In "Genesis of a Social Divide" (July 22), Peter Leschak described his change from belief in biblical creation to evolution. I went through that transformation, too. But later I went beyond it -- back to young Earth creation, backed up by scientific evidence.

It happened when I was given a book by biochemist A.E. Wilder-Smith, "The Creation of Life," which showed clearly that order of the kind seen in life does not arise spontaneously by natural law and requires an intelligent intervention.

Why was I never shown this evidence before? I began to read widely.

We recognize an arrowhead as a product of intelligent manipulation -- even though it is theoretically possible that erosion might form one. A living cell is as complex as a city; the human brain is as complex as the Internet; no natural process produces things like the Encyclopedia Britannica. In fact, time and chance degrade information.

The mathematical odds of forming, by chance, a single protein molecule from its component parts can be shown to be so unlikely that it could not have happened anywhere in the known universe in 30 billion years. Much less could it be combined with the hundreds of other components to form the simplest possible living cell.

Similarity of form does not prove common ancestry. It can also mean common design. (Young Earth creationists believe that the original Genesis kinds were intrinsically capable of great diversification, something we have seen with the breeds of dogs -- who remain dogs, nonetheless.) And fundamentally, fossils require rapid burial. Closed clams, seen all over the world, were covered before they could open in death.

As to the age of the Earth, this seems to be the most formidable barrier to accepting biblical creation and requires more technical knowledge. Let me cite a few examples that point out the weakness of the arguments for old age and the increasing scientific respectability of a young earth view.

Firstly, the geologic column is said to be the result of the slow deposition of material over tens to hundreds of millions of years. Yet there are sharp distinctions between the layers, as if something suddenly changed.

Further, in the Grand Canyon there is a 200 million-year gap in the sequence, between the Cambrian and the Mississippian with blending at the junction. The lower layer would have had to remain soft for 200 million years, waiting for the next geologic epoch.

It is much easier to see this as the result of a truly worldwide flood, with massive erosive forces caused by tidal waves sweeping over the entire globe, depositing their loads in twice daily low tides.

Formations such as the very pure St. Peter sandstone require rapid current to sort and move it, usually attributed to river deltas. Yet it covers an area from Minnesota to Missouri, Illinois to Nebraska, to a depth of 100 to 300 feet. The presence of marine fossils rules out desert sand dunes. The flood model also can explain the presence of huge deposits of pure uncontaminated salt and gypsum as chemical deposition of mixed brines, not as the remnants of evaporated seas.

The source of the water and the mechanism of a worldwide flood are being worked out in competing models. But the fact remains that the uniformitarian origin of the layers is not credible, as shown by polystrate fossils, such as 30- to 50-foot tree trunks standing upright. Obviously, they could not wait for thousands much less millions of years to be covered and fossilized or they would have rotted. And the ocean would be like the Dead Sea if it had been taking in salt for billions of years.

Radiometric dating has been used to support long ages, but dating of lava samples from volcano eruptions of known historical ages has given erroneous ages in the millions. Recently the project called RATE has shown that rocks contain too much helium to be millions of years old and also there is measurable carbon 14 in all fossils, oil, coal and even diamonds when it ought to be totally gone, implying a young and similar age for all those materials.

Evidence of coexistence of humans and dinosaurs is vigorously opposed by the evolutionary establishment but is actually quite convincing. Human and dinosaur tracks have been found in the same strata and have been uncovered on film to prove that they were not manufactured.

Recently a T Rex bone was found that contained blood vessels, cells and collagen fibers in the marrow cavity. Rather than admit that this specimen could not be 65 million years old, the response was to claim that we need to rethink how soft tissue is preserved for long ages. In a demonstration of the incredible power of professional peer pressure, the discoverer, a self proclaimed evangelical Christian, claimed that young Earth creationists were "hijacking" her data.

But bucking peer pressure, plant geneticist J.C. Sanford, asked, "Can natural selection improve the human genome?" The result is in his book, "Genetic Entropy and the Mystery of the Genome."

The conclusion? Natural selection cannot improve the human genome. It cannot even prevent steady deterioration. There are at least 100 new mildly deleterious mutations in each surviving individual with each generation. (The severe defects do not survive.) The overall fitness of the human race is decreasing by about 1 to 2 percent per generation. He concludes that we are headed for extinction as a race and that the human genome cannot yet be a thousand generations old or we would already be extinct.

This, of course, is contrary to evolution but fits completely with the Biblical account of a perfect creation, spoiled by sin and with a world that will someday -- perhaps very soon -- come to an end.


Ross S. Olson is a pediatrician in Minneapolis.