Oklahoma Creationism Sideshow: Smith v. Kern

You already know that a creationism bill has passed in the Oklahoma House of Representatives (see Creationism Bill Passes in the House). And you know that bill was originally drafted by Sally Kern, of whom we wrote Sally Kern: Theocrat in Oklahoma’s Legislature?

And because of that last-linked item, you know that Sally is married to the Rev. Steve Kern, pastor of Olivet Baptist Church, who claims that the US is a “Christian nation” and that there should be no separation of church and state.

Now we want to remind you of the irrepressible Abbie Smith, who captured your Curmudgeon’s heart when she flipped a bird at Casey Luskin and then wrote about the event. That inspired a whole series of posts around here, starting with Hey Casey!

Well, dear reader, Abbie’s back in action, and this time it involves a debate with Sally Kern’s husband, the rev. She wrote about the upcoming event a couple of days ago — ERV debate tonight!, and one of our clandestine operatives has tipped us off to some great coverage about it. You can read that here: Scientist and pastor debate “intelligent design” at OCCC.

Those initials stand for Oklahoma City Community College. The topic was Should the theory of “intelligent design” be taught in public school science classrooms? This must have a challenging night for Abbie. You can judge that for yourself by this remark from her opponent:

“Since removing God from the schools, public education has suffered,” Kern said.

So while we’re in a lull, waiting for some news about yesterday’s doings at the Coppedge trial, read all about Abbie’s latest debate. It’s good stuff!

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15 responses to “Oklahoma Creationism Sideshow: Smith v. Kern

  1. aturingtest

    From the debate:
    ‘”If evolution is true, why are so many people asking about its validity,” asked Kern.’
    Why is it so many people feel that their uneducated doubt about a theory is in itself some kind of evidence against the theory? I wonder if the good Rev’s head would explode if someone asked, “if god is true, why are so many people asking about his validity?”

  2. Rev Kern: “Why are they upset about children learning about God?”

    Thanks for making it plain to all the world that ID is really a religious movement. Just in case there was any doubt. The nice thing about these debates, even if they aren’t “winnable”, is that they expose to the world the true motivations behind the movement. The DI cronies must wince when they read articles like this

  3. @aturingtest: You beat me to it. I was going to ask the exact, same thing. I read that and thought, “Ohhhhh, you don’t want to go down that road! Wait a minute… yes, you do.”

  4. Abbie Smith says: “A Biblos view of the debate”

    Yuk! That was bad. Looking forward to the video.

  5. Bible Bobby, who wrote that article in the Examiner is as dumb as a bag of hammers. Can’t believe (oh, yes, I can) he used the old “if flies are evolving why are there still flies” argument.

    To get a sense of how utterly willfully ignorant creationists can be, i.e. are, check out this video clip of Dawkins interviewing a female Steve Kern klone, Wendy Wright of the “Concerned” Women of America.

    Don’t need to see no fossils!

  6. aturingtest

    From the article Abbie linked to:
    “Ms. Smith appeared to have an extensive knowledge of viruses, immunology, and biology. Several times, she elaborated on the intricacies of these sciences. She possesses an apparent mastery of the subject. Unfortunately, these elaborations added little to the discussion. When faced with a pointed question, she frequently went on an elaboration of a topic in her field of expertise, but failed to adequately answer the question posed.”
    “Abbie answered the questions, but I’m too dumb to understand what she said.”
    Also from the article: “ID proponents see evidence of God in the complexity and design of nature and physics, while evolutionists attribute everything to randomness, chaos, and the passage of incredible amounts of time. Ms. Smith repeated this several times during the evening.”
    I don’t know the exact words Abbie used, but I’d be surprised if she ever said or implied more than that those things were elements of evolution, rather than the direct cause of them, in the same sense they attribute their “complexity” etc to god. Also, I guess this fella didn’t get the “ID is NOT religion” memo.

  7. aturingtest

    Gary says: “@aturingtest: You beat me to it. I was going to ask the exact, same thing.”
    (Bart Simpson voice):
    “There’s only one thing to do at a time like this! STRUT!”
    (And cue BeeGees “Staying Alive)

  8. aturingtest

    I once saw (can’t remember where) a beautiful illustration (literally) of the non-difference between micro- and macro- evolution. In the course of a several-hundred-word basic explanation of evolutionary theory, the writer started off with a blue font, then, ever so gradually, changed the font color by injecting tiny (“micro”) amounts of red, until, by the end, the letters and words were totally red (“macro”). I would think that would be enough to educate even the most hard-headed creationist, but then- I see something like Doc Bill’s video clip above, and I realize that there’s no sense talking to people who just aren’t listening. The video froze up on my computer about halfway through, which was just as well, because my wife was getting a little concerned about why I was simultaneously laughing and shouting at the computer. That was infuriating- she asks Dawkins to show her the evidence, and, when he does, it’s off to the “Darwin was a racist,” “Hitler blah blah blah” crap. The concept of all fossils being intermediate species totally escaped her. Stupid can be fixed, but not when it’s so willfully persisted in.

  9. Regarding the Dawkins-Wright interview, notice how smug, dismissive and condescending Ms Wright is? Dawkins makes a serious point and she just laughs at him.

    This is a common trait among hard-core creationists. (Also, watch Ann Coulter do the same thing if you can stand it.) When pressed with a question they can’t answer or a conclusion that’s so obvious there’s no comeback, they either change the subject, comment on the terrible tone of the conversation or laugh it off. Dawkins interviewed Ted Haggard who did the same thing on camera, although a more realistic version, furious and frantic, was captured candidly later. Not that Haggard matters, but it does illustrate a common behavior.

  10. Doc Bill: Something else I notice about “debates” like this is how the creationist relies on, and adamantly, in the face of any contrary data, sticks to a “script,” if you will, of dog-whistle talking points. I suppose this is to be expected of a person whose whole world-view is based on doctrine derived from faith in “revealed” knowledge- as opposed to learned (that is to say, earned) knowledge. And then, to really cap the irony, it’s the scientist who is accused of “blindly” following and parroting “evolutionary doctrine,” while allowing no dissent. The thing is, I wonder sometimes if that kind of projection is as unconscious as it should be- it really seems so necessary to their “seeing the same evidence but drawing different conclusions” mantra, that I think the equivalency they assume is put on, rather than just worn.

  11. Here’s the video of the great debate:

  12. Tomato Addict

    No. Thanks Abbie!!

  13. The problem with “debating” or discussing science with a person as abysmally ignorant as Steve Kern is that any evidence or argument you put forth simply isn’t understood. Kern kept up the mantra of “there are no intermediates” but even if Abbie had a slide deck on canine or feline evolution or whale transitions or fish to amphibians to reptiles it would have zoomed right over the top of Kern’s low brow. Or he simply would have pulled a Wendy Wright and dismissed it out of hand.

    If you’re going to “debate” a creationist you have to understand why Wells’ arguments in Icons of Evolution are wrong and bat them down one by one, prefacing your remarks by, “Well, there you go again.” I mean, they won’t argue against Reagan, will they?