Kirk Cameron: “Out Of His Mind” Says Professor

Florida’s Gainesville Sun has found a local angle to the bizarre mission of Kirk Cameron, about whom we’ve written a few times before. For example, see: Kirk Cameron and the Crocoduck. Our first post about him was Kirk Cameron: World’s Dumbest Human?

Here’s some background, which you can skip if you’ve been following this story:

Kirk Cameron, the former child star who grew up to be a creationist, has embarked on a campaign with Ray Comfort to give away 100,000 copies of a “special edition” of Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species on 100 university campuses. It’s a special edition because it includes a 50-page introduction by Comfort that — allegedly — disproves evolution.

Okay, now you’re ready to read some excerpts from Alachua publisher enlists Kirk Cameron to promote criticism of Darwin, which appears in the Gainesville Sun. The bold font was added by us:

[We’d like to give you some excerpts from the news story, but that paper is being acquired by Stephens Media, and they’re suing bloggers who excerpt their content without permission. So you’ll have to click over there to read it for yourself.]

Aha! Alachua County, Florida is where you’ll find the city of Gainesville. Ray Comfort’s publisher is in the same county as the Gainesville Sun. There’s the local angle which all newspapers seek. That county is also where the University of Florida is located, and that’s part of the story too. Let’s read on:

[Deleted.]

Although Alachua County is in the middle of Northern Florida, the presence of that publisher is sufficient reason to include Alachua in that blessed region we’ve been calling The Florida Ark, home to a great number of creationists. It’s that concave stretch of coast — an arc, get it? — starting at the Alabama border and then sweeping down the shore of the Gulf of Mexico all the way to Tampa, and perhaps a bit beyond. And now it also includes a few interior counties like Alachua.

As we continue with the article, the Gainesville Sun gets some commentary from people at the University of Florida:

[Deleted.]

Not bad, and he’s working on a doctorate in religion. Here’s more:

[Deleted.]

She probably meant that “The Genesis Flood” started the modern creationist movement. Here’s the next (and last) paragraph, with one more quote from Professor Smocovitis — from which we took our title:

“It’s a free country,” she said. “He [Cameron] can do what he wants, and I am free to say he is out of his mind.”

Well said!

Copyright © 2009. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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17 responses to “Kirk Cameron: “Out Of His Mind” Says Professor

  1. That’s right. It should be modern creationism since the evangelical movement preceded the “scientific” (ahem) creationism we were subjected to in the latter half of the twentieth century: and the co-author of “Genesis Flood” was none other than Henry Morris. They were inspired by Julian Huxley’s notorious “secular sermon” of 1959, where he proclaimd the end of conventional religion and its substitution with evolutionary humanism (a permutation of secular humanism). All hell let lose after that.
    If you want to know more about the happenings during and after the 1959 Centennial, you can visit my website (at http://people.biology.ufl.edu/bsmocovi/Bettys_Website/Welcome.html) in the biology department, to the page on Darwin 2009 Featured Publications. There is a pdf you can download there. Alternatively, you can get the article called “The Darwin Centennial in America” in Osiris 14 (1999): 274-323.

    Great website you have here by the way. I’ll make sure to visit.

    [Corrected link to Betty’s Website]

  2. Betty Smocovitis visisted us! Great to see you here. Keep up the good work.

  3. To claim that Kirk Cameron is “out of his mind” is to suppose that he has a mind to be out of–but such be an unwarranted assumption.

  4. From the article: “Todd LeVasseur, a third-year doctoral student in the University of Florida Department of Religion, said that trying to refute 150 years’ worth of research is energy that could be directed towards solving issues such as poverty and global warming.”

    Surely he must know that followers of Comfort and Cameron mostly reject anthropogenic global warming, and care much more about abortion than about poverty. So I would have said that the resources would be better spent trying to end abortion. That would really hit them where it hurts.

  5. Not sure if it was a factor, but 1959 was also the year of C. P. Snow’s “two cultures.” Those who reject evolution overwhelmingly favor the “humanities” culture over the “science” one.

  6. Frank J says:

    Not sure if it was a factor, but 1959 was also the year of C. P. Snow’s “two cultures.”

    Very thought-provoking. My initial reaction is that although humanities-types are far more likely to go with ooey-gooey ideas rather than science, they aren’t necessarily going to be creationists. It may be that creationism actually represents a third culture, and Snow wasn’t aware of it in 1959.

  7. I would think that it’s not just creationism, but religious fundamentalism in general, which is a “third culture” vis-a-vis the humanities and the sciences. The ‘dispute’ between the humanities and the sciences is a dispute within the Enlightenment legacy, whereas fundamentalists are opposed to the Enlightenment per se.

  8. Carl Sachs says:

    I would think that it’s not just creationism, but religious fundamentalism in general, which is a “third culture” vis-a-vis the humanities and the sciences.

    I agree. Three Cultures! That is, if “culture” is the appropriate word for the third. Perhaps the term “folkway” is more accurate.

  9. Creationism may be a 3rd culture in that it is authoritarian, with some truths appropriate for “leaders” and others appropriate for “followers” (yes I’m thinking of Ronald Bailey’s “Origin of the Specious”). Whereas the science culture is conservatve/libertarian, personal responsibility and all.

    What struck me about it being like the “humanities” culture is that, whenever the fundamentalist far-right talks about “improving” education it’s always about learning classic literature, history, etc. never science. Only when the topic is specifically evolution to they pretend that they want more science taught. What they (the ID crowd if not the “back to Genesis” crowd) really want is not “more, better science”, but misinformation of what little science is taught.

  10. Betty’s link is slightly broken: there is a “)” that should be left out of the URL.

    Try this–> http://people.biology.ufl.edu/bsmocovi/Bettys_Website/Welcome.html

  11. Thanks Tomato, If anyone wants a pdf of the Darwing Centennial paper, please just send me an e-mail at bsmocovi@ufl.edu

    Don’t know if I’d agree with the humanities-creationist link. People in the humanities these days come from fairly elite backgrounds that would challenge virtually everything creationists stand for. Most of the creationists I’ve known as colleagues or I’ve taught have been in the ag school (that pastoral tradition thing or something). The frat brothers for Alpha Gamma Ro, who are known for their conservative “bent” were pretty extreme during last fall’s elections (I had to avert my gaze every time I drove by their house because of all the awful campaign logos up there).

  12. Gabriel Hanna

    Whereas the science culture is conservatve/libertarian, personal responsibility and all.

    Not in my experience-nearly everyone I know in physics is at least liberal, if not farther left than that.

    Don’t know if I’d agree with the humanities-creationist link. People in the humanities these days come from fairly elite backgrounds that would challenge virtually everything creationists stand for.

    I’ve met quite a few people in the humanities who reject Darwinian evolution to some extent or another, but you probably couldn’t call them creationists, either.

  13. Good catch by Tomato Addict. I added this at the end of Betty’s original comment: [Corrected link to Betty’s Website]

  14. Gabriel Hanna: “Not in my experience-nearly everyone I know in physics is at least liberal, if not farther left than that.”

    They may support liberal candidates and causes, but when they get to work it’s all about personal responsibility, competition, less interference from regulators and other bureaucrats, etc. The kind of behavor that conservatives appreciate, and that authoritatians (e.g. the fundamentalist ultra-right) like to brag about appreciating, whether or not they actually do.

  15. Bianca Campbell

    Hello! Thanks for reposting my Sun article and giving feedback. It’s good to know that I’ve got people thinking about this in and around the Florida Arc.

    Other people I interviewed had great stuff to say. Unfortunately, a lot had to be cut to save space. If you or anyone else have questions, seek clarification, etc., please let me know. I’m really excited to share what people have to say.

    I recently wrote a follow-up article regarding a new Religion and Science class that starts in the fall. It should be in the Sun soon.

    I’ll be sure to come back on the site and share more thoughts on what your post and comments by readers.

    Take care! 🙂

  16. Hi, Bianca. Good of you to drop in. We’re looking forward to your follow-up. If it mentions creationism or Darwin and evolution, I’ll probably see it. Otherwise, you’ll have to let me know.

    Oh, that’s the Florida Ark — my attempt at a bit of humor. But it doesn’t seem to be working too well.

  17. It may be that creationism actually represents a third culture, and Snow wasn’t aware of it in 1959.

    Two was a minimum, and Snow was qualified to comment because he was pretty much bicultural himself. (Having a scatter of bicultural individuals is all it takes to form a multicultural society, there’s no need to enforce multiculturality as part of everyone’s identity!)
    Two overlapping sets define four domains: each by itself, their intersection, and their complement. The intersection is bicultural people like any of the Huxleys, or Snow ; I’m sure he was fully aware that many people (like your typical creationist) have no interest or affinity with either culture, but I’m not sure if he discussed them much in that essay except as fodder for an improved education system.