Monday, February 27, 2017

#1799: Melvin L. Johnson

The title of “dumbest creationist argument ever” has seen some pretty spectacular competition. You may remember the banana argument and the peanut butter argument, and perhaps even “pygmies+dwarves”. A personal favorite is Richard Gunther’s argument against evolution based on the technological regress of civilizations since the stone age – though, really, any argument appealing to the second law of thermodynamics is at least as silly.

But the one used by Melvin L. Johnson, pastor of the Heart of Christ Community Church in Brazoria, TX, for his article in Christian Post (“the nation’s most comprehensive Christian news website”) called “My Personal Encounter with Evolutionary Theory,” is a good candidate, too. In said article, Johnson claims that the theory of evolution was developed as “a means to explain through a biological format why black people could and should be maintained as slaves.” You see, the full title of Darwin’s book is The Origin of Species By Means of Natural Selection or The Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle for Life, and as Johnson points out “What does ‘Favored Races’ mean? The term race refers only to humans, and there have been no voices in any of the hearings that I am aware of who have pressed this point.” The reason would presumably be that the point is stupid and false. Of course, for that very reason the point has, in fact, been pushed plenty by a variety of creationists, from Henry Morris to Paula Weston and Sharon Hughes.

Johnson used the argument as a basis for complaining to school officials about the biology text used in his kid’s school. The complaint also pointed out that “the most primitive fossils were almost always referred to Africa and the most modern findings were European (Neanderthal),” which is further proof that evolution is racist (“By the way, Darwin held a very low of opinion of women, including white”). He also mentioned Piltdown Man and Nebraska Man, which at least suggests familiarity with creationist texts and demonstrates no understanding of evolution or science whatsoever.

But he is just getting started, of course. There is also Hitler, whom Johnson describes as “an evolutionist who praised Darwin” (which, of course, is blatantly false since Hitler rejected evolution, but Johnson is a fundamentalist Christian preacher so apparently the don't lie-rule doesn't), Mussolini and Emperor Hirohito (a first in creationist screeds, as far as we know), and the “communist empires of the Soviet Union, China and smaller but just as brutal leaders and governmental powers” (explicitly including Lenin, Stalin, Mao and Fidel Castro), which in reality rejected and even banned the theory of evolution but according to Johnson’s imagination were all “based in evolutionary doctrine, where men ruled as gods” (the divinity of man is not a central tenet in the theory of evolution). He throws in Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels and Friedrich Nietzsche, as well, since they preached about the death of God and evolution is atheistic and therefore evolution and atheism are the same as Marxism. There is more, but we are done.

Diagnosis: Not very concerned with truth or accuracy, is he? Not particularly influential, we think, but rather typical for the more idiotic strands of creationism so popular among certain segments of the American population.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

#1798: Jerry Johnson

Jerry Johnson is president of something called the Nicene Council, and a raging fundie. As fundies are wont to do, Johnson believes that the end is near, and is actively looking for signs to support that idea. (You can read his “10 signs of God’s judgment upon a nation here, but the web design itself should give you a clue about what you have in store if you decide to do so.) He is also a creationist, and has created some videos using common creationist PRATTs to argue against evolution, which he doesn’t understand at all.

Johnson may, however, be most famous for his anti-Mormon activism. In 2012 Johnson asserted that he would not vote for either Romney or Obama, complained that “the two major parties have given us the choice between voting for the Beast or the False Prophet,” and called the two candidates “twin evils.” He also posted a video explaining “why Mormonism is a cult”.

Diagnosis: Not easy to distinguish from a mass of similar-minded fundamentalists, but that doesn’t make him any less insane. Probably not very influential, though.

Note: I am assuming that he is a different person than president of the NRB Jerry A. Johnson.

Friday, February 24, 2017

#1797: Jay Johnson

There is heavy competition for being the most repugnantly deranged lunatic on the Internet, but Sandy Hook truthers put in a good application. According to them, the Sandy Hook shooting was a hoax – arranged by the Obama administration or lizard people from space – cleverly designed to increase sympathy for gun control. Of course, a group unscroupolous and powerful enough to pull that off would likely not need to do so to implement gun control and would surely have been able to come up with a more effective means, but logic, reason and evidence don’t figure high on the list of guiding principles for inquiry among people like these. A brief article on the phenomenon is here.

An important resource for all things Sandy Hook conspiracy is the website It was created by one Jay Johnson, whose (self-reported) credentials include being “the only person in the world to solve LOST.” He claims that he originally created the website to help the victims, but then realized that “it was 99% odds another psychological operation that was going on.” He also emphasizes that he created the website on “12/21/12.” This is significant, “since I am the New Age Messiah, with my Look Your Heart in the Mirror™ as the new revelation from the Goddess Tefnut, aka Ma’at, of Egypt.” So there’s that, too.

Diagnosis: Needs a hug and someone to love and care for him. Desperately. As such it is unfortunate that we need to recommend people to maintain a safe distance, but we probably should.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

#1796: Derek Johnson

Derek Johnson is a state judge in California who, in 2012, got publicly reprimanded by the California Commission on Judicial Performance for going total Akin: “In the commission’s view, the judge’s remarks reflected outdated, biased and insensitive views about sexual assault victims who do not ‘put up a fight.’ Such comments cannot help but diminish public confidence and trust in the impartiality of the judiciary,” said the commission. With regard to a particularly ugly rape case Johnson alleged that “I’m not a gynecologist, but I can tell you something: If someone doesn’t want to have sexual intercourse, the body shuts down. The body will not permit that to happen unless a lot of damage is inflicted, and we heard nothing about that in this case.” It doesn’t work that way.

Diagnosis: Completely unqualified for his job.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

#1795: Bill Johnson & the ADA

The American Decency Association (ADA) is, as the name suggests, an aggressive, fundamentalist organization working to prevent “indecent” media and indecency in general, which including Maxim, Cosmopolitan, lingerie, gays, lesbians, dance groups, abortion clinics, Magic Johnson (who should be ashamed of his gay son), swimsuits, and pornography, and seeks “... to educate its members and the general public on matters of decency; to initiate, promote, encourage and coordinate activity designed to safeguard and advance public morality consistent with biblical Christianity.” ADA was founded in 1999 by former elementary school teacher Bill Johnson, previously director of the Michigan branch of the American Family Association (AFA). According to Johnson “Pornography does destroy. How can anyone deny that? Yet, there are certainly those that do deny that.”

And of course, to ADA marriage equality is of the devil, leading to “chaos and dysfunction”, as well as “lawlessness”; ultimately, what Johnson calls gay “special rights” will even lead to “despotism” and the end of freedom. How it can simultaneously lead to both lawlessness and despotism is not explained, but in any case America deserves God’s wrath for daring to give gay people equal rights (gays are “disgusting”, according to Johnson). Prior to the SCOTUS 2015 ruling on marriage equality Johnson (like other fundie wingnuts) warned that if he didn’t like the ruling SCOTUS eventually arrived at, then “truth, righteousness, the free expression of belief, Christian conscience, will be removed from our schools, our government – even many churches that fear man more than God,” and America would consequently be punished by his strongman, God.

Like the AFA, the ADA call on its members to flood companies they target with complaints (they will even write the complaint for you) and boycott the products of those companies. For instance, they’ve been on Abercrombie & Fitch’s back for some 15 years, tried to get its members to boycott malls renting out space to Victoria’s Secret, since they “sell lingerie in an inappropriate and immoral manner”, and in 2006 gained some attention for their campaign against a calendar depicting Detroit Pistons’ dance group “Automotion” members in swimsuits, which they described as “legalized pornography” (accuracy isn’t a strong suit for groups like this). They also monitor various TV stations and their advertisers for decency, and has blacklisted TV shows like Desperate Housewives and Grey’s Anatomy – as well as the obvious target, Glee: ADA has tried to get advertisers to pull their support from Glee for years, warning that the show is “poisoning our youth” with its “destructive messages;” Glee is, according to Johnson, “a gruel of illicit sexuality, secular humanist ideology, and the promotion of homosexuality and deviant behavior.

In 2012 the ADA tried to target Google for their “Legalize Love” campaign, complaining that Google should “just make their product and stay out the culture war;” after all “what gives you, a technology company, the right to tell people what’s right and wrong?” That complaint applies to anyone who disagrees with them. (The answer “whatever gives the ADA the right to do so” doesn’t compute.)

Diagnosis: Rabid fundie hater. He’s got powerful friends, but we’re uncertain how much weight aggressive, delusional hate organizations like his can really push anymore.