Creationists are planning to conduct a university workshop discussing Adolf Hitler’s Nazi ideology and how it was allegedly influenced by Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution. Creationist group Creation Summit has announced plans to set up a conference called the Origin Summit at the Michigan State University, a research university that employs dozens of scientists studying evolution.
Creation Summit, a non-profit Christian organization that preaches a literal interpretation of the Bible, has been scheduled to visit the prestigious university on November 1. Speakers include creationist theorists like biologist Jerry Bergman, physicist Donald DeYoung and geneticist John Sanford.
One of the aims of the conference is to explore the possible influences of the theory of evolution on Adolf Hitler’s Nazi ideology, an idea that has already been debunked by historians. According to Science Mag, the summit will also discuss other unscientific statements, bearing titles such as “the big bang is fake,” and “natural selection is NOT evolution.” The creationist group will also discuss Michigan State University scientist Richard Lenski’s groundbreaking, on-going study on the evolution of E.coli, an experiment that demonstrates the observability of evolution on bacterial populations.
Creation Summit was able to secure a room at the MSU business school through a campus faith-based organization. However, according to Michigan State zoologist Fred Dryer, the organization did not learn of Creation Summit’s programs and the workshops that will be held within the campus until later, leading in-campus scholars to speculate that the student group was not involved in the planning of the conference.
In an email to Science Mag, Creation Summit executive director Mike Smith says that through activities like the upcoming MSU conference, the creationist group aims to present “scientific evidence” for intelligent design.
“We hope to pave the way for evangelism (for the other campus ministries) by presenting the scientific evidence for intelligent design. Once students realize they’re created beings, and not the product of natural selection, they’re much more open to the Gospel, to the message of God’s love & forgiveness.”
Michigan State’s evolutionary biologists are urging fellow scientists to ignore the event. Lenski, a prominent biologist whose evolutionary experiments will be one of the subjects of the creationists’ discussions, described the conference as a “forgettable blip in the long history of anti-science.”
“In my opinion, this event will be just another forgettable blip in the long history of antiscience, antievolution screeds. I suppose the speakers chose to target our research … because their event is being held here, and maybe because they find it confusing to their worldview that evolution isn’t supposed to happen.”
Although the speakers for the conference hold advanced degrees in science, most of them have not actually participated in mainstream scientific work. Jerry Bergman, a biologist, hasn’t published a single paper on any peer-reviewed scientific journal. Furthermore, his PhD in human biology was acquired from Columbia Pacific University, a non-accredited school that has been closed following an order from California courts in 2000.
After Michigan State, Creation Summit plans to bring the conference to University of Texas, Arlington.
[Image from Michigan State University/Flickr]