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Potholer54 (real name Peter Hadfield) is a British vlogger and ex-Radio 4/CBC superhero. He has been a journalist for over 20 years, 14 years as a science correspondent, and holds a geology degree. Potholer54 is a firm defender of science and a staunch critic of pseudoscience, creationism, and global warming denialism. He is one of the few atheists on YouTube not crowdfunded and not constantly harping on gender politics.
Golden Crocoduck Awards
For five years between 2008 and 2013, Potholer54 hosted the famed Golden Crocoduck Awards where the viewers vote for the biggest breach of the 9th Commandment by creationists. Every time, Potholer54 presented multiple candidates, educating the audience on who they are and what ridiculous things they have said or believe, and let the audience vote on October 28 to name who wins the Award. Potholer54 chose both mainstream creationists and creationists only known on YouTube. Such examples of the nominated creationists include Lee Strobel, Ray Comfort, Chuck Missler (the peanut butter guy), Kent Hovind and others. YouTube creationists include VenomFangX, NephilimFree, emptywithoutchrist, truthfulchristan, and much more.
The Crocoduck idea came from creationist Kirk Cameron who claimed that "evolutionists" have been searching for a "missing link" for years, and throughout the fossil record we have never found a half-duck half-crocodile.
- VenomFangX - most famous and devious YouTube creationist on the Internets.
- Ben Stein - maker of the creationist propaganda film Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed.
- Kirk Cameron - obviously
- Eric Hovind - son of Kent Hovind
- Ray Comfort - author, liar, and scientifically-illiterate creationist, otherwise known as Bananaman!
- Don Patton - a YEC with a phony Ph.D
- sincitypreacher - YouTube user, a very poorly informed creationist
- Adauto Lourenço - a Brazilian creationist
- Dr. Earl Tilford - Historian who boosts that the theory of evolution (survival of the fittest) led to the Holocaust (which is like saying the theory of gravity encourages people to drop babies off the Golden Gate Bridge).
- Emptywithoutjesus - creationist YouTube user; scientifically-illiterate, very poorly informed, and rather closed minded.
- Lee Strobel - author, creationist and major intelligent design advocate
- GoodScienceForYou - a YouTube creationist
- NephilimFree - a YEC, geocentrist, believes in UFOs and aliens (some of whom got frisky with humans, according to him) and just crazy.
- funtravel77 - a YouTube creationist who thinks Potholer54 is a sock of Thunderf00t, who thinks fossilized dinosaur bones are organic minerals.
Winner of the StoneCommander Defiance in Ignorance Memorial Prize for the "dumbest smug question that is impossible to answer" goes to: QQOQQ, a British YouTube creationist who repeats the same question, particularly to AronRa, "How did we get everything from nothing?" and continues to repeat the question even after receiving multiple valid answers. (In later Golden Crocoduck ceremonies, Potholer54 actually renamed this award to "the QQOQQ," pronounced "Cock.")
Winner of the 2009 Golden Crocoduck Award goes to: Ray Comfort with a staggering 2,647 votes. Congratulations Banana-Man!
The following contenders that made it into the Top 5 are:
- Eric Hovind - 549 votes
- Lee Strobel - 241 votes
- Adauto Lourenco - 116 votes
- GoodScienceForYou - 101 votes
Winner of the 2010 Golden Crocoduck Award goes to: NephilimFree with 1,644 votes. Congratulations! The cheers from the crowd are so loud, the aliens can't wait to come to Earth and party with us and hopefully take Nephilim to one of their zoos.
The following runners-up are:
- Billy Crone (a non-scientist pastor who shouts ludicrous creationist arguments during sermons) - 633 votes
- The Truth Group (a YEC group) - 393 votes
- John Pendleton (a creationist who wears a white lab coat, believing it somehow makes his creationist BS turn into truth) - 72 votes
- Brock Lee (founder and President of the Young Earth Creation Organization) - 66 votes
- Ian Juby (a favorite entertainer of YouTube user VenomFangX) - 55 votes
- Jonathan Sarfati (a creationist who pretends to be a paleontologist) - 8 votes
The 2011 GCA's were cancelled this year following the drama that erupted with Amenakin (see below). The reason for the cancellation was not because of the false DMCA filed on behalf of Amenakin nor YouTube's back-and-forth stance on the safe harbour status, but (according to Hadfield himself) due to the conduct of YouTube commentors in the wake of the controversy, leading to "pornographic insults" and uncivil conduct. Potholer explained that he wanted these awards to be a means to make fun of creationist claims, not to further someone's cause. He briefly considered scrapping the GCA's altogether, but (thankfully) that did not happen.
Winner of the 2012 Golden Crocoduck Award goes to: Eric Hovind with 1,644 votes. Congratulations Eric, the award is in the mail, and that's as true as the uphill climb of the Colorado River.
The following runners-up are:
- Ian Juby (Youtube username Wazooloo) - 1,209 votes
- Megasage007 - 512 votes
- WhatYouOughtToKnow - 320 votes
- Fernieboy100 - 179 votes
- EmptyWithoutJesus - 71 votes
- ppsimmons - 50 votes
- ZaidG - 28 votes
- MyGhettoGospel - 17 votes
Winner of the QQOQQ Defiance in Ignorance Prize goes to: qwertyfshag, who posed the "Which came first: the chicken, or the egg?" question, believing it has no answer. But, of course, there is an answer (the egg).
Winner of the 2013 Golden Crocoduck Award goes to: Louis Giglio with 2,025 votes. Congratulations Louis, you are the last winner of the Golden Crocoduck.
The following runners-up are:
Potholer54 announced that this would be the last year that he does the Golden Crocoduck Awards because his workload was going to be increased quite a bit in the upcoming future.
Amenakin and DMCA
In September 2011, Potholer54 nominated vlogger Amenakin for the Golden Crocoduck Awards. Potholer54 made a video refuting the video Amenakin made that won her the nomination. Potholer54 chose Amenakin not only because she was a creationist, but also because she was one of the few female creationist vloggers. Potholer54 was not being misogynistic; rather he held that for many years the nominees had overwhelmingly been men and he simply wanted to redress the balance. Amenakin is also a Muslim cosmetic saleswoman with thousands of YouTube subscribers.
Shortly after Potholer54's rebuttal video was posted, it was falsely DMCAed by Amenakin. Her supporters (the vast majority were theists) argued Potholer54 attacked her religion. However, Potholer54's video made no such attack on Islam; rather its main focus was on the theory of evolution. Amenakin's arguments against the theory of evolution came from a book by noted creationist and Holocaust denier Harun Yahya. Potholer54 argued that if he had read a propaganda book claiming Islam was evil, Amenakin and many Muslims would be frustrated that he took that road rather than actually read the Qur'an — Potholer54 argued the former was exactly what Amenakin did: she read a propaganda book rather than reading an actual science journal or text.
As a result of the DMCA, two of Potholer54's videos were taken down. The Streisand effect immediately kicked in, and the atheist community on YouTube vastly mirrored the videos to keep the material online. Potholer54 and Amenakin never came to an agreement, and YouTube initially rejected his counterclaim and said his videos were in violation of Amenakin's copyright. Lawyers consulted by Potholer54 said this would mean YouTube was rejecting its 'safe harbor' status.
Potholer54 reported this decision to YouTube's legal department and other possibly interested parties, and, lo and behold, Amenakin's claim of copyright violation was deemed in error and Potholer54's videos were restored, without penalty to his account. Potholer54 made sure to note that Amenakin and he never came to an agreement, other than on the gross prejudice and abuse some people were flinging around.
Potholer is a well-known defender of climate change facts and has made many excellent rebuttal videos explaining when and where denialists are wrong. Potholer explains how greenhouse gases work, looks at alternative theories to climate change, and debunks the huge number of urban myths that are zipping round the Internet, not to mention how rapidly Gore's Law is demonstrated, mainly by climate change denialists. In 2017, right-wing "comedian" Steven Crowder argued with Hadfield over a Louder with Crowder episode titled "Top 5 'Climate Change' Myths". Crowder's arguments were hilariously bad. Following this, Crowder challenged Hadfield to a debate. Hadfield refused because no topic or time of day was proposed and therefore a formal debate could not be prepared. Updates as to the debate discussions were brought up in subsequent Hadfield videos. Haldfield agreed to participate in a livestream debate scheduled for April 27, but Crowder failed to appear.
References and notes
- Prepare for brilliance (And here he is!)
- Some Questionable Creationist Credentials, talk.origins
- FYI: Which Came First, The Chicken Or The Egg?, Popular Science
- The fact that this was the first is rather telling for the male YouTube community. Come on, guys.
- YouTube must keep its own hands free of legal disputes over copyright and maintain a position of strict neutrality. All copyright flags are automatically honored, which is what makes false-flagging an effective tactic (that is, flagging a YouTube video because you don't like it rather than because of anything actually wrong with the video, different from the similarly-named false flag operation). Counter-claims can be resolved just as quickly, and can involve YouTube putting the two parties in contact, to settle it in a court case if they wish to pursue it. This position of neutrality is what keeps YouTube free of copyright lawsuits, and became a key point when YouTube was sued by Viacom over the videos YouTubers posted. By making any judgment on copyright on its own, YouTube can potentially lose this immunity to lawsuits.