Periodical Reviews -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 134:535 (Jul 1977)
Article: Periodical Reviews
Author: Anonymous

Periodical Reviews

“‘Scientific Creationism’—A New Inquisition Brewing?” Preston Cloud, The Humanist, January/February, 1977, pp. 6-15.

This article is only one of several under the general theme of “Evolution vs. Creationism in the Public Schools” in this issue of The Humanist. Also included is “A Statement Affirming Evolution as a Principle of Science” promoted and coordinated by the president of the American Humanist Association and distributed to the “major school districts in the United States.” But Cloud’s lengthy article is the head of the attack against creationism.

“Religious bigotry is abroad again in the land” is the opening sentence of the article. Its central point is that permitting creationism to be presented in public school science classes as an alternative to evolution might lead to a “new inquisition.” The springboard for this accusation is an undocumented quotation from J. N. Moore, “Scientists…rather imagine that, if the fundamentalists had the power, they would happily reinstitute an inquisition.” Cloud then declares that anyone who has studied the writings of the creationists “has little difficulty in visualizing creationist polemicists, given the opportunity, in the role of Pius V himself” (p. 7). Later he concludes, “The most serious threat of creationism is that, if successful, it would stifle inquiry” (p. 15).

Thus Preston clouds the issue with the specter of intolerance and religious bigotry.

But what are the facts of the situation? At present almost universally in American public schools evolutionism is taught exclusively as the explanation of how the universe and planet Earth came into being and into the present state. Despite the humanists’ affirmation of evolution as a “principle of science,” evolution is a theory that rests on a metaphysical world view incapable of scientific confirmation or demonstration. Evolution, therefore, is part of a system of belief, a religion. Creationism is part of an alternative world view and an alternative way of interpreting and integrating the evidence of science. As such it deserves a hearing along with evolution. This is all the creationists are asking.

Who, therefore, is stifling inquiry? The humanists and evolutionists are the ones who are refusing to grant creationism a hearing, who insist that evolution be the exclusive theory taught in public schools. If evolution, as Cloud declares, “rests on as sound and extensive a factual basis as any scientific generalization we know” (p. 11), why does he so vehemently oppose the presentation of creationism as an alternative view? The humanists and evolutionists are the ones wh...

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