Either PZ Myers wanders off to the deepest, darkest recesses of the web on some sort of self-inflicted horrific mission to dredge up examples of the absolute worst in some of our fellow humans, or his readers are very, very eager masochists who supply him with a stream of despicable lunacy he feels compelled to share since one his recent entries is a summary of a missive by a conspiracy theorist, racist and anti-Semite Ted Pike, a man who really likes to call himself Reverend and get chummy with New World Order klaxons. There are few types of writing that I honestly can’t stomach and even fewer that make me experience a sudden desperation to take a shower after reading them, but Pike’s hateful, pathologically paranoid and sociopathic spew has that rare effect on me. Really, I do like good conspiracy theories because they are entertaining and if you’re not an incurious person, they really make you think and do some research. Even if you prove them wrong, you found something out and learned from having your views challenged by someone stirring the pot. Pike doesn’t even feign trying to stir the pot. He just takes his pants off and defecates in it to indulge in conspiracies ripped right out of The Protocols and warped by the kind of radical fundamentalism that should be treated by doctors.
Aside from the typical tropes about how Karl Marx supposedly dedicated Das Kapital to Darwin, which is just the kind of nonsense myth that can only be seen as a manipulation of Cold War-era paranoia, and how there are thousands of leading, cutting edge scientists doing incredible work on creationism rather than facing the fact that "creation science" is firmly in the realm of theologians with fewer science credentials than a middle school student, Pike’s grand revelation to the world is that evolution is a Zionist conspiracy. You know, like the last big New World Order conspiracy for which he signed up without a single thought in his breezy head. Yes, it’s always about the Zionists with an awfully disturbing amount of conspiracy theorists and every single query about foreign policy and global events has to somehow be pointed to Jews for an explanation they consider a valid one. Terrorist groups? Zionist influence. The events of 9/11? Zionist plot. Poorly managed wars? Zionist conspiracy. Stock market fluctuations? Zionist corruption. Moon landings? Zionist hoax. Blizzards which made you wreck your car on your way home from a holiday vacation? Zionist weather manipulation device. And I am pretty sure that if I search for the last snarky item in my litany, I’ll find it. The web is already very familiar with all sorts of conspiracies about Zionist sharks on Egypt’s beaches and spy vultures in the Arabian desert.
Go as far back as Martin Luther and you’ll already find giant screeds accusing Jews of masterminding almost every last dilemma faced in Medieval Europe, conspiracy theories promoted by the Vatican itself and quite probably contributing to the Holocaust. Which an awful lot of conspiracy theorists will deny ever happened no matter what evidence you present, even the Nazi orders and paperwork specifying how many were killed and when at what camp; some 50 million of them unsealed by Germany a few years ago. How can a tiny cabal of people from a certain ethnic group be responsible for just about everything that’s gone wrong for a thousand years, from economic depressions to the Black Plague? Even the supposedly almighty Jewish lobby wields a paltry $1 million in donations to politicians and its supposedly fiercely loyal plants in Washington consistently influence policy decisions that fence Israel into a tiny little box and further undermine whatever peace process the Israeli liberals and moderates want with Palestine to just end all the fighting, bombing, and bickering. But somehow, those sinister Zionists are always on top and manipulating the entire world through some sort of a mind control beam, even when they shoot themselves in the foot again and again on the world stage.
I know, they must do what Pike says they do and sway the world with teaching evolution in class! Ayee! That’s how the Jews, plenty of whom reject evolution as a valid scientific theory or which they substitute with a rather vague deism, must brainwash the world into following their subliminal orders and we must stop teaching any concept even remotely resembling evolution to stop the Zionist plot to… to… do something! I guess Pike must have found some common ground with Turkish cult leader Adnan Oktar who also believes that evolution is a sinister Jewish conspiracy to subjugate his fellow Turks. Who says interfaith dialogue can’t work? We have an obsessed Christian fundamentalist and a Muslim creationist actually agreeing on something, primarily on their searing hatred of Jews, but still, as the great accommodationist communicators teach us, that’s really a step in the right direction. Get two parties to agree with each other on something and further dialogue could follow. Let’s just start working in some of the conspiracy theories so popular in Pakistan nowadays and we’ll have plenty of material for the next great conspiracy potboiler. It will star Osama bin Laden as an actor for the Mossad to stage the events of 9/11 along with the CIA and feature all sorts of mindless drivel from Jeff Rense and Alex Jones as its backbone. Actually, I’m pretty sure that book is being written right now.
But even more repellent than Pike’s usual Jews-did-it conspiracy theory policy is the mention of how what the entire ethnic and religious group is really good for is helping good Christians ascend into Heaven and bring about the end of the world. The scary thing is that it’s not just this crazed conspiracist’s belief. No, I’ve brought this up before when discussing the evangelical obsession with Armageddon and it’s a sadly popular part of the modern doomsday canon preached by televangelists and theologians. Imagine that, holding a people as some sort of sacrificial lamb to get you to your personal heaven, there only in your service and to die so you’ll be given wings and a halo. When people say that Israel must stay a U.S. ally not because it’s a regional giant with a vast military and economic ties with the nation, but because according to some scriptural prophecies, any peaceful, two state solution must be prevented to make sure the world ends, it fills me with horror. These people are apparently not only fine with genocide, they want to encourage it because they get to fulfill all their fantasies about the afterlife on the corpses of millions of Jews and Arabs. I’m sorry, what were all those high brow theological gurus and accommodationists telling us about religious devotion making people moral and selflessly humble again? I didn’t catch that over the thinly veiled bloodlust…
[ illustration by Then One Art ]