Creationist Wisdom #707: Scientific Preacher

Today’s letter-to-the-editor appears in the LaGrange Daily News of LaGrange, Georgia. It’s titled Christians don’t believe in science?, and the newspaper has a comments section.

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 we’ve got a preacher. It’s Norm Fields, minister of Church of Christ Northside in LaGrange, Georgia. We’ll give you a few excerpts from rev’s column, enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary, and some bold font for emphasis. Okay, here we go:

I recently saw a Facebook post, with an accompanying video, making the claim that one of the candidates on the ticket in the presidential election this year is, in fact — gasp! — a Creationist. The article was reporting this news as though it was some awful revelation about the candidate that should disqualify him from public office. In one video, a so-called reporter was demanding to the candidate that if he believed in special creation then he didn’t believe in science.

That’s outrageous! The rev explains why:

Evolution, after all, is “established” science, right? Well, actually, no — it is not at all “established” science. There is not one single piece of definitive evidence for the “theory” of evolution at all! None! No, not one! Yet if someone expresses even the slightest doubt over the truthfulness of evolution, they are labeled a “religious nut” that doesn’t believe in science.

The rev doesn’t consider himself to be a religious nut. No indeed! After telling us that he prefers creationist candidates, and that “every single one of the Founders believed in special creation as the origin of life,” the rev says:

Evolution is much more of a “leap in the dark” blind faith than Christianity has ever been. The Bible actually defines biblical faith as being based on evidentiary facts.

Does it really? The rev gives us these bible quotes:

“For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse,” (Romans 1:20, NKJV).

“The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork.” (Psalm 19:1, NKJV).

No doubt about it. Those are evidentiary facts. Let’s read on:

The fact that there is something here now means that there has to be a first cause that has always been. Something cannot come from nothing! Nowhere in creation would we look at something with evident design and say it just happened — it came from nothing. We rationally and logically understand that it came from an intelligent designer. But we are supposed to believe, rationally and logically, that our universe, solar system and earth just happened?

Anyone who disagree with the rev must be a fool! He continues:

Everywhere we look in creation we see purposeful design and order. The rotation of the celestial bodies can be measured and predicted with mathematical precision.

After several other examples from the natural world, all of which are explained in high school science courses, the rev pounds away on his claim that such things are evidence supporting his supernatural beliefs:

So, who is a “science denier” in this scenario? is it the person who holds to a belief in complete “blind faith” without one shred of evidence for what they believe? Or, is it the one who has evidence for what they believe and can intelligently explain why they believe what they do? Certainly, we would say the former is the “science denier.” I have already said that evolution has zero evidentiary proof to support its claims. Where biblical Christianity has a great deal of evidence to supports its claims of special creation and intelligent design.

Verily, the rev is the man of science. Not persuaded yet, dear reader? Here’s more:

For example, evolution claims that life “evolved” — referring to macroevolution, i.e. molecules to man evolution — over “billions of years.” The current theory for the age of the earth is 4.5 billion years. However, if you extrapolate that many years back, based on current scientific fact, you would have the earth being inside the sun. At the current rate of the sun’s shrinkage, the surface of the sun would have been touching the surface of the earth 20 million years ago.

The shrinking sun. BWAHAHAHAHAHA! The TalkOrigins Index to Creationist Claims debunks that here: A shrinking sun indicates a young sun. Moving along:

Evolutionists say that macroevolution began somewhere around 500 million years ago, some say long before that. … [E]xtrapolating backwards at the current rate of the moon’s recession would put the moon touching the earth in a fraction of the years evolutionists claim for the age of the earth.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! The TalkOrigins Index to Creationist Claims debunks that one too — see The moon is receding at a rate too fast for an old universe. And now we come to the end:

This is barely scratching the surface of all the evidence for special creation and intelligent design. Yet, somehow, those claiming belief in the biblical account of creation are science deniers and those claiming belief in evolution — despite the total lack of any evidence at all — are “scientific.” Absurd!

So there you are, dear reader. The rev has evidence on his side, and you have nothing!

Copyright © 2016. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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32 responses to “Creationist Wisdom #707: Scientific Preacher

  1. Charles Deetz ;)

    “There is not one single piece of definitive evidence for the “theory” of evolution at all! None! No, not one! “

    Wow! If the rest of the letter had only backed this one statement up.

  2. Mike Elzinga

    Evolutionists say that macroevolution began somewhere around 500 million years ago, some say long before that. … [E]xtrapolating backwards at the current rate of the moon’s recession would put the moon touching the earth in a fraction of the years evolutionists claim for the age of the earth.

    This “calculation” was done most recently by Jason Lisle over at AiG (scroll down to the section called “Creation In-Depth”).

    Lisle asserts that the equation describing the rate of “tidal” recession is dr/dt = k/r^6.

    This is completely bogus; there is no such thing as a repulsive gravitational dipole-dipole interaction in nature. Lisle has no clue about how to calculate the rate of the Moon’s orbital recession; he is totally incompetent in undergraduate level orbital mechanics despite his “PhD” in astrophysics.

    The real calculation can be done by an undergraduate in physics; and even by high school students taking AP physics.

    The Earth spins within the tidal bulge of the oceans; a tidal bulge that is caused by the gravitational attraction between the Earth and the Moon.

    Friction between the Earth and the tidal bulge creates a torque that twists the tidal bulge ahead of the position of the moon. This torque decreases the angular momentum of the Earth, and it is this same torque that increases the angular momentum of the Moon’s orbit. This means that the rate of decrease of the Earth’s angular momentum is equal to the rate of increase of the orbital angular momentum of the Moon. (Basic undergraduate physics here; torque = moment of inertia times angular acceleration, or more compactly, Torque = dL/dt, where L is angular momentum.)

    We have some very good experimental data on these rates. The Earth’s rotation rate is decreasing at a rate of 1.7 plus or minus 0.05 milliseconds per century. The rate of the Moon’s orbital recession is 38.247 plus or minus 0.004 mm per year.

    So all one has to do is calculate the decrease in the Earth’s angular momentum in one year and add that change in angular momentum to the orbital angular momentum of the Moon. This increase in the angular momentum of the Moon’s orbit shows up as an increased distance between the Earth and Moon.

    The result of this calculation shows that the rate of recession of the Moon’s orbit is explained by tidal frictional torque that decreases the angular momentum of the Earth and increases the orbital angular momentum of the Moon (same torque on each) to within the uncertainties of our measurements of these.

    As mentioned above, this is an undergraduate level physics problem that can be done by a high school student to within 0.5 percent just using the approximation of a circular orbit. If one takes into consideration that the Moon’s orbit is an ellipse, then the results come out exactly within the measurement uncertainties.

  3. The Bible actually defines biblical faith as being based on evidentiary facts.

    So the bit about Doubting Thomas getting an earful because he wanted some evidence isn’t in the rev’s copy of the Bible? How odd.

    However, if you extrapolate that many years back, based on current scientific fact, you would have the earth being inside the sun.

    The rev clearly can’t be bothered even to pick up even a child’s science text or watch a few episodes of Nova, let alone research the subject about which he prates, yet somehow he magically knows that “There is not one single piece of definitive evidence for the “theory” of evolution at all! None! No, not one!”

    They’re churning out a shoddy bunch of theologians from the colleges these days. Time was, you could have a decent argument with a priest, but nowadays so many of them seem to resort to ignorant b*llsh*t.

  4. Aaargh! Of course I meant “Doubting Thomas” rather than “Doubting Evidence”! Might the overlord of the universe intervene, please?

    [*Voice from above*] Of course, my son.

  5. Norm Fields proclaims:

    There is not one single piece of definitive evidence for the “theory” of evolution at all! None! No, not one!

    Clearly, the man is channelling Muhammad Saeed al-Sahhaf, aka Baghdad Bob:

    “There are no American infidels in Baghdad. Never!”

  6. michaelfugate

    Repeating a lie, doesn’t make it true.

  7. If the bible is based on evidence, then there is no need for Christians to have faith. Why is Christianity called a “faith,” then? Why do religious people of all “faiths” value faith so much?

    Religious people, in general, are experts in leaps of faith – some can leap further than others, but they all make the jump. It’s always amusing to see them accuse others of doing what they do so well. Besides, the Rev hasn’t checked with the ID crowd lately, or he would see that they’ve given up on evidence and are now basing their “theory” on intuition.

  8. I too am a minister of religion in Georgia so I take special note of this post. The reverend writes: “Everywhere we look in creation we see purposeful design and order.”

    Of course I understand that statement. I used to propound it in my teaching and preaching. But my thinking has changed. It is no merit for religionists to ignore biology and specifically Charles Darwin. And what Darwin said on the topic is well known and most pertinent: “I cannot persuade myself that a beneficent and omnipotent God would have designedly created parasitic wasps with the express intention of their feeding within the living bodies of caterpillars.” In other words, everywhere (or at least, in most places) we look we see cruelty and pain.

  9. Of course, creationists would say that all that “cruelty and pain” came about because God degraded the whole universe as punishment for the sin of Adam and Eve (which, as I read Genesis, was to gain an awareness of right and wrong).

  10. Mike Elzinga

    rabilistfield notes:

    Of course I understand that statement. I used to propound it in my teaching and preaching. But my thinking has changed. It is no merit for religionists to ignore biology and specifically Charles Darwin. And what Darwin said on the topic is well known and most pertinent: “I cannot persuade myself that a beneficent and omnipotent God would have designedly created parasitic wasps with the express intention of their feeding within the living bodies of caterpillars.” In other words, everywhere (or at least, in most places) we look we see cruelty and pain.

    One doesn’t have to rely on faith or ignorance to be captivated by the wonder of the vast number and complexity of the emerging structures in the universe. To know that matter and energy can, over vast periods of time and by many different processes, condense into living organisms is a source of deep wonder and awe.

    That some of those living organisms develop enough neural complexity to start learning the rules behind this emerging complexity is quite amazing; and we are privileged to watch the show for the brief period of time we exist.

    Whether these learning and, hopefully, self-reflecting creatures who take pride in their achievements will ultimately survive remains to be seen. Our trajectory on destroying this planet doesn’t bode well for the future development of our overall intelligence.

    In the grand scheme of the energies that we observe throughout the universe, we exist only within the energy range of liquid water (0.012 to 0.016 electron volts). It is unlikely that our demise will have any effect on the rest of the universe.

    Humility would be the appropriate response to our being here at all. And, if we think that there is any value in preserving future generations of ourselves and the other creatures that live on this planet, a sense of responsibility would certainly help as well. Evolution will continue without us.

  11. Here is some more “red meat” for all you folks that want to chew on this “poor dumb preacher.” Please stop calling me “rev.”

    This is in response to a Letter to the Editor on the article y’all are tearing into. Have fun!

    Mr. Lawson,

    Thank you for your response to last week’s article. I always appreciate feedback from the readers.

    In response to your comments I would like to point out a few things.

    1) Concerning the basic premise of the article, would you consider Special Creation and/or Intelligent Design as viable branches of scientific investigation into the origins of life? What prompted the article was hearing a so-called reporter harangue a political candidate concerning his belief in Creation and belligerently asserting that Creationists “don’t believe in science.” Would you agree, that Creationists don’t believe in science?

    2) Concerning the scientific method and the evidence (or lack thereof) for evolution, maybe I did misspeak. Not that I misspoke when I said there is not a single piece of evidence at all for “macroevolution” (and I did specify “macroevolution” in the article). If I misspoke, based on the scientific method – as you say, then it would have been referring to evolution as a “theory.” I do understand that for something to actually be a scientific theory it does have to have some evidentiary basis, of which “macroevolution” has none. No, I was more correct when I referred to evolution as a “blind faith.”

    3) The example you cited as an evidence for evolution, i.e. resistant bacterias, is actually an evidence for the very well established and observable science of adaptation within species. That is, microevolution. Typically, when people are referring to evolution they are referring to “macroevolution,” i.e. molecules to man evolution, for which there is no evidence at all. There is not a single piece of evidence in all of Creation for an evolutionary process where one species turns into a new or different species. However, those attempting to cite “evidence” for evolution (i.e. macroevolution) will give examples of adaptation (i.e. microevolution). Darwin’s finches didn’t become lizards, or even a different kind of bird. They just adapted to changing conditions in the food source. That is not an example or evidence for molecules to man (macro) evolution. When you got the flu you produced antibodies to kill that virus. You cannot get that same virus again – you became “resistant” to that virus. Did you “evolve” into some different species or are you still part of the human race? When you get the flu again it will be because that virus has “evolved,” or adapted, resistance to the antibodies you produced. But it is still the influenza virus, it will not have “evolved” into a different species. So, you can’t use evidence for one type of evolution (i.e. adaptation), which is true and factual, and claim that it validates a completely different type of evolution (i.e. transition between species). That is why I specified “macroevolution” in my article.

    4) I will have to admit that the two examples I cited contradicting a “millions” and “billions” of years evolutionary process was somewhat of a trap. I knew very well that if someone took issue with those two evidences for a young earth – too young to allow for a supposed evolutionary process – it would be on the basis of uniformity. That is, to say that extrapolating backward to account for the amount shrinkage of the sun would put the earth inside the sun in a mere fraction of the years evolutionists claim for the evolutionary process does presuppose a uniform rate of that shrinkage. Likewise, to say that the expanding distance between the earth and moon won’t allow for millions of years of evolutionary process also presupposes a uniform rate of recession. And there are many others; the salinity of the oceans, lunar dust, etc., etc. I say the use of such evidences was a bit of a trap because when you point out the presupposed uniformity required to make such arguments it gives me the opportunity to say that I’m just using the same argument for uniformity that you use for such fallacious dating methods as Carbon 14, among others. If you can base the dating methods used to make rocks “billions of years old” on the principle of uniformity, why can’t I use the same principle of uniformity to say that the age of your rock would put the earth inside the sun when that rock was formed? How would you answer that question?

    5) Regarding T.G. Barnes, I don’t really know who he is. I have read the same argument that he made in the article I cited in many other places. His article was just the one I had “at hand.” Other than your issue with who I cited, is there anything wrong with the scientific facts that his premise is based on? If someone makes a valid argument, based on factual information, what difference does it make what their credentials are? I’m not a scientist, my degree is in Biblical Studies. Does that “disqualify” me from discussing matters of biblical studies that touch on science because I don’t have a science degree?

    Again, I want to thank you for your feedback and I would very much like to get together with you for further discussion. Please let me know when we can do that.

    Thanks,
    Norm

  12. Hiya, Norm

    To pick you up on just one point:

    There is not a single piece of evidence in all of Creation for an evolutionary process where one species turns into a new or different species.

    There’s loads of evidence, but you choose to ignore it or misinterpret it. To take just a single example, we know that domestic dogs, wolves, coyotes, foxes and dingoes all descended from the same ancestral species. Are you saying that, say, foxes are of the same species as coyotes?

  13. It may be a point of semantics, but what you’re referring to as different “species” are actually variations of breeding within one “kind” or “family,” which is what I’m referring to as “species.” As in, “the human species.” So, yes, using “species” in that way, dogs, wolves, coyotes, foxes, and dingoes are all variations within the single “species,” “family,” “kind,” (however you want to say it), of Canidae.

  14. Norm, doesn’t it strike as a bit dubious that the only way you can defend your statement is to completely redefine the word “species”?

    Interestingly, according to your new definition of the term, we humans are of the same species as chimps and gorillas. Is this what you meant to say?

  15. “If someone makes a valid argument, based on factual information…”

    There’s the rub: you need some factual information.

  16. So, realthog, are you saying that humans can breed with chimps? That would be something to see! I know shepherd-wolf breeds use to be very popular around Georgia. So I know Wolves and German Shepherds can breed – because they are of the same “species,” “family,” “kind.” Now, is that “factual” or not?

  17. So, realthog, are you saying that humans can breed with chimps?

    No, because they’re not of the same species . . . except according to the brand-new spiffo definition of the word “species” that you have invented and that is your very own. You’re being a bit intellectually dishonest if you try to pull the wool over people’s eyes by using one or other definition (the real or the fake) whenever it suits you.

    But then what can one expect from someone who, with a straight face, can produce the blatant falsehood: “There is not one single piece of definitive evidence for the “theory” of evolution at all! None! No, not one!”

    Have you not heard of the fossil record? Or do you discount that welter of evidence because it doesn’t agree with you?

  18. @realthog
    I would point to an example like the evolution of the mammalian middle ear ossicles as described in Wikipedia, or examples drawn from studies of the genome, or simply that there is no known alternative explanation of the complex pattern of variety of life described by taxonomy.

  19. @TomS

    Yes, but Norm would simply say all of that has nothing to do with one “species” evolving into another.

  20. Holding the Line in Florida

    Just another preacher (con) man who just can’t come out and admit the truth. If all this Evilution and Godless stuff were true, I would have to actually have to WORK for a living instead of leeching off the public. The comment section is tearing him a new one.

  21. michaelfugate

    So, realthog, are you saying that humans can breed with chimps?

    Have you tried, Norm? If they could, would that mean Christianity is false?
    You seem to be putting your God to the test, do you really want to go there?

    Science is not a matter of belief. It is a tool for understanding the universe. You do realize that it was Christians who rejected a young earth when they realized Biblical chronologies didn’t work? How could a Biblical “day” be a 24 hour day, there were no sun? It was Christians who rejected a world-wide flood when they realized it could not explain the patterns of rocks and rock layers. That Intelligent design was dead long before Darwin? That your YEC view is very modern and ahistorical?

    Science, unlike your method, requires one to produce testable hypotheses. They can’t be circular like yours – where you define macroevolution/speciation on lack of interbreeding and then conclude that lack of interbreeding proves no macroevolution/speciation occurs.

    The big ideas that led to evolution were biogeography, fossils, and comparative anatomy. The evidence from these fields, way back in the early 1800s, showed that a literal reading of Genesis was incorrect. This doesn’t tell us anything about the theological message of the Bible, only that purposes of Genesis were not for elucidating the history of the universe and biodiversity.

  22. Mike Elzinga

    Norm Fields “challenges”:

    Here is some more “red meat” for all you folks that want to chew on this “poor dumb preacher.” Please stop calling me “rev.”

    In the approximately fifty years that I have been following the ID/creationist socio/political movement – and a sectarian motivated socio/political movement it has been and always will be – I have seen this shtick repeated many hundreds of times.

    Every so-called “argument” presented by this “preacher” was generated by Henry Morris and Duane Gish when those two formed the Institute for Creation Research back in 1970. Everything the “preacher” is repeating has been debunked over and over and over during the last 50 years; yet these assertions keep being repeated.

    One can demonstrate very easily – as I alluded to in my above post about Jason Lisle – that ID/creationist “arguments” get the science dead wrong and why they are dead wrong at even the high school level. But to an ID/creationist, this is simply a chance to “debate.” Not one ID/creationist piece of pseudoscience has ever passed peer-review in the scientific community; ID/creationists are too incompetent to do any science despite the letters they have attached to their names. So they use socio/political tactics to misinform the public and their following.

    The “preacher” doesn’t know anything about the history of the movement he is copycatting. He lives in a total vacuum within a society that has access to vast amounts of good information that can be learned and independently verified. ID/creationists, to a person, simply WILL NOT learn science at even middle and high school levels; let alone dig deeper into scientific concepts and evidence.

    Morris and Gish invented the tactic of repeating their misinformation, misconceptions, and mischaracterizations of science even when they were thoroughly debunked in a debate; they would simply repeat these in the very next venue in which they debated. It is a tactic of constant repetition in the face of constant debunking; as though the debunking never happened.

    This “preacher” seems to think he is being clever and original, but he is simply an unthinking, unreflective parrot tossing around hackneyed assertions that form the core of the pseudoscience that props up his particular sectarian dogma. Dogma first; all else bent and broken to fit. Then accuse your “enemies” – of which you have chosen to be many in your demonizing of the secular world – of doing exactly what you yourself are doing.

    This self-imposed, self-righteous ignorance is what makes people turn away from religion. The “preacher” knows not what he does.

  23. Those comments at the LaGrange News that Holding the Line in Florida mentioned are very well worth reading. Gary Hurd has carefully and in detail rebutted Our Norm on grounds both scientific and theological.

  24. The comments on the LaGrange Daily News site are trickling along. For some reason the site refuses to let me post one of mine. In case it’s of interest to anyone here (and assuming our host will forgive me), here’s what I said in my fourth (amended) version:

    In the earl;y hours of the morning, I wondered if the LaGDN’s computer was having a fit over my use of a perfectly innocent word that can be constructed by putting a “t” in front of “waddle.” So here’s my response with that word replaced:

    I suspect that Norm is actually a very nice guy who’s been shocked to the core by the discovery that the “facts” he’s been picking up from creationist tracts are in reality [REDACTED].

    Whether he’ll have the guts to face up to this — or whether he’ll just keep repeating the [REDACTED] in hopes that one day, through sheer power of repetition, it’ll become true — is something we may learn.

  25. It looks like “preachernorm” has fled the scene.

  26. Dr. GS Hurd says:

    It looks like “preachernorm” has fled the scene.

    I notice that you’ve done quite a job on him yourself. He’s beginning to realize that it’s a different world outside of his church.

  27. Thanks

    He has a FaceBook page where he indicates that he is winning the battle against the atheists.

    I am hoping his letter will eventually show up in print.

  28. Dr. GS Hurd says: “he indicates that he is winning the battle against the atheists.”

    It’s true. And the Time Cube is gaining new adherents every day.

  29. Dr. GS Hurd says: “Mr. Fields is back in the saddle again!”

    Yeah, it’s his Flintstones dinosaur saddle.

  30. @Dr. GS Hurd

    Thanks for the info. Off to bookmark the page . . .