Creationist Wisdom #1,008: The Rev Has Proof

This one is about Secular humanism, a philosophy that seems to be despised by all creationists. Wikipedia says:

Secular humanism is a philosophy or life stance that embraces human reason, secular ethics, and philosophical naturalism while specifically rejecting religious dogma, supernaturalism, and superstition as the basis of morality and decision making.

That sounds reasonable, but not to the writer of today’s letter-to-the-editor — it’s actually a column — which appears in the Murray Ledger & Times of Murray, Kentucky. The title is The religion of humanism: a self-created universe, and we don’t see any 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 John McKee, described as Evangelist of the West Murray church of Christ. We’ll give you some excerpts from the rev’s column, enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary, some bold font for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]. Okay, here we go:

Secular Humanists pride themselves in accepting only what can be established scientifically. Yet they begin with the premise that a Supreme Being cannot exist [Gasp!] and they cling desperately to that assumption with the greatest of religious fervor despite what the scientific evidence suggests.

Ooooooooooooh! The rev has scientific evidence. Eagerly, we proceed with his column. He says:

According to Al-Ghazali, a 12th-century Muslim theologian [an unexpected authority], sound logic demands that whatever begins to exist has a cause, the universe began to exist [It did?], therefore, the universe has a cause. The law of cause and effect has been understood and validated for centuries. But what scientific evidence currently available to us indicates that the universe had a beginning?

We know there’s evidence for the so-called Big Bang, the start of the expansion of the visible universe, but whether that was literally the beginning of everything, and nothing existed earlier is an open question. The rev thinks otherwise, and he tells us:

The universe is expanding. [True.] Regardless of your opinion regarding the big-bang theory and the age of the universe, the fact that the expansion of the universe has been measured proves it cannot be eternal. [Not necessarily.] In 2003, three leading scientists, Arvind Borde, Alan Guth and Alexander Vilenkin were able to prove that any universe that has, on average, been expanding throughout its history cannot be infinite but must have a past space-time boundary. An expanding universe had a beginning.

*Groan* The expansion had a beginning. As for what, if anything, was going on prior to the expansion, that remains an open question — at least for your Curmudgeon. The rev continues:

The universe is “running down.” The second law of thermodynamics states that, unless energy is being fed into a system, that system will become increasingly disorderly.

Creationists love to cite the second law of thermodynamics — without comprehension — and then run wild with it. Let’s see what the rev does:

Given enough time, the universe will inevitably stagnate in a state of heat death. If the universe were eternal, that state of disorderly equilibrium would have already happened an eternity ago. The fact that we are in a state of disequilibrium, where energy is still available to be used and the universe has an orderly structure is evidence that we are on a finite timeline that had a beginning.

He’s stating the obvious. We know that the expansion of the visible universe hasn’t been eternal. It started about 13 or 14 billion years ago, and it hasn’t had nearly enough time to arrive at a state of heat death. We don’t know whether it will then re-collapse into another singularity and start expanding again, or what. But the rev seems certain that he does know, so let’s see where he’s going. Here’s another excerpt:

The scientific evidence we have available suggests that the universe began at some time in the distant past. There has never been a greater “effect” than the sudden appearance of all matter, energy, time and space. A secular humanist is free to believe that the universe came into existence out of complete nothingness and without a cause [Huh?], but such a belief is a tenet of his faith which has no basis in science. I am unable to muster enough faith to join his religion.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! The rev doesn’t have enough faith for that — but he does have enough to believe Genesis, as we shall now see:

The Cause [with a capital “C”] sufficient to account for the creation of all matter, energy, time and space would have to be a source of indescribable power, will and intellect and would necessarily be outside of and independent of His own creation. Jehovah God as described in the Bible is the best possible fit for the attributes suggested by the evidence.

Yup — that fits the evidence. And now we come to the end:

David the Psalmist wrote, “The heavens are telling of the glory of God; and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands” (Psalm 19:1). The more scientists learn, the more evident David’s observation becomes.

Okay, dear reader, now that you’ve read what the rev has to say, are you ready to give up your silly secular humanism? If not, why not?

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

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15 responses to “Creationist Wisdom #1,008: The Rev Has Proof

  1. Eddie Janssen

    Jehova God?

  2. Laurette McGovern

    “The Cause [with a capital “C”] sufficient to account for the creation of all matter, energy, time and space would have to be a source of indescribable power, will and intellect and would necessarily be outside of and independent of His own creation. Jehovah God as described in the Bible is the best possible fit for the attributes suggested by the evidence.”

    Would somebody please translate this from Gibberish into some form of intelligible English? I have no idea

  3. three leading scientists, Arvind Borde, Alan Guth and Alexander Vilenkin were able to prove that any universe that has, on average, been expanding throughout its history cannot be infinite but must have a past space-time boundary.
    Is that true?
    I’m not sure what this means: “on average, been expanding”.
    Also, if there is a meaning to the total entropy of the universe, ISTM that the total entropy of the universe can be an increasing function, never reaching a maximum value.

  4. Michael Fugate

    Commentary on the paper

    Click to access naturebgv.pdf

  5. As I sit here, there is a so-called mouse near my left hand. It does not move. As heir to several centuries of emergence from religious darkness, I know that any movement imparted to it should continue until opposed by some external force – movement is the natural state of things. I also know that friction between the mouse and its support is adequate to rapidly eliminate any movement imparted to it. Without such knowledge, this is the simple world of cause and effect inhabited by the scientifically illiterate who seek a “first mover” which they can promote to a god worthy of worship.
    As I look at the screen in front of me, light from the screen passes through glass lenses which I wear in front of my eyes, which introduce distortions in the light rays. The light then passes through my natural lenses, which reverse some and enhance others of the distortions, leading to clear and sharp images on my retinas, where detectors and a few layers of nerve processing translate the images to complex nerve signals transmitted to various parts of my brain. The complicated optics are, I believe, well understood by people who study such things, and still in the realm of cause and effect, one thing leading to another.
    The electrochemical activity in the retina and brain is trickier, because we get into thermodynamics. Reactions between molecules occur, which involve oxidising glucose and transferring energy into ATP, which can then interact with other molecules to lead to a build-up of localised electrical charges. The relevant molecules are somewhat attracted to each other by the charge distributions on their surfaces, but mainly they get close enough to interact because they are in an aqueous solution at about 300°K, so that they are rattling around rapidly and chaotically. But although chaotic and unpredictable in practice, we can happily see this as deterministic and still a case of cause and effect.
    I was going to comment on the electrochemical brain activity which leads to nerve signals to muscles in my left arm which react by using more glucose and ATP to induce protein chains to slide relative to each other leading to movements in tendons connected to my fingers which thereby twitch to cause movement of the passive mouse and signals to the PC whereby the image displayed on the screen is caused to change: nothing really new here.
    When we want to understand chemistry, we get into physics. At first, it’s just electrons and photons doing their thing, but when we look closer, we see that when doing what they do, they can’t decide whether they are particles or waves, so we have to invent quantum dynamics. But then we find that cause and effect, which have worked fairly well for everyday stuff, aren’t so important any more. Things can can happen, sometimes happen, sometimes not. Not just anything can happen, there are conservation laws which act as restrictions, but even then, it seems that they can be broken, provided that all is put right quicker than the universe can notice the problem.

    Armchair babbling about ultimate causes, whether deified or not, turns out to be totally useless.

  6. To the defense of this rev, promoting the Cosmological Argument is not enough to qualify him as a creationist.

  7. chris schilling

    @Laurette McG asks for a translation of the rev’s learned musings on the “Cause.” Here’s mine:

    “The Cause is an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us, penetrates us, and binds the galaxy together.”

    True, not my words exactly, but those of another mythmaker, cobbled together from plagiarizing lots of old ones (And yes — it still remains gibberish). But it’s fun to invent — or riff on — a mythology. Practically anyone can do it.

    Go on, kids: try this at home!

  8. @jimroberts
    Armchair babbling about ultimate causes, whether deified or not, turns out to be totally useless.
    Agreed. It is an exercise in the fallacy of composition/division. We seek explanations (causes) for individual phenomena, and thereby attempt to justify a cause for the totality of all phenomena. Some recognize that that involves a contradiction, and attempt to escape that by adding an ad hoc exception. In any case, that which explains everything equally well (except for that ad hoc) explains nothing.

  9. When a disquisition begins with a flagrant outright lie, I am ill-disposed to continue reading it.

    “Secular Humanists ,,, begin with the premise that a Supreme Being cannot exist.”

    That’s a lie. The Rev is a liar. Oddly enough, as I have remarked, that word (or, rather, its Greek or Aramaic equivalent) was used of the clergy of another day, by another who was impatient with lies and liars. I claim no equivalence except that impatience.

  10. The last sentence of the brief abstract to the Borde-Guth-Vilenkin (BGV) paper is:

    Thus inflationary models require physics other than inflation to describe the past boundary of the inflating region of spacetime.

    In words that could not be clearer, the authors are denying that their work is in itself the whole story. Something else is needed, presumably some quantum theory. I do not understand how creationists can with honesty quote BGV in support of their faith. Oh, silly me! creationists are ignrant and shameless liars.

  11. As a secular humanist (well, full confession, I was an electron microscopist and anatomist), I never started anything with the premise that a “supreme being” cannot exist. I suppose one might exist, but the probability is very close to zero. And one who claims such a creature exists would have to show me some evidence for it, and explain how something alleged to be outside the real world interacts with it. As far as I can tell, none of the thousands of god creatures that people have fantasized about qualify.

  12. You doubt the Cosmic Aardvark?

  13. “It is thus with regard to the disease called Sacred: it appears to me to be nowise more divine nor more sacred than other diseases, but has a natural cause from the originates like other affections. Men regard its nature and cause as divine from ignorance and wonder, because it is not at all like to other diseases. And this notion of its divinity is kept up by their inability to comprehend it, and the simplicity of the mode by which it is cured, for men are freed from it by purifications and incantations. But if it is reckoned divine because it is wonderful, instead of one there are many diseases which would be sacred; for, as I will show, there are others no less wonderful and prodigious, which nobody imagines to be sacred.”

    HIippocrates, “On the Sacred Disease”

  14. @Abeastwood: what’s more, one perfectly can be a christian and a secular humanist at the same time. For instance I’m pretty sure Martin Luther King wasn’t a theocrat, hence secular.
    These bigots should not succeed at equating secularism with unbelief. One of the first secular christians was my compatriot Desiderius Erasmus.

  15. … hence he was secular.