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Response to negative feedback appreciated

4 June 2001

From Timothy Rivers of Haw River, NC, USA, who gave permission for his full name to be used. His letter is printed first in its entirety. A response by Dr Jonathan Sarfati immediately follows his letter.

“Hello. I enjoy your webfeedback section sooooooooo much!!! I just have to know one thing. Do you ever get a second response from the ‘negative feedback’ authors after your [CMI] staff members so thoroughly refute their negative comments? Do you get a flurry of personal attacks? Do you get additional rebuttals? Do you get any who actually understand [CMI]’s comments and come to a better understanding of the issues? I find that not only are your answer’s informative, your ‘style’ of answering comes in handy when talking to evolutionists. I try to study your method of rebuttal as well as your actual answers. You are all doing a great job. But, can we have feedback about the feedback?

Tim Rivers
Haw River, NC

Thank you for your kind words. Indeed, we hope that publishing negative feedback and our responses will help people who encounter sceptics from day to day and maybe even the sceptic him/herself. Most of them don’t respond any further, which should not be surprising since many of them didn’t bother to read our website before writing. Certainly there are lots of personal attacks — the published negative feedback is often the only printable one that we receive for that week. Of course, they resort to abuse because of the bankruptcy of the scientific case for evolution from goo to you via the zoo.

As for further responses, there was one from a guy from Australia, but it was a long-winded atheistic testimony and his recollection of something that was alleged to have been said over 20 years ago, and thus broke our feedback rules against making unsubstantiated attacks and going off the topic. He also turned out to be affiliated with the Australian Sceptics, and we have clearly stated that we will not publish anything from any member until he or she repudiates despicable behaviour by some of their leading lights (and backed up by the organization) — see our Critique of Skeptics groups). However, one or two negative feedback contributors have continued with quite affable interactions, although they tended to diverge into peripheral issues. Occasionally a skeptic has agreed with the response and agreed that his original letter was wrong [see an example].

(Dr) Jonathan Sarfati
Research scientist, author and editorial consultant
CMI (Australia)

Published: 2 February 2006

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