South Carolina: The Madness of Mike Fair

This is an unexpected follow-up to what we wrote a couple of weeks ago: Mike Fair: Confessions of a Creationist Idiot. We are delighted to see that South Carolina State Senator Mike Fair (R-Greenville) — the crazed creationist war horse — has written again about his dementia.

But he didn’t write the kind of confession we sometimes see from politicians, saying “I have a problem and I’m trying to cope with it.” No, Mike Fair once again describes his maniacal mindset with pride. And he does it in the context of the recent (unsuccessful) outbreak of creationist madness in his state in which he played a central role, supported by a certain creationist think tank in Seattle.

We present to you, dear reader, some excerpts from SC should teach the controversy of evolution, which appears in The State, located in Columbia, the capital of South Carolina. (The few comments at the end of the article aren’t very sympathetic, but that may change.)

He begins by describing — in the most innocuous terms — his most recent failed creationism crusade in which he attempted to infect the state’s Education Oversight Committee (the EOC), which, in his words: “works as a bridge from the Legislature and the business community to the State Department of Education and local school districts.” Then he describes his glorious motives. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

Evolution will always be a controversial subject.

Aaaargh!! Yes, as long as there are reality-denying creationists running loose. He goes on:

Yet it is controversy that lays a fertile ground for learning if used and not discarded. The suggested language change did not aggravate the controversy but did encourage the learning environment to allow debate for the purpose of learning scientific fact. It did not suggest that biology teachers teach religion but would have allowed students to make inferences to the best explanations.

You’ve seen those talking points before. It’s the usual whine that schools should teach the “strengths and [alleged] weaknesses” of the theory of evolution. That is, schools should be encouraged to babble about all the discredited creationist talking points so that the kiddies can decide for themselves. Then he says:

I was involved in the conversation at the EOC on the evolution standard and initially proposed the change encouraging scientific debate. I am a Christian by the grace of God; therefore I have a Christian world view.

We already knew that the mess was Fair’s handiwork. His allegedly Christian worldview, as you know, means that he unthinkingly holds to a narrow, sectarian view that every word of Genesis is literally true and therefore science is the work of the Devil. Let’s read on:

The evolution controversy often comes down to understanding the difference between macro-evolution and micro-evolution. That is, did biological change occur gradually and cross lines differentiating phylum [sic] , or did different species emerge fully formed within categories of phylum [sic], as the Cambrian fossil record indicates?

The man is, on that point, a slavish disciple of the Discoveroids. He continues:

Gradual change, non-directed and randomly occurring, is Darwin’s theory. Taken as a whole, the fossil record does not show the intermediaries necessary for the philosophical leaps that are inherent in Darwin’s theory. Darwin and others said the missing links would be discovered over time. However, the missing links are still missing.

Is he merely a flaming ignoramus or a brain-dead fanatic? It doesn’t matter, really. The end result is the same. Here’s more:

Darwin observed natural selection and used that as the explanation for everything. This is what people are talking about when they refer to the survival of the fittest. Darwin says natural selection is primary to gradualism, and yet “selection” implies intelligence.

The man is so dense he can’t even grasp the concept of natural selection. Moving along:

Another way to state the controversy is randomness and chaos vs. intelligence and order. The debate is a scientific debate, and I believe the scientific evidence weighs heavily toward intelligence.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Mike’s evaluation of intelligence is like an earthworm’s opinion of beauty. And now we jump to the end:

Biological evolution certainly is controversial. Darwinism is not a settled fact, as some textbooks report. Gradualism, a.k.a. Darwinism, may be true. Intelligence as an explanation may be true. Without a complete debate, our students are the losers.

The students certainly will be losers if Mike Fair’s madness is imposed upon them in the public schools. Anyway, it’s good that he is so clueless that he’s willing to expose his thoughts — such as they are — to public scrutiny. Most creationist legislators slyly hide behind phrases like “academic freedom” and such. But Mike the maniac lets it all hang out. In that sense, he far more honest than most of them. But he’s also far more oblivious to how crazed he truly is.

Copyright © 2014. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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14 responses to “South Carolina: The Madness of Mike Fair

  1. How does this man manage to consistently be “Not even wrong “

  2. Charles Deetz ;)

    Chaos versus Order … okay lets try this:

    Chaos: Different creationists each with their own explanations of what the bible is correct on, what is interpretable, and what science is acceptable. Findings and hypotheses are published in videos, books, and websites, with acceptance by who is the loudest and most popular.

    Order: All scientists from different disciplines all find that their research independently corroborates time scale of history and evolution. All results must go thru an established process of peer review.

  3. Mike is a clear example of what Mark Twain meant when he said “It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.”

  4. Mike Fair, parroting the Discovery Institute: “Gradual change, non-directed and randomly occurring, is Darwin’s theory.”

    No, it is not Darwin’s theory. Darwin proposed natural selection as the driving force behind evolution, and natural selection is not at all “random and non-directed.” For example, if it were random, lions would be eating as many fast zebras as slow zebras. Thus, the lions are directing the course of zebra evolution, so it can’t be considered “non-directed”.

    Nor is evolution always gradual, although this understanding is a modern development. We have come to realize that periods of rapid evolutionary change occur after mass extinction events.

    Another misconception promoted by the DI is that evolution depends completely on random mutations. Not so. Sexual reproduction, the mixing and matching of billions of genes in every generation, is by far the biggest reason for individual differences, not mutations. It’s probably no coincidence that sexual reproduction first appeared in the Cambrian Period.

    The DI can get away with that “gradual change, non-directed and randomly occurring” BS because the public has a very poor understanding of evolution. We need to get the word out to counter the DI.

  5. michaelfugate

    If he thinks selection implies intelligence, then he should read Dennett’s “Darwin’s Dangerous Idea” or his shorter PNAS paper “Darwin’s “Strange Inversion of Reasoning””.

  6. “Gradualism, a.k.a., Darwinism”

    Wha . . .? I’m not used to seeing this kind of category error made quite this articulately.

  7. SC: “Is he merely a flaming ignoramus or a brain-dead fanatic?”

    He could be either. But there’s a 3rd option, and the one I find most reasonable. That is that he knows darn well that what he’s saying is nonsense, but that schools should nevertheless not only be “encouraged to babble about all the discredited creationist talking points,” they must be discouraged from alerting students to the facts that discredit those talking points. In other words, he’s the one in favor of censorship, and has the audacity to accuse us of that.

  8. Kinda what we’ve come to expect from South Carolina, the folks who gave us the Civil War….

    [Full disclosure: I count 6 generations of Sandlappers in my own ancestry]

  9. His wiki page is interesting, if predictable. He is a typical far-right religious values politician, who evidently dedicates his time in the legislature on those issues. His Senate page has a handy search function for bills that he co-sponsored, and it’s a list of crazy. Some examples are bills to block enforcement of foreign laws (currently a problem in SC?), a bill to make enforcement of provisions of the ACA a criminal offense in SC, and the usual religious legislation. It’s painful to think that grown men and women elected to govern in this country can spend their time doing this tripe.

  10. Ed, remember, these people like Mr. Fair are elected precisely because of the uneducated, god soaked, and superstion-filled masses love ’em.

    When I was teaching my then teenage son how to drive, I kept reminding him to remember that he was sharing the road with a population nearly half of whom think The Flintstones is a reality show or documentary.
    I share your pain, Ed.

  11. Creationists make a big, big deal about he fact that scientists can’t find every last step in the chain of evolution (“the missing links are still missing”). One of them should be challenged to provide a complete family tree for himself going back to the Adam they think or claim they think–I wonder whether some of the big-name creationists really believe what they’re peddling) we’re all descended from.

    And when links are found (as one by one they have been), creationists call them fake anyway, so what’s the point of engaging them on this issue?

  12. It happens to be that there is a (obviously mostly mythical) family tree of the British royal family, incorporating a bit of (mythical) Roman genealogy back to Aeneas. See the Wikipedia article on Geoffrey of Monmouth’s “Historia Regum Brittanniae” I wouldn’t be surprised if someone carried it back from Aeneas (forgetting the part about Venus, of course) to Adam.

  13. If the comments are anything to go by, Mike Fair doesn’t have much of a base or if he does they’re illiterate. Thirty detractors to one very stupid supporter.

    I wonder how much of an outlier he is in the state?

  14. docbill1351: “Thirty detractors to one very stupid supporter. I wonder how much of an outlier he is in the state?”

    Ironically I had just glanced at Ben Franklin’s picture above, when his quote hit me: “A republic – if you can keep it.” Unfortunately outliers keep getting elected, whether due to voter laziness, fear of change, or just because those are the ones who run in the first place. People anywhere near the middle, or even economic conservatives who are pragmatic on social issues, don’t have much of a chance in either party these days.