Dr Jonathan Sarfati's Reply
I have changed none of the text, I have merely made it easier to follow
the dialogue that appeared in Sarfati's e-mail to me.
Stear: Dr Jonathan Sarfati, in his book "Refuting Evolution", ...
Sarfati: So you've finally gotten around to reading it;) Shouldn't have been that hard before now, considering that you obviously have plenty of time on your hands, and there are far more copies around than Plimer ever sold. Well, better late than never.
Stear: ... employs that well known creationist tactic of quoting out of context.
Sarfati: This employs that well known anti-creationist fetish of accusations of out-of-context quoting, which really means any quote by an evolutionist that undermines an aspect of evolutionary theory is out of context by definition.
Stear: What is a little surprising however is that he uses a quote that is so obviously out of context and can easily be authenticated.
Sarfati: What is more surprising still is that I would do what you accuse me of and give an easily checkable reference. This should have led you to read more carefully.
Stear: At the end of chapter eight (p. 115) of "Refuting Evolution" Sarfati quotes from Dr William. B. Provine's review of "Teaching about Evolution and the Nature of Science", a guide book issued by the National Academy of Sciences.
"... evolutionists have had to abandon many 'proofs' for evolution as well. For example, the atheistic evolutionist W.B. Provine admits: 'Most of what I learned of the field in graduate (1964-68) school is either wrong or significantly changed.' Creationists understand the limitations of these dating methods better than evolutionists who claim that they can use certain present process to 'prove' that the earth is billions of years old."
Stear: Dr Provine admits that most of what he learned of high school biology when in graduate school is either wrong or has changed, but nowhere does he equate his remarks to dating methods as Sarfati dishonestly claims.
Sarfati: That's not at all what I claimed. The previous sentence--which you even quoted--makes it clear that I was citing Provine in relation to "'proofs' of evolution" NOT dating methods, and this whole piece was basically a parenthetical insertion illustrating the tentative nature of all claims about the past.
Stear: Here is Dr Provine's quote in context: "Greater understanding of evolution is a laudable goal. High school biology textbooks are woefully out of date. I use a rough measure for how rapidly evolutionary biology changes. Most of what I learned of the field in graduate school (1964-68) is either wrong or significantly changed. Yet many high school textbooks could have been written in the mid-1950s. A boost from the National Academy of Sciences might really help."
Provine's words can be found in the first para of the chapter "Evolution and Science" at http://fp.bio.utk.edu/darwin/NAS_guidebook/provine_1.html and, strangely, Sarfati supplies this link in his book. Don't creationist readers check such links to verify the authenticity of quoted matter?
Sarfati: Of course--we have plenty of practice checking authenticity, and we need it with the misinformation abounding in Skeptics organisations.
Stear: Sarfati's lack of integrity ...
Sarfati: I doubt that you're in any position to attack anyone for lack of integrity considering your implicit support for unethical behaviour by your fellow Skeptics, e.g. Plimer, and your repeated refusal to repudiate such behaviour despite repeated challenges to do so.
Stear: ... in this instance raises the distinct possibility that among the plethora of articles he has written attacking science ...
Sarfati: I've never attacked science in my life! Why would I? It's a field in which I am higly [sic] qualified, unlike you and a number of other atheistic skeptics.
Stear: ... and evolutionary theory ...
Sarfati: I'm glad you distinguished this from science by that astutely chosen conjunction;
Stear: ... there will be found more instances of deliberate misquoting and serious misrepresentations.
Sarfati: If this is the best you can do, evolution is in even more trouble than I thought!
Stear: Dr Jonathan Sarfati and Answers in Genesis should immediately have "Refuting Evolution" recalled and reissued without the offending quote (and any others of dubious authenticity) and a full explanation given. And a public apology might be in order.
Sarfati: Sure, no problem about an apology, though not concerning your misrepresentations as demonstrated here. It must be very stressful for you to realise that our books and website have bypassed the establishment censorship protocols and threatened your ideological monopoly, so for that I'm deeply sorry. Sort of.
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