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Ken Ham and minions #fundie slate.com

Creationists are on a campaign to “take dinosaurs back.” Earlier this year, the creationist crackpot Ken Ham, president of Answers in Genesis—the organization that established the fundamentalist funhouse called the Creation Museum—said, “Dinosaurs have been held hostage for decades” by his mortal enemy, the nefarious “secular humanists.” Ham is determined to appropriate dinosaurs for biblical literalists. (The organization’s website even sells a “We’re taking dinosaurs back!” bumper sticker.)
This isn’t about science. It’s about marketing. Ham is sore that natural history museums—many of which actually run research programs and contribute new facts and hypotheses to our understanding of prehistoric life, unlike the Creation Museum—use dinosaurs to help visitors learn about the evolution of what Charles Darwin called “endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful.” Why should people who accept natural selection and geologic time have all the fun? Creationists, in Ham’s view, should use dinosaurs as star attractions to get the public to imbibe the religious swill he and his organization peddle.

Dinosaurs are unlikely symbols of religious fundamentalism. The first dinosaurs evolved about 230 million years ago, and, with the exception of birds, perished about 66 million years ago. Archaic humans didn’t originate until 60 million years later, so it’s not surprising that Stegosaurus, Triceratops, and kin aren’t mentioned in the Bible. Of course, Ham and like-minded literalists would beg to differ. Non-avian dinosaurs were created on Day 6 of creation week 6,000 years ago, with birds being brought into existence on Day 5 (which is out of order with the fossil record). Creationists also fervently believe that Behemoth and Leviathan of the Old Testament were actually dinosaurs, all scientific and historical evidence to the contrary. I’ve never seen creationists propose that we lived in a Dinotopia per se, but a saddle-bearing dinosaur at the Creation Museum is meant not as a fanciful kiddy ride but as a historical reconstruction.

But dinosaurs with feathers are not welcome at Ham’s amusement park. Even though paleontologists have uncovered numerous dinosaurs with everything from bristles and fuzz to full-flight feathers—which document the evolution of plumage from fluff to aerodynamic structures that allowed dinosaurs to take to the air—creationists deny the clear fossil record. There’s plenty of reason for creationists to abhor dinosaur feathers. The mountain of evidence that birds are living dinosaurs, and that many “bird” traits were widely shared among non-avian dinosaurs, are among the most gorgeous examples of evolutionary change yet found. Put feathers on a Velociraptor—we know it had feathers thanks to quill knobs preserved along its arm bones—and you get something disturbingly birdlike, revealing the dinosaur’s kinship to the ancestors of Archaeopteryx and other early birds. Not surprisingly, creationist groups like Answers in Genesis don’t feature feathery dinosaurs in their literature and museum exhibits. Instead, they take pride in promoting out-of-date, monstrous dinosaurs that more easily fit their contention that these animals were created separately from all other forms of life.

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Jack Donovan #fundie slate.com

"The ability to use violence effectively is the highest value of masters," Donovan said in a 2017 speech at a fascist think tank in Germany. "It is the primary value of those who create order, who create worlds. Violence is a golden value. Violence rules. Violence is not evil–it is elemental."

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pineapplejelly7 #fundie slate.com

The following statement made in the article: "The answer, to creationists, is simple: There is no love, no humanity, in a world WITH EVOLUTION" is a lie about creationists because that would refute creationism's own view. Creationism actually does believe in evolution—micro-evolution. But limits the theory to “micro”-evolution (speciation) due to the assumption that a “kind” can only bring forth after its own kind, that an animal will not turn into a different kind of creature. So, for example: a fish, no matter how many times it mutates, will always be a fish. Despite the mutation creating a new species of fish, a new species of fish is not a new “kind” of animal (what the bible would classify as an animal “kind” is the equivalent to the biological classification of “family”). A new “kind” of animal—a new “family” of animal—would be a fish turning into into a dog or a proto-dog. The dog/proto-dog is not a species of fish, but a totally different “family”. And they don't believe that can happen due to the assumption that a kind only brings forth after its own kind, no matter how much time has passed and how many times it has mutated. And the only thing making people disagree with this? Their belief / assumption that one kind of animal can actually turn into another kind given enough time and mutation. A difference in assumptions, that's all.

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Donald Trump and supporters #fundie slate.com

Donald Trump supporters taunted and called for violence against a number of protesters at a tense rally in Las Vegas Monday night, reports from the scene say. BuzzFeed's McKay Coppins took a short video in which one man can be heard shouting "light the motherfucker on fire" as a black protester is being removed from the premises:

NBC's Benjy Sarlin says that one individual shouted the Nazi greeting "Sieg Heil" in the area of the same protester. Sarlin wrote that "Trump took the interruptions in stride and complained that they were the only way to get media outlets to turn their cameras towards his crowds to show off their size."

From Coppins' story:

"Physical altercations between protesters, security, and the occasional tough-guy supporter have been a running theme in Trump’s combative campaign this year—but Monday night was different. Reporters who regularly cover Trump said they had never seen anything like the fevered, frenzied mood that gripped the ballroom in Las Vegas."

A Republican presidential candidates' debate is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. ET Tuesday night at Vegas' Venetian Hotel & Casino. Trump leads national polls of likely Republican primary voters by a considerable margin.

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Jacoob Brogan #fundie slate.com

In that sense, the rhetoric of Movember is built around preserving a site of denied pleasure. (Movember has expanded its reach somewhat, to testicular cancer and “men’s health” in general, but it has traditionally focused on prostate cancer.) As far as I can tell, the Movember Foundation’s page on prostate cancer includes only two sentences on the organ itself. Tellingly, those sentences focus on the gland’s role in the reproductive process: “It produces fluid that protects and enriches sperm.” Here, the obligation to protect it becomes an obligation to protect heterosexual coupling. This effectively shackles the whole Movember business to normative gender binaries, while sweeping the prostate’s queer potential under the rug.

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J. Bryan Lowder #fundie slate.com

[From article "Against Spooning"]

If the argument against spooning were only a physical one, I would not feel so strongly. After all, many people are gluttons for punishment—who am I to deny them their strange pleasure? But there’s a deeper issue here, a troubling aspect of spooning that emerges in the dimension of ideology, of what it all means.

Please recall the big spoon/little spoon roles I described earlier. A look at the gay adaptation of these terms is useful in exposing the power relationship they instantiate. Among gay men, big spoon and little spoon have become softer ways of signaling whether one is a top or a bottom during sex. But, as has been true of the top/bottom dynamic since the beginning, these also carry certain connotative weight: Big spoons are manly and will take care of you (provided you let them use you to take care of themselves); little spoons are fragile, passive creatures that need to be held and kept safe. This, of course, is fundamentally a sexist arrangement, one that casts the big spoon as “the man” and the little spoon as “the woman.” To say that this power imbalance is built into all acts of spooning—whichever the sexes engaged—is not, I think, an overstatement. Indeed, I would argue that spooning is always already a power play, a perverse strategy by which we nightly enact the unjust relations of “big” and “little” privilege that plague our society on every level.

We can do better than this.

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South Carolina #fundie slate.com


In a jaw-dropping amicus brief recently filed with the Supreme Court, the state’s attorney general argues for a truly originalist understanding of the 14th Amendment, insisting that the Constitution permits discrimination not just against gays, but also against women. This argument is as morally abhorrent as it is historically accurate. And South Carolina deserves some credit for having the chutzpah to raise it.

Here’s the gist of South Carolina’s fascinatingly sexist argument. The state wants to prove that the 14th Amendment—which guarantees “equal protection of the laws” to every “person”—was not intended to displace state marriage laws. And what did those laws look like at the time? One major feature: In many states, married women were not permitted to own property or enter into contracts and had no legal existence apart from their husbands. According to South Carolina, the framers of the 14th Amendment explicitly preserved the rights of states to deprive married women of the ability to function independently from her husband. This right to deprive married women of basic liberties, South Carolina argues, is enshrined in the 10th Amendment and is not at all undercut by the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of equality.

The crux of South Carolina’s brief, then, is this: If the 14th Amendment permits discrimination against married women, it surely also allows discrimination against gay people who wish to wed. In fact, according to South Carolina, the 14th Amendment forbids only racial discrimination, leaving states free to disadvantage women and gays in any way they wish.

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Unnamed College Student #fundie slate.com

(A university professor talks about fundies in his class)
Some students take offense very easily. During one lecture, a student asked a question I’ve heard many times: “If we evolved from monkeys, why are there still monkeys?” My response was and is always the same: We didn’t evolve from monkeys. Humans and monkeys evolved from a common ancestor. One ancestral population evolved in one direction toward modern-day monkeys, while another evolved toward humans. The explanation clicked for most students, but not all, so I tried another. I asked the students to consider this: Catholics are the oldest Christian denomination, so if Protestants evolved from Catholics, why are there still Catholics? Some students laughed, some found it a clarifying example, and others were clearly offended. Two days later, a student walked down to the lectern after class and informed me that I was wrong about Catholics. He said Baptists were the first Christians and that this is clearly explained in the Bible. His mother told him so. I asked where this was explained in the Bible. He glared at me and said, “John the Baptist, duh!” and then walked away.

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Ken Hamm/Mike Zovath #fundie slate.com

Ken Hamms Ark Park is sinking.

The trouble began when the park, officially called Ark Encounter, listed its employment opportunities in August. Nestled among the requirements for all job applicants were three troubling obligatory documents: “Salvation testimony,” “Creation belief statement,” and a “Confirmation of your agreement with the AiG statement of faith.” (AiG is Answers in Genesis, Ham’s ministry and Ark Encounter’s parent company.) These first two requirements are problematic enough: The park is quite openly instructing all applicants to pledge that they personally believe in creationist Christianity. If an applicant has other beliefs, her application to Ark Encounter isn’t welcome.


Wisely, the Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet, which oversees the dispersal of tax incentives, halted its funding after it saw Ark Encounter’s employment application. Bob Stewart, secretary of the cabinet, wrote to Ham that “the Commonwealth does not provide incentives to any company that discriminates on the basis of religion and we will not make any exception for Ark Encounter, LLC.” Before funding could proceed, Stewart explained, “the Commonwealth must have the express written assurance from Ark Encounter, LLC that it will not discriminate in any way on the basis of religion in hiring.”


In a brash and legally baffling move, Ark Encounter decided to fight back. Mike Zovath, Ark Encounter’s executive director, told reporters that Kentucky was “requiring us to give up our religious freedom and our religious rights,” and denied the validity of the state’s concerns. Given that the tax credits are still subject to final approval—and that approval is contingent upon Ark Encounter not breaking the law—one might expect Ham and his cohorts to simply comply with the state constitution. But they seem committed to the belief that their religious freedom gives them a right to take state funds with one hand and push away non-Christians with the other.

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Todd Akin #fundie slate.com

One of the good pieces of news why we're winning this war is because there are not enough heartless doctors being graduated from medical schools. There's a real shortage of abortionists. Who wants to be at the very bottom of the food chain of the medical profession? And what sort of places do these bottom-of-the-food-chain doctors work in? Places that are really a pit. You find that along with the culture of death go all kinds of other law-breaking: not following good sanitary procedure, giving abortions to women who are not actually pregnant, cheating on taxes, all these kinds of things, misuse of anesthetics so that people die or almost die. All of these things are common practice, and all of that information is available for America. And the day is coming where this public discussion will continue, and America will say, "We're tired of abortion, because it's so fundamentally un-American." And this, like a bad nightmare, will pass away and there will be a day, just as there is today, where people say "Who would ever support slavery?" In the future there will be a day when men will say "Who would ever have supported something so un-American as abortion?"

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William Saletan #fundie slate.com

The latest outcry against it has erupted in France, where a court has annulled a Muslim marriage because the bride misrepresented herself as a virgin. Feminists, the country's justice minister, and even the European Parliament are getting into the act. According to Tuesday's Wall Street Journal, doctors who restore hymens are being accused of "reinforcing a gender bias" and "misleading family members of patients."

One woman interviewed by the Times says her fiance's family is insisting that she go to Morocco so a doctor of their choosing can inspect her for proof of virginity.

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FLDS elders #fundie slate.com

Ever since Texas authorities removed 416 children from Yearning for Zion Ranch, the Fundamentalist Church of Latter-day Saints has been making headlines. As is well-known, the FLDS teaches that plural marriage—whereby each man partners with at least three women—is essential to salvation. How does the church get enough ladies to go around?

By kicking out the boys...To reduce competition for wives, the church systematically expels adolescent boys, thus trimming the eligible male population. It's estimated that the FLDS has thrown out between 400 and 1,400 male members in the last decade.

Church elders excommunicate boys as young as 14 ostensibly for bad behavior—like flirting with girls, watching a movie, listening to rock music, drinking, playing basketball, or wearing short-sleeve shirts. Sometimes called the "Lost Boys," they're considered apostates and cut off entirely from their relatives.

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Eric Reed #fundie slate.com

[on Thanksgiving as a secular holiday]

In Christianity Today's Leadership Journal, Eric Reed decried a "thankless society" that has forgotten the holiday's putative religious significance. R. Albert Mohler Jr. of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary called the secular vision of Thanksgiving "empty and false" on the Washington Post religion blog, On Faith. And conservative Web site WorldNetDaily offers up Thanksgiving-themed magnetic bumper stickers that counsel, "Remember to thank HIM"—perhaps an admonition to those who would merely thank their lucky stars.