Posted by: paulgarner | May 22, 2012

How wrong can you be?

In the USA there is the National Center for Science Education. Here in the UK we have our own self-appointed anti-creationist watchdogs. Morbidly fascinating though they are, my usual policy is to ignore them and devote my time to more interesting things. But sometimes they are just so wrong…

I know, I know…

In response to a question on its discussion forum, here’s what the official spokesman of one of these watchdogs said about me earlier today:

Yes. He runs his own ministry, Biblical Creation Ministries, which, last time I looked, had an annual income of around £45. It’s a business, basically. Such full time creationists have a “rate card” for events where they push their crapola. Garner appears to be a full timer and he has a side kick, John Peet, who works for BCM part time but is otherwise retired. Garner also gets money from his book and, presumably, the DVD associated with it.

Before setting up BCM Garner was an “adminstrator” for a company in Cambridge. I’ve no idea what the term “administrator” means here (even though I have a master’s in the subject). It could cover anything from clerical work to the CEO’s position.

Now, tedious though it is, let’s examine this statement one clause at a time.

“He runs his own ministry, Biblical Creation Ministries”. Wrong. I am employed by Biblical Creation Ministries. BCM is run by its trustees, to whom I am accountable as an employee.

“which, last time I looked, had an annual income of around £45”. I take it he means £45K. Actually that figure is about four or five years out of date, as BCM’s annual returns available on the Charity Commission website will show.

“It’s a business, basically”. Wrong. It’s a charity and, as such, a non-profit-making organisation and bound by charity law.

“Such full time creationists have a “rate card” for events where they push their crapola”. I have no idea what others do, but I do not and have never had a “rate card” or charged a fee for speaking. If asked, we explain what our expenses are, but all gifts are voluntary donations and go straight to the charity, certainly not to me personally. Incidentally, we have never turned down engagements on the grounds of cost.

“Garner appears to be a full timer and he has a side kick, John Peet”. Wrong. My co-worker in BCM is Dr Steve Lloyd.

“who works for BCM part time but is otherwise retired”. Wrong. Dr John Peet has never been employed by BCM part time or full time. He did, for a while, serve in an unpaid capacity as a trustee.

“Garner also gets money from his book and, presumably, the DVD associated with it”. Only partly true. I receive a small amount of royalties from sales of my book, but unlike J.K. Rowling I won’t be retiring on them. I receive none from sales of the Set in Stone DVD, which is not associated with my book.

“Before setting up BCM Garner was an “adminstrator” for a company in Cambridge”. Wrong. I did not set up BCM; its first trustees did that. Furthermore, my previous employment was not as an administrator; it was as a senior information scientist.

So, let’s sum up. Two short paragraphs, at least six errors, some outdated information and a bit of erroneous speculation. Not bad for an organisation that calls itself “the most authoritative body in the United Kingdom on creationism and Intelligent Design”.

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