Molotov Mitchell: When Ignorance and Arrogance Meet


Molotov Mitchell is the president of something called Illuminati Pictures and he creates videos of himself ranting for the Worldnetdaily. Both he and WND clearly believe that he’s incredibly smart and clever, not to mention hip (he claims to specialize in reaching the “under 40 demographic”). In reality, he’s a textbook case of virulent ignorance combined with the kind of arrogance that can only come from having total confidence in one’s ignorance. His latest video is a perfect example.

The premise of the video is one of those fake conversations between a Christian and a strawman atheist that evangelicals are drawn to like Donald Trump to a TV camera. It’s like catnip for morons. And when I say he’s created a strawman, I mean he’s used enough straw to feed half the horses in the world for a year. He starts by showing that he has no idea what an atheist or an agnostic is:

He was telling me that he’s an atheist and I told him you can’t be an atheist. You can’t be an atheist because you’re a smart guy. An atheist is someone who says that the existence of God is impossible — not unlikely but impossible…And I said Mike, this is crazy. I mean look, we haven’t explored our entire planet, I mean we haven’t explored even 10% of our oceans, God could be at the bottom of the ocean, right?…I mean, maybe God is hiding in my pocket. And he says no, God is not in your pocket. And I said how do you know what’s in my pocket, Mike? You don’t know. You are woefully ignorant concerning the contents of my pocket. Mike concedes, okay, maybe God exists, but it’s extremely unlikely. And I’m all like, ‘Ladies and gentlemen, we have just witnessed a transformation, Mike has just gone from an atheist to an agnostic before our very eyes…There is a huge, massive difference between an agnostic and an atheist. By definition, an atheist is someone who denies that God can exist. An agnostic, on the other hand, acknowledges the possibility that God could exist. They’re humble enough to know that they don’t everything, that there may be something out there that they can learn about life, God, the universe and everything. But atheists are infamously arrogant about this, insisting that it is impossible that God could exist when we all know that it is entirely possible…Maybe God rules a planet that is light years beyond our solar system, or maybe, like I believe, God exists in an alternate dimension. But atheists have the same level of creativity as the average suicide bomber, they’re completely closed off, completely blind in their faith.

All nonsense that has been refuted a million times before. The overwhelming majority of atheists do not claim that the existence of a god or gods is impossible, only that there is no compelling evidence for their existence. Even Richard Dawkins, the arch-atheist himself, admits that there’s some tiny little chance that a god exists. He invents this strawman because it’s so much easier to argue against than actual atheism. And then he presents a ridiculous caricature of evolution and the scientific method.

The debate continued and naturally, Mike and I moved toward evolution. Darwinian evolution is a theory. No one insists that it’s a law, people act like it’s a fact but we all know it’s not a scientific law, it’s a theory. And the problem that I have with it, the biggest contention, is that we cannot apply the scientific method to it, we cannot test the theory. Ray Comfort has a great question that he asks people on this topic and I decided to pose it to Mike. I asked him if he, or anyone else for that matter, has ever witnessed a KIND of animal turn into another KIND, i.e. a cat turn into a monkey…

Scientists expect us to apply the scientific method to any and every theory, but with this one instance, Darwinian evolution, they say let’s make an exception, this one time we will set aside the scientific method and just believe it blindly. We’re expected to believe this theory because people with PhDs and MDs in front of their names are telling us to trust them, but I’m not convinced…

My point is that the scientific leaders of today have convinced people to set aside the scientific method so they can create not science, but a cult masquerading as science. They’re basing everything on faith…Macroevolution is all about belief, it’s all about faith. We’re told to believe it because these leaders of science tell us so, but nobody has witnessed it happening, no one can test it happening.

This is exactly what I talked about in my speech on C-SPAN in 2007: virulent ignorance. The problem isn’t just that Mitchell is ignorant on the subject, which he clearly is. The problem is that he believes a whole bushel full of false claims and nonsense that gives him the illusion that he understands the subject. Combined with the overwhelming confidence with which he repeats those false claims and misunderstandings, the effect is utterly laughable. Where does one even start?

First of all, he has no idea what the terms “fact,” “theory,” and “law” mean in a scientific context. He thinks “theory” means something that hasn’t been proven, that is speculative and essentially a blind guess. That is, of course, quite wrong. There isn’t a ladder that goes from theory at the bottom to fact in the middle to law at the top in some linear progression of certainty. A theory does not magically become something else when it is confirmed, it will always remain a theory.

The scientific method in his head is so overly simplified as to be cartoonish. His position is apparently that if you didn’t actually witness something happen, you can’t test it or use the scientific method on it, but that is simply inane. We convict people of heinous crimes every single day by applying the scientific method to events with no witnesses. Geologists, archaeologists, anthropologists and scientists in many other fields apply the scientific method every single day to events with no witnesses.

Historical theories are quite scientific and quite testable. Theories make predictions about the nature of the evidence; if the theory is true, data set X must be there. If we see data set X, we know we’re on the right track. When a theory makes thousands and thousands of predictions and those predictions are shown to be accurate over and over again over a long period of time, the theory is confirmed. Closely related to this, a theory is tested by its explanatory power, its ability to account for our observation and the evidence.

The theory of common descent — it’s actually a bundle of theories that are integrated into a general model of the natural history of life on earth — makes a huge number of predictions and explains a huge range of data in multiple fields of science. If common descent is true, the evidence from paleontology, anthropology, molecular biology and several other fields simply must like they do; if the data looked any other way, the theory would be falsified.

If the fossil record did not show a gradual change from simple to complex forms, common descent would be falsified. If the first birds to appear in the fossil record did not look like feathered dinosaurs and then become gradually less dinosaur-like and more like modern birds, the theory that birds evolved from dinosaurs would be unsupportable. But that is exactly what the fossil record shows. If the first amphibians to appear in the fossil record did not look like fish that lived in shallow water with a primitive ability to get around on dry land and then show that group getting more diversified and less fish-like over time, the theory that amphibians evolved from shallow water fish would be falsified. But that is exactly what the fossil record shows. Lather, rinse, repeat with every major animal group in the history of the world.

Mitchell doesn’t know this because Mitchell is an ignoramus. But he thinks he understands it because he has this cartoonish strawman version of evolution and the scientific method in his head and that’s far easier to attack than actual science. And he delivers his pronouncements with such confidence that it can seem quite credible to those who are equally as ignorant and committed to the idea that evolution must be false and therefore it is.

Comments

  1. Doug Little says

    I asked him if he, or anyone else for that matter, has ever witnessed a KIND of animal turn into another KIND

    Well you would have to have Obama’s time machine to do that. You could trace any animal today back along the evolutionary tree until you came to the common ancestor and then follow it back up the tree to the present day.
    Simple really.

  2. says

    Dunning-Kruger Effect incarnate. They don’t know enough to know that they don’t know anything.

    (We’re expected to believe this theory because people with PhDs and MDs in front of their names are telling us to trust them, but I’m not convinced…) For fuck’s sake, PhD and MD come after the name.

  3. raven says

    1. The US with 4.8% of the world’s population spends 1/3 of its R&D.

    2. The 20th century was a time of huge economic growth in the USA. At least half of that was due to advances in science, a fact well known to most thinkers and policy makers.

    3. The USA government spends 180 billion on R&D. Roughly half of that is by the military. When they go into battle with their lives on the line, they don’t want prayer warriors. They want Hi-Tech superior weapons that work.

    Science created our modern civilization and is the basis for US leadership. All the fundie death cult xians did was get in the way and hold our society back.

  4. Anthony K says

    I asked him if he, or anyone else for that matter, has ever witnessed a KIND of animal turn into another KIND

    Sure: my parents, through evolution, gave birth to children. Parents + evolution = children. Different kinds.

    Q.E.fucking D.

  5. Randomfactor says

    Parents + evolution = children. Different kinds.

    Yup. My mother had nothing but sons.
    I had nothing but daughters.
    Different kinds.

  6. TGAP Dad says

    BTW, you can’t feed horses – or anything else for that matter – straw. It’s non-nutritive, which is why it makes such excellent bedding and insulation, because nothing eats it.

  7. maudell says

    I just have a little quibble with your example on historical theory… In social science settings, theory has a slightly different use. For example, historical materialism (Marxist theory of history) and idealism (Hegelian theory of history) yield different interpretations, and are not used in the same way the theory of gravity is. It’s a bit more of a framework to establish which events can be deemed relevant and have explanatory power.

    End of quibble.

  8. Reginald Selkirk says

    And when I say he’s created a strawman, I mean he’s used enough straw to feed half the horses in the world for a year.

    What TGAP Dad said. You’re a city boy, aren’t you, Ed?
    Hay. Straw for bedding, hay for feed.

  9. Reginald Selkirk says

    And I said how do you know what’s in my pocket, Mike? You don’t know. You are woefully ignorant concerning the contents of my pocket.

    It sounds like he really really wants Mike to go exploring in his pockets. And maybe lift his luggage as well.

  10. Reginald Selkirk says

    Maybe God rules a planet that is light years beyond our solar system, or maybe, like I believe, God exists in an alternate dimension.

    I don’t think that would meet the definition of “God” used in Western philosophy. A being who rules one planet is not omnipotent.

  11. D. C. Sessions says

    BTW, you can’t feed horses – or anything else for that matter – straw.

    Let me introduce you to my local termites.

  12. John Pieret says

    I asked him if he, or anyone else for that matter, has ever witnessed a KIND of animal turn into another KIND, i.e. a cat turn into a monkey.

    Has Molotov or anyone else for that matter ever witnessed the center of the sun or actually seen one kind of atom turn into another, i.e. hydrogen atoms turning into a helium atom? No, but we can scientifically know it happens because of the effects that process has on the world around us, just as evolution affects the morphology of life, the fossil record, the genomes of living and extinct organisms and many other lines of evidence.

  13. raven says

    I don’t think that would meet the definition of “God” used in Western philosophy. A being who rules one planet is not omnipotent.

    No, but that god is…Mormon.

    In Mormon mythology, god isn’t omnipotent. He is just a guy who has been around longer and climbed the celestial promotion ladder Still lives at home too, on Kolob with his dad. And there are a near infinite number of gods, all with their own planet.

  14. Larry says

    And there are a near infinite number of gods, all with their own planet.

    So how did we get stuck with this asshole god we have? Is there some sort of Star Trek Collective of god gods who monitor such evil creatures and mete out punishment when they found to be tormenting their planet a bit too much?

  15. colnago80 says

    And this putzes first name is the name of a former Communist Commissar who once served as the foreign minister of the former Soviet Union. C.F. the Molotov – von Ribbentrop pact between the former Soviet Union and Nazi Germany.

  16. says

    “This is exactly what I talked about in my speech on C-SPAN in 2007″

    From what I understand, both viewers found it fascinating. Heck, more people saw me when I appeared on Cops. Yes, I’m bragging.
     

    “We convict people of heinous crimes every single day by applying the scientific method to events with no witnesses.”

    Sure, but none of those crimes have criminals turning in to other kinds of criminals. Checkmate, Athiesm!
     

    machintelligence “The ‘under 40 demographic’ that is referred to may well be IQ points.”
    There are many fine people with IQs under forty who wouldn’t swallow this junk.

  17. cottonnero says

    “Not fair! not fair!” he hissed. “It isn’t fair, my precious, is it, not fair, is it? to ask us what it’s got in its nassty little pocketses?”

  18. exdrone says

    I left god in my pocket when I washed my jeans once. It was a real mess. If only I had had the humility to accept the possibility of god’s existence, I would have turned my pockets out.

  19. rhebel says

    The only thing less pleasant than trying to deal with jackasses like this is dealing with (some) of their children when trying to teach biology to a roomful of students who want to learn, with the consolation being that I know I have turned at least a few toward the light of science. Excellent explanation of what knowing actually is in science!

  20. robnyny says

    Doesn’t his argument about atheism prove too much? If it’s not impossible that the Christian imaginary spook exists, isn’t it equally possible that the Moslem imaginary spook exists, or the imaginary spook who delivers toys on Xmas eve?

  21. says

    An atheist is someone who says that the existence of God is impossible

    Ah, not quite. I think the claim of god existance to be preposterous.

    I have read the religious texts, and one thing they have in common is they read just like a bunch of made-up shit. Since they read like a bunch of made-up shit and there is no evidence that one bit of it could possibly be true, I have no reason to give the concept of God or gods any benefit of any doubt. It’s not some kind of faith to disbelieve in made-up shit, it is the essence of reason. Gods as posited by humans and the silly embellishments that accompany the idea of god, angels, devils, eternal life, eternal punishment in HELL, all of it is nonsense invented by controlling assholes who want to avoid work and tell people where to get off.

    I can assure you without the least bit of doubt, there are no gods.

  22. caseloweraz says

    Molotov: But atheists have the same level of creativity as the average suicide bomber, they’re completely closed off, completely blind in their faith.

    If this were true, he wouldn’t have had a chance of “converting” that fellow Mike. In fact, Mike would have served him the cocktail named after him — or something equally incendiary.

    (BTW: what kind of parents give their child the first name “Molotov”? Or did he choose that name himself?)

    I asked him if he, or anyone else for that matter, has ever witnessed a KIND of animal turn into another KIND, i.e. a cat turn into a monkey…

    I’ve never seen a cat turn into a monkey, but I’ve seen many a man make a monkey of himself. Mitchell here is a prime example. He’s two for two. Maybe he’ll go for the triple crown* and expound on global warming.

    *Or should I say “triple clown”?

  23. Ichthyic says

    Why yes, yes they have.

    no, what they are referring to is “kind” in the baraminological sense; which of course adjusts itself to whoever is currently pushing it, but is always above species level, usually referring to something at the level of “family” in a more sane taxonomy.

    polypoloidy hybrids in plants have produced something along the lines of an entirely new genus, but I can’t imagine an entire population spontaneously evolving at the family level.

    but of course, this is the real point; the strawman of evolution these people spin has nothing to do with observable reality. Evolution has never claimed a dog evolved from a cat or vice versa.

  24. says

    Ichthyic “Evolution has never claimed a dog evolved from a cat or vice versa.”
    If it didn’t, then why do all these Creationists say it did? Checkmate, Darwinists!

  25. Christoph Burschka says

    maybe God is hiding in my pocket

    Ah, those new pocket-gods; I heard they’re really convenient. Can you order one online?

  26. dingojack says

    Remember the towering Old Testament god, appearing to burn so bright that no one could look upon is face* and live? Now it’s so small and bendy it’ll easily fit in one’s pocket.
    Oh well, pride cometh before a fall, and oh how the mighty have fallen!
    Dingo
    ——–
    * his ass on the other hand….

  27. dingojack says

    So you’re telling me god has shunk by 2.288728494 * 10^397 ti\mes in the 1980 years since 33 ce?*
    Dingo

  28. francesc says

    “I asked him if he, or anyone else for that matter, has ever witnessed a KIND of animal turn into another KIND”
    I suspect no one has ever witnessed him having a brain. In theory it must exist. It could even fit into his skull but we are woefully ignorant concerning its contents.

    “I mean, maybe God is hiding in my pocket”
    If you can’t distinguish the god in your pocket from the lepprechaun in my pocket, why are you still calling it a god?

    #27 I think that your definition of kind is not exactly right. A KIND of animal is a group wich includes an animal and all the witnessed evolutions of them.
    If not, how would you explain that they don’t consider nylon-eating bacteria as an example of macroevolution? Creationists consider every bacteria as “one kind” when they are far more different between them than a dolphin and a zebra

  29. lofgren says

    This is a good example of exactly the kind of debate that I find utterly worthless. Even if Mitchell succeeds in convincing his “friend” to use a different label to describe himself, what is the point? His friend believes what he believes. The label is only useful for conveying information. “Mike’s” beliefs remain exactly as they were before the conversation began. It’s basically a semantic quibble disguised as an argument.

    He could have convinced Mike to call himself a Popple. It doesn’t matter what the operational term is for the current conversation. All of the arguments for the existence of God are still terrible, and he still looks suspiciously like something that humans would have made up.

  30. says

    francesc “If not, how would you explain that they don’t consider nylon-eating bacteria as an example of macroevolution? Creationists consider every bacteria as “one kind” when they are far more different between them than a dolphin and a zebra”
    Look, no Bible-believing Christian accepts your silly “germs exist theory”. If these so-called “bacteria” exist, then how come we can’t see them? And if they’re so…existing…then why doesn’t the LORD mention them in the Bible?

  31. says

    You are woefully ignorant concerning the contents of my pocket.

    This is not true at all. I wasn’t there, and I am not not ignorant (woefully or otherwise) concerning the contents of his pockets.

    His pockets must, by necessity, contain small items, perhaps a mouse or vole. If he had cargo pockets, or a hoodie, he might have larger items, such as a dachshund or cat. Also, as typical clothing pockets are able to contain only solid or semi-solid things, he is not using his pockets to contain his lunchtime soup. Maybe some mud, but that would probably leak evidence.

    As his definition of god does not include a small corporeal form suitable for easy pocketing, I can say with certainty his pocket does not contain a god.

    Further, there are social habits that relate to the question. In all probability, his pockets contain necessary items such as his car keys, a wallet, perhaps some change. Maybe he’s one of those folks who carry a handkerchief with them. A bit of fluff, maybe.

    As it turns out, I have quite a bit of knowledge concerning the contents of his pockets. I don’t know exactly what’s in his pockets (perhaps nothing at all). But I most certainly have a small subset of likely objects, and a much, much larger set of items that are certainly not in his pocket.

    This whole setup sounds like a just-so story, to me.

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