Exactly how stupid?

Virge's Law: Whenever you think nobody could be that stupid, think again.

In the Kansas Kangaroo Court on "evidence against evolution" (the Intelligent Design movement is staging a publicity event while the science community has refused to dignify the farce by attending) one of the witnesses called was Mustafa Akyol, an Islamic creationist from Turkey. BAV, the radical Islamist group that Akyol represents, denies not only evolution, but also the holocaust. They present evolution as a conspiracy of the Jewish and American imperialists to promote new world order and fascist motives. Creationists have already won the battle in Turkey. BAV harassed, threatened and slandered Turkish academics, leading to a situation where no scientist is prepared to speak against the creationist view.

Read more at The Panda's Thumb.

If you think it's stupid calling radical Islamist witnesses to support your case in a publicity event intended to woo the conservative American public, then look at the quality of the rest of the witnesses. Here's what happened in the "court" (from Panda's Thumb):

Then, out of the blue, under a withering cross-examination by Science Coalition attorney Pedro Irigonegaray the hearing room was electrified by Edward Peltzer's admission that he had not read the science standards draft written by the pro-evolution majority of curriculum committee. Peltzer, a Scripps Institution oceanographer and intelligent design witness was flown in from California to share his expert evaluation of the competing science standards drafts, and is currently enjoying the hospitality of Kansas taxpayers.

As the day wore on, each witness in turn was forced to fess up – to an increasingly scornful Irigonegaray — that they too hadn't bothered to read the majority draft before giving their testimony. This despite the fact that each had earlier testified – in response to questions from intelligent design attorney John Calvert – that the minority draft was superior to the pro-science majority draft.

The sad thing is that these "witnesses" will never see themselves as being dishonest for giving their testimonies without having read and understood the issues.


Seriously, what's notable about Turkey is their attempts to be modern given their location, burgeoning Islamist movement and the shallow roots of Ataturk modernism. That they're giving up means only that they've joined the rest in their sphere. We can only hope the gleaming possibility of the EU keeps modernism a force.

I don't know where you reside (Australia? Austria? not likely Afganistan) but Kansas is having a full out cultural war. Maybe it's residue from their pre-Civil War "bloody Kansas" fixation that everything must become war. Their Attorney General wants to sniff through abortion records to discover potential past criminal acts. Evolution has been coming up every few years - the movement first started to teach Creationism only, then to label evolution as a "theory" (whatever that means), etc. A mutating virus of stupidity.

A strain of intolerance runs deep in American protestantism. IMHO, it's mostly nativist and not spiritual. These morons come from the same strain that produced the Know Nothings in the 19th C (when asked what they stood for, they said . . . you guessed it). The intolerance is largely defensive. The old saying "Everything's up to date in Kansas City" - which of course refers to the KC in Missouri - is balanced by the backwardness of the social climate. The more change, the more refuge is necessary. The reasons don't make sense to an outsider, but they feel besieged - used to be by immigrants (those Irish and eastern Europeans with their dirty, ignorant ways) - and now by learning.

Then again, my youngest was taught about "punctuated evolution" today. What garbage. They're being told the idea is that things remain stable for a while then lots of change happens fast. That of course is what Darwin said, though he illustrated change with a diagram that looked like a steady, slow course. What Gould and (forget his name) said is that punctuated equilibrium dispensed with intermediate forms - a nice explanation of gaps in the fossil record but something which could only be proven if an exhaustive fossil record demonstrated the absence of intermediate forms. The more they backed off this silly idea, the more like Darwin it sounded and the more publicity it got as something bright and useful, which it certainly was not unless you believe in the pathetic straw man of evolution as a lock-step through time.

Sorry for the babbling.

An Aussie I am, living in pleasant and tolerant Melbourne. We have some fundamentalist groups here but, for the most part, they are ignored in the education system.

The political/religious/academic situation in the US depresses and amuses me in alternation. I doubt it would ever be a source of amusement if I had to live in it.

This post makes my brain hurt. Are you sure this isn't some kind of joke? It's becoming harder and harder to distinguish between reality and parody.

My thoughts exactly. I think I'm going to have to write something about the stupidity event horizon. Once within that horizon, even humour can't escape. It's held in by the intense crushing stupidity field. (Who knows? Maybe I'll discover a parallel between Hawking radiation and irony.)

I don't know if you can see this show or if there's a netflixx equivalent for the DVDs, but Penn & Teller have a show called Bullshit that takes on, well, bullshit like alien abductions, survivalists, etc. Penn had an appropriate line, that if God actually intends the end of the world as these nutjobs proclaim then it would be blasphemous to do anything about it. Same here. If God made the world down to the last detail, then the method by which God made it is evolution.