Wednesday, July 5, 2017

#1862: Nick Lally

Nick Lally is, according to himself, a “retired science teacher”, creationist, fuming anti-science champion, and internet crank of the kind that floods newspaper and website editors with emails containing crazy, barely coherent rants. Here is one example, of an email sent  to various California newspapers – though addressed to “all clergy…and to the spiritual leaders of our churches and synagogues throughout our country” (one infers that he must have come across some kind of directory of California newspapers; Lally is not based in California) – in 2009 concerning Darwin’s 200th birthday. In the letter, Lally claims that “The National Center for Science Education led by known atheists, are encouraging churches to join the Darwin Day celebrations … I find it interesting that this ‘Trojan Horse’ is aimed directly at churches as well as schools. Evolutionists have already been quoted as saying: ‘A backward collared clergy is worth more then an atheist on a school board any day’ [yeah, it’s a misquote; big surprise] So, before you spiritual leaders consider preaching Darwin’s theory in your churches and synagogues in the name of looking progressive or tolerant to your congregations, its best that you know all the facts first.” Then he proceeds to offer what he considers to be the facts, which are not the facts (except, perhaps, for the first: No. 1. “Evolution is not Biblical,” which is true, in a way insofar as evolution is indeed not described in the Bible.) 

For instance: “Scientifically: 1 [yeah, he’s already given one other “1”; perhaps it’s a tie]. Life can only come from life. It’s called the law of biogenesis proven by Louis Pasture [oh, yeah]. You cannot come from a rock.” There is no law of biogenesis, and Pasteur did not claim that there was; yet this is a common creationist PRATT, which really has nothing to do with evolution in any case. “2. Information in the chemicals of our DNA can not come from matter or energy. It has been proven by Dr. Werner Gitt that information can only come from intelligence which begs the belief that DNA acts like a CD programmed by God.” Werner Gitt did not prove that by a long shot, DNA does not act like a CD programmed by anyone, and creationists demonstrably struggle with the concept of information. “3. The fossil record is an indictment against evolution. We have not found the transitions between single celled animals to complicated invertebrates, nor have we found transitions between invertebrates to vertebrates. All we find in the fossil record is that organisms just show up completely formed with hardly any changes from the ‘biological explosion’ to today. Anthropologists have found 87% of all the living fossils and not one transition.” We have such transitions, both between single-celled and multi-celled animals and between invertebrates and vertebrates. Not that Lally would bother to look. The “87%” is, of course, PIDOOMA. And it’s probably worth noticing that Lally refers to anthropologists for his claim about the fossil record. “4. We even discovered mammals which evolution teaches came millions of years after the reptiles together with dinosaurs in the fossil record!” Mammal-like reptiles precede the dinosaurs, but those are facts that scientists use; Lally wouldn’t come near science with a 30-foot pole.

His list continues in the same vein, with the same old creationist PRATTs: Mutations cannot be beneficial, Lucy was “nothing more than a chimp, and so on. What California newspaper editors were supposed to do with Lally’s crazy rants is a bit unclear. Lally himself reacted to criticisms of his letter in part by trying to move the goalposts, in part by judging the responses unworthy.

In more recent years, Lally has been running the Creation Science Hall of Fame, a hilariously delusional pseudoscience project (Terry Hurlbut is on board), and is ostensibly the co-founder of something called the Sussex County Creation Science Club. He still writes letters to newspapers, though, such as “Catholics might as well toss Bibles”, in response to the Vatican’s stance on evolution, and “Kent Hovind has served his time”, in defense of Kent Hovind.

Diagnosis: Cranky old fundie crackpot. We doubt that he’s able to convert anybody, but his claim to be a “retired science teacher” makes one pretty sad for those who might have “learned science” from this guy – and in the US being in that kind of situation seems to be not entirely uncommon.


  1. What escapes the minds of most anti-evolutionists who try to sneak creationism into public schools’ curriculum is that there are literally a multitude of gods out there with a multitude of creation stories. Isn’t it discriminatory if we don’t teach them all?