Wednesday, June 27, 2012

#337: Jay Richards

In the previous post we lamented the demise of several prominent and insane conspiracy theories. Well, the present religious wingnut, creationist and global warming denialist, is really worthy of Zechariah Sitchin himself, even though his lunacy stays within more socially accepted bounds. Jay Richards has a Ph.D in philosophy and theology from Princeton Theological Seminary and is a Discovery Institute Fellow. He has written many books about science, which he does not understand. He has done no scientific research.

With Guillermo Gonzales he wrote “The Privileged Planet: How Our Place in the Cosmos Is Designed for Discovery” (“the little that is new in this book isn't interesting, and what is old is just old-hat creationism in a new, modern-looking astronomical costume” – William Jeffreys, a real astronomer). Richards has also written “Money, Greed, and God: Why Capitalism Is the Solution and Not the Problem,” so of course global warming has to be a conspiracy; if it weren’t the terrain would cause problems for his map. The latter seems to be his main obsession these days, but he sometimes breaks loose to argue that Intelligent Design creationism is “good theology”. We have independent reason to think AGW is a lie, and we have independent reason to think evolution is a lie. This shows that there is a conspiracy to brainwash us, and is further evidence that both theories are lies (besides, scientific consensus = conspiracy). Thus goes Richards. It doesn’t strike him that there may be a simpler explanation for the data.

Diagnosis: Idiot with capital “D” and standard denialist: “since X would really be a problem for my presuppositions, X has to be false” is not a good methodological rule for determining facts.


  1. Here is the DiscoTute beaming with pride after Richards got an article published … in Huffington Post. It is in any case a breathtakingly silly and delusional rant. Richards also claims that marriage equality is incompatible with individual rights and limited government. If you think you’d love to hear the argument for that, then you’re not the only one. The claim is, after all, not entirely uncommon, but no one has offered a reason that meets even minimal standards for coherence.

  2. The Discovery Institute wasn't slow in criticizing the rebooting of "Cosmos", thereby once and for all (as usual) displaying the true nature of their anti-science agenda. Richards provided his own angry but sadly misguided criticism. Here is a discussion of one of Richards's other rants. As you can easily see, he didn't understand the show, nor the contents featured.