Tuesday, January 23, 2018

#1953: Mike Matthews

Mike Matthews is a young-earth creationist affiliated with Answers in Genesis (AiG), one of the most delusionally pseudoscientific, fundamentalist conspiracy groups in the US. In particular, Matthews is editor-in-chief of Answers magazine, Ken Ham’s in-house vanity journal and (inadvertent) attempt to make Christianity look as silly as possible. Here, for instance, is Matthews himself proving that God exists and that the Bible should be read literally, as a scientific treatise: Basically, you already know it, so it’s just a matter of removing the moral failings that cloud your judgment: “All people already know God because He is clearly seen in His creation, and His moral law is also written on their hearts. But they [i.e. atheists and evolutionary biologists] ‘suppress’, or hold down, the truth in unrighteousness because their proud hearts are rebellious and they do not want to submit to the truth.” Moreover, any inquiry must start with presuppositions, and it is blithely clear that none are better than the Bible (particularly because the Bible is essentially self-affirming, the Bible is God’s word and asserts that God’s word is the truth; apparently Matthews is impressed). Of course, Matthews misses the point that in science one also tests one’s presuppositions; indeed, he explicitly misses the point, by stating that one’s presuppositions must be an “ultimate standard” that “itself must be ‘self-attesting’ and ‘self-authenticating.’.” This is apparently what happens when idiots try to read Descartes’s Meditations without adult guidance. Here is Matthews arguing that the Bible must be true because it is so old.

One of AiG’s primary pastimes is to try to shoehorn scientific data and terminology into a young-earth framework by disregarding everything that doesn’t fit (which is most things). Matthews has – together with legendary crackpot Andrew Snelling – for instance been working on determining the precise dates of the ice ages by reading the Bible and disregarding the facts, concluding that the ice age occurred during the Pleistocene and that the Pleistocene (and ice age) took place sometime in the middle of the Bronze Age during the time of the tower of Babel, four generations after the Flood. The stone age, then (they accept that archaeologists have uncovered stone tools dating from the Pleistocene – earlier, too, but disregard that), occurred among people scattered after Babel, and lasted some 250 years, the primary independent evidence being that it’s absurd that human beings would use such crude and ugly stone tools for millions of years since humans are way smarter than that. So, as expected, there is no independent evidence (supporting their idea; there’s plenty contradicting it, of course. Some more details of their, uh, ravings are discussed here. For a discussion of what happens if you try to cram the Pleistocene climate record into a 250-year period, this one is good.

Apparently, Matthews has two degrees from Bob Jones University, which is as impressive as buying them yourself by following a link in a spam email.

Diagnosis: Oh, the anyone-who-disagrees-with-me-do-so-only-because-their-eyes-are-occluded-by-sin gambit, almost as annoying as and even dafter than the conspiracy theorist’s shill gambit. Matthews is entirely delusional, completely unreasonable, and part of one of the dumbest fundamentalist organizations in the world. Whether his activities help their efforts or not is a question we’ll leave open.

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