I certainly hope that no one here reads all of the comments on every blog post I’ve put up over the past three years, but all of them get sent to me and I’ve noticed some trends. Over the past two weeks, for some reason my blog has been inundated with creationists who are exceedingly upset about my posts, particularly about Ancient Aliens. This come as something of a surprise to me since I rarely write much about evolution or cosmology. I am not a biologist or a physicist and can’t really do justice to the finer points of the science. Except for when the ancient astronaut theorists propose alien genetic engineering, it isn’t even relevant to most of what I discuss here, and at any rate I would have thought creationists would oppose ancient astronauts since the ancient astronaut nonsense blatantly contradicts biblical fundamentalism.
But I’m wrong.
I’ve gotten weird comments from creationists who seem to see ancient astronaut speculators as fellow combatants in the war against Darwin. And then there are the terrible ones who are apparently Christian in everything but the spirit of generosity and goodwill.
The following is an edited comment left by a creationists last night, which I have altered to remove vulgar personal attacks, remove racist faux-Ebonics (because, of course, anything one disagrees with must be associated with racial minorities), and to shorten its excessive length. The creationist is reacting to part of my review of Ancient Aliens S04E10 “Aliens and Dinosaurs” where I wrote “Prior to the nineteenth century, people believed in all manner of gigantic, imaginary beasts, not least of which were the biblical Leviathan and Behemoth, which creationists often wrongly call dinosaurs.”
Wow, idiot. So no matter how many eyewitnesses tell stories of seeing giant sea creatures, and no matter how much archeological evidence, which includes countless amounts of fossils on dry land masses, including up on the mountains, including those giants found buried on a mountain top, moron Jason the God-hater here just pretends no one’s ever said anything about any extremely large creatures. What an idiot. […] Learn to listen, Jason, instead of convenient[ly] ignoring, like the Ancient Aliens idiots, what doesn’t fit into your feelings-based version of reality. And learn what logical fallacies [are] already, your credit-thieving atheist friends already collected extensive lists for you to read.
I don’t really follow this, to be honest. Since when are facts based on feelings? The creatures Leviathan and Behemoth, as described in Job, do not match any known animal, though Behemoth is frequently argued to be inspired by a hippopotamus. Even if you want to identify Behemoth with a dinosaur, this entirely depends on Job 40:17, where the usual translation says his tail sways like a cedar and thus like a sauropod dinosaur. But Stephen Mitchell says this line can also be read as referring to his penis becoming as erect as cedar when seen in combination with the rest of the verse, referencing the creature’s “stones,” which the King James version translated as “thighs” but are otherwise testicles.
Since Isaiah 27:1 says that Leviathan is still alive under the sea and will be until Judgment Day, the creationists can prove us all wrong by going out and finding our friend Leviathan. He’s got to be around here somewhere, unless of course the Biblical description is wrong, as fellow creationist Darek Isaacs worried about Revelation’s dragon earlier this week.
But even if Leviathan were a real creature, how does that translate into the reality of other “extremely large creatures,” or to such creatures as proof of creationism? Theoretically, there is only one Behemoth and one Leviathan mentioned, and other unrelated creatures would not therefore be proof of these two. Eyewitnesses have indeed seen large sea monsters, which Henry Lee explained more than 120 years ago were usually the result of sightings of whales, narwhals, giant squid, etc.—all of which are very large and very real. Yes, too, fossils of sea monsters have been found “on dry land,” though again these are long-extinct sea creatures whose bones the Greeks and Romans often mistook for more recent monsters. Some ended up on mountaintops due to the uprising of land due to plate tectonics, another science creationists are not fond of. If you don’t believe in geology or paleontology, there isn’t any way to profitably discuss fossil evidence. That, of course, is the whole point: If you are a fundamentalist, you are essentially (if I may blaspheme) enacting the apocryphal reply of the Caliph Omar in response to a question of what to do with the books in the Library of Alexandria: “If these books agree with the Koran, they are useless; if they disagree, they are pernicious: in either case, they ought to be destroyed.”
This is the problem with fundamentalist efforts to convince the secular of creationism: They want to appeal to the authority of science, but only selectively, accepting that fossils exist, but not their age; that the bones represent lost species, but not that sequences of such bones display evolution. But such cherry-picking is par for the course among fundamentalists.
One-third of Americans claim that they believe the Bible is literally true and must be taken as true word-for-word (and depending on what tradition you belong to, your Bible will have different books in it—which must make for fun times when deciding which truths are true!). Of those Americans, virtually none actually lives by that claim. Otherwise we would hardly have a stitch of clothing left in America, thanks to the ubiquitous cotton-poly blend (Leviticus 19:19), nor would newspapers be littered with the horoscopes that nearly one third of Americans believe to be true (Leviticus 19:26), nor hotel conference rooms jammed with psychics helping good Christian men and women talk to their dead relatives (Leviticus 19:31).
Let me say this to the creationists complaining on my blog that I hate God, am cursed by God, or am otherwise hellbound: Follow the words of Jesus in Matthew 6:5-6 literally:
When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.
Otherwise, if you feel compelled to pray about my debunking of ancient astronauts in public, you are welcome to call up Michael Cremo, who also hates evolution as much as you do, and you can debate whether Yahweh or Krishna is behind it all, since Cremo is a Vedic (Hindu) creationist and also supports Ancient Aliens. He believes evolution is a conspiracy foisted upon the Hindus to perpetuate British rule in India. Oh, right: Cremo also believes humans are millions or billions of years old. You’ll have to work out between yourselves how he uses the exact same evidence as you to reject young earth creationism and instead argue for an earth (and humankind) many, many times older than modern science suggests.
He is far more dangerous than I since he had major media coverage, popular books, and influence among the ancient astronaut-alternative history crowd. Have fun with that one.
I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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