Dispatches from the Creation Wars

The JoMo Creationist Challenge, Take 3

The saga of Joseph Mastrapaolo’s $10,000 challenge to evolutionary scientists continues. As I noted a few days ago, the True.Origins webpage removed the “debate dodgers” article that so childishly attacked evolutionary scholars who didn’t respond to their already-defeated challenge to prove their case in a court of law (though I recently found another version of the article here). I sent an e-mail to Tim Wallace, who runs True.Origins, and asked why it was removed. He replied that it was removed due to “questions about the potential legitimacy of the debate challenge itself”. He didn’t spell out what those questions were, but I assume they are the same questions I raised about the legitimacy of the challenge recently. I would hope it was also due to the obviously juvenile and ridiculous nature of the article, but then one is forced to wonder why on earth it was posted in the first place. It didn’t become any less mature and rational between the day it was posted and the day it was yanked. But as it turns out, the issuers of the challenge will not be daunted by their fellow creationist’s decision to pull the article.

My friend Wilfred Elders, an emeritus geology professor from UC-Riverside, was issued the challenge by Karl Priest, the man behind the sending of e-mail challenges cited in the True.Origins article that was pulled. I’m not sure whether Priest sees himself as Mastrapaolo’s business manager, or perhaps as Tonto to JoMo’s Lone Ranger, but he appears to be the one who spends his time scouring webpages to find anyone who speaks out in favor of evolution to which he can drop the proverbial gauntlet. Dr. Elders, as you can well imagine, took the challenge about as seriously as everyone else who has received it, which is to say, not at all. And despite having his first attempt to crow like a cock on a dunghill removed from the web even by his friends, Mr. Priest is predictably at it again. Herewith, his latest bit of childish nonsense:

Subject: Elders Faces Reality
To: Wilfred Elders

Dear Dr. Elders:

You have defaulted. Your honor should compel you to retract your efforts to censor the Grand Canyon book by Tom Vail. Also, you should publicly admit that:

(1) evolution has been exposed as pagan Cebelese religion as practiced in Greece 2,500 years ago,
(2) evolution is completely absent in the universe today, always has been, always will be,
(3) every item associated with humans, animals and plants are creations, always have been, always will be,
(4) creation is science because it is observable by billions of people trillions of times, always has been, always will be, and
(5) You refuse to defend your ideas in a debate for $10,000.00.

You will now be listed as a Debate Dodger and one who agrees that evolution exists only in your imagination.

Sincerely,
Karl Priest

Well it’s nice to know that he “sincerely” utters such banalities (a “pagan Cebelese religion”? I’ll take “words that don’t exist” for $1000, Alex). Here’s the thing that I have to wonder….are there really people out there who find this sort of junior-high-school braying to be in any way a compelling argument? Are there really people out there so deluded that they’ll think, “Wow, a scientist I’ve never heard of refused to debate a scientific issue in a legal forum that wouldn’t host such a debate in the first place. Evolution is a scam!”? The answer, unfortunately, appears to be yes. At the very least, Mr. Mastrapaolo and Mr. Priest seem to think that this is a rational statement to make. And for a few days, at least, Tim Wallace did as well.