Herman Cummings & Tennessee’s Creationism Bill

If you’re a fan of Herman Cummings, then you’ll remember our last post about his writings: The Ultimate Challenge. Herman doesn’t have an organization or even his own website, but he’s a one-man dynamo. His essays appear at something called iNewp — the People’s Press.

Herman’s latest is titled Combating Atheism in the Tennessee Senate. He begins by claiming that the US Supreme Court case of Torcaso v. Watkins supports his personal belief that atheism is a religion. Alas, it doesn’t even come close.

Torcaso v. Watkins held that a state law requiring office holders to have a belief in God was unconstitutional. Period. (Torcaso had been denied appointment as a notary in Maryland because of his atheism, so he sued, lost on appeal, and then won a unanimous decision in the Supreme Court.) Here’s the full text of the opinion, written by Justice Hugo Black: TORCASO v. WATKINS, 367 U.S. 488 (1961). In the portion relevant to Herman’s point, Black said:

We repeat and again reaffirm that neither a State nor the Federal Government can constitutionally force a person “to profess a belief or disbelief in any religion.” Neither can constitutionally pass laws or impose requirements which aid all religions as against non-believers, and neither can aid those religions based on a belief in the existence of God as against those religions founded on different beliefs11.

Footnote 11, which is irrelevant to the case’s holding, is what Herman relies upon. It says:

Among religions in this country which do not teach what would generally be considered a belief in the existence of God are Buddhism, Taoism, Ethical Culture, Secular Humanism and others.

Those teachings listed in footnote 11 may be congenial, indifferent, or hostile to evolution, but what bearing that might have on the creationism bill currently pending in the Tennessee legislature is left to your imagination. Nevertheless, Herman’s article is based on that footnote. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

Atheism is a religion that has its own doctrines, publications, and websites which are used to convert others to their belief system. It is a religion of denial. Denial of God, denial of Satan, denial of angels, demons, spirits (good and bad), and even denial of the souls of mankind.

Yeah, okay. Let’s read on:

The monopoly of evolution in public schools indoctrinate students into the belief system of Atheism, which the atheists want to maintain. But if schools also teach the correct rendition of Genesis chapter one (which explains the 4.6 billion year history of Earth) as an opposing view of evolution, then the schools remain neutral on whether or not there is a Deity or Creator.

Herman says that teaching Genesis — but doing it correctly! — is religiously neutral. We continue:

If the same teachers that teach evolution also relate to the students another explanation of the prehistoric history of Earth, and of the fossil record, then the state is not advocating the religion of atheism in public schools, as they are doing now.

Ah yes, religious neutrality demands that the teachers should also teach “another explanation” — Herman’s explanation — for the fossil record. Here’s more:

However, the opposing side will often try to throw up a smoke screen, saying that there is no other explanation to the fossil record, and that introducing any other explanation will harm science education. None of that is true, and actually, the opposite is true. Building a foundation of suppositions is not admissible in a court of law, and should not be in science class. Excluding other plausible explanations is nothing more than brain washing, using public funds.

Herman is not only an expert at interpreting Supreme Court decisions, but he has a better understanding of the proper methods of science than anyone else. Moving along:

As I understand, the Tennessee Senate is about to vote on a bill that would give teachers more flexibility in the science classroom. I am offering information that would help the Senate to make a more informed decision, than just “shooting in the dark”. I ask that you invite me to the floor, and allow me to show you a plausible alternative to the evolution theory.

Herman is offering his insights to the Tennessee Senate. Will they be wise enough to listen? Why wouldn’t they? They’re currently considering a law drafted by the Discovery Institute, which has already been passed by the other legislative chamber (see Tennessee Creationism Bill Passed in the House). If they’ll take the Discoveroids seriously, then why not Herman? Maybe he can lead them out of the wilderness.

Copyright © 2011. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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4 responses to “Herman Cummings & Tennessee’s Creationism Bill

  1. As we all know that Herman, the Walter Mitty of the creo-nut sphere, visits occasionally allow me to throw down the first gauntlet:


    Using your powers of logical reasoning and argument disprove the following statement:

    ATHEISM, a philosophy based on the total disbelief in the supernatural including all forms of deity, is a RELIGION in the same way that NOT COLLECTING BASEBALL CARDS is a HOBBY and BALD is a HAIRSTYLE.

    I await your pretzel like reasoning on that logic statement.

  2. This Supreme Court decision is good news! The Texas constitution has a rule in it that one can only hold office here if one professes a belief in a “Supreme Being”… so, when is the Texas Legislature getting that removed from our constitution???

  3. (LOL! It’s only been 50 years….)

  4. “ATHEISM, a philosophy based on the total disbelief in the supernatural including all forms of deity, is a RELIGION in the same way that NOT COLLECTING BASEBALL CARDS is a HOBBY and BALD is a HAIRSTYLE.”

    Technically, a philosophy based on disbelief in the supernatural would be closer to something like philosophical naturalism (aka scientific naturalism aka metaphysical naturalism), rather than atheism, which is a position on a single issue; a position on a single issue isn’t a philosophy. Atheism is simply a lack of belief in a God/gods; it has nothing to say by itself on the broader question of the supernatural. Some religions are atheist in having no belief in God/gods (certain forms of Buddhism for instance), yet do believe in the supernatural. Philosophical naturalism is very complementary to atheism (just as for instance atheism and agnosticism are positions which are not mutually exclusive and in fact are usually complementary and overlapping), so the one naturally leads to the other and vice versa, but the two things aren’t identical.