Creationist Wisdom #333: Retired Preacher

Today’s letter-to-the-editor appears in The Advocate of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. It’s titled Evolution is its own religion. 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 at the end of his letter we’re told that the writer is a retired pastor. Okay, let’s get started:

Oh my, there she goes again. In her letter included in your newspaper dated May 18 entitled “HB116 promotes creationism,” Barbara Forrest continues to promote one version of origins as the only acceptable one for public educational institutions.

He’s referring to this, which we’ve mentioned before: HB116 promotes creationism, by Barbara Forrest. It’s about a bill pending in the Louisiana legislature, about which we wrote: Another Weird Creationism Bill. Okay, back to today’s letter:

I make three points in response. First, it appears to me that the biblical information does not necessarily resolve the old- versus new-earth issue, even for Bible-believing people.

That’s fine, but we already know that there are creationists in both camps, so how they read scripture to determine the age of the Earth isn’t that important an issue. Let’s read on:

Second, empirical science never has — nor can it — resolve the issue of origins. Empirical science observes and studies what is and what has been found from the past. The interpretation of this data, so as to form a conclusion(s), requires the use of certain philosophical presuppositions, thus philosophical science.

Uh huh. And if those “philosophical presuppositions” include the belief that scripture is the final word about science, then yes — whatever science says about origins can’t possibly be true. We continue:

Third, and most important, it appears to me that Forrest is actually doing exactly what she says she is trying to prevent — that is advocating that government schools, funded by the taxpayers of all presuppositional viewpoints, should teach as science a view of origins and developmental processes that require commitment to one religious view.

Religious view? What’s he talking about? The rev attempts to clarify for us:

Yes, I said religious view. Humanistic evolutional theory has the characteristics of a religion. Carl Sagan in his best-selling “Cosmos” begins with these words: “The cosmos is all there is or ever will be.”

So what? The rev clarifies further:

This represents a statement of faith, having nothing whatsoever to do with empirical science. He also said, “our loyalties are to be to the species and the planet.” This sounds like worship. Sagan appears to be a very committed man of faith, proclaiming the gospel of the cosmos.

Ah yes, “the gospel of the cosmos.” Here’s more:

It seems clear to me that such thinking adheres to the fundamental elements of religion. It consists of faith (the cosmos as eternal reality), worship as the reasonable obligation of faith (loyalties owed to the cosmos), and revelation of the intricacies of that faith (the prophetic material of Sagan’s Cosmos).

Faith, worship, and revelation. Oh yeah — that’s Carl Sagan! Moving along:

For decades now Forrest and so many like her in the scientific/academic arena have with “evangelistic” zeal used their bully pulpits to dominate the discussion regarding appropriate curriculum in government schools.

There oughta be a law! Oh wait — there is. The government can’t establish a religion. Hey — wouldja believe it — even the Louisiana Constitution, in Article I, Section 8, says: “No law shall be enacted respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

Anyway, here’s how the retired preacher concludes his letter:

Our children deserve better. Honest critical thinking requires it.

Yeah, honest critical thinking — like the kind you get with that good old fashioned, down-home, foot-stompin’, psalm-singin’, floor-rollin’, rafter-shakin’, old-time creationism. Nice letter, Rev!

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

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7 responses to “Creationist Wisdom #333: Retired Preacher

  1. RetiredPastorGuy says, “Oh my, there she goes again…. Barbara Forrest continues to promote one version of origins as the only acceptable one for public educational institutions.”

    There they go again! Confusing “Origin of Species” with “Origin of Life”. If only these religionists would actually read Darwin’s “The Origin of Species”, they would find that he said nothing — nothing at all — about the origin of life.

    But of course, that will never happen. It would ruin their narrative.

  2. Charles Deetz ;)

    “Government schools”, look who’s all hip with the far-right lingo. And using the words of one person to prove evolution as a a religion, slick, I almost didn’t notice. And smart enough to stick to arguing ‘origins’ because up-to-date creationists know that bible talk and fossils is a losing gambit these days. And did his skip bible verses altogether? This guy knows what he is doing.

  3. The whole truth

    Oh my, there she goes again. In her letter included in your newspaper dated “May 18 entitled “HB116 promotes creationism,” Barbara Forrest continues to promote one version of origins as the only acceptable one for public educational institutions.”

    Yeah, what’s with just one version of “origins”? Every one of the thousands of origins stories ever thought up should be taught in science classes. Who needs the time to teach science in science classes? Take that, you evilutionists!

    Seriously though, god pushers always want their version of their “origins” fairy tales taught to (actually forced on) everyone on Earth, and they always make it sound as though their version of their fairy tales is the only alternative. They want their version to be established (forced) as the ‘state religion’, with no other versions/religions allowed. That’s unconstitutional of course in the USA but that won’t stop god pushers from trying.

  4. To many of these people, “religion” seems to mean ANY kind of worldview or viewpoint, and so they claim that “evolution is a religion” (same for secularism, humanism, in fact just about any “ism”). Should not the term religion more properly refer to that subset of wordviews which center on transcendent or “supernatural” entities and/or planes? A scientific theory that (as such) includes NO references to supernatural entities cannot be a “religion”. If we water down the word religion to mean just wordview in general, what term are we to use if we want to refer specifically to the supernatural stuff? (The retired pastor presumably wouldn’t like “superstition”.)

  5. I’d add that some people approach athletics with as much devotion as any religion (including prayers to a divinity). And that one dare not present any alternative view in the schools.
    Why does no one complain about the opening ceremonies of the Olympics?

  6. anevilmeme

    Science is science and religion is religion, why is that so hard for some people to understand?

  7. retiredsciguy: “But of course, that will never happen. It would ruin their narrative.”

    Just a quick scan of the letter writer’s excerpts tells me that he has probably read and understood a lot more than most of you think. He probably knows darn well that he’s pulling a bait-and-switch, one of many in the anti-evolution bag of tricks. From the Reaganesque “there [you] go again” to the “don’t worry about the ‘when’ questions (because the “Darwinists” are right and that’s bad for the big tent),” this guy is doing more than just the mindless parroting that you see in most “letters to the editor.” He knows better than to even try to pretend that his alternative is science, but goes straight to the backup “evolution is a religion too” nonsense.