Prominent inquiry committee concludes:
Plimer allegations baseless and unsupported by the facts
This details the makeup and findings of an independent committee of inquiry asked to form to inquire into sensational allegations against the ethics of Creation Science Foundation Ltd (Brisbane, Australial) in the book by Ian Plimer, Telling Lies for God, Random House, Australia, 1994. The purpose was to have prominent Australian Christians from a wide range of denominations, who each had substantial public reputations quite independent of CMI (formerly CSF), carefully check all the allegations (most of which were ‘documented’ by Plimer). The results were published in major display advertisements in Australia’s two leading circulation newspapers. Most people realise that the people involved would not stake their public reputations in this way just because they were sympathetic to CMI—if the allegations had any basis in fact at all, they would not have so clearly and publically vindicated CMI’s integrity.
Inquiry Committee Members
Mr Clarrie Briese, B.A., Dip.Crim.(Cantab.), is a former Chief Magistrate of New South Wales, and was then a part-time Commissioner with the New South Wales Crime Commission. He is a member of an Anglican Church in Sydney. See also this interview, Blowing the whistle on corruption.
Other Committee Members
(in alphabetical order)
- Rev. Matthew Bolte, B.Sc.(Hons 1), B.Th. is a Uniting Church minister. He has worked for some years in private industry as a professional scientist in research and development, and has completed all the research for a Ph.D. in Agricultural Chemistry.
- Rev. Don Hardgrave, D.B.S., M.A., B.D., Dip.Th., Dip.R.E., is currently Chairman of the National Board of Ministerial Development of the Wesleyan Methodist Church, as well as its past National and Queensland Superintendent.
- Rev. Guido Kettniss, B.A., B.D., 1993–1994 Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Queensland. He serves on 10 committees of the Presbyterian Church of Australia, of Queensland, and the Presbyterian and Methodist Schools Association.
- Rev. John Tanner, M.Th., D.Miss., is the National Director of Missions Interlink, an association of 76 Australian missions and training agencies working cooperatively under the banner of the Evangelical Alliance.
- Rev. John Walker is the President of the Bible Society of Australia (Queensland) and President of the Baptist Union of Queensland, as well as Chairman of the Baptist Union’s Executive Council and Ministerial Committees respectively.
We, the undersigned, have come together in Brisbane at the request of the Creation Science Foundation. We accepted an invitation by CSF to constitute a committee to investigate certain allegations against CSF in the book by Ian Plimer, Telling Lies for God.
This book makes a series of grave allegations against CSF and some of its directors in ethical matters, including deliberate lying, deception, financial impropriety and scientific fraud.
As CSF operates as an evangelical Christian ministry to the Australian community, and to communities world-wide, the allegations, if true, are serious matters of public concern.
CSF claims that not only are these accusations completely without foundation, but that they form part of a documentable pattern of systematic ethical abuse aimed at the ministry of CSF.
We were not asked to examine CSF’s theological position which, as individuals from evangelical churches of different denominations, we may or may not share in all respects. Furthermore, we were not concerned to make an assessment of CSF’s management style or a judgment as to the validity of the scientific arguments of creation versus evolution, except in-so-far as they related to allegations of deliberate scientific fraud.
Full co-operation was extended to us by CSF who provided access to all of its building and permitted us to meet there and to speak with people, including the current auditors of CSF. All documents and other material asked for by the committee were provided by CSF.
Both before and in the course of its formal meetings, the committee examined a great deal of material, in particular:
- The details of the allegations as contained in the book Telling Lies for God.
- Detailed CSF responses (in note form) to the matters contained in Telling Lies for God.
- Material and source documents, a number of which constitute ‘hard evidence’ independent of the parties.
- Copies of apologies by media organisations who have previously published allegations by Ian Plimer which were subsequently found to be untrue.
- A list of past and present speakers used in Australia by CSF, together with their curricula vitae.
Having Concluded Our Investigations, We Conclude as Follows:
- The grave allegations and/or innuendo against the ethics of CSF and its Directors are not supported by the evidence. What the evidence does establish is that CSF and its Directors have been often, and seriously, misrepresented.
- CSF conducts its affairs in an appropriately open and thoroughly principled and ethical manner as befits a Christian ministry seeking to advance the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
(Signed by all six, 27th April 1995 photocopies available on request with stamped, self-addressed envelope.)
What has Plimer’s Response Been in Various Media Interviews?
- To suggest that the committee members were CSF ‘stooges’, implying they would say whatever we wanted them to. However, no reasonable person looking at their public profile would seriously entertain that all six would declare their findings so clearly and publically if they had either (i) Not investigated properly or (ii) Had in fact found that Plimer was right, and that CSF had lied, cheated, etc.
- To muddy the waters by suggesting that since the charges were about ‘scientific fraud’, only scientists could judge the matter. However, not only was one of the members of the committee fully trained in science with substantial research experience, the issue on which Plimer’s charges came did not require any scientific background at all—it was a matter of simple investigations of the facts. Eg if Plimer claimed that, in a particular issue of our newsletter, we had published our ‘research conclusions’ about an object on which we in fact had not done any research, then it is a very simple matter to check the reference given by Plimer and see what we actually said—in other words, to see who is lying and who is not is a very simple matter.