The ICR’s Acts and ‘Facts’ – November

It's time for the ICR's Acts and Facts, for November 2011

The Institute for Creation Research has a number of magazines, the most famous of which is Acts and Facts, which is often featured on the ICR’s front page. Here’s a brief summary of this month’s edition.
At present, the November edition is on their Acts and Facts homepage. For future reference this edition can be found in pdf form here.

(This is incredibly late – note that I wrote half of it at the very start of the month, and the rest today.)

Contents/Permanent Links:


Sharing the Inheritance – Henry Morris III

The featured article for this month – authored by the Institute’s CEO – is effectively a glorified (and lengthened) Days of Praise piece. It revolves around the book of Revelation, and related promises of heaven. Common words and phrases include “divine,” “majesty,” “power,” “glory” etc – it all seems rather cultish to me, in that special Christian way.

There is, however, nothing science related in there that I can find, and so nothing that interests me. Moving right along…

With Grateful Hearts – Lawrence Ford

For once (or, at least, for the first time I’ve read it) the From the Editor column does not introduce the other articles, and nor does it demand that the reader not “compromise on scriptural accuracy.”

It appears to be in relation to the upcoming American holiday known as “Thanksgiving.” Wikipedia informs me that this pagan festival will be held on the 24th of this month – personally, I will be ‘giving thanks’ on the 22nd, that being the day after the Chemistry exam…

Ford quotes extensively from the [National] Thanksgiving Proclamation of 1789, especially the God parts. Personally, as a foreigner, I don’t overly care if Mr Washington believed 200 or so years ago that we should “acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor.” Apparently, the ICR does. Meh.

The only thing remotely relevant to what I do here is the description of the ICR’s “new areas of communication.” That’s a Fact is mentioned, and describes as “multiple programs” which are “fun and informative, and point viewers (especially our younger generations) to our Creator.” I’m reasonably certain that that’s entirely made up, but whatever.

And don’t forget to share ICR with others by email or over dinner or through one of the many new social media sites like Facebook (www.facebook.com/icr.org) or Twitter (@ICR-Media). Each time you pass along an ICR video or article or radio broadcast, you’re getting the message of Genesis into the hands of those who need it most.

The message of Genesis is more important than Jesus? Or is the ICR more interested in converting those that are already Christians into the Biblical Literalist fold? Have they given up on the Atheists?

On to more ‘science’ related articles we go.

Ongoing Telomere Research at Odds with Human-Chimp Chromosome 2 Model – Jeffrey Tomkins

Telomeres are long strings of DNA at the ends of chromosomes that consist of simple repeating patterns. The idea is that the enzymes that replicate DNA cannot go all the way to the end, so it helps if the end doesn’t really matter and can easily be replaced.

Now, this is all very well, but what has this got to do with the ICR?

The question then is, if Telomeres perform their function at the end of chromosomes, why is there a group of them in the middle of the Human Chromosome 2?

The answer, according to the atheistic evolutionists, may be that this is cause by the merger of two ape chromosomes into this one chromosome, hence putting some telomeres in the middle of the resulting chromosome. One of the ICR’s many research programs, however, has been trying to disprove the possibility of this merger, and here we are.

The angle of attack chosen by Tomkins and co. is to search for other telomere sites inside the chromosomes of humans. They found quite a few (lots, in fact).

It’s possible that they may well have shown a potential piece of evidence for the “fusion model” to be false. It’s also possible that they haven’t – for example, there may be more such groups at the fusion site. It’s impossible to tell, given the information in this article. We shall have to wait and see.

It is amusing that the ICR is so desperate to disprove the possibility of a chromosomal fusion, considering that they regard the Neanderthals as human, and so express no surprise that they bred with other humans, even though they too had one more chromosome than we do…

Ok, apparently that’s not quite true. But there is another example:

Consider Horses and Donkeys – these animals do have differing numbers of chromosomes, and because of this when they are hybridised the offspring is (almost) always infertile. That almost caveat is interesting as it shows that the situation isn’t quite that simple, but that’s not relevent here. The point is that Horses and Donkeys are in the same Genus, and so due to the creationist pseudoscience of baraminology they would have to be descended from the same pair of animals on the ark – the same Kind in baraminological terms. If chromosomal fusion is impossible the creationists are in just as much trouble as everyone else. This, along with the struck out section above, is a Tu quoque (you also) logical fallacy, ie attempting to dismiss their claim on the basis of hypocrisy, but it is an interesting point.

Human Suffering: Why This Isn’t the “Best of All Possible Worlds” – James J. S. Johnson

Johnson here is trying to refute the argument made by “evolutionists” (he means atheists) that:

  1. If God really is perfect in power and goodness, no human suffering would occur.
  2. Human suffering does occur.
  3. Therefore, God cannot really be perfect in both power and goodness.

In other words, that the existence of evil and suffering precludes the possibility of God being omnipotent, -benevolent etc.

He attacks this on the grounds that it makes a number of “assumptions,” for example that “all human suffering is inexcusably evil, even if it is temporary in duration and it contributes to a permanent improvement in God’s creation” and that “a perfectly great and good Creator God would never tolerate evil in His creation, even temporarily.”

He seems to have three points in his article:

  1. That Earth is bad so Heaven can be good in comparison. (Something like that…)
  2. We have choices – “If God programmed all of His human creatures to mechanically speak “I love You, Lord” like robots or tape recorders, those recited words would be meaningless.” He implies, if not states openly that evil must exist if we are able to have moral choices. (Really?)
  3. But at the same time, ‘human sin’ is not the root of all suffering. For example, the suffering of Job was “designed to prove that God is worthy of worship regardless of whether life’s “weather” is fair or foul, because God is a faithful Creator who will work out ultimate good for those who belong to Him, regardless of how events in this extremely temporary life go at times.” (This is not, in my opinion, a satisfactory explanation of the death of Job’s family, but whatever.)

In short, yet more theology. zzzzzzzzz…

Darwin’s Sacred Imposter: Natural Selection’s Idolatrous Trap - Randy J. Guliuzza

As you might guess, Guliuzza is attacking Natural Selection as “idolatrous.” It is, apparently, worshiped as a substitute for God.

He at least uses ‘atheists’ correctly. He claims that some “distinguished atheists” (who, as usual, I have never heard of) have noticed this and are seeking to do something about it. He also claims that selection isn’t real…but then decides to talk about Fitness being nebulous and poorly defined. Many of his quotes appear to be mined, taken out of context and applied to a different purpose to their intention.

Selection is idolatrous in the basest of ways. Not only does it ascribe intelligence-like powers to unconscious environmental features, like any other idol, but it induces people not to give the Lord credit for the incredible intelligence and machinery He has built into His creatures that enable them to adapt to environmental features.

I really don’t get the point of this column.

Genesis, Gilgamesh, and an Early Flood Tablet – John D. Morris

A 4200 year old tablet, discovered a hundred years ago, has (genuine) parallels with the Flood myth. Apparently, people use the fact that the Epic of Gilgamesh was written before Genesis to show that Genesis can’t be the real deal – but somehow, according to Morris, the existence of this even older tablet…shows Genesis to be real? Something like that. Here’s a juicily ironic paragraph from the article, anyway:

The Gilgamesh Epic is likely a corruption of an older document. It is so full of fanciful and unbelievable details that probably no one ever considered it true. It may have been the official Babylonian account of the Flood, but how could anyone believe a cubical Ark could have been seaworthy, or that the gods gathered like flies to receive sacrifices? The similarities between the epic and Genesis are striking, but the differences are overwhelming. Genesis is written in a clear fashion as a historical narrative, with an obvious intent that it be believed. The stupendous facts given may be wholly out of modern experience, but the account is understandable. Yet the assigned early date of the undiscovered Gilgamesh sources predate the assigned late date of Genesis written by the mythical scribe. Thus, the skeptics claim that Genesis is a non-historical copy.

Classic.

What the Fossils Really Say about Sauropod Dinosaurs – Brian Thomas & Frank Sherwin

This is a re-write of the DpSU covered in Diplodicus, And Other Non-Avian Dinosaurs. They give the following reasons why Sauropod Dinosaurs could not have evolved:

  • Sauropods have various more-or-less unique features that other dinosaurs don’t have.
    (And what a massive challenge to evolution that is)
  • Candidates for the title of prosauropod (that is to say, potential Sauropod ancestors) have a mix of only some of the features of Sauropods.
    (Well, if they had them all they would be Sauropods, wouldn’t they? And there really is no problem with one group of dinosaurs having trait A but not trait B, and another group having the reverse. For one thing, it shows that the precursors existed.)
  • Some pro-sauropods lived after some Sauropods.
    (Just because Sauropods came into existence doesn’t mean the prosauropods had to die out at that point.)
  • Prosauropods were “perfectly developed creatures of their own types.”
    (This is what you would expect.)

You get the picture – this is covered in Diplodicus in much more detail.

Dr. Brad Forlow, Associate Science Editor – Christine Dao

Profile of Brad Forlow, husband of Rhonda Forlow. The Forlow family are apparently quite recent additions to the ICR crew. You can read the article if you like…

Letters to the Editor

These don’t get a page on the ICR’s website, which is why I haven’t covered them before. I wont again either – they’re always the same kind of thing. Here’s the shortest of this month’s ones, to give you an idea:

As I sit here on this peaceful Sunday evening reading many of your geology articles on your website, it’s time I finally sit down and write this email to you. I am so very thankful for ICR and its staff for all the hard work they do in providing reasonable thought for the earth’s geologic processes. ICR is my “filter” through which I sift the world’s geologic viewpoints. Thank you for your consistent presentation of facts that prove we are able to trust in the accuracy of the Bible.

- P.K.S.

That, that is the problem with the ICR, right there. If people only read the ICR’s material, or at least use them with the same purpose as P.K.S. apparently does, they will get a hugely distorted and inaccurate view of the world.

Call to Battle – Henry Morris IV

This month’s call for donations includes the traditional list of all the ways you can do so: Cash Gifts (just give us your money); IRA Gifts (dodge your taxes while you’re at it); Stock Gifts (we’ll take anything we don’t have to pay for ourselves); Matching Gift Programs (the more money the better); Chartable Gift Annuities (invest with us?); and Planned Gifts through Wills and Trusts (you can’t take it with you).

CLOUD Experiment Supports Global Warming Theory – Larry Vardiman

It seems that the ICR merely denies Anthropogenic Global Warming – Vardiman is here supporting the idea that it is all caused by Cosmic Rays. To quote: (with my emphasis)

In several Acts & Facts articles over the past few years, I have addressed Henrik Svensmark’s theory that modulated galactic cosmic radiation (GCR) from outer space may be one of the primary driving mechanisms for global warming. Industrialization may have contributed slightly to global warming, but natural mechanisms involving the sun are probably more important. Svensmark has presented evidence that when the sun is active (more solar flares, a strong solar wind, and more sunspots), its electromagnetic field envelopes the earth and shields it from GCR, producing low cosmic radiation, fewer clouds and a hot earth.

Last time this came up I gave the following links:

See No, a new study does not show cosmic-rays are connected to global warmingAre we headed for a new ice age? and Is global warming solar induced? from Phil Plait for an entry point into the sun-causing-climate-change thing.

That will do, really. Now, why does the ICR hold this opinion?

Climate scientists have misinterpreted earth history by rejecting the biblical revelation of a global flood only a few thousand years ago that provides an explanation for the Ice Age and past climate change. Instead, they believe the Ice Age was caused by minor fluctuations in solar heating over millions of years. Consequently, they believe a minor change in global heating introduced by even small amounts of gases or particulates in the atmosphere could cause the earth to reach a “tipping point” and lead to a “runaway greenhouse” or to enter another ice age.

So the creationists think that a minor change in cosmic rays, and thus cloud cover, could do the same thing. Honestly…

Miscellaneous

There are a number of miscellaneous ads etc in the magazine, promoting the ICR’s products and services.

This months book ad at the front is for Snelling’s Earth’s Catastrophic Past. On page 7 is the touring schedule (all of which have past at this point) along with an appeal for IRA donations (apparently that has nothing to do with the Irish Republican Army, which is what everyone else thinks of when they hear the acronym). On page 11 is an ad for the ICR’s School of Biblical Apologetics, with a picture of a keyboard, focused on the Enter key, which to me looks rather strangely arranged:

Note the lack of a pipe - that is, | - key, and the weird arrangement of the arrow keys etc

Maybe you just have weird keyboards in America – I really wouldn’t know.

And at the very end is some kind of ad to Federal Employees to donate to the ICR via some system. “We can be found in the “National/International” section of your local campaign brochure.” They also give the following slogan:

Demand the Evidence. Get it @ ICR.

Evidence of what, exactly?


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6 thoughts on “The ICR’s Acts and ‘Facts’ – November

  1. Quick note here. You state “It is amusing that the ICR is so desperate to disprove the possibility of a chromosomal fusion, considering that they regard the Neanderthals as human, and so express no surprise that they bred with other humans, even though they too had one more chromosome than we do…”
    Maybe you know of some research that I can’t find that tells us the number of Chromosomes in Neanderthals. There have been claims out there that they have 48 chromosomes but those have not been substantiated. The recent draft genome doesn’t seem to settle the question of #xsomes.

    I would guess the reason we might not know is that the telomeres are extremely difficult to sequence even with sanger sequencing. But the neanderthal genome was sequences by 2nd gen sequencing which produces very short fragments which must be put together in large contigs. Repetitive sequences are notoriously difficult to sequence with these methods and the contigs of repeat sequences longer than a few hundred base pairs impossible to align. This is why the genome is only 90% complete despite 50x coverage of sequence. So a fused xsome #2 is probably going to be very difficult to determine with the current sequencing methods as it is highly unlikely this section can be sequenced through in which case it can’t be determined if there are two separate chromosomes or if they are combined.

    I really doubt that there are two separate chromosomes in neanderthals. The null hypothesis is that they are fused and until there is strong evidence otherwise it is safest to assume the fusion chromosome.

    • Mea culpa – I should have looked up that little half remembered factoid before I put it in there. I’ve fixed it and replaced it with a different example, although I have to admit that it’s a logical fallacy anyway, true or not. Thanks!

  2. Not problem, It happens to me all the time. It is easy to read lots of stuff and forget its source and later it turns out that what we remember was someones speculation. I only thought it sounded wrong because I follow Paabo’s work fairly closely and I know he would have made a huge deal out of the chromosome number had he been able to definitely ascertain it but I couldn’t remember hearing about it from his writings. However, there have been several that have suggested in some of the early sequencing that there was some evidence of an extra chromosome but that now appears to have been too speculative though we still don’t know for sure.

  3. Pingback: The ICR’s Acts and ‘Facts’ – December « Eye on the ICR

  4. ICR writes their magazines for their biggest audience who happen to be Bible believers. I see nothing distasteful with having Science articles and biblical articles alike.
    They also have their own team of Scientist’s for which some have received prestigious awards for their Scientific discoveries and one must also realize that the greatest scientists, [the ones most responsible for great discoveries,] were creationists.

  5. Pingback: Flood Stories « Eye on the ICR

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