Is Creationism on the Decline? If So, Why?
A poll shows decreasing support for Biblical creationism. What factors are causing this?
by Dr Jerry Bergman
A new Gallup poll shows, for the first time since the poll on this subject began, “a notable decline in the percentage of Americans — including Christians — who hold to the ‘Young Earth’ creationist view that humankind was created in its present form in the past 10,000 years, evolution playing no part.”[i] According to the poll, taken in May, the portion of the American public taking the creation position now stands at 38%. Furthermore, fifty-seven percent accept the “scientific consensus that human beings evolved from less advanced forms of life over millions of years.”[ii] The poll reveals the largest factor in the shift is the jump in the number of Christians who see evolution as God’s way of creating life on Earth and continuing to shape it today.
A major reason for the result is, I believe from years of research on the behavior of Darwinians, the ghettoizing and outright persecution of out-of-the-closet persons who have scientific concerns about Darwinism. This has been well-documented in the United States and other countries.[iii] Former Assistant Secretary of State, Kim Holmes, concluded that college administrators “impose limits against Christian and conservative groups, enforcing a double standard of scrutiny” compared to non-Christians and liberals.[iv] For example, University of Michigan PhD Professor Marvin Olasky advises students who accept the creation worldview to face the fact that some
Marxists, feminists, and other “-ists” are totalitarians who get pleasure out of making omelets by cracking student eggs. As a student, you’re in a position of weakness, so discretion in this instance may be valorous: Don’t take the course. If you have no alternative, hold on to all your papers and essay tests, and—when confronting totalitarians—tape what goes on in the classroom or in professor/student conferences. If you can’t win internally, you might be able to apply external pressure through conservative journalists.[v]
Olasky adds that Christians and conservatives have been saying for decades that “the leftism of most college professors doesn’t matter … This year we’ve found that many have paid attention. The evidence: Socialist Bernie Sanders overwhelmingly won the votes of millennial college graduates.”[vi] Olasky’s new book Passing on the Right: Conservative Professors in the Progressive University in support of his conclusion, published by Oxford University Press, carefully documents
a sad picture of academic bias and conservative cowardice at major universities … quotations from numerous closeted right-of-center professors tell the story. Here are some: “I just bite my tongue. …I just deliberately lie. …I learned I should keep my mouth shut. …It is dangerous to even think [a conservative thought] when I’m on campus, because it might come out of my mouth. …[It’s] exhausting. …You’re not greeted, your greeting isn’t returned in the hall, graduate students are urged not to work with you.”[vii]
The fact is “Among academics, the pressure to conform is insidious… a 2015 report of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) organization finds that policies severely restrict students’ right to free speech at over half of the 437 universities it surveyed.”[viii] The same is true of professors’ freedom of speech. Although exceptions occur, “conservatives who publish still perish.” What can a conservative or Christian professor do to survive?
One solution is to hide as a graduate student to get a job, hide as an assistant professor to get tenure, hide as an associate professor to get a full professorship, and hide as a full professor to get an endowed chair. But that’s no way to live—and once you start it’s hard to stop.[ix]
In another case, Professors Shields and Dunn quote a literature professor who observed that professors
who hide on the road to a full professorship have “fifteen years of acculturation into cowardice and furtiveness. Suddenly you’re 38 years old and now you’re going to be bold? It doesn’t happen. People … have kids. They’ve got bills to pay.… many [universities] don’t welcome conservative perspectives, and if they did, their socialist colleagues would harass them. Organizations with self-perpetuating boards of directors can readily become corrupt. Most university faculties are self-perpetuating.[x]
The antagonism against Darwin Doubters is also clear in an article titled “The Twenty Greatest Blunders in Science in the Last Twenty Years.” One blunder the author lists is not to teach Darwinism as an undisputed fact. She defined evolution as progressing from molecules to man by natural selection favoring variations caused by damage to the genome (mutations). The article starts out by noting that, in 1995 Colorado students would no longer
be tested on evolution, Charles Darwin’s theory that, through an endless series of genetic mutations, we all developed from single-celled organisms. “I believe in divine creation,” said Clair Orr, Colorado’s Chairman of the state’s Board of Education.[xi]
She added that, in view of
the trend of treating all theories of how we got here [i.e. human origins] as equal, Marc Abrahams, of Annals of Improbability Research, has a suggestion: Why not teach the theory of Chonosuke Okamura, a Japanese paleontologist who became convinced that patterns of water seepage in rocks were “mini-fossils” and that life was descended from mini-horses, mini-cows, and mini-dragons. “It’s kind of like forming an evolutionary theory out of cloud formations,” says Abrahams.[xii]
My response is that teaching other creation stories is an excellent approach because it allows students to contrast the Genesis account with the other creation accounts. Students will soon understand the enormous contrast between the two creation accounts and realize that Genesis does not contain mythical stories, such as turtles holding up the earth, nor creation by one god tearing another apart and creating the sun, moon and earth from the body parts as do some of the other creation accounts.[xiii] Genesis is a straightforward narration of the creation events, without any need for columns of turtles, body parts of gods falling to earth, and other fanciful elements common to pagan creation myths.
[ii] Krattenmaker, 2017
[iii] Bergman, Jerry 2016. Silencing the Darwin Skeptics. Southworth, WA: Leafcutter Press.
[iv] Holmes, Kim. 2016. The Closing of the Liberal Mind. New York: Encounter Books. p. 164.
[v] Olasky, Marvin. 2016. “Survivor’s Guide: Learn from Professors, but be Willing to Talk Back.” World Magazine, September 3, p. 64.
[vi] Olasky, 2016, p. 64
[vii] Olasky, 2016, p. 64
[viii] Holmes, 2016, p. 164
[ix] Olasky, 2016, p. 64
[x] Olasky, 2016, p. 64
[xi]Newman, Judith. 2000. “Twenty of the Greatest Blunders in Science in the Last Twenty Years.” Discover, 21(10):78-83, October, p. 83, emphasis added.
[xii] Holmes, 2000, p. 83
[xiii] Bergman, 2016.
Dr Jerry Bergman, professor, author and speaker, is a frequent contributor to Creation-Evolution Headlines. See his Author Profile for his previous articles.