Undergraduate Program Course Study Guide READINGS IN SCIENTIFIC CREATIONISM
Professor: Stephen Caesar, M.A.,
anthropology and archaeology, Harvard University
Three (3) Credits
PLEASE REVIEW THE FOLLOWING ITEMS BEFORE YOU BEGIN THIS COURSE.
Pray for God’s guidance before you begin this course, and each time you work on it.
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The total length of time required to complete this course is different for each person, with subject background, previous education, and personal situation all having a major role in personal study habits and ability. However, on average each course credit usually requires between 35-40 clock hours of study. Therefore, a two credit course will require about 85-90 hours of work, likewise a three credit course between 130-140 hours. Since you are not restricted by classroom hours, the average student might expect to complete a three credit course in about nine weeks by devoting four study hours per day only four days per week (i.e. two hours morning and evening).
When you have completed your course, send it to Master's for grading (do not send it directly to your course professor). From the time you submit your course, until it is returned to you (graded) will vary, but generally courses sent by postal mail will require as much as two weeks in transit (to and from), and another two weeks to get through the recording and grading process. Email submission generally requires about two weeks. These are averages, and your course may take slightly more or less time. While you are waiting, make good use of your time by beginning your next course, but if this is your final course, then enjoy the rest…you have earned it!
May God bless you as you study, as you follow the timeless encouragement given by the Apostle Paul to Timothy as recorded in II Timothy 2:15.
BEGIN THIS COURSE
Course Purpose: This course is a more in-depth version of “Creation from a Scientific Perspective.” It will examine the scientific evidence for believing the Genesis account of the origin of life on Earth, and will also employ the latest scientific discoveries to dismantle the Darwinian theory of evolution and the claims of extreme antiquity of the Earth.
Course Objectives: As a result of the successful completion of this course, the student will be able to understand and articulate the latest scientific evidence for the support of the Genesis account of the creation of the Earth, to successfully dismantle the Darwinian theory of evolution, and to refute claims for the extreme antiquity of the Earth.
MATERIALS REQUIRED AUDIO CASSETTES (Provided by Master's Divinity School)
One audio lecture by Professor Caesar comprises the lecture component of this course.
REQUIRED PRINTED MATERIALS: (Purchased from Master's by the student)
Darwin’s Enigma, by Luther D. Sutherland, available free by clicking on the book’s title or cover at www.creationism.org/ books/index.htm.
Tornado in a Junkyard by James Perloff, available at Refuge Books, P.O. Box 191, Arlington, MA 02476-0002.
YOUR COURSE PROJECTS This Study Guide contains questions and written assignments that are related to the materials. These are referred to as Course Projects.
YOUR CASSETTE PROJECT: 1. Listen to the tape (it is recommended that you listen to it at least twice), making notes as you listen.
2. Write a summary of the contents of the tape. Use not less than 750 words.
YOUR TEXTBOOK PROJECT: Part One: Read the textbooks and write a one-paragraph affirmation that you have read the required textbooks. Put your signature on this document.
Part Two: Assume that you are asked to write a Book Review of the required textbooks for a magazine. Write your review, as both a synopsis and a critique of the content. Use not less than 500 words for each book.
YOUR WRITTEN LECTURE PROJECT:
(The entire Written Lecture is printed at the end of this Study Guide)
Part One: Read the entire Written Lecture not less than twice.
Part Two: Select one topic from the Written Lecture Outline below and create a project that converts the topic you have selected into a clear and easy-to-understand teaching brief. The brief must set forth the topics selected in such a manner that someone taking your project might follow it to teach a class of adults the materials you have set out to present. Your brief must be properly documented. The total word count for this project must not be less than 1,000 words.
YOUR FINAL WRITING PROJECT: This is the final project, and must be completed only after you have finished the cassette and textbook projects. Write a summary of the entire course. Include in this summary how this course has impacted your understanding of the subject; has helped you in your ministry to others; and how this understanding has changed the way you think and react in matters related to the subject of the course. Use not less than 750 words.
WRITTEN LECTURE 1. Paleontologists Admit First Life Appeared Suddenly Gen. 1:21 states that “God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind….” This sudden appearance of the first life in the oceans has been confirmed by the fossil record. Paleontology has demonstrated conclusively that life in the early Cambrian Period (the geologic epoch when life first appears in the fossil record) came about with extreme rapidity, not slowly and incrementally.
The October 1993 issue of National Geographic featured an article entitled “The Cambrian Period: Explosion of Life.” The article reported that “the modern animal groups emerged almost at once, making the Cambrian explosion appear to be the big bang of zoology” (Gore 1993: 125 [emphasis added]). The greatest collection of the fossilized remains of these early life-forms is the Burgess Shale deposit in Canada. Examined by paleontologist Desmond Collins of the Royal Ontario Museum, the Burgess fossils show that the basic premise of Genesis-style creation is true, as National Geographic reported: “Collins sees little evolutionary change among these animals....‘New fossils found in China and Greenland look very much like the Burgess animals,’ says Collins. ‘Yet they are up to 15 million years older’” (Gore 1993: 125). In 1995, a similar article appeared in Time magazine, which noted that
the Cambrian is a period distinguished by the abrupt appearance of an astonishing array of multi-celled animals-animals that are the ancestors of virtually all the creatures that now swim, fly and crawl through the visible world. Indeed, while most people cling to the notion that evolution works its magic over millions of years, scientists are realizing that biological change often occurs in sudden fits and starts. And none of those fitful starts was more dramatic, more productive or more mysterious than the one that occurred....[a]ll around the world [during the Cambrian]... (Nash 1995: 67 [emphasis added]).
The article further stated:
Over the decades, evolutionary theorists beginning with Charles Darwin have tried to argue that the appearance of multi-celled animals during the Cambrian merely seemed sudden, and in fact had been preceded by a lengthy period of evolution for which the geological record was missing. But this explanation, while it patched over a hole in an otherwise masterly theory, now seems increasingly unsatisfactory. Since 1987, discoveries of major fossil beds in Greenland, in China, in Siberia, and now in Namibia have shown that the period of biological innovation occurred at virtually the same instant in geologic time all around the world (Nash 1995: 68 [emphasis added]).
Despite the old-earth evolutionary bias in this statement, it essentially confirms the Biblical creation account-life did not develop gradually over the eons, but appeared suddenly all around the planet at the same time.
A further confirmation of Genesis provided by these discoveries is that the act of creation only occurred once. Time reported: “Even more speculative are scientists’ attempts to address the flip side of the Cambrian mystery: why this evolutionary burst, so stunning in speed and scope, has never been equaled....[T]here is no record of new phyla emerging later on...” (Nash 1995: 74). This is just what Genesis indicates: there is only one creation account in the Bible, and it appears at the very beginning. After that, there is no sign of God having re-created, or having duplicated His previous creation.
The reporters at Time seem baffled by this stunning confirmation of Genesis: “Where did this extraordinary bestiary come from, and why did it emerge so quickly?...[It is] a burst of creativity like nothing before or since...” (Nash 1995: 68). The article continues, “Of course, understanding what made the Cambrian explosion possible doesn’t address the larger question of what made it happen so fast” (Nash 1995: 73). If they believed Genesis, they would not be in such a state of confusion and wonder. The discoveries that they reported merely serve to confirm what Genesis had been saying all along.
Gore, R. 1993. “The Cambrian Period: Explosion of Life.” National Geographic 184, no. 4.
Nash, J.M. 1995. “When Life Exploded.” Time, 4 December.
2. Evolutionists’ “Primordial Soup” Theory Being Replaced For nearly a century, evolutionists have been claiming, with dogmatic certainty, that the first life on Earth appeared in a “primordial soup” consisting of water loaded with chemicals necessary for the start of life. This “warm little pond” was believed to have been struck by an electrical discharge (most likely from lightning) that caused the chemicals to form complex protein molecules, which eventually brought forth life. From this first life, evolutionists postulate, all other life evolved.
In 1953, the promoters of this “primordial soup” theory thought they had found proof when Stanley L. Miller, a graduate student at the University of Chicago, constructed an apparatus that supposedly re-created those early conditions. He circulated steam through a mixture of ammonia, methane, and hydrogen, and then sent a high-energy electrical spark through the mixture, in imitation of the hypothesized lightning bolt. He continued to do this for the span of one week, after which time his mixture became red and murky. It was found to contain complex amino acids-the essential building blocks of life (McAlester 1968: 7-8).
Numerous similar tests were carried out by other scientists after Miller’s experiment. Prof. A. Lee McAlester of Yale writes of them:
These studies have led scientists to visualize a time early in Earth history when the surface was covered with oceans or lakes that were rich in non-biologically produced molecules fundamental to life. The waters of these oceans or lakes have been often described as a ‘dilute organic soup,’ a concept first developed in the 1920’s and 1930’s by the English biologist J.B.S. Haldane and the Russian biochemist A.I. Oparin, pioneer workers on the origin of life. In the great burst of interest following Miller’s experiment, the ideas of Haldane and Oparin have been greatly expanded, and a number of speculative hypotheses now attempt to explain the development of the first self-duplicating organisms from the nonliving building blocks of the early organic soup (1968: 8).
This theory has been sold to students, academics, and the general public as if it were infallible truth. However, there have been major problems with it. The first is that the presence of a scientist like Miller (who is now at the University of California - San Diego) is necessary to set up the system and add the external energy needed for the appearance of life. In other words, an outside Intelligent Designer, with a specific purpose in mind (i.e., the creation of life on a lifeless planet), is required for the theory to work. Miller’s experiment, then, did not disprove the need for a Creator; rather, it demonstrated that a Creator was precisely what was needed to get things going.
Second, this scenario, as postulated by Haldane and Oparin and supposedly proven by Miller, cannot be proven by the fossil record. Prof. McAlester notes that we will never find evidence of this imagined “soup.” The first simple organisms that hypothetically formed in this soup had to draw sustenance from the soup itself. “In other words,” he notes, “they must have ‘eaten’ the organic soup from which they arose,” thus causing the soup itself to disappear (McAlester 1968: 9). He then admits:
Unfortunately, there is little likelihood that direct evidence of the nature of the earliest life on Earth will ever be found. Deformation and erosion of the crust have almost certainly destroyed any early rocks that might have contained traces of the original soup or of the primitive organisms that developed from it (McAlester 1968: 10 [italics original]).
A third problem is the statistical improbability of Miller’s scenario ever having arisen by pure chance. The New York Times, in an article reporting on the possible debunking of the “primordial soup” theory, commented that
it has proved very hard to take Dr. Miller’s classic experiments much further. The problem is that a pinch of chemicals in watery solution do not bump into one another often enough to create the more complicated molecules of life (Kilborn 1998: A14).
Fourth, recent discoveries have induced many scientists to discard, or at least greatly question, Miller’s theory of the “warm little pond” in favor of a deep-sea, volcanic origin of the first life. The same New York Times article quoted above reported:
The idea that life on earth began in the furnace-like temperatures of a volcanic environment has received support from an experiment designed to reconstruct the chemical events that may have led to the first living cells.
The experiment, reported in today’s [July 31, 1998] issue of the journal Science, shows that peptides, short protein chains, can form naturally under conditions that might plausibly have existed on the early earth... (Kilborn 1998: A1).
The leading scientist behind this new theory is Dr. Günther Wächtershäuser, a German organic chemist. He and his colleague, Dr. Claudia Huber of the Munich Technical University, have postulated that the first protein chains necessary for life formed not on the surface of the Earth, in Miller’s “warm little pond,” but at the bottom of the ocean, in the super-hot environment of undersea volcanoes. In a series of experiments, Wächtershäuser and Huber showed that carbon-based chemicals could be formed from iron ore, nickel, and the gases that are emitted from underwater volcanoes (Kilborn 1998: A14).
Leading scientists in America have voiced their support for the two Germans’ theory and correspondent experiments. Dr. Carl R. Woese, a microbiologist at the University of Illinois, referred to their findings as “another step in the grand march” of science, while Dr. Norman Pace of the University of California at Berkeley, an expert on the origins of life, said, “I think the milieu of a geothermal environment is far superior to the sparking bottles of Stanley Miller” (Kilborn 1998: A1, A14).
Regardless of whether Dr. Wächtershäuser is proven correct or not, one significant fact remains: Miller’s “primordial soup” theory, for so long presented as practically undeniable fact, is falling apart. This is typical of the entire evolutionary scheme-it is essentially a shadowy, unprovable theory that is portrayed in textbooks and media articles as incontrovertible truth, despite the enormous doubts harbored by scientists as to its veracity. The theory of evolution, rather than being monolithic, infallible truth, is really a jumble of conflicting and ever-changing sub-theories, as the Miller-Wächtershäuser controversy demonstrates. For decades, Miller’s theory was presented as fact; now, it’s being unraveled. For how many decades will Wächtershäuser’s theory be portrayed as infallible truth before it, too, is rejected?
Kilborn, P.T. 1998. “Data Back Idea That Life Grew Out of Inferno,” New York Times, 31 July.
McAlester, A.L. 1968. The History of Life. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.
3. Evidence against the Evolution of Plants Gen. 1:11 states that God created “grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself.” If this is true, then the theory of plant evolution is wrong. Indeed, evolutionists have admitted that 1) The fossil record shows that both plant and animal species appear in the fossil record abruptly, not gradually; 2) There is no fossil evidence of transitional forms demonstrating the evolutionary climb from primitive to advanced plant species; 3) The evolutionary “milestone” of the first flowering plant is not revealed in the fossil record; and 4) Genetic mutations do not produce new, more advanced species of plants.
A major problem for plant evolution is that the fossil record shows no transitional forms between lower life-forms and their alleged evolutionary offspring. Gerald T. den Hartog, Ph.D., a research agronomist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, remarked that “basically the plant species remain the same all through the ages, regardless of selective processes, changes in climate and environment, or persistent and widespread attacks by biological enemies” (1958: 103). Dr. Hamshaw Thomas, President of the Botany Section of the British Association, stated:
Little or no progress has been achieved in proving by the production of actual historical evidence that evolutionary changes have taken place in the form and structure of plants. While such ignorance exists there must always be a strong tendency amongst botanists to regard the hypothesis of evolution as a dogma which must be believed in the absence of any other reasonable hypothesis, in spite of the absence of any direct decisive evidence. Such a position has a pernicious influence on botanical thought (Quoted in Short 1949: 80).
Another major problem for plant evolution is that the fossil record reveals no evidence of the “milestones” in the supposed evolutionary climb upward. One of the most important of these “milestones” was the first appearance of flowers, a leap not found in the fossil record. Biologist Robert O. Petty of Wabash College muses:
What was the first flower like, and from what plant group did it arise? How many winter nights around the world have botanists wondered, imagining such a form as it tumbled to the earth, there to be lost in the drifting sediments of some Mesozoic flood. Surely there could be no discovery more precious to paleobotany. Yet, to this day, the exact origin of the flowering plant remains much as Charles Darwin described it: ‘an abominable mystery’ (1976: 109).
Discover magazine tried to find the answer to this “abominable mystery.” The August 1995 issue stated: “Flowers sprang up suddenly 150 million years ago, and no one knows how (Fletcher 1995: 49)....How the flower suddenly arose C or how, for that matter, the brain, eye, or any morphological novelty arose C is one of the central questions of evolution” (Fletcher 1995: 50). The article reported on an attempt by Caltech geneticist Elliot Meyerowitz to
shed light on a great evolutionary question, what Darwin called the abominable mystery. ‘According to the fossil record, 150 million years ago there were no flowers. Then, like that,’ Meyerowitz says, snapping his fingers, ‘flowers appeared. And no one knows how’ (Fletcher 1995: 50)...He would especially like to know how flowers popped up so suddenly in the fossil record (Fletcher 1995: 53).
Yet another problem is that genetic mutations do not produce evolutionary change. Scientists have tried unsuccessfully to “force” animal evolution by manipulating fruit-fly genes in an attempt to produce an improved specimen. A similar attempt was undertaken with plants. Following the false theory that species evolve into new ones by genetic mutations, Prof. Meyerowitz intentionally mutated a species of flower, hoping for a new, better specimen. All he got were flowers that were worse, not better, than the original plant. “One flower,” reported Discover, “has leaves where the petals should be. Another has stamens protruding from strange places” (Fletcher 1995: 49). Meyerowitz, trapped in the erroneous theory of evolution, was baffled, as Discover reported:
Although recent progress has been rapid, many mysteries remain. No one knows how A, B, and C genes allow cells to form organs. ‘It’s easy to say A plus B equals petal,’ says Meyerowitz, ‘but when you do, you are sweeping a lot of things under the rug.’ A petal is a complex organ with many cell types, each derived from a different pattern of cell division and elongation. ‘Somehow all those cells have to be organized by a combination of A and B C that’s not many genes,’ says Meyerowitz. ‘There must be a large cascade of events downstream that allow[s] the cells to form an organ.’
Upstream lies another mystery: What sets the whole process of flower making rolling? In 1990, Coen and Carpenter found a gene that acts early on in flower development, telling the meristem to become a flower rather than a shoot, and turning on the A, B, and C genes. Knock out this meristem-identity gene, and a stem grows instead. But how does this gene know when to turn on?
‘That’s the age-old question of floral induction,’ says Meyerowitz. ‘How do plants know when to flower?’ (Fletcher 1995: 52).
The answer lies in the Book of Genesis, which Prof. Meyerowitz is unwilling to accept.
Fletcher, C. 1995. “A Garden of Mutants,” Discover 16, no. 8.
Hartog, G.T. den, 1958. “Footsteps of God in the Plant World.” In The Evidence of God in an Expanding Universe, ed. J.C. Monsma. Published in Connection with the International Geophysical Year New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons.
Petty, R.O. 1976. “…And Flowers Bloomed.” In Our Continent, E.H. Colbert, ed. Washington, DC: The National Geographic Society.
Short, A.R. 1949. Modern Discovery and the Bible, 2nd ed., rev. London: Inter-varsity Fellowship.