Shock Inquiry Result
CSF Finds Itself Innocent!!
Sir Jim R Wallaby, (the Skeptic 15:2, p13)
In a startling new development from the wilder fringes of the infantile-religion -posing-as-science front, the Creation Science Foundation [now AiG] has delivered its long awaited response to Ian Plimer's book Telling Lies for God (now in its fifth printing).
In a large (and expensive) advertisement on page 3 of The Weekend Australian (May 20-21), the CSF presents the report of a committee of inquiry into "certain allegations against CSF in the book..." and in other places, which the advert describes as a "... nationwide media 'blitz'".
The committee, consisting of a former Chief Magistrate of NSW and several ministers of religion, was invited by the CSF to conduct the inquiry. As far as we can tell, no evidence was requested from anyone other than directors of the CSF. The inquiry found inter alia that "... the CSF and its Directors have been often, and seriously, misrepresented".
Could this be the same CSF which was responsible for the now notorious Quote Book, withdrawn after considerable pressure from Australian Skeptics and others, because of its blatant misrepresentation of the positions of innumerable scientists on the topic of evolution? Or the same CSF which, in its noxious publications, has blatantly misrepresented the position of Australian Skeptics on many issues and has refused to print letters of rebuttal, or even of protest? No, it must be another CSF, because the inquiry also found that "CSF conducts its affairs in an appropriately open and thoroughly principled and ethical manner as befits a Christian ministry seeking to advance the Gospel of Jesus Christ". Or, perhaps, "principles" and "ethics" have a special meaning when used in the promotion of the Gospel?
The items contained in the newspaper advertisement were expanded upon in the May issue of the CSF's Prayer News , in which the editors, presumably in the name of Christian fellowship and charity, assailed various prominent members of other Christian denominations for their temerity in giving approving mention to Ian Plimer's book.
Curiously, for a committee consisting in the main of ministers of religion, it was not asked to investigate "...CSF's theological position which, as individuals from evangelical churches of different denominations, we may not share in all respects.", which theological position, it would appear to the casual observer, would be about the only thing this committee was qualified to investigate. Nor was the committee asked to judge "... the validity of the scientific arguments of creation versus evolution,except in so far as they related to allegations of deliberate scientific fraud." , which, as only one committee member appears to have any scientific qualifications (and that in agricultural chemistry), is probably just as well.
Now let's see if we have got this straight. The Creation Science Foundation invited certain people to investigate certain claims made in Telling Lies for God; the CSF set the terms of reference for the inquiry (very narrow terms indeed); specifically excluded from the terms the charges in the book, that the creationist's 'scientific' claims were blatantly absurd, could not withstand even cursory critical scrutiny, were deliberately misleading and had neither scientific nor theological support; and the only evidence considered was that presented by the CSF.
I don't like to be picky, but had Ned Kelly had the right to select his own judge, jury and prosecutor and also the final say on what evidence would be presented at his trial, he would probably still be alive today (albeit a bit long in the tooth). Under those conditions, Jack the Ripper would have lived in history as Jack the Mildly Irritating.
The principles they find acceptable in promoting their messages lies entirely within the province of individual Christian churches (always providing they do not contravene the laws of our secular society). The CSF, however, does make the claim that their specious drivel has the imprimatur of science. Whether the "scientific" claims made by the CSF constitute deliberate fraud or result from complete ignorance of science is, perhaps, moot but the fact remains that they are not science, and no amount of self-serving "investigations" nor self-promoting bluster in paid advertisements will ever make them so.
It may be only coincidental, and it may have nothing whatever to do with the impact that Telling Lies for God is having on the collection plate, but both the advertisement and the turgid prose of Prayer News conclude with pleas for money.
Nonetheless, here at the Skeptic, we are nothing if not fair-minded so we intend to set up an inquiry into Ian Plimer's knowledge of theology. We seek support from among our readers for this vital task and would like to include at least one of each of the following experts on the panel: astronomer; biologist; butcher; nuclear physicist; palaeontologist; plumber; retired aardvark trainer; zoologist and a person who has been to church at least once.
If it is found that Plimer's grasp of theology is equal, or inferior, to the CSF directors' grasp of science, he will be burnt at the stake, with your humble servant having the privilege of casting the first torch.