Creationist Wisdom #375: Are We Closed-Minded?

Today’s letter-to-the-editor appears in the Dallas Morning News of Dallas, Texas. It’s titled Give creationism a chance. We like that title — it sounds so sweet!

We’ll give you a few excerpts, enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary, and some bold font for emphasis. Because we don’t like to embarrass people (unless they’re politicians or otherwise in the public eye), we’ll omit the writer’s name and city. Okay, here we go:

The National Academy of Science makes this statement: Scientists and theologians have written eloquently about their awe and wonder at the history of the universe and of life on this planet, explaining that they see no conflict between their faith in God and the evidence for evolution.

That’s true — somewhat true. You can find it here: Compatibility of Science and Religion. But there’s a bit more to it. The NAS also says: “Acceptance of the evidence for evolution can be compatible with religious faith [emphasis supplied]. … Religious denominations that do not accept the occurrence of evolution tend to be those that believe in strictly literal interpretations of religious texts.” Let’s return to today’s letter:

Einstein, Galileo and Newton all believed in God — or a “Great Designer” — but disputed whether God was involved in our personal lives.

Galileo, probably. Newton, definitely. But Einstein wasn’t a believer. Wikipedia has an article on it: Religious views of Albert Einstein. Let’s read on:

Even Darwin invited — and even encouraged — discussion on evolution vs creationism.

Really? It’s amazing what one can learn in the newspaper. The letter-writer continues:

The great men who framed our Constitution professed in the absolute assurance of a Creator, and we still believe that strongly enough to put the words “In God We Trust” on our currency. It doesn’t say “In Science We Trust.”

Lordy, lordy. According to Wikipedia, that motto was adopted in 1956 — a few years after the Constitution was drafted. It first appeared on U.S. coins in 1864, and on paper currency starting in 1957. Regardless of what our currency says, the Constitution says exactly the opposite. It’s totally silent about a creator, and it specifically excludes religion from the government in a few specific ways. We’ve explained all that in Is America a “Christian Nation”?

Additionally, the Constitution (see Article I, Section 8) provides for the Patent Office, by giving Congress the power “To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.”

Here’s how the letter-writer concludes his exhortation:

And with all that — you say it’s not even worthy of debate and discussion in our classrooms? And they call Christians closed-minded? Go figure.

The letter-writer is shocked — shocked! With all of his brilliant arguments, with the National Academy of Science, Darwin, Einstein, and the Constitution on his side, we still won’t let creationism into the public schools. It’s an outrage! Come on, give creationism a chance!

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

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17 responses to “Creationist Wisdom #375: Are We Closed-Minded?

  1. Christians seem to be terribly confused by this creator stuff. The Declaration of Independence says: …that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights,… Whatever the creator is is up to the imagination of the people, and there is no total consensus in that regard, could just as well be the FSM. Now the Constitution itself makes absolutely no reference to the “creator” in any way, shape or form, and this was done purposely to avoid the constant fighting between the religious sects, throughout history, as well as in colonial America itself, even at the time of the Constitution’s writing, and those conflicts are rampant today as well.

    Actually, “In Science We Trust” does have a nice ring to it, perhaps we should change it?

  2. Even Darwin invited — and even encouraged — discussion on evolution vs creationism.

    I wonder if this might be a reference to the various natural selection vs. creationism debates that were held, like the famous one in Oxford between T.H. Huxley and Bishop Sam Wilberforce? If that was the writer’s intent, then I guess his claim is valid albeit somewhat misleadingly phrased.*

    On the other hand, to judge by the standard of the rest of his letter, I’m not convinced that this particular writer has ever so much as heard of those debates.


    *If memory serves, it was primarily Huxley and Lyell who promoted such punch-ups, on the basis that the theory of natural selection would wipe the floor with all comers, as happened to poor Soapy Sam; but Huxley, Lyell and Darwin were pretty much hand-in-glove at the time.

  3. Creationism has the same exact chance as evolutionary biology: provide evidence for the claim. The latter can and does, the former can’t.

  4. “Should the believers in special creations consider it unfair thus to call upon them to describe how special creations take place, I reply, that this is far less than they demand from the supporters of the development hypothesis. They are merely asked to point out a conceivable mode; …” Herbert Spencer, The Development Hypothesis (1852)

  5. We are closed minded as we do not want our brains to fall out and make a mess on the floor, which may explain the wet stain near creationists.

  6. Stephen Kennedy

    Thomas Jefferson was a Deist and the phrases that he uses in the Declaration of Independence are totally consistent with Enlightenment Deism of the 18th century.

  7. Note that nobody said anything about the origins of the human species, or about the biology of humans (equal eyesight, for example?). They were talking about individuals and their standing in society, which is not dependent upon their ancestry. While creationists seem to think that one’s worth is a function of one’s origins. Think of the famous 19th century hymn to creation, All Things Bright and Beautiful, which tells us:

    The rich man in his castle,
    The poor man at his gate,
    God made them high and lowly,
    And ordered their estate.

  8. Yes, the Creator/Intelligent Designer built human beings to live in a stratified society, with wealth apportioned according to rank. At the same time, he made sure that all his children are equal in some respects. For example, the rich and the poor get the same amount of ice. The rich get theirs in the summertime.

  9. @anevilmeme: Nailed it! You are hereby encouraged to post this reply to the creationist’s letter at the website of the Dallas Morning News for all to see. You’re merely preachin’ to the choir here.

  10. Before I torture myself and read the “wisdom” I need to remind new readers that whenever an evolution-denier accuses “Darwinists” of being closed-minded (or “censoring alternate viewpoints” etc.) and the reply is merely “no we aren’t and here’s why…” that that gives anti-evolution activists exactly what they want. Which is to keep the terms of the “debate” only about whether “Darwinists” are closed-minded, etc.; whether or not deniers are is off the table. That’s especially insane because it is just as easy to show that those accusations apply to the accuser as it is to show that they don’t apply to the accused. Most audiences will not take the time to see for themselves, so we must show them up front. One way is to say We have published all your anti-evolution claims and more, along with the critical analysis of them that evolution-deniers prefer to censor.

  11. “you say it’s not even worthy of debate and discussion in our classrooms”
    During religion classe yes – during biology no.

  12. I seem to have this heart-warming vision of young idealistic people joining hands and singing: “All we are sa-a-a-ying, is Give creationism a chance …” But the C word stubbornly refuses to fit the meter. It’s just too long. The song works a little better with “ID” instead of “creationism”, but I have this nagging feeling that we still need to get rid of a syllable. Or two.

  13. H.K. Fauskanger complains

    the C word stubbornly refuses to fit the meter

    Not the one which rhymes with “flap”.

    All we are bra-a-aying, is give cr*p a chance!

  14. There is no logical point in debating with creationists, but like fools, we keep on trying anyway. Consider the purpose of a reasoned debate and you can see why. Both parties will leave the debate still firmly entrenched in their initial opinions. Religious irrationality cannot be dissuaded by rational arguments nor can true logic be dissuaded by irrational arguments. The immovable object has met the irresistible force and they simply cancel each other out with null effect. A waste of time, but sometimes entertaining.

    Creationists are like the terminator. Those Creationists are out there. They can’t be bargained with. They can’t be reasoned with. They don’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear and they absolutely will not stop, ever, until the voice of reason is dead.

  15. @Jay

    A gloomy analysis, but true so far as it goes. I think, however, that you’ve overlooked one point.

    While the hardline creationist will almost certainly never be persuaded, as you say, there are plenty of people in the “undecided” column. They may very well, I think, be persuaded to the path of reason when they see creationists so very obviously losing the logical argument. And kids who grow up in an environment where it’s clear that the scientific theory is rational and the woowoo doctrine is a load of nonsense will surely, we can hope, recognize the sane from the bonkers.

    So I’d say critiques of creationism, derisive or otherwise, by people like the Curmudgeon and others here serve a valuable purpose in keeping the “debate” in the spotlight.

  16. @realthog

    I don’t generally consider the undecided people sitting on the fence to be pure-blood creationists. I generally apply that to those who have made the final decision to join the dark side. Once that happens, it’s usually too late. It’s hard to unfertilize the rapidly growing seed of irrationality. If someone has believed it for 20 years and even taught it to their kids, I doubt they will ever change.

    But like you suggest, it can’t hurt to try.

    As a rule, religious people can only see the falsity of all other religions, but never their own.

    Oh, to be free, so blissfully free, of the ravages of intelligence. There is no greater joy!

    If ignorance is bliss, I’m jealous. What did they do to deserve such happiness?

  17. @Jay

    Sorry, I must have been unclear.

    What I was trying to say is that debating/critiquing the hardliners is worth it not because you’ll ever change their minds but because you might well swing the undecided and the kids our way.

    I wasn’t trying to suggest that some of the hardliners are undecided.