Creationist Wisdom #1,058: The Greatest Mystery

A week ago we wrote Creationist Wisdom #1,057: The Physics Professor, and then we had the uncanny experience of seeing our link to the Professor’s letter become dysfunctional. Additionally, we found that posting a new link to it was impossible. We never understood what went wrong, but we were told that the Professor’s letter was no longer available at the newspaper’s website. Well, here we go again.

Like that one, we found today’s letter-to-the-editor in the Waco Tribune-Herald of Waco, Texas. This one is titled Energy among us, and it’s the second letter at that link. The newspaper has a comments section — with no comments yet.

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’s author qualifies for full-name treatment. He’s a high school physics teacher named Bill Franklin. Here are some excerpts from his letter, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]:

Physics professor Don Hardcastle’s doctorate and years at Baylor University clearly outrank my master’s in physics and 30+ years of teaching it in high school; however, I must point out a physics error in his letter of Oct. 9.

You no doubt recognized that Bill is referring to the letter we wrote about last week. He says:

I agree with most of it. [Including the Oogity Boogity?] There is a well-established law that energy (including matter energy) can be neither created nor destroyed in our universe. As such, the creation of the universe is an extra-universal event, one not permitted by its own laws. How it came about cannot be established by science, which can only study the laws within it.

Ah yes — just like the Professor last week, Bill believes in miraculous creation. He tells us:

Like Dr. Hardcastle, I view that creation as the act of an all-powerful and all-knowing being, which we call God. Furthermore, I imagine God to be all-caring about that entire creation, including us.

Ooooooooooooh! He cares about us! Bill continues:

Where I object is his assertion that evolution required an extra-universal intervention by God. True, an isolated system cannot become more organized, but the earth is not an isolated system; we have an energy input from the sun.

Amazing! Bill, the high school physics teacher, believes in divine creation, but he accepts the theory of evolution. Let’s read on:

If you consider a small part of it, even a few molecules, one part can become more organized if others interacting with it become less so. We create order every time we hang up our clothes. Our energy input creates that order. Our bodies become more organized by the energy input of our food, and the food’s energy comes ultimately from the sun.

Maybe Bill is thinking about simple organic molecules becoming organized into complicated structures — but he’s saying it clumsily. Anyway, our food doesn’t “organize” us. It’s quite true, however, that the energy expended by an organism is from a natural, understandable source, so there’s no violation of the Second Law of Thermodynamics. So far, Bill seems to be a fairly reasonable fellow — but now we come to the conclusion of his letter:

The great mystery, indeed the greatest mystery [Gasp!], is how the laws of the universe were established some 14 billion years ago to make everything that has happened since possible, including us. We can only be thankfully in awe.

Well, dear reader, do you have an answer to what Bill calls “the greatest mystery”? And if you don’t, why do you persevere in your wicked naturalist ways, and risk spending eternity in the Lake of Fire?

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

17 responses to “Creationist Wisdom #1,058: The Greatest Mystery

  1. I wouldn’t mock at this; remember that Darwin, as late as when he was writing Origins, would have agreed: http://darwin-online.org.uk/content/frameset?pageseq=1&itemID=F1497&viewtype=text pp 92-93

  2. Agreed. And I am impresssed that the letter writer would correct the earlier writer. And he does not take the next step, which is so tempting, to say that he has an explanation.

  3. Michael Fugate

    Ranking the universe’s mysteries – I always thought the greatest was what happens to lost socks.

  4. Agreed too.

    “how the laws of the universe were established some 14 billion years ago”
    is a rather clumsy formulation, but there is nothing wrong with the content. Bill Franklin doesn’t even argue that a naturalistic explanation is impossible. He and I may quibble about “the creation of the universe is an extra-universal event, one not permitted by its own laws”, but it doesn’t belong to the domain of science.

  5. Dave Luckett

    Exactly, Paul Braterman. I would have nothing against this man teaching physics. Theist he may be, but science denier he is not. And, so far as I can make out, he’s right. Why the fundamental values (yes, I am dimly aware of the inadequacy of that word, as applied here) of the Universe are what they are, is a mystery: but thus is matter possible. If those values were even a little different, it wouldn’t be.

    You can say that I have pursued God to that ultimate refuge, and still can’t find Him. In chagrin I must acknowledge the point.

  6. AIUI, the issue of fine tuning of the parameters of physics is not clear. Yes, if there were small differences, life would not be possible. Except that God could make life possible under any conditions. Why would God bother to fine tune parameters, when he could demonstrate his power by making life under physically, naturally impossible conditions? As, BTW, YEC and ID tell us – that is their proof of creation/design!
    But maybe there are some other combinations of parameters, not just one parameter slightly different, which could make something as interesting as life, if not precisely life as we know it. What is possible in an exotic topology of space-time?

  7. Michael Fugate

    I can’t see any evidence of caring about humans except by humans and dogs and other assorted animals.

  8. Dave L, after that huge huff of a god-sought expiation that only Paul B seems to have cornered the market on, don’t have a bad sleep on it, there will come a tomorrow.

  9. Of course there’s also the question why about 30 natural constants would make us conclude one god and not about 30.

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

    However Bill Franklin’s argument is rather the Lawmaker version of Paley\s False Watchmaker Analogy:

    – laws that govern society are evidence for human beings;
    – laws that govern (this inaccuracy is intentional) natural reality are evidence for a god.

    It should be noted that design a la Paley is compatible with evolution theory; that’s why creacrappers waste so much energy “arguing” that the theory is false (assuming, just for the sake of making this point, that design a la Paley is meaningful).

  10. And Frank B, you are getting a bit sloppy in your digressions. I thought some of your previous missives were actually quite brilliant, but your forte is not complaints or agreeing with others, but your own disagreeable but enchanting ideas. You’ve written of them before, and gathered a quaint but reliable consequence of thought.

  11. TomS asks:

    ” Why would God bother to fine tune parameters, when he could demonstrate his power by making life under physically, naturally impossible conditions?”

    The usual apologia is that by doing so, God demonstrates that His creation is knowable and reasonable; hence that science is possible, and, further, that reason and the use of it is pleasing to Him. As for the fundamentalist creationists – and inter alia the DI – their ideas are well outside Christian mainstream theology, and also arguably unscriptural. In any case they are a relatively recent development, and of course a deplorable one. The Church always tried to incorporate the scientific understanding of the day into its explanations of Creation. Its error, admitted well over a century ago, was not to change its understanding as science progressed.

  12. Curiously, the argument against evolution is based on a rejection of reasonability of natural, scientific understanding of the world. For example, that:
    The laws of thermodynamics prevent the origin of life or its (macro)evolution or the development of human life
    The conservation (at least, no major increase – small increases and any decrease need no explanation) of specified information requires an undefined action called “intelligent design” outside the pattern evincing the reasonability of creation.

  13. Yeah, coherence and consistency were never characteristics of creacrap. While I’m generally very reluctant to use terms like “true christians” a good case can be made that creationists aren’t indeed.
    As an unbeliever this terrain is quite risky for me; I could easily misrepresent christian thinking. I’ll do my best. It’s often forgotten that early scientists like Copernicus and Galileo were devout catholics. That already should be enough to dismiss the 19th Century Conflict Myth as silly prejudice. The researchers of the 16th, 17th and 18th Century genuinely thought that scientific research would bring them closer to their god. YHWH being perfect etc. was understood to be coherent and consistent, hence making science possible in the first place. Even the revolutionary physicist Max Planck thus could remain a practicising Lutheran.
    If the scientific method is a divine gift it’s actually blasphemy when YECers and IDiots reject its conclusions. Like common descent. Hence it’s unsurprising that they preach humility and practice vanity. I cannot help thinking of the expression “wolves in sheep clothes”, ie no true christians.

  14. Theodosius Dobzhanski, in his famous essay, “Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution”, refers to himself as a “creationist”, a believer in creation.

  15. Creatards have no problem admitting they are st00pid…It can’t be this so gawd did it!!! Total lack of imagination and intelligence…Asimov had no problem imagining how a physics student could produce a universe!

  16. That’s what religious people do. Whenever their knowledge runs out, they insert god.

  17. That’s what silly biased antitheists do – flinging around logical fallacies, like in this case the hasty generalization.