Creationist Wisdom #408: Logical Preacher

Today’s letter-to-the-editor is — even for our collection — remarkably incoherent. It appears in the Vail Daily, a free newspaper distributed in Eagle County, Colorado. The title is Reasonable faith.

We don’t like to embarrass people (unless they’re politicians, preachers, or other public figures), but today’s letter-writer is Judd Rumley. He’s the lead pastor at Eagle Bible Church. We’ll give you a few excerpts from the rev’s letter, enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary and some bold font for emphasis.

It appears that the rev is responding to an earlier letter or column that said teaching creationism to children is child abuse. He says that’s nonsense, and then he illustrates the concept of nonsense with a deliberately nonsensical paragraph. He didn’t have to do that, because we have the rest of his letter to use as an example. Okay, skipping his intentional nonsense, here we go:

Teaching your children about creation is not on par with child abuse. It is a reasonable approach to the origin of life.

[…]

Implied in the thought was don’t teach creation to children. Teach only evolution. Wouldn’t cultivating critical thinking mean teaching both evolution and creation and then let the children think seriously about the positions?

Of course, rev. And the kiddies should be taught flat Earth too. That’ll really help them think. Now the rev tackles another aspect of the problem:

Wait a second, someone may say, my view of evolution is fact, and yours is faith, Mr. Pastor. Be careful of saying yours is fact and not faith. You were not there at the beginning. You do not know for sure. You have to build a reasonable case. We are all to some degree products of the people who taught us and the books we read. You “believe by faith” in Darwinism. Which I believe is unreasonable.

Even after we’ve been through more than 400 of these letters, this one is an amazing experience. But we’re having fun, so let’s read on:

Why? I could give you quote after quote of Intelligent Design scientists and you would give me quote after quote after quote of evolutionary scientists. But that would get us nowhere real fast. I have my guys you have yours. So let’s just think about this logically.

The rev is absolutely innocent of the concept of evidence. He only knows authority, and he’s got his to counter yours. Since dueling authorities is a waste of time, he switches to what he regards as a logical argument:

Option 1, the universe has always been (and if that’s the case there’s no need for a creator). This view is debated in science. Certain laws of physics make this seem unreasonable. Option 2, the universe created itself (again, no need for God — it brought itself into existence). This view is defeated by logic. Everything that exists has a cause. Babies have parents. Houses have builders. The universe and humans exist. It couldn’t create itself. Finally, Option 3, the universe was created by someone or something outside of itself, i.e., God. This seems to be the most reasonable.

You can ponder the logic in that paragraph if you like. We won’t. Here’s more from the rev:

Could it have involved microevolution at certain times and on small levels? Sure. But the cosmological order of the universe demands a designer.

Imagine trying to converse with this guy. No, it’s better not to think about it. The rev continues:

Look out your window at the world and you will see there is order and design to most everything. Do you know how many muscles it takes to walk? Google it. And walking serves a purpose. So we could say the powerful creator was an intelligent designer. This is where science fits in. Science seeks to understand the design of the created world.

So that’s what science is all about! We’re glad to clear that up. Here’s another excerpt:

I do not have the faith to be an atheist or an evolutionist. They are unreasonable. Does that mean I punt science in the name of the Bible? No, I see science proving over and over again an intelligent designer who created the world good and with purpose.

Yeah, over and over again. Here’s the last line:

And that is what I will continue to teach my unabused children.

We don’t know what to say about this letter. We don’t have to say anything, really. It speaks for itself.

Copyright © 2014. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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16 responses to “Creationist Wisdom #408: Logical Preacher

  1. Stephen Kennedy

    He does not miss many of the creationist clichés such as “were you there?”, “the Universe could not create itself, it had to have been created by a supernatural being”, “there can be micro-evolution but it can never lead to new kinds”. It is also by a preacher so it definitely qualifies for recognition.

  2. Option 4: The stork brings babies, every child knows that, and therefore the stork is the only logical answer.

  3. Charles Deetz ;)

    There were a number of adults who I’ve talked to who said they had to recover from their baptist upbringing. One of guilt for their sins, a need to always do better/good, and fundamentalist claptrap of right and wrong. Its a very subtle form of child abuse, it certainly clouded their upbringing, and they resented it.

  4. “I have my guys you have yours.”
    Except that my guys provide fossils, reports of observed speciation and reports of mutations. The guys of our preacher have ….. some Holy Books?

    “Everything that exists has a cause.”
    Apparently the preacher’s programm to develop critical thinking skills does not extend to Modern Physics, like Quantum Mechanics.

    “And walking serves a purpose.”
    Yup. The White House also serves a purpose: to provide a fly with a resting place. That’s what the fly would think following the preacher’s logic.

    “And that is what I will continue to teach my unabused children.”
    Go ahead. But if you don’t let them watch Cosmos (or provide them with something similar) it’s abuse indeed. Remember? “Wouldn’t cultivating critical thinking mean …”

  5. Ha, DavidK, I can give you the statistics that confirm your hypothesis!

  6. In the twenty-first century, it’s actually painful to read the letters of people like the rev. All we have gone through as a species to get where we are, all the sacrifices of our ancestors to get us here . . and these god bothering idiots want to throw it all away and ask that we mumble to their invisible, impotent, and imaginary sky wizard and, by the way, give them our money.

    Science and reason have lengthened our life spans, increased the quality of those added years, taught us how to fly, put our feet on the moon, given us the tools to understand our environment and how to protect it for future generations, and so much more. The rev promotes a system of intellectual stagnation not unlike what religion has promoted for thousands of years. The rev and his ilk deserve only to be mocked, pointed at, and ridiculed.

    I applaud our Curmudgeon for his diligent work slogging through the slime of creationism to turn the light on so that we may laugh at these troglodyte clowns.

  7. If the universe has to be created because it is so big and complex, then what created God?

  8. Holding the Line in Florida

    @waldtuefel. Can I get a rousing Amen to that Brothers and Sisters?

  9. Justin, you’re not allowed to ask that question.

  10. George H. Smith in his book ATHEISM: The Case Against God makes the point that faith, as a purported path to knowledge, can only succeed by denigrating reason. That is, proponents of faith as a valid epistemic tool must always assert that some things are forever inaccessible to reason*, for if everything is within reason’s grasp, there is no room for faith anymore. Of course, faith is also a bit shaky on the “true,” and totally fails the “justified” criterion to qualify as knowledge (= true, justified beliefs).

    In light of the above, it is always instructive (and vaguely amusing) to see guys like Revver Judd Rumley haul out a deficient and tatty semblance of reason, and apply it in an attempt to justify what is actually a matter of faith, i.e. “knowledge” that is supposedly beyond the reach of reason. Clearly, there is a bit of intellectual duplicity afoot in these endeavours.

    It seems then that faith alone is not enough for such people. I think they suffer from a curious brain fever characterised by equal parts reason envy and faith fatigue.

    ——————————–

    * One could argue, perhaps unkindly, that these proponents themselves are prime examples of things forever inaccessible to reason.

  11. “This seems to be the most reasonable”

    We clearly have different definitions of the word reasonable.

  12. SC: “Of course, rev. And the kiddies should be taught flat Earth too. That’ll really help them think.”

    In fact they should be taught that. And the geocentric “theory,” the heliocentric young-earth one(s), and the various old-earth and “don’t ask, don’t tell what happened when” ones. How else will they learn how they fail, and contradict each other to boot? Of course science class is not the appropriate place to learn that, especially if its paid by tax $. But students only spend a tiny fraction of their time there, so anyone who demands that those “theories” be taught there is demanding unearned handouts, and likely consciously willing to mislead students.

    Think about it: How many of the scam artists and their trained parrots over the decades have ever demanded that all of those mutually contradictory “theories” be taught, compared and contrastedwith each other, not with “Darwinism”, and critically analyzed, in any class or other setting? Yeah, I never heard of one either.

  13. Look, says the good pastor – it’s true because it’s true. Makes sense to me! I’m converted, just like that!

  14. More parroted “wisdom”: “I do not have the faith to be an atheist or an evolutionist.”

    Ah, the trusty old “evolution takes more faith…” nonsense. The more I read that pathetic line the more convinced I am that the speaker is painfully aware that there’s no evidence for any conceivable alternative to evolution. It reminds me of the villain who runs out of bullets after they all bounce off Superman, then throws the gun at him.

  15. As far as I know, there is no alternative (with or without evidence) explanation for the “tree of life” which does not make use of “common descent with modification”. (“That’s the way that it happens to be” not counting as an explanation.)

  16. Logical preacher. Is that the new definition of an oxymoron?