Field of Science

What's so bad about reptiles?

Someone who holds a general science degree from West Point, Robert Bowie Johnson Jr., has written a book by the title Sowing Atheism: The National Academy of Sciences Sinister Scheme to Teach Our Children They Are Descended From Reptiles. You can download the whole book as a pdf right here.

Here's one quote that I thought was worth sharing from page 15:
Nothing good can come from teaching our children they are descended from reptiles. Nothing. It is one of those things that is always all bad.
Wow! That's just so amazingly stupid a comment that one has to look long for something stupider (okay, not really).

It is common evolutionary knowledge that we, and all mammals with us, evolved from reptiles (but see this comment by Eugenie Scott, and Coyne's reply here - I agree with Coyne on this one).

I wonder why it is considered so bad, and I am left with the impression that many creationists are not merely homophobes, but also animalophobes. Homophobes are afraid of homosexuals because they think fucking someone in the asshole is disgusting. Everything else is a rationalization. Including Sodom. What did they do in Gomorrah, again? And I suppose Johnson here is similarly disgusted by the idea that humans come from reptiles. Those disgusting, stupid, amoral creatures, right?

Well, I really like the idea. I think reptiles are cool. I think the knowledge that we evolved from an ancestor which all other animals also evolved from is really neat. I love animals, and I am not afraid of being called an animal. So go ahead, call me a animalophiliac, or reptiloid.

But seriously. The TalkOrigins Archive has a list of some of the reptile-mammal transitional fossils. Biarmosuchia is one example.

Beautiful! (Source.)


  1. "Well,

    it is absolutely impossible that I am derived from a reptile! Under no circumstance! No, No, No, No, No, N*, No, NO!

    It can't be, it is bad, it is unhealthy, and nothing good can come from it! Never! Teaching my children that they might be derived from reptiles would cause them to feel some kind of empathy with them! That is bad! Very bad! How can we fullfill our god given mandate to dominate the world? We can not feel empathy with our minions! We shouldn't feel empathy at all! It is bad! The word empathy was not mentioned in the bible, and thus is a bad word! Same is true for dinosaur, or evolution! Bad Bad words, like intelligent, or critical rationalism, or internet! Nothing good can come from these things!"

    puh... these religious evangelical creationist must be so full of hate. How can it be that a religion like christianity, which is all about tollerance, and love, has this fraction of fundamentalists that are aparently free of any ability to reason?

    Cheers Arend

  2. Unfortunately for the human race, every race, nationality and creed has a fair sprinkling of people who love to behave like assholes and use their chosen identities as an excuse to hurt others. And of course the most assholic members of each faction are the quickest to make noise about how their ideological opponents want to make everybody evil. Grr!

    So I'm a sort of a henotheist, and I don't think the idea of a huge invisible friend invalidates all the cool science we have that describes how everything works. So for the sake of argument, let me put myself in the shoes of a Christian partisan who feels the same way as I do. (Surely some must exist!) They'd undoubtedly say something like "Hey, isn't it cool that God designed the universe in such a way that all the creatures for whose welfare we have responsibility were also our distant relatives?"

    The anti-evolution jerks, as I see it, are not so much dissing reptiles as they are taking human beings too seriously. We're bundles of flesh, glorified dust, even according to their own origin myths! Does it really belittle us so much to say we have a few strands of DNA in common with crawly coldblooded beasties that can't talk--oh, and also can't build concentration camps and bombs and Agent Oranges and Abu Ghraibs?

    Hell, even without bringing the whole tangly god mess into it, empathy and hope seem to be the moral messages behind evolution anyway. Hey, we're related to everything alive in some distant sense, so this can help us feel a sense of responsibility and compassion towards them. Maybe we can learn something from them! Maybe someday some of them will prove to be just as capable as us of having culture and thought!

    Which would be awesome!


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