One of the unintended but nonetheless interesting consequences of this site is that I’ve become acquainted with some of the stars of the createvangelism industry in ways I never could have if I only had access to their blogs and public appearances.
This has been illuminating since, for the most part, they do their very best to maintain an image of kind-hearted, thoughtful, clean-cut and godly men and, well, men…and, I guess, a couple women?
Anyway, I’ve learned over the years that this image isn’t always accurate through and through, and that even the most well-known young-earth proponents can have trouble with honesty, responding to critics, talking about critics and just being a decent person in general.
Of course, it’s far from just the big names who have this problem. In my experience, almost anyone who is very deeply ingrained in the culture of young-earthism can have a tendency to be, you know, sort of horrible to anyone who’s not a young-earther.
Which doesn’t necessarily mean they’re wrong, but it does mean that if heaven is populated entirely by them, I’m kind of hoping evolution is a salvation issue after all.
But today I do want to discuss a professional createvangelist. His name is Calvin Smith. Here’s what he looks like.
Nice, right? I mean, the first thing you’d say if you saw that guy walking down the street is, “Hey — I didn’t know Macaulay Culkin was in town.” But the second thing you would say is, “That looks like a pretty nice guy.”
Calvin Smith has appeared on our radar here before, when he bizarrely accused Christians who accept evolution of “sleeping with the enemy.” Which, if you think about it, actually makes us the protagonists and him the insane, homicidal spouse abuser.
But, I don’t know. Maybe Calvin didn’t understand the movie.
Cal’s training to be an expert on science, religion, psychology, philosophy, history and film criticism consisted of “lots of reading.” I’m not making that up — it’s in his bio:
Through lots of reading, Calvin has become well equipped to talk about many aspects of science and history that relate to the creation/evolution controversy. … When asked what formal science background he has, Calvin responds, “the same as Charles Darwin. His only formal training was in Theology!”
If I had to fairly sum up his professional experience and qualifications, it would be that Calvin is an expert on evolution because he is a young-earth creationist. Which is so insane I can’t even think of a metaphor that would be more insane. It is like saying Calvin is an expert on evolution because he is a young-earth creationist.
Recently, Calvin wrote a piece for his employer’s website, Creation.com, in which he told a number of things that are referred to in polite company as “outright lies.” Here’s an example: “[T]here is abundant evidence now agreed upon by evolutionary scientists that the entire human race on the planet today originated from two people just a few thousand years ago.”
In case you’re wondering, that cyclone that just appeared and took out the Great Barrier Reef was caused by the vacuum created from every evolutionary scientist on earth simultaneously gasping in outrage and disbelief. Sorry, Great Barrier Reef. (Note to meteorologists: Please forgive me if that’s not really how cyclones are made. I don’t know that much about cyclones.)
In response to what I shall be charitable and refer to as Calvin’s “work,” an Internet guerrilla warrior named Ashley Haworth-Roberts prepared a rebuttal, with special emphasis on the points where Smith took liberty with small things like facts and truth and objective reality. You can read that here.
Where it gets fun is what happened afterward, when Ashley tagged Calvin in an email thread that also included myself and a number of other folks. Cal gets us started. (Click through for larger versions.)
You’ll notice Calvin says, “I have not made some ad hominem attack on anyone.” That’s only because he hasn’t thought of any yet. Next is Ashley’s polite reply and explanation.
No one likes being called a liar, and especially no one likes being called a liar in the presence of demonstrable and irrefutable proof that they are one, so Calvin becomes understandably upset at this point.
Now, I happen to have some expertise in identifying online rants. There is more that goes into it than you might realize. Like the Supreme Court’s threshold for identifying obscene material, you just know it when you see it. But there are a few telltale signs upon which astute observers can rely.
Insults like “trashy,” “slimy,” “immature,” “childish,” “pathetic” and “truly disgusting” can help clue in aspiring rantologists that what they are reading is probably an online rant. A less well-known but equally reliable indicator is someone who appeals to mythology or other non-existent things, like in this case, what our ranter calls “internet social protocol.”
If the above fails, there is yet one tried and true stand-by: UNNECESSARY CAPS LOCK IS ALWAYS A DEAD GIVEAWAY.
Next, Ashley responds again.
Desperate for the last word, Calvin gets his parting shots in with an impressive slew of put-downs.
Describing Ashley’s short message (which was basically just “Gee I wish you had responded to my critique of your article”) as “simply shrill, crass, trashy behavior” from “a truly childish, pathetic, rude and immature internet spamming troll with no class, integrity, or manners” seems like a slight escalation to me.
But hey, at least now we know that Christian reboot of “Yo Momma” featuring exclusively young-earth creationism proponents definitely has legs after all.
This is where I decided to jump in.
And that’s where we are. I haven’t received any reply to that message, but if I do, I’ll update this post.
Otherwise, have a wonderful and blessed weekend.
Update (11/2/15): Tony’s characteristically hateful and unfunny reply. Such a charmer!