Published online 23 January 2008 | Nature 451, 382-383 (2008) | doi:10.1038/451382b

News

Creationists launch 'science' journal

Research within a biblical framework to be peer reviewed.

The organization that last year opened a US$27-million creation museum in Kentucky has started its own 'peer-reviewed' scientific research journal.

On 9 January, Answers in Genesis, a Christian ministry run by evangelical Ken Ham, launched Answers Research Journal (ARJ), a free, online publication devoted to research on “recent Creation and the global Flood within a biblical framework”. Papers will be peer reviewed by those who “support the positions taken by the journal”, according to editor-in-chief Andrew Snelling, a geologist based in Brisbane, Australia.

“There have been these kinds of publications in the past,” says Keith Miller, a geologist at Kansas State University in Manhattan, who follows creationism. For the most part, he says, the work is ignored by the scientific community. But those without a science background, including some policy-makers, may not be able to judge the difference in value of a paper in ARJ and a genuine science journal.

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Recent court rulings make it all but impossible for intelligent design, a belief that a higher being shaped evolution, to be taught in US public schools. Nevertheless, creationists still try to discourage the teaching of evolution and other scientific theories at the local level, according to Eugenie Scott, executive director of the National Center for Science Education, an education watchdog in Oakland, California. Publications such as ARJ are part of the continued battle to excise science from local curricula, she says. “Creation science is alive and well and appealing to a substantial minority of the American public.”

Miller, himself an evangelical Christian, says that scientists must be careful when responding to the launch of ARJ. Taking too strong a stand against the journal will fuel creationists' accusations of scientific 'bias' against religion, he argues. Researchers should instead try to educate non-scientists about the scientific process, he says. 

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