Creationist Wisdom #321: Multiple Letters

About a week ago, Tina Dupuy wrote a column that was widely published: Save our schools from creationism. Here’s a sample:

… I don’t think creationism hurts children any more than Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny or the Tooth Fairy. These are myths we’re told as kids, find out they’re not true and go on to tell them to our own kids. It’s tradition; who cares? My mother had every right to fill my head with all of the weird ideas in hers (she also believes in the End of Days, which explains her love of Fox News).

It’s the teaching of creationism in schools that’s the issue. First off, you don’t “teach” creationism; you deny science, evidence and reason with a story. Second: Going to the doctor instead of praying is already putting faith in science over religion. That debate is over (unless you’re a Christian Scientist). “Teaching the controversy” is teaching two myths: creationism and that there’s a lack of scientific consensus on evolution. There’s a lack of political consensus on creationism, but that’s it.

For some reason that inspired several letters-to-the-editor all over the country. We didn’t think any of them were amusing enough for our “Creationist Wisdom” series, but there were so many that we can’t ignore them. We’ll give you excerpts from three, with bold font added by us. First, in the Bennington Banner of Bennington, Vermont, there’s this: Taking exception to Tina Dupuy column. It says:

Try to loosen up a little, Tina. The “lesser minds” such as Sir Issac Newton for example, or the thousands of contemporary learned peer reviewed scientists and physicians along with the majority of the inhabitants of Planet Earth who espouse spirituality of one type or another and agree that there might just be forces at work in this world that even “great minds” such as yours & your companions cannot explain, empathize with your repeated childhood traumas — particularly those ones revolving around Santa Claus.

Rather condescending. Then, in the Farmington Daily Times of Farmington, New Mexico, there’s this: We need creation taught in our schools. That one says:

It seems apparent that Ms. Dupuy believes the theory on evolution and only wants this to be taught in our schools. We, who believe in the creation truth, from God’s Word, would also like that only creation be taught in our schools.

[…]

The importance of an eternal punishment is too much to not investigate. To just believe what others tell you is foolish.

Indeed it is. One more excerpt from that letter:

I say, “Let us give our children the oppertunity [sic] to see the truth of our origin, existence and future.” We need creation taught in our schools.

Yes, that’s what we need.

The third letter is in the Oneida Daily Dispatch of Oneida, New York. That one is: Evolution remains only one theory. The letter-writer says:

In regards to the creationism column by Tina Dupuy on Sunday, April 14, irrational exuberance for a six-day creation story, most likely, does have a life of its own. However, it is also likely that it would be irrational exuberance, on the basis of a THEORY of evolution, to eliminate a higher power, i.e. God Almighty, when considering the matter of our origin and that of the universe.

Yeah, it’s only a theory — what’s that compared to God? Here’s more:

I believe it is preferable, and truly wise, to, by faith, believe that “In the beginning, God” and then go forward with that premise.

That certainly beats a theory any day. It ends like this:

Then, when looking toward the heavens on a clear starlit night, humbly consider the words [scripture quote].

As we said, none of those letters was very impressive, but perhaps the totality of them will compensate for that.

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

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9 responses to “Creationist Wisdom #321: Multiple Letters

  1. Pete Moulton

    I checked out only the one in the Farmington newspaper, and whaddya know? Our old pal Herman Cummings is there in the comment thread. He sure gets around!

  2. Ceteris Paribus

    Tina Dupuy wrote: “I don’t think creationism hurts children any more than Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny or the Tooth Fairy. These are myths we’re told as kids, find out they’re not true and go on to tell them to our own kids. It’s tradition; who cares?” [italics added]

    Who cares about tradition? Tina missed this one. Traditionally, kids are inherently sufficiently skeptical to figure out the truth. It’s part of the learning process, like figuring out at age 2 or 3 that what Grampa held out between his fingers was only the end of his thumb, and not your cute little nose.

    Somewhere in preadolescence kids usually figure out that Santa and the Bunny are just stories. And if the kid somehow doesn’t get it on their own, any truly caring parent would clue the kid in before the reality hurts.

    But when it comes to religion, parents traditionally do what their own parents did: Instruct the kid in magic stories of heaven and hell. And then neglect to ever suggest that those mythical places are no more real than Santa’s North Pole workshop. Because traditionally, that is exactly what their own parents neglected to do.

    And that is why the creationists are so passionate about getting their myths into the school systems at the earliest age possible. If the creationists can get kids to buy into creationism, and there is no suffiently caring adult around to clue the kid in, then in a single generation a new family tradition of passing on the creationism myth to the next generation will become established.

  3. No Tina, teaching children creationism is far more harmful than Santa for two reasons.

    1. Adults don’t believe in Santa they don’t take the idea seriously and as a result are not pushing a belief system. Creationist adults are pushing a beliefs system and are trying to indoctrinate children for life.

    2. Indoctrinated children become indoctrinated adults, no one has ever murdered an abortion doctor or flown an airplane into a building because of the tooth fairy. However people infected with religious dogma can and do.

  4. Tina may have stumbled upon the proverbial blind squirrel’s nut, but she’s usually a blithering idiot in her own right. Take for example a recent column she wrote in which she proclaimed Calvin Coolidge to be a member of the Ku Klux Klan. This ahistorical nonsense appears to be the product of a veritable cottage industry among the looney Left to destroy Coolidge’s reputation. In reality, he rejected the Klan idiocy with which Tina was so eager to link him.

    I take everything she writes with a large grain of salt as a consequence, until independently proven true.

  5. “I believe it is preferable, and truly wise, to, by faith, believe that “In the beginning, God” and then go forward with that premise…”

    Very well. Premises are indeed important.

    I’ve been studying J.R.R. Tolkien’s work for years (especially his invented languages — search for “Ardalambion” to see my contributions to Tolkien-linguistics). The Middle-earth legendarium has the great advantage that you can study it and enjoy it without anyone expecting you to believe that it is literally true. (Religions, on the other hand …)

    I have been in contact with a few people who claim to believe that The Lord of the Rings is an actual historical account coming down to us from ancient times (written by eye-witness Frodo Baggins, so just as in the case of Moses, who can doubt that it is accurate?) However, so far, nobody has demanded “equal time” in public schools for this interesting alternative understanding of history.

    The Silmarillion, Tolkien’s Biblesque prequel to The Lord of the Rings, starts out with a creation myth rather more readable than the Biblical one. “There was Eru, the One, and he made first the [angel-like] Ainur, the Holy Ones, that were the offspring of his thought …” We further learn that the world we see around us is a physical manifestation of a primeval song performed by the angelic choir. When Eru turned the music into tangible reality, many angels entered the new world to prepare for the coming of Elves and Men. A summary “pre-human” world history is provided.

    It would certainly be possible for dedicated fans to decide that is “preferable, and truly wise, by faith, to believe that in the beginning there was Eru, the One, and he made first the Ainur … …”

    It is wonderfully simple to go from there: Just take the rest of the story and start reinterpreting each and every piece of scientific evidence based on the premise that The Silmarillion is UNQUESTIONABLY the one 100 % true story of how we got here.

    If some pesky piece of evidence can’t be shoehorned in, just ignore it altogether. To very slighly paraphrase Answers in Genesis: “No apparent, perceived or claimed evidence in any field, including history and chronology, can be valid if it contradicts The Silmarillion, The Lord of the Rings and Tolkien’s associated writings.” Take that, ye of little faith!

    This approach of course yields important new insights on the question of origins. Compared to the Bible, it is actually it is EASIER to reconcile Tolkien’s mythology with scientific evidence. If you read all his manuscripts, the time-frame for life on earth is some 50,000 years, which is at least closer to the mark than 6000 years. (An added bonus is that in Tollkien, the actual age of the planet itself is left vague.)

    In Genesis, all life on this planet is created within a few days. In Tolkien, plants and animals appeared LONG before (Elves and) Men, and the existence of dinosaurs is hinted at: Monsters of “horn and ivory” arose by the influence of the fallen angel Morgoth, the diabolus of the story.

    From their description, the steeds of the Ringwraiths do sound somewhat pterodactyl-like, but the issue is not clearly resolved, so nobody is required to believe that dinos coexisted with Elves and Men. Not so at the Creation Museum. (All right, in all fairness: They left out the Elves.)

    One tricky point: In Tolkien, Earth was originally flat and only became round well into the Second Age, Eru the Creator intervening to redesign the whole planet. But the same brilliant minds that have given us Flood Geology could surely have demonstrated that this scenario is in utter harmony with geological evidence (as opposed to the false, uninspired “geology” of evil atheists). Remember, we have already decided that The Silmarillion is ABSOLUTELY true in every detail, and only have to “go forward with that premise”! It makes it all so easy, really.

    Of course, Tolkien himself wrote that his legendarium was just a literary creation and not some kind of “new vision” (his exact words). Others have displayed less integrity. Joseph Smith did reasonably well with only a trite rehashing of “Biblical” motives. Where Mormonism would have been today if its founders had been gifted with Tolkien’s talent for myth-making, God alone knows.

    Or maybe the proper phrase is “Eru alone knows”.

  6. @H.K. Fauskanger – Interesting. When you say that the time frame for life on Earth is 50,000 years, I wonder whether there is a connection made between this time frame and conventional history. Could this rather be interpreted as a 50,000-year interval at some indeterminate time in the distant past? Biblical history does eventually include references to people who are known from secular history which makes it possible to fix the date of Creation to about 4000 BC.

  7. It’s about 50,000 years BFB (Before Frodo Baggins). Exactly when HE lived is of course hard to say, though I believe Tolkien in one of his letters suggests that The Lord of the Rings takes place about seven thousand years before the present. He wasn’t dogmatic about it, though.

    Very true, if you add up all the numbers in the genealogical tables in Genesis, you are pretty much doomed to believe that Adam was created around 4000 BCE — with some slight disagreements between various schools of Bible-litteralists. Bishop Ussher’s 4004 BCE date is quite popular, but the Jehovah’s Witnesses have calculated that 4026 BCE is the actual date. Hence the human race turned 6000 in 1975 (not the universe, though — the Witnesses are Old Earth creationists). For about a decade before 1975, they had high hopes that the End would come that year and usher in a thousand-year paradise on earth as the symbolic “sabbath” to make up a full “week” of seven 1000-year days.

    In one word: Nope!

  8. If I live in Australia and I point “up” I’d be pointing in the opposite direction than North Americans. Would I be pointing to “Hell”? brrr…

  9. Claude Prater says:

    If I live in Australia and I point “up” I’d be pointing in the opposite direction than North Americans.

    No. People in Australia are upside-down, and when they point up they’re pointing toward the ground.