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Mar 28 2013

No, I will not ever debate Joseph Mastropaolo

So you can stop sending me email about it now. Also, dear gob, but I despise the Huffington Post. They’ve started this recent flurry of publicity for deranged loon Mastropaolo with an awful article on his tired old stunt of announcing a $10,000 prize for a debate — an article in which they blithely consult the Discovery Institute to get their opinion that both evolution and young earth creationism are unproveable assertions that can’t be tested by “observable science”.

I’ve known about Mastropaolo for almost 20 years now. He’s been on the same worn out horse all that time, doing exactly the same thing over and over again, and every once in a while some gullible news outlet gives him a breath of publicity and this crap starts up again. He was a noisemaker on the usenet group talk.origins, or rather, his amanuensis Karl Priest was there constantly promoting his master Mastropaolo in tedious, abusive tirades.

The Mastropaolo/Priest duo was cited in Richard Dawkins’ well-known article in which he explained why he doesn’t debate creationists. Not only is it a waste of time, but Mastropaolo is one of the best examples of an untalented, unqualified hack who wants to ride the coattails of other people’s reputations, and he has been flailing wildly for attention for a long time now. He is simply a typical ignorant creationist.

One small example of the level of competence we’re dealing with here. He claims to have disproven abiogenesis — one of his constant themes is that abiogenesis is a lie. You can judge the quality of his mind:

To test simply the alleged self-combining tendency of carbon, I placed one microliter of India (lampblack) ink in 27 ml of distilled water. The ink streaked for the bottom of the test tube where it formed a dark haze which completely diffused to an even shade of gray in 14 hours. The carbon stayed diffused, not aggregated as when dropped on paper. At this simple level there is no evidence that the “primeval soup” is anything but fanciful imagination.

He’s a young earth creationist. You want more evidence that he’s a dumbass? Here’s his argument to cast doubt on the age of the earth.

Evolutionists of the 19th century claimed that the Earth was millions of years old. Their estimates from nature, solar thermodynamics and ocean salinity ranged from 75,032 to 100,000,000 years old or 53,015,006 ± 45,199,699 years old (mean ± standard deviation). The evolutionists of the 20th century claimed that the Earth was billions of years old. Their estimates ranged from 200,000,000 to 5 billion years old or 2.61 ± 1.79 billion. Curiously according to the evolutionists, in one century, the Earth aged 2.56 billion years. It seemed strange that in 1921, according to them, the Earth was 1.5 billion years old and in 1991 it was 4.5 billion years old. In those 70 years, according to the evolutionists, the Earth and I as well, aged 3 billion years. According to the evolutionists, I am a 3 billion-year-old ambulating fossil.

No one in their right mind would want to debate this clown. Here, have some fun with this argument:

Let us extrapolate to the past and see what medical science specifies. Going backward in time we find the Earth’s human population ever diminishing until we arrive at an original couple. The medical evidence also reveals fewer and fewer genetic disorders until we find that the original couple, Adam and Eve, are genetically perfect. For every other complex life form we find their genetically perfect Adam and Eve in what would be a genetically perfect garden, Eden, with pristine Age of the Earth, Medical Science, Adam, Eve, Eden, and the Flood ©Joseph Mastropaolo 2004 3 air and water and soil, where longevity for humans is normally 900 years. We also have unimpeachable medical evidence that suggests the correlation of the curvilinear decline in post-flood longevity, from Noah to David, with the curvilinear incline of new genetic disorders. The data suggest that genetic disorders began to increase after the flood and that probably was associated with the diminished longevity to 70 years by the time of David. This suggestion is shown by the dashed line in Figure 1. Uncensored medical science confirms the Bible and destroys the lethal, psychotic, inverted-fantasy antiscience of evolution.

floodmutations
Figure 1. The correlation of the curvilinear decline in post-flood longevity with the curvilinear incline
of medically reported cumulative new genetic disorders supports Genesis and refutes evolution.

Right. Plotting the claimed ages of the Biblical patriarchs against made-up ‘data’ about new genetic disorders (also false; there’s no evidence of such a rapid increase in the frequency of mutations) … that’s this self-proclaimed ‘scientist’s’ idea of evidence.

He’s got a whole website full of this crap, and the amusing thing is that most creationists consider him to be on the fringe. He reminds me a lot of Jerry Bergman, and I’ll never waste another moment of my life debating him, either.

By the way, Mastropaolo’s debate challenge is rigged, anyway. He’s got the judges all picked out, and anyone who wants to debate him has to put $10,000 of their own money up front first…and he’ll pocket it when his kangaroo court declares you a loser.

56 comments

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  1. 1
    michaeld

    OOOOO I’ll debate him for a million dollars he can give me a million dollars then if he wins he can have it back! ^.^

  2. 2
    chigau (違う)

    Who?

  3. 3
    PZ Myers

    Who?

    Exactly.

  4. 4
    tfkreference

    It’s like he’s not even trying. I can play that game too.

    The speed of sound increased dramatically in the 1870s (coincident with the invention of the telephone) and even more in the 1920s (coincident with the first transatlantic cable).

    Checkmate scientists!

  5. 5
    Dee Phlat

    That age graph is a good indicator of the likelihood of how mythical (historically fake) the character is.

  6. 6
    chigau (違う)

    And when did the earth go from being a plate covered by a bowl to a spheroid?

  7. 7
    glodson

    But look at the graph! It looks like it makes the picture of the Arc. So it must all be true, and not all the intellectual masturbation of person strongly trying to argue that a myth happened, and people usually lived into several centuries.

  8. 8
    Chaos Engineer

    The ink streaked for the bottom of the test tube where it formed a dark haze which completely diffused to an even shade of gray in 14 hours. The carbon stayed diffused, not aggregated as when dropped on paper. At this simple level there is no evidence that the “primeval soup” is anything but fanciful imagination.

    Wow, this science stuff is easier than I thought!

    “I put a copper penny on a table. After 14 hours Abe Lincoln hadn’t rotated to face north. At this simple level there is no evidence that “magnetism” is anything but fanciful imagination.”

    As to the figure 1 graph…I’m guessing that “new genetic disorders” really means “newly-identified genetic disorders”, so the curve just indicates exponential growth in our ability to find them. Anyway, I like the graph’s implication that genetic disorders rose slowly from the time of Noah through to King David, then stayed constant until 1970, and then started increasing exponentially.

  9. 9
    chigau (違う)

    1970 is when the antichrist was born.
    The graph proves™ it.
    One of these people http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1970#Births

  10. 10
    Yellow Thursday

    I remember doing something similar to the left-hand portion of that chart when I was about 12. I took the ages and father’s ages at birth out of Genesis and plotted how long until the flood. If I remember correctly, Noah’s father and grandfather died in the flood, at least in my copy of the Bible. Noah must really have had a disfunctional family to go along with that.

  11. 11
    bittys

    Never argue with an idiot, they’ll drag you down to their level and then with with experience

  12. 12
    Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened

    As someone with a Geology degree, I find his whole screed on the age of the Earth to be fucking insulting. “Geologists found better, more accurate ways of dating which were capable of dating older objects, and revised their opinion accordingly. Therefore they’re wrong!”.

    *spits*

  13. 13
    bittys

    err, and then beat you with experience.

    /needs more coffee

  14. 14
    peterh

    How much self-esteem must one shed before getting into a battle of wits with an unarmed person?

  15. 15
    NateHevens, resident SOOPER-GENIUS... apparently...

    The ink streaked for the bottom of the test tube where it formed a dark haze which completely diffused to an even shade of gray in 14 hours. The carbon stayed diffused, not aggregated as when dropped on paper. At this simple level there is no evidence that the “primeval soup” is anything but fanciful imagination.

    I’m confused. What kind of logic is being used from “carbon isn’t aggregating” to “primeval soup is fanciful imagination”? Is there even a relationship, here?

  16. 16
    Moggie

    Currently, in my part of the world, the average height of an adult male is around 1.75m. Historical data shows that it was around 1.65m in the early 1700s. If we extrapolate back, we can deduce that Abraham was less than 50cm tall. Ergo, the earliest Jews were PYGMIES + DWARFS.

  17. 17
    Cosmic Teapot, not the Antichrist.

    1970 is when the antichrist was born.
    The graph proves™ it.
    One of these people http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1970#Births

    Checks list,

    phew, it’s not me.

  18. 18
    Caveat Imperator

    I read this guy’s name as Joseph Mephisto. That’s what happens when you read Pharyngula before the coffee has really kicked in.
    But the comparison is fairly apt. He wants esteemed scientists to sign a rigged contract with him that cannot possibly benefit anyone except himself and his associates…

  19. 19
    Akira MacKenzie

    thumper1990:

    That’s standard fundagelical bullshit. Track down the episode of “The Non-Prophet’s” podcast where they debate Ray Comfort, and you’ll hear him say more or less the same thing: Unlike the Bible which is the Holy and timeless word of my god, science changes it’s answers! Therefore, sccience can never be trusted!

  20. 20
    Worldtraveller

    I bet he has insider information on when the world changed from black and white to color, too. I’m gonna sign up for this guy’s newsletter!!

  21. 21
    madarab

    Using Time-Cube as our system of measurement, I award him a .2 on a scale from 0 to 1.

  22. 22
    Caveat Imperator

    Using Time-Cube as our system of measurement, I award him a .2 on a scale from 0 to 1.

    Is there anything that exceeds a 1? Perhaps Rapture Ready collectively?

  23. 23
    Dutchgirl

    I think Chemistry Cat knows more about science than this guy. I would have been able to take this clown down my 3rd grade. This kind of deliberate self-delusion makes me sad.

  24. 24
    Chris Clarke
    1970 is when the antichrist was born.
    The graph proves™ it.
    One of these people http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1970#Births

    Checks list,

    phew, it’s not me.

    Precisely what the AntiChrist WOULD say.

  25. 25
    robro

    Well, he’s right about one thing. He’s an ambulating fossil.

  26. 26
    UnknownEric the Apostate

    He’s the perfect spokesman for antiquated thinking, since inside his head it’s turtles all the way down.

  27. 27
    Dutchgirl

    since inside his head it’s turtles all the way down.

    Isn’t that unfair to turtles?

  28. 28
    Richard Smith

    Since the increase in genetic defects is projected backwards to provide a comprehensive trend, the decrease in lifespan depicted in the left-hand part of the graph can likewise be projected forwards to accurately represent today’s average human’s mayfly existance.

  29. 29
    moarscienceplz

    The ink streaked for the bottom of the test tube where it formed a dark haze which completely diffused to an even shade of gray in 14 hours. The carbon stayed diffused, not aggregated as when dropped on paper. At this simple level there is no evidence that the “primeval soup” is anything but fanciful imagination.

    AND this same brilliant logic PROVES that plants can’t make carbohydrates from CO2, therefore all living things are sustained solely by the Power of God!
    Oh crap! I’d better repent my Atheism right away!

  30. 30
    Richard Smith

    I used to have a little red book, The Evolution of Man Scientifically Disproved in 50 Arguments. Pretty much everything Mastropaolo argues is in that book. That book was originally published about 100 years ago, when pretty much all of those “50 Arguments” were already long-discredited. Clearly, Mastropaolo is upholding the proud creationist tradition of never letting facts interfere with a bad argument.

  31. 31
    ChasCPeterson

    One of these people http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1970#Births

    I fucking knew it:

    October 12: Kirk Cameron, American actor

  32. 32
    ChristineRose

    Um…his graph has those break lines in the middle, but his left and right scales are both linear. So if you stretched the graph out to the full 6000 years of creation, it would be straight line / exponential drop/ straight line for lifespands and linear rise / flat line / exponential rise for genetic defects.

    You are not allowed to slice out big portions of your x axis when you are fitting your data to a curve. Nope, bad.

  33. 33
    Gregory Greenwood

    Reading that creationist blather acually hurts my brain – anyone who essentially claims “I don’t understand the science; therefor the science must be wrong and ebil!11!!!!1Eleventy!” is permenantly lost to reason and their wittering is like nails down an intellectual chalkboard. In this case, teh stoopid almost does result in a burning sensation as neurones choose self-immolation over having to process any more of this drivel.

  34. 34
    cmaximus

    I like how the x-axis switches from names to numerical dates. Now THAT’S what I call transparency.

    “Hey when is your birthday?”

    “Oh, it’s on the 15th of Isaac. I’ll be almost 200!”

  35. 35
    clastum3

    One of the most insidious effects of people like him is that he can make those of us of modest talents feel, quite unjustifiably, like geniuses.

    Is there any reason to bother the electrons for the likes of him?

  36. 36
    weatherwax

    thumper1990: “As someone with a Geology degree, I find his whole screed on the age of the Earth to be fucking insulting. “Geologists found better, more accurate ways of dating which were capable of dating older objects, and revised their opinion accordingly. Therefore they’re wrong!”. ”

    Geologists determine the age of the earth? Don’t be silly. Geologists are just the lackeys of those evil evolutionists.

    Seriously, read his work. Evolutionists did it all.

  37. 37
    chigau (違う)

    Evolutionists did it all.

    Just how old is Rebecca Watson?

  38. 38
    noastronomer

    Curiously according to the evolutionists, in one century, the Earth aged 2.56 billion years.

    I see what you’re saying about Mr Mastropaolo’s intelligence … he can’t even spell ‘geologists’. What a loser.

    Mike.

  39. 39
    pacal

    The dishonesty of Creationists is one of the intellectual wonders of the age. The question isn’t why is this guy so wrong and how, but why is this guy so dishonest.

    Mastropaolo is simply a liar. That absolutely dishonest, question begging graph about longevity and genetic disorders is simply to flagrantly deceptive to be anything but deliberately deceptive. Once again more lying for Jesus.

  40. 40
    Hank_Says

    PZ, I know it’s Pharyngula standard operating procedure but Comic Sans is an inappropriate choice of font for Mastrpaolo’s comments.

    Use Wingdings instead.

  41. 41
    noastronomer

    Use Wingdings instead.

    Are you sure? Sounds awfully risky … his comments might start making sense.

  42. 42
    carlie

    Dammit, I lost some brain cells reading that. I needed those.

  43. 43
    unclefrogy

    it would be nice if his fantasy was real and it was because of what some sin or other the ‘fall” that we do not live 1000 years or so and the earth was 6000 years old and all of that but you can’t just makeup reality because you want to live forever

    uncle frogy

  44. 44
    lpetrich

    Joseph Mastropaolo doesn’t seem to have heard of the Fischer-Tropsch or Urey-Miller reactions — they are counterexamples to his claims.

  45. 45
    vaiyt

    @Ipetrich, 44:

    He’s parroting 100-year-old arguments. Most of modern biology consists on counterexamples to Mastropaolo’s claims.

  46. 46
    What a Maroon, el papa ateo

    I’m confused. What kind of logic is being used from “carbon isn’t aggregating” to “primeval soup is fanciful imagination”? Is there even a relationship, here?

    Oh, that’s super-duper creationist god-approved logic. You really should try it sometime; you’d be amazed at the results. Like: I put two rocks together in my garden and checked on them daily for a month, and they never moved apart. Therefore continental drift is bunk.

  47. 47
    dravid

    It’s the same old: Start with a conclusion and work back with made up evidance to prove your conclusion. It can also be called “painting a target around your arrows”.

  48. 48
    ChasCPeterson

    Fig. 1: WTF?

  49. 49
    myeck waters

    It can also be called “painting a target around your arrows”.

    Ah, the Texas Sharpscientist, I’ve heard of that.

  50. 50
    Azuma Hazuki

    What the actual fuck? I don’t know whether to be insulted by him or immensely sorry for him. How can people still push this tripe? Why don’t their heads catch on fire from the sheer friction force of their noses lengthening out at hypersonic speeds?

  51. 51
    chalchiuhtotolin

    Okay so I was looking at that outlier in the graph there.

    That’s Enoch. And according to the Bible, he didn’t die.

    “By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.” Hebrews 11:5

    So according to this, he’s still alive today.

    That dot that looks a bit low on the y axis should be much, much higher on it.

    Also, this dude doesn’t know his own religion.

  52. 52
    g d

    >Huffington Post

    correction: Puffington Host

  53. 53
    Lofty

    Azuma Hazuki

    How can people still push this tripe?

    They have support groups.

  54. 54
    cplcam

    Whenever these wackaloons ask to debate you just give them an old copy of some final you once gave to upperclassmen and tell them if they can’t ace it its not worth your time debating them on the subject. If it doesn’t do the trick at least their answera could produce a little comedy gold…

  55. 55
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    @ Cosmic Teapot

    Checks list,


    John Frusciante!!!

    HAH! I KNEW IT!!!! RHCP’s iS teH EBIL!!!!

  56. 56
    LykeX

    AND this same brilliant logic PROVES that plants can’t make carbohydrates from CO2, therefore all living things are sustained solely by the Power of God!

    I tried sticking a lit match into this solution and it just went out, proving that carbon compounds can’t combust. Clearly science has gotten it all wrong and therefore the bible must be literally true.
    QED, motherfuckers!

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