Creationist Wisdom #925: God, Logic, and Science

Today’s letter-to-the-editor is a rarity because it invokes logic. Creationists almost never do that; it causes heads to explode. We’ve written about a few such episodes before — see, e.g.: AIG’s Logic: Prepare To Lose Your Mind, and also Jason Lisle: The Logic of Faith.

Reading those oldie-goldies was painful, but it was good preparation for writing about what we found in the Telegraph of Alton, Illinois. The letter is titled God is the reason for the season, and the newspaper has a comments feature.

Because the writer isn’t a politician, preacher, or other public figure, we won’t embarrass or promote him by using his full name. His first name is James. Excerpts from his letter will be enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary, some bold font for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]. Here we go!

When people become secularized [Gasp!], they lose touch with the things that give meaning to life. If there is no God who has given us absolute truth, then there’s no basis for morality or even logic. Without God, life would be meaningless.

According to James, being secularized is like being lobotomized. He says:

I’ve heard some say I don’t need God, I believe in science. [The fools!] They must be unaware that the founders of every major branch of science found their inspiration in the Bible.

That’s a common creationist clunker. We debunked it in Did Science Originate with Creationists? But James isn’t done yet. He tells us:

If there was no intelligence behind the creation of the universe, science would be impossible.

But creationists insist that Yahweh can suspend the laws of nature whenever he feels like it and cause a miracle to occur — which (by definition) is contrary to science. That means science is impossible in a universe created and ruled by Yahweh. Anyway, James suddenly changes the subject:

Many churches today are little more than religious clubs. Their message is: come in and join the crowd; bring all your pride and bring all your sins, don’t worry about repentance. That attitude makes a mockery of everything Jesus said and did.

Yeah, a real church should be preaching creationism all the time. Then he changes the subject again:

One of my former clients [He has clients?] once said, “If God loves the world so much, why doesn’t he come down here?” The answer is, he did. That’s why we celebrate Christmas.

The rest of the letter is about Christmas, so we’ll quit here. James covered a lot of territory in his letter. It’s a good addition to our collection.

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

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10 responses to “Creationist Wisdom #925: God, Logic, and Science

  1. BRAINS BRAINS BRAINS I need BRAINS yells the starving zombie as he walks past James!!

  2. Religionists prefer using the Humpty Dumpty definitions of what words mean:

    ‘When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’

    What religionists are referring to when they say “logic”, “truth”, etc. are quite the opposite.

  3. Only as long as it suits them, Zetopan, only as long as it suits them.

  4. That starving zombie is getting a bit of a raw deal. James’ letter is all over the place, like the proverbial madwoman’s s***. But James’ lament does tap into some real anxieties among evangelicals: namely, this fear of churches compromising on core doctrines like “sin” (code for homosexuality, and other “degenerate” lifestyles), and promoting the sort of tolerance associated with secularism.

    The ‘vangies are in a cleft stick: having trouble competing; forced to retreat further into dogmatism. James will probably never experience the sense of liberation some of us feel from rejecting man-made platitudes like “absolute truth.”

  5. @SC: you say “But creationists insist that Yahweh can suspend the laws of nature whenever he feels like it and cause a miracle to occur — which (by definition) is contrary to science. That means science is impossible in a universe created and ruled by Yahweh.”

    I disagree. Miracles require two things; that there should exist laws of nature which generally hold, and that there should be rare deviations from these rules because Yahweh so commanded it. You can be a perfectly serious vintner while still believing in the miracle of the Wedding Feast at Cana.

    What does, however, makes science impossible is belief in massive and repeated deviations from these laws. If we believe that every kind of living thing results from a separate miraculous act of creation, then there won’t seem very much point in molecular phylogeny.

  6. Paul Braterman, perhaps rare miracles could occur in a universe otherwise ruled by natural law, but it would mean that theories couldn’t be tested. The outcome of the testing could be either the result of natural law, or a miraculous deviation. You couldn’t be sure of anything. All science texts would have the phrase “God willing” added to every statement of natural law.

  7. @Paul B
    You can be a perfectly serious vintner, but you can’t replicate the alleged miracle at Cana. Belief, however fervently held, doesn’t alter basic physical laws. And if — through so-called divine agency — those laws could be altered: in what sense, then, are we justified in calling them laws of nature to begin with?

  8. @ChrisS
    As far as creationists are concerned, laws are laws when that fits, and they are not when it fits that they not be laws. And when it fits that they be both, or neither, or partially so, then so be it. When it fits that they do not know (“how do you know, were you there”), when it fits that the Bible is obviously figurative, when it fits to be flexible, or rigid, …

  9. Michael Fugate

    And if Christians believed in their god’s laws wouldn’t they be practicing Jews like Jesus?

  10. Rare miracles in an otherwise regular universe wouldn’t be that much of a problem. If I’m trying to test some effect, and I suspect that my equipment will malfunction one time in ten thousand, I can still postulate an underlying regularity by accepting experimental error. But maybe my equipment malfunctions only one time in twenty thousand, and the rest is JHWH’s interference: I can still accept my postulated regularity.