Tuesday, November 6, 2018

#2098: John Pearrell

John Pearrell is pastor of Gateway Community Church in Covington, Georgia, which is affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention. Pearrell is a young earth creationist, and has spent quite some efforts promoting his creationist views in letters to the editor of outlets like Rockdale Citizenand Newton Citizen– a local village idiot, in other words, but a persistent one. In “Read Genesis carefully before dismissing the creation story”, for instance, he dismisses evolution as “a theory” and not “a hard science” (he would, of course, not be able to recognize science if it hit him with a stick, and has certainly not read his biology carefully) and focuses on assembling evidence for the Biblical creation story. “Moses is the editor of the entire Genesis account, not the author,” says Pearrell: “Moses did research and compiled ancient writings that existed in his day to give us this first book of the Bible. Bet you didn’t know that.” Indeed, we didn’t, and neither, of course, does Pearrell. Apparently, though, “[w]hat we read about the creation account comes from the pen of Adam.” And given that Adam was as close to an eyewitness as you could get, the case is – to Pearrell’s mind – closed: “I have chosen to believe the account of the person there (Adam), rather than the scientists who weren’t there.” Of course, according to Genesis, Adam was technically not there either. To demonstrate the power of his evidence: “Genesis 5:1 tells us that, ‘This is the written account of Adam,’” says Pearrell, who is clearly not using the King James Bible, at least (which has “This is the written account of Adam’s family line”, and then lists his descendants, at 5:1). (Meanwhile, “the story of the flood, that’s the written account of Noah, the guy who experienced it”). Teachers and scientists who claim otherwise are just lying to you. 

For further evidence, Pearrell helpfully guides us to the webpages of Answers in Genesis and the Institute for Creation Research. Elsewhere, he has pointed out (well, repeated) that “the problem is we don’t have scientific proof for evolution; we have theories of evolution;” moreover, “[i]n the real world, you have complex creatures below many of the simplest creatures they are purported to have evolved from.” He really doesn’t understand how any of this works, does he?

And of course, there is a conspiracy. Evil “college professors” are trying to hide the fact that we are “discovering more and more the implausibility of the Darwinian modelthe prevailing model today being punctuated equilibrium theory rather than the gradual change of Darwin.” Apparently that’s supposed to be some kind of objection. We suspect that Pearrell doesn’t really know what punctuated equilibrium is any more than he knows what evolution, or science, is – apparently he actually confuses punctuated equilibrium with the creationist idea of “sudden appearance”. Indeed, as Pearrell sees it evolution doesn’t count as science since it doesn’t fit “the two major criteria of scientific investigation – namely, that it be observable and repeatable,” which displays an utterly basic – but common among creationists – misunderstanding of what science is (hint: a scientific hypothesis must have observable consequences, and those observations must be repeatable (given a proper definition of “repeatable”); it’s not the phenomena described by the hypothesis that must be repeatable – why on earth should that be required? Indeed, the whole point of science is that the phenomena described by the hypothesis are unobservable or unobserved). And since evolution isn’t science, it is taught in public schools only because “Athiests [sic] want double standard when expressing their views in public.” Nope, the difference between scientific theory and religious creed is entirely lost on him.

Moreover, Darwin was a liar: “Case in point is when Darwin unearthed his Australopithecus he hid for 50 years under the floor board of his house, evidence that clearly contradicted his find.” It takes one to know one. The first Australopithecus fossil was discovered in 1925. It did not contradict “his find”.

Diagnosis: “Maybe I am a moron,” suggests Pearrell in one of his letters, and promptly goes on to make the best possible case for that hypothesis. Of course, Pearrell is hardly a major figure in the antiscience movement, and some may think we have given him a bit too much space here, but his claims are so densely – but typically – idiotic that we simply couldn’t resist.


  1. Just came across this blog--very entertaining. I searched for the Koch brothers but they don't make the list. Didn't they try to buy Ayn Rand's remains so they could, I don't know, pull a Boys from Brazil or something? Or is that a vicious rumor?

  2. Based on the output and the frequency of these blogs, he has other things to do — this isn’t his “job”. Given that, he has to prioritize in some way. Alphabetical arrangement works for me. I already know about the Brothers Koch. I did NOT know about most of these other people. So, good on him.

  3. You feel free to write them up. I am not even convinced the Koch brothers are loons. They're evil, sure, and push various denialist agendas (global warming denialism in particular), but they do so pretty clearly for self-serving reasons. It's true that malice and stupidity are often hard to distinguish, but I suspect the Koch brothers fall pretty clearly on the malice side.