Double-take on Doing Math in Public

Double-take on Doing Math in Public:

Chinese Fudge Factory Doubles Output

Dr. James J. S. Johnson

HotFudgeSundae-with--Cherry.Braums

Hot Fudge Sundae, with brownie & cherry (photo credit: Braum’s)

Recent reports (April 17, 2020) show that Chinese fudge is being produced, in Wuhan, at numbers now doubling earlier reports.  And more cherry-picked statistics.

The official Covid-19 death toll for Wuhan has been revised [as of April 17, 2020] up by 1,290 to 3,869 as life in the city returns to something like normal as many restrictions are lifted. Authorities in the Chinese city where the global coronavirus pandemic began late last year have revised its death toll upwards by 50%, as the government in Beijing again denied there had been any cover-up in its handling of the crisis.

A local government taskforce in Wuhan charged with virus prevention added 1,290 fatalities to the city’s toll, taking the confirmed count to 3,869 from a previously reported 2,579. Wuhan, a city of 11 million people, suffered more fatalities than any other city in China as residents struggled get help from its overwhelmed medical system.(1)

Is this governmental science fiction—what accountants call “cooking the books”,  what historians call political revisionism, and what scientists attribute to “fudge” factors?(2)

cooking-the-books.picture

Maybe this doubled mortality statistic has a more benign explanation, something like the record-keepers were just too busy reacting to the crisis, to accurately count Coronavirus corpses.

The revision comes after weeks of scepticism, from both within and outside China, over the officially reported figures. Officials said Friday’s revision was the result of incorrect or delayed reporting and not because information had been suppressed.

“Medical workers at some facilities might have been preoccupied with saving lives and there existed delayed reporting, underreporting or misreporting, but there has never been any cover-up and we do not allow cover-ups,” said China’s foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian at a news briefing in Beijing.(1)

But this misinformation—whether accidental or faked—is not surprising, as recent scholarship has documented.(1),(2)

Coronavirus expert Ralph Baric, from the University of North Carolina, is uneasy about the numbers coming out of China. “I’m very suspicious about anything they’re saying,” Baric said, pointing to the low numbers China is reporting from other provinces in the country. “The math says there should be a lot more cases.”(3)

Lamentably, statistical “fudge” factors have plagued scientific statistics in many contexts, both inside and outside China, and in diverse scientific fields beyond the healthcare industry.(2),(4),(5)

Of course, having debunked fake science for decades, creation scientists are never shocked when evolutionist reports are proven false.(4),(5),(6),(7),(8),(9)

How is this relevant to us today, as we strive—separating real-world science “wheat” from misinformation “chaff”—to understand what is really happening in the world of scientific research and education, not limited to pandemics?

In particular, is this relevant to our understanding of politically controversial scientific reporting in non-healthcare arenas—such as dinosaur DNA research,(6) radiometric dating chronologies,(7) animal depopulation alarmism,(8) and bogus allegations of anthropogenic global warming/”climate change”?(8),(9)

Keep your eyes open. Social agenda motivations matter. Don’t trust anything that is popularly promoted—whether it be evolutionary genes-in-magic (“natural selection”), or uniformitarianism-based “deep time”, or alarmist “global warming” hype, or suspicious healthcare statistics—just because a scientist-salesman is promoting it.

If a ton of money or political power (such as gate-keeping at state university science programs) — or theological-political influence (as is found in some so-called “Christian apologetics” programs belonging to private religious colleges) is at stake, don’t swallow whatever was just offered for popular consumption.  It just might be that the scientist-salesman is marketing freshly baked fudge.(2)

Wuhan-laboratory

References

1.     Kuo, Lily. 2020. China denies cover-up as Wuhan coronavirus deaths revised up 50% Increase in total comes after weeks of scepticism over officially reported figures. The Guardian (April 17, 2020). Posted at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/apr/17/china-denies-cover-up-as-wuhan-coronavirus-deaths-revised-up-50  —  accessed April 17, 2020.

2.     Johnson, James J. S. 2020. Hot Fudge Sundaes and Cherry Picked Statistics. ICR News (April  19, 2020). Posted at https://www.icr.org/article/11999/   – accessed April 19, 2020. See also See Proverbs 20:10, 23; Micah 6:11. Moreover, Accumulating evidences appear to show personal liberty-stifling politics, socialized healthcare economics, and population control agendas–harnessing the world’s COVID-19 pandemic–include more than recklessly sloppy science and bureaucratic bungling. See Hanne Nabintu Herland, “The COVID-19 Scandal: Billionaire Bill Gates and WHO: Hanne Nabintu Herland Sounds Alarm Over Oligarch ‘Pandemic Expert’”, WorldNetDaily (WND.com: April 22, 2020), posted at  https://www.wnd.com/2020/04/covid-19-scandal-billionaire-bill-gates/?utm_source=Email&utm_medium=wnd-newsletter&utm_campaign=dailyam&utm_content=newsletter ; accessed April 23, 2020.

3.  Suspicion was expressed prior to Wuhan’s recently published revisions. Branswell, H. 2020. Experts say confusion over coronavirus case count in China is muddying picture of spread. StatNews. (February 20, 2020; accessed April 9, 2020), posted at https://www.statnews.com/2020/02/20/experts-say-confusion-over-coronavirus-case-count-in-china-is-muddying-picture-of-spread/ .

4.     Fake science is no newcomer to Chinese research reports. For example, Clarey, Timothy. 2016. Dinosaurs Designed without Feathers. Acts & Facts. 45(3). Posted at https://www.icr.org/article/dinosaurs-designed-without-feathers — accessed April 17, 2020; Sherwin, Frank. 2016. Another Feathered Dinosaur Tale. Creation Science Update (December 10, 2016), posted at https://www.icr.org/article/another-feathered-dinosaur-tale .

5.  Totalitarian regimes, like communist China, mandate (and thus exemplify) state-approved “consensus science”. See Guliuzza, Randy J. 2009. Consensus Science: The Rise of a Scientific Elite. Acts & Facts. 38(5):4, posted at  https://www.icr.org/article/consensus-science-rise-scientific-elite/ . However, fake science results all too frequently when “fudge factors” are used, elsewhere, to transmogrify research data for political power grabs. Johnson, James J. S. 2020. Do You Really Have a Jaguar? ICR News (April 5, 2020), posted at https://www.icr.org/article/do-you-really-have-a-jaguar .

6.     Regarding spoliation and suppression of DNA research data, see Johnson, James J. S., Jeff P. Tomkins, and Brian Thomas. 2009. Dinosaur DNA Research: Is the Tale Wagging the Evidence? Acts & Facts. 38(10):4-6. Posted at https://www.icr.org/article/dinosaur-dna-research-tale-wagging — accessed April 17, 2020.

7.     For an example of fudge factor problems in the radiometric “dating game”, see Hebert, Jake. 2020. Manganese Nodules Inconsistent with Radiometric Dating. Creation Science Update (January 30, 2020), posted at https://www.icr.org/article/manganese-nodules-radiometric-dating . See also Johnson, James J. S. 2018. Viking Bones Contradict Carbon-14 Assumptions. Acts & Facts. 47(5). Posted at https://www.icr.org/article/viking-bones-contradict-c14-assumptions — accessed April 17, 2020.

8.     Misreported research data, producing false pictures of both Alaska Pollock populations and “climate change” dynamics, see Johnson, James J. S. 2018. Something Fishy About Global Warming Claims. Acts & Facts. 47(3):21, posted at https://www.icr.org/article/something-fishy-about-global-warming . See also, accord, Bailey, K. M. 2013. Billion-Dollar Fish: The Untold Story of Alaska Pollock. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2-44, 46-88, 199-215.

9.     Johnson, James J. S. 2020. Signs of the Times: Glacier Meltdown. Acts & Facts. 49(4):21, posted at https://www.icr.org/article/signs-of-the-times-glacier-meltdown .

Doing Math in Public Can Be Risky

 

DOING MATH IN PUBLIC IS FULL OF RISKS:  Hot Fudge Sundae, Cherries, and the Wuhan Virus

James J. S. Johnson

 

To celebrate my wife’s birthday, recently, a restaurant dinner was not an option (due to Coronavirus “social distancing” mandates), so drive-through fried chicken and a hot fudge sundae had to suffice.  The cherry topped the dessert, but there was not enough fudge, so I returned (later) for another hot fudge sundae.

Somehow that dessert—something about fudge and cherries—reminded me of all the math calculations and projections being thrown around, nowadays, as we swim in the deep, dark flood-waters of Coronavirus pandemic forecasting.(1)

HotFudgeSundae-with--Cherry.Braums

Hot Fudge Sundae, with brownie & cherry (photo credit: Braum’s)

Repeatedly my wife has warned me, when I prepare to speak at a church or school or other venue, “don’t try to do math in public!” So this article is not intended to advocate one statistical analysis, epidemiology model, or pandemic projection over another.

Rather, this consideration of recent Coronavirus-related reports is intended only as a caution—as we follow the latest news and “experts”(1),(2)—to recall that statistics reporting has its validity vulnerabilities, including “cherry-picked” data and analytical “fudge”.(2)  But the challenge of separating “wheat” (accurate information) from “chaff” (false, misleading, or confusing information) is nothing new. Consider the following illustrations and the questions that they raise.

Government statistics are only as sound as their underlying data collection and analytical reporting processes. In a prior article,(2) the example was given of EEOC litigation. At trial the EEOC advocated “cherry-picked” statistics (i.e., “fake math”), to falsely accuse a private corporation of employment discrimination.(2),(3)   The federal trial judge shamed the EEOC for bearing false witness against the company, by portraying the quantitative facts in a deliberately dishonest and skewed (“cherry-picked”) analysis.(3)

Cherries-wild

Sometimes, however, the shoe is on the other foot. In another article,(4) an example was given of private sector businesses lying to government inspectors, in order to deceptively catch Alaska Pollock quantities that approximately doubled the amounts reported as caught, in order to evade international treaty-mandated catch limits.(4),(5) Further complicating the math used for government statistics, the Pollock population reports were used, in environmental politics, to fuel the billion-dollar “global warming”  industry.(5)

In short, if data needs to be harnessed, to build or defend billion-dollar fortunes, don’t expect purist math.(6) But how is this relevant, to quantifying and forecasting the Coronavirus pandemic’s demographics?

First, as in all forensic evidence contexts, consider the reliability (and potentially influential motives) of the sources who are reporting the facts.(6)

Should all statistical data reported by communist governments be naïvely trusted?

Coronavirus expert Ralph Baric, from the University of North Carolina, is uneasy about the numbers coming out of China. “I’m very suspicious about anything they’re saying,” Baric said, pointing to the low numbers China is reporting from other provinces in the country. “The math says there should be a lot more cases.”(7)

Is it relevant that a hospital receives more federal money for reporting a Coronavirus-caused in-patient service than for treating a patient who is not designated as a Coronavirus victim?(8)

What if a patient has a Coronavirus infection, recovers, then dies of a heart attack or traffic accident? If the autopsy indicates a recent Coronavirus infection, is that alone sufficient to label Coronavirus as the cause of death, etiologically speaking?

This is not to suggest (or to discourage) that statisticians need to rigorously scrutinize Coronavirus cause-of-death reports, with cynical “follow-the-money-trail” distrust. However, if government-funded billions of dollars are at stake, it is at least worth some “peer review” to confirm what norms were used for reporting and sorting data.(8)

Likewise, is it prudent to consider who makes a fortune, if one remedy is selected over another? For example, if hydroxychloroquine (maybe in combination with azithromycin and/or zinc) is a simple, cheap, quick, safe, and accessible remedy, who would profit (or fail to profit) by its wholesale use in treating Coronavirus victims?(9)

Or, if hydroxychloroquine it is the best overall solution, and is already available on the market as a generic medicine (and safely used for decades), so patent royalties are not an economic issue, to treating Coronavirus infections, who stands to lose a pharmaceutical fortune if it is now used?(9),(10),(11)

The statistics have yet another challenge: what about the many people who (at some point) have acquired the Coronavirus, and got horribly sick for days or weeks, and eventually recovered—but are afraid to report what they experienced, due to fear of job loss or governmental intrusions that may add to a problem that is now “cured”?(12)

The statistical lethality of Coronavirus is a quotient derived from dividing the numerator (number of Coronavirus deaths within a specific population) by the denominator (total number of Coronavirus infections in that same population combining the number of survivors with those who died).(13)

But a fear-motivated failure, to report a successful recovery from Coronavirus infection, leads to an inaccurately smaller denominator, producing a lethality quotient that erringly suggests that Coronavirus infections are statistically more deadly, in a human population, than they really are.(12),(13)

In other words, the Coronavirus statistics are not a simple matter of merely counting who gets sick and recovers, versus who gets sick and does not recover. No wonder I must avoid doing math in public.

So, next time you watch a television evening news report, on Coronavirus statistics and projections from those statistics—don’t panic–there might be some fake math (opined by Dr. Faux or his ilk) that incites fear-mongering, implying no returning to “normal”.

Certainly, the pandemic deserves prayer and care, but not panic.(14) Maybe (note that qualifier: “maybe”) it’s not as bad as the numbers appear to suggest. Maybe some of the so-called experts represent industries that make more money, or gain more power, if the pandemic is worse (or harder to cure) than it really is. It is storming outside, no doubt, but maybe the sky is not falling. For now, being careful and prayerful is a good idea, but panicking helps no one.(15)

Think about it. Maybe enjoy a hot fudge sundae, with picked cherries on top.

REFERENCES

  1. Forecasting, based on scientific “models” (simulation-based projections) is a tricky business. Johnson, J. J. S. 2020. Signs of the Times: Glacier Meltdown. Acts & Facts. 49(4):21. https://www.icr.org/article/signs-of-the-times-glacier-meltdown . Likewise, recognizing the legitimacy and limitations of “experts” is tricky business, well served by forensic evidence norms and perspectives. 2012. Johnson, J. J. S. Acts & Facts. 41(11):8-10. https://www.icr.org/article/what-good-are-experts .
  2. Incorporating “fudge” factors invalidates research data, as well as conclusions relying upon such data. Coppedge, D. F. 2008. Cosmology’s Error Bars. Acts & Facts. 37(7)15. https://www.icr.org/article/cosmologys-error-bars . Likewise, cherry-picking research data, to skew statistics, is fake math. Johnson, J. J. S. 2015. Cherry Picking Data is the Pits. Acts & Facts. 44(7):19. https://www.icr.org/article/cherry-picking-data-pits .
  3. “In an egregious example of scientific dishonesty, Murphy cherry-picked certain individuals…in an attempt to pump up the number of ‘fails’ in his database…conveniently increas[ing] the fail percentage by over twenty percent, rendering it a meaningless, skewed statistic.” EEOC v. Freeman, 961 F.Supp2d 783, 795 (D. Md. 2013), affirmed, 778 F.3d 463, 471 (4th Cir. 2015) (decrying the EEOC’s cherry-picked data presentation as “slipshod work, faulty analysis, and statistical sleight of hand”).
  4. Johnson, J. J. S. 2018. Something Fishy About Global Warming Claims. Acts & Facts. 47(3):21.
  5. Bailey, K. M. 2013. Billion-Dollar Fish: The Untold Story of Alaska Pollock. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2-44, 46-88, 199-215. See also Miles, E. et al. 1982. The Management of Marine Regions: The North Pacific. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 160-165, 172, 184-193, 220-223; Kasahara, H. 1972. Japanese Distant-Water Fisheries: A Review.  Fishery Bulletin. 70(2):227-282.
  6. See Proverbs 20:10, 23; Micah 6:11. Improper influences are known to transmogrify peer review into veneer review. In re Hurricane Sandy Cases (Raimey & Raisfeld v. Wright National Flood Insurance Company), 2014 WL 5801540, *1, *3 (E.D.N.Y. 2014) (Gary R. Brown, U.S. District Judge), analyzed in Johnson, J. J. S. 2015. Forensic Science Frustrated by “Peer Review”. Acts & Facts. 44(2):18. https://www.icr.org/article/forensic-science-frustrated-by-peer/ . In America, Hurricane Sandy caused 147 direct deaths, at least 75 indirect deaths, and about $70 billion in property damages (as estimated in March 2014). Sandy’s diameter reached 1,100 miles, with storm surges that caused tidewater flooding up to 7.9 feet above normally dry ground. See U.S. NOAA, National Weather Service, “Hurricane /Post-Tropical Cyclone Sandy, October 22-29, 2012” and the National Hurricane Center’s Tropical Cyclone Report, both posted at http://www.nhc.noaa.gov, accessed December 1, 2014.
  7. Branswell, H. 2020. Experts say confusion over coronavirus case count in China is muddying picture of spread (February 20, 2020; accessed April 9, 2020), posted at https://www.statnews.com/2020/02/20/experts-say-confusion-over-coronavirus-case-count-in-china-is-muddying-picture-of-spread/ . Totalitarian regimes, like communist China, mandate (and thus exemplify) state-approved “consensus science”. See Guliuzza, R. J. 2009. Consensus Science: The Rise of a Scientific Elite. Acts & Facts. 38(5):4. https://www.icr.org/article/consensus-science-rise-scientific-elite/ .
  8. Consumer groups and public health experts said paying hospitals for uncompensated care [i.e., for treating Coronavirus patients who are uninsured] would not help the millions of Americans who are now without coverage. … [but who are ill] without the virus … [so uninsured non-Coronavirus patients, in hospitals, remain an unpaid] burden on emergency rooms and hospital staff.” Abelson, R., and M. Sanger-Katz. 2020. Trump Says Hospitals Will Be Paid for Treating Uninsured Coronavirus Patients. New York Times (April 3, 2020; accessed April 9, 2020), posted at https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/03/upshot/trump-hospitals-coronavirus.html .
  9. “The White House coronavirus task force had its biggest fight yet on Saturday [March 28, 2020], pitting economic adviser Peter Navarro against infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci. At issue: How enthusiastically should the White House tout the prospects of an antimalarial drug to fight COVID-19? … Navarro pointed to the pile of folders on the desk, which included printouts of studies on hydroxychloroquine from around the world. Navarro said to Fauci, ‘That’s science, not anecdote,’ said another of the sources. Navarro started raising his voice, and at one point accused Fauci of objecting to Trump’s travel restrictions, saying, ‘You were the one who early on objected to the travel restrictions with China,’ saying that travel restrictions don’t work.” Swan, J. 2020. Scoop: Inside the Epic White House Fight Over Hydroxychloroquine. Axios Health. Posted at https://www.axios.com/coronavirus-hydroxychloroquine-white-house-01306286-0bbc-4042-9bfe-890413c6220d.html . Updated April 5, 2020; accessed April 9, 2020.
  10. One Coronavirus-infected Michigan legislator (Karen Whitsett) is grateful to be an “anecdotal” evidence of hydroxychloroquine’s effectiveness. “A Democratic state representative from Detroit is crediting hydroxychloroquine — and Republican President Donald Trump who touted the drug — for saving her in her battle with the coronavirus. State Rep. Karen Whitsett, who learned Monday [March 16, 2020] she has tested positive for COVID-19, said she started taking hydroxychloroquine on March 31, prescribed by her [medical] doctor, after both she and her husband sought treatment for a range of symptoms on March 18. ‘It was less than two hours’ before she started to feel relief, said Whitsett, who had experienced shortness of breath, swollen lymph nodes, and what felt like a sinus infection.” Egan, P. 2020. Detroit Rep Says Hydroxychloroquine, Trump Helped Save her Life amid COVID-19 Fight. Detroit Free Press. Posted at https://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/detroit/2020/04/06/democrat-karen-whitsett-coronavirus-hydroxychloroquine-trump/2955430001/  (updated April 6, 2020; accessed April 9, 2020).
  11. Likewise, cartographic comparisons of malaria demographics, globally, with Coronavirus demographics, are worth serious investigation. Spencer, R. 2020. Some COVID-19 vs. Malaria Numbers: Countries with Malaria have Virtually No Coronavirus Cases Reported. Posted at https://www.drroyspencer.com/2020/03/some-covid-19-vs-malaria-numbers-countries-with-malaria-have-virtually-no-coronavirus-cases-reported/ . (March 18, 2020; accessed April 9, 2020.)
  12. This author, being a licensed attorney, communicates often with other attorneys. In short, there are folks who report (in confidence) that they are afraid of disadvantages if they disclose symptoms of recent illness (form which they are now fully recovered), that appear to match the symptoms of the Coronavirus.
  13. Centers for Disease Control. 2020. Principles of Epidemiology in Public Health Practice: Lesson 3, section 3: Mortality Frequency Measures. https://www.cdc.gov/csels/dsepd/ss1978/lesson3/section3.html (accessed April 9, 2020).
  14. Care, of course, means efficient delivery of healthcare as needed—please pray for everyone who is involved in fighting the Coronavirus pandemic. Actually, this is a Genesis Mandate-relevant crisis. And this is not the first time we have needed heroes in an epidemic/pandemic. Johnson, J. J. S. 2013. Siberian Huskies and the Dominion Mandate. Acts & Facts. 42(6):18-19. https://www.icr.org/article/siberian-huskies-dominion-mandate .
  15. See 2 Timothy 1:7.

JJSJ-Mammoth-PaloDuroCanyon.AD2018

When the Genesis Flood’s Tsunamis Hit Norway and Svalbard, Terrestrial Dinosaurs were Power-Washed Out to Sea


When  the  Genesis  Flood’s  Tsunamis  Hit  Norway  and  Svalbard,   Terrestrial  Dinosaurs  were  Power-Washed  Out  to  Sea

Dr. James J. S. Johnson

They that go down to the sea [yâm] in ships, who do business in great waters [mayîm rabbîm]; these see the works of the LORD, and His wonders in the deep [metsûlâh].   (Psalm 107:23-24)

Snorre-Field-dinosaur-bone-in-OilDrillCore.NorwJGeol-AD2006.png

Recently I wrote about some unusual dinosaur-related paleontology finds in 2 territories belonging to Norway, specifically Spitsbergen (the main island of the far-north Svalbard archipelago) and the sedimentary seabed of “Snorre Field” (in the Norwegian North Sea), a deepsea oil-drilling location more than 50 miles to the west of Norway’s western coastline — with mention of how the best explanation for those finds (i.e., the Genesis Flood) reminded me of the gigantic Whopper Sand in the Gulf of Mexico, where an enormous Flood-blasted sand formation now yields literally billions of barrels of deepsea petroleum.   [See “Doomsday at the Beach for Nordic Dinosaurs!“, posted at  https://pinejay.com/2019/04/26/doomsday-at-the-beach-for-nordic-dinosaurs/   —  with picture/image credits shown here, cited there.]

Dinosaur tracks were found on Svalbard’s sedimentary rock beaches, and some Plateosaurus dinosaur bone was found (inside an oil-drill core!) about a mile-and-a-half deep, more than 70 miles offshore of Norway!

Only the forceful mega-tsunamis of the Genesis Flood could cause those results, says geologist/paleontologist Dr. Tim Clarey (who formerly worked for Chevron):

Only a massive, high-energy flow of water and muddy sand could transport a dinosaur over 70 miles offshore. And only repeated high-energy flows could bury it about 1.5 miles deep.  We are talking unimaginable energy needed here, greater than any tsunami witnessed in historic (post-Flood) times.  And similarly, the Whopper Sand in the Gulf of Mexico needs massive, high-energy sheet-flow off the (North American) continent.  Something again, beyond anything happening today (geologically speaking).  These features, and the dinosaur footprints on Svalbard, are difficult to comprehend without recognizing a catastrophe as big as the great (global) Flood described in Genesis.  There is just no other conceivable explanation (that fits the observable facts).”

[Quoting Dr. Timothy Clarey, summary provided in writing AD2019-04-25.]

WOW! It was a terrible day at the beach when the Svalbard ornithopod dinosaurs were tsunami-blasted into the sea.  Likewise, the doomed Plateosaurus, buried (~1.5 miles deep!) in sea sediments, off the shore of western Norway (70+ miles away from his “home”) had no clue about  what had just hit him.

Svalbard-beach-ornithopods.AD2016-ScienceNordic-pic

Today I wrote a limerick poem, as a post-script of that paleontology/geology study.

NORDIC-POLAR  DINOSAURS  GOT  WASHED  OUT  TO  SEA,  BY  THE  GENESIS  FLOOD   (UNLESS  THEY  ESCAPED  ON  NOAH’S  ARK)

Dinos, who roamed Norway’s shores,

Got buried, in North Sea floors;

Power-washed, by the great Flood,

Buried deep, in sand and mud  —

Left behind, and drowned, dinosaurs.

Other than the God-selected dinosaur pairs who were safety aboard Noah’s Ark, it was a catastrophic watery death for Earth’s terrestrial dinosaurs, including those then living in the Nordic-polar lands that we today call Norway and Svalbard.  Thankfully, there will never be another global flood  —  and we are wise to recall how it illustrates God’s holy judgment (as Peter reminds us, in 2nd Peter chapter 3)  — it was a one-of-a-kind cataclysm that violently destroyed beach-going (and other terrestrial) dinosaurs, in the polar North and elsewhere, all over on planet Earth.

Svalbard-paleontologists-working.AD2016-ScienceNordic

Svalbard-map-ornithopod-tracks.AD2016-ScienceNordicSnorre-Field-map-NorwegianNorthSea.NorwJGeol-AD2006.png


Not-so-irrelevant  trivia:   For 3 weeks  during the summer of AD2003,  Dr. James J. S. Johnson taught history and geography  on the high seas,  aboard the MARCO POLO  (a cruise ship  about the same size as Noah’s Ark).

Dr. Konrad Gessner, 16th-Century Creation Scientist

Dr. Konrad Gessner, 16th-Century Creation Scientist

James J. S. Johnson

For the invisible things of Him [i.e., God] from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and deity, so that they are without excuse.   (Romans 1:20)

Konrad-Gessner.painting-publicdomain

Dr. Konrad Gessner (also spelled “Conrad Gesner”), who lived from AD1516 to AD1565, was a true Reformation-grounded biologist and ecologist, as well as an accomplished intellectual in other fields. Gessner was born and originally educated in Zürich, Switzerland, the Protestant city pastored first by Ulrich Zwingli, then next by Heinrich Bullinger (a personal friend of Gessner). During AD1532-1536 he studied at various universities in Strasbourg, Bourges, and Basel.

In AD1537 he taught as professor of Greek in Lausanne, yet soon afterwards began science studies leading to a Medical Doctor’s degree in AD1541 (in Basel). Returning to Zürich, he taught science there for most of the rest of his life. Dr. Gessner authored scholarly works on various subjects, such as:

  • botanical studies (including subalpine flowers) in AD1541, with more in AD1542;
  • a bibliographic encyclopedia of world literature in AD1545, with supplements in AD1548-1549;
  • zoological studies (mammals, birds, fishes, etc.) in AD1551-1558;
  • comparative language studies (on 22 translations of The Lord’s Prayer) in AD1555;
  • doxological mountain hiking, mixed with montane ecology, in AD1555.

Dr. Gessner’s research on snakes and insects was published posthumously. In AD1541, Gessner resolved to climb at least one mountain each year, a habit he thereafter maintained.

Mountain-hiking to Dr. Gessner, as a true biblical creationist, was a joy and an opportunity to appreciate God’s creative glory in nature.

Of special importance to creation geologists, such as William Hoesch (who is quoted below), Dr. Gessner also wrote on fossils (see article quoted below), refusing to accept the faddish contra-biblical fossil theory of his generation:

The history of thinking about fossils is a study in worldviews. Conrad Gesner of Zurich (1516-1565) is considered by some the greatest naturalist of his century. His book, On Fossil Objects, in many ways reflects his Protestant upbringing. The fact that he lost his father in armed combat between Catholics and Protestants in 1531 reminds us that this was a time when it was costly to believe. Gesner’s close friend growing up was none other than Heinrich Bullinger, one of the most influential Christian figures of his century. Gesner’s interest in science led him to universities at a time when Renaissance humanism was the dominant worldview. In his work on fossils, his Protestant upbringing shines through in some interesting ways.

First, Gesner placed great emphasis on firsthand observation which can be seen in his detailed woodcut illustrations of fossils. In this, he broke with the Renaissance tradition of science, placing the opinions of the “Ancients” (Aristotle, etc.) above that of observation. Gesner reversed this. At the time, it was not at all obvious that marine-looking fossils found in stone far from the sea were the remains of once living organisms. Neoplatonism held that the funny fossil shapes were controlled by mysterious astral influences, and Aristotelianism attributed marine-looking fossils to the transport of “seeds” of ocean-dwelling organisms that got carried inland and grew in place after lodging in the cracks. Gesner made no effort to challenge these teachings, but in comparing side-by-side quality woodcut illustrations of living marine organisms with marine-looking fossils, he helped to move thinking toward an organic interpretation of fossils. Firsthand observation is an essential step in “taking dominion over nature” that is mandated in Scripture, and Gesner seemed to manifest this.

Second, Gesner took a peculiar delight in the study of nature. When he considered the minerals and gems which were at that time considered in the category of “fossils,” he was transfixed by the thought that these were earthly reminders of the jeweled City of Jerusalem. An accomplished physician, he delighted in hiking the Swiss Alps where he sought to catalog botanicals for their potential medicinal use. It was considered odd at this time to “enjoy” nature, but Gesner is hailed by some today as the father of recreational hiking! Despite nature’s fallen condition, he was able to “see” the invisible things of God and His attributes (Romans 1:20). The level of delight Gesner took in nature cannot be credited to his Neoplatonic or Aristotelian training. It is as if he saw all of nature as a divine revelation.

The considered wisdom of “the Ancients,” that fossils grew in place, was ultimately an article of pagan philosophy. Gesner, and others who followed, helped to change the thinking process. Early church fathers like Tertullian actually had it right; they understood an organic origin for fossils. For them, to get the remains of marine creatures high on the hills required an unusual agency—it obviously took a global Flood! Although long forgotten, and requiring thinking big about earth history, this teaching of a global Flood would return in the seventeenth century and play a key role in returning science to a solid foundation. 

[Quoting William Hoesch, “Fossil Political Correctness in the Sixteenth Century,” Acts & Facts / Back to Genesis (January 2007).]

Gessner-Rhino.drawing

Don’t expect a lot of pop-culture applause for Dr. Gessner, though —  because he glorified God in his Protestant Reformation-informed scholarship.  Thus, unlike many secular scientists who accomplished much less, Gessner’s work is mostly ignored.  However, God has not ignored Dr. Gessner’s reverent and careful creation research and scholarship  —  because God gives credit where credit is due (Romans 13:7), regardless of whether the truth is popular!  Meanwhile, God’s glory as the Creator is “clearly seen” everywhere.

<> JJSJ    profjjsj@aol.com


 

How did Life Originate? Why am I Alive?

 

 How did Life Originate?  Why am I alive?

Dr. James J. S. Johnson

Psalm102.18-FamilyHistory-slide

Life, as we know it (human, or horse, or hadrosaur) can only come from preexisting life.  Life  —  whether human, animal, or anything else  —  is so complicated (just ask a few hemoglobin, nuclear DNA, mitochondrial DNA, and RNA molecules!),   it cannot “invent itself” by random accidents, especially within a physical universe that is governed by the inescapable, ubiquitous law of entropy (a/k/a the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics).

In other words, due to universal entropy, luck plus infinite time never arrive at any form of “life”  —  see “Infinite Time Won’t Rescue Evolution:  Biochemical Entropy Ink Won’t Stop Disintegrating!”,  posted at  http://www.icr.org/article/infinite-time-wont-rescue-evolution/ .

Psalm139.13-16-FamilyHistory-slide

Nothing or no one less than God Himself could invent life, much less all of the forms of life that we see on planet Earth.  Genesis5.1-2-FamilyHistory-slide

Thankfully, God has always existed, and He is the ultimate and infinite LIFE.  So it is not hard for Him to create finite creatures, like us, who have life.  Wow!  Yet, for that life to be secured for an ever-blessed eternity, a choice to believe in Jesus as Savior must be timely made.  That is the precious promise (and warning) God gave us in John 3:16.John1.10-12-FamilyHistory-slide

What a good destiny: created and saved by the Lord Jesus Christ, for now and forever!

[Under the evangelistic preaching of Dr. Gilbert Williams,  at a small Methodist church’s weekend revival meeting,   in rural Maryland during November AD1967,  as a boy,  I happily believed in the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior, confirming my believing acceptance of God’s amazingly generous gift of redemption and forgiveness, as John 3:16 promises]


 

What Are those Animals Called ‘Unicorns’ in the Bible?

rhino-Indian-1horned-in-wild

Will the unicorn be willing to serve thee, or abide by thy crib? Canst thou bind the unicorn with his band in the furrow? Or will he harrow the valleys after thee? Wilt thou trust him, because his strength is great? Or wilt thou leave thy labor to him?  Wilt thou believe him, that he will bring home thy seed, and gather it into thy barn?  (Job 39:9-12)

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What Are those Animals Called ‘Unicorns’ in the Bible?

Dr. James J. S. Johnson

Scoffers are known to poke fun at Scripture’s mention (in the King James Bible) of “unicorns”, accusing the Bible of being “unscientific”.(1),(2)  Such pseudo-science ridicule is readily refuted, however, even when it’s uncertain which beast is represented by the English word “unicorn”.

The scoffer’s ridicule of “unicorns” (in Scripture) relies upon this flawed syllogism:

ASSUMPTION A: If the Bible is perfectly true it would not treat mythical animals as if they really exist.

ASSUMPTION B: The Bible treats “unicorns”, which are mythical beasts, as if they really exist.

INFERRED CONCLUSION: Therefore the Bible can’t be perfectly true and credible.

With that sophism scoffers giddily dismiss the Bible’s perfection. Of course, the entire mockery rests upon a Straw-man Fallacy(3) because scoffers presuppose that the term “unicorn” is the core controversy—yet the real question is whether or not the underlying Hebrew noun (re’ēm) refers to a real-world animal.(4)

Assumption A contains the Uniformitarian Fallacy,(3) by assuming the Hebrew noun re’ēm must match some animal alive today. However, in light of the inescapable reality that some animal varieties are going extinct, there is no reason why re’ēm must refer to a beast existing today.

Assumption B contains the Bait-and-Switch Fallacy,(3) by assuming thhe mythological beast called a “unicorn”, that exists in fairy tales (and Hollywood cartoons), must equal the Hebrew noun re’ēm that is referred to 9 times within the Old Testament.

Yet reviewing the relevant Biblical contexts (see below) shows re’ēm was a horned beast, like a wild ox or maybe a rhino — neither of which you would try to domesticate!

Furthermore, skeptics sometimes add a corollary assumption to buttress their ridicule of Scripture’s “unicorns”—acting as if their challenge cannot be refuted unless and until Christians positively identify a real-world “unicorn” (i.e., what the Hebrew Bible calls re’ēm), presuming that any doubt about the re’ēm’s taxonomic identity invalidates the Bible’s trustworthiness.(4)

However, refuting the skeptic does not require that “unicorns” be identified with certainty; it is enough to show that plausible solutions exist, proving that “unicorns” need not refer to “mythical” beasts. In fact, more than one plausible candidate (for the “unicorn”) exists—or previously existed(2)—as shown below.

Could the “unicorn” be a rhinoceros, especially a one-horned variety?

Most modern readers don’t know that the word “unicorn” formerly referred to a one-horned Rhinoceros. Consider, however, this is the primary definition of “UNICORN” in the 1828 edition of Noah Webster’s Dictionary:

UNICORN, n. [L. unicornis; unus, one, and cornu, horn.] 1. An animal with one horn; the Monoceros.  This name is often applied to the rhinoceros.(5)

The one-horned rhinoceros remains a plausible candidate for the horned beast that Moses (and other Hebrews) called re’ēm, of which there are living varieties:  Indian Rhinoceros (Rhinoceros unicornis) and Javan Rhinoceros (Rhinoceros sondaicus).(6)

Could the “unicorn” be a wild horned bovine, like aurochs or bison?

The presumed ancestor of domesticated bovines (including cattle, water buffalo, yak, zebu) is the now-extinct aurochs.(2) One of its kind is the inherently wild bison (a/k/a “buffalo”).(7) These wild beasts both have two horns (see Psalm 22:21; Deuteronomy 33:17), are built to be powerful (Numbers 23:22), and are biologically comparable to domesticated bovines (Psalm 29:6; Isaiah 34:7).  Harnessing such dangerous bovines, to plow a farm field’s furrows, would be a reckless undertaking, for any foolish farmer who might try it (see Job 39:9-10).

So, what does this prove? First, the skeptic’s Uniformitarian Fallacy guts his criticism of Job 39:9 (and other Scriptures that refer to re’ēm).  Second, the skeptic’s insistence that the English term “unicorn”, as used in the AD1611 King James Bible, equate to a spiral-cone-horned horse, is a bait-and-switch-facilitated strawman challenge, because there are plausible candidate, among real-world animals, that could fit the identity of the Scriptural re’ēm.  Consequently, the scoffer’s caricature of Biblical “unicorns” is not a genuine impeachment of the Bible’s verity.

Aurochs-looking-like-Bison

REFERENCES

(1)The King James Bible uses the English word “unicorn” in 9 Scripture passages: Numbers 23:22 & 24:8; Deuteronomy 33:17; Job 39:9-10; Psalms 22:21 (v.22 in BH) & 29:16; Isaiah 34:7.

(2)Dr. Henry Morris, concluded that the “unicorn” (of Job 39:9) was a wild ox-like bovine, the aurochs, that became extinct: “The unicorn is supposedly a mythological animal; actually the creature referred to here is the extinct aurochs, or wild ox, a fierce animal that once inhabited this region. Many of the animals mentioned [in Job chapter 39], as well as other parts of the Old Testament, are of very uncertain identity, and various translators have tied them to a considerable diversity of modern animals. The probable reason for this uncertainty is that many of the animals, like the ‘unicorn’, are now extinct, because they could not long survive the drastically changed environments following the great Flood.” [Footnote to Job 39:9 in The New Defender’s Study Bible, page 822.]  Zoölogist George Cansdale concluded that re’ēm was the now-extinct aurochs. [George S. Cansdale, All the Animals of the Bible Lands (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1976), page 82.]  The aurochs is depicted repeatedly on the Ishtar Gate of Babylon, now relocated to the Pergamon Museum in Berlin.

(3)Regarding logical fallacies, James J. S. Johnson, “Staying on Track Despite Deceptive Distractions”, Acts & Facts, 41(5):9-11 (May 2012) (re straw-man fallacy, posted at http://www.icr.org/article/staying-track-despite-deceptive-distractions/ );  “Bait and Switch: A Trick Used by Both Anglerfish and Evolutionists”,  Acts & Facts, 41(1):10-11 (January 2012) (re bait-and-switch fallacy), posted at  http://www.icr.org/article/bait-switch-trick-used-by-both-anglerfish  );  “Is the Present the ‘Key’ to the Past?” Acts & Facts, 43(6):19 (June 2014, posted at  http://www.icr.org/article/8165 ).

(4)A related inquiry is why Bible scholars, seeking to translate re’ēm into Greek, Latin, and English, used words like “unicorn” in their translations.  The Septuagint (“LXX”), a Greek translation of the Old Testament, translated re’ēm as monokerôs.  Jerome’s Latin Vulgate translated re’ēm as rinocerotis in Deuteronomy 33:17 and rinoceros in Job 39:9, and unicornes in Isaiah 34:7!  This indicates that at least some translators though that re’ēm was one-horned,  perhaps the one-horned rhinoceros.

(5)Noah Webster, American Dictionary of the English Language (San Francisco, CA: Foundation for American Christian Education; 1995 facsimile of Noah Webster’s 1st edition of 1828), unpaginated.

(6)See Eric Dinerstein, The Return of the Unicorns: The Natural History and Conservation of the Greater One-Horned Rhinoceros (NY, NY: Columbia University Press, 2003).  Obviously the term “unicorn” is not a good fit for two-horned rhinos, such as the Black Rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis), White Rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum), and Sumatran Rhinoceros (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis).  But the Hebrew noun re’ēm, unlike the English word “unicorn”, does not require the beast to be one-horned, as is indicated by Deuteronomy 33:17 (which refers to unicorn “horns”, possibly denoting a two-horned rhino).  Some evolutionist paleontologists have expressed interesting (albeit forensically flawed) opinions about the ancestral rhino that they believe led to the “unicorns”.  [See Deng Tao, Wang ShiQi, & Hou SuKuan, “A Bizaree Tandem-horned Elasmothere Rhino from the Late Miocene of Northwestern China and the Origin of the True Elasmothere”, Chinese Science Bulletin, 58(15):1811-1817 (May 2013).]

(7)Another candidate is the one-horned Arabian oryx antelope, but its less-intimidating traits (compared to rhinos, bison, and aurochs) seem less likely to fit the Bible’s re’ēm.


rhino-1horned-closeup

A Lime in Time Saved 9 (and Many More)

O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called.  (1st Timothy 6:20)

limes-sliced-in-half

A Lime in Time Saved Nine (and Many More)

James J. S. Johnson, JD, ThD, MSHist, MSGeog

If a problem is serious, even drastic, might there be a simple solution? Sometimes the answer is yes.

One “serial killer” killed more British sailors than combat did: SCURVY!  Medical history documents that this horrible disease is prevented by a solution so simple that the cure was ignored for 200+ years.  Yet the cure was oh-so-simple:  Vitamin C. 

The etiology (pathology causation process) of scurvy was traced to needing fresh fruits and vegetables, foods not typically available to British sailors on long-term sea duty.  (Sailors routinely ate salt pork and hardtack biscuits.)  Because refrigeration was unavailable, the Royal Navy preserved ship food from spoiling by smoking, salting, and/or air-drying—but these methods destroyed whatever Vitamin C was originally inside. What to do? Stock up on fresh limes! Limes have a long shelf-life, so British sailors became “limeys”, to escape scurvy.  (Alternatively, obtain Vitamin C from pine needles, like the French pioneers, who learned this nutrition nugget from the Indians.)  A drastic problem with a simple solution.

In fact, the same applies to purported “credibility problems” that many modern folks claim, while excusing themselves from trusting the authoritative truth and relevance of Genesis. Why?  This apologetics problem has a simple one-word explanation:  accommodation.  Christian education leaders, during the late 1700s, accommodated supposedly “authoritative science” theories of closed-Bible Deists (like “uniformitarianist” Deists James Hutton and Charles Lyell), with the so-called “natural selection” theory of Charles Darwin.  Disastrous results, both then and now!

What trouble is prevented, if only Genesis is trusted, instead of swallowing the sophistic “science” falsely so-called!  (1st Timothy 6:20; John 5:45-47)

[Condensed from James J. S. Johnson, “Pine Needles, Limes, and Other Simple Solutions”, Creation Research Society Quarterly, 50:193-194 (winter 2014).]

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