Creationist Wisdom #534: Proof of Creationism

Today’s letter-to-the-editor appears in the Herald Times Reporter of Manitowoc, Wisconsin. Wikipedia says the town’s name means “dwelling of the great spirit.” The letter is titled Scriptural account of creation believable. An icon below the headline will take you to the newspaper’s comments feature.

We don’t use a letter-writer’s full name unless he’s a politician, preacher, or other public figure, but there’s no problem this time. The author is Henry F. Koch, described as “Retired Lutheran pastor.” Excerpts from his letter will be enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary and some bold font for emphasis. Here we go!

Without claiming scientific expertise, but operating with the principles of logic and the scientific “modus operandi,” here is why Christians can accept the Scriptural account of creation and reject the evolutionary theory of origins. Though Christians may be accounted gullible for believing the Bible, they can point to two things common to every rational person.

Oh boy — we’ve been looking for this. The rev tells us:

First: “Every house is built by someone, but he that made all things is God,” [scripture reference]. The first part of that statement is surely logical. The fact that it happens to be a quotation found in Holy Scripture should not make it unacceptable.

The rev is correct. Every house is built by someone. Let’s read on:

The conclusion, the second part of the statement just says, as someone has to make as little a thing as a house, it’s unlikely the world made itself.

Uh … okay. The rev spoke of two things he has in common with every rational person. That was number one. He continues:

There is a second absolute that the Scriptural viewpoint is also very scientific, i.e. observable.

We hope it’s more scientific than his conclusion that someone built the world. Here it comes:

Every one notices those urges to do something wrong, and every one has those reminders that they’ve done some things that were wrong. And the daily news tell us evil exists everywhere. History says it was there in the past and is very likely to be there in the future.

Yes, we’ve all noticed that evil exists. Where is this going, and how does it prove creationism? The rev doesn’t keep us waiting:

That universal presence of evil is the second absolute that indicates Scripture is right when it teaches, “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” [Scripture reference omitted.]

Huh? Evil is proof of scripture? That means it’s also proof of creationism? And God too? But given that God is all powerful and good, the problem of evil is one of the biggest difficulties for theology. How does the rev handle that? He concludes with this:

Evolution has no explanation for the presence of evil. “Survival of the fittest” is no basis for morality, for saying some things are right, some things are wrong.

That’s it? So it seems. Well, what did you expect?

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15 responses to “Creationist Wisdom #534: Proof of Creationism

  1. I thought Slartibartfast made the world. Or at least the fjords. Or was it the mice?

  2. It’s no wonder this guy’s retired, and probably not of his own volition, either.
    All one can say after reading that is, “HUH?”

  3. Well that’s all the proof I need.

  4. “Evolution has no explanation for the presence of evil. ‘Survival of the fittest’ is no basis for morality, for saying some things are right, some things are wrong.”

    Actually, the rev is wrong. Evolutionary biologists have done some fascinating work on the evolution of morality and how certain basics turn out to be pro-survival in a Darwinian sense.

    But he’d probably reject this work, coming as it does from studies of animal behavior, since “everyone knows” that animals have no morality and that therefore saying that humans have evolved from animals means human beings have no basis for morality. I’m reminded of a quote attributed to Will Rogers: “It’s not what he doesn’t know that bothers me, it’s what he knows for sure that just ain’t so.”

  5. Derek Freyberg

    And, though it’s irrelevant to the retired rev’s maunderings, Manitowoc may be “dwelling of the great spirit”, but its “great spirit” is not JC.
    By the way, SC, elegant punctuation, with the quote closed after the period.

  6. Charles Deetz ;)

    Don’t most creationist make the argument that ‘survival of the fittest’ is evolution’s reason for evil? Yet this guy goes the exact opposite, that it isn’t sufficient. Or I am I misreading what he wrote?

  7. Charles, I think you read him right.

  8. Dave Luckett

    As is usual with creationists, the Rev’s theology is as wonky as his science. Only humans can do evil, scripture says, for only humans have acquired the knowledge of it. (Jesus implied that even then a lack of knowledge is grounds for forgiveness.) Animals and natural events are innocent, therefore, not evil, no matter what they do.

    It must follow that evil is not some quality present in the universe, but a description of (some) wilful acts of human beings. It’s not a thing in itself. It’s an adjective, not a noun. God created all things, but “evil” is not a thing.

    Thus, because it is not something intrinsic to the Universe, but a qualitative description of some human acts or thoughts, evil itself need not be accounted for by the theory of evolution. How humans came to understand that some acts and thoughts have the quality of evil is another question into which the theory of evolution provides, shall we say, valuable insights, at least. More than “they ate a fruit” does, anyway.

    Incidentally, this line of argument also offers a thin way out of the problem of evil itself, and may – I say may – provide a theodicy. The Rev apparently doesn’t accept this. I can’t imagine why not. His apparent rejection leaves him with a particularly nasty problem. If evil is a thing, and God created all things, then God created evil. How then can God be said to be wholly good?

  9. Isaiah 45:7 (KJV) “I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.”

  10. Dave Luckett

    That’s the KJV for you. Always seeking the dramatic. Most translations have “calamity”, “adversity”, “disaster” or “woe”, or some such. The prophet’s intent seems to be to say that God brings these, but to translate the word Ra’ as “evil” here when even the KJV does not so translate it in other places, seems to bring in the necessary implication of God’s moral indifference. That might fit in Job, but not here. Look at the context, at least from the start of Ch 45.

    God is righteous, says the prophet. He has seen fit to raise up Cyrus, King of Persia, as a corrective for Israel, but this is not evil, although it has brought woe. I would therefore argue that “evil” is not a good rendering of the meaning of the passage.

  11. Dutch Statenvertaling (calvinist)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Statenvertaling

    says

    “Ik formeer het licht, en schep de duisternis; Ik maak den vrede en schep het kwaad, Ik, de Heere, doe al deze dingen.”
    Kwaad translates as evil.

    Dutch Nieuwe Willibrordvertaling (catholic)

    http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Willibrordvertaling

    says

    “die het licht vormt en het donker schept,
    die vrede maakt en onheil schept.
    Ik ben het, de HEER, die al deze dingen doet.”

    According to my dictionary “onheil” translates as disaster, but that’s a bit meek. “Onheil” implies something very bad, as it’s the opposite of “heil”, which is the noun derived from “heilig” ie “holy”. So “onheil” rather means something like “unholiness”, which is definitely not good.

    That’s the two most important Dutch translations. They obviously take sides with the KJV.

  12. Henry F. Kook proclaims that the

    universal presence of evil is the second absolute that indicates Scripture is right when it teaches, “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

    …But…but…wait a minute! The Creationists of the Disco’Tute endlessly proclaim that the origin of all evil is Darwinism!

    e.g. No Darwin, no Hitler. No Darwin, no menacing panhandling loafers in Seattle. No Darwin, no heartbreak of psoriasis. No Darwin, no [fill in mal du jour here], &c. &c. ad nauseum

  13. The good rev needs to take a logic class. He postulates a statement that everyone agrees is true, then draws a conclusion from that which has no relationship with the statement he began with.

    This reminds me of the DI’s attempt at logic, where they state that
    (a) humans build complicated functional things,
    (b) the cell is a complicated functional thing,
    (c) therefore god.
    (I’m paraphrasing, but that’s the argument for ID distilled to its essence)

    No one rivals Ken Ham’s argument defending the validity of circular logic, but this guy is close.

  14. Ed says: “The good rev needs to take a logic class.”

    His syllogism is: “This proposition in scripture is true, therefore everything else is true.” But that also works in reverse: “This proposition is false, therefore …”

  15. I think that fundamentalists do use that reverse argument:
    If such-and-such is not true, then everything else is not true.
    Or its equivalent:
    If anything in the Bible is true, then such-and-such is true.
    For example, they may point to a certain historical reference being true as proof of the truth of all. (As if the truth that there was an American Civil War War of Northern Aggression means that everything else in “Gone With The Wind” is true.)
    Or:
    If the Flood is not true, then Salvation is not true.