Saturday, December 30, 2006

Creation Ministries International gets into the UFO business

A link on the front page of the Creation Ministries International website under the heading "Affiliated sites" says "Alien Intrusion." If you click on it, you are taken to, a site promoting a book by Gary Bates titled Alien Intrusion: UFOs and the Evolution Connection.

The material on the website is extremely uninformative about what arguments and positions Bates takes in the book. A "Q&A" with Gary Bates begs off on supplying any answers on the grounds that "a one-line answer will not be satisfying because lots of people have already made their minds up without really looking at the evidence," but the promise is made that "The truth is most certainly out there, and it is revealed in my book, but it is probably not what most people think." I translate this as "I'm not going to reveal my position, so that I can get as many UFO believers as possible to buy this book thinking that it will confirm their views."

The reviewers on are more forthcoming--apparently the book is about 75% debunking of the sort that would please skeptics like Philip Klass, Robert Sheaffer, or James Oberg, while the remaining 25% advocates a view that would be more pleasing to Norman Geisler--that UFO phenomena are a product of Satan and demonic influence. In short, Gary Bates seems to be following the path of Clifford Wilson, a Christian (and young-earth creationist) who wrote an excellent debunking of Erich von Daniken's Chariots of the Gods? titled Crash Go the Chariots, which was flawed by its inclusion of religious advocacy. Wilson also did his credibility no good by associating with the most inept of creationists, Rev. Carl Baugh, with whom he participated in running some diploma mills.

If this is the direction that CMI intends to branch out in order to grow its ministries, I'm skeptical of their long-term success. UFOlogy has been in decline for decades, with UFO magazines and conferences falling on hard times, as can be seen in Jim Moseley's Saucer Smear newsletter, an amusing gossip rag of the UFO field read by and contributed to by both believers and skeptics.

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