Monday, February 27, 2017

#1799: Melvin L. Johnson

The title of “dumbest creationist argument ever” has seen some pretty spectacular competition. You may remember the banana argument and the peanut butter argument, and perhaps even “pygmies+dwarves”. A personal favorite is Richard Gunther’s argument against evolution based on the technological regress of civilizations since the stone age – though, really, any argument appealing to the second law of thermodynamics is at least as silly.

But the one used by Melvin L. Johnson, pastor of the Heart of Christ Community Church in Brazoria, TX, for his article in Christian Post (“the nation’s most comprehensive Christian news website”) called “My Personal Encounter with Evolutionary Theory,” is a good candidate, too. In said article, Johnson claims that the theory of evolution was developed as “a means to explain through a biological format why black people could and should be maintained as slaves.” You see, the full title of Darwin’s book is The Origin of Species By Means of Natural Selection or The Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle for Life, and as Johnson points out “What does ‘Favored Races’ mean? The term race refers only to humans, and there have been no voices in any of the hearings that I am aware of who have pressed this point.” The reason would presumably be that the point is stupid and false. Of course, for that very reason the point has, in fact, been pushed plenty by a variety of creationists, from Henry Morris to Paula Weston and Sharon Hughes.

Johnson used the argument as a basis for complaining to school officials about the biology text used in his kid’s school. The complaint also pointed out that “the most primitive fossils were almost always referred to Africa and the most modern findings were European (Neanderthal),” which is further proof that evolution is racist (“By the way, Darwin held a very low of opinion of women, including white”). He also mentioned Piltdown Man and Nebraska Man, which at least suggests familiarity with creationist texts and demonstrates no understanding of evolution or science whatsoever.

But he is just getting started, of course. There is also Hitler, whom Johnson describes as “an evolutionist who praised Darwin” (which, of course, is blatantly false since Hitler rejected evolution, but Johnson is a fundamentalist Christian preacher so apparently the don't lie-rule doesn't), Mussolini and Emperor Hirohito (a first in creationist screeds, as far as we know), and the “communist empires of the Soviet Union, China and smaller but just as brutal leaders and governmental powers” (explicitly including Lenin, Stalin, Mao and Fidel Castro), which in reality rejected and even banned the theory of evolution but according to Johnson’s imagination were all “based in evolutionary doctrine, where men ruled as gods” (the divinity of man is not a central tenet in the theory of evolution). He throws in Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels and Friedrich Nietzsche, as well, since they preached about the death of God and evolution is atheistic and therefore evolution and atheism are the same as Marxism. There is more, but we are done.

Diagnosis: Not very concerned with truth or accuracy, is he? Not particularly influential, we think, but rather typical for the more idiotic strands of creationism so popular among certain segments of the American population.

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