Creationist Wisdom #569: Say “No” to Science

Today’s letter-to-the-editor appears in the Spectrum, published in Cedar City, Utah. It’s titled Secularism has no place in education.

Yes, dear reader, that’s a spectacular title. It’s difficult to believe, but the letter is equal to it. This is one of the better ones in our series. An icon below the headline gets you to the newspaper’s comments section.

Because the writer isn’t a politician, preacher, or other public figure, we won’t embarrass or promote her by using her full name. Her first name is Donna. Excerpts from her letter will be enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary and some bold font for emphasis. Here we go!

l. The Constitution doesn’t authorize federal involvement in Education, period.

2. You say “science is not religion” but a Godless explanation of life IS the religion of Secularism.

Yes, that’s how she starts, with two numbered points. Her first point is correct — except for specialized situations like military training. As for her second point, well, we don’t need to say anything. Then she tells us:

Everyone has faith in something; either a Designer worldview or one that attempts explanation without God. Just don’t call that science!

Okay, Donna. Everything is religion. Happy? Let’s read on:

Our inability to explain a phenomena [sic] does not disprove it’s [sic] reality: “the absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence.”

That quote is usually attributed to Carl Sagan, and it’s often misused. It’s technically correct that if no evidence has yet been discovered to support an hypothesis, that doesn’t literally disprove the hypothesis (“conjecture” is a better word in this context), but until some verifiable, unambiguous evidence is presented, the idea can’t be taken seriously. Donna continues:

The NGSS [a reference to the evolution-friendly Next Generation Science Standards] mixes few facts with mostly environmentalism and nature worship, or Secular religion: explaining the universe without God. So much for “science is not religion.”

Yeah, so much for that! Now Donna gives us two more of her famous numbered points:

3. Evolution is a theory perpetrated as fact; while Scientist Michael Behe (National Academy of Science) says : “Life shows powerful measurable evidence of a Designer.” Why is his research rejected? I thought “science” included the “scientific method.” What a double standard.

Michael Behe is a member of the National Academy of Sciences? We searched, but couldn’t find his name listed. Well, phooey on them! Behe is a Discoveroid senior fellow. Moving along:

4. Evolution from apes, global warming, people’s destructive impact on the earth, and the implication for de-population, are taught as facts, not theories. The “fact versus faith” premise is misleading when “facts” are cherry-picked, while research that disproves an agenda is rejected. It takes “faith” to believe the Secular religion labeled as “science.”

Words fail us. And now we come to the stunning climax of the letter:

The statist religion of Secularism has NO PLACE in our education system.

There’s nothing we can say, dear reader. We’ll leave that to you.

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

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16 responses to “Creationist Wisdom #569: Say “No” to Science

  1. “Life shows powerful measurable evidence of a Designer.” Why is his research rejected?

    Could it be that Behe has never offered any honest example of the claimed “measurable examples”? Possibly we are left to assume Behe would gladly tell you he is correct and that should be enough of a verification standard for us all.(1)

    (1) Me, I am correct – 2015

    two can play at that game

  2. anevilmeme

    Science by definition cannot prove if there is or is not a God. What science does do is make religions, their texts and traditions look pretty stupid.

    Since Donna and her ilk, seem to worship the Bible and not God showing them where the Bible is wrong pushes them over the edge.

  3. Ah, Dean — you beat me to it. “Measurable examples”? Ha! Maybe Donna thinks we can quantify the rapture imparted by the Holy Ghost.

    And Donna, evolution is not a theory. It is an observable fact that life has changed over time. That’s the definition of evolution. What is theory is what causes evolution. Darwin’s idea is that natural selection is responsible.

    In his treatise On the Origin of Species, Darwin said nothing about how life itself originated. He definitely did not say life originated without the hand of God. His theory of natural selection, which was based solely on his many observations, outlines clearly and and logically how species diverge and branch off due to various environmental pressures.

    Donna, if you want people to take seriously what you have to say, do some legitimate study of the subject first, rather than merely parroting the same debunked talking points you happened to read on some creationist website.

  4. anevilmeme said:
    Since Donna and her ilk, seem to worship the Bible and not God showing them where the Bible is wrong pushes them over the edge.

    Good point!!

  5. I can’t comment at the source of this letter, because I don’t (and never will) have a facebook account. If I could comment, here’s what I’d say.

    Donna Williams,

    I think you are mistaken in your faith.

    As far as I can tell, gods are fictional characters, like vampires and werewolves and superheroes. As far as I can see, gods are not real.

    If I said, “Apples are not real,” you could say, “Here, have some pie.” If I said, “Zebras are not real,” you could take me to the zoo. You could, in principle, show me how to detect not only apples and zebras, but also everything else that is real, from cosmic rays to the Higgs boson.

    Why can’t you do that with gods?

    Isn’t it the same reason you cannot do it with vampires or werewolves or superheroes?

    You want creationism taught in schools. OK. All you need to do is to demonstrate the reality of your creator gods. Then get back to us.

  6. The writer discredits herself in many ways, including her version of the “evolution is just a theory” creationist trope. It’s entirely possible for something to be both a fact and a theory: in the case of evolution, the phenomenon is a fact supported by mountains of evidence, while the theory attempts to use those facts not just to support evolution but to explain how it works. Alternative theories of evolution existed before Darwin, most notably that of Lamarck, but proved inadequate; Darwin’s did not, though it has been greatly elaborated upon.

  7. @RSG proclaims: “And Donna, evolution is not a theory.”
    Actually it’s OK to say that evolution is a theory and not a fact. The way philosophy of science defines terms has zero impact on the content of science. The problem is inconsistency. If evolution is a theory then so are gravity and electricity. Tell this a creacrapper and the reactions can be highly amusing – especially if you add that evolution is a more successfull theory than both gravity and electricity.
    Note: my personal view is that evolution, gravity and electricity are neither theories nor facts. They are abstract concepts, which are part of excellent theories, used to correctly describe a wide range of empirical data. But this view is not better or worse than any other: what matters is consistency. And of course that’s the big problem with creacrap.

  8. Donna proclaims

    The statist religion of Secularism has NO PLACE in our education system.

    Spoken like a true jihadi fundamentalist! Doubtless, this was the precise sentiment of the religous extremists who shot Malala Yousafzai

  9. Dave Luckett

    This writer would march in lockstep with Boko Haram.

  10. Unfortunately, the Curmudgeon’s site rules prevent me from expressing what my reaction to Donna’s collection of nonsense really is. And other readers have already pointed out many of her errors. I’ll just add a couple minor points.
    1. (That’s for you, Donna) It’s not Michael Behe’s research that is rejected. He’s a biochemist, and he has many published research papers on biochemistry. It’s his opinions about design and evolution, about which he has apparently done no research, that are rejected and ignored by people who actually work on evolution, including members of his own department. (Full disclosure: that’s the department from which I received my PhD in biology long ago).
    2. (Hi again, Donna) I was going to writing something similar to what phhht said before I got here, so I refer you to that comment. Get back to me when you’ve got some evidence for your invisible unicorns or gods.
    3. (Finally, Donna) As retiredsciguy said, people would take you more seriously if your writing showed you actually knew something about the subject.

  11. @mnbo

    IMHO, evolution is a process, something that happens in the world of life, the changes in hereditary properties in populations of living things, something that we can see happening and measure.
    IMHO, when people see the expression “the theory of evolution”, they mistake that as a reference to evolution, the theory (that is, that an appositive, like “the month of May”).
    But IMHO it is an expression more like “the theory of flight” – flight is something that happens and there is a theory about that process.

  12. Mike McCants

    Under point 4:

    “fact versus faith”

    That might make a really good title for a book! Perhaps Jerry Coyne will write a book with a similar title! And he has:

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0670026530/

    Faith Versus Fact: Why Science and Religion Are Incompatible
    Hardcover – May 19, 2015
    by Jerry A. Coyne (Author)

  13. She said…It takes “faith” to believe the Secular religion labeled as “science.”
    So she is implying that faith is not very good as it leads us to believe something wrong, and she uses faith to believe??? And of course she can’t be wrong???

  14. michaelfugate

    Postmodernism has invaded theology big time – just ask Steve Fuller.

  15. @TomS: as you’re totally consistent I am totally OK. But this

    “when people see the expression “the theory of evolution”, they mistake that as a reference to evolution, the theory”
    is not my personal experience. I suspect because I’m consistent as well.

  16. @mnbo:

    I find no other explanation for someone saying, “evolution is a theory”.

    You agree with me that evolution is not a theory. (You say that e. is a concept, I say that it is a process. We can fight that out later.) So why do people say that it is a theory? My explanation is that it is a mistake in grammatical analysis, to take “the theory of evolution” as an appositive genitive (like “the city of New York”, “the sin of pride”), rather than like “the theory of DC circuits”, “the theory of music”, or “the theory of the Earth”.