Sunday, February 25, 2018

#1970: Charles H. McGowen

A brief glance at the signatories to the Discovery Institute’s silly petition “A Scientific Dissent from Darwinism” yields preciously few actual scientists – and even fewer people with actual expertise in any relevant area – but plenty of people like Charles H. McGowen. McGowen is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine, but we have found no actual research to his name. Instead, McGowen is the author of creationist books like In Six Days (1976), described as a “treatise on the creation/evolution controversy”, and its sequel In Six Days: A Case For Intelligent Design (2002), which is marketed as (yet another) “great teaching tool”; i.e. it is a book intended to hoodwink audiences, in particular children, with no background knowledge in the field. McGowen himself seems to have done no actual research on evolution or design, but then the Intelligent Design movement was never about science or research anyways, but about public relations.

McGowen apparently Rejects theistic evolution in part because it “requires a refutation of the absolute, inspired, inerrant truth of God’s Word,” which shows that his dissent from “Darwinism” is at least not a scientific dissent. McGowen is also Contributing Editor for the Reformation & Revival Journal.

Diagnosis: At least there seems to be little remotely scientific about McGowen’s forays into biology or his dissent from science. Just another fundie loon, in other words. There are plenty of those. At least he serves as a good example of the kind of people who signed the Discovery Institute’s petition.

Friday, February 23, 2018

#1969: Daniel McGivern

Expeditions to find Noah’s Ark are a dime a dozen, and they tend to end with delusional religious fanatics proudly proclaiming that they have found it, since if you’re delusional enough to engage on a project like this to begin with (other than for the laughs), you are usually not the kind of person who has the faintest trace of a clue about how to assess any evidence you may come across. Ron Wyatt found it; Bob Cornuke found it in 2006; a Chinese team found it in 2010 (though that was probably a hoax rather than a matter of delusion); and in 2011 a team of “scientists” led by Daniel McGivern discovered two large sections of Noah’s ark resting just below the surface atop Mount Ararat in Turkey – it was Pat Roberston’s Christian Broadcasting Network that used the term “scientists”, by the way. Apparently the team used military satellite imagery and ground penetrating radar technology to locate the ruins, which they promptly believed were wooden. “The evidence is overwhelming,” McGivern added. “This is the large piece from Noah’s ark.” Methinks McGivern has a poor grasp of the meaning of the word “overwhelming”. Other people who saw the satellite images maintained that the structure in question looked suspiciously like rocks.

The discovery would apparently have been “the greatest event since the resurrection of Christ,” though McGivern curiously seemed to have had no plans to actually excavate it. He did plan an expedition, however, led by a local guy who have apparently been involved in Noah’s Ark hoaxes before, but apparently that expedition came to nought. Even the WND appears to have been skeptical.

Diagnosis: Ok, so we’re not entirely sure McGivern is actually a loon. But anyone who listens to him certainly is, and apparently some people did.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

#1968: Shadrack McGill

Shadrack McGill is a former Alabama state senator (until 2014) most famous for his 2012 argument against raising teachers’s pay: raising teachers’ pay too much, according to McGill, would “attract people who aren’t called to teach. To go in and raise someone’s child for eight hours a day, or many people’s children for eight hours a day, requires a calling. […] And these teachers that are called to teach, regardless of the pay scale, they would teach. It’s just in them to do. It’s the ability that God give ’em.” Apparently, not raising teachers’ pay “is a Biblical principle”. Of course, McGill had, at that point, just voted for a bill that almost doubled his own pay. When called to defend that choice, he failed miserably.

McGill is also opposed to the separation of church and state, pointing out that “we were established to be a godly nation, a Christian nation. We need God in government. We need God in the public school.” Otherwise, his political positions were mostly what you’d expect.

Diagnosis: (Former) state senator in Alabama.