Ashley Madison and Creationism

Everyone has heard about the Ashley Madison data breach. As Wikipedia describes it:

In July 2015, a group calling itself “The Impact Team” stole the user data of Ashley Madison, a commercial website for people seeking extramarital affairs. The group copied personal information about the site’s user base, and threatened to release users’ names and personally identifying information if Ashley Madison was not immediately shut down. On 18 and 20 August, the group leaked more than 25 gigabytes of company data, including user details.

Why is your Curmudgeon posting about such a thing? What possible relevance does it have to The Controversy between evolution and creationism? The relevance is that we’re always being told by creationists that their religious beliefs are the only source of morality, and Darwin’s theory of evolution inevitably leads to ghastly behavior. They never, however, provide any evidence for that outrageous claim; they merely assert it.

In Debating Creationists: The Big Lie we asked:

Where are all the evil biologists? If evolution were the road to evil, one must wonder how Darwin himself somehow managed to lead such an exemplary life. And where are the headlines screaming: “Another Biology Teacher With 30 Bodies Buried in His Back Yard!” It’s certainly interesting that those who are the most involved with the theory of evolution are the least likely to justify the creationists’ fears.

Today we have some evidence. The Ashley Madison situation offers us an opportunity to test the claims of the creationists. That, not prurience, is why we’re posting about this shabby situation. What have we learned so far?

Look what we found at the website of Christianity Today: ‘My Pastor Is on the Ashley Madison List.’ It has this subtitle: “Too many Christians have been caught using Ashley Madison, many of them pastors and church leaders. What now?” Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis:

Based on my conversations with leaders from several denominations in the U.S. and Canada, I estimate that at least 400 church leaders (pastors, elders, staff, deacons, etc.) will be resigning Sunday. This is a significant moment of embarrassment for the church — and it should be.

Four hundred church leaders? We might expect a handful; there are always a few scoundrels in any large group — but four hundred? Wow! Let’s read on:

To be honest, the number of pastors and church leaders on Ashley Madison is much lower than the number of those looking to have an affair. Yet, there is still much that we must consider in the midst of the embarrassment.

Yes, that’s true — there are far more people on the Ashley Madison list than those 400 preachers. Which brings up an interesting question: How many scientists were on the Ashley Madison list? And specifically, how many biologists? If what the creationists claim is true, a very large percentage of scientists — and certainly most of the biologists — would have their names there. But nothing like that has been disclosed — at least not yet. The article continues:

Also, to be clear, in situations like these, we must confirm all things. Not everyone on the list signed themselves up. Among those who did, the sin and circumstances will be different. Many likely signed themselves up and didn’t actually go through with adultery. Regardless, though, trust has been shattered and hearts have been broken. But before we assume a name on a list means adultery has taken place, we must confirm all things and seek the full truth.

Suppose your preacher said: “Yes, I signed up, but I didn’t actually follow through and do the deed.” Does that excuse him?

The article goes on at some length about how a church and its members should deal with such a problem. There’s a lot about forgiveness and repentance. We’ll skip all that because it’s not our concern.

We assume that the usual creationist websites are looking carefully at the Ashley Madison list to see if any “Darwinists” are on it. If there are (there may be some, one never knows), we’ll certainly hear about it. They’ll say that those names “prove” their claims about evolution and immorality. They’ll also say it’s Darwin’s fault. That’s nonsense, of course. But they’ll never admit that the presence of hundreds of preachers on the list disproves their self-righteous claims.

The number of preachers on the Ashley Madison list may grow, and the number of scientists on that list is so far unknown. If we learn of any further developments, we’ll let you know.

Copyright © 2015. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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19 responses to “Ashley Madison and Creationism

  1. You realize that any people who did something wrong are not true Christians.

  2. Alfred Etheredge

    Any religious leaders exposed on Ashley Madison would only be the tip of the iceberg. A leader with a large following would be more likely to seek companionship within his own group, and any fallout would be handled within the organization.

  3. Hypocrisy and religion going hand in hand? Who would have thunk it?

  4. Religiosity is such a poor reason for having “morals”.

  5. I would propose another test – determine whether or not any ID scientists are on the list. Which, of course, would require there being actual ID scientists.

  6. Yes, I’m almost certain I saw somewhere that Ashley Madison’s favorite book is On the Origin of Species, and (s)he has read each of the editions numerousl times. That’s probably what inspired setting up the web site. Oh, and Ed’s certainly right, since there aren’t any ID scientists, none will be on the Ashley Madison list, but I do wonder how many of their spokespeople are among the users of the site.

  7. Yes, I’m almost certain I saw somewhere that Ashley Madison’s favorite book is On the Origin of Species, and (s)he has read each of the editions numerousl times. That’s probably what inspired setting up the web site. Oh, and Ed’s certainly right, since there aren’t any ID scientists, none will be on the Ashley Madison list, but I do wonder how many of their spokespeople are among the users of the site.

    There aren’t any “ID scientists,” period–just quacks with degrees, often in subjects totally or nearly irrelevant to the evolution-vs.-creation controversy.

  8. Hmm… how about Ken Ham?

  9. After all those years of monitoring creacrap you still don’t get a few things, SC.
    If there are more biologists on the AM list than church leaders this proves that Evolution Theory is morally depraved.
    If there are more church leaders on the AM list than biologists this proves that all christians are sinners and need and seek the guidance and forgiveness of Lord Jesus the Saviour the Son of the Lord God Himself, while the biologists are simply misguided and hence don’t need to visit AM to confirm that Evolution Theory is morally depraved.
    QED.

  10. I don’t think 400 is that big a number. A few quick searches reveal that the hack exposed 37 million user accounts (lots of caveats here), and that there are perhaps 300,000 ordained clergy in the US including, of course, the 12,000 that have signed the clergy project letter accepting evolution (the real trouble will come some of those names are on the Ashley Madison list).

  11. As far as committing adultery goes, the Ashley Madison website is most likely the worst possible way to go about accomplishing that, even before the data breach. There were 31 million male accounts but only 5.5 million female. What is far more interesting is that while 20 million male accounts checked their AM emails, less that 1,500 females did! Furthermore, a very large number of female accounts were set up from the same IP address, clearly indicating fraud. In short, the AM website was nothing more than a way to bilk money from would be male adultery proponents. A former female worker at AM sued them (settled out of court) for repetitive stress injury from creating thousands of fake female accounts (and this was just one worker).
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ashley_Madison

  12. Dave Luckett

    Curmudgeon says: “There are always a few scoundrels in any large group”.

    Too right. Most of the data required to make sense of this incident are missing. Before we can say more than that those particular four hundred persons are scoundrels, we need to know what proportion they form of their cohort, and what proportion of other specified groups is also found.

    But the latter question, while interesting, doesn’t bear on the most striking quality of those four hundred, which is not their scoundrelhood, but their hypocrisy. A biologist on that list might be a scoundrel, but not necessarily a hypocrite. He or she might have an explicit understanding with his/her spouse, and that is no business of anyone else. A Christian pastor, clergyperson, youth leader, elder, deacon, lay preacher, whatever, from any remotely mainstream denomination, would be exposed as a hypocrite.

    And here’s the thing: a biologist might be a scoundrel, even a hypocrite as far as his/her marriage is concerned, but it would be irrelevant to his/her expertise or standing as a scientist. But a Christian leader stands exposed as unfit for their role.

    Until, of course, they go before their congregation, confess in tears to their transgression, beg forgiveness, and resolve never to fall to temptation again: standard procedure, in other words. Then it’s all right, of course.

  13. @Zetopan: Wow! So the whole thing was nothing but a fraud to begin with! With only 1,500 active female accounts, only a tiny, tiny percentage of the guys could have possibly hooked up. So Curmy’s supposition (Suppose your preacher said: “Yes, I signed up, but I didn’t actually follow through and do the deed.”) would definitely be true in almost all the cases. Twenty million active male accounts to 1,500 actual female accounts works out to 13,333 men for each woman. You’d have to like those odds if you were a woman, but how could she possibly choose?

  14. Dave Luckett:
    “Until, of course, they go before their congregation, confess in tears to their transgression, beg forgiveness, and resolve never to fall to temptation again: standard procedure, in other words. Then it’s all right, of course.”

    You’re thinking of Jimmy Swaggart, perhaps?

  15. Dave Luckett

    Yes, AM was also a fraud, and fraud is accounted immoral by an even wider consensus than is marital infidelity. I suppose it is merely a personal quirk of my own that I expected that the site would be fraudulent, as soon as I heard it described.

  16. Dave Luckett

    retiredsciguy, no, I wasn’t actually thinking of Swaggart, or Bakker, or any of them specifically. I was actually thinking of Jesus, who refused to condemn the woman taken in adultery – and he didn’t even require a confession or apparent contrition from her. He also said that you have to forgive, over and over again. With that example before them, what’s a Christian congregation to do?

    There’s wider implications, of course. The Catholic Church cites the same regime for “forgiving” priests not merely in breach of their vows, with, say, a thoroughly willing widow, but also those who abuse minor children.

    This wretched prevarication is to be dismissed for the palpable fraud that it is, of course. In fact the very assertion that there was any moral principle whatsoever behind the Church’s actions is contemptible. It was acting only in its own interests, and no other consideration was involved at all. This is plainly demonstrable from the Church’s other actions. The priest was not merely forgiven and retained, and his crimes not reported; the abuse was concealed and the victims threatened in an attempt to silence them.

    Infidelity, if adultery actually amounts to that, is reprehensible; hypocrisy is disgusting; but misprision of criminal offences and abetting their concealment is criminal in itself. It is not sufficient that the Catholic prelates who enabled, administered and enforced this regime be disgraced. It is not sufficient that they be removed from office within the Church – and even that has not been consistently effected. They should face criminal charges and be cast in damages, and if found guilty, should see jail time.

    It must be spring. The flocks of porkers are flying south to their winter feeding grounds.

  17. Diogenes' Lamp

    It has not been mentioned here yet, but you all presumably know that Josh Duggar, scion of the Duggar clan of “19 Kids and Counting”, was on the AM list. As was Christian vlogger Sam Rader, who *instantly* released a video saying God had forgiven him and Christ’s blood had washed him clean, while his Stepford wife nodded in the background.

    Another guy on the list was a conservative Islamic “scholar” who once defended Mohammed’s rape of his 9-year-old “bride” by describing the religious rules according to which you can rape a 9 year old. That guy denied seeking adultery– Obviously Identity Theft, Obviously!! he cries although the account was set up from Australia while he was in Australia, and the account had his credit card numbers. That guy also said it wouldn’t be sinful to be on AM anyway, because a Muslim can have multiple wives, so a married man can pursue multiple “brides.”

  18. Diogenes' Lamp

    Moral of the story: people believe in anti-evolution because they seek to escape accountability for their immoral actions.

  19. standard procedure, in other words. Then it’s all right, of course.”

    Churches who keep and forgive a pastor who sought adulterous relationships is RARE. Swaggert’s operation was a TV empire that had a “studio audience” crowd more than an actual typical church.

    What we all predicted, that there would be a lot of “planted” Ashley Madison records of people somebody didn’t like, is becoming evident. (One policeman who was falsely planted on the list committed suicide, although some say other factors were the major causes.)

    But what I didn’t expect is the entrepreneurial side: a company which assists churches dealing with scandal decided to email-to-name (and I suppose IP address) verify the pastors on the AM list and solicit business for the real scandals and provide letters of innocence for the victims of planted records. A mutual friend told me that they were disappointed that so many of the AM planted records were bogus—because they couldn’t get any business from those!