Evolution’s pesky flea
Sarfati’s new book rattles the cages of the atheists
by Gary Bates, CEO, CMI–US
Published: 12 August 2010 (GMT+10)
This article first appeared in a CMI newsletter in June 2010
Nearly 500 people attended the Countering the Rise of Atheism seminar in Melbourne.
In case you’re wondering about the strange title, let me explain.
A few months ago, the Global Atheist Convention called The Rise of Atheism was being held in Melbourne, Australia. It featured heavy-hitters of the atheist/humanist movement in the world today, including scientists PZ Myers and Richard Dawkins. Some months before, our Australian office asked the organizers if they would be willing to pit the best amongst them against some of the world’s leading creationists from CMI in a creation/evolution debate. The offer was rejected in a torrent of insults and invectives, particularly from Myers and his followers, (read World atheist convention rejects Australian creationist debate challenge). So CMI decided to arrange its own conference in the same city, same weekend. Attendees in the packed auditorium were visibly excited and motivated to see that there are answers to the claims of such rabid antitheists. (See Countering the Rise of Atheism.)
CMI’s conference was also the launch of a very important book by our own Dr Jonathan Sarfati, called The Greatest Hoax on Earth? Refuting Dawkins on Evolution. As you can glean from the title, it is a response to the recently released magnum opus by the Oxford professor Dawkins called The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution. Dawkins’ book is touted as presenting the best evidences for evolution—and long ages—in one volume. Jonathan’s response, in the short time it has been released, is proving to be a sensation. Jonathan documents how Dawkins uses fallacious and straw man arguments in an attempt to discredit creationists. (Remember, Dawkins is the one who suggested that teaching creation was equivalent to child abuse.) But the main reason The Greatest Hoax? is making an impact is because it demonstrates that creationists have a very sound grasp of the science, despite claims to the contrary. Tony D. emailed Dr Sarfati and said (of one chapter):
“But of course you showed a consummate ease in dealing with origin of life issues. Abiogenesis is right up your alley as a chemist and it shows. Thanks once again for the many hours of hard work you must have put into this book for the benefit of the saints.”
So why the flea?
When Prof. Dawkins became aware of our response, he called it the latest ‘flea’. Dawkins is quite fond of being called ‘Darwin’s Rottweiler’ (in Darwin’s day, evolutionary promulgator Thomas Huxley was called ‘Darwin’s bulldog’). Dawkins’ self-image of being the ‘big dog’ of evolution, being pestered by no more than a flea (Sarfati) displays all the arrogance of some sort of intellectual superiority. We’ve noticed this increasingly agitated and hostile attitude towards creationists by the followers of Dawkins and Myers et al, and what followed on Dawkins’ blog was a ‘hatefest’ of spiteful comments aimed at Dr Sarfati, such as:
“To his credit the one thing that Sarfati does undertand [sic] is about being stupid. He’s in a world class lead there.”
In commenting about Jonathan’s world-class chess credentials, one wrote:
“Afterwards, Bonzo the chimp took on 98 creationists simultaneously and beat them all in 7 moves while the creationists were trying to figure out why there are two different colors on the board and why the bishop wasn’t in charge.”
And others on his book:
“There are probably just a bunch of blank pages in there except for the first page that says, ‘God did it’. Now wasn’t that much easier than doing science?”
“If I dismiss this book without reading it then I am as closed minded as religious people who refuse to read Mr Dawkins’ book.”1
These ‘new atheist’ leaders need to be held accountable for inciting the type of hatred and anger that is being vented by their supporters.
The last comment is odd, because that’s exactly what Jonathan did—read Dawkins’ book, and refute it point by point. There were other comments much worse than this, but I’m sure you get the point. These comments really lack any credibility, particularly from the side that claims to have a monopoly on correctly understanding ‘science’. I believe that these ‘new atheist’ leaders need to be held accountable for inciting the type of hatred and anger that is being vented by their supporters. In short, rather than have calm, reasonable, rational debate, the skeptics display all the dubious tactics of ‘playing the man’ rather than the ball, and arguing from authority. By not dealing with the facts, and instead attacking personalities, it amounts to no more than religious vilification. The one ‘religion’ that is always singled out for this treatment is Christianity. Similar criticisms of Islam, for example, would simply not be tolerated. Ironically and logically, I suppose, it’s no problem for atheists to hurl invectives as much as they feel, as they themselves have no logical basis for seeming morality. However, Christians would be judged more harshly because it would not be in keeping with Christian morality, for example.
The one ‘religion’ that is always singled out for this treatment is Christianity. Similar criticisms of Islam, for example, would simply not be tolerated.
It’s ultimately a spiritual battle—but the science is important
The point of highlighting this is because it demonstrates the crying need for informing people about origins. It’s obvious that the skeptics are criticizing what they don’t understand, often because they’ve never been exposed to alternative information before. Sometimes a well-meaning Christian friend has given them amateur/misinformed arguments for creation, which only hardens their stance. This is why your continued support is vital. It changes lives by allowing our staff to produce such excellent resources like The Greatest Hoax? (see the enclosed special sheet) and it also allows us to continue ministry outreach so we can disseminate information and overcome prejudice. Lyle L. understood this when he wrote of this new book:
“I couldn’t put the jolly thing down, it was FANTASTIC. … But it’s just so WONDERFUL to see that Dawkins is rebutted so comprehensively in this book. CONGRATULATIONS and a huge thank you to everyone at CMI who put in the big effort to get this book out so quickly. I can’t tell you how much of an encouragement this is to me.”
Most of all please continue to pray for all our staff, even those who answer the phones and receive similar comments to above. Thanks for standing with us.
- <richarddawkins.net/articleComments,5420,The-Greatest-Hoax-on-Earth—a-new-flea,Jonathon-Sarfati,page1#comments>, 15 April, 2010. Return to text.