Young Earth creationist Dr. Duane T. Gish died yesterday (March 5th) at the age of 91 or 92 [depending on which birth date on Wikipedia is correct. I e-mailed ICR for a clarification]. Dr. Gish, a biochemist, was a founding member of the Institute for Creation Research (which he was the long time vice president of) and noted for his frequent debates with defenders of evolution and several books attacking evolutionary theory, primarily on the basis of the fossil record.
My sincere condolences to his friends and family.
I first ‘met’ Dr. Gish in 1994 at UCLA where he was to debate Dr. Michael Shermer of the Skeptics Society. My friend Don Frack and I knew roughly where on campus the debate was to be held but didn’t have an exact route on how to get there in mind. So at one point we took a short cut through a building and when we got to far end, which we figured should be near our destination, we opened the door and literally came face to face with Dr. Gish himself (who as I recall was looking for the restroom). Don laughingly told me that I looked like I had seen a ghost.
Yours truly with Dr. Gish at the Southern California Center for Christian Studies 1998 Summer Conference (August) (Photo by Don Frack)
I have a few other minor stories I could tell about Dr. Gish and a mountain of criticisms I could relate about his work, but this is not the time.
Actually I haven’t yet had the masochistic pleasure of going to the Answers in Genesis “Creation Museum” (Petersburg, KY). I mean how can you not “love” an institution that is dedicated to the proposition that The Flintstones is a credible model for early human history?
As usual it is stated with the confidence and the faux authority that is typical of “creation science” practitioners but when you actually look at it and try to make sense of what is being said it quickly becomes apparent that much of it is really unintelligible nonsense.
Eodromaeus is a small (slightly over a meter in length) South American dinosaur from the mid-Triassic (230 MYA). This date makes it one of the earliest dinosaurs and its describers, Ricardo Martinez et al., argue that it should be classified as a basaltheropod ―the carnivorous branch of the “lizard-hipped” or saurischian dinosaurs (Martinez et al., 2011).
What has ICR’s, or more specifically ICR “science writer” Brian Thomas‘ knickers in a twist is that in the same paper in which they describe Eodromaeus the authors also argue for the reclassification of another dinosaur, Eoraptor(described back in the early 1990′s), which is from the same location and roughly the same time period as Eodromaeus.
The Institute for Creation Research has presented the world with another taxonomic turd from the cat box of creationist wisdom. This time it comes from ICR’s “Senior Science Lecturer” Frank Sherwin. However before I get to the main event, I want to take a closer look at the litter in which Mr. Sherwin’s little jewel is nestled.
In the February (2010) issue of ICR’s monthly Acts & Facts Mr. Sherwin (whose background is in parasitology) graced us with an article titled “Darwinism’s Rubber Ruler” in which he argues that descent with modification is untestable and that “any and all scientific evidence” can be “stretched to fit” the theory.
The first thing that comes to my mind when reading this is to ask: if this is so, then how is it that I could have in my personal collection literally hundreds of books and pamphlets, many of them originating from Mr. Sherwin’s organization, that purport to contain absolutely scads of evidence that contradict evolutionary theory?
The May (2008) issue of the Institute for Creation Research‘s monthly newsletter Acts & Facts contains an article by the current President of ICR, Dr. John Morris, titled “Evolution’s Biggest Hurdles“. The article is ostensibly about enumerating unsolved questions in evolutionary theory but instead what it does is highlight a deeply rooted set of character flaws in the “creation science” movement and its leaders: intellectual laziness (and/or dishonesty) combined with a lack of basic scientific literacy and colossal hubris.
While I understand that this article is a relatively short, non-technical piece, this does not in my opinion excuse the glaring omissions of relevant evidence about its supposed subject. Nor does the fact that Dr. Morris has a background in geological engineering forgive the zoological ignorance it displays. I am not a zoologist. I don’t have any degrees, but still I was able to immediately spot some of the rather glaring zoological errors and omissions in what Dr. Morris wrote. For someone who has been involved in the creation/evolution debate as long as Dr. Morris has it is difficult to fathom how he could not be better informed on such basic issues.