Does Dr Jonathan Sarfati Have Any Integrity?
Dr Jonathan Sarfati is a Young Earth Creationist (YEC). He is employed by the Australian headquarters of Answers in Genesis (AiG) at Acacia Ridge in Queensland, Australia.
According to his c.v. Dr Sarfati "obtained honors level in physical and inorganic chemistry, as well as in condensed matter physics and nuclear physics." He also studied mathematics, geology and physics at Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand.
Dr Sarfati writes extensively for AiG. His writing covers most aspects of science as it relates to evolution. However, like many creationists, he attempts to refute many aspects of evolution by writing beyond his field of expertise.
In one of his recent books, Refuting Evolution, he, typically, revisits areas which have been refuted by scientists many times. This is a well used creationist tactic; tell a lie often enough and it becomes truth. Unfortunately this is often a successful ploy as most grassroots creationists parrot these lies as if they were really scientifically sound.
It comes as no surprise then that Dr Sarfati also employes that well known creationist tactic of quoting out of context.
At the end of chapter eight of Refuting Evolution Dr 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.
Dr Provine writes that most of what he learned of the field of high school biology when in graduate school is either wrong or has changed. Nowhere does he equate his remarks to dating methods as Dr Sarfati dishonestly claims.
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 High school biology textbooks are woefully out of date.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.
Dr Provine's words can be found in the first para under the heading Evolution and Science [now deleted from the Darwin web site but available on the Web Archive] and strangely, Dr Sarfati supplies this link in his book. Does it ever dawn on creationists that some of their (few) erudite readers might want to verify a quote?
I wrote to Answers in Genesis' Web Feedback pointing out Dr Sarfati's dishonest use of Dr Provine's statement and received a reply from Dr Sarfati (although my criticism is yet to be published on AiG's "Web Feedback" page). Below is the relevent part of the exchange: [NOTE: Follow this link to read the full text of Dr Sarfati's e-mail reply]
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.
Not good enough Dr Sarfati! Almost all of chapter eight of your book is devoted to radiometric dating. Your first sentence following Dr Provine's words begins "Creationists understand the limitations of these dating methods better than evolutionists ... ".
Your explanation absolutely reeks of dishonesty, a deliberate juxtapositioning of text in order to deliver a very specific (and totally deceptive) impression. You, Dr Sarfati, are the consumate propagandist and would have done Joseph Goebbels proud!