A common quibble laid at the feet of the creationist is that he/she is not qualified to speak about scientific matters relating to the creation/evolution controversy. For instance, Mark Isaak, the editor of The Index to Creationist Claims, stated that “for every creationist who claims one thing, there are dozens of scientists (probably more), all with far greater professional qualifications, who say the opposite” (2005, emp. added). Others assert that creationists make “the elementary mistake of trying to discuss a highly specialized field…in which they have little or no training” (Holloway, 2010). Do these assertions have any merit?
First, such assertions are ironic in light of other statements by some in the evolutionary community. For example, in the “General Tips” section of the article, “How to Debate a Creationist,” the Creationism versus Science Web site tells its followers,
you don’t need to become a qualified expert [in relevant evolutionary subject matters—JM]…but you should endeavour to know as much or more about these subjects than your opponent does (which is often a surprisingly easy task, since most creationists learn only the barest superficialities of any given scientific principle before feeling confident enough to pontificate on it) (2007, parenthetical item in orig., emp. added).
It seems that some do not wish to hold all participants to the same standards. It is clear that the author wished for his audience to be able to win a debate, rather than consider the validity of the arguments being posed by creationists.
It is important to realize that when a person wishes to discuss a certain matter, it is not always necessary for the individual to have the relevant experience or credentials (as deemed necessary by the atheistic evolutionary community) in that area. Consider: Are certain qualifications needed before an individual can quote or paraphrase others who are considered “experts” on a certain matter, as do many creationists and evolutionists (especially in the media)? Does one need a B.A. degree in English before he would be considered qualified enough to be able to cite references? And would that degree be enough to prove qualification? Perhaps a graduate level degree in English would be necessary? Such a proposition would be preposterous. Even if a person had such qualifications, it would not guarantee that the person is credible, and it certainly would not prove that the person is infallible. The key, of course, is to determine whether or not the quotations and/or paraphrases are done correctly, regardless of whom the commentator is. Creationists and evolutionists, as well as individuals in every professional field, often cite others who are considered “experts.” This is a reasonable and acceptable practice.
Follow this line of reasoning even further. How far are the evolutionists willing to go in their demand for credentials? Should scientists have direct experience in every field in which they make an assertion? If not, why not? If a biology professor’s doctoral research dealt primarily with the characteristics of St. Augustine grass, is he/she qualified to speak about the evolution of apes and humans? If an atheist only received a B.A. degree in religion, would such a person be qualified to speak on the most notable, alleged, atheistic mechanism for the origin of man—namely the General Theory of Evolution? If not, then atheistic debater Dan Barker has no business speaking out about it and should be silenced (see Butt and Barker, 2009). Even Charles Darwin, the “father” of the General Theory of Evolution, only had a degree in theology, having dropped out of the only other fields of formal education he at one time pursued—the medical and law professions (Thompson, 1981, p. 104). Based on the standards being imposed by some in the evolutionary community, he had no business speaking out about matters pertaining to biology and should not have been taken seriously. And yet his free-lance work as a naturalist was considered substantial enough to gain him credibility upon writing The Origin of Species. We would argue that his qualifications were irrelevant. His ideas should be scrutinized to determine their worth, rather than castigating him for his lack of a science degree. However, in order to be consistent, the evolutionary community must deem him unqualified to discuss evolution, and his theory should be rejected. Consider further: should an atheist be required to have credentials in theology in order to be able to speak against God? Should an atheist have credentials in Bible matters to be able to speak against the Bible? A lack of “qualifications” in religious matters does not seem to stop rabid atheists from attacking Christianity. Clearly, a double-standard in the atheistic evolutionary community is at work.
And how much experience is required before a person can be considered qualified? Who defines where the imaginary line is that distinguishes between the “qualified” and the “unqualified”—whose thoughts and research should be considered and whose should be ignored? Who will be the qualifications policemen? Who determines what qualifications the qualifications policemen must have to be able to deem others qualified? And what credentials do those who ordain qualifications policemen have to have? If scientists were held to such standards, progress into new realms could never be made, since by definition, there are no experts in such areas! Thomas Edison received no higher education (“The Life of…,” 1999), and yet he invented the light bulb, founded General Electric Company, and filed 1,093 successful U.S. patent applications for his inventions (“Edison’s Patents,” 2010). In 1997, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers saw fit to establish the “Thomas A. Edison Patent Award” in his honor, again, in spite of his lack of higher learning (McKivor, 2010). Sir Isaac Newton received a bachelor’s degree, but without honors or distinction (Hatch, 2002). Should his work be disregarded? Consider also that his area of study was mathematics. How was he qualified to discuss physics, mechanics, dynamics, and other mechanical engineering concepts that are taught in engineering schools today? The Wright brothers did not even receive high school diplomas, much less receive a college education (Kelly, 1989, p. 37). The Encyclopedia of World Biography notes that Henry Ford, founder of the Ford Motor Company, “was a poor student. He never learned to spell or to read well. Ford would write using only the simplest of sentences” (“Henry Ford,” 2010). However, that did not stop people from buying his Model T. Nearly 15,500,000 were sold in the United States alone (“Henry Ford [1863-1947],” 2010). Jesus Christ, Himself, would not have had the credentials deemed necessary by the religious elites of His day to speak on theological matters. And yet, Jesus emphasized that truth is truth, regardless of one’s credentials, and the truth will set men free (John 8:32).
Another relevant point should be considered in this discussion as well. Creationists often speak about various fundamental, non-technical problems with evolution, such as the fact that life cannot come from non-life, the Universe must have a cause, nothing lasts forever or pops into existence, and macroevolution does not happen. These, the creationist rightly contends, disprove atheistic evolution. The evolutionist often attempts to dodge these arguments by claiming that “creationists aren’t qualified” to discuss these matters. But there is a fundamental problem with that assertion. Since no one has ever witnessed, much less been able to study, abiogenesis; or witnessed an effect without a cause; or witnessed kinds of creatures giving rise to other kinds of creatures (e.g., apes giving rise to humans); there is no such thing as being “qualified” in such areas. How can one be qualified to discuss things that do not happen? One person is just as qualified as the next person to discuss such things. If someone has spent his entire life trying to find evidence that fairies fly around inside of children’s eyeballs, all to no avail, does that mean that he is more qualified to discuss that matter than someone else? Of course not. All he has done is waste his time coming to the same conclusion everyone else already intuitively knew. Everyone on Earth has the same amount of experience witnessing the fact that such things as abiogenesis and macroevolution do not happen. So any person is just as qualified as the next person to discuss them. Darwinian evolution is founded on principles for which there is no such thing as “being qualified” enough to discuss them. Conjecture and speculation—not proof—characterize evolutionary theory.
Bottom line: Anyone is eligible to take part in a discussion as long as he or she is not speaking error. That is the critical issue. Consider: does one have to be qualified to speak the truth? Of course not. Truth is truth! It does not matter who speaks it. Unfortunately, many critics of creationists fail to address the creationist’s argument, but instead attack the speaker (e.g., the speaker’s credentials). This sidesteps the argument and attempts to distract hearers from analyzing the argument’s validity, which is a classic example of the ad hominem logical fallacy (“Fallacies,” 2007). Anyone who is able to speak correctly concerning a scientific matter due to personal work or experience, direct study, or through research into the work of others is eligible to take part in scientific discourse on the subject, given that the person is handling the matter accurately. As long as the laws of science are used correctly, anyone can teach their truths and should not be restricted from doing so through the silencing techniques being attempted by the evolutionary community.
As was mentioned above, some evolutionists assert that “there are dozens of scientists (probably more), all with far greater professional qualifications” than creationists (Isaak, 2005)—quite a bold statement, to say the least. It may be true that most scientists have bought into the hoax of evolution, as was the case when scientists believed in geocentricity, or that blood-letting was an appropriate prescription for curing ailments, but appealing to numbers proves nothing, and using such an argument causes one to fall victim to yet another logical fallacy—the ad populum fallacy (i.e., appeal to the majority) (“Fallacies,” 2007).
Although numbers ultimately mean nothing in regard to truth, creationists can certainly come up with an impressive list of “qualified” scientists who have examined the scientific evidence and concluded that the atheistic evolutionary model falls short in explaining our existence. Johannes Kepler, the father of modern astronomy and modern optics, was a firm Bible believer. Robert Boyle, the father of chemistry, was a Bible believer. Samuel F.B. Morse, who invented Morse Code, was a believer. Wernher Von Braun, the father of the space program at NASA, was a strong believer in God and creation, as well as Louis Pasteur, the father of biology, Lord Kelvin, the father of thermodynamics, Sir Isaac Newton, the father of modern physics, and Faraday, the father of electromagnetism. Dozens of other well-known scientists from history could be cited (see Morris, 1990). Creation Ministries International posted a list of some 187 scientists alive today (or recently deceased) who believe in the biblical account of creation (“Creation Scientists…,” 2010). The scientists who are listed all possess a doctorate in a science-related field. Over 90 different scientific fields are represented in the list, including several types of engineers, chemists, geneticists, physicists, and biologists. Astronomers and astrophysicists; geologists and geophysicists; physicians and surgeons; micro-, molecular, and neurobiologists; paleontologists and zoologists are represented, and the list goes on. Jerry Bergman amassed a list of more than 3,000 individuals. Most have a Ph.D. in science, and many more could be added, according to Bergman.
On my list I have well over 3,000 names including Nobel Prize winners, but, unfortunately, a large number of persons that could be added to the public list, including many college professors, did not want their name listed because of real concerns over possible retaliation or harm to their careers (2006).
For over 30 years, we at Apologetics Press have conducted numerous seminars and published hundreds of articles by “qualified,” credentialed scientists who speak out in support of the biblical account of creation as well—scientists with graduate degrees in geology, astrophysics, microbiology, neurobiology, cell biology, medicine, biochemistry, aerospace engineering, nuclear engineering, and biomechanical engineering. Creationists can certainly speak with credibility in scientific matters. However, again, the ultimate question is not how many scientists are standing on either side of the battle line. Majority or “consensus” is not the deciding factor (cf. Miller, 2012). The question is who is speaking the truth? Who is taking the scientific evidence and drawing reasonable, accurate conclusions from the facts? The answer is clear to the unbiased observer. Science supports creation—not evolution.
There is certainly something to be said about the value of having credentials and experience in the area in which one is speaking, because that person will often have a broader perspective about a subject than the next person. But it is also true that that person should not be blindly accepted without critical thinking. Regardless of one’s credentials, the audience must still consider the validity of the argument being offered. When all is said and done, the theory—not the person discussing it—should be where the emphasis lies. As always, we challenge the audience to disprove our contentions. Truth will always win. It will set us free.
Bergman, Jerry (2006), “Darwin Skeptics,” http://www.rae.org/darwinskeptics.html.
Butt, Kyle and Dan Barker (2009), The Butt/Barker Debate (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).
“Creation Scientists and Other Specialists of Interest” (2010), Creation Ministries International, http://creation.com/creation-scientists.
“Edison’s Patents” (2010), The Thomas Edison Papers, Rutgers University, http://edison.rutgers.edu/patents.htm.
“Fallacies” (2007), Handouts and Links, http://www.unc.edu/depts/wcweb/handouts/fallacies.html.
Hatch, Robert (2002), “Sir Isaac Newton,” Professor Robert A. Hatch: The Scientific Revolution Homepage, http://www.clas.ufl.edu/users/ufhatch/pages/01-courses/current-courses/08sr-newton.htm.
“Henry Ford” (2010), Encyclopedia of World Biography, http://www.notablebiographies.com/Fi-Gi/Ford-Henry.html.
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Holloway, Robert (2010), “Experts on Thermodynamics Refute Creationist Claims,” http://www.ntanet.net/Thermo-Internet.htm.
“How to Debate a Creationist” (2007), Creationism versus Science, Arguments, http://www.creationtheory.org/Arguments/DebatingTips.xhtml.
Isaak, Mark (2005), “Claim CA118,” The TalkOrigins Archive: Exploring the Creation/Evolution Controversy, http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CA/CA118.html.
Kelly, Fred C. (1989), The Wright Brothers: A Biography (New York: Harcourt, Brace, and Company).
“The Life of Thomas A. Edison” (1999), Library of Congress, http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/edhtml/edbio.html.
McKivor, Fran (2010), “Thomas A. Edison Patent Award,” ASME: Setting the Standard, http://www.webcitation.org/5umTifXDW.
Miller, Jeff (2012), “Evolution is the Scientific Consensus—So You Should Believe It!” Apologetics Press, http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=9&article=4518.
Morris, Henry M. (1990), Men of Science Men of God: Great Scientists Who Believed in the Bible (El Cajon, CA: Master Books), third printing.
Thompson, Bert (1981), The History of Evolutionary Thought (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).