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Nov 25 2012

Eulogy for a lost mind

As some of you may know, both Aron Ra and I cut our teeth together in the creation/evolution battles that raged on the usenet newsgroup, talk.origins, back in the 1990s. One of our colleagues-in-arms was a fellow named Glenn Morton, a petroleum geologist, who brought his expertise to bear in debates with young earth creationists. Morton is a Christian, but he thought it was disgraceful how creationists brought his faith into disrepute with their flouting of the evidence.

One of the concepts he crystallized, in addition, was the idea of Morton’s Demon. One of the notable things about arguments with creationists (perhaps you’ve noticed this too) is how they can stand there slack-jawed and dead-eyed while you explain an uncomfortable fact to them, and how they’ll suddenly leap into action when you say some word or phrase that cues a creationist script — you can be describing how the chemistry of the cell works, for instance, and if you mention “thermodynamics” suddenly you’ll get “The second law of thermodynamics proves that everything trends towards disorder, and is proof of a Fallen World!”…followed by slack passivity as you explain that no, it does no such thing. Morton’s Demon is the mental game creationists have going: they selectively shut out evidence against their pet theories and only allow in ideas their pastor has assured them are completely wrong.

Aron has now made me very sad. It turns out Morton’s Demon was an especially appropriate name for the concept, because Glenn Morton is severely afflicted with one. He escaped the Young Earth Creationist trap because his work exposed him to the counter-evidence every day, hammering the YEC-demon into submission…but I mentioned that he was a Christian. It turns out that he’s a right-wing conservative Christian, with a fully functioning filter tuned to select out anything from any source other than Limbaughesque talk radio.

Glenn Morton has torn down the entirety of his web archive — years worth of articles and explanations refuting young earth creationism. Why?

Because it turns out he was less interested in addressing the truth than he was in defending Christianity. Atheists and agnostics had been using his evidence to argue not only against Biblical literalists and religious extremists, but against the entirety of Christianity. Arguing against religion is bigotry, you see, and he got tired of all those liberal leftist godless bullies who have taken over his country.

It’s an epic, rambling, incoherent, angry rant.

The powers that be think that everyone MUST be forced to pay for contraception for the YES, slutty life style of Sandra Fluck who gave a speech at the Democratic convention bemoaning that we don’t pay for her contraception. (Rush Limbaugh got in lots of trouble for saying she is a slut, yet it is Sandra who wants to live a life of sex where everyone else pays to keep her from getting pregnant). Why must I as a Christian, who thinks such behavior abysmal, sinful and self destructive pay for her to have sexcapades without consequences? Why must my taxes be used to support what I view as her responsibility? Why does she have a right to pick the money in my pocket when she didn’t earn it? But, it seems, if you question this simple fact in today’s world, everyone will cluck their tongues at you, making you out to be the evil one. Why is it that they think that everyone MUST be forced to believe that what Sandra does is OK AND PAY FOR HER TO HAVE PLEASURE WITHOUT WORRY FOR THE CONSEQUENCES???? She can do what she wants, but don’t ask me to pay for it and don’t force me to approve of her behavior. The modern political left, and make no doubt, most anti-YEC folk are from the political left, want to enforce their conformity upon us because we can not be allowed to actually have an independent view of Sandra Fluck’s behavior or anything else, including anything they deem to be wrong. That is not to be allowed. Enforced conformity is what they want. I must smile while I give Sandra my money to pay for her sexcapades.

I think he means Sandra Fluke. Her speech wasn’t about paying for her hedonistic pleasure, but that the omission of contraception from her school’s insurance plan was a selective disadvantage to low-income students, and she talked about a friend whose contraceptive prescription was necessary to manage polycystic ovary syndrome. But Morton’s Demon won’t let him hear that…all that gets through is “sexcapades.”

He also rages against the expectation that Catholic organizations should cover birth control and abortions in their hospitals — it’s abhorrent to them, you know, and therefore their personal opinions should be allowed to dictate how non-Catholics live their lives. Chick-Fil-A should have the freedom of speech to hate gays…but their customers should not, apparently, be allowed to choose where they eat. The religious ought to be allowed to put up monuments in the public square, because removing them is a theological view.

And apparently the Democrats are a “leftist party” that hates god.

I watched the leftist party vote 3 times to drop God and Jerusalem and then watched their leaders steal that election on national TV and everyone knows that election was stolen. but then I watched delegates of the convention saying church goers weren’t welcome in their party.

Do follow that last link. It doesn’t say what Morton says it does — it’s about some Democrats expressing contempt for red-necked Teabaggers, not church goers (which would be very odd, given we just elected a church goer to the presidency). Morton’s Demon strikes again.

He goes on and on. He’s all for teaching young earth creationism and racism in the classroom despite disagreeing with them and recognizing that they’re built on lies, but gosh darn it all to heck, he’s absolutely committed to freedom. He has shut down all of his evidence-based arguments against young earth creationism because he’s a freedom fighter. And he really, really hates atheists.

I no longer want to worry about what a YEC believes. I no longer wish to be used to destroy my religion. The American Indians lost because the tribes hated each other more than the English and they couldn’t join together to beat them. The Scots lost to the English for the same reason. I do not intend to make the same mistake with the atheist war on religion. It doesn’t matter one whit that someone is a YEC and I am not, it does not matter a whit if I am protestant and someone else is Catholic, or Mormon. I urge all religious peoples to cease bickering about such trifles, when the wolf is at our door. We are in danger of losing our religious freedom, I will NOT argue inconsequential stuff with my co-religionists, ignoring the real danger to our religion, you, the religious bigot and Christophobe. YEC is a trifle; a mere philosophical debate. Freedom is dear; and you, the religious bigot, are a danger to my freedom.

I will note the irony of his signature, which has included this comment for a long, long time:

Banned forever by the Amer. Scientific Affiliation, a Christian Scientific Group, for the crime of discussing the ethics of ignoring scientific data.

Apparently it’s not unethical to ignore the scientific data if it contradicts the teaching of your church. Morton’s Demon strikes again!

Unfortunately for Morton’s goals, his diatribe simply reaffirms to me that religion poisons the mind…or that minds poisoned by an information deficit are more receptive to religion. Either way, it’s a shame.


In case you’re wondering what got him kicked out of the ASA, it’s buried in a thread here. It was a fight over Morton’s climate change denialism, and I notice that he announced his resignation.

80 comments

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  1. 1
    Markita Lynda—threadrupt

    That is a shame, both to see that he has been brainwashed out of rational thought and that he has deleted so many years of work. I hate to see useful information be lost.

  2. 2
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    Sad to hear.

    But don’t they say that on the internet nothing is ever really lost and aren’t there mirror sites, linked archives or ways of retrieving the past info including Glenn Morton’s past good work?

  3. 3
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    The person too is still around and (ironically*) evolving.. perhaps he’ll get better one day?

    * Assuming I’m using “ironically” right which, itself ironically* may not be the case or is it?

    (Starts endless recursive loop – if those terms are right. Are they? Yeah, I’m tired.)

  4. 4
    anubisprime

    It is not unexpected, after all lies are just another man’s truth apparently!
    And religion rots from the inside so doubt there is much integrity left to mount a rearguard action!

    Are not all committed Christians in fact right wing by their own dogma?
    They are placed on the tip of the right by the bigotry and intolerance to reality they all suffer from chronically!
    No surprise the dude is really one of jeebus’s special little sunbeams!

    And going the way he has maybe he has figured out that he will miss out on the odd Templeton prize, pragmatic to the end are xtians…goes with the synapse disintegration their faith always renders!

  5. 5
    cervantes

    False dichotomy, I would say – religion implies information deficit. It’s a tautology.

  6. 6
    Francisco Bacopa

    I think long excerpts of Morton’s work are available at the Talk Origins Archive.

  7. 7
    raven

    It has been obvious for years that US xianity is dying.

    Projections are that US xians will fall below 50% by 2030 to 2040.

    The quantitative data has been clear on it for years.

    A few xians are starting to notice and they are very upset. The vast majority haven’t and don’t seem to care.

  8. 8
    anteprepro

    I think he may have intentionally changed “Fluke” to “Fluck”. Because of “fuck”. Just a guess.

    Also, I love that “baaaw, why do my taxes pay for things I don’t approve of?” is only acceptable from a right-winger whining about shit that it is a net benefit to society. Whenever a liberal dares to use that line about Things Republicans Like (e.g. war), they are always met with a chorus of wingnut disapproval.

  9. 9
    jamessweet

    Are not all committed Christians in fact right wing by their own dogma?

    Meh, maybe in some regards. Listen, you’re not going to find me being one of those atheists saying, “Jesus was just a man, but he was a man who preached peace and love” — no, the Biblical Jesus preached some peace and love, but also mostly vengeful crap, and the fig tree incident never ceases to crack me up with the absurdity of His divine temper tantrum. But one thing the Bible doesn’t waver from, particularly the New Testament, but you can even find some of this reflected in the Old, is its contempt for the rich.

    A truly Biblical Christian would want gays executed, women subjugated, and corporations abolished in favor of a top-down communist economy.

  10. 10
    jose

    Somebody explain to me what tax money has to do with private insurance plans. Are they subsidized or what? I mean if you have a job, and the job comes with private insurance, and you receive birth control covered by that insurance, at what point does tax money enter the equation?

  11. 11
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    @ Markita

    I hate to see useful information be lost.

    It seems a tragic waste to lose all those articles and posts. Does anyone have experience with: WayBack Machine and Google’s Cache ?

    Alternatively does anyone have likely keywords we can search?

    /[cross posted to Ace of Clades]

  12. 12
    Matt Penfold

    Are not all committed Christians in fact right wing by their own dogma?

    No. There are plenty of examples of people who could only be described as committed Christians being involved in social justice issues.

  13. 13
    Akira MacKenzie

    Glenn “WHHHHHHHHAAAAAAA!” Morton wrote:

    Freedom means having the freedom to do what you want.

    And by “freedom” he means “privilege.”

    You know, fuck freedom. I wish Obama was the godless, socialist, despot that the right-wing claims he was. I wish there were “PC Thought Police” out and about punishing conservatives for the inane and bigoted things that spew out of their cake holes. I wish there were “FEMA concentration camps” to pack them off to, never to be seen again, so they no longer interfere with efforts to change this superstitious, capitalist, shit-hole of a country for the better!

    It’s the very least the Republicans/Libertarians/Christian Right deserves for putting us in the present cultural, economic, and environmental mess we are currently in. Hey Glenn! You want “consequences?” Fine! If unwanted pregnancy is supposed to be the consequence for sex, then what are the consequences for institutional bigotry, impoverishing millions of Americans via the “free market,” and poisoning the planet, huh? Whatever they are now, they are far, far, too lenient.

    And Freedom means that a majority should decide what happens.

    And and screw the minority? Right cupcake? Isn’t it convenient that your group (e.g. white, male, heterosexual, Protestants) happens to have been that majority?

    We used believe in majority rule.

    Translation: “We used to believe in mob rule where the biggest, meanest, group of people could force their rules upon smaller groups! Now, we can’t do that as much anymore!”

    Turn about is always fair play, isn’t it mother-fucker?

    Now we believe that only a bunch of self proclaimed scientific elites should be able to decide what is best for us.

    Right, because the average, work-a-day, run-of-the-mill, common American–who can barely wipe their own ass and can’t find their own hometown on a map–is doing such a bang-up job deciding what is best for themselves.

    Leave the care and maintenance of a complex, 21st Century nation and economy to the experts, Glenn. In the meantime, just shut up and do as the “elites” order, you fucking Bible-humping primitive.

  14. 14
    Alexandra (née Audley)

    Sorry, I couldn’t get past “sexcapades”. Dude really doesn’t want me to take him seriously.

  15. 15
    DLC

    Re Fluke vs Fluck : He typed it Fluck because that’s how Limbaugh says it.
    I’m sorry to hear that he’s stepped back from reality and put down his critical thinking. I almost feel like calling out “Come back, Shane!”

  16. 16
    Alexandra (née Audley)

    Also:

    Why does she have a right to pick the money in my pocket when she didn’t earn it?

    Does someone have to explain how insurance works to Mr Morton?

  17. 17
    Akira MacKenzie

    Are not all committed Christians in fact right wing by their own dogma?

    A few of question for “liberal” Christians:

    Who voted for God?

    When is God up for re-election?

    So let me get this straight: You believe claim to believe in democracy and social progress for earthly affairs, yet you believe a unelected cosmic dictator who is accountable to no one runs the entire universe?

    How the fuck do you square that?

  18. 18
    nualle

    it does not matter a whit if I am protestant and someone else is Catholic, or Mormon.

    This is the thing that’s been spinning in my brainpan for the last year. If these theological distinctions, each of which has a history of people dying over them, no longer matter to them, then what are they?

    Mormon martyrs died at the hands of Protestants, not atheists. Likewise, Protestants and Catholics were equally happy to kill any atheists they encountered while they gunned for each other for a century or so in Europe.

    I get that faith = selective credulity and that cynical leaders of each of these factions has found it expedient to make common cause against a Greater (inflated) Foe. But… wha???

  19. 19
    Akira MacKenzie

    Oh, and I’m not serious about what I wrote in the first part of #13. I’m just venting at this moron.

  20. 20
    raven

    And Freedom means that a majority should decide what happens.

    Morton is just making stuff up here.

    In our representative democracy, the majority rules but minorities have a lot of rights. This is that Bill of Rights list in the US constitution.

    Morton and his fellow Totalitarians have never had the right to tell the rest of us what to do in any and all cases.

    And BTW, we are the majority now. Obama has won the last two elections by a majority of the votes. If freedom meant that a majority should decides what happens, Morton would be ordered to take his mind in for repairs.

  21. 21
    Becca Stareyes

    You know, I seem to recall from my civics and history classes that the reason the Bill of Rights existed was because some state legislatures refused to endorse the Constitution without some protection for minorities. Hell, freedom of religion was considered just as much protection for Christians of non-populous sects as for non-Christians*.

    But I guess that’s the selective hearing thing: freedom of religion means the freedom to be Catholic OR Protestant, and totally missing the point of all the Amendments that define rights that cannot be taken away by a majority vote.

    I dare say that if many of these people were living as a minority religion, suddenly the ACLU and Constitution would be their best friends.

    * And the first cases banning school prayer were filed by Catholics who didn’t want their kids learning to read from Protestant translations of the Bible. Bit of irony there, but it should be taught to Christians everywhere: this is why you fight to protect minority rights, because they’ll help you when you need protection.

  22. 22
    forkboy

    I know he’s said a lot of awfully silly things in that post, & I’m focusing on basically an irrelevant piece of minutiae, but it is the internet after all & the irrelevant minutiae is what we do.

    “The American Indians lost because the tribes hated each other more than the English and they couldn’t join together to beat them. The Scots lost to the English for the same reason.”

    Now I don’t want to talk about the Indigenous people of the Americas because I’m too ignorant to talk about it with any confidence, but Scotland didn’t lose to England. The English crown was given to the Scottish king, & then 100 years later Scottish parliament voted in favour of joining together in a political union with England. So y’know. That’s an ignorant claim. And the Scottish parliament voted for political union not because of disunity among the Scottish people (I don’t even know what he’s meant to be hinting at here) but because of failed colonial endeavours that meant the country ran out of money.

    Just for the record.

  23. 23
    Akira MacKenzie

    forkboy @ 22

    “I don’t even know what he’s meant to be hinting at here…”

    I’m guessing he’s watched “Braveheart” one too many times.

  24. 24
    anteprepro

    Hey Glenn! You want “consequences?” Fine! If unwanted pregnancy is supposed to be the consequence for sex, then what are the consequences for institutional bigotry, impoverishing millions of Americans via the “free market,” and poisoning the planet, huh? Whatever they are now, they are far, far, too lenient.

    Win.

    Mormon martyrs died at the hands of Protestants, not atheists. Likewise, Protestants and Catholics were equally happy to kill any atheists they encountered while they gunned for each other for a century or so in Europe.

    And all of the Christians actually suffering persecution, being murdered for their beliefs, the ones in non-Christian countries that privileged Christians in First World Countries point to in order to show how oppressed and hated they are…they aren’t often being killed by atheists. To say nothing of the inter-religious strife in the background of the “War on Terror”. Atheists aren’t the real threat to Christians. Maybe it is a real threat to Christianity, in the war of ideas. But outside of debate and philosophy, the real threat to Christianity is Other Religions. Just as Christianity is the biggest threat to any other religious group.

  25. 25
    raven

    it does not matter a whit if I am protestant and someone else is Catholic, or Mormon.

    Morton’s ravings are incoherent.

    Xianity is far from unified. It is split up into 42,000 different sects, splitting further each year, and they all claim to be the One True Xian Cult.

    We all know the rules. The Protestants hate the Catholics and vice versa. The fundies hate everyone. Everyone hates them back.

    These days they have discovered that:

    1. They are dying out. and

    2. That they hate normal people more than they hate each other.

    The main split in recent years is probably between Right Wing Extremist xians and centrist and leftist xians rather than any sectarian divide. Because religion has become more about politics than….religion. Another sign of the terminal illness of xianity.

  26. 26
    Akira MacKenzie

    I always found it amusing that people like Morton only seem to rant and rave against intellectual “elites” and no others. We don’t hear them complain about the average American not being able to play basketball like LeBron James or throw a pass like Aaron Rogers. They don’t seem to worry about the hubristic notion that America is the “best nation in the world;” indeed, they revel in it. It’s only in the realm of the mind that idea that they seem to think that it’s somehow unfair to Joe/Jane Average when we defer to the findings of the better educated.

  27. 27
    anteprepro

    Now I don’t want to talk about the Indigenous people of the Americas because I’m too ignorant to talk about it with any confidence

    I’m betting your gut feeling was right: The Europeans had fucking guns and introduced new diseases to the natives that caused epidemics that killed off millions of them. Unless the Native Americans decided to band together and kill Europeans as they stepped foot off the fucking boat, the Native Americans wouldn’t have had a chance against the European Americans once they started actively fighting against them in the 19th century, and already had well-developed settlements there. This shit about Native Americans not getting along enough is just victim blaming. They would’ve only had a chance if they were even more genocidal than the ones that killed them, and if they had perpetrated that genocide a century or two before it was done to them. They can hardly be faulted for failing that particular test.

  28. 28
    timgueguen

    The Wayback Machine at archive.org can be told not to archive pages. So if Morton knows about this he can make his stuff disappear from there.

  29. 29
    Eamon Knight

    Banned by the ASA for some conspiratorial-sounding transgression? Sounds like there’s a back story there — and one that won’t look good on Morton. I would have pegged the ASA as among the more reasonable, responsible voices on the evangelical side.

  30. 30
    kayden

    All I can say after reading Morton’s rantings and ravings is that I am very happy that his side lost on November 6th. He and his ilk sound dangerous — not only to minorities, women, gays, atheists, etc., but to the very notion of democracy itself.

    How is it Christ-like to force one’s beliefs on others just because one is part of the majority? What makes his way of thinking better/different than that advocated by Islamic extremists in majority Muslim countries who want to force everyone to live in accordance with Sharia law?

    Scary dude.

    And by the way, Mr. Morton, married women such as myself also use birth control, not just “sluts” like Ms. Fluke.

  31. 31
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    @ timgueguen

    The Wayback Machine at archive.org can be told not to archive pages. So if Morton knows about this he can make his stuff disappear from there.

    If he knows that.

    He has shared his ideas with the world. They are as much ours now. He has improved everyone’s lot by producing good ideas. It is no longer for him to attempt to remove them. That would be really… er… I think that that would be unethical.

    In my feeble attempts at google-foo I have found some Morton’s Demon cartoons (Non Sequitur via Panda’s thumb archives): 1,2,3

  32. 32
    raven

    And by the way, Mr. Morton, married women such as myself also use birth control, not just “sluts” like Ms. Fluke.

    According to the US CDC, for relevant cohorts of women, use of birth control runs around 99%. It is 98% for Catholic women.

    Morton is just insulting the majority of the population who happen to be women.

    He does seem to have forgotten that men also use birth control. Directly with condoms or vasectomy or indirectly from the use of BC by their female sexual partners.

    This is your (incoherent) mind on toxic religion.

  33. 33
    Markita Lynda—threadrupt

    I love how the “won’t pay for someone else’s sex lives” mininterpretation of oral contraceptives people have no problem that their tax dollars and insurance companies pay for Slut Limbaugh’s Viagra and Cialis.

    The New Testament says at least thrice that the rich need to give their wealth to the poor, once that the rich will find it hard to get into heaven, and once that people who failed to share their profits with the community were struck dead by God. So I’d say that committed Christians ought to be socialist.

  34. 34
    jose

    I’m sure many Americans didn’t want their tax dollars used to destroy Iraq. Conservatives should bring a bill to congress to make optional to pay the percentage of taxes that goes to defense.

  35. 35
    whheydt

    Morton doesn’t want his tax money to help subsidize the pill for women who can’t afford it?

    Well, I don’t want my tax money to subsidize the public services and infrastructure that supports his church.

    Even *that* “playing field” and I’d bet that his taxes would go up even after any removal of insurance subsidies.

    (Unless, of course, he’s collecting other peoples tax money through Social Security and Medicare…in which case he needs to take a close look in a mirror.)

  36. 36
    kantalope

    It isn’t a person, it isn’t even a fetus – it is a consequence! Isn’t that nice. (Or in Michigan a tax credit.)

    If the employer is Jehovah’s witness – no coverage for blood transfusions?

    Muslim – no money for women’s clothing that isn’t a burka?

    Christian Science – whatever batshittery that covers?

    If you work for them, they get your very soul? Who would that remind me of?

  37. 37
    cyberCMDR

    For that big a pivot towards la-la land, I wonder if Morton has an underlying CNS issue. Wouldn’t be the first person to become delusional with increasing age, either from mini-strokes, Alzheimer’s, some auto-immune diseases like Lupus (even Sjogrens can cause CNS effects), etc. For that matter, as a geologist he could have been exposed to any number of natural but toxic substances (e.g. heavy metals) that could impact brain function.

    Religion has an appeal to those who engage in magical thinking, where low level emotional logic rules. That seems to be where Morton’s mind has devolved to. That is a shame.

  38. 38
    Neil Rickert

    You are a little slow on this, PZ. I learned about it from catshark back in October.

  39. 39
    slightlyodd

    Akira MacKenzie @23:
    “I’m guessing he’s watched “Braveheart” one too many times.”

    If that’s what he’s referring to it’s even funnier. I mean, the many many inaccuracies in Braveheart aside (no seriously, that film is terrible), did he not notice that the Scots won that round? I mean, it almost fits with what he says – the whole war started with a succession crisis, and Edward did rule Scotland for a while – but yeah, it’s one of Scotland’s most famous victories. Doesn’t exactly support his argument very well.

  40. 40
    Enopoletus Harding

    I feel sad. [sigh]. At least there’s Answers in Creation. It has some of Morton’s anti-YEC material. I don’t see how Morton could get the idea opposition to Young-Earth Creationism breeds support for liberalism.

  41. 41
    raven

    I don’t see how Morton could get the idea opposition to Young-Earth Creationism breeds support for liberalism.

    Even if it does, so what?

    YECism is just a lie. If your ideology depends on lies, it isn’t worth saving.

  42. 42
    Enopoletus Harding

    @ raven
    -Correct (though I suspect YECism is less a lie and more a delusion based on literalism and religion -see http://www.gnxp.com/blog/2007/04/nerds-are-nuts.php). Sustaining a YEC worldview certainly involves lying.

  43. 43
    Lynna, OM

    I am still mourning the fact that I let my president down by not being fully qualified as part of the Slut Vote.

    I’m single, but currently bereft of boyfriends. I think you have to be single, fucking up a storm, and forcing Rush Limbaugh to pay for your birth control in order to be fully qualified as a Slut.

    I will do better in the next election. That’s a promise.

  44. 44
    silomowbray, sans frottage pour la douche

    Shouldn’t Morton’s Demon be renamed to Morton’s Irony?

  45. 45
    John Pieret

    I learned of this a while ago:

    http://dododreams.blogspot.com/2012/10/the-loss-of-ally.html

    I am saddened by Glenn’s decision to trash his web pages … which I thought he honorably produced … merely because he doesn’t like how the rest of the culture wars have gone. Some of the commenters at Glenn’s post indicate that he has cancer, which is a good a reason to quit active fighting in this arena but doesn’t explain throwing away all the work he already did for good (if not our) reasons.

  46. 46
    John Pieret

    P.S.:

    As Glenn himself said of the demon:

    Those who try to help the poor victims escape the ravages of Morton’s demon wear themselves out typing e-mails explaining data and facts which never get through the demon’s gate. After years of weariness, the philanthropic individual dies of fatigue. This is oh so devilish a situation!

    How true!

  47. 47
    cyberCMDR

    Ah, the cancer might explain some of this. Perhaps he is looking at his own mortality (and is afraid he pissed the Big Guy off). I seem to remember mention of one of the atheist crowd having an end of life conversion to christianity, so this isn’t a novel event. Pascal’s wager still works for some people.

    On the other hand, from some of the comments on John’s site it sounds like he was never a bastion of rational thought on a number of topics. This may not be as hard a pivot as I had originally thought.

  48. 48
    catof many faces

    http://themigrantmind.blogspot.com/

    i looked at his site and it seems he’s trying to explain away global warming as being just heat increase in cities…

    sad really.

  49. 49
    madscientist

    Bummer – that’s one hell of a chimera. As for his ex-blog – does the wayback machine know about it?

  50. 50
    unclefrogy

    all though it seems that most christians are conservative at least that is what the republican christians want you to think. I’m pretty sure there are many christians that are liberal I will just give as an example our current vice president and add one of our former presidents as examples. Even preachers can be liberal or does anyone believe that RV. Martin Luther King was not a liberal and did not speak out for social justice?.
    Like in everything else religion is cherry picked to justify personal attitudes and prejudices. Sooner or later it has to lead to irrationality on other areas as well if not complete irrationality in all areas.

    uncle frogy

  51. 51
    slowdjinn

    everyone knows that election was stolen

    This claim seems to be making the rounds. Has anyone even presented an argument to support it? Other than “We lost, so they must’ve cheated”.

  52. 52
    unclefrogy

    slowdjinn:

    here is something that came across my door it is the only thing I have seen so far.

    >Still in the realm of rumor, but with a bit of plausibility. Not so >much the voting machines as the tabulation.

    Anonymous, Karl Rove and 2012 Election Fix?
    http://truth-out.org/news/item/12845-anonymous-karl-rove-and-2012-election-fix

    uncle frogy

  53. 53
    jonjermey

    This really sounds like a medical issue. I would strongly recommend that Morton gets a blood test asap.

  54. 54
    mesh

    This claim seems to be making the rounds. Has anyone even presented an argument to support it? Other than “We lost, so they must’ve cheated”.

    Their entire claim is framed around the belief that the people who elected Obama weren’t True Americans™.

    - Obama received much of his support from “non-traditional” voters
    - These voters were bribed with “things”
    - Other voters were suppressed by making Romney look bad in the campaign
    - Therefore, Obama wasn’t elected by the True Americans™, but by the dregs of society that are taking over the country

  55. 55
    reynoldhall

    Gotta love the wayback machine.

  56. 56
    d.f.manno

    @jose (#10):

    Somebody explain to me what tax money has to do with private insurance plans. Are they subsidized or what? I mean if you have a job, and the job comes with private insurance, and you receive birth control covered by that insurance, at what point does tax money enter the equation?

    Employer-provided health insurance receives an indirect tax subsidy, because unlike other job benefits it is not taxable to the employee.

    Also, under Obama’s health care reforms, in 2014 many people will receive government subsidies to purchase health insurance. Those subsidies will be funded from tax revenues.

  57. 57
    kantalope

    UncleFrogy – if that is true: GoatsOnFire!!11

  58. 58
    chrisho-stuart

    The comment
    Banned forever by the Amer. Scientific Affiliation, a Christian Scientific Group, for the crime of discussing the ethics of ignoring scientific data.
    is — as is so much of what Glenn writes about the various disputes he gets into — self serving nonsense.

    He was banned for being rude and abusive. Nothing else. His claim above is either deliberately dishonest, or else outright delusional. I can no longer tell which it is with Glenn, but I finally lost all my respect for him about two years ago.

    Glenn is a total nut on the Global Warming issue. He’s not even close to sensible on this topic; he’s out at the far reaches of extreme pseudoscience, with a good dash of conspiracy theory mongering to explain why his views get no traction with working climate scientists.

    But that’s not the real problem. The real problem, and the actual reason he got banned, is the rude and aggressive manner in which he engages the topic. He does not merely stick to making his own claims or arguments; he heaps personal abuse and insult on individuals who disagree with him. He is not capable of discussing this issue without soon descending into this characteristic abusive style.

    And THAT is why he got banned. You can find the banning message in the archives of the ASA mailing list, in December 2009. Ted Davis is the moderator who applied the ban. The immediate cause was Glenn’s personal abuse of Randy Isaac.

  59. 59
    Ingdigo Jump

    “The American Indians lost because the tribes hated each other more than the English and they couldn’t join together to beat them. The Scots lost to the English for the same reason.”

    Now I don’t want to talk about the Indigenous people of the Americas because I’m too ignorant to talk about it with any confidence, but Scotland didn’t lose to England. The English crown was given to the Scottish king, & then 100 years later Scottish parliament voted in favour of joining together in a political union with England. So y’know. That’s an ignorant claim. And the Scottish parliament voted for political union not because of disunity among the Scottish people (I don’t even know what he’s meant to be hinting at here) but because of failed colonial endeavours that meant the country ran out of money.

    The suggestion that this even if true was a liability the Indians had that the Europeans didn’t is laughable. He’s basically saying “The Entire Continent is one group but was disorganized” rather than the obvious reality that the New World was made up of nations and cultures just like Europe was. And thus that was the situation for a while when the Europeans came along? Different Indians did fight in wars along side certain Europeans against other Europeans after all. Fight against the Europeans? Which ones? Don’t we have treaties with the French but our neighbors have alliances with the British? You know, just like it was with Europe. This is especially laughable as just prior to the American Revolution Europe was thrown into a mini world war with the various states at war with each other…and each side had different Indian nations fighting for the sake of their alliances with Europeans! I can see why most Americans don’t know about this little skirmish that took part in their history, it only lasted seven years.

  60. 60
    Ingdigo Jump

    That post got away from me somewhere. Let’s try again

    *All red people look the same apparently and why can’t those savages get along
    *Seven Years/French-Indian War
    *Two continents worth of cultures and nations with different alliances with and against each other and with and against European powers.

  61. 61
    Stacy

    @unclefrogy #52

    here is something that came across my door it is the only thing I have seen so far

    I’ve seen that, and find it plausible (if it’s true, sure would be nice if they’d offer some evidence.)

    But that’s a claim that the Republicans tried (and failed) to steal the election. Republicans are claiming Democrats stole it, but as far as I’ve seen the only evidence they’ve offered is “a bunch of black people showed up to vote at my precinct and I’m pretty sure they don’t live around here because I never noticed them before!”

  62. 62
    jamescarlton

    Wow… you can almost hear his brain breaking.

    It’s like someone who eats meat claiming that cannibalism is ok because those damn vegetarians are going to take over the world unless the meat eaters stand united!

  63. 63
    frog

    I am so tired of the notion that children are a “consequence,” some sort of punishment. I would hate to be the child of someone who says shit like that.

  64. 64
    golkarian

    What ever happened to talk origins anyways? It hasn’t been updated in a very long time.

  65. 65
    Colin J

    What ever happened to talk origins anyways? It hasn’t been updated in a very long time.

    What’s to update? Have there been any developments in creationism lately?

  66. 66
    Dalillama, Schmott Guy

    I usually hear the “kept fighting each other so they got stomped by the English’ meme in relation to Ireland. It is true that the English, or rather the Normans, this being in the latter 12th century, got a foothold in Ireland when a deposed Irish king asked for Norman help to get his throne back and wound up a puppet, but the Norman possession of Ireland was mostly over by the late 1350s, with the remaining Norman holdings being indistinguishable from those of Irish aristocrats and no significant political control being exercised by England. Later on, in 1530, the Irish Parliament declared King Henry of England to be King of Ireland as well, whereupon he began to rule with an iron fist, suppress local aristocrats, and generally reduce the Irish to peonage, a practice which would continue for the next few centuries. I rather suspect the Irish
    Parliament regretted their decision after the fact, though.

  67. 67
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    Lynna:
    I think you need the RUSH LIMBAUGH stamp of approval to be a _real_ slut. I do not think you want that.

  68. 68
    golkarian

    What’s to update? Have there been any developments in creationism lately?

    No, but I think there are a few additions to creationist claims that would be useful (not saying it has to be done, people can do what they want when providing a free service). I was also wondering if that was the reason or if there might have been something else.

  69. 69
    John Pieret

    I was also wondering if that was the reason or if there might have been something else.

    The guy who used to do the HTML disappeared (I fear he died) and no one else stepped forward to do it. If anyone is good with HTML and wants to take on a huge project, they can contact Wes Elsberry, who is keeper of the archive. I have some updates to the Quotemine Project that could be done. Wes suggested that I do my own HTML but I was afraid I’d break the whole place.

  70. 70
    stevewatson

    @69: I think it’s slipped your mind that I offered, at least for the Quotemine bit, some months ago. Though the “huge project” angle does intimidate me somewhat, and I don’t have time to look at it before New Year (something to do with being busy with this website — but it’s all over next weekend! Yay!).

  71. 71
    Sastra

    Because it turns out he was less interested in addressing the truth than he was in defending Christianity. Atheists and agnostics had been using his evidence to argue not only against Biblical literalists and religious extremists, but against the entirety of Christianity. Arguing against religion is bigotry, you see, and he got tired of all those liberal leftist godless bullies who have taken over his country.

    This is interesting. I haven’t read the rant, but Morton’s actions seem to simultaneously vindicate — and undermine — the accomodatonist argument that the gnu atheists are ‘hurting science’ by turning it on God. Their complaint has been that if you make it seem like a choice — and claim that following the theory of evolution into theological claims about an Original Complex Mind should force one to reject such claims — then Christians and other religious people will no longer support science. They will renounce evolution and refuse to support science. They have to choose God.

    Which Morton did. But his problem wasn’t confined to Dawkins or PZ or Coyne or some other atheist pointing out the implications of scientific discoveries applied to ancient childish notions of design, creation, or how reality works. No, it extended into the politics of liberals in general and slopped all over the place.

    Fuzzy thinkers with an agenda think fuzzy and follow the agenda. The accomodationists don’t have a neat little argument. The gnus are right. “Religion poisons everything.” More or less.

  72. 72
    scienceavenger

    Why is it that they think that everyone MUST be forced to believe that what Sandra does is OK AND PAY FOR HER TO HAVE PLEASURE WITHOUT WORRY FOR THE CONSEQUENCES????

    It’s a remarkable blind spot in conservative arguments about sex that they confuse disregard for consequences with eliminating consequences. Its akin to arguing that motorcycle helmets are bad because they allow us to have fun without worrying about the consequences of crashing.

  73. 73
    Gregory Greenwood

    From Morton’s incoherant rant;

    Freedom means having the freedom to do what you want. And Freedom means that a majority should decide what happens. We used believe in majority rule.

    I think that by ‘majority’ Glenn means ‘those afforded social and political privilege by society’ – after all, the real power lies in the hands of cis het, middle and upper class white males not because of numerical majority but because that is the way the system is set up.

    And in any case, the tyranny of the majority is no example to aspire to. It simply creates a society where those in the minority – especially when that minority is disadvantaged or disenfranchised – exist at the whim of the majority. It is a perfect recipe for oppression and abuse of power.

    I also cannot but wonder if Glenn would still feel this way about the notional wonders of ‘majority rule’ if we were to fast forward a few decades to an America where well over 50% of the populous are not white, and the largest single ethnic group is black or latinate in extraction? When ‘majority rule’ no longer conferred privilege upon the social group he identifies with, I suspect that Morton would suddenly change his views on its worth, and would become an advocate for protections for minority groups faster than you can say “self-interested wingnut”.

    This next bit particularly stood out for me;

    Unfortunately so many in the anti-YEC movement, have the arrogance to think that they know how best to run everyone else’s life. They insist on conformity of thought and only allow what they approve of. For those on that side of the fence, you are not smart enough to know how to live your own life, much less mine or the YECs or the Black supremacist who thinks melanin makes him more intelligent. Leave us alone! Quit being a nanny. You are as bad as any mullah in demanding thought control. You are as intolerant as any of the religious people who you dislike.

    Darn – there goes another irony metre. The projection is strong with this one…

    Morton wants to accuse progressive secularists of trying to interfere in how others live their lives, as if the christians he is so quick to defend don’t spend the vast majority of their waking hours trying to force their religion upon others with regards to how women treat with their own bodies, who people with sexual orientations/gender identities other than cis/het love, not to mention trying to corrupt the educational system into a means of brainwashing children into fundamentalist christianity, and generally trying to make life as a non-beliver in their toxic litle death cult as difficult as possible.

    I strongly disagree with YEC, but I will be dam–d if I will be part of an attack on my religion in which I am forced to teach my kids and grandkids things against my values.

    “Keep your dirty reality away from my offspring!”

    I will be dam–d if I will stand by while YEC parents are deprived of their civil rights.

    “Pointing out how ridiculous YEC beliefs are is oppression! Stop the tyranny of preventing the YECs from forcing their beliefs on others!”

    I will be dam–d if I will stand by while Catholics are forced to pay for abortions and contraception against their religion.

    Because the ‘right’ of catholics to force their religious dogma on others is obviously so much more important than something as insignificant as a mere woman’s life…

    I will be dam–d if I will stand by while the religious bigotry of the political left thinks it is ok to mock Mormons, or Christians, when they have ZERO GUTS to mock Muslims. These people are incredible cowards and will only mock those who will not behead them.

    Yeah, right – because christians are never violent. Just don’t look at the brutal holy wars, the violence against LGBT people, the war on women, or the long list of murdered abortion doctors…

    Morton is also battling against nothing more than his own fantasies of what secularism is – progressives do critcise the many abusive elements of islam as a religion, but oppose attempts to use the term ‘muslim’ as a racist dogwhistle promoting negative stereotypes about people of Asian or Middle Eastern descent. Only an idiot uses the ‘you wouldn’t dare say that about muslims’ canard in any fashion other than ironically.

    Morton keeps saying ‘he will be damned’ rather than do this or that – I say he is already ‘damned’ – damned for the bigoted fool he is by everyone not comprehensively poisoned by his religion.

  74. 74
    Ingdigo Jump

    Freedom means having the freedom to do what you want. And Freedom means that a majority should decide what happens.

    Anyone who could write this and not realize how fucking stupid it is is lost

  75. 75
    Ingdigo Jump

    “dam-d”

    You know Jesus said that if you say it in your heart you say it aloud. Childish abbreviation does not make it not a sin jack@ss

  76. 76
    scienceavenger

    Everyone should flood Morton with links to atheist criticisms of Muslims, especially one concerning a certain unbeliever who had the audacity to toss pages of the Koran in the trash with the cracker he was disposing of…

  77. 77
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    “…it’s about some Democrats expressing contempt for red-necked Teabaggers, not church goers (which would be very odd, given we just elected a church goer to the presidency). ”

    But, but Obama doesn’t go to a Church – he goes to a mosque instead! ;-)

  78. 78
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    When he’s not attending Jeremiah Wright’s little race hate group of course!

  79. 79
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    @39.slightlyodd :

    Akira MacKenzie @23: “I’m guessing he’s watched “Braveheart” one too many times.”

    What that’s impossible! You can’t watch Braveheart too many times – I love that movie! Best battle scenes ever!

    If that’s what he’s referring to it’s even funnier. I mean, the many many inaccuracies in Braveheart aside (no seriously, that film is terrible), did he not notice that the Scots won that round? I mean, it almost fits with what he says – the whole war started with a succession crisis, and Edward did rule Scotland for a while – but yeah, it’s one of Scotland’s most famous victories. Doesn’t exactly support his argument very well.

    Well, there is that. Braveheart is not 100% historically accurate and, as a movie designed to entertain, it should be considered about as reliable a source for Scottish history as Shakespeare’s Hamlet is for Danish history.

    I disagree that Braveheart is a bad movie, its one of best movies in my view working really well on emotional level, good characterisation, superb music and so on. It does what it sets out to do. But for facts on what really happened go elsewhere.

  80. 80
    samharris

    Poor Christians and their poor taxes – imagine, knowing that your tax money might pay for something you disagree with! That NEVER happens to non-Christians….

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