I am now blocked from commenting on the Facebook page of the Institute of Creation Research (ICR). This was no surprise to me, nonetheless I felt rather sad that they felt they had to cut me off. Below is a screenshot of the ICR meme on which I had made what I thought was a substantive comment. About 20 minutes later my comment was removed and I was no longer able to comment.
I infrequently commented on the ICR Facebook page and I followed all the rules and beyond. I did not promote my own material by posting links. I was polite to those that called me everything imaginable. I devoted my time and attention to pointing out when very clear mistakes had been make or there was a large piece of the picture missing. I only commented on topics for which I felt I had expertise and something significant to contribute. When replies became hostile I simply didn’t respond.
In many cases I provided information that corrected serious problems with their message. Several times they removed content after becoming aware – via my Facebook comments – that there were factual errors in their posts. One recent example included problems with the content of a video. I wrote about it on this blog after pointing out the problem on their FB page (When Peer-Review Lets You Down: Another YEC Fact-checking Problem). An hour later ICR had removed the video and edited out the offending portion. Here is another example in which they posted a completely erroneous meme in which they were incorrect about how many time Jesus referenced Genesis (A YEC Quote Problem). That one was removed and has not re-appeared and even ICR followers on FB recognized there was a problem after I pointed it out.
Such errors are not uncommon and without someone pointing them out the quality of their work will become even worse. There are not many of us out there that are willing to take the time to examine the YEC literature and provide constructive feedback. By cutting those people off ICR has doomed themselves to repeating their mistakes over and over again. Their internal peer-review process consists of friends with less expertise than the authors looking over material and looking for grammatical errors not content errors. By cutting off all external reviewers they place themselves in great peril of becoming even more isolated from
A few weeks ago I challenged Ken Ham to send his employees to professional scientific conferences so they could learn first hand what is happening in science and challenge themselves with the best of what is out there. YECs organize their own conferences, review their own materials and generally ignore outside criticism other than to claim it is unwarranted.
Unfortunately by blocking myself and other Christians who work in scientific fields, ICR confirms that they are taking the path of Answers in Genesis in carefully managing what their follows are exposed to. I understand why they are doing this. I am an annoyance that too many people listen too. Reasonable comments that point out other points of view are far more dangerous to their message than the sniping of atheist which they continue to tolerate – some have posted thousands of comments – on their Facebook page. Just like AiG, they promote a dichotomous view of the world in which there are only young earth true believers and atheists, everyone in between is just a confused compromiser.
Here is what I wrote about AiG that I think applies here as well:
“In other words, by attending conferences and really listening to talks and meeting with scientists they will be placed in a situation where they will see and hear things they can’t unsee and unhear. And this is why Ken Ham doesn’t want them there. By all appearances and from personal experience he doesn’t allow his employees to engage in any significant interactions with non-Christian scientist and especially compromising Christian scientists. The latter are the most dangerous and are to be avoided at all costs because their words are from the devil and can’t be trusted. This behavior is common in insular organizations such as AiG. The more isolated the members become the more distanced they are from the real world. As a result it becomes more and more difficult from members to critique each other and to understand the outside world which makes their critiques of that world less and less reliable as well.
The reduction of contact and dehumanization of the opposition is a tried and true technique for maintaining fealty to a leader or movement. In recent years AiG has become increasingly isolated from world – just as they preach that they must – but since they are in the business of providing responses to the secular world they have to engage that world to understand it lest they just provide answers to straw-men they have created.”
I’m more sad than upset. It’s sad that they are fearful of the message of other Christians. It’s sad that they have cut themselves off from yet another source of outside peer-review.