#1 Genesis expert offers help for Louisiana science education

Following passage of Louisiana’s “Science Education Act,” “the leading expert on the book of Genesis” has posted a letter that he has sent to Louisiana offering his help in preparing science teachers there. (The letter was originally posted at http://www.theconservativevoice.com/article/33882.html. That page has disappeared, so the link for the letter has been updated to another page where it is posted now. Tthat site has also posted another letter that he sent two years later to the Livingston Parrish [sic] School Board.)

First, as the letter-writer introduces himself:

Hello. My name is Herman Cummings. I am the leading expert on the book of Genesis. There is no “close second”.

I expect there are some scholars in Jerusalm and elsewhere who need instruction from this guy.

Right away, it looks like a spoof. Then there is this:

With the freedom to entertain alternatives to evolution, it is a given that the text of Genesis will be discussed.

So you think this must be something written by some anti-creationist, out to expose the fraudulent pretenses of the Louisiana law. It turns out, though, that this guy seems to be in earnest.

As he informs Louisiana:

I teach a 6-hr class for science teachers which gives them an overview of the first three chapters of Genesis, as it pertains to the appearance, and extinction, of life forms during the geologic history of Earth. . . .

After taking this course, the teachers can correctly answer the questions that students would have about the apparent differences between what science has discovered, and what was previously erroneously perceived to be written in the Bible. Thus, the students would be given a balanced education in science, without solely being taught the dogma of atheism.

He also gives this assurance, suggesting the high cost of not taking advantage of his offer to help:

Also, by providing my class to your teachers, I also give protection against lawsuits which the ACLU is certainly anxious to file. I contacted the Dover Area school district in Pennsylvania, but they ignored me, and they lost both their jobs and the court case. I contacted both the Cobb County Board members and their law firm in Georgia, in 2004, and they both ignored me, and they lost their district case. I know how to defeat the ACLU in open court in such cases, to the point that they would be discouraged from filing such lawsuits again. But I would have to be invited to work with the defense.

Good luck with that!

As goofy as this guy might sound, I’m afraid his letter might reflect a more realistic view of what to expect in Louisiana classrooms than all the DI protestations that this is only about science and has nothing at all to do with creationism — much less with the Book of Genesis.

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4 Comments

  1. Posted August 15, 2008 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

    I’m a Biblical scholar (admittedly with more of a focus in New Testament), and I’ve never heard of this guy. But presumably it goes without saying that no one (unless they are writing about themselves in the third person for a book blurb pretending to be an impartial bystander) who is the world’s leading authority would describe themselves as such.

    I’d recommend Gordon Wenham, a genuine leading authority on Genesis, a British evangelical who accepts the scientific evidence for evolution, if one wants to look into Biblical scholarship in this area.

  2. Posted August 17, 2008 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

    Wow. People never cease to amaze me.

  3. Herman Cummings
    Posted August 20, 2008 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    Professor James McGrath walks the same path as most every theologian I contact. When I offer to present the truth of Genesis, they have the attitude that “they already know and teach the truth of Genesis”. When in reality, they are no where close. Mr. McGrath has not done his homework, just as creationism and theology has failed to do.

    Here are some statements taken from the works of Gordon Wenham:

    * * * *

    The narrative of Genesis 2-3 will always retain its meaning for humankind. Something basic is said about humanity which no religious or ideological, no scientific, technical or medical development or change can or will in any way alter. It is part of human existence that a person is fallible. One cannot be a human being other than a fallible human being. This is the context of the limitation of human existence; not indeed that death is the penalty for the offense committed by a first man, but rather that fallible, sinful, disobedient humanity is humanity separated from God. A person separated from God is a person limited by death, suffering and toil.

    * * * *

    First, Mr. Wenham avoids specific commentary on Genesis chapter one if he can. He, among others, does not understand it.

    Second, he considers chapters 2 and 3 to be allegorical, rather than historical, and not being able to assign a specific date to when those events occurred.

    Adam was put in the Garden in about 7200 BC, and Eve was made in about 7000 BC, which was 200 years later. They both were expelled from the Garden in 4267 BC.

    “Creation” did not begin the week that Adam was formed, and “original sin” occurred on Earth over 650 million years before modern mankind was mad by God.

    Herman Cummings
    ephraim7@aol.com

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  1. [...] example of the kind of thing that people might want to bring into Louisiana schools (also featured here on Curricublog.) More seriously, in a different post, The Curmudgeon writes: IN DUE COURSE there will be a furious [...]

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