Creationist Wisdom #527: Two for One

We can’t remember writing about a situation like this before. We’re writing about three letters in The Citizen of Auburn, New York, the first of which generated two creationist responses.

Here’s the original letter, which appeared on 10 February: Religion nothing more than a placebo, written by Thomas Hanley. We don’t know anything about him, and his letter wasn’t that good, but he certainly stirred things up in Auburn. He made a big chronological blooper (which went unnoticed by those who responded), and it was this:

As far as the “overwhelming majority of Americans” believing that there is a god, at one time the overwhelming majority of Americans believed the sun revolved around the earth. Science came to the rescue and trumped the religious dogma of that time.

Anyway, there are two responses that now appear in that same newspaper. All three letters have a comments feature at the end. We don’t know who any of the letter-writers are. The creationists don’t appear to be politicians, preachers, or other public figures, so we won’t embarrass or promote them by using their full names. Excerpts will be enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary and some bold font for emphasis. Here we go!

The first response is Stand up for your belief in God. It was written by Jimmy, who seems to have written an even earlier letter that triggered the Thomas Hanley letter. He says:

It never ceases to amaze me how those who preach there is no God can show such anger, hatred and disdain toward something they don’t even believe exists. Thomas Hanley ridicules people of faith as the “Witless Majority,” convinced that we must beg God for favors.

Jimmy is amazed. Then he tells us:

I doubt there is anything Mr. Hanley can say that will convince believers there is no God, just as I’m sure we’ll never convince him that there is. Science can’t prove or disprove the existence of God, nor can it explain the purpose of life or why we are here.

Yes, those are terrible failings of science. Now here’s his killer argument:

In order to know for certain that God doesn’t exist, one must possess infinite knowledge. But no human has infinite knowledge. To have infinite knowledge, you would have to be God himself, and how can you be God and atheist at the same time?

Good point! And here’s another:

If Mr. Hanley is correct that God doesn’t exist, then when we die we’ll simply be thrown in a box six feet under, never having known the true purpose of life or having discovered the answers to life’s many mysteries, and that will simply be the end of it. But, if by some chance Mr. Hanley is wrong and God does exist, what then?

That’s enough. Now we’ll move on to the next letter, written by John. It’s titled U.S. founded on religious freedom. John says:

I write this letter in response to Thomas Hanley’s unsubstantiated atheist arguments about the existence of God. There has been no proof that God does not exist, scientific or otherwise. The reason for this is that man was the last thing that God created, therefore no missing link has been found to connect man with the theory of evolution.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! So that’s why there’s no missing link! We’ve never encountered that argument before. Let’s read on:

Oh, by the way Mr. Hanley, I don’t know what school you went to but a theory is an assumption, a speculation. It is not supported by scientific fact. Sorry to burst your bubble.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! He continues:

If it weren’t for the people seeking freedom from religious persecution, who helped settle this country, you wouldn’t be able to voice your atheistic views.

Yeah, those pilgrims were fanatical about religious freedom — see Salem witch trials. Here’s more:

God isn’t a man in the sky. God realized that his creation, man, was imperfect and that man needed a set of rules to live by to live in peace and thus handed down The Ten Commandments. Do you not agree that if all mankind followed the Ten Commandments there would be peace on earth? What other being would have sought to right our imperfections with the perfect set of rules to do so.

Yet another original argument. John is good! Here’s how he ends his letter:

May God have mercy on your soul. Oh, that’s right, you don’t believe you have one.

Wow — that was an amazing put-down! We hope things calm down in Auburn, New York. We can’t handle any more of this excitement.

Copyright © 2015. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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17 responses to “Creationist Wisdom #527: Two for One

  1. God realized that his creation, man, was imperfect…

    Therefore, God is also imperfect. That, or he intentionally created man to be imperfect, in which case he is just mean.

  2. Haven’t we seen that argument just recently: To know that God does not exist requires infinite knowledge?
    Is this becoming viral?
    There is the old argument that to have a concept of God, because God is infinite, is to have an infinite concept, which our finite minds could not conceive on their own.
    But mathematics has progressed since then. There is a perfectly clear finite definition of the infinite. (Several of them, such as: something is infinite if a proper part is equal to the whole.)

  3. “If….God doesn’t exist, then when we die we’ll simply be thrown in a box six feet under, never having known the true purpose of life or having discovered the answers to life’s many mysteries, and that will simply be the end of it.”

    Yes. Get over it.

  4. “God realized that his creation, man, was imperfect”
    Ah, Ed beat me to it. He’s a bit generous though – John just admitted that his god did a lousy job.

    TomS wonders: “Is this becoming viral?”
    It seems so – I’ve met it a couple times as well. The failure is in the first few words:

    “In order to know for certain”
    We don’t know anything for certain, so the argument demands too much, resulting in a false dilemma (if can’t say for certain that there is no god the only option left is to convert).

  5. Yeah, I know this is totally off-topic, but Curmy, here’s a little news clip that may make you want to write a post about our favorite gerbil, Casey Luskin.
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2015/02/24/after-8-centuries-rats-exonerated-in-spread-of-black-death-gerbils-implicated/

    It seems that gerbils may have been responsible for the spread of bubonic plague, not rats.

  6. retiredsciguy says: “It seems that gerbils may have been responsible for the spread of bubonic plague, not rats.”

    Yeah, but were you there?

  7. That’s a nice passage that Garnetstar quoted. Like any good literary product, it suggests more than it says and sets the mind a-reeling with possibilities.

    One possible meaning: the creator will reveal to us only after we are dead and gone what we were supposed to accomplish and what we were supposed to discover while we were alive. Sort of like god awarding you the instruction manual after you have assembled the equipment and used it till it wore out, or maybe broke from being assembled wrong. Only that idea doesn’t fit with the fundamentalist claim that the Bible is the instruction manual.

    Another possibility: the creator told us in the Bible what our purpose is and what we are supposed to discover. If that is what Jimmy meant, then he failed to acknowledge that the instruction manual is so badly written that nobody understands it properly except the people in Jimmy’s church (and probably not all of them.) Otherwise all of creation would would be working toward the same purpose and discovering the same answers to life’s many mysteries. Notice that Jimmy predicates his assertion on the actual existence of God, not on an individual’s belief.

    As for what happens after a person has been “thrown in a box six feet under,” I have some independent insights. You want teleology? I got teleology.

    I worked on crews digging up a number of such people to move them to cemeteries on higher ground when their own burial sites were about to be flooded by a dam. After seeing tree roots enmeshed in the compost at the bottoms of graves, I concluded that the purpose of human beings is the same as the purpose of all other living things:

    To assemble and concentrate a quantity of organic material so that it can nourish following generations of living things.

    This process has been recycling atoms in a thin layer just above and just below the surface of the earth since the most complex biotic community on the planet was a mat of bacterial scum. It will keep on going till the sun bloats into a red giant and boils the oceans away.

  8. “If it weren’t for the people seeking freedom from religious persecution, who helped settle this country, you wouldn’t be able to voice your atheistic views….” This is so wrong that it illustrates that he is either intensively ignorant or a LIAR4Jesus. Also
    Gawd gave us the 10 terrible suggestion as a moral code??? Well that is as clear demo of gawd’s incompetence again! 1st he creates an imperfect universe that continuously tries to kill his imperfect people and then gives a book full of BS stories to convey an imperfect moral code. I see a trend here.

  9. the Gerbil is still a plague!

  10. Sort of a one-stop shopping trip of every creationist fallacy, from Pascal’s wager to proving a negative to an emotional appeal.

  11. Yes, there would be peace on earth if the Ten Commandments were followed. Everyone including the executioners, would be DEAD. Everyone who looked at a member of the opposite sex, every one who ever coveted (admit it, you did) would be killed.

  12. I thought gerbils were responsible for Armageddon.
    (look it up)

  13. Thomas Hanley: “As far as the ‘overwhelming majority of Americans’ believing that there is a god, at one time the overwhelming majority of Americans believed the sun revolved around the earth.” Our Curmudgeon calls this a chronological blooper, but perhaps Hanley meant to include Native Americans? I don’t know how much is known about pre-Columbian cosmologies in North America, but generally all pre-scientific people everywhere thought the sun was moving, while the earth stood very much still under their feet. Obviously — that seemed to be what their senses were telling them.

    Science is often counterintuitive (creationism itself depends on the “intuitive” feeling people have that complex systems “must” have been deliberately set in place by a intelligent designer).

  14. As far as the “overwhelming majority of Americans” believing that there is a god, at one time the overwhelming majority of Americans believed the sun revolved around the earth. Science came to the rescue and trumped the religious dogma of that time.

    Actually, no, although a poll some years back indicated about one in six still believe that. Science “came to the rescue” on that issue in early colonial times.

    On the other hand,

    There has been no proof that God does not exist, scientific or otherwise.

    Sure. Try proving a negative. There’s no proof leprechauns don’t exist, either. As for

    . . . a theory is an assumption, a speculation. It is not supported by scientific fact . . .

    Groan. Not this again. When, if ever, will this gem of ignorance stop turning up?

  15. “Groan. Not this again. When, if ever, will this gem of ignorance stop turning up?”

    When the proverbial pigs fly.

  16. @Eric Lipps
    When will the thing about “proof” stop turning up?
    And the thing about “proving a negative”?
    There is no proof that dogs exist, not in the sense of a mathematical proof.
    And there there are mathematical proofs of a negative. It is easy to prove that there is no largest prime number.
    And just as sure that I am that there is a dog in my doghouse, I am sure that there is no elephant there.

  17. how can you be God and atheist at the same time?

    Low self esteem?