A response to Jonathan Sarfati, Ph.D., F.M.
[Revised 18 September 2003. See note at end of page]
My first reaction to your extraordinary attack on me, my web site No Answers in Genesis! and those dedicated people who have contributed to the scientific content of my site, is one of satisfaction, a small, comforting glow which began in the pit of the stomach and is, as I write, spreading gently through my poor old body, somewhat akin to a small dram at the end of a hard day.
Why would I be satisfied? It's simple really. I'm satisfied because why else would a "scurrilous little site" as you describe NAG, raise the ire of one of AiG's more prominent so called "technical" writers, unless the unmistakable message it imparts has struck a nerve in creationist circles?
By the way, my site is aptly named, is it not? There are no answers of a scientific nature to be found in the Book of Genesis and the acronym NAG appears to be doing its job.
The effectiveness of NAG aside for the moment: much of your bile seems to be directed to the fact that I am not a scientist but an Atheist, neither of which I deny or have tried to conceal.
As to my atheism, I merely manage the NAG site (apart from a couple of articles of a non-scientific nature I have posted under my name) and leave the scientific substance to those scientists who are kind enough to contribute to NAG. I might say though, since I have been exposed to creation "science" I have learned enough basic science to be able to refute most of your more simplistic claims.
My religious beliefs or lack of them have nothing to do with what appears on NAG. But because creationists are overly fond of branding as Atheists anyone with the mental capacity to see through their preposterous nonsense then naturally Australian Skeptics takes steps to counteract that unreasonable assertion.
You have accused me of ad hominem attacks on creationists and I don't deny that some of the postings have highlighted the inane propositions of certain creationists. However, if you and your colleagues continue to promulgate such spurious nonsense dressed up as science then, in my opinion, you leave yourselves open to ridicule.
I do not "pontificate about science" (pontificate, in my dictionary, means, "to speak or behave in a pompous or dogmatic manner", this, in my opinion, better describes the creationist method of ramming their pseudo science down the collective throats of the scientifically illiterate among their followers). I leave the scientific "comment" to the scientists themselves, I merely post those comments.
On the subject of scientists, it's a pity AiG don't employ some reputable and honest ones rather than those who flourish their pseudo qualifications as if they were genuine and, even more reprehensible, those who do have genuine degrees, who unashamedly prostitute their learning to accord with the Bible, in direct defiance of their duty to use their knowledge and impart their learning in an honest and responsible way.
Honest scientists rely, for the acceptance or otherwise of their findings, on review by their peers. Where are the peer reviews of creation scientists?
You quote some of my words in the skeptic and I don't resile from anything I have written. The fact is that what I believe personally has no bearing on my management of a web site that is dedicated to, and is obviously succeeding in, exposing creationism.
It might be tempting for you to speculate on the response to my writing by "the Skeptic hierarchy", but be assured Australian Skeptics is an organisation that values the opinions of its correspondents. All views are welcome even those not necessarily in accord with the wide philosophy of skepticism. Skeptics are quick to criticise other's opinions and indeed encourage such criticism. As mentioned above, it's called "peer review", a concept foreign to the creationist psyche where opinions not in accord with biblical dogma are simply not accepted.
You attempt to make a point by referring to "the deleterious effects of atheistic evolution-based Communist and Nazi regimes". The truth is that those regimes were founded by Christians! Hitler was a staunch Roman Catholic and Stalin [see note below] was in the final year of his 6-year theology course and was set to become an Orthodox priest when he was expelled for missing an examination. He then became a politician (a not illogical career move in this day and age, but admittedly a tragic move for the Russian people then). I include three (there are many more) of Adolf Hitler's more relevant quotes for your edification:
"Secular schools can never be tolerated because such schools have no religious instruction, and a general moral instruction without a religious foundation is built on air; consequently, all character training and religion must be derived from faith ... we need believing people."
[Adolf Hitler, April 26, 1933, from a speech made during
negotiations leading to the Nazi-Vatican Concordant of 1933]
"The folkish-minded man, in particular, has the sacred duty, each in his own denomination, of making people stop just talking superficially of God's will, and actually fulfil God's will, and not let God's word be desecrated. For God's will gave men their form, their essence and their abilities. Anyone who destroys His work is declaring war on the Lord's creation, the divine will."
[Adolf Hitler, "Mein Kampf" Vol. 2 Chapter 10]
"I believe today that I am acting in the sense of the Almighty Creator. By warding off the Jews I am fighting for the Lord's work."
[Adolf Hitler, Speech, Reichstag, 1936]
It's interesting that if these quotes were not clearly the work of Adolf Hitler we could be forgiven if we imagined the first to be the utterance of, perhaps, creation's own Henry Morris, and the last could easily be attributed to the poisonous raving of the US Christian Coalition's Pat Robertson, another creationist.
Finally, I would like to comment on the creationists' abhorrence of free debate. On NAG, whenever appropriate, I have placed links to creationist sites and creationist articles. I also have some direct links to sites such as AiG, Creation Ex Nihilo, Institute for Creation 'Research' and others on the "creationist links" page. I approached AiG requesting reciprocal links but to no avail. Their reply was:
"Answers in Genesis does not provide reciprocal links to other websites because they link to ours. [what breathtaking logic] At the moment, we have very few links to other sites. [true, the few links are to Christian or other creation sites, not a single one to a university, museum or other valid scientific site]
"As for comments to your site, it seems to provide the same anti-creation rhetoric that we see many times. And as with other such sites and articles, your site is laced with inaccuracies that obviously have been written from a full lack of investigation and with the typical anti-creationist bias." [surely all the more reason to let visitors to AiG experience this "typical anti-creationist bias" and form their own opinion.]
Do creationists fear honest debate? It seems so.
So there you have it Jonathan. Thanks again for your inadvertent but much appreciated vote of confidence in No Answers in Genesis!
Please visit my site often. I add evolutionary material frequently. You may, one day, the gods being willing, find something that will cause that presently dormant little "hammer of reason" in your brain to begin tapping out the relentless message that there is just so much evidence in the scientific realm and maybe, just maybe, evolution has to be true.
PS By the way, my reference to Carl Wieland minus the "Dr" is a habit I have fallen into, having encountered so many creationists whose "Dr" title means nothing more than "Doctor of Divinity", and has usually been obtained in exchange for a few dollars and any moral integrity the recipient might previously have enjoyed.
However, I sincerely apologise to Dr Wieland and assure him that I will use his correct title in the future. In fact I will correct the offending reference as soon as I can. Perhaps in return Dr Wieland will apologise to me for publishing portions of my letter to the Skeptic (Vol. 16, No. 2, p. 62) in Prayer News without my permission.
When I wrote this response early in 1999 I was under the misapprehension that Josef Stalin was a Christian. I have since learned that I was in error. However, there is no doubt that Jonathan Sarfati and other YECs are still wrong about Adolph Hitler. And regardless of whether Stalin and Hitler were Christian, Atheist or anything else, it has absolutely no bearing on the efficacy or otherwise of the Theory of Evolution.