Creationist Wisdom #233: Nothing To Lose

Today’s letter-to-the-editor appears in the News Star of Monroe, Louisiana. The letter is titled Having faith is without risk.

You know where that title comes from, don’t you? If not, all will be explained as we explore the depths of the letter-writer’s thinking. 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 an earlier letter by a Mr. Refo, which we can’t locate, but apparently it was opposed to creationism. Today’s letter-writer says:

If Mr. Refo were to look at Genesis 1:2, he would find that the earth was described as being “void and without form,” where science says it was a swirling ball of hot gasses. Not much difference since theologians and scientists agree that neither nature or God or whatever else one wishes to call it is constrained by man’s constraints of “time” in our hours, days etc.

So much rich material, so little time for comment. First, we never realized before this moment that science and Genesis described things the same way. That’s an astounding discovery. Then there’s the dictum that, like God, nature is not bound by time. Wowie — everything is simultaneous! But the letter has even more revelations for us:

The so-called creation story only differs from “evolution” in the closed mind of a person who has chosen beforehand not to believe.

Yup! They’re identical. Absolutely. No one can accuse your Curmudgeon of having a closed mind. Let’s read on:

The virtual “father” of modern science, Albert Einstein, believed in God, for he wrote, when he learned of the atomic bomb, that it was “an abomination before God.”

Where to begin? We’ll have to ignore the description of Einstein as the father of modern science. Perhaps if that description were limited to physics …, but let’s not be sidetracked. The essence of the letter-writer’s claim is that Einstein was a believer. That’s so well known to be false that no serious refutation required, but here’s a good place to start: Albert Einstein’s religious views. As for the “abomination” quote, we can’t find it, but we didn’t spend much time looking. The letter continues:

When we close our mind to any thought other than our own, we remove any possibility to arrive at the truth.

That’s essentially true. But we doubt that the letter-writer understands those words as we do. And we must have rational standards that demand closing our minds to certain malformed ideas, but that’s another story. Here’s the letter’s end:

I am a believer. Mr. Refo is not. One of us is wrong. If I am, I have lost nothing. If he is, he has lost everything.

Surely you recognized Pascal’s Wager. But there’s something to what the letter-writer says. The only thing he has to lose is his mind, and perhaps that’s no loss at all.

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

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7 responses to “Creationist Wisdom #233: Nothing To Lose

  1. Tomato Addict

    You know where that title comes from, don’t you? If not, all will be explained as we explore the depths of the letter-writer’s thinking.

    So Pascal’s Wager is the depth of his thought?

    I’ll get a mop and clean this up. Maybe a paper towel.

  2. Retired Prof

    As the ante for making Pascal’s wager, the church I was raised in required 10 percent of my income and one seventh of my time, plus several holy days. Makes me wonder if proponents of the wager truly understand nothing. Furthermore, no preacher would ever tell me what my odds were, so I passed.

  3. Pascal’s Wager vs God Doesn’t Play Dice. . . .

    Apparently these people believe that their God is so stupid that he can’t determine the difference between sincere belief and belief in God as some sort of insurance policy against going to Hell. (You never know . . . when that policy will save your butt! You’re in Good Hands with God!)

    These people start by inventing Hell and them condemn everyone to it . . . except those who believe as they do (without coersion, mind you). Amazing! Do these people brag about condemning the vast majority of the Earth’s population to everlasting torment? Bwa ha ha, indeed!

  4. Einstein called the atomic bomb an “abomination before God”? Hard to believe since it was developed at his urging. http://www.dannen.com/ae-fdr.html Where to people come up with this stuff?

  5. They’re doing their damnedest to make their belief system as respected as science even if it means screwing with dead scientists’ words, which is fundamentally dishonest.

    I seem to remember having an extended argument with a cartoon character about this very topic, where she swore up and down her interpretation of Einstein’s words were a more accurate reading of his beliefs than Einstein’s actual words.

  6. Ceteris Paribus

    Did the letter writer know that by basing his argument on gain vs loss, he was making a subjective argument for his belief in of the objective truth?

  7. aturingtest

    Blu28 says: “Einstein called the atomic bomb an “abomination before God”? Hard to believe since it was developed at his urging.”
    From Wikiquotes, the only quotes by Einstein relative to an “atomic bomb is an abomination before God” interpretation I could find are these:
    “Had I known that the Germans would not succeed in producing an atomic bomb, I would not have lifted a finger.”
    “I made one great mistake in my life—when I signed that letter to President Roosevelt recommending that atom bombs be made; but there was some justification—the danger that the Germans would make them!” (And that one is second-hand, a diary entry by Linus Pauling recalling something Einstein said to him in conversation.)
    “[I]f I had foreseen Hiroshima and Nagasaki, I would have torn up my formula in 1905.” (Again, a recollection by someone of something said by Einstein in conversation.)
    It seems, from what little I’ve read, that he urged development of the bomb by the U.S. only in reaction to what he saw as the greater danger of the Nazis getting it first.