Peer-Reviewing the Bible

Primary sources exposed and explained.
Feb. 13 2008 2:09 PM

Peer-Reviewing the Bible


Normally, peer review is a valuable step in the publication of scientific research. Scholars submit new discoveries to academic journals, which, in turn, solicit independent experts to assess the reliability of the work.  Answers Research Journal, a new "professional, peer-reviewed technical" publication of "interdisciplinary scientific … research," has streamlined this process by inviting the submitting scholars to suggest who should review their work (Page 5). Here the goal is not to ensure that research meets academic standards of scientific inquiry, but rather to ensure that the scholar's conclusions conform to a literal interpretation of the Bible.

The journal is published by Answers in Genesis, "an apologetics (i.e., Christianity-defending) ministry" that also runs the Creation Museum. The editor-in-chief of Answers Research Journal, geologist and creationist Andrew Snelling, wants "to ensure that the Creation and Flood model is given the best possible development." To that end, he urges potential contributors to ask themselves whether their research "is formulated within a young-earth, young-universe framework," and to provide "evidence of faithfulness to the grammatical-historical/normative interpretation of Scripture." (See excerpts from the ARJ  Instructions to Authors  below and on Pages 2-5.)  Snelling also demands rigorous adherence to style principles. (Page 4: "Use lowercase creation in most cases, except in a list of biblical events, especially 'Creation and Flood,' 'the Creation Week,' and 'Day One.' ")

As an extra incentive to participate, those with "a reason for not wanting their biographical details publicized on the AiG website" (such as seeking tenure at an institution with more rigorous notions about scholarship) may use a "pen name" (Page 2). In a recent ARJ microbe forum, two "independent scholars" (purportedly, Ph.D.s at "prominent research facilities in the eastern part of North America") submitted abstracts under the pseudonyms "Luke Kim" and "Ira Loucks" because they "prefer to keep their creationist credentials hidden for the moment until they achieve more seniority."

Thanks to Hot Document reader Jeremy Yoder for the tip. 

Send Hot Document ideas to Please indicate whether you wish to remain anonymous.




More Than Scottish Pride

Scotland’s referendum isn’t about nationalism. It’s about a system that failed, and a new generation looking to take a chance on itself. 

What Charles Barkley Gets Wrong About Corporal Punishment and Black Culture

Why Greenland’s “Dark Snow” Should Worry You

If You’re Outraged by the NFL, Follow This Satirical Blowhard on Twitter

The Best Way to Organize Your Fridge


The GOP’s Focus on Fake Problems

Why candidates like Scott Walker are building campaigns on drug tests for the poor and voter ID laws.

Sports Nut

Giving Up on Goodell

How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.

Is It Worth Paying Full Price for the iPhone 6 to Keep Your Unlimited Data Plan? We Crunch the Numbers.

Farewell! Emily Bazelon on What She Will Miss About Slate.

  News & Politics
Sept. 16 2014 7:03 PM Kansas Secretary of State Loses Battle to Protect Senator From Tough Race
Sept. 16 2014 4:16 PM The iPhone 6 Marks a Fresh Chance for Wireless Carriers to Kill Your Unlimited Data
The Eye
Sept. 16 2014 12:20 PM These Outdoor Cat Shelters Have More Style Than the Average Home
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 3:31 PM My Year As an Abortion Doula
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus Video
Sept. 16 2014 2:06 PM A Farewell From Emily Bazelon The former senior editor talks about her very first Slate pitch and says goodbye to the magazine.
Brow Beat
Sept. 16 2014 8:43 PM This 17-Minute Tribute to David Fincher Is the Perfect Preparation for Gone Girl
Future Tense
Sept. 16 2014 6:40 PM This iPhone 6 Feature Will Change Weather Forecasting
  Health & Science
Sept. 16 2014 4:09 PM It’s All Connected What links creativity, conspiracy theories, and delusions? A phenomenon called apophenia.
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 9:05 PM Giving Up on Goodell How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.