Shaun VenomFangX: Another creationist liar bites the dust

VenomFangX in full flow

VenomFangX in full flow

On the surface this might appear like another storm in a teacup; yet another flamer thread leading to yet-another “lamer” getting “PWND”. But the recently posted video apology from one YouTube user to another looks set to open up the wider debate on what is and what is not appropriate use of the legal mechanisms web sites such as YouTube put in place, to protect copyright content owners and still provide a compelling service to their millions of ordinary users.

VenomFangX is perhaps best known on YouTube for his videos with titles like “Why Evolution is an evil lie from the devil”, in which he regurgitates the lore of ‘Intelligent Design’; the fundamentally flawed alternative to Darwinian Natural Selection taught in Christian evangelical sponsored schools, which claims there is unfalsifiable evidence that simple life forms must have been created in a pre-assembled complete state and could not have evolved from even simpler forms of bacterial life. This is the central tenet of so-called irreducible complexity upon which the reputation of I.D. rises and falls.

Kent Hovind made $50,000 a year through speaking engagements and, in 2002 alone, sold more than $1.8 million in merchandise.  He is currently serving time in federal prison for tax evasion.

Kent Hovind made $50,000 a year through speaking engagements and, in 2002 alone, sold more than $1.8 million in merchandise. He is currently serving time in federal prison for tax evasion.

VenomFangX, makes various demands in his infamous video clips that certain problems which advocates of I.D. say exist within the fact of Evolution by Natural Selection, be explained to him (the suggestion being that no-one is capable of this without recourse to a first cause designer “God”). VenomFangX became notorious for his removal of comment threads which, unfortunately for him, repeatedly answered his questions in ways which he did not approve, and his removal of video replies to his postings, seen as an act of desperation by the YouTube community in which he had so seriously alienated himself, which listed the numerous reasons why his loyalty to I.D. and those who champion it, such as the convicted criminal and founder of the Creation Science Evangelism Ministry, Kent Hovind, are at best naively misplaced and at worst wilfully ignorant.

At first willing to assume VenonFangX might simply need better reading material, another YouTube user, ‘Thunderf00t‘, proceeded to break down, meticulously and calmly each of the claims made by VenomFangX in a series of clips which he named “Why people laugh at (young Earth) creationists” – which were wildly popular among the YouTube community for their side-by-side comparisons of what I.D. supporters believe to be true about the biology of life on Earth (based upon a highly distorted re-interpretation of thousand year old biblical texts) and the empirical evidence in each of the general sciences, not least being in the area of genetics, which didn’t exist at the time Darwin published The Origin of Species, but which nevertheless vindicates each of the theories Darwin lays out in what is widely accepted as the most important science book of the 20th century.

The very lack of a need to invoke the supernatural, as a way to explore the question of how life on Earth came to be so abundant and varied is, as I.D. exponents argue, proof in itself that Darwinian Evolution by Natural Selection is bad science, since all understanding of the natural world must be based upon the assumption that, regardless of the evidence, the Judaeo-Christian god Yahweh played at least some part in the design for life, because this is explicitly written within the first few pages of a book authored two thousand years ago, by people who used allegorical tales, featuring composite characters from the popular myth and folklore of the time, as a framework for understanding.

Presented with deductive evidence that I.D. is not a science, meanwhile, VenomFangX became increasingly aggressive in his attempts to silence his critics. The apology video he posted on the 7th of October, 2008, is important for two reasons. Firstly because it is the first time a much maligned character from the YouTube community has been forced to accept, on camera, that he has in the past deliberately lied and misrepresents the facts in his videos. What he did was illegal. In an attempt to silence ‘Thunderf00t’, VenomFangX engaged YouTube’s legally binding reporting mechanism, which is reserved for the use of copyright holders who do not wish for users to post content they do not own the copyright for, for no other reason than to maliciously take-down videos critical of his religiously informed, demonstrably false claims.

Since ‘Thunderf00t’ clearly can claim the rights to videos he produced and because the sections he lifted from VenonFangX’s own videos is covered under the ‘Fair Use’ clause within the Digital Millenium Copyright Act, VenomFangX opened himself up to another clause within the D.M.C.A. which grants ‘Thunderf00t’ the legal right to pursue VenonFangX for legal fees in the highly likely event he would be found guilty of abusing YouTube’s take-down mechanism, while fully aware that this was illegal and admitting as much an e-mail to another YouTube user with whom VenomFangX was unaware was also in correspondence with ‘Thunderf00t’, on the nature of VenomFangX’s deliberate lies.

The second reason VenomFangX’s apology video is important, is because it is yet more proof that supporters of Intelligent Design can not back up their claims to have found evidence of irreducibly complex organisms with scientific proofs. VenomFangX would never have needed to so much as raise his voice in anger, let alone resort to childishly illegal and potentially very costly behaviour, if any of his claims bore up to even the slightest degree of objective scrutiny.

It’s worth noting that while VenomFangX might appear to the passive observer to be simply another mislead internet teen, the main thrust of his argument is lifted directly from the books and media savvy works published by The Discovery Institute – a scientific sounding name, for a distinctly unscientific front organisation to the Christian Evangelical movement, in the United States of America, which represents more than 50% of those likely to vote for the Republican candidate in this November’s presidential election. Indeed, John McCain’s running mate and vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin is herself a card carrying member of a Pentecostal church; the staunch wing of the Evangelical Christian movement, instrumental in the pro-gun lobby and who count among their number the anti-semitic preacher Billy Graham, televangelist Pat Robertson and former New Life Church pastor Ted Haggard, forced to resign in 2007 after it was revealed he had purchased methamphetamine from a male prostitute with whom he had a sexual relationship, while publicly urging his followers to “hate homosexuality as an evil sin”.

One comment on “Shaun VenomFangX: Another creationist liar bites the dust

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