On lying, cherry-picking & atheism … and a new word of the day


In two recent posts, I accused Creation Ministries International of lying by not informing the historians that they were interviewing of the nature of their enterprise. In one of the threads, a commenter, Lars, attempted to defend CMI thusly:

CMI created a front company to conceal the fact that the makers of the film were creationists (for reasons stated in the BBC article). The straightforward understanding of “to lie” is “to make false statements with the intent to deceive”, not merely “to conceal information.” A lie pure and simple would have been e.g. to create a front company that claims to advocate evolution and combat creationism. Did CMI do that?

We know that CMI did not do that. However lies take many forms and one of them is lying by omission – i.e. omitting an important fact (e.g. that one is representing a young earth creationist organization that is openly hostile to evolutionary theory and Charles Darwin) leaving another individual with a misconception (e.g. that ones statements will be used fairly and not cherry-picked). The subterfuge was a form of lie and CMI’s use of scripture (and their claim that “[u]nder atheism there is no compunction to be truthful at all”) to defend themselves does not alter that fact. I thus was not exaggerating when I termed their actions to be a lie, “pure and simple.” (I also won’t be addressing this issue any further.)


Now it may very well be that The Voyage is “fair and balanced” (if that phrase means anything any more). I have made my doubts known and will, no doubt, write more once I have seen the documentary (CMI is sending me a copy). One has to however bear in mind that without access to the original raw interviews (or further statements from the historians interviewed), it will be difficult to determine to what degree the editors cherry-picked statements to remove any nuance or context.


CMI have inserted (as of today, to the best of my knowledge) the following text on the page of their defense: “CMI’s documentary, has atheists ranting and raging. Rather than critique the film, they falsely accuse CMI of deception.” The “atheists” linked to are PZ Myers, Jim Lippard, someone at RichardDawkin.net and myself. As I have repeatedly pointed out on this blog (see for example, various posts and comments from November 2006), I am not an atheist. Just like John Wilkins, I am an agnostic.

Word for the Day

CMI seem to also have invented a new word – “atheopathic” – a Google search shows it coming up in only a few places, and only being used by Jonathan Sarfati.

Update (6/30): The CMI page now reads “The Voyage that Shook the World, CMI’s documentary, has anti-Christians ranting and raging. Many preemptively accuse CMI of deception, without having even seen the film.” Apparently I’m “anti-Christian,” something that would be news to my many Christian friends.


3 thoughts on “On lying, cherry-picking & atheism … and a new word of the day

  1. I am not an atheist. Just like John Wilkins, I am an agnostic.

    It seems they have you covered, you agnostopath, you.

    But I’m confused. They claim that atheists (and, no doubt, agnostopaths) have “no compunction to be truthful at all” and then go on to cite Bible passages where, they claim, Jesus had no compunction to be truthful either.

    Is there a little disconnect here?

  2. com⋅punc⋅tion
    1. a feeling of uneasiness or anxiety of the conscience caused by regret for doing wrong or causing pain; contrition; remorse.
    2. any uneasiness or hesitation about the rightness of an action.

    “Compunction to be truthful” doesn’t really make sense. Should it be “compunction for lying”?

  3. So Lars: you using a microscope and a set of micromanipulators to split those hairs or were you just guessing and hoping it comes out right ?
    “CMI Created a front company” why then did they create a front company, if not for the purpose of deception ?
    See my comment previously regarding Lee Atwater.

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