The Evolution Protest Movement

(Investigator 190, 2020 January)



Introduction

The Evolution Protest Movement (EPM), founded in Britain in 1932, calls itself the "oldest Creationist organization".

The EPM was renamed "Creation Science Movement (CSM) in 1980 when it officially gave up "old earth creationism" and adopted "young Earth creationism".

Based in Portsmouth the CSM promotes creationism by means of public speakers, a magazine and other publications, and a museum it operates.


Early History

The EPM was preceded by the Victoria Institute (the Philosophical Society of Great Britain) whose official aim since 1865 was to defend "the great truths revealed in Holy Scripture … against the opposition of science falsely so called."

Some members felt the Victoria Institute was ineffective in opposing evolution, therefore founded the EPM, these being:

1.    Captain Bernard Acworth (1885-1963): Submariner in WWI, afterwards a journalist;
2.    Douglas Dewar (1875-1957): Son of an Anglican cleric; barrister; and ornithologist;
3.    John Ambrose Fleming (1849-1945): Physicist who discovered the diode valve and was president (1927-1932) of the Victoria Institute;
4.    Lewis Merson Davies (1883-1955): Described as the "most knowledgeable geologist and paleontologist in the world of creationism".

Acworth got the idea for an anti-evolution organization after a fishing trip where he watched flying gulls. He realized, he says, that birds and insects flying in winds don't feel any wind pressure. They fly in dead calm inside the moving wind — similar to a fly flying inside a moving car unaffected by outside air movement. 

Acworth decided to study this phenomenon and: "It was this study which first introduced me to the extraordinary fallacies into which the Theory of Evolution had led post-Darwinian naturalists and biologists through their surprising ignorance of the fundamental laws of dynamics which govern flight within a moving medium."  These studies led to Acworth's first book, This Bondage (1929), in the Introduction of which he: "emphasised the devastating effect on the Christian Faith, and on all forms of human activities and relationships, that Darwinism had wrought…"

Dewar obtained a degree in Natural Science and in 1898 entered the Civil Service in India. He studied birds and history and authored 22 books on Indian birds and Indian history. After his retirement he became a member and Vice-President of the Victoria Institute where he read papers criticizing evolution and which published his book Man: A Special Creation (1936).

Dewar invited Acworth to lecture on This Bondage at the Victoria Institute. Soon afterwards Acworth proposed that a separate Society be formed to actively challenge evolution theory.

Formed in 1932 the EPM existed only on paper until publicly launched in February 1935 at a meeting attended by 600. Fleming became EPM President, Dewar Hon. Secretary-Treasurer, and Acworth Chairman.

Dewar, thereafter, did most of the work, including authoring much of the EPM's literature. Acworth's role, although being the main instigator, was thereafter minor. He wrote This Progress: The Tragedy of Evolution (1934) followed by a dozen books dealing with political, historical and naval matters.

The aim of the EPM was to oppose the theory of evolution and expose its alleged flaws and social consequences, such as Communism and Atheism, via printed material.

The presidents of the EPM were:

•    1932-1941:        Ambrose Fleming
•    1941-1946:        Charles Marston
•    1946- 1957:       Douglas Dewar
•    1957-1952:        Bernard Acworth
•    1962-1979:        Cecil Wakeley
•    1979-1997:        Verna Wright
•    1998-2003:        Baroness Rose of Kilvarock
•    2003-                 Lord Ashbourne


The Switch to Young-Earth Creationism

For 40 years EPM's leaders had differing views on the age of the Earth. Therefore its public face was more anti-evolution than pro-creation. Different members interpreted the six Genesis days of creation variously:

•    As occurring after Earth's surface was ruined in a great catastrophe (= Gap Theory);
•    As lengthy ages of time;
•    As successive creations with intervals;
•    As literal 24-hour days.

Dewar in the 1930s-1950s believed that each Genesis "day" was an "age" and that the long ages of classical geology are correct. Around 1970 many members believed the "gap theory" according to which Genesis 1:2 implies a time "gap" prior to the six days of creation. A famous exponent of this view was Canadian physicist Arthur C. Custance (1910-1985) who wrote Without Form and Void (1970).

During the 1970s belief in a "young Earth", created 6000-10,000 years ago during six literal days, began to dominate the EPM. This led in 1980 to the name-change from EPM to "Creation Science Movement".

Don't think of "Creation Science Movement" as a general term covering all creationist organizations as is sometimes done — it's the name of the one organization, based in England, which began as the EPM.

The EPM's supporters included heads of colleges, reverends, authors, scientists, the WWII governor of Malta, and Henry M. Morris.

The last named was probably the main stimulus for the EPM's switch to young-Earth creationism. Morris was American and founded the Creation Research Society in Michigan (USA) in 1963, and the Institute for Creation Research in Dallas, Texas, in 1970. Morris also authored books in which he argued for a young-Earth:

•    The Bible and Modern Science (Revised edition 1956);
•    The Genesis Flood (1961) co-authored with John Whitcomb;
•    Scientific Creationism (1974) Edited by Morris but "Prepared by the technical staff and consultants of the Institute for Creation Research".

Morris claimed that a worldwide flood occurred at a time when all animal "kinds" including dinosaurs and people coexisted, and which in a few weeks sorted everything killed by the flood into layers that became the rock strata and fossils.


North America

EPM branched into North America in 1970.

Dennis Burrowes (b. 1918), who grew up in the Brethren sect, joined the EPM after WWII when on a Rhodes Scholarship in England. He visited England again in 1969 and was recruited by Albert G. Tilney to represent EPM in North America. (Tilney was a pastor, retired school master, Hon. Secretary of the EPM, and staunch advocate of Gap creationism.)

Burrowes initially adopted Morris' "flood geology", but when Arthur C. Custance joined him in 1971 he preferred Custance's gap theory.


Australia

The EPM was also active in Australia.

Around 1990 a Lutheran pastor in Adelaide donated to "Investigator Magazine" a stack of EPM pamphlets. Most of them are titled NEWS GAZETTE Evolution Protest Movement (Australian Branch).

The other pamphlets are 4 to 8-page pamphlets of the EPM. Some of the titles are:

•    Proofs that the Bible is True (A.G. Tilney);
•    Evolution The Mammoth And The Flood (Captain Bernhard Acworth);
•    Do Vestigial Organs Exists? (Douglas Dewar).

The donated News Gazette editions date from No. 53 (July 1957) to No. 118 (February 1971). The pastor/donator is himself listed under "Subscriptions" in No. 55 as Rev. E.M. Kloeden. Judging from regularly published lists of "New Members" and "Subscriptions" the EPM had many hundreds of supporters in Australia.

Every News Gazette until December 1962 says: "Published every two months for the Hon. Secretary of the Evolution Protest Movement, John McKellar…"  In 1963 this changed to "published for John Bryt … on behalf of the Evolution Protest Movement, Australian Branch."

The official EPM/CSM website in Britain says:

By the end of the 1980s it [the CSM] had become overwhelmingly YEC [Young Earth Creationist], formally incorporating flood geology into their 'Deed of Trust'… By the early 1990s it had closed down its foreign branches

It's possible that the EPM in Australia declined from lack of support. Perhaps its subscribers transferred their support to the Creation Science Association founded in Adelaide by Carl Wieland in 1977. Wieland's group was modeled after Morris and Whitcomb's young earth and flood geology, and published Ex Nihilo magazine starting in 1978. Wieland's organization later became Creation Ministries International based in Queensland; and Ex Nihilo is now named Creation.

Anti evolution organizations and ministries that promote flood geology similar to Morris proliferated in recent decades. The "NW Creation Network" website lists overt 200 creationist ministries in the USA but EPM/CSM is not included.  


EPM/CSM Ministry

The EPM/CSM is blatantly religious despite "Science" being in its name. It is managed and supported by people affiliated with mainstream denominations. Its website has an image of Earth in Space with the words "Restoring Faith in the Bible and Science".

The CSM attributes social problems such as abortion, fragmented families and child abuse to widespread acceptance of evolution and the growth of atheism.

The CSM website says:

We aim:
•    To show that the Scriptures, and in particular those that bear on Creation, are reliable.
•    To lecture on Creation Science at universities, schools and churches.
•    To publish and distribute the journal 'Creation', pamphlets, books, video and audio tapes demonstrating that the biblical account of special Creation is           supported by true science.

The CSM also owns a museum in Portsmouth which has a video room and creation-themed displays that promote the message that:

•    Life could not have formed from inanimate chemicals;
•    Modern animals and their fossil counterparts are really the same;
•    All people are descended from one man and one woman;
•    The Geological sediments and strata were laid down rapidly;
•    Radiometric methods for calculating the age of rocks are wrong;
•    The speed of light has drastically slowed down.


Comments

The last point, regarding the speed of light slowing down, argues for a young Universe, by supposedly refuting the scientific discovery that the light from the most distant galaxies took over 13 billion years to reach us.

The speed of light, according to some young-Earth groups, slowed down and then leveled off at the very time accurate measurements became available and then stayed unchanged. Other creationists believe that God, at creation, created the stars and instantly extended their light across the Universe. Neither claim, however, gets any support from the science of astronomy.

The creationist strategy of explaining everything they teach that disagrees with scientific discovery as acts of God, and calling this argument "scientific" although unable to support it by an experiment, exposes "scientific creationism" as unsubstantiated religious belief.

Morris gives the rationale in a paragraph dealing with the "long day" of Joshua:

The long day was undoubtedly a supernatural event, but in view of the fact of the existence of a personal God, interested in His creation and its ultimate purpose, it is foolish to say, as some have said, that miracles are impossible. God has planned and maintained a very efficiently working universe, normally subject to the operation of its regular laws. However, it is eminently reasonable that, if God's purposes are better served thereby, He would be expected on occasions to intervene in the normal operation of the so-called "natural laws." (1956, p. 22)

Most people, of course, would want better evidence for a contrary-to-science event than the claim that it's "eminently reasonable" for God to do it! Bergman (2003) listed 18 versions of God as a trinity. There are also numerous Unitarian versions of God. Different descriptions of God imply different gods (just as incompatible descriptions of people imply different people are described). Which God, therefore, exists and is the Creator?

To work out the origins of species researchers study fossils, comparative anatomy, geology, paleontology, physiology, and genetics. But with "God" as the alleged ancestor of species there's nothing to scientifically study to test it. It's the same if someone claims Zeus created everything, including all our memories, yesterday and made all creation consistent with the created memories. There is in such a claim nothing to research because there is no experiment to confirm it or refute it. What, then, should be done if Zeus-believers do what creationists do and label all science that's incompatible with their belief "false science" and want this to be taught in schools? If unopposed, fantasies masquerading as science could go main-stream and spell disaster for the future of knowledge and civilization!

The website "Old Earth Ministries" accepts Earth-sciences and astronomy as they are, but also accepts Christian doctrine. Apparently faith is possible without maligning modern discoveries as "false science"!


CONCLUSION

The EPM's conversion to young-Earth creationism in the 1970s meant rejecting a lot of modern science and was therefore a bad move. The conversion also made the EPM a small partner to the richer, bigger young-Earth organizations in America and probably superfluous everywhere except in Britain.



REFERENCES

Bergman, J. Varieties of Trinitarian and Non-trinitarian Beliefs, Investigator Magazine # 89, March2003

Dewar, D. 1936 Man: A Special Creation, Thynne & Co.

Gilman, L. 2013 The Shift that Wasn't: C.S. Lewis and Bernard Acworth
https://theotherjournal.com/2013/03/03/the-shift-that-wasnt

Moss, Stephen 17 February, 2009 Defying Darwin creationists Who exactly are they?
https://theguardian.com/science/2009/feb/17/evolution-versus-creationism-science

Review of This Bondage (1929)
https://sora.unm.edu/sites/default/files/journals/auk/v047n04/p0585-p0586

http://creation.com/carl-wieland-retires

http://wiki.creation.org/Evolution_Protest_Movement

http://www.csm.org.uk/index.html

https://creation.com/evolution-protest-movement.htm

https://creationresearch.org/

https://en.wikipedia/Creation_Science_Movement

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bernard_Acworth

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creation_Science_Movement

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lewis-Merson-Davies

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Genesis_Flood

https://nwcreation.net/groupcreation.html#otherlists

https://www.asa3.org/ASA/PSCF/1996/PSCF3-96Ferngren.html

https://www.icr.org/who-we-are

https://www.oldearth.org/

https://www.oldearth.org/profiles/carl_wieland.htm

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2009/feb/17/evolution-versus-creationism-science.htm
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