“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?

Advertisements

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

Acts & Facts – January 2013

The first edition of Acts & Facts for 2013 has been noticeably redesigned from last year. Aside from various cosmetic changes there is now a dedicated contents page, a new series of articles, and some of the usual sections have been rearranged. For its part the A&F page on the ICR’s website now has pictures, linking to some of the articles which are similarly highlighted in the magazine itself. Because I have been going through these articles for the last five days this recap is mostly for future archaeologists, but there are still a few things I missed. Continue reading

Acts & Facts – December 2012

The December edition of Acts & Facts was actually a little less Christmas-y than I expected. This was not a very difficult accomplishment, however: if you have already had enough of the season then I suggest you stop reading, as I have already looked at most of the non-Christmas articles and there wont be much else that’s new.

Because it’s still December as I write this, the usual page on the ICR’s website is still current. There’s also a pdf of the magazine here, and all of the relevant links are below. Continue reading

1066 and All That

It’s not often that I talk about (comparatively recent) history on this blog. The struggles of kings have little direct relevance to the age of the Earth, after all, or the origin of species. But that isn’t about to stop the intrepid James J. S. Johnson, whose December article is called Christmas, Vikings, and the Providence of God. He asks:

How are two famous Viking battles in 1066 related to the very first Christmas?

The battles in question are, of course, Stamford Bridge and Hastings – the latter of which only involves Vikings if you decide to define the Normans as being “still Vikings,” in true creationist style. It may take a while to get to the purported answer to the above question, but as a clue it has something to do with the following four people (click for more information):

Continue reading

Acts & Facts – November 2012

I think that will do for this month’s edition. It’s already well into December so the usual ICR Acts & Facts page has switched to the next month, but a pdf can be found here and the links are all below anyway. I haven’t already written as much on these articles as I have in past months, so there’s a fair bit here that you haven’t seen before (or at least recently). Note also that November was also the month of the US holiday of ‘Thanksgiving,’ something which I ignored entirely, so expect a lot of articles on that. Continue reading

False Counsel

Experts – who needs them? In the face of the sheer number of scientists and other educated people who agree with evolution, creationists need to find some way to dismiss their expertise. Andrew Schlafly has his “best of the public” concept, claiming that these people (generally, those that agree with him) are “better than a group of experts.” For his November 2012 Acts & Facts article James J. S. Johnson too asks What Good Are Experts?

Buried deep within his article Johnson does make some good points about not trusting arguments from authority, especially when the authority is talking about something beyond their area of expertise. But these small nuggets of wisdom – so easy to acquire elsewhere – are few and far between. The bulk of the article, as you might expect, is an entirely nonself-critical attack on the expertise on anyone and everyone who disagrees with the position of Johnson and the ICR. He begins his article like so:

How should we react to “experts” who smugly announce that the Bible is disproven? What about science “authorities” who have assured us that the Higgs boson particle “proves the Big Bang,” contradicting Genesis 1:1? Do experts ever jump to unwarranted conclusions? If so, how do we know? And do experts ever inflate their credibility by stretching their credentials—if a scholar holds an astronomy Ph.D. is that a qualifying reason to believe the man’s opinion about biblical Hebrew?

The Higgs boson reference is cited to Jake Hebert’s September article, covered here. I am yet to find anyone actually making the quoted claim, and it’s unfortunate that the ICR is running with it as if somebody actually did. All in all, not a great start. Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

Rosie Webel

I don’t think it’s a trend (I can’t even give you other specific examples, my archives are a little too long to quickly search), but I feel like non-YEC forms of creationism are being targeted by the ICR of late. Today we have gap creationism, which claims a significant temporal “gap” between the creation of the universe in Genesis 1:1 and the creation story that continues beyond it. James J. S. Johnson calls this idea a “Trojan Horse.”

I don’t know anything about gap theory beyond what I’ve read in Johnson’s article, information that I naturally hold as suspect. I get the impression that you can have a good argument over whether the scriptures do or don’t support the idea, while from a purely scientific standpoint it seems like a very strange thing to believe. So I really make no comment here, and I’ll leave it up to you to decide whether or not this attack on one creationist belief by another is a fair criticism. It’s all the same to me, really. Continue reading

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.