A biochemist, W. Scot Morrow teaches chemistry at Wofford College in Spartanburg, South Carolina.
Do you support the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling that struck down a state law requiring creation science to be taught alongside evolution?
No. The decision was based on the motives of the people who wrote the law rather than on the law itself. This controversy brings to mind something Clarence Darrow said during the historic Scopes trial. He said it is bigotry to teach only one view of man’s origin. My evolutionist colleagues ought to go back and think about that one.
Why should creation science be taught in public schools?
Science class is for science, not religion. But to understand science, you have to deal with philosophical foundations. Science itself is a philosophy, a special way of looking at the universe. It is not the purpose of science to deny a Creator Being. Many teachers don’t want to be reminded of the fundamentals of Christianity. But this is no reason to refuse to teach a theoretical concept of the emergence of life that they happen not to agree with.
Doesn’t the teaching of creation science advance religion?
Educators should go where facts lead. Whether this advances a particular philosophy is irrelevant. If only one person holds a minority view, this view deserves to be examined in the classroom, as long as it is rooted in science.
Critics claim there is no “science” in creation science.
Some creationists are scientists in the truest sense. They look at geological facts, prehistoric archaeology, and the like. I don’t agree with all their conclusions, for example, that the Earth is just 10,000 years old. But not to allow the teaching of alternatives to standard evolutionary theory is censorship. After all, evolutionary theory has its own shortcomings.
How do you compare the two theories?
Both have strengths and weaknesses. Creation science has a good explanation for the sudden appearance of complex life forms. The strength of evolution theory is that it does not have to postulate something that can’t be tested. But the absence of a “missing link” is a powerful argument against evolution. As a biochemist, trained to understand and appreciate the complexity of biological life, I see no way life could have become as complex as it is in the amount of time allotted by evolutionists. The odds against it are overwhelming.
Believing this, why are you an agnostic?
Recognizing the merits of an abrupt-appearance theory does not necessarily lead to belief in God. I find it more tantalizing to consider that abrupt appearance of living things resulted from environmental catastrophies rather than from supernatural action. I think that 4 billion years ago this planet was seeded, either deliberately by intelligent life elsewhere, or by accident.
John Wiester is author of The Genesis Connection and coauthor of Teaching Science in a Climate of Controversy.
Why should creation science not be taught in science classes?
I make no distinction between creation science and creationism. Both creationism and evolutionism are religious concepts. One presupposes the God of the Bible, the other a god of happenstance. Neither should be taught in the science classroom.
But doesn’t science inevitably lead to questions of religion?
Science does not have the answers to all the world’s questions. The question of ultimate origins is an unsolved problem that transcends science. There are no data we can gather. It leads to questions of philosophy and religion, which do not fall within science’s domain.
What then should be taught in science class?
We should teach what we know, including things Christians have been uncomfortable with. We know a great deal about the evolution of the universe, and we can teach this without a commitment to any religion, including evolutionism. Science is now pointing to a universe that is not eternal, but did in fact have a beginning.
What harm can come from teaching both creationism and evolutionism?
Much of what is taught in the name of evolution is religion. One biology textbook claims that “the creation of life depended on a series of chance events.” On the other side, most of what is called creation science is poor science. Some atheists enjoy the interpretation that the Earth is 10,000 years old because it allows them to show the “ignorance” of fundamentalist Christians. Many science students are open to the grace of Christ but are turned off by the misperception that believing the Bible means believing the Earth is 10,000 years old.
So it is unscientific to say the Earth is 10,000 years old?
The age of the Earth is an issue that, for all practical scientific purposes, is settled. To me it is clear the Earth is about four-and-a-half billion years old.
Do you support the Supreme Court ruling against teaching creation science in public schools?
I support the effects that decision will have. But this case points out my biggest frustration as a biblical creationist, by linking abrupt appearance to the Christian doctrine of Creation. That’s a false concept. As a biblical creationist, I object to having somebody define the doctrine of Creation as abrupt appearance. The Bible is very clear that God is the Creator. How and when he created moves us into the realm of science. The modern scientific history of the universe, Earth, and man is in harmony with the biblical picture. Creation versus evolution is a pseudo-controversy. The real issue is religious. It is Creator versus no creator, the God of the Bible versus the god of happenstance.
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