It is getting to be so old now that hearing the false claim is like the proverbial water running off a duck's back: the charge that AiG is leading the effort to get creation into schools (and in some instances, we even hear the claim that AiG is trying to get evolution removed entirely1).
Because the controversy surrounding the teaching of origins in America's public schools continues to grow, secular humanists, who are shocked at this phenomenon and do not want to see their evolutionary belief system challenged, are lashing out against groups like AiG. Correspondingly, if AiG or a local school board merely wants to see evolution critically analyzed by students (a part of good teaching, of course)-without even mentioning creation or intelligent design-humanists often ally themselves with so-called civil rights groups to engage the battle. The secular press, though generally balanced toward AiG over the years (but with many exceptions), can be combative as well. One battle tactic used by both humanistic groups and the media is to create straw-men that they can easily knock down.
One recent example of how AiG's opponents have misrepresented the ministry occurred when a pro-evolution editorial appeared in our hometown newspaper, the Cincinnati Post. Now, it's one thing to get a fact or two wrong on occasion, but when a newspaper's reporters have been constantly told the truth about a matter and the converse still ends up in the paper, well, it does get a little tiring.
On August 7, 2006, the Post (in commenting on the teaching of origins in the public schools in Kansas) editorialized:
(In Kentucky, however, the debate appears to be going strong, if only because it is home to Answers in Genesis, an advocacy group that champions the teaching of options to Darwininan [sic] evolution in schools, and because its governor, Ernie Fletcher, has endorsed teaching intelligent design in public schools.)
Critics of the theory evolution [sic] tend to rely on a slippery definition of “theory,” using it in the broad sense of conjecture or speculation rather than in its scientific sense as a testable hypothesis explaining a given set of facts. For the overwhelming number of scientists and their professional organizations, evolution is settled biology.
We had to rub our eyes after a first reading. Then we quickly fired off a rebuttal (which was printed in its entirety by the Post on August 14). Here is that letter:
To the editors of the Post:
One would think that the Post, after years of reporting (often critically) on Answers in Genesis and our future Creation Museum, could write an informed editorial about us and the teaching of origins in public school science classes. This was not true on August 7.
The Post described AiG as an organization that “champions” the effort to teach alternatives to evolution in science classes. We must once again point out to the Post that AiG has never lobbied legislatures, gone to court, distributed petitions, pressured school leaders, or backed political candidates to force creation or intelligent design to be taught in schools. Although AiG does agree with efforts by others to remind teachers that they can legally talk to their students about the grave problems with evolution (academic freedom certainly allows this), we are not an activist organization (or “advocacy group,” as the Post called us).
Moreover, and as we have repeatedly told Post reporters over the years, we think it is actually counterproductive to mandate that instructors teach creation or intelligent design in schools. Forcing them to teach something they may not believe in (much less be equipped to teach) will not work, for such instructors will probably teach creation/ID poorly.
Finally, the very next paragraph of the Post's editorial declares that critics of evolution (presumably referring to us) define “theory” in an unscientific sense, and not as a “testable hypothesis explaining a given set of facts.” Well, compare that definition to ours, available on our website, www.AnswersInGenesis.org: a theory is a “well-substantiated explanation of data.” In other words, we essentially agree with the Post's definition, yet the paper has chosen to erect a straw man and gleefully knock it down instead.
It is more accurate to say that molecules-to-man evolution is a hypothesis, but one that can't be substantiated scientifically, as it is neither observable nor repeatable in the present, which a theory requires. It is in this context that we part ways with the Post on the proper use of the word “theory.”
The disdain that Post editorial writers have long displayed toward AiG and our mission to uphold the authority of the Bible has once again clouded its ability to objectively cover the creation/evolution controversy. I guess the Post, even after so many years, still does not know us at all.
CCO, Answers in Genesis-USA
Now, please don't misunderstand us. AiG is highly encouraged to know that there are efforts nationwide that are attempting to ensure that students and teachers, at the very least, can question evolution as fact. In fact, it would not be an exaggeration to say that much of this questioning has occurred because of the influence that many creation ministries have had on the culture (e.g., their wide distribution of books/DVDs, creation of popular websites, broadcast of radio programs, etc.), which have had an impact on the lives of so many students, parents and educators.
These social ills are merely symptoms of a change that has occurred in our society: a lack of belief in God's Word as the absolute authority.
As we often remind visitors to this website and in other places, Christians need to understand that fighting evolution in public schools is actually the same kind of battle as fighting abortion, “gay” marriage, etc. These social ills are merely symptoms of a change that has occurred in our society: a lack of belief in God's Word as the absolute authority (as opposed to human opinions as the authority).
Yes, students should also have the knowledge that true science confirms the creation account in the Bible and that molecules-to-man evolution is a belief system, but the battle over creation/evolution in schools will not succeed until the culture (including the church) generally accepts biblical authority once again.
Therefore, as we stated in the letter above, AiG is opposed to the compelled instruction of any alternative view (i.e., biblical creation or intelligent design) in public schools. You see, science teachers who are committed to an evolutionary belief system will teach any alternative to evolution in a poor and probably mocking way. In the end, it would be counterproductive.
That conclusion helps drive AiG's desire to equip Christians to restore biblical truths in the culture as a whole and see the secular worldview diminished. Such a grassroots approach is the way we are proceeding in order to see the culture changed.
Misrepresentation by a pastor
Even theistic evolutionists such as Pastor Brett Younger of Broadway Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas, sometimes misrepresent creationists, and do so through the media. On August 11, for example, Pastor Younger wrote an essay attacking creationists for the magazine The Baptist Standard (“the newsmagazine of Texas Baptists,” it's called). Among many harsh and mocking comments (e.g., “... there are 3,700 species of cockroaches. That statistic alone should keep biblical inerrantists awake at night when they remember that Noah's family had to catch two of everything to bring on the ark.”), he declared that: “Creationists push school districts to teach a six-day, 144-hour understanding of creation.”
Now, I don't know of any creationist pushing such a thing (maybe there is someone in the U.S. doing this, but I'm not aware of it). It's sad that someone who names the name of Christ will make up an untrue comment like this—and in a very public way—and side with evolutionists. As we have often written on this site, compromise like this is sadly rife in the U.S. church (see “Reforming the Church, One Pastor at a Time”).
One more misrepresentation
Creationists continue to be misrepresented in other newspapers, as was evidenced in an August 15 essay printed in The New York Times.
In fact, it has become old hat for evolutionary zealots to say absolutely false things such as what was found in the Times piece: “In 2000, after a creationist board had removed evolution from the state science curriculum, a public outcry led to wholesale removal of creationist board members up for re-election and a reinstatement of evolution in the curriculum.”
Here, anti-creationist Lawrence Krauss of Ohio presented the old canard that evolution was stripped from the state's curriculum in 1999. We sent a letter to the editor of the Times to rebut this claim (and also sent an email to Dr. Krauss about his error, in which he responded with just two words: “thank you”). Here is the letter we submitted to the Times the day after the essay appeared (to date, the Times has not printed it):
Ironically, in his essay on the “ignorance” of creationists, evolutionist professor Lawrence Krauss revealed his own knowledge gap when he parroted the old canard that evolution was stripped from the Kansas state science curriculum by a "creationist" board.
If Dr. Krauss had bothered to read the science standards approved by the board in 1999, he would have known, for example, that standard 3 in the board's “Life Sciences” section declared: “As a result of their activities in grades 9-12, all students should develop an understanding of … biological evolution … . ” Evolution was also mentioned in many other sections of the standards, including where it stated that students were expected to understand evolution as it relates to adaptation, natural selection, genetic drift, and mutations. If anything, the standards about evolution were only mildly de-emphasized by the board.
That evolution was removed from the curriculum is yet another urban myth that won't go away.
CCO, Answers in Genesis-USA
Because of such ongoing misrepresentation by the secular media of the creation/evolution controversy, AiG is in the process of securing a major public relations firm (a Christian agency) that will aid us in correcting such misrepresentations in the national media, and along the way draw attention to the museum that will open in the spring. Please pray that the creation/gospel message-through this major public relations push starting early next year-will get an even broader hearing than it is experiencing now.