Dispatches from the Creation Wars

Folks, I know this is going to be hard to believe but it’s true: I’ve found someone who makes Larry Fafarman seem like Mortimer Adler by comparison. I mean howl at the moon, voices in his head, out of his freaking mind gone. His name is George Shollenberger. He’s one of the roughly 14,000 cranks who thinks he’s found a Scientific Proof of God and has self-published a book explaining his “proof”. And this one, folks, is really really funny. Mark Chu-Carroll has been having some fun with this nut and reviewed his book. He describes it this way:

It’s worse than I expected. Based on reading George’s writing before, I was expecting something bad, very bad. This is beyond mere badness: this is “please oh please stab my eyes out with a rusty steak-knife so that I don’t need to read anymore of it” bad.

Mark was kind enough to transcribe a small portion of the book so you can see just how bad it was. Please note that this transcription is completely accurate; all of the misspellings, punctuational and grammatical errors are in the original, as are the bizarre leaps of logic:

Historians agree that the Middle Ages ended with the work of Nicholas of Cusa. But, they do not tell us that Cusa developed a new and creation theory. Nicholas describes God as the ‘coincidence of all opposites’. Thus, his theory of God is not understood easily by logicians. Logic and its law of contradiction must be used carefully if one expects to unify a theory of God and a theory of creation. But, if one learned how to use logic properly, a person can become a panentheist. A panentheist argues that god is both creator and creature. This duality is the God of Christianity. Nicholas unifies his theory of God and theory of creation with the pair of opposites, identity and difference. All created things this become images of God. I discuss the complex creation theory of Nicholas in detail in Part IIa

After Nicholas’ death, Isaac Newton developed a new creation theory. It was the first mechanical theory of creation. A mechanical theory has no active God. Newton’s theory of God is Deism. Newton’s God must rewind the universe if He decides to create a second universe. In the 17th century, Gottfried Leibniz also develops a new creation theory. His universe has atoms known as monads. I apply his monads in my modern creation theory in Part IV. I call them spritual atoms because they are spirits and form a spiritual-physical universe.

Wow. Double wow. The ability to pack that much nonsense into two paragraphs is astonishing. I’ll give it 850 milli-Hovinds. As it turns out, George really has his panties in a bunch over Mark’s bad review and he’s taken to railing against ScienceBlogs and sending emails to our Seed overlords, which I imagine will provoke much laughter in the office. You really have to read the text of this email to get a full understanding of just how loony this guy is. After noting that Mark had “attacked” his theory and him, he writes:

Since Carroll did not listen to my arguments that the field of mathematics has no access to God through numbers, I started to inform ‘the people’ on my website that our mathematicians are practicing atheism. Then, after I investigated the website, ScienceBlogs, I concluded that all sciences also practice atheism. So, my website is now informing ‘the people’ that mathematicians and scientists are practicing atheism.

I make statements about ‘practicing atheism’ after I discovered the scientific proof of God. I make these statements because both the US Constitution and the Declaration of Independence say that the founders mandated that the USA be a nation under God. In the USA, the practice of atheism is thus illegal.

That’s a great phrase, “practicing atheism.” One wonders how someone practices atheism. He says in a comment on his blog that merely not going to church is not an example of practicing atheism, but he doesn’t bother to say what would constitute practicing atheism. Presumably, he means someone advocating that atheism is true is unconstitutional, but that would be a spectacularly idiotic statement. Yep, that must be what he means.

But the stupidity is not done yet. Wait till you see this bizarre non-sequitur:

Today, both mathematicians and scientists are saying that the universe has an end. This statement is made without any proof. My research shows that this saying is false. The danger of making such statements in any nation is great. For instance, the Muslim’s say that a suicide bomber will be rewarded by God. This saying is false and causes errors in human behavior in the Muslim nations. Saying that the universe has an end causes errors in human behavior in all nations.

Let’s try and write this out in syllogism form, shall we?

Premise: Mathematicians and scientists say the universe has an end.
Premise: Muslims say that suicide bombers will get 72 virgins in heaven.
Conclusion: Therefore, scientists saying the universe has an end causes Muslims to think they’ll get virgins in heaven.

Go ahead, turn in that argument in a sophomore class in philosophy and see what kind of grade you get on it. Statements simply don’t get much more inane than that. I was going to make a snarky comment about how this guy is practicing idiocy, but that would be wrong; clearly, he has perfected it. And for that, he is the winner of April’s Robert O’Brien Trophy as the Idiot of the Month. Congratulations, George!

Comments

  1. #1 llDayo
    April 24, 2007

    I think you need a new award, one for such rank stupidity as to actually be called an obscenity. Maybe name it the Shollenberger Hat Award?

    Then, after I investigated the website, ScienceBlogs, I concluded that all sciences also practice atheism.

    So, he visited ScienceBlogs and from reading there he concludes that all sciences (or should it be scientists?) practice atheism. How do branches of knowledge practice anything? They have no actual intelligence!

  2. #2 Chiefley
    April 24, 2007

    I wonder what he thinks of his tax accountant who, by virtue of using only the laws of arithmetic is by definition practicing atheism.

  3. #3 Fastlane
    April 24, 2007

    I don’t ‘practice’ atheism…

    …I perfected it long ago. :-)

    Cheers.

  4. #4 Jason I.
    April 24, 2007

    I started to inform ‘the people’ on my website that our mathematicians are practicing atheism

    All of my math teachers and professors at U of D High and U of D Mercy will be definitely shocked by this. Especially since two of them were Catholic priests. Those darn atheist Catholic prie…wait…

  5. #5 Phil
    April 24, 2007

    Many years ago, back in the day of mimeo-published newsletters, my address somehow wound up in the hands of a crank who used to rail at length about how the mathematical establishment wouldn’t look at his wondrous proofs, like his ability to trisect an arbitrary angle with only a compass and a straightedge. In those days, cranks had to go through a considerable effort to get their works into the hands of the world.

    Today, the Internet has lowered the publishing bar for everybody. Mr. Shollenberger is living proof.

  6. #6 Wes
    April 24, 2007

    To be fair to George: As PZ points out on his blog, George has brain damage from a stroke. Given the incoherence of his writing, the disconnectedness of his thoughts, and just the general hostility he’s exhibiting, I believe it. He seems a lot like a Larry Fafarman or a Gene Ray.

    I actually kind of feel a little bad for him, and others like him. Getting through life with a brain that just can’t compute what’s going on around you would be very frustrating and crushing. When I saw the TimeCube website, it was like reading the writing of a guy who’s lashing out at a world he fears because he can’t even begin to comprehend it. I kinda get that feeling with George Shollenberger too. His thoughts are so broken and disconnected, and his language skills so poor, it’s like he’s been cut off from communicating with others, and now he’s just kinda lashing out like a wounded animal.

  7. #7 David Durant
    April 24, 2007

    > To be fair to George: As PZ points out on his blog, George
    > has brain damage from a stroke.

    Something like that was the first thing I assumed when I read the above. A friend of mine has periodic bouts of serious mental illness and sounds quite like that on occasion.

    Yes, there are a lot of downright idiots out there. Worse, there are many just plain political and money grabbing opportunists. These are obviously legitimate (and fun!) targets. However, more often than not, those really really out on the edge have some kind of mental illness and there’s not much we can do or say about them.

  8. #8 Wes
    April 24, 2007

    Yes, there are a lot of downright idiots out there. Worse, there are many just plain political and money grabbing opportunists. These are obviously legitimate (and fun!) targets. However, more often than not, those really really out on the edge have some kind of mental illness and there’s not much we can do or say about them.

    Exactly. That’s an important distinction to make. William Dembski (lying fraud), for example, isn’t in the same category as George Shollenberger (mentally deranged).

  9. #9 Paul Schofield
    April 24, 2007

    I was glancing at his blog and came across this.

    “When a person says that it is great and safe to build a nation with a melting pot of people, that person does not know anything about the nature of the human mind. The person who killed 32 people at Virginia Tech yesterday was known for his violent writings and was a 23-year old Korean citizen, whose name was Cho SeungpHui. See pic. He thus had a Korean MINDSET, not an American MINDSET. I argue that this difference was the primary cause of Virginia Tech’s deaths. More specifically, the Korean God is very different from the American God. This difference is one reason why the Korean MINDSET is different from the American MINDSET. And, in general, the Korean culture is different from the American culture. The differences of these two cultures hold explosive potentials.

    So, police departments and criminologists, please do not look any further for the cause of this Virginia event. Instead, work for the USA to develop the true American MINDSET so it will have no criminal potentials. Do this work in the memory of Virginia Tech’s lost children. This work would make the American MINDSET even more moral compared to what it is today. This means that US atheists must be asked to convert and foreigners must be asked to build their own nation.

    A melting pot of people will never be a happy group of people.”

  10. #10 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 24, 2007

    I’ve been sparing with old Georgie for a while now and I can guarantee that he’s not all there.

    For the longest time I wanted to know why if he had the greatest proof of all time that he was going to force you to buy his book to find out what it was. You’d think just the proof alone would bring him any fame and or fortunes he was seeking. It was obvious he was another hack in a long line of hacks. I always assumed there was something working on him that was causing his disjointed way of reasoning. I assumed it was the onset of some older person’s affliction but the revelation that he has some brain damage as a result of a stroke confirms it.

    If you want a good laugh check out his Amazon listing of his book The First Scientific Proof of God or more importantly all the writing he’s done on the Amazon blog. The conspiracies theories fly free, fast and frankly insanely on why he thinks there are no reviews of it.

  11. #11 David Durant
    April 24, 2007

    Wes said:
    > Exactly. That’s an important distinction to make. William
    > Dembski (lying fraud), for example, isn’t in the same
    > category as George Shollenberger (mentally deranged).

    Actually, there is a whole other category – those that are just too plain lazy to bother to learn anything about the subjects they speak (often loudly) about. Ref the person in the VA gravestone thread and equating Wicca with devil worship.

  12. #12 Leni
    April 24, 2007

    Phil Schofield: Holy crap.

    Apparently he’s deranged and and a complete asshole.

  13. #13 Matthew Young
    April 24, 2007

    Well I’ve been ‘practising atheism’ for many years and I’m fucking brilliant at it now.

    Boom-tish!

  14. #14 Matthew Young
    April 24, 2007

    Bollocks, sorry Gretchen.

  15. #15 Jesus
    April 24, 2007

    “I apply his monads”

    Next internet meme?

    (mmmm, monads)

  16. #16 Reality Czech
    April 24, 2007

    I wonder what he thinks of his tax accountant who, by virtue of using only the laws of arithmetic is by definition practicing atheism.

    Can’t be.  Taxes are satanic. not atheistic.

  17. #17 grasshopper
    April 24, 2007

    monads = nomads = desert wanderers = arabs = islam = a half-score of virgins. QED.

  18. #18 Engineer-Poet
    April 24, 2007

    You mean a half-gross.

    Unfortunately, there is nothing half-gross about the actions of today’s “martyrs”.

  19. #19 zydborg
    April 24, 2007

    I think he falls into the category of people whom it is wrong to mock rather than that of people who are fair game.

  20. #20 Uncle Joe
    April 25, 2007

    Yes, people who propose insane “proofs” for God are obviously insane.

    They need to be locked up.

  21. #21 Greg
    April 25, 2007

    Just a silly quibble. I don’t think you’ve translated his argument correctly. Here’s how I would do it:

    P1: Mathematicians/Scientists (“M+S”) say the world has an end.
    P2: The world does not have an end.
    P3 (sub-conclusion 1): M+S believe something false.

    P4: Muslims believe suicide bombers will get virgins.
    P5: This is false
    P6 (sub-conclusion 2): The false Muslim belief causes the suicide bombings

    P7: It is valid to compare M+S to Muslims (If Muslims exhibit a trait, then M+S will as well)

    Conclusion: M+S false belief is dangerous.

    Basically, at its heart, it’s a false comparison, but his argument falters at almost every step. I agree, though, that he’s packed a lot of stuff into that one paragraph of nonsense!

  22. #22 quork
    April 26, 2007

    Best-selling Author Will ‘Prove’ God’s Existence

    ABC to Air LIVE Atheist Debate with Kirk Cameron and Ray Comfort
    .
    MEDIA ADVISORY, April 26 /Christian Newswire/ — After ABC ran a story in January about hundreds of atheists videotaping themselves blaspheming the Holy Spirit, best-selling author Ray Comfort contacted the network and offered to prove God’s existence, absolutely, scientifically, without mentioning the Bible or faith. He and Kirk Cameron (co-hosts of an award-winning Christian TV program) challenged the two originators of the “Blasphemy Challenge” to a debate on the existence of God. According to Comfort, he and Cameron (an ex-atheist) are qualified to debate on the subject. Comfort had not only written a book titled “God Doesn’t Believe in Atheists”, but had spoken at Yale on the subject of atheism, and been flown by American Atheists, Inc., to their 2001 annual convention to be a platform speaker.
    .
    ABC loved the idea, and will host a debate in New York City on May 5, 2007. Moderated by Martin Bashir, the debate will be streamed LIVE on their website and will also be filmed for “Nightline.”
    .
    Cameron (“Growing Pains” sitcom and Left Behind movies) will speak on what he believes is a major catalyst for atheism: Darwinian evolution. The popular actor stated, “Evolution is unscientific. In reality, it is a blind faith that’s preached with religious zeal as the gospel truth. I’m embarrassed to admit that I was once a na├»ve believer in the theory. The issue of intelligent design is extremely relevant at the moment. Atheism has become very popular in universities–where it’s taught that we evolved from animals and that there are no moral absolutes. So we shouldn’t be surprised when there are school shootings. Cameron will also reveal what it was that convinced him that God did exist.

  23. #23 Dylan
    April 28, 2007

    I have been following some of the postings on this so- called “intelligent” book review group. I opine that here is a group of “boys” who have failed to grow up and have no respect for their elders or anyone else who disagrees with them!!
    Also, I would like to take the opportunity to tell Markcc, Brayton and all who read the Good Math,Bad Math blog that I am sure beyond a shadow of a doubt that Mr. Shollenberger would thank you, his publisist would thank you ,his family would thank you for all the great publicity from Google. You have made George Shollenberger a household name!!!
    What a great bunch of “reviewers” Hot Dog!!!!

  24. #24 Ed Brayton
    April 28, 2007

    I find it interesting, Dylan, that you don’t say a single word about whether his ideas are even coherent, much less true and supportable.

  25. #25 kehrsam
    April 28, 2007

    Dylan forgot to mention that Mr. Shollenberger is eagerly awaiting receit of the Award, Ed. He’s cleared a spot on the mantle and everything.

  26. #26 Dylan
    April 29, 2007

    In answer to your query in regards to Mr Shollenberger’s comments on the blog,if you were so intelligent ,you wouldn’t have to ask a question like this….just read the same books he has researched,spend as many years as he has said he has in writing and researching his book,,,give me a break,all you so-called “intelligent” book reviewers. I have read many of the books Mr. Shollenberger has quoted on his blog so I know of what he speaks and respect him for it. I will not bring myself down to the level of disrespect as I read from your blog and the good math ,bad math blog. What a farce!!!

  27. #27 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 29, 2007

    Dylan you keep believing Shollenberger’s drivel while the rest of us move on to more interesting and factual reading material.

    Hes a hack and you’ve done nothing to prove any differently. Just read some of the disturbingly disjointed writing on his blog. He redefines words whenever it suits him. There is no way to pin him down on any of his mistakes because he then just claims that the critique is incorrect because it doesn’t understand the way he’s redefined a word that the rest of humanity defines completely different. The fact you actually think anything he’s written is informative or some new discovery is telling. He’s a hack with a well developed sense of self worth and too much time on his hands. His “work” is nothing but an exercise in moving language goalposts and deflection. I think his recent admission of some brain damage he suffered answers a number of questions.

    By the way Ed, he’s written “a blog” (using his term for a post) on the award.

  28. #28 Dylan
    April 29, 2007

    It is past time to keep ragging on a man who is way out of your catagorie. You have abased his name,his writings, his mentality and the book review you base your writings on,Mr. Brayton (from big dumb chimp) is pure drivel! I believe Mr Shollenberger is a very well educated man,possibly way beyond today’s “deliquents” who think they are well informed but from the gutter language used by some of these intelligent (supposedly) bloggers,they wouldn’t know how to phrase a full sentence without cursing. Tells you who has the “brain damage”.
    Enough said!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  29. #29 doctorgoo
    April 29, 2007

    I noticed from his book cover that George Shollenberger’s middle initial is ‘D’.

    By any chance, is this ‘D’ for Dylan?

  30. #30 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 29, 2007

    Oh I’m sure Mr. Shollenberger is well read, but the problem is he does a poor job interpreting what he reads. Then there is the 400 Lbs. Gorilla of George’s dishonesty in his writings. He chooses to redefine words therefor eliminating any chance of being held accountable for much of what he writes. He always has the out (although it is a false protection) that we just don’t understand the way he defines a certain word even if it is contrary to how the rest of the English speaking world defines it. He’s a liar who’s mammoth pride shows through in how he continues to change the rules on how his babble speak is judged. The conclusions he comes to are based on nothing but the disjointed logic (he redefines that words as well) he uses and have zero basis in reality. He’s a confused old man.

    Lets not forget the slimy way he blames the Korean MINDSET (his language again) on the Virginia Tech shootings. He’s not just a egotistical liar, he’s a contemptible ghoul (thanks PZ).

    I doubt Dylan is Shollenberger, but I could be wrong. Shollenberger would have mentioned his First Scientific Proof of God at least three times already and how it will change all the ways of thinking in the world.

  31. #31 Dylan
    April 30, 2007

    To the Monday morning arm-chair slueths (doctorgoo or should I say Magoo?) and bigdumbchimp…….wrong again,as usual! No connection but thanks for the compliment. If he is a confused old man ,I hope to God I’m as confused when I reach his age!!! Try borrowing bigdumbchimp’s book of Mr. Shollenberger’s and read for yourself,Mr. Brayton, but ,of course,I don’t think bigdumbchimp can afford to buy the book,since he’s always saying Mr. shollenberger is a “money grubber” or some such nonsense. This book is not a novel to be exploited and made fun of,it’s a book for intellectuals so I guess I can assume you guys won’t be reading it anytime soon. I’ve said my piece and I wish Mr. Shollenberger all the best in any future endeavors.

  32. #32 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 30, 2007

    I don’t think bigdumbchimp can afford to buy the book,since he’s always saying Mr. shollenberger is a “money grubber” or some such nonsense.

    Talking out of your ass again I see. I also see you failed to address anything I said. Shollenberger’s whole “Proof” and his following explanations of said vomit… I mean “proof” are an exercise in redefining words to suit his ideas which are build on logic that even a creationist wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole.

    Ok that’s a little strong, a creationist would probably.

    This book is not a novel to be exploited and made fun of,it’s a book for intellectuals so I guess I can assume you guys won’t be reading it anytime soon.

    No this is a book for cranks, written by a Grade A crank and should be discussed and mode fun of as such.

    To borrow some definitions from the new guys on the science blogs block.

    This fits Mr. Shollenberger perfectly, and you are apparently a hack groupie so…

    1. Cranks overestimate their own knowledge and ability, and underestimate that of acknowledged experts. [Check]

    2. Cranks insist that their alleged discoveries are urgently important.[Check]

    3. Cranks rarely if ever acknowledge any error, no matter how trivial.[Check]

    4. Cranks love to talk about their own beliefs, often in inappropriate social situations, but they tend to be bad listeners, and often appear to be uninterested in anyone else’s experience or opinions.[Check]

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