Letter to the editor

 

On Rust's Critique of Siemens

From: PSCF 45 (September 1993):218.

Dr. Phillip F. Rust is properly concerned about the secular humanists' attack on the Bible (Letters, March 1993). They have created a vast dump of toxic material poisoning the intellectual and spiritual environment. Dr. Henry Morris and other "creationists" are working hard to dissolve the noxious heap. The problem is that they are dumping acid on a mixture containing mostly cyanides and heavy metal ions. Their endeavors appear to reduce the size of the pile. But their effort produces as well many immediate fatalities, and exacerbates a multitude of serious long-term problems. So the first need is to end the application of "creationist" acid.

My analogy may seem harsh, but it is accurate. Rust has ignored the obvious in his defense of Morris, namely that almost every attack on the first chapters of Genesis by the atheists is against a young-earth "creationist" interpretation. In demonstrating the incoherence of "creationism," I am taking away a major portion of the basis of the materialists' attack. My apologetic effort is not as spectacular as a public debate, not as impassioned as the Elijah-like "we alone remain" posturing. But it also does not sacrifice truthful statement to the point-scoring sophistry of forensics.

Rust also ought to consider the effect of "creationist" teaching on young men and women brought up in biblically-centered churches. As a child and undergraduate, I was taught that creation was recent. I read and believed Price. In a secular graduate school, I began to read the scientific journals. I discovered, for example, that radioactive dates could at most be modified by a factor of two or three, but not by six orders of magnitude. I thank God that he held me steady, showing me that my faith had to be based on what his Word said, not on what his children claimed it said. In contrast, Dr. Ronald L. Numbers (The Creationists, Knopf, 1992, p. xvi), confronted with the Yellowstone fossil forests, moved to unbelief. He is not alone (see p. 279, for example).

Rust is egregiously wrong in crediting Morris with "attempting to reconcile modern science with the Bible." Morris rejects current scienceˇunless he can twist it to his purposesˇin favor of "Baconian" science, along with a deistic God-of-the-gaps "origin science." The "lord-chancellor" methodology is mere induction, simple generalization. It does not fit quantum mechanics or its predecessor theories, relativity theory, electro-magnetic theory, or even the work of Newton. One might emulate Procrustes and fit Galileo or Kepler into a "Baconian" bed. But any later physicist can no more be forced into a "Baconian" mold than Arnold Schwartzenegger can be fit into a sandwich bag. All the more recent theoreticians provide logico-mathematical models that go beyond every form of generalization.

Indeed, the "creation scientists" are not even "Baconian." Although quaintly confused about the way experience generates knowledge, Bacon insisted that only observation gives rise to science. Yet no one can point to the empirical base that produced "creationism." And when "scientific creationists" are asked what observations can falsify their view, they consistently respond, "There are none." Clearly, their view most closely resembles the deductive scholasticism against which Bacon railed.

David F. Siemens, Jr., Ph.D.
2703 E. Kenwood St.
Mesa, AZ 85213-2384