EARTH The Science Behind the Headlines has a complaint. Last year, during the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America (GSA), the field trip tours of “Garden of the Gods” at Colorado Springs were led by Christians. Not only were they Christians, they were creationists.
Those in attendance did not complain or make charges that the tour guides taught anything contrary to accepted geology and scientific findings in the area.
At each stop along the trip, the guides relied on orthodox geologic thinking, including a standard examination of sedimentary features and the nature of contacts between units.
They used acceptable language:
After all, “During these catastrophic flood flows, turbulent, hyperconcentrated suspensions were observed to transform laminar mudflows” sounds like a reasonable description of alluvial fan processes. And “massive marine transgression” sounds scientific enough.
Even when they “avoid overtly stating anything truly contrary to mainstream science”, the scientific community is disturbed by the presence of Christians and creationist participating in this manner.
‘Earth’ gives the reasons for their concern. It seems that it is two-fold. In the mind of the evolutionists at least, they believe:
when the meeting is over, the creationist participants go home and proudly proclaim that mainstream science has accepted their ideas.
It’s a crafty way of giving credence to creationism.
If the 50 or so field trip participants did not know the subtext and weren’t familiar with the field trip leaders, it’s quite possible that they never realized that the leaders endorsed geologic interpretations completely at odds with the scientific community. But the leaders’ Young-Earth Creationist views were apparent in rhetorical subtleties.
The presence of these tour guides and GSA participants has caused a dilemma for that organization. What should be done about these scientist who follow all the rules, but do not “believe” correctly? It reminds me of the dilemma that the chief priest and elders had in Matthew 21:22-27.
Steven Newton, who wrote the op/ed suggests that Creationists be allowed to attend meetings, lead field trips, and present their material “as long as they present their conclusions as derived from accepted scientific methodology, rather than religion…” He doesn’t suggest this because it is the right thing to do, but because they, “if excluded from participating in such meetings, could easily spin this by saying the geologic community is afraid of their ideas.”
Does anyone, other than myself, wonder why there is a discussion of excluding Christians who do the job they are supposed to do? Actually, in a free and open society, one would think they that a guide would be free to express an opposing opinion or conclusion, but these guides did not even to that.