Tuesday, April 19, 2016

#1648: William J. Gibbons

The Institute for Creation Research isn’t particularly notable for doing, you know, research – instead it is, as you would expect, and organization devoted to outreach and to counter real research with Biblical literalism. One arguable exception is a series of five expeditions to the Congo to find Mokele mbembe, which is a fictional creature that ICR member Williams J. Gibbons claims is a living dinosaur. The institute has, not unlike Bigfoot researchers, been a “hairsbreadth away from filming a specimen” for more than a decade now. In fairness, Gibbons isn’t the most prominent Mokele mbembe advocate; that dubious honor probably goes to Richard Kent, a British fundie who thinks that the Mokele-mbembe is real, alive and knock-down evidence against evolution (note that even if it existed, it would be as much evidence against evolution as monkeys). Kent also thinks that dinosaurs were dragons whose small nostrils made them breath fire.

Otherwise, it’s the usual stuff. Gibbons holds a “Ph.D. in Creation Science Apologetics summa cum laude, Emmanuel College of Christian Studies, Springdale, Arkansas,” which is roughly as impressive as something you printed out off the Internet. Gibbons likes to debate evolution, but doesn’t really understand it and tend accordingly to debate it in a manner reminiscent of Duane Gish, preferring for instance to avoid responding to challenges to his own position or responses to his own questions in favor of irrelevant strawmanning. As well as the usual tropes, of course, from gaps in the fossil record to quote-mining, the no-new-information argument, complaints that scientists don’t accept debate invitations from creationists or that evolution is an atheist plot (“Eugenie Scott who heads the pretentiously named National Center For Science Education is another virulent atheist. The real purpose of that organization is not to promote good science, but to enforce humanism and atheism at any cost, and often with the help of their friends in the ACLU. The very fact that Dr. Scott has a portrait of Charles Darwin hanging on the wall behind her desk says it all”), misrepresentations and misunderstandings. Gibbons has even has his own version of “why are there still monkeys?”: “Much of the fossil evidence reveals that many of our alleged ape-ancestors were contemporaries and sometimes overlapped one another,” says Gibbons, and apparently thinks that it is an argument against evolution. He’s got more than one version, in fact.

He’s also written a couple of books, including Claws and Jaws with Kent Hovind, no less.

Diagnosis: Little new to see here, but once again we have a fundie crackpot illustrating how utterly intellectually – and morally – bankrupt the ICR actually is. Preposterous.

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