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Origins 2020: creationist scholars meet online

October 2020 | by Paul Garner

Dr Todd Wood
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Origins, the annual meeting of the Creation Biology Society (CBS) and Creation Geology Society (CGS) was held online in July for the first time in twenty years. Over 100 registrants enjoyed talks on topics as diverse as fossil reptiles, fish hybrids, human chromosomes, and ice cores.

I’ve participated in this annual meeting since 2004, and it’s a highlight of the year and unlike any other creationist conference. Criticising evolution isn’t the focus but rather the development of a positive young-age creationist model of origins.

Scientists, students, and other scholars have the wonderful opportunity to share their own research and discover what else is going on at the cutting edge of creationist scholarship.

This year’s meeting kicked off with an exciting announcement: the launch of the Creation Theology Society (CTS) as a sister group to the CBS and CGS. The new society has an executive board comprising seven theologians and biblical scholars, all committed to the young-age creationist perspective. More information is at creationtheologysociety.org.

Two conference days were devoted to biology and one to geology. Short research presentations were interspersed with Q&A sessions and more general talks.

Highlights included work on parasitism by a research group led by biologist Jeremy Blaschke. The origin of parasites is a challenge for young-age creationism, since creationists claim that death and disease were absent from the world prior to Adam’s sin. If so, parasites must have arisen from non-parasites within only a few thousand years at most.

Intriguingly, Blaschke’s group showed that 97% of the parasite lineages they studied had few species, consistent with the creationist claim that they had diversified from non-parasite ancestors relatively recently.

The general talks included an insightful look at the history of creationism by biologist Todd Wood, musings on the philosophy of science by palaeontologist Kurt Wise, and an exploration of God’s use of process during creation by geologist Ken Coulson.

Hebraist Steve Boyd looked at the detailed chronology of Noah’s Flood, and geologist Steve Austin and colleagues gave a fascinating presentation about the catastrophic origin of the Grand Canyon in Arizona.

My own presentation looked at how we should approach the hard problems that face us in creationist geology, offering both encouragements and challenges.

Despite being online only, this year’s conference was a tremendous success. Abstracts for the research talks are available in the open access Journal of Creation Theology and Science.

Paul Garner