Creationist Organisations in the UK
"A lie repeated often enough convinces the liar, and many creationists may now have forgotten that they are lying at all." - Frederick Turner, Professor of Arts and Humanities at the University of Dallas, Texas, Darwin and Design: The Evolution of a Flawed Debate
In alphabetical Order, here is a list of the creationist organisations and groups currently detailed by us:
Answers in Genesis UK
Biblical Creation Society
Bradford Creation Science Group
Creation Ministries International
Creation Research (See also Margaret Buchanan)
Creation Resources Trust
Creation Science Movement
Emmanuel Schools Foundation
European Theological Seminary
Evangelical Theological College of Wales
Hyde Street Chapel
London Theological Seminary
Noah's Ark Zoo Farm
Seventh Day Adventist Church
Take Heed Ministries
Truth in Science
We also have a very detailed report on Creationism in Churches which takes a look at which denominations are pushing creationism in the UK.
Creationism here is defined as a belief that the world was created some 6,000-10,000 years ago in accordance with a literal interpretation of the bible. However, creationism is widely accepted in Muslim circles. Moreover, Intelligent Design is also generally regarded as little more than creationism.
For the purposes of this article, both positions can be regarded as creationism.
In general the creationist movement describes itself as non-denominational and it is thus rather meaningless to say that certain denominations are creationist. There are creationists amongst the Anglican and Roman Catholic churches although neither are considered to be either fundamentalist or creationist.
That may be changing though - see our section on the Christian Institute, an Anglical right-wing fundamentalist pressure group.
However, the fundamentalist movement tends to be concentrated in what in the UK used to be described as the non-conformist sector (i.e. not part of the Church of England, the Church of Ireland, the Roman Catholic Church or the Church of Scotland). However, much of the non-conformist movement, such as the Methodists, mainstream Baptists and the United Reform Church, does not accept creationism.
Our research suggests that it tends to be concentrated in "independent" churches and the Seventh Day Adventist movement. Even then, one needs to be careful in definition. The main pentecostal church in the UK is the Elim Pentecostal movement* but there are a number of independent pentecostal churches. Pentecostals believe in 'speaking in tongues'.
As a generalisation, it appears that creationism is mostly found in independent Baptist churches, the Elim Pentecostal Church and independent pentecostal churches, and within the charismatic movement (which involves pentecostal ideas but exists within other denominations). In Nothern Ireland it appears that creationism is accepted in some free Presbyterian churches (Ian Paisley is a creationist but largely keeps quiet about it, unusual for Paisley), Plymouth Brethren circles and a number of other churches.
In this sense creationism is a movement rather than an organisation or set of organisations. However, there are a number of organisations dedicated entirely to promoting creationism. Moreover, a number of others appear to have been infiltrated by creationists or are creationist with other agendas. Lastly, there are a number, including the Evangelical Alliance, which are sitting on the fence about creationism.
The largest of the dedicated creationist organisations (it calls itself a ministry) is Answers in Genesis UK. Whilst it denies it is an American organisation we consider it to be just that. It has eleven full-time equivalent staff.
However, Truth in Science currently looks to be the most dangerous because it is well funded, draws upon membership from other creationist groups and is specifically aimed at undermining all teaching in schools which contradict, in any way, a literal findamentalist interpretation of the bible.
The oldest creationist organisation in the UK is the Portsmouth-based Creation Science Movement, founded in 1932. However, it is tiny in comparison with Answers in Genesis UK. It has one full-time staff member and one part time. It operates a "creationist museum" (their words, not the author's).
Because of a lot of press coverage in the Spring of 2006, Creation Research UK is possibly better known but it is the UK arm of Creation Research based in Queensland, Australia. It has no full-time staff in the UK.
The other main organisation is the Biblical Creation Society which is understood to have one full-time member of staff/minister, Paul Garner.
There is also a tiny creationist organisation in rural Somerset, Creation Resources Trust (http://c-r-t.co.uk/index.html).
However, there are also a number of other dedicated creationist organisations such as Genesis Agendum which do not have employees but which promote creationism.
The notable feature of these organisations is the extent to which they are inter-related through creationists being active in more than one. In effect, together, they are a creationist movement in their own right.
There is also a creationist Catholic organisation in the UK, the Daylight Origins Society - see http://www.theotokos.org.uk/pages/creation/daylight/daylight.html -
although, as far as we can make out, it isn't very active. It doesn't appear to cooperate at all with mainstream creationist groups which are all basically Protestant, calvinistic and evangelical.
With the exception of Truth in Science, none of these are recently formed organisations. AiG UK dates back to the 1990s as does Genesis Agendum. The Biblical Creation Society predates these by some time. It was founded in 1976.
However, a new Creationist organisation in Tyne and Wear, Creation Matters, was established in 2006.
The Anglican Christian Institute, based in Newcastle, has been actively involved in pushing the creationist agenda, notably into Vardy schools (Emmanuel Schools Foundation). However, the Institute is a right-wing conservative organisation with a much broader agenda, including lobbying.
The Lord's Day Observance Society (now Day One) appears to have been influenced by the creationist movement, and its publishing arm publishes creationist books.
A more complex issue is the connections between various organisations in Oxford and both the creationist and ID movements. The Oxford Connections are detailed in a seperate section. The author's personal opinion is that the connections require considerable research to see just how influential they are.
Genesis Agendum is essentially an organisation whose members give lectures on creationism.
Noah's Ark Zoo Farm is another variation on how to proselytise to children and undermine science and their education.
Other Creationist Organisations: We have identified a number of past, local, creationist "organisations". These appear to have been mostly small groups of like-minded people with little in the way of resources or structure. Few appear to have survived long. The evidence from the USA suggests that they tend to fall apart because of their inability to attract new members.
The Bradford Creation Science Group was perhaps one of the slightly better known of these but it appears to have gone the same way. A tiny operation, the Guernsey Biblical Creation Society, can be found at http://www.guernsey.net/~muaddib/. This looks to be a one-man-band operation headed by Robert Yerby. There appears to be a defunct Edinburgh Creation Group. (Editorial update - this group had been revived by October 2007 and it has a new web site at http://edinburghcreationgroup.org. The group appears to be run by Marc Surtees.)
It is a particular concern of ours that a number of organisations seem to be sitting on the fence over creationism. Notably, the Evangelical Alliance seems indifferent to the problem.
It is well outside our remit to monitor invidual churches and chapels where creationism is being promoted. However, we are all concerned that fundamentalists will seek appointment to the board of governors of state schools. In that sense we are keeping an eye on whether such churches are asking members of their congregations to become governors, to promote the teaching of creationism in science lessons.
Notably in Winchester there are now several people who are concerned about this, and thus we are monitoring one fundamentalist church there because of its connections with educationists and the Biblical Creation Society. This is the Hyde Street Chapel, an independent Baptist church run by Pastor Richard Turner. It continues to attract "high profile" creationist speakers such as Paul Garner, Stuart Burgess, Andy McIntosh and Paul Taylor.
Notes: * It has been pointed out to us that the the main Pentecostal movement in the UK may be Assemblies of God but we don't have the information to confirm this.