When we saw this, we knew our morning news sweep had struck gold. Today’s letter-to-the-editor (like so many others) appears in the Shreveport Times of Shreveport, Louisiana. It’s titled: The Presumption of Naturalism.
We don’t like to embarrass people (unless they’re politicians, preachers, or other public figures), so we usually omit the writer’s full name and city. But this one is special — very special. The letter-writer (or “guest columnist” as he’s now styled) is John Byrd. Yes, yes! Byrd is back! Previous letters by Byrd, starting with the first time we discovered him, are all linked in our last post about a Byrd letter: #422: Two Explanations.
At some point — from which there is no turning back — the Shreveport Times recognized Byrd’s genius (or at least his talent for attracting readers), and they stopped treating him as the usual maniac-in-a-shack who writes creationist letters to the editor. Now he’s a full-blown “guest columnist,” with a picture and all the status that goes with such a title. That tells us a lot about journalism.
Now that you know what we’re dealing with, we’ll give you a few excerpts from Byrd’s latest letter, enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary, and some bold font for emphasis. Okay, here we go:
Naturalism is a philosophy that holds there is nothing outside of nature. Every observed phenomena [sic] and the origin of everything can be explained as the product of natural processes (as opposed to supernatural).
[W]here science attempts to explain the origin of the universe, the origin of man, or the diversity of life, the inquiry begins with a presumption of naturalism. That starting point excludes any consideration of the possibility that the phenomena being examined might have been caused by, or created by, God. Our public schools teach that God had nothing to do with the origin of the universe, the origin of man, and the diversity of life that we see.
Uh, no. The inquiry begins with no presumption whatsoever — it begins with evidence. We recently discussed that bogus “presumption” in this post: Answers in Genesis: Why Science Is All Wrong, so we won’t bother to debunk it again. It’s sufficient to point out Byrd’s own assumption — that Oogity Boogity somehow is a valid explanation — is supported by absolutely no verifiable evidence. Further, although “It’s a miracle!” literally explains nothing, makes no predictions, and is inherently untestable, Byrd imagines that it’s the only acceptable explanation for everything. Then he says:
It bears repeating (repeatedly) that beginning with a presumption is not “scientific.” It is disingenuous and deliberately misleading to exclude explanations such as creationism (because they are not “science”) from science classes and yet include explanations that begin with, and are grounded on, a non-scientific presumption. Any attempt to claim that naturalism is based on observation and testing and thus meets the criteria for “science” is a lie.
Uh huh. Byrd says natural explanations aren’t based on observations and can’t be tested. Right. Good show, Byrdie! Observe, dear reader, how Byrd’s supernatural dreamworld based on Oogity Boogity automatically leads him to reality-denial. Let’s read on:
In real “science,” the inquiry begins with, and proceeds from, observable evidence. Scientific inquiry into the origin of the universe, the origin of man, and the diversity of life begins with, and proceeds from, a presumption of naturalism that arbitrarily excludes any consideration of an omnipotent God as a participant in the process being studied.
The first sentence is correct. There’s nothing we can say about the rest of that paragraph because its refuted by the first sentence. Byrd relentlessly continues:
When scientific inquiry begins with that presumption, any conclusion reached should carry a disclaimer that reads something like this. “This theory is premised on an underlying non-scientific presumption of naturalism.”
Great idea. Here’s more:
Humans evolved via random, undirected mutations over eons of time from a single, very simple, common ancestor that they share with all other plant and animal life. God had nothing to do with it. Other widely accepted explanations, and evidence refuting the naturalist’s explanations are muzzled.
Hey, Byrdie — the Shreveport Times regards you as a guest columnist. They’re not muzzling you. Wouldn’t your column be the ideal place to present your evidence? So where is it? [*Curmudgeon scans ahead, but sees no evidence*] Okay, skipping a bit we get to this:
Our School Board members are complicit in this indoctrination. Some churches and preachers agree with the naturalists. Sin is publicly mocked, and seldom preached. But the real guilt lies with those that condone it with their silence.
Yeah, it’s a gigantic Satanic conspiracy. Skipping to the end:
Collectively, as a nation, we have abandoned the God of our forefathers. We’re no longer sinners. We’ve been enlightened by the “progressives.” We now worship science and ourselves.
Way to go, Byrdie! Great letter! Verily, you’re an epistemological fossil.
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