Creationists in the Closet

There’s a refreshingly brief and amazingly bizarre new post at the Discovery Institute’s creationist blog today, titled How Big Is Evolution’s Closet?.

It was written by Cornelius Hunter — a Discoveroid “fellow” who teaches at a bible college. He’s famous around here as the author of The Discoveroids’ All-Time Strangest Essay. We’ll give you some excerpts from his latest, with bold font added by us for emphasis:

When a theory repeatedly fails its fundamental predictions, and is unable to explain even the basic facts, well, there is bound to be doubt.

It’s incredibly difficult to believe, but Cornelius isn’t talking about the Discoveroids’ “theory” of intelligent design. He’s actually referring to the theory of evolution. He says:

No evolutionist who has ever peered into a microscope can look in the mirror and maintain self-respect.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! The Discoveroids, on the other hand, are presumably overflowing with self-respect. After that he tells us:

So I wasn’t too surprised when a friend told me that all across the country, life science professors “have told me in private they have questions about evolution,” and he keeps their identities secret.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Cornelius, the Discoveroid bible-college teacher, has an unidentified friend who revealed that loads of scientists question evolution, but choose to conceal their doubts. Whatever your reaction may be to that anonymous and undocumented claim, Cornelius seems eager to believe it. He finishes his brief post with this intriguing question:

One wonders: How big is the closet?

Cornelius must be lonely. He’s urging his unknown fellow creationists, whom he imagines are legion, to come out of the closet and join him. Hey, he’s right! Closeted creationist professors should declare themselves and embrace their Discoveroid colleagues. There’s probably room for all of them in the Discoveroids’ dingy Seattle headquarters.

Copyright © 2017. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

add to del.icio.usAdd to Blinkslistadd to furlDigg itadd to ma.gnoliaStumble It!add to simpyseed the vineTailRankpost to facebook

. AddThis Social Bookmark Button . Permalink for this article

62 responses to “Creationists in the Closet

  1. It is a cherished notion among creationists that lots of scientists “actually” reject evolution but cannot find the courage to speak up, since they would be bullied and ridiculed by evil evolutionists.

    Here is one story that has been reproduced on countless creationist sites:
    http://www.icr.org/article/why-cant-geneticists-see-obvious-evidence-for-crea/

    Back in 2000, one George Caylor supposedly interviewed a “molecular biologist” who must of course remain anonymous, lest a mob of fanatical evolutionists burn down his house.

    Mr. Anonymous Biologist states that “nobody I know in my profession believes” that DNA information could come about by means of evolution. Nobody! Either he moves in very special circles, or pretty much ALL molecular biologists know in their heart of hearts that evolution is bogus. For actually, DNA information “was engineered by ‘genius beyond genius,’ and such information could not have been written any other way.”

    Supposedly molecular biologists are eminently well aware of this, but NOBODY dares to speak up. Nobody in the entire field, nobody across the world.

    And for good reasons, it seems. Like ruthless mafia enforcers, the evolutionists would ruin the life of this anonymous whistle-blower if they could identify him: “I’d be out of a job, or relegated to the outer fringes where I couldn’t earn a decent living.”

    No wonder the closet is big and crowded, hm?

  2. Christine Janis

    Who *are* the “evolutionists” if not the molecular biologists?

  3. I certainly don’t understand all of the rules of academia, but my belief is that once a professor gains tenure, that they can express whatever opinions they might have pertaining to their area of expertise and not lose tenure. Behe is an example. He’s reasonably successful, publishes books, and receives accolades from the small community of ID supporters. No one has burned down his house.

    Certainly, if so many scientists are secretly creationists, then many of them must have attained the qualifications and experience and become tenured at their institutions. Why do we not hear from a host of Behe’s, occupying tenured positions at major universities around the world? There is no need for such scientists and professors to remain silent. Why are they not spreading the word?

  4. Cornelius completely misunderstood: those life science professors at bible colleges have questions- concerning their understanding of evolution! Questions which they’d like to have answered by experts like prof Dawkins or prof Coyne, but they can’t ask them, ’cause a Bible college professor would rather not be seen asking questions from a heathen.

  5. The multitude of secret creationists in biology departments around the nation are probably identical to the millions of dead people who voted for someone other than our president!

  6. I realize that this unnamed friend is not free to name these life science professors. But what stops us from hearing a couple of the questions?

    BTW, is there somewhere that we can get a list of former professors in “Christian colleges” who lost their jobs for being too bold in their opinions about YEC?

  7. Good old Corny Hunter, crazy as ever.

    I just ran down the hall, peered into the mirror and determined that my self-respect was intact, but needed a shave.

  8. I suspect those questions are similar to these, “How did this happen? How does this work?”

  9. @abeastwood: And besides the millions of dead people, don’t forget the millions of “illegal” immigrants That Sean Spicer said Trump “had heard from sources” had voted for Clinton, denying Trump the popular vote.

    Just as Trump is calling for a special investigation, Cornelius Hunter should be doing some investigation of his own to find all these “closet creationist” professors to back up his absurd claims.

  10. Michael Fugate

    One wonders why they are unwilling to stand up for their beliefs – isn’t that what good Christians do?

  11. “[biology professors]…have told me in private they have questions about evolution.”

    Why in private? Any biologist who doesn’t have questions about evolution–and who has stopped conducting research to look for the answers–should retire. As soon as possible. Someone needs to explain to Cornelius Hunter that questions are the reason why scientists and professors in general have jobs. (Those explanations for Dr. Hunter should be spoken very slowly and using simple words.)

  12. @Professor Tertius: Questions are anathema to the certainty professed by creationists. (After all, their very souls hang in the balance.) I suspect they assume that uncertainty and curiosity have a similarly negative reception among non-creationists.

  13. Christine Janis

    That’s an interesting point, Paul D. I’m always being told by creationists (on websites) that I only “believe” what I do about evolution because I was told so by a teacher/read it in a book. Because they accept what they were told without question they assume that we must do the same.
    (And, by the same token, that being an atheist/agnostic means that one is “rebelling” against God, not that one fails to perceive compelling evidence.)

  14. As I was told once, scientists believe that it is not possible to travel faster than light because Einstein said so.
    I can just imagine the situation when there was a group of scientists relaxing in the faculty lounge, when someone burst in with the news: “Gentlemen, have you heard the latest? Einstein just told us that it is not possible to travel faster than the speed of light! That is amazing. I would never have thought that, but it must be so, for Einstein said so.”

  15. Christine Janis

    “As I was told once, scientists believe that it is not possible to travel faster than light because Einstein said so.”

    Here you are wrong. If scientists “believe” this it’s because Einstein provided evidence and equations to back up this hypothesis, not because he just said it. They accept it as the provisional truth (because all science is provisional, new evidence can always overturn an existing hypothesis or theory) because of peer-reviewed evidence presented, and because they themselves have also read the evidence and have not found it wanting.

    “I can just imagine the situation when there was a group of scientists relaxing in the faculty lounge ——”

    I actually can’t imagine *any* situation where there is a group of scientists relaxing together, except perhaps in a bar at the end of a day of a conference. This idea that there are rooms such as “faculty lounges”, and that scientists lounge in them, says volumes about your knowledge of academic science.

    Also, the tacit assumption that all of the scientists in the imaginary “faculty lounge” would be men. Too funny.

  16. It was meant to be a parody. Including the deliberately sexist “gentlemen”, which is not so funny, considering the treatment of so many talented women.

  17. [awkward moment]

  18. James Bolton Theuer

    Hey! KevinC has found evidence of Schism in the evilutionist community!! He’ll make popcorn and relax in his Lay-Z Boy as we prime our muskets and sharpen our pikes!!

  19. James Bolton Theuer

    Is anyone else excited about an atheist 30 years’ war?

  20. So do creationism and ID now constitute an alternative fact with the Bible crowd?

  21. The journalist Harry Reasoner often used a storyteller’s trick of attributing a story to a mythical third person. Harry would say, “A man I know…” and you knew you were in for a tale.

    The Tooters do the same thing as a way of projecting and supporting their beliefs, which otherwise they couldn’t project or support. The dearly departed Attack Gerbil had a bevy of email pen pals who would confess their fears of persecution or whatever. I don’t know if Klankerwanker inherited Gerb’s distribution list or if he has his own imaginary friends, probably the latter, but he uses the same “name redacted” technique to tee up his latest fiction.

    The key to Corny’s fiction are the phrases “all across the country” and “life science professors.” Deliberately vague, but with the kind of grandiosity and pomposity creationists eat up with a spoon.

    Yes, all across the country, nay, the world, persecuted life science professors are rising up against the oppression of Darwinism, in secret, at night, when the moon is full.

  22. BTW, is there somewhere that we can get a list of former professors in “Christian colleges” who lost their jobs for being too bold in their opinions about YEC?

    Good question. I can think of two friends who had that experience and know many others who would like to be outspoken in their opinions about Young Earth Creationism but they can’t speak up without job security implications. Even if their Department Chair and Academic Dean might agree with them, the President and Board of Directors of their institution will be gravely concerned if alumni and donors get upset when they get word that some professor at the school has questioned YECist dogma. Moreover, if a professor gets in trouble due to complaints from YEC alumni and donors, news about that disciplining or firing of a professor may then trigger an equal or greater uproar from non-YEC alumni and donors who are horrified that their favorite professor was treated badly.

    Obviously, these are no-win situations for any school which has to deal with angry alumni and donors. Email and social media has made a seminary president’s job far more complicated than in the old days. Imagine what happens when Ken Ham’s ghost-writer publishes yet another book, and it blacklists your institution for tolerating a “compromiser” (or even plural compromisers) on your faculty. Frightened grandpas and grandmas call their pastors in an angry panic. Those angry pastors call their Bible college roommate from long ago who is now on the Board of Directors of the denomination’s seminary which trains the next generation of pastors. So when the seminary president gets an angry call from a board member between annual board meetings, there’s hell to pay.

    Yes, Ken Ham has become the Eugene McCarthy of the fundamentalist world, and he just loves to ignite such situations because he thinks it forces a “purification” of those academic institutions. He just loves to name schools which have allegedly “compromised” on Genesis, and even though the people who take such lists seriously are a small subset of the Christian world, they can get extremely angry and very very loud. And those are two adjectives which strike fear into the hearts of every president of a Bible college and seminary which serves that constituency to any significant degree. (If even just one out of every twenty constituent churches quit sending their young people to the denomination’s Bible college, tuition and donation shortfalls put the school into the red. Even just one disgruntled pastor with a radio program carried by a handful of stations can do a lot of damage, all thanks to Ken-Ham-I-Am pulling the strings.)

    We old-timers can remember the 1940’s and 1950’s when many of those same schools didn’t have to worry about YECism creating headaches for administrators. It was not until The Genesis Flood (1962, Henry Morris & John Whitcomb Jr.) that the young earth viewpoint became a fight-or-die issue which got added to what had previously been a very stable collection of doctrines which had defined Fundamentalism in the Christian world since the early 1900’s. (Ken Ham often complains that “science changes its mind all the time”, even while insisting that what Christians believe never changes–and that’s simply not true. Indeed, despite popular myth embraced all across the theist/non-theist spectrum, competent Biblical scholars respond to new evidence just as the best scholars in every other field of the academy. But that’s another topic for another time.)

  23. “If scientists “believe” this it’s because Einstein provided evidence”
    Actually Michelson and Morley provided that evidence, not Einstein.

  24. Another expression for an urban legend is a “friend of a friend story”. When one hears that this is from a FoaF, one might be suspicious that there are more people than three involved in the transmission chain, calling to mind the instructive kid’s game of “telephone” (aka “Chinese whispers”). When we are told that his friend knows of someone who such-and-such, it is no stretch of the imagination to suspect that his friend actually said that he had a friend who told him (after all, any friend of Sandy’s is a friend of mine) …

  25. I think that it is more common that professors who accept evolution are in the closet at Christian schools. Seems like the Adventists are pretty good at cleaning them out – just one example [there are more]: http://www.pe.com/articles/university-640222-sierra-board.html

  26. @Douglas E
    An interesting story, but I have to make a comment about the assumption that YEC represents “that old time religion”.
    One of the successes of the new-fangled YEC has been to convince the public, even those who find it unbelievable, that YEC is the traditional belief of Christians.

  27. Professor Tertius suggests

    Ken Ham has become the Eugene McCarthy of the fundamentalist world

    I think perhaps you meant: the Joseph R. McCarthy?

  28. Tom S – I have had numerous discussions with folks who believe that they hold to “traditional Christianity.” The common tread is that what they believe equals traditional Christianity. Virtually every branch of origins beliefs makes the claim of being traditional, whilst it would be more productive to talk about historical Christianity, and, in essence, how far today’s churches have left much of the earliest traditions behind.

  29. Yes, I know that people like to think that they believe is holding to the original beliefs. There is no point in arguing about that.
    But I was reacting to the statements in the article that you posted, when the author several times referred to the YEC belief as if it were something that was commonplace before the “modernists” came in. The author clearly is not a YEC, yet seems to accept that YEC is just refusing to change with the times.

  30. Richard Bond

    mnb0: actually, it was Maxwell who showed that the the speed of light was a constant. He calculated it without any point of reference. From a throwaway remark in his 1905 paper, Einstein seems to have been aware of the Michelson/Morley result, but that paper was based on Maxwell’s conclusions.

  31. @DouglasE – Reading about the history of the biblical canon is very interesting in that regard. Considering how much Evangelical Protestants tout their fidelity to the ‘1st Century Faith’, they actually don’t even use the bible that the original Christians considered canonical! You have to go to the Eastern & Oriental Orthodox Churches to be as ‘original’ as possible in that respect.

    @Megalonyx – I think you’re right, and that AIG is the Neo-John Birch Society. Edit: Apparently the JBS still exists. Just engage alternative reality mode as you read this.

  32. docbill:
    “Deliberately vague, but with the kind of grandiosity and pomposity creationists eat up with a spoon.

    You are assuming they have mastered the art of using utensils.

  33. When I am talking about the general acceptance of the YECs and “that old time religion”, I am concerned with acceptance by the general public (including, I dare to say, even worthy denizens of this blog) that if one goes back to 19th century American conservative Bible-believing Christian congregations, one would expect to find beliefs like YEC.
    I doubt that one would find people talking about baramins, about micro-evolution, about tame dinosaurs, about a vapor canopy, about the Flood sorting out fossils, about the varying speed of light …

  34. @Richard Bond: “He calculated it”
    That’s interesting and new to me, hence my thanks, but the outcomes from calculations are not evidence. Experiments and observations are. Michelson and Morley were the first to provide it.

  35. The Curmudgeon Comedy Hour continues as our merry band of misfits snivel about Cornelius Hunter’s anonymous professors secretly admitting doubts about evolution but won’t speak up for fear of losing their jobs. Who are these people? No one knows. And everyone, including the erudite Professor Tertius, is gleefully satisfied that these anonymous cowards don’t exist.

    Then with perfect comedic timing, the learned Professor offers this with a straight face:

    I can think of two friends who had that experience and know many others who would like to be outspoken in their opinions about Young Earth Creationism but they can’t speak up without job security implications.

    I’ve got to admit, you guys had me going there for a while. I thought you were serious.

    On a related note: The Silent Curmudgeon twice identified Hunter as a bible college teacher. TSC must think this is significant. What can we gather from his insight? Did Hunter receive his Ph.D from a bible college? No. So it’s not Hunter’s education that is in question. Is it because Hunter teaches at all. No, many people teach. Hmm, could it be where he teaches to which Curmie wants to draw our attention and why this matters? I think that’s it! The only conclusion we can draw from our host’s reference to Hunter’s place of employment is that because he teaches at a bible college, he should be dismissed. Genetic fallacies be damned.

    And yet we have these poor professors teaching at bible colleges who just can’t speak up for Darwin because of those mean fundies. What holds true for Hunter holds true for the other bible college professors as well. They teach at bible colleges because they’re second rate scientists who can’t get jobs at “real” colleges. So who cares what they think anyway. Is that the point?

  36. Christine Janis

    “Then with perfect comedic timing, the learned Professor offers this with a straight face:”

    Prof. T was making those observations of people at Biblical colleges who were not allowed to voice opinions doubting any of the YEC maxims. There are many documented cases of people being fired from college positions because their biological views were not sufficiently creationist: there are few (if any) reliable examples of the converse.

    “The Silent Curmudgeon twice identified Hunter as a bible college teacher”

    I don’t know if he does teach at Biola. His position is “adjunct professor”. That’s basically an unpaid hanger-on. I care a lot about what Cornelius Hunter thinks, because most of what he writes is pernicious lies —– his claims that thylacines are identical to wolves, for a start.

  37. Nice try, Janis but the double standards here are obvious. If you don’t see it I can’t help.

  38. Christine Janis

    You’re right, the double standards are pretty shocking. As Prof T documents, the YECs are more than happy to fire people at their own colleges who don’t adhere 100% to their beliefs, while making a hue and cry about people at secular colleges firing people who express creationist views.

    The only difference is that the former example (firing *by* YECs) has many documented examples, while the latter (firing *of* YEC, or indeed any creationist) has few or none.

  39. I don’t for a moment doubt that there are cases of people getting in trouble at a Christian institution because of their deviation from YEC. But I am interested if there is any list of well-documented cases.

  40. TomS says: “I don’t for a moment doubt that there are cases of people getting in trouble at a Christian institution because of their deviation from YEC. But I am interested if there is any list of well-documented cases.”

    I don’t have a complete list — it would take too much work to compile — but I’ve written about a few such cases, some of which are mentioned here: The Discoveroids Oppose Academic Freedom.

  41. Michael Fugate

    KevinC again without any evidence for anything – as usual. His motto “Data, we don’t need no stinkin’ data.”

  42. “The Curmudgeon Comedy Hour continues as our merry band of misfits snivel about Cornelius Hunter’s anonymous professors…”

    It’s not sniveling, it’s mocking. That’s what all the bwahahahahaing is all about.

    “So I’ll ask my question again since no one answered me the first time.”

    Now, whoever said that knows what sniveling is. 😦

  43. Christine Janis

    I just realise that my comment back to Kevin C was attributed to “Anonymous”. Too bad, as it was a nice slap in the face. Hopefully this one will bear my name.

    Christine

    [*Voice from above*] All is as it should be.

  44. “Too bad, as it was a nice slap in the face”

    I will now employ a tried and true mocking technique according to Mr. Germano:
    BWAHAHAHAHAHA!

    TomS had to ask twice for a list of YEC injustices before he was given the anemic list from our host.

    A couple more things.
    “I care a lot about what Cornelius Hunter thinks, because most of what he writes is pernicious lies…”
    What rational people view as differences of opinion, you view as pernicious lies. Overreact much, Christine?

    And speaking of overreacting, did you ever apologize to TomS for your misreading of his comment? You’re a real class act, madam.
    BWAHAHAHAHAHA!

  45. Christine Janis

    “What rational people view as differences of opinion, you view as pernicious lies.”

    Really? A thylacine facing one way described as a wolf, and the same picture facing the other way described as a thylacine is just a *matter of opinion*?

    Furthermore, differences in anatomy (issues over and above the thyalagate picture) are not “matters of opinion” they are demonstrable facts. Hunter’s handling of the thylacine issue was an exemplar of creationist disinformation. That was an example where I understand the original data very well, —- so I’m probably not mistaken to assume that he’s doing the same in other cases where I’m not so familiar with the original material. Or perhaps he’s just crying wolf.

    “TomS had to ask twice for a list of YEC injustices before he was given the anemic list from our host.”

    Yet this was the issue discussed by ProfT in the post that you chose to misread as YECs being expelled, not people being expelled BY YECs.

    It’s one thing to mistake somebody acting Poe-ish as being the real thing. It’s quite another to not only continue to misread somebody’s post, but to continually defend your misreading of it even when the misreading has been pointed out.

  46. Christine Janis

    Whoops, this should have said:

    Yet this was the issue discussed by ProfT in the post that you chose to misread as YECs being expelled, not people being expelled BY YECs.

    [*Voice from above*] I stretched forth my mighty hand and lo, it is so.

  47. So anecdotes now constitute documentation. Unreal!

    I misread nothing.

  48. Christine Janis

    “Anatomy” may look a little like “anecdote”, but I can assure you they are different words and mean different things.

  49. Christine sweetheart, I was referring to the Professor’s anecdotes that you regard as documentation.

  50. Christine Janis

    I don’t regard what ProfT said as “documentation”, Curmie provided those, sugar drawers. But you were responding a post about Cornelius Hunter’s alternative facts about thylacines, so it was difficult to know what you were referring to.

    Here’s the issue. Hunter talks about scientists in secular studies who supposedly can’t speak out about their anti-darwin sentiments for fear of reprisal. Can any of these be named? No. Yet apparently there are legions of them.

    Prof T talks about scientists in bibical colleges who get serious reprisals if they voice any doubts about YEC. Such people can be named, and have been named. It’s not this nebulous myth of a groundswell of discontents, quite unlike this mysterious “we know lots of scientists who dare not speak” stuff we get from the creationists. And those of us who *are* in positions of knowing many scientists are particularly dubious of claim of this silent phalanx of dissenters. Because we would know of some ourselves, the same way that we know of scientists who are openly creationist yet maintain their academic positions.

  51. My dear Curmudgeon, please smack KevinC for that, “Christine sweetheart.” before I punch him.

  52. Christine Janis

    Did you like “sugar drawers” as a rebuttal?

  53. All taken care of, Mary L. He won’t be back. Not with that identity, anyway.

  54. Never mind.

  55. Sugar drawers made me laugh, Christine.
    Curmie, my “Never mind” went in before I saw you, “Good bye.”

  56. Michael Fugate

    KevinC was able to provide us with all the depth of ID – sadly summed up in his final word “sweetheart” in referring to a PhD scientist. Can’t get much shallower than that.

  57. You have to hand it to him, though. He tried to compensate for a lack of reading comprehension with an even more severe lack of humor. Bold move.

  58. I wonder what Cornelius thinks when his prayers aren’t answered. Are those failures?

  59. Re abestwood’s remark:

    The multitude of secret creationists in biology departments around the nation are probably identical to the millions of dead people who voted for someone other than our president!

    It’s not dead people Mr. Trump is complaining about. Rather, it’s the swarthy Spanish-speaking hordes who are illegally here and illegally voted for Hillary Clinton (coincidentally, just enough such votes to make Trump winner of the popular vote). Of curse, there’s no actual evidence of this, but who cares? The Rump said so, so it must be true.

    Likewise, there’s no evidence that there’s some legion of scientists who have “doubts about Darwinism” but are trembling in the closet terrified of what might happen to them if they dared speak out. But who cares? Cornelius hath spoken. (Actually, it’s more as if Zaius, “Minister of Science and Defender of the Faith,” had done so.)