The Talk.Origins Archive: Exploring the Creation/Evolution Controversy

Cretinism or Evilution? No. 3
Edited by E.T. Babinski
Creationist Folk Science



Creationist Folk Science

The Evangelical Christian professors at Calvin college who wrote Portraits of Creation (Eerdmans Pub. Co., 1990) argued in that book that young-earth "creation science" was "folk science." I'd like to add that the "creation evangelists" with the most attention-grabbing presentations specialize in repeating "tall tales" -- tales that their more astute creationist brethren abhor, because, after all, not even all creationists are created alike, some keep evolving. With every retraction of an outrageous claim, they dig up a new one equally as outrageous as the first, and this new one is asserted with the same absolute assurance as the prior claim, and with just as little evidence to back it up.

Evolutionists have made assertions based on insufficient evidence and made claims which have been proven false, like the "Piltdown man" skull (which turned out to be a hoax), and the postulated existence of "Nebraska man" based on the evidence of a single tooth that turned out to belong to an extinct species of pig (though many scientists questioned the "human" identification right from the start, and it was a British newspaper artist, not a scientist, who made the drawing of "Nebraska man with his family" to sell papers). And there's Ernst Haeckel and Thomas Huxley's claim that some curious looking mud from the sea bottom might represent the "first life" on earth, and hence they named the mud Bathybius Haeckelii, but the mud was in reality, lifeless, and failed to grow. (However, bacteria have recently been found growing near the ocean floor near some steaming hot sea water vents, and some evolutionists have postulated - with better reason than before - that perhaps the first living organisms arose "on the ocean's floor," rather than near the earth's surface.)

The difference between overly zealous evolutionists and the less astute creationists in this area, however, pertains to who disproved the original flimsy assertions and how. In the case of claims made by evolutionists, it was fellow pr-o-evolution scientists, not "creation scientists," who dug deeper and conducted the disproofs via critical scientific investigation of the original assertions. Even today, evolutionists are so candid in revealing the nature of their finds and also admitting difficulties when it comes to fitting some evidence squarely in place, that creationists comb scientific literature just to pick out such difficulties. There is no "conspiracy" among evolutionary scientists who speak and write as candidly as they do. - But among the less astute creation scientists there is a vain repetition of outmoded claims that goes on and on, hence the term "folk science" when applied to creationism.

Furthermore, concerning "creation science" assertions, it's the mainstream scientists, again, who point out the flaws in the creationist claims, since the majority of creationists (and their supporters) are so reluctant and/or inexperienced in digging up further relevant information regarding the claims . they assert. Often one need only check the original records of mainstream scientists to see where the creationists misread the original findings! Which just goes to show that creationist claims are often totally vacuous, either hearsay, or a misquoted or misunderstood passage from a mainstream science journal. I've mentioned several such cases in the Fall insert alluded to above ("The Earth is Old! According to evangelical Christians!"), and I have more such retractions on file. But, to repeat a few: Creationist and engineer, Walter Brown, had to be instructed by some biology professors as to what "adding a leap second" on the atomic clock really referred to. (It did not mean that the earth's speed of rotation was "slowing down a second per year.") Or take Henry Morris' claim in The Genesis Flood, regarding perhaps the world's largest case of "out of sequence" geological layers, the older layers lying atop the younger ones, and how he emphasized that this disproved modern geology, when in fact, it proved that even immense overthrust faulting (in this case, the Lewis Overthrust) could occur, and that modern geology is correct in its determination of the relative order of geologic strata and geologic ages. Even the geologist (Steve Austin) and paleontologist (Kurt Wise) both affiliated with Morris' Institute for Creation Research, have admitted that in this famous case an overthrust was indicated by the geologic evidence, and in effect, Morris was misinterpreting the original data at his disposal! Morris has also backed down concerning his claim that "human footprints" had been found along with dinosaur footprints in Texas. Most astute young-earth creationists have likewise backed down from their previous assertions concerning these "human footprints." These depressions and markings only superficially resemble human footprints, and the original creationists who asserted that these footprints were "human," simply blinded themselves to evidence of the dinosaurian side toes, evidence which can be seen even on the earliest film, "Footprints in Stone." The other evidence of "man prints" in Texas consisted of obvious carvings of human footprints, carvings which even some young-earth creationists (like those at Loma Linda) rejected right from the start. Again, in this case, the less astute creationists were eventually shown the errors of their superficial "researches" by mainstream scientific researchers who made detailed maps of the so-called "footprints" and 'human trails" (far more detailed than the "creation scientists" had made, and took photos over a period of years, and compared dino tracks elsewhere, which clearly demonstrated the dinosaurian nature of such trails, and how the prints were formed). There are too many cases of creationists "backing-down-once-cornered-by-mainstream-scientists" for me to even mention them all in one brief article. And that's because there have been far too many wild assertions made by creationists over the years.

Of course the less astute creationists are loathe to admit that even one of the "classic" creationist "tall tales" can ever be "disproven." Creationists like Carl Baugh, who wants to build a museum shaped like Noah's Ark near the site of the Texas "mantracks," seems to have never admitted making a single erroneous assertion or interpretation, though he's changed his tune a couple times, like when he admitted that the "giant mantrack trails" pointed out by earlier creationists were indeed only dino-prints. But then he proceeded to convince himself and some others that, although the prints in the trail were made by dinosaurs, he could make out smaller "human prints" "inside" each dino-print!

Whereas before, he could make out "human toe depressions" along the outer edges of the dino-prints' now he could - make out "human toe depressions" inside the same dino--prints, the human having 'walked inside" each dino-print the animal left as it passed.

Or take the case of Baugh's discovery of a "fossil human tooth," which he eventually allowed some scientific experts to examine under an electron microscope, and which was found to be merely a fossil fish tooth. Baugh conceded it was a fish tooth, but later retracted his concession. Baugh also found some rounded inorganic rock concretions and claimed they were the "fossilized skulls" of modern mammal species found among dinosaur remains!

Baugh is one of those fellows who is able to see and find exactly what he wants to see and find. He never lets evidence, especially contrary evidence, get in the way of his theories. Baugh's ability to find what he wants to find is only exceeded by Ron Wyatt's, another creationist, who has asserted that he has found: 1) the remains of Noah's ark, 2) the Ark of the covenant (I thought only Indiana Jones ever found that!), 3) The true site of the Israelite's Red Sea crossing, 4) Chariot wheels from Pharaoh's drowned army, 5) The actual rock Moses struck to release water for the Israelites in the desert, 6) The true site of the crucifixion, 7) Noah's grave, 8) Noah's house, and, 9) Mrs. Noah's grave.

Folks like Baugh and Wyatt lie at the least astute and most gullible end of the spectrum of "creation folk science," much like "Saint" Helena (the mother of the first Roman Christian Emperor -- Constantine) did. Helena lived about four hundred years after Jesus' day. "Way back then, Helena traveled all over Palestine and was always fortunate. Whenever [she] found a thing mentioned in her Bible, Old or New Testament, she would go and search for that thing and never stop until she found it. If it was Adam, she would find Adam's grave; if it was the Ark of Noah, she would find the Ark; if it was Goliath or Joshua, she would find their graves." [Mark Twain in The Innocents Abroad] "Saint" Helena found the copper plate that Pilate had nailed to the top of her Savior's cross, and upon which Pilate had written, "This is the King of the Jews." She also found the three crosses upon which Christ and the two thieves were crucified, and the exact spot of the crucifixion, and the very spot where the soldiers divided the rainment of the Saviour, not to mention the tomb of Melchizadek (a very obscure Old Testament prophet), and the rift in the rock made by the earthquake (mentioned only in Matthew) at the time of Jesus' Crucifixion. Helena was as fortunate as a Ron Wyatt and a Carl Baugh rolled into one! But it's easy to "find" everything you're looking for if you just use "eyes of faith.." For faith is a wondrous thing. It can move mountains and also convince you that a herring is a race horse.



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