Category Archives: Intelligent Design

Creationist Wisdom #817: Grant County Preacher

All our readers know that Grant County, Kentucky is the home of Ark Encounter, the creationist tourist attraction run by Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo), the ayatollah of Appalachia, the world’s holiest man who knows more about religion and science than everyone else.

Today’s letter-to-the-editor appears in the Grant County News, published in the county where Hambo’s ark is located. It’s titled Evolution vs. creation, and the newspaper has a 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 Bob Tarasiak, the minister at Sherman Baptist Church of Dry Ridge, Kentucky — which is in Grant County. We’ll give you a few excerpts from the rev’s letter, enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary, and some bold font for emphasis. Here we go!

What do you believe has more validity? Evolution or creation? The impact of the theory of evolution is making its mark on many today, even within some church denominations. The millions of years verses the young Earth creation debate is alive and well in our society, universities, and yes, even within the ranks of many pastors and church leadership.

As you will see, the rev’s arguments are not only an ark-load of ancient creationist clunkers that we’ve seen a hundred times before, but he also uses some of Hambo’s arguments too. We’re not going to bother with any rebuttal. He says:

The evolution premise of millions of years has crept into the main-line denominations whereby many ministry leaders are giving credibility to science and the evolution premise of a universe that evolved over millions, even billions of years, compromising the foundation of the Bible. Who is right? Who has truth? Evolution or creation?

Who? Tell us, rev! After that he launches into one of ol’ Hambo’s favorites:

Science is something that can be divided into two categories; operational and historical …

Yeah, yeah. We all know that one. Then he tells us:

[H]ow can one deem the Earth is millions of years in age without having someone observe the so-called millions of years? How could science test millions of years? Even carbon dating has been proven to incorrectly date various earthly artifacts such as rock layers, minerals, etc., providing various same samples with age determinations off by thousands, even millions years. Can we take this so-called “testing” seriously and valid?

Were you there? Hey — we told you the rev uses the same arguments we’ve heard from Hambo. He continues:

Also, there is no evidence of any transitions in the fossil record.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Let’s read on:

A monkey is still a monkey, and we can see they have not evolved into some other species.

Why are there still monkeys? Another excerpt:

The ultimate question for any person who believes in evolution, a big bang theory and millions of years is where did matter all come from in the first place? I often ask evolution supporters “How can one get something from nothing?”

This guy is the greatest! Here’s more:

The creation response is based upon a premise that there was a designer, a creator who existed apart from time, the universe, galaxies and beyond the limits of observable human eye and telescopes. Our galaxy, even down to the Earth, is the only planet perfectly created to sustain life!

[*Begin Drool Mode*] Ooooooooooooh! [*End Drool Mode*] He’s almost done:

The Bible declares in the book of Genesis, chapter one, that God made the heavens and the Earth and all life in six days, not thousands not millions, not billions! Only six days!

How many? Oh, it’s six. And now we come to the end:

The question is will you believe mankind came from a big bang, apes, millions of years? Or a young Earth creation? I challenge you to read the word of the Creator and believe by faith, that there is a designer who created life and sustains even your life even today! Just believe my friend.

All we can say is that Hambo chose the right location for his Ark.

Copyright © 2017. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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West Virginia Bible Classes — 15 November Update

We had forgotten all about this litigation. The last time we wrote about it was six months ago — see West Virginia Bible Classes — Update. As we said then:

The parent of a public school student, represented by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, had sued the Mercer County school board, alleging that the “Bible in the Schools” program, active in 15 elementary schools, is unconstitutional.

[…]

Mercer County’s school board has canceled Bible classes in its public elementary schools next school year, but it’s now adding a new, optional high school Bible course for next school year.

[…]

“The current suit is continuing,” [said] Freedom From Religion Foundation staff attorney Patrick Elliott …” “It is unclear if Mercer County Schools will continue to teach the Bible in the Schools courses for middle school students,” Elliott continued. “We are still reviewing documents filed by the school system in court and we expect to file a reply in the coming weeks.”

That’s where the case dropped out of the news and we lost interest, but today, in the Bluefield Daily Telegraph of Bluefield, West Virginia, which is in Mercer County, we found this headline: Bible in the Schools lawsuit dismissed in Mercer County. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis:

A federal lawsuit challenging Mercer County’s Bible in the Schools curriculum was dismissed Tuesday afternoon based on the suspension of the program. However, the court ruling leaves the door open for an injunction if the program is reinstated in the future and found to violate constitutional law.

That makes sense, but the controversy is far from over. The newspaper says:

In April, Mercer County Schools terminated the employment of all Bible in the Schools teachers and, in May, the Board of Education voted to suspend the program for at least a year to ensure thorough review and modification to the program. “We have currently suspended the program and are re-evaluating the curriculum,” Mercer County Schools Superintendent Dr. Deborah Akers said Tuesday afternoon. “We want to make sure any programs implanted, henceforth, will meet all guidelines.”

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! The school system is going to mull things over and try to make any future bible classes meet “all guidelines” — like the Constitution. Then the newspaper quotes the school board’s lawyer:

“Mercer County Schools is grateful to have this unfortunate lawsuit dismissed and remains committed to following the law as it provides diverse educational opportunities to its students,” First Liberty Institute, counsel for the school board, said in a statement released Tuesday afternoon. “The court rightly rejected the notion that teaching students about the Bible is always unconstitutional.”

The court left the door open for future bible classes? That’s the opinion of the school board’s lawyers. The newspaper tells us:

In response to the ruling, FFRF [Freedom From Religion Foundation] called the classes “blatantly unconstitutional” and cited the struggles of other plaintiffs in the case. “Two of the plaintiffs, Elizabeth Deal and her anonymous child, ‘Jessica Roe,’ suffered harm due to the bible classes,” FFRF said in a statement. “Deal had to move Jessica out of the school system to end harassment at the hands of her classmates.”

[…]

The FFRF lawsuit also cited specific curriculum in the Bible in the Schools program. “Lesson 2 promotes creationism by claiming humans and dinosaurs co-existed,” the complaint stated. “Students are asked to ‘picture Adam being able to crawl up on the back of a dinosaur! He and Eve could have their own personal water slide! Wouldn’t that be so wild!’ ”

Great textbook! The news story continues:

“Furthermore, should a Bible in the Schools [BITS] curriculum re-emerge, the court has no information before it to determine the content of such a class,” Federal Judge David A. Faber said in his ruling. “With no facts before us to determine whether the [BITS program] might violate the Establishment Clause, the court is left unable to engage in the context-dependent inquiry of a future BITS curriculum.” Until future Bible in the Schools curriculum is presented in “clean-cut and concrete form, this action is not ripe for judicial review,” the ruling states.

Fair enough. Each new bible class the county offers will have to be evaluated separately. And there will be more. Let’s read on:

The ruling did note the statement of defendants as reported in the Bluefield Daily Telegraph citing a desire to resurrect the Bible in the Schools program after a review.

“[Mercer County Schools Superintendent] Akers reportedly emphasized ‘Mercer County Schools is continuing its efforts to keep the Bible in the Schools program,’ although a timetable for a new BITS program has not been established,” the court ruling states. Akers emphasized Tuesday that review is ongoing to ensure any future Bible classes would meet constitutional standards.

What will they try next — intelligent design? Here’s another excerpt:

Akers confirmed Tuesday that classes teaching the Bible from a historical and literary perspective are currently being offered as an elective at Bluefield and PikeView high schools, and will likely be offered at Princeton High School during the spring semester.

Isn’t that wonderful? Here’s one last excerpt:

The FFRF [Freedom From Religion Foundation] statement noted that plaintiffs in the current case are likely to appeal the ruling to the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

So there you are. The plaintiffs may appeal the dismissal of their suit, so we haven’t heard the end of this one yet. Stay tuned to this blog!

Copyright © 2017. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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Creationist Wisdom #816: Teach the Children

Today’s letter-to-the-editor appears in the Argus Leader of Sioux Falls, South Dakota. It’s titled God is creator of heaven and earth, and the newspaper has a 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 Pastor Tom Walker of the Heritage Lutheran Church. We’ll give you a few excerpts from the rev’s letter, enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary, and some bold font for emphasis. Here we go!

The letter begins with a bible quote, which sets the tone for what follows:

“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1).

Then the rev says:

Our Christian children have it easy. That is, they have it easy when it comes to life’s biggest question. Where did creation come from? Our children do not need to wonder about this. There are no complex myths to swallow. There is no pantheon of gods to learn about. There is really nothing mysterious or complex about the answer to this question. The answer is simply, “God made it.” Nothing could be simpler.

Yup — that’s the answer. After that he tells us:

Now, the world will try to pry this understanding out of our children’s hands in any way possible. Chiefly it will try to discredit God’s Word in scripture. Children who know scripture, those who learn to read it and study it, will hear God’s voice in their lives, and they will know that God is the father almighty who created heaven and earth.

The world is evil! The rev continues:

The world will also try to use twisted logic to confuse our children about how God our father almighty made all of creation. For this reason we must bend every effort to teach our children to think clearly and logically. They must know how to find truth in language and to detect falsehood. We must teach them to think and reason for themselves so that they are not defenseless in the face of the world’s untruth about God.

It’s difficult to teach children “to think clearly and logically” and “to think and reason for themselves,” and at the same time to know that Genesis is correct, but that’s the task the rev imposes on his church. Let’s read on:

The world will also try to use false interpretations of science and technology to undercut our children’s faith.

[*Begin Drool Mode*] Ooooooooooooh! [*End Drool Mode*] The children must beware of science. And yet, in what seems like a contradiction, the rev also says:

Children must learn that science is a wholesome enterprise ordained by God for truth-seeking. They must not fear its findings because our almighty father wants to lay bare the underpinnings of creation for his children. He wants us to know and understand science so that we can better know and understand him.

Ah, we think we understand. It’s creation science that the rev wants children to learn. He makes that clear in one of his sermons which we found at his church’s website: Faith in a Scientific Era, where he declares:

There are many members of the scientific community who are also people of faith. …. Some of these scientists have begun inquiry into a set of theories that are collectively called “Intelligent Design.” These scientists engage in the of scientific study of things that suggest a divine intelligence behind creation. … For instance, Intelligent Design studies evolution and the fossil records concluding that careful research shows that origin of life in evolution is not accidental. In fact, the repeated failure to scientifically substantiate a random beginning for life and the fossil record itself raises critical issues that point toward an intelligent designer behind evolution, not random chance.

Okay, back to the rev’s letter:

God preserves our bodies and souls, our minds, our reasoning and our senses. He works minute by minute to shape us according to his unique design.

It’s so wonderful! Here’s more:

God did not just create heaven and earth, but he created them for us. This is the most important point to teach our children. We are placed inside creation in order to sense it and to receive it as a gift from our almighty father’s hand.

Yes — creation is all about us! And now we come to the end:

Our role in all of this is to thank, praise, serve and obey him. This is the only proper way to respond to God who is our Father Almighty. In this way we truly become what we are meant to be now and in eternity.

Very inspirational. Great letter, rev!

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Creationist Wisdom #815: More Geocentrism

Today’s letter-to-the-editor is a follow-up to one we wrote about a month ago — see #808: Geocentric Genius. Like that earlier letter, this one appears in the Marshall Independent of Marshall, Minnesota. It’s titled Please stick to science, and the newspaper has a comments feature.

Because the writer isn’t a politician, preacher, or other public figure, we won’t embarrass or promote him by using his full name — even though this is his third appearance in our collection. His first name is Phil. Excerpts his newest letter will be enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary and some bold font for emphasis. Here we go!

Judging from the responses to my Oct. 24, “Does the Earth revolve around the sun?” [that’s the one we wrote about], I must ask: Why is it that when I try to discuss science, almost everybody wants to talk religion? Can we please stick to science? Thanks.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! None of that silly religion stuff for Phil! He says:

Part of my letter stated: “…does the earth go around the sun, or does the sun go around the earth? There still is no solid proof that the Earth goes around the sun; but it is still taught in schools as dogmatic fact. Why?

We quoted that before. Phil is sticking to his story. He tells us:

I would have thought someone would have brought up things like stellar parallax, the Foucault pendulum, retrograde motion of Mars, phases of Venus, etc.

Those are all interesting, but why would anyone bother to exert himself when dealing with Phil? The absence of any visible Stellar parallax with the naked eye was used as evidence that the Earth was stationary and didn’t orbit the Sun. More precise observations with modern telescopes have not only revealed a predictable shift in the positions of nearby stars as we move around the Sun, but it was the observation of one nearby and therefore visibly shifting star that — with only high school trigonometry — revealed that star’s distance from us. Wikipedia says: “The first successful measurements of stellar parallax were made by Friedrich Bessel in 1838 for the star 61 Cygni using a heliometer.”

Foucault’s pendulum demonstrates the rotation of the Earth, not its orbiting the Sun. But it does contradict the notion that the whole universe revolves around us. We’ve also discussed Creationism, Galileo and the Phases of Venus.

As for the Apparent retrograde motion of planets like Mars (as seen from Earth), that’s because sometimes we’re both on the same side of the Sun, moving in the same direction, and sometimes we’re on opposite sides, and Mars appears to move in the opposite direction.

Anyway, Phil seems to be shocked that no one bothered to mention those things when responding to his earlier letter. But then he shows that it would have been a waste of time if anyone had done so. He says:

Actually, these are not proofs, because the heliocentric and geocentric systems are geometrically equivalent. So, the question remains; if there is no proof, why are teachers stating it as absolute fact?

Did you follow that? Yes, viewing the solar system from Earth, or from any other vantage point, like the Sun, is viewing the same system. One set of observations can be translated into the other. But they’re not both true. Viewing the solar system from the Sun would look very different if the Earth really were the center of everything. Let’s read on:

Wouldn’t the honest thing be to say “We really don’t know?” Ditto for billions of years age of the earth. And how about macro-evolution? I’ve yet to see anyone who can defend it.

The rest of Phil’s letter is about global warming. We’ll leave it to you to read that, if you want to. Geocentrism is enough to qualify Phil’s letter for our collection..

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