In Search of a Turtle

It has only been a month, but Nathaniel Jeanson already has an ‘update’ on his Bio-Origins Project (see here for last month) – Bio-Origins Project Update, Hypothesizing Differential Mutation Rates. Here’s how he opens:

You might expect that the same gene in different creatures would have the same sequence. Surprisingly, this is not so.

See, I wouldn’t expect that (I wouldn’t want to just assume the opposite in all cases either, however). I can’t speak for any creationists, however, so perhaps this is a new revelation for them? 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.

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

Research!

Not quite that misguided, but...Jason Lisle, who as I have mentioned many times lately is the new Director of Research at the Institute for Creation Research, has an article in this month’s newsletter that aims (when it comes down to it) to justify the position’s existence: Research at ICR: An Overview.

So, what has the ICR got in store for us?

It is a very exciting time to be a Christian! As we learn more about life, the earth, and the universe, we continue to be impressed by how science confirms what the Bible teaches—this is especially obvious in the topic of origins. Although we cannot “test” any past event by the methods of science, we can certainly see how modern scientific discoveries confirm the history of Genesis and challenge evolutionist interpretations. We have made great strides in the past, and the future looks even more promising.

Continue reading