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.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

#1967: Alex McFarland

As Director of the Christian Worldview Center at North Greenville University (not a university), organizer of the Truth for a New Generation Conferences, and co-host of the radio program “Exploring the Word” (on American Family Radio), Alex McFarland has managed to make something of a name for himself as one of the most delusional, most deranged fanatical extremist on the fringes of the religious right. He has also written numerous books and served as Director of Teen Apologetics for the extremist hate group and cult Focus on the Family, and yes: his primary target seems to be younger and more impressionable people, some of whom are surely receptive to his death-cult-like hate and extremism. He is also president of Southern Evangelical Seminary in Charlotte.

When explaining his own Project 2026 for instance, he described it, an initiative to save America from annihilation at the hands of “the four groups that are actively working to secularize and destroy America: humanists; atheists; militant homosexuals; and Muslims.” Boo to humanism. And that coalition – they’re allied, you know – has allies in “apostate” churches and people “that are enlisted for Satan” that are pushing for the destruction of America. 

McFarland on dissent
In general, McFarland’s go-to argument is that if you disagree with him on anything you are really trying to ruin America, and his friend God might beat you up, too, so you better not. Also, it may be treason.

In 2015, for instance, McFarland reacted with horror to students and libruls protesting Bobby Jindal’s prayer rally, calling it “borderline treasonous” (they’re disagreeing with something McFarland agrees with after all – and even voicing the disagreement – and if they’d just read the Constitution McFarland’s read they’d have realized that disagreeing with McFarland just might violate that constitution); the protests also exemplified an “intense spiritually oppressive environment;” clearly “Father of Lies, Satanwas the one really behind it all. McFarland also invoked the Founding Fathers, since The Founding Fathers would never have sown discord by protesting anything. Obama’s Syrian refugee policy was treasonous, too, as was Obama’s comments at the National Prayer Breakfast. On the other hand, in 2016, McFarland claimed that God intervened in the election to save the Constitution and get Trump elected, which doesn’t sound like it would be something the fake Constitution most of us are familiar with would allow.

By contrast, those who voted for Obama in 2012 “need to get on their knees and ask for God’s forgiveness.” Interestingly, McFarland himself was apparently no fan of Romney, however, mostly because of Romney’s Mormonism. Here is McFarland explaining how Mormons are not Christian, and that Mormonism is actually more like Islam, because McFarland doesn’t fancy either. (According to McFarland, next to the Fall of Man in the Garden of Eden, Islam is the worst thing to ever happen to humanity.)

Obama, too. According to McFarland, President Obama refused to fight radical Islam because he is secretly a Muslim. After all, there were no bombings or drone attacks or military interventions in Afghanistan or the Middle East during Obama’s presidency.

Here is McFarland on the fact that some people actually say out loud that they don’t believe in God (it’s “both disrespectful and intolerant of those with deeply held beliefs”). After all, people like McFarland would never proclaim his faith out loud, try to convince anyone to conform to his beliefs (except when arguing that failing to place Bibles in hotel rooms is harmful because it potentially deprives guests of “an avenue to truth that could rescue that individual from a very dark place and help save a life”) or accuse those who disagree with him of being in league with Satan.

McFarland on gay people and women
Well, but of course. When Obama came out in support of marriage equality in 2012, McFarland reacted the way you’d expect from someone hateful, dumb and delusional, saying  that Obama’s support for marriage equality has put America under “the judgment of God” and “will contribute to the damnation of so many souls,” especially “impressionable young people” and “his own daughters.” Then he went on to doubt Obama’s Christian faith.

Apparently Satan is using gay and transgender identity to “debase and devalue and harm the ones made in God’s image.” So, to those who think that homophobia and bullying of gay and transgender people is a problem, McFarland would answer by pointing out that it is “psychologically destructive” homosexuality that causes problems for LGBT people, not bullying. You see, gays are really just victims of “emotional pain and sometimes molestation. Then he claimed that Christians were the ones actually facing persecution in America.

Also in line with his general principles for reasoning, McFarland concluded that God didn’t prevent the 2015 San Bernardino shootings because of abortion and gay marriage. Indeed, gay rights (and the Obama presidency) is God’s punishment on America for the sins of liberals. Apparently Obama, gay people and liberals were also to blame for a Malaysian jet being shot down over Ukraine in July 2014, just because Jesus, God.

Gender equality is an abomination too. In 2017, when a Chicago megachurch named a woman co-pastor, McFarland was shocked: “Women do much, much, much great ministry, and men and women are definitely in the eyes of God equal in worth, and value, and personhood, and dignity, but I see making a woman the senior pastor of a church as really a capitulation to acquiescing to the spirit of egalitarianism – the secular mindset that there must be no differences between males and females.”

He was not impressed when President Obama in 2016 invited a lesbian pastor to read scripture at the White House’s Easter Prayer Breakfast. Caitlyn Jenner’s gender transition, meanwhile, was downright demonic.

McFarland on evolution
Teaching evolution in schools was, according to McFarland, a cause of the Fort Hood shootings, since whenever you wish to explain something like this you point to something you already disagree with, ignore the facts, and assert that whatever you don’t like was the cause.

The theory of evolution is, according to McFarland, also the cause of racism. After all, there was no racism before the publication of The Origin of Species in 1859. “The Bible teaches that there is only one race, the human race, and that all people are made in the image of God,” McFarland pointed out, so racist views must come from elsewhere. According to McFarland, the Founding Fathers also knew that all men are created equal and blamed “150 years of Darwinian evolution” for supposedly undermining that core American principle. “Evolution, for about 75 years, has had a stranglehold on American education,” McFarland declared), “and so the number one reason for racism is belief in evolution,” since schools have become more racist since the 1950s when they started teaching that all humans are related through relatively recent common ancestors, and slavery was either i) mostly justified not by reference to the Curse of Ham in the Bible, by the theory of evolution, before that theory was discovered; or ii) wasn’t racist at all: maybe people of different races just have different roles, just like people of different genders?


Diagnosis: Ridiculous madman, whose arguments usually consist (exclusively) of labeling those who disagree with him with the worst labels he can think of – “treason”, “Satan”, “the Founding Fathers would disagree” – regardless of whether there is any relation between the meaning of the label and the person or phenomenon labeled (indeed, it’s interesting to see the extent to which religious right talking points consist only of this trick – as opposed to us calling them out as “loons” by showing how and why they are loons). McFarland does apparently have some influence on the religious right, however. Dangerous.