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Re: Peer-review

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  • Todd S. Greene
    From: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/TrueOrigin/message/17175 ... No, Keith, my point is that when young earth creationists who happen to be scientists do real
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 29, 2008

      --- In TrueOrigin, Keith Eaton wrote (post #17173):
      > --- In TrueOrigin, Todd Greene wrote:
      >> --- In TrueOrigin, Jonathan Bartlett wrote (post #17170):
      >>> But that's the whole point - their views are not allowed
      >>> in other journals when it comes to the science supporting
      >>> YEC. These are practicing, published scientists. The fact
      >>> is that you cannot question the basic dogma in secular
      >>> science journals. And there's little need to, anyway. As
      >>> I said, Creationists, like most subspecialties, have
      >>> their own journals. These are peer-reviewed by practicing
      >>> scientists (like the ones mentioned previously). This is
      >>> exactly what occurs in every other sub-specialty journal
      >>> - like-minded scientists peer-review the work of other
      >>> professional scientists in the field.
      >> This is a perfect example of the bait-and-switch word games
      >> that young earth creationists love to use. For example,
      >> some guy is a medical research whose specialty is cancer
      >> research. He has written a number of research articles
      >> published in professional medical science journals on the
      >> subject. He's also a young earth creationist.
      >> Along comes another young earth creationist who says,
      >> "These young earth creationists are practicing, published
      >> scientists." Which, of course, completely misses the whole
      >> point. Bait, and switch. The question is not "Are there
      >> scientists who believe in young earth creationism." The
      >> question is "Are there people doing professional science
      >> research that is relevant to the issues and that actually
      >> supports young earth creationism, that is being published
      >> in professional science journals that follow professionals
      >> standards for publishing science research?"
      >> The answer, of course, is "No."
      >> Everything you wrote, Jonathan, is (1) for the purpose of
      >> trying to cover up that fact, and (2) also promotes the
      >> zany YEC idea that the reason young earth creationists
      >> aren't published in professional journals of science is
      >> because there's some worldwide conspiracy against them.
      >> The fact of the matter is that research by young earth
      >> creationists about young earth creationism isn't published
      >> in professional science journals because it doesn't meet
      >> the professional standards of science - which, among other
      >> things, means that young earth creationists aren't allowed
      >> to just willy-nilly ignore basic facts about the area of
      >> science their research is in, such as geology, just
      >> because they feel like it. Contrary to what you stated,
      >> Jonathan, young earth creationists deliberately ignore
      >> other professional scientists in the particular field of
      >> research. They deliberately ignore the entire community of
      >> professional scientists working in the relevant field of
      >> science. It really is that simple.
      >> That's exactly why young earth creationists have ignored
      >> professional science standards and gone off and formed
      >> their own clubs. Because they can't meet the professional
      >> standards of science, and they know they can't.
      > So according to you Todd if a scientist who is also a YEC,
      > OEC, or ID publishes research or a proposed hypothesis in
      > an arera of speciality wherein there is no need or reason
      > to bring the instant debate into the work then by
      > definition he/she is qualified professionally and accepted
      > as such by the peer review process and any other
      > considerations.
      > But if that same person performs research where some
      > underlying assumption of YEC, OEC, or ID has a directive
      > effect on the work and the results are stated as valid
      > under such assumptions, then he/she is immediately
      > transformed into an unqualified incompetent, even if the
      > work is in the same science field.
      > The only thing one can conclude is that the majority of
      > peer reviewed journals have a policy of accepting no work
      > where the preliminary review process concludes that the
      > author is not approaching the science from the position
      > of methodological naturalism.
      > The evidence seems to indicate that the actual position
      > of the journals is that NO work is accepted once it is
      > known that a person does not subscribe to methodological
      > naturalism, thus the many cases of complaint such as
      > those chronicled in the Expelled movie and elsewhere.

      No, Keith, my point is that when young earth creationists who happen
      to be scientists do real science research that is up to the standards
      of professional science, they don't have any problems getting their
      research published in professional science journals. However - and
      unfortunately for you young earth creationists and this bogus argument
      you're promoting right now - none of this research is relevant to
      supporting young earth creationism.

      What is "by definition" are the standards of professional science
      research. There is no research relevant to supporting young earth
      creationism that meets the professional standards. One aspect of
      meeting the standards is that scientists who author research papers
      can't just ignore substantial bodies of empirical data relevant to
      what they're writing about.

      For example, if a scientist is writing a paper about granite
      intrusions (igneous rock) in an area that he is studying, then he must
      take what is already known about the geological context of that area
      into account. Say that the empirical observations of the relevant
      geologic strata show that an intrusion occurred in some of the layers
      (at the lowest part of what is being studied) and that the top of the
      intrusion in the top layers its in shows that it has been eroded down,
      and then above this stratum are additional layers and there is another
      granite intrusion that extends through all of the layers of the first
      intrusion as well as extending into additional layers above where the
      first intrusion stops. Let's say that in addition to that, previous
      studies have been conducts and research papers about the studies
      published that give the radiometric measurements of the two granite
      inclusions, and the radiometric measurements indicate that the first
      intrusion is substantially older than the second intrusion.

      Then if the scientist writes up his research article, and (1) he
      ignores the fact that the first intrusion has an eroded top that ends
      in a layer quite a bit before where the second intrusion stops, (2) he
      ignores the radiometric measurement data, and (3) in his article he
      claims that the two geologic intrusions occurred at about the same
      time. He then submits this article to a professional science journal.

      The journal editors find some geologists whose specialty is in the
      same kind of research (and maybe they've even done some research in
      the past themselves in the same geological area that the author is
      writing about in the paper), to vet the article. These appointed
      "article judges" do some basic fact-checking and realize that the
      author has left out some very significant facts that he simply ignored
      in his article. So they reject the article and send it back to the
      author, and they tell the author, "We've rejected your paper because
      you didn't deal with these other things about the area that geologists
      already know about. If you take this basic information into account
      and rewrite your article accordingly by dealing with the information,
      and then if you still think you can take this information into account
      and still arrive at your conclusion logically, then resubmit your

      The author ignores the judges, continues to ignore the geological data
      that was already known about, and then goes out and tells his buddies
      that the science journal is just "unfair" and has a conspiracy against
      his ideas.

      That's how young earth creationists operate.

      Incidentally, young earth creationism was invalidated in geological
      science something like around 200 years ago or more. Which is why
      young earth creationism doesn't exist in geological science today,
      just like geocentrism doesn't exist in astronomical science today.
      It's an idea that has been proved to be wrong, so professional
      scientists don't waste any more time on it.

      Additionally, all of us - including you - know fully well that young
      earth creationists believe what they believe on the basis of their
      *religious* beliefs, not science.

      But wait a minute, I'm not done yet. You bring up "methodological
      naturalism." It's funny you should mention that. A few days ago I just
      finished up a discussion with a Christian in another discussion group
      about this particular aspect of the discussion (as well as on some
      other aspects). Bear with me for a moment while I give you a little
      context of his position, and please try not to get bogged down by it,
      but get through it so you can see my point (in regard to what you
      brought up).

      His name is Max, and Max is an old earth creationist, but he's an old
      earth creationist with some very odd ideas. His position is that
      Genesis 1:1-2 ("In the beginning God created the heavens and the
      earth. The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the
      surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface
      of the waters." [NASB]) refers to an indeterminate period of time
      before the six days of creation. So he has no problem with the idea
      that the earth has been in existence for millions or billions of
      years. So I asked him if he accepted the fact that dinosaurs lived
      millions of years ago, and he said he did. But here is where things
      got really bizarre: He pointed out to me that Genesis 1:3-5 states
      that God created light on the first day, so light has only been in
      existence for about 6,000 years.

      At first I was confused, because I didn't believe that anyone could
      hold such a bizarre position, so I thought I must have misunderstand
      what he was telling me. So I questioned him about it - but he
      confirmed that I had understood him correctly! So I told him something
      like (this is not an actual quote, I'm just giving you the summarized
      gist of it from memory), "Do you realize that dinosaurs ate plants,
      and we also have fossils of the plants of that time as well as the
      fossils of the dinosaurs, and plants need light to survive?"

      Okay, Keith, now I'm getting to the point of me telling you this. His
      answer was this: "God can do anything. So God had the power to keep
      the plants alive without light."

      That isn't science. That is nothing more than the license that
      religious people give themselves to make up whatever they want to make
      up even when the facts show that their ideas are wrong. "God can do
      anything" is really "I can make up anything I want to make up, so that
      I don't have to deal with how things work in the real world."
      Methodological naturalism is indeed fundamentally necessary in
      science, precisely because people are not allowed to make up anything
      they want to. In science, you must deal with empirical observations of
      how things work in the real world, and you must be able to test these
      ideas by the application of relevant empirical data (which may not
      exist yet, in which case you have a hypothesis which you test by doing
      the research to acquire the additional relevant data, by
      experimentation and/or field observations, that is necessary to test
      the hypothesis).

      Young earth creationism fails in all the ways I have discussed here in
      this post. Young earth creationism fails because (1) in many cases it
      ignores relevant facts that show that it is wrong (i.e., it is
      falsified), and/or (2) in other cases it tries to cover up problems
      with its "explanations" by appealing to ideas that are not even
      scientifically testable in principle (i.e., it is unfalsifiable). This
      is why young earth creationism isn't science.

      Indeed, when you yourself said young earth creationism requires the
      rejection of methodological naturalism, you unwittingly acknowledged
      one of the fundamental reasons that prove that young earth creationism
      isn't scientific, because in principle these religious beliefs require
      you to reject the scientific process of empirically testing your
      ideas. (Incidentally, this particular aspect of the unscientific
      nature of creationism in general was brought out explicitly in the
      2005 Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District court case in
      Pennsylvania, which, if you'll recall, creationists lost horribly.)

      - Todd Greene
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