Being Quoted, Complimented and Slandered

 

Jerry Bergman, Ph.D.

 

Introduction

 

An analysis of the books that have quoted my research and/or writings reveals a clear trend. For example, all of the books that quote my work on the Jehovah’s Witnesses, except those few written by Witnesses themselves, are favorable of my work, as are all of the works written by supporters of creationism and Intelligent Design. Conversely, with only one exception, all of the books opposed to creationism and ID were very negative about my writings. For this study, I reviewed only books, not journal, magazine, or Internet articles, since a wider review would be impractical because I have been quoted several thousand times. Also, I reviewed only the books that I have become aware of, and, no doubt, many books have quoted me that I am unaware of.

 

Books on Jehovah’s Witnesses

Books on Witnesses or books that cover topics related to Witnesses that quoted me favorably include: Ankerberg and Weldon (1999); Brock (2006); Botting and Botting (1984); Côté  (1993, 2004); Conser and Twiss (1998); Gruss (2003); Holden (2002); Davis and Hankins (2003); Kammen (2000); Larson. (2004); Marty and Appleby (1995); Neusner (2003); Penton (2004); Perrault and Blazek (2003); Smith (2006), Jenkins, 2000; and The Encyclopedia Americana (Anonymous, 1995). Cameron favorably referenced my work on the pyramid in Egypt, the so-called bible in Stone, an idea of C.T. Russell, the first president of the Watchtower Society (2006, p. 35). All of these sources are either positive about my work, or reference it supportively. Both D’Este (2002, pp. 33, 34, 58, 416, 710, 714, 722, 819.) and Smith (2006, p. 540) quote my work in some detail on President Eisenhower to support their research. The only negative reference about my Witnesses research is in a book by a Witness, Firpo Carr (1993).

 

Books on Creationism

Books favorable to creationism or Intelligent Design were consistently favorable about my work. For example, Charles Colson quoted at length my article on Penzias (2007, p. 71-72, 426, 437), and Peterson (2004) quoted my article on macroevolution. My work on the problems Darwin skeptics have in academia has received much coverage, including by Geisler (2007), Giberson and Yerxa (2002), Schlossberg (1991), and Carson, (1996, p. 423). Carson reported favorably on my review of the Forrest Mims Scientific American discrimination case published in Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith Journal. Dodson and Howe (1997) discuss the problem of discrimination against creationists, citing my Bowling Green State University case. Another example of the discrimination problem is found in Walton who wrote

 

Dr. Jerry Bergman, who lost his teaching position at Bowling Green [Ohio] State University because he wrote a paper defending a Scriptural view of creation, found that evolutionist-humanists exercise almost total censorship in regard to books and teaching materials on creationism. His research led him to conclude: “Creationist literature has been self-censored from nearly every major secular university in America. Creationist theories are censored in the schools, in the media, and in textbooks published by major publishers. Libraries, even if they want to, find it difficult to stock creationist books. Yet,” reported Bergman, “… hundreds of books and monographs on creationism are in print, actually more exist in support of creationism than evolution” (1988, p. 90, p. 353).

My work on Ota Benga and the racism inherent in Darwinism also received favorable coverage by Washington (2006), Silverman (2003), and Becker (1994). Finally, my article on Blind Tom, the sightless “idiot Savant” musician, was cited favorably by Professor Southhall (1999).

 

Books Opposed to Creationism

An example of a book opposed to creationism that referenced me twice is American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War On America by Harvard-trained journalist Chris Hedges. He concludes that the “Christian Right,” a group in which he includes creationists of all stripes, are an “imminent threat” to democracy and are the “American heirs to fascism” (book jacket). Hedges wrote that those on the “Christian Right,” such as Dr. James Dobson and others, want to create a global Christian empire by becoming modern Nazis “through violence” (2007, p. 24). In a chapter in his best seller titled “The War on Truth,” Hedges irresponsibility claims on page 118 that creationists blame Darwin for spawning most of the evils of modernity, including racism, apartheid, Stalinism, and the Holocaust. For the last evil, he references me as an example of “Christian Right” scholarship designed to create a global Christian empire!

I am flattered to learn that Hedges considers me influential enough to be a threat to democracy in America, but my article simply reviewed the abundant “peer-reviewed” literature that documents the important influence of Darwinism in causing the Holocaust. My role was only to summarize the enormous amount of scholarly literature available on this subject. When I originally submitted my article to a creationist publication, the reviewers stressed that I needed to make it clear that other factors were involved in causing the Holocaust, which I did. This fact was ignored by Hedges, who, I suspect, did not read my complete article, or likely any of it.

Then, as further proof that “the Religious Right,” including me, want to “seize power and establish a world according to their doctrines,” Hedges argues that, to achieve this nefarious goal, they must “conjure up a lying world … an entirely imaginary world” that requires they block out the real world (Hedges, 2007, p. 113). Hedges then cites another article that I authored to back up his claims. After claiming that “Darwin is usually presented as unbalanced and sadistic” by American fascist anti-Darwinists, Hedges writes: “An article put out by the California-based Institute for Creation Research is typical” of what Hedges claims are the false Darwin skeptic claims, namely my article “Was Charles Darwin Psychotic? A Study of his Mental Health” (2007, p. 119).

Hedges then, referring to my article, implies that my claim is foolish, a conclusion that is irresponsible. Obviously, he knows nothing about the subject of which I wrote. I never claimed in this article that Darwin was sadistic or unbalanced, but merely summarized the scientific literature on Darwin’s mental health, of which no shortage exists. I focused on Darwin’s own words about his many health problems, also of which no shortage exists. Darwin’s own words and the peer-reviewed literature has fully documented that he had severe, often incapacitating, mental health problems. I only summarized this literature. Therefore, from this evidence Hedges argues in his book, I am part of the vast right-wing conspiracy at war against America, and “my cronies” and I want to take over the world. Conversely, Dr. Michael Shermer, who did not know that I was a Darwin skeptic, quoted favorably my research published in Free Inquiry (1996, volume 16:41-46) on the religious beliefs of scientists (2003, p. 73). Since this journal is an agnostic/atheist skeptic magazine, Shermer no doubt assumed that I was a Darwin true believer and for this reason quoted me favorably.

 

 

Barry Price

Another example of gross distortion of my work is Price’s The Creation Science Controversy (1990). First of all, Price misspells my name (he has Jenny instead of Jerry) then proceeds to attack my conclusions, which involved citing a study on the longest known living California redwood trees, noting that not one was dated much older than 4,000 years. Price then claims, but cites no reference, that a bristle cone pine was dated at 5,000 years. Price also uses “scare quotes” to describe the “scientific method” he claims that I used—of course, my article did not use any scientific method, but was only a short summary of one article. He adds, mockingly, that in creation science research “almost anything goes” (1990, p. 31).

According to Guinness Book of World Records, the ring count record is held by Pinus longaeva (a bristle cone pine), which has a total ring count of 4,867 (Glenday, 2007, p. 39). From this ring count its age can only be estimated, and the oldest estimate is 5,200 years, which is a long way from the multi-millions of years often given by evolutionists for the history of plant life. The relevant section of my article is quoted below:

 

Except for men who cut them down for timber—or earthquakes, fires and lightning—redwoods and sequoias have few enemies. …It is significant therefore that no redwood tree has been found older than about 4,000 years. There are, though, many sequoias and redwoods in the 3,000 year-old range. The most famous sequoia tree, ‘General Sherman,’ … has been around for something like 4,000 years. But as tall and old as many sequoias are, they are not the oldest tree. A bristlecone pine in the White Mountains of California has this honour. It is more than 4,000 years old. As trees such as the bristlecone pines and the redwoods are still living after 4,000 years or more, and seem impervious to the normal problems of trees, it is conceivable that they could live another 4,000 years or longer—a total of 8,000 years! Why then, are none found much older than 4,000 years? It would seem that if these trees grew before this time, it would take something like a catastrophic natural disaster to wipe them out. This is seen as strong evidence for Noah’s Flood having occurred a little more than 4,000 years ago (Bergman and Doolan, 1987, p. 10).

 

Note that I did discuss the bristlecone pine, writing that it is over 4,000 years old and did not, in contrast to Price’s claim, state that “not one of them is older than 4000 years.” Price’s claims are as follows:

 

A perusal of creationist writings indicates that almost anything at all is published if the writer includes some statement which claims that the earth is less than 6000 years old. This same “scientific method” is used … [by] Robert Dooland … and Jenny Bergman, Ph.D. (sic), … joint authors of an article…. The main point of the article is that because not one of them is older than 4000 years, this is evidence for the flood. However, Dooland and Bergman should have extended their visit a little to the White Mountains, also in California. There they would have found species of Pinus longeva (sic) which are over 5,000 years old, as measured by actual tree ring counts. This is a thousand years before the flood (Price, 1990, p. 31).

 

Another problem is dendrochronologists have shown multiple rings can be produced for a single year, reducing the age somewhat. For this reason, counting tree rings to produce the age of a tree is not an exact science (Matthews, 2006).

 

Ron Numbers

Ron Numbers, who is one of the most accurate and fair critics of creation and ID today, devoted a whole chapter in one of his books to respond to my book The Criterion (Numbers, 1992). Unfortunately, in contrast to Number’s other writing, this chapter is very inaccurate. Numbers tries to prove that discrimination against creationists of all stripes is rare or close to nonexistent. He repeated this claim in his revised work in which this chapter was included virtually unchanged, even though I sent him much documentation demonstrating its many inaccuracies (Numbers, 2006). I now have a four volume, each over 500-pages long set of books on the problem of discrimination that responds to the claims in this chapter that is now being published. The First volume is titled Slaughter of the Dissidents. The third volume is a 500-page manuscript that discusses the censorship problem.

 

John Grant

The last example of distortion is by John Grant. Under the subheading “No Jobs for the Boys” is a discussion of the fact that creationists are discriminated against in academia. Grant then tries to argue that such problems are contrived, and we are not discriminated against. He writes:

A frequent plaint of Creation Scientists is that they are discriminated against by the powers-that-be of orthodox science: their papers are rejected by the scientific journals, or they are even dismissed from their jobs because of their beliefs. These are serious charges (2006, p. 171).

 

After irresponsibly claiming that “cases of unfair dismissal are… hard to find” (2006, p. 172) Grant then discusses my BGSU court case. Next Grant discusses my book, The Criterion, implying that the cases I documented therein were, in fact, all persons who were all fired for just cause. It is obvious that Grant’s entire discussion attacking my book relied on the work of Numbers cited above. As proof of his conclusion, Grant cites cases of creationists who have gained doctorates, including Henry Morris, Walter Lammerts, Duane Gish, and Kurt Wise. He ignores the fact that all of these persons except Kurt Wise were awarded their degrees a half century ago when much less hostility existed against Darwin skeptics and that many, many well documented cases of creationists exist who were denied degrees in more recent times due to their beliefs.

 

Summary

With rare exceptions, I found in this study that most books quoted me favorably, and all of those books did not openly oppose my worldview. This observation reveals the critical importance of worldview in coloring one’s perception of reality and the writings of others.

 

 

References

 

Ankerberg, John and John Weldon. 1999. Encyclopedia of Cults and New Religions. Eugene, OR. Pages 191-192, 208.

 

Becker, David R. 1994. “Evolution: A Racist Fairy Tale.”  Homiletic & Pastoral Review, October, Pages 7-16.

 

Bergman, Jerry and Robert Doolan. 1987. “The Oldest Living Things.” Creation Ex Nihilo, 10(1):10, Dec.

 

Brock, Peter. 2006. Forward by Martin Ceadel, New College, Oxford. Against the Draft: Essays on Conscientious Objection from the Radical Reformation to the Second World War.  University of Toronto Press,  pages 438, 445.

 

Botting, Heather and Gary Botting. 1984.The Orwellian World of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. Page 158.

 

Cameron, Don. 2006. Captives of a Concept (Anatomy of an Illusion). Morrisville, NC: Lulu. Page 35.

 

Carr, Firpo W. 1993. A History of Jehovah’s Witnesses: From a Black American Perspective. Hawthorne, CA: Scholar Technological Institute of Research Inc. (S.T.I.R. Inc.)

 

Carson, D. A. 1996. The Gagging of God. Grand Rapids, MI. Zondervan. Pages 423, 574.

 

Colson, Charles and Ellen Santilli Vaughn. 2007. God & Government.  Grand Rapid, MI. Zondervan. Pages 71-72, 426, 437.

 

Côté, Pauline. 1993. Les Transactions Politiques des Croyant: Charismatiques et témoins de Jéhovah dans le Québec des … 1993. Page 45.

 

Côté, Pauline. 2004. Frontier Religions in Public Space/Chercheurs De Dieux Dans L’Espace Public, Université Laval. Groupe Beauchemin.

 

Conser, Walter H., Jr. and Sumner B. Twiss (editors). 1998. Religious Diversity and American Religious History: Studies in Traditions and Cultures Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press. Pages 148, 156.

 

D’Este, Carlo. 2002. Eisenhower: A Soldiers Life. Henry Holt: New York. Pages 33, 34, 58, 416, 710, 714, 722, 819.

 

Davis, Derek and Barry Hankins (Editors). 2003. New Religious Movements and Religious Liberty in America. Baylor University Press; Second edition 2003. Page 215.

 

Dodson, Edward O.  and George Howe.  1997. Creation Or Evolution: Correspondence on the Current Controversy. University of Ottawa Press. Page 106.

 

Ezra, Rose and Jonathan Greenspan. 2001. Book History: Volume 4 University Park, Pa. : Pennsylvania State University Press. Page 345.

 

Giberson, Karl W., Donald A. Yerxa. 2002. Species of Origins: America’s Search for a Creation Story. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.  Pages 53, 64, 98, 254.

 

Geisler, Norman. 2007. Creation and the Courts: Eighty Years of Conflict in the Classroom and the Courtroom. Crossway Books. Page 386.

 

Glenday, Craig  2007. Editor Guinness World Records. London.

 

Grant, John. 2007. Corrupted Science. Wisley, Surrey: AAPPL Artists’ and Photographers’ Press Limited. page 172, 327.

 

Gruss, Edmond C. 2003. The Four Presidents of the Watch Tower Society. Xulon Press 2003. Page 220.

 

Harrub, Brad and Bert Thompson. 2003. The Truth About Human Origins: An Investigation of the Creation/Evolution Controversy as it Relates to the Origin of Mankind. Apologetics Press. 2003. Pages 142, 469.

 

Hedges, Chris. 2007. American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War On America. New York: Free Press. Pages 118-119, 218.

 

Holden, Andrew. 2002. Jehovah’s Witnesses: Portrait of a Contemporary Religious Movement New York: Routledge. Pages 90, 190.

 

Jenkins, Philip. 2000. Mystics and Messiahs: Cults and New Religions in American History New York: Oxford University Press.  Page 266.

 

Jewett, Robert and John Shelton Lawrence. 2003. Captain America and the Crusade Against Evil: The Dilemma of Zealous Nationalism. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans. Pages 296, 368.

 

Kammen, Carol. 2000. Encyclopedia of Local History (American Association for State and Local History Book Series). AltaMira Press.

 

Larson, Bob. 2004. Larson’s Book of World Religions and Alternative Spirituality. Tyndale House. Page 283-284.

 

Lienesch, Michael. 2007. In the Beginning: Fundamentalism, the Scopes Trial, and the Making of the Antievolution Movement. The University of North Carolina Press. Pages 213-214, 306.

 

Marty, Martin E. and R. Scott Appleby. 1995. Editors Fundamentalisms and Society: Reclaiming the Sciences, the Family, and Education. American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. Page 69.

 

Matthews, Mark. 2006. “Evidence for Multiple Growth per Year in Bristlecone Pines” Journal of Creation. 20(3):95-103.

 

Neusner, Jacob. Editor. 2003.World Religions in America: An Introduction. Louisville, KY.  Westminster John Knox Press. Page 1999.

 

Numbers, Ronald. 1992. The Creationists. New York: Knopf. Revised edition 2006 Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. pp. 269-270, 430, note 41 and chapter 13 258-282. Revised edition pages 297, 299, 537 note 41 and chapter 13 pp. 286-311.

 

Penton, M. James. Encyclopedia Americana. 1995. Grolier Incorporated. Vol. 16 Page 13

 

________. 2004. Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Third Reich: Sectarian Politics Under Persecution  University of Toronto Press. Pages 140, 203-205, 386.

 

Perrault, Anna H. and Ron Blazek. 2003.United States History: A Multicultural, Interdisciplinary Guide to Information Sources. Libraries Unlimited; 2 edition 2003. Page 469.

 

Peterson, Lorraine. 2004. God’s an Artist and You’re a Masterpiece: The Mind-Boggling Science of an Awesome Creator. Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications. Pages 63, 239.

 

Price, Barry. 1990. The Creation Science Controversy. Philadelphia, PA: Millennium Books. Page 31.

 

Schlossberg, Herbert. 1991.  A Fragrance of Oppression: The Church and Its Persecutors. Wheaton, IL Crossway Books. Page 232.

 

Shermer, Michael. 2003. How We Believe: Science, Skepticism, and the Search for God. Owl Books. Pages 73, 266, and 289.

 

Silverman, Steve. 2003. Lindbergh’s Artificial Heart: More Fascinating True Stories From Einstein’s Refrigerator. Andrews McMeel Publishing. Pages 112-117, 176.

 

Smith, Gary Scott. 2006. Faith and the Presidency: From George Washington to George W. Bush. New York: Oxford University Press. Page 540.

 

Southhall, Geneva Handy. 1999. Blind Tom; The Black Pianist-Composer. Lanham, MD: The Scarecrow Press. Quoted on page 161.

 

Walton, Rus. 1988. Biblical Solutions to Contemporary Problems: A Handbook. Brentwood, TN: Wolgemuth & Hyatt. Pages 90, 353.

 

Washington, Harriet. 2006. Medical Apartheid. New York: Doubleday. P. 422-423.

 

Yahya, Hârun. 2001. The Evolution Deceit: The Scientific Collapse of Darwinism and Its Ideological Background. Culture Publishing. Turkey. Page 24