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 Inoculated Mind
    February 21, 2008

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

    So basically, originally Robert E. Lee and the Portuguese and Dutch and atheists and stuff, were all in the right. It was those Christian Abolitionists who wanted those slaves to live uncomfortable lives in freedom…

    Ow. The stupid. It hurts.

  2. #2 Bob L
    February 21, 2008

    Robert E Lee was an atheist who ran for presidency of the CSA? Were in the heck do they get that? This a joke or is this what the Fundymentalists really telling each other? If someone has a link I would love to see it.

  3. #3 Dave S.
    February 21, 2008

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

  4. #4 DaveX
    February 21, 2008

    Don’t worry. It can’t be too long before one of two things happen:

    1) His AOL trial CD expires.

    2) He accidentally turns off his lights, and falls asleep, believing it to be night.

  5. #5 Rienk
    February 21, 2008

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

    Ha ha ha, as a Dutch person I find this very very humorous! Of course, the Dutch were mostly Calvinist and the Calvinists are Protestant, thus not Christians! The Portuguese were (and still mostly are) Catholic and we all know they are not Christians.

    But wait, if both Protestants and Catholics are not Christian, what denomination is left to claim the title of True Christian??

  6. #6 Matt Penfold
    February 21, 2008

    I am not even American, and never studied much in the way of American history at school (It was Tudors and Stuarts on the syllabus I did) but even I know that is total bullshit.

    Shouldn’t an American be ashamed when a Brit knows more about American history than he does ?

  7. #7 RussRules
    February 21, 2008

    Awww shucks…Steven was so thoughtful, he brought his sock-puppet Sonny with him! What a treat.

  8. #8 TTT
    February 21, 2008

    I’ll never understand why modern-day Confederate apologists are so proud of their military history of constant defeat. They’re like the France of America.

  9. #9 Matt Penfold
    February 21, 2008

    “I’ll never understand why modern-day Confederate apologists are so proud of their military history of constant defeat.
    They’re like the France of America.”

    Worse, they do not seem to be able to produce decent food and wine like France does. You can forgive France a lot for giving the world Brie, Roquefort, Champagne, Armangac ……. . Grits somehow do not cut it.

  10. #10 Braxton Thomason
    February 21, 2008

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

    The CSA had far superior commanding officers (at least until Lincoln appointed Grant) and was waging a defensive war. It was amazing (and unfortunate) that they held out as long as they did, given the North’s population and industrial advantages. At the start of the war, both sides had the idea that it would be over quickly — the North because of their on-paper military superiority, and the South because they didn’t believe that the North had the will to continue a long war.

  11. #11 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!

  12. #12 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.

  13. #13 Jefe
    February 21, 2008

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

  14. #14 WTFWJD
    February 21, 2008

    I like to think of ‘fundamental’ as an portmanteau of ‘fundament’ (the ass) and ‘mental’ (batshit crazy).

    (It grows on you.)

  15. #15 MAJeff
    February 21, 2008

    Shit, I went to bed too early last night.

  16. #16 Laura
    February 21, 2008

    Wow… Steven dear, please read this http://www.truthtree.com/debates.shtml It’ll make it a lot less painful next time you try to engage someone in a “rational” discussion.

    I’ve enjoyed watching the goings-on. :D

  17. #17 Reginald Selkirk
    February 21, 2008

    Apparently he mistook the Ahistorical garbage in the post title as an invitation, rather than a description.

  18. #18 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.

  19. #19 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?

  20. #20 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…

  21. #21 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…

  22. #22 MAJeff
    February 21, 2008

    Time for a second reconstruction.

    I’m sick of still hearing nonsense about the “War of Northern Aggression,” about the benign nature of racial slavery, about the goodness of slave owners, etc.

    This shit needs to die. And the neo-confederate movement needs to die a quick, painful death as well.

  23. #23 John Marley
    February 21, 2008

    Fundie commenters are amusing to read, but I try not to respond to them. Whenever one lie is exposed, another (often contradictory to the first) is made up on the spot. There is no point in conversing with someone without even a passing aquaintance with intellectual honesty.

  24. #24 Kseniya
    February 21, 2008

    It’s only fair to defend Steven on one point: He wasn’t claiming that the Dutch and Portuguese weren’t Christians. Cross-post from the thread under discussion:

    What appears to be a mind-crushingly stupid allegation is actually a misunderstanding (for which, of course, he blames the reader) caused by Steven’s own abysmal prose.

    He was trying to say that the Dutch and Portuguese merely (!) cashed in on the slave trades already practiced by certain Native American and African tribes, none of whom were Christian.

    Ignoring, for the moment, the lunacy of the claim, he still fails to explain how that might let the Europeans, who were assuredly Christians, off the hook.

  25. #25 Jefe
    February 21, 2008

    I think Susan Jacoby phrased it well when she indicated that in this age of google info-bits, information is getting diluted by popularity and search ranking. To the educated, some of the historic untruths listed in this person’s rant are obvious, but if one were to simply take an internet overview of these topics without critical eye to sources, it would be very easy to compile a list of prominent, high traffic site, or high ranking searche results that indicate these ahistorical events as weighty.

    With home-schooling, and social reinforcement of sympathetic ahistories becoming widespread, it may be difficult to combat this flow of misinformed ignorance.

  26. #26 Laura
    February 21, 2008

    Would it not be more peaceful to hand the neo-confederates a big slice of the South that no one really uses much and say “here, be your own country, but you get no support from the ‘yankees'”? Then simply sit back and watch what happens. I don’t understand groups that profess such strong disgust for our government and talk of splitting off and “the south will rise again” but continue to live here.

    It was 150 years ago. The wrongs have been righted (for the most part)…

  27. #27 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.

  28. #28 Arctic Oak
    February 21, 2008

    “…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.”

    You seem to be of the school of thought that the purpose of discussion is to find the best answer, even if, in the course of the discussion, you may have to accept correction. I couldn’t agree more. I think it’s referred to as “arguing charitably.” If you find this person to be truly beyond the realm of reason, why continue to jeer at them, to call them stupid? This, at best, seems like an exercise in futility and, at worst, the very type of intellectual elitism that creates Stevens worldwide.

  29. #29 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…

  30. #30 CalGeorge
    February 21, 2008

    “… the very type of intellectual elitism that creates Stevens worldwide.”

    !

  31. #31 rlrr
    February 21, 2008

    But wait, if both Protestants and Catholics are not Christian, what denomination is left to claim the title of True Christian??

    From what I hear, Southern Baptist.

  32. #32 mr_p
    February 21, 2008

    He must have linked to here from somewhere, I dont think he could spell pharyngula.

  33. #33 Schmeer
    February 21, 2008

    How the hell did I miss the enormous comment count on that thread? That is always a dead give-away that a creationist is letting us play whack-a-mole.

  34. #34 MAJeff
    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.

  35. #35 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!

  36. #36 windy
    February 21, 2008

    If you find this person to be truly beyond the realm of reason, why continue to jeer at them, to call them stupid?

    In this case, someone who appeared simply to be parroting Stein & friends’ statements about Darwin being a racist, was after a bit of back-and-forth exposed as a flaming racist and reactionary himself. That may be edifying for others if not for the troll himself.

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

    I thought it was dropping babies on their heads that creates Stevens worldwide.

  37. #37 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…

  38. #38 wÒÓ†
    February 21, 2008
  39. #39 King Aardvark
    February 21, 2008

    David, TTT – re: the french “suck at wars” stereotype

    That stereotype does exist (albeit in weaker form) in a few other places – Canada, for instance (after all, they did lose control of Canada to the British). It’s not really deserved. Like a lot older countries with a history of warfare, they win some and lose some. With all the history I’ve read, I have noticed a tendancy towards underachievement ie. superior numbers and armament but losing. Not enough to justify a stereotype though.

  40. #40 Matt Penfold
    February 21, 2008

    “If you find this person to be truly beyond the realm of reason, why continue to jeer at them, to call them stupid? This, at best, seems like an exercise in futility and, at worst, the very type of intellectual elitism that creates Stevens worldwide.”

    Why ? Because sometime ridicule works. Look at Western Europe, all but devoid of creationists. One reason is that is whenever a creationist starts claiming the earth is 6000 years old or some other bullshit people laugh at them. No one with any honesty can hold the views Steven does. Why therefore does he deserve to be treated with anything other than contempt ?

  41. #41 H. Humbert
    February 21, 2008

    Arctic Oak, the best way to deal with idiots is to point out their idiocy–loudly, repeatedly, and often. You’re afraid this moron might get his feelings hurt? Good! That’s the lesson we want to convey! Talk BS and you will reap the consequences, which include deserved ridicule and scorn. Where’s the problem here?

  42. #42 Brownian, OM
    February 21, 2008

    These trolls are starting to depress me. I mean, I’ve known a few folks whose intellects were not exactly their biggest selling points, but most were merely disinterested in debate and discussion.

    Never before have I met so many who trumpet their ignorance so proudly.

    I’d like to propose a new tactic for dealing with IDiots.

    Basically, it consists of refusing to get drawn in their little solitary circle-jerk and instead pointedly asking them to explain and defend ID without referring to evolution or its percieved flaws. After all, any scientific theory worth its salt should be able to stand on its own feet once competing theories are sufficiently refuted. For instance modern chemistry doesn’t rely on discrediting the classical elements, other than referring to them in their historical contexts and why our current understanding supplanted them.

    At best, we’ll get to watch them twist in the wind as they try to explain ID on its own–ahem–merits. At least, we’ll only have to hear the old Darwin-was-a-Racist canard once before we give em’ the cold shoulder.

    There’s nothing disingenuous in this. They wanna play at being scientists? Then let’s let them defend their theory to a skeptical audience, the way real scientists do.

  43. #43 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.

  44. #44 Matt Penfold
    February 21, 2008

    “He must have linked to here from somewhere, I dont think he could spell pharyngula.”

    Depending on how much beer I have had, I do not always find it easy!

  45. #45 Norman Doering
    February 21, 2008

    I discovered long ago that you just have to type the words “Hitler, atheist” into goggle and you get 928,000 sites listed and at least most of the first ones provide considerable evidence that Hitler called himself a Christian. There are all sorts of quotes from Hitler’s writings and speeches where he claims to be Christian:
    http://normdoering.blogspot.com/2007/04/if-hitler-was-atheist.html

    In order to make an argument for Hitler’s atheism you have to provide evidence that he was a liar. And even if he was, he was obviously followed by those who considered themselves Christian.

  46. #46 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.

  47. #47 Toddahhhh
    February 21, 2008

    Classic examples of The argument from “Oh yeah?!?”

  48. #48 True Bob
    February 21, 2008

    Maybe Steven DID go to university – the University of Hard Knocks on the Head. I hope he finds an education somewhere.

    Also, it sure sounded like he conflated R E Lee’s words of the White Man’s Burden with abolitionism. [eyeroll]

  49. #49 porkchop
    February 21, 2008

    “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.”

    Ugh. Going to a university might not even fix his particular problem. I teach at a state university in the not-too-deep South, and I face this neo-Confederate shit all the time. My own department actually awards a ‘United Daughters of the Confederacy’ scholarship to one of our top undergrads every year. When I tried to get rid of this abomination (by pointing out to my colleagues that the UDC promotes that same pack of lies that the civil war wasn’t about slavery, slaves were well-treated, etc.) I was shouted down by my older, southern, male colleagues who accused me of attacking their heritage. Mind you, I’m a historian of science, so these colleagues were historians.

    It really beggars all belief. I sometimes find myself wishing that the south had managed to secede after all. Mostly, though, I just dream about moving back north some day.

  50. #50 hje
    February 21, 2008

    I see that Keith Eaton has wandered over here from a Panda’s Thumb thread. He said over there that he had to leave us to prepare for some sort of Expelled happening. Must be done with whatever that entailed.

  51. #51 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.

  52. #52 Caveat
    February 21, 2008

    King Aardvark @ #38

    The Canadian thing is about the French Canadian refusal to enlist for WWII – it doesn’t refer to the European French. Today, though, some of our best fighting outfits are from Quebec.

    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.

  53. #53 Jit
    February 21, 2008

    Thanks for the link, Norm. That’s an interesting entry you’ve penned there.

  54. #54 negentropyeater
    February 21, 2008

    TTT,

    “They’re like the France of America.”

    va te faire foutre, espece de connard…

  55. #55 danley
    February 21, 2008

    The idiots are now colonizing my psychic space.

  56. #56 dogmeatib
    February 21, 2008

    I think Steven got the “Lee ran for president” from a Harry Turtledove book. Guns of the South. In that book Lee does become the president of the Confederate States of America and does become an abolitionist. Apparently he didn’t realize that the book is fiction. South African time travelers didn’t bring AK-47s back to the Confederacy in order to preserve the only country on earth that would agree with Apartheid.

    As an historian, and not a scientist, I can respond to the rest:

    John Henry Newton

    Was a slave trader and a deserter. He was also, from the very beginning a Christian, though a bad one. Even after he became an Evangelical Christian he continued to trade in slaves for another 6 years and actually retired from the sea because of an illness, not because he felt a moral opposition to the ‘trade. He didn’t support abolition until 1787, forty years after proclaiming himself an Evangelical Christian and giving up profanity, gambling, and alcohol. Apparently drinking and cussing are bad, selling humans is good.

    Why did the State of Georgia abolish slavery for the first two decades of its existence

    It didn’t. Georgia as a colony limited the slave trade for the first fifteen years, mostly because it was envisioned as a penal colony. By 1751 slavery is legal in the colony of Georgia. Otherwise Georgia was one of the last states to abolish the slave trade (1798), one of the first states to secede (because of slavery), and had one of the higher slave/free ratios in the confederacy. Also while the Georgia law banning the slave trade (not abolition) was implemented in 1798, it was largely ignored. By 1800 the slave population had doubled, by 1810 it had nearly doubled again, it had increased by another 50% by 1820, and by 1860 it was 15 times what it was in the 1790s (nearly half a million), just under 45% of the state’s total population, second to only Virginia in slaves and slave holders.

    So apparently, to make Georgia abolitionist, you have to inhabit it with convicts.

    Ok, first of all, the American Civil War was not a war about slavery. It was a war about state rights.

    You might want to actually read the transcripts from the secession debates. They mention slavery early and often, states rights? Not so much. You could argue that Virginia, North Carolina, and Tennessee secede over state’s rights, but you can’t argue that for the deep south. You also can’t ignore the fact that the “right” they are arguing for was slavery. A perfect example is Alexander Stephens speech to the Georgia secession convention.

    Lee: Never ran for president of the Confederacy, never campaigned on an abolition ticket, and finally, both he and Jackson claimed “conversion” during the war with Mexico. In other words, he continued to own slaves more than a decade after “becoming a Christian.”

    Steven, put down the science fiction where Turtledove has the Confederacy winning the war and Lee as a great emancipator president and pick up an actual history book. Otherwise, in addition to your idiocy with scientific matters, you establish yourself as an idiot with history as well.

  57. #57 Stanton
    February 21, 2008

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

    Arctic Oak, please realize that Steven presented numerous lies as facts, he has been extremely recalcitrant about being called to task for his lies presented as facts, and he demonstrated that he lacks rudimentary social skills.

    In this particular blog, at least, when a person flaunts his idiocy and is arrogant about doing so, it’s an unspoken rule that one is allowed to remove the kid gloves when attempting to correct the aforementioned flaunting of idiocy.

  58. #58 Graculus
    February 21, 2008

    Elitism?

    When someone thinks that the random uninformed thoughts floating through their head are the intellectual equals of years of hard work – that’s fucking elitism.

    Scientists aren’t elitists, the creationists are.

  59. #59 Matt Penfold
    February 21, 2008

    Artic Oak,

    You might have had a point had Steven come into the thread, said some stupid stuff, been corrected on what he said and taken those corrections on board. He chose not to follow that path, indicating he had no intention of learning anything and continued to spout his unsupported rubbish. That amounts to dishonesty.

    You also keep going on about elitism. Well I will tell you something, elitism beats mediocrity or ignorance any day. It is clear from that thread Steven knew nothing about the American Civil War. Rather than take a step back from his claims and learn, he chose to continue repeating them. Why does he deserve any respect ? He claims to have been to university, and from what he said it seems he studied some history there. He cannot have learnt anything in any of the classes he took. I did not study American history at school, nor at university, and yet even I seem to know more about the American Civil War than he does.

    Had Steven admitted that he perhaps did not know as much as he thought he did then others would have let his original comments go, and pointed him to where he could learn. He instead chose to ignore those people indicating a total lack of respect for history (and science) and total lack of respect for people who know things.

  60. #60 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.

  61. #61 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.

  62. #62 Jonathan Rothwell
    February 21, 2008

    It may surprise ‘Steven’ to find out that Darwin was actually a Christian before he formulated his theory. After that he was agnostic, and, while not a Christian, never denied the existence of a God.

    Hitler claimed to be Christian, and claimed that that was a valid basis for his anti-Semitism. We can’t be sure, but it does seem likely that he had a twisted form of Christian belief. Somewhat like most of the ‘all evolutionists/scientists/gays/Muslims will burn in hell’ crowd.

    Dutch? Portugese? All atheist? Bollocks. The whole of Europe, and parts of America too, were involved in the slave trade, some even using Christianity as an excuse (sounds familiar…)

    There is not a shred of evidence to suggest that Darwin was racist. The only reason I think this terrible misconception could have arisen is because of the bizarre world of social Darwinism, which uses the theory of natural selection (rather incorrectly) to defend laissez-faire economics, imperialism, colonialism and racism. Darwin himself actually said that sympathy should be extended to all races and nations.

    ‘Steven’ seems to have a very weird perception of the slave trade. The majority of Christians (along with the majority of atheists at the time) believed that there was nothing wrong with racism, or the slave trade. And, as he put himself, ‘a racist is a racist’. That works both ways.

    And the Africans would probably have done a lot better if we’d left them alone. They would not have had their culture tarnished and their natural wealth plundered, they would have had better living conditions, and there would certainly be a lot less third-world debt than there is.

  63. #63 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.

  64. #64 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.

  65. #65 Pierce R. Butler
    February 21, 2008

    Norman Doering @ 44: In order to make an argument for Hitler’s atheism you have to provide evidence that he was a liar.

    Uh, y’know, that wouldn’t really be too difficult…

    (For the record, I’m not saying he was an atheist.)

  66. #66 Pierce R. Butler
    February 21, 2008

    Steven Carr @ 60: Could you please direct us to a translation of those quotes?

  67. #67 Feynmaniac
    February 21, 2008

    I read all of Steven’s comments and think I killed more brain cells than that drinking binge last weekend. My favourite comment was the I-read-it-on-a-national-monument-but-can’t-find-anything-about-it-on-the-ENTIRE-internet. I have never heard anyone cite a statue. I’d love to see that citation in an essay: “(1) A national monument”.

  68. #68 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.

  69. #69 Moses
    February 21, 2008

    I’ve been thinking about it. Why not teach “Intelligent Design” (i.e., Creationism 3.0). But lets give them all billing. Starting here: Norse.

  70. #70 paul lurquin
    February 21, 2008

    #53,

    Tout-a-fait d’accord. Apres s’etre fait enculer, que TTT aille chier bien loin.

  71. #71 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.

  72. #72 Tosser
    February 21, 2008

    Steven, meet Project Steve:

    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/steve/

  73. #73 Dan
    February 21, 2008

    Eeesh! Steven’s got some serious problems, methinks.

    I can’t wait until this fad of anti-intellectualism dies out. It’s incomprehensible why someone would so willingly reject reality and legitimate information and facts so as to protect his own fragile ego.

    That “I’m using a monument as a source” thing just about killed me with its stupidity too, Feyn.

  74. #74 Zorpheous
    February 21, 2008

    Errr, no thanks PZ, one can only handle so much of Teh Stupid in one day. Your post kind of outlines that the thread in question might have toxic levels of Teh Stupid and I just ate my lunch.

  75. #75 James McGrath
    February 21, 2008

    There have been a few posts on blogs recently addressing historic Christian pronouncements on slavery. Here’s one quote from a bishop in the 1800s, but there are many more like it.

  76. #76 Stanton
    February 21, 2008

    Don’t forget about the fact that another Steve is trolling on the thread of Vertebrate Eye Evolution.

  77. #77 Stanton
    February 21, 2008

    Don’t forget about the fact that another Steve is trolling on the thread of Vertebrate Eye Evolution.

  78. #78 Nan
    February 21, 2008

    @55 – Steven’s not exactly alone in being unable to tell fiction from nonfiction. Back when I was teaching I ran into many college students, mostly freshmen engineering majors, who didn’t know the difference between a novel and an actual history, biography, sociological case study, or other work of nonfiction. 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. Some of those kids were incredibly bright, but nonetheless glaringly, appallingly ignorant about just about everything that fell outside their narrow area of interest.

    As for the South, since moving to Georgia I’ve been thinking more and more that back in 1861 Abe should have just said, Fuck it, let the asswipes go.

  79. #79 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?)

  80. #80 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.”

  81. #81 Stephen Wells
    February 21, 2008

    Science is extremely elitist in the sense that we think difficult, complex tasks should be carried out by people who are good at them, and that opinions should be valued according to their concordance with reality. I’m not clear on why this is a problem.

  82. #82 True Bob
    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!

  83. #83 Glenn
    February 21, 2008

    Whenever I hear the “Civil War wasn’t about slavery” bullshit — and I grew up in Georgia, so believe me, I heard it a lot (and as a child believed it, God help me) — I like to point people to the Declaration of Secession of Georgia. (Sort of like the Declaration of Independence, only without all that freedom and equality crap.)

    Here’s the first two sentences:

    The people of Georgia having dissolved their political connection with the Government of the United States of America, present to their confederates and the world the causes which have led to the separation. For the last ten years we have had numerous and serious causes of complaint against our non-slave-holding confederate States with reference to the subject of African slavery. …

    Yep, the very first thing is…slavery! And believe me, if you read it, that’s all it talks about.

    http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/csa/geosec.htm

  84. #84 Arnaud
    February 21, 2008

    “Underachievers in the domain of warfare”
    I’ll wear that title with pride…

  85. #85 Holbach
    February 21, 2008

    For once, I am almost tongue-tied with raging incredulity,
    and will probably wind up being incoherent trying to spit
    venom and religious hatred all over the monitor. So suffice
    it to say that I feel the raging demonic retard should be
    nailed to a cross and have feces and urine thrown at him on an hourly basis. Then taunt the freaking retard to
    appeal to his freaking god to come down and rescue him.
    Good grief, will we ever be rid of this insane shit?

  86. #86 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?

  87. #87 True Bob
    February 21, 2008

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

    They deep fry turkeys, don’t they?

  88. #88 Stanton
    February 21, 2008

    They deep fry turkeys, don’t they?

    Yes, but, last I checked, no one has tried to deepfry a turkey that’s been stuffed with a duck that’s been stuffed with a chicken that’s been stuffed with cajun sausage stuffing…

    On the other hand, they have stuffed a turduckhen into an ostrich once.

  89. #89 Sarcastro
    February 21, 2008

    Worse, they do not seem to be able to produce decent food and wine like France does.

    We’ve been kind of busy creating America’s literature and music.

  90. #90 arachnophilia
    February 21, 2008

    PZ, I AM APPALLED!

    even though it’s not a direct quote, that kind of nuttery deserves the comic-sans treatment!

  91. #91 True Bob
    February 21, 2008

    I am just assuming a big ole deep fryer is large enough to hold a turduckhen. Maybe not a an Osturduckhen, though. Seems like an experiment is in order.

  92. #92 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.”

  93. #93 Stanton
    February 21, 2008

    I am just assuming a big ole deep fryer is large enough to hold a turduckhen. Maybe not a an Osturduckhen, though. Seems like an experiment is in order.

    I would love to participate in such an experiment, and will even point out ostrich farms in San Bernardino County, but, I can not, as my mother vehemently objects to anything, experiment or otherwise, that involves turkduckhens, or permutations of turduckhens…
    However, she has never told me whether she objects due to humanitarian reasons, or because she does not want to deal with so much leftover meat.

  94. #94 Michael Behe
    February 21, 2008

    I think the Osturduckhen is a perfect example of irreducible complexity.

  95. #95 J Daley
    February 21, 2008

    I can’t wait until this fad of anti-intellectualism dies out.

    LTKFC

    (Laughing to keep from crying)

  96. #96 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.

  97. #97 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.

  98. #98 Lee Brimmicombe-Wood
    February 21, 2008

    I think it came about as an unfair reaction to French performance in WWII: think Maginot Line, early surrender

    My usual reply to this sort of nonsense is to mention the US Army’s surrender in the Philippines. Americans don’t like to be reminded of that, I have found.

  99. #99 Norman Doering
    February 21, 2008

    Pierce R. Butler wrote:

    Norman Doering @ 44: In order to make an argument for Hitler’s atheism you have to provide evidence that he was a liar.

    Uh, y’know, that wouldn’t really be too difficult…

    True. He obviously did lie about some things. But does it really matter since he made appeals to religious followers? Hitler would have just been another crazy nut job if people didn’t believe him and follow his orders.

  100. #100 Stanton
    February 21, 2008

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

    Then we should try to fry it in a (very) large wok.

  101. #101 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.

  102. #102 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.

  103. #103 moon_grrl
    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.

    Though it could be argued that the primary goal of the Union side during the Civil War was to preserve the United States as a whole, they were also the side of the abolitionists. The side Robert E. Lee fought on (Confederate) was pro-slavery.

  104. #104 Bryson Brown
    February 21, 2008

    Just to follow up on a claim that hasn’t been kicked around yet, I seem to recall that Gish actually once conceded that the bombardier beetle example is wrong (the two fluids don’t explode when mixed, as someone actually demonstrated in a debate with Gish). Gish later used the example in other debates, though, raising doubts as to his honesty. But the interpretation favoured by the author of the piece was that Gish was so convinced that such cases existed that he didn’t think the beetle example was misleading, even though he knew there were problems with it as a particular case– hence the Gish’s problem was self-deception rather than deliberate lying. That’s also the most charitable read on Steve I can come up with– but when you’re so utterly and bizarrely self-deceived (and self-righteous about it too) pathology is involved.

  105. #105 Kulkuri
    February 21, 2008

    #30 re: Southern Baptists. My redneck friend says Southern Baptists give a bad name to Southerns and to Baptists.

  106. #106 Kulkuri
    February 21, 2008

    Make that Southerners and Baptists.

  107. #107 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

  108. #108 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    February 21, 2008

    Make that Southerners and Baptists.

    Oh please. Baptist subscribe to a particular brand of theology. They can be judged on its merits or lack there of. Southerners are a wide and varied group of people from different backgrounds, education and intelligence who despite what your ignorant comment suggests have their own opinions and abilities to reason.

    Ignorant.

  109. #109 Rev. BigDumbCHimp
    February 21, 2008

    Well I guess I’m the asshole. My apologies. I misread your comment and correction.

  110. #110 T. Bruce McNeely
    February 21, 2008

    Of course, uneven Steven doesn’t mention that Darwin was outspoken against slavery from an early age (in Voyage of the Beagle, for example).
    And, unlike Lee, he never owned slaves.

  111. #111 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.

  112. #112 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.

  113. #113 michael
    February 21, 2008

    “Faith is a state of openness or trust. To have faith is to trust yourself to the water. When you swim you don’t grab hold of the water, because if you do you will sink and drown. Instead you relax, and float. And the attitude of faith is the very opposite of clinging to belief, of holding on. In other words, a person who is fanatic in matters of religion, and clings to certain ideas about the nature of God and the universe, becomes a person who has no faith at all. Instead they are holding tight. But the attitude of faith is to let go, and become open to truth, whatever it might turn out to be.”

    Alan Watts

  114. #114 Stanton
    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.

    On the one hand, I find the portmanteau of “frasturation” to be exotic and sexy, and will be stolen for later use.

    On the other hand, do realize that the typical creationist grunt, such as Steven, is totally immune to genuine attempts at appealing to reason, given as how the typical creationist wholeheartedly embraces Martin Luther’s speech about how “Reason is the whore of the Devil,” and the only way to deal with them is to heap scorn, ridicule and derision upon them.

    Furthermore, vultures are very majestic animals, especially in flight, and play an important role in consuming animal carcasses. At the very least, given as how most vultures are highly endangered animals, it is of no positive use to continue using them in a demeaning stereotype.

  115. #115 Norman Doering
    February 21, 2008

    Re: #111, michael:

    Unfortunately Alan Watts isn’t Jesus who made for more troubling statements about faith.

  116. #116 Tony Jeremiah
    February 21, 2008

    @101, 110

    Thanks. Been awhile since taking an American history class. Need to refresh the memory banks. :)

  117. #117 Dahan
    February 21, 2008

    I just wanted to say this has been beautiful. So many Molly-worthy comments brought on by such a complete idiot’s ranting. We gotta have folk like him over more often.

  118. #118 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!

  119. #119 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!

  120. #120 Forrest Prince
    February 21, 2008

    Evi S. at #109: Please see my comment at #67. We’re just trying to have a little fun here and take a break from the ennui of our otherwise academic-elitist-boring lives. People like Steven who are unafraid of spouting ridiculous, scornfully ignorant gibberish should not be afraid of the drubbing they’re going to get for having done so. There is no shame in feasting on such a sumptuous table as he has set before us, rather it is good manners in thanks to such a gracious host.

    Take a breath. Then dig in, and laugh.

  121. #121 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.”

  122. #122 Chris
    February 21, 2008

    Yes, the Portuguese weren’t Christian. They were Catholic. As for the Dutch, the less said the better. They must be godless because their country is full of dykes.

  123. #123 Jack Bishop
    February 21, 2008

    I’m surprised (although I guess I shouldn’t be, given the logic shown by these folks) by the creationst belief that character assassination of Darwin actually scores them points. I mean, it’s not just that they’re wrong, it’s that even if they were right it wouldn’t make a damn bit of difference: scientific truth is not determined by personality. Even if we were to posit that Charles Darwin was a horrible person, it’d put him in pretty good company. Consider Solomon Lefschetz, Edward Teller, and James Watson: memoirs of those close to these three (among others, but this is just a sample) reveals that they were (or are, in the case of Watson) seriously flawed people, and probably pretty damn unpleasant to try to carry on a civilized conversation with, but it’d be very hard to deny their contributions to human knowledge.

  124. #124 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.

  125. #125 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.

  126. #126 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

  127. #127 dkew
    February 21, 2008

    Steven the creo – Huckabee or Paul fan?

  128. #128 noncarborundum
    February 21, 2008

    turduckhen

    It’s “turducken”, people. turkey + duck + chicken (or turkey + duck + chicken, if you prefer). No “h” anywhere to be seen.

  129. #129 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!

  130. #130 June
    February 21, 2008

    It seems ironic that Laura (#16) would use ad hominem and ridicule to point Steven to the Rules Of Debate.

    Arctic Oak (#27) thinks the purpose of discussion is to find the best answer. Good luck, AO! Science adjusts its theories on an hourly basis, and logic is fractal: What is true at one level may be questionable at the next and totally false at another.

    I disagree with Stanton’s (#112) urge to heap scorn, ridicule, and derision on hapless grunts who disagreee for some reason. Waste of time. Show them where they are wrong, then move on.

    And PZ, keep up those magnificent science posts. You educate around the globe (your tree on the branching of kingdoms was our dinner conversation the other night). Why waste time on brains that have marinated in religion for 20 years.

  131. #131 Tony Jeremiah
    February 21, 2008

    @120

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

    See comment 114. Also, by reading (the entire) comment 99, it should be pretty clear that my comments are based on working with a set of premises that most people on here are likely to consider false (i.e., factually inaccurate).

    Logical reasoning is not based solely on the truth of premises, but also, on their logical consistency. If the premises are false, one can still check for logical consistent. Premises known to be false but lead to specific conclusions, are considered to be inductively weak arguments. When true premises are added, they are considered inductively strong.

    So good job in strengthening the premises.

  132. #132 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.

  133. #133 Ichthyic
    February 21, 2008

    If someone has a link I would love to see it.

    I’ve never seen it mentioned by anyone other than Stevo, and when called on it, said he read it in one of his “textbooks” which he wasn’t going to bother to try and find for us.

    he then said he saw it printed on the national monument for Lee, which was also wrong.

    he hasn’t mentioned it since, having moved on to lying about other things.

  134. #134 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.

  135. #135 Ichthyic
    February 21, 2008

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

    ridicule.

  136. #136 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?

  137. #137 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.

  138. #138 True Bob
    February 21, 2008

    @ 131

    Everyone is good for something, even if it’s only as a bad example.

  139. #139 shane
    February 21, 2008

    My English friends refer to the French as “Cheese eating surrender monkeys”.

    And there was that mess they left in Indo-china that another super-power spent a another decade trying to clean up and… er… wasn’t quite successful.

    Poor ol’ Yanks. Not having much luck with interventions in the last 40 years or so. Sorry, I forgot about Grenada. Certainly whooped their arses.

  140. #140 June
    February 21, 2008

    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.

    That sounds a little defeatist, June. It is the joke you don’t see coming that is the funniest. You must bravely forge ahead and invent new ones!

    Also, I like to think that a multi-faceted, many-pronged approach is the best tactic. Nuanced, if you will. I wouldn’t want to put all my eggs in the “rational, politely explained fact” basket, only to find out all I had to do was call him dumfuck and post a link to talkorigins. Occam’s razor, June. You try the simple solutions first ;)

  141. #141 Jeremy O'Wheel
    February 21, 2008

    Sorry if somebody has mentioned this already, I couldn’t be bothered reading all the comments.

    However I love the fact that if he were right about his claims (which he isn’t) and Africans were better off as American slaves, then Christians were apparently the people that stopped this good from occurring.

    So either he’s right in his claims, and Christianity f*cked over Africans, or he’s wrong in his claims and Christianity f*cked over Africans. I’m glad that some common ground can be reached.

  142. #142 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.

  143. #143 BlueIndependent
    February 21, 2008

    Far be it from me to suggest ending the steven-afflicted thread. but at 700+ comments and still steven is the lone gunman, has that particulkar exchange not reached the point of absurdity in the pursuance of trying to make that mentally stunted individual cry uncle?

    I know there are threads that have topped 1000 around here, but it’s gotten to the point that I feel dumb reading any more of it, regardless of how right the correct posters are. Or perhaps my fight itch is malfunctioning today…

  144. #144 Jim Flannery
    February 21, 2008

    I’ll also recommend Seligman-Gall’s book (I think I posted here about it a couple months ago as well.

    More recent work casts doubt on the authenticity of those war-era anti-christian remarks. (Link is to JSTOR, sorry)

    “Hitler’s Table Talk”: Troubling Finds
    Richard C. Carrier
    German Studies Review, Vol. 26, No. 3. (Oct., 2003), pp. 561-576.
    Stable URL

  145. #145 Kseniya
    February 21, 2008

    At a certain point, Blue, a thread like that ceases to be suitable reading material for those who aren’t already involved in the process of extending it, but does serves a purpose: Its existence supplies 1) a forum for the ongoing “discussion”, and 2) amusement for the occassional brave and patient spectator. :-)

  146. #146 June (not Leni)
    February 21, 2008

    It’s a study in mob psychology.
    Torches and pitchforks.
    Good thing Steven doesn’t have a brain to shoot back with!

    BA-DAH-BING-BANG!

  147. #147 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?

  148. #148 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.

  149. #149 BlueIndependent
    February 21, 2008

    @ 140:

    Perhaps, but at this point I think steven’s Joan of Arc crusadeism as a lone fighter serves nothing but to pump up his ego, as he so obviously sees himself as the only smart man in a room of what he thinks are mindless drones. He thinks that thread is Diablo and he’s the hapless hero going around swinging sharp things flying goblins.

    To me it seems time to consider him served and move on. But, then, steven appears to be one of those to try to get the last word, and perhaps vigilant bloggers should not let that happen…

    Ah what the hell. Maybe I’ll wade in there later and toss a couple post grenades his way.

  150. #150 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.

  151. #151 Norman Doering
    February 21, 2008

    More recent work casts doubt on the authenticity of those war-era anti-christian remarks. (Link is to JSTOR, sorry)

    “Hitler’s Table Talk”: Troubling Finds
    Richard C. Carrier

    Here’s a link that’s free (if not as complete):
    http://ffrf.org/fttoday/2002/nov02/carrier.php

  152. #152 Kseniya
    February 21, 2008

    Blue, I can’t disagree. He’s gotta be getting off on all the attention. Fly goblins, indeed!

  153. #153 MAJeff
    February 21, 2008

    Kseniya,

    have you been to my blog and given your squid eating preferences? GO NOW! (other Boston area folks as well)

  154. #154 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.

  155. #155 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.

  156. #156 Pierce R. Butler
    February 21, 2008

    Norman Doering & Jim Flannery (118, 141, 148) – thanks for the links. Gee, if ya can’t trust Nazi memoirs, what can ya rely on?

    It may or may not be meaningful that Carrier didn’t address (in his FFRF article) the quotes I passed along. In any case, it seems pretty clearly established (among those with more knowledge than the puissant Steven who brought us all together this evening) that Hitler was at least a theist, and not an atheist.

    In any case, such questions seem to have been secondary in the Fuhrer’s mind. He seems to me not to have had enough imagination or inquisitiveness to diverge greatly from the cosmology of his native culture. The study which has given me the most insight into his psychology is Frederick Spotts’s Hitler and the Power of Aesthetics, which I recommend as an add-on to any of the major biographies.

    Norman: when I tried to follow the link you gave (in # 118, or in your byline) to your own blog, I ran into a Google/Blogger warning that some people had problems with what you said. Clicking the “continue” button only re-loaded the same warning. You must have been very naughty!

  157. #157 Pablo
    February 21, 2008

    Norman Doering wrote:

    I discovered long ago that you just have to type the words “Hitler, atheist” into goggle and you get 928,000 sites listed and at least most of the first ones provide considerable evidence that Hitler called himself a Christian.

    But Norman, you have to understand the mindset of the looney. For example, Hitler, who clearly expressed belief in God, claiming that killing Jews was doing the work of the Almighty and expressing beliefs that are best described as creationist (see this thread) was actually an evolutionist atheist. But Einstein, who unequivocally stated that he did NOT believe in a personal God was actually a theist, if not a christian, because he used the rhetorical “God does not roll dice.”

  158. #158 blf
    February 22, 2008

    shane@136 remarks:

    My English friends refer to the French as “Cheese eating surrender monkeys”.

    As far as I am aware, that bit of name-calling originated in the USA, possibly from The Simpsons (as, I think, a joke about the French language), but was then picked up by the wingnuts when France objected to Cheney and Bush II’s plan to turn Iraq into a USAian colony. (The Wikipedia article generally supports this.)

    My own speculation is The Grauniad may have introduced that name-calling to the UK whilst commenting on the USAian wingnut usage.

    Full disclosure: I live in France, but am not French; I’ve read The Grauniad for over 20 years; and I’ve no recollection of ever watching The Simpsons.

  159. #159 Ichthyic
    February 22, 2008

    picked up by the wingnuts when France objected to Cheney and Bush II’s plan to turn Iraq into a USAian colony.

    Freedom Fries.

    *sigh*

    I think that was the final straw when I made up my mind to get outta here.

    my country was a complete embarrassment.

  160. #160 Longtime Lurker
    February 22, 2008

    It would be a good idea to compile all of Steven’s posts and send them to Ben Stein. Mr Stein has made the proverbial mess on the cognitive carpet, let’s stick his nose in it!

  161. #161 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.

  162. #162 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.

  163. #163 Stephen Wells
    February 22, 2008

    @AJS: Please bear in mind that it is possible for events to have more than one cause, and that not all decisions are made for purely economic reasons. You could reasonably argue that steam and electricity were very important factors in the abolition of slavery, but to pretend that no other factor matters is simply disingenuous. The decision to bury your grandparents rather than rendering them down for glue has very little to do with the price of glue.

  164. #164 Holydust
    February 22, 2008

    As a side note — I had a hard time watching the Fairly Oddparents “new fairy baby” special because Ben Stein is one of the bad guys.

  165. #165 Ian Gould
    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…”

    Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman

    “nor did it come about because white people suddenly saw the error of their ways.”

    John Brown, “Bleeding Kansas”.

    “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).”

    Yet somehow mysteriously Britain and France abolished slavery in the 18th century and Mexico did it in the 1830’s.

    For that matter, Darius the Great abolished slavery in the Persian empire.

    “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).”

    So fighting a massive war that killed hundreds of thousands and devastated the south was a cost-cutting measure?

    Also cna you explain why the southerners post-war went to extreme lengths to retain the supposedly surplus and unwanted black labor force? For example, the Ku Klux Klan in its first incarnation spent much of its energy forcing ex-slaves to continue working for their former owners. The Black Codes enacted in the southern states had elaborate provisions for Black prisoners to be sold to whites as indentured labor.

    “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.”

    Ah, so attempting to end slavery is foolish and idealistic and we should just ignore it?

    I’m sorry but this sort of economic reductionism is simply foolish.

    The first dynamoes weren’t developed until the 1850’s. THe first poweer plants weren’t built until the 1870’d

  166. #166 Ian Gould
    February 22, 2008

    Oops, in cutting and pasting my previous message I managed to delete one of my major points:

    The first practical dynamos weren’t developed until the 1860’s, the first electric power plants weren’t built until the 1870’s. The development of electricity came too late to have influenced events in the United States in the lead-up to the civil war.

  167. #167 catta
    February 22, 2008

    I had a look at the original thread. My head is still spinning. I could have seen that Steven is utterly deluded when I was still in high school, and so could most of my classmates at the time.

    I went to church-run (!) school in Germany; one of my fondest memories is of when we talked about evolution for the first time and a student brought up the “goddidit” point of view; class and teacher burst out laughing, and a student (!) pointed out that the Bible was written by people who were trying to make up an explanation for their existence, with nothing scientific about it. Topic closed.

    The topic “evolution and Hitler” was mentioned as well (in history or politics or religion or biology, possibly in all of them — German schools understandably go into a lot of detail on WWII), with a very clear distinction between evolution and “social darwinism”, which was always defined along the lines of “a misapplication of the theory of evolution and an insult to science”. Also, the question of what Hitler actually believed was discussed briefly, but ultimately classified as idle speculation. What we were taught as important was what Hitler used as justification, and why he was wrong.

    This was a Christian-run, church-financed school in a country where the state collects taxes for the church and “religion” is a class in school.

    Now, how on earth does one end up with people like Steven, who (presumably) went through a far more secular education? It just blows my mind. The only explanation I have is “will ful ignorance”. We have our share of idiots here, no doubt about it, who believe in astrology, dowsing and homeopathy instead of “big religion”, but the sheer scale/breadth/depth of Steven’s ignorance is frightening to me.

  168. #168 BlueIndependent
    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)…”

    Try again. There’s ample evidence of slaves attempting to leave and in some cases successfully escaping their white captors. In fact Native American tribes sheltered many of them at the time. Slaves very much took up arms in many cases and successfully enacted a few insurrections in the south. And to say that slaves didn’t want to or try to rebel against their owners implies that they were not capable of thinking or acting for themselves, nor possessed their own individual or racial dignity. Such an assertion is flatly false and frankly disrespectful of them at the very least.

    Economics is the justification for an otherwise culturally-based dehumanization regime. Abolition of slavery had very little to do with economics, as it it does now. People are only cheaper than machines because of weak money and human rights in other countries, not because it’s economics. It’s economics for our corporations because they can remove themselves from being the enslavers while “paying them more than they ever used to make sweat-shopping for their own country”, but the basis for all of it comes down to culture, and southeast Asia has never been the shining beacon for human rights. Weaknesses in human rights, economies and cultures is what allows countries to enslave the occupants of another.

  169. #169 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.

  170. #170 arensb
    February 22, 2008

    It’s like the Index to Creationist Claims was written for this guy.

    I haven’t read Steven’s comments, but it sounds like he’s fractally wrong.

  171. #171 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?

  172. #172 mothra
    February 23, 2008

    I would continue on the Civil War discussion but at this point it would be ‘beating a dead horse’ (maybe Traveler).

    A further bombardier beetle comment: I believe the Duane Gish debate where two researchers mixed hydrogen peroxide and hydronquinone and showed that Bombardier beetles do not ‘naturally’ explode was in 1978 at San Diego State University. This has been done many times since. Even I performed this demonstration at a seminar when discussing the book (trash) Evolution of a Creationist. The lies continue unabated. A year after my demonstration, one of Ken Hams minions (Brian Young) came to town, ostensibly to lecture about the evils of evolution but actually to sell creationist literature. Prominently displayed was the childrens book, Bombie the bombardier beetle. The stupid, it REALLY burns.

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