Dr Carl Wieland should say "sorry!"
John Stear, June 2008
If creationists can be relied on for one predilection (apart from an unhealthy preoccupation with pseudo science) that predilection would be a somewhat loose approach to the truth, or to put it more bluntly, a tendency to lie.
Carl Wieland, a doctor of medicine, is the managing director of Creation Ministries International (CMI). Dr Wieland is, from all accounts, a decent fellow on the surface as, in my limited experience of meeting prominent creationists, are most of them. Sadly, decency often diminishes commensurate with the zeal with which one defends and pursues ones religious beliefs.
The latest example of what might at best be seen as over zealous religious fervour and at worst a calculated attempt to misrepresent the Prime Minister of Australia, can be found in Dr Wieland's article A sorry day-with an unlikely twist, in which he claims that a draft of the "Sorry-Day" speech Prime Minister Rudd delivered to the Australian parliament on 13 February 2008 is in CMI's possession and contains the following words:
Prior to 1861, missionaries were prepared to accept according to the principles of their religions, that Aboriginal people were every bit as capable as Europeans. But with the publication of Charles Darwin's Origins [sic] of the Species in 1859, a new theory starts to take hold and the conception that Aboriginal people are a 'disappearing race' starts to take hold in Australian public life. This had equally catastrophic consequences for Aboriginal people and communities. [Wieland's emphasis]
Dr Wieland claims the above words were removed from the "8-page draft copy of the text tabled in parliament on 13 February 2008".
CMI and before it Answers in Genesis (AiG) has long insisted that Aboriginal people have occupied Australia for only some four thousand years. Numerous articles have appeared on their web sites all decrying science's view that the Aboriginal people have been here for some 50,000 years. The creationists base most of their "evidence" of Aboriginal occupation on the Noachian flood which forms the basis of all their anti science nonsense. See Australian Aboriginal Flood Stories and Where are the people.
It's fascinating to watch the creationist mind at work, poking around like a dung beetle in a cow turd, unearthing nuggets of crap and proudly flinging them around as if they were gold. As an example of the abject quackery engaged in by young Earth creationists (YECs) particularly in relation to Aboriginal history, one need go no further than AiG's CEO the abysmal Ken Ham. Mr Ham, writing some years ago (see The Australian Aboriginal) had this to say:
… let us apply a Biblical perspective on history to the Australian Aborigines (hopefully with sensitivity). Their ancestor Noah had the knowledge of the true God. He also had ship building technology, farming ability, knew how to work alloys, etc. Remnants of this true knowledge of God, of creation and of Noah, can still be seen in their mythology, e.g. they have many legends of a world wide flood. All of which means that somewhere in their history, this knowledge has been forgotten, lost, or deliberately discarded. The culture Captain Cook discovered was spiritist. They did not have the knowledge of the true God and only had a 'stone age' culture.
Someone, somewhere in their history, has turned away from the true God, devised their own religion and successfully persuaded their fellow Aborigines to accept it. They have suffered the consequences of this…
This mumbo jumbo from Ham eventually leads to his outlandish views on Aboriginal land rights:
It should be obvious that unless you have a correct view of the Aborigines' history— you will be unlikely to have a correct view about land rights.
For instance, on the basis of a literal Biblical view of world history, aborigines have been in Australia less than 4,000 years (not 40,000). Many want land rights so that Aboriginal sacred or religious sites can be kept. Is this valid? Again, before we can decide, we must have a correct view of why they want sacred sites preserved. Is it that they want to preserve all things associated with their religion? If this is the case then to understand their religion, you have to understand their true history. Isn't their religion anti-God? Shouldn't Christians rather be telling the aborigines [sic] they need to turn to the true God of history and turn their back on pagan worship?
The concept of 'land rights' (or ownership of land) is not known in traditional Aboriginal culture. It is a terminology introduced from European materialistic culture and imposed upon the Aborigines. [my emphasis]
CMI have long relied on what they refer to as the Creation Bus Ministry to disseminate much of their garbage. This "creation bus" is described as "a completely renovated former South Australian public transport bus" which is used to spread their poisonous anti science message throughout rural Australia. The bus is driven by Peter and Cathy Sparrow and they have no scruples about pushing their anti Aboriginal message whenever the opportunity presents itself. In The Creation Bus Ministry CMI writes:
Peter and Cathy have particularly noticed the profound difference that CMI's 'one blood'* [sic] message has amongst aboriginal [sic] Australians. Peter says, 'Sadly, so many aboriginal [sic] folk have accepted the lie of human evolution, still believing today the idea that they are somehow less evolved or more primitive than the rest of the population. I have seen tears resulting from the realization that we really are all one race, descended from Adam and Eve, and thus all related and all equally made in the image of God our Creator.'
*One Blood is a book written by YECs Ken Ham, Dr Don Batten and Dr Carl Wieland which suggests that:
"… all human beings who are alive or who have ever lived on earth are descendants of only two people, Adam and Eve”.
But back to Dr Wieland who, in his article, states:
Our purpose here in commenting on this 'Sorry' statement is not to try to determine where exactly the balance lies in all of this—whether forcible removal for no good reason happened to the 13,000 children to which the PM's draft apology statement refers, or to 1300, or whatever. Rather, it is to show that the statement highlights the undeniable fact that where there were such forced family breakups on racial grounds, rather than for such reasons as child welfare, a major motivating factor was Darwinian evolution. And it helps us point out that the evils of racism make a lot of sense when one considers how this 'false history' of mankind became a substitute for the Bible's true history. [Wieland's emphasis]
One can understand Dr Wieland's stance on Aboriginal history by placing it in the context of YEC dogma on all mankind's history. But the YECs' insistence that somehow evolution is the root of all evil is harder to fathom. Dr Wieland's attempt in this instance to use the Prime Minister's apology to the nation to further these nefarious aims of creationism is outrageous.
Dr Wieland's tactics are clear. Attribute sentiments to the Prime Minister of Australia that portray him and his government as being in sympathy with the anti-science, and indeed, anti-Aboriginal, views held by YECs with no other intention than to further disseminate their simplistic and mischievous views of Aboriginal history.
Dr Wieland should produce the draft in question and if, as I suspect, the offending words were never included in a draft speech, he should be roundly condemned for so seriously misrepresenting the Prime Minister, the Australian government and the Aboriginal people.
Footnote: In February this year I wrote, on behalf of Australian Skeptics, to the Prime Minister seeking confirmation that the words Dr Wieland claimed were included in and later removed from a draft of the Prime Minister's speech were ever in the speech. The reply was less than helpful, informing me only that "the Prime Minister's speech which accompanied the apology was not released in draft form prior to its delivery in Parliament". I have sent off a further response seeking a clear statement on whether the words Dr Wieland claims were included in a draft speech were in fact included.