ICR: A Great Example of Creation Science

This one doesn’t need much commentary from us, because it’s really just one big joke. That won’t stop us from making a Curmudgeonly remark or two, however. It’s found at the website of the Institute for Creation Research (ICR) — described in the Cast of Characters section of our Intro page.

The title of ICR’s article is Do People Live Longer among Trees? Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

Could living near trees possibly affect human health? Increasingly, studies indicate that trees can improve human health. Evolution doesn’t expect this, but biblically speaking, trees and people have close ties.

They’re serious, dear reader. Stay with us; the article continues:

New research included steps to demonstrate that living longer was not linked to living among trees, but instead linked to more sensible factors “like income, race, and education,” according to the Pacific Northwest Research Station of the U.S. Forest Service based in Portland. But the researchers found that cardiovascular health clearly declined in people from very different ethnic, income, and educational backgrounds in the absence of trees.

They provide a link to this press release from the USDA Forest Service, part of the Department of Agriculture: Tree and human health may be linked It’s about a study of one incident:

In an analysis of 18 years of data from 1,296 counties in 15 states, researchers found that Americans living in areas infested by the emerald ash borer, a beetle that kills ash trees, suffered from an additional 15,000 deaths from cardiovascular disease and 6,000 more deaths from lower respiratory disease when compared to uninfected areas.

[...]

Although the study shows the association between loss of trees and human mortality from cardiovascular and lower respiratory disease, it did not prove a causal link. The reason for the association is yet to be determined.

Interesting, but thin gruel indeed. Notably, there is no context for those numbers. We’re not given the figure for total deaths in those 1,296 counties, or the figures for deaths from those particular causes in earlier years. We have no idea what the percentage of increase in such deaths may be — it could be statistically significant, or it could be trivial. Perhaps it’s due to an aging of the population. Although the press release says “when compared to uninfected areas,” we are not given any figures for counties that were not infested by that beetle. From the limited information available, we can’t make any judgments. It’s possible that deaths everywhere from those causes have risen somewhat during that period, beetle or no beetle — or maybe not. Anyway, back to ICR:

What is the real cause of these phenomena? The researchers don’t know, but the data fit with the strange idea that broken trees may lead to broken hearts.

Yes, that is certainly a possibility. Let’s read on:

In the evolutionary mindset, what survival advantage would people have from just seeing strong trees? And how can evolution explain people’s health deteriorating when trees wither?

Excellent questions! But are the beetles and the tree deaths the cause of the human deaths, or are they the only the visible symptoms of some underlying cause? ICR doesn’t worry about that, so neither shall we. Their article continues:

In contrast to evolutionary origins myths, trees play a surprisingly strong role in actual human history. The book of Genesis uses the word “tree” 28 times, for example. Its fourth instance occurs in Genesis 2:9: “And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food.” So, right from the beginning, trees were identified as sources of food and of beauty.

Powerful evidence! Hey — we found a listing of the Top 100 Bible Nouns. Gold and silver are on the list, but not trees. Make of that what you will. Here’s the end of the article:

The Bible also says about the believer, “His branches shall spread, and his beauty shall be as the olive tree, and his smell as Lebanon.” Clearly, God made trees for the purpose of bringing pleasure to people. Are researchers uncovering evidence of this God-made link between man and trees?

Much to think about! There is no more appropriate closing for this post than a link to an old poem by George Pope Morris: Woodman, Spare That Tree!

Copyright © 2013. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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24 responses to “ICR: A Great Example of Creation Science

  1. I can only ask: where is the Tree of Life in the list of ‘powerful evidence’? They forgot their trump card!

  2. Bartender, I’ll have whatever ICR is having!

  3. Who ever expected evolution to be personified and have the expectation of it having expectations thrust upon it? How fitting a subject for the icr’s usual pulp fiction.

  4. ICR: “…evolutionary origins myths…”

    For the 27,463rd time — evolution does not say anything about the origin of life. Why? Because there is no evidence that would indicate how life started. We just don’t know.

    So, ICR, where is your evidence that would back up your idea of how life began? And if you’re going to say, “God did it,” then you need to explain how God got there in the first place. I’d also like to know your thoughts about what God’s duties were before He created a universe to oversee. Must not have had much to do. Wow! Talk about sensory depravation!

  5. Broken trees lead to broken hearts? Sounds like a job for the Lorax…

  6. “Evolution doesn’t expect this, but …”

    You know what else Evolution doesn’t expect?

    A Crockoduck.

    I bet you thought I was gong to say “The Spanish Inquisition”, didn’t you?

  7. SC: Near the end of your article, you say, “Gold and sliver are on the list”. Did you mean to say, “Gold and silver are on the list”?

  8. Gary asks: “Did you mean to say …”

    Yup. You’ve caught me again. You’re amazing. Thank you.

  9. Ah, Grum, I was all a-twitter, now dashed!

  10. And what about theTree of Knowledge that led to the Fall, death and decay. Thanks, trees!

  11. docbill1351 says: “And what about theTree of Knowledge that led to the Fall, death and decay.”

    And what about all those trees in which our distant ancestors lived? Huh, huh? What about them?

  12. Charley Horse

    There is one word that is not in the Bible….LOGIC.

    In deference to Dr. J. Morris, (almost left out Dr.)
    the writer avoided saying live trees and dead trees.
    Choosing instead..broken…absence…wither.
    I didn’t click over and read the entire article…too close
    to supper time.

  13. These people can say anything because they know that their audience is incapable of scrutiny.

  14. Grum says: “Broken trees lead to broken hearts?”

    Haven’t you heard the latest song?:

    I thought mah heart would break,
    When mah baby left me,
    But ah didn’ know what heartbreak was,
    Until mah tree broke.

  15. Charles Deetz ;)

    This is from the ICR, the Institute for Creative Rationalization? Because it isn’t even rational. The must live somewhere where there isn’t trees, and are a little oxygen deprived.

  16. Doctor Stochastic

    Perhaps they’re going Druid? Worship oak trees?

  17. “Verily, ICRs science reeks of dead neurons and dogma infested thought.
    The learned shall wretch while reading it and no progress to man shall be born of it. The hoards of the Morris fortune shall dwindle to a few coins and even the ill and misinformed shall cry “Hey lets head over to the Dallas Science Museum” And the eyes of the false prophets shall see no more and they shall wander the land as beggars.”

  18. Seems like in Cosmos Carl Sagan went on and on about trees. So not exactly a creationist monopoly.

  19. Alex Shuffell

    This article is evidence to the Norse gods being true. Yggdrasill is the tree of life, it is also an ash tree, no wonder we feel heartbreak at their destructions. Odin goes by many names, it’s not surprising he may have spawned some other, false, religions elsewhere in the world.

  20. “Could living near trees possibly affect human health? Increasingly, studies indicate that trees can improve human health.”

    This sounds like animism or Druidism, not Christian fundamentalism.

    I say we bring back the Irminsul ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irminsul ) while we’re at it.

    Knock on wood! (or as the Brits say, “touch wood”)

  21. In contrast to evolutionary origins myths, trees play a surprisingly strong role in actual human history

    In contrast to the evolutionary “myth”, which postulates were originally tree dwellers.

  22. I think the ICR is using this article to make a subtle jab at Hambo, who will be destroying vast numbers of trees (gopher trees, presumably) to build his arc.

    The article makes no sense. There must be a hidden message…

  23. Hambo’s conclusions are not supported by the data (surprise!). What the data demonstrate is that living near the emerald ash borer shortens lives. The loss of trees is a secondary effect, and no evidence is cited that that effect, rather than some other effect of the ash borer (it may secrete Agent Orange, for all we know) is the cause of increased mortality.

    What’s needed is a control experiment that separates these variables: look for increased mortality among people who never see trees, but in areas not infected by the (Satanic) borer. Like, desert peoples. Are they dying sooner?

    Something tells me that a little more evidence might undermine Hambo’s hypothesis. Or, in his case, not. I’d in interested in hearing the Biblical explanation of how constant vistas of sand dunes helps you live longer.

  24. hmm… let’s see… trees clean crud like particulate pollution out of the air. people who live in rural areas have less exposure to the nasty air in cities and tend to not have as many respiratory problems. maybe that has something to do with the life span issue. maybe its the ash borror. maybe anyone who’s not in a city will live longer. maybe the ICR and AIG both have fried brains… we may never know.