The Curious Case of Kurt Wise

Kurt Wise
An honest creationist and an intellectually dishonest scientist.

Kurt Patrick Wise was born in 1959 in the USA and graduated from Harvard University in 1989 with a PhD in geology.  He was by all accounts a brilliant geologist with great promise in his field.  There was one obstacle though that he never could surmount to lend his intellect to the genuine and noble pursuit of enhancing Mankind’s knowledge of the world we live in.  The obstacle, of course, was his faith.

In Six Days 

In the book, In Six Days, Why 50 Scientists Choose To Believe In Creationism, Edited by Dr John Ashton, Kurt Wise writes:

“Although there are scientific reasons for accepting a young earth, I am a young age creationist because that is my understanding of the Scripture. As I shared with my professors years ago when I was in college, if all the evidence in the universe turns against creationism, I would be the first to admit it, but I would still be a creationist because that is what the Word of God seems to indicate.” 

50 Scientists?  Do You Really Want To Turn This Into A Numbers Game?

First off, fifty scientists?  Why even use the numeric as a point of credibility, as I assume that’s the intent.  Kurt Wise did not choose the title, the published work is a compendium of writings put together by Dr John Ashton, the editor.  But fifty?  The fact fifty people who were intelligent enough to get a degree in science choose to believe in creationism is not something to be published as a reason, or even a mere tease into why creationism should be considered valid in the field of science.

Of course there are more than 50; I’m sure it’s focusing on the reasons of fifty scientists.  Though I would argue that you discredit yourself as a scientist once you become a ‘christian scientist’, as you no longer practice the scientific method.  Now you’re starting with a presupposition and finding evidence to support that belief, and if you don’t like the evidence, you’ll discard it or interpret it in a way that’s more favorable to your original presupposition.  Simply put, given the overwhelming majority of scientists do not believe in creationism indicates that it would be wise not to make this into a numbers game if you’re arguing on behalf of creationism.

There are many scientists who are religious but who do not accept creationism, and understand evolution to be true.  Francis Collins is an excellent example.  He was the lead administrator of the human genome project, and is a brilliant scientist, though at happening upon a waterfall with three streams he was injected with faith, and took into his life this as evidence of the holy trinity.  Still, Francis Collins estimates that humans have been around for at least 100,000 years.  The man is able to operate as an honest scientist despite his irrational faith.

Sadly, An Honest Creationist 

He’s an honest creationist, but an intellectually dishonest scientist.  You cannot turn your back on all the evidence in the Universe because of scripture.  Scripture is not scientific evidence.  Not of any kind.  I know more about science than all the writers who contributed to the bible together, and I’m not a scientist.  Genuinely I feel for Kurt Wise, having to suffer this cognitive dissonance.  With his education he is in a far better position than I to understand the evidence that leads to the scientific consensus to know the world to be roughly 4.5 billion years old.  Yet no matter what evidence he finds, his faith will not allow him to accept what he knows to be true.

Richard Dawkins sums this up well in an article he wrote, Sadly, an Honest Creationist:

Kurt Wise doesn’t need the challenge; he volunteers that, even if all the evidence in the universe flatly contradicted Scripture, and even if he had reached the point of admitting this to himself, he would still take his stand on Scripture and deny the evidence. This leaves me, as a scientist, speechless. I cannot imagine what it must be like to have a mind capable of such doublethink. It reminds me of Winston Smith in 1984 struggling to believe that two plus two equals five if Big Brother said so. But that was fiction and, anyway, Winston was tortured into submission. Kurt Wise—and presumably others like him who are less candid—has suffered no such physical coercion. But, as I hinted at the end of my previous column, I do wonder whether childhood indoctrination could wreak a sufficiently powerful brainwashing effect to account for this bizarre phenomenon.

What Became Of Kurt Wise?

Kurt Wise is the Director of Creation Research Center at Truett-McConnell College, is married to Marie Wise, and lives  in Cleveland.  I wish him the best and hope that he lives a life of joy and fulfillment.  While I think a man of his intelligence would have been better served by contributing to his field of science without being blinded by young earth creationism, I don’t judge him too harshly.  Instead, as I wrote earlier in this piece I feel for him, for I would wager to this day he must wrestle in some capacity that a literal interpretation of the bible somehow supersedes what he knows to be true about the Earth from a lifetime of study.  

Maybe I’m wrong though.  Maybe his faith has left him devoid of any doubts that evidence is preferable to scripture.  After all he looks happy enough on stage in the video below.  In the spirit of fairness, I now offer him the floor.

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1 thought on “The Curious Case of Kurt Wise”

  1. Dr. Wise’s teaching there made a whole lot of sense. His theory explains the coal/mud marine shale issue much more than evolution ever has.

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