Creationist Wisdom #259: Stupefying

This is our second letter-to-the-editor today. It appears in Gadsden Times of Gadsden, Alabama., and the title is Theory vs. fact. 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; but we’ll tell you this much — we’ve encountered this letter-writer before. Okay, here we go. It begins with scripture:

Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.”

That’s very nice. Then the letter says:

To my knowledge, and the author of “In Denial” hasn’t “taught” me, to this date evolution has never made such a rational, common sense, evidently true statement.

He’s referring to this earlier letter: In denial, which discusses something today’s letter-writer had previously written, and which was also the subject of our Creationist Wisdom #250: Ignorant and Evil. So what we have here is a series of dueling letters. You don’t need to go back to read what went before, because today’s letter is amusing enough as it is. It continues:

Evolution will become a “fact” when it can give a superior explanation for the origin of the universe.

We assume he means that his Genesis quote is scientifically superior to evolution. As you can see, we’re dealing with a world-class genius, and that was just his opening paragraph. Let’s read on:

Talk of man evolving, and dinosaurs turning into chickens, is not sufficient to convince thinking adults that evolution is a “fact.” Incidentally, the writer refers to evolution as a “fact” and a “theory” in the same letter. Why would he spend all this good newspaper space criticizing me, rather than telling about the “social implications” of evolution?

Painful, isn’t? This stuff is garbled beyond belief. Oh, as you probably already know, evolution is a fact and a theory. We’ll get to those “social implications” a bit later. The letter continues:

What caused the Big Bang? Did matter just get together and decide to explode? Did the atoms create the laws of physics as they went? Is there any limitation to what matter can do if it makes up its mind? Did matter create the fruits of the Spirit as given in Galatians 5:22?

That’s a powerful collection of questions. It’s always amazing to see what comes out of a creationist’s mind. Here’s more:

If I have assassinated anybody’s character, I am sorry. Assassinating a person’s character is crude and unkind. Mr. Darwin said Christianity is a damnable doctrine. Is it character assassination to tell the documented truth about a historical figure?

That’s an interesting quote. Naturally we checked it out. Darwin used the phrase “damnable doctrine” in his autobiography — which was published five years after his death. The editing history is described here: The Autobiography of Charles Darwin. Some sensitive passages were omitted originally, but later restored. A version with that “damnable doctrine” expression is online here. It appears on page 87. This is the full context:

Thus disbelief crept over me at a very slow rate, but was at last complete. The rate was so slow that I felt no distress, and have never since doubted even for a single second that my conclusion was correct. I can indeed hardly see how anyone ought to wish Christianity to be true; for if so the plain language of the text seems to show that the men who do not believe, and this would include my Father, Brother and almost all my best friends, will be everlastingly punished.

And this is a damnable doctrine.

There’s a footnote after that, which says:

Mrs. Darwin annotated this passage (from “and have never since doubted”…. to “damnable doctrine”) in her own handwriting. She writes:— “I should dislike the passage in brackets to be published. It seems to me raw. Nothing can be said too severe upon the doctrine of everlasting punishment for disbelief — but very few now wd. call that ‘Christianity,’ (tho’ the words are there.)

Make of it what you will, dear reader. We consider it quote-mining. Moving along in today’s letter:

The history of evolution and its “social implications” are not nice. Racism comes straight out of evolution. The subtitle of Mr. Darwin’s book speaks of “favoured races.” Eugenics was birthed by evolution, and out of eugenics came Hitler and Margaret Sanger of Planned Parenthood, two of the bloodiest people of history.

We’ve rebutted that stuff too many times to go through it all again. For just one of our several posts on that rubbish, see Racism, Eugenics, and Darwin. Okay, here’s another excerpt from today’s letter:

“Flawed logic” is another name for evolution. In the 165 years since Mr. Darwin launched the modern war on the Bible, there has been no evidence discovered to prove John 1:1-3 and 12 wrong. There is not enough space to document that statement in a letter, but the documentation is available.

We don’t know what he’s talking about, and we don’t care. Fortunately, there’s only one more paragraph to the letter:

For 2,000 years, the Bible has been believed and honored as God’s Word, and those who have believed it have not caused jails to be built, or destroyed human dignity, or caused their neighbors to fear, or called evil good.

So there you are. Another great letter — and we know it’s great because our head is spinning. We assume yours is too.

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

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11 responses to “Creationist Wisdom #259: Stupefying

  1. As for Mrs. Darwin’s words, ” Nothing can be said too severe upon the doctrine of everlasting punishment for disbelief — but very few now wd. call that ‘Christianity,’ “, as I understand it she was Unitarian. So her definition of Unitarian might not include eternal damnation.

  2. Charles Deetz ;)

    Based on this and the other letter, I’d say the goalposts have been moved … all the way to the big bang. If we can’t come up with a good answer for where matter came from, all the other science of creation and evolution is false.

  3. The author of the “In denial” letter (let’s call him Mr. M) pretty much summed up the mindset of the “Theory vs fact” writer, and actually seems to anticipate a stupid response. Well, he sure got one!

    The latter author (let’s call him Mr. K) occupies the lowest rung of creationism, that of willful ignorance. This makes him much worse than the garden variety ignoramus; at least they come about their ignorance honestly, without all the indignant bleating.

    Mr. K is at least an obliging sort. He wasted no time hastening to prove Mr M. correct with a moronic reply, so our job is done here. Funny how these people are always their own worst enemies.

  4. The aspect of Christianity that Darwin is clearly referring to is eternal hellfire for disbelievers, which is literally a damnable doctrine by definition. So where’s the controversy in that statement?

  5. I’m curious as to if these people ever read a high school Bio book. Quite a few scientists have read the Bible

  6. “there has been no evidence discovered to prove John 1:1-3 and 12 wrong.” These passages violate the second law of thermodynamics.

  7. Twiggy: Tell us more.

  8. I see the logic. You can assassinate Darwin’s character because he called Christianity a “damnable doctrine.”

    But fundamentalists teach that non-Christianity is a “damnable doctrine” — you’re damned if you believe that doctrine.

  9. EquationForLife – I wonder how many of the people who claim faith in the Bible have read it – the whole Bible, not just memorized proof texts. (Not to mention how many of them think it’s important enough that they learn the original languages.)

  10. Diogenes said:

    You can assassinate Darwin’s character because he called Christianity a “damnable doctrine.”

    He was specifically referring to eternal punishment. Ironically, loads of creationists think that’s the most attractive part of their religion, which is why they’re creationists.

  11. Nobody knows like the Curmudgeon. In a nation of free speech, a person may invariably rake their biblical fingernails across the chalkboard of science and drive you mad with endless paragraphs dedicated to Darwin’s overthrow, and you have to put up with it. it’s just that few letter writers are this crazy in their own defense, and what does that indicate? That the buckle hats are entrenching, “doubling down” as they say, in the face of any cogent criticism? Well, there’s a counter move. The scientists of the world can unite as one and agree publicly, in the PR event of the century, on a Google-sponsored webcast, that evolution trumps the biblical understanding in terms of material evidence, that the second law of thermodynamics isn’t violated, that evolution is no tautology, man does not come from monkeys, and one’s own faith, whatever it may be, is not in jeopardy by the implications of natural selection.