Answers Research Journal volume 4
|The divine comedy|
Volume 4 of the Answers Research Journal ran through 2011.
Volume 4 articles
- James Upton, January 26, 2011
Following Jason Lisle's publication last year of a solution to the starlight problem, Upton reviews other cosmological phenomena that require a young Earth creationist explanation: oscillations in the cosmic microwave background, the large-scale structure of the universe, various properties of galaxies and their interactions and how stars cluster. To his credit Upton actually describes the general philosophical form required for something to claim to be an explanation, and notes that special miraculous creation doesn't suffice.
- Mitchel Soltys, March 2, 2011
Honestly, creationists, how many times are you going to assert the same stuff ("Information cannot originate in statistical processes" and "Mutations don’t result in new genes") with nothing to back it up ("As we continue our discussion we could use actual gene mappings, but that would be overly large and complex": i.e, science is hard)? Citing common creationists such as Gitt, this article uses analogies (particularly of computer programs) and appeals to Richard Dawkins (weasel program, anyone?) to come up with a definition of biblical kind: "The set spanned by all organisms having the same instructional segments and structural arrangements in DNA." Unfortunately, there is no actual data to indicate a single kind, it's unclear how useful it is. Nor does it support a potential hypothesis that each kind was created over a few days 6000 years ago. And with common developmental genes (such as the HOX genes spanning the entire animal kingdom), one wonders if the actual kind definition is not what Soltys intended.
- Anne Habermehl, March 23, 2011
We don't know, and Anne doesn't either: "There is a possibility that we may yet find the actual site of the Tower of Babel, but this will require further research as well as onsite archaeological excavation." So come on Creationists, dig deep and send them the money.
- Larry Vardiman, April 13, 2011
A naturalistic simulation (with videos!) ... of a supernaturally induced event?
- Jerry Bergman, June 8, 2011
Perhaps your cherry picked awesome design features are the result of evolution. Or at least, you still haven't told us how you know the retina (or anything else) is designed.
- Jeffrey P. Tomkins, June 22, 2011
In this piece, Tomkins criticizes the scientists who sequenced the chimpanzee genome for having relied upon the human genome. Despite that the scientists are the ones pointing out the difference between chimps and humans, Tomkins claims that the science is biased. He doesn't go so far as to claim that the science is wrong nor does he provide any real reason to doubt the chimp genome sequence.
- Tim Chaffey, July 13, 2011
A theology piece that interprets the work of Augustine to conclude that he wasn't concerned about the age of the earth. It is a defensive apologetic directed at critics of YEC views who correctly note that Augustine (like many prominent early Christian theologians) rejected the literal interpretation of the book of Genesis in favor of an allegorical interpretation.
- Callie Joubert, July 27, 2011
Acknowledging baraminology's lack of even basic descriptive power due to the vagueness of the concept of "kinds," the author posits a metaphysical component, which is a creationist escape hatch that serves no other purpose than to give the apologist endless fodder for moving the goalposts by defining his god to do what he wishes on an ad hoc basis. Introduction of this "metaphysical" component certainly doesn't make it any easier to distinguish one kind from another, particularly in the distant past creationists endlessly complain "evolutionsts" make unsupportable claims about, as creationists must admit that baraminology failed to even compellingly group organisms by reproductive compatibility implied by the Noachic gathering of two of each "kind." No matter. "It is hoped that the end result will serve as an apologetic for the truth of Scripture in today’s scientific and evolutionized world." And that, folks, is how creationists do "science."
- Callie Joubert, August 10, 2011
Joubert fights for the cause of non-materialist neuroscience against Christian Physicalists. Joubert has lots of evidence because of, um ... Genesis. A person can think of things, like sweeping a broom, and so Joubert concludes this must not be physical in nature, any Christians that disagree are heretics. Emergence phenomena is discussed, but Joubert can't see how unconscious matter can lead to conscious thought, so it is ignored quickly for lots and lots of biblical quotes.
- Matt McClellan, August 24, 2011
“”This revised chronology of the FIP shows about 19 years for the 7th and 8th Dynasties instead of the standard 24–32 years. This chronology also removes the 35–38 years of the 9th–10th Dynasties in the standard chronology. It thus reduces the period by a total of about 40–51 years....
This will allow us to see if the traditional chronology should be reduced. ...As one can see anywhere from 19–36 years needs to be shaved off of the chronology of the 4th Dynasty, while 45–78 years needs to be removed from the 5th Dynasty. That is a total of 64–114 years that the 4th and 5th Dynasties are being inflated.
Wait a sec. Is reducing the time periods the goal, or is finding an accurate value a goal?
One has to wonder why the Egyptian chronologies can be questioned, but the Biblical ones cannot.
A Christian (with a capital "C") even doubts this paper:
“”That’s a terrible article and I gave up on it. It just stretches out all of Egyptian history in Indian file order, instead of realising that dynasties can be concurrent.
Though it locates Joseph to the 11th Dynasty and Moses to the 12th, and I agree with that much, it then stretches out all of the preceding history in conventional history sequence. We are already in 2300 BC (around the biblical time of the Flood) in the 6th dynasty, where the author locates Abraham. And there are still five dynasties and prehistory to go before all that. Egyptian history would already be thriving while Adam and Eve were naked in the Garden.It is amazing that AIG chose to publish such a lengthy and unimaginative article.
- Jeffrey P. Tomkins, September 14, 2011
Jeff Tomkins seems really confused.
“”A majority of the public and scientific community are not aware of these caveats [how the chimp genome sequence has been generated] and still told hold to the dogma that the human genome is 98 to 99% similar to chimpanzee, which is most likely not the case. The fact is that major differences between the structure of the human and a chimpanzee genomes are now being documented as the genomic resources improve.
Tomkins still hasn't told us when these major differences are, and provides no reference for this statement. In his blog post, Wood describes Tomkins piece in more detail, describing the differences found in the Y chromosome. In this piece, Jeff Tomkins states
“”It was not the goal of my recent paper to make a claim that the chimp Y-chromosome was indicative of the level of comparative differences between autosomes (non-sex chromosomes). Physical map tools and re-sequencing technologies need to be utilized on other parts of the chimp genome as they were in the Y-chromosome study. In fact, the bigger question we may need to be asking is why have not any similar autosomal studies been published? Perhaps the results were a little too shocking.
This is, to be frank, quite bizarre. As Wood points out, there is good reason for there to be more variation in the Y chromosome, and certainly there has been some sequencing performed. What exactly is the "shocking" result that Tomkins implies might exist? What are the "major differences" he claims that are being found? Is it based on the Y chromosome seaquence or not? This is nothing but invoking a conspiracy theory, and one with no evidence at that.
We await the results of ICR's analysis, as Tomkins ends:
“”Bioinformatic research in comparative genomics between human and chimp is currently in progress at the Institute for Creation Research and reports will be forthcoming in the near future.
(Of course, we hope they are doing their own sequencing, as Tomkins told us in the last paper the current sequencing is biased.)
- C. R. Twidal and J. A. Bourne, September 21, 2011
Actual geologists not only defend conventional geology, but also take down Ken Patrick's 2010 paper. Twidal and Bourne not only point out a certain lack of standard terminology, but the nonsensical invocation of a lake without something to block the water (whoops!). They also point out the bizarre timeline involved in Flood geology. This is probably the most analysis of evidence that we've seen in an Answers Research Journal paper yet.
- Ken Patrick, September 21, 2011
Ken Patrick gets the last word. He explains some and retracts some, and then uses the fact that there are unanswered questions to assert, "Given these noteworthy unanswered questions, it seems much more reasonable to assume a catastrophic marine transgression that carved out the basic Uluru residual." Huh?
- Andrew J. Fabich, October 12, 2011
Fabich, a professor of microbiology, seeks to reassess the modern intellectual landscape, dividing and relabeling postmodernism into "antimodernism" and "neomodernism." In his view, the neomoderates of the current era have moved past the criticisms of objective truth and narrative that motivated antimodernism, and now seek to rediscover the work of modernists by recreating it with specific emphases on the themes of knowledge as power, individualism, unsubstantive religious references and a return to nature. Intriguingly, Fabich at no point engages in a discussion of basic postmodern concepts or the celebrated authors of the movement. He does not mention theorists such as Barthes, Lévi-Strauss, Derrida, Foucalt, Beaudrillard, or Said. He does not mention authors such as Nabokov, Borges, Pynchon, or DeLillo. Instead, much time is spent on generalizations - either Fabich's or another critic's, e.g., Richard Dawkins or Millard Erickson. The sole mention and analysis of any actual postmodern work appears to be Fabich's critique of composer John Cage:
“”Antimodern music was highlighted by figures like John Cage with his work of “music” in which he sat for four minutes and thirty-three seconds in front of a piano without actually playing it, arguing that the music was the sound of the audience. If antimodern music were currently being promoted, then it would be highly likely to find it on popular radio stations as well as primary school music classes: it is not.
This curious argument, that
postmodernism antimodernism is dead because an esoteric work of art with no commercial possibilities is not being "promoted," may give a clue as to why Fabich tends to stick with vague generalizations in his discussion: specifics seem to confuse him.
Unfortunately, even the generalizations seem far removed from any reasonable interpretation of reality. A good example of this disconnect might be seen in Fabich's table that purports to summarize various aspects of the Age of Reason, modernism, postmodernism, and "neomodernism," but instead describes some manner of clownish straw men. The description of postmodernism, for example, is not at all recognizable and instead appears to be a description of the work of Nietzsche, lauding totalitarianism and nihilism.
Fabich's analysis is some sort of fantasy work, giving new terminology to describe intellectual traditions with which he seems to be unfamiliar. Its relevance to the topic of the journal is also unclear.
- Callie Joubert, October 28, 2011
Not exactly creation science.
- Jean K. Lightner, Tom Hennigan, Georgia Purdom, and Bodie Hodge, November 16, 2011
As part of the Ark Encounter project, the usual Answers in Genesis crowd ponders what animals to place on the Ark that represent the kinds suggested in the Bible, and hence they dicuss three baraminological systems: hybridization (animals that can product hybrids represent a kind); cognitum ("A cognitum is a group of organisms that are naturally grouped together through human cognitive senses."), and statistical baraminology. After explicitly rejecting sequence data (who knows that kinds have similar genetics, after all) and exploring the strengths and weakness of each method is performed, they conclude the cognitum approach is best; after all "One reason the cognitum is the preferred method after hybridization is that Adam would have recognized created kinds by sight." (That is, the method that will allow us to make up an answer because it feels right, without having to worry about scientific coherence.)
We do await the actual animals in this
massive art project representation of history. As the authors point all, all the genetic information for all the animals in the kind must come from each pair of animals, and hence "the Ark kinds would be relatively unspecialized animals that fit nicely into the cognitum of the created kind." As per usual ARJ style, the actual science part that would allow them to provide evidence for the kind concept is again not present. The paper ends with asking for prayers for the reader.
- John K. Reed, November 30, 2011
This presuppositionalist screed is a follow up of another presuppositionalist screed, with wonderful quotes like:
“”One of the effects of uniformitarian geology was to destroy confidence in the biblical record of origins and early earth history, and the concept of uniformitarianism still stands as a bulwark against today’s Flood geology. Therefore, it is incumbent upon creationists to address uniformitarianism.
“”We cannot know that actualism was valid in the past because nonactualistic explanations of the rocks record are logically possible. This indicates how it must be evaluated—by logical truth tests, not observations. Like uniformity, modern geologists have never really validated actualism; they assume it was done long ago.
“”Christianity (answer 2 in fig. 6) presents a metaphysical justification for causality by virtue of its coherence with the nature of God and with His acts of creation and providence. God is rational, unified,and unchanging, thus continuity of cause and effect is assured. God is eternal, and so causal continuity is operative everywhere in time. God is infinite, so cause and effect applies everywhere. Causal continuity exists in the material realm because the cosmos is the contingent creation of God, and His creation manifests His attributes. That view is confirmed by the doctrine of providence; God’s causation behind every ongoing function of His work of creation guarantees the validity of causal continuity. But there is one important distinction in the Christian position—absolute causal continuity exists in the person of God, not in the physical creation.
Thus, belief in an imaginary friend justifies everything, but observations of the real world do not.
- Callie Joubert, December 14, 2011.
Callie Joubert's fourth contribution of the year can be summarized as the others: It does nothing to establish the validity of the a 6000-year old year earth, biblical kinds or a global flood.
- Jeffrey P. Tomkins, December 28, 2011.
The creationist fear that we are descended from apes always is alleved when that percentage difference between chimps and humans is less than 90%, especially after playing with the parameters. Why Tomkins is enamored with his "less-biased" analysis is unclear, as some scientific analyses already place the similarity at 86.7% taking into account how genetic information is transferred. That is, real geneticists yawn.
Volume 4 Retrospective
Answers in Genesis published a retrospective on the four years of Answers Research Journal, including summaries (that differ significantly from ours) of important articles and accomplishments. It also previews volume 5, with more about big storm simulations, theistic evolution, and radiohalos!
- Dr. Callie Joubert, South Africa, a Dr. of Philosophy.
- Estimate of Matt McClellan’s "Ancient Egyptian Chronology and the Book of Genesis." houseofgold.blog.com, 8 September 2011.
- (Quote and paranthetical from Todd's C. Wood's blog.)
- Anzai, Tatsuya, et al. "Comparative sequencing of human and chimpanzee MHC class I regions unveils insertions/deletions as the major path to genomic divergence." Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA (June 24, 2003) 100:13, 7708-7713.
- ARJ: Four Years and Counting, Examining the Past, Present, and Future of Answers Research Journal Answers in Genesis, January 25, 2012.