Atomic Structure: Why Do We Care?
The work of the organization called "Common Sense Science" (http://commonsensescience.org/) is to discover classical foundations for modern physics. This involves finding physical explanations for the experiments that are considered to support relativity, quantum theory and contemporary models of the atom. While this work has been done by those who are in agreement with the creation movement, their work has been held at arm's length by many creationists.
For example, one of the criticisms of Dennis Petersen's book Unlocking the Mysteries of Creation was the (very brief and offhanded) inclusion of material from Common Sense Science, namely the Lucas Model of the atom. Answers In Genesis, in its critical review of Petersen's book, maintained that this material was inappropriate for a creation book for the following reasons.
"The 'Lucas model' of the atom is highly controversial and has had little peer review either by creationist scientists or secular scientists. Further, those creationist scientists qualified in nuclear and quantum physics, both within AiG and well respected ones outside AiG, reject this model. Moreover, even if it were true, it wouldn't have the slightest effect on refuting evolution or supporting creation, so it is completely irrelevant to the book's theme."
As a non-physicist and a non-academician, but rather a physician trained in pediatrics to recognize patterns and solve problems, I will try to paint a "big picture" perspective of this matter.
When Dr. Thomas Barnes began writing articles in the Creation Research Society Quarterly on the structure of the atom, relativity and quantum mechanics, I, too wondered what this had to do with creation. But as Professor Barnes clearly showed, the acceptance of the Bohr model of the atom, relativity and quantum mechanics has harmed the progress of science. These ideas have achieved sacrosanct status despite their contradictions of physical laws and numerous internal inconsistencies, all of which has been noted by many highly qualified experts ever since the theories were first proposed.
These models have made the endorsement of paradoxes and irrationality acceptable within mainstream science and are the reason that so many academic physicists have drifted into pantheism. The models produce a worldview in which things come into existence by being observed or appear out of nothing due to "quantum fluctuations." Within this paradigm, even the triumph of an intelligent design model will fail to lead to a creator but instead be explained as "our higher selves" or "the combined intelligence of the insects."
The Common Sense Science models are scientifically testable and have made predictions that are being confirmed. They demonstrate that a ruling paradigm can be completely "out-to-lunch" and they also bring us back to understanding God's creation as rational and ordered.
As to peer review, they have in fact been presented publicly, having been presented at the Third International Conference on Creationism in 1994 (although they were rejected for the upcoming conference this year -- 2003 -- for apparently the same sorts of reasons that Answers in Genesis rejects them.) Dr. Lucas has published many articles in peer reviewed journals, one of the most recent in the January 2003 issue of Galilean Electrodynamics. Secular and creationist physicists in Europe have been showing interest, and in many cases, agreement.
It is ironic that the rejection of Common Sense Science's models by so many creationists is apparently for the same reasons that creation theory commonly fails to penetrate the armor of evolutionists -- they conflict with a worldview that has been firmly established by training, experience and years of socialization.
In order to run the gauntlet of academic training and become established in an academic career, one must genuflect towards all the sacred cows and swear allegiance to all the ruling paradigms. And because of human pride, after all this it is extremely difficult to say those three little words that ironically are also foundational of spiritual birth and growth, namely "I was wrong."
As a medical practitioner functioning outside of the halls of ivy, I do not necessarily live or die at the whim of my department head, but there is still incredible pressure to conform. And when new knowledge clearly dictates a change in practice, it is always extremely difficult to do so because it requires acknowledging that I had been doing it wrong in the past.
I fear that there are many creationists in positions of authority in the Creation movement who are emotionally committed to relativity and quantum theory and therefore unable to take the necessary steps backwards to get perspective and reconsider whether those models actually fit the evidence.