Answers Research Journal Still Under Fire from Media

on February 16, 2008

Slate: “Peer-Reviewing the Bible” Answers Research Journal, our new peer-reviewed journal that publishes papers on aspects of the biblical Creation/Flood model, is still receiving flak from mainstream media.

Slate’s Bonnie Goldstein examined the Instructions to Authors Manual, a multi-page PDF we provide for prospective authors. Goldstein writes, “Here the goal is not to ensure that research meets academic standards of scientific inquiry, but rather to ensure that the scholar's conclusions conform to a literal interpretation of the Bible.” On the contrary, those two are not mutually exclusive; we want to ensure that only good science makes it in ARJ as well as only permitting papers that further the Creation/Flood model—just as secular publications only allow papers that advance the dominant evolutionary viewpoint. At least we’re open about our “bias”!

Creationists have fewer choices when it comes to developing our worldview scientifically.

Goldstein also attacks the opportunity ARJ authors have to suggest peers to review their manuscripts. However, this is a common practice in many journals and has its advantages and disadvantages, just like any system of review. For example, the requirements for the journal PLoS Biology ask, “Have you identified potential reviewers whose e-mail addresses you can provide?” Likewise, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences submission guidelines state, “Authors must recommend three appropriate Editorial Board members, three NAS members who are expert in the paper’s scientific area, and five qualified referees.” Is Goldstein holding creationists to a separate standard, or has she just not done her research?

Finally, Goldstein refers to ARJ’s allowance of pen names for researchers at secular universities. While we would prefer this were unnecessary, the stories of such scientists as Guillermo Gonzalez at Iowa State University being denied tenure even for vague intelligent design beliefs shows that continuing pseudonymity is important for “closet creationists” trying to successfully earn their credentials before speaking out publicly for creation. This was the case with (for example) AiG’s Dr. Jason Lisle, who published as Robert Newton before earning his doctorate.

The fact of the matter is, creationists have fewer choices when it comes to developing our worldview scientifically; nonetheless, journals such as ARJ offer opportunities to publish well-researched, peer-reviewed scientific papers. As long as creation-model papers are suppressed in “mainstream” science, there is little else creationists can do.

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Answers in Genesis is an apologetics ministry, dedicated to helping Christians defend their faith and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ effectively. We focus on providing answers to questions about the Bible—particularly the book of Genesis—regarding key issues such as creation, evolution, science, and the age of the earth.