Creation Science Expands

To counter the BSCS and other evolution-based textbooks, in 1970 the CRS published its own high school biology textbook, Biology: A Search for Order in Complexity, which by its title revealed its orientation of seeking divine design in nature (Moore and Slusher 1970). The CRS textbook did not sell many copies, however, and ran into legal difficulty in several states because of its frankly religious orientation. In 1974, Henry Morris published a textbook of his own, Scientific Creationism. To try to avoid the criticisms that such books were Christian apologetics masquerading as science books, Morris published a Christian schools edition containing an extra chapter of biblical references and a general edition that did not. Claims that religious references were not present in the general edition were not persuasive, however, when textbook selection committees encountered statements referring to such biblical events as Noah's Flood and the Tower of Babel: "The origin of civilization would be located somewhere in the Middle East, near the site of Mount Ararat (where historical tradition indicates the survivors of the antediluvian population emerged from the great cataclysm) or near Babylon (where tradition indicates the confusion of languages took place)" (Morris

The Institute for Creation Research. In 1972, Henry Morris and others founded the Institute for Creation Research (ICR) as the research division of the Bible-based Christian Heritage College, which Morris had founded two years earlier with the evangelist Timothy LaHaye. The ICR became an independent institution in 1980, moving from the San Diego suburb of El Cajon to nearby Santee, California, where, until 2007, it had its headquarters in two large buildings. In that year, the main offices moved to an expanded office site in Dallas at the four-acre Henry M. Morris Center for Christian Leadership. After the turn of the century, Morris's son John D. Morris, a geologist, gradually assumed more responsibility for running ICR as his father became more elderly. The "torch was passed" in May 2002 (Rasche 2002:1); the elder Morris continued to write almost until his death in February 2006 at the age of eighty-seven.

The ICR has grown steadily since its inception in the early 1970s, taking pride in always ending the year in the black and never borrowing money for its building projects. To promote creation science, ICR conducts extensive outreach to churches and individuals. In any given week, ICR staff may be found around the country leading workshops, lecturing, or occasionally debating evolution with scientists. The ICR's popular Back to Genesis program, begun in 1988, consists of two days of lectures, movies, and workshops for adults and children. other programs, such as the Good Science Workshops, are aimed at school-age children, parents, and teachers, and focus on creation science education. The ICR's foremost debater, Duane Gish, trained as a biochemist, holds workshops on how to debate evolutionists. One of ICR's radio programs, Science, Scripture and Salvation, airs on approximately 700 stations, and the other, a one-minute filler by director John D. Morris, Back to Genesis, has 860 outlets (

Each month, ICR mails literature to 200,000 or more recipients. For thirty-six years, the mailing contained a small-format newsletter, Acts and Facts, and one or more pamphlets, among them the Impact series, in which scientific issues were discussed, and the much more evangelical Back to Genesis series. Often an advertising circular promoting books, videos, CDs, or other media was included, as well as a letter from the president of ICR and a request for financial support. In August 2007, ICR dramatically altered its communications format, shifting to a full-color magazine that includes news (as did Acts and Facts) as well as articles promoting creation science and attacking evolution (as did Impact). Also in 2007, ICR launched a new research journal, the International Journal for Creation Research, a competitor to the CRSC (Holden 2007).

Early in ICR's history, Morris helped found Creation-Life Publishers, which through its Master Books division maintains an extensive catalog of antievolution books. The division is promoted not only by ICR but also by virtually every creationist organization large enough to sell merchandise. The catalog includes more than 150 books. The ICR also maintains the Museum of Creation and Earth History at its Santee headquarters, which an estimated 25,000 individuals visited during its first year (Institute for Creation Research, 1993b). Remodeled in 1992, the museum currently reaches thousands of schoolchildren each year, most of them who are homeschooled or attend Christian schools. Because of the religious orientation of the museum, few local public school teachers take their students to the ICR museum. The museum presents a journey through the seven days of creation, mixing biblical and scientific references. True to Morris's concern with flood geology, there is a Noah's ark diorama that presents calculations of how many animals could have been housed on the ark.

To promote the establishment of creation science, ICR supports a graduate school that offers master's degrees in science education, biology, geology, and astrogeophysics. Until recently, the school was accredited not by the Western Association of Colleges and Schools, the accrediting agency for most other California institutions of higher learning, but by the TransNational Association of Christian Schools (TRACS). None other than Henry M. Morris founded TRACS, and he served as its president for many years. The purpose of TRACS is to accredit Bible-based institutions that pledge to promote creation science. When the ICR moved to Texas, which does not recognize TRACS accreditation, it failed to gain state certification for its graduate school—a decision that it appealed in 2008.

Most of the graduate school courses are taught during the summer. There are also annual trips down the Grand Canyon, where ICR geologist Steve Austin explains how the many layers of the canyon were formed by the receding waters of Noah's Flood.

Ken Ham and Answers in Genesis. In January 1987, a young Australian evangelist, Ken Ham, came to work for the ICR (Anonymous 1986). Inspired by Henry Morris's creation science ministry, Ham had co-founded the Australian Creation Science

Foundation in 1978 and had built it into a successful young-Earth ministry. In April 1988, ICR announced the institution of the Back to Genesis program, consisting of two-and-a-half-day public meetings built around creation science, but being more explicitly evangelical and religious than other ICR programs (Institute for Creation Research, 1988a, 1988b). Although other staff members were necessarily involved, the Back to Genesis program relied heavily on Ham. The more evangelical focus of its meetings may have been because Ham lacks a background in science, unlike most other ICR professional staff. By all accounts, the former teacher was a popular and successful evangelist, and the Back to Genesis programs began to play a larger role in ICR activities.

Ham also wrote the new Back to Genesis evangelical pamphlets that, beginning in January 1989, accompanied the ICR newsletter Acts and Facts, and Ham-led Back to Genesis revivals soon were held at least once a month throughout the united States. By August 1993, the Back to Genesis program had apparently expanded to the limits of ICR staff capabilities, and an article appeared in Acts and Facts encouraging churches to sign up for other, smaller ICR programs such as the Case for Creation seminars, "as well as speakers for pulpit supply, parent/teacher science workshops, school assemblies, conventions, campus conferences, and other types of meetings, even field trips are possible, especially with graduate student [sic], wherever a creationist message is in demand and can be scheduled. Fees are very reasonable compared to those of other types of specialty speakers" (Institute for Creation Research, 1993a: 5).

In January 1994, Ham moved to adjunct faculty status at the ICR's graduate school and left for Florence, Kentucky, to establish a branch of the Australian Creation Science Foundation. Ham first called his organization Creation Science Ministries, but soon changed its name to Answers in Genesis (AIG), and a few years later (in November 1997) the Australian Creation Science Foundation also became Answers in Genesis. The Australian and u.S. organizations formed the core of an international movement with other branches in Canada, New Zealand, and Great Britain. The international YEC establishment began to unravel, however, and in 2004, the Australian, Canadian, and New Zealand branches renamed themselves Creation Ministries International (CMI), and in 2005 they split from Answers in Genesis (Ham 2008). Up until 2007, AIG had sent its 40,000 members the Australian glossy magazine Creation as a membership premium, but because of the falling-out with CMI, Ham began publishing his own magazine, Answers. A lawsuit ensued over whether Ham had the right to use the Creation mailing list—reputed to be worth $250,000 to the Australian creationist organization (McKenna 2007).

Ham's claim that AIG is the largest YEC organization in the nation appears to be accurate. According to Internal Revenue Service (IRS) records (available for all nonprofit organizations), AIG's income in 2005 was slightly in excess of $13 million. (In the same year, ICR's income was about $7.8 million. In case you are curious, the organization I work for, the National Center for Science Education, had an income in 2005 of about $1.2 million). The AIG sponsors lectures and workshops led by Ham and other employees, and his monthly newsletter, Answers Update, offers books, videos, tapes, and other resources promoting YEC, in addition to the full-color magazine, Creation. A $27 million museum of creationism occupying 60,000 feet of AIG's headquarters in northern Kentucky opened in May 2007, to great fanfare. With the move in 2007 of ICR to its enlarged, four-acre headquarters in Dallas and the expansive and well-funded AIG museum, it appears that young-Earth creationism is expanding its potential for influence toward the end of the first decade of the twenty-first century.

Other YEC Ministries. In addition to the ICR, other national YEC organizations have heeded the creation science message of Henry Morris. The Bible-Science Association (BSA), founded in 1964, focused on spreading the message of creation science to the general public rather than on publishing scientific research. There were, in fact, some tensions between the BSA and the CRS. The BSA published the Bible Science Newsletter until the late 1990s, and then, falling on lean times, cut back publications and activities to focus on the creationist radio program (first aired in 1987) Creation Moments. The BSA itself became Creation Moments Inc. in 1997, and it now concentrates wholly on producing short radio programs.

Creation science is communicated to the public primarily through ICR and AIG publications, and through the less widely distributed Creation Research Society Quarterly, published by CRS. In 1978, Students for Origins Research began publishing the newsletter Origins Research from Santa Barbara, California. Although more moderate than the BSA, the students nonetheless usually promoted a YEC orientation. In 1996, Origins Research changed title and format and emerged as Origins and Design, and Students for Origins Research morphed into Access Research Network, shedding its overt young Earthism to promote intelligent design creationism (see chapter 6).

There also are regional and local organizations that promote the YEC views of Henry Morris, such as the Paulden, Arizona-based Van Andel Research Center (named after Jay Van Andel, founder of the Amway company), headed by an adjunct professor of biology at ICR, John R. Meyer. In Grand Junction, Colorado, Dave and Mary Jo Nutting (ICR graduate school alumni) operate the Alpha Omega Institute, which provides creationist geology and natural history tours of the Rockies and surrounding areas, as well as school assemblies for Christian and public schools. A St. Louis-based organization, the Creation-Science Association of Mid-America, was instrumental in the late 1990s in providing information to Kansas board of education members wishing to promote creation science. The Pittsburgh-based Creation Science Fellowship Inc. has been promoting young-Earth creationism since 1980, and it sponsors periodic international conferences on creationism. Several independent evangelists focus on creationism, including Carl Baugh of Glen Rose, Texas, and Walter Brown, of the Center for Scientific Creation in Phoenix. Perhaps the most successful of the creation science ministries was that of "Dr. Dino," or Kent Hovind, of Pensacola, Florida. However, Hovind ran afoul of the IRS in 2007 and was imprisoned for failing to pay withholding taxes for his employees (Stewart 2007).

Some national televangelists such as Hank Hanegraaff (Rancho Santa Margarita, California) and John Ankerberg (Ankerberg Theological Research Institute, Chattanooga, Tennessee) regularly present programs criticizing evolution, and they rely on and promote creationist views. Before his death in September 2007, D. James Kennedy's Coral Ridge Ministries' broadcasts regularly bashed evolution and promoted both young-Earth creationism and IDC. The nationwide Maranatha Campus

Ministries also promotes creation science. A sizable corpus of antievolutionary material consisting of books, videos, CDs, filmstrips, tape recordings, posters, and curricula promoting young-Earth creationism is publicly available from these organizations and individuals and their Web sites.

Was this article helpful?

0 0

Post a comment