Creationist Wisdom #501: Debate This Guy?

Today’s letter-to-the-editor appears in the New Jersey Herald of Newton, New Jersey. The letter is titled Catholics might as well toss Bibles. There’s a comments section at the end. It has only three comments so far — which is surprising because the letter appeared on 24 December.

We don’t use the full names of letter-writers unless they’re politicians, preachers, or other public figures. But this time we’ve got someone who certainly wants to be prominent, so we shall oblige him. He’s identified at the end of the letter as Nick Lally, co-founder of something called the Sussex County Creation Science Club.

Excerpts from Nick’s letter will be enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary and some bold font for emphasis. We may also politely insert this subtle signal [Aaaargh!!] after some howlers, so that we don’t interrupt the letter-writer’s learned discourse. Here we go!

The “Vatican’s stance on evolution” article in the New Jersey Herald was a shocker.

We haven’t searched for the article has Nick so upset, but we all know about the Vatican’s position, and it’s nothing new for the Church. We wrote about it back in October — see Pope Francis, Evolution, & the Big Bang. Nick seems to have just learned about it in his local newspaper and he’s shocked — shocked! He says:

How could a main line religion like Catholicism accept evolution over a supernatural creation? The Bible makes it very clear how man was created. Countless Hebrew scholars have concluded that the account of creation was written literally and historically and no matter how much man tries to distort these sacred writings, it doesn’t change a thing.

We don’t want to trouble Nick any further, so we hope he never becomes aware of the National Center for Science Education’s list of Statements from Religious Organizations supporting evolution, or the The Clergy Letter Project, a strong, pro-evolution statement signed by over 12,000 Christian clergymen. Let’s read on:

If the Vatican dismisses Genesis, then Catholics might as well throw away their entire Bibles. If Genesis is wrong, then the entire Christian religion is wrong. [Aaaargh!!] … If you believe that Christ raised Himself from the dead, cured the sick, healed the blind and walked on water, then why not a six-day creation? Are you going to decide which miracles are true or not, or are you going to accept the Bible as written in Genesis? You can’t have it both ways.

We think Nick can have it both ways — see The Curmudgeon’s Guide to Miracles. But what do we know? Nick continues:

The Bible supports the Genesis story in numerous chapters throughout the Old and New testaments and they can’t be separated.

Yes, one part of the bible tends to support another. That’s also true of the Iliad, but so what? Here’s more from Nick:

As Christians we were warned about false doctrines and today we find evolution being taught to our children at the expense of our taxes when it’s nothing more than philosophical naturalism.

Yes, Nick has been warned. If he fails to heed that warning, then what? Maybe it’s the Lake of Fire, or maybe not. Perhaps he’ll end up with a better understanding of reality. It’s a difficult choice. Oh, evolution isn’t philosophical naturalism. It’s science, which is based on methodological naturalism — see Bring Me An Angel Detector! Moving along:

We here at the Sussex County Creation Science Club are not afraid to stand up to any evolutionist.

Oooooooh — they’re not afraid! Why should they be? We’re not gonna shoot them. Or maybe he means they’re not afraid that they’ll look foolish. Nick is right — they have nothing to lose. They’re already proud members of a creation science club. Another excerpt:

We are willing to debate any group of evolutionists from philosophers to scientists that the creation account in Genesis is correct.

Anyone interested in accepting Nick’s challenge? If you’re tempted, please see our post on such debates before you make any foolish decisions — Debating Creationists is Dumber Than Creationism.

Nick ends his letter by begging someone — anyone! — to accept his challenge:

Perhaps the Herald would like to sponsor this debate, an event that could be held at the Newton Theater or SCCC? Each side would be represented by three debaters and let the people decide for themselves: A supernatural creation or evolution.

We appreciate the opportunity, Nick — but we don’t accept. Yeah, Nick, that’s right — it’s because we’re afraid of The Truth.

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

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21 responses to “Creationist Wisdom #501: Debate This Guy?

  1. That sounds like the same Nick Lally that is the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Creation Science Hall of Fame.

    http://creationsciencehalloffame.org/about/chairmans-corner/

  2. I’ve had some dealings with Nick and his Creation Science Hall of Fame (CSHF).

    In days gone by I was quite critical of Nick and the way the CSHF laid claim to Matthew Fontaine Maury and Kent Hovind.

    I was not entirely pleased with the outcome but Nick was quite cordial and easy to work with.

    The CSHF still claims Matthew Fontaine Maury and, perhaps to smite my criticism of Kent Hovind, the CSHF sped up Kent Hovind’s induction (Kent was recently indicted on new charges along with a co-conspirator, Paul John Hansen, and the trial is currently scheduled for February 9, 2015 in Pensacola).

  3. “Christ raised Himself from the dead…”. Oh my. This guy doesn’t even understand Christian theology. And he thinks he’s qualified to engage in debate? Sheeesh.

  4. This quote is copied and pasted directly from the CSHF website that Robert Baty links above:

    “We can’t do this alone. We need your help….help in building the first every [sic] Creation Science Hall of Fame.”

    “First every Creation Science Hall of Fame”?? The fact that this typo slipped through on their premier website should give potential donors a good idea of how carefully their money will be used.

    It looks to me as though Nick Lally is trying to emulate Ken Ham and get in on the creationism gravy train scam.

    I wonder what Ham would have to say about Lally’s encroachment onto his turf?

  5. I wish someone would take up his offer, only argue not for the scientific explanation, but for some other religious explanation, such as Hinduism. Essentially, any argument Nick could invent for his position, could also be invented for Hinduism or any other religion. It would make for a good demonstration of how much one’s religious beliefs are solely the product of one’s indoctrination and the culture in which one lives, and not of any objective reality.

  6. Any debate I’ve ever seen between a creationist and a non-creationist ends up with the creationist being used as an intellectual chew toy.

  7. “How could a main line religion like [Catholicism] accept evolution over a supernatural creation?”

    Ah, yes, just substitute your favorite deity based religion, Judaism, Islam, Hamism, etc., or even just creationist, discoveroid, or in a recent SC post, “the general mystic.” Yes, we know some catholics are upset, but the catholic schools have been teaching this stuff for years now.

  8. @ retiredsciguy

    You wrote, in part:

    “It looks to me as though Nick Lally is
    trying to emulate Ken Ham and get in
    on the creationism gravy train scam.”

    Nick’s CSHF site also makes this claim:

    “We will build the Hall of Fame as a brick-and-mortar
    structure in northern Kentucky, between Answers in
    Genesis’ Creation Museum and the new Ark Encounter
    park.”

    For now it looks to me like the CSHF is still just a website and hasn’t broken any ground anywhere near Ken Ham. Given Ken Ham’s problems with fundraising and construction delays, I am thinking Nick’s project has also fallen on hard times; though it may still be a money-maker for the CSHF insiders who get paid.

  9. Robert Baty, I thought that hall of fame thing sounded familiar. It was mentioned in a UK newspaper a couple of years ago and I wrote about it here: Kentucky Experiences the “Hambo Effect”.

  10. Dear Curmudgeon: is there an award for oxymoron of the year (OOY)? The term “creation science” is certainly in the running for first place.

  11. @Ed
    Your proposal that a creationist debate with someone of a person not of the Abrahamic tradition reminds be of the idea of Frank J‘s that there be a tournament of debates between various varieties of evolution-denial: Let a supporter of ID, an OEC, a YEC and a geocentrist debate one another, with the prize being the opportunity to debate with a knowledgeable Christian who supports evolutionary biology.

  12. abeastwood asks: “is there an award for oxymoron of the year (OOY)?”

    We don’t have one here, but if you like, you can be in charge of that.

  13. If the Vatican dismisses Genesis, then Catholics might as well throw away their entire Bibles. If Genesis is wrong, then the entire Christian religion is wrong. … If you believe that Christ raised Himself from the dead, cured the sick, healed the blind and walked on water, then why not a six-day creation?

    Why not other sons of God, too? Check out href=”http://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/Genesis-Chapter-6/”>Genesis, chapter 6, verse 2, concerning the “sons of God” and their sexual relations with the “daughters of men.” But fundamentalists sweep that one under the carpet.

  14. Eric, I would say that they would find it even harder to sweep under the carpet the quoted words of Jesus himself when he told the Temple authorities in Jerusalem that scripture said that there were other gods, and sons of gods, and God himself had said so. He quoted Psalm 82, and waddaya know, that is what it says.

    But as anyone who has ever debated an evangelical knows, the only thing that they’re better at than adding to scripture is subtracting from it.

  15. TomS: “…reminds be of the idea of Frank J‘s that there be a tournament of debates between various varieties of evolution-denial: Let a supporter of ID, an OEC, a YEC and a geocentrist debate one another, with the prize being the opportunity to debate with a knowledgeable Christian who supports evolutionary biology.”

    I’m sure you know that my only reason for that is to show the audience how almost all of those “debaters” will chicken out, thus demonstrating a clear double-standard that is not obvious to most people (including most fence-sitters) in science-pseudoscience debates like the Ham-Nye one.

    In fact, one does not need to even have them debate. A simple question as to whether they agree with Behe on “~4 years of common descent” will give a big clue as to where they are on the scammed-to-scammer scale.

    For someone like Nick, who said:

    If you believe that Christ raised Himself from the dead, cured the sick, healed the blind and walked on water, then why not a six-day creation?

    …another fun question is “…then why not a geocentric universe too?”

    Actually, since you are one of the more Bible-literate ones around here I have a question that I thought of just yesterday. Does the New Testament refer, even vaguely, to a 6-day creation, “kinds” or global floods?

  16. @TomS:

    Of course Ken Ham would answer yes, but I just read his hilarious “defense” and it actually undermines his case. He quote-mined Jesus as saying that Adam & Eve were in the “beginning” but even the mined quote gives no clue of how many years ago that “beginning” was (you of all know how anti-evolution activists try to have it both ways, as in God’s years may be different than ours). Topping it off with a classic “heads I win, tails you lose,” he admits that it doesn’t matter because Jesus wrote the OT anyway!

  17. @Frank J
    1 Peter 3:20
    “Which sometime were disobedient, when once the long-suffering of God waited in the dayes of Noah, while the Arke was a preparing: wherein few, that is, eight soules were saued by water.”

  18. @TomS

    Aha, no reference to years or days there either. If there were, Ham would have been all over it anyway. The reason I ask is because of the surprising answer I got a few months ago when I asked a “recovered YEC” (one you may recall from PT) if, had he never heard of Genesis, would he have still concluded a young earth based on the evidence. What surprised me is not that he said “no” but how he said it with no hesitation.

    Now imagine if all copies of the OT had been destroyed before, or not long after, the NT was written. By now there would certainly still be some form of “creationism” as in an anti-evolution movement, and evolution-deniers for it to exploit and mislead. But probably nothing like the “scientific” YEC that the media loves (even when it disagrees) and ~8% of adult Americans find convincing.

  19. Here’s another great poll question. It may have been asked already, but I’m unaware of it:

    Who’s afraid to debate?
    a. “Evolutionists” only
    b. “Creationists” only
    c. Both a and b
    d. Neither a nor b

    My unfortunate guess is that ~half will choose (a) and most of the rest will choose (c). When in fact the correct answer is either (b) or (d) depending on the definition of “debate.” Many “evolutionists” have willingly participated in a Ham-Nye style debate, even though the very format is favorable to pseudoscience. Yet not one “creationist” (anti-evolution activist) in 155+ years has ever “debated” mainstream science by stating and testing its own “theory” and supporting it on its own merits (as opposed to on perceived, and long-refuted, “weaknesses” of evolution).

  20. @Frank J
    There are the genealogies of Jesus given in Matthew 1 and Luke 3. See the Wikipedia article, for the interpretations are not easy to reconcile the different genealogies, but a rough estimate from Matthew, 3×14 generations from Abraham, makes the traditional span from Abraham to Jesus, 2000 years, close enough.

  21. @TomS:

    Thanks. But does it give any details about the time before Abraham? At least OT – if one ignores the “yom” ambiguity and the Gen 1 & 2 apparent contradictions (both of which pose no problem for the skilled quote-miner) – does suggest that the universe and modern humans could have appeared within a few days’ time. So far I can’t see how anyone could concoct “scientific” YEC from the NT alone.

    Again, you know my drill, even if most readers don’t. The US could have been just as easily content with day-age or gap OEC, and in fact most educated evolution deniers were before Morris et al. And in fact only a minority of rank-and-file committed evolution-deniers now are strict YECs. That the majority is more “uncertain” than “strict OEC” is certainly a result of the habit of activists, even strictly Biblical ones, to discourage discussing the “when” questions, even though that would be the bare minimum necessary if one were truly confident that the evidence supported one’s particular origins account. The ID scam did not create the big tent. One was already there awaiting it.