ICR: America’s Creationist Founders

As the Fourth of July approaches, we see a special kind of “patriotic creationism” vomiting from the usual creationist websites. For previous instances of this from the Discoveroids, see: Thomas Jefferson Joins The Discovery Institute!, and also: Another July 4th Hijacking.

Now it’s the turn of the Institute for Creation Research (ICR) — the granddaddy of all creationist outfits — the fountainhead of young-earth creationist wisdom. Their article is America’s Founding Fathers and Creationism. It’s written by Henry Morris (1918-2006), the founder of ICR, about whom we wrote Henry Morris: the Ultimate Creationist. Among our other posts about him are The Creation Science of Henry Morris, and also Henry Morris and the Ministry of Truth.

Together with John Whitcomb, he wrote The Genesis Flood, published in 1961. Morris’ most infamous and contemptible work is That Their Words May Be Used Against Them (Amazon listing). It’s a cover-to-cover Ark-load of quote-mining. Morris is regarded as the father of the modern creation science movement. Not only that, but he founded a creationist dynasty.

The founder’s eldest son, Henry Morris III, is carrying on the family business as ICR’s Chief Executive Officer. His son, Henry IV (the grandson of ICR’s founder), is “Director of Donor Relations at the Institute for Creation Research.” He has a degree in Business from Liberty University. Another son of ICR’s founder, John D. Morris, is now president of ICR and is “best known for leading expeditions to Mt. Ararat in search of Noah’s Ark.”

According to some footnotes at the end of the article, today’s article is a reprint of something written by Old Henry in 1997. ICR thinks it’s so good that it’s worth repeating. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

As the nation celebrates American liberty on the Fourth of July each year, it would be appropriate for all Americans (including those who have come here from other nations in search of that same freedom), first of all, to reflect on the Christian foundations — including genuine creationism — on which our nation was built.

Old Henry was not only misinformed, but considering the work he did during his lifetime, he was also delusional. America was most definitely not built on his imaginary foundations. See Is America a “Christian Nation”? Returning to the recycled rant:

George Washington (often called “the father of our country”) was also a strong Bible-believing Christian and literal creationist. Among other things, he once commented as follows: “A reasoning being would lose his reason, in attempting to account for the great phenomena of nature, had he not a Supreme Being to refer to: and well has it been said, that if there had been no God, mankind would have been obligated to imagine one.”

Like most of Henry’s quotes, that appears to be out of context. Not only that, it’s from a biography that provides no source. It’s one of many fake quotes debunked here: Quotes that never were: Forged religious quotations: a cottage industry. It’s also discussed here, in Wikiquote. Typical of old Henry. Let’s read on:

It has long been argued as to whether or not Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin were genuine Christians, but there is no doubt that both men were convinced creationists.

Amazing! What were they supposed to believe, when Darwin’s theory wasn’t published until 1859? But whatever Franklin believed in his own time, he certainly wouldn’t be a creationist today. And we know that Jefferson clearly rejected the notion of the Flood, as we discussed here: Thomas Jefferson on Young-Earth Creationism.

Old Henry provides “quotes” from several other founders. We haven’t bothered to check them all. It’s not necessary. We know the source — Henry Morris, the master of false quotes. At the end of his essay he says this:

God truly has “shed His grace” on this “sweet land of liberty” more fully than on any nation in history, but these blessings are the result of the commitment of our founding fathers to God as Creator, to God’s incarnate Son as redeeming Savior, and to the Bible as His inspired Word and the basis of our constitutional legal system. The tragic departure of our schools, our government, and even many of our churches and seminaries from these great principles may well lead to God’s judgment instead of His blessing, unless we return soon to the God of our fathers.

That’s what old Henry thought, but he was bonkers. If you want to know what the Founders thought, read their works, not some mined-quotes from the all-time master of creationist lies.

Copyright © 2012. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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5 responses to “ICR: America’s Creationist Founders

  1. Curmudgeon: “Morris is regarded as the father of the modern creation science movement.”

    That’s the way I usually hear it stated. But I find it more instructive to say that Morris was the one who practically single-handedly changed creationism from a mere misguided belief system to full-blown pseudoscience. As you noted about his book whose title practically gives away the game, Morris discovered that quote mining is an essential component of that pseudoscience.

  2. They’re glowing in the dark from that
    nuking CM….whew,,,,nice.

  3. There’s plenty more of this in the other articles in this months newsletter, if you dare.

    It occurs to me that if the Founding Fathers truly believed in creationism then they were simply wrong. Why does it matter? Are they demigods or something, bound by the same rules of innerency as God and the Bible?

  4. eyeonicr: “It occurs to me that if the Founding Fathers truly believed in creationism then they were simply wrong.”

    Then and now “believe in creationism” means so many different things as to be meaningless. Even after creationism went from mere misguided belief to full-blown pseudoscience, Dobzhansky called himself a “creationist.” What he was the furthest thing from, however, was an “anti-evolution activist” like the Biblical-literalism-peddlers at ICR and AiG, and the pseudoskepticism peddlers at the DI. Like Dobzhansky and ~half of today’s “Darwinists”, most Founding Fathers believed in a Creator as the ultimate cause. But few if any were Biblical literalists then, and would undoubtedly be staunch critics of the anti-science, paranoia-peddling propaganda of today’s anti-evolution activists. Not pandering fools like most of today’s politicians.

    As for “inerrant,” the FFs probably did more than anyone before or since to declare that political leaders were not inerrant. It’s the paranoid authoritarians of the last few decades who treat Ronald Reagan like another Jesus.

  5. if there had been no God, mankind would have been obligated to imagine one seems to be a paraphrase of Voltaire’s:
    If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him