I have to hand it to AiG, they have taken the scientific world on brilliantly in the past few years, in a way that I can’t figure out how to effectively refute to the public. AiG is the creator of the Creation Museum in Kentucky. I was extremely concerned when that museum was created, and I still follow it’s blog attentively. What AiG has done with the museum, and now with the journal, is to examine how the public evaluates science, and how they determine ‘validity’ of information presented to them, and then replicated this.
What I mean is that the public, generally, assumes that:
1) If it’s in a ‘real’ museum, it’s been scientifically supported, and it is ‘right’.
2) If it’s in a peer-reviewed journal, it’s been scientifically supported, and it is ‘right’.
So AiG was able to pull together millions of dollars to create a really stunning museum. Before that, creation museums had been small-time affairs, in old shops and out-of-the-way places. AiG has animatronic dinosaurs and all sorts of razzle dazzle. While it might not be the AMNH, it’s done a good job of presenting itself as a ‘real’ museum. Kids can go there and feel the authority of the place. The $20 entrance fee keeps the rabble (like myself) out, but helps to keep the place funded.
How do you convince people that the information in this museum is flawed? You can’t do it very easily. Most folks who go there are already convinced, and it just helps them affirm their beliefs. But for others, who just like to visit museums, it has all the markings of a ‘real’ museum, and so if the displays say ‘scientists have misinterpreted the geology, and the earth is in fact, only 6000 years old’, people might say ‘wow, I didn’t know that’. The Creation Museum even lists itself on GuideStar as a ‘science museum’ and has a flashy looking website. For Joe Public, it has all the trappings of ‘authenticity’.
Now AiG has decided, if you want peer-review, it’ll create a peer-reviewed journal. Brilliant. Now they can post materials in the museum that are quotes from peer-reviewed journals. They can use this information in their less-scholarly publications as well. And again, how do you compete against that when you’re talking to a general public? For years we’ve been pointing out that these people can’t get their material reviewed in peer-reviewed journals, and that shows it is not scientifically supported. So they’ve taken that claim head-on. The public doesn’t know at first glance if the journal is accepted by the scientific community or not – and few people are going to go exploring the internet to research that. The journal’s website reminds me of a simplified version of Nature‘s webpage.
In the first volume of the journal, there is an article called “Toward a Practical Theology of Peer Review”, by Roger W. Sanders, Kurt P. Wise, Joseph W. Francis, and Todd Charles Wood. It was pretty good. It framed peer-review for the journal’s audience, and pointed out a few key issues that are sometimes forgotten by reviewers, like don’t be a jerk and try to be constructive.
Because it is a creationist journal it naturally (wc?) brings in references to biblical verses and tries to approach peer review from a biblical perspective. This doesn’t add much new that I haven’t heard before, but it tosses biblical authority on things many of us readily accept as part of the peer-review process.
And here’s the intersting result of that:
It’s a wonderful premise. Yet here we all sit, finding fundamental flaws in their assumptions and their ‘science’. They have got to be wearing the biggest pair of blinders I have ever seen, to assert so strongly that they want to be scientifically rigorous, and then to go on to state beliefs like the earth is only 6000 years old, dinosaurs lived in the Garden of Eden and evolution didn’t happen beyond the level of ‘kinds’.
Also – can anyone tell me what ‘molocules’ are in the title bar of the journal? They’re intriguingly fake-looking to this non-biologist.