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THE THIRD NATIONAL CREATION SCIENCE CONFERENCE
by Gerald Wheeler
The Third National Creation Science Conference met on the campus of Northwestern College, St. Paul, Minnesota, August 15-18, 1976. Sponsored by the Bible Science Association of Caldwell, Idaho, and the Twin City Creation Science Association of Minneapolis, it attracted participants from all over the United States and as far away as Australia. Attendance was greater than even its organizers had expected.
Structured around the theme of creationistic research, its speakers presented papers on a wide range of creation-oriented topics. Many of the talks displayed well thought-out reasoning and research. As Duane E. Long in his paper, “Effective Creationist Research,” pointed out “If creation science does not read like good science by conventional standards, it is not likely to get a hearing no matter how correct it is.” Only in this way can the creationist reach the individual who is sincerely and honestly seeking for truth.
The Conference brought together much careful thinking and research. The large number present shows the interest the creation option is generating. But one facet of the Conference could have disturbing implications. Discussing ways to strengthen creation research, Duane Long stated, “We need specialists organized into review boards to constructively criticize creationist material about to be published.” This would parallel the editorial policy of any reputable scientific journal. Perhaps this lack of qualified review was the greatest weakness of the Conference. There should have been more screening of some of the material presented.
A decidedly minority viewpoint today, creation has a hard time getting a hearing. A creationist can easily sympathize with those who hold other little-known or unpopular concepts. But good creation research, even more than other sciences, should uphold the highest standards. It cannot support every idea seeking an audience. Creationists must review and screen what they present, lest it bring question or reproach to their position.
A number of those in attendance at the Conference were overhead to voice concern about a few of the papers. The concept of a geocentric universe particularly disturbed them. One individual stated to those with him, “I don’t want to be identified with the Flat Earth Society.” Others left the meetings on the topic expressing puzzlement.
True, one does not want to have a closed mind. But with the large body of evidence for a heliocentric solar system (the whole space program of interplanetary probes is based on it), and seeing no threat in interpreting certain Biblical passages as “point of observer” viewpoints, one finds it hard to see why he should throw the creationist position into needless controversy by linking it with the geocentric universe theory. Sin has made the earth the focus of heaven’s attention, but that does not mean it is the physical center of the universe.
Several speakers at the Conference also questioned the reality of large- scale glaciation after the Genesis flood. They attempted, perhaps through the lingering influence of the late George McCready Price, to relegate glacial evidence to the final stages of the flood. The time implications of continental glaciation are admittedly difficult to resolve, but will identifying moraines, drumlins, and other features as giant ripple effects solve the question? A geologist looking at figures in the Conference’s Proceedings would perhaps interpret the hills in central to eastern Washington as giant ripples, but he would also probably relate them to glacial activity — the sudden draining of a glacial lake on the Columbian Plateau through the Grand Coulee. Such an event could easily fit into a flood model.
The Third National Creation Science Conference offered much excellent material, but the creationist movement must set and follow the highest scientific standards and screen out questionable or needlessly controversial material if it is to gain the attention and full respect of sympathetic non-creationists. Creationists must do only the very best research.