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‘Origins questions’—evolutionists puzzled, creationists muzzled

by David Catchpoole and Jonathan Sarfati

20 October 2006

Interviewing evolutionist researchers can be a risky business—that is, if you’re a renowned anti-creationist atheist/skeptic devoted to proclaiming evolution as truth.

This was the situation that the fanatically antitheistic ABC The Science Show presenter Robyn Williams faced recently when chairing a panel of scientists at a forum at the Australian Academy of Science in Canberra.1 A questioner from the audience asked that each scientist on the panel identify ‘what’s the next big thing that you want to know?’

Dr Penny Sackett, Director of the Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the Mount Stromlo and Siding Spring Observatories, Australian National University (ANU), answered first:

‘I’d like to really understand how planets form and how it is that seemingly small differences can make them then evolve into things that are quite different indeed. We don’t really understand how planets form, we have some ideas and when we get to the hard bits we sort of say “and then a miracle happens”, and we go to the next bit you know.’

Hang on a minute—did Dr Sackett say ‘miracle’?! She continued:

‘I mean there are some bits that are very, very hard to completely understand. But even if we knew that we’d then have to ask why it is that some stars we now know have planets that seem entirely different than our own solar system. Why? We might have thought that we were typical, and perhaps it is rather common but we certainly know that there are things that are very unlike it and we don't know why. And I think that’s a big origins question, that’s a question that human beings really need to understand. …’ [Emphasis ours. See for example Revelations in the solar system and  Extrasolar planets suggest our solar system is unique and young.]

Not surprisingly, Robyn Williams chided her …

‘Penny, thank you, … . I don’t think you were supposed to say “and then a miracle happens” in the Academy of Science in Canberra!’

… and moved quickly on to another ANU member of the panel, Professor Jenny Graves of the Comparative Genomics Research Group in the Research School of Biological Sciences. Her answer included this admission:

‘I want to know how sex chromosomes evolved and how they work and we keep thinking we’re near the answer but it keeps on getting more and more complicated and further away. In the long term I’d really like to understand how evolution works, how this sort of undirected mutation can produce creatures that work.’

And no doubt so would every other evolutionist who recognizes this fundamental weakness in evolutionary theory (see for example Argument: Evolution of sex, ch. 11 of Refuting Evolution 2). As we have pointed out many times, only creation, not evolution, can explain the staggering complexity of living things—and as biological studies uncover yet more and more complexity, the more difficult it becomes for evolutionists. Little wonder that Professor Graves says the answer ‘keeps on getting more and more complicated and further away’. But it seems she has a ‘blind spot’ that leaves her seeking a naturalistic answer rather than the right answer, not because of evidence but because of a decree, as the rest of her reply makes clear:

‘I mean we know now that it’s not any kind of intelligent design but it’s more a question of accidents that happened a long time ago and which you have to compensate for. And so it’s immensely complicated process that this extremely simple idea and I guess I’d really like to get that idea across particularly to young people that nature is incredibly rich and varied and it’s changing all the time and it’s much more wonderful than it would be if you just sort of had a miracle and had it happen.’

In other words, it seems: ‘let’s tell our young people that there’s no Creator, we’ve just evolved, and evolution is much more wonderful than if we’d been created’. Never mind the millions of years of death and suffering, as well as false starts and extinction, that evolution (and indeed any long-age view) entails.

If only more people in the Church knew of this not-so-hidden agenda of Darwin and his followers, and its consequences,2 they would surely be more motivated to speak out against evolution, proclaiming instead the Bible’s account of history. In a world bombarded by evolutionary teaching in virtually all educational institutions and via print and electronic media, how else will the truth about our origins be disseminated (Romans 10:14), ‘particularly to young people’?

… only creation, not evolution, can explain the staggering complexity in living things.

Notice that nature documentaries and the likes of The Science Show virtually never give air-time to creationists—but from time to time will slip in derogatory remarks about creationists, denigrating (and frequently misrepresenting) the biblical creationist position.

 Indeed, Robyn Williams apparently even sees nothing wrong with lying to creationists; he even brags about breaking an agreement with a creationist. This is documented in Cameron Horn’s book Science v Truth, a good exposé of the tactics of the media (a whole chapter on the ABC), academia and even many clergy when they deal with creationists.

Cameron cites Williams’ book The Science Show (i.e. the very program in question). Williams said:

‘The speed of light brigade were more determined. The ideas were to be presented by a GP from Adelaide. I was required to agree that no critical comment would follow his exposition.’ [Emphasis added]


‘As soon as the interview finished, I called a friend at the physics department at the University of Sydney to ask: “What do you make of this?” [He] gave me clear and damning refutations of the creationist claim which I duly put to air. In the same program.’

Cameron comments quite fairly:

‘So Williams is quite open about not honouring the verbal commitment. “Dr Conjunction” [Cameron’s pseudonym for the Adelaide GP], unused to dealing with media folk, was naïve not to get the commitment in writing.’
Dr Keith Wanser

Dr Keith Wanser, Professor of Physics at California State University, told  Creation magazine in 1999 that wrong views about the speed of light having changed in the past were based on ‘rash assumptions’. For more on this see God and the electron.

Note also, re c-decay and ‘determined’—even though a number of creationists at that time supported it at first, many leading creationist physicists have always rejected it, and most creationists would now discount it because they became convinced that the evidence doesn’t support it. It has always been antitheists like Ian Plimer and his media ally Robyn Williams who have pushed it, falsely claiming that it is a major creationist argument. See Speed of light slowing down after all? Famous physicist makes headlines.

When creationists’ arguments are denigrated/misrepresented, creationists are not accorded any right-of-reply. Mostly creationists are kept out of the media—they are to be ridiculed, not heard. Science conventions’ organisers are known to deliberately exclude creationists from the list of speakers. Here’s just such an admission, broadcast on another recent The Science Show program.3 Robyn Williams put the following question to an organiser of a recent meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science (BAAS), Helen Haste (Vice-President of BAAS and Visiting Professor in the School of Education, University of Bath, UK):

‘Would you possibly invite creationists to talk at the BA?’

Professor Haste’s answer made it very clear that she would not. However, it would be alright to talk about creationists, as this portion of her reply indicates:

‘There is a place in a science festival for discussions around the relationship between science and religion. There is a place, indeed, for discussions about creationists, but there’s no place for having fundamentalists of any perspective putting only their point of view, …’

[As if it would be only creationists given the opportunity to present a point of view at these conventions!]

So, while evolutionists puzzle over ‘origins questions’, they muzzle creationists. This is not surprising, because the humanist-award–winning anti-creationist leader Eugenie Scott admitted:

“In my opinion, using creation and evolution as topics for critical-thinking exercises in primary and secondary schools is virtually guaranteed to confuse students about evolution and may lead them to reject one of the major themes in science.” (cited in Where Darwin Meets the Bible—by anti-creationist Larry Witham, Oxford University Press, 2002).
 They might try to muzzle the messenger, but they can’t stop the message.

Translation: ‘We must not teach students about the problems with evolution and must stifle dissent, otherwise they might end up not believing in it!’

But evolutionists can’t stifle the truth completely. They can’t stop Christians from disseminating creation resources hand-to-hand, by post and by email, and especially from directing people to websites such as this one. They might try to muzzle the messenger, but they can’t stop the message. So, take heart … and pass it on!


  1. ABC Science Show, presented by Robyn Williams, broadcast 7 October 2006, Return to text.
  2. See also The blood-stained ‘century of evolution’ Eugenics … death of the defenceless; and  The Darwinian roots of the Nazi treeReturn to text.
  3. ABC Science Show, presented by Robyn Williams, broadcast 16 September 2006, Return to text.

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A reader’s comment
M. K., Netherlands, 10 July 2009

The words “and then a miracle happens” are clearly (to me) a reference to a famous Sidney Harris cartoon (found on his website,

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