Six Million Dollar Logic

I was looking at a fundie web site as a possible victim beneficiary of one of my fiskings. That site led me to another, even more worthy victim beneficiary. I hope to return to the first article soon, but let’s have fun with the referenced page first!

It’s on a site called Think & Believe: A Publication of Alpha Omega Institute. I love it! Throw some Greek letters together, tag on the word “institute”, and you sound all scholarly and reputable! I also love the first part: “Think & Believe”. Usually, those two concepts are mutually exclusive!

The page I found happens to be the July/August 2000 issue of T&B. It consists of two whole articles. The first is called “10 Best Evidences for Creation”. It’s written by Dave & Mary Jo Nutting (really!). It gives ten “evidences” that were debunked long before that article was ever published. We’ll skip that for now. I’m more interested in the second article: “Evolutionary Teaching in the Classroom”. As an added bonus, this article is written by Steve Austin! Sweet! I’m having bad-TV flashbacks already!

(I know there’s some wrestler who swiped the name and is using it now, but for me, Steve Austin is The Six Million Dollar Man! (Speaking of how implausible that show was, $6,000,000 for a secret government technology program was cheap even in the 1970s. Six million is a rounding error for Dick Cheney.))

Let’s get started and shred the article.

I thought they were fighting over a girl. They're fighting over a GRILL!!

I don’t have George Foreman to smack around
this Steve Austin, so I’ll have to do it myself.

Steve starts with some unnecessary background:

Last fall, I was privileged to take a botany class at the local college. The reason for my taking the class was to broaden my knowledge of plants and how to identify certain groups.

No. 1. The larch.

Unfortunately, a significant portion of the lecture phase of the course included teachings regarding the theory of evolution, as it related to plants.

So our six million dollar brain decides to take a biology class and was hoping that it wouldn’t teach any biology?

Fortunately, I am well grounded in creationism, so the professor was not able to change my mind.

That is fortunate. You almost learned something.

This experience illustrated to me the pressures young students have when they attend the secular colleges and universities and are exposed to the teachings of evolution. Creationism was taught as incorrect, and evidence was presented to back up that contention…

Ev… evi… evi… den… dense? Wait. What? What was that word again? I’ve never heard it before!

…however I was knowledgeable enough to recognize that such evidence was based on serious misconceptions

Namely, that by studying our world we can actually figure things out about it.

Primarily, the professor did not understand the difference between micro-evolution (adaptation within the kind) and macro-evolution (changes from one kind to another).

Because, as everyone knows, you can walk across the hall, but you can’t walk across the street.

Although I wanted to voice an objection and correct this misconception, I was forced to bite my tongue, because at the beginning of the course the professor indicated he had the right to remove anyone who was disruptive. Furthermore, I had been previously warned that he had an intense dislike for creationism in general. Thus, I was relegated to mentally shaking my head in sadness whenever the subject of evolution was presented.

Henns and Chicks

Parents, if you truly love your children, and want them well grounded in the truth of the Gospel, diligently prepare them for such encounters at the college, high school, and even middle school level.

Parents, if you truly love your children, keep them away from anybody who uses the phrase “the truth of the Gospel”.

The teaching of evolution is so deeply ingrained in conventional scientific thought that those presenting such material are blind to the reality…

And Steve Austin is clearly an expert in reality.

…that what they are teaching is in effect religion.

There’s that old saw again. “Any idea that conflicts with my religion must be religious!

Yet, they consider creationism to be religion.

But of course it isn’t!

Remember, the teachings of evolution contend that we evolved from monkeys, or from some other intermediate ancestor.

Technically, it’s a common ancestor. An intermediate ancestor implies one that has half the characteristics of each. Sloppy thinking like that is how you end up with geniuses like Kirk Cameron insisting that if evolution were true, then where is the crocoduck fossil?

Crocoduck

It’s a good thing Steve Austin is smarter than Kirk Cameron. He’d never believe in anything so foolish, right Steve?

Steve?

Maybe we’d better not pursue that line of inquiry. I don’t think we’d like the answer.

Thus, if we follow that teaching to its logical conclusion, we would recognize that it implies the Bible is not true…

We have separation.

…and simply a collection of stories and myths…

I’ve got a blowout!

…and if that is true about the Bible, then God does not exist…

Pitch is out. I can’t hold altitude!

…and we have no need of a Savior.

I can’t hold it. She’s breaking up! She’s breaking up!

Henns and Chicks

Steve Austin … creationist … a brain barely alive. Gentlemen … he’s beyond help. Pull the plug!

25 Responses to “Six Million Dollar Logic”

  1. LadyRavana Says:

    Ugh. Ron, once again, your courage in wading through the cesspool that is fundie “logic.” What you bring back from your internet travels is…interesting.

    Your snark is the only thing that made this guy’s idiocy bearable. I’m sure some blood vessels would have ruptured in my brain if I’d actually gone to that website and read it in all its unfiltered glory.

    The stupid. It burns us, precious.

    This guy is honest proof that evolution can indeed go in reverse.

  2. Barbara Says:

    Starring Steve Zahn as Geologist Steve Austin:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VKe6Y743uBQ

  3. Ron Britton Says:

    I’m sure some blood vessels would have ruptured in my brain if I’d actually gone to that website and read it in all its unfiltered glory.

    If I ever have a stroke, you’ll know what happened.

  4. Barbara Says:

    The very very superscary is that he actually holds real degrees from real universities.

  5. Jeremy White Says:

    Ugh! I almost thought he was being sarcastic towards creationists at the end of the quotes.

    Sounded like he was saying:

    I mean, the Bible is bullshit if evolution is true! But the bible says the Bible is true, thus we know it’s true! So evolution must be bullshit! ::wink wink:: Right guys!? We don’t believe the Bible is bullshit, do we?

    But no, he’s serious. His brain can’t wrap around the idea that he might possibly be wrong.

    Blind faith is mental rot.

  6. Ron Britton Says:

    Maybe a degree should be like a license. It could be revoked for misconduct. After all, it brings disrepute to the school. The school could say “We didn’t teach him that! He obviously learned nothing when he was here.”

    I guess it’s more like fraud. If a scammer cheats you out of money, he disappears, and you’ll never get your bucks back. Steve Austin cheated the university and ran away with the degree.

  7. Lindsay Says:

    And we have no need of a savior…this is what it all boils down to. Fundies feel the need to be “saved” like damsels in distress. The paternalistic worldview goes beyond how they treat women, families and congregations…it is the very core of their self worth. If they aren’t “saved,” then what are they? What reason for being alive do they have?

    I really feel sorry for them. To have such little confidence in your own intellect…it is easy to understand why the world is so frightening to them instead of wonderful and enlightening.

  8. Parrotlover77 Says:

    Poe’s Law strikes again. I couldn’t tell if you were being facetious about Kirk Cameron asking about a crocoduck fossil just to inject that funny picture, or if he really asked for it. Which is it?

  9. LadyRavana Says:

    I’m willing to bet he actually asked for it.

    Some days, I could weep for humanity. I really, really could.

  10. Barbara Says:

    Oh, he exists. And NO ONE has pulled his myspace page.

    http://www.myspace.com/crocoduck

  11. Ron Britton Says:

    Barbara:

    That’s an excellent link. I looked for a good summary last night to link to, but I didn’t find one. That one has a good explanation of the whole sorry affair.

    That’s what makes Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron so especially laughable. They don’t follow the same old lies about evolution that all of the other creationists do. They invent their own! Then they act like they’ve discovered a major breakthrough. The banana! The crocoduck!

    Ray and Kirk. American originals! (unfortunately)

  12. Rogi Says:

    In America’s defense, isn’t Ray from New Zealand. Basically, America had to import this kind of idiocy. (Which probably means that New Zealand is responsible for approximately 30% of American stupidity imports)

  13. Ron Britton Says:

    Despite our limitless supply of domestic idiocy, we still manage to import a lot of it (Ken Ham, Mel Gibson, etc.).

  14. Barbara Says:

    “Ray and Kirk. American originals! (unfortunately)”

    Not quite.

    Ray is a New Zealand non-Aboriginal.

  15. Sarah Says:

    I just love how he doesn’t even consider the actual concept or the science for even a moment. Even dumbasses like Kirk and Ray have at least pondered about the idea of evolution (though they don’t understand it and they fail in all aspects of representing it…and their own arguments against it for that matter) and how it relates to science…but this guy just flat out says, “WRONG! Evolution is teh myth. We know creation is right because we know creation is right…THE END!”

  16. Sue Blue Says:

    Again, the question arises – why do these people bother to go to college? What do they expect to get out of it? Isn’t it sort of like expecting to find an AA meeting being held in a bar? If these anencephalics would just stick with their homeschooling and state legislatures continued to rule that colleges and universities don’t have to accept their homeschool credits, they’d eventually be relegated to complete meaninglessness, leaving the rest of us to get on with reality.

  17. Sue Blue Says:

    Just wanted to add – I’m talking about religious homeschooling. I know there are secular homeschoolers out there and there’s nothing wrong with that!

  18. Parrotlover77 Says:

    SB – I don’t even care if it’s religious or not, as long as the mathematical, grammatical, scientific, and history fundamentals are taught and taught correctly in homeschooling. Granted, that usually can only be done from a secular standpoint, but if they (for example) want to pray before each “lecture,” then so be it.

    The key is that ID (or whatever they are calling it these days) CANNOT be substituted for real biological science. Neither can incorrect biblical history being taught. Etc… If you do that, you don’t get credit! Period! Exclamation Mark!

  19. logoseph Says:

    I would like to interject that Monty Python has an nigh-unlimited well of material for blogs like this, and it’s great to see it used. I also loved the Palin for President video.

  20. Ron Britton Says:

    Dinsdale!

  21. The Watcher Says:

    I love how he says “The professor didn’t understand the difference between micro-evolution (adaptation within the kind) and macro-evolution (changes from one kind to another).” As if Steve Austin gets something the professor is just too dumb to see. Right, Steve. Sure.

  22. Parrotlover77 Says:

    Watcher – that was hillarious to me too. I imagine to a biologist, when they hear junk like that, it must feel as mind bogglingly stupid as when I get an email at work from an employee saying “the internet is broken.” Really? The whole internet? Amazing how you got the email to me with the internet being broken. I got an email like that yesterday, in fact. An external website was down. Every other website, email, etc. — that all worked fine. However, I can easily forgive the afforementioned ignorance because that employee is a CSR, not a computer person. Mr. Austin I cannot forgive so easily. Some people really have no clue when they are speaking outside of their expertise.

  23. Troy Says:

    I’m actually impressed that Mr. Majors decided to take a college course and one on botany. As a student I think he had the wrong attitude. If you’ve come to broaden your horizons why not give the blinders you’re wearing a rest? What’s interesting if he wanted to identify certain groups of plants evolution would give a great intuitive understanding of those relationships. To expect evolution not to be mentioned would be like taking a geology course and to be aghast at the mention of the sphericity of the earth!

  24. cipher Says:

    Maybe a degree should be like a license. It could be revoked for misconduct. After all, it brings disrepute to the school. The school could say “We didn’t teach him that! He obviously learned nothing when he was here.”

    Absolutely! I said this myself the other day at Friendly Atheist, and a number of people disagreed with me. I have no problem with revoking a doctorate in science. if someone becomes unhinged and begins teaching creationism.

    I just came across a couple of relevant stories recently. Firstly, a NYT article about a young man who last year was awarded a PhD in geosciences at the University of Rhode Island. His doctoral dissertation was on the Cretaceous era, and his adviser said his work was “impeccable”. The only problem is that he doesn’t actually believe what he wrote; he’s a young earth creationist. He said he was “separating the paradigms” (see, he talks like a secular person, so he must be edumacated). He’s now teaching earth science at Liberty U, which is cashing in on the credibility of the secular university that awarded the degree.

    I also just read that a few years ago, a creationist got a PhD in evolutionary biology at Harvard. They didn’t want to give it to him, but Stephen Jay Gould defended him. If true, I have to see it as a seriously misguided effort to be fair.

    I’m vehemently opposed to this. As Ron said, it brings disrepute to the school, devaluing all future degrees. It also lends a false credibility to the institutions for which the creationist subsequently goes to work. And cracker factories like DI and AIG can say, “See? There are real scientists, with real degrees, who uphold our views.” It’s just a very bad idea.

    Frankly, I’m opposed to the presence of conservative evangelicals at secular universities in general (a growing phenomenon). They’re there under false pretenses – they don’t approve of the curriculum, and are only there to get the degree so that they can compete successfully afterward in a world they consider to be “fallen” and “depraved” – and they’re taking away spaces from kids who may not do as well on standardized tests, but would contribute more to the life of the university and would make more worthwhile contributions to society afterward. Of course, there’s no way to implement this, but – pulling science degrees from creationists? I wouldn’t hesitate. Where’s the petition?

  25. Parrotlover77 Says:

    Well, I’m a little worried that degree-revoking and denying degrees to creationists would just add fuel to their fire. “Help, I’m oppressed.” Basically bringing Expelled to life.

    There are SO FEW that can both do work in a secular field and come up with a worthwhile result AND remain batshit insane.

    Sure, it’d feel good to kick them out of the degree “club” but I’m not sure it’s a net-gain for the perception of science in this very superstitious world.