The Bible says that grass and fruit trees were created by God on the third day and the sun, moon and stars on the fourth day. So why would anyone take seriously what the Bible says about the creation of life?
There are ... many errors found in the Biblical version of creation.
The age of fundamentalism and literal belief in biblical creation reached its peak in 1925 when high school teacher John Scopes was brought to trial for teaching evolution. In addition to rejecting evolution, fundamentalists have long opposed the radioactive dating of rocks, which show that the earth is billions of years old, preferring instead a time frame of only a few thousand years.
During the Scopes trial, the plaintiff's attorney, William Jennings Bryan, yielded to Clarence Darrow's intense interrogation on biblical creation by saying that the days of the Bible symbolize geologic ages, not 24-hour days. Yet he still held to such biblical myths as Noah's flood and Joshua stopping the sun for a day.
Bryan was in the impossible position of explaining how grass and fruit trees were created on the third day and the sun, the moon, and the stars on the fourth day. Bryan, like other theologians, professed to know God's attributes yet simultaneously proclaimed that God is unknowable.
Literalists discount the geologic evidence showing that countless biologic species have appeared and become extinct during an earth history measured in millions of years of time. Moreover, they view the process of natural selection acting on random variations over time as a false and cruel concept not reflective of a divine creator.
The issue of teaching evolution in public schools was not settled until four decades after the Scopes trial, when the Supreme Court ruled in the Epperson Case that it was unconstitutional for a state to bar the teaching of evolution. The Supreme Court decision prompted three states (Tennessee, Arkansas and Louisiana) to adopt laws mandating balanced treatment between evolution and "creation science," but all three laws were overturned in federal courts.
In 1999 the Kansas State Board of Education voted to eliminate questions about evolution on required competency exams. Having taught courses in historical geology for 30 years, I am well aware of the efforts by creationists to force their religious thinking into the classroom.
Biblical creationism has no scientific basis whatsoever.
Herbert J. Howe
Why Not a Flat Earth?
Perusing through the Readers' Forum letters on Creationism vs. Evolution in the March EXPLORER, I was struck how some of your readers, presumably all AAPG members, inject their religious faith into a discussion of Darwin's evolution theory. The letters are infused with references to God, Christianity, Holy Bible, Genesis, Gospel, True Grace, Scriptures and His Creation.
One wonders whether theirs is scientific discourse or a Sunday school recitation. An enlightened person, I would have thought, would leave all his/her religious beliefs at home or church and approach scientific evidence with a totally fresh mind, unencumbered with religious doctrines. It is doubtful whether these authors had any serious course in paleontology during their geological training. If they did, religious indoctrination took the better of their minds. And one wonders also how the EXPLORER's giving such wide exposure to anti-evolutionists serves the interests of AAPG members.
A few quotations from these authors are telling.
But the gem of quotations is from an AAPG member who claims that Darwin's theory has had absolutely no impact on their ability to explore for oil and gas. Good thinking! By the same token, he could have gone one step further and claimed that the flat-earth theory also had no impact on their ability to explore.
So, the argument would go, what applies to Darwin's theory also applies to flat-earth theory.
I wonder: Are we living in year 2000? I thought the days of "Monkey Trial" of the 1920s have long been behind us -- but evidently not. Not in private minds, not even in some public school policy makers such as the Kansas Board of Education.
Darwin must be cringing in his grave.
On the Other Hand ...
As a longtime Active AAPG member I wish to add my objections to a full-scale assault on the creationists. I believe there is room for presentation of the views of both creation and evolution.
There are enough gaps in both ideas that one cannot be absolutely dogmatic about either based on so-called facts. Each side requires considerable faith in what we believe.
I actively struggled with this issue on a personal basis for quite a long period of time. This is not a snap conclusion.
Science has contributed immensely to our standard of living and will continue to do so. Religion has also contributed a great deal to the quality of life, and has given us a moral view and restraint that is generally lacking in science.
Both are important. Let's not take a totally one-sided "down with creation" stance.
Horseshoe Bay, Texas