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A YEC take on anthropogenic global warming

June 3, 2010 5 comments

I was browsing Answers Research Journal today and noticed the following contribution by Rod J. Martin – “A Proposed Bible-Science Perspective on Global Warming.” The abstract – somewhat predictably – reads:

Media coverage of global warming has been increasing for over twenty years. Major proponents include the United Nations, politicians, environmentalists, and celebrities. Oddly, the church has had little to say on the issue and has made scant use of Scripture to evaluate the alleged problem. This paper will identify the major goals of global warming advocates, propose a biblical (young-earth creationist) framework for evaluating the issue, and highlight basic scientific data related to the alleged claims. It will be shown that the Bible provides sufficient counsel to enable Christians to evaluate the claims of global warming and arrive at a confident position that is in accord with real science. The contention that man’s activities are causing global warming, as described in the media and by its advocates, is a myth. There is no reason either biblically or scientifically to fear the exaggerated and misguided claims of catastrophe as a result of increasing levels of man-made carbon dioxide (CO2[sic]).

As an insight to the standards of ARJ, I’ll just note that that CO2 typo occurs throughout the article, as is O2, though in fairness, the PDF of the article has the correct subscripts.

Here’s the end of the paper:

Why there is no reason for alarm

  • O2 and CO2 in the atmosphere were created, they did not evolve.
  • Today’s atmosphere likely contains significantly less CO2 than before the Flood.
  • CO2 is necessary for life, and was created prior to plants and animals.
  • CO2 is not a pollutant.
  • Increasing levels of CO2 are beneficial for plants.
  • Decreasing levels of CO2 could be a serious problem.
  • Burning fossil fuels simply returns CO2 to the air, from which it originated, in the pre-Flood atmosphere. Increasing CO2 in the atmosphere does not reverse a billion year old evolutionary trend and upset the delicate balance of nature.
  • The present levels of oxygen in the air are adequate without any unusual efforts to plant trees or to further limit the forestry industry.
  • Plants were created as food for humans and animals. They are not necessary for storing carbon or for generating O2.
  • Glaciers have been retreating for thousands of years since the Flood. Most of the glacial melt occurred before man began burning fossil fuels.
  • Ice age glaciers melted due to cooling seas, not warming seas.
  • Climates have been constantly changing since the Flood. Consider all the major climate changes since the Flood and initiated by the Flood.
  • Plants, animals and mankind have been adapting to climate for thousands of years.
  • Recent global temperature histories are insufficient for developing reliable conclusions about trends or impending catastrophes.
  • Increasing the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere will continue to improve crop production around the world, benefiting mankind.
  • Neither melting glaciers, increasing CO2, changing climates, nor earth’s surface temperature history are proof of global warming.
  • God is in control of history and the earth’s climates, not man.

I haven’t encountered Martin (an “independent researcher” in Santa Clarita CA) before and the googles are doing nothing. Any reader know anything about him?

Origins: Age of the Earth

March 23, 2010 1 comment

How we know the earth is 4.55 billion years old … and why Young Earth Creationists are wrong.

Setting a new standard for creationist historical scholarship

December 9, 2009 10 comments

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Young earth creationist Kent Hovind received a “Ph.D.” in 1991 from Patriot Bible University, a diploma mill in Colorado (photo above). Unlike the situation with dissertations originating from accredited universities, Hovind has consistently refused to release his dissertation for public scrutiny. WikiLeaks has, however, obtained a copy and even the briefest perusal will show that the work doesn’t meet the standard for doctoral research … heck, I’ve failed undergraduates for writing like this!

Witness Hovind on Galileo:

In the early 1600’s, Galileo invented the telescope. He looked at the moon and noticed the rugged surface of the moon. He then said that the moon was not smooth like Aristotle said it was. Aristotle had said back in 400 B.C. that the moon was like a perfect smooth sphere, a crystal ball to reflect the sunlight. Galileo even published a book that stated that the moon was not smooth. Aristotle was also contradicted by Galileo on his theory of gravity. Aristotle had said that heavier objects fall faster than lighter objects. Galileo proved that to be wrong. In the mid 1600’s, Galileo, under penalty of death by the Catholic church, had to recant his awful heresy of teaching that the moon was not smooth. He had dared to suggest that the doctrine of Aristotle as taught by the church could be wrong! He wrote a second book to say that he was wrong and that the moon was perfectly smooth. The priests even refused to look through Galileo’s telescope because they said it was demon possessed. The hold to Aristotle’s philosophy on the minds of the people of that time was so strong that scientific progress was hindered. We face the same thing today. The faulty teaching of evolution is hindering scientific progress.

Bear in mind that this is being written by a 38 year old who had been teaching high school for fifteen years by this point. Note the extensive documentation, sophisticated sentence structure, and higher-order analysis that you see in doctoral dissertations.

Hovind on Darwin (chapter 1 of the dissertation is a history of evolution from Satan to modern times):

The next man we come to in tracing the history of evolution is a man by the name of Charles Darwin. Darwin was born in 1809 and died in 1882. He i.es most famous for two books that he authored. The second on was The Descent of Man. The frost one, and most famous, is The Origin of Species my Means of Natural Selection. This book also had a subtitle called “The Preservation of the Favored Races in the Struggle for Life.” He took a five year voyage in the 1830’s on the HMS Beagle. During that voyage, he read extensively Lyell’s book. This greatly influenced him to think that the earth was millions of years old. When he returned from his voyage, he was encouraged by Lyell to publish a book. Darwin wrote for many years, but never published the book. Lyell realized that a man named Wallace was going to beat Darwin to the punch in publishing such a book on evolution. Lyell encouraged Darwin to go ahead and publish his book. Darwin published it in 1859. The Industrial Revolution was well under way and people were looking for some way to justify the cruelty that accompanied this revolution. (Child labor, sweat houses, etc.) Darwin’s book was just what the world needed to justify the cruel ruthless tactics of the industrial revolution. Darwin had a theology degree. He became a deist, and later, very proudly an atheist. There are many stories of him repenting on his death bed, but there still is much confusion on the issue.

And that is everything you need to know about Darwin.

Random fact from the dissertation: Auguste Comte was an ardent “Darwinist” who “strongly promoted Darwin’s teachings”. This is all the more remarkable given the fact that Comte died two years before the publication of Origin.

Random fact from the dissertation: “Because of Wallace’s spiritist [sic], pantheist, and occultist teaching of evolution, he could  really be considered the father of the New Age movement. He lived in Malaysia for about eight years, and watched the spiritist rituals that those people performed. He developed many of his theories in that setting.” At least Hovind’s not claiming that Wallace was an ID proponent.

Random fact from the dissertation: “Racism started, or was very much enhanced by Darwin and Thomas Huxley.” *head explodes*

If you know even a small amount about the history of ideas, do read Hovind’s first chapter and stand in awe at his writings on Satan, the ancient Greeks, the Church fathers, Voltair (sic), Lamarck, Thomas Payne (sic), Erasmus Darwin, Lyell, Marx, Huxley, Haeckel, Freud, Rockefeller (sic) and Henry Fairfield Osbourne (sic). I’d love to have my undergraduate students produce an “Annotated Hovind” just to illustrate how creationists mangle history (and writing).

Update: Here is Karen Bartelt’s review of the thesis from 2000. It gives you a further flavor of the epicness of Hovind’s fail.

Update (01/07/10): PBU has issued a denial claiming that the leaked document is a “rough draft” of a dissertation “project” and not the final, completed dissertation. PBU also notes that “Patriot issues Bible degrees for the purpose of equipping students for ministry; Patriot is not a research institution.” Never has a truer word been spoken!

Todd Wood on Evolution (Pt 3)

November 3, 2009 4 comments

Todd Wood’s latest statement on evolution:

That’s why I want my students to know the truth about evolution. It’s not bogus. It’s not a failure. There’s lots of evidence in its favor. But that just doesn’t make it true. Have faith in the risen Christ, and it will not matter what scientists tell you (or anyone else, for that matter).

See here.

Behe and Catholic YECs

October 13, 2009 2 comments

Hugh Miller was a Scottish stonemason and popularizer of geology who wrote a number of excellent books in the 1800’s that argued against scriptural geologists and sought a truce between science and religion. You can read a little more about him here. There is a modern Hugh Miller who apparently is a “research chemist” (BS in chemistry) in Colombus OH who believes that “[l]ong before Answers in Genesis’s museum and its director Ken Ham were born major museums were aware that dinosaurs and man coexisted. He’s a Catholic young earther who has produced a paper that used radiocarbon dating on dinosaur remains:

RECENT C-14 DATING OF FOSSILS INCLUDING DINOSAUR BONE COLLAGEN. Are the results a confirmation of rapid formation of the geologic column as modern sedimentology studies have predicted?

The discovery of collagen in a Tyrannosaurus-rex dinosaur femur bone was recently reported in the journal Science. Its geologic location was the Hell Creek Formation in the State of Montana, United States of America. When it was learned in 2005 that Triceratops and Hadrosaur femur bones in excellent condition were discovered by the Glendive (MT) Dinosaur & Fossil Museum, Hugh Miller asked and received permission to saw them in half and collect samples for C-14 testing of any bone collagen that might be extracted. Indeed both bones contained collagen and conventional dates of 30,890 ± 380 radiocarbon years (RC) for the Triceratops and 23,170 ±170 RC years for the Hadrosaur were obtained using the Accelerated Mass Spectrometer (AMS). Total organic carbon and/or dinosaur bone bio-apatite was then extracted and pretreated to remove potential contaminants and concordant radiocarbon dates were obtained, all of which were similar to radiocarbon dates for megafauna.

Miller’s work is to appear in “the proceedings of an international conference on evolution” featuring Catholic scientists from Germany, Italy, US, Poland and France. Other papers in the volume titeld “Evolutionary Theory: A Critical Analysis” include:

  • The second law of thermodynamics excludes evolution
  • Experiments in stratification do not support evolution
  • Is radiometric dating reliable?
  • The concept of evolution in biology
  • Race formation and mutations do not constitute steps in evolution
  • Critical reflections of evolutionism as a scientific or pseudo-scientifc theory and as an atheist ideology
  • Philosophic-theological prerequisits of the evolution theory
  • The Negative Impact of the evolutionary hypothesis on scientific research.

There’s a summary of the meeting here but suffice it to say that it includes such folks as Guy Berthault and Maciej Giertych.

The real fun is that Behe is talking at another meeting with Miller and other YEC Catholics. I wonder if he will take the time to publicly set the YECs straight? Probably not.

Update (10/14): John Pieret has more details on Miller.

Todd Wood on Evolution (Pt 2)

October 6, 2009 3 comments

Todd clarifies:

I believed (and still do) that what I wrote was quite clear and straightforward. Evolution is science, there is evidence for it, but I don’t believe it. I never said it was true. I also never said that all the evidence favors evolution, nor did I say there was no evidence of creation.

Read more here. He’s also got some links to other reactions.

Todd Wood on Evolution

September 30, 2009 8 comments

Todd Wood – as many of you will know – is a YEC baraminologist who is a protegee of Kurt Wise. His blog is worth a read as he often takes on some of the sillier anti-evolutionary stuff that is out there (e.g. here). Today he writes:

Evolution is not a theory in crisis. It is not teetering on the verge of collapse. It has not failed as a scientific explanation. There is evidence for evolution, gobs and gobs of it. It is not just speculation or a faith choice or an assumption or a religion. It is a productive framework for lots of biological research, and it has amazing explanatory power. There is no conspiracy to hide the truth about the failure of evolution. There has really been no failure of evolution as a scientific theory. It works, and it works well.

Then he states something that very much echoes what Wise has said in the past:

It is my own faith choice to reject evolution, because I believe the Bible reveals true information about the history of the earth that is fundamentally incompatible with evolution. I am motivated to understand God’s creation from what I believe to be a biblical, creationist perspective.

Despite his acceptance of the evidence for evolution, the Bible still trumps all.

Three (YEC) amigos join the Biologic Institute

August 7, 2009 11 comments

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The Biologic Institute’s march to scientific greatness continues with the addition of three anti-evolutionists (and by all indications, Young Earth Creationists) to their staff:

  • Matti Leisola (Dean of Chemistry and Materials Science, Helsinki University of Technology)
  • Colin Reeves (Emeritus Professor of Operational Research, School of Mathematical and Information Sciences, Coventry University)
  • Stuart Burgess (Head of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Bristol)

A little light on the Bio part of the Biologic, aren’t they? It’s well know that Leisola and Burgess are creationists of the YEC variety, but I had not encountered Reeves before except as a signatory of the “Dissent from Darwin” list and someone who has said:

Darwinism was an interesting idea in the 19th century, when handwaving explanations gave a plausible, if not properly scientific, framework into which we could fit biological facts. However, what we have learned since the days of Darwin throws doubt on natural selection’s ability to create complex biological systems – and we still have little more than handwaving as an argument in its favour.

A little poking around revealed more about the Emeritus Professor. Reeves has reviewed for the Biblical Creation Society, a British YEC organization, making it highly likely that he’s a YEC. Further evidence is provided by the fact that both Burgess and Reeves have lectured for the “Genesis Agendum” which is a British charity (!) organization dedicated to “demonstrating the accuracy of the Bible through historical and scientific scholarship”. In other words, the latest additions to the BI’s pool of scientific talent are, by all indications, believers in a literal reading of Genesis. It is this hilarious that the DI’s Rob Crowther breathlessly announces their addition:

The anti-ID crowd has an old canard about there being no serious scientists who doubt Darwin, let alone any that support intelligent design. And they like to say that there is no science being done by ID scientists. Both ideas are not just false, but absurdly so. Note this announcement of new scientific arrivals at Biologic Institute …

Serious YEC scientists and biblical literalists.

My last mention of the BI is here and details its lack of relevant research publications in 2008. Despite Doug Axe’s prediction of “bold biology in 2009,” the BI appears to have generated nothing new. My prediction is that the addition of these three amigos isn’t likely to change anything much.

Update: Glenn Branch has made me aware that John Pieret has posted on this very topic probably more-or-less simultaneously with me, though he went with a Three Stooges motif. John notes that Reeves is a trustee of Biblical Creation Ministries. From the BCM site:

All basic types of living things, including human beings, were made by direct creative acts of God. The biological changes that have occurred since Creation have taken place only within the original created basic types…

The Creation was accomplished in six consecutive natural days, each consisting of an evening and a morning. The days of Creation do not correspond to long geological ages…

The Flood of Noah has significant implications for the study of earth history. Geology must always therefore be studied with reference to the Flood.

The Gap Theory, which seeks to explain the fossil record by inserting geological ages between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2, has no basis in Holy Scripture.

There can be, I think, little doubt that Reeves is a YEC.

Sun no longer a star

August 2, 2009 6 comments

Apparently, some YECs don’t consider the Sun to be a star:

I also do not agree that the sun is a star, which the author seems to believe. Genesis 1:16 says: “And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.” If the sun were a star, wouldn’t God have said something different? I guess we’ll find out one of these days.

So sayeth Tina Brown whose claim to fame appears to be having home-schooled six of her seven offspring. Of the moon, she notes ” I didn’t realize there were four phases or that the moon’s features had names” – one can see that her kids are getting a mighty fine science education at home.

Lippard on “The Voyage That Shook The World”

July 31, 2009 1 comment

Jim Lippard spent this afternoon watching The Voyage That Shook The World. This I know because he was e-mailing me reactions and thoughts as he was watching. He has now turned these into a post that is worth a read. Jim’s final assessment is that “the film is somewhat better than [he] expected it would be, and the film itself could be described as trying to hide its own creationism, probably in hopes of working like a Trojan horse.”

As yet, I still haven’t found time to watch my copy, but my earlier coverage of the docu-drama is here, here, here and here.

Kurt Wise on the move again

July 31, 2009 1 comment

In April 2006, Kurt Wise took over Dembski’s old position at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary as director of its Center for Theology and Science. Now it looks like he is on the move again, this time to head the science department at Truett-McConnell College in Cleveland, Georgia. Seems like a step down to me.

(Hat-tip to Todd Wood)

Historians respond to “The Voyage that Shook the World”

July 20, 2009 5 comments

Peter Bowler, Sandra Herbert and Janet Brown have responded to their misrepresentation in the CMI docu-drama The Voyage That Shook The World in the current edition of the History of Science Society newsletter:

The interviews filmed with us have been edited to highlight certain aspects of Darwin’s views and character. Janet Browne’s remarks about his childhood delight in making up stories to impress people is used to imply that the same motive may have driven his scientific thinking. Peter Bowler’s description of Darwin’s later views on racial inequality is used in the film, but not Bowler’s account of Adrian Desmond and James Moore’s thesis that Darwin was inspired by his opposition to racism and slavery. Sandra Herbert’s comment that Darwin’s theory required explanation of many aspects of life was edited down to imply that his theory required explanation of all aspects of life. The overall impression is given that Darwin had an enquiring mind but was led astray by his theoretical preconceptions, a view backed up through interviews with several scientists, including one who expresses open doubts about evolution. The film also suggests that what is ultimately at stake is a clash of world views rather than the resolution of scientific questions.

More here.

I have received a screener of the movie and will hopefully get to view it (and write more) sometime over the next few weeks. See here, here and here for my previous coverage of Voyage.


Young Earth Creationism, Arizona Style

July 6, 2009 3 comments

This just in from Jim Lippard (via Phil Plait):

Arizona State Senator Sylvia Allen (R-Snowflake), arguing in favor of a bill to allow uranium mining north of the Grand Canyon, casually says that the earth is 6,000 years old, and therefore a little uranium mining isn’t going to hurt anything.

Video here. Phil Plait comments:

The irony, of course — and there’s always irony when creationism is involved — is that she’s talking about uranium mining, and it’s through the radioactive decay of uranium that we know the Earth is billions of years old. And she also praises technological achievements!

Indeed.

More on creationists lying to historians

June 27, 2009 24 comments

Jim Lippard has made me aware that CMI and Fathom Media have released a statement defending their actions. Nothing in the statement has made me change my opinion. While Fathom Media may have attempted to portray themselves as disinterested individuals attempting to “dig a bit deeper into the life and science of Charles Darwin and the development of his ideas,” the very nature of the study guide they produced belie that goal containing, as it does, merely links to YEC talking-points provided on the CMI website.

The posted statement is strangely ineffective. Note that there are claims that “[u]nder atheism there is no compunction to be truthful at all” and equations of mainstream academia with oppressive regimes:

If our critics were consistent, they would be raging at the BBC and other investigative documentary producers, since this is their accepted practice. For example, reporters didn’t reveal everything to Communist officials when making an undercover documentary of repression behind the Iron Curtain.

Really? Is that the best argument to make if you want to convince skeptical historians that you have done a good job in your documentary? That historians being interviewed are equivalent to members of the Communist party and needed to be deceived?

And a close reading of the following reveals a minimal defense at best:

Further, and perhaps most importantly, we were determined to deal fairly with the material that the interviewees provided. There was not to be the sort of sneaky editorial cut-and-paste that ends up with someone being seen to say “black” when they actually said “white”. Indeed, in an email response to a query, one interviewee said, “They didn’t actually distort what we said, but did cherry-pick the comments.” (emphasis added by CMI)

The implication from CMI is that it is ok to “cherry-pick” evidence as long as you don’t distort what is said. But as historians we cannot cherry-pick quotes, we can’t avoid statements that might provide a more nuanced interpretation of an earlier statement. We can’t – in short – do exactly what CMI are accused of.

Does the film have a viewpoint? Of course. So does every documentary. Does that influence which cherry gets picked? Of course. What counts is whether that has been fairly done in terms of the way that “cherry” is used and presented, not whether it suits the ideology of any particular interviewee.

As long as the “cherry” being picked suits the ideology of the production company, then all is fair when it comes to “cherry-picking.” This isn’t an attempt at good historical inquiry and is even more disgusting given the use of noted historians to provide the “cherries” thus adding a veneer of respectability to the production.

As Jim notes, the proof will be in the pudding. If CMI feel inclined to send me a copy of the documentary, I’d be happy to watch it as an historian and fairly evaluate the claims being made in the same way as I evaluate those of any historical work I have professionally reviewed. Until then, I remain unconvinced.

Update (6/29): Further thoughts here.

ID and YEC in Britain

February 1, 2009 13 comments

New data on creationism in Britain. The, ahem, “highlights”

  • 51% agree that "evolution alone is not enough to explain the complex structures of some living things, so the intervention of a designer is needed at key stages." 40% disagree.
  • 32% agree that "God created the world sometime in the last 10,000 years." 60% disagree.

Thus, support for ID runs at 51% and support for YEC runs at 32%.

Update: Below is the cross-tabs for the preliminary results from the poll. These are, apparently, preliminary results.

 

THEOS

News report here; preliminary report in this pdf; Apparently the full analysiswill be available here in March.

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