Sunday, January 10, 2016

#1566: Karl Duff

Dumpster diving among the signatories to the Discovery Institute’s petition A Scientific Dissent from Darwinism produces some hilariously inane results, and Karl Duff is definitely one of the sillier. Duff has an Sc.D. in mechanical engineering from MIT but is not a scientist, and has as far as we can tell no academic affiliation. He is, however, on the Flood Science Review panel for In Jesus’ Name Productions, a production company that apparently wants to make a movie about the Flood (no idea of how the project is proceeding) that “could have historic impact […] if the science upon which it is based can be sufficiently defended. It could even represent a significant challenge to the validity of the theory of Evolution.” Indeed it could, but the antics of the panel bear little resemblance to anything remotely connected with science. Their webpage is here. According to the webpage the panel consists of “independent highly qualified scientists”, including, in addition to Duff:

-       Our old acquaintance John Reed.
-       David K. Bassett, affiliated with nothing less than Carl Baugh’s Creation Evidence Museum.
-       Mark Horstemeyer, who – unlike the others – enjoys a real academic affiliation (though utterly unrelated to the scientific issues at hand, of course) by being a professor in the Mechanical Engineering Department at Mississippi State University; he is also the founder of the Association for Christian Graduate Researchers.
-       Ian Juby, the “founder of Canada’s first creation museum”.
-       Todd Styer, who, the website assures us, “has studied mainstream science” (though his education consists of a Master of Business Administration).
-       Christopher Lyndon, (disconcertingly) a high school physics teacher with some science background in irrelevant fields.
-       Rob Thomson, another fundie with an unrelated “MS in applied physics” (i.e. utterly disqualified for the kind of scientific work the panel claims to be engaged in).
-       Wayne Spencer, yet another non-scientist.
-       Raymond Strom, a Calgary-based businessman with – big surprise – little or no scientific background.

It’s the type of motley crew that usually is found behind these kinds of projects, in other words: a minority of them has any science background whatsoever, and none of them has a science background in any remotely relevant fields.

Duff himself has built a bit of a career writing books like Dating, Intimacy, and the Teenage Years (check out the editorialreview), as well as Bride of the High Places, Restoration of Men and Restoration of Marriage, which presumably continues in the same vein. He has also written numerous creationist screeds, such as Life is Organized Without Darwinian Transitions; I leave it to readers to spot the creationist PRATTs in that one (seriously, this is Kent Hovind-territory). Bingo sheet here.

Diagnosis: Cargo cult science hardly comes more pitifully delusional than this, but Duff’s impact is probably limited – he doesn’t exactly put the Discovery Institute’s petition in a good light, but neither does anything else.

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