Creationist Wisdom #467: Incurable

Today’s letter-to-the-editor appears in the Louth Leader of Louth, Lincolnshire (the inhabitants of which are known as Ludensians). The letter is titled Evolution – less than half believe in it.

We don’t embarrass letter-writers by using their full names, unless they’re politicians, preachers, or other public figures, so we’ll use only this guy’s first name, which is Geoffrey. We’ll give you a few excerpts from his letter, enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary and some bold font for emphasis. Here we go!

I am indebted to Mr. McLennan for his response to my letter on Evolution and am glad he agrees that Evolution actually says nothing about how life started, although I and all my friends, family, etc., believed it was supposed to show it did.

The McLennan letter that Geoffrey refers to is this: Would evolution be taught in church?, and although the online version doesn’t mention how life started, it delightfully begins by saying:

Every single point stated in his [Geoffrey’s] letter is factually inaccurate, including his definition of the word Theory.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! But Geoffrey isn’t embarrassed. Even though he and all his friends and family thought one thing and it turns out not to be true, he’s not giving up. You will be thrilled, dear reader, at Geoffrey’s persistence:

However, none of us had heard of Abiogenesis before so I looked it up. According to the encyclopedia it was a theory that life started from inanimate objects. It was explained that they thought that wrapping some cheese and bread in some cloth and leaving it in a dark place resulted in mice appearing!!!

Wikipedia indicated that the theory behind Abiogenesis was that 4.17 BILLION years ago life started with the production of molecules resulting from the spontaneous mix of matter at that time and that life resulted from these merging somehow. Since nobody was there 4.17 BILLION years ago one wonders how they know this!

This is very odd. The Wikipedia article on Abiogenesis, in its second sentence, clearly states: “The Earth was formed about 4.54 billion years ago. The earliest undisputed evidence of life on Earth dates at least from 3.5 billion years ago … .” Further, Geoffrey’s figure “4.17” appears nowhere in that article. Anyway, Geoffrey refuses to concede anything about the origin of life. He says:

It seems to me a bit like the Encyclopedia Brittanica [sic] appearing as the result of an explosion in a print works.

If you do a Google search on “explosion in a print shop” you’ll get over 200,000 hits. But Geoffrey doesn’t rely only on the beliefs of his family, his friends, and an ark-load of creationist websites. He actually presents some evidence. Let’s read on:

Mr. McLennan asks what tests can be performed to prove a Creators existence. If things happened entirely by chance as Evolutionists/Abiogenesis believers seems to, try harvesting wheat in January. It can’t be done as the Creator, whom we call God, has arranged things in an orderly way so that there are seasons in which these things can only be done.

Aaaargh!! You want even more evidence? Geoffrey’s got it:

To see evidence of God, look out of the window and see all the life out there, not just human life but also plants, animals, birds, etc. Look at your family and ask if they are here by accident, because if they are then they have nothing to look forward to. Not a nice prospect.

Yeah — just look out the window! Geoffrey devotes the next few paragraphs telling us about his own beliefs. We’ll skip that. Near the end he makes another powerful argument — a reference to popular opinion:

A BBC survey in 2006 found that less than half the population believed in Evolution. In America a survey was carried out in 2012 and they found that few actually believed in Evolution as the source of life, so perhaps we are the majority after all.

Very persuasive! The letter concludes with this:

If only everybody believed in the beauty of a Creator and all that that implies how much better the world would be and how much better their lives would be.

Geoffrey’s letter is a very good one. Why? Because it supports your Curmudgeon’s often-expressed opinion on the futility of debating or even talking to adult creationists. If someone is still a creationist when he’s past his student years, there’s no way to break through whatever it is that grips him. Although we hear occasional tales of successful de-programming efforts, those are extremely rare. The effort may seem worth the bother to you, but we think it’s an unproductive expenditure of time.

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

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21 responses to “Creationist Wisdom #467: Incurable

  1. If only everybody believed in the beauty of a Creator and all that that implies how much better the world would be and how much better their lives would be.

    How true. How very, very true. Take the Middle East, where just about everyone believes in “the beauty of a Creator”. What a place of peace and happiness it is.

  2. Geoffrey, Ludensian luddite, opines—

    “If only everybody believed in the beauty of a Creator and all that that implies how much better the world would be and how much better their lives would be.”

    My dear chap, not to spoil your fun, but we tried that for quite a few centuries before. Never got us anything, really. Turned out to be rather a bother, say what?

  3. Who flippin’ cares that belief in evolution is a minority opinion, if it’s true?

    Actually, I do, for any time something which happens to be true is rejected as false (or vice versa) by a majority of people we are headed for trouble. This particular creationist argument is positively sinister, for it suggests that truth is politically defined. George Orwell, thou shouldst be living at this hour!

  4. Exactly correct Eric it don’t matter how many believe but only that it is true. after all greater than 85% of the world believes in imaginary sky fairies and none have been shown to be true.
    Also people are criticized for calling religious sheep (that’s what they refer to themselves as, or some times slaves) total flat out liars because they are delusional. Well here is the proof, Greg did the research on Abiogenesis and still LIED about it & misrepresented what it was & what evilution is. Another ‘Liar4Jesus’

  5. OK, Curmy, I’m going to disagree with you here. I did not accept evolution until after 50 years of age.

    Many creationists have heard the accusations against evolution over and over. They’ve never heard the answers. The recent Ham/Nye debate and Cosmos series provided many of those answers. One creationist I know listened intently to those presentations and has adjusted his thinking.

    Sure, I know arguing these subjects tends to make most people more entrenched in their position. However, as in the above examples, there are ways to present the information to the listeners in a convincing manner.

    PS. Love your blog, and read every post.

  6. Charles Deetz ;)

    Rob, good for you (loving this blog and converting your beliefs).

    I’ve been of an opinion that challenging a ‘normal’ creationist about the star-light problem has the greatest potential to convert. They, without much to say about it, would run off to figure out the answer. And the answer being pretty hard to come up with, unless they are fooled by AIG’s mumbo-jumbo. 6,000 light years is pretty puny in universe scale, and they might have to concede the point.

    Of course ding-dongs like Geoffery here would get the numbers wrong, look at the night sky and see god’s gift to night travelers, and be done with it.

  7. Rob says: “I did not accept evolution until after 50 years of age. … there are ways to present the information to the listeners in a convincing manner.”

    Good for you! It’s quite true that if people are willing to think for themselves, they can continue to learn all their lives. But a total reversal like yours is a rarity. Such transformations are almost never the result of a one-on-one debate. I’m all in favor of putting the information out there, so people who care to learn can do so.

  8. When he says “less than half the population believed in evolution” does he mean the whole world or only his country? Because the UK evolution deniers on this graph aren’t even a quarter.

  9. Uh…I only meant to post a link, not the picture itself, sorry about that.

  10. Omitting the majority of the creationist wisdoms (oxymorn alert!) I was struck by the notion that far more of us than we might realize might be accidents!

    …and good for you Rob!

  11. Whether or any of us individuals, and where in our history, are due to “chance” or are the result of one-by-one choices by a inscrutable creator/designer, or is the working of comprehensible natural forces …
    That is not a question which evolutionary biology addresses.
    It is studied by things like reproductive biology or genetics or developmental biology.
    Whatever.
    Whatever one is talking about, if one does not offer the prospect of accounting for it (why this, rather than something else, what happens, when or how), isn’t that saying that it is a matter of chance? Isn’t an “act of God” a matter of chance?

  12. Curm “adult creationist” is an oxymoron. When evolution or the Big Bang is discussed creationists turn into whining, angry, irrational children.

  13. I like this response to Geoff’s buffoonery.
    “Each of us is the result of a unique series of natural occurrences. Our existence will never be repeated. We’re irreplaceable. Priceless. This is why contrary to the endlessly repeated claims of the creationists, the theory of evolution places a far higher value on individuals and all of humanity than creationism, according to which we could be wiped out and started up again, on a whim.”
    Also, since the letter writer is from the UK, I’m wondering what the letter writer would have to say on the impending Scottish Independence Vote
    on Sept 18. Would he be glad to be rid of the home of the Scottish Enlightenment? If so, good news, the latest polls say we may all wake up on Sept 19 to an independent Scotland after 307 years.
    AYE Sept 18 Geoffrey !
    Scots wha’ hae!

  14. Harvest wheat in January? He’s a hemisphere-ist: that happens every year south of the equator.

    And, in the northern hemisphere, there’s something called winter wheat, and one supposes that there’s a reason it’s called that.

  15. Jim Thomerson

    All of biology is evolutionary biology. Some of it just focuses more on the history of life and evolutionary change.

    The letter writer confuses abiogenesis, the natural origin of living things under early earth conditions, with spontaneous generation. Spontaneous generation is the idea that living things like those we are familiar with can arise spontaneously from non living matter. Spontaneous generation was pretty well disproved by Louis Pasteur.

  16. What makes this even better is that wheat, like Ray Comfort’s banana, is the product of thousands of years of artificial selection.

    But I suppose that only proves intelligent design. Sigh.

  17. @BlackWatch

    We’re irreplaceable. Priceless.

    This quote in the letter written in response cites an unnamed online resource.

    A little research for it turns up, for all impossible results, none other than our own Sensuous Curmudgeon, in an entry dated 17 April 2009, “Creationism’s Fallacy of Retrospective Astonishment”.

  18. TomS says: “A little research for it turns up, for all impossible results, none other than our own Sensuous Curmudgeon”

    I recognized it at once. I didn’t realize it had been used by someone else. Where was it?

    Oh, I saw it in one of the comments.

  19. TomS Thanks for giving credit to our Curmudgeon where I quoted the letter responder.
    I knew I liked it !!!!

  20. Geoffrey should stick with his day job, being the Toys-R-Us giraffe. As Eric Lipps & L. Long pointed out, an item is true or false on its own merits, independent of how many people believe it to be true or false.
    Examples:
    1) Before Copernicus, nearly 100% of Earth’s population believed the Sun revolved around the Earth.
    2) Well into the 20th Century, it was believed by most that the Milky Way was the entire universe.
    3) For most of mankind’s existence, almost all humanity believed the Earth was flat.

    Geoffrey, if you took half the time you expend defending your unfounded beliefs and instead studied the evidence supporting evolution, you too would join the enlightened.

  21. TPK, the writer refers to a British poll taken by the BBC in 2006. I believe it had fewer than 2000 respondents and I don’t know how they were chosen. I do remember that it proffered an option of ‘intelligent design’. It was suggested that few UK respondents understood the term in its US awfulness. Those who thought their god tweaked evolution a bit, or introduced a soul somewhere may well have voted for this option.