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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 Noah’s 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 White’s 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 Price’s 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 Price’s 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 Price’s views, rechristened "creation science," become fundamentalist orthodoxy.Ronald L. Numbers, The Creationists (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1992), pp. 72-101. On Ellen G. White, see Ronald L. Numbers, Prophetess of Health: A Study of Ellen G. White (New York: Harper & Row,...

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George McCready Price and ‘Flood Geology’

Creationism History: Topic Index
The ‘Ordinary’ View of Creation
Assessing the Fossil Record - Louis Agassiz
The Meaning of Genesis 1
Antievolutionists and Creationists
Darwinism Comes to America
The Antievolution Crusade of the 1920s
The Scopes ‘Monkey Trial’
The Creationist Revival after 1961
Creation Science - Henry M. Morris
Intelligent Design


Dr. Ron Numbers
Dr. Ron Numbers

See also:

The Relation of Science & Religion
Where did we Come From?
Was the Universe Designed?
Science and Religion in Conflict?
Have Science and Religion Always Been in Conflict?
Background on Creationism
How was Evolution Perceived Historically?
Charles Darwin