Creationist Wisdom #247: Evolution is Propaganda

Today’s letter appears in the Anderson Independent-Mail of Anderson, South Carolina. It’s titled Teach children how to think, not what to think. 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. Here we go:

I would generally agree with the respondent to my last letter that the disagreement between evolutionism and creationism is a debate between science and philosophy. But we would certainly disagree on which side has the support of science and which side is based purely on philosophical and metaphysical speculations. The scientific method is based on events in nature that can be observed by the five senses, measured, documented and tested.

The letter-writer starts out sounding somewhat reasonable, but don’t be fooled. These things can suddenly change — as we shall soon see:

The occurrence of matter from nothing, living creatures from non-living matter, complex creatures from simple creatures or man from ape-like creatures all violate the known laws or principles of science. Yet they are presented as facts in our schools, colleges and the news and entertainment media. These are all philosophical assumptions with no scientific basis.

See there? Don’t let yourself be fooled by a reasonable opening. It’s rather like the guy who starts out by saying: “I don’t mean to give offense, but … .” And then comes the deluge. Anyway, now we know what we’re dealing with. Let’s read on:

Each and every example presented by my respondent as supposed evidence of evolution can be refuted from the fields of science (although not in a 250-word letter) without any reference to any religious literature.

We’ve searched, but we can’t locate that earlier letter. It doesn’t matter, really. Today’s letter-writer is one of those who dismisses all evidence for evolution, so whatcha gonna do? Our only option is to sit back and enjoy the show. The letter continues:

The debate is indeed a pointless undertaking if we do not care that our children are being taught pseudoscientific propaganda, instead of observable and verifiable data. Our children should be taught how to think and not what to think.

Great, huh? This guy thinks that the science side of the debate is “pseudoscientific propaganda” while his Noah’s ark stuff is based on “observable and verifiable data.” He’s got the jargon right, but … well, he is what he is. Here’s one last excerpt:

Furthermore, I must chide my respondent for assuming that I am too ignorant to understand or accept his “evidence.”

BWAHAHAHAHAHA!

Although we haven’t seen the earlier letter to which he’s referring, that unknown writer has our vote.

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

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58 responses to “Creationist Wisdom #247: Evolution is Propaganda

  1. Tomato Addict

    Today’s Dilbert explains a lot: http://dilbert.com/strips/comic/2012-05-17/

  2. oh look, comments disabled, what a surprise! – How confident they must be in the ‘truth’ of their position, eh? 🙂

  3. No one ever claimed that the Bible is science. Science is science. Evolution is not science; it is an unfounded claim that depends upon inculcation and blind faith. Like all other religions, it should not be funded by tax dollars and taught in public schools–teach evolutionism all you want in private schools for anyone willing to pay for it (which would mean no one).

  4. Oh look. Someone to play with. At least for a while.

  5. aturingtest

    synapticcohesion: “No one ever claimed that the Bible is science.”
    These folks beg to differ *
    As does Ken Ham- “The Bible gives the foundation for the right approach in geology, astronomy, biology, anthropology-in fact, for all areas of reality. The church needs to take this all back (“to rebuild foundations,” as our 2005 theme declares) and teach people the true foundation of science based on the Bible.”
    Right out of the gate, WRONG!
    “Science is science.” What does that even mean? With a non-definition like that, you could include, or exclude, anything you want. So, do you think you can be a little more precise with your definition of “science”? You know it’s more than just what’s in the books, right? Then, you can explain your understanding of evolution, so we can be sure we’re discussing the same thing, and not some strawman version of it (which I think is where you’re headed, if you think it’s “like all other religions”).

    *Crossing my fingers and hoping I did the linky thing right.

  6. aturingtest

    D’oh! Italics stick again!

  7. Tomato Addict

    @synaptic and his curvaceously mocking squirrels:

    Nothing in biology make sense except in light of evolution. Nothing in religion makes sense except … um … give me a minute, there must be something …

    Oh yeah, communal cooperation makes sense if it confers a survival advantage to one offspring or close genetic relatives. So there you have it, religion only makes sense in light of evolution.

  8. “As does Ken Ham- “The Bible gives the foundation for the right approach in geology, astronomy, biology, anthropology-in fact, for all areas of reality. The church needs to take this all back (“to rebuild foundations,” as our 2005 theme declares) and teach people the true foundation of science based on the Bible.””

    Of course the Bible is the foundation and the motivation behind scientific research. Why do you think creationists were behind these branches of science as we know them today? What are all the pioneers of science and most notable scientists throughout history creationists?

  9. NeonNoodle

    No one ever claimed that the Bible is science.

    @synapticcohesion
    Are you for real?

  10. If evolution is a religion, does it come with tax breaks and clergy parking privileges?

  11. You need no “tax breaks” as evolution is completely tax payer funded. Whereas all churches get is permission to fund themselves under the watchful, censoring government eye–for the “privilege” of not having to pay certain taxes.

  12. “Science is science” Not that I expect synapticcohesion to back up his/her meaningless drivel, but that one sentence tells me regurgitated creationist talking points is all he/she has. Creationist training consists of memorization, not abstract thinking, so it’s not likely critical thinking is what they really want to teach in schools.

  13. aturingtest

    synapticcohesion: boy, are your synapses due for a check-up; they’re misfiring badly. First, you claim that “no-one ever claimed that the Bible is science.” Then, you claim that the bible is the very foundation of science. Which is it? What kind of hairs are you going to split here? Then,
    “You need no “tax breaks” as evolution is completely tax payer funded.”
    Oh, I see. You’re insane as well as dumb. Sorry I bothered you. Never mind- I have a feeling SC is about to…

  14. aturingtest, you do know the difference between foundations, motivating factor, and science; don’t you? I cannot believe that you are that dense so I will assume that you are playing dumb to avoid the truth.

  15. Synaptic, do you know how science operates?

  16. Curmy, we have an unclosed italics tag.

  17. “Creationist training consists of memorization, not abstract thinking, so it’s not likely critical thinking is what they really want to teach in schools.”

    To the contrary; in order to accept creation, you have to use your critical thinking skills in order to counter years of evolutionist inculcation in school. I used to be a staunch evolutionist, but as I developed my own independent thought, I realized that evolution is a pseudoscience and a joke based on tenuous “facts” that are always changing.

  18. GaryB says: “Curmy, we have an unclosed italics tag.”

    There were two of them in that comment. All fixed. Uh, guys, when you close an “em” tag you have to put the backslash before the “em,” and without any spaces.

  19. craigshearer

    SC – would you have come to this conclusion about the Theory of Evolution from a pure science standpoint, or did the fact that you’re (I assume) a Christian have something to do with it?

  20. Synaptic, you’re making a claim that because science was developed by what we would now call creationists that creationism and the Bible are the foundations for science, but not showing how. The men who started to develop science were creationist by necessity, everyone with the education and resources to do science were part of the church. However, science was developed because relying on the Bible and the belief system that went with it was an impediment to learning, so some of the steps used by science were developed to get past that problem.

    Science was developed in spite of creationism, not as an extension of it.

  21. That’s enough, synapticcohesion.

  22. Curmy, you could always throw code in to check for unclosed tags.

  23. Curm, what happened to our plaything.

  24. aturingtest

    synapticcohesion: “aturingtest, you do know the difference between foundations, motivating factor, and science; don’t you?”
    Do tell. Assume what you want- assumption appears to be the basis for your whole method of thought, so have at it. Elucidate. I have a feeling it’s going to be as squishy as “science is science,” but go right ahead. Will this explain your “no-one claims the bible is science” vs your claim that the bible is science?
    As for your Gishy list- please tell me, of that list, which scientists made their contributions based on the bible as the foundation for them, and how. Be specific.

  25. Turing, had synaptic been able to elucidate he/she would not have linked to a meaningless (to the question at hand) list of famous people.

  26. GaryB asks: “Curm, what happened to our plaything.”

    He was briefly amusing, but then it got tiresome. Sorry, guys.

  27. aturingtest

    SC: “Uh, guys, when you close an “em” tag you have to put the backslash before the “em,” and without any spaces.”
    oops
    “That’s enough, synapticcohesion”
    awwww…but, dad!

  28. C’est la vie.

  29. craigshearer asks:

    SC – would you have come to this conclusion about the Theory of Evolution from a pure science standpoint, or did the fact that you’re (I assume) a Christian have something to do with it?

    I don’t understand the question. Religion is irrelevant to science.

  30. aturingtest

    “You need no “tax breaks” as evolution is completely tax payer funded.”
    I mean…I know what synapticcohesion meant here, but- that just sounds funny. I wanted to reply that if that was so, then I was gonna demand a crocoduck from the government right now, but he didn’t seem like the type with much sense of humor.

  31. Just to play along with the game…

    Religion is the worship of something supernatural, and belief without evidence, a.k.a. faith. It is also hugely authority driven – it is impossible to derive the arcane tenets of religion from personal experience or experimentation, thus any individual must base his or her belief on holy books and the word of religious leaders.

    Evolution, by contrast, has no deity to worship, supernatural or otherwise. Nothing in evolution is believed without evidence, no matter what your creationist mentors like to say – they are lying when they claim there is no evidence. In fact, scientists continually test and refine the body of knowledge related to evolution (something never done with religion), based on new evidence or better understanding of older evidence. Also, an interested individual can follow the trail of evidence for evolution – examine the fossils, read the genetic data, look at strata in rock faces and investigate the geologic column, etc. While most of us lack the education to understand these things without relying on scientists and books/papers published by them, it is possible that any individual could directly replicate the work. I enjoy hunting for fossils, for example, and I know from direct experience how fossils are grouped into certain formations depending on where they are exposed in the geologic column. The facts of evolution are accessible to everyone with the interest to explore them.

    The science of evolution makes no statement about god or gods except that they are unnecessary to produce the diversity of life on earth. That’s all. If you like to believe that your god or gods directed the process, fine. That’s a faith issue.

    Science does disprove the literal Genesis story, however, unless you take the position that the universe was deliberately created with the appearance of age and the appearance of a long history of life. That, again, would be a faith issue, but one that requires a rather duplicitous deity..

  32. aturingtest

    SC: no, the other one… I think craigshearer was talking to the other sc (the small one). Hope that clears that up.

  33. Got too involved writing, missed the exit … perhaps syncho is still lurking and reading comments, however.

  34. aturingtest says: “I think craigshearer was talking to the other sc”

    Ah, that would clear it up.

  35. The Curmster posits “I don’t understand the question. Religion is irrelevant to science.”
    Unless the ‘scientist’ works really hard to fit observations to der Bible.

  36. craigshearer

    aturingtest – thanks for clearing that up – I was addressing synapticcohesion, rather than Curmie.

    I’m new around here, so you have to cut me some slack 🙂

  37. Hmmm, synapticcohesion = “Ragebuilder.com” cartoons. This is your brain on abstinence.

    Conservative religions are teaching kids to abstain from anything at all of a sexual nature; from behaviors such as kissing and holding hands, to lustful THOUGHTS. Ragebuilder.com displays an outwardly channeled example of the inevitable frustration caused by such body and mind control interrupting the normal development of adolescents. And,what about the inward manifestations? I’ve no doubt there are profound psychiatric disorders abounding in these immature (chronologically or mentally) persons, who are one and the same as cult victims. The purposeful system of stifling natural thoughts and feelings is no less than large scale abuse, and “abuse”, in a general sense, is my definition of evil. Distorting or withholding information in education is part of the process of this systematic abuse.

    @synapticcohesion:
    Because I think that you are young, sad, and confused, I am writing a sympathetic letter of advise to you in my next post, which also addresses your artwork.

  38. Uh, guys, when you close an “em” tag you have to put the backslash before the “em,” and without any spaces.

    OT, but…this an example of the ‘too many bananas’ problem. To explain: scientists regularly use rewards to get animals to solve puzzles in the lab. With monkeys, its monkey chow, or sometimes fruit. Now, if you give a decent reward, the monkey’s motivation and observed ability to solve puzzles goes up – they do better. But if you put too many bananas in front of them, their ability to solve puzzles goes down. They do worse. Their brains just see bananas, and their ability to do rational puzzle-solving goes out the window.

    If you’re seeing several people make the same html mistake, it may be because you put a juicy creationist in front of them. In the heat of replying…well, too many bananas.

    The same, incidentally, can be said for the creationists. The most rational argument for evolution is going to fail, if its perceived to be too much of a threat to God. Too many bananas.

  39. aturingtest

    mmmmm…bananas

  40. I believe that the creationist wisdom #247 letter was written by Kershaw school district site administrator Dr. Frank Morgan, whose advanced degrees are in education. A school administrator – what a surprise!

    Since synapse is no longer with us, I won’t be posting my suggestions to him (I’m sure it’s a “him”). His hautiness on this blog belies the incredible immaturity of his website, “devoted to Lenon Honor” and presumably his own deranged cartoons. I looked up Lenon Honor, a classic con artist with the dirtiest mind on the planet. Synapse said “I used to be a staunch evolutionist, but as I developed my own independent thought, I realized…”
    I think the quote would more honestly end with “I realized that I also could find a lucrative niche scamming mindless, naive Christians.”

    @Ed
    That, again, would be a faith issue, but one that requires a rather duplicitous deity..

    You did an excellent clear and concise job throughout your rebuttal, with the begged-for zinger at the end. Bravo!

  41. @GaryB
    “C’est la vie”

    Did you also find out that Frank Morgan’s* B.A. was in French, and if not, was your response a coincidence or minor miracle?.

    * author of creationist wisdom #247 letter

  42. retiredsciguy

    Gotta agree with Curmy’s decision to pull the plug on the synapticmisfiring poster. No way he would listen to any reason; he’s a religionist, and will never change for fear of the Lake of Fire. He (or she) is probably an honest religionist, unlike Ken Ham and other “Old Time Religion” hucksters just out to make a buck.

    Back to the original letter writer featured in today’s blog — like so many creationists, he cites “the occurrence of matter from nothing and living creatures from non-living matter” as “proof”of the fallacy of science. Uh — isn’t this also a valid argument then against “goddidit”? And also, for the ten-millionth time —
    CHARLES DARWIN SAID ABSOLUTELY NOTHING ABOUT THE ORIGIN OF LIFE!
    His Theory of Evolution simply posits that natural selection is the driving force behind the observable change in living species that is so evident and obvious in the fossil record. He said nothing about how life started. Nada. Zip. (0).

  43. retiredsciguy

    About the problems with formatting — back a few months ago when I asked for help on this, Gabriel Hannah suggested just using the letter “i” instead of “em” for italics, and the letter “b” instead of “strong” for bold. Works just as well, and with fewer keystrokes. Of course, you still need to bracket within the “less than” and “greater than” symbols, which makes it a real pain in the patootie if you’re using an iPad.

  44. retiredsciguy

    @Donna: I should have read your posts more thoroughly before writing my comments about synapticdisorder. I now agree with you that he probably is a “he”, and that indeed he most likely is a scam artist like Ham et al.

  45. @retiredsciguy
    It took me a while before I realized what he’s up to and that he’s chronologically older than I originally thought. After reading his first post, I spent a while typing up a letter, kindly commenting on “synapse” in his name, urging him to trust his own intellect, etc., and that his lack of freedom stifles his personal truth and adversely affects, to the point of monopolizing, his “art”.

    During the time I was writing, he posted more comments. I also thought I’d better make sure that Lenon Honor isn’t the cartoonist featured in syn’s website so that I wouldn’t be addressing the art thing erroneously, and whether he would come up in a simple search (boy does he ever). In short, with more data I formed a clearer picture, and when he admitted to knowing, then turning away from real science..Well! I figure that’s someone with an agenda. He may even be a creationist-cult abuse victim turning abuser – someone else noted that he seemed to be quoting creationist teaching materials. I also notice a disconnect between his writing (vocabulary, grammar, etc.) and stuff on his site, particulary the bizarre “ragebuilder.com” cartoons.

  46. Figures. There’s a party and by the time I get there, it’s over. (Sigh.)
    @RSG: “About the problems with formatting…” The difference between “em” (emphasis) and “i” (italics) is that “em” is *supposed* to work with voice translators for blind people. The same goes with the difference between “strong” and “b” (bold). Both “em” and “strong” are supposed to be translated by the text-to-voice systems in such a way that the intent (using an emphatic or strong voice) is also conveyed. This won’t happen with just “i” or “b”. Why? Don’t know. I didn’t help to write the standard, but that’s what I understand.

  47. SC, I think it was wrong of you to ban “synapticcohesion”. It doesn’t look good for this site or science if evolution deniers can’t be shown to be wrong in a fair debate. As long as they’re not threatening or completely out of line in their behavior, why not let the god pushers reveal their ignorance of science? I’m not afraid to take them on right out in the open and no one else should be either. I strongly suspect that others who read and comment here would also like to see, and directly challenge, the questionable or erroneous statements made by bible thumpers.

  48. The whole truth says: “It doesn’t look good for this site or science if evolution deniers can’t be shown to be wrong in a fair debate.”

    It’s a waste of time to debate creationists. We discuss their views here all the time, but I don’t want them around. Sometimes, like today, I let one hang around briefly, for amusement, but they always end up boring me. That’s how it is here.

  49. @The whole truth: I disagree. First, I’ve read through some of the… stuff… on synaptic’s “blog”. Frankly, he’s one disturbed individual. Second, he already has his own blog. He can write whatever he wants about how he’s been “censored” or “wronged” or “silenced” or whatever. He can also write about all the evidence for creationism. (That will be a short post, but I digress.) Third, as SC pointed out, it’s a waste of time to debate creationists. Their ability to reason is seriously impaired, if not gone completely. If you want to see what it’s like to “debate” creationists on a website, check out Panda’s Thumb. It’s pointless. They don’t care about logic, reason, or evidence. All they care about is their dogma.

  50. retiredsciguy

    @garystar1: Thanks for the info re: “em” & “strong”. I just found it easier remembering “i” for italics and “b” for bold; didn’t know it made any difference. If there are any people using a text to voice translator on this blog, please let us know and I’ll change my habits. I don’t mean to be callous; it just doesn’t matter to me that much if a tiny bit of my meaning is lost in translation.

    And while you’re at it, could you also explain the reasoning behind Braille markings on drive-through ATMs? That really scares me, because those ATMs can only be used from the driver’s side of the car. (Unless you’re blind and miss the One Way markings.)

  51. @RSG: “I don’t mean to be callous;” No, no, no! You weren’t. I was just explaining the reason for the difference. I also use “i” and “b”. As you said, it really doesn’t make much difference.
    “And while you’re at it, could you also explain the reasoning behind Braille markings on drive-through ATMs?”
    No. No, I can’t. HOWEVER, when I was still working in a volunteer fire company, I was on a call for a “man shot”. Turned out that our local constabulary was trying to capture a known armed robber of walk-up and drive-up ATMs. A cop in plainclothes, acting as bait, walked up to an ATM that was next to a drive-up one and that’s when the armed robber took the bait. The cop handed over his cash, then as the robber began walking away, the cop pulled his weapon (as did the dozen or so uniformed officers around the place), told the robber to drop his weapon and surrender. He refused. Instead, he tried to shoot his way out and was shot himself. He didn’t die, but wound up a quadraplegic. I was assisting the two paramedics working on him and I remember looking over at the ATM with the Braille and thinking, “Well, blind or not, that Braille won’t do him any good any more.” Now THAT is a callous thought, my friend.

  52. aturingtest

    retiredsciguy: re your question about Braille on ATM machines, my first thought was so blind folks could use them without having to ask someone driving them to do it for them (in which case, I suppose they have to get out of the car and go around). That just led to another question- what good does the Braille do if they still can’t see the instructions on the screen? Do they have ATM machines with voice technology?

  53. Pete Moulton

    retiredscienceguy and aturingtest: I think it’s more a matter of economics. There are plenty of walk-up ATMs too, and if the maker only has to make one set of buttons for both the walk-up and drive-up machines, it’s much more efficient. They make the buttons by means of injection molding, which is an efficient, high-volume method, but the molds are very expensive to build.

  54. @petemoulten

    I think you’re right. Now I did see another situation like the braille atm that I can’t understand. My university had a few buildings with automatic door openeres for the stairwells making them wheelchair accessible. I still can’t imagine why that would be necessary.

  55. retiredsciguy

    @TJW: That’s classic! I can only think of one use for wheelchair accessible stairwells, but it is too callous to write about here.

    @Garystar1: Thanks for the reply re: ATMs. I wasn’t clear in my post; I was asking the question of anyone responding to “If there are any people using a text to voice translator on this blog”, figuring that a sightless person might have an answer.

    @Pete Moulton: Thanks. Makes sense, although at first thought sure seems like PC run amok.

  56. Tomato Addict

    Too many bananas … and a bunch of Gary’s too. 🙂

    Regarding HTML formatting, I found a simple HTML editor that runs in Chrome.
    http://bryanlynn.com/chrome-editor-google-chrome-extension/
    I can copy/paste my HTML into it and check the result before posting. This doesn’t entirely solve my Bananas problem, but it helps. There should be similar extensions for Firefox and Explorer.

  57. Curmudgeon: “The letter-writer starts out sounding somewhat reasonable.”

    You mean the word “evolutionism” wasn’t a dead giveaway?