Jason Lisle Defends His Unpublished Paper

A week ago we posted Creation Scientist Overthrows Einstein’s Relativity. That was about an article titled Research at Answers in Genesis, which we found at the website of Answers in Genesis (AIG), one of the major sources of young-earth creationist wisdom.

The article was written by Jason Lisle, described by AIG as a Creationist Astrophysicist, and it promised the publication of Jason’s solution to the Distant Starlight problem. The problem — for young-earth creationists — is that the light we see from distant sources required literally billions of years to reach earth, yet the creationist’s universe is only 6,000 years old.

We haven’t yet seen Jason’s “Distant Starlight” paper, of course. All we had when we wrote our post was Jason’s claim that his paper was nearly finished, that it would be “peer reviewed” by “qualified scientists with a correct biblical worldview,” and that if it passed that hurdle it would be posted at the AIG website — at something called the Answers Research Journal. That journal, like the Creation Museum, is part of the creationism conglomerate run by Ken Ham.

Jason’s announcement of his still-unfinished and un-reviewed paper drew some less-than-enthusiastic commentary from various science oriented blogs, and Jason is displeased. He has expressed that displeasure in this article: Pride and Prejudice. Pride? Prejudice? Here are some excerpts, with bold added by us and italics as in the original:

Would you publicly mock and criticize a book or article that you had never even read? Of course not! That would be academically irresponsible and intellectually dishonest. But that doesn’t stop a die-hard evolutionist. They are ever eager to ridicule anything that goes against their beliefs — even things they haven’t bothered to actually read.

It seems a bit odd for Jason to be defending his paper at this stage. It’s not yet available; indeed, in his last article he said it wasn’t finished. No one has criticized its contents, because they’re unknown. The criticism we’ve seen so far — like our own — has been directed at the method of “peer review” and “publication” which Jason described. His paper is being reviewed by creationists; and they will decide if it’s worthy of being posted at Ken Ham’s website.

Although Jason may consider it “pride and prejudice,” criticism of such procedures is well-deserved. We suspect that Charles Darwin’s work would fail to meet the standards Jason described; but the work of Daffy Duck — if it supported creationism — would have a good chance of being accepted. Let’s read on:

In my last blog entry, I mentioned that I have submitted for publication a paper that apparently solves the distant starlight problem. Of course, I expected that evolutionists would arbitrarily dismiss and ridicule the paper without being able to produce a rational argument against it. But I was surprised to find them doing this already — before they even had a chance to read the paper! Not exactly open-minded, is it?

We’ll deal with the paper’s substance after it’s available — assuming it passes through the — ahem! — rigorous process of creationist peer review. Until then, yes, we admit that we’re skeptical. That’s the expected attitude upon hearing a claim that the “Distant Starlight” problem has been solved. But the merits of the paper will speak for themselves.

We continue with Jason’s article:

Many comments made by the critics will be quite embarrassing after the paper is posted. Consider one critic who titled his “review” (of the article he hasn’t read) as follows: “Creation Scientist Overthrows Einstein’s Relativity.”

Jason refers to your Curmudgeon’s post from last week. It wasn’t a review; it couldn’t be. It was our reaction to Jason’s announcement. Here’s more:

If he actually reads the article at some point, he will find that it is actually based on Einstein’s Relativity, and is in no way contrary to it! How embarrassing!

Jason’s announcement said: “I have found a solution to distant starlight which allows light to reach earth virtually instantaneously.” If that’s consistent with relativity theory, then yes — we’ll be embarrassed. Moving along:

The same critic made the following comment, which I found amusing: “Jason isn’t submitting his paper to a prestigious science journal, the editors of which will send it out to be reviewed by experts of their own choosing.” Students of logic will recognize the critic’s use of “prestigious” as the “no true Scotsman fallacy.” But the really embarrassing thing for this critic is that, actually, I have already submitted the paper to the Answers Research Journal, and the senior editor has already sent it out to experts for peer-review. How embarrassing for the critic!

Why should that be embarrassing for us? Jason’s earlier article said that the paper wasn’t finished, and that it “will shortly be sent to various experts for qualified peer-review.” That’s what the man said. Knowing that he’s a creationist, we took Jason at his word. That’s embarrassing.

Jason then talks about other criticisms he’s seen, which are of the same nature as ours. After that he says:

I have seen a few others as well, but they are all pretty much the same: arbitrary dismissal of a paper they haven’t read simply on the basis that it goes against their secular beliefs, or dismissal on the basis that it isn’t published in an evolution-based journal that would surely reject it on principle rather than merit. But of course, neither of these objections is remotely rational.

It would indeed be irrational to expect that a paper describing instantaneous starlight should be published in an “evolution-based journal.” One of the physics journals would be far more appropriate — if the paper met their standards for publication. If not, there’s always Ken Ham’s journal.

Then Jason makes a scriptural reference, after which he concludes with this:

I can’t wait to see the arbitrary dismissals and irrational diatribes that pop up on the web after my paper is published. Stay tuned!

Jason has already decided that if the substance of his paper is criticized, such criticism will be “arbitrary dismissals and irrational diatribes.” Good attitude, Jason! Nothing like abandoning all pretense of scientific objectivity ahead of time.

Meanwhile, we await the article with an open mind — notwithstanding the method of peer review or the status of the publisher. If it delivers what Jason promises, then we certainly will be embarrassed, and we’ll say so. If it doesn’t, many in the young-earth creationist community will nevertheless insist that Jason has solved their problem. Creationists are never embarrassed.

Update: See Still Waiting for Jason Lisle’s “Starlight” Paper.

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25 responses to “Jason Lisle Defends His Unpublished Paper

  1. If someone announced a paper solving the fairy invisibility problem, to be sent off for peer review by the Answers in Fairyland Journal and posted on their website, they would be ridiculed by creationists and scientists alike.

    If Jason honestly believes he has found a flaw in our understanding of light, he should thicken his skin against the expected reaction and send his paper to legitimate journals first. The fact that he’s not even trying to do that means that he knows he does not have a scientifically sound argument – he has a PhD in physics so he knows the score.

    That Daffy Duck comment, however, was disssspicable.

  2. Ed says:

    That Daffy Duck comment, however, was disssspicable.

    Oh yeah? Well you’re dithpicable!

  3. It would indeed be irrational to expect that a paper describing instantaneous starlight should be published in an “evolution-based journal.”

    More – it would be quite irrational to expect it to be published in any reality based journal. However, reality seems to be a subject with which Dr. Lisle has little expertise.

  4. Tomato Addict says:

    More – it would be quite irrational to expect it to be published in any reality based journal.

    Let’s give the fellow a chance. As he points out, we haven’t yet read his paper. If the creationist astrophysicist comes through as he promises, then you’ll have to join me in being embarrassed.

  5. >Let’s give the fellow a chance.

    Let’s not. Instead let’s ridicule him mercilessly for the fool he is, make him cry, and send him running home to mommy (or maybe to Ken Ham). Let’s be big mean Evolutionist and (metaphorically) beat him up for even pretending to have an ounce of credibility. Let’s (maybe) even be people of moderate religious belief who think he is twisting the concept very far from the original intent, and brand him as a fanatic. Let’s be reasonable, responsible adults, and brand Jason Lisle as the anti-enlightenment troll that he is.

    Oh my … did I rant? I seem to have ranted. At least I can check off “Smack around a Creationist loon” from my to do list. 🙂

  6. Tomato Addict asks: “Oh my … did I rant?”

    Yeah. But considering that the provocation comes from AIG, no one here can fault you.

  7. Rather than criticizing his critics, Dr. Lisle should be thanking them for giving his research a wider audience than it would otherwise have. While the 3 critics he quotes have linked to his original announcement so people can read what he actually said, Dr. Lisle doesn’t seem to feel the need to identify or link to the criticisms he complains about. At least he gave accurate quotes, so it was easy enough to find the 3 critics:

    Besides our own SC, the other two were PZ Myers widely-read Pharyngula ( http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2010/07/physicists_brace_yourselves_fo.php ) and Skepdude’s Skepfeeds ( http://skepfeeds.wordpress.com/2010/07/16/creationist-revolutionizes-physics-not-probably/ ).

    As SC says, these criticism were more about how and where Dr. Lisle was choosing to publish his work than on the work itself since they haven’t seen it. Of course, they are skeptical of his work. Didn’t he expect that? After all, he says his work throws off everything we now think we know about how light works.

    But then, Dr. Lisle does the same thing he accuses his critics of, “publicly mock and criticize a book or article that you had never even read”. He ridicules his critics for things they haven’t yet said about his research.

    PZ Myers says, “Oh, well, I’m willing to accept a diamond from a dungheap. Let’s see this paper!”

    Skepdude says, “Wow! I call bullshit and would be delighted to be proved wrong.”

    It’s up to Dr. Lisle to show us that his research is something more than, “the Bible says…”

  8. I wonder what the mass of something going faster than the speed of light is according to Jason’s theory that is simulatenously consistent with the theory of relativity.

  9. waldteufel

    Doctor Jason Lisle, Ph.D. announces an earth shattering, paradigm shifting solution to the creationist “distant starlight” problem from behind the curtain of a creationist side show.

    Doctor Lisle, Ph.D. may be an authority figure among the pasty-faced yahoos that shuffle thru the Creation “Museum”, but in the real world of science, his “work” at that trash heap of stupidity is viewed for what it is: pure, weapons-grade buffoonery.

    I’ll go out on a limb and say this paper will be a real creationist howler. I can’t wait to see it. I’ll accept in advance the criticism of prejudging the silly thing.

  10. waldteufel says:

    I’ll go out on a limb and say this paper will be a real creationist howler.

    I’m afraid to take such a risk. What if I made such a prediction and Jason is right? I’d be so embarrassed I’d have to change my name … maybe to the Ascetic Curmudgeon.

  11. waldteufel

    And, Curmy, I’ll change my name to “waldkretin” and slink away to try to read my Wholly Babble without moving my lips. 🙂

  12. Benjamin Franklin

    Creationists are never embarrassed.

    Creationism means never having to say you’re sorry.

  13. Benjamin Franklin says:

    Creationism means never having to say you’re sorry.

    Hey, that’s good!

  14. There is a greater (i.e., nonzero) chance that the world will end in 2012 than that Lisle’s paper will overturn the evidence-based age of the universe. It’s classic crank behavior, which afflicts he whole enterprise of professional creationism.

  15. James F says:

    It’s classic crank behavior, which afflicts he whole enterprise of professional creationism.

    You’ll be singing a different tune when Jason is carried away in the Rapture and you’re sizzling in the Lake of Fire.

  16. retiredsciguy

    Curmy says,
    “Let’s give the fellow a chance. As he points out, we haven’t yet read his paper.”

    Hell, HE hasn’t yet read his paper — it isn’t written yet, and I’d bet a quarter Quatterloony it never will be.

    Btw, I just tried looking up “Jason Lisle” on Wikipedia to see where he “earned” his Ph.D. The article about him has been deleted.

    The blurb on Google leading to the Wiki article said it was from The University of Colorado at Boulder. It’s now after 1 AM, I’m tired, and I’m not motivated to research this farther, but I am curious to know if his Ph. D. is legit, or if he’s just calling himself “Doctor”.

  17. Gabriel Hanna

    retiredscienceguy, Lisle does indeed have a genuine Ph.D. in astrophysics from UC Boulder.

    His education will allow him to write something that sounds scientific to the ignorant, and sound like nonsense to physicists.

  18. Mike McCants

    The Wiki vote to delete was unanimous. A quote:

    “It may very well be that he becomes a prominent spokesman for Creationism in the future, in which case he’ll genuinely merit a page on those grounds. But for the moment, he’s notable neither as a scientist nor a creationist.”

    He’s just not notable. Perhaps after he has completely overturned modern physics he will become slightly more notable?

  19. retiredsciguy

    Gabriel Hanna: “Lisle does indeed have a genuine Ph.D. in astrophysics from UC Boulder.”

    Thanks, Gabriel.

  20. Mike McCants says: “He’s just not notable.”

    Quite. I sometimes write about his posts at the AIG site, but only because they’re part of the general goofiness of AIG. If Jason had his own website, as many such people do, we’d be unlikely to ever visit the place.

  21. Gabriel Hanna: “Lisle does indeed have a genuine Ph.D. in astrophysics from UC Boulder.”

    I found an interesting article on him here: http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Jason_Lisle

    Also found an interesting review of a series of talks Dr. Lisle gave in Tucson, AZ in 2005 by a fellow astrophysicist, Dr. Christopher M. Sharp ( http://www.csharp.com/lisle.html ). Well worth reading. A couple of quotes from the review:

    “Knowing that he has a Ph.D. in solar physics, I asked him that if the Sun were only about 6000 years old, how could he explain the fact that the abundance of helium in the center is consistent with about 4.5 billion years of nuclear burning. Many creationists duck these types of arguments by stating that they are full of assumptions, but I knew that he knew that that argument would not work, so he basically said that God created the Sun to appear that way.”

    “Jason Lisle is engaged in so called creation science, which is an oxymoron. It is not science, but pseudo-science, because it makes infallible claims about truth, which have to conform to a particular interpretation of the Bible, and any interpretations that contradict it are wrong by definition, regardless of the evidence. On the other hand, science is open in principle to new evidence that could change theories. The aim of so called creation science is to make it sound scientific by using various technical words and deceive the audience who usually knows little about science.”

  22. Hey Jason, why do you write such intellectually irresponsible and academically dishonest drivel?

    Mock? You ain’t seen nothing yet.

  23. retiredsciguy

    Thanks, RogerE, for sharing these articles about Jason Lisle.

    One would hope that someday soon the skies will open, and a deep, resonating voice will thunder, “Jason Lisle, you are wrong!! The universe IS 13.7 billion years old!!!”

  24. Stigs mate

    This paper Jason promises,

    Will it be both soft and absorbant?

  25. Stigs mate, if so, then at least it will have that one virtue. But watch out for splinters.