Answers Research Journal
|The divine comedy|
|Style over substance|
“”On first glance, ARJ looks kinda like a science journal. "ARJ" sounds a bit like it could be a science journal. But sticking feathers up your butt does not make you a chicken.
|—Adam Rutherford, Nature editor|
Answers Research Journal (ARJ; ISSN 19379056) is a "peer-reviewed"[Note 1] creation "science" pseudojournal published by Answers in Genesis (AiG). ARJ features pseudohistory, bad philosophy, and Biblical literalist analysis pieces, but not much in the way of science.
Upon creation of the journals, Nature, Scientific American and Discover quickly published criticism of the site. Slate and AiG themselves have also traded commentary, and several blogs such as the Sensuous Curmudgeon and Happy Jihad's House of Pancakes have routinely produced criticism of the journal.
As a journal, ARJ has several flaws.
In an article about ARJ and related issues, one of the contributors states the journal's point of view: "'We have a particular viewpoint,' [AiG researcher Georgia] Purdom stated, referring to the ARJ. 'We start with the Bible as being true. And many other journals do not. They are going to start with human reasoning as the basis for truth.'" Given that this journal seeks to prove the truth of the Bible, starting with its truth is circular reasoning, and any actual attempt of scientific inquiry is necessarily riddled with confirmation bias.
“”Any author using a pen name or who has a reason for not wanting their biographical details publicized on the AiG website should specifically request this, and their wishes will be respected.
|—Answers Research Journal, Instructions to Authors Manual|
Appropriately enough for a journal of pseudoscience, authors are free to publish under pseudonyms, ostensibly to avoid persecution for their beliefs. In some cases, it may be against university or company policies to publish anonymously work that you supposedly did "in the line of duty." Although, quite honestly, if that's the best publishing you can do as an academic, you probably don't deserve tenure.
"Answers" lists a bizarre set of criteria for articles submitted for publication:
- Is the paper’s topic important to the development of the Creation and Flood model?
- Does the paper’s topic provide an original contribution to the Creation and Flood model?
- Is this paper formulated within a young-earth, young-universe framework?
- If the paper discusses claimed evidence for an old earth and/or universe, does this paper offer a very constructively [sic] positive criticism and provide a possible young-earth, young-universe alternative?
- If the paper is polemical in nature, does it deal with a topic rarely discussed within the origins debate?
- Does this paper provide evidence of faithfulness to the grammatical-historical/normative interpretation of Scripture?
Number 4 is by far the most important. The parallel criterion in a science journal would read, "If the paper discusses claimed evidence for science, does this paper offer a very constructive positive criticism and provide a possible pseudoscientific alternative?" Most of the published articles are invalid by criterion 2 as they are mostly re-hashed creationist propaganda.
Unlike a scientific journal, no data or methods section is required for an Answers Research Journal article, which is okay, as pretty much none of the papers have data or methods backing them up any way.
Andrew A. Snelling is the editor-in-chief, who claims to have "more than 24 years of technical scientific publication experience," including In Six Days, Why fifty scientists choose to believe in creation.[Note 2] Unfortunately the highlight of this experience includes founding the Journal of Creation. He is also quoted as saying:
“”It is our hope that the online publication of ARJ will encourage Christians with powerful results of the latest creationist research, providing them with new resources for use in their own research and education—and in their witnessing to the truth and authority of God’s Word.
Er... and where does the science come in?
By March, 2008 Snelling had written two of the first six articles in ARJ and had edited the journal in its entirety. He has ties to the Institute for Creation Research, which funded some of his work. What a trooper!
As of the first article of volume 5, 70% of the articles in ARJ had at least one author that is an author on another paper. Jerry Bergman has seven; Andrew Snelling has five; and Callie Joubert, Georgia Purdom and Larry Varidiman each have four. A very diverse field, indeed!
For AiG's take on an "evolutionist"'s attempt to "discredit" the journal, see their website. Interestingly, no one ever seems to try to discredit science journals for some reason, nor would a science journal editor lambast a creationist for doing so. (Probably because scientists actually give a shit about what is actually true rather than some sky daddy agenda.) Interestingly, Snelling comments on the evolutionist's scientific inaccuracies in an e-mail, and comments that "[U]nless you can somehow seriously demonstrate in a proper and rigorous scientific manner and therefore convince me otherwise, I must reject your paper as bogus, and an attempt to claim a prize being offered on the Internet for successful deception."
One must wonder about the journal's peer-review process. Does that mean that Dr. Snelling is hand-picking articles for this journal instead of sending it to a few reviewers and finding the reviewers' consensus? Is it really professional to imply an intent to win an internet prize without more evidence, when the journal could just reject the article on its selection criteria? Why is the submitter's e-mail and the reply to a submitter made public and not kept confidential? Even if the submitter is kept anonymous, to use one's submission to make a point is questionable ethically.
14 volumes of the journal have been produced through 2022.
Volume 1 ran through 2008. The volume contains 16 publications (all papers) and 195 pages.
Highlights of vol. 1 include a piece on peer review, which takes (Sterile 2009) inline Harvard Referencing (McWicked 2007) to extreme (Human 2007, Pi 2010) and quite funny (Bob 2006) levels (Toulouse 2009) and an alternative explanation for the origin of oil that amounts to Goddidit. And the Great Flood also affected Mars.
Volume 2 ran through 2009. The volume contains 16 publications (all papers) and 210 pages. For comparison: one issue of the Journal of Evolutionary Biology - Volume 23 Issue 3 (March 2010) - had 17 research papers, 1 review paper and two communications for 210 page; there were twelve issues in total that year.
Among the notable papers are one that says creationists should stop using conspiracy theories about Darwin as evidence (nice, but hardly science, even by the standards of the ARJ), six papers from a creationist microbes conference that are essentially review papers, and a paper on polonium halos.
Volume 3 ran through 2010. The volume contains 17 publications (14 papers, 3 letters) and 309 pages.
The highlight of the year was undoubtedly Jason Lisle's much anticipated solution to the starlight problem, his not-so-groundbreaking anisotropic synchrony convention, where he proposes light moves at different speeds in different directions—an idea explored by real physicists for 50 years, before being dumped on the "interesting but unimportant" pile. More humorously, Larry Vardiman and Wesley Brewer discovered the technique used by mainstream hydrologists of publishing multiple papers with the same basic idea and calling each one a case study, even though on a practical level it is no different than the last paper. Combined with Snelling's two review papers on the geology of Israel, they managed to pad out what would have been a very thin volume (the five papers combining for a total of 163 pages). Although not without controversy, Todd C. Wood proposed that various species of hominids should be placed in the human baramin, sparking the first letters discussion.
Volume 4 ran through 2011. The volume contains 19 publications (16 papers, 3 letters) and 241 pages.
Creation science was running a little thin this year, with seven papers being philosophical or theological papers rather than scientific, although it does mean that ARJ is closer to its
baramin classification than ever before. A further two more articles were more archaeological in nature, the highlight being Matt McClellan actual padding out Egyptian chronology in his attempt to reduce it to fit the biblical frame work. The most science that took place in ARJ this year was when C. R. Twidal and J. A. Bourne responded to Ken Patrick's article in 2010 on the formation of Uluṟu.
Volume 5 ran through 2012. The volume contains 18 publications and 232 pages.
Volume 6 ran through 2013. The volume contains 30 publications and 501 pages.
Volume 7 ran through 2014. The volume contains 33 publications and 583 pages.
Volume 8 ran through 2015. The volume contains 34 publications and 478 pages.
Volume 9 ran through 2016. The volume contains 24 publications and 375 pages.
Volume 10 ran through 2017. The volume contains 25 publications and 292 pages.
Volume 11 ran through 2018. The volume contains 21 publications and 358 pages.
Volume 12 ran through 2019. The volume contains 17 publications and 423 pages.
Volume 13 ran through 2020. The volume contains 16 publications and 337 pages.
Volume 14 ran through 2021. The volume contains 23 publications and 503 pages.
Volume 15 ran through 2022.
- In the peer-creationist sense...
- Whew! A whole 50! That's like a mid-sized graduate program!
- The creative sciences. The Guardian, 18 January 2008.
- Geoff Brumfiel . "Creationists launch 'science' journal." Nature 451, 382-383 (2008). doi:10.1038/451382b
- News Bytes of the Week.
Scientific American, 1 February 2008.
Answers in Genesis, the group that last year shelled out $27 million to open the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Ky., is at it again. This time, the intelligently designed group has established its own journal for creationist scholars who want their work reviewed by fellow biblical literalists—without the scientific worldview sticking its monkey nose in.
- Jennifer Barone,
Creationists Fight Back with Laughable Faux-Science “Journal." Discover, 13 February 2008.
Now, it’s not exactly Earth-shattering news that a creation “science” “journal” has to do some serious cherry-picking to fill its pages. But personally, I’m pleasantly shocked to find that they’re so darn transparent about it. They’ve helpfully explained in a neatly-ordered list that they’re only interested in hearing news that confirms what they already believe. Of course this kind of tunnel vision exists, but you’d think they would do their best to cover it up in public. Instead, it’s all nicely laid out as editorial policy. Thanks, AiG!
- "Peer-Reviewing the Bible - Entry 5." Slate. 2008 February 13.
- Answers Research Journal Still Under Fire from Media. Answers in Genesis, 16 February 2008.
- Secular Response to a New Creationist Science Journal. Answers in Genesis, 26 January 2008.
After the launch of Answers Research Journal, our free, online resource for the timely dissemination of creationist research, blogs were again atwitter with ridicule, slander, and outright animosity. There is even talk of a competition for “fake” papers to be submitted to see how rigorous our peer-review process is...
- Articles mentioning Answers Research Journal at The Sensuous Curmudgeon.
- Unprofessional conduct at Answers Research Journal? Happy Jihad's House of Pancakes, 9 April 2009.
- Liebers Kate, Science for Christians. Journal of Young Investigators, 13 June 2008.
- Answers Research Journal, Instructions to Authors Manual.
- For more about Dr. Snelling, see this profile at No Answers In Genesis.
- About ARJ. answersingenesis.org.
- In Six Days, Why fifty scientists choose to believe in creation. christiananswers.net.
- Free Answers Research Journal. Answers in Genesis, 11 January 2008.
- Doubting Thomas. Happy Jihad's House of Pancakes, 17 September 2009.
- Andrew Snelling biography at Answers in Genesis.
- Caught in the Act! Answers in Genesis, 14 May 2008.
- Journal of Evolutionary Biology. Wiley Online Library.