Creationist Wisdom #227: Jefferson the Creationist

This letter-to-the-editor appears in the The Times of Northwest Indiana located in Munster, Indiana. The letter is titled How has that evolution theory been working out? We’ll give you a few excerpts, enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary, and some bold font for emphasis. As we usually do we’ll omit the writer’s name and city. Okay, here we go:

The letter begins by referring to this earlier column opposing Indiana’s pending creationism bill, and then it says:

Founding Father Thomas Jefferson, who had a hand in starting our school system, recommended a certain book be included in the curriculum. The book was, you guessed it, the Bible.

Actually, that’s quite false. Jefferson did have a hand in drafting a preliminary version of the Northwest Ordinence. That was the Land Ordinance of 1784, and here’s the full text. The only reference to education is this:

There shall be reserved the lot No. 16, of every township, for the maintenance of public schools within the said township; [irrelevant remainder of the sentence omitted].

As finally passed by Congress (under the Articles of Confederation) the Northwest Ordinance said only this about education:

Art. 3. Religion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged. [Source: Northwest Ordinance; July 13, 1787 . Emphasis supplied.]

Those are the only references to schools, and there is no mention of the bible. Further, when Jefferson founded the University of Virginia, it was designed to be a secular institution. Wikipedia says:

Other universities of the day allowed only three choices of specialization: Medicine, Law, and Religion, but under Jefferson’s guidance, the University of Virginia became the first in the United States to allow specializations in such diverse fields as Astronomy, Architecture, Botany, Philosophy, and Political Science. Jefferson explained, “This institution will be based on the illimitable freedom of the human mind. For here we are not afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead, nor to tolerate any error so long as reason is left free to combat it.”

An even more controversial direction was taken for the new university based on a daring vision that higher education should be completely separated from religious doctrine. … Jefferson even went so far as to ban the teaching of Theology altogether. In a letter to Thomas Cooper in October 1814, Jefferson stated, “a professorship of theology should have no place in our institution” and, true to form, the University never had a Divinity school or department, and was established independent of any religious sect.

Okay, we’ve straightened that out. Let’s return to today’s letter:

The Bible teaches that God is the creator of the entire creation, not a creator of evolution or theistic-evolution as some think. Now comes a group of scientists who think that evolution is the machinery that creates lifeforms.

Damn those scientists. Damn them! Here’s the rest of the letter:

Now what has happened to the public school system since most of those involved in education swallowed the evolution Kool-Aid theory? Do we have better students now since the Bible was removed from our schools? And how has all that evolution theory been working out for us lately?

So there you are, dear reader. Yet another Indiana citizen has offered his contribution to the controversy.

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

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6 responses to “Creationist Wisdom #227: Jefferson the Creationist

  1. “…swallowed the evolution Kool-Aid theory? ”
    That whole “kool-aid” meme has gotten irritating beyond words. It’s especially irritating coming from someone who swallows whole every word from simplistic biblical interpretation as if it were- uh, gospel?

  2. Look at the comments section — Herman’s in the house! Doesn’t take him long to find his way to these affairs.

  3. Deklane,
    Let me guess, Fossils wrong, Genesis right, Moses blah,blah,blah.
    Am I right? I think he has a search ready to any site that mentions evolution.

  4. @Deklane: Meh. Herman probably has SC on his RSS feed. Any Sensuous Curmudgeon title that has the pound sign followed by a number probably means yet another opportunity for Herman to Redeem the Fallen.

  5. Gary’s probably right, Curmy. Cross Herman up next time by listing it as No. 228 — or better yet, Number two-two-eight. That’ll foil him!

  6. Clearly the writer of the letter has fallen for the Christian nationalist revisionism from folks like David Barton (?). Check out for a point for point exposure of the lies of these folks, not that they would ever question that which they “know” to be true!