Stacking the Deck Against Creation Science
The negative image of creation science portrayed in the widely viewed Inherit the Wind was considerably reinforced by the pretrial publication of some critical reviews of creation science. A good example is the article, "A Response to Creationism Evolves," published in Science just a few weeks before the Arkansas trial. This article (Lewin 1981) details the results of two scientific meetings, organized for the purpose of combating the spread of creation science in America. The first was sponsored by the National Academy [p. 91] of Sciences (NAS) and held on October 19, 1981. The second meeting was organized by the National Association of Biology Teachers (NABT) and held on October 20, 1981. At these meetings, both held in Washington, DC, certain influential evolutionary scientists made it appear that creation science was a threat, not just to evolution, but to all of science. They issued a call for opposition to creation science at every opportunity. William Mayer, Director of the Biological Sciences Curriculum Study, Louisville, Colorado, is quoted as declaring:
The whole structure of science is under attack. And it's not just biology that's in danger, it's all of science: geology, physics, astronomy. The creationists are attempting to mandate what is appropriate for study and what is not. (Lewin 1981, 635)
These alarmist remarks were made before a sympathetic audience. Ironically, these evolutionists failed to see that their own staunch opposition to the teaching of evidence for creation was in itself an attempt to mandate what is and what is not appropriate for study. Note that the emphasis here is not what is truth, but how to maintain the status quo in science. This was further evident when Niles Eldredge, a curator at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, used scare tactics to oppose funding for creation science:
The creationists have already made moves to secure funding for so-called creation science on an equal footing with evolution science. This should be sufficient to convince my colleagues that the house really is on fire. (Lewin 1981, 635)
Other pretrial articles that provided the ACLU with psychological advantage appeared in the December 1981 issue of the popular monthly Science 81. (This issue, devoted primarily to a formidable attack on the "fallacies" of creation science, was deemed so important that copies were given to the National Science Teachers Association for distribution to its members.) An excerpt from the article "Farewell to Newton, Einstein, Darwin. . ." shows how the authors, Allen Hammond and Lynn Margulis, attempt to convey the impression that creation science is in direct conflict with true science:
The claim that creationists are unwilling to revise a theory to accommodate observation is nothing more than massive character assassination of all creation scientists. I have already referred to one revision in my own work that occurred in reference to the previously discussed report on superheavy elements. And the claim that creation scientists do not publish in scientific journals is directly contradicted by my own publications.
Another writer, John Skow, also presented uncomplimentary views of creation scientists in his companion article in the same issue of Science 81:
The scientific creationists have been on the scene for something more than a decade now, and it is clear that their obduracy is not the result of insufficient education. It is a resolute, structured ignorance, maintained by choice and against odds. . . . They must find "scientific" reasons for the scientifically unreasonable, and by heroic twisting of evidence, they do. . . . Their system of belief resists unwanted information. (Skow 1981, 59)
The question could be raised: Just who is attempting to "twist" the evidence? Skow claims that creationists resist unwanted information. His accusations are quite incongruous, for both his and the previously quoted article fail to mention the persuasive evidence for creation published in my scientific reports. Is it possible that he may have the "system of belief" that "resists unwanted information"?
This widely distributed issue of Science 81 greatly reinforced the negative view of creation science which had been given such impetus at the Scopes trial. My colleagues at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory who saw this issue were doubtless hoping that I would not be drawn into center stage in this rapidly developing controversy over creation and evolution.
Earth Science Associates