Category Archives: ID/Creationism

VFX has gone too far

UPDATE: DPRJones and VFX have come to some sort of agreement. The details are here. Hopefully this will be the best scenario for VFX to end his destructive behaviour and each of them can move on with their lives. I certainly hope he can come to realize that although some people disagree with his worldview, that does not make them vicious monsters and he will stop spreading the message of hate. But I don’t necessarily support VFX’s request for people to remove videos about him so he can “move on”. It’s part of not repeating the mistakes of the past (as he indicated was his goal). Consequences: he haz them – his behaviour affected more people than just DPRJones. Being a new person and moving on involves accepting, not forgetting, past behaviour and giving people a opportunity to recognize new commendable behaviour. And being forgiven involves change and, if appropriate, consequences for bad behaviour.

See this video for another update from VFX and his dad.

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Over the past week or so, some shit hit the fan on YouTube. The user VenomfangX, famous (or infamous, depending on your perspective) for his videos supporting creationism and against atheism, has yet again filed false DMCA notices against several of his critics. He did this before against another YouTube user, Thunderf00t (of the Why People Laugh at Creationists series, among other things), who forced VFX to issue an apology and read a statement outlining his new understanding of DMCA law.

For a complete history of VFX’s shameful behaviour (not just the DMCA, but his other morally questionable actions) please see this detailed post by Skepacabra. I’ve also written before about his past behaviour, in which I expressed some pity for him – it’s getting much harder to feel that. More…

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Fundie Friday – Hesselbeck ignored

For all we bitch about Oprah, Jenny McCarthy, Rosie (when she was on The View), and Dr. Phil, you know who often gets a pass? Elizabeth Hasselbeck. I see her mentioned sometimes on Pharyngula, but honestly why aren’t skeptics making more of a big deal about her. Sure she’s not spreading nonsense about vaccines, but she is spreading nonsense about a whole lot of other crap on a major network daytime TV show. She deserves a heaping pile of criticism. So buckle up. I hope you appreciate the pain and torture I’m going to have to endure to get this information. More…

Fundie Friday: VenomFang X-ed?

There’s some weird business going down with VenomfangX these days. His account has been closed on YouTube. Not suspended. Closed. Also, his website has been taken down and there is a message saying that his parents have closed it because they don’t agree with his views. Hmm…what is going on here? More…

Encouraging seedy methods is bad advice…

…no matter what the purpose. There’s a list of ways that people can get evolution to be more emphasized in museums, but unfortunately it reads like a handbook for converting people to Christianity.

Let’s take a look at some of the points.

2. Drop a note into the institution’s “Suggestion” box as you leave, explaining how increased emphasis on evolution would be an attraction. Adding, “I’ll donate more money to the zoo if you do it…” can get the staff’s attention pretty quickly.

Unfortunately, that might be the case for non-scientific material well and is tantamount to bribery. However, I do get the point they were trying to make, but something still seems off about that suggestion.

6. If you know a thing or two about evolution, bring a Post-It pad the next time you visit one of these places, and share some of this knowledge with others by attaching notes to pre-existing plaques.

This seems a little passive aggressive. Now I have left out other points where the author suggested more direct action, but this one seems seedy.

7. If your kids are old enough to enjoy a little fun, park yourself in front of a primate exhibit and get them to ask bystanders, “are humans really evolved from non-human ancestors?” Then adopt a chimp-like gait and moan, “Me want answer! Me want answer!!” Kids will just love this.

Sort of like how religious people park their kids on the corners of streets to hand out leaflets explaining why people are going to hell. People don’t like being harassed and I don’t think “but we’re talking about science” is enough justification to bother other people. I also don’t think it’s right to use kids this way for any reason.

8. If your job is to design plaques, use your position of power to secretly introduce real science, plaque by plaque.

Using a position of power to influence decisions is not something I want to encourage, no matter what the result. It’s inappropriate. I know people are saying “but it’s for the greater good! REAL science!”. That may be so, but if you’re sneaking around proper procedures for an institution’s decision-making, that’s just not cool. What if I’m a plaque designer and my ideal of “real science” is intelligent design? I don’t think we should be encouraging people to side-step the peer review process like this.

I think it’s great to promote evolution and I think museums in particular have a responsibility to display accurate, up-to-date, and non-sanitized information. But I think we should leave the sneak tactics to those who have nothing else to use. We have mountains of evidence on our side, there’s no need to trick people. And if the opportunities for truth are being busted down because of corruption or politics, there are ways to handle that appropriately that don’t involve sinking to their level.

I intend to promote evolution to my kids by simply teaching them about it. I don’t want to feel like I’m tricking them or trying to indoctrinate them. If I did sneaky things to get them to agree with me, I’d be no better than a creationist.

More Expelled: NIA (sick of it yet?)

I wanted to post a link to this letter by Richard Dawkins because I think it is very important that people read it. Especially if you aren’t knowledgeable about the involvement, or lack thereof, of evolution in the Jewish Holocaust.

I find it absolutely appalling that the makers of Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed have damaged people’s minds the way they have. It is a tragedy that people have to suffer this intellectual assault. However I feel fortunate that they made their movie in a country where speech is free and as much as they are free to spout propaganda, the rest of us are free to try to correct the damage.

Please give the letter a read.

For more on Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed see:

  • Eugenie Scott’s website Expelled Exposed (pay particular attention to the reviews of the movie that are from Christian and “neutral” publications, and what happened to the so-called expelled individuals – all verifiable information)
  • Michael Shermer’s site under the heading “Debunking Expelled
  • The Wikipedia entry on Expelled
  • The Internet Movie Database entry for Expelled
  • PZ Meyers’ various blog entries about Expelled along with a video of an interview on the “Expelled from Expelled” incident with he and Richard Dawkins

I don’t expect that individuals particularly enamored with Expelled and Intelligent Design in general to be convinced by these sources, as many of them are part of “Big Science” and are therefore untrustworthy “evolutionists”. I encourage those people NOT to take the scientists word for it (or my word for it), but don’t take Ben Stein’s word for it either. (If I were popular enough, I’d say I can’t wait for that sentence to appear out of context somewhere, without the bit after the comma. Luckily no one cares what I say…so far.)

The information on everything presented in Expelled is out there to be found for oneself and I hope that people will realize the inherent flaw in deciding to blindly believe one person’s synthesis of events while scoffing at another’s. Do the research and then decide with a free mind what is probably the truth.

Me Sick and More Expelled

Holy crap. So it’s been forever since I’ve posted something because I got…dunh duh duh duuuuuuuuuunh…appendicitis! How’s that for an excuse. Nothing like a major surgery and an infection to get out of doing everything….only to have to do it later (grr). Once I’m back to full strength I will write a skeptical article about politics, inspired by the debacle happening down south in the US.

In the meantime enjoy this spoof of Ben Stein’s ridiculous Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed garbage entitled Sexpelled: No Intercourse Allowed. It’s very Flying Spaghetti Monster and therefore hilarious. The video is also featured with witty commentary on Richard Dawkins’ website.

Expelled!

Ever hear of the movie Expelled, narrated/hosted by Ben Stein? Well, I hope not. But if you have been unfortunate enough to have been subjected to that mess, I suggest you check out this website which was set up to try and counteract the damage done by the movie.

Incidentally, check out PZ Myers’ experience when he went. It’s hysterical.