Now to start with, I’m a Christian, and I believe in honoring thy father and thy mother. I am not, however, a strict Biblical literalist or inerrantist by any means. I believe in (as DDG put it) the 15-billion-year-old universe, or whatever the figure is this week. And in biological evolution, like most people. As a Christian, of course I believe that God was involved in the process, and was interested in the result. I’m no scientist myself, but I tend to believe, when it comes to things like the age of the earth, and whether man walked with dinosaurs, that the real scientists know what they’re talking about far more than the “creation scientists”.
But my Dad is an Evangelical, if not an actual Fundamentalist; he believes the Bible is 100% word-for-word Inspired By God[sup]TM[/sup]. He also believes, unaccountably, that the creationists are winning the battle on scientific grounds. I think I posted a thread back when we were (politely) discussing Noah’s Ark, and the actualness of the story thereof, and he remarked “I thought scientists were pretty much agreed now that Noah’s Flood really happened [as described in the Bible].” How do you even respond to that?
So, he sent me a book this week, entitled “Why Do Men Believe Evolution Against All Odds?” An accompanying note from my Dad was not confrontational, was quite nice actually, and sent along the book “for what it’s worth”.
Which is, of course, exactly nothing. Written by Carl Baugh, “PhD”, it’s a large-print, helpful diagram-illustrated little piece of utter tripe, if I may say so within the bounds of parental respect. My Dad is funny; I don’t want to say “I can’t believe he sent me that” because sadly I can believe it. He’s just not very well-read, but he thinks he is, and he’s really nice about it, and it drives me apeshit sometimes anyway. He can’t spot bogus science like we Dopers can. Oh boy howdy, can he ever not.
A quick search on talkorigins.org revealed Baugh is pretty much a fraud; so much so that the “mainstream” creationists have distanced themselves from him. ( http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/paluxy/whatbau.html ) His academic degrees are very suspect; none – not one – of the institutions he claims is actually accredited (one is “approved” though). The PhD in Anthropology, for example, which gives him such authority to speak on dinosaurs and Cretaceous Layers and Man Tracks and such, is from an unaccredited division of the International Baptist College, of which he is president. The degree in archaeology is from a tiny Creationist school in Australia run by a close associate, according to the link above.
According to the Creation Science Foundation, of all people – this is supposed to be his corner –
He’s apparently into the Bible Code as well, and prominently promotes on his webpage a book that claims “September 11” is spelled out somewhere, in Hebrew, upside-down diagonally. If you squint. Or something.
After reading up on what even fellow Creationists had to say about Baugh, I flipped through the book itself; it started out with bad “proofs” that it’s gotta be creation yes yes yes, evolution no no no, or you’ll be miserable and have a pointless life because you’re not part of God’s Plan. It said it’s all or nothing; you’ve got to believe in the Book of Genesis version of Creation word-for-word, or believe you’re nothing but a monkey’s nephew and go to H-E-Double-Toothpicks. It said Darwin suffered from mental and physical illness as a direct result of belief in Evolution. It characterized Evolution as a faith. It listed a whole bunch of “faiths”, including Liberal Christianity and “Spiritism”, whatever that is, that fatally contradict the One, True Way, that is, “Orthodox Christianity” (the Eastern Orthodox members among us may be somewhat surprised at this :eek: ). Amazingly, although I was skimming fast, I don’t actually think it ever said “Evolution Is Just A Theory[sup]TM[/sup].” It did go heavily into Man Tracks and Fossilized Fingers, and a Petrified Pickaxe, which is supposed to prove something or other; Noah had to chop up firewood after the waters went down, I guess. This guy digs up a lot, and every single thing he digs up supports his Creationist beliefs, for some reason. As I said, all in all, a piece of crap.
So I snuck the book into the office – after having already destroyed the bookjacket and, God help me, the inscription page (“To Masonite, Oct. '02, Love, Dad”) – and ripped all the pages out of the binding, and fed them to the shredder.
So I’ve shredded books now. What’s next for me?