Institute for Creation Research
|The divine comedy|
“”Groups such as BioLogos and a growing list of Christian schools and universities have bought into the terrible lie that plants are just as much alive as humanity—that we "kill" plants before we eat them. While that idea may seem innocuous (after all, we do kill animals before we eat them), the implications and applications are enormous!
|—Henry Morris III|
The Institute for Creation "Research" (ICR), a young-Earth creationist faux-research organization, produces voluminous quote-mines and logical fallacies in pursuit of debunking evolution and the concept of an old earth. The ICR, the
unholy spawn of San Diego Christian College, consists of a bunch of cranks who want to undermine science education and eventually turn the United States into a young-Earth creationist, dominionist society. Henry Morris founded the Institute in 1972; it has since gone on to become one of the centers of the anti-evolution movement and quite possibly of the general anti-science movement in the US.
The ICR has a variety of projects intended to educate their supporters and provide resources to evangelize to others.
Beginning in the early 1980s, the institute has offered courses in biology, astrophysics, geophysics, geology, and general science through its online graduate school. The ICR closed its online school after the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board declined to accredit ICR's online graduate school for science or science education. The ICR then began offering online Biblical apologetics courses.
School of Biblical apologetics
ICR's School of Biblical Apologetics is an unaccredited fundie school that offers a Bachelors of Christian Education and a Masters of Christian Education, with various minors in Genesis studies, Creation research, Christian school teaching, sacred humanities, creation theology, sacred geography, Christian leadership, and ethics and specialized ministries.
Requirements for Acceptance
- Written testimony showing belief in the Lord Jesus Christ as personal Savior, as well as showing belief in the Holy Bible as the written Word of God
- Either 1) an earned bachelor's degree with a minor (or minor equivalent) in Bible, theology, Christian education, Christian ministry, or similar emphasis; or 2) passing a Bible/apologetics entrance exam to assess the applicant's potential for success in the M.C.Ed. program
- Full payment of the non-refundable application processing fee
- Demonstrated mastery of English (e.g., as shown by the application process)
- Endorsement of ICR’s biblical and creationist tenets (www.icr.org/tenets)
- Two references (academic and ministry)
- Adequate technical skills and computer equipment for using Microsoft Word
The ICR School of Bible Apologetics and their former science education graduate school was accredited by TRACS for a while before moving to Texas. The ICR requested accreditation termination due to the fact that TRACS was not recognized in the state of Texas. Later the ICR tried gaining accreditation in Texas but the Board of Education turned them down; the ICR sued them for religious discrimination but they got laughed out of court.
In or around October of 2011, the ICR launched a blog entitled Science Education Essentials,[note 1] although more recent references to it (appropriately) omitted the "Education" part of the name. The blog was written by Rhonda Forlow, who has a PhD in Education, specializing in the "education of students with learning disabilities, emotional disturbance, and mental retardation." Any examination of the relationship of Dr. Forlow's stated areas of expertise to the presumed targets of her job advocating for creationism would be politically incorrect. Dr. Forlow did not appear to consider herself limited in what she can offer even to non-homeschooling teachers by their inability to violate the First Amendment by teaching creationism in school.
In October 2012 the by-then trickle of posts at the site dried up, and was eventually redirected to a page on the main site. It was later discovered that Dr Forlow had left the ICR to go "church planting," and that nobody had taken her place. No prior warning of the sites demise has been found, and its departure was abrupt but welcome.
The ICR has for some time been advertising its "resources" for Students/Parents/Teachers/Leaders/Pastors/Scientists. These are basically just pointers to tangentially related articles on the website, many of which are in the "Evidence for Creation" article group discussed below.
Also bundled into this section are the various books published by ICR associates, and a page called Science Education Essentials which links to the blog above and various DVDs etc that have been produced by the institute.
The ICR's Resource Guide has not been updated since Fall 2009.
"The Institute for Creation Research is unique among scientific research organizations. Our research is conducted within a biblical worldview, since ICR is committed to the absolute authority of the inerrant Word of God. The real facts of science will always agree with biblical revelation because the God who made the world of God inspired the Word of God."
The ICR maintains an extensive website[note 2] which shows a truly massive output of BS over the years.
Evidence for Creation
The ICR boasts around 100 pages of what it calls 'evidence for creation'. These pages suggest that, at the present stage of development of scientific creationism, if Creationism was taught in schools high-school students would, in fact, be able to show it for the bad science that it is.
“”The evidence for creation is vast. Explore the ever-increasing list of reasons why creation is the best explanation for our intricately designed and precisely balanced universe.
|—An introduction from the ICR.|
Evidence for God
In the first section the ICR attempts to prove the existence of a supernatural being or god, specifically their God. Examples of this include:
- The First cause argument.
- The universe is Triune, in that it is made up of Time, Space and Matter, reflecting the trinity.
- An interesting quote from this particular page suggests an intent to weaken confidence in science by putting it on the same level as religious belief:
"Any effort to determine the cause of the universe is purely hypothetical. No human was there to observe the processes, so any attempt to understand events of pre-history (especially original events) must, therefore, be based on "belief systems," or presuppositions."
- Beauty, Justice etc are defined by God, and for "good" to be better than "evil" that would "logically require the existence of an ultimate Judge."
Evidence for Truth
The ICR feels that it must also prove the existence of objective truth before it plows into the topic of creationism itself.
They claim that Pilate's "What is Truth?" question is "answered" by Jesus' statement "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." Pilate, however, is asking what truth is - Jesus, what it does. Just another oddity from the ICR...
The Evidence for objective Truth is:
- Absolute truth is the very foundation of science. Note: "Historical" science is based on "assumptions," and is inherently unreliable and untestable.
- The laws of science need a creator to exist (which seems to have nothing to do with the subject at hand, and to be a case of circular reasoning).
- We have a conscience; we know that good is better than evil, that we have authority over animals and we "acknowledge a spiritual part of life."[note 3]
- We desire Justice.
Evidence from Nature
This section of articles is hardly evidence for anything much - it is merely a laundry list of amazing things the ICR can't be bothered to think of good explanations for, along with a bit of fine tuning thrown in.
Things that are "awesome":
- The atmosphere
- Food[note 4]
- The Earth
- The Moon
- Water again
- The atmosphere, again
- Temperate climatic zones
- The fact that the Sun always rises in the east
Evidence from Science
But what's the evidence for creation from science?
The Physical Sciences
- The Universe has a center, i.e. where we are currently located, because the rest of the universe is rushing away from us specifically.
- Comets and the rings of Saturn could not be here if the universe was billions of years old.[note 5]
- No wimpy "Big bang" could have created the universe - you would have needed a much greater power, like God.
- The Solar System wasn't formed through nebular accretion.
- Heavy chemical elements couldn't have formed through stellar evolution.
- The First Law of Thermodynamics prevents the Big bang, but this is no problem for God, for He is Beyond Nature.
- The logical conclusion that should be drawn from the existence of entropy is that "an infinite Creator made the universe a finite time ago."
- If there was no creator, chemistry and electromagnetism would not work everywhere in the universe in the same way as it does on earth.
- The argument from fine tuning is cutting edge creation science.[note 6]
The Earth Sciences
- Geologists still believe in uniformitarianism. Thus, because there is plenty of evidence that catastrophic events have taken place in the past, mainstream geology is all wrong.[note 7]
- The "defining features" of the fossil record are predictions of young earth creationism and the genesis account.
- People (specifically men) and Dinosaurs coexisted. (Bet you'd never heard that one before.)
- Diamonds contain 14C.
- There is too much Helium in zircons for the Earth to be older than x thousand years.[note 8]
- There is not enough salt in the sea for the Earth to be old.[note 9]
The Life Sciences
- Life didn't originate through chemical processes.
- DNA is a "reservoir for the information of life."
- Natural selection preserves, rather than creates.
- Life naturally denigrates due to mutations.
- Life was clearly designed.
- Man is very different from animals.
- Human behavior isn't the result of evolutionary processes.
- The "instability of the mitochondrial genome" shows that we are all descended from a single couple. Also, Mitochondrial Eve was the real Eve.
- We Are Totally Not Apes.
- Mutations will eventually mean that life will be unable to continue to exist: the fact that this hasn't happened yet means that life cannot be very old.
- Living fossils disprove evolution.
- "Soft tissues" in fossils prove that they can't be very old.
Evidence from Scripture
- The Bible is "Authentic"... That is, we have closer-to-the-source copies of it than we do a number of cherry-picked contemporary texts.[note 10]
- The Bible is totally better than the holy books of everyone else - for example, other religions require that you actually do something to be saved, more than just be 'holy.'
- The Bible is historically and scientifically accurate and testable; The authors were all trustworthy eyewitnesses and consistent.
- "Not a single prophecy from the Bible has been proven false."
Climate Change Denialism
On top of spreading misinformation regarding topics like the Big Bang, abiogenesis, evolution, and other topics regarding origins, ICR has dedicated a significant amount of article dedicated to spreading misinformation about climate change, outright denying the phenomenon, human's involvement in the process, and what course of political action should be taken to mitigate the devastating consequences.
Daily Science Updates
Variously called Daily Science Updates or ICR News, the ICR puts out near-(week)daily articles on the subject of recent science news that has the potential to corrupt the faithful. These articles are most commonly authored by the Institute's "Science Writer," Brian Thomas, a former Biology teacher with a Masters in biotechnology.
Conferences and talks
“”Great men like George Washington and John Adams founded America on biblical principles. However, through the years evolution and atheistic thinking have steered us off course from our biblical foundation. Just how far have we deviated from the original intent of the Founding Fathers? Listen in as we discuss creation and the Constitution and see what happened in America that changed the way our founding documents are viewed.
|—Promo for the Science, Scripture, & Salvation episode Creation and the Constitution|
The ICR produces a weekly radio program called Science, Scripture, & Salvation, which was originally begun by Henry Morris himself in 1972. It also produces a few other programs including current President John Morris' daily one-minute Back to Genesis. Originally broadcast on Harold Camping's Family Radio network, this has expanded to include innumerable unaffiliated stations in the United States. The ICR boasts that their programs are aired on most of these stations without them having to pay for the privilege, "except in a few cases of local sponsorship." Note that Science, Scripture & Salvation episodes are often repeated,[note 11] and that there are no Back to Genesis episodes on the Radio page as of April 2012.[note 12]
A 90-second Spanish version of Back to Genesis, called De Regreso a Genesis, also exists.
Starting, like the Science Essentials blog, in October 2011 the ICR began a video channel called That's a Fact on the vimeopro website. The channel was described on its launch as "aimed at delivering fascinating facts about science, the Bible, and more in an entertaining manner — in two minutes or less."
The two minutes consist of compressed factoids, logical fallacies, PRATTs, and the odd completely incorrect statement.[note 13] They are not exactly intellectual in content - this can perhaps be best demonstrated by the promo for the first video:
“”The first episode in the series, "Measuring Billions," shows just how big the number one billion is, from how many trips around the world one billion frequent flier miles will get you to how long it would take someone to count from one to one billion. (Hint: a little over one billion minutes have passed since the time Jesus walked the earth!)
|—Christine Dao, That's a Fact|
The videos are presently scheduled to come out on a weekly basis, but the actual rate is more like fortnightly.
The ICR distributes a number of magazines and similar publications - along with various books and other resources - both on their site and in hard copy.
Acts & Facts
Their flagship magazine, Acts & Facts, is published monthly, and is effectively the newsletter of the Institute.[note 14] They publish the magazine prominently on their site[note 15] and the ICR offers free subscriptions of printed versions in the mail, apparently worldwide.[note 16]
In recent times, the first page of the magazine after the front (page 2 by their counting) is an advertisement for one or more of the ICR's various books. The magazine proper usually begins on the next page with an introduction from the editor, Lawrence E. Ford, who introduces much of the contents of the magazine. The next article in the magazine is the "featured article," which gives its name to the edition of the magazine itself. This article has no fixed authorship - pieces by the long-dead Henry M. Morris himself have been known to feature,[note 17] but this does not appear to be the norm.
Other regular sections include: updates from the Institute's "research" program(s); an article from current president John Morris, which may-or-may-not be related to his field of geology; an article from Mr Thomas, adapted from one of his Daily Science Updates mentioned above; various ICR members showing their profound ignorance of evolution in general and natural selection in particular, not uncommonly via the use of an irrelevant metaphor or analogy; the schedule for the places that the ICR's speakers will be visiting over the next month,[note 18] along with write-ups of past events; information about new projects that the ICR is launching; and a plea for donations.
Attacks on Intelligent Design etc for 'compromising core doctrines' have been known to appear in the magazine, as well as other irregular pieces.
Days of Praise
Days of Praise is a series of theology related articles for the purpose of bolstering the faith of the devout. They are apparently recycled endlessly, in little noticeable order. Fifteen year old articles by the late Dr Morris are frequently republished. Notably, for each republication a new page is made for the article, and typos are fixed and replaced with new ones. The formatting of the article is also often changed, with in more recent times hyperlinks given to referenced bible verses.[note 19]
Defender's Study Bible
The Defender's Study Bible is a study Bible authored by the ICR's founder, Henry M. Morris, originally published in 1995. It was updated in 2005, the year before his death, as the New Defender's Study Bible. If CreationWiki is to be believed, at one point in time the physical copy of the NDSB "Include[d a] CD for Windows!"
The book seems to just be a KJV with annotations in attempt to explain away the contradictions etc. It is allegedly riddled with typos. An online version of the NDSB is available on the ICR's website.
Past and Present Staff
Various creationists, both well known and less so, are or have been attached to the Institute for Creation Research. These include:
- Henry Morris (1918-2006) was the founder both of the Institute and, to a degree, of the entire creationist movement. He was president of the ICR until his death in 2006. He had a a Ph.D. in hydraulic engineering, and was thus an example of the engineers and woo phenomenon.
- John D. Morris is the son of Henry Morris and is the current President of the Institute. He has a Ph.D. in Geological Engineering and has led numerous expeditions in search of Noah's Ark on Mt Ararat.
- Duane Gish (1921-2013) —of "Gish Gallop" fame—was formerly the vice-President of the ICR. He had a Ph.D. in biochemistry and published many peer reviewed papers in his field in "secular" academic journals.
- Timothy LaHaye is the author of the Left Behind series of bad apocalyptic novels and other fundamentalist screeds.
- Jason Lisle, formerly of Answers in Genesis, is now the ICR's "Director of Research"—whatever that means in this incompetent organisation. He has a Ph.D. in astrophysics and has done perfectly good scientific research in this field.
- Jeffrey Tomkins is a 'research associate' at the ICR and has a Ph.D. in genetics. He has done (rather poor) work for the ICR on the genetic similarities between humans and chimpanzees.
- Nathaniel Jeanson gained his Ph.D. in cell and developmental biology at Harvard in 2009, and was quickly snatched up by the ICR—also as a research associate. He openly admits to have made his choice of education for purposes of credentialism.
- Lawrence Ford is the Institute's Director of Communications, which makes him the editor of their publications and in charge of their social medjia platforms.
- Brian Thomas is the Institute's main Science Writer, and is responsible for the majority of the ICR News articles (the frequency of which makes his incompetence rather more noticeable than other members of the ICR). He also contributes to Acts & Facts, more regularly than many of his peers at the ICR. He has a masters in biotechnology and was formerly a schoolteacher.
- Frank Sherwin is also a 'Science Writer', but writes much less often than Brian Thomas above. He is also a research associate and a "Senior Lecturer" for the ICR. He has a Masters in Zoology.
- Brad Forlow was the Associate Science Editor at the ICR. He served on the "life science research team" and has written some pamphlets for the ICR in his stay at the Institute. He has a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering. He apparently left the ICR with his wife in October of 2012.
- Rhonda Forlow ran the ICR's K-12 educational blog, and is the wife of Brad Forlow. She has an Ed.D. in "Educational Leadership—Public School Superintendency."
- David A. Dewitt was a "Biology" instructor who taught courses in cell biology at the ICR Graduate School. After the ICR Grad School went under, he began teaching at Liberty University (At least it is actually accredited)
(Not so) Notable ICR Graduate School Alumni
Note: this is not a complete list.
- Dr. Donald McBride earned a Master of Science degree in Biology from the ICR Graduate School after earning a Bachelor of Science in Biology from University of California. After getting his Masters "degree", McBride earned a Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine from the National College of Natural Medicine (which does hold regional accreditation). He is "board certified" by the American Association of Anti-Aging Medicine which is not considered a medical specialty by the American Medical Association or the American Osteopathic Association.
- John Whitmore earned a Master of Science in Geology and ended up becoming a Professor of "Geology" at fundie school Cedarville University.
- Chris Osborne earned a Master of Science degree in Biology, later earned a Doctor of Philosophy in Biology with a Botany concentration from Loma Linda University a fundie Seventh Day Adventist school with actual research departments.
- Pierre Willems first earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Christian Heritage College (Now San Diego Christian College which spawned the ICR), then his Master of Science in Biology from the ICR Graduate School, later an Educational Specialist degree in
Religious IndoctrinationScience Education from Pensacola Christian College, and even later a Doctor of Education degree from Liberty University. Pierre is a "Professor of Biology" at Pensacola Christian College.
- Dave and Mary Jo Nutting: Dave Nutting earned a Master of Science in Geology from the ICR Grad School; his wife Mary Jo Nutting earned a Master of Science in Biology from the ICR Grad School. They created the Alpha Omega Institute, an educational ministry aimed to teach creationism to children. They claim evolution leads to "moral decay" (whatever that means).
- Their website
- A Visit to the ICR Museum Collection of two separate visits to the ICR Museum and commentaries on it, from the Talk.origins website.
- Creationist Whoppers Collection of various examples of lies, contradictions, half-truths, and deceit from the Talk.Origins Archive/
- See the October 2011 Acts & Facts magazine, pages 18 and 19, which refers to the blog as such and includes screenshots of a site-design and content which has apparently never otherwise seen the light of day.
- The main site. Note that while they own the .org and .edu domains, they are not the owners of the .com domain.
- This argument is contradicted by the existence of a strange group of people known as atheists. I wonder if you have heard of them?
- If you can't tell how terrible all these arguments are I feel very sorry for you...
- See this Exposing PseudoAstronomy Podcast episode for a detailed refutation of the ICR's claims about comets.
- The evidence suggests that fine tuning may well be the best they have...
- Eroding Continents, Uniformitarianism vs. Catastrophism, and Young-Earth Creationism: an interesting article on this subject.
- Talk.origins has a lengthy, in-depth refutation of this claim.
- Yea gods this claim is old...
- The examples they give are Gallic War and Poetics - compare with Pliny's Natural History for example.
- For example, see the search resultsimg for "Creation and the Constitution."
- It is possible, however, that these episodes simply don't appear on that page, as they would presumably flood the page at a 7-to-1 ratio to the SSS episodes.
- For example the third video, Imitating humans, conflates DARPA's SyNAPSE computing project with IBM's Sequoia and incorrectly states that the latter is modeled on the human brain.
- They call it their "news magazine"
- Archival pdfs of all Acts & Facts editions since January 1999 can be found from here.
- The signup formimg has a drop down that includes all countries, including Taiwan (but not the TRNC).
- For example, in the September 2011 edition the feature Evolution Ex Nihiloimg was apparently recycled ("Adapted") from the September 1984 edition of the magazine.
- If you're worried about this happening near where you live, this could be worth checking...
- As an example, the Days of Praise article Jesus and the Fact of Hell, by Morris, first appears on the site in 1994img, then in 2000img, then 2006img, and most recently in 2011img.
- It's Alive!,img Acts & Facts, August 2012.
- About Us. School of Biblical Apologetics (SOBA) at the Institute of Creation Research.
- Located at http://www.science-essentials.org
- According to a blog-commentor called "Alan(UK)."
- Science Essentials is Gone
- Resources for Studentsimg, an example page.
- ICR:Science Education Essentials
- Institute for Creation Research Resource Guide
- Institute for Creation Research "How we do research".
- Evidence for Creation main pageimg. See also their topicsimg page, which has a list of all the articles that come under this heading in a handy, tree format.
- The ICR's Evidence for God section.img
- Cause and effectimg, according to the ICR.
- Time, Space, and Matterimg
- Design and Purposeimg
- God Caused Justiceimg
- Evidence for Truthimg
- John 18:38
- John 8:32
- The Foundation of Science Is Absolute Truthimg
- Historical Science Is Based on Assumptionsimg
- The Laws of Science Require a Creatorimg
- Knows That Good Is Better Than Evilimg
- Recognizes Man's Authority over Animals and Earthimg
- Acknowledges a Spiritual Part of Lifeimg
- Desire for Justiceimg
- Evidence from Natureimg
- Nature Reveals God's Powerimg
- Nature Reveals God's Presenceimg
- Nature Reveals God's Protectionimg
- Nature Reveals God's Provisionimg.
- Nature Reveals God's Wisdomimg
- The Earth Itselfimg
- The Sun and Moonimg
- The Miracle of Waterimg
- The Miracle of Airimg
- Unique Environment for Lifeimg
- The Speech of the Dayimg
- The Knowledge of the Nightimg
- Evidence from Scienceimg
- The Physical Sciencesimg
- The Earth Sciencesimg
- The Life Sciencesimg
- The Universe Has a Centerimg
- The Universe Was Created Recentlyimg
- The Universe Was Created Powerfullyimg
- Energy Cannot Naturally Be Created or Destroyedimg
- Available Energy Decreases Over Timeimg
- Elements Are Dependable across the Universeimg
- The Earth Was Uniquely Createdimg.
- Worldwide Catastrophic Evidence Is Everywhereimg
- Fossils Reflect Life's Original Diversityimg
- Men and Dinosaurs Coexistedimg
- Diamonds and Strata Have Too Much Carbon 14img
- Minerals Have Too Much Heliumimg
- The Sea Does Not Have Enough Mineralsimg.
- DNA Was Created as a Reservoir for the Information of Lifeimg
- Natural Selection and Adaptation Preserve Life Forms, Rather Than Generate New Onesimg
- The Natural Direction of Life Is Degeneration, Not Evolutionimg
- Living Creatures Were Clearly Designedimg
- Man Was Recently and Miraculously Created in the Image of Godimg
- All People Descended Recently from a Single Familyimg
- Man Was Created Distinct from Apesimg
- Mutational Buildup Indicates Living Populations Are Youngimg
- Living Fossils Display No Signs of Evolution's Long Agesimg
- Fresh Tissues Show That Fossils Are Recentimg
- The Manuscriptsimg
- The Message.img No Joke.
- Accurate Dataimg
- Reliable Eyewitnessesimg
- Accurate Predictionsimg
- Daily Science Updatesimg
- ICR Newsimg
- Brian Thomas' bio on the ICR website.img
- Their events.
- Creation and the Constitutionimg, as broadcast on the "Week of July 2, 2011."
- Almost 40 Years of ICR Radioimg
- The Radio page.img
- Radio FAQimg
- Channel page
- That's a Factimg
- Their Acts & Facts page.img
- e.g. The Failed Apologetic of the Wedge Strategy: How the Intelligent Design Movement Treats the Bible as Irrelevantimg, from the August 2011 edition.
- Defender's Bible Expandedimg
- From this revision, minus wikilink.
- New Defender's Study Bible filled with typos
- ICR Bio of Frank Sherwin.img
- ICR bio of Brad Forlow.img Archive copy at the Wayback Machine
- ICR bio of Rhonda Forlow.img Archive copy at the Wayback Machine
- ICR Graduate School, additional text.