Creationist Wisdom #541: Truth Doesn’t Change

Today’s letter-to-the-editor appears in the Daily Republic of Fairfield, California. It’s titled Truth does not change. 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 The Rev. Art Zacher, pastor of the Berean Baptist Church in Fairfield.. Excerpts from the rev’s letter will be enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary and some bold font for emphasis. Here we go!

How does one determine truth from error? The March 2015 cover story of National Geographic features “The War on Science.” This issue suggested that those who disagree with their current views of “science” are ignorant and uneducated.

The rev is talking about this: Why Do Many Reasonable People Doubt Science?, which was the March cover story. It must have hurt the rev’s feelings, because then he says:

Does science really have all the answers? Perhaps true science does, but often false science is used as a trump card. The Bible warns in 1 Timothy 6:20, “O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called.” Science is rarely settled. Often what is taught as true in one generation is discarded by the next.

You know where this is going. The rev likes his “science” to have all the answers, and he wants those answers to be be eternally true. Let’s read on:

Consider for a moment the 1925 Scopes Monkey Trial that occurred in Dayton, Tennessee, where the validity of evolution was debated. Interestingly enough, all the scientific evidence used in that trial to support evolution and was strongly promoted by scientists at that time has been discredited.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! The validity of evolution was not debated at the Scopes Trial. It was such a biased affair that Clarence Darrow wasn’t allowed to present any evidence for evolution. Wikipedia says Darrow “brought in eight experts on evolution. But other than Dr. Maynard Metcalf, a zoologist from Johns Hopkins University, the judge would not allow these experts to testify in person. Instead, they were allowed to submit written statements so that their evidence could be used at the appeal.”

Your Curmudgeon has a transcript of the trial. We read Metcalf’s testimony — during which the jury was excluded from the courtroom. Most of it was a review of his education and employment. He wasn’t allowed to present any evidence for evolution. He was barely allowed to define evolution, and he couldn’t discuss its acceptance among scientists, because that was objected to as hearsay. Nevertheless, the rev gives a long list of evidence he claims was presented at the trial, including: Neanderthal Man, Piltdown Man, Nebraska Man, Haeckel’s drawings, peppered moth color changes, and vestigial organs. Regarding that list, the rev claims that:

All these proofs were believed by many of the scientists of that day as irrefutable evidence of evolution. Of course, this doesn’t disprove evolution, but it certainly doesn’t help the claim of “settled science.” It does show that this so-called “science,” though believed by many, was based on misinterpreted data, outright fraud and wishful thinking.

It would take pages to respond to that, and it’s not worth the bother. Anyway, none of those things were used as evidence in the Scopes trial. The rev continues:

Truth is not determined by majority consensus. This principle holds whether it is in the discipline of science or of morals. The Bible claims to be the truth. Jesus said in John 17:17, “Thy word is truth.” If one rejects the Bible as the source of truth, all sorts of problems arise, such as this: Where does truth come from?

Jeepers, without his bible, the rev wouldn’t know anything. Your Curmudgeon is always a gentleman, so we won’t say that even with his bible, the rev — no, we won’t say it. Here’s more from the rev’s letter:

Without absolute truth, you drift toward absolute chaos.

Wow — if it’s not one absolute it’s another, and the rev is trying to save us from chaos. What a great guy! Moving along, the rev has some suggestions for determining the truth — and none of them is even remotely related to the scientific method:

When considering hot-button issues such as abortion, global warming, nontraditional “marriage” or evolution, my first suggestion is, follow the money. If someone has financial incentives to lie, their testimony is unreliable.

The only reliable truth comes from the unemployed. Wait — the rev is employed, and his livelihood depends on his claim that he’s got the truth. So can we trust him? This is confusing, but that was only the rev’s first suggestion. He has three more:

Second, if a position is strong, there is no reason to lie or mislead by tampering with the data. Third, those who intentionally lie or mislead cannot be trusted – period.

If we follow those two suggestions, then no creationist can be trusted. Here’s number four:

Fourth and most important, if a theory contradicts the Bible, you can be sure it is wrong.

That’s a good one! This is the rev’s final paragraph:

Nothing from archeology, history or ancient documents has ever been able to sustain questions concerning the validity and the integrity of the Bible. The Bible can weather the storm. Truth does not change. It stands forever.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! The rev’s statement is confined to archeology, history, and ancient documents. Even that limited claim is dubious, but somehow he left out biology, geology, physics, and astronomy. Oh, wait — they contradict the bible, so they’re worthless. Great letter, rev!

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

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18 responses to “Creationist Wisdom #541: Truth Doesn’t Change

  1. Since Fairfield, California was my hometown my first 35 years of life, I posted a comment to that letter on its page. At least my new hometown of Roseburg is the home of the founder of the Flying Spaghetti Monster even if there are a lot of people in this town who are also badly misinformed about evolution and have stupid opinions about it.

  2. The good rev says “Nothing from archeology, history or ancient documents has ever been able to sustain questions concerning the validity and the integrity of the Bible”.

    Clearly, he hasn’t read much archeology. A short list of findings by archaeologists that differ from the bible stories includes: the Israelites were never slaves in Egypt; the Exodus never happened; Jericho was destroyed before Joshua got there; none of the civilizations around at the time of the great flood noticed they’d been drowned; there’s no evidence the Temple of Solomon existed.

    Yes, rev, the bible really is a collection of bronze age myths, but want to believe them, that’s your privilege.

  3. The so-called reverend wrote, “If someone has financial incentives to lie, their testimony is unreliable.” He has a point. I suspect that Senator James Inhofe is so deep in the pockets of his oil-industry backers that he’ll say anything to deny the fact that the burning of fossil fuels is causing earth’s climate to change.

  4. @Hideo Gump

    Too right about Inhofe. The same applies to a whole stack (geddit?) of GOP politicians. Quite shameful, and our kids — and even the GOPers’ own kids — are going to suffer miserably because of it.

  5. Rev. Zacher’s column has attracted quite a deal of adverse commentary in the, er, comments, some doubtless due to SC’s reportage here, but he’s fighting back!

    You miss the point. The article was on settled science. The point is that if you base your conclusion that evolution, or for that matter any issue on ” facts” that turn out to be false, you have proven nothing. You are believing a faith because you have no facts to base your belief in what you claim to be true. The trial evidence is compelling for anyone to view. Look at the data presented and ask yourself, “How much of this is true?” I think you will find that the evidence presented does not fit current theory of evolution. One must be careful when we claim “settled science”

    Note that sentence: “The trial evidence is compelling for anyone to view.” This is despite several commenters pointing out (as you do) that the evidence he claims was presented at the Scopes Trial was not in fact presented there.

  6. I’d just like to point out that the Bible proof-text (quote mine) about “science falsely so called” is not, obviously, about the discipline of modern science, but seems to be about “gnosis”, or Gnosticism. Gnosticism is often recognized as the first danger to Christianity, which was rife at the time of the Letter to Timothy.
    Ironically, Gnosticism has has traits like creationism.

  7. “Truth is not determined by majority consensus. This principle holds whether it is in the discipline of science or of morals. The Bible claims to be the truth. Jesus said in John 17:17, “Thy word is truth.” If one rejects the Bible as the source of truth, all sorts of problems arise, such as this: Where does truth come from?”
    Or, in other words, there is no truth which is not in the Bible, the “source of truth.” Gee, life must have been interesting before the Bible was written, what with there being no truth anywhere and all.

    “The Bible claims to be the truth,” the Rev tells us, and then demands that we accept that claim on faith. He’d be on sounder ground if he had any actual evidence for it.

  8. “Truth is not determined by majority consensus. This principle holds whether it is in the discipline of science or of morals. The Bible claims to be the truth. Jesus said in John 17:17, “Thy word is truth.” If one rejects the Bible as the source of truth, all sorts of problems arise, such as this: Where does truth come from?”

    Or, in other words, there is no truth which is not in the Bible, the “source of truth.” Gee, life must have been interesting before the Bible was written, what with there being no truth anywhere and all.

    “The Bible claims to be the truth,” the Rev tells us, and then demands that we accept that claim on faith. He’d be on sounder ground if he had any actual evidence for it.

  9. Seems as though the rev is another Liar for Christ.

    On second thought, maybe that’s too harsh. Probably his source for the misinformation about the evidence of evolution presented at the Scopes trial is some creationist book, the author of which is actually the liar.

    At any rate, the rev should restrict his writings to subjects he knows. Clearly, evolution is not one of them.

    So, rev, write about love thy neighbor, turn the other cheek, do unto others as you would have them do unto you, and how we should respect ALL of God’s creatures and love and respect ALL of our brothers and sisters on this planet. If you wish to write about TRUTH, do the research to learn about reality, and THEN write about reality. For truly, reality is the one truth, and science is the means we have developed by which to understand it. The TRUTH of reality never changes; however, our understanding of reality DOES change. Therefore, our body of science changes as we come to a better understanding.

  10. Is there some responsibility that a person assumes when speaking from a position of authority?

  11. I’m not suggesting anyone actually undertake this experiment, but it’s an amusing speculation:

    Take this letter–and a selection of other similar ones from our Curmudgeon’s copious archive in the Creationist Wisdom series–and perform a ‘scan-and-replace’ operation on them, whereby the word ‘Bible’ is substituted with ‘Quran’. Then send the amended text back to the editor of the boondocks journal in which the original first appeared, and find out:

    [1] If they run the piece at all, and if so

    [2] What sort of posts appear on the associated vox populi comments section.

  12. Revver Art Zilcher rolls out a cliché:

    “Truth is not determined by majority consensus.”

    Yes, as Galileo tried to impress upon his detractors. But here’s another cliché for ya to mull over, Rev: “A minority view does not come with a guarantee of truth.” Galileo isn’t celebrated because he held a minority view; he’s celebrated because he could prove that he was right in the face of an adverse majority consensus. We’ve learned quite a few things since that time, and the “lone genius” has become a vanishingly rare figure in science.

  13. Stockholm Syndrome isn’t the correct term but the man’s brain is being held hostage by his religious beliefs.

  14. @Con-Tester
    Moreover, those lone (or not so lone) geniuses who are remembered had an alternative theory. Galileo (and Copernicus and Kepler) did not rest with “somehow, somewhere, Ptolemy is wrong”. The creationists, by contrast, do not tell us what happens in the world of life so that (to take one example) the human body is most like those of chimps and other apes, when there are endless other possibilities. (Why not eyes more like those of insects or octopuses? Or just so many limbs?)

  15. The problem with many religious dims is their FEAR of change.
    Science details change all the time as information is found. ie EGGS bad….5yrs later…eggs OK…..5 more yrs…eggs are sorta OK-maybe…..later???
    But at the same time the religious do accept change if it occurs over very long time….blacks are not human, slavery is OK…..MANY years later…blacks human & slavery bad (at least for some).
    But science and humanism requires thought and work, they prefer to be told what is correct.

  16. @L.Long

    EGGS bad….5yrs later…eggs OK…..5 more yrs…eggs are sorta OK-maybe…..later???

    That’s not been my experience with eggs.

  17. @realthog…I’m speaking from the info given by medical scientist, not my personal experience.

  18. As TomS pointed out, ” and oppositions of science falsely so called.” was talking about Gnosticism. And what amazes me is that their own study Bibles tell them that! That recognition of Gnosticism has been taught in creationist churches ever since the Schofield Bible–perhaps even before that. (It was certainly in their standard commentaries.)