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Last Updated: Friday, 1 April, 2005, 10:21 GMT 11:21 UK
Would you Adam and Eve it?
By Stephen Tomkins
Author

Planet Earth
A teachers' union has said it is alarmed by an increase in lessons which teach that Adam and Eve was the literal truth, rather the fable which science believes it to be. The rise in creationism is not just an American phenomenon.

For many British people, belief in a six-day creation seems to be one of those incomprehensibly American quirks, like beef jerky and pledging allegiance to the flag. But a large and growing number of British Christians are defying Darwinist orthodoxy in favour of creationism - the belief that Adam and Eve are the mother and father of humanity.

They are less outspoken than in the US, where a new $25m museum of creationism is being built in Kentucky, but they quietly number hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions.

Dr Monty White tours churches throughout the UK, teaching "the biblical view" that the universe is about 6,000 years old.

Evolution is not compatible with Christianity
Dr Monty White
"People believe in evolution because they choose to do so," he says. "There is not a shred of real evidence for the evolution of life on earth."

Though he argues his case scientifically, it is fundamentally a religious commitment, a matter of faith in the Bible.

"Evolution is not compatible with Christianity," he insists. "Genesis tells us that death only came into the world because of Adam's sin. There was no death before then, and you can't have evolution without death."

There is a creationist museum in Portsmouth called Genesis Expo, run by the Creation Science Movement (CSM). Children can play with Boris the dinosaur and learn why evolution is scientifically impossible.

'Brainwashing'

Where do Boris and his fellow dinosaurs fit into this worldview?

Many were killed off in Noah's flood and became fossils. Others hung around to scare our ancestors who called them dragons. Bill Cooper, a council member of CSM, argues the 8th Century poem Beowulf records a genuine encounter with a Tyrannosaurus Rex.

The chairman, Dr David Rosevear, says even non-Christian visitors often accept their claims, "in spite of the brainwashing they get from the media".

"Typically," he says, in a statement that would make arch evolutionist Richard Dawkins' blood run cold, "a mother will bring her children round in the holidays and say to me 'Yes, that's pretty much what I always felt'."

How common are such beliefs among UK Christians?

So many evolutionists are incredibly arrogant and give the impression that only fools believe in creation
The Reverend William Gardner
Monty White feels he is in a growing minority, David Rosevear in a clear majority. More objectively, the Evangelical Alliance has polled its members, which number about a million.

One-third of those surveyed believe Adam and Eve were created within six days of the start of the universe. Of the other two-thirds, some would accept evolution while others see Adam and Eve being created after six "ages" of creation, rather than six literal days.

Reverend William Gardner of Devonshire Drive Baptist Church in Greenwich is one minister who endorses the creationist view. He says the world was created in six days, several thousand years ago, and he teaches this in church.

Is evolution incompatible with Christianity? "Yes," he says, "because ultimately evolution simply dismisses God."

Charles Darwin
Before Darwin, creationism was the widely held view
He feels frustrated that the scientific evidence is not treated more seriously. "So many evolutionists are incredibly arrogant and give the impression that only fools believe in creation, when there are many eminent scientists who say there is some evidence of design there."

Most apologists for creationism share this frustration. One of CSM's leaflets rallies support for teaching creation in schools: "The hard-nosed humanism of evolutionism has become entrenched in the British educational system and in society at large. We need your dedicated support to topple it!"

Dr White is less gung-ho, but is saddened and mystified by schools' refusal to set Genesis alongside Darwin. In his university career, there was often open and heated debate on the subject, so why not in the classroom? "I simply don't understand what the problem is. Why can't evolution be criticised in schools?"

Bucking the trend

On the other side of the desk, Mel is 16 and goes to an Anglican church in Leeds. She respects people who don't take Genesis literally, but no one has yet convinced her that evolution is more than a theory.

"People think you're nuts if you don't believe in evolution," she says. "But maybe in 100 years there'll be some new discovery, and people living then will think that everyone today was nuts to believe we evolved from monkeys."

How, at this already sufficiently awkward age, does it feel to be so out of step with the world around you?

"If you're a Christian, you have to go against the flow on all kinds of things - sex, smoking and getting drunk. Evolution isn't a big deal really. It doesn't come up a lot."


Add your comments to this story using the form below:

Any philosopher of science will tell you that evolution is theory, not fact, but so is gravity and all other pieces of scientific knowledge. However, gravity being a theory (rather than irrefutable fact) doesn't stop us from putting astronauts on the moon. Creationists should really rethink what science is before criticising it.
George, UK

I have no right to accuse a Christian of holding a false belief. Why should anyone have a right too deny my belief in evolution? If it is wrong, where is the proof?
Ray Lashley, Bristol, UK

Neither evolution or creationism can be scientifically proven, in the sense that you can recreate the conditions that led to them. What we believe about our origins is therefore a matter of faith, not fact. I used to believe in evolution, and now I don't. It isn't just that I object to the teaching of evolution as fact or that there are proponents of evolution who use the theory to promote their atheistic views. It is because of the abuse of science and a belief in random chance that suspends belief more than the belief in a creator.
John Airey, Peterborough, UK

I remain deeply worried about any closed minded approach to teaching. While I personally believe in Darwinian evolution through natural selection, I'm happy for it to be held up against creationism since exploration of ideas is how we learn. However, why just use the Christian orthodoxy? To be truly fair, you have to look at all the major religions, at all major theories.
Ian, UK

It's so refreshing to see the media actually producing an article that delivers the Christian creation account, rather than hindering it.
Joe Burrows, England

I really don't understand why these people try to say that evolution and Christianity are mutually exclusive. It seems self-defeating, because there's far more evidence for evolution than there is for the theological hurdles required to be a Christian.
Michael Hammond, UK

Believing in evolution takes just as much faith as believing in a six-day creation - it is all about interpretation of the evidence. Evolution is actually impossible, but the scientific community and the media (especially the BBC) seem so intent on indoctrinating the country that evolution is fact.
Stuart, UK

Creationism offers an explanation only if you have previously accepted the belief in a Christian god. So presumably then this invalidates any non Christian belief system including Hindus, Buddhists, etc. in one fell swoop. And creationist call evolutionists arrogant!
Stuart band, UK

Belief in the creation theory merely encourages man's belief in his importance over all other life on the planet. A view which has ultimately resulted in the environmental problems we now suffer.
Greg Miller, United Kingdom

If you believe Creationism, you are not just dismissing Darwin's theory of evolution as wrong, but by believing that the earth is only about 6,000 years old, you are contradicting theories of cosmology, hydrology, geology, glaciology, palaeontology, archaeology, radioactivity and linguistics, many of which were developed before Darwin's work was published.
Tim, Bath, England

If Adam & Eve (both white) were the parents of us all & there is no evolution how does the church explain the existence of non-white races? Evolution isn't simply a theory: you can watch it happen in a lab. Bacteria, viruses & even mice live short enough lives that you can physically see the changes at each generation. If there is no evolution how do bacteria become resistant to drugs? Did God say "on the 8th day I will make MRSA"?
Peter, Nottingham

Evolution is a theory, and should be taught as such along with the evidence to back it up. If Creationism is also taught as a theory, then all well and good (although what evidence there is for this other than one book I would love to know).
Angela Turner, The New Forest, England

You can be a committed Christian and believe in evolutionary theory. Not all scientists are in agreement about the specifics of evolution anyway. There are many unexplained gaps (has anyone ever produced an example of a real 'missing link' in process of evolving?) Somewhere in the middle lies the truth.
Jim McEvoy, England

I'm just interested to learn how many Christians in the UK believe in evolution. I'm a Christian, know hundreds others, yet have never met a creationist, including our vicar.
Matt Pointon, Vietnam

I'm an Anglican Christian and I think creationism is absolute nonsense. It's from the 'sticking your head in the sand' school of 'faith' which is coming out of America. The Book of Genesis is a mythical fable, behind which lie deeper meanings about the origin of humanity and life
Ed King, U.K.

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