Today’s letter-to-the-editor appears in the Knoxville News Sentinel of Knoxville, Tennessee. The title is Creationism doesn’t reject science. If you like that title, you’ll really like the bridge we have for sale.
Today’s letter is apparently the latest in a series between the letter-writer and his “evolutionist” adversary, so we’re late to the party. We think we found the previous letter to which this one responds: Creationism stories are inconsistent. But some of today’s letter appears to respond only to voices in the letter-writer’s head, and not to what’s in the previous letter. That’s all right, it just makes things more entertaining.
Here we go with a few excerpts from today’s letter, enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary, and some bold font for emphasis. As we usually do we’ll omit the writer’s name and city.
In response to the evolutionist gentleman who is threatened by the “monkey bill,” I ask why he is so afraid of dialogue. Apparently, he missed my last response to his previous letter, or he concedes my argument saying both evolution and creationism are faith systems.
Ah yes, it’s the old “What are you afraid of?” question put to those who want to keep creationism out of the public school science classes. Actually, it’s a fair question. And while we’re at it, we have some more questions of equal value: What are astronomers afraid of when they exclude astrology from their textbooks? And why don’t medical schools allow faith healers to lecture their students? The bullies of “big science” can’t answer, so we’ll continue with today’s letter:
Somehow I doubt he understands the implications of the scientific method, which is founded on repeatability. Neither can be repeated, therefore either must be accepted or rejected by faith.
That’s a variation of the old “Were You There?” argument. If you weren’t there to see it for yourself, and if you can’t repeat the event in the lab, then you have no idea what made Arizona’s big crater in the ground, or what made the Hawaiian Islands rise from the ocean. Let’s read on:
He claims “creationists generally reject science.” No, what we reject is exclusionary science.
No doubt there was something flitting through the letter-writer’s mind when he generated that sentence, but we’ll never know what it was. The letter continues:
Now to address the red herring he put out to distract from the real topic, which is: “Is creationism scientifically legitimate or wrong because it includes God?”
We can’t find that in the earlier letter, but it doesn’t matter. The rational response to the letter-writer’s question — which we’ll rephrase as “Does theology qualify as science?” — is obvious. They’re two very different intellectual activities, and neither follows the methods or deals with the subjects of the other. Here’s more:
[The earlier letter criticizes the Genesis creation account because:] “There are ‘two distinct creation stories.’” The answer is so simple: One is a summary; one begins the history of mankind.
Oh, so that’s the deal with the chronological conflicts between Genesis 1 and 2. It’s been puzzling people for centuries, but now we know. That’s great. Okay, we’re skipping a bit, but we can’t leave this out:
[The earlier letter says:] “The sun wasn’t created until the forth day, and you can’t have evening and morning without the sun.” Tell that to the people in Alaska every winter.
Devastating rebuttal! Why didn’t we think of that? Moving along:
By setting up this straw man and knocking him over, the evolutionist shows how weak his position is. He will go great lengths to prevent the kind of fruitful dialogue our kids should be allowed to experience as they learn to think critically.
Pointing out the absence of the sun during the first few days of creation is a straw man? Okay. Now here’s the concluding paragraph, and it’s terrific:
As I wrote previously, since creationism and evolution are both faith systems, I ask you, the reader, what gives you a reason to have hope for mankind: I am the product of mindless evolution of endless time, or I am created in the image of the living God who loves us all?
Well, dear reader — can you answer the letter-writer’s question? Is he the product of evolution or Genesis? And does either answer give you any hope for mankind?
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