I can't believe this is still going on.


Categories: Religion

So, there’s this long-running claim that the etymologies of Chinese characters “reveal the truth of Genesis”, because, if you don’t know anything about Chinese etymology, and you ignore all use of phonetic radicals, and you misinterpret some symbols to be other symbols, and you put in a lot of connective words, you can find a few characters where you can make up an etymology for them which connects to the Genesis story.

This list of Chinese Characters in Genesis is a pretty good starting point for understanding just how awful these are.

But… What’s scary is, I and several others have been pointing out this error to the people promoting this painful idiocy for something over two years; I first wrote to one Creationist group in July of 2002. All we have to show for it is a hilarious “defense” which ignores most of my points and attacks my faith.

This is a great example of one of the reasons people get so worried about sins. Evil, of its nature, corrupts. It spreads. You don’t stay just a little evil. You cannot be very dishonest for very long without becoming a little cruel. As these people are more and more desperate to preserve whatever arguments they have left, they become willing to use genuinely bad arguments, and they become more and more willing to play games to justify their retention of an argument with known flaws.

Eventually, this turns into plain old lying.

This is, really, one of my biggest objections to Young-Earth Creationism. I don’t particularly care about the claims of how old the universe is; I wasn’t there, and I don’t really need to know. But I do care about the demonstrable tendency for YEC beliefs to twist people until they’re willing to lie, cheat, and indulge in personal attacks to defend a belief which was never part of the faith to begin with.

Or, as Augustine said:

Usually, even a non-Christian knows something about the earth, the heavens, and the other elements of this world, about the motion and orbit of the stars and even their size and relative positions, about the predictable eclipses of the sun and moon, the cycles of the years and the seasons, about the kinds of animals, shrubs, stones, and so forth, and this knowledge he holds to as being certain from reason and experience. Now, it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking non-sense on these topics; and we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to scorn. The shame is not so much that an ignorant individual is derided, but that people outside the household of the faith think our sacred writers held such opinions, and, to the great loss of those for whose salvation we toil, the writers of our Scripture are criticized and rejected as unlearned men. If they find a Christian mistaken in a field which they themselves know well and hear him maintaining his foolish opinions about our books, how are they going to believe those books in matters concerning the resurrection of the dead, the hope of eternal life, and the kingdom of heaven, when they think their pages are full of falsehoods on facts which they themselves have learnt from experience and the light of reason? Reckless and incompetent expounders of holy Scripture bring untold trouble and sorrow on their wiser brethren when they are caught in one of their mischievous false opinions and are taken to task by those who are not bound by the authority of our sacred books. For then, to defend their utterly foolish and obviously untrue statements, they will try to call upon Holy Scripture for proof and even recite from memory many passages which they think support their position, although “they understand neither what they say nor the things about which they make assertion.”