Apparently evolutionary science is falling apart. Creationist “scientists” are telling us how modern science has proved Darwin wrong. And they must be right because they are scientists, aren’t they? We can take their word for it, can’t we?
The old “authority” fallacy.
The latest local pronouncement along these lines has been gifted us by Christian apologist creationists (Thinking Matters). This is an article “Cracks in the Edifice” by Dr. Johnson C. Philip telling us that Darwin’s depiction of evolution as a “tree of life” has been discredited.
The article is rather confusing – but very authoritative. The article assures us that: “The author is a physicist, and has worked in the filed of Quantum-Nuclear physics, particularly on the quark structure of protons, neutrons, and deuterium binding energy.” He’s a scientist – he must know what he is talking about.
Still – I thought I would check him out. A Google Scholar search didn’t reveal any scientific publications by Dr Philips! Very strange for someone with M. Sc. and Ph. D. degrees in physics.
Apologetics & creationist “authority”
However, his internet profile assures us that he has “more than 5000 published articles in physics, electronics, I, IT, theology, and the Brethren Movement.“ Well, those last two subjects are a bit of a give-away. I wonder why the Thinking Matters blog omitted to mention these amongst Dr Philips qualifications. Philips himself describes his specialities as “apologetics and theology not science.
The Creation Wiki entry for Dr Philips is perhaps more accurate. This says he “has published more than 50 books and 2500 articles in 6 languages in the fields of theology, apologetics, counseling, and communication. He has also published several research papers in apologetics and information technology as applied to libraries in India.” No mention of physics at all!
According to Creation Wiki on Philips:
“For his PhD he worked initially on the “Changing Fundamental Constants And The Age Of The Universe”, . . . . He felt that such a work done in a secular University would be helpful for the creation movement. He was able to get many breakthroughs, but had to abandon the work after two years of research due to the prevailing hostility against this subject and its implications for Christians.”
Apparently he “moved on to Quantum Chromodynamics” and “came up with a model that explained the behavior of all hadrons on the basis of their quark constituents.” OK – but where is this work published?
So Philips may have a Ph. D. in physics but his work has been in Christian apologetics and creationism. His use of qualifications are similar to those of Dr. Jonathan Wells – who was advised by his spiritual leader Sun Myung Moon to study and achieve his Ph. D. so that it could be used in his struggle against evolutionary science. This is common advice given by Discovery Institute fellows to young creationist students.
So how does Dr. Philips use his “scientific authority.” The Thinking Matter article gives an example. The only other examples of his “scientific” writings I can find are along the lines of trying to prove that science can be derived from biblical quotes (eg. Bible and Science)!
Now, I may be being a bit unfair to Philips. Perhaps he did publish his Ph. D. work. If so, I would be glad to be given a reference to it. But, come on Thinking Matters. Isn’t your attribution of scientific “authority” to this article (and being silent about Philips work in apologetics and creationism) less than honest?