Monday, 26 July 2010

Creationist Palaeontologists?

At some point I plan on doing a blog post about Kurt Wise, a "creation scientist" who has a doctorate in palaeontology. Wise is not the only creationist to have qualifications in palaeontology, as I just found when looking at the Answers in Genesis list of creationist scientists which can be seen here. I'm not going to bother critiquing them properly, I am simply incredulous that there are so many when the fossil record practically screams evolution. I have found the following:

Dr Harold Coffin, listed on AiG as simply "Palaeontologist" but through a tiny bit of research I found mention of him in a Wikipedia article on polystrate fossils and there is an article on him at CreationWiki here. It seems he is a palaeobotanist.

Dr Arlton Murray, who is discussed in this AiG article where he says some pretty inane things about the fossil record (no transitional forms and all that nonsense). He seems to have mostly worked as a preparator on vertebrate fossils. He is one of those who claims to have accepted evolution before finding God. Shame.

Dr Gary Parker, listed as "Biologist, Cognate in Geology (Paleontology)" and a little bio can be seen here. I may some day have to review him in more detail, as some of his book titles include The Fossil Book and Dry Bones and Other Fossils. He is also one who apparently taught evolution before becoming a Christian.

Dr Joachim Scheven, listed as a palaeontologist, with a bio here. He seems to have specialised in insects in amber, so it did not surprise me to seem him connected to the claim that past organisms are the same as modern ones (of course, creationists cherry pick here). I also found this article by him which makes little sense on its own.

Dr John Whitmore, listed as a geologist and paleontologist, with a bio here. His biology PhD and his geology M.S. are both from Christian institutions which are clearly creationist. It seems he may have published in secular journals, though his publications seem to have nothing to do with creationism (they look at taphonomy and environmental indicators for example) a list can be seen here.

Dr Kurt Wise is listed, but I intend to discuss him at another point.

AiG also list a few palaeontologists who were around before the theory of evolution (or during its early days) and mention some as "old earth compromisers". They are John Woodward (1665-1728), John Hutchinson (1674-1737), Georges Cuvier (1769–1832 and an OEC) and Richard Owen (1804–1892 and OEC). There are also some which are since Darwin, including L. Merson Davies (1890–1960). 

There is also a man called Joe Taylor who runs a fossil business, who is written about here

Okay, so there weren't very many, but the amount there are is startling. I can't help but feel that many have swallowed the false dichotomy of God vs evolution and chosen the former over the latter without realising that one can have both. In future I will make a list of theistic evolutionist palaeontologists to sort of complement and counter this one at the same time (though mostly just for reference). 

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