Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Senter's at it again

Paul Garner points out that Phil Senter's got yet another paper out on creationism, this time from Reports of the NCSE. Here's part of Paul's reaction:
Speaking frankly, I found this perhaps the least satisfying of Senter’s recent contributions for a couple of reasons. First, to make his case Senter uncritically assumes that the conventional interpretations of the geological features described are correct and, to be fair to him, in doing so he is mostly following the lead of the creationists he cites. But I think that such interpretations demand careful investigation and it is not always wise to take them at face value. Second, I think this kind of analysis tends to miss the wood for the trees. The “big picture” of the stratigraphic record is of widespread sedimentary units of marine origin blanketing the continents and displaying evidence of rapid accumulation and long distance transport. That fits well with Flood geology and is much harder to explain by reference to modern day depositional environments. It is that bigger picture that provides the framework in which I seek to understand the features discussed in Senter’s paper.
I agree with Paul on this one. This was definitely the least interesting of Senter's steady stream of anti-creationism papers. To Paul's reasoning, I would add one additional disappointment: Senter, as most anti-creationists do, tends to treat all voices as roughly equal in creationism. I noticed this in his latest treatment of dinosaurs. He treats claims by amateurs as if they were of equal value as folks who have invested time and effort in original research. I don't value all creationist claims the same, and I certainly don't believe everything I hear creationists say. Wouldn't that be gullible!

So yes, you can comb through the creationist literature and find all sorts of contradictory opinions. I'm not the least surprised by that, but before we can conclude that creationists have falsified creationism, I think we ought to be far more careful and thoughtful about what creationists are actually saying. After all, isn't that a favorite tactic of anti-evolutionists? Quote-mining for evolutionists who disagree with other evolutionists, from which we're supposed to conclude that evolution has been falsified by evolutionists? Sorry, Phil, but I don't buy that argument from anti-evolutionists, and I'm not buying it from you.

Take away all the references to creationist acknowledgments of the challenges to Flood geology, and Phil's paper reduces to yet another paper about all the geological challenges to Flood geology, which is really not all that novel.

Senter. 2011. The defeat of Flood geology by Flood geology. RNCSE 31(3):1.1-1.14.

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