Hambo Attacks Snopes and Paul Braterman

You probably recall that we recently posted about an article by Paul Braterman. This is what we said:

The first thing we’ll bring to your attention is this article in Snopes, titled Why Creationism Bears All the Hallmarks of a Conspiracy Theory. It was written by Paul Braterman, Hon. Research Fellow; Professor Emeritus in Chemistry, University of Glasgow — and a frequent contributor of comments for our humble blog.

Snopes copied Professor Braterman’s article from The Conversation. We assume they had permission to do so, but we don’t. All we can do is encourage you to click over to Snopes. The article is well worth reading.

Professor Braterman’s article has been getting a lot of attention, and now it has enraged Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo), the ayatollah of Appalachia, the world’s holiest man who knows more about religion and science than everyone else. He just posted this at the website of Answers in Genesis (AIG), his creationist ministry: Snopes Exposed! Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]:

Recently, Snopes, a popular website, disseminated false information [Egad!] with the posting of an anti-Christian commentary with an agenda — an article which had not been fact-checked. Snopes.com posted a piece entitled “Why Creationism Bears All the Hallmarks of a Conspiracy Theory.” [Hambo doesn’t link to it!] This article made many false accusations and disseminated false information about Answers in Genesis, me, and other creation-apologetics ministries.

False accusations about Hambo? That’s horrible! He says:

How could a supposed fact-checking group get away with this? Easy. At the top of the article, an editor stated, “This content is shared here because the topic may interest Snopes readers; it does not, however, represent the work of Snopes fact-checkers or editors.” In other words, they did exactly what they tell others not to do: they published an article without fact-checking.

Shocking! Absolutely shocking! After that, Hambo tells us about the action he took:

Because this article contained enormous amounts of false information [Hee hee!] and an obvious anti-Christian agenda, Answers in Genesis had our publicist contact Snopes by email, stating, “I represent Answers in Genesis, which would appreciate the chance to respond to the ‘creationism is conspiracy theory’ article.”

How did Snopes respond? “Thank you for contacting Snopes! This is a hosted article. You will have to contact the Associated Press directly to ensure delivery of your message.”

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Hambo continues:

So Snopes obviously didn’t want anyone fact-checking an article they published that was not even fact-checked by them! What a complete brush off — and a double standard. Snopes holds others to a particular standard regarding fact-checking, but not for themselves. Why? I suggest this is because this article had a very obvious anti-creationist, anti-Christian agenda. [Gasp!] After all, it was written by an ardent atheist known for his active opposition to creation teaching. This makes one wonder how much “fact”-checking is happening at Snopes with other articles and if they are driven by a similar agenda (i.e., being hostile towards Christian/conservative causes).

Then he really gets personal:

The author of the article in question is Paul Braterman, Hon. Research Fellow; Professor Emeritus in Chemistry at the University of Glasgow in Scotland and who used to teach in America. On his website, Braterman admits, “I don’t often talk about the fact I’m an atheist.” On his site, some of his statements include, “We don’t derive our morality from God. None of us do. We derive it from social norms, and our shared humanity, and then use gods to rationalise it … No, I’m not going to give you a recipe for finding meaning. You have to find your own . . . I have seen, and heard of, horrible things, and if I did believe in God, I would indeed hate him.”

It’s impossible to imagine the revulsion a holy man like ol’ Hambo must experience while contemplating such a person. He goes on for several paragraphs “fact checking” things Braterman has written. You gotta click over there and read that stuff — it’s wonderfully entertaining. Then he wraps it all up with this:

So there you have it. Snopes published an anti-creationist, anti-Christian propaganda piece — written by an atheist who is a well-known opponent of creationists — without fact-checking it. In other words, Snopes does unto others what they will not allow to be done to themselves. I trust this helps open people’s eyes to the realization that Snopes cannot be trusted as a true fact-checking site.

After seeing how enraged Hambo became after reading Braterman’s article, all we can say is: Well done, Professor Braterman! Keep up the splendid work!

Copyright © 2021. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

17 responses to “Hambo Attacks Snopes and Paul Braterman

  1. Wonderful! This explains why I have been overwhelmed today by two hostile comments on my piece at https://paulbraterman.wordpress.com/2016/09/03/9-questions-atheists-find-insulting-bollocks/, The article from which Ham quotes. Ironically, most of that article is an attack on the truly ardent atheist Greta Christina, who presumptuously claims to speak for atheists in general. FWIW, The Conversation publishes under a Creative Commons license, which means that third parties such as Snopes can reproduce its articles in toto without further formalities.

    Ham is quite right! I do mistakenly claim that he refers to Satan, in an article where in fact he does not. That is because I had muddled up in my head two different versions of the Battling Castles cartoon. Careless of me!

    He also blames me for taking him to task for dwelling on such irrelevancies as the quality of Haeckel’s woodcuts, before devoting a paragraph to the quality of Haeckel’s woodcuts.

    I will treasure this!

  2. Indeed, Ol’Hambo couldn’t have made PaulB a bigger compliment. My compliments!

  3. “the truly ardent atheist Greta Christina, who presumptuously claims to speak for atheists in general.”
    Again indeed. I find none of those 9 questions insulting; most of them are sure signs that the believer who asks them is not to be taken seriously. In a somewhat more complicated way that applies to GretaC as well, so unlike PaulB I don’t feel insulted by her either.

    “unless there is reason to do otherwise”
    I do think that there are reasons to not treat those questions (and GretaC’s answers) with respect. The main reason is because of the not so hidden agenda behind them.

    @KeithB: PaulB deserves a double compliment, because son-in-law Bodie also has written about him! On the same day!
    Really, the entire family is upset.

  4. Bravo Prof Braterman, you really poked the ant’s nest ! 🙂

  5. chris schilling

    Creationists believe in a shadowy figure who ultimately controls everything: time, space, matter, purpose, meaning, etc — sounds like the mother of all conspiracy theories.

    They believe in Lucifer as a malevolent force in the world, undermining God’s good intentions — another conspiracy.

    They believe evolution promotes atheism — more conspiracy.

    Some creationists have maintained that scientists falsify the evidence — Haeckel’s embryos; the paleontological record, etc — to foster the impression of evolution.

    It’s conspiracy theories all the way down.

  6. Well…

    Belief structures are Venn diagrams. Some creationists – the noisier ones, to be sure – believe in Satan as a presence in this world. Some go so far as to concede him the lordship of it. Some are almost complete dualists. But few of the rank and file have thought so far. They just believe that God created everything, some time ago, and the rest is fuzzy.

    As for evolution promoting atheism, well, evolution provides an explanation for the origin of the species that does not require the intervention of God. This alone removes Him to an immense distance, and reduces His presence in the world. Other science that does the same kind of thing is the convergence on theories of the origin of the Universe, the natural explanation for the stars and the planets, and most of all, the twentieth century understanding of the sheer size of the cosmos.

    As has often been said here, faced with a Universe tens of billions of light years across, and roughly a trillion other galaxies each with a hundred billion stars or more, it is very difficult to maintain that it was engineered for us. Or for life, when we have planets where it rains molten iron or hails splinters of glass, or have atmospheres in which the clouds are sulphuric acid, or with crusts of pure diamond.

    I actually think it is those observed facts that put the banana peel under special creation, even more than evolution.

  7. @Dave Luckett
    I don’t understand the concern that evolution explains away the need for
    divine creation of species.
    Does not reproduction explain away the need for divine creation of the individual?
    Yet who complains about scientific, naturalistic reproduction?

  8. @TomS: according to fundagelical creationists common descent undermines “created in the image of god”. Reproduction doesn’t. Or as our dear SC usually summarizes: “I ain’t no kin of no monkey!”. Another way to express this sentiment is “from goo via the zoo to you”. As always it’s in the end an emotion thing that must be rationalized.

  9. @FrankB
    I realize that it is an emotion, and it’s pointless to appeal to logic.
    But as far as beginning with goo, isn’t that what reproduction begins with?
    And if we’re talking about design, design of the eye, or any other body part, isn’t it undeniable that the human design is a variation of the ape/primate/mammal/etc. design? I’d avoid talking about design and stick with creation. I am a creature of God, with a personal relationship with my creator.

  10. TomS, I was putting the creationist argument to support the idea that evolution promotes atheism. That argument is, of course, a bad one, except in one sense, which I shall come to in a moment.

    The mainstream Christian view is that God has no need to intervene in the natural order of His creation, although He may do so, as He wills. But, for all we know, the origin of the species happens entirely without His intervention, and it is perfectly reasonable – and orthodox – to hold that so it may be. So much is only to affirm the consistency and divine foresight of God’s creative power. The alternative, that God must needs correct and adjust the species in order to meet His will, is to lessen His providence. Therefore, His creation is entirely according to His will, save only for the results of our own free will and sinfulness, which He allows.

    The same for reproduction. However natural the process, Christians were always taught that children are God’s gift – or, rather, His charge and trust, granted according to His will.

    Thus, the supposed removal of the Almighty from His creation when natural means suffice to explain it, is a fallacy. Evolution, reproduction occur as God wills, and that is still the case however natural the process.

    But the creationists are right in one narrow sense: it can seem that God is absent, simply because we cannot discern Him. That is, of course, our failure, not His. All the same, such an apparent absence troubles many, and ipso facto the demonstration of purely natural origins for any phenomenon – rainbows, music, the individual, the species, living things, the Universe itself – can foster in them a fear that God does not exist at all. That fear is falsely based, but still it can seem to be a threat to the Faith itself.

    Now, that’s the conventional Christian response. I don’t for a moment accept the creationist argument, of course. Do I accept the conventional response?

    Well, no. Both rest on an axiom: That there is a creator God. I don’t accept that axiom, not because it can’t be true, but because I don’t know if it’s true.

  11. @Dave Luckett
    I find it interesting that in the 18th century there were serious, informed, intelligent students of natural history who believed in preformation, rather than reproduction. They believed that each individual existed inside its parentage. And there were the same arguments against reproduction which are used today against evolution: irreducible Complexity, even impossibility of perpetual motion (a century before thermodynamics).
    My reference to reproduction has historical roots.

  12. @TomS: the famous German theologian and antinazi Dietrich Bonhoeffer formulated the answer well in a 1944 letter:

    “How wrong it is to use God as a stop-gap for the incompleteness of our knowledge. If in fact the frontiers of knowledge are being pushed further and further back (and that is bound to be the case), then God is being pushed back with them, and is therefore continually in retreat. We are to find God in what we know, not in what we don’t know.

    (Bolded by FrankB)


    Ol’Hambo and co of course don’t like him – he’s mentioned in an AIG article called “The sad and sorry god of theistic evolution”.
    The Attack Gerbil tries to abuse this quote to support IDiocy by claiming that it is not a god of the gaps (in an article at their creacrap blog Evolutionnews).

  13. @FrankB, the idea goes back at least as far as Henry Drummond, around 1900, and very briefly mention on your link, who regarded evolution as a wonderful divine creation by which the world would continue to generate its own creativity

  14. On the other hand, there is the example of George Berkeley, who saw atheists getting help from Isaak Newton, and therefore attacked Newton’s calculus. Newton, of course, was no atheist.

  15. @PaulB: yes, but I like Bonhoeffer’s formulation better. Also I like it to rub it in that a German theologian and antinazi, killed in a concentration camp just before the end of WW-2, is on our side in the fight against creacrap. Predictably another guy who dislikes his theology is Richard “From Darwin to Hitler” Weikart.


    That’s why I neglect Drummond’s quote.
    Especially the conclusion is great – it’s a firm kick in the [bleep!] of all christian creacrappers, including the IDiots from Seattle and their Wedge Document.

  16. *nods* Seven day creationism is only a necessity for a very kind of theology, one that is simultaneously the most and least complicated because it’s focused on making sure that the believer is sure over being in any way coherent. It’s not at all surprising that it lends itself to conspiracy theory.