Terry Hurlbut (yes, another fundie named after something that’s probably illegal in Arizona) is probably one of my favourite raving lunatics. It’s not just because he’s a Conservapedia (and Creationwiki) sysop – although these days he uses the former as a place to link-whore his own blog. It’s also not because he’s a member of those paragons of free speech, the Digg patriots. I’d have to say it’s also not because of his wonderful temper tantrums – “don’t you ever, EVER, tell another administrator what to do on this site“ – whenever somebody dared to point out he might be wrong – or worse – lying through his teeth.
It’s because despite sporting a B.Sc and being a qualified doctor (although these days he seems to work as a gofer for an ambulance chaser) he happily spouts – and even better, defends – utter claptrap (to steal a phrase from Andy Schlafly) that’s more at home in the Middle Ages, or the pages of fantasy novel. This is a man who believes, without a shadow of a doubt, that Adam and Eve lived, that the Flood happened (in a way you’ll never believe!) and that dinosaurs live and walk among us.
Having served his time on Conservapedia, during which he famously went about translating the Bible with the help of a pocket English/Greek dictionary and Google translate, Terry has moved on to his own little blog, merely using racist bigot Andrew Schlafly’s blog as a handy link farm back to his own emissions. In the past, this used to be on Examiner.com, which used to pay contributors, based on page views – something Terry never disclosed. Clearly unhappy with the 2c or 3c he was earning monthly, he went on to form his own blog “Conservative News and Views”, with the catchy moniker “Renewing the Fourth Estate.” Here he vents on everything from how evil Obama is; to how awesome Michelle Bachman is; to how you should be buying gold – even though it’s at eye-watering highs – because the dollar is about to collapse; to how the Earth is only 6,000 years old.
He does the latter fairly often, usually hauling out the same old, tried and laughed at Creationist arguments.
He did this again recently – having a bash at the old “Starlight problem.” For those of you unfamiliar with the term, the starlight problem is one of the stumbling blocks of Young Earth Creationism. Simply put it states, “If the universe is only 6,000 years old, how come we can see objects that are much further away, in terms of light year distances? Technically their light shouldn’t have reached us yet.”
In true wing-nut style, Terry applies his mind to the problem and comes up with the following solution:
Notice that God made Adam, and later Eve, in a mature state. In fact, God created all plants and animals as mature specimens, not as spores, seeds, or eggs. Why should He not create planets, stars, and galaxies as fully formed objects?
Some have said that God went further: He formed the far-off objects, and formed the light rays between those objects and the earth. If He did, then the starlight and time problem disappears. But some of these objects have suffered explosions or other great changes. Why should God put on a show for our benefit, of events that never took place? That’s out of Character for God. God does not lie.
So there you have it – God created all the little sunbeams everywhere. Because you know, this is a God who wants a 6,000 year-old universe to look billions of years old. Remind me again why you’d want to worship something that’s fucking with your mind? Oh he also uses that nasty, liberal plot of Einstein’s Theory of Relativity to try and prove his point – except in typical style, he gets it arse backwards. As he explains it, the time dilations would be greater on the fringes of the universe, thus making the universe seem even older. Oh yes and relativity states quite clearly that in a vacuum, the speed of light always equals c. The minute Hurlbut goes on about time dilations and the speed of light slowing down, he’s no longer in the realm of relativity and thus shooting his thesis in the foot.
However, I’m not really here to attack Terry for wheeling out the same old discredited crap once again. I’m here to point out how hysterically funny it gets when Terry turns to his comments section to try and refute all the people going “WTF??!!” It’s here – unfettered by reality – that Terry really goes to town. It’s probably worth mentioning at this point that this is the guy who when confronted with the Tiktaalik – a sort of cross between a fish and an amphibian – wrote it off as “an antediluvian laboratory chimera and hence an out-of-place artefact of a society already known to have been inordinately cruel“
So he happily accepts that the ancients had advanced laboratories and were capable of genetic engineering. Obviously when they weren’t busy building pyramids or guiding the aliens into land at Nazca. But wait… it gets better… and a lot of green ink is going to be used.
Once visitors to his blog point out that his theory is terminally flawed, he resorts to the usual Creationist circular argument – the Bible says it, so must be true!
We have a Direct Testimony, and a Platinum-Standard Historical Record. That Record gives Dates that you can trace back from the destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar II, all the way back to an event that we call “Creation.” We know exactly how many years ago that took place.
Reading that, the only words that come to mind are “not even wrong.” I wish somebody would take your average creationist and actually educate them on this Bible they hold so dear. Very little of the Bible is “direct testimony” – most of it – even the apostles – were written by persons unknown years and even centuries after the events they purport to describe. However, when it’s the only thing you have on which to base your thesis – and your faith – you will not believe the lengths that people like Terry twist reality to suit their perception of the world. Ready?
Some bright spark brings up the case for dinosaurs and the fact that the crust cooled 4 billion years ago. Of course, the latter can be dismissed with a simple “I do not accept “four billion years ago” for the crust cooling. I do not accept the earth forming out of a cloud of dust,” but dinosaurs? Well, at least he’s on familiar territory here, along with other cranks and (dare I say) frauds such as Ken Ham. However, Terry takes it to a whole new level of crazy:
The big remains that you see are creatures that lived for hundreds of years until they all drowned in the worst catastrophe—make that cataclysm—that the earth has ever known. Of course, I’m talking about the Global Flood.
And by the way: the dinosaurs didn’t all die. Noah must have taken some with them. They show up in too many works of ancient and “native” art. And some of them are alive today.
Yes folks, you read it correctly – according to Terry Hurlbut, dinosaurs are alive and well and living… well… in the sewers of New York I assume. It does seem, however, as if Creationism seems to require a belief in sea monsters:
We’ve got a pod of [dinosaurs] in Lake Champlain, Vermont, and the Canadians have them in Lake Okanagan, BC. There was a pod of them in Loch Ness, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re all dead by now, because that lake is so disgustingly polluted.
But he’s not done yet! It seems that dragons were also running rampant around Europe at one point:
We had dragons throughout Western Europe, until the medieval knights hunted them to extinction. The dragons in China lasted a little longer; Marco Polo saw one of them.
Marco Polo also saw men with one giant foot, men with heads embedded in their chests (the Blemias) and dog-headed men – not quite sure where they fit into the Biblical story. It really goes downhill from there, with Terry switching tack once again and saying that science is wrong, science lies, etc etc – this is a man with a B. Sc and a medical degree, who seems to have no idea about how the scientific process actually works. He goes as far as to call “origins science” a “rebellion against God.” Once you’ve heard that, you should know there really isn’t any reasoning with the man.
However, it’s the last few comments that really made my day. First of all, Terry launches on one of his fabulous, self-important little rants:
Just so you know—since you’re too lazy to look up my About page—I graduated from Yale College in 1980 with a degree in engineering, and from Baylor College of Medicine in 1985 with the degree of Doctor of Medicine. That I did not publish those credentials earlier is because I do not stand on them. I do not appeal to authority, no matter how august, nor to any crowd, no matter how large, as a judge of whether I am correct or incorrect in my statements. Nor do I recognize the power of any authority, no matter how august, nor any crowd, no matter how large, to try my statements for correctness or incorrectness.
So he’s basically saying ‘I don’t care if I’m right or wrong and you have no right to tell me I’m right or wrong.” All that’s missing is a “neener-neener-neenner!” at the end.
User “The Golden Pheasant” (whoever he may be) responds with:
Based solely on your utterly ludicrous claims that dinosaurs lived for (only) hundreds of years, that Noah took two of every kind on his ark, and that there are “pods” of dinosaurs still alive today, I would hope Yale is in the midst of revoking any credential it bestowed upon you.
I mean, at first I thought you were just another intelligent and articulate (but fundamentally, deeply wrong) creationist pseudo-scientist. But that dinosaur comment! That could be out of an old Tina Fey Weekend Update monologue! You’re asking us to be skeptical of modern science while bandying about with absurdities. That’s a recipe for instant credibility loss.
To which Terry whines:
Now you know why I don’t bother to present academic credentials. Because people like you respect them only so long as those who hold them, hew to your party line. The moment we deviate from it…!
And TGP makes my day with his final retort:
The moment we deviate from it, we have dragons in Renaissance Europe and knights slaying them. I know all too well.
As Terry said in one of his opening comments: “I am not interested in ‘hav[ing]…credibility with people who hold moderate/liberal views.‘” No need to worry there, Terry – you have no credibility at all.