For my sins I’m on the Answers in Genesis mailing list due to having given them a valid (though not primary) email address when a group of PTers went on a field trip to the Creationist Museum a couple of summers ago. (See here for a comprehensive links list to critiques of the museum.) In addition to offers of books, DVDs and 10% off specials on stuff like “Ancient Civilizations & the Bible - Full Family Curriculum Pack,” I get a weekly dose of creationist apologetics.
As I read those apologetics missives, one message is loud and clear. The core of AIG’s message is that one must choose one’s presuppositions and thereafter interpret the evidence in the light of those presuppositions. The creationist museum makes that very clear. An early display has two paleontologists digging in what looks like a sand pit, with one of them, the kindly-looking creationist, explaining that he and his evolutionist friend (who looks vaguely Asian and never speaks) use the same evidence, but that they interpret it from different starting points, Biblical creationism and “man’s reason.” Hence each interprets the evidence to support his presuppositions; the evidence is not a tool for testing presuppositions and assumptions, it is interpreted through their lenses.
Georgia Purdom, creationist geneticist in the employ of Answers in Genesis, is also very clear about it. She says
I had a friendly “debate” with a gentleman afterwards concerning the merits of presuppositionalism vs. evidentialism. This person believed there was “neutral ground” where evolutionists and creationists can debate the evidence and that the evidentialist approach was better to use with non-Christians. I tried to help him see that neutral ground does not exist because both sides have presuppositions–creationists start with the authority of the Word of God and evolutionists start with the authority of human reasoning. If we as creationists agree to “leave the Bible out of it,” then we are starting with the same presuppositions as the evolutionists and will not be effective.
The Institute for Creation Research has the same approach. John Pieret pointed to Henry Morris, III, CEO of ICR these days, saying
We are forensically interpreting the data based on our presupposition. The evolutionists do the same thing. They have a presupposition that there is no supernatural intervention of any kind. We have a presupposition that there is supernatural intervention in the past, not in the present.
You reckon Henry watches CSI:Creationism?
Now, the presupposition of the U.S. justice system is (purportedly) that one is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. But if we adopt the AIG/ICR philosophical/apologetic position regarding presuppositions, no amount of evidence that seems to support guilt can alter the presumption of innocence. Hence if I’m ever charged with a crime, I want AIG creationists on the jury: I’m guaranteed an acquittal, because, you see, evidence doesn’t count in evaluating presuppositions! And doing CSI becomes infinitely easier: Decide who’s guilty beforehand and simply interpret the evidence appropriately.