Why do scientists laugh at creationism?

: For the creationists, Darwin's theory of evolution is the source of all evil. Your opponents in the United States have now lost their laughter: research on behalf of the Lord

Noah's ark was exactly 137 meters long, 23 meters wide and 13 meters high. And it was able to carry exactly 136,560 animals, including giraffes, ostriches and two stegosaurs. "Yes, really, there were dinosaurs on Noah's ark," says museum director John Rajca. "However, today it is believed that only young specimens were taken because of their weight." Welcome to the Museum of Creation and Earth History, the crowd puller on an unusual research campus in the Californian city of San Diego. A few steps further, in the Institute for Creation Research (ICR for short), the so-called creationists are collecting "scientific evidence" for the biblical creation myth and against Charles Darwin's doctrine of ancestry. Attached to the institute are a university with a library and conference center, a dispatch center for books and pamphlets and the institute's own radio station. As Christian fundamentalists, the creationists are convinced that the statements of the Bible are to be understood literally and not just metaphorically. Darwin's theory of human descent from monkeys, on the other hand, is the origin of all evil, i.e. crime, drugs, abortions and sexual perversions. "From here we inform the world about how life really came about," says Henry Morris, institute founder and pioneer of the creationist movement in the USA. "When we opened the institute in 1970," reports the eighty-year-old, "we were only a few, today we are everywhere". Society is demanding "the truth" more than ever. Today his institute has more than a hundred thousand registered sponsors, reports Morris. According to opinion polls, half of all Americans now believe in creation, and 85 percent of the population think it is right to teach creation and evolutionary theory on an equal footing in school (see box). A group of students from Los Angeles slowly walks through the museum. There the individual stages of the book of Genesis are represented: The creation of the earth, the flora, the fauna, the human being. Then the Fall and the Flood. Skulls, snakes inlaid in glycerine, a picture of the Titanic can be seen. In a glass case, cockroaches as long as the fingers nibble on egg cartons. "We want to impress the children," says Bill Hoesch, who is responsible for public relations at the ICR. After being amazed, the instruction follows: The young people are confronted with "scientific evidence". The earth is therefore not billions, but only a few thousand years old. Of course, humans are not descended from apes. And geological formations, trapped fossils and the Ice Ages are direct consequences of the Flood. "Our real mission is to provide scientific information," says Henry Morris. "For thirty years I taught engineering at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis and later at the US Navy. Students kept asking me about the origin of the earth and life. To find answers, I have parallel the writings of Darwin and the Read the Bible. "However, he soon came to believe that evolutionary research was nothing more than" the simple belief in a concept ". "But an engineer needs solid evidence," adds Morris. To get to the bottom of things, he gave up teaching and studied geology. With his book "The Genesis Flood" published in 1960 (the German translation was published in 1980 under the title "Die Sintflut" by Hänssler-Verlag, Neuhausen), Morris set standards. The devout Baptist had succeeded in giving the creationist thought a scientific touch. "Shortly afterwards," says Morris, "God told me to found the institute." Almost fifty employees and at times up to forty students work in the four laboratories of the ICR today. Geologists, biologists, physicists and chemists with a doctorate are trying to scientifically substantiate what is in the Old Testament word for word. Steven Austin, for example, published several books in which the formation of the Grand Canyon is attributed to the rapid drainage of the water masses after the flood. Using hair analyzes of shock-frozen mammoths, Suzanne Buren proves the formation of the Ice Age through the sudden darkening of the sun as a result of water vapor. John Morris, director of the institute and son of the founder, invests lavish donations in expeditions to Mount Ararat. He suspects that this is where the Arche is berthed. Every year the institute awards an average of 25 master's degrees to young professionals in the natural sciences and in education. Graduates viewed themselves as "fighters for the faith" and "spearheads of morality," says Henry Morris. In the early 1990s, however, the California school board dared to question the scientific nature of the ICR's degrees. The institute sued and won the case. The school board was fined $ 225,000 in damages. "These atheists were behind it," says Morris, referring to the evolutionary researchers at the major California universities. In fact, the conflict between Darwinists and men of God is as old as Darwin's theses themselves. Shortly after its publication in 1859, Charles Darwin's theory about the origin of life through natural selection had sparked heated debates. However, while in Europe the great churches soon gave up their resistance under the pressure of the evidence for the theory of evolution and declared Genesis to be a metaphorical interpretation of the beginnings of the universe and man, in America Protestant fundamentalists continued to cling to the words of the Bible. It was not until the 1970s that the theory of evolution became firmly anchored in the country's biology curricula. There was soon no more room for the creation story because religious instruction is prohibited in American schools. This brought the creationists to the barricades. From then on they dubbed creationism a science, as "creation science", and in return vilified the evolution theory as a (but) belief. The Darwinists, who initially made fun of this idea, stopped laughing in 1981 at the latest. Back then, creationist Kelly Seagraves sued the California school board for forcing his son to study Darwin's theses at school. According to Seagraves' lawyer, these are unprovable and thus "a religion of secular humanism". The court agreed with Seagraves. It was none other than presidential candidate Ronald Reagan who made the creationists politically acceptable. The later president demanded: "In addition to Darwin, the biblical creation story must also be taught in state schools." Morris & Co. made another breakthrough two years ago. Michael Behe, a biochemist at Leigh University in Pennsylvania, a respected scientist and by his own account not a creationist, published "Darwin's Black Box" in 1996. The book put the Darwinists in even more trouble. "So far, no evolutionary researcher has been able to conclusively explain," argues Behe, "how the first cell is said to have emerged from the primordial soup". After all, even the most primitive unicellular organism has a sophisticated life machine, the construction of which cannot be derived from Darwin's theory. Using examples from biochemistry, the scientist developed his thesis: Just like the unit of a cell, according to Behe, the human immune system and blood coagulation are "of an irreducible complexity". Consequently, both systems could only have come about through the simultaneous and planned assembly of all of their components. "Life on earth," the author concludes, "is the product of intelligent activity". "Why is it so difficult for science," adds Behe, "to adopt a theory that most people believe in anyway?" Inadvertently, Behe ​​created a new influx of the creationist movement with his bestseller. And he inspired the people at the ICR. Stronger than before, with more flexibility and sophistication, one now adapted to the opposing language. One example of this is the idea of ​​"microevolution" that creationists have been cultivating for a number of years. In their view, the different types have evolved from 21,000 basic types created by God. Before and after the flood, the species that exist today were created from these basic types through small changes and based on the pattern of "trunk bushes". To avoid confusion, Morris emphasizes: "Of course, the latest creationist knowledge about the development of life has nothing to do with the Darwinian monkey family tree." How quickly the creationists can adapt to current trends becomes clear when they emphasize that there were also dinosaurs in the ark. This is unequivocally proven, according to Morris, by fossil recordings in sediments. "It was only in the Middle Ages that these dragons, as the Bible calls them, became extinct." Children in particular are crazy about Sauerier stories these days, adds Morris. The founding father of Kreationisen is proud of his successes. "From a folder in my desk, creationism has grown into a global movement," says Morris. Most of all he would like to Christianize the whole world "but I will probably not see that again". But who knows: if his disciples continue like this, it might still work out in time. Steven Austin, who has just returned from a research trip from Saudi Arabia, reports: "Christianity is frowned upon there. However, the Saudis believe in creation. With the introduction of a lecture on creationism, we could also get a foot in the door in Ryadh."