Creationist Wisdom #418: Arizona Preacher

Today’s letter appears in the Arizona City Independent, a bi-weekly published by Casa Grande Valley Newspapers Inc. of Casa Grande, Arizona. The title is Causes of the crisis.

We don’t like to embarrass people (unless they’re politicians, preachers, or other public figures), but in this case the letter-writer is a preacher. It’s Pastor Jim Mumme of the Evangelical Methodist Church located in Arizona City, Arizona. Here are a few excerpts from the rev’s letter, enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary and some bold font for emphasis. Okay, here we go:

We have planted the seeds of godlessness, and we are reaping the harvest in this world. The events of the past couple of weeks, and actually of the past several years, show this to be true. Why would so many people be invading schools, shopping malls, and churches with guns, and turning them upon innocent people, as has dominated much of the news lately?

Verily, ’tis the harvest of godlessness. Then the rev says:

Why wouldn’t they? They see adults killing babies in abortion clinics, and some doctors killing the sick and elderly patients who come to them. Gangsta and Gothic Rock music is pandemic among our young people. The movies, television, and the Internet produce sex and violence in dumpster amounts, to be consumed by youths whose parents are nonexistent for all practical purposes. The kids have learned how to kill by watching it on TV and researching it on the Internet. They want to get in on the action.

The evil is everywhere! Let’s read on:

Behind the action is a complete disregard and disgust for human life. Kids are taught in our schools that they are just animals, the products of evolution. They are taught that there is no God, and they believe there is no real accountability, whether in this life, or at the end of this life. With no future worth living for, they become hedonistic, living for all the gusto they can get packed into their youth. And for many, this gusto involves violence. Suicides continue to proliferate among our youths also.

Aha — it’s Darwin’s fault! The rev continues:

The teaching of evolution lies behind many of our society’s ills. Many college students have been brainwashed into believing a false view of science and into thinking the Bible has been disproved.

That explains why there are so many biology professors running around raping babies, bombing shopping centers, and shooting up the campus. Here’s more:

Dr. Ian Taylor writes, “When humans try to eliminate God, they have no reason to behave rationally. The tyranny of self interest dominates daily decisions. The “survival of the fittest” rules streets, alleyways, homes and nations. This is the legacy of humanistic evolution.”

We never heard of Ian Taylor, but he’s probably the author of In the Minds of Men: Darwin and the New World Order (Amazon listing). We checked the website of Answers in Genesis. He shows up several times in their index — for example: ‘Nebraska Man’ Revisited. Moving along:

The 20th century, will be remembered as one of the bloodiest in history, as one hundred and twenty million people were killed in 130 wars since 1900, more than in all the previous wars in history. The history books of the future likely will portray this 21st century also as studded with warlords and oppressors like Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Pol Pot, Idi Amin, Mao Tse Tung, Saddam Hussein, and others like them. They also will trace many of the problems in our country to false prophets in religion and false professors in universities.

We rarely see Darwin blamed for the behavior of Idi Amin, but it makes just as much sense as blaming him for all the others. One last excerpt:

Sadly, it is a large segment of the intellectual community that believes and propagates the false science of evolution and the false philosophy of secular humanism. Our culture has been led astray from its foundation of truth and basic, universal laws. “Truth is on the scaffold, and lies upon the throne.” It will take some very brave people to stand up against what the German theologians call “The Zeitgeist,” the spirit of the times.

So there you are. Now you understand the times in which we live. Another great letter is added to our collection.

Copyright © 2014. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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Louisiana’s Bible Bill, Nudity, & Raelians

Nice title, isn’t it? We have two news items for you that will explain it. Neither is worth a stand-alone post, but if we toss the two together, then we’ve really got something.

First, as many of you know, the hopelessly creationist legislature of Louisiana has been considering a bill that would make the bible the official state book. We’ve mentioned it only one time, briefly, because although it’s absurd, it’s not the sort of thing we usually discuss here. But today we have some news about it. At the website of CBS News we read Louisiana lawmaker scraps plan to make Bible the official state book. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

A Shreveport lawmaker said Monday he’s scrapping his proposal to name the Bible as Louisiana’s official state book.

Republican Rep. Thomas Carmody told the House of Representatives that he wouldn’t pursue the measure. He said lawmakers had told him they were worried the bill was becoming a distraction from more important debates, like on the state budget and education issues.

How could anything be more important in Louisiana? Anyway, here’s the genius’ page at the legislature’s website: Thomas G. Carmody, Jr.. He’s a real estate broker. And here’s information on the bill he proposed: HB503. You can read the thing here. There’s not much to it.

Let’s get back to the news story. We’re told:

During committee debate earlier this month, Carmody insisted the bill wasn’t designed to be a state-endorsement of Christianity or a specific religion.

They always say things like that. Moving along:

But several lawmakers said it raised questions about whether Louisiana would be violating the separation of church and state, and they said it could land the Legislature in a costly lawsuit. Critics also said it could offend non-Christians who live in the state.

We didn’t think the Louisiana legislature cared about separation of church and state. Anyway, that’s enough about the bible bill. You can read the whole story if you’re interested. Now we move on to an even more interesting subject.

You may have heard of the Raelians, a sect based entirely on intelligent design. We haven’t written about them lately, but for an earlier post, see Raelians, Sexual Robots, and Intelligent Design.

To our surprise, they popped up in The Scotsman, published Edinburgh. Their article is: Bare torsos should be barred. It’s about public nudity, which seems to be legal in Scotland. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

How many did you count at the weekend? I counted three, each more visually disturbing than the last. First there was the scrawny, milk-bottle white twentysomething with his menagerie of tattoos, next the middle-aged one with the dog and the can of lager and finally, in a pièce de résistance of yobbish urbanity, there was the waddling warthog, who confidently carried his undulating folds down the street as if he was David Gandy on a cat walk. Each one had something to give to the world on that fine spring day, namely a view of their bare torsos uninhibited by any vests or T-shirts.

The whole article is like that. Fun reading! But the part we wanted to tell you about is this:

In the United States in 2007, the organisation GoTopless was set up to encourage women to claim the same constitutional rights as men to go bare-chested in public, a right they promote with public marches on the Sunday closest to Women’s Equality Day on 26 August. I thought this was a bad idea even before learning that the movement was set up by a man, Rael, a spiritual leader who uses the GoTopless website to promote his new book Intelligent Design: Message from the Designers: “Read for yourself the message for humanity that was given to Rael during his UFO encounters in 1973.”

Maybe the Discoveroids could pick up a few public relations ideas from Rael. Anyway, that’s the news at the moment — the Louisiana bible bill, public nudity, and the Raelians, all in one post. That’s why you come to this humble blog, and we are pleased to be of service.

Copyright © 2014. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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Casey Attacks the Enlightenment

The Enlightenment was essential for all that is of value in our world — it brought us into an age of reason, liberty, science, and free enterprise. The creationists at the Discovery Institute hate it, as we explained the day after we started this humble blog — see Discovery Institute: Enemies of the Enlightenment. They still hate it, as we will show you again today.

In his latest post, Casey Luskin, our favorite creationist, revisits an old theme of creationists — the relationship of science and religion. He’s not merely saying that the two can coexist — which isn’t controversial for most of us — but like a good creationist, he’s claiming that: (1) religion is essential to science; (2) any scientific theory which is anti-religious (as they insist is true for evolution) must, of necessity, be bad science; and (3) religion is the true test of the value of any scientific theory. That third point isn’t explicitly stated, but it’s certainly implied.

Casey’s latest adventure in Discoveroid anti-science apologetics is Flight from the Absolute: A Heavyweight Look at the Negative Impact of Modern and Postmodern Philosophies.

Casey is promoting a two-volume work of philosophy by Paul Gosselin, which is titled Flight from the Absolute: Cynical Observations on the Postmodern West. He hasn’t read it and neither have we, but he does mine it for some quotes he likes, and his post is comprised mainly of that, plus his own creationist commentary. Unsurprisingly, he is attracted to quotes allegedly from famous scientists of the past, all of whom said things that were compatible with religion. Whether they said such things because they thought it was prudent to do so in the times in which they lived (as may have been true for Galileo), or whether they were sincere (as with Newton) isn’t really important.

What we think is of importance is whether their scientific discoveries were based on scripture, or whether their work could have been accomplished in some other society — such as that of the classical Greeks. Regarding the Greeks, no one attributes the work of Aristotle, or Archimedes, or Eratosthenes (who determined the circumference of the Earth using geometry) to a belief in the Olympian gods. So why should our Western monotheistic religions — or Christianity specifically — receive credit for the work of scientists like Galileo and Newton? Casey uses his collection of quotes to claim that our religion is essential for such work. Here are some excerpts from what he says, with bold font added by us for emphasis:

He begins with Galileo, and he copies a quote from him provided by Gosselin:

I say so as to the truth of the knowledge which is given by mathematical proofs, this is the same that Divine wisdom recognizes; but I shall concede to you indeed that the way in which God knows the propositions of which we know some few is exceedingly more excellent than ours. Our method proceeds with reasoning by steps from one conclusion to another, while His is one of simple intuition… [elipisis in Casey's article]. I conclude from this that our understanding, as well as in the manner as in the number of things understood, is infinitely surpassed by the Divine; but I do not therefore abase it to so much as to consider it absolutely null. No, when I consider what marvellous things and how many of them men have understood, inquired into, and contrived, I recognize and understanding only clearly that the human mind is work of God’s, and one of the most excellent.

What are we to make of that? Did Galileo get his work from God? From scripture? Galileo doesn’t say anything like that. All he seems to be saying (if the quote is accurate) is that he has figured out a little bit of what he assumes God already knows. But wait — there’s more:

Gosselin further quotes Galileo explaining that our minds and scientific methods of investigation are gifts that God intended us to use:

[Casey quotes Gosselin's quote from Galileo:] I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with senses, reason and intellect has intended to forgo their use and by some other means to give us knowledge which we can attain by them. He would not require us to deny sense and reason in physical matters which are set before our eyes and minds by direct experience or necessary demonstrations.

Doesn’t Casey read what he’s quoting? As we read that, Galileo says that religion shouldn’t be used to deny science. Well, Discoveroids see things differently than we do. Okay, what does Casey make of it? He says:

Galileo is thus a prime example of an early scientist who believed that a supremely intelligent God created humanity with the very faculties needed to study and understand nature. He was inspired to study nature as a result.

What does that mean? Does even Casey imagine that if Galileo were alive today, he would eagerly join the Discovery Institute? Yes, he probably does think that.

Then he goes on to give us other Gosselin quotes, like this attributed to Johannes Kepler:

The chief aim of all investigations of the external world should be to discover the rational order and harmony which has been imposed on it by God and which He revealed to us in the language of mathematics.

Uh huh. That’s lovely, but Kepler isn’t saying that his discoveries were revealed in scripture. They could only be discovered through science. Then Casey quotes Gosselin’s claim that:

Newton’s work finds its basis in assumptions derived from the Judeo-Christian cosmology.

Really? Judeo-Christian cosmology teaches that we live on a flat Earth in a geocentric universe. That’s probably why no one before Newton ever “derived” anything from such religious teachings. There’s nothing in scripture even hinting at Newton’s work on gravity, optics, and the laws of motion.

After more of the same regarding a few other scientists, Casey tells us:

Early scientists like these thought they were using God-given mental faculties to understand the intelligible world God had created.

Blessed be the intelligent designer! Then we’re given another quote from Gosselin, and this one really resonates with the Discoveroids:

Before the twentieth-century, this symbiotic relationship between science and Christianity was the norm, but since then the Enlightenment and modern propaganda have ‘buried’ it, keeping such facts out of view.

Ah, we were waiting for that. This is how Casey ends his little essay:

If you’re looking for an well-documented examination into how secular modernism and postmodernism — and especially Darwinian thinking — have harmed the West, you’re might want to add the two volumes in Flight from the Absolute to your collection.

For all their rambling goof-ball-ism, one thing is a constant. The Discoveroids aren’t just a bunch of misguided but well-intentioned mystical creationists. Their enemy is Enlightenment.

Copyright © 2014. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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AIG Proves the Bible Is True

Prepare yourself for an intellectual thrill, dear reader. Your mind is about to be enhanced by the creation scientists at Answers in Genesis (ol’ Hambo’s online ministry).

Your guide on this adventure is Mike Matthews, who is editor in chief of Answers magazine — that’s Hambo’s in-house vanity journal, which is peer-reviewed by creation scientists. It was founded by ol’ Hambo himself. Their “About” page says:

The purpose of Answers magazine is to illustrate the importance of Genesis in building a creation-based worldview, and to equip readers with practical answers so they can confidently communicate the gospel and biblical authority with accuracy and graciousness.

With a prestigious position like editor in chief of such a respected and influential journal, you know that Matthews is a solid thinker. His article is: Part One: The Ultimate Proof — Can We Prove the Bible Is True? This is what you’ve been waiting for all your life. It’s very long, so we can only give you a few excerpts, with bold font added by us and scripture references omitted:

You’re sharing the gospel and out of the blue you’re asked, “How do you know the Bible is true?” How would you answer?

[...]

While the Bible doesn’t give a cookie-cutter, one-size-fits-all formula for defending itself, it does give us all the guidelines we need.

We know you’re excited. Let’s read on:

God tells us in bold terms the root problem. It’s not the nonbelievers’ view of the Book; it’s their view of the Author. All people already know God because He is clearly seen in His creation, and His moral law is also written on their hearts. But they “suppress,” or hold down, the truth in unrighteousness because their proud hearts are rebellious and they do not want to submit to the truth … It’s not a matter of evidence; they just don’t want to be convinced. So it is a mistake to proceed as though the main problem is a lack of knowledge. Your hearers have a heart problem. They have rejected the God of the Bible even before they begin to consider whether His Word could be true.

Yes, dear reader, deep down you already know The Truth, don’t you? Matthews continues:

How do you break through the darkness? It’s not enough to demolish their wrong beliefs by cold, hard logic. Blind men cannot see the truth except with new sight given by the Holy Spirit. Thankfully, God’s Spirit is already at work convicting sinners of their unbelief, using His Word as His primary tool. By relying on the Scripture’s own claims, rather than your wisdom or clever arguments, God empowers His words to convict [sic] hearts and point them to Christ.

[...]

Yet God does not demand blind faith. Our faith is reasonable. In fact, it is the only logical and reasonable choice available to mankind. And explaining that simple fact is the secret to a biblical defense of the Bible.

A biblical defense of the bible may seem a bit circular, but don’t quit yet. Here’s more:

Even though lots of other evidences confirm the Bible (and you should discuss them), your conversations aren’t likely to get very far unless you address the deeper question: “How do you know anything is true?”

[...]

Even secular logicians recognize this problem. Every philosophical system must start with presuppositions — starting points or assumptions — that cannot be proven from anything more basic, but are accepted up–front as the foundation for all subsequent reasoning.

He’s talking about axioms. Science begins with certain axioms — they’re so deeply imbedded in the scientific method that they’re rarely mentioned. One is logic. We must accept the validity of Aristotelian logic as an axiom, because logic underlies all our intellectual efforts. Without it, for example, contradictions would be acceptable. Therefore if logic is out … then it’s in. Life without logic is great, isn’t it?

Axioms can’t be proved, but something that is truly axiomatic must be accepted. Without logic we’d be unable to recognize false conclusions, and without free will (another axiom), we couldn’t reject false conclusions. Other fundamental axioms of science are the validity of sensory evidence (augmented by the evidence of our instruments), without which we have no verifiable information, and the existence of objective reality, which is the source of the information we obtain from our senses.

Let’s see what axioms Matthews is talking about:

The Bible claims to be this ultimate standard of truth, the “Word” given by the Almighty Creator God [reference to an AIG article]. Most people point to one of three standards: their own personal opinion, public consensus, or great moral literature. But that is not an option if the Bible is true.

Whoa! Where are the axioms of science? Matthews doesn’t even mention them. He says:

An appeal to any other standard, such as the opinions of people, automatically means you must reject the Bible as your ultimate standard. Don’t miss this point; it’s worth repeating!

Lordy, lordy. We’re in big trouble! Moving along:

Since we must appeal to some ultimate standard, the next question is how to determine the right one. One — and only one — logical solution is available.

Can you guess where this is going? No need to guess, here it comes:

The standard itself must be “self-attesting” and “self-authenticating.” In other words, it must speak for itself and defend itself in such a way that it (1) passes all its own standards of truth and (2) gives a foundation for successfully interpreting all other claims to truth.

Even before modern logicians recognized this limitation to every logical argument, God’s Word had already acknowledged and solved it. Jesus Christ, as the Son of God, said, “I am the truth” and “God’s word is truth”. Jesus claimed to define what truth is, and He said God’s Word is the ultimate judge of truth. No truth exists apart from Him.

We don’t know how to argue with that, so let’s proceed to another excerpt:

Your hearers won’t find an alternative that comes close to matching the biblical God, no matter how hard they try. But you don’t have to belabor this point. (They could spend many lifetimes searching!) A positive proclamation of the reasonableness of the Christian faith is enough to highlight the shortcomings of alternative worldviews.

If you’re not yet convinced, consider this:

The Bible repeatedly claims to be God’s Word, the ultimate source of all truth, and it rejects all other claimants. The Bible offers no neutral ground, which is the only reasonable demand from a source that claims to be the truth above all others. The Scripture also says it was inspired by a God who sees everything, knows everything, communicates perfectly, and always tells the truth. In fact, He strongly desires to share the truth. So choosing such an ultimate standard is not arbitrary!

This is a very long article (and it’s only Part One), so we’ve been forced to skip a lot. Be sure to read it all so that you don’t miss anything important. We’ll give you only one more excerpt, from the end:

Since all people are blinded sinners, they resist the truth and refuse to believe even the most obvious evidences, assuming they just don’t have enough information to prove you wrong. You will end up talking in circles.

Based on the Bible’s own example, you should point them to the only true ultimate standard, the Bible’s own claims about itself. Ultimately we trust the Bible, not because we can prove it from other sources but because we trust the One who made us and then gave us His Word.

So there you are. Now that you’ve heard from the editor in chief, we know you’re going to get a subscription to Answers magazine. And while we’re on the subject of self-attesting standards, we’ll close with something you’ve seen here before:

Self-Proving Truth Certificate

Everything written by the Curmudgeon in this blog is true. The presence of this Certificate is your proof. Our logic is undeniable.

Copyright © 2014. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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