Volume 1, Number 1 January/February 1996
A bimonthly newsletter of the Creation Research Society.
This Web version of Creation Matters
lacks the "Creation Calendar" as well as photos and special
graphics found only in the print version. The latter is automatically
sent to members of the CRS along with the peer-reviewed CRS Quarterly.
CRS Begins Newsletter
Rapid Petrifaction of Wood
Dr. Duane Gish: Crusader
News in Science
New CRS Address
At the 1995 meeting of the Board of Directors of the Creation Research
Society, the Board voted to begin publication of a newsletter, Creation
Matters. We, the editors, are very excited about this new ministry of
CRS. In many ways, Creation Matters is a typical newsletter, containing
both general news of interest to creationists as well as scientific
news about creation and evolution. We also have planned several features
that should make Creation Matters a unique and valuable publication.
For instance, we are planning to accept advertisements from publishing
companies, colleges, or anyone else who might want an almost purely
creationist target audience. This will be especially helpful to schools
and other organizations who specifically desire creationist faculty
and staff. It could also be used by those looking for full- time positions
with a creationist organization. In addition to sending Creation Matters
to CRS members in the United States and Canada, preliminary plans are
also to eventually make the newsletter available free of charge to anyone
in the United States or Canada who requests it.
Another unique feature is our planned emphasis on both national organizations
as well as local organizations. This is where you can be of help. We
have gathered addresses from a variety of sources but we don't know
exactly what every one of these groups does. If you could take a few
minutes to write to us and describe the main emphasis of your organization,
we would greatly appreciate it. Also, if your organization has an email
(Internet) address, please include that as well. A specific feature
that local organizations will benefit from is our "Master Calendar."
This calendar will list by date events of interest to creationists around
the country. If you would like an event listed, please send us all relevant
information, including what the event is, the address, the date and
time, and a person and phone number to contact for more information.
Our mailing and email addresses are listed elsewhere in this newsletter.
We will mostly be trying to write feature articles
about local organizations. For this reason, please include a person
we can contact by phone or email for more in-depth information about
your organization. For national organizations, we will also include
news that is of interest to the majority of our readers, so we would
ask you to include the name of a person we could contact regularly by
phone or email for this news.
If you would like to write your own article, please ask for our "Instructions
to Authors" which includes general descriptions of the regular
features of Creation Matters. Please send all correspondence regarding
Creation Matters to:
P.O. Box 292
Waynesboro, VA 22980
If you prefer, you can contact us through the
Internet by emailing .
Please use the words "Creation Matters" as the subject of
your message. Please do not send mail regarding Creation Matters to
the regular CRS address.
Petrifaction of Wood
by Emmett L. Williams, Ph.D.
One of the most interesting fossils to find is
a piece of petrified wood. If you are fortunate while fossil hunting,
you might discover limbs and sizeable tree trunks that have been petrified.
This type of fossil wood is often age-dated by the particular formation
in which it was found and someone may state that the woody plant grew,
for example, during the Jurassic, Cretaceous or Devonian Periods. Thus
you could assume that the petrified wood was actually millions of years
old. However this need not be the case. Wood can petrify rapidly and
likely it had to petrify quickly before the structure of the wood completely
decayed. For instance, wood has been petrified artificially in the laboratory
in a matter of days.
Wood can be preserved from decay for a considerable length of time if
it is placed in an environment that does not contain oxygen (certain
muds, stagnant lake bottoms, etc.). Wood decays much more slowly if
oxygen is excluded. When wood becomes waterlogged and deprived of oxygen,
decay is retarded. However to be petrified, the waterlogged wood generally
must be buried under a silica-rich sediment. (Wood can be petrified
in other types of sediment but the best preservation of original wood
structure is found in siliceous petrifactions.)
Suppose we view the petrifaction of wood from a young-earth, Flood perspective.
Possibly pre-Flood woody plants were uprooted, transported and waterlogged
during the Deluge. Many of these water-saturated trees could have been
buried under silica-rich sediments and were petrified in the late stages
of the Flood or after the Flood. Thus the petrified wood that is found
in many places throughout the world may be only thousands, not millions
of years old. If you are interested in the fascinating details of how
wood can be petrified rapidly, an article published in the Quarterly
two years ago should be consulted.
See Williams, E. L. 1993. "Fossil wood from
Big Bend National Park, Brewster County, Texas: Part II - Mechanism
of silicification of wood and other pertinent factors." Creation
Research Society Quarterly 30:106-111.
Dr. Duane Gish: Crusader
On October 13 at the beautiful Hylton Memorial Chapel in northern Virginia,
creationists from the Washington, D.C. area and around the country gathered
to celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Institute for Creation
Research. During this special "Back to Genesis" seminar, Todd
Wood had the opportunity to speak with Dr. Duane Gish, Senior Vice President
for ICR and board member of the Creation Research Society.
Todd Wood (TW):
Tell us about your background before you came to ICR.
Duane Gish (DG): I got my bachelor's degree in chemistry at UCLA
and my Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of California at Berkeley.
Then I went to Cornell University Medical College for three years as
a post-doctoral student. There I worked with Vince DiVinio. He won the
Nobel prize when I was there. We were synthesizing hormones from the
posterior pituitary, and I worked on the synthesis of arginine vasopressin.
After the work there, I went back to Berkeley where I was on staff at
the virus laboratory. While I was there I was on a team of scientists
who worked out the chemical structure of the protein of tobacco mosaic
virus. I was there four years, and then in 1960 I left the virus lab
to go to the Upjohn Company in Kalamazoo, Michigan, where I was on their
research staff. I was there for eleven years until in the fall of 1971
I left the Upjohn Company and went out to San Diego, California, to
join with Dr. Henry Morris in this research institute at Christian Heritage
College. I was a professor at the college for about ten years, and then
they brought in a biologist who took the course I was teaching, so I
didn't teach after 1981. Our institute was founded as part of Christian
Heritage College; we were a division of the college. It was in 1981
that we became completely independent with our own executive board.
Several years later we moved into our own facilities where we've been
since 1985. I had eighteen years total in biochemical research before
I left Upjohn and went to San Diego. I've been doing this now for twenty-four
TW: How did
you become a creationist?
DG: Well, I'm rather unusual among the creation scientists. I've
always been a creationist. I became a Christian when I was about ten
years old. I just accepted what the Bible said about creation; it never
was a problem with me. When I went into biochemistry I saw this incredible
complexity of life, the purposefulness of every detail, the structure
and function of a living cell, and how everything was put together.
It clearly had to be put together precisely for life to function. This
was a tremendous support for my conviction in creation. It was when
I was on staff with the virus laboratory before I really got interested
in the question scientifically. Somebody handed me a little booklet
entitled "Evolution: Science Falsely So Called" published
by the International Christian Crusade of Toronto, Canada and authored
by a medical doctor in Canada. It was a tremendous little summary of
the scientific evidence exposing fallacies and weaknesses in evolutionary
theory and the evidence for creation from various fields of science.
This really excited my interest in the subject, so I began to do research
on the subject of the origin of life. I read the book by Oparin, the
Russian scientist, and other articles and books on the subject. I began
at that time to do some speaking and writing about the origin of life
and other topics. When I was with the Upjohn Company in Michigan, I
met other scientists who were creationists, and in 1963, ten of us formed
the Creation Research Society, and now we have over 600 members. [editor's
note: The CRS has a total membership/subscriber base of about 1700.
This includes over 600 voting members and some 900 sustaining members,
and about 200 individual and institutional subscribers.]
TW: How did
you meet Dr. Henry Morris?
DG: I met him very shortly after we formed the Creation Research
Society. He wasn't there at the original meeting because he was involved
lecturing somewhere, but he was immediately elected to the executive
board. Since I was on the executive board, we'd meet once a year at
the annual meeting, and that's when I got acquainted with him. He was
the president of the Society for five years.
attracted you to ICR?
DG: I felt very keenly about this issue; I had for a number of
years. I actually started to lecture on this subject in 1957 or 1958
when I was on staff at the virus lab. When I went to the Upjohn Company,
I was traveling to Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and all around Michigan
to lecture on the subject. I was writing articles for the Creation Research
Society Quarterly and other sources. That's how I began to get increasingly
involved in it. I felt very keenly about it because I knew that in the
public schools the kids are being indoctrinated with evolution theory
as an established fact. It was taught as a naturalistic, mechanistic,
non-theistic theory. Not to say that all evolutionists are atheists,
because they are not, but the theory itself is a process of self-transformation.
God is not involved; God is not necessary. I felt it was having a very
negative influence on our society. We've seen tremendous changes in
our society in the last fifty years. When I was a kid, I didn't know
anybody who used drugs, never heard of such a thing. Now we have this
tremendous drug culture, legalized pornography, legalized abortion,
crime and violence on an unprecedented scale, an AIDS plague, and all
this which, if fifty years ago you told us this was going to happen,
I wouldn't believe a word of it. I think that one of the major reasons
for the changes has been the influence of the teaching of evolution.
I believe our judges, our educators, our legislators, having been indoctrinated
in evolution theory; their decisions are based on this more or less
materialist philosophy. That's why we've seen the changes that we've
seen in our society. I just came back from Russia a few days ago. Over
there, the officials in the ministry of education are concerned, as
they said, to restore the children to the family and to restore some
basis for a moral and ethical code in their educational system which
was stripped out completely by the communists. Now they've seen seventy
years of atheism and the result of it, and they want to reverse it.
Here in the United States, we're doing the opposite. We're trying to
take the children away from the family. We're trying to strip every
vestige of a Christian moral code of ethics out of our schools, just
the opposite of what they're trying to do in Russia. So I want to see
the reverse of this situation. In our public schools, evolution is taught
as established fact. They're taught the Big Bang theory and everything
started out as hydrogen gas. The kid's sitting there and hearing the
teacher say that everything started out as hydrogen gas and concludes
that his ultimate destiny is a pile of dust and there is no God. Therefore,
there is no one to whom he is responsible.
TW: Do you
support teaching creationism in the public schools?
DG: Absolutely. I believe neither creation nor evolution is a
scientific theory. There weren't any human observers to the origin of
the universe and the origin of life. There weren't any human observers
to the origin of a single living thing. These events are unrepeatable:
they happened only once in the unobservable past. A scientific theory
must involve repeatable observations of processes or events, and you
can test your theory. You can't do that with creation or evolution.
They are inferences based on circumstantial evidence. They are theories
about history. They are not scientific theories. Therefore, evolution
is no more scientific than creation, and it's just as religious. It's
the basic fundamental dogma of humanism. It's right in their literature;
they say a humanist is one who believes that man is not the product
of a supernatural creator but is the product of evolution. Therefore,
evolution is just as religious as creation. Now what we believe, what
we want is the teaching of scientific evidence devoid of any reference
to any religious literature of any kind that supports evolution on one
hand and creation on the other hand. Then allow the student to decide
for himself what he thinks is the best explanation. We maintain that
evolution and creation are models, scientific models, and they can be
discussed in scientific terms. They have scientific characteristics,
but they are not scientific theories.
TW: Do you
have any idea how many debates you've been in?
TW: Who are some of the people you've debated?
DG: John Maynard Smith, the leading evolutionary biologist in England,
John T. Robinson, very well-known paleoanthropologist, Ashley Montagu
at Princeton University; he's written thirty books or more on evolution.
I debated Isaac Asimov in Science Digest in a written debate. I debated
Preston Cloud, Russell Doolittle, from UC San Diego, he's well-known
in biochemical circles, and I debated Vincent Sarich, professor at UC
Berkeley, a dozen times.
TW: Why do
DG: A debate will draw a large crowd, and it offers a good opportunity
to present this evidence to a lot of people. I was at Kutztown University
in Pennsylvania about a year ago. It is a university of eight thousand
students with a bunch of little towns around there. Their gymnasium
seated four thousand people, and I couldn't believe it, there were 3500
there for the debate. We almost filled the place, I couldn't believe
it. There were five thousand at a debate at the University of Minnesota.
We had 3300 at the debate I had with Robinson at the University of Wisconsin,
3500 at the University of Kansas, 5000 people at Liberty University.
It's an opportunity to present the case eyeball to eyeball with an evolutionist.
The people can see, here's creation and here's evolution. I've never
claimed to have won a debate, but the evolutionists themselves said
that the creationists have won almost every debate. I say, if they have
the scientific evidence, and we're just a bunch of religious fanatics,
it's a strange result. I never mention the Bible. I never mention the
book of Genesis. I talk about thermodynamics. I talk about probability
related to the origin of life. I talk about the fossil record. I may
present the metamorphosis of the monarch butterfly and challenge them
to explain how a caterpillar could change step by step by step by a
bunch of genetic mistakes into a chrysalis where now he's a mass of
jelly, and then change that mass of jelly into a butterfly. Nobody's
been able to explain it yet. That's the kind of evidence I talk about.
does ICR have planned for the future?
DG: Of course, we'll continue with our seminars. In addition
to these seminars ("Back to Genesis"), we have smaller seminars
called "Case for Creation" seminars where maybe I'll go out
or two of us will go out. They draw a smaller crowd, maybe two, three,
or four hundred. And debates, I'm still debating, and I still travel
to countries. I've been to Russia four times, and I'll be going to Brazil
the latter part of November. I've been to Bolivia, and Japan several
times, and Australia several times. I've been to Europe numerous times,
and Scandinavia several times. So I'll be doing that sort of thing.
We need to expand our staff. We really need more staff members. We have
people who want to come to work for us, they're dying to come to work
for us, but we just don't have the funds. We look forward to expanding
our program, and expanding our research program. We're doing some good
research, but we need to do more. See, we get not one penny of tax money,
so it's a struggle. We get $25,000 or $30,000 and that's a pretty good
sized project for us. Just recently, a fellow on the staff of Tulane
University for twenty-three years, an expert in electron microscopy,
found two scanning electron microscopes. They're a few years old, so
they're not right up-to- date in the latest technology, but these things
are $250,000 instruments. Someone was going to sell us those things
for $25,000 for both of them. Our business manager talked to him and
convinced him to give them to us as a tax write-off. So we're going
to have scanning electron microscopes in our facility. That's exciting.
TW: Is ICR
planning to expand the graduate program to include Ph.D.'s?
DG: Well, Dr. Morris has talked about it. We'd like to have a
chemistry major and some other things. Some people have urged us to
start a Ph.D. program. I'm not encouraged about that because it's tough
enough to maintain the program we have and it's an expensive thing.
That program probably costs us $300,000 a year. We probably take in
no more than $20,000 in tuition, so it's an expensive program which
we have to fund. To expand it means that we have to pay more money.
TW: It was
certainly a pleasure to speak with Dr. Gish, and I trust that you will
remember him and ICR in your prayers. It is exciting to see the mighty
works God has done and continues to do through the dedicated people
The discovery of a bird very similar to Archaeopteryx was announced
in the October 19 issue of Nature. This newly- discovered fossil, named
Confuciusornis sanctus, was discovered in the Yixian formation
of the Liaoning province of northeastern China. Though the stratigraphic
sequence in the area is disputed, Confuciusornis is presumed
to be Late Jurassic. Confuciusornis is approximately half the
size of the London specimen of Archaeopteryx, but does have several
features in common with this more famous fossil. Both birds possess
long claws on their wings, and the profile of both their skulls is roughly
triangular. This is the first Jurassic bird to be discovered outside
Hou, L., Z. Zhou, L.D. Martin, and A. Feduccia. 1995. A beaked bird
from the Jurassic of China. Nature 377:616-618
A recent article in Science reported a potentially
useful link between endothermy and anatomy that may help resolve the
"warm- blooded" dinosaur issue. John Ruben presented evidence
at the annual meeting of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology that
showed a strong correlation between endothermy and the presence of nasal
turbinates. These fragile skeletal structures in the nose support tissue
that helps regulate the temperature and humidity of inhaled and exhaled
air. Ruben claims that 99% of living endotherms possess nasal turbinates.
Although these delicate bones rarely fossilize, a ridge of bone that
supports them does fossilize and could be used as a test of the animal's
thermoregulation type. Examination of Archaeopteryx and the dinosaur
Nanotyrranus failed to show any signs of this distinctive ridge.
Endothermic dinosaur proponent John Horner remains skeptical. He claims
that a computerized tomography image of a hadrosaur skull clearly shows
the turbinate ridge.
Fischman, J. 1995. Were Dinos Cold-Blooded After All? The Nose Knows.
The new logo for Creation Matters was designed by Brenda Lindley-Anderson.
Brenda has done a number of illustrations for the "Copy 'n' Share"
series in the Creation Research Society Quarterly, and she is currently
working on the graphics for a new creationist biology textbook due out
Because the Creation Research Society is a volunteer organization,
its "offices" go whereever its workers go. Please note
the new address for memberships, subscriptions, renewals, and book
Creation Research Society
P.O. Box 8263
St. Joseph, MO 64508-8263
Lane P. Lester, General Editor
Route 1, Box 205
Hull, GA 30646
Todd C. Wood, Feature Editor
P.O. Box 292
Waynesboro, VA 22980
Glen W. Wolfrom, Managing Editor
P. O. Box 8263
St. Joseph, MO 64508
A publication of the Creation Research
Volume 1, Number 1
Copyright © 1997, 1998 Creation
All rights reserved.
General Editor: Glen Wolfrom
Feature Editor: Todd Wood
Assistant Editor: Lane Lester
For membership / subscription
information and advertising rates:
P.O. Box 8263
St. Joseph, MO 64508-8263
For comments and information
P.O. Box 292
Waynesboro, VA 22980