Acts & Facts – September 2012

You’ve already seen most of the interesting stuff from the September 2012 edition of the ICR’s monthly newsletter, Acts & Facts. Provided that it’s still September when you read this, this page on the ICR’s website should have links to all the articles, otherwise they can be found in this pdf or at the links below:

  • Appreciating God’s Priceless Treasure: Jamye Durant writes the editor’s column, and it would seem that this is now going to be more-or-less permanent (it used to be Lawrence Ford). Durant talks about how “Art is all about appreciation,” before steering the article towards the bible.
  • Examining Evidence: The feature article is by Henry Morris III, and is tasked with showing how evidence is necessary for the activity they call ‘apologetics.’
  • Bio-Origins Project Update, Comparing 2,000 Animal Species Molecularly: Nathaniel Jeanson is searching for the holy grail baraminological kind. He’ll have fun looking, I’m sure.
  • Events: The first of these is the “true woman conference” (whatever that is) in Indianapolis on the 20th to the 22nd, and then there are two more over the course of the rest of the month in Myrtle Beach and Johnson City.
  • Valuing God’s Variety: This is the James J. S. Johnson article I wrote something on but didn’t publish. Johnson concludes that God must like variety, because if he didn’t it wouldn’t exist.
  • The Higgs Boson and the Big Bang: Jake Hebert recycles an article of his from when the Higgs news was fresh.
  • Observing Creation: John D. Morris disses uniformitarianism. Just another day in creationist geology.
  • Blue Stars Confirm Recent Creation: According to Jason Lisle, blue stars (and indeed, all stars) prove a recent creation because they can’t form naturally – provided, of course, that you throw out everything we know about stellar formation.
  • A Recent Explosion of Human Diversity: Brian Thomas provides the second recycled article.
  • Teaching the Evidence of Creation to Children: Rhonda Forlow is incredibly dangerous to the future prospects of humanity, but we already knew that. Like Morris she too wants evidence, but she has no doubts about creationism.
  • Letters to the Editor: According to one letter writer the Acts & Facts magazine has a higher “quality of artistic design” than Newsweek and a number of unspecified academic journals. A second has “taught geology and anthropology for 60 years on both college and high school levels…with much help from ICR’s research and publications.” Apparently he liked the June edition. Another letter praises, of all people, Brian Thomas, singling out this article. And there’s more where that came from – there’s a bumper crop this month.
  • Ministry Stewardship: Morris IV wants money, as he does every month, but he also wants to save it too. As such he has apparently sent letters to all the people who get sent (free) paper copies of Days of Praise and Acts & Facts to make sure they still want them sent. You need to reply quick or “this issue of Acts & Facts will regrettably be your last.”
  • Exploring the Evidence for Creation: Lastly a portion of a book of that title, written by Morris III, is reprinted to make up the pages.

And that’s all. Not a particularly interesting month, but they can’t all be.

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The Hunt for the Mythical Kind

Frankly, it’s about time. Young Earth creationists assert that the natural world is divided into clearly distinguishable “kinds,” collections of species that share common ancestry. This would produce what I’ll call the ‘fungus of life,’ and if true should be a damn slight bit more obvious than it is. While this – that is, actually testing the various out-there claims that creationists make – is generally Todd Wood’s department, the ICR is finally getting in on the act. But they’re not approaching it quite right. Nathaniel Jeanson opens his article, Bio-Origins Project Update, Comparing 2,000 Animal Species Molecularly, like so:

If you were to compare DNA across diverse species, what pattern would you expect to see? The Bio-Origins project at ICR has narrowed its focus to DNA to answer several major creation biology questions. We want to: 1) identify the created kind boundaries; 2) identify the mechanism by which the kinds underwent diversification into the vast array of species we see today; and 3) identify the biological reason why the diversification process is limited to change within kinds. We also want to gather evidence against the faulty evolutionary paradigm epitomized by the “tree of life.”

The flaw here is that he assumes that kinds even exist before starting out: if he were doing this properly he would test that fact first. Not doing so runs the risk (who am I kidding? It’s gonna happen) of phenomena being misinterpreted as the features he is looking for, and probably used later as proof that kinds exist into the bargain – and it would be terrible if the ICR was to fall into the trap of circular reasoning, a sin they baselessly accuse real scientists of committing about every other month. Continue reading

Think of the Children

If the opener to Rhonda Forlow’s article Teaching the Evidence of Creation to Children is correct then creationists have much to fear.

Young children approach life with refreshing innocence. They assume that spoken words are truth because they have no reason to question the trusted adult who spoke them. But as children grow older, they begin to question adults and situations—they want evidence of truth as they encounter unknown people and new circumstances in their world.

I’m not sure quite how trusting children really are – you certainly shouldn’t trust them. They also tend to start questioning from the beginning, but they might need to be taught the hated ‘critical thinking skills’ before they get any good at it. Continue reading

Blue Supergiants

Alnilam (Epsilon Orionis), lighting up NGC 1990As I said yesterday, in Blue Stars Confirm Recent Creation Jason Lisle outright denies the possibility of stellar formation. But he takes his time getting there.

Orion is one of the most well-known and easily recognized constellations of the winter sky. The three bright blue stars in Orion’s belt seem to draw our attention instantly. Such stars are a strong confirmation of the biblical timescale.

As is so often the case, Lisle’s idea of “confirmation of the biblical timescale” – strong confirmation – is just something that (he claims) the, ah, more commonly accepted timescales cannot explain. That’s all he has, really. All any creationist has. Continue reading

Variations on a Common Theme

Compare these two paragraphs. First:

Scientists from Europe’s CERN research center presented evidence last week for a particle that is likely the Higgs boson, the last remaining elementary particle predicted by the Standard Model of particle physics.

And second:

Scientists from Europe’s CERN research center presented evidence on July 4, 2012, for a particle that is likely the Higgs boson, the last remaining elementary particle predicted by the Standard Model of particle physics. Does this discovery have relevance for the creation-evolution controversy?

Continue reading

Uniformitarianism and the Flood

Totally "uniformitarian"...What’s this strange sensation on my hand? It feels…warm. Though the power of deduction it can only be the radiation from a certain nuclear furnace, located more than 90 million kilometres away yet powerful enough to cast shadows. That can mean but one thing: spring is in the air! Oh, and September is here, and with it a new edition of Acts & Facts.

John D. Morris’ article, Observing Creation, has got little to do with this change in the seasons – not least because the challenger in the far-distant lands in which he abides is not spring but autumn (or, in the rather theologically appropriate local parlance, ‘fall’), and we all know where that leads. Instead, our monthly dose of scriptural geology concentrates on the more mundane, blending the old “historical science” canard with an attack on the concept of uniformitarianism. It’s always nice when creationists remind us how out of date their straw men really are. Continue reading