That’s no beaver

Brian Thomas writes:

Researchers in 2006 described a fossil they named Castorocauda. They found it in a sedimentary layer mixed with pterosaurs, insects, amphibians, a dinosaur, and a gastropod. It “has a broad, flattened, partly scaly tail analogous to that of modern beavers.” Maybe it was a beaver.

(“Devils, Dinosaurs, and Squirrel Fossils,” January 2015 Acts & Facts)
That’s a common idea expressed by creationists – they don’t like the fact that the organisms alive in the past were different to those around today, so wouldn’t it be great if they were actually the same? Unfortunately for the creationists, these are testable claims. Continue reading

“Let’s quickly review some federal bankruptcy law”

James J. S. Johnson, J.D., Th.D., never disappoints. If haven’t come across him before, and can’t figure it out from the degrees included in his authorship credit, he is the ICR’s main source of bizarre legal analogies, although he has also taken to (usually viking-related) history at times. For his column in the August edition of ICR’s monthly newsletter Acts & Facts he has an article titled “One Bankruptcy, Many Adversaries“:

Theistic evolution is like a mega-bankruptcy case containing an almost countless number of adversaries and contests, like piecemeal mini-lawsuits that in aggregate address smaller conflicts within a large-scale mess. Within this big picture it’s important to keep in mind that every small-scale “contested matter” and every “adversary” conflict is an important opportunity to advocate for truth.

I bring this up not because I intend to go through it in any detail, but because it’s funny. I can’t quite tell whether his argument is that “theistic evolution” is under attack from all sides, or that it is important to attack it from every angle, or indeed that he just wanted to call it “bankrupt” – mega-bankrupt even – but then had to waffle on for a few paragraphs to justify publication this month.

It could well be the latter – he runs out of courtroom trivia mid-way, and has to turn to martial metaphors for aid:

A long war is composed of several strategically influential battles, connected to a network of contributory skirmishes. Likewise, countering the anti-Genesis teachings of theistic evolution involves a complex combination of small-scale opportunities to promote the Genesis record as part of the defense of the faith.

You get the idea – or rather, you don’t. Isn’t he wonderful?

Creationist Peer Review

A note from the editors — play the ball, not the man

CEN Technical Journal (now CMI’s Journal of Creation) 13 (1) 1999 – source.

The problem with peer review as practised by creationists, is that the peer reviewers are creationists.

This is a cheap shot, I know, but I don’t mean it like that – not entirely, anyway. Continue reading

Monastic Science

I’m out of town at the moment, so here’s a scheduled post I wrote a couple of weeks ago for this occasion. I’ll be back Friday, I think?

We haven’t heard from the ICR’s lawyer/theologian extraordinaire, James J. S. Johnson, in much too long.

In the February edition of Acts & Facts he has an article called “Fishy Science.”  The thrust of this column is that humans aren’t evolving, and that we’ve always been able to do science. It makes for a better insight however into the young Earth creationist dystopia, in which observational science is the only science, along with being another example of Johnson’s strange obsession with the Vikings. Continue reading

Jake Hebert Insults your Intelligence

Annals of the WorldThat is to say, if you’re a non-YEC Christian. Those of us who don’t believe at all are instead “suppressing the truth,” but we’ll get to that later.

So in this month’s edition of Acts & Facts, the ICR’s monthly newsletter/magazine, Jake Hebert has written an article called “Earth’s Age: Science or Consensus?” This false dichotomy does not head an article that attempts to actually talk about, you know, the science behind how we know that the Earth is old, but instead discusses why some scientifically-minded Christians would not accept a young Earth. The point of the article seems to be to persuade the ICR’s own flock not to listen to the compromisers, for they have been deceived. He opens: Continue reading

Reviewing RATE with Vernon R. Cupps

Quark structure of a pionIn the December edition of Acts & Facts, the ICR’s monthly newsletter, there is a profile of Vernon R. Cupps, their newest “research associate.” Cupps is a published nuclear physicist, with a PhD and everything from the Indiana University Cyclotron Facility.

He later spent time at the Los Alamos National Laboratory before taking a position as radiation physicist at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, where he directed and supervised a radiochemical analysis laboratory from 1988 to 2011. He is a published researcher with 73 publications, 18 of which are in referred journals.

Continue reading

Freshwater Fish and the Flood

Here’s a question that everyone seems to want an answer to: how did freshwater organisms survive a salty flood? A recent article at Your Origins Matter, Flood Survivors – derived from an Acts & Facts article by John Morris from 2011 called Fish in the Flood – tries to offer some solutions. After first acknowledging that survival would have been very difficult, and that most didn’t make it, Morris produces his first idea:

In the complex of events and conditions that made up the Flood, certainly there were pockets of fresh water at any one time. Remember, it was raining in torrents, and we can expect that the rain water was fairly fresh. Many studies have shown that waters of various temperatures, chemistries, and sediment loads do not tend to mix; they tend to remain segregated in zones. It would be unlikely for any one area to retain such zones for very long during the tumult of the Flood, but on a worldwide scale, some such segregated zones would have existed at any given time.

Continue reading

Rock Flows

Reverse faultWhen you compress rock – and by “you” I really mean vast tectonic forces, and not your literal thumb and forefinger – it will tend to deform in such a way as to reduce its size in the direction of force. There are two broad categories of deformation. In brittle deformation the rock breaks and moves along the resultant fault. The scale of this movement varies considerably: while not produced from compression, the Alpine Fault in the South Island displaces the rock on either side by hundreds of kilometres and presently moves at a rate of tens of millimetres a year, but these processes go as small as individual tiny fractures in a rock. While the scales might be impressive, brittle deformation is not all that alien to our experience – everyone knows that rock breaks.

FoldingAt the other end of the spectrum is ductile deformation, including the process of folding. In this case, when compression is applied the rock layer gains waves like the folds in a rug. The scale of these folds can range from mountains down to individual crystals. But this latter kind of deformation is more than a little counter-intuitive: in our experience, rock generally doesn’t bend.

John D. Morris, the ICR’s president and holder of a PhD in geology, writes a regular geological column in his organisation’s Acts & Facts magazine. Several of those articles have recently exploited this potential for incredulity to put forward an explanation of the observed folding of rock that is more consistent with his creationist beliefs. While faulting can potentially happen in an instant, folding takes time – something which young Earth creationists famously lack. Continue reading

Corralling The Millennials

Comic sans genesisIf the contents of my RSS reader are any indication, a couple of months ago the evangelical corner of the blogosphere (and perhaps elsewhere) held a lengthy debate on how to keep what they called “Millennials,” or “Generation Y,” in the church. While not acknowledging that this discussion occurred, the ICR’s Henry Morris III offers his advice in his article Reaching The Millennials: A Crucial Connection. That’s the feature article of the November issue of Acts & Facts (pdf here) – I’ll add a proper link when the article appears on the website [Edit: Done].

For context, the ICR is using these dates to delineate the boundaries of the generations:

Here’s a list of the generations living in the United States today:

  • The greatest generation: born before 1928
  • The silent generation: born between 1928 and 1945
  • The baby boomer generation: born between 1946 and 1964
  • Generation X: born between 1965 and 1980
  • The millennials or generation Y: born between 1980 and 1994
  • Generation Z: born after 1995

While I can’t claim a great deal of insight on the religion side of the equation,* topics similar to this pop up regularly in other circles. Continue reading

Hot, But Not Enough

A mid ocean ridgeHere’s something that I intended to write back in August when the Acts & Facts article it comments on was new, but haven’t until now.

For me, one of the most interesting parts of what I do here is compare the description published by the ICR of a piece of “secular” research with the research itself and the other things that have been written about it. Even when I don’t write my own post on the ICR article – whether through a lack of time, or through boredom – I often take a look at the background to see how well the reality matches that which is presented by the ICR. One example has stuck with me for the last couple of months: Tim Clarey’s August Acts & Facts article, Hot Mantle Initiated Ocean and Flood Beginnings.

Thin, dense oceanic crust is formed at mid ocean ridges and destroyed a subduction zones. Around 130 million years ago the super-continent of Pangaea rifted apart, beginning the formation of the Atlantic ocean. Elsewhere over the same period pretty much all of the ocean floor has been replaced at least the once by the same process. Young Earth creationists obviously don’t believe that 130 million years has passed, but the reality of plate tectonics and its components continental drift and sea-floor spreading is so overwhelming that even they cannot deny it (though some do still insist that it is not happening today – here’s John Baumgardner countering some of Michael Oard’s claims to that extent). Indeed, they now incorporate the concept into their models of the flood in the form of “Catastrophic Plate Tectonics,” which posits that the last 100 million years plus of tectonic movements actually happened during the single Flood year.

The problems with this massive increase in the rate of geologic processes are legion, but not the topic of this post. Instead, we’re looking at what Clarey thinks a paper published online in March in Nature Geoscience means for the beginning of the Flood: Continue reading