There has been a lot of discussion of the recent retraction of an old scientific paper by its author, Homer Jacobson. His reason for doing so is that the paper contained errors and inaccuracies, and yet it was being quoted by ‘creation scientists’ as supporting their position.
Why didn’t he retract it sooner, you might ask? Because as long as it was a question of what scientists might do with it, he had little to worry about: they would either ignore his work, or they would seek to reproduce its findings and discover the flaws and publish them, and the matter would be resolved. In science, the scientific community provides critical scrutiny, which is why retractions are rarely needed.
This case tells us something important about young-earth creationism, though. Clearly in the decades which have passed since the paper was written, during the time they have been quoting it, either they did not do any actual experiments to test the paper’s claims (in which case they aren’t doing science) or they have been doing the research but have kept it under wraps because it invalidates their claims (in which case they are being dishonest). In the latter case, there would presumably be a top secret creationist vault somewhere with all the results of ‘creation science’ research that actually supports mainstream evolutionary theory. I bet Dan Brown could weave an entertaining yarn with that scenario!
What are the implications of this? In conservative Christianity’s own terms, young-earth creationism is clearly a cult.
A cult is usually defined as a group that twists scripture, and often it is one that rejects some field of knowledge that the rest of the world accepts. It often claims that if you look at the Bible or other areas without the help of their own literature, you will stumble into darkness. These are precisely the sorts of claims young-earth creationists make. I know – I used to be one.
Parents, please protect your children from this dangerous cult. A group that teaches its adherents to claim that they are right even when the evidence says they aren’t does serious harm to the psyche, to say nothing of the soul.