- Associated Press - Sunday, August 31, 2014

DALLAS (AP) — Most scientists believe Darwin got it right: Single-celled creatures evolved into complex ones, a process of natural selection and genetic adaptation that over eons turned a primordial swamp into shape-shifting cells, into ape-like primates, into people.

His theory is taught in virtually every science classroom in the world. It is used to demystify the complexity of life, translate the language of DNA, and make sense of geology, biology and paleontology.

Scientists call evolution a unifying theory, a weight-bearing wall that frames our understanding of the natural world.

But at the Institute for Creation Research in northwest Dallas, a group of nine Ph.Ds from places like Harvard and Los Alamos National Laboratory say all that molecules-to-man stuff is nonsense. And they’re out to prove it.

The biblical story of Genesis is literally true, they say. God created the heavens, earth and life in six sequential days lasting about 24 hours each.

The universe is not 13.8 billion years old (as astrophysicists calculate by measuring the rate of cosmic expansion), the earth is not 4.5 billion years old (as geologists conclude by using radioisotope dating on ancient rocks), and humans did not split from chimpanzees and gorillas about 4 million to 7 million years ago (as suggested by genetics and the fossil record).

Young-earth creationists like those at ICR argue that everything in the known universe began 6,000 to 10,000 years ago, a numeric range they calculate using the genealogy of the Bible - Adam lived 930 years and begat a son named Seth, who lived 105 years and begat Enos, and so on.

“Our attempt is to demonstrate that the Bible is accurate, not just religiously authoritative,” said Henry Morris III, CEO of the nonprofit with a 49-person payroll and an annual budget in the $7 million range.

“The rationale behind it is this: If God really does exist, he shouldn’t be lying to us,” he told The Dallas Morning News (http://bit.ly/1vklzwo). “And if he’s lying to us right off the bat in the book of Genesis, we’ve got some real problems.”

Morris knows ICR’s professors are pariahs among their peers, their positions are ridiculed as “pseudo-science” by researchers around the world, and even many pastors reject the group’s literal reading of the Old Testament.

This spring, televangelist Pat Robertson said on the Christian-themed television show The 700 Club that people would “have to be deaf, dumb and blind to think that this earth that we live on only has 6,000 years of existence. I think to deny the clear (geologic) record that’s there before us makes us look silly.”

Colleges and universities have taught evolution almost exclusively for nearly the last 100 years. One of the results, Morris says, is that about 10 percent of Christians hold to the strict interpretation of Genesis advanced by ICR - one that argues humans lived alongside dinosaurs, that Noah loaded the adolescent Jurassic-era creatures on the ark in pairs with every other animal species on the planet, and that natural wonders like the Grand Canyon were formed in months instead of millions of years.

Nine out of 10 Christians, Morris says, don’t buy it. Instead, they attempt to reconcile spiritual texts and science. For example, progressive creationists believe each day described in Genesis was actually billions of years. Others suggest God created the universe in a way that allowed evolution to progress without supernatural intervention.

And some subscribe to the “Intelligent Design” theory, which proposes that the universe is so beautiful and complex, logic suggests it is the work of an omnipotent architect, rather than the result of an unguided process like natural selection.

“Most Christians are like most people,” Morris said. “They don’t want to be thought of as weird. They don’t want to go against the majority.”

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