Creationist Wisdom #616: Letter from Swaziland

We usually don’t stray far from Europe and the English-speaking countries for amusement, because although other cultures often provide anti-scientific letters and articles, their approach to these issues is … well, it’s too unfamiliar. But we’ll make an exception here.

Today’s letter-to-the-editor appears in the Times Of Swaziland, the oldest newspaper in the Kingdom of Swaziland. It’s titled WHERE DID WHITES COME FROM? The newspaper has a comments feature.

We don’t like to embarrass people (unless they’re politicians, preachers, or other public figures), but we probably don’t have many readers in Swaziland so our customary discretion isn’t necessary here. The letter-writer is Qalakaliboli Dlamini. According to Wikipedia, Dlamini is a common surname in Swaziland and neighboring parts of South Africa. It is not only the name of today’s letter-writer, but also the name of the name of reigning royal family of Swaziland. We’ll give you a few excerpts from his letter, enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary and some bold font for emphasis. Here we go!

The discovery of bones that belonged to an ape, which has been christened `Homo Naledi’ at the cradle of humankind in South Africa has sparked renewed debate. There is a serious conflict of ideas concerning the discovery, such that it has exposed a conflict between science and history.

We’ve seen hundreds of letters about conflicts between science and religion, but this is the first one about a scientific conflict with history. This should be good. Here’s what we’re told about the history problem:

History tells us that these areas were inhibited by the Khoisan, Bushmen and pygmies before the great southwards migration of the 1400s. Now knowing that from history, we learn that the Dlamini travelled from East Africa together with other Nguni tribes during the 1400s, science then comes to tell us that the bones which are over 2.5 million years old, belonged to our ancestors. How then can Homo Naledi be our ancestor when we were not even in these parts of the continent?

Good question! Hey — there’s no historical record that the Curmudgeon family ever lived in that part of the world, so how could we be related to Homo Naledi? Let’s read on:

We should also understand that the Bushmen, Khoisan and Pygmies were very short people yet the bones discovered were of a more gigantic figure. Once again, this disputes the fact that Homo Naledi could have been human or an ancestor of any of the Nguni or Khoisan people. Allow me to say that there is more hogwash than truth in what the Wits University scientists are trying to make us believe. I will say it here and now, Homo Naledi or any ape species for that matter, is no ancestor of mine!

Can’t argue with that! He continues:

I totally dispute the scientific (Charles Darwin’s) theory of evolution. Charles Darwin (1809-1882) was an atheist who wanted to dispute that God existed, so he devised a unifying theory to explain where living things came from. Buying into the Darwin’s theory has always been reserved for racists and those who are less gifted in the mental department.

He’s talking about you, dear reader. Here’s more:

Let us take a closer look at Darwin’s theory. If Africans evolved from monkeys or apes – then where did white people evolve from?

Wow — good question! Moving along:

If evolution was a fact, that means some black people would have already evolved to being white. So, if humans are now on wifi, monkeys must be on analogue telephones and since humans are now flying to the moon, baboons must be making mud houses.

Yeah — why aren’t baboons making mud houses? Another excerpt:

What is even more disturbing about the theory of evolution is that it has totally failed to prove what came first between the chicken and egg!

Aha — yet another weakness of evolution has been exposed! Skipping a bit, we come to the end of the letter:

I am living proof of a superior intelligence that can never be compared or equalled by animals. God created animals and created humans in his image. Evolution is just nothing more than a figment of imaginative minds trying to dispute God. It is also a racist stunt.

It would seem that American creationists could learn a lot from Mr. Dlamini. Your Curmudgeon is therefore pleased to give his letter the prominence it deserves.

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

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16 responses to “Creationist Wisdom #616: Letter from Swaziland

  1. Charles Darwin (1809-1882) was an atheist who wanted to dispute that God existed

    For someone who claims to know history, Dlamini seems remarkably ignorant of it. Too much to expect him to read a biography of Darwin, I suppose.

  2. “I am living proof of a superior intelligence that can never be compared or equalled by animals.” Apparently Mr. superior intelligence is unaware he is an animal and an ape to boot. It’s nice to know that m’ fellow ‘mericans are not the only nitwits in the world!

  3. Mr. Dlamini’s letter helps explain what I’ve been hearing from government officials in several of the African nations. In the past they had been very welcoming of American missionaries for many reasons, including their invaluable assistance to schools in remote villages with everything from much needed used books for establishing libraries to adult literacy programs. Unfortunately, in the last ten years or so there has been a huge uptick in “creation science” propaganda entering the country through those very same programs. Many of those cultures have for a long time struggled against anti-science sentiments which are promoted by “witch doctors/healers” and tribal leaders who fear a loss of power (and income). Conspiracy theory thinking regularly works people into a frenzy and makes them resistant towards much needed vaccinations, improvements in public drinking water supplies, and many other important products of science. Then here comes the American missionaries—-along with truck loads of Answers in Genesis “science textbooks” telling them that science is controlled by evil atheists who preach The Theory of Evolution, an invention of demons. In cultures where daily life still depends on appeasing a complex universe of good and bad “spirits”, the Ken Ham propaganda campaign against “atheistic science” finds a very fertile soil.

    One American-educated, cabinet member told me that he is trying to limit the damage of such textbooks by working out a scheme to distribute them equally to the country’s libraries so that there aren’t enough of them in any one school system such that they use the books as science textbooks. (That is, for example, if 25 copies of a Dr. Jay Wile science science textbook from AIG go to a school, they will get used as the official science textbook for the 9th graders. But if they can divide the shipments among as many school systems as possible, they will be treated as just another library book and/or perhaps a take-home reading book in the adult education programs.)

    That same fellow told me that he has to tread very lightly because the Prime Minister has been sucked into the “creation science” bandwagon and it helps him win support from the influential church pastors and the people they lead. Therefore, the “Dept of Education” is now basically expected to help Ken Ham take control of science education in the country. Thus, the cabinet secretary is in a lose-lose situation.

    I’ve started asking my linguist colleges and various translators around the world if they are seeing this as a growing problem. About half said yes. (In no way was my survey carefully conducted. It is little more than miscellaneous anecdotal reports.) One even reported hundreds of “Big Daddy?” chick tracts. One lady told me that any AIG materials that are colorfully geared for children, especially the comic book formats, are as popular as candy. In societies where people have very little, people will sometimes stand in long lines or wait for hours, even without knowing what will be given away.

    Thus, “creation science” has become an American-made “virus” sent into various countries to destroy science education and to cripple public policy .

  4. Professor Tertius says:

    Many of those cultures have for a long time struggled against anti-science sentiments which are promoted by “witch doctors/healers” and tribal leaders who fear a loss of power (and income).

    That’s exactly the kind of culture that would readily accept creationism. Hambo should have settled there instead of Kentucky. But Kentucky has worked out rather well for him.

  5. Why is it not understood that that is precisely the sort of American colonialism, propagated by the heirs of the original colonialists, who are trying to keep these people subjugated? They certainly are not friendly to the indigenous cultures!

  6. History tells us that these areas were inhibited by the Khoisan, Bushmen and pygmies before the great southwards migration of the 1400s. Now knowing that from history, we learn that the Dlamini travelled from East Africa together with other Nguni tribes during the 1400s, science then comes to tell us that the bones which are over 2.5 million years old, belonged to our ancestors. How then can Homo Naledi be our ancestor when we were not even in these parts of the continent?

    Leave aside the fact that scientists do not say that Homo naledi was actually a direct ancestor of modern humans instead of simply a collateral branch of our family tree. The fact that “history tells us” where our ancestors were a few centuries, or even a few millennia, ago doesn’t mean it pins down where our ancestors of millions of years go were.

    The rest of this letter boils down to an African version of “I ain’t no kin to no monkey,” with a dash of racial resentment thrown in.

  7. Eric Lipps says:

    The rest of this letter boils down to an African version of “I ain’t no kin to no monkey,” with a dash of racial resentment thrown in.

    Oh yeah? What about the chicken and the egg problem? Huh? Huh?

  8. Oh yeah? What about the chicken and the egg problem? Huh? Huh?

    Until we can find a transitional fossil between egg and chicken I think we can safely assume that evolution is just another belief system.

  9. ” If Africans evolved from monkeys or apes – then where did white people evolve from?”

    I was thinking about this very same problem for evolution just the other day. If Chihuahuas evolved from wolves, where did German Shepherds come from? Answer that you big brained scientists!

  10. How sad to consider America’s long legacy in harming so many aboriginal cultures. Just think of our many harmful exports:

    (1) TheWeek has an article about cigarette consumption in the USA may be heading to near zero by 2050—but elsewhere in the world our cigarette companies have replaced lost revenue with skyrocketing sales in many developing nations. [By the way, I think I saw the statistic that 10% of China’s federal revenue is from cigarette taxes!]

    (2) Alcoholic beverage sales to Native Americans.

    (3) MacDonald’s, Coca-Cola, and other junk foods have helped developing nations begin to emulate our knack for obesity (even childhood obesity) and diabetes and you name it. Some might blame us for baby formula sales where mother’s milk is best but we probably share the blame with European companies like Nestle.(??)

    (4) Military weapons.

    5) Science De-Educational materials from Ken Ham, Kent Hovind, Jay Wile, Ray Comfort (specializing in brain damaging videos) and many others.**

    6) Chick Tracts
    (Also known as Creation Science Distance Learning Program. The tract Big Daddy? is worth 3 credits. That’s just 2 credits short of “earning” the same Ph.D. that made Dr. Kent Hovind the ex-con that he is today.)

    I didn’t list the Discovery Institute within the #5 nor did I number Intelligent Design rubbish as an export category of its own because I’ve not heard any of my international contacts mention any problems with tankers of D.I. drool sailing into their ports. If pressed to explain The Dishonesty Institute’s failure to make major headway in the countries where thousands of Ken Ham’s newest devotees bow to the west six times daily*** (they pray facing Petersburg, KY, home of the Creation Museum) is because IDism lacks the necessary legalism and hyper-literalism of YECism and doesn’t in any way depend on God and the Bible at all. (Indeed, the “wink wink” gesture is too subtle to make the cross-cultural jump.)

    Considering how there are so many Young Earth Creationist “creation science” websites cropping up all over the Internet and there are still so many countries of the world yet to have “YEC troops on the ground”, so to speak, spreading the YECist message. I wonder if Ken Ham has ever considered creating a kind of international franchising package which could be purchased by the budding young YECist along with an exclusive territory.****

    Of course, Qalakaliboli Dlamini may already have the Swaziland marketing exclusive all sewn up for himself—complete with the late night infomercial promoting the complete Ken Ham’s The Sixty Seconds YECist training series along with the Ark Park Propaganda Back-to-Back Bonus Back-Pack or Your Money-Back Pack. And if viewers call within the next 40 days and 40 nights, they get, as a special thank you, Ken Ham’sNoah’s Ark Ant Farm Ark Park. (The kit comes with an empty 2-liter soda bottle and one sugar packet. Add some sand. Then the sugar. Pour in a little water and then let it sit overnight with the bottle cap off. By morning you’ll have lots of ants.)

    Yes, set up and run your own Ant Farm Judgement Day for Sinners Ark Park. Declare some commandments and just watch those little rebels do there own thing instead. For a more life-like ark park, you can even add a completed ark. (The filter portion of a cigarette butt works quite nicely.) Then give those little suckers all the warnings you feel like given ’em. Then, when their time is up, just place the bottle opening under a dripping faucet and watch those little sinners run!
    _____________________________
    FOOTNOTES:
    ** America’s top two origins-industry entrepreneurs are imports from down under: Ken Ham from Australia and Ray Comfort from New Zealand. There surely must be something significant about that but I don’t know what it would be. Perhaps it’s the accents?? I will certainly say that the original Ray Comfort video where he explained how the banana is allegedly “the atheist’s nightmare” wouldn’t have been quite the same had the nonsense been delivered by a BBC broadcast bulletin. However, Ray can sound just as silly in print. One of my personal favorites was the time on a Facebook thread when Ray Comfort got angry at his atheist opponent because Ray thought the guy had committed blaspheme by crafting the word bibliophile. No, Ray was not making a clever joke. He actually thought a bibliophilewas a particularly vile type of pervert who takes inappropriate liberties, one might say, and has carnal knowledge with a Bible. [Somehow, I’m absolutely certain that Ray imagined it a King James Bible, not a modern “liberal” translation which in Ray’s mind actually surely encourages that sort of thing!] However, to his credit, Ray apologized when the opponent explained how and why the word explains itself: a lover of books. Even so, it takes a special kind of extreme sanctification—as well as a fifth-grade reading level—to make a perverse sexual act one’s first guess, right, Ray?

    *** Hamites bow and pray toward Petersburg six times daily to outdo the Muslims who pray toward Mecca five times daily. Hamites also share in common with Muslims their own Five Pillars of Hamite YECism. The Fifth Pillar of YECism is, of course, the Bodie Hodge: Every able-bodied Hamite has as his holy duty the obligation to make at least one pilgrimage to the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky.

    **** Not a lot of people noticed but the Discovery Institute tried their own franchise scheme of a sort. They tried to get students to organize “ID clubs” or whatever on their school campuses. To my knowledge, none really got off the ground. Much like an actual Scientific Theory of Intelligent Design, it never really got off the ground either.

  11. Hambo should have settled there instead of Kentucky.

    My sediments [sic] exactly.

    That’s an inside joke which some of the ex-YECs from the 1960’s will recognize. Rockers had Woodstock. YECist “creation scientists” had the Billy Sunday Tabernacle at Winona Lake, complete with Moody Science Films! I hadn’t thought about them in ages–so I did a Google search and sure enough you can order the complete film series of 19 DVDs on Amazon, where all 28 reviews are five-star! At $118, you know they are all top-flight.

    http://www.amazon.com/Moody-Science-Classics-19-DVD-Set/dp/B000V73BBM

    Frankly, just like every other “educational film” from the 1960’s, they’re loaded with cheese. The Moody films actually started in the 1950’s and were still made in the early 1970’s, I think. And they came complete with their own kind of “Mr. Wizard” who was always running experiments. Of course, no educational film on science from those days would be possible without a Vandegraff generator. In fact, no matter what the topic, any demonstration of science in the 1950’s had to have a Vandegraff generator. I remember taking the kids to the Oak Ridge National Laboratory Visitor’s Center (or something like that) for an exciting demonstration of nuclear power! Yes, the theme was “Atoms for peace and a brighter tomorrow!” and a light bulb came on. (Yeah, it was all pretty lame like that.) But the cartoon illustrating radioisotopes and chain-reactions kept things upbeat because there was no mention of bombs or Hiroshima cancers which were getting more and more news coverage back then. Yeah, there seemed to be some surprise that dropping an atomic bomb on people really wasn’t all that good for them in the long run either. But the cartoon culminated in electrons racing to power your home—and not needing a power meter because the power was too darn cheap to bother charging anybody!

    Yet, when the cartoon was over, the host had to crank up the Vandegraff generator and have a young girl with straight blonde hair hold his hand while he lighted the light bulb that was in his mouth and while her hair did a Medusa impersonation. I still don’t know what any of that had to do with atomic power. But I mention all of this because the same kind of schtick was in the Moody Science Films. My guess is that they tried to provide an even balance of good science while they would grit their teeth and explain some bad science —and the bad science was always The Theory of Evolution and millions of years of dead things

    Truly, many of the films were reasonably excellent for the era: good, wholesome, look at the beauty of Creation stuff, complete with scripture annotations. But for collectors of early YECist Americana, this series should prove a gold mine. Remember: In 1962, “Radiometric dating is bad!” was cutting edge stuff! (Nobody had even said, “Were you there?” yet) Those were the days before hundreds of cable TV channels and the need for production companies to fill huge blocks of air-time on the Discovery Channel. Heck, there wasn’t even that cheesy In Search of documentary series with a very embarrassed Leonard Nimoy having to read questionable script that was carefully worded so as to avoid admitting that the “theory” they just dramatized wasn’t worth crap. (Of course, just about every episode was about Big Foot, UFOs, Atlantis, Cryptozoology, Tesla, live dinosaurs, and buried treasures.)

    But look at this. I found the same films as part of a Psycho Science from the Moody Institute film festival of a sort in San Francisco:

    http://oddballfilms.blogspot.com/2012/12/psycho-science-from-moody-institute.html

    Who would have thought that those humble beginnings of “creation science” would grow to become a national embarrassment and a major export?

    So, tell me: Does anybody remember the old Oak Ridge Visitor Center with the cheesy P.R. campaign of “Your Federal Tax Dollars At Work!”

  12. @ProfTert

    One of my personal favorites was the time on a Facebook thread when Ray Comfort got angry at his atheist opponent because Ray thought the guy had committed blaspheme by crafting the word bibliophile.

    Do you have a URL for this exchange? I’d be ever so grateful, if so.

  13. Science can only ever explain the theories and hope the education system is capable of passing them onto the students. Creationists try to argue in a roundabout way that the theory of evolution can’t explain the fact of creation, along the way making assumptions that, although not capable of standing up to scientific criticism, makes perfect sense to anyone with a superstitious mind. It’s not surprising that the likes of Dlamini considers the chicken and the egg nonsense to be a Darwinian show-stopper, making the theory self-evidently foolish supposition. It seems disproof of creation is the only evidence they’ll consider as valid support for evolution.

  14. chicken or egg
    I remember as a child when an elderly relative of mine in a joking way introduced me to the age-old conundrum of the chicken or the egg. I immediately offered my solution: that the chicken was a descended from a non-chicken which laid eggs. Obviously, this was not acceptable to my elderly relative, and I didn’t understand why she was disturbed in dismissing my solution, when she had been lighthearted about the subject. Only some time later did I realize that there were people who didn’t like evolution.

  15. Realthog is curious: “Do you have a URL for this exchange?”
    Despite me not being Third Prof I’ll be happy to receive his gratitude for me googling “Ray Comfort bibliophile” and clicking the second link.

    http://www.michaelnugent.com/2013/03/31/ray-comfort-is-upset-at-being-called-a-bibliophile/

  16. @mnb0

    Oodles of gratitude!

    More oodles.

    Even more oodles than that!