Creationist Wisdom #231: Foolish To Exclude God

Today’s letter-to-the-editor appears at the website al.com, the online presence for three Alabama newspapers, the Birmingham News, the Huntsville Times and Mobile’s Press-Register. The letter is titled Science priests can be wrong in creation debate. 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:

I support the former science teacher in her faith in science (“Creationism: Shouldn’t be taught in school,” Your Views).

Yeah, “faith in science.” The letter-writer is referring to this earlier letter, written by a former science teacher. It’s about a bill pending in the Alabama legislature, about which we recently wrote The Purpose of Alabama’s Creationism Bill. Let’s continue with today’s letter:

The problem is not with science but with the scientific community. Every generation looks back to correct the errors of its predecessors. A scientist 100 years ago would have said the universe had no beginning, is infinite and unchanging. Now, the converse is true.

Yes, that is a problem with the scientific community. They keep revising their theories when newly-discovered evidence demands it. Let’s read on:

A scientist may believe there is no God, but if stated as fact, he is not behaving scientifically. He is creating a postulate that is not provable by scientific method.

That’s partially true. In the absence of evidence, God isn’t a scientific topic, so it definitely is scientific behavior to point out the lack of evidence — but not to declare that there are no gods. Today’s letter continues:

The writer [of the earlier letter] calls the teaching of creationism “scientifically false.” What experiment can be performed to disprove historical accounts?

There are two issues here, the first is one of terminology. Creationism isn’t science, so maybe calling it “scientifically false” isn’t technically correct (except where, as with the age of the earth, science contradicts many creationist claims); but it’s certainly correct to call it pseudo-science. The second issue concerns the burden of proof. The letter-writer refers to “historical accounts,” presumably those in Genesis. No one is obligated to disprove Genesis; its proponents have the burden of proof to support their claims. In the absence of corroborating evidence, there is no reason for anyone to accept such accounts as being anything other than myth. Here’s more:

She [the writer of the earlier letter] addresses “evolution” of bacteria. Resistance is more about natural selection (the process of adaptation within a species) than evolution. The capacity to survive the antibiotic is already present in a small number. These fittest bugs survive to create a stronger species, but not a different one.

That’s the micro-macro mambo, which we debunked here: Common Creationist Claims Confuted. Moving along:

The letter writer says the Bible is not a scientific textbook. True. But that does not make it inconsistent with science. She calls it “myth, legend and history” — value judgments outside the scope of science.

But it’s also true that the bible’s unverified assertions are outside the scope of science and don’t belong in a public school’s science classes. Another excerpt:

There is ample basis to hold current theories of origins with suspicion. Irreducible complexities within cells, the statistical improbability of life and the sheer necessity of intelligent design logically support a theistic viewpoint.

Oooooooh! “Irreducible complexities,” and the “statistical improbability of life,” and the “sheer necessity of intelligent design.” Those babble-terms, we are told, “logically support a theistic viewpoint.” This is a powerful letter indeed! And now we come to the end:

If God is, and he has acted, how foolish to exclude his role from discussion.

Right! So come up with some verifiable evidence — not just nonsensical phrases plucked from creationist websites — and the scientific discussion will be expanded. No legislation will be necessary.

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

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5 responses to “Creationist Wisdom #231: Foolish To Exclude God

  1. Curmudgeon: “Creationism isn’t science, so maybe calling it ‘scientifically false’ isn’t technically correct (except where, as with the age of the earth, science contradicts many creationist claims); but it’s certainly correct to call it pseudo-science.”

    Just yesterday a fellow “Darwinist” agued that “creationism” is techically a theory, and cited pre-1830 “creationism” as an example. My reply, which illustrates why I mostly avoid the words “creationism/creationist(s),” and need to avoid them even more, was that, of course there were past efforts, however flawed, that nevertheless were honest attempts to find verifiable answers. But (as he knew and acknowledged) the anti-evoluton movement of the past ~50 years is one based almost exclusively on promoting misinformation of evolution, and censoring inconvenient refutations wherever possible. While some versions still risk making their own “positive” claims, which are invariably contradicted by those of other versions, and refuted by the evidence, the increasingly dominant version avoids “positive” claims, and concentrates on peddling doubt of evolution, and leaves it to the audience to fill in the blanks. And just in case that may fail with some audiences, they fulfill Godwin’s law, and drag in Hitler for “insurance.”

    Can’t get any futher from science than that.

  2. The letter writer: “If God is, and he has acted, how foolish to exclude his role from discussion.”

    If he wants, we could just preface all the claims of evolution and every other scientific explanation with a statement that God is the ultimate cause, and make it all a game of “Simon says.” But something tells me that this letter writer (& 99=% of the others) would not be satisfied unless there is a bait-and-switch between ultimate and proximate causes, and deliberate misrepresentation of the latter.

  3. “Irreducible complexities within cells, the statistical improbability of life and the sheer necessity of intelligent design logically support a theistic viewpoint.”
    This is the kind of muddle-headed thinking that passes for science among these folks. They assume the complexities are “irreducible,” and that life on its own is “statistically improbable,” solely on their need to support them as a basis for the “sheer necessity of intelligent design.” They’ve assumed their conclusions, restated them as evidence, and reiterated them as conclusions, and round and round it goes. It’s not even good circular reasoning- circular reasoning has at least the appearance of motion.

  4. Curm:
    PT today has a report of the fake ID conference comedy-fest last year with Dembski and Behe. This report from something called the Mountain Daily is bylined “David F. Coppedge” — is this the lawsuit guy?

    http://www.mountaindaily.com/content/1196/

    J. Meyers

  5. J. Meyers asks: “David F. Coppedge” — is this the lawsuit guy?

    I don’t know “our” Coppedge’s middle initial. But how many guys can there be named “David Coppedge” who are also creationists?