Saturday 6 February 2010

YEC dreck - 2

It must be a bother having to write a book about evolution when your own belief system allows only a few thousand years for the history of the universe. This probably explains why Erich von Fange spends so much time tip-toeing through some particularly vacuous material, like a rag and bone merchant on the prowl, that has seemingly little or nothing to do with his subject.

It also gives us an opportunity to check out von Fange's capacity for elementary-level research; the kind you'd expect of a competent twelve-year old. This isn't an unreasonable expectation given that Dr. von Fange's area of expertise is education (oh come now, you surely didn't expect it to be biology, paleontology or geology did you?)

Before 2000 BC almost every corner of the world had been visited by people who possessed amazing technical skills. They erected vast astronomical instruments... They are found on remote uninhabited islands as well as on the continents and major islands... On remote Tonga island a massive stone lintel atop three huge stone pillars has two incised lines that indicate winter and summer solstices. (p.275)

Now let's pause for a moment. Remote Tonga island? Despite being a qualified professor of education, Fange seems to have an extremely limited grasp of world geography. Tonga isn't an island, but the name of a group of islands. The structure Fange refers to isn't found on "Tonga island" (there's no such place) but on the island of Tongatapu, and is known as Ha'amonga 'a Maui. It is believed to have been built in the thirteenth century, probably as a gateway to the royal compound. It was only in 1967 that the then reigning monarch of Tonga, perhaps eyeing the tourist potential, began claiming that it had Stonehenge-style astronomical significance. Fange could have saved himself considerable embarrassment just by picking up a copy of the World Almanac, or doing a Wiki search.

But he obviously didn't.

Fange's unique expertise also extends to New Zealand geography and history.

Before and during the Golden Age, small bands of the curious and adventurous, the rebels and the ostracized, left or fled the Iranian Highlands for the great unknown world, much like the defeated Maori rebel or chief who fled with his followers to find another island home or perish in the sea. (p.326)

I wonder just how many islands Fange thinks make up New Zealand? I wonder whether he knows the difference between the designations Maori and Polynesian? I wonder whether he did any serious research at all? The Maori are the first people of New Zealand. There are two main islands, bearing the highly original names North and South Islands, and most of the population prior to the arrival of Europeans lived on the North Island (and in fact still do). Evidence of atoll-hopping refugees? Zero. Certainly Maori arrived from elsewhere in the Pacific, but after settlement (and becoming the people referred to as Maori today) there is little or no evidence of return journeys. The sole exception might be the colonisation of the Chatham Islands by the Moriori, but I doubt Dr. von Fange has ever heard of the Chatham Islands, let alone the Moriori.

He has heard of Rhodesia though, and seems to think there is still a country bearing that name (p.301) - which is a bit weird if he bothers to even occasionally follow the news.

But then, if you're prepared to state that "there are good reasons to suppose that at least some dinosaurs were on the ark," (p.57) without providing a scrap of evidence for these "good reasons," or even the barest of footnotes, I suppose Tongan astronomical observatories and imaginary Maori sea voyages by unhappy chiefs are small change.

You have to wonder what Concordia Publishing House is doing, promoting this stuff. Does anyone there actually edit for something other than spelling and punctuation?

I'd like to say that this kind of nonsense is the exception, but unfortunately it isn't. Next time we leave the Pacific to clamber up the mighty Andes with Dr. von Fange, and catch up on the post-WCG writings of Plain Truth journo Robert Gentet.

(To be continued)


  1. "Next time we ... catch up on the post-WCG writings of Plain Truth journo Robert Gentet."

    Robert Gentet? He of "pre-Adamic Man existed, because Herman Hoeh said so", and "Job built the Great Pyramids" infamy?

    This should be interesting. In the way of the Chinese curse....

  2. What a surprise - a creationist author who doesn't know what he's talking about. Yet he'll insist his view is correct and those with actual knowledge are wrong.

    Usually at this point I put the book down. Gavin, are you really going to push forward and proceed with a series of review posts?