Creationist Wisdom #799: Ben Franklin — Idiot!

Today’s letter-to-the-editor appears in both the Rock Island Argus and The Dispatch of Moline, Illinois. The title is Evolution and the eye of reason. The newspapers’ joint website 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 we’ve got a preacher. It’s Pastor Don Goembel. We don’t know where he preaches, but his website says: “I’m 75 year-old American male, currently in Orion, United States. I have 8 friends around the world.” We’ll give you a few excerpts from rev’s letter, enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary, and some bold font for emphasis. Here we go!

“The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason.” — Benjamin Franklin

That’s a fine quote from one of our favorite Founding Fathers. According to Wikiquote it’s from Poor Richard’s Almanack. But the rev doesn’t like it. He says:

Science deals exclusively with things that can be accurately measured. Many things exist but can’t be measured precisely. You might have heard one could put a million monkeys to work on a million typewriters and, eventually, get all the great works of literature. This 250-word letter, if using only the 26 letters of the alphabet, makes the odds 3.3 followed by 80 zeros to 1. A scientist friend estimates that greater than the number of subatomic particles in the universe. Impossible!

Okay. The odds are against a million monkeys producing the rev’s letter. But somehow, the rev has out-performed all those monkeys. After that amazing fact, he tells us:

Cosmologists now believe the universe to be 13.8 billion years old. 4.3 followed by 16 zeroes seconds — a miniscule fraction of the above number — making Darwinian evolution require many evolutionary iterations per second to bring us to our present state, with most iterations failures. Believing today’s universe “just happened” requires shutting “the eye of reason” much tighter!

Wow — the odds are against everything! Yet here we are. How is this possible? The rev continues with a scripture quote:

“Now without faith it is impossible to please him, for the one who approaches God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6).

That’s very inspirational. Let’s read on:

I posit those who insist there is no God are exercising much more blind faith than those of us who acknowledge the Judeo-Christian God who appears in nature, the Bible and the Holy Spirit. Everyone lives forever.

[*Begin Drool Mode*] Ooooooooooooh! [*End Drool Mode*] And now we come to the end:

Whether you live in God’s presence or in the lake of fire is up to you. God is infinitely more credible than human reason alone. Seek Him!

Amazing. Now we’ll have to reconsider our long-held opinion about Ben Franklin. We thought he was a great man, but it seems that he was a fool! Great letter, rev.

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

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13 responses to “Creationist Wisdom #799: Ben Franklin — Idiot!

  1. OK, that fallacy is called the ‘Argumentum ad biggus numberus’ Basically to apportion odds to an occurrence happening that has many steps, you have to know what the steps are and what the odds are for each one. Since you can’t do that the task is akin to estimating the distance between A&B when you have no idea where either point is.

  2. Lake o’ Fire!

  3. “I have 8 friends around the world.”

    And seven of them are Jesus.

  4. Geez, I’ve got 8 friends on my block. Maybe if he wasn’t preaching at people all the time he’d have more friends and wouldn’t have to write crazy letters.

  5. Eight friends? I going to hazard a guess and assume he rounded up considerably.

  6. See the Wikipedia article “Infinite monkey theorem”.
    Also RationalWiki.org:
    https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Monkey_typewriter_theory

  7. BTW, Ben Franklin is another one of those “anonymous cowards”, hiding behind the pseudonym “Poor Richard”.

  8. Yet people like this still find support in the state school boards that allow creationist thinking and purge texts of scientific information. Just ran across this article from New Mexico:
    http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2017/09/new-mexico-remove-climate-change-evolution-public-education/

  9. Like ALL preachers he speaks that of which he knows not!! That is called LYING!!! Typical xtian!

  10. Derek Freyberg

    @Mark Germano:
    “I have 8 friends around the world.”
    And 7 of them shaking their heads and saying “Why did I ever associate with this crank?” seems more likely.

  11. Since the pastor claims to think about probabilities, perhaps should think about what Richard Feynman said: “You know, the most amazing thing happened to me tonight… I saw a car with the license plate ARW 357. Can you imagine? Of all the millions of license plates in the state, what was the chance that I would see that particular one tonight? Amazing!”

  12. @Docbill: I’m pretty sure more than 8 companions will join you – I’ll be one of them.

  13. The good reverend makes the common creationist mistake of assuming that unless guided by God — and the Judeo-Christian God, at that — atoms will just bang into one another purely randomly, so that the formation of complex molecules such as DNA just couldn’t happen.

    But atoms don’t interact randomly; there are such things as laws of chemistry and physics, and it so happens that those laws allow complex molecules to form without supernatural intervention. Creationist assertions that laboratory experiments showing how natural processes could do this prove nothing because the experiments were “intelligently designed” by the experimenters are meaningless babble; the whole point of doing these experiments is to recreate specific natural conditions and see what happens.