Monday, January 24, 2011

Math-Teacher Guffey Strikes Again!

A while back, Roger Guffey, a math teacher, expostulated vehemently in an article in the Lexington Herald-Leader, Lexington, Ky., concerning the proposed “Ark Park,” a for-profit amusement facility planned for northern Kentucky some 35 or so miles north of Lexington. A major issue for him had to do with state tax-breaks but his obvious main purpose was pooh-poohing the uneducated for believing that there ever was a Noah’s Ark, the theme of the park.

Some days later, some scientists with Ph.D’s in the proper field took him to task, whereupon he wrote a letter to the editor to insist that their obvious superior knowledge did not qualify them for disagreeing with him. After all, he was/is a math teacher and may even have a master’s degree, though probably not in anthropology. He noted some statements made or written by a few high-profile people with Ph.D’s (one a Nobel Prize winner) with which he obviously disagrees, which automatically makes them wrong.

President Obama has a doctorate and has even been a law-school professor and has successfully pushed Congress into repealing the DADT military policy. Yet, the top commanders in the military, thinking critically, have said that the repeal is unwarranted and detrimental to military readiness. Using Guffey’s thinking, the president should back away from his doctorate-qualified action, but that will not happen, making Guffey’s paradigm of no practical value. If Guffey agrees with the president, he, ipso facto, destroys his own case. If not, it doesn’t matter. As Bill Clinton might say: What is IS.

Guffey wrote that expecting religion to answer scientific questions is foolhardy, giving as an example the Roman Catholic Church’s original rejection of the notion of a heliocentric universe. Of course, most folks outside the church rejected that notion, too. Using Guffey’s angle in this case, it seems reasonable to assume that one errs in expecting science to answer religious questions such as the origin of things or why people reason and animals operate on instinct, unless, of course, Guffey believes that dogs don’t think critically enough to drive, but uncritically enough to be friendly…or sometimes hostile.

Guffey has the same problem that many intellectuals (whether described as such by self or others) have, to wit, they can’t figure out the origin(s) of the universe and consequently anything else. This frustrates them. It frustrates them that they can’t find the “missing link” that would prove that man evolved from some lower form, maybe the ape, which, using critical thinking, of course, had to evolve from something else – VOILA! – a one-cell organism perhaps in some sort of slime…but where did it (and the slime) come from?

Guffey is an “Eve person.” Eve disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden in order to become as powerful as God when approached by a snake-oil salesman, according to Genesis, and swallowed the bait, succumbing to the scam. She got ripped-off. Guffey believes that science, if given enough time, will discover how the universe came to be, thus actually becoming as powerful as the original creator…if there was a creator or a force or a ground of being or a cosmic explosion or fill in the blank!

BUT, Guffey doesn’t believe the Genesis episode happened, or that Noah was a person or the Ark was a boat or that there was a Tower of Babel (the parallel ancient symbol of the result of today’s science). So…he simply insists that all of that Genesis creation-stuff was MYTH and that people who disagree, especially the errant Ph.D’s, are as dumb as a gourd. In his original article, he described them thusly: “misunderstanding of evolution by people who get their opinions from Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh.” That puts a whole other aspect to his rant…very revealing, mixing personal animus with science.

This is Guffey’s last substantive paragraph: “The Ark Park will generate a few low-paying jobs, but it will scare away scientifically based firms with higher-paying jobs because it feeds our [Kentuckians’] image as a bunch of illiterate Bible-thumpers.” This is essentially what Obama called the Christians as he attacked Pennsylvania in 2008. It’s hard to imagine either arrogance or ignorance as profound as this…arrogance because of the superciliousness toward people who simply disagree with Guffey and ignorance because he actually believes a business would give a fig about what people believe religiously as long as the business climate, including tax-incentives, is right.

I take no issue with the theory of evolution and I don’t believe in the seven 24-hour days of creation, a postulate clearly allowed in scripture. I draw the line at claiming that mankind evolved from…whatever. I believe God created the being made in his image spontaneously and complete, in an instant. I also take no issue with folks who disagree with me. Not a one of us has any idea of what happened in any time-period 6,000 or more years ago.

And so it goes.
Jim Clark

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