New Atheist Gullibility?

New Atheist activist Hemant Mehta posted a blog entry entitled, “Ricky Gervais Hilariously Deconstructed a Tweeted Threat from a Christian Fundamentalist.”

Here was the tweet:

And Mehta informs us:

Gervais said the person who sent it to him was a Creationist from Texas. And then he spent several minutes trying to unpack everything the man said…

C’mon people.  Can Gervais and Mehta be any more gullible?  Is there ANY evidence this tweet came from a “Creationist from Texas?”  Is there ANY evidence this tweet came from a “Christian Fundamentalist?” How did these champions of critical thinking ever rule out the obvious alterative explanation?

This is a Poe.

Let’s start with the all-caps “Scients.”  Really?  These guys get taken in by Poe 101?  What’s more likely?  A “Creationist from Texas” never once read the word “science” and gets it hilariously wrong by trying to spell it like it sounds to his ignorant ears?  Or a Poe, using the oldest lolz Poe tricks in the book?  Then again, these Gnus are probably still oblivious to the way Dawkins was Poe’d.

Secondly, I’m someone who follows the Gnus somewhat regularly over the years.  As such, I was aware of Ricky Gervais, but did not pay him much attention.  After all, the man is simply not that famous (at least here in the States) and is not a serious thinker.

Which leads me to wonder just how many “Creationists from Texas” would even know who Ricky Gervais is.   My generous guess would be 1%.

What’s more, even though I recognized Gervais’s name, and knew he was some type of atheist comedian, I did not know he was British.  Just learned that fact.  So, let’s think about this. Among that generous 1% of Texan creationists who have even heard of Ricky Gervais and know he is an atheist, just how many also knew he was British?  Again, I’ll be generous and say it’s 1%.

Okay, so we’re supposed to believe that among the teeny tiny percent of Texan creationists who know of Ricky Gervais and know he is British, that this tiny population had within it someone who was so infuriated at the comedian that he used Twitter to seek out Gervais and used all caps to inform Gervais he’d be laughing at him getting raped by Satan.  And this just happens to be the same man (the only man?) who spells “science” as “scients.”

I can think of a much more likely scenario.  Gervais, a Gnu comedian,  is relatively well known among the New Atheists, especially those who are into Poes.  So one of these Poes, who probably follows Gervais’s tweets, writes something he/she knows that Gervais won’t be able to resist.  Nice and parsimonious.

To top it all off is the irony of the whole tweet.  In fact, Gervais picks up on it:

This is my favorite bit. “YOUR SCIENTS WON’T HELP YOU WHEN SATAN IS RAPING YOUR BRITISH ASS!!! I’LL BE LAUGHING.” So this silly [expletive] is there, too! He’s there!

So he’s a fundamentalist Creationist who’s lived his life by the Old Testament. He dies. He finds himself in Hell. He sees me being raped. It cheers him up! Like he’s over it already!

Ricky thinks he has discovered an irony there, when it’s obvious the irony was all part of the Poe in the first place.   Poes love to add the ironic twist to their messages (such as verbally abusing their target and ending with a “Love in Christ”).  That Poe must have been tickled pink to see Gervais get the joke.

I’m endlessly amused when the Gnus are constantly patting themselves on their own backs about how rational and skeptical they are, yet they never fail to be taken in by obvious Poes. Hook. Line. And sinker.

There’s a sucker born every minute.

What explains this constant gullibility?  I submit it’s merely because their minds are enslaved to their stereotypes about Christians.  They desperately lean on the crutch of their stereotypes.  Tell em something that validates their precious stereotypes, and they will lap it up like a floppy eared puppy.

But…….hold on.  Let me check something.


Remember the time when the New Atheist community fell for the fake Kim Davis twitter account?  I do.  The same Hemant Mehta found it necessary to stop the bleeding and tried to steer the Gnus away from embarrassing themselves further by falling for the Poe.

Mehta actually listed the evidence it was a hoax, including:

The capitalized words and misspellings throughout the account’s timeline are the hallmarks of what you’d do if you were trying to imitate a Christian fundamentalist. In other words, it’s *too* error-filled to be accurate.

Well, well.  So Mehta knows that “capitalized words and misspellings….are the hallmarks” of Poes.  He knows.

Yet he passes this one off as legit.

Y’know, maybe the issue isn’t one of gullibility.  Maybe its about deception and dishonesty.  That is, Gervais and Mehta don’t really think the tweet came from a creationist in Texas, but who cares?  It’s not about being fooled because of an adherence of negative stereotypes.  It’s about using deception to purposely perpetuate negative stereotypes.  After all, for activists, the ends justify the means.

Lying for Gnutopia is just part of an activist’s good day’s work.

This entry was posted in atheist activism, Poe, Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to New Atheist Gullibility?

  1. Talon says:

    While it’s quite possible the tweet was from a Poe, it’s likely Gervais has received wider recognition since he appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert last week.

    Clips if anyone is curious:

  2. Kevin says:

    Reading the comments, atheists seem to think Gervais made some sort of a slam dunk case. Anyone who comments regularly on this site could have torn him a new one.

    Regarding OP, there’s definitely no reason to believe that this was a real creationist.

  3. Dhay says:

    Talon > While it’s quite possible the tweet was from a Poe, it’s likely Gervais has received wider recognition since he appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert last week.

    I think you have just epitomised Michael’s point about gullibility.

    “2:19 PM – 19 Aug 2013”

  4. GRA says:

    The language used sounds similar to a youtube video showing Westboro Baptist Church member, before she went out and picketed, saying something to the effect of God drop-kicking a non-believer’s ass in a confronting tone. I’ve come across some fundamentalist and none of them actually talk like this let alone use twitter actively. Probably the kids use twitter, but what Gervais responded to sounds like it drew inspiration from the youtube video I mentioned.

  5. TFBW says:

    I figured I would dig a little deeper and look into the account which originally tweeted that to @rickygervais, but he doesn’t actually cite a source. Furthermore, a search for that phrase turns up nothing on Twitter prior to Gervais tweeting it. A search on Google turns up nothing at all if I search for a subset of the offending quotation and take away results containing either “knighthood” or “Colbert”. I suppose we’ll have to take it on faith that it all happened just as Gervais says it did.

    Apropos of nothing in particular, I note that Gervais wrote, directed, and starred in the 2009 film, “The Invention of Lying”, in which the character he portrays says a whole bunch of patently untrue things for personal gain — a ploy which works because nobody else can grasp the concept of falsehood.

  6. I’m still convinced that Westboro is the greatest long-con-poe-job ever attempted. Especially when you look at his civil rights career. I wonder if he realized he could do more good for civil rights by playing the cartoony villain than Atticus Finch.

  7. Dhay says:

    > Let’s start with the all-caps “Scients.”

    The illiteracy is an affected put-on, intended to demonstrate that the author is so ignorant of science, he or she cannot even spell the word; the author cannot spell “scients” correctly, yet knows correctly that it starts with the non-obvious “sci”; and can spell “laughing” correctly; it doesn’t add up.

    In just fifteen words — seventeen if we expand won’t and I’ll — the author has included no fewer than five classic indications that this person is copying the ‘this is what we all know Creationists and Fundamentalists say’ meme: erratic significant mis-spelling mixed with insignificant perfect spelling; ALL CAPITALS or An erratic Mix of Capitalisations; a reference to hell; a reference to homosexuality; that clamour of exclamation marks.

    It’s a text-book example of a Poe. As Michael points out, even the bi-polar “Friendly Atheist”, when in his “Friendly” phase, is able to recognise and publicise the signs.


    It’s probably time to recollect the Poes collected by Richard Dawkins, and read out in two ‘Hate Mail’ videos. For reference, for the record, I have looked at the current RDF website and counted up the ‘Hate Mails’ for the year of 2016:

    Hate Mails: zero.
    In fact nothing since May 2013, “Krauss is ‘nothing not something’, Mon, May 20 2013 #(1933)”

    Ugly Mails: zero.
    (Replace /hate/ with /ugly/)
    Again, nothing since September 2013, “*#*YOU ARE WRONG*#*, Ugly, Sun, Sep 15 2013 #(2148)”

    Disagreement and Odd Responses: zero.
    (Replace /hate/ with /odd/)
    Nothing since February 2014, “Convert From Islam to Christianity, Tue, Feb 11 2014 #(2340)”

    Not only has Dawkins not had any hate mail (or ugly mail) in 2016, he hasn’t had any in the last three and a half years; indeed, he’s not had anything even borderline contentious in three full years. Remember that, when the next ‘Richard Dawkins reads his hate mail’ video comes out: what hate mail.

    Let’s compare and contrast this drought of disapproving mails lasting the last several years with Dawkins’ flood of approving mails in 2016.

    Converts [sic] Corner: six.
    (Replace /hate/ with /converts/)

    From Our Fans: five.
    (Replace /hate/ with /from-fans/)

    Four mails appear in both of these sections, so the grand total of approving mails to Dawkins in 2016 is a mere seven. For the whole year.

    Popular guy and effective atheist evangelist that he is supposed to be, Dawkins got merely seven mails of approval in all last year.

  8. Talon says:

    Talon > While it’s quite possible the tweet was from a Poe, it’s likely Gervais has received wider recognition since he appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert last week.

    I think you have just epitomised Michael’s point about gullibility.

    “2:19 PM – 19 Aug 2013”

    Nope, not gullible just tired. Thanks for pointing that out, it was after 2am and I hadn’t noticed the time stamp for the original tweet. It appears you’ve mistaken an honest oversight and enthusiasm for gullibility, but I’m open to constructive criticism. Gervais may receive Poe tweets now that he’s placed himself in a larger spotlight, if he does I’m sure he’ll accept them all uncritically, cuz “Science!” or whatever.

  9. Talon says:

    Dhay, if you’ve mistaken my hesitance to outright declare the supposed “Creationist” tweet an obvious Poe for a defense of Gervais you are terribly mistaken. My initial response was pointing out that Gervais does have some exposure here in the US, a quick visit to Youtube should bring up previously recorded comments (some dating back 5 or 6 years) Gervais has made regarding Christianity, promoted by Youtube’s atheist community. Those Youtube videos didn’t exactly hurt his chances of being noticed, either by trolls inclined to Poe or offended Christians.

    Poe is a reasonable explanation for said tweet, assuming Gervais didn’t just fabricate it for laughs, but I also wouldn’t rule out angry tweenager or an agitated pot-head. I’ve seen enough poorly written rants on the internet to believe there are people who are genuinely that sloppy and thoughtless when posting, however only an idiot would treat them as a serious representation of a given religious population or use them to falsify said population’s religious beliefs. If Gervais, Dawkins or their followers are so stupid, it’s because they want to believe in a stereotype and they NEED just such a crutch in the face of overwhelming rejection of atheism.

  10. Dhay says:

    Understood, and understood.

  11. Hobbes says:

    Yeah, put poes by definition are extremely difficult to identify. Assuming this guy was a Poe are you saying there isn’t a fundie that would say this?

  12. Michael says:

    Yeah, put poes by definition are extremely difficult to identify. Assuming this guy was a Poe are you saying there isn’t a fundie that would say this?

    Who knows? The point is there is no evidence that tweet was posted by a fundamentalist. It’s a nice demonstration showing that these atheist activists don’t really care about evidence.

  13. TFBW says:

    There are techniques for distinguishing a Poe from the real deal: Poes make their “mistakes” deliberately, and tend to exaggerate. Although it’s possible that some real religious nut might say this, it looks a lot more like a Poe than a genuine example.

  14. Dhay says:

    Jerry Coyne’s blog post dated 11 April 2017 entitled “Atheist Noam Chomsky disses New Atheists” contains yet another silly reference to how many converts Richard Dawkins has made, and he links to the RDF Converts Corner page for his readers to see:

    There’s been no change since my look at it in my response above: there were a mere six mails from converts in 2016; the last last convert mail was dated 07 November 2016, which is more than five months ago.

    Has Coyne not bothered to follow his own link and look at the Converts Corner himself; is Coyne in denial, living in a world of his own fancy?

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