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Topic: The Evolution of Creationism

January 2013

Dear Editor,

David R. Montgomery’s article on “The evolution of creationism” in the November 2012 issue (GSA Today, v. 22, no. 11, p. 4–9) is a welcome addition to a dialogue that continues mostly off the pages of conventional journals. While I hope his book is better, he at least attempts to provide a glimpse into a different way of looking at the world.

There are two basic paradigms for natural history. One exclusively focuses on looking at objects and another that also considers human testimony. It is like a jury’s decision in a courtroom trial: either they are swayed by the key witness of one side or by the circumstantial evidence of the other. In skeptical times, people distrust others, and objects are given greater weight. But it is perfectly legitimate to let people have greater weight.

Moreover, deep time was devised as much to avoid any hint of the supernatural as it was to account for geological observations. Vast durations that no human has ever lived through provide a kind of fudge factor for theorizing. While this works in some sense, it is far from satisfactory, and for those who take a more sanguine view of ancient records, the Bible in particular, other possibilities must be considered.

The case for a worldwide flood is based in the first place on human attestation. That does not answer the question of the earth’s present condition, but it provides a key to it that should not be ignored, even if it’s not obvious how it all fits together. This calls for more research, something every geologist should welcome.

Creationism has developed beyond 1961, though the article stops there. It has an active research program, funded without government aid, and will continue to make contributions to geological knowledge.


Ralph Gillmann
Burke, Virginia, USA
Received 13 Nov. 2012

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