2009 Represented An Outstanding Year For Creationism

Science has limitations, but in a year that was supposed to celebrate Darwin’s birthday and his book on “Origins of Species” has turned up many things that verify creationism. In contrast, 2009 has not been kind to evolutionary thinking as it has been falling by the wayside in terms of evidence.

For example, Johns Hopkins University conducted a study on variation of phenotypes in populations and diseases as reported in science daily

“For more than 100 years, mainstream science has embraced the basic tenets of Darwin’s view that characteristics that increase an organism’s ability to survive and reproduce will be passed from generation to generation. Scientists later demonstrated that stable, significant traits are indeed inherited in the DNA carried in parental genes on chromosomes and randomly distributed to offspring.”

Evolutionary scientists such as Andrew Feinberg and Rafael Irizarry looked at gene regulation for a mechanism but found that to be inadequate. So for 150 years they are still looking for a mechanism that supposedly Darwin had proved. Without a mechanism they come up with a variety of untested models and expect the public to embrace it as though they have proven something.

Speaking of evidence, transposons which are parts of DNA machines that replicate themselves, was used as one of their best evidences for evolution. You were not for science if you rejected this so-called; magnificent proclamation. These scientists and some continue to believe it, that these were functionless parts that evolution could develope over time in a random non-thinking way.  However, true science said otherwise.

In a new study published in Nature Genetics, it was discovered that transposons have a function after all. They can regulate the expression of gene products. So not only did this study disprove one of evolution’s best arguments but it verified what was actually predicted by creation scientists who did not believe the activity came from viral or random processes, but instead was part of a well-designed, original created cellular process.

As every year, there is always some debate on whether or not creationism or intelligent design is a science. Could science really point to a Creator or intelligent agents which is what the modern intelligent design movement advocates as the source of the design.  Here is some of their argument…

“What he has just done is to admit that the hypothesis of a Designer is not science, as it predicts every possible result. If you predict every possible outcome, the ones that are seen and the ones that are not, then you have not predicted anything! …If there are none, then the Design he speaks of is an infinitely flexible hypothesis that predicts nothing, and thus is really not a scientific hypothesis at all…which is what I originally said.”

According to this, in order to qualify a proposal as a science the theory or facts must be able to distinguish between different outcomes. So it’s argued, naturalism can only fit such a standard.  However, evolution fails to meet this standard! For example, when we observe these incredibly fantastic, mind boggling designs from the simplest forms of life to the most complex, they always give credit to one source, “natural selection.”

Whatever we find in biology, evolutionists say it must have evolved. Their expectations and predictions fail on a regular basis, just like one of their strongest arguments mentioned previously which recently crashed and burned. They are always in a process of patching up their hypothesis.

If distinguishing between outcomes is the hallmark of true science, then evolution is the theory that doesn’t qualify. One evolutionist told me a long time ago, creationism has to prove itself on a higher level than evolution because evolution is fact he said or in other words, he had faith in it. Christians all over the world should rejoice, the Lord has revealed many things in 2009! I can’t wait till 2010…

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33 thoughts on “2009 Represented An Outstanding Year For Creationism

  1. Michael’s nameless source: “Science has limitations, but in a year that was supposed to celebrate Darwin’s birthday and his book on “Origins of Species” has turned up many things that verify creationism.”

    NAME ONE. NAME ONE RESEARCH FINDIND FROM 2009 THAT VERIFIES SPECIAL CREATION.

    Remember that “verifies” means “provides positive evidence for.” Not a rearrangement of a phylogenetic tree. Not finding a function for DNA previously thought to be junk. Not evidence that a particular mechanism of evolution is not as powerful as claimed. Not incomplete knowledge as to how genes relate to morphology. These may expose shortcomings in current evolutionary theory,

    BUT THEY ARE NOT EVIDENCE FOR SPECIAL CREATION.

    Has 2009 produced a sighting of a new species created ex nihilo? A lab experiment in which a new organ appeared in a lab rat? A rabbit fossil in a precambrian bed of trilobites? A dinosaur that had vegetarian dentition one day, and carnivorous teeth the next day, after the Fall? No, no, no, and no.

    In fact, 2009 has produced no evidence whatsoever for special creation. The same old claims, the same lack of original research, the same absence of results. No, it has not been a good year for creationism.

    Meanwhile, despite the nattering from your dark corner, evolution plows ahead. Did you read the recent piece about the ongoing changes in human muscle tissue? Evolution observed. Did you read about Lenski’s work that turned up a novel bacterial gene in a 20-year experiment? Evolution observed. Did you read about the single gene mutation that can cause mice to grow bat wings? Evolution observed.

    You will believe what you like. But your dark corner keeps getting smaller and smaller.

  2. Happy New Year to you too, Olorin

    Sure there was, here is one which I didn’t mention in the blog, salt deposits containing DNA. What’s the significance of that? Laboratory studies of DNA decay rates have a lifespan of no more than 10,000 years which is why the discovery was a complete shock to evolutionists. This confirms a young earth! It also puts evolutionary models over tested methods which would mean bacteria would have to be alive for eons, so the DNA could hold it’s integrity. Indeed, it’s been a specular year for creationism!

  3. Yesterday morning my car wouldn’t start. Push the start button. Nothing happened. No lights on the dash. No fan noises from the heater. No wiper action. My conclusion, of course, is that the theory of internal=combustion engines is wrong. Nicolaus Otto was deluded. One cannot generate power by adiabatic compression of a fuel-air mixture, ignition, adiabatic expansion, and heat rejection. The entire theory has been trashed by one simple observation. My car wouldn’t start yesterday morning.

    If you feel comfortable with that falsification of the Otto cycle, then you can continue to believe that salt deposits with DNA prove that the earth is less than 10,000 years old.

    When a reported anomaly[1] appears to contradict the evidence of well-tested atomic theory, astronomical observations, and geological data, then we suspect another explanation.[2] And we look for it—do some actual research. And what frequently happens is that the apparent discrepancy points to a deeper level of understanding, something that was not obvious previously.[3]

    I suspect that my battery had died in the cold yestreday. I was kidding about the Otto cycle being falsified. But you’re not kidding about your single cherry-picked apparent anomaly “proving” a young earth, are you? I thought not.

    Do you still wonder why people laugh at creationists?

    ============
    [1] You give no citation for this purported fact, so it can’t be checked. Given creationists’ sobriquet as “liars for Jesus,” my reation is to disbelieve this report and/or its implications. Real scientuists investigate and duplicate each others’ work. Something that creationists fear to do.

    [2] Your explanation of 550,000 annual ice rings in the Grennland glaciers is apt to be enlightening. And the 380,000,000 year age of the Great Barrier corals from correlations of annual/diurnal growths

    [[3] That is, scientists learn from unexpected results: “The most exciting words in science are not ‘I’ve found it,’ but rather “Hm. I didn”t expect that.'”

    =============

    Michael: “Happy New Year to you too, Olorin.”

    But not to Socrates Puppette, Upson Downes, and Helena Handbasket? They feel slighted.

    Me ‘oe pu-.

  4. Michael: “Indeed, it’s been a specular year for creationism!”

    In what way did the year resemble a mirror? I don’t catch your meaning.

  5. Michael: “It also puts evolutionary models over tested methods which would mean bacteria would have to be alive for eons, so the DNA could hold it’s integrity.”

    Even apart from the grammatical errors, this sentence makes no sense. Would you care to try again?

  6. Michael’s puppeteer: “Speaking of evidence, transposons which are parts of DNA machines that replicate themselves, was [sic] used as one of their best evidences for evolution.”

    Is there anything in this sentence that is NOT factually wrong? No.

    Transposons do not and never have replicated themselves. They can move from one part of a genome to another part. That’s why they are also called “mobile genetic elements” or “jumping genes.”

    Why would a transposon be any kind of evidence for evolution? DNA segments could move about regardless of how they originated.

    Where does your source get all this bushwa? Someone must have opened the drain in his pool of knowledge.

  7. Reacting to the Science Daily quotation, Michael’s puppeteer fumes:

    “So for 150 years they are still looking for a mechanism that supposedly Darwin had proved.”

    Yet another failure of basic reading comprehension, Michael. The quote was taken entirely out of context, and actually bolsters the argument for evolution.[1]

    What is the real point of the Science Daily article? The authors “suggest that gene variants or alleles able to take on the challenge and increase random distribution of characteristics might drive the development of the wide variety of traits” that increase adaptation through evolution.

    That is, the authors are finding another mechanism that promotes evolution—just the opposite of what you are claiming. You should read these articles more closely before you cite them for your position. You might not end up with so much egg on your face.

    If you knew anything at all about the theory of complex systems, you would know that such systems always face a trade-off between “exploitation” and “exploration.” For a given landscape, does fitness increase more by exploiting existing resources (i.e., remaining stable), or by exploring the possibilities for finding new resources (changing)? Stability works better with smaller variation. Change requires more variation. Then the trade-off appears. Since most evolutionary mutations do not increase fitness, a higher variation rate may decrease overall fitness when all the variations are taken into account. Bit the good variations, although fewer, allow those members of the population to increase their fitness to the point where they reproduce and the original population does not.

    It’s a kind of ratchet effect. Think of a slowly turning ratchet wheel engaging a pawl. If the wheel moves smoothly, it will latch the next cog on the pawl (thus preventing backward movement) in a given amount of time. If we add a small random back-and-forth jiggle to the rotation, the pawl will latch the next cog sooner from one of the forward jiggles—even though half of the jiggles move it farther away.[2]

    Previous researchers had found higher rates of variation when an organism’s environment changes rapidly, stressing its ability to survive. Probably more than one mechanism is involved in this phenomenon. Epigenetic methylation may be a factor.

    So, another ‘”triumph” of creationism comes a cropper. The first for the banner year of 2010? Probably not.

    =====================
    [1] Also, the quote is entirely irrelevant to your point—it has nothing to do with gene regulation.

    [2] Surprisingly, the same dodge has recently been found useful in the unrelated field of electronic communications. We were always told that noise should be reduced as far as possible. Yet, in some cases, engineers now actually add noise to the desired signal to improve detection rates. Some of the noise peaks trigger sensors that would otherwise have been unresponsive to the signal–even though most of the noise is deleterious.

  8. The reason Michael does not understand the variation thing is that he can’t answer the question about the distribution of cancer rates in counties that was previously posed to him.

    If he could answer that question, he would at least have a start on understanding why the Science Daily article demonstrates the opposite of his contention.

    ==Soc

  9. Olorin,

    Speaking of variants, what do you think of the two-fold million leap? According to Jonathan Payne at Stanford, he combined databases of genomes and fossils to find out how we came from single cell organisms, this is where he noticed explosions of size. In order for it to leap he said, “you need a eukaryotic cell.” This is when ‘evolutionary creativity’ is supposedly awakened…Then for millions of years go by with not much of a size difference according to Payne, this is when he said, the second leap happened (Cambrian Explosion) by a million-fold. What happened to cause this? he states, “the real explosion of size increase didn’t happen until the oxygen level bumped up.” Are you following this? Certain oxygen levels can supposedly cause animals to increase in size by a million-fold…lol…Although, microbes, in his story, did this for millions of years without leaping in size a million-fold. This is one of the dumbest ideas evolutionary thinking has brought forth in 2009…

  10. Michael: “This is one of the dumbest ideas evolutionary thinking has brought forth in 2009.” [1]

    Your qualifications for judging this are…..?[2]

    On general reasonableness grounds, however, it sounds as though you are utterly confused as to whatever Prof. Payne actually said. Hard even to extract any sense out of it.

    You do have a much larger problem, however.

    One might ask why your reaction to a report of evidence that supports evolution is to deny it out of hand: The investigator is deluded, the experiment inconclusive, the interpretation biased.. Yet any scrap from a scientific paper—or even from the popular press—that even remotely seems inimical to evolution is regurgitated without any skepticism whatever: The investigastor is clairvoiant in his perspicuity. Sometimes, these two investogators are the same person!

    In other words, when a scientist supports evolution, he is invariably wrong; when he seems to support your position he is unquestionably right. You might wish to reflect on that frame of mind for a moment. These knee-jerk reactions do afford me[3] a modicum of merriment, but that was probably not your goal.

    Do you really think your readers are that stupid?

    =============
    [1] A citation is necessary to discuss the substance of Prof. Payne’s finding. Creationist comments on scientific results are almost always misrepresentations and sometimes outright falsehoods. Sorry, that’s the rep you have earned over a long period of time.

    For a recent example, you stated that transposons replicate themselves, and that they are one of the primary evidences of evolution.

    Another recent example was citing two discredited papers on “global cooling” in the 1970s.

    [2] Shall we try one more question, since you have not deigned to answer any of the others? What does a room full of lab rats smell like? If you have ever been within a mile of a biology research lab, or know any actual investigators, you will know the answer. (Hint: “Like a dog kennel” is wrong.)

    These questions were designed to be simple exercises in very elementary general background knowledge and resonoing, but that cannot easily be looked up on the Web. In fact, I have pointed out several instances where they serve as paradigms for your unreesonable interpretations of scientific findings. Had you known the answers, you would at least have though twice about what you said.

    [3] And eelco and pablo. Although they content themselves with merely stating that you are wrong.. My aim is to point ouit your misrepresentations, so that any remaining readers might gain a soupcon of understanding.

  11. Socrates Puppette,

    In in day in age where IP address are logged with each post, it just amazes me how people like you, try and post under different names…

    But I can see why you do it so you can criticize someone for supposedly being a “puppette” while asking a “puppette question” In answer to your question, when one studies the past, one really cannot use the standard scientific method because we cannot observe phenomena from the past. By no means can one classed this as empirical science. Assumption plays a huge role in evolutionary research. There is also a difference between descriptions and explanations. They are not synonymous. Now I ask you, what would hold you to believe, a precise level of O2 would increase animals sizes by a million-fold? Too much O2 would have been fatal, they claim. Since natural selection is unable to predict the future, and it’s a non-thinking process, how could it accomplish it? It’s easy to fall back on picking a few things without testing it and saying, “it evolved’ as evidence, but again what holds you in defending one of the dumbest ideas from evolutionary research in 2009?

  12. The name “Soc Puppette” is—I thought—a clear reference to being a sock puppet for Olorin. Sorry you took it the wrong way.

  13. Micahael: “when one studies the past, one really cannot use the standard scientific method because we [sic] cannot observe phenomena from the past. By no means can one classed [sic] this as empirical science.”

    I’m not sure what you mean by “the standard scienttific method,” because there is no such thing. So I’ll assume you mean direct sensory observation with control of experimental parameters.

    If science were reduced only to what one can observe directly under laboratory control, it would be a mere shadow.

    Atomic physics would not exist. We cannot directly observe any phenomenon at atomic scales. We infer dimensions, properties, attributes of atoms, particles, photons, quarks indirectly from their effects upon instruments, and not from direct observation.

    Many phenomena are not subject to experimental controls. Is astronomy not a true science because of that? We infer reactions in stars and interstellar gas by analogy to known effects that we can measure, but not from direct experiments.

    Past events cannot be observed directly. Does that mean that we cannot infer them from present evidence from the results of similar events that we can observe directly? Is archeology not a science?

    Let’s put it this way. If you contend that we can’t infer past events from present evidence, then why do you persist in trying to find physical evidence of a past creation at a date certain? DNA in a salt deposit from which you infer an Earth age less than 10,000 years? Water plumes on Jupiter’s moon, from which you proclaim a small age of the solar system? A young universe from changes in the speed of light—for which there is no evidence whatever?

    If you claim that the “standard” scientific method can’t be employed for historical events, then it seems somewhat hypocritical to present these as “scientific” evidence of a recent creation.

    Actually, there is no “standard” scientific method. And the boundary between soi-disant “experimental” and “historical” scionces is largely chimerical. The same methods are used to establish historical facts as to demonstrate phenomena in the present.

    Many times I’ve said that if someone presented convincing positive evidence for special creation, his biggest problem would be getting plane reservations to Stockholm to pick up his Nobel. Do you think this is exaggerated? It’s not. Scientists love nothing better than to demolish a colleague’s theory—the bigger the better.

    At your level, you are wasting your time in analyses of the methodology of science, or the general philosophy of science. A better approach is to start with the history of modern science. A good beginning there is the recently published and widely acclaimed Bowler & Morus’s “The Making of Modern Science.” The authors divide their material into two grand parts: historical episodes (chemistry, age of Earth, quantum physics, etc.) and themes (organization of science, science & religion,[2] science & war, ecology etc.)

    The reason I recommend starting with history is that, in large measure, science is what scientists do. In my opinion, the philosophers merely try to explain what that is, in some kind of logical framework.

    But the main thing is that, without any knowledge of the subject matter or the practice of science, your efforts to deny and distort its findings are reduced to “the dog ate my homework” kindergarten level of sophistication. To anyone who is even minimally conversant with these areas, this is merely comical.

    So, how about another elementary question? Tell me why a flat mirror reverses laft & right, but not up & down, no matter how you rotate it. See what I mean?

    =============
    [1] People think of mathematical equations as the ultima thule of “natural law.” Few have noticed that it is not feasible or not convenient to express many theories in that manner. So many new theories are presented as “models”—that is, as computer programs into which one feeds data, runs the model, and finds out what happens. I came to this realization from the course I mentioned on complex systems, where such (“agent based”) models have almost entirely replaced classical mathematical equations. Stephen Wolfram (“A New Kind of Science”) thinks that all equations should be replaced with such models—“automata” as he calls them.

    [2] Morus writes extensively on this subject, and is considered a world expert.

  14. Michael: “Now I ask you, what would hold you to believe, a precise level of O2 would increase animals sizes by a million-fold? Too much O2 would have been fatal, they claim.”

    Again, I’d need a direct citation. What you said makes no sense.

    Michael: “Since natural selection is unable to predict the future, and it’s a non-thinking process, how could it accomplish it?”

    When the sun heats a mass of air, it produces a faster wind. This is a non-thinking process. Same deal. Your persistent teleological assumptions have clouded your thinking again. They prevent you from even understanding the most basic concepts.

    Michael: “It’s easy to fall back on picking a few things without testing it and saying, “it evolved’ as evidence,…”

    “It evolved” is not evidence. You are confused as to the nature of scientific evidence.

    Michael: “but again what holds you in defending one of the dumbest ideas from evolutionary research in 2009?”

    And again, what are your qualifications for holding that opinion?

    Are there more numbers (1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8 ….) than there are even numbers (2,4,6,8,…)? Once more, just checking levels of understanding….

  15. By the way, Michael, your source missed a recent journal article to add to your collection of rapid geological events that “prove” a young Earth.

    A paper by Daniel Garcia-Castellanos in Dec. 10, 2009 Nature posits that the entire Mediterranean Sea could have filled up from an arid basin to today’s levels in less than two years—perhaps as rapidly as a few months—when Gibraltar crumbled and allowed the Atlantic to rush in at millions of cubic meters per second.

    Note, however, that this occurred more than 5 million years ago, so it doesn’t fit your time scale. But then that has never been a problem before, has it? Creationists merely wish away unpleasant facts.

    You should also note that, as always, it was not creationist geologists who discovered this sudden geologic event. (The water level may have risen more than 10 meters per day!) No. Creationist geologists remain belted into their comfortable chairs, content merely to deny the work of others. Prof. Garcia-Castellanos is a mainstream investigator who was researching the geology of the Strait for a planned Europe/Africa tunnel.

    He found that the channel was U-shaped, not V-shaped, as had previously been thought. Once again, the most exciting words in science are not “I’ve found it,” but rather “Hm. That’s strange….” Not confirmation of an old theory, but evidence for a new one.

  16. “2009 Represented An Outstanding Year For Creationism”

    So, to wrap up, 2009 has produced no positive evidence whatever for creationism. No observations of creations. No rabbit fossils in precambrian fossil beds. No evidence that Noah’s ark ever existed, despite decades of searches. No traces of a design event or a special creation. In short, nothing.

    Even though it has not been an outstanding year, it has been a typical year. No other year has produced any evidence of special creation, either So 2009 was not a bad year, just another flatline year.

    Nothing. Zzzzz. chirp … chirp.

    =============

    Which reminds me, Your review of Signature in the Cell, promised last August, is now 5 months overdue. Meanwhile, one of Meyer’s basic contentions—that the DNA code is arbitrary, with no physio/chemical basis—was falsified in a paper last October in the Journal of Molecular Evolution. This, of course, is the problem with arguments from ignorance; eventually the ignorance goes away.

  17. “I meant to say – Me thinks Olorin is not interested in answers.”

    Too bad, you were right the first time. Methinks” was origianlly in OE and ME an impersonal construction, “it thinks me.” When this type of phrase was lost, it became a fossilized phrase. Sigh. More ignorance to deal with.

    Not interested in answers? You can demonstrate your creds if you like.

    (1) Are there more numbers (1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8 ….) than there are even numbers (2,4,6,8,…)?

    (2) A study shows the lowest cancer rates in counties with the smallest populations. Where would you expect to find the highest rates?

    (3) Why does a flat mirror reverse right & left but not up & down?

    (4) What anatomical feature of a horse allows a person to control it from horseback?

    (5) What is the second law of thermodynamics?

    Would you like to use a lifeline?

  18. “Here’s a good piece of research pointing to Creation:”

    Apparently you have forgotten Scopie’s Law, which states that any citastion to Answers in Geneis in a discussion about creationism and evolution forfeits the argument.

    Aside from that, that, it is trly hard to beive that the polonium-halo argument has surfaced yet againt. There is no evidence that these artifacts were produced by polonium at all, so the half-life of polonium is not relevant. The most widespread explanation is that the halos are caused by alpha particles from uranium, radon, or thorium nuclei—which have half lives of billions of years. the radii of the halos is consistent with alpha particles, and is not consistenmt with the type of fission that polonium undergoes. Some geologists offer explanations that do not involve radioactivity at all.

    Answers in Genesis is, as usual, lying to you. Everyone thought this argument has disappeared beneath the waves decades ago. If AiG has found any new evidence, they certainly do not cite it.

  19. Olorin –

    It’s actually responses like yours that helped push me along from Old-Earth Creationism to Young-Earth Creationism. I did not believe in YEC to begin with. When I first started my journey into this stuff, I thought YEC was bogus. The evos said that I shouldn’t trust anything I read at AiG. That went along well with my existing prejudices, and so I simply avoided AiG. After about 6 months, I took a look into one of the articles on the site, and was actually rather impressed. As I dug deeper, I found that nearly all writings in this area had errors in it, but the ones from AiG were usually less problematic than those of Talk.Origins. After about a month of looking, I realized that the evos had just B.S.’d me away from AiG, and they were actually a decently credible source. From that point on, I realized that about 80% of the time strongly-worded evolutionary claims were bogus when you looked just a little under the surface (the true scholars tend to understand the tentativeness of their propositions). Now, four years later, I actually got the privilege of publishing in AiG’s research journal last month.

    It’s interesting to note that, for radiohalos, while the Talk.Origins page _claims_ to critique both Gentry and Snelling on radiohalos, it fails to distinguish their radically different accounts for them. It claims to criticize both, but in fact only criticizes Gentry, and is completely silent about Snelling’s model.

    “If AiG has found any new evidence, they certainly do not cite it.”

    I guess you didn’t bother to read the paper. The paper was a primary research paper documenting the finds of Snelling and Gates. See table 1 in the linked paper for a summary of the evidence they found.

  20. Speaking of YEC, one of the major discoveries for 2009 was a salamander. It was quite remarkable, it still had muscle tissue similar to that of a modern one. We know that meat tends to degrade pretty quickly. How does a salamander which is supposedly 18 million years old still have soft tissue? If the earth is thousands of years old, then soft tissue is one of the things one would find!

  21. This response to Jonathon’s commend is in three parts. For the first time in this blog, someone has presented something thta at least pretends to be actual evidence for special creation in a young Earth.

    First, why scientists disdain creationists. Second, flaws in the ARJ paper on radio halos. Third, how science deals with anomalies.

    ===========================================

    PART 1 — WHY SCIENTISTS GIVE CREATIONISTS NO RESPECT

    Creationists have sometimes resorted to tarring science in general (and evolution in particular) a type of religion—a belief system no more credible than their own.

    Science is grounded upon physical evidence. Theories, which by definition go beyond the available facts, must nevertheless conform to the facts. When they do not,[1] they are extended, modified, or in some cases overturned in whole or in part. The purpose of science is to increase human understanding of the physical world, the ultimate goal being to control physical phenomena for our benefit.

    But science is more than a set of facts and theories. It is a process . A process whose purpose is to arrive at verifiable facts and useful theories. Scientists evince “faith” in their -process. Theology reserves faith in unseen supreme beings and in human authority figures. The faith of scientists is a belief that the process works–and that failures will be spotted..

    What is the “process” of science? A researcher forms a hypothesis, and devises a means of gathering evidence for it—experiments, field trips, observations from instruments, computer simulations, and so on. The evidence from this effort may confirm the hypothesis—that is, be consistent with it, and hopefully also rule out competing hypotheses. Or it may force revision or abandonment. If the evidence seems to confirm, the investigator writes a paper for publication in a peer-reviewed journal.[2] The purpose of peer review is to ensure that the evidence adequately supports the thesis, that relevant prior research has been consulted, and to suggest further work. The reviewers may wish to examine data and inquire into protocols. Publication brings comments and critiques from others in the field. Others attempt to duplicate the results; this aspect may expose flaws, or detect fraud.[3]

    Detecting bias and outright fraud is a significant part of the process, because science is cumulative. If one worker cannot trust the integrity of his predecessors, the whole effort collapses. Since no present research can afford to start from scratch, each worker must be able to rely upon the integrity of the work of others.[4] So the integrity of the process validates the integrity of the results. The theory or interpretation may be overturned by later additional evidence, but others may rely upon thwe evidence going forward.[5]

    So science involves belief, but it is a belief in the process, not a belief in any particular result.

    Creationists have quite different goals and processes.

    For example Answers Research Journal frames its purpose thus: “It is our hope that the online publication of ARJ will encourage Christians with powerful results of the latest creationist research, providing them with new resources for use in their own research and education—and in their witnessing to the truth and authority of God’s Word.”

    The purpose is not the advancement of knowledge, not the production of deeper research, not the realization of any practical applications or benefits. It is to inspire certainty of particular beliefs.

    And yet, ARJ still claims the mantle of science, by pretending to follow the scientific process: “Furthermore, people want to know they can trust what is published on the Internet, which is why papers in our journal will be reviewed by the best experts we have available to us through a large network of well-qualified creationist researchers, scientists, and theologians who are the best thinkers in their fields of creationist research.”[6]

    Does ARJ live up to the this claim? No. The “review process” is not disclosed to outsiders—no transparency here. None of their staff members or resident experts are identified.[7] The editor-in-chief seems to be the entire professional staff, and he himself contributes many of the papers. Supposedly, then, he also manages the peer review.[8] How far would you trust a corporation that wouldn’t show you its financial statement and audited its own books? Exactly.

    Oh. Authors may publish anonymously. Unlike real scientific papers, no “data” or “methods” sections are required. And the ARJ staff must take a pledge to uphold the young-earth creation model. And just who is Dr. Andrew Snelling, the proud author of the raiohalo paper? “Dr. Andrew Snelling [is] director of research; as the ARJ editor-in-chief. Dr. Snelling, formerly a professor of geology at the Institute for Creation Research (ICR),…” His co-author supposedly used this paper as an MS thesis at the ICR. The ICR claims to be a graduate school granting MS degrees in “science education”—not any branch of science, but only in its education. Is it a real for-sure school? Last year, the ICR flunked its accreditation test in Texas. Texas? Where creationists run rampant, where Bill Dembski hangs out, where the head of the State education agency (TEA) is an avowed creationist? It must really be bad news.

    Does ARJ portray theories evenhandedly? “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.” In other words, competing explanations need not apply. One of their authors guides even includes instructions for including adverse evidence. Where feasible, it is to be ignored. Where needed in order to contrast the creation model, it is to be presented so that readers can easily identify it as incorrect.

    Finally, real scientific publications are aimed at others adapt in the field (“peers”), so as to allow them to build upon their work, to delve deeper into understanding, and to make use of the results for human betterment.

    ARJ and other creationist publications,[9] however, are aimed right between the eyes of the faithful layman, dazzling him with sciency terminology. Try reading other papers in ARJ. Almost all of the material turns out to be undergraduate textbook stuff, and has nothing to do with any hypothesis or new result the author asserts. It’s just a snow job. This is certainly true of the present radiohalo paper, if you take time to notice. An added fillip is that Snelling, like many of the other authors, attempts to emphasize unsettled or unknown aspects of the subject: “See? Those stupid scientists don’t really know anything/ Let’s all laugh at them.” Most of the sources are conventional mainstream stuff, and are cited only to background matters, almost never to support the hypothesis that the author presents.[10] This gives only the illusion of rigor.

    So, do you still wonder why scientists laugh at creationist pretensions to science? It has been compared to a pigeon playing chess. The bird knocks over the pieces, crapped on the board, and flapped back to its flock squawking success.

    This part is written first, so that you may understand the contempt with which real scientists view creationist pseudo-science. When I have time to get around to it, Part 2 will discuss the specific radiohalo paper in ARJ.

    Assuming Jonathon has not yet retreated to his flock.

    ===============================
    [1] Part 3 will discuss anomalies.

    [2] Books are not peer-reviewed. However, they often contain reviewed material—for example, Darwin’s On the Origin of Species” was mostly composed of material that he had previously presented to the Royal Society. This was common in the 19thC.

    [3] Several cases of research fraud were uncovered in just this way. In the early days, the 18thC, many famous scientists conducted their experiments as public demonstrations, to avoid charges of bias or fraud.

    [4] Fraud is professional death. A decade ago, Nobel prizewinner David Baltimore almost lost his prestigious position when one of his assistants was accused (unfairly, as it turned out) to have destroyed some data from an experiment.

    [5] The integrity of the publication process is especially important. This explains the ruckus when Richard von Sternberg violated the review procedures to publish Stephen Meyer’s ID paper several years ago. The credibility of the Washington Review was compromised by self-dealing. One science blogger reports that a personal acquaintance was denied tenure for conflict of interest because he authored papers in a journal that he essentially controlled.

    [6] From .” [From “About ARJ,” http://www.answersingenesis.org/arj/about

    [7] A personal experience is illuminating. A year ago, the AIG Website touted a picture of a “rock” with an embedded toy car as proof that rocks do not require millions of years to form. I wrote to them several times. I asked where the object was found, because the surrounding stones in the picture were quite different. First they just sent an enlarged picture with no explanation. Then they admitted the rock had been moved to a different location. They assured me that one of their own geologists had inspected it. I asked who, and what he had said. An evasive reply. I gave up after several more exchanges. Later, a geologist friend said the object was not a rock at all, that it looked like a small brain coral. So much for integrity. So much for credibility. So much for honesty.

    [8] Precisely the offense that earned the professor in Note 6 supra.

    [9] Creation Quarterly, the Discovery Institute’s Progress in Complexity, etc.

    [10] The radiohalo paper does adduce several references in support of his claimed new result, Who is the author of these references? Why, surprise, surprise. Dr. Andrew Snelling, PhD.

  22. Sorry , the reference in footnote #8 above was inadvertently omitted. The reference is to a science blogger’s account of a personal acquaintance who was a research professor. The professor was denied tenure when it was discovered that he had published a couple of papers in a journal that was essentially him alone.

    That is, exactly the same situation as Andrew Snelling with respect to Answers Research Journal.

    And, BTW, exactly the same as William Dembski and the Discovery Institute’s journal Progress in Complexity, Information & Design.

  23. Re: Does ARJ portray theories evenhandedly?

    Among the six “Criteria for Articles Submitted for Publication,” for ARJ, we find:

    ” 3. Is this paper formulated within a young-earth, young-universe framework?
    4. If the paper discusses claimed evidence for an old earth and/or universe, does this paper offer a very constructively positive criticism and provide a possible young-earth, young-universe alternative?”

    Either of those statements by itself would get you thrown out of the Index of Reviewed Journals.

  24. PART 2 — THE ARJ PAPER DOES NOT SUPPORT A YOUNG EARTH

    My background includes a graduate degree in physics, although nothing beyond an undergrad course in Naval Engineering for atomic physics specifically. Nothing in geology. However, I’ve spent 45 years’ as a lawyer analyzing both legal and technical papers in a number of fields—including a couple of Daubert hearings.. Feel free to controvert the geology and the nuclear physics—as long as you bring specific facts to the table.

    Part 1 above offered reasons to doubt the credibility of Answers Research Journal. A broader reason to suspect the young-earth conclusion of this paper is that it goes against thousands of other facts pointing toward a 4.5 Byr age for the earth.[1]

    Snelling argues that cooling of the magma that he investigated.[2] is too rapid to have trapped the polonium halos except as native species, since minimal or no precursors were found. That is, he argues that all of the intrusions solidified in less than 100 days or so, and possible in mere hours. Then Snelling asserts that such rapid cooling could only have occurred if all of the plutons were created in place, very suddenly. Ergo, a young earth.

    Much of the paper is concerned with cooling rates of the studied plutons. Snelling emphasizes the controversy surrounding cooling times, but manages to reduce the lower bound of this controversy only from 10Myr to 100kyr using reviewed sources. In order to make creation plausible, Snelling needs rates reckoned in hours.. He does cite sources down to 100 days or so, but all of these turn out to be Snelling’s own previous work (sometimes with his colleague Vardiman). All of these sources, like the present paper, use only rapid radiohalo formation as evidence of young age.

    Therefore, the only remaining evidence for rapid (less than ~100 days) cooling is the half-life of the Po halos, combined with the absence of U/Th precursors in the same samples. (See Snelling, Table 1.) Snelling’s contention is that the Po must have been inserted in situ during a very rapid creation of the rock, because no other source is possible. However, Snelling entirely fails to acknowledge papers in the reviewed literature[3] that propose a potential pathway consistent with accepted cooling rates. Collins, for example, proposes Po halos from large volumes of radon gas diffusing through the liquid magma as it cooled. Snelling has disputed this, claiming that 222Rn is not reactive, and would not be trapped in the rock.[4] However, Rn decays to Po-2 ions, which are highly reactive, and would thus be trapped immediately upon decay.

    It is also just a little strange that only three (210Po, 214Po, 218Po) of the dozen or so Po isotopes appear in Snelling’s rock samples (See Table 1.) Why did the Creator fail to include any of the others? It turns out that these three are the ones—the only ones—on the decay path of 222Rn.

    Snelling also includes several unsupported statements that the billion-0year decay rates of U, Th, etc. are not in accord with the young-earth model, and therefore must be discounted where they conflict with his assumptions. But hold! If the rates of the elements were different in the past, then the decay rates of Po could also have been different. Instead of 138 days, a few minutes, and microseconds, these rates could have been thousands or millions of years. Such variability, of course, would destroy his argument that Po halos demonstrate a young earth—he requires some of the rates to vary, but others to remain constant.. Fortunately for science, Dr. Snelling provides no evidence—only assumptions from his previous papers—that any decay rates have varied from their current values.[5]

    The cooling rate seems actually to be a diversion from a more formidable problem. The rocks he studied come from “intrusions”—Snelling names them as such, and characterizes them as sheets, steep dikes, etc.—all attributes of intrusions. But intrusions are liquid rock that “intrudes” into other rocks that are already formed. That is, the primary rock surrounding Snelling’s “young” rock is old—published evidence shows more than 95Myr. Snelling does not directly controvert any evidence for the age of the primary rock, but certainly implies that it is much younger.. Another reviewed paper[6] has investigated Snelling’s samples from pervious papers, and found them all to be secondary inclusions from much older primary rock. This reference also is neither cited nor acknowledged in Snelling’s paper.

    Therefore, this ARJ paper is approximately as reliable as The National Enquirer. We must return a Scotch verdict against Dr. Snelling. And perhaps remand his case for concealing evidence.

    One might ask why I tend to disbelieve out of hand what Snelling asserts, yet credit the papers by Wakefield, Collins, and Brown. Two words: “peer review..”[7] They have professional integrity to uphold. Snelling has pledged to uphold a belief, not truth. And, as Martin Luther once said, “A small lie in the service of the Lord is no sin.” Amen.

    =====================
    [1] Part 3 will discuss how science handles anomalies to accepted theories.

    [2] This is presented as new evidence. However, the paper does not differentiate the character of the Yosemite rocks from other rocks previously studied by Snelling or by Gentry in any relevant attributes, except possibly the size of the pluton field.. At most, some of the arguments may be new.

    [3] Wakefield, J. R. (1988), “The geology of ‘Gentry’s Tiny Mystery'”, Journal of Geological Education 36: 161–175, http://www.csun.edu/~vcgeo005/gentry/tiny.htm. Collins, L.G. (1997), “Polonium Halos and Myrmekite in Pegmatite and Granite”, in Hunt, C. W., Collins, L. G., and Skobelin, E. A., Expanding Geospheres, Energy And Mass Transfers From Earth’s Interior, Calgary: Polar Publishing Company, pp. 128–140, http://www.csun.edu/~vcgeo005/revised8.htm

    [4] So much for a defense that Snelling might not have been aware of these references. In a journal that is actually reviewed, part of the reviewer’s job is to point out problems such as these.

    [5] Variable decay rates would play hob with GPS, which depends upon a constancy on the order of 1 part in 10^10 per year

    [6] Another reviewed paper, “Examining Radiohalos,” R. H. Brown, H. G. Coffin, L. J. Gibson, A. A. Roth, and C. L. Webster, Geoscience Research Institute, 5(1):32-38 (1988), at http://www.grisda.org/origins/15032.htm, examined Snelling and Gentry’s previous samples and found them to be secondary rocks, much younger than their hosts.

    [7] See Part 1, supra.
    .

  25. Olorin –

    Nice subject switching. That’s usually what evos do when they are wrong. I don’t have the time to waste to answer silly objections, but I will refer you to a similar conversation I had with someone else on my own blog.

    You also might want to read Michael Ruse’s “Evolution Wars”. He shows that the way that the synthetic theorists took hold was by: (1) starting their own journal to publish their papers, (2) getting people who agreed with them appointed to prestigious spots, and (3) writing two sets of books – one scientific and one more philosophical, so they could both say they were doing hard science when it was largely just a masquerade for their theology.

    Usually such naivete about the process of science as you have shown is easily cured by simply reading about the history of science.

    A good book covering this kind of stuff is “For and Against Method” by Lakatos and Feyerabend.

  26. JB: “Nice subject switching.”

    Please indicate which subject you think was switched. Part 1 above adduces background showing that ARJ is in general not a credible source according to the methodology of science. Part 2, as announced at the beginning of Part 1, shows that the conclusion of this specific paper is not supported by any credible evidence.

    I have read Ruse’s Evolution Wars. A lot of people disagree with him on many points. I don’t disagree that a lot of politics goes into science.[1] In fact, if you read about this period in evolution, many concepts were ifought over rancorously, including the core notion of natural selection.[2] However, I seriously doubt that any of the upstarts you mention concealed adverse references, or would not furnish data, or belonged to a group that made them pledge to uphold only certain conclusions. Certainly none of them pledged to uphold any religious tenet. If you have specific instances of such ignoble acts, please list them.

    Statement (3) makes no sense. If you have read about this period (1920-1940), you will know that a number of philosophers—including Karl Popper for a few years—argued that Darwin’s theory had no foundation, and was in fact circular. So there were philosophical questions that needed to be addressed, in addition to strictly scientific matters.

    I have followed the history of science as a strictly personal interest for several decades., and have an undergrad course in its philosophy. I met Paul Feyerabend briefly when he taught nearby. He used to say that he himself didn’t believe half the stuff he wrote.[3] Alvin Plantinga is another philosopher who supports creationism in general—but who has such a warped view of how science actually operates, and no firsthand knowledge, that he is roundly derided in the profession. .(Intelligent-design philosopher David Fuller, was discredited when he testified at the Kitzmiller v. Dover trial in 2005.)

    History is important in that one relevant way to define science is instrumentally, as “that which scientists do.” A comprehensive review is found in the recent widely acclaimed Bowler & Morus, Making Modern Science (U. Chicago Press, 2005). B&M divide the subject into two parts: specific historical episodes, and relationships of science with other areas. One chapter in the latter part is devoted to science and religion.[4] Westfall, The Construction of Modern Science (Cambridge U. Press, 1977), although more technically oriented toward specific theories, shows the underlying concepts that drove them–or impeded them.[5] Rothman, Discovering the Natural Laws (Doubleday, 1970) describes the experiments that led to many physics discoveries. Its relevance here is to show how theories are constructed.[6] An excellent book on the border between history and philospohy is Dear’s The Intelligibility of Nature (U. Chicago Press, 2006.

    I have found that creationists of all stripes have background assumptions that they cannot seem to throw off, and which interfere with their ability to understand the basic concepts of science, and how it differs from religion.[7] These assumptions can be grouped under the rubric of “agency premises.” In classical times, Plato ascribed agency to natural objects; a rock fell to earth because it “wanted” to join its fellow element. Newton’s contemporaries thought that objects embodied the forces that made them move; Newton’s insight, F=ma, was to to dissociate the concept of force from material bodies—to depersonalize them. Today, investigators have found that all young children have a pervasive agency premise; the boll rolled under the couch “so that” he couldn’t play with it. Michael Shermer frequently notes this effect, and the studies that support it.[8] Creationist read teleology into evolution, for example—antelopes become faster “in order to” escape lions. This also leads them to conflate “function” with “purpose” to infer design.[9] by “common sense observation.” They fixedly believe that the behavior of a complex system requires an overall guiding intelligance to organize it.[10] It is beyond comprehension that millions of individual algal cells can spontaneously form a single nonce organism (algal mat) that moves as a unit, that causes the previously identical cells to perform different functions, that causes some of them to sacrifice their own reproduction for the benefit of the others.

    Besides the bookish stuff, I have worked professionally with hundreds of research scientists in fields from astronomy to zoology for more than 45 years. This involved analyzing and writing up their results for patent applications, defending the novelty of their results over the work of others, and validating (vel non) their opinions in court.[11] Hands-on experience in how scientific investigators think, how they work, how they evaluate evidence, and how they distribute and defend their results is very important in determining what is reasonable and what is not in science. Knowledge only from a distance sometimes produces risible interpretations.

    It is therefore relevant to ask what your background and experience in science might be? That is, in addition to armchair exposition.

    =================
    [1] The negative influence from the prestige of Lord Kelvin on radioactivity research, for example.

    [2] By the time he died, Darwin himself was almost convinced that he had been wrong and Lamarck had been correct.

    [3] A truly bizarre person. If he didn’t feel like showing up for a lecture, he’d just skip it. No notice, no excuse. He just didn’t feel like it that day.

    [4] Bowler individually has written widely on this subject.

    [5] For example, when Newton found instabilities in his planetary equations, he ascribed their stable orbits to corrections applied by the hand of God. Later, Laplace “had no need of this hypothesis,” and discovered perturbation theory, which allowed the discovery of several new planets by their effects on the orbits of others.

    ]6] For example, why is F=ma a testable “law” and not merely a definition of “force”?

    [7] Perhaps that’s why they are creationists. I’m not being facetious here.

    [8] E.g., Shermer, Why People Believe Weird Things (Freeman, 1998)

    [9] Cf., e.g., my comment on Jeff Shallit’s Recursivity blog yesterday (1/13/10).

    [10] Mitchell, Complexity, A Guideed Tour (Oxford U. Press 2009) is agood introduction. Auyang, Foundations of Complex-system Theories: In Economics, Evolutionary Biology, and Statistical Physics (Cambridge U. Press, 1999) is better, but requiress operational calculus. Last year I audited an undergrad-level course in the msathematical theory of complex systems. The specific concept that ccreationists falter over is emergent behavior.

    [11] My actual participation in this process was much more limited—a couple years while in grad school designing the guidance system for the Apollo moon rocket in the mid-1960s. But I did get to meet a lot of interesting people.

  27. J. Bartlett: “I don’t have the time to waste to answer silly objections, but I will refer you to a similar conversation I had with someone else on my own blog.”

    Yes. it is indeed easy to dismiss a point by calling it silly. Gives one a smug feeling without expending any significant effort.

    Re your blog post:

    I do not consider YEC research circular, or untestable, or misdirected. The intelligent-design crowd, now, they are the arm-wavers without a testable theory or proposed mechanism, and with no research projects whatsoever[1]

    I do not fault YECs foe having a journal devoted to their subject, just as Evolution is devoted to papers within its expressed ambit. However, your blog post asserts that ARJ is professional and peer-reviewed. It is neither. It does not meet the standards for a professional scientific journal.[2]

    The reviewers for Evolution are no doubt themselves convinced of the basic facts of evolution, but we know who they are, and the process is transparent. ARJ has no known reviewers—even the authors may publish anonymously—and no known process. Like the ICR graduate school, ARJ does not meet the minimum qualifications. For one specific example, any competent reviewer would have required Snelling to cite the contrary references known to him, Wakefield and Collins, and to argue their alternative hypotheses.

    I also do not fault YECs for using the Bible as a motivation for doing research, or even for framing their hypotheses. As you said, Steno was motivated in this way, and Mendel.[3] However, when the evidence moves on, scientists must follow. Lord Kelvin argued for a young Earth by claiming that the Sun could not have burned for more than 30 million years even if ti were pure coal. Steno’s shark teeth now have an explanatory theory that accords with his data and also with volumes of other data that are not consistent with his biblical basis.

    My problem with this paper is that (a) the conclusion is simply not supported by any credible evidence, and (b) the paper is unethical in that it hides contrary references.

    JB: “for many Creation researches, Biblical Creation is the starting point of what we do. The goal is to use Biblical Creation to better understand nature.

    This does not seem to be much in evidence in ARJ. Let’s take one specific example. “The Origin of Oil—A Creationist Answer” (ARJ 1:145-168). Both naturalistic models are faulted[4] The conclusion is that “The oil existed in pristine state before the Flood, and moved during the Flood into the reservoirs where we now find it.”

    The purpose iof a scientific paper on oil would be to identify the environment of oil deposits—so that we can locate new ones. How does Dr. Snelling’s[5] paper advance that goal? His creationist model says that we can find oil where it is now located. Why? Because God put it there.

    Based upon this paper, all I need to find oil is to receive a revelation from God. I’ll start working on it tomorrow.

    This paper is typical. The purpose of creationist/intelligant-design research is to show that creation/design took place. The purpose of real scientific papers is to show how evolution/universe/whatever occurred. Darwin and Lamarck weren’t the first to show that evolution occurred; they were the first to make it plausible by showing how it occurred. Alfred Wegner had evidence that continents had moved; but he had no mechanism, until plate tectonics came along. A theory without a mechanism is useless.

    But this is another subject, and demands much more time to develop.

    ===============
    [1] No one has ever been able to locate their vaunted Biologic Institute. The Progress ion Complexity journal is a hollow windswept shell. The Michael Polanyi Center was stillborn. OECs engage in no research of their own, and likewise seem to have no actual research efforts.

    [2] “Evolution” may accept only papers dealing with evolution, but it does discriminate as to pro or con. ARJ, on the other hand, requires “4. If the paper discusses claimed evidence for an old earth and/or universe, does this paper offer a very constructively positive criticism and provide a possible young-earth, young-universe alternative?” (supra)

    [3] However, you grossly overstate the case that Mendel “was motivated by his disbelief in evolutionary principles for his experimentation in pea plants. His paper, which is the foundation of genetics, was actually explicitly anti-evolutionary. He was motivated mostly by pure curiosity. Theere is some evidence he believed that supposedly novel traits were only combinations of preexisting traits, but the matter is far from settled.

    [4] Almost all of the paper is devoted to conventional textbook background and probelems with the current models, and almost none to the proposed model.

    [5] Yea, it’s him again. Surprise.

  28. Looks as though Mr Bartlett has declined to answer the flaws in Dr Snelling’s ARJ paper. He’s probably busy writing about his paper published January 6 on “Irreducible Complexity and Relative Irreducible Complexity: Foundations and Applications.” You can catch it in a PDF on the Creation Biology Study Group website. Bon chance

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