Scientific Integrity


The subject of this article is the questionable commitment of anti-creationists to standard levels of scientific integrity. When the modern-day conflict over the creation-evolution issue began, it soon became apparent to the anti-creation wing of the evolutionary establishment that many creationists were qualified scientists who had made themselves careful students of the origins question. It was also apparent that the anti-creationists could never win this conflict on objective scientific grounds. Therefore, many anti-creationists began to attack the Institute for Creation Research (the most influential creationist organization), and its scientists through innuendo, distortion, and exaggeration. In their attacks they not only misrepresented various statements of ICR scientists but began to slander them personally. Creationist scientists were called "non-scientists," "muddy headed," "know-nothings," "flat-earthers," "charlatans," and many other degrading terms.

Anti-creationist articles have been published in scores of newspapers and magazines, not to mention about 30 books published against creationism in recent years. Creationist scientists do not have the time to respond to all of these attacks, even though most contain grossly misleading statements and arguments, but perhaps this article can help place them in proper perspective.

In 1976, the National Academy of Sciences published a resolution that relates directly to the subject in this paper:

That the search for knowledge and understanding of the physical universe and of the living things that inhabit it should be conducted under conditions of intellectual freedom, without religious, political or ideological restrictions. That freedom of inquiry and dissemination of ideas require that those so engaged be free to search where their inquiry leads ... without political censorship and without fear of retribution in consequence of unpopularity of their conclusions. Those who challenge existing theories must be protected from retaliatory reactions. (National Academy of Sciences Resolution of April, 1976: 'An Affirmation of Freedom of Inquiry and Expression.')1

It seems to those scientists who are challenging the evolutionary view on scientific grounds that this resolution expresses the essence of what academic freedom is all about.

These principles constitute a key factor in the processes of scientific inquiry and are the basis of integrity in the scientific enterprise. This is precisely what creationist scientists want. No reputable science teacher or research practitioner should disagree with this supposed spirit of science as defined by NAS.

In spite of this, a publication of the National Association of Biology Teachers (considered to be the leading organization in biological education) entitled Scientific Integrity offers some very disturbing comments by its editor, Dr. William V. Mayer. His comments referred particularly to a recent debate between himself and ICR scientist Duane T. Gish.2 This influential leader in the anti-creationist movement, commenting about this debate in the NABT publication, said this:

"No amount of scientific data is going to shake the faith-centered belief of creationists, nor are scientists likely to be influenced by the misrepresented and misapplied data of the creationists."3

This statement is self-serving and grossly misleading and Dr. Mayer should certainly know this. Scientific creationists have written many scientific books, with data and arguments supportive of the creation model, which neither Dr. Mayer nor other anti-creationists have refuted. In Evansville, Dr. Mayer was given every opportunity to present a scientific case for evolution to the public and he apparently failed miserably.4 He did not present any valid scientific evidence for evolution that evening. Practically everyone present, including a number of evolutionists, were disappointed with his performance, yet he arrogantly states: "If you've heard one Gish debate you've heard them all …. "5 If this were the case, and assuming he had any good evidence for evolution, Dr. Mayer should have done quite well in the debate with his own scientific arguments. Unfortunately, it seems that Dr. Mayer preferred to depend on anti-creationist bombast instead of scientific evidence when he debated that evening.6 The readers of Scientific Integrity, should order a tape of this debate and hear it for themselves.

At this point the reader might begin to wonder what the anti-creationists' definition of "scientific integrity" actually is. Is it a mark of scholarship and scientific integrity to call people names instead of attempting a scientific rebuttal? Recognizing William Mayer's strong academic background in the sciences, one would certainly expect that he would have scientific data to support his case for evolution. However, in his past writings and more currently in Scientific Integrity, he limits himself to dubious scientific statements and to attacks on creationists such as:

"The same, tired, disproven data was trotted out before the scientifically naive audience … twisted creation logic … creationists can present the audience with more erroneous information in five minutes than a scientist can rectify in five hours … No debater has yet had the bad manners to call Dr. Gish a liar, but ... "7

Dr. Mayer should know that Dr. Colin Patterson, one of the world's outstanding paleontologists, senior scientist at the British Museum of Natural History in London, has very serious doubts about evolution. This scientist has stated that he felt that he had been "duped into taking evolutionism as revealed truth in some way."8 In a speech before the American Museum of Natural History in New York, he asked a simple question of the geologists at the Museum of Natural History in Chicago and at the Evolution Morphology Seminar at the University of Chicago. The question to both groups was: "Can you tell me anything that you know about evolution, any one thing, any one thing that is true?"9 All he received was silence. No one could state a single thing about evolution that he knew to be true. This further reveals the fact that evolution is useless as a real science. Yet, anti-creationists are continuing to program the minds of young people throughout the world to accept evolutionary pseudo-science. They are even saying that evolution should not even be questioned, thus refusing to permit intellectual freedom in the sciences.

Consider the following excerpts from Reverend Stephen Schwambach's reaction (as pastor of the church which hosted the Gish-Mayer debate) to the "scientific integrity" that anti-creationist William V. Mayer displayed in his comments appearing in Scientific Integrity.

Dear Mr. Mayer:
I was disappointed when I read your column in the Fall 1984 issue of Scientific Integrity.
You gave the unmistakable impression that we were poor hosts. In fact, we bent over backwards to accommodate you, to treat you courteously, and to treat you with respect.
From the beginning, I was up front with you about the fact that I was a creationist. But as a Christian, I deeply desired to provide you with every consideration. Above all, we were determined to be fair. [Emphasis added.]
You said nothing in your column about the fact that we obtained a truly neutral and respected moderator to assure fairness of presentation.
Though you referred to such debates as an opportunity to augment creationist coffers, you said nothing in your column about the fact that you received a personal honorarium for your appearance, while Gish did not.
In your column, you continue to strongly imply that we somehow sabotaged your slide presentation. Though I gave you repeated assurances that we did not, you obviously have chosen to believe me a liar. I have no earthly explanation for why your slides did not function properly in our machine. But we did not cause the problem.…
In your column, you blast the Acts & Facts article for a typographical error in your name, and suggest some sort of conspiracy. However, in your letter to me, you address me as 'Steven Schwanbach," instead of my real name, 'Stephen Schwambach,' which was earlier supplied to you in writing. Acts & Facts made a one-letter typo in your name; you missed three letters in mine.…
Instead, for those in a position to know, as am I, such a column sharply undermines your credibility as an unbiased, objective scientist. If you are unwilling to fairly report the facts on something so small in importance to you as was this debate, I wonder how much of the rest of what you say and write is equally flawed.

I would appreciate reading a correction in your next issue of Scientific Integrity. Failing that, perhaps a change in the name of your publication would be in order."10

What causes this driving propensity by anti-creationists, such as Mayer, to so misuse the high standards of scientific integrity in order to maintain an evolutionary "closed shop?" This sort of thing is contrary to everything good science and science education should stand for. Two eminent evolutionary scientists, J. Huxley and J. Bronowski, may have made the point for us:

"A religion is essentially an attitude to the world as a whole. Thus evolution, for example, may prove as powerful a principle to coordinate man's beliefs and hopes as God was in the past."11

The religion of the anti-creationist must surely be evolution, a faith without substance; and the arrogance of the anti-creationist must come from a mind deeply programmed for evolution, the "god" of which is random events over eons of time.

This writer recognizes that there are some objective evolutionists that are willing to allow students to hear evidences for both evolution and creation. Such an example is Dr. W. Scot Morrow, evolutionist, molecular biologist and biochemist. He writes:

"In my opinion, the Balanced Treatment for Scientific Creationism and Evolution Act is a reasonable alternative to the current state of affairs for one powerful reason: Students would have available a realistic set of options to explore, discuss, evaluate, and, if they so choose, from which to select a personal answer to the problem of the origin of life. Both creation and evolution can be equivalently scientific, just as they can be equivalently religious."12

The present practice of programming young minds in public schools to a single religious (and anti-theistic) point of view is unconscionable. Nevertheless, the anti-creationist, the humanist and the liberal theologian continue to demand this new religion, and they are succeeding only because they control curricula in our schools.

Scientific integrity! It doesn't appear that students can expect to find it among the anti-creationists. On the other hand, creationist scientists are pleading, on behalf of students around the world, for good science, good education, and the highest standards of integrity in science education. These students deserve to hear all the scientific data in an honest context. They deserve to be educated so they can be their own decision makers. This is the essence of "scientific integrity."

REFERENCES

  1. National Academy of Sciences, Resolution, April 1976.
  2. Gish, Duane T. vs. Mayer, William V., "Evolution-Creation" Debate, Evansville, IN, 1984.
  3. Mayer, William V., "Don't Bother to Debate Creationists," Scientific Integrity, Fall, 1984.
  4. Official Survey, William V. Mayer vs. Duane T. Gish Debate, Evansville, IN, Mar. 16, 1984 (Based on audience questionnaire taken night of debate.)
  5. Mayer, op cit.
  6. Official Survey.
  7. Mayer, op cit.
  8. Patterson, Colin, Lecture- "Creationism vs. Evolutionism," American Museum of Natural History, New York, Nov. 5, 1981.
  9. Ibid.
10. Letter excerpts from Stephen R. Schwambach to William V. Mayer, October 31, 1984.
11. J. Huxley and J. Bronowski Growth of Ideas, Cliffs, 1968, p. 99.
12. Letter excerpt from W. Scot Morrow to Major Rhodes, President of South Carolina Biology Teacher's Association, January 10, 1980.
* Former Director of Science Education, Unified School District #1, Racine, Wisconsin. Former Director of ICR's Curriculum Development.

Cite this article: Richard Bliss, Ph.D. 1985. Scientific Integrity. Acts & Facts. 14 (2).