In two prior posts (Creation Science Organizations: Past, Present and Future and The Next Generation of Creation Scientists) I have raised questions about the viability of the creation science movement as measured by the conversion of new scientists to the movement. Of course there have been many converts to belief in a young earth or at least a growing base of young earth advocates. But, has creation science become a viable scientific enterprise? Has it produced a new generation of creationists experts who are testing creationists hypothesis and extending the theories to produce a more robust science than they were handed by Morris and company? I have argued that although there is a younger generation of creationists who are attempting to take on the burden of being the next generation of creation science experts, the number of these younger, say less than 50 years old, scientists are not what the original founders of the movement would have hoped for. It is clear that a younger generation of scientists are not flocking to the “truths” of creation science.
I want to provide some quantitative evidence to support my assertion that the efforts of creation science are not resulting in a large increase in the base of active researchers devoted to furthering creation science research. Although there are many magazines published by creationists organizations there are only a few places where scientific creationists engage in publishing research in which they attempt to have their peers review their work. The number of academic publications that seek to apply flood geology/creation science theories to data sets that are published in secular journals can be numbered on one or two hands. Effectively all of the published peer-reviewed work of creationists is found in their own journals.
There are three main research journals that publish creation science articles:
Creation Research Science Quarterly – Creation Research Society; 4 issues per year with 3-6 articles per issue.
Journal of Creation – Creation Ministries International; 3 issues per year, 10 papers per issue + reviews and notes
Answers Research Journal – Answers in Genesis; About 3 years old with 16 articles in 2011 and probably about the same in 2012.
There was a journal called Origins published since 1974 by the Geoscience Research Institute (an institute of the 7th Day Adventist Church) but it appears to have ceased publication in 2008. In the 1980s and 1990s it was most active but even then only contained 1-5 scholarly articles per year many by the same authors as found in the three journals listed above.
So who is writing for these journals? For the most part the authors come from members of the organizations that produce the journals but each do solicit submissions and published articles by independent researches and members or other organizations. Just to get some feeling for the authors and numbers of publications I went through all the issues of theses journals from 2011. Here are quick back of the envelope calculations:
Creation Research Science Quarterly (CRSQ) – 15 articles by 9 total authors
Journal of Creation – 29 articles by 15 authors
Answers Research Journal – 16 articles by 12 authors
That would be 60 total publications by 29 authors. It is only 29 authors because several not only published multiple articles in a single journal but also published in at least two of the three journals. Three of these authors (Joubert, 10; Bergman, 8; and Oard, 6) provided for 18 of the 60 or almost 1/3 of all primary creation science publications in 2011!
The CRSQ has been around since 1965. Looking back to 2001 I count 16 total articles by 11 authors with four of the authors the same as in 2011. Going back 15 years to 1996 I count 25 total articles by 14 authors with five of those (more than 1/3) being the same authors as published in 2011. Going back to the 1970s and 1980s the journal regularly published 20-30 articles per year though typically by less tan 50% that many authors. The trend has been toward fewer articles by even fewer authors. Sampling the last 20 years it appears that Reed, Oard, Bergman and Froede are responsible for up to 25% of all the publications. There has been about a 50% turnover in authors over the last 30 years but it is really remarkable how many active writers in the 1980s are still publishing articles after 2010.
There is a new creationist organization called Logos Research Associates that counts in its membership many creation scientists who are also members of other organizations (mostly Creation Research Society) but also several well known creationist that are no longer associated with ICR and others. They seem to be trying to put themselves in the position of being the premier academic/scholarly research arm of the creation science movement. Here is how they describe what they do on their home page:
As scholars and scientists we delve deeply into the scientific controversies which affect Christian belief and unbelief. We are doing high quality original research that can challenge many academic dogmas of our day – in areas such as cosmology, geology, genetics, and archeology. We are building national and international collaborative research teams. We wish to effectively communicate our findings, and the findings of others, to people like you.
When I looked at there list of team members I found 29 total listed of which 15 have a PhD in science. Cross referencing against researchers listed by the Creation Research Society and by the their profiles at Logos RAs I estimate at least 3/4 of the individuals are more than 50 years old and 1/2 probably more than 60. To be fair, creationists organizations such as this are relying in good part on volunteer work and so aren’t going to attract many younger members because they may hold jobs at places where they would feel discriminated against if they became active creationists proponents. Some of these folks when the are more set financially may take more risks may begin to take a more active role. I would argue that while there is undoubtedly a number that may fit this description this does not represent a significant number. Furthermore, Answers in Genesis and the Institute for Creation Research are not exactly destitute organizations that must rely on the good graces of independent scholars to do their research. ICR and AIG are desperately seeking to maintain their scholarly and scientific legitimacy even within the Christian community and I am sure would love to hire more real Ph.D scientists to bolster this positions. If anyone can agree with Ken Ham about the specifics of the creation account there should be a job there for them.
Returning to creationist scholarly publications, only 60 research articles in 2011 don’t tell the whole story. Of those a good portion involve analysis of theological concerns rather than scientific. Many of the scientific articles are not based on new data collected but are more like commentaries and speculations about how flood geology could explain secular data. Very few actually propose hypotheses for which new data is collected and analyses to test those hypotheses. I’m not saying that there aren’t intelligent people who are willing to devote great time and attention to writing for the creationist cause. Reiterating what I’ve said before, I’m pointing out here and my last two posts is that a 50 year old hypothesis if it were great at explaining the features of the earth’s land-forms it should be attracting a much greater professional following yet the average age of the intellectual drivers of the creationists movement is going up year after year.