A message to creationists
     
A Message to Creationists
I've always tried to respond to emails from creationist with courtesy and reason, in spite of the frequently rather aggressive way in which such emails are written.

For the sake of the record:


I'm quite happy to respond to any email from anyone if they have genuine questions, or doubts about anything I have put on the site. (see here). However, I won't respond to emails which call me a liar, tell me I don't know anything about my subject, or are written in bold block capitals (the email equivalent of shouting in someone's ear).


I won't respond to emails about the Zuiyo-maru carcase. Plenty of sites are out there which thoroughly debunk the myth that it is a plesiosaur, notably Glenn Kuban's here. In a nutshell:
Nobody who has more than a very basic knowledge (i.e. gained from looking at pictures in children's books) of plesiosaurs would argue that it's a plesiosaur. Nothing about the carcase, other than a very slight overall impression of the shape, is anything like a plesiosaur. Anyone who tells you anything else is either ill-informed, or a liar.


The view of anyone who has more than a basic knowledge of sharks and modern marine animals seems to be that it's a decomposing shark, probably a basking shark. I can't comment on that - it's not my field of expertise - but the arguments appear to be convincing and independently verifiable.


Furthermore, the notion that (and I quote directly from a creationist site http://www.mbowden.surf3.net/plsfin13.htm) "to admit that there were plesiosaur-type animals still living today would cause considerable consternation to evolutionists." is utter nonsense. Have they never heard of the coelacanth, Latimeria?


I won't respond to emails which tell me I should read the works of Kent Hovind, and that he proves that evolution is a myth. I have researched web sites written by and about Kent Hovind, and share the view formed by many of his critics, some of whom are themselves creationists, that he is a liar and a charlatan. The same applies to works by Duane Gish, Henry Morris etc.


I won't respond to emails which accuse me of being a part of an well-funded, atheistic, evil conspiracy to suppress the truth of the Creationists' version of events. The idea that research into palaeontology, especially vertebrate palaeontology is well-funded is so untrue as to be amusing. For the sake of the record, I have carried out my research and run this site almost entirely at my own, and not inconsiderable, expense. The only funds I have ever received from any organisation are £100 from the Palaeontological Association in 2000 as part of an award - The Mary Anning award for outstanding contributions to the study of palaeontology, of which I am inordinately proud, and the cost of attending the SVPCA conference in 1996, funded by the Jones-Fenleigh award. I have recently started to study for a PhD at the University of Leicester, again at my own cost. I should add that I am not independently wealthy.


There are a lot of sites out there which thoroughly debunk the myth that creationism has anything to do with science. The talk.origins site here is the most comprehensive, and a good starting point if you want to research claims made in creationist sources.


I find it infuriating that creationists, either through ignorance or outright dishonesty, continue to waste our time with the endless repetition of fatuous arguments, some of which have been thoroughly debunked over a hundred years ago. I find it even more infuriating that they assume the moral high ground when they do so. I'm fed up with being preached at by people who are knowingly or unknowingly spouting lies.


I conclude as I did to Jennifer, a 'concerned creationist':


You should consider carefully the following passage from Steve Jones excellent book 'Almost like a Whale' which presents the science/faith dilemma more clearly than I could: "To deny truth on grounds of faith alone debases both science and religion. This point was made by Galileo himself. Summoned to explain his views, and their conflict with Scripture, he argued that the Church had no choice but to agree with the discoveries of science. It would, he said be 'a terrible detriment for the souls if people found themselves convinced by proof of something that it was made a sin to believe'. Creationists have not yet faced that fact."


Consider this: Your beliefs describe a the model of a small, brief universe in which mankind under God has a central role. The model of the Universe built by science is vast beyond our understanding, old beyond our comprehension, complex beyond any possibility of our ever understanding even a fraction of the whole. Which model is closer to the mind of God?