ICR Has a Creationist Nuclear Physicist

This is an amazing post from the Institute for Creation Research (ICR) — the fountainhead of young-earth creationist wisdom. The title is Modern Science and Vain Philosophy: An Ancient Deception in Our Midst. It was written by Vernon R. Cupps, Ph.D.

That’s a new name to us. ICR wrote an article about him when he was hired — see New ICR Research Associate: Vernon R. Cupps. They say:

[He worked] at the Los Alamos National Laboratory before taking a position as radiation physicist at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, where he directed and supervised a radiochemical analysis laboratory from 1988 to 2011. He is a published researcher with 73 publications, 18 of which are in referred journals.

It’s amazing, but Cupps now works for ICR. Here are some excerpts from his article, with bold font added by us:

The account of Adam and Eve’s temptation and subsequent expulsion from the Garden of Eden is familiar to many. It contains hidden truths that are just as true today as they were when the world was new. One of these truths concerns how Satan deals in the world. Satan consistently tempts his victims through both outright lies and subtle deception. If we are to remain firm in our faith, then we should learn how to resist his tactics by rooting ourselves in the inspired Word of God.

Cupps must have been really popular at Fermilab. Let’s read on:

Unlike Adam and Eve, Jesus shows us the proper way of resisting the devil’s temptations. When Jesus was tempted in the wilderness, the devil did not test Him by obvious manifestations of sin but by subtly applying half-truths from the Bible. … But at every turn Jesus remained steadfast, answering Satan with Scripture. Jesus’ example can be applied to the deceptions of modern science that try to undermine the authority of God’s Word.

[*Begin Drool Mode*] Ooooooooooooh! [*End Drool Mode*] How can we resist modern science? The creationist nuclear physicist continues:

[N]aturalism has turned much of modern science into a dizzy array of conjecture, wishful thinking, assumptions, and will-driven consensus far removed from the constraints of true science, which rests on observation and reproducible experimentation. Yet this “science” has replaced God’s Word as the absolute authority.

Gasp — naturalism is the devil’s work! Here’s more:

Suppose we listen to a conversation between a naturalist who believes in concepts like deep time (millions and billions of years) and a naïve professing Christian who goes to church and does many good deeds but is not rooted in the authority of God’s Word.

Here’s the dialogue. It’s just like it must have been in the Garden when the Serpent tempted Eve:

Naturalist: “Did God really say that He created the heavens and the earth in six days? That’s preposterous because science has demonstrated through radioactive dating, core drilling, tree-ring studies, and biological evidence that the earth must be at least 3.4 billion years old.”

Christian: “But God said plainly that He created from nothingness the heavens and the earth in six distinct steps…six actual days.”

Naturalist: “The six days could be six very long time periods. Only ignorant people believe the myths and fairy tales in the Bible, especially Genesis. Very long time periods agree better with modern science.”

Christian: “Maybe you’re right.”

Subtle. Cunning. We must always be on guard! Here’s how the creationist nuclear physicist ends his article:

From the beginning, Satan has been man’s adversary. He operates in the realm of outright lies and half-truths so that he may deceive us. Beware of those who peddle various philosophies and vain deceits after the traditions of men, people who set science before and over the Word of God. All of this reduces to faith, something all people possess — even skeptics and atheists. The real question is: What are you going to put your faith in, the word of man or the Word of God?

Nothing could be more clear. ICR is fortunate to have attracted Cupps to its collection of creation scientists.

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

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24 responses to “ICR Has a Creationist Nuclear Physicist

  1. Cupps has his own website. Nothing about god or creation.

  2. Sorry but he is dead wrong. He never read his book o’BS. Satan did not lie or kill anyone, he left that to gawd. Compared to gawd I’ll take satan any day!! Besides the A&E story shows satan said “think!!!” gawd said “say a sheeple!”

  3. [N]aturalism has turned much of modern science into a dizzy array of conjecture, wishful thinking, assumptions, and will-driven consensus far removed from the constraints of true science, which rests on observation and reproducible experimentation. Yet this “science” has replaced God’s Word as the absolute authority.

    Too bad he doesn’t give any actual examples of “conjecture, wishful thinking, assumptions, and will-driven consensus” in “naturalistic” science.

    Perhaps that’s because he doesn’t want to address the degree to which creationism is itself is rooted in these–dare we call them sins? Foremost among its assumptions is that the Bible is God’s Word, inerrant in every particular exactly as written, except of course where it isn’t, as in the value of pi.

    What’s more, science, with or without scare quotes, has not replaced the Bible where morality is concerned, nor do scientists say it should. But creationists use this phony issue to argue that un-biblical science is not merely wrongbut actually evil and that “naturalistic” scientists are therefore evil themselves.

    Isn’t “bearing false witness” supposed to be a sin anymore?

  4. Satan consistently tempts his victims through both outright lies and subtle deception.

    Sorry, but this sounds like Donald Trump.

    SC said: Cupps must have been really popular at Fermilab.

    He either didn’t think the creationist way and maybe he was “saved,” or he just kept his mouth shut until he couldn’t hold back any longer. If he retired in 2011, or perhaps was asked to leave (don’t know), then he could declare to the world his convictions at the ICR, a group always thankful for another credentialed creationist.

  5. michaelfugate

    As usual with creationists, a completely ahistorical approach is employed. Even if radioisotope data were wrong, so many other pieces of evidence, gathered long before radioactivity was even on the radar, supported an old earth. Almost everyone agreed by the start of the 19th c.

  6. Wow. I’m guessing he could crash his brain into an iceberg at 20 knots without the slightest danger of breaching the watertight compartmentalization in there. Impressive.

  7. God said plainly that He created from nothingness
    Not true. Unless you’re using the Catholic Bible, which contains 2 Maccabees 7:28.
    Genesis 1 makes a point of saying that the various living things formed out of the ground or the seas. And, BTW, at the beginning of God’s creation there was water and a wind.

  8. Charles Deetz ;)

    That dramatic conversation between a naturalist and a naive christian at least confirms that Cup-ful is indeed a physicist and not a liberal arts writer-type. Ray Comfort wouldn’t even use that dialog to make a video.

  9. Here’s an odd thing: Cupps has no Wikipedia entry and a quick google (in fact, GoodSearch, but same difference) reveals no references to him in the first 30-40 results (I got bored after that) except from mainly creationist and a few wingnut sites, plus this one. That’s odd, is it not, for a distinguished alumnus of Los Alamos National Laboratory and Fermilab?

  10. Google scholar search shows 37 entries for VR Cupps. All of the recent entries are in creationist sites, but there are many earlier publications in places like Physical Review.

  11. @TomS

    Thanks! I obviously didn’t dig deep enough.

  12. I, too, can find no data on Dr Cupps’ scientific career. At age 68 or 69 now, one would have expected him to retire about four or five years ago, coincident with his, er, recruitment by ICR.

    As to these 18 authored or co-authored actual peer-reviewed papers. (ie “refereed”, which is apparently what ICR means by “referred” – a typical misconstruction.) For a lifetime career at the cutting edge of nuclear physics, I believe this is a derisory number. He cannot have been productive as a research scientist. I can find no details about any of them. Apparently his main area of interest was the weak electromagnetic force. I can find nothing more about him.

    There is a pattern operating here, though. Senescence is subtle, and its effects are not completely uniform. Nevertheless, there is a tendency towards regression, loss of critical faculties and retreat into attitudes installed in childhood. I have noticed this tendency in myself, and I have to fight against it.

    Cf: “Vernon R. Cupps believed that God created the universe and that Darwinian evolution was inconsistent with the Bible and science since he was young. But he didn’t give much consideration to a recent creation of the universe until about a decade ago.” This is the lead sentence from ICRs own piece on him. http://www.icr.org/article/new-icr-research-associate-vernon-r/. This seems to me to be a textbook iteration of the effect.

    This loss of critical faculty manifests most clearly as a creeping double standard. Ideas which were inculcated early in life become privileged; those opposed, but inculcated later, are dismissed, and a search for grounds for this dismissal begins. This is consonant with cognitive dissonance theory, but with this addition: the preference for the belief installed in childhood is not rational, and neither is the search for countervailing evidence. In fact, rational criticism of any data found in that search is far less likely.

    Along these lines Cupps wrote a series of articles for ICR criticising radiometric dating. Dismissal, root and branch, of radiometric dating would be absolutely essential for a young-earth belief. Here (http://www.sciencemeetsreligion.org/blog/2015/06/young-earth-creationism-and-the-forest-fallacy/) is an analysis of his arguments, which are both factually and logically faulty. I strongly suspect that the younger Cupps would have been capable of perceiving the flaws in them; but alas, the older Cupps is not.

    In short, Cupps is now a loon, incapable of assessing evidence in a rational manner. Sad, for one who was a researcher, no matter how modest his accomplishment.

  13. The conjecture, wishful thinking, and assumptions of modern science gave me a dizzying array of technology and comforts I couldn’t imagine living without. I presume Cupps wrote his screed on a wax tablet like Jesus would have done. None of that rooted-in-half-truths science for him! Nosiree.

  14. Beware of people touting their credentials in the name of their website.

  15. I had the good fortune to grow up with several good friends who were nuclear physicists, one is a professor of physics on the West Coast, the other actually died from his nuclear experiments. Both men freely explored the world based on observation, reasoning and experimentation, neither were hamstrung by religious or conventional thought.

    All I can say is that I seriously doubt that Cupps is a very good nuclear scientist. Being bound by a strict bronze age worldview precludes you automatically from any serious discussion regarding science and speaks more to the yoke of personal superstition.

  16. Christine Janis

    “As to these 18 authored or co-authored actual peer-reviewed papers. ”

    Still, that’s more than the entire output of BioComplexity for the past 5 years

  17. It appears that Cupps was relatively normal until about 10 years ago when he had his “conversion,” read that, went insane. Cupps supervised a lab at Fermilab and I wouldn’t expect much in the way of publications; he was cranking out numbers.

    To pitch his entire career and all the science he studied, knew and practiced for decades, though, is quite a feat! He must have been overripe for crackpottery if Henry Morris’ book tipped him over the edge. Perhaps we can start thinking of the ICR as a private sector sanitarium where they care for loons, keep them off the street and out of trouble.

  18. Agreed, Draken, but Cupps’ claims are very easy to check. For the moment I assume that even a creationist would not be stupid enough to lie like that. A scenario like DocBill describes looks more plausible.

  19. The place to look for publications in a field like this is Inspirehep.net. Cupps has 24 records there, including a few that haven’t been published. Almost all of them are reports of experimental results, in which he’s among a list of coauthors (usually 10-20). This means that he did something to contribute to the experiment, but it doesn’t tell what; he wasn’t the lead person on any of them. HIs most cited paper has 48 citations.

    By comparison, you can check the records of some of his coauthors. For instance, M.K. Jones has 158 publications listed, and the top cited one has 778 citations. Richard Carrigan has 199, one with 170 citations. E. Guelmez has 84 publications, one with 568 citations (and one with many more, but it’s a general report of a huge collaboration). E.J. Stephenson has 197, one with 726 citations.

  20. From the ICR bio it appears that Cupps has doubts about basic nuclear physics:

    When asked where he saw God shining the most in his study of physics, he said, “The structure of the nucleus, which constitutes most of the matter we know; i.e., how can a bunch of electrically repulsive particles like the proton be held together in such a small volume of space without blowing apart?”

    and “Can nuclear matter really be explained through the exchange of particles?”

    This is the Yukawa theory of the nuclear force, which binds neutrons and protons together in the nucleus. It was proposed in the 1930s and correctly predicted the existence of the pi meson, discovered in 1947, the particle which indeed explains “nuclear matter” by “the exchange of particles!” Yukawa got the Nobel Prize in 1949 and his theory stands to this day.

    We now know, from experiments involving collisions of particles moving at almost the speed of light, that nuclear particles are made of quarks and the nuclear force is produced by gluons, but for the comparatively low speed, low energy interactions in a nucleus, Yukawa’s pion model is still a good approximation to the truth. It’s like when Einstein superseded Newton, relativity showed that Newton was still absolutely correct in the low speed limit.

    One of Cupps’ research interests at ICR was “I would like to study more closely the nature of nuclear matter.” If he couldn’t do that at Fermilab, what can he possibly hope to accomplish at ICR?

    Creationism, especially creationist “research,” has always had a touch of megalomania: “Of course I can outhink all the world’s experts.” Cupps seems to have his share.

  21. Thanks Steve, that is useful info.

  22. “Christian: “But God said plainly that He created from nothingness the heavens and the earth in six distinct steps…six actual days.”” Once again a xtian is proving he is very stoopid, a liar, or more likely both! The oldest documents do NOT say 6 literal days, but 6 lengths of time that European dimwits assume mean days because as e=we have seen they are non too smart.

  23. Once again, the Bible does not plainly say that creation is from nothingness.
    Read the first couple of chapters of Genesis, and you will see that creation begins with there being water and wind, that plants and animals appear from the ground and waters, the man was formed out of dust, and there is no mention of “nothingness”.