Answers in Genesis?

The other night my son asked me how woolly mammoths became extinct. Since I didn’t know the answer, I did what any good computer scientist would do: a Google search on the phrase, how did woolly mammoths go extinct. The second link in the search results, innocuously titled, "Extinction of the woolly mammoth," seemed scientific at first glance. However, a closer look showed some questionable ideas, such as the claim that there was only one ice age in the history of the earth. It turns out this article is on the Answers in Genesis creationist web site (no, I’m not linking to the site, as their PageRank is obviously far too high already).

I’m not disturbed that there are folks who hold creationist views, or that this web site exists. But I do find it somewhat troubling that it came up as the second hit on a Google search. A child exploring this question on his own might not have been discerning enough to filter out this bogus result in favor of legitimate scientific theories.

Interestingly, the Answers in Genesis site turned up only on the second page of Yahoo search results, and not until the fourth page of Windows Live search results, for the same query. So why did it turn up so high in the Google results?

I think this experience demonstrates a couple interesting points about search engines:

  1. Search engines aren’t nearly perfect. Just because something shows up in the first few hits doesn’t mean it’s actually relevant or accurate.

  2. It’s worth trying search engines other than Google once in a while.

Finally, it’s worth reiterating that you can’t always trust what you read on the web. Just as when reading a book, watching television, reading a newspaper, or listening to talk radio, it’s a good idea to think about the biases of the source and take them into account in your assessment of the information’s accuracy.


I have definitely experienced this problem when trying to find resources for teachers to use in their classrooms to teach earth science. For a while, the query for "Evolution" did not turn up a reliable source until page 2 of the google results (well, Encyclopedia Britannica was on the first page, but that's it)! That's changed over the last few years as a number of high profile sites packed with information have been put up on the web. If you do the query now, you can see that the National Academies have even purchased an ad for the query.

Posted by Matt on May 21, 2007 at 04:56 PM MDT #

i want to know about creation

Posted by Binu v.david on November 23, 2007 at 07:33 PM MST #

URL, What does it mean

Posted by BINU V. DAVID on November 23, 2007 at 07:37 PM MST #

I'm sorry you had a bad experience. I've had the same experience with the false information in evolutionary theory. I think if you will take the time to study both sides you will find that the evolutionary ideas actually require more faith. We have been bombarded with these theories sinse the 50's until the average person thinks how could they possible be wrong. So I would suggest that some of the best evidence for the worldwide flood are the Grand Canyon and Mt. St. Helens. We can see that the water could have only carved the Grand Canyon if the inlet to the canyon were as high as the highest elevation of it and that is not the case. How do you explain trees that were fossilized in the vertical position. If the sun is consuming its mass at a rate of 2 feet per hour, then it would make sense that if you were to multiply that backwards by the millions of years claimed to be used in evolution that the sun would have been to large and would have most likely consumed all life on earth or the earth itself. Keeping an open mind would be the best way for most scientists/archeologists to express their original opinions or theories.

Posted by Melanie on January 27, 2009 at 09:06 AM MST #

Personly I find it much easyer to belive in inteligent creation(God)than mindless chance. In a matter of fact evolution is sceintifically impossible.

Posted by Kerry McCall on July 14, 2009 at 05:12 AM MDT #

And how do you know that there \*wasn't\* only one ice age? How do you know that the AiG explanation/interpretation of the evidence is incorrect?

There are so many subjective assumptions integrated into the calculations of the dating methods... the conclusions are skewed by the presuppositions. Do you trust that? It's a house of cards!

Ultimately, you are either choosing a faith in eternal matter or in eternal God. You say that the one is scientific, while the other is not. Fine. Then scientifically come up with an answer for the problem of abiogenesis. The theories for that are ludicrous. Panspermia, indeed. And those who adhere to that explanation (or the like, most of which are even less plausible) do not have the weight of Scripture, which in itself poses a problem for evolutionists.

Posted by c hommel on October 19, 2009 at 12:17 AM MDT #

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Nick Solter is a software engineer and author living in Colorado.


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