If Dr. Berthault is Not a Creationist, Why Do His Supporters Say Otherwise? 

Kevin R. Henke, Ph.D.

 

The following material may be freely copied and distributed as long as it's not altered, edited or sold.

 

INTRODUCTION

 

In his response to my earlier essay, Dr. Guy Berthault (standing on the left at this 1995 debate between evolutionists and creationists) claims that he is not a creationist:

 

"You qualify me as a 'young-Earth creationist'. This is incorrect. I am not a creationist."

 

This is a very interesting statement. If Dr. Berthault is not a creationist, why do so many young-Earth creationists (YECs) believe that he is one of them?  For example, Answers in Genesis' (AiG's ) Andrew Snelling at "Sedimentation Experiments: 'Nature' Finally Catches Up!" calls Dr. Berthault a "creationist researcher".   AiG's Jonathan Sarfati (1999, p. 106) also identifies Dr. Berthault as a "creationist".  So does YEC Wayne Spencer at "Stratification Experiments and Flood Geology". According to YEC Jerry Bergman at "A Brief History of the Modern American Creation Movement", Dr. Berthault is a Roman Catholic creationist:

 

"Some well-known Catholic creationists are Dr. Roberto Fondi, professor of paleontology at the University of Siena, microbiologist and geneticist Dr. Giusepe Sermonti, geneticist Dr. Macie J. Gioertych, quantum chemist Dr. Edward Boudreaux and scientist Guy Bertault [sic, Berthault ]."

 

Henry Morris of the Institute for Creation Research (ICR) also claims at "Evolution and the Pope" that Dr. Berthault is a Catholic creationist:

 

"On the other hand, we need to recognize that there are many strong creationists, not only among lay Catholics, but also among Catholic scientists as well. We could mention Dr. Guy Berthault of France, for example, whose studies on sedimentation have been profoundly significant in refuting geological uniformitarianism."

 

Why do all of these YECs believe that Dr. Berthault is one of them?  Are they inappropriately assuming that just because Dr. Berthault often publishes articles in creationist "journals" and speaks at creationist conferences that he must be a creationist? 

 

Perhaps, Dr. Berthault's actions are speaking louder than his words.    A review of several websites indicates that Dr. Berthault extensively participates in a number of Roman Catholic creationist organizations, which makes no sense unless he's really a creationist Roman Catholic.   For example, Dr. Berthault is on the advisory council for the Kolbe Center for the Study of Creation, a Roman Catholic organization that promotes creationism.  The website of this group readily endorses and sells books by YECs Kurt Wise, Jonathan Sarfati, and others in the AiG-CRS-ICR alliance.  How can Dr. Berthault serve on this council without being a creationist?  Why would Dr. Berthault want to serve in this organization if he is not a creationist?

 

The Italian branch of the Roman Catholic geocentricist-creationist organization, Cercle Scientifique et Historique (CESHE), refers to Dr. Berthault as an "Amministratore del CESHE" (a Director or Manager of CESHE).  The Links section at the French CESHE website confirms that Dr. Berthault is a member of this creationist organization. The report "Mission to Moscow 1990: The Groundwork" by YEC Ellen Myers also mentions Dr. Berthault's membership in CESHE and CESHE's creationist activities.

 

One of the major goals of CESHE is to promote the views of French geocentricist Fernand Crombette :

 

" The CESHE endeavours to publish and make known the work of the scientist Fernand Crombette (1880-1970) who, under the pseudonym " a French catholic ", threw a light on many fields of knowledge, espcially [sic, especially] on Geography, History of Egypt, ancient Chronology, Astronomy and Exegesis."

 

So, how can Dr. Berthault be a director of a geocentricist-creationist organization without being a creationist and at least sympathetic to geocentricism?    Why would any non-creationist want to be associated with an organization that sides with the dogma of a 17th century Church and its Inquisition and shows contempt for Galileo's progressive insights?

 

ROMAN CATHOLIC CREATIONISTS

 

YECs generally have more grass-roots support than old-Earth creationists, so people often refer to YECs simply as "creationists".   Perhaps Dr. Berthault misunderstands the terms "creationist" and "young-Earth creationist".  Because the overwhelming majority of AiG, Creation Research Society (CRS), and ICR personnel are fundamentalist Protestants, some individuals might mistakenly believe that only fundamentalist Protestants are YECs.  However, few (if any) self-professed YECs or even their critics see any justification for narrowly restricting the term "creationist" to fundamentalist Protestantism.    For example, there are Muslim creationists, such as Harun Yahya. As discussed by YEC Jerry Bergman at "A Brief History of the Modern American Creation Movement", there are also Jewish and Roman Catholic creationists (again, Dr. Berthault is listed).   Indeed, during the process of trying to push young-Earth creationism into the US public schools as part of the "equal time" laws, the ICR YECs strongly emphasized that creationists include traditional Roman Catholics, Orthodox Jews and conservative Muslims (for example: Morris, 1982, p. 8).    That is, they're not just Protestants.   Although YECs and their critics usually disagree on just about everything, we can agree that Roman Catholicism and creationism are not mutually exclusive. As a specific example, there is nothing in the Creation Research Society (CRS) statement of belief that precludes conservative Roman Catholics from membership.  If a Roman Catholic accepts the statement of belief of the CRS, no one can doubt that this individual is a creationist.    

 

Finally, many conservative Roman Catholics call themselves creationists (for example, the The Catholic Creationist (May, 1977) in Adobe Acrobat(R) ).  Catholic creationist Brother Thomas Mary in his essay "The Ark of Noah and the Church of Christ" even admits that Dr. Berthault is one of them:

 

"In the May 1994 issue of Daylight, a Catholic creationist journal published in England by Anthony Nevard, there is a fascinating article by a French geologist, Guy Berthault, entitled: 'The Laying Down Of Marine Sediments A Revolutionary New Perspective.' Anthony Nevard rightly calls the striking series of experiments described here by Berthault, 'a creationist breakthrough in secular geology.'"

 

If Dr. Berthault is not a creationist, why is his work called "creationist"?   Why does Dr. Berthault publish in Catholic and other creationist "journals"?  Why would these creationist "journals" publish his articles and interviews if Dr. Berthault wasn't one of them? Why do Roman Catholic creationists, like Brother Mary, believe that Dr. Berthault is one of them?

 

CONCLUSIONS

 

Despite Dr. Berthault's denial, numerous YECs identify him as one of them.   Either Dr. Berthault's Catholic and Protestant YEC colleagues have serious misconceptions about his beliefs or Dr. Berthault does not properly understand the meaning of the word "creationist".  Clearly, Dr. Berthault needs to set his friends straight on his real creation/evolution position or he needs to recognize who he really is. As with YEC Andrew Snelling, will the real Dr. Berthault please stand up?

 

REFERENCES

 

Morris, H. 1982.  Creation and its critics: Answers to common questions and criticisms on the creation movement.    San Diego, CA, USA: Creation-Life Publishers, Inc.

 

Sarfati, J. 1999.  Refuting evolution. Green Forest, Arkansas, USA: Master Books.