The Religious Science division here at The Tim Channel, along with the assistance of the Non Overlapping Magisteria Department at Brigham Young University, has been hard at work trying to parse out the more difficult missing details of the young Earth creation ‘theory’ recently seen popularized in a debate between Ken Ham and Bill Nye.
Just when you thought you’d seen the worst of the religion inspired creationist freak shows, along comes a real life example of the extent to which religious idiocy has infected the minds of America. The glow is fading off this old religious miracle, but fear not my fickle-brained faithful friends!! There’s a new miracle ready to rock your world!!
It’s a Miracle?
(CNN) — Even in the Bible Belt, coroners don’t use the word “miracle” lightly.
But Holmes County, Mississippi, Coroner Dexter Howard has no qualms using the word for the resurrection, as it were, of Walter Williams, who
hewas declared dead Wednesday night.
As if to mock the recent rebroadcast of my heavily documented on-line secular miracle, my old neighbors in Mississippi have seen fit to induce another miracle of their own in an obvious attempt to glam onto the press I’ve generated with mine. Of course it’s rather self serving for this incompetent medical examiner to lay his own incompetence off as a miracle, but it’s a helluva good way to distract the bumble brained Baptists who apparently voted him into his position as coroner in the first place.
A Different Kind of Miracle
I suspect the ecclesiastical certificate of this miracle is already on it’s way back from the Kinko’s where Brother Ted gets a 10% bulk-rate discount. I hope my religious friends won’t take too much offense to me using such a desultory eight letter word, but perhaps if we examine the actual evidence, there is a more rational explanation for what happened than “godditit”. Let’s hit the breaks on the Baptist Pope-mobile for just a second here and look at the “observational” science as Ken Ham suggests is the only proper way to decide on these serious issues of life and death.
By Creationist Standards
Because I was taking really good notes the night Ken Ham gave that science lesson to Bill Nye, I decided to look at the ‘observational” evidence of this latest claim of a Mississippi miracle and here’s what I found:
“Among the public health consequences was a medico-legal spoils system that valued pseudoscience and expedient criminal convictions over scientific validity”
The state is one of several that elect county coroners to oversee death investigations. The office requires no medical training, only a high-school diploma, and it commonly goes to the owner of the local funeral home.
Mississippi Needs a Miracle
It would be more of a miracle if Mississippi decided to implement standards for medical examiners that included, I don’t know, maybe having some medical license or training? Until then, Uncle Teds Bible College and Taxidermy graduates are free to fill the role. Heaven forbid they’d think to pass a law requiring doctors to check on the aging batteries of poor old Black folks with failing pacemakers. You gotta give them credit. This kind of thing isn’t out of the norm for religious folks. The reason they’re so quick to pronounce the living as dead is because they are gullible enough to believe that the dead go on living.
Another day, another dead religious-idiot snake handler. This time, the fellow had a high enough profile to have scored some National Geographic facetime (Why, National Geographic, Why?). I’ll assume the best and figure that National Geographic was running a high brow bit on the lunatic fringe of religious society and not trying to go head-to-head with a bunch of waterlogged homophobic Duck Hunters on another network. If I’m wrong, don’t correct me on the assumption. I’m old and cranky enough already, living in the world of George Jetson with neighbors apparently beamed in from The Flintstones. For what it’s worth, I’m feeling quite well today, but then I’m a firm believer that laughter is the best medicine, and given the ongoing freak show of the fundamentalists, I’m assured plenty of healthful smiles to keep me fit.
As a matter of curiosity, and with a nod to the photo of the white guy in the masthead above (and the white guy killed today), are there any/many instances of Black preachers dying this way? I can’t think of any off the top of my head. Most of the Black people I know, religiously affixed as they are, seem happy enough just bashing homosexuals and have enough common sense, having escaped slavery and all, not to be messing with deadly snakes. I’ll leave that question to the racial sociology department at JSU or Howard to work out. I’m always happy to toss out a free doctoral dissertation topic for a young Black college student having trouble finding a topic.
Jeebus’ Law and Order
And these signs shall follow them that believe: In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues. They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. (Mark 16:17-18)
In spite of many previous snake bites, one of which led to the loss of the finger of the aforementioned God slobberer, as well as previous troubles with law enforcement over the transport and ownership of his deadly vermin, today’s Darwin Award nominee was undeterred. The courts in the US, particularly those in the former slave states, are apparently reluctant to enforce long standing laws against public displays of deadly snakes in church services, so this is what we get to read about every other year or so.
Ken Ham’s Killing Spree to Continue
The southern court system, in declining to prosecute a previous case of snake bite induced religious death, stated that there would be no deterrent effect for prosecuting this type of crime, so hardened were the biblical felons in their proclivities and so devoted were the practitioners and followers of this particular religious aberration. There are literally places in the US where you can get charged with child endangerment for leaving your minor child at home alone for ten minutes to run to the grocery store but it’s perfectly ok to drag them into a sermon where a preacher is slinging deadly rattle snakes around. Holy shit!
Prosecution being useless as a deterrent has never stopped any of the former slave states from dragging every other poor black man into the court system and prosecuting them for smoking marijuana, though it’s a pretty easy observation that the incarceration of those young Black males is as ineffective a deterrent to marijuana use in Black youth as the prosecution of White Pentecostal snake handlers is presumed to be in deterring other young preachers from committing suicide by snake. Wonder why the difference?
Bonus Thunderfoot Video
I stayed up half the night here in Germany to live-tweet the event and my overall “impression”? Based on the amount of pre-debate skeptic jitters about engaging in a ‘debate’ with a slobbering God botherer, which I normally concur is a bad idea btw, the whole event worked out quite well for the cause of secularism IMHO. Here’s why I feel that way.
First, there’s the relative popularity of Bill Nye easily trumping Ken Ham with all but the radical right wing ultra-minority of folks willing to overlook the reality of science and physics in the 21st Century. Then you toss in Ken Ham’s reliance on Cliff Notes from the prosecutor’s statements against Galileo. Those are not nearly as effective as when people were engaged in bleeding themselves to death in their holy efforts to excise demons and return to health.
Finally, Ham’s “Molecules to Man” canard, was wholly inappropriate for a debate on evolution as any seasoned atheist debater is familiar with the tactic of shifting from evolution to abiogenesis willy nilly will be familiar with. I was a little taken back (see my live tweet stream) by Nye’s inability or reluctance to go “Christoper Hitchens” mode on Ham and get to some serious nut-cutting. That was a fantasy of mine I knew would not occur, but I was really saddened that Nye didn’t even do a little “soft shoe” Sam Harris impersonation at some point.
Bill Nye: “That all sounds well and good Mr. Ham, but when I read the Bible, I clearly see the story of “Protons to Polygamy” and your disavowing those parts of God’s holy works that you find unsuitable goes directly against your claims made based on other scriptures literal accuracy and contemporary relevance.”
If Bill Nye had the quick wit and lust for metaphorical nut-cutting that I do, when Ham was busy refuting the literal facts about the Bible supporting polygamy, Bill should have come back with that line and I GUARANTEE you it would be the thing that made the highlight reel. Of course that overlooks the fact that I invented the phrase concurrent to the time of the debate itself, but great minds think alike and Bill Nye has a great mind.
In retrospect, and perhaps as part of Nye’s master plan, he modified Mohammed Ali’s Rope-a-Dope strategy and just let Ham wear himself out while Nye stood calmly covering his head tucked safely against the ropes. Instead of going for the kill like Mohammed Ali, he was happy to just stand there and witness the exhausted and frustrated puritanical pugilist nearly pass out from running himself in circles?
I dunno, but since the “debate” was taped, I expect the best of our secular public schools to use the footage, not as a religious exercise, but as an all-too-necessary exercise in deconstructing the rhetoric of creationist apologetics. FWIW, I had an extremely valuable class in critical thinking. It was in Lincoln, Nebraska when I was in 7th grade public school. Being armed with a proper list of logical fallacies is the secular armament most lacking in the rank and file militant atheism army I am trying to corral. If successful I promise not to let you all build a new religion around me since I’ve already started one on my WordPress blog.
Remember troops. Molecules to Man shall from henceforth on, be responded to with Protons to Polygamy, unless somebody can twist up an even shorter, more catchy “meme’ to undermine the creationist mindset. H/T to Dan Dennett, and I meme that most sincerely.
“The Thriller over the Gorillas” is about to start in a little while. It’s on at 7 p.m. eastern time and I’m going to be live tweeting the event for anybody who is interested in a little play-by-play off-color commentary. Follow me on Twitter @thetimchannel Look forward to seeing some of you there!
Post Debate Analysis and Highlights
I enjoyed all the interactions with my vast army of angry and mobility-impaired militant atheists during my live tweeting of the debate. Special thanks to all of you for favoriting and retweeting those missives which struck your fancy. Not every tweet of mine is Shakespeare worthy but since I’m aiming for the standards of Mad Magazine and not the hoi polloi of medieval England, I’ll be able to live with myself in the morning.
I was using my “broke screen” blue-collar iPad mini for most of the debate, which caused me a great deal of thumbnesia. I switched to my pristine iPad mini late in the event, only to realize that I’d grown so accustomed to the diddling I was engaged with on the shattered iPad screen that my fingers were rendered almost totally useless on the perfect one. It seems that all the tappy doo bullshit I had to engage in to keep a semi lucid and steady flow of live tweets pumping out of the compromised iPad had rendered my fingers nearly useless. I watched for and backspaced over, more repetitive touch screen errors than Ken Ham had instances of repeating his “Molecules to Man” line throughout the evening.
“Molecules to Man” is obviously a field-tested Creationism “sciencey soundbite” as well as a safe harbor to return to at times of confusion or panic and Ham was promiscuous in it’s application. Even when he wasn’t in obvious panic mode, I swear I could hear Ham, muttering “Molecules to Man” under his breath during the inhale portion of his respiration cycle. He had to figure out a way to keep squeezing it in somehow, and that was difficult to do on the exhale portion of his breathing cycle which was fully committed to the task of creating a perpetual stream of Creationist boilerplate claptrap. Ham seemed to offer words like ‘evidence” a special place in his litany. I’m pretty sure I remember him bringing it up in a list of words that had to be properly defined by Creationist standards.
By a special coincidence of Providence’s own design. the list of sciencey sounding words needing clarification by Ham’s own admission, shared in his worldview a common definition derived from the sole source of reliable
human knowledge in the universe, his Bible.
May be more added tomorrow. I gotta crash.