My Experiences as a Creationist Student in Zoology Departments of Several Universities
[Editor’s note: This is somewhat different from most of our web articles, but we feel privileged to have this contribution from creationist biologist Dr Frair. He is one of the handful of folk who were the pioneers of the modern creation movement, such as the late Dr Henry Morris. We think it will be of great interest to many readers, not just from the perspective of his comments on creation-evolution issues, but also his personal experiences during that era.]
Abstract: In one university, my freshman zoology professor presented as virtual fact what was Darwin’s main proof for evolution—embryology! Years later I returned, and this professor then was an anti-evolutionist. At another university I effectively was jettisoned by a professor strongly antagonistic toward religion. In Rutgers University my major (Ph.D.) professor encouraged students who effectively could challenge even widely-held interpretations—including macroevolution! Nowadays, even though there is huge opposition to the concept of divine creation, the best understanding of current data is still that variation has occurred only within (not between) the created types (or ‘kinds’).
In 1946, at the University of Massachusetts my first course in biology was taught by a brilliant professor, Ray Ethan Torrey. The course had been advertised as General Botany. However, it turned out to be primarily a consideration of how the flowering plants demonstrated evolution. Their embryology was presented as a shortened summary of their entire evolutionary history. During the second semester I studied general zoology under a relatively new Harvard Ph.D., Gilbert L. Woodside. He was an embryologist who also was convinced that the stages in embryological development displayed a summary of the ancient evolutionary past.
Another professor presented data indicating that animals had evolved from a marine environment because their blood fluid had the same constituents as seawater. An evolution argument that was well illustrated in our textbook was that the hearts of fish, amphibians, reptiles, mammals and birds showed a beautiful evolutionary progression. First there was the two-chambered heart of the fish, three of the amphibian, intermediate type of four in reptiles, and then avian and mammalian four-chambered hearts. We also learned about homology—for example, the similar limb bone arrangements of amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals. These likenesses were defined as being the result of common ancestry. Later, we were taught that Rutgers University scientists had been involved with blood serum studies (a field called serology). Results were believed to be consistent with the evolutionary evidence from anatomy….
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