Action Potential

CALL FOR CREATIONIST PAPERS: at the Answers Research Journal

Answers in Genesis, a self-described Christianity-defending ministry dedicated to enabling Christians to defend their faith and to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ effectively, recently launched a new publication, Answers Research Journal. Their mission:

Addressing the need to disseminate the vast fields of research conducted by creationist experts in theology, history, archaeology, anthropology, biology, geology, astronomy, and other disciplines of science, Answers Research Journal will provide scientists and students the results of cutting-edge research that demonstrates the validity of the young-earth model, the global Flood, the non-evolutionary origin of “created kinds,” and other evidences that are consistent with the biblical account of origins.

As their parental organization teaches, “facts” don’t speak for themselves, but must be interpreted. All I can say is……….Wow.


The work submitted to this journal will be peer-reviewed and hopes to encourage Christians with the latest and best research providing the truth from “the perspective of the recent Creation and the global Flood within a biblical framework.”

Best of all, this is an open-access journal, so you can feel free to peruse the three papers that have been reviewed and published for Volume 1:

1. Proceedings of the Microbe Forum

2. Microbes and the Days of Creation

3. Catastrophic Granite Formation (In the spirit of full disclosure, the third paper is actually by the Editor-in Chief)

I’m going to refrain from giving an opinion, so as not to bias your views of the journal, although I STRONGLY encourage you to give me your opinion below. Happy reading!

Comments

  1. Report this comment

    Andy said:

    My opinion is that this is a great idea and a value addition to the scientific journal canon. It’s a very pleasing development, especially for a faith-based scientist such as myself.

  2. Report this comment

    Eric Thomson said:

    An entertaining development from the meta lunatic fringe.

    To belabor the obvious, at their debates they will now be able to say they have published their findings in peer-reviewed journals.

    Peer review has always been a sticking point for these brilliant iconoclasts. These noble heroes are fighting the anti-Christian scientific establishment. They bravely counter those that would brainwash America with myths of an ancient Earth and wild tales of speciation. They are the new Copernicus, and people like Dawkins represent the scientific Priesthood.

    This journal will be a wonderful historical source in 100 years for a historian examining the Creationism controversy in 21st century America.

    I can’t imagine there are many young earth Creationists left. The neo-Creationists who believe in an old Earth seem much more sophisticated (in that they sometimes point out things biologists don’t yet understand rather than attack well-established theories).

    One thing I like about the young-earth creationists is that they admit that their views are grounded in the Bible. The new and improved Creationists (the ID-Creationists) aren’t typically so forthright.

  3. Report this comment

    G.M. Grena said:

    For the past 23 years, I’ve earned my living in the field of Science—electronics (with all due respect to the nature of Nature’s website). During 21 of those years (after 4 years at university to obtain a Bachelor of Science degree), I accepted Evolution as it was taught to me in school (including embryonic “gill slits” in humans). I also accepted the concept that the Flood narrative in Genesis was either a local flood in Mesopotamia, or a complete fabrication, & in either case, the Jewish writers plagiarized it from Babylonians.

    However, when I applied scientific test logic (that I’ve been trained & paid to do all these years) to Evolution, I found that it failed on several levels. Furthermore, I found that the reasons that had been presented to me for why Genesis was fictitious failed. I now view (atheistic) Evolution & (obviously theistic) Creation as equally valid interpretations of the evidence, both requiring faith & hope, & I respect people who choose either one.

    Without going into details here since you only asked for my opinion, my opinion is that I applaud Answers in Genesis for launching this new extension of their website. It’s unfortunate that all ideas, hypotheses, & theories with logical, rational merit are not treated equally, but if secular institutions feel it’s appropriate to ban them from their publications, then these Creationist organizations have no alternative but to establish their own. In the spirit of free speech, I congratulate them!

    And on a completely separate issue, I’m sure many Evolutionists will admire the ARJ website on a technical level for its professional appearance, & its ability to disseminate information free & easy, even if they abhor its content.

  4. Report this comment

    Gary Johnson said:

    RE: Eric’s comment: “meta lunatic fringe”

    How is that phrase allowed through your editorial filter? That is ad hominem and indeed offensive.

    And speaking of filters…Are scientists who believe in a young earth creation some 6000 years ago the only group of scientists who recognize and routinely admit the fact that all evidence (which, by the way, is the same for creationists and evolutionists) is interpreted according to the scientist’s presuppositions? Their interpretation of the evidence may be very different depending on whether allowance is made for supernatural explanations for some of the things they observe. And before anyone dismisses that as the “god of the gaps” method of science, let them recognize that the gaps evolutionists face are every bit as wide, some of which are referred to below.

    Because of the problem of interpretation of evidence, creationists distinguish two categories of scientific investigation: operational and origin. The former deals with testing ideas in the present and is responsible for the technology that we use today while the latter deals with interpreting evidence from the past. The latter category is problematic in that it deals with events and/or processes that are not repeatable in the present. Examples might include the origin of space-time or the origin of the first living organism or the origin of the geologic column. An evolutionist could look at multiple layers in a sedimentary rock outcropping and claim that it demonstrates eons of time during which differences in deposition produced the layers. A creationist could look at the same evidence and conclude that the layers are due to changes in fluid flow occurring in a very short period of time during a catastrophic flood. Then, as science is supposed to progress and without regard to the presuppositions of the two scientists, other scientists, presumably also having expertise in the field, evaluate the conclusions as to their logic, experimental justification, etc.

    Science would be best served if all parties involved would adhere to the principle that science is the agenda-free acquisition of knowledge. Notice that I didn’t say free of axioms or presuppositions. Why do you suppose that scientists who are trying to publish research papers that support a creationist viewpoint have such a difficult time publishing in the establishment journals? Is it because their research is so shoddy? No. Their research can be thorough and done according to accepted techniques but because it calls into question some particular aspect of evolution, the peer approval process rejects it. That journal is hardly an open forum for honest debate of the merits of the ideas of all experts in that area of science. Too often modern scientists forget that modern science stands on the shoulders of many pre-eminent scientists who were creationists, among them Francis Bacon, Issac Newton, Carl Linnaeus, and James Maxwell, just to name a few.

    So what recourse do scientists who believe what their God says in his written account have but to publish their work in journals that allow researchers to hold to creationist presuppositions? None. Thus, Answers Research Journal is an important addition to this genre of journals, especially in that it is online and available to everyone to critique.

  5. Report this comment

    Eric Thomson said:

    Note in what follows when I say ‘methodological naturalism’ I mean the research strategy of coming up with natural explanations of natural events, and excluding supernatural explanations (e.g., Gods, angels) of such events.

    Gary Johnson wrote:

    [A]ll evidence (which, by the way, is the same for creationists and evolutionists) is interpreted according to the scientist’s presuppositions…

    Good point, though I wouldn’t use the word ‘presuppositions’ as that suggests some kind of unanalyzed article of faith, or something taken as axiomatic. The relevant principle, methodological naturalism, is not a dogma or article of faith, but something that was forged in the battlefield of scientific inquiry.

    Methodological naturalism is not a priori, it is not a dogma, it is something scientists came to after hundreds of years of nonnaturalistic “natural philosophy”. Science has become naturalistic because of the abject failure of the alternatives. It could have turned out differently. Bible-based astronomy (with the firmament holding the stars and containing a large volume of water), geology (4000 year old earth), psychology (demonic theories of mental illness), could have turned out right. If the evidence had supported the Biblical accounts (taken literally) science in the 21st century would look very different.

    Like all claims and methods in science, methodological naturalism it is of course subject to criticism and revision. However, to change this well-founded naturalistic orientation will require much more than dubious statistical arguments, especially given the fossil and molecular evidence that continues to pile up as expected with the predictions of evolutionary theory.

  6. Report this comment

    James Eniola said:

    Eric Thomson argument for why Science has become naturalistic is in error for at least one reason: his parenthetical definitions of “Bible-based astronomy, geology & psychology” are all incongruent with what the Biblical text would suggest regarding these scientific fields. When he misrepresents (intentionally or not) the biblical stance regarding these areas (astronomy, etc.) his audience is very likely to assume that the same level of inquiry and effort was applied to his understanding of the other arguments that he atempts make.

  7. Report this comment

    Tom Hogan said:

    Kudos to AIG for launching their new journal. Too bad that it’s necessary for them to launch a journal as the prejudice against creationist papers prevents their publication in non-creationist journals, even when the papers are excellent. It’s a case of peer-review gone toxic to protect their evolutionist historical pseudo-science against criticism. (Actual experimentation where there is interaction with the laws of nature is, of course, science; in this sense, fruit fly radiation experiments are science and paleontology is not.)

  8. Report this comment

    G.M. Grena said:

    Eric Thomson wrote:

    [T]he fossil and molecular evidence [that] continues to pile up as expected with the predictions of evolutionary theory.

    Just out of curiosity, before they were discovered near the end of the 20th century, did any evolutionist ever predict that fossilized dinosaur skin would be found, or dinosaur collagen?

    In the 19th century, did any evolutionist ever predict that cells would contain the level of microscopic complexity we observe today?

    Did any evolutionist predict that huge canyons could be formed in a matter of hours or days as we’ve seen at Mt. St. Helens & Canyon Lake in Texas?

    Did any evolutionist predict the sudden appearance of a huge landmass such as Surtsey Island?

    How many transitional skin coverings have been found to support the idea that scales evolved into feathers?

    These are obviously rhetorical questions. I understand, as Thomson wrote, that Naturalism is subject to criticism and revision, but I see evidence “piling up” against evolutionary theory, not for it.

    Even if no creationist predicted these discoveries either, they all harmonize with Creation Science better than with Evolution Science. I don’t expect to see these points emphasized in Nature’s journal for support of Creationism, but I look forward to seeing Evolution’s failures criticized in ARJ.

  9. Report this comment

    Eric Thomson said:

    James Eniola, in an attempt to poison the well, suggests I distored things in my description of the Bible-based perspectives on various disciplines. It is ironic, in a post about a young-Earth Creationist effort, that my characterizing Biblical geology as young-earth would earn me a scolding for mischaracterizing the Bible!

    As for astronomy, Ptolemaic astronomy was taken as a verification of the Biblical account, with the ‘fixed’ stars being embedded in the firmament. For a history of the concept of the firmament, see this web site. For a discussion of the firmament in relation to rain and water, see this site. Now, maybe you could reinterpret ‘firmament’ as it appears in the Bible to make it conform with modern science. Fine. More on such strategies below.

    On the possession theories of illness (with mental illness as a special case), this is more complicated. Medical problems were seen as having many possible causes in the Middle Ages. Buildup of bad humours (bile), alcohol abuse, and demonic possession, just to name a few. So it wasn’t that illness was always explained by demonic possession, but that it was one of many possibilities on the table. I liked ‘A History of Madness in 16th Century Germany’ which has a balanced treatment of this topic.

    Of course demonic possession is in the Bible: Jesus was casting out evil spirits left and right, “But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you” (Mt 12: 28). Indeed, some backwards preachers still think mental illness is solely caused by possession, as outlined in this funny were it not tragic story of a Texas preacher.

    Note I’m just mentioning how the Bible was historically interpreted, especially in the Middle Ages. Of course you can re-interpret ‘firmament’ so that it conforms with modern science, and ‘day’ so that the Earth ends up being billions of years old. You could even interpret ‘devil’ so that it just means ‘sickness’. That is fine. You are free to bring your interpretation of the Bible into alignment with modern science. Indeed, for those who must cling to their literalist theology, this is the only sane option (theologically, the smartest option is to relax the unsustainable demand that everything in the Bible, taken literally, is true).

    So, feel free to bring your interpretations of the Bible into alignment with science. The problems start when scientists do the opposite: try to bring their science into alignment with the Bible. They short-change their intelligence and creative powers by granting total authority in scientific matters to a particular book or figure appearing in a book.

    Obviously, it would be foolish to discount something just because it is in the Bible! Jews were held captive by Egyptians for instance. The key is, we don’t know this just because the Bible says so.

    However, as I said, the commitment of scientists to methodological naturalism is based on a history of the failure of the alternative, and is open to revisoin. If Creationists actually suceed in finding a smoking gun that stands the test of time and replication and scientific scrutiny, then we will have to re-evaluate this principle.

    Of course Creationists reading this blog will get all excited, pointing to “gaps” in the fossil record, various complicated molecular machines that we barely understand. The Creationist “smoking gun” du jour. I’m not interested in getting into a tit-for-tat argument here about what smoking gun you have found, so posts like GM Grena’s I won’t be able to take the time to respond. For that kind of jiu-jitsu, I recommend going to talk.origins (inconsistent but overall a good site for that kind of back and forth).

    Before closing this post, I should be clear I’m not advocating atheism, but simply describing the methodology of natural science. A Christian can be a great chemist, but if she says, when a solution changes color in a vial, “Aha, divine providence!” she has left the realm of science and entered the realm of theology and faith-in-the-supernatural. A scientist will summon all the creative intellectual energy she has to try to explain that color change by adverting to natural laws and natural processes. But she could still be a perfectly good Christian, and think that Christ rose from the dead, that she has a soul, etc.. Her methodological commitment in the laboratory need not extend to every aspect of her life. This is the difference between methodological naturalism and metaphysical naturalism.

    I can see this has the potential of becoming a very time-consuming thread, and I don’t want to get embroiled in debate right now, so this will be my last post. Don’t take my lack of response for lack of interest, but lack of time.

  10. Report this comment

    Noah Gray said:

    Having read all of the comments, it seems to me that the supporters of this journal are missing one key element: data. Leafing through these papers, there are very few actual experiments that have been conducted!! Most of the manuscripts are theories and hypotheses built upon other data, or conjecture. Almost none of it has been actually tested directly!! For a flavor, please go and read this article.

    Therefore, how can one put down established science journals for not considering such pieces of “research” when the papers in ARJ only contain the first step in the scientific process: formulating a hypothesis? After the hypothesis is formed, next comes the hard work: data collection.

    If any of the theories outlined in the above papers start down the road to dogma by becoming supported by actual experiments testing the hypothesis, these authors will not need to send the results to ARJ; they can actually have them considered by a scientific research journal not beholden to either a religion or Darwin.

  11. Report this comment

    Barry said:

    “Answers Research Journal will provide scientists and students the results of cutting-edge research that demonstrates the validity of the young-earth model, the global Flood, the non-evolutionary origin of “created kinds,” and other evidences that are consistent with the biblical account of origins.”

    THIS IS THE EXACT OPPOSITE OF SCIENCE. We don’t start with the answer and then look for evidence to make it true. We gather facts and construct an answer. I can’t believe they would blatantly say such a thing. At least, the statement should have read something like “this journal is for the discussion of blah blah blah”.

  12. Report this comment

    Pat said:

    While I found the content entertaining to an extent, I was generally very dismayed at the cult-ish nature of their work.

    The cult-like aspect is that they are taking basic concepts of evolution — undergrad-level material — and hijacking it, inventing new words and basically hot-wiring legitimate ideas to fit within their articles of faith.

    Any student unfortunate enough to be schooled in this mish-mash will need thorough deprogramming to ever gain a meaningful understanding of the natural world.

  13. Report this comment

    Michael said:

    Somewhat related to this topic – a paper about to appear in the well regarded Journal Proteomics (it is already online) seems to embrace creationism. The Chronicle of Higher Education has a little story on the controversy http://chronicle.com/daily/2008/02/1552n.htm .

  14. Report this comment

    Action Potential said:

    What are you doing for Darwin Day?

    The Darwin Day celebration was initiated by Dr. Robert Stephens and was held at Stanford University on April 22, 1995 to celebrate the scientific accomplishments of Charles Darwin. In subsequent years, the event was changed to be on or around…

  15. Report this comment

    G.M. Grena said:

    In response to Noah Gray’s comment that AiG publications lack “one key element: data.”, I would like to note that creationist organizations such as AiG & ICR rely on private funding, which I suspect is miniscule compared to grants awarded to secular educational institutions for the type of experiments, data collection, & direct testing you’re referring to.

    While I’m sure ARJ’s editor would gladly consider publishing the results of firsthand experiments, AiG exists primarily as an apologetics ministry—they disseminate info (especially critiques of Evolution-based hypotheses). ICR, on the other hand, does engage in experimentation. Here’s a link to a page describing some of ICR’s planned experiments/projects.

    I don’t believe you would like taxpayer funds to be shared equally between secular & religious institutions, or distributed based on the popularity of Creationism relative to Evolutionism in America (about 50/50 according to most polls), but I could be wrong.

  16. Report this comment

    G.M. Grena said:

    In response to “Barry”, who wrote, THIS IS THE EXACT OPPOSITE OF SCIENCE.”: As Noah Gray pointed out, the scientific method flows from Idea to Hypothesis to Testing. What “Barry” described is ironically inaccurate; scientists do start with what they hope will be an “answer” (i.e., an idea), & then proceed to test it. To cite a single, well-known example: Do you really believe Miller & Urey were not looking for evidence to make their idea true?

    In response to “Pat”, who suggested that creationists “will need thorough deprogramming”: This is the exact opposite of my experience. (Apologies to Eric Thomson for this “jiu-jitsu”, but it’s best to confront it where/when it appears.) I completed public high school & secular university training, during which time I accepted Evolution at face value (i.e., I was programmed). Two decades hence, I decided to test it as I stated earlier, & now need “deprogramming” to approach the subject objectively. As a result of my “deprogramming” (by reading what you refer to as “mish-mash”), I now have respect for & better understanding of both models (Evolution & Creation).

    Furthermore, if what you read at ARJ (& elsewhere on AiG’s website) seems to be “mish-mash”, you should direct your frustration to the secular institutions that granted many of these scientists their PhD’s. I never earned one myself, but my understanding is that this is a university’s rigorous method of approving someone’s ability to think, research, & make a positive contribution to knowledge (science). Labeling publications you disagree with as “mish-mash”, is a form of disrespect frowned upon by the scientific community, & should be discouraged.

  17. Report this comment

    Tammer Raouf said:

    “In response to “Barry”, who wrote, “THIS IS THE EXACT OPPOSITE OF SCIENCE.”: As Noah Gray pointed out, the scientific method flows from Idea to Hypothesis to Testing. What “Barry” described is ironically inaccurate; scientists do start with what they hope will be an “answer” (i.e., an idea), & then proceed to test it. To cite a single, well-known example: Do you really believe Miller & Urey were not looking for evidence to make their idea true?"

    This argument is one I have heard from many creationists and is wrong. Are you really trying to argue that working from a hypothesis is the same as working from scripture? The crucial difference between what a scientist does and what a creationist is doing is that a scientist is willing to conclude that his hypothesis was wrong. If evidence does not fit the hypothesis, the hypothesis is changed or discarded. Judaic text does not allow for that correction or dismissal based on evidence.

  18. Report this comment

    Tammer Raouf said:

    “In response to Noah Gray’s comment that AiG publications lack “one key element: data.”, I would like to note that creationist organizations such as AiG & ICR rely on private funding, which I suspect is miniscule compared to grants awarded to secular educational institutions for the type of experiments, data collection, & direct testing you’re referring to."

    Please don’t argue that the information presented in these publications is scientific if they are not paid to collect information using the scientific method of data collection, direct testing, or experimentation.

    “I don’t believe you would like taxpayer funds to be shared equally between secular & religious institutions, or distributed based on the popularity of Creationism relative to Evolutionism in America (about 50/50 according to most polls), but I could be wrong.”

    It is a strange coincidence that the people who decide who gets research grants are generally decidedly more educated than the American people. And please don’t reply saying that the American people are simply more familiar with different texts, i.e. the Bible, because there is yet to exist any evidence that the Bible can be used as a scientific guide. I’ve heard creationists argue that since there are gaps in evolutionary theory creationism must be correct. However, evidence against traditional science is NOT evidence for Creationism.

  19. Report this comment

    Pat said:

    G.M. Grena wrote, “Labeling publications you disagree with as ‘mish-mash’, is a form of disrespect frowned upon by the scientific community, & should be discouraged.”

    It’s perfectly fine to disrespect bad ideas. But you already knew that.

  20. Report this comment

    G.M. Grena said:

    Tammer Raouf wrote: “Are you really trying to argue that working from a hypothesis is the same as working from scripture?”

    No, I’m not. I addressed Barry’s specific remark. Which starting points/methods are valid or invalid is a separate issue. Personally, I don’t believe it matters what a person’s starting point is.

    Miller didn’t develop his famous experiment on a neutral whim, but whatever inspired him is irrelevant to his results. It doesn’t matter if he believed what Darwin wrote, or what an ancient Jew in Jerusalem wrote. Science, to be objective, deals with obtaining & validating knowledge. The validity of Newton’s laws is unrelated to whether Newton believed anything in the Bible. What Francis Bacon wrote in “Of Atheism” is not included in what we now call the Scientific Method.

    The rest of what Tammer wrote can be just as easily dismissed. There are still creationists long after Kepler (& including him). Many creationists have differing interpretations, just as evolutionists debate the details of their own belief system.

    Another great example to contradict Tammer is the unwillingness of Mary Leakey to bend after discovering modern human footprints in rocks at Laetoli that had already been dated way beyond that of any human fossils. Was her hypothesis discarded? No—modern humans must’ve been much older than previously thought. (Still no independent, tangible evidence for it though.)

    Both parties—evolutionists & creationists—are equally guilty, Tammer, & with just cause in some cases. Just because Miller never achieved his ultimate goal, which was obviously Abiogenesis, doesn’t mean that young evolution-scientists at universities should stop trying to prove that it’s possible.

    On Tammer’s point about Judaic text not allowing for correction or dismissal based on evidence—Not true. Many ancient Hebrew texts were dismissed from what became the Masoretic canon based on their contents. As for correction—just look at all the interlinear corrections made to the most famous (& most ancient) Hebrew scroll of Isaiah (the one the Shrine of the Book was built around). And the Hebrew language is ambiguous, & has a relatively small vocabulary. Rabbis spend their whole lives trying to fully understand deep meanings in their sacred texts, & they’ve always argued with each other, completely analogous to scientists arguing in peer-reviewed journals.

    But I wholeheartedly agree with Tammer’s last point about evidence against traditional science not being evidence for Creationism.

    “Pat” said “It’s perfectly fine to disrespect bad ideas.” Yes, I agree, but only if you have evidence to support your view & prove your point. I single-handedly falsified your point, so you’ll either have to provide some overriding evidence, or … dare I suggest it … rethink your position.

  21. Report this comment

    Samer Helal Zaky said:

    My only objection about the lately launched “Science, Evolution and Creationism” by the National Academy of Sciences(http://www.nap.edu) is that they assured evolution by natural selection as securely as blood circulation or the atomic nature of matter, which seems too strong a statement and a kind of “thin-slicing”. The argue sounded like a tautology: evolution occured and is evidenced by this fossil which is a transational state between … and… because of evolution. From the other hand I encourage AiG as a voice that calls for a Designer rather than a selection from nature, however I wonder – but really doubt-how this Designer will be encapsulated in a scientific computable context.