Creationist Wisdom #357: The Principal

Today’s letter-to-the-editor appears in the Dallas Morning News of Dallas, Texas. It’s titled Just like Christianity, evolution requires faith. The letter is short one, but although we’ve been through hundreds of these things, we found it to be truly astonishing. We’ll give you a few excerpts, enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary and some bold font for emphasis.

We usually omit the writer’s name and city; however, we Googled around and found that someone with our letter-writer’s name is listed as a principal of the Duncanville Independent School District, but their website doesn’t mention him. Wait — he is so listed right here. That’s gotta be our man — how many people named Logan Casada can there be in Duncanville, Texas? Okay, here we go:

Re: “Let’s evolve past anti-science push” by Jacquielynn Floyd, Monday Metro column.

No, Ms. Floyd, contrary to what you may think, we “dinosaurs,” as you have labeled us, are not anti-science.

He’s talking about a column we recommended yesterday in Zombie Festival of Texas Creationism. The column is Why can’t Texas evolve beyond anti-science foolishness? We liked it. Today’s letter-writer didn’t, and that’s why we’re delighted to bring you his view of things. He says:

On the contrary, we rejoice that scientists have developed new ways to detect and successfully treat many forms of cancer and other diseases. But there is an elephant in the room that you walk around, avoid, and fail to recognize.

An elephant in the room — while science is successfully treating diseases? What could that be? He tells us:

That is the element of faith.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! The Duncanville principal continues:

Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. It is something you cannot put under a microscope or in a test tube and analyze.

If that’s what faith is, then what does it have to do with curing diseases, or with any other aspect of science? Brace yourself, dear reader — here comes the explanation:

It is what a doctor relies on when he tells the family, “We have done all we can do.” That means he leaves it up to a higher power, the one who created everything, including all of the complex systems in the human body.

Ah yes, when medical and biological science reach their limits, the scientist always turns to a higher power — presumably the same one responsible for disease. That’s the elephant in the room. Here’s more:

Without that creator, you could not have your Big Bang Theory, or any other theory.

Uh … right! [***Curmudgeon nods, slowly backs away from the Duncanville principal, avoids eye contact, and when it’s safe, he whirls around and flees.***] And now we come to the end of the letter:

And that is precisely what evolution is, only a theory. To teach it as a fact is deceitful.

It’s wrong to finish this post with hearty laugh and then go on about our business, indifferent to what we’ve just read. Therefore, as a public service, your Curmudgeon declares: People of Duncanville — you have a problem!

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

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9 responses to “Creationist Wisdom #357: The Principal

  1. I’ve often wondered what exactly the proponent of this evolution-requires-faith canard means to achieve when offering it. It would be silly to put it forward with the underlying assumption that faith is in itself good (or bad) because that would put religious belief and evolution in the same belief class, which squarely undermines the attendant attempt to discredit it without at the same time discrediting religious belief. The same is of course true if the argument is somehow supposed to make evolution easier to discredit by calling it a faith because that approach also rests on an effectively self-defeating assumption, namely that faith is much easier to debunk than fact. (It is so, but never mind for brevity’s sake.)

    The only motivation that makes a weird kind of sense is the psychological comfort that is afforded by calling evolution a faith, which comfort is desired owing to occasional doubts the believer might have about their religious convictions, further fuelled by the perceived threat that evolution poses to some of those beliefs. “We’re all in the same boat on this origins-issue, belief-wise,” s/he seems to be saying, “Yours are no more secure or well-founded than mine.”

    All of the above ignores that “faith” in evolution (or, more accurately, the faith that the scientific approach will continue to be fruitful) and religious faith are vastly different in quality, character, target and quantity.

  2. I think you need to introduce Logan Casada to Ken Ham, who–as you recently posted at Faith — A Mind-Bender from Ken Ham–takes a very different view.

    It would be fun to watch The Principal of Duncanville and the Ayatollah of Appalachia duke it out over what faith is…

  3. All of fundamentalism is motivated by insecurity, a sense of lost prestige, and a belief that conservative religious authorities can regain prestige, status and power by transferring the authority of science to a bunch of preachers– which they think can be affected without their doing any experiments or any achievements.

    If you say science is faith, we’re all pulled down to the same level. Like when a crab tries to climb out of the bucket and the other crabs drag it back down.

  4. Ceteris Paribus

    Even the bible itself doesn’t believe in faith. If it did then little David’s coach, King Saul, would have handed David a spear. And then lectured David that if he has enough faith and prayed hard enough, he could just trot on down the field and run that spear right thru the belly of that big smelly guy on the Philistine team.

    Instead, David’s the coach set aside the myth about faith , and rationally called for a pass play on first down.

    (Sorry, but when talking about Texas schools, I tend to use their idioms)

  5. Ceteris Paribus says: “Even the bible itself doesn’t believe in faith.”

    My favorite example of that is in Judges 6 (King James Version, of course):

    36. And Gideon said unto God, If thou wilt save Israel by mine hand, as thou hast said,

    37. Behold, I will put a fleece of wool in the floor; and if the dew be on the fleece only, and it be dry upon all the earth beside, then shall I know that thou wilt save Israel by mine hand, as thou hast said.

    38. And it was so: for he rose up early on the morrow, and thrust the fleece together, and wringed the dew out of the fleece, a bowl full of water.

    39. And Gideon said unto God, Let not thine anger be hot against me, and I will speak but this once: let me prove, I pray thee, but this once with the fleece; let it now be dry only upon the fleece, and upon all the ground let there be dew.

    40. And God did so that night: for it was dry upon the fleece only, and there was dew on all the ground.

  6. Ah, Duncanville comes through again. Not exactly so backwards as the letter might indicate.

    As of four weeks ago, Mr. Casada was still a retired principal — out of the classroom for a decade or more. He was principal of Alexander Elementary when our older son attended there, and a nice guy, a good principal who gave good support to teachers (and so would be anathema in Dallas ISD, or many other Texas school systems; some say he’d be unwelcomed in Duncanville today for the same reason). Alexander had a good science program for an elementary school, and to the best of my knowledge Casada never interfered with any of the evolution-supporting science taught there. In any case, Kenny turned out fine, very science literate, eventually getting a degree in neuroscience from the University of Texas at Dallas and taking his skills into medical technology.

    Duncanville used to have a good choice policy, and we chose a different school for our younger son because it had a full-day kindergarten, and an even stronger emphasis on science and art.

    For both of our kids, we had a practice of attending the “meet the teacher” nights and asking if they taught creationism. Without exception, especially in biology, later, the teachers would squirm a bit and then diplomatically explain that they taught science, not religion . . . at which point we’d say, “Good. If you get any pressure otherwise, let us know. We’ll be the plaintiffs to sue to insist you teach evolution unencumbered by religious dogma in any way.” Got lots of handshakes, but no one ever had to call us to be plaintiff in that lawsuit.

    Mr. Casada points out an interesting conundrum in Texas schools, though. On the one hand, for science, he’s the guy we gotta look out for, a guy who, were he in a classroom, might be tempted to teach faith instead of the approved curriculum.

    On the other hand, he and thousands like him, Texas teachers with conservative Christian or even fundamentalist faith backgrounds, are under fire from the Texas Tea Party and GOP officials for being “Marxists,” “Socialists,” and for teaching anti-American and pro-Islamic stuff in every other classroom.

    Right now, the greater threat is from the Tea Party and GOP, though on this issue, even falsely-imagined “Marxists” like Logan Casada would be on their side.

    Today the Texas State Board of Education opens hearings on science textbooks, and the creationists on SBOE have been working overtime to subvert the legal processes and insert creationism in place of science.

    Pray for Texas — God save us from creationists!

  7. The letter writer makes a sadly inaccurate observation: “But there is an elephant in the room that you walk around, avoid, and fail to recognize.”

    What the writer fails to recognize is that their elephant is actually a monkey with a tin cup.

    Failing to toss coins in the cup obviously leads to an frustrated monkey. The catch-22 any culture faces is that once enough coins are dropped into the tin cup, the cute monkey suddenly evolves into an angry ape holding out a plate.

    My apologies go out to any Monkeys or Apes who may have been offended by my references.

  8. Dean thoughtfully writes

    My apologies go out to any Monkeys or Apes who may have been offended by my references.

    No offence taken here.

    But I ain’t no kin to creationists…

  9. The whole truth

    The letter writer said:

    “It is what a doctor relies on when he tells the family, “We have done all we can do.” That means he leaves it up to a higher power, the one who created everything, including all of the complex systems in the human body.”

    No, that just means that the doctor either doesn’t know how to fix the problem or knows that the problem isn’t fixable. It could also mean that the doctor is saying that because the insurance company or hospital just doesn’t want to pay to fix the problem.