Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Don McLeroy and Sowing Atheism

Don McLeroy has gone on record as recommending the book Sowing Atheism: The Natonal Academy Of Science' Sinister Scheme To Teach Our Children They're Descended from Reptiles.
The Texas Freedom Network has a post on the Don McLeroy/Sowing Atheism connexion, arguing that some of the viewpoints in his book recommendation are hair-raising. The book, by Robert Johnson Jr. is a free download from here. It is couched as a response to the NAS book Science, Evolution and Creationism. Here is a three-page example of the "scholarship" in the book. The passage is from Sowing Atheism, pages 65-67. Bold text is the NAS text to which he responds:
You two, however, have convinced thousands of pastors, and in turn, many members of their flocks, that human evolution from reptiles
is light. Jesus said, “If, then, the light that is in you is darkness, how
dense is the darkness!” (Matthew 6:23). May God grant you repentance
to sober up out of the trap of the Adversary.

We believe that the theory of evolution is a foundational scientific truth, one that has stood up to rigorous scrutiny and upon which much of human knowledge and achievement rests.

We’ve seen that the evolution of all life from a single cell from two
billion years ago allegedly consists of genetic copying mistakes
operated upon in some undefined way by the figure of speech known as
natural selection. In Chapter 3, we saw that there is no evidence for
this. There is nothing rigorous at all about speculation, and that’s what
it is. And Mr. X, your many factual, logical, and contextual errors show
that your own letter does not stand up to slapdash scrutiny, much less
“rigorous scrutiny.” You are obviously not a “rigorous scrutiny” kind
of guy, so how would you know what standards of fact and accuracy
molecules-to-man evolution meets or does not meet? Who told you
evolution stands up to rigorous scrutiny? Zimmerman?
Darwin and his theory of evolution do nothing but obscure
knowledge and take false credit for achievements in real science.

Complete this sentence: If it weren’t for Darwin’s theory of moleculesto-

man evolution, mankind wouldn’t . . .

To reject this truth or to treat it as “one theory among others” is to

deliberately embrace scientific ignorance and transmit such ignorance
to our children.

You exalt evolution above all. Has believing in it become the new

greatest commandment, displacing the foremost precept as expressed
by Christ in Mark 12:30?

You shall be loving the Lord your God out of your whole heart and
out of your whole soul, and out of your whole comprehension, and out of
your whole strength. This is the foremost precept.
You can offer no evidence for your premise that evolution is valid
and true, so you try to bring into disrepute the character of those who
disagree. According to the two of you (an atheist and an apostate), by
believing and upholding the Word of God, I and many others are
“deliberately” transmitting ignorance to our children. Once again, you
have it backwards. What kind of monster parents teach their children
that they’re descended from rodents and reptiles?

We believe that among God’s good gifts are human minds capable of

critical thought and that the failure to fully employ this gift is a
rejection of the will of our Creator.

Let’s make a bet. I’ll give you a million dollars for every passage
of Scripture you find that states or infers that God desires that we exalt
our flesh-minds and/or our wisdom over Him and His Word. You give
me just $100 every time I produce a passage from Scripture that says
the wisdom of God is supreme to the thinking and “wisdom” of men.
Which of us do you think will have a million dollars first?
I draw your attention to this Scripture:
. . . the disposition of the flesh is enmity to God, for it is not subject to the
law of God, for neither is it able. Now those who are in flesh are not able
to please God (Romans 8:7-8).
Your Clergy Letter reads as if this may be found in the Bible:
Thus saith the Lord, “I give unto thee critical thought, so that ye may
criticize my word, and ye may usurp the authority of the apostle Paul, but
yeah and verily, thou shalt not criticize evolution for it is the ultimate
theory-fact, and not merely one among many.”
The Scriptures admonish us over and over to have no confidence in
the flesh. You and your apostate letter-signers urge putting all
confidence in the flesh. Again, you have it just backwards. Feasting
upon human reason leads away from truth, not toward it.
If you accept molecules-to-man evolution, you’ve got to believe
you came into being by chance. What’s “the will of our Creator” doing
as a phrase in your letter? Where did He come from?

To argue that God’s loving plan of salvation for humanity precludes

the full employment of the God-given faculty of reason is to attempt to
limit God, an act of hubris.

I’m self-taught in the ancient literature field, so it surprises me that
with your liberal academic background, Zimmerman, you don’t
understand what hubris is, because it originated as an ancient Greek
concept. Hubris is self-pride and overbearing arrogance, an abject lack
of humility. Proverbs 16:18 sums up the ancient and modern
understanding of hubris: “Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty
spirit before a fall.” You have it just backwards again. You are
maintaining that hubris is the failure to exalt oneself and the reasonings
of one’s mind over God.
Hubris was considered the greatest sin in the ancient Greek world.
Achilles’ treatment of Hector’s corpse, dragging it around the walls of
Troy, is a classic example of it. The words of the Bible claim to be
“Spirit and Life.” By denying the Bible’s inspiration, you kill it, and
like Achilles, you drag its deadened content before men, pumping your
fists and proclaiming from your chariot of reason the superiority of the
mind of man over the Word of God.
To reason means to lay facts in relation to one another so as to be
the basis of opinion. The Word of God claims to be absolute truth, and
in no way mere opinion.

The rest of the book has this general tone, which amounts to nothing more than calling people who accept evolution names and questioning their ancestry. The money quote is the one where he equates those who teach evolutionary theory to their children as "monsters." Now, to be fair, Richard Dawkins said something similar going the other way so the vitriol is certainly not one-sided. TFN puts their finger on the real crux of the problem, though:
As bizzarre and abrasive as some of these ideas may be, clearly any yahoo with a half-baked idea can write and self-publish a book. That is not the important point here. The real issue is the inability of the chair of the Texas State Board of Education to distinguish between legitimate, mainstream science - as represented by the National Academy of Sciences - and a lone crackpot with an openly religious agenda.
More evidence of his lack of qualifications for the post that he holds.

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