Barbara Forrest Demolishes a Creationist

Cicero denounces Catiline

We never tire in telling you about the splendid pro-science work of philosophy professor Barbara Forrest, a star witness for the winning side in Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District. She is a founder of the Louisiana Coalition for Science.

You probably don’t need any background information on the creationism struggle in Louisiana, but if you do you can find it here in one of our earlier posts. We reported the outcome of that state’s recent textbook battle here: Louisiana Approves Biology Textbooks.

During the textbook controversy we wrote about Barbara Forrest & the BESE Biology Book Brawl, in which we discussed Barbara’s exposure of John W. Oller, Jr. as a stealth creationist. He had opposed the adoption of biology textbooks by Louisiana’s state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE). But that disclosure was mild compared to what she’s just done.

Barbara has now posted After Louisiana Family Forum textbook defeat: John Oller fesses up. There hasn’t been such a complete and devastating exposé of anyone since Cicero’s orations against Cataline.

Barbara’s post is long, factual, and link-laden. It will take time for you to absorb it all — but it’s worth it. Not only will you learn what she has to say about Oller (who was never a major name in creationism), but more importantly, you’ll learn how such things should be done. Hint: It’s done with a dispassionate presentation of verifiable facts, not insults — although your Curmudgeon sometimes deploys personal insults in the case of creationist politicians.

We’ll give you only a few excerpts from Barbara’s post, because we fully expect that you’re going to click over to her website to read it all. Here we go, with bold added by us and most of Barbara’s links omitted:

Readers who saw the December 2, 2010, post here about Louisiana creationist John Oller no doubt recall the abundant evidence that Oller is a young-earth creationist — or “YEC” in creationist-watching parlance. Serving on the Technical Advisory Board of the Institute for Creation Research and writing creationist articles over a period of thirty years, writing an article for Answers in Genesis (AIG) in which he invokes the biblical Tower of Babel story to explain the diversity of human languages, and attending an AIG conference as a “creation scientist” at the infamous “Creation Museum” (see Ken Ham, “The Definition of ‘Information,’”) — somehow that all just seems to point in the YEC direction. Our December 2 post was the first analysis of Oller’s identity as a creationist. Although he is an integral player in the Louisiana Family Forum’s creationist game plan, Oller has flown under the radar, having been overshadowed in the media coverage by LFF executive director, Rev. Gene Mills, and LFF operative Darrell White.

Oller’s days of flying under the radar are now behind him. Let’s read on:

Oller’s pre-BESE-meeting unresponsiveness to [press inquiries] was understandable. He had to try to preserve his façade of scientific authenticity for his testimony against the textbooks; no other “scientists” showed up on the Louisiana Family Forum’s behalf at that meeting. And after getting the Louisiana Science Education Act (LSEA) passed in 2008 and then getting control of BESE policies implementing the LSEA in 2009, the LFF’s winning streak was at stake. But, as they say, that was then, and this is now. After the LFF lost its December 7 battle against the textbooks, Oller fessed up only three days later.

Oller “fessed up”? That’s very rare among creationists. We continue:

In the aftermath of the BESE meeting, I was interviewed on December 10 [a link to the radio recording is in the original post]. … I pointed out (2:24:33) that Oller is a young-earth creationist with no scientific credentials at all. Just as I had anticipated prior to the interview, Oller phoned in.

Aha — an on-air confrontation! Here’s more:

Unlike [his previous press unavailability], Oller was quite talkative. What is notable about his comments (perhaps “confessions” is a better word) is his forthrightness about not having the credentials in the fields about which he pontificates. Readers may find this information enlightening, so below are some selected transcriptions of Oller’s on-air comments … .

We’ll skip those, leaving it to you, dear reader, to read them at Barbara’s website. Then she tears into Oller’s creationist writings. Here’s one example she quotes:

Secular theories fail to explain the many distinct language families throughout the world. The biblical account of Babel is the only explanation that fits the data.

Very hard-core. Moving along:

After I pointed out on the Crouere [radio] show that Oller is a creationist, Crouere asked him point-blank, “Dr., um, are you a creationist? I mean, is that an accurate label for you?” Below is Oller’s answer in the affirmative …

Again, we’ll leave that for you to read at Barbara’s website. It looks like the Louisiana Family Forum will have to find another expert. Oller’s credibility is gone — except among creationists who will probably revere him as a martyred genius. Great job, Barbara!

Copyright © 2011. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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4 responses to “Barbara Forrest Demolishes a Creationist

  1. Great article by Forrest. And a great way to start this shortened week. Thanks SC.

  2. Does this make him a Creationist? ‘I sense that’s a pejorative,’ he demures.

    It would be if creationism is rank nonsense.

    Oh.

  3. Note that in the end, Oller doesn’t give a rat’s patootie one way or the other.

    Let’s see who else has been exposed as being full of mammoth merde: Behe, Dembski, Meyer, Wells, Luskin, Klinghoffer, Egnor, West, Crowther, Nelson and that’s just the denizens of the Disco Tute. Add to that avowed, public, no holds barred, shout it from the rooftops creationist and former Texas SBOE Chairman McLeroy, and Mercer, Dunbar. Plus Abrams, Miller, Calvert and others in Kansas. And our favorites Wise, Baumgardner, Brown and Lisle.

    All of them have been publicly, thoroughly, scientifically discredited multiple times, but like the EverReady Bunny they keep marching along unfazed. Hell, Behe still to this day uses the mousetrap as an example of “irreducible complexity” although that argument has been atomized.

    The only place where these bozos come completely unstuck is in a court of law where, ironically, both sides of the controversy are taught. There it matters. It’s mattered in every creationist case that’s been heard and the creationists have lost every time. Lost in Louisiana, Arkansas, Ohio, California, Pennsylvania and Kansas to name a few. They lose when their case is rationally decided. Creationists can’t handle rational.

    Nay, against this most uncivil hoard we must use uncivil means and that means, yes, tools of the Spanish Inquisition because nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition. We must use mockery, gales of laughter, pointing, sarcasm, derision and the occasional fart in their direction. In dealing with creationists I always ask myself What Would Gervais Do? Usually gets me on the right path.

    Tally ho!

  4. I just listened to the entire section of the podcast that had Forrest pitted against the creationists. As expected, every creationist argument was dredged up. Again, I point out that the creationists arguments are really a reflection of their own tactics. For example, they accused Barbara and “hard core evolutionists” of being “dogmatic” and not allowing “critical thinking”. Which is precisely the mindset of creationists (dogmatic, no critical thinking, hard core).
    @Doc Bill: I hope you don’t mind, but your last paragraph (starting with “Nay, against this most uncivil hoard…”) is going on my quote board. That’s a classic. Cleese, Idle, Chapman et al would be proud.