Tuesday, February 16, 2016

#1597: Andrew Fabich

Andrew Fabich is a creationist hackjob who teaches microbiology at “Liberty” “University”. He is probably most well-known for his “evaluation” of Richard Lenski’s famous E. coli evolution experiment, which was feebly disparaged by Ken Ham in his infamous debate with Bill Nye. As you may know, Lenski’s twenty-year project reported that, as a result of several beneficial mutations, his organisms had acquired the ability to metabolize citrate (or an ability to transport it through the cell wall prior to metabolizing it), a completely new ability and an increase in complexity provided by a beneficial mutation that was then fixed in the population by natural selection. Of course, according to creationists this is something that shouldn’t happen, but which obviously did, so Fabich had little choice but to turn to dubious levels of honesty when evaluating it: “When I look at the evidence that people cite of E. coli supposedly evolving over 30 years, over 30,000 generations in the lab, and people say it is now able to grow on citrate, I don’t deny that it grows on citrate, but it’s not any kind of new information, the information is already there and it’s just a switch that gets turned on and off. That’s what they reported and there’s nothing new.” That use of the word “information” is entirely meaningless and irrelevant, and Fabich seems to know it (two mutations took place creating an entirely new trait in the population, remember), but it does tell you quite a bit at the approach faculty members at “Liberty” “University” (and creationists in general) take toward science.

But Fabich has a range of gotcha objections to secularism and evolution (he unsurprisingly fails to distinguish those). “Ultimately, unlike those with a biblical worldview, secular humanists have no clear moral basis to put themselves at risk to help the downtrodden, sick, and infirm,writes Fabich: “If we are just the product of random chance processes over time, as Darwinian evolution asserts [nope, he has no more clue about evolution than he does about ethics], then why not let the sick die off so the strong will survive?You ain’t heard that before, have you?

He has also published in Answer in Genesis’s house journal, the Answers Research Journal. For vol. 4 he provided the embarrassingly feeble “Time to Abandon Postmodernism: Living a New Way,” a piece of quasi-philosophy displaying no understanding of modernism or postmodernism (the latter is described as characterized by “lauding totalitarianism and nihilism”) but plenty of laughable strawmen, and which abstains from discussing any specific example of modernism or postmodernism except for John Cage’s 4’33, which he apparently uses as evidence for the death of postmodernism since it, as an esoteric artwork with no “commercial possibilities,” is not being promoted commercially.

Diagnosis: Staunch opponent of truth, reason and science – as we’d expect from his affiliation – Fabich is not above using rank dishonesty and subversion; but then again, he’s usually preaching to the choir anyways, and they don’t seem to care overly much. 

1 comment:

  1. See my takedown on his article on endogenous retroviruses for Answers in Genesis. https://barryhisblog.blogspot.com/p/sign-in-or-sign-up-englishus-answers.html