Rick Perry Attempts to Fill Gaps With His Fantasies

While pressing the flesh in New Hampshire in his campaign for the presidency, Rick Perry of Texas was asked by a mom who was supposedly speaking for her son to explain “why he doesn’t believe in science.”  Without looking at the mom Perry tells the kid, “Evolution is a theory that’s out there.  It’s got some gaps in it but in Texas we teach both creationism and evolution…”

When pressed again by the mom to encourage her son to explain why Perry doesn’t believe in science, Perry again looks directly at the boy who appears to be about 7 or 8 years old and says, “…because I figured you’re smart enough to figure out which one is right.”  SOURCE

Perry is right about evolution being a theory and everyone who accepts the premise of evolution knows it is not an absolute.  I don’t think we can say the same about how Perry and many of the fundamentalist Christians he mingles with regard their creationist’s view.

To rigid conservative Christians like Perry the Bible is “the inerrant word of God” and if the Bible says it they take a literal interpretation and claim it to be essentially an absolute truth.  According to scripture the Earth was created in 6 days a little over 5000 years ago, Adam and Eve were the first humans, dinosaurs roamed the earth with man and Moses stopped the sun from setting so they could complete their battle and go on to be victorious over the Amorites (Josh 10).  There is even a report in 2 Kings 20:9-11 that time went backwards.

 

If Perry thinks the theory of evolution has gaps in it he would have to reject the physical evidence that blows big old holes in these few examples of beliefs held by those who say the bible is a literal truth.  Through radiometric dating along with other non-radiometric dates of objects, such as historical accounts, tree rings, ice cores, etc., the results repeatedly demonstrate the validity of radiometric dating which shows earth to be around 4.5 million years old.  Even though creationists have challenged the reliability of this data they have used it themselves to verify certain biblical historical claims such as the “tunnel believed to be built by King Hezekiah and described in the Bible (Kings II 20:20; Chronicles II 32:3, 4), was dated using carbon-14 and uranium-thorium dating to show that it was built near the time of the Judean king (700 B.C.).”  SOURCE

There is no archeological evidence that shows humans were around the same time that dinosaurs were.  Some creationists try to refute this with the claim that human and dinosaur footprints have been found together in Cretaceous rocks of the Paluxy Riverbed near Glen Rose, Texas.  The close scientific scrutiny of these sites however have disproved this contention to the point where most creationist “no longer use the Paluxy tracks among their arguments, and major creationist organizations such as ICR and AIG have advised that the Paluxy tracks not be cited as evidence against evolution. Continuing ‘man track’ claims by a few individuals such as Carl Baugh and Don Patton have not stood up to close scrutiny.”

The notion that Adam and Eve were the first people is easily disputed by claims made later in Genesis that says Cain met his wife shortly after he was “driven out from the face of the earth.  And Cain went out from the presence of the LORD, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden.  And Cain knew his wife; and she conceived, and bare Enoch: and he builded a city, and called the name of the city, after the name of his son, Enoch. (Gen.4:16-17).  If he was the son of the first people, where did his wife come from?  Creationists can answer the question anyway they want but there is no evidence provided in the Bible to support them.

And lastly, for people to believe that the sun was stopped so Joshua could defeat the Amorites strongly implies that they believed the sun revolved around the earth.  We now know this is not true.  Even the hard-core fundamentalist will not argue this point today.  The next step to take would then conclude that the earth stopped its rotation on its axis, leaving the sun at a point in the sky and making it appear that it had stopped.   But for the earth to stop rotating meant that every living thing on the planet that was not tied down solidly would have gone floating out into space.  It is the earth’s rotation that keeps us on earth through the gravitational pull that occurs as the planet spins.

Is this really how fundamentalists see our universe? 

So, if the New Hampshire kid that confronted Perry by proxy is left to decide what is and isn’t sound judgment, it is likely that he will conclude Perry was an idiot.  Sadly many kids in Texas will be less likely to come to this decision because their young developing minds had to contend with the superstition that their eternal soul would be thrown into the fiery pits of hell if they accepted the physical realities over the creationist view.

By suggesting that religious notions contrived by ancient civilizations had a more realistic take on how we came to be, Perry has demonstrated that he is no smarter than a 5th grader.  Clearly though this doesn’t disqualify him to be President of the U.S. in the eyes of many voters.  George Bush, Jr. is living proof of this.

15 responses to “Rick Perry Attempts to Fill Gaps With His Fantasies

  1. This is my favorite line: “So, if the New Hampshire kid that confronted Perry by proxy is left to decide what is and isn’t sound judgment, it is likely that he will conclude Perry was an idiot. : why can’t the world see this.

    • I think the more he campaigns the more he’ll expose his idiocy to the public. Vanity overcomes Texas GOP governors. They think because they’re so beloved by most Texans that surely the rest of the world feels this way too. It’s a rude awakening when they enter the national arena.

  2. Great article, one I’ve been waiting for since Perry declared his run. A scientific “theory” has a different meaning than “theoretical.” In science, we talk about a theory as an explanation for phenomena that has been thoroughly tested and that has proven to be an explanation supported by evidence. This is very different from just an idea that someone throws out there that might possibly explain why something happens. “Oh, it’s just a theory I have.” For example, plate tectonics is a theory, but no legitimate geologist would question that tectonic plates move. We cannot go very far under the earth;s crust to see if our idea of convection within the earth causes the plates to move, but scientists have MUCH evidence – even to measuring the exact amount that the earth’s plates move per year – that the convection caused by heat from earth’s core is what causes them to move.

    There is TONS of evidence for species evolving! The latest is genetic typing…amazing, check out the similarities between apes/chimps/humans!

  3. I have been watching the debate on Twitter….it is all so damn silly….all Perry has to do is watch the Hitler Channel and see that it was all ancient astronauts….

  4. Great post, but sad to say it won’t sway any fundamentalists over to reason.. Christian fundamentalism is built on a house of cards: find one thing not true, and the rest crumbles. They got to believe a literal Genesis account, otherwise the Bible is just a bunch of nice Hebrew stories.

    • Less concerned about swaying dyed-in-the-wool fundamentalist hansi than I am about opening the eyes of moderates and Independents who might consider casting their votes for this guy. Fundamentalist extremists can be forgiven for sleeping with the devil but will be banished for life if they associate themselves with a liberal

  5. Woodgate,

    I suppose it would not be hyperbole to refer to me as an Intelligent Design proponent. I do not, however, believe it should be taught in biology alongside evolution. I believe every school should offer an Intelligent Design curriculum as part of a voluntary philosophy course. In H.S., there are lots of voluntary classes (e.g., psychology, sociology, art, music, etc…).

    I think Intelligent Design should be taught, assuming, however, it is not Creationism under a different name. It should explain the concept of Irreducible Complexity and explain why Intelligent Design theorists believe such things like the bacterial flagellum are too complex to have evolved. This course, however, should also include, when available, the response from evolutionists, particularly people like Ken Miller, an avid opponent of Intelligent Design.

    I support this because I believe both sides to the story, however silly one of them might be, should be considered. It will enhance the critical thinking skills of students, I believe.

    Before this is done, though, Intelligent Design needs some work. The book Of Pandas and People, which was used as the ID textbook in Pennsylvania, is blatant Creationism. I believe that was the downfall of the case.

    • I can see ID being offered in a course amongst other philosophies but as a singular course it would be better suited in non-academic settings like bible study classes, etc. As “logical” as some of their suggestions are they are purely speculative based on suggestions from the Bible, IMO.

    • Terrance,

      I may have come across to judgmental of the position you take on holding Intelligent Design as a serious scientific discipline. I don’t want to denigrate anyone’s objective efforts to find truth in areas where absolutes are non-existent.

      I have reviewed my understanding of ID however and still hold the position that ID is a pseudoscience and its arguments tend to stem from a position that referred to as an “argument from ignorance”. You may want to review the arguments of ID’s primary premise of “irreducible complexity” also to see how it is viewed by the majority of the scientific community.

      One point that struck me about the issue of irreducible complexity is how ID theorist can find this in some organisms and not in other’s. I would ask that if their argument wants to hold the position that ID is a probability then why would some life forms appear to have irreducible complexity and most others don’t? This appears to conflict with their notion that life is more than random selection, no?

      This could be a learning experience for both of us however so let me know when you have found something that keeps you in the ID camp so I can weigh it against the counter arguments that are out there.

      Best wishes

      • Woodgate,

        I don’t necessarily believe Intelligent Design is a science. I think it’s more a philosophical point of view. And you’re right that it would be better if it were included as part of a philosophy course that covered many different points of view.

        Essentially, I agree with Daniel Dennett’s that religion should be taught in schools as a voluntary course that covers every religion or type of religion in the world today. As long as we can ensure that the instructor and class curriculum do not have a hidden agenda, I see nothing wrong with this at all.

        One point that struck me about the issue of irreducible complexity is how ID theorist can find this in some organisms and not in other’s.

        I’ve thought about this myself, Woodgate. I even issued an e-mail to Michael Behe and asked him about it. In fact, here is that e-mail exchange.

        Dr. Behe,

        My name is Terrance H. I’m not a scientist or journalist or anything but a citizen interested in exploring alternatives to Darwinian evolution. I was wondering if you could answer a question I picked up on having read your testimony in the Dover trial.

        You said of intelligent design: “I said that intelligent design is perceived as the purposeful arrangement of parts, yes. So when we not only see different parts, but we also see that they are ordered to perform some function, yes, that is how we perceived design.”

        Now from what I understand, you have no problem believing the antifreeze proteins observed in fish are the result of natural selection. But wouldn’t the antifreeze proteins fall under your definition of design, because the genes which create the proteins are ordered and have a purposeful function?

        I know you are very busy, so if you could please find the time to answer my question, it would be very much appreciated.

        Thank You,

        Terrance R.A. H.

        He responded back with:

        Hi, Terrance, nice to meet you. The question of antifreeze proteins is discussed in detail in my 2007 book, The Edge of Evolution, in Chapter 4, “What Darwinism Can Do”. If you read that you should have a clearer idea of my thinking than I can give in a short email. You should be able to borrow the book from your college library. Best wishes.

        mjb

        I purchased the book and read it, like he suggested. And I still didn’t have a clearer idea. So, you’re certainly right, Woodgate, in believing that some aspects of ID don’t make a helluva lot of sense. In fact, sometimes it’s rather contradictory.

        I don’t consider myself a believer in Intelligent Design, necessarily. But I do think it deserves a place in a philosophy course that examines origin of life issues, or even purpose of life issues.

        I believe in evolution. And frankly, I don’t see how any Christian or religious person could reject it. The idea that we started as a single-celled creature and became what we are today, having transformed numerous times over billions of years, glorifies God far more than any Creationist story I’ve ever heard.

        Evolution really shows you just what God can do, if you’re so inclined to believe in a higher power.

        I just like to see all sides get their 15 minutes.

      • You have looked into this quite extensively Terrance. I am impressed. Your query to Mr. Behe was a good one yet he seems to have brushed you off without even attempting to give you something to latch on to without reviewing his book.

        I think those who promote ID do so with the language of science and even have the proper attitude but I have this sneaking suspicion that they are people who still have a connection between themselves and the religious views they were raised with and are simply trying to make science work for them so that don’t feel compelled to abandon their traditional religious views altogether. I went through this phase myself as a I transitioned from a firm believer to skeptic of orthodox views where I ultimately rejected most of the conventional christian dogma.

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