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Feedback archiveFeedback 2008

Wolf among the fold?

Refuting critic of a CMI church talk

Statue in Singapore


Following CMI speaker David Catchpoole’s recent ministry in Singapore, we were alerted to the following blog ‘review’ of one of his presentations. The reviewer (hereafter referred to as CN) has leveled a number of charges against David and his presentation, which need to be answered (Leviticus 5:1, Proverbs 26:5, 2 Corinthians 10:4–5). Accordingly, CN’s critique (indented, in dark red font) is interspersed with responses (black font) from Jonathan Sarfati and David Catchpoole below.

SERMON REVIEW: Creation the Missing Link, by Dr David Catchpoole,

29 April 2008

On Sunday 27 April 2008, a guy named Dr David Catchpoole spoke at the church that I attend, City Gate Church in Singapore, and delivered a presentation about creationism.

The presentation would be more accurately described as comparing the Bible’s account of origins with that taught in school and university textbooks (i.e. evolution).

At first I was enthusiastic; I strongly believe that creationism has a place in academic discourse. Unfortunately, by the end of the presentation I was extremely let down by Dr Catchpoole’s unscientific and immature speaking style.

It would be interesting to know specifically in what way DC’s speaking style was ‘unscientific and immature’. DC’s presentation to City Gate Church employed all the key elements of successful scientific public speaking that he had been taught and gained by long experience while studying and working at university and government research organisations—during which time he was repeatedly commended for his speaking style. At City Gate, as a Ph.D. scientist trained to look at the evidence critically, DC encouraged the congregation, too, to look critically at the ‘evidence’ for evolution—just as any scientist should. Then he presented the strong case that the claimed ‘evidence’ for evolution is really nothing of the sort, but rather is consistent with the Bible’s eyewitness account of history.

Most of the things he said were masked with profit motives and riddled with logical fallacies.

The great achievement of 20th-century totalitarians was to turn questions of fact into questions of motive. — Hannah Arendt

Already poisoning the well.

‘Profit motive’? It is folly to ascribe motive to other people’s actions, bearing in mind that ‘man looks at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart’ (1 Samuel 16:7). The secular Jewish political theorist Hannah Arendt also pointed out that the great achievement of 20th-century totalitarians was to turn questions of fact into questions of motive.

Jesus did say that ‘by their fruit you will know them’ (Matthew 7:20), and the fruit of CMI’s non-profit ministry to the churches, increasingly evident after several decades of service, is that Christians are encouraged when reassured the Bible is true (especially in relation to the creation/evolution issue), motivated to pass that message on to others, and get equipped (as per 1 Peter 3:15) to do just that.

And despite his using it as an economic swear word, ‘profit’ should not be a dirty word, since Jesus Himself told us ‘the labourer is worthy of his hire’ (Luke 10:7). Much of the prosperity in this world has come from profit-making industries, enabled by the rule of law and property rights taught in the Bible, since the best way to make a profit is to serve people by supplying what they want. See also A Biblical View of Economics and Industrial Relations by Andrew Kulikovsky.

As for the alleged logical fallacies, CN’s claims are, we regret to say, reminiscent of a beginning philosophy student who has learned about logical fallacies for the first time, as excited as a child with a new toy. Hence he tries to twist DC’s talk into fallacies, although we are perfectly well aware of the specific fallacies CN raises—see JS’s 10yo paper Loving God with all your mind: logic and creation.

Yoko Ono is suing the producers of Expelled for violation of intellectual property rights—for a song that says, ‘Imagine no possessions’!

Speaking of both profit motives and logical fallacies, it’s notable that John Lennon’s widow is suing the producers of Expelled for using a brief clip of his song Imagine. That is, Yoko Ono is suing for violation of intellectual property rights—for a song that says, “Imagine no possessions”! This fallacy is informally known as cutting off the branch you’re sitting on! And for the record, the theme of Expelled is documenting case after case of a common evolutionary fallacy, argumentum ad baculum or appeal to force, i.e. doubt Darwinism and you’ll lose your job or won’t be hired no matter what the quality of your work.

Before he got into the meat of his presentation, he began selling books, DVDs, and magazines. The first one he offered was a small book titled Refuting Evolution. Dr Catchpoole noted the book’s small size, commenting that it "just doesn’t take much to refute evolution."

For the reasons stated above, CMI speakers are ‘upfront’ when addressing church congregations as to their purpose in addressing them on that day, viz. to encourage them to equip themselves—i.e. each believer to shoulder their own ‘load’ (Galatians 6:5) in order to help carry our common ‘burden’ (Galatians 6:2) for reaching the lost. But any ‘selling’ doesn’t happen until after the conclusion of the service/presentation, when members of the congregation go outside to the book tables to browse and make their purchases.

Also, we have made it clear that it’s the equipping more than the money. If we were streng verboten from promoting our resources, we would likely not accept an invitation, even if the church offered an honorarium that would more than cover any lost proceeds. See Linking and feeding which explains our reasoning.

A minor correction: Refuting Evolution was actually the second book DC mentioned to City Gate; the first one was The Creation Answers Book. And, given CN’s jibe re ‘profit motive’, it would have been surely appropriate for CN to have also reported on a point DC emphasized when mentioning those books, viz. that all chapters from both of those books can be printed out for free from our website. (See here and here.) DC recalls that when he told City Gate that, he added, ‘You must all be thinking I’m a terrible salesman—for who would buy those books now?’ (which, understandably among business-savvy Singaporeans, got a laugh). But as happens at virtually all churches addressed by CMI speakers, many people at City Gate that day did indeed buy those two books after the service, as they no doubt (a) realized that CMI was not bound by ‘(unworthy) profit motive’ but is instead ‘kosher’ in its desire to see the information go out into the wider community and (b) they were eager to do their part to help. (We wish Mr CN were likewise motivated).

He also held up a copy of a DVD cleverly titled Hubble, Bubble: The Big Bang is in Trouble

Would CN prefer a stupidly titled DVD instead?

which states that the earth has only been around four thousand years old and the Big Bang Theory is false.

Of course, DC never said (and nor has any other CMI speaker) that the earth has only been around for 4,000 years—rather, its actual age is around 6,000 years. CN may have made an elementary error of confusing c. 4,000 BC with 4,000 years ago.

And it’s also worth noting, as duly pointed out to City Gate, that the presenter of the Hubble Bubble DVD is a practising Ph.D. scientist, an Associate Professor in Physics, no less, at the prestigious University of Western Australia. And that scientist, Dr John Hartnett, is at the cutting edge of cosmological breakthroughs, and has published the relevant work in secular physics journals, due in no small part to the fact that he understands that biblical history is true and therefore has a ‘head start’ on his secular colleagues who think that the universe is billions of years old.

The third item that he attempted to sell was a subscription to Creation magazine, a monthly magazine that has the latest information about creationism. He proclaimed that as soon as a new evolution story hit the news, it would be refuted in Creation magazine. You could get a special deal if you signed up for three full three years or sent unsolicited copies to your non-creationist friends.

Actually, Creation magazine comes out quarterly—CN doesn’t get much right here, and these are the obvious questions of fact! And while it used to be the fastest way we could get rebuttals to the latest evolutionary claims out into the hands of people in the church, the internet now means we can respond much more quickly—even within 24 hours—which was the whole point of DC’s introductory comments prior to getting to the ‘meat’ of the presentation. Namely, to encourage people to check our website front page feature article each day, or, if people’s busy lives don’t allow that, they could sign up for our free email newsletter Infobytes, which comes out on average every few weeks to alert readers to the recent general-interest front-page feature articles and other matters of importance relating to origins issues.

When Dr Catchpoole began his sermon, he showed a number of charts explaining how the juvenile crime rate has increased at the same rate as the prevalence of evolution instruction in the classroom. Unfortunately, this is a purely emotional argument and if an evolutionist were to change his mind when faced with this evidence, he would be accepting the belief that correlation implies causation, post hoc ergo propter hoc. Even if his data is totally correct, there is absolutely no indication that one event, the teaching of evolution, causes juvenile delinquency.

David Catchpoole

David Catchpoole addressing a church congregation

DC presented the correlation, and left it to the audience to work it out. In a church setting, it was unreasonable to expect every single caveat to be raised, and in fact a more complex analysis would confirm the points.

One of the best treatments of these issues comes from the book The Vision of the Anointed by Dr Thomas Sowell. The Anointed vision sees man as basically good, and even better if the right people were to run society tightly, and remake people in their image. Such people talk loftily about goals and intentions. This is contrasted with what he called the ‘Tragic vision’, which recognizes man as flawed, e.g. largely self-centred, just as the biblical doctrine of the Fall would predict (although Sowell is not a creationist). Thus this vision distrusts concentrated power in any one person or institution, and prefers checks and balances. It also tries to analyze policies in terms of incentives and constraints on people as they actually are, and judge policies by results.

He instructively analyses several trends based on policies of the Anointed:

1. Assert that the issue is a Crisis, so the Anointed decree that Something must be Done. Yet as Sowell documents, the issue complained about was often getting better, not worse. E.g. in the US, teenage pregnancy and venereal disease, which were actually on the decrease for more than a decade before sex ed was force-fed into schools. STDs in the 1960s, before sex ed, were actually only half the incidence that they had in 1950. Other examples Sowell discusses are crime and poverty.

2. Something is a Solution of the Anointed. The Anointed predict an improvement, while those with the Tragic Vision predict problems. E.g. when you teach kids about sex apart from morality, then they will practise what they learn. (And where this relates to what DC was talking about, the Anointed teach that we are evolved animals who can’t control our urges, so kids learn that they are not expected to practise self-control anyway.) But the Anointed dismiss these criticisms, declaring that the critics don’t care about the people that their policies are ostensibly designed to help. Similarly, the Anointed viewed criminals as victims of society and pontificated on the ‘root causes’ of crime (where this relates to DC’s talk, if we are all rearranged pond scum, then the ideas of sin and evil make no sense). Those with the tragic vision argued that reducing the likelihood of strong punishment would just encourage crime, but the Anointed dismissed punishment as ‘primitive’.

3. The results come in. After sex ed was introduced, venereal disease and teenage pregnancy skyrocket, and remember they were on the decrease before sex ed was introduced. That is, the results were the opposite to the lofty goals of the Anointed and just what those with the Tragic Vision predicted. Similarly, crime rates skyrocketed just as the Tragic Visionaries predicted: increase the chance that a criminal’s sentence will be light, or that a judge will release him altogether on a technicality, and it should also be not surprising that crime increases. And as this becomes known, witnesses become less willing to testify because of fear that the criminal will be out of prison soon to take revenge, so the criminals know there is even less chance of conviction.

4. The Anointed explain away the results. Sometimes there is revisionist history on what their goals were. Other times the very failure is used as proof that things would have even been worse without their ‘solution’. And they have the chutzpah to demand even more money for more of the same! Then we hear ‘correlation is not causation’, which is right as far as it goes, but the Anointed apply this only when their ‘solution’ fails in just the way that those of the Tragic Vision said it would. Similarly, it’s common for the Anointed to blame the resulting crime on racism and poverty, i.e. ‘society’. Yet these factors were much higher in the 1950s where there was lower crime.

Dr Sowell’s thoroughly documented analysis of the trends over the last half century reinforces the trends shown by DC. And while DC just mentioned the teaching of evolution in schools, the evidence Sowell adduced is consistent with what happens when evolutionary ideas of man replace the biblical fallen nature of man in the educational and judicial systems.

The Judeo-Christian ethic of sanctity of innocent human life is based on their being made in the image of God.

Another clear example from a few decades before is the rise of eugenics in America and Nazism in Germany, all predicated on clear Darwinian ideas.

  1. The Judeo-Christian ethic of sanctity of innocent human life is based on their being made in the image of God. If humans are just another evolved animal, this ethic makes no sense.
  2. This ethic must be replaced by an evolutionary ethic, if such a term can have any meaning, so that the most important thing is what’s good for the evolution of man.
  3. Thus eugenics, invented by Charles Darwin’s cousin Francis Galton, was applied as a means for weeding out the poor evolutionary specimens.
  4. Hitler carried it to its logical conclusion, given the undermining of sanctity of life. Whereas America had forced sterilization of over 60,000 US citizens, the Nazi euthanasia program Action T4 (1939–1941) systematically killed 75,000–250,000 people with intellectual or physical disabilities.
  5. Darwin’s ideas of ‘the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life’ (the subtitle of his The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection) were taken further with Hitler’s master race ideology, which led to the genocide of the Jews and mass killings of Slavs on purely racial grounds.
Next Dr Catchpoole blasted through a whirlwind of arguments explaining the reasons why he believed evolution is false and the Genesis account of creation is completely accurate and obviously understandable in every detail. He explained how bird houses were built by people and require an intelligent creator, and, therefore trees which are more complex because they grow and engage in photosynthesis must also be made by a creator.

CN is referring to part of DC’s presentation based on this article he wrote. This will also appear in the June 2008 issue of Creation magazine—especially designed to fit a beautiful single A4 page layout for believers to photocopy and ‘leave around’ at their place of work or similar for interested colleagues and other ‘passers-by’. Another one for the dreaded profit motive!

I accept that God created the trees, but unfortunately Dr Catchpoole’s reasons direct people toward even more logical fallacies. The logical fallacy that he committed in this line of thinking is called affirming the consequent.
Dr Catchpoole would like people to believe the following line of thinking:
  1. If P then Q,
  2. Q,
  3. Therefore P.
  1. If an intelligent creator made something, then it is complicated.
  2. Trees are complicated.
  3. Therefore, an intelligent creator must have made trees.

No, it was actually affirming the antecedent, which is valid.

  1. If P then Q,
  2. P,
  3. Therefore Q.

Before trying to catch someone in a logical fallacy, it helps to understand the argument actually presented. In a more formalized form, it was:

  1. If something has a feature, call it specified complexity, then it is the result of an intelligent creator.
  2. A tree has this feature
  3. Therefore, an intelligent creator must have made trees.

And to be more precise, DC’s actual argument is really an a fortiori argument, something Jesus often used, ‘how much more … ’ (e.g. Matthew 7:11, 10:25; Luke 11:13, 12:24,28). I.e. the relatively simple design of the bird treehouse makes it obvious that it had an intelligent designer, so how much more does the vastly more complex design of the tree?

This sounds good. Yet even if you think as I do that that God made the trees, you shouldn’t give into this line of thinking.

Oh? So what is CN’s basis for thinking that ‘God made the trees’? And on what basis would CN challenge an atheist in line with the Apostle Paul’s inspired comment in Romans 1:20—’so that men [who deny that created things needed a creator] are without excuse’? Similarly, the Apostle Peter denounced future ‘scoffers’ who would be ‘willingly ignorant’ of the fact that God made the world then destroyed it in a watery cataclysm (2 Peter 3:3–7). But if there were no evidence for creation or the Flood, why should disbelievers be culpable for denying them?

Imagine if I had said the following:
If you read my blog, you are an educated person.
You are reading my blog.
Therefore, you must be an educated person.
The reality is that many uneducated people may be reading this blog.

That would not be entirely surprising.

Children may stumble upon it, and people in developing nations without the chance for a proper education may access it.
You might have failed to pay attention in school. In other words, just because something follows a particular line of logic, it doesn’t automatically make it true.

This is true. However, whether CN failed to pay attention at school is unknown; but his failure to pay attention to what DC actually said (to put the most charitable spin on his hatchet job) is clear.

Another significant factor that chipped away at Dr Catchpoole’s intellectual authority is that it became apparent during the presentation that Dr Catchpoole did not fully understand evolutionary theory. At one point he totally misrepresented how evolutionists understand dolphins to have evolved. He claimed that evolutionists contradict themselves by stating that mammals were creatures that evolved from land animals, while every other creature was a sea animal that became a land animal.

This is a very serious misrepresentation of what DC presented. In the introductory comments, pointing out to the congregation CMI’s many website rebuttals of evolutionary claims in scientific journals and/or ones widely heard via the news media, DC referred to this article. At no point did DC say that ‘every other creature was a sea animal that became a land animal’. And for CN to claim that DC ‘did not fully understand evolutionary theory’ hardly fits with DC’s having successfully undertaken university zoology and botany courses which expected students to correctly regurgitate in examination papers the underlying evolutionary paradigm taught throughout.

If you are curious, here is a link to a slightly more technical version of what an evolutionist might believe. It is completely different than the way that Dr Catchpoole explained it.

How so? The article/link CN referred to clearly states that evolutionists believe that dolphins came from land mammals, which entails loss of legs, just as DC said! It’s also notable how much speculation there is in the evolutionary story. However, the article admits:

‘Between the first cetaceans and their ancestors there is a lack of fossil information. It is possible that the transitional species was not very successful and widespread, so the few fossils that were actually formed are very isolated. It is also possible that the evolution from condylarthrans to cetacea was very rapid and localized geographically. Some evolutionists now believe that such rapid phyletic change in some animal orders is more common.’

For more information, see Whale Evolution?

As he continued he talked about how scientists’ understanding of evolution has changed since Charles Darwin wrote The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection 150 years ago, and how this further invalidated their work.

Dinosaur marrow

Science via AP (From

DC certainly pointed out how evolutionary theory is subject to continual alteration, but never said that this ‘invalidated’ the work of evolutionists. But it’s notable that many alleged ‘proofs’ of evolution have now been discredited, even by evolutionists. This is a lesson for churchian evolutionists who jumped on the bandwagon just before the wheels fell off. E.g. the evolutionary catastrophist geologist Derek Ager admitted:

‘It must be significant that nearly all the evolutionary stories I learned as a student, from Trueman’s Ostrea/Gryphaea to Carruthers’ Zaphrentis delanouei, have now been “debunked”. Similarly, my own experinece [sic] of more than twenty years looking for evolutionary lineages among the Mesozoic Brachiopoda has proved them equally elusive.’1
Dr Catchpoole continued by showing a Power Point slide show featuring a fascinating array of fossil evidence, all of it he interpreted toward his viewpoint. He showed pictures of fish that were once thought to be extinct, but have been found to be living. He showed a picture of fossilized dinosaur bone marrow [see figs. at right] that survived the sands of time. He showed pictures of how canyons and other geographical features quickly formed. I’m certain that at least some of the evidence he was trying to demonstrate demands alternate interpretations than the contemporary scientific community assigns to it, but he never went into depth,

And if DC had, then CN would no doubt have complained about DC going over most people’s heads! It was a sermon to a general congregation, not a lecture to a university faculty. At CMI seminars and camps, or even the World by Design tour, more depth is reasonable.

CN’s criticisms are really expecting a speaker at a church under time constraints to cross every i and dot every t ;) Another example concerns critics of one of JS’s straightforward examples of real testable science: water boiling at 100 °C . These critics accused JS of ignorance because he didn’t mention the effects of pressure, dissolved substances, or that superheating can occur. But such would have distracted from the main point of an easily understandable example. And what if JS, a Ph.D. physical chemist, had diverted into technical detail on the pressure dependence of boiling point, or discussed colligative properties of non-volatile solutes such as the ebullioscopic effect, or the role of nucleation in boiling? The audience would likely not get the main point, and the critics would go, ‘Huh, my brain hurts!’

cited peer reviewed articles of publications other than those from his own organization, or showed any hesitation at all about the material he was presenting.

At many of DC’s presentations (but he can’t recall if it was mentioned at City Gate), he points out that Creation magazine articles are written for the layman, but that we make sure that they are properly referenced with the primary source articles, i.e. specifying in the footnotes the relevant secular research papers and the scientific journals in which they were published. And one reason DC gives for this is ‘so that you can show university students and graduates the original secular journal citation so that they can go to their university library and look up the original reference and see that we are not fabricating the evidence but that secular researchers themselves have reported the evidence.’

He also showed slides sharing his belief that fire-breathing dragons and people once coexisted.

Richard Dawkins

Photo of Richard Dawkins by Mike Cornwell,

See The Importance of Evidence for the reason.

One valid criticism that Dr Catchpoole offered was that scientists tend to mix disciplines when it comes of evolution. An evolutionary scientist might confess to not having a deep understanding of philosophy, religion, or history, but somehow reach deep existential truths because of his understanding of evolution. He cited Richard Dawkins as a being a person who does this. This is a fine standard to have, and it is good for people to stick with what they know.

Yes. Even Dawkins’ fellow atheist Terry Eagleton lambasted Dawkins’ book The God Delusion with:

‘Imagine someone holding forth on biology whose only knowledge of the subject is the Book of British Birds, and you have a rough idea of what it feels like to read Richard Dawkins on theology.’
However, Dr Catchpoole doesn’t seem to play by the rules that he lays down for others. Even though his only significant credential is a Ph.D. in science, he repeatedly expounded upon theological and philosophical ideas during the course of his presentation. I’m fine with this; it was a Sunday morning church sermon. However, he can’t indite [sic] secularists for going beyond their credentials if he’s going to do the same thing.

Once more, this is misleading. CMI speakers readily acknowledge that they are not experts in everything; DC willingly acknowledges that he has no university training in astronomy for example—yet he does make references to astronomy in his presentations—and he does not criticise evolutionary scientists for speaking outside their own particular area of expertise. And so in DC’s main presentation to churches, he never refer to the (true) fact that the vast majority of scientists have expertise limited to their own discipline, partly in order to avoid the charge of ‘hypocrisy’ which CN refers to.

What CN might have misinterpreted however, is an answer DC gave to a question asked at City Gate during the public Question Time after the main presentation had concluded: ‘Why can’t evolutionary scientists see that the evidence so obviously points to Creation?’ In DC’s answer, he referred to scientists being experts in their own area, and mentioned that he knows of several instances where such experts readily acknowledge the dearth of evidence for evolution in their own discipline, but they believe that scientists in other disciplines must have seen evidence for evolution, so they placidly retain their faith in evolution! A good example is the leading evolutionary expert on bird origins, Alan Feduccia, appealing to corn turning into corn as the best proof of evolution. This is totally different from the slant CN puts on the interaction.

See also The fallacy of arguing from authority. CMI speakers don’t say, ‘Believe me because I have a Ph.D.’, while many evolutionists really do argue like this to laymen, and are held up as authorities in newspapers and compromising churchians. One example is the atheist Ian Plimer’s claim, ‘As a scientist, I would be prepared to predict that within the next 50 years a self-reproducing RNA molecule will be manufactured,’ when he is a geologist with no qualifications or expertise in the field. But when he critiques global warming alarmism, it is more acceptable since geology is a relevant field to evaluating evidence for past climate cycles.

It is also relevant to point to our earned doctorates to refute claims that ‘no real scientist doubts evolution’ (and since CN likes fallacies, this can also be called ‘the no true scientist fallacy‘).

Dr Catchpoole finished his sermon in the same way that he began it. He warned about how suicide rates, crime rates, and church attendance have an inverse relationship to the teaching of evolution in the public schools. He even spoke about how teaching evolution somehow causes people to become homosexuals. Near the end of the show, he ever so deftly reminded people that "God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve or Sharon and Karen." He concluded by passing out fliers so that we could sign up for the magazine.

The argument was not, ‘Teaching evolution somehow causes people to become homosexuals’. Rather, if people can convince themselves that evolution is true, they have the ‘intellectual justification’ to convince themselves that nobody made them, nobody owns them, therefore they are not accountable to any Creator God or His laws—they’re free to make up their own rules about what is right and wrong, including in relation to homosexual behaviour. So it’s hardly surprising that in western cultures, formerly Judeo-Christian in outlook but now increasingly influenced by decades of evolutionary teaching, we’re seeing corresponding increases in theft, violent crime, sexual immorality (including homosexual behaviour), etc. See also Who is the rightful owner?

I was saddened when he finished his presentation because I realized that I knew nothing more about evolution or creationism than when the presentation began.

Note that this comment of CN contradicts (and is contradicted by) his later concluding remarks. And he is lecturing DC on logic?!

Maybe it is because I’ve heard his type before and I’ve read a few creationist books. I’ve seen Kent Hovind in action, and I have to admit that Dr Catchpoole is a tad more scholarly that good old Kent. (However, Kent wasn’t as much of a huckster;

Jet with condensation trails


CN must be jealous of the yacht, private jet and mansion DC owns … oh wait, he doesn’t. Most of the CMI speakers took cuts in pay to work at CMI. If he really wants to looks at huxterism, then look at the many global warm-mongering prophets (or should that be profits?) who regularly fly in their own CO2-spewing private jets and live in energy-guzzling mansions as they preach austerity to us plebs.

at least Kent doesn’t copyright his work and he generously allows people to copy and share his incredible discoveries about the young earth.)

As already pointed out above, the books DC promoted are available for free, and the CMI authors (including both of us) receive no royalty. However, if we didn’t receive some profits in the wealthier countries, then we wouldn’t be able to make them available in poorer countries (Creation magazine goes to over 100 countries as it is).

I do think it is important for people to consider creationism. The scientific method by its focus on the material, predictable, and measurable items in the universe makes it impossible to use science to validate any ethereal or spiritual influences. If creationism is true and God miraculously spoke the universe into creation one day, scientist would not have the correct methods of inquiry to determine if their hypothesis about the subject was workable.

How about, six days? And science can certainly analyze the effects of something. After all, Newton’s gravitational theory of a force acting at a distance was regarded as ethereal or ‘occult’—see this discussion on philosophy of science.

I also strongly believe that modern day science doesn’t fully account for the possibility of global catastrophic events, and I do believe that at one time more dinosaur-like creatures might have co-existed with man (Woolly mammoths come to mind). But if a person is going to engage evolutionary scientists and challenge conventional beliefs, it is his professional responsibility to treat evolution as a mature science.

It is our professional responsibility to point out its faulty materialistic presuppositions, discredited theories, and anomalies—as we should do for anything claiming to be ‘science’.

Even if evolutionist ideas are one day completely invalidated, they must be given credit for looking at evidence and crafting naturalistic explanations to describe how things came into being, rather than the creationist method of looking at an ancient text and using that text to interpret evidence.

So here we see CN’s true colours: the Bible is just an ‘ancient text’, although Jesus affirmed its authority, including in Genesis. And CN shares the naturalistic presuppositions of atheists, even when it comes to origins and contradicts what God has revealed in his word. For more on his errant philosophy, see Naturalism, Origins and Operational Science.

I asked permission to take Dr Catchpoole’s picture before posting this blog review. He said that whatever I wrote was fine as long as I posted a link back to his main site. Here it is. Enjoy.

Lion statue and fountain in Singapore


DC recalls: Actually, when CN asked for permission, my exact words were: ‘Well, yes, I suppose, but why do you want it?’ As CN took my photo, he said, ‘I do a lot of blogging, and I want to post it alongside my report of things you’ve said today.’ I then said, ‘Well, don’t forget to link to CreationOnTheWeb [now—Ed.], so that people can see exactly in print the things I’ve presented today.’ But I give credit to CN for linking to the CreationOnTheWeb site, so that readers of his blog can, as I told him, see exactly in print the source material referred to in my powerpoint presentation to City Gate, and hopefully see that CN has distorted / misrepresented (to put it rather mildly) what I said.

I’m glad that I got to learn more about creationism, and I think that in the coming decades intelligent design theorists and creation scientists will make some headway into validating many of their premises.

Note that this final statement that CN ‘got to learn more’ contradicts his earlier comment where he said:

‘I was saddened when he finished his presentation because I realized that I knew nothing more about evolution or creationism than when the presentation began.’

Enough said.

Jonathan Sarfati and David Catchpoole

Related Articles


  1. Ager, D.V., The nature of the fossil record, Proceedings of the Geologists’ Association, 87(2):131–160, 1976. Return to text.

Update: see responses to this feedback.

Published: 10 May 2008(GMT+10)

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