Campaign to silence BBC presenter Dan Walker for his creationist views
Published: 18 February 2016 (GMT+10)
A row has erupted over the appointment of a ‘creationist sports presenter’ to a lead position in BBC News. Committed Christian Dan Walker—who has previously refused to work on Sunday because of his faith—has been selected to head-up the BBC Breakfast News. Unfortunately a section of the news media has raised rather hysterical objections with an anonymous tip-off to the press from someone at the BBC (perhaps deliberately raising a storm around the so-called ‘Darwin day’ celebrated annually on 12th February). The Times first reported comments from a “senior BBC figure”, an insider, who wondered whether such beliefs have a place at the BBC, suggesting Walker is a “bit nutty” and “pretty loopsville”. This well-hidden figure, who doesn’t wish to be named, wondered how such a presenter could objectively report on the findings of old fossils for instance.1
Other news reporters picked up on this with Dan Hitchens at The Spectator offering some support to Walker.2 However, Rupert Myers, who is a freelance journalist, barrister, and self-proclaimed Christian, wrote a piece in The Daily Telegraph expressing distaste at the prospect of a person such as Walker holding a high profile post, and as part of his attack offered a very inaccurate analysis of creationist beliefs.3
Once again it would seem that belief in evolution leads to a situation where even self-proclaimed Christians lose respect for other believers who dare to dissent from Darwinian orthodoxy. Often this antagonism is associated with a weak grasp of the ideological bias of ‘evolutionary science,’ a poor understanding of how science works, and a failure to engage with what biblical creationists actually believe. For instance, he claims that modern creationists understand that “God planted dinosaur skeletons in the ground to give us all something to talk about…” This is patently absurd, and would be clearly evident to anyone who bothered to take the time to find out what creationists really teach by reading their research papers and articles. What is it about Darwin’s belief system that causes some to stumble into the mire of ill-informed comment and intolerance towards others because of their beliefs? This is really old-fashioned bullying.
Bullying not dialogue
A culture of bullying has all too often characterised Darwin supporters, from the time of Thomas Huxley, ‘Darwin’s bulldog’, onwards.4 The Duke of Argyle complained of a ‘Reign-of-Terror’, orchestrated by Huxley, towards any who even questioned Darwin.5 Today, leading Christian theistic evolutionists often encouraged by the church, open the door for abuse towards their fellow believers. Dennis Alexander, a self-proclaimed ‘evangelical Christian’, who praised the creative power of evolution one Christmas,6 called creationists an embarrassment to the gospel.7 Even the well-respected Christian theologian N.T. Wright doesn’t think creationism is an allowable position and suggests that its proponents need not be accepted as part of the Christian family.8 These learned leaders should instead set a better example, especially as Christ prayed that all Christians might be united (John 17:21).
Myer’s inaccurate article in the Daily Telegraph
For Myers’ part, his aggressive attack in the respected UK-based Daily Telegraph drew upon tired and misguided comparisons, equating belief in creation with holocaust-denial, belief in a flat earth and geocentrism. He then made a false comparison between historically verifiable events, such as the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, and the age of the Earth, which is not historically verifiable by human witnesses:
“A news reporter who denied basic facts from the past such as the French revolution, the explosion of Mount Vesuvius, or the Holocaust would surely raise eyebrows at interview. Climate change denial, or a denial of heliocentrism, would be unlikely to find favour at the BBC. And yet they have just selected a creationist to front their Breakfast show.”
Although he thinks that religious belief should be given a generous “margin of respect” in “a free society,” such respect evidently does not extend to those who hold to the historicity of the Genesis creation account. He writes that creationism “should be consigned to the bin of unreasonable, untenable fact-allergic nonsense. Creationists cannot be trusted to report objectively.” According to Myers, Dan Walker is unfit to hold the job of an impartial news reporter because his creationist views might get in the way of effectively promoting acceptance of tenets of naturalistic science.9 But all BBC presenters are supposed to be impartial in reporting the news, especially as it is a publicly-funded national institution. The problem is that the ‘impartial’ BBC, as well as much of the media, has been promoting naturalism in origins science, together with other liberal ideas, for years and in opposition to the doctrines of the Christian church. In science, this is treating the narrative of ‘molecules to man evolution’ and deep-time as verifiable fact when they are nothing of the kind. We do of course encourage the BBC to report impartially and we welcome the fact that a respected Christian has a place in the news media.
Myers also comments,
Creationism doesn’t just deny Darwinian evolution, it denies the findings of astronomy and chemistry, the age of the Universe, the scientific consensus that underpins carbon dating, and ice core samples over half a million years old.
Of course this is hyperbolic nonsense. While creationists do reject long-age dating and millions of years, we accept operational science, the things that can be demonstrated in real time. We fully accept the reality of chemical properties for instance, but consider that there are legitimate research questions that may lead to new discoveries, such as investigating the constancy of decay rates. Creationists have also pointed out anomalies with carbon dating, for instance highlighting the unexpected presence (from a naturalistic perspective) of carbon-14 in dinosaur bones and even diamonds. (14C has a relatively short half-life of only 5,730 years and would not be expected to be present in anything that is millions of years old.)10 What is rejected is pre-historical science, because it is an old age narrative imposed upon the scientific evidence, and a narrative that arises from pagan sources at that (see Who’s really pushing ‘bad science’?).
Charles Darwin recognised the influence of his grandfather’s work Zoonomia, even as he developed a more Epicurean approach to evolution than his grandfather’s overt paganism.11 In Zoonomia Erasmus Darwin spoke of millions of ages even before any scientific justification was attempted.12 The work of the 18th century French Hindu sympathiser Benoit de Maillet, who argued for billions of years of change, was also an acknowledged influence upon Darwin.13 Both 18th Century writers assumed long ages because of their prior-commitment to Greek paganism and/or Hinduism.
Creationists on the other hand are supporters of good science based upon actual evidence, and many of the leading scientists in history were creationists. As secular historians of science often acknowledge, it was the Christian belief in a God who was orderly and rational that inspired people to do science. People like Isaac Newton expected the world to be intelligible because of the nature of the One who created it, and they expected to be able to understand it because the Bible taught that they had been made in God’s image.
Creationism has also proved a good teaching aid for science (a good heuristic). For instance the work of Steno, the father of geology, was based upon belief in a global flood and scientific evidence, and helped bring about acceptance of the organic origin of fossils against the neo-pagan plastic theory popular at the time.14
Myers comments further that “creationism is so silly that the government has de-funded schools which teach it. They are not eligible for taxpayer support…” This of course is because of a campaign by secular humanists, militant Darwin supporters, who are engaged in a determined and discriminatory effort to silence and exclude all who continue to dissent from Darwinism.
The irony is that there is increasing scientific evidence of incredible complexity and design in the cell even as the Darwinists seek to uphold its crumbling pillars by legal dictate and bullying. They resort to such tactics because the evidence is failing them—even leading secular scientists and philosophers are now questioning neo-Darwinism.15
Once again we see the Darwinian-evolutionary establishment seeking to exclude a creationist from holding public office simply because of their beliefs. This would of course be illegal according to UK Employment Law, so instead we have anonymous tip-offs and aggressive and inaccurate commentary from journalists. Surely in a civilised society this sort of conduct is out of place. Public servants should be allowed to hold their legitimate religious beliefs openly without fear of reprisals or whispering campaigns from secular humanists.
References and notes
- Rigby E. and Burgess, K., Creationist presenter Dan Walker to host BBC Breakfast, The Times, 11 February 2016; thetimes.co.uk. Return to text
- Hitchens, D., Dan Walker’s creationism shouldn’t disqualify him from breakfast TV The Spectator, 11 February 2016; spectator.co.uk. Return to text
- Myers, R., Dan Walker’s creationism is an affront to reason, science and logic, Daily Telegraph, 11 February 2016; telegraph.co.uk. Return to text
- Sibley, A., Bathybius haeckelii and a ‘reign of terror’, J. Creation 23(1):123–127 April 2009; creation.com/bathybius. Return to text
- Duke of Argyll, A reply: science falsely so called, The Nineteenth Century 21:771–774, May 1887. Return to text
- Alexander, D., Evolution, Christmas and the atonement, The Guardian, 23 December 2011; theguardian.com. Alexander writes, “Evolution’s gift is a complex brain that endows humanity with free will, enabling personal moral responsibilities towards our neighbour and towards God.” Return to text
- In Alexander, D., Creation or Evolution: Do we have to choose?, Monarch Books, 2008. In a postscript he suggests that Christians who deny evolution are “dangerous”, and “disgraceful” and therefore “embarrassing” to the gospel. Christians who question evolution he thinks are “divisive and split the Christian community.” Return to text
- Wright, N.T., Surprised by Scripture: Engaging with Contemporary Issues, SPCK Publishing, p. 31, 2014. Return to text
- Metaphysical naturalism is the belief that space, time, energy and matter comprise the whole of reality, denying any spiritual dimension to human existence. Atheistic adherents seek to develop a purely naturalistic account for the origin of life on Earth. Return to text
- Wieland, C., Radiocarbon in dino bones: International conference result censored, 22 January 2013; creation.com/c14-dinos and, Sarfati, J., Diamonds: a creationist’s best friend: Radiocarbon in diamonds: enemy of billions of years, Creation 28(4):26–27, September 2006; creation.com/diamonds. Return to text
- Keynes, R., Fossils, Finches and Fuegians: Charles Darwin’s Adventures and Discoveries on the Beagle 1832-1836, Harper Collins, London, pp. 7–8, 2002. Return to text
- Darwin, E., Zoonomia; or the Laws of Organic Life, vol. 1, 2nd American ed., from 3rd London ed., corrected by the author, Boston Thomas and Andrews, pp. 397–401, 1803. Return to text
- Stott, R., Darwin’s Ghosts: In Search of the First Evolutionists, Bloomsbury Publishing, London, p. 116. Darwin put an acknowledgement in the 3rd edition of Origin of Species. De Maillet’s book was entitled Telliamed: or Conversations Between an Indian Philosopher and a French Missionary on the Diminution of the Sea, and the Origin of Men and Animals. Return to text
- Walker, T., Geological pioneer Nicolaus Steno was a biblical creationist, J. Creation 22(1):93–98, April 2008; creation.com/steno. Return to text
- Woodmorappe, J., Another knowledgable atheist acknowledges the inadequacy of materialistic evolutionary reductionism, J. Creation 27(2):21–22, 2013. Book review of Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature is Almost Certainly False by Thomas Nagel, Oxford University Press, 2012. Return to text