Creationist Wisdom #747: Who Prays to Darwin?

Today’s letter-to-the-editor appears in the Delaware State News of Dover, Delaware, the state capital. It’s titled God and evolution remains an unresolved issue, and the newspaper has a 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 Beverly. Excerpts from her letter will be enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary and some bold font for emphasis. Here we go!

She refers to an earlier letter-to-the-editor and says:

[M]ay I preface my statements and say that I do not have the superior expertise of [the earlier letter-writer] and his forensic knowledge of current scientific data. His article states that for itself. My observation of the difference between the believers and non-believers of God’s creative abilities to establish our world remains quite simple.

Beverly admits her lack of expertise, but she’s going to give us her opinion anyway. She says:

Yes, there should be a co-existence between God’s creation and the theory of Evolution. Unfortunately, people stand in the way of achieving this goal. There are the pros and the cons from either side. Scientists believe in the factual existence of evolution, while the common folk are more in favor of the opinion that God created our world.

In scientific matters, one should never under-estimate the wisdom of the common folk.

For some reason, Beverly spends a couple of paragraphs telling us about the Scopes trial. She suggests that Scopes was properly found guilty, but somehow he won his appeal on a technicality. Then she drops that topic and tells us:

With our present-day scientific information available to all, there still remains the seemingly never-ending question of God versus Science. Still the pros and the cons. However, as memory serves, I do recall an instance during the Battle of the Bulge when Gen. George S. Patton was in dire need for air support, but the inclement weather prohibited that action, and he requested Chaplain O’Neill to submit to him (within the hour) a weather prayer. The chaplain obliged, and the prayer was answered in the affirmative.

We saw the movie too. The weather cleared and Patton got his air support. Beverly continues:

At present, as America is again in need of heavenly help from above, I’d be willing to bet dollars to donuts that General “Mad Dog” Mattis prays for our American military to be successful in all their undertakings throughout this complex world.

Who knows? What of it? Then Beverly surprises us by saying this:

Personally, I have never heard of anyone praying to Charles Darwin and his theory of evolution and human selection.

Hey — she’s right! And now we come to the end:

May God always bless the United States of America.

In other words, as long as our generals don’t pray to Darwin, we’ll keep winning. Great letter, Beverly.

Copyright © 2017. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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13 responses to “Creationist Wisdom #747: Who Prays to Darwin?

  1. Derek Freyberg

    Right now, I’d think “God help the United States of America” might be more apropos.

  2. @Derek Freyberg: What you said ^ 1010

  3. Christine Janis

    Who prays to Darwin? Why, anybody who says “just give me a chance”, or “let this work out for the best”.

  4. “She suggests that Scopes was properly found guilty, but somehow he won his appeal on a technicality.” She’s right, and it matters.

    This was a show trial intended to test the law, and Scopes cheerfully admitted to having broken it. His defence was that the law was unreasonable and/or unconstitutional, and that he should therefore not be found guilty.

    The appeals court managed to find an irregularity in the trial, and quash his conviction, thus frustrating the ACLU in its objective of testing the law. I have blogged about this, with links to scholarly studies, at https://paulbraterman.wordpress.com/2015/09/12/the-scopes-monkey-trial-part-1-issues-fact-and-fiction/ and https://paulbraterman.wordpress.com/2015/09/26/the-scopes-monkey-trial-part-2-evidence-confrontation-resolution-consequences/

    Let me mention in passing that * Inherit the Wind* was motivated by opposition to McCarthyism, and did not pretend to be historical. In the play, Bryan is enraged at the lightness of the sentence. In reality, he offered to pay the fine out of his own pocket.

  5. Paul Braterman says: “She’s right [about Scopes], and it matters.”

    Yes, I’m aware that the trial was a publicity show, but it was valuable nevertheless. The movie had its good and bad aspects, as they all do, but the dialog in the scene showing Bryan’s examination by Darrow was right out of the trial transcript.

    My only point was that the letter-writer thinks evolution is wrong, therefore Tennessee was correct to outlaw it, and Scopes should have been convicted.

  6. Indeed; I was using a legalistic definition of “properly”; “in accord with the law”, not “serve him right”, which I now gather was the letter writer’s view.

    I have no quarrel with the trial exchanges about evolution, although the words “I am interested in the rock of ages, not the ages of rocks” was part of a speech Bryan had prepared (but IIRC never delivered) for later, not in the trial transcript (which I have read). And I think it matters that Bryan was not an ogre, as the play and film made him out to be. It is all too easy to demonise our opponents, whether or not that’s called for, and from there it is a short step to underestimating them.

  7. A couple of points about the Scopes trial:
    The fine was $100, which Wikipedia calculates as $1366 in 2016 dollars, which would be substantial for most people, but presumably Darrow could easily afford it.
    The playwrights for “Inherit the Wind”, I am guessing, assumed that anti-evolution was a dead issue for their audience, rather as Arthur Miller in his play, “The Crucible” assumed that witchcraft was a dead issue. “Inherit” did take the caution of changing the names, which should be a warning not to take the depictions literally. BTW, how much does the movie differ from the play?

  8. If our best military strategy is to pray to our imaginary sky friend then clearly we are not getting our dollar’s worth from our Defense spending.

  9. Re “However, as memory serves, I do recall an instance during the Battle of the Bulge when Gen. George S. Patton was in dire need for air support, but the inclement weather prohibited that action, and he requested Chaplain O’Neill to submit to him (within the hour) a weather prayer. The chaplain obliged, and the prayer was answered in the affirmative.”

    Did not the Germans also pray that the clouds not break up? Oh, I forgot. God is on our side!

  10. Michael Fugate

    So many parallels to today.

  11. When the Patton movie came out, a number of people claimed that it took a long time for the weather to improve. The movie doesn’t contradict that, it just has Patton asking for the weather prayer, and the next scene shows sunny weather with Patton saying the prayer worked great. The time interval between the two scenes was not mentioned.

    The Blaze says the 250,000 cards with the weather prayer were issued to the troops of Patton’s 3d army Dec 12-14. Dec 16 the Battle of the Bulge started. Then it quotes Paul Harkins, Patton’s adjutant writing that:

    “on the twenty-third, the day after the prayer was issued, the weather cleared and remained perfect for about six days. Enough to allow the Allies to break the backbone of the Von Runstedt offensive and turn a temporary setback into a crushing defeat for the enemy.”

    It appears the time gap between prayer issuance and weather improvement was 10 days (Dec 13 to 23), or 7 days (Dec 16 – 23) if we assume the troops didn’t start praying until the Germans attacked. Not exactly the instant response portrayed in the movie, or Harkin’s writings. Well, it’s Hollywood, what do you expect?

  12. I doubt General Mathis ” prays” for divine deliverance. He is more , a thoughtful man of action. Which does not include , supernatural interventions.
    Nice thought . No cigar sweetie.

  13. It’s actually irrelevant whether Scopes was found guilty of violating Tennessee’s anti-evolution law. What matter is whether evolution is true or not, which cannot be decided in a court of law.

    It has been decided in the court of evidence. Creationists just don’t like the decision.