Monday, June 18, 2007

More disappearing content from the Answers in Genesis website

More content has disappeared from the Answers in Genesis website as a result of its dispute with Creation Ministries International. Now that former magistrate Clarrie Briese has authored a report condemning Answers in Genesis, the existence of numerous web pages on the AiG website praising him for his honesty, integrity, and independence have become embarrassing, and have been replaced with blank pages. Google's cache still has the originals, however.

The web pages describe some previous work Briese had done in evaluating Australian geologist Ian Plimer's book, Telling Lies for God, a book which also contains a nice four-page hatchet job on yours truly, along with some unattributed borrowed content from articles in the Creation/Evolution journal (see my review).

Here are some of the favorable remarks about Briese that were still on the AiG website a week ago:
The Chairman was Clarrie Briese, former Chief Magistrate of the State of New South Wales, where he is still a household word for his dogged fight against public corruption which ended the career of a State Chief Magistrate, and an Australian High Court judge and former government minister.
(Internet Archive here)
These attacks had previously, to ISCAST’s own knowledge, been shown (by an independent committee of enquiry with impeccable Christian credentials led by Clarrie Briese) to be false.
(Google Cache here; this one was written by now-CMI staffer Jonathan Sarfati, but was endorsed by AiG-US at the time of its publication)

And the kicker:
Please remember: All six men listed who formed the committee have significant public reputations and/or positions, quite independently of CSF. We trust it is obvious that such a group would in no way endanger their own integrity and reputations by saying that they had carefully investigated CSF and found the charges against our ethics were false unless this were utterly true.
(Internet Archive here)

Apparently Ken Ham's opinion of Clarrie Briese has completely changed now that he's the target of criticism, to the extent that he wishes to repudiate these remarks by deleting them from the AiG website.

The contrast between the behavior of CMI and AiG-US continues to make it obvious who's being honest in this dispute. CMI is laying out all their cards on the table, including information that is to its own detriment, while AiG-US has circled the wagons and is editing its own history to hide damaging evidence.

UPDATE (July 2, 2008): Google cache has expired, I've replaced the links with links to the Internet Archive where available.

14 comments:

Duae Quartunciae said...

Nice scoop Jim. Someone else alerted me to this at Duae Quartunciae, and I have put up a comment there, which gives links to these articles as they can still all be found at CMI. See Comment at Duae Quartunciae.

Duae Quartunciae said...

Jim, in fairness to Ken Ham, there has been no direct link between his name and the text of the removed articles.

The articles all refer to events that took place in Australia, after Ken Ham had gone to the USA. His involvement in the events would be indirect; and the articles you are describing are written by folks like Wieland, Sarfati, Armstrong and so on who are based in Australia and remain associated with CMI.

The articles relating to Briese that were up at the AiG site are part of the whole corpus of material that was maintained by the combined group before the split.

No doubt, of course, Ken Ham himself had no qualm endorsing the comments of Briese in relation to the Plimer brouhahah. But he did not write the articles and he is not quoted in them.

There is no inconsistency for Ham in thinking that Briese has been less fair in this CMI dispute. Of course, I think the plain facts of the matter is that Ham has been caught out. But I don't think it is fair to hold up to him articles written by other people; nor do I think it is fair to impute any inconsistency in thinking Briese did well in one case and not in another.

It is petty to see these articles being quietly removed while AiG continues to make no public statement on the whole lawsuit. But lets not make too much of it.

Jim Lippard said...

In support of your point, Plimer's book was published in 1994 and does not mention "Answers in Genesis," which didn't yet exist. The Australian group, the major focus of Plimer's criticism, was still the Creation Science Foundation. The key third quote comes from a document that still references the CSF, rather than AiG.

Thanks for pointing that out.

Ktisophilos said...

I must disagree with JL and DQ here. Ken Ham was still part of CSF when Plimer wrote. After all according to AiG's own account of their history, he was a director of CSF until 2004, (by then it was called AiG-Au). So he was certainly a CSF director when Plimer's asinine book was published (1994).

Also, this history states that CSF loaned Ham out to ICR in 1987, and that he aided CSF against Mackay, (now his new buddy, so he is not mentioned as the cause of the "major leadership problem"). Ham later founded what became AiG in 1994, which at the time was CSF's sister ministry.

Ham was certainly one of Plimer's targets, both explicitly and implicitly by virtue of the attack on an organization in which he was intimately involved at the time.

It is most implausible that KH wouldn't have been very grateful to Briese's Plimer committee findings. Indeed, as a CSF director at the time, Ham surely must have been one of those who asked for this inquiry. So his crass attempt to rewrite history is actually cutting off his own nose as well.

Jim Lippard said...

ktisophilos:

I didn't realize Ham continued to have an affiliation with CSF after his departure for the U.S. and prior to the change of name from CSF to AiG. My cursory scan of Plimer's book this morning didn't find any references to Ken Ham, and of course it didn't mention Answers in Genesis since that name wasn't yet in use.

Ktisophilos said...

Jim:

Plimer's ... Lies ... savages Ham on P. 141, mentions him again on p. 172, and the bibliography has three Ham articles.

Jim Lippard said...

p. 141: "Another active director of the Creation Science Foundation is Ken Ham. Although Mr Ham has the basic qualifications to be a school science teacher (Bachelor of Applied Science, Diploma of Education), neither qualification is a science research degree and Mr Ham has no formal recognised theological qualifications. Mr Ham devotes much of his time presenting religious sermons on 'Back to Genesis', sin, death and creation 'science'.
"Ham has specialised in the supposed interrelationship between evolution, abortion, drugs and contraception. Mr Ham commonly writes on sexual perversions, promiscuity and the human body which is somewhat odd as Wieland is the more qualified on mattters medical to write with authority on such subjects. Given that fundamentalist preachers (e.g., Swaggert [sic], Bakker) have been shown to indulge in sexual peccadillos, it is a wonder that Ham hasn't explored a possible link. Ken Ham's writings leave enormous room for speculation. For example: 'Many Christian girls go bra-less and wear clingy T-shirts to show off their breasts and sexual parts' (1983:3).
"It is clear that Mr Ham has finely-tuned observational skills. He spends much of his time preaching in the USA, and one wonders how different Ken Ham is from some of the other celebrated religious fundamentalists and cult leaders in USA? Mr Ham has now established a Kentucky outpost for the Creation Science Foundation."

p. 172: "The same issue [October 1991 Prayer News] has an article 'Cult-Busting Ken Ham Video'. However the article had nothing about cults and is advertising for creationist wares.
"The lead article in the November 1991 issue was an article by Ken Ham, 'Why Does the Carrot Move?'. I'm sure that all readers are aware that moving carrots are proof of creation and just the piece of evidence, once and for all, to destroy evolution. Another wonderful Ken Ham article (February 1992) tells us that the reason why some Christians believe in evolution is that they have been indoctrinated by both the media and the school system. Clearly, Christians cannot think for themselves! The bulk of the article (an interview between Ham and Wieland) is devoted to geology, a real case of the blind leading the blind as both are unqualified in geology.
...
Ham's codiretor, Carl Wieland, wrote an article entitled 'The God-Haters: What causes the Incredible Hostility to Biblical Creation?' (1992) wherein he informed the willing reader that genuine scientists cannot be Christians because they are critical of the creationist cult."

And p. 296:
"Ham Ken (1983) 'The relevance of creation. Casebook II'. Ex Nihilo, 3[2], p. 21.
--- (1991) 'Why does the carrot move' Prayer News, November 1991, p. 1.
--- (1993) 'I have a Bible: What more do I need?' Creation Ex Nihilo 15[2], pp. 28-30."

Joel said...

I appreciate the work to locate these articles. Interesting stuff. This just follows the trend of AIG to refine its image as it moves from a big tent creationist organization to the vision of a single leader who wants to move in one direction (apologetics with a stick of supposed truth verses being willing to ask question or hypothesize at all).

A while back it had been noted that AIG had a article about bad creationists arguments and one about Hovind (Dr.Dino) with specific rebuttals to his teachings. That disappeared off the AIG site around the time of the first cracks between AIG and CMI. As you have noted and others this was a sign of a difference of opinion about how to deal with dissension amongst creationists groups. The authors of that negative article were Wieland and others that are are now part of CMI. I looked at the CMI site and that same article is now back up on their site (http://www.creationontheweb.com/content/view/2571/)
just another example of different approaches that the two organizations have which is most dramatically seen in how information has been divulged in the present schism.
Joel (aka crinoidea)

Ktisophilos said...

Joel, that Hovind rebuttal lists Ham as one of the co-authors, and another current AiG staffer Dr Jason Lisle strongly applauded it. It's far more likely that politics rather than a change of mind was responsible for removal of these articles on the AiG site.

efastnet said...

Hi Jim,

I've noticed the links to the CMI documents are all being directed to a landing page. Does anyone know where copies can be found.

Jim Lippard said...

It looks like a bunch of these have disappeared, while others are still up. I wonder if this means CMI and AiG are reaching a settlement.

I'm sure there are still copies floating around.

Ktisophilos said...

According to http://www.creationontheweb.biz/?page=lawsuit_justification

Hopeful breakthrough
Following two days of intensive meeting and discussion in Hawaii, the two ministries were able to reach verbal agreement on all the main points of a confidential basis of settlement. Although time ran out (planes were pre-booked) to turn this into a finalized written agreement, all parties present are extremely hopeful that this can take place within the next 60 days or so at the most.

As a gesture in accord with the spirit of mutual goodwill that prevailed at the end, CMI has for now removed access to the details previously on the web, whether chronologies, committee reports, or whatever.

We do this in the confident hope that this will never need to be reversed, trusting that ‘handshake’ agreements between those parties present in Hawaii will be reflected in a formal, signed document that will put these serious issues to rest in a God-honouring fashion. Thank you to all who have been praying.

efastnet said...

jim, I've been trying to locate these documents that have dissapeared without success. I'm just wondering whether anyone here can point me in the right direction? I'm at the start of creating a web site that will be dealing solely with the creation museum and I want to write a history article. The details contained in the "disapeared" articles contains some very interesting stuff but I never got to save any of it. Any help would be appreciated.

Jim Lippard said...

efastnet: Please contact me in email (lippard-web at discord.org).