Acts & Facts – October 2012

It is less than a week into the month of October and we have already reached the end of the articles worth analysing in any depth in the latest edition of Acts & Facts. It’s time then to take a look at all of the articles in context. For future reference the pdf of this months newsletter is located here.

Page 3: The Enduring Value of Words (Jayme Durant)

The gist of the editor’s column this month, after you get past the story about her great grandmother going into a retirement home, is that the ICR plans to release two new books this season. One is by Brad Forlow, and will be called Biology and the Bible – my guess is that this will most likely be pamphlet sized, and even that will be pushing it. The other is by John Morris, called The Global Flood: Unlocking Earth’s Geologic History. While most likely just have more of the same kind of stuff found in other young Earth creationist geology-related books, as I haven’t read any of those before it might be interesting to get my hands on. I still need to do Tomkins’ book, however, so it would have to be added to the end of an ever-lengthening queue.

Pages 4-5: The Scientific Case Against Evolution (Henry Morris)

This is a reproduction of one part of Morris’ book of that name. The full version is available for download at the YOM website, as it happens, and I considered but ultimately rejected the idea of doing a review. Interestingly, the book (really more of a booklet) claims that a featured dinosaur would count as a transitional form, which would explain the denialism we’ve seen this year from the ICR on this front.

Page 6: Bio-Origins Project Update, Hypothesizing Differential Mutation Rates (Nathaniel Jeanson)

Jeanson floats the curious idea that shared genes in different organisms could have started out identical, but then mutated away. He seems to think that this would produce the same hierarchical arrangement that is so indicative of evolution, but I don’t think it would. It’s also problematic for a number of common creationist arguments, especially genetic load.

Page 7: Events

There are quite a few this month. Guliuzza and Sherwin should be wrapping up a conference called “Why Genesis Matters” in Lincoln, Nebraska today/tomorrow/several years ago depending on when and where you read this. Most of their other events are in Texas as usual, but Illinois, Florida, Pennsylvania, North Carolina (where Morris III promises “insightful messages” at a conference on Christian apologetics), Arizona, and Wisconsin are all visited as well.

Pages 8-10: The Gap Theory: A Trojan Horse Tragedy (James J. S. Johnson)

Johnson guilts us into not liking gap creationism by retelling the irrelevant story of Rosie Webel, lost in Salzburg. As you might expect, being quizzed on where their absent family is rather frightens a small child.

Pages 11-14: Engineered Adaptability (Randy Guliuzza)

In this article a radically new theory of evolution adaptation is put forward, henceforth known as Guliuzzism. I still can’t decide if it fits anything already proposed, specifically Lamarckism, but John Pieret’s description of “a straightforward creationist argument that design better explains adaptation than selection, buried under a torrent of pseudosophisticated engineering babble” works fine.

Page 15: Tree Ring Dating (John Morris)

Morris rubbishes the reliability of dendrochronology, the method of dating using tree rings. He claims potential sources of inaccuracy in the form of extra or fewer rings brought on by more dramatic weather changes, but his systematic lack of specifics prevents a proper analysis of his claims.

Page 16: Evolution: It Just Happened (Frank Sherwin)

Sherwin doesn’t like ambiguity in scientific language, particularly variations on the phrase “something happened.” This is the case even when the paper or news story quoted then goes on to explain in more depth. He also doesn’t like “intemperate comments in various blogs and nonscientific publications” – somebody should tell Larry Moran. The peer review process is sacred, dammit!

Page 17: Swimming Upstream: Navigation Systems in Migrating Salmon (Brian Thomas and Phil Gaskill)

We’ve never met Phil Gaskill before, but apparently he is “Science Writer for Cramer Fish Sciences,” whatever that means and whoever they are. If I’m any judge he has taken the Thomas article covered in Magnetosense and generalised it somewhat. The same points apply – I see no reason why the sensory adaptations described could not have evolved.

Page 21: Payroll Philanthropy (Henry Morris IV)

Can you guess what Morris IV wants? It starts with an M, ends with a Y, and contains the Maori word for “soil.” It’s “money” – predictable, really. This time he wants a cut out of your pay packet, but it is tax deductible.

Page 22: Letters to the Editor

This month: somebody bought The Design and Complexity of the Cell; somebody else admits that they hadn’t visited the ICR website since the advent of the That’s a Fact series; and previous articles by both Brian Thomas and James J. S. Johnson are praised. Typical gushing, you’ve seen it all before.

So, that’s this month. Next month we can look forward to, I predict, an editor’s column by Jayme Durant; another article by John Morris to do with geology; a research based article from Jeanson, Tomkins, and/or Lisle; another rewritten news article; something of some sort from James J. S. Johnson; and another appeal for funds from Henry Morris IV. But all that’s a given – I wonder what else they’ll have?


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