Creationist Wisdom #972: Sovereignty of Science

Today’s letter-to-the-editor appears in The Santa Clarita Valley Signal of Santa Clarita, California. It’s titled Sovereignty of Science: Providence, Anyone?, and the newspaper has a comments feature.

Unless a letter-writer is a politician, preacher, or other public figure, we won’t embarrass or promote him by using his full name. This one is a preacher. He’s David Hegg, senior pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Santa Clarita. Here are some excerpts from the rev’s letter (or maybe it’s a column), with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]:

When 56 men gathered to affirm the Declaration of Independence with their signatures, they held certain truths to be self-evident. They affirmed that all are “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights.” And, before adding their signatures, they stated they did so “with a firm reliance on the protection of divine providence.” By invoking “divine providence” they were demonstrating a belief in the doctrine of providence, which has been affirmed by God-fearing people throughout history.

We’ve all seen this kind of quote-mining before — it’s discussed in Is America a “Christian Nation”? Then the rev gets more interesting. He says:

When, in 1859, Charles Darwin published “Origin of the Species,” science began its assault against divine providence.[That’s when it began!] Whether he intended it or not, his theory of evolution provided the world with an explanation of reality without any need for God. No longer was God needed as the source and superintendent of all things. Now, science could answer all the questions. Science could reign supreme. God, and more importantly, mankind’s accountability to a supreme being, would no longer provide any barriers to living any way we pleased.

Amazing! Before Darwin, no one ever doubted the supremacy of religion — not even for a moment. After giving us that stunning news, the rev tells us:

Today we see the legacy of the sovereignty of science. For example, if someone opposes evolution they are deemed to be “anti-science.” [That’s horrible!] The same goes for those who are not buying the whole loaf of global warming. Of course, they are also “anti-science.” But the sovereignty of science also seems, at times, to be driven more by preference than principle. [Preference? Principle? Not facts?] This allows some who have pledged their souls to science [What?] to escape its clutches if and when going against its findings proves to be more convenient and allows them to live any way they choose.

The rev certainly has a firm understanding of how scientists think. He continues:

Take, for example, the hottest issue today: the right of a woman to end the life of the living child in her womb. If evolutionary science is true, then how can ending the life of a viable child be ethically allowable? Can anyone really argue such an action is “natural selection?”

By the same reasoning, how can anyone be allowed to remain unmarried? If we’ve “pledged our souls to science,” then shouldn’t every one of us be procreating constantly, all our lives? The rev doesn’t address that issue. Let’s read on:

Or take the current controversy over gender. [No, not that!] How absurd is it that we now are asked to believe there can be more than 75 different genders? [Wow!] Is that good science? Regardless of how loud a lie is shouted, those who deal with facts must not be deceived. There is no argument that a person’s gender is determined by their DNA. Of course, you can surgically manipulate the outside, and even some of the inside, of a human male or female, and use powerful chemical processes to rearrange hormones, and other bodily functions. But, in the end, the DNA remains the same, and all you have is the surgically manipulated, and chemically altered male or female you started with.

The rev has given us the scientific view of gender. Case closed on that issue. Here’s another excerpt:

My plea is simple. Don’t count on the sovereignty of science. Even the most ardent evolutionary theorists admit they have no explanation for how something came from nothing. [They admit it!] If every effect had a cause, then we would do well to listen to Aristotle, who wisely demanded that, at the beginning of all things, there must be an unmoved mover, an uncaused cause. [Ooooooooooooh! The unmoved mover!] Further, we would do well to consider that the world we live in, with its complexity, diversity, beauty, and natural order, certainly argues strongly that the uncaused cause be an intelligent one.

Wowie — the unmoved mover is the intelligent designer! Someone should alert the Discoveroids to the rev’s insight. Here’s more:

Lastly, given that purely chemical process cannot account for the immaterial part of the human animal — such as consciousness and the joy of acceptance — it is at least viable to consider that the intelligent, uncaused cause is a spiritual, relational being. For my money, I nominate the God of the Bible.

The rev is a genius! And now we come to the end:

But, if you must salute science as king, at least be ethically consistent. Follow the evidence where it actually leads, and don’t be surprised if what you find looks a lot like biblical morality.

So there you have it, dear reader. All the evidence supports the rev’s religion. If you refuse to admit it, then you’re a hell-bound Darwinist fool!

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

add to del.icio.usAdd to Blinkslistadd to furlDigg itadd to ma.gnoliaStumble It!add to simpyseed the vineTailRankpost to facebook

. AddThis Social Bookmark Button . Permalink for this article

22 responses to “Creationist Wisdom #972: Sovereignty of Science

  1. Richard Staller

    Pretty straight forward opinion, David Hegg is not Pro-Choice and not a fan of the LGBT movement while blaming poor science for their existence. He just wants to go back to that old fashioned morality of the Bible.

    Why? Not even sure he can explain why other than spouting God said so.

  2. “Lastly, given that purely chemical process cannot account for the immaterial part of the human animal — such as consciousness and the joy of acceptance …”

    Actually neurologists have conclusively shown that consciousness and personality can easily be influenced by simple material methods such as chemistry, electromagnetics, and brain damage. But being willfully and profoundly scientifically illiterate allows the “Grace Baptist”* minister to spout counterfactual nonsense.

    *Creationists and other obscurantists are overly fond of oxymoronic names.

  3. “Before Darwin, no one ever doubted the supremacy of religion — not even for a moment.”
    Yeah, pastor Davy never has heard of the brothers Koerbagh.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adriaan_Koerbagh

    “God, and more importantly, mankind’s accountability to a supreme being, would no longer provide any barriers to living any way we pleased.”
    Well, that would definitely be a god I’d consider to worship. Because that’s what I’ve always tried to do: to live exactly the way I’m pleased.

    “the sovereignty of science also seems, at times, to be driven more by preference …”
    At least partly correct. I prefer a method that even for a poor guy like me has improved the quality of life enormously compared with 200, 250 years ago. What’s more, I’m confident and am convinced (but don’t have faith) that if problems like climate change can be addressed it will be due to science, not due to religion. Pastor Davy nicely demonstrates why.

    “allows them to live any way they choose.”
    Hooray for science again! It has takes some (and a couple of times a lot of) effort, but indeed I live largely the way I have chosen.

    “Can anyone really argue such an action is “natural selection?”
    Does any anti-forced birther make this argument?

    “we now are asked to believe there can be more than 75 different genders?”
    Even better would be 750 – the more choice the nicer.

    “all you have is the surgically manipulated, and chemically altered male or female you started with.”
    Be my guest, not my problem. Climate change is, though.

    “Even the most ardent evolutionary theorists admit they have no explanation for how something came from nothing.”
    Yup, I’m totally willing to admit it. It means that god can’t have created the entire shenanigan either.

    “we would do well to listen to Aristotle”
    Excellent advise! The great Stagyrian concluded that Creatio ex Nihilo is impossible, which means that christianity is false. The Prime Mover, Grand Old Designer or whatever you want to call Him/Her/It/One of the 72 other variations formed our Universe (or multiverse, whatever you prefer) out of substance that always has existed and always will exist.

    “For my money, I nominate the God of the Bible.”
    Well, if rev Davy is serious about his arguments he just has lost his money.

  4. his theory of evolution provided the world with an explanation of reality without any need for God. No longer was God needed as the source and superintendent of all things.
    My favorite, among those who showed the impotence of a god?
    Saint Boniface, the Apostle to the Germans, who chopped down the oak tree, sacred to the German god Donar,showing no need for relying on Donar as the superintendedent of that oak. You can read about it in the Wikipedia article “Donar’s Oak”.
    Or maybe Daniel, the hero of the pair of the tales in Bel and the Dragon (see the article inWikipedia), also knwn as chapter 14 of the Book of Daniel. (you can read it in the unexpurgated King James Version).

  5. Ah, Saint Bonifatius, my favourite anti-saint. I don’t need YHWH as the superintendant of any church. So I guess I should burn them down.
    Saint Bonifatius desecrated temples and other sanctuaries. The Frisians, given the laws of the 8th Century, were right to give him the death sentence.

  6. Yes, I know that we are comdemned to exernal punishment for accepting reality rather than some preacher’s imagnation.
    But can we in the USA now expect to be told to go back were we came from?

  7. “…provided the world with an explanation of reality without any need for God” Funny, I thought Newton did that.

    Does that mean he admits that there are *4* genders?
    XX XY XXY XYY?

  8. @KeithB
    Although Newton was a theist (of some sort), there were people who were disturbed by his science. The famous example being George Berkeley, who wrote a theist attack against calculus, The Analyst. See the articles in Wikipedia.
    The famous statement attributed to Pierre-Simon Laplace is “I had no need of that hypothesis” (once agsin, see Wikipedia).

  9. zetopan, you beat me to it. It’s pretty clear from modern neurology that personality and consciousness are products of neurons, neural pathways, synapses, and neurotransmitters, with no need for the magical mystery stuff pastor Davy likes.

  10. TomS asks

    But can we in the USA now expect to be told to go back where we came from?

    That would be good news for the small number of descendants of the Native Americans such as managed to survived the genocidal campaigns against them waged by the USA in the 19th Century.

    But it might also mean the Orange Bloviator in the White House would be sent back to his mother’s native Scotland, a place which has no desire to receive him. Unless, I suppose, a suitable detention facility could be built for him, complete with hot and cold running toilet water.

  11. Our Pastor must have heard about Christians accepting the theory of evolution. This fact must have reached Grace Baptist Church in California. I always wonder what makes these people to rather put their trust in Richard Dawkins than believe what, for example Francis Collins has to say, or lots of other scientists and theologians.

    When I checked the article on the Grace Church it had two comments, one of them criticising and correcting the Pastor.

  12. hans435:
    Careful, Francis Collins seems to have been taken in by ENCODE.

  13. @Megalonyx
    Back under the rock?

  14. Holding The Line In Florida

    “Lastly, given that purely chemical process cannot account for the immaterial part of the human animal — such as consciousness and the joy of acceptance — it is at least viable to consider that the intelligent, uncaused cause is a spiritual, relational being. For my money, I nominate the God of the Bible.” Of course he bets his money on his god and the sheeple who accepted such nonsense. Otherwise he would have to actually do something productive for a living. Can’t have that now can we?

  15. Pastor Hegg:
    “When, in 1859, Charles Darwin published “Origin of the Species,” science began its assault against divine providence.”

    Guess the good rev never heard of Galileo.

    Megalonyx:
    “That would be good news for the small number of descendants of the Native Americans such as managed to survived the genocidal campaigns against them waged by the USA in the 19th Century.”

    And even before there was a USA — the British Hudson Bay Co. deliberately contaminated blankets with small pox and then traded them to the Native Americans, who were much more susceptible to the virus than the Europeans. Natural selection at work — thousands of years of exposure to the virus had already taken most of the less immune Europeans out of the gene pool.

  16. Given that Galilei was a devout catholic I doubt he assaulted divine providence, despite his clash with the pope and several cardinals.

  17. Dave Luckett

    Give the Rev a certain amount of credit, this is somewhat more sophisticated than the usual creationist/far right farrago of fiction we see. He is undeniably correct to say that the founders of the American republic considered some beliefs to be axiomatic, not susceptible to or requiring of any demonstration, and true in essence if not totally supported by pitiless fact: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal”. Fortunately, that’s not true; but (I submit) what they meant was that all human beings are entitled as of right to equal treatment under the law and have equal rights.

    And the Rev is correct to say that the founders appealed to “Providence” as the source of those ideas. You or I might say that they would have been less poetic and more immediate if they had cited the enlightenment, or Voltaire, or Locke, or a number of others, as that source, but who am I to quibble with the greatest founding documents ever written for any nation?

    But most of the rest of the Rev’s output is utter tosh. Science never began any assault on “divine providence”, and has precisely nothing to say about it, just as it has nothing to say about any proposition to which observations of nature are irrelevant.

    The only connection I can think of between evolution and the right to choose to bear a child, or not, is the reflection that to raise a human infant to the point of being a socially productive adult is certainly by far the largest investment in a single offspring made by any species on Earth. It would appear, then, that if that investment is not made – for any reason – it is better that it be not attempted, for the results of attempting it but failing is detrimental to the species as well as to the individual. Also, since humans have relatively few chances to reproduce, every decision not to reproduce lowers reproductive fitness and thus tends to deselect the individual making it. Perhaps the Rev might find comfort in that thought.

    “Gender” does not mean “sex”. What, exactly, it means is crucial to the question of how many genders there are. Exhaustive and precise definition is vital. The Rev doesn’t even attempt one. All he has is that he objects to the proposition that there are many genders. That has nothing to do with the science, and everything to do with his own prejudices.

    Scientists do not say that “everything came from nothing”. They can only say that everything was a potential concentrated in a singularity. It’s the Rev who says that everything was created from nothing. In this, as has often been noted, he actually contradicts Genesis.

    I don’t know what the Rev means by the “sovereignty of science”. It’s the go-to method for investigating nature. Where it makes a statement of established fact about nature – always providing that the statement is rigorous, and rigorously applied – the fact must be accepted, prima facie. If that’s “sovereignty”, then so be it.

  18. Pope retiredsciguy notes

    the British Hudson Bay Co. deliberately contaminated blankets with small pox and then traded them to the Native Americans

    I don’t know about the Hudson Bay Co.; the earliest instance I know of this particular use of biological warfare is attributed to Lord Amherst, who during the French & Indian War gave explicit written orders, to Col. Henry Bouquet to infect “the Indians, by means of blankets, as well as to try every other method that can serve to extirpate this execrable race.”

    Wikipedia has a good account: Jeffery Amherst, 1st Baron Amherst.

    Ole Jeff was a devout Christian. Just sayin’…

  19. retiredsciguy, in response to the rev’s claim that with Darwin, “science began its assault against divine providence,” says: “Guess the good rev never heard of Galileo.”

    How does the rev explain why, at least 500 years before Darwin, the Church found it necessary to have something like the Inquisition?

  20. TomS suggests

    Back under the rock?

    Works for me–provided, just to be absolutely clear, we’re talking about a stationary rock, not one dropped from a great height.

  21. Am not I in sport? I have no animus against God’s creatures which live under rocks.

  22. @TomS:
    Why not his grandfather’s native Germany? Germans know a would-be dictator when they see one. They learned the hard way.