Is This Guy The Ultimate Creationist Preacher?

This appears at the website of the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN), founded by televangelist Pat Robertson. Their headline is: Dr. Robert Jeffress: ‘The Strong Argument from Science is FOR Instead of AGAINST a Divine Creator’.

We wrote about Jeffress once before when he was on the Bill O’Reilly show — see Bill O’Reilly Opposes Biblical Inerrancy? He’s a preacher at the First Baptist Church of Dallas, Texas. As we said then, he’s a scriptural literalist — Adam & Eve, all of it — although he allows that the world may be older than 6,000 years because scripture doesn’t literally say otherwise. Here are some excerpts from the CBN article, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]:

In an interview on “Fox and Friends” Tuesday, Dr. Robert Jeffress, pastor of the 13,000-member First Baptist Church of Dallas, reacted to the recent widely published report that announced all modern humans descended from a solitary pair who lived 100,000 to 200,000 years ago.

That “report” is being mentioned by lots of creationist websites, but their interpretation is fake news. It’s based on a paper published several months ago in Human Evolution: Why should mitochondria define species?, which you can read online without a subscription. The abstract says:

Several convergent lines of evidence show that mitochondrial diversity in modern humans follows from sequence uniformity followed by the accumulation of largely neutral diversity during a population expansion that began approximately 100,000 years ago. A straightforward hypothesis is that the extant populations of almost all animal species have arrived at a similar result consequent to a similar process of expansion from mitochondrial uniformity within the last one to several hundred thousand years.

Ol’ Hambo went wild over it, and we wrote Ken Ham Is Excited by New Research. Then WorldNetDaily went wild, so we wrote WorldNetDaily: Evolution Exposed as a Lie!

The paper was totally misunderstood by creationists, even though the lead author, Mark Stoeckle, was quoted in PhysOrg saying:

“The simplest interpretation is that life is always evolving,” said Stoeckle. “It is more likely that — at all times in evolution — the animals alive at that point arose relatively recently.” In this view, a species only lasts a certain amount of time before it either evolves into something new or goes extinct.

Anyway, we’re seeing headlines every day claiming that science supports the idea of an Adam & Eve, albeit 200,000 years ago. Now that everything is in context, let’s get back to the CBN article. It says:

In an interview on “Fox and Friends” Tuesday, Dr. Robert Jeffress, pastor of the 13,000-member First Baptist Church of Dallas, reacted to the recent widely published report that announced all modern humans descended from a solitary pair who lived 100,000 to 200,000 years ago. [Groan]

They quote the rev:

“While the scientists behind this study are not fully embracing the Genesis account of creation, there are some interesting parallels between their research and the Bible,” Jeffress said. “For instance, their findings state that all humans today can be traced to a single father and mother who lived about 100,000 years ago and that 90 percent of animals today can be traced back to ancestors who started reproducing 200,000 years ago because of some cataclysmic event like the Big Bang.”

The Big Bang? Yeah, that was the start of reproduction. The news continues:

Jeffress reminded viewers that believers already know all human beings have a common mother and father named Adam and Eve. “We know from the Bible that in fact, we do have a common father and mother, Adam and Eve, who are not the result of “tadpole mutations” but rather of Divine Creation. And we know that all life is the result not of a “Big Bang,” but of a big God,” he noted.

Yes, rev, we know. He goes on:

Don’t lose sight of the fact that it takes more faith to believe in the evolutionist’s theory of the origin of life than the biblical creation account. Here’s why: if you ask the evolutionist how life began, he says, “Well, it started with a single cell that mutated over billions of years.” And then if you ask how that single cell came into being, the evolutionist will respond, “By chance.” In response to this, Sir Fred Hoyle, the Cambridge astrophysicist said the chance of a single cell as complex as it is coming into being by itself is one in 10 to the 40,000 power — that is a one with 40,000 zeros behind it. Hoyle said that’s enough zeros to bury Darwin and his theory of evolution forever.

Those Darwinists can’t fool the rev! Another excerpt:

Jeffress also said there are plenty of the Creator’s footprints to see all over creation if scientists would just look for them. … “Look at cosmology: why is it that we see something instead of nothing? [Yeah, why?] Look at the complexity of the human being: how is it that inanimate matter organized itself to contemplate itself? The strong argument from science is for instead of against a Divine Creator.”

We thought about leaving out the last paragraph, but you would have found it, so here it is:

Jeffress is a best-selling author of 25 books, a nationally and internationally syndicated TV and radio host and the senior pastor of First Baptist Dallas. He also served as an evangelical adviser to President Donald J. Trump.

Okay, have fun with it, dear reader.

Copyright © 2018. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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28 responses to “Is This Guy The Ultimate Creationist Preacher?

  1. Michael Fugate

    Since science is authoritative, authoritarians really want it to be on their side. And when it isn’t, there is always the Bible to fall back on.

  2. Why is it so hard for the Bible thumpers to realize that life didn’t go from non-life to a eukaryotic cell in one go? There would have been simpler forms – likely self-replicating molecules, then proto-bacterial forms – for eons before then.

  3. Yes, Hoyle did say that it seems. And his maths seem to be correct too. But for a sharply different problem.
    Hoyle assumed a specific protein and worked out the chances of assembling it from scratch, randomly. He had an aim in mind. Namely the specific protein.
    Evolution doesn’t work like that. Natural selection has no goal or aim. It sifts thru what is available, passing some and rejecting many.
    If someone was to apply Hoyle’s approach to the probability of all their experiences the previous day occurring, they would find that their yesterday was so improbable as to be essentially impossible. Yet it happened. It is the same for everyone. A virtually impossible yesterday.
    But it will never happen again, not exactly. This is Hoyle’s big, simple mistake.
    Hoyle arrived at a probability for the evolution of a specific protein occurring not once but TWICE.
    Even near geniuses can make simple errors.

  4. Whenever I see claim about a probability of evolution, I wonder about the probability of the alternative.
    Why does no one calculate the probability that we end up as we are, give the uncounted possibilities available to the supernatural?

  5. JUDEA. AROUND THE TURN OF THE MILLENNIUM.

    Mary: Did you hear a loud noise last night?
    Joseph: You mean… like a big bang?
    Mary: Yes. A very big bang. Was it you?
    Joseph: No, but you were thrashing around a bit in your sleep.
    Mary: Funny — I swear I felt the flat-earth move…and someone shouting: “Oh, me! Oh, me! OH ME! MEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!” Then lots of groaning.
    Joseph: Just a nightmare, darling. Probably too many felafels before bed.

  6. The rebuttals of Hoyle’s calculation have been known almost exactly as long as the calculation. They are devastating, and demolish it completely, as everyone who has ever bothered to access the arguments knows.

    It’s difficult for a non-authoritarian to understand how an authoritarian mind works, but one of its salient characteristics is that it not only rejects data that contradicts a position it holds from authority, it never considers it. To an authoritarian, contrary data simply doesn’t exist. It’s possible that Jeffress has seen rebuttals of Hoyle. He doesn’t dispute them, as such. He would be completely out of his depth, but that’s not why he doesn’t even try. It’s that he cannot admit them to his conscious mind at all. He simply ignores them. They’re not really there. Like Matthew Brady, he doesn’t think about things he doesn’t think about.

    It hasn’t occurred to him to ask why science has repudiated Hoyle and rejected his calculations. Had that question occurred, Jeffress already knows the answer – the scientists are godless, lost souls who have succumbed to the wiles of Satan. But even to ask that question is to open the possibility that they might have some other cause – and that cannot occur to an authoritarian. So the question cannot be asked. It can’t even be conceived. Jeffress acts as though it doesn’t exist, because it doesn’t, for him.

    The horrible aspect of this is that it’s so effective. One of the cries is, “Science, bitches! It works!” So it does. But so does this. Hideous as it is, the fact must be confronted. Dealing with an authoritarian mind is impossible. The only solution is to prevent authoritarian minds.

    How?

  7. The near genius Fred Hoyle also advocated the idea that flu epidemics are correlated with the sunspot cycle. For some reason creacrappers never mention this when pushing his authority.

    @TomS: “Why does no one calculate the probability that …..”
    But ….. but ….. didn’t you do that yourself a few weeks ago? Ending with a probability of zero? Something Fred Hoyle like would accepted.

  8. Fred Hoyle and Chandra Wickramasinghe* also claimed that there was no big bang (the universe was undergoing continual “creation”), diseases actually come from space, life was spread throughout the universe and to the Earth via Directed Panspermia, and Archaeopteryx was a forgery among other unsupportable claims. Hoyle’s origin of life and a whirlwind forming a 747 from a junkyard probability “calculations” are simply numeric nonsense. Hoyle invented the “Big Bang” term to parody the origin of the universe, but the joke was on him since it was universally adopted within science while his “continual creation” of the universe theory fell completely by the wayside. The scientific world, and especially biology, continued on without “recognizing” the Hoyle and Wickramasinghe claims as anything more than fantasy. Now Wickramasinghe publishes in a captive fringe journal (Journal of Cosmology) that he created and operates!

    *Wickramasinghe even testified for the creationist side in “McLean v. Arkansas” where he was very quickly discredited (his knowledge of biology is essentially nonexistent). Among his claims was that insects are actually smarter than humans and they were hiding that fact from humanity (but they sure can’t fool Wickramasinghe!).

  9. @Zetopan
    As I recall, in that trial W. testified that no reasonable person can say that the universe was less than a million years old and the judge mentioned that in his ruling against the Young Earth Creationists.

  10. @TomS
    That is correct. So even though Wickramasinghe was/is a crank and was specifically flown in to help the young Earth creationists, he failed them in multiple ways. For ideologues in general, any excuse will do no matter how contradictory some are to their case. They had totally failed to determine that Wickramasinghe was not a young earther, but only focused on his anti-evolution views to support their non-existent case. Of course even his anti-evolution views were quickly shown to be gibberish. Wickramasinghe has also “proved” that bacteria actually come from space (hence the diseases from outer space claims from H&W).

    Meanwhile insects apparently continue to fool humanity, including the scientists who specifically study them – entomologists.

  11. Oh, my dear SC. You had me right up to the last sentence.

    “He also served as an evangelical adviser to President Donald J. Trump.” Clearly the Pastor is a man with a strong moral compass; who believes that it is deeds not words that define ourselves. If the Pastor says it so so, then who am I to doubt him?

  12. I have enormous respect for Hoyle. His continuous creation universe was elegant and plausible, and only discarded when the cosmic microwave background was detected. He was also part of the group that worked out how all the heavy elements are synthesised in stars.

    One of the reason he believed in continuous creation was because of the extreme improbability, as he saw it, of the emergence of life. But given infinite time, that’s not a problem. Relatedly, he thought that once life got started it would spread throughout the galaxy (or universe?), pre-empting possibilities, so that life on Earth almost certainly came from space. So he managed to convince himself that the Infrared spectrum of interstellar dust was a good match to spectrum of bacteria, and his astronomical explanation of flu epidemics made sense in this conceptual framework.

    Pity, though, about how severely he misunderstood the statistics of protein formation.

    Pity, also, that the Nobel committee managed to overlook him.

  13. Paul Braterman says that Hoyle’s: “continuous creation universe was elegant and plausible, and only discarded when the cosmic microwave background was detected. He was also part of the group that worked out how all the heavy elements are synthesised in stars.”

    True. We laugh at Hoyle’s creationist tendencies and his tornado in a junkyard, but his theory of Stellar nucleosynthesis is still valid today.

    His Steady state model of the universe made sense when it was hypothesized, and for a while there wasn’t anything to contradict it. But he wouldn’t let it go, even when what he derisively called the “big bang” was confirmed (and Steady State refuted) by the discovery of the Cosmic microwave background.

    So Hoyle violated the fundamental dictum expressed (in a different context) by Hyman Roth to Michael Corleone: “This is the business we have chosen.”

  14. @SC, indeed Hoyle fell short in not renouncing an understandably cherished belief in the face of counter-evidence. There’s a lot of that around. I know someone who persists in believing that support for a President who thinks his instinct outweighs overwhelming evidence is consistent with enlightenment values.

  15. Paul Braterman, that is “sharper than a serpent’s tooth.” How grievously I am misunderstood. My vote was described at the time as choosing the less objectionable of the two alternatives.

  16. Evolution = delusion.

  17. Michael Fugate

    SC, and do you still think that?
    I see only a sower of strife, discord and chaos. Nature this week points out how academic freedom is being challenged by the new authoritarian right in Europe and Academe writes what has happened recently at Nebraska Lincoln. The sheer nonsense arising over climate change, pollution, and the like is growing by leaps and bounds. But I must cut this off; I need to go rake the forest to prevent the next wildfire…

  18. Michael Fugate

    Such as this: “I have a gut, and my gut tells me more sometimes than anybody else’s brain can ever tell me,” Trump said.

    Or this:https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/nov/26/trump-national-climate-assessment-dont-believe

    Geniuses don’t need to keep reminding us, they are geniuses… just sayin’

  19. Michael Fugate asks if I still think Trump was the least bad of two objectionable candidates. I don’t want to side-track the comments here, but for all his faults — and I agree there are many — Trump has cut taxes and eliminated a lot of regulations. That has improved the economy. Also, he’s trying to defend the border, which is a good thing. Nothing has improved my opinion of Hillary. So the answer to your question is “Yes.” I know there are those who love taxes and regulations, and who think our borders should be open to all, but I don’t debate them any more than I debate creationists.

  20. “eliminated a lot of regulations”
    Except of course regarding international trade, but we already understand that in your view outer space begins at the American borders.
    Still as far as improved economics goes GM apparently disagrees.

    https://www.breitbart.com/economy/2018/11/26/generalmotorsjobs/

    “Nothing has improved my opinion of Hillary.”
    That’s something we have in common. For instance I have yet not forgotten that Obama is a worse killer than the last Bush:

    https://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/stories/2017-01-17/obamas-covert-drone-war-in-numbers-ten-times-more-strikes-than-bush

    There is no reason to assume Hillary would do better in this respect.
    Ah well, it’s typical for declining superpowers to have incompetent leaders.

    “How grievously I am misunderstood.”
    Not at all. Your habit of looking away of hard facts that falsify your views on economics and history is very similar to creationist ways and hence incompatible with the values you pay lipservice too. With the exception of Evolution Theory – and I haste to add that in this respect you do an excellent job – I find it very hard to think up a single example of you practising what you preach.
    Wait – you practice what you preach regarding free speech. That’s highly respectable too.

    “Trump has cut taxes ….. That has improved the economy”
    A fine example.

    https://www.thebalance.com/current-u-s-federal-budget-deficit-3305783

    https://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-ends-fiscal-2017-with-666-billion-budget-deficit-2017-10-20

    2017: 666 billion.
    2018: 830 billion.
    2019: 980 billion.

    The naked truth: Donald the Clown is yet another Republican Big Spender.
    Our dear SC prefers to look away and stay in the dark, just like the last time I pointed out to him that the last Republican president who did not raise the budget deficit was Eisenhower.
    So much for Enlightenment. Not to mention that our dear SC’s hero Adam Smith advocated governmental control of income equality in the same breath he talked about the Invisible Hand, subject of religious devotion of our dear SC in a way Adam Smith never foresaw.

  21. And as I read the news: “Ukraine-Russia sea clash: Poroshenko urges NATO to send ships – BBC” I think “Boy, am I glad ol’ SC (down there in Florida, where every vote counts) voted for a reality TV celebrity that couldn’t find Ukraine on a map, instead of that woman who was Secretary of State from 2009 to 2013, First Lady of the United States from 1993 to 2001, and a U.S. Senator from New York from 2001 to 2009. Why, she might have raised his taxes and not crippled the EPA!”

    sk

  22. Michael Fugate

    That anyone believes that cutting taxes and regulations improves the economy or decreases government spending or reduces the deficit – all the things republicans claim to be for – is a joke.

    This is worth reading – as it parallels perfectly the populism of Trump with the populism of creationists – it is one and the same.
    https://www.theguardian.com/news/2018/nov/29/why-we-stopped-trusting-elites-the-new-populism

    One quote:
    “One of the great political riddles of recent years is that declining trust in “elites” is often encouraged and exploited by figures of far more dubious moral character – not to mention far greater wealth – than the technocrats and politicians being ousted. On the face of it, it would seem odd that a sense of “elite” corruption would play into the hands of hucksters and blaggards such as Donald Trump or Arron Banks. But the authority of these figures owes nothing to their moral character, and everything to their perceived willingness to blow the whistle on corrupt “insiders” dominating the state and media.

    Liberals – including those who occupy “elite” positions – may comfort themselves with the belief that these charges are ill-founded or exaggerated, or else that the populists offer no solutions to the failures they identify. After all, Trump has not “drained the swamp” of Washington lobbying. But this is to miss the point of how such rhetoric works, which is to chip away at the core faith on which liberalism depends, namely that power is being used in ways that represent the public interest, and that the facts published by the mainstream media are valid representations of reality.”

  23. This just in: Trump on climate change: https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-on-climate-change-people-like-myself-we-have-very-high-levels-of-intelligence-but-were-not-necessarily-such-believers/2018/11/27/722f0184-f27e-11e8-aeea-b85fd44449f5_story.html
    “One of the problems that a lot of people like myself, we have very high levels of intelligence but we’re not necessarily such believers,” Trump said; “As to whether or not it’s man-made and whether or not the effects that you’re talking about are there, I don’t see it”

    So now we know. If you thnk you see that climate change is man-made, that’s because you don’t share Trump’s high intelligence.

  24. @Michael Fugate
    I don’t believe that a majority of the people in the US have bought into the “populism”. In any nation-wide counting, whether by polls or by voting, the majority do not. What the so-called “populists” are asking us to trust are their kind of elites.

  25. Michael Fugate

    Trump claims he even read “some” of the report on climate change – I am guessing he didn’t get past the title.

  26. He may have skimmed through it to see if his name was mentioned.

  27. Jeffe Jeffress is described by SC here “As we said then, he’s a scriptural literalist — Adam & Eve, all of it — although he allows that the world may be older than 6,000 years because scripture doesn’t literally say otherwise.”
    Ive seen him crossing the street near his mega church late Sunday mornings. He’s the second cutest little preacher I’ve ever seen. The church book store is truly a revelation. Just don’t think when you’re in there.

  28. Michael Fugate

    Not to mention that cutting regulations only saves money because costs are externalized rather than internalized. Most of what we use should cost much, much more.