Dawkins’ Shonky Fronkey Story

Attention: open in a new window. PDFPrintE-mail

Dawkins shoots himself in the foot again with his shonky fronkey story in his book The Greatest Show on Earth, Bantam Press, 2009, pp 151-154. Richard Dawkins accuses creationists of asking: “Why doesn’t the fossil record contain a fronkey?” (quote marks his). He then goes on to state: “... it is a disgrace that the perpetrator of this little witlessism, the Australian itinerate preacher John Mackay, has been touring British schools in 2008 and 2009, masquerading as a ‘geologist’, teaching innocent children that if evolution were true the fossil record should contain ‘fronkeys’.” (quote marks around ‘geologist’ and ‘fronkeys’ are in original)

Dawkins further perpetrates this accusation against John Mackay in the product description of his book on the Amazon UK website. In the section headed “From the Author”, Dawkins presents a series of questions and answers including “Why doesn’t the fossil record contain a fronkey, or a crocoduck?” Dawkins replies:

“The question betrays a lamentable confusion about what evolution means. Yet such questions really have been truculently asked, in all earnestness, by creationists: for example the Australian creationist John Mackay, who is regularly invited to preach to British schoolchildren ... The question presumes that evolutionists ought to find an intermediate between pairs of modern animals, such as frog and monkey, or crocodile and duck”.

Amazon Product Description

Editorial Comment: Until we saw it in Dawkins’ book, neither John Mackay nor any of the Creation Research team had ever used the word “fronkey”, so we were intrigued as to where Dawkins got this idea from, as he does not provide a direct reference to John Mackay or any Creation Research publications. In the notes at the back of the book he does mention a Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) article, 7 May 2006. All other blog and web postings connecting fronkeys and Mackay that we tracked down can be traced to this same SMH article by Annabel Crabb, entitled 'Darwin's evolutionary theory is a tottering nonsense, built on too many suppositions'. (quote marks in original). Crabb was writing about John Mackay’s meetings in Britain in April and May 2006. This article contains the following statement and hypothetical question:

“Put simply, Mackay's belief - and it's one that is firmly entrenched in the US, where President George Bush advocates its ventilation in schools - is that Darwin's evolutionary theory is a tottering nonsense, built on too many suppositions and not enough evidence. If so many species evolved from the shapeless creatures of the primordial slime, if people came from monkeys via frogs and fish, then why does the fossil record not contain a ‘fronkey’?”

The question was clearly written by the SMH journalist and is clearly not a quote from John Mackay. Since no one at the meeting heard John Mackay ask such a question, and no one heard him use the word “fronkey”, then who is journalist Annabel Crabb quoting, or has she created the word herself by deliberate intelligent design?

To give you the full context Crabb continued her article by accurately telling everyone: “Mackay, who was originally educated as a geologist and devout Darwinist at the University of Queensland, experienced a conversion while working as a teacher and now tears down his former beliefs with the seamless enthusiasm of a zealot. "Charles Darwin actually graduated in theology, which is a little-known, well-kept secret," he tells his audience. "He knew exactly what he was trying to disprove."

As a university professor, Dawkins should know that if you are going criticise what someone has said or written, you need to show that the person actually stated what you are criticising, and give the reference to that person, not a secondary source. Dawkins has clearly not done this, as the word “fronkey” does not appear in any Creation Research writing (until now) or other media we produce, and has never been used by John Mackay in any interviews or presentations around the globe.

If Dawkins was a first-year university student submitting an essay, he would, quite rightly, be rebuked for using such poor research methods. He is, however, a retired Oxford University professor, therefore, his sloppiness which has led to this false accusation is inexcusable, and he rightly owes John Mackay an apology for slandering his name, and an erratum slip placed in his book The Greatest Show on Earth, plus a statement on Amazon stating he is wrong about Mackay. We wait with eagerness to see the results of this test of his honesty. (Ref. atheism, Darwinism, fraud)

SMH Article

Evidence News, 28 April 2010

q_and_a2
crc_youtube
outdoor_museum_panel
free_audio2