From: Skeptic Mag Hotline
Date: Tue, 15 Dec 1998 15:54:17 -0800


Christ, this is the story that will not die, but I feel at least mildly responsible to let the other shoe fall on that Australian creationism story I posted from Ian Plimer. Here is a response from a creationist who actually comes off sounding fairly reasonable. So, in light of the "there's two sides to every story," here's that other side. If you don't care or didn't read the first posting on it, then just close this letter file.

Michael Shermer


Having read Plimer's article, a few things are apparent to me.

1. In claiming he is preferring to go to "the heart" of the matter, what he is really doing is giving himself a reason/excuse for not presenting any particulars or any referencable material.

2. He claims to have received thousands of letters of support and yet now is nearly bankrupt. I cannot help but wonder how sincere that support is.

3. He implies the creation side is quite well-funded. If so, a lot of us have been missing something here....

4. His avoidance in naming names of the creationists involved is probably the only thing that will keep him from a lawsuit regarding this letter as well.

5. He has badly misrepresented why he was forcibly ejected from various lectures and meetings. Having spoken with two of the lecturers whose meetings he has attended, it seems that he and a group with him at each meeting shout, ridicule, and taunt to such an extent, that the person on the podium is not able to speak. This, of course, is their aim. The only way to restore any semblance of peace and quiet is then to get rid of him.

He states " At the end of the lecture, I again attempted to ask a question about geology. I was ejected by the police for asking a question about geology in a public meeting in a University." For someone to believe this is actually the way in which this happened to to ask that someone to be incredibly gullible.

One eyewitness to his antics at such gatherings emailed me the following, requesting anonymity:

This is vintage Plimer. He always presents his case like this - even his arguments for evolution against creation in public are like this. He got thrown out of those meetings because he had been interjecting right through the lectures, and a number of his questions had been answered graciously.

It then became obvious that he had malicious intent whereupon he was ejected from the meeting. On one occasion he had the ABC TV News film proceedings. They then cut the film in a manner very favourable to Plimer.

The media back him to the hilt. When his court-case failed, there was barely a mention of it in the media. When he scored against the creationists, there was a fanfare. Because he lost the case, he is partly responsible for paying Allen Roberts' court costs. He got out of that by a technicality. So Allen has to find his own funding. By the way, Allen was NOT funded by any Creationist organisation. His own church had to dip into their pockets: that was the extent of his funding. The Creationists here in Australia publicly dissociated themselves from him, leaving Allen to fight alone.

6. I would love to see his evidence for any of the following:

* "Because evidence, conclusions and ideas are constantly tested and re-evaluated, any dogma, mistake or scientific fraud are ultimately uncovered. Scientists guilty of scientific fraud are dismissed, discredited and never practice again."

***** I would refer him, to begin with, to Dorothy Nelkin's "Selling Science," which tells a rather different story -- with references.

* "Not one scientific claim of the creationists has withstood scrutiny."

***** Any reasonably educated person should know better than to state things in terms of a universal negative. This is extraordinarily easy to refute -- with references.

* "Creationism is rising in the new world countries and is about power. It is the political arm of southern USA Christian fundamentalism."

***** Please raise your hands, folks. How many of you are from the South? How many of you are in this for power? Last question -- who wants to inform Plimer of that dismal showing?

* " I voiced my concerns about the scientific and educational value of creationism in the professional literature. I was immediately attacked in public and threatened with litigation by the creationist groups."

**** Would he care to mention what he wrote that upset people so much and caused the litigation? He makes himself sound so innocent and put-upon.... I think he needs to back up EXACTLY what he wrote and what the responses were if he wants believability on this issue.

* "As a result of the litigation, one creationist group has dissolved and, because the use of the word science was deemed fraudulent, the business calling itself the Creation Science Foundation changed its name to Answers in Genesis."

**** As I recall, this is not the truth. I would love to see his referencing for this claim.

* "For 15 years, he simultaneously published in the scientific literature about processes which take hundreds of million of years and Precambrian rocks and published in the creationist literature about a 6,000 year old Earth and a "Great Flood" in which all sedimentary rocks and fossils formed. The public exposures and pressures were such that he has resigned from Answers in Genesis who have evolved from a group who claimed that there was scientific credibility for creationism to a fringe religious group. My forthcoming book (Telling lies for God--Sinking the Ark) exposes in public all the evidence that was not heard in court."

***** First of all, by linking the last sentence with the first few, he is implying that this Ph.D. who is no longer with AiG was in court over the issue. That is not the truth and the placing of the sentences this way is lying by implication. Secondly, the Ph.D. he refers to did not leave AiG under those circumstances and, thirdly, the Ph.D in question was quite clear to his secular employers regarding his status as a YEC in his personal life. Plimer is implying both hypocrisy and deceit in the way he presents the above story whereas, when the fact are out, the accusations might well be leveled much more securely against him, Plimer.

While there is much more that could be said about Plimer's article, that is enough for starts, certainly. And, perhaps, the note that he might consider going into professional fund-raising considering his ability to tell such a heart-rending rendition of events.

Helen (Penny) Fryman


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