Peter Korevaar is head of the physics and cosmology working group of Germany's Studiengemeinschaft Wort und Wissen, one of the largest creationist groups in Europe. He holds a PhD in astrophysics and now works at IBM in Mannheim. Quirin Schiermeier asks him about his group's aims.
What are your main goals?
We are a Protestant group. We want to do accurate and honest scientific work under the premise that God has created the world. Scientific naturalism as we know it doesn't allow for a creator who can interfere with the physical world. Evolution should be taught in schools, and creation discussed along with it.
How would you describe your relationship with scientists?
You don't have to agree on everything to do good, accurate science together with [non-creationist] scientists. We use the same methods as other scientists, namely falsifying and verifying hypotheses. We don't want to put anyone down. We would very much like to have an open discussion with evolutionary biologists about the issues at stake. But we feel constantly misunderstood. Scientists — and the media — always say we are dilettantes, Christian fundamentalists. This is mean. 'Fundamentalism' is immediately associated with Islamic fundamentalism: read terrorism. Fighting against these prejudices is extremely hard.
What about evolution?
Microevolution, the adaptation of species to their environment, is an observed scientific fact, which we of course do not deny.But macroevolution, the gradual process of development of new species, is a mere conclusion, there's no observational evidence for that.
How would you compare your group with creationists in the United States?
We are aware of other creationist groups in Europe and the United States. But we don't collaborate too much with any of them. The US debate is more aggressive, there is more foul play from both sides. This is not helpful.
Do you advocate intelligent design?
There's an open question about how the many complex structures observed in the Universe came into being. Intelligent design gives an alternative answer to this question. We can subscribe to most of its arguments.