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Jonathan Sarfati's Posting on No Answers in Genesis' Guestbook

Dr Sarfati's critique also appears on a creationist web site here

Name:  Jonathan Sarfati, Ph.D., F.M.
Website: Answers in Genesis
Referred by: Just Surfed On In
From: Australia
Time: 1999-03-04 23:42:47

Comments: What do John Stear and his fellow Skeptics really believe?

As some astute signatories to this guestbook have pointed out, John Stear's 'No Answers in Genesis' is short on substance but long on rhetoric against creationists. Not surprising really, since there is no hard evidence that particles have turned into people by themselves. All the evolutionists normally do is cite trivial examples of 'change' which generate nothing new, and hope that people won't realise that they haven't proven fish-to-philosopher evolution in the slightest, nor have they challenged creation. Now, unlike Stear's scurrilous little site, the Answers in Genesis site majors in issues, not personalities. But I can certainly play Stear's little game of ad hominems, beginning with Stear himself.

Q: Who is John Stear anyway?

A: According to his beloved Australian Skeptic journal describes him as a 'retired public servant' (Skeptic 18(4):74, 1998) or 'retired bureaucrat' (17(3):74, 1997). What, do you mean that although he pontificates about science, he is not a scientist himself? Sir Humphrey Appleby, eat your heart out! (Of Yes Minister fame for those deprived of decent comedy)

Q: What does John Stear really think about religion?

A: Surely, with posts on his site purporting to show that evolution and religion are compatible, he must have a benign attitude towards it. But no, in a book review entitled 'Religion as a Health Hazard' he rails against 'religion' in general and Christianity in particular for their 'deleterious effect on society' (Skeptic 17(3):60, 1997). Also, when a fellow atheistic skeptic, John Snowden, pointed out the many shortcomings of organised humanism, our dear John was quick to defend the humanistic faith. In the process he referred to something called the 'Christian myth' and 'the hazards of religion' and made this absurd statement: 'Christianity has some deleterious effects on the well being of society' (Skeptic 18(2):52-53, 1998). Never mind the deleterious effects of atheistic evolution-based Communist and Nazi regimes, who have killed more people this century than all the religious wars in history put together.

What's happening here? Are there really two John Stears, both members of the Australian Skeptics, one having a benign view of Christianity and the other a rabidly anti-Christian bigot? Is it a case of 'Will the real John Stear please stand up?'

Q: Where does John Stear really stand on the compatibility of evolution and Christianity?

A: On his website, John is concerned not to give the impression that evolutionists are anti-christian bigots, by citing a few Christian evolutionists. But in the Skeptic 16(2):62, 1996, Stear wrote: 'If evolution is fundamentally correct, then there was no Adam; no Adam, no fall; no fall, no atonement; no atonement, no reason for Christ to have died on the cross. If Christ died for no reason then he was not divine and Christianity has no basis in fact. Is there really any need for scientific proof in order to debunk Christianity?' He goes on to fulminate against monotheism, and to chide Skeptics that it 'could be seen by some as less than honest' not to attack religion directly.

Again, are there really two John Stears with diametrically opposed views?

It is tempting to speculate that John got a good telling off by some of the Skeptic hierarchy for giving the game away. 'Don't you realise that it's terrible strategy, given that blatant atheism still repulses most people? Much better to follow Lenin's strategy of cultivating "useful idiots", who can promote our cause without realising that they are undermining their own position. We skeptics need people in the Church to convince Christians not to believe their own book, all the while under the impression that evolution is no threat to Christianity. Eventually we can tell them that evolution really is diametrically opposed to Christianity, and have a good laugh about their gullibility. But for now it's too early to reveal our strategy (obvious as it should be to any discerning Christian), so take it easy, John, please!'

Profiles of some other Australian Skeptics
(and others) who feature on this site:

Barry Williams

The editor of The Skeptic, who admits that he has no scientific qualifications whatever.

'Sir Jim Wallaby'  

He lists no scientific qualifications either. One claim to fame is his lightweight article attempting to rebut my defence of fitting all the animals on the Ark. Rather, his attempt, touted by the Skeptics as really convincing, is positively flyweight, showing that my layman's article was out of his depth.

On the other hand, Answers in Genesis has most fields of science covered by highly qualified scientists.

The CEO, Carl Wieland , a medical doctor, who is thus properly called 'Dr'. But Stear dishonestly refused to do so, unfairly juxtaposing 'Dr Max' with plain 'Wieland' in one of the articles.

Don Batten, a Ph.D. plant physiologist and expert tropical fruit researcher.

Jonathan Sarfati, a Ph.D. physical chemist (and former New Zealand national chess champion).

Pierre Jerltrm, a Ph.D molecular biologist, whose high credentials were unreasonably doubted in the Skeptic.

Tas Walker, a Ph.D. engineer who recently gained a 1st Class Honours degree in geology, specialising in radiometric dating.

Ian Plimer 

He is a mining geologist. It could be a case of 'Would the real Ian Plimer please stand up?' Although both Plimers are Skeptics and anticreationists, one has claimed to be a 'practising Christian' (letters on file) and to have a benign attitude toward Christianity. The other one was Australian Humanist of the Year, 1995. He wrote a nasty anti-creationist book called Telling Lies ... that even other Skeptics thought was 'hysterical', 'dishonest' and plagiaristic, and made some of the most amazingly crass scientific blunders -- see 'Plimer's Bloopers' on the AiG website on the Ian Plimer Files. On this site there is a point-by-point rebuttal by AiG which the Skeptics have yet to answer despite empty promises. There is also a publicly published report by an independent committee of Christians with prominent public reputations, completely discrediting Plimer on ethical grounds.

Plimer has another claim to infamy - on a University of Newcastle letterhead, he accused a visiting American creationist of being 'surrounded by young boys who were continually touching him' (the creationist always travelled with his wife or the couple he was billetid [sic] with).  It is interesting that the Skeptics have been publicly invited, from the podium at their tenth annual convention in Melbourne, to dissociate themselves from such gutter tactics, which Dr Carl Wieland documented on overhead at the time.  They were put on notice that such a refusal would be a reason for AiG to refuse to debate them.

Of course, biblical creationists are committed to belief in God's written Word, the Bible, which forbids bearing false witness; atheistic skeptics like Plimer, Stear and Williams have no such inhibitions.  I'm not saying that all atheists lie, or all Christians always tell the truth, but that atheists certainly have no objective moral basis for refraining from scurrilous lies.

Furthermore, Plimer, in his book telling Lies ... bragged about blatantly deceiving creationists, and that book has the full support of the rest of the Australian Skeptics.  Since they clearly think the end (combatting [sic] creationism) jusifies [sic] the means (deception), **how can anyone be sure that anything else they write is not deception for the good of the 'cause'?**

However, does anyone know what happened to him?  He seems to have gone underground after losing a big court case (which was unconnected with AiG) -- maybe hiding from his creditors.  He even inexplicably failed to show on a radio program a few weeks ago where he was due to appear with Dr Wieland.  Did he 'wimp out' when he found that the government-funded Australian radio and TV network, the ABC, for a pleasant change decided to have someone on with him who might show up his duplicity?  (Usually the ABC seems so biased that many conservative Christians say it stands for 'Anti Biblical Christianity', or similar).

Colin Groves 

He is an anthropologist, so anything he says about radiometric dating should be taken with a large grain of salt. Also, he ardently supports Plimer's book, which says something about his inability to judge good science or good ethics.

Richard Dawkins 

Fanatical atheist and master teller of 'just-so' stories to explain the origin of biological complexity. For some refutations, see:
Refutation of Climbing Mt Improbable,

Refutation of River out of Eden
Refutation of "Weazle Words" analogy
[no longer available on AiG's web site]

Anthony Garrett

A physicist and theistic evolutionist, who has chided the Skeptic for claiming 'Australian Skeptics takes no position whatever on religion', yet marketing blatantly atheistic and anti-Christian books (letter, The Skeptic 13(2):50). A (non-)response from Barry Williams followed, incredibly limp even by his standards, purporting to justify it on the grounds that the books sold well (now what does this say about the Skeptics?).

Ron Tolle 

A mailman, not a scientist (and it shows), who has far too much time on his hands.

Frank Zindler 

A leading light in the American Atheists. Isn't it amazing how so many atheists love evolution and appear to be threatened by the massive scientific evidence for creation? Zindler took the atheism side in an Atheism v. Christianity debate in front of 7,500 people at Willow Creek Community Church, USA. His opponent, Dr William Lane Craig, tore his ignorant arguments to shreds so effectively that many atheists in the audience realised that Zindler had lost the debate. It was presumably to this debate that John Snowden was alluding when he wrote that a representative of the American Atheists, whom he used to support, lost a public debate to a 'fundamentalist' (Skeptic 18(3), 1998).

Ken Smith 

A retired mathematician, who attends a Baptist church, and former joint Skeptic of the Year for a book he co-edited attacking creation and mocking the Bible. Hardly a peep from him when his professed religion is attacked in the Skeptic, but he hardly ever misses the chance to write some inflammatory ridicule about those who actually believe the Bible.

Recently his wife Helen stood unopposed for the position of President Elect of the Queensland Baptist Union.  Normally such an election would be a formality.  But at this one, almost twice the usual number of delegates turned up to the meeting, and a majority voted against her.  Presumably they were astute enough to realise that such a close connection to the predominately atheist Skeptics was not a good thing for a president of a Bible-believing union.

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