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April 4, 2007

Of talking peanuts and growing wings

Sometimes you find decent (OK, in this case vaguely decent but definitely entertaining) op-eds in the strangest places—such as this from American Chronicle on the recent Newsweak poll:

I see by a recent Newsweek poll that 34% of college graduates accept the Biblical account of creation as fact. Assuming they were taught to question and think for themselves in college what questions did they avoid (or evade) to come to such a conclusion? Since some questions were obviously not asked during the learning years here are a few to ponder and/or further avoid.
First of all a Biblical account requires a creator. If a creator can exist without being created by something else, why is it required that one believe [that] everything else in existence except a creator has to undergo creation? And what exactly would have to be the nature of a creator? If he could create something from nothing would he not have to be able to visualize a nonexistent? But to visualize a nonexistent is to see what isn’t there or has ever been. This is palatable to 34% of college graduates?
… There is a statement from the Bible where the Creator says, “Let there be light.” An inquisitive mind would ask, “You mean there was a time when there was no light?” All light has a source, so if first there was light, where did it come from?” You can hardly claim it came from the Creator as by popular accounts he has no material attributes.
“And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together under one place and let the dry land appear and it was so.” This implies the world was first all water. But we have not found the other planets to be water. The known planets have only land and possibly some have a trace of water. Evidently this discrepancy never occurred to 34% of college graduates. And what of the ice on the polar caps? Were water and ice created simultaneously? Why no mention of ice or the fact that a cold climate was necessary for its existence? So many questions, so few questioners.
And then God created the animals and the birds and the fish and directed them to multiply. Why? Couldn’t he have created a balanced population? Did he not see that some animals would become extinct, some would overpopulate and some could not adapt to the variations in climate? And what did the predators eat if the population of their prey was sparse? Only 34% of the college graduates in America can swallow this as planned.
Now we come to the creation of man. Created in the image of God? But no one has seen or knows what God looks like so how can this be verified? Since man is composed of two sexes this presents a dilemma for the image of God. How can two sexes be portrayed in a single image? Nothing that 34% of the college graduates in America plan to worry about.
Now this is just a small sample from the first page of the book that 34% of the college graduates think is fact.
… They believe as fact that water preceded land in the formation of the earth. Do they also believe as fact that dry land popped up from a planet totally covered with water? What is the problem with that? How would fresh water lakes exist in the mountains. Is there any evidence that salt water was once covering mountain tops? And if fresh water fish could live in salt water was there a process something like the forbidden word “evolution” that changed them to survive when the rains of fresh water diluted the salt water? Did anyone ask? They believe as fact that all light sources came into existence at once at the command of a spirit. And how can commands to nothing become something? What is there to hear the commands? Ask the educated 34% who don’t have to be bothered with questions because they are perfectly willing to call anything fact that they have been told and haven’t questioned.
… Simply because one can imagine something or wants something to be true does not make it so. Thirty four percent of college graduates in America can imagine peanuts that talk but have never had a conversation with one. It is impossible because the nature of peanuts ( i.e. their identity ) excludes them from having voice boxes and even though the Planter’s spokesman can blab for hours, a real peanut ( as distinguished from an imagined or humanly created image) just sets waiting for consumption or decay. Likewise it is human invention that creates such concepts as a creator ( look at all the religions of the world ) and their foundation. Man can only imagine what he has some familiarity with such as pink elephants from regular elephants, airplanes from birds, and God from an expansion of human powers and knowledge. To project a man with knowledge and power to do and know anything is to create a God. But this projection is impossible. No man can be all powerful or all knowing and neither can a God he professes exist. For to know everything is to be unable to change the future (otherwise he would not know what would happen ). And to be all powerful would require he could change the future in which case he could not know it.
… There has been a concentrated effort throughout mankind’s history to equate thinking with believing. But the two cannot be equated. You may say you believe something because you have proven it to be so such as the proof of an algebraic theorem. But you cannot claim knowledge from a belief without substantiation. Substantiation in the form that demonstrates to anyone who investigates your claim that only that conclusion is possible. It is not enough to claim that something is possible to throw it into the realm of reality. Only observing and integrating something with the rest of your knowledge will suffice for further projections of the possible. Leprechauns can be imagined but are not possible. Anything with mystical powers can be imagined, but possessing mystical powers is not possible for anything no matter how hard it is believed in or how many polls indicate there are believers.
… [B]elieving in the impossible leads one to accept the notion that the impossible is possible and a lot of wasted effort pursues disappointment. If the impossible were possible there would be no impossibles. Try growing wings.

This thing was riddled with typos—it reads like it was written either in a blind rage or blind drunk. But he gets most of the basics right.

Posted by Stephen at 12:02 AM in Evolution | Religion + cults | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

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