What we’re up against

March 18, 2010 • 2:09 pm

One of the letters in today’s Durango Herald (Colorado)

Christian texts right to dump Darwin

by Paul Bynum

It is amazing how the evolutionists react when their messiah, Charles Darwin, is ignored or otherwise abused. The very fact that he is not given top billing in Christian-based biology textbooks for the home-schooling market sends them in an absolute thither [sic]. In an Associated Press story (“Top home-school texts dismiss Darwin,” Herald, March 7), Jerry Coyne, an evolutionary professor at the University of Chicago, went so far as to say, “I feel strongly about this. These books are promulgating lies to kids.”

Lies? I believe that opinion may depend on which side of the creation coin you come down on.

On the humanistic, God-denying, evolutionary side, you can tell children they are nothing more than animals that appeared by mere chance through a prolonged process that began in a great big explosion that over millions and millions of years now allows them to wonder and care how they got here and what it might matter in the eons to come. If they are just animals, why not act the part? Why not blow away the other animal that stole your peanut butter sandwich at lunch?

On the creation side of the coin, children are told they are created in the image of a loving God that cares for each and every one of them. Their Christian home-schooling parents do, indeed, want to give their children religious and moral instruction that teaches them they are more than just another animal in the evolutionary food chain. In order to give this type of education to their children, textbooks are needed that are from a godly, biblical-based point of view. Not a Charles Darwin, God-denying view point.

So why should the evolutionists blow a gasket when textbooks are released giving a different point of view? They want God totally out of any educational process and bring Christian home schooling under the state-controlled school system, thereby eliminating free choice of your child’s future.

Paul Bynum, Durango

This letter encapsulates one of the faithful’s commonest objections to evolution: it does away with God-given morality, thereby giving us license to act like beasts.  Accommodationists would have us believe that if Mr. Bynum and his ilk were politely informed that many religious people have no problem accepting evolution, they’d suddenly abjure their views and embrace Darwinism.  The morality argument would vanish!

And if you believe that, then I have a a Ray Comfort edition of The Origin to sell you.

(Bynum and his Durago buddy Gary Anderson were involved in a bit of P. Z. Myers-bashing four years ago.)

36 thoughts on “What we’re up against

  1. Well, we DO act like beasts.

    We:

    * Care for each other
    * Have Wars
    * Sexually Reproduce
    * Have social structure and order
    * Organize for a common purpose
    * Rape plunder and pillage

    One would think that if we were some type of “god image” created beings, we would not look like or act like animals.

    (But read the news….. we do.)

    1. The problem with all this is, AFAIU, that humans are exceptionally socialized beasts. Most animals seem to resort to conflict and violence much more often. Or at least our next of kin does, even the relatively peaceful bonobo I think.

      Also, that “have wars” point is rapidly becoming vapid. True, we still have ~ 5 active conflicts that deserves the label (as more than 1000 people dies yearly in them). But officially ‘instituted’ wars are on the order of 0-1 nowadays, coming down from much higher historical rates. Hope is good that we will be without eventually.

      It seems that when democracy and free markets was adopted, human nature could assert itself over earlier bad, often contingent, systems.

      So of course we act like the beasts we are, but you can’t really compare with other species. The problem for the religious is IMHO to explain why we are exceptional without religion, and why religion seems to have been one of the contributing causes for our earlier sorry state. (Because they worked against democracy mostly, putting their chips where the money was, with the ruling classes.)

  2. Paul Bynum, Liar for Jesus™.

    I wonder if he ever tells the truth. His ‘image of a loving God’ includes burning forever if you don’t suck up and ordering followers to wipe out whole populations.

    His understanding of science and evolution is about on the four-year-old child level.

    1. I think a four year old would object to that! Most children who are not controlled by their parents would identify pretty quickly with evolution. I’d say his understanding is that of a new born…

  3. The amount of ignorance and lies is amazing in such a short piece I think he’s out done himself…

  4. The world is full of fools. Bynum is just one of them. Don’t waste your energy expecting them to go away.

    1. Yes but, unfortunately, if you don’t keep after them, they win. Iraq was behind 9/11, Iraq was behind 9/11, Iraq was behind 9/11, and pretty soon you’ve got yourself a war. (And I am aware the Bush League didn’t come right out and say that but they implied it up, down, and sideways, for all those good and credulous!)

  5. It’s interesting, and believable, but is it real? I call Poe. I don’t like to brag, but I’m an expert – I maintained an average of 98% in my studies at the Botswana Trolling College. And I say it’s a Poe. Look at the guys name “Paul Bynum’ – yes, he always did swing a super-sized axe. Even when using a misspelling as a ruse.

    1. Hate to break the news to you but he’s not a Poe. Unless he’s using a false name there’s a 72 year old guy living in Durango called Paul Bynum and believe it or not, it’s a more common name than I thought it would be. The guy is real. A simple google does wonders. Sorry about your 98% rating…

      1. I doubt that a newspaper would REPEATEDLY publish fake letters from a resident. And usually they make you add your address and phone number for verification.

        He’s real, for sure.

    2. The Botswana Trolling College may usefully extend its curriculum to Dutch and Welsh studies. The surname Bynum can be traced to a Welsh lineage, Baynham, whence it emigrated chiefly to Gloucestershire, and later to Virginia. On the Dutch side, van Bynum is found alongside its more ancient version, van Beijnum (y being a contraction of ij), also in variants like ‘Beynum, Beynem, Beynum, Beynom, Beinhem, Beinem, Beinum, Beinom’.
      Tsamaya sentle.

  6. On the creation side of the coin, children are told they are created in the image of a jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully of a God. Their Christian home-schooling parents do, indeed, want to give their children religious and moral instruction that teaches them that bigotry is ok; that one of their most natural urges is sinful; and that thinking rationally and sensibly about things can send you to an eternity of torment. In order to give this type of education to their children, textbooks are needed that are from a godly, biblical-based point of view. Not a Charles Darwin, God-denying view point.
    On the humanistic, God-denying, evolutionary side, you can tell children they are inheritants of a 3.75 billion year old genetic heritage, that links them to all living things, that appeared by an awe inspiring process, and which has finally reached a point where some of that lineage are now able to think about, and start to merely scratch the surface of how wonderful, beautiful and aweinspiring the world, and indeed, the Universe is. If we are related to everything else, why not treat them as fairly and humanely as possible, and spend your efforts preserving this world for generations to come?
    So why should the creationists blow a gasket when textbooks are released giving a different point of view? They want God totally in all educational processes and bring all schooling under a Christian-controlled school system, thereby eliminating free choice of your child’s future.
    David Wood, Gloucester

    Or something like that.

    1. “On the humanistic, God-denying, evolutionary side, you can tell children they are inheritants of a 3.75 billion year old genetic heritage, that links them to all living things, that appeared by an awe inspiring process, and which has finally reached a point where some of that lineage are now able to think about, and start to merely scratch the surface of how wonderful, beautiful and aweinspiring the world, and indeed, the Universe is. If we are related to everything else, why not treat them as fairly and humanely as possible, and spend your efforts preserving this world for generations to come?”

      The problem with this view is that it is too naive. Given that we are a product of billions of years of materialistic evolution, it absolutely does not follow that any arguments from the beauty of the natural world should have an influence on our decision making, because the reality is that the physical world is cold, colorless and indifferent to human emotions, and there is nothing that can be objectively and rationally called beautiful or awesome in it. Creationists actually have it somewhat right here, if we follow the cold logic applied to the hard facts, a lot of what we like about the world we live loses its beauty and its meaning. So it is not a good argument for why we should preserve the natural worlds around us – the reality is that in the big scheme of things it matters very little whether giant pandas will go extinct in the next few hundred years or not – they will go extinct anyway, sooner or later. And the same applies to us.

      However all of the above does not mean that we should not be doing order of magnitude more than we are doing right now to preserve the ecosystems of the planet, exactly the opposite. But we should be doing it because if we’re not, we will probably go extinct a lot sooner than we would have otherwise. It is a much better argument and more solidly grounded argument IMO. Again, in the grand scheme of things, it probably doesn’t really matter, but the only way to know is to try to survive for as long as possible and understand the universe, which will not happen if we drive ourselves into extinction, or deplete the resources of the planet to an extent that will never allow us to do it.

      Things we are doing very successfully at present, and to which religion is a major contributer. The naive environmentalism doesn’t really help the cause though.

  7. Act like beasts? I’m fucking sick and tired of Christians talking about morals. Just today I read that the the gay-bashing, athiest-hating, more-moral-than-us Boy Scouts of America seem to be acting just like the Catholic Church in hiding peodophiles and allowing them further contact with the children.

  8. Not sure if this is right, but I have a sense that names ending in “um” tend to denote those of the Mormonical persuasion.

    1. It is hard not to think that Bynum was making a joke. But, if he is not, how scary is that? He thinks kids are ready to murder for their peanut butter sandwiches! And that Bynum himself does not murder because god exists? Very, very creepy.

      1. I think it’s worse than that–he’s implying that he and other theists don’t murder BECAUSE they don’t accept evolution. It’s his belief that he was specially created by a god (who threatens hell) that keeps him from murdering people over their food.

        I also hate how the confuse respect for scientific experts as “worship” akin to their worship of their invisible friend and those who claim to speak for him.

      2. Yeah, that’s the problem with believing that your moral code comes directly from a book of Jewish mythology.

        One of the guys where I work told me that he wished he could be an atheist like me so that he could go out drinking, fighting, and chasing tail; something I found very offensive because he knew that not only did I not do any of those things, he knew that I didn’t approve of those things either.

        Also, I find it disconcerting to hear that someone engages in moral activities solely because he’s afraid of eternal retribution.

  9. It amazing how many lies can be squeezed into just a few paragraphs.
    It is also interesting that no mention is made on which side of the argument the evidence comes down.
    I hav to say I am a little disappointed we have had no sequel to long thread of creationist trollongs. It is sometimes fun to confront them with evidence and watch them go la-la-la I can’t hear you

  10. Yes, this post indeed explains, very succinctly, “what we’re up against.”

    But I think I could sum it up even more pointedly: the battle here is between those who worship sanity and reason and those who are borderline sane and way over the borderline stupid who are fixated worshiping imaginary beings.
    ~Rev. El Mundo
    Pastor, WVCSR.org

  11. This is what we’re all up against, cognitive petrifaction. He is right, though. Evolution ended with him.

  12. Accommodationists would have us believe that if Mr. Bynum and his ilk were politely informed that many religious people have no problem accepting evolution, they’d suddenly abjure their views and embrace Darwinism.

    Yes, in the fundamentalist world in which I live, I have learned that accomodationism does not work. I tried it. Really, I did. But over the last year or two I’ve found that people like Mr. Bynum will not surrender their hostility.

    1. Ah, but did you listen to the new Templeton whore “Christ Money” on how accomodationism *will* work, if only you let him do it the RIGHT way?
      He is the only one on the planet who has the key to solving the world’s problems, but is not showing it to anyone yet.

    2. I’ve seen the same at one of my homeschool forums. We have a number of religious people (of varying faiths) who accept evolution and ‘speak up’ every time the subject comes up. It does no good; the fundies just keep on as always.

      1. True, speaking up will not change the diehard fundamentalists’ attitudes. But it can embolden those timid individuals who are rational but would otherwise be unwilling to assert themselves. It’s always the bystanders who are the real target audience. And sometimes those bystanders include the quietly skeptical children of the irrational.

    3. I became a fan of Ken Miller for a while (even though I’m an atheist myself) because he is so good at beating down the ID arguments. Thought he would appeal to believers being religious himself. But every time I’ve tried that approach with fundamentalists, it has failed. They just jump from one tired old creationist canard to the next.

  13. Paul asks (perhaps in a jocular way)

    “Why not blow away the other animal that stole your peanut butter sandwich at lunch?”

    He presumes religion has an answer unavailable to secular views. Secular folks often agree with this presumption even if they believe their views are not so bankrupt. But the problem of the Euthyphro tells against this deference. Either God has reasons for saying that it is wrong to kill people for stealing PBJ or he doesn’t. If he has reasons, where could they come from? The only plausible answer is that there is an independent standard to which he appeals. Where else could those reasons come from? But if he doesn’t have reasons for prohibiting PBJ related homicides, then his choice is a kind of arbitrary moral despotism.

    This very old problem shows that religion has no trump card when it comes to morality. It either presumes that morality is justified (something secularists are surely capable of doing) or it is on the same footing and perhaps even a bit worse off. Moral justification is hard to come by for everyone. Religionists included.

    As an aside, Paul writes:

    “They want God totally out of any educational process and bring Christian home schooling under the state-controlled school system, thereby eliminating free choice of your child’s future.”

    Polemical prose aside, this sounds exactly right to me. Rather than hurl insults and suggest we have no moral values, might he try and explain why this is so crazy?

  14. PBJ? “The peanut butter and jelly sandwich (PB&J)” [Wikipedia]?

    _Way_ more info than I needed! “Can I have a hearth attack, or at least insulin deficiency, to go with that?”

    Not the best example to use when setting moral standards. 😮

  15. Ouch! Ouch! The stupid is painful!

    “Teaching religion instead of science isn’t lying” says the liar for jesus. “Science is the one lying because it doesn’t use the bible along with mountains of bullshit as a source of knowledge.”

  16. I also especially don’t like this part “On the humanistic, God-denying, evolutionary side, you can tell children they are nothing more than animals that appeared by mere chance through a prolonged process that began in a great big explosion that over millions and millions of years now…”

    What is that argument? It’s not true because it would make kids sad to find out?

    I guess no textbooks will be coming out against Santa Claus anytime soon >.<

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