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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