A reader sent along an
an article from the Lancaster Sunday News, announcing a lecture on 17 May by John Morris, an infamously silly Young Earth Creationist. It’s a little peculiar; it’s written by Helen Colwell Adams, bylined as a staff writer for the paper, but it is completely credulous — she seems to have interviewed Morris and blindly written down everything he claimed, without so much as cocking an eyebrow and wondering if there were anything to these absurd claims. It’s a wonderful example of very bad journalism.
Morris also panders to his audience with talk about how the Pennsylvania coal fields were all laid down in one great flood. I don’t know what it is, but some people from that part of the state have the wackiest ideas about coal—witness Ed Conrad.
Note the strange beginning — that’s the way it was capitalized in the copy sent to me.
After the great flood Scientist will turn to Genesis to explain a younger Earth at conference here this month
IN THE BEGINNING
By Helen Colwell Adams
Just how did Pennsylvania’s coal seams get to be the size they are?
Most schoolchildren would answer that the coal was formed from ancient peat swamps.
Dr. John Morris suggests a different explanation.
He proposes the coal was formed from “forest and vegetation that was ripped up and deposited by the great flood on a huge scale.”
Noah’s flood, to be precise.
Morris, the president of the Institute for Creation Research, is one of the leading figures in the field of “young Earth creationism,” which holds that the biblical account in Genesis is scientifically accurate.
He’ll be discussing his convictions in Lancaster on May 17, when he keynotes the annual banquet of Associates for Biblical Research, a ministry based in Akron that focuses on the archaeological end of biblical history.
Morris, who has a doctorate in geological engineering, argues that geological evidence usually cited to support the position that the Earth is millions of years old can be explained better as the result of devastation caused by the worldwide flood recounted in Genesis.
“The Earth doesn’t look old,” he said. “It looks flooded.”
Journalists tend to lump young-Earth creationists like Morris with supporters of Intelligent Design, which posits that the universe was created but doesn’t specifically name a designer.
But that’s not accurate, Morris said, because creationists don’t shy away from naming the designer as the God of the Bible.
Besides, he added, all scientists, no matter their belief or unbelief, see order and design in nature.
“The issue is not whether there is design or not,” he said.
“It’s just the story we tell about it.”
The story, as far as Morris is concerned, can be found in the first 11 chapters of Genesis, which contain the accounts of God’s creation of “the heavens and the earth” and of Noah’s ark.
By biblical timelines, involving computation from the genealogies in Genesis, the Earth is only thousands of years old rather than millions.
“I am convinced that the biblical doctrine of a recent creation is accurate,” Morris said last week.
“… You’re not going to get rocks to tell you how old they are. A careful understanding of the rocks will be supportive of that very specific biblical doctrine.
“Rocks don’t talk.”
Morris, whose father, Dr. Henry Morris, was known as “the father of creation science,” is a former faculty member at the University of Oklahoma. He has led expeditions to Mount Ararat in Turkey in search of Noah’s ark.
He sees the Bible as compatible with science.
“The Bible doesn’t give us all the details,” Morris said, “so there’s a lot of room to fill in the blanks.”
One of the questions is whether geologic processes have always progressed at the same rate.
“At the rate present processes are operating,” Morris said, “it looks like things would take a long time to happen. The question is: Is the assumption that the rate hasn’t changed — is that accurate?”
Morris and other creationists point to the flood of Noah as the occurrence that dramatically changed the rate.
“It looks like something very dynamic has restructured the Earth on a global scale,” he said.
And in that case, “things that geologists are taught take millions of years can happen rapidly.”
Take Pennsylvania’s coalfields.
Morris disputes the conventional explanation that peat swamps under pressure resulted in coal formation.
Coal isn’t forming today, he noted. And some of Pennsylvania’s coal seams cover nearly the whole state.
“There’s no such thing as a peat swamp that’s even remotely that size. Something different was going on in the past.”
That something, Morris contends, was the Genesis flood.
“Both evolutionists and creationists see the coal. It’s just the story we tell about its origins” that differs.
Morris’ appearance in Lancaster came through his friendship with Dr. Bryant Wood, senior archaeologist of the nonprofit Associates for Biblical Research.
“Both of them are staunch defenders of scripture,” said ABR director Scott Lanser.
At the banquet, Morris said, he’ll discuss how “God told man to have dominion over the universe, to use it wisely and carefully for the good of mankind as well as God’s glory,” and how both the Santee, Calif.-based Institute for Creation Research and local ABR are doing that.
ICR doesn’t lobby the government, Morris said.
“Our whole focus is scientific research.” And “the scientific projects we’re doing all point to the necessity of a “creator.”
Morris takes issue with the Intelligent Design movement, though, because supporters “pull their punches” on the identity of the designer.
The difference between the two positions, he said: “Every creationist believes in Intelligent Design, but not all Intelligent Design advocates believe in creation.
“… We are not ashamed to identify the creator, the intelligence behind it all.”
But “even many who are Christians have just never heard a credible case for creation,” he said.
Partly, in his opinion, that’s because “some scientists have redefined science to be naturalism,” meaning that everything happens by natural processes and “there is no supernatural.”
He calls evolution “the origins myth of the naturalists,” arguing the fossil record fails to show how different species evolved from a common ancestor.
Instead, he noted, the fossils show no transitional forms, which is “supportive of what the Bible says.”
“Evolution is at least as religious as creation,” Morris said, “and creation is at least as scientific as evolution.”
Dr. John Morris is the keynote speaker at the annual banquet of Associates for Biblical Research, at 6:30 p.m. May 17 at Calvary Church, 1051 Landis Valley Road. Tickets are free, but pre-registration is necessary. Call ABR at (800) 430-0008 or e-mail Office@BibleArchaeology.org. ABR’s Web site is www.BibleArchaeology.org. The Institute for Creation Research is at www.icr.org.
Ms Adams, were you even awake when you wrote that?