Pharyngula

You are a cruel readership. One of you — I won’t name names to protect the guilty — told me to go listen to this radio program out of Colorado Springs called “Generations With Vision”, by some guy named Kevin Swanson, and in particular to an episode called The Secular Hold is Slipping. He’s a very cheerful, confident fellow, and I listened to several minutes of him lying blithely and loudly. It was…painful. It was a happy idiot gloatingly making stuff up to make himself feel good.

Here’s their summary of the episode.

It’s getting harder and harder to “shut up” the little boy in the Emperor’s New Clothes proceedings. And evolutionists and the secularists aren’t happy about it. Ray Comfort’s Evolution vs. God video is going viral. Kevin Swanson also questions the McMillan new dictionary definition for marriage on this episode of Generations.

It starts off with this assertion that the holy trinity of the humanists consists of evolution, feminism, and homosexuality, and that we’re on the run in all three areas. To claim that, though, they have to mangle all three ideas. Here’s their short summary of feminist social theory, for instance: get rid of all men, get rid of marriage, kill all the kids, and have lots of sex. Abortion is the sacred sacrament of the feminists.

I wish I were joking. That’s literally what they said, in a tone of absolute certainty. How can you even begin to argue with people who are that wrong?

But then they spent most of their time laughing at evolution from a position of unassailable ignorance. They are inspired by Ray Comfort (you know their credibility is shot right there), who is making everyone so mad. They claim he’s interviewed “the big shots”: Richard Dawkins [no, he hasn't] and PG Myers [who?]. They actually believe he has exposed an absence of evidence for evolution, when all Comfort has shown is his zeal in chopping out evidence that contradicts him.

And then comes the babble of creationist buzzwords and assertions. There is no evidence or data for evolution; there is no evidence for how a non-heart non-lung animal turned into a heart-lung animal. That, at least, is a novel constructed claim, but…have they looked? If anyone mentioned Tinman/Nkx-2.5/csx to them, would they have the slightest clue what we’re talking about? There’s been a lot of work on the molecular evolution of heart-related genes, for instance. That they are ignorant of it all is not evidence that the data is not there.

Their biggest lie: they claim “We would love to know how it happened.” No, they wouldn’t. They believe they already know, that an invisible superbeing simply zapped hearts and lungs into existence, and they deny the truly wonderful explanation backed by the evidence and aren’t even interested enough to try and learn. They are smug little jerks sitting in a puddle of their own urine, unwilling to wash themselves of foolishness.

They make a host of weird claims. “Punctuated equilibrium is where a prince kisses a frog.” What? “Richard Dawkins isn’t a scientist.” But they keep talking about all the “honest scientists” who are leaving evolution, but they don’t bother to name them.

Then they try to dazzle their audience with the intimidating authority of math. They trot out Fred Hoyle’s example of 20 amino acids assembling into a protein having impossible odds — wrong. It’s actually quite trivial, and they’re making an error of invalid assumptions. By their reasoning, every bridge hand is a triumph of the impossible coming into existence.

Yeah, they actually say it’s impossible. They trot out the familiar creationist claim that odds of one chance in 1050 can never happen, this magic number of 10 to the 50th power representing an absolute boundary. It’s wrong, and it’s ridiculously wrong.

To crown their demonstration of the power of lying about mathematics, they then announce that “People are not very good at math”. They did manage to prove that claim by example.

And of course they’re making claims that “Honest scientists are abandoning the theory left and right, because there is no evidence. They have no data.” and that “Evolutionists are going away — they’re very desperate.”

I would ask how they know that. They certainly don’t have any evidence for it. The subject of evolution is placed solidly in the core of every competent college biology curriculum; every week new papers come out testing and demonstrating the power of the theory; all of the biologists I know — and I think I’ve got more inside knowledge than a couple of obscure evangelical radio guys in the heart of fundie-land — are advocates for evolution who use it routinely in their work. They might try looking at the Society for the Study of Evolution (SSE), the Society of Systematic Biologists (SSB), the American Society of Naturalists (ASN), the European Society for Evolutionary Biology (ESEB), or the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology (SICB), just for a start. Ask them about the people abandoning evolution: they’ll give you an odd look, wonder what the hell is wrong with you, and walk away.

But then, that requires actually peeping out of their little bunker of isolated, ignorant Christianity and actually talking to a real biologist, rather than listening to a lying fraud like Ray Comfort. That’ll never happen.

Comments

  1. #1 Tom
    Scotland
    September 5, 2013

    You’ve missed geologists/palynologists and the like who use the evolution of fossils/pollen to figure out the relative ages of rocks. All less than 6,000 years old, obviously.
    The irony is that these frauds wouldn’t have petrol in their cars if it wasn’t for geologists using evolution in part.

  2. #2 Dan
    September 5, 2013

    Fundamentalists of any religious persuasion are keen on creating an “us vs them” atmosphere to help keep the faithful in line. The whole tone of the podcast is intended to draw hard lines around these issues, so that everything is black and white; you are either with us (the faithful) or against us (the godless). You cannot be a Christian and have a nuanced position on evolution or homosexuality or abortion.

  3. [...] You know it’s agony for me to listen to Christian talk radio, right? [Pharyngula] : you’re a cruel readership. One of you — I won’t name names to Defend the guilty — [...]

  4. #4 mbrace
    everywhere
    September 5, 2013

    Simple fact, IN THE LAST DAYS FALSE PROPHETS SHALL RISE AND CLAIM TO DO THINGS IN GODS NAME…WITCHES, FUNDAMENTALISTS, RADICALISTS, DICTATORS ETC ETC…that’s should give you an idea…plus.. take a look around you … the MIddle East…the world in fact…neighbour against neighbour, daughter against mother, son against father, brother against brother…there will be famines, and drought, volcanoes and floods..There is only ONE God and He is showing himself 2000 yrs later that the words HE gave the prophets was true and correct. and on time!….. THE TRINITY IS…THE FATHER THE SON AND THE HOLY SPIRIT….the HOLY SPIRIT LIVES INSIDE ME and unless you have the HOLY SPIRIT (JESUS) INSIDE OF YOU …. YOU CANNOT CLAIM TO BE A FOLLOWER OF CHRIST..BECAUSE YOU CANNOT GO TO THE FATHER UNLESS THROUGH JESUS THE SON…THE INTERCESSOR ON OUR BEHALF… There are BELIEVERS( ones who have faith) and FOLLOWERS (disciples)…WHICH ONE ARE YOU??? HE knows the heart….he doesn’t care what you look like or where you’ve come from…The heart is His concern…because out of the heart THE MOUTH SPEAKS….. you shall know them by their FRUIT…have a nice day and God Bless

  5. #5 Jason M
    Oklahoma (don't hate me, not my fault)
    September 5, 2013

    mbrace… Rest assured that you will be blessed for the persecution you suffer from the wicked fundamentalist, radical dictator witches. The Lord did make a note of your dissent on this public forum and added a sun room to your golden mansion for your trouble. I spoke to him personally, and he told me. Although he did tell through the intercessor and therefore I can present only hearsay and not actual fact. So if I’m wrong, you’ll just have to forgive me because I didn’t bother with facts, since they only really confuse the subject. I’m with you, facts make it really hard to continue to have faith in my personal skewed version of reality I’d prefer to live in. However, since I like to read books, I have to point out that all the signs (WITCHES, FUNDAMENTALISTS, RADICALISTS, DICTATORS ETC ETC…that’s should give you an idea…plus.. take a look around you … the MIddle East…the world in fact…neighbour against neighbour, daughter against mother, son against father, brother against brother…there will be famines, and drought, volcanoes and floods) are things that have never not (I’m from OK, forgive my use of double negatives) been happening. But again, God told me personally that these particular events are the ones we were waiting for and those other floods volcanoes etc were just random chance events that take place in a dynamic system.

  6. #6 Maezeppa
    Los Angeles
    September 6, 2013

    Creationism is useful to the hard right which uses creationists to win close elections. They are ignorant, paranoid, and if you REALLY want to discourage yourself, just use your browser to look for available Creationist Christian home-schooling kits. It’s quite an industry.

  7. #7 Waka
    9th & Hennepin
    September 6, 2013

    “I would ask how they know that.”

    It’s magical thinking. I’ve heard from one of my acquaintances several times that “science has failed”. He must be getting this statement directly from his pasta… I mean pastOR. They seem to believe that if you repeat this stuff often enough, more people will believe it. I worry that they are somewhat correct, as the average joe seems pretty impervious to rational argument.

    There is a larger point though, and that is that for all their hatred of witches and the supernatural (see above), Christians in general are the main promoters of magical thinking in our society.

  8. #8 jrkrideau
    September 6, 2013

    I am sorry to hear that Christian Talk Radio is so painful to you. Admittedlly the link you supplied is pretty boring but some shows are a lot of fun if one is having a problem getting to sleep: For example the late Gene Scott’s diatribes or sermons were amazing.

    I used to listen to Scott with real delight. Admittedly I thought (and still wonder) if he was not doing a Poe but his explanation of how the Atlanteans built the pyramids was fascinating. In fact his discussion of the ‘royal inch’ made me question the purpose of the ISO.

  9. #9 BobFromLI
    Long Island, NY
    September 7, 2013

    mbrace, I’m confused (okay, so are you but that’s another whole discussion). Can you PLEASE explain how there is one god and what a trinity (which still seems to be three) is and how they all come together. I know that I am missing some 2000 years of contemplation and doubletalk here but I’m trying…really…to get through the blather.

    I’m also reading Aslan’s book which will tell me more about Jesus than you know.

  10. #10 G
    California USA
    September 9, 2013

    Yo PZ: you’re filing a patent application in France that’s written in Irish or Basque, and wondering why it goes nowhere.

    Get this: these people don’t do logic, they don’t even do facts. What they do is pure emotionalism and in-group/out-group dynamics. Arguing reason with them is like trying to tell a grizzly bear not to eat you because you have a kid. As far as the grizzly bear is concerned, your kid is desert (if s/he hasn’t already been the appetizer). And the dumb bear doesn’t even understand human speech.

    To get any traction, forget about persuading the idiots, and focus on persuading the undecideds. And forget about reasoning over it, just go for the emotions. Mild to moderate ridicule works wonders at getting undecideds to run away from whatever-it-is you’re ridiculing.

    So:

    What to do about these people:

    1) A letter-writing campaign to their local media asking what happened to the public parks, street lights, and police in Colorado Springs. Keywords & phrases “bankrupt town,” “budget catastrophe” and “anti-tax extremists.” There have been articles published about C Springs’ local gov collapse, in various places online that should be easy enough to find.

    2) A little protest march, ideally in C Springs, but could be done anywhere just as long as the background is photogenic. At this protest, you have people carrying signs as they march by (and send in the photos numbered in this order):
    “We’re the Secular Humanists and we’re here to say…”
    “Have lots of gay sex!”
    “Then get a divorce!”
    “And have an abortion!”
    “Because it’s evolution!”

    On the backside of their signs, and this part goes in the second series of photos,
    “If you”
    “fell for”
    “this….”
    “Then”
    “You’re”
    “STOOPID!”

    Wait until the nutters publish series #1 with breathless commentary added, and then spring series #2 on them. Whoopie!

    3) For those with expert knowledge of the religious right, this should get results: Wade into their sites and stir up a feisty schism between “pre-tribulationists” and “post-tribulationists.” (Look ‘em up;-) This split over biblical interpretation is just waiting to break out into open warfare, and the only reason it hasn’t so far is that nobody’s exploited it. So go ahead and exploit it, and then watch the fireworks!

    4) Prescribe the symptom. Get on their forums and sound like extreme versions of themselves. Extreme, and dumb, and even more extreme. However do _not_ advocate violent or terrorist activities to try to get them in trouble: you’ll only succeed in getting yourself in trouble. Keep it legal, and keep it wacky. Mentioning “chemtrails” is also good, and also works as bait.

    5) Stirring up their paranoia can also work wonders, for example if any of them read this comment or better yet a series of comments planning various psywar tactics. The more paranoid they get, the more wacky stuff they spout, the more undecideds they put off with their own spew. Win/win solution!

    Go out & get ‘em, tigers!, and have fun doing it!

  11. #11 Donexodus
    Virgin Islands
    September 9, 2013

    Their denial reminds me of Baghdad Bob during the invasion of Iraq.

    “We have the american forces on the run- they are fleeing in sheer terror at our overwhelming victory!”
    (US bomb explodes 1/4 mile behind him and people are running).

  12. #12 Larry Wiesner
    September 10, 2013

    I don’t understand what happened to Colorado Springs; drive through there often on my way to New Mexico. Beautiful scenery, nice art museum; the Denver area up the road is progressive. Is the Aero Force Academy conducting experiments or dropping chemicals? Why so many fundies from that benighted city?

  13. #13 David Marjanović
    Museum für Naturkunde, Berlin
    September 10, 2013

    Must be all the Cretaceous fossils in the ground, like in Kansas.

  14. #14 David Marjanović
    Museum für Naturkunde, Berlin
    September 10, 2013

    Must be all the Cretaceous fossils in the ground, like in Kansas.

  15. #15 mlrinstitutions
    http://www.mlrinstitutions.ac.in
    September 10, 2013

    nice and excellent site f

  16. #16 JimG
    September 10, 2013

    “Simple fact, IN THE LAST DAYS FALSE PROPHETS SHALL RISE……”
    You have to love Christian facts. Lots of pretty words scrambled together, zero facts. Yawn

  17. #17 Henry
    Wisconsin
    September 10, 2013

    It’s sad to see how blind we can be. I pray for you all but I confess my sinful nature is in rebellion.
    Look. You support this person Richard Dawkins…?: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/09/richard-dawkins-pedophilia_n_3895514.html

    Pray for forgiveness. That’s all – no works on your part are needed. Jesus has done all the work. Thru our faith in Him, we are forgiven.

    So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled. 1 Thessalonians 5:6

  18. #18 David Marjanović
    Museum für Naturkunde, Berlin
    September 11, 2013

    Look. You support this person Richard Dawkins…?

    What a bizarre way to imagine the world. No. “My country, right or wrong” is a moronic and evil attitude; PZ does not share it. Have fun reading the thread, it has 582 comments as of right now.

  19. #19 Steven
    Texas
    September 17, 2013

    Seems these idiots have been taking the example of Baghdad Bob, without actually paying attention to the conclusion of that example.

    “We are winning against the Americans. No, they are nowhere near Baghdad. Excuse me, someone’s knocking on my door….”

    (Not an exact quote :)

  20. #20 evening dresses in us
    http://www.kiwibox.com/smash1eyes/blog/entry/105912055/dark-invitations-shimmer-your-current-wedding-day/?pPage=0
    September 18, 2013

    If you could email me with a few hints on how you made this blog look like this, Id appreciate it!

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