ICR: The Mind of Brian Thomas

Many of the articles we find at the website of the Institute for Creation Research (ICR) — the granddaddy of all creationist outfits, the fountainhead of young-earth creationist wisdom — were written by Brian Thomas. He’s usually described at the end of his articles as “Science Writer at the Institute for Creation Research.” This is ICR’s biographical information on him.

That’s what we’re told about him. But do we really know him? How do such people become creationists and end up working for a place like ICR? Now, at last, they’ve posted an article that gives us some insight — Creation Conversion: The Turning Point.

There’s an introductory paragraph, and then the rest seems to be written by Brian himself. The intro says:

Seeing creation as God’s handiwork is a spiritual blessing, and not seeing it is a form of spiritual blindness. For some, the revelatory turning point of seeing the earth and universe as recent creations comes as a shock. Science Writer Brian Thomas had this experience.

Okay, dear reader, here comes the shocking turning point, in what seems to be Brian’s own words. He says, with bold font added by us:

When I was both a Christian and an evolutionist, I believed that science had proven fossils were millions of years old. A friend named Kurt, who was discipling me in Christ, asked me to explain this:

Pay careful attention. This is the question that Kurt put to Brian:

Fossils are dated by their rock layers, but then the rock layers are dated based on the age assigned to the fossils they contain. Could I refute this assertion? I had no good answer, except I thought it was just not possible that so many smart scientists could all make that same mistake.

The mythical circularity of strata and fossil dating is possibly one of the dumbest clunkers in the creationists’ inventory. It’s true that old fossils are found in old strata, but the age of fossils and strata aren’t assigned arbitrarily to make one consistent with the other. To claim otherwise is like claiming that people are arbitrarily designated as being of advanced age because they reside in retirement homes.

TalkOrigins has an article that discusses the alleged circularity problem: Radiometric Dating and the Geological Time Scale, and we mentioned it in The Lessons of Tiktaalik.

How did Brian handle this profound intellectual challenge? Let’s read on:

My friend repeated his question about a week later, and I tried to ignore it, along with his other challenges. Millions of years was simply too fundamental a belief for me to willingly question it. But for five weeks he kept asking me to explain the use of circular reasoning in dating fossils. Frustrated, I asked him to stop bothering me.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Brian couldn’t handle it. He continues:

So, he made me an offer. He would stop asking me if I would read Dr. Henry Morris’ book Scientific Creationism. I agreed, thinking that I would return to show him all the errors in the book and easily silence his challenges.

[…]

It took me several months, between school assignments, to read it all, but by the time I finished I was shocked to discover that the problems with evolution and its dating methods were insurmountable. One reason so many smart scientists could be wrong was that their secular beliefs frame which questions they are even willing to ask.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! That was the big turning point. Thereafter, Brian became a creationist true believer. Here’s the end of his essay:

God will not force us to see His truth, but He does reward the seeker with new vision and a renewed mind. It is our prayer that God uses ICR’s resources, and those of other biblical creation ministries, to help cast down every argument that hinders knowing God and to open the eyes of this generation to biblical creation. We want all generations to have a creation conversion!

It’s an inspiring tale. And here’s the best part — if Brian could do it, you can too! So go forth, dear reader, and free you mind of the errors that lead all those scientists astray. Your reward will be eternal.

Copyright © 2014. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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28 responses to “ICR: The Mind of Brian Thomas

  1. I imagine the secret conclave of atheist-scientists which decided, after much wrangling about the dating of events. There was the moderate faction which thought that it was good enough to make life on Earth to be a few million years old, plenty old enough to mock Bible-believers, but not too much to strain one’s credulity. There was the radical faction which was holding out for eternity of life – or at least enough to give “mere chance” time to work. Somehow or other they compromised on a time scale of a few billion years.
    After all, because it is merely circular reasoning, any time scale would work as well as any other. If the facts would fit as well to a few thousand years, as to a few billion, then anything goes.

  2. I highly recommend this book:

    The Map that Changed The World about William Smith who drew up the first geological map of the UK. Smith was a keen observationalist and he noticed similar fossils, and orders of fossils, in mines and canal cuts that he surveyed. He came to the conclusion that the layers were connected, and the fossils he observed became “reference” fossils.

  3. If only Brian Thomas had had a way to access the information he was looking for when he was in college. At the very least, universities should aggregate a bunch of books in one place! It would only be useful if the books on the shelves were in some kind of order, grouped by subject or something, however. Maybe some kind of coding system using decimals could be developed.

    If not that, then univeristies could organize into separate departments that specialize in particular disciplines. Then a person would know where to go with specific questions. Poor Brian had none of that available to him!

  4. I know this will do nothing more than make my blog look more popular than it really is, but what I found today is hilarious. (http://sciencestandards.blogspot.com/2014/09/occams-razor-used-to-explain-difference.html) The difference between a creationist and an evolutionist explained in one very short, too the point, sentence. If you don’t want to run up my page count, you can look at the original here http://theimmoralminority.blogspot.com/2014/09/never-has-difference-between.html

  5. Answers in Genesis is the website of Ken Ham whose sole mission in life is to screws up the thinking processes of children before they even reach puberty. If he can get at them young enough, this kind of abuse of logic destroys their brains and there is no going back.

  6. Wow, what a douche.

  7. I strongly suspect Brian is lying. The creationist community has been told repeatedly what the deal is about relative dating and absolute dating for decades. They know that what they are claiming is not true. They cannot claim ignorance. They cannot actually believe that scientists are “blind” to the supposedly circularity. Professional liar. Has Brian tried running for office? He’d be a natural.

  8. So BT is admitting that he does not understand how fossils and rock stata are dated and that he isn’t curious enough to find out. Ignorance and lack of curiosity make a shoddy science writer.

  9. What’s the difference between creationists and evolutionists? Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

    To the creationist, the chicken came first, created on the fifth day.

    To the supporter of Darwin, the egg came first: the first chicken hatched from an egg laid by a bird which wasn’t quite a chicken.

    Nothing could better illustrate how irreconcilable these two viewpoints are.

  10. Charles Deetz ;)

    @Eric Lipps, were you guessing at Ted Herrlich’s one liner? I’ll just post it here, I like it too:

  11. Charles Deetz ;)

    Watching this basic video, I can see where a skeptical creationist can get a feeling of circular logic.

    (Sorry SC if I’m making the comments to multimedia.)

  12. docbill, your book suggestion is a great one, for sure!
    I heartily recommend the book as a great antidote to the disease-ridden garbage that flows from anything on offer from ICR or AiG. Those people are just not well.

  13. Charles, I wish I could take credit for it, but I caught it off another blog, The Immoral Minority Blog, http://theimmoralminority.blogspot.com/2014/09/never-has-difference-between.html

  14. @Mike Elzinga I paid a visit to the Creation ‘Museum’ of kennie ham’s. The most frightening thing wasn’t the exhibits or coming to a better understanding of kennie’s very limited view of the world, it was watching parents ‘explaining’ the exhibits to their poor children. I almost went back one more time when kennie and AIG was hosting a kids Science Fair there. It might have been interesting to see what they consider science, but decided it wasn’t worth it.

  15. Ted Herrlich, don’t go any more often than absolutely necessary for research. Hambo’s ‘museum’ is where cranial neurons go to die.

  16. Let’s take the gospels for comparison.

    None of the Gospels exists in a complete ancient manuscripts. The most ancient manuscripts are fragments that Christians aligned and arranged into complete texts. Whence came the ORDER of the manuscripts which, when assembled, form the Gospels?

    First, they judge the order of the fragmentary manuscripts from their places in the sequence of Gospel stories. Then, they determine the sequence of Gospel stories from the ordering of the manuscripts.

    Nothing circular about that.

  17. @Eric Lipps
    But when the chicken was created on day 5, was it created as an adult hen or rooster, or as a newly hatched chick? How many days old was the chicken? When the chicken was created, how much food did it have in its digestive tract? Was it created with the knowledge of how to fly? What about the blood circulating in the newly created chicken – did it have dissolved oxygen, as if it had passed through the lungs, etc. Did the chicken have acquired immunization?

  18. Diogenes Lamp says: “Let’s take the gospels for comparison. … Nothing circular about that.”

    The ultimate circularity is one that everyone knows: The bible is infallible truth because it’s the word of God. We know it’s the word of God because the bible says so.

  19. Wow !!!! Geology as we know it is trash ! Who knew.
    Personally, I think moral weakness , a need for cash flow,
    and shaky fundamentals in understanding of the scientific method cause people like Brian to sell out and become professional frauds.
    Pathetic.

  20. BlackWatch exclaims: “Wow !!!! Geology as we know it is trash ! Who knew.”

    I have always known. Many times I’ve been out in the field with a geologist and I’ve asked: “How old is this stratum?” And each time the response has been: “How would I know unless you can show me a previously-dated fossil that’s imbedded in it?”

  21. @Pete Moulton, Pete, I was lucky, I was there the same day as a group from the Secular Students of America (SSA) and PZ Myers was visiting. One of the things that caught my eye was the omnipresent security. I wasn’t sure if that was normal or because of the SSA and kennie was afraid of a disruption. The most interesting discussion I heard was outside on the patio area while a some of the SSA and Dr. Myers were chatting about a few things.
    I found it to be less a museum and more a carnival ride. Except for one space, the rest of it was designed to funnel you along a specific path so kennie could tell his story. I made a couple of blog posts (http://sciencestandards.blogspot.com/2009/08/creation-museum-first-impression.html and http://sciencestandards.blogspot.com/2009/08/creation-museum-lesson-in-being.html but really didn’t have the heart do do more. Very depressing place.
    It did make it on the list of the worlds worst tourist attractions. (http://sciencestandards.blogspot.com/2010/08/and-now-for-some-levity.html) and I loved the article description ‘craptastic’.

  22. For supposedly being a science writer, Brian is one dumb[cluck]. Or as James St. John strongly suspects, he’s lying.

    Either way, he’s a dumb[cluck]. Lying like that just makes one look stupid, and you’d have to be pretty dumb not to see that. And who with half a brain would want people to think you’re that stupid?

  23. It’s possible, I suppose, to write as lazily and stupidly as brother Brian for no reason other than ease of making money. No research required, no knowledge other than knowing the depths of stupidity of your drooling audience is necessary.

  24. As nearly everyone here knows, Ken Ham was a protégé of Henry Morris, having spent some time at the Institute for Creation “Research” after coming to the US.

    Ham majored in “Befuddling Preadolescents” and “Marketing” at the ICR (he didn’t have the chops for their “Masters” or “PhD”).

    To get ICR’s “Masters Degree”, one has to take courses in “Maintaining the Befuddlement in Post Adolescence,” “Taunting Scientists into Debates”, and “Debating Snark that Makes Scientists Angry.”

    (For an example of rapid-fire bamboozlement, see ICR graduate Thomas Kindell.)

    To get their “PhD,” one then takes “Concocting Creationist Science Consistent with the Proper Reading of the Bible,” This course is based on the templates provided by ICR founder Henry Morris.

    You will notice that former Ham employee, Jason Lisle, is now their “Director of Research.” He is currently brewing up some new course material such as “Circles Within Circles Within Circles Within Circles,” “Yom Equals 24 Earth Hours,” and “The Advanced Relativity of the Speed of Light that Proves the Universe is 6000 Years Old.”

    In order to get those advanced degrees at ICR, one has to take courses with longer and longer titles.

  25. My understanding is that it is pretty much required for being a “true Christian” to have a conversion story. Something to do with being a wretched soul before salvation. You can’t just happen to be born into the right family and in the right society and grow up being a right believer. So it is expected that you use a little poetic license.

  26. Wasn’t ICR the group that moved their ‘World Headquarters’ to Texas after California refused to grant them a dispensation to award Master’s of Science degrees? Then after Texas refused, they claimed Viewpoint Discrimination. I thought there was a suit in the works, but haven’t heard another about it since 2010 or so.

  27. Ted Herrlich says: ” I thought there was a suit in the works, but haven’t heard another about it since 2010 or so.”

    I wrote about it a few times. See Texas Court Slams Institute of Creation Research.

  28. Thanks TC. I took a break from blogging for a few years and I guess missed the results of the suit. I knew the board had ruled against them and they were whining about viewpoint discrimination. I was surprised the DI didn’t leap to their defense, since they’ve posted about viewpoint discrimination a number of times.