Creationist Wisdom #354: Canadian Preacher

Today’s letter-to-the-editor appears in the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows News of Maple Ridge, British Columbia, a suburb of Vancouver, and it’s titled Evolution is magical, medieval sorcery. Nice title! [Addendum: the link is dead. It seems the newspaper deleted the letter. But it lives on here in our blog.]

Although we usually omit the writer’s name and city, we make an exception for preachers. The author is John Martens, pastor at The Connection. This is his church’s website: The Connection. Here are a few excerpts from his letter (or column, or whatever it is), enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary and some bold font for emphasis:

Why do I believe in a Creator? Why don’t I just believe what I have been told by educators and entertainers? What’s wrong with adopting the conventional, well funded, and politically correct view that we all came from primates, then from lower forms of animals, then from slime in a pond somewhere?

Entertainers promote evolution? Maybe in British Columbia. The rev then says:

After all, a lot of smart people believe in evolution – and evolution does not require God. So why should I believe in God? Besides, who am I (how arrogant of me) to not agree with what is taught in the media, loved by Hollywood and defended by the academic elite?

The rev is clearly a man who thinks for himself. In fact, he brags about it, apparently unconcerned that this may be the sin of pridefulness:

I believe in a Creator for many reasons. For one, I’m not a ‘group-think’ kind of person. I don’t just go with the flow. I walk upstream. Put my face to the wind. Think for myself. But that often puts me at odds with the status quo. Secondly, I just see the whole idea that one form of life (dog, donkey, dinosaur) changing into another form as impossible, even if you give it millions and millions of years.

Smart man! His pride is well-deserved. Let’s read on:

“A long, long, long time ago … very slowly … with no known reason … dinosaurs transmogrified into chickens.” That is just too fantastical for me. It smacks of medieval sorcery. No one ever tells me how these animals change, just that they did. Magically. Although I love myths, magic and science fiction – for entertainment – I don’t want to base my life on such things.

No medieval sorcery or myths or magic for the rev! For him it’s Genesis all the way! He continues:

Then there is the whole issue of science. As we observe our world today, we discover certain principles or rules that seem to apply everywhere. We call these the laws of nature. The problem is that what we know about science – the laws devised from actually observing the universe – do not allow for the kind of evolutionary scenario that I mentioned above.

This guy has everything figured out. All your life you’ve been waiting for someone to come along who could put it all together like this, and now we’ve found him for you. Please pay close attention to the rev’s discussion of the laws of nature:

In mathematics, there is this thing called information theory. One of the tenants of the theory is that new information cannot come about by accident, but must always have an intelligent source. This is universally true. We have never seen an exception. But evolution wants us to believe that the vast amount of new information needed to create each new type of animal, just came out of nowhere. That’s not science. That’s Harry Potter.

The rev knows his information theory! He’s a little weak on genetics and organic chemistry, but who needs that when you’ve got information theory on your side? Here’s more:

Then there is this thing called entropy. You might have heard the word, but are not sure what it is. Entropy applies everywhere in the universe. The universe would not be the universe as we know it, were it not for entropy. In terms I can understand, entropy is this: “Given time, all systems go from order to disorder.” Actually, this is one of the few ways we can tell the direction of time’s arrow. Time makes things worse.

The only thing that has improved with time is the rev’s understanding of the world. He mentioned entropy as a way to determine time’s arrow. That’s a big subject and an interesting one. There are several “arrows” that indicate time’s direction — see Arrow of time. Your Curmudgeon prefers the sequence of cause and effect, but almost no one else does. That’s irrelevant, so let’s move along with the rev’s letter:

But according to evolution, over time, different life forms evolved and became more and more complex. It is almost as if evolution caused time to go backwards – but only for evolution. This sounds like a great fairy tale, but it makes for terrible science.

It’s difficult to argue with that. We can understand why the rev sticks with the bible. But wait — he has even more science on his side:

There are many other laws of mathematics, physics, biology, chemistry and microbiology that also violate the very concept of evolution.

Yes, too many to enumerate, but merely mentioning that they exist is convincing nevertheless. Another excerpt:

So why do people still believe in evolution? There are various reasons. Some people just follow the media and the academic elite because they think that those people must be very smart. But many of these very smart people cling to evolution because they want the approval of their peers, and they think that God would cramp their lifestyle. So the myth lives on.

Admit it, dear reader. The rev has exposed your motives. Don’t you feel foolish now? Here’s the end:

But our belief system should not be based on what we would like to be true, or on what will make us popular, but on a relentless pursuit of the truth.

Verily, the rev is man for all seasons, a light in the darkness, an intellectual giant, an example for all generations, and we’ve run out such expressions. He may also be an example of the hazards of ingesting too much walrus blubber and going out in the arctic noon without taking precautions against snow-blindness.

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

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30 responses to “Creationist Wisdom #354: Canadian Preacher

  1. Canada has a South too?

  2. The whole truth

    Wow, the rev has a severe case of sky-daddy-itis and is spewing the usual, bogus, creationist BS. Believing in a fairy tale god sure has ‘cramped’ his brain.

  3. Usually the canadian south is Alberta.

    That being said as much as I’m disappointed in the preacher. However My confidence has been restored by comments on the article.

  4. I just see the whole idea that one form of life (dog, donkey, dinosaur) changing into another form as impossible, even if you give it millions and millions of years.”

    I know it’s hard for most of you to avoid taking the bait, but that’s where you have to stop them and ask if they think that the evidence confirms that life has indeed existed for “millions and millions of years” even if they think that’s not nearly enough time for “RM + NS” to create a species (or genus, family, etc. if they know that species arise in real time and resort to moving the goalposts). If they’re one of the minority – and it is indeed a minority albeit a large one – of evolution deniers who thinks life is only 1000s of years old, then ask why they are so concerned with biology when (in their fantasy) it’s the geologists and cosmologists, not biologists (or entertainers) who are promoting “the big lie.”

    If they concede the “millions and millions of years” then ask when they think those “kinds” originated, and which “kinds” do and don’t share common ancestors. There are 1000s of individual questions of those “kinds” to keep them occupied. Mention that some of the most prominent evolution-deniers think that humans, dogs and dinosaurs do share common ancestors, even though, like them, they insist that “RM + NS” can’t make the changes on its own. If they disagree, offer them the opportunity to challenge those deniers directly.

    If they start backpedaling into “it could be millions, it could be 1000s…: and try to steer the conversation back to “weaknesses” of “Darwinism” or equating evolution with atheism, that’s a sign that they’re at least partly in on the scam. Remember, most of these people have heard of theistic evolutionists like Ken Miller, Francis Collins and the last few popes, but they almost always act like they don’t exist. So you know they’re deliberately hiding something in their “sales pitch.”

  5. Strange, this Revver seems to think there’s a tenant of information theory called Harry Potter. Since he’s not paying his rent, he needs to be evicted without delay and replaced with a paying tenet like Claude Shannon.

  6. Rev. John Martens delivers his coup de grâce:

    I just see the whole idea that one form of life (dog, donkey, dinosaur) changing into another form as impossible

    Jeez, it was bad enough trying to find a crocoduck to meet Ray Comfort’s hideous challenge, and now these guys want a Dogkeysaurus as well?

    I thinking they’re bluffing, just covering up that they have yet to find their Precambrian Rabbit fossil…

  7. Charles Deetz ;)

    You can’t read the Rev’s critique of ‘fairy tale thinking’ without throwing in his belief of literal Genesis right in with it. Makes the letter self-refuting when you do that.

  8. So entropy prohibits evolution!!! I wish I could ask them if entropy prohibits embryological development. You start out with a fertilized egg and you end up with us. That’s negative entropy if I ever saw it. They just have no concept of chemistry and physics don’t they. I guess thermodynamics is just beyond their limited (and usually wrong) understanding of science.

  9. Charles Deetz: “You can’t read the Rev’s critique of ‘fairy tale thinking’ without throwing in his belief of literal Genesis right in with it. Makes the letter self-refuting when you do that.”

    Whichever of the mutually-contradictory (OEC, YEC, geocentrist, etc.), if any is his. But even if there were only one, as you say, it’s very easy to trap them on their double standard, as long as we don’t, as I say “take the bait” and keep the “debate” on their terms. Sure, millions will make excuses for that double standard, but I’ll bet less than half of the current ~70% that has fallen for some anti-evolution sound bites.

  10. Two things that I automatically bring up with any argument from any evolution denier, and they almost always apply:
    1. How does your alternative account for this problem? Let us assume that what you are saying about evolution is true, how is creation/design any better? In the case of the 2nd law of thermo in particular, we know that intelligent designers are just as much subject to the laws of thermodynamics as any other process: We cannot make a perpetual motion machine. This is a particular case of the issue mentioned by my old friend, Frank J.
    2. Doesn’t your problem apply with at least as much force against reproductive biology (or genetics, or development, or “micro”evolution)? This leads us, in the case of 2lot, to the issue raised by Biokid.
    Interesting how often these two questions are pertinent to evolution denial, and how rarely does one get even an acknowledgment that the questions have been raised.

  11. Nobody seems to have noted the howler in the quotation about information theory, viz; “One of the tenants…” that is, renters, presumably rather than “tenets”, or principles.

  12. I like the answer to the “There can’t be change from the simple to the complex” argument that a biologist (I believe J. B. S. Haldane) gave:

    “You did it yourself in only nine months”.

    Watching them try to wriggle out of that is amusing.

  13. Garnetstar says: “Watching them try to wriggle out of that is amusing.”

    But they always have an answer: “It’s a miracle.’ And that’s the problem. Most children learn early in life that when they’re asked why they did something, saying “Because” isn’t an answer. But creationists never seem to learn that “Miracle” isn’t an answer either.

  14. Of course it’s a miracle. But being a miracle does not exclude the possibility that there are partial natural accounts for what happens.

  15. Ceteris Paribus

    The Reverend sagely notes: “Time makes things worse.”

    Very true. Many have found that the importance of remembering the location of the nearest rest room increases markedly as we age. So while you are still young Rev, here’s a tip for you:

    Don’t waste your time writing letters to the paper that are directed at people you will never even meet. Instead, use your remaining, random, small moments of lucidity to edit and prioritize your own personal list of neighborhood apostates, evilutionists, and Harry Potter fans who should be first in line for stoning to death when the time comes.

  16. New information can’t come about by accident? Who’s going to tell Bell, or Jenner, or too many to name? Information theory is only a THEORY, Rev.

  17. I have yet to try this on a creationist….
    If ALL the animals shown to exist by the fossil record did so doing the time of Noah (pre-flood) then where did they live and how? Because all those animals added together would take up so much room there would not be any room for US! The seas would have so many animals in them that you could walk across the top of the water…that might explain one of the jesus-tricks?!?

  18. Stephen Kennedy

    I take issue with the preacher’s claim that “Information Theory” is actually a branch of Mathematics. From what I can see, practitioners and self-proclaimed experts in this field just make up whatever axiom suits them and proclaim it one of the laws of Information. Never have I seen a rigorous mathematical proof of one of these laws, which seems to be required for acceptance of a theorem in every other branch of Mathematics.

  19. Stephen Kennedy: in math, the axioms are never proven. The most you can do, ISTM, is to show that they are mutually consistent. The classical Laws of Thermodynamics are also not “proven,” Events contrary to them are never observed, which isn’t quite the same thing as a proof. Also, theorems are not axioms.

  20. Holding the Line In Florida

    Hey! I have seen the Aliduck and Darrel the Dogigator at the Abita Mystery House in Abita Springs LA. Its true!!! I got the t-shirt to prove it! http://abitamysteryhouse.com/ucmtour9.htm

  21. Ceteris Paribus

    @ L.Long : The creationists have your problem all figured out. Do a search on “baraminology”. The links to the NCSE and Wikipedia entries will be at or near the top of the results and are good places to start.

    Briefly, the Ark did not need to carry all the species. Darwin lied about all the species being founded from one common ancestry. So Noah needed only one pair of each created “kind” on board. Like the “canine “kind”, and the “bird kind”.

    When the ark landed these Creationist “kinds” rapidly evolved (by micro-evolution) and spread world wide as the new post-flood species of wolves, foxes, dogs; or owls, sparrows, crows, that we personally can see on earth now.

  22. @Stephen Kennedy: Information Theory is definitely a branch of mathematics, but the way Creationists use it is more akin to a tree branch – used to club non-believers over head.

    New information can definitely be created, and the claim that it cannot conflates information theory with thermodynamics. There is no Second Law of Information Theory.

  23. Perhaps the good reverend can say why it took his god 6 days (whatever a day meant to the bible writers) to create the universe, the earth, the stars, and life, etc. Wasn’t one day, or one second, or one gazillionth of a second, sufficient for his supernatural spirit to complete this enterprise, couldn’t it handle all the designs that quickly? That’s not the mark of an omnipotent deity. And then, too, why did his deity have to rest? Isn’t that just a human trait, or do gods also tucker out from their exhausting task of creating universes and life forms?

  24. The Curmudgeon questions how “entertainers” can be promoting evolution. To some people, even a tagline like “An adventure 65 million years in the making” (referring to the first Jurassic Park movie) will be taken as sinister Hollywood propaganda for evolution. (Millions of years — RIGHT!)

  25. H.K Fauskanger: “(Millions of years — RIGHT!)”

    Have you noticed, though, that when Discoveroid says it, the same evolution-evolution-denier just remains silent, and “looks the other way”? And not only does not consider them “sinister” but often raves about them.

  26. Wow… Have you read the comments at the end of the article?

    It gladdens my heart to see so much common sense there!
    Mr Martens tried a couple of times to diss the commentators, but ended up just floundering and not addressing any of the salient, intelligent and informed knowledge supplied to him.

    He just kept on asking for more explanations for even the most basic aspects of Biology and Physics (This from a Physics Phd, no less!). He seemed totally incapable of comprehending anything that contradicted his own preconceptions!

    Sad, really 🙂

  27. I was reading the comments, refreshed the page today, and found that the page was no longer available.

    (In one of his comments, Martens (the author of the essay) said he had a PhD in physics. Some of his critics questioned that based on his essay, and asked where he had gotten his degree. He seems not to have answered, but FWIW, on a previous essay on that site, Martens said he had a PhD in physics from the University of Manitoba.)

  28. Curm, it seems your link to the Canadian article no longer works. 404 error. Curm, it seems your link to the Canadian article no longer works. 404 error.

  29. Diogenes says: “Curm, it seems your link to the Canadian article no longer works.”

    It seems they deleted it. I went to their home page and searched, but it’s gone. I’ll mention that in the original post.