Creationist Wisdom #317: Problem with Numbers

This letter-to-the-editor appears at the website of the Oklahoman of Oklahoma City, the capital of and largest city in the state of Oklahoma. The letter is titled Revised age of the universe doesn’t jibe. 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:

“Scientists rethink universe” (Associated Press, March 24) stated that scientists now calculate the age of the universe at 13.8 billion years.

He’s probably referring to this: Scientists find universe is 80 million years older. What insights does our letter-writer gain from this news? Stick around, dear reader. You’ll be amazed:

The “big bang” is listed as a figurative 0-60 mph in thousandths of a second, bringing the universe from nothing to that of what we see in today’s world.

We don’t know what he’s talking about, but let’s read on:

Many bright individuals are involved — astronomers, planetary physicists, etc. — but another group not mentioned is very much a part of the debate. What about the anthropologists who give no credit to creationism but relate everything to the process of “evolution”?

Anthropologists? Like Indiana Jones? They relate everything to evolution? Well, maybe specialists in biological anthropology. [Correction: Oops, Indy was an archeologist.] The letter continues:

It’s been said and “proven” (how, I don’t know) that it would take 26.2 billion years for humans as we know them today to evolve into their current forms.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Who said that? We can’t even find it at creationist websites. Well, there’s this at Answers in Genesis: Evolution — No Chance in a Billion Years. Here’s more:

So, the age of the universe is 13.8 billion years and the evolution of humans took 26.2 billion years. My math teachers taught me that 13.8 billion minus 26.2 billion results in a negative number. Something doesn’t add up!

Golly, he’s right! The numbers don’t work. Here’s the end of the letter:

Would the planetary astronomers pick up the telephone and talk to the anthropologists to resolve a conflict that my third-grade math teacher said wasn’t possible?

The letter-writer is wise to ignore the cosmologists and the evolutionary biologists. If anyone can figure this out, it’s the anthropologists and the planetary astronomers. Oh, there’s a later letter in the same newspaper that responds to this letter. That’s Anthropologists give no credit to creationism.

Copyright © 2013. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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25 responses to “Creationist Wisdom #317: Problem with Numbers

  1. waldteufel

    The letter writer is a weapons grade moron. We have to thank him, though, for providing us with a belly laugh.

  2. That’s a good response letter that you referenced, Curmy. The original letter writer is just plain goofy. Maybe he could find a job at some Seattle “Thimk” Tank.

  3. Ceteris Paribus

    If the letter writer has no problem with the math of the Trinity, he need not even be taking notice of his present conundrum.

    To paraphrase 19th century Robert Ingersoll,:
    1 father god + 1 son god + 1 holy ghost god = 1 god.

    As Ingersoll said: ” Nothing ever was, nothing ever can be more perfectly idiotic and absurd than the dogma of the Trinity. ”

    You can go back to sleep now Oklahoman. Somebody will surely wake you if a rapture occurs in your town.

  4. Not to pic nits, but I believe Indiana Jones was an archaeologist, not an anthropologist. Of course, neither profession would have anything to say about the length of time it took for humans to evolve.

    Archaeology does have quite a bit to say about the the last 10,000 years or so, however. Oddly, there is a mysterious gap in the archaeological record covering the entire chapter of Genesis, and much of the rest of the old testament, plus notable errors in the new testament. Teach the controversy!!!

  5. Ed says: “Indiana Jones was an archaeologist, not an anthropologist.”

    Yeah, I think you’re right. My first error in five years.

  6. David Grow

    Wow, got a nod from the SC. I’m being sincere when I say that’s a thrill. Have followed you for years as you are a constant source of belly laughs. There are those of us in Oklahoma, as you know from your operatives, who work to counter this nuttery every legislative season. And so far we’ve been pretty successful. The Oklahoman tends to edit responses to such foolishness. My original opening included the phrase “garbled nonsense”.
    Sorry it didn’t make the cut. And Waldteufel, will you permit me to use “wepons grade moron” in future letters – so few words saying so much.

    David Grow

  7. David Grow says: “Wow, got a nod from the SC.”

    That was a good letter. So good that I almost didn’t bother posting at all. But I couldn’t resist.

  8. Some people really need to think before they put finger to key. Mind you it is typical of the ‘research’ creationists are capable of.

  9. Tundra Boy, you’ve been missing for a while.

  10. I found myself when I was cleaning out an igloo. BTW, I ran into a character named Sealion last week.

  11. Wow… I found this as i was doing research on a paper for one of my classes. my grammar is going to suck in this post due to the fact i feel i need to dumb this down for you. i vote that we break down both creationism and evolution. evolution is we all came from the same ancestors…. creationism some all knowing being wished us into being. creationists hate the fact evolution says we call came from the same thing; however, if we look at creationism its the same damn thing… your ancestor called dibs on his sister. seems to me that creationists are all for incest. HURRY EVERYONE GRAB YOUR SISTER.

    the point is evolution happens and your an idiot for thinking otherwise. lets look at the big thing going on now days…. war. everyone is scared of some new strand of some anthrax. **pst pst** a new strand comes about due to mutation of the original strand.. **pst pst** that is also called evolution.

    as for this letter your “posting”, yes i used quotes because that is what you think your doing, how about showing the full letter instead only the parts that helps your cause. i bet the letter will paint a different picture as a whole.

    its so funny how people put so much faith in a book that some guy high on acid probably wrote who seen god every time he lit up, and there is no evidence to state otherwise because history is written by the ones who live.

  12. After reading this post, I had an epiphany. The true miracle of creationist thought is that of the bottomless barrel. In most ideas, professions, etc., you eventually find “the bottom of the barrel,” meaning the worst (or maybe stupidest) example of something. However, with creationists, THERE IS NO BOTTOM!! It’s like some warped infomercial where instead of the bargain getting better and better, the ideas get stupider and stupider. You hear somebody say what you think is the most ignorant thing anyone could ever think of, and just a bit later, someone else pops up and says “but wait, there’s more!…”

  13. Curmy says, “Tundra Boy, you’ve been missing for a while.”

    Finally revealed by the melting snow, eh?

  14. skmarshall

    SC I think we need a report from your South Florida Operatives… viddy this (as Alex and his droogies would say)

  15. Creationists are well known for their lack of mathematical skill and imagination. I was present at a presentation by a creationist where he took 10 numbered children’s blocks and showed the improbability of them ever lining up by number 1-10. My response is that it was indeed improbable, but if the blocks were to be thrown at the frequency that say molecules collide in a gas, the sequence 1-10 would come up up a billion, billion times per second.

    When you have idiots taking basic numbers and applying third grade arithmetic (and imagination) then you get what they get–absolute surety!

  16. @stephenpruis, you are insulting third-graders on that imagination part.

    Molecules colliding in a gas is a good example. Another illustration would be to re-roll the blocks that were not in the correct sequence, keeping those in place that were. It wouldn’t take many rolls before they are lined up correctly. This is more akin to the way evolution works, in incremental improvements.

  17. I’d also point out that the calculation is circular reasoning, with the assumption that the result of an evolutionary process is a predetermined target, something that is aimed at, rather than just what results.

    And, we can perform a similar calculation about the probability that a force that can do more than what is natural would have a particular result. If the designer isn’t restricted to playing with the numbered blocks as given, it’s even less likely to end up with 1-10 in sequence. It could produce:
    1 sqrt(2) sqrt(3) …
    1 -1 2 -2 3 …
    A B C D …
    Just as the intelligent designer of life is not restricted to hydrogen, carbon, oxygen, etc., but could have used helium, plutonium, neutronium, etc.

  18. docbill1351

    Actually, Indiana Jones did his undergraduate work in anthropology then went on to get a PhD in archaeology.

    So, SC was correct all along thus preserving his pristine record.

  19. retiredsciguy :Finally revealed by the melting snow, eh?
    What melting snow? We’ve had more snow over a longer time than I can remember, and I’m an old fart.

  20. Tundra Boy says: “We’ve had more snow over a longer time than I can remember”

    I figured a glacier got you. Either that or a killer walrus.

  21. I used walrus blubber lamps to melt the glacier.

  22. Tundra Boy: “We’ve had more snow over a longer time than I can remember, and I’m an old fart.”

    Must be due to global warming. Oh, wait…

    (Actually, increased snowfall could be due to global warming. Warmer oceans => more evaporation; more evaporation => more condensation => more precipitation; thus, more snow in Canada.)

    Follow-up thought — more condensation => more clouds; more clouds and more snow => higher albedo; higher albedo means more of the sun’s energy reflected back to space, which results in cooler temperatures here on Earth. So, global warming might result in another Ice Age. (Provided winter temperatures stay below freezing in the N. Hemisphere.)

    Of course, none of us will still be around to see if this is right, so to any AGW zealots reading this, please don’t hijack Curmy’s blog to beat me over the head on this. For one thing, I’m not an AGW denier. I think it would be prudent to take reasonable steps to lower carbon emissions. After all, small steps now may obviate the need for more Draconian measures later. Along those lines, I was informing my 7th grade science students that CO2 absorbs infrared, and that increased CO2 emissions could lead to global warming after reading a paper about it in The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists around 1978. Most likely, there weren’t too many other Jr. High teachers talking about it at that time. The whole idea didn’t gain traction for several years.

  23. retiredsciguy: “Of course, none of us will still be around to see if this is right, so to any AGW zealots reading this, please don’t hijack Curmy’s blog to beat me over the head on this…”
    If this was any other blog but Curmy’s, you’d be beaten about the head and shoulders right about now.

  24. @Tundra Boy: Yeah, I hear you. The AGW guys are worse than the gun lobby.

    We do know CO2 absorbs infrared and heats up. We know we are putting lots of carbon that’s been locked away for millions of years into the atmosphere in the blink of a geologic eye. We know this is not a good idea. What we don’t know is if there is a self-correcting mechanism that may alleviate the problem.

    The scenario I laid out above — increased temps leading to more evaporation, leading to more precipitation including more snow, coupled with more clouds increasing albedo — is plausible.

    I wouldn’t bet the farm on it, though, so we should reduce carbon emissions. But it’s not wise to commit economic suicide to do so.

    Heck, we’ve already reduced carbon emissions in the US below the Kyoto protocol, and we did it without government mandates. So much natural gas is being produced now due to fracking that the price has come tumbling, leading many electric utilities to switch from coal. Triple bonus — not only does natural gas produce less CO2, it doesn’t contain mercury and does not lead to acid rain.

  25. > “I figured a glacier got you. Either that or a killer walrus.”

    Or Killer Electric Penguin!

    Very nasty, those birds. One of them ate me alive once.