From Pulitzer Prize to Creationist Mouthpiece in Five Short Years

Jerry Bergman

Jerry Bergman, trying to cope with being a retard.
(Image from Toledo Blade)

You might remember Jerry Bergman, who we first encountered a year ago. At that time, he had inked a deal with crackpot creatard Kevin Wirth (Kevin Wirth!) to publish his his latest fantasy novel, Slaughter of the Dissidents: The Shocking Truth about Killing the Careers of Darwin Doubters. Bergman is a young-Earth creationist who lost his job at Bowling Green University for not having sufficient credentials. Rather than accept this harsh fact, Bergman fantasized that he was fired for being a creationist. He took his case to court and lost. He’s been bitter about it ever since.

Toledo Blade

I see that today’s Toledo Blade has an article about Bergman in the (where else?) Religion section. This article is surprisingly gullible. It doesn’t adhere to any journalistic standards of investigation or reporting. Instead, it just parrots at face value whatever Bergman says. Humorously, the Blade tells us in its masthead that it won the Pulitzer Prize in 2004.

Let’s take a look at their latest attempt to win the prize again. It’s an article titled “Ohio scholar reports bias against ‘Darwin doubters’. 17 cases are detailed in new book”:

Jerry Bergman is a mild-mannered, soft-spoken, and balding college professor, author, and member of Mensa – a group of people whose IQs are in the top 2 percent of the population.

Note the use of “mild-mannered” to imply that he’s a Clark Kent type. Actually, Underdog is more like it: an over-the-top parody even less believable than the original. Also note the Mensa reference, which is the Appeal to Authority fallacy. If he’s smart, he must know what he’s talking about!

He also is a man on a mission, going about his task with the same tenacity as a pit bull in attack mode.

He is Underdog! Just like Underdog, he spends his days pursuing fictional foes, in this case oppressive “Darwinists”, who are murdering the careers of God-loving creationists everywhere.

For the last 30 years, Mr. Bergman, 62, has interviewed hundreds of people in academia and documented cases in which he contends that careers were derailed because of doubts about evolution.

Anybody who would foolishly spend his time trying to disprove evolution is probably going to have a wasted career. It’s like trying to disprove gravity.

The results of his interviews and research are compiled in his latest book, Slaughter of the Dissidents: The Shocking Truth about Killing the Careers of Darwin Doubters, published last fall by Leafcutter Press.

What they fail to mention is that “Leafcutter Press” is just Kevin Wirth. This is exactly what I’m talking about. If you can’t get published by a legitimate publisher, who has an established reputation, then you don’t deserve to be called an academic.

The students, professors, and scientists suffered not because they were advocating the teaching of biblical Creationism or Intelligent Design, he said, but for questioning or debating aspects of Charles Darwin’s famous theory.

In effect, they were demonstrating that they didn’t understand the material. Any loss of jobs is thus due to being unqualified.

Also, the whole reason for attempting to disprove evolution is to then be able to offer up their own version. Creationism and “Darwin doubting” are just two different faces of their fairy tale.

“In 1979, I was let go by Bowling Green State University openly due to my increasing disillusion with Darwinism,” he said in a lecture Monday night at WLMB-TV, Channel 40, Toledo’s Christian television station. The two-hour program was filmed before a studio audience of 60 and will be broadcast at a later date, according to Jamey Schmitz, WLMB’s president and CEO.

If Bergman can’t even get the facts of his own court case correct, then why does he think we’ll believe anything else he says?

He also made a gradual transition from atheism to Christianity after studying the Bible and comparing its explanation for human existence to that offered by scientific rationale – including evolution and neo-Darwinism, he said.

So this tells us that Bergman is so eager to be deluded that he takes a folktale as stronger evidence than all of the sciences. Didn’t they say something at the beginning of this article about Mensa?

When Mr. Bergman was denied tenure after seven years on staff at BGSU, he challenged the decision through the university’s own system and then in civil court alleging religious discrimination.

But his evidence for discrimination was as strong as the evidence for human origins in the Bible.

His appeals were rejected and Mr. Bergman said filing suit was the biggest mistake of his life.

Rejecting all of science and believing the Bible instead is a pretty big mistake, too.

University and court officials did not take his claims seriously and put shockingly little effort into reviewing or understanding his arguments, he said.

Obviously, the court’s standards of evidence are as high as the university’s. If only Mr. Bergman could learn to apply such standards to himself. But of course, that would mean giving up his comforting fantasy that he is a victim of discrimination.

The lawsuit turned out to be “the kiss of death” in academic circles, Mr. Bergman said, not only shattering his promising career but also ruining his marriage, which soon ended in divorce.

I’d guess that Bergman’s inability to produce any credible evidence to support his creationist claims is probably what killed his career.

Publicity over the lawsuit, however, led other academics to contact him with similar stories, he said. He has since compiled a list of 3,000 cases alleging discrimination due to religious beliefs, and personally has interviewed more than 300 people in such situations.

I have no way of knowing if any of those cases are legitimate discrimination. I do find it telling, however, that the creationists have been unable to publicly produce more than a couple of borderline cases out of all of academia. They had an entire crappy movie to make their case, and they failed.

That topic was brought to the mainstream’s attention last year when actor, comedian, and attorney Ben Stein released the documentary Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed.

And only managed to embarrass himself.

While Slaughter of the Dissidents explores 17 cases of alleged religious discrimination, it is just the first book in a five-volume series Mr. Bergman has planned. The second book is almost done and the third volume is 80 percent completed.

This came as a bit of a shock to me. The book is ranked #673,419 in sales on Amazon right now. They couldn’t have sold more than a few dozen. I guess if you’re deluded enough, you’ll continue on a dead end path forever. Come on, Bergman, don’t stop at five! Your fantasy is wilder than Harry Potter, and there are seven of those. Come on! We know you can beat J.K. Rowling!

Each book, true to form for academia, has about 1,000 footnotes.

Citing 1000 crackpots is no more credible than citing one.

When he tells people that doubting Darwinism can lead to discrimination in universities, Mr. Bergman said he gets two responses, neither sympathetic to his cause: “First, it’s not happening. Second, yes it’s happening and it should be happening.”

Both responses are legitimate. Creationists haven’t presented any compelling cases of discrimination yet, so it probably isn’t happening to any great degree. Secondly, if you think the Bible explains life better than science, then you have nothing to contribute to science. Go join a seminary and leave the fact finding to the big boys.

“It’s unlikely today that an out-of-the-closet Darwin doubter will survive in academia,” he said.

Meaning they aren’t fit for their environment and deserve to go extinct. If Bergman doesn’t understand this concept, BGU was right to fire him.

And there’s much at stake because a PhD requires a huge investment in time and money, averaging nine years of school and $300,000 and $500,000 in costs, he said.

So why would you waste all that pursuing something you aren’t qualified for?

Rather than risk losing everything over one’s personal beliefs, Mr. Bergman said he advises people to “stay in the closet until things change” and to seek change through legislation.

If you can’t prove your claims with data, just go where science is unheard of: The legislature!

In a question-and-answer session after his talk, he said one way to help bring about change is to propose a state constitutional amendment that would allow educators to raise questions about evolution.

Sure! Let’s take the science out of science. Anybody can make any wild claim, and the schools will have to teach it.

He predicted it would be overwhelmingly approved because free speech and scholarly debate in academia are being stifled by just a handful of “Darwinian fundamentalists.”

Wow! Just a few “Darwin fundies” are managing to oppress the entire educational system of the whole world! Because, after all, evolution is just an atheistic fantasy that has been perpetrated on the world, and millions of good scientists everywhere have mounds of evidence supporting the Biblical account of creation, but they can’t get published anywhere!

Persecution.

They love to feel persecuted.

No respect for Jerry Bergman

15 Responses to “From Pulitzer Prize to Creationist Mouthpiece in Five Short Years”

  1. Parrotlover77 Says:

    1. My sample size is small, but are all MENSA members tools? Scoring that well on an IQ test is impressive, indeed, but if this character can do it, it hardly shows that the test is a measure of intelligence.

    2. Why would evolutionary dissent (in favor of creationism) NOT lead to getting your ass canned? Unless you are an English teacher, that is. It’s like denying gravity. It’s one thing to disagree with the which mechanism led to which species, but to deny it altogether in favor of something silly like cdesign SHOULD get your ass canned! Thankfully we have all those librul activist judges!

    3. Divorce? ZOMG! Sanctity of marraige and all that crap! BIBLE! GAYS! FLURGLE! HERGASH! GRODLE! SNORT!

    4. Three thousand cases if you, you know, round up to the nearest three thousand.

    5. Ben Stein is a comedian? I mean on purpose? Really?

  2. penguinsaur Says:

    Am I the only one who finds these stories about people going from athiesm to full blown crazy fundie hard to believe? I’m sure it happens, theirs sane people who think scientology has all the answers, but alot of these former athiests they trot out are raised by batshit insane fundie parents, call themself athiest for a year or two in college and then go back to batshit insanity. And of course alot just lie about the athiesm so no one realizes that their entire reason for believing is that their parents did.

  3. Parrotlover77 Says:

    I agree. I don’t deny that there must be some fairly legit (as in, not just doing it for show or to rebel against their parents) atheists that fundified later in life, but the number has got to be very small. I have never seen anything convincing. I’m not saying Richard Dawkins has to convert for me to be convinced, but a little more evidence than “I knew a guy once who knew a guy” would be good.

  4. Brian Says:

    Well, as a BGSU graduate, I have to say how proud I am of the school I attended for dumping this douchenozzle. I knew there was more to BG than drunken orgies!

    I believe I’ve mentioned here before how fascinating, and dubious, I find people who claim to be former atheists. Really? Well, I’d love to know what convinced them to become atheists in the first place, and what arguments they found persuasive enough to counter that position? They never tell us this because, in my humble opinion, they are bullshitting us with stories of false conversions intended to impress the more feeble-minded.

    I agree with PL. If someone like Dawkins publicly converted, it would raise more questions about him than it would atheism itself. I am willing to be shown that I’m wrong about all of this, but its going to take some pretty goddamn gold-plated evidence to have any effect on me. Simply using semantics and fuzzy reasoning only convinces me of the believer’s credulity and stupidity.

  5. dvsrat Says:

    In a question-and-answer session after his talk, he said one way to help bring about change is to propose a state constitutional amendment that would allow educators to raise questions about evolution.

    Constitutional amendment: All persons who are so-called educators must have the right guaranteed to them under the authority of the Constitution of the State of Cookoo to make speech (of some sort) that opposes Charles Darwin’s theory of Evolution.

    All those in favor say “eye”. Or was that “I” or whatever.

    ALL IN UNISON: “eye, I, or whatever.”

    … except one… “perhaps…” one woman said… “we should make another constitutional amendment that states that nobody should ever be allowed to fart in an elevator.”

    All AGREED: “YES!!, the crowd exclaimed. “No more farting in elevators!!”

    ONE LITTLE BOY: “And we make ‘stutional ‘mendmint that we don’t have to come inside after dark.”

    ELDERLY WOMAN: “WE have had it with the laundry room situation!! And now it’s time for the Constitutional Amendment — By decreed by the State of Cookoo — that no persons will ever set the washed laundry on the top of the dirty dryer.

    MIDDLE-AGED MAN: “we shall make it be clear that the word “literally” only be used as it literally shall be . There will be a State-certified, reviewed by all competent recipients, notarized, and filed in our file called; “important,” copies received by our front office and always before Tuesday afternoon at precisely 3:49 in the PM. Now I do hope you get that straight.”

    AND HE GOES ON:

    ORRRRR…… I am just going to have to create a constitutional amendment that specifies exactly how you do your stupid, little job???

    So then it goes on. Robert Nahgeelah was walking down the street one night and an ostrich walked up and pointed Robert in a single direction. Robert knew that ostriches did not usually signal to him but he thought he might check it out.

    The ostrich pointed Robert into the door of a popular Montana bar. Robert, who happened to be a famous rock star, walked into the bar and sang his famous song about how Sir Walter Raleigh died in a plane crash. Everyone knew that Sir Walter Raleigh did not die in a plane crash but they were polite and listened to the song anyway. It was about that time when Mother Pig entered the bar with twelve sticks of dynamite and a lit match.

    So, Jerry Bergman? What do you want to say to mother pig? As you are standing there — oh, dare I say say “Standing ther in front of her.”

    Let it be.

  6. Jeff Eyges Says:

    “First, it’s not happening. Second, yes it’s happening and it should be happening.”

    First, it’s not happening.

    Second, it still isn’t happening – but, yes, it should be.

    If these morons are being persecuted, why does Behe still have a job?

  7. J. A. Baker Says:

    Anybody who would foolishly spend his time trying to disprove evolution is probably going to have a wasted career. It’s like trying to disprove gravity.

    Alternatively, it’s like trying to prove that water isn’t wet.

  8. Lindsay Says:

    I was wondering the same too penguinsaur. All I can come up with is during college these atheist to fundie converts weren’t actually atheists but perhaps just didn’t go to church on a regular basis. In their minds not attending church on a regular basis equates to atheism?

  9. J. A. Baker Says:

    Citing 1000 crackpots is no more credible than citing one.

    Actually, that’s a bit of an upper bound on the number of crackpots cited, since works like Mr. Bergman’s will frequently cite some sources multiple times.

    And incidentlly, since BGSU dropped him like a bad habit, I know one place that would jump at the chance to have him educate brainwash their students: BJU!

  10. Ron Britton Says:

    Lindsay:

    All I can come up with is during college these atheist to fundie converts weren’t actually atheists but perhaps just didn’t go to church on a regular basis. In their minds not attending church on a regular basis equates to atheism?

    I think that’s a lot of it. Most of these people don’t seem to understand what atheism is, so they can’t know whether they were one.

    I’m sure some are legitimate conversions from genuine atheists. I have no problem with that. How strong is anyone’s belief in anything? For a lot of people, a given belief is what makes the most sense at the time. These people could have been legitimate atheists, in that they definitely agreed with the tenets of non-theism. Life is a long journey. What works for somebody at one age may not work for them at a later age.

    It’s the strong atheists, such as PZ Myers or Richard Dawkins, who would shock me if they converted. For the run of the mill person who accepts atheism just because nothing else is convincing, I expect some of them to change their opinions later.

  11. Parrotlover77 Says:

    I think proof of God may be the seemingly large impossibly coincidental number of conservative/fundie organizations, groups, ideas, that all have some sexual euphemism buried underneath. BJU? The teabag movement? The list goes on and on…

    Of course, if it does prove existence of god, it’s proving that god really has a great sense of humor and quite probably dislikes his most fervent followers.

  12. Jeff Eyges Says:

    Ron, if you haven’t already noticed – Kevin Worth’s latest activity has been leaving thank-you notes for people who post five-star reviews to this abomination on Amazon.

    It’s utterly amazing how many stupid frakking people there are in this country. I can’t wait for us to go down the tubes. (That’s because I don’t have Christ in my heart.)

  13. Ron Britton Says:

    Jeff:

    Thanks for the great tip! I was aware that the monstrosity was getting a lot of five-star reviews, but that’s just because it’s a self-selecting group. Who else would be willing to shell out $25 for something you can scoop out of your toilet for free?

    What I had never bothered to look at was the comments. You’re right. KW posts a lot of self-aggrandizing comments after the reviews, telling them that “oh that’s just the tip of the icebergman. You should see how bad it really is!”

    Maybe in a few days I’ll take a closer look at some of those. I’m always looking for new material!

    I noticed that KW seems to be in a long-running battle with a guy named James Safranek who posts comments on a lot of these reviews debunking them. It’s good to see somebody else fighting the good fight against this colossal retard who is trying so hard to ruin our schools and drag us back to the Dark Ages.

    BTW, his name is spelled “Wirth”. He has no worth.

  14. Jeff Eyges Says:

    Yeah, I just noticed the mistake and emailed you to ask you to fix it. Never mind!

    Safranek has a running battle in one of those comment threads that goes on for seven, eight pages. I don’t know why he bothers.

  15. Parrotlover77 Says:

    Ahhh… the awesome 21st battleground of Amazon book reviews. Further proof that Kevin has absolutely no life. Whoever James Safranek is, he should just step away, no matter how temping it is. The book reviews and comments will never change anybody’s mind.

    http://xkcd.com/386/