Take me to your leader
Tom Willis is one of American creation science's
movers and shakers. He heads the Creation Science
Association for Mid-America and masterminded the
recent school science curriculum controversy in
Kansas, where students will no longer be tested on
evolution. Today, he believes the Bible to be God's
literal words and says scientists believe in evolution
for political reasons. But as a young man Willis was
an atheist and trained in the hard sciences. Bob
Holmes asked him how he ended up on the road to
* How did you come to reject evolution?
I was not a Christian--I didn't know Christianity from the sole
of my foot. But I became a creationist--an anti-evolutionist
Christian--by a series of, some would say, unusual events.
One was a traumatic personal event that caused me to rethink
the meaning of life and to seek other solutions from the
lifestyle I was living.
But my conversion was probably more inspired by reading
Darwin, and other popularisers of evolution than by reading
creationist writings. Because I had studied hard sciences,
been a high-school debater, and taken courses in logic, I
realised the absurd reasoning that lay behind evolutionists'
arguments and was very powerfully struck that a theory with
so little sound reasoning behind it could be so widely accepted
among a group of people that calls itself the scientific
* Do I take it that no evidence on Earth will lead you to
change your mind about evolution?
I have answered the question before at the local atheist club
by holding up my pocket comb and saying, "Instead of telling
me stories about a time in the past about which you have no
knowledge, just show me one complex system ever formed by
random processes." All complex systems owe their existence to
acts of creation involving planning and work by one or more
intelligent beings. I have made this challenge hundreds of
times: show me one complex system. It's obvious that complex
systems from 747s to coffee cups are created.
* Does it bother you that so few scientists agree with you?
It doesn't disturb me at all. It is not surprising to me that most
scientists don't believe the obvious. Jesus told us that the
world would hate us. This notion that Christianity was ever
popular in the world is just myth. The scientific method in our
culture is a political venture. I believe that the political forces
of history tend to dominate cultural thought and they tend to
drive out non-believers.
* If you ask most scientists, they wouldn't say they believe
in evolution for political reasons
Oh, of course not. Whatever your religion is, you don't believe
that you arrived at it by a silly method. Generally you believe
you have made a sound decision. But because a majority
disagree with me doesn't tell me anything about truth. The
majority has throughout history believed silly things.
* What harm do you think has resulted from the spread of
When I began studying evolution it was obvious that it had
been a major rationale for a dominant world view. [During the
20th century] two-thirds of the world's people were living in
evolutionist states--that is, where evolution is the historical
myth that is recognised as official truth in the state. Having
lived through that and known many people who lived in Nazi
Germany, the Soviet Union, Hungary and Poland, I realised
that evolution as a life philosophy had been empirically tested
by our culture and found to be wanting.
* Hasn't Christianity also led to abuses?
You can argue that the Inquisition and the Crusades came
from Christianity. But you cannot defend either from Scripture.
But you can easily defend Nazi and Communist behaviour from
evolutionary theory. Certainly, before Hitler started shooting
at Joe Stalin you would not have found many people defending
an anti-Hitler view, even in the great bastion of freedom in the
United States. That's important. It's important to realise that
was a scientific view. Hitler's views were argued to be
scientific by many men on every side of the pond, and they
managed to carry the day in Eastern Europe. If you recall,
Hitler walked into Austria without firing a shot. That's how
popular his views were. It is not just an idle notion that men
will believe things that are silly and call them scientific.
* Why did you write recently: "Wherever evolutionists have
taken over, 'evolutionary Christians' have joined Hitler
and Stalin in killing Christians"?
Yes. Not all of them, but some have. Absolutely. You had to
be an evolutionist to be a Nazi--that was the state
doctrine--but many of them thought they were Christians.
* Are you saying that belief in evolution leads humans to
commit evil crimes?
I want to be precise about it. Evolution is not the cause of evil
in man. There is no hint either in empirical science or in
Christianity that evolution is the cause of evil in man, but it is
an incredibly successful rationale for evil. It's one of the
best-crafted apologetic systems for evil that I've seen in
history. It also produces a mindset that if you believe
evolution you can't possibly believe very strongly in a
tremendous value associated with individual human life--or any
other life, for that matter.
* Why do you think God created Darwin?
God specifically said those who refuse to love truth, he will
give them a spirit of delusion and cause them to believe a lie. I
think Darwin was designed to give the world something to
believe. Any child who has read On the Origin of Species can
see that he didn't have a case. I read it when I was a virtual
unbeliever and I just filled the margins with unutterable
phrases at my shock that such silly reasoning and
non-reasoning could be accepted and called science.
* Why are so many other Christians--Catholics and
Protestants--perfectly at ease with evolution?
You can sit in a garage all day and call yourself a car, but that
doesn't make you one nor does it make your pronouncements
about either cars or garages scientifically accurate.
* It sounds like you're saying that mainstream Christians
are false Christians.
No, I didn't say that. Many are false Christians. They can also
be mistaken. You don't believe everything that a Christian
says. Why should I? Evolution has to stand on either the
scientific evidence or the scriptural evidence. I've maintained
in this conversation it cannot stand on the scientific evidence
and I don't have to maintain that it can't stand on the
You virtually never hear a Christian defend evolutionism from
the Bible. This tends to make me a little bit suspicious. I find
that most of them are not interested in the Bible. They're
interested in Christianity as a nice way to bring up kids or
some other such idea. Christianity, like evolution, is a truth
statement about the history and purpose of the Universe.
* Do you think Christians who believe in evolution are evil?
I didn't say that.
* I know you didn't say that, I'm asking you do you believe
I believe that Christians or anybody who teaches evolution as
science is likely to be causing harm. I'd have to say yes, some
of them are evil. I would have no way of estimating what
percentage are evil and what percentage are mistaken. I'm not
God and I'm incapable of looking in the heart of man.
* You say you're not anti-science, yet why do you reject
the scientific consensus on the age of the Earth?
||I have researched the methods by which we have determined or pretended to determine the age of the Earth. I haven't found one that works. I find that they work only by selectively discarding the dates that we don't believe or that don't fit our belief system. I don't believe that we have developed a method that we can even test. When you go into a grocery store and they claim that your meat weighs 5 pounds, there's a guy that comes in there every month with a standard 5-pound weight. I've asked many a geologist, "Where's your standard one- million-year-old rock?" They don't have one and they can't possibly have one.|
* Isn't that a bit glib?
Everyone chuckles and says that's just rhetoric. No, it's not
rhetoric--they have no way of testing whether or not this is
true. Incidentally, the same is true in a court of law. Every
courtroom is about an event in the past. We can't agree on
whether O. J. Simpson killed his ex-wife and yet we pretend
we know what dinosaurs had for breakfast 100 million years
* Where--apart from the Bible--do you get the idea that
dinosaurs survived long after most scientists say they
The word dinosaur is only 150 years old, but descriptions and
pictures and sculpture and art of large reptiles is in every
culture. The head of the Chinese museum of natural history
stated in the last decade that dragons are not a part of
Chinese mythology, they're a part of Chinese history. What's
he talking about? He's talking about large reptiles. If you just
look at ancient cultures they all teach the same thing. The
Bible teaches that large reptiles existed in the time of Job.
Behemoth and Leviathan, large beasts from the book of Job,
clearly are dinosaurs. When the people who produced the King
James Bible translated it they had no idea what he was talking
about, so they didn't give them any English words. They
translated them into other words. Since then we've dug up
creatures that fit those models.
* How should science be taught in schools?
There is no such thing as education without religion. When you
teach someone from ages 5 to 18, you're going to make a
religious impression, even if it is the false notion that you can
make a significant contribution to their life needs without
mentioning religion. That is in itself a religious position.
If I had any agenda that I would defend, it would be the idea
that scientific theories ought not to be taught in such a way
as to require the student to affirm them. Students shouldn't
be required to believe scientific theories. They're something
you learn about, but you don't have to believe them. And you
shouldn't censor evidence that might put any theory in an
unfortunate light. [Right now] you can talk about evidence for
an old Earth, but it is a fact that our opponents scream in livid
anger at the evidence that points the other way.
* Just for the record, do you believe the Sun goes around
the Earth or the Earth goes around the Sun?
I'm sure your readers will love this, but I don't know. Every
physicist who's looked at it seriously has realised that we don't
know for sure.
From New Scientist magazine, 22 April 2000.
© Copyright New Scientist, RBI Limited 2000