Creationist Wisdom #266: Jesus a Monkey?

Today’s letter-to-the-editor is a bit of an oddity. This is the first time we’ve ever seen a letter-to-the-editor with an Associated Press byline. Perhaps the author of today’s letter is the AP’s guy in Muskogee, Oklahoma, which could explain why his letter appeared in the Muskogee Phoenix.

We know that the AP doesn’t like their material copied by bloggers, and we want to respect their property rights to this precious prose. Therefore, instead of our usual practice of excerpting paragraphs, we’ll just give you a list of the letter’s creationist clunkers — of which there are many.

The letter is titled Schools teach a foolish evolutionary lie. We almost always omit the writer’s name and city, but we won’t do that this time. The letter-writer is Joshua Ashwood of Fort Gibson, Oklahoma, who presumably has some connection to the Associated Press. Okay, here we go:

The letter begins by saying that the public school system “despises God and his word” and thus it wants to teach “the foolish evolutionary lie.” So we’re off to a good start.

Atwood claims he’s been studying the “science of origins” all his life, and he’s also published a science magazine — but its name isn’t given. Those are the qualifications he offers for the opinions which follow.

First he mentions James Ussher who is famous for developing the Ussher chronology about the age of the earth, concluding that the first day of creation began at nightfall preceding Sunday, October 23, 4004 BC. Atwood claims that: “No one honestly studying these chronologies has been able to disprove this.” That’s probably true; we don’t doubt that Ussher gave an accurate account of the scriptural chronology.

Then he says that the theory of evolution is “a thin web of lies and deceit.” He mentions Haeckel’s drawings and Nebraska Man, and he claims that there are no transitional fossils. (In the Index to Creationist Claims, see Haeckel faked his pictures, and also see Nebraska Man. In Wikipedia, see List of transitional fossils.)

But Atwood isn’t done yet. Then he claims that scientists use circular reasoning when dating things (see The Lessons of Tiktaalik). He doesn’t like carbon dating — especially for things millions of years old [Aaaargh!!] and he tosses in the second law of thermodynamics and the mantra that “something never comes from nothing.”

And that’s not all. He argues that a “day” in Genesis is a real, 24-hour day, and Adam’s fall was real. Then — at the climax of the letter — he gives us the best argument we’ve ever encountered. He says that if there were millions of years of evolution, then “Christ would be part monkey.”

This is one of the best creationists letters we’ve ever seen, and although we could only give you a summary, and you’ll have to click over to the Muskogee Phoenix to read it, we’re grateful to Associated Press for bringing us what may be their official journalistic position.

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

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17 responses to “Creationist Wisdom #266: Jesus a Monkey?

  1. Most (I’d even go so far as to say ALL) creationists will tell you that Ussher derived his calculation from the Bible and that is incorrect. Ussher used many reference texts available at the time; he made guesses and estimates which makes his precise moment of creation laughable to modern eyes.

    It could be that Joshua is a Poe but that’s sheer speculation on my part.

  2. Charles Deetz ;)

    Studied for 10 years? Doesn’t prove anything. Bluto Blutarsky studied at Faber College for seven years and had a 0.0. Based on this letter, I’d suspect he had about the same GPA.

  3. There are a couple of Joshua Atwoods in that town. One is in his 60s and the other one, early 30s. I’m guessing the letter writer is the latter because he “sounds” young to me. He also condemns women for cutting their hair and thinks it’s their fathers/brothers/husbands/pastors’ fault also, for allowing such behavior. His favorite topic, though, is homosexuality. He does not appear to have many fans.

    As docbill has already pointed out, Mr. Atwood has minimal knowledge of Ussher. I wish he were a Poe, but it appears he’s dead serious.

  4. I’d go with the geezer, Ellie. I can just imagine the crazed old coot sitting on his porch shouting at kids to get off his lawn. Probably looks a bit like Clint Eastwood and talks to empty chairs, too.

  5. I’ll echo Mr. Deetz, and also paraphrase Dean Wormer: Uninformed, arrogant and stupid is no way to go through life, son.

  6. When did AP start carrying opinion pieces by nobodys? The AP hyperlink used is not typical of AP citations. Permission to reuse actual AP content can be requested by following the “contact us” tab at ap.org. The Muskogee Pheonix seems to be attaching their little fib to all their “THE PEOPLE SPEAK” opinion pieces and only those. Searches done at hosted.ap.org return no hits. It appears that the Muskogee Pheonix doesn’t have any other text only pieces with an AP citation, common format or not. The only hits google is returning are linked back to the original MP opinion piece. I don’t have access to the AP style guide so I sent them an email to confirm the practice is valid.

  7. At least the two comments on the paper’s site are as negative about this guy’s crazy as we all here feel!

  8. This newspaper has, in the past, published editorials against creationist bills in the Oklahoma Legislature – one of the few in the state to do so.

  9. Jim Thomerson

    James Ussher was a very interesting person and an outstanding scholar. This is a pretty good account of him. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Ussher

    He did the best that could be done, I think, with what could be known at his time. He qualifies as a curmudgeon, and deserves appropriate respect.

  10. docbill1351: “It could be that Joshua is a Poe but that’s sheer speculation on my part.”

    I never rule out that these people could be Poes. This one is so bizarre that there’s a fairly reliable test. Just ask if he ever challenged an OEC. If he’s for real (an Ussher-literalist, a minority even among YECs, which themselves constitute at most half of committed evolution-deniers), he would be able to provide evidence of that challenge. If he’s a Poe he’ll just evade the question.

    @Charles Deetz:

    Good point, bad example. Does the phrase “Senator and Mrs. Blutarsky” ring a bell? ;-)

  11. Doctor Stochastic

    Not a Monkey, but perhaps a Primate?

  12. The letter writer, Joshua Atwood, makes the assertion that the public school system “despises God and his word” as though “The Public School System” is a monolithic entity.

    In reality, of course, there are many thousands of public school systems in the U.S., each with its own school board, and each school board is made up of individuals who have their own feelings about “God and his word”.

    He’s just another rabble-rouser railing against public schools, most likely to drum up support for state vouchers that could be used at religious schools.

  13. retiredsciguy

    Letter-writer Joshua Atwood says that if there were millions of years of evolution, then “Christ would be part monkey.”

    Well, then, I guess that calls for a re-write of that old, familiar Sunday School Hymn:

    What a friend we have in Jesus,
    Swinging in the trees above…

    Hey — those were his words, not mine.

  14. My guess is that Joshua is the younger guy, belongs to a neocon cult-like denomination, and gave himself or was given his Biblical name as a result of this involvement. He, like so many churchy men, is able to channel his feelings of inadequacy and frustration with regard to sex by use of the Biblical smokescreen, whereby passive-aggression toward women can be construed as piety. Really, do healthy-minded men care what a woman does with her hair? Or, in the 21st century, find it practical even from a religious point of view, to focus on that arcane bit of Judaica? It’s simply a type of bullying.

  15. He says that if there were millions of years of evolution, then “Christ would be part monkey.” Have we just been made aware of the kernel of deepest fear of all evolution deniers?
    Wasn’t cousin John the Baptist…uh..well a…a transitional sort?

  16. I live in Muskogee, and I can vouch for the fact that Joshua Ashwood is the older gentleman. He has written letters to the Fishwrap – oops, I meant Phoenix – in the past deriding the length of women’s hair and the fact they should be subservient to men; gay people; and most recently the wrong-headed claims held by young-earth crationists. He is, at best, intellectually dishonest. I’m not anti-Bible by any means, but I don’t buy completely into his adherence of Ussher’s work, or of his claim that the “days” of creation were actually 24 hours. As for the local waste of trees, their editorial staff is rather lame, and the value (as well as size) of the paper has decreased even as the subscription price has increased.