Research!

Not quite that misguided, but...Jason Lisle, who as I have mentioned many times lately is the new Director of Research at the Institute for Creation Research, has an article in this month’s newsletter that aims (when it comes down to it) to justify the position’s existence: Research at ICR: An Overview.

So, what has the ICR got in store for us?

It is a very exciting time to be a Christian! As we learn more about life, the earth, and the universe, we continue to be impressed by how science confirms what the Bible teaches—this is especially obvious in the topic of origins. Although we cannot “test” any past event by the methods of science, we can certainly see how modern scientific discoveries confirm the history of Genesis and challenge evolutionist interpretations. We have made great strides in the past, and the future looks even more promising.


There are some things to note about this introductory paragraph. Lisle states that “science confirms what the Bible teaches,” without elaboration or references – if this is true I can assure you that we’re seeing no evidence of it from the output of the ICR’s website! He then claims “we cannot “test” any past event by the methods of science,” which just shows a lack of imagination on his part to think beyond a simple fair-test, repeat-the-expirement-five-times-without-changing-starting-conditions methodology. Then again, he then goes on to in effect say “but we’re going to do it anyway,” so I think he’s just chucking out the untestable historical science idea to appease his audience who might pick up on it.

He next lists the ICR’s past accomplishments:

In the last ten years, we have seen great advances in the field of radiometric dating. Research by ICR scientists (in cooperation with others) has demonstrated that the rate of decay of certain radioactive isotopes was much faster in the past. This explains why many radiometric age estimates of certain rocks are vastly inflated from the true age. It also means that radiometric dating cannot be used legitimately as an argument against the biblical timescale. What was once a problem for biblical creation is now an asset. We expect to see many other lines of evidence confirm creation—even topics that were once claimed to be difficulties for creation. What is the future direction for creation research here at ICR? Let’s look at some of the exciting projects that our ICR researchers are currently pursuing.

Ok, that’s all he’s got. RATE, the project he’s talking about, is not an asset, and should be seen as an embarrassment. Crucially it proved two things, 1) that if you attempt radiometric dating while not knowing what you’re doing you will get incorrect results, and 2) that the ICR doesn’t know what its doing.

What are they doing now?

We can expect to see leaps forward in the field of astronomy. Observations of the universe have accelerated with the advance of technology to the point that we now have more data than theories. And it is all too common for new observations to be contrary to the predictions of secular astronomers, as if the universe were screaming for a creation-based interpretation of the data. I intend to work on many of these issues, expanding the Anisotropic Synchrony Convention (ASC) cosmological model and comparing its predictions with the data.

The Anisotropic Synchrony Convention is Lisle’s own pet solution to the starlight problem – i.e. why, if the universe is only 6000 years old, do we see parts of the universe many times that many light years away? He makes use of the fact that we cannot measure the one-way speed of light, only the time it takes to go there and back. This is because measuring the one-way speed would require synchronising two clocks at either end of your track, so to speak, which turns out to be utterly impossible. He also plays with coordinate systems in a similar way to that used to justify geocentricism as an unfalsifiable possibility. He blends this together to argue that the speed of light towards the Earth could be infinite, and the speed in the opposite direction only half the number we call the ‘speed of light.’ This would explain the apparent problem by allowing the stars to all be created on the forth day of creation and their light to reach the Earth instantaneously (or at least before the end of the day). This is in contrast with the “created in transit” idea, where the light from the stars was created midway between there and here so that it could reach Earth at the right time, and explanation which Lisle rejects, as well as with other hypothesises that allow billions of years to have taken place beyond the Earth during creation week (eg white hole cosmology). I can’t claim to follow the relativistic physics here. However, I do have a problem with the idea that the universe was created all at once, as is (or at least observed):

Neutron stars and black holes were both predicted before they were actually discovered, based on the “assumption,” if you like, that time-consuming stellar processes both can, do, and did take place. If the universe was created in an instant they needn’t exist – yet they do. We also know of long processes taking place right now, such as the Sagittarius Dwarf galaxy that is being eaten by the Milky way over a time scale of billions of years – this was created halfway through in an instant, you say? In the same vein, Lisle dismissed the transit explanation because he didn’t like the idea that the light from events that never happened, such as a supernova, would have been created by God. But instead he has the supernova being created mid explosion (though realise I use the word ‘explosion’ loosely), which doesn’t seem to be much of an improvement to my eye.

More importantly, Timothy V Reeves demonstrated that while the one-way speed of light idea works perfectly well in one dimension (a straight line), if you add in that the infinite speed radiates from the Earth in the way Lisle demands then you find a problem: “one cannot choose a one way speed of light that varies its direction from place to place without introducing a space curvature; that is, without introducing a gravitational field.” Lisle’s cosmology must be “pervaded by some kind of geocentric gravitational field.” I’m guessing that the Earth’s is not good enough here.

Presumably, then, Lisle is looking for evidence of such a thing when he says that he is “comparing [his model’s] predictions with the data” – I can’t think of anything else he could be looking for. This should be interesting, but we should watch out for him claiming that his cosmology fits the data without comparing the normal view as well, as I get the impression that they are (supposed to be) indistinguishable.

Geology has always been a strength of creation science. The global Flood makes sense of the sedimentary rock layers all over the world and the fossils within them. But there are still unanswered questions about the pre-Flood world. What was the climate like? Why did people live so long? What do we really know about extinct organisms? Dr. Jake Hebert will be exploring these issues.

This used to be Vardiman’s job, I think. An unasked question here is, of course, which sedimentary layers were caused by the Flood and which were pre-Flood. And “strength of creation science”? Really?

In the life sciences, ICR scientists are making a number of amazing discoveries. Perhaps you have heard that the DNA of human beings is 97 to 99 percent similar to chimps. This is not so when the evidence is actually carefully examined, as Dr. Jeff Tomkins has demonstrated. He continues to find evidence in the DNA of organisms that powerfully refutes evolutionists’ expectations.

I’m currently (slowly) investigating this one. While Tomkins seems to have real points, I’m certainly still unconvinced that it “powerfully refutes evolutionists’ expectations.” Still interesting, though.

Dr. Randy Guliuzza is one of ICR’s most popular speakers. This keeps him busy, but that doesn’t prevent him from doing research on the adaptation of organisms to their environment. Dr. Guliuzza’s thought-provoking ideas suggest that organisms were programmed by God to adapt and to fill their environments. It’s not so much that nature “selects,” but rather, that organisms respond to their circumstances.

I wonder how he intends to prove this? He needs a mechanism, and he hasn’t got one so far as I know.

Finally:

Dr. Nathaniel Jeanson has been studying mutations and genomes. His latest research is absolutely devastating to evolution (and “old-earth” creation as well)! We will give you more information on this after it has been published in peer-reviewed technical literature.

I’ve seen hints that the ICR has a new ‘devastating’ argument quite a bit recently. My guess is that he’s talking about genetic load/’entropy’, which should be fun. I was planning on creating a computer program to show the problems with this argument, so I’d better get on it. “Peer-review” here of course means by fellow creationists, while “technical literature” means either the Journal of Creation or Answers Research Journal. Don’t expect much in the way of quality control, or devastation.

This is just an overview of a few of the research projects underway here at ICR. We will cover these topics in detail in upcoming issues of Acts & Facts.

We’ll be watching.

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11 thoughts on “Research!

  1. With a mild interest in the stable isotope analysis used to investigate past environments I certainly look forward to seeing the claims about what climate was present in the past that allowed people to be giagantic and long lived.

  2. When I spent a day at the AiG’s Young-Earth Creation “Museum” in 2009 with PZ Myers and several hundred other godless Old-Earth evolutionists, I attended one of Lisle’s presentations. I concluded two things about him that are all confirmed by his latest which you analyze above; namely: (1) He is a terrific motivator of the YEC “choir,” for adoring YECs simple ravage religiously his very word; (2) his every word makes up nothing but YEC-soothing bald assertions devoid of any logical argument resting on sound premises. At that time my thought was that Lisle was a perfect shill or Master of Ceremonies for YECism, not in any sense a serious scientist, he doesn’t even TRY to “play one on stage” (even though he does sport a genuine educational scientific bona-fide: a Ph.D. in astrophysics from U. Colorado).

    And now he has been made the ICR’s “Director of Research?”

    WHAT “RESEARCH”???

    You will need to keep a close eye on Lisle in case he does slip-up and actually present some scientific research which clearly crucially supporst YECism, and if he does, we would all sure like to learn of it!

    Meantime, I won’t hold my breath.

    NICE WORK!

    • Apparently he used to be a fairly decent “secular scientist” (as they say), but I’m not seeing much of that now, no.

  3. What a strange little world. Biblical suppositions about the age of the universe aren’t wrong, it’s relativity and the observations leading to it that are wrong. We understand the Y chromosome with a high degree of certainty, it’s the rest of genetics which is a mistaken notion. Inconsistent Nihilism makes for a poor psychological defense mechanism in the end, but the efforts these fellows go through to sustain it do make for entertaining reading in the meanwhile. Thanks.

  4. Dr Lisle is recycling a lot of creationist pseudo-science, so I will re-cycle an old comment on his anisotropic synchrony first published in another place:

    ‘The Distant Starlight Problem’ is the elephant in the room for creationists. The problems created by the rest of science can be waved away in the usual creationist manner. The trouble is that anyone in the pew, who can be made to give the matter any thought, is likely to realize that the Bible account of a 6-day creation is incompatible with a universe encompassing billions of light-years. As it becomes increasingly clear that there is no way that those pictures from the Hubble telescope will fit into 6000 light-years, the Biblical account is under attack.

    The problem is that unless creationists accept the traditional model of ‘light created en-route’, with its attendant problem of making God out to be deceptive, they are left with having to find some science to explain it or having to introduce another, post-creation, miracle.

    The crude solution is to say that the stars were each ‘turned on’ at just the right moment so that their light simultaneously arrived at the Earth on the ‘fourth day’. Dr Lisle is a biblical hyper-literalist and also a creation scientist – he is also very clever and devilishly cunning. What he has done is to make the crude solution suddenly appear not crude. His Biblical interpretation is impeccable as is his science, but there really isn’t any science there: nothing has changed, the Universe is as old and as large as it was before, but he has hidden the elephant.

    Where has the elephant gone?

    What Dr Lisle has done is to use Special Relativity to show that, although any observer will measure the same value for the speed of light based on the average speed in the outwards and return directions, that observer cannot determine the outward or return speed separately. He may assign any value to one direction between c/2 and infinity providing he accepts the corresponding value for the other direction that makes the average speed c. He justifies assigning a value of infinity for the inward journey towards an observer on Earth on Biblical grounds. With an infinite speed of light, ‘The Distant Starlight Problem’ disappears.

    We need to note that assigning different values to the outward and return speed makes no difference to any physical laws, it is purely a matter of convention, at least within the confines of Special Relativity.

    Dr Lisle has taken the special case of light travelling from distant stars to an observer on Earth. He has achieved his objective of making the light from stars that are ‘turned on’ during ‘day four’, arrive at Earth on the same day. But this is done at the cost of producing another synchronisation problem. How can a signal arrive at each star at the correct time so that they all light up together as viewed from Earth? God could send a signal out to all the stars whilst adopting the convention that outward going signals travel at infinite speed. But when God looks at the effect of his work on the Earth, the circuit has been completed; if God is to see his work on the same day, we have to have information travelling around a closed loop at (nearly) infinite speed. This is not possible for any observer.

    Dr Lisle has assumed that he can get away with assigning a non-c value to the speed of light without any consequences because the light trip is only one way. Instead of solving ‘The Distant Starlight Problem’ by invoking an extra-biblical miracle to make the speed of light infinite, he has shown that the same result can be achieved non-miraculously. However the ‘problem’ has merely been moved ‘upstairs’ where God is required to work another miracle to get the timing right. Of course this is no problem to Dr Lisle, he has no idea how to create a ‘mature’ universe and adding this to God’s workload probable seems a small thing.

    • Thanks, that made nice breakfast listening this morning (I fixed your link, btw, as it didn’t want to work with the ‘#!’ in it for some reason).

    • Right you are, Ashley! The potency of cognitive vigilance deployed to protect one’s cherished notions from the logical implications of inconveniently contradictory empirical evidence is astonishing!

      And Lisle is a stunning example of that, for as a Ph.D. astrophysicist he KNOWS better, yet nonetheless he rejects what he KNOWS in favor of empirically untestable ad hoc hypotheses that keep alive his cherished notion of inerrant biblical literalism. And encourages others to do so.

      The rational mind REELS at such sad waste…

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