Creationist Wisdom #687: Were You There?

Today’s letter-to-the-editor appears in the Sun Herald of Gulfport, Mississippi. It’s titled Don’t be influenced by the secular world, and the newspaper has a comments section.

Because the writer isn’t a politician, preacher, or other public figure, we won’t embarrass or promote him by using his full name. His first name is Richard. Excerpts from his letter will be enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary and some bold font for emphasis. Here we go!

In response to Mr. Simmonds’ “Modern science should factor into your beliefs” (May 11) letter:

Google gave us a link to that earlier letter, but we can’t see it without subscribing to the newspaper, so we’ll proceed without it. Richard says:

You claim the universe is billions of years old and that science is way ahead of God’s antiquated Bible. Were you there, sir, when God laid down the foundations of the universe?

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! That’s a perfect rebuttal! Let’s read on:

Neither was I, but God was there.

Wait a minute! If Richard wasn’t there, then how does he know God was there? That’s not explained. Richard continues:

If we trace the lineage of Jesus Christ through God’s word, we have a convenient timeline from the beginning of creation, and tracing back from 2016 to Jesus’ time is about 2000 years, from Jesus to Noah is about 2000 years and from Noah to Adam is another 2000 years.

That’s in rough agreement with the Ussher chronology. What is Richard trying to say? Here’s more:

The Bible then states all was created in six days, which puts the Earth at just over 6000 years old, not billions of years as some would have you believe.

Whoa — if we add up those three intervals of 2,000 years, we get 6,000 years. Richard’s math is undeniable! That proves the world is 6,000 years old! Well done, Richard! Moving along:

If God is all powerful, why couldn’t he do it in six days like he said?

Yeah — why couldn’t he do it in six days? Or six hours? Or six minutes? Or in an instant? Six days seems like a long time for an all powerful deity. Another excerpt:

By the way, some atheist scientists took some microscopic pictures of a Tyrannosaurus rex bone, which was supposedly 65 million years old, but they discovered red blood cells that couldn’t possibly be that old.

[*Groan*] That again. See Dinosaur Fossils Found with Hot Red Meat? Richard finishes his letter with a couple of bible quotes, including:

“A fool says in his heart, there is no God” (Psalm 14:1)

Don’t be a fool, dear reader. Richard knows what he’s talking about.

Copyright © 2016. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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Journey into the Drool Zone

[30-second sound clip] You are about to leave reality and travel into another dimension — a dimension that exists beyond the laws of nature, unknowable by evidence and reason — a wondrous land of Oogity Boogity! There’s a signpost up ahead: Next stop — The Drool Zone.

This isn’t something we could have found with our usual news sweeps, and it doesn’t qualify for our list of Self-published Geniuses because there is no press release. It’s only through the tireless efforts of one of our clandestine operatives — code-named “Blue Grass” — that we were informed of a paradigm-shattering book.

The title is Truth and Consequences (Amazon listing). Hey — it’s only $31.63 in paperback. What a bargain!

The publisher is something called iUniverse. Yes, it’s a vanity press. Their website says: “iUniverse is a self publishing company that makes it possible for writers to achieve the dream of becoming a published author.”

The author is Ralph E. Carlson. Amazon provides no information about him. For that, we have to go to the author’s own website. There we learn:

Ralph Carlson has a bachelor’s degree in metallurgy, and he holds an MS and PhD in mathematics from the University of Pittsburgh. He has been employed by Bettis Atomic Power Laboratory, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and Grove City College. Now retired, he and his wife, Kay, have three adult children.

The only way to learn what the book is about is at the author’s website. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

Have you ever asked the question, does God exist? Have you ever wondered about the source of life on earth — and in particular, human life? Creationism, intelligent design, and evolution are three approaches to answering these questions. While evolutionists are adamant that their claim has been proven to be a scientific fact, it turns out that their so-called “proof” uses an invalid logical argument. Hence, at this point in time, evolution is merely a conjecture and not a scientific fact.

Gasp — evolution is merely a conjecture! Let’s read on:

Instead of attempting to answer these questions through inductive arguments, Truth and Consequences offers a different logical approach that restates the questions as propositions. A proposition is a statement that is either true or false. Then the consequences of their respective truth values can be analyzed.

Wow — a whole new way to think about science! Not by Inductive reasoning, starting with observable facts, but by Deductive reasoning, starting with propositions. This is exciting! We continue:

The first proposition is: an Infinite Intelligent Entity (IIE) exists. If that proposition is true, it leads to a second proposition: the IIE created life on Earth, and in particular, human life.

Huh? How does the first proposition lead to the second? Perhaps that will be explained as we plunge deeper. Here’s more:

If both propositions are true, it leads to a third proposition: there is life after death.

Again, we don’t yet see how the preceding proposition implies the next, but let’s move along:

If any of these propositions are false, the bottom line is that it leads to a dead end.

No problem there. This is our last excerpt:

Ultimately, if these foundational propositions are true, it leads to a fourth proposition: Jesus lived some two-thousand years ago. By continuing to build on these propositions and follow their conclusions, we can better discuss not only the existence of God as such but also contemporary issues like modern-day threats to Christianity in America.

So there you are, dear reader. If you want to learn more, you’ll need to buy the book. But be warned: Once you enter The Drool Zone, there’s no going back.

Copyright © 2016. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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Creationist Legislation Update: Mid 2016

Most of the US state legislatures have already adjourned for the year, or they will adjourn in early June. A few remain in session almost year-round, such as Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. The life, liberty, and property of the people in those few states are never secure, but they’re usually not hotbeds of creationist legislative activity.

For the rest of the country, the law makers have already gone home, or they will in a week or so. We are pleased to report that it’s been another good year, at least in terms of creationism. Our focus is primarily on versions of the Discovery Institute’s Academic Freedom bill. We’ve critiqued their model bill here: Curmudgeon’s Guide to “Academic Freedom” Laws.

As you know, the only states crazed enough to have enacted the Discoveroids’ bill are Louisiana and Tennessee. During the several years we’ve been watching, no other state that has considered such legislation has enacted it. Here’s what’s happened (at least so far) during this year’s legislative activity:

Florida considered enacting a law that would let parents object to specific instructional materials on the grounds that they weren’t balanced. It would have opened the courthouse door for parents who object to evolution. See Florida Creationism: New Bills for 2016. Identical bills in the state House and Senate died in committee when the legislature adjourned — see Florida and Louisiana Creationism News.

Idaho considered a law that would allow the bible to be used as a school text in several subjects, including astronomy, biology, and geology. After some amendments to remove those subjects from the bill, it was passed by the legislature, but then it was vetoed — see Idaho’s 2016 Creationism Bill — Strange News.

Mississippi considered a version of the Discovery Institute’s bill, but it quickly crashed and burned — see Mississippi’s 2016 Creationism Bill — Dead. The bill’s sponsor didn’t know he was supposed to lie about its purpose. He told the press he introduced it so that teachers could present creationism in science classes. It was so embarrassing that the Discoveroids contacted the legislature and requested that the bill be withdrawn.

There were Two Oklahoma Creationism Bills for 2016. One died in committee, and we wrote about that here: One Oklahoma 2016 Creationism Bill — Dead. We never heard any news about the other. It seems to have remained in committee, and the legislature will adjourn tomorrow, so that one is effectively dead too.

South Dakota considered a Discoveroid bill, but that died in committee. See Is South Dakota’s Creationism Bill Dead?

Tennessee, which already has a Discoveroid creationist bill, tried to make the bible the official state book. It passed the legislature, but the governor vetoed it (because it wasn’t sufficiently respectful of the bible), and the legislature failed to override the veto — see Tennessee Bible Bill Veto Override Vote Today.

And that’s it. We haven’t found any other creationist legislation to write about. Once again, it’s been a catastrophic year for the Discovery Institute. We look forward to more of the same.

Copyright © 2016. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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Seventh-Day Adventists and Galileo

Adventist Review Online describes itself as “the web site of the Adventist Review magazine. In print for more than 150 years, the Adventist Review is the flagship journal of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.” Wikipedia says that denomination believes in creation in six literal days. At the Adventist Review website we found Galileo’s Heresies, which presents, shall we say, a somewhat novel interpretation of the Galileo affair.

It was written by Clifford Goldstein, editor of something called the Adult Bible Study Guide. His article was adapted from a manuscript in progress tentatively titled: Baptizing the Devil: Evolution and the Seduction of Christianity. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis:

Most everyone has heard of the heresy trial of Galileo Galilei by the Roman Inquisition in the seventeenth century, an event universally portrayed as the paradigmatic illustration of ignorant and dogmatic religionists versus the rational progress of science. Thus, theistic evolutionists gleefully use the Galileo account against those who defend the six-day creation, arguing that these literal creationists are repeating the error of Rome’s religious dogmatism.

Your Curmudgeon is one of those who often refers to Galileo’s trial as a classic case of religious persecution of science. In Creationism, Galileo and the Phases of Venus, we said:

Galileo was hauled before the Inquisition and charged with heresy for publishing a book describing evidence for — gasp! — the solar system. That was clearly contrary to scripture, so it couldn’t be tolerated. We know of two specific scripture passages were used as evidence against him during the trial:

Ecclesiastes 1, verse 5: The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to his place where he arose.

Joshua 10:13: And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. Is not this written in the book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day.

Because he was threatened with torture, Galileo confessed his heresy — see Recantation of Galileo. June 22, 1633. His book, Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems, was banned and placed on the Index Librorum Prohibitorum, and he was kept under house arrest for the remaining seven years of his life.

What do Seventh-day Adventists think of that abominable event? Let’s read on:

However, far from an example of ignorant religionists battling scientific progress, the Galileo trial exposes the dangers of what happens when Christians too readily incorporate the whims of science into their religion. Contrary to the popular myth, it’s the evolutionists, not the creationists, who are repeating Rome’s error.

Huh? In what universe are those people living? The article continues:

Though about as many versions of the Galileo saga exist as tellers of it, the gist is that Galileo promoted Copernicanism, which argued for the earth orbiting the sun instead of the sun orbiting the earth. When faced with the threat of torture for promoting this idea, Galileo uttered his famous adjuration: [quote with an ellipsis in it].

We’ve already given you a link to the full text of Galileo’s Indictment and Abjuration, so you can read it for yourself. He was charged with teaching “several propositions contrary to the true sense and authority of the Holy Scriptures.” Specifically:

1. The proposition that the sun is in the center of the world and immovable from its place is absurd, philosophically false, and formally heretical; because it is expressly contrary to Holy Scriptures.

2. The proposition that the earth is not the center of the world, nor immovable, but that it moves, and also with a diurnal action, is also absurd, philosophically false, and, theologically considered, at least erroneous in faith.

Here’s what Clifford Goldstein says:

The points that Galileo abjured were: first, that the sun is the center of the universe; second, that the sun is immovable; third, that the earth is not the center of the universe; and, fourth, that the earth moves. … However, as we will see, these were heresies, not against the Scriptures but against centuries of accepted scientific dogma.

That’s odd. The Inquisition said they were contrary to scripture. Moving along:

This point cannot be overestimated. Galileo wasn’t fighting against the Bible, but against an interpretation of the Bible dominated by the prevailing scientific dogma, which for centuries had been Aristotelianism. This view taught that the earth stood immobile at the center of the universe, and that stars and planets, including the sun, moved in perfect circular orbits around it.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Another excerpt:

And, just as almost everything in life sciences today is interpreted through the dogma and authority of Charles Darwin, back then so much science (or “natural philosophy” as it was called), including the nature of the cosmos, was interpreted through the dogma and authority of Aristotle (384 B.C. -322 B. C.).

Nobody knew about the solar system in Aristotle’s time, so he was likely as confused as the authors of scripture. On with the article:

Hence, the crucial point: Galileo’s “heresies” weren’t contrary to Scripture; they were contrary to an interpretation of Scripture dominated by a pagan Greek who lived more than 300 years before Christ, Aristotle — the Darwin of that era.

And yet, somehow, the Inquisition’s charges didn’t mention Aristotle. Here’s more:

Galileo’s heresy wasn’t against the Bible but against an interpretation of the Bible based on science — a scary parallel to what theistic evolutionists are doing today. It didn’t matter that the Bible never said that the sun at the center of the universe. Aristotle did, and because the Bible was interpreted through this, the prevailing scientific theory, an astronomical point never addressed in Scripture had become a theological position of such centrality that the Inquisition threatened to torture an old man for teaching contrary to it.

The article goes on and on, but we’ll give you only one more excerpt:

In short, Galileo’s story, contrary to the common view, is an example of the church in antiquity doing what the church today is doing: interpreting the Bible through prevailing scientific dogma. In Galileo’s day, that dogma was Aristotelianism; in ours, it’s Darwinism, or the whatever the latest version happens to be.

[…]

Far from revealing the dangers of religion battling science, the Galileo trial reveals the dangers of religion capitulating to it.

So there you are, dear reader. Now you have a new understanding of the Galileo affair. He was bullied by science.

Copyright © 2016. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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