A prominent Creation science group is pushing back after their website was included on a widely-shared list of allegedly untrustworthy sources and described as “junk science.”
After “fake news” became a subject of national discussion during the 2016 presidential election, Melissa Zimdars, an assistant professor of communication at Merrimack College, compiled an online document that lists disreputable websites and news sources.
Originally created as a resource for her students, Zimdars’s document lists hundreds of “false, misleading, clickbait-y, and satirical” websites.
“Obviously, fake news is a major problem,” Zimdars wrote in a column for The Washington Post. “We need to make sure people have the tools to detect it, and we need to understand why people may purposefully share news they know to be fake—maybe they’re being malicious, they think it’s funny or it aligns with what they want to be true. And we definitely need to find ways to discourage the production of non-comedy, non-satire fake news.”
Zimdars’s document has since been widely shared on social media sites and spotlighted by numerous news outlets. Harvard University published a link to the list on their library’s “Fake News, Misinformation, and Propoganda” page, along with an infographic warning students not to get “taken in” by fake news.
Although Zimdars noted that not all of the sources in her list are “inherently problematic,” they do tend to distort headlines, publish dubious information and mislead readers.
One of the sites included on the professor’s document is ICR.org, the website of the Institute for Creation Research. Zimdar tagged the group’s website as “junk science,” which she defines as “sources that promote pseudoscience, metaphysics, naturalistic fallacies, and other scientifically dubious claims.”
In a blog post published on Monday, Brian Thomas of ICR contested the “junk science” label and defended the organization’s reputability.
“Junk science describes conclusive-sounding statements with no support from experiment or observation,” Thomas argued. “Examples of junk science include flat earth theories, manipulated climate reports, and a variety of unproven health-related claims. It should also include areas like astrobiology—meaning ‘space life’—that have zero study samples.”
Not only does ICR’s team try to expose junk science, Thomas said, but research on their website has been published by secular sources.
“ICR.org contains thousands of science articles that painstakingly reference original technical science sources,” he wrote. “For example, our report of an enzyme that locates DNA damage sites using an ingenious electrical current detector was not just junk. The journal Theoretical Biology & Medical Modeling published those research results.”
“Our report on a Psittacosaurus fossil from China with original skin, including its original skin shade patterns, was not just junk. The source research was published in Current Biology,” Thomas added.
The ICR team’s belief in the biblical worldview is what sets them apart from other science groups, Thomas noted.
“When we report on the good science behind stunning ingenuity in DNA repair enzymes, for example, we feel free to credit the Creator,” he stated. “When we report on the good science behind preservation of short-lived tissues still persisting in dinosaur and other fossils, we feel free to include the Bible’s recent Flood as a reasonable explanation. Today’s anti-Creator, anti-Bible attitudes clearly clash with this biblical history.”
“Many find it easier to simply label the Bible as ‘junk’ than to actually investigate it. If they peered inside, they would find that the Bible is painfully true, to the point that it exposes the junk that inhabits every human heart,” he continued. “We challenge readers to search for legitimate junk on ICR.org, having confidence that peering into ICR.org’s nearly half-century worth of content similarly reveals a long trend of good science—conclusions based on experimental results and reliable eyewitnesses.”