young earth creation scienitifified

Via erv, I became aware of a new publication by the Answers in Genesis folks called Answers Research Journal. It is a peer reviewed journal in Creation Science.

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:

  • “In our modern, western culture, many people view scientific pronouncements as authoritative. Christians who are also scientists therefore have an even higher duty to speak with excellence than the average Christian, simply because of the perceived authority that they possess. Errors made by Christians speaking in the name of science, no matter how well intentioned, can become “common wisdom” and thereby very difficult to correct. Even greater responsibility lies upon the scholar who professes ideas to the general public rather than just scholarly colleagues. In doing so, the scholar becomes a teacher, with all the attendant responsibilities (e.g., Matthew 5:19, 18:6; James 3:1).
  • “Attaining accuracy in work begins with a healthy skepticism toward our own work, manifested by repeating experiments and observations, working to falsify personal hypotheses, and developing and testing alternative theories. Even this, however, is not enough since the subjectivity of working in isolation—or even in a small group—can blind researchers to alternative explanations or certain flaws in reasoning. This potential source of error can be remedied by seeking input from knowledgeable colleagues unconnected with the research, thus leading to at least the beginning of peer review.”
  • “Given all of these considerations, we believe that peer review is not merely an option to creationist publishers but a duty. We have a duty to reflect the excellence of God and to put before the world only the best we can offer. Peer review can assist us in correcting errors in our work, and its flaws can be identified and remedied. As creationists, the lighter publication load affords us an opportunity to evaluate manuscripts carefully. Therefore, neglecting, ignoring, or circumventing reasonable efforts to reduce error, such as peer review, would be wrong (James 4:17)”
  • 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.

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