A reader sent in his email exchange with WhoIsYourCreator.Com, a Christian creationist website. It’s much longer than anything I normally post, but I thought it was interesting enough to pass on.
* * *
So here’s my story and subsequent conversations with whoisyourcreator.com. After a return trip along Interstate 5 in Southern Oregon, I noticed a billboard along the side of the freeway with the caption ‘Are they making a monkey out of you’?:
Having some higher education basics of science in biology, chemistry, and other related fields under my belt, I couldn’t help resist the urge to check out this website. When I did, I checked out the site and was blown away by the misrepresentation of science they were displaying.
So I decided to contact them with a non-confrontational email to see how they would respond. Here’s the initial contact last year:
I was driving north on I-5 over the holidays and saw a billboard advertising your site. I’ve briefly looked around so it had me doing some initial individual research.
I’m curious to know if your site addresses the following:
and this information:
Surely they would have at least respected the findings and material provided by the National Geographic? They are a respected organization and have been around for quite some time. It took quite some time to get a response. Well, the response was not what I expected:
In regard to your comment, please consider helping your fellow evolutionists with a description of how evolution works!!!
Thank you and may you have a very blessed day,
This was an answer? A crass insult and complete avoidance of addressing what I presented to her? So I wrote back:
First, I would like to thank you for taking nearly two weeks to respond to my inquiry.
Secondly, I would like to thank you for making an assumption as well as jumping to the conclusion that I am an evolutionist. I was born and raised a Christian.
Thirdly, I would like to thank you for not answering my original question.
Additionally, it was kind of you to group me blindly and associate me with something I question just how much or little you know about.
The information I was looking at and specifically asking you about was with regard to genetic DNA based research that essentially builds out the human race ‘Family Tree’, which coincides with the Bible’s view of where we came from. The film and site talk about DNA markers passed down from Father to Son that was used track human movement around the world. I am interested in knowing how people (there’s over 6 Billion of us) scattered across the globe. I don’t think cars, buses, and planes did the job prior to their invention earlier this century.
I was hopeful to discover something intellectual and eye opening from your feedback. I received neither.
I didn’t really expect a reply after that, but she decided to do so anyway:
Please accept my sincere apology for how I responded to your email. Yes, I did jump to conclusions and it was inexcusable, rude, and a poor witness for the Lord. (The time issue was related to research that had to be done within a timeline. When you emailed originally, I was not responding to any outside inquiries.)
I found the Genographic Project interesting, but I would like to refer you to www.answersingenesis.org for your inquiry as I haven’t done any research in that specific area.
Thank you for holding me accountable and may you have a very blessed day.
Holy Crap! ANSWERSINGENISIS? You’ve got to be kidding me! This gal that was covering topics in the field of Genetics on her website, and yet she was referring me to a site away from her own — pawning me off to a site that was a clear laughing stock in the scientific community? You’ve got to be kidding me. Why not defend what you are doing on your own website?
I wrote a couple more emails to her asking for her feedback on other material, but she never responded. Even with those emails I refrained from lashing out on her and just let the whole thing fade into the background.
Well, since having had that discussion, it had been eating away at me. So I continued researching and reading and watching documentary films in an attempt to erode my lack of knowledge on the immensity of Evolution. I had known of the topic all of my life, but not to the depth that I was now pursuing. Up to that point, I hadn’t really paid attention to the debate that was going on around the country regarding this topic. I had no idea that people were so passionately against this. Not because I lived in a cave mind you, but just simply do to the fact that I focused my life on other areas of interest. I was also disappointed as to how we as Americans were perceived outside of the United States on the matter of Evolution. The shear immensity of the problem boggles the mind.
While researching, I was amazed to learn what we as a species have discovered through our research and efforts. I was also amazed to discover how the scientific field of Evolution affected other fields of science and even spawned new fields, and how all of these fields became interlaced and supported one another. It was incredible.
After a year and a half of self-imposed and self-paced learning, along with conversations with family and friends (a whole other story), the gnawing memory of my discussion with Julie finally got to me. At this point, I was too far gone with the knowledge of my discoveries to let it sit idly any further.
I wasn’t sure if Julie was still working there, but decided to write back regardless. Notice the subject line modifications that ensued…
Subject: now I know
Greetings to the staff of ‘Whoisyourcreator.com’,
It’s been a while since I last made contact to your organization. Initial contact led me on a knowledge search.
I’ve since visited references you provided including that of Answersingenesis.com, the Discovery Institute, and other sites of similar stature.
I’m simply writing to say ‘Thank You’ and let you know by sharing with you the information I’ve discovered, your organization more than any other entity has been the primary factor in the shedding my faith. Keep up the good work as there is no doubt countless others have and will continue to do the same based on your efforts.
Origins the Series (currently 5 videos)
Foundational Falsehood of Creationism (currently 17 videos )
Why do people laugh at creationists? (currently 30 videos)
From Big Bang to Us — Made Easy (currently 14 videos)
Schools version of the Made Easy series (currently 8 videos)
Evidence FOR Evolution and Against Creationism (currently 32 videos)
Bias Bingo: How Cognitive Bias Generates Belief
Me VS God (currently 5 videos)
Why Young Earth Creationists Must DENY Gravity (currently 5 videos)
Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial
and many many more.
I was sincere. The knowledge of science and philosophy I had acquired could no longer contain me within the chains of Christianity. After reading Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Daniel Dennet, along with watching “History of Disbelief” by Jeremy Miller, and a very long list of other material, my perspective did a complete 180.
But the internal struggles along that journey are a different story.
A couple days later, I got a response…
Subject: To the blind
Thank you for the email with your update.
While I am in no way encouraged by your professed Humanistic faith, I am encouraged by knowing that God is just, yet loving. He will judge you one day, yet He will forgive you if you believe and ask, even if it’s in your final breath.
“For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power
and Godhead, so that they are without excuse”
– Romans 1:20
“It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this, the Judgment.”
May God open your eyes to His Truth, Shad, so that you may walk with sight.
Who Is Your Creator
I wasn’t surprised by this response. I was bothered by the “Humanistic faith” reference because during my studies, I read a lot on the topic and became a fan of the philosophy — thanks Sam Harris. I was also rather irked at the passive-aggressive manner with the subject line tripe.
That attitude was enough, so I started to unload…
Subject: To the uneducated
Changing the subject line in your last email to insult me failed. At the very least, I honor you with a taste of your own medicine.
I spent over 30 years of my life adamantly studying the bible including being baptized by my Southern Baptist Preaching Grand Father. This study revealed failure across the board to provide answers to question to an intellect a supposed God provided me.
It’s sad that when someone raises questions, many of which have wonderful and beautiful natural explanations that directly contradict biblical statements, those ignorant of how those explanations work dismiss the explanations on the simplistic and childish nature that such information goes against what they deeply believe. I believed as you for too long. Defending one’s faith despite information to the contrary that reveals truth does immense harm.
I could throw scripture and verse back at you. But I see this as a useless endeavor. I’ve actually read the bible – fully – dozens and dozens of times. Save your time.
I’m no longer scared of ‘judgement’ because I’ve shed the cloak of fear. So please spare me the contrivance.
What your website and so many others like it are doing are making numerous and false claims against multiple fields of science which we as a human species have fought for so long and hard to acquire. Your site attempts to dismiss that hard work, or at the very least undermine it. It is profoundly discouraging. This is deception and the last time I checked, deception was not something that Jesus approved of. Your website is out of date, out of context, and lacking of scientific expertise in nearly every field of science. ESPECIALLY Genetics.
It’s like watching a train wreck unfold.
Are you actively protesting US Government support of Genetic information contrary to what you’ve attempted to explain on your website? (http://www.genome.gov/)
There’s more: http://genomics.energy.gov/
If you actually take the time to view the videos I sent, you’ll understand more clearly why I just made these claims against your website. Fortunately, ignorance is curable. Willful ignorance is however not.
I suggest browsing through PUBMED: http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/. It will keep you occupied for a while. Your selective use of PUBMED to mine for articles that support your claims is deception, and the worst kind.
Why are you not providing reliable sources of information on your website such as the Genome project? What you’re website is basically saying is that every field of science in every country on the planet is wrong. That’s quite an assessment on your part. Instead of attempting to prove evolution wrong, why not attempt to put your money where your mouth is. Here’s a recent challenge. Do this, and you’ll become quite wealthy: Challenging the Discovery Institute to Discover.
In closing, there’s no debate concerning evolution any more. This is a non-debate. But this discussion like so many others has me sharing with you one of my favorite quotes of all time:
“I’m struck again by the irony that spaceflight – conceived in the cauldron of nationalistic rivalries and hatreds – brings with it a stunning transnational vision. You spend even a little time contemplating the Earth from orbit and the most deeply ingrained nationalisms begin to erode. They seem the squabbles of mites on a plum.”
Carl Sagan – The Pale Blue Dot.
I recommend ‘Genome’ – by Matt Riddley The audio version of this book is quite exquisite.
If you were to pick only one of the video series I mentioned, please watch “Foundational Falsehood of Creationism”
I can’t believe that you’re using ‘Panda’s Thumbs’. Are you serious?
The rant made me feel better to get those things off my chest. It’s difficult to communicate with people that haven’t taken the time to simply read at least a portion of the information that’s available, when they sit there arguing against material that they haven’t taken the time to learn anything about, simply rejecting it prior to ever having spent any time even looking at it.
Most refusals to look at the material are based on an unwillingness to venture anywhere near their belief system of what they don’t know, or assume to know.
They wrote back…
Subject: I’ll still be praying …
1. You can go through all of our pages, including the ‘Genesis Account of Creation’ and see that 99% of our quotes come from evolutionary-based scientific research:
– ‘Origin of the Universe’ uses quotes from NASA, MIT, Harvard, Princeton, Berkeley, Vienna University of Technology, TalkOrigins … to name just a few.
– ‘Genetics’ page uses quotes from UCLA, Biology-Direct, University of Wisconsin, Science Magazine, International Journal of Astrobiology, Princeton, Cat Institute, Renal Physiology, etc.
(Note that many of the ScienceDaily.com and Physorg.com links that we use are taken from http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/ , but re-written in article form – by evolutionists – for easier reading.)
2. Since you believe that these are NOT qualified organizations, please include your list of ‘qualified’ research organizations.
3. In regard to ‘quote-mining,’ please submit just one example of how we distorted the findings and then we can enter into an actual debate. Otherwise, it’s your opinion.
4. I’m not sure about your reference to ‘Panda’s Thumbs’, but I suspect that you are referring to the pro-evolution blog that we cited somewhere as an example. See http://pandasthumb.org/ as you most likely will enjoy it.
5. Because you obviously prefer philosophy over empirical science, we suggest you check out this site as it will be more to your liking:
6. Since you are familiar with the Bible, you know that faith is from God, not from our own understanding. If you found hypocrisy in the your previous church, that is exactly why our faith is based on the perfection of Jesus … not His followers. Our flesh will not be redeemed until death so, while we progressively sin less, the battle with the flesh is still fierce.
I will be praying that He opens your eyes so that you may find peace and forgiveness from Him, instead of the hurt and hatred that your emails reveal.
As much as you may try, you can’t will Him out of your life, Shad.
“For Yours is the kingdom the power and the glory, forever and ever.”
Who Is Your Creator
What I recognized immediately was that this person was using the same style of argumentation that was employed on the discussion forum where she had been completely eviscerated on every occasion. What’s sad is that she didn’t even realize to the extent she had been made to look like an utter fool. The reference to the Panda’s Thumb was an oversight on my part as I still had – fresh in my mind – the material ‘Of Panda’s and People’ from the Dover trial (see the NOVA clip). Just the word ‘Panda’ on her website had me laughing. I later learned it was PandaThumb.org.
At this point I’d had enough. How could someone that not only knew where to obtain scientific material on Evolution, abuse it to such an extent, yet continue to identify themselves as a Christian? I was pissed. So I let them have it.
Response to #1.
You are quote mining from these sources – or more to the point, you are scavenging through these sites and cherry picking articles, and removing context of a myriad of related material to each item you reference. That is what is called QUOTE MINING. This is deception. Deception is a lie. Lying is breaking one of the 10 commandments. This demonstrates not only willful ignorance and a clear lack of education from any one of these institutions, but a complete dismissal of the mountain of information to the contrary of what you present. This behavior is deplorable.
Response to #2.
I did not say that these universities and government organizations are not qualified research organizations. What I said was “Your website is out of date, out of context, and lacking of scientific expertise in nearly every field of science. ESPECIALLY Genetics.” This means that by the actions taken on your website, you clearly do not employ actual scientists to provide to you explanations and context of the material you spend time quote mining for.
Response to #3
See item #1 above. Additionally I offer to you the first posting on this page: http://www.whoisyourcreator.com/genetics.html with the statement of: “It is known that life is built from inorganic elements, but evolutionists have no explanations as how that occurs:”
You follow up that statement by QUOTING from two scientific articles, one from 1998, and the other from 2007.
You have taken the first quote from within an article, thus removing it’s context to the entire article, and making it appear as though the scientific article disputes genetics, when on the contrary, the article itself explains it. This really makes your website appear foolish and tremendously deceptive.
The second quote is lifted directly from the conclusion statement of the article from the National Institutes of Health. This again is quote mining and demonstrates that a) you didn’t read the entire article (or perhaps only the summary or conclusion), and b) you picked up a component of this article to fit your needs.
The additional problem with your actions and deceptive behavior is that you offer no information to the contrary. You do not represent a balanced approach to scientific information. You use scientific quotes in an attempt to create the false illusion of a lack of consensus within the scientific community. I don’t know if this is from ignorance or simply a failure to do a simple Google search. Up to this point, it is by all appearances an act of deception.
Despite all of the above, this information has already been discovered. But you would know that if you actually kept up on science. But you’re not a scientist, so I can’t expect that you would.
Here’s the interview with Dr. Jack Szostak explaining what you’re attempting to dismiss by means of deception:
This is simply one example of the fraudulent behavior your website exhibits.
Anyone actually READING the articles you reference can see right through what you’re doing.
Response to #4
The Panda’s Thumb comment was regarding the book “Of Panda’s and People”, not the blog site.
Response to #5
Philosophy and Empirical Science are two different fields. I have appreciation for both. If there’s a point you’re attempting to make here, you fail to do so.
Response to #6
This item touches upon a multitude of topics in the realm of epistemology. But I’d like to make mention of the fact that science is not religion and has nothing to do with faith. You’re attempting to overlap or somehow hybridize the two, or at the very least bastardize credible science. Science only deals with what we can observe and test repeatedly and independently. Here’s a better explanation from Steven Jay Gould concerning Nonoverlapping Magisteria.
You misrepresent science and hand pick articles to make science look bad. You clearly fail to understand science, and fail to educate yourself because it conflicts with what you believe. You look for and manufacture false information on the illusion or perception of disagreement in the scientific community. This demonstrates a fear of the unknown, and an unwillingness to adjust what you’ve come to believe through scripture to the evidence that is difficult to reconcile with biblical information. Truth doesn’t care of beliefs or opinions.
You appear to have isolated yourself in a world void of information contrary to what you hold dear. Perhaps some reading from Bertrand Russell will help you out.
My eyes have been opened by the exposure of deception and misrepresentation the creationist movement exposes itself to time and time again. What you’re doing is by its very nature equivalent to practitioners of Flatearthism and Holocaust Denialists. What you fail to see is the similarities of these other two practices with your own.
Do you even have a degree from a Secular University – namely ANY that you quote mine from?
And here’s the paper from Dr. Szostak:
Oh, while you’re praying for me, please ask for forgiveness for your sin of lying to the level you have.
Granted I could have addressed the “sources” portion of the email in a more articulate manner, but I think I made my point.
They haven’t responded.