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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Unconvincing arguments based on pseudoscience, 20 Oct. 2013
This review is from: The Greatest Hoax on Earth? Refuting Dawkins on evolution (Kindle Edition)
I found the summary at the end of each chapter helpful to consolidate my
understanding of the topic covered. Even though I have read The Greatest
Show on Earth twice, I found the quotations from that book helpful as well.

I can recommend this book to both Creationists and Evolutionists alike.
Fundamentalist Christians who are Young Earth Creationists will no doubt feel
that it supports their beliefs. Moderate Christians who accept the fact of
Evolution and can reconcile Evolution with their beliefs may not agree with all
of its contents. It will inform Evolutionists about the way that some, but not
all, Christians think about the origin of life and about the arguments that they
put forward to support Creationism.

Mr Sarfati attempts to refute the evidence presented in The Greatest Show on
Earth by using The Holy Bible as supreme authority in everything that it teaches.
It might be worth mentioning that Mr Sarfati works for Creation Ministries International,
a Christian Apologetics ministry. This organisation believes in a literal interpretation
of the Holy Bible, and that science and history cannot be correct if it contradicts the
Holy Bible. You might like to read more about CMI here
[...]

This ethos of CMI is reflected throughout the book, with numerous references to the
Holy Bible. The evidence presented in The Greatest Show on Earth supporting the Theory
of Evolution would have been validated by the Scientific Method. It is surely our
interpretation of the Holy Bible that must change when there is a conflict with Science,
because religious faith can never supplant rationalism and strong empirical evidence.
Such a change has been forced before, notably in the case of the Galileo Affair.
You may like to examine the facts of the case here
[...]

You may find this book
Science Religion Short Introduction Introductions
of interest as it discusses the sometimes uncomfortable relationship between science
and religion. The Galileo affair is also covered in this book.

Mr Sarfati uses a confusing mixture of valid science and pseudoscience to argue the
case for a young earth. I note, however, that another Creationist book, "Why Evolution
is Not True - The Puzzle of Life Finally Comes Together" by Dale Nierode, also uses a
confusing mixture of valid science and pseudoscience, but this time to argue the case
for an old earth. Mr Nierode also quotes from the Holy Bible but insists that the Creation
narrative actually supports an old earth. It seems that there is more than one way
to interpret the Holy Bible.

The problem that I find is that, as a non-academic, some of the points made by
Mr Sarfati seem as though they may contain an element of truth. On the other hand,
I do think that Mr Sarfati is manipulating the science to make it fit The Bible.
I simply do not possess sufficient scientific knowledge to enable me to know where to
draw the line between valid science and pseudoscience.

One example of this is the discussion on the Cambrian explosion, and another is
homologies and homoplasies. Mr Sarfati also discusses the amount of salt in seawater
as "evidence" supporting a young earth. He also states that tectonic plate movement
was a lot faster in the past, although this all seems to me like wishful thinking.

Although it would take an academic to properly evaluate the case supporting Creationism
that Mr Sarfati has built up, I do not think it takes an academic to recognise that
the case is built on very fragile foundations. This is because these foundations
consist of Mr Safati's belief in a supernatural realm which is beyond the scope of
science.

Because The Bible is quite clearly not an accurate historical document, and could not
possibly have been written by God, even if God did exist, Mr Sarfati's reasoning crumbles.
The mountain of strong empirical evidence which supports the Theory of Evolution, as
presented in Mr Dawkins' book, would have been validated by the Scientific Method.
Mr Sarfati fails to make even the smallest dent in the Theory of Evolution, in my opinion.

There are many reasons to question the veracity The Bible. There is an issue concerning
passages describing the same events, but with differing details. There are two accounts of
the creation of the world and of humans at the beginning of the book of Genesis, two accounts
of the Flood, several versions of the Ten Commandments, and so forth. Did God make animals
before humans, as in Genesis 1:24-26, or did he first make a human, and then animals, as in
Genesis 2:7, 19? Did God tell Noah to bring a pair of each species of animal into the ark,
as in Genesis 6:19, or seven pairs of clean animals and only one pair of the unclean, as in
Genesis 7:3? Did God give the Ten Commandments to Moses on Mount Sinai, as in Exodus 19:20,
or on Mount Horeb, as in Deuteronomy 5:2? Such inconsistencies are hardly characteristic
of great writers, whether divine or human.

Although there are two Flood myths in the Holy Bible, there are many other Flood myths
in non-biblical literature.
Much of the biblical flood story was actually plagiarized from "The Epic of Gilgamesh",
the mythical Sumerian account of Ut-Napishtim written on stone tablets around 2000 BC.
Various themes, plot elements and characters in the Epic of Gilgamesh have counterparts in
the book of Genesis, notably in the stories of the Garden of Eden and Noah's Flood.

Please do not take my word for it. You could look these myths up for yourself.
This is a good starting point
[...]

If you wish, you may read these myths in books like these:-
Epic Gilgamesh Penguin Classics
Myths Mesopotamia Creation Gilgamesh Classics

To help you form your own opinion and to present the Christian perspective,
The Institute for Creation Research explains The Epic of Gilgamesh here
[...]

In addition to this, it is interesting to note, that in this book
The Old Testament Introduction Introductions
the author, Michael D. Coogan, Professor of Religious Studies, Stonehill College, USA, refers to The
Epic of Gilgamesh and other myths. In the book, which contains both positive and
negative criticism, he states that the Holy Bible is "imbued with Myth".

I do not believe that God, even if he did exist, could have written or inspired the Holy Bible.

In summary, Mr Sarfati attempts to refute the evidence presented in Mr Dawkins' book.
To do this, he uses The Holy Bible as the ultimate authority which supplants scientific knowledge.
He believes that science and history can only be correct where they do not contradict The Holy Bible,
which was divinely inspired.
Because The Holy Bible is clearly not divinely inspired, Mr Sarfati's arguments are vacuous.
In my opinion, he fails to refute the evidence presented in Mr Dawkins' book.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 23 Sep 2015 02:46:51 BDT
NOtoNWO says:
I have rarely seen such a lengthy review. Yes, Dr Sarfati works for CMI as a committed Creationist, but how is this different from Prof. Dawkins working in the increasingly atheistic Establishment's education system, being a militant atheist and rabid anti-Creationist to boot? They both have a particular worldview to uphold. Why not chide Dawkins for wanting religion to be eradicated, yet we are to believe that unreasonable people like him have a monopoly on reason.

"It is surely our interpretation of the Holy Bible that must change when there is a conflict with Science, because religious faith can never supplant rationalism and strong empirical evidence."

Again, the opposite view, is that there *must* be a materialistic explanation for everything. It is equal and opposite, even when the science says that a supernatural explanation best fits the evidence. As geneticist Professor Richard Lewontin wrote:

"Our willingness to accept scientific claims that are against common sense is the key to an understanding of the real struggle between science and the supernatural. We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism.

"It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door."

Can you see that what is being proposed as fact by him and the likes of Prof. Dawkins are not necessarily facts at all but the evidence is made to fit the worldview - or religion.

Despite evolutionist Michael Ruse's objections to the constant use of his famous quote, he wrote it as part of the introduction to a book (for which was wasn't paid), it is worth remembering:

"Evolution is promoted by its practitioners as more than mere science. Evolution is promulgated as an ideology, a secular religion -- a full-fledged alternative to Christianity, with meaning and morality. I am an ardent evolutionist and an ex-Christian, but I must admit that in this one complaint -- and Mr. Gish [Duane T. Gish the Creation Scientist] is but one of many to make it -- the literalists are absolutely right. Evolution is a religion. This was true of evolution in the beginning, and it is true of evolution still today."

As for 'reason', it can only come from a Christian worldview because without a Creator, there is no reason why the universe should be orderly and that our brains should be capable of analyzing it correctly when, without a Creator who gave us the ability to think critically and logically, our brains would merely obey the laws of chemistry and there would be no such thing as free-thinking, as some evolutionists insist.

"I do not believe that God, even if he did exist, could have written or inspired the Holy Bible."

Strange that you should assert that an omnipotent being would be unable to achieve such a simple task when (according to you) mere men wrote the Bible.

I haven't read this book from Dr Sarfati, but I have read articles by him and heard several talks he has given on DVD and he can demolish evolutionists' arguments with style and good humour.

I suggest that your arguments against Creation are based more on what you have heard elsewhere than on this book. For example, the two Creation story thing is plain wrong. There are flood myths from all over the world - obviously - as people started to spread out from Babel a few generations after the Flood, so would have taken the story with them as oral traditions which have become muddled over the millennia like in Chinese whispers.

There are so many issues that show up the Theory of Evolution and atheism to be unenlightened remnants of 18th/19th century scientific errors in a time when knowledge and scientific instruments were basic that the enquiring mind and truly rational and *informed* thinker is now turning back to Creationism: archaeological finds and inscriptions in other cultures are confirming Old Testament kings, battles, etc., population genetics/genetic entropy show that our genes are deteriorating further with every new generation and quite rapidly - the opposite to what has to happen for evolution theory to be a reality and so much more.

In reply to an earlier post on 23 Sep 2015 10:36:59 BDT
Hello and thank you for your comments. I really do value all opinions and have read widely on the subjects of religion and science. I have made sure that I have read works written by Creationists and Evolutionists, Theists and Atheists to ensure that my view is as balanced as possible.

There are, however, several points I would like to make about your comments.

Darwin's Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection is a theory in the scientific sense of the word. That is to say, it is not a mere hypothesis. It is an explanation of how all the diverse forms of life on this planet evolved from one common ancestor and how this happened over a vast period of time. The Theory of Evolution is supported by a constantly growing mountain of empirical evidence which comes from many different scientific disciplines including biology, chemistry, physics, geology and archeology to name a few. This evidence has survived the rigours of the Scientific Method with flying colours. The way that the Scientific Method works is to examine the evidence to see where it leads us. When you say that the evidence is made to fit into the Evolution worldview, this is simply not true. Evolutionists, such as Prof. Dawkins, are simply interested in the truth. As a scientist, it would serve no purpose to manipulate the evidence to make it say anything other than the truth.

There have been many attempts to show that Evolution is false and This is what Mr. Sarfati attempts to do in his book. These attempts, however, cannot be substantiated with any evidence which would survive the rigours of the Scientific Method. Indeed, if anyone could provide any such evidence then fame, fortune and a Nobel prize would surely follow, but nobody has succeeded in doing this.

One fact that Creationists find hard to swallow is that there is no evidence to show that a supernatural
element to our universe exists at all; there is no evidence to support belief in a divine creator; there is no evidence to support belief that our universe is anything other than an entirely natural phenomenon.

I would like to point out that The Theory of Evolution does not set out to disprove the existence of God or to prove that, if a God does exist, then this God did not create everything including the evolution of life.

No scientist would ever state that he could be 100% certain that God does not exist because it would never be possible to prove the non-existence of anything which did not exist. What a scientist would say is that, when scientific evidence is examined, this evidence does not point to anything supernatural. No evidence has ever pointed to anything supernatural. Whenever we have tried to explain or understand the natural world, our answers have always been found within nature itself.

I do strongly recommend that you do read this book by Mr. Sarfati. To understand and get full benefit from it, I would recommend that you read Prof. Dawkins book - The Greatest Show on Earth first. By doing this, you will gain an understanding of the evidence supporting Evolution and then Mr. Sarfati's book will make more sense. You will then have gained a good understanding of both sides of the Evolution/Creation argument and your opinions will be better informed.

Happy reading.
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