ARCHIVES:

Posts in this section were archived prior to February 2010. For more recent posts, go to the HOME PAGE.

Archived Articles

2/21/2008                                                                                       View Comments

Creationists launch “peer reviewed” journal

By Massimo Pigliucci, Ph.D.

I’m not making this up, I swear. “Answers in Genesis,” the same nonsensical outlet that has given us Ken Ham’s “Creation Museum,” recently launched a “peer reviewed” “technical” journal, called, of course, “Answers Research Journal.” The idea, we learn from the “About” section of the journal’s web page, is to provide an outlet for “interdisciplinary scientific and other relevant research from the perspective of the recent Creation and the global Flood within a biblical framework.” See, apparently “there has been a pressing need for such a journal,” because “people want to know they can trust what is published on the Internet,” and they “can give you absolute assurance that the papers we will be publishing in Answers Research Journal are of the highest scientific and theological standard.” Of course, a high theological standard is a bit of an oxymoron, but let’s not quibble on the details.

The editor of this prestigious new arrival on the scientific scene is Andrew A. Snelling, who is so unknown and apparently insecure enough that he puts “B.Sc. (Hons)” after his name, before “Ph.D.” (in geology, from the University of Sidney). The esteemed (by some) Dr. Snelling has published an astounding 24 technical papers in 30 years of research, an average that would not get him tenure at the local community college. Accordingly, in 1998 Snelling had to content himself with joining the “faculty” of the Institute for Creation Research in California. Nevertheless, in the same year he won a whopping three (!!) prizes at the Fourth International Conference on Creationism for three technical papers he submitted (my hunch is that they were only three papers submitted, but I could be wrong, there may have been four). We are not told who else is on the editorial board of ARJ, perhaps the distinguished scientists who agreed to oversee the peer review process were afraid of losing tenure at their institutions. Damn secularist fascists in charge of American universities!

I simply couldn’t wait to start reading about all these new exciting scientific discoveries informed by a Christian perspective, and I wasn’t disappointed. The current volume of ARJ features the proceedings of the Microbe Forum, where we learn that “for many years the roles of microbes as part of God’s wonderful design have been neglected. Perhaps it is because many people associate microbes as the cause of death, disease, and suffering.” I think these many people have a point: what the hell was god thinking? Well, abstracts presented at the Forum begin to tell us, as titles include such gems as a “Creationist Model of Bacterial Mutations,” “Creation Microbiology and the Origin of Disease,” the highly technical-sounding “Viral/Bacterial Attenuation and Its Link to Innate Oncolytic Potential: Implications of the Perfect Original Creation in the Beginning,” and my favorite: “Pathogenicity Tools and Mycotoxins: In the Beginning or after the Fall?”

But the rest of the current issue of ARJ is not to be neglected either. For instance, in “Microbes and the Days of Creation,” by Alan Gillen (unknown academic affiliation), we learn that “ongoing research, based on the creation paradigm, appears to provide some answers to puzzling questions” such as “where do microbes fit into the creation account? ... Were they created along with the rest of the plants and animals in the first week of creation, or were they created later, after the Fall?” In a show of pure scientific balance, the author admits that “the answers to these questions are not explicit in Scripture, so the answers cannot be dogmatic.” Gillen ends up postulating that “microbes were created as ‘biological systems’ with plants, animals, and humans on multiple days [of creation week]” because as we well know “God made His creation fully mature, and complex forms fully formed.” Amen.

No need to go any further with this nonsense, as good as it is for a chuckle or two. The real question is: why? Why do creationists feel compelled to have a “science” museum, a peer reviewed journal, or, in the case of the Discovery Institute Intelligent Design think tank, a recently established (but very secretive) research laboratory? Could it be science envy? Indeed, even more broadly, why do creationists feel compelled to argue their case at all? Isn’t faith enough? When I was living in the south of the US it often happened that someone would engage me in an impromptu debate, where they were sure that I would see the light of (their) overwhelming reason and convert on the spot. When, instead, I managed to put them on the defensive, they would play with evident pride the faith trump card: “I believe in spite of evidence.” OK, fair enough (if more than a bit moronic), but then why did you just try to argue with me? Arguing, teaching, and doing research means that one accepts the rule of rational, evidence-based discourse. And yet creationists want to have it both ways, and promptly retreat behind the all-encompassing shield of faith when things get rough.

I suspect that creationists, deep down, have internalized the much-despised secular ethos that one has to have reasons for one’s positions, and they feel that they really don’t have rationality on their side. They seek respectability through fake museums and peer review journals because they know that the Middle Ages are over, and just shouting one’s faith in god isn’t gonna cut it anymore (modern society disqualifying stoning and burning at stakes doesn’t help either). Indeed, the very progression that we have seen during the 20th century, from the Scopes to the Dover trials, from young earth creationism pretending to keep evolution teaching out of public schools entirely to so-called “intelligent design” (which accepts a lot of science, including natural selection) begging for a bit of classroom time, is a path of constant retreat, away from silly biblical literalism, inching ever closer to modern science. The most advanced of the creationist ilk, the ID supporters, have intellectually advanced all the way into the early 19th century (after Paley, before Darwin), while young earth creationists are still trying to come to terms with the Enlightenment. Perhaps if we wait another century or two they’ll enter early 20th century science and make peace with Darwin. Now, that would be a miracle to behold.

More articles by Massimo Pigiucci can be read at Rationally Speaking, a blog devoted to rational discourse on science, philosophy, social and political issues. Massimo also maintains a science site and a philosophy site, and has written several books.

30 comments:

xrayman said...

And the sad thing is the fact that there are a whole lot of home schooled children who will be fed this bullshit as factual scientific reinforcement of creationism.

What just kills me is the fact that I often will read quotes such as, "More and more accedited scientists are now doubting Darwin's theroy of Evolution." Of course those scientists are the same ones who write in these phoney journals, and these qoutes aways seem to have their beginings at the Discovery Institute.

Someone please tell me are any real scientists doubting evolution?

Sandra said...

I doubt any REAL scientists would doubt evolution. Probally because they do REAL research.

OBJ said...

"Peer reviewed creationist journal"

Another example of mental masturbation. Or would this be a circle jerk?

DrFleming said...

Massimo, your Darwinist claims are nonsense. I have been studying mutations for the last 5 years and there is not an iota of evidence that they can be vehicles of evolution. To put simply, Darwinism is nonsense. As a medical doctor, that is what I observed in my own patients.

OBJ said...

So drug resistant strains of bacteria are another Darwinist lie?

Bork said...

Hi Dr Fleming,
Sorry to hear that your 5 yrs of research (?) as a medical doctor have come to nothing.
I have worked as a research scientist in gut microbiology for 6 yrs, and have found masses of empirical and peer-reviewed (by tenured scientists)evidence for mutations as agents of evolutionary progression. I've even published a few (again, peer-reviewed) papers.
And you can thank me every time you prescribe a new drug for a new strain of whatever gastro is going around.

Stephen Thomas said...

That's...pretty awesome. I actually burst out laughing when I heard. Peer Reviewed! LMAO. I mean...seriously. That's just. Good god.

Btw, I don't get the jab at homeschoolers by xrayman. That's a bit shallow. Just because falsehoods can be taught is no reason to attack the credibility of an entire train of education.

Anonymous said...

Well what you are you American going to do about quacks like these Creationists? Are there really only 10% of Americans that believe these quacks. THe majority of Australians don't. Benny Hinn has just been here and just about got laughed out of the country. Another quack, Pope Ratslinger is coming. Unfortunately he will get a better reception. He is not much different from Benny Hinn, peddling bible bullshit about a "god".

The sooner American Atheists stand up for their rights and fight for the abolition of the quackery of religion the better.

R. Black said...

oh man...I was never scared before, but now...I just can't help but wonder.

peavy said...

"And yet creationists want to have it both ways, and promptly retreat behind the all-encompassing shield of faith when things get rough."

soooo true. great article too.

xrayman said...

Steven Thomas said,

"Btw, I don't get the jab at homeschoolers by xrayman. That's a bit shallow. Just because falsehoods can be taught is no reason to attack the credibility of an entire train of education."

I didn't mean to taint the whole intstitution of home schooling because there are some wonderful home schooling parents. I just had a flashback to "Bible Camp."

You have to admit that there are plenty of fundy home schoolers who keep their kids sheltered from real world information. I knew a guy who was a young earth creationist and he kept his kids away from the world, and the fact that he home schooled made damn sure he controled the information his kids received.

xrayman said...

Oooops, I meant "Jesus Camp"

Joe B said...

[primal scream]

I'm reminded of the Russian saying, "When the blind lead the blind, it ends at the cliff." Of course, religion is especially evil in that it's blind leaders are the ones that put out the intellectual eyes of their followers before putting them in tow.

On the home school topic, I know plenty of fundy home schooled kids who end up in jail, on drugs, pregnant, depressed, angry and dysfunctional. The lucky ones just end up deluded. What a great institution.

Jim Earl said...

There's no idiot quite like a religious one. Jim Earl

Spirula said...

I have been studying mutations for the last 5 years and there is not an iota of evidence that they can be vehicles of evolution. To put simply, Darwinism is nonsense. As a medical doctor, that is what I observed in my own patients.

Really? And just how do you "study" mutations in your patients? Basic genetics tells us that you would at least have to use pedigree analysis, PCR, DNA hybridization, karyotyping etc.. Or more likely, a combination of several of these would be necessary to study mutations in any population. You have an IRB to do this study, right? You know, one that went through and was approved by a review committee, and requires you to do that whole "informed consent" thingy?

Unless, of course, you're just seeing sick people who get diagnosed with a cancer or a genetic disease. In which case, you're not studing mutations, but just some human diseases caused by some mutations.

And 5 years of you treating sick people is enough to tell you the fossil record, molecular genetics, biogeograhy, comparative anatomy and physiology, have got it all wrong. Who knew it could be that easy?

Hate to break it to you, but being a M.D. does not make you a scientist. There are physicians who are. I know several of them. I do research with some of them. But this common misconception in the public, that a physcian is a scientist, is a misuderstanding that some disingenuous physicians exploit to try and convince the unwary that they are "experts" in all things biological. You couldn't possibly be doing that, could you?

American Pie said...

Xray Man:
"I just had a flashback to "Bible Camp."
"Oooops, I meant "Jesus Camp"

Is that where you met your wife who you watch porn with and who you bang every night?

cipher said...

I suspect that creationists, deep down, have internalized the much-despised secular ethos that one has to have reasons for one’s positions, and they feel that they really don’t have rationality on their side.

Huston Smith, the philosopher of religion, has made much the same assertion - that conservative Christians, after years of exposure to modernity and debate with secularists, have internalized the perspective of "scientism", which he defines as the belief that only science can tell us anything meaningful about reality (a belief he doesn't share, but he's about as far from being a fundamentalist as a person of faith can get).

Re: "Dr." Fleming - It amazes me, but, apparently, a person can get through medical school without actually accepting the most fundamental principles of science - e.g., Bill Frist.

darthwonka said...

I need a new keyboard now. Great article!

/also works with REAL scientists and is getting a kick out of these replies.

Passerby said...

Dr. Flemming claims to be a medical doctor. Wasn't there a medical doctor within the Jim Jones' cult at Jonestown?

Huey said...

Thi is nothing more than another lame attempt by the religious right to lend themselves credibility, especially since they are unable to obtain elswhere. Their attempt to publish in a legitimate publication has failed as the embarrassed editors are issuing a retraction.

trumpeter said...

I'm back guys!!!

Did any of you miss me?

HA!HA!HA!HA!

Aspentroll said...

To Anonymous who said:

"Well what you are you Americans going to do about quacks like these Creationists? Are there really only 10% of Americans that believe these quacks".

The 10% of Americans you mentioned is the number the polsters have come up with.
If the truth were was known the number would be probably closer to 50% who are not religiously inclined.

The problem is that when an Ex-President of the USA, the present one's father, old Garge Bush makes statements like, " I don't think atheists should be allowed to be in government and that they shouldn't even be allowed to have citizenship". The Bush family are all cracked in the same way.

Atheists here in the US have always been afraid of losing their jobs and their place in the community because of their beliefs. This is changing rapidly. Some day, Zeus, god, allah or whatever god is prefered, is willing, we will see some real progress.

Your country, Oz, was settled a bit differently years ago. You all are most fortunate.

Anonymous said...

Aspentroll,

If you don't like the fact that America is a Christian Nation which means we are "One Nation Under God" then I simply invite you to pack your bags, leave, and go live down in Australia.

It's that simple if you don't like the way things are done in this country.

That goes for anyone else who wants to gripe and complain about the greatest Nation on the planet.

As far as Australia is concerned, just remember that we protect your sorry butts.

Anonymous said...

It's all nonsense

http://www.webtruth.org/media/1980_1980_Scientific-Bankruptcy.mp3

Anonymous said...

ahahahahaha!! greatest nation on earth? yeah the greatest at fucking up the world for the rest of us...the greatest at killing the most innocents for the lowest cost...we down under don't need your protection, that's why we told your nuclear navy to fuck of all those years ago.

Fuck you and fuck the govt of the US of A....A is for assholes.

America (Love it or Shove it) said...

I guarantee if someone attacked you arrogant Aussies that you would all run crying to us you ungrateful little bastards.

The Patriot said...

From Anonymous Aussie Poster:

"we down under don't need your protection, that's why we told your nuclear navy to fuck of all those years ago.
Fuck you and fuck the govt of the US of A....A is for assholes"

Yeah and and that is also the first letter in the name of your country also.

This is what I have been talking about for a very long time.

American rushes to the aid of these other countries, yet this is the kind of treatment we get from our so called allies.

We come to the aid of these other countries and we waste the Tax Payers dollars bailing these assholes out, however these same sons of bitches in these other countries wouldn't lift one damn finger to come to our aid if we ever needed it.

If Australia, France, and some of these other countries ever get faced with a Nuclear threat, I say fuck em! I say let the bastards get hit with a nuke. We don't need these ungrateful Anti-American Assholes either.

On Vacation said...

The troll's recent names;

-Samantha
-Proud Lesbian
-Laura
-American Pie
-Trumpeter
-anonymous

Analysis of posts.

Tactics: Disruption & deception.

Technique: Use topics that don't follow the message of a thread to create division between the message of the thread and the posts.

Goal: Divide regulars who have different beliefs, besides the common belief that Christianity is a fraud. Stall on-topic posts from regulars, using diversion and disruption in order to prevent any new site visitor from being exposed to genuine discussion that follows the original thread.

Division topics per screen name.

-Samantha: Used supernatural plea (dead people, etc.), to cause division based on those who may accept the possibility that natural phenomena equate to supernatural events. Used female screen name as deception, giving the impression they are vulnerable, hoping to pull others of same gender to protect them.

Proud Lesbian: Used sexual orientation, to derail thread focus. Was countered, by Proud Hetero, showing Proud Lesbian's stance to be divisive even among women. Proud Lesbian returned as Laura.

Laura: Used gender in general, to create a continuance of disruption. Of course, the common tactic still employed - using a female name to give the illusion of vulnerability to draw support from same gender.

American Pie: Cited posts made towards Proud Lesbian to disrupt this thread.

Anonymous: Used nationalism to disrupt thread topic.

Trumpeter: Self-explanatory.

And, of course, there are a myriad of other names being used; marc, unblinded, freedom_XX, etc.

Well, just wanted to keep our troll exposed just a little.

Frankly, I love Australia for the most part, and no loser, with the intelligence level of an ant, and a fake screen name, using some... extremely pitiful tactics, because they lack sophistication, is going to change my view - even if they attempt to bait me with Patriotic Nationalism.

Yes, I love the USA, it's where I live. And, like Australia, and every other nation on the planet, we have our share of intolerant bigots and ignorance - "Mr." X, the resident and obviously transparent troll is a billboard example for the USA.

This topic is about creationism; which is founded on the supernatural, meaning, someone actually believes they can think about something outside of this Natural Universe - while using their natural mind; total irrational ignorance.

John of Indiana said...

Pie-Boy:
"Is that where you met your wife who you watch porn with and who you bang every night?"

Ooooh, somebody sounds jealous, don't he?

And who let all the Freak Republic "Love it or Leave it" Jingoists in here tonight?

And for our esteemed Dr. Pfleghmming, In how many of your patients do you prescribe a course of leeches to, and how many respond well to a Blue Pill and a Clyster?

But I digress... I got a good laugh at the idea of these mythists "Playing Scientist"...

twincats said...

Yup, I think "circle jerk" pretty much sums it all up.

The secret laboratory is laughable since no one will ever be able to empirically prove the existence of a "designer."

Because of this, the circle jerkers are reduced to attempting to chip away at the monolith of evidence for evolution with wet toothpicks, only half the time they are gathered at the wrong rock (i.e. cosmology or abiogenesis.)

As they ever were.