2005 Salt Lake City Annual Meeting (October 16–19, 2005)

Paper No. 14
Presentation Time: 11:15 AM


MEERT, Joseph G., Geological Sciences, University of Florida, 241 Williamson Hall, Gainesville, FL 32611, jmeert@ufl.edu

Young earth creationism (YEC) along with its, not so well disguised, cousin Intelligent Design (ID) have been at the forefront of public debate for well over 100 years. Despite numerous setbacks to their cries for ‘equal time' in the science classroom, both the Intelligent Design movement and various young earth creation organizations have not stopped their efforts to rid the world of ‘materialistic evolution'. Different states have faced different challenges to demands for change in the high school curricula, but nearly all of these challenges seek to offer an alternative to evolution. In general, scientists have usually ignored these challenges because they view them, quite rightly, as nonsensical. The problem with the ‘ignore and hope they go away' approach is that the groups are well-organized and have formed an effective lobby at the local and state levels. In addition, thinly disguised ‘academic freedom' bills have been introduced in state legislatures that will also allow these ‘alternatives to evolution' to take hold on University campuses. Often, when scientists are confronted by the anti-evolution groups they become defensive about their science. In short, young earth creationism and the ID movement are challenging the foundations of not just biology, but also geology, physics, chemistry, astronomy and anthropology. In short, these groups seek to overturn all of modern science in favor of their own form of ‘bible-based' theology. I will argue that the best defense against these groups is to have a strong offense. Rather than strictly defend geology or evolution, it is better to point out the historical bankruptcy of ID and YEC. I will outline several effective 'no-nonsense' strategies that can be used in public forums and in the classroom.