A climactic event in the twenty-year history of my research was the invitation to speak before the Pacific Division of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in June 1982. "Evolutionists Confront Creationists" was the title of a symposium held at the Santa Barbara campus of the University of California. Two biologists from San Diego State University, Drs. Frank Awbrey and William Thwaites, organized the symposium and invited eight scientists to present the evolutionary view. Two scientists from the Institute for Creation Research in San Diego were originally scheduled to present the creation perspective. Subsequently, one of them withdrew, and I was invited to take his place. This was a new day in the annals of the AAAS, for creation scientists had been excluded from a similar symposium held at the AAAS annual meeting in 1981. Dr. Rolf Sinclair later justified their exclusion from this meeting, saying that the organizers were at a loss to know whom they should choose to represent the creation position (Sinclair 1981).
Creation/evolution symposia were similarly held at the American Physical Society (APS) meeting in Washington, DC, (April 1982) and the Geological Society of America (GSA) meeting in New Orleans (November 1982). Again only scientists representing the evolutionary position were allowed to speak. My request to contribute a paper was turned down by the organizers of both meetings.
But the forthcoming Santa Barbara meeting was different, and the prospects were exciting. The very title of the symposium suggested that all evidences for creation would be confronted by opposing scientific evidence. If my work was to be refuted, the most likely speaker to do so would have been Dr. G. Brent Dalrymple of the U.S. Geological Survey in Menlo Park, [p. 176] California. Seven months earlier he had been the main ACLU witness at the Arkansas creation trial in support of a 4.5-billion-year age of the earth. There he had labeled the evidence, which I had presented in behalf of creation, a "tiny mystery." What would be his position at this symposium?
A Geologist Evaluates Creation Science
The title of Dalrymple's presentation, "Radiometric Dating and the Age of the Earth—A Reply to 'Scientific' Creationism," suggested his views about creation science had not changed. In his presentation Dalrymple essentially repeated what he said at the Arkansas trial—that radioactive decay rates have been "effectively constant through time" and hence that radiometric dating methods are "the most reliable sources of geological information available today" (Dalrymple 1982, 4).
As noted earlier, evidence for creation invalidates the uniformitarian principle—the basis of the constant decay rate assumption used in radiometric dating. However, despite the title of the symposium, none of the speakers chose to "confront" the evidence for creation. There was no explanation given for polonium halo formation in granites, nor was there a response to the challenge of duplicating a piece of granite. Neither was there discussion of the evidences for a young earth obtained in the coalified wood and the zircon investigations. Instead, Dalrymple chose to (1) focus on what are perceived to be weak arguments for creation, (2) again label polonium halos in granites a "tiny mystery," and (3) define creation and science as being mutually exclusive. His feelings about creation science were vividly expressed at the end of his talk:
I think that it will be a sad day for civilized humanity if science, that magnificent field of objective inquiry whose only purpose is to decipher the history and laws of the physical universe, is allowed to fall victim to the intellectual fraud of the creation-science movement. (Dalrymple 1982, 27)
I do not defend everything that is called creation science. Nevertheless, those who condemn all of creation science on the basis of weak or irrelevant arguments advanced in its favor should consider that their perceptions may not be entirely without bias. They should also remember that most creation scientists have been shut away from obtaining the research funds and equipment which would have allowed them to do better work. Often they have had to rely on the data that evolutionists have collected and placed [p. 177] in the evolutionary framework. True, the process of fitting those same data into a creation science framework may at times be in error. But there is no field of science without some errors and misconceptions in its formative stages, and efforts to develop a practicable creation model are no exception. The progress of science depends on proposing and testing ideas and hypotheses in support of various theories. Scientists do not discard a theory just because weak or erroneous arguments were once used to support it. On the contrary, if they are genuinely interested in knowing the truth about a theory, they seek to test the strongest arguments in its favor.
Were those in attendance at the AAAS symposium seeking to do this? Or were there attempts to dismiss creation science on other grounds? The answer is found in Dalrymple's introductory remarks of his published contribution to the symposium:
. . . Even a cursory reading of the literature of "scientific" creationism, however, reveals that the creation model is not scientifically based but is, instead, a religious apologetic derived from a literal interpretation of parts of the book of Genesis. Indeed, this literature abounds with direct and indirect references to a Deity or Creator, and citations of the Bible are not uncommon. . . . (Dalrymple 1984, 67)
Here my colleague advocates a great loophole for evolution. To disqualify the creation model because it refers to Genesis means that no amount of data supporting that model would ever be accepted, regardless of its empirical foundations. On this basis evolutionists would never have to respond to any scientific discoveries for creation—they may choose to relegate all such evidence to the confines of a religious apologetic. Followed to its logical conclusion, this reasoning would permit scientists to label these evidences as mysteries which will someday be found to fit into the evolutionary framework. This is precisely how Dalrymple referred to my work near the end of his presentation:
The exact way in which the enigmatic Po halos were formed is not yet known. The Po halos are, I'm afraid, one of science's abundant tiny mysteries. As a scientist, I am confident that the halos will eventually be explained as the result of natural processes. Certainly, I see no logical reason whatsoever to seek explanations outside of physical processes, or to entertain for even a moment Gentry's creationist model, which requires us to suspend the laws of physics and chemistry, to call upon intervention by an unknown and unknowable supernatural agent, and to ignore overwhelming and conclusive evidence that the Earth, as we see it now, formed and evolved by natural processes over billions of years. (Dalrymple 1982, 26)
In Chapter 11 I quoted Professor Davies' description of the mythical Big Bang to show that even evolutionists recognize it to be beyond explanation by the laws of physics and chemistry. That my respected colleague would mention the suspension of those laws as a criticism of the creation model is therefore inconsistent with his own acceptance of Big Bang cosmology. True enough, creation cannot be explained by known laws of physics and chemistry, and it does require the intervention of God. In this respect a faith factor enters the picture. But the same is true with evolution. In fact, in the evolutionary scenario all the important events—the Big Bang, and therefore the origin of galaxies, stars, the sun, the earth, and life on it—have always been a matter of faith. In a number of instances faith in evolutionary origins is held even when evolutionists themselves have been unable to find the crucial evidence to support their beliefs. To illustrate, in a book review a noted astrophysicist has recently commented on the origin of stars:
The universe we see when we look out to its furthest horizons contains a hundred billion galaxies. Each of these galaxies contains another hundred billion stars. That's 1022 stars all told. The silent embarrassment of modern astrophysics is that we do not know how even a single one of these stars managed to form. There's no lack of ideas, of course; we just can't substantiate them. (Harwit 1986)
Not being able to substantiate those ideas is an understatement. As Harwit's review explains, the fundamental premise of all modern theories of star formation involves the contraction of interstellar dust clouds into dense, massive objects. This violent process should be marked by three distinct astrophysical processes. Harwit notes that astronomical evidence for those processes has not been found.
I suggest that astronomers have failed to find the critical evidences predicted by their model because stars did not originate with evolutionary processes—but instead were called into existence by the same God who created the earth.
Earth Science Associates