As regular readers know, I have a great love of idiosyncratic art. (See, for example, Death Bed: the Bed that Eats.) I am just so tired of polished soullessness. It is much more interesting to watch something from someone who has a vision that is more than a minor variation on a tired theme. One would think that YouTube would be great for this kind of thing, and it is — to a small extent. But we don’t get as much as we ought to because most people think polished soullessness is the height of artistic achievement. This tends to reduce both supply (since most people only have soullessness to offer) and demand (with many people pushing their banal and often cruel opinions on the creators of idiosyncratic art).
I came upon a great collection of idiosyncratic videos by a guy that goes by the name of logicked. He is an atheist who makes videos that debunk videos by creationists. That in itself is not interesting. There are actually a good too many of such videos. I tend to bristle when I hear atheists talking about science, because they generally have a fairly superficial understanding of it. Just the same, they are close enough, and compared to their creationist opponents, they are downright omniscient. Logicked’s science is better than most, but what is great about him is that he is both funny and bizarre.
The videos I’ve watched counter the young earth creationist and supposed chemist (And “scientist”!) John Morris Pendleton. I’m sketchy on who Pendleton is, but according to a YouTube page, “Pendleton is a missionary near Mexico City. He has an excellent creation seminar and literature ministry in English and has also translated creation materials into Spanish. He is a scientist with a BS in chemistry. Pendleton has great appreciation for the importance of Creation Science and commitment to disseminate the truth of God’s Special Creation.” It is interesting, however, that despite his chemistry degree, he appears to work as an auto mechanic — not that there is anything wrong with that, but the Car Talk guys didn’t claim to be “scientists.”
Logicked has taken Pendleton’s videos and cut them up to create a kind of conversation — as if logicked were sitting in the lecture interrupting. It has the effect of Mystery Science Theater 3000 riffing, except that logicked often goes into some depth rebutting a point. And, in fact, he has even created a video (which I haven’t watched) called, Mystery Logicked Theater 3000 — Rapture Brainwashing Video. But rather than logicked only doing voice overs or providing yet another pasty white guy talking head, he appears in black, with a black bandanna around his face, 3-D glasses, and one of those horrible top hats that trendy haberdashers now sell.
There is much to like. Primarily, there is the curious juxtaposition of Pendleton with his earnest arrogance wearing a prop lab coat and logicked with his razor sharp sarcasm wearing his Tim Burton meets Roger Corman outfit. There is the constant visual ribbing with flames and other “demonic” iconography. There are strange little skits in later episodes. And there is the hard-driving, noise-infused music that I’m too old to identify. It all combines to create something quite extraordinary where Pendleton is very much a collaborator in the whole thing. Check out this very funny second “episode”:
(Note: Episode Five is actually better in terms of its idiosyncrasies, including “The Oracle of Toronto” and the death of Yahweh.)
People like Pendleton offend me. I really have no problem with people believing whatever they want. But it is wrong to pretend to do science. I think of Pendleton the way I think of the cargo cultists. They did everything they could to make it appear that they were running an airport. But the airplanes did not come back. Pendleton and the other young earth creationists do everything to appear as though they are doing science. But there is a difference. The cargo cultists really believed. I think people like Pendleton know full well that they aren’t doing science; they are just pretending to trick other people. We saw this when Ken Ham admitted that there is literally no evidence that would make him stop believing in creationism.
Logicked expressed some of my frustration in one of his early videos:
But that’s not why you should check him out. Much of his material is genuinely — laugh out loud — funny. And the fact that he does it while looking like a 21st century psychedelic Jack the Ripper only makes it that much more fun.