What Does “Indirect Quote” Mean?

Note: See the update below for a new development.

Well apparently, since I have never heard them before, the words “indirect quote” must mean something like, “When someone misrepresents another person and claims it is a direct quote from the person maligned, and then when the falsity of what has been written is exposed, the accuser then claims it is an ‘indirect quote.’” Let me explain.

“Indirect quote”—well, there is no such thing as an “indirect quote” as far as I can tell. It is just the way a blogger has tried to defend his false claim and not admit wrong! Here’s what happened:

Recently a Catholic blogger on an independent website for Roman Catholics took a swipe at the Creation Museum and me personally.  (I have the link to his blog post at the end of this item.)  He stated the following:

We’re even slipping backwards. A 2008 CBS poll showed most Americans don’t accept science’s theory of evolution. Fifty-one percent say God created humans in their present form in a day.

A “Creation Museum” opened that same year in Kentucky, costing $27 million to build, sitting on 49 acres. The nonprofit ministry that built the museum, Answers in Genesis, claims the entire universe, with its hundreds of billions of galaxies, was created in six days 6,000 years ago, and that “fact” serves as the guiding principle for the museum. Founder Ken Ham said, “The conclusions of modern science are not to be trusted, as they are biased by the fickle reasoning of humans and a modern antagonism toward faith.”

So I am accused of making a statement—one that is put in quote marks as a direct quote from me. But I would never say, “The conclusions of modern science are not to be trusted . . . .”  Modern science has provided us with great technology. Where on earth could this blogger find such a supposed “quote” from me?

Well, we did a bit of digging. We found that the mention of the Creation Museum and me is virtually the same wording as his first posting in October 2008. Apparently Mr. Rich Heffern (the blogger) had lifted the so-called quote of me from a May 2007 Salon article by Gordy Slack. Now, Mr. Slack did not quote me directly, but just misrepresented my views as discounting the findings of science. That in itself is a cheap tactic on Slack’s part. Then Heffern turned it into an actual quote from me and has now used it twice in that way. Is this dishonesty or sloppiness? I guess it’s easier to reuse the same stuff from three years earlier and use a careless swipe from another writer that totally misrepresents me and then claim it is a direct quote! So sad to see the lack of integrity in the writings of such people.

Now Mark Looy of our staff submitted a comment to this blogger challenging him in regard to his supposed quote of me. Mark’s comment was posted as follows:

Submitted by Mark Looy (not verified) on Aug. 08, 2011.

Curious about the quote you attributed to Ken Ham: “The conclusions of modern science are not to be trusted, as they are biased by the fickle reasoning of humans and a modern antagonism toward faith.” These can’t be his words — Ken would never make such a blanket comment about modern science. Is this perhaps someone else’s summary of what they think Ken believes? If so, please correct the blog. Thank you. Mark

The blogger did not change his blog post (not at the date of posting this blog anyway), but posted a comment to respond to Mark’s question—defending himself by stating the following:

Submitted by Rich Heffern on Aug. 09, 2011.

It’s an indirect quote from an article on Salon.com that appeared in 2007. Here’s the entire paragraph:

“The Book of Genesis, that famous first chapter of the Bible, which Ham’s group has interpreted to claim that the universe was created in six 24-hour days a mere 6,000 years ago, serves as the blueprint for the museum. Astronomy, geology and evolution, as they are commonly understood in mainstream science, have no place here. As Ham later tells me, the conclusions of modern science are not to be trusted, as they are biased by the fickle reasoning of man and a modern antagonism toward faith. On the other hand, he says, the Book of Genesis is true ‘from the first word to the last.’”

The article is by Gordy Slack.

This blogger needs to admit his wrongdoing and correct his blog post (as of the date of the posting of this blog post, this has not been done). What a ridiculous claim that it is an “indirect quote.”

However, we are used to being maligned, misquoted, misrepresented, and lied about on many blogs—what a mess of misinformation there is out there!

I wanted to write this blog post just as another warning to everyone to be careful about accepting what is written in the blogosphere.

For more information, you can read the 2007 Salon article, the Heffern’s latest blog post, and the Heffern’s old 2008 book review.

Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,

Update (Wednesday afternoon):

Today, Mr. Heffern, in the blogger’s latest post, removed his original sentence of “Ken Ham said, ‘The conclusions of modern science are not to be trusted, as they are biased by the fickle reasoning of humans and a modern antagonism toward faith’” and replaced it with “Ken Ham told an interviewer that the conclusions of modern science are not to be trusted, as they are biased by the fickle reasoning of humans and a modern antagonism toward faith” (emphasis added). (However, Mr. Heffern still has not updated his old 2008 book review as of the time of this posting.) So while this is a slight improvement and an acknowledgement of some wrongdoing/sloppiness on the blogger’s part, he still can’t document me saying such a thing (about supposedly being anti-science in this age) using a primary source (e.g., my words on a website, in an “Answers” magazine article, radio program, etc.)  Well, he won’t be able to document that I have ever said or implied such a thing, for I have stated the exact opposite in hundreds of public lectures and many articles, with words to the effect that modern science has produced our wonderful  technology of computers, space shuttles, medical advances, and so on (see, for example,  http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/nab/is-there-really-a-god ).

So because the blogger can’t document what I really believe about science and wants so much to put us down, he has to resort to using a second-hand source who did not summarize my beliefs accurately and accepts the word of someone who is anti-AiG, as opposed to accepting my plain words—said so often in public—that clearly indicate I am pro-science. In fact, why do we have several full-time scientists on our staff who hold doctorate degrees in fields like genetics, astrophysics, geology, the history of science, medicine, and biology if AiG is anti-science? Why did I even teach science in public schools in Australia?

So sad.

Ken