Thursday, November 28, 2019

#2274: Mitchel Soltys

Answers in Genesis is apparently still running their own vanity journal, the Answers Research Journal, and the garbled nonsense that finds its ways into its pages is still strangely fascinating. Many of the contributors to the journal are completely unknown, and we have to admit that we have no clear idea who Mitchel Soltys might be. For volume 4 of the Answers journal, however, Soltys penned “Toward an Accurate Model of Variation in DNA”, which is, to be honest, more annoyingly tiresome than fascinating. In the paper – discussed here (yes, there is a lot of toward, in the gesturing sense) Soltys flogs the long-dead creationist information cannot originate in statistical processes” gambit, which, as always, is based on fully failing to understand “information” and what it might mean in the context of genetics. (Yes: the “information is a code, and a code requires intentions” should sound like a pretty silly equivocation even to those who don’t know anything about DNA or information theory; and yes: Soltys does cite Werner Gitt, and no: he doesn’t address any of the damning objections to Gitt’s claims.) And just to cover his bases, Soltys added a standard “[m]utations don’t result in new genes” stock phrase, completely without backing it up. The really telling passage in the paper, however, is “As we continue our discussion we could use actual gene mappings, but that would be overly large and complex […]”: yes: science, detail and fact is uninterestingly complicated. The primary aim of the article is, relying on analogies, to come up with a definition of “biblical kind”, “[t]he set spanned by all organisms having the same instructional segments and structural arrangements in DNA.” Supporting data? Oh, ye doubting fools.

Diagnosis: Nonsensical pseudoscientist. Probably a very minor figure, though, and unlikely to win many new converts to pseudoscience.


  1. Wow, G.D.! You have outdone yourself. A whole website devoted to ad hominum attacks, without nary a true analysis of the views of the people you attack. Most of the SS (so-called skeptics) and vax-lovers mix it up a bit with some factual assertions. But its nice to see glaringly what is underneath when the gloves come off.

  2. Feel free to point out any inaccuracies and errors, then. It's interesting that you don't. And no, the entries here don't provide much *detail* on the pseudoscientific ideas and conspiracy theories mentioned - that 's what the links are for - but the information is correct.

    You are of course right that the entries are written in a dismissive style, and don't shy away from calling pseudoscientists "pseudoscientists". If you don't like being mocked for having dangerous and wrong views, then you should adjust your beliefs. I don't feel particularly bad about calling, say, antivaxxers, whose misunderstandings and errors are a direct threat to health and welfare of others, out for being the idiots they are.

    Calling a loon "a loon" is not an ad hominem *falllacy*, however. I wonder, though, if you come close to committing one with your assertion "its nice to see glaringly what is underneath when the gloves come off." You know what an ad hominem fallacy is, right? (Hint: it's not the same as a personal attack.)

  3. Kindness and polite responsiveness is a great way to make allies, not enemies. Enemies however need love too.