Within the last quarter century, a movement known as “young earth creationism” has grown in the Protestant Christian community of the United States.
Many supporters of the movement began to mobilize following a 1987 U.S. Supreme Court ruling, which declared that teaching creationism; the religious-based belief that the universe was created by a supreme being, in public schools is unconstitutional.
Until that time, creationism had been taught in many public schools as a theory on how the world came into existence right alongside evolution, the scientific belief that humans evolved into our current form over millions of years from earlier versions of humans that were related to animals.
“Opponents of creation science wanted to get it out of the schools, and they have been very successful,” said Scott Jones, an Indianapolis musician and a producer for local Christian radio stations. “Therefore, we have had an entire generation of children who have been taught that we come from monkeys, apes and gorillas.”
Jones noted that, as if to add insult to injury, the Supreme Court followed up with a 2004 verdict that struck down the teaching of intelligent design (the science-based belief that the world was designed) as a violation of the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment, which upholds separation of church and state.
Since then, creationist Christians have been upset that evolution is essentially the only state-endorsed theory of Earth’s origins taught in public schools.
“The bottom line is that a lot of things that are incorrect are being taught in our school system, including among our African-American children,” said Rev. Frederick Boyd, pastor of Zion Unity Missionary Baptist Church.
Making matters a little more complicated, the creationist Christian movement has split into two main camps.
The first are young earth creationists, who embrace a literal interpretation of the account in the book of Genesis saying God created the world in six days, and that Earth is only between 5,700 to 10,000 years old. Then there are theistic evolutionists, who believe there is a God, but that evolution was used to develop human life over millions of years.
Indiana is home to many prominent young earth creation activists, including Dr. John Whitcomb, a theologian and author of the book The Genesis Flood, which provides scientific arguments that a universal flood took place as recorded in the Bible.
Creation activists in Indiana are working to convince legislators, educators and parents to help bring creation science, or at least intelligent design, back into schools. One of the ways they hope to achieve that goal is by presenting events such as the annual Creation Evidence Expo (CCE) held in Indianapolis.
This year’s event is scheduled for Sept. 17 to 21 at the Venue Conference Center, 5110 W. Pike Plaza Road. It will include a debate between a creation supporter and evolutionist, a rally at the Indiana State Capitol, and seminars from several leading creationist scientists. Among those attending, include Dr. Carl Baugh, the founder of the Creation Evidence Museum in Texas who was recently given exclusive rights by the state of Israel to excavate a sight in Jerusalem thought to be the pool of Siloam, where Jesus gave sight to a blind man, according to the Gospel of John.
Dr. Jay Wile, a professor of nuclear chemistry at the University of Rochester, is looking forward to speaking at CCE.
“I was first an atheist, then became a creationist after I realized that nature had to be created,” Wile said. “It took a little longer for me to realize who the creator was, and that was quite a journey that required me to learn a lot more about the scientific evidence that supports the truth of the Bible and a Christian world view.”
Jones said he is hopeful that people, whether they support creationism or not, will participate in CEE.
“They will ask, ‘if we really evolved from monkeys and fish, then why are those creatures still here?’ It doesn’t make sense,” said Jones, laughing. “Supporters of evolution want us to believe humanity started with one cell in the water that evolved into a fish, then that fish walked on land and miraculously turned into a mammal that evolved into us. I have yet to see a fish with legs. There’s no archeological evidence for that.”
Also smiling, Boyd chimed in, “I’m still waiting to see a monkey man.”
Kenneth Miller, a Christian who embraces evolution, doesn’t believe it is a laughing matter. He believes teaching alternatives to evolution such as young earth creationism and intelligent design requires a rejection of basic astronomy, physics, chemistry and biology.
“Their approach to scientific problems is nothing more than an appeal to a ‘designer,'” said Miller, a professor of physics at Brown University. “Since such appeals are not testable, they don’t amount to science and can only mislead students as to the nature of science and scientific evidence.”
Miller added that rigid creationists look for God in what science cannot explain, while scientists who are religious look for God in what science does understand and explain.
“In other words, we find knowledge a compelling reason to believe in God,” he said. “They find ignorance a compelling reason to believe in God.”
Boyd gave an equally sharp reply, asking, “If it is written that God created the world in six days and has the power to speak things into existence, then why would it take him millions of years to develop humanity?”
When asked to provide samples of evidence supporting their theory of creationism, Boyd and Jones gave a preview of the kind of information that will be presented at CEE.
“First, it is important to remember that Genesis says that God created us in his image, not in the image of animals,” Boyd stated. “Also, when experts trace the lineage of Adam to modern times, they’re looking at no more than 8,000 years.”
Scott mentioned the art that was recently discovered in ancient caves that depicts humans interacting with dinosaurs, and noted DNA shows that there is still a cell difference between humans and animals, making it impossible for them to evolve from each other.
Boyd promises that attendees who come to the CEE will see plenty of archeological, geological and scientific “evidence” supporting the claim that a supreme being, specifically the Christian God, created the universe.
“This is not a religious event, it is a science-based educational event,” Boyd said. “Our goal is to promote truth in education, because you can’t teach something unless it has been proven to be factually true.”
Decide for yourself
What: Creation Evidence Expo
When: Sept. 17 – 21
Where: The Venue Conference Center, 5110 W. Pike Plaza Road
- Daily presenters such as John Whitcomb, co-author of The Genesis Flood; Willie Dye, African-American biblical archeologist; Carl Baugh, founder of the Creation Evidence Museum, and many others.
- Anti-violence rally at the Indiana Statehouse, Friday, Sept. 16, noon to 3 p.m.
- Debate: Creationist Jay Wile vs. evolutionist Ben Boone, Wednesday, Sept. 21 at 6 p.m.
For a full itinerary of events, presenters and daily schedules, visit www.creationevidenceexpo.org or call (317) 698-0356.