The bit about Matt Powell

Last night, I did a livestream on YouTube. YouTube tends to bury these things, so I’m doing an experiment: I yanked out a 20 minute segment (it’s shorter! That helps) and reposted it. That also meant I could go in and edit and add an endtitle that gives credit to my Patreon supporters.

This is a bit where I talked about Matt Powell’s latest clueless video. I guess he hates pop culture almost as much as he mangles science.

The complete livestream is here, about an hour long, if you want to hear my exasperation at Jordan Peterson, and a bit about a recent paper on bat evolution.

Oh, also, I guess you get to see my graying Zappa.


  1. davidc1 says

    Very way off topic,but over here in good old Blighty,Barry Cryer has died at the age of 86.
    Over here from the 60’s onwards if you ever laughted at a TV/Radio programme,chances are
    he wrote it.

  2. Rob Grigjanis says

    davidc1 @1: A name etched in my memory, though I left England in 1968. He grew up in Harehills (Leeds), just east of my home area (Chapeltown).

  3. Rich Woods says

    @davidc1, Rob Grigjanis:

    Barry Cryer isn’t dead, he’s just having a kipling.

    (Uxbridge English Dictionary: Kipling — A short nap.)

  4. seachange says

    I looked this up so all y’all don’t have to: it’s a rugby player. Maybe.

    I had no idea who Mr. Powell is so I asked Google to help me. There are lots of Matt Powells. I don’t know ANY of them. Wikipedia doesn’t have a disambiguity page on this name though, so perhaps this is why you didn’t tell us who this dude is PZ.

  5. brightmoon says

    @6 Hugh Lofting wrote a Dr Doolittle story about a giant snail rescuing 2 people during Noah’s Flood . I wish I could remember the title by I read it when I was a kid . It’s probably the reason I never believed the fundie version of a global Flood was true.

    Matt Powell is scarily unintelligent 🤯

  6. blf says

    seachange@7, try searching for Matt Powell creationist. Sadly, there isn’t an entry (that I could find) at either RationalWiki or the Encyclopedia of American Loons. Like you, the name doesn’t (now) ring any bells, but a bit of searching with context — not just the name — does seem to provide some clews that may be helpful.

  7. PaulBC says

    LeftCoaster@6 I liked the floating island in Life of Pi though this is probably way off topic.

  8. says

    Powell is a relatively young fundamentalist Christian preacher. His claim to fame, besides being incredibly ignorant, is that he recently teamed up with Kent Hovind. Kent is estranged from his family, so the thinking is that he might be Hovind’s successor. I doubt it; Kent is too narcissistic to be thinking about an heir.

  9. tacitus says

    Cephalopods from outer space isn’t dumb. Anyone who’s seen Resident Alien knows that!

  10. tacitus says

    The sad thing about Powell is that he dragged his wife and kids down to Hovind’s Alabama compound, where sovereign citizens and convicted pedophiles are made welcome.

  11. gijoel says

    @9 I googled Matt Powell and got an AFL player. Hopefully fundie Powell will sink into obscurity.

    And you just know that Kent is going to rip this kid off at some point.

  12. StevoR says

    @15. gijoel : Wiki disambig page gives Matt Powell in all, okay, 3 forms of footy :

    Matt Powell (born 1978), Welsh rugby union footballer
    Matthew Powell (Australian footballer) (born 1973), former Australian rules footballer
    Matthew Powell (soccer) (born 1996), American soccer player

    Source :

    Wonder if this deservedly more obscure namesake of those thinks of those sports as equally childish games? Odd how that works. A kids game(s) involving kicking a ball around is somehow a valuable career for adults but other “kids games” or pastimes (video games, comics) – that arguably involve more imagination, creativity, and different skills aren’t.

    PS. I also wonder about how the NASA astronaut Ken Ham who flew on Space Shuttle flights STS-124 & STS-132 feels about his creationist namesake and if they ever get confused with each other or sent each others fan (or not fan) mail.

  13. Rob Grigjanis says

    StevoR @17:

    A kids game(s) involving kicking a ball around is somehow a valuable career for adults…

    At the highest level they (the major football codes) are lucrative careers because they are popular entertainment. But for many of us they are, or were, hugely enjoyable (unpaid) adult pastimes. I’m 67, and I’d still be playing as often as I could, if I could.

    Funny how you use quotes: football is a kids game, but video games are “kids games” (i.e “not really”). Feh.

  14. StevoR says

    @ ^ Rob Grigjanis : Fair enough and I stand (sit) corrected..

    I was trying to highlight the disparity with games kids play or things childen stereotypically enjoy where some are seen as culturally more acceptable to keep doing as an adult whilst others get mocked and derided – didn’t intend to imply there’s anything wrong with still enjoying or playing football of any variety as an adult. I used to love playing backyard cricket as a boy and wish I’d been good enough to make a career out of it (I was absolutely awfull but still had lots of fun!) and even wish been good enough to play at club – for fun – level as an adult now too so can relate. But intent isn’t magic and so apologies, I should have phrased better.

    FWIW, I do think the amount superstar football players of almost (?) every code make is obscene even given the likely health impacts of their chosen careers..Equally if someone is making millions playing video games then that too I find objectionable. It says something about our prioritrites which I think reflects badly on us as societies but, yeah. Bit of a separate issue & don’t want to derail the thread here.

  15. John Morales says


    I do think the amount superstar football players of almost (?) every code make is obscene even given the likely health impacts of their chosen careers.

    Typical power law stuff. I mean, this is well off-topic, but I guess one can shoehorn it in relating to grifters such as the subject of the post.

    Best tennis players, they earn heaps. Best musicians, too. And best actors. And best drivers. Best salespeople. And so forth.

    The rest of them, not-so-much.

    (Also, you do realise e-sports is a thing, right?)

  16. StevoR says

    @6 . LeftCoaster : I beleive there’s an entire natural raft based :

    Speculative Proximan ocean ecosystem

    that could apply to many potentially habitable red dwarf ocean worlds if it actually can work that that..?

    Plus one of the mroe obscure CS lewis novels – Perelandra a fictional ocean world Venus hasd something similar to this too. ( ) Lewis being a Christian and popular in their circles Matt Powell might even perhaps have read it?

  17. PaulBC says

    @17 @18 @19 @20 One thing I like about that concept of market-based value is it’s freed me of nearly any inclination to judge one activity more or less worthy than any other. Your salary is just what someone else is willing to pay you to do it. In practice, I admit I’d probably draw the line. If balloon twisters were getting paid more than open heart surgeons, I’d consider that maybe we had our priorities screwed up. But (echoing John Morales here) I wouldn’t be scandalized to find out that the world’s best balloon twister made more money at their job than a typical open-heart surgeon, even one who had saved many lives. I also don’t think the overall economic impact would be that great. The cultural impact of luring young people into trying to be the best balloon twister instead of learning a more “practical” field could be more problematic.

    Most adults I work with play computer games (I really haven’t in years; I used to like nethack and Civilization) so the idea that it’s dismissed as “kids games” runs counter to my experience. My only serious connection with soccer was volunteering as the world’s worst AYSO 8U referee for a couple of years while my kids were playing. They seemed to like it at the time. It seems like a perfectly fine and healthful activity, but team sports confuse the hell out of me. I have no idea what everyone is doing, and the fact that they all seem to makes it far worse. In reality I would probably get more enjoyment out of watching a high-level balloon-twisting competition (there must be such a thing). That is not a statement about whether something is worthy, for kids, or should be highly compensated. Just my personal preference.

  18. StevoR says

    @22. John Morales : I believe (or think / imagine) that there are many possibilities for what Proxima b (& other SuperEarths, superVenuses, SuperMercuries or sub-Neptunes or Gas dwarfs or Rock Giants or Water Worlds, etc.. ) might be like.The multiple speculations described in that youtube clip at #21 are potential versions of what it could perhaps be like as the “Speculative” part of the description should have made clear.

    I don’t know whether the speculative rafts of floating organic matter ecosystem is the case in reality for Proxima Centauri b is or not. It may or may not be what Proxima b’s nature is like and is one of a number of hypothetical models that meet the limited information we currently have – mainly orbit and mass ( ) with many unknown variables such as its atmosphere if any is present, whether it has a magnetic field or not, its chemical composition, etc .. If Proxima b lacks water and a strong planetary magnetic field it’s surface may well be something much more like our Moon or Mercury. If it resembes Neptune but smaller that’s another possibility. It could also be more like Venus or the many varied vision of Venus we had before our spaceprobes uncovered its real nature benath its clouds or something more exotic like the core of an eroded star-blasted gas giant or a carbon planet covered in silicon carbide and tar over a diamond layer or covered with molten lava on one side and a dense ice sheet on the other or something totally unexpected that we haven’t thought of yet.

    I don’t think we yet have enough evidence to determine what that exoplanet is really like and that speculative model may not be the case or even the most probable model. However, that video’s idea was one I find intriguing and appealing and one that addresses the notion of animals or other lifeforms existing on natural rafts of material which Powell was mocking as unrealistic but which should I think be taken seriously as at least a reasonable idea.

  19. Rich Woods says

    @PZ #11:

    Kent is estranged from his family, so the thinking is that he might be Hovind’s successor. I doubt it; Kent is too narcissistic to be thinking about an heir.

    Hovind may not have any say in the matter. He’s getting on a bit, and there plenty of stepladders and loose paving slabs out there. Prison isn’t a safe environment either.

    I don’t like the look in Matt Powell’s eyes. What’s Alabama like on conservatorship law?

  20. StevoR says

    PS. @ John Morales : Do you think the ideas mentioned in the video in #21 are “silly” and if so why?