Creationist Wisdom #144: Literally True

WE have a special treat today, dear reader — another letter-to-the-editor appearing in the TimesDaily of Florence, Alabama. You recall that last week we posted one from another Florence citizen — in which we learned about The Two Laws of Thermonuclear Dynamics.

Today’s letter is titled No middle ground. This one is also about Rodney Osbirn’s recent letter — Telling the truth? — which argued against a literal interpretation of scripture.

We’ll copy most of today’s letter, but we’ll omit the writer’s name and city, and we’ll add some bold for emphasis, plus our Curmudgeonly commentary between the paragraphs. Here we go:

I understood from the letter to the editor, “Telling the truth,” that one cannot take the whole Bible as truth. But I saw only a reference to the theory of evolution concerning a progressive creation over long periods of time. There was no proof offered, only an assertion.

This guy isn’t interested in going to school or otherwise doing his own research. He wants proof of the theory of evolution in a letter-to-the-editor; and if he doesn’t get it he’ll insist on “the whole Bible as truth.” That’s very demanding — or something. As we read on, we’ll see if he lives up to his own standards:

The question must be is the Bible truth or fiction? There can be no middle ground since the Bible claims for itself to be authored by God through chosen human scribes.

That’s an important question only if one believes in the word-for-word truth of a literal interpretation. Otherwise, it doesn’t really matter. We know, for example, that Shakespeare wasn’t always accurate in his historical plays. So what? We’ve all gained knowledge about life and human nature from works of fiction. We continue:

Who or what type of energy is responsible for this highly developed, organized and designed universe we inhabit? It requires faith to believe either creationism or evolution. For me it requires more faith to accept that unintelligent energy developed through spontaneous evolution the universe we know today.

“Highly developed” compared to what — a lowly developed universe? Also, note that his question assumes we live in an “organized and designed universe.” It’s not nice to slip the conclusion into the question like that. Does he think no one’s paying attention? Further, the letter-writer is applying the word “evolution” a bit broadly. Darwin would be flabbergasted to learn that his theory is supposed to account for the existence of the whole universe. Here’s more:

There can be no question that energy produced this vast universe. But can intelligence come from unintelligence? Can order come from disorder? Can organization come from disorganization? All the preceding questions require a negative answer unless intelligence is present to oversee the operations. That intelligence is the God of the Bible.

We could do a lecture on each of those sentences. The first one is a dubious claim — certainly it’s not proven, as the letter-writer demands of the earlier letter he criticizes. The next three sentences are questions, and to each the answer is “yes.” (Hint: See self-organization.) Therefore the last two sentences are nonsensical. Moving along:

Any scientist recognizes the Second Law Of Thermodynamics, which states in simple English everything travels downhill (wears out) or digresses.

Everything digresses? Although constrained by our customary humility, even we could do a better job describing the Second Law in simple English. But we will give praise where it’s due: today’s letter-writer didn’t elevate the Second Law to the status of the Two Laws of Thermonuclear Dynamics.

We’re almost done. Here are the finishing touches before the climax:

Could evolution have been governed by laws opposite of those recognized today? Evolution opposes the Second Law Of Thermodynamics.

And now we arrive at the letter-writer’s thundering conclusion:

Therefore, it is not true that there exists any reason in the article for not understanding the Bible literally in accordance with standard rules of interpretation of writing.

[Writer’s name and city can be seen in the original.]

We leave it to you, dear reader, to decide if today’s letter-writer lived up to his own standard of proof.

Copyright © 2010. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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5 responses to “Creationist Wisdom #144: Literally True

  1. Ha.

    The question must be is the Bible truth or fiction? There can be no middle ground since the Bible claims for itself to be authored by God through chosen human scribes.

    Where do these clowns come up with that claim? Mohammed claimed to have had the Qur’an dictated to him by an angel. Joseph Smith claimed to have gotten the Book of Mormon by translating golden plates (not written by God, by the way) using magical lenses.

    But Christian doctrine is contrary, with regard to the Bible. The Bible makes not claim to have been written by God in any way, in any place.

    This guy confuses Islamic theology with Christian theology.

    Is it any wonder he gets the science wrong, too?

  2. Actually, there are a few places where the Bible claims that it is not dictated by God. (For example, in 1 Corinthians 7.) Of course, I’m sure that there’s a literal interpretation which tells us that in those places the literal interpretation differs from what the text literally says.

  3. I get so tired of the old “law of thermodynamics” argument. The problem is that it sounds so scientific, until you think (hmmm, if it’s that obvious and irrefutable, why are thousands or millions of scientists around the world missing this?) Oh, yeah, the global conspiracy…

    I wonder what the “standard rules for the interpretation of writing” are.

  4. “…everything travels downhill (wears out) or digresses.”

    I can’t wait to go skiing next winter. I just love digressing down steep mountains.

  5. This letter reminds me of my junior Physical Chemistry class, Chem 325 I think it was, and we were discussing the 2nd Law and the professor, who smoked a pipe, inadvertently put his pipe, lit, into his lab coat pocket and I hardly remember what he talked about during that lecture because I was waiting for him to burst into flames, but I digress …