April First Is Creationism Day

Yes, dear reader, once again, the most wonderful day of the year will soon be upon us. April First is the universally recognized day for celebrating the genius of creationists — not only here on Earth, but throughout the whole galaxy.

To add to your holiday joy, take a look at a column we found in The Northern Virginia Daily, titled Beware of fools in April!, written by George Bowers, the Senior Pastor of Antioch Church. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]:

A fool is one who believes a lie. We often lump someone who is gullible into this category too for being so undiscerning. In this day of scams and sophisticated thefts, it can be very costly to believe certain lies.

Costly indeed. Then the rev says:

Of course the surest way to determine the truth is by examining the evidence. … This method is most valuable in protecting ourselves from internet scammers and those who try to sell us oceanfront property in Iowa. Do your homework. Check the map. Examine the evidence before committing cash, energy or emotions to someone’s claims.

Good advice. And here’s more:

If a stranger promises you millions from their Kenyan bank account, you’re wise to delete that email or at least check with the Better Business Bureau before replying. And if someone says they really love you, scrutinize their actions before trusting them with your heart. By wanting something to be true that isn’t, many have become fools.

That’s great, but what about creationism? Here it comes:

Even more costly is to believe lies that could have eternal consequences. Some say that science has disproven the existence of a Supreme Being while others deny any possibility of an afterlife. Often these types of claims are marketed in the same package and we would be wise to examine the label before we purchase them. Eternity is a very long time to be a fool.

Good advice indeed! The rev continues:

Although some Christian beliefs must be taken by faith, this becomes much easier once one has carefully researched the many objective facts that are readily available. Consider, for instance the infinitely small possibility that our universe could have come into existence by random factors and the even smaller chance that life could have arisen accidentally. Even many non-Christian scientists now realize these claims are false.

Yes, obviously false. Let’s read on:

Attempting to disprove the Creator, researchers have actually proven His necessity whether or not they believe in the Biblical One. [How did that happen?] So many processes and ratios have to be precisely tuned to very tight tolerances that even one of them would be unlikely to have arisen randomly, while all of them together is statistically impossible.

Ah yes, the fine tuning argument. See The Discoveroids’ Proof of Fine Tuning. Skipping a bit, the rev gets really serious:

Most importantly, we must examine the claims of Jesus’ resurrection. If you can disprove that, you can dismiss His statements about both His Heavenly Father (God) and the afterlife, for He mentioned both heaven and hell numerous times. … To deny this event simply because it is uncomfortable or seems impossible or because His teachings condemn our behavior, is to fail to check the most important claim of all time. If it is true, dismissing it without serious research will result in an eternally foolish decision.

Egad — eternally foolish! The rev goes on a bit more, we’ll leave him here. And because tomorrow is April Fool’s Day, we’re declaring another Intellectual Free Fire Zone. Please use the comments for the discussion of pretty much anything — science, politics, economics, whatever — as long as it’s tasteful and interesting. Banter, babble, bicker, bluster, blubber, blather, blab, blurt, burble, boast — say what you will. But avoid flame-wars and beware of the profanity filters.

We now throw open the comments to you, dear reader. Have at it!

Copyright © 2023. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

23 responses to “April First Is Creationism Day

  1. “infinitely small” … “even smaller”

  2. Someone get that guy a job with Saint Augustine because great minds think alike.

  3. chris schilling

    “Eternity is a very long time to be a fool.”

    Eternity being too way too abstract for sensible people to comprehend, the rev handily encapsulates foolishness in the immediate here and now, so we can at least get a glimpse of the real thing.

  4. The pastor ought to read The Fallacy of Fine-Tuning by Victor Stenger, although it has enough maths in it I doubt he would understand it.

  5. I recommend
    Jason Rosenhouse
    The Failures of Mathematical Anti-Evolutionism
    Cambridge U. Press, 2022

    He tries to explain the mathematics without getting into technical detail.

  6. Dave Luckett

    The pastor’s argument is the fine-tuning argument, taken to extremes he can’t justify. I will guarantee that he has never computed, nor has had the means to compute, the probabilities he speaks of. Long ago I learned to be wary of words that imply that the writer “has carefully researched the many objective facts that are readily available”. Researched how, and where, and from what sources?

    But what do I know? I can’t meet an argument that the Universe is too specific in nature to be the result of random variation in its basic properties. Nor can I, of my own knowledge, assert that life is inevitable, given the basic conditions that exist, and existed, on Earth. Those arguments are beyond my knowledge. I can only say that I have read different sources to those the pastor has apparently read, with different conclusions, but that they supported those conclusions by citing evidence.

    However, I can say that I was trained in textual criticism, as it applies to historical sources, and that I have read the available sources on the claimed resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth, plus a fair amount of the scholarly research into the possible and likely meanings of the texts. I can say for absolutely certain that those sources clearly show the classic markers of fabulation in almost the same number of directions as the number of the texts, and that those markers become more prominent the further distant the origin of the text from the original sources, none of whom actually testify. This is absolutely diagnostic of the process of creating legend.

    But even that is not the main obstacle to acceptance of these as accounts of a historical event. The problem is this: these accounts say nobody saw it happen. There is no witness.

    When Lazarus was raised from the dead, it is said that a crowd saw him walk from the tomb, clad in his winding-cloth. None of those witnesses are quoted in the text, but they are said to have existed. But nobody is claimed to have seen the resurrection of Jesus. All the original accounts say that the tomb was found open and empty, and the body was gone. One, John, says that Jesus was seen alive in the garden, but that was later.

    This is truly extraordinary. The central, the one absolutely essential miracle of the Christian faith… has no attestation whatsoever. There is nothing to say that Jesus was actually raised from the dead. He was entombed by people who apparently had little to do with the group we call the disciples, whose second-hand accounts form the matter of the Gospels. What happened after that, we can only guess.

    Was he seen alive after death? No two of the sources agree on the complete list. In two of the claimed cases, it is said that he was not recognised. Is it possible to explain these appearances without recourse to the supernatural? I think it is.

    Of course the pastor will dismiss this. He will say, and millions will say it with him, that he believes it anyway. All I can say in response is that that puts them in a very poor position to be skeptical about the much better-attested scientific accounts of the origin of the Universe, or of life. But when has inconsistency ever mattered, in religion?

  7. He just likes seeing his name in the paper. He couldn’t care less about the fancy book learnings.

  8. “Even the best historians, investigators and lawyers have tried to debunk the claim that Christ arose only to all come to the same conclusion that He did, in fact, rise from the dead. Most of them became Christians because of it.”

    Honestly there is no hope for this guy. He’s a gonner. The book suggestions that he should read are nice but so are pipe dreams. You would probably have better luck with a turnip.

  9. @Dave Luckett
    The beginnings of the application of textual criticism to the Bible was profoundly upsetting to some Christians, leading to the rise of modern Fundamentalism in the late 19th-early 20th century. More so than evolutionary biology or other science.

  10. Only a fool believes in lies …says a professional LIAR4money as he hopes no one notices the numerous lies he tells.

  11. @Dave Luckett
    I have always thought it telling that the alleged wise guys from the east, who presumably knew how to write, never left a record of their pilgrimage to the most amazing birth of the baby Jesus.

  12. Dave Luckett

    That’s a somewhat different proposition, a form of argument from silence. People generally have no idea how poor are the odds that any text survives from antiquity. Sophocles was the greatest playwright of the classical stage, and is said to have written 90+ plays, all artistic and popular successes. We have, what? four of them, and some fragments of others from incidental quotes by other authors. Alexander the Great was recorded at the time by multiple historians, and the memoirs of his companions were circulated throughout the Hellenistic world, but the earliest reference we have to him dates from ninety years after his death, and if it were not for Arrian’s excellent biography, which uses sources that are now completely lost, we’d be ignorant of what he achieved – and Arrian survived only by chance.

    That a traveller’s tale did not survive, if it was ever written at all, is not in the least surprising. No, the Gospels present an entirely different problem. It’s not so much what they don’t say as what they do.

  13. @Dave Luckett
    Agreed. And I think the things they say are all hearsay, since I think they were written long after the supposed events.

  14. Without the surviving accounts of other mythologies Christianity would claim that theirs is completely original, oh wait.

  15. Dave Luckett

    Oh, they’re certainly hearsay, sure enough. Well, mostly. Mark and Luke, for sure, were relaying the words of others. Who they were quoting and if they were quoting, is only traditional. Mark is said to have gotten his material from Peter the Fisherman, in Rome. Well, it’s a story, but that’s all it is. If Luke is correctly ascribed to the companion of Paul – and that’s a big “if” – we can only guess at who were his sources, apart from Mark and the largely conjectural “Q”. Matthew was named after the disciple of that name, but how much he had to do with actually writing it is a guess. It isn’t all his work, that’s for sure, because it shows unfamiliarity with Aramaic, and nobody working as a tax-collector in Judea could be less than fluent in that language.

    That leaves John, the anomaly. Everyone agrees that it was the last canonical Gospel to be written, probably around 90 CE, from its sophisticated theology and polished koine Greek. But that hardly points to John the disciple, who was a simple fisherman, said, in Acts, to be unlearned. That might mean, actually illiterate. But John’s Gospel is the only one that actually states who is said to have written it, and although it is clear that there were other hands involved, it does display a close knowledge of the geography of Palestine and of Jerusalem. It has a tendency to directly quote, which does sound like someone remembering actual speeches. John was a very young man – perhaps 20 – at the time of the crucifixion, and he was said to have lived to a great age, even into his nineties. It’s possible that his reminiscences contributed at least some, maybe most, of the material of the Gospel that bears his name. The others, not so much.

    The only thing to be said in defense of this mixture is that it’s mostly no worse than any of the documents we rely on to write a good deal of ancient history.

  16. @beastwood
    As I understand hearsay, it is a term of law, which characterizes a statement which is not open to challenge. It differs from this: Person N testifies to fact F, and then he can be examined about that to see whether we should accept F. For example, what about details about F? Are there other things that N didn’t tell us? How did N come to tell us about F? Could N be mistaken?
    Hearsay goes like this:
    But when person N tells us that person M told N about F, then we can’t examine M, so we have weak evidence for accepting F.
    As I understand it, hearsay is not a matter of the passage of time, which can indeed weaken memories.
    In the case of the Bible, most of it does not claim that the writer was a witness to the events, so that it is hearsay.

  17. docbill1351


    If I picked the Three Wise Guys, I’d pick

    George Carlin
    Dave Chappelle
    Suzy Eddie Izzard

  18. But the question whether it is hearsay is a red herring. Eyewitness accounts can be mistaken. Memory often fails. To me, talk about eyewitness vs. hearsay has the appearance of trying to use technical (in this case, legal) jargon by people who don’t understand it, and for subject matter for which it is inappropriate. Like talking about infinitely small probabilities.

  19. “Most importantly, we must examine the claims of Jesus’ resurrection. If you can disprove that, you can dismiss His statements about both His Heavenly Father (God) and the afterlife, for He mentioned both heaven and hell numerous times.”

    I realize none of us are 100% rational and logical at all times, but when you have the ability to induce headaches you have reached the pinnacle of apologetics and you may join the annals of the great ones.

  20. @richard
    If one dismisses the statements about Rhett Butler by Scarlett O’Hara, then one can dismiss her statements about the reality of Atlanta.
    Sorry, but I couldn’t resist.

  21. It works the other way too. If one cannot dismiss the statements about Rhett Butler by Scarlett O’Hara, then one cannot dismiss her statements about the reality of Atlanta. Which is the real point. He simply took the cant’s and turned them into cans.

  22. And …
    That it is a historical truth that there is a real city of Atlanta shows the reliability of the other statements of Scarlett.
    That her statements are eyewitness accounts, not hearsay.
    That there sre millions of copies of her statements show that her statements are reported faithfully.
    That richard and TomS are talking about Scarlett and what she said shows that we believe in her historical reality.

  23. [39] And while they were relating what they had seen, again they see three males who have come out from they sepulcher, with the two supporting the other one, and a cross following them, [40] and the head of the two reaching unto heaven, but that of the one being led out by a hand by them going beyond the heavens. [41] And they were hearing a voice from the heavens saying, ‘Have you made proclamation to the fallen-asleep?’ [42] And an obeisance was heard from the cross, ‘Yes.’ [43]

    –The Gospel of Peter