Friday, March 16, 2018

#1981: Grady McMurtry

Grady McMurtry is a regular guest on Revelation TV, especially on The Q&A Show (with Revelation TV founder and host Howard Conder). Now, Revelation TV is a British endeavor, but McMurtry is American: he is the head of Creation Worldview Ministries in Orlando, which consists of one person in addition to himself. So, yeah – he is a minor player. But he has received some attention by being unusually ridiculous, even by the already dismal creationist standards.

Like most creationists, McMurtry likes to mislead his audiences about his credentials. He claims to be a “scientific creationist” and often presents himself as “Dr. McMurtry”, but his doctorate is from an unaccredited Bible college, and his BA and MA have nothing to do with evolution (his credentials are discussed in some detail here). And make no mistake: McMurtry has no idea what the theory of evolution actually is, and tends to refer to anyone who disagree with him on matters geology or astronomy as well as “evolutionists” (https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Evolutionism). For instance, according to McMurtry “evolutionists say things are getting bigger, better, faster, smarter,” which is not really what the theory of evolution predicts. McMurtry also blamed the Virginia Tech shootings on evolution being taught, since, as McMurtry sees things, evolution teaches us “that humans had no more value than cats and dogs,” and makes people feel that way about themselves since morality is impossible if facts are facts: if evolution is true and “you have excess people, then you can just put them in a bag, throw them in the river the way you would too many kittens or too many puppies,” says McMurtry. McMurtry makes this mistake because he is stupid and unable to distinguish a scientific theory about how the world works from a moral theory about how the world ought to be. (I leave it to readers to assess his views about "excess" puppies and kittens and evaluate his character accordingly.)

Part of the problem is, of course, that McMurtry has no idea about what science is. Thus, McMurtry says things like “evolutionists do not have one single scientific proof that [the earth] is old,” being apparently oblivious that “proof” is an expression belonging to mathematics and formal logic, not science; scientists have of course ample evidence that the Earth is old. Apparently state politicians, who are not usually elected for their scientific literacy, are sometimes impressed with McMurtry’s work.

As with most “scientific creationists” his own method for supporting the inerrancy of the Bible is the exact opposite of a scientific method. Instead, McMurtry carefully follows the form of the Texas sharpshooter fallacy (centered on the inerrancy of the Bible), and selects evidence to support the dogma by the time-honored means of confirmation bias and motivated reasoning.

Of course, McMurtry doesn’t only reject the science of biology; geology has to go, too (there is a video of him trying to argue against plate tectonics, for those who are interested). It is probably little surprise that he is a climate change denialist, too, viewing climate change as a communist conspiracy and environmentalism in general as a type of “terrorism”: “I Dr. Grady S. McMurtry have been studying the Global Warming/Global Cooling controversy since the 1960s. […] I am completely convinced that the controversy is 100% politically motivated and not based on good science. The promoters of either view are either extreme socialists or extreme communists. Their sole primary purpose in promoting either view is to destroy Christian capitalism and replace it with extreme socialism/communism based upon the religion of Secular Humanism.” Of course, nothing in that statement, or anything else he has done, involves any discussion of anything resembling the science of the topic, any more than his discussions of biology do. There has, of course, never been any scientific global warming/global cooling controversy.

Trivia: Grady S. McMurtry is the son of Aleister Crowley associate Grady Louis McMurtry.

Diagnosis: Religious fanatic, who uses his religious fanaticism to fuel his astonishingly silly pseudoscience and science denial. Not an uncommon situation, and McMurtry is honestly a B-level celebrity as far as creationist celebrities are measured. But whatever his impact may be, it is certainly not for the benefit of mankind.


Hat-tip: Nucellalapillus

22 comments:

  1. For the record; evolution is based on the improvement of a species through micro advancements over a long period of time. It is standard that all changes to an organism must be positive and improve the organism or the next evolutionary change is to remove that change. This is evolution 101. So, when this pseudo-science zealot says “evolutionists say things are getting bigger, better, faster, smarter,” he is right, it does. Like my daddy said, "Even a broken clock is right twice a day."

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    1. No it doesnt. It says that species and organisms that develop certain characteristics or abilities will survive, thrive and out number other similar where the features give them an advantage in the prevailing environment. Whether or not the new or mutates species is better or not is only a matter of opinion.
      Darwin didnt kow how the adaptations and variations occured as genetics had not developed at that time.Random genetic mutations explain sceintifically how variations occur and is separate from evolutionary science. Your Dadddy's poit about the broken clock doesnt prove anything about either genetics or evolution.
      Best of luck with your enquiries.

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    2. for the record Brendan, you sound like a real patriot of the arts. Best of luck

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  2. It's funny that those who's disagree attack the individual and not the facts. Instead of putting him down, why don't you take his points and refute them. Knowledge is power, personal attacks are juvenile.

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    1. You didn't really read the entry, did you?

      Or perhaps you didn't understand it: Most of McMurtry's "points" don't need more refutation than what he inadvertently provides himself, such as his misunderstanding of what "science" is. Otherwise, for instance with regard to his climate denialism, the links will take you to all the refutations of McMurtry's claims you'll need. But you are not really interested in that, are you?

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    2. your absolutely right Mr Unknown. Evolutionist attack the speaker - they very rarely debate how implausible things are. Its in their nature to behave like monkeys. If you tell yourself your a monkey long enough you soon become one. Not to anyones suprise though right?

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  3. Hate to break it to you but the truth of Darwinian evolution by random mutations & NS has nothing to do with explaining Creation ex nihilo,the beginning of all time space and matter. Nor is it PROVEN by an unwavering philosophical commitment to scientific materialism or the accuracy or otherwise of any Scriptural text u have no understanding of. Perhaps ur need to lead a hedonistic lifestyle free of any moral consequences a la Jean Paul Sartre blinds most atheists to any intelligent debate about the origin of life and our finite, awe-inspiring, ABSTRACT law abiding, rationally-intelligible universe.

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    1. Not sure who you are referring to by "you". It is, after all, McMurtry who seems to be under the delusion that evolution has anything to do with abiogenesis or the origin of the universe.

      "Nor is it PROVEN by an unwavering philosophical commitment to scientific materialism or the accuracy or otherwise of any Scriptural text"

      This passage is impossible to interpret, since it is multiply ambiguous what "it" is supposed to refer to. But regardless of whether you are referring to the origin of the universe or evolution, surely no sane person would think that it is "PROVEN by an unwavering philosophical commitment to scientific materialism or the accuracy or otherwise of any Scriptural text"? That's not how science works, nor evidence. And hint: science is not committed to materialism - if you have a non-materialist hypothesis with better predictive power than current "materialist" theories (that is, predict observable data that current theories do not), go ahead: You'll win.

      I do not see what atheism has to do with any of this, though.

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    2. No one denies adaptation and evolutionary theory is absolutely about abiogenesis and the origin of the universe. The only time evolutionist say it has nothing to do with that is when they realize they cannot prove it. They still demand it is taught in schools.

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  4. I am a creationists” and accept that the universe is billions of years old as a Christan it realy dosen't matter the bibel is silent,the issue is not the age of the earth but who do you say christ is that question hasent changed in two thousand years,who do you say he is you at least owe your self an honest answer.As for me he is the unique person of the univers there is no other like him in human history,he is either God,Mad or Bad what do you say you must decide no one can do it for you who do you say christ is?As for Grady McMurtry i dont much care he's not the issue either all though when he says evolutionists see people as just animals and can be disposed of like cats or dogs he has a point after all the full title of Darwins book On the Origin of the species by means of natural selection,or the FAVOURED RACES in the STRUGGLE for life.
    Was this title responsible for the carnaig in the 20th century?
    Who do you say is the CHRIST?

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  5. When the argument is lost the looser resorts to ridicule.

    How about you debate the many very valid assertions and proofs that Grady has put forth rather then resorting to an all out character assassination?

    You cannot or are afraid to attack the ideas, lest their factual self evidence come to light, so you attack the man.

    And yes I have read your entire article.

    In 2013 a peer reviewed study found that a majority of scientists were skeptical of the "global warming" theory so your attempt to ridicule Mr McMurtry on this basis not only failed miserably but clearly displays your willingness to use even the most trivial matter in an attempt to discredit him.

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  6. "In 2013 a peer reviewed study found that a majority of scientists were skeptical of the "global warming" theory"

    Among silly denialist talking points, this must surely rank among the most quixotic. 97% of climate scientists agree that global warming is happening and is largely caused by human activity. If you want to understand the background (I suspect you don't), you can even start with wikipedia here and here. You conveniently neglected to specify the "peer reviewed study" you are talking about; if you are talking about the Legates et al. reply to Cook et al. (2013) - denialists, being either dishonest or stupid, sometimes are - it doesn't actually materially disagree with Cook et al., but argues mostly semantics. I know that climate change denialists like Richard Tol and Roy Spencer like to try to attack the Cook et al. study, too, but they don't get it published. As a final nail in the denialist coffin, their criticism is in any case irrelevant, since the Cook et al. (2013) paper is superseded by (e.g.) the newer one I linked to (among many others), which got the same result. McMurtry is a denialist loon. So are you.

    Either you haven't read the whole blogpost, or you are unable to comprehend it. You see, there are several responses to McMurtry's nonsensical ideas there, and plenty of links to further information. You apparently pretend not to see it, don't you? I am of course not going through the whole rich array of nonsense he has produced - after all, I have amply demonstrated that he has no idea what the theory of evolution actually says, what evidence real scientists are relying on, or even what science actually is and does. That makes it rather pointless to pursue it any further.

    I know creationists like to call for debates (after all, debates are won by the most skilled debater, not by the person who is correct or actually has the best evidence - or do you really think there is a correlation between who wins, say, a political debate and who is right). There is no point in playing a game of chess with someone who don't know the rules, will shit all over the board, and then declare victory, and similarly there is no point in debating creationist pseudoscientists - it will only give them a veneer of legitimacy they definitely don't deserve. But let me return with a different challenge: what about McMurtry actually teaching himself some biology, do some genuine research, and get his conclusions published in a legitimate journal? If he manages to convince experts in biology by actually addressing their hypotheses and the evidence they rely on, I will certainly change my mind.

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    1. Ever hear of Dr. James Tour? No doubt his credentials may impress even you?

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    2. James Tour, the professor of chemistry? How are his credentials supposed to be impressive, either with respect to climate change or evolution? He has expertise in neither field, and is thus not much more of an authority on either than a random Hollywood celebrity.

      Besides, he is one. You can find isolated crazy contrarians in any field, of course; given the sheer number of people working in a field, that's not surprising or interesting.

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  7. Always the same comment. Evolutionist - You dont understand the science, You dont understand the definitions,You dont have expertise but can provide no actual evidence.

    An observable fact is not in itself evidence of anything beyond itself. Implying more is just making a guess on faith.

    Calling for a journal to print something is not evidence of anything but agreement by the publishers. The scientific consensus said that too much or little black or yellow bile was bad for you. Scientific consensus said that smoking was good for you. Anyone disagreeing was called a crank or told they didnt understand the science

    Before you even go there let me point out I have said nothing about creation I have only said there is no scientific proof for evolution in terms of species transitioning or abiogenesis, or stellar formation and I could go on and on.

    Try being like a real scientist and be a skeptic.Dont accept things becuase some guys agree and pat each other on the back rather than admit they dont know

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  8. It's pretty arrogant - and makes you look pretty silly - to say that *we* don't understand the science or the definitions, and then go on to display your utter and basic misunderstanding of science and the relevant terminology. Pretty breathtaking.

    "An observable fact is not in itself evidence of anything beyond itself. Implying more is just making a guess on faith"

    Science *is* about the unobserved/unobservable. In fact, a standard definition of science is "a set of methods that allow you to go from observations to conclusions about the unobserved/unobservable". Science is our methods for establishing facts about what's too small, too big, too distant (in time or space), or too general (e.g. laws) to be observed directly, which includes for instance causal relations. That's the whole point of the hypothetico-deductive method, for instance: You formulate a hypothesis about something unobserved, derive from that hypothesis a set of observable phenomena, and then test your hypothesis against those observations. Or, in other words, you test hypotheses about the unobserved by their observable consequences.

    That's what science is. If you claim that going beyond the observable is "a guess of faith", you are denying all of science.

    And you really don't understand evolution. Evolution is a theory about what happens when life is present. It says nothing whatsoever about abiogenesis or stellar formation. Those are questions for biochemists and astronomers. This is a pretty basic point. It's pretty mindboggling to make claims about evolution with so little basic understanding of what the theory is, and then go on to accuse scientists working on the topic of not understanding it.

    Another detail that reveals your lack of understanding of science or evolution is of course your use of "scientific proof". "Proof" is for mathematics. Science isn't about proof, but about evidence. There is ample evidence for "species transitioning", e.g. a brief list here. Of course, when confronted with the evidence, creationists tend to go into denialist mode and start moving the goalposts. I expect nothing less from you.

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    1. Creationists also seem to forget that it has traditionally been the church that squelched scientific discovery (Galileo, et. al.) and subverted knowledge, actively, for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. It's known as the Dark Ages for a reason. Drowning witches and expelling demons was a practice of religion, not science.

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  9. And, just because it's annoying: "Scientific consensus said that smoking was good for you." No, it didn't. Where do you get your misinformation from?

    Of course, scientists have been mistaken about a lot of stuff before. That's true. Science is a self-correcting enterprise: one is never *certain* about any conclusion, there is no proof, and figuring out how the world works is hard. Theories and hypotheses need to be adjusted, modified or replaced as new evidence comes in. Ant that's the *strength* of science. It is also what distinguishes science from dogma. If your theories or hypotheses never change you really should start to worry that they are not really sensitive to the evidence or how reality actually works; dogmatism I the hallmark of pseudoscience and religion.

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  10. Evolution is about life. After the Big Bang, there was no life in the universe for millions or perhaps billions of years. So evolution has absolutely nothing to do with the origin of the universe. Why do you think that "evolutionary theory is absolutely about ... the origin of the universe"?

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  11. Would you scientist guys please get over yourselves. When I went go visit caves and the guide says how old the stalactites and stalagmites to form, I want to say, "how then is it possible form my steam iron and tea kettle to form them in a matter of a few months?" Mineral rings are building up on the chrome faucets and all over the porcelain, and the crud needs cleaning weekly. I know those cave discussions are full of it.

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  12. So, if you are going as far as to attack (Mcmurty) his credibility which is anyone's right, you must rebuttal his arguments otherwise you are only attacking the person. I don't care that much about where you came from and what hangs on your wall. I care about what is TRUTH. I have only an associates degree and though that is nothing compared to the learning many of you have had the opportunity of, Learning does not always equal TRUTH. Science is the reenacting of truth. It is the experience of eye witness reality. Not theory. How many times have our universities had to change what they teach because of men like Dr. Mcmurty proving it wrong with TRUTH. For a guy with a "less than qualified" resume (as you say) I take that over those who choose to master theory and teach what might not be true as truth.

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