Saturday, July 4, 2015

#1405: Michael Bradley

It’s become rare, but it still happens: Sometimes we come across something so perfectly, abysmally offensive to reason, truth, beauty, and humanity that it manages to take us aback. Such is the website of Michael Bradley. Bradley seems to fancy himself an expert on neanderthals, and has even written one or more self-published books on the topic. Basically, he thinks there are two types of human: the noble and handsome Cro Magnon people, and the short, stocky, hairy people with receding foreheads that arose in what he calls the “Toxic Lozenge”; the latter group, the Neanderthals – although “people deriving from this Toxic Lozenge in ancient times may not be exactly human and certainly seem to be incompatible with the values and attitudes of ‘ordinary humanity’” – being the ancestors of Jews and other Semitic people, who are characterized by crude and ugly appearances and inferior value systems.

What about the Neanderthal genome sequencing that showed that Europeans and Asians have an infusion of Neanderthal genes on the order of about 4%? Bradley has a different interpretation. Yes, 4 % of the human genome is Neanderthal. But 4 % of the human population is also roughly the population of the Middle East. “What if this Neanderthal DNA is concentrated in the Caucasus Middle East, where this 2010 study admits that Neanderthals and Cro-Magnons (or ‘Early Modern Humans’) met and interbred?” asks Bradley, and subsequently assumes that he has proven that the Neanderthal genes are concentrated in the Middle East, where people are ugly and responsible for all sorts of violence and degenerate cultural traits. “Basically, I estimate that about seventy percent of the present crisis on this planet can be fairly attributed to the machinations of Neanderthal-Semitic elements of the human population against the Cro-Magnon majority of the human population.”

And from there the conclusions just come rolling out: 9/11 was a Jewish plot, as is Obamacare and Hillary Rodham Clinton; and the Jews control Hollywood. In response, Bradley calls for all non-Semitic peoples of the world to unite “to severely limit Semitic activities before they put an end to us and everything else on the planet. I offer the following banner, emblem and symbol …” The symbol he offers is a swastika. And he suggests … Mel Gibson as the charismatic leader of the movement. And the war is of cosmic proportions, because there are UFOs and Roswell and Atlantis are involved. And so it goes.

Diagnosis: And yes, there is quite a number of these out there, which is both horrifying and fascinating.

Friday, July 3, 2015

#1404: Donald Boys

It beggars belief (well, not really), but Donald Boys was once an Indiana lawmaker. Currently, he is a columnist for Barbwire, Matt Barber’s website for people who seem to be too extreme, hateful and hysterically insane for Alan Keyes’s Renew America. As with most of Barbwire’s columnists, Boys has an unhealthy obsession with sex, especially male sex, and he has even lobbied the Indiana Congress to recriminalize sodomy. According to Boys “sodomy should be a crime again to give police officials authority to stop the cruising in city parks, sex in public restrooms, and discourage molesting of little boys” – Boys is apparently unaware that the latter is already illegal and discouraged, even in states that recognize gay marriage. And furthermore, homosexuals want much more than to be left alone: “They want respectability. They want to move into a house in the suburbs, park matching Volvos in the driveway and be accepted as normal people.” Yes, they want to be treated as people. Which to people like Boys is apparently preposterous: “[T]hat won’t happen as long as Christians live in this state,” said Boys. As expected, Boys has received some criticism, which apparently left him non-plussed; for the crime of sodomy he “only suggested 12 years in prison as had been the law for many years,” no more. Clearly criticizing him is an example of persecution of those with different beliefs and values.

Apparently “President Obama committed political suicide when he climbed in bed with the homosexual crowd (figuratively, I hope).” The polls don’t suggest that, so what does Boys have in mind when he says that “now it is official, and that could be dangerous for Obama and America” if not public opinion? But of course: “God is not pleased and it is a dangerous thing to displease a sovereign, holy God! Look at Sodom!” Ah yes, Boys’s buddy is gonna beat up Obama and those who disagree with him.

Here is Donald Boys on Michael Sam’s kiss. Predictable; but it is worth noticing that Boys never said that “anyone with a modicum of decency stop watching ESPN and NFL games” when NFL players beat up their girlfriends on camera, murder, rape, drive drunk and so on. Priorities, people. “The homosexual leaders are the most vile, vicious, and vitriolic people in the world.” You can’t think of anyone worse, can you?

It is worth noting that Boys rose to (a modicum of) fame not for his views on homosexuals, but for imploring the Bush administration to nuke Mecca and Medina, mostly because he didn’t discern sufficient lamenting and resentment over terrorist acts in the images television chose to broadcast from Arabic countries after 9/11.

He doesn’t like evolution either. Evolution “denies science,” as he carefully explained in his lecture “A Christian Apologist Challenges New Atheists to Put Up or Shut Up! A Revealing Lecture Exposing New Atheists and Their Agenda.” Even the title reveals rather clearly that Boys doesn’t have the faintest idea about evolution. Or science. But that should hardly surprise anyone at this point.

Diagnosis: Persistently wrong Bryan Fischer wannabe. Completely out of touch with reality or humanity, but probably of limited influence.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

#1403: Janet Boynes

Janet Boynes is an ex-gay activist and close ally of Michele Bachmann (they have described each other as “friends”); she has been called “the Religious Right’s ‘ex-gay’ du jour,” she is embraced by hate groups like the Family Research Council, and is touted by Marcus Bachmann in his fundamentalist “counseling clinics”. Boynes has made a career promoting her ex-gay autobiography and other ex-gay propaganda through her ministry (the vice president of which is Barb Anderson of the Minnesota Family Council, perhaps most famous for leading the 2012 ballot initiative to ban same-sex marriage in Minnesota’s constitution) and an ex-gay front group known as the National Ex-Gay Educators’ Caucus. And, of course, her whole ex-gay career is built on rather dubious foundations – there is (if it needed mentioning) no evidence of the efficacy of ex-gay therapies, and Boynes’s story is certainly not such evidence.

Predictably, Boynes is a fanatic opponent of marriage equality. In particular, “[n]o one should be promoting Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender (GLBT) behaviors. They are not born that way. There is no scientific evidence that proves they are. None,” says Boynes, and will never see that the premise is, even if true, irrelevant to the conclusion. In her book and elsewhere she frequently compares homosexuality to polygamy, pedophilia, incest, and bestiality, lamenting for instance how the school system is trying to get kids “hooked” on homosexuality, but the issue is of course larger and more epic than insignificant human tendencies toward sin; according to Boynes the struggle to defeat gay rights is a spiritual battle against the demonic forces of evil, and Satan is the one who is really actively trying to stop her ex-gay activism through his minions and worshippers in the gay communities: “There’s a spiritual conflict that is waging war around all of us and it’s a battle between forces, you’ve got good and evil and you’ve got light and darkness.” Thus works the mind of a raging fundie bigot. And never one to go for false modesty, she has declared that she is “a threat” to Satan.

Apparently Boynes has some trouble seeing why many gays would want marriage equality – why don’t they just “leave [the church] alone because we’re not out there bothering them?” asks Boynes, suggesting that she has deeply misunderstood something fundamental – and instead of the obvious, directly opposite (and true) answer has concluded that they want marriage equality “because they’re not comfortable with their own skin, they’re not comfortable with who they are.” This column for Charisma magazine doesn’t suggest much by way of awareness either.

Like many crazy dingbat anti-gay activists Boynes has convinced herself that marriage equality is an attempt to send people “back to slavery”, but she is unable to spell out the whys and hows in any coherent manner.

Diagnosis: Stupid and evil. 

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

#1402: Gerardus Bouw

There are the creationists, then there are the young earth creationists – and then there are the hysterically looney, and fumingly, medievally fanatic crazis on the fringes that even young earth creationists feel uncomfortable hanging around. Gerardus Bouw is a legend among the latter. For Bouw the prime target is not the evils of Darwinism, but the evils of Copernicanism, the hideously heretic belief that the earth orbits the sun.

Bouw is the author of a book, Geocentricity, on the topic (pushed for instance by former Bible Science Association director, Rev. Walter Lang, on the website of The Genesis Institute), which seems to build on his article “Why Geocentricity?” which appeared in the Baptist Bulletin sometime around 1985. His case is perhaps best summed up by his argument to the effect that those who assert that “the earth moves and turns” ... [are] motivated by “a spirit of bitterness, contradiction, and faultfinding;” and being possessed by the devil, they aim “to pervert the order of nature.” Well, it is not so much an argument as an assertion, but there you go. And then there is “God, in His Word, consistently teaches geocentricity,” but other conclusions could be drawn from that observation.

What about scientific evidence to the contrary? “The only way we can know for certain whether or not geocentricity is true would be to leave the universe, take a look around outside the universe, and then come back in to tell us what is really happening in that larger scope. Since God is infinitely greater than the universe, and so extends beyond the universe, what God says must present the ultimate case ...” No, he doesn’t quite understand how scientific hypothesis testing works, but that is – I suppose – not the main problem with that argument. At least he admits that “I would not be a geocentrist if it were not for the Scriptures,” which suggests that part of him is aware that his scientific case is … tortured.

To those with absolutely no background in science, Bouw’s rants may conceivable sound like they’re onto something. From his article The Biblical Firmament: “The firmament is an extremely dense medium that rules all physics in the universe. Compared to the firmament, the universe of atoms is nothing. We will show that the firmament is identical to the Planck medium that has been known to physics for over a century. We shall also show that the firmament is the light-bearing medium commonly called the ether, and that the luminiferous ether is redundant and unnecessary.” To emphasize, the science background you need to see through it is pretty superficial.

At present Bouw seems to be the leader of the Association of Biblical Astronomy, a group of likeminded fanatics. He also seems to be Alan O’Reilly’s go-to person for scientific information, and Matt Wykoff has apparently learned much of his science from Bouw’s ramblings.

Diagnosis: At least his ilk seems to bug the creationists, and they do put the Intelligent Design creationists’ teach-the-controversy argument in perspective. There isn’t really much else positive to say about him – he isn’t even particularly entertaining. Even Bouw rejects a flat earth, however, so there is, apparently, a crystal sphere of fringe nuttery even beyond his. 

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

#1401: Edward Boudreaux

There are a few creationists with backgrounds in science, and they tend to be milked by the movement for what they’re (perceived to be) worth; never mind that the scientific disciplines in which they have their backgrounds are irrelevant to any discussion of evolution. Their existence also demonstrates that you can (at least some places) get a science degree without the faintest clue about how science or evidence works. Edward Boudreaux is a case in point. Boudreaux is a theoretical chemist, Professor emeritus of chemistry at the University of New Orleans, Louisiana, and an “adjunct professor of chemistry” at the ICR. As such he has written a number of creationist tracts with a particular focus on the supposed impossibility of abiogenesis. The claims made there have yet to be widely applauded or recognized for their contributions to or understanding of the science. I don’t think it is necessary to go into his claims in detail – you probably know them already without reading his tracts – but he clearly doesn’t even have a minimal understanding of evolution: “Such characteristics (clear evidence of complex design imparting tailor-made functions) defy the probability that any random evolutionary process could account for such unique specificity in design,” says Boudreaux; the cue, of course, is “random evolutionary process,” which – as anyone who understands evolution would know – doesn’t exactly suggest any profound understanding and is arguably a contradiction in terms.

Boudreaux is probably most famous for his contributions to Edwards v. Aguillard in 1987. Indeed, his testimony was cited several times in the ruling, strongly suggesting that it didn’t exactly help the anti-science side. He is also a signatory to the CMI list of scientists today who accept the Biblical account of creation.

Diagnosis: Yep, completely predictable. Might he be a plant trying to make creationists look silly?