Steve Robertson Story: a Case History of What Happens to a Young-earth Advocate who works in Geology


This page is published with the full permission of a friend of mine, Steve Robertson who obtained his bachelor's degree from Christian Heritage College, the former educational arm of the Institute for Creation Research. Steve Robertson wrote a master's thesis which became an ICR Technical Monograph entitled, The Age of the Solar System: A Study of the Poynting-Robertson Effect and Extinction of Interplanetary Dust. This monograph was designed to show that the solar system was young because interstellar dust still remained. After school, Steve went to work as a geophysicist in the oil industry where he, like me, became intimately familiar with the geologic data that contradicted the young earth position. I have only seen Steve in person once in my life but we have communicated via phone often over the past 12 years and have become friends. Like me, Steve has anguished about the discrepancy between what he was taught and what he saw for years. This is because the ICR/young-earth approach makes a person feel that rejecting a young earth is equivalent to rejecting the efficacy of the blood of Jesus. Steve has graciously allowed me to quote from an old letter he sent me nearly 11 years ago in 1987.

Steve Robertson wrote:

“It is sad to say that I am one of those CHC/ICR graduates who has had a severe crisis of faith as a result of their ministry.” Letter, Steve Robertson to Glenn Morton Dated Feb 22, 1987.

Steve further explains in the same letter,

“Of course, I should not fail to mention that you are correct in pointing out that we were not given all the data in our coursework at CHC. But they didn't do that maliciously; they simply were ignoring the data they didn't believe in themselves, and so would have no reason to think we needed to know these things. As I'm typing this I realize that this is not entirely true. They did tell us of the data that they didn't believe in when they were able to hold it up as an example of the intellectual bankruptcy or moral corruption of uniformitarian geology. The further I have gone I my experience from CHC, the more I have seen of their propensity to ignore the facts that don't fit their pet models. That is not acceptable to me. Raising problems for the evolutionists will never convince honest scientists unless accompanied by vigorous efforts to explain the full spectrum of geologic data, with a replacement for the present 4 billion year model. Even though I don't know what to think about resorting to different laws of nature in the past, I feel much better about that than to simply ignore pesky geologic problems!” Letter: Steve Robertson to Glenn Morton dated Feb 22, 1987.

I have kept this letter for over 10 years because Steve's statement and others I will not publish was one of the saddest letters I ever received. It moved me greatly.

In preparing this page, Steve wants it clearly known that at no time did he come as close to leaving the faith as I did, but the intellectual problems presented by what he learned in school and what he saw with his own eyes at work, caused tremendous stress. He writes in an e-mail dated 2/14/98

“My greatest beef with ICR is their polarization of the creation/evolution issue. If you are not entirely in their camp, by their own declarations you are entirely out of the camp of those who accept the Bible as a completely true and literal account of God's interaction with time, space and matter. There is no leeway for any other interpretation of the Biblical text since Henry Morris studied it and figured out what it really means. Now that he as found out exactly what God meant, all observations must fit within his (Morris') explanation of Genesis because God would not lie. It is not at all illogical to throw out interpretations/explanations of observed natural phenomena (biological, geological, astronomical, or what have you) even though there is no sufficient or reasonable alternative offered from their group. Petrified sand dunes in Utah CANNOT be subaerial, even though they show a complete set of characteristics that match present day subaerial dunes and the evaporite deposits in the lows between them demand a subaerial environment of formation, because they HAD to have been deposited in the flood and God doesn't lie. Varves CANNOT be annual features because they HAD to have been deposited in one year and God doesn't lie. Your example of the meander through carbonate rock CANNOT have been produced by eroding solid carbonate because it HAD to happen subaqueously and within minutes, hours or a day at most since the Bible clearly says that all geological formations except the basement rock and a thin upper veneer were laid down during the year of the flood. God doesn't lie! In ICR's logic, to ignore or deny problematic natural observations is not to be deceitful. (A perfect example of this is John Morris' statement that he has never seen a geological fact that did not fit equally as well or better in the flood model than any other model.) At worst, in their view, it would be glossing over what remains to be explained properly, and WOULD be explained properly if more scientists did creationist research. The problem, from ICR's viewpoint, is the vast, hidden conspiracy to interpret the world around us in a way to discredit the Bible, not that any of the data from the world around us is contrary to their explanation of what the Bible means in Genesis. This inflexible, dogmatic, self-blinding position is my bone of contention regarding ICR. Until a person begins to understand where they [the scientists--GRM] are coming from, and the rules of their game, he is incapable of realizing that he could question their dogma and still be a Bible believing Christian.”

He further wants to add:

“I do not consider myself to have undergone a ‘severe crisis of faith’ in the sense of struggling with whether to be a Christian or not. The struggle for me was to come to the point where I could accept that a Christian could disagree with Morris' interpretation and still believe in the literal truth of Genesis. For me, that crisis never wandered from within a Christian worldview. If it was a crisis, and I guess it would be fair to call it one, I look back now and believe it was a false one created by my naive acceptance of ICR's dogmatic presentation of their view as the only allowable Christian view. The result of this crisis was that I stopped actively participating in this debate and still consider myself to be mainly a passive bystander.”

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