> I realize that Bruce Salem has a long-standing emnity against
>engineers in creationist positions. However, at risk of starting a flame
>war, there IS some evidence to support his position. An aquaintance of mine
>here at ISU (Professor John Patterson) a few years ago presented a paper
>at the Iowa Acadamy of Sciences (I think) about engineers using there
>reputation as members of professional engineering associations to give
... okay, just to set the context of what I'm talking about. Anyhow,
assuming the damn system doesn't hang up on me in the next few minutes,
here's the details:
The paper, "An Engineer Looks at the Creationist Movement", by John
W. Patterson, published in _Proceedings of the Iowa Acadamy of Science_
89(2):55-58, 1982, is based on a presentation given at the Iowa Acadamy of
Science in 1981. I can send s-mail copies to anyone who is really interested,
but to save space here, I will only type the introduction (which explains his
perspective and goals) and the last section of the paper, which sums things up.
Any comments in brackets  are my own editorializing, which I kept to a
minimum. The opinions expressed below are those of John Patterson, although
I can't say I disagree with him. Typos expressed below, however, are
This paper is based on a presentation given in Cedar Rapids, Iowa,
to the Iowa Acadmy of Sciences on Saturday, April 25, 1981. The observations
are derived from the extensive interactions I've had with creationists and
anti-creationists over the past 3 to 4 years. These interactions include
written correspondence, careful evaluation of manuscripts and published
papers, many conversations, attendance at hearings and debates on creationism,
and participation in two creation/evolution debates. [the experience is
doubtless much greater since then, but I doubt Patterson has been required
to changed his views much -- btd.] The opinions expressed are my own, not
those of my university or department.
As a professor who taught thermodynamics to engineering students
for many years, I first entered the creation/evolution controversy in
1978. I was motivated to combat what I then considered -- and still con-
sider -- to be the promotion of grossly erroneous if not deceitful argu-
ments concerning entropy and the second law. I viewed this as being par-
ticulary serious, not only because thermodynamics is an important engineering
science (in fact, it began as an engineering analysis by Carnot) but also
because I found that it was engineers in the creationist movement who
were shaping the apologetics based on the laws of thermodynamics. Indeed,
I have since found that engineering educators, senior engineers, and
registered professional engineers are perhaps the most prominent leaders
of the creationist movement. As an engineering professor and a registered
engineer myself, I felt it would be professionally irresponsible to let this
travesty continue without comment.
This paper attempts to expose the nature of the creationist move-
ment, the role that professional engineers have played in its leadership,
and the level of scientific incompetence (particularly in thermodynamics)
that these creationist engineers have exhibited both in public speaking and
in print. I would hope that similarly revealing exposes will also be forth-
coming from such non-engineering perspectives as biochemistry, biology,
paleontology, physics, etc. but these I will leave to those professionals
whose expertise and teaching responsibilities fall in those areas.
[ >>>>> break -- rest of paper here. btd.]
Conclusions and Inferences:
1. The so called "scientific creationism" or "creation science"
movement is best characterized as a loosely connected group of fundamen-
talist ministries dedicated to (A) promoting their notion of Biblical
inerrancy and (B) undermining all knowledge and understanding which con-
flicts with their views on scriptural inerrancy.
2. The leadership of the two most acive "scientific creation"
ministries, namely the ICR and CRS, is dominated by professional engineers
and engineering educators, many of whom hold professorships and advanced
degrees from reputable universities. But the predominance of engineers is
not exclusive, and many other professional groups would do well to carry
out their own investigations.
3. The arguments which "creation scientists" use to counter the
well established facts and theories of science are not at all the scien-
tific arguements they are purported to be. Instead, they are thinly
disguised apologetics and polemics directed at many areas of science.
Established findings refute tenets which creationists hold to be inerrant.
4. The public utterances of the top creation scientists -- together
with their published works, which appear in professedly authoritative
"creation science" books and journals -- provide unequivocal, documentable
evidence that many of these authors are grossly incompetent, not only in
the area of science on which they expound without proper credentials, but
also in their own professed areas of scientific and technical expertise.
5. Public schools that willfully adopt the educational materials
produced by such incompetents deserve to be disaccredited, as do their
responsible officials and staff.
6. It is the responsibility of knowledgeable scientists, of pro-
fessional educators, and of their organizations, to expose the extent to
which scientific incompetence and intellectual dishonesty prevail in the
"creation science" movement. Only then can school officials be held fully
responsible for allowing the forced teaching of creationism as science.
Benjamin T. Dehner Dept. of Physics and Astronomy
email@example.com Iowa State University
Ames, IA 50011