Greatest Show or Greatest Hoax or somewhere between?

I am in the process of re-reading The Greatest Hoax on Earth", by Jonathan Sarfati (PhD Physical Chemistry). It is a detailed examination and rebuttal of Richard Dawkins “Greatest Show on Earth” which praises evolution and ridicules faith, especially christian faith. “The Greatest Show on Earth” purports to be an examination of the scientific evidence for evolution, and Jonathan Sarfati delights in pointing out all the scientific errors in this book. He deals with genetic issues, as well as Dawkins amateurish critique of theology, and the entire range of subjects Dawkins brings up. Jonathan Sarfati’s previous book, Refuting Evolution, sold about a half million copies. I’m not sure how much this one sold. The online introduction alone is interesting, and the first chapter is available free online.

I’m curious whether anyone else has read either one of these two Greatest Show/Hoax books, or both, and what you think about the quality of scientific discussions within these books?

With no responses so far, it appears that no one here has read either one of the two books. That’s maybe understandable, since Dawkins’ vitriolic anti-God, anti-Christian approach to life is enough to turn off most real scientists. Sarfati’s book is likely less well known, although he has sold a half million copies of at least one of his other books.

Sarfati argues that Dawkins often uses bait and switch techniques, and that he attacks straw men in his arguments. In other chapters Sarfati deals with Species and Kinds, Natural Selection, Embryos and self assembley, common ancestry, transitional fossils, Links still missing, Ape-men, Geographical distribution, ancient earth, dating techniques, origin of life, evolution or devolution, Evolution science history and religion. The book is about 300 pages long, plus it includes more than 600 references and an index.

As an example of debating Dawkins point about no fossils in the pre-cambrian… Dawkins said that soft-bodied animals would not leave fossils, and that no fossil flatworms (turbellarians) were found until present. But Sarfati explains the fallacy in both of these comments. Obviously, there are fossils of soft-bodied animals such as jellyfish, and also, a fossil of a flatworm was found in pre-cambrian rock in Alaska. More importantly he shows how the argument about turbellarians is simply irrelevant to the larger question of why when there is a large fossil record of many bony species in the cambrian, there is no record of them or their ancestors in the previous fossil period.

Hey John, I have not read either book, but I intend to read both. I do know a great deal about Dawkins’ book because of a documentary length video he did about the main points of the book, though. I find Dawkins’ arguments to be very weak at times. Some of his arguments are solid, but as you say Sarfati says, he builds straw men and tears them down. Granted, they are based on very common misconceptions about the other side (be it religion or creationism), so I think that is also a bit of a problem with our (Christians) portrayal of our ideas.

The problem with Dawkins’ thinking is that when he argues for evolution or against creationism, he tends to bring religion into it too much. He is so passionately against religion that it becomes difficult for him to talk about anything else. The reason for this is because he not only believes that religion is not true, but that it is actually inherently bad and damaging to society. I much prefer Bill Nye.

Even though Nye doesn’t have a degree in evolutionary biology as Dawkins does, Nye doesn’t have a problem with religion (his problem is with creationism being taught in schools). That allows him to easily only argue the science of things without getting bogged down in the religion of the creation side. Nye has a book out called Undeniable: Evolution and the Science of Creation that is one of the other books on my 54-book-long goodreads “to-read” list. It claims to be an account of the evidence for evolution, so I am interested to see what he has to say about it. At any rate, I predict that Nye’s book will be a lot less fallicious than Dawkins’.

Thanks for your comment, Connor. Nye once had a debate with Ken Ham… apparently neither one is a scientist really, but apparently it was an interesting debate. Many people figure that Nye won that debate. Some people figure that Ham was off his game. It would be interesting to see Nye debate Sarfati. Although personally I prefer the debates that happen in books, book rebuttals, etc., because it gives each side more time to make their points and think over what they are writing. (I also like your new word, “fallicious”, referring to a fallacious maliciousness" :wink:

I read parts of Dawkin’s book but watched all of the video series based on it. Frankly, I was so unimpressed by it that I just never had any desire to read any of the published rebuttals! After all, it was such an obvious example of the Argument from Pompous Pontification by someone speaking totally outside of his fields of expertise that I simply didn’t want to waste any more energy on Dawkin’s anti-theism. He’s a skilled scientist but a very poor philosopher, historian, and you name it.

Thank you tertius. Some would question his “skilled science” as well.

You do realize that Dawkins’ “The Greatest Show on Earth” is intended for children aged about 10 to 12 to introduce them to the wonders of science.

Which would place it in the category of propoganda, and which makes it likely to contain a number of factual errors. These factual errors have been well exposed by the book, “Greatest Hoax on Earth”, by Sarfati. You like having falsehoods and lies taught to children? I wouldn’t think so. But think how many children have been forced into a paradigm based on falsities, misconceptions, and anti-theistic rhetoric. No wonder it is so difficult to persuade evolutionists raised within these paradigms to consider alternate evidence and alternate explanations. Evolutionary mindset has become part of their dna, hyperbolically speaking.

I read the book and think it is excellent for children in that age group. I wish I had such a book about science when I was that age. In fact my kids would have enjoyed it if they were that age when it came out. There were no factual errors in it. No falsities, misconceptions nor any thing remotely anti-theistic in it. It is a children’s wonder of science book for 12 years old boys and girls.

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Really? If you think there are no errors in it, have you read “The Greatest hoax on Earth” by Sarfati, PhD in Physical Chemistry? You would discover you are mistaken, and that your mistaken faith is blinding your eyes to the actual errors.

Don’t rely on one book for all your truth about reality.

Both Dawkins and Sarfati are bright writers and debaters in their own way.
Sarfati has done a great job of critiquing Dawkins book and thought processes.
It often seems that the Deceiver has gained control of the minds of atheists, bright as they may seem otherwise.(personal opinion).
If you have not read either of Sarfati’s books, “The greatest Hoax on Earth” or “Refuting Evolution”, I can highly recommend them.
Our research organization is proposing a new Godly science that agrees with almost all of Sarfati’s thoughts and adds more scientific evidence of our Creator.

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Who is the Deceiver who has gained control of atheists minds? Certainly if one doesn’t believe that one has an imaginary friend, it would be insane to believe that one has an imaginary enemy.

Your book seems like it is a lot of nonsense. Atomic biology?

Hi Patrick. Sorry for delay as I am travelling and lose reception. Will be back to mainland Sunday.
Just wondering if you have ever felt tempted to do something that you know is wrong. My experience over the decades has shown me that a lot of things look good, exciting, and attractive, but they can come back and bite your behind in a short while. Then I think to myself, I knew I shouldn’t have done that, and then think of where the temptation came from.
I look at drug addicts and alcoholics and think that they have been deceived into thinking the drugs or booze were going to solve their problems.
After studying the enormous amount of brilliant physical work that goes into the construction, sustenance, and maintenance of our lives, I know that my Creator cares immensely for His creatures, but the ‘Deceiver’ or ‘Satan’ or ‘the Devil’ just tempts people into trouble and more trouble. That is my experience, and the experience of many friends.
Endeavoring to do what is right and honorable is so much more gratifying, long term.
As for Atomic Biology, we believe that there will be many applications for this science in medicine, agriculture, personal health, social science, and beyond.
Any thoughts?

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