|The divine comedy
“”1. If the Bible were not true, logic would not be meaningful.
2. Logic is meaningful.
3. Therefore, the Bible is true.
Astrophysicist and creationist
Dr. Lisle is a creationist with a Ph.D. in astrophysics from the University of Colorado Boulder. Lisle earned his undergraduate degree from Ohio Wesleyan University summa cum laude with a double-major in physics and astronomy and a minor in mathematics. His postgraduate research concentrated on solar dynamics, utilizing NASA's Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) to monitor the surface of the sun. His dissertation "Probing the Dynamics of Solar Supergranulation and its Interaction with Magnetism" is available from the University of Colorado and he has also published numerous papers in legitimate scientific journals concerning convection cells in the sun.
Although some creationists claim that a creationist could not earn an advanced degree from a secular university because of institutional prejudice against their beliefs, Lisle's creationism failed to hinder his academic progress. While members of his Master's thesis and Ph.D. dissertation committees might have been aware of his young Earth beliefs, their evaluation of his work was based on his research and not on his personal beliefs.
Creationism and starlight
Given his qualifications in astrophysics, Lisle has become an authority on the "starlight problem" in creationist circles.
However, his explanation for how distant starlight is compatible with a 6 day creation only a few thousand years ago is very, very weak. It essentially consists of immediately throwing out the conventional science just because it conflicts with scripture and then proposing that "creation was supernatural, therefore cannot be understood scientifically". Most of Lisle's points just begin with the claim that the Bible must be true, cannot change and so can explain everything and he's no stranger to wall-bangingly circular logic. It shouldn't need to be stated that this is the opposite of what a good scientist should do. While he may be a published and qualified scientist, the remarks he makes regarding creationism aren't actually very scientific. Indeed, for AiG to use him as a leading scientist is practically a sham, as it leads their audiences to think that his ideas — which aren't really his ideas, just the same old tired arguments — automatically have credibility due to his real PhD. Although he has done research with genuine merit into the sun's heliosphere, Lisle has yet to perform, let alone publish, credible work into starlight or creationism.
In July 2010, Lisle announced that he was working on a research paper that would be published in the Answers Research Journal, a creation science journal controlled by Answers in Genesis. He claimed that this paper would fully solve the starlight problem, and that publishing it in a peer reviewed journal would make it legitimate. However, considering he is publishing in the ARJ and not Science or Nature where such Earth-shattering revelations about physics belong (although Lisle denies this should be the case), some might suspect his "idea" isn't up to much. And an "idea" it is, as Lisle has admitted that he is just using "research that has already been published in secular journals" — quite a backtrack from his earlier blog posts that seemed to indicate that he was actually doing original research himself. Lisle responded to the "pre-publishing" critics (hilariously overusing the word "embarrassing", and never really naming any critics specifically) by basically saying people should have an open mind until they read the paper. Despite pimping and hyping his publication on the AiG blog, he was noncommittal to the idea of a "non-technical writeup".
Lisle is clearly a smart guy who knows a bit more than most creationists, particularly about space. He is a confident speaker and quite passionate about science education when he isn't trying to replace science textbooks with the Bible.
However, some of the points put into his essays and talks - to highlight perceived problems in "secular" theories - have been considered as highly misrepresented, or even non-existent. Some of them are, in fact, well known creationist arguments rehashed by someone who, frankly, should damn well know better.
Torn between the worlds of science and Biblical literalism, Lisle mostly ends up shoehorning various random points into an ad hoc framework of bullshit that supports a recent creation regardless of what his scientific training must be screaming at him on a daily basis. A summary of some of Lisle's dumber points are outlined below.
- Earth’s magnetic field is decaying - This is a well known creationist argument. The dipole component of the Earth’s magnetic field is indeed decreasing, but other components are not necessarily decreasing. The magnetic field is due to a dynamo effect in the Earth interior, and has fluctuated and changed polarity many times in the geological past. It's been decreasing for millennia, in anticipation of a geomagnetic reversal — which will bring the field back up to full strength again, albeit with different poles.
- Recession of the Moon - He is making uniformitarian assumptions about its recession rate, and conveniently did not mention other lunar processes. However, he did mention that the creationist dust on the Moon argument should not be used.
- Most of the 150 (then) known extra-solar planets are more massive than Jupiter and close to their parent star, quite different to the solar system - This is simply because we can detect such planets much more easily than lower mass planets in longer period orbits. How many planets which are similar to our own in existence is still unclear. Until recently, creationists denied that extra-solar planets even existed. (The book this statement was taken from was written in 1982 before extra-solar planets were discovered.)
- Deep time is apparently a "false god" (unlike Yahweh, who is totally real).
- Feedback: Not Sound Logic? (Jason Lisle, AiG-US, 8 Jan 2010). This one made the Fundies Say The Darndest Things top 100.
- Introducing ICR's New Director of Research: Jason Lisle, Ph.D.img
- NASA - Solar and Heliospheric Observatory
- Creation.com - Dr Jason Lisle
- Answers in Genesis - Dr Jason Lisle's biography
- See Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed.
- Christopher M. Sharp, Jason Lisle's Visit to Tucson. Archived from the original at csharp.com, 2005.
- YouTube - Dr. Jason Lisle- The Distant Starlight Mystery
- Theology Web - When astrophysicists go bad: Jason Lisle
- Jason Lisle - Atheism: An Irrational Worldview, Answers in Genesis (2007)
- AiG Blogs - Research at Answers in Genesis
- AiG Blogs - Pride and prejudice
- Jason Lisle, False History of Creationism Is Full of Beans. Answers in Genesis, 22 December 2020.
- Does an anomaly in the Earth’s magnetic field portend a coming pole reversal? theconversation.com, 5 February 2017.
- "There is no observational evidence even of any planets outside the solar system..." Gary Parker and Henry Morris. What Is Creation Science?
- Deep Time – the god of our Age. Archived from the original at jasonlisle.com, 9 November 2012.