Creationist Wisdom #1,019: Beyond Bizarre

Today’s letter-to-the-editor — it’s a column, really — appears in The Alpine Sun of Alpine, California. The title is Genesis of a new year, 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 mystery writer. From her picture, it’s obviously a woman. Her first name is Dean, and she seems to be a regular columnist for that paper. After Googling around, we keep getting hints that she’s also a preacher — but we’re not certain, so we won’t use her full name. We’ll give you some excerpts from her column, enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary, some bold font for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]. Okay, here we go:

There are four basic questions that every human being will wrestle with at some point in their life. Who am I? Where did I come from? Why am I here? Where will I go when I die? [Yeah, we’re always wrestling with those questions.] I remember as a teenager thinking about these questions, including the thought of my own death, which would of course bring on an anxiety attack. It was frightening to think that someday I would cease to exist. These four basic questions eventually lead us to only two possible world views; that everything is a random cosmic explosion or that we are the result of a deliberate creation event.

Yup, those are the only two possible views. Then Dean says:

I was taught in school dur­ing the 1960’s, that both outer space and inner space was an infinite universe. [Right!] We were also instructed that the microscopic world existed in an infinitely smaller and smaller direction. [Yes, infinitely smaller.] We were systematically taught that everything around us was the result of a cataclysmic accident. We were forced fed the latest scientific theories as our rights to pray and discuss God were legislated out of our public schools.

Dean was obviously well educated. She tells us:

So now science has discovered that our universe is not infinite but finite. [Really?] They have discovered that the velocity of light is not constant but is indeed slowing down [What?] and if you have lived here on earth for any length of time it soon becomes clear that all matter goes from a higher, hotter organized state to a lower, cooler disorganized state. [That’s the second law of thermodynamics, presumably.] If by chance to [sic] happen to open my garage door you would discover this law of science to be true! Even our sun and the galaxy in which it resides will one day suffer catastrophic heat loss as it cools beyond a pre-determined threshold point.

Dean really knows her stuff! After a weird paragraph about other dimensions, she asks:

So if there is a God is he getting older with us? Is his hair turning gray as he sits on his throne waiting for us to return to dust? So where does the Ancient of Days, Almighty God, Elohim reside and what is it like to exist in that place without time passing? I have to admit it is difficult, if not impossible to contemplate eternity. Eternity might be a place where there is not an abundance of time but rather exists outside the confines of physics altogether. [Huh?] Here is an analogy for you to consider:

We’ll skip Dean’s “analogy” about eternity — she says it’s like seeing past, present & future all at once. Then she says:

Let us apply what we have just learned [Hee hee!] to see how biblical prophecy fits into our new understanding of eternity. As we study the bible we find many examples of where information has been recorded ahead of time with precise detail. [Yes indeed!] Prophecy is an amazing part of scripture that has convinced many people of the existence of God. It is the proof [Proof!] for many skeptics that the universe we are presently living in was created by an omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent Creator. So if this universe was designed and created then should we not take time to get to know him better?

Sure, why not? But how do we do that? Let’s read on:

The New Year is a great time to make changes. It is a perfect time to write a list of things that you would like to accomplish. The New Year brings the opportunity to get rid of old habits and a chance for new beginnings. These new beginnings might include a new career path, living a healthier life style or maybe devoting more time to reading and studying God’s word. Regular reading of the bible is our spiritual compass, lighthouse and refuge from the storms that form on life’s horizon.

Great advice! And now — all too soon — we arrive at the end of Dean’s column:

From all of us at Carpenter’s Corner [the name of the newspaper’s column] we want to wish every­one a wonderful New Year and challenge all to grow in the wisdom and knowledge of the Lord. Our prayer for this New Year is that all of us will continue to develop our relationships with our Creator.

Very inspirational! There’s nothing more to be said.

Copyright © 2020. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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20 responses to “Creationist Wisdom #1,019: Beyond Bizarre

  1. Reference for the speed of light slowing down? My guess is Dean is not aware of Maxwell’s equations and how they relate to many of the things she probably relies on daily, such as GPS, cell phones, the internet and some other stuff that wouldn’t work too well if she’s right and Maxwell was wrong. And the stuff she claims to have learned in school is pretty bizarre, as the Curmudgeon has pointed out in the title.

  2. Theodore Lawry

    “all matter goes from a higher, hotter organized state to a lower, cooler disorganized state.”

    Wrong. when matter cools its entropy decreases. Yes creationists, decreasing the entropy of a system is as simple as letting it cool down. It is astonishing how many creationists who speak glibly of order or entropy don’t know this

  3. It’s amazingly easy to find out that everything you knew was wrong when everything you thought you knew was, in fact wrong. Like, I had a secular education in high school, and I remember NONE of that.

  4. Michael Fugate

    Might want to read Matthew chapter 6 too. Seems not much was learned at Sunday School either.

  5. Dean poses an incomplete list:

    There are four basic questions that every human being will wrestle with at some point in their life. Who am I? Where did I come from? Why am I here? Where will I go when I die?

    She unaccountably omitted the perennial question:

    Is Certs a breath mint, or a candy mint?

  6. Michael Fugate

    You want fries/chips with that?

  7. Derek Freyberg

    I believe that the picture is of Rev. Gay Beauregard, who is pastor of the Alpine Church of Spiritual Living (see http://www.alpinecommunitynetwork.com/2017/07/reverend-gay-beauregards-15-year-of-ministerial-leadership-celebration-july-15-2017/). Dean Kellio, author of the column, and a number of other columns in The Alpine Sun, is apparently pastor of Calvary Chapel La Mesa (see https://sermons.faithlife.com/sermons/379701-passion-week-pastor-dean-kellio, though the Calvary Chapel website doesn’t seem to show pastoral or other staff.
    None of which alters the inanity of the column.

  8. My dear SC, your site is, as usual, a source of information and the jumping off point for one’s own research and self-education.

    Dean is definitely a creationist as well as an advocate of (small I) intelligent design but I don’t think that Dean is a woman or necessarily a preacher. Dean is, I believe, a gentleman and a local builder in Alpine, so it is not unusual that his regular column in the Alpine Sun is entitled “Carpenter’s Corner”. On the other hand, Alpine is home to the Alpine Church of Spiritual Living, a church based on the philosophy of Religious Science and their minister is Rev. Gay Beauregard, a gentlewoman. The Rev. Beauregard also writes a regular column in the Alpine Sun and her photo is regularly juxtaposed with the Carpenter’s Corner logo – which might, perhaps be the cause of some confusion.

    I was previously aware of “Christian Scientists” – there was a small but prominent church and reading room in my own suburb in Sydney. Of Religious Scientists, I knew nothing until this research, though I am fairly certain that Dean doesn’t attend their services since “the laws of Moses, the love of Christ, the ethics of Buddha, the morals of Confucius and the deep spiritual realization of the Hindus all find an exalted place in the philosophy of Religious Science.” Which also brought me to the “Unity Movement”, active around the same time as Christian Scientists, which describes itself as being “for people who might call themselves spiritual but not religious”, and then to “Science of Mind”.

  9. chris schilling

    “The New Year is a great time to make changes.”

    Studies show most New Year resolutions tend to fail. A bit like like Dean’s thought processes.

    As far as life’s profound questions go, one might as well just ask: who is Dean? Is she man or woman. Why is a boy named Sue? And what’s with pineapple on pizza?

  10. In Anglican religious circles, Dean is a title, not a name. For example, the senior clergy official responsible for the running of a cathedral would be the dean. We also have rural deans, who supervise country parishes. Imagine how confusing it might be if we had a Dean Dean.

  11. @chris schilling: Actually, there’s a close connection between “A Boy Named Sue” and the creationism/evolution controversy: Shel Silverstein, who wrote the song, reportedly chose the name after meeting Sue Hicks, a retired judge who earlier in his career was on the prosecution team in Tennessee v. Scopes, in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Hicks was so named in memory of his mother, who died shortly after giving birth to him.

  12. Dave Luckett

    Dean lies. “(O)ur rights to pray and discuss God were legislated out of our public schools”, he writes. No such thing ever happened. Students may pray in public schools. They may discuss God in public schools. The only issue is the maintenance of order and of a learning environment.

    Those rights were never “legislated out”. There was no legislation, unless by “legislation” you mean the Constitution of the United States. The Supreme Court held that the First Amendment forbade the public schools from sponsoring or requiring any religious exercise or observance – and reading that amendment, it’s difficult to see how the Court could have come to any other conclusion.

    Dean is even more ignorant of basic physics than I am, which is saying something, but worse, his remarks about Biblical prophecy are compounded about equally from untruth and ignorance, too. “As we study the bible we find many examples of where information has been recorded ahead of time with precise detail”, he writes.

    In fact, “we” find almost no examples of that. Biblical prophecies fall into five groups: outcomes that are completely unexceptional, that is, always happen anyway, like Matthew 24:6-8 “There will be wars…”; outcomes deliberately contrived to meet the prophecy, like Jesus entering Jerusalem that Passover in the manner described by Zechariah 9:9; outcomes that have never happened (to which the faithful will insist on adding “yet”) like Isaiah 11:14 ff; outcomes completely at odds with the prophecy, like Ezekiel 26:7 ff; and finally prophecies so vague in their terms as to be fulfilled by a vast range of events, like Jesus’s promise to return within the lifetimes of his hearers.

    In fact I know of no fulfilled Biblical prophecy that was precise in its terms, accurate in its prediction of uncontrived outcomes, and neither trivial nor unexceptional. I wrote there are “almost no examples” because I don’t know everything. But I would be surprised if there was a prophecy that met the criteria above.

    In short, Dean is both completely ignorant of science and ignorant or mendacious or worse about law, politics and religion. It is a quirk of mine, no more, that I find the latter set more galling. But what I find most galling of all is that somebody this ignorant and prejudiced – and just plain everyday wrong – gets to parade his damnfool notions in regular columns in the press, even the rural press – without, so far as I can see, equal prominence or even access being accorded to writers more concerned with truth and evidence.

  13. Prophecy in general is an interpretation of the will of a god. It need not involve prediction of future events.
    Matthew 21:5 is a case of misunderstanding of Zechariah 9:9.

  14. @Arcy. At the university attended by my daughter, the head of a faculty is known as the Dean. And in her case, attended, the Dean of the Faculty of Arts was Dean Someoneorother – A real-life Dean Dean.

  15. Glenn Branch: As you know, Ol’ Hambo blogs almost as much about gender issues as he does about creationism. I wonder how he would react to that news about Sue Hicks.

  16. Dean scores 25%: “Who am I? (1) Where did I come from? (2) Why am I here? (3) Where will I go when I die? (4)”
    1. That question was answered as soon as I learned my name. That’s many decades ago.
    2. This answer I learned a bit later: my mother’s belly. Another few years later the answer became more detailed.
    3. At that time I also learned the answer to this question – it’s still many decades ago.
    4. This one took me a bit longer to figure out. That’s a bit ironic, because the Bible contains the answer indeed: ashes to ashes, dust to dust. When I die there will be no “I” left.

    That was easy.

    “which would of course bring on an anxiety attack. It was frightening to think that someday I would cease to exist.”
    Go figure. This is an important emotional reason I got lost for religion; one thing I do not suffer from is existential fear. Totally independent from Mark Twain I figured it out as an early teen: not existing hasn’t bothered me for millions and millions of years, so being dead is not a reason for fear. The process of dying is an entirely other topic.

    “only two possible world views;”
    A fine example of existential fear resulting in the logical fallacy called false dilemma.
    I’ll let the rest go; our dear SC already pointed out that Dean is a perfect example of the superior American educational system.

  17. Oh wait, our dear SC is baffled: “They have discovered that the velocity of light is not constant but is indeed slowing down [What?]”
    Two words, one guy: Barry Setterfield.

    https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Barry_Setterfield

  18. Her things to ponder are silly and too easy to answer her inability to know indicates her deep sp00pidity.
    Who am I? … what ever I make myself to be
    Where did I come from? … my mom’s uterus
    Why am I here? .. my dad had sex with mom
    Where will I go when I die? … back to the realm of the elements.
    Took seconds to answer.

  19. Dave Luckett correctly analyses some Creationist nonsense:

    Dean lies. “(O)ur rights to pray and discuss God were legislated out of our public schools”, he writes. No such thing ever happened. Students may pray in public schools. They may discuss God in public schools. The only issue is the maintenance of order and of a learning environment. Those rights were never “legislated out”.

    Indeed—and well said. Moreover: it would seem that invoking phantom ‘legislation’ is a time-honoured trope of Creationists, as I can attest from some correspondence I had many years ago with the DI’s redoubtable commentator, Dr. Michael Egnor, who wrote, in a DI blog post on 6 Aug 2007 (Egnor’s emphasis):

    …the evolutionary-thought-police have enjoyed a federally enforced monopoly on biology education for 50 years. It’s a federal crime to question Darwin’s theory in a public school. Yet they have convinced less than 20% of their students of the validity of their science.

    I wrote to Egnor c/o the DI as follows:

    I was particularly alarmed by the following statement, “It’s a federal crime to question Darwin’s theory in a public school.” I am writing to you from England, where there was some press coverage of a legal case involving the teaching of Intelligent Design in American schools, but I was entirely unaware of legislation which actually criminalised the act of even questioning Darwin’s theory. That is a truly reprehensible piece of legislation which can only be described as ‘thought crime.’

    However, I have been unable to find details of this legislation (I confess my search is confined to using Google), and would be most grateful if you could send me a reference to the particular legislation, or indeed the full text. I am very interested to see how such an Orwellian law has been framed, specifically:

    1. the reference, date, and text of the law
    2. the penalties which can potentially be incurred by violators of this law
    3. any instances of any prosecutions (whether successful or no) for this federal offence

    Needless to say, it took several more missives, and copying in the Great Gerbil himself, to finally get an answer—which, no one will be surprised, was no answer at all—in Egnor’s follow-up DI blog post on 10 Aug 2007, where Egnor wrote:

    We’ve gotten a couple of e-mails challenging my observation in a recent post that questioning Darwin’s theory in a public school is a federal crime. The reader implied that, because there is no federal statute explicitly censoring criticism of Darwin’s theory in public schools, it wasn’t a federal crime to do so. The issue of censorship in science classes in public schools is worth examining more closely.

    Is it a federal crime to question Darwin’s theory in a public school? In some public schools it certainly is. It’s a federal crime to violate a federal court ruling, such as the ruling by federal judge John E. Jones banning criticism of Darwin’s theory in the curriculum of biology classes in Dover, Pennsylvania public schools. Disobeying Judge Jones’ ruling would be a violation of U.S. Code Title 18, Part1, Chapter 21, section 401:

    A court of the United States shall have power to punish by fine or imprisonment, or both, at its discretion, such contempt of its authority, and none other, as–
    (1) Misbehavior of any person in its presence or so near thereto as to obstruct the administration of justice;
    (2) Misbehavior of any of its officers in their official transactions;
    (3) Disobedience or resistance to its lawful writ, process, order, rule, decree, or command. [emphasis Egnor’s]”

    In plain English, you’re not allowed to violate a federal court ruling, and doing so is a federal crime. Judge Jones’ ruling applied formally to the parties in the case, including the Dover School District. In Dover today, if the district requires you to “to denigrate or disparage the scientific theory of evolution,” there is a violation of a federal court order, which is a federal crime.

    The sophistry Egnor and the DI display here needs no further comment.

    But I think one needs to make a distinction between those, such as the DI, who fabricate these dishonest claims, and those who unquestioningly promulgate them—as may be the case (we cannot really know for certain) with ‘Dean’ in our SC’s article, above.

    The originators of such falsehoods are probably beyond hope; they are generally beneath contempt. The promulgators, though deeply responsible for furthering the damage done by such lies, may not be aware of the faulty provenance of these false claims. The hope—and I admit it is a very slim one, and generally a disappointed one—is that at least some of these emotive promulgators of falsehoods are not beyond the reach of reason, and that there is value in exposing to them the demonstrable untruth in their claims.

    OK, I admit that this is more often than not a fruitless whack-a-mole exercise…

  20. “But I think one needs to make a distinction …..”
    As a utilitarian
    1. I agree that “promulgators” are “deeply responsible for furthering the damage done by such lies”;
    2. I think they are especially responsible when they refuse to check those lies by looking at relevant evidence;
    3. I hold that they can redeem themselves by simply admitting “I was wrong”.

    However the same applies to the fabricators as far as I’m concerned (the only other option I can see is punishing them for intentional thought crimes, which I think undesirable for various reasons), so the distinction you make looks irrelevant to me.

    “there is value in exposing to them the demonstrable untruth in their claims.”
    However I disagree that this is “a fruitless whack-a-mole exercise”. The distinction I’d like to make is between short term and long term effects. I’m mainly interested in the latter; the trend in the USA is that creacrap is on the decline. As long as we don’t know what works best to stimulate this trend we should try as many strategies as we can think of. Due to my nasty character I enjoy mocking them mercilessly (and there are some testimonies that suggest that this makes at least some creacrappers on the fence think, which of course is meagre evidence, but still more than nothing). However I have the greatest respect for those who remain patient, polite and reasonable. So let’s keep on demonstrating their untruths in as many ways as possible. Just don’t expect anything on short term.