UpChucky awards honor clueless creationists

Posted by Emma Woollacott

A new award from the National Center for Science Education aims to honor the year's most stupid creationist.

"This crown of cluelessness, this diadem of density, this badge of bullpucky isn't awarded to just any Darwin doubter," say the organisers. "The UpChucky is bestowed on that one creationist whose efforts in the preceding year would inspire Darwin (or any rational person) to 'drive the porcelain bus'."

This year's winner is Don McLeroy, a dentist and - horrifyingly - former chair of the Texas Board of Education. Notable quote: "Somebody's got to stand up to experts!"

As award organiser Steve Mirsky points out, "The amazing thing about Don is that he's a dentist who spends all his time - when he's not destroying academic standards in Texas - working with some of the primary evidence of human evolution. Teeth! Whole fossil lineages can be defined by their teeth! Don doesn't get that. He's clearly a worthy winner of the first annual UpChucky award."

This guy is great fun: in an interview last October he explained to the Washington Monthly,  "We are a Christian nation founded on Christian principles. The way I evaluate history textbooks is first I see how they cover Christianity and Israel. Then I see how they treat Ronald Reagan — he needs to get credit for saving the world from communism and for the good economy over the last twenty years because he lowered taxes."

But there was some strong competition.

Los Angeles-based evangelist Ray Comfort was best known for an unintentionally comic video  with former child star Kirk Cameron about the divine design of the banana.

Best quote: "Behold the atheist's nightmare! Now, if you study a well-made banana, you'll find..."

Casey Luskin of the Discovery Institute was also shortlisted: When asked if intelligent design - as mentioned in a proposed Florida law - constituted 'scientific information', Luskin dithered, saying, "In my personal opinion, I think it does. But the intent of this bill is not to settle that question. The intent of this bill is...it protects the 'teaching of scientific information.'"

Finally, Al Jazeera got a mention for a somewhat garbled understanding of the theory of evolution: "[American scientists]...announced yesterday that Ardi’s discovery proves that humans did not evolve from ancestors that resemble chimpanzees, which refutes the longstanding assumption that humans evolved from monkeys."