Pharyngula

I am so disappointed

The lawsuits between Carl Wieland and Ken Ham have been settled out of court. In case you hadn’t been following it, both were originally members of the same creationist organization in Australia; Ham emigrated and set up the American branch; they drifted apart and for years have been sniping acrimoniously at each other. It’s been quite fun to watch, and I would have loved to see it move into a courtroom where all of Ham’s sleazy tactics would have had wriggle in the light of day. What little we’ve seen has been very ugly.

Creation Ministries had for years criticized Answers in Genesis on Web sites and in e-mails for its financial dealings and its approach to creationist teaching. Wieland also accused Ham and others of trying to take control of his organization, stealing mailing lists and spreading false and vicious rumors about him and his ex-wife.

“It is astonishing that respected leaders of Christian organizations would stoop so low as to resort to gutter tactics of the kind mentioned here to besmirch the character of Wieland,” wrote Clarrie Briese, who in 2007 led a commission of Australian religious leaders that investigated the dispute.

I have to disagree on one point: it isn’t astonishing at all.

Comments

  1. #1 Goldenmane
    April 28, 2009

    Aww… poor widdle creationists.

    I’m disappointed too. The drama could have been so much fun, and I don’t watch soaps.

  2. #2 norm!
    April 28, 2009

    Broken link?

  3. #3 Matt Heath
    April 28, 2009

    First link is borked. It goes to the Cincinnati Enquirer but the story is 404

  4. #5 JackC
    April 28, 2009

    I like the note their efforts to settle through a “Christian Mediator” … failed.

    Well Duh.

    JC

  5. #6 One Eyed Jack
    April 28, 2009

    No, no surprising at all. Lying and cheating for Jebus is more like S.O.P.

  6. #7 JD
    April 28, 2009

    Christian fellowship at it’s finest.

  7. #8 raven
    April 28, 2009

    Australians tell me that Ham was a hillbilly from their version of backwoods Dogpatch.

    Apparently his little toxic cult had a schism and accusations were traded back and forth that included charges of witchcraft and incest.

    Whether any of this is accurate, who knows? It certainly sounds plausible. Witchcraft in those circles are things like opening a real biology book and surfing real geology websites.

    He also IIRC, makes $140,000/year pushing snake oil in salary. Most likely at least that much in perks, bennies, and expenses. Executives have many clever ways of boosting their salary without it being taxable. Not saying all lunatic fringers are in it just for the money. But they don’t turn it down and some are.

  8. #9 recovering catholic
    April 28, 2009

    OK you all–I see that PZ has a new feature here called “trackbacks”–what’s that?

    Thanks!

  9. #10 The Science Pundit
    April 28, 2009

    I agree: not astonishing at all! There seems to be a trend that the louder and preachier that a “respected leader of a Christian organization” is, the more likely it is that he turns out to be either a liar, a thief, an adulterer, a blackmailer, or a closeted homosexual (I guess I could have just said “liar” and saved a whole bunch of words).

  10. #11 LtStorm
    April 28, 2009

    Really, is a schism in a religious organization all that surprising?

    They need to go nail copies of their mission statements to each other’s doors.

  11. #12 Outsider
    April 28, 2009

    Heh, this is soap opera material. Perhaps a miniseries is in order. It could air on the SciFi channels since it involves fantasy.

  12. #13 Zeno
    April 28, 2009

    Damn! I’m disappointed, too!

    Ken Ham used the U.S. mailing list for Creation magazine (a Creation Ministries publication) to tell subscribers that Creation was being replaced by Answers magazine. I know because I was on that mailing list. Ham was supposedly working as the Creation Ministries representative in the U.S., but in reality he was setting himself up as a separate entity. Stealing the Creation subscriber base for Answers was just his most blatant move. Creation readers in the U.S. were given the clear impression that the magazine was being discontinued, not that it was being superseded by a rival publication.

    I’m sure that deep in his heart Ken Ham figures it was all okay, because he was doing it for Jesus. You can break lots of commandments if you do it for Jesus.

  13. #14 Phoenix Woman
    April 28, 2009

    Quick O/T, but thought y’all should know about this:

    The once-great Terry Eagleton has devolved into a concern troll of the first water. He’s now saying that since Dawkins and Hitchens (who he calls “Ditchins”) haven’t memorized every translation of the Bible and read the writings of every third-century theologian to put quill to paper, that their critiques are worthless. My response to this is as follows:

    Eagleton hasn’t memorized the Necronomicon, so it must be true!

    That’s essentially his argument against Dawkins et al. It’s a remarkably childish one, just packed with the sort of special pleading and goalpost-moving he used to fiercely attack back before his brains fell out of his skull.

    I haven’t read any source material on phlogiston (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phlogiston_theory) and ‘powder of sympathy’ (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Powder_of_sympathy), yet I can have a reasonably strong assurance that the former doesn’t exist and the latter doesn’t work (unless you’re using it to torture dogs and not as a navigation tool).

    Go out there and have at him, kiddies!

  14. #15 Kimpatsu
    April 28, 2009

    Christian fellowship at it’s finest.
    Hey, JD, don’t blaspheme against proper grammar; use the wonderful apostrophe (the only example of cases in the English language) correctly!
    TIA,

  15. #16 tsig
    April 28, 2009

    “You can break lots of commandments if you do it for Jesus.”

    When Jesus says it it is a commandment and since they are listening directly to Jesus their morality comes from the voices in their head.

  16. #17 Crazyharp81602
    April 28, 2009

    This is old news guys. Jim Lippard have reported this long before you guys heard about it.

    http://lippard.blogspot.com/2009/04/aigcmi-dispute-settled.html

    Here my take on it.

    http://stupiddinosaurlies.org/aig-and-cmi-kissed-and-made-up/

  17. #18 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 28, 2009

    respected leaders of Christian organizations

    of AIG and Creation Ministries?

    Does not compute

  18. #19 Ouchimoo
    April 28, 2009

    Wow. I just did a browse by in the AnswersinGenesis evidence. That stuff is seriously funny. It’s not written offensively. More like, “did. . did you really just say that?!”
    It really is a shame it got settled. Two of the biggest creationist duddies butting heads. In THIS CORNER a mild manner doesn’t get it while he tries to be bestest buds with science, and In THIS CORNER is the man known for his sleazy tactics as lying for Jesus and spreading misinformation.
    LET’S GET READY TO RUMBLE!!!!!

  19. #20 Awesome Robot
    April 28, 2009

    The old Pharyngula post PZ linked has a link to a page that is now gone. For those of you following hyperlinks back in time to get the whole story like I did, here’s a copy of the page that was removed from AiG after the scism
    http://www.noanswersingenesis.org.au/hovind_response_from_aig.htm

  20. #21 MrFire
    April 28, 2009

    @14:

    Yeah, I don’t get it – what is Eagleton, or least his reviewer, trying to say? Of course Dawkins and Hitchens go for some low-hanging fruit in their respective books. They also have a simple, fundamental point: it’s all arbitrary, patently false nonsense – why believe it?

    Sorry, just felt like a rant.

  21. #22 MarkW
    April 28, 2009

    Phoenix Woman at #14:
    It looks like Eagleton has written yet another Courtier’s Reply.

  22. #23 Awesome Robot
    April 28, 2009

    Oh! Also the “arguments creationists shouldn’t use” page used to have a lot more arguments and information on it!
    Then
    http://web.archive.org/web/20041011051423/www.answersingenesis.org/home/area/faq/dont_use.asp
    Now
    http://www.answersingenesis.org/get-answers/topic/arguments-we-dont-use

  23. #24 Alfonso Armenta
    April 28, 2009

    Well, religious ethics are as solid as creation science. So nobody should be surprised about the tactics!

  24. #25 recovering catholic
    April 28, 2009

    Kimpatsu–

    Thanks for your remark on apostrophe usage–I’m glad I’m not the only one who feels I’ve been smacked in the eye when I see “it’s” used to mean “belonging to it”. Seems such an insignificant thing compared to the big battles we have to fight here, but we also know that proper use and understanding of language is key: “it’s (‘it is’) just a theory”.

  25. #26 franz dibbler
    April 28, 2009

    Wait … Carl Wieland has an “ex-wife”? Doesn’t divorce make baby jesus cry?

  26. #27 cmotdibbler
    April 28, 2009

    Wait … Carl Wieland has an “ex”-wife?
    Doesn’t divorce make baby jesus cry?

  27. #28 JohnnieCanuck
    April 28, 2009

    The Anglican baby jesus or the Catholic one?

  28. #29 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 28, 2009

    The Anglican baby jesus or the Catholic one?

    The Mormon one.

  29. #30 ShadowWalkyr
    April 28, 2009

    “It is astonishing that respected leaders of Christian organizations would stoop so low as to resort to gutter tactics of the kind mentioned here. . . .”

    I think I speak for everybody here when I say that we would be astonished if they did anything else.

  30. #31 Sili
    April 28, 2009

    What the Dibblers said.

    And enough with the “its”/”it’s” gripes. They’re completely different parts of speech (and writing) there’s no way they could ever be confused. They even represent the same friggin’ sound. STOP PLAYING GOTCHA!

    Sheeesh – I’ll have to stop using them, myself, in sympathy with ERV at this rate. Every time you pick an ortographical nit, God kills an apostrophe.

  31. #32 Number8Dave
    April 28, 2009

    Wait, what’s this about Carl Wieland’s EX-wife? The former Margaret Buchanan was a cause celebre in this corner of the creationist world. About twenty years ago she was Ken Ham’s personal secretary, but was accused of witchcraft (and of having sex with the corpse of her dead husband!) by John Mackay, who had learned all this through a process of “spiritual discernment”. Mackay now has his own organisation, Creation Research.

    Margaret Buchanan told her story in a booklet, available at http://aufiles.creation.com/images/pdfs/mackay/salem_revisited.pdf (scanned and non-searchable). She later married Wieland. I hadn’t heard they’d split up.

    I once went to one of Wieland’s creation meetings, he comes across as sincere, intelligent and humble, not your usual creationist at all. He’s probably far too nice to go head to head with a slimebag like Ham. It’s a shame they’ve settled their differences, I prefer it when they’re fighting with each other.

  32. #33 TJ Longshore
    April 28, 2009

    Let them fight each other and tear their house down from the inside.
    Maybe they will see the irony.

  33. #34 Jim Lippard
    April 28, 2009

    Number8Dave: The Enquirer’s reference to rumors about Wieland’s “ex-wife” is in error; the rumors were about his current wife, the former Margaret Buchanan. Carl Wieland was previously married to another woman named Vicki; they divorced some time in the late 1980s.

  34. #35 MadScientist
    April 29, 2009

    What a pity – let’s pray for the lawyers who have just lost their jobs.

  35. #36 Number8Dave
    April 30, 2009

    Thanks Jim. And may I also say thanks for your coverage of the AiG/CMI split on your blog, which is where I first learned about the Margaret Buchanan affair.

    On reflection I suspect this will only be a temporary lull in hostilities between AiG and CMI, there’s just too much money in the global creationist industry these days. Carl Wieland’s ‘Softly, Softly’ approach has been very effective in building up a substantial grass-roots support base for creationism in Australasia, and it’s obvious that Ken Ham really wants a piece of it.

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