email - December 2001

Whale Evolution Corrections

Whose responsibility is it to correct errors?

After we had written last month’s essay on whale evolution, but before it appeared on the web site, we received an e-mail that began this way:

Subject: Comments made on whale evolution article
Date: Wed, 14 Nov 2001 10:45:16 -0500 (EST)
From: James […]

The following is a solicited review of your "In a Whale of Trouble" featured article. I believe that it is time for you to update the article and remove most of the incorrect information. Of course, appearing incorrect doesn't bother me when what you have is so easily refuted.

Sterling […] wrote:

Found the following article on the web and am debating a Cretinist on the issues raised here, but honestly don't know all of the answers to the points raised. The web site is the Science Against Evolution (SAGE) home page, Here is the the cut and paste from that web site (minus the illustrations). Any help would be greatly appreciated.

What followed was the entire text of our August 1999 essay, with comments interspersed.

Apparently Sterling was having an on-line debate with a creationist who cited our web page. Sterling didn’t know how to answer the issues raised on our web site, so he sent it to James, who Sterling apparently feels is an expert on the subject.

Our web pages have a tan background. Quoted material (which appears in a distinctive font in the printed newsletter) appears on the web page inside a white borderless table, with a hypertext link to a footnote giving the source. This stark difference in color makes it easy to tell what we are saying, and what others have said.

When Sterling saved our hypertext web page as a plain text file and emailed it to James, all the colors and hypertext links to the footnotes disappeared (because text files can’t support these advanced features). Therefore, James had no way of knowing what we wrote, and what was written by evolutionists and quoted in our essay. Apparently, he thought we had written it all. The material that he says “is so easily refuted” was actually written by evolutionists.

There was one thing we wrote that needed to be corrected. In August, 1999, we wrote that no post-cranial bones of Pakicetus had been found. That was true when we wrote it. As we reported in our November 2001 essay, discovery of post-cranial bones for several pakicetids were reported in the scientific literature on September 20, 2001. When we posted the Whale Tale Two essay in November, we also went back to the older article and inserted a note saying that post-cranial bones have now been found, and inserted a link from that point in the older article to the paragraph in our newer article describing the recent discoveries.

James would like us to “remove most of the incorrect information,” but we can’t really do that in the way he wants. We can’t make evolutionists take back what they have said. If they want to retract what they have said, that is up to them, not us. They said what they truly believed back then, and we reported what they said. If it embarrasses them that what they believed two years ago is “so easily refuted” now, that’s tough.

Actually, by publishing the incorrect information, we are removing it. People are going to continue to believe that the peppered moth is evidence of adaptation (because they read it in books and see it in museums) unless we take an active roll in exposing the error. We have to publish evolutionists’ errors to expose them and remove them from public consciousness.

Our little “six page newsletter” is eight pages again this month. We would have liked to have said more about horse evolution and the peppered moth in this month's essay about evolutionary errors on display at the Field Museum, but we didn’t have the space to do so. Hopefully, we will be able to find space in next month’s newsletter.

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