Thursday, March 7, 2013

#455: Barry Arrington

Barry Arrington is a lawyer specializing in representing the middle management agents of conservative right wing thought, and is, in fact, quite a wingnut nutjob himself. Arrington officially runs William Dembski’s blog Uncommon Descent (ever since Dembski “withdrew” in 2008 to focus on “research”). Arrington is thus for instance in charge of the moderation policies at that site, and is therefore behind the policy (typical to the point of definitional of crackpot sites) of not allowing comments that provide coherent criticism of Intelligent Design Creationism (some records of the activity are kept here). True to the spirit of the movement, Arrington deletes and denies critical comments to the posts on the blog, and subsequently proclaims that the lack of comments from ID critics means that he won the argument (for instance here). In fact, it is not only critics of evolution who receives this treatment. After Arrington had asserted that Darwin was a firm racist, Uncommon Descent blogger DaveScot wrote a post in which he happened to point out that some Christians had been racists too. Arrington then banned DaveScot from Uncommon Descent for violating its policies by posting such claims. (Arrington’s actual reply was that these purported Christians were not really Christians and that atheists are worse). Intelligent Design should nevertheless be taught in public schools since it is important that kids hear both sides.

Among other activities Arrington has also attempted to run for a position on the Colorado school board, and he is (or was) the treasurer of MichelePAC, Michele Bachmann's fundraising organization – he even managed to misspell Bachmann’s name on the FEC filings. Arrington has also tried to place the blame for church shootings on atheist writers, primarily because he wants to see a connection and is a screaming douche. The imaginary status of his evidence is rather mind-boggling, but from the evidence he concludes – predictably, and through inference by fallacy – that morality is impossible without God. He has also claimed that using the fossil record to argue for evolution is cheating since it is based on science (indeed). After all, Arrington is at a deeply unfair disadvantage here – how can he win possibly win an honest discussion when his opponents are the ones who have all the truth, evidence, reason, reality, science, intellectual honesty, and accountability on their side?

Diagnosis: Complete idiot whose inability to distinguish between providing reasons for X and bullying critics of X into silence makes him a perfect moderator for ID outlets.


  1. Hah! Looks like I forgot to put up my planned entry on Joe Arpaio! Well, ok - too late now. At least it'll give us a gem for Round 3 in the future (he doesn't seem to be going away anytime soon).

  2. Before I forget, I would like to nominate Bob Basso to the list. He was a Tea Party "comedian" who dressed up as Thomas Paine to give advice to Obama a few years ago on YouTube. It's painfully obviously that he had no idea who Thomas Paine really was.

    Since you missed Robert Bork last round, would it be alright if you included him this time, or he no longer eligible because he died recently?

    I also found a few from Ed Brayton's old page at Science Blogs: John Benefiel, Eliana Benador (who said that the Anthony Wiener sexting scandal was part of Muslim socialist plot or something), Michael Moriarty (this one is really a damn shame, he used to be a great actor on Law & Order, but now he's so batshit insane that he makes Victoria Jackson look almost rational), Roseanne Barr (who demonstrates that just because one isn't a wingnut, it doesn't mean they aren't a loon), and Mark Finkelstein of NewsBusters.

    It also seems that Charlie Daniels is a raging nutcase as well.

  3. I'm familiar with most of them. I think Bork's death should be a disqualifier - I discovered Ammerman's death, for instance, right before I posted the entry, but then I had already written it.

    I am actually a bit unsure about Roseanne Barr. Barr obviously has a clinical condition (she admits as much herself), and I don't really want to be just mean to people with real issues (part of the reason why Charlie Sheen had to go as well). Now, some of the people covered obviously do have some issues as well, but when they don't admit so themselves and also manage to acquire some fans and followers by spreading their delusions on the internet, then exposing them can be justified on utilitarian grounds. I don't know if that's the case with Barr or Sheen. 'Barr has a diagnosed mental condition and therefore says a lot of stupid shit' doesn't really harmonize that well with me. ... on the other hand, she says a lot of stupid shit still that cannot really be blamed on anything but ordinary lunacy ... I don't know yet.

  4. Good call on Michael Moriarity. He currently lives in Canada, but he was born in Michigan, so I guess he qualifies, no?

    I'm hoping Bradlee Dean makes it into this next round.

    Also, if being an incompetent forensics expert qualifies for an entry, look up Steven Hayne on Wikipedia. This is a guy who -- under oath (and with a straight face, apparently) -- testified that by examining a gunshot wound, he was able to determine that the murder weapon had been held by two people.

  5. You ought to change the link on Uncommonly Dense banning history to the first post in the thread:;f=14;t=5141;st=#entry69367

    or just the thread header:;act=ST;f=14;t=5141

    Otherwise- great job!!111!one!

  6. Arrington makes another, breathtakingly stupid comment (and if you don't understand why it is breathtakingly stupid, you don't know what he is (or attempts to be) talking about). And this ..., well, I don't have words.