Creationist Wisdom #489: Fundie Founders

Today’s letter-to-the-editor appears in the Daily Inter Lake of Kalispell, Montana, the gateway to Glacier National Park. We wrote about another letter from there only two weeks ago — see #485: Nothing To Lose. This one is titled ‘Dumb old creationists’ created the U.S. There’s a comments section at the end, with only three comments at the moment.

Because today’s writer isn’t a politician, preacher, or other public figure, we won’t embarrass or promote him by using his full name. He participates in the Senior Olympics, which is admirable, but it’s not sufficient for full name treatment. His first name is Larry. Excerpts from his letter will be enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary and some bold font for emphasis. Here we go!

Larry begins by criticizing an earlier letter that said:

… because Steve Daines admits to being a creationist, he is not intelligent enough to make the rational decisions required by our senator.

Steve Daines is a Republican creationist running for the US Senate in Montana. We’ve written about him before: Creationist in Montana GOP Senate Primary. He was also the topic of a recent letter-to-the-editor we wrote about three weeks ago: #483: Steve Daines Supporter. Larry also supports Daines, and he says to that earlier letter-writer:

Whoa there, pardner! You seem to have forgotten a few details along the trail. Seems to me this whole shindig got started by a bunch of them dumb creationists led by a feller named George Washington. Before them boys was done, they done got us a whole country and they wrote about in a document called the “Declaration of Independence” and they had the nerve to write about their creator in this official document.

The Founders were creationists! BWAHAHAHAHAHA! And the Declaration was an “official document” about the creator. Aaaargh!! Where to begin? First, we discussed a lot of Larry’s misconceptions in Is America a “Christian Nation”? Also, the Declaration wasn’t an “official document.” The Continental Congress was a revolutionary gathering, which had no official status whatsoever. Having won the Revolution, Jefferson’s Declaration is now a revered historical document, but the people who signed it were quite aware that it wasn’t an official document. And as our “Christian Nation” post explains, the Declaration’s mention of the creator is wildly misunderstood and quote-mined by creationists.

Larry’s doing good, huh? Let’s read on:

They didn’t stop here but went on to establish the guidelines for operating this new country and wrote them in another document called “The Constitution of the United States of America,” not bad for a bunch of intellectually challenged guys.

Yes, not bad, but if the Framers of the Constitution ever met Larry, we wonder if they could get it through his head that the document they wrote makes no mention of creationism. Probably not. Larry continues:

Since then there have been any number of those dumb old creationists who have called the White House home for a spell. Just to name a few that you might have heard of: Dwight Eisenhower, John Kennedy, Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter

Carter? Probably. We don’t mind if the creationists claim him. Kennedy? BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Here’s the last of it:

In summary, I suggest you give some serious thought and perhaps serious research to your method of selecting which candidates to cast your vote for. Otherwise I fear that you and others of similar mindset may get what you deserve and if so, may God have mercy on this nation.

Larry says: Vote for Daines, or spend eternity in the Lake of Fire! Now there’s a great campaign message.

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

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22 responses to “Creationist Wisdom #489: Fundie Founders

  1. Carter? Probably. We don’t mind if the creationists claim him.

    I kinda doubt it. He was the one who, if you recall, put solar panels on the White House roof — hardly the sign of a creationist, because creationist know Gawd is going to keep us all safe so we don’t have to worry about global warming.

    Carter’s successor, on the other hand, ripped those solar panels out and consulted astrologers, etc. That’d be my guess for a presidential creationist.

  2. Charles Deetz ;)

    So we need to elect guys like George Washington? Slave owning, hemp growing, Masonic leader. Oh and he wasn’t a republican or a democrat, he farmed organically, he didn’t support universal healthcare … and he surely would agree with everything Rush Limbaugh has said if he was alive today.

  3. I wonder if a Larry has ever heard of the Treaty of Tripoli?

    And for the Nth time: the Founders, at least the most enfluential ones were Deists.

  4. Hey Larry, get a nice, clean piece of paper and a writing instrument. Then, go through the U.S. Constitution and write down every case where you find the words “god, lord, Christ, Jesus, Christian, Judeo-Christian,” or any of their cognates. Then, show me the list and make the argument that this country was based on the Christian or any other religion. Oh, and do the same exercise with the Federalist Papers, which were written to promote and explain in detail the new Constitution.

    Oh, and please show me the biblical passages that promote religious freedom, freedom of speech, representative elected government, or any structures of a republican or democratic form of government. Oh, and please include a chapter and verse quotation from the bible that specifically forbids any form of slavery.

  5. Since then there have been any number of those dumb old creationists who have called the White House home for a spell. Just to name a few that you might have heard of: Dwight Eisenhower, John Kennedy, Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter

    Carter? Probably. We don’t mind if the creationists claim him. Kennedy? BWAHAHAHAHAHA!

    Ike was never seen as anybody’s mental giant, though at least he had the decency not to throw his religion in people’s faces.

    Kennedy? Where in the world does this pinhead get the idea that JFK was a creationist? Not, certainly, from any published comments of his.

    Carter? No. He was an evangelical Christian, but not a fundamentalist, and as soon as the fundies realized that, they turned on him with fangs bared.

    Reagan? Yes–but then, Reagan believed all sorts of odd things, such as that trees cause pollution and that nuclear missiles in flight could be recalled. (He also arranged to be sworn in as governor of California in the middle of the night on the advice of his wife’s witch doctor, I mean astrologer.)

    And last I looked, George Washington–who died sixty years before the publication of Darwin’s Origin of the Species but was a progressive thinker for his era where the sciences were concerned–helped start a country, not a shindig. And somehow I get the sense that the famously aristocratic and aloof Washington would not have appreciated being called a “feller,” even by an admirer.

  6. I’m trying to laugh–but finding that hard over this one.

    Is such ignorance about the history of United States widespread? Don’t schools in the USA teach a few basics about that country’s remarkable history?

  7. Jimmy Carter has defended evolution. In 2004, for example, he “called a push to remove the word “evolution” from Georgia’s school curriculum an embarrassment, saying it exposes the state to nationwide ridicule,” according to the Athens, Georgia, Banner-Herald.

    http://onlineathens.com/stories/013004/pmg_evolution.shtml

  8. Megalonyxasks: “Is such ignorance about the history of United States widespread?”

    Unfortunately, the answer is “yes.” But it gets worse . . . . Americans are, by and large, not only ignorant of the history of our country, they are woefully ignorant about geography. An alarming number of American adults can’t even find the United States on an unlabeled world map. And, one more fun fact . . . .almost half of Americans think that the Universe is less than 10,000 years old.

    The United States has become, I’m sad to say, a “know-nothing” culture, and the fundies want to keep it that way.

  9. waldteufel: “And, one more fun fact . . . .almost half of Americans think that the Universe is less than 10,000 years old.”

    Not true, though that’s not necessarily good news. You might be thinking of that idiotic, but endlessly cited Gallup poll, to which 40-45% (little changed over 32 years) answer that “humans were created in their present form in the last 10,000 years.” But more unequivocally worded polls show that at least half of that 40-45% admit that the Universe, Earth, and other life, are billions of years old. Some of them are also probably “thinking souls, not cells,” and would admit that early humans had non-human ancestors. If encouraged to give it more than a minute thought, which unfortunately rarely happens. The bad news is that very few people give any thought to natural history, and quickly replace what little they learned in school with a cartoon caricature, whether they lean for or against evolution. The DI loves it when no one asks the “when” questions, or when people assume that anyone who has doubts of evolution is a YEC. The worse news is that, when one includes those “unsure” of evolution or thinks its fair to “teach the controversy” in science class, the % rises to about 70 – a solid majority.

  10. Ceteris Paribus

    After several decades of increasing disagreement with changes made by the Southern Baptist Convention in the area of creeds and policies, Carter publicly removed himself from the SBC in October of 2000.

    Among the irreconcilable differences Carter cited for his decision was the SBC’s implementation of required belief in the inerrancy of the bible, and many other changes toward fundamentalism which began around the year 1960 – contemporary with the rise of Morris and Whitcomb’s flood geology.

  11. And I recall at least one poll which showed that a substantial fraction of USAns couldn’t say that the Earth goes around the Sun, rather than the other way around. I assume that this is just plain ignorance, not Biblical Geocentrism.
    (BTW, I don’t like the confusion of the facts represented by “E around S, rather than S around E”. The Earth goes around the Sun in an annual revolution. The Sun not going around the Earth is due to daily rotation. One could accept rotation without revolution (in a kind of “compromise geocentrism”); and just maybe, revolution without rotation. But I’ve given up that fight.)

  12. Well, pardner, since the Founding Fathers did their “shindig” in the last quarter of the 1700s and Darwin was born in 1803, I reckon it’d be purty hard for them fellers to call themselves “Darwinists”, now, wouldn’t it?

    They had a lot to do, starting a country and all, and probably didn’t give too much thought to where all the different species of plants and animals came from. Darwin didn’t publish his book ’til 1859, so no one back in the 1700s would really have had the chance to know any better.

    Steve Daines, on the other hand, has had plenty of opportunity to know better, but chooses to remain ignorant. Do you really want a guy who can ignore mountains of evidence be in position to make decisions that will determine the fate of this country (and the whole world, for that matter)?

    Better re-think what horse you want to be ridin’ there, Larry.

  13. @retiredsciguy

    To be nit-picky about it. The Oxford English Dictionary does confirm what you say about the word “Darwinist”, but the word “Darwinian” is first attested in 1794, in reference to grandpa Erasmus Darwin.

  14. @TomS

    I hadn’t realized how seminal the work of Erasmus Darwin was. Thanks. Still, even his work came after the Founding Fathers did their thing.

    Erasmus Darwin formulated one of the first formal theories on evolution in Zoonomia, or, The Laws of Organic Life (1794-1796). (ucmp.Berkeley.edu), while the US Constitution was ratified in 1788.

    I have to admit, though, I was just thinking of Charles Darwin. And of course, Larry is all wet about the Founding Fathers. It’s a safe bet that if Jefferson and Franklin were still alive in 1859, they would have been big fans of Charles Darwin.

  15. @retiredsciguy
    I’d just like to make it clear that I agree with all of what you say.

  16. Richard Bond

    OK, TomS: I thought that I could resist temptation, but when you later went nit-picky my resolve dissolved.

    One could accept rotation without revolution (in a kind of “compromise geocentrism”); and just maybe, revolution without rotation.

    No, one could not. The dynamics do not work.

    It is often convenient to use a simplified dynamical model, but this needs fictitious forces to make it work. For example, long-range artillery used to be based (and still might be, for all that I know) on a flat map. Because this only approximately represents the surface of the Earth, a shell fired north in the USA will veer east of the target. This can be corrected by introducing the Coriolis force. If, however, you correct your aim by performing the complicated calculations based on the correct model of a rotating, approximately spherical Earth, this force disappears. If a force disappears when the model is correct, the force is fictitious. Conversely, if a fictitious force is needed to sustain a model, then, regardless of how useful it might be, that model is incorrect. Can you describe the force required to keep a geostationary satellite in place if the Earth is not rotating?

    Ptolemy’s model of the solar system was remarkably accurate, but it implied such a horrid mess of fictitious forces that probably no-one has ever bothered to calculate them, when a single inverse square law of gravitation does the same job, provided that the heliocentric solar system is real. Actually, Einstein considered even gravitation as a fictitious force, but his replacement, curved space, also requires the heliocentric system. Incidentally, gravity as a fictitious force also conflicts with the quantum mechanical prediction of gravitons.

    Of course, if you really wanted to push the issue, we could get into an inconclusive metaphysical discussion about the nature of reality, but I distrust metaphysics, and my boringly practical brain is not interested.

    Science works!

  17. @Richard Bond
    I assume that you believe all of that stuff about forces and momentum and gravity and stuff.

    Anyway, I was talking about the level of understanding in which one can answer a poll question whether the Earth goes around the Sun, or the other way around. Or in the Ancient Near East.

    I hope that you don’t think that I am proposing geocentrism of any stripe.

    Myself, I can’t do the calculations in a heliocentric Solar System, for example as simple a system as an artillery shell taking account of the rotation and revolution of the Earth and the tidal forces of the Moon and Sun and winds and be sure that I haven’t been forgetting something else.

    So, I am obviously out of my depth, and I cannot defend the dynamic model a geocentric system within the parameters of Newtonian physics. If I wanted to.

    But, I am told that there is a way of stating the dynamics in a generalized coordinate system. I have to defer to experts about this.

  18. Richard Bond says: “It is often convenient to use a simplified dynamical model, but this needs fictitious forces to make it work.”

    Sometimes a simplified model is all that’s necessary. I’m reliably informed that NASA’s Moon rocket program totally ignored the heliocentric model because the fact that both bodies were orbiting the Sun was irrelevant for their missions.

  19. SC: I quite agree that if a simplified model works, and if ignoring low-order effects from a precise model makes no significant difference, then use it. My statement that you quote was over-simplified :), but in the context of the correct model for how the solar system works, I stand by it.

    Thanks O Mighty Hand for correcting my typo!

  20. Sorry for you, SC, Carter is one of the good guys too.

    http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0511/02/lkl.01.html

    “I believe there’s a supreme being, God, who created the entire universe, yes. And I am a scientist, as a matter of fact, as you may know, I studied nuclear physics. I helped to develop nuclear submarines. So, I believe in science. I believe we ought to explore the far outreaches of space. We ought to make sure we understand everything we can about the particles that make up the atoms.
    I think we ought to discover everything we can about science. It ought to be accepted as proved unless it’s discounted. I believe still in a supreme being. But, I don’t believe that we ought to teach religious matters in a science classroom, because I think that the two ought not to be related.
    They ought to be completely separate. And I don’t think anyone, Larry, interferes in full belief in the other. I believe completely in scientific proofs and values unless they’re discounted. I believe in a supreme being. But, I don’t believe you ought to teach creationism in the science classroom.”

  21. mnb0 says: “Sorry for you, SC, Carter is one of the good guys too.”

    Okay. I assumed he was a complete buffoon, but it seems that even his buffoonery has limits.

  22. Actually, Carter wasn’t a complete buffoon: worldwide he was one of the best-respected US presidents in living memory. Only people who’ve swallowed the Reagan Kool-Aid, and who ignore the whole Iran-Contra conspiracy that was used to smear Carter at home, would think otherwise.