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February 05, 1981 - Image 2

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The Michigan Daily, 1981-02-05

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P.age 2-Thursday, February 5, 1981-The Michigan Daily
ADAM AND EVE WERE FIRST

Creationists battling evolution

IN BRIEF
Compiled from Associated Press and
United Press International reports
Polish labor talks break down

(Continued from Page 1)
overt religiosity; only a very careful,
very painstaking, very scientific
assault on the theory of evolution.
THE BOOK IS just one product of the
stated goal of the Creation Research
Society, which is to publish "evidence,
obtained through scientific research,
which supports the thesis that the
material universe is the result of
direct creative acts by a personal
God."
CRS also publishes a scientific jour-
nal, CRS Quarterly. This glossy, im-
pressive-looking periodical is a com-
pendium of such learned articles as
"The Scientific Character of the
Evolution Doctrine," "Does Science of
Genetic and Molecular Biology Really
Give Evidence for Evolution?" and
"Discovery of Trilobite Fossils in Shod
Footprints." Some of the articles are
solicited, but most are volunteered, and
all are intended to further the cause of
scientific creationism. Rusch himself
has contributed several articles to the
quarterly.
"WE BEGAN our publication
because what we are writing is counter-
evolutionary. We couldn't get it
published in any of the scientific jour-
nals," Rusch explains. "Everyone
kniows no scientist of any note is a
creationist," he sneers. "Of course, if
you are a creationist, you can't be a
scientist of any note."
Although he and his associates are
shunned by most of the secular scien-
tific community, Rusch says he does
not feel ostracized. The ggateed
liologist has participated in debates
and taught classes at a number of
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public and religious colleges, including
Lansing Community College and Pur-
due University. Before retiring last
month at the age of 67, he was a
professor of science and an ad-
ministrator at Concordia College, a
small Lutheran school in Ann Arbor.
The father of five is determined not to
let a stroke he suffered in December
slow him down.
RUSCH CAN SOUND deceptively
naive when describing his personal
beliefs about creation. "The presence
of the watch infers the watchmaker,
and so the existence of the human infers
the creator. It couldn't have come by it-
self, and of course, that's perfectly
logical."
"In terms of my theological convic-
tions, I would say I don't doubt
creationism. If you ask me as a scien-
tist, I say it is not a fact, you can't prove
it just like you can't prove evolution."
But this scientist is acutely aware of
the problems he faces in trying to
discredit a theory so widely accepted
that it is popularly regarded as a fact.
"Creationists are often sadly deficient
when defending creationism. They
don't know what must be dealt with,"
Rusch concedes.
RUSCH KNOWS what must be dealt
with. And he can zero in on evolution's
tender spots like a marksman.
On the lack of fossilized evidence -
which most evolutionists acknowledge
- for the theory of evolution: "Darwin
said, 'As time goes on, we'll get the
fossils necessary to prove the
evolutionary theory.' Now look what
has happened - 120 years of fossil
discoveries have gone by and those
things certainly haven't materialized."
On the shortcomings of extrapolation,
or the practice of making inferences
about the future or the past from
available data: "Extrapolation is a
very legitimate thing. But look, for
example, at the tides. We have obser-
ved the tides for 200 years, and on the
basis of 200 years of data, you can go to
the coast guard and get about 10 years'
advance on the tides for any given

place. I'm very positive the coast guard
would never put out anything that gave
the tides for the next 1,000 years,
because you've got 200 years of data and
you're trying to expand it too far. How
long have we known about radioac-
tivity? 100 years? And we want to ex-
trapolate a million?"
ON VESTIGIAL body structures - or
surviving evidence of human organs
that may have been useful in earlier
evolutionary ancestors - essential in
evolutionary theories of use and disuse:
"Look at this college biology textbook,
Science of Evolution. 'Nearly a hundred
vestigial structures have been
catalogued in modern times.' This is
ridiculous. That once included the
thymus, the pituitary, the tonsils, the
appendix - those haveall been demon-
strated to have a function. If they have
a function, they're not vestigial." And
that, according to creationists, is
evidence that organs did not evolve.
The same organs that were functioning
inside Adam and Eve are still fun-
ctioning in modern man.
AND THEN THERE are some more
basic problems with evolution that are
dealt with in the textbook. The dif-
ficulty of establishing a new trait, for
instance: Creationists argue that a
gradually evolving organ or structure
- such as the human eye - would be a
hindrance in the struggle for survival.
In other words, while the eye is
evolving and developing, but before it is
fully operable, it impairs an animal's
ability to survive.
Or the problem of random
mutations. Evolutionists maintain that
an accumulation of successive random
mutations led to changes in animals.
Creationists counter that mutations are
generally not beneficial to an organism,
but are instead degenerative in their
nature.
Somewhat surprisingly, creationists
do subscribe to a version of natural
selection, but they add their own twist.
"We accept that there can be change
over time," Rusch explains, "because
'basic kinds' were created. Any time
you have two different forms that never
seem to cross, then you're dealing with
two basic kinds."
Dogs and cats - and humans and
apes - are examples of distinct pairs
of "basic kinds" that can change and
adapt over time, but never evolve into
different form.
THAT EXPLAINS why Rusch
can believe Adam and Eve might not
have been the Donny and Marie
Osmond-types they are popularly con-
ceived to be. "Human beings are
somewhat plastic," Rusch says. "We
ranged all the way from Neanderthal to
Homo Erectus to Cro Magnon to
modern man."
Creationists do not have a merely
academic interest in battling the theory
of evolution; they have a need to fight
it. As Rusch says, "If evolution is true,
then I can say, 'Don't blame me, it's the
beast in me.' How did sin get into the
picture? What do you need Christ for?
Evolution does violence to the text of
the Bible."
RUSCH IS QUICK to add that not all
of that text is to be taken literally. "I
am not a Fundamentalist," he says.
"Fundamentalist has certain con-
notations. I take what is meant to be
literal literally; some places are ob-
viously poetical and others are descrip-
tive. If the Lord was trying to give us a
work that was scientifically correct, it
would be nonsense and unintelligible at
different times in history."
CRS does not lobby for legislation and
is not politically active in any way. The
society was founded in 1963 by ten
scientists disaffected with another
creationist group to which they had
belonged. A major complaint, accor-

ding to Rusch, who was one of the foun-
ding CRS members, was that "theistic
evolutionists" - those who accept
Darwin's theories and also believe in
God but reject biblical creation - were
softening and redirecting the
creationist emphasis of the group.
AS A RESULT, CRS demands that its
members subscribe to a four-point
"Statement of Belief" that affirms
their loyalty to the biblical account of
Genesis as a "factual presentation of
simple historical truths."
The society has two classes of mem-
bership, voting and sustaining. All
membership materials pass through
Rusch's cramped study, lined on all
four walls with scientific books and
journals. CRS documents are piled in
stacks on the floor.
Voting members must possess at
least an earned master's degree in a
scientific field -- a requirement
resulting from the belief that "those
who determine the course of the society
ought to have a knowledge of science,"
Rusch says.
Sustaining members are those in-
terested in the work of the society but
who do not have the required
educational background.
MEMBERSHIP IN the society has
grown steadily since its beginnings,
although last year sustaining and
student memberships were down
slightly. Only in the last 21 years has
creationism enjoyed ' renewed
popularity, Rusch says - ever since a
1959 conference of evolutionists
celebrating the Darwin centennial
resolved to standardize the presen-
tation of evolution in high school
biology textbooks.
Rusch and his colleagues, unlike
Moral Majority and other evangelist
groups, do not want to replace evolution
with biblical creation in the public
schools. Rather, they want evolution
taught for what they vehemently main-
tain it is: a theory.
"Since we have schools where there
is compulsory education, I think there
is an obligation that all teachers oNght
to have, and that is that they be factual.
None of this garbage that evolution is a
law and an absolute truth. Evolution is
a theory, I don't care what they say,
Rusch asserts.
HE WOULD LIKE to see both
creationist and evolutionary theories
presented to public school students and
then allow them to make their own
decisions about which is moretvalid.
"Furthermore, I'm perfectly
willing to have the teacher
say to the class, 'Personally, I
believe in evolution,' provided that in
the next room I can stand and say,
'Personally, I believe in creation.' And
above all, no child should ever be
ridiculed and should ever in any way be
penalized because he is a creationist.
That's a violation of his civil rights."
* * *
The Rev. David Wood, the leader of
the Michigan chapter of the Moral
Majority, vowed last month that his
organization would be working for
some type of creationist legislation in
the state.

WARWAW, Poland-Negotiations aimed at ending a crippling local strike
in southern Poland broke down yesterday and independent unionists called
for reinforcements while the government warned of "consequences."
Warsaw Radio said government negotiators returned to Warsaw after the
talks failed. It said no date was set for a possible resumption.
The broadcast said the government representatives told the strikers there
was "no basis" for their nine-day-old strike, which has affected transpor-
tation and about 120 enterprises in the city of Bjelsko-Bjala.
Juryv begins deliberation
in Garwood court-martial
CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C.-A five-member jury of Marine officers began
deliberation yesterday in the court-martial of Marine Pfc. Robert Garwood,
who was accused of collaborating with his captors during almost 14 years he
spent in Vietnam.
Garwood, 34, was also charged with maltreating a POW by hitting him in
the ribs after a group of fellow captives killed the prison camp's pet cat for
food.
Conviction on either charge carries a maximum sentence of life im-
prisonment and forfeiture of an estimated $147,000 in pay that accrued
during Garwood's captivity.
The jurors, all Vietnam veterans, also have the option of reducing the,
maltreatment charge to assault, which carries a maximum penalty of six
months in prison.

0
0

Separatists disrupt king's visit
GUERNICA, Spain-Separatists marred the visit of King Juan Carlos to
the restive northern Basque region yesterday, disrupting his speech to the
Basque Parliament and fighting with security police before being ejected.
As the king began his address to the partially autonomous legislature in
the historic town of Guernica, members of Parliament from the separatist
People's Union party rose, raised clenched fists and began singing the
Basque national hymn. Despite shouts from moderate deputies, the
separatists refused to stop.
Security police were called in and forcibly ejected the separatists. After a
six-minute interruption, the king said: "In front of those who practice in-
tolerance, depreciate harmony and do not respect representative in-
stitutions or the fundamental rules of freedom of expression, I want to reaf-
firm my faith in democracy and my full confidence in the Basque people."
But the demonstration by the separatist legislators, who have links with
the political wing of the Basque terrorist organization ETA, was expected to
have political repercussions in Madrid.
House committee members blast
Milliken tax relief plan
LANSING-Members of the House Taxation Committee leveled bipartisan
blasts at Gov. William Milliken's property relief plan yesterday, with
several calling for him to reconsider his opposition to a graduated income
tax.
Last month, the governor proposed a 35 percent cut in property taxes for
the average homeowner to a maximum of $1,400. Senior citizens would
receive a flat $1,400 cut.
The money would be made up by hiking the state's sales tax to 5 percent as
well as $250 million in cuts in local and state spending, with an average net
tax break of $200.
Lawmakers would have to place the program on a special election ballot,
which Milliken wants held this spring.
Khomeini attacks dissenters
TEHRAN, Iran-Admitting in a failing voice that his health was poor,
Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini lashed out at dissent in his Islamic regime
yesterday and hinted he might dismiss his top politicians unless they cease
their feuding.
The 80-year-old religious leader, his words bitter and angry, also warned;
that strikes, slowdowns and other forms of labor action were "treason" and'
would be punished accordingly.
Khomeini's warning came amid increasingly bitter bickering between:
moderate President Abolhassan Bani-Sadr and the ruling fundamentalist:
Republican Party, whose contest for power has intensified in the wake of the;
release of the 52 American hostages.
Vol. XCI, No. 108
Thursday, February 5, 1981
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