Creation Science is Garbage
F. C. Kuechmann
"ENRAGED DEITY DROWNS MILLIONS IN VENGEFUL THRILL-KILLING!" -- the Noachian deluge as described by the National Inquirer.
"Most creation science is garbage." -- noted creationist Kurt Wise.
At this this URL the Creation Research Society Book Shop has blessed us with a full web-page advert for one of their favorite piles of nonsense - the unweighty 298 page 1996 tome titled Noah's Ark: A Feasibility Study, by John Woodmorappe, published by the Institute for Creation Research. The advert is presented in fairly typical creationist style, subdued except for an occasional flourish such as a mouse click on the book cover which whisks the browser to a page containing a brief biography of author Woodmorappe.
Below the book cover we encounter a block of text that reads as if copied from the book jacket - and a fine specimen of the blurb writer's art it is. We are informed that it is a "remarkable book" that it "is the most complete analysis ever published" of the practical aspects of Noah's purported big wooden boat. We are told that Woodmorappe offers a "scholarly, systematic answer to virtually all the anti-Ark arguments, alleged difficulties with the biblical account", etc. Finally the blurbmeister calls it "an unanswerable vindication of Genesis".
This is all standard publishing industry bull pucky, and it's followed by several brief quotes from various magazines about Woody's feasibility study . The usual conservative Christian suspects are there - Reason and Revelation (May 1996), Bible-Science News (Nov. 1996), Think and Believe (Sept.-Oct. 1998), and [one of the big ones, folks] Creation research Society Quarterly (March 1998).
The blurbs tell us that the book "has just the sort of facts and details that kids find fascinating", which is, I suppose, a reference to the "waste management" chapters. Kids always enjoy the poop and wee-wee stuff, don't they? We discover that "seeming difficulties for the Biblical account can be reconciled with diligent research", and that non-creationists "often resort to ridicule, attempting to make believers appear foolish". [Might I suggest that creationists like Woodmorappe do a splendid job of making themselves appear foolish -- they need little assistance from evolutionist pagan apostates.] Saint Woodmorappe saves the day when he "invariably finds credible evidence which rather causes the critics to appear foolish." This must refer to the fireflies that Woody asks us "consider" as a possible light source in the dank, methane-laced Noachian ark's interior.
No creationist blurb collection would be complete without something from Carl Wieland's empire, and we aren't disappointed. Creation ex nihilo Technical Journal (Nov.-Feb. 1996-7) ladles the flattery with abandon, informing us that "Woodmorappe really shines with those aspects of the Ark" that doubters find least believable, and that Woody "does not take the easy way out of difficulties." The latter assertion must be another veiled reference to waste management using composting earthworms, an interior lighted by fireflies - [thus avoiding the use of torches in all that methane.......etc.]
As a capper we get two of the seemingly obligatory quotes from non-creationist sources that creationists seem to include in order to be able to point and say "look at the nice things these non-creationist magazines said about.....". From Harper's Magazine (Nov. 1996) we get a straightforward description "Using a database and a Bible, the book posits a mechanical answer to any question one could imagine regarding Noah's logistics" and from Natural History (Oct. 1997) we get "The book, which seeks to answer the more mundane questions of Noah's voyage, includes such chapter titles as 'Waste Management and The Ark Animals: Carriers of Adequate Genetic Diversity'".
The creationist quotes offer primarily laudatory opinion, while the last two are notably devoid of judgement. In fact, the Harper's and Natural History quotes read like they were extracted from the initial, descriptive sections of boilerplate book reviews. Since creationists can almost always be counted upon to misrepresent non-creationist sources in order to bolster their frail egos, I sought out the magazines cited in order to discover the context. I wasn't disappointed.
The Harper's quote is from an article titled On Earth as it is in Heaven by Jack Hitt. It starts on page 51 and covers most of the next nine pages. The discussion of Woody's opus begins about two inches from the bottom of the third column on page 54 and continues through most of the first column on page 55. If the Institute for Creation Research's blurbmeisters had been more honest in giving a snapshot of Jack Hitt's opinion of Woody's book, they would've given us these tidbits from page 55 -- "the book is exhausting. Each chapter is an impressive collection of could-haves.", "all creationism collapses into a series of could-haves."
On page 57 of Hitt's article we find a remark by famous creationist Kurt Wise that would have been a much better description of Woody's book - "Most creation science is garbage."
The Natural History quote is from a piece by Christopher P. Toumy titled Who's Seen Noah's Ark beginning on page 14 and occupying about three and a third pages. Woody's book is described briefly in a single short paragraph near the end.
Creationists have a well-deserved reputation for ignoring the context of the material they cite to support their patent nonsense. Who's Seen Noah's Ark is about deluded souls who persist in viewing the bible in general and the ark story in particular as literal history when they are in fact moral allegory -- "ancient people communicated their truths by telling stories". The article clearly includes Woodmorappe as one of the deluded.
No matter how hard they try creationists seem unable to avoid being funny. The web page in question succumbs when it informs us that Woody's opus "is free from advanced mathematics and excessive jargon". Do creationists deem it really appropriate to calculate the derivative of the daily average methane level in the ark? But Woody spares us the agony of doing 11th grade math. And do they think Woody's ludicrous phrase "monophagic folivores" (plant-eating animals that eat only one kind of plant, e.g. pandas and koalas) isn't "excessive jargon"?
What a yuk these YECs are.