Creationist Wisdom #256: Hope for Mankind

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?

Copyright © 2012. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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10 responses to “Creationist Wisdom #256: Hope for Mankind

  1. Does “I” refer to the letter writer specifically? Because if he’s made in God’s image, God is an idiot or just doesn’t make things very well.

    Oh, I forgot, we’re not supposed to use “idiot” because it used to be a euphemism for the developmentally disabled. Or was that “retard”? I keep running on the treadmill but it feels like I’m going nowhere…

  2. Gabriel Hanna says:

    Oh, I forgot, we’re not supposed to use “idiot” because it used to be a euphemism for the developmentally disabled.

    I make an effort to avoid such terms except in the case of politicians. It’s pretty safe to criticize them in the harshest way, because they’re public figures who expose themselves to ridicule. For the rest, I confine myself to describing their ideas as idiotic.

  3. If God minds my calling Him an idiot, may He strike me dead.

  4. Jim Thomerson

    There is a paradigm difference between creationist and scientists. Creationists of all stripes believe they know the truth, and that any evidence which disputes the truth must be false. Scientists know only provisional truth based on examination of evidence, and accept change in truth if evidence warrants it, Creationism is an effort to support belief. Science is an effort to correct errors in thinking by testing hypotheses against evidence. The two paradigms are opposed, and irreconcilable.

  5. Perfectly said, Jim. Thanks. I’ve got a file in one-note for things like this–I’m adding your comment.

    Hi Curmie, still hanging around, just quiet lately.

  6. Why do creationists always have to bring us down to their mental level, ‘Atheism is a religion/Evolution requires faith’? It reminds me of those moments enjoying a pint in the pub and someone says something stupid or racist and they get called out on it and usually justify themselves with ‘I’m just saying what everyone is thinking.’ They, creationists, are obviously aware that their beliefs require faith but it’s interesting how they think this is how everyone believes or thinks, like faith is normal. Also, why does it sound like every question a creationist asks is never serious, they always have a rhetorical tone, even in writing. They don’t want to know an answer they just want to rub against their own ego.

  7. NeonNoodle

    “The sun wasn’t created until the forth day…”

    Despite the quotes, I’ll bet that actually wasn’t in the evolutionist gentleman’s original letter. Creationists are at their most comical when they’re paraphrasing. It’s so cute, like a chimp wearing sneakers or using eating utensils.

  8. Without looking at either letter I’m puzzled why anyone would bring up the Gen I / Gen II contradiction when there are much more devastating contradictions and inconsistencies within “scientific” creationism.

  9. Lynn Wilhelm says: “Hi Curmie, still hanging around, just quiet lately.”

    But your comments make my day.

  10. docbill1351

    But your comments make my day.

    Oh, pul-EEEEEEZE! Someone call a panderbulance. Well, let me bring you back to Earth, Your Wonderfulness, with a little Peter Cook and Dudley Moore. Take it away, Arthur!

    (But he is English…) Best line ever.