Beginners Guide to Creationism

Found this hanging around my drafts section. This was originally published on the official RationalWiki blog. It is reproduced here for, well, just for the sake of it. Minor stylistic changes added.

What is it?

Creationism most generally means the belief that the entire universe was created by a deity in a supernatural incident. Most commonly it refers to the Christian one but almost all religions in the world have some sort of creation myth that explains the origins of the universe. What we’re most interested in, however, is the branch known as “young earth creationism” (YEC). Not all creationists are YECs, and there are a few alternative forms, but 99% of the time skeptics will use “creationism” and YEC interchangeably – mostly because other forms are less interesting to skeptics and de-bunkers.

YEC specifically proposes that the world was created literally as described in the Bible, only 6,000 years ago according to the chronology deduced by Archbshop James Ussher in the 17th century – with the creation occurring October 23rd, 4004 BC, in fact. Yes, this is after some recorded written history and milestones such as the domestication of the dog.

It’s primarily a Christian doctrine (fundamentalist Islam, for instance, opposes evolution but doesn’t insist on a “young” Earth) and in its modern form is common to North America, where as much as 45% of the adult population believes it.

Erm… why?

Put simply, people believe this because it’s exactly what the Bible tells them. No one is quite sure why it persists as a belief, but it seems to be due to the fact that if you can challenge the literal Genesis creation story, you can accidentally invalidate the rest of the religion with it. Hence why attacks on young earth creationism, which is a falsifiable (and falsified) hypothesis, is continually conflated with an attack on religion, or an attack on Christianity in any and all forms.

(For instance, here, which is a protracted rant against YEC and anti-evolutionists that doesn’t at any point really talk about God or Christianity – but nevertheless is attacked in many comments as something to do with an anti-God atheist that hates Christians.)

It’s worth remembering at this point that in most of Europe and in other, non-literalist forms of Christianity, the idea of an old earth and of evolution is not assumed to be in conflict with the basic tenets of the religion. The Catholic Church, for instance, has “officially” accepted evolution since 1950 and human evolution since 1996 and makes no demands that Ussher’s chronology is correct. Back on the other side of the pond, organisations such as Ken Ham’s Answers in Genesis refer to such things as “compromise” – as in “compromised“, as if such acceptance of modern evolutionary theory and geology is somehow an infection in the purity of the true church.

What’s the evidence?

In the last 50 years or so, the Creationist movement in the US has branched out into “scientific creationism“. Skeptics often lambaste this as an oxymoron, but it does mean that they’ve been increasingly using “evidence” to support their claims. Here’s a brief run-down of a few of the common ones.

  • The ordering of fossils is due to Noah’s flood. The animals found near the top of sedimentary strata escaped the rising waters, the “primitive” ones at the bottom did not.
  • The Bible. Yes, this is actually used as evidence.
  • The Grand Canyon is evidence of a drainage channel caused by Noah’s global flood.

This list is actually difficult to populate because the thing that is most common to YEC “evidence” isn’t evidence for a young earth, but usually a list of (mostly imagined) grievances against evolution and deep time geology. In fact, one of the approaches put forward by skeptics for dealing with creationists is to hypothetically grant them all their grievances and ask “so what positive evidence do you propose?”

This is particularly important because the evidence for the planet being formed billions of years ago is far more extensive than positive creationist evidence.

And the evidence against evolution?

A list of grievances against evolution is easier to generate. Some basic ones are listed here without refutation because they are mostly PRATTs (Points Refuted A Thousand Times) or Not Even Wrong.

  • “Micro” evolution, which is small changes in varieties of animals, has been observed – while “macro” evolution, which is the change of animals into completely different ones, has not.
  • Radiometric dating is flawed because it is calibrated circularly with fossils.
  • There are no “transitional” fossils found between organisms.
  • DNA contains complex information that “cannot” have evolved because evolution cannot increase information.
  • Thermodynamic laws don’t allow life to become complex and ordered.
  • Science can’t explain the origin of life – also known as “molecules to man” evolution.
  • Science can’t prove that things evolved because it wasn’t there.

This is just a random sample of points, the lists often go into the hundreds.

Who are the main players?

The same names do crop up repeatedly in the YEC world, here is a brief list.

  • Kent Hovind – founder of ‘Creation Science Evangelism’, got a ‘PhD’ from a diploma mill. Currently serving 10 years for tax fraud and evasion. (as an update on this, has recently as of 2014/15 been attempting to sue anyone who calls his crime “fraud” or “evasion”, even though it is. He’s attempted to sue RationalWiki over it, but can’t seem to get his act together enough to properly serve the papers to the RMF. Most people attribute this to him getting some spectacularly bad advice from someone in prison who is as mentally ill as he is.)
  • Eric Hovind – the fairly charismatic but immature son of the above, now runs Kent’s ministries and hosts the “Creation Today” and “Creation Minute” webcasts.
  • Ken Ham – current head of Answers in Genesis. Tends to evangelise to children in order to capture them young, most famous for his “were you there?” argument. (further update, you will know him from his debate with Bill Nye the Science Guy where both parties were famously asked “what would change your mind?” – Nye replied “evidence”, Ham replied “nothing”. There you go.)
  • Ray Comfort – the infamous bananaman. Mostly concerned with (terrible) Christian apologetics but uses anti-evolution tropes to further this.
  • Duane Gish – now deceased vice president of the Institute for Creation Research. Notable for having the Gish Gallop named after him.
  • Jason Lisle – notable for having an actual legitimate PhD in astrophysics. Has a tendency to use very circular logic in his religious apologetics, and has attempted to solve the starlight problem.
  • Jonathan Sarfati – like Lisle, has a legitimate PhD and knows it. Also known for being a bit of an obnoxious one.
Creationism is certainly associated with some weird shit...

Creationism is certainly associated with some weird shit…

William Dembski and Michael Behe are also names that repeatedly crop up, but these two are most commonly associated with Intelligent Design, rather than YEC. Which brings us to…

What about Intelligent Design?

Intelligent Design (ID) is an offshoot from creationism that, nominally, has nothing to do with it – technically, it is just an anti-evolution position, and therefore distinct from YEC beliefs as it does not mandate a young earth. However, it’s often associated with creationists and overlaps significantly (see cdesign proponentists and the Wedge Strategy), leading to the very justified accusation that it’s used to make creationism “respectable”, and tries to hide the “God” aspects in order to sneak it into schools in the US – where separation of Church and State is legally enshrined. ID is often called “creationism in a cheap suit” because of this.

And so what?

Creationism forms the bedrock of the anti-science movement in the US. It’s almost political suicide to speak against it, as such a thing is perceived as an attack on religion, which is absolutely sacred. As a result, it infiltrates a lot of the political sphere – which, importantly, controls funding for science programs. Creationism is also heavily associated with the Religious Right, and their attempts to get it taught in schools are readily associated with attempts to establish Biblical teachings in schools (along with their other depressing aspects including homophobia, misogyny and racism). In short, while it is a fundamentally silly and easily refuted, the way it’s played as a “freedom of religion” issue or as part of a persecution complex against Christianity, should be very worrying.

But what about the men?

There are a lot of issues that are primarily focused on human males – or men, since we’re past the point in linguistic evolution where “man” is expressly synonymous with “human”.

For instance, there’s health issues like the case of raising awareness of prostate cancer. Fiddling around with our balls is usually a favoured pastime of many of us apes, but doing it methodically to check for signs of a common disease is something that needs to be raised and repeated.

Or there’s legal issues, such as the asymmetrical treatment of fathers/husbands in divorce cases, or the harsher sentencing or, in particular if you’re in the US, the use of the death penalty.

There are also social issues, like the fact that rape and sexual assault on men goes significantly under-reported due to a significantly increased stigma. In fact, the media and public largely treats it as a joke.

But we can’t discuss these issues. Why? Because women and feminism get in the way!

…at least, that’s what I would say if I was a fucking idiot.

The only people getting in the way of these issues being treated seriously are the men’s rights movement (MRM) or men’s rights “activist” (MRA) groups themselves. They hide behind these issues, pretending to use them as examples of what their cause is about, but it’s clear from any casual look that these things are always on the backburner. These real issues only come out when pushed, and used as defensive shields to shy away behind when challenged for their more insidious bullshit.

It’s a shame, really, because whenever someone wants to raise a point like “I don’t think babies should be circumcised because it’s not their choice” they run the risk of being responded to with the automatic assumption that they’re in the MRA crowd. It’s not a completely unwarranted assumption, though. Find any discussion of FGM and you’ll find de-railing cries of “what about male circumcision” as if that’s magically not entirely irrelevant.

It’s not hard to tell the difference between legitimate calls for concern in men’s legal/social/health issues and blatant covering up of misogyny and old-fashioned sexism. Look at the complaints, for instance. If the complaint focuses on men, or concerns what they should do, not do, take up, try, or change, then it’s probably legitimate. “Hey guys, check your balls for signs of stress!” Simple. There’s nothing wrong with that. Or “don’t circumcise your son’s penis, it’s a procedure that should be done with informed consent later in life” – look, this is easy! It’s not hard, right?

But, on the other hand… well, it’s already documented elsewhere quite thoroughly. Here we have people accusing women/feminists of wanting “special” rights (though, ask what specific special rights and you’ll get tumbleweeds in response) or defending outright sexist behaviour using bullshit evolutionary psychology, or people simply saying “I hope you drown in rape semen” – seriously, the guy who said that is continually praised as an MRA hero, that’s like asking Hitler what to do about antisemitism. They continually target their problems elsewhere, they project them onto others and try to claim that they’re victims in a vast conspiracy against Men, by Women. They claim to be for “true” (read “naive”) equality, but perpetuate differences in genders more than any other group on the planet (well, maybe slightly behind second-wave rad-fems on that) and create far more divides than they claim to be against. In short, MRA groups have little interest in equality, despite the amount of kicking and screaming like little brattish children to the contrary. They feel ignored and victimised, but mostly it’s a persecution complex of their own devising – they’ve just imagined it.

Yes, feminism (even intersectional, third-wave, sex-positive, modern feminism) is asymmetrical. It puts greater focus on women’s issues than men’s. But what else can it do? Society as we see it is already asymmetrical. Trying to instigate pure, naive equality doesn’t address inequality, it perpetuates the status quo. It’s basically Newton’s First Law; an object in motion won’t be changed by balanced forces, you have to overbalance the forces to get it to move. And so with any social justice issue, the force needs to be unbalanced to to create the motion. Segregation and slavery didn’t end because people gave equal time to “white” and “black” issues, it had to focus and overbalance to get somewhere.

If you attack a straw woman enough…

Women have a bum deal in society (note; the caveats to this statement are not an argument against it), and some of us aren’t blinded to the phenomena involved; they have to perform, to put out, to make themselves beautiful, to wear X, Y Z, be threatened with rape and violence. Yet because this isn’t a problem for the other 50% of the population, the men’s rights crowd see fit to dismiss it and pretend that it isn’t true. They’ve decided that they don’t like having their own misogyny shown to them so that they can correct it – that would be effort. They don’t want to apply that effort because the status quo leaves them in a nice, comfortable position, where they can slap a girl’s arse and expect to be called “cheeky” rather than “rude”, or that they expect to get sex in exchange for buying dinner, or refer to complex social issues with blatantly sexist terminology like “pussy pass“. I mean, seriously, who the hell thinks “pussy pass” is a term that should be present in a mature discussion? Hands up? Anyone? No? Good.

They like this arrangement, so no wonder they push back against despite their cries for “equality”.

This is what makes dealing with “men’s rights” so difficult. There’s a wealth of legitimate things we need to discuss, but ironically, the only people who seem to give a fuck about those things are feminists, not the men’s rights activists.

If in doubt, jump on other people’s misery for your own gain

From the archives of Ray Comfort:

One of the three Cleveland girls who was kidnapped and held captive for ten years says that she had become pregnant five times and that each time her captor, Ariel Castro, starved her and punched her in the stomach until she miscarried. According to CBS News, unlawful termination of a pregnancy in Ohio is to commit murder, and Castro could be given the death sentence.

But one moment. Why is there such an outcry about the termination of five pregnancies? Everyone knows “It’s not a child in the womb,” and besides, each of the pregnancies were the product of rape, and according to pro-abortion advocates should be terminated. The key is the word “unlawful.” Her captive should have had the five children killed lawfully at an abortion clinic. Hypocrisy is not confined to the Church.

It would be a pointless and rather pained task to say what is wrong with this. It should be obvious. However, it does helps highlight the absolute depths that some people will sink to in using misery to score political or “philosophical” points.

The long and short of it is that people who are “pro-abortion” are actually “pro-choice”. And unlike the opposite, “pro-life”, this isn’t an horrific misnomer. When Penn Jillette said on an episode of Bullshit! that “people aren’t ‘pro life’ or ‘pro choice’, they’re for or against abortion” he was wrong. Painfully wrong. “Pro choice” literally means that it should be someone’s free choice to abort or not. This is really orthogonal to being “for” or “against” abortion itself. This isn’t hard to understand.

Except for Ray Comfort, because he lacks the empathic capacity to see it.

Forcing someone to terminate through a brutal and unsafe method (that will become more common should anyone decide to outlaw the safe and legal methods) is emphatically against that “pro choice” principle. Whether it be a product of rape, incest, or even consensual activity, the choice belongs purely with the person experiencing the pregnancy. That’s it. End of discussion.

People like Ray Comfort don’t understand the basic concept of “informed consent”, which underpins a lot of humanistic morality, and don’t believe humans are smart enough to deal with it on their own. They don’t think we can figure out some kind of behavioural guidance for ourselves using tools such as empathy and compassion. Such tools don’t come from a god, but from the ability to imagine being another person; it’s a stretch, it’s an inference, and it’s not always easy, but it can be done. Some of us choose to exercise that ability and put it to use. Sure, it’s difficult and I’m sure being told what is “right” and what is “wrong” is so much simpler, but not all of us need that.

The mere fact that we can do this is a massive problem for fundamentalist evangelists and their followers. A truly massive problem of an epic scale. It means their absolutist views aren’t necessary, and if they’re not necessary, there’s no reason at all to hold them. Indeed, things like presuppositional apologetics outright state that there isn’t a reason to believe in them, and then change the rules of the game to handwave it away. That sort of thing simply cannot survive in the face of people making their own choices.

Given that, why does it still surprise me how far people will go in demonising others and outright misrepresenting their opinions and ideas? It’s the only way they can rationalise their position.

What I would say to creationists if I was more of a dick

Remember… You may not be able to “fix” stupid, but you sure can hit it with a bat until you feel better.

The title says it all, really. This is what I would say to creationists if I were more of a dick. I would say it to their faces, email it to them, drop it on every comment on every blog. Yet, alas, my confidence wanes and I simply cannot bring myself to be this impolite in person. I have a particular standard to uphold; one that avoids pointless personal attacks, egregious insults, or foul-mouthed idiocy of my own. I want to avoid being that snooty asshole who shouts and screams and makes witty but unfortunately content-free remarks, even if it gets me the adoration of the “evolutionists” and “atheistists” around me. Okay, so I’m occasionally snide-as-all-fuck, but I try to at least keep it on topic.

But… a constant barrage of insults, bad arguments, accusations of endorsing racism and outright absurd remarks that cease to even begin to understand the simplest basic fundamentals of science itself, all takes its toll. One can snap. I apologise if any of this sounds exceptionally snooty to non-creationists, but frankly that’s the effect I’m after. Here, I have a safe space to vent. So, I am putting my “dick cap” on; a whopping great big 12 inch dildo is being strapped on to my head and it’s ready to fuck. If you’re easily offended, please don’t read this and then complain. Don’t be that much of an idiot, I beg of you. You have been warned.

(As this is still ticking over with quite a lot of Facebook/Google+ views, I want to drop a memo that there’s a follow up post that answers most points that have been raised and save you the trouble of looking like an idiot in a comments section somewhere)

Here it is.

Dear Creationists,

You are stupid.

Genuinely stupid.

By every conceivable metric that we can assess intelligence, intellect, mental ability, reasoning and sense, you’re stupid. Even the very ability to string words together in coherent ways, you’re stupid. You fail at all of this. You are fucking stupid. There is no way of getting out of this accusation; it is as close to an absolute, proven fact, that an honest assessment of the situation can get.

Not ignorant; no, that’s something else. Ignorance is merely the lack of knowledge. That’s fine. I cannot blame someone for merely not knowing some random piece of shit, or not being exposed to information. You don’t get a choice in ignorance and merely not knowing. For a start, you’re born ignorant of everything in the entire world. New born babies don’t even know what things in the world are part of their own fucking bodies and what things aren’t – they really do have to learn this for themselves. So, no, you’re not just ignorant because if you were, I wouldn’t be here writing this.

No, this is something fucking different, far fucking worse. What you stand not only accused of, but proven guilty of, shits and pisses all over the innocence of simple ignorance and goes into the dark territory of deceit and fucking lies. This is wilful ignorance. This is prideful ignorance. You take your fucking ignorance and wave it around at every opportunity to say “hey, look at me, I’m so fucking stupid” and expect people to give you some kind of shit-hot respect for it.

Do I want to blame you for it? When your elders, and priests, and preachers, and the unqualified crank pseudo-scientific quasi-philosophers they get to back them up, have all conspired to brainwash you into thinking this is a good thing? Yes, I fucking do. You have made a choice to stay ignorant, and be happy with it. You’re a fucking idiot, and you damn well know it.  You’re probably a right-wing homophobic little shit as well, so probably think being gay is a choice. So here’s one for you; being a fucking fruit-loop imbecile is a choice, a choice you made when you decided that thinking was too much fucking effort and just let some cockend from Answers in Genesis do it for you.

"We don't see ants coming out of peanut butter, therefore evolution is wrong." - you're a bunch of fucking idiots.

“I tried opening this peanut butter jar, and I accidentally got my penis trapped in a lettuce instead.”

You know it. You know it, and you Just. Don’t. Fucking. Care.

Why do I bother with you? Just why? Why do I drag myself down to that sort of level? I continually drag myself down to the level of creationist cock-ends but just can’t figure out why.

Let’s look at some clear facts here.

I have a fucking masters degree. I took four years out of my life learning quantum mechanics; management; nuclear physics; organic, inorganic, analytical, green, environmental, atmospheric chemistry; mathematics; and a fuck-ton of life skills and problem solving skills possessed by a tiny fraction of people. Oh yes, now that’s some fucking catharsis right there.

I can write, I can draw, I can play and compose music, and I can program a computer to do a little fucking jig.  Importantly, I know the difference between “there”, “their” and “they’re” – and fuck knows that’s a rare skill. I can do most of that without getting my cock trapped in a blender, too. I’m even nice on occasion and, if I try, even likeable. I’m just going to blow a trumpet and say I have most talents bar singing (le sigh).

I wrote a whopping four-hundred-fucking-page book to get a doctorate. It’s sat there on a table right now, all bound and shiny with gold letters and my name on it, looking thick enough to bludgeon someone to death with. To get that far, I was locked in a room with two experts who read it and who spent nearly three hours ripping it to shreds and finding any excuse they could not to give the final award to me. At the end of it all, half a dozen people with the same level of qualification and beyond have all conspired to say “you’re good enough to be one of us”. I fucking starved. I fucking wrote ’til I dropped. I stayed up late and got up early. All to get that. And as blasé and modest as I try to come across in public, I wouldn’t have done any of that if I didn’t think it was all worth it.

And I’ve taught students. People even better than me, who have fought their way through the same shit and more, have said I’m good enough to be their proxy or their replacement to teach the next generation. I’m actively passing on knowledge, whether established or cutting edge, to students who one day will grow up to be the next me. Some days I hate those little shits, but to be fair to them, one day a good chunk of them will also be locked in that room with a pair of experts, shitting themselves and wanting to all go away. They will come out of it alive, as One Of Us, and they will fucking well deserve every bit of it. I am a cog in that academic and scientific machine, and damn well proud of it.

In short, I’m smart. I’m intelligent. I’m rational. I’m reasonable. I’m “brainy” as fuck as some might want to put it and have the paper to prove it. By every conceivable metric, I am at the top of the grey matter tree. In pleasant company, of course, but it’s still spacious at the top. If I believed in the absoluteness of the IQ test, I’d be bragging my ass off about being in the 98th percentile (I dunno, actually, last time I took one I was, like, 15 – who gives  a shit?).

That’s me.

"There are no transitional forms. There are no transitional forms. There are no transitional forms." - This is the face of stupidity, the kind of stupidity there is no excuse for outside of having your brain removed.

“There are no transitional forms. There are no transitional forms. There are no transitional forms.” – This is the face of stupidity, the kind of stupidity there is no excuse for outside of having your brain removed.

You, however, as someone who thinks the planet magically poofed into existence 6,000 fucking years ago, you’re at the bottom of that tree. Right down there in the grim dark bottom amongst the detritus, the worms and things that couldn’t even pull on a fucking pair of trousers without falling arse-over-tit to the floor. I may well be in the 98th percentile or wherever, but you, you dumb fuck, wouldn’t even know what “percentile” means without Google – which, by the way, has been built by the kind of people who know what “percentile” means without using Google. Because they had to have some way of knowing what it meant before they fucking built the thing – since you, you dumbfuck imbecile, need every little fucking thing explained to you in small words that don’t tax your brain too hard. Got that one? Need it dumbed down further? Fuck off.

You, because you manage to be mentally retarded in such a way that it’s actually offensive to those with genuine learning difficulties, couldn’t fucking understand the mere basics of anything I could possibly teach you about anything. Chemistry, biology or physics; it’d be all like fucking magic to you, and all the research and understanding would be like something that just happens to other people. Even the fucking basics of logic, or language, or how to frame an argument, or what evidence is, or why it’s important, or how science even works would be something beyond your tiny brain to fathom for even a second. Hell, the hurdles I would have to leap just to get you people to the point of discussing actual evolutionary biology, or actual geology, or actual radiometric dating would require me to type thousands of words, spend months of my life and back-up to the basics of how if you have two beans and then two more beans you have “some beans”. We’re talking some seriously fucking basic shit, here, that I’d have to cover first.

"The Grand Canyon could have formed in about five minutes" - in your fantasy world were physics doesn't exist.

“The Grand Canyon could have formed in about five minutes” – in your fantasy world were physics doesn’t exist.

And after all that effort and time and even sincere attempts to get your fucking brain to learn something, it still wouldn’t be worth it. You would ignore it anyway. You’d just let it go in one ear and out of the fucking other as if the squishy shit between them that others take for granted was just a gloopy transparent mess for you. You wouldn’t even address the fucking basics of what I could tell you. I could try to exemplify every nuance, meaning and deconstruction of, say, the phrase “evolution is a religion”, and you’d zone out as soon as I broke into fucking polysyllabic words and then, just as a little bit of drool came out, you’d say “but evolution is just a religion”. It’s all just fucking voodoo shit to you, something you’re actively scared of and don’t want to understand. You’ve rendered yourself physically incapable of understanding and basic comprehension and so I find myself almost constantly, every time I see one of you dumb shits opening your fucking mouths, struggling not to outright scream from the rooftops shouting “Fuck. This. Shit!”. Every single word in this extensive rant has been compressed in my head into a single thought; a thought that fires in my brain every time I see you slack-jawed fuck-tards speak, or type, or even making a motion to open your mouths or put fingers to a keyboard.

You sit and worship people like Kent Hovind, whose entire thesis wouldn’t even count as a winning entry in NaNoWriMo (which requires 50,000 words in a month) and has a Flesch reading age of a pre-teen (by contrast, the Flesch-Kincade reading complexity for my own thesis goes to the part of the scale where “reading age” stops being a meaningful concept, and a single chapter is larger than Kent Hovind’s entire derp-fest, and there’s fucking diagrams to boot – fucking suck it). Or you shout “amen” after every little tiny piece of faeces that oozes out of the mouth of Ray Comfort – a man, lest we forget, who thinks the word “bibliophile” is a fucking insult derived from “paedophile”. These aren’t just people amongst your ranks, these are your fucking experts. Your fucking experts can’t even wrap their heads around the simple shit understood by even the amateurish of Internet Atheists or pop-science enthusiasts. Hell, I know people who would faint at the sight of an integral, but hey, that shit ain’t for everyone and they’re still fucking smarter than you, since they’re not so stupid as to think evolution requires goldfish giving birth to zebras.

"Hello, my name is Kent Hovind." - Opening sentence of Kent Hovind's "doctoral" dissertation. "The C-H and H-H bonds are two of the most neglected structures in classical chemistry, despite the fact that the C--H bond is ubiquitous in organic compounds and dihydrogen is one of the most common substances in the universe" - the opening sentence of mine.

“Hello, my name is Kent Hovind.” – Opening sentence of Kent Hovind’s doctoral dissertation.
“The C-H and H-H bonds are two of the most neglected structures in classical chemistry, despite the fact that the C-H bond is ubiquitous in organic compounds and dihydrogen is one of the most common substances in the universe” – the opening sentence of mine.

You repeat mantras that have been refuted countless times. “Evolution is a religion!” “How do you know? Were you there?” “If we evolved from monkeys, how come there are still monkeys?” What the fuck do these things even mean? Really, it proves nothing. I means nothing. It’s bollocks, the lot of it.

Even if you ever get around to addressing any of the countless refutations to this simplistic fucking bullshit, all you can ever come up with is restating the point again, or whining about some other pathetic and irrelevant detail, or – and with fucking depressing regularity – spouting some bullshit about how people like me are suppressing your freedom. You know what? Go fucking jump off a bridge, and test your freedom to not believe in gravity. Literally, go do that now. I’ll wait.

I’m not even going to bother with refuting any examples here or going into specifics about evolution myself. I’m breaking plenty of my usual rules about dealing with you stupid-as-fuck individuals already, so I’m going to break another and tell you to do your own simple cursory fucking research on this. Not that you’d manage that, as anything you ever cite must always come from an approved source like “CreationWiki” – a site, may I add, that actively makes a point, and a proud point at that, of stifling any potential disagreement by not allowing any edit that is “pro” evolution. Do you see that bullshit on skeptic or “evolutionist” websites?

Target demographic; white Christian males, somewhere between the ages of 35 and 42.

Target demographic; white Christian males, somewhere between the ages of 35 and 42.

No. You fucking don’t.

You want to know why? Because we want the world to see the best you dumb-fucktarded intellectual rejects have come up with, in all their mundanely pathetic glory, just so everyone can see how fucking terrible each and every one of your so-called “arguments” are. Sometimes, we don’t even bother responding, we just quote you verbatim (that means “unaltered” (which means “we didn’t change it” (ooh, look, nested parentheses (that means “brackets”) I bet that’s blown your tiny fucking mind))) because even casual scrutiny makes your points look terrible; and frankly, a full refutation just isn’t worth the fucking effort. Not because we can’t, but because – as I said above – I’d practically have to teach you the English Fucking Language from scratch to point out the flaws.

You, who thinks a fucking single man and rib-clone woman and their two sons populated the entire earth without any freaking-frakking-fucking incest occurring because “hey, don’t ask awkward questions”, hold in high regard people who aren’t even worthy of pissing in the academic shadow of people like me. So where does that place you in that pecking order? You intentionally refuse to understand simple things; like how irrelevant evolution by natural selection is to abiogenesis; like the fact that “macro” and “micro” evolution are just things you made up (at least in the way you morons use those terms); or like how natural selection has nothing at all to do with eugenics. It’s all OH-YOUR-FUCKING-GOD-IT’S-HITLER all the fucking time. I mean, seriously, you intentionally avoid learning. You avoid understanding. You actively train yourself to not understand and you fucking revel in all this. You memorise your silly little one-sentence replies that mean sweet fuck all, and, by some magic, expect educated people like me to bow down to your right of free expression; well this here is my “free expression” in response you fucking lunatic, you’ve damn well driven me to it over the years.

You have no intellectual rights to this “debate” at all because you cannot even speak the language it requires. Even worse, you seem to think this actually qualifies you more.

How the fuck does that logic work?

"Have you ever told a lie?" - evidently selectively editing your interviews, re-recording questions to replace the context of the answers, or pretending that your most embarrassing moment had "always" been satire really, doesn't count.

“Have you ever told a lie?” – selectively editing your interviews, re-recording questions to replace the context of the answers, or pretending that your most embarrassing moment had “always” been satire really, doesn’t count.

Hint; it fucking doesn’t. It never will.

Get with the fucking programme already; if you cannot comprehend basic facts, you cannot expect to be invited to the debating table as an equal. It’s like you’re coming into a boardroom, full of people with projections and presentations and graphs and calculations, and then you start smearing the table in bullshit (actual shit, actual bull’s shit) and rolling around in it, flinging it at people, painting the window with it, flailing your arms up and down to make a little bullshit angel in the faeces-strewn floor, and then standing up to shout “Ta-da! Give me a Nobel Prize”.  You’re not my academic equal. In terms of intelligence and knowledge you’re fucking scum rotting at the bottom of a dark and forgotten barrel while I’m basking in the sun. I would love, genuinely love, to help raise you up to being on my level. I would love it. But you wouldn’t listen. That’s not really a prediction, it’s experience. I’ve seen you fucks talk under a Ray Comfort Facebook update. You just don’t listen. It’s a fact. I would tell you to read X, Y and Z. Hell, I’d even write my own summary of X, Y and Z, but you wouldn’t listen or even care. It would fall on intentionally deaf ears. As I said earlier, you’re not merely ignorant, you’re fucking wilfully ignorant.

Le sigh

But you know what the worst thing is?

The worst part is that some creationist out there, probably you because it’s being addressed to you, is probably going to find this rant and say “oh look at the little evolutionist, running out of points and resorting to insults”. Well fuck off.  Fuck the fuck off. Fucking fuck the fucking fuck off. Lube up some vegetables in your own bullshit and cram it. You think this is my attempt to prove you wrong?

No. Not at all.

It's funny because it's true.

It’s funny because it’s true.

This is my attempt to insult you.

This is my attempt to degrade and belittle you, your beliefs and your reasons all in one. They’ve already been shown to be wrong. I don’t need to add to that. It’s done, it’s dusted – there is no fucking debate you morons. The world ain’t 6,000 years old, women weren’t made from ribs, dinosaurs didn’t go onto a big boat to escape a flood, and natural selection doesn’t mean bacteria turning into chickens in a Petri dish overnight so that Hitler could kill Jews. You lost this good and hard the day science started digging through the geological column. If you want to complain that I’ve ran out of legitimate responses by writing this, then that just proves every single point that I’m making in this profanity ridden rant; that you don’t fucking listen, and are even proud of the fact that you’ve left yourself bereft of the ability to do so.

You’re not stupid because you believe the world appeared out of nowhere sometime more recently than the domestication of the dog – and no, I’m not going to tentatively say something like “evidence suggests that” it’s more recent than the domestication of the dog. No, it’s a Fucking Fact that the dog became domesticated in the tens of thousands of years ago. I don’t really give much of a shit that you believe it, that doesn’t concern me. You’re a fucking shit-faced idiot because of why you believe it. If you haven’t got the gist of this already; you’re proud of being stupid, you actively refuse to learn, you don’t examine anything critically, you fall for any piece-of-shit “evidence” your masters tell you. You don’t question them. You don’t realise they’re just out there wanting to keep you stupid, to keep you ignorant and to keep you not wanting to learn about the universe from sources that actually took the time to look at the universe. They want to keep you that way because you buy into their shit, with money. Your actual hard-earned money. You actually value these people with your working time. You go out, slog away in some backwater burger-flipping hell hole and actually give part of your monetary reward to people who want to keep you stupid. That’s galling to the rest of us who have a working and fully functioning brain that we deign to actually use.

You pay them. You donate to them. You buy their books and DVDs that they produce for fuck-all money and sell at a premium. Seriously, how much money does it cost Ray Comfort to show up to a college campus with a cheap camcorder to make one of his derp fests? Fuck all. Yet you’ll pay him $15 plus postage for the privilege of sucking his cock and reassuring yourselves over it – meanwhile he practically fucking swims in cash. Your cash. And it’ll keep going because he wants you to be stupid. Follow the fucking money, right? It’s in their best interests to trick and con you’ wake the fuck up to it.

You show this crap to your kids so they grow up stupid and buy more DVDs and books by the Comforts and the Hovinds and the Hams and the Gishes of this world. You show them Jesus riding a fucking dinosaur and pictures of Noah mucking out a boat that’s chock-full of animals that somehow managed to survive and reproduce to form every living thing we see on the planet in a geological blink of an eye (breathe…) and you think this is right? You don’t think this is the most ridiculous idea in the world? If it wasn’t for the coincidental fact that you’re backed by a non-falsifiable belief shared by a significant proportion of the population, you would actually be declared clinically insane. No fucking joke here, there are actually people with more coherent and rational beliefs in their head being secured in mental health wards.

Despite being as embedded as you possibly can in the evidence for it, you don’t realise that there’s an entire industry that makes a fortune from retarding your ability to think. You accept this, and refuse to actually exercise your innate abilities to think, question and explore so long as you say the magic words “but I am thinking, questioning and exploring”. No you’re fucking not. If you were, you’d be in my position. You, too, would find yourself locked in a room, actively battling and fighting with people tearing your ideas apart and demanding that you defend them and stand by them and justify every single thing you say. But you’re not. You never will be. Though, let’s be fair to the non-doctorate holding, non-creationists reading this for a brief moment; you don’t even have to be in that position of getting an academic qualification, you just want to be in the position where you’re willing to explore, and learn, and discuss and adapt. You don’t have to have any pieces of paper to be my equal; you just have to have the curiosity and a bit of genuine passion for learning. That alone more than qualifies you.

"The Tyrannosaurus Rex was created to eat plants" - the only reason AiG employs Paul Taylor is because his vaguely English accent makes him sound sophisticated next to Eric Hovind. It can't possibly because he has a functioning cortext.

“The Tyrannosaurus Rex was created to eat plants” – the only reason Creation Today employs Paul Taylor is because his vaguely English accent makes him sound sophisticated next to Eric Hovind. It can’t possibly because he has a functioning cortex.

Creationists, on the other hand, they refuse even that… and worse they think it’s a good thing.

There are a lot of people I think are stupid. Really fucking stupid. I mean, you might think it’s a long way down to the shops, but that’s peanuts compared to this stupid. There are people who think the World Trade Centre wasn’t hit by planes, but by holograms. There are people who think the skies are filled with mind-altering chemicals that can be dispersed – from miles away, no less – by spraying vinegar in the air. There are people who think we’re not being faced with a potential disaster of epic proportions because of how our society has polluted the planet. There are people who think vaccines cause autism and will find any old piece-of-shit evidence to prove it no matter how many times even the mere correlation is disproved. There is serious fucking stupid out there in the wide, dark and idiotic world.

But creationism is something else. It has that industry supporting it and perpetuating it, and it has people who buy into it so willingly. And you, because you think that everything came from nothing in a fucking click of a magic man’s fingers, are part of this. You’re out there derping on daily about something that we, using the entire knowledge collectively gathered by the human race, know is a lie. Honestly, though, you probably think it’s a lie too – but you’re both too damn proud of yourself and too damn proud of your stupidity to admit it. That’s your problem. It’s not about fossils, or genetics, or radiometric dating, it’s about your unwillingness to learn and better yourself. And it always will be.

In conclusion. Fuck you. Go fuck yourself. And may the god you believe in have mercy on your pathetic, idiotic, morally and intellectually bankrupt soul.

How to Stop Sucking at Non-Belief (Part 1)

Because this sort of thing bugs the fuck out of me, I’m going to start a guide to not being an absolute tool (i.e., idiot) in the name of Glorious Atheism. Now, this absolutely positively doesn’t mean “don’t go onto Facebook pages and mouth off” and “be respectful and leave people alone”. Far from it. Ideas need to earn respect, and ones that involve stamping on the rights of innocent people need challenged. Did anyone seriously expect that sort of thing from me?

No? Good.

This is just how to go about it without being an idiot.

As there was a bit too much to really ram into one post, here is Part 1. Each part will present a particular trope I keep seeing, and why you – yes, you – should either stop it or take people to task for using it.

So, on with Part 1, in which we see how an overly-simplistic “is or isn’t” actually gets us nowhere.

Religion is the worst thing in the world ever

People saying that “religion is bad, mmmm’kay?” is a pain in the arse. And yet it crops up constantly.

But the Crusades!

Why is this argument, that religion is entirely and unequivocally harmful, a bad argument? Because it immediately just devolves a conversation into a back-and-forth about which “side” has done less damage in history. It’s like a point of pride that people who think a little bit like you have murdered the least in all of history. It’s like standing up and proclaiming that you have some saintly nature because “hey, that guy gang-raped her three times, I only did it twice!” Horrible analogy? Yes. Yes it is. But it’s exactly what’s going on.

Why else is it bad? Because if you’re going to argue the truth value of something, then its desirability is irrelevant. After all, gravity is very true but falls kill countless people. It would be highly desirable to not have gravity. Conservation of energy is ultimately what kills people every day when they get shot. That’s awful, but it isn’t going to change the universe any time soon. It would also be highly desirable to not have biology, which is fundamentally responsible for 100% of all fatalities ever. In short, who has and hasn’t gone and killed a bunch of people in the past has absolutely no bearing on the subject at all.

Even if you just wanted to argue the sociological aspects of the situations, then it’s simply naive to think religion is 100% responsible for atrocities, and that the lack of it would fix everything. After all, consider the number of deaths attributed to Stalin. “But but but!!” I hear shouted, “But Stalin was an atheist, but didn’t kill in the name of atheism!!” – yes, indeed. That’s my fucking point.

Religions are bad. This is good. Therefore it is not a religion.

The above is just one level, though. What the “religion is bad” trope further assumes is a completely fucked-up worldview, that then leads to malformed questions that gets us zero progress. Specifically, it says: “all religions are bad; so what counts as a religion?” And this particular red-herring leads us down more dark and endless alleys of bullshit that the tit-for-tat described above ever can.

Asking “what counts as a religion” is a completely an arse-first way to go about things because it’s predicated on religion having a nature that is harmful (or, if you’re arguing for it, a nature that is inherently good – both approaches suck). This assumption is tedious bullshit at best. What about Zen Buddhism, is that terribly objectionable? No it isn’t (you can take that one up with Douglas Hofstadter). What about people putting “Jedi” on their census forms? Nope, that neither (even though it is religion). These people aren’t causing harm due to their religion or attachment to something labelled religion. How do you explain this if religion is inherently bad for society?

You see, there are many examples of religion where it a) isn’t harmful or b) is, in fact, helpful. But even that observation is totally beside the point – because it leads us down yet more endless oh-yes-it-is-oh-no-it-isn’t cycles.

The point is actually more about the fact that there’s no real coherent definition of “religion” that people are using when they pull this “religion is bad, mmm’kay?” argument out of their Bucket O’ Zingers. There’s little that objectively separates what you might call “religion” from things like superstition, i.e., being scared of walking under ladders or black cats. There’s even less that separates it from most of politics where you believe, in a fairly unfalsifiable way, that one particular way of life is better than another. Alternatively, if you go by style of behaviour rather than style of belief, then, under a purely resemblance-based analysis, there’s a lot more in common between “religion” and sports fans, or between religion and D&D nerds. Certainly, there’s more in common there than between mainstream organised religion and superstitions, or mainstream organised religions and casual, vague, “something-ism” beliefs in higher powers or spirituality. After all, the latter rarely (if ever) preaches, rarely (if ever) goes to church, and pretty much by definition isn’t associated with a group of murdering psychopaths because they’re not really associated with a group.

And that should give everyone a hint about what the real question that needs to be asked. It shouldn’t be “what is a religion?”, it should be “what aspects of human interaction and grouping is constructive, and what is destructive?” Because that’s what we’re actually looking for. That’s what actually causes the harm. We can see that putting Jedi down on the census doesn’t really cause harm. We can see that ostracising others does cause harm.

Does the group show any signs of: prejudice against out groups? Demanding unquestioning obedience? Pandering to the leadership? Quashing dissent?

Sure, a lot of religion ticks a lot of those boxes. But certainly not every religion or instance of religious-esque woo does, and you’ll quickly note that far more things that aren’t found inside the commonly accepted definition of “religion” also tick those boxes. Once you get that into your head, it becomes clear that “all religion is all bad” is, at the very most, totally misleading and meaningless as a concept.

So fucking well stop with that one already. If you think only “religion” is harmful, and that not being “religious” stops you from causing harm, then you’re pretty much setting yourself up to be suckered into being the next persecuting elite.

Too much Comfort…

Subscribing to Ray Comfort on Facebook was probably a bad idea. There are nearly half a dozen posts on his page a day, ranging from longwinded rants to fairly short and meaningless phrases designed to just make people feel better about believing his own brand of Christianity (aka, the stupid, unthinking variety). There is so much wrong coming out from him that each posts makes me want to go racing to a blog, or comment section, and then dissect it.

Then I realise that it’s probably pointless to do so.

With 100,000+ followers, Ray’s page is the kind where conversation moves fast. By the time even I see the post, it’s amassed 1,000 comments already. A good proportion of them are his followers blinding saying “AMEN”, which I’m sure used to be a nice way to end a prayer, but in this context seems more like a chant of “OBEY, OBEY, OBEY!”

And clearly, his supporters simply are obeying and unthinking, because much of what he says is easy to refute and easily shown to be fallacious. Even a brief moment to stop, step out of a bubble of belief (you’re free to step back into it afterwards), and think about what he says proves it to be stupid.

He tries to defend slavery in the Bible by focusing on debt-slavery (which, apparently, “doesn’t count”, but is certainly in there) but glosses over all other mentions of what the Bible endorses doing to non-Hebrews. He claims that someone using the word “belief” in the context of the phrase “believe in evolution” somehow means it requires faith – but, frankly, saying what’s wrong with that would go well over the heads of anyone involved in the conversation. He also tries to say that someone mentioning that they “hate God” because “God is clearly vile” proves that they think God is real, because, you know, me saying “Joffrey Baratheon is a right cunt” implies I think Joffrey Braratheon is a real person in the real world where real things reside. His most recent jaunt is saying that a US Supreme Court ruling that atheism “is a religion” proves that it is a religion – there’s so much Not Even Wrong about this assertion that I’m not quite sure where to start. Needless to say, it’s probably beyond Comfort and the people (“And the sperm and egg came from where first?”) who follow him.

He has no respect for, or even concept of, the use-mention distinction – any “foul” language, which includes using the acronym “BS” will result in an immediate ban. That, and also the immediate assumption of you being an atheist. I don’t know how many Christians he’s caught in his indiscriminate net, but maybe a good portion of the 700+ people he’s proudly banned.  When he raises the number of people banned, he mentions “posting pornography” as a reason – rather rudely implying that such a thing is a common occurrence, whereas in reality 90% of his blocks are probably for posting nothing more obscene than the word “fart”. By golly gosh.

He will ban people for using the word “banana” – because his most famous video claiming that the banana was an perfect example of intelligent design has been so widely mocked and refuted (yes, the modern banana is, in fact, intelligently designed, because it’s been selectively bred by humans over thousands of years) that he’s resorted to claiming that it was “a joke” or “a stand up routine”. Except the original video is still available online to watch; there’s no sense of “stand up” about it, the original was serious, and there’s even a video attacking atheists for taking it out of context (you can see this “apology video” in here). Ray Comfort repeatedly lies about the nature of that original video, and his followers lap it up and accept this revisionism.

His understanding of atheism and evolution can hardly be called understanding at all. He makes no attempt to even try to understand these completely unrelated ideas, instead conflating them and then making up his own assertions about what they mean. He regularly ignores everyone who tells him otherwise. Instead, when he does find time to respond to someone calling out his bullshit he cherry picks the most minute wording of the least-informed responses and focuses on them instead – managing to make even more simplified straw man arguments out of arguments that weren’t that great to start with (and yes, there are bad arguments for atheism and evolution). I know this because I’ve dropped in very direct questions while he was in the middle of responding to ones around him and been ignored. Perhaps he missed me, or perhaps the word “naturalistic” had too many syllables in it for him to process without having to have a long sit down and a cup of coffee first.

So, in all, Ray Comfort isn’t that bright. I wonder why people bother with him, because although time consuming it’s not difficult to point out the myriad flaws in everything he says. Then you notice; 100,000+ followers; millions of YouTube views; thousands more he speaks to and addresses when invited to speak. People take him seriously. Seriously.

He’s considered one of the best that his “side” has to offer.

He is taken seriously, and referenced by others, like Eric Hovind and Ken Ham, as someone to respect and pay attention to.

A man that demonstrably stupid and dishonest is considered, amongst his followers, a go-to guy for his religion. This isn’t just some random twerp going derp-a-derp into a webcam, to his brand of evangelical Christianity, he is as Dawkins is to evolutionary biology and Hawking is to physics. That’s the single scariest thing I’ve thought of for a while.