Creationist Gambles $10,000
April 7, 2013

Creationist Gambles $10,000

In California, Dr. Joseph Mastropaolo is a creationist. But he is not just a passive creationist; he has thrown down the proverbial gauntlet, so to speak. Last week, The Guardian published an article explaining the situation. In an effort to disprove evolution once and for all, Dr. Mastropaolo challenges any evolutionist to a mini-trial, which does not need to be held in a courthouse nor does it require the presence of traditional court personnel. However, Dr. Mastropaolo plans to have a bailiff and court reporter in addition to a judge.

Dr. Mastropaolo believes that the creation of life happened literally and just as the biblical book of Genesis outlined, in six days and all. He is what is known as a Young Earth Creationist, and as explains, this is “branch of conservative Evangelical Christians who believe the six-day creation account of Genesis is a literal historical narrative.”  Young Earth Creationists also believe that the earth is 6,000-10,000 years old and reject modern science concerning the age of and history of life on the earth.

He announced the creation of the Literal Genesis Trial Contest. The rules, according to the Creation Science Hall of Fame website, are as follows:

There will be a bailiff, court reporter, and the judge is in charge.

Please note: The mini-trial has been an established alternate form of dispute resolution in our legal system. A brief summary is given in Black’s Law Dictionary.

We will line up the potential players as they appear with their $10,000 ready to hand the judge and vowing to adhere to the rules. First come, first served.

  1. The non-literal Genesis advocate puts $10,000 in escrow with the judge.

  2. The literal Genesis advocate and contributing writer for the Creation Science Hall of Fame, Joseph Mastropaolo, puts $10,000 in escrow with the judge.

  3. If the non-literal Genesis advocate proves that science contradicts the literal reading of Genesis, then the non-literal Genesis advocate is awarded the $20,000.

  4. If the literal Genesis advocate proves that science indicates the literal reading of Genesis, then the literal Genesis advocate is awarded the $20,000.

  5. Evidence must be scientific, that is, objective, valid, reliable and calibrated.

  6. The preponderance of evidence prevails.

  7. At the end of the trial, the judge hands the prevailing party both checks.

  8. The judge is a superior court judge.

  9. The venue is a courthouse.

  10. Court costs will be paid by the prevailing party.

The Creation Hall of Fame website is collaborating with Mastropaolo for the trial. It honors those who have made contributions to creation science. Furthermore, the Young Earth Creationist organization called Answers in Genesis supports these efforts. A spokesperson for the organization stated, “The creation vs. evolution question involves ‘historical science,’ which is used to interpret the evidence we see today. The evidence does not speak for itself; in fact, it is subject to interpretive bias.”

I am having a bit of a hard time staying neutral in this blog. I believe in evolution. Science has shown me that it is happening and has happened for millennia. Plus, science has shown that the earth is much, much older than even 10,000 years, so to read about someone wanting to have a contest in order to once again discuss evolution versus creation just baffles me. I am not necessarily opposed to creationism; however, I think that the science stands firmly for evolution.

My main question concerning Dr. Mastropaolo’s challenge is how is he going to prove the talking snake scientifically? I mean, the rules are clear; only “objective, valid, reliable and calibrated” evidence, so how can a talking snake be proven as literal? I think Mastropaolo has a hard road ahead.

I believe in live and let live. I am not going to tell a creationist that their faith is wrong. However, science is tangible, logical, and provable. Faith, on the other hand, is not. Isn’t that what is so beautiful about faith? We know it because we just believe it in our souls?

Science is beautiful in its logic and process. We learn and know because we can show it, whatever it is. We can taste, touch, hear, see, and smell science. Science has given us so much historically, medically, and, well, scientifically.

I guess we will just have to wait and see if anyone takes Mastropaolo up on his contest to debate science and faith…again.

Image Credit: JJ Studio / Shutterstock

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Rayshell E. Clapper is an Associate Professor of English at a rural college in Oklahoma where she teaches Creative Writing, Literature, and Composition classes. She has presented her original fiction and non-fiction at several conferences and events including: Scissortail Creative Writing Festival, Howlers and Yawpers Creativity Symposium, Southwest/Texas Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association Regional Conference, and Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association National Conference. Her publications include Cybersoleil Journal, Sugar Mule Literary Magazine, Red Dirt Anthology, Originals, and Oklahoma English Journal. Beyond her written works, she successfully created a writer's group in rural Oklahoma to support burgeoning writers. The written word is her passion, and all she experiences inspires that passion. She hopes to help inspire others through her words.

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