Your Fact Checks
Problems You've Found
I've received a lot of feedback over the last few months, and several of you have found more factual problems with The Truth Project. If you have something to contribute, let me know:
TheTruthProblem @ gmail.com
Alexis de Tocqueville was quoted as an independent observer, from his book Democracy in America
, in order to prove that Church and State should be together. The quotation was presented in a continuous fashion, however, it was four truncated quotes. All four are suspect, but the second is troubling.
This is the second quote used by The Truth Project from Democracy in America
, chapter 17, page 313:
"On my arrival in the United States the religious aspect of the country was the first thing that struck my attention; and the longer I stayed there, the more I perceived the great political consequences resulting from this new state of things. In France I had almost always seen the spirit of religion and the spirit of freedom marching in opposite directions. But in America I found they were intimately united and that they reigned in common over the same country."
This is the rest of the paragraph that was left out:
"My desire to discover the causes of this phenomenon increased from day to day. In order to satisfy it I questioned the members of all the different sects; I sought especially the society of the clergy, who are the depositaries of the different creeds and are especially interested in their duration. As a member of the Roman Catholic Church, I was more particularly brought into contact with several of its priests, with whom I became intimately acquainted. To each of these men I expressed my astonishment and explained my doubts. I found that they differed upon matters of detail alone, and that they all attributed the peaceful dominion of religion in their country mainly to the separation of church and state. I do not hesitate to affirm that during my stay in America I did not meet a single individual, of the clergy or the laity, who was not of the same opinion on this point."
The point [the program] was trying to prove is clearly refuted by the rest of the paragraph.
Deceptive Quotation of Colin Patterson
You probably are aware of this but here is something I looked up because Del Tackett makes such a strong point with it and give the impression that Patterson does not think there are good transitional fossils.
The Truth Project quoted Colin Patterson, senior paleontologist at the British Museum of Natural History, on fossils but did not give the context. Hence it is a deceptive use of a quote. They use only the underlined portion. Here is the whole story:
"I will lay it on the line, there is not one such fossil for which one might make a watertight argument. The reason is that statements about ancestry and descent are not applicable in the fossil record. Is Archaeopteryx the ancestor of all birds? Perhaps yes, perhaps no: there is no way of answering the question. It is easy enough to make up stories of how one form gave rise to another, and to find reasons why the stages should be favoured by natural selection. But such stories are not part of science, for there is no way to put them to the test."
So, what Patterson is saying is that perhaps modern birds descended from the species Archaeopteryx, or perhaps they descended from a cousin species. He just doesn't know how to prove which is the case. Therefore, he refuses to make a claim he can't fully back up. Dr. Patterson does believe that there are transitional fossils, as witness this quote from his book:
"In several animal and plant groups, enough fossils are known to bridge the wide gaps between existing types. In mammals, for example, the gap between horses, asses and zebras (genus Equus) and their closest living relatives, the rhinoceroses and tapirs, is filled by an extensive series of fossils extending back sixty-million years to a small animal, Hyracotherium, which can only be distinguished from the rhinoceros-tapir group by one or two horse-like details of the skull. There are many other examples of fossil 'missing links', such as Archaeopteryx, the Jurassic bird which links birds with dinosaurs, and Ichthyostega, the late Devonian amphibian which links land vertebrates and the extinct choanate (having internal nostrils) fishes ..."
Evolution 1978, Routledge & Kegan Paul Ltd. pp. 131-133
Stacking the Deck on Gospel Antiquity
I found a distortion in the 6th video about the documentary evidence for the New Testament. Tackett claims that there are only 25 years between the oldest copy and the date of the original copies of the New Testament, while there are 1000 years for other ancient historical books. He does not tell the viewers that he is referring to a scrap containing only 4 verses from John's Gospel. To give a fair comparison, he ought to be using the oldest copies of complete or nearly complete New Testaments. That would make the number 250 to 300 years instead of 25. The New Testament still is way ahead but there is no need to "stack the deck" as Tackett did.
(c) 2009 The Truth Problem.