The deliberately misinformed, anti-theistic-evolutionist bully: A case study

Today, we’re going to take a close look at an anti-theistic-evolution blog post. But not just any anti-theistic-evolution blog post; this one’s from one of my biggest critics.

Not him.

Not him.

His name is Steve Risner, and he’s a writer who tragically never learned what a paragraph is. He’s part of a blogging collective known as the Worldview Warriors. Their name tells you all you need to know about their theology.

Whereas most reasonable Christians see the culture wars as a hindrance to the gospel, created by the shrill voices at the most extreme ends of contentious issues, for the Worldview Warriors, the culture wars are where. It’s. At.

If you found a group of sports bloggers who wrote exclusively about how steroids are a great thing for Major League Baseball, and you made them super-fundamentalist Christians instead, you’d have the Worldview Warriors.

Anyway, since July, Risner has been writing a series on me. He supposedly set out to address my “10 theological questions no young-earth creationist can answer” … but he’s written 27 posts and made it only about three sentences into that article.

Which is a little crazy, right? If my wife were half as interested in my work I’d be telling our marriage counselor I need space.

I have pretty much ignored him since then, but it’s recently come to my attention that Risner and the rest of his legion of … um, “warriors,” I guess, like to brag to their mothers and the handful of other folks who follow their blog that their critiques have “completely destroyed” my position, hence, my lack of reply.

I should probably just ignore that too, but alas, I made the mistake of reading a couple of his posts. And, as it turns out, they’re textbook examples of a mindset that really needs to die, because it’s toxic to the church.

If you have any familiarity with the evolution-creationism debate at all, you have no doubt encountered it: the anti-theistic-evolutionist bully — a deliberately uninformed misanthrope, who labors under the delusion that those who take a different view of Genesis aren’t real Christians and prides himself on misrepresenting them any way he can.

These are the guys who are making bright, reasonable people, who value discussion and tolerance and open-mindedness, want nothing to do with the church. Couple that with the fact that, apparently, part of Risner’s regular duties as a Warrior is to talk to young people about Jesus.

So yeah, much as I might like to, I feel I can’t just ignore folks like Risner and their terribleness, especially when it’s being spewed all over my doorstep.

This is also going to be useful as a case study, though, because Risner is not an anymore imaginative writer than he is an economical one. So the points he tries to make are basically the same ones you’d encounter in any Christian critique of theistic evolution/evolutionary creationism. Which is handy for me, since I can cover a lot of ground simply by pointing out all of the fallacies and misleading half-truths in one of his posts.

Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I’m going to be a little snarky here (especially near the end because, come on, I’m only human). But I’m mostly playing it straight, because I don’t want Risner and the rest of his gang to be able to discount everything I say on account of what a big meanie I am.

And just so this is a fair fight, I’m going to copy Risner’s style in my response. Which means I’m going to respond to every. Single. Sentence.

keanu2

The only difference (as you’ll see) is that I’m actually going to address Risner’s content instead of just using three random words from it as a jumping-off point for an unrelated rant.

OK, let’s get started.

I began by Googling “Tyler Francke Steve Risner” and picking a link at random. As we get into it, you’ll see how little it matters, since all of his posts are just the same list of five or six reasons he hates people who disagree with him about Genesis, very loosely organized around a sentence or two from the blog he’s ostensibly responding to. “Twilight” is more faithful to Bram Stoker than Risner’s critiques are to his source material.

The one I found is from a few weeks ago, and it’s called “Love of the Bible, Part 2.” Everything the guy has ever written about me is “Part X” of something because he is incapable of seeing an embedded text link, shrugging, and continuing with his original train of thought.

Let me explain something to you. When I embed a link in one of my posts, it is typically because I want to give readers five extra seconds of background information that I’d rather not get into here, and sometimes it’s because funny. But for Eh! Steve!, every link is a personal affront to him, and must become the subject of his next four blog posts.

Here’s how he opens LotB, part deux.

This is part 2 of “Love of the Bible.” I encourage you to read part 1 before getting into this one. Moving on, we find that Tyler is, again, bashing Ken Ham. It’s getting a little creepy. He’s a bit obsessed, I guess.

Yeah, thanks for that analysis, Dr. Phil, but seeing as how you’ve spent the last six months deconstructing the first paragraph of one of my articles, I think I’ll get a second opinion.

Dr. Phil wants YOU ... to tell him how that's workin' out for you.

Dr. Phil wants YOU … to tell him how that’s workin’ out for you.

He oddly remarks that he’s going to get into a 15-year-old article written by Ham. He seems to think 15 years is old and that for some reason evolutionists don’t hang on to old things.

For the record, and this will be a recurring theme, I didn’t actually say any of that.

He (Tyler) believes in a “scientific” idea debunked by Redi and Pasteur hundreds of years ago, so who’s behind here?

That’s cute. Francesco Redi was an Italian physician, naturalist, biologist and poet, who is remembered as the “founder of experimental biology” and the “father of modern parasitology.” He died about 150 years before the development of the theory Risner thinks he debunked.

Louis Pasteur was a French chemist and microbiologist renowned for his discoveries of the principles of vaccination, microbial fermentation and a process that I believe is referred to in technical scientific literature as “milk safety-ization.” He, at least, was alive during a time period in which evolution was a thing, but Risner’s use of his work here is just a less elegant form of the peanut butter argument.

But he then quotes Ken Ham writing something that is spot on. My paraphrase: Can you use the Bible alone and come up with millions of years? Absolutely not.

It’s baffling to me that Risner possesses an absolutely functional working knowledge of what the word “paraphrase” means, and how to do it, and yet is unable to respond to one blog post on the Internet without writing a book.

I guess this is one of those “old” arguments that just won’t go away… because it’s right.

Huh. And here I thought it was just Flat Earth Society members who said that.

The truth doesn’t have an expiration date.

Hmm… You know, this might just be another Pasteur reference. I’ll have to get back to you on that.

Genesis is written in a form that requires it to be read as historical.

Right. Like all history that has ever been written, it contradicts itself immediately, and uses magic items and talking animals as crucial plot devices.

The language is clear. There is no reason or way to make it say something other than what it says.

Exactly! This is why I get so frustrated with young-earthers who say the firmament isn’t really the firmament.

Tyler has first bought secularism and its ideas and has secondly tried to misrepresent the teachings of Scripture in a biased and slanted way to fit into the secular ideas he’s apparently bonded with.

This is a key point, so let’s spend a little time here.

First, take note of the fact that we’re two or three of Risner’s monster-sized paragraphs into his “response” to me, and the only actual point of mine that he’s brought up is my offhand remark about an article by Ken Ham being 15 years old. When Risner’s wife tries to tell him about her day, he replies with, “Hey, when you mentioned you went to the grocery store, that reminds me… I’ll bet theistic evolutionists go to grocery stores, too. Boy, those theistic evolutionists really burn me up. Did you know they don’t read the Genesis creation accounts as literal history?” Then he talks non-stop for 12 more hours.

He abuses my work the same way young-earth creationists like him abuse science: by starting with his conclusion, finding a few points that might sort-of fit with that conclusion, and blocking out everything else. In this case, he decided before he read my first word that I’m a biblically illiterate atheist-lover who doesn’t know the first thing about Jesus, so he’s physically incapable of finding anything in my writing other than that which supports his presupposition.

I guess that explains why his “responses” to me contain almost nothing that I actually wrote. And remember: This is a guy who travels the country (or claims to) teaching students to think and “live like Jesus.” Some role model.

Second, on that non-existent basis of nothingness, Risner proceeds to describe my position in terms that are pretty much the exact opposite of what I believe. It’s easily the laziest straw man argument I’ve seen in my entire life (and I read an awful lot of young-earth creationist material).

Most bad bloggers, when they set out to misrepresent someone, they at least make some pretense of understanding their opponent’s position (quoting them out of context, misleading paraphrases, etc.). Risner doesn’t bother with any of that nonsense. “His position is whatever I darn well say it is,” Eh! Steve! growls.

Again, this is very typical of anti-TE bloggers in general. They never honestly engage with our actual arguments because if they did, they’d be forced to admit that the way we look at Genesis makes at least as much sense as theirs does.

Since that’s completely unacceptable to them, their only alternative is to ignore anything of substance we’ve ever said and go to war with straw armies of their own devising.

Die, strawman! DIE!!!

Die, strawman! DIE!!!

Finally, and to the claim itself, uh, it’s not true. I mean, I’m not entirely clear how one might “buy secularism” in the context of interpreting the Bible, but I am sure that’s not what I did. Because folks like Risner can’t (or more likely, won’t) see how any non-literal view of Genesis is valid, they assume that Christians who accept those views only get there by starting with science and working backward.

For the moment, let’s set aside that this is exactly what the church did in the 1600s, when we had to reinterpret passages like 1 Chronicles 16:30, Joshua 10:12-13 and Ecclesiastes 1:5 in light (heh) of the fact that the sun doesn’t move around the earth like we’d always thought it did (based on the Bible).

But ignoring that, the implication — that no serious Christians would have ever held non-literal interpretations of Genesis before the “secularists” came along and started making us — is patently false. Unfortunately for Risner, church fathers and theologians have been reading Genesis as something other than a history textbook since Origen in the third century.

And Origen — like everyone else 1,800 years ago — thought the earth was young. His reasoning for not reading Genesis literally wasn’t because of some uncomfortable discovery of science; it was because the texts don’t make sense or hold up to close scrutiny if you read them that way.

All right. Back to the madness.

Now this is where the smoke and mirrors are thrown in to dazzle you and make you believe that the Bible is anti-science.

Risner gives me far too much credit. My post contains no smoke, and hardly any mirrors.

The Bible doesn’t tell us about earth’s orbit (although it does tell us it’s suspended on nothing and is a sphere).

Here, Risner drags out two tired old fundamentalist canards. While it’s true that Job 26:7 says the earth and sky are hung on nothing, the author explains elsewhere that that’s only because they’re both set firmly on pillars. That Risner would no doubt say Job 26:7 is obviously literal while Job 26:11 is obviously metaphor only shows how ridiculous his à la carte method of biblical interpretation is to begin with.

Also, the Bible does not say the earth is a sphere.

Evidently, this shape is what ancient Hebrews referred to as a "sphere."

Evidently, this shape is what ancient Hebrews referred to as a “sphere.”

Steve, I believe the Bible is divinely inspired, too, but saying things about it that are demonstrably false doesn’t really do our faith much credit.

The Bible can’t be used to make a microwave oven, a satellite dish, or do heart transplants.

An astute and relevant observation.

But the origins topic isn’t any of these things.

Wow, this guy’s on fire! Now I know that the topic of universal origins is not a microwave. Thanks, Steve.

The origins topic is a topic very specifically talked about in Genesis, Exodus, many of the Psalms and prophets, as well as in the New Testament.

So is the topic of the flatness of the earth, and the topic of its geocentricity. The relevant point here is that on the rare occasions that other biblical authors directly reference the creation accounts, it’s almost always in a symbolic context, a theological context or in some other context that does not suffer from taking its source material as inspired and true, but not necessarily literal.

But he uses very common atheist arguments against the Bible’s reading (his friend, mind you) to make his point.

Even if that were true, Risner’s understanding of the Bible — that it’s incompatible with mainstream science — is identical to Richard Dawkins’. Given the choice, I’d rather share atheists’ arguments than their theology.

The Bible doesn’t necessarily say the earth is flat.

I can agree with that. Thing is, my original contention was not that the Bible says the earth is flat, it was that it doesn’t say the earth is round. What we know is that the prevailing view in the time the Bible was written was that the earth was flat, and we have no evidence from scripture that its authors thought otherwise, even though that belief was entirely wrong.

This raises the question of why the Holy Spirit would be so intent on conveying a painstakingly accurate history of the origins of the universe to a tribe of ancient nomads, but would somehow fail to clarify something as basic as the shape of the planet they live on.

It does use terms that seem to indicate the sun rises and sets, however.

It does a lot more than that, like its repeated references to the “corners,” “ends” and “edges” of the earth, all aspects of geometry that do not typically apply to spheres. There are also passages like Daniel 4:11 and Matthew 4:8, which discuss things being in view of all people at the same time (scenarios that wouldn’t be possible on a spherical earth).

Risner’s point is that these particular verses aren’t meant to be read literally, even when they appear in unequivocally historical contexts, and that’s fine. What’s fundamentally inconsistent about his hermeneutic is how easily he chalks these things up to metaphor, but refuses to concede that even more obvious literary devices (like the talking snake, magic trees and poetic, day-by-day structure of the creation accounts) just might be symbolic as well.

But don’t we, the uber smart people of the 21st century, do the same thing?

Sigh.

We talk like the earth is flat and like the sun comes up and goes down every day. So what? He’s using a bait and switch type argument here and it’s not very classy.

I’m sorry, Steve. I guess I didn’t realize how uber smart you were.

He goes on about the Bible not giving us the diameter of the universe (which, uh, we don’t know), black holes, and a bunch of other totally unrelated things.

As to the size of the observable universe, we have some pretty good estimates. The point was that the author of Genesis gives no hint of the cosmos containing anything other than what’s visible to the naked eye, and being no larger than the earth, the sun, moon and stars and the firmament to which they’re affixed, and yet Risner wants us all to believe he had information about the age of the universe that should take precedence over everything we’ve learned about God’s creation in the past 2,000 years.

The Bible doesn’t give us a recipe for rice crispy treats (unless, according to Tim Hawkins, you’re reading the Message Bible) or a good formula for high quality gasoline either.

All right! Eh! Steve! with the (five-year-old) Christian pop culture reference! But, regarding the gasoline, I think he needs to read The Message more closely:

message gasoline

However, this doesn’t do anything for Tyler’s argument.

Well, that would make sense, considering how my argument didn’t say anything about rice crispy treats or high-quality gasoline.

Why is he trying to associate whatever randomly pops into his head with the authority of Scripture?

This is an odd insult coming from Risner, since parents of ADHD kids look at him and feel blessed. He’ll never even make it to this point in this post, because the dozen or so links above have already taken him on rabbit trails far, far away from here.

I think Risner really is the worst anti-evolutionist blogger I’ve ever encountered, and I’m not just saying that because the guy doesn’t like me. He’s like the Kobe Bryant of anti-evolutionists; the team is better when he doesn’t play.

I think it’s because he’s trying to make it look like Biblical creationists are inconsistent

Yes, because it takes enormous amounts of trickery to make young-earth creationists appear inconsistent.

when, in fact, he is just nonsensical.

This coming from the guy whose most convincing point so far is that the “origins topic” is not a microwave.

He states the moon is not a light source—another atheist argument.

Just to reiterate, if I were Steve, I’d be more concerned about my theology and hermeneutic of Genesis being identical to those of atheists, rather than two groups who share a position (in this case, that young-earth creationism is wrong) having occasional overlapping similarities in some of their arguments.

To us, the moon does give light upon the Earth. The fact that it does so by reflection rather than emission is not relevant to the biblical passage.

It’s wonderful (for them) that YEC proponents think the Bible should be read literally except when they think it shouldn’t be, but the goal here is to arrive at a consistent means of interpreting scripture, which — ideally — does not require Steve Risner and his friends to be verse-by-verse arbiters.

The fact remains that the author of Genesis 1 called the sun the “greater” light, and the moon the “lesser” light, which would seem to imply he thought they were of identical substance and function, only one provided more light and one provided less. It would be like if you were out camping and told people your fire is a “greater light” and your belt buckle reflecting the fire is a “lesser light” as though they were basically the same thing.

By far, the most straightforward interpretation here is that the author thought the sun, moon and stars were all light-emitting sources. And that’s fine — you wouldn’t expect people living over 2,500 years ago to think otherwise. But it does cast doubt on the YEC claim that Genesis 1 is meant to be gleaned with an eye for scientifically relevant details.

And a study of the words used in the passage he’s talking about (Genesis 1:15) reveal the words used can mean to become light or to be lit up.

I hate to accuse a brother in Christ of lying…but I’m pretty sure Risner is lying. I can’t be certain, because he provides no sources for his claim. His only link goes to the NIV translation of Genesis 1:15, which is unhelpful.

What I do know is that the Hebrew word for “light” or “lights” used in reference to the heavenly bodies does not mean “to be lit up” in any of the 19 places it’s used in scripture. Almost all of the time, the word refers either to the sun, moon and/or stars, or to lamps, lanterns and candles (which are all “lights” — you know, unlike the moon).

Either way, it’s a terrible argument atheists use to discredit the Bible, and this is exactly what Tyler is doing.

The argument, which as I’ve shown, is valid, does not discredit the Bible. It discredits the ridiculous way Risner claims Christians should read the Bible.

I’m always a little uneasy about believers who join with atheists to fight against their fellow believers.

Sure you are, Steve. Oh, and for those of who keeping score at home, this is called an association fallacy.

In this case, he’s joining with atheists to not just bash a believer but to bash the Bible (his friend that he loves so much).

Man, I had no idea how much bashing I’ve been doing. I’m like a bashaholic.

But, seriously? Maybe Steve should work on his whole lying-about-the-Bible problem before he criticizes someone else for their interpretation of the Bible. You know, logs and splinters and all that.

Tyler gives several of these fallacious examples and then concludes “using the exact same argument” you can use the Bible to disprove anything.

That’s true: This was my conclusion. But don’t get too excited for Steve, since it was also the headline. I guess even he couldn’t have missed it.

The trouble is it’s not the exact same argument at all.

Yes it is.

We commonly see this type of argument from those who don’t believe the Bible.

Oh, for crying out loud. Come on, Steve, let’s give it a rest with the hey-look-he-said-something-similar-to-what-a-nonbeliever-said-one-time argument already. I swear, it’s like the guy just learned how to do picture matching in his pre-kindergarten class and is waaaay too excited about it.

It’s called equivocation. They love to do this with “evolution” and “science” as well as calling any sort of change in anything in biological “evolution” and then say this is the same as molecules to man evolution.

Steve, on behalf of my trade organization, Anti-YECS and Atheists Allied Against Risner’s Group of Haters (AAAARGH), we apologize for misleading you. Here’s the truth: Evolution is “change in the heritable traits of biological populations over successive generations.” Science is “the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment.”

We’re sorry for telling you they were the same thing. Until today, we didn’t realize how good you were at telling when things are the same thing (like the sun and the moon) and when things are different things (like the universe’s origins and a microwave).

As far as the accusation of “calling any sort of change in anything in biological ‘evolution’ and then say this is the same as molecules to man evolution,” I’m afraid that sequence of words would have to vaguely resemble a coherent thought before I could craft an appropriate response. But this will probably do.

It’s a tactic of deceit.

So’s lying.

He then states, “The problem is not in the interpretation of the science.” Sure it is.

As you know by now, Risner is not only the world’s greatest Bible commentator and foremost scholar of ancient Hebrew, he is also an expert on the scientific canon.

We have a Book that speaks fairly clearly on the subject.

Well, yeah, but you chuckleheads have no idea how to read it.

We have nature, often called a book, that we can also “read.”

Whoa. That’s deep, Steve.

One is clear and intended to give us direct communication. The other is not so clear and is often misunderstood. Tell me which one is more likely to be misinterpreted?

“Ooh! Ooh! I know this! The not-so-clear and often-misunderstood one! Right?!”

Seriously, though, this would be a great point, if, you know, any of it were true. But it’s not. The Bible is not that clear, which is why earnest, faithful and serious Christians have disagreed over its teachings for as long as we’ve had the Bible, and even before it was done being written.

That’s why we have about a million different churches, denominations and sects who all follow the exact same “Book.” Heck, the only time the church has ever sort of managed to stay unified is because lay people didn’t have access to the “Book”! When that happened, there was an immediate schism because everybody disagreed with how the Roman Catholic Church interpreted it.

Steve Risner's Sunday school class.

Steve Risner’s Sunday school class.

As to his other point, YEC proponents often claim that the fact that scientists have to adjust their theories to accommodate new information shows the whole thing is bunk. That’s dumb. Being able to adapt to and incorporate new information is science’s greatest strength, and is, in many ways, the exact opposite of what young-earth creationism is about.

Ignoring new facts and findings in favor of your presuppositions does not make you smart or faithful or clever. It makes you bad at reality.

He tries to say Biblical creationists read the Bible like a science book.

I didn’t “try to say” that, Steve; I did say that. Come on, man. Try to keep up.

That’s not really true. It’s not a science book. It’s a love letter generated by the mind of God. But found within it, we can trust whatever it says about history, science, psychology, society, human nature, etc.

…unless it talks about the firmament or the moon being a light. On a side note, I gather that Steve Risner has written his wife some pretty strange love letters over the years.

steves-love-letter

It’s a pretty remarkable Book, indeed.

This is a pretty pointless sentence, indeed.

He further states that we “…read the Bible in a way that it simply was not meant to be read.” This, to me, seems to assume a lot. Apparently, God has told him how He wanted the Bible to be read and we’re doing it improperly, although the message is clear.

No, Steve, I don’t pretend to speak for God. That’s you guys, remember? You may think it’s slightly ironic that Risner takes issue with my suggesting someone else is misusing the Bible — since, you know, that’s all he does — but what you don’t understand is that he, like many YEC proponents, believes himself to have been endowed with the unique ability to understand the precise meaning of every passage in the Bible — without interpreting it at all.

Um, they’re wrong about that, by the way.

I’ll just leave that statement of his for you to ponder.

What? Are you sure you don’t want to, like, point out how atheists make assumptions about the Bible, too? I mean, it has been at least four or five sentences since you last implied I don’t really believe in God or trust in Jesus.

So Tyler begins to wrap up his blog post

If you think this means Risner’s blog is also about to wrap up, you’d be WRONG.

by saying the Biblical authors didn’t know this or that about science (I would argue we still don’t know much about any of the things he’s listed)

I didn’t say we do know a lot about the things I listed (you can click over to the OP to see what they were, since Risner’s just going to pretend like I was talking about microwaves the whole time), but we do know that they exist, unlike the authors of the Bible.

and then tells us exactly why his entire argument is bogus: why would they? The Holy Spirit must not have felt they needed to know these things.

This is really confusing. Risner says he agrees with my argument, and that means it’s bogus.

Actually, now that I think about it…that does kinda make sense.

However, He did feel we needed to know a very detailed account of the creation event.

Two of them, actually.

Why doubt Him?

I don’t doubt God, Steve. But I’ll admit: I don’t have a ton of confidence in you guys.

Why not “take God at His Word” as Tyler mocked?

Steve, you don’t have a clue what that means.

In an unexpected turn, Tyler then laughably states that science tells us “how” these things (biological origins of man and so forth) happened! Can you believe it? They never tell you “how” any of this stuff happened.

Evidently, Steve Risner is not very good at finding information about things.

Evidently, Steve Risner is not very good at finding information about things.

When pressed, they generally tell you “why” it happened.

Darn.

Darn.

They have no idea how any of it came about. It’s one of the greatest examples of the emperor having no clothes in the history of science.

Let’s take a quick break from Steve Risner and hear from Todd C. Wood, a non-crazy, non-liar young-earth creationist: Evolution is not a theory in crisis. It is not teetering on the verge of collapse. It has not failed as a scientific explanation. There is evidence for evolution, gobs and gobs of it. It is not just speculation or a faith choice or an assumption or a religion. It is a productive framework for lots of biological research, and it has amazing explanatory power. There is no conspiracy to hide the truth about the failure of evolution. There has really been no failure of evolution as a scientific theory. It works, and it works well.

I wonder what kind of reward Steve Risner thinks he will get in heaven for his interminable arrogance and telling blatant lies in Jesus’ name. I bet he’s expecting something big.

Anyway, let’s jump back into the insanity and finish this puppy.

“It doesn’t take a ‘highly respected world-class Hebrew scholar’ to tell you which one is a proper use of the text, and which one isn’t.” Well, actually, sometimes it does.

The immediate context of this quote is that I was contrasting two different ways to approach scripture: one, with an eye to the deeper meaning of the text, which results in “a beautiful revelation of God’s love, grace and power that is incredibly profound and imminently relevant,” and the other, with a rigidly literal mindset, which results in this.

In Steve Risner’s brain, you need a world-class scholar to tell you which one of those is the proper use of the text and which one isn’t.

Of course, he doesn’t really know what he’s saying. He’s already spent his entire post arguing against the need for expert opinions in anything. Steve Risner doesn’t need no stinking scientists to explain to him what the evidence they spend their careers working with means! He knows that emperor has no clothes.

And he also ain’t got no interest in any of your fruity “alternative interpretations” of Genesis. He knows what Genesis means! All he hasta do is read the darn thing!

How insanely arrogant is this guy? I mean, what’s next? Saying the church should throw away thousands of years of tradition and scholarship because of what a kid thinks about Genesis?

But in the case of Genesis 1-8, my 10-year-old can tell you what the text says and likely why.

Gorram it, Steve.

Do you find it odd that Tyler hangs on the authority of scientists who clearly disagree with the Bible but when the authority of a scholar whose specialty is Hebrew is sought after for a clearer Biblical understanding, he’s opposed?

If you read my piece, and you — unlike Steve — are not determined to deliberately misunderstand it, then you’ll notice I did not disagree with the scholar’s opinion at all. I disagreed with the conclusions Ken Ham drew from it.

Why use a scientist to clarify the Bible for you when you can use a Hebrew scholar?

“Why use a Q-tip to clean your ears when a power drill works just as well?” Is also something Steve likes to ask, usually in the form of screaming at pigeons in the park.

Why accept what a scientist says first and then distort the Bible to fit that incorrect assessment of the data?

Why change your opinion of anything just because facts say you’re wrong?

The beauty we find in the creation account is that it tells us how God, in His majesty, created the universe and everything in it.

Actually, it doesn’t. The creation accounts — even if you read them literally — do not tell us “how” God created “the universe and everything in it.” Again, they don’t even mention most of the things that exist in the universe, from asteroids and other planets to tiny, microbial life forms.

But even for the things Genesis 1 does explicitly reference, the text doesn’t tell us “how” it was made. See for yourself: “Then God said, ‘Let there be light’; and there was light.” (Genesis 1:3)

Everything in the chapter is like that. God simply orders something to appear, and it does. The text says absolutely nothing about the mechanism of “how” all these things are made; it just says that they are.

Genesis 2 is no more specific, even in probably the most detailed sequence of either creation account: Genesis 2:7. Here, we’re told who did it (God) and the materials he used (the dust of the ground), but in terms of specifics, we get one verb: “formed.”

To me, this is no different than the beautiful poetic expressions elsewhere in scripture, of God “forming” and “knitting” us together in the womb — expressions that we know aren’t literal but nonetheless believe to be true.

But to Steve, these verses are somehow detailed how-to guides. I shudder to think of what his children look like.

But it also tells us why He did it.

Now that, Steve actually has right.

It tells of His indescribable glory, grace, love, and brilliance.

None of which is dependent upon reading the text literally.

Tyler thinks God’s love is demonstrated in Darwinian evolution.

I didn’t say that. This is how God demonstrated his love for us.

This is one of the most absurd things I’ve ever encountered.

Well, that’s strange, considering that you made it up, Steve. Was that the first time you had ever used your imagination?

God’s love is found in the creation of man and in the redemption of man.

Poor Eve.

Those two events are the single greatest demonstrations of love in the history of the universe (about 6000 years or so).

Love the parenthetical, Steve. (Just in case you were confused about how old this guy thinks the universe is.)

In short, don’t ever believe for a second that science and Christianity are at odds.

“And while we’re on the subject, hey — don’t ever believe for a second anything other than what I tell you to believe. Do you hear me?! Anything.

They never have been and never will be. In fact, science has progressed as it has because of creationists, not in spite of them. There’s no way around this for the skeptic.

This is an incredible statement, considering how a significant portion of the scientific progress made over the past few millennia is fundamentally incompatible with the idea that the earth and the universe are only that old, and the rest of science is completely unrelated to it.

I would love to hear Steve explain, for example, how the invention of the Crookes tube, the development of the first polio vaccine and the discovery of the Higgs boson were all entirely dependent on the work of young-earth creationists.

This forum is meant to foster discussion and allow for differing viewpoints to be explored with equal and respectful consideration.

The fact that the Worldview Warriors post new articles daily but average about one comment every two weeks (and most of them are from one of the “Warriors”) suggests they are as good at “fostering discussion” as they are at fairly presenting the views of Christian theistic evolutionists.

All comments are moderated and any foul language or threatening/abusive comments will not be approved. Users who engage in threatening or abusive comments which are physically harmful in nature will be reported to the authorities.

They would have to actually get comments for any of this disclaimer to matter.

Tyler Francke is founder of God of Evolution and author of Reoriented. He can be reached at tyler@godofevolution.com.

  • ashleyhr

    Is this ‘Friday fun’ in response to Risner’s ‘Thursday fun’ I wonder. (I did submit a comment under his piece yesterday pointing out Ken Ham’s unscientific rejection of uniformitarianism – but I expect Risner has zapped it, despite seemingly encouraging people to make responses under his post.)

    • Nah, this one’s from a few weeks ago. Doesn’t really matter, though. They’re all the same, as far as I can tell. All he does for each article is swap out the quotes and change the title.

      • Howdy Guion

        This article could be longer but then I guess Steve would start getting jealous…

        • Yeah, and I’d lose that last bit of my sanity and become as crazy as him.

  • You need some punctuation. “Anti-theistic evolutionist bully ” means someone who bullies in the name of evolution because of hostility to God (I even had a name in mind…)

    • Yeah, I guess you’re right. Stupid clunky terms.

  • I looked up the original article and then poked around to see what the Worldview Warriors had to say about other things. The stupidity is mind-boggling. I wouldn’t leave so much written proof lying around the Internet, if I were them.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy

      “Stupidity is like hydrogen; it’s the basic building block of the universe.”
      — Frank Zappa
      — Sluggy Freelance(?)
      — Sluggy Freelance(?)

    • The only other Warrior I know anything about is Charlie Wolcott, but that doesn’t surprise me. Anyone who can, with a straight face, join an outfit calling itself “Worldview Warriors” is obviously confused about something.

      • Let’s start the Worldview Wrestling Federation.

        • YES.

        • Jake Hughes

          WHATCHA GONNA DO, BROTHER, WHEN FRANCKEMANIA RUNS WILD ON YOU?!

          • Worldview Wrestling Federation Wrestlers:

            The Empiricist
            Stone Cold Rational Discourse
            Mystic Mike
            Da Pozativizt Boyz
            The Ex-Hume-R
            Fantastic Fatalist
            Existential Crisis

          • Jake Hughes

            The Fabulous Fallacy Brothers
            The Million Dollar Sham, Ken Ham-biase
            The Underwhelmer
            Yo-u-weren’t-there-so-how-do-you-know-ko Zuna
            Ray The Banana Man Comfort
            Man-Kind, Not Klingon-Kind
            Terry Francke(Okay, that one is reaching, but any discussion of pro wrestling that doesn’t mention Terry Funk isn’t a discussion)

          • Jake Hughes

            Ow, right in the childhood!

          • Still waiting for a Bananaman/Danger Mouse crossover.

          • Macho-Ham Kenny Savage
            The Hovindicator, aka, the Facts Dodger
            Growing PAIN (Kirk Cameron)

  • Seth

    Love the Origen quote. Read some more of it in context. So much for the claim that the Bible has always been read literally, until recently, when in fact the hard core literalism stance is only around 100 years old. 19th century scientific creationists (there was such a thing back then) were pretty much all old earthers and recognized that the Genesis account could not be read literally.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy

      Remember Rob Bell?

      Wrote a book titled “Love Wins” and got piled on by Team Hell?

      I found his blog around a year ago, and one of his postings talked about “Math Truth” and “Poem Truth”. (His examples of Poem Truth included “Winter is coming, John Snow…” My current example is “Once upon a time in the magical land of Equestria…”)

      Genesis (and the Torah and Tanakh) were written in Poem Truth, before Math Truth was even invented by the Greeks. The NT was written when Math Truth existed but Poem Truth was still dominant. Now (since the one-two punch of the Age of Reason and Industrial Revolution) Math Truth dominates, and the Bible is read as if it were Math Truth when it was written as Poem Truth.

    • Yeah, the whole context of that quote is fascinating. Interested readers can find that under subsection 16 here: http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/04124.htm . Origen was crazy ahead of his time in that regard.

  • Headless Unicorn Guy

    “Worldview Warriors”?
    “Culture War is where they’re at”?
    Funny… You could say exactly the same about ISIS. Their recruiting appeal is effectively becoming Warriors on the Winning Side of their Islamic Culture War. (And their brutality and hyperviolence becomes a feature, not a bug. As in “We’re the REAL Warriors! We’re So Badass!”)

  • ashleyhr

    The fact that Risner ‘appreciates’ Cowboy Bob Sorensen/The Question Evolution Project (banned by Tyler from this site last week within the thread about Calvin Smith) tells you all you need to know about him – only a liar would ‘appreciate’ Sorensen:
    http://worldviewwarriors.blogspot.co.uk/2015/11/catch-up-bit.html

    Sorensen posted this rant.
    http://stormbringer005.blogspot.co.uk/2015/11/atheists-and-their-theistic.html
    I told Steve that Sorensen was lying. Sorensen owes me responses to THREE emails sent AFTER 6 Nov demolishing all his claims about me. And Steve censors me and ‘appreciates’ the pathological liar Sorensen. Sickening.

    My emails dealt with Sorensen’s false accusations at the above Sorensen blog and this LATER one (where the quoted words about Timothy Clarey lies were MINE):
    http://www.piltdownsuperman.com/2015/11/further-analysis-of-h-naledi-and.html

  • ashleyhr

    http://worldviewwarriors.blogspot.co.uk/2015/11/catch-up-bit.html

    I have just submitted the following comment under the above blog. But you can rest assured that Risner will IGNORE it – and NOT allow anybody else to read it for themselves.

    “Your lying and dishonest censorship of relevant facts has just been exposed elsewhere on the internet, Steve.
    Sorensen owes me a response to THREE emails that he refuses to look at. Because they proved that he lied about my words in his blog above of 5 Nov and his later blog of 6 Nov:
    http://www.piltdownsuperman.com/2015/11/further-analysis-of-h-naledi-and.html
    The pathological liar Sorensen – who you and your ilk ‘appreciate’ – is LYING about me again (on 18 Nov). But he cannot act as though my emails do not exist:
    https://www.facebook.com/Piltdown.Superman/
    “The alleged evolutionary link, H. naledi, has some serious flaws in the research. Bonus: anti-creationist hate mail examined and refuted. Image and article here:”
    I am not making this up! You are either a fool or an extremely bad person. Or both.
    I am reproducing this comment elsewhere. To show people what you REFUSE to face up to.”

    My emails were all also copied to Worldview Warriors at the time.

  • ashleyhr

    To clarify – I am the Ashley Haworth-Roberts mentioned and supposedly ‘eviscerated’ here:
    http://stormbringer005.blogspot.co.uk/2015/11/atheists-and-their-theistic.html

    • ashleyhr

      From a new Sorensen post at that discussion: “They certainly attempt to create strive, and do not show any form of Christian love, only hatred and ridicule”. (He was speaking of Tyler and other ‘false teachers’.)

      Does anyone prefer Sorensen’s ‘Christian love’? As displayed in his daily blog posts about ‘owlhoots’ and ‘tinhorns’ presumably.

      All I see from him in his blogs is hatred and hypocrisy.

  • alexgreen

    Much as I immensely enjoyed your responses (I imagine mostly because I agree with you and secondarily because you put things across logically and without confusion or contradiction) I wonder if your early statement “I should probably just ignore that too…” might well have been the best conclusion to have stayed with.

    Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy your blog and find it useful and stimulating.

    However, I wonder if a) you did get a little too snarky and name-calling, b) this kind of protracted and extensive game of ‘interpretational pong’ is something that the christian community can do without. I don’t think it helps the non-church people’s view of the church.
    Much as your subject of derision has damaging / misinformed ideas, to fan the flames is not going to improve, it will just solidify his position.

    If you thought you might actually eventually change his mind by arguing with him, then go for it, but maybe keep it out of the public domain?

    These kind of trolls will eventually burn themselves out or just look so completely ridiculous that they won’t be taken seriously by anyone. Drawing attention to them and giving them traffic will only stoke it up.

    I may be wrong, but I think that it would probably be more beneficial to all for you to concentrate on continuing to present your thoughts and ideas without the need to respond to people so entrenched in their incorrectness. Let them call you, let them say you ‘cant respond’, let them believe “their critiques have “completely destroyed” [your] position, hence, [your] lack of reply.” What does that matter to you? They might leave you alone if you ignore them long enough.

    Keep up the positive posts and bringing up the research that emerges and how it shines light on our understanding of scripture. That’s what I like to read.

    Thanks for your blog. Sorry, wasn’t intending to criticise.

    • Hey Alex,

      Thanks for your thoughtful comments. I really appreciate it and agree with a lot of it.

      To be completely honest, I really struggled with this before decided to write it, and again, before publishing it. To me, the reasoning against it was less what the non-church world would think (sometimes I think it’s good for them to see we’re not all crazy, or blind to the ridiculous antics of folks like Risner).

      No, for me, it was more your first point — will this do any good? — and shouldn’t I just ignore him/turn the other cheek?

      I’m not going to sit here and pretend like my motives were entirely pure. Of course, no one likes being misrepresented, or having someone make light of something that is as important to them as my faith is to me. I think it’s human nature to want to push back (which is why Jesus taught us to turn the other cheek in the first place). I had to grapple with that.

      What pushed me over the edge was reading his posts, and just knowing that this kind of bullying mentality is everywhere in the church right now. I’ve seen it, and I’ve heard from a lot of other people who have, too. It’s hurting people, and pushing people away, and it needs to be addressed. This was even before I found out that the Worldview Warriors’ day job is to apparently go around the country talking to young people about Jesus.

      Anyway, maybe I shouldn’t have done it. Then again, maybe a pastor will see this and think twice about having these guys come talk to his youth group. That would be a win from where I’m sitting.

      • alexgreen

        Yeah, understood. Like I said, I didn’t want it to come over as criticism. Probably having your wrestling and rationale written here is as good as anything.
        God bless, keep up the good work.

    • I will say, I wasn’t particularly worried about the snarkiness/name-calling aspect. Saying the guy is a bad blogger who doesn’t know what a paragraph is and screams at pigeons in the park is still nothing compared to repeatedly accusing me of being a stealth atheist.

    • Chris

      These kind of trolls will eventually burn themselves out or just look so completely ridiculous that they won’t be taken seriously by anyone. Drawing attention to them and giving them traffic will only stoke it up.

      Proverbs 26:5 says we should answer a fool according to his folly, lest he become wise in his own eyes. The counter argument should be given, otherwise they will and do continue their heresies, placing stumbling blocks in front of believers and potential believers. How many souls turn away from Christ, or are shunned from the get-go, because they see demonstrable facts presented as “inconsistent” (at best) with Christianity?

      For me I’m relatively new to the party so I don’t know a whole lot of names, but they don’t just die off and go away. I can remember Ken Ham’s name being used 20 years ago in youth group to “prove” all atheistic science like evolution wrong. One of many out-of-touch views that made me leave church altogether for many years. The ego gets bigger, the lies get more believable, and they end up deceiving millions into rejecting Christ in the process. Talk about a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

      One thing this site is really good for is proving to the world that we’re not all like that, ignoring facts is not a requirement of faith, and we don’t have to agree with everyone on everything. The name calling isn’t to everyone who believes in literalism, it’s only to those who act as if it were a fruit of the spirit.

      • Thanks, Chris. I appreciate it. And yes, I try to be specific in my criticism. I know not all young-earth creationists are like Steve Risner. (Thank you, God.)

  • All the answers this site uses at me and they always use the King James Bible to lay into me but I ask them do they dine on their dung [uncensored version of the paraphrased] and drink their own piss — they hate when you pointed out the word bastard is in their bible too.

    • BrianKeene

      It’s like you’re desperately trying to communicate a thought there, but are hampered by atrocious language and writing skills. Please try again.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy

      And don’t forget Ezekiel with “cocks like donkeys and cum like horses”.

    • BrianKeene

      You need decades of therapy.

    • Uncle Ablert

      We all know you want to eat a mountain of dung while the football team give you a group golden shower, Nicky. No need to keep using this Bible quote as an excuse to talk to others you think might be able to make your fantasy reality.

  • David J

    “Let’s take a quick break from Steve Risner and hear from Todd C. Wood, a non-crazy, non-liar young-earth creationist:”

    I’m guessing that many (most?) of the PhD types that work at AIG have a view that is similar to Todd Wood’s, but are just fine keeping it a secret if it means that preachers and Worldview Warriors keep spouting off about how there is zero evidence for evolution/deep age.

    “I think Risner really is the worst anti-evolutionist blogger I’ve ever encountered, and I’m not just saying that because the guy doesn’t like me.”

    Charlie Walcott many have better writing skills but he espouses even crazier views

    “They never have been and never will be. In fact, science has progressed as it has because of creationists, not in spite of them. There’s no way around this for the skeptic.”

    When YECs call a historical figure a “creationist” they use the term very liberally… they basically just mean “Christian.” On their lists of creationists, they’ll even include people like Lord Kelvin, who estimated the earth to be tens of millions of years old.

    When they talk about a modern person, the term “creationist” only includes those who believe in 6 consecutive 24 hour periods 6000 years ago and a global flood.

    “Well, yeah, but you chuckleheads have no idea how to read it.”

    Risner can’t read a fairly simple article on Wikipedia without totally misunderstanding it. He has very poor reading comprehension.

    “As you know by now, Risner is not only the world’s greatest Bible commentator and foremost scholar of ancient Hebrew, he is also an expert on the scientific canon.”

    The Warriors have all been infected with a major case of Dunning–Kruger.

    “As to his other point, YEC proponents often claim that the fact that scientists have to adjust their theories to accommodate new information shows the whole thing is bunk.”

    But when a theory stays mostly the same for a long while, it’s because “Consensus science is junk science” and dissent is stifled.

    • ashleyhr

      You may have seen this by Wolcott (on the Facebook page of Sorensen’s The Question Evolution Project the other day:

      “An interesting thing I learned a week and a half ago about Naledi. Nat Geo, one of the famed big Evolution “peer-review” publishers REJECTED Berger’s paper about Naledi. Reality is most EVOS reject Naledi. The over-hyped “burial claim” has only one piece of evidence: “They could not think of anything other explanation.” That’s was it.
      That being said, I do believe the YEC orgs rushed too quickly to give a response to Naledi. There is virtually no evidence that they actually have the right bones with the right skeleton. The back half of the skull is an apes (about 1/3 the size of a human), but the jaw looks human-like. The question is does the jaw go to that skull? There is no evidence it does”.)

      Most of that – apart maybe from the Nat Geo bit (but why reject a paper on such an abundant fossil find) looks like his made-up facts presented as reality that must not be questioned.

      • ashleyhr

        PS I seem to recall that a David J used to comment under Risner and Wolcott blogs (old comments are probably still viewable). I did too – but I have been de facto banned by them from ever doing so again it appears.

      • David J

        Uh, National Geographic is a popular science magazine, not a peer-reviewed scholarly journal. I don’t think the WWs know the difference.

        Anyway, our lack of certainty about one event in history has nothing to do with the validity of evolution and universal common decent.
        Likewise, just because we don’t know why some tower fell over in the 1500’s doesn’t mean that the theory of gravity is on shaky foundations. It’s funny how the WWs think we’re desperately trying to shore up evidence for evolution so we’ll grasp at the most tenuous evidence.

        • I don’t know, guys. Seems entirely likely to me that the Worldview Warriors have tons of friends in the upper echelons of the evolutionary science community, who have personally studied the bones in the Homo naledi find, and have shared with the WWs their private observations and doubts.

        • ashleyhr

          “National Geographic is a popular science magazine, not a peer-reviewed scholarly journal. I don’t think the WWs know the difference.” Good point – which somehow escaped me too last night (perhaps because of that Archaeoraptor episode).

          • Professor_Tertius

            The fact that anyone would call the National Geographic a “peer-reviewed journal” says a lot. Perhaps even all that needs to be said.

    • Charlie Walcott many have better writing skills but he espouses even crazier views

      To be fair, it would be difficult for anyone to be a worse writer than this guy.

      When YECs call a historical figure a “creationist” they use the term very liberally… they basically just mean “Christian.” On their lists of creationists, they’ll even include people like Lord Kelvin, who estimated the earth to be tens of millions of years old.

      I’ve noticed that, as well. It’s very deceptive.

      The Warriors have all been infected with a major case of Dunning–Kruger.

      That makes sense. I’m never seen such a set of pompous windbags in all my life. They make the AiG writers look humble, and most of them, at least, have some sort of advanced degree.

  • Jake Hughes

    You know what the truly funny thing is? You have said countless times that you do NOT hate YeCs, that you have many good friends who are, and you don’t hold that against them. Hell, you’ve even said, despite how often he is a target of your writings, you would happily sit down with a nice, calm dinner with Ken Ham and debate the whole matter. And yet this guy calls you cruel names and is spiteful towards you. THEY are the ones who immediately jump to hyperbole and insult. THEY are the ones who try to divide the faith. Remind me, which camp is constantly saying that their way is the ONLY way?

    Also, Tyler, as much as I love seeing you lay the snarky smack down on these people, be careful not to start an:

    [img]https://derpicdn.net/img/2013/1/6/204354/medium.gif[/img]

    • Good points, Jake, thanks. And yeah, that’s kind of why I wanted to share this: to expose what these guys are really like, even as they try and claim the biblical (and moral) high road.

      As to the Internet fight, don’t worry. I’m not about to get into some drawn-out back-and-forth with ignorant, pompous windbags like Steve Risner and his gang. I’ve said what I would like to say, and that’s enough at this point.

  • Headless Unicorn Guy

    Where did you get that pic up top?
    It looks like it belongs in Aqua Teen Hunger Force.

  • Matthew Funke

    On the association fallacy: It seems a bit bizarre to claim that Christians and atheists are “join[ing]… to fight” because they agree about science. There’s no unified spiritual march even *implied* in our agreement on atoms, germs, or gravity, for example, so why this in particular?

    Isn’t it far more damning that creationists side with (some vocal) atheists on the correct way to understand Genesis — as well as the stance that if science shows that interpretation incorrect, it invalidates all of Christianity? Isn’t that much more directly spreading the atheist *message* against Christianity, especially given that evolution says nothing about God’s involvement one way or the other?

    (The only real difference between the atheists and the creationists there seems to be that creationists then proceed to ignore the scientific evidence, whereas the atheists who claim this then proceed to look to reality to determine what the facts are.)

    • Good points, Matthew. Thanks for sharing. I suppose we could flip that coin and accuse them of joining with atheists to “bash the Bible” because they reject geocentrism, the firmament and the flatness of the earth.

      • Matthew Funke

        Yes, absolutely. The Bible is rather unequivocal about the idea that the Earth doesn’t move. Of course, the creationists I’ve mentioned this to insist that the Scripture is trying to explain that the Earth’s position in the Solar System is fixed, but it doesn’t *say* that.

        • Yes, and I’ve also heard some try and argue neo-geocentrism, that the earth is at the center of the whole universe, a la “The Principle.” Ray Comfort, as far as I know, is the only one who has advocated for this bizarre explanation:

          • Matthew Funke

            Phbbt. He’s such a simplistic thinker. I can use *ancient technology* to move the Earth.

            Consider the exercise of moving the Earth by diverting an asteroid to pass close to it. The gravitational influence of the asteroid would move the Earth a tiny bit over from where it would otherwise have been.

            Once you wrap your head around that, you can see that even a simple act like *dropping an apple* causes the Earth to move. The apple falls down towards the Earth, and the Earth falls up towards the apple. The Earth is by far the more massive object, so the apple does most of the moving, but you can still calculate exactly how much the Earth deviates by this relatively mundane activity.

            Since I’m constantly shuffling things about in the course of my everyday activity, I’m moving the Earth *all the time*. Comfort’s “experiment” is twaddle.

            People who’ve learned and absorbed Newton have simply come to understand that a deeper understanding of passages where the earth is said to be fixed is necessary in order to understand them correctly. Why can’t the same be true of Genesis?

          • Because then multi-million-dollar organizations like Answers in Genesis would have no reason for existing.

          • Matthew Funke

            Well, yes, of course. It’s infuriating that it’s done in the name of Christ, that’s all.

          • Absolutely. It’s very frustrating.

          • Professor_Tertius

            I never thought I’d hear myself say this…..but as a linguist, this time Ray Comfort got it right. The Hebrew verb for being “moved” was being used by the ancient author to refer to the most common of its meanings. Also, Bill Nye is making the same mistake that so many do (including most Young Earth Creationists) in thinking that “earth” in the Hebrew Old Testament (ERETZ) meant “planet earth”. No, ERETZ meant “land”, “country”, “nation”, and even “region” and “wilderness”. So Bill Nye is mixing apples and oranges. At least.

            More specifically, and worse yet, EVEN THE ANCIENTS realized that the ERETZ sometimes moved. They had experienced EARTHQUAKES!

            So let’s return to reality for a moment. (Planet earth?) When the ancients spoke of the earth generally being immovable, they were being just as truthful as Jesus speaking of “the smallest of all seeds” when he gave a NON-BOTANICAL lecture on mustard seeds. That’s how human language works. We make generalizations. (Whether we like it or not, that’s what we do.)

            So when people go looking for “Bible errors”, they might as well whine that this morning’s newspaper listed tomorrow’s sunrise and sunset—even though every smartalec knows that the sun is being orbited by planet earth. For that matter, we also know that it NEVER “rains cats and dogs”. Not once. And yet sometimes it does!

            Yes, Ray Comfort spends most of his time saying stupid things which no amount of common sense can rescue and explain away. Sadly, Bill Nye often gets cocky and says stuff every bit as nutty. It happens most often when he is bragging about how smart he is compared to Ray Comfort. (And that serves to remind me that I’d better be cautious about how condescending I get towards Bill Nye!)

            My favorite Nye Nuttiness Nuggets? Bill has a whole whine-spiel about “the moon is not a light”. Where did he get the idea that the semantic domains of the word LIGHT in English has the same boundaries as the analogous word in ancient Hebrew? For that matter, why doesn’t he consult an English Lexicon and discover that EVEN IN ENGLISH a LIGHT does not have to be “an original light-generating source of illumination”. Go special order an exterior door at your local building supply company and the form will usually have an entry “Number of lights: “. Why? Because one of the many meanings of LIGHT in English is what many people would call a WINDOW PANE. Newsflash: Window lights do NOT emit light. In fact, they are similar to LIGHTS on an outdoor movie set. I learned that first hand when the director stopped my walk-and-talk and yelled, “Cut! Gimmee a light! Restart from the door!” A grip ran to a pickup truck and came back with a 4’x6′ panel of insulation board covered on one side by a reflective aluminum foil coating. I later learned that the grips use hair spray on them to slightly dull the reflective surface so that they can LIGHT outdoor scenes, such as those taking place under shade trees and a building’s entrance canopy, which was my situation. I expected the Location Director was calling for some kind of projection light. In reality he was demanding a big mirror. You know, kind of like how the MOON is a LIGHT because it functions as a mirror?

            Thus, the ancient Hebrews were no different from modern English speakers. Words meant whatever they DECIDED the words would mean. And in both Hebrew and English, the nouns for LIGHT get used for all sorts of ILLUMINATION SOURCES. Whether or not the light is generated, reflected, or simply passing through a transparent substance from outside is irrelevant. No, Bill Nye, there is no “rule” in English or Hebrew which says that the sun can be a LIGHT but the moon can’t be. (Get a clue! Take a Linguistics 101 course. Or perhaps Lexicography 101. Or just stop sounding similar to idiots like Ray Comfort who think that they are smart enough to play “gotcha!” games and not look stupid in the process.)

    • This is something I have found interesting for a long time – that vocal creationists and vocal atheists read Genesis in the exact same way. This raises no questions for either side for some reason.

  • Professor_Tertius

    I’ve posted elsewhere on these threads my problems with “the moon is NOT a light!” complaint about Genesis 1—even though I’m not a Young Earth Creationist and they truly ARE inconsistent as to when they choose to be “literal” about their interpretations of scripture.

    I wrote the following in response to several of the circulating memes comparing Ray Comfort and Bill Nye on “the earth is not movable” and “the moon is not a light” debates. I won’t try to modify it to this context but it should be enough to explain why lexicographers and translators get high blood pressure when we hear people demanding what words MUST mean:

    —– Quote inserted here —–

    I never thought I’d hear myself say this…..but as a linguist, this time Ray Comfort got it right. The Hebrew verb for being “moved” was being used by the ancient author to refer to the most common of its meanings. Also, Bill Nye is making the same mistake that so many do (including most Young Earth Creationists) in thinking that “earth” in the Hebrew Old Testament (ERETZ) meant “planet earth”. No, ERETZ meant “land”, “country”, “nation”, and even “region” and “wilderness”. So Bill Nye is mixing apples and oranges. At least.

    More specifically, and worse yet, EVEN THE ANCIENTS realized that the ERETZ sometimes moved. They had experienced EARTHQUAKES!

    So let’s return to reality for a moment. (Planet earth?) When the ancients spoke of the earth generally being immovable, they were being just as truthful as Jesus speaking of “the smallest of all seeds” when he gave a NON-BOTANICAL lecture on mustard seeds. That’s how human language works. We make generalizations. (Whether we like it or not, that’s what we do.)

    So when people go looking for “Bible errors”, they might as well whine that this morning’s newspaper listed tomorrow’s sunrise and sunset—even though every smartalec knows that the sun is being orbited by planet earth. For that matter, we also know that it NEVER “rains cats and dogs”. Not once. And yet sometimes it does!

    Yes, Ray Comfort spends most of his time saying stupid things which no amount of common sense can rescue and explain away. Sadly, Bill Nye often gets cocky and says stuff every bit as nutty. It happens most often when he is bragging about how smart he is compared to Ray Comfort. (And that serves to remind me that I’d better be cautious about how condescending I get towards Bill Nye!)

    My favorite Nye Nuttiness Nuggets? Bill has a whole whine-spiel about “the moon is not a light”. Where did he get the idea that the semantic domains of the word LIGHT in English has the same boundaries as the analogous word in ancient Hebrew? For that matter, why doesn’t he consult an English Lexicon and discover that EVEN IN ENGLISH a LIGHT does not have to be “an original light-generating source of illumination”. Go special order an exterior door at your local building supply company and the form will usually have an entry “Number of lights: “. Why? Because one of the many meanings of LIGHT in English is what many people would call a WINDOW PANE. Newsflash: Window lights do NOT emit light. In fact, they are similar to LIGHTS on an outdoor movie set. I learned that first hand when the director stopped my walk-and-talk and yelled, “Cut! Gimmee a light! Restart from the door!” A grip ran to a pickup truck and came back with a 4’x6′ panel of insulation board covered on one side by a reflective aluminum foil coating. I later learned that the grips use hair spray on them to slightly dull the reflective surface so that they can LIGHT outdoor scenes, such as those taking place under shade trees and a building’s entrance canopy, which was my situation. I expected the Location Director was calling for some kind of projection light. In reality he was demanding a big mirror. You know, kind of like how the MOON is a LIGHT because it functions as a mirror?

    Thus, the ancient Hebrews were no different from modern English speakers. Words meant whatever they DECIDED the words would mean. And in both Hebrew and English, the nouns for LIGHT get used for all sorts of ILLUMINATION SOURCES. Whether or not the light is generated, reflected, or simply passing through a transparent substance from outside is irrelevant. No, Bill Nye, there is no “rule” in English or Hebrew which says that the sun can be a LIGHT but the moon can’t be. (Get a clue! Take a Linguistics 101 course. Or perhaps Lexicography 101. Or just stop sounding similar to idiots like Ray Comfort who think that they are smart enough to play “gotcha!” games and not look stupid in the process.)

  • David J

    Your biggest critic is finished! (no, not the presidential candidate pictured near the top of your post) He wrote his final post about you on June 9. I haven’t actually read any of them from this year. I had to stop visiting the Worldview Wrestling Federation website for the sake of my mental health.

    • Has he now? Well, that’s a relief. I guess ol’ Eh Steve will have to find some new obsession to occupy him. Yeah, the Worldview Warriors is definitely not a group you want to spend any amount of time around if you value your mental health at all.

  • I had seen Christians (King James Bible Believing Independent Baptists) call me a militant atheist when I had pointed out science sites that refute Ken Ham, Eric Hovind, and Ray Comfort’s weird claims. I’ve seen the fallacies and it’s shrouded in red tape. I had an Atheist chuckling when I pointed out that the human-dinosaur coexistence myth looks more like the horror film Carnosaur. When you see Christians using this tract. I have to ask them, “Do you honestly believe that dinosaurs and humans co-existed in the garden of eden? That’s cartoonish theology and I have to call b*****t as the truth is the Catholic Church had more involvement with science than Baptists claim. The Independent Baptists are like the Mormons when it comes to pseudohistory.”

    When I use allegorical illustration to refute young earth creationists they call me a blasphemer and committing sacrilege; well when it comes to the Latter Day Saints I do get blasphemous to their doctrine as I call the Book of Mormon, King James Bible fan fiction as their so call prophet had no knowledge of ancient North America. Back when the Bible was conceived they had no knowledge of the New World. The King James Only movement — according to this don’t like getting into scientific debates. RationalWiki weighed in on the Human-Dinosaur coexistence myth as this is only possible in Hollyweird. I’ve seen the strawman used a few times as this is a Jack T. Chick tactic by using stock characters in his tracts.

    I’ve seen young earth creationists pull this on me as I used the Deluge Myth as a premise for a cyberpunk novella in the 2000s. When I was in college we discussed the writings of René Descartes as he studied mathematics and was a 17th Century man of science. They accused him of Deism as he questioned God though he was Catholic. He pioneered modern geology as Old Earth Ministries founder is a geologist. Then in the 19th century you have this form of pseudoscience as they were Scriptural Geologists (don’t let Hammy see this.) I suggest Christians read up on Comparative Deluge Myths to get an understanding on the Genesis Flood Narrative as that’s taken as allegorical. (Wait for the stoning to commence over that comment.) I suggest one looks up Evolutionary Origins of Religion as this reveals origins of belief in the stone age. They tend to practice animal worship or Goddess centered like modern Wicca. In Illinois to refute young earth creationism point out Tully Monster found in the Mazon Creek fossil beds. Then you have this one trying to teach paleontology as I toyed with the ideas in my first science fiction outing.