About this issue . . .
With the demise of the Paluxy River footprints as the best example of "hard evidence" for creationism, most creationists have turned their attention to a few new and more sophisticated lines of argument. These include Robert Gentry's polonium halos. Steve Austin's claims about the formation of coal following the eruption of Mount St. Helens. and Barry Setterfield's claim that the speed of light has slowed since creation.
In our first effort to deal with the "big three." we are devoting extensive space to J. Richard Wakefield's response, from the standpoint of geology, to Gentry's polonium halos. Wakefield challenges Gentry's claim that the halo-bearing samples are significant, arguing that Gentry's samples do not come from Earth's oldest rocks—as a workable creation model would seem to require.
Other articles are in preparation on the physics of Gentry's halos and the arguments of Austin and Setterfield. We welcome your input on all three of these areas.
Our cover illustration is designed to sum up the combined impact of three critical creationist losses in the courts: the defeat of the Louisiana creationism law in a seven-to-two Supreme Court decision in June 1987: the Supreme Court's refusal in February 1988 to hear the Tennessee Mozert case (thereby upholding a lower court ruling against a group of fundamentalist parents who wanted alternative textbooks for their children): and the decision of Pat Robertson's National Legal Foundation not to appeal a lower court ruling against Judge W. Brevard Hand's textbook banning in Alabama. One significant feature of all these cases is that traditional religious groups were among those opposed to the institution of creationism and the banning of evolution.