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Monday, January 14, 2008

Creation Science Papers

 
Phil Plait of Bad Astronomy must have had a great deal of free time on his hands now that the asteroids have missed us and the galaxy isn't going to be consumed by a hydrogen cloud for at least 40 million years. He was thinking of writing a paper for a new journal sponsored by Answers in Genesis [Creationists: publish and perish].

Phil was interested in the first two papers that were published in the Answers Research Journal. One was a geology paper and one was about microbiology. Phil wanted to know how good they were.

Being as relieved as him about the fact that the Earth survived the near miss, I decided I could spare a few minutes to read the microbiology article. It's by Alan L. Gillen from that famous center of research called Liberty University. Here's the abstract.
The world of germs and microbes has received much attention in recent years. But where do microbes fit into the creation account? Were they created along with the rest of the plants and animals in the first week of creation, or were they created later, after the Fall. These are some questions that creation microbiologists have been asking in recent years. Ongoing research, based on the creation paradigm, appears to provide some answers to these puzzling questions. The answers to these questions are not explicit in Scripture, so the answers cannot be dogmatic. However, a reasonable extrapolation from biological data and Scripture can be made about the nature of microbes in a fully mature creation. This article attempts to provide reasonable answers to when microbes were created and is meant to stimulate discussion and further research in this area.

Very little has been written in Bible commentaries or in creation literature on the subject of when microbes were created. Some have postulated that microbes were created on a single day of Creation, such as Day Three—when the plants were made. This is partially due to the “seed-like” characteristics that bacteria and fungi have—therefore classifying microbes as plants. In addition, we observe microbes (such as Escherichia coli) isolated in the lab and we tend to think of microbes as individual entities much like birds or fish or animals and, therefore, created on a single day. However, in nature, the vast majority of microbes live in biological partnerships, not in total isolation. The natural symbiosis of microbes with other creatures is the norm. Therefore, we postulate that microbes were created as “biological systems” with plants, animals, and humans on multiple days, as supporting systems in mature plants, animals, and humans. This idea is further supported by the work of Francis (2003). Francis calls microbial symbiotic systems a biomatrix, or organosubstrate. He proposes that microbes were created as a link between macroorganisms and a chemically rich but inert physical environment, providing a surface (i.e., substrate) upon which multicellular creatures can thrive and persist in intricately designed ecosystems. From the beginning, God made His creation fully mature, and complex forms fully formed. This would insure continuity and stability for the times to come. Although we cannot be certain as to specifically when the Creator made microbes, it is within His character to make entire interwoven, “packaged” systems to sustain and maintain life.
I didn't read any further.

Phil, the bad news is that this is a pile of crap. The good news is that you won't have to waste very much time writing a paper for this journal. You can probably knock it off in an afternoon.


[Image Credit: The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Just Doing It]

23 comments :

  1. Actually the space junk that made Phil most excited missed Mars, instead of slamming into it and perhaps giving astronomers some info.

    (But possibly Messenger also will manage to miss Mercury today, so Phil and us can look forward to closeup and modern photo materials from this first pass instead.)

    Btw, "space junk" would fit that paper too.

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  2. Two words: certifiably insane. For real.

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  3. To the creationists: Off to remedial science class!

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  4. I've seen better "ongoing research" from 2nd grade "dinosaur clubs" on the playground.

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  5. Quote: "creation microbiologists".

    Are there any?

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  6. Answered my own question. This is their list of "creation microbiologists" attending their recent conference:

    Dr. Joseph Francis: bacteriology, immunology,
    Dr. Kevin Anderson: bacteriology
    Dr. Dan Criswell: bacteriology
    Mr. Frank Sherwin: parasitology
    Dr. Yingguang Liu: virology
    Dr. Alan Gillen: bacteriology
    2 Ph.D.-holding scientists from secular universities: mycology and virology
    Dr. Georgia Purdom

    Of whom one is a practicing GP, one is a science writer, and most of whom either work for AIG and/or teach in fundamentalist schools.

    I wonder who the 2 anonymous scientists are.

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  7. I wonder who the 2 anonymous scientists are.

    My guess is they were quote-mined. Their names don't appear so there'll be a longer time before the creationists get called on it and take it down, sans explanation.

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  8. The Brummel: "My guess is they were quote-mined. Their names don't appear so there'll be a longer time before the creationists get called on it and take it down, sans explanation."

    Possibly. Drop-ins to the conference, out of curiosity, maybe, who made it clear that they didn't want their names associated with AIG (a career-ender)?

    Or, conversely, PhD students who are not "coming out" as creationists until they have that degree?

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  9. Or, conversely, PhD students who are not "coming out" as creationists until they have that degree?

    Geting more and more common.

    Of whom one is a practicing GP, one is a science writer, and most of whom either work for AIG and/or teach in fundamentalist schools.

    Your point?

    It doesn't invalidate their degrees.

    To the creationists: Off to remedial science class
    Science or evolution "science" class??

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  10. Mats said,
    (in response to "Or, conversely, PhD students who are not "coming out" as creationists until they have that degree?")

    "Geting more and more common."

    And that is not a problem? What does it say about their honesty?

    Re degrees and teaching careers in fundamentalist schools:

    "Your point?

    It doesn't invalidate their degrees."

    No, it doesn't. But it does give rise to questions about their competence in the field.

    Going on to other matters: I have been reading some of the material in the ARJ. In the "Proceedings of the Microbe Forum", I found Alan Gillen again explaining the genesis of disease: "For creationists, biblical studies and current microbiological research suggests that factors leading to pathogenicity in bacteria may be attributed to the Fall of man and the Curse on the original “good” creation that is now undergoing decay."

    I wonder how "current microbiological research" (he said it) turns up evidence that suggests the Fall and Curse.

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  11. Wanderin' Weeta said:

    Mats said,
    (in response to "Or, conversely, PhD students who are not "coming out" as creationists until they have that degree?")

    "Geting more and more common."

    And that is not a problem?

    Yes,it's a problem. It's a sad state of affairs when people have to hide their skepticism of the darwinian sythesis in order to avoid academic descrimination.

    What does it say about their honesty?

    Keeping it secret, and lying are not the same.

    Re degrees and teaching careers in fundamentalist schools:

    "Your point?

    It doesn't invalidate their degrees."

    No, it doesn't. But it does give rise to questions about their competence in the field.


    The fact that they work for Creationist organizations "gives rise to questions about their competence" ? Would you think the same for te creationists of old, like Isaac Newton?


    Going on to other matters: I have been reading some of the material in the ARJ. In the "Proceedings of the Microbe Forum", I found Alan Gillen again explaining the genesis of disease: "For creationists, biblical studies and current microbiological research suggests that factors leading to pathogenicity in bacteria may be attributed to the Fall of man and the Curse on the original “good” creation that is now undergoing decay."

    I wonder how "current microbiological research" (he said it) turns up evidence that suggests the Fall and Curse.


    You forgot the part which says "Biblical studies".

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  12. The fact that they work for Creationist organizations "gives rise to questions about their competence" ? Would you think the same for te creationists of old, like Isaac Newton?

    Since Newton was alive long before Darwin published, though, it's an invalid comparison. Isaac Newton would have accepted the evidence for evolution, most likely. Scientists prior to Newton, like Galileo, certainly accepted scientific evidence that went against common sense or what might be interpreted from the Bible.

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  13. Mats blathered in his usual inane fashion:
    It's a sad state of affairs when people have to hide their skepticism of the darwinian sythesis in order to avoid academic descrimination.

    No, it's a sad state of affairs that intelligent people can make it that far in school and still not see through the BS they were told in church. There are two ways to avoid being dismissed as a kook (with associated career-limiting consequences). One is to hide it well. The other is smarten up and stop being one.

    I wonder how "current microbiological research" (he said it) turns up evidence that suggests the Fall and Curse.
    You forgot the part which says "Biblical studies".

    Ah, yes: pick a scientific factoid, free-associate it with some random bit of theology, and call it "research".

    Such is the the practice of "Creation Science".

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  14. Larry, I agree with your stance but I couldn't read this blog post. Could you please use a color other than bright neon yellow?

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  15. I'm stunned. That was without a doubt the worst "technical" article that I have ever read. Actually, it's the worst piece of writing of any sort that I've ever seen. It's not just worse than I expected, it's orders of magnitude worse than I would have thought that anybody was capable of. What are the authors of (words fail me) "papers" that didn't get through AiG's peer review process capable of?

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  16. As a microbiologist myself, I can only weep at what I read.

    That's what passes for a technical paper?

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  17. Ric asks,

    Larry, I agree with your stance but I couldn't read this blog post. Could you please use a color other than bright neon yellow?

    It looks OK to me but someone else mentioned that they don't like it. I changed it to a lighter color. Is that better?

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  18. I can't imagine the 'abstract' could lead to a paper.

    I found it funny. Unintentionally reaching for parody and getting there.

    There is a paper. Footnoted and all; my fave:

    "On each day of creation, God wrought a plethora of wonders, and each day’s work perfectly complemented the other (MacArthur 2001)."

    Thank God for MacArthur laying the groundwork!

    Ridiculous and hilarious.

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  19. J. O'Donnell wrote:

    "That's what passes for a technical paper?"


    That is nothing. David Menton once wrote a 'paper' that was referred to as "technical and in-depth."

    It was 2 paragraphs long. Had no list of references. And said in effect that embryoes don't have gills, so evolution is wrong.

    There is no lower limit for creationist barrel-scraping.

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  20. Actually Mats, (if your handler is still letting you play with the screen with the funny keys on it) being a creationist does not invalidate an individual's degree, it merely invalidates every single word to come out of the said individual.
    You see, if a person has earned a true degree in any field of real science (you know, that boring field where you have to have all that tedious evidence and stuff...)and can still believe in the poorly plagiarized fairy tales of barely literate camel humping desert bums, then that person is suffering from a psychological condition known as cognitive dissonance.
    (Pause while your handler explains that multi-syllabic concept to you in simpler words, or with brightly colored crayons)
    Not one word that comes out of the mouth of such an individual can be believed because they cannot process information in a normal manner. Until the individual receives adequate medical help, in the form of medication and psychological counsuling, that individual's mental processes are too confused to process, evaluate, and interpret anything, let alone reality.
    That is why your 'creationists' can have high-falutin' degrees and still sound as stupid as you. These individuals are at best to be pitied, at worst, incarcerated until they have had enough treatment and pharmaceuticals to demonstrate the ability to understand fact from pure, hatefull bullshit.
    That's all it is, Mats. Has your handler helped you understand that fact, or will you need the further help of, oh, say, Bert and Ernie?

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  21. "... can still believe in the poorly plagiarized fairy tales of barely literate camel humping desert bums ..."

    That's hardly fair. The first creation story in Genesis, Ch 1 and the first few verses of Ch 2, was composed about the 5th century BCE by civilised people and is no worse than the speculations of a pot of Greek philosophers at about that time.
    Still not very good by modern standards, of course.

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  22. Oops, "pot"! I should have previewed more carefully.

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  23. Ah, and I should have previewed more carefully, as well, Mr. Roberts. For I meant that those barely literate camel humping desert bums were the first in the long line of pathetic plagiarizers.
    The general gist of my flaming anger over the outright bullshit of the entire set of fairy tales and their modern day applications still stands, however.
    Happy Darwin's birthday to you! May we all measure up to at least the shadow of that great man.

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