Creation Ministries International: Dr Sarfati and the Bunyip
John Stear, May 2006
Revised August 2006
Creationists insist that what they do is science. Dr Jonathan Sarfati is one who claims title to "scientist". I'll leave it to you, the reader, to decide for yourself whether Sarfati really deserves to call himself a scientist.
Creation Ministries International's (CMI) April-June 2006 Prayer News contained an extremely silly article on Australia's mythical Bunyip. It seems CMI's Dr Jonathan Sarfati has explained to a local unnamed news paper (there's a photo of the page but no way of identifying the paper) that:
Creationists have often thought that bones and drawings of this creature resemble a dinosaur known as "Edmontosaurus". Because Australian Aboriginals lived alongside the Bunyip, it could mean that they have in fact seen the dinosaur.
Of course this is no surprise to creationists because we know that the land animals were created on day six along with man. But for those with a millions-of-years view of history, the collection of bones identified as a Bunyip is a serious hiccup. [my emphasis]
Has Dr Sarfati seen and studied these "Bunyip bones"? Of course not, none have been authenticated to my knowledge, just a skull, found in 1846 and, until recently, unidentified. And what evidence does Dr Sarfati have that Aboriginals lived with Bunyips, apart from the fact that Bunyips are a part of their folklore? Bunyips are mythical creatures, as Dr Sarfati, an expert on myths, should know. And if there were bones of an unidentified animal discovered somewhere, sometime, how could that possibly be a "hiccup" for evolution?
I'm loath to do Dr Sarfati's research for him, but being a mostly charitable fellow, I did a search on "Google" which took me to the National Library of Australia's "Bunyip" page and the story of a skull being found in 1846:
In 1846 an unusual skull was retrieved from the banks of the Murrumbidgee River in New South Wales [Australia]. In the first flush of excitement several experts declared that it was the skull of something unknown to science. In July 1847 the so-called "bunyip skull" was put on exhibition in the Australian Museum (then located at the Supreme Court House, Sydney) for two days...
Sydney's leading naturalist, William Macleay, examined the skull and compared it with an even stranger one: a skull with only one eye-socket - a veritable cyclops!
Scientific knowledge and common sense prevailed, however, when Macleay concluded that both skulls were freaks of nature and did not represent a new species. The Australian Medical Journal warned that claims of "bunyip skulls" could only be seen as an "ostentatious display of our ignorance and credulity".
If Dr Sarfati still has the nerve to call himself a scientist, one must wonder what mental processes were at work on the day he wrote the newspaper article. He didn't bother to carry out even the most basic research on the Bunyip myth. And though creationists aren't known for researching much beyond their own literature, a quick search would have alerted him to the absolute nonsense of his claim and saved him the embarrassment of being numbered among those who are guilty of what the Australian Medical Journal described (above) as, an "ostentatious display of our ignorance and credulity".
FACT! The so-called Bunyip skull still exists. It's in the Macleay Museum in Sydney University, and is on display to the public. It has long since been identified as a "cyclops" foal skull. "Cyclops" is a well-known, fortunately very rare, teratology that occurs in a lot of mammals, including humans.
FACT! Edmontosaurus, a large, plant eating, duck-billed dinosaur belonging to the late Cretaceous period, went extinct about 65 million years ago during the K-T mass extinction.
NOTE: Dr Sarfati's article is clearly a rehash of an earlier (March 1993) and no less silly article which can be found on AiG-USA's website. In neither article is there any indication that any scientific research has taken place.