The US and UK creationist movements have many points of difference, so at the High Leigh conference – seven lectures grouped under the banner “Genesis Kinds: Creationism and the Origin of Species” – it is interesting to see the two genuses side by side. Todd Wood, director of the Center for Origins Research at Bryan College (motto: “Christ above all”) in Dayton, Tennessee, and the prime mover in the event, doesn’t want to talk to me. He won’t even let me record his lecture on Darwin, about whom he evidently has mixed feelings. During the talk, he shows a slide of himself outside Down House, Darwin’s home in Kent, and his concluding remarks are affectionate, if condescending: “Darwin’s was a sad life. He was a brilliant man who ignored the Lord’s pursuit of him. God was after him, but he allowed the hardships he faced [Wood is thinking principally of the death of Darwin’s young daughter] to harden him.”
The conference’s co-organiser, Paul Garner, a geologist who works full time for Biblical Creation Ministries, is also initially reluctant but explains why standing up for the literal truth of Genesis is so important to him: “Many people have the mistaken impression that it’s Genesis, chapter one that drives young earth creationism – a rigid understanding of the word ‘day’ in the creation. But that isn’t it at all. It’s Genesis three; it’s the introduction of death and suffering and what you might call natural evil into the creation. If those things pre-date Adam, there’s a big theological problem for me, because it undermines the foundation of the gospel. The young-earth position is the only one that has a coherent understanding of the history that doesn’t have suffering, death and bloodshed before Adam’s fall.” It is, in other words, a life-or-death issue for Christianity: if evolution is true, the creation is founded on competition, suffering and mortality; there never was a paradise; a theistic evolutionist God is an accessory to eternal crime.
Moss’ article is well-researched, calm and well-written. Exactly as Darwin would have done it. The way to argue the case against creationism is not through mocking and slander; it’s through the dispassionate presentation of their ludicrous ideas.