Creationist Wisdom #187: Ask a Supercomputer

Today, dear reader, we bring you a letter-to-the-editor titled From nature’s evolution to computer devolution, which appears in the Knoxville News Sentinel of Knoxville, Tennessee. We’ll give you a few excerpts, enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary, and as we usually do we’ll omit the writer’s name and city. Here we go, with a bit of added bold font for emphasis:

The negative editorials in the News Sentinel about HB368 are another good example of why newspapers are losing it. They only serve to align the newspaper with secular humanist and other anti-religious entities which see themselves as god of what constitutes the beginning of physical science.

He’s talking about the creationism bill we mentioned yesterday. See Tennessee 2011 Creationism Bill: It’s Dead. The letter-writer assumes that opposition to creationism is the same as atheism. Let’s watch his anger pour out:

What a gross distortion of the First Amendment, forcing believers to be idolaters.

Yes, forced idolatry what we want. Your Curmudgeon’s dream is to point a gun at everyone and command them: “Kneel at my feet and swear allegiance to Darwin! BWAHAHAHAHA!!

Ah, but wait — the letter isn’t all negative:

So that newspapers won’t have to roll the dice with their public image about what constitutes science, I have a solution to the problem.

We can’t make sense of what it means for newspapers to “roll the dice with their public image about what constitutes science,” but the letter-writer says he has a solution. Whatever the problem may be, this is his answer:

Computers are probably the epitome of man-made intelligent design. They base everything they do on the pure logic of what they are programmed to do without emotion, making true and false decisions of data that are fed into them. Because evolution, creation science, intelligent design, etc., are also man-made concepts, I suggest the News Sentinel contact Oak Ridge National Laboratory and see if one of their supercomputers can spare a few teraflops and answer these questions that are just as important as man-made global warming.

Brilliant! The journalists will bring some biology texts and a bible to Oak Ridge, feed them into the computer, and then demand an answer. Wow — why didn’t anyone think of doing this before? We have a feeling that the letter-writer is very proud of that proposal.

Here’s the letter’s concluding paragraph, which suggests that the writer is way ahead of us. He already knows what the Oak Ridge computers will say:

Evolutionists should be prepared for some shock, however. Whenever natural atrophy born into all living things is factored into the equation, the so-called evidence for evolution may lead to the computer to a different conclusion — they resulted only from devolution and nothing else, pure and simple. Heaven forbid.

“Natural atrophy”? What’s that? Is the letter-writer experiencing a decline in his masculine vigor? Or maybe he means entropy. We don’t know what he means. It’s possible that he’s betting on the Second Law of Thermodynamics to determine the question, but he’s certainly phrasing it cryptically. Perhaps in some future letter, we will learn more from this Tennessee sage.

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

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13 responses to “Creationist Wisdom #187: Ask a Supercomputer

  1. Using computers as an illustration of Intelligent Design is risky. Think of all of the buggy pieces of software and hardware over the years. Of course, open-source software looks a lot like evolution to me.

  2. I’m sorry, but I have to say it.


  3. “What a gross distortion of the First Amendment, forcing believers to be idolaters.”


  4. Ellie says: “42”

    Asimov was there first. See: The Last Question.

  5. Funny that you mention Asimov, because as I was reading the article I got a funny feeling that he some time in the past stumbled across one of his multivac stories, and somehow got into his head that is how super computers work.

  6. Bob Carroll

    Thanks, Elie. It might go like this:

  7. Asimov was there first…

    Nope. Frederic Brown beat him by two years. “Answer” first appeared in Angels and Space Ships (Dutton, 1954).

    Here’s the original text:

  8. SC said:

    Keel at my feet and swear allegiance to Darwin!

    Uh, did you mean “kneel at my feet…”?

  9. Gabriel Hanna

    @magpie61: The story you link to is not an anticipation of “The Last Question” so much as it is an anticipation of “Destination Void” and “The Jesus Incident” by Frank Herbert. Close enough anyway; humans created Ship but Ship in some sense preexisted human, I think–or at least Ship seems to think so.

    I reread those from time to time; not so much because I like them but because I find them hard to understand.

  10. RetiredSciGuy

    SC: ““Natural atrophy”? What’s that?”

    It’s what happened to the letter writer’s brain. Safe bet the guy’s not a technical writer.

    Gary asks, “Uh, did you mean “kneel at my feet…”?
    No, I think Curmy meant “keel”, as in “keel over”. Evidently, the Curmudgeon is admitting his feet have “great power”.

  11. Who cares who was first; Douglas Adams’ version is the definitive one. Unfortunately, our creationist letter writer mistook the satire of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy for a serious take on how super-computers answer questions.

  12. Gary asks:

    Uh, did you mean “kneel at my feet…”?

    Yeah. It’s humiliating to write a sentence like that and then find out it’s got a typo. Ah well ..