What Are the Real Aims of the Creation "Scientists"?

by Lenny Flank
(c) 1995

Although recently the creationists have attempted to paint their outlook as purely secular and scientific (in an attempt to have it legislated into the classroom), within their own ranks they have all along been quite candid about the religious basis for their "science", and have never concealed their belief that, wherever science and the Bible conflict, science must be rejected a priori:

"Bible-believing students of the biological sciences possess a guide for their interpretation of the available data, the Biblical record of Divine Creation contained in Genesis." –Robert Kofahl and Kelly Segraves (Kofahl and Segraves, 1975, p. 69)

"The Christian student of origins approaches the evidence from geology and paleontology with the Biblical record in mind, interpreting that evidence in accord with the facts divinely revealed in the Bible" –Robert Kofahl and Kelly Segraves (Kofahl and Segraves, 1975, p. 40)

"Creation science begins with wholly Biblical presuppositions and interprets data from all of reality, including science, within that framework." –Donald Chittick (Rohr, 1988, p. 156)

"If the Bible is the Word of God–and it is–and if Jesus Christ is the infallible and omniscient Creator–and He is–then it must be firmly believed that the world and all things in it were created in six natural days and that the long geological ages of evolutionary history never really took place at all." — Henry Morris (Morris, Scientific Creationism, 1974, 251)

"It is precisely because Biblical revelation is absolutely authoritative and perspicuous that the scientific facts, rightly interpreted, will give the same testimony as that of Scripture." — Henry Morris (Morris, Scientific Creationism, 1974, p. 15)

"It is more productive to take the Bible literally and then to interpret the actual facts of science within its revelatory framework."–Henry Morris (Morris, Troubled Waters of Evolution, 1974, p. 184)

"While as scientists creationists must study as objectively as possible the actual data of geology, as Bible-believing Christians, we must also insist that those be correlated within the framework of Biblical revelation." –Henry Morris (Morris, Creation Research Society Quarterly, December 1974, p. 173, cited in Plaintiff’s Pre- Trial Brief, McLean v Arkansas, 1981)

"We are completely limited to what God has seen fit to tell us, and this information is His written Word. This is our textbook on the science of Creation." — Henry Morris (Morris, 1966, p. 114)

"The instructed Christian knows that the evidences for full divine inspiration of Scripture are far weightier than the evidences for any fact of science. When confronted with the consistent Biblical testimony to a universal Flood, the believer must certainly accept is as unquestioningly true." — John Whitcomb and Henry Morris (Whitcomb and Morris, 1961, p. 118)

"The final and conclusive evidence against evolution is the fact that the Bible denies it. The Bible is the Word of God, absolutely inerrant and verbally inspired." –Henry Morris (Morris, 1967, p. 55)

"We believe that the Bible, as the verbally inspired and completely inerrant Word of God, gives us the true framework of historical and scientific interpretation . . . We take this revealed framework of history as our basic dictum, and then try to see how all the pertinent data can be understood in this context." –John Whitcomb and Henry Morris (Whitcomb and Morris, 1961, p. xxvi)

"Even though we emphasize the scientific aspects of creationism– especially in our debates and campus seminars–we also stress the fact that all true science supports Biblical creationism as well . . . We believe that God’s inerrant word must always prevail over the historical speculations of what the Bible calls ‘science falsely so called’." –Henry Morris (Morris, Back to Genesis, October 1995)

"The only Bible-believing conclusion is, of course, that Genesis 1- 11 is the actual historical truth, regardless of any scientific or chronological problems thereby entailed." –Henry Morris, (Morris 1972, p. 82)

Morris, the most prolific of the creationist authors, here points out the basic dichotomy that is apparent in all creation "science" writings: the Bible can’t be wrong, therefore any and all scientific facts must be "interpreted" to fit into the Biblical framework. And if there are any apparent conflicts between the Biblical stories and the data of modern science, then it is the Bible that has priority.

It was largely due to the efforts of Morris and his Institute for Creation Research that creation "science" began to replace the earlier, purely religious criticisms of evolutionary theory. "The creation model of origins and history," Morris writes, "may be used to correlate the facts of science at least as effectively as the evolution model." (Morris, Scientific Creationism, 1974, p. iv) Morris’ book Scientific Creationism attempted to present a "scientific model" of creation which was, ICR argued, suitable for use in a public school classroom:

"The purpose of Scientific Creationism (Public School Edition) is to treat all of the more pertinent aspects of the subject of origins and to do this solely on a scientific basis, with no references to the Bible or to religious doctrine." (Morris, Scientific Creationism, 1974, p. iv)

"We acknowledge frankly that Scientific Creationism is a book designed to emphasize the creation concept of origins. However, it is scientific and objective in its treatments. It makes no reference to the Bible or other religious literature as its authority, but only to the facts of science." (Morris, 1974, Scientific Creationism, p. v)

Morris’s statement that the scientific creationist literature did not use the Bible as its authority was not, in fact, entirely true. Both his own book Scientific Creationism and his fellow ICR member Duane Gish’s book Evolution? The Fossils Say No! were actually published by ICR in two separate versions. One, the "General Edition", contained all of the appropriate Biblical citations and religious arguments against evolutionary theory. The other, the "Public School Edition", had all of the religious references edited out in a transparent attempt to make them suitable for public school use by deleting their obvious religious content and aims. For instance, in the General Edition of Gish’s book, we find the passage:

"The proponents of this model for interpreting geological history believe that the correct interpretation of Genesis requires acceptance of a creation spanning six 24-hour days. Furthermore, the genealogies listed in Genesis and elsewhere in the Bible, it is believed, would restrict the time of creation to somewhere between six thousand and about ten thousand years ago." (Gish, 1972, General Edition, p. 60)

In the Public School Edition, though, the religious references are quietly censored out. This passage now reads:

"The proponents of this model for interpreting geological history believe that creation spanned six 24-hour days. Furthermore, it is believed creation occurred thousands rather than billions of years ago." (Gish, 1972, Public School Edition, p. 57)

Similarly, in the General Edition, Gish declares:

"After many years of intense study of the problem of origins from both a Biblical and a scientific viewpoint, I am convinced that the facts of science declare special creation to be the only logical explanation of origins. ‘In the beginning, God created’ . . ." (Gish, 1972, General Edition, p. 186)

In the Public School Edition, which is of course supposed to be secular, scientific and non-religious, this passage is transformed into:

"After many years of intense study of the problem of origins from a scientific viewpoint, I am convinced that the facts of science declare special creation to be the only logical explanation of origins." (Gish, 1972, Public School Edition, p. 174)

Finally, in the General Edition of Gish’s book, we also find the statement:

"We do not know how God created, what processes He used, for God used processes which are not now operating anywhere in the natural universe. This is why we refer to Divine Creation as special creation. We cannot discover by scientific investigations anything about the creative processes used by God." (Gish, 1972, General Edition, p. 42)

In the Public School Edition, this becomes secularized as:

"We do not know how the Creator created, what processes he used, for he used processes which are not now operating anywhere in the natural universe. This is why we refer to creation as special creation. We cannot discover by scientific investigations anything about the creative process used by the creator." (Gish, 1972, General Edition, p. 42)

In essence, the creationists have merely changed the wording of their anti-evolution argument from "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth" to "In the beginning, some Creator whose name we aren’t allowed to mention created the heavens and the earth", and have argued that, since the latter statement doesn’t mention a religious deity, it is therefore scientific. The absurdity of such an argument is self-evident.

Despite its recent claims to be "scientific" and "non- religious", ICR’s aims have not changed from the days when it was an open adjunct of the Christian Heritage College. The introduction to Morris’s Scientific Creationism openly cites, as one of the reasons why scientific creationism should be taught in public schools, the observation that evolution is "inimical to orthodox Christianity and Judaism". (Morris, Scientific Creationism, 1974, p. 67)

In The Genesis Flood, Whitcomb and Morris flatly declare, "The false presuppositions and implications of organic evolution and geologic uniformitarianism need to be challenged in the name of Holy Scripture." (Whitcomb and Morris, 1961, p. 45) In a preface to a later printing of The Genesis Flood, Whitcomb and Morris openly acknowledged their goal: "It is our sincere prayer that God may continue to use this volume for the purpose of restoring His people everywhere to full reliance on the truth of the Biblical doctrine of origins." (Whitcomb and Morris, 1961, p. xxiv)

In a letter to members of the ICR, Morris openly proclaims the real purpose behind the Institute for Creation Research, which he refers to as a "three-fold ministry":

"We are convinced that this is the most effective way in which recognition of God as a sovereign Creator and Savior can be restored in our modern world, especially for the multitudes of young people in our schools who have been indoctrinated for so long with the false and harmful philosophy of evolutionary humanism." (Morris letter, Plaintiff’s Outline of Legal Issues and Proof, McLean v Arkansas, 1981, cited in LaFollette, 1983, p. 24)

In letters and publications sent to ICR members, Morris makes it clear that the ICR’s "research" is closely tied with its evangelical work:

"The Lord’s work in the ICR ministry surely continues on . . . enabling us to continue to sow the seed of God’s true Word, founded on creation, implemented in Christ’s great work of redemption and soon to be consummated when He comes again." (Henry Morris, ICR monthly letter, March 1995)

"Creation evangelism is a Scriptural method for reaching both Christians and non-Christians who have been influenced by the evolutionary humanism that dominates our schools and news media." (Henry Morris, Back to Genesis, June 1994)

All of the computer file versions of the ICR’s Impact series, which are distributed through the Origins Talk and the Genesis Network bulletin boards, carry a postscript which bluntly states, "As a missionary organization, ICR is funded by God’s people. The majority of its income is provided by individual donors who desire to proclaim God’s truth about origins . . . . We believe God has raised up ICR to spearhead Christianity’s defense against the godless dogma of evolutionary humanism. Only by showing the scientific bankruptcy of evolution, while exalting Christ and the Bible, will Christians be successful in ‘the pulling down of strongholds; casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ" (II Corinthians 10:4,5)’ " (ICR, "Impact: Vital Articles on Science/Creation", Origins Talk BBS).

And in the June 1995 Acts and Facts newsletter, John Morris, Vice President of ICR’s Outreach Ministries, flatly declares: "ICR is well-known as a creation-science research group, with an additional emphasis on Biblical apologetics. But first and foremost, ICR is a Christian ministry . . . At ICR, God has equipped us in the area of science, and that is the tool we use to carry out the Great Commission." (Morris, Acts and Facts, June 1995) Morris concludes, "Evolution teaches that the Bible has errors and cannot be trusted. Christians need to have their questions answered and doubts removed. Churches, seminaries and denominations need to be called back under the authority of the Book that they have been taught to doubt. That is the real message of creationism." (Morris, Acts and Facts, June 1995) "With the rise of evolution and naturalism, ‘science’ has become the enemy of Christianity, but true science ‘declares the glory of God’ (Psalm 19:1). ICR desires to return science to its proper, God-glorifying, position." (Morris, Acts and Facts, June 1995).

The ICR’s motives–to use creation "science" as a way to convert people to the literalist fundamentalist interpretation of Biblical religion–is echoed by other creationists as well: "Presenting the scientific evidences on origins is one of the most effective ways to convince people there is a God, and it can be done without even mentioning the subject." –Luther Sunderland (Exhibit to Ellwanger Deposition, McLean v Arkansas, 1982, cited in LaFollette, 1983, p. 110)

"It is our hope that our readers will come to faith, or to stronger faith in the Bible and in the God of the Bible who is Creator, Lord and Judge of the world." –Robert Kofahl (cited in Weinberg 1984, p. 26)

In their book The Creation Explanation, fundamentalists Kelly Segraves and Robert Kofahl explain that creation science is "the new science-based apologetic for Biblical creation." (Kofahl and Segraves, 1975, p. 181) The aim of the Creation Science Research Center, it declares, is "to reach the 63 million schoolchildren of America with the scientific teaching of Biblical creationism." (Creation Science Research Center, Report, October 1973, cited in LaFollette, 1983, p. 49 and Nelkin, 1982, p. 79)

All of these statements were, of course, meant for internal consumption only–they were not intended for the public. Publicly, the ICR and other creation "scientists" have continued to insist that religious belief has nothing at all to do with their efforts to force creationism into the classroom. Their own statements, however, clearly demonstrate that the aim of the creationist movement is not, as they claim, to present a "balanced view" or an "alternative scientific viewpoint"–it is nothing more than an attempt to use the legislative power of the state to force children to be exposed to the fundamentalists’ own particular religious interpretation of Genesis. As Arkansas Judge Overton commented, in ruling that state’s "balanced treatment" law unconstitutional, creation science "is a religious crusade, coupled with a desire to conceal this fact . . . . It was simply and purely an effort to introduce the Biblical version of Creation into the public school curricula". (Overton Opinion, McLean v Arkansas, 1981)

In sum, then, the aims of the creation "scientists" are clear– all of their "research", their "technical journals", their "debates", their attempts to have creation "science" introduced into the school system, are nothing more than an attempt to proselytize people to their fundamentalist religious view.