Creationism in North Carolina State University newspaper

I was surprised—and distressed—to see a blatantly creationist article appear in a student newspaper at a decent university. The school is North Carolina State University (NCSU), the paper is The Technician, the article is “How to argue against evolutionists,” and the author is Nicky Vaught, who is the Deputy Features Editor of the paper.

At first I thought this was a joke, as did reader Lynn, who sent me a link, but if it’s a joke or parody, there should be some sign of it. There isn’t, so I provisionally assume it’s serious.  Against that is the sheer idiocy of the article’s content. Unfortunately, readers’ comments on the article have been disabled.

How much fail can one student publish? Well, here are a few excerpts:

Nye and other scientists seem to think false evidences such as dinosaur bones and carbon dating can give us information about the past — namely, that the Earth is billions of years old. If he were a real scientist, he would know that science cannot tell us anything about the past, only the here and now and possibly the future. To learn about the past, we have religion.

Speaking of history, have evolutionists perhaps forgotten about all the times science has led humanity astray? Science told us the Earth was flat. Science told us our planet was the center of the universe. Science has been wrong countless times before, so why would this time be any different?

The Bible, on the other hand, has never been wrong. For instance, humanity had to wait for science to catch up with Leviticus 15:13 in telling us to wash our hands in running water to avoid disease. Why would the creation of the universe be any different?

Here, by the way, is Leviticus 15:13 from the King James Bible:

And when he that hath an issue is cleansed of his issue; then he shall number to himself seven days for his cleansing, and wash his clothes, and bathe his flesh in running water, and shall be clean.

But wait—there’s more:

Evolutionists need to keep in mind the fact that their theory of, well, everything is nothing more than that — a theory. If they’re so confident in their beliefs, evolutionists should teach both sides of the controversy and let people come to their own conclusions. I’m sure a lot more people would choose intelligent design.

Especially in higher education facilities, it is important to get an education of the higher power. Universities that boast scientific-mindedness need to work more toward teaching open-mindedness.

Every evolutionist loves avoiding the big question: If we came from apes, why are there still monkeys?

Sure, they’ll say something like, “We all come from one common ancestor, not from monkeys directly.” Yet there seems to be no proof of any missing link. Never mind how irrational it is to demand a specimen of an interspecies creature that likely never existed. And if it ever did show up, we’d probably be able to do what we did with the dinosaur bones and deny its authenticity.

Besides, we all know the real common ancestor is God.

Evolution is fiction reserved for Pokémon games, so it just can’t be real. No one can explain what causes evolution whereas creationism has a clear, indisputable source. Charles Darwin was wrong, plain and simple.

Because evolution clearly isn’t right, it only makes sense that creationism is truth — just as we’ve known all along. It’s time we shut evolutionists up.

I’ve read this piece several times, and I still can’t figure out if it’s some kind of hoax.  If it is, it lacks any sense of satire or humor, and in the end just parrots creationist arguments.  Because they’re so dumb, I’m not going to waste any time refuting them.  The only information I have is a “Nicky Vaught” on Vimeo giving a “Sunday meditation” in church, and that person bears a resemblance to some of the pictures on the public part of the “real” Vaught’s Facebook page:

Picture 2

The religious connection, of course, lends weight to the “true creationist” hypothesis.

I’m hoping I’m wrong, for I’d rather have a mistaken post than a mistaken student, one who spouts nonsense in the student newspaper.  It’s either a poorly-done Poe or a poorly educated student. You tell me!

114 Comments

  1. Barry Lyons
    Posted November 16, 2013 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    “If he were a real scientist, he would know that science cannot tell us anything about the past.”

    That HAS to be a joke. Please, it has to.

    • Mark Joseph
      Posted November 16, 2013 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

      Told originally by Ken Ham. Wasn’t funny then, either.

    • slpage
      Posted November 22, 2013 at 9:21 am | Permalink

      Unfortunately, this is a rather common (new?) meme among creationists. They tend to drag it out whenever there is talk of, say, the discovery of a new fossil. They seem to think that it actually makes sense.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted November 22, 2013 at 9:23 am | Permalink

        Yes, sadly they think the “were you there?” argument is a real gotcha.

        • Diane G.
          Posted November 22, 2013 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

          Except when it comes to the Bible.

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted November 22, 2013 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

            Yes, they consider the bible as a “were you there” answer because god was there and it’s all in the bible so no need to ask any other questions.

            Thankfully, not everyone thought that way I would’ve died in childhood of some virus & we’d be no further ahead than we were in the bronze age.

  2. Tom
    Posted November 16, 2013 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    Poe’s law in full fredt. Never fails, incredible.

    • Tom
      Posted November 16, 2013 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

      *in full effect. Damn iPad.

      • Diana
        Posted November 16, 2013 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

        Ha ha! I thought fredt was some hip internet speak I was unaware of & I googled it to no avail. I’m glad it was just an iPad autocorrect glitch. I think the iPad did a poe!

        • Hempenstein
          Posted November 16, 2013 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

          Caveat emptor – iPads speak in tongues.

  3. Posted November 16, 2013 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    There is so much nonsense in Nicky’s piece that I suspect the paper allowed its publication simply to allow Nicky an opportunity to expose himself as the buffoon he may very well be.

    • Matt G
      Posted November 16, 2013 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

      Perhaps he’s trying to publish material he can use for his application to The Onion. I’m being too generous here, aren’t I?

  4. francis
    Posted November 16, 2013 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    //

  5. Diana
    Posted November 16, 2013 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    It has to be a poe. It just has to be. Look at this paragraph:

    Sure, they’ll say something like, “We all come from one common ancestor, not from monkeys directly.” Yet there seems to be no proof of any missing link. Never mind how irrational it is to demand a specimen of an interspecies creature that likely never existed. And if it ever did show up, we’d probably be able to do what we did with the dinosaur bones and deny its authenticity.

    But then again, remember Richard Dawkins’s chat with Wendy who said the same thing over and over, even after Dawkins provided evidence that there were lots & lots of transitional fossils?

    It’s so extreme it screams poe, but people really do believe this stuff, so….

    • Alex Shuffell
      Posted November 16, 2013 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

      It was the line about denying the authenticity of dinosaur bones that made me think he’s not being serious. I don’t think a creationist would use the word “deny” in this way, they would flap about at how much the fossils have been found to be hoaxes or just our claims have bee refuted. But use of one word isn’t convincing, maybe he just used a thesaurus.
      The rest of the article is incredibly foolish and searching on the website for other pieces of his work shows no signs of a sense of humour. He seems like a reasonably intelligent person, I’m thinking it’s just a bad joke.

      • Sarah
        Posted November 16, 2013 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

        I too thought that line about denying authenticity sounded like satire, but the rest of it sounds too much like the usual earnest ignorance to be satirical. Sometimes people parody themselves without quite realizing it.

        • articulett
          Posted November 17, 2013 at 12:56 am | Permalink

          I’ve heard real creationists say they don’t believe in dinosaur bones.

  6. Pete Cockerell
    Posted November 16, 2013 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    It reads like a satire to me, but even if it isn’t, at least it shows what we’re up against.

  7. Posted November 16, 2013 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    “And if it ever did show up, we’d probably be able to do what we did with the dinosaur bones and deny its authenticity.” MUST be Poe.

  8. Achrachno
    Posted November 16, 2013 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    It’s dumb enough to be real commentary from a real evangelical.

    • Alektorophile
      Posted November 16, 2013 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

      Unfortunately, my impression as well. My own exposure to evangelical fundies (my better half’s family in the US) was a revelation: apparently sensible, functionally rational people in their daily lives, spouting the weirdest nonsense as soon as religion was involved, no matter how remotely.

  9. Richard Olson
    Posted November 16, 2013 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    He’s an adult and signs his name ‘Nicky.’ That right there means he oughta at least get de-pants’d.

    • BillyJoe
      Posted November 17, 2013 at 1:14 am | Permalink

      But then there’s Jerry.

      • lisa parker
        Posted November 17, 2013 at 2:08 am | Permalink

        somehow not the same

      • Posted November 17, 2013 at 4:13 am | Permalink

        Jerry is the name on my birth certificate, so whatever you’re implying here is wrong.

        • Posted November 18, 2013 at 4:00 am | Permalink

          Frank Zappa listed himself as Francis on his first album but later found out that his real name, which he had always used, is actually Frank.

          Could there be any better name for Frank Zappa than—Frank Zappa? If he had been called something else, and had to invent a stage name to fit his type of music, he couldn’t have done better than Frank Zappa.

          I won’t discuss the names of his children.

      • Richard Olson
        Posted November 17, 2013 at 7:14 am | Permalink

        I know a lot of Jerry’s. None of them signs their name Jer.

        Maybe Nicky is the name on Mr. Vaughn’s birth certificate, and not Nicholas. If so, I am guilty of snark and apologize.

        If not, at worst I made a poor stab at humor and missed the mark.

        Any particular reason my tiny remark about a name gets your goat … BillyJoe?

        • Notagod
          Posted November 17, 2013 at 9:44 am | Permalink

          Whatever you say Penis Olson.

          • Richard Olson
            Posted November 17, 2013 at 10:59 am | Permalink

            Penis Olson. That’s kinda funny. Well, the first time somebody said it my feelings were hurt, but I was only 9 or 10 then. After a while, I saw a little humor in it. Of course, all this took place a long time ago, early in my life, so maybe I remember it wrong.

        • Diane G.
          Posted November 17, 2013 at 11:41 am | Permalink

          It got my goat, too. Try telling it to Jimmy Carter.

          • BillyJoe
            Posted November 17, 2013 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

            Yeah, well, my name’s Billy, so it got my goat more.

          • Richard Olson
            Posted November 17, 2013 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

            Whether Vaughn is serious or means to be facetious, he missed his mark by a wide margin. He is either seriously misinformed or sophomoric, and I don’t know which.

            Giving him the benefit of the doubt — that he aimed for humor — I made humorous use of his name. Or attempted it, at any rate. I am well aware that a failed effort by me makes my attempt at humor lame, but I am no stranger to failure in the humor arena.

            I’ve spent a not inconsiderable amount of time in the south where it is more common than other areas I have lived for adult males to go by Nicky, or Billy, Jimmy or Ricky about as frequently as Nick, Bill, Jim or Rick. This does not give me license to make fun of it just because I could not wait to distance myself from my grandmother’s friends’ Ricky when I was very little.

            But is this naming convention somehow off limits for humor? I lived for a time in a yankee state where a sportswriter for a major newspaper entered into a dispute with the entire state of Texas over attitudes about football programs. For a number of years during football season he wrote a weekly column in hillbilly idiom voice and signed it BillyJoeRayBob Hitchock. It made me laugh every week when I read it.

            • Diane G.
              Posted November 17, 2013 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

              There’s a difference in satirizing a stereotype vs. picking on an individual. (And “Nicky” doesn’t fit the Bubba stereotype anyway.)

  10. Don
    Posted November 16, 2013 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    I doubt it’s a Poe. There are plenty of reasonably articulate people (like Dawkins’s Wendy) who really believe evolution is a Satanic fraud, a hoax whose purpose is to undermine religious faith. This poor dupe is one of them, I’m betting.

    (Here’s an aside, Jerry, that I mention only because I know you care about these little things and because I notice it here often. When you write “a poorly-done Poe” or “religiously-based neglect,” there is no need for the hyphen. As the estimable Diana Hacker says in THE BEDFORD HANDBOOK, “Do not use a hyphen to connect -ly adverbs to the words they modify.”)

    • Larry Gay
      Posted November 17, 2013 at 7:06 am | Permalink

      There is far too much authoritarianism in this world. You should analyze each case on its merits, time permitting.

  11. Genghis
    Posted November 16, 2013 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    WTF? He even has Ken Ham facial hair.

  12. Sastra
    Posted November 16, 2013 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    “How to argue against evolutionists”

    Assuming this is a sincere writer, he will no doubt be getting lots of new material for an entire series on the subject.

    Don’t seek out a debate if you’re too obviously wrong and therefore vulnerable. You’re going to go down in flames in front of people who aren’t going to be on your side and who aren’t trying to discover a way you can both be right.

    Instead, I suggest working on explaining why this topic is simply not the sort of thing which ought to be debated (it’s too personal, it’s too metaphysical, it’s too divisive can’t-we-just-get-along.)

  13. DrBrydon
    Posted November 16, 2013 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    “To learn about the past, we have religion.”

    I have only noticed this argument recently, and have not encountered it in older works, so I assume it is fairly new. It strikes me as a pretty desperate attempt to knock the chess board over. It is the ultimate anti-intellectual argument, is solipsistic, and, of course, completely dishonest. I am sure Mr. Vaught would argue as if History were valid if his landlord suddenly claimed he hadn’t paid his rent.

  14. Diane G.
    Posted November 16, 2013 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    “It’s either a poorly-done Poe…”

    IIANM, not being able to tell would mean it is a very good Poe.

    Personally, though, I’d like my Poes to be a little bit cleverer.

  15. Sheila B and Zin
    Posted November 16, 2013 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    “If he were a real scientist, he would know that science cannot tell us anything about the past, only the here and now and possibly the future. To learn about the past, we have religion.”

    I guess he doesn’t believe in forensic science then. I hope he never has need of it.
    There should be no unsolved murders – all we have to do is find the perpetrator in the bible, apparently.

  16. js
    Posted November 16, 2013 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    My guess is that it’s a ruse to get on to this particular website.
    There’s probably a case of beer in it for the guy.

    • gluonspring
      Posted November 17, 2013 at 1:19 am | Permalink

      +1

      Maybe it’s not funny now, but when he and his roommates wrote it at 4:00 A.M. after cramming for thermodynamics it might have been hilarious.

  17. Posted November 16, 2013 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

    I think it’s a joke. The part about monkeys is too ridiculous to be real. And Pokemon? That can’t be real.

  18. js
    Posted November 16, 2013 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    I’m no longer getting confirmation emails when I subscribe to posts.
    Anyone have any idea why?
    I’ve checked that they aren’t being marked as junk.

    • Posted November 16, 2013 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

      Dumb suggestion, maybe, but when you enter a comments thread are you logged in w/ the email that you would use to get emails from here? Here, I am in under a Google email. But the email I use is different.

  19. jesse
    Posted November 16, 2013 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

    Jerry, I live in the countryside in the rural Midwest. I meet people all the time who think like this and talk like this. I think that your readership here are more educated people who work and live among educated people, so you are just not used to it… when you work at a college you surround yourself with fairly educated people and you just don’t have a good exposure to what’s really out there.
    An acquaintance of mine has a mechanical engineering degree yet he spouts the most absolutely ridiculous stuff about biology I have ever heard in my life. Another acquaintance was a top nurse administrator in a large US city and gave me bio-babble about mutations and genes… basic stuff that was so totally wrong it hurt to hear! She was studying “healing touch” magic healing and talked about how the cells were being mutated by her energy.
    Then there was the lady who, when I was talking about the “physics” of stretching watercolor paper, exclaimed she knew all about physics and proceeded to tell me about her metaphysics business where she channels a wise person for you (for a fee).

    • Kevin
      Posted November 16, 2013 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

      This so much. I’m in southern California, in fairly well populated area and this kind of thinking is so widespread. You are so right, it is truly amazing what people will believe and how impervious to reasoning they are about those beliefs.

      It is frustrating to see so many ‘it’s a Poe, duh!’ responses. Even if this individual was doing a Poe, this kind of thinking is REAL and not rare…..

      • jesse
        Posted November 16, 2013 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

        Thanks for mentioning this. I have an evolution Bachelor’s degree (zool. with an emphasis on evolution) and it just comes naturally to me, altho I was an A- student. When I lived in a Big Ten college town and worked at the Univ., I didn’t know I was actually in the minority regarding “belief” in evolution. It was only after being in the mainstream that I realized how little understanding of biology the general populace has.

        I have tried to explain to a well-educated acquaintance that the homeopathy sugar pills do not contain any active ingredients but she cannot grasp it. As you may know the higher dilutions have higher “x” numbers and she cannot grasp that fact either; she believes the higher the “x” number, the more “medicine” is in there. She simply will not believe otherwise, despite other contradictory evidence regarding its performance.

        20 yrs. ago an acquaintance from Missouri told me that she was taking an ornithology correspondence class from Cornell. Get this: she told me she was eager to get past the first several wks. where they were discussing the evolution of birds (adaptations for flight) because she didn’t believe in all that stuff, but she said she was looking forward to the rest of the class where she would learn all the REALLY important things about birds. Ugh.

        I could go on and on, but then so could many other readers here, I am sure.

    • Hempenstein
      Posted November 16, 2013 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

      Jesse- Ask your mechanical engineering friend if he’d be willing to fly in an airplane constructed by a bunch of guys with divinity degrees. Or if he’d even think of having one of them work on his Buick’s transmission.

      • jesse
        Posted November 16, 2013 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

        Thanks. Good idea for the future.
        But some battles are not worth getting people mad at you. I am not much on confrontation.

        I just wanted Jerry to know that he works in a somewhat insulated environment, lucky person.

  20. Sean G
    Posted November 16, 2013 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

    A recent transplant to NCSU, and a PhD student studying evolution, I have to say that a distinct anti-evolution tone is frequently encountered here. Overzealous preachers dominate the square outside the library. And last week a full-blown anti-evolution installation/exhibit was stationed there as well. Having attended several universities over the years, I am honestly shocked at the remarkable anti-evolution fervor here. It’s a little weird.

    • Dr. Bob
      Posted November 16, 2013 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

      Welcome to West Raleigh Baptist Jr. College! The Flagship Science-Technology-Engineering and Math institution in NC———–NOT

    • Posted November 16, 2013 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

      We had plenty of those preachers at the pit at UNC. They mostly talked Jesus, rarely about evolution. One day and buddy of mine and I made great sport of a pit preacher who dared bring up evolution. After he realized we knew Morris’s and Gish’s schtick better than he did, he quickly introduced his boy companion, who pleaded ignorance of science and declared his desire to talk about Jesus, instead.

  21. Page Nelson
    Posted November 16, 2013 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    Nicky is putting us on and doing a fine job of it, too. I notice that he is a “Women’s and Gender Studies and Psychology Major”. Such credentials don’t go with a flat earth world view.

    Nicky is engaging in “Socratic Irony” which means pretending to be a moron. I do it all the time.

    Recall that Johnathan Swift’s “A Modest Proposal for Preventing the Children of Poor People From Being a Burthen to Their Parents or Country, and for Making Them Beneficial to the Publick” (1729) drew enormous, credulous rage from good folks just like US.

  22. Posted November 16, 2013 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    I don’t know, sounds like any other backwater hick argument. I’m leaning in favor of the real deal. I have seen people talk like this, and the entire time, they fully believe they are a flippin genius. You just gotta know when to walk away, and not get involved. But to see something like this published is nuts, and not the kind you can feed to squirrels.

  23. Posted November 16, 2013 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    I, too, believe this is most likely ‘real’, which makes one wonder, what does someone with this opinion about ‘science’ do at a university?

    What worries me the most is that last sentence:
    “It’s time we shut evolutionists up.”

    Since he can’t possibly refer to ‘by means of intelligent discourse’, I can almost SENSE the violence he has in mind.

    • McCthulhu
      Posted November 16, 2013 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

      Whaaaaat??? Someone advocate for violence because of their religion? There’s just no precedent for that!

  24. Posted November 16, 2013 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    This has got to be a spoof to alert science believers that they have an ignorant but dangerous enemy, always present and always ready to undermine reason and science.

  25. Michael Fisher
    Posted November 16, 2013 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    Nicky L. Vaught facebook [nickythemime] page is very normal ~ nothing fundie there & he looks quite pretty in the banner picture :)

    The Vimeo channel is called SMPC which stands for South Mecklenburg Presbyterian Church of Charlotte, NC. Can’t see anything obviously fundie there either

    HERE he wrote about “Medieval manuscripts yield ancient DNA” ~ nothing there to indicate any creationist tendencies in a rather ho hum article

    I don’t think it’s a Poe however, because the guy doesn’t appear to have a funny bone [I read a number of his articles]. I’m leaning towards the view that this psychology & women/gender studies student is a *people person* with no interest in science except possibly from a political perspective.

    • Matt G
      Posted November 16, 2013 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

      Ancient DNA? I thought science couldn’t tell us anything about the past.

      • articulett
        Posted November 17, 2013 at 1:13 am | Permalink

        I suspect that it’s only when science conflicts with what he imagines himself “saved” for “believing in” that he doubts scientific decoding of the past.

  26. Woof
    Posted November 16, 2013 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

    It appears that comments are open now.

    • Diana
      Posted November 16, 2013 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

      ….and so far the only comment is a fitting :(

      • Posted November 16, 2013 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

        And although it’s a fairly short one, it’s still one comment too many.
        Because we REALLY want this person to think that he, single handedly, has indeed ‘shut up the evolutionists’.
        Really, it’s better that way. For him and for us!

  27. Michael Fisher
    Posted November 16, 2013 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

    I wonder if Nicky was playing on this piece from two weeks ago in the same mag? Creation “scientists,” get off campus by Tim Gorski
    Deputy Viewpoint Editor
    Monday, November 4, 2013

    Go HERE and read the five comments under the article

    Here’s the article itself:- As I was walking through the Brickyard on my way to class Monday, I stumbled across a large black display labeled “Darwin’s radical theory” in red, eerie-looking letters, among other related presentations. Upon further inspection I realized that this smear campaign against evolutionary theory was the work of a pseudoscientific group of evangelists known as “Christian scientists.” Specifically, it is the work of a creationist named Tom Short.

    I must preface my disagreement with this group by stating that I have no qualms with religion. Moreover, I think that religious belief and science are reconcilable. What I do have a problem with is uneducated fundamentalists peddling utter nonsense as legitimate science and denouncing some of the most well-established theories in biology while on the campus of a public educational institution.

    I’m not going to lecture you about why the theory of evolution is true for the same reason I would not try to prove the theory of gravity is true if these people disputed it. Creationism is an argument that is given too much credit if it is taken seriously at this point in history. Moreover, there are plenty of people out there who are much more qualified to dispute these claims than I.

    However, one thing I am (and anyone else is) qualified to say is that these people don’t understand that evolution is no longer a debate. Sure, it’s a theory, but gravity and relativity are also theories. Evolution is supported by an irrefutable body of evidence from the scientific community vis-à-vis the fossil record, biochemistry and physiology.

    That is why almost every scientific society on the planet has directly issued statements citing evolution as the cause of biological diversity, thereby rejecting the proposals of intelligent design. About 99.9 percent of scientists accept evolution according to Brian Alters, founder and director of the Evolution Education Research Center.

    What is interesting about the posturing of these “scientists” is that they obnoxiously take their arguments into the public realm where everyone is forced to see them. When is the last time you saw a real scientist doing this?

    Have you ever seen a bunch of infographics held by a biologist at a college campus trying to prove that evolution is real? Of course you haven’t.

    That’s because evolution is a scientific fact. If you want to find evidence for it, you can consult a biology textbook, go to a museum or just Google it. There is simply no need for a fringe, outspoken man running around and trying to convince you of it in your day-to-day life — the evidence speaks for itself.

    I would defend to the death the right of people to say what they want. However, I would much prefer that creationists don’t — at least, not on college campuses. I don’t think these people would react too kindly to people who believe in evolution going into their churches and disputing their beliefs. College is where science happens. Churches, mosques, synagogues and other places of worship are where religion happens. They are both fine the way they are, so let’s keep it that way.

    Ultimately what these people are doing is unnecessarily perpetuating the divide between religion and science, making religion look unreasonably bad along the way. They assert that if you really believe in God, you won’t believe in mainstream science. This is a divisive ideology that we could do very well without in this country.

    Religion and science should bring people together. We would all benefit from making sure that we don’t let these people tear them apart.

    • Alex Shuffell
      Posted November 16, 2013 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

      Those comments were fascinating. I quote WileCyot: “Have you ever thought for a moment that it is possible for evolution and creationism to coexist?”
      I have never thought that for a moment. If these people represent the level of intelligence for this paper then Nicky Vaught is not a poe.

  28. Jerry Newingham
    Posted November 16, 2013 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

    All I can say is it appears to me the educational system has completely failed with this particular student.

    I’m in my 60′s and have an 11th grade education, and I can only roll my eyes at the complete nonsense and monumental ignorance this guy is displaying.

    Obviously he’s just taking up space and hasn’t learned a damned thing. What a waste.

    • jesse
      Posted November 16, 2013 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for writing this.
      [I hope in my comment above that I did not offend you or anyone who does not have a higher degree of education... that was not my intention. What I did mean is that when people live and work in a university setting, they tend to be somewhat isolated. It's human nature to gravitate towards people who are like ourselves.]

      If this guy was writing a poe then I think as an editor of a college publication he should have indicated it somehow. Seems the right thing to do, unless maybe he publishes something like this on April Fools Day.

      • Posted November 16, 2013 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

        I doesn’t take anything higher than HS studies to be able to see the inanity of that young man’s creationist arguments.

        And yes, as an editor, this is either his true thoughts on evolution or he cheated in his endeavor to troll us all.

        • Jerry Newingham
          Posted November 16, 2013 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

          Oh I take no offense whatsoever…I don’t think Mr. Vaught meant the article as some kind of poor joke..I believe he is actually that WILLFULLY stupid, and more the pity for it, seeing how a college education is a complete waste in his case.

  29. John Dickinson
    Posted November 16, 2013 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    What’s interesting is that it’s impossible to tell whether it’s a humourless spoof or the real dribble – demonstrating how painfully idiotic the real deal is. In which case it’s masterly.

    What’s scary is how many commenters are testifying to how many folk they’ve encountered who talk like this. USA, please don’t stop trying to educate your backyard – the idiocy might be virulent and manage to jump the pond.

  30. ploubere
    Posted November 16, 2013 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

    I live and teach in Tennessee. Half the people here believe all that. Not a figure of speech: over 50 percent here are evangelical.
    They’ve already passed legislation to allow teachers to teach ID in grade school.

    • Jerry Newingham
      Posted November 16, 2013 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

      “I live and teach in Tennessee. Half the people here believe all that.”

      And THAT is exactly why I don’t think Mr. Vaught is trying to be funny.

      I live in Arkansas, pretty much a self imposed hermit, simply because the vast majority of the population in this little town believe and think like Mr. Vaught.

      I feel like I’m the only sane, rational person for miles around.

  31. Diane G.
    Posted November 16, 2013 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

    Don’t feed the troll!

    • Diane G.
      Posted November 16, 2013 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

      (Also originally a response to a post since thankfully deleted.)

  32. jeffery
    Posted November 16, 2013 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

    I believe that the Babble verse he quotes about washing after an “issue” refers to nocturnal emissions- yet another ambiguous, confusing bit of “evidence” as to whether this is a spoof, or not!

  33. Sawdust Sam
    Posted November 16, 2013 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

    Just to be clear, is this the point where you stop pretending to be a moron, or when you start?

    • Sawdust Sam
      Posted November 16, 2013 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

      Sorry – that was addressed to a comment by Page Nelson, which has thankfully vanished.

      • Diane G.
        Posted November 16, 2013 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

        Well, that was a great reply, considering his first post. ;) Which BTW seemed fine to me–sure didn’t see that last one coming! Good riddance.

        • Diana
          Posted November 16, 2013 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

          They always do that – suck you in then, whack! Every troll here has the same MO.

          • Diane G.
            Posted November 16, 2013 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

            True.

            I guess that’s how we recognize them.

  34. Posted November 16, 2013 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

    I feel ill. To bad there is no god. Or hell.

  35. ichneumonid
    Posted November 16, 2013 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

    Definitely a Poe, though not a very good one. The first few sentences give it away, with some poor attempts at irony.

  36. wonderer
    Posted November 16, 2013 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

    By a Christian:

    THE TOP 10 SIGNS THAT YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND EVOLUTION AT ALL

    • Posted November 16, 2013 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

      ‘Christianity + Evolution: Better Together.’ Well, this is as weird a transitional form as I have seen. It looks to be both informative about science and soothing for Christians. The cognitive dissonance is strong over there.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted November 17, 2013 at 1:32 am | Permalink

      Well, the guy’s pretty sound on the science part of it. And he loves (sarcasm) Ray Comfort. And he has a sense of humour – from the bottom of his page on Ray Comfort’s movie: “Dear reader, please take a moment and Like us on Facebook. Why? Because every time we get a new fan on social media, an angel evolves new wings! (That’s what we believe anyway, and you have no way to prove us wrong.)” :)

  37. Bob Carlson
    Posted November 16, 2013 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

    Poe or no, I have no idea. As for science saying interesting stuff about the past, check out this article from today’s Washington Post.

  38. Sean
    Posted November 16, 2013 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

    I badly want to believe it is just a poorly-executed Poe, because NCSU has a lot of ‘nerdy’ folks that would understand the (lack of clever) satire. But then again, it also is an ENGINEERING school, and we all know how engineers can be knowledgeable in one area and batshit insane in the next. They have a strong agricultural science program but I don’t think they focus much on evolution or ecology – leading to a lot of redneck types and “future farmers” enrolled for that program, many of them are highly intelligent but have strong religious backgrounds which makes it quite likely that this kid is a full on raging fundie.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted November 17, 2013 at 1:37 am | Permalink

      Much though I hate to admit it, you’re right. Harold Camping, for example, was an engineer.

      Of course, there are as many different types of ‘engineer’ as there are of ‘scientist’. Or ‘manager’. And often for the same reasons, grabbing a bit of prestige.

  39. lisa parker
    Posted November 16, 2013 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

    A mind is a terrible thing to waste.I wonder if this kid ever had one or did it just atrophy from lack of use. But somebody please tell me that Pokémon has nothing to do with evolution. It clearly has nothing to do with Intelligent design!

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted November 17, 2013 at 1:43 am | Permalink

      It’s a trendy name that Pokemon has co-opted. I believe that some of their monsters can ‘evolve’ into other monsters.

      For another use of evolution, Google ‘Mitsubishi Evolution’. There’s quite a lot of intelligent design going on there, if you want to win motor rallies. ;)

  40. Phil Mees
    Posted November 16, 2013 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

    If it’s not a “put on” then the syntax and logic are reminiscent of Johnny Carson’s “Floyd R Turbo” comedy routine, which the writer is likely too young to be familiar with, but when he does run across it down the road he will be greatly embarrassed, if he is other than just plain stupid. Gobbledygook of this kind is mere spit in wind of the inexorable advancement and real-world application of evolutionary science; these people become increasingly marginalized – not to worry.

  41. Posted November 17, 2013 at 12:26 am | Permalink

    Gotta be a joke, but only because of the newspaper. In another context, it could be in earnest.

  42. Rolf
    Posted November 17, 2013 at 5:23 am | Permalink

    Isn’t it unbelievable, that a student can produce such trsh ???

    But maybe it’s a bad jole …..

  43. Pirate
    Posted November 17, 2013 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    I’m betting it’s a joke. First, the rhetoric is ridiculously over the top (calling Darwinists bible-burners, for instance). Second, the kid’s Facebook page and previous articles don’t match my model of a close-minded fundie. For instance, he’s written an article taking on the fetishization of virginity, he’s a feminist women’s studies major, and he’s evidently very liberal politically. That’s not incompatible with being a creationist, I guess, but it considerably reduces the probability.

    • Pirate
      Posted November 17, 2013 at 7:56 am | Permalink

      Also, he seems to be a big Kurt Vonnegut fan. He’s got a number of Vonnegut quotes posted on his Facebook page. I just don’t see a hardcore biblical literalist being such a fan of an outspoken atheist like Vonnegut.

  44. Dolly Llama
    Posted November 17, 2013 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    It was satire.

  45. Posted November 17, 2013 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

    Yes. I am Nicky Vaught. I no longer identify as Christian. This article was a joke–or more like me just having fun. Admittedly, upon rereading, it was next to humorless. I thought my exaggerated diction would offer a good enough tell that this was, in fact, satirical. The video comes from years ago when I was Christian only in name–note the content of the meditation having nearly nothing to do with Christianity.

    The point, if you’re interested, WAS to point out, through actual creationist arguments, just how ridiculous intelligent design is. With my publishing it at a primarily engineering university, I assumed the presentation of such extreme and ill-founded views would be taken with a grain of salt.

    I am (on the other hand) glad to see such a lively, reasonable debate over something I’ve written.

    • Diane G.
      Posted November 17, 2013 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

      Ha, good job Nicky! The take-home message is probably that sincere creationist “arguments” are so stupid that it’s next to impossible to subtly satirize them.

    • Richard Olson
      Posted November 17, 2013 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

      I fail at humor as often as not, myself. Good of you to visit and clear things up. A couple of questions: What is your given name? Do you by chance know a convert to Catholicism named Nicholas?

      • Diane G.
        Posted November 17, 2013 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

        Respectfully, Richard–drop it!

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted November 17, 2013 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

      The dinosaur bones part was what had me a bit on the side that it was a joke but all those things are said so often by real believers that it was hard to tell.

      Good job though – I think this was a pretty well executed poe if we couldn’t tell for sure. I’m glad it turned out to be a joke.

    • jesse
      Posted November 17, 2013 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

      “I am (on the other hand) glad to see such a lively, reasonable debate over something I’ve written.”

      Don’t be too glad.

      It wasted a lot of time of the people who are actually on your side of the evolution debate.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted November 18, 2013 at 2:01 am | Permalink

        Bah. Jesse, don’t be so judgemental (and humourless). Anybody who bothered to comment obviously had time to spare and some of us had quite a bit of fun doing so – many of us at Nicky’s expense. If he can take it in good part so can we. IMO.

        • Diane G.
          Posted November 18, 2013 at 2:47 am | Permalink

          + 1

        • jesse
          Posted November 18, 2013 at 9:18 am | Permalink

          Hi. Sorry if I sounded po-faced. I do have a good sense of humor! It is just that in my business I have received so many weird emails from people that you would not believe it. A lot of them seem like pranks, some have been a little scary, and they seem to be wanting to waste my time… a larger proportion than you would ever imagine. Some are so weird that I can only laugh privately and answer politely, but they waste my time and they don’t buy anything. So I guess that clouds my sense of humor or judgment in other areas sometimes! I guess I expected Nicky to offer some clue in the article that it had been a creative writing endeavor, which I see he has since added. No harm done here, I’ll just try to not waste my time even looking at creationist-sounding writings, even when pointed out by JAC, that’s all! Socratic method, be damned : )

    • Posted November 18, 2013 at 4:04 am | Permalink

      Wow! All we need is the video of Marshall McLuhan stepping out to support Woody Allen!

  46. jesse
    Posted November 17, 2013 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

    “I am (on the other hand) glad to see such a lively, reasonable debate over something I’ve written.”

    Don’t be too glad.

    It wasted a lot of time of the people who are actually on your side of the evolution debate.

    • jesse
      Posted November 17, 2013 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

      I meant my comment to be directed to #44.

  47. kelskye
    Posted November 17, 2013 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

    That’s the kind of argument one feels sorry for. It’s not even wishful thinking, but a strong denial of reality in order to maintain a belief.

  48. Sam Chapman
    Posted November 18, 2013 at 2:27 am | Permalink

    FYI, the comments section is now on at The Statesman’s website. As a life-long Tarheel, how embarrassing for an already terribly embarrassed state.

  49. Jim Jones
    Posted December 1, 2013 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

    The original post now says:

    “*Note: This column was intended to be satirical.”


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