Dismissing Inflation

On rare occasion the ICR manages to publish articles on recent news items in an approximately timely manner. Today’s DpSU, “‘Smoking Gun’ Evidence of Inflation?” by Jake Hebert, is one example, attempting to counter the rather inconvenient announcement of evidence supporting the cosmological hypothesis known as inflation.

While quicker than is typical for the ICR, Hebert is by no means the first to comment on this issue. Discovery Institute cdesign proponentsist Stephen Meyer was quoted as saying that

…it’s really odd for people from a Creationist perspective to deny a theory that says the universe began out of nothing physical.

Naturally, many of his fellow creationists have a decidedly different view. 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

The Triune Universe

Triune universeMoving backwards, last weekend the ICR released a new That’s a Fact video: Three in One. The premise of the video is that the structure of the universe somehow reflects the trinity.

For centuries philosophers and theologians have tried to explain the Trinity. Some have tried but our attempts often fall short. However, God in His wisdom provided an example in creation that is a parallel to His own Triune existence—the universe.

Here’s a transcript of that video, with commentary interspersed to show why this is one of the ICR’s sillier ideas: Continue reading

YOM 2013: Selected Highlights

The Flammarion engravingYour Origins Matter returned from it’s holiday break a more than a week ago now, and it’s about time that I took a look.

The first post was about the end of the world, and wasn’t very interesting. The second – Have you been feeling hot or cold lately? – is much more so. It first challenges a piece of climate research on the grounds that it is based on “millions of years,” before breaking out some of the standard tropes (with a creationist bent): 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

The Magnetic Field… of the Moon

Planetary magnetic fields – particularly that of mercury – are a recurring topic for DpSUs. Thursday’s article, when it eventually appeared, was called What Magnetized the Moon?

In mid November in Nature there were two papers discussing possible causes of the Moon’s long-decayed magnetic field, along with another article about both papers. Curiously, Brian Thomas only discusses one of these papers.

Strength of the Moons magnetic field Continue reading

A. sediba, and The Star That Should Not Exist

A. sediba

The hominid Australopithecus sediba has been in the news again. A. sediba is considered to be at least close to the ancestral line of modern humans, and a recent study on a “nearly complete wrist and hand” strengthens this claim, in that it shows that the fossil has a mixture of hominid and Australopithecine features. Brian Thomas, always the contrarian, thinks otherwise.

When presented with examples of human ancestors Young Earth Creationists place them in one of two camps: Either the specimen is fully human – like Homo sapiens neanderthalensis and the Laetoli footprints likely caused by Australopithecus afarensis – or it is considered to be entirely ‘ape’. For the Creationists there is no middle ground. Continue reading

Quasars, Mitochondria and Archaeopteryx – What I Missed Because I Had Homework

There have been three Daily (pseudo)Science Updates from the Institute for Creation Research since I last had long enough to systematically make fun of them. First:

Quasars

Wednesday’s DpSU was called Water Near Edge of Universe Bolsters Creation Cosmology. It has in fact been so long since then that two other wordpress blogs that I read – Exposing PseudoAstronomy and The Sensuous Curmudgeon – have already covered it. It reads like follows: Continue reading

Creationist Misinformation: Mercury

Mercury Magnetic FieldIn this Daily (pseudo)Science Update from the Institute for Creation Research’s Brian Thomas returns to the field of Astronomy with a post entitled Messenger Spacecraft Confirms: Mercury Is Unique.
Basically, as usual, we have a short laundry-list of things that are currently unknown, but in all reality probably will be within a few years. They are presented as things that cannot be explained, except by God. But this introduction works for anything I’ve talked about since I started this blog. What are the specific claims?

First, they say that “Mercury can’t be anywhere near as dense as it actually is”, which they support with a reference to another creationists website, which doesn’t back up the claim itself. Presumably, they are commenting on the current inability of models to predict the arrangement and features of the planets. Creationism, on the other hand, predicts and explains nothing.

Second, he mentions that the planet has a higher level of sulphur than is considered possible if it formed as close to the sun as it is now. Why exactly it couldn’t have spiralled inwards over time I don’t know…

And then we get to the magnetosphere. Mr Thomas begins:

[F]or many years the “dynamo theory” (which has since been shown to be false) was the only explanation offered for magnetic fields on rocky planets that are supposed to be billions of years old.

Whoa! Citation bloody needed! The dynamo effect works (unless you’re saying that god does it directly, like people used to think with lightening). Have they ever heard of radioactivity? Maybe the planet’s density is a result of having lots of uranium, or something. The heat generated from that would probably be sufficient.

The final problem they have is the magnetic field of Mercury. Basically, it’s stronger on one end than the other. He asks: “What natural process would cause that?”

The reuters article he cites gives one possible explanation – “one theory is that the planet’s magnetic field is in the processing of flipping.” Another article says that it “suggests that Mercury’s south polar region is much more exposed than the north to bombardment by charged particles from the sun.” Just because something is unexplained doesn’t mean that it is unexplainable. And hey, that means we have not one but two explanations! Isn’t that even better? 😀

He finishes:

According to Space.com, “Scientists don’t fully understand the import of many of Messenger’s early findings.”3 In light of what are best explained as Mercury’s purposeful peculiarities, and of its young-looking magnetic field, this statement might be better rendered as: “Evolutionary scientists don’t understand why Messenger’s early findings show that Mercury looks both young and uniquely created.”

No. You can’t just say that when something is not explained, God must’ve done it. There is no evidence in that that points to the planet being young, over any other explanation. Science does not default to Creationism, in the same way that it didn’t default to Geocentricism, when all the stuff about Mercury’s orbit was being puzzled over a hundred years ago. That was solved by Einstein, but that doesn’t mean that Newtonian gravity doesn’t work. Even if we needed such a big ‘paradigm shift’ to explain this now, it would still involve the universe being much older than 6000 years.