George McCready Price and Flood Geology
During the first two thirds of the twentieth century, during
which most Christian fundamentalists accepted the existence of
long geological ages, the leading voice arguing for the recent
creation of life on earth in six literal days was George McCready
Price (1870-1963), a scientifically self-taught creationist and
teacher. Born and reared in the Maritime Provinces of Canada,
Price as a youth joined the Seventh-day Adventists, a small religious
group founded and still led by a prophetess named Ellen G. White,
whom Adventists regarded as being divinely inspired. Following
one of her trance-like "visions" White claimed actually
to have witnessed the Creation, which occurred in a literal week.
She also taught that Noahs flood had sculpted the surface
of the earth, burying the plants and animals found in the fossil
record, and that the Christian Sabbath should be celebrated on
Saturday rather than Sunday, as a memorial of a six-day creation.
Shortly after the turn of the century Price dedicated his life
to a scientific defense of Whites version of earth history:
the creation of all life on earth no more than about 6,000 years
ago and a global deluge over 2,000 years before the birth of Christ
that had deposited most of the fossil-bearing rocks. Convinced
that theories of organic evolution rested primarily on the notion
of geological ages, Price aimed his strongest artillery at the
geological foundation rather than at the biological superstructure.
For a decade and a half Prices writings circulated mainly
among his coreligionists, but by the late 1910s he was increasingly
reaching non-Adventist audiences. In 1926, at the height of the
antievolution crusade, the journal Science described Price
as "the principal scientific authority of the Fundamentalists.
That he was, but with a twist. Although virtually all of the leading
antievolutionists of the day, including William Jennings Bryan
at the Scopes trial, lauded Prices critique of evolution,
none of them saw any biblical reason to abandon belief in the
antiquity of life on earth for what Price called "flood geology."
Not until the 1970s did Prices views, rechristened "creation
science," become fundamentalist orthodoxy.
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| Contributed by: Dr. Ron Numbers