A response to a cranky creationist

June 5, 2009

I recently wrote a column about the idea that dinosaurs still exist in modern times. I mentioned that all the evidence suggests that dinosaurs died out about 65 million years ago. I expected that might rile a few creationists, and sure enough I got the following e-mail within hours:

> In your article you assume that the earth is millions of years old and

> dinosaurs dies out 65 million yrs ago.  Please provide empirical evidence

> of this. If you provide this evidence the Dr Kent Hovind will give you

> $250,000 dollars.  There is more evidence to the contrary.  Please see Dr

> Kent Hovind at www.drdino.com and his associates for more infomation, I am

> sure he will welcme a debate.  

  >Thank You, Laura  

  My reply:

Hello Laura

Thanks for writing; I don’t think Kent Hovind will be giving me any money, as he is currently serving 10 years in prison for a few dozen felonies.

If he’s your most credible source, you are in deep, deep trouble!

all best

Ben Radford



#1 Lee (Guest) on Friday June 05, 2009 at 3:25pm


#2 Iason Ouabache (Guest) on Friday June 05, 2009 at 5:14pm

Really?  There are honestly still people who 1) think that Hovind is a reliable source and 2) think that his $250,000 Challenge was valid in the first place?  I was going to scold you for not giving her a science lesson but some people just aren’t worth it.

#3 Heidi Anderson (Guest) on Friday June 05, 2009 at 5:16pm

Awesome. Purely awesome. Also, Ken Hovind is housed in MY home state of South Carolina. SO proud. For once, so proud.

#4 Lauren Adasiak Cocilova (Guest) on Friday June 05, 2009 at 5:58pm

That is fantastic. Of course, I’m sure Laura thinks that it was all a set-up, or a test from the Lord or something…

#5 UnBeguiled (Guest) on Friday June 05, 2009 at 11:42pm

Well think about this all you smarty pantses!

God created the world 6 thousand years ago. 

If you believe that, and its true, then you go to heaven.  If its not true, then you just die, oh well.  But if you don’t believe it, and its true, you burn in HELL.  If its not true, then you just die, oh well.

So do the math smart people!

Heaven or just die vs. Hell or just die


Thanks for teaching me that, Pastor Poe.

#6 Lauren Adasiak Cocilova (Guest) on Saturday June 06, 2009 at 5:45am

If the typical depiction of heaven and hell holds true, I’d far rather find myself in hell anyway as fires are such jolly things -and I’ve never been one for clouds and choirs and harps.

That, and Dimebag will likely be there. And Bon Scott. And John Belushi. Can’t miss that kegger!!

#7 Jeff P on Saturday June 06, 2009 at 12:18pm

“If you believe that, and its true, then you go to heaven.  If its not true, then you just die, oh well.”

Fair enough, sounds like a wager someone named Pascal might make.

But—-what if you have to believe that your leader speaks for God (or you hear God’s voice directly), and he (most likely he) tells you that you must give him your daughter’s virginity for the Lord, or…

that you need to sell everything you have (and stuff that’s not even yours) and give it to him to honor the Lord, or…

you should fly an airplane into a tower to honor the Lord, or…

you need to drink the Kool Aid for the Lord, or…

you need to take this sleeping pill and lie down and wait to be taken to a spaceship following a comet, for the Lord, or…

I guess you’d just need to know you had the “real” genuine-deal religion.  So many fake ones out there, you know.

#8 UnBeguiled (Guest) on Saturday June 06, 2009 at 12:47pm

“Thanks for teaching me that, Pastor Poe.”

Poe’s Law:

Without a winking smiley or other blatant display of humor, it is impossible to create a parody of Fundamentalism that SOMEONE won’t mistake for the real thing.

I guess I need to make my hint more blatant.

#9 tatoodi (Guest) on Saturday June 06, 2009 at 1:27pm

I, for one, am willing to believe in a superintelligent God.  But, does Genesis portray one?  No.  Read on.

(God’s gender cannot be determined.  It is all the three and/or none of them.  Therefore, the genderneutral pronouns used here are; Ge for ‘He’, Gis for ‘His’ and ‘Gim’ for ‘Him’.)

The most acerbic controversy is that between Creation and Evolution. There prevails an abundance of scholarly books and essays in favor of or against one or the other of the two. But a common sense examination of the story of Genesis does not seem to have been published.

This writer does believe that God is extremely intelligent, almighty, omnipresent, omniscient etc.  However, the story of ‘creation’ as stated in Genesis does not portray God as such.  Let us see how.
Let us discard ‘Evolution’ for a while for the sake of argument and start with, as postulates, the beliefs of the Creationists that the universe was really ‘designed and created’ by a ‘superintelligent God’ who is also ‘omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent’.  Common sense review indicates that Genesis violates its own postulates and cannot provide convincing answers to questions such as:

1.  Would God really have needed six days to create the universe? Being Almighty, could not Ge have created the world within a trillionth of a nanosecond?
2.  If Ge really needed more time, why did Ge need six days and not more or less?
3.  Ge did ‘create’ land out of water that was already there.  Who created the water?
4.  Why would an omnipotent God feel so tired as to need rest on the seventh day?
5.  Did Ge want to create mankind? Whether the answer to this question is no or yes, the story of Genesis does not make any sense.
6.  If God did not want to create mankind,
a)  Why did Ge give reproductive organs to Adam and Eve?
b)  Why did Ge make Eve a fertile woman?
c)  Why did Ge not cause a miscarriage of Eve’s pregnancy?
d)  Why could Ge not stop Adam and Eve from repeating their ‘sin’ after the first one?
e)  Who were the spouses and inlaws of their children and who ‘created’ them?
f)  Why did Ge make their children fertile?
g)  Who were the parents of Cain’s wife?
h)  Could God have been so helpless as to accept mankind that came into existence against Gis own will?
i)  Why would God later love mankind so much as to send ‘Gis only begotten Son’?
7.  If God did want to create mankind,
a)  Why would God prohibit Adam and Eve from having sex?
b)  Could not forbidding eating the apple have been Gis way to ensure that they have sex?
c)  Why then do religions consider even spousal sex as sin? Could it be because they leaders want their followers to keep feeling guilty forever?
d)  Would not the superintelligent God have realized that the only way Adam and Eve could become grandparents would be through incest?
e)  Would Ge have permitted such ‘initial incest’?
f)  Would God, who provides a source of milk for babies even before they are born, not have had the foresight to ‘create’ at least two, if not more couples so that they could multiply into a mankind without engaging in incest?
g)  Are we all products of incest?
h)  Are we all descendents of the murderer Cain?
8.  Why is it not possible that God first created the initial quantities of mass, energy as well as the laws of science and then used them to make the universe evolve automatically just as Ge has set up many automatic systems such as those to make days and nights and change seasons? (‘Created Evolution’!)
9.  If the Bible could be wrong about the shape of the earth being flat and the earth being the center of the universe, why can it not be wrong about the mode of creation?
10.  If God is the perfect intelligent designer, why aren’t baby boys born already circumcised in their mothers’ wombs?  Why did the heroes of the Old Testament consider circumcision exclusively important?

Obviously, the story of creation as told in Genesis belittles God, does not befit Gis great virtues and is quite unGodly. Therefore, proving Evolution to be incorrect, as it very well may be, does not automatically prove Genesis to be cor-rect. Those who want to make others believe in ‘Creation’ need to rewrite their story to make it compatible with the ‘fundamental’ great attributes of God.

#10 Jeff P on Saturday June 06, 2009 at 3:07pm

It was “UnBeguiled” that did it for me, not just Pastor Poe!

#11 Cannonball Jones (Guest) on Sunday June 07, 2009 at 2:25am

“That, and Dimebag will likely be there. And Bon Scott. And John Belushi. Can’t miss that kegger!!”

Lauren, I like your style!

I always respond to the “believe or burn” argument by saying that I would assume that if there were a god he’d be a reasonable fellow. That being the case I’m sure he’d not stick me in the nasty burny place just for leading a good life and basing my worldview on the available evidence. Then there’s the problem that, as Lauren says, my idea of heaven would be very, very far from clouds and harps and all that jazz…

#12 joshualipana on Sunday June 07, 2009 at 4:08am


#13 DMaxwell (Guest) on Sunday June 07, 2009 at 6:32am

A fun ad hominem, but it ultimately accomplishes nothing other than providing blog fodder.  It would have been better to ignore the email.

My $0.02.

#14 obsolete29 (Guest) on Sunday June 07, 2009 at 6:46am

Haha.  Zing indeed.  Will you have my babies?

#15 Lauren Adasiak Cocilova (Guest) on Sunday June 07, 2009 at 7:35am

@#11 Cannonball Jones: Thanks!! That’s pretty much the way I feel, too. I mean, I don’t rob banks or torture animals or eat babies. I live a pretty good and useful and charitable life. I’m basically a decent person. And any “god” who would put me in Hell to burn forever simply because He didn’t make a good enough case for Himself, well, His is a Heaven in which I want no part, then.

#16 smithpae (Guest) on Tuesday June 09, 2009 at 1:41pm

Pastor Poe is proof that something written, and a good gift of gab will hustle a lot of people.
If God is good, he will certainly more likely punish the pretending non-belivers than the honest ones.  So if you are pretnding to believe out of fear, than I defer to Thomas Jefferson who said, “Question with boldness even the existence of God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear”

#17 Bill Patterson (Guest) on Wednesday June 10, 2009 at 6:55am

I have only two comments:
1) religion requires 3 things: Fear, Guilt and Ignorance.
2) As the late carl Sagan used to say, “explain to me in scientific terms how a non-corporeal entity feels pain and suffering.” It makes ‘hell’ moot.

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