Creationist Wisdom #472: It’s Twue, It’s Twue!

Today’s letter-to-the-editor, like #443: Evolution and Sin, appears in the Carlsbad Current-Argus of Carlsbad, New Mexico. And today’s letter was written by the same preacher who wrote that earlier letter– Rev. Kurt Simmons of the Halegueno Street Church of Christ, which has no website.

The rev entertained us before, and he’s going to do it again. His new letter is titled Verbal inspiration and inerrancy of the scriptures. We’ll give you a few excerpts, enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary and some bold font for emphasis. Here we go!

Conservative evangelicals are sometimes criticized for belief in the inerrancy of scripture as originally penned. Liberal theologians who take a dismissive view of scripture charge that the Bible is false in various particulars, including the special creation of man, Eve being made from Adam’s rib, the age of the earth, the longevity of the patriarchs, and the world-wide flood.

Yes, rev, some do say that. What about it?

However, scientific debate on these many of these issues has tended to vindicate scripture. In fact, it is hard to get evolutionists to meet scientific creationists in debate these days.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! We’re all afraid to debate! Let’s read on:

Hard evidence for the theory of evolution is essentially nonexistent. Evolutionists are philosophically committed to a naturalistic paradigm and therefore must cling to their theory even though it is scientifically indefensible. Can any thinking person really suppose that innate matter is able to organize itself spontaneously into super-sophisticated, intelligently-designed, self-reproducing life forms? Talk about a leap of faith!

We love it when creationists speak disparagingly about a leap of faith. But the rev isn’t fooling around. He’s got facts on his side. Pay attention:

But if scientific skepticism has no real evidence falsifying scriptural accounts of creation and the age of the earth where does that leave the doctrines of verbal inspiration and inerrancy of scripture? Are there other disciplines that can show scripture is false or unreliable? What about history or archaeology, have these shown the Bible to be false?

The rev is mixing apples and oranges here. The creation account in Genesis is one thing, and written history is another. Watch as the rev uses one to “prove” the other:

Happily, the Bible has also withstood the tests of history and archaeology. For example, the February 2014 edition of Biblical Archaeology Review carried a feature entitled “50 people in the Bible confirmed archaeologically.” The list includes Israelite kings, Mesopotamian monarchs and other lesser known figures. In fact, the sheer volume of archaeological evidence supporting the Bible is overwhelming.

Uh huh. Hey, rev: Gone with the Wind mentions Robert E. Lee and Abe Lincoln, and we know they were real. Not only that, but a place called Atlanta really was burned by the Yankees. So that means Gone with the Wind must be true in every detail, right? Rhett and Scarlett were real people! Everything in the Iliad must be true too, because there really was a place called Troy. Here’s more:

The testimony of history also accords perfectly with the Bible. Virtually all history books trace mankind back to ancient Mesopotamia and the Fertile Crescent where all record of human existence suddenly stops (or begins). Beyond that, the record is completely blank: man appears on earth suddenly not 10,000 years ago! Thus, no external evidence from science, history, or archaeology falsifies scripture.

Right again! Written history doesn’t begin until the invention of writing. To know what happened before that, we need to dig deeper. But the rev doesn’t need to dig. Moving along:

That brings us to what the Bible says about itself. The apostle Peter, after giving his own testimony about Jesus, told his readers that they did not have to rely upon him, but also have the “more sure word of prophecy” …

[…]

According to Peter, then, the Bible’s prophecies are not the subjective thoughts and impressions of mortal men … . Rather, scripture represents the mind of God who spoke through apostles and prophets.

Ah yes, It’s twue, it’s twue! Not only that, but then the rev says:

Quite a claim, but one that has been fully accepted and embraced by some of the world’s greatest scientific minds, including Isaac Newton and Johannes Kepler, Galileo, and Copernicus.

Hey, if that ain’t proof, then what is? Oh, wait — didn’t Copernicus and Galileo dispute what the bible says about the Earth being the center of the universe? We seem to remember reading something like that, but we must be wrong. Here’s a final excerpt:

And if these great men of science accepted the Bible as the inerrant word of God, there is every reason for you or I to receive it as such as well.

Well there you are, dear reader. Not only is there no evidence whatsoever for evolution, but written history supports every detail in the bible, and so did Galileo. Therefore, so should you.

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

add to del.icio.usAdd to Blinkslistadd to furlDigg itadd to ma.gnoliaStumble It!add to simpyseed the vineTailRankpost to facebook

. AddThis Social Bookmark Button . Permalink for this article

41 responses to “Creationist Wisdom #472: It’s Twue, It’s Twue!

  1. > “Virtually all history books trace mankind back to ancient Mesopotamia and the Fertile Crescent where all record of human existence suddenly stops (or begins)”
    ————–
    Another creationist dummkopf. No legitimate history book traces mankind’s beginning to the Middle East. Human civilizations existed well before the old testament was even an idea, let alone written down.

    Archaeology and paleoanthropology and vertebrate paleontology show humans started in Africa – no ifs, and, or buts about it. Accept it, rev.

  2. Oh, wait — didn’t Copernicus and Galileo dispute what the bible says about the Earth being the center of the universe?

    As did Newton and Kepler. The good rev seems to have picked what I suppose we should call a quadrifecta of ill chosen examples.

    So that means Gone with the Wind must be true in every detail, right?

    More to the point, The God Delusion is filled with references to real people, historical and contemporary, so that surely proves the inerrancy of Dawkins’s text too.

  3. Christine Janis

    “Can any thinking person really suppose that innate matter is able to organize itself spontaneously into super-sophisticated, intelligently-designed, self-reproducing life forms?”

    As Haldane said: “Madam, you did it yourself in nine months”

  4. Can any thinking person really suppose that innate matter is able to organize itself spontaneously into super-sophisticated, intelligently-designed, self-reproducing life forms?

    Come to think of it, what’s “innate matter”?

  5. Christine Janis

    Maybe he means “inert”?

  6. The Lascaux cave paintings have been dated to over 17,000 years old. At any rate, they easily pre-date anything in the bible. I guess the rev figures they were a creation of God, not man. But if that’s the case, why didn’t He just carve the words of the bible similarly into the walls of caves all over the world, in every language that humankind would someday come to understand?

  7. for you or I

    Don’t newspapers have editors?

  8. Another psychotically delusional making word salad with NO BEEF! Where’s the BEEF!!!???!!!

    ….”criticized for belief in the inerrancy of scripture as originally penned’…
    And they found these exactly WHERE????
    Since most of them believe in the KJV then all they got is a VERY bad copy of a copy of a copy which may be just a made up story.

  9. SC, you’re getting really cruel. You had my hopes up that the letter writer’s name was Lily.

  10. SC: “BWAHAHAHAHAHA! We’re all afraid to debate!”

    I only read down to there to realize that Lily – oops, I meant Kurt – was at or nearly complete in the transition from scammed to scammer. That it was not his first letter was the biggest clue. But even scammed often parrot the classic bait-and-switch. First he whines about “liberal” theologians, then speaks of “evolutionists” when pretending that they are “afraid” to debate. Presumably he means the same think, but he knows when to call them theologians, and when to call them “evolutionists.”

    In fact, if he were really serious about he “afraid” thing – and if any of you thinks he is, then you are among the scammed – then he’d be telling us why even some of the most conservative “theologians,” namely Discoveroids are the ones who really are afraid to debate him on the “inerrancy” thing.

  11. Hard evidence for the theory of evolution is essentially nonexistent. Evolutionists are philosophically committed to a naturalistic paradigm and therefore must cling to their theory even though it is scientifically indefensible. Can any thinking person really suppose that innate matter is able to organize itself spontaneously into super-sophisticated, intelligently-designed, self-reproducing life forms? Talk about a leap of faith!

    I don’t know what planet this writer is from, but it sure isn’t Earth. Hard evidence for evolution is everywhere; similar evidence for creation is nonexistent.

    [Divine creation has] has been fully accepted and embraced by some of the world’s greatest scientific minds, including Isaac Newton and Johannes Kepler, Galileo, and Copernicus.

    Of course, since in their day not only was there not yet the mountain of evidence for evolution that there is today, the theory itself did not yet exist. And if it had, people would have been at risk of persecution for endorsing it.

    By the way, Newton also endorsed astrology; he cast horoscopes to make money on the side. Does that mean astrology is true? No, of course not. Creationists’ use of his name and that of other medieval scientists is a classic example of the “appeal to authority” which attempts to short-circuit debate by claiming that one side is supported by unchallengeable figures or texts. But then, they know all about that: their ultimate answer is it’s in the Bible, so that means God said so.”

  12. as originally penned

    You might be interested in some of the history of the Book of Jeremiah, as it relates to the idea of the original manuscript.

    The original was intentionally destroyed, as related in Jeremiah 36:23. There is only a copy of the prophecy of Jeremiah as written by Baruch.

    The Book of Jeremiah that we have today is in two different forms, one of which is extant only in Greek, and a lot of scholars think that it represents an earlier version than the Hebrew text that we have. If you’re really interested in the details, read the Wikipedia article.

  13. Maybe he means “inert”?

    That’s what I’d have thought too, but I rather liked the image created by the rev’s illiteracy.

    Clearly the word of God isn’t always the correct one.

  14. Can any thinking person really suppose that innate matter is able to organize itself spontaneously into super-sophisticated, intelligently-designed, self-reproducing life forms?

    Can any thinking person really suppose that non-matter can organize its non-self into a super-omnipotent, intelligent, emotional, undetectable being? Seems less likely than any sort of abiogenesis hypothesis.

  15. Can any thinking person really suppose that non-matter can organize its non-self into a super-omnipotent, intelligent, emotional, undetectable being? Seems less likely than any sort of abiogenesis hypothesis.

    Yes, but since God has existed for eternity He never had to go through any initial self-organization episode: He was there already.

    God having existed for eternity does, though, raise another problem. Eternity minus 6000 (or 10,000) years is still eternity (on the same basis that infinity minus 6000 is still infinity). This means that God waited for eternity before creating the earth/universe. But this surely implies that he has never actually done so . . .

    I wonder if a pint of Old Peculier would help me understand this theology stuff?

  16. Kennard Walter

    The references to the great minds of the past, always remind me of the comments that come from some of our greatest minds today when they turn to belief. They are in the forms of: I simply can’t accept that this occurred by chance. To believe this was an accident takes more faith. I fully accept the scientific principles and the method, but still believe God set it all in motion. This isn’t from the quackery of Kurt Simmons, no not a bit. Confusing him with a great mind of today…..we surely aren’t doing that. There are great minds in Theology though, and those that study the history from religious texts. Accepting divinity is the leap from science to faith that reveals they have gone from knowledge gained by using methods, to trust in knowledge acquired through use of methodologies.

  17. I am amazed that these religionists not only get the science wrong (but they still have opinions anyway) and their Bible wrong, too. Genesis 2 contradicts Genesis 1 regard on which day of creation plants were made. Then you can’t go ten pages without there being another contradiction. This is not to say anything about the hundreds of thousands of unique variations found in the manuscripts from which bibles are created. How do they know which words are the real words of God?

  18. Charles Deetz ;)

    The Rev sounds about as bright as Mongo

  19. Conservative evangelicals are sometimes criticized for belief in the inerrancy of scripture as originally penned.

    How does the rev know that the scripture he has is as “originally penned” and not highly altered? What if it originally claimed that humans evolved and some scribe who couldn’t “suppose that innate matter is able to organize itself spontaneously into super-sophisticated, intelligently-designed, self-reproducing life forms” changed it?

  20. “In fact, it is hard to get evolutionists to meet scientific creationists in debate these days.” I can agree with that. After all, a “scientific creationist” is a rare animal indeed!

    Show me a “scientific creationist” and I’ll show you an oxymoron.

    (Of course, I’m adopting the “modernist revision” of the term CREATIONIST. Today the word usually means a Young Earth Creationist. But in religious studies scholarship, the term retains its original meaning of someone who considers the God of the Bible to be the creator of everything. And under that definition, plenty of evolution-affirming Christians are still creationists. Many would call someone like Dr. Francis Collin an evolutionary creationist.)

  21. “Since most of them believe in the KJV then all they got is a VERY bad copy of a copy of a copy which may be just a made up story.”

    As much as I hate to be “that guy”, the pedant in me insists on noting that the 1611 KJV Bible has been quite well preserved and its minor edits over the centuries are well understood and well preserved. Perhaps the commenter was referring to the Masoretic Text or the Greek New Testament? But in fact, especially when compared to other ancient documents—or even to the Quran—-the Biblical texts are remarkably well preserved in their “copies of copies”. The ancient Hebrew were outright obsessive compulsive about careful copying of the Tanakh (counting and recounting letters and other statistical measures to maintain accuracy) and the NT mss. traditions have very well understood pedigrees. The myth of hopelessly corrupted texts is simply not supported by the scholarship.

  22. “Genesis 2 contradicts Genesis 1 regard on which day of creation plants were made.” No. Not necessarily. Not only is there no numbering of days in the Genesis 2 account, modern readers often err in assuming that order-of-presentation indicates order-of-chronology. Imposing such assumptions on ancient texts is misleading at best and anachronistic at worst. Both the Hebrew language and Semitic culture are not nearly so concerned with time and tense matters. Moreover, not only do the two texts represents different oral traditions, the second may well be focused solely on the Edenic context of the pericope, while the first is more generalized and encompassing. Indeed, the second surely includes “post-Genesis 1” events which preface the drama which follows.

    I hesitate to pursue such religious studies clarifications on a website devoted to science and exposing pseudoscience, but as a humanities scholar I’m prone likewise to favor the best in current scholarship over popular misconceptions, despite the popularity of the latter among the general public.

  23. @Professor Teritus:

    Of those who frequent these boards I am the most clueless about what the Bible says, or what the authors might have meant. Sometimes I speculate, suggesting that the origins stories might have been reasonable hypotheses given the minimal evidence available at the time. But whether the subject is the Bible, or science, I will always defer to those who do the actual work when in doubt. They may not always be right, but they have the most to lose by being wrong.

    Your comments on Gen I/Gen II are enlightening. I never liked how that was almost always brought up as the example of “creationist” contradictions. To me the modern YEC/gap/day-age/”progressive” (deny common descent but none of mainstream chronology) disagreements is much more appropriate to describe the hopeless disagreements, and especially how the evidence is extremely uncooperative to all of them.

    Where we might disagree a bit is when you say “Today the word [creationist] usually means a Young Earth Creationist.” Most rank-and-file evolution-deniers give almost no thought to the “whens,” but when they do have to give it more than a few minutes’ thought, tend to admit the billions of years, sometimes reluctantly. Certainly “Heliocentric YEC” is the most common version heard in the last 50 years (the media especially love it, whether for or against), yet according to polls with clear wording, only 10-20% of the public actually believes it. And even those who do insist it’s true tend to admit that scripture overrules any inconvenient evidence, even though that technically undermines the whole “scientific” creationism thing. That quibble aside, I think we agree that most people on the street, whether they favor it or not, equate “creationism” with an honest belief in literal Genesis.

    Critics of ID/creationism, however use the word very differently, and that allows ID peddlers to play one of their many bait-and-switch games, namely “ID is not creationism.” But critics define “creationism” as any strategy to promote doubt of evolution that also proposes a design-based (non)explanation as the alternative. In that sense ID not only “is” creationism, it’s the central creationism, allowing the audience to believe whatever it wants (other than the “Darwinism” caricature), without questioning, and usually without even noticing, the hopeless contradictions. ID’s policy of “don’t ask, don’t tell what happened when” has probably maintained belief in literal Genesis better than all the efforts of Biblical creationist activists, who risk exposing their own contradictions and lack of evidence. ID tries to keep it all about “Darwinism,” and even there IDers occasionally show their true colors. Such as in “Expelled,” where they essentially admit that their real problem with evolution is not “not enough evidence” but fear that acceptance by the “masses” is the root of all evil.

  24. @Professor Tertius
    About the reliability of the Bible upon which YEC is supposedly based.
    I have a couple of cavils.
    For example, the “KJV” that is mass-produced today differs from the KJV by not including the Apocrypha. Of course, it takes no genius to get access to the Apocrypha, and it is mostly unimportant in regard to YEC.
    Next, it is well known that the Hebrew-Greek original on which the KJV is based is flawed. Again, no matter in regard to YEC.
    Today, it is generally recognized that the concept of an original manuscript is dubious, even with well-attested works of the 20th century. See also my remarks concerning Jeremiah as one example with the Bible. I would also call into question the meticulousness of the transmission of the text in the first few centuries. This has no importance, as far as I know, for YEC, except as it seems to be a latter-day invention as a justification for inerrant/literalistic interpretation.
    More seriously, IMHO, is the interpretation of the original languages reflected in the KJV (as well as other versions). Perhaps the most famous, and most important, in regard to creationism are the first few words of the Bible. Perhaps the least famous (perhaps deservedly so) is the meaning of “min” (usually translated as “kind”) as if it meant something like “species” (when the concept of species did not arise for a couple of thousand years later).

  25. Just thought of something. Some of you may be thinking “If he gives the benefit of the doubt to scientists and Bible scholars, why not to anti-evolution activists too?” In fact I do give them the benefit of the doubt! For 17 years of closely reading their rants I have been patiently looking for them to support their own “theory” on its own merits, like real scientists do. But they always refuse. Even when they use the line “we’re just looking at the same data and interpreting it differently” they plainly show that they’re doing nothing of the sort. Rather they insist on cherry picking evidence and defining terms to suit the argument. Listening to only anti-evolution activists, one might erroneously think that the Piltdown fake was the only hominid fossil. But they are well aware of the real fossils, but don’t like to mention them for fear that they will expose embarrassing contradictions.

    So while most critics read the activists’ well-vetted scripts and conclude that they “believe this” or “don’t understand that,” I see a very different story from what they “religiously” leave “between the lines.” Which is that at best they have no confidence in their alternate “theory” (if they even attempt one beyond “some designer did something at some time”) or that evolution is as weak as they claim. The overtly Biblical activists seem to be saying “Yeah, mainstream science has the evidence, but I believe my interpretation of scripture anyway,” while the IDers seem to be saying “Yeah, mainstream science has the evidence, and Biblical YEC and OEC have none, but we still can fool people better than you can set them straight.”

    To be even more clear, I don’t necessarily take the word of any individual evolutionary biologist either, but rather look for “convergence, neither sought nor fabricated,” and see it everywhere. As it did for Pope John Paul II, who famously used that phrase in 1996, it adds “icing on the cake” to the evidence for evolution. In stark contrast, with anti-evolution activists I see only seeking and fabricating, so much that I find it absurd to think that its all, or even mostly, innocently done. And even with all that cheating, there’s still no convergence, or even a “consensus by vote,” on a common origins account. The heliocentric YEC of the first “scientific” creationism looks like that the first attempt to “vote” on a common “script,” but that too failed almost from the start, as OECs and even the occasional geocentrist, would not budge from their own literal interpretation. And of course, also because the evidence was extremely uncooperative to all of them. Yet with all that, never forget that, the more evidence for evolution, the more opportunities to take some out of context to fool nonscientists into thinking that evolution is dead or dying – especially if that’s what those nonscientists want to believe.

  26. Christine Janis

    “Yet with all that, never forget that, the more evidence for evolution, the more opportunities to take some out of context to fool nonscientists into thinking that evolution is dead or dying – ”

    Exactly —- where would evolutionnews.com be without some fresh science news story every morning to mangle and misrepresent?

  27. Can any thinking person really suppose that innate matter is able to organize itself spontaneously into super-sophisticated, intelligently-designed, self-reproducing life forms? Talk about a leap of faith!

    The rev doesn’t actually use the word “accident” here, but it’s surely what he’s thinking- that abiogenesis is a literally incredible one. I’ve been thinking about the way creationists frame the concept in these terms, and I wonder if there isn’t a little bait-and-switch going on here, from the sense of the word being simply “an unintentional incident” to “an incident that couldn’t possibly occur without being intended.” It just seems to me that, given the constraints of physics and chemistry + a few billion years for “innate” matter to act within those constraints, organization into life, and all the emergent properties like intelligence that come afterward, are not only not incredible or even “accidents” (in their misleading sense), they’re inevitabilities. An analogy might be the way that, given enough people driving enough cars on the road and enough time, there is nothing incredible about accidents- they happen not in spite of any supposed odds against them for any one particular driver, but because the number of drivers + time make them inevitable as a class for drivers as a class.

  28. @Frank J
    As long as you alluded to this, I will observe that many of us who talk about creationism & evolution have examined the anti-evolution literature. While we may (but not always) have approached this as accepting the backing for conventional science, we felt that at least the creationists deserve a chance to present their side. Speaking only for myself, it didn’t take long for me to discover for myself that creationism not only rested on obviously inadequate (put mildly) attacks on evolution (and other aspects of science), but they also had an obviously inadequate description of their “alternative”. After having read through a number of books without satisfaction, I now find myself when faced with a new book to hunt for a hint of an alternative theory. “What does this book have to offer as a scenario for what did happen, when and where, how and why? What is there about the agency responsible for the variety of life that led to this world? What methods and materials did they resort to?” Now, obviously, YEC and OEC tell us that the “agency” is the God of the Bible, and they have their different time-scales, while ID takes the stand that they are not going to take a stand. But aside from that, I have not seen much in the way of interest in answering such questions, yet alone a prospect of ever having answers. (One exception being Omphalism. For all its faults, it at least takes a stand and tells us what it was like.)
    So, I quickly read through the book, skipping through the attacks on evolution, saying to myself, “I am going to grant you that evolutionary biology is a failure, now tell me about your alternative.” Nothing.
    I dare say that I have read through more anti-evolution literature before my present state, more than most anti-evolution-ists have. Before my cynical present approach to the literature. I gave them a chance to make their point, now it is their turn to show me why I should think that they have something to say.

  29. Seeing how many other commenters enjoy these Bible-related and creationism topics—and made valid and interesting observations—I’ll mention yet another observation on these tangents: I get annoyed at Young Earth Creationists for thinking that a text has only ONE “literal interpretation.” The popular use of the word “literal” has drifted from what a linguist means by “literal”. And creationists go ballistic when I tell them that there are often MANY literal interpretations for just about all of the controversial statements in Genesis 1 and 2. Of course, when they insist that theirs is the ONLY truly literal interpretation of each pericope, they usually ignore the fact that “the plain and natural, simple reading of the text” can depend upon the particular English translation. If one is working from a “literal reading” of the Hebrew text of Genesis, the “literal interpretation” can be quite different.

    For example, if one adopts a “plain and natural reading” of the Hebrew text of the Noah account, it is hard to come up with anything but a REGIONAL/LOCAL flood, not the GLOBAL one favored by Young Earth Creationists. After all, the Hebrew text refers to a flooding of Noah’s ERETZ, that is, his “land”, “country”, or “region”. There is no mention of ERETZ in the plural (“lands”) and even today in modern Hebrew, nobody assumes that ERETZ YISRAEL means “the planet of Israel” or “Planet Israel.” It is always read as “Land of Israel” or “Nation of Israel.” Thus, if I read Genesis LITERALLY, I will understand Noah’s flood to have destroyed all Imago Dei descendents of Adam— not every hominid (and NEPHESH creatures in general) worldwide.

    In fact, I used to have my students import the Noah chapters of Genesis into a word-processor using the King James translation (or even sometimes other translations if sufficiently literal in translation approach) and then doing global replacements on the following words:

    earth ===> land
    heaven(s) ===> sky
    mountain(s) ===> hill(s)

    All three of these translations of the underlying Hebrew words are valid. But when the student reads the KJV account of Noah’s flood where “land”, “sky”, and “hills” appears instead of “earth”, “heavens”, and “mountains”, he/she discovers that their “simple, plain, and natural, LITERAL reading of the Biblical text” leads them to assume that Noah’s flood was restricted to Noah’s region, the only “world” Noah knew.

    If I really want to irritate every Young Earth Creationist within earshot, I will tell them, “I prefer to interpret Genesis literally and work from a plain, simple, natural reading of the Hebrew text. Therefore I follow both the scriptural evidence and the scientific evidence to their natural conclusion: The Theory of Evolution is our best explanation of the diversification of life on earth. Moreover, “Let the waters bring forth [living things]…” and “Let the land bring forth [living things]….” (in Genesis 1) and even “God formed the human one from the dust of the ground” (in Genesis 2:7) are all references to ABIOGENESIS (biological life from non-living ingredients, the very definition of abiogenesis.) No matter how much they protest, I tell them that my interpretations are LITERAL because I’m using a “literal meaning” for each word as defined in the Hebrew lexicon.

    No, I’m not claiming that readers down through the centuries could have consulted the Hebrew text of Genesis and predicted the eventual publication of The Theory of Evolution. I am saying that someone can affirm The Theory of Evolution while also maintaining literal interpretations of Genesis. Convincing the skeptical of that claim would take far more space than what is available here. But I am quite serious. (Yes, believe it or not. I’m totally serious. I’ve posted generously on this topic on various forums. Dr. Janis, who first invited me to subscribe to this blog page, has seen some of my essays on this topic. So this is not the first venue where I’ve discussed this idea.)

    My purpose in doing that is not to convince anyone that “the Bible had it right all along.” Nor am I pursuing Science-and-the-Bible concordism for concordism’s sake. No, I want to reach the many Christians who are constantly at war with science and explain to them that such conflict is entirely unnecessary.

    I’m sick and tired of the YEC peanut gallery, the infamous origins-ministry millionaire entrepreneurs (e.g., Ken Ham, Ray Comfort, Kent Hovind et al) and concerned for the many thousands of sincere but science-illiterate and gullible “creation science”-endorsing pastors who are manipulated into whipping millions of Christians into a frenzy of anti-science nonsense that is neither scriptural valid nor scientifically valid. Whatever one thinks of the Bible and its teachings, if I can convince Young Earth Creationist Christians that they can affirm the Bible while also affirming the scientific method and following the evidence wherever it leads, their silly war on science (and The Theory of Evolution in particular) can be ended.

    Quality science education in America today is only safe if a large percentage of the population is not bent on destroying it. And while I appreciate what Biologos is trying to accomplish in that regard, I believe their present strategies will not be successful in reaching fundamentalist Christians (for reasons beyond the scope of this modest post.) My approach is to convince fundamentalists that the Bible does not contradict or denounce abiogenesis nor The Theory of Evolution. And I can do so even while using literal interpretations of the Hebrew text. For the most part, Christians who oppose The Theory of Evolution will not be won over by science-education alone. First they need to be convinced that modern science and the scientific method does not pose a threat to their faith—-only their extra-Biblical TRADITIONS.

  30. You have a difficult task, Professor Tertius. I’m confident that people like Kan Ham will never debate you. I have no idea how to reach the people you need to reach. You’re preaching to the choir here, but I appreciate your view of things.

  31. Duane Gish despised me, Henry Morris thought I asked too many [embarrassing] questions that he didn’t want to address, and John Whitcomb considered me a traitor. But quite a few rank-and-file YEC-ists have decided that perhaps a evolution-affirming Christian might not be so dangerous after all. And if such people remain Young Earth Creationists but they decide that evolution and billions of years is just a secondary matter of personal opinion, they are far less likely to send donations to build the “Ark Park” and are far more likely to oppose local school boards and even state legislators who try to sneak “creation science” and ID into science classes at their schools. I’m a pragmatist. Once they can safely be open-minded about the science, they are far more likely to actually investigate and learn about the evidence that supports it. Even if they remain allegiant to their church’s traditions, their children will be at greater liberty to pursue science majors in college and eventual science careers. I can draw parallels to the American civil rights movement.

  32. Third Prof observes: “the fact that “the plain and natural, simple reading of the text” can depend upon the particular English translation.”
    Such a lack of faith, Third Prof. Be real. God wouldn’t allow the translators from Hebrew and Greek to make erroneous or even ambiguous translations, would he? That’s what he sends the holy spiriti for! Hence the Bible means what Ol’ Hambo (or whomever) says it means.

    “But I am quite serious.”
    That’s appreciated here, but it might be a wrong attitude towards creationists. Though telling YECers that a literal reading of the Bible should make us conclude that the Great Flood was global is a fine joke of course. So let us see it this way. Your excellent serious insights in the mindset of creationists allows us jokers to pull off more and better jokes at their expense.
    As for your strategy – I am all for multiple attempts. Yours doesn’t need to collide with SC’s.

  33. Curmudgeon wrote: “I’m confident that people like Ken Ham will never debate you.” True enough. I so wish he would. He is nearly as ignorant of the Bible as he is of Science. And he prefers that his audiences assume false dichotomies. He insists that one must agree with his Young Earth Creationism *OR* be an atheist “evilutionist”. Whenever he is forced to admit the existence of Christians who disagree with him, he labels them as “compromising Christians” who are tools of Satan. But most of his followers are not so extreme because many of them have friends and family who are Old Earth Creationists, Gappers, and even Framework Hypothesis advocates and Days of Proclamation-ists. So I think Ham is becoming less and less willing to debate any Christians who his audience would refuse to categorize as demonically manipulated. Even his condemnations of ID advocates and the Discovery Institute have to be pitched carefully because he risks losing the many Young Earth Creationists who are also DI and ID fans.

    While I generally agree with the advice that scientists never debate a Young Earth Creationist, I would make an exception for myself—not only because I want to shred him on both scientific AND Biblical grounds, but because I spent years in the movement during its early days [The Genesis Flood was published in 1962] and I know all the tricks, dodges, quote-mines, and mantras. I know how to compete with Ham for the approval of his own choir. Christian audiences are sensitive about hypocrisy and Ham is vulnerable from many directions. (Perhaps I could be a last minute substitute for some scientist who Ham has agreed to debate. If he saw me walk onto the platform and he pulled out, even his own fans would consider him a chicken.)

  34. Mnbo wrote: “As for your strategy – I am all for multiple attempts. Yours doesn’t need to collide with SC’s.” Exactly. Before Dr. Eugenie Scott’s retirement, I would have loved to have partnered with her to do a tag team debate against Ken Ham and one of his resident staff “creation scientists.” Perhaps Dr. Georgia Purdom could protect his flank. She’s probably still sore at me for making fun of their much hyped “baraminology” project. I told her, “When it comes to putting together a good baraminology project, I guess it takes all kinds.” Hey, my turn-of-phrase is no more lame than baraminology is. They should be accustomed to bad jokes.

  35. Professor Tertius quips: “When it comes to putting together a good baraminology project, I guess it takes all kinds.”

    One thing I’ve observed is that creationists (every variety, including the Discoveroids) have no sense of humor whatsoever. Maybe there’s a connection to science denial, but I can’t imagine what it might be. Definitely a disorder of some type.

  36. Mnbo wrote: “God wouldn’t allow the translators from Hebrew and Greek to make erroneous or even ambiguous translations, would he?” Excellent point. And it is yet another fundamental of Introductory Linguistics that that is the nature of human languages. They nearly ALWAYS involve ambiguity and translations inevitably involve trade-offs. And when the Young Earth Creationist fundamentalists try to argue otherwise, I quote from the Apostle Paul himself: “We see through a glass but darkly.” Moreover, the same apostle talked about the MYSTERIES of the Gospel. This is just one of many topics where YECs are actually in defiance of the scripture they claim to honor more than everybody else.

    It’s gotta be hard living in the “creation science” camp nowadays. You’ve not only got the REAL scientists laughing at you. You’ve got the Biblical literature scholars at both the evangelical seminaries and the secular universities shredding your exegesis. And you’ve even got the evangelical Church historians exposing the embarrassing fact that your movement didn’t really begin with the apostles after all. It started with Seventh Day Adventist prophetess Ellen White, got polished up in semi-scholarly clothes by George McReady Price, and “sanitized for your protection” by Grace Brethren Old Testament professor John Whitcomb Jr., carefully removing all SDA references so that nobody would accuse him of plagiarizing from a “cult.” Then, if you are going to invent the new “creation science” field of “flood geology”, you gotta have a water specialist. Fortunately, John had met Henry Morris, hydrologist-engineer extraordinaire, at a fundamentalist Bible conference. The rest, as they say, is history! The circus has been on the road ever since. (In this case, the circus and the side show is the same thing.)

    Now if some doubter comes along, let’s say someone like Ken Ham, and asks, “Were you there?”, I might just turn to him and say, “Yes. Yes I was.”

  37. SC: “…creationists (every variety, including the Discoveroids) have no sense of humor whatsoever.”

    Thus proving the adage that a good sense of humor is a sign of intelligence.

  38. @Bible & Science Forum: Professor Tertius: You might have some luck reaching some of your intended audience by writing occasional letters to the Cincinnati Enquirer. If nothing else, they will needle the hell out of Ham.

  39. “If nothing else, they will needle the hell out of Ham. LOL. Perhaps that is where I should publish my prophecy that Ken Ham’s “Ark Park” will be his financial doom: the YEC PTL (for those who remember Jim Bakker’s downfall.) Seriously, I don’t see how Ham could possibly sustain both the Creation Museum and the Ark Encounter, even if he raises the $76 million needed to complete the latter. Once all of the home schoolers and die-hard YECs within driving distance of both tourist destinations have spent one vacation there (within no more than seven years), they will fail to produce their own operational revenue stream and Ham will have to subsidize them from the sale of his wacky DVDs and books (and “member” tithes and offerings.) Special bail-out donations will allow him to complete his fiscal years for a while but eventually the deep-pockets will tire. Long-term, I think the Creation Museum will limp along. But if it ever completed, the Ark Park ruins will eventually become a monument to the YEC Golden Age and highwater mark. (And the Bill Nye/Ken Ham Debate will be considered the beginning of the end, not because Nye won but because Ham lost. Something like 86% of ChristianityToday readers polled gave the win to Nye in recognition of Ham’s “emperor has no clothes” performance. Indeed, I thought it notable that Ham did not make much mention of the usual brand of “creation science” pseudo-science he normally babbles on about at his various webpages. Instead, he simply reached out to potential donors who can save his Ark Park dream by saying, “I have a book!” That draws laughs from non-YECs but to the faithful that is a proclamation of purity. Instead of creation science, there was only reminders that AiG alone stands up for the Genesis text in its only truly literal interpretation. As Ham said, “It is a matter of Biblical authority!”)

  40. Pope Retiredsciguy wisecracks

    Thus proving the adage that a good sense of humor is a sign of intelligence.

    Is that supposed to be some kinda joke? I don’t get it!

  41. Pope Retiredsciguy: I enjoyed that! (I like dry humor as well as the regular kind. Kudos.)