Most people would agree we don’t come from monkeys, and we didn’t Big Bang, right


Trump guy at a Trump rally, talking about flat earth:

Let’s go Brandon!

Jesus fucking christ, I’m just going to put my head down and work on genetics now.


  1. says

    I wonder if he met the lady who thinks that not only will JFK Jr. come back to support Trump, but Princess Diana and Michael Jackson too, because Trump “saved” them. I bet they’d get along well.

  2. StevoR says

    So, the Trumpist here says that truth (Reality?) is formed by consensus – not evidence, not science, not logic – but “finding common ground” and yet it’s the Progressives, the Left, they call “cultural relativists“* and seem to think relativism is an insult not an epistemological philosophy?

    Fer fucks sake.

    Do we even want to ask them about the value of Pi and whether if enough people want it to be exactly 3 it becomes so?

    Insofar as that term has any meaning and they could even define it if they tried beyond just I don’t like demzz..

  3. StevoR says

    PS. I know probly doing Relativism a disservice here..

    FWIW a lot of things do depend a lot on your point of view and context matters and yet, yeah. There is I think (?) an actual factual, objective reality out there Been a very long time since I did undergraduate philosophy class.. decades ago.

  4. R. L. Foster says

    Jim: You’ve got to remember that these are just simple farmers. These are people of the land. The common clay of the new West. You know… morons. (Blazing Saddles, 1974)

    Back when I first watched Blazing Saddles in a theater I laughed out loud at this now famous line. An over-the-top exaggeration, I thought at the time. When I hear it now I don’t laugh or even giggle a little. It’s too damn close to truth.

  5. Dago Red says

    People who think like this guy are not limited to the MAGA heads! The majority of people actually think this way and I would argue this is the main reason why cryptocurrency and NFTs (and religion and conspiracy theories and ghosts and and…) end up becoming popular.

    Way too many people implicitly rely on their own shared common values and opinions — rather than actual facts and evidence — in their mental models that each of us use to make sense of reality. This may have been a evolutionary survival benefit once (I don’t really know…) back when humanity was decentralized and greatly limited by its lack of understanding of how things really work, but in a population of seven billion, where interdependence and technology are relied upon and are now required for such a large population to survive…as long as a majority of people continue to think like our ancient ancestors — where opinion and shared values are fungible with facts and evidence — I’m sorry, but I have trouble imagining humanity escaping from a relatively eminent global catastrophe (and we might just deserve it!).

  6. PaulBC says

    It reminds me a little of “Fucking magnets, how do they work?” and I bet it’s a pretty common viewpoint: I don’t understand this, so I doubt anyone else does. It’s magic, and anyone who says otherwise is bullshitting you. Sometimes I wonder if the main thing we’ve accomplished in the decades since the 50s is to replace blind acceptance of “scientists” with blind dismissal.

  7. astringer says

    Reginald Selkirk @7

    I don’t have powerful image enhancement software, but squinting really hard at that video I’m convinced the hat says “Make America Fat Again” *… which is seriously doubting the 1st time derivative of average MBI in the USA… bold, mavericky thinker indeed.
    [I admit, my 1st thought was it said FLAT, but if so, he’s spelt it wrong].

  8. says

    I remember very specifically a YouTube thread where I compared flerfs to x-tians. This guy tried to tell me religion had no connection to flat Earth. Find me a single atheist flerf. Just one will do. They’re as fictitious as unicorns. Religion and bad science are inexorably linked. Only the willfully blind don’t see that.

  9. says

    Ray Ceeya:
    Find me a single atheist flerf.

    Once a grift-niche is identified, someone will fill it. Maybe you should, and start a podcast, shoot for a Templeton. It might work! Hey, ivermectin sponsorship opportunity! Ivermectin does not contradict flerf, so there’s that!

  10. Rob Grigjanis says

    Ray Ceeya @12:

    Religion and bad science are inexorably linked

    Plenty of theists have done first-rate science. Plenty of atheists have done crap science. So “inexorably linked” seems a tad hyperbolic.

  11. nomdeplume says

    Who could have guessed, 25 years ago, that the wonderful promise of the internet age would result in social media driving the world insane and paving the way for a returjn of fascism?

  12. dontlikeusernames says

    SteveOr @ 3: It’s always projection. Somehow. No matter how awful.

    (I wonder if one could popularize ‘Projectionists’ as a nickname. I think the literal profession has mostly died out so no harm, right?)

  13. dontlikeusernames says

    Rob Grigjanis @ 14:

    I think they might have meant “religion => bad science”, but there are definitely a few exceptions (Collins, that fellow who was a witness in the Dover trials, etc.).

    I think there’s definitely a strong correlation, tho.

  14. davidc1 says

    A tad off topic,but laurance fox,anti woke,anti vaxxer,has admitted he has caught covid19,and he is taking,wait for it.
    He is the son of a famous actor,stood for mayor of London as a anti woke candidate.
    Got less than 2% of the vote.
    Looks like amurica hasn’t got the monopoly on batshitcrazy wackaloons.

  15. Rob Grigjanis says

    dontlikeusernames @18:

    I think there’s definitely a strong correlation, tho

    Did you come by that scientifically? Historically, the “few exceptions” would include Leibniz, Newton, Faraday, Maxwell, Lemaître, Heisenberg, and Salam.

    And on the flip side, we have atheists like Fred Hoyle, who said

    The reason why scientists like the “big bang” is because they are overshadowed by the Book of Genesis. It is deep within the psyche of most scientists to believe in the first page of Genesis

    But surely atheism can’t lead to bad science?

  16. PaulBC says

    Rob Grigjanis@20 While I agree that theists can be great scientists and atheists can be idiots, your argument would be more compelling if you had included somebody born less than a century ago. OK, Abdus Salam (had to look up the name) was born in 1926, so not quite an entire century.

    You may think it’s an arbitrary distinction (I don’t know) but there’s a difference between people who grew up at a time when belief in God was pervasive among educated people including scientists, and when there were also a lot more mysteries in the world around us. E.g., I would expect few competent biologists to believe in vitalism even in 1926, but at the same time, it would require more than a few leaps to really rule out. Yes, there are genes and they seem to have something to do with chromosome, but how are they encoded? Yes, we can watch a single cell differentiate into an organism, but what is really going on? These mechanisms still exceed our complete understanding (particularly development) but we’re starting with a very different set of observations than we had a century ago.

    There are younger scientists who are religious and carry out excellent research. There are atheists who are either ignorant or apathetic about science. But the underpinnings of religion, or at least any religion now current, are steadily being dismantled. An appeal to scientists of the past is irrelevant to what you’d expect from a scientist today.

  17. Rob Grigjanis says

    PaulBC @21:

    An appeal to scientists of the past is irrelevant to what you’d expect from a scientist today.

    The point made by Ray and dontlikeusernames was that religion and bad science are either “inextricably linked” or that there is a “strong correlation” between them. There is no date dependence in those assertions.

  18. HidariMak says

    These are people whining about Critical Race Theory, despite having no idea about what it is, or where it’s taught. They believe in a massive worldwide conspiracy that created COVID-19 in a lab, in a plan to kill billions, while simultaneously insisting that COVID-19 doesn’t exist, and that Trump deserves great praise for personally creating the vaccines, despite the vaccines being deliberate attempts to kill billions. They argue that no Trump supporters were at the Capitol, while simultaneously demanding that the Trump supporters be freed from prison for their part at the Capitol. They’re the personification of Schrodinger’s Law, some of whom are promoting “urine therapy”, while waiting for JFK and JFK Jr. and Michael Jackson and Richard Pryor and others to rise from the dead to officially declare Trump the new-current president.

    After too many rounds of “how stupid and crazy can they be” being answered with “hold my beer”, the complete abandonment of reasonable and rational thought is more of an expectation than a surprise.

  19. birgerjohansson says

    Anyone who have illusions about human wisdom needs to watch the “documentary ” by wossname the guy who thinks fluoridisation of water is evil.
    I think the title was The Great Culling Our Water.*
    These days, they are voting as a bloc.

    one of his documentaries resulted in the immortal comment “no, water does not get sad if you yell at ir”.

  20. nomdeplume says

    Just saw a youtube announcement for a seminar by Joe Deweese “Professor of Biochemistry” titled “why I am a creationist… I’m guessing this is like “Dr Kent Hovind”? But more seriously, In my view no serious scientist could have remained or become religious after 1859.

  21. nomdeplume says

    Just saw a youtube announcement for a seminar by Joe Deweese “Professor of Biochemistry” titled “why I am a creationist… I’m guessing this is like “Dr Kent Hovind”? But more seriously, In my view no serious scientist could have remained or become religious after 1859.

  22. mcfrank0 says

    Snarki,child of Loki @17:

    Amazingly, the one and only time I visited Kansas, it was the part with hills (northeast KS).
    Coincidentally, Lawrence Kansas showed up recently in the news as being the subject of some extreme gerrymandering as the hilly home of UofK is not conservative enough for the rest of the state.
    Austin Texas is also pretty hilly and the most liberal city (for now) in the state.
    The flat/hilly:conservative/liberal analysis falls “flat” with my previous hometown of Chicago (it’s pretty level). And it completely falls apart when discussing where I grew up in Pennsylvania.

    Hmm. Could there be some other confounding factor?

  23. says

    I should make a Venn Diagram. Flerfs are a subset of Young Earthers who are themselves mostly but not always Christian. In fact the first flerf I ever saw was a Muslim. That was twenty years ago. But they all believe in an all powerful sky fairy. I’m still looking for that elusive flerf who is also atheist. I don’t think it’s possible to reconcile a universe that is billions of years old with a domed flat Earth. I would love to see someone try though.

  24. unclefrogy says

    i do not think it is religion per say that is connected to bad science but an aspect of religion most prevalent in western and middle eastern religion and in the poor less educated generally. It is faith blind unquestioning faith obstinate irrational faith. belief in the correctness of your ideas regardless of any evidence to the contrary. religion fosters and encourages belief in the impossible to take the metaphor as a real thing. religion does not have a monopoly on faith it takes on many forms like Qanon and the Dumpster crypto and I will win the something for . nothing lottery much of politics
    do you believe in magic?

  25. birgerjohansson says

    He does not believe in the big bang.
    He believes a djinn from “I Dream Of Genie” went “boinng” and created everything, instead(. The same goes for all the animals.
    *it was Scott McFarlane of Family Guy who provided the simile.
    To see the problem with consensus thinking, consider the culture of Imperial Japan and of Germany ca.1933.
    For a closer example, consider the static society of the Amish (although they are pacifists and only cause harm indirectly, by keeping the children ignorant).

  26. angoratrilobite says

    That flerf comment… wow… just wow. We “didn’t big bang?” The universe’s commitment to creating bigger, better idiots is impressive.

  27. Rob Curtis says

    “Most people would agree we don’t come from monkeys, and we didn’t Big Bang, right”

    I’d have to agree. Monkeys and humans have a common ancestor. We didn’t come from monkeys.

    We also didn’t Big Bang. The universe Big Banged. We just somehow showed up 13 billion years later.

    I really hope we figure out abiogenesis. I would like to know how the first organisms came about and got a foothold here on our globe earth.

  28. Rob Grigjanis says

    Rob Curtis @35:

    Monkeys and humans have a common ancestor. We didn’t come from monkeys.

    Old World Monkeys and New World Monkeys have a common ancestor. If their common ancestor was a monkey, we do come from monkeys. Otherwise, you’d have to argue that Old World monkeys only became monkeys after the split with Hominoidea, which raises the question of when New World ‘monkeys’ became monkeys.

  29. PaulBC says

    @35 @36 Anyone can say “Most people agree that [mumble mumble incoherent nonsense] is not true” and be correct. The question is what conclusions they draw from it. His conclusion seems to be that we need to find a consensus based on what most people actually do believe. This is not an effective method of determining facts.

  30. says

    “Let’s go Brandon”.
    Yeah, one of these days, I’m going to just laugh in one of those idiots’ faces while saying, “Brandon won, dipshidiot. Oh and by the way: Fuck Trump.” I want to see their tiny heads asplode.

  31. Kagehi says

    @22 I don’t think the statements other have made on the subject are necessarily “precise enough”, perhaps, and paint with a wider than needed brush, maybe, but the general principle is, I think, not wrong. A lot of people probably did relatively good science, at one time, while believing in fairies, elves, dragons, goblins, evil spirits, and a long, long, long list of other things too. For the most part none of these things have persisted as a “go to” for any modern scientist when a) outside their field of expertise, b) they have no clue what they are talking about in someone elses field, and c) they don’t actually understand it enough to make sensible statements about it, but… this is literally where all of the religious scientists seem to end up going when a) they are religious, and b) they don’t have a good explanation.

    Yes, there are equally terrible, and absurd, pseudo-scientific conclusions that some non-religious scientists, and non-scientists in the same category, fall into when confronted with this situation. So, its not “exclusive” to theology based gibberish. That said, there is a unique element of, “Everything works based on the fundamental rules of the universe, except this, since I don’t understand it, and therefor it must be supernatural.”, in the religious version. The equivalent in the non-religious one is, “I am now going to make up a lot of silly BS, which I could, with a 5 minute google search on legit science sites, find evidence doesn’t work like I think it does at all, but I have decided it must! Wait…!!! Why are you saying you don’t want me teaching here any more and I might lose my doctorate?!?!”

    It doesn’t, imho, sometimes happen often enough, or to the right deserving people, but.. there is no tumble into wonderland, in which absolutely nothing in “subject X” works using normal, reality based, rules any more, and nothing is thus falsifiable for them, because ghosts and goblins, “must be the answer!”

    I would say, if one where diagraming it, Venn like, for example, over time, the “overlap” between, “bug nuts crazy”, is increasing, while the part overlapping, “Might actually explain something.”, is shrinking. Its that these overlap at all still that some of us find, depending on context, either merely annoying, or downright distressing.

  32. Rob Grigjanis says

    Kagehi @40:

    That said, there is a unique element of, “Everything works based on the fundamental rules of the universe, except this, since I don’t understand it, and therefor it must be supernatural.”, in the religious version.

    I can’t read the minds of long-dead scientists, so I don’t know if they would have agreed with your phrasing. The pertinent question is “did their faith impede their work?”. If it didn’t/doesn’t, I don’t see a problem. The problem some atheists seem to see is some vague philosophical objection which often comes across as a smug “anyone who isn’t an atheist like me is intellectually lazy”.

    My impression in reading about people like Maxwell, Lemaître, Heisenberg and Salam, is that they didn’t feel constrained by their faith in any way. For Maxwell and Salam, it appears that their work was largely inspired by their beliefs, with the sense that they were uncovering the glories of God’s creation. You can call that silly if you like, or insist that they should justify their beliefs scientifically for some reason, but to me, that’s just pointless persnickety noise. Show me the fucking equations.

    Of course there have been scientists whose beliefs did or do impede their work. Then their work will stand or fall on its merits.

    The equivalent in the non-religious one is, “I am now going to make up a lot of silly BS, which I could, with a 5 minute google search on legit science sites, find evidence doesn’t work like I think it does at all, but I have decided it must! Wait…!!! Why are you saying you don’t want me teaching here any more and I might lose my doctorate?!?!”

    This wasn’t Hoyle’s thinking at all. His (and others’) objection to the Big Bang theory seemed to be largely that its proponents had been brainwashed by Genesis. Prominent atheist/physicist Steven Weinberg praised Hoyle’s steady-state theory from a philosophical (read ‘anti-biblical’) point of view, and lamented that it had been disproven.

  33. says

    The pertinent question is “did their faith impede their work?”

    Another pertinent question is “did other people’s faith, or intolerance of anyone questioning their faith, impede their work?”

  34. PaulBC says

    Rob Grigjanis@41 I agree that you can do competent science while believing anything that doesn’t directly contradict your research. I mean, you could be a polymer chemist and still bring your lucky dice with you to Las Vegas, as long as you keep your thinking compartmentalized. It’s not always possible. You can’t be a competent evolutionary biologist and a creationist, because there’s a direct contradiction.

    So I would never claim religious belief causes bad science or lack of it leads to good science (Hoyle’s problem sounds more like one of arrogance and a fixation with steady-state as the “right” answer, leading him to assume irrationality of those who disagreed).

    I would claim that religious belief is more of a tell today than it would have been 100 years ago. E.g., as far as I know, Francis Collins is a highly accomplished researcher. But it’s also clear that religion is important enough to him to put it front and center of his identity. Why is that? There are also many practicing Hindus and Muslims doing great science. Some have been my friends and colleagues. I think that’s also a little different because they’re doing it in the context of culture and tradition. The same may be true of Collins, but that culture is slipping away. I wonder about my science teachers from back in Catholic school. I think the lay teachers were mostly practicing Catholics, but they didn’t wear it on their sleeve either. That was just a different era.

    To be honest, religion confuses me and I often think most people can’t possibly really believe what they’d have to believe to be a member in good standing of their faith. So what do they actually believe? Beats me

    I will still take note when someone professes an active interest in religious faith that isn’t explained by mere conformism, because it’s really hard for me to reconcile this with having a scientific worldview. They may still be able to do good science, but I’m still going to notice and wonder how their thinking goes. It must be very different from me.

  35. PaulBC says

    For another example, I’m quite sympathetic to computer scientist Donald Knuth’s explanation of his Lutheran faith. It hasn’t stopped him from being a brilliant logical thinker, though he is not an experimental scientist. There are a number of factors to consider (not only that I was already a big fan and have an incentive to reconcile this). First and foremost, he’s from a different generation. Also, he is an accomplished organist, and the church gives him an outlet for his talent. Another is his own acknowledgement that it has a lot to do with tradition. As Knuth attests:

    I’m a Lutheran because my parents and grand­parents, and indeed all my known ancestors back to the 1600s, were Lutheran. Furthermore, like theologian Joseph Sittler, I’m especially pleased to have been raised in the Lutheran tradition because it taught me that I didn’t need a “cerebral bypass operation” in order to approach God. Lutherans use their God-given intelligence to dig deeply into spiritual questions. Martin Luther was a great scholar—a man who used his head and his heart simultaneously.

    So that’s all well and good, and it works for him. I think we will see fewer and fewer such people though, because it’s an arduous exercise to maintain this kind of “non-cerebrally bypassed” faith (my father also pulled it off), and the incentives no longer exist for it. It is much easier simply to profess a lack or interest or lack of belief in religion.

  36. John Morales says

    Lutherans use their God-given intelligence to dig deeply into spiritual questions.

    See the cognitive blinkers there?
    They presume their intelligence is God-given, so obviously there’s no point investigating whether or not it’s God-given. The answer is already known.
    For them, that’s just a brute fact, by virtue of their Lutheranism.

    (Also, what’s a spiritual question? Hell, what’s a spirit? ;) )

  37. Rob Grigjanis says

    John @44:

    Rob is just riding his hobby-horse.

    Sure. Responding to others riding theirs.

  38. John Morales says

    Just checking, Rob. It’s fine to feel smug when comparing oneself to flat-earthers, evolution deniers, and so forth, but it’s bad if one does it when comparing oneself to goddists. Right? :)

    (Such a different thing!)

  39. John Morales says

    Hey, Rob. Just using your nomenclature.

    I note how you have attempted to avoid the issue; religion is a special category for you, right?

    Not like pseudo-science or superstition. Or Trump groupies.
    You find it quite respectable, unlike those things.

    It’s never fine to feel smug, John.

    Why not? What harm does it do anyone?

    But hey, think of it in these terms: “there but for the grace of God go I”.

    (Because that’s not smugness, is it? That sentiment expresses no satisfaction whatsoever!)

  40. PaulBC says

    John Morales@46 Well, sure, but what do you expect him to say when interviewed for a Lutheran magazine? My interpretation is that Knuth’s religion gives him personal satisfaction and he values the connection with his family and community. His purpose isn’t to rationalize it away, though. A phrase like “God-given intelligence” is expected in this context and fits the interviewer’s assumptions. Also his point is contingent on the existence of God, namely that if you believe in God, then (he would argue) you should believe in a God who wants you to use your brain. If you don’t, then you might have other reasons to use your brain, but just being religious isn’t an excuse to stop thinking.

    Rob Grigjanis@51 I think it’s almost always OK to feel however you actually feel. The question is whether it’s causing harm to you or others. In the case of occasional smugness, it seems rather mild. I suppose habitual smugness could have a harmful impact on critical thinking if it leads to a false sense of certainty. Even that is still “fine”, in my opinion, if you are not harming others.

  41. John Morales says

    Paul, I here state Rob’s position as a syllogism:
    1) To be not smug is to be better than to be smug;
    2) Rob is not smug, I am smug;
    3) Rob is better than me.

    Funnily enough, if one replaces smugness with religiosity, and Rob and I with correspondingly attributable religiosity, that’s exactly the way I feel.
    But Rob calls the one instance, and not the other.

    (Unthinking hypocrisy is still hypocrisy)

  42. Rob Grigjanis says

    Sorry John, not in the mood to wander into the Morales Labyrinth and Hall of Smoke and Mirrors this evening.

  43. says

    After watching this nonsense I feel like Mr. Spock in Star Trek when he did the mind-meld with the volcanic creature. At one point Spock blurts out “PAIN!” That’s how I feel now.