ICR and the March for Science

The Institute for Creation Research (ICR) — the fountainhead of young-earth creationist wisdom — has a new post by Vernon R. Cupps, Ph.D. We first encountered him in ICR Has a Creationist Nuclear Physicist. 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.

Get ready for a real treat, dear reader. Vernon’s new article is March for ‘Science’. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis:

On Saturday, April 22, 2017, a group of people claiming to represent science marched in Washington D.C. and 600 other cities around the world to express their views on social and political issues. But did they really represent science? What is science?

ICR’s creationist nuclear physicist will tell us what science is. He says:

Science is certainly not political; it is not determined by the popular opinions, dictates or consensus of men. Rather, it is a systematic methodology for studying natural phenomena. But it is not synonymous with naturalism — the belief that all events in the universe have a natural (material) cause.

Science is a process, not a philosophy, so it isn’t the same as naturalism; but we assume Vernon says they’re not the same because he wants to leave room for the supernatural — that is, creation science. He tells us:

Scientific methodology can be generally broken down into the following four categories:

He then defines fact, hypothesis, theory, and law — but badly mangles “law,” saying that it’s “A scientific theory which has no known falsifications and many observational and experimental verifications over a long period of time advances to the category of a scientific law.” A far better definition is provided by the National Center for Science Education right here. A law is “A descriptive generalization about how some aspect of the natural world behaves under stated circumstances.” A theory is an explanation; a law a description — not a senior theory.

But that’s not the main focus of Vernon’s post. He continues:

So what did the March for Science hope to accomplish? Apparently they intended to eliminate opposition to Darwinian evolution and man-made climate change. They consider these two contentions to be scientific fact. But their website states that they’re interested in evidence-based policy and regulations, science education based on the weight of evidence, and free exchange of scientific research (i.e., no gag rules on scientists). Other ideas they express are political and appear to attempt to establish scientists as a special group not subject to the vagaries of economic downturns as common citizens are, yet thoroughly subject to the whims of the ruling elite.

He finally gets around to criticizing evolution:

Let’s take a look at these goals. Is Darwinian evolution a scientific fact? Well, if Newton’s Laws of Motion cannot be considered as fact, then how can such a weak hypothesis as Darwinian evolution be considered a scientific fact? The weight of evidence does not even support evolution as a viable hypothesis! There is virtually no established evidence for Darwinian evolution, but there is a great deal of evidence against it.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Vernon tells his drooling readers:

For example, 1) no undisputed transitional forms exist in the fossil record when Darwin himself asserted that there should be many transitional forms in the fossil record, 2) the irreducible complexity of even simple one-celled organisms challenges the idea that they could come about in a gradual evolutionary fashion, 3) the statistical impossibility of evolution, 4) the lack of a feasible mechanism for macro-evolution, 5) the problem of how viable complex molecules for living organisms could form from a simple chemical soup, and finally 6) simple common sense: If a watch or an automobile cannot form randomly, how can the significantly more complicated life forms of Earth form randomly?

What an arlkoad! We’ve rebutted that nonsense dozens of times before, so we won’t bother doing it again. Vernon announces:

Evolution not only fails as a scientific fact, it is not even a reasonable hypothesis. It is actually an article of faith favored by those who want God removed from science, our schools, and our political and social systems.

Then he plays the same game with climate change. Here’s a sample:

Keep in mind that the models which make the most extreme predictions depend on a runaway buildup of CO2 which the globalist community inevitably attributes to human activity. But CO2 is natural, essential for plant life, and is a relatively minor greenhouse gas. The net result, if this group is successful in eliminating opposition to man-made climate change, would be a carbon tax on virtually every human being living on planet earth. This is not science; it is manipulative politics.

Based on that brilliant analysis he announces:

The organizers of the March for Science claim they are against political interference in science, and yet they lobby the political establishment to prevent discourse or the teaching of any ideas contrary to the current dogmas of evolution and man-made climate change — a clear contradiction of their stated goals.

And now we come to the end:

Hopefully, the current trends toward science by decree will end before we enter a new Dark Age of Science. [Huh?] Humans are fallible and hence science is fallible, but the Word of God, under relentless attack for millennia, stands firm and immutable. Therefore, it can be our only sure foundation in this ever-changing world. Perhaps we need to stop making science preeminent over God’s Word.

In case you’ve been wondering why a nuclear physicist ended up working for ICR, that article should explain it.

Copyright © 2017. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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15 responses to “ICR and the March for Science

  1. Ceteris Paribus

    Well, at least the Nuclear Creationist isn’t screwing up the environment by preaching his view sending out tons of paper pulp tracts like some of the Crea-tons. Pixels are so much easier to recycle.

    But, pity he wasn’t even more concise and gone straight to his real trinitarian argument:
    “God said it. I believe it. That settles it.?

  2. “A theory is an explanation; a law a description.”
    A law can even be a mere definition, Ohm’s Law being a prime example.

    “Then he plays the same game with climate change.”
    Of course we can play that game with every single scientific theory. That of course tells us something about the silliness of the game, not about science.

  3. His total lack of undestanding of the role of CO2 in climate change doesn’t say much for his general knowledge of science outside of his immediate area of specialization. One would think he would know that the oceans will release vast amounts of dissolved CO2 with just a small amount of warmng, thus setting the stage for a runaway greenhouse effect.

  4. But their website states that they’re interested in evidence-based policy and regulations, science education based on the weight of evidence, and free exchange of scientific research (i.e., no gag rules on scientists).
    Is he referring to the Bush and Trump administrations and their wholesale purging of data from science websites, e.g. the EPA, or requiring scientists’ papers to be submitted to their political KGB operatives to ensure the “right” line of thinking is observed, e.g., deleting words like climate change?

  5. Ross Cameron

    Dark Age of Science? Bet he doesn`t knock back the chance of availing himself of science when he gets sick. Typical delusionism.

  6. I’d just like to add one more small point about “the theory of evolution”. A matter of grammar. When we say “the theory of X”, that might not mean “X, the theory”. For example:
    the theory of flight – that is not saying that flight is a theory, it is about the theory that explains how airplanes fly
    the theory of antennas
    the theory of the Earth
    the theory of everything

  7. @Ross Cameron
    I am reminded of the proponents of ESP who rely on ordinary means of communication, sight- and sound-based, “sensory perception” to tell us about it.

  8. Dear Vernon, In a very difficult decision, I’ve had to choose between you and Charles Lyell to determine whose scientific work has withstood the test of time. Get it ? You lost buddy. Enjoy that mac and cheese at the next creationism sunday pot luck !

  9. Eric Lipps

    Hopefully, the current trends toward science by decree will end before we enter a new Dark Age of Science. [Huh?] Humans are fallible and hence science is fallible, but the Word of God, under relentless attack for millennia, stands firm and immutable. Therefore, it can be our only sure foundation in this ever-changing world. Perhaps we need to stop making science preeminent over God’s Word.

    Let’s see now: Vernon thinks “science by decree” is a bad idea, but wants science decreed according to what’s in the Bible, or what he and his fellow cranks think is there.

    I can’t be the only one who sees the contradiction here, but either Vernon doesn’t see it or he doesn’t want to admit he does. It comes down to a choice between stupid and dishonest.

  10. Anyone who has swallowed creationist beliefs hook, line, and sinker has no business telling scientists what they should do or how they should do it.

    Creationists are 180° anti-science when their beliefs are disproved, and don’t deserve even the time of day from scientists.

  11. For me, the simplest difference between a law and a theory is that most laws express a mathematical relationship (except for Mendel’s Laws, which should really be called Mendel’s Postulates).

    Regarding Tom’s point, has anyone come across a creationist who understands the difference between evolution and the theory of evolution?

  12. Bwbach writes

    Regarding Tom’s point, has anyone come across a creationist who understands the difference between evolution and the theory of evolution?

    No.

    But an equally serious failing is their misunderstanding of the different levels of explanation in science.

    Most creationists think that laws are the highest level of explanation in science, when in reality they are just descriptions of some regularity.

    Most creationists think that theories are no better than wild-ass guesses, when in reality they are the highest level of explanation in science.

    Creationists think that theories grow up to become laws, when in reality theories explain laws.

  13. robert van bakel

    He supervised a radio-chemical analysis laboratory at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, 1988-2011!

    That’s an impressive credential. So, the obvious question arises; how the hell can an obviously talented physicist, who understands radio-chemistry, not understand atomic methods of dating?

    Or are his credentials slightly padded? Physicist? Or janitor?

  14. @EricL: I must admit I hadn’t noticed the contradiction. But that shows the quality of Cupps’ post, doesn’t it? So many ways he goes wrong ….
    As for your choice: my bet usually is both stupid and dishonest.

    @Coyote: “don’t deserve even the time of day from scientists”.
    I totally agree. However I also think they deserve the mockery of us non-scientists.

    “Most creationists think that laws are …”
    Not only creationists – many a non-creationist apologist as well. That’s because they want to defend God the Lawmaker.

    @Bwbach asks an interesting question: “has anyone ….”
    Just yesterday a Dutch creationist told me that speciation has nothing to do with evolution. That word means for creationists whatever they want it to mean – and that meaning is variable dependent on their needs.

  15. winewithcats

    I recall learning the definition of law-as-supertheory back in middle school, so I think it’s fair to blame some of the usual nonsense on sloppy textbooks (and perhaps unqualified teachers).