Saturday, January 24, 2015

#1269: John Woodmorappe

“John Woodmorappe” is a pseudonym, and although his real name is known (heck, even Wikipedia uses it) we are reluctant to out people here, so despite Woodmorappe’s actions we’ll let him stay Woodmorappe. Now, Woodmorappe is a creationist, and a rather central figure, it seems, in the young earth creationist movement. Apparently he does have an M.S. in geology and has done some work in real geology as well, but the last 40 years seem to have been devoted to rank pseudoscience. His long career in the creationist movement and the Creation Research Society has apparently made him something of an authority and grand old man of modern creationism, and he has published extensively in various creationist outlets, magazines and books, including the Answers Research Journal.

His areas of research concern, quixotically, various attempts to get reality to fit a young earth perspective and literal interpretation of the Bible (e.g. through baraminology). This requires some, shall we say, desperate measures, rather overwhelming levels of denialism, and appeal to miracles. As for denial, his early paper “Radiometric Dating Reappraised” is probably a good example (it is reviewed here) of the kinds of intellectually hoops he tries to get through. That paper was later developed into the book The Mythology of Modern Dating Methods, though the arguments were hardly improved.

Woodmorappe is perhaps best known for his book Noah’s Ark: A Feasibility Study (mildly critical review here), which after feebly trying to defend the global flood myth of the Bible goes on to push a remarkable array of desperate, fallacious (e.g. this) and internally dubiously consistent arguments to suggest that the Ark was, indeed, possible. Just like “scientists” did in Medieval Times, I suppose. Of course, always having Goddidit as a fallback strategy helps, but Woodmorappe actually tries to do without it. He fails, and he fails miserably (e.g. because of this, this, and this). And now, 30 years later, he still failsmiserably.

Diagnosis: Yes, this is what a respected research in the young earth creationist movement looks like. It’s almost pitiful. Woodmorappe’s envy of how things worked back in the Middle Ages, when researchers were apparently not yet corrupted, is telling, though.

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