Creationist Wisdom #975: Two Impossible Facts

Today’s letter-to-the-editor is actually a column in the Uinta County Herald of Evanston, Wyoming. It’s titled Impossible yet abundant: Pondering the marvel of life, and the newspaper has a comments section.

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 Jonathan Lange, described at the end as “an LCMS [Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod] pastor in Evanston and Kemmerer and serves the Wyoming Pastors Network.” This is the rev’s third appearance in our collection. The second was #918: Faces Disprove Evolution, and the first was #843: Darwin’s Lie. We’ll give you a few excerpts from the rev’s new column, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]. Here we go!

We were westbound on I-80 just past the inlet of Echo reservoir. My eyes were lazily scanning the hills when it hit me. Here, in one of the most arid of the western states, we were nevertheless surrounded by living things. [Gasp!] If I could catalogue every distinct life that fit into a single glance, it would be unimaginable in both number and variety.

He goes on for a few paragraphs about the great variety of life — plants, animals, and microscopic organisms, and then says:

What dawned on me that day is the simple fact that all this life was packed into a single moment of a single day of a single citizen on a planet with 7 billion people. There were 100 times more living organisms before my eyes in that moment than there are stars in the universe.

An exaggeration, perhaps, but of no importance. After that he tells us:

All that life, and yet, when you step off our planet and scour the universe — as we have been doing for 60 years — we have yet to find even one single instance of life anywhere. Not a bug or a weed, neither algae nor an amoeba has ever been found. We haven’t even found a planet that could theoretically support life. [Actually, we have.] I make no claims about what we might find in the future. I know of no scientific or theological reason why biological life could not be found somewhere else in the universe. But the stubborn fact remains. Even the most optimistic probability models find it practically impossible. All of which underscores how astoundingly special is our living world.

Another exaggeration, but so what? It’s true that conditions on this planet are just right for us, otherwise we wouldn’t be here. It brings to mind the Douglas Adams story in which a puddle wakes up one morning and thinks, “This is an interesting world I find myself in — an interesting hole I find myself in — fits me rather neatly, doesn’t it? In fact it fits me staggeringly well, [it] may have been made to have me in it!” The rev continues:

For the last century and a half, preachers of the enlightenment [That’s his term for “scientists.”] have been working on a project to explain all this life by means of undirected, random changes vetted through an ongoing battle for survival. The technical term is “Natural Selection.” More popularly, it is known as the Theory of Evolution. I have been critical of this theory in past articles [Yes, we know.], but I am not going to talk about it today. Today’s topic considers a prior question. It’s about a world before evolution was even a possibility — a world without life. After all, before the fittest can survive, it must be alive in the first place.

Groan. He’s going to discuss the origin of life. Here it comes:

While almost everyone has been taught that every living thing evolved from a single cell being, no one can tell you how that imaginary one-celled creature came to be. [Gasp!] Most do not even know the scientific name for how it might have come to be. That name is abiogenesis. [Thanks, rev.] Abiogenesis discusses how life happened in the first place. Every form of life carries information and moves toward self-preservation, repair and reproduction. But in a purely chemical world, there is nothing but randomness. [The laws of nature are a bit more than that.] How did matter ever arrange itself to become alive in the first place? What would it take for a random stew of chemicals to form the first living cell? After a century of theorizing, there is no single, generally accepted model for the origin of life.

The origin of life is a problem that’s being worked on. Here’s an example of the ongoing research: Scientists discover new chemistry that may help explain the origins of cellular life. But the rev’s not satisfied. He wants science to be like religion. He insists that we have all the answers — now!

He goes on for several paragraphs, using creationist code-words like “irreducible complexity” and “information.” Then he declares:

Life is an amazing thing. This brief outline only begins to scratch the surface. Abiogenesis is far more complex and interconnected than I can hope to describe in a single article. In fact, it probably exceeds all the powers of your imagination as well. Before we even start the discussion of evolution, life itself is a thousand times more unlikely. Yet, despite the impossibility [Impossibility!] of life arising by random processes, we are utterly surrounded by it. These two facts are worth pondering together.

Overwhelming, isn’t it? And you may have noticed that the rev’s “two facts” have given us the title of this post. Here’s the end of his column:

While you are pondering how these two things can simultaneously be true, you have good reason to laugh out loud. You are alive. You are an impossibly complex and wonderful organism planted in the middle of a world filled with equally impossible life forms. And you, above every other living creature, have this additional gift: you can read these words and ponder these facts. Life is good.

Ponder the rev’s wisdom, dear reader. Your existence is impossible, yet you’re here. Obviously, there’s more going on than your pathetic science can ever explain. Why don’t you accept The Truth?

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

16 responses to “Creationist Wisdom #975: Two Impossible Facts

  1. The scientific explanation for the existence of my body involves reproduction. Yes, scientists over the last century and a half have discovered a lot about reproduction. (150 years ago, in 1869, Mendeleev presented the Periodic Table of Elements and Miescher discovered DNA. Medel published his discoveries a little before that, in 1866. Long before that, there was a philosophy, called Epricureanism, whch said that the world of nature was made up of atoms acting randomly. There are people today who have been passing on the arguments against Epicureanism as if they were relevant to science. They don’t seem to be able to come up with their own ideas.)
    Does the writer doubt those scientific discoveries? Does he have an alternative explanation? Something whch does not involve the laws of nature?

  2. Eddie Janssen

    First no planets
    Second no life
    Third no intelligent life
    Fourth no intelligent life designed by the Intelligen Designer (God ofcourse).
    I cannot think of a Fifth gap.

  3. There is a gap between design and construction.
    There is a gap between what the Bible says and Young Earth Creationism.

  4. Michael Fugate

    I would suggest the rev start with a chemistry course.

  5. “I would suggest the rev start with a chemistry course.”

    Grade school general science would be a required prerequisite that he most likely could not currently pass.

  6. Can anyone help me out? I really, really want to understand creacrap, but despite all my efforts and experience this is beyond my comprehension.

    “it would be unimaginable in both number and variety.”
    OK.

    “There were 100 times more living organisms before my eyes in that moment ….”
    Is Rev Johnny claiming that he literally saw all those organisms? Then wow. Just wow.
    Is “before my eyes” a metaphor? Then he’s talking about his imagination and claiming that he imagined the unimaginable.
    I truely don’t get it.

    “After a century of theorizing”
    we have a much better understanding than a couple of millennia of praying, sacrificing and other forms of worshipping.

    “there is no single, generally accepted model for the origin of life.”
    Yeah, like there is no single, generally accepted model for superconductivity at relatively high temperatures. Will Rev Johnny conclude that his god loves juggling magnets?

    “Abiogenesis is far more complex and interconnected than I can hope to describe in a single article.”
    Excellent point, Rev Johnny! What about some patience? Just 100 years of research is nothing compared to even the very short history of Homo Sapiens. That species not being particularly smart it’s to be expected that such complex problems take a bit more time than cock-a-doodle-do.

    “despite the impossibility of life arising by random processes …..”
    With creacrappers straightforward stupidity never is far away. Bingo! Chemistry is anything but random. But of course our dear SC is right with “creationist code-words” – random is another one. It doesn’t mean playing dice, it means “unguided by an imaginary supernatural intelligent agent I’ve decided to call God or even YHWH”.

    “While you are pondering how these two things can simultaneously be true, you have good reason to laugh out loud.”
    Indeed. At Rev Johnny.

    “Life is good.”
    As long as creacrappers like Rev Johnny aren’t in charge of education they contribute to my good life indeed.

  7. @TomS: which one is the biggest gap?

  8. Mark Germano

    A century of science upended by a drive through the desert at 75 mph!

  9. “There were 100 times more living organisms before my eyes in that moment than there are stars in the universe.”
    The Rev refers to the number of stars he sees when he looks up to the sky at night, with his reading glasses on.

  10. chris schilling

    “Scour the universe”

    BWAHAHAHAHA!

    Yeah, we searched high and low — for 60 years, mind! There’s nothing out there. Might as well call it a day, and all go home.

    Game over, man, game over.

  11. Oh dear. I grew up in Missouri Synod Lutheran churches was baptized and confirmed and received holy communion. I don’t remember science hatred
    in those Sunday school and sermon experiences. Sounds like a denominational problem here for sure.

  12. “preachers of the enlightenment” ?? Ok. Now I’m mad. Fuel injected flaming creationist hater alert.

  13. The rev says ““There were 100 times more living organisms before my eyes in that moment than there are stars in the universe.” Since he fails to estimate the number of organisms he thinks he sees, and doesn’t specify whether he’s talking about the visible universe of the entire universe, he apparently has no idea whether he’s right. In any case, he’s probably off by a number of orders of magnitude. And I bet he’s not aware that the vast majority of the living organisms in the area of the earth that he sees are bacteria and archaea. And many of the rest are beetles, since the Lord is so fond of them (to paraphrase JBS Haldane.

  14. Most living things, by any measure, are too small to be seen without magnification. This includes the bacteria and archaea, but there are also many miscroscopic eukaryotes, notably those which are neither plants, animals, nor fungi. Much of the importance of this life, was not realized until the 19th or even 20th centuries.

  15. Eric Lipps

    While you are pondering how these two things can simultaneously be true, you have good reason to laugh out loud. You are alive. You are an impossibly complex and wonderful organism planted in the middle of a world filled with equally impossible life forms. And you, above every other living creature, have this additional gift: you can read these words and ponder these facts. Life is good.

    Not when I have to deal with drivel like this.

    The good Rev. Lange apparently doesn’t know the difference between “unexplained” and “impossible to explain (except by invoking God).” And that’s just for starters.

  16. What do you think – does he want to? Moreover, does it matter? To the good Rev. I mean?