Creationist stakes $10,000 on contest between Bible and evolution
Creator of Literal Genesis Trial believes people who argue in favor of evolution are at a scientific disadvantage
Amanda Holpuch; guardian.co.uk, Monday 25 March 2013 15.46 EDTt
A California creationist is offering a $10,000 challenge to anyone who can prove in front of a judge that science contradicts the literal interpretation of the book of Genesis.
Dr Joseph Mastropaolo, who says he has set up the contest, the Literal Genesis Trial, in the hope of improving the quality of arguments between creationists and evolutionists, has pledged to put $10,000 of his own money into an escrow account before the debate. His competitor would be expected to do the same. The winner would take the $20,000 balance.
The argument would not be made in a formal court, but under an alternative dispute resolution model known as a minitrial. Mastropaolo said he would present the argument in favor of a literal interpretation of the creation story once he had found a willing scientist to argue that a non-literal interpretation of Genesis is more scientific.
"They [evolutionists] are not stupid people, they are bright, but they are bright enough to know there is no scientific evidence they can give in a minitrial," Mastropaolo said.
A minitrial differs from a regular trial because it does not need to be held in a courthouse and does not require the presence of traditional court figures. Mastropaolo plans to have a bailiff and court reporter in attendance, along with the judge. Contest rules state that evidence must be scientific, which means it is "objective, valid, reliable and calibrated".
Mastropaolo believes that evolution cannot be proved scientifically. "It turns out that there is nothing in the universe [that] is evolving, everything is devolving, everything is going in the opposite direction," he said.
Mastropaolo started making public arguments in favor of creationism about 13 years ago, after reading an article about evolution in the newspaper. He has a PhD in kinesiology and taught biomechanics and physiology at a California university for more than 25 years. He is now a contributing writer at the Creation Science Hall of Fame, which is collaborating with him for the minitrial. The Creation Science Hall of Fame is a website, launched in February 2012, that honors those who have made contributions to creation science.
A majority of scientists disavow creationism, but a June 2012 Gallup poll showed that 46% of Americans believed in a literal interpretation of the biblical version of creation. Legislation to allow students to be taught religious versions of the creation of life is currently being considered in four states.
The Literal Genesis Trial contest would be held in a courthouse in Santa Ana, California and Mastropaolo has said he will create a list of potential superior court judges to decide the case. The participants would have to agree on a judge. Mastropaolo said that he hopes the trials can improve future debates between evolutionists and creationists by addressing the issue in a legal and scientific way.
"The evolutionists thereafter could read that transcript and make their case a bit stronger on the next one they contend against and we can do the same," Mastropaolo said. "We can read the transcript and not have have to go through the same process over and over and over again without any let up, without any resolution."