A Creationist’s Desperate Attempt to Sound Like a Credible Scientist

I almost feel bad for Creationists. They try so hard to be credible but their explanations too often hit a wall of reality and they’re forced to find a way around it without sounding like crazy people. It never works, of course.

Just take a look at this new “research” paper put out by Nathaniel T. Jeanson of the Institute for Creation Research. Jeanson is a Harvard Medical School graduate who seems to knows how evolution works… but actively denies its truth. What’s shocking is that he acknowledges the strength of evolution (with references to published scientific papers)… and then tosses in references to the Bible to make his paper worthless.


The evolutionary model is so robust that it leads to predictions of molecular function. Under the assumptions of this model, species will grow more and more distant molecularly over time, unless some natural force constrains random variation. For proteins that have evolved differences rapidly, evolutionists predict that these proteins have fewer functional constraints than proteins which have evolved differences slowly (Futuyma 2009).

This conundrum intensifies when considering hierarchical sequence patterns. For example, different species of Drosophila are more genetically distant from one another (Drosophila 12 Genomes Consortium 2007) than humans and chimpanzees are from one another (again, debates over the precise sequence identity notwithstanding [Bergman and Tomkins 2012; The Chimpanzee Sequencing and Analysis Consortium 2005; Tomkins 2011; Tomkins 2013; Tomkins and Bergman 2012; Wood 2006a]). Yet, the Drosophila species likely share a common ancestor since they belong to the same biological family (Wood 2006a), whereas humans and chimpanzees clearly have separate ancestries (Genesis 1:26–28). Why would differences between the related species exceed differences between unrelated ones?

Ah, yes. Genesis. That peer-reviewed publication cited by real scientists everywhere.

All throughout the piece, Jeanson tries to fit the square peg of the Bible into the round hole of science, even when it makes no sense whatsoever:

First, molecular diversity must be explicable on a relatively short timescale — several thousand years. This is seen clearly in Genesis 1. The text describes a literal, six-day Creation week that includes the creation of biological organisms on Days 3, 5, and 6, and the date of this Creation week is around 6000 years ago according to the genealogies of Genesis 5, Genesis 11, Matthew 1, and Luke 3. The Creation week cannot have occurred more than 12,000 years ago (McGee 2012). Thus, any biblically consistent model of genetic differences must conform to a recent time frame (thousands, not millions, of years).

He’s right: Any biblically consistent model of genetic differences for him has to conform to young earth Creationism.

Any *actually* consistent model would do no such thing…

At one point, Jeanson damn near gives up trying to explain anything:

A third explanation might also be true. God may have created genetic diversity simply for aesthetic reasons. However, testing this hypothesis is nearly impossible at the present.

Oh, have I mentioned that Jeanson has his own commercial?

Back to the paper: At one point, Jeanson performs analysis in a “more rigorous mathematical manner”… a manner that includes addition, substitution, and factoring, the kind of math I’m teaching my high school sophomores:

Remember back in college when you would write essays by throwing in big words and “sounding” smart? (Every good professor saw right through it.)

Well, that’s how you confuse Creationists. Throw in a few equations and watch them be amazed…

One final note: Jeanson, like all Creationist “researchers,” does no actual research. There are no experiments. No laboratories. No science. Only spinning the work of real researchers just enough to confuse people like Ken Ham into thinking you’ve discovered something notable.

There’s a reason this paper was published in the Creationist Answers Research Journal instead of anywhere reputable: No one else would ever accept such tripe.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • @Lovethatscience

    He would have done well to read this research before spouting off with his “baffler them with bullshit” hypothesis: http://www.washington.edu/news/2013/12/12/scientists-discover-double-meaning-in-genetic-code/

  • Timothy McLean

    …Seriously, all the problems with the Ark, and poop is the one you focus on?

  • Spuddie

    I would think being on a tight wooden ship packed with animals, Poop would be the first thing on the minds of anyone on board. =)

    Sanitation is one of the greatest developments nobody wants talks about. The ability to move crap from our location to somewhere else but our location is one of the key signs of a developed nation.

  • Timothy McLean

    People have tried implementing something like that before.


    It didn’t catch on. Ever. Sadly.

  • Peter Naus

    So, using Ockham’s Razor, it’s more parsimonious to assume a single, more distant, ancestor incorporated a symbiotic mitochondrion, than multiple ancestors iincorporated the same over an unknown timescale? Is that more-or-less the concept?

    Mind you, it makes me more proud, not less, that one of my protozooan great-great-great-great-great-etc grandpappies took up the offer to incorporate infinite ‘free’ energy!

    Thanks for stepping in. I’m prouder of your ‘unsure’ response than of any ‘god-dun-it’ alternatives.

    Multicellular organisms RULE!

  • Peter Naus

    Yeah, as a total mathematical incompetent, there’s nothing more scary than reading ‘We leave the trivial proof as an exercise for the reader…’

    Don’t get me wrong, I understand enough maths to realise just how much I’m missing, and just a bare glimpse into justhow much true magic there is on the other side of thepage…

    I bought Roger Penrose’s “Road to Reality”, but despite many,many attempts, I’ve never really worked past page 60. That’s where he starts discussing the magic in logarithms and the links to imaginary numbers. But then he dives headfirst into mappings and transformations, and I’m left paddling on the surface (no pun intended) of spatial transforms.

    On the other hand, it’s such a cool book that reading about Hamiltonians and gauge tensors almost puts me in mind of Feynmann’s lectures. It’s like I ALMOST understand what he’s talking about, like playing around with fractals and Manderlbröt sets. Beautiful, but immensley scary!

  • ZeldasCrown

    Oh, trust me, even as a person in a math-based field, that phrase is also fear-inducing. Well, actually it starts out with a nervous laugh, and false optimism that “this time, it actually will be trivial”, before inevitably sliding into “what was he smoking when he wrote that this was trivial?”. Even worse is when they leave out the trivial part and just say “We leave the proof as an exercise for the reader.” Then you know you’re really in for it. I’m forced to conclude that the folks writing these books just have an entirely different definition of ‘trivial’ than I (and most other people) do.

  • http://abb3w.livejournal.com/ abb3w

    Sounds about like what I recall.

    I recall hearing about secondary speculation that there may have been two or more mitochondrial endosymbiosis events, and whether after ancestor A became A+m, some species B branched off long before that endosymbiosis may have eaten some A+m, not fully digested it, and become a B+m — providing a bit of mistletoe on the tree of life.

    That said, I’ve no citations on that; and the explanation you gave is parsimonious enough to be the most likely.

  • Davo

    The problems with religious “scientists” like this moron above, is that they have an agenda. Real scientists make observations, theories and conclusions based on what they find/experiment etc. The religious nuts do the exact opposite. I feel sorry for them, they’re hopelessly trapped in a vast sea of ignorance.