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Professor Dave Debates a Fellow Atheist

Photo: "Professor Dave," via YouTube (screen shot, fair use).

The Internet spontaneously generates characters like “Professor Dave” Farina, who isn’t a professor or a PhD but, judging from his own account, a failed academic who performs the role of a “science educator” on YouTube. His channel is called “Professor Dave Explains.” Well, just as nowadays a man can identify as a woman, so too it seems a random dude can call himself a “professor” and gain, in Dave’s case, some 2.45 million YouTube subscribers. The subscribers may or not be Russian bots (actual viewership for most of his videos is quite modest), and they may or may not think he is actually a professor. Who knows?

Why Bother, You Ask?

I’m aware of him only because Dave Farina is also an angry atheist who’s obsessed with attacking intelligent design folks in crudely dishonest videos. Why bother with him? Because he’s won the attention of serious people like Rice University chemist Dr. James Tour, for one thing, and for another, because he’s kind of bizarrely entertaining. He’s on Twitter, too.

Recently, Farina engaged in a Twitter “debate” with our biologist colleague Jonathan McLatchie and then claimed that we had fabricated it, “a fake twitter conversation,” “literally slandering me.” What a strange thing to say. To represent someone with his own words, while pointing out his failure to respond to substantive critiques, is “slander”?

A fellow Twitter atheist, who found Dave to be an embarrassment to the cause, pointed out that this was not the case. The other atheist, who I’d like to think speaks for others as well, is called Secular Outpost. Also entering the conversation is one V. Catellus, self-identified as among other things, a “Nerdy Aristotelian but anti-racist and pro-LGBT+.”

It happened this way. First, Dr. McLatchie gathered together and posted here and then on Twitter a transcript from the “debate” with Professor Dave, with the cross-talk from other Twitter users cut out for the sake of clarity. The point was to show the quality of Dave Farina’s thought in a dialogue, or as close to one as you can have on Twitter. Farina did not come off well, confining himself to empty insults while McLatchie caught him out for errors in Farina’s video about Michael Behe. (As far as I know, Farina has NEVER responded meaningfully regarding ANY of the MANY misrepresentations he’s committed that we have pointed out.)

A Dialogue with the Professor

So, here is the latest conversation with Dave. You can find the relevant threads herehere, and here.

McLATCHIE: Here is my latest blog post at Evolution News & Science Today, in which I share a transcript of my dialogue with @daveexplains on Twitter, exposing his unprofessional behavior, unbefitting of someone who promotes himself as a science educator. https://evolutionnews.org/2023/07/my-debate-with-professor-dave/

FARINA: HAHAHAHA! I actually decided to read the thing, this dumb f**k inserts him saying a bunch of stuff he didn’t say in the thread and puts “crickets” to pretend I didn’t respond to the things he pretends he said. My god this is pathetic! I can’t wait to make fun of you for this.

McLATCHIE: Which things did I not say?


SECULAR OUTPOST: I reject intelligent design & am an atheist, so that puts me in the same camp as @daveexplains. He may mock me for this, but I wonder: what does the science *about science communication* say about the effectiveness of science communication infused with repeated, crude vulgarity?

FARINA: Hey dips**t, I’m exposing a disgusting propaganda mill that is actively trying to erode the separation of church and state. So when all you do is whine about my language, you sound just as dumb as them. Get your f**king priorities straight.

SECULAR OUTPOST: I expected the name-calling, but let that pass. Both of these are possible: (1) DI is a propaganda mill (2) Your vulgarity alienates people who would otherwise be receptive to your message and would join us in keeping church and state separate.

FARINA: Twice? Again, do you really think being “nice” makes a difference?

SECULAR OUTPOST: I’m not asking you to be nice. I’m suggesting that it may not be necessary to alienate your audience. My hypothesis is that science communication often overlaps with *risk* communication; science communication about the origin of life for sure overlaps with risk communication.

SECULAR OUTPOST: As an example of what I mean by “risk communication,” I specifically have in mind the techniques discussed in this book: https://psandman.com/media/RespondingtoCommunityOutrage.pdf

SECULAR OUTPOST: One of the many things I love about this book is chapter 7, which talks about the need for communicators to manage their own outrage. See also “gay rights as a risk communication problem,” by the same author, at https://www.psandman.com/gst2004.htm

FARINA: Who am I “alienating” by speaking to lying frauds precisely as they deserve to be spoken to? You quote tweeted me responding to a lying fraud apologist who fabricated a fake twitter conversation for his propaganda blog post. He was literally slandering me. Does that not matter?

SECULAR OUTPOST: (1) Even if he is a lying fraud, you’re alienating would-be allies who don’t know that. (2) I just spent time using Twitter’s search function and verified that you did, in fact, make every statement he attributes to you in his post.

SECULAR OUTPOST: What is the lie? He added “[CRICKETS]” to indicate tweets by him to which you did not respond. That isn’t dishonest. Is your complaint that he stitched together multiple related but different threads without explicitly identifying that as such?

SECULAR OUTPOST: Based on what I saw, the way he stitched the threads together did not omit any relevant context. What am I missing? If he lied, I will call him out on it.

FARINA: Did not omit relevant context? He didn’t say any of those things to me. What are you not understanding?

SECULAR OUTPOST: I read https://evolutionnews.org/2023/07/my-debate-with-professor-dave/ and then did a series of Twitter searches which confirmed that you said every one of the statements he attributes to you.

FARINA: Um, read what I said one more time, bud.

V. CATELLUS: And the statements he says he gave to Farina are there too.

FARINA: Days later, bud. Much of the thread untagged. He is pretending it was a singular conversation. I never saw any of that. Why are you both having such a hard time admitting that a lying fraud who works for a lying propaganda mill behaved dishonestly? It’s not that hard to see.

V. CATELLUS: You originally said your issue was that he NEVER said it. Hence why you write “inserts him saying a bunch of stuff he didn’t say in the thread and puts ‘crickets’ to pretend I didn’t respond to the things he pretends he said.”

V. CATELLUS: Point is, he made these comments to you in a forking Twitter convo and you didn’t respond. Instead you went ape-s**t and screamed at him like a manbaby.

FARINA: It wasn’t a “convo”, dumba*s. It was him tacking on comments three days later knowing I wouldn’t see them because the interaction was over. Grow a brain you f**king tool. Stop saying things like “apes**t” in reference to me justifiably mocking a lying fraud.

V. CATELLUS: “knowing I wouldn’t see them because the interaction is over” That’s not how Twitter works and this is just pathetic gaslighting from you. Do us all a favor and go pound sand.

FARINA: Well it is how twitter works, since I didn’t see them, because it’s twitter. So maybe you can stop gaslighting and go “pound sand” you whiny f**king baby. Are you above the age of 7? Honest question.

Yes, That’s About It

Not terribly edifying, but it shows once again the nature of Professor Dave’s mind. Farina seems to use a Magic 8 Ball to generate random witless insults directed at people he doesn’t like. That is his MO on Twitter, and his attack videos are even more ridiculous. We’ve examined them in detail already. I’m really curious…are other atheists on the Internet proud of this behavior from someone who is representing them to millions of people?