George F. Howe

Dr. George F. Howe obtained his doctorate in botany from Ohio State University in 1959. Since then he has taught biology and botany (Westmont College, Santa Barbara, CA and The Master's College, Newhall, CA) and engaged in botanical research, including studying photosynthesis in the leaves of flowering plants.

Dr. Howe has been a member of the Creation Research Society since its inception in 1963 and has served as its president and as editor for its "peer-reviewed" quarterly journal. (I don't think anyone but creationists would agree it is peer-reviewed, as most scientists consider the CRS Quarterly to be pseudo-science and would never read, review, or send an article to it. (You can think that's good or bad, but it's true, so it's not really a "peer-reviewed" journal, as all its contributors are assuming that they're going to find a young earth as the result of their studies.)

Analyzing the Young Earth Position of Dr. George F. Howe

The question to anyone who thinks the evidence for evolution is overwhelming, as my site argues, is how can a scientist, involved in scientific study, believe the earth is young? Fortunately, Dr. Howe gives a thorough description of his journey at Answers in Genesis.

Dr. George F. Howe's Christian Background

George F. Howe was a Christian from the time he was young. He attended Wheaton, a Christian college, as an undergraduate, though he got his advanced degrees, as I mentioned, from a public university.

As a student, he assumed an old earth, which he justified Biblically by believing that the days in Genesis were actually ages. What's important to note here, though, is Dr. Howe's devotion to the literal accuracy of the Bible. The earth, to George Howe, could only be old if the wording of the book of Genesis allows it to be so.

That sort of bias does not bode well for accurate research.

Scientific Research and Practical Results

It's important to remember that while evolution influences all the sciences, most scientific studies don't involve questioning the age of the earth. Men like Glenn Morton, a geologist for oil companies, are put face to face with evidence for an old earth every day because evolutionary history is used to find the oil. Thus, even while remaining a Biblical literalist, he was forced to "switch" to evolution and become an outcast among his former young earth friends. His attempts at reconciling evolution with a literal Biblepreviously at, but that link is broken now are brilliant but difficult to swallow.

While Glenn Morton's work forces him to face the age of the earth on a practical basis, the research of photosynthesis in plant leaves does not. George F. Howe is  free to discuss the age of the earth from the same standpoint as you or I, though he obviously a lot more formal education and experience.

Not forced to be intellectually honest with the evidence, I have to wonder how intellectually honest he's choosing to be, and there's a scary indication in his self-description given on the the Answers in Genesis site.

Dr. George F. Howe and Evidence of Bias

At Answers in Genesis, in defense of the lack of scientific credentials of anti-evolutionist George McReady Price, Dr. George F. Howe repeats the patently false argument that Charles Lyell, "the father of geology," was a lawyer, not a geologist.

This claim is made in the introduction to The Genesis Flood, by Henry Morris and John Whitcomb, a book with which Dr. Howe is familiar. The claim has been publicly refuted for over 40 years now, however, and it is hard to understand how both Henry Morris—who continues to republish his book with the misinformation—and George Howe do not know this.

Charles Lyell did get a law degree, and he did practice as a lawyer for two years, from age 28 to 30. However, he had already begun his education and career as a geologist before that time. He began studying geology at Exeter College before he was 20, and he was elected to the Linnean and Geological Societies at age 22. He did a geological tour in Scotland at age 27, and at age 30, he stopped doing law completely.

He devoted the rest of his life to the study of geology. He published  the foundational bok, The Principles of Geology, at age 32 and Elements of Geology at age 40.

Even more pertinently, Charles Lyell was a professor of geology at King's College in London from 1831 to 1833. In 1835 he was president of the Geological Society. This is not a man who was not a geologist!

It's not that I don't agree with George F. Howe's argument. You can discuss geology without a geology degree and without being officially labeled a geologist. However, to attempt to take authority away from the most famous geologist of all time is not a good or even honest argument to make to prove one's point.

Norman Newell and Catastrophic Deposition of Fossils

In his self-written bio at Answers in Genesis, George F. Howe writes:

A landmark paper appeared in Scientific American magazine entitled "Crises in the History of Life" by Norman Newell, a secular geologist. In this paper Newell marshaled plenty of evidence to show that fossils had been deposited by catastrophic (not gradual) means.

Norman Newell did not marshal any evidence that "fossils" had been deposited by catastrophic means. Newell's landmark article, published in the Scientific American in 1963, was an argument for catastrophic breaks in the fossil record, something that is now believed by all geologists and paleontologists. He is the one who first proposed mass extinctions on a regular basis, like the Cretaceous-Tertiary (KT) extinction that ended the reign of the dinosaurs, and the Permian extinction that led to their rise.

To make it remarkably clear that Newell's article was not an argument for the laying down of fossils by catastrophic means, Newell published a book in 1982 called Creation and Evolution: Myth or Reality? In it, he "explained the scientific evidence for evolution, particularly emphasizing the paleontological record of changes in faunas and floras with time, as documented by fossils throughout the stratigraphic column" (J. Keith Rigby, "Memorial to Norman Dennis Newell," found at Geological Society of America).


So how can excellent scientists like Dr. George F. Howe end up rejecting evolution despite the overwhelming evidence against it? Because their strong belief in the literalness of the Bible forces them to be biased, and often less than honest, with the evidence. Peer pressure, and especially religious peer pressure, has a powerful effect on human beings.

It is hard for humans to overcome such pressure. We're all prone to dishonesty because of bias (example). In every case I've examined so far, it is not hard to show that credentialed young earth creationists, as here with Dr. George F. Howe, subtly—or not so subtly—twist evidence and data in order to hang on to their religious beliefs. It is not hard to prove that these are not scientific conclusions—even if you're not a geologist!

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