Once upon a time, a creationist invented a brand new pseudo-scientific term, which he even presented at a scientific conference. It was a very, very silly idea called “ontogenetic depth”. I criticized the idea publicly and viciously, pointing out that the concept had no explanation, no methodology, and had produced no results, which prompted the creationist, Paul Nelson, to promise to present us all with a detailed explanation “tomorrow”.
We’ve been waiting for a little while for tomorrow to get here. Paul Nelson promised us an answer tomorrow 5 years ago.
Ever since, we celebrate Paul Nelson day every year on 7 April. Richard Hoppe jumped the gun and announced it last week, which is OK — Nelson did drag out the promises for quite a while, and the 7th was a somewhat arbitrary choice. Last year, I suggested a simple and appropriate way to commemorate the event.
In his honor, we should all make it a point to ask people “How do you know that?” today, and the ones who actually can explain themselves competently will be complimented by being told that they’re no Paul Nelson.
It’s kind of like the folk tradition of chasing away demons on certain days of the year, only what we do is terrify creationists by roaming about demanding that they fork over evidence, at which time they scurry away and hide. Have fun!
By the way, I said something else last year.
We’ll celebrate it again next year, I’m sure.
I’m a prophet. We’ll have another chance next year, too.