Jonathan Kane

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Jonathan Kane (online pseudonyms: Captain Occam,[1] Agahnim, Aggie, Tetrapteryx[2]) is an American comic artist, former Young Earth creationist who now advocates evolution, and palaeontology writer who counters creationist claims. He's written articles as a guest at Panda's Thumb in the past. More controversially, in intelligence research, Kane staunchly defends the hereditarianism position.[3] Under his "Captain Occam" alias, Kane was involved in a feud on Wikipedia regarding articles on race and intelligence, where he attempted to push a staunchly pro-hereditarianism view in a manner that some other editors view as "rubbing elbows with racists and eugenicists".[4] Kane has frequently paired with Emily Willoughby in writing articles and books.


A pair of panels from Kane's webcomic, in which a supervillain known as The Prattmaster (who has the power to spread PRATTs) promotes intelligent design.

Kane is a former Young Earth creationist who later converted to theistic evolution.[5] In 2002, then 19 years old, he abandoned theistic evolution having left Christianity and converted to deism.[6] Kane describes himself as an “armchair palaeontologist”.[7] Although having no degree in palaeontology, he worked as an intern at the New Jersey State Museum under natural-history curator David C. Parris from 2001 to 2005.[8]

He is perhaps most well known for his humorous Occam’s Razor comic series about creationist dinosaur beliefs, including Kent Hovind's Dinosaur Adventure Land. The comic series formerly had a website named Captain Occam but went offline in 2017.[9]



Kane has published articles critical of creationist claims (mostly palaeontology) and baraminology.[10][11] In 2017, Kane co-authored the book God’s Word or Human Reason? An Inside Perspective on Creationism, with Emily Willoughby and T. Michael Keese.[12] The book has received positive reviews from scientists for its "painstakingly detailed rebuttals to papers by creationists."[13] Philosopher Stefaan Blancke commented that "God’s Word or Human Reason makes a significant contribution to the enduring battle against Christian fundamentalist anti-science".[14] Palaeontologist Darren Naish positively reviewed the book.[15]

Unsurprisingly, a negative review was published in the Journal of Creation by John Woodmorappe.[16] Kane has responded to these criticisms.[17]

Science and religion

Although he is not personally religious, Kane is an advocate of the view that there is no necessary incompatibility between evolutionary science and religious belief. He explains in God's Word or Human Reason? that his eventual abandonment of Christianity was for reasons unrelated to his acceptance of evolution:

Something which must be emphasized is that at no point did I consider my acceptance of evolution and an old Earth to present a problem for my Christian faith. Both then and now, I have regarded evolution as compatible with Christianity. However, the same can’t be said of my experiences with other born-again Christians, or the effects these experiences had on me. [...] Most of the people who showed me kindness and faithfulness were either non-believers, or believers who did not place very much importance on their faith, such as people who considered themselves Christians but never went to church. From my experience, which involved a sample size of over a hundred people, the most devoted Christians were those who displayed the fruit of the Spirit the least.[18]

Kane has argued that when advocates of evolution attack religion in general, they risk undermining the efficacy of their anti-creationism arguments. He presented this argument in a 2017 article for The Panda's Thumb:

Many religious people (and this is especially true of creationists) consider their religion a very important part of their lives, and will generally be less willing to listen to a person who they suspect is trying to undermine their faith. This is an example of a principle of psychology described in this paper: people are more likely to be persuaded of new viewpoints by someone whom they perceive as having values and opinions similar to their own. The same paper also describes how when people are presented with an argument from someone with values unlike their own, they are more likely to become convinced of the opposite of what’s being argued. This paradoxical reaction to arguments from a person with whom one strongly disagrees is known as the boomerang effect.Wikipedia[19]


Kane is a staunch proponent of hereditarianism.[3] Together with Willoughby, arguably they have made some claims that might be seen as being sympathetic to scientific racism. For instance, in a book review of A Troublesome InheritanceWikipedia by Nicolas Wade, the two quote Hbdchick (despite the account clearly being sympathetic to racialism by the handle name alone) and handwave the link between eugenics and Nazi genocide policies.[20]

On Wikipedia, under his "Captain Occam" handle, Kane has been a staunch advocate of the hereditarianism point of view.[21] His arguments at times seemed to advocate whitewashing other notable figures who took eugenist or racialism positions. For instance, he advocated that J. Philippe Rushton should not be described as a scientific racist in a Wikipedia article on R/K selection theory,[22] and he dismissed Richard Lynn and Rushton's contributions to the white nationalist magazine American Renaissance as not being notable for a Wikipedia race and intelligence article.[23]

In 2010, this resulted in an arbitration case where he was accused of tag-teaming with other notorious trolls such as Michael Coombs (Mikemikev) in order to push an overt hereditarianism view on Wikipedia articles, with a particular focus on race-based inherited differences.[24] This resulted in a topic ban on race and intelligence articles.[25] Captain Occam was later indefinitely blocked in 2018.[26]

See also


  3. 3.0 3.1 "General intelligence: What we know and how we know it" by Jonathan Kane and Emily Willoughby, Panda's Thumb, 2018 March 29
  4. "Cognitive Distortions", Wikipediocracy, 2022 July 19
  8. "Creationist classification of theropods" by Jonathan Kane (guest post of Matt Young), Panday's Tumb, 2016 November 8
  9. Occam’s Razor Captain Occam (archived from July 15, 2017).
  18. Kane, Jonathan. "Jonathan Kane's Story". In: Kane, J., Willoughby, E., Keesey, T. M., Morton, G., & Comer, J. (2016). God’s Word or Human Reason?: An Inside Perspective on Creationism. Portland, OR: Inkwater Press, 2016.
  19. Kane, Jonathan. "Five principles for arguing against creationism." The Panda's Thumb, October 6, 2017.
  20. "Reviewing A Troublesome Inheritance" by Emily Willoughby and Jonathan Kane, DeviantAry, 2014 May 17
  21. "Talk:History of the race and intelligence controversy/Archive 1", Wikipedia
  22. "Talk:R/K selection theory"
  23. "Talk:Race and intelligence/Archive 76"
  24. "Wikipedia:Arbitration/Requests/Case/Race and intelligence"
  25. Wikipedia Signpost, 2010 August 30
  26. "Wikipedia:Arbitration/Requests/Enforcement"