Creationist Wisdom #540: Secret Things

Today’s letter-to-the-editor appears in the Nevada Appeal of Carson City, the capital of Nevada. It’s titled Exposing evolution’s fatal flaws. The newspaper has a comments feature.

Unless the letter-writer is a politician, preacher, or other public figure, we won’t embarrass or promote him by using his full name. But today’s letter is written by Ben Fleming, pastor of Silver Hills Community Church. Excerpts from the rev’s letter will be enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary and some bold font for emphasis. Here we go!

Daniel Dennett, an American philosopher, wrote, “Evolution is a universal acid that dissolves every ethical and moral system it encounters.” The extent evolution is indeed such a “universal acid” helps in explaining our societal decay.

Creationists don’t like Daniel Dennett, the author of Darwin’s Dangerous Idea. That Wikipedia article has a brief section on his universal acid expression. You’ll be shocked — shocked! — to learn that it doesn’t speak of dissolving “every ethical and moral system it encounters.” They quote Dennett as writing: “it eats through just about every traditional concept, and leaves in its wake a revolutionized world-view, with most of the old landmarks still recognizable, but transformed in fundamental ways.”

Okay, Back to the rev’s letter:

Evolution teaches nature selects those organisms which leave more offspring; and the more sexually aggressive a person, the more offspring he would usually produce.

That’s odd. We don’t recall Darwin advocating sexual aggression. Let’s read on:

In addition, Jerry Bergman, in The Darwin Effect, says eugenics — selective breeding and sterilization to create a superior race — which the Nazis adopted and attempted to put into practice, was birthed from evolution. Hitler made it clear in his writings and speeches he believed in evolution and the survival of the fittest. That was why he had millions of so-called “lesser persons” murdered.

That’s absolute garbage. Hitler knew nothing, wrote nothing, and said nothing about Darwin — see Hitler and Darwin. As for eugenics, as we explained in Racism, Eugenics, and Darwin, Darwin specifically rejected the idea. The concept of destroying defective children was practiced in Sparta, and it was Plato who recommended state-supervised selective breeding of children — see The Republic by Plato, Book 5.

The rev isn’t doing very well. Then he describes some of the intellectual horrors he routinely encounters:

Evolution has gripped our world view. Man becomes the center of his existence, and whether or not they admit it, the majority of Christians accept evolution. We Christians do not know why we must reject it. We question how God created man. Is man made in God’s image? Can we honestly believe God created all things in six literal days? Did God actually create something out of nothing, since evolution tells us there must be a “Big Bang?” I had coffee with an agnostic college student who told me, “It’s a fact that all men come from Africa.” He genuinely believes man came from monkeys.

As if that weren’t bad enough, the rev continues with his catalog of horrors:

The Bible tells us God instructed Noah to bring two of every kind of animal into the ark. How could this boat be big enough to hold dinosaurs? If they fit into the ark, how did Noah feed them? What kept them from killing the other animals? Some people conclude the dinosaurs died off before the flood, while some people even discount a great flood. People have so many questions about dinosaurs, and they seldom find sound answers to their questions.

This is terrible! How can the rev respond to such misguided unbelievers? He gives us the answer:

The Bible says in Deuteronomy 29:29, “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the word of this law.” Is it enough to conclude the dinosaurs are one of the secret things of God? Should I not just accept the mystery of the dinosaurs?

Well? Is it enough to accept that such mysteries are “the secret things of God”? The rev concludes by inviting you to his church this Sunday, to hear a speech which will be given by Keaton Halley, a speaker with Creation Ministries International. It sounds like a great opportunity.

If you plan to be in Carson City, Nevada this weekend, and you’re in the mood for some of that ol’ fashioned, down-home, foot-stompin’, hand-clappin’, psalm-singin’, floor-rollin’, rafter-shakin’, old-time creationism, now you know where to find it.

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

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7 responses to “Creationist Wisdom #540: Secret Things

  1. If you do a google search, with quotation marks, on the Dennett misquote (“Evolution is a universal acid that dissolves every ethical and moral system it encounters”), you’ll find this precise corruption of Dennett’s words is a staple of Creationist lying and misrepresentation.

    It’s hard to be certain, but it looks like the original mangler of the words could be Dennis Sewell, in his The Political Gene: How Darwin’s Ideas Changed Politics. Or at least, that’s the source that the hideous Harun Yahya provides in this idiotic article.

    To set the theme of the book, Sewell quoted from Daniel Dennett who wrote that evolution is a “universal acid that dissolves every ethical and moral system it encounters” (p. 8). The extent that evolution is a universal acid that affects, and even explains, societal decay, is covered in detail. Sewell shows that, for some, evolution even explains and justifies rape.

    Note the quotation marks. Article claims this is Sewell directly quoting Dennett, but without checking Sewell’s book itself, I don’t know if Sewell is misquoting Dennett, or Harun Yahya is misquoting Sewell.

    But whoever is misquoting whom, it’s not an innocent error, but a very deliberate lie and distortion. And of course, it’s in that distorted form that it has been taken up and reproduced throughout the dark dungeons of internet Creationia….

  2. It is worthwhile to note that eugenics is based on the belief that nature, left on its own, would lead to deterioration and needs purposeful, intelligent intervention.
    That the creationists agree that change happens within a “kind”, such as “mankind”.
    And the 19th century hymn to creation, “All Things Bright and Beautiful” says
    The rich man in his castle,
    The poor man at his gate,
    He made them, high or lowly,
    And ordered their estate.

    Of course, creationism is not responsible for eugenics. That is only pre-evolutionary commonplace.

  3. michaelfugate

    Keaton is well equipped to discuss science with his degree in graphic design from Judson University (an offshoot of Northern Baptist Theological Seminary) which employs all of two nominal “biologists.”
    http://creation.com/keaton-halley

  4. Well! Now the good citizens of Carson City know where the editors of the Nevada Appeal stand with regard to science and journalistic ethics.

    Not only that, but the letter could be interpreted to be extremely racist. Quoting from Rev. Ben Fleming’s letter:
    “I had coffee with an agnostic college student who told me, ‘It’s a fact that all men come from Africa.’ He genuinely believes man came from monkeys.”

    The rev might have a hard time explaining what he meant by that to the Rev. Al Sharpton.

  5. Of course evolution doesn’t say squat about a Big Bang, since that idea came to the fore about a century after the publication of The Origin of species.

    And don’t you just love how the Reverend deals with what happened to the dinosaurs by calling it “one of the secret things of God”? In other words, I can’t explain it, so it’s a divine mystery, so shut up.

  6. michaelfugate

    It’s not that he can’t explain it – it’s just that he can’t in any rational way without sounding like a complete idiot.

  7. TomS is in a generous mood today:

    “Of course, creationism is not responsible for eugenics.”
    No, but they are responsible for using arguments that totally can be found in Mein Kampf.

    “iron law of Nature–which compels the various species to keep within the definite limits of their own life-forms when propagating and multiplying their kind.”

    “The fox remains always a fox, the goose remains a goose, and the tiger will retain the character of a tiger.”