Creationism and science; Anthony Flew, Michele Bachmann and Zach Kopplin

Charles Darwin

Creationism and the love affair with the mythology of some deity creating everything on and out of whim, is relatively recent. There is no record of it before the eighteenth century CE when friends began to correspond with Charles Darwin in an attempt to prove the bible to be literally correct.  As early as 1838, Charles Darwin had concluded that attributing the structure of animals to “the will of the Deity” was “no explanation—it has not the character of a physical law & is therefore utterly useless” the British geologist Charles Lyell, broke entirely from the staid and ossified biblical framework that proponents claimed to be the final account. In Lyell’s writing, the geologist postulated the existence of multiple “centres or foci of creation,” based upon geological surveys and data samples (http://www.counterbalance.net/history/ordcreat-frame.html). By 1859, with a flurry of papers appearing in print to mock the creationists, creationism seemed dead until the unlettered preachers made it a point to claim that some deity actually and literally wrote the bible as found in the account plagiarized (Daniel 5:5: בַּהּ־שַׁעֲתָה [כ= נְפַקוּ] [ק= נְפַקָה] אֶצְבְּעָן דִּי יַד־אֱנָשׁ וְכָתְבָן לָקֳבֵל נֶבְרַשְׁתָּא עַל־גִּירָא דִּי־כְתַל הֵיכְלָא דִּי מַלְכָּא וּמַלְכָּא חָזֵה פַּס יְדָה דִּי כָתְבָה׃) from an Old Babylonian fairy tale.  What creationists forgot in the nineteenth century, and when they reappeared in 1929, is that the “hand” seen was a “human hand” and not a divine hand, which is the reason that the king (Belshazzar) called for his enchanters, astrologers and diviners to be brought to explain the message and offered them titles, power, and rich raiment: קָרֵא מַלְכָּא בְּחַיִל לְהֶעָלָה לְאָשְׁפַיָּא [כ= כַּשְׂדָּיֵא] [ק= כַּשְׂדָּאֵי] וְגָזְרַיָּא עָנֵה מַלְכָּא וְאָמַר לְחַכִּימֵי בָבֶל דִּי כָל־אֱנָשׁ דִּי־יִקְרֵה כְּתָבָה דְנָה וּפִשְׁרֵהּ יְחַוִּנַּנִי (which comes from ancient Egyptian scrolls that early Apiru [Hapiru/Hebrew] plagiarized when writing the Torah; cp. Genesis 41:42 (וַיָּסַר פַּרְעֹה אֶת־טַבַּעְתֹּו מֵעַל יָדֹו וַיִּתֵּן אֹתָהּ עַל־יַד יֹוסֵף וַיַּלְבֵּשׁ אֹתֹו בִּגְדֵי־שֵׁשׁ וַיָּשֶׂם רְבִד הַזָּהָב עַל־צַוָּארֹו׃) and Exodus 7:11, with the king being titled “Pharaoh” (וַיִּקְרָא גַּם־פַּרְעֹה לַחֲכָמִים וְלַמְכַשְּׁפִים וַיַּעֲשׂוּ גַם־הֵם חַרְטֻמֵּי מִצְרַיִם בְּלַהֲטֵיהֶם כֵּן׃). 

Fundamentalist Christians believe that the bible is literally true from Genesis (the last book to be written for the Torah) to Revelation.  In every case creationists argue that mortals (Homo sapiens) are unique, similar to god, and divine with a soul–although science, theology, and the bible do not offer any of those terms. Psalm 8:4 -5 (especially וַתְּחַסְּרֵהוּ מְּעַט מֵאֱלֹהִים וְכָבֹוד וְהָדָר תְּעַטְּרֵהוּ׃) says that man is “a little lower than the angels [not god]” while in the New Testament it is written (Hebrews 2:7: ἠλάττωσας αὐτὸν βραχύ τι παρ’ ἀγγέλους, δόξῃ καὶ τιμῇ ἐστεφάνωσας αὐτόν) that man is not god but a “little lower than the angels” (being a direct plagiarism from the Old Testament that took it from ancient Chaldea).

Abraham Meir ibn Ezra

Early Jewish teachers believed that the biblical text contained layers of meaning, with the spiritual and allegorical interpretations of Genesis often being seen as more important than the literal.   Abraham Meir ibn Ezra (1089 — 1164) consistently rejected overly literal understandings of Genesis, and although his original works have been “lost” (most likely burned by the Inquisition) we know of their existence as they are quoted by Baruch Spinoza  (http://www.sacred-texts.com/phi/spinoza/treat/tpt12.htm), and Moses ben-Maimon, called Maimonides (1135 – 1204; more commonly known by his Arabic name Abū ʿImrān Mūsā bin Maimūn bin ʿUbaidallāh al-Qurṭubī ( ابو عمران موسى بن ميمون بن عبد الله القرطبي ) as he was forced, with his family, to convert to Islam when the Moors took over Spain (Stroumsa, Sarah (2009). Maimonides in his world: portrait of a Mediterranean thinker, Princeton University Press, p. 59), found the creation story simplistic and described the story of Eve and the serpent as “most absurd in its literal sense; but as an allegory it contains wonderful wisdom, and fully agrees with the real facts” (cp. Forster, Roger; Marston, Dr Paul (2001). “Chapter 7 – Genesis Through History”. Reason Science and Faith. Chester, England: Monarch Books).

Radolfo Gonzales Ruiz

While the bible can be easily dismissed with serious scholarship, evangelical extremists, especially in the southern tier of the USA (notably in Louisiana, Kentucky, Alabama, Mississippi, and other evangelical-controlled states), Nigeria (which has some of the strongest evangelicals), Uganda, Perú (where the most dangerously diabolical pandering pastor Radolfo Gonzales Ruiz rants on nightly Bethel television) and various other backwater and backtreading poorly educated nations have struggled to have creationism taught in schools, dating everything back to the folklore of a worldwide flood (diluvial) where everything (including unsaved fish) drowned.  Flood geology contradicts the scientific consensus in geology, physics, chemistry, molecular genetics, evolutionary biology, archaeology, and paleontology, and no reputable scientist accepts it (Stewart, Melville Y. (2010). Science and religion in dialogue. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 123; cp. http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/list.html#CD all links are currently working, and all show the absurdity of creation science).  Creation science has long been disputed and refuted, with early works appearing in the seventeenth century showing the absurdity of such biblical claims in favor of naturalistic explanations for a global flood (cf. Woodward, John (1695) An essay toward a natural history of the earth and terrestrial bodies, especially minerals, as also of the sea, rivers, and springs, with an account of the universal deluge, and of the effects that it had upon the earth. London, Printed for R. Wilkin; and the work by his student Whiston, William (1696) A new theory of the earth, from its original, to the consummation of all things. London, Printed by R. Roberts, for B. Took).

Stephen C. Myer

The current spokesman for creationism/Intelligent Design is Stephen C. Myer who founded the ID Institute to justify the Bible’s rendition of how things began.  Although he has a doctorate from Cambridge, it was obtained not by studying with the greatest minds at Cambridge, but by passing tests, and out of this morass of information concluded that DNA is like a computer program, where each program is individually created by a programmer who is all-powerful as any god.  Myers uses loaded phrases, such as “many scientists” support ID, but does not enumerate those who are in agreement with him; he states that “Antony Flew made worldwide news when he repudiated a lifelong commitment to atheism, citing among other factors evidence of “intelligent design” in the DNA molecule” (http://www.salvomag.com/new/articles/salvo4/IDmeyer.php

Anthony Flew

Myer does not, however, tell the full story of this famed conversion, for Flew was clear in his last book, There is a God, that  he is not a Christian – at least as yet – but is basically a deist. Deism says that there is a creator “god” (for lack of a better term), but such a creator has no ongoing relationship with the created order – a bit like an absentee landlord. This is eighteenth century Enlightenment thinking, and does not lead to the acceptance of a “revealed religion.”

The problem is that Myer and other ID defenders have misquoted Flew, and the popular press, decidedly theistic, took Flew’s words out of context.  Flew wrote, after the applause was given to his book There is a God his refutation of his alleged repudiation of atheism:

“Richard C. Carrier, current Editor in Chief of the Secular Web, tells me that “the internet has now become awash with rumors” that I “have converted to Christianity, or am at least no longer an atheist.” Perhaps because I was born too soon to be involved in the internet world I had heard nothing of this rumour. So Mr. Carrier asks me to explain myself in cyberspace. This, with the help of the Internet Infidels, I now attempt.

Those rumours speak false. I remain still what I have been now for over fifty years, a negative atheist. By this I mean that I construe the initial letter in the word ‘atheist’ in the way in which everyone construes the same initial letter in such words as ‘atypical’ and ‘amoral’. For I still believe that it is impossible either to verify or to falsify – to show to be false – what David Hume in his Dialogues concerning Natural Religion happily described as “the religious hypothesis.” The more I contemplate the eschatological teachings of Christianity and Islam the more I wish I could demonstrate their falsity.”

….

We negative atheists are bound to see the Big Bang cosmology as requiring a physical explanation; and that one which, in the nature of the case, may nevertheless be forever inaccessible to human beings. But believers may, equally reasonably, welcome the Big Bang cosmology as tending to confirm their prior belief that “in the beginning” the Universe was created by God.

Again, negative atheists meeting the argument that the fundamental constants of physics would seem to have been ‘fine tuned’ to make the emergence of mankind possible will first object to the application of either the frequency or the propensity theory of probability ‘outside’ the Universe, and then go on to ask why omnipotence should have been satisfied to produce a Universe in which the origin and rise of the human race was merely possible rather than absolutely inevitable. But believers are equally bound and, on their opposite assumptions, equally justified in seeing the Fine Tuning Argument as providing impressive confirmation of a fundamental belief shared by all the three great systems of revealed theistic religion – Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. For all three are agreed that we human beings are members of a special kind of creatures, made in the image of God and for a purpose intended by God.

In short, I recognize that developments in physics coming on the last twenty or thirty years can reasonably be seen as in some degree confirmatory of a previously faith-based belief in god, even though they still provide no sufficient reason for unbelievers to change their minds. They certainly have not persuaded me.

Anthony Flew in his private Library

(Anthony Flew not only rejected the idea he was not an atheist, but claimed that the book There is a God was ghost-written and used his name: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/04/magazine/04Flew-t.html and http://richarddawkins.net/articles/1831 citing his advanced years, deteriorating health and memory; read: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1300630/posts).

The National Academy of Science does not recognize creationism, Intelligent Design, nor Stephen C. Myer as a legitimate scientist (http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=6024&page=5).   In Tammy Kitzmiller, et al. v. Dover Area School District, et al. (400 F. Supp. 2d 707, Docket no. 4cv2688) the US Supreme Court ruled Intelligent Design to be a religion and not science.   The landmark case was tried in a bench trial (a jury trial was not required) from September 26, 2005 to November 4, 2005, before Judge John E. Jones III, a conservative Republican appointed in 2002 by George W. Bush.  This led to billionaire televangelist and money laundering Pat Robertson (who worked with the dictators of Zaire and Liberia where stealing gold and diamonds was more important than worry about Liberia’s Chuckie Taylor using child soldiers, systematic rape, and requiring troops to perform sex acts in front of him in the name of the Creator) to declare that his god would punish the court and the citizens of Dover, Pennsylvania.

Science requires that all theories (such as Evolution) be tested, and retested and that the results are self-sustaining but can be modified, and if the modification proves the theory is wrong, that the theory will be abandoned.  Intelligent design is not a testable theory and as such is not generally accepted by the scientific community.    Intelligent Design falsely undermines the scientific status of evolutionary theory and gives students a false understanding of what theory actually means: for ID proponents argue that there is an absolute answer: God.  With this absolute answer, those who argue for ID require that the student select one–denying the tests required of any science where no selection is made by retesting occurs.  Creationism can neither be proved, nor can it be disproved–therefore it is a matter of faith (religion) and not a science as it promotes a religious (sectarian) agenda.   In statements directed at the general public, Intelligent Design advocates claim that intelligent design is not religious; when addressing conservative Christian supporters, they state that intelligent design has its foundation in the Christian Bible (http://www.centerforinquiry.net/uploads/attachments/intelligent-design.pdf; for a debate between the spokesmen for Intelligent Design and those for the science of Evolution, read: http://www.actionbioscience.org/evolution/nhmag.html).

Politicians, riding the conservative juggernaut, have come out against science, with 74% of the GOP Senators in the US Congress rejecting science and evolution.  The most notorious denier of evolution and the principles of science and scientific inquiry and research is Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R-MN). 

Michele Bachmann supporting Intelligent Design religion

At the Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana, on Friday, June 10, 2011, Bachmann told reporters following her speech of her skepticism of evolution, noting: 

“I support intelligent design.  What I support is putting all science on the table and then letting students decide. I don’t think it’s a good idea for government to come down on one side of scientific issue or another, when there is reasonable doubt on both sides.”

“I would prefer that students have the ability to learn all aspects of an issue, and that’s why I believe the federal government should not be involved in local education to the most minimal possible process.”

Instead of wanting a national program of education, Bachman declared:

“I would prefer that students have the ability to learn all aspects of an issue,” Bachmann said. “And that’s why I believe the federal government should not be involved in local education to the most minimal possible process.”

Louisiana student Zach Kopplin demanding a debate with Michele Bachmann on ID

The federal government, she said, should “block grant all money currently that goes to the states back to the states, so that Louisiana can decide how they want to spend the money [Louisiana opted to teach Intelligent Design, which brought about the challenge from Zack Kopplin with the support of 43 Nobel laureates in science against Bachmann], which may in fact be different on how Minnesota spends its money.”

(http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2011/06/17/bachmann-schools-should-teach-intelligent-design/; cf. http://www.repealcreationism.com/508/17-year-old-to-michelle-bachmann-show-me-your-nobel-laureate-scientists/)

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7 Comments

Filed under Bible, Education, History & Science Standards, Michele Bachmann, Tea Baggers

7 responses to “Creationism and science; Anthony Flew, Michele Bachmann and Zach Kopplin

  1. She wants to be prez, but doesn’t even know enough about reality to understand that ‘The Flintstones’ was not a documentary; and (contrary to animatronic displays in Kentucky’s Creation Museum) that humans and dinosaurs did not live at the same time.

    Shouldn’t basic tests of reality be part of any vetting program for potential candidates, Republican, Demo, Green, etc?

  2. Bobbie

    Excellent point, Mr. Pearson. Whatever happened to the best and the brightest, or at least those who aspired to be well informed, running for office? Lately, it seems that many who run should go back to middle school and start over.

  3. I agree, with the point made above, basic tests of reality should be part of any vetting program for potential candidates. But how might it be done?
    It ought to be done also regarding new parents, wouldn’t you want them also to understand reality? We do, as the earth’s superspecies, have a long way to go.

    • For too long, parenthood has been considered a biological right–no, that is sex–parenthood should be the privilege of those who can think rationally, interpret logically, and contribute sanely. I am not endorsing eugenics, but rather stating that sex has one purpose: pleasure, and the probability of self-fulfillment and closer kindredship with the individual actively engaged in the process. Sperm fertilizing an viable egg is what any animal can accomplish–and people must recognize that they are a higher species. Sex is natural–being a parent requires diligence, study, training, the ability to feed, clothe, educate and care for those born into this world–regardless of their color, DNA, or other characteristics, including whether they are heterosexual or homosexual as that is genetics. Thank you for writing. I hope you will have time to read my new blog on the responsibilities of parents and the reason for sex.

  4. I don’t know if it’s of interest, but I noticed there were no comprehensive lists of what the Republican candidates think about evolution and climate. So I compiled one, along with various quotes, videos, sources, etc.

    http://www.lukesci.com/2011/09/06/all-of-the-2012-republican-candidates-on-climate-and-evolution/

    • Well researched. Well written. I salute your investigation. These comments should be read by all. The Republican Party (which stopped being the GOP: Grand Old Party, with the advent of the greatest con-man of all: Ronald Reagan [who raised taxes seven times in his eight years] and promised never to raise taxes) has become the poison that is destroying the USA.

  5. Pingback: Education in Peru is failing and what can be done to restore it | Arthur Frederick Ide's Blog

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