Can Scientists Study the Past?


Creationists and evolutionists agree on real science—that is, the nature of the present world and how it operates. What we disagree on are our speculations about the past. "What happened in the past to make the present get to be the way it is?" When properly understood, both evolution and creation are outside the bounds of empirical science, and, therefore, are incapable of scientific proof. Both are historical reconstructions—world views about the past, within which we interpret the present scientific data.

Unfortunately, while creationists usually admit their worldview and the limitations it places on them, evolutionists frequently try to use science to further belief in their worldview. Students or other visitors in a museum usually will be shown only that evidence which fits well with evolution without other interpretations of that evidence, and without acknowledgment of the vast amount of information, which doesn’t square well, with evolution.

Consider the evolution display in the Museum of Biology in Moscow, which I recently visited. The bulk of the museum consisted of impressive displays of plants and animals, and many exhibits showed the incredible design of living systems and their inability to change significantly over time.

But the "Evolution Room" was a different story. Every standard argument for evolution was there, even though all of them were overstated and one-sided, and several were downright fraudulent. All were designed to indoctrinate a school student "in the party line."

The now-discredited series of progressively larger "horse" fossils was prominent. even though we now know that the various members of this group are found overlapping in the strata—not in ancestral relationships.

A series of large jars, each containing a human fetus, was placed at a child's eye level, with arrows on sketches pointing to the "gill slits," the "yolk sac," etc., even though this, too, is thoroughly discredited (i.e., the "gill slits" develop into structures which have nothing to do with respiration).

Photographs of "monkey children" (children born with excessive body hair like a monkey), children born with a "vestigial" tail ("proving" relationship to the monkeys), and children with two rows of nipples (again "proving" animal ancestry) were captivating. No mention is made of the fact that scientists now know that enzyme abnormalities during fetal development produce these tragic conditions (and a number of other equally tragic conditions for which no evolutionary point can be made). They are not evolutionary throwbacks at all.

I truly wept as I thought of generations of Russian children faced with these and other displays without any alternate explanation. How could a child conclude anything other than that he descended from the animals? No wonder the country is shrouded in such darkness, unable to grope its way out, even now that its people are trying. The shrine to Darwin, which occupied one full wall of the room, says it all: "There is no God. Natural selection created you from the animals."

Museums, even evolution displays, can be wonderful teaching tools for the Christian family, but faced with a direct onslaught of evolutionary dogma, one must study and directly confront this enemy of faith in God's Word. Our children are much too precious to allow them to uncritically absorb such abusive brainwashing.

* Dr. Morris is President of the Institute for Creation Research.

Cite this article: Morris, J. 1991. Can Scientists Study the Past? Acts & Facts. 20 (2).