Creationist Wisdom #694: Creationist Geologist

Today’s letter-to-the-editor appears in the Cincinnati Enquirer of Cincinnati, Ohio, just across the border from Northern Kentucky where Ken Ham’s creationist empire is located. This is their headline: Creationists are real scientists, and the newspaper has a comments section. The first few comments aren’t favorable to the letter’s contents.

Unless the letter-writer is a politician, preacher, or other public figure, we won’t embarrass or promote him by using his full name — but today is an exception. The letter is from John Whitmore, professor of geology, Cedarville University. According to Wikipedia, that’s an independent Baptist school known for its adherence to the Christian tradition. Whitmore certainly qualifies for full name treatment. Excerpts from his letter will be enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary and some bold font for emphasis. Here we go!

I’m sure I’m not the only reader getting tired of reading articles that claim creationists can’t be real scientists [reference to some earlier article]. It happened again in both Monday’s and Sunday’s paper, with Bill Nye “The Science Guy” attacking the Ark Encounter of the creationist group Answers in Genesis.

As everyone knows by now, Ark Encounter is the religious theme park being built by Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo), the world’s holiest man who knows more about religion and science than everyone else. Whitmore is a big fan of ol’ Hambo, and he’s getting tired of articles claiming that creationists — like him — can’t be real scientists. He says:

To cite just one example that completely demolishes this wrong charge, I point out that the brilliant inventor of the MRI scanner, Dr. Raymond Damadian, is a creationist and ark booster. His remarkably designed invention has helped save countless lives.

Hambo often mentions Raymond Damadian. As we’ve said before, a creationist can be an architect, dentist, physician, or a number of other things. Many seem to be engineers. But they can’t function effectively in those occupations without using knowledge, skills, and technologies that are clearly non-biblical. Genesis had nothing to do with Damadian’s work. Had he confined his efforts to the “science” in the bible, he couldn’t have accomplished anything — except perhaps making some kind of improved horse-drawn chariot. Okay, let’s read on. Whitmore tells us:

Furthermore, I should add that as a scientist with a Ph.D. in paleontology, I am a creationist. I accept the biblical account of Noah’s Flood and believe that geology confirms the account. In fact, I just returned from the Grand Canyon and have published many articles about its geology.

Indeed, Whitmore has published many articles. A search on his name at Hambo’s website produces 91 hits. The letter continues:

Nye, who is not a scientist, and the other ark critics should know better.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! This is how the letter ends:

Meanwhile, I look forward to visiting the ark again. I have personally observed its progress and can’t wait to see the completed project.

That was a great letter! Perhaps, dear reader, you should consider changing your opinions about Hambo’s ark project.

Copyright © 2016. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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16 responses to “Creationist Wisdom #694: Creationist Geologist

  1. Christine Janis

    Whitmore does have a couple of papers in real science journals, but most of his non-creationist contributions are in conference abstracts.

    Still, he stands as a great example against the ‘Expelled’ paradigm (although Cedarville University is a specifically Christian college).

    But, uh-oh
    http://www.cedarville.edu/Academics/Science-and-Mathematics/Geology-and-Geoscience.aspx

    Our programs teach geology from both biblical and evolutionary perspectives. We are young-earth creationists and believe the earth was created in six literal days. However, we teach both creation and evolution in our classes. We want our students to be well educated in both paradigms of earth history, and we believe this helps them to excel in critical thinking— one of the most important skills for a scientist to develop. In combination with the Bible minor that all Cedarville students take, geology students are well prepared to think about issues related to science and the Bible.

  2. Well, it sounds like Ham has at least one satisfied, returning customer who is willing to shell out $40+ for admission. Maybe he can write a paper summarizing his visit and get it peer reviewed.

  3. I just realized that I once posted about Cedarville University, because Hambo recommended it — see A Great Creationist University.

  4. “creationists can’t be real scientists ”
    Creationists can be real scientists just fine – as long as they don’t talk about Evolution Theory. The inventor of the MRI scan nicely confirms it.

    “as a scientist with a Ph.D. in paleontology, I am a creationist.”
    That’s worth googling. Yup – he got is PhD at another christian faith university, Loma Linda in California.

    http://www.icr.org/article/icr-grad-john-whitmore-receives-cedarville/
    http://home.llu.edu/

    More about his illustrour career:

    http://creationwiki.org/John_Whitmore
    http://www.cedarville.edu/Academics/Science-and-Mathematics/Faculty-Staff/Whitmore-John.aspx

    Somehow I’m not entirely convinced of his credentials.

  5. The name Whitmore rang a bell with me too, and behold, he’s a member of the Sneaky Backdoor Creationism Bastards:
    http://www.earthmagazine.org/article/creationism-creeps-mainstream-geology

  6. michaelfugate

    One wonders what they actually teach in their courses. Wouldn’t it be fun to see syllabi and lecture slides/textbooks that they use? I can’t imagine how creationism and especially YEC could stand up next to anything from mainstream science.

  7. michaelfugate

    Also how does designing/creating an MRI scanner have anything to do with YEC being science? It is a non sequitur. A creationist studying something that has nothing to do with creationism is different than a creationist studying creationism.
    Take for instance this site, which has paper after paper on how creationism could be science, but never actually demonstrates any creationist science.

  8. I’m not sure where Whitmore gets off saying “Nye is not a scientist”. While “scientist” could be anyone who employs the scientific method, what Whitmore is doing here is asserting that his academic credentials give him the bragging rights but not Nye. Hmmm well Bill Nye does have a “bachelor of science” degree, so if you want to base it strictly on academic credentials Nye could make the claim as well. Nye has several patents which could be considered a body of scientific work, inventing the M.R.I. machine isn’t much different than Nye’s engineering work since they are both practical applications of scientific principles. Whitmore does have a handful of papers on fish fossilization, which I’m sure don’t mention Noah’s Ark or YEC at all.
    Now for a thought experiment: Dr. Raymond Damadian wasn’t given the Nobel prize for the MRI while two others were (and 3 co-winners is allowed) It is possible the notoriously liberal Swedes denied him the honor based on his YEC beliefs. Frankly, the way creationists abuse scientific credibility to assert their cause I agree with their decision. I’m curious about what other think though.

  9. If there are all of those smart people who are creationists, how come that nobody has produced an alternative account for the variety of life, one which has no reference to common descent?

  10. michaelfugate

    Whitmore’s academic pedigree:
    Ph.D. in Biology with Paleontology emphasis, Loma Linda University
    M.S. in Geology, Institute for Creation Research
    B.S. in Geology, Kent State University

    This paper (Whitmore, J.H. and Strom, R. 2010. Sand injectites at the base of the Coconino Sandstone, Grand Canyon, Arizona, Sedimentary Geology, v. 230, p. 46-59.) never mentions a flood or a 6000 year old earth. I wonder why?

  11. Christine Janis

    i will note the disparaging remark made on that link to Marcus Ross’s PhD at the University of Rhode Island. Marcus’ thesis on mosasaur evolution, was an excellent piece of work and deserved a degree, no matter what his religious beliefs. His advisor (David Fastovsky) was very tough on him about the science. I interacted a lot with Marcus (in a sort of don’t ask, don’t tell fashion) and he really knew his stuff. Good for him — makes a big change from degrees from unaccredited or poorly accredited sources.

    I’ve always stood up for Marcus. We’ve compared our situation to the British and Germans in WWI over the trenches singing “O Tannenbaum” at Christmas.

  12. Damadian didn’t invent squat, anyone can put some tissue in a magnet, or make a magnet big enough to put a person in. The real inventions were the imaging techniques that made MRI practical, Damadian had nothing to do with them. That’s why he didn’t get the Nobel Prize.

  13. No – Whitmore isn’t a scientist. He’s isn’t even competent about the geology/paleontology of his part of Ohio. Years ago, he & a student of his (the latter goes by “Woodmorappe” in the creatard literature) lied to me in order to hang out in the field for a day looking at rocks and fossils near Cincinnati. After a couple hours, Whitmore commented there & then that he had learned more geology than he’d ever known. Just like the DI – creationists are chronically dishonest and incompetent about the subjects they babble about. It was years ago, but I’m still sore about it. I know now to “look up” the basics of people posing as scientists who contact me. Sad really – scientists expect honesty and straightforwardness from each other. I don’t expect that from politicians or journalists, but I do from scientists. Beware Whitmore.

  14. I’m researching the Damadian case to see if he was robbed or not. (Considering his YEC beliefs and the abuse of attaching a Nobel laureate to those beliefs reason enough to deny him the prize.)
    There are good reasons he didn’t receive the award. Herman Carr made the first MRI image and was not awarded the prize.
    Since the prize is for medicine only a working diagnostic tool received the award, the contributions of Carr and Damadian were important, but had no practical application.
    James: Yes I remember your anecdote about a tag-a-long wannabe better than the guy’s name.

  15. Creationists and the Grand Canyon. Heaven on earth ! One great big miracle after another!

  16. Eric Lipps

    Furthermore, I should add that as a scientist with a Ph.D. in paleontology, I am a creationist. I accept the biblical account of Noah’s Flood and believe that geology confirms the account. In fact, I just returned from the Grand Canyon and have published many articles about its geology.

    I note that Whitmore’s biology/paleontology degree comes from Loma Linda University, a Seventh-Day Adventist (and therefore creationist) institution I remember from my unfortunate childhood stint at what is now known as South Lancaster Academy in Massachusetts. The teachers there were always peddling one Loma Linda “study” or another purporting to find (what else) that seventh-Day Adventists were better than everyone else. One such study I recall, for instance, claimed SDA’s had less tooth decay than non-Adventists.

    Somehow I have difficulty taking seriously the arguments of a “scientist” whose degrees come from universities dedicated to opposing modern science.