Monday, September 7, 2015

#1456: Eugene Chaffin

Eugene F. Chaffin is a Professor of Physics at Bob Jones University, one of the most legendary fake universities in the US. He is, as befits anyone working at said “university”, also on the CMI list of scientists alive today who accept the Biblical account of creation. He is also, for instance, coeditor (with Larry Vardiman and Andrew Snelling) of the 2005 cargo-cult-scientific collection Radioisotopes and the Age of the Earth II, published by the Institute for Creation Research, and a prominent member of the RATE group (Radioisotopes and the Age of the Earth; described here. He has also served on the board of the Creation Research Society since 1988, and is the physics editor for their pseudojournal Creation Research Society Quarterly.

Chaffin is somewhat exceptional among creationists, since Chaffin actually seems to be honestly committed to doing what he thinks is scientific research, not only outreach. He is probably most notable for his work on radioactive decay – as you would figure, radioactive decay is sort of a serious problem for the idea of a young Earth, and Chaffin is one of the big defenders of the idea of, well, special pleading: the rate of radioactive decay has not been constant but accelerated for instance during the flow (despite the fact that the acceleration his models need would have annihilated the Earth in a spectacular fashion, in addition to being nothing but a desperate ad hoc measure in blatant contradiction with the evidence).  

Diagnosis: Not the most flamboyant of them, and for all we know Chaffin might actually be intellectually honest. It’s less clear whether that makes this character more or less sad.

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