Acts & Facts – August 2012

Owing to the fact that it’s still only mid-August as I write this, for once the index for this months Acts & Facts – the ICR’s monthly newsletter – should still be up at the usual place. If it’s not there when you read this then a pdf can be found here, and you can get the links below. Without further ado, here are the articles: Continue reading

The Design and Complexity of the Cell

Jeff Tomkins has a new book out.* It’s called The Design and Complexity of the Cell, and a few of the ICR’s other luminaries have also contributed to it. The last article (both that I will cover on its own and also literally in the magazine) in the August Acts & Facts reproduces Tomkins’ introduction to the book.

*Technically I think his latest is More Than A Monkey, but that’s not what’s being hyped here. I considered buying that latter book but the shipping costs were higher than the price of the book itself – I need to get a kindle. Continue reading

Leakey Evolution

"Atheist Richard Leakey" does not approveFrank Sherwin’s Acts & Facts article, Leakey and ‘Human Evolution’, wastes no time before denigrating that field of research:

Atheist Richard Leakey is an authority regarding the tenuous idea of human evolution, working tirelessly to establish human evolutionary roots in Africa.

“Tenuous” indeed. The Leakey family has had a major role in paleoanthropology over the better part of the last century, beginning with Richard’s father, Louis. While Richard Leakey himself may have been less active in the field in the last decade or so, you may have noticed his wife, Meave, and daughter, Louise, as being the first and last authors respectively on the recent Homo rudolfensis paper – there’s no stopping them. Continue reading

Frankenstein’s Morris

As you are probably already aware the feature article for the August Acts & Facts magazine is called It’s Alive!, by Henry Morris III. The point of the article is in fact rather muddled. On the one hand, he says:

The more we dig into the mechanics of molecular biology, the more our awe increases at the amazingly complex processes on which life is based.

And yet:

Plants are indeed marvelous, beautiful, complex, and able to reproduce “after their kind,” but they are designed by the Creator to be a source of energy to maintain life. Plants are food—they are not alive.

The point of Morris’ article is to argue, on the basis of flawed scientific arguments and likely equally flawed biblical ones, that only animals (and only some of them at that) are actually alive. Continue reading

The Bible, in HD

August’s scheduled crazy metaphor/analogy/tool of evangelism thing from James J. S. Johnson turns out to be high definition video recording. In Biblical Truth in High Definition he gives us some insights into the mind of God: specifically that He likes knitting, prefers splashing away His bathwater over pulling the plug, never learned even rudimentary grammar in school, and is just generally a lazy bastard. Continue reading

We Even Want Your Pocket Change

Yes, even a farthing - not that they're worth anything anymoreMorris IV’s pleading for this month comes in the form of the classic “if everyone donates a little… we’ll be rich!” He invokes the poor widow story (Mark 12:41-44) which he quotes as:

And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much. And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing. And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.

Of course, this story is about the donation from the point of view of its importance to the donor – the ICR just wants your money and Morris is quick to point out that he’ll take donations larger than a farthing too, if you’re offering. He goes on to give some insights about the ICR’s popularity and the state of its finances: Continue reading

Our Weird Universe

Better instruments have gotten us better data, but it's still not enoughPerhaps the most hypocritical of the arguments used by the Institute for Creation Research that we’ve encountered recently is the claim that the use of what Brian Thomas called “rescuing devices” mean that an argument can be dismissed apparently out of hand. That is to say, should a scientific theory commit the heinous crime of adjusting itself to fit the evidence, it must be flawed.

What makes this hypocritical, of course, is that that kind of thing describes young Earth creationism in a nutshell – we saw an example of that in the very next article. But Thomas did have a point: the classic example of Ptolemy’s model of the solar system shows that modifications to a theory can be a sign of a failed paradigm, but in the same way that not all people who have their ideas dismissed are Galileo, if a theory changes to fit the evidence that doesn’t meant that it’s broken and does not describe reality.

It’s a question of balance between dogma and unfalsifiable pseudoscience, though it’s not properly a spectrum as creationism tends to manage both simultaneously. In his August Acts & Facts article (yes, there’s a point to this post), Jake Hebert asks “Why Is Modern Cosmology So Weird?” The answer, according to him, is that it’s the fault of “ad-hoc” additions to the Big Bang to make it work. And you can probably guess his conclusions from there. Continue reading

Cavitation and the Flood

The Glen Canyon Dam in 1984 (during floods the following year, but you get the idea)John Morris’ Acts & Facts article for this month is a little different from that of the last two months, in that it doesn’t resemble ‘filler’ quite so much. The piece is called simply Cavitation, and argues that the Grand Canyon could have been formed via this intriguing process.

Cavitation, as Wikipedia informs us,

…is the formation and then immediate implosion of cavities in a liquid – i.e. small liquid-free zones (“bubbles”) – that are the consequence of forces acting upon the liquid.It usually occurs when a liquid is subjected to rapid changes of pressure that cause the formation of cavities where the pressure is relatively low.

Continue reading