NOTE: Due to travel and other issues, YAD will be updating more irregularly than usual during the first two weeks of September. Follow YAD on Twitter if you need YAD methadone during this time.
You Are Dumb, which is not a blog, posts new columns every weekday, except for a couple of days each month when it doesn't. It is also a Twitter feed, @youaredumb, with content in a similar vein but much shorter. My spinoff food site, Forkbastard, can be found easily enough by the clever.
Because of the hectic life schedule, this week will contain nothing but a-topical pre-written content. Things should return to normal, or something approaching normal, next week.
Memo to Sky Dentist: YOU ARE DUMB.
I had a plan.
You see, I have Netflix. And a few months ago, a three-part series got added to Netflix Instant Streaming. It's called "Incredible Creatures That Defy Evolution". Each part is a 45-minute faux-debunking of evolution by presenting a series of creatures so incredibly complicated that they could not have evolved by chance.
So I figured I'd sit through all three in my spare time, make fun of them, and have a week of columns knocked out for this week of severe indisposition. But I ran into a problem. A severe problem. It's not two-and-a-half hours of content, it's about 20 minutes of content, repeated endlessly. So we're still going to make fun of it, just, you know. Not for five days. Two, maybe three, depending on how it works out.
Before you even hit play, by the way, you're warned that "Incredible Creatures That Defy Evolution" will "challenge your thought processes". I assume this is a legal warning, similar to what amusement parks put at the front of roller coasters. Because certainly, if you have any thought process going on at the start of the show, they'll be seriously challenged by the time you're done.
As creationist propaganda, ICTDE does its best to ape similar, slightly more legitimate fare. In this case, it's a cheap Animal Planet documentary circa 2004. There's lots of stock footage of nature, a bearded, balding host in khaki shorts, and lots of bongos on the soundtrack.
But the host isn't the star of the show. No, the star of the show is Dr. Jobe Martin. Dr. Jobe Martin is the scientific expert who will be guiding us through the titular Incredible Creatures and explaining to us how they Defy Evolution. And here, unedited and sans snarky comments, is the entire list of credentials we are given for Dr. Jobe Martin:
Yes, that's right, ladies and gentlemen. We are being taught "science" by a man who, at best, was LBJ's motherfucking SKY DENTIST forty years ago. Holy shit, creationists are a sorry lot. They need someone who can counter hundreds of years of research and scientific inquiry, and they dig up a guy with a misspelled Biblical name who can clean a bicuspid at 30,000 feet. BRILLIANT.
Sky Dentist has, I shit you not, been delivering creationist lectures for two decades. Twenty years! Twenty years of making at least part of his non-dentist living speaking to audiences that think "LBJ's Sky Dentist" provides the same depth of scientific knowledge as "evolutionary biologist". I never thought I'd say this, but it appears creationists are even dumber than I gave them credit for.
There's some other stuff about his background that I'll get into later, but let's leave you with the first Incredible Creature... the bombardier beetle.
You see, the bombardier beetle defends itself by ejecting a mix of chemicals its body produces. This mix explodes on contact with air, scaring off potential predators. And it is with the bombardier beetle that we begin to see the deep, fundamental, and deliberate misunderstanding of evolution that lies at the core of so much creationist thought.
You see, Sky Dentist sees evolution as a deliberate, conscious process that moves toward the goal of what currently walks the Earth. So in the case of the bombardier beetle, he sees a series of trial and error decisions that works out like a Three Stooges movie set in a munitions factory. "Hey, Moe, what happens when we mix these two chemicals!" BOOM. OK, what if we mix them outside the body? BOOM. OK, what if we try a catalyst? BOOM.
In other words, a bunch of ordinary beetles keep getting eaten by spiders. But any attempt they make at developing an explosive chemical mix would go horribly wrong unless it were put together one certain specific way, so the bombardier beetle must have sprung forth fully-formed from the head of Zeus.
Sky Dentist's version of evolution is ridiculous, and he's right to question it. Unfortunately, he's leapt to the conclusion that it's evolution that's wrong, not his stupid, stupid brain's ability to understand it. And so he turned to Jesus and found all his answers there. How that happened, exactly, and how he applies those answers? Well, that's a story for another day.