Creationist Wisdom #934: The Emptiness Within

Today’s letter-to-the-editor (it’s actually a column) appears in the Donaldsonville Chief, a weekly newspaper published in Donaldsonville, Louisiana (population 7,436). It’s titled Intelligent design, and the newspaper 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 Bill Tinsley from Fort Collins, Colorado who writes a faith column that’s printed in many newspapers, and he has this website: The Tinsley Center. We’ll give you a few excerpts from the rev’s column, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]. Here we go!

In 2014 Eric Hedin, an Assistant Professor of Physics at Ball State, promoted the idea to his students that the complex and intricate balance in nature reflects an intelligent design as opposed to a random series of accidental events. The president of the university ruled that such teaching was not a scientific discipline and had no place in academia, an opinion widely shared in the academic community.

We remember it well. The last time we wrote about him was Eric Hedin Leaves Ball State, Goes to Biola. Rev Tinsley feels that Hedin isn’t the only advocate of intelligent design who got a raw deal. He says:

Baylor University was embroiled in the controversy when Robert Marks, Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering set up a website and lab on the Baylor server to investigate intelligent design in 2007. Marks used the term “Evolutionary Informatics Lab.” Both the website and the lab were shut down within months and removed from the Baylor server. The lab continues on a third party server at evoinfo.org.

We remember Baylor’s role in the intelligent design controversy — see Intelligent Design’s Brief Shining Moment, but that involved William Dembski, not Marks. Oh wait — we did briefly mention Baylor’s experience with Marks — see William Dembski’s Challenge to Ken Starr, in which we said:

Marks’ research lab was expelled from Baylor because Baylor officials saw it as supporting Intelligent Design … . The expulsion of Marks’ lab from Baylor was reported nationally from World Magazine to the Chronicle of Higher Education. It was also a centerpiece of Ben Stein’s film “Expelled,” documenting the persecution that proponents of Intelligent Design endure from the academy.

Okay, so Rev Tinsley regards Marks as another creationist martyr. Now what? He tells us:

Regardless of academic positions on the subject [which are so unfair!], reflections on creation, purpose and intelligence beyond our own are important to all of us. We must ask the questions, “Are we alone?” “Is there anyone else out there?” “Is the human race simply the result of eons of random chance on this third planet from the sun?” “Have millions of years of random chance and survival of the fittest resulted in, well, ‘us?’ ” Or are we created in the divine image of the Creator?

Yes, we all must ask those questions. The rev continues:

We are quickly making strides in our own creation of artificial intelligence, the design of robotic machinery that perform complex tasks. We already have cars that can drive themselves. [Gasp!] Information technology is taking us into realms reserved for the writers of science fiction. “Data,” the popular android on Star Trek, may not be so far-fetched after all. [Ooooooooooooh!] So, whenever we finally create “Data” and others like him, what will the androids think? Will they sit around and discuss whether they were the result of random coincidence, concluding that they have no accountability or connection to the humans that created them?

Brilliant analogy! Let’s read on:

The Bible is quite clear regarding our own origin. The Psalmist says, “For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made … Psalm 139:13-15.

That’s perfectly clear. Only a fool would doubt it. Another excerpt:

Something beyond science resonates within us when we stand in awe on the rim of the Grand Canyon; when we behold the beauty of a sunset splashing the sky with crimson, purple and gold; when we walk by the sea listening to the waves crashing on the shore.

The rev is right. And that “something beyond science” is Oogity Boogity! Now we come to the end:

Only worship will satisfy the emptiness within. The realization that we are part of a grand design in the mind of God calls us to accountability and fills us with meaning, purpose and peace.

So there you are, dear reader. Heed the rev. He knows how to satisfy the emptiness within.

Copyright © 2019. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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35 responses to “Creationist Wisdom #934: The Emptiness Within

  1. “We must ask the questions, “Are we alone?” “Is there anyone else out there?”
    I must admit entire days pass by peacefully without me wondering stuff like this.

    “He knows how to satisfy the emptiness within.”
    His own, perhaps.

  2. Michael Fugate

    As his website comments, he gives away the columns for free. If the papers were smart, they would make him pay for advertising – which is all this is.

  3. For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb.
    That is clearly astatement sbout reproduction – the origin and development of the individual – not about the origin and changes to populations which is evolution.
    This is my second hobby-horse. (The first being “Does the supernatural.divine provde a solution to the supposed problem with evolution?”): The fallacies of compositon and divison Does this argument confuse what is said about the individual with what is said about the population?
    Standard, traditional Christianity says that there is a personal relatonsip of the individual with their Creator, Sustainer and Redeemer. Does this argument call into question the scientific or naturalistic study of reproducton, metabolism and development because of a supposed conflict with this doctrine?
    Or is the argument simply a fallacy of composition or division?

  4. Michael Fugate

    There isn’t much about reproduction that isn’t random. Doesn’t Bill wonder if his god were involved in forming Bill in the womb, why said god needed a billion sperm when one would do the job?

  5. Wait, wasn’t the Grand Canyon there because all that sandstone was deposited by the flood and eroded away in the last 4000 years or so? All of it came after the Fall. Isn’t it really a paean to God’s Judgement?

  6. Michael Fugate

    I thought the Grand Canyon was put there as a tourist attraction so that capitalists could make money. Jesus invented the free market and wrote the US Constitution – it’s true.

  7. @KeithB
    Good catch.

  8. “Something beyond science resonates within us when we stand in awe on the rim of the Grand Canyon; when we behold the beauty of a sunset splashing the sky with crimson, purple and gold; when we walk by the sea listening to the waves crashing on the shore.” Yes, these and many other experiences (viewing the rings of Saturn or the Orion nebula; holding a newborn; listening to Mahler) arouse emotion, sometimes primal. But, beyond science? No, seems all pretty natural to me — endorphins and brain chemistry, and certainly no deity/creator.

  9. As far as the beauty of the Grand Canyon is concerned, the early European explorers (BTW, they were Hispanic) didn’t think much of this great barrier.
    Rather like the Alps, even up to the early 19th century, they were considered ugly. Those who had to pass through the Alps, and were rich enough to travel in a closed coach would close their curtains to avoid seeing them.
    And I think you will find that Mahler is a learned taste, too.

  10. Michael Fugate

    The Bible is also quite clear that the first human was **not** made in a womb. Next Bill will be talking about birds and bees and storks….

  11. Michael Fugate

    AAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRGGGGGHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!
    …was not made in a womb…

    [*Voice from above*] Calm down. It’s fixed.

  12. @Michael Fugate
    It is not clear to me that the Bible says much about the formation of the first humans. First of all, there are two accounts.
    The Genesis 1 account just says:
    So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
    Nothing about the process, except that it is part of the sixth day narrative.
    The Geness 1 account says:
    And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a lving soul.
    Nothing about the process of formation, other than using the dust of the ground, and that it happened after the formaton of the garden and before the formaton of animals, and before the foroaton of the female. How did the dust stick together? Where did the bodily fluids come from?
    It is difficult to say that there is much clear about the formaton in two conflicting accounts.

  13. Michael Fugate

    If there was no female, how do you get a womb?

  14. @Michael Fugate
    There was no human womb.

  15. Michael Fugate

    So it was God’s womb?
    I think Adam as a golem make much more sense.

  16. Michael Fugate

    Speaking of ID, ID hero Ben Stein, in true DI fashion, is linking Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to Hitler.
    https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/ben-stein-ocasio-cortez_us_5c480aabe4b083c46d63b0ce

  17. @Michael Fugate
    We’re talking about what is clear in two conflicting vague narratives.
    I didn’t even bring up Genesis 3:20
    And Adam called his wife/s name Eve; because she was the mother of all living.

  18. And a report from the Wasington Post says that ” the [Koch] network has sought to shift attention from its political activities to its investments in education and philanthropy.”

  19. @Michaell Fugate
    I suggest the entire chapter 26 of Proverbs.
    Don’t the press secretariat excuse Trump’s remarks as only joking? Proverbs 26:18-19 (NIV) tell us
    Like a maniac shooting
    flaming arrows of death
    is one who deceives their neighbor
    and says, “I was only joking!”

  20. @TomS: “And Adam called his wife/s name Eve; because she was the mother of all living.”
    Well, if you buy the First Cause Argument, why not the First Mother Scenario either?

  21. If she is the mother of all living, then she is the mother of Adam.

  22. “…. the mother of all living ….”
    All but three. Again this holy number! The argument must be true.

  23. If one makes exceptons in this case, one might as well say that the Flood did not cover all of the lands!
    No, “all living” means all living. Bears, bees, bats, behemoth, bulls, etc.

  24. Michael Fugate

    She is also the mother of all bacteria, plants, animals, fungi…
    Isn’t God referred to as the living God – so Eve is God’s mother too?

  25. I didn’t want to raise the question of whether plants,, let alone fungi, bacteria, and archaea (these not being mentioned in the Bible).
    How about angels?
    And you raise queston of the Theotokos (See the Wikipedia article).

  26. “No, “all living” means all living. Bears, bees, bats, behemoth, bulls, etc.”
    Plus the god called YHWH. So tell me, who is the mother of YHWH?

    Either no exceptions at all or the same exceptions for both (non-)arguments. Thanks for confirming what I claimed, even unintentionally: “Well, if you buy the First Cause Argument, why not the First Mother Scenario either?”

  27. @Michael Fugate
    The Bible is also quite clear that the first human was **not** made in a womb.
    If there was no female, how do you get a womb?
    Thanks for confirming my claim, that that is not “clear”.

  28. Michael Fugate

    As clear as the mud Adam was made from?

  29. The serious point is that it is really hard to take the creation stories of Genesis literally.

  30. Michael Fugate

    True. And after all the supposed masterful planning by God – the smartest whatever in the room, God regrets the whole enterprise almost immediately. Facepalm! What was I thinking!

  31. n 2014 Eric Hedin, an Assistant Professor of Physics at Ball State, promoted the idea to his students that the complex and intricate balance in nature reflects an intelligent design as opposed to a random series of accidental events.

    Groan. This again?

    Even without invoking the multiverse, it does not follow that the balance of nature indicates design. Such arguments presuppose (but rarely state) that the existence of life, and in particular human life) was necessary Even without invoking the multiverse, it does not follow that the balance of nature indicates design. Such arguments presuppose (but rarely state) that the existence of life, and in particular human life) was necessary—a proposition for which there is no evidence whatever outside of Genesis 1.

    The president of the university ruled that such teaching was not a scientific discipline and had no place in academia, an opinion widely shared in the academic community.

    Gee, I wonder why. Surely it couldn’t be because Hedlin was peddlin’ (sorry; I couldn’t resist) a personal opinion—a religious opinion, at that—as scientific fact at the university’s expense.

  32. Contrivance, by its very definition and nature, is the refuge of imperfection. To have recourse to expedients, implies difficulty, impediment, restraint, defect of power.
    William Paley, Natural Theology

    This proof can at most, therefore, demonstrate the existence of an architect of the world, whose efforts are limited by the capabilities of the material with which he works, but not of a creator of the world, to whom all things are subject.
    Kant, Critique of Pure Reason

  33. “Intelligent Design” is an empty phrase.
    It has been around for over 20 years and has not advanced an account about anything.