By TRISTAN ABBOTT/Montana State News
The Montana Origins Research Effort (MORE) is not your typical research group. Based in Bozeman, the group is comprised of both scientists and every day folk who believe in a literal six-day creation of the earth.
“The group was formed out of necessity,” says Esther Fishbaugh, one of the founders. “There were creation groups in Oregon and other places in the Northwest; it was time that there was a presence in Montana.”
Fishbaugh, who graduated with a degree in exercise physiology from MSU, says that the idea of creation science has received very little reception in the academic field.
The group is not based solely on religion, though, as scientific research plays an important role in their beliefs and fundamentals.
“People are more willing to listen to science than religion,[BW1] ” says Michael Oard, another of the founders of MORE, “so we have to present a solid scientific argument as well.”
Oard is perhaps one of the most scientifically educated and experienced members of MORE. He has worked for 30 years as weather forecaster with the National Weather Service and has published numerous books and articles on various topics. His specific area of research focuses on Noah’s flood, in addition to the Ice Age.
Perhaps his most well-known publication is “The Missoula Flood Controversy: And the Genesis Flood.” In it, Oard examines the Missoula Flood and the different opinions and arguments that the geological evidence presents.
The group uses a variety of methods in which they discuss their theories. One of their most popular events is what Fishbaugh describes as “mini-conferences.” Due to the isolated location of populations in Montana, she said that it is easier to bring a one- or two- day conference to a small town instead of having a large conference at a central location.
The biggest conference they have had this year was the Old Earth/Young Earth conference in Bozeman from March 30-April 1. MORE partnered with the Grace Bible College to have discussions that ranged from dinosaur fossils to the age of the Earth and Noah’s flood in the Book of Genesis.
Fishbaugh was the coordinator of the conference and said there has been steady attendance over the years.
“It shows that there are people in this community who want an alternative view to evolution’s,” she said, pointing out that the first conference was attended by around 1,000 people and later conferences have had steady attendance.
The club is very hands-on in their examination of the past, offering field trips throughout the summer that give people a chance to examine the geology around them. For example, this summer MORE will go to the base of the Bridger Mountains to observe unconformities in the pediments of rocks.
The center of their argument is based on the premise of a young earth. At the core of this is a literal interpretation of the book of Genesis and everything in it.
“What we believe is that the Earth was created in six days” said Fishbaugh. This is contrary to other creation-science beliefs, which do not interpret the Bible literally and see the six days of creation as spanning over a much longer period of time.
Edited by Jesse Powell.