Answers in Genesis slips deeper into the mire
John Stear
 January 2005

Answers in Genesis (AiG) have resurrected a controversy I would have thought would be best left alone.  Their UK correspondent Paul Taylor has, unwisely in my opinion, responded to a feedback item which drew attention once more to my article "It's Official! Racism is an Integral Part of Creationist Dogma".

The author of the original AiG article which was the subject of my article, inexplicably appended a copy of a South African Archaelogical Bulletin article in which the authors revealed "the reality of the fundamentalist/creationist induced racism that was inherent in South Africa's Christian National Education (CNE) system".

In an effort to belatedly absolve creationism from my accusations of racism (and the perception that AiG acted in a foolish way in attempting to use the South African Archaelogical Bulletin article to attack evolution without reading it thoroughly) Paul Taylor has made several claims concerning my article and the Bulletin article none of which are germane to the original claim I made in my article.  Mr Taylor begins his response to the feedback thus -

The whole issue of Christian responses to the former apartheid regime in South Africa is an area fraught with difficulties and errors. My own position on the issue has always been clear. Throughout my adult life, I boycotted South African produce in UK shops, making clear to shopkeepers my distaste of the former South African regime.

Well and good, but Mr Taylor's personal opinion of the South African apartheid regime does nothing to address the fact that racism WAS a part of South Africa's education system and that that system WAS a fundamentalist Christian one.

Mr Taylor goes on to provide links to some AiG articles critical of me [see Note below] but offers nothing of substance to show that my accusations were other than accurate.  In fact, he makes this incredible statement -

Although Stear accuses AiG of being duplicitous by removing the article he misconstrues, there was no Machiavellian plot in the absence of the article that he reproduces on his site. [my emphasis]

I'm not too sure how I "misconstrued" the article. As Mr Taylor states, the article was "clearly critical of creationists (allying them with apartheid generally)".  Mr Taylor said -

Because of the concern that others could misconstrue it, we did remove the article and the accompanying reprint of a South Africa bulletin, which was clearly critical of creationists (allying them with apartheid generally), and which mentioned that young children were being targeted for evolutionary indoctrination (our reason for its inclusion).

The only people who might "misconstrue" what the article said are creationists. For instance, Mr Taylor has done just that by deliberately inferring that the authors said that children were being indoctrinated by evolutionary teaching.  Here is what the article actually said in that regard -

Pupils were indoctrinated by the CN [Christian National] world-view through the formal curriculum, which omitted "anti-biblical" concepts such as evolution, made Bible education compulsory and presented a version of history that... "omitted, distorted or vilified the role of blacks, 'coloureds' and Asians in the country's past"... In 1994 change in government signalled a radical change in the education system. The ANC's [African National Congress'] education policy stressed the need for the "reconstruction" of school curricula in order to "rid the education and training system of a legacy of racism, dogmatism, and outmoded teaching practices" (African National Congress 1994:10-11).

This of course, in the eyes of creationists, is "indoctrination".

While my article did not imply that AiG per se was racist it did highlight the fact that racism is more often than not found where ignorance and intolerance go hand in hand.   Sadly, the narrow and simplistic ideology advocated by the fundamentalists in our society can be the seed from which emerges hatred and bigotry. In once again drawing attention to its error in publishing the article in the first place, AiG is slipping further into the mire.

NOTE:    It's interesting that AiG has deliberately omitted the link in the feedback item to my original article.  This of course is a ploy to discourage their readers from reading my article and perhaps deciding for themselves whether what I claimed is true or not.  See Answers in Genesis - The Great Pretender.