Pharyngula

We’ve got a live one!

Some of you may be reluctant to delve into the fiery melee that are the Pharyngula comments, but you’re missing a very entertaining battle. We had a creationist named Steven pop by last night to offer his, um, opinions. Here’s a brief summary of some of his sillier claims.

  • Darwin was a racist.

  • Christianity never supported slavery.

  • The 15th and 16th century slave trade was driven by the Dutch and Portugese, who were not Christian.

  • Scientists were responsible for the slave trade, not Christians.

  • Robert E. Lee converted to Christianity late in life — he was an atheist! He became an abolitionist after he became a Christian.

  • Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson ran for the presidency of the Confederate States of America on the platform of abolition.

  • Georgia was an abolitionist state.

  • American slaves were better off here than they were in Africa. Slavery was good for them.

  • Hitler was an atheist. The Holocaust was the product of Darwinist teaching.

  • Oh, yeah…evolution is false. The infall of cosmic dust to earth means that, if the earth were millions of years old, it ought to be touching the sun. Sedimentary layers at Mt St Helens. Snail shells give incorrect carbon dates. Nebraska man. Cro-Magnon man looks human. Harris and Klebold, those famous biologists, were bad people. Bombardier beetles. It’s like the Index to Creationist Claims was written for this guy.

Oh, and he’s very confident of his claims, and is bragging about how he’s defeating all of us mental midgets.

The stupid is radiating off that thread in eyeball-melting waves, but we so rarely get the classic creationists with IQs that limbo that low in here anymore that I thought some of you might want to join in the feeding frenzy.

Comments

  1. #1 Dave S.
    February 21, 2008

    If slavery was good for them, then why wasn’t it being supported by Christians?

  2. #2 Caveat
    February 21, 2008

    Actually, I think the Confeds are much more like the Italians than the French in terms of not winning. You know how it goes:

    “We had them last time, it’s your turn”

    “How about best of three?”

    “No way, we aren’t taking them, it’s definitely your turn”.

    Vive la Resistance!

    And about Christians and slavery, um….

    http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/ex/21.html#28

    h/t Sadly, No!

  3. #3 Arctic Oak
    February 21, 2008

    Ooof. I can’t tell which is worse, your creationist’s denial of basic historical facts or that you are likely reinforcing his notion that all scientists have fangs with this schoolyard intellectual bullying.

  4. #4 Jefe
    February 21, 2008

    How can we combat such ignorance, incorrectness, and just plain assumptive stupidity?

  5. #5 Matt Penfold
    February 21, 2008

    “Ooof. I can’t tell which is worse, your creationist’s denial of basic historical facts or that you are likely reinforcing his notion that all scientists have fangs with this schoolyard intellectual bullying.”

    No one asked Steven to turn up and start spouting his rubbish. He managed that all on his own, although I think he must have someone else turn the PC on for him. And quite honestly when you come across some as stupid as Steven, who clearly has decided that things like evidence do not matter, then there is no point in trying to educate or inform them. You see, there in lies the difference. If I, PZ, or MAJeff, or anyone of a large number of regular commentators was to get something factual wrong and have it pointed out to us by others then we would acknowledge our error. The likes of Steven will just insist even more loudly that black really is white.

  6. #6 Reginald Selkirk
    February 21, 2008

    #10 Braxton Thomason: TTT, I don’t intend to sympathize with Confederate apologists, as I find them disgusting, but it was hardly “constant defeat”.

    Um-hmmm. Which war were they in that they did not lose?

  7. #7 David Marjanovi?, OM
    February 21, 2008

    TTT, you might want to learn a bit of French history… the stereotype doesn’t even exist outside the USA…

    Shit, I went to bed too early last night.

    LOL! Someone was still wrong…

  8. #8 CalGeorge
    February 21, 2008

    My favorite: “The whole issue of slavery came about as a result of the Civil War. It was politics.”

    What a maroon.

  9. #9 Dianne
    February 21, 2008

    Which war were they in that they did not lose?

    Texas won the war it fought to maintain slavery (aka the Texas Revolution). It was only when they got stuck with the loser eastern states that they started having problems…

  10. #10 Lilly de Lure
    February 21, 2008

    This, at best, seems like an exercise in futility and, at worst, the very type of intellectual elitism that creates Stevens worldwide.

    Erm no, ignorance coupled with arrogance, bone-headed stupidity, a repellent polico/religious agenda and a refusal to admit when one’s errors are laid bare is what makes Steven the epic idiot we now roundly mock. He needs no additional help from us.

    Also spare me the canard about “bad education”. that certain has helped produce him, but he is not exactly overly keen to educate himself is he – his entire skreed was merely to attempt to de-educate us!

  11. #11 Rey Fox
    February 21, 2008

    “that you are likely reinforcing his notion that all scientists have fangs with this schoolyard intellectual bullying.”

    “This, at best, seems like an exercise in futility* and, at worst, the very type of intellectual elitism that creates Stevens worldwide.”

    Oh for crying… I simply can’t wrap my mind around the notion that we should be all cuddly and nice to people as willfully ignorant and obtuse as Steven. Would it really do one lick of good? More likely, it would just give them the notion that their ideas actually carry weight. It’s that sort of touchy-feely nonsense that has allowed the current state of affairs where everyone’s opinion, no matter how wrong their facts may be and especially if it’s backed with some sort of religious conviction, has to be respected, and you get huge swaths of the populace that will never truly contribute to human knowledge as a result.

    In other words, YES, we are elitists. Science is elitist. Could we just unequivocally state that and move on?

    And if you scroll up in that thread, you can read the discussion that several posters (including the oft-caustic Ichthyic) have with Sonny, one who admits his ignorance and comes to us in good faith, and is given lots of helpful information and links and very little of the infamous attitude. We can be respectful. But you have to earn it.

    * Truth be told, I’m a little disappointed that people went along with his slavery shuck ‘n’ jive right off the bat when it was the mother of all tangential points with regards to Darwin and evolution. But I guess when someone on the internet is Wrong…

  12. #12 Matt Penfold
    February 21, 2008

    “We didn’t create Steven. He was created by a long-standing sense of grievance among certain segments of the Southern population, segments that revere the Confederacy and their “Southern Heritage,” and that hold slavery was a benign institution that benefitted blacks, as was Jim Crow. He was created by racists nurturing a sense of being deprived of their rightful place by the disgusting Yankees and “nigger-lovers.” He was created by a malignant religious fundamentalism. He was created by a political class actively fomenting those grievances and refusing to provide adequate education or economic opportunities to its populace.”

    And on top of all that, if we take his word for it he went to university, he has clearly decided that he has nothing to learn from anyone. One can sympathise with people who are disadvantaged because of their upbringing. It is harder to sympathise when they refuse help to overcome that upbringing.

  13. #13 Kseniya
    February 21, 2008

    (One day, in some better future, everyone will suck at war.)

    Good points, Rey, and you’ve saved me the trouble of bringing up Ichthy’s dialogue with Sonny. While I appreciate and share Oak’s general preference for civility, the notion that Steven was “created” by the very distain his aggressive ignorance engenders is at best paradoxical. You might as well argue that his smugly arrogant disinformation campaign creates this so-called “elite.” When you boil it down, who’s wrong, and who’s perpetuating the culture war, of which the “ahistorical” thread is a symptom? Us? Or Them?

    I hate to break it up into tribal camps like that, but there is a dividint line. They are welcome to cross it. They are invited to cross it. We beg them to cross it. They refuse. And that’s our fault? I don’t think so.

  14. #14 Arctic Oak
    February 21, 2008

    I agree with MA Jeff. I should say, I think derisive intellectual elitism helps to create the Stevens of the world.

    Have you honestly not watched someone’s pricked insecurities about class, education, etc. cause them a basic total meltdown in reason? I say, if give the option to insult someone’s intelligence, pass. At least if the best retort you have is, “You’re stupid.”

    The most intelligent people I know are capable of being witty without making someone else feel like something the cat dragged in.

  15. #15 True Bob
    February 21, 2008

    Another note for the French – they showed up for the US Revolutionary War, didn’t they? Even without the most altruistic motives, that’s pretty damn good from my perspective.

    And as for fair treatment of trolls…

    I don’t recall any posters getting a “you moron” response at first. There’s a period of Myers’ Army attempting to communicate and educate, which the trollster ignores while continuing to spout the same garbage (or embellish with additional red herrings and lies). Then they are reminded of the things they didn’t answer or the lies they wrote. After a few iterations, they get the overdue verbal smackdown.

    Gotta love the “[stamping feet]Respect me or I won’t respect you” routine.

  16. #16 Steven Carr
    February 21, 2008

    A creationist named Steve?

    That makes one Steve who is a creationist, as opposed to the many Steve’s who are professional biologists and teach evolution.

    As for Hitler, I think Steve could learn a lesson from Hitler in how to doubt Darwin.

    From Hitler’s Tischgespraeche for 1942 ‘Woher nehmen wir das Recht zu glauben, der Mensch sei nicht von Uranfaengen das gewesen , was er heute ist? Der Blick in die Natur zeigt uns, dass im Bereich der Pflanzen und Tiere Veraenderungen und Weiterbildungen vorkommen. Aber nirgends zeigt sich innherhalb einer Gattung eine Entwicklung von der Weite des Sprungs, den der Mensch gemacht haben muesste, sollte er sich aus einem affenartigen Zustand zu dem, was er ist, fortgebildet haben.’

    And in the entry for 27 February 1942 , Hitler says ‘Das, was der Mensch von dem Tier voraushat, der veilleicht wunderbarste Beweis fuer die Ueberlegenheit des Menschen ist, dass er begriffen hat, dass es eine Schoepferkraft geben muss.’

    Many creationists say the same , of course, but they are only parroting Hitler.

  17. #17 aporeticus
    February 21, 2008

    Wow, Steven had a total freebie with Thomas Jefferson owning slaves AND being non-Christian. But wait! This is a Christian nation, so our founding fathers were all Christian, so he couldn’t possibly have owned slaves.

  18. #18 Matt Penfold
    February 21, 2008

    “Wow, Steven had a total freebie with Thomas Jefferson owning slaves AND being non-Christian. But wait! This is a Christian nation, so our founding fathers were all Christian, so he couldn’t possibly have owned slaves.”

    I think he was doing a Gish Gallop, spewing out more crap than the available brooms could handle.

  19. #19 Forrest Prince
    February 21, 2008

    Why point out and ridicule the likes of Steven and the lunacy he espouses? Maybe because it’s just good, clean fun. After all, aren’t we rationalists otherwise just a boring bunch of academic elites?

    Um, not so much, at least not in my case. I attended junior college, but never completed my Associate’s degree. I scarcely qualify as an academic elite by any sense of the term. I do consider myself to be educated, though, and I enjoy learning new things on a daily basis. I really enjoy science and philosophy and politics and recreation. I like having fun, and at the risk of being accused of tooting my own horn I can calmly state that my friends and family do not find me boring. Rational and logical to their frustration sometimes, but not boring.

    One of the other ways I have fun is reading blogs and posting comments, like here. And when I encounter the Stevens of this world and his detractors, I usually end up getting a good laugh out of it, if at his expense. But, he’s the one who set himself up for it, so I say let him have it. And have fun doing it.

  20. #20 Dave
    February 21, 2008

    Re: French Military Failures

    I think this thing got started because France didn’t want to participate in the invasion of Iraq. They certainly carried their weight in WWI and WWII.

    Iraq certainly gave it a big boost, but the meme was out there for quite sometime before that. I think it came about as an unfair reaction to French performance in WWII: think Maginot Line, early surrender and the cooperation of some. In particular, I recall that there was an expectation that Vichy French forces in North Africa would switch sides and support the Allies during Operation Torch, but didnt. As that was the first American fighting of the war, I expect it left a poor taste in the mouths of many Americans.

  21. #21 Hairy Doctor Professor
    February 21, 2008

    You can forgive France a lot for giving the world Brie, Roquefort, Champagne, Armangac ……. . Grits somehow do not cut it.

    Let’s not be dissing grits, there, son. That’s comfort food. (Sorry to be late, got caught up in traffic. Did I miss anything?)

  22. #22 Leni
    February 21, 2008

    Feynmaniac #66 wrote:

    I have never heard anyone cite a statue. I’d love to see that citation in an essay: “(1) A national monument”.

    ROFL!

    Although it’s more like “(1) A national monument. I think. I’m pretty sure, anyway.”

  23. #23 Stanton
    February 21, 2008

    I am stunned that the South’s culinary contributions are so slighted.

    Cajun cuisine
    Sweetea (it’s not just tea with sugar added)
    Cornpone
    Anything Peanut
    and most importantly

    DEEP FRYING!

    I wonder if it’s possible to deepfry a turduckhen?

  24. #24 June
    February 21, 2008

    Translation Of #60

    “Whence do we get the right to believe that man was not from his very beginnings that what he is today? A look at nature shows us that, in the realm of the plants and animals, changes and adaptations happen. But no development is shown, inside a species, that includes a leap as large as man would have had to make to evolve from some apelike state to what he is today.”

    “One advantage that man has over the animal, perhaps the most wonderful proof for the superiority of man, is that he has grasped that there must be a creating force.”

  25. #25 True Bob
    February 21, 2008

    You can bake, grill or smoke a turducken, but don’t even think about trying to fry one. Many people think that a Cajun style deep fried turducken would be the ultimate feast; however, because the bird is stuffed and doesn’t have any bones to support itself in the fryer, it’s not practical.

    http://www.cajungrocer.com/fresh-foods-holiday-dishes-turducken-c-1_15_24.html

    Well, if you can’t deep fry a turducken, there is no god.

  26. #26 True Bob
    February 21, 2008

    You can bake, grill or smoke a turducken, but don’t even think about trying to fry one. Many people think that a Cajun style deep fried turducken would be the ultimate feast; however, because the bird is stuffed and doesn’t have any bones to support itself in the fryer, it’s not practical.

    http://www.cajungrocer.com/fresh-foods-holiday-dishes-turducken-c-1_15_24.html

    Well, if you can’t deep fry a turducken, there is no god.

  27. #27 Tony Jeremiah
    February 21, 2008

    Darwin was a racist.

    Hitler was an atheist. The Holocaust was the product of Darwinist teaching.

    It would be more historically accurate to say that Darwin was an atheist and Hitler was a racist, and that the Holocaust was due to Hitler’s teachings.

    Scientists were responsible for the slave trade, not Christians.

    Christianity never supported slavery.

    American slaves were better off here than they were in Africa. Slavery was good for them

    If we assume the obviously morally reprehensible last premise to be true, that would, technically, make scientists better.

    Robert E. Lee converted to Christianity late in life — he was an atheist! He became an abolitionist after he became a Christian.

    Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson ran for the presidency of the Confederate States of America on the platform of abolition.

    Robert E. Lee lived from 1807-1870. The abolitionist movement began to take flight around 1833 (reference point being The American Anti-Slavery society–founded by Christians?) possibly earlier, with the Emancipation Proclamation issued by Abraham Lincoln in 1863. If he converted to Christianity late in life, he most likely was an abolitionist before becoming a Christian, given that a primary purpose of the Confederate side of the civil war was to end slavery.

  28. #28 Rey Fox
    February 21, 2008

    “I got tired of explaining to students that the reason the plot was so weak in A Social History of the Machine Gun or Designing Engineers is that there wasn’t one because the books were not fiction.”

    You…you’re shitting me.

  29. #29 Pierce R. Butler
    February 21, 2008

    June @ 91: Thanks!

    Norman Doering @ 97: From reading several biographies, I’m persuaded that Hitler was sincere regarding his stated belief in what he called “Providence”, which he thought was guiding and protecting him. In his public statements, he cited Christian ideology & precedent over and over, as well as cultivating the support of the Catholic hierarchy and Lutheran leaders at every opportunity. In that he was plainly deceptive, as shown by later attempts to displace established Protestant churches with a national church (a rather half-hearted effort, by his standards).

    Here are a couple of excerpts from Richard Steigmann-Gall’s The Holy Reich: Nazi Conceptions of Christianity, 1919-1945:

    “Hitler’s own religious views underwent significant change in the latter half of the Third Reich. He gave up on the Protestant Church after three failed attempts to achieve unity within its ranks. It is only in the period after this failure that we begin to see some of the anti-Christian remarks for which he is so famous. … Whereas Hitler insisted as late as 1938 that he still believed in the party’s positive Christianity, on other occasions his tone was very different. In December 1939, for example, Goebbels noted in his diary that ‘The Führer is deeply religious, but entirely anti-Christian. He regards Christianity as a symptom of decay.’” – pg 252

    “In July 1941 he [Hitler] allegedly condemned the religion he had previously esteemed: ‘The heaviest blow that ever struck humanity was the coming of Christianity; Bolshevism is Christianity’s illegitimate child. Both are inventions of the Jews.’ … Hitler continued to hold Jesus in high esteem. On one such occasion, he proclaimed: ‘The Galilean, who later was called the Christ, intended something quite different. He must be regarded as a popular leader who took up his position against Jewry. . . . He set Himself against Jewish capitalism, and that is why the Jews liquidated Him.’ This interpretation of Jesus – as the messenger of a new belief who had been betrayed by a corrupt establishment – was remarkably consistent with the remarks Hitler made about the churches in the Kampfzeit. Hitler showed no willingness to give up on the figure of Jesus, whose status as an Aryan remained unquestioned: ‘It is certain that Jesus was not a Jew.’” – pg 254

  30. #30 Evi S.
    February 21, 2008

    While understanind the frasturation in dealing with some of these close-minded comments, offering a feast of lower IQ creationist isn’t really doing much to better the landscape or foster an open-minded valley of pushing the frontiers of science in everyday life.

    You are making every reader that sympathizes with you sound like a VULTURE, not exactly a very positive and constructive way to pass on our messages and try to better the way we think about the world.

  31. #31 True Bob
    February 21, 2008

    …given that a primary purpose of the Confederate side of the civil war was to end prolong slavery.

    Fixed it for you.

  32. #32 Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    February 21, 2008

    We had a creationist named Steven pop

    Excuse me, wouldn’t that be “poop”?

    As I recall from my science studies at a what shall be nameless University in Washington, D.C., I was taught as fact, not theory, that the earth is millions or billions of years old.

    I knew better than to question my professor, for to do so would have earned me an F. But I never did get any of my questions answered, so I will ask now and hold my peace.

    If it is true that the earth gains mass annually, and it is millions, or billions (whichever sounds more grandiose) old, then why aren’t we touching the sun by now?

    If it is true that it takes thousands, perhaps millions, of years for sedimentary layers to form, why did I see several sedimentary layers form in one afternoon when Mt. Saint Helen’s erupted?

    Oh oh, I know those! (So maybe I will get something higher than “F”.)

    - Any educator is happy to answer questions. But asking if it isn’t a fact that earth is 4.54 Ga (give or take a couple of million years) is pointless so stupid, and would indeed point to an “F” grade. Rather, ask for the evidence itself.

    - You will ask, but you will not listen to the answers, nor hold your peace.

    - IIRC it is really a net gain, allowing for atmospheric loss (IIRC mostly sputtering by diverse fluxes of ions) and meteoric gain. But to IIRC reverse a calculation refuting a creationist claiming that a small amount of water would give even a layer of molecules on Earth surface, even less the substantial thickness he claimed: it won’t be much, Earth is big.

    Say that Earth gains 100 thousand ton per year of mass, i.e. 10^8 kg/y.

    At a mean circumference of 40 000 km (basis for the initial km standard) we would have Earth as a sphere with radius ~ 6 400 km and a volume ~ 1*10^21 m^3. With a mean density of 2.5 kg/dm^3 (“rock”) Earth would weigh ~ 2.5*10^24 kg. (In reality, Earth weigh in at 6.0*10^24 kg. Magma rocks! :-)

    So Earth would gain roughly a 10^(-16) part of its mass each year, or less than 1/10 trillion %. (In reality the gain by dust is twice that, which would be the upper limit of mass gain.) Over a mere 5 Ga, it wouldn’t be a substantial percentage.

    How substantial? Well, 5*10^9 year of gain would be 5*10^17 kg. A spherical layer at Earth surface would have an area of ~ 5*10^14 m^2, and assuming rock mean density it would be roughly 2.5 m thick.

    Considering that the mean distance to the Sun is 1 AU (by definition) or ~ 1.5*10^11 m, our creationist have made a BIG mistake of about 11 orders of magnitude. It is about the same order of magnitude as to suggest that 4.54*10^9 years is 6*10^-2 years, or that Earth is 1 day old.

    - Ignious rocks don’t form by sedimentation and lithification as sedimentary rocks do. Sheesh!

  33. #33 Norman Doering
    February 21, 2008

    Pierce R. Butler, re: #105

    You didn’t need to tell me about Richard Steigmann-Gall’s “The Holy Reich: Nazi Conceptions of Christianity.” I used it myself when Gary Robinson dropped a comment on my blog, here.

    I just quoted a review:

    Steigmann-Gall offers a different perspective, writing, “I suggest that, for many of its leaders, Nazism was not the result of the ‘Death of God’ in secularized society, but rather a radicalized and singularly horrific attempt to preserve God against secularized society.”

  34. #34 Skemono
    February 21, 2008

    Christianity never supported slavery.

    The 15th and 16th century slave trade was driven by the Dutch and Portugese, who were not Christian.

    Scientists were responsible for the slave trade, not Christians.

    Uh… sure.

  35. #35 Moses
    February 21, 2008

    If he converted to Christianity late in life, he most likely was an abolitionist before becoming a Christian, given that a primary purpose of the Confederate side of the civil war was to end slavery.

    Posted by: Tony Jeremiah | February 21, 2008 2:16 PM

    Fact check much? Like, maybe even once in your life?

    There are numerous books about Lee’s spiritual life on the market. They are clear that Lee, in his writings, wrote as if he was a Christian. Further, he was also raised as a devout Episcopalian and he went to a religious school before Westpoint. There is no reason to believe that Lee, based upon his writings and his upbringing was anything but a Christian even if he may or may not had a crisis of faith or two.

    Of course, it’s also clear that he was a traitor. He opposed the War of Secession and called it a revolution and a betrayal of the founding fathers. But when Virginia seceded, he betrayed his oaths and his command and his country and his men to be a rebel. He’s no better than Benedict Arnold. And, in many ways, much worse.

  36. #36 SeanH
    February 21, 2008

    As for the Dutch, the less said the better.

    Chris, that made me think of my favorite historical quotation:

    “I think the Devil sh*ts Dutchmen.” Oliver Cromwell

  37. #37 Muse142
    February 21, 2008

    RELEASE THE FLYING MONKEYS!!

    Haha.. I’m glad we commenters are in such good standing with you that you can unleash us upon the stupid.

    After all..

    People are wrong on the internet!

  38. #38 Ichthyic
    February 21, 2008

    Steven the creo – Huckabee or Paul fan?

    he very clearly stated he “hearts” Huckleberry, to which I heartily congratulated him for tieing his wagon to a dead horse.

    his check from the Democratic Committee will be arriving shortly.

  39. #39 Ichthyic
    February 21, 2008

    Waste of time. Show them where they are wrong, then move on.

    wrong.

    ridicule has much value; you must not have spent much time looking at the efficacy of it.

    for another thing, these people come right back as if you hadn’t said a thing to counter them, so there is little left to do BUT ridicule them.

    try it, you’ll like it.

  40. #40 Ichthyic
    February 21, 2008

    How can we combat such ignorance, incorrectness, and just plain assumptive stupidity?

    ridicule.

  41. #41 Ichthyic
    February 21, 2008

    Whenever one lie is exposed, another (often contradictory to the first) is made up on the spot.

    Steven is the perfect example of that, and aren’t perfect examples valuable in and of themselves?

  42. #42 June
    February 21, 2008

    ridicule has much value;

    Yes, I see that there is a bait-and-ridicule game here, shooting creationists in a barrel; it’s tempting to join in, but all the good insults have been used.

    But some (like yourself – when calm) are at their best when they quietly smack facts out of the park. Just a nice swing and THWACK there goes another silly notion. That has GOT to have an effect on some brains some place!

    And the good part is that you are the calm responder, not the insulting atheist.

  43. #43 Leni
    February 21, 2008

    Dammit! That was me, Leni, not June in the #135.

    Normally I start a post with the person’s name I’m addressing and it’s morphed into this weird “type it into the name field instead thing” typo.

  44. #44 Cvaveat
    February 21, 2008

    Dave @ #70 – yes, you’re right, the Vichy were a foul bunch. The Maginot Line was likely just a survival tactic – jackboots everywhere by then. The Lowlands, France, Yugoslavia and other countries ‘gave up’ on the surface but ran great resistance units.

    The best part is we won, even though it took 6 long years.

    Where’s goofball tonight? Wasn’t this post in his honour?

  45. #45 SLC
    February 21, 2008

    Re Braxton Thomason

    1. I would have to take some issue with the claim that the Southern Generals were far better then their Northern counterparts. This was somewhat true in the Eastern theater of the war. In the Western theater, the Confederate generals were generally less competent then their Northern adversaries (Braxton Bragg is the prime example of incompetence), although neither side had much to brag about until Grant learned his trade in the school of hard knocks (e.g. Shiloh).

    2. Even in the East, the Confederate generals were overrated, particularly Robert E. Lee. Actually of course, in many respects, Robert E. Lee was one of the most incapable commanding generals in history (J. F. C. Fuller, “Lee and Grant, a Study in Generalship and Personality”).

    3. The major reason that the South lost the war was not so much the material advantages of the North but the totally cockeyed military strategy the South employed by trying to defend everything everywhere. As General Fuller has pointed out, a much better strategy would have been a defensive Fabian strategy in the East and an offensive strategy in the West.

  46. #46 MAJeff
    February 21, 2008

    Where’s goofball tonight?

    Look below. He’s still going at it. Just put up a new “Lee was an abolitionist” comment.

    So much stupid in one human. This isn’t about ignorance. It’s about someone who is quite incapable of analyzing anything. It’s amazing.

  47. #47 Janine
    February 21, 2008

    Let’s see, if we follow Steven’s rules of history, we can prove that the Southern Baptists are not christians. The Southern Baptist broke off from the main Baptist organization over the issue of slavery. The Southern Baptists demanded that their ministers be able to owe slaves. By doing so, the Southern Baptists turned their collective backs on christianity and became the fine science organization we know of today.

  48. #48 Ichthyic
    February 21, 2008

    It’s amazing.

    well, it would be if it weren’t so commonplace amongst those who think of themselves as “ID supporters”.

    It’s more noteworthy only because of how consistent it is.

  49. #49 Michael X
    February 22, 2008

    Brownian @41,
    Unbeknownst to me, I was doing exactly what you suggested but came up with no luck.
    I must have made the challenge for evidence many times and got nothing. Though I do count it positive in one way. With as many times as I made the challenge, no one can have missed it. The only conclusion that remains is that Steven has no answer, nor does RD, or Jay, or that twit Keith. Not that Keith can really understand what is being said. No proponent of ID actually has an answer to that question. And everyone saw exactly that.

  50. #50 AJS
    February 22, 2008

    The abolition of slavery did not come about because black people refused to take it any longer and stood up to their former masters, nor did it come about because white people suddenly saw the error of their ways. The uncomfortable truth that every historian glosses over is that the abolition of slavery was brought about, not by the politicians who are usually given the credit for it, but by James Watt (and given a lot of help by Michael Faraday).

    Steam engines ate only coal, didn’t need to sleep every night, never answered back, and if they got a bit temperamental could always be persuaded back to work with naught save a drop of oil. The electric generator and motor allowed the steam engine to act by proxy. Machine-made goods of all descriptions rapidly became cheaper than their slave-made equivalents, and greater mechanisation only widened the gap.

    The slaves were only emancipated because it was cheaper than putting them out of their misery like overworked pit-ponies (and also, it represented a massive cheap-point-scoring opportunity).

    If you believe that the end of slavery was motivated by any other factor than simple economics, look at the situation today in the third world; where what is to all intents and purposes slave labour, is now cheaper than machinery.

  51. #51 Vagrant
    February 22, 2008

    If one were to make an argument that slavery was ended for economic reasons, one should probably look at the points at which various national economic elites realized that indentured workers are cheaper than slaves. The cost of paying wages to indentured workers generally comes out cheaper than the cost of buying, guarding, and motivating slave labor.

  52. #52 Leon
    February 23, 2008

    that same pack of lies that the civil war wasn’t about slavery

    Bull Shit it was.

    By and large, the Northerners felt that their state should be free, but it wasn’t their business if another state was slave. Most of them didn’t give a damn about the niggers (their word, not mine)–one reason we abandoned them to their fate after Reconstruction (and, in fact, ended Reconstruction early).

    If the Civil War was about slavery, why didn’t the Emancipation Proclamation abolish slavery in the Union? (All it stated was that slaves in non-Union-occupied Confederate territories were free. Its effects were broader than that, but the Proclamation itself was very limited.) And why wasn’t it made MUCH earlier? And why, if it was all about slavery, did four slave states (Maryland, Delaware, Missouri, Kentucky) side with the Union?