1981
For a PDF version of the entire issue, please click here.


See below for text versions of this issue's articles.

$5000 Reward and a Challenge to Evolution

Creation Evolution Journal
Title: 
$5000 Reward and a Challenge to Evolution
Author(s): 
R. G. Elmendorf
Volume: 
2
Number: 
2
Quarter: 
Spring
Page(s): 
1–2
Year: 
1981

This version might differ slightly from the print publication.

An Evaluation of a Challenge That Isn't

Creation Evolution Journal
Title: 
An Evaluation of a Challenge That Isn't
Author(s): 
Stan Freske
Volume: 
2
Number: 
2
Quarter: 
Spring
Page(s): 
3–4
Year: 
1981

Mr. Elmendorf's challenge is a fair illustration of the scientific level of typical creationist thinking. Before any readers go overboard planning what to do with the $5,000, let me make a few comments as one who has spent a year corresponding with Mr. Elmendorf in pursuit of his money.

To begin with, the challenge is not to evolution as accepted science. This is made evident by the italicized statement on the second page. Since evolution does require "prior and higher energy," Mr. Elmendorf is challenging a strawman of his own manufacture. On this point, I managed to extract a concession from him: "Oh, all right. We'll debate 'Evolution-From-There,' meaning you start with a limitless supply of matter and energy and evolve something having higher structure and intelligence." I didn't ask for a "limitless supply"; though, I can't guarantee that other challengers will be given even a limited one.

Also on the second page, we find the "Creative Trinity," which I deal with at some length in my article that appears elsewhere in this issue. The difficulty inherent in any attempt to convince Mr. Elmendorf that, on this matter at least, we should all be Unitarians ought to be apparent from the following quote from one of his letters: "The entropy defined in statistical mechanics is not the same thing as the entropy defined in classical (energy) thermodynamics, even though they are spelled the same...."

Any attempt to beat this challenge constitutes a Catch-22 situation, since Mr. Elmendorf is the sole judge. If he really knows what he is talking about, he will win the argument and keep the money. If he doesn't know what he is talking about, he will judge the outcome of any debate incorrectly and still keep the money.

Even so, the reader may wish to determine which of these two represents the actual state of affairs. If Mr. Elmendorf's statement concerning entropy was not sufficient to settle this matter, perhaps a few more quotes from his letters will be helpful: "Running water will not freeze" (On viewing a picture of a frozen waterwheel that I had sent him, he clarified this statement by saying, "It is true enough that running water will freeze, but it must first stop running in order to achieve the quiescent condition necessary for crystallization.") "On a comparative basis, it would seem that gases would have the most complex structure, liquids a less complex structure, and solids the least complex or 'simplest' structure." . . the arbitrary introduction of temperature into the classical definition of entropy . . ." (italics mine). "Although I have never looked into an atom, the Second Law would predict that it is 'running down.' ..." "... the appeal of Prigogine with his 'dissipative structures' and so forth is the same as the appeal of relativity. Both represent a fundamental abandonment of reality, and both are buried in a fog of mathematics...."

- page 4 -

"You are no doubt aware that Relativity is in serious trouble in scientific circles." (Both quotes refer to special relativity.) "I accept the 'old' version of the Second Law, because I do not accept the indeterminite [sic] concept of statistical mechanics." "I view the Second Law simply as a statement of how the universe operates—in short, how it is. Statistical? Phooie!"

In case I have discouraged any reader from picking up the gauntlet on this one, Mr. Elmendorf has another challenge: for $1,000, prove that the earth moves! I don't know why the reward is smaller for a more difficult task.

—Stan Freske

This version might differ slightly from the print publication.

Another Creationist Speaks

Creation Evolution Journal
Title: 
Another Creationist Speaks
Volume: 
2
Number: 
2
Quarter: 
Spring
Page(s): 
4
Year: 
1981

The most devastating and conclusive argument against evolution is the entropy principle. This principle—also known as the Second Law of Thermodynamics—implies that, in the present order of things, evolution in the "vertical" sense (that is, from one degree of order and complexity to a higher degree of order and complexity) is completely impossible.

The evolutionary model of origins and development requires some universal principle which increases order . . . . However, the only naturalistic scientific principle that is known to effect real changes in order is the Second law, which describes a situation of universally deteriorating order. . . .

The Second Law of Thermodynamics could well be stated as follows: "In any ordered system, open or closed, there exists a tendency for that system to decay to a state of disorder, which tendency can only be suspended or reversed by an external source or ordering energy directed by an informational program and transformed through an ingestion-storage-converter mechanism into the specific work required to build up the complex structure of the system."

If either the information program or the converter mechanism is not available to that "open" system, it will not increase in order, no matter how much external energy surrounds it. The system will proceed to decay. . . .

Whether rank-and-file evolutionists know it or not, this problem they have with entropy is thus "one of the most fundamental unsolved problems in biology." It is more than a problem in fact—it is a devastating denial of the evolution model itself. It will continue to be so until evolutionists can demonstrate that the vast imagined evolutionary continuum in space and time has both a program to guide it and an energy converter to empower it. . . .
Henry M. Morris, "Entropy and Open Systems," Acts & Facts, October 1976, Impact No. 40

This version might differ slightly from the print publication.

Biological Evolution and the Second Law

Creation Evolution Journal
Title: 
Biological Evolution and the Second Law
Author(s): 
William Thwaites and Frank Awbrey
Volume: 
2
Number: 
2
Quarter: 
Spring
Page(s): 
5–7
Year: 
1981

Creationists make much of the second law of thermodynamics. They say it precludes the possibility of evolution because: "There is a general tendency of all observed systems to go from order to disorder, reflecting dissipation of energy available for future transformations—the law of increasing entropy" (Lindsay, 1968). The second law has been stated in many other ways, but we have picked this definition because it contains the all-important word tendency and because it is a definition often quoted by creationists. The word tendency is very critical, since it allows exceptions to the usual implication by creationists that all systems go to disorder. (One can get into many semantic arguments with words like disordered. Technically, an "ordered" state can be described with a minimum of statements or rules. Thus a page of nothing but A's would be more "ordered" than this page of text. We really should use a phrase like high information content in place of ordered, but let's stick with ordered because it's easier to say. Perhaps that's the reason creationists often say ordered when they really mean high information content.)

Consider how different the world would be if all systems became less energetic and less organized with time. There would be no puffy clouds, thunderstorms, or weather fronts. Their organization and energy would have dissipated long ago. There would be no trees or flowers. Their seeds would just decay. And we wouldn't be here either. Each of us would have died as a withering zygote that could not undergo development. Clearly the creationist implication that all systems tend toward decay and disorder is wrong. There are many systems besides evolution that tend toward greater order. Philip Morrison (1978), for example, has shown that spontaneous increases in order are common in our world. He points out that the second law really says that increases in order must be paid for in energy. Such increases are clearly not impossible except in closed systems lacking a source of energy. Where large amounts of energy are available, as in the sun-earth system, large increases in order are possible.

- page 6 -

Creationists, of course, deny this while claiming that organisms contain some sort of God-given precoded plan and energy conversion system that allows them to escape the death and decay dictated by the second law. On the other hand, almost all scientists accept both the second law and evolution. We need to ask, therefore, just how the second law does affect living systems. A look at gene mutation should allow an answer to this question. A given normal gene will mutate to a nonfunctional version of itself with a characteristic frequency, often on the order of 1/1,000,000. (For every 999,999 times this gene is transmitted correctly to the next generation, it is transmitted incorrectly one time.) We could call this type of mutation from functional to nonfunctional a "damaging" mutation.

It comes as a surprise to some people, but nonfunctional genes occasionally mutate back to the functional version. We could call this a "repair" mutation. If genes were likened to cars, this would be like saying that occasionally a dented car could be correctly fixed by being in a second accident! However, genes are not cars; chemical complexity is not the same thing as physical complexity. Even though an explosion in a print shop will not produce a dictionary, energy can change simple methane and ammonia into complex amino acids, as Stanley Miller and Harold Urey demonstrated in 1953. Similarly, even though a second collision probably will not undent a dented car, a second mutational event occasionally renders a gene functional again.

The effect of the second law is clearly seen when the repair mutation rate is measured. This repair rate is always less than the damaging mutation rate. In other words, it is easier to go from an ordered state (functional) to a disordered state (nonfunctional) than it is to go in the reverse direction. A typical rate for this repair type of mutation is on the order of 1/1,000,000,000. This is the most important consequence of the second law on living systems. Clearly, the second law does not prevent systems from going from disorder to order. All the law does in this case is to make such mutations rare compared to mutations going in the thermodynamically favored direction—toward disorder. If that's all there were to it, however, gene systems would still eventually all move to a disordered nonfunctional state. They obviously don't. Is this because of a mystical precoded plan, or is there another, nonsupernatural explanation?

Now we come to the essence of evolution: natural selection. All that any organism has to do to escape "degeneration in accord with the second law of thermodynamics" is to be able to produce more young than are needed to replace the parents. As long as that is true, the occasional mutants (almost all less fit than the original version) will usually reproduce poorly or even die without adversely affecting the population. Since the harmful mutations are underrepresented in succeeding generations, these mutations simply cannot build up to a level that threatens the well-being of the population. Thus, mutations are random changes, usually toward disorder, but the effect of natural selection is to remove the relatively common disordered genes and prevent the genetic system from degenerating.

- page 7 -

In the same way, natural selection can replace genes with the rare mutant genes that represent an improvement over the original, thus serving as a type of ratchet to improve the organism and keep it matched to its changing environment. The entropy cost of the second law is paid as the energy required to produce those individuals that did not survive. The net result is that life opportunistically saves, builds upon, and improves whatever will function. At first glance, this may appear to conflict with the second law of thermodynamics, but the apparent conflict is not real. Therefore, no divinely precoded plan or mystical "vital force" is needed. Life and evolution are natural phenomena.

References

Lindsay, R. B. 1968. American Scientist. 56:100.

Morrison, P. 1978. in On Aesthetics in Science, ed. J. Weehsleo, p. 69. Cambridge: MIT Press.

Note

By analogy, we can apply the same sort of reasoning that creationists apply to the second law to another law of nature: Water tends to flow downhill. Imagine a possible creationist perversion of this law: Water always flows downhill; it can never flow uphill. How can we test this?

One day, some years ago, I happened to swim in a river just below a rapids. To my amazement, the current started carrying me upstream! Eventually, I was propelled into the mainstream and carried in the direction the water intended to go. But in short order I found myself being carried upstream again.

Could it have been that I was in the grips of some supernatural force that was capable of circumventing the laws of nature? How could water go uphill?

Most of us recognize that I was in an eddy current or whirlpool. The rapidly flowing water going downhill on one side keeps the whirlpool spinning like a giant top. Indeed, the water on the outside away from the mainstream is being pushed upstream by the water flowing downstream in the main channel. The natural law about water flowing downhill has not really been broken after all. Were the river to dry up, the eddy current would disappear also. It "lives" at the expense of the river flow.

So it is that the universe and even the solar system is running downhill toward greater disorder. But certainly there are eddy currents here and there. Life itself is one of those eddies. As vast amounts of energy are dissipated from the sun and even the core of the earth, life captures a tiny proportion and uses that energy to run "uphill" for awhile, against the second law of thermodynamics—or so it seems.

William Thwaites

About the Author(s): 

Drs. Thwaites and Awbrey have debated creationists from the Institute for Creation Research and the Creation Science Research Center on several occasions. They are professors of biology at San Diego State University.

Copyright 1981 by William Thwaites and Frank Awbrey

This version might differ slightly from the print publication.

Creationist Misunderstanding, Misrepresentation, and Misuse of the Second Law of Thermodynamics

Creation Evolution Journal
Title: 
Creationist Misunderstanding, Misrepresentation, and Misuse of the Second Law of Thermodynamics
Author(s): 
Stanley Freske
Volume: 
2
Number: 
2
Quarter: 
Spring
Page(s): 
8–16
Year: 
1981

One of the cornerstones in the crumbling foundation of creationist "science" is the notion that evolution contradicts the second law of thermodynamics. The classical version of this law may be stated as follows: The entropy of an isolated system can never decrease. (An isolated system is one that does not exchange energy or matter with its surroundings.) Creationists originally argued that a decrease in entropy is exactly what evolution requires, hence the conflict with the second law. This argument was used in an article by Dr. Morris of the Institute for Creation Research (ICR) as late as 1973. As is the usual practice among creationists, he tried to support it with out-of-context quotations from the writings of respected scientists.

Actually, it is not difficult to find inaccurate statements regarding entropy in popular science literature. Ever since the time it was first defined, entropy has been recognized as a most elusive quantity as far as understanding its physical significance is concerned. Defining it mathematically in terms of other quantities is no problem; however, this cannot be done to advantage in popular debates, a situation that creationists have been quick to capitalize on. Entropy has been defined nonmathematically as a measure of disorder, equilibrium, uncertainty, and unavailability of energy. Actually, to consider only the entropy content of a system is not enough; a system can gain entropy and, at the same time, become more organized, unbalanced, and richer in information and available energy. (A few examples will be considered later on.) What is important is the entropy deficiency of the system. We define this as the difference between the system's entropy capacity (the maximum amount of entropy the system is capable of holding with its present energy content) and the amount of entropy it is actually holding. This deficiency may also be referred to as negentropy (short for negative entropy)—a concept which, had it been generally adopted, might have been less confusing than entropy. Negentropy, then, has been defined as a measure of order, information, lack of equilibrium, and the availability of energy for doing work.

- page 9 -

But most fundamentally, negentropy—or entropy deficiency—is a measure of the improbability of a system being in a given state. For this reason, when we discuss such things as the improbability of a certain nucleotide sequence, for example, we are also discussing entropy and the second law of thermodynamics.

A final warning: the word order in popular usage is highly ambiguous and should be scrupulously avoided in explanations of entropy for the benefit of anyone not already familiar with scientific jargon, lest it cause a great deal of confusion. (The mathematically inclined reader can refer to such works as Sears in 1959 and Brillouin in 1962 for more detail.)

Open Systems

The creationist argument given in the first paragraph contains a gaping flaw, and evolutionist debaters wasted no time in pointing it out: While the classical version of the second law does indeed state that the entropy of an isolated system cannot decrease, evolving systems are not isolated! One might expect that at this point the issue would be considered settled and everyone would pack up and go home. However, such an expectation would never be entertained by anyone familiar with the peculiar tenacity of creationists.

Let us see how Morris responds after he has been confronted with the clear evidence that evolving systems are open. In 1976, he said: "The second law really applies only to open systems, since there is no such thing as a truly isolated system." This statement suggests that he lacks the ability to distinguish between theoretical and practical concepts—an ability which is absolutely essential for the understanding of much of physics. It is certainly true that the second law applies to all thermodynamical systems; it wouldn't be much of a law otherwise. But the particular statement of the second law that Morris has in mind—namely, that the entropy cannot decrease—applies only to isolated systems. It is a purely theoretical statement, and in theory, any desired system can be postulated whether or not it can exist in practice. Let me mention another example: The concept of an ideal gas is utilized throughout thermodynamics and is extremely useful, even though no such substance actually exists. Just as real gases approximate an ideal gas, some better than others, there are real thermodynamical systems that are very nearly isolated. In these systems we do not expect the entropy to decrease. On the other hand, in a wide open system the entropy can either increase, decrease, or remain constant. The second law does not in any way prevent entropy decreases and the generation of entropy deficiencies in local systems so long as there is an equal or larger increase in entropy outside the system. This concept is easily grasped by most college and even high school students of science but not, apparently, by creationists, including those boasting Ph.D.s in the sciences.

- page 10 -

It might now seem that all we have to do is give some examples of open: systems in which the entropy decreases and then we can pack up and go home. But alas, no such luck. In an attempt to counter this, creationists have introduced a new device, which one creationist, Mr. Elmendorf, calls "The Creative Trinity," a properly descriptive phrase with an appropriate ring that I will therefore adopt.

The Creative Trinity

According to this creationist concept, a system can become entropy deficient only if three conditions are satisfied (Morris, 1976). (1) Free energy must be supplied to the system. This is actually incorrect, since a loss of energy can also generate an entropy deficiency; however, the need for the system to be open is universally recognized, so further discussion is unnecessary. (2) The system must contain an energy conversion mechanism. When creationists are pressed, we find that just about anything qualifies as having a "mechanism," including matter itself, so the statement becomes quite meaningless. (3) The system must contain a directing program. This is variously referred to as intelligence, information, control system, and so forth by creationists. The idea is that this directing program did not arise through natural processes but was created by God. The Creative Trinity can also be interpreted as a statement to the effect that there are different kinds of entropy which are not interchangeable.

We must take careful note of an elementary fact which is often missed in debates on evolution and the second law: In spite of what they claim, creationists are no longer talking about the second law. They wish to give the impression that science, in this case thermodynamics, is on their side in their opposition to evolution. But the fact is there is nothing in thermodynamics that contradicts the phenomenon of an entropy deficiency being produced in a system when energy flows through it. On the contrary, this is what thermodynamics leads us to expect, and nothing else is needed, such as a directing program, etc. It is interesting to note that, in his resolution of the long-standing paradox of Maxwell's demon, Brillouin showed that, to enable the demon to distinguish between fast and slow molecules, energy has to be supplied to the system, thus producing an entropy increase elsewhere in just the amount required by thermodynamics (Ehrenberg, 1967). And it doesn't matter whether the demon is an intelligent being or a simple mechanism.

Creationists are not showing that evolution contradicts the second law of thermodynamics; instead, they are saying that the second law, as accepted by conventional science, is incorrect and insufficient to explain natural phenomena. They insist that something else of their own making must be added—namely, a divinely created directing program or a distinction between different kinds of entropy. Let us now look at several examples to see how creationists attempt to support their claims and to show that their notions are wrong and unnecessary.

- page 11 -

Crystal Growth

The example of crystal growth is particularly interesting, because it has been misunderstood and misused by evolutionist debaters as well as by creationists. While the growing crystal is certainly an example of an open system in which entropy is decreasing, there is an important thermodynamical difference between it and a living system. In the crystal, the entropy is always at a maximum. In other words, while it is true that the entropy decreases as the liquid changes into a solid, this happens because the entropy capacity of the system decreases. The living system, on the other hand, contains an entropy deficiency, and this deficiency increases as the system grows or evolves. It should now be obvious that a debater who tries to draw too close a parallel between crystals and living systems will be in trouble.

Nevertheless, creationists have expended a great deal of effort attempting to explain the entropy decrease inherent in crystal growth. Elmendorf claims that there is no decrease in entropy, because liquids are more orderly than crystals (1978). When I pointed out to him in an exchange of letters that gases turn into liquids by a similar removal of heat, he decided that gases are the most orderly of all. I might have asked him why we observe changes of state in nature which proceed in the opposite direction by means of the simple addition of heat, such as snowflakes melting, however, I did not pursue the matter any further.

It is more interesting to examine the claim by both Elmendorf and Morris that crystals grow because of the divinely created directing program built into matter. Elmendorf simply tells us that "the molecules are pre-programmed," while Morris, with somewhat greater sophistication, explains that crystals are able to form only because of "the electrochemical properties of the molecules in the crystal" (1976). This quotation from Morris may sound perfectly reasonable (or should I say conventional?), but only because it is out of context. He subsequently informs us that these properties "could never arise by chance" or "within the constraints imposed by the second law," and finally concludes that they must be the work of "an omniscient programmer."

Two points should be noted here. First, Morris confuses the origin of matter and its properties with the process of evolution. This undoubtedly is done intentionally, since it is a common obscuring tactic among creationist debaters. Second, the divine programs built into matter are claimed to be capable of bringing about such entropy-reducing processes as crystal growth, development of a seed or egg into a mature organism, growth of populations, evolution of complex technologies, and so forth, but not capable of bringing about biological or even comparatively simple astronomical evolution. Creationists have nothing but contempt and ridicule for theistic evolutionists, an attitude made possible only by this severe inconsistency in their own belief system.

- page 12 -

Convective Systems

In their attempts to prove their version of the second law, creationists often use the example of a pile of bricks lying in the sun. This is supposed to represent an open system that, although it is receiving an abundance of high-grade energy, is not exhibiting any reduction in entropy. Creationists gloatingly draw our attention to the fact that such bricks have never been observed to organize themselves spontaneously into a building. What they apparently fail to understand is that under the given conditions, an entropy deficiency is in fact generated in the pile. After several hours of exposure to the sun, the temperature will be higher at the top than at the bottom. If we were to measure the temperatures throughout the pile, it would be a fairly simple matter to calculate the entropy deficiency. Useful energy could actually be extracted from the pile by means of a thermocouple, for example. Creationists should tell us where in this mundane pile of bricks we find the divine directing program and conversion mechanism, supposedly necessary for an entropy deficiency to be generated in the system.

Incidentally, this pile of bricks, absorbing heat at the top only, is an example of a system that becomes entropy deficient even though the entropy in the pile actually increases. This seeming paradox results from the fact that, as heat is added, the entropy capacity of the pile increases faster than the amount of entropy contained in it. If we began again with a uniform temperature throughout the pile and then allowed heat to be removed from the top, as when cooling at night, the entropy would in fact decrease in addition to an entropy deficiency again being generated. We may also note that in this case the cause is a loss of energy. When discussing crystal growth, we saw that a loss of energy produced a decrease in entropy, but not a deficiency. Almost any combination is possible and we have to be extremely careful in making general statements concerning entropy.

Other, more impressive convective systems, in which large entropy deficiencies develop spontaneously as a result of the simple influx of solar energy, are meteorological systems such as hurricanes, tornados, and lightning storms. And consider the water cycle: Heat from the sun evaporates water from the ocean; the vapor is carried over the land by winds, which are also generated by solar heat, and is forced up by mountains, where it precipitates; the water eventually forms rivers with waterfalls and finally flows back into the ocean to close the cycle. The waterfalls, of course, constitute a well-known source of available energy. Where, creationists, are the directing programs in these highly organized, entropy deficient systems?

- page 13 -

Mutations and the Genetic Code

The growth of a seed or egg into a mature organism constitutes an observable process involving a large and spontaneous increase in the entropy deficiency of a localized system. Creationists naturally claim that the genetic code making this possible is just the directing program included in their Creative Trinity. It is certainly true that the genetic program determines just what the egg will grow into. But it is not true that this program is what enables the system to develop an entropy deficiency. In the course of a year, the earth receives 1.6 x 1021 watt-hours of energy from the sun and reradiates almost the same amount into space. But, because the incoming radiation originates on a high-temperature source (the sun) and the outgoing radiation on a low-temperature one (the earth), the whole process results in an outflow of entropy or inflow of negentropy. This negentropy flux can be calculated to be 3.2 x 1022 joule/ °K per year (Tribus and Mclrvine, 1971). A significant portion of this negentropy is used in biological processes directed by genetic programs, but a considerably larger portion is used to generate entropy deficient meteorological systems without the benefit of directing programs. Thus, the genetic program only insures that a small portion of the negentropy is used to develop a particular type of entropy deficient system. The only legitimate question left is whether the first bit of replicating genetic material could have come about naturally without violating the second law.

We may first note that all the information stored in a fertilized mammalian egg-cell is equivalent to only about 4 x 10-12 joule/ °K of negentropy. Ordinary everyday processes that we observe all around us spontaneously develop entropy deficiencies that easily amount to billions of times this amount. Thus, it is not the generation of the entropy deficiency that constitutes the problem, although this is what creationists imply when they say that a natural origin of the genetic code would violate the second law.

Experiments of the type first performed by Stanley Miller have shown that the basic building blocks of life—amino acids and nucleotides—are generated spontaneously in a reducing atmosphere, consisting of compounds of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen, when energy in the form of electrical discharges or high-energy radiation is supplied. We are unable to choose at this time the particular mechanism whereby these units assembled themselves into proteins and DNA (or RNA) respectively; there are several possibilities. A more important question is the probability of the spontaneous formation of such a chain with sufficient autocatalytic properties so that, once formed, it would promote its own duplication. Once this hurdle has been overcome, evolution can be expected to proceed through the combination of mutations and natural selection, as discussed later. For years creationists have been indulging in calculations intended to prove that the formation of the original functional chain is statistically impossible. Let us examine one such attempt by Dr. Gish, also of ICR (1978).

Gish begins by assuming that a functional chain would need to consist of 100 amino acids of the 20 different kinds found in living organisms. He then states that there are 10130 different varieties of such a sequence, which is correct.

- page 14 -

He then assumes arbitrarily and, he thinks, generously that 1011 of these variations might be functional. Stated more directly, he has assumed, entirely without justification, that only 1 out of 10119 combinations is useful. But, to show what an extremely generous man he is, Gish then assumes that 1021 varieties are formed every second during a period of 5 billion years. He is still perfectly safe, of course; with his assumption of 1 in 10119, the useful chain would never form. Gish doesn't mention whether anyone has systematically examined the properties of any significant number of such sequences. But even if thousands had been investigated, this would be nowhere near 10119, and it would be just as reasonable to assume that 1 in a trillion (1012), 1 in a billion (109), or even 1 in a million (106) has the desired characteristics. Actually, the evidence we have points in this direction. For example, examination of hemoglobins of different species shows that only 7 out of a total of 140 sites always have the same amino acid (Perutz, 1968). The probability of these 7 sites being correctly occupied, assuming again 20 different amino acids, is 1 in a little over a billion (1.3 x 109).

Now, if we go by what little evidence we have and make the far more reasonable assumption that 1 in 109 is functional, and assume further that only one sequence forms each second (anywhere on earth), a functional one could be expected to form in about 32 years! On the time scales we are dealing with, even 32 million years is nothing, so we too can be generous and assume that only 1 out of 1015 randomly generated 100-member sequences is sufficiently autocatalytic. Let us see Gish or anyone else prove this impossible!

Perhaps the greatest unanswered question in biological evolution concerns the manner in which proteins and DNA (or RNA) became associated with each other. Creationists maintain that because we don't now know how this happened naturally, it could only have happened through divine design, and it is useless to investigate it further. We are fortunate that such attitudes have not prevailed universally at all times or science would never have evolved out of the Dark Ages.

We may speculate on whether evolution could at one time have proceeded through mutations and natural selection involving chains of amino acids only, but in the present discussion we will leave aside these early developments, of which enough is not yet known. Let us look, instead, at the evolution of the genetic program from that of primitive organisms even simpler than (and different from) modern viruses, to that of complex ones such as mammals. Although we recognize the enormous amount of variation possible in the normal genetic mixing associated with sexual reproduction, the only way in which something entirely new can be introduced is through mutations, including such phenomena as gene duplication. Creationists contend that, because of the second law, only detrimental mutations are possible. An examination of the mechanism involved will show that this contention is absurd.

- page 15 -

Four nucleotides constitute the characters in the genetic code, and, for convenience, they are designated A, C, G, and T in the case of DNA. They are read in groups of three called codons, each of which codes for an amino acid. A simple type of mutation is one in which one nucleotide is replaced by a different one, and, as a result, a different amino acid is coded for. (Because of a redundancy in the code, this does not always happen.) Since the genetic program has already been brought to near perfection through natural selection, a mutation is usually detrimental to the organism. It therefore tends to be weeded out of a population or, if it gives rise to a recessive gene, is limited in its spread. But there is, of course, no natural law which prevents an occasional mutation from benefiting the organism, especially if the latter exists in a changing environment. Such a mutation would tend to become more common and spread throughout the population. (An example is the acquisition of drug resistance on the part of asexually reproducing organisms, where variability due to genetic mixing does not play a part.) The important point here is that, as far as the second law is concerned, it makes no difference which nucleotide substitution occurs. The entropy content of the genetic message does not depend on whether the substitution turns out to be beneficial or detrimental to the organism.

We might profit from an examination of the fallacy that an accumulation of beneficial mutations would contradict the second law. It undoubtedly derives from the fact that, if such an accumulation were the result of a totally random process, it would indeed be contrary to the predictions of the second law. However, if each beneficial mutation is favored over an indifferent one, which in turn is favored over a detrimental one, then the process is by no means random, and we cannot invoke the second law to predict its outcome. The selective process just described is, of course, what we commonly refer to as natural selection.

In order for the complexity of the code to increase, a simple nucleotide substitution is not enough; instead, nucleotides need to be added to the existing sequence, perhaps through the process of gene duplication. Such an addition does constitute a minute negentropy increase, but, as we have seen, this does not at all violate the second law, since there will be a corresponding entropy increase elsewhere. In other respects, the addition is like the simple substitution discussed earlier; in particular, the entropy change in the genetic material is in no way dependent on whether the organism is helped or harmed, and the few beneficial mutations will be favored and accumulate, here adding complexity.

Summary

In their first and crudest attempt at creating the illusion of a contradiction between evolution and the second law of thermodynamics, creationists simply ignored the fact that evolving systems are not isolated. Their next endeavor consisted of altering the second law by maintaining that it precludes entropy decreases in all systems, not just isolated ones.

- page 16 -

Although they still occasionally make either or both of these claims in debates, they apparently realized at some point, presumably after having been confronted with examples proving them wrong, that a new device was needed. So, they invented the "Creative Trinity." This actually replaces the second law, but they still refer to it as the second law of thermodynamics in order to maintain the air of scientific respectability.

There is a virtually unlimited number of examples of natural systems in which entropy deficiencies develop spontaneously, provided only that energy is allowed to flow across their boundaries, thus disproving the creationist requirement for a divine directing program or different kinds of entropy. We are awaiting coherent responses from creationists dealing with these examples.

This leaves only the task of examining the validity of the claim by creationists that genetic programs could not have developed naturally and must therefore have been intelligently created. A simple calculation of the probability of formation of a sufficiently autocatalytic chain of amino acids and an elementary examination of the process of evolution through mutations and natural selection from simple organisms to complex ones show that, whatever difficulties occur in the natural origin of life, they do not involve any violations of the second law of thermodynamics.

Bibliography

Brillouin, L. 1962. Science and Information Theory, Academic Press.

Ehrenberg, W. November 1967. Scientific American, p. 109.

Elmendorf, R. G. 1978. How to Scientifically Trap, Test, and Falsify Evolution. Bairdford: Association of Western Pennsylvania, p. 38.

Gish, Duane T. April 1978. "Impact Series, No. 58," Acts & Facts. San Diego: Institute for Creation Research.

Morris, Henry M. April 1973. "Impact Series, No. 3," Acts & Facts. San Diego: Institute for Creation Research.
——. October 1976. "Impact Series, No. 40," Acts & Facts. San Diego: Institute for Creation Research.

Perutz, M. F. and H. Lehmann. 1968. Nature. Vol. 219, p. 902.

Sears, F. W. 1959. Thermodynamics, the Kinetic Theory of Gases, and Statistical Mechanics. Addison-Wesley.

Tribus, Myron and Edward C. Mclrvine. September 1971. Scientific American, p. 183.

About the Author(s): 

Stan Freske has a M.S. in physics from San Diego State (with additional graduate work in astronomy) and has many years experience in industrial research and development.

Copyright 1981 by Stanley Freske

This version might differ slightly from the print publication.

Do Gaps in the Fossil Record Disprove Descent with Modification?

Creation Evolution Journal
Title: 
Do Gaps in the Fossil Record Disprove Descent with Modification?
Author(s): 
Niles Eldredge
Volume: 
2
Number: 
2
Quarter: 
Spring
Page(s): 
17–19
Year: 
1981

Science seeks to characterize the nature of the universe, including the earth and all its attributes. It seeks to understand how the universe is constructed, how it came to be constructed in the way it is, and what those processes are that have produced the patterns we see in the natural world. Science does not work by simple pronouncements of fiat; rather, to qualify as science, an area of enquiry must attempt to explain natural phenomena in such a way that its statements can be tested by experiencing the natural world. More simply, we have to be able to go to nature to assess the veracity of the statements we make about it. If statements are not subject to such scrutiny, to verification by experience, they cannot be scientific. It is on these grounds that I characterize evolutionary biology as scientific and creationism, in whatever guise, as nonscientific.

Today we have only two remaining, but totally conflicting, bodies of statements that account for the diversity of life on earth. One is evolution. It says, basically, that all organisms are related by a process of ancestry and descent. It says that there is a particular nested set of resemblances we see in nature that unites all living things. For example: dogs, wolves, and coyotes, and other closely similar animals share certain resemblances not found in any other organism; we unite them accordingly into the family Canidae. We observe, in like fashion, that Canidae share certain similarities with Felidae (cats), Ursidae (bears), and several other families; accordingly we unite them into Order Carnivora. Carnivora share some attributes with other orders not shared with the rest of the known biotic world; hence we recognize Class Mammalia. And so forth. All of the biotic realm is structured this way. Ultimately, we predict that some attributes must be common to all life (RNA is an excellent example).

According to evolutionary biology, this pattern of nested resemblances is the straightforward, expected result of ancestry and descent: new characters arising from time to time are inherited by subsequent descendants. A hierarchical arrangement of similarities is the inevitable consequence.

- page 18 -

Since all organism are held to be related by this process, the major prediction of evolutionary theory is that there is one single nested pattern of resemblance linking all organisms in nature. Now, the discipline of systematic biology, including paleontology, tests this proposition daily. Biologists, in analyzing their specimens, predict that newly studied characters will conform to the preexisting hypothesis of the nature of resemblances among them. If the general proposition that evolution has produced a single, nested pattern of resemblances among all elements of the biota is false, its fallacy would long ago have been exposed. If evolution were a false theory, there would be every basis for predicting that there would not be a single, nested pattern of resemblance among all organisms on earth.

Creationism says this apparent order in the biotic realm of nature did not arise by ancestry and descent among all organisms. Rather, in its purest form, creationism holds that each species is created separately by some supernatural creator. (Some creationists admit that some relationship on a small scale—say between different species of the genus Canis [wolf, coyote, dog]—may occur, but not between major "types" or "kinds"—meaning higher levels of the taxonomic hierarchy, between families, orders, classes, and so on. They admit the nested pattern exists at low levels, but deny that it does at higher levels, or at least claim that it does not signify relationship.)

The assertion of independent creation, in whatever specific guise, does not lead to a single generalization about organisms or any observationally testable predictions. In short, it is a simple, fiat assertion with no practical consequence allowing us to test it further in nature. It therefore cannot be construed as science.

These points are rather obvious. Creationists therefore spend most of their time attacking proponents of evolutionary theory. Their general line of reasoning is this: not all evolutionary biologists are agreed on either (a) the exact details of evolutionary history or (b) what precisely the mechanisms of evolution are. They present conflicting views and delight to find dissenters (like myself) who are known to be dissatisfied with one or another aspect of current evolutionary science. They try to use internal disagreement among evolutionary biologists as evidence that somehow evolutionary biology isn't science after all. In so doing, they again mistake the nature of science.

There is no field of science today whose adherents and practitioners are agreed on all points. Science cannot possibly work that way—it proceeds by evaluating conflicting views on the nature of the world by testing hypotheses (that is, by experience). To progress, science needs those conflicting views. A science is neither healthy, vigorous, nor even alive without such disagreement. Unanimity, in science, is generally a sign of stagnation. Biochemistry, nuclear physics, and all other major branches of science are the same way—rife with disagreement. In any typical science, at any point in time, some generalizations are fairly well agreed upon, while others are inevitably bones of active contention.

- page 19 -

Creationists are fond of asserting that there are no intermediate forms between "major kinds" in the fossil record. To document their position, they contact men such as Colin Patterson (British Museum) and myself, who have been among those paleontologists who have felt that paleontologists in general have tended to be a little over-enthusiastic in dubbing particular fossils "ancestors." We have been concerned with the logic of verifying such statements. We urge caution. But we do not say that ancestors or transitional forms never existed or were never fossilized. From my own work I can cite the trilobit genera (from the Lower Devonian of Bolivia): Kozlowskiaspis—Metacryphaeus—Malvinella—Vogesina, which are connected by a compelling array of intermediates. Creationists can scoff at such series, familiar to all systematists and paleontologists, but the fact remains that such series exist and are consistent with the notion of evolution.

Moreover, the supposed lack of transitional forms trumpeted by creationists is analogous to the inability—of all of us—to see and therefore objectively to attest to the existence of atoms. Yet, I do not recall hearing anyone, creationist or not, seriously questioning atomic theory. This is because predictions arising from atomic theory can be tested and verified without anyone actually seeing individual atoms. The single nested set of resemblances uniting all organisms is the analogous prediction in evolutionary biology.

Finally, I will comment on patterns of occurrence of organisms in the fossil record. Standard evolutionary theory predicts gradual, progressive, incremental change leading from one species to the next. Most phyla (among those with readily fossilizable skeletal parts) originated in the Cambrian Period. Thus the fossil record is hard put to verify this particular prediction of evolutionary theory. Aha! cry the creationists. Geologists and paleontologists have for years replied that the fossil record is too incomplete to retain the record needed to substantiate this particular prediction of evolutionary theory. Some of us now think that the predictions themselves are inaccurate, that the general notion of evolutionary ancestry and descent need not imply a gradual, progressive pattern of improvement and development of higher and higher forms. Aha! cry the creationists once more; biologists admit that the fossil record falsifies evolution! Not so, we reply: some details of evolutionary theory—notably that part which calls for slow, steady, gradual accumulation of change—is evidently in error, not the general notion of evolution itself.

In short, the notion that organisms are related by an evolutionary process of ancestry and descent is the only scientific theory which explains the hierarchy of resemblance among all living things. It is theoretically possible that it is wrong (else it could not be a scientific statement). It is, however, constantly being verified by scientists predicting distributions of characteristics, then checking their organisms, and verifying the predictions. Scientists disagree to some extent about how the process works and about what the more important evolutionary factors might be. This is normal science. Creationism does none of this. It gives us no testable, verifiable predictions about the nature of the organic world, and its objection to evolution as nonscience is not correct.

About the Author(s): 

Niles Eldredge is curator, Department of Invertebrates, at the American Museum of Natural History, is adjunct professor of biology at the City University of New York, and is adjunct associate professor of geology at Columbia University.

Copyright 1981 by Niles Eldredge

This version might differ slightly from the print publication.

Moon and Spencer and the Small Universe

Creation Evolution Journal
Title: 
Moon and Spencer and the Small Universe
Author(s): 
Robert Schadewald
Volume: 
2
Number: 
2
Quarter: 
Spring
Page(s): 
20–22
Year: 
1981

One of the more damning realities faced by "scientific creationists" is the immense size of the universe. Creationists claim that the universe is at most ten thousand years old. Thus the supernova explosions regularly observed in the Andromeda galaxy, which is two million light-years away, cause them some embarrassment. Since they refuse to admit that the explosions observed in Andromeda today actually happened two million years ago, creationists typically present one of the following alternative explanations: (a) the universe was created with the light from distant objects already in transit (Freske, 1980: Philip Gosse's basic Omphalos argument); (b) the speed of light was infinite at creation, but became finite when Eve bit the apple (Harris, 1978: the Fall of Man); or (c) the large size of the universe is only an illusion.

The first two arguments are obviously as ad hoc as they are absurd. The third gives the same impression, but the creationists bolster it by citing a paper by Parry Moon and Domina Eberle Spencer, published in a legitimate scientific journal (1953). The latter paper is therefore of interest to those who oppose the creationists. Since we are dealing with appearances, before discussing the paper, I will apparently digress.

My interest in scientific creationism stems from my general interest in alternative science. My specialty is alternative geodesy, and, next to the flat-earth theory, I am most captivated by Koreshan Universology. Koresh (Cyrus Reed Teed) was, by his own admission, a reincarnation of Elijah, and he flourished in Chicago at the turn of the century. One of the tenets of Koreshanity was that the conventional globe is an accurate depiction of the earth, except for one thing: you have to turn it inside out. That is, the Indian Ocean is not straight down from the United States, but rather straight up. The entire universe is inside a Cosmic egg, with the surface of the earth being the inside of the shell, and the sun, moon, and stars being the yolk. The Koreshan universe is described in Koresh's Cellular Cosmogony (1898) and elsewhere (Gardner, 1957; Schadewald, 1980).

- page 21 -

In August 1979, Martin Gardner told me that there is a formalism called "inversion geometry" by which one could turn the universe inside out and save the appearances. Thinking about this conversation a year later, I decided to invent my own mapping of the conventional universe into a Koreshan universe. All that's needed is a function whose limit approaches some constant as its argument approaches infinity. An obvious choice is the arctangent function, which returns a value less than π/2 for any positive real number. That is, for a suitable constant K, the equation

X = K arctan(X)

will map the entire universe into a hollow sphere. In particular, if X is measured vertically from the surface of the earth (in miles) and K=8000/π , the equation will map the universe outside the earth into a Koreshan universe of radius 4000 miles. You simply transform the distances and reverse the directions of the position vectors. It is then possible to derive laws of refraction that account for appearances, including eclipses of the moon!

To return to what passes for reality, I first heard about the Moon and Spencer paper in January 1980. In a debate with Duane Gish at Lamoni, Iowa, John W. Patterson of Iowa State University brought up the problem of cosmic distances. In his reply, Gish said that it is possible that the universe is not as large as supposed. He noted that creationist Harold Slusher (who was present) and a graduate student at the University of Texas, El Paso, were pursuing the hypothesis proposed by Moon and Spencer, namely, that the universe is only 15.7 light-years in diameter. Patterson suggested that Gish might like to come to ISU and present this idea to the students and faculty there.

It was October 1980 before I got a copy of the Moon and Spencer paper. As discussed by Freske in the Fall 1980 issue of Creation/Evolution, it is actually an attempt to refute a pro-relativity argument based on the appearance of binary stars. By making a suitable (and totally ad hoc) adjustment to the distances of binary stars, the authors neutralize the offending evidence. It all seemed pretty absurd, but, when I reached the fifth page of the paper (p. 639), I nearly fell out of my chair. There was "my" arctangent function! The constant and units used by Moon and Spencer were different, but otherwise the distance transformation was exactly the same.

In light of this obvious versatility, I suggest that Mr. Slusher and other creationists interested in pursuing universes transformed by arctangent functions should investigate Koreshanity. They can even use their present equations if they reverse their vectors and suitably adjust their constants. The Biblical justification for this inside-out cosmos was not adequately worked out by Elijah, but it has since been presented in admirable detail by Fritz Braun (1972), to whose work they should refer.

- page 22 -

But why settle for half measures? If one wants to play with ad hoc mathematical transformations, it is easy to map the surface of our globe onto a plane. For instance, the azimuthal equidistant polar projection used on the United Nations Seal does it nicely. Indeed, this latter transformation, long used by the Flat Earth Society, is much more appropriate. And anyone who has read the Bible objectively from a literalist perspective can well conclude that it is, from Genesis to Revelations, a flat-earth book.

Bibliography

Braun, Fritz. 1972. Space and the Universe According to the Scriptures. Translated by J. H. Tonn. Bieselberg, Germany: Morgenland-Verlag.

Freske, Stanley. Fall 1980. "Evidence Supporting a Great Age for the Universe," Creation/Evolution. No. 2, pp. 36-37.

Gardner, Martin. 1957. Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science. New York: Dover, pp. 22-27.

Gosse, Philip. 1857. Omphalos. London: J. Van Voorst.

Harris, David M. September 1978. "A Solution to Seeing Stars," Creation Research Society Quarterly. Vol. 15, pp. 112-115.

Moon, Parry and Domina Eberle Spencer. August 1953. "Binary Stars and the Velocity of Light," Journal of the Optical Society of America. 43:8:635-641.

Schadewald, Robert. December 1980. "Is the World in Curious Shape," Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine, pp. 9-106.

Teed, Cyrus Reed. 1898, The Cellular Cosmogony. Chicago: The Guiding Star Publishing Company.

About the Author(s): 

Bob Schadewald is a free-lance science writer, specializing in the off-beat. He has spent five years doing research on the history of the flat-earth movement and three years researching the creationists.

Copyright 1981 by Robert J. Schadewald

This version might differ slightly from the print publication.

Creationists Embarrassed in Oklahoma

Creation Evolution Journal
Title: 
Creationists Embarrassed in Oklahoma
Author(s): 
Frank J. Sonleitner
Volume: 
2
Number: 
2
Quarter: 
Spring
Page(s): 
23-27
Year: 
1981

This is an account of some of the events surrounding a recent creation-evo, lution bill that was introduced into the Oklahoma State Legislature and its defeat in the House Common Education Committee. The bill was essentially a product of the Institute for Creation Research in San Diego, California, a group that insists it does not engage in promoting creation legislation. Most of sections 4, 6, 8, 10, and 11 of the bill came from attorney Wendell R. Bird's model resolution, which was published in the May 1979 Acts & Facts, an ICR publicaton. Section 3, paragraphs 1 and 2, defining creation-s, cience, were taken directly from Bird's model law, which is presently being pushed nationwide by Paul Ellwanger's Citizens for Fairness in Education, a South Carolina group. At the public hearing on the new legislation, I learned that Wendell Bird had, in fact, written this bill.

The bill was introduced into the State House of Representatives on January 22, 1981. By coincidence, on that same day, several of us from the University of Oklahoma at Norman (OU) met with the vice-chairman, several committee members, and some of the research staff to voice our objections to the bill. Four of us were involved: myself (a population ecologist), Professor Gerald Braver (geneticist), Associate Professor Gary Schnell (numerical taxonomist)—all from the Department of Zoology—and Professor John Wickham (geologist and chairman of the Department of Geology and Geophysics). I had previously prepared twelve pages of typewritten documentation covering: (1) a summary of the reasons for not teaching creationism in the public schools, (2) the scientific method, (3) an outline of the logical structure of the theory of evolution, (4) the scope of creation science, (5) the biblical nature of the creation model, and (6) several highly detailed and documented examples of the incorrect and distorted material that the creationists use as "scientific evidence." Four copies of this report were given to the committee at this meeting. (I had received my first issues of Creation/Evolution the day before. I later sent the committee copies of the Edwords article from Issue I and the Weinberg and Kraus articles from Issue II.)

- page 24 -

In the period that followed, the news media—especially radio and television—presented, almost exclusively, the creationist side. Moral Majority politicians made scientific pronouncements on radio talk shows and television news spots, and Ed Blick and John Morris of ICR made at least one television news interview each. Nonetheless, one television news team was interested in interviewing our group, but it was nearly two weeks and many phone calls before they finally came. The interview was held off campus at the Lutheran Student Center. In addition to the original four scientists, three ministers joined us to oppose the bill: Don Gibson (United Campus Christian Fellowship), David Klumpp (University Lutheran Chapel and Student Center), and Hugh Jeffers (a Presbyterian minister, lecturer, and administrative assistant in the College of Education). About five minutes of tape were made containing statements by four of us. Only about thirty seconds was actually aired on the five o'clock news, Monday, February 2, 1981, and that was followed immediately by an interview with "another OU professor," John Morris! At the Education Committee public hearing, the chairman of the committee, Jim Fried, chided the news media for misleading the public into believing that the bill would provide for the teaching of biblical creation in the schools when, in fact, it specifically prohibited that.

A subcommitte held a meeting on the bill on Tuesday, February, 3, and the full committee held the public hearing on Wednesday, February 4. Immediately following the public hearing, they debated on the bill for nearly two hours, after which they voted twenty to four to "report progress," which, for all practical purposes, amounted to killing the bill in committee.

The hearing was held in a small conference room at the State Capitol in Oklahoma City that barely held the twenty-six members, the people wishing to testify, and the crews of the three commercial television channels and the PBS channel. Although twenty or more people had put their names on the agenda to speak, including two professional atheists, the committee chairman (who was determined to squash the bill) only allowed about ten people to speak.

The main testimony in favor of the bill was given by the ICR pros: Ed Blick (OU professor of engineering), John Morris (OU assistant professor of geological engineering), and Wendell Bird (ICR lawyer). They presented the usual ICR propaganda. In addition, an Oklahoma biology teacher, who looked more like a football coach, claimed that evolution was given undue emphasis in his school, and a Tulsa theologian, who was ostensibly testifying in favor of the bill, in fact gave a long series of theological and religious objections to it!

The seven people previously mentioned in our group, along with two others, Professor John Renner (well-known researcher on science education in the OU School of Education) and zoology Professor Emeritus Paul David, came to the hearing prepared to give oral presentations. Only three—Wickham, David, and myself—were actually called upon to speak at the hearing. We each had three minutes. Wickham said that the bill would have an adverse effect on science education and that it represented a restricted view of creation; David pointed out that the bill was probably unconstitutional because it gave preferential treatment to fundamentalist Christian beliefs; while I attacked Section 4, paragraph 1, of the bill, which claimed that the study of origins was not science because no one was present to observe when life first appeared. A Tulsa school teacher also testified against the bill.

- page 25 -

Up to this point, the public hearing was "dull as dishwater." Then, the "organized (Democratic) committee opposition" to the bill called on their "star witness," Leroy Taylor, superintendent of Liberty School in Sequoyah County on the Arkansas border, who gave a theatrical performance in the role of the "good-ol'-down-home-country-boy school teacher." He cracked jokes, poked fun at the legislature, and asked them to "leave us alone—we know what we're doing. We're not teaching evolution—we're teaching biblical creation." Needless to say, he was featured in all the television coverage of the hearing.

Taylor set the stage for the committee debate on the bill. The chairman decided not to consider any of the proposed amendments such as requiring teaching of biblical creation, the resurrection of Jesus, Hindu science (modified), flat-earth science, and so forth, and proceeded directly to debate on the bill. Only three committee members, including the main author of the bill, wanted to speak in favor of it, while many more, including the chairman and vice-chairman of the committee, wished to speak against it. And the opposition "hoisted the creationists by their own petard"; they out-Baptisted the Baptists! To summarize, they claimed the following:

1. This bill was an example of big government telling the local school boards what to do. And it was coming from a party that had just won a big election on a promise to do away with big government. If any parents had any complaints, they should go to their local school board.

2. This bill actually outlawed teaching biblical creation, because it required that, if creation was going to be taught, it must be taught as a mere scientific theory (in the pejorative sense of the word), which requires evidence and verification. Representative Gray (Democrat) quoted from the Bliss book, Origins, Two Models: Evolution Creation, page v, where the author says that his book will develop "your ability to think logically, to search for data and its meaning, and to demand verification." He then imagined how, on a Sunday afternoon, while the family was sitting on the back porch and the father or minister was telling the story of Jonah and the Whale or the resurrection of Jesus, the children would demand verification, as they were taught to do in school. He then rejected the idea of teaching creation as a science. Biblical creation should be taught as a fact that was to be accepted on faith.

3. In most cases in Oklahoma where only one theory of origins was being taught, it was creation, not evolution, that was presented. Therefore, this was an evolution bill that would require all those schools to teach evolution. (The legislative authors of the bill apparently swallowed hook-line-and-sinker the ICR propaganda that evolution pervades all the public schools. They had no evidence to back up this view except that very few of the current biology textbooks mentioned creation.)

- page 26 -

Overlooking the strong likelihood that much of this was a carefully contrived and rehearsed ploy to defeat the bill, the above three points are true. And people working against equal-time-for-creation-science bills might find them useful arguments in staunchly fundamentalist states. (A scientist could bolster such arguments by pointing out that, if creation was going to be taught as a science, it would have to obey all the rules of scientific inquiry. All miracles would have to go. Everything would have to be explained in terms of detailed naturalistic mechanisms that could be tested and falsified. And, if this were done by using the two-models approach in an unbiased, accurate, and rationally consistent manner, the outcome would be the same as it was historically: the creation model would be falsified.)

Imagine those orators, all claiming to be upstanding, fundamentalist Christians and trying to out do William Jennings Bryan at the Scopes trial! The PBS television channel broadcast most of this debate the following Sunday night on its program, "Legislative Week in Review." But they left out one of the most entertaining parts. Representative Duckett (Democrat) was pleading for the bill, and he told a story that went something like this: "I visited the zoo last weekend, and while I was walking through the Primate House I heard a voice say, 'Please pass the bill.' I was surprised when I looked around, because there wasn't anyone there. Then I realized that one of the monkeys in a cage was talking to me. 'Why do you want that bill passed?' I asked him. 'We don't want your children to be taught that they are descended from us. After all, we don't fight wars, drop atom bombs, and pollute the environment! Please pass the bill.' " When Duckett was finished, he yielded to Representative Cox (Democrat) for a question. Cox, a black man from Oklahoma City who previously had spoken against the bill by waving his Bible and telling how he learned his religion at his mother's knee, held out his Bible to Duckett and asked, "Will you put your hand on this book and swear that that monkey spoke to you?" It brought down the house. (Several of us were reminded of Oral Roberts who recently claimed to have had a vision of a nine-hundred-foot-tall Jesus who had spoken to him.)

To be fair, it must be mentioned that other arguments against the bill were voiced: (1) that it would give legitimacy to a pseudoscience that couldn't get respectability on its own in the scientific community, and (2) that the astrologers and flat-earthers would soon be demanding similar laws.

I was pleased at the outcome of the meeting, especially because the "scientific" creationists were rejected on religious grounds. I'm sure they had imagined that Oklahoma, with its fundamentalist Christian population and Moral Majority politicians, would be a shoo-in to pass this legislation. The people from OU were delighted to see Ed Blick sneak out of the meeting early. Morris and Bird were sitting too far in front to escape; they had to stay there to the bitter end, looking quite uncomfortable and dismayed. Even the authors of the bill were apologizing for it and admitting that it needed a great deal of revision. And one freshman representative asked that his coauthorship of the bill be withdrawn!

About the Author(s): 

Frank Sonleitner is an associate professor of zoology at the University of Oklahoma at Norman.

Copyright 1981 by Frank J. Sonleitner

This version might differ slightly from the print publication.

New Creationist Bills, Resolutions, and Court Cases Appear Nationwide

Creation Evolution Journal
Title: 
New Creationist Bills, Resolutions, and Court Cases Appear Nationwide
Volume: 
2
Number: 
2
Quarter: 
Spring
Page(s): 
27–34
Year: 
1981

From the Editor:

In the last issue, we provided a chart of states where creationist action had taken place. Recent events, particularly in the first quarter of 1981, have rendered that chart obsolete. Creationism is breaking out from coast to coast. States we've heard about are Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin. What follows are the details we have. Please understand, however, that events often move faster than our publishing schedule, and we sometimes depend on individual subscribers to report to us about actions taking place in their areas.

Arkansas

While all eyes were on California, while school was out, and on the last day of the legislative session, a creation bill was passed in Arkansas without resistance. This bill, along with a heap of other pieces of midnight legislation, went to the governor (who was elected on a Moral Majority platform) for signature. The creation bill was the first he signed, and he did so without even reading it. So now it is the law in Arkansas that, whenever evolution is taught, creationism must be given equal time. The ACLU plans litigation, and many scientists in the state are gearing up for a court battle. Arkansas is a state that does not have a Committee of Correspondence to fight such creationist efforts.

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California

In Segraves v. California, a nonjury trial, began March 2, 1981, in Sacramento County Superior Court. The plaintiff was Kelly Segraves, administrator of the Creation-Science Research Center of San Diego, who was suing on behalf of his children. He was represented by Richard Turner. The defendants were the State Board of Education and the Department of Education, represented by Deputy Attorney General Robert Tyler. The case began early this past year, when a Superior Court judge rejected a petition filed by the Creation-Science Research Center for a temporary restraining order against the use of textbooks that treat evolution as fact. CSRC appealed the dismissal, then dropped it to pursue, instead, a permanent injunction and a chance to take the case to trial on the grounds that the state was violating constitutional law by teaching evolution exclusively. However, after having spent $50,000 in legal costs, CSRC attempted to settle out of court with a compromise. They offered to drop their suit if the state would require teaching evolution as one of a number of theories and stop treating as fact the view that humans developed from earlier forms. This proposed settlement was rejected on February 5, and so the suit went to trial. At the conclusion of the case on March 6, the judge ruled that the state guidelines on the exclusive teaching of evolution do not present it in a dogmatic way and so do not represent a burden on the religious free exercise rights of creationists. However, the judge ordered that the state Board of Education's 1973 policy on avoiding dogmatism in the teaching of origins be sent to all school districts and science teachers in the state, to textbook publishers, and for inclusion in future editions of the guidelines. CSRC is the legal arm of the twenty-thousand-member Bible Science Association, an international organization with local chapters in many communities.

In Livermore, California, a group of parents, most of whom were scientists, challenged an elementary school creation-evolution science class. They declared that Ray Baird, a member of a Christian teachers group, was teaching fifth- and sixth-grade students with inappropriate religious materials. These materials were purchased with school district funds from Creation-Life Publishers, the publishing arm of the Institute for Creation Research. They included books, filmstrips, and audio-visual aids that, in some ways, ridiculed evolution and linked it with Marxism and Nazism. Some of these materials asserted that evolution was the cause of racism and military aggression. Ray Baird admitted that he should have reviewed the materials better before using them and that he had made a mistake—they were not appropriate. The district subsequently reviewed these same materials and stated that they were all "considered to be biased, misleading, inaccurate, prejudicial, and derogatory" and frequently asked students to make a choice between believing in God and believing in evolution. Then, on February 3, 1981, the Livermore school board voted unanimously to stop the teaching of the Bible-based theory of "scientific creationism." The board also ruled that, if it eventually permits the subject to be taught, the teachers must be skilled in the subject and that there should be "an appropriate instructional support system." Furthermore, "instruction about creation beliefs shall be limited to social studies or literature." Ray Baird had taught the class for three years without incident, but this was the first year he had used the Creation-Life materials.

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Florida

This past December, the Hillsborough County School Board voted 4-3 in favor of giving creationism equal time in the county schools. The decision followed several public meetings on the issue in which testimony was heard from both sides. Dr. Gish from the Institute for Creation Research was on hand and spoke persuasively at one meeting, and Richard Bliss, also from ICR, came to town for a newspaper interview during the period of decision. Once the decision was made, the board set up a committee of teachers, citizens, and professionals and ordered this committee to accept materials on how to introduce a "multi-model" approach to origins into the curriculum by the fall of 1981. The board's intent seems to be to have "scientific creationism" taught not only in secondary school science classes but wherever the subject of origins arises and at whatever grade level. The professional staff of the appointed committee has been ordered to write instructional material on origins so as to avoid use of creation texts developed by groups like ICR. The staff is on record as opposing this "multi-model" instruction, but their jobs depend on them following through with the ruling. Their approach, however, is to present the different models with fairness and according to the facts of science and the methods of logic and scientific inquiry.

As a result of this decision, several other counties in Florida are under fire, particularly in the Tampa-St. Petersburg area. John V. Betz at the University of South Florida in Tampa was appointed to the Hillsborough board's committee. He regretfully feels that the tide is turning in Florida toward introduction of creationism in Florida's public schools, even though a legislative bill is not in the offing.

Georgia

As promised, creationists tried again in Georgia after this past year's near-passage of a creation bill by both houses of the state legislature. Representative Tommy Smith of Alma introduced a revised version of the 1980 bill. This version prohibited religious instruction, declaring that teaching "shall be limited to scientific evidence for each model and must not include any religious instruction or reference to religious writings." It was read on the floor and then referred to the House Education Committee. However, it died there when Smith decided to withdraw it and save the battle for next year. The reasons for the withdrawal have been hard to determine.

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Spike Brooks, chairman of the 130-member Georgia Citizens' Educational Coalition, said his organization printed brochures to persuade the legislators to oppose the creation measure. The brochures quoted two Georgia pastors and a church report, which claimed that evolution is noncontradictory with the Bible and that many Christians are "theistic evolutionists." Brooks has been in the center of this battle both this year and last, and his organization is an effective foil to creationist efforts. Membership in the Coalition is five dollars. If you wish to join, write to Mr. Brooks at Seven Vista Square, NW, Atlanta, GA 30327, or phone (404) 355-9724.

Louisiana

State Senator Bill Keith tried to push creationism in Louisiana, but apparently to no avail. A subcommittee of the Joint Legislative Committee on Education met to hear pro-creationist testimony from Edward Boudreaux, a University of New Orleans chemistry professor, and two other scientists from the Louisiana State University system. The proposal was for two-model legislation. However, the subcommittee never gathered enough members for a quorum, and legislators walked in and out during the two hours of testimony, sometimes leaving only one legislator in the room. Senator Keith had a similar problem when he introduced a creationism bill in the 1980 session of the legislature. Members of the Senate Education Committee slipped out of a committee meeting, thus avoiding a vote on the issue. Keith, however, has tried to argue that the subject is politically safe, citing a north Louisiana newspaper poll that showed that 75 percent of parents polled were in favor of creationism being taught in public schools. If such legislation is ever passed in the state, there is a good chance that Governor Treen will sign it into law.

Ohio

Teachers in all fields are encouraged, when considering or teaching the origin of life or the universe, to present all major theories, including those of creation and evolution. These should be stressed as theories, rather than established fact, and accorded proper treatment in time, emphasis, and attitude to protect the rights of all students. An adequate amount of reference material shall be provided by the Columbus Public School Libraries to lend support to each theory. Teachers should supplement Board of Education adopted texts with materials which attempt to provide unbiased information about the various theories of the origin of life and the universe."

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The above is an exact quote from the agenda of the Columbus, Ohio, Board of Education meeting of November 18, 1980. The Board heard only three statements from the public on this creation policy, and all were critical of it. The Board then went on to discuss other policies. Once discussion was completed, the vote was taken on all policies under consideration—as one group. The vote was unanimous, seven to zero, to adopt everything, including the policy on origin theory. This policy was first adopted in March 1971 by the unanimous vote of the Board. It was Section 910 of the Administrative Guide, and was entitled "Etiological Theory." The November 1980 vote, then, merely changed it to a "Board Policy on Origin Theory," maintaining the exact original wording. Board member Paul Langdon, who has been on the board for over twenty years, originally worked to get the policy adopted. Biology teachers have, in the past, received ICR creationist books as gifts from Mr. Langdon to use as supplementary teaching material. The Board has not, however, ordered the use of public funds for any creationist textbook purchases.

Oregon and Washington

There is a model creation law floating around this year, the lion's share of which was drafted by Wendell Bird and which is being pushed by Paul Ellwanger's Citizens for Fairness in Education, a South Carolina group. It has already popped up in Washington and Oregon, and was the bell that passed in Arkansas.

The Washington version is House Bill 234. The American Civil Liberties Union geared up for a battle in that state, because the recent conversion of a Senate Democrat to Republicanism suddenly gave both houses of the Washington legislature a Republican majority. Last heard, the bill was still in the Education Committee, but appears doomed to failure as a result of a public hearing.

The Oregon version of the bill is in the Legislative Assembly as House Bill 2633. Though its provisions are rearranged in a slightly different order, careful comparison reveals it as essentially the same model bill, requiring "balanced treatment" in public school science of both creation and evolution. Oregon Attorney General James Brown said that such a requirement is unconstitutional. Furthermore, in December 1980, Brown issued a twenty-page opinion on the matter, which stated that Oregon public schools are not required to teach creation just because they teach evolution. But the same report also said that the teaching of scientific creationism is allowable unless it constitutes religious instruction and that local school boards have the right to decide what constitutes religious instruction.

Whether or not this opinion set off the move to push creationist legislation this year, it certainly did set off a flurry of local school board activity in the state. For example, the school board of Grants Pass voted three to two against passage of a proposed creationist resolution promoted in their district. Nine residents of the district testified against the idea of equal time for creationism, and no one testified for it.

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The Board's ruling declared that the district's existing policy on teaching controversial issues such as origins is sufficient. Said policy requires instructors teaching about the origins of life to acquaint students with various points of view. The regulation says: "The teacher is not to identify any one theory of origin as the way...."

But if Grants Pass got by, the Phoenix-Talent School Board didn't. There were a number of rounds of discussion on the matter, followed by a ruling on January 22, 1981. That ruling resulted in a policy that allows creationism into the science curriculum without actually referring to creationism by name. What the policy says, in four points, is this:

1. Teachers will become knowledgeable concerning major theories (and the evidence upon which they are based) in their area of instruction, particularly those espoused by their students.

2. Teachers will, when instructing students, carefully distinguish evidence, data, and facts from theory, hypothesis, and conjecture.

3. Teachers and others responsible for curriculum content will seek to be unbiased and nonderogatory regarding differing theories in the development of curriculum, class presentations, their choice of reference material, allotments of class time, and evaluations of evidence.

4. Teachers' academic freedom will be preserved in accordance with their negotiated contract in their right to express their personal evaluations of the theories presented, provided they clearly designate these as their own opinions.

The Board approved this policy unanimously after rejecting a much more strict creationist resolution. The new policy has partisans of both sides confused. The creationists want creationism mentioned by name. The local ACLU has stated that if this results in an infringement on anyone's rights, it is willing to take the case all the way to the Oregon Supreme Court.

South Dakota

In the case of Lloyd Dale v. Board of Education, Lemmon Independent School District, the court upheld the firing of Lloyd Dale for giving too much time to creation-evolution in his high school biology class. In spite of the fact that ICR claims this is an example of the "Scopes trial in reverse," the court found Dale was devoting so much class time to the controversy that students began complaining that they were not being taught basic biology. From testimony, it became evident that Dale's desire to devote 30 percent of the course time to creationism resulted in him not covering the required subjects in the text. In fact, so much had been left uncovered in the first three quarters of the school year that it couldn't be made up in the remaining quarter. Eleven of his twenty-five students transferred out of his class. The board never forbade Dale from discussing creationism, but only asked him to not teach it so much that it interfered with the basic material of the course. Dale repeatedly refused to cooperate and so was fired.

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Washington, D.C.

In the case of Crowley v. Smithsonian Institution, the U.S. Court of Appeals ruled against the creationists on October 30, 1980. The case had begun back in 1978 when creationists sued the Smithsonian Institution in the U.S. District Court of Washington, D.C. The suit charged that the Smithsonian was teaching the religion of "secular humanism" by having an evolution display at taxpayers expense, and that said display inhibited the free exercise of religion of certain Christian fundamentalists. The creationists sought an injunction prohibiting the exhibit, "The Emergence of Man," and other similar exhibits, or, as an alternative, asked for an order requiring the museum to commit equal funds to explain creation along the lines of the biblical account in Genesis. The U.S. District Court refused to accept the creationist description of evolution "as, and only as, part of the religion of secular humanism" and did not regard the museum exhibit as expressing hostility to religious theories of creation. The Court further stated that the creationists' free exercise of religion was "not actionably impaired merely because, should they visit the Smithsonian, they may be confronted with exhibits which are distasteful to their religion." Therefore, the court ruled against the creationists. This defeat led the creationists to appeal, but the appeals court, on October 30, 1980, upheld the original decision, further adding that the creationists' appeal was "essentially a challenge to the concept of evolution," and as such was immaterial to the case. The fact that the creationists were able to name one religious group which espoused evolution as a tenet was also regarded as immaterial.

Wisconsin

While in the early stages of constructing a new earth sciences exhibit on origins, the Milwaukee Public Museum was brought under attack in February by the Creation-Science Society of Milwaukee. They wanted the new exhibit to consider their view as well. Robert West, curator of geology at the museum and a subscriber to Creation/Evolution, decided to bring up the possibility of needing to give equal time for flat-earth science if creationism was going to be presented. This effort, fueled by helpful information from Bob Schadewald, gained some notoriety in the local press. In a showdown five creationists met with an equal number of scientists from the museum. However, Walter Brown, director of ICR's midwest center in Illinois, presented the main case.

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Among the pieces of literature he passed out was an item called "The Scientific Case for Creation—103 Categories of Evidence—The Theory of Evolution is Invalid." This involved eleven pages of text and four pages of references. Nonetheless, the creationists failed to convince the museum board to change the planned exhibit. As West quipped about the creationists' appeal to the public's supposed desire for creationism, "Why not fire all the scientists then and have an annual newspaper poll as to what exhibits to place in the museum?" The Smithsonian Institution verdict played a helpful role in this Wisconsin battle.

Related Events

In December 1980, the American Anthropological Association passed overwhelmingly a resolution declaring evolution to be "the best scientific explanation of human and nonhuman biology and the key to understanding the origin and development of life," and stating that efforts to require equal-time teaching of creationism with evolution "are not based on science but rather are attempts to promote unscientific viewpoints in the name of science...."

In Toronto, Canada, at the 1981 annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, four scientists—physicist Rolf M. Sinclair of the National Science Foundation; William G. Mayer, director of the Biological Sciences Curriculum Study in Boulder, Colorado; Milton K. Munitz of the City University of New York; and Smithsonian Institution scientist Porter M. Kier—all spoke on the issue of the creation-evolution controversy. Shock was expressed at what the creationists are doing in the schools and the nature of their arguments and tactics. The scientists shouldered much of the blame for the situation themselves. "There has been a real failure in science education and communication of science to the public," said Dr. Sinclair. When a report of this meeting appeared in the January 10, 1981, Science News, however, the reaction was divided." Letters appearing in the January 31 issue took different sides as to which was true —creation or evolution—and took different positions on whether the attack on creationism was justified.

Ever since the project began in the last months of 1980, Committees of Correspondence in defense of evolution have been organized in twenty-five states. The organization of committees in additional states are also under way. Persons interested in helping the defense of scientific rationalism and secular education can join a committee or can help organize one in a state where none yet exists. Information is available from Stan Weinberg in care of this journal.

This version might differ slightly from the print publication.

Creationism And Evolution: Organizing a Symposium

Creation Evolution Journal
Title: 
Creationism And Evolution: Organizing a Symposium
Author(s): 
David Kraus and Jerry Resnick
Volume: 
2
Number: 
2
Quarter: 
Spring
Page(s): 
35–40
Year: 
1981

How can you organize an all-day symposium on creationism and evolution? The Science Council of New York City (SCONYC), composed of nine science teacher organizations, sponsored such a conference at Rockefeller University on Saturday, December 6, 1980. From conception to fruition, it took five months. The following article was prepared so that others may benefit from the experiences of those who were neophytes in such an undertaking.

SCONYC's symposium on "Creationism and Evolution" grew out of the pedagogue's proverbial "response to a felt need." We found that many of our colleagues were vague about answering creationist allegations because (1) they were unaware of recent developments in evolution theory and the implications of these developments for the controversy, and (2) they had no overall view of the arguments on each side. In addition, many were oblivious to the extent of creationist penetration into local school boards, textbook adoption committees, and state legislatures.

Planning

At. its first meeting in July 1980, the symposium committee (composed of representatives from the various organizations) considered the objectives for the proposed conference. More pedagese? Not really. Clearly stated objectives not only determine the program but also affect such routine matters as the admission fee (if any), the data to be requested at registration, and the composition of a questionnaire for the audience.

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After much airing of views, the committee decided to expand its objectives to include action as well as education. The thrust of the symposium, thus, would be both to educate our colleagues and to make a start at organizing science teachers and scientists for thwarting the creationist initiative.

At this first meeting, committee members agreed to spend the next month exploring such matters as potential speakers, time schedule for the symposium, possible sites, identifying individuals who could be called upon for assistance with specific tasks, methods of publicity, and problems of financing. During this time, we, Kraus and Resnick, as co-chairpersons, met weekly to coordinate and evaluate the ideas that were being forwarded.

When ready to present its tentative plan, the symposium committee met with the executive board of SCONYC to obtain approval. At this meeting, people volunteered for such assignments as program, publicity, finance, printing, registration, and mailing. We set D-day for Saturday, December 6, 1980—subject to availability of the proposed panel of speakers and of the host institution. We brainstormed about possible speakers and sites.

In setting the date, we considered such factors as national holidays, religious holy days, school examination schedules, national examination schedules (SATs), and even preholiday shopping periods. We agreed that our proposed program would be too lengthy for an evening meeting and that an all-day symposium would be needed instead. But when we opted for a Saturday conference, we (alas!) introduced the complication of finding food and dining space for almost four hundred individuals on a weekend.

Preparation

Then, a host of interrelated tasks had to be accomplished almost simultaneously. The co-chairperson established a list of priorities, assigned responsibilities to specific individuals (including themselves), and monitored progress.

These are some of the tasks that had to be done:

1. Establish the program. To address the symposium, we invited individuals known to be outstanding in specific areas of evolution theory, who are knowledgeable about the creation-evolution controversy, and who have been involved in nationwide efforts to organize evolutionists on the grass-roots level. We aimed high and did not hesitate to pursue the most wild-eyed suggestions that had emanated from our committee meetings. The speakers invited were Isaac Asimov, Niles Eldredge, Wayne Moyer, and Stanley L. Weinberg. In no instance did we have a refusal. It was all done by telephone, followed by a letter of formal invitation. We did not find it necessary to approach our alternate choices.

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2. Select the meeting place. We considered such factors as the prestige of the site, centrality of location, seating capacity, cost, public transportation, and parking. A phone call "cold" (that is, without benefit of advance introduction by a prestigious scientist) to an officer at Rockefeller University was met with a cordial expression of interest. This was followed by letters, personal visits, and the completion of an application form. Through the efforts of a gracious secretary who served as contact person, we made arrangements for a projectionist who would also tape the proceedings, for use of extra rooms, for platform seating and microphones, for registration tables at the entrance, and even for the use of the restricted parking area for the speakers and key individuals. Finally, we obtained definite approval before printing our announcement fliers.

3. Registration. We decided upon advanced registration by mail at a $2 fee. We reasoned that a person holding a paid-for ticket would be more likely to attend than one who must make a crucial decision on a possibly snowy December morning. In establishing the nominal fee, we were more concerned about attendance than defraying costs. We established November 28 as the deadline for advanced registration, but indicated that on-site registration would cost $3, if eats were available. Rose Blaustein handled registration matters; John Augenstein prepared questionnaires.

4. Print announcement fliers. With all major details in place, we commercially printed five thousand announcement fliers and four hundred admission tickets. The fliers included a tear-off registration form. (Copies of the flier may be obtained from Jerry Resnick at the address given above. Please send stamped, self-addressed envelope.) We asked registrants to include a self-addressed envelope with their fee—a precaution that saved our registration chairperson much time. This individual devoted much time and effort in the preparation of lists of registrants and their addresses. These were useful at the door for admitting individuals who had mislaid their tickets and for the later compilation of a card file.

The flier provided such information as the site and its address, date, time, names of speakers, topics to be discussed, and registration details. It also included the name and phone number of one of the co-chairpersons, to whom questions could be addressed. The flier also specified that the program would not include a debate. Instead, briefly stated questions would be answered by a panel of the speakers during a question-and-answer period.

5. Arrange for publicity. All SCONYC organizations mailed fliers to their members. We inserted notices in journals of national and state science teacher associations and sent fliers to the New York Academy of Sciences. We publicized the symposium at the national convention of the National Association of Biology Teachers held in Boston, and at an upstate meeting of science teachers. We mailed fliers to heads of the physical and biological science departments of nearby colleges and high schools. Heads of the science-education departments of nearby universities, four-year colleges, and community colleges were also on our mailing list. Personal phone calls supplemented the mailings when one of us knew a contact person. We asked school superintendents to publicize this educational meeting within their districts. And, of most importance, we sent repeat mailings.

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We were not effective with the media. We desired media coverage not for advance publicity but rather to disseminate some of the ideas developed at the symposium to the public, to scientists, and to science educators. To this end, we telephoned and wrote to the science editors and education editors of our major newspapers explaining why this would be a newsworthy event for them to cover. However, despite the stereotype of the reporter as an intrepid newshound, none would venture forth on a cold Saturday morning! Now we realize that we should have provided a news release in advance and made a personal visit. One editor, however, does plan to do a piece concerning our symposium and the burgeoning anti-creationist movement.

6. Provide the speakers with complete program details. Two weeks before D-day, we sent each speaker a detailed outline of the program, including the time schedule. In reminding each speaker of his specific topic, we also suggested specific points or questions for inclusion. We also provided a response form to solicit biographical data, visual-aid requirements, and miscellaneous suggestions.

7. Make arrangements for food. For us, this seemingly simple matter constituted our most agonizing and time-consuming problem. Our host institution could not adequately meet our needs on a Saturday. We feared that people wandering off in search of a restaurant might not return. Finally, we had a caterer provide an inexpensive box lunch for half the audience, and we directed the remainder to the cafeterias of two nearby hospitals. Had we not already printed the tickets, we would have notified this woodsy bunch of biologists to brown-bag it.

8. Respond to criticism. Several creationists and evolutionists wrote or phoned to complain that we did not have a creationist to present the opposing view. As part of our letter of response, we said: "We felt that we could make better use of the limited time available by an overall, dispassionate analysis rather than by a debate-type confrontation of a kind that often becomes enmeshed in a few, possibly trivial aspects. Oratorical displays are often more obfuscating than illuminating." We also pointed out that one speaker's task was to attempt an honest, point-by-point comparison of the competing arguments. Finally, we stated that the program provided for a question-and-answer period, and we hoped the questioner would obtain new insights from the program.

We believe that our cordial and frank response to criticism and our eliciting of questions from creationists during the open-forum segment of the program provided a wholesome atmosphere. The moderator also made a point of welcoming those in the audience who held creationist views.

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The Meeting

Meticulous planning, faithful execution of assignments by committee members, and full cooperation by personnel of the host institution caused the symposium to run smoothly (except for slight chaos at lunchtime). Fortunately, we had selected an overall coordinator for the meeting. This individual met early with the working committee and student assistants to direct them to their assigned posts. The coordinator greeted the speakers and honored guests and ushered them to an alcove where they could meet informally before the program began. He also opened the meeting, gave directions at lunchtime, started the afternoon session, and served as general dispenser of information. We should have had two guides, fitted with colored armbands.

We had a few pleasant surprises. Charlotte Frank, executive director of the Division of Curriculum and Instruction of the New York City Board of Education, read a statement supporting the teaching of modern evolution theory in the science curriculum. Charles C. "Spike" Brooks, an unexpected visitor from Atlanta, Georgia, exhilarated us with stories of his experiences in that state. Catherine A. Callaghan, associate professor of linguistics at Ohio State University and a Ohio anthropologist, brought copies of her American Biology Teacher article, which details evolutionist answers to twenty creationist arguments.

Evaluation

The final step for us pedagogues, of course, was evaluation. This took place at a euphoric Dutch-treat dinner for the symposium committee. An analysis of the symposium questionnaires disclosed that this single meeting had converted nobody: Evolutionists remained evolutionists and creationists remained creationists. This did not surprise us; individuals willing to devote a day-off to a discussion of this topic must already be strongly committed. However, we were gratified to learn that 25 percent of the creationists who responded thought we had been quite fair in our presentation of their views. Half of the people said that they had learned much from the updating in evolution theory.

If we had changed so few minds, what were the values of the symposium? Some were tangible, others intangible. One tangible outcome was the development of a card file of people in our state who want to become involved in an action program. We are sorting the cards so that they can be pulled by city, county, and school. We are building a communications network of people who can organize a letter-writing campaign in their schools or localities, and who can fill busloads of colleagues to visit the legislature while it is in session. We have names of volunteers to serve on a steering committee that will coordinate the efforts of scientists, educators, clergymen, lawyers, and parents.

We had thirty-two registrants from New Jersey and ten from Connecticut. We designated separate areas for these people to find their colleagues and begin organizing themselves. If people from our sister states did get a start, we claim this fringe benefit as an additional tangible outcome.

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An intangible outcome of the symposium was the sense of cohesiveness developed in individuals who, already aware of the creationist threat, were seeking a means of moderate personal involvement. Also, our five thousand fliers. and the potential newspaper publicity are alerting somnolent scientists, science teachers, and laypersons to the threat to vitiate the scientific process and to crumble the barrier between church and state.

If you should organize a symposium in your city, such a rally of cohorts will provide esprit, cohesiveness, and direction to those who are making lonesome efforts in defense of their most cherished goals. They are out there, awaiting your call.

About the Author(s): 

David Kraus is chairman of SCONYC's Committee for Scientific Freedom. He was formerly president of the Biology Chairmen's Association of New York City and served until his retirement as chairman of the Science Department at Far Rockaway High School. His address is: 261 Beach 138th Street, Belle Harbor, NY 11694.

Jerry Resnick is president of SCONYC and vice-president of the National Association of Biology Teachers. He is assistant principal (supervision) at Sheepshead Bay High School, 3000 Avenue X, Brooklyn, NY 11235.

Copyright 1981 by David Kraus and Jerry Resnick

This version might differ slightly from the print publication.

Issue 5 (Summer 1981)

Creation Evolution Journal
Title: 
Creation/Evolution V
Volume: 
2
Number: 
3
Quarter: 
Summer
Year: 
1981
For a PDF version of the entire issue, please click here.


See below for text versions of this issue's articles.
This version might differ slightly from the print publication.

Defining "Kinds" — Do Creationists Apply a Double Standard?

Creation Evolution Journal
Title: 
Defining "Kinds" — Do Creationists Apply a Double Standard?
Author(s): 
Frank T. Awbrey
Volume: 
2
Number: 
3
Quarter: 
Summer
Page(s): 
1–6
Year: 
1981

Creationists long ago gave up on their original idea of fixity of species. One reason is because simple calculation can show that Noah's Ark could not possibly have held pairs from each of some two to five million species (there would be less than one-half cubic foot per pair), nor could Noah and his family have possibly taken care of them all. A second reason is that the evidence for adaptive change and species formation is overwhelming. Therefore, they had to develop another concept.

Original Created Kinds

The current creation science stand on this matter is very nicely summed up by Dennis Wagner, editor of Students for Origins Research, in his answer to a letter by Dr. C. A. Zimmerman of Aurora College. Zimmerman asked whether or not creationists are "opposed to any and all evolution for any and all cases." Wagner defined three levels of evolution and stated that creationists object only to the third level-macroevolution-which leads to the formation of higher taxonomic categories such as genus, family, order, and so forth. He then said:

The main thrust of the creationist belief is that there is a set of originally created kinds that were designed with a vast but limited potentiality for variation. This variation was gradually released through the degenerative process of inbreeding in which the offspring species never again reach the hereditary variability of the parent.

He proposed that the term genus should apply to the original created kind and finished with:

Is the creationist opposed to macroevolution then? Well according to the definition of macroevolution, sometimes yes, sometimes no. If by macroevolution it is meant descent with modification of the coyote, wolf,

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dingo, pampa fox, asiatic jackal, and domestic dog from the originally created Canid kind, then the answer is no, the creationist is not opposed to macroevolution. If, however, the definition of macroevolution means the descent with modification of the bird kind from the reptilian kind, then the answer is yes, the creationist is opposed to macroevolution.

Creationists do not have an exact definition of the original created kind for the same reasons that taxonomists cannot precisely define species: every imaginable gradation between species exists. Gish, a leading creation scientist, says that a basic animal or plant kind would include all species that have truly shared a common gene pool (1978). Furthermore, although no new kinds have arisen since the original creation, "the concept of special creation does not exclude the origin of varieties and species from an original created kind" (p. 40). In an article that first appeared in Creation Research Society Quarterly in 1971, F. L. Marsh says:

The descriptions of kinds in Genesis I give us ground for hypothesizing that the individuals of any particular Genesis kind would have chemistries sufficiently alike to make them fertile inter se, but sufficiently different to make them incompatible with individuals of every other kind. If this hypothesis is valid, then ability to cross would demonstrate membership in the same basic type.

He then lists examples of plant and animal kinds, based upon "true fertilization." that is, whether or not "both reduced parental sets of chromosomes join and participate in the first division of the fertilized egg." In cases such as horses and asses, or dogs, coyotes, and wolves, the genus is the kind (or the baramin, as creationists call it). If members of different families within an order can be crossed, that order is the created kind, and so on. He admits that in some cases mutation and chromosomal rearrangements may have occurred that prevent interbreeding, but membership in a kind can be determined from external appearance as in fruit flies.

As biologists have recognized for over half a century, this is an objective and testable approach to the question of origins. An enormous amount of experimental hybridization has been done and is being done to help taxonomists assess relatedness in classifying many plant and animal species. Evolutionists interpret the results as strongly supporting the theory of descent with modification. Although creationists also appear to agree, within the limits stated by Wagner (1980) and Marsh (1971), they reject or ignore a large body of straightforward evidence that relates directly to the question of common descent and hybridization. Evidence is accepted by creationists only when it does not conflict with their beliefs.

Determining Genetic Relationship

An overwhelming body of experimental evidence clearly shows that the ability to

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form hybrids is strongly tied to the amount of genetic relatedness between species. Genetic relatedness can be directly measured by a number of techniques (Dobzhansky, et al., 1977). Members of a local population exchange genes freely and are genetically very similar. On a scale of zero to one, their "genetic similarity" (one measure of the proportion of shared genes coding for essentially identical proteins) is 0.90 or higher. Some barriers to hybridization may exist between subspecies whose genetic similarity is about 0.8. Full species have genetic similarities ranging from 0.8 to about 0.3 and usually have substantial, if not complete, barriers to hybridization, and so on (Ayala, 1975).

Numerous studies show that chromosomal similarity is also a good measure of genetic relatedness. The fine structure of the gene-bearing chromosomes is an extremely complex pattern of bands and lines. The probability that two different chromosomes would independently arrive at identical banding patterns is essentially zero. Wallace details the evidence that identical chromosomes in two different species prove common ancestry just as surely as identical scratch patterns on two bullets prove both came from the same gun (1966). Even so, related species do not always have highly similar chromosome numbers or banding patterns because extensive chromosome rearrangements sometimes occur during speciation (White, 1978). Chromosome differences, when great enough, can cause the hybrids to be sterile, as in mules (Kaminsky, 1979), or to die as embryos. as in the cross between the domestic dog and the red fox (Chiarelli, 1975). If the differences are too great, the sperm will not even penetrate the egg. Conversely. the more similar the chromosomes of a sperm and an egg, the more likely their combination will result in Marsh's "true fertilization."

Evolutionists and creationists alike realize that all living species of a "kind" have inherited their genes from the same original ancestral species. Therefore, their body forms, chemistry, physiology, chromosomes, and genes are very similar. Conversely, the more similar any pair of species is for any and all of these features, the more likely it is they are descended from a close common ancestor and the more likely it is they can hybridize. If two species appear similar and are known to share most of their genes, creationists are usually perfectly willing to accept them as one "kind." If they are all interfertile, they are certainly one "kind." For example, asses, horses, zebras, and onagers all look rather similar. Their habits, behavior, diets, digestive systems, the proteins in their bodies, and the genes that manufacture those proteins are also similar. Moreover, the species in these four groups differ almost equally from other animals, such as rhinos. They form an obvious "natural group": the family Equidae. The final proof of their close relationship is that all are more or less interfertile, in spite of some differences in chromosome numbers (Ryder, et al., 1978).

The general rule is that the higher the genetic similarity and/or the more similar the chromosomes of two species are in number and structure, the higher the probability that they can hybridize (Dobzhansky, et al., 1977; Gray, 1971).

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Thus, even in cases where hybridization experiments have not yet been conducted, the likelihood of successful hybridization can be objectively predicted.

These objective criteria, for example, can be used to determine the relatedness of two ape species-the gibbon and the siamang-and, thus, how likely they are to be one "kind." They are easily distinguished, and taxonomists have placed them in different genera of the same family. These two species live together in Southeast Asia, but are not known to interact. The gibbon has twentytwo pairs of chromosomes, the siamang has twenty-five pairs. Their chromosome banding patterns have been so extensively rearranged that only one chromosome still bears a recognizably similar banding pattern in both species (Myers and Shafer, 1979).-Their genetic identity, another measure of the proportion of their genes coding for essentially identical proteins, is 0.76 (Bruce and Ayala, 1979). No natural hybrids have ever been reported. Their separation into different genera seems morphologically and behaviorally justified. However, they are genetically as closely related as most rodent species belonging to one genus (Ayala, 1975). They appear, chromosomely, to be at least as closely related as horses (thirty-two chromosome pairs) and onagers (twenty-seven to twenty-eight pairs) (Ryder, et al., 1978) or domestic dogs (thirty-nine chromosome pairs) and the red fox (eighteen to twenty pairs) (Chiarelli, 1975): Scientists view these observations as strong evidence for close evolutionary relationship. Since 1975, two hybrids have been born in the Atlanta, Georgia, Zoo (Myers and Shafer, 1979). Gibbons and siamangs unquestionably are highly modified descendants of a recent common ancestor, according to both evolutionist and creationist criteria.

Let us now apply these principles to another pair of mammal species. Their genetic identity is 0.70, about equal to the gibbon and siamang. Unlike the gibbon and siamang, their chromosomes are virtually identical even though one species has one pair of chromosomes more than the other. It is remarkable that 99 percent of the chromosome banding sequences of one species are clearly discernible in the chromosomes of the other species. The banding sequences are mostly in the same locations in the two chromosome sets, but in one species nine short segments are inverted, eighteen chromosomes have other minor changes, and one long chromosome has split to form two short ones, accounting for the different number of chromosomes. No hybrids have been found in nature, and no one has reported producing them in the laboratory. Nevertheless, if the proven criteria for genetic relatedness are objectively applied, these two species are merely one more example of close common descent or "variation within a created kind."

Few—whether evolutionist or creationist—would object to this interpretation if the species in question were fruit flies, horses, dogs, or even- monkeys; but the two species involved are actually humans and chimpanzees (Bruce and Ayala, 1979; Miller, 1977; King and Wilson, 1975; Yunis, et al., 1970). Evolutionists are not surprised, because these observations simply agree with previous fossil, anatomical, and embryological evidence. The picture suddenly changes for scientific

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creationists, however, because they are irrevocably committed to the tenet that humans are unique. All members of the Institute for Creation Research (ICR) must sign a statement of faith affirming their belief that humans were separately and specially created. The statement that humans did not evolve from an animal ancestor is ICR tenet number 4 and is incorporated in the ICR bylaws (Morris, 1980). This belief forces them to deny that all this evidence, which would be compelling proof of close relationship for almost any other species pair, has any relevance at all. A typical creationist reply might be that, at most, they show a common designer.

A Double Standard

The important question here is whether or not changing the meaning of evidence in cases where it conflicts with a belief is scientifically legitimate or intellectually honest. Accepting that a body of evidence infers common ancestry for flies, horses, cats, or dogs, but claiming that exactly analogous evidence infers nothing about human-ape ancestry is not sound scientific reasoning. It is blind prejudice. Creationists clearly reject evolution in this case not because there is scientific evidence against it but because it conflicts with a cherished belief.

When creationists finally acquiesced to the voluminous evidence that species had not remained absolutely fixed and unchanged since creation, they lost their war against the concept of evolution. Because the direct evidence for species divergence (that is, speciation) is so abundant and straightforward, "scientific" creationists had to accept it or appear as irrational as those who use the Bible to argue that the earth is flat. Creationists now argue that new species may arise within kinds, but that no species may change into a new kind. The question is: what limits divergence? Sheep and goats can hybridize. If one "kind" can diverge this far, why not as far as sheep and cattle or sheep and camels? If that far, why not further? Gene products and the genes themselves show no boundaries between kinds. All available evidence suggests that, as long as they reproduce, as long as their genes mutate, and as long as they are subjected to selection, species will continue to diverge, essentially without limit.

I suggest that creationists made a tactical error when they began to pay attention, albeit selectively, to scientific evidence. This is because that evidence actually contradicts their most sacred belief: the belief that humans are uniquely created. Even if "true fertilization" between human and ape were reported, would scientific creationists reject special creation and accept the evolutionary relationship of humans and apes? If they were rational practitioners of science they would.

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Bibliography

Ayala, F. J. 1975. "Genetic Differentiation During Speciation." In Evolutionary Biology, eds. T. Dobzhansky, M. K. Hecht, and W. C. Steere. 8:1-78. New York: Penum Press.

Bruce, E. J., and Ayala, F. J. 1979. "Phylogentric Relationships Between Man and the Apes. Electrophorectic Evidence." Evolution 33:1040-1056.

Chiarelli, A. B. 1975. "The Chromosomes of the Canidae." In The Wild Canids, Their Systematics, Behavioral Ecology, and Evolution, ed. M. W. Fox, pp. 40-53. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold and Co.

Dobzhansky, T., Ayala, F. J., Stebbins, G. L., and Valentine, J. W. 1977. Evolution. San Francisco: W. H. Freeman and Co, p. 572.

Gish, D. T. 1978. Evolution-The Fossils Say No! Public School Edition. San Diego: Creation Life Publishers, p. 32.

Gray, A. P. 1971. Mammalian Hybrids. Farnham Royal, England: Commonwealth Agricultural Bureau.

Kaminsky, M. 1979. "The Biochemical Evolution of the Horse." Comp. Biochem. Physiol. 63B:175-178.

King, M. C., and Wilson, A. C. 1975. "Evolution at Two Levels in Humans and Chimpanzees." Science 188:107-116.

Marsh, F. L. 1971. "The Genesis Kinds in the Modern World." In Scientific Studies in Special Creation, ed. W. E. Lammerts, pp. 136-155. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House.

Miller, D. A. 1977. "Evolution of Primate Chromosomes." Science 198:1116-1124.

Morris, H. M. July 1980. "The Tenets of Creationism." Impact, no. 85. Institute for Creation Research.

Myers, R. H., and Shafer, D. A. 1979. "Hybrid Ape Offspring of a Mating of Gibbon and Siamang." Science 205:308-310.

Ryder, O. A., Epel, N. C., and Benirschke, K. 1978. "Chromosome Banding Studies of the Equidae." Cytogenet. Cell Genet. 20: 323-350.

Wagner, D. Fall 1980. Students for Origins Research, p. 3.

Wallace, B. 1966. Chromosomes, Giant Molecules, and Evolution. New York: W. W. Norton and Company, p. 166.

White, M. J. D. 1978. Modes of Speciation. San Francisco: W. H. Freeman and Co., p. 455.

Yunis, J., Sawyer, J. R., and Dunham, K. 1980. "The Striking Resemblance of HighResolution G-Banded Chromosomes of Man and Chimpanzee." Science 208:11451148.

About the Author(s): 

Dr. Awbrey is a professor of biology at San Diego State University. He has debated on several occasions creationists from the Institute for Creation Research and the CreationScience Research Center.

Copyright 1981 by Frank T. Awbrey

This version might differ slightly from the print publication.

Why Scientific Creationism Fails to Meet the Criteria of Science

Creation Evolution Journal
Title: 
Why Scientific Creationism Fails to Meet the Criteria of Science
Author(s): 
Ralph W. Lewis
Volume: 
2
Number: 
3
Quarter: 
Summer
Page(s): 
7–11
Year: 
1981

The supposed conflict between science and religion as set forth by modern creationists cannot be evaluated unless one knows certain characteristics of scientific knowledge and compares them with certain characteristics of religion. This comparison leads informed, rational people to conclude that creationism is not a part of science and that the conflict between science and religion is not very significant. The unlimited ranges of religious experience, for those who grasp them, are bound to make the limited ranges of science seem small. Thus, any conflict-apparent or real-will be small or nonexistent.

Scientific Knowledge

In order to understand the limitations of science, one needs to know some general characteristics of scientific knowledge and a few things about the record of works that developed this knowledge.

Scientific knowledge is organized around many hundreds of sets of ideas. The number of ideas in a set is few, usually from five to ten. A theory consists of one set of ideas plus many facts plus many lines of reasoning by which facts are used to support the ideas and by which facts are explained or predicted. The ideas, often called postulates, are human made and are established, by consensus, through the centuries. Ideas about the mystical and the supernatural are excluded from science.

All reasoning in science hinges around sets of ideas which are assumptions about nature. If the ideas seem reasonable in light of the facts available, if the ideas make it possible to explain many facts, and if the ideas make it possible to predict facts that are not yet known, then we say that we have a good theory. The ability to explain and predict facts leads scientists to think there is some truth in the ideas. But scientists aren't satisfied. Truly, they are obligated by their discipline not to be satisfied. When possible, they question and test the ideas directly. They question the explanations of facts that others have given. They make predictions and test them by extensive observations and experiments. And

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they continue these operations until they have (1) disproved a theory, (2) changed the theory by modifying its assumptions, or (3) established the range of its applicability and limitations.

Theories, even the best of them, are never universal, perfect, or complete. Each theory applies to a limited range of human experience and, even within this range, it may be impossible to make certain kinds of predictions because the theory is too imperfect. With large theories it is impossible to follow out all of the logical consequences or predictions because of the limited time, tools, and resources available. Large theories are always incomplete.

A theory which has become widely accepted has a history recorded in the scientific literature. In order to decide if a theory is truly scientific, one must be able to find adequate answers to questions like the following.

  1. What are the names of the people who have spent years of time developing and testing the theory by field work or laboratory experiments?
  2. What is the reference to the paper or book in which the theory was first published?
  3. What are the references to papers in which the various aspects of the theory were tested?
  4. What are the references to papers which describe applications of the theory that show its capacity to explain facts?
  5. What are the references to papers that describe substantiated predictions derived from theory?
  6. What are the references to papers that delimit the theory and show its limitations?

The work described in these kinds of papers must meet the rigorous standards of accuracy, clarity, and logicality typical of science.

Descent with Modification

In order to illustrate some aspects of science described above, let's examine the theory of descent with modification. This theory is one of the major theories of evolution. The other, which deals with mechanism of evolution, is the modern modified form of the theory of natural selection. The postulates of the descent theory are as follows:

  1. All life evolved from one simple kind of organism.
  2. Each species, fossil or living, arose from another species that preceded it in time.
  3. Evolutionary changes were gradual and of long duration.

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  1. Over long periods of time, new genera, new families, new orders, new classes, and new phyla arose by a continuation of the kind of evolution that produced new species.
  2. Each species originated in a single geographic location.
  3. The greater the similarity between two groups of organisms, the closer is their relationship and the closer in geologic time is their common ancestral group.
  4. Extinction of old forms (species, and so forth) is a consequence of the production of new forms or of environmental change.
  5. Once a species or other group has become extinct, it never reappears.
  6. Evolution continues today in generally the same manner as during preceding geologic eras.
  7. The geologic record is very incomplete.

The postulates set the major limitations of this theory as they do with all theories. The theory is concerned with living and fossil organisms. It is concerned with changes that occurred in living organisms through the vast reaches of geologic time. It is not concerned with cosmic evolution, inorganic evolution, or human cultural evolution. It is not concerned with the origin of life, because it assumes the presence of a simple form of life in the beginning and it says nothing about where this simple form of life came from. Other theories in biology deal with that subject.

Postulates 7, 8, 9, and 10 can be individually tested by searching for evidence. Paleontologists have studied extinction in the fossil record and can in some cases account for it in terms of geologic changes. Extinction of species has occurred quite frequently during the past century, so biologists know something about it. Extinction of subpopulations of species is an active study in ecology today. In general, the facts support postulate 7.

Postulate 8 is well supported by the fossil record, and strong indirect support has come from the growing understanding of reproduction and inheritance in terms of the genetic substance DNA. Postulate 9 is supported by many field and laboratory studies in microevolution and by the origin of a few new species in nature during the past century. Postulate 10 has gained support by the increase in knowledge of the fossil record, but it has been questioned to a degree by the development of the theory of allopatric speciation. So postulate 10 might be restated thus: "The geologic record is incomplete in part because the major steps in evolution occur rapidly (on the geologic time scale) in quite small subpopulations of species." This illustrates how scientists may modify the postulate of a theory. Postulate 3 is somewhat modified by this restatement of 10, but still stands to the extent that we recognize that gradual and rapid change measured in geologic time is of long durations when measured in terms of years or centuries. In geologic time, rapidly could mean hundreds of thousands of years instead of millions of

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years, but this kind of rapid change is still of "long duration" by the time standards of daily existence.

Despite these modifications, most aspects of the theory stand as before. Postulates 1, 2, 4, 5, and 6 gain their support indirectly as a part of the functioning of the whole set. So we find in the study of the geographic distribution of living and fossil organisms, in taxonomy and phylogeny, and in paleontology that there are hundreds of successful subtheories of the descent theory. This means that each subtheory uses the ideas of the descent theory explicitly or implicitly in its reasoning and applies them, along with an additional set of postulates, to a limited situation. Since it is possible to construct these rational patterns of thinking-these subtheories that are acceptable to biologists-each new successful subtheory adds support to its superior theory: the descent theory.

Because the descent theory provides the basis of explaining many facts, such as the biochemical unity of life and the distribution of fossils in geologic formations, and because it has spawned hundreds of subtheories which in turn have made it possible to explain and predict thousands of facts, the descent theory is a fruitful theory. Fruitfulness is the major criterion of the goodness of a theory. Since the theory of descent with modification and the accompanying theory of natural selection have been exceedingly fruitful, and since they encompass millions of facts and lead to the discovery of thousands of new facts each year, they are accepted today as the major theories in biology.

This acceptance does not mean that biologists don't question all aspects of the evolution theories. The discussion of postulate 10 above is an example of this questioning. If a biologist could imagine a better theory that would replace the descent theory, he would do it immediately because he looks at all theories as tentative, humanmade intellectual constructs to be manipulated by thinking people. He does not consider them to be universal truth and wisdom.

Science and Religion

One great difference between science and religion is religion's fundamental concern with beliefs that are accepted on faith, whereas science is concerned with humanmade ideas that are tested in various ways, sometimes discarded, often modified, and always of limited applicability-that is, they do not purport to be universal or absolute truth. Although many ideas in science remain in science for a long time, their limitations are ultimately discovered and they may become subsumed under a new set of ideas that, in turn, has its limitations. Religious beliefs do not function in the tentative, limited way of scientific ideas.

Since religious beliefs are not accepted as tentative, humanmade ideas and since science excludes mystical and supernatural ideas or beliefs from its sets of ideas, anyone can see that religion and science belong to two vastly different

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realms of thought. They are as different as poetry and accounting or architecture and horse racing, or beefsteak and sand. If we wish to stretch at the fringes, I am sure we can find some conflict between the members of these pairs. But will the conflict be of any lasting significance? Life contains many excellent realms of thought that cannot be completely reconciled or integrated. Does this necessarily mean that some of the realms are wrong or bad? No, it simply means they are different.

If biologists consider their theories to be tentative, limited, and incomplete, why do they look with such disfavor at the so-called theory of "scientific creationism" as set forth by a group of creationists? They do this because, in the first place, the creationists' postulates include ideas about the supernatural, and scientists long ago decided that in their limited fields of scientific thought, observation, and experiment they could not successfully use supernatural and mystical ideas. Second, the creationists' theory does not meet the rigorous standards that accompany the growth of an acceptable scientific theory.

One can search without success for references to papers that would answer the above questions as applied to the theory of "scientific creationism." To my knowledge, there is not one practicing biologist who has been active for years in field or laboratory research and who has published papers that describe work designed to test the postulates of the creationist theory or to test the logical consequences of that theory. Thousands of such papers by hundreds of biologists have been published on the theory of biological evolution, and these can be cited to provide answers to the above questions. See Evolution, Process, and Product by Dodson and Dodson for these references.

On the above grounds, one is forced to say that scientific creationism does not exist, and those who do say so are being misled by their ignorance of science and their ignorance of the criteria by which scientists decide what constitutes science. If people choose to hold beliefs or ideas outside of science which cause them to reject scientific ideas and theories, they are exercising their rights in a free society. And in a free society, these people have the right to try to influence others to accept their views. But if, through ignorance or chicanery, these people try to propagate an untruth such as the notion that there is a scientific theory of creation, they are posing a false conflict.

About the Author(s): 

Professor Lewis is in the Department of Natural Science at Michigan State University.

Copyright 1981 by Ralph W. Lewis

This version might differ slightly from the print publication.

The Bombardier Beetle Shoots Back

Creation Evolution Journal
Title: 
The Bombardier Beetle Shoots Back
Author(s): 
Robert E. Kofahl
Volume: 
2
Number: 
3
Quarter: 
Summer
Page(s): 
12–14
Year: 
1981

Christopher Weber claims he has exploded the Bombardier beetle myth, because he has found factual errors and logical deficiencies in the argument for creation developed around this clever little creature (1981). Well, they say that confession is good for the soul, so I had better confess. I am the source of the original little pamphlet about the Bombardier beetle which was published way back in the early sixties. My first information was from an article in the science page of Time magazine (1961) and then a follow-up of Hermann Schildknecht's first research article which was published in Angewandte Chemie in 1961. My translation of this article was cursory, rather sloppy, and the idea of spontaneous explosion of the beetle's hydrogen peroxide-hydroquinone mix came from the Time article. So please don't lay so much blame on Dr. Gish. I must accept responsibility for the misinformation.

Having said this, however, it does appear to me that Chris Weber has not proved his case very well and, therefore, our case still stands. In fact, he ignored or overlooked some basic facts that his readers really ought to know if he claims to have demolished our case.

It is true that a mixture of the two reactants dissolved in water does not spontaneously explode, but Dr. Schildknecht noted that the mixture is quite unstable in vitro and begins to react immediately. He also reported some experimentation with the mixture stored in the reservoir. It seems that the mixture of hydroquinones and hydrogen peroxide remains stored indefinitely in the reservoir without reacting, preserved in a clear water-white condition. He says:

It is thus astonishing that the content of the pygidial gland remains completely colorless in the interior of the bag. This may be investigated if one keeps an isolated pair of pygidial glands together with a moist cotton pad in a small weighing bottle. The contents of the bag remain water-clear for a long time. When after up to two days the bag begins itself by subsequent decomposition to become colored black, there is still to be noted no decomposition of its contents, which, after four days, always still is in reaction-ready condition, as the violent effervescence with formation of quinone and oxygen caused by touching the bag, by this time strongly decomposed, demonstrates... .

In comparison it may be shown by experiment that the phygidial bladder

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contents are stable only in the interior of the bladder and spontaneously decompose in a brief time, if one withdraws it from the bladder, perhaps by puncturing the inactivated bladder with a fine capillary.

According to these investigations, there is a principle active in the biological system that a solution of hydroquinone and hydrogen peroxide is stabilized. This principle is either chemical or physical chemical in nature, but it appears to be connected with the morphology of the collection bladder of the pygidial gland system. Stabilization by a homogeneous chemical stabilizer distributed in the solution appears improbable.

Now let us analyze this defense system from the evolutionary viewpoint. Mr. Weber makes it sound all too easy. Within the framework of his preliminary speculations, we have to imagine a beetle which merely was a stinker, dripping hydroquinones from his anus to be as unappetizing as possible, which would certainly have an adaptive value. But then, somehow, some hydrogen peroxide began to get mixed with the hydroquinone. This was supposedly advantageous, so that gradually natural selection led to increased peroxide content. At first the two compounds reacted until the peroxide was used up. Now this might be advantageous, since the resulting quinone would be an irritant to enemy predators. So now the beetle both stank and burnt the mouths of predators. But then, by chance, a still unknown mechanism developed-either all at once or slowly which prevented the reaction. This would supposedly provide some unknown advantage greater than the previously described advantage of having the reaction take place. Then, gradually, the gland or glands producing the two reactants evolved the power to produce greater and greater concentrations of a stable mixture of hydroquinones and peroxide, eventually reaching 10 percent and 23-25 percent, respectively. This process supposedly had some progressively advantageous value to the beetle.

Schildknecht points out that it is reasonable to imagine that in the biochemical production of each two moles of hydroquinone from quinone, a natural by product would be one mole of oxygen (molecular), and that this could be converted to one mole of hydrogen peroxide. This would yield a weight ratio for hydroquinone to peroxide of 6.5 to 1. But in the stored liquid produced by the beetle's pygidial glands, the ratio for hydroquinone to hydrogen peroxide is 1 to 2.4, an almost fifteen-fold excess of peroxide. This is apparently needed to get both oxidation explosively of the hydroquinone and a large amount of oxygen gas to provide extra propulsion force for the defensive charge. It seems that evolution is always thinking ahead?

Returning now to our developmental train of thought, in the meantime, or at some subsequent time, the vestibule developed with attached glands producing the two enzymes necessary to produce an explosion when mixed with the hydroquinone-peroxide solution. But presumably in the early evolutionary stages the amounts of the enzymes would be small and the concentrations of the reactants

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also small, so no explosions would occur. Perhaps the beetle just walked around with its stinking behind getting gradually hotter and hotter. Maybe it got too hot back there, so it became advantageous for the beetle to evolve the muscle and valve to shut off the reservoir from the vestibule containing the enzymes. Then the beetle would find it advantageous to squirt out short spurts of the mixture which would explode in the vestibule, once the concentrations all got properly balanced. Of course, until controlled explosions became possible to the beetle, there would be no need for the aimable orifices or guns that are now attached to the vestibules of the beetle. So we might speculate that the earlier forms of beetles of the genus Brachinus used shotguns which were not very efficient. Greater efficiency was gained by evolving the shotgun barrels into rifle barrels. Then the beetle could shoot his enemies by aiming his rear end at them and pulling a trigger mechanism which he had just happened to evolve in the nick of time. It would be pretty bad when the robber walked in if the hero found his gun did not have a trigger or if he had not learned how to aim it. Later it became advantageous for the twin rifles to be installed in moveable turrets so that they could cover an arc of 270 degrees. And this all by spontaneous materialistic process!

It does seem to me that to believe such a scenario is credible requires strong faith in the capabilities of atoms and science, but those who believe in evolution have such a faith. Those who believe in creation likewise have strong faith. The difference is that they place their faith in a Being of infinite intelligence and power whose intelligent, purposeful designs are evident everywhere in nature.

Bibliography

Schildknecht, H., and Holoubek, K., January 7, 1961. "Die Bombardierkafer and ihre Explosionschemie." Angewandte Chemie. 73:1:1-7.

Time. November 24, 1961.

Weber, Christopher Gregory. Winter 1981. "The Bombardier Beetle Myth Exploded."
Creation/Evolution. III:1-5.

Note

Translations from the German are due to the author, with trepidation.

About the Author(s): 

Dr. Kofahl has a Ph.D. in chemistry from the California Institute of Technology, is science coordinator for the Creation-Science Research Center, and has authored books supporting creationism, including The Creation Explanation and The Handy Dandy Evolution Refuter.

Copyright 1981 by Robert E. Kofahl

This version might differ slightly from the print publication.

Response to Dr. Kofahl

Creation Evolution Journal
Title: 
Response to Dr. Kofahl
Author(s): 
Christopher Gregory Weber
Volume: 
2
Number: 
3
Quarter: 
Summer
Page(s): 
15–17
Year: 
1981

Dr. Robert E. Kofahl's critique does correct a minor error I made, although my main argument still stands. The main point of my article was this: If Dr. Gish is careless where I can check up on him, then how can I trust him where I cannot? In addition, I did try to show that Dr. Gish had failed to prove that a pre-bombardier beetle could not have survived, though this was an afterthought in order to make the article complete.

As the bombardier beetle information trickled from Kofahl to Gish to Thwaites and Awbrey to me, somewhere along the line someone forgot about Schildknecht's 1961 article which was quoted by Kofahl. When I wrote my article, I found no reference to any inhibitor in Schildknecht's 1968 article, but Kofahl is correct that Schildknecht, in 1961, did speculate that some chemical or physical-chemical process prevents the hydrogen peroxide and hydroquinone solution from reacting and turning dark. On that issue I stand corrected.

However, even after this point is granted, my case against Dr. Gish still stands. Dr. Gish maintained that the hydrogen peroxide and hydroquinone explode unless prevented by an inhibitor long after it was pointed out to him that these chemicals do not spontaneously explode. Even if Schildknecht's speculation is correct, all the inhibitor prevents is slow oxidation. Kofahl was gracious enough to admit an error, and I admit mine; but Gish's failure to admit his error supports the main thesis of my article.

Dr. Kofahl spends more than half of his critique trying to prove there is no way the bombardier beetle could have evolved gradually. All I can say is that Kofahl does not really try very hard to solve the problem. There are several weaknesses in his critique.

The main weakness is that he asks me to explain how the beetle could have evolved the mechanical apparatus after it got through evolving everything else. However, as I already explained in the article, the bombardier beetle is not the only carabid beetle to have this apparatus.

In 1968, Schildknecht said:

Not only among the brachynids [that is, the bombardier beetles] but also among other carabids-like, for example, among Carabus-annex glands

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empty in the output canal of the pygidial bladders. What substance is produced here we have not yet investigated. If the function of these glands that was first explained in the case of the bombardier beetle is not found in the other carabids, then it is to be suspected that they produce albumin likewise. To be sure, its purpose still remains unclear.

Since carabids generally have such poison glands, we may justly reject Kofahl's evolutionary scenario and begin ours with a nondescript carabid beetle that already has the physical apparatus, even though the apparatus does nothing more than secrete poisons such as quinone and hydroquinone. The hydroquinone stank, and the quinone (which forms from hydrogen peroxide and hydroquinone) burned; so this beetle survived quite well. It had a valve to hold the chemicals in the collection bladder until it was attacked by an enemy, and it had enzymes in the outer chamber to make sure the reaction of hydrogen peroxide and hydroquinone was complete.

All it would need to become a bombardier beetle now is an inhibitor to make sure the chemicals did not react at all until used in a counterattack. If the chemicals did not react at all until forced into the outer chamber, then the enzymes there would force them to react very rapidly, and the oxygen coming from the reaction would spray quinone out of the beetle's rear end. Later on, the mechanism would become refined as the beetle obtained the ideal proportion of hydroquinone to hydrogen peroxide. (Despite what Kofahl says, there may well be more than one chemical mechanism for producing hydrogen peroxide; Schildknecht suggested one possible mechanism, but scarcely insisted that this is the only one.) Thus, we have seen how a carabid beetle could evolve into a bombardier beetle with little problem.

At this time, I shall not try to explain the "rifle barrels" of the bombardier beetle, since I don't have enough information on the matter. I don't have the anatomical details to determine how the barrels and turrets evolved or what previous organs they evolved from.

The present discussion, however, answers Gish's original argument that a half-formed explosion mechanism would be harmful and that the bombardier beetle's very existence proves evolution is impossible. But, creationists will no doubt object that I have not directly proved my scenario. True enough, but they should consider a few facts before dismissing it out of hand as pure speculation.

The evidence of geology makes sense if the earth is billions of years old, but is puzzling if creationism is true. The evidence of taxonomy makes sense if some sort of descent with modification took place, but is puzzling if creationism is true. If you want to believe in miracles, I can never prove you wrong, any more than I can prove that bad luck gremlins did not produce the incriminating evidence that got Bruno Hauptmann convicted of kidnapping and murdering the Lindberg baby or prove that the earth was not created five minutes ago. However, the most natural interpretation of this evidence is evolution-the theory that living things

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change over time, one lineage often branching into several lineages, some lineages changing more rapidly than others. I certainly don't deny that catastrophes have occurred or that the mechanism of evolution is still being debated, but the overall picture of occurrence of evolution seems clear.

So, given this background, isn't it reasonable to start out with the working hypothesis that the shooting mechanism of the bombardier beetle evolved gradually, then find out what evolutionary scenarios would work? Starting with creationism is to start with a refusal to search further. Think about it.

Bibliography

Eisner, Thomas. 1970. "Chemical Defense Against Predation in Arthropods." Chemical Ecology, pp. 157-215.

Kofahl, Robert E. and Segraves, Kelly L. 1975. The Creation Explanation. Wheaton, IL: Harold Shaw Publishers, pp. 2-3.

Schildknecht, H. and Holoubek, K. January 7, 1961. "Die Bombardierkafer and ihre Explosionschemie." Angewandle Chemie. 73:1:1-7.

Schildknecht, Hermann, Maschwitz, Eleonore, and Maschwitz, U. 1968. "Die Explosion schemie dier Bombardierkafer (Coleoptera, Carabidae)." Zeitschrift fur Naturforschung. 23:1213-1218.

Weber, Christopher Gregory. Winter 1981. "The Bombardier Beetle Myth Exploded." Creation/Evolution. III:1:1-5.

About the Author(s): 

Christopher Weber, one of the editors of this journal, is a computer programmer and an amateur geologist. He has followed the creation-evolution controversy for many years.

Copyright 1981 by Christopher Gregory Weber

This version might differ slightly from the print publication.

Genetics and Genesis: The New Biology Textbooks that Include Creationism

Creation Evolution Journal
Title: 
Genetics and Genesis: The New Biology Textbooks that Include Creationism
Author(s): 
Henry P. Zuidema
Volume: 
2
Number: 
3
Quarter: 
Summer
Page(s): 
18–22
Year: 
1981

Let's take a trip back in time to 1933. The Scopes trial is already history. The Moral Majority and television evangelism are not yet on the horizon. And a high school student, opening a standard biology text by Macmillan, can read:

Charles Darwin's Origins of Species has replaced the concept of special creation with the theory of organic evolution. At the present time, biologists accept evolution as a fact but are actively engaged in efforts to discover how it
has taken place.

There is no hue and cry, no complaints about the alleged lack of evidence for evolution, even though gene splitting is far off and DNA has not been discovered. Letters of protest do not pour into the newspapers. Boards of education do not patiently listen to committees of objectors demanding "equal time" to reply to "the religion of evolutionary humanism" in the public schools.

Today, nearly half a century after the above textbook summation of evolution, and others like it, went unchallenged, a new crop of textbooks is on the market. A paragraph from one of them begs citation:

Darwin asked some interesting questions and set forth a thought-provoking hypothesis about which people are seeking new clues in the light of modern science.

Better not name what that "thought-provoking hypothesis" was. Today's writers now play it safe. The "book-watchers" are watching! The 1973 index in Biology: Living Systems (Charles Merrill) gave seventeen lines of page references under evolution. By 1979 the subject was indexed in just three lines.

In some of the texts, "Darwin" is left out, too, particularly those of the past decade. Biology: Patterns in Environment (1972) and Biology: Patterns in Living Things (1976), both in the Harcourt Brace series, are two examples. In another,

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Concepts in Science (1970, second edition), only George, the son of Charles Darwin, is mentioned. But in the third edition, the dilemma has been solved by eliminating the name Darwin entirely. (The equivalent would be a physics text which neglected Faraday, Rutherford, or Einstein or an astronomy book that skipped Copernicus.)

And as evolution slips away, creationism slips in. Though sometimes handled in an apologetic way, special creation now has a place among photosynthesis, metabolism, and symbiosis in the new breed of public school texts produced by major secular publishers. Much of this is done by indirection. "Why do you think many people believe that the earth and its life must have been created by a divine creator?" asks a California text. "Egyptians attributed the original creation to the god, Nun," the book adds. "In Babylon, it was believed the god Marduk created heaven and earth from the body of an evil dragon-goddess. Some American Indians thought that the sun-coyote created earth." No doubt this is interesting, but is it biology?

In Biology: The Science of Life (Houghton Mifflin, 1980), the text writer discovered a book written in 1849 by Scottish quarryman and popular writer Hugh Miller, who thought that, after successive divine creations, as of the reptiles and mammals, "the world we inhabit took beginning. And then creation ceased." On a later page in this text, the writer tells us that "in the Christian tradition the special creator is God," but "special creation appears to be an untestable explanation or hypothesis. The subject matter in this book is limited to what can be known by using the method of learning called scientific inquiry. From that point of view, special creation is an explanation that is neither right nor wrong. It is scientificaly untestable, so far as we know."

Among the leading publishers interviewed by Bioscience in 1979, one said that in his company's text "evolution runs like a thread throughout, but is mentioned specifically only in the last chapter." This is where creationism is also noted. It is regarded as a "theory" opposing evolution, but "just briefly enough to be discarded as unverifiable and therefore beyond the scope of the textbook's area." This publisher added that the final chapter is most likely to be ignored by teachers anyway, as it wouldn't come until near the end of the term.

"We don't advocate the idea of scientific creationism," says Lois Arnold, senior science editor at Prentice Hall, "but we felt we had to represent other points of view." A text writer who wants to remain anonymous admits, "Creationism has no place in biology books, but, after all, we are in the business of selling textbooks."

All this has confounded specialists in the life sciences who have been updating biology books, as through the Biological Sciences Curriculum Study, ever since science teaching in this country became the object of scrutiny (after Sputnik in 1957). They feel the big publishers are doing them in.

"With the exception of a few publishers," reads the summary of a survey of

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the new books by a curriculum committee, "others seem to have accommodated
to the situation either by eliminating what they regard as contentious material, soft-peddling or reducing their evolutionary coverage, or introducing nonscien
tific theological materials as science in the hopes of placating the anti-evolutionists.

The creationist ferment comes at a time when the near $1-billion-a-year textbook industry has its problems. As one industry observer states:

Enrollments in high school biology have been high as students who do take science tend to take that subject rather than physics and chemistry. As a result nearly every publisher in the field has come out with a new text, and the competition is fierce

Some publishers will take every opportunity to eliminate any material that might mitigate against sales. Textbooks are getting to be too expensive to produce and market to foster any but winners. And the era of the independent publisher is coming to a close. Most firms now are part of conglomerates. Holt and Saunders, for example, belongs to CBS, and Charles Merrill is a part of the Bell and Howell empire. E. P. Dutton, already the property of a holding company, is up for sale after 127 years. Others have simply pulled out of school publishing entirely to get into other publishing interests.

With emphasis on the bottom line becoming more pronounced, more accommodation with special interests will be reached. Textbooks then will no longer reflect the state of the discipline, but, like television, will pander to those who make the most noise.

However, there are dissenters in the trade. "Once you have done that [put creationism in a text) you have let the cat out of the bag," says one of these. "In fact, if I found such a reference in a competitor's book, I'd make sure everyone knew about it."

But such references are not now difficult to find. One specialist in the study
of biology texts, who has reviewed a score of them, says, "This has made the Institute for Creation Research unnecessary. It plays right into the hands of the anti-evolutionists. "

Eugene Wheetley, editorial vice-president of Scott, Foresman, warns that the creationist campaign reaches into other disciplines besides biology "and over the total grade level spectrum." Since some creationist leaders see the very structure of modern society threatened by "Darwinism," it is not surprising that one of these, scrutinizing modern literature, objects to the intrusion of "survival of the fittest," which he senses in Jack London's Call of the Wild, and the reference to historical geology in James Mitchener's Centennial (because it implies a vast age for the earth).

There will be further litigation, Wheetley believes, "if the recent ruling in California is any indication," referring to Segraves v. California, in which the court held that the teaching of evolution did not violate the rights of fundamentalist

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children, but also upheld the state "guidelines" which, in effect, caution publishers to watch their language in dealing with evolution.

And California, accounting for about 10 percent of the national textbook market, is closely watched by the publishers. A rejection of a book in that state can influence buying elsewhere. In this sense, an MIT-Cornell sponsored survey ventured that California has an influence on science education across the country, as the publishing of texts to fit regional preferences is uneconomical.

Creationists in general are quite obviously cheered by these recent developments. John N. Moore, a "born again" professor of natural science at Michigan State University and a founder of the Creation Research Society, called the attention of a citizen's group to the appearance of the new texts, naming among these Biology: An Inquiry into the Nature of Life (Allyn and Bacon).

The Allyn and Bacon text pairs creation concepts with those of evolution in adjoining columns. One reads: "Creationists say ... the theory of evolution need not be accepted simply because most scientists support it," but "evolutionists say . . . agreed. Evolution should be accepted only as long as the evidence supports it." The several approaches to evolution inquiry are then cited, and the column ends with "Creationists say . . . evolutionists deny the creative power of God," and "evolutionists say . . . the hand of God is just as evident in evolution extending over billions of years as in creation occurring in an instant or a few days."

Stanley Weinberg, the author of that text, who has been active in opposing creationist attempts to have legislatures pass laws that would enforce equal teaching of creationism with evolution, said that Professsor Moore did him a disservice by describing his text as taking up creationism without describing the method of treatment. "I do indeed teach about creationism," Weinberg said, "but I do not support it. Creationism should be taught because it is an important part of the history of biology and it is a topic of growing political importance. It would be well if students got some information on it in school rather than exclusively from creationist propagandists. Further, the creationists are fully entitled to criticize evolution theory."

Other texts named by Professor Moore as being in use were The World of Biology by P. W. Davis and E. P. Solomon (McGraw Hill) and The Science of Evolution by W. D. Stansfield (Macmillan), this latter being for college students.

Moore, who teaches a mix of creation and evolution principles, has a special interest in the appearance of the new texts, as he is coeditor of a creationist biology book which caused controversy in Texas and Indiana. In 1975, this book, Biology: A Search for Order in Complexity (published by Zondervan, a fundamentalist publishing house), was chosen as one of seven officially approved biology texts by the Indiana state textbook commission. In two of Indiana's districts, it was the only ninth-grade biology text available to students.

But an Indiana court later barred the book for use in public schools in that

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state on the grounds that it was sectarian-based. In Dallas, Texas, a committee of Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish clergy opposed it there and, in a compromise, got it relegated to library use as a reference work. Still, by the time of the Indiana court decision in 1977, Moore's book had already been approved by state commissions in Alabama, Georgia, Oklahoma, and Oregon. This book is still being pushed by the Institute for Creation Research.

That the general controversy continues to rage is indicated by the plethora of recent battles that have taken place all across the country since the end of 1980. But curriculum specialists and school administrators view the few successes of the creationists, as in Arkansas, to be due to lack of awareness on the part of teachers' groups and regional science academies. "They were," says an observer, "asleep at the switch when the 'equal time' bill was railroad, ed through the legislature. Such regional developments may not represent the sentiment of the nation at large. The publishers have made their big investment in the gamble. it remains to be seen if they misjudged the national consensus by reviving the old arguments that were rather well relegated to their respective spheres of human thought—religion and science—in the nineteenth century.

About the Author(s): 

Henry Zuidema, Detroit Science Center paleontologist, is also a science writer and former editor of Earth Science. In 1947-1951 he discovered the Ruby Valley (Montana) fossil insect and plant locality.

Copyright 1981 by Henry Zuidema

This version might differ slightly from the print publication.

Response to Zuidema

Creation Evolution Journal
Title: 
Response to Zuidema
Author(s): 
Stanley Weinberg
Volume: 
2
Number: 
3
Quarter: 
Summer
Page(s): 
22–30
Year: 
1981

Henry Zuidema's article on the treatment of creationism and evolution in biology textbooks refers to, among others, one of my books, Biology: An Inquiry into the Nature of Life (1977). His references to my work are accurate but incomplete, and this incompleteness-perhaps understandable in view of space limitations in journal articles-makes impossible a fair evaluation of the book. Therefore, I welcome the editor's invitation to comment on Zuidema's article.

Zuidema goes beyond the evaluation of particular textbooks. His references to aspects of publishing and to science-teaching strategies are calculated to provoke

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discussion and, therefore, make a useful contribution. I will make no comment on books other than my own.

Zuidema and I have different perspectives. He is a geologist and a journalist. He admittedly has no teaching experience below the university level (Zuidema, September 3, 1980). 1 taught biology for thirty years, mostly in high school, but also as an adjunct in several colleges. Therefore, we approach the issues from different backgrounds, and these differences show.

A Description of the Text

Of the thirty chapters that comprise Biology: An Inquiry into the Nature of Life, five are concerned entirely or largely with aspects of evolution. Evolution appears in many other chapters as well and, indeed, is a theme throughout the book. Thus, the coverage of evolution, in extent and depth, is at least comparable to that in the Biological Sciences Curriculum Study (BSCS) versions and, I believe, is substantially greater than in any other high school biology text. So, the book cannot be said to slight evolution. By not making the least mention of this feature in a report that purports to deal with textbooks' treatment of creation and evolution, Zuidema misrepresents the nature of my book.

Chapter fifteen, entitled "The Origin of Species," is mainly a thorough exposition of Darwinism and neo-Darwinism. The chapter also includes a discussion of creationism, perhaps the most extensive in any evolution-oriented textbook. A brief history of the creation-evolution controversy, from the period preceding Darwin through the more recent Scopes and Epperson cases, is included. This historical treatment conforms to a second theme that runs through the book: demonstrating the changing and ongoing nature of science by describing the historical development of various fields of biological inquiry. The rationale and demands of the creationist movement are described. There is also a table presenting creationist arguments against evolution and the responses of evolutionists.

No theory of creationism is presented; to my understanding, no such theory exists. There is no support for creationism. Indeed, the book says:

As a result of Darwin's work, scientists generally came to reject special creation. Then and now, most biologists have accepted the theory of evolution through natural selection as the only reasonable explanation for the origin of different kinds of living things.

Despite this clearly stated position, Zuidema not only seems distressed by the mere discussion of creationism in a biology text but is especially distressed by the comparative table.

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I view "scientific creationism" as a religious doctrine posing as science, not as an authentic scientific theory comparable and equivalent to evolution. I oppose requirements that mandate the teaching of creationism, with its supernatural base, in the public schools. In view of this position, why do I incorporate discussions of creationism in my textbooks and in my teaching? This question is explicitly answered in the book in a statement directed to the students:

The issue of creation versus evolution concerns you not just as a biology student but as a citizen and a prospective voter. You may have to help decide what should be taught in the schools of your state and your community.

A View of Science Education

The creation-evolution controversy is not a scientific issue, but it is a public issue of considerable current significance. It is generally recognized that the high school's basic function is general education, not technical specialization, and that high school courses are obligated to educate not only in their respective disciplines but in language skills and citizenship as well. I regard discussion of creationevolution as education in citizenship. Therefore, I do not subscribe to the notion put forth by Zuidema and certain other pro-evolutionists that any discussion of creationism in science classes—or in science textbooks—is verboten. The real question is not whether creationism should be discussed but how it can be handled with accuracy, fairness, and responsibility. Let me address this question.

It is an axiom familiar to all competent teachers that to reach the kids at all we have to address their real concerns. Felt needs was the term used by the Teachers College school. The BSCS guidelines (1978) state this well-established pedagogical truism in somewhat more formal language: ". . . information that has important personal implications for the learner is inherently more interesting and learned more thoroughly than isolated facts that have no practical application." Creationism certainly is interesting and important to many high school students. It is the one topic about which they come to the biology course with strong preconceptions and deep concern. Zuidema seems to assume that high school students are isolated, or can be isolated, from the problems of the society around them. Perceptive teachers are aware that this is not the case; yet, too often our schools, for whatever reason, carefully shy away from involvement in many of the problems that most concern the students, including the creation-evolution controversy. This reticence is one probable reason why so many of our vibrant youngsters, who are turned on by sports, cars, extracurricular activities, social life, dating, and the like, are bored to death with the academic side of school.

Suppose the biology teacher—and the biology textbook—refuse to discuss creationism, as Zuidema wishes. We then leave troubled kids to the mercies of the

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extramural creationists. In this circumstance, who is more likely to reach the kids, evolutionist biology teachers or creationist pamphleteers? We should teach evolution with thoroughness, while at the same time explicitly recognizing the existence of objections to it—whether valid or not. This is what my text tries to do.

I am not alone in holding these views. Earl D. Hanson, a teacher at Wesleyan University, says: "A head-in-the-sand attitude that science textbooks should contain only science is dangerously ill-informed regarding the need of an informed public regarding . . . such confrontations as those engendered by the creationistevolutionist issue" (1980). John Horn, a biology teacher and a witness for the defense in the recent California Segraves trial, said on the witness stand:

"I have several students who bring their Bibles to class.... We discuss it back and forth.... I've had students prepare papers on [creation versus
evolution], and we've had debates in class."

"Do students have to accept evolution to get a good grade?" the defense asked.

"No, not in my class.... A child only needs to understand what is presented, not believe it" (Hilts, 1981).

At San Diego State University, Frank Awbrey and William Thwaites teach a course in creation-evolution about which Zuidema also has strong reservations (August 11, 1980). Leading creationists are invited to the class to present their views, to which the instructors respond. The course was instituted after a student gave a paper on creationism in another biology class. To the shocked amazement of the other instructor and his colleagues, a large part of the class was persuaded that there was indeed a good case for creation and that the validity of the evolution theory was much in doubt. Thwaites's ironic comment was: "And this was after four years of studying scientific biology!" When Thwaites and Awbrey initiated their course, there were objections from their evolutionist colleagues. After several years, according to Thwaites, the critics have finally come around to the view that offering this course is both appropriate and useful (Thwaites, 1981).

A final illustration comes from my own experience. Several months ago, I taught evolution as a guest teacher at Ottumwa High School in Iowa. In one class, about two-thirds of the way through the discussion, a girl who had been silent until then raised her hand and said bluntly, "I think evolution is a crock." I asked her why she thought so. A dialogue ensued, which the rest of the class followed with absorption and with occasional interjections. Just before the bell, the girl who had initiated the exchange said with some astonishment, "Gee, you've made me think about this."

That, of course, was my intent. Like Horn, I never require that students must agree with my ideas and beliefs, even were such a demand feasible. I have no right to expect this; the students' minds are their own. All that t ask—all that I can ask—is that students try to acquire accurate information bearing on the question

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at issue and then think rationally about the question and the evidence. The students have every right to their own ultimate conclusions.

I have already noted that my text, which is used in Ottumwa High School, reminds students of their citizenship obligations. This point is not an academic abstraction but is a realization of a concrete necessity and a forecast of things to come, as is evident in Iowa, particularly in Ottumwa. For five years the state has been the focus of a sharp creationist-evolutionist confrontation (Gerlovich, 1980). The state senator from Ottumwa was a sponsor of the 1979 creationist bill. In the most recent election, Ottumwa chose a new state representative, who is now on the legislative committee which has been charged with the issue and who is pro-evolution.

This situation is not unique to Iowa. These matters concern young people everywhere. Is the girl, whom I previously quoted and who will soon reach voting age, likely to be a better-informed citizen had she not participated in the creation-evolution discussion that I led?

Strategies for Dealing with Creationism

Creationism is troublesome because of its persistence as a significant public issue. For years scientists simply ignored it. They regarded any concern with it as unimportant, unworthy of their attention, a possible intrusion into their valuable research time, and likely to involve them in unpleasant and unwelcome political activity. As a result of the scientists' inertia in this area, as well as the creationists' own shrewd campaigns, creationism flourished.

In the past few years, many scientists have come to realize their error. In growing numbers they write and speak on creationism, deal with it in their courses, debate creationists, lobby legislators, and carry on similar defensive activities. These activities have helped to resolve creation-evolution issues in several state legislatures. In the past two years, of creationist bills in about twenty states, only the Arkansas bill was passed, and it is now being challenged in a lawsuit.

Yet, creationism is almost untouched in its area of greatest strength—local communities and local school systems. In this arena, creationists have no need of supportive legislative enactments or of court decisions. Let me give an example of how things work. In a community that I know well, the president of the school board told two successive biology teachers that they had every right to teach evolution—but not in that district if they wanted to keep their jobs. The first teacher left for another job at the end of the school year. The other is still there, unhappily not teaching evolution. Community pressure does the trick. In how many thousands of school districts across the nation do similar conditions prevail?

Although the creationists lack any substantial support in the scientific community,

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they claim the support of at least half of the general public (Bliss, 1981). From my own observations around the country, I find the creationist claim persuasive. In 1942, Oscar Riddle found that half of the nation's high schools did not teach evolution. In the 1960s, Troost found that, of 363 high school teachers he surveyed, half said that they taught evolution only as one of several alternative theories of the origin of life (Henig, 1979).

How can the scientific and educational communities deal with such aberrations with respect to evolution? It seems to me that the ultimate answer must be education-public adult education, better teaching in our schools and colleges, better teacher training. Topics treated should include: the nature of science; the nature of creationism; what evolution is, what it is not, and the evidence on which it stands. Discussion of creationism is an essential component of such a program. Creationist propaganda is effective and cannot be countered by indirection; it must be dealt with directly and explicitly. For this reason, I feel that efforts by Zuidema and others to constrain discussion—discussion, not support—of creationism are not only ill-advised but are self-defeating as well.

Discussion Does Not Mean Approval

I support evolution as the best available explanation of the variety of life on earth. But I do not treat it as untouchable dogma that cannot be examined or criticized. Evolution can stand up to any thorough, honest, and searching inquiry -including criticism from creationist sources. Zuidema characterizes any such inquiry as support for creationism. His objection is idiosyncratic. Would any competent working scientist object to rejection of authority and dependence on the evidence-characteristics of science that I stress? Do scientists assert the perpetual immutability of any scientific theory? Science endeavors to be open, skeptical, and self-correcting. Its theories are subject to criticism from any source, and, when the theories fail to respond to criticism, they cease to be scientific.

In controversial areas, science is skeptical enough to suspend judgment, sometimes for centuries. But science does not sit on the fence forever. As evidence accumulates, a consensus develops that certain theories have been adequately verified, such as the round earth and the heliocentric solar system; these theories then enter into the body of scientific knowledge and into school curricula. The alternatives-the flat earth, the geocentric universe-are rejected as unfounded. Schools do not teach them, and few people are unhappy about this. Any individual who wishes to hold to the obsolete alternatives is perfectly free to do so, and small numbers of people are so committed.

Creationism is a somewhat special case. Someday, perhaps, it will join the many other obsolete hypotheses that have been discarded as prescience or nonscience by the public. I do not expect to live to see that distant day. On the basis

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of overwhelming evidence, science long ago rejected creationism as an unverified and obsolete hypothesis. Creation-evolution is no longer a scientific issue. But creationism's many devotees do not accept the consensus; they keep creationism very much alive as a significant public issue.. Students, especially, do not know the evidence upon which science bases its consensus. Therefore, with each new generation of high school students, the issue must be addressed anew and the evidence again examined critically.

Science today has acquired an unfortunate public image as dogmatic, authoritarian, and elitist, and it thereby suffers. Stephen Gould comments that the irresponsible behavior of some scientists has contributed to this poor image (1981). It seems to me that the schools can help to restore the more authentic image of science as an open and responsive discipline. Many -good biology teachers, including Horn, use the creation-evolution controversy as a medium for teaching this concept of science. The material in my book is designed to facilitate such classroom discussion; teachers tell me that the material works.

Of course, a high school class has limited time to spend on any single topic. It is especially difficult to provide for exhaustive investigation and discussion of a controversial issue. The extent of the discussion must vary with the interest and background of the students and the judgment of the teacher. To provide a substantial amount of material in condensed form, I resorted to the comparative table that distresses Zuidema. As a pedagogical device, the table is excellent; as a graphic device, it is unfortunate. Its two-column format makes it look like the creationists' two-model pattern-which it is not. The table does not equate creationism and evolution as alternative theories of equal weight. It does quote arguments against evolution and responses thereto-a very different thing.

Taken out of the context of the chapter of which it is an integral part (where else do we see the out-of-context technique at work?), the table may be misrepresented as support for creationism. Then creationists, such as John N. Moore, gloat, and pro-evolutionists, like Zuidema, rage. To obviate such misunderstandings, the table will not appear in future editions. I will try to achieve the same pedagogical end through textual discussion.

Religious Views

One pair of arguments cited in the table deals with religious views. Zuidema asserts that no discussion of religion belongs in a biology textbook (August 18, 1980). He adds that various evolutionists with whom the has worked rarely talked about their religious views. I accept the latter statement, and I feel that I should have made the point myself.

On the other hand, it would not be difficult to compile a long list of respected evolutionist scientists who have publicly stated their religious faith in a

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creator who works through the process of evolution and another list of clergy and other devout persons, of many faiths, who have put themselves on public record as accepting evolution and opposing the creationist "equal time" doctrine. I will spare the patient reader such lists, but I would like to cite just two names. Gould pays a gracious tribute to his teacher and friend, Kirtley Mather, as a distinguished evolutionist and an outspoken Christian (1981). Also, in April, 1981, biologist Kenneth Miller debated creationist Henry Morris at Brown University. Miller eloquently described his Catholic faith as entirely consistent with his commitment to science and his acceptance of evolution.

These private religious convictions are entirely outside of science, which deals only with the natural world and never with the supernatural. But they are very relevant to creation-evolution as a public issue. Many creationists resort—frequently, widely, and effectively—to the argument that evolution is unavoidably synonymous with atheism. This defamatory charge should be responded to wherever and whenever it surfaces. Science is neither theistic nor atheistic; religious belief or disbelief is simply not on its agenda.

Is a high school textbook a proper place to deal with these matters? I think it is, always provided that they are relevant to a scientific or quasi-scientific issue and that they are dealt with objectively and factually. The kids have already heard the creationist statement; why is it not proper to also expose them to the response of some evolutionists? The courts have carefully distinguished between objectively and dispassionately teaching about religion and indoctrinating in a particular religious faith. The former is acceptable and proper in a public school; the latter is unconstitutional and unacceptable. My brief treatment abides by this legal and ethical doctrine. Teachers have found the treatment helpful in clearing the air on a sticky subject.

Resolving Differences

Zuidema is a battle-scarred veteran of the struggle to defend the integrity of science. Yet, in view of his limited teaching experience, I find his obiter dicta, as to what does and does not belong in a textbook, to be unrealistic and inappropriate.

Zuidema has generously mentioned my involvement in the defense of evolution. We are on the same side, although we differ as regards how best to achieve our common aim. He has done a service by raising some issues that are significant for science policy and science teaching. It would be well if we could resolve our differences in technique. Divisiveness in the still-thin ranks of pro-evolutionists is not helpful.

The cover letter, which came to me from the editor along with Zuidema's manuscript, was signed with the hope: "Yours for a lively journal." I echo these

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words. Open minds and open discussion are essential to the progress of science and education.

Bibliography

Biological Sciences Curriculum Study. 1978. "Guidelines for Educational Priorities and Curricular Innovations in the Areas of Human and Medical Genetics." BSCS Journal. 1:1.

Bliss, Richard. 1981. Jack Van Impe television program.

Gerlovich, Jack A., et al. June 13, 1980. Letter, "Creationism in Iowa." Science. 208:1210.

Gould, Stephen Jay. May 1981. "Evolution as Fact and Theory." Discover, p. 34.

Hanson, Earl B. January 1980. Letter. Bioscience. 30:1:4.

Henig, Robin Marantz. September 1979. "Evolution Called a 'Religion,' Creationism Defended as 'Science.' " Bioscience. 29:9:513.

Hilts, Philip J. March 6, 1981. "Science Teacher Says Evolution Taught Carefully." Washington Post.

Riddle, Oscar. 1942. The Teaching of Biology in the Secondary Schools of the United States. Washington, DC: Union of American Biological Societies.

Thwaites, William. May 4, 1981. Personal communication.

Weinberg, Stanley L. 1977. Biology: An Inquiry into the Nature of Life. Fourth edition. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.

Zuidema, Henry P. August 11, 1980. Personal communication to David Kraus.
—— September 3, 1980. Personal communication to David Kraus.
—— August 18, 1980. Personal communication to Stanley L. Weinberg.

About the Author(s): 

Stan Weinberg has thirty years experience as a high school and college biology teacher and is the author of several textbooks. He has served as vice-president and director of the National Association of Biology Teachers and as president of the New York Biology Teachers Association.

Copyright 1981 by Stanley L. Weinberg

This version might differ slightly from the print publication.

The Alabama Creation Battle

Creation Evolution Journal
Title: 
The Alabama Creation Battle
Author(s): 
John Schweinsberg
Volume: 
2
Number: 
3
Quarter: 
Summer
Page(s): 
31–32
Year: 
1981

The sponsorship of scientific creationism in Alabama and its major opposition both came from Huntsville, a city with a population of 145,000, whose primary industry is technical work for NASA and the U.S. Army. It is also the site of two state-supported colleges-the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) and Alabama A & M University.

The organized creationist push in Alabama started in 1980 with the formation of Alabama Citizens for Quality in Education by Byron Tabor, a fundamentalist minister, and his wife. The group was successful in getting a creationist resolution passed in December by the Madison County School Board. In January, they received a more negative reaction from the school board of neighboring Huntsville, where two citizens spoke out against the resolution.

The creationist group next approached the Madison County legislative delegation at a citizens' forum sponsored each year by the American Association of University Women (AAUW), preceding the opening of the legislative session. The creationists packed the Huntsville City Council chambers with 250 supporters and followed up their presentation to the legislators with a rally at the court house. A standard model bill was subsequently introduced in both houses by Senator Albert McDonald and Representative Frank Riddick, both of Huntsville. Byron Tabor registered as a paid lobbyist in favor of the bill.

As a result of the publicity, three independent but cooperating opposition groups appeared in Huntsville. Dr. William Morgan, a United Methodist minister, collected the names of fifty local clergymen who opposed scientific creationism. He wanted to demonstrate that the issue was not a matter of Christians v. atheistic scientists. Dr. Jeffrey Hindman, an ophthalmologist, represented a group of fifty medical doctors who financed the publication of anti-creationist newspaper ads. He and Dr. Morgan organized an anti-creationist forum, held at the First United Methodist Church and attended by 350 people. Speakers included four Christian clergymen, a representative of the Jewish community, and three members of the science faculty of UAH. It was this meeting that showed the press and the public that there was actual opposition to the bill from responsible members of the community. Prior to it, nearly everyone seemed to be favoring the

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legislation. The broadcast and print media picked up on this event immediately and gave it all the coverage it deserved.

This author organized the Alabama Coalition for Responsible Education, which circulated petitions and generated letter writing to the local legislative delegation. A study committee composed of scientists from UAH and NASA studied creationist books. It wrote a negative report about the proposed bill, creationism in general, and the book, Origins—Two Models, by Richard Bliss, the only creationist textbook approved for use in Alabama. Another committee prepared a collection of information for the education committee, including these reports and the study performed by the Iowa Department of Public Instruction.

An open hearing was held by the House Education Committee on March 18 with the Senate Education Committee invited. Since approximately thirty people appeared to speak on each side, the chairman, Peter Turnham of Auburn, allowed only two major speakers for each side. Subsequent speakers were limited to three minutes. The lead speakers for the creationists were Richard Bliss and Wendell Bird, lawyer for the Institute for Creation Research. The lead speakers for the opposition were Dr. Hindman and Dr. Nicholas Hotton, research curator in paleontology at the Smithsonian Institution, whose trip was financed by the medical doctors. Additional opponents included six clergymen, faculty members from the University of Alabama and Auburn University, and technical people. The hearing lasted six hours.

The sponsors of the bill had apparently not expected such extensive opposition and negotiated a "compromise with state education officials. The weakened bill would "encourage the equitable treatment" of scientific creationism and evolution rather than require them to be taught equally. Its major provision was to train science teachers in scientific creationism. The bill required science texts to clearly state that evolution is a theory and "encouraged" the inclusion of creationist materials in school libraries.

The substitute bill was accepted and passed without opposition by the Senate Education Committee. In the House Education Committee, both versions were filibustered to death by Robert Albright of Huntsville, a former biology teacher. Creationist hopes remained alive when Riddick announced his intent to maneuver the potential Senate-passed bill to a more favorable House committee. McDonald used his position as chairman of the Senate Rules Committee to place the bill on a priority calendar intended for noncontroversial bills. The tactic failed, and the bill reached the floor late in the session, when it could be forwarded to the House only by a suspension of the Senate rules. Three objecting senators could prevent this. When it was obvious that the necessary opposition existed, the bill was withdrawn without a vote.

The battle is not over, however. Special sessions of the legislature on reapportionment and an education budget will be held later this year, allowing for further attempts to push creationism.

About the Author(s): 

John Schweinsberg has a M. S. in mathematics from the University of Michigan and has worked in computer software for Bell Telephone Laboratories and Science Applications, Inc., for a total of sixteen years. He was one of the leaders in the Alabama fight.

Copyright 1981 by John Schweinsberg

This version might differ slightly from the print publication.

News Briefs from the Editor

Creation Evolution Journal
Title: 
News Briefs from the Editor
Volume: 
2
Number: 
3
Quarter: 
Summer
Page(s): 
33–38
Year: 
1981

Creation Battles

Arkansas:

A coalition of church leaders, educators, individuals, and organizations filed a suit in U.S. District Court on May 27, 1981, challenging the new Arkansas "equal-time" creation law. Two-thirds of the plaintiffs are ministers or other leaders in Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish organizations. Other organizations involved are the National Association of Biology Teachers, the National Coalition for Public Education and Religious Liberty (National PEARL), and the Arkansas Education Association. The American Civil Liberties Union is handling the case. Mentioned among the reasons for the action are these facts: the legislative process used in passing the law was hasty with no hearings in the State Senate and only a fifteen-minute hearing in the House, the bill was drafted by an outsider working through a creationist organization, the law is religiously sectarian, the law abridges the constitutionally protected academic freedom rights of both teachers and students, and the law is unconstitutionally vague with internally inconsistent provisions. The Arkansas law is a word-for-word copy of the model bill, drafted principally by Wendell R. Bird of the Institute for Creation Research and pushed by Paul Ellwanger's Citizens for Fairness in Education. (A "flatearth" version of this same bill appeared in Creation/Evolution, III.) Creation/ Evolution is assisting in the effort to fight this bill by providing the ACLU with background information. Science and religion experts are needed for witnesses in support of the case. If you are interested, write to Jack D. Novik at ACLU National Headquarters, 132 West 43rd Street, New York NY 10036, or call (212) 944-9800.

Colorado:

SB 394, a creation bill, died in the Senate Education Committee in April by a vote of eight to one. But Senator Sam Zakhem, sponsor of the bill, has not given up after two attempts. He has lined up radio appearances to promote his creation arguments.

Florida:

SB 296 and HB 178 were both hopelessly bottled up in committee where they died in June. A last minute effort to bring this creationist legislation out of committee was made when two state senators tried to add it onto a bill dealing with disposal of old textbooks. The amendment was ruled out of order for not being germane to the bill. Meanwhile, Florida school boards are still having trouble with the issue.

Iowa:

SF 97 and SF 280 were introduced in January and February respectively.

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SF 280 is the Bird model bill with the "Legislative Findings of Fact" removed. No hearings have been held, and no reports concerning this creation legislation have been written. Further action cannot be taken in the first session, but the bills are eligible for further consideration in 1982 during the second session of the current legislature. Senator Ray Taylor is sponsor of both bills.

Louisiana:

After the first creationist bill was killed, a legislative committee concluded hearings on two new bills. The committee reported to the full senate on a permissive propagandist bill that doesn't change present legalities. The bill mandates nothing. It permits, but doesn't require, teachers to teach creationism, evolution, both, or neither. Nothing more has been heard on this one.

Michigan:

The Michigan chapter of the Moral Majority, headed by the Reverend David A. Wood of Grand Rapids, has been encouraging citizens and parent', to demand that school boards in the state introduce creationist textbooks in classrooms and libraries. In March and April, school boards in several counties, including Berrien, Cass, Kalkaska, and Antrim, began being pressured to include the creation story in the science curriculum. In response, the Voice of Reason. a Michigan-based group founded by Rabbi Sherwin Wine, started training its members to oppose introduction of creationism into public schools. They held two science seminars on the subject in March. The Bellaire school board in Antrim county is reviewing creationist textbooks for possible placement in the school library.

Oregon:

Although HB 2633, a version of the Bird bill, was tabled in committee after a public hearing, this has not ended creationist action in Oregon. Petitions were circulated in March for a May district referendum on teaching scientific creationism in Medford public schools. The lead promoter of the petition drive, Tom Kindell, runs a teaching ministry from Faith Bible Center and is a science speaker for the Moral Majority. He feels that the majority of Medford residents would favor equal time for creationism and would be willing to mandate it through the ballot. Kindell failed to get the required 4,650 signatures by deadline time, but has stated that he may aim for the September election.

Meanwhile, in April, three people in Grants Pass filed a preliminary petition for a statewide initiative. This initiative would require balanced presentation of scientific creationism and evolution in all Oregon public schools. If the 1,994 signatures can be collected and verified by August 11, 1981, the initiative can appear on the September 15 statewide ballot. Whether or not it is legal for an initiative to be used to dictate school curricula is a question that remains up in the air. Richard Bliss from ICR appeared on the scene in May to help the effort along. Kindell has stated that this voter referendum approach to mandating creationism is "a precedent for the entire nation." one that has never been done before. However, back

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in 1964, a Reverend Moore had attempted the very same idea in Arizona. And, even though he used deception by labeling his law as a measure to prohibit the teaching of "atheism" in the public schools, he still failed to get the required number of signatures.

Texas:

HB 1901 was considered in the House Committee on Public Education in May. Considerable pro and con testimony was heard. The measure was then referred to a subcommittee for further study, where it quietly died. Forty-seven politicians went on record as supporting the bill.

Various states:

Bills have recently died in committee in Illinois, Indiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Washington. School boards in several towns in South Dakota have rejected demands that the teaching of creationism be mandated in the schools.

Society Actions and Miscellaneous

African safari:

Biologist Roy P. Mackal of the University of Chicago, Los Angeles engineer Herman Regusters, botanist Richard Greenwell of the University of Arizona, and crocodile expert James Powell plan a safari to the Congo and Zaire in search of a living brontosaurus. Following claimed first-hand reports from pygmies and other natives of encounters with a bizarre creature twice the size of an elephant, they will enter uncharted African jungles, which have changed little in seventy million years.

This creature, called mokele-mbembe by the natives, supposedly fits the description of a brontosaurus. Tribesmen who were shown an artist's drawing of the dinosaur have agreed that this is what they saw. The brownish-gray animal apparently has short, thick legs, weighs perhaps nine to fifteen tons, and stretches some thirty-five feet in total length. One of these animals was reported killed by pygmies in 1959. The plan is to take photographs. The expedition has the official support of no institution or foundation. Though the explorers are not creationists, the Creation Research Society Quarterly has recently taken an interest in the project. It even seconded the reports by claiming that a Mr. Burge Brown saw three plesiosaurs swimming off Bynoe Harbor, near Darwin, Australia. "An apparently similar animal was fished up, already dead, off New Zealand about three years ago." In the creationist film, The Great Dinosaur Mystery, a belief that the Loch Ness Monster is a plesiosaur has been expressed as well. This leads the Quarterly to conclude, "So maybe these reports of somewhat similar land-dwelling creatures [the alleged brontosaurus sightings] are not so surprising after'all."

Clark University:

On June 6, 1981, the biology and education departments at

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Clark University held a Conference on the Teaching of Evolution. The purpose was to help teachers of science subjects deal with the creationevolution controversy. Teachers were introduced to the history of evolutionary theory, recent developments in the field, and the pedagogic and civil liberties issues relevant to the teaching of evolution. Professor Charles S. Blinderman of the Department of English coordinated the conference.

National Association of Biology Teachers:

In January, the NABT started a publication called Scientific Integrity to "maintain the integrity of science and science education." It is edited by Wayne Moyer and gives up-to-date information on creation conflicts in various states, republishes short articles, gives listings of articles published elsewhere on the controversy, and keeps one abreast of new statements issued by science societies. It is a four-page newsletter published bimonthly and costs five dollars a year. Write: NABT, 11250 Roger Bacon Drive #19, Reston, VA 22090. The publication is free to NABT members. The NABT is also starting to circulate its own pamphlets rebutting creationist principles for the benefit of teachers and others. Furthermore, it has established the Fund for Freedom in Science Teaching to engage in litigation.

Society for the Study of Evolution:

The Society has established an education committee to assist in defense of

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evolution in the schools. Not only will the committee prepare an official statement but it will collect helpful materials such as legislative transcripts, legal decisions, and creationist publications. The committee will also prepare a list of experts on evolution who will be willing to serve as witnesses and spokespeople. The committee is chaired by Dr. John A. Moore of the Department of Biology at the University of California, Riverside.

Polls

The San Francisco Chronicle conducted a phone-in poll on March 11 asking for a yes or no answer to the question, "Should the biblical version of creation be taught in science classes?" Out of 13,512 callers, 73 percent said "no" and only 27 percent said "yes." This is a reversal of the results creationist polls frequently report. The poll was in reaction to the California Segraves trial.

Another newspaper poll, this time by the Detroit Free Press, was also conducted in March. Readers were asked if they favored the Arkansas law, which compels the state's public schools to teach the two models. The results were similar to those in San Francisco with 71 percent voting "no" and 29 percent voting "yes."

A supposedly more scientific survey, conducted by The California Poll, was made in April, and the results were released on May 14. The questions were asked over the phone to a representative cross section of the California adult public. The questions were as follows:

Have you seen or heard anything recently about a court case in California regarding the theory of evolution and the biblical version of creation? (81 percent answered "yes"]

Well, as you know, the theory of evolution holds that mankind evolved over the years from lower forms of life. This is different than the biblical version, which maintains that mankind was created directly by God. Which view do you happen to believe in? ... (39 percent believe in evolution; 49 percent believe in creation; 12 percent had no opinion]

Right now, California public schools teach the evolution theory in science classes. Do you think the public schools should also be required to teach the biblical version of creation in their classes or not? (If yes, ask:) Should the public schools teach the biblical version instead of the evolution theory or should it teach the biblical version along with the evolution theory? (40 percent do not want to require schools to teach creation; 6 percent want creation taught instead of evolution; 50 percent want creation taught along with evolution; 4 percent had no opinion]

Do you think the biblical version of creation can be taught in public schools

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and still meet the constitutional requirement of separating church and state? (61 percent said "yes"; 32 percent said "no"; 7 percent had no comment]

The flaw in this survey was spotted by Edd Doerr, editor of Church and State magazine. The questions used referred to "the" biblical version, as if there were only one. They did not specifically state that the creation model for which creationists seek equal time is one that demands a literal six-day creation occurring six- to ten-thousand years ago followed by a worldwide flood. Many who support a "biblical" version of creation see it as compatible with evolution, or at least an old earth, and may have wanted equal time for that. As Doerr noted, the respondents "were presented with an either-or choice that excluded the vast middle of the country." One can further note that even the "scientific" creationists were treated unfairly. They say they do not want the "biblical" creation model taught in public schools, but only the "scientific" model. To our knowledge, no poll, whether conducted by creationists or others, has asked the questions in a manner that would get an accurate and informed public reaction on the real issues at stake. (Jerry Falwell's poll is a particularly obvious example. By answering it, however, you will not only get to voice your view but will receive a free book in the bargain.)

This version might differ slightly from the print publication.

Film Review: Theories on the Origin of Life

Creation Evolution Journal
Volume: 
2
Year: 
1981
Number: 
3
Quarter: 
Summer
Page(s): 
39
Reviewer: 
John R. Cole
This version might differ slightly from the print publication.
Work Under Review
Title: 
Theories on the Origin of Life
EBF Corporation Biology Program, Unit 5, Heredity and Adaptive Change. Dr. Cyril Ponnamperuma, consultant. Encyclopedia Britannica Film Corporation, 1969. (14 minutes, 16mm color, sound.)

The creation-evolution controversy was returning as a hot political and educational issue when this film was made a dozen years ago. Today the issue is hotter yet with creationists demanding "equal time" in the classroom. As a result, this film continues to look tempting to teachers seeking out a competent comparison of theories that would objectively demonstrate the superiority of evolution on the basis of evidence, logic, and theory. I certainly had trouble booking it.

Since most teachers would consider a creationist-produced film suspect because of its prejudiced source and since creationists logically reject many standard scientific presentations on the same grounds, a commercial film might be able to solve the dilemma-or at least satisfy a teacher that it tries to be fair. This film does not.

Striving vaguely to be objective and inoffensive, it succeeds only in being superficial. It clearly favors evolution, but the only reason a viewer would be convinced to agree is because the producers are known to be trustworthy. Divine creation, evolution, spontaneous generation, and cosmogenesis are the four theories examined. Creation is treated in a simple manner by briefly showing Michaelangelo's version and by noting that people have believed it. An outerspace origin of life via "spores" blown to earth or carried by meteors is duly noted as unproven. Evolution is said to be based on fossil evidence (but not explained at all), and 1953 Stanley Miller experiments are shown passing electricity through the chemicals of early earth history to produce amino acids. Only spontaneous generation is treated in detail. Maggots are shown to come from flies, and microorganisms from airborne contamination produce living cultures in a recreation of Pasteur's famous experiment.

Unless one needs to illustrate the weakness of spontaneous generation, this film is of little use. Portentious music and a ponderous narration that sounds like Orson Welles on a bad day further contribute to the film's inadequacy. It is best, therefore, that college and high school teachers seeking to deal effectively with the creation-evolution controversy avoid this item.

Letters to the Editor

Creation Evolution Journal
Title: 
Letters to the Editor
Volume: 
2
Number: 
3
Quarter: 
Summer
Page(s): 
40–43
Year: 
1981

In recent issues of Creation/Evolution, Stanley Freske and Robert Schadewald have listed three of the excuses creationists offer as to why starlight coming from millions of light-years away does not disprove their claim for a young universe. The three listed were: the creator placed the photons of light from the stars close enough to the earth so we could look up and admire his creation; light traveled at infinite speed at the time of creation, but has since slowed down; and material objects exist in Euclidian space, but light travels in Riemannian space with a radius of only five light-years.

However, there is one that they missed. Dr. Theodore Rybka, research associate in physics at ICR, addressed the San Diego State University creation-evolution class in April 1980 and offered a fourth explanation. His argument was for a smaller universe altogether. While scientists generally assume that the lower brightness of stars and galaxies means they are further away from us, Dr. Rybka proposed a model wherein this evidence applies only to stars and galaxies we can measure directly. Beyond that distance, decreasing brightness actually means the stars are comparatively decreased in size.

As a direct analogy to Dr. Rybka's model, we can imagine a row of telephone poles along a road. They appear smaller as they go into the distance. But are they really going into the distance? Not necessarily. A person walking down the road could discover, instead, that they are really shorter and shorter poles. This means a person could walk down a line of poles and find one of a size he'd like to use as a toothpick.

If Dr. Rybka is right, someday we may be able to go out and bring back galaxies to hang up in our living rooms. Not only does this model ignore a wealth of other evidence that galaxies don't shrink with distance, but it also implies a malicious creator who has set out to fool us.

Dr. Frank Awbrey
Biology Department
San Diego State University


I enjoyed Stan Freske's article in Creation/Evolution IV on R. G. Elmendorf and his $5000 challenge to evolutionists. Perhaps you're not aware that alternative scientists have a long history of making such challenges. Like Elmendorf, they never voluntarily pay off, since there's absolutely no way to convince them that they're wrong. Consider the case of John Hampden.

In January of 1870, British flatearther John Hampden placed an advertisement in Scientific Opinion offering �500 to anyone who could demonstrate the rotundity of the earth. Two things were unusual

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about Hampden's challenge. First, it was in the form of a bet rather than an offer of a "reward"; second, Hampden was foolish enough to leave the decision up to an independent judge-an error which (to my knowledge) no subsequent alternative scientist has made. Evolutionist Alfred Russel Wallace accepted Hampden's challenge. He won the battle (money), but he lost the war as Hampden persecuted him for the rest of his life. (Readers interested in details of this fiasco can see my article, "He Knew Earth is Round, But His Proof Fell Flat," in the April 1978 Smithsonian.)

As I pointed out in Creation/ Evolution IV, in my article on the Moon and Spencer paper, the Koreshans of turn-of-the-century Chicago taught that the earth is a hollow sphere and that we live on the inside of it. I didn't mention that Cyrus Reed Teed (Koresh) had a standing offer of $5000 to anyone who could disprove the "Koreshan Cosmogony." No one ever collected.

In the 1920s, Wilbur Glenn Voliva of Zion, Illinois, had a standing offer of $5000 for proof that the earth isn't flat. No one ever collected from him either.

Such offers have backfired. In the notes to the 1957 edition of Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science, Martin Gardner told of a challenge issued by a German alternative scientist. Patent attorney Godfried Bueren offered 25,000 marks to anyone who could disprove his hollow sun theory. The German Astronomical Society accepted his challenge. When Bueren refused to pay off, they took him to court and won.

A similar and more pernicious case is pending as I write this. The Institute for Historical Review, an antisemitic group in California, claims that the Holocaust is a hoax. They offer $50,000 for proof to the contrary. Mel Mermelstein, a survivor of Auschwitz, accepted the challenge. When they didn't pay off, he took them to court.

If Mermelstein wins his case, it will set an important precedent. I hope that, on that very day, Stan Freske will file suit against Elmendorf. Forcing Elmendorf to pay off won't silence his braying, but it should muffle it a bit.

Robert J. Schadewald
Rogers, MN

Editor's note: Elmendorf's challenge may not be as winable as some of the others. This is because Elmendorf defines evolution in such a way that one would have to prove a "vital force" or perpetual motion in order to prove that evolution doesn't conflict with the second law. He might keep his money, because he is challenging a strawman instead of science.

One might be better off seeking the $1000 reward of Susan and Robert Sassone: "For proving the validity of any reason why population growth must be limited within the next century. " These people, along with a growing number in the -religious New Right, reject the notion of

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a population problem. And, to show their confidence, the Sassones declare in their challenge that any lawsuits over the reward money are to be tried in a court closest to where they live. But if you think winning will be easy, you'd best order one of their clever "instant speaker kits" first-complete with slides, graphs, and cartoons. For details, write to them at 900 North Broadway, Suite 725, Santa Ana, CA 92701.


I want to commend you on your journal. As the pendulum of public opinion moves toward religious fundamentalism, it provides a sorely needed antidote. If we can weather the storm, I think the pendulum will eventually swing back the other way. However, the storm promises to be a long one.

As one who teaches physiological psychology, I already am feeling the impact of the current wave of rejection of well-established scientific facts in the attitudes of my students. Discussions of the similarity between ontogeny and philogeny, developments such as encephalization, interspecies generalizability of findings, and various between-species comparisons are beginning to be met with hostility. I have conveyed my concern to members of our biology department and have been met with the yawns and shrugs of indifference. Some of these colleagues have explicitly expressed their unwillingness to deal with the claims of the creationists.

Recently, John Clayton, a creationist high school biology teacher from Indiana, spoke unopposed on campus. The way in which terms such as proof were used with abandon in his promotional brochure renders his basic understanding of the principles of science suspect, despite the credentials he flaunts. Religionists such as this man continually attempt to instill the idea that belief in special creation is necessary for belief in God. Since most people find belief in a deity extremely appealing, the success of the association automatically guarantees the acceptance of creationism.

Locally, no biologist or geologist appeared in order to refute the claims of Mr. Clayton. I am not so sure they would have been very successful if they had tried. As you point out, most scientists are narrow specialists
and, therefore, ill-prepared to debate the general issues raised by the creationists. This became vividly apparent a few years ago, when I was a graduate student at the University of Texas at Austin. Gish and his group engaged in a debate with members of the biology department there. I seem to remember that a poll taken after the debate indicated that over 80 percent of the fifteen-hundred-member student audience thought that the creationists had won. In an apparent gesture of outrage and impotence, most members of the biology department signed the American Humanist Association's Statement Affirming Evolution as a Principle of Science.

Candidly, it seems to me that we - need refutations of creationism expressed

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in a much more simple way than most of those in your new journal. Creationists oversimplify and, in doing so, distort the evidence; yet, can we not develop simple yet adequate answers to their claims? Until this is done, I am afraid they will have the upper hand with average listeners. Such listeners are taxpayers and voters, capable of influencing the content of instruction in science courses through the senior high school level (and, in certain instances, at the college level). I really believe that we must develop arguments that are comprehensible by the majority and, at the same time, leave their religious sensibilities intact.

Are there no persons who travel about presenting the evolutionist perspective? Given the seriousness of the challenge being posed by the creationists, it might be desirable to find people who are competent and willing to do this.

Obviously, I am experiencing a great deal of frustration in regard to this issue (as no doubt you are likewise experiencing). I am accordingly willing to provide any support that I can.

Garvin Chastain, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Psychology
Boise State University


Dr. Sonleitner's article (Spring 1981) did a fine job of summarizing the recent debate over the creationist bill in Oklahoma. Let me add a little to this discussion. When another geologist and I (both working for major oil companies) heard about the proposed bill, we immediately wrote letters to several legislators and circulated a petition against the bill among geologists in our companies. In addition, I prepared to testify at the Education Committee's public hearing.

The point of our letters, petition, and testimony was not just to object to creationism on academic grounds but to emphasize that the principles of "evolutionary science" have very practical applications and that, in fact, the petroleum industry, from whose activities Oklahoma has greatly profited, owes its success to the daily application of these principles... .

My impression of the public hearing is that it was little more than a formality. Most of the legislators had their minds made up by then. However, some representatives seemed to have been influenced by the debate between committee members, which followed the public testimony. For this reason, I have come to believe that the best way to influence legislators who may be faced with a creationist bill is not to wait for public hearings but to send letters, petitions, essays or make personal contact as far in advance of any vote as possible. This will at least give them a chance to think things over, knowing that professionals and other concerned voters give no credence to the creationist view of the earth's natural history.

James Cunliffe
Petroleum Geologist
Tulsa, OK

This version might differ slightly from the print publication.

Issue 6 (Fall 1981)

Creation/Evolution issue 6 cover
Creation Evolution Journal
Title: 
Creation/Evolution VI
Volume: 
2
Number: 
4
Quarter: 
Fall
Year: 
1981
For a PDF version of the entire issue, please click here.


See below for text versions of this issue's articles.

A Survey of Creationist Field Research

Creation Evolution Journal
Title: 
A Survey of Creationist Field Research
Author(s): 
Henry P. Zuidema
Volume: 
2
Number: 
4
Quarter: 
Fall
Page(s): 
1–5
Year: 
1981

A solution to the question of origins cannot be found in the library stacks. The search goes on in the laboratory and out in the field, in biochemistry, paleontology, geology, and supporting disciplines in science. It was therefore inevitable that the "scientific" creationists would have to make a showing in "original research" to lend substance to their claim that the scientific data support biblical revelation over evolution. A summary of some field projects by the Institute for Creation Research will thus be of interest to those seeking to assess the validity of "creation-science."

The Search for Noah's Ark

Among the early ICR projects were the expeditions, begun in 1971, to Mt. Ararat in search of Noah's ark. Though this age-old quest might seem barely amenable to scientific study, there is a Jacques Cousteau allure of being "on the scene" in scientific endeavors and, moreover, ark searches over the years have received good press.

The leader of these expeditions was John D. Morris, son of ICR director Henry Morris. Young Morris at that time had a B.S. in civil engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute, where his father, a hydrologist who has written extensively on flood geology, had earlier been chairman of the civil engineering department. John Morris recently was awarded a Ph.D. in geological engineering at the University of Oklahoma.

From these expeditions came John Morris's Adventure on Ararat and The Ark on Ararat, two books still featured in the ICR catalog. Adventure on Ararat is described in glowing terms in a 1974 handout as, "A fascinating first-hand story of the search for Noah's ark, believed still to be preserved in a frozen lake somewhere on the high slopes of Mt. Ararat. Exciting adventure, danger, miraculous protection." These books record an enterprise that very evidently was poorly financed and manned.

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A chief backer was a middle-aged Michigan businessman who managed to keep going on the arduous mission to the snow fields at the crest of the 17,000-foot peak. The group of young explorers admittedly had minimal mountaineering experience. The requirements for the volunteers, in fact, had little to do with climbing abilities or scientific background. The criteria specified that participants, financed by families or church groups, should be literate and fluent so as to better relate on their return their experiences to audiences. And they had much to tell.

The group found itself in a restless corner of Turkey, which bordered the Soviet Union and Iran and where Kurdish tribesmen long have been in revolt. Suspicious natives fired on the party. Equipment was looted. Bad weather harassed them. There were rock falls, and, during a storm, three members were knocked down by lightning. There was even a brief dispute about leadership which Morris soon settled, convinced, he wrote, that Satan had entered the camp.

There were "sightings" of the ark in the inhospitable terrain of treacherous gorges, but the ark eluded discovery. Morris, writing from his engineering background (as he points out in his reports), nonetheless concluded that the ark must have had a capacity equal to 567 standard railroad stock cars which could hold 50,000 animals. Drawing on zoological research, he saw no great problem concerning the handling of the varied cargo. In time of peril, he argued, such as during floods and forest fires, animals may undergo personality changes and freely mingle.

Future attempts to achieve success have been under discussion, but a member of the ICR staff has counseled that "the Lord will reveal the Ark at a time of His own choosing."

An Expedition to the Bannock Overthrust

Another challenging task was undertaken by the Institute in its investigation of the Bannock overthrust complex, which extends along adjoining corners of Wyoming, Utah, and Idaho. Mapping of rock outcrops in the area by the U.S. Geological Survey and various universities for over half a century shows widespread faulting along mountain fronts with strata pushed up and over other strata, this causing a doubling-up of the normal rock sequence in comparison to what is in adjacent undisturbed regions. The rocks involved are millions of years in age and more recent strata are found buried beneath overthrusts of much older formations.

This set of conclusions on overthrusts conflicts with the opinions of many creationists, including Professor Harold Slusher who teaches physics at the University of Texas-El Paso and who is head of the physical sciences department at Christian Heritage College, of which ICR is a division, and Clifford Burdick, who has been the advisor on geology for the Creation Research Society and was a consultant for, but nonparticipant on, the ark expeditions.

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Assigned to the Bannock project, Slusher and Burdick, together with John Morris and Frank Baxter, proposed that the overthrusts and, in fact, the whole geologic column were the misconceptions of faithless stratigraphers in an attempt to support a sequence of evolutionary deposition over vast eras. To some creationists, such as John Morris, there was a destruction of preexisting strata during a worldwide flood, hence a mixing of sediments and their fossils. All this happened just prior to the Ice Age. Therefore, if they could prove that the Bannock overthrust, with attendant implications, did not exist, then evolution would be deprived of a major support, since fossils would lose their significance.

The four researchers were not pioneers in this venture. The same ground had been covered by George McCready Price, a "scientific" creationist of another generation, whose text, The New Geology, has a place in history as a classic example of pseudoscience.

The initial step in investigations such as these is to consult the literature of previous projects in order to determine what others have already done. Maps and reports were available that could have led the explorers to key areas, such as Monticello Canyon in Utah. There was no need to accept them as authority, but they did indicate where best to search.

Published reports of the ICR Bannock investigation in the November 1974 Acts & Facts, and elsewhere, suggest a hasty reconnaissance of a small part of the overthrusts region in the Wasatch Mountains near Ogden, Utah, and the Heart Mountain area in Cody, Wyoming. The research team reported some evidence of very rapid deposition of strata with an absence of thrusting or sliding. Yet there were inconclusive results, which will necessitate that some factors be rechecked.

Major oil companies, impelled by current energy needs, subsequently invested millions in stockholders' money in the costly venture of deep drilling in order to reach oil and gas which geologic maps suggested could be deeply buried beneath the overthrust. If creationist doubts proved to be valid, would the investments be misspent? Or would geophysics save the oil seekers from metaphysics?

The drillers penetrated ancient sterile strata, which thrust faulting had forced atop more recent petroliferous rocks. They were guided by the recovery of rock fragments and microfossils that have been identified in other oil and gas reservoirs. The result? They struck it rich with the discovery of new fields in both the Rocky Mountain (including the Bannock) and Appalachian thrust belts. The geologic column still stands.

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Exploring Along the Paluxy River

If one were to accept the concept of a very young earth only a few thousand years old, would that mean that dinosaurs and humans existed together at the time of the deluge? This hypothesis has long fascinated ICR, and exploration to research it was started in 1975 in the Paluxy River area, near Glen Rose, Texas.

Few fossil localities have been explored so diligently over so long a period of time as was the Paluxy site. Tons of dinosaur tracks have been removed for display, such as that at the American Museum of Natural History. Paleontologists insist that there are no "human tracks" among these, but science is nourished by the unknown, and such a find would bring crowds to any museum door.

ICR actively entered the Paluxy scene as a result of interest that had been stimulated by a motion picture made by the Films for Christ Association, an Illinois operation. The film makers, in turn, had been attracted to the area by the writings of Burdick, who had been pursuing for forty years evidence of "giant humans" in North America.

Burdick has announced possession of human tracks, or at least plaster casts of these, and a large cat track, claimed to be that of a sabre-tooth tiger. The latter is mentioned in John Morris's book, Tracking Those Incredible Dinosaurs . . . and the People Who Knew Them, as "reported found in the Glen Rose limestone," the rock through which the Paluxy River has cut its channel. While references to the tiger track are vague, Morris points out that, since these cats are thought to have evolved some 50 million years ago and the Glen Rose strata are dated by geologists as being at least 100 million years old, this discovery "is almost as damaging to evolutionary theory" as are the purported human prints. "One well-documented factual observation," he says, quoting another creationist writer, "would rob the theory of the huge time spans regarded as the conditio sine qua non for evolution to have occurred."

Therein lies the rub. As of this article, not one impression of a human foot, in stone, has been removed from the Paluxy rocks under the precautions needed in such work so as to be available for scientific study. The ICR museum has impressions, but these are plaster casts, and paleontologists want original material for description and identification. There were some rubber pullings taken by the film makers, but word from the museum is that these have now "deteriorated."

Much of the locality where the tracks were supposedly found is state park land and therefore could not be removed without a permit. This is unfortunate, as Morris indicates. In 1975 he and Professor Edward Blick, a member of the ICR advisory board and also on the engineering faculty of the University of Oklahoma, were taken on a tour by Cecil Dougherty, a Glen Rose chiropractor who has been examining the river bed for many years. Dougherty showed them the "manlike tracks." These, Morris said, "included perhaps the most perfect track ever found. This recently exposed track was in a most vulnerable position and, within a year of its discovery, had completely eroded away."

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Morris deplores the fact that other fundamentalists have been critical of the ICR operations in that area. Several universities, including Baylor (which is Baptist), Southern Methodist, and a group of Seventh Day Adventist colleges, have examined the dinosaur trackways. "Baylor studies have been the most extensive," he says, "but, of course, the idea of man prints is ridiculed." The Adventist schools, including California's Loma Linda University, studied the tracks (some of which appeared to be prints of moccasins) but felt that the case for human occupancy in the days of the giant reptiles had not been proved.

The subject is further fogged by the many reports of the fabrication of humanlike prints by residents of the Glen Rose area in an attempt to enhance tourist trade during the economic depression of the thirties.

Other Field Research

The April 1975 Acts & Facts reported the discovery of a new flood tradition by Les and Kathy Bruce, son-in-law and daughter of Henry Morris and missionary linguists with the Wycliffe Bible Translators. They had been working with the Alamblak tribe, who live along the Karawari and Wagumpmeri Rivers in northern Paupua-New Guinea, and had managed to combine into one tale various versions of a flood story from the four clan groups of the tribe. The conclusion was that, since "all nations are descended from the three sons of Noah," then "it would be expected that, through stories passed down (through generations], many of them would retain distorted memories of the great flood." The ICR people felt that this tribe's ancestors had to have had personal knowledge of the deluge, since the tribe now lives too far from Ararat and Babel "to have obtained the flood story from some other source." They disregard the fact that major floods have occurred throughout history in many parts of the globe and that this could be why "such flood stories have been found in tribes all over the world."

In light of this "original research," it appears that the claims of "scientific" creationism can easily be questioned. In fact, after investigating ICR's several field projects, Professor Donald J. Weinshank of Michigan State University could only conclude that "not one of these came even close to observing the accepted standards of the scientific method."

So, as the Institute for Creation Research pursues its mission to "save the world from Darwinism," it might well consider getting out of field work altogether and concentrating on what it does best—library research and quoting evolutionists out of context. Creation "science" is on safer ground being a species of literary criticism. The natural world is too full of booby traps for the eager believer and ICR has turned up nothing to date that its followers had not believed all along.

About the Author(s): 
Henry Zuidema, a paleontologist, is also a science writer and former editor of Earth Science. During 1947-1951 he discovered the Ruby Valley (Montana) fossil insect and plant locality.

Copyright 1981 by Henry P. Zuidema
This version might differ slightly from the print publication.

Arkeology: A New Science in Support of Creation?

Creation Evolution Journal
Title: 
Arkeology: A New Science in Support of Creation?
Author(s): 
Robert A. Moore
Volume: 
2
Number: 
4
Quarter: 
Fall
Page(s): 
6–15
Year: 
1981

Among the hodgepodge of claims and assertions that pass for "proofs" of creationism, one of the most popular is the alleged preservation of Noah's Ark in the glaciers of Mt. Ararat in eastern Turkey. If indeed a ship is discovered at that improbable location, so the argument runs, it would be undeniable evidence that the story of the deluge in Genesis is trustworthy, and this, in turn, would mean that the historicity of the remainder of the creation narrative is verified and creationism and flood geology stand confirmed.

As John D. Morris of the Institute for Creation Research writes, "The discovery of Noah's Ark would immediately render the current premises of historical geology totally obsolescent. . . . Such a development would apply the final death blow to the already fragile philosophy of Darwinian evolution" (p. 110). Fellow Mt. Ararat climber Larry D. Ikenberry agrees: "Rediscovery of a 450-foot ocean vessel, two and one-half miles high on a mountain would shed new light on popular concepts of origins! . . . The intellectual basis for the theory of organic evolution would crumble" (p. 67).

As creationism is essentially a popular appeal to those lacking scientific expertise, one can readily appreciate the force of such reasoning, especially when it is backed up by exciting mountaineering adventures and feature-length pseudo-documentary movies. Of course, the famous boat has not yet turned up, but that hasn't dampened the enthusiasm of its proponents, who dutifully list a large number of sightings, photographs, wood fragments, and other items that thoroughly convince them and, hopefully, their audiences.

Older Ark Stories

The argument-from-the-ark in its modern form is quite new—little more than a decade old—but, in other guises, it has been around a long time. In the early centuries of Christianity, the church fathers occasionally resorted to it in their disputes with the pagans.

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For example, John Chrysostom, the famous patriarch of Constantinople, in a fourth-century sermon asked, "Do not the mountains of Armenia testify to it, where the ark rested? And are not the remains of the ark preserved there, to this very day, for our admonition?" (Montgomery, p. 78). Bishop Epiphanius of Salamis (315-403 A.D.) chided unbelievers, "Do you seriously suppose that we are unable to prove our point, when even to this day the remains of Noah's ark are shown in the country of the Kurds?" (Montgomery, p. 77).

The force of these claims was unfortunately blunted by the fact that there was no certain location for the ancient vessel; each nation or tribe with a flood legend believed in its own landing site, often containing remains preserved "to this day." In addition to Agri Dagi (present-day Mt. Ararat), Lloyd R. Bailey lists nine other mountains connected with the biblical-Koranic tradition, of which each has been touted as the true location of the ark (chapter three). Modern apologists are quick to point out that the Genesis story, unlike many others, does not place the ark on a convenient nearby peak, such as Mt. Hebron, but far off to the north in Armenia—this supposedly lending greater credibility to its version. In reality, this feature shows the eclecticism of the ancient Israelites, who, in their nomadic wanderings and forced exiles, borrowed freely from those with whom they came in contact. In this case the donors were the Hurrians, a people who migrated south from Armenia in the third millennium B.C. and who became an important link in the westward spread of Babylonian ideas (Teeple, pp. 26-7, 33). The Babylonian deluge myth was probably related to the Hebrews through the Hurrians, complete with their geographical modifications.

After the triumph of Christianity, ark preservation stories continued to appear from time to time, but they were no longer used apologetically, since everyone believed the Bible. In an era when hundreds of pieces of the cross, vials of the Virgin Mary's tears, and other such marvels abounded, the distant vestiges of the ark would scarcely excite anyone. It says something for the credulity of modern believers that such tales are dutifully recited and tallied up, as if a dozen unfounded myths add up to one solid fact.

The age of exploration and discovery culled another handful of reports, all being mere descriptions of local legends of the same "is-is-said-by-the-natives" nature. Marco Polo, for example, took note of Mt. Ararat's claim to fame and is quoted with approval by ark searchers. Unmentioned are such facts as that, elsewhere during his travels, Polo saw a mountain that had been moved at the command of a local Christian who had "faith as a grain of mustard seed," thereby converting much of the local Moslem population (White, vol. Il, p. 211). Such was the state of affairs until the present century. An unconfirmed report here, a third-hand newspaper account there, and one or two unreliable eyewitnesses round out the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It is little wonder that the early battles between Darwinism and biblical literalism were fought without the benefit of this important information.

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Most of the orthodox authors never mentioned it, and the few who did did not accept it. Our current crop of creationists look back ruefully on this faux pas of their predecessors. Violet M. Cummings, discussing a sighting which was made in 1856 but went inexplicably unreported for ninety-six years, sighs, "If the truth had been disclosed at the time this event took place . . . the religious history of the entire civilized world would have been altered and . . . the conflict between creationism and the evolutionary theory would have been over before it had fairly begun!" (1975b, p. 111).

The Modem Quest

The modern era of ark searching began in the early 1940s when a number of religious papers in America carried a sensational story about a Russian expedition claiming to have discovered the sacred vessel. In brief it was related how, late in World War I, a Russian pilot flying near Mt. Ararat spotted a shiplike object protruding from a glacier. He reported this enigma to his superiors, who relayed it on up the line until the czar dispatched a large party to investigate. After nearly a month of grueling effort, the ark was found and thoroughly explored by up to 150 men, who confirmed that it perfectly matched the description given in Genesis. A report was prepared and sent back to Moscow, but, as luck would have it, it vanished during the Bolshevik Revolution. Some say Leon Trotsky destroyed it. Now, a quarter of a century later, the truth was out.

However, the ink had barely dried before serious questions and criticisms arose, and the fabric of the tale quickly began unraveling. By 1945, New Eden, where it initially appeared, and at least two other magazines, had printed retractions, and the author, Floyd M. Gurley, confessed that the story was 95 percent fiction. Subsequent examination of the remaining 5 percent "core of truth" has fairly well eliminated even this much (Noorbergen, pp. 95-96), and, in fact, it now appears that the entire episode originated in The Netherlands in 1933 as an April Fool's joke (Parrot, p. 64). Nevertheless, the one hundred plus members of the phantom expedition are still faithfully added up, yielding over half the total number of persons who have seen the ark in modern times.

Recantations notwithstanding, modern ark fever had begun. In 1949, instructed by a "revelation from God," Reverend Aaron J. Smith of Greensboro, North Carolina, set out on the first expedition specifically organized to locate the ark (Parrot, p. 65). His group thoroughly explored the region under ideal conditions and drew a complete blank. Edwin Greenwald, a reporter who accompanied them, concluded:

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The ark of Noah, if it ever landed on Mount Ararat, is lost eternally to the ages. It will never be found. . . . The four-man expedition . . . explored every crevice and every clue. It scouted through the villages for one hundred miles around, seeking anyone who might know anything. Nothing, absolutely nothing, was uncovered.... In the villages, the old men and the young had heard the legend that a great boat once rested in the snow way up there. But no one had ever seen it, and they knew of no one who had. (LaHaye and Morris, p. 123)

Smith returned home dejected but with his faith in the ark's existence unshaken.

The next man to trek to eastern Turkey had better results. French industrialist and amateur archaeologist Fernand Navarra made three trips to Mt. Ararat—in 1952, 1953, and 1955. On the third occasion, he and his son Raphael spotted what appeared to be a shiplike silhouette under the ice, and, climbing down into a deep crevice, he recovered pieces of hand-tooled wood. The two eagerly rushed it back to Europe and had it tested, where it turned out to be approximately five thousand years old—just the right age to have come from Noah's own carpentry shop. Proof at last? It certainly seemed suggestive, and Navarra exulted, "For me [it] is a certitude: I have found the ark of Noah" (Montgomery, p. 138).

However, two lines of inquiry have thrown a cloud over Navarra's achievement. In the first place, several people, including Colonel Sahap Atalay and J. A. deRiquier, two of Navarra's climbing companions, have accused Navarra of deliberate fraud, of planting the wood in the crevice so that it could later be "discovered." He has, of course, denied this, but the circumstances of his find remain suspicious. And when he led another probe to the same part of the mountain in 1969, wood fragments again turned up, but only after he had had an opportunity to be alone on the glacier. Such problems prompted even true believers such as LaHaye and Morris to comment, "There are certain discrepancies in Navarra's account which cast grave shadows over its authenticity" (p. 133).

Second, the dating of the wood has had to be drastically revised. The earlier tests used highly dubious techniques, such as density, color, and degree of lignitization; since then a number of laboratories have tested it by the radiocarbon method, and the dates derived in this manner all focus around the eighth century A.D., over three thousand years too late for the deluge. Bailey has studied the dating question in some detail, and he shows that the ancient age is quite untenable. So, however the wood came to be in the ice, it did not get there from Noah's ark (pp. 64-80).

Ark reports were thus increasing, but still they were being ignored in creationist argumentation. Alfred M. Rehwinkel, in The Flood in the Light of the Bible, Geology, and Archaeology, devoted an entire chapter to the story of the Russian discovery, debunking it in a manner of which a modern skeptic could be proud.

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Even as late as 1961 the standard text of flood geology, The Genesis Flood by Whitcomb and Morris, relegated it to a footnote with the comment, "We fear that any hope of its preservation for the thousands of years of post-diluvian history is merely wishful thinking" (pp. 87-88). Perhaps one reason for such disbelief is that creationists regard the earth as tectonically peaceful prior to the flood with volcanic activity virtually unknown. As Whitcomb (1973) states:

Enormously high, snow-capped mountain peaks could not have existed before the flood. "The world that perished" had low-lying mountains, which were probably less than six- or seven-thousand-feet high. . . . Scripture tells us that it was not until after the flood that "the mountains rose" (Psalms 104:8). Their rise to great heights was both sudden and supernatural (p. 40).

Since Agri Dagi is a tremendous, 16,946-foot volcano, it presumably would have been erupting into existence during and shortly after the deluge, forming a severely inhospitable place for Noah and the animals to disembark.

But the pendulum was now swinging hard in the opposite direction. The late 1960s and early 1970s saw the remains of the ark emerge as a major anti-evolutionary weapon. The explosion of creationist activity at this time, the trend away from science and toward the occult by the nation's youth, the involvement of the Institute for Creation Research in expeditions in Turkey, and the sophomoric simplicity of the ark as evidence all played a role. Numerous articles and at least ten books rapidly appeared, all pressing the claims of the ark seekers. Lecturers traveled around the country preaching the news; while other groups, ranging from ill-prepared amateurs to well-financed expeditions to illegally trespassing explorers, tromped about Armenia and up and down Mt. Ararat. In 1974, the Turkish government eventually had to close the area, which borders the Soviet Union, to foreigners.

Pundits nicknamed the searchers "arkeologists" and the name stuck, giving us a new pseudoscience alongside UFOlogy, pyramidology, and the like. Now, in addition to biology, geology, and cosmology, creationists could boast that their scientific enterprise included archaeology as well. Reader's Digest and Newsweek carried stories about the sightings, and publications that should have known better, such as Sea Frontiers (Gaunt) and the Standard Encyclopedia of the World's Mountains (Huxley), offered uncritical reports and comments.

The climax was reached in 1976, when, after a couple of minor ark films had appeared, Sun Classics Pictures released The Search for Noah's Ark. This well-made movie, in documentary fashion, gave supposed archaeological proof that the Bible is factual, presented the "scientific" case for flood geology, and surveyed the attempts to find the ark on Mt. Ararat, concluding that the story of Noah is "impeccably true." It was a surprising box-office success and was subsequently shown twice on NBC-TV in 1977. Noah's ark had finally come into its own.

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Today, although emphasis on it has diminished a little with no new forays into Turkey, ark theory still remains a substantial piece of ammunition in the creationists' arsenal. As recently as February 1981, a new fifty-five minute movie, Noah's Ark and the Genesis Flood, was released for distribution to churches, conventions, and similar places.

The Science of Ark Searching

Having briefly traced the history of ark hunting from its origins in pious Armenian mythology to its prominent place in modern creationism, it might be instructive to take a look at the techniques employed in gathering evidence of the ark's preservation in contrast to those employed in the practice of less exotic sciences. How does one "do" arkeology? I shall not examine each alleged sighting one by one, which has been adequately done elsewhere (Bailey, 1978; Stiebing, 1976; Teeple, 1978), but shall concentrate on the methodology used.

We have already noticed the process of reciting ancient legends as if they were officially documented reports; this same tactic applies to the more recent sightings, no matter how unsubstantiated. For example, in 1948 news filtered out that a Kurdish peasant named Resit had chanced upon the vessel. Subsequent efforts to confirm this report, even with the incentive of a monetary reward, not only failed to even find anyone named Resit or anyone who knew him but also turned up a complete denial among the local populace near Mt. Ararat of any knowledge whatsoever of the ark's remains. Mr. Resit is nevertheless favorably mentioned in ark literature.

Besides missing witnesses, there is a special class of references: missing documents. In addition to the ill-fated report to the czar, there is a whole battery of lost newspaper articles, magazine accounts, and vanished photographs—all of which, if they existed, would offer powerful evidence for the ark. As it is, since there is always someone somewhere who recalls having seen the item in question, they offer to arkeologists powerful evidence for the ark and are cited accordingly. The most famous missing photos were taken from a helicopter in 1953 by George J. Greene, an employee of an American oil company. A number of people claim to have seen them before he was murdered in 1962, at which time they disappeared. At that time they were not convincing enough to persuade anyone to join Greene in an ark-searching expedition; only now, when they are gone, do the photographs serve to "verify" the ark's presence on the mountain. Gaskill suggests that in this wild, rugged, mountain area they were really pictures of a large rock formation.

Another type of unavailable resource that is popular with most fringe sciences is the "government secret." In addition to a collection of wrecked flying saucers and Bermuda Triangle cover-ups, Uncle Sam supposedly has satellite and reconnaissance photographs of the Mt. Ararat region that clearly show the ark. In a section entitled "The Undisputed Facts," Balsiger and Sellier state, "Early in the decade of the seventies, American spy planes [and] weather and military satellites photographed the structure on Mt. Ararat" (p. 2).

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Needless to say, the Freedom of Information Act is being diligently pursued in order to obtain these treasures. In this case though we not only have Washington holding back, but Moscow as well, for the Soviets too have decisive documentation, but, being atheists, they are not about to release it. "Little doubt remains," writes LaHaye and Morris, "of Russian knowledge on the subject and their continued suppression of the evidence," since, of course, "godless communism relies on evolution" (pp. 108, 112).

A few photographs do exist, and they are nearly always dramatically displayed. One is openly admitted to be a fake; another, which appeared in Life in 1960, was found by a hastily dispatched party to be an unusual rock formation. A blurred slide, taken from the air in 1966 and showing a "mysterious object" in a remote chasm, has been the subject of much excited speculation, including, since this site is different from others, the theory that the ark is broken into two or more pieces in various locations. Montgomery tells us that "the analysis of the slide makes it plain that whatever the object is in the lower left-hand corner, it is foreign to the material of the mountain" (Balsiger and Sellier, p. 164), but Cummings reveals, "The summer of 1973 saw this controversial object positively identified once and for all. . . . [It is] an immense basaltic rock formation covered with a white leach material resembling, from a distance, a blanket of snow!" (1975a). But it unfortunately was not quite "once and for all," for at least four books written since 1973 have continued suggesting that we may have a photo of the reclusive ship at last. There is a satellite photograph that shows absolutely nothing but a view of Armenia from 450 miles up. Yet no ark book or movie would be complete without its inclusion!

Of some concern to arkeologists is the fact that there are other mountains with arks on them, and these heretical versions must be disposed of. Misquotings, omissions, and ingenious interpretations usually turn the trick (see Bailey, pp. 22-45). The location given in the Koran—Jabal Judi, a peak in Arabia—is probably the toughest of which to dispose, since faithful Moslems have reported seeing the ark there as recently as 1949 (Parrot, p. 65). Cummings (1975b) makes a strained attempt to identify Jabal Judi with Agri Dagi, while Kelly Seagraves goes so far as to pinpoint "Al Judi" to a small, heart-shaped snowfield on the northeast slope of Greater Ararat—the precise spot where many arkeologists believe Noah landed. They happily conclude, therefore, that "the Bible and the Koran refer to the same mountain" (Seagraves, p. 15).

In cataloguing the data, a flat-out denial of discovery can be as important as a well-publicized sighting. In 1933 Carveth Wells, a Los Angeles radio commentator, traveled to the Middle East and Russia looking for the ark. The title of his book, Kapoot, summarizes the success he enjoyed. In it he specifically denied even entering Turkey, but arkeologists suspect that he secretly crossed the Soviet border, climbed Mt. Ararat alone, found the ark, and smuggled out a piece of wood. And thus another witness joins the list.

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Or take Russian explorer E. de Markoff who climbed the peak in 1888. On the way up he discovered a piece of wood and burned it to boil water for some tea. Twelve years earlier James Bryce of Great Britain had also found wood and, being a good Christian, claimed that it was from the ark, although he admitted that it could have been a remnant from a monument erected by previous climbers. In Markoff's case he never once doubted that it was such a remnant, especially since his stick had Russian initials carved on it, a language presumably unknown to Noah but well known to Colonel J. Khodzko who had reached the summit in 1850 and had erected a monument. Montgomergy nevertheless devotes a chapter entitled "More Tantalizing Wood" to Markoff, suggesting that, in spite of everything, the fragment was a genuine relic from the sacred ship.

Since World War II, nearly forty expeditions have journeyed to the Near East with the specific purpose of finding the ark; but, except for Navarra's dubious wood samples, they have been uniformly unsuccessful. Even though the Holy Spirit revealed the ark's exact location to one seeker in a dream (Teeple, p. 103) and led another to believe that on the morrow he would see it (Morris, p. 55), apparently neither could find it. Teeple summarizes:

Great Ararat has been explored on all sides by ark enthusiasts and must have been explored considerably also by military units. An impressive number of ascents have been made. . . . In the twentieth century, large sums of money have been spent in organized expeditions to find remains of the ark. . . . Surely the mountain has been searched quite extensively by now! (p. 111).

Yet, creationists won't take "no" for an answer; these multiple failures seem only to strengthen their belief that success is just around the corner, if only the uncooperative Turks would let them back in.

Finally, and perhaps most amazingly, one can invent sightings out of whole cloth. In the most recent pro-ark book, Meyer lists a Turkish expedition in 1840 that spotted the ship (p. 80). I can find no other reference to this event anywhere, and Meyer supplies no documentation whatsoever. The only explanation I can think of is that when in 1883 a major earthquake shook the area, a government team, sent to inspect the damage, reported allegedly having seen the ark. Since another even larger earthquake occurred in 1840—one which ark enthusiasts believe exposed the vessel, thus inaugurating the modern era of sightings—perhaps the two dates were confused. In any event, it became a "discovery" in its own right, and no doubt in future ark literature this "nonevent" will acquire added details and become a full-fledged incident, thus proving the reliability of the Bible.

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Such, then, is the method and madness of creationist arkeology. It is not, in any meaning of the term, science. Starting with the results known in advance, the object is merely to confirm them. Anything contrary is ignored, unless it can be explained away; everything favorable, no matter how devoid of value, is eagerly seized. And, unlike its traditional cousin which begins with an existing artifact and studies it, arkeology has no specimen at all but nevertheless can describe it in intimate detail, including its internal construction, its purpose and date, and its implications, and, with characteristic arrogance, challenges any doubters to give up their hard-headedness. These sorts of tactics could be (and often are) employed with equal success in the quests to discover Atlantis, the Seven Cities of Cibola, or the entrance to the hollow earth. They are typical of that type of people described by Jean-Paul Sartre who, "since they are afraid of reasoning . . . want to adopt a mode of life in which reasoning and research play but a subordinate role, in which one never seeks but that which one has already found" (quoted in Kaufmann, p. 135).

Is there, then, nothing at all on Mt. Ararat? Many bona fide researchers, feeling that with so much smoke there must be some sort of fire, have proposed the theory that medieval monks built a shrine high on the mountain to commemorate the legendary landing of Noah. Dr. A. Dupont-Sommer suggested such a solution as early as 1951 (Parrot, p. 66), and there is some evidence that may point in this direction (Bailey, p. 94). After all, in an era when relics and shrines abounded and piety was proportional to the inhospitality of one's retreat, a sacred site on the ice of Mt. Ararat is not inconceivable. Even so, I believe that the data is so scanty that even this modest solution is unnecessary. When one considers the cases of pious fraud, the utter failure to recover one piece of evidence that can withstand scrutiny, the presence of unusual rock formations in this craggy, volcanic region, and American fundamentalists' unlimited will to believe, it is quite possible that there is nothing whatsoever human-made on the mountain except a few tattered remains from early climbers' monuments. But, whichever view one takes, it can be stated with assurance that there is not now, nor has there ever been a huge ship equipped with cages and stalls for animals and piloted by a man named Noah on the summit of Mt. Ararat or Jabal Judi or any other peak, and the creationist use of this as a definitive refutation of evolution and historical geology merely shows the weakness of their overall case.

Bibliography

Bailey, Lloyd R. 1978. Where Is Noah's Ark? Nashville: Abingdon.

Balsiger, Dave, and Sellier, Charles E., Jr. 1976. In Search of Noah's Ark. Los Angeles: Sun Classic Books.

Cummings, Violet M. January 19, 1975a. "Mount Ararat Guards Its Secret." Christian Standard, vol. cx, no. 3, pp. 7-8.
——. 1975b. Noah's Ark: Fable or Fact? Old Tappan, NJ: Spire Books.

Gaskill, Gordon. August 1975. "Have They Found Noah's Ark?" Christian Herald, pp. 16-18.

- page 15 -

Gaunt, Arthur. May-June 1977. "Ararat's Mystery Ship." Sea Frontiers. 23:3:167-171.

Huxley, Anthony (editor). 1962. Standard Encyclopedia of the World's Mountains. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, p. 81.

Ikenberry, Larry D. 1976. Noah's Ark: Mystery of Ararat. Olympia, WA: Cascade Photograpics.

Kaufmann, Walter. 1976. Existentialism, Religion, and Death: Thirteen Essays. New York: New American Library.

LaHaye, Tim F. and Morris, John D. 1976. The Ark on Ararat. San Diego: Creation-Life Publishers.

Meyer, Nathan M. 1977. Noah's Ark—Pitched and Parked. Winona Lake, IN: BMH Books.

Montgomery, John W. 1974. The Quest for Noah's Ark, second edition. Minneapolis: Bethany Fellowship.

Morris, John D. 1973. Adventure on Ararat. San Diego: Creation-Life Publishers. "Noah's Ark?" September 5, 1960. Life. 49:10:112-114.

Noorbergen, Rene. 1974. The Ark File. Mountain View, CA: Pacific Press Publishing Association.

Parrot, Andre. 1955. The Flood and Noah's Ark. London: SCM Press.

Rehwinkel, Alfred M. 1951. The Flood in the Light of the Bible, Geology, and Archaeology. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House.

Seagraves, Kelly L. 1975. Search for Noah's Ark. San Diego: Beta Books.

Stiebing, William H., Jr. June 1976. "A Futile Quest: The Search for Noah's Ark." The Biblical Archaeology Review. 2:2:1, 13-20.

Teeple, Howard M. 1978. The Noah's Ark Nonsense. Evanston, IL: Religion and Ethics Institute.

Whitcomb, John C., Jr. 1973. The World That Perished. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

Whitcomb, John C., Jr., and Morris, Henry M. 1961. The Genesis Flood. Philadelphia: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co.

White, Andrew Dickson. 1896. A History of the Warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom, two volumes. New York: Dover.

About the Author(s): 
Robert Moore, a writer on religious subjects, has testified at hearings on church-state issues and is an experienced mountain climber (with no intention of joining any ark expeditions).

Copyright 1981 by Robert A. Moore
This version might differ slightly from the print publication.

Paluxy Man — The Creationist Piltdown

Creation Evolution Journal
Title: 
Paluxy Man — The Creationist Piltdown
Author(s): 
Christopher Gregory Weber
Volume: 
2
Number: 
4
Quarter: 
Fall
Page(s): 
16–22
Year: 
1981

Creationists, by citing examples of fossils that are supposed to be in the wrong order for evolution, often try to prove that the geological time scale is in error. In particular, they claim that human footprints have been found in rocks containing traces of dinosaurs and other animals that died out millions of years before humans actually appeared on the earth. As we shall see, however, these alleged footprints are either natural objects that have nothing to do with humans or are deliberate frauds. On the whole, the leading creationist authors are intelligent and sincere, but it seems that they have a very strong will to believe when it comes to defending their model.

Ingalls's Paleozoic Footprints

One example of this occurs in Genesis Flood, in which the authors, Whitcomb and Morris, quote Alfred Ingalls in an attempt to prove that human footprints have been found in some American Paleozoic rocks—200 million years too early to fit into evolutionary chronology. Ingalls, however, doubted the authenticity of these footprints. For this, Whitcomb and Morris accused him of intellectual dishonesty:

Ingalls and others have tried to explain the prints as modern Indian carvings or as prints made of some as yet undiscovered Carboniferous amphibian. Such explanations illustrate the methods by which uniformitarians can negate even the most plain and powerful evidence in opposition to their philosophy. Nevertheless, it is obvious that it is only the philosophy and not the objective scientific evidence that would prevent one from accepting these prints as of true human origin (p. 173).

The only problem is that the footprints in Ingalls's photographs are highly stylized petroglyphs that even an untrained observer could scarcely mistake for real human footprints. Therefore I don't think anyone is being intellectually dishonest for suspecting that Ingalls' footprints were made with human hands instead of human feet.

- page 17 -

The Paluxy River Tracks

According to many creationists, human footprints and dinosaur footprints are found side by side in the Cretaceous limestone of the Paluxy River near Glen Rose, Texas. This is the "find" most frequently stressed in creationist literature, so it will be useful to cover it in some detail.

To correctly analyze these tracks, it is first necessary to understand a few facts about the Paluxy River site. Most of the dinosaur prints that have been found there are genuine. Many show clear, large ridges of mud squished up all around the footprint. Scientists confirm that during Cretaceous times the withdrawing sea left a swampy area in which dinosaurs left tracks in the sediment. Under the sun, these tracks were baked solid in the mud. Flooding rivers later buried the tracks under more sediments.

The Paluxy River today is a fast-flowing river which sometimes dries up totally and at other times floods strongly enough to carry downstream four-ton slabs of limestone. When the river dries up, prehistoric dinosaur tracks can become exposed to view, such as those Roland T. Bird excavated and removed to the American Museum of Natural History in the 1930s. In times of flooding, the river dumps limestone slabs and debris on top of previously exposed prints. According to Beierle (1977), this is why John Green and Dr. Jack Walper had to reexcavate some "human footprints" in 1976, which had been excavated only a few years earlier for the creationist film, Footprints in Stone.

Among the prints that have been removed from this site are half a dozen detailed humanlike footprints and two large "saber-tooth cat tracks." These are frequently mentioned in creationist works. However, upon later examination, they have all turned out to be probable or actual hoaxes. Flood geologist Clifford Burdick has described these prints, and Beierle (1974, 1977) and Whitcomb and Morris show pictures of them in order to prove that humans and dinosaurs lived together at the same time. Burdick owns one "man track" and one "cat track"; the rest have been sent to the museum of Columbia Union College in Takoma Park, Maryland. Burdick's prints could easily have been carved, and those at Columbia Union College definitely were.

Burdick's prints have been cross-sectioned, and the results are ambiguous. John D. Morris claims that these cross sections prove that the prints are genuine. He reasons that, if the tracks were carvings, they would be scooped out and would slice across horizontal strata. He claims that the cross sections show that the laminations of the rock follow the contours of the print. However, Seventh-day Adventist geologist Berney Neufeld offers a different version:

- page 18 -

Clifford Burdick, a consulting geologist from Tucson, Arizona, has a manlike track and a catlike track. Both have been sectioned and the evidence is equivocal. Some cross sections have a slight indication of carving; others of conformation. The difficulty with these tracks is that they are in blocks of limestone whose pattern is more mottled than layered.

Neufeld demonstrates by documentation that the Columbia Union College prints are nothing but clever carvings:

Dr. Don Jones of Columbia Union College, Takoma Park, Maryland, has a number of tracks whose origin is reported as the Paluxy River. The collection includes a right and left human footprint, a pair of three-toed dinosaur tracks, and a large cat print. . . . All of these, in separate blocks, appear to be in the same type of limestone. They also have a single human track of inferior quality that is in a limestone of a different color and texture from that of the other
prints. . . . One of the three-toed dinosaur tracks and both types of man prints have been cross-sectioned. In each instance the rock layers end abruptly at the edge of the track, indicating that they are not the result of a foot stepping into soft mud but are produced by carving.

Both Morris and Neufeld admit that these prints were carved during the Great Depression. Neufeld says:

Local old-timers in the Paluxy River area tell that the tracks were both excavated and carved as a source of income during the Depression years. Both of these collections [the Burdick prints and the Columbia Union College prints] may well be carvings of that period.

And John D. Morris says:

Accusations have arisen from still another front. Skeptics have claimed that the prints are carvings, not real prints at all. Unfortunately, this charge has some basis; in fact, several enterprising Texans from Glen Rose did make their living during the Great Depression by digging out the best tracks and selling them. The going price ranged from ten dollars to twenty-five dollars, and the dinosaur tracks were much more in demand than the man tracks. Soon, however, the best tracks were gone, and a few men began to carve new tracks (especially dinosaur tracks) out of any limestone block available. As near as researchers can determine, however, only a very few "man tracks" were carved—probably less than six, certainly less than ten. These were all giant tracks, ranging from sixteen to twenty inches in length, and showed all features of the foot. These counterfeit tracks do not, of course, disprove the genuine tracks. In fact, it could only have been the existence of genuine tracks that made the manufacture of counterfeits profitable.

- page 19 -

However, John D. Morris's "genuine" prints are not very impressive. Two series of elongated tracks are often considered to be human, but Neufeld points out that some of the tracks in these series are the eroded remnants of three-toed dinosaur prints; since the dinosaur placed most of its weight on its middle toe, the side toes of the tracks are a little shallower and erode away more easily, yet some of the tracks in these series retain traces of the side toes. The rest are simply erosional marks in eroded undulating rock, most of which do not appear, in any photos, to have anything around them that resembles squish marks. John D. Morris inadvertently admits that the tracks are not impressive:

A number of individuals have gone to Glen Rose to see whether there are any human tracks there, and have been unable to find them, reporting then to outsiders that the whole story is fallacious. The problem was simply that they did not know where to look. Many, of course, were skeptical and tended to jump to conclusions too quickly. The fact is, however, that there really are many tracks there which, to all appearances, were made by real human beings who lived at the same time as the dinosaurs.

Beierle (1974) admits that tracks often cannot be seen unless they are wetted: "These individuals were pointing to a series of tracks; but, without wetting-out, the tracks are difficult to see and [are] usually passed over by the untrained observer."

But even trained observers, such as paleontologists, have been unable to detect the presence of human footprints, even when standing right over those impressions in question. Neufeld explains why this is understandable:

Often, in order to contrast the tracks with the surrounding rocks for photographic purposes, they [the tracks] have been painted with oil. The tracks appear to have soaked up some of the oil and now contrast with the matrix even without treatment. In my opinion, these footprints are not tracks at all but represent random erosion marks in the surface of the limestone plate. The surrounding surface is covered with erosional marks of almost every imaginable shape. Individuals have reported visualizing the tracks of practically any mammal species on this surface. . . . It is only with a great deal of imagination that a bipedal trackway can be seen at all.

Therefore, when the carved tracks and eroded dinosaur prints have been accounted for, no one would ever suspect that any other "human" tracks existed unless some creationist painted the "toe" and "heel" with oil or water and called it a "human footprint."

Regardless of proof to the contrary, creationists still accept the "man prints" as evidence. However, once they do accept them, they still have to find a way to fit them into their flood geology model. This isn't as easy as it seems. The flood geologist actually has more trouble explaining how these "footprints" formed than does the orthodox geologist. Are we to imagine that a tidal wave from Noah's flood dumped over two thousand meters of sediment in the Paluxy) River valley, that people and dinosaurs ran around making tracks and that another tidal wave miraculously covered the tracks without obliterating them in the process? John D. Morris vaguely admits the difficulty:

- page 20 -

The main problem of geologic origin for biblical catastrophists stems from the fact that underlying the Paluxy River basin is nearly eighty-five hundred feet of sedimentary rock. According to the catastrophic model, this must all have been laid down by the flood of Noah's day. The problem is how could man and dinosaurs witness such massive deposition at the beginning stages of the flood and survive long enough to leave their prints so high up in the geologic column?

Morris admits that the rocks are marine and not postdiluvian. He speculates that the dinosaurs and humans survived on the Llano Uplift, located twenty-five miles from Glen Rose; this sediment-free precambrian rock structure was supposedly above water during the earlier stages of the flood. However, a tidal wave strong enough to carry so much muck in suspension would surely have splashed over the Llano Uplift.

Despite all these contradictions, however, John Morris still insists that "so much evidence has come from Glen Rose, indicating a vast discrepancy in the geologic timetable, that those who disagree with the conclusions must fit into one of two categories: [those who] have not sufficiently studied the evidence or [those who] have not studied it with an open mind."

The only problem with this claim is that, even though the Seventh-day Adventists have a vested interest in proving creationism to be valid, they have rejected the Paluxy River data. And other fundamentalist and creationist colleges have seconded the verdict that the "human prints" are either human carvings or nonhuman impressions.

Typical Frauds

The idea of frauds and errors is nothing new in paleontology. The Piltdown and Calavaras hoaxes are particularly famous examples from the past. It would therefore not be surprising to find that the alleged human footprints of the creationists were frauds or errors as well.

In the case of the Piltdown hoax, someone filed down and artificially filled some of the teeth, broke off the rest, and then broke off the articulation of a modern immature orangutan jaw. They then stained it brown and placed it, along with pieces of a fossilized fifty-thousand-year-old skull of modern man, where it could be discovered. This was in Piltdown, England. When the "find" was first discovered, many scientists accepted it as genuine. This was an easy mistake to make, given that the jaw of an immature ape has a fairly humanlike structure.

- page 21 -

Furthermore, the teeth looked as though they had the wear pattern of humans instead of apes and the artificial filling of the teeth looked like the "secondary dentine" that forms in human teeth as they wear down. When some evolutionists finally discovered that the jawbone was really a doctored ape jaw, many scientists were shocked. Since then, however, the discovery of genuine hominid fossils has allowed science to work out human evolutionary history without the nonexistent "Piltdown man."

Now let us consider the Calavaras hoax. In tertiary times, the Stanislaus River of California flowed from the Sierra Nevadas through a different course than it does today; it went through a hilly terrain with tropical forests. One day, an erupting volcano sent a lava flow down into the river, which continued down the sinuous river valley a certain distance before cooling and hardening. The hills in time eroded away, leaving the lava as an elevated area known today as Table Mountain.

During the gold rush, gold was found in the prehistoric river bed under Table Mountain. As a result, many mines were carved there. In one tunnel, a skull, some arrowheads, and other stone tools were found in 1866. The skull was called "Calaveras man" after the county in which it was found.

Cole and Cole say that the owner of the mine called in some scholars to investigate. The investigation revealed that, whereas the other bones in the sand were clearly water-worn, the skull and the arrowheads showed no such signs. The skull also had clay under the cheekbones, yet nowhere else in the gravely environment was there any clay. Modern snails were found embedded in the clay. It was considered unlikely that the prehistoric river would have washed all those bones into a single spot such as what was found. To top it off, the skull and artifacts wer, e found to be exactly like those of modern California Indians. MacDougall adds that John C. Scribner, a local shopkeeper, planted the skull. After he died, his sister and pastor told how he had confessed his fraud to them.

In light of this data, it is strange that standard creationist texts, such as Scientific Creationism (Henry Morris, p. 177), Handy Dandy Evolution Refuter (Robert Kofahl, pp. 78-79), and The Creation Explanation (Kofahl and Segraves, pp. 120-125), still take Calavaras man seriously. They try to argue that this modern human skull was found in prehistoric tertiary strata, thus upsetting the evolutionary chronology. On the other hand, these same authors never let evolutionists forget the Piltdown hoax. Knowing about this double standard, we should not be too surprised if some creationists continue to believe in Paluxy man despite the weakness of their evidence.

Of course, some creationists act persecuted if one suggests that their Paluxy tracks may be fraudulent. But this seems to be part of a double standard too, since creationists in general are not very kind to their opponents. Creationists such as R. Daniel Shaw, author of "Fossil Man: Ancestor or Descendant of Adam?" in Speak to the Earth, and Robert E. Kofahl insist that Eugene Dubois suppressed some modern skulls that he found with his Java man skull because he realized that these other fossils disproved his theory.

- page 22 -

The two modem skulls were actually found at Wadjak—eighty kilometers from Trinil, where he found the Java man skull. Shaw and Kofahl also insist that Peking man is a hoax and that the scientists at Choukoutien contrived to have the Peking man fossils lost at the beginning of World War II to keep their fraudulent photographs and plaster casts from being exposed. However, the Peking and Java skulls are certainly not the only evidence for Homo erectus; Richard Leakey has found an excellent specimen of Homo erectus at Lake Turkana in Kenya, and numerous other specimens have been found throughout the old world. But in light of this creationist attack, I don't think it is unfair to apply careful scientific analysis and criticism to the creationist footprint finds and then reasonably conclude that Paluxy man is indeed the creationist Piltdown.

Bibliography

Beierle, Frederick P. 1974. Giant Man Tracks. Prosser, WA: Perfect Printing.
——. 1977. Man, Dinosaurs, and History. Prosser, WA: Perfect Printing.

Bowden, M. 1977. Ape-Men—Fact or Fallacy? Bromely, Kent, England: Sovereign Publications, pp. 3-43, 64-66.

Cole, Mabel Cook, and Cole, Fay-Cooper. 1940. The Story of Primitive Man. Wonder Book Series. Chicago: University of Knowledge, Inc.

Dougherty, Cecil N. 1971. Valley of the Giants. Cleburne, TX: Bennett Printing Co.

Ingalls, Alfred G. January 1940. "The Great Carboniferous Mystery." Scientific American. 162:14.

Kofahl, Robert E. 1977. Handy Dandy Evolution Refuter. San Diego: Beta Books.

Kofahl, Robert E., and Segraves, Kelly L. 1975. The Creation Explanation. Wheaton, IL: Harold Shaw Publishers.

MacDougall, Curtis D. 1958. Hoaxes. Second edition. New York: Dover Publications.

Morris, Henry M., editor. 1974. Scientific Creationism. San Diego: Creation Life Publishers.

Morris, John D. May 1976. "The Paluxy River Tracks." Acts & Facts. ICR Impact Series No. 35.

Neufeld, Berney. 1975. "Dinosaur Tracks and Giant Men." Origins. 2:2:64-76.

Shaw, Daniel P. 1975. "Fossil Man: Ancestor or Descendant of Adam?" in Speak to the Earth, edited by George F. Howe. Philadelphia: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co.

Whitcomb, John C., and Morris, Henry M. 196). Genesis Flood. Philadelphia: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co.

About the Author(s): 
Christopher Weber, one of the editors of Creation/Evolution, is a computer programmer and an amateur geologist. He has followed the creation-evolution controversy for many years.

Copyright 1981 by Christopher Gregory Weber
This version might differ slightly from the print publication.

An Analysis of the Creationist Film, Footprints in Stone

Creation Evolution Journal
Volume: 
2
Year: 
1981
Number: 
4
Quarter: 
Fall
Page(s): 
23–30
Reviewer: 
Laurie R. Godfrey
This version might differ slightly from the print publication.
Work Under Review
Title: 
Footprints in Stone
Author(s): 
Stanley E. Taylor
Eden Films, Films for Christ Association: North Eden Road, Elmwood, Illinois, 1973.

"Excellent film—very stimulating," wrote one secondary school teacher from Converse, Texas. "Great. It is the best film that we have ever used in our science department," wrote another, from Adamsville, Tennessee. "The students were impressed with the findings and thoroughness of the research," wrote one from Youngstown, Ohio. "The film contains scientific information which should be made available to every high school student," wrote a Pelham, New Hampshire, teacher. "Very informative. Appreciated the fact that [the] film left open the subject for discussion instead of presenting only one side. Thank you for your efforts in enriching the curriculum by offering this film," wrote a teacher from Alexandria, Louisiana, one of the most enthusiastic educators.

These quotes are taken from the advertisement provided by Eden Films (Films for Christ Association, North Eden Road, Elmwood, Illinois) for their decade-old film on the Paluxy River tracks, Footprints in Stone. When a critic of the Paluxy River tracks asks for evidence, he or she is usually referred to this movie. The film rental is thirty dollars, but you can order it free of charge for showing in public secondary schools if your request is written on official school stationery.

The praises it has received are not all that surprising. In fact, Footprints in Stone is a seductive film, and even sophisticated anatomists may be temporarily fooled by it. The film makers are certainly confident that it will be positively received. In another brochure they boast:

Bulldozing, sandbagging, flash floods, and the colorful narrative of local old timers all add to the excitement and interest of this fast-moving documentary which shatters the widely taught geologic table of evolution.

This film is meant to reach a vast number of people who have been misled into accepting the evolutionary theory and thereby have come to doubt the forthright statements of the Word of God concerning man's origin, salvation, and eternal destiny.

- page 24 -

Early this year I rented a copy of the film and showed it at a special colloquium to an audience of approximately one hundred persons, including college undergraduates, graduate students, and several faculty (geologists, biologists, and anthropologists) at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. It became quickly apparent that no one was impressed. One physical anthropologist left halfway through the film; he later remarked that he found the movie to be terribly uninteresting and unconvincing. "If that's the best those creationists can do," he grumbled, "we needn't worry about their proselytizing efforts at all." Several of the students could not contain themselves from laughing derisively at the movie. One commented, "Why, even the filming techniques were amateurish." There was even a creationist in the audience who was left with the same doubtful opinion of the Paluxy "human" footprints. She even advised creationist Al Beeber to remove from the lecture-slide show on "scientific creationism," which he presented to our campus a month later, the slides on the Paluxy River "dinomen" on the grounds that the evidence was "no good."

I must admit that I was a bit surprised at the negative response the film drew. I had excluded my own classes, so as to avoid the possibility of the audience being previously "brainwashed" by my opinions. The showing of the film was publicly announced and opened to students outside the anthropology department. Local creationists were welcomed. Given this situation and given the enthusiastic response that the film had received elsewhere, one might have expected a different reaction.

Why, then, the dramatically negative response to Footprints in Stone?

Perhaps it was the fact that every time the film showed an alleged human footprint I stopped its motion, thus allowing the audience to examine the "man print." The "man prints" had been darkened, with either shellac or oil, making them look far more humanlike than they would have otherwise. Indeed, the "man prints" all but disappeared when we viewed the stopped close-ups, ignoring the superimposed outlines. In some cases we could see that the "man print" was only a portion of a larger impression, probably a print made by a dinosaur. In other cases the shellac seemed to connect erosional depressions. We could further imagine how easy it might be to find impressions on such a rough surface which could be painted in such a way as to reveal the outline of a "human" foot.

Such artistry became all the more obvious when the film makers showed the casts they had made of their "man prints." The plaster casts very clearly showed the outlines produced by the shellac; the toes were clearly demarcated and their outlines engraved. But these casts looked considerably more human than the original rock impressions from which they were drawn. One ingenious device used by creationists in this film was having barefoot children and adults place their feet on top of the plaster "replicas" and then move their feet back an inch to show the conformity between their toes and the "toes" darkened and outlined on the plaster casts. (One of my students later wrote to Eden Films to ask whether or not duplicates of their casts could be purchased for firsthand examination. The answer was "no, not yet." Why not yet?)

- page 25 -

The film does make a valid point: tracks, especially those made on soft substrates washed intermittently with water, may be quite variable in shape. The narrator, Reverend Stanley Taylor, points this out in order to explain the odd shapes assumed by his "man prints." He fails to note that the same is true of dinosaur footprints.

Walter Coombs, a vertebrate paleontologist who has studied dinosaur tracks from various localities, published a marvelous article on this subject in the March 1980 issue of Science. In it he shows that tridactyl (three-toed) dinosaurs made very different impressions, depending upon how deeply they sank into the muddy substrate and upon their mode of locomotion—whether walking over the ground or swimming over it, barely touching bottom.

Dr. Coombs, of Amherst College, and Dr. Neil Gomberg, a Brandeis University physical anthropologist with expertise on the anatomy of the primate foot, previewed the Footprints in Stone with me just prior to the colloquium. We saw no genuine human tracks (except those made by modern demonstrators). Coombs was able to confirm, however, that some of the "man prints" were genuinely organic (that is, nonerosional). These were, however, universally poor in detail. It is quite possible that, because wet mud had apparently washed back into portions of the original footprint upon withdrawal of the foot thus obscuring much of the detail, that we might never be able to tell which animal made them (though it is definite that some animal did). The film does not provide the necessary detail to study the matter further; the picture resolution is too poor.

It is fortunate that some Texas paleontologists have examined firsthand the Glen Rose tracks. Wann Langston, Jr., pointed out that some of the "man prints" have distinct claw marks emanating from what the creationists call their "heels." (The creationists apparently reversed the direction of travel for these critters.) Langston also noted that one of the most widely reproduced footprint photos of Paluxy man shows a portion of a poor print of a tridactyl dinosaur; this may be clear, however, only to someone who, having studied the anatomy of the dinosaur foot, knows what to look for. Milne makes the same point using photographs of in situ "man prints" taken directly from creationist literature. These "man prints" are nothing more than dinosaur toe impressions, selectively highlighted, with sand obscuring places where the rest of the dinosaur's foot might show. Milne also quotes Langston on the subject: "Langston mentions that the 'human' footprints of this formation often have the 'instep' along the outside edge of the foot, mentions a means by which a large clawed foot, withdrawn from mud, can leave a humanlike track, [and] mentions that some of the 'human' footprints show a large rear claw" (p. 241).

The existence of claw marks on some of the best series of "giant man prints" is now acknowledged by creationist John D. Morris, son of Henry Morris and author of Tracking Those Incredible Dinosaurs and the People Who Knew Them. This includes the McFall track, which is shown in Footprints in Stone. Since the film is advertised as a scientific documentary, shouldn't such an admission accompany the film upon its dissemination to public school teachers? One cannot see the claw marks in the film, because the McFall track is only shown at a distance.

- page 26 -

Even without good resolution, it is possible to tell that the "man prints" in the film are not genuine human footprints. Most noticeable is the fact that the stride-length/foot-length relationships are wrong for humans, especially for the "children's tracks." When the film makers pointed out "man tracks," they consistently took two or three, sometimes even four, steps between supposed right-left impressions. Conspicuously lacking was any discussion of stride, other than the assertion that the giant humans of the biblical past must have had long ones. But large distances separated supposed "normal human" footprints as well as "giant" (sixteen- to eighteen-inch) impressions. Perhaps their makers did not walk in a manner characteristic of modern humans!

The film features testimonials from Glen Rose old-timers, whose sincerity cannot be questioned. They had seen what they thought were human footprints; indeed, some were still selling tours of their "man prints" to tourists. But their descriptions of the size and stride of their best prints (now, alas, completely eroded) suggest that they had mistaken poor toe impressions of tridactyl dinosaurs for impressions of giant men. The fact that the "man prints" with clear claw marks are among those mistaken by these same people for "giant man prints" should discourage one from undue dependence upon the accuracy of their interpretations. Yet, they remain confident. One such old-timer, Jim Ryals, described his experience many years ago "diggin' up the left-hand foot" of a giant man print. "Shape of my own foot," he said. "It had good toes and it had a big toe." Ryals also knew of the carved "man prints" that had been sold to tourists, but this wasn't discussed in the film.

The story of the carved footprints begins during the Depression when the people of Glen Rose excavated dinosaur footprints from the Cretaceous beds in their backyards and fabricated additional specimens, some "manlike," to sell to tourists. Some of these were purchased by Jack Hill, who sold them in his two Indian curio shops, one in Lupten and the other in Gallup, New Mexico. It was a pair of giant manlike footprints exhibited in the window of Hill's Gallup shop that caught the eye of paleontologist Roland T. Bird. The end of an unrewarding fossil hunting season was nearing, and Bird was desperate for fresh prospects.

Upon first-hand examination of the prints, Bird recognized them as phonies and immediately told the store clerk, "I'm afraid your Jack Hill has found himself a pair of fake footprints." It was then that he learned of dinosaur footprints for sale in Jack Hill's other store in Lupten. Desperate as he was for leads, Bird drove to Lupten, only to be disappointed by more apparent fakes. But Bird was intrigued that these dinosaur footprints displayed minutely accurate anatomical details. While it was easy to imagine a stone artisan carving the likeness of a human footprint, it was difficult to imagine such a person replicating a dinosaur footprint without some genuine model to copy.

- page 27 -

Bird followed his hunch with further inquiries. He learned that the footprints were purchased in Glen Rose, Texas. Geological maps of the region rendered plausible the possibility of finding some actual specimens. So Roland T. Bird was off to the Paluxy River beds of Glen Rose.

As it turned out, it was a lucky lead. Bird closed his 1939 article in Natural History by thanking the unknown stone artisan for inadvertently leading him (and, in subsequent years, many thousands of visitors to New York's American Museum of Natural History) to genuine dinosaur footprints. Two "mysteries" remained unsolved: the identity of the stone artisan and the question of what had provoked the production of fake man prints. The local folk did, after all, talk about uncarved "man prints" in the area. Were they natural erosional depressions? Were they remnants of tracks made by some type of dinosaur? Was there a genuine reptile or amphibian with feet roughly similar in shape to those of humans? Bird never answered such questions (see footnote page 29). When he asked to see a "man print," he was shown only one rough fifteen-inch impression which was totally devoid of anatomical detail. From that he felt he could say nothing. In all his subsequent years of excavating and exploring this region (delightfully recorded in the pages of Natural History magazine in 1939, 1941, 1944, and 1945), he never reported seeing another. The matter of the "man tracks" and the stone artisans of the 1930s seemed destined to fade into history.

But Bird's first article on Glen Rose (1939) had caught the attention of a group of special creationists, including Clifford L. Burdick, a mining consultant who later became a central figure in the Creation Research Society and the Institute for Creation Research. Burdick tracked down the very fakes that Bird had exposed. But Burdick, who was no anatomist, was convinced they were genuine. Indeed, it was Burdick who began the assault on Bird which is so often repeated in creationist texts (most notably in those by Whitcomb and Morris, WilderSmith, Moore and Slusher, and Henry Morris).

Burdick first published his assault in an article entitled "When GIANTS Roamed the Earth" in the Seventh-day Adventists' Signs of the Times (July 25, 1950). Here he accused Bird of having been blinded by his evolutionary zeal and strong conviction that "no man ever existed in the age of reptiles" into rejecting the obvious—the contemporaneity of dinosaurs and man. "True science," Burdick wrote, "when divorced from evolution, gives powerful corroboration to the early history of man and the animal kingdom, as outlined in the Bible."

If there ever was a superrace on earth capable of enjoying a utopian state, it was that which existed soon after its creation by a loving God.... With a withering earth we see a withering humanity. Not only has man decreased in stature from a magnificent specimen ten or twelve feet tall to an average of less than six feet, but his average life has shortened from many centuries to little more than half a century. Where do we find any human evolution here? (page 6).

- page 28 -

The film Footprints in Stone espouses the same explanation of those "giant man prints" that it claims are genuine. Taylor even enlisted the help of two modern human giants. Burdick must have been saddened at the sight of his utopiaman: the Chicago giant had an abnormally short and uncharacteristic stride and clearly experienced a lot of difficulty supporting his weight on his rather large feet. His feet were nevertheless too small to "fit" one of the "man prints." The second giant "fit" this impression better; he suffered bad edema and probably couldn't stand without considerable pain. (He was shown seated in the film.)

Burdick must have been most disappointed when Taylor's film crew from Illinois insisted upon filming only those "man prints" in situ, leaving his prized specimens unmentioned. Indeed, when Burdick appears as expert witness in the film, he voices some dismay that "erosion has removed the detail of the toes." The new discoveries were not as clear as the prints that, he believed, had been removed from the site years before.

Stanley Taylor and his crew were wise to omit Burdick's "clear" specimens, however, because they are anatomically wrong (Godfrey) and are admitted forgeries (according to the testimony of local residents). They were also recently exposed by creationists from Loma Linda University (Zuidema; see also Weber, "Paluxy Man-The Creationist Piltdown," p. 16-22).

The film does present testimonials of purported experts who came to Glen Rose from all over the country to see the "man prints." These testimonials make a strong impression on most film audiences. There are some skeptics, but on the whole the overwhelming response is positive: the experts have seen the "man prints" with their own eyes.

Here is where the film is most dishonest. Stanley Taylor apparently had enough faith in his belief that he was looking at real human footprints that he confidently highlighted the less-obvious features—toes, sometimes sides. However, he evidently did not have enough faith to invite to the scene a single vertebrate paleontologist, let alone a paleoichnologist (a specialist in studying tracks of extinct organisms). The film's "experts" included some well-known creationists; its skeptics were also creationists, but not young-earth advocates. The most enthusiastic testimonials came from Harold Slusher, Henry Morris, and Clifford L. Burdick.

The film is further dishonest in that it never mentions the extent to which the Cretaceous geologic strata at and around Glen Rose has been studied by paleontologists and the amount of remains of numerous species of reptiles and amphibians that have been discovered and described (for example, Langston). These strata simply do not contain a Cenozoic fauna.

- page 29 -

In short, the film is a distorted pseudodocumentary, which belongs in the realm of science fiction rather than science. I am too much of a realist to think that all audiences will view the film with the sophistication exhibited by those at the colloquium. In fact, I believe that it is impossible to see the distortions without halting the movie every time an alleged human footprint appears. The eye sees the human shapes that have been painted on stone. It is easy to fool the human eye. Just ask any Hollywood special-effects artist.

Footnote

Although Bird never published these observations, he has left behind some indication that, by 1969, he had surmised what the old-timers had mistaken for human footprints. In a letter to creationist Mike Turnage, dated February 21, 1969, Bird wrote:

They are definitely, repeat, definitely not human. I am well familiar with all the fossil footprints found in the Glen Rose (Cretaceous) of Central Texas, and have seen those purported to be "human" by farmers lacking any geologic training.

They were made by carnivorous dinosaurs wading through deep mud. When the foot was withdrawn, the sides of the resulting cavity flowed inward leaving an oblong opening only faintly suggestive of the footprint of a man in the eye of the beholder. When one followed such a trail, tracks of the dinosaur were invariably found that showed all the details of a three-toed dinosaur.

Anything else "human" exhibited or reported "found" in the area is the product of a very clever prankster with hammer and chisel.

John Morris, in Tracking Those Incredible Dinosaurs: And the People Who Knew Them, page 93, cites these words in an effort to discredit Bird.

Bibliography

Bird, Roland T. 1939. "Thunder in His Footsteps." Natural History. 43:5:254-261, 302.
——. 1941. "A Dinosaur Walks Into the Museum." Natural History. 47:2:74-81.
——. 1944. "Did Brontosaurus Ever Walk on Land?" Natural History. 53:2:60-67.
——. 1953. "To Capture a Dinosaur Isn't Easy." Natural History. 62:3:104-110.

Burdick, Clifford L. July 25, 1950. "When GIANTS Roamed the Earth." Signs of the Times, pp. 6, 9.

Coombs, Walter, P., Jr. March 1980. "Swimming Ability of Carnivorous Dinosaurs." Science. 207:1198-1200.

Godfrey, Laurie R. (in prep.) "Men and Dragons: The Paluxy River Footprint Hoax." Scientists Confront Creationism. New York: W. W. Norton.

Langston, Warm, Jr. April 1974. "Nonmammalian Comanchean Tetrapods." Geoscience and Man. 8:77-102.

Milne, David H. May 1981. "How to Debate With Creationists-and 'Win.' " The American Biology Teacher. 43:5:235-245, 266.

Moore, John N., and Slusher, Harold S. (editors) 1974. Biology: A Search for Order in Complexity. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

- page 30 -

Morris, John D. 1980. Tracking Those Incredible Dinosaurs: And the People Who Knew Them. San Diego: Creation-Life Publishers.

Morris, Henry M. (editor) 1974. Scientific Creationism. Public-School Edition. San Diego: Creation-Life Publishers.

Whitcomb, John C., Jr. and Morris, Henry M. 1968. The Genesis Flood. Philadelphia: The Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co.

Wilder-Smith, A. E. 1968. Man's Origin, Man's Destiny. Wheaton, IL: Harold Shaw, Publisher. See also revised edition: Minneapolis: Bethany Fellowship, 1975.

Zuidema, Henry P. May/June 1979. "Creationist Scientists Discount 'Giant Men' Stories." Liberty.

About the Author(s): 
Laurie Godfrey is a physical anthropologist at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She is currently working on a book, Scientists Confront Creationism.

Copyright 1981 by Laurie R. Godfrey

Tripping Over a Trilobite: A Study of the Meister Tracks

Creation Evolution Journal
Title: 
Tripping Over a Trilobite: A Study of the Meister Tracks
Author(s): 
Ernest C. Conrad
Volume: 
2
Number: 
4
Quarter: 
Fall
Page(s): 
30–33
Year: 
1981

On March 1, 1973, a creation-evolution debate was held at California State University in Sacramento. The creationist team consisted of Dr. Duane Gish of the Institute for Creation Research and Reverend Boswell of a local Sacramento church. The scientific team consisted of Dr. Richard Lemmon of the University of California at Berkeley and Dr. G. Ledyard Stebbins of the University of California at Davis. It was in this debate that I first learned of the Meister discovery. Reverend Boswell said:

I have here something that pretty much destroys the entire geological column. I don't know if you can see this or not, but it has been studied by three laboratories around the world and it's been tested and found valid. If you can see it [holding up a picture], it represents a footprint that was found at Antelope Springs, Utah, while digging for trilobites.

The man was digging for trilobites, and these are trilobites here and here embedded [pointing]. This is a brick mold of a trilobite footprint [laughter] of a human footprint with a trilobite in it. The man stepped on a living trilobite, [thus burying] him in the mud. This particular strata is dated Cambrian, supposedly 500 million years extinct before man arrived on the face of the earth. The interesting thing about this photograph is that there is also heel marks, which would indicate that they were made by modern man.

- page 31 -

What Reverend Boswell was declaring was that a fossil seeker, Mr. William J. Meister, had found a fossil of a human bootprint while hunting for fossils near Antelope Springs in 1968. Melvin Cook, telling the same story in an article in Why Not Creationism? reported that Meister opened up like a book two slabs of Cambrian rock and found embedded in them the print complete with the trilobite fossil. Kofahl and Segraves, two creationists who also wrote about the print, seemed to express some doubt in it and, in a photo caption, asked, "Is this print valid?" But Cook more boldly declared, "No intellectually honest individual examining this specimen can reasonably deny its genuine appearance."

After Meister found the original print, four other prints were discovered. Cook writes:

Since Mr. Meister's interesting discovery, other persons have found similar but less-spectacular specimens in the same area, two of which have been shown to me.

From an article by Meister himself, we learn that the other "less-spectacular" specimens include three sandal prints and the print of a barefoot child found by Clifford Burdick. However, since these latter are not as convincing as Meister's bootprint and since none of the others have trilobites embedded in the soles, then it stands to reason that if the bootprint turns out to be false it is quite likely the others are as well.

Yet, the importance of this discovery, if genuine, is made clear by Kofahl and Segraves.

According to evolutionary chronology, man did not appear on the scene until a half billion years after trilobites became extinct. If these prints prove to be valid, historical geology has another serious problem to solve.

Realizing the significance of this creationist claim and how it would lend support to their view that the earth is very young, I decided to investigate. During the question-and-answer period of the Sacramento debate, I asked Reverend Boswell what scientific evidence he had and what institutions established that the bootprint was real. He answered, "It was the University of Utah and U.C.L.A. and I have forgotten the third. These two are fairly academic institutions. They are familiar with the specimens."

Following his lead, I wrote to the Utah Museum of Natural History at the University of Utah—a "fairly academic institution." I received a letter in return which said:

- page 32 -

The "footprint" in question was collected by a man named Meister several years ago, and it was immediately jumped on by Melvin Cook, who is not a paleontologist, as evidence of human-trilobite cohabitation.

I have seen the specimen in question and it is nothing more than a slab of Wheeler shale that has a fragment spalled off in the form of a footprint, which reveals a trilobite, Erathia kingi.

To reiterate, the trilobite is genuine, the footprint is not.

I was referred to an article by Professor William Stokes of the Department of Geological Sciences. Dr. Stokes wrote:

I unhesitatingly assert that this is not a footprint. I have observed and collected a number of types of footprints that meet all the critical requirements, and I have had no qualms about describing these in print even though some were totally new. The Meister specimen is the result of a natural break, which happens to resemble a footprint. This type of fracture is called spalling and the part which breaks out or is detached is called a spall.

The specimen was in no sense faked, and I am sure it was found exactly as reported. But I, along with my geologist friends, are equally sincere in my belief that it is an accidental natural product and not a footprint.

One might think a difference of opinion such as this could be solved by appeal to impartial judges or by a more thorough investigation of the field of evidence. But from the time of discovery, the specimen has taken on a religious significance that makes a friendly solution almost impossible.

I did not contact the other "fairly academic institution," U.C.L.A, because I could see, by studying the creationist photograph of the alleged "bootprint," that it resembled a print only superficially, much as the "Man in the Mountain" in New Hampshire superficially resembles a human face. The sides of the print are unnaturally angular, and the whole print is unnaturally shallow. Cook even notes the shallowness, saying, "The heel print was indented in the rock about an eighth of an inch more than the sole." This doesn't make for a very pronounced heel. Calling it a "sandal print," as Kofahl and Segraves do, seems to excuse the heel, but, taken as a whole, Meister's discovery is one of the most superficial-looking "human footprints" that I have seen in creationist literature. It should come as no surprise that even creationists (like Kofahl and Segraves) show caution.

However, this does not silence the creationists who stand up for it. In debates and publications the "Meister tracks" are still used to show alleged flaws in geological science. Henry Morris's Scientific Creationism, for example, speaks of "human footprints in ancient trilobite beds."

The willingness of creationists to accept such shakey evidence in defense of their model has long historical roots. For example, in 1725 Dr. Johann Jacob Scheuchzer of Zurich seized upon some fossil bones of approximately human dimensions that were discovered at Oeningen and were sent to him for an opinion.

- page 33 -

Scheuchzer was intensely interested in anything that would help prove his theory that fossils originated largely through the work of Noah's flood. These bones seemed to help, so he declared that they belonged to Homo Diluvii Testis (Man Who Witnessed the Flood). However, nearly a hundred years later, the bones were found to be those of a large salamander. It was Cuvier, the famous French paleontologist, who offered the conclusive proof. Two petrified vertebrae, which Scheuchzer had found near Altdorf, Franconia, Germany, and believed to be further remnants of this "flood man," turned out to belong to the marine reptile ichthyosaur.

It remains to be seen how long certain modern creationists will cling to their own updated versions of Homo Diluvii Testis.

Bibliography

Cook, Melvin A. 1970. "William J. Meister Discovery of Human Footprint with Trilobites in a Cambrian Formation of Western Utah." In Why Not Creationism? edited by Walter E. Lammerts. Philadelphia: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co., pp. 185-186.

Kofahl, Robert E., and Segraves, Kelly L. 1975. The Creation Explanation. Wheaton, IL: Harold Shaw Publishers, p. 54.

Meister, Wiliam S., Sr. 1970. "Discovery of Trilobite Fossils in Shod Footprint of Human in 'Trilobite Beds'—A Cambrian Formation—Antelope Sprints, Utah." In Why Not Creationism? edited by Walter E. Lammerts. Philadelphia: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co, pp. 186-193.

Morris, Henry M. (editor) 1974. Scientific Creationism. San Diego: Creation-Life Publishers, p. 122.

Stokes, William. 1973. "Geological Specimen Rejuvenates an Old Controversy." Dialogue. - A Journal of Mormon Thought. VIII:3,4:139, 141.

About the Author(s): 
Ernie Conrad is a high-school anthropology and science teacher, who has been investigating creationist claims for many years.

Copyright 1981 by Ernest C. Conrad
This version might differ slightly from the print publication.

Misquoted Scientists Respond

Creation Evolution Journal
Title: 
Misquoted Scientists Respond
Author(s): 
John R. Cole
Volume: 
2
Number: 
4
Quarter: 
Fall
Page(s): 
34–44
Year: 
1981

I never cease to be amazed at the skill with which Dr. Morris employs the writings of the top evolutionists themselves to develop an air-tight case against evolution.

—Thomas G. Barnes

Creationists have developed a skill unique to their trade: that of misquotation and quotation out of context from the works of leading evolutionists. This tactic not only frustrates scientists but it misleads school board members, legislators, and the public. Whether such actions by creationists of selectively seeking out quotations or references in order to prove a preconceived case are willful distortion or the product of wishful thinking is irrelevant. Such acts misuse science and scientists in bogus appeals to authority. Creationists seem to be saying, "Don't just take our word for it—look at what Professor X has written to prove our case."

To respond to such arguments is difficult for anyone who is not working full time at checking every quotation or tracking down for comment each quoted person. Teachers, parents, policy makers, journalists, and other interested persons are therefore at a disadvantage, and it is for them that this anthology of responses from the scientific community has been compiled. Leading evolutionists in various fields were asked to comment briefly on misinterpretations of their areas of expertise and of their work. Most scientists who were approached replied, although a few cited other commitments that prevented their participation and a couple noted that they could not explain their position in just a few paragraphs.

Half of the following comments were especially written for this article, and the other half are from previously published material, excerpted with the authors' permission. Many topics—and scientists—are not included, but, as an introductory survey of scientists' responses to misquotation and misrepresentation by "scientific" creationists, it is hoped that this anthology will be useful as a representative sampling.

Dr. Richard Lewontin

Author of The Genetic Basis of Evolutionary Change, biologist at the Museum of Comparative Zoology, Agassiz Museum, Harvard University.

- page 35 -

Modern expressions of creationism and especially so-called "scientific" creationism are making extensive use of the tactic of selective quotation in order to make it appear that numerous biologists doubt the reality of evolution. The creationists take advantage of the fact that evolutionary biology is a living science containing disagreements about certain details of the evolutionary process by taking quotations about such details out of context in an attempt to support the creationists' antievolutionary stand. Sometimes they simply take biologists' descriptions of creationism and then ascribe these views to the biologists themselves! These patently dishonest practices of misquotation give us a right to question even the sincerity of creationists.

Several examples of falsification can be found in a recent issue of Acts & Facts, published by the Institute for Creation Research, in an article written by Gary E. Parker, a member of the Institute and a teacher at Christian Heritage College in El Cajon, California. On page two we read that "As Harvard's Richard Lewontin recently summarized it, organisms '. . . appear to have been carefully and artfully designed.' He calls the 'perfection of organisms' both a challenge to Darwinism and, on a more positive note, 'the chief evidence of a Supreme Designer.' "

But the point of my article, "Adaptation" in Scientific American, from which these snippets were lifted, was precisely that the "perfection of organisms" is often illusory and that any attempt to describe organisms as perfectly adapted is destined for serious contradictions. Moreover, the appearance of careful and artful design was taken in the nineteenth century before Darwin as "the chief evidence of a Supreme Designer." The past tense of my article ("It was the marvelous fit of organisms to the environment . . . that was the chief evidence of 'Supreme Designer' ") has been conveniently dropped by creationist Parker in his attempt to pass off this ancient doctrine as modern science.

Later, on the same page, Parker says that "selection works fine—if a species has great genetic variability 'built right into it' by plan, purpose, and special creation." He then tries to support this point of view by quoting a statement of mine which said that selection can change organisms "only if their gene pool contains genetic variation" for the character in question. But it is precisely the random nature of the mutation process, the fact that species depend upon chance events in their history to acquire the genetic variation for evolution, that makes a successful response to the pressure of natural selection an uncertain process. Moreover, because populations and families are finite and sometimes quite small in size, mutations that could be selected may be lost to the population before selection has acted to incorporate them. To ascribe the failure of adaptation to deliberate design as creationists do is sheer perversity and illustrates why creationism is not science but blind prejudice.

- page 36 -

On page four of Parker's paper is another quotation from my article on adaptation, stating that ". . . natural selection over the long run does not seem to improve a species' chance of survival but simply enables it to 'track,' or keep up with, the constantly changing environment." This is then alleged to support a conservative rather than a creative role for natural selection—a favorite theme of creationists, who admit minor evolution within species but no major changes. But the theory of environmental tracking (which I think is not a particularly good description of the evolutionary process) does not say that the form and function of species is kept constant. What is conserved is the life of the species, but this conservation is made possible by continual change, sometimes quite radical, in the form and function of the organisms as they track an environment that is itself changing in sometimes quite radical ways. Here the creationist has simply played with the meaning of words.

Because of errors and misquotations of this nature, scientists and educators must clear away a great deal of confusion in the public mind about the true nature of evolutionary science. Confusion that wouldn't be there if it hadn't been created by creationists.

Dr. Niles Eldredge

Curator, Department of Invertebrates, American Museum of Natural History, and coauthor with Stephen Jay Gould of the papers on the theory of punctuated equilibria that initiated the past decade's revolution in paleontology and evolutionary theory.

It is particularly galling to one who labors in the vineyards of evolutionary biology to hear a candidate for the presidency of the United States declare, when asked about evolution, "Well, it is a theory, it is a scientific theory only, and it has in recent years been challenged in the world of science and is not yet believed in the scientific community to be as infallible as it once was believed." Nonsense. No active geneticist, embryologist, systematist, anatomist, or paleontologist doubts that life has evolved. What such biologists do argue about is how life has evolved.

All science involves the search for better explanations. We are currently entering a period of renewed intensity in our search to understand the mechanisms of the evolutionary process. For the past forty years or so, evolutionary thinking has been dominated by a single, simple, and rather elegant notion: that natural selection, tracking environmental change, modifies organisms' adaptations. The "synthetic theory of evolution" claims that this process accounts for all of evolutionary history. Still the dominant view held today, this synthesis marks an unusual period of virtual agreement within the entire field of biology. Many biologists in different disciplines are now openly skeptical that adaptation via natural selection alone can really account for all aspects of the evolution of life's diversity. Scientists see this as a healthy sign; debates over the relative merits of conflicting ideas are the heart and soul of science. Creationists, taking the synthetic theory as a synonym of "evolution," conclude from the debates that biologists are no longer wholeheartedly sure that life has evolved. Hence Ronald Reagan's remark.

- page 37 -

As an example, the notion of "punctuated equilibria," which Stephen Jay Gould and I began discussing in the early 1970s, is commonly cited in creationist literature as evidence that evolution has not occurred. Among other things, the notion of punctuated equilibria accounts for the lack of change seen in most fossil species as they persist through, in some cases, several millions of years. We questioned the long-held belief that evolutionary change must be slow, steady, gradual, and inevitable—a view that goes back to Darwin himself. We claimed, instead, that evolution proceeds by fits and starts, mostly in conjunction with events surrounding the origin of new species. Creationists argue that, inasmuch as fossil species do not change much once they appear, the very notion of evolution is itself falsified. But Gould and I were only doing what scientists always do: testing predictions against real evidence. We found that the evidence failed to support the notion that evolutionary change in general is slow and gradual. We then offered an alternative explanation that, for the moment, seems to us to fit the evidence better. We never concluded that life did not evolve, but merely that it did not evolve exactly the way that Darwin said it did. Our data agree perfectly with the general notion that life has evolved.

There are today but two explanations of the pattern similarity interconnecting all forms of life: all organisms share RNA and all vertebrates share backbones and other structures. All mammals have three inner ear bones and mammary glands. How do you explain this pattern of nested similarities? The creationists see this pattern and explain it as the manifestation of a supernatural creator's blueprint. Biologists see the pattern and note that "descent with modification" would also yield the same patterns. How do we choose between these two explanations of the same evidence?

Biologists say that, if evolution has occurred, there should follow some predictions about living creatures. I'll give two of the several general consequences of the notion of evolution. First, we would predict that there must be one (not several or many) single, coherent pattern of similarity linking all forms of life together. This prediction is tested daily by systematists seeking to classify the ten million or so fossil and living species. They predict that distributions of anatomical and behavioral features should yield one single pattern. And this is what they find: one single pattern.

Here is another general prediction from the basic notion of evolution: if evolution has occurred, there should be a regular change in the appearance of life as one goes further back in the fossil record. Progressively earlier forms within a group (for example, the horse family) should look more and more like the early representatives of other closely related groups.

- page 38 -

They do. The Eocene "dawn horse" looks far more like an Eocene rhinoceros than it resembles a modern race horse. And so on. Predictions about laboratory changes in gene frequencies and patterns of differentiation leading to new species is testable and has survived all serious attempts to refute it.

Creationists, on the other hand, make no predictions about patterns of nature that must be there if all of life was fashioned separately by a creator. They cannot. It is their position that whatever patterns we see, that's what the creator made. Thus, there is no way they or anyone else can test creationist notions by consulting nature. One must take creationism on faith alone. "Scientific" creationists purport to test (and always refute!) hypotheses from geology and biology—never hypotheses drawn directly from creationism as a part of science. Yet these same creationists later say that neither creation nor evolution belongs in the realm of science. Both positions are wrong. Evolutionary biology is as much a part of science as nuclear physics; creationism is not a part of science at all.

Thus, the choice boils down to a preference for human understanding of the universe through that unique interplay of thought and experience we call science versus an acceptance of authoritarian revealed truth. Evolution and creationism both explain life's diversity, but only evolution belongs in a science curriculum.

Dr. Stephen Jay Gould

Professor of geology, Harvard University; author of The Panda's Thumb; and probably the single most misquoted and misused scientist among the creationists' unwilling allies. This excerpt is from "Evolution as Fact and Theory, " Discover, May 1981.

It is infuriating to be quoted again and again by creationists—whether through design or stupidity, I do not know—as admitting that the fossil record includes no transitional forms. Transitional forms are generally lacking at the species level but are abundant between larger groups. The evolution from reptiles to
mammals . . . is well documented. Yet a pamphlet entitled "Harvard Scientists Agree Evolution Is a Hoax" states: "The facts of punctuated equilibrium, which Gould and Eldredge . . . are forcing Darwinists to swallow fit the picture that [William Jennings] Bryan insisted on and which God has revealed to us in the Bible."

- page 39 -

Dr. David M. Raup

Dean of Science, Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago; "punctuationalist" whose writings, along with those of Gould and Eldredge, are among the most influential contributions to that theory and among those cited by creationists in an attempt to bolster their case.

One of the most unfortunate aspects of the current creation-evolution debate is that many of the creationists equate Darwinian theory with evolution. They are saying, in effect, that if Darwin's theory falls, then so does evolution. Nothing could be further from the truth. To me, there are two basic questions: Has evolution occurred (in the sense of change in the biological composition of the earth over millions of years)? By what mechanisms has evolution occurred? Darwin's contribution was to the second question. He proposed a biological mechanism: natural selection. Whether Darwin was right or wrong has no bearing on the question of whether evolution did or did not occur.

On the question of whether or not evolution has occurred, I would say that there are few things in the natural sciences about which we can be more confident. The geologic time scale has been checked and rechecked by many independent methods. Although individual dates may be subject to error, the overall chronology stands firm. It is used every day in petroleum and mineral exploration, and, if there were basic problems with it, I am sure that industrial geologists would have blown the whistle. The fossil record is intimately tied in with this chronology and shows a record of change in organisms through time. What we are not sure about is just how the biological changes took place. Natural selection surely played a part, but there may be other biological processes that have operated. One of the challenges of biology and paleontology is to find out what other processes were involved.

Dr. Laurie Godfrey

Assistant professor of anthropology, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and editor of two forthcoming books, A Century After Darwin and Scientists Confront Creationism. As a specialist in human and primate evolution, she is particularly concerned with creationist misrepresentations of the literature on human evolution.

On April 10, 1981, creationist Dr. Allen Beeber presented a slide show and lecture on scientific creationism at the University of Massachusetts. Although it was ill-received (largely because of its inadequate science), it is worth notice because it illustrates so well the techniques of creationists.

Beeber's doctorate in polymer science seemed impressive at first, but it turned out that there was no polymer science in his presentation. Indeed, Beeber had neither assembled the slide show nor written much of the text. The source of his slide show was John Baungardner of Canoga Park, California.

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It was a "canned" presentation and, judging from the misuse of data in anthropology, geology, biology, physics, and mathematics, it was clear that the author or authors lacked familiarity with much of the material cited. This was certainly true of Beeber, who admitted not having read sources quoted in his arguments.

Distorting information in my own field, Beeber led the audience to believe that Australopithecus was probably, according to anthropologist Charles Oxnard, some kind of orangutan (or, at least, like an orangutan), that anthropologist Clifford Jolly had demonstrated that fragmentary Ramapithecus was probably some kind of baboon, and that Richard Leakey had shown that ER 1470 was essentially a modern human.

These are standard creationist arguments, mirrored, for example, by Dr. Gish in his book, Evolution: The Fossils Say NO! Gish argues on page 103 that Clifford Jolly uncovered "devastating evidence against the assumption of a hominid status for Ramapithecus" and that Ramapithecus was at best a monkeylike ape or, perhaps, a "monkey with diet and habitat similar to that of galada [sic] baboons." He quotes Charles Oxnard as saying that Australopithecus was a unique form but, "to the extent that resemblances exist with living forms, they tend to be with the orangutan." Gish adds, "Oxnard's conclusions are that Australopithecus is not related to anything living today—man or ape—but was uniquely different" (p. 12). Gish asserts that modern Homo was around all along, stating that Richard Leakey has found a skull of an individual contemporaneous with Australopithecus (ER 1470), which is "almost indistinguishable from those of many individuals living today" (p. 136).

This represents a gross distortion of what Jolly, Oxnard, and Leakey actually said. Jolly cited dental parallelism between the baboon Theropithecus gelada (which feeds on small hard objects such as grass corms and seeds) and early hominids in an attempt to reconstruct the diet of the extinct forms. But neither Jolly nor any anatomist would ever confuse the mouth of a baboon with that of a hominid such as Ramapithecus (nor any other fossil genus with small front teeth and large cheek teeth, such as the lemur Hadropithecus or hominid Australopithecus). Nowhere did Jolly even remotely imply that Ramapithecus, Australopithecus, Hadropithecus, or Homo are baboons.

Oxnard similarly never implied that Australopithecus is unrelated to any animal living today. Instead, Oxnard argued that late Pliocene and early Pleistocene Australopithecus was not directly ancestral to Homo erectus but shared a more remote common ancestor with an earlier variant of the genus Homo. He further argued that Australopithecus, while facultatively bipedal, probably engaged in climbing activities as well. His research question was functional: Was Australopithecus a habitual bipedal? His analysis was based entirely on some postcranial fragments. Oxnard readily acknowledged the shared dental and cranial features of Australopithecus and Homo (signs of their common ancestry). He explicitly argued that the postcranial resemblances of Australopithecus to orangutans imply functional similarities, not a closer relationship of Australopithecus to Pongo (the orang) than to Homo.

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In conclusion, Gish's allegations concerning ER 1470 are a bit mysterious, since ER 1470 has a face similar to that of robust australopithecines and a cranial capacity little more than half that of the average modern human. The creationist slide showed it in front view, not profile, probably because in profile this "strikingly modern" skull looks far more like other specimens of early Homo and Australopithecus. Leakey describes ER 1470 as a member of the lineage (Homo habilis) ancestral to Homo erectus, in turn ancestral to Homo sapiens (modern man). Some of the hooplah surrounding the discovery of ER 1470 was based on the unexpected presence of a 2.5 million-year-old hominid with a cranial capacity of 800 cc. Leakey publicized the great antiquity of his relatively large-brained discovery with great showmanship. The redating of ER 1470 at less than two million years makes this find far less remarkable than originally hailed. In any case, Leakey never considered it a member of the modern human race.

In spite of these facts, Beeber used this skimpy creationist "review" of the hominid fossil record, plus the well-known Piltdown hoax and the pig tooth once briefly mistaken for that of a hominid ("Nebraska man"), in an attempt to destroy the credibility of the human fossil record. Such arguments have worked well on audiences unfamiliar with the data, but they did not succeed at the University of Massachusetts.

Dr. Isaac Asimov

Author of 232 books and professor of biochemistry at Boston University School of Medicine. His popular writings which explain the workings of the second law of thermodynamics have been widely quoted from by creationists. This response is excerpted from "The Threat of Creationism, " which appeared in the June 14, 1981, issue of New York Times Magazine, and reprinted with permission.

Creationists, in recent years, have stressed the "scientific" background of their beliefs. They point out that there are scientists who base their creationist beliefs on a careful study of geology, paleontology, and biology and produce "textbooks" that embody those beliefs.

They have learned enough scientific terminology to use it in their attempts to disprove evolution. They do this in numerous ways, but the most common example, at least in the mail I receive, is the repeated assertion that the second law of thermodynamics demonstrates the evolutionary process to be impossible.

In kindergarten terms, the second law of thermodynamics says that all spontaneous change is in the direction of increasing disorder—that is, in a "downhill" direction. There can be no spontaneous buildup in the complex from the simple, because that would be moving "uphill." According to the creationist argument, since, by the evolutionary process, complex forms of life evolve from simple forms, that process defies the second law, so creationism must be true.

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To lift the argument a notch above the kindergarten level, the second law of thermodynamics applies to a "closed system"—that is, to a system that does not gain energy from without, or lose energy to the outside. The only truly closed system we know of is the universe as a whole.

Within a closed system, there are subsystems that can gain complexity spontaneously, provided there is a greater loss of complexity in another interlocking subsystem. The overall change then is a complexity loss in line with the dictates of the second law.

Evolution can proceed and build up the complex from the simple, thus moving uphill, without violating the second law, as long as another interlocking part of the system—the sun, which delivers energy to the earth continually—moves downhill (as it , does) at a much faster rate than evolution moves uphill.

Unfortunately, the second law is a subtle concept that most people are not accustomed to dealing with, and it is not easy to see the fallacy in the creationist distortion.

Dr. Ashley Montagu

Physical anthropologist at Princeton University and renowned author. He summarizes below the attitude of the scientific community toward the general theory of evolution.

Regarding the recent action brought by the creationists in California and the judge's order that the state distribute more copies of a statement of long-standing policy that evolution should not be taught as dogmatic, irrefutable fact but rather as a scientific theory, the truth is that evolution is an unrefuted fact. There are theories concerning the exact mechanisms of evolution, but concerning evolution there no longer can be any doubt as to its reality.

The method of science is falsification, the attempts to disprove by every possible means the theory which appears to explain the fact. If the attempt fails, the scientist knows that he has something and proceeds to set up experiments to further test the theory. When the results support the theory, they are published so that other scientists can check them. When the findings are verified, we have "irrefutable" proof of the accuracy of the theory. In that sense, truth for a scientist means the highest degree of probability attached to a particular judgment.

In that same sense, because we have innumerable evidences of the reality of evolution, both of a premeditated and unpremeditated (natural) experimental kind, evolution is no longer a theory but one of the best authenticated facts within the whole realm of science. The fact of evolution is beyond dispute.

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Theories as to the exact mechanisms of evolution are (happily) alive and being debated—such debate constitutes the lifeblood of science, not evidence of disagreement as to the fact of evolution. The scientist believes in proof without certainty; some other people believe in certainty without proof.

Not all things can be proven; evolution can. Creation myths are just that: myths. As such, they are the legitimate study of anthropologists and folklorists. If some people choose to believe them to be truths, they are free to do so.

Conclusion

The foregoing statements should lay to rest some of the claims that leading "authorities" in science are lending support to antievolutionary arguments or that evolution is no longer accepted by the scientific community. There is no "club secret" that evolution is "bankrupt" or that the theory is "crumbling," as many creationists have charged.

It is easy to see how, with effort and a single-minded search through scientific literature, one can locate sentences and passages in anyone's work that can be interpreted out of context to mean whatever one desires. By this same method, some people read into the Bible proof that "ancient astronauts" visited earth.

Instead of searching for quotations, creationists should test their ideas against empirical evidence. The results of such tests, if carefully performed, can then be submitted to the peer review of the scientific journals. Scientists reading the results can duplicate the experiments or recheck the data. If they disagree, their positions will also appear in the journals. Scientists normally disagree with and test each other's ideas. This is the nature of science. But when the Moral Majority's Jerry Falwell promises that students at his Liberty Baptist College will never find differences of opinion among faculty members and that "anytime they start teaching something we don't like, we cut the money off" (Fitzgerald), he promises the opposite of science.

Still, it is easy to see how anyone wedded to such a dogmatic view would find the dynamics of scientific argument and counter argument a kind of proof that scientists now dispute evolution. Absolutist searchers for chinks in the evolutionists' armor miss the point of science and project their either-or values onto it. They therefore see certain scientists as "authorities" who can be used to champion their views.

Arguments from authority are logically weak. A position does not stand or fall depending upon who endorses it. It is the evidence and its logical interpretation that tell the tale. Even if creationists quote an individual more or less correctly, this does not support their position.

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One example, in particular, of near-correct quotation involves philosopher Sir Karl Popper. In 1976 Popper said, "Darwinism is not a testable scientific theory but a metaphysical research program." But Popper is not an expert in the biological sciences or their history. Furthermore, he is not the only philosopher of science in the world with anything to say on the subject of evolution. Philosophers often disagree with each other more than scientists do. And, to top if off, Popper has recently changed his mind on his earlier pronouncement against evolution. In 1978 he wrote, "I have changed my mind about the testability and logical status of the theory of natural selection, and I am glad to have the opportunity to make a recantation." Popper, much earlier than 1976, had had even stronger criticisms of evolution. But as early as 1972 he wrote:

I blush when I have to make this confession; for when I was younger, I used to say very contemptuous things about evolutionary philosophies. When twenty-two years ago Canon Charles E. Raven, in his Science, Religion, and the Future, described the Darwinian controversy as "a storm in a Victorian teacup," I agreed, but criticized him for paying too much attention "to the vapors still emerging from the cup," by which I meant the hot air of the evolutionary philosophies (especially those which told us that there were inexorable laws of evolution). But now I have to confess that this cup of tea has become, after all, my cup of tea: and with it I have to eat humble pie.

Popper then proceeded to restate Darwin's theory in a manner that was logically consistent, feeling that Darwin and other evolutionists had not done the best job nor used the right words to express the theory.

We can see, then, that not only is disagreement between scientists a natural part of the scientific enterprise but scientists and philosophers are capable of changing their minds. Creationism, on the other hand, tries to be the same "yesterday, today, and forever." It is therefore not a science, and citations, quotations, and details lifted out of context do not magically make it so.

Bibliography

Barnes, Thomas G. 1975. Foreward in The Troubled Waters of Evolution by Henry Morris. San Diego: Creation-Life Publishers.

Fitzgerald, Frances. May 18, 1991. "A Disciplined Changing Army." New Yorker, pp. 53-141.

Gish. Duane T. 1973. Evolution: The Fossils Say No! San Diego: Creation-Life Publishers.

Lewontin, Richard. 1978. "Adaptation." Scientific American. 239:33:212-230.

Parker, Gary E. October 1980. "Creation, Selection, and Variation." Acts & Facts. Impact No. 88.

Popper, Karl R. 1972. Objective Knowledge, An Evolutionary Approach. Oxford: Clarendon Press, p. 241.
——. 1963. Conjectures and Refutations. New York: Basic Books. p. 257.
——. 1978. "Natural Selection and the Emergence of Mind." Dialectica. 32:399 ff.

About the Author(s): 
Dr. Cole is assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls.

Copyright 1981 by John R. Cole
This version might differ slightly from the print publication.

News Briefs from the Editor

Creation Evolution Journal
Title: 
News Briefs from the Editor
Volume: 
2
Number: 
4
Quarter: 
Fall
Page(s): 
45–49
Year: 
1981

Arkansas

The American Civil Liberties Union is challenging the creation bill which was passed in Arkansas. The case is slated to go to court on December 7, 1981. Wendell Bird, the leading author of the Arkansas law, along with other leading creationists (including Henry Morris, Duane Gish, and Harold Coffin) originally sought to participate in the state's defense. However, Arkansas Attorney General Steve Clark has told the creationists that he doesn't want their help. The creationists have established a "Creation Science Legal Defense Fund" and were planning a big showdown; they wanted the merits of creationism to be presented before the judge who will try the case. Judge Overton ruled against their motion to intervene, while at the same time turning down a request from the Unitarians to file a friend-of-the-court brief which defends evolution and states the Unitarian opinion of the law. These decisions might mean that the primary emphasis of the case will be on evolution and constitutional law rather than on religion.

Meanwhile, the ACLU is gathering together a group of expert scientists and educators to aid in the suit. They are prepared for whatever sort of case this may turn out to be.

Louisiana

On July 21, 1981, a creation bill similar to that in Arkansas was signed into law in Louisiana. The wording of the two is almost identical, as both are from the same draft pushed by Paul Ellwanger's Citizens for Fairness in Education. The Louisiana law, however, leaves out the specific definitions of creation-science and evolution-science. (This is actually more sensible, because science is not a dogma that can have its conclusions engraved into the immutable bronze of a statute.) The Louisiana law also adds a provision stating that the governor may designate seven creation scientists "who shall provide resource services in the development of curriculum guides." Unlike the Arkansas law, this law affects teacher-training institutions as well as secondary schools.

In Governor Treen's public statement defending his signing of the bill, he indicated that the law simply permits the two theories to be covered; it does not mandate anything. However, recognizing that the wording in this part of the law is ambiguous and may end up meaning that creationism will be required whenever evolution is taught, Treen opined that this would not damage science education. "Academic freedom can scarcely be harmed by inclusion; it can be harmed by exclusion," he said. But if this is literally true, why does the bill exclude all other pseudoscientific theories from consideration? And, since Louisiana never required the teaching of evolution in the first place, what is the need for a law that "permits" the teaching of creationism?

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Don McGehee, the state education official, has determined that the new law will cost Louisiana $7 million. This will go to pay for creationist library and textbooks as well as teacher training.

The ACLU is committed to bringing a lawsuit challenging this bill also, but the timing is a bit uncertain. The Arkansas bill was challenged two months after it was signed into law, and it will probably take as long to make the legal moves regarding the Louisiana case.

Federal Legislation

Congressmen from Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Louisiana, and other states have recently been approached about introducing a federal creationist bill in Washington. The bill is another model piece of legislation, this time being pushed by Citizens Against Federal Establishment of Evolutionary Dogma. Who heads this group? You guessed it: Paul Ellwanger. The federal bill is called "An Act to Protect Academic Freedom and to Prevent Federal Censorship in Scientific Inquiry Funded with Federal Tax Monies." It's main thrust is to ensure that, whenever federal funds are provided for evolution research, curriculum development, museum exhibits, or exhibits and lectures connected with the National Park Service, equal funds must be applied to creationism in these same areas. This would probably mean, for example, that tour guides in our national parks would have to include a creationist interpretation of each natural wonder that they explain. The repercussions would be enormous. National Science Foundation General Counsel Charles H. Hertz has said that such a law "could severely distort the allocation of federal monies, introduce factors extraneous to scientific research, and itself constitute a form of subtle federal censorship of academic research." Pressure is nonetheless building in Congress at this time and Ellwanger has declared that such a bill will appear very soon.

State Legislation

Paul Ellwanger has had his model state bill introduced so far in twenty-one legislatures and is now in the process of completing a second revision of it. He expects that after January it will appear in about nineteen states. The original tactic used by creationists to push the model bill was to first stir up a public outcry and then, with all that hoopla and support, try to force the bill through the legislature.

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However, in every case where that tactic was tried, concerned scientists, religious leaders, educators, parents, and others against creationism became alarmed. They were often mobilized by Committees of Correspondence. The result was that they were able to use the time to organize an effective opposition. The creationists were stunned to see how large that opposition was. In response to their repeated failures, the creationists adopted a new tactic: "springing" bills. They began to keep quiet about proposed legislation until the last few days of the legislative session and then tried to rush it through before anyone heard about it. This tactic worked in Arkansas and Louisiana. We expect to see it in use again in 1982.

Is there an effective antidote to this new tactic? Yes, but it requires foresight. It had been wise in the past to "let sleeping dogs lie" and not raise the creation controversy in a state until the creationists did. But now, those opposed to such legislation must raise the issue early by writing to their state legislators and local school boards to inform them of the facts well in advance of any possible vote. Legislators should know there is an organized opposition to creationism before it becomes an issue. Copies of articles in Creation/Evolution can be sent to key people who need to be informed. Individual letters need to be written. Letters to the editor should appear in newspapers. There is no way of telling which states will be next. The time to act is now.

Committees of Correspondence to fight creationist legislation have been established in thirty-five states. If you desire to take part in the effort, write to Stanley Weinberg, Committees of Correspondence, in care of this journal. The Committees of Correspondence network will be involved in three presentations at the AAAS Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C., January 3—8.

California

The Creation-Science Research Center is at it again. Nell Segraves of the Center is fighting to get Isaac Asimov's book, In the Beginning, taken off public school library shelves in San Diego City Schools. Segraves argues that the book is "anti-God and anti-Scripture and makes the Bible out as mythology." She adds that creationist books are not in these school libraries. "We have a law in this state that allows the Bible to be used as a resource book, but it does not allow commentary on the Bible," Segraves declared. But if this is true, she should be fighting against such a law, not for censorship. If creationist books are not included in public school libraries, she should fight to get them in—not get Asimov out. There is no harm in exposing high schoolers to a variety of religious viewpoints. If books on astrology appear in San Diego City School libraries (and they do), then books on almost any harmless opinion should appear with them. It seems Segraves does not agree with Louisiana's Governor Treen in his view that "exclusion" alone is harmful. So long as religious materials are not made part of the science curriculum, there should be no bar to their inclusion in the public schools. Teaching about religion, as opposed to preaching, is quite legal.

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Kentucky

Dr. William E. Ellis, an Eastern Kentucky University history professor, has polled Kentucky's high school biology teachers and found that they are overwhelmingly in opposition to being forced to teach scientific creationism. Of 794 questionnaires sent out, 44 percent were returned. Of those, 76 percent showed opposition to any state law forcing "equal time" for creationism. Slightly over half of the responding teachers said that they moderately emphasize evolution in their classes, and one-third said that they give it little emphasis. A majority said that, while they frequently encourage students to offer opposing views to evolution, the students do so only "very rarely" or "occasionally." Nearly 80 percent said that they have never had any negative reactions from parents about teaching evolution, and over 90 percent said that they never had complaints from either school administrators, the superintendent, or the school board. A majority supported the view that they alone should make any decision on which theories will be emphasized in their classrooms. It appears that this survey is the first of its kind that has covered the entire state.

Michigan

Professor John N. Moore, a founder of the Creation Research Society, has accepted early retirement from Michigan State University. For more than a decade Moore has taught "two model" science in his classes. He also coauthored the controversial text, Biology: A Search for Order in Complexity.

Oregon

An error was made in Creation/Evolution V. It was stated that the petition filed in Grants Pass, Oregon, was for a statewide referendum on teaching creationism. It was actually for only a local referendum. The result, however, was the same as for the earlier and similar petition drive in the Medford area: it failed. Petitioners canvassed door-to-door in Grants Pass in an attempt to gather the 1,994 signatures needed in order to put an "equal time" measure on the ballot but were only able to get about 1,000. Their desire was to have scientific creationism taught in the district's schools on an equal basis with evolution. Petitioner Phil Hyatt said, "We got very poor response and we came considerably short, so we are going to discontinue the efforts. It seems like the people are not interested in getting involved in it." This result surprised the creationists, who had felt sure they would have no difficulty.

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Virginia

Evangelist Jerry Falwell moderated a debate between creationist Duane Gish of ICR and Dr. Russell Doolittle of the University of California at San Diego, to be aired during prime time on a nationwide television hookup. The contract gives Doolittle some control over the tape and limits Falwell's right to use it as a medium for creationist publicity. The taping took place on October 15, 1981, at Falwell's Lynchburg, Virginia, church and will be broadcast first over the Christian Broadcasting Network before the end of this year. Doolittle previously debated Gish at Iowa State University with considerable success; however, the results of the latest confrontation were not so positive.

This version might differ slightly from the print publication.

Issue 7 (Winter 1982)

Creation Evolution Journal
Title: 
Creation/Evolution VII
Volume: 
3
Number: 
1
Quarter: 
Winter
Year: 
1982
For a PDF version of the entire issue, please click here.


See below for text versions of this issue's articles.

Answers to the Standard Creationist Arguments

Creation Evolution Journal
Title: 
Answers to the Standard Creationist Arguments
Author(s): 
Kenneth Miller
Volume: 
3
Number: 
1
Quarter: 
Winter
Page(s): 
1–13
Year: 
1982

This spring, a pre-recorded debate between Dr. Russell Doolittle of the University of California at San Diego and Dr. Duane Gish of the Institute for Creation Research will be aired over national television. In this debate, produced by Jerry Falwell and taped this past October, Dr. Doolittle made an excellent case for the exclusion of creationism from science classrooms. He argued its religious nature and its failure to meet the standards of scientific investigation. Dr. Gish, in a stunning presentation, made an effective summary of the standard creationist debate arguments. Because his performance will be so widely viewed, the points he made will become the creationist arguments most familiar to millions of television viewers. We will see them crop up again and again in school board controversies, legislative battles, and court cases. It would be practical, therefore, that answers to these standard arguments be made available. The purpose of this article is to provide them.

Such debates, of course, are neither part of the scientific process nor a contribution of anything to scientific understanding. Their purpose is political; so scientists participate only in the hopes of making them educational. The Doolittle-Gish debate was no exception. While many in the overwhelmingly one-sided audience may have been delighted with Dr. Gish's performance, it fell sadly short of anything that could be recognized as scientific argument.

The Creation Model

The most remarkable failure—and the most obvious—was Gish's lack of a single sentence during the entire debate which described "the creation model." He made his whole presentation a game of "hide the ball," never once revealing what his "theory" or "model" was. The closest he came was when he said:

According to the concept of creation, or, as it may be called, the creation model, the origin of the universe and all living forms came into being through

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the designed purpose and deliberate acts of a supernatural creator. The creator, using special processes not operating today, created the stars, our solar system, and all living types of plants and animals.

Dr. Gish did not say when that creation event occurred, and he did not say whether all the animals and plants were created in their present forms at the same time or whether they were created in different forms and at different times. These are not trivial points because, without them, "creation science" does not make a single scientific statement. Without any details on the creation "theory" being presented, Dr. Doolittle had no way to discuss it.

While this tactic may be an excellent debating strategy, one that keeps one's opponent on the defensive due to a focusing of the attack on his ideas alone, it is very bad science. A theory that is kept hidden from discussion cannot be analyzed on its own merits. Therefore, if we were to declare that Dr. Gish had "won" the debate, we would only be saying that evolution had been questioned, not that a case had been made for creation.

Gish, of course, would disagree. His opening statement was, "There are two fundamentally different explanations for the origin of the universe and the living things it contains." This statement implies that, if he can disprove or cause people to doubt evolution, he has proved creation. But such a view constitutes cultural arrogance. There are a number of different hypotheses concerning origins that have been postulated by scientists in the past. One could name spontaneous generation, for example. The hypothesis of panspermia is the suggestion that life originated elsewhere and came to this planet through space. Various cyclical hypotheses propose fluctuation or change back and forth. And the number of religious ideas are legion.

The only time we find ourselves limited to just two "fundamentally different explanations" is when we compare naturalism and supernaturalism. But Gish is foolish if he thinks that he represents the infinite number of supernatural explanations and that Dr. Doolittle was to represent all the naturalistic possibilities. Furthermore, for Gish to take such a position, he would have to deny that creationism is a part of natural science. This would effectively bar it from any natural science class and thereby end the debate. Supernatural science must depend on supernatural evidence—not evidence from the natural world. To the extent that creationists argue from natural evidence and propose naturalistic mechanisms for their creation model (the model Gish did not state in the debate), they place themselves in the naturalistic camp with the evolutionists.

After misstating the controversy in his first statement, Dr. Gish went on to misstate the theory of evolution in his second and following statements. He said:

According to the theory of evolution—or, as we should more properly call it, "the evolution model"—everything in our universe has come into being

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through mechanistic processes, which are ascribed to properties inherent in matter. No supernatural intervention of any kind was involved. In fact, by definition, God is excluded. Thus, while not all evolutionists are atheists, the theory of evolution is an atheistic theory.

Such a clear and effective misrepresentation of his opponent's position was a beautiful rhetorical maneuver—one which was almost guaranteed to win the approval of Gish's audience while at the same time placing Dr. Doolittle in a very awkward position. This is a classic case of winning an argument by distorting the idea you are challenging. The key issue in this debate should have been whether living organisms on earth have changed (evolved) through the hundreds of millions of years for which science has excellent fossil records and other evidence or whether living things have remained unchanged from an initial creation even which occurred no more than about ten thousand years ago. Instead, Dr. Gish made the key issue of the debate a theological question over whether or not Got exists. His arguments for a creator involved appeals to the second law of thermodynamics, design, the supposed mathematical improbability of things arising naturalistically, and "gaps" in the fossil record. He seemed to maintain the view point that, if he could prove the existence of God, he would thereby have disproved the theory of evolution. Since Dr. Doolittle did not come to discus theology and as that is not his specialty, the result was that the two debaters found themselves talking about two different issues.

The reason evolutionary science does not make references to a creator is for the same reason that mathematics, cell biology, organic chemistry, and hydraulic engineering do not make references to a creator: none of these are theological subjects. They are nontheistic, as all scientific and mathematical systems must be. Imagine how ridiculous Dr. Gish would have sounded had he declared, "Thus while not all those who do long division are atheists, the practice of long division is an atheistic practice." After all, "no supernatural intervention of any kind" is involved. It must be that elementary school teachers who instruct our children in nonmiraculous math are teaching "a basic dogma of agnosticism, humanism and atheism."

I would like to add that Dr. Gish's suggestion that evolution and creation are mutually exclusive ideas is insulting to me personally (I am a Roman Catholic) a well as to the great majority of scientists of Christian, Jewish, Moslem, Hindu Buddhist and other faiths who understand quite well that biological evolution is a scientifically supported fact. The theory of evolution is not inconsistent with the belief in a created universe per se. However, it is inconsistent with the creationist belief in a universe that was created no more than ten thousand years ago in which all living things were created at the same time in essentially the same form they take today. But this is the very "creation model" that Dr. Gish would not discuss.

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The Nature of Science

After misrepresenting the controversy and evolution, Dr. Gish then went on to misrepresent science, which he accomplished admirably.

Let us dispense, once and for all, with the notion that this is a debate between science and religion. Each concept of origins is equally scientific and each is equally religious. In fact, neither qualifies as a scientific theory. The first requirement of science is observation. Obviously there were no human observers to the origin of the universe, the origin of life, or, as a matter of fact, to the origin of a single living thing. These events were unique, unrepeatable historical events of the past. . . . Ultimately then, no theory of origin can be considered a scientific theory in the strict sense.

It is crucial for creationists that they convince their audiences that evolution is not scientific, because both sides agree that creationism is not. So, Dr. Gish proposed this ingeniously stringent set of requirements for a scientific theory. He seems to say that not only is science based on observation (which is true) but that it requires eyewitnesses to all events (which is false). This is a strange suggestion. No one has ever seen an atom, just its effects. Do atoms therefore not exist? The wave and particle aspects of electrons have only been determined by the images they leave on film when certain experiments are performed. These images record past events, not present realities. Is subatomic physics then a faith? The same questions could be asked of astronomy, chemistry, and geology—not to mention much of the rest of science. Dr. Gish's overly limited interpretation would wipe away most of the world's evidence for anything.

In fact, even creationism could prove nothing. This is why Dr. Gish had to contradict himself in the debate by saying:

Although there were no human witnesses to any of these events [of creation], creation can be inferred by the normal methods of science: observation and logic. . . . Creation and evolution and inferences based on circumstantial evidence and predictions based on each model can be tested and compared with that circumstantial evidence.

So which is it? Or perhaps it is neither. Perhaps the creation-evolution controversy should really be a debate over which act of faith is best supported by the circumstantial evidence. This is a strange mixture of religion and science—a mixture that denies we can ever attain knowledge of historical events. Imagine what would happen if Gish's requirements were followed in our courts of law. We could only convict criminals who were directly observed committing their crimes. But since crimes are rarely committed in full view of others, our courts have to take this into account. In both law and science there is a common-sense precedent to use circumstantial evidence carefully to resolve questions about natural

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events, even when they are historic, unique, and unwitnessed. Dr. Gish's narrow definition of science is simply self-serving. It is a way of promoting confusion about evolution and bringing the acquired data of hundreds of years of scientific research down to the level of Dr. Gish's brand of faith. Only by such questionable thinking can creationism be seen as an equal and alternate model.

If we ignore the creationist's arbitrary rules of science and compare the two models in the normal way, we find that evolution is scientifically testable, right along with many aspects of creationism. For example, there is observable evidence for evolution. This evidence is found in the fossil record, the phylogenetic trees for living and extinct animals, the geographic distribution of organisms, the phases of embryologic development, observed mutations, observed natural selection, observed geological changes, and laboratory experiments in biology, among other things. Both evolution (which predicts that the evidence will show life has changed through time) and creationism (which predicts an absence of change, except for extinction) are scientifically testable. Dr. Gish would like to pretend this is not true because creationism fails the test of evidence while evolution passes it.

Evolution also predicts a consistent pattern of relationships between animals. This prediction is also testable. For example, if humans appeared to be most closely related to chimpanzees by one criterion, but to butterbeans by another, to chickens by a third criterion, and to bullfrogs by a fourth, there would be no consistent pattern, and evolution would thereby be disproved. But all techniques for determining relationships have consistently given results that fit with the evolutionary prediction. Creationists have recently tried to claim that some data go against the prediction (which shows that creationists also see this prediction as significant), but their arguments are all based on incorrect data. After a century and a quarter of strenuous questioning and testing in many fields, the theory of evolution stands stronger than ever. It could be falsified if it were wrong, but efforts to falsify it have continually failed. Evolution unites genetics, physiology, paleontology, embryology, biogeography, systematics, and geology into a coherent whole. And this is another reason why evolution is a good scientific theory.

The Nature of the Universe

Dr. Gish next implied that the theory of evolution says that the universe created itself. Nothing could be further from the truth. Notions of how the universe originated are altogether outside the province of science. Such questions of first cause properly belong to the realms of philosophy and theology. Evolution speaks only of change through time. The universe could have begun in any number of ways, and yet we would still have to separately learn whether or not biological evolution

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takes place and existing life forms evolved from ancestral ones.

Nonetheless, Dr. Gish spent a great deal of time insisting that the universe could not have created itself and that a creator must therefore exist. He simply ignored the possibility that a creator might have formed a universe in which evolutionary processes then brought about the formation and development of living things. Yet, if such events actually did take place, Dr. Gish's particular brand of creationism would be falsified—a possibility he refused to consider.

"According to evolution theory," he said, "disorder spontaneously generated order" by means of the "Big Bang." That is to say, a cosmic explosion created the orderly cosmos we see today in a manner that is actually contrary to the second law of thermodynamics. Dr. Gish was wrong again, but this argument went over well because people naturally visualize an explosion as disorderly and the present state of the universe as orderly. Yet, in a thermodynamic sense, order means "energy available for work" and disorder means "energy unavailable for work." Therefore it is actually true that the universe was more orderly at the time of the "Big Bang" but has grown progressively more disorderly as it has expanded. Dr. Gish was simply playing on the popular meaning of these words while speaking of the science of thermodynamics which uses them differently.

Astronomers are well aware that the universe, taken as a whole, is "running down" in accord with the second law of thermodynamics. Evolution harmonizes with that. There is nothing in evolutionary theory that states the universe has ordered itself. Cosmic evolution is what happens as the universe runs down. It is the second law in action. Biological evolution is what happens in pockets of the universe where the process temporarily reverses itself due to greater losses of energy elsewhere. For example, in our pocket of the universe there is an increase in complexity associated with living organisms and their evolution. This is made possible by the decrease in available energy in the sun. The energy loss of the sun provides thousands of times the energy demanded by the second law to account for the increase in complexity on our planet. Dr. Gish therefore set up a straw man with his claim that the second law of thermodynamics prohibits evolution.

In his rebuttal, however, Gish argued that receiving energy from the sun was not sufficient to create life. He. claimed that there must also be an "energy conversion machine," much like a car's motor, and a "control system," much like a car's driver, if there is to be an evolutionary increase in complexity. He argued that life has these properties infused into it by the creator but inanimate matter does not.

However, in actual fact, the raw, uncontrolled application of energy does, under certain conditions, cause the formation of complex molecules (although not automobiles!). Stanley Miller and Harold Urey demonstrated this in their famous experiment nearly thirty years ago. Furthermore, inanimate matter can often increase in complexity in nonbiological ways. Snowflakes form from water

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and dust all by themselves, and complex and energetic whirling wind storms also arise spontaneously from random converging wind systems. Where are the divine "energy conversion machines" and "control systems" in these phenomena?

The Laws of Probability

The next argument was an old standard. Dr. Gish noted the great complexity of living cells and the various other forms of life on earth. He argued that the mathematics of probability would render it impossible for life to develop from nonlife all by itself, no matter how much time was allowed:

Most proteins consist of several hundred amino acids, each arranged in precise sequence, and DNA and RNA usually consist of thousands of nucleotides also arranged in precise order. The number of different possible ways these subunits can be arranged is so incredibly astronomical that it is literallyimpossible for a single molecule of protein or DNA to have been generated by chance in five billion years.

He backed up this claim by citing calculations by Hubert Yockey. But these calculations are based on two false assumptions which stack the deck against evolution: first, that a particular nucleotide or amino acid sequence must assemble completely by chance—and only that specific sequence will be accepted—and, second, that no small nucleotide chains are capable of self-replication.

Yet, in the globin protein sequence (the polypeptide part of hemoglobin) only seven amino acids, out of more than one hundred, are always the same when we examine the many globins which are used by different organisms. If the creationist calculations are done with this fact in mind, we would discover that such sequences form very quickly. Second, the sequences would not have to assemble from scratch. Recent work by Orgel and Eigen and others has shown that RNA nucleotides can spontaneously form small chains. Furthermore, these small chains can proceed to self-replicate. Often when such organic molecules get to be twenty to twenty-five amino acids long, they can spontaneously double their lengths through this replication process. (Indeed, many of the molecules found in living things bear evidence of having evolved in exactly this way.) The net result is thousands and thousands of variant copies being produced quickly. Therefore, the sequences that Dr. Gish says could never form would in fact self-assemble in a few months or years, given the whole earth as a laboratory. Since Yockey's calculations do not allow for this replication, his mathematical results are light years away from the truth.

Gish argued next that hundreds of different functional proteins would have had to form simultaneously. He assumed that this also would be another impossibility. Yet, there are numerous papers with copious data showing that the

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many modern proteins appear to have derived from a few ancestral proteins. He also assumed that, if modern cells have two hundred proteins, the earliest protocells also had two hundred proteins. A wealth of experimental results refutes that assumption as well. However, in spite of the open availability of all this data, the creationists go right on making these same tired old statements.

Reading these creationist impossibility calculations always brings to mind other impossibility calculations, some made by eminent scientists of their day, which were also based on erroneous assumptions. Lord Kelvin calculated that powered aircraft could never fly. Others calculated that steamships could never carry enough fuel to cross the Atlantic. One should always keep in mind the computer-age dictum: "Garbage in—garbage out."

The Fossil Record

The key claim of evolution is descent with modification, the idea that animals alive today evolved from earlier forms. All the previous talk about the supposed impossibility of life evolving from nonlife says nothing about descent. Evolution is not really a concept of origins. A creator could have created life and then everything could have evolved from there. Such a fact would still falsify Dr. Gish's unstated creation model.

In order to defeat the notion of descent, Dr. Gish claimed that "the missing links are still missing," that there are gaps in the fossil record so severe that the record simply does not show evolution. This is a shocking set of untruths.

The fossil record not only documents evolution but the very existence of the fossil record was the force that drove unwilling scientists to admit nearly two centuries ago that living forms had changed (evolved). This record shows intermediate form after intermediate form. There is a long series of intermediates linking reptiles with mammals. There are evolutionary sequences showing the evolution of the horse, the elephant, sea urchins, snails, major groups of plants, and many other animals now extinct. Furthermore, these fossils show an orderly succession which fully documents the evolutionary tree of life.

The reason Gish says that intermediate forms do not exist is because his model requires that he explain them all away. For example, Archaeopteryx, a clear intermediate between reptiles and birds which in some ways is more closely linked with the little dinosaurs of the period than with later birds, is declared by Gish to be "100 percent bird." Why? Because it has feathers. This is where he draws the line. Yet, if one really wanted to discuss the Archaeopteryx fossils in detail, one should be aware that several fossilized Archaeopteryx skeletons were discovered before one was found with feathers preserved. How were these specimens first classified? They were thought to be reptiles and were placed in museums alongside other small dinosaurs. In short, Archaeopteryx was an animal

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whose skeletal structure was reptilian but upon whose skin the first feathers had appeared. Just how much more intermediate does something have to be?

Since the fossil record is actually very complete and is getting better all the time with continuing new discoveries, it is only by refusing to see what is plain that creationists can deny that the fossil record supports evolution. And even if these gaps were as profuse as Gish claims, the fossil record would still reveal an impressive lineage for animals living today. It would still reveal that the further back one goes in time, the more numerous the extinct forms and the less similar they are to modern forms.

Nonetheless, Gish made an impressive-sounding case by citing "authorities' supportive of his claims. In a classic out-of-context quote he voiced the words of Dr. Corner, a Cambridge botanist, who wrote, "Much evidence can be adduced in favor of evolution, but I still think that to the unprejudiced the fossil record of plants is in favor of creation." However, what Dr. Corner actually said was that "... the fossil record of higher plants is in favor of special creation" (emphasis added). What did Corner mean by that? He meant that the major form of higher plant (the angiosperms or flowering plants) appeared on earth about 135 million years ago, and we have no good fossil evidence as to what forms they evolved from. Corner meant to emphasize in his statement just that lack of ancestral evidence and pointed out that the higher plants appear so suddenly that one could almost believe that they had been specially created—just as if a creator had said "Let there be angiosperms," and so they appeared.

One might get the impression that Dr. Gish's creation model suggests exactly that: that the appearance of the angiosperms represents a specific and individual creative act in which they were formed from scratch by a creator 135 million year ago. Although Dr. Gish seemed quite willing to leave that false impression with his listeners, he in fact holds to a radically different view.

His real position is that all animals and plants were created at the same time, (or in six solar days) only about ten thousand years ago. Such a view means that angiosperms were always present and their fossils should be found in the oldest rocks available. However, there is no evidence of their existence prior to 135 million years ago, while other land plants appear in the record hundreds of millions of years earlier. The fact that various life forms appear in various places along the geologic column is actually deadly evidence against Gish's notion of a single creation event. But he gets away with implying this evidence is consistent with his creation model because he never really presents this model.

Human Evolution

The big emotional issue among creationists is human evolution. It might be safe to say that all their previous arguments exist only to support the notion that

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humans are in no way linked to the other animals. To this end, Gish quoted Sir Solly Zuckerman in order to claim that Australopithecus did not walk upright. The quote is dated 1970. Since then, several pelvic fossils and one nearly complete Australopithecus skeleton have been found. There is now not the slightest doubt that this animal walked upright, much as we do. But Dr. Gish quoted from a decade-old source and therefore ignored the latest findings.

His information on Lucy is no better. Gish declared, "Since Johanson describes this creature as totally ape from the neck up, the only basis for the idea that this creature was a link between man and ape is a notion that it did walk upright. "

But Johanson never claimed that Lucy was an ape. He simply stated that from the neck up she was essentially a hominid with a number of apelike features. And, from the neck down, she should be linked with the human family due to her fully upright stature. She and her colleagues walked just as we do today. This is clear from the detailed anatomy of the hip, knee, and ankle, not to mention the 3.7 million-year-old footprints in the volcanic ash at Laetoli, Tanzania. Extensive comparative anatomy and biomedical analysis render this judgment of Lucy's locomotion to be far more than a guess. The value of this discovery is that it shows how hominid bipedalism preceded both tool use and the modern human cranial capacity.

To conclude his attack on human evolution, Dr. Gish reminded his audience of the Piltdown Man hoax. This is surprising since the hoax was revealed and exposed not by anti-evolutionists but by scientists. The same techniques that exposed the Piltdown hoax now verify the authenticity of the work done by Johanson and others. However, Dr. Gish refuses to accept in one case the same sort of dating evidence he is delighted to use against evolutionists in another.

Gish also mentioned Nebraska Man, for which the evidence turned out to be a number of fossilized pig's teeth. However, what he failed to mention was that since the discovery of Nebraska Man in 1922, it was contested by scientists worldwide. In fact, in every case that creationists have pointed out that scientists made errors, the errors were originally discovered by scientists themselves—not by creationists who have made no significant contribution to the literature of evolution.

The Age of the Earth

In his rebuttal to Dr. Doolittle's remarks about "scientific creationism" requiring a young earth and universe, Dr. Gish declared, "This debate is not about the time of origins, but about the `how' of origins. These are separate questions." Not only was there no agreement to ignore the question of time made prior to the debate but the idea that the earth and universe are only a few thousand years old is a major plank in Gish's model.

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It is true that some creationists accept the theory of an old earth and universe. But are they the creationists who are pushing for equal time in the public schools? It doesn't seem so when one reads the definitions of creationism that appear in the Arkansas law. Creationism is defined there as including "explanation of the earth's geology by catastrophism, including the occurrence of a worldwide flood and a relatively recent inception of the earth and living kinds." This view is considered the only valid form the creation model can take. It is seconded in the major creationist public school text books, particularly Origins: Two Models by Richard Bliss and Scientific Creationism edited by Henry Morris. These books argue for an earth and universe that are only ten thousand years in age. To gain admittance into the Creation Research Society, one must swear to a statement that includes the words: "All basic types of living things, including man, were made by direct creative acts of God during Creation Week as described in Genesis.'

Creationists should therefore be willing to answer critiques of this aspect of their model, even if it is the weakest plank in their platform. It is to Gish's credit that he did make a concession and speak about the age of the moon. He declared that, when scientists dated the moon rocks, "they got ages of all kinds—from over a few thousand to many multiplied billions of years. They simply selected the date that had to be right, which had to be 4.6 billion."

But Gish was wrong on two counts. First, every single rock from the moon for which rubidium-strontium isochrons could be determined (the most sensitive and reliable way of radiometric dating) showed an age of formation of billions of years. Second, the "picking and choosing" of dates, which he criticizes, is not to find dates that fit with evolution. The "picking and choosing" is really over which rocks have not been altered by outside factors in such a way that they would yield inaccurate dates. Just as you don't give up on the notion of ever knowing what time it is because some watches are broken, those who do radiometric dating don't give up determining the age of the earth and moon just because some rocks are known to be unreliable measures.

The Public Schools

In a stunning close that appealed to the audience's sense of fair play, Dr. Gish compared creationists to Galileo facing opposition from the "stifling dogma" of the establishment. He claimed that there could only be two reasons why scientists were against equal time for creationism in public school science classes: either they were practicing an insulting form of paternalism designed to protect students from error and indoctrinate them in evolutionary ideas, or they were fearful that evolution could not survive in the free marketplace of ideas.

What the audience may not have realized is that this appeal is common to

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every pseudoscientific group. The very same arguments could be used to intimidate the schools into giving equal time to astrology, hollow-earth theory, "ancient astronauts," and the search for Atlantis. Furthermore, if creationism is being proposed in the name of academic freedom, why is legislation involved? In not one of the fifty states has evolution been legislated into the classroom. Evolution is taught for the same reason that the cell theory and germ theory of disease is taught: each theory successfully fought it out in the scientific arena and convinced the scientific community (including the teachers of science in public schools). What Dr. Gish is trying to encourage is the use of public pressure to determine what is and what is not science, and he is trying to force creationism into the schools through the back door without first winning the scientific debate in the way that all past theories have had to do.

Creationists are not being persecuted by scientists; they have deliberately avoided the scientific community. And here we could reverse Dr. Gish's claim: creationists must be fearful that creationism cannot survive a careful scientific scrutiny in the free marketplace of ideas. This must be why creationism is the only hypothesis in need of special legislative protection. Most scientists, on the other hand, support the freedom of local school boards to determine the scientific content of their instruction. It is ironic that the only state in which citizens are not free to make such choices is Louisiana, where a law supported by creationists has taken that freedom away.

The reasons, then, that scientists are against equal time for creationism are that it would remove academic freedom and local control from the public schools and that it would unconstitutionally promote sectarian religion.

That religion is the real issue behind the scenes is made plain by a statement by Dr. Henry Morris, director of the Institute for Creation Research, of which Dr. Gish is associate director. In a February 1979 cover letter mailed with the Institute's publication Acts & Facts, Dr. Morris wrote:

Although our message to the educational world necessarily and properly stresses the scientific aspects of creationism, we can never forget we are actually in a spiritual battle and need always to be clothed in God's whole armor (Ephesians 6:11) if the creation witness is to continue to grow in its ministry to a world that needs desperately to know its Creator and Savior.

Dr. Gish stated on page twenty-four of his book, Evolution, The Fossils Say No!:

By creation we mean the bringing into being of the basic kinds of plants and animals by the process of sudden, or fiat, creation described in the first two
chapters of Genesis.

This is the hidden creation model. So now we see why Dr. Gish didn't wish to mention it in debate. It would have revealed the real purpose behind the

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creation movement: to bring biblical fundamentalism into the science classroom.

Dr. Gish's audience was made up of sincere and well-meaning Christians who desired to defend God and promote fairness. They were not aware of how his appeals would effectively misdirect their energies in ways harmful both to science and religious freedom. Yet, this is how far creationists must go in order to buoy up a discarded and disproved theory of science and a minority position in religion. Citizens should not be misled into subsidizing sectarian religious pseudoscience in the public school science classroom.

Acknowledgements

I give special thanks for the valuable input, ideas, and arguments provided by Frank Awbrey, Frederick Edwords, Donald Johanson, William V. Mayer, Wayne Moyer, Philip Osmon, Robert Schadewald, and William Thwaites in the preparation of this article.

About the Author(s): 

Ken Miller is a professor of biology at Brown University in Rhode Island. He has so successfully debated Henry Morris on two recent occasions that ICR's Acts & Facts declares him to be "the most effective evolutionist debater Dr. Morris has encountered to date."

This version might differ slightly from the print publication.

A Closer Look at Some Biochemical Data that "Support" Creation

Creation Evolution Journal
Title: 
A Closer Look at Some Biochemical Data that "Support" Creation
Author(s): 
Frank T. Awbrey and William M. Thwaites
Volume: 
3
Number: 
1
Quarter: 
Winter
Page(s): 
14–17
Year: 
1982

"Scientific" creationists insist that scientific data demand creation. Yet very few creationist writings contain any data at all. Their "evidence" usually consists of quoting questions raised by scientists (but not the answers), redefining terms to suit their own purposes, misstating evolutionary theory, and implying their own omniscience by saying that evolution is impossible because they cannot imagine how it could happen.

Sometimes, however, creationists interpret data published by scientists without actually presenting the data for the reader to see. They apparently have good reason for withholding this information. One good example relates to the biochemical data that scientists claim agree with morphological, developmental chromosomal, and genetic evidence in showing that humans, chimpanzees, and gorillas all shared a recent common ancestor. Of course, creationists disagree, and some almost infer that evolutionists are involved in some sort of collusion. They say that evolutionists have to search for the rare "right" molecules that seem to support their case, because most biochemical data actually refute the theory of evolution (Gary Parker, Creation: The Facts of Life, Creation-Life Publishers, 1980; also Homology, Embryology, and Vestigial Organs: Common Ancestor or Common Plan? Institute for Creation Research).

In order to support this argument, ICR creationists list several molecules which they say show that humans seem to be more closely related to quite different organisms than the apes. Here are the relationships they claim:

Molecule

Nearest Relative to Human

Fetal hemoglobin Horse
Tear enzymes Chicken
Albumin Bullfrog
Blood antigen A Butterbean
Cholesterol level Garter snake
Milk chemistry Donkey

These data certainly would contradict the main prediction of evolution.

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How did such an important conclusion slip past the authors of the papers referenced in the creationist books on the subject? When we read those and related papers, here is what we found.

Fetal hemoglobin. Hemoglobin has four globin molecules, each arranged around a central iron atom and a porphyrin ring. Humans have several different hemoglobins. Fetal hemoglobin has two alpha globins and two gamma globins, each with 146 amino acids. Horses don't have gamma globins. Chimpanzees do, and it is identical to that of humans (W. De Jong, Biochimica et Biophysica Acta, 251:217-226). From these data, creationists conclude that a molecule that doesn't exist is more similar to a human molecule than is an identical chimpanzee molecule.

Tear enzymes. The enzyme referred to here is lysozyme, which is found in human milk, tears, leukocytes, and so forth. Variants exist in tissues of other species, for example, in chicken egg whites. Prager and Wilson showed that chicken lysozyme differs from human lysozyme by fifty-one out of 130 amino acids (in E. F. Osserman, Lysozyme, Academic Press, 1974, pp. 127-141). Chimpanzee lysozyme is identical to human lysozyme. It is apparent that the creationists either had not bothered to look at this paper when they made their claims or they believe that fifty-one is less than zero.

Albumin. Human and chimpanzee albumin differ by six out of 580 amino acids. Human and bullfrog albumins differ so much that they don't cross-react in immunological tests. They are too different to allow this method to be used for estimating the number of amino acid differences (Wallace and Wilson, Journal of Molecular Evolution 2, 1972). The supposed evidence for creation is contradicted again by reality.

Blood antigen A. This is one of the molecules that determine blood types. They are called glycoproteins because they have sugars attached to a protein. Butterbeans contain a sugar configuration that is similar enough to the glycoprotein sugar that it can react with antibodies directed against the A blood type if the butterbean sugar is at a high concentration (Gottschalk, Glycoproteins, 1972). Chimpanzees have blood antigens that are identical or nearly identical to those of humans (J. Ruffie, "Immunogenetics of Primates" in Perspectives in Primate Biology edited by A. B. Chigrelli, Plenum Press, 1972, p. 217). Butterbeans, having no blood, obviously have no blood antigens.

Cholesterol level. Cholesterol is a simple lipid (a wax) and its structure doesn't vary among species. Furthermore, its concentration can vary several hundredfold in an individual human depending upon diet and genetic background. Therefore, it is a useless molecule for determining genetic similarity. This datum isn't just wrong, it's nonexistent.

Milk chemistry. We have not found a direct comparison of human and chimpanzee milk chemistry. R. E. Sloan, et al., showed that human milk proteins (whey and casein) were much more like macaque milk than donkey milk (Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology, 1961, 4:47-62).

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Human and chimpanzee milk lysozymes are identical. Even this limited comparison disproves the creationist claim that the donkey is our nearest relative based on milk chemistry.

Not to be outdone, and perhaps even inspired by the foregoing ICR arguments, the Laymen's Home Missionary Movement has published an anonymous tract called The Evolution Theory Examined. On page fourteen, this missive has a section called "Blood Tests No Proof of Evolution." It reads:

Blood tests are another argument that evolutionists allege for their doctrine. They put the argument like this: Dog's blood injected into a horse kills the horse; but, man's blood injected into an ape does it very little harm. Hence, they reason, the dog and horse are not nearly related, while man is nearly related to the ape. In reply, we say: Dog's blood is poisonous to most animals, while the blood and blood serum of the sheep, goat, and horse are not poisonous to other animals and man. Hence serums are usually made from these animals, especially from the horse. But no serums for man have been made from apes, because they do not help man. These facts would prove man to be more nearly related to the sheep, goat, and horse than to the ape, if the argument under examination were true.

This bit of fantasy is so outlandish and so contrary to the facts that the usual biologist's response to it is laughter, followed by consternation or anger. First, the article confuses antibody-antigen reactions with poisons. Nineteenth-century physicians experimenting with blood transfusion found that they could give sheep blood to some people—once. A second transfusion always killed the recipient, but it had nothing to do with poisons. Landsteiner's work with blood groups is very well known. Whoever wrote this article should have spent a few minutes reading about blood in any good encyclopedia published since 1900. The foreign blood proteins cause antibodies to build up. With a second transfusion, the antibodies react with the blood cells, causing them to clump together, fatally blocking circulation. The same thing happens in transfusions between persons with incompatible blood groups.

Next, statements in the article about serum are as misinformed as those about transfusions. Serum is used to provide antibodies that protect the body by reacting with a specific substance, such as botulus toxin or rattlesnake venom. Apes are not used for serum production because they are too expensive to maintain. Horses are relatively inexpensive and easier to acquire. One horse produces a lot of serum, thus keeping costs down. All horse-derived serums bear warnings indicating that severe allergic reactions may occur. Many persons have died from such reactions. So much for "harmlessness." The missive continues:

Again, the thyroid gland of the sheep serves man better when it replaces his than that of the ape, as operations have proved. This also spoils the argument under review.

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Vaccine matter is taken from cows rather than from apes—another fact against the argument under review. The Abrams Dynamizer, one of the most accurate of blood-testing instruments, proves that the blood reactions of the sheep, goat, and horse are nearer that of human blood than is that of apes. This disproves the argument under examination. We conclude, therefore, that blood tests do not prove man's descent from apes.

This paragraph surpasses the first as an example of sublime ignorance. To begin with, persons with defective thyroids, or whose thyroids have been removed, do not receive thyroid gland transplants from sheep. The organs would quickly be rejected. Such persons receive the thyroxin. This thyroid hormone is not a protein but an amino acid derivative, usually containing four iodine atoms. Like cholesterol, this simple molecule does not vary among vertebrate species. It is extracted from sheep, cattle, and pigs, rather than from some other vertebrate, simply because slaughter houses have a cheap, plentiful supply. Human or ape thyroxin would be no better and is not available in quantity.

As for the Abrams Dynamizer "proof," the reader is referred to the preceding discussion of blood protein structural data. Humans and chimpanzees have identical or nearly identical hemoglobins, A, 0, and Rh antigens, lysozymes, albumins, and many other blood molecules. These same blood proteins are very similar in cattle and sheep, but differ from human and chimpanzee proteins by many amino acids. For example, Morris Goodman showed that human and sheep alpha hemoglobin differ by twenty-three of 143 amino acids (In G. Fasman, Proteins, Vol. 3 of Handbook of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Third Edition, Chemical Rubber Company, 1976, pp. 441-447).

The entire disproof is nothing more than a baseless pseudoscientific fantasy that preys upon the scientific credulity of its intended audience. Blaise Pascal (1623-1662) summed up the ethics of the purveyors of this nonsense when he wrote: "Men never do evil so cheerfully and so completely as when they do so from religious conviction."

We have just examined several typical examples of "scientific facts that fit the creation model better than they fit the theory of evolution." If the creationist had any real data that supported their claims, why would they publish such patent nonsense?

About the Author(s): 

Drs. Awbrey and Thwaites are professors of biology at San Diego State University and have debated creationists from the Institute for Creation Research on several occasions.

Copyright 1982 by Frank T. Awbrey and William M. Thwaites

This version might differ slightly from the print publication.

Scientific Creationism and the Science of Creative Intelligence

Creation Evolution Journal
Title: 
Scientific Creationism and the Science of Creative Intelligence
Author(s): 
Robert M. Price
Volume: 
3
Number: 
1
Quarter: 
Winter
Page(s): 
18–23
Year: 
1982

As is well known, proponents of creationism loudly contend that their doctrine is surely scientific, not religious, and therefore nothing should stand in the way of its being included in public school science curricula. This claim naturally presents us with a tangle of several legal issues, not the least of which is the danger of mandating by law that any specific view be taught. One thinks immediately of the canonization of Lysenko in the Soviet Union, and one can well imagine what would happen if racist fanatics succeeded in having the views of Shockley or Jenson forcibly included in genetics courses. Creationists, it seems, are oblivious to such dangers—or at least we may be charitable enough to suppose so.

But an issue that is in some ways more interesting is that of church-state separation. Would the mandated teaching of creationism constitute the promotion of a religious doctrine by the government, something forbidden by the U.S. constitution? Yes, it would. And this may be seen most clearly by comparing "scientific creationism" to the Marharishi Mahesh Yogi's transcendental mediation. The latter was briefly offered for credit in public high schools until fundamentalist Christians blew the whistle on the religious nature of this supposed "science of creative intelligence." The parallels between scientific creationism and the science of creative intelligence are both surprising and revealing and therefore will be explored in detail in this article.

From Religion to Science

Maharishi ("Great Seer") Mahesh Yogi, an Indian guru in the Vedanta tradition, set out in 1959 to bring a simplified version of "transcendental deep mediation" to the samsara-soaked West. The origins of the practice were clearly in the monistic Hinduism of Shankara, wherein the goal of religion—of human existence itself—is to pass beyond the illusion (maya) of diversity and so to realize one's identity with Brahman, the impersonal absolute, conceived as the eternal essence preceding all existence. This fact is nowhere more clearly seen than in the

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Maharishi's own commentary on the first six chapters of the Bhagavad Gita, the key text of Vedanta Hinduism. When the guru founded an organization to spread his faith in America, there was no doubt as to its religious nature. It was called the Spiritual Regeneration Movement Foundation. A certificate of incorporation, written in 1961, made no bones about the fact that "this corporation is a religious one" (article eleven).

During the years 1967 and 1968, Maharishi and his lieutenants reluctantly decided that their movement had met with little success. Few Americans had seen the light. So a change in tactics was deemed necessary. Given the American people's infatuation with science and the American government's disinclination to abet religious propaganda, the course of action seemed clear. Transcendental meditation would die as a religion and rise again (or be "reincarnated") as a science.

In actuality, no substantial change was envisioned. For Krishna characterizes reincarnation in the Bhagavad Gita, "As leaving aside worn-out garments/A man [merely] takes other, new ones" (11:22). Maharishi's rationale was that, if one were going to cast his pearls before swine, he ought to disguise the pearls as something the swine could appreciate. "Not in the name of God-realization can we call a man to meditate in the world today, but in the name of enjoying the world better, sleeping well at night, being wide awake during the day" (Maharishi, Meditations of the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, p. 168, and in Bjornstad, p. 22). Isn't this a little dishonest? Rest easy, it is only a bit of "heavenly deception." In his commentary on the Gita, Maharishi explained that, "if the enlightened man wants to bless one who is ignorant, he should meet him on the level of his ignorance and try to lift him up from there by giving him the key to transcending [it], so that he may gain bliss-consciousness and experience the Reality of life. He should not tell him about the level of the realized, because it would only confuse him" (Maharishi as quoted in Patton, p. 55). Theory became practice. Vail Hamilton, a former TM instructor, recalls the organization's strategy:

An ordinary person, doing an eight-to-five job, who never thought about anything of a philosophical or religious nature, might be put off by hearing about higher states of consciousness, like God-consciousness, but he would understand it at the level of relaxing, getting rid of the cigarette habit, things like that. So then, you get a person into it then, so that their stress can start getting released, and then, eventually, they will be able to accept the idea of going on to higher states. ("TM Behind Close Doors," Right On, November 1975, p. 12).

But, as already anticipated, a new flavor was not all the guru wanted for his product. New marketing methods were sought as well: "It seems for the present, that this transcendental deep meditation should be made available to the peoples through the agencies of government. It is not the time when any effort to

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perpetuate a new and useful ideology without the help of governments can succeed" (Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Transcendental Mediation, p. 300, and in Patton, p. 54). Transcendental Meditation got that help in 1975 when it was offered for credit in the public school systems of Dade County, Florida, Louisville, Kentucky, Eastchester, New York, Hartford, Connecticut, San Lorenzo, California, and Essex County, New Jersey. By this time, a new charter had eliminated references to the organization's religious aims, and the name was changed to the "World Plan Executive Council."

About the same time, Christian creationists opposing evolution changed their tactics in an analogous manner. The turning point seems to have been a 1975 decision by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, declaring unconstitutional a Tennessee law mandating that textbooks include the discussion of Genesis alongside evolution. To require a discussion of the Bible in this way was seen as tantamount to state promotion of religion. Henceforth, fundamentalists sought "equal time" not for religious but for scientific creationism. Creationist leader Henry M. Morris reveals the logic underlying this cosmetic change in terms paralleling point-for-point those of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi: "The Bible account of creation can be taught in the public schools only if the scientific aspects of creationism are taught, keeping the Bible and religion out of it altogether" (Morris, p. 4). Morris, like Maharishi, covets the aid of the government, for he envisions "political or legislative efforts to require creationist teaching ..." (p. 1). So, in both the case of TM and fundamentalism, we have witnessed a surface metamorphosis of avowed religion into alleged science. The first became the "science of creative intelligence"; while the second took the alias of "scientific creationism." Of the first Maharishi claims, "It is not religious"; of the second, Morris contends, "Creation is just as much a science as is evolution."

Deus Absconditus

How did each group try to support its claim to be purely scientific and not religious? First, there were attempts to provide scientific documentation for each belief system. TM cited various studies tending to confirm that meditators experienced reduced breath rates, a decrease in blood lactate, and increased alpha and beta brain waves. However, such claims were problematical. For one thing, they could never lend credence to the basic claim that in the meditative state one made contact with the "field of creative intelligence," since this field allegedly underlies all particularized existence and therefore by definition could never be tested. So the verifiable part was, at most, the relaxation technique. On one level this very fact might be seen as vindicating the claim that TM was a simple technique and not a religion. Yet the fact remained that TM was never offered without indoctrination into the metaphysics of "creative intelligence" or participation in a

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Sanskrit ritual invoking various gods and devas. So some tests might indicate at least that the relaxation technique of TM produces concrete results. "But the beneficial changes attributed to TM are not universally accepted by scientists. Some researchers have been unable to replicate certain findings, while others argue over the interpretation of results" (Montgomery, p. 64). In particular, the studies were flawed by the possibility of self-fulfilling prophecy—or the placebo effect. Neurophysiologist Peter Fenwick warns: "All these studies need to be looked upon with reservations. Few include adequate control groups, and none that I am aware of have yet used a blind control procedure where neither subject nor observer is aware of the treatment given or the aims of the experiment" (Fenwick as quoted in Haddon, p. 7). Such "blind control procedures" were especially unlikely since many or most of these experiments were conducted by the TM organization or by meditators. This is rather like the American Tobacco Industry producing statistics about the safety of smoking. In neither case could the results be dismissed out of hand, but we are entitled to be on our guard.

We are no less suspicious of some of the scientific documentation offered by creationists. The evidence will be naturally of a different kind, creation not being a repeatable process. Most often creationists appeal to fossils and the like. Both their investigative procedures and their interpretations are questionable. Michigan State's Donald Weinshank checked into several field research projects conducted by the Institute for Creation Research and announced that "not one of these came even close to observing the accepted standards of the scientific method" (Weinshank as quoted in Zuidema, p. 5). Also troubling is the propensity of creationists to make a great deal of soon-discredited "freak phenomena"—a la Erich von Daniken. For instance, creationists pointed with glee to a set of human footprints (from their size, apparently belonging to the Incredible Hulk) found beside dinosaur tracks in the Paluxy River Basin in Texas. Kelly Segraves, instigator of a recent California anti-evolution suit, contended that this find must compel scientists to revise completely their views as to the order of the appearance of life (Segraves, p. 17). Instead, perhaps Segraves will be compelled to revise his propaganda in light of the recent admission by area residents that the humanoid prints were chiseled beside genuine fossils as a tourist attraction (Zuidema, p. 5).

Besides the adducing of questionable evidence, both the science of creative intelligence and scientific creationism seek to reinfo, , rce their scientific, even secular, status by the manipulation of language. Both have issued textbooks which outline clearly religious belief systems, yet hope to hide their religious nature by substituting various nomenclature for "God." The TM textbook used in public schools described the "field of creative intelligence" as being omnipresent, as being the source and goal of all existence, the guide and sustainer of the universe, pure love, truth, and justice, unlimited in power, the source of being, and so on. Instead of "God" or "brahman," of which the preceding are all unmistakably divine attributes, the textbook makes them mere "qualities" of "creative intelligence."

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Yet even this apparently innocuous jargon is a Vedic designation of God. He is "the impulse of creative intelligence responsible for the whole manifest universe" (Rig-Veda I.164.39 in Patton, p. 53).

The same sort of sleight-of-hand is present in both the standard and public school editions of the creationist textbooks written by Henry Morris and Duane T. Gish. The latter edition removes some overtly religious references and omits God in favor of generic terms such as designer. Divine creation may become special creation. One can almost hear the biblical cock crowing in the background. In short, it would seem that both movements, in order to gain access to public schools for propaganda purposes, sought to disguise their religious nature using the strategy of "covering their tracks." The meditator or the creationist presents his belief system, whereupon the observer responds, "Say, wait a minute. This is religion!" The other merely replies, "Oh, no it's not. We'd never try that! Rest assured, this is science." The hope is that the skeptic will be satisfied that his fears have been allayed and that he will go on to accept what is offered, ignoring the taste because the label has been changed.

The Legal Precedent

In the case of the science of creative intelligence, the ploy did not finally succeed. When fundamentalists protested what amounted to the teaching of Hinduism in the public schools, the court examined TM's claims not to be religious and found them wanting. While this could mean intentional subterfuge on the part of the Maharishi's organization, the New Jersey Supreme Court found no need to make such an implication. But it did claim to know better than the meditators themselves whether or not their practice was in fact religious. For no matter how sincere the meditators' conviction in this regard, the Court ruled that the facts spoke for themselves.

In so ruling, Judge Meanor appealed to the 1970 decision, Welsh vs. United States, 398 U.S. 333. This case involved the 1965 decision in United States vs. Seeger, 380 U.S. 163, in which Seeger claimed conscientious objector status on the grounds that, though his moral opposition to war did not entail theistic beliefs, he felt that his convictions were nevertheless religious in nature. The court agreed, ruling that the legal definition of religion need not involve theism. In 1970 Welsh contended for conscientious objector status on the basis of moral beliefs similar to Seeger's, yet he denied that they were religious beliefs. Could not other heartfelt convictions besides religious faith entitle one to exemption? The court ruled that Welsh's beliefs were in fact religious in the eyes of the state, despite Welsh's own subjective evaluation of them as nonreligious. Similarly, Judge Meanor decided that the belief by meditators that TM was secular does not make it nonreligious. The science of creative intelligence is not considered secular science

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by the courts, and it is no longer taught in the public schools.

The relevance of the precedent thus established is obvious. No matter how strenuously and sincerely scientific creationists maintain the nonreligious character of their "model," the facts speak for themselves. And, on the analogy with Judge Meanor's decision, it is the facts and not their subjective evaluation by the creationists themselves that must finally decide the issue. The teaching of creationism in public schools would constitute a violation of the U.S. Constitution as the promotion of religion under government auspices. We may hope that fundamentalists who have demonstrated their zeal for church-state separation in the case of TM will continue to see the wisdom of such separation in the case of creationism. Granted, faithfulness to our common American heritage will seem more costly in this case, since it is their own belief that is concerned, but freedom of religion in America has always depended on exchanging privilege for one's own sect for the security of never being disadvantaged in favor of someone else's.

Bibliography

Bjornstad, James. 1976. The Transcendental Mirage. Minneapolis: Bethany Fellowship

Campbell, Anthony. 1974. Seven States of Consciousness, A Vision of the Possibilities Suggested by the Teaching of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. New York: Harper & Row

Cohen, Daniel. 1976. The New Believers, Young Religion in America. New York: Ballantine Books.

An English Translation of Transcendental Mediation's Initiatory Puja. Berkeley: Spirit Counterfeits Project.

Gerberding, Kieth A. 1977. How to Respond to Transcendental Meditation. St. Louis; Concordia Publishing House.

Haddon, David. 1977. Transcendental Meditation: A Christian View. Downers Grove, InterVarsity Press.

Montgomery, Randal. June 1980. "TM & Science: Friends or Foes?" Fate. pp. 63-68

Morris, Henry M. 1975. Introducing Scientific Creationism into the Public Schools. Diego: Institute for Creation Research.

Needleman, Jacob. 1974. The New Religions: The Meaning of the Spiritual Revelation and the Teachings of the East. New York: Pocket Books.

Open Letter to a Meditator. Berkeley: Christian World Liberation Front.

Patton, John E. 1976. The Case Against TM in the Schools. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

Pierce, Kenneth M. March 16, 1981. "Putting Darwin Back in the Dock." Time, pp. 80-82.

Segraves, Kelly L. 1975. The Great Dinosaur Mistake. San Diego: Beta Books.

TM in Court: The Complete Text of the Federal Court's Opinion in the Case of Malnak vs Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. 1978. Berkeley: Spiritual Counterfeits Project.

Transcendental Meditation: Religion or Science? North Syracuse, NY: Book Fellowship
International.

Zuidema, Henry P. Fall 1981. "A Survey of Creationist Field Research." Creation/Evolution VI:1-5.

About the Author(s): 

Robert Price teaches ethics and philosophy at Bergen Community College, has a Ph.D. in theological and religious studies from Drew University, and has authored a number of articles on religious and philosophical issues.

This version might differ slightly from the print publication.

Creationism and the First Amendment

Creation Evolution Journal
Title: 
Creationism and the First Amendment
Author(s): 
Delos B. McKown
Volume: 
3
Number: 
1
Quarter: 
Winter
Page(s): 
24–32
Year: 
1982

In an enlightening but disturbing article, entitled "Freedom of Religion and Science Instruction in Public Schools" (Yale Law Journal, January 1978, 87:3:515-570), attorney Wendell R. Bird lays the constitutional foundation for demanding equal time in the public schools for "scientific creationism." Because this article is referred to so frequently by creationists, it will be necessary to analyze its main arguments in detail. Another article by Bird, this one a short popular piece entitled "Evolution in Public Schools and Creation in Students' Homes: What Creationists Can Do" (ICR Impact Series, March 1979, 69:i-iv), provides additional material on the same subject and is thus useful for interpreting the former. For thoroughness in analyzing Bird's constitutional arguments, these two articles will both be used, referred to respectively as the Y-article (Yale) and the I-article (ICR), followed by page and footnote numbers.

"A controversy is raging over public school instruction in the origin of the universe and life," says the opening sentence of Bird's Y-article (p. 515). The crux of this controversy is the general theory of evolution. Why, Bird agonizes, is this theory taught in the public schools as the only scientific approach to origins (I-article, p. i)? Dismissing the fact that (at present, at least) there is no scientific alternative to it, scientific creationists, hoping to rectify what to them is a deplorable situation, have rolled out the two biblical creation stories, dolled them up in scientific jargon, and offered them to the public as though they were one, rather than two, and scientific throughout.

The problem for Bird and his cohorts is how to get this model of divine creation accepted as a legitimate scientific theory on a par with the general theory of evolution. There is always the danger for them that some educators, courts, and enlightened citizens will detect old-fashioned biblical creationism behind the garb of scientific creationism—much as the little boy of legend saw the naked emperor behind his nonexistent finery. Since teaching biblical creationism in its unclothed form, so to speak, violates the First Amendment, as Bird points out (Y-article, p. 553), it is necessary for scientific creationists to resort to various stratagems. The first and most significant of these is Bird's charge that "exclusive public school instruction in the general theory of evolution, at the secondary and elementary

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levels, abridges free exercise of religion" (Y-article, p. 518). Second is the strenuous, if not frantic, attempt to recast biblical creationism as scientific in the hope that it will then be acceptable in public education. And third is the effort to prove that the general theory of evolution is somehow an article of faith, thus rendering it religious and on a par with creationism.

The Free Exercise Argument

Bird contends that exclusive public school instruction in the general theory of evolution abridges the free exercise of religion, because that practice, to him, elevates what is a mere theory to the level of fact. The "indoctrination" of creationist students, which results from the exclusive presentation of this theory, is supposedly unconstitutional because the Supreme Court has ruled that the public schools may neither undercut religious convictions nor violate religious practices—such as the practices of some sects requiring their children to avoid a much as possible exposure to worldly affairs (I-article, p. ii). From the same text Bird refers to such separatist practices as avoiding fellowship with the "unfruitful works of darkness." Moreover, the public schools may not compel students to make unconscionable declarations of belief (Y-article, pp. 526, 528, fn. 49). It is illegal, in his view, to ask creationist students any question that would require an evolutionist answer, for that would be a species of corrupt communication (hence, unconscionable), all forms of which are expressly forbidden to Christians (Ephesians 4:29).

Since the public schools are coercive through attendance requirements and prescribed curricula and since teacher influence and peer pressure promote conformity with whatever is being taught as fact, such as evolution, one possible constitutional remedy to this burden on the religious rights of creationists would be to give equal time to one or more alternative points of view. This, argues Bird would prevent indoctrination in any one position. And since the courts have already ruled, according to Bird (Y-article, p. 563), that it would be unreasonable to give equal time to all religious theories of origins, public school teachers would not have to master the many mythological accounts of creation. It would suffice if they were to master only one: the alternative view known as scientific creationism, a scientific model fully on a par with evolution and a benefit to no particular religion.

Suppose, however, that the schools, courts, and a majority of the parents of public school children were not to agree that scientific creationism is scientific or on a par with evolution and that they were to recognize its clear benefits to the literalist, fundamentalist, evangelical wing of Christianity? What then? Bird points out that the Constitution does not require states to provide public school (Y-article, pp. 565-566, fn. 262). Furthermore, states have the authority to abolish

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instruction in a topic or a discipline in public school curricula. If instruction in origins were to become too expensive due to litigation or too divisive in the communities of a state to make it worth retaining, such instruction could simply be eliminated.

This means that the simplest way to remove the burden on free exercise of religion is to remove all teaching related to the origins of the universe and life. Bird maintains that the state has no compelling interest in having the public schools teach anything in this area. The state's compelling interests lie, rather, in producing future citizens who will be literate and knowledgeable of the history and civics of their country. Even granting that the state has some interests in acquainting students with certain elements of science, there is little or no reason why information on origins should be included.

In public utterances and in print, scientific creationists usually pose as people who are asking for no more than equal time in the public schools for what they believe is the scientific alternative to the general theory of evolution (Y-article, p. 517). In private, however, it seems clear that they would like to drive the general theory of evolution from the classroom altogether and have only creationism taught. If they cannot accomplish the latter, they will accept the former. If they cannot accomplish the former, it seems reasonable that they will do whatever they can to have the threat implicit in Bird's Y-article carried out. That is, their cause would be well served by getting as many states as they could to eliminate all instruction in scientific theories concerning the origin and development of the universe, earth, and life. If science instruction should be gutted in the process, so be it!

The error in Bird's reasoning seems to be his view that the exclusive teaching of evolution is a threat to the religious rights of creationists. At least two recent court decisions counter this argument. In Crowley vs. Smithsonian Institution, the U.S. District Court of Washington, D.C., ruled that creationists' free exercise of religion was not impaired simply because they might happen upon a public museum exhibit on evolution that was distasteful to their faith. In Segraves vs. California, the Sacramento County Superior Court ruled that the state's guidelines on the exclusive teaching of evolution in the public schools did not represent such a burden.

Bird, of course, disagrees. He cites McCollum vs. Board of Education as though it applies in the case of creationists. But the McCollum decision ruled against sectarian religion in the public schools. Such religious instruction is not only a burden on the free exercise rights of nonreligious children but is an unconstitutional breech of the wall of separation between church and state—even if there are no students or parents who complain. The remedy in such a case is always to remove the instruction. But in the case of instruction of evolution, there is no presentation of sectarian religion. There is simply a situation where a student's beliefs clash with particular nonreligious subject matter. Without student

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complaint, no problem would exist. So in these cases, the solution is always to remove the student (in a manner that would spare the child from derision by his or her peers). This is sometimes how matters are handled when parents object to sex education.

But even if these court rulings had supported Bird's reasoning, there is a more practical remedy than Bird's choice of either equal time for creationism or removal of all instruction in origins. Interestingly enough, Bird suggests this remedy himself. Since elimination of origins from the curriculum "would obstruct the state concern in presentation of the general theory," then interference of this type "might be minimized by elimination of instruction in a particular topic, the general theory, in only an alternate class. Another existing biology class might continue presentation of the general theory" (Y-article, p. 577, fn. 277). Each year a different biology teacher could be set aside to teach a biology class denuded of all references to origins. This would be for conscientious objectors and would involve neither creation nor evolution. No one but the teacher and the objecting students would need to know about it, thus eliminating the risk of peer pressure. It is not surprising that Bird would relegate this idea to a mere footnote at the end of his Y-article and never mention it again. His purpose is to promote creationism or ban evolution in the public schools. This footnoted alternative would do neither and therefore is probably not to his liking.

The Creationism Is Science Argument

The second stratagem of Bird and other creationists is the attempt (really a propaganda blitz) to convince all and sundry that there is a creationist model of origins on a par with the general theory of evolution—namely, scientific creationism. Bird agrees wholeheartedly that to teach biblical creationism in the public schools would surely violate the establishment clause of the First Amendment (Y-article, p. 553). But, he continues to say that instruction in scientific creationism avoids this prohibition (pp. 554-555). If the scientific version happens to conform with the religious version, this is merely a coincidence.

This "coincidence" calls for careful scrutiny. Bird lists six points that constitute the model of scientific creationism, each of which is quoted and analyzed below (Y-article, p. 554).

First is the "special creation of matter and life." Creationists cannot abide the idea that what we commonly call "matter-energy" names The Given—that is, the ultimate that can only be accepted on its own terms and remains to be explained and understood on those same terms insofar as is humanly possible. Scientific creationists try to transcend matter-energy by positing its creator. For such folk, the creator then becomes The Given, The Underived One, the same yesterday, today, and forever.

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But even if there were a given of this latter sort, what, we must ask, are the compelling reasons for believing that the biblical God resembles it? After all, the world has known many gods, not a few of whom have been creators in one way or another. Merely to say that matter-energy and life have been created is not to specify how or by which divine agency. David Hume, the Scottish philosopher, once observed that for all we can know this world may be "only the first rude essay of some infant deity who afterwards abandoned it, ashamed of his lame performance," or, perhaps, the work of some "dependent, inferior deity" whose handiwork is the "object of derision to his superiors" or, finally, the product of the "old age and dotage in some superannuated deity," an artifact that "ever since his death has run on at adventures from that first impulse and active force which it received from him." Bird, however leaves no doubt as to which deity he has in mind (I-article, pp. i-ii). That he has committed the fallacy of assuming the creator of matter-energy and the biblical God to be one and the same seems to have escaped him.

Second is the "stability of original plant and animal kinds." In Genesis the various kinds of plants and animals are commanded to bring forth after their own kind (1:11-12, 21, 24-25). Just why descent with modification (evolution) after an initial creation should be objectionable to a creator-deity is never made clear. Why, for example, would a world whose life forms evolve toward greater order and complexity not be as excellent as a world whose species were fixed? It is obviously not just any creator of matter-energy and life but the biblical God whose wishes in the matter are at issue.

Third is the denial of any "common ancestry of human beings with apes." Bird is right in thinking that neither of the Genesis accounts of human creation (1:27 and 2:7, 22) announces that Adam and the apes came from a common rib, so to speak. But then again, Genesis never mentions the existence of apes. Why so important a classification of animals as the primates is excluded from specific mention is curious, especially in view of the astonishing similarities in blood proteins between humans on the one hand and chimpanzees and gorillas on the other.

Fourth, scientific creationism "offers catastrophism." What a strange locution! Why not simply say that the evidence leads scientific creationists to hypothesize that physical processes occurring now may not always have occurred at the same rates during all past epochs? That would serve to distinguish uniformitarianism (the belief that processes similar to those occurring now occurred at similar rates in the past) from catastrophism (the belief that some processes have been subjected to radical alteration in rate on one or more prior occasion). The solution to the strange locution is best left until the sixth point is discussed.

Fifth, scientific creationism "suggests that the law of entropy, or change toward disorder, applies to the earth and living organisms." Granted, but applies is a very weak term—one too weak to permit Bird to propose that entropy

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prevents the evolution of life from nonliving molecules and of complex forms of life from simpler ones (I-article, pp. ii-iii). Entropy would hold no theological charm for scientific creationists if it could not be trundled out conveniently to render evolution impossible. But does it? All thermodynamicists (excepting committed Christians or related fundamentalists) who believe that the second law of thermodynamics prevents organic evolution would do us a great favor if they would identify themselves and give their reasons for so believing. We should not expect a stampede; no, a corporal's guard would be more like it, for there is nothing inconsistent between entropy as a fact about the universe taken as a whole and the evolution of life at specific places in the universe, such as on earth, at least for limited periods of time. Scientific creationists do not merely grasp at entropy as a drowning person grasps at the proverbial straw, some at least believe the second law to be revealed, even if darkly, in Genesis 3:17, which says, "cursed shall be the ground because of you"—that is, because of Adam and Eve for their indulgence in forbidden fruit. The precise consequences of this curse are spelled out in the verses of Genesis immediately following and have nothing whatsoever to do with thermodynamics.

Sixth is the contention that the "world and life came into existence relatively recently," by which scientific creationists mean not more than about ten thousand years ago. But why recently? There is nothing about the special creation of matter-energy or about the special creation of life by some divine agency that requires either recent or close dating. The recent date is a requirement of biblical literalism, of good old-fashioned fundamentalism. Furthermore, nothing in modern science necessitates or suggests that the universe, the earth, and life on earth all originated no more than about ten thousand years ago and within a few days of each other. It is dating internal to the Bible in general and to the first chapters of Genesis in particular that require the recent date mentioned above. In short, scientific creationists have not been led to the idea of a recent creation by evidence scientifically garnered but by faith alone. In fact, in order to bolster their young universe claims, scientific creationists have wheeled out the Noachian flood (Genesis 6:8-9:17) in an attempt to falsify the large body of evidence supporting dates of origin immensely more remote than anything suitable for Genesis.

The geological evidence for a planetary flood of water twenty-two feet above the highest mountain, lasting up to a year (Genesis suggests two different time spans) and occurring less than ten thousand years ago is, at best, scanty in the annals of science. Unabashed by this lack of historicity, scientific creationists proceed to out-do even the most fanciful of ancient mythmakers by claiming that the Noachian flood was a catastrophe of such planetary magnitude as to render uniformitarianism invalid when applied to processes occurring prior to the deluge and to falsify the dating of any events that occurred earlier than ten thousand years ago. Just how the flood invalidates dates of cosmic events that are based on

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studies of the red shift in stellar spectra is unclear, but it or something equally catastrophic must have, because, according to a literal reading of Genesis, the earth was created prior to the sun and other stellar bodies.

One can see now why Bird said earlier that scientific creationism "offers catastrophism." Indeed, it is so scientifically hard-up that it has to offer the catastrophe of a nonexistent event in the hope of nullifying any and all assumptions and techniques leading to belief in planetary and cosmic events occurring millions and billions of years ago. Since a literal reading of Genesis requires that creation be recent, the true believer must offer anything, even a modified Mesopotamian flood story, in order to make it so and must grasp at any straw, even the weak reed of entropy, in attempting to render evolution impossible.

Among the various kinds of fraud, pious fraud looms large and occurs with distressing frequency. A prime example is the creationist contention that the model of scientific creationism is based on scientific inquiry (rather than on faith in revelation) and only coincidentally conforms with biblical creationism. It is a fraud because four of the six points in the model of scientific creationism are biblically dependent rather than scientifically supported, and the remaining two are related to biblical texts covertly. The "special creation of matter and life," although seemingly deistic or religiously neutral, is actually biblical. Which god Bird has in mind is made clear by the fact that he continually argues that over "fourteen million individuals in the nation are adherents of religions that explicitly teach special creation" and that this is a major argument for equal time (Y-article, p. 550). "The stability of original plant and animal kinds" is biblical as is the denial of any "common ancestry of human beings with apes." Neither would be necessary in a merely monotheistic or religiously neutral creation science. Noah's flood is biblical and was certainly a catastrophe within the confines of the story, although hardly a catastrophe of the magnitude claimed for it by scientific creationists. In this respect our modern myth makers far exceed their ancient progenitors. Entropy, though not specifically biblical, can still be justified by reinterpreting the "curse" in Genesis 3:17 (not to mention Psalms 102:25-26; Matthew 24:35; Romans 8:22). And also the notion that the "world and life came into existence relatively recently" is biblical.

If, as Bird has admitted, the teaching of "biblical creationism would contravene the establishment clause" of the First Amendment (Y-article, pp. 553-554), then so too would scientific creationism, the two being practically the same.

The Evolution Is Humanism Argument

The third stratagem consists in trying to transmute the general theory of evolution into an article of faith, thus rendering it religious. In his Y-article, Bird disavows any intention of considering whether or not "unneutral instruction in the general

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theory of evolution is an establishment of religion" and thus a violation of the First Amendment (p. 518, fn. 15). Nevertheless, he cannot resist quoting Dr. Henry M. Morris, whom he calls the "foremost advocate" of scientific creationism (p. 515, fn. 12): "Creation is as scientific as evolution and . . . evolution is as religious as creation" (p. 557, fn. 209). Nor can he resist quoting these ringing words again in his I-article (p. iii). What now remains at issue is the contention that evolution is as religious as creation.

"Much support for the general theory is religious, " Bird claims. "The late Sir Julian Huxley provides a prominent example in his advocacy of the `religion of evolutionary humanism, and the `religious humanism' movement provides another" (Y-article, p. 517, fn. 14). In the same vein, he writes, "The renowned Humanist Manifesto . . . stressed the general theory of evolution. . . . Humanist Manifesto II also emphasized [it]." Finally, noting that there is a group called the Fellowship of Religious Humanists, he discerns "a definite conjunction of the general theory with religious Humanism" (Y-article, p. 556, fn. 206). Since Bird also states categorically that the general theory of evolution is "neither a religious doctrine nor religious Humanism" (Y-article, p. 558, fn. 212; p. 564), why then these irrelevant remarks first giving the eminent Dr. Morris's opinion that evolution is as religious as creationism and then contradicting him?

Perhaps he wishes to hint at the notion but not put himself on the line about it. After all, the mere acceptance of a scientific theory by a religious group does not magically make such a theory religious. That would be like saying that, because most Christians believe in gravity, gravity is religious and not scientific. This point is too obvious for Bird to forthrightly oppose.

But whether or not the general theory of evolution is unscientific (as creationists maintain), one thing is clear: scientific creationism is unscientific, being nothing but badly disguised biblical creationism, albeit embellished with a few scientific terms. In order to strengthen their very weak case for equal time in the public schools, tarring the opposition with the same brush helps the scientific creationists. Dr. Duane T. Gish, associate director of the Institute for Creation Research and professor of natural science at Christian Heritage College, makes this crystal clear. In Evolution: The Fossils Say No!, he refers to such men as Julian Huxley, George Gaylord Simpson, and Jacques Monod, saying, "They have then combined this evolution theory with humanistic philosophy and have clothed the whole with the term science. The product, a nontheistic religion, with evolutionary philosophy as its creed under the guise of science, is being taught in most public schools, colleges, and universities of the United States. It has become our unofficial, state-sanctioned religion" (p. 12). Although Attorney Bird is not above committing elementary fallacies on behalf of scientific creationism, when writing in the Yale Law Journal, he is too discreet to state the case as baldly as does Dr. Gish. Since scientific creationism cannot pass muster as scientific (at least, among informed people), what more effective ploy is there than to brand

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the opposition as equally religious? Then the conflict between creationism and evolution can be seen as the scientific creationist would have it: a conflict between the false religion of godless humanism and his own true religion—not a conflict between science and religion, if by the former is meant the discoveries of the free, open, and critical mind and by the latter any cult to which scriptural literalism (or other inherently anti-scientific commitment) is crucial.

The First Amendment and Science

The threats which scientific creationists pose are not unique. Other religious interests pose similar threats in principle at least and, in Constitutional terms, pose them legitimately. The First Amendment says in part, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, nor prohibiting the free exercise thereof...." The Supreme Court has interpreted this (suitably augmented by the Fourteenth Amendment) to mean that government at every level must be neutral respecting religion. Thus, government may not favor any religious position or party over another nor be hostile to any in any way. On the contrary, it must be respectful of all beliefs taken and held sincerely by individuals to be religious. Furthermore, since a citizen has the right not to affirm a doctrine offensive to his religion, it follows that the government may not force a profession of belief or of disbelief in any religious doctrine or creed. Although ours is a theistic heritage, deeply embedded in the Judeo-Christian tradition, the framers of the Constitution and its official interpreters have not defined religion in theistic terms alone but have conceived of it so broadly as to include nontheistic religions and even atheistic philosophies of life that function in the adherent's life as does religion in the theist's life. Moreover, government may not establish tests for the veracity, the rationality, or the relative importance, theologically speaking, of any given belief taken to be religious. In short, even though religious practices may sometimes be curtailed, religious beliefs, of whatever kind, are inviolable precisely because they are religious.

So far, so good. The First Amendment represents a gigantic step forward in church-state relationships. Nevertheless, within its freedoms and protections grow the roots of the conflict now burgeoning between science and science education on the one hand and fundamentalist religion on the other. Although the scientific outlook may prevail in the long run, it is sobering to note that, as of now, any religion, no matter how absurd or benighted, enjoys greater constitutional protection than does any science—or aspect thereof—no matter how sober or well confirmed. To put it even more bluntly, any religious mythology or superstition is more secure legally than is the academic integrity of science, particularly in primary and secondary schools: If nothing else, Bird's articles provide a service by making this fact abundantly clear.

About the Author(s): 

Delos McKown is department head and professor of philosophy at Auburn University in Alabama.

Copyright 1982 by Delos B. McKown

This version might differ slightly from the print publication.

Victory in Arkansas: The Trial, Decision, and Aftermath

Creation Evolution Journal
Title: 
Victory in Arkansas: The Trial, Decision, and Aftermath
Author(s): 
Frederick Edwords
Volume: 
3
Number: 
1
Quarter: 
Winter
Page(s): 
33–45
Year: 
1982

December 7, 1981, the fortieth anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, will be remembered by veterans of a different conflict as the first day of the Arkansas court case dubbed "Scopes II." Arkansas had earlier in the year passed a two-model creation-evolution bill that demanded equal time for "creation science" every time evolution was taught. The American Civil Liberties Union filed suit in federal court charging that the law was unconstitutional and therefore should be struck down. After six months of preparation, which included the ACLU's unsuccessful efforts to subpoena a major portion of the files of the Institute for Creation Research, the two sides in the case met in the Little Rock courtroom before U.S. District Judge William Overton.

The Trial

It was clear from the beginning that the case would be a major battle of immense interest to the public. In the courtroom itself were nine trial lawyers, seven television crews, and an audience of two hundred reporters and spectators. A man in a gorilla suit, carrying a sign bearing a question mark, strolled through the court building. Evening newspapers around the country reported each day's events the day they happened. Even newspapers in foreign countries, including those as far away as Australia, ran full daily reports.

According to the ACLU challenge, the creation law (Act 590) constituted an establishment of religion—which is prohibited by the First Amendment of the Constitution—violated the academic freedom of teachers and students, and was impermissibly vague in its wording. The ACLU's strategy was to prove that the law resulted in unconstitutional establishment of religion by referring to the case of Lemon vs. Kurtzman, in which the Establishment Clause test was clearly formulated, and by demonstrating how Act 590 failed to meet the requirements of a constitutional law in this regard. The requirements are as follows: "First, the statute must have a secular legislative purpose; second, its principal or primary effect must be one that neither advances nor inhibits religion . . . finally, the

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statute must not foster an excessive government entanglement with religion." Failure to meet any of these criteria would render the law unconstitutional.

The opening arguments of the ACLU were presented by attorney Robert Cearley. He argued that the creationism law was an "unprecedented attempt by the legislature to use its power and authority to define what science is and to force religion into the schools in the guise of science." Arkansas Attorney-General Steve Clark, speaking in defense of the law, argued that the statute only "broadens the teaching of origins from a one-model to a two-model approach." He further stated that it was a "mere coincidence" that the law's definition of "creation science" resembled certain religious beliefs.

Since Judge Overton decided to allow both sides to put all testimony they wished on the court record before he decided what to rule out, the Arkansas case (McLean vs. Arkansas) immediately moved ahead of the historic Scopes and Epperson trials which had evaded the direct battle over evidence for creation and evolution.

The first witnesses for the plaintiffs challenging the law were several Bible scholars who testified that some of the language of Act 590 came directly from the book of Genesis, including the word kinds, a creationist term for animal groups that is found mainly in the King James translation. Michael Ruse, a professor of philosophy at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada, argued that creationists abandon the scientific approach when they invoke miracles to patch up difficulties in their theory. He characterized creationist methods as being "rather sleazy."

Dorothy Nelkin of Cornell University and George Marsden of Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, testified on the history of the fundamentalist and creationist movements in the United States. Nelkin said that she had discovered, during research for her book on the subject, that fundamentalists equate evolution with "communism, sexual promiscuity, the decline of the family, and streaking." Marsden quoted creationist Henry Morris as saying that evolution "is really the foundation of the very rebellion of Satan himself." Attorneys for the state objected that this data was irrelevant because the law under question did not involve the teaching of religion. However, Judge Overton overruled them, declaring that creationist authors "can't wear two hats. I don't think the writers can call it religion for one purpose and science for another."

Geneticist Francisco Ayala, who has been an editor of journals concerning genetics and who has reviewed papers for many others, noted in his testimony that he had never heard of a scientific paper on creationism being submitted to any scientific journal. This indicated that creationists were bypassing the scientific community and were instead using political means to establish their "science" in the schools. Ayala noted that something similar had happened a number of years ago in the Soviet Union when doctrinaire proponents of Lamarckian evolution demanded equal time with Darwinism. Because they used

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political means, the Lamarckian advocates managed to finally push Darwinism out, and Soviet biology suffered a thirty-year setback as a result of state attachment to this pseudoscientific position.

Ayala also presented some of the genetic evidence for evolution. He note that, when geneticists first began to compare genes between humans and apes, the first gene tested showed no difference at all. Comparisons of the second and third genes tested showed no differences either. When the fourth test showed no evidence, the joke began circulating that evolution was false and the only difference between humans and apes was cultural.

G. Brent Dalrymple, of the U.S. Geological Survey, testified that the creationist claim for an earth being no older than twenty thousand years ranks wit the "flat earth hypothesis and the hypothesis that the sun goes around the earth.'

Stephen Jay Gould read off numerous misquotations, half quotations, and misrepresentations of his own work from the writings of creationist Duane Gish and others. Interestingly enough, Gish was on the scene to witness this expose. Gould further noted that the creationist's arguments for a worldwide flood were shown to be in error as far back as 1831, before Darwin wrote his famous book on evolution.

Dennis Glasgow, the supervisor of science teaching for the Little Rock schools, was the next to testify. He said that, in order to implement Act 590, he would have to uproot the entire school curriculum from kindergarten to senior high. He further argued that the Act, as he understood it, wouldn't allow teachers to voice a professional judgment that creationism was unscientific and the students would be watching the teacher to see if he or she broke the law in the presentation of the material. This would degrade the teacher and cause students to lose respect.

Marianne Wilson, who is in charge of the science curriculum for the largest school district in Arkansas, told the story of her efforts to produce a creation-science curriculum guide. She found all of the standard creationist material unacceptable because they were permeated with religious references and scientific errors. Ms. Wilson further stated that she was unable to locate the needed scientific materials upon which to base her curriculum guide.

The ACLU rested its case on December 11, and the defense presented its witnesses.

The first defense witness was Professor Norman Geisler of Dallas Theological Seminary. He argued persuasively that the concept of God was not necessarily religious; it only became religious when it involved commitment. He noted that Aristotle had argued for a "first cause" and an "unmoved mover," which Aristotle held to be scientific concepts. Thus, Geisler concluded, mere belief that there is a God "has no religious significance" and therefore could be taught as part of a secular course of study. This was the most crucial testimony for the state's defense.

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But under effective cross-examination from ACLU attorney Anthony Siano, Geisler revealed that he believed the Bible to be inerrant, Satan to be existent, the occult to be real, exorcism to be genuine, and UFOs to be among us. Siano asked his last question, "How are UFOs connected to your religion?" Geisler replied, "I think they are a satanic manifestation in the world for the purpose of deception." For a few seconds the court was silent in astonishment. Then Judge Overton adjourned the session.

Other defense witnesses testified during the following days. Margaret Helder, vice-president of the Creation Research Society and a botanist from Canada, argued that available research didn't support the evolution of plants. But, under cross-examination by Gary Crawford, she admitted that nearly all biologists would disagree with her and that most of her evidence was negative evidence against evolution rather than data supporting creation. She revealed that she believed that there was no scientific evidence supportive of creation.

Dr. Wayne Friar of King's College in New York called Act 590 a "progressive law" at the "cutting edge" of new science and education in America. "If Darwin were alive today, he'd be a creationist," Friar declared.

High school chemistry teacher Jimmy Townley to