Note: This article appeared in the recent (Spring 2007) CMI–Canada Prayer News—we felt that our international readers would appreciate seeing it too.
For whom the (alarm) bells toll?
Professor at McGill University (Montreal) attacks CMI
One of the things that troubled me the most when I lived in communist Romania was the obsession the authorities had with any foreigner that happened to visit the country. ‘If they are here they must have some secret plans to inflict some sort of harm onto our wonderful society’ was an almost ubiquitous refrain. There was no way they just came for fun, we were always told (and if we had a chat with any foreigner, we were supposed to report it to the secret police).
A recent web article1 revealed the same attitude displayed in Canada! In it, the author, Jason R. Wiles, seems to ring the alarm bells from the very title: ‘A threat to geoscience education: creationist anti-evolution activity in Canada.’ This title makes a clear statement: geoscience means evolution. Now, the word itself means ‘earth science’ and does not depend on the presence or absence of evolution! Not in Mr Wiles’ mind though, which seems to be conditioned to believe that science means only naturalism and consequently any other approach is unscientific. Yet science, as Einstein once said, should be ‘methodical thinking directed toward finding regulative connections between our sensual experiences’.2 Or more simply put: making sense of our senses. Evolution per se should be irrelevant to the topic.
One cannot stop wondering why, in a supposedly democratic society, teaching alternative views—alongside evolutionary ones—would represent a threat and not a more complete and balanced way of educating? But balanced education is not part of the secular humanist philosophy. Just as communism suppressed any alternative view, the secular humanists would go to any length to silence any worldview that rejects their central tenet: there is no God.
In order to watch over the educational establishment in Canada, the Evolution Education Research Centre (EERC) was created at McGill University and Mr Wiles is its co-manager. The director of this organization is Brian Alters (Sir William Dawson Scholar at McGill University) who has published many articles in prestigious science magazines attacking any form of creationism. Scholars from both McGill and Harvard are involved in this organization, as well as international collaborators.3
Mr Wiles feels compelled to dispel misconceptions ‘among Canadian scientific scholars as well as the general public that fundamentalist creationist activity or rejection of evolutionary theory stops at the US border.’ Apart from being just one more case of a Canadian intellectual belittling the United States for the wide acceptance of creationism, such a view (and the entire article) reveals, I believe, a serious fear of the possible consequences of creationism being made known to the general public. Why are they afraid, if their case is so strong? If creationism has such a weak case, why ban it instead of dispassionately rebutting it? Mr Wiles was present when I gave a lecture at McGill University on Noah’s Flood and catastrophic plate tectonics. He asked no questions, he made no comment but kept typing on his laptop throughout my entire presentation and during the Q & A period.
In his web article Mr Wiles lists many creationist organizations active in Canada, both home-grown and international. CMI is specifically mentioned for ‘sponsoring’ anti-evolution ‘field trips’ (his quotation marks) and ‘presentations aimed at refuting modern geology at sites such as the Niagara Escarpment, Canada’s West coast, and “Creation Family Camp” on the Red Deer River in Alberta’. Mr Wiles is definitely unhappy that we dared go out into the field—which we see and love as God’s creation—and use it as argument for the authority of the Bible. As long as we stick to churches he would be willing to tolerate us but going out into the field is a different issue!
He states that CMI field trips are ‘aimed at refuting modern geology’. In fact these trips clearly emphasize that modern geology accepts catastrophic events, which it came to discover in the land features we visit. Our field trips and family camp are meant to strengthen faith by revealing those features in the local geology (as well as exhibits in the Royal Tyrell Museum) that can be interpreted in a perfectly scientific manner and yet support the biblical narrative of the Flood. And maybe this is the greatest source of angst for Mr Wiles: Christians visiting geological sites which have been used for ages to refute the Bible, suddenly being able to cogently interpret them as evidence for the Bible’s accuracy and through this, fulfilling a biblical duty (1 Peter 3:15).
Mr Wiles’ article comes as a confirmation that CMI has hit their sore spot. It was the generous help and constant prayers of many CMI supporters that made it possible for CMI-Canada to organize both last year’s and this year’s field trips and camps. We hope that these venues and even more in many areas of interest will become regular CMI events.
- Wiles, J.R., A threat to geoscience education: creationist anti-evolution activity in Canada, Geoscience Canada, 1 September 2006; http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G1-156291084.html. Return to Text.
- Einstein, A., Religion and Science: Irreconcilable? The Christian Register, June, 1948; http://www.einsteinandreligion.com/irrec.html. Return to Text.
- Alters, B., Asghar, A. and Wiles, J.R., Evolution Education
Research Centre, Humanist Perspectives 154, 2005;
issue154/EERC.html. Return to Text.