Rectorial Elections

None of you are probably interested in this but I just spent over an hour tolerating George Galloway’s opinions and I’m determined to make sure it wasn’t in vain.

So here’s the background to the story. Stuart mentioned ages and ages ago at a pub night that George Galloway is a creationist, mentioning vaguely an article written by Johann Hari, writer for The Independent. Now George Galloway is standing for the position of Rector at the University, so I checked it out, made sure for myself the allegation had been made, and mentioned it briefly whilst commenting on the Student Newspaper website (that link), which consequently got published in the paper copy the next week.

Anywho during the pub night tonight, one of our members Alex got a phonecall saying that Galloway was over in Frankenstein’s. Turns out he was just showing his face at a Debating Union event on sex tourism, but we approached him outside whilst he was having a smoke just before the event. After Stuart saluted his strength, his courage and his indefatigability, I shook his hand and asked him whether the allegation that he’s a creationist is true or not. He looked me straight in the eye and denied it, saying he’s not a creationist and he’s never been a creationist. I told him I’d read a transcript of a radio show he’d presented and he said that it was not a transcript. I began to wonder if Johann Hari had been lying, since I had nothing but his word to go on. Stuart then asked him to repeat on a recorder what he’d just said, and he said something along the lines of “I believe evolution to be a scientific fact. But I also believe that, since God created everything, he also created evolution.”

Well I wasn’t really satisfied, so I decided to check for myself. I correlated the date of Hari’s accusation with Galloway’s radio shows, which are handily archived on his website, and decided that if he said it, it would’ve been on the 1st December [Edit: 2007]. So I put in my headphones and listened to the show instead of going to bed and forgetting about it like most people probably would have. 56 minutes in, an atheist calls up (one of the themes of the show was ‘militant atheism’) and says that if God did create us, evolution isn’t the best way to do it because it involves so much death and destruction. George Galloway then said this, which I’ve taken from Hari’s original allegation linked above, but I checked against the recording and is correct. You have the details, you can listen for yourself:

“I was looking at my little six month old baby today beginning to take his first steps crawling across the hall of the Methodist Central Hall today, and it doesn’t look like an accident to me. He doesn’t look like an accident of evolutionary chance to me. I’m not really prepared to believe that from the bottom-dwelling slugs of the pond came the voice of Pavarotti. I’m not really prepared to believe that Albert Einstein and a spider are really the same thing, that they just took a different evolutionary path.”

The lying get. He’s not getting my vote (not that he would’ve anyway).

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35 Responses to Rectorial Elections

  1. AlexMagd says:

    The guy is a detestable little creep. That’s what I was thinking when I started reading, and then when you set him up against Johann “Awesome” Hari I’m afraid I’d already taken sides.

    A couple of years ago he came to the Oxford Union and in his argument (I forget now even what the debate was on, probably Iraq) he dismissed the entire audience as upper-class twits and waved off suggestions that appearing on Big Brother was a big fuck-off to his constituents. My friend approached him after the event to say hello and tell him that she had come from a working class, state school background and that she was fed up of the Oxford stereotype, as well as bringing up the Big Brother thing. Galloway’s response?

    “You are confusing me with someone who gives a fuck what you think. I don’t give a fuck what you think. I don’t represent anyone. I represent me.”

    Charming gentleman

  2. faceless says:

    So you take the words of that t*** Hari as an impartial opinion on Galloway? That’s laughable. Hari is a small-minded clown who depends utterly on the protection of the society that Galloway seeks to change, hence the reason why he attacks him at pretty much any opportunity.

    Galloway has said on more than a couple of occasions that he believes in god, but that he sees no reason whatsoever that evolution can’t be part of that. Any thinker worth their salt could see the logic in that.

    In future, try not to listen to tittle-tattle and rumour from hacks like Hari – get your information from the source.

  3. grammarking says:

    Actually it’s ironic, as I mentioned in the post itself, I did go directly to the source. Obviously you only read the first 2 paragraphs. I went online (and you can too), found a recording of the full radio show, listened to over an hour of it and heard for myself what GG had to say about evolution. I don’t have to rely on Johann Hari for my information, he just triggered the search.

  4. faceless says:

    ok, I jumped the gun a bit – but your tone was obviously aggressive and I imagine that’s why Galloway gave you short shrift when you approached him.

    You say that you didn’t like him, but yet shook his hand – that’s quite dishonest…

    I do high quality recordings of the shows myself – if you ever need them, you can find them on my site.

  5. he lied about some abstract religious viewpoint, blair lied to the entire public to get us into war, you probably voted new labour too naff off.

  6. Marc Surtees says:

    Hi,

    You know there are creationists and Creationists. I am the later a “dyed in the wool faith head” Creationist.
    Galloway as someone who apparently believes in the Christian God, is a creationist. That is believes that God created the universe and is more or less ensuring that it is all going somewhere. So he can quite easily say “yes” and “”no to the qusetion. You need to define creationist, just like you need to define evolutionist. I have said on many occassions that I am an evolutionist!

  7. grammarking says:

    soixante-huitard, actually I was too young to vote in the last general election, and in the council elections I voted Green. Pointing out that Blair lied is no excuse for Galloway to do it himself.

    Marc, yes he could answer ‘no’ or ‘yes’ if the only thing I’d asked him is ‘are you a creationist?’ However clearly “I believe evolution to be an indisputable scientific fact” is at odds with “I’m not really prepared to believe that from the bottom-dwelling slugs of the pond came the voice of Pavarotti. I’m not really prepared to believe that Albert Einstein and a spider are really the same thing, that they just took a different evolutionary path.” If he meant some other kind of evolution than Darwinian, he should have clarified, just like you do.

    When I told him I’d read a transcript he said “that wasn’t a transcript”, implying that the entire allegation was false, he’d never said anything of the sort. Clearly that’s not true either.

  8. faceless says:

    He probably thought *you* were a creationist – they’re usually the only type of nutter who go up to complete strangers and ask that type of question off the bat.

    What was the point of your question anyway? It seems pretty clear from this post that you have an agenda based around your own belief system and that you are an evangelist of sorts.

    Whatever way I look at this, I can’t see any reason why anybody would give you a straight answer to your crooked questions…

    Did you hear about the time some zionist scum journos wormed their way into Parliament and he had them removed by the cops? Your style is along the same lines – underhand and just plain annoying.

  9. Stuart Ritchie says:

    Faceless, I assume the purpose of Mike’s question was something along the lines of ‘as a member of the Humanist Society, I’m interested in some of the opinions of those standing for Rector at my University. Since Galloway’s opinions on politics are well known, it would be interesting to attempt to clarify a lesser-known story about his creationism which was reported in the media.’

    Nothing crooked about that, is there? Unfortunately for Galloway, the fact that he lied about his opinion on the matter makes him even less likely to get our vote. Shame.

  10. faceless says:

    If it was such a polite approach then I doubt the answer that is reported to have been given would have been made. Of course, we don’t have anybody else’s word for it…

    I don’t know Mike, but the impression I get is that he went prepared for a battle over something he holds dear and which Galloway apparently sees as irrelevant at such a time of turmoil.

    You may as well have asked him what colour his undercrackers were for the relevance it has.

  11. grammarking says:

    Faceless, you think if I asked GG to respond to the allegation that he’s a creationist, however politely, he wouldn’t give a straight answer? I said (in these words) “I’ve read that you’re a creationist, is that true?” the first thing he said, “I’m not a creationist and I’ve never been a creationist.” Seems perfectly reasonable to me.

    I think it’s very relevant if someone running for rector of a higher educational institution is a creationist or not. Personally I wouldn’t want them in such an influential position.

  12. faceless says:

    I wouldn’t want one of them in any position of influence either. What bothered me really is that you seemed to give Hari’s witterings any kind of credence at all.

    This is what I understand Galloway’s position to be – he believes in God and that God created the universe, with some sort of plan. That plan can include evolution, but also that that evolution has a goal, rather than being an entirely coincidental development (hence his comments about his son).

    This, of course, isn’t ‘Creationism’ in the sense that it is used to describe those anti-dinosaur bible-thumping maniacs who everyone should point and laugh at.

    I’m not religious btw, but I do have a great interest in faiths and belief systems.

  13. grammarking says:

    You may understand his position to be that way, but that’s not what he said on the radio and that’s not what he said to me. He could quite easily have made himself clear if he wanted to. Instead he denied that anything happened at all.

  14. faceless says:

    What did he say on the radio that doesn’t fit with my approximation? He seems to believe that deliberate design created his child, but does that really prove anything other than his already well documented comments about believing in god?

    Would you refuse to vote for anyone who believes in god?

    If you want a real creationist’s point of view, listen out for ‘Ken from the Highlands’ who regularly phones into talkSPORT.

  15. grammarking says:

    What he said on the radio was in response to an atheist saying [paraphrasing] “If God did create us, he didn’t do it in a very good way, evolution isn’t very efficient and it involves so much death and destruction.” To respond to that saying that your child doesn’t look like an accident of evolution implies that he doesn’t think God did create us by evolution.

  16. faceless says:

    There is a whole idea in the bible that the soul is the key in relation to mortality. In Genesis it says that Man was created from dust, which actually goes against what he’s saying too.

    I’m happy to acknowledge that he is not really that up on philosophical arguments of this nature – but this is probably because he’s devoted his life to more realistic matters. Nuclear weapons, wars, oppression etc.

    I’ll ask again – will you refuse to vote for any of the candidates if they believe in God?

  17. Stuart Ritchie says:

    I wouldn’t refuse to vote for a religious candidate (I have, as far as I’m aware, done so every time I’ve ever voted).

    But I would refuse to vote for a liar.

  18. Stuart Ritchie says:

    In case that wasn’t clear, when I say I’ve done so every time, I mean I’ve voted for religious people.

  19. grammarking says:

    It would depend on the type of belief, and on the individual. I’d have no problem with, say, a middle of the road Anglican, but an evangelical Christian is likely to bring religion into their work. I’d probably not vote for such a person.

    This is, of course, contingent on the individual. If I knew they were religious, it’s likely that they’ve brought it into their public life in the past, which might diminish my view of them. Such beliefs are part of a whole host of issues which I would consider in deciding who to vote for. It’s certainly not the most important one.

  20. faceless says:

    In what way did Galloway lie? He isn’t a Creationist in the sense of being an Evangelical, is he?

  21. grammarking says:

    There are different types of Creationism. He lied because “I believe evolution to be an indisputable scientific fact” is incompatible with “I’m not really prepared to believe that from the bottom-dwelling slugs of the pond came the voice of Pavarotti. I’m not really prepared to believe that Albert Einstein and a spider are really the same thing, that they just took a different evolutionary path.”

    He also said I hadn’t read a radio transcript, implying that the claim that he’d said the above was false. Evidently it isn’t. You have to go to great lengths to jump through semantic hoops to claim otherwise.

  22. faceless says:

    re the first paragraph, that’s not really a lie is it? I’d say he’s as confused as everybody else is by the vaguaries of evolution and of creationism.

    I imagine he challenged you on having read any transcript as he is constantly harassed by people with pointless arguments.

    You went there hating the guy and you left calling him a liar. I suggest you look at your own prejudices before challenging other peoples’ philosophical errors.

    Do you think that this one problem is enough to nullify all his other work and attitudes? Or would you just find something else that bothers you about him?

  23. Stuart Ritchie says:

    Faceless, I don’t know what a ‘vaguary’ is, but there’s no excuse for a mainstream politician to be ignorant about basic science.

    To correct you (again), I think Mike went there in order to ask him a question (in, by the way, a completely calm and curteous manner), which he answered. Later it turned out that the evidence suggests he’s a liar. There’s nothing dodgy about that line of thinking, nothing dodgy in letting people know about it either.

    And I can assure you, there is a HUGE amount that bothers rather a lot of people about Gorgeous George.

    Mike, maybe we should stop feeding the troll now?

  24. grammarking says:

    I neither went there hating him, nor did I leave calling him a liar. I was perfectly polite, asked him a question, and when the information he gave conflicted with other information I had, I checked the evidence for myself, which suggested he’d lied.

    I should mention that GG doesn’t seem to have a very high level of support, even though very few people are aware of this. I would argue that this one incident adds to much of his other work and attitudes, it doesn’t nullify them.

  25. faceless says:

    If you don’t know a word, try using a ‘dictionary’.

    If the only part of the ‘HUGE amount’ that bothers you about Galloway was his opinion on the origins of life, when there are so many more important things to worry about, then that shows clearly that you are unable to consider the bigger picture. Seriously, who gives a toss what the origins of man are when there are war crimes being committed? You and your mate and all the other small-minded people who are convinced of the importance of their own beliefs, that’s who.

    Science and (honest) journalism demand facts, but neither of you have provided any supporting evidence for your statements about meeting Galloway. Next time you go on such an *important mission*, try bringing a camera or audio recorder.

    As for your ******* last statement – you’re a pathetic w**ker if you think that someone who is simply challenging blinkered opinion is a troll. Or maybe you’d rather that you and your mates’ opinions were never challenged at all? If that’s the case, try making your blog private.

  26. grammarking says:

    Again, slightly ironic. As it says in the post, we do have a recording of him saying that bit about evolution being an indisputable scientific fact. Neither did I refer to approaching Galloway as an *important mission*. That’s you making stuff up.

    Just to clarify because you seem a little confused, this is MY blog and I’ve not said I won’t respond. Stuart is another commenter, just because I happen to know him in RL doesn’t change that. It’s not his blog.

    I’ll be editing your post to take out the profanity, there’s really no need to spit your dummy out and use that kind of language online where anyone can read it.

    Seemingly you’re the blinkered one, you’re prepared to spend hours on a blog jumping through hoops to defend the indefensible.

    Maybe to you the war crimes are more important, but this is the man who’s running to be rector of my university. He’s not going to have much to do with war crimes there, is he? But if he’s a creationist, that will have a negative effect.

    You’ve said yourself you wouldn’t have a creationist in any position of influence. Neither would I, that’s why I think this is an important issue in the rectorial election. That’s why I asked GG about it, that’s why I’ve posted about it here. If GG doesn’t see it’s important, that’s his problem.

  27. faceless says:

    You think it’s childish to call your mate a w**ker? He clearly is.

    Why are you scared of language?

  28. grammarking says:

    I’m not scared of language at all, I just don’t appreciate you using such particularly disgusting language (and it was much worse than that) on my blog when people of any age could be reading it. I also think it’s telling that when you run out of arguments, you resort to ad homs.

    If you don’t stop doing it, I’ll stop you commenting.

  29. grammarking says:

    For those following this, faceless hasn’t posted again and appears to have gone off in a strop. In order that he has to go through the approval process again, however, I’ve had to delete his last comment, so just before my last one he said:

    “Oh yes, and for anyone else that might read this the other word that was censored was ‘c***ish’. And I stand by it.

    C***ish little w***er. It’s got a lyrical ring to it, don’t you think?”

  30. Stuart Ritchie says:

    Jings! I think it might be you that needs the dictionary, pal – both to check your spelling (it’s ‘vagaries’) and to learn some new words so you can express yourself in a slightly less needlessly vituperative way.

    When I said there were more things that concerned people about Galloway, I was kind of implying that I was one of those people. I’m sorry if you didn’t understand that. The creationism is entirely incidental, and just happens to be something we wanted to find out.

    There’s challenging opinion, and there’s trolling. Presently you are doing the latter (in an embarrassingly knuckle-dragging fashion). Calm yourself down, apologise, and maybe I’ll revise my opinion.

  31. Stuart Ritchie says:

    Heh. From the forum ‘faceless’ is an admin of (click his name above), typed by… faceless(!):

    ‘Show others respect… If you can’t discuss things without aggression then you’re not the kind of member we want and you will lose access.’

    There’s a word for what ‘faceless’ is, and it starts with an H. Maybe he/she can look it up in that dictionary.

  32. Ned says:

    Methinks Faceless might have been Galloway.

  33. grammarking says:

    No, at one point he said we should’ve taken a camera or video recorder. If it were Galloway he would have known that we did. His website does have a whole section dedicated to him though.

  34. I’m no fan of Galloway but it sounds as if he is arguing for theistic evolution and merely denying being a young earth creationist, that is that evolutionary natural history is a fact but that it was directed by a deity with a future end state in mind.

  35. grammarking says:

    Hey Tim, welcome.

    When I was standing there face to face with him, that’s what I thought too. What he said to me in person was pretty much exactly that. It’s not at all what he said on the radio.

    I don’t think that position is compatible with his comment “I’m not really prepared to believe that from the bottom-dwelling slugs of the pond came the voice of Pavarotti. I’m not really prepared to believe that Albert Einstein and a spider are really the same thing, that they just took a different evolutionary path.” That’s denying evolution, particularly in response to a comment that evolution isn’t a good way for God to create people.

    In any case, GG has stepped down from the rectorial election race.

    For a bit of wider discussion, don’t you think it’s so arrogant that the people who believe in guided evolution think we’re the chosen species? It could be any out there, it could be one of our evolutionary descendents. We are still in a process of evolution (although modern life has messed it up a bit), and to say it’s guided implies that it’s been guided towards a specific point. Evolution doesn’t work like that, AFAIA.

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