“Professor Dave Explains” is a popular YouTube channel — very popular, with 2.71 million subscribers. The eponymous Dave Farina, a “science educator” who’s not a professor at all or a PhD, has made a series of crude attack videos about proponents of intelligent design, to “humiliate” us. Don’t worry, no one’s humiliated. After paleontologist Günter Bechly exposed all the errors and falsehoods in just one of these, literally minute by minute (find links here), nobody who’s given it much thought believes that Mr. Farina can be taken seriously about science.
What was unclear was whether his rage against ID reflected just an isolated problem in his thinking, or whether it’s something more system-wide. Turns out the latter. It turns out that Dave Farina is also either an anti-Semite, or he does an excellent job of impersonating one. I bring this up because, either way, it seals the deal about whether he deserves to be listened to at all. He doesn’t.
The New Blood Libel
I confess to wasting more time following his X feed than I ought to have done. I had some exchanges with him there — all echoing his preferred style of crude random insults. I finally blocked him after seeing his embrace of the emerging blood libel about Israel. As disgusting as his attacks on ID folks have been, at least there was nothing about them that could be construed as incitement to violence. Or, almost nothing. (There was his creepy tweet about how anyone who believes there’s been no progress on the origin of life since Miller-Urey should be “shot in the face.”)
What’s a blood libel? If you recall your history, starting in Europe in the Middle Ages, then spilling into the Middle East and continuing there into the 21st century, Jews were charged again and again with kidnapping and murdering non-Jewish children in order to take their blood and use it as an ingredient in Passover matzah. Despite the insanity of this, the libel was broadly disseminated and resulted in many pogroms. The aim of the lie was to arouse violent animus, and it worked.
Today’s blood libel has much the same goal. It says that just a month ago, on October 7, Israel knowingly permitted an attack by Hamas in order to provide itself a pretext for committing “genocide” against innocent people in Gaza. The reality is otherwise, of course. Israel suffered a major intelligence failure, which the terrorist Hamas state in Gaza took advantage of to commit the most heinous pogrom since the Holocaust. Hamas, as I’m not alone in saying, is in a sense “worse than the Nazis.” At least the Nazis had the shame to hide their crimes. Hamas revels in them and broadcasts them on social media.
Embraced by Sickos
The conspiracy theory that Israel likely willed all this, in pursuit of its own evil goals, was embraced by sicko Jew-haters like Nick Fuentes, a white supremacist. It has also been embraced by Dave Farina. Writing on the X platform, Professor Dave has speculated that Israel was either “incompetent” in the context of the Hamas attack (an idea that many Israelis would agree with), or they let it happen in pursuit of committing genocide. Says Farina, “They either knew of the attack and let it happen as an excuse for genocide or they are incompetent and committing genocide. You pick.” He finds the conspiracy theory more persuasive. It’s a “false flag”: “The whole thing was a false flag. They let it happen so they could invade.” Farina told me, with his characteristically witless sarcasm, “Yeah it’s totally ‘white supremacy’ to acknowledge that Bibi let the attack happen to manufacture consent for genocide.” And so on.
Obviously, it’s hard to imagine a crime worse than genocide. The genocide accusation is an attempt to slur Israel by equating it with Nazis — a familiar anti-Semitic trope. It’s also a form of Holocaust denial, or “Holocaust inversion.” As Gerard Baker explains in the Wall Street Journal, “If you can suggest that what Israel is doing in Gaza is equivalent to what happened in the gas chambers, then you are explicitly reducing the Holocaust to the level of a regrettable byproduct of a legitimate military campaign.” The conspiracy theory takes the trope and boosts the venom and madness in it.
“Oh Man, the Door Is a Little Singed”
Farina has gleefully swallowed the libel. He says Israel itself “did most of the damage on 10/7.” He favors tearing down pictures of the hostages: “Yes, I support tearing down propaganda flyers.” Again, he likes the idea of violence against those who disagree with him: “Anyone who says 10/7 ‘started this’ needs to be punched in the face for five years.” And he dismisses terrorism. He responds to a Molotov cocktail being thrown at a synagogue in Montreal, “Oh man, the door is a little singed. Do more genocide!”
At one point he blasted out the libel that Israel had bombed a “refugee camp.” You picture women and children sheltering in tents. I pointed out to him that the “camp” is not a camp and the Hamas terrorists taking refuge there are not “refugees.” Noting that “rooting out a terror organization that loves rape and murder is not ‘genocide,’” I asked Farina, “How long have you hated Jews?”
I don’t ask a question like that lightly. What’s up with him? Well, I’ve reviewed some of his revolting output on X, but I’m not a mind reader.
Is It Because He’s an Atheist?
In case you suppose his problem has to do with being an atheist, I don’t think that’s it. As a matter of fact, some prominent New Atheists have talked very good sense about Gaza and Hamas. Jerry Coyne has written extensively and well on the subject at Why Evolution Is True. He had a podcast interview with Richard Dawkins where they agreed that “anti-Zionism is pretty much motivated by anti-Semitism.” Writing on X, atheist Michael Shermer has been another persistent advocate for decency and common sense in thinking about Israel. Sam Harris knows good from evil. Thank you, gentlemen.
The situation in Gaza has been a great revealer, with privileged U.S. college students, including at my own college, calling for the annihilation of the Jewish state, “from the river to the sea.” Under a Hamas state covering that territory, we don’t have to wonder what would happen to Israel’s 7+ million Jews. It’s a very disturbing time to be a Jew, as I am, or to be a decent human being of any description. Jews are grateful for the many Christians who have come out to support us. In this overall picture, just one small element is what we now know about Professor Dave.