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The Creation Museum - It's Unbelievable! PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Roy Zimmerman   

zimmermanOften, when I visit a museum of natural history, I'm overwhelmed by the density of information presented in each room, in each diorama, on every plaque.  Not so much at the Creation Museum.  There, I was overwhelmed by the density expected of ME.

The Creation Museum is the creation (in more than seven days, I suspect) of a group called Answers in Genesis which espouses not only the literal interpretation of the Good Book, but a "Biblically-based world view."  AiG spent 27 million dollars on this massive facility in Petersburg, KY.  On opening day, a group of protesters staged a "Rally for Reason" at the CM presided over by Edwin Kagin, two-time Atheist of the Year, and my host for a recent house concert in northern Kentucky.  (And my my song "Creation Science 101 " was played in constant rotation in the van on the way to the rally by my buddy John Welte.)

"Prepare to Believe" read the slogan at the ticket counter.  Yes, I paid to get in, so you wouldn't have to.

Just inside the "Canyon Entrance" there's a video featuring two paleontologists gently brushing dirt from an embedded fossil.  "My friend Kym and I are both pale-ee-on-tol-o-gists," explains the one who's white.  "We look at the same fossil evidence, but we come away with entirely different conclusions.  This is because we begin at Different Starting Points." 

Kym, you see, relies on Human Reason and concludes that the remains are millions of years old.  But our friend proceeds from the unquestioning acceptance of God's Word as revealed in the Bible, and knows that this specimen must have died and been buried in sediment in the Great Flood 4,300 years ago, give or take a Tuesday.

Human Reason and God's Word.  Different Starting Points, see?  The first two large exhibit rooms are devoted to this gleeful embrace of ignorance, A/B-ing Human Reason (wrong) and God's Word (right) as they pertain to the natural world.

It was Saturday morning, and the place was crowded with families and bussloads of Baptists.  I heard a grandpa explaining to his son and grandson, "Evolutionists just assume that they're right, so everything they see fits "their theory."  "Right," said the son, for his son's benefit.

In chamber after chamber, the Young Earth Creationist saga unfolds life-size.  Eve is Cher with well-placed hair.  (Until the shame of the Fall forces her to cover herself in animal skins - then she's, well, Cher.)  Adam is a bearded Fabio.  The denizens of Eden cavort with dinosours - one Triceratops even wears a saddle.

Methuselah is a scary audio-animatron who makes you guess his age. (969.)  Noah looks something like Gene Hackman.  Moses looks nothing like Charleton Heston.

There are several rooms and passages devoted to the horrors of an un-Biblical world - projected images of heroin addicts, blister-covered babies, Nazis, graffiti - which make some little kids cower until their moms assure them that it's going to be okay, because God loves them.

I kept walking, walking, walking.  It's huge.  And all around me the people were lapping it up like cream.  "This is amazing," said one.  "It's unbelievable!" said another.

Going in, I was naive enough to think there'd be some case made for Creationism, or some attempt to rebut Evolution.  There's no such thing.  It's just a big, big presentation of a small idea.  It's like a lot of the Christian Music I've heard all across the country - schmaltzy, bombastic productions of boneheaded three-chord songs.  This museum is not at all aimed at doubters, empiricists, sinners and Liberals like me.  It's mind candy for the Faithful.

And yet, I look around at these people, and I'm not inclined to mock them.  I like these people.  They're funny, some of them.  They're trying to do something good.  And they are smart - yes, they are.

And I think about the tiny, simple world they've wedged between two leather covers, and I stop laughing altogether.  Because these are the people Karl Rove jerks around.  These are the people who vote against their own economic interests, against their own workplace safety, against the real security of the country they love, just so gay people can't get married.  These are people who accept things on faith - things like, "Barack Obama is a Muslim," and "Sarah Palin is a reformer" and that there's a "Pro-Abortion Movement" in America.

I suspect that my funny songs wouldn't change their way of thinking, but that doesn't make them my enemies.  My enemies are the powerful people who exploit the simple desire to have simple answers.

I left the Creation Museum happy for that clarity, and  proud to be doing these songs, attempting at least to ward off an America whose slogan reads, "Prepare to Believe," or worse, "Abandon intellect, all ye who enter here."

(Roy Zimmerman is a satirical and skeptical singer/songwriter. More information can be found at http://www.royzimmerman.com)

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written by cwniles, November 25, 2008
A triceratops with a saddle.....priceless.


By the way, 4th paragraph, it says my fiend Kym, pretty sure you mean friend
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written by sthomson, November 25, 2008
alexdepaul,
It's a fallacy to conclude that the author is "in the cult of the democratic party" based solely on the fact that he criticises Rove and Palin. Isn't that the ol' "if you're not with me you're against me" chestnut? Here it is in logical form:

A: Roy Zimmerman do not like Rove and Palin.
B: Some members of the Democratic party do not like Rove and Palin.
C: Roy Zimmerman is a member of the Democratic Party.

A and B are not sufficient to prove C.

(I haven't even touched the implication that being a Democrat precludes being a critical thinker, or that disliking the politics of Rove and Palin precludes being a critical thinker!)
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written by Radwaste, November 25, 2008
Nice to know that Karl Rove is the only person ever to manipulate politics in a way that will offend us.
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written by hughie522, November 25, 2008
I'm amazed the commenters here can be just as biased as the people they often mock.

"He's a homosexual, hence his opinion is irrelevant." and "He's an elitist, hence his opinion is irrelevant." spring to mind.

The guy can vote for the "American Baby Eating Party" for all I care, he makes some good points and we shouldn't dismiss the WHOLE ARTICLE based on his assumed political beliefs.
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written by NoDeity, November 25, 2008
"We look at the same fossil evidence, but we come away with entirely different conclusions. This is because we begin at Different Starting Points."

That's an important point. Creationists start with the assumption that their "holy" book is completely true. Real scientists -- honest scientists -- follow the evidence where ever it leads, even if that contradicts their presumptions.
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written by JeffWagg, November 25, 2008
It sure seems you guys find politics in just about everything. Do you really think the JREF is toeing the Democratic party line? Seriously? I invite you to read what Roy said again, and I hope you'll find not politics, but insight. Agreeing with that insight is completely up to you.

(For the record, I am not a Democrat.)
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The usual gang
written by tctheunbeliever, November 25, 2008
The Comments section seems to be turning into a soapbox for those few people who want to show how reactionary and/or offensive and/pretentious they can be. I really expected a higher level of discourse, but now I'm irresistibly reminded of Mad Magazine and the famous phrase it always included at the end of its writing credits.
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written by Bruno, November 25, 2008
I'm a regular visitor of a variety of science web sites, all of which occasionally point out the lack of critical thinking in policies advocated by certain individuals or organisations. I can't help noticing that since a few weeks the reply sections are getting stuffed with replies following the pattern of "this used to be a great website about science, it's degrading into a political forum". The constancy of the format of such replies bugs me.
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written by Marcus, November 25, 2008
I didn't even notice anything being "partisan" - it's a plain fact that the bulk of the people in the Creation museum are the ones who have fallen for Republican lies, as opposed to the people who have fallen for Democrat lies.

I'm constantly surprised at how broken the American system of "democracy" really is - an institutionalised duopoly where everyone has a choice between two parties, one on the Far Right, the other on the Further Right. Seriously, Obama's policies are too right wing to make him electable anywhere in Europe, but most Americans just don't realise how out of whack with the rest of the world their politics are. You guys need to have a better way to allow more people to seriously compete for political power - as things stand, many people aren't voting for someone, they're voting against someone else.
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written by NoDeity, November 25, 2008
"It sure seems you guys find politics in just about everything."

Jeff, what is wrong with you that you can't see that certain comments in this article are clearly political? Effing ridiculous.
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written by Trez, November 26, 2008
I'm pretty sure that if Barack Obama had declared himself a Creationist (Democrat or not) and Sarah Palin hadn't, then it would be his name up there instead.

We now have our very own Creationist museum here in the UK. Called the Genesis Expo in Portsmouth. Tiny little place that takes about half an hour to go round apparently

Just been looking at the Financial Report and Accounts for the UK "branch" of Answers in Genesis its pretty clear that there's comparatively not that much support for Creationism over here. You can have a look at the Charity Commission web-site if you'd like, as its a public document.
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Hmmm...
written by Michieux, November 26, 2008
I'm not a Democrat. However, I am an Australian, and judging from many of the comments to this article, I figure America has almost as many whack-jobs and wing-nuts as Australia. How could "One Nation Under God" be any different?
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written by RvLeshrac, November 26, 2008
NoDeity:

So you're saying that Obama IS a muslim, Palin IS a reformer, and Rove DOESN'T jerk constituents around?

It isn't 'political' if it is true. You might as well say "Nixon committed a felony" or "Clinton lied under oath" are political statements - they aren't political until you say "My political party is better because X did Y."
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The Partisan Creation Musuem
written by Willy K, November 26, 2008
I'd like to congratulate Mr. Zimmerman for surviving the ordeal of Creation!

In one paragraph he portrays the believers as sympathetic. I watched a sympathetic documentary about Typhoid Mary, yes she was a real person who's name was Mary Mallon. She infected forty seven people with typhoid and three of them died as a result. The Health Department of New York City eventually had to permanently quarantine her. She never accepted that she was causing people deadly harm. I would say she certainly was ignorant and she also demonstrated a lack of intelligence even after she was presented with overwhelming evidence that she was a real threat to the wellbeing of people.

Mr. Zimmerman writes:
“And yet, I look around at these people, and I'm not inclined to mock them. I like these people. They're funny, some of them. They're trying to do something good. And they are smart - yes, they are.”

Liking them and not wanting to mock them is an admirable thing to do. I strongly disagree about them being “smart.” They might know how to survive in todays technological society but how could they be considered smart when they so easily reject overwhelming evidence about the nature of life? Who would call someone “smart” if they insisted that Santa Claus was absolutely real? Are they really so egotistical to think their own personal ”opinion” is more accurate than the millions of curious people who use scientific methodology to try and discover how the universe actually works? Ego, ignorance and stupidity is all that the “believers” demonstrate!

There are many “believers” who actually contribute positively to Humankind and I would never advocate anything like quarantining them. Having things like the Creation Museum might actually help people who are”smart” enough, but temporarily ignorant of the facts, to learn about how nature actually works after they see how the Creationists distort/ lie about the way the world works. At least I hope so. :-)

As for the folks who read this forum and rant about “partisan politics” I simply say this.
Karl Rove does NOT represent everyone who considers themselves part of the Republican Party. Criticizing his tactics simply is NOT a blanket condemnation of the Republican Party OR an uncritical endorsement of the Democratic Party. Would criticizing the actions of Fascists such as Adolph Hitler make one a rabid supporter of Joseph Stalin and the Communist Party? Isn't it possible for someone to criticize a politicians actions without being a partisan member of the opposing party? I judge a politician by listening to what they say and what they do. Their party affiliation is a very minor factor.

If someone does something that many people consider bad for Humanity, why should they be given a free pass if they happen to be a member of ones preferred political party? ;-)

Willy K smilies/wink.gif
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written by patrick767, November 26, 2008
With regards to Roy's "partisan" comments, I'm sure most of the evangelicals going to the Creation Museum are Republican supporters. There's plenty of polling data to support the fact that evangelicals vote overwhelmingly Republican. They do tend to vote against their own economic self-interest (tax cuts for the wealthy don't help most of them) largely because of moral issues concerning abortion, gays, etc.

Yes, Roy is injecting some of his political views into his article. But it's hard to deny the anti-intellectual pandering Republican campaigns in recent years have employed and it's worth talking about it. I'm not a Republican, but I'd love to see them abandon these tactics. I'd have a lot more respect for the party and I want to see the overall level of political discourse in this country raised from the dismal depths to which it has fallen.
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To Alexdepaul:
written by Christine, November 26, 2008
Your comments to "anyone who thinks their a critical thinker..." and not having the credentials for this site was interesting. Whenever I see someone who does not use proper grammar, I tend to dismiss most of what they have to say since they missed an important part of their education.
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Look, the point is...
written by Skeptic, November 27, 2008
...that, lately, many JREF articles have been overtly political.

This may have to do with the revent elections and/or the fact that others apart from James Randi are now in charge of JREF's day-to-day operations, but the result is that JREF is getting itself involved in partisan politics.

It is the involvement in partisan politics in itself, and not whether JREF's political opinions are "correct" or "wrong", that bothers me and, I think, many others. JREF should, and must, stay apolitical and above the fray.

In any case, if it *does* involve itself in politics, then it must do it soberly and objectively (printing an article comparing both party's platforms regarding scientific education, say, might be acceptable) -- but not using cheap shots of the "these people like Sarah Palin, heh heh" sort.

The JREF's authors pleasure in making snarky political comments is hardly worth the alienation of potential supporters, and the making of JREF into a political web site, instead of the broad-based, educational web site (and foundation) it should be.

Quite apart from all that, JREF also, I believe, risks losing its tax-exempt status if it engages overtly in politics, although, not being a lawyer, I have no idea what the exact rules are on this issue.
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On assertions and starting points...
written by HiEv, November 27, 2008
And where is your argument, Mr. Random? Mr. Zimmerman's evolution arguments are backed by mounds of scientific evidence, and his arguments about The Creation Museum are based on his observations and the logic he shared with us. What argument(s) did he fail to supply? You didn't say, you merely asserted, thus failing to justify your claim that he failed to justify his claims.

Anyways, the "we begin at Different Starting Points" argument is a total lie. Creationists don't "begin" anywhere because they've already decided upon a conclusion even before seeing the evidence. They have an ending point, not a starting point. All evidence will either be ignored, misunderstood, changed, or distorted so it fits within their prior dogmatic conclusions. There is nowhere to go when no evidence will change your conclusions; you're already there.

Good scientists, on the other hand, allow the evidence to lead them to a conclusion. If the evidence seems to contradict a previously favored hypothesis then they check to see if it's the examination of the evidence or the hypothesis that has the problem. The concept of evolution has been subject to many new changes, advances, corrections, and discoveries over the years. For example the discovery of DNA, a better understanding of genetic diseases, improvement of plant and animal breeding programs, and many other useful advances were all predicted or advanced by the theory of evolution. Also, our understanding of our genetic heritage has gone through many changes and revolutions as well as new fossil and genetic evidence has been discovered.

This is because science has an error correcting mechanism, and that is its strength. The science gets better as new evidence comes in and new hypotheses are tested and improved. Creationism, on the other hand, only has blind faith, and that is its weakness. Creationism has no valid arguments for those who do not already accept on faith its core tenets, and that is a strong sign that it is not the truth. Worse yet, it blatantly ignores the more probable conclusions in favor of improbable ones that fit its dogmatic center, and that is an even stronger sign that it is wrong.

Faith alone is an end, a dead end, and not a beginning when it comes to discovery. No scientific progress has ever been founded upon blind faith alone, and this is why, unlike evolution, nothing useful comes from the study of creationism, other than a better understanding of the psychology of those who would prefer the improbable when it fits their preconceived notions and reject the probable when it contradicts their favored beliefs.

Sorry for the length, but I've been dealing with creation(ism/ists) for over 20 years and the ultimate vapidness of some of their initially reasonable sounding arguments still bugs me.
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Implied
written by drowven, November 27, 2008

My problem with this article on this website is that it implies certain things about some people. It doesn't state them and for some reason therefore that is okay. On the other hand saying for example, "Blue is the best color for men" can imply that if you are women and you like blue you are wrong or if you are a man a like green you are wrong. The implication is there and whether you interpret as the author suggested or as a man who like green and you feel wrong and alienated depends on your view point.

In the above article Zimmerman states, "This museum is not at all aimed at doubters, empiricists, sinners and Liberals like me. It's mind candy for the Faithful." This implies to me that doubters, empiricists, sinners, and Liberals are all one group. Therefore at least to me and I believe to some this suggests that if you are not a Liberal you are on the of the Faithful and therefore are addicted to creationism mind candy. In the article after this Zimmerman begins a paragraph with, "And I think about the tiny" and concludes with ""Pro-Abortion Movement" in America." This paragraph to me implies that Karl Rove jerks me around, I voted against my own economic interest, against workplace safety, and against real security to guarantee heterosexual marriage. To conclude that paragraph he lumps people who believe Obama was a Muslim with people who think Palin is a reformer. This implies that one is not true without the other.

I learned in the tenth grade that implying in your writing was an indication you were a poor writer. In most of my college courses what your paper implied could dramatically effect your grade. So implication is something that an author should avoid. If you are from another country this article probably wouldn't imply much to you and if you are a Liberal it probable implication would have made you feel good.

Ron Zimmerman has many of the same characteristics as the father of a mule. This statement will imply certain things to different people. If I said instead Ron Zimmerman has the courage to face a large group of people like burro that travels the treacherous paths next to the Grand Canyon, which would he find more favorable.
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written by NoDeity, November 27, 2008
I agree with drowven's points about implications. Such implications are acceptable and perhaps even standard in something like a stand up comedy routine. However, as is surely apparent by now, many readers of this blog expect a higher standard here.
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"Biblically-based world view" ???
written by Abdul Alhazred, November 28, 2008
There is no "Biblically-based world view". Different parts of the Bible were written by different people with different world views. No need to dig deep here: compare the 23rd Psalm with the book of Job.
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written by BillyJoe, November 28, 2008
And I think about the tiny, simple world they've wedged between two leather covers, and I stop laughing altogether. Because these are the people Karl Rove jerks around. These are the people who vote against their own economic interests, against their own workplace safety, against the real security of the country they love, just so gay people can't get married. These are people who accept things on faith - things like, "Barack Obama is a Muslim," and "Sarah Palin is a reformer" and that there's a "Pro-Abortion Movement" in America.

Okay, the article would have been better without this paragraph. However, surely everyone's clever enough to separate the wheat from the chaff. Why does everyone have to get on their high horse and blow the minor misdemeanor into a major crime.
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written by NoDeity, November 28, 2008
"Why does everyone have to get on their high horse and blow the minor misdemeanor into a major crime."

Consider it evidence of the high esteem in which this place is held and, consequently, the high expectations regarding what people expect to see here.
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written by BillyJoe, November 28, 2008
Yeah but, a bit of perpective please
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written by Diverted Chrome, November 29, 2008
"These are people who accept things on faith - things like, "Barack Obama is a Muslim," and "Sarah Palin is a reformer" and that there's a "Pro-Abortion Movement" in America."

They're also the people that think that all gay people regularly attend a convention where they decide on their child-influencing agenda, that God disdains 191 countries preferring just one, that God saves people from tornado wreckages rather than simply stopping the tornado, and that there's a worldwide Jewish conspiracy (re: the last, you can't really steal and warp the words of the Torah like this museum does without being effectively anti-semitic.)

@Abdul Alhazred
"There is no "Biblically-based world view".
There is at the Creation Museum. They don't see the artifacts the way you do.
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written by razmatazspaz, November 29, 2008
This article, written by Roy Zimmerman, was originally published in his newsletter. Roy is a political satirist and people who receive his newsletter expect political satire. He was very subdued in this sense and not overtly political. I'm not sure who's idea it was to reprint it here. Roy may have written differently for this site if that was the original intention of the article. The mentions of Rove, et al, were intended to make a point about the small-minded-ness of the people who can only believe the dogma propagated by the creation "museum". Please consider the source and have some perspective. I'm glad the article was included here and I hope Roy sells some CD's containing political satire as a result. It is his job.

Go to Roy's website. Listen to his songs. Enjoy!
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written by BillyJoe, November 29, 2008
razmatazspaz,

Thanks for the background.

This article, written by Roy Zimmerman, was originally published in his newsletter.

Actually, I think it is dishonest to reprint an article and not acknowledge that it is a reprint. That could have been an oversight though.
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written by drowven, November 29, 2008
If this is a reprint of a political satirist then it doesn't belong on this site. This site is stated to be a tax-exempt entity and therefore involving articles of political nature either negates its tax-exempt status or the site is now privately funded. Either way this article should not have been brought here in the first place or re-written as an apolitical review of the creation museum.

In comparison to an recent article by James Randi only the facts were stated and Randi's ideas about why this is wrong, usually in a very tongue and cheek manner, were expressed.
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written by BillyJoe, November 29, 2008
Frankly, I'm sick of people delaring what should and should not be on this site.
What should not be here is a pack of whingers. Goddamn.
Except for one paragraph towards the end, the article fits in nicely here.
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You are quite mistaken, drowven
written by PieterB, November 29, 2008
If this is a reprint of a political satirist then it doesn't belong on this site. This site is stated to be a tax-exempt entity and therefore involving articles of political nature either negates its tax-exempt status or the site is now privately funded. Either way this article should not have been brought here in the first place or re-written as an apolitical review of the creation museum.


Let me rephrase that. You don't know what you're talking about. 501(c)(3) entities are prohibited from supporting political candidates. They are not required to be 100% apolitical. Many 501(c)(3)s make their views known on various issues, and as long as political advocacy is not the primary activity of the organization, it's perfectly within IRS rules. http://www.asaecenter.org/Publ...mber=12202
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No Mr. Zimmerman, these People are NOT Funny
written by Alencon, November 29, 2008
Before I get to the folks that love the Creation Museum, let’s understand a few political realities. Karl Rove is a very talented political strategist. It’s his job to manipulate the electorate as much as possible to his side of the issue. If you want to describe what he does to the electorate as “jerks around,” I would consider that a criticism of the political process in general and not Karl Rove or the Republicans in particular. Democratic strategists try to do the same thing to minority voters.

As for Sarah Palin being a reformer, the evidence seems to indicate that’s not the case despite loud pronouncements by the GOP that she is. If you have evidence that shows she is a reformer, I’d be happy to hear about it. Again I would consider this a criticism of the political process. Both parties expect their faithful to accept their pronouncements with little or no evidence to back them up. The Republicans appear to have been a tad more extreme about it in the last election however.

Now for the Creation Museum and those that lap up the nonsense it peddles, you will excuse me Mr. Zimmerman but these people are not funny. They’re dangerous. As a matter of fact they are VERY dangerous. Given the political power they would not hesitate to warp even our most fundamental political freedoms into something totally oppressive. They believe Christianity should occupy a special place in American society and non-Christians, if they don’t chose to participate in Christian ceremonies and prayer, can just stand silently by and accept their place as second class citizens.

We really need to stop thinking these people are harmless because they’re not. You’ve had a fundamentalist Christian president for the last eight years and look at his record. The lying, the torture, the placing of unqualified fundamentalist Christians throughout the government, and especially in the Justice Department, and the illegal wiretaps we know about. What are we going to find out about once he leaves office that we don’t know about?

No, these people are not funny. If there is a basic "truism" that fundamentalists of all stripes hold dear, it is because they possess the "truth," whatever they do to guarantee the dominance of that "truth" is justified. In other words, the end justifies the means.

No, these people are not funny.
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written by BillyJoe, November 29, 2008
Alcenon,

Here is what you said about Karl Rove:
Karl Rove is a very talented political strategist. It’s his job to manipulate the electorate as much as possible to his side of the issue.

And here is what Zimmerman said about Karl Rove
Because these are the people Karl Rove jerks around. These are the people who vote against their own economic interests, against their own workplace safety, against the real security of the country they love, just so gay people can't get married.

You heap praise on Karl Rove for "manipulating" the public.
Zimmerman castigates Karl Rove for "jerking" them around.
Hey, excuse me, but I'm with Zimmerman

Here is what you said about Palin:
As for Sarah Palin being a reformer, the evidence seems to indicate that’s not the case despite loud pronouncements by the GOP that she is.

Here is what Zimmerman said about Palin:
These are people who accept things on faith - things like ... "Sarah Palin is a reformer"

How are you saying anything different from Zimmerman???

Here is what you said about the Creation believers
No, these people are not funny.

Here is what Zimmerman said about the Creation believers
And I think about the tiny, simple world they've wedged between two leather covers, and I stop laughing altogether.

You don't laugh as you attack the believers.
Zimmerman stops laughing and attacks their ideas.
Excuse me if I side with Zimmerman.

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That's not quite what I meant (my bad)
written by Alencon, November 30, 2008
A clarification BillyJoe. I was addressing my Karl Rove and Sarah Palin comments to the comment list at large and not Zimmerman's article. I should have made that clear. Serves me right for addressing two topics in one post.

A second clarification, I was not heaping praise upon Karl Rove, simply acknowledging the political reality and observing that Zimmerman probably wasn't attacking Rove in particular but the political process in general.

As for Zimmerman's "stop laughing" comment, it strikes me as a prelude to explaining that he feels some sympathy for these folks because they have limited their horizens and therefore are vulnerable to manipulation. I may be wrong, but I don't think this was meant to cancel out his earlier comment that these people are funny.

I interpret Zimmerman as saying both that he considers them funny due to their silly ideas and sympathetic because of the artificial boundaries and vulnerability that they have brought upon themselves. Like Zimmerman I sympathize with their situation, but I still don't think they're funny.

Now, you will excuse me, but they are entitled to their ideas. I may disagree with them but I will defend their right to have those ideas as silly as I think they may be. What I am criticizing are the political actions that have been derived from those ideas and the political agenda established by the Fundamentalist Religious Right. I concede the possibility, nay, the probability, that it is a relatively small minority that has established this agenda and that they are manipulating the majority for their own benefit. So in this respect I agree with Zimmerman and didn’t mean to imply that I didn't.

If they held those ideas privately, they would be funny. It's the political agenda that makes them dangerous. The fact that this agenda is being pushed by a few, and that few are manipulating the others, doesn't make the agenda any less dangerous.
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written by BillyJoe, December 01, 2008
Alencon,

Thanks for the clarification. smilies/smiley.gif
I do't think I have much to disagree with on this take.
I must admit I was a bit negative about Zimmerman finding them funny, until he said that he had stopped laughing.

BillyJoe
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written by Cuddy Joe, December 01, 2008
The problem with injecting irrelevant politcal crap into skeptical articles is completely evident in the above series of comments. Few address the article. Most address politics. The audience, at least those who comment, is always diverted when irrelvant political comment is injected.

The same thing happened over at the new Skeptiblog site when Michael Shermer's first couple 'skeptical' articles were entirely political in nature, commenting on economics, specifically Shermer essentially informing us his libertarian ideas were the correct ones. Perhaps they are - I'm no economist - but then, neither is Shermer.

I don't care what Shermer's political beliefs are, nor do I care who Randi's favorite rock 'n roll band is (actually, it sorta would be interesting to know if he had a favorite), nor do I give a rat's patootie about the opinions of any Swift writer who is writing off topic in an area where he or she holds zero expertise.

Unfortunately, that is what we are seeing more and more of.

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written by BillyJoe, December 01, 2008
For the life of me I cannot see why politics should be hands off?

Why should the topic of "gay marriage" and statements like "Barack Obama is a Muslim," and "Sarah Palin is a reformer" and the opinion that there's a "Pro-Abortion Movement" in America be off limits for sceptical treatment???

They were a diversion in the above article, I agree, but there is no reason they should be hands off for sceptics.
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written by Cuddy Joe, December 02, 2008
Your inability to grasp a concept is not proof it has no value or verity, nor must things you cannot see be therefore invisible.
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They may smile, but they're not nice people
written by Trish, December 02, 2008
I'm sorry, Roy, but if you think that people who refuse to engage their brains are not the enemy, but only pawns of Karl Rove, then you are remarkably naive. Just because they can be pleasant in social situations doesn't mean they would hesitate to support indefinite detention of anyone labeled un-american, strip public school of funds to fuel religious schools with vouchers and believe that fear of homelessness, hunger and untreated sickness are the only motivation for human productivity.

They're not blindly voting against their own interests - they are willing to forego safety nets for themselves to make sure that "unworthy" people can't get away with having a warm home & food, & good health. Like our puritan forebears, 21st C Americans believe worldly comforts & good health are both rewards & signs of who is favored by god. I remember working on a petition to create the Oregon Health Plan. Over & over, I was asked if people on welfare would be able to use this insurance. When I said yes, since it would be open to all Oregon citizens, people would refuse to sign the petition, preferring to be unable to get the insurance themselves if "welfare people" could get it, too. Ignorance can be cured, but heartlessness, not so much.
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written by BillyJoe, December 02, 2008
Cuddy Joe,

I see you have demolished the view that we should have a sceptical attitude towards statements such as "Barack Obama is a Muslim", "Sarah Palin is a reformer". Add to that "The Iraq War was justified", "Gay marriage should be illegal".

Trish,

The real enemy is the ideology that drives these agendas. Attack the ideology, not the persons supporting it. They are people just like you and me.
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written by Arts Myth, December 02, 2008
I would just like to say that there are far more inferences in the comments than there are implications in the actual article.
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written by Trish, December 02, 2008
Billy Joe, Of course I oppose the ideology that drives these agendas. But I can't quite get behind a "hate the sin love the sinner" formulation. It isn't ideologies that vote down national health or minimal standards of physical support for citizens while corporations and billionaires lap up resources that were deposited in the ground ages ago, it is individuals who smile & make jokes & enjoy their kids. I think we need to call them on it when they support cruel policies, and stop letting them think that they can stomp on our rights & needs, and we'll still be their friends.
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written by sfdyoung, December 02, 2008
To move away from political arguments -

This is the first I've heard that the Bible is against graffiti. Did everyone else know that?

If creation science is a science, does that mean they've tested (for example) the Navajo and Australian aborigine creation stories against the Judeo-Christian one? Just wondering...
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written by NoDeity, December 02, 2008
Good question, sfdyoung. The answer is that, no, they don't test -- they believe.
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written by BillyJoe, December 02, 2008
Trish,

You have a point. My signature on the forum is "A secular society is one in which no one loses any liberty as a consequence of someone else's religious belief". However, I think the focus should be on the ideology not the person. Apart from anything else, it is much more effective.

BillyJoe
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written by Trish, December 04, 2008
Billy Joe, I just want to be clear that what I am advocating is wariness, not hostility. I think it's important to not assume that social tranquility will sway those who support regressive policies & irrationality, and important to call them on it when they're irrational, even if social tranquility suffers a bit in the short run.

I think one of the ways things got so wrong under our soon-to-be-previous president is that a lot of people didn't want to address the very serious irrationality with which many Americans viewed serious issues in the hope that being respectful of those suffering fearfulness would result in similar respect being returned.
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written by BillyJoe, December 04, 2008
Trish,

I don't think you will sway many people who hold irrational beliefs because they are emotionally, not rationally, committed to them. However there are many fence sitters, or those only half-heartedly committed, who can be swayed and a calm approach is more likely to be successful for these people.

BJ
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written by Diverted Chrome, December 05, 2008
@Alencon
Though I'm in agreement with your major points, you should know that, while we know that Sarah Palin has been a fundamentalist, there's no evidence that Bush practices fundamentalism, in fact he's Methodist. (Perhaps you should refer to the differences between Evangelical, Fundamental, Pentecostal, Born-again, Baptismal, etc.?)
Rove has done things we have never seen from a Democratic strategist (whose chief example is James Carville, a xtian). The Democratic party has never whipped a Rovian fear frenzy on the xtian electorate. (But you never know when we see a complete realignment like the one from 1968-1972).
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written by Trish, December 05, 2008
Diverted Chrome, I'm pretty sure George W. Bush identifies himself as born again.

Many different strains of Christianity have born-again and/or evangelical subsets - for example, the Catholic Church has "Charismatic Catholics" who are basically the Catholic version of Pentacostal Christianity, and can even include speaking in tongues.

Billy Joe, I remain wary.

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written by BillyJoe, December 05, 2008
Trish,

Good, so do I.
I think we are in general agreement.
I also enjoy lambasting irrationality, but I don't kid myself I'm winning any converts, it's just plain good fun sometimes - and often irresistable!

smilies/smiley.gif

BJ
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written by Trish, December 05, 2008
Billy Joe, I have to admit that it's the most [guilty] fun when they don't even realize they're being lambasted...
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written by BillyJoe, December 05, 2008
....yeah, Poe's Law and, even funnier, Poe's Paradox! smilies/grin.gif
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