Creationist Wisdom #415: Too Sad To Think

Today’s letter-to-the-editor is unusual because it’s far more emotional than the others in our collection. It appears in the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin of Walla Walla, Washington. The title is Cell structures of creatures must have had creator.

We don’t like to embarrass people (unless they’re politicians, preachers, or other public figures), so we’ll just use the letter-writer’s first name, which is Donna. Here are a few excerpts from her letter, enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary and some bold font for emphasis. Okay, let’s go:

I grew up on a farm watching birds and animals come into being in the most amazing way. Presently my visits to the Aviary in Pioneer Park create an almost breathless astonishment as I contemplate the multitude of factors involved in the beauty and grace of its residents’ plumage and patterns of living.

That is sufficient biological background to enable Donna to express her opinion, and she does so:

Somehow I cannot bring myself to accept the theory that the cell structure of all these creatures occurred by happenstance over billions (trillions? quadrillions?) of years.

Trillions, quadrillions, it’s all the same to Donna. Let’s read on:

The “scientific evidence” supporting this dogma just doesn’t compute in a rational way when it undergoes the scrutiny of the microscopic details involved in the existence of a single cell.

Uh huh. Okay. She continues:

The need for the human race to do away with a creator god has come about simply because a disgruntled Christian, Charles Darwin, was taught and believed that a god of love would condemn creatures he had created in his own image to an ever burning hell when they died in a state of rejecting him.

Donna not only understands the failure of biology, she has a good grasp of theological history too. Atheism began with Darwin! Here’s more:

This teaching, based on Greek mythology and promoted for centuries by the majority of Christian denominations, has led mankind to believe and teach another myth — that there is no creator.

We’ll give Donna credit for some originality here. It’s true that hell and Hades are somewhat similar, but we haven’t heard that people are rejecting Christianity for that reason. Moving along:

Under these conditions the controversy becomes so sad one can no longer appreciate the intellectual challenges involved.

Donna is too saddened to appreciate the intellectual challenges. That explains the quality of her letter. And now we come to the end:

One finds oneself focusing instead on the tremendous loss suffered by those who so desperately cling to the theory of evolution in order to escape having to believe in a divine creator.

Donna understands you, dear reader. She knows why you desperately cling to evolution, and her melancholy letter tells us that she’s saddened by your loss.

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

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15 responses to “Creationist Wisdom #415: Too Sad To Think

  1. OK, Donna, show us your data! What, no data? Well, then, come back when you’ve got some.

  2. Ceteris Paribus

    Donna laments:

    One finds oneself focusing instead on the tremendous loss suffered by those who so desperately cling to the theory of evolution in order to escape having to believe in a divine creator.

    Yes Donna. Many have been perplexed by the problem of tremendous suffering co-existing with an all knowing and compassionate deity.

    Sometimes one finds oneself focusing instead on the tremendous loss suffered by those who so desperately cling to the theory of a divine creator in order to escape having to being consigned to the Eternal Lake of Fire.

  3. Oh, Donna, Oh, Donna!

    One does not have to reject God to accept evolution. Whoever gave you that idea? You don’t have to be an atheist or even an agnostic to accept the clear evidence that life has become more and more complex over time. We see it blazingly obvious in the fossil record.

    Really. If you want, you can believe it was God’s plan all along. No one will ever be able to prove you wrong. But that’s precisely the reason that such a belief is not science — it is not falsifiable. Of course, an atheist cannot prove the non-existence of God either.

    So, what’s the sense of arguing over it? Let’s stop wasting our time over such animosities, do some useful work to better the human condition, and just be nice to one another. Wouldn’t you say that’s the, uh, Christian thing to do? (I prefer to call it the decent and ethical thing to do, but you may call it what you will. Just expect some argument from other religions.)

  4. Donna reminds me of an old Three Stooges skit, in which Curly slaps his head and laments: “I’m tryin’ to think, but nuttin’ happens!”

  5. This teaching, based on Greek mythology and promoted for centuries by the majority of Christian denominations, has led mankind to believe and teach another myth — that there is no creator.

    We’ll give Donna credit for some originality here. It’s true that hell and Hades are somewhat similar, but we haven’t heard that people are rejecting Christianity for that reason. ”

    I wouldn’t want to speak for Donna, but I think she might be talking about evolution here – many creationists claim that Evolutionary beliefs began long ago, with the Greeks.

  6. More “wisdom”: “Somehow I cannot bring myself to accept the theory that the cell structure of all these creatures occurred by happenstance over billions (trillions? quadrillions?) of years.”

    First I note that this is one of the rare letter writers that is a woman. ~95% are men. I have some ideas why the gender imbalance, but that’s another subject for another time.

    I often call these writers “transitional fossils,” somewhere between a misled evolution-denier-on-the-street and a full-blown, in-on-the-scam anti-evolution activist. Like most of these writers she has latched on to catchy, but misleading sound bites, and may still be unaware that her uncritical acceptance of them contrasts sharply with her incredulity of what she heard from mainstream science. To start, science does not say that cell structures occurred by “happenstance.” So she either got her “science” second-hand (and mangled) or she heard it right but replaced it with a caricature in her own mind. But she did remember “billions,” which is correct, not trillions, quadrillions, or thousands of years.

    If she is early on in the “transition,” (her conscious omission of “thousands” unfortunately suggests otherwise) the obvious book to recommend is “Finding Darwin’s God” by Kenneth R. Miller. If she is as open-minded as she thinks she is (or pretends to be) she will appreciate the real evolution, let go of her false caricature, and learn that she can keep her divine Creator without resorting to the bearing of false witness that is known as ID or creationism. The chance is low, but not zero. It can and does happen. The reason it’s so rare is that few people – critics or sympathizers – bother to help, and thus only reinforce their misconceptions.

  7. What must the devout Christian culture be like that no science seeps into it? How is it even possible that these folks don’t accidentally learn anything about science or the scientific method?

    @Frank J

    That is an excellent question about the gender imbalance.

  8. What most amazing way did Donna watch birds and animals come into being? I’ve only seen them hatch from eggs or born from mammalian females.

    If I’d seen them come into being by emerging from Zeus’s head or rising from the ocean on a scallop shell, maybe I’d think there was a superbeing too! So I also want to see Donna’s data. Who knows, perhaps that would convince us all, and we’d all join AIG.

  9. @Garnetstar I like to compare arguments against evolution with arguments against reproduction. It is interesting how many of them work (at least as well, if not better) against reproduction.

  10. anevilmeme: “What must the devout Christian culture be like that no science seeps into it? How is it even possible that these folks don’t accidentally learn anything about science or the scientific method?”

    As you know ~1/2 of “devout Christian culture” does accept science, evolution and all. While some non-devout people fall for misleading anti-science memes, just like the ~1/2 that doesn’t. With these confused people – if they are indeed confused and not “faking it for the cause” – it’s not so much not learning any science but replacing what they learn with an all-too common caricature. It’s scary how many nonscientists, Christian or not, who have no problem with evolution nevertheless misunderstand it, and the nature of science, so thoroughly. Heck, I didn’t fully grasp the scientific method until I had been using it professionally for ~20 years. And even now I find it difficult to put it into words.

  11. @TomS

    Thanks again for bringing up reproduction. You heard this before, but for any new readers: It’s actually easy to get an evolution-denier to admit that they think that reproduction requires “intervention” just as much as those events confined to the distant past that they can conveniently dismiss with the mindlessly parroted “were you there?” When they realize that their admission undermines both the false dichotomy (“naturalistic” evolution vs. “something else” by design) and any pretense to delineate “microevolution” from “macroevolution,” their reaction speaks volumes. It’s a reliable indicator of where they lie (pun intended) on the scammed-to-scammer continuum.

  12. Evolution is false because me being an atheist makes Donna feel sad. I must admit that reading Donna’s letter makes me feel sad.

  13. Retired Prof

    Donna believes the common creationist idea that some people “desperately cling to the theory of evolution in order to escape having to believe in a divine creator.”

    This kind of thinking shows up regularly: zealots claim to understand fully the secret motivation (usually sordid) of their adversaries. It is always safe to disregard such diagnoses. Even the adversaries’ intimate friends know less about what makes them tick. And trained analysts who have interviewed subjects along with a battery of psychological tests express their results with less certainty.

  14. Retired Prof: “This kind of thinking shows up regularly: zealots claim to understand fully the secret motivation (usually sordid) of their adversaries. It is always safe to disregard such diagnoses.”

    I wish it were only a tiny % of zealots, but unfortunately a majority, from all “worldviews,” do that, usually from pure laziness. Most people do realize their basic logical error if they have a chance to think about it. But that’s not easy, especially in a debate, where the goal is to convince the audience that one’s opponent is wrong, not to “follow the evidence wherever it leads.” So debates usually degenerate fast, as a guy (ironically) named Godwin astutely observed.

    If there’s any comfort, it is that only a tiny % of evolution-deniers are committed anti-evolution activists, who know exactly what they’re doing. If there was any doubt in my mind, it was “expelled” in 2008, when Godwin’s prediction was perfectly fulfilled. The 1999 leak of the Wedge document may have confirmed their religious motivation, but we all knew that, so it was worth a big yawn. But “Expelled” was effectively a complete and final admission that they failed on the science and the religion, and that the only thing they had left was a paranoid conspiracy charge that they also knew was completely bogus. And of course, trusty old Hitler.

  15. And those of us who accept evolution because of the evidence and reasoning tend to think that all one has to do is to present more evidence and finer reasoning.

    I suggest, perhaps, the best thing to change opinion is to show how evolution is not icky.