Tuesday, July 21, 2020

#2363: Bob Unruh

Being a journalist for the WND is – as we have had ample opportunities to demonstrate – not exactly a sign of intellectual or epistemic virtues, but Bob Unruh is one. As you’d expect, Unruch is also a religious fundamentalist, conspiracy theorist and all-purpose science denialist. Since he doesn’t know or understand anything and doesn’t care (here is a commentary on Unruh’s coverage of the David Coppedge trial as an illustration of his standards), he is also rather versatile in his journalistic efforts. All his efforts are characterized by his trademark level of demagoguery and dishonesty, however.

Unruh is, for instance, an indefatigable apologist for creationism. An illustrative example of his work on behalf of creationism is his 2016 article, reported on here, on how Ark-Park and Creation Museum host Ken Ham mopped the floor with scientist Bill Nye in the debates between them, with Nye coming across to Unruh as a close-minded nihilist with an agenda compared to the humble and agenda-less Ham. Unruh has also brought Ham onboard as an expert witness for instance to comment on some 2015 Congressional “Darwin day” proposal (it is unclear which); Democrats ostensibly make such proposals “because they’re intolerant of Christianity and want to replace it with their own religion,” and “the resolution is a sign of the nation’s current move to suppress Christianity and promote beliefs such as evolution. While America was built on the Judeo-Christian ethic and worldview, secularists are becoming more and more intolerant.” Yes, we are aware that those are quotes from Ken Ham. Unruh is just unbiasedly reporting them. Come on. 

Another authority Unruh has appealed to is Ray Comfort; writing about Comfort’s remarkably silly introduction to his (Comfort’s) own edition of Darwin’s Origin of Species entitled “Nothing Created Everything”, Unruh claims that Comfort “debunks evolution” – indeed, the very subtitle of his article is: “Failure of natural selection logic documented in ‘Nothing Created Everything’.” But then, as Unruh “understands” it, the theory of evolution is the theory that life “randomly erupted from a puddle of sludge on some prehistoric landscape.” This is, hopefully needless to say, not the theory of evolution. (By contrast, according to Unruh, intelligent design is “the theory that the universe and life are too complex to have randomly erupted.” This is, hopefully needless to say, not an intelligent design theory – indeed, it isn’t a theory at all but just a denial of evolution.)

Unruh is also a global warming denialist, of the kind who thinks that short periods of cold weather and snow are devastating evidence against global warming. After all, why wouldn’t he think that, given his general level of understanding of facts, evidence and science amply illustrated above? 

Otherwise, Unruh is also central in the Clinton body count conspiracy movement, tirelessly connecting imaginary dots in incoherent ways (no, we won’t directly link to any of his many articles on the topic). He is also a birther.

And how surprised would you be if you are told that Unruh is vehemently opposed to marriage equality? He has, among other things (more detailed, though older, tally here):

-       Complained that dictionaries often include the word “homophobia” but never the word “homofascism”
-       Promoted the work and ideas of Scott Lively
-       Lied about Lively’s involvement in developing Uganda’s anti-gay laws, saying that Lively was merely doing “biblical preaching ... against homosexual behavior.” He has, for the WND, extensively mischaracterized other people’s criticism of Lively’s involvement, tellingly neglecting to link to what the people he criticizes were actually saying to ensure that you wouldn’t check.
-       Attributed fake quotes to Houston’s mayor after a Houston anti-discrimination ordinance was passed in 2014. 

Diagnosis: Liar for Jesus, propagandist and conspiracy theorist masquerading as a journalist. Insofar as we are talking about a journalist for the WND, it is unlikely that he will fool anyone but those already far down the rabbit hole. Still. 

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