Answers in Genesis - The Great Pretender
When I began the No Answers in Genesis (NAiG) web site a few years ago I decided that in the interests of fair debate I would provide links to Answers in Genesis (AiG) and other creationist sites by way of a "Creationist Links" page. In my naivety I contacted AiG requesting a reciprocal link. They replied:
Answers in Genesis does not provide reciprocal links to other websites because they link to ours. At the moment, we have very few links to other sites. As for comments to [sic] 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.
If AiG believed in full and fair debate and if the information on NAiG is so inaccurate, then surely it would be ethical for AiG to direct their visitors to sites like NAiG so they could examine the contrary evidence and form their own opinions. But it seems ethics is not AiG's strongpoint so despite their reluctance to supply direct links to non young Earth Creationist (YEC) sites I have continued to provide links to YEC sites and, where possible, to YEC articles.
Because AiG is probably the largest and most influential of the many YEC sites on the 'net, their disingenuous policy concerning access to the sources of material used on their site needs to be highlighted. AiG provides many active links to their own articles which is perfectly proper but as far as I can ascertain the only active links to external sites are to other YEC sites such as the Institute for Creation Research (ICR) (which are accompanied by a warning, see "Discouraging visitors from leaving site", below, and to Bible Gateway, (these are direct links without a warning) whence AiG obtains its many Bible references.
AiG's practice of using unlinked URLs, usually to non YEC sites, requires a visitor to cut and paste the URL into their browser, thus ensuring that those with short attention spans or who take AiG at their word concerning the veracity of their articles, won't go to the trouble. For example, see Jellyfish (scroll down to "References" at the bottom of the page where you will find no less than eight unlinked URLs plus several LIVE links. The live links are all to AiG articles, books and DVDs). AiG is no doubt concerned that in providing easily accessible links to sites of a scientific nature visitors might be encouraged to question AiG's so called bible based "science". For example, the first unlinked URL in the "Jellyfish" article is to the National Aquarium in Baltimore USA, an excellent site with no overt references to evolution. However, there's no doubt that participation in many of the Aquarium's activities would bring a child into contact with aspects of biological evolution. If AiG is indeed concerned about where links might lead then why supply a link at all? My best bet is that to supply NO links to general scientific information sites would be far too obvious and AiG wants to at least be seen to be promoting fair debate.
Another example is an article by YEC Tasman Walker. In the "References" at the bottom of the page Walker gives a reference to a critical essay by geologist Paul Blake as follows:
3. Blake, P., Flawed model for creationists' 'flood geology', The Skeptic 20(2):16–19, 2000
The Blake essay was indeed published in The Skeptic 20(2):16–19, 2000 but few YEC visitors to AiG would subscribe to that journal although AiG probably has a subscription. A more accessible source is on NAiG and Walker should be aware of that, but a live link to the NAiG page would make it far too easy for visitors to AiG to access a large amount of information critical of YEC flood geology and other young Earth nonsense .
Paradoxically, Walker does provide UNLINKED URLs of critical essays, namely by geology Professor Joe Meert and geologist Dr Kevin R. Henke.
4. Meert, J., Radiometric dating, paleosols and the geologic column: three strikes against young Earth creationism, <gondwanaresearch.com/hp/paleosol.htm>, 24 January 2003
11. Henke, K.R., Cooling magma: more distortions from Snelling and Woodmorappe, <www.geocities.com/Athens/Thebes/7755/henke/krh-coolmagma.html>, 21 March 2003
But why not LIVE links? Once again, it appears that the policy at AiG is to make it difficult (or at least inconvenient) for visitors to access information critical of their young Earth "science".
Discouraging visitors from leaving site
AiG even consider it necessary to discourage visitors from following the live links (including those to other YEC sites) that lead outside their web site. Could this have been done because slow modems were typically used in the old days? It's merely an inconvenience to visitors, but why bother if it's not a ploy to discourage fair debate? Surely a notation beside the link to indicate that it's located off site would be sufficient. For an example of this practice see this page.
There's little doubt that AiG is loath to allow their followers to access information opposing their young Earth views and the reason is obvious. Because they know their "science" is easily refuted, then the more obstacles they can place in the way of their followers actually reading some opposing views the better.
There seems to be a strong parallel between AiG's approach to suppressing criticism and the behaviour of the old communist governments of Europe. In the end, AiG's agenda of lies and disinformation will destroy their reputation and do them more harm.