Geoscience Research Institute

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The Geoscience Research Institute (GRI), located on the campus of Loma Linda University in California, is an official institute of the Seventh-day Adventist Church which engages in creation science, and serves the church in the areas of research and communication. Seven researchers are employed by the Institute.[1]


The GRI owes its existence to concerns by Adventist science teachers, in the late 1950s, about the lack of Adventists qualified in Earth Sciences. In 1957, the church responded by forming a Committee on the Teaching of Geology and Palaeontology, which selected "two mature, experienced men of proven loyalty", biologist Frank Lewis Marsh and chemist P. Edgar Hare, to undertake courses in these fields. In 1960, comparative anatomist and palaeontologist Richard M. Ritland was added to the group. However, differences in approach quickly led to disagreements over whether it was permissible to reinterpret biblical and prophetic accounts in the light of scientific evidence, with Hare and Ritland supporting this view, while Marsh favoured the historic Adventist interpretations. After a number of years of acrimony, Hare decided in 1964 to remain with the Carnegie Institution, where he had gone to conduct laboratory studies. Hare's views led towards theistic evolution, though he chose to remain in the Adventist church. Also in 1964, Marsh was transferred to Andrews University, having been outmanoeuvred by Ritland, who became the head of the institute. However, by the late 1960s Ritland's more flexible approach fell out of favour with a new and more doctrinally rigid church president, Robert H. Pierson, who laid down the following guidelines:[2]

These constraints led Ritland to resign as director of the GRI in 1970, joining Marsh in the biology department at Andrew University. He was replaced by Robert H. Brown, a physicist who eagerly committed the institute to a more apologetical mission, that of showing that the Earth "originated within six consecutive rotations of the planet" no more than 10,000 years ago and "experienced a universal destruction as portrayed in Genesis 6-8." Brown was fascinated with radioactive time clocks, dismissed radiocarbon dating that contradicted church doctrine, but embraced evidence that indicated that the raw materials of the Earth were billions of years old. This viewpoint, described by historian of Creationism Ronald Numbers as "schizoid", displeased both young-Earth conservatives (such as Marsh and Robert V. Gentry) and liberals like Ritland and Hare.[2]

Ronald Numbers notes Brown's achievements as including "polishing the tarnished image of creationism" (especially comparative to the "sometimes slipshod presentations" of the Institute for Creation Research). His successor, Ariel A. Roth, moved the institute to Loma Linda University. They both dedicated the institute to salvaging flood geology, and repeatedly dismissed scientists who were skeptical of the credibility of this view.[2]


  1. ^ GRI 'About Us' page
  2. ^ a b c Numbers (2006), p320-327


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