Paul Braterman is back in the news. You may recall that we recently wrote Hambo Attacks Snopes and Paul Braterman. That was about ol’ Hambo’s reaction to an article in Snopes titled Why Creationism Bears All the Hallmarks of a Conspiracy Theory, written by Paul Braterman, Hon. Research Fellow; Professor Emeritus in Chemistry, University of Glasgow — and a frequent contributor of comments for our humble blog.
Professor Braterman’s fame seems never-ending. Look what we found at the website of the Institute for Creation Research (ICR) — the granddaddy of all creationist outfits, the fountainhead of young-earth creationist wisdom. It’s titled Are Creationists Conspiracy Theorists?, and it was written by one of ICR’s top creation scientists — Jake Hebert. They say he has a Ph.D. in physics, and joined ICR as a research associate the same year that degree was awarded. Here are some excerpts from Jake’s article, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]. Oh, we’re also ignoring Jake’s footnotes.
Paul Braterman, emeritus professor of chemistry at the University of Glasgow, recently claimed online that creationism “meets all the criteria” for a “conspiracy theory.” He says creationism offers “a complete parallel universe with its own organisations and rules of evidence, and [creationism] claims that the scientific establishment promoting evolution is an arrogant and morally corrupt elite.” Is this fair?
What do you think, dear reader — is Braterman’s claim fair? Jake says:
First, we should note that calling someone a “conspiracy theorist” is a quick and easy way to avoid having to deal with the intellectual arguments for his position. It is tantamount to calling him crazy. And we all know that attempting to reason with crazy people is pointless, right?
Even your humble Curmudgeon has said something like that — see Debating Creationists is Dumber Than Creationism. Anyway, Jake tells us:
Braterman says creationists demonize evolutionists, and he cites, presumably as evidence of this, former Georgia Congressman Paul Broun’s much-publicized 2012 claim that evolution is a lie “straight from the pit of hell”. But if one watches the YouTube video of Congressman Broun embedded in Braterman’s essay, he doesn’t personally attack evolutionists. He [Paul Broun] simply stated his belief (which we share) that evolution is a false doctrine, and like all false doctrines, it ultimately originates from Satan, the father of lies.
Broun’s claim is a genuine oldie goldie. We wrote about it nine years ago — see Congressman Broun on Evolution & the Big Bang. Our post had a video, but it no longer works, so if you want to see the madman make his claim, use the video in Braterman’s essay. Anyway, Jake doesn’t see anything wrong with what the congressman said, and he continues defending the “pit of hell” accusation:
That is not a personal attack on evolutionists, and it does not mean that all evolutionists are intentionally lying. [Of course not!] But it does mean that the theory evolutionists hold ultimately originated with an evil being who intends both us and them harm. Broun’s statement reflects on the deceit and not on the persons being deceived.
So Jake does agree that the theory of evolution comes from the pit of hell — but that’s not a personal attack, dear reader, so don’t get offended. Let’s read on:
It may be going too far to say that Braterman is demonizing creationists, but he certainly assumes evil in our motives. He claims creationism is a “deep-seated power struggle” between religious conservatives and liberals, suggesting that creationists don’t really believe what we profess and that we are unconcerned about evidential truth. He suggests that creationists are motivated by financial interests when he describes one particular creation exhibit, without any evidence, as “highly lucrative.”
Braterman’s article mentions that Hambo’s ark and museum are “highly lucrative,” so Jake is probably referring to that. Is Braterman wrong? Anyway, Jake’s assault on Braterman’s article continues:
His claim that creationists operate by different rules of evidence is unfounded. [Really?] You don’t convert skeptics to your position by inventing your own unique rules of evidence! Yet former skeptics are being converted both to creationism and Christianity by the sheer strength of the logic and evidence for biblical creation.
BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Yes, it’s the “sheer strength of the logic and evidence for biblical creation” that attracts creationists. Hey — you can’t miss this. Jake defends creationists’ presuppositions:
However, we freely admit our philosophical presuppositions: we believe without apology that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God. [Nothing wrong with that!] Braterman also has his own worldview assumptions. He is a member of the National Center for Science Education [Gasp!], which is extremely hostile to the creation movement, and this is not the first time that he has publicly denounced the creationist movement. Has Dr. Braterman considered the possibility that his own presuppositions might be coloring the way he looks at the evidence?
Good question! And now we come to the end:
The entire essay is basically a giant ad hominem attack on creationists. It is instructive that this essay doesn’t attempt to answer creationists with any scientific evidence for evolution. Perhaps that’s because there isn’t any.
BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Yes, maybe Braterman doesn’t have any evidence. Great post, Jake!
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