Which should have been the end of it. Except the creationists got wind of this story. They cited this as evidence of the nasty Darwinist conspiracy to keep them out of science.
(At least until they got distracted by how pre-marital sex leads to child abuse).
But now the story has taken yet another turn. The Institute of Creation Research have gotten hold of this story and dragged it to new lows. Not only do they say it’s a case of evilutionist censorship; but the “evidence” in the paper is proof of their worldview. An idea explicitly contradicted by the authors; but the ICR gets around this problem by omitting some key quotes. Classy.
What the creationists say the paper said
The Institute for Creation Research article starts off in the same vein as all the previous creationist discussion of this post. They point out how this is clear evidence of censorship and general evil-doing by scientists.
So far, nothing new. So I was initially just going to ignore this article. However, so far no creationist has actually associated themselves with the paper. The narrative is that it’s evidence of evil censorship, not creationism. But the ICR goes off script, arguing that this paper actually supports creationism.
Again, this isn’t really anything new. Creationists routinely claim support from sources that do no such thing. But what makes this interesting is they also go on to say that the authors support them and their conclusions. Or at least, really strongly imply it.
It seems pretty clear: the paper supports creationism and the authors probably do too.
What the paper actually said
Based on these arguments, you might think that the paper supports creationism. However, if you looked at the paper – rather than relying on the creationists – you’d see how wrong that is.
Specifically, they make references to human evolution (and the fact it took millions of years). The evidence they cite in support of this points back to palaeoanthropological sources, rather than anything Biblical. Comparative studies with apes in particular make up a key part of their discussion. If they truly believed humans to be a special, separate creation like the ICR does why would these be included.
An important advantage that makes human hand superior to other animals is that the human hand can dexterously perform various tasks, and this unique ability can apparently facilitate the capacity for more effective tool making and tool use during the evolutionary process
The citation for this being Evolution of the human hand: approaches to acquiring, analysing and interpreting the anatomical evidence by Marzke MW and Marzke RF.
In fact, even the most “creationisty” part of the article includes these non-creationisty phrases:
In conclusion, our study can improve the understanding of the human hand and confirm that the mechanical architecture is the proper design by the Creator for dexterous performance of numerous functions following the evolutionary remodeling of the ancestral hand for millions of year
Spin it however you want, this paper clearly doesn’t advocate a young earth creationist position.
What the authors actually said
However, we don’t have to sit around and debate exactly how to interpret the paper. The authors have actually told us explicitly what they meant in this paper. And it doesn’t look good for the ICR.
They left a comment on the retracted paper. Amongst other things, it points out that their results indicate a hand well “designed” by evolution; rather than any “Creator”:
So, it’s clear the authors think you can’t infer creationism from the paper. However, the ICR seem to think they secretly do. They cast doubt on this defence by arguing there was no language barrier and thus the inclusion of creationism was intentional. The implication seems to be that the authors – and thus the paper – actually supports their point of view.
Of course, this interpretation seems completely unfounded if you actually read the aforementioned comment by the author. But note how the ICR doesn’t actually give their readers the opportunity to read it. They don’t link to the quote, describe where it might be found, or even quote it. They seem to be trying to deliberately hiding the evidence that disagrees with them. Evidence that – unless you call the authors liars – shows they’re completely barking up the wrong tree here.
I still maintain that the references to “Creator” were inappropriate and thus the paper needed to be retracted. However, even the most critical interpretation of the paper and the authors can’t conclude that they support young earth creationism in any way.
The ICR claims a recent paper which refers to the “Creator” proves creationism, despite the fact that both the paper and authors completely disagree with them.
Hopefully this is the last time I have to deal with this blasted Creator paper. It really Creator-ed more trouble than it’s worth. HAHAHA.