Institute for creation research contrast claims

Throughout the Institute for Creation Reacher’s Acts&Facts magazine, there subsists a greater assortment of negative, rather than neutral/posi-tive contrast overall. In fact, throughout ICR communications, only 33 of the total 741 recorded Contrast Principle and Negativity Effect cases can be classified as being of the neutral/positive variety. These latter types of statements usually describe non-creationist perspectives, and then articulate the divergent Young Earth Creationist viewpoint. Though these excerpts do not overtly attack the evolutionist angle, they still frequently include language that stresses how the creationist outlook is the better option, perhaps because it features sacred approval or greater scientific credence (Chapter 3). This type of contrast is characterized in an article written by Albert Mohler Jr, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, which is the training hub of the world’s largest Protestant denomination. In the ICR piece, Mohler compares the “idea of uniformitarianism” with the authoritative, sacred “consensus of the church,” even though he does not outright insult or denigrate Charles Lyell’s theory.21 The neutral contrast, nevertheless, directly sets the professedly secular human-origins narrative of evolutionary theory against what is described as the religiously imbued, church-sanctioned nature of Young Earth Creationism.

Other ICR articles also neutrally put side by side the evident secular-ity of evolutionary ideas, as well as their seemingly conjectural qualities, with the certitude of biblical scripture. “The hypothesis of evolution claims that all life descended from one common ancestor (or a few) over the past three to four billion years,” explains Jeanson. “In contrast, Scripture clearly teaches the supernatural creation of distinct creatures in six days roughly 6,000 years ago.”22 Here evolution, described as only a hypothetical, is neutrally contrasted with the clear, incontrovertible teachings of the Bible. Relatively analogous occurrences of neutral contrast describe evolution as a theory confounded by certain empirical facts, in direct comparison to YEC, which is said to easily account for all available scientific data:

Since beards are routinely shaved, it seems there is no pragmatic biological function for them. Yet according to Darwinian evolution, nature selects individuals with novel, advantageous features. If, for vertebrates in general, 'the developmental origin of hair is ... mysterious’ for evolution, then the specification of androgenic hair on male humans is even more so.

On the other hand, if everything was created by a God who exists outside the physical world, there is a ready answer, one with broad application: beards present a certain appearance. Aesthetic features were emplaced by Someone who knew how things look in addition to how things work. Beards do not confer any selectable survival advantage to humankind, but they do serve to add distinction to men, perhaps as different features distinguish women.23

With that said, ICR’s more prominent negative contrast incidences principally compare Young Earth Creationism and its adherents to non-YEC Christians of all varieties, as well as with evolution and evolutionists more generally. These primary comparative foci occasionally overlap because, of course, numerous Christians are non-creationist evolutionists. Many of the significant themes that appear in the Institute for Creation Research’s use of negative contrast have already surfaced in this book’s examination of Source Cues and Asking Questions. These include assessments of ICR’s purportedly superior approach to the Bible, which is contrasted directly with the second-rate treatment of scripture exhibited by non-creationist Christians. Unlike the institute’s unwavering commitment to correct, divinely intended hermeneutics, proevolutionist Christians are said to hold “compromise theories” or “accommodationist views” that corrupt the biblical narrative with nonliteralist interpretations.24 “Positions that reinterpret the Genesis account to incorporate evolutionary science,” notes Forlow, “compromise God’s Word, God’s nature, and the gospel message.”25 Moreover, while ICR’s hermeneutics and mission are described as being God-approved and linked with the Bible’s writers, non-creationist Christians are associated with the biblical character of Balaam, as well as with other individuals who have been criticized by many conservative Evangelicals:

But Balaam had an appetite for monetary success and a desire for secular recognition (2 Peter 2:15; Jude 11). He willfully embraced error in spite of the Lord’s warnings and with clear knowledge beforehand that he was doing wrong (Numbers 22-24). In so doing, he foreshadowed the likes of the foolish teachings of Harold Camping, the damnable writings of Rob Bell, the oily compromise of Peter Enns, and the open betrayal of Scripture by ‘Evangelical’ academics like Bruce Waltke and the fellows of BioLogos.

How do ‘good’ people become ‘enemies of the cross of Christ’? (Philippians 3:18)26

By contrasting ICR with such descriptions of purported non-creationist falsity, Acts&Facts writers accentuate the organization’s own Christiancentered credibility and devotion to God’s true nature.

Institute for Creation Research writers also attempt to provoke feelings of fear and dread via contrast, as they warn readers to be vigilant against the many deviant shapes of non-creationist Christianity. “Today Christendom faces new breeds of Trojan horses (e.g., BioLogos, Intelligent Design deism, day-age ‘progressive creation,’ framework hypothesis, etc.),” cautions Johnson. These subversives “lie in wait to attack our understanding of Genesis and what it teaches about the Flood,” so, “Beware - and keep your Bible open!”27 Audiences are told that many Intelligent Design “adherents are active Christians who maintain a strong personal testimony of their faith in Christ.” Yet this movement dangerously treats scripture as irrelevant and

“denies the Bible’s authoritative relevance to our knowledge of how God created everything.”28 While ICR members revere the scriptures and let God’s word “speak for itself,” ID is described as hindering God’s voice by using a “closed-bible approach” to science.29 Christian Intelligent Design proponents are also accused of “culpable passivity” and “going with the flow,” because they do not preserve biblical literalism and timorously yield to nonChristian ideas espoused by secular academics.3" This is contrasted with those courageous Christians who challenge “the status quo that routinely denigrates God and His Word,” rather than simply listening “to the voices of ‘experts’ who boisterously brag of their ‘science’ (falsely so-called).”31

Similar charges are recurrently leveled against evolutionary creationists, and readers are told that this perspective leads to nothing less than the rejection of the same sacred and scientific authority from which ICR draws its Messenger Credibility:

The resurgence of the various theistic evolution theories, led by groups such as BioLogos that espouse the ‘creation by evolution’ mantra, would be theologically irrelevant if it were not that embracing evolution requires a rejection of the doctrine of inerrancy, the revealed nature of God Himself, and much of obvious science as well.32

Derogatory contrast, blended with fear appeals, is especially pronounced in relation to such discourse on theistic evolution. This can be observed in an article by Henry Morris’s son, Henry Morris III, which emphasizes the danger of theistic evolution by using the biohazard symbol, and warning readers that BioLogos’ ideas can be particularly destructive to personal faith.33 Through such descriptions, the ICR’s creationism and faithfulness are contrasted with religiously calamitous accommodationist views that lead directly to apostasy. As Morris warns, “The road of compromise, however attractive it seems, is a one-way street, ending in a precipice and then the awful void of ‘rational religion,’ or atheism.”34

These negative contrast portrayals of theistic evolution coincide with Acts&Facts' overall treatment of both evolutionary theory and its many supporters. Such cases often juxtapose creationism’s authentic scientific and biblical nature, which is said to be validated by both empirical data and scripture, alongside natural selection’s apparently illusory evidence. For instance, Young Earth Creationism is consistently described as being substantiated by “real science,” while natural selection is marked as an “evolutionary fairy tale,” “only an illusion,” or simply an imaginary “mystical process” that lacks genuine scientific corroboration.3’ What is more, natural selection is not only represented as an unempirical fiction but also as Satan’s very instrument used to oppose God’s purposes. With regard to this, Morris stated the following in relation to the devil’s attempts at seizing America’s educational system:

Because of its key importance in God’s plan for His creation, Satan has sought very successfully to gain control of education - especially higher education. His system of evolution is the key weapon in his control of education and he bitterly opposes all who presume to teach against that system. ICR was founded with this very issue in mind.36

Such associations between evolution and Satan are further demonstrated in a piece entitled “Fighting the Dragon,” which reports on an unsuccessful legal battle fought by ICR to reverse the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s ruling preventing the institute from granting science degrees. The article includes a picture of an imposing dragon looming over a courthouse, and it opens with the following excerpt: “The Bible describes our ultimate Enemy as ‘the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan’ (Revelation 20:2), who wages war against the saints with his many ‘ministers’ (2 Corinthians 11:15) who do his bidding. What is his primary strategy? To thwart the impact of God’s Word.”37 The article asserts unreservedly that Satan has been working in several court cases to legally frustrate Darwinskeptics, and before he asks the audience for financial donations, Morris assures readers that, while “ICR’s legal battle is over, we will not retreat from other public efforts to fight the ‘Dragon’ and his minions.”38

Naturally, ICR materials also link the satanic tool of evolution with horrendous evils. Acts&Facts' Associate Editor explains, “Having witnessed slavery aboard the Beagle, Darwin didn’t like it, yet his ideas have been used to justify practices ranging from laissez-faire capitalism, racism, colonialism, Francis Galton’s eugenics, and social Darwinism.”39 Evolution’s harminducing characteristics are subsequently contrasted with the professed beneficial outcomes of creationism:

Consider also the fruit test. Jesus said, ‘By their fruits ye shall know them’ (Matthew 7:20). The fruits of evolution include atheism, communism, fascism, and all kinds of harmful behavior and evil philosophy, but not one good fruit in the form of real scientific advance in either living standards or altruistic behavior. Belief in primeval supernatural creation, on the other hand, was the motivating conviction of practically all the founding fathers of modern science, of the American nation, and of the original education system of this country. All the basic doctrines of Christianity are founded on the truth of primeval special creation. Creationism certainly scores much higher than evolutionism on the fruit test.40

This evolution-creation dissimilitude is further epitomized in the following comparative proclamation:

It is high time that people in general, and Bible-believing Christians in particular, recognize the foundational significance of special creation.

Creation is not merely a religious doctrine of only peripheral importance, as many people (even many Evangelical Christians) seem to assume. Rather, it is the basis of all true science, of true Americanism, and of true Christianity.

Evolutionism, on the other hand, is actually a pseudo-science masquerading as science. As such, it has been acclaimed as the “scientific” foundation of atheism, humanism, communism, fascism, imperialism, racism, laissez-faire capitalism, and a variety of cultic, ethnic, and so-called liberal religions, by the respective founders and advocates of these systems.41

Readers are also instructed that unlike creationism, the evil-inciting theory of natural selection is indisputably a heretical, God-denying concept. “Selection is idolatrous in the basest of ways” contends Guliuzza. “Not only does it ascribe intelligence-like powers to unconscious environmental features, like any other idol, but it induces people not to give the Lord credit for the incredible intelligence and machinery He has built into His creatures that enable them to adapt to environmental features.”42 This idol, labeled “Darwin’s substitute god,” as well as a “substitute ‘gospel’ of godlessness and death,” has apparently been conscientiously employed in a single-minded effort to remove the divine as an explanation for obvious cases of design in nature.43 Correspondingly, Acts&Facts writers further stress that as an unproven, scientifically frail theory, evolution is primarily an expression of anti-Christian religious faith, though “an inferior faith, indeed.”44 This evolutionist faith is:

[A] faith not dependent on anything so mundane as evidence or logic, but rather a faith strong in its childlike trust, relying wholly on omniscient Chance and omnipotent Matter to produce the complex systems and mighty energies of the universe. The evolutionist’s faith is not dependent on evidence, but is pure faith - absolute credulity.45

In this vein, ICR materials refer to “Evolutionary belief” as a form of blind conviction, and a “remarkable and largely unexplained phenomenon.”46 This is compared directly with ICR’s ostensible dependence on scientific empiricism and verifiable facts, which match up with the scrupulous “eyewitness accounts” provided by many biblical characters and God himself.47

Allegations concerning evolution’s religious nature are supplemented by claims that allegiance to this scientifically unfounded faith often involves a sort of atheistic zealotry and requires “willful ignorance,” “willfully ignoring the data,” and a “willful commitment to naturalism.”48 John Morris insists that because the “evidence for creation is so strong, it is illogical to believe anything else,” and therefore, in contrast with antievolutionists, “Only a religious commitment to atheism, or a desire for the approval of those atheists who call themselves scholars, could lead one down this path. ”49 Accordingly, readers are told that the paucity of substantive evidence drives

Comparisons and suppression 147 evolutionists to use chicanery and bullying in order to counterargue creationists, while they fight to maintain a “monopoly on science, education, and theology.”50 Thus, Henry Morris explains, “The evolutionist, knowing the weakness of the scientific case for evolution, almost always directs his own argument not against creation per se but against recent creation and its corollary, flood geology.”51 It is also said, in words which further resonate with the Scarcity Principle and conspiracist ideation, that evolutionists “willfully suppress” conclusions that imply design and purpose in nature, while employing propaganda, in the most negative sense of the term.52 As Johnson tells readers, “Evolutionary propaganda is more than just science fiction - it is hyped and sold with slick sophistry.”53 These efforts are combined with political scheming, because while evolutionists “may not have scientific explanations on their side,” argues Dao, “evolutionists have political and other tactics.”54 Cumulatively then, the professedly honorable, God-fearing, and science-respecting qualities of Young Earth Creationism are contrasted with the institute’s adversaries, serving to heighten the organization’s image while simultaneously denigrating evolutionary theory and its proponents.

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