Matt Young posted Entry 3234 on July 11, 2007 03:41 PM.
Trackback URL: http://www.pandasthumb.org/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.fcgi/3223

My colleague, Michael Grant of the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Department, was one of the victims of the recent harassment, reported by Steve Reuland here. Professor Grant tells me that he has “been receiving these histrionic emails and books and packages for a year; he even comes into my office when I’m not here. He started with me and Jeff Mitton [chair of EEB] but expanded to the rest of the department and may have crossed a legal line with the rest. I have a huge stack of emails and packages and even a big fat paperback book from him.” I think that, by legal line, he means the threatening tone of the last e-mail below.

“Among other things,” writes Professor Grant, “he identifies me as a ‘child molester’ for teaching evolution and threatens to get me fired plus he threatens legal action on that front. In the most recent communications, he writes words many of my colleagues consider death threats.”

Update, 13 July 2007, 3.55 MDT. The Colorado Daily has released the name of the alleged perpetrator here .

His full name is Michael Philip Korn. He sometimes goes by his Hebrew name, Menachem (not Menacher). He lives in Nederland, a small mountain community west of Boulder. His Web site is http://www.jesusoverisrael.blogspot.com/, but it has not been updated in months. He says about himself,

I was born in America, moved to Israel after graduating from Harvard, enlisted in the Ba’al Teshuva movement, and joined a Messianic Chassidic cult (Breslov) from 1990-1999. Through the help of South African missionaries, I came to see that Jesus is the Jewish Messiah and Saviour of the World. I was baptized in a natural spring in the Israeli Galilee outside of the famous mystical city of Safed on 20 June 2000, and now I seek to introduce Jewish people to Jesus Christ, their Messiah whom they don’t yet know.

Michael Philip Korn is also cited at Southern Exposure here.

Further, as Steve Reuland notes, the story has been reported in the Denver Post as well as the Colorado Daily. The Associated Press has also picked up the story, as has Salon. You may find an earlier Panda’s Thumb report with comments here.

The affair is cited at Red State Rabble here.

I do not know what preceded the following, but here is an early e-mail sent to Professor Grant. The boldface and italics are in the originals, but I have spared you some very large typefaces.

Professor Grant,

your sarcastic attitude is not at all becoming to an Associate Vice Chancellor for Undergraduate Education of a major american university. judging from your response to me, you dont seem very skilled in human relations. i thought universities respected and cultivated a diversity of opinion. in fact that is why it derives from the root word universe.

but apparently you lived in a close[d] mental universe. by denigrating the diversity that the university should represent, you show yourself sadly unable to perceive the grandeur of the universe itself. and maybe that’s why you support the nihilistic concept of Darwinian evolution.

Po-fresser Grant [if you don’t understand the Yiddish pun, i shall be glad to enlighten you: it means “Here is someone who pretends to be a professor of higher knowledge, but actually is no more than an animal”],

concerning what you have written to me here:

I do not know why he makes terrible Yiddish puns, but to fress is to eat like a pig. The harasser is, in fact, a Messianic Jew Hebrew Christian, but we prefer not to state his name until it is made public.

Michael Grant … wrote:

Mr. [name deleted]:

Would you please remove my name and Dr. Mitton’s name from all of your e-mail lists? Neither of us has the slightest interest in your perspectives about evolution nor, really, about anything else.

Thank you,

Michael Grant

your attitude is simply unacceptable for an official of a PUBLIC university:

i happen to be one of the Colorado taxpayers who actually pay your salary, and therefore you should have some level of accountability to me and the rest of the citizens of this state.

therefore, i will be approaching Chanchellor (sic) Peterson to discuss your attitude to me. i spent a lot of my own money to collect SCIENTIFIC evidence debunking the major claims of evolution. statements from such eminent scientists as Francis Crick and Fred Hoyle are included, amongst hundreds of others.

you owe me the minimum level of courtesy of a reasoned response, and not just an arrogant withering insult.

IN THE NAME OF THE LORD GOD OF ISRAEL,
WHO CREATED YOU AND THE CHILDREN YOU ARE INDOCTRINATING WITH UNSCIENTIFIC UNSUBSTANTIATED DARWINIAN FILTH,
I DEMAND A REASONED RESPONSE FROM YOU.

you might laugh and mock at me, as you do to God who reigns above you. but we shall see who will be laughing after i speak with Chanchellor (sic) Peterson.

i also will be approaching the Governor of the State, as well as the State legislature, who pay your salary and authorize your position, as well as the Regents.

i will be speaking with my attorney as well, for i am planning to file legal charges against you, accusing you of child molestation. no, not of me, since although i am a child of God i also am an adult. but the children who attend your “university” and who are entrusted into your care, are being intellectually, morally, and spiritually molested by the bogus darwinian theories of nihilism and death that you teach in the name of “higher education”.

young persons come to your university seeking guidance, direction and focus for their talents and energies. instead they find professors like you who teach them that life is purposeless, pointless, and meaningless.

indeed i charge you and your devilutionist colleagues with being the source of every imaginable evil in our society: drugs, crime, prostitution, corruption, war, abortion, death, for the simple reason that you, the supposed elite of academia, teach our children that life has no higher purpose, value, or meaning.

i charge you with being a murderer of souls.

if you think i am joking, just wait till we meet in court.

“Mr. Big Brains on Biology”:

what a sad joke: the co-discoverer of a candidate for the world’s largest living organism, a grove of aspen clones in Utah, that led to a 1993 Discover magazine article titled “The Trembling Giant” can’t even see the forest for the trees. if you want to delude yourself, that is your tragic prerogative. but you cannot be permitted to defraud and deceive our children.

you will be held accountable for your malicious actions, attitudes, and satanic beliefs.

Sincerely in Christ,
[name deleted]

Cc: Chancellor Bud Peterson”

Finally, the following is an excerpt of what was recently sent to Professor Grant and several other faculty members in EEB. Many of the EEB faculty consider it very dangerous and possibly a death threat.

“Pastor Jerry Gibson spoke at Doug Whites New Day Covenant Church in Boulder.

He said that every true Christian should be ready and willing to take up arms to kill the enemies of Christian society.

But I believe it is far more effective to take up a pen to kill the enemies of Truth.

President GW Bush II (sic) is waging a global war on terror. But it seems he has overlooked the terrorists operating in our own backyard!

He likes to say “God Bless America”, and our Pledge of Allegiance says “One Nation Under God”. And of course our Federal Reserve issued money says “In God We Trust”.

But the EBIO [now EEB] Department at CU Boulder denies a Creator God and claims that life evolved from inanimate matter without Divine Direction, Oversight, or Providence.

Many scientists today have denounced Darwinian theories as bogus science. Yet the EBIO department upholds it as the Gospel truth and hides itself in a false cloak of intellectual arrogance. www.scienceagainstevolution.org

Academic freedom does not include the right to lie, obfuscate, and prevaricate. Yet this is exactly what these arrogant atheist professors do in the name of “higher education”!

EBIO professors are terrorists against America and against the true spirit of humanity, which consists of created beings beholden to their Creator!

EBIO Professors are also intellectual and spiritual child abusers of their young and impressionable students.

In addition, the New Testament states clearly that Adam and Eve were our original parents and that Noah’s Flood was an historical reality. So the EBIO department not only blasphemes God, who is invisible, but it blasphemes His Only Begotten Son and our Messiah, Jesus Christ, which is more unforgivable given the clear manifestations of His Godliness and Holiness and the confirmation of all He claimed to be through His historic Resurrection from the dead!

For all these reason all God-fearing and Truth-loving persons must say,

They must go!”

Robert Crowther of the Discovery Institute disbelieves the Denver Post story, suggests it is a hoax, and asks, “But where’s the evidence that the perps are actually creationists, or religious at all?” He likens the story to that of Paul Mirecki of the University of Kansas, who is alleged to have punched himself in the nose, no doubt to embarrass creationists.

Mr. Crowther’s “evidence” includes an interesting overinterpretation of a policeman’s comment, “It basically said anybody who doesn’t believe in our religious belief is wrong and should be taken care of,” which he conflates with something that the perpetrator wrote; need I add that the policeman was only paraphrasing?

If this is a hoax and the e-mails were not sent by a creationist, then the author is a veritable Alan Sokal.

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Comment #187148

Posted by Steve Reuland on July 11, 2007 4:33 PM (e)

unhinged loon wrote:

indeed i charge you and your devilutionist colleagues with being the source of every imaginable evil in our society: drugs, crime, prostitution, corruption, war, abortion, death, for the simple reason that you, the supposed elite of academia, teach our children that life has no higher purpose, value, or meaning.

I think the Discovery Institute should sue this guy for plagiarism.

Comment #187155

Posted by EvilEvolutionist on July 11, 2007 5:11 PM (e)

Before he or she continues attacking the biologists at CU, a visit to the English department first might be a good idea.

Evil™ Evolutionist

Comment #187162

Posted by raven on July 11, 2007 5:29 PM (e)

This is disturbing.

He is clearly a christian, clearly making threats.

He is also unbalanced. The question is, how unbalanced? There is a process of escalation going on and any psychiatrist can tell you, that is not good. One of the few warning signs when someone is going to really lose it.

There is a problem with people like Seung Cho. Quite often you can’t legally do much about them until they start shooting and then it is too late.

IMO, cops need to pull him in, have him evaluated, and explain the law. If he is smart and sane enough that should be enough along with a restraining order. Good luck to the faculty at CU, Boulder.

Comment #187165

Posted by Gary Hurd on July 11, 2007 5:45 PM (e)

Robert Crowther has several allies on the Panda’s Thumb crew regarding Mirecki, Ed Brayton leads that particular pack. Since there is no suggestion the U. of Colorado faculty are all liberals, maybe Ed will believe this event happened.

I personally find the opening of the last Email very chilling: “Pastor Jerry Gibson spoke at Doug Whites New Day Covenant Church in Boulder.

He said that every true Christian should be ready and willing to take up arms to kill the enemies of Christian society.”

Two articles are quite relevant;

“SEX AND DEATH” Science 22 September 2006 313: 1711 [DOI: 10.1126/science.313.5794.1711d]

and

“Scriptural violence can foster aggression” Heidi Ledford, Nature 446, 114 - 115 (07 Mar 2007) News (commentary on (B. J. Bushman et al. Psychol. Sci. 18, 204–207; 2007).

As in the Mirecki case, there are public statements by respected people demanding that “action” be taken aginst the Godless evolutionists and other enemies of America and/or God.

Comment #187166

Posted by mark on July 11, 2007 5:46 PM (e)

i spent a lot of my own money to collect SCIENTIFIC evidence debunking the major claims of evolution.

No more than 30 cents, most likely.

i charge you with being a murderer of souls.

Let us see the bodies. I think autopsies are in order.

He spouts nonsense, but sounds enthusiastic in his hatred. We’ve seen how such a ranter can be very dangerous; he needs to be placed where he will not harm others.

Comment #187167

Posted by kay on July 11, 2007 5:55 PM (e)

Loony, but not quite dangerous yet – he clearly feels compelled to escalate if ignored, so I’d suggest inviting him at a public debate on neutral ground and making sure the security is good.

Comment #187169

Posted by Woof on July 11, 2007 6:21 PM (e)

F***ing Moron wrote:

indeed i charge you and your devilutionist colleagues with being the source of every imaginable evil in our society: drugs, crime, prostitution, corruption, war, abortion, death

Right. Because drugs, crime, prostitution, corruption, war, abortion, death didn’t exist before Darwin.

Comment #187170

Posted by Louise Van Court on July 11, 2007 6:28 PM (e)

I’m sure the university and the local law enforcement people are fully capable of handling the situation. What about getting a restraining order and/or surveillance cameras? By the way I am an ID proponent.

Comment #187172

Posted by MrKAT on July 11, 2007 6:53 PM (e)

IE crashes every time when trying to read this!
(I wrote this using old ascii-browser lynx)

Comment #187173

Posted by FastEddie on July 11, 2007 7:03 PM (e)

“I’m sure the university and the local law enforcement people are fully capable of handling the situation. What about getting a restraining order and/or surveillance cameras? By the way I am an ID proponent.”

This is Boulder, CO police dept. we are talking about here. These are the same clowns who couldn’t tell if someone else had been in the Ramsey house.

Comment #187176

Posted by Craig on July 11, 2007 7:25 PM (e)

i spent a lot of my own money to collect SCIENTIFIC evidence debunking the major claims of evolution.

I’m not Christian, but I think Christ would be appalled that someone would waste money on this when they could use it, for instance, to help the poor or the sick.

Comment #187180

Posted by Werrf on July 11, 2007 7:53 PM (e)

Craig wrote:

I’m not Christian, but I think Christ would be appalled that someone would waste money on this when they could use it, for instance, to help the poor or the sick.

‘Followers’ of Christ such as this rarely worry about what Christ said or did - not if there’s a chance of bringing about a society where everyone does what Christ said.

Human reason is flawed, remember?

Comment #187181

Posted by GuyJ on July 11, 2007 7:59 PM (e)

The DI’s take on this:
http://www.evolutionnews.org/2007/07/thou_shalt_…

No surprises who they think is responsible.

Comment #187186

Posted by Flint on July 11, 2007 8:23 PM (e)

My limited experience with this sort of thing suggests that there is a qualitative difference between your garden variety creationist propaganda victim and a genuine violent nutcase who latches onto religious fervor as a vehicle to further his lunacy. It’s not unusual for violent denizens of mental institutions to start building up to such violent states as hair-pulling, shit-throwing, or even starting fires by chanting prayers and using other quasi-religious props.

So the DI might well be correct, that religion as commonly understood and practiced really hasn’t any direct bearing on this case. The person could easily be suffering organic brain dysfunction, which is expressing itself as religious fanaticism. Religion fits within the flexible bounds of rational human behavior, this sort of thing does not. If this bomb goes off, I wouldn’t consider it any more religious than Cho.

Comment #187193

Posted by Larry on July 11, 2007 9:45 PM (e)

Werrf wrote:

“‘Followers’ of Christ such as this rarely worry about what Christ said or did - not if there’s a chance of bringing about a society where everyone does what Christ said.”

Why do people insist on referring to Jesus Christ as if it was historical fact that he existed. There is NO evidence that he actually did.

Comment #187194

Posted by RavenT on July 11, 2007 9:54 PM (e)

I do not know why he makes terrible Yiddish puns, but to fress is to eat like a pig.

While German and Yiddish vocabulary do not correspond 1:1 and onto, it is possible that there is more to the bad pun than just fress—-“Po” or “Popo” in German means “ass”. I don’t know for sure that it means the same in Yiddish, but with an ~80% vocabulary overlap (loosely measured), it’s quite possible that it’s a two-way pun, with a hint of scat as well.

I certainly don’t have any information about why this person is doing this, but one thing I imagine will be investigated is the possibility of an escalating bipolar manic phase. More frequent wordplay is sometimes an indicator that caregivers look for to indicate escalation.

I know that people are taking this very seriously, as it should be–if it is escalating phase I, it could get even more intense, and the person can harm himself or others. I lost a friend to it almost exactly 3 years ago, so I take it extremely seriously. While I wouldn’t want to sound like a hammer looking for a nail–there are many other possible explanations–I am sure that those investigating it will consider this possibility as well.

Comment #187199

Posted by Werrf on July 11, 2007 10:28 PM (e)

Larry wrote:

Why do people insist on referring to Jesus Christ as if it was historical fact that he existed. There is NO evidence that he actually did.

Largely because 1) I’m living with a Christian family (though not Christian myself) and don’t feel that insulting their beliefs is the best way to please my in-laws, 2) my understanding is that the Jesus-as-myth theory has been thorougly discredited and there is plenty of evidence that Jesus did exist (though little evidence that he was divine), and 3) I’d talk about a fictional character in the same way.

Any more questions?

Comment #187204

Posted by M on July 11, 2007 10:52 PM (e)

What the heck is a Messianic Jew? Why would anyone Jewish make reference to Jesus?

Comment #187212

Posted by Rabbi Adam J. Bernay on July 11, 2007 11:46 PM (e)

Quick note: An actual Messianic Jew is not likely to use the phrase “Sincerely in Christ.” We generally eschew the term “Christ,” in fact. While this person may be a Hebrew Christian, they are probably not a Messianic Jew. There is a difference.

Comment #187213

Posted by Rabbi Adam J. Bernay on July 11, 2007 11:48 PM (e)

Oh, I realize I probably should’ve noted I found this person’s comments to be disgusting and utterly not in keeping with Scripture. I felt it went without saying… and then I realized, after hitting post, it probably should be said.

Comment #187218

Posted by Popper's Ghost on July 12, 2007 12:04 AM (e)

not in keeping with Scripture. I felt it went without saying

Given the vileness of much of scripture, it’s actually the opposite that goes without saying.

Comment #187219

Posted by Popper's Ghost on July 12, 2007 12:07 AM (e)

What the heck is a Messianic Jew?

What the heck is google? What the heck’s a brain? What the heck is intelligence?

Comment #187221

Posted by Popper's Ghost on July 12, 2007 12:24 AM (e)

my understanding is that the Jesus-as-myth theory has been thorougly discredited and there is plenty of evidence that Jesus did exist (though little evidence that he was divine)

Your “understanding”? How is this different from an “understanding” that, say, Saddam was connected with 9/11, or that walking under a ladder brings bad luck?

The fact is, your “understanding” is mistaken; it remains an open historical question, although there is no question that many of the claimed characteristics and actions of Jesus predated him. And you show little understanding of historical analysis – just what sort of evidence of the existence of Jesus might there be, when contemporary reports are absent? That’s right, there’s not a single document written during the period during which Jesus supposedly lived that mentions him. While this historical question will never be conclusively answered, the current best inference is that Jesus didn’t exist. For further reading:

http://www.nobeliefs.com/exist.htm
http://jesuspuzzle.humanists.net/home.htm

Comment #187223

Posted by John McKay on July 12, 2007 12:45 AM (e)

I’m not sure how much time these letters cover or what was said between these examples, but from what you have given us, this guy looks very dangerous. Forget how laughable his arguments or bad grammar appear, he is clearly escalating toward violence. In these samples he goes from “I think you should be nicer to me” to “I demand you pay attention to me” to “I will report you to people who will end your career” to “I know people who think you should be killed.”

Having the police tell him how things work is not going to help at this point. This guy is on exactly the same trajectory as a violent stalker. He needs to be brought in for a psychological evaluation with the word “stalker” specifically mentioned.

Comment #187224

Posted by llewelly on July 12, 2007 12:51 AM (e)

I DEMAND A REASONED RESPONSE FROM YOU.

Get help.

Comment #187240

Posted by tacitus on July 12, 2007 2:12 AM (e)

ID The “Future”:

Something just doesn’t smell right about this story.

You know when you see this sentence at the start of a blog entry or message, it almost certainly means that the writer is hoping fervently that the story isn’t true……and it invariably is.

Comment #187244

Posted by Sir_Toejam on July 12, 2007 3:10 AM (e)

Loony, but not quite dangerous yet – he clearly feels compelled to escalate if ignored, so I’d suggest inviting him at a public debate on neutral ground and making sure the security is good.

what a horrible idea. what on earth would the point of a public debate be?

I have a far better idea:

invite him to a private debate, and bring people with nets and straight jackets.

Comment #187245

Posted by Sir_Toejam on July 12, 2007 3:16 AM (e)

So the DI might well be correct, that religion as commonly understood and practiced really hasn’t any direct bearing on this case. The person could easily be suffering organic brain dysfunction, which is expressing itself as religious fanaticism. Religion fits within the flexible bounds of rational human behavior, this sort of thing does not. If this bomb goes off, I wouldn’t consider it any more religious than Cho.

religion has as much to do with these cases as alcohol does to an alcoholic.

It’s merely an enabler of an already underlying psychological condition.

If there was no religion, it likely would be something else enabling his behavior, but the structure of religion lends itself to be used in this fashion.

Comment #187255

Posted by Ryan Egesdahl on July 12, 2007 4:52 AM (e)

Please do not take this amiss, but: I sincerely hope this person gets his day in court. His claims are so frivolous that it might actually be amusing to the legal system to place him in psychiatric custody.

Comment #187256

Posted by Ryan Egesdahl on July 12, 2007 5:05 AM (e)

Popper's Ghost wrote:

The fact is, your “understanding” is mistaken; it remains an open historical question, although there is no question that many of the claimed characteristics and actions of Jesus predated him. And you show little understanding of historical analysis – just what sort of evidence of the existence of Jesus might there be, when contemporary reports are absent? That’s right, there’s not a single document written during the period during which Jesus supposedly lived that mentions him. While this historical question will never be conclusively answered, the current best inference is that Jesus didn’t exist.

As a matter of fact, while the historical question of the existence of Jesus is still an open one, there are several specific theories relating to the non-existence of Jesus which are largely discredited. I am no historian (though I have a secret love for history), but the largest portion of the reason these theories are discredited do not come from the presence nor absence of any documentation surrounding the person of Jesus, but from the fact that these theories rely upon the missing documentation. Case in point: there are no documents pointing to the existence of the Library of Alexandria from the time of the Library’s existence (those would have been in the library for safekeeping), but we have plenty of evidence for the existence of the Library nonetheless. With the Library, we have documents from the planning phase and events surrounding its destruction, pointing to facts; with a person, nearly all evidence pointing to his existence would be largely anecdotal and sketchy on the details - where they still exist at all.

I have no personal opinion on the matter of whether Jesus existed because neither am I an historian nor does it matter to my life. It doesn’t seem to matter what the facts are to the people who believe such a man existed, either, so I’ll just leave the matter to the professionals to have fun with.

Comment #187258

Posted by hoary puccoon on July 12, 2007 5:34 AM (e)

If a self-described “evolutionist” had written to the Disco Institute in the same threatening and irrational tone, would biologists be passing off the incident in the way ID proponents are now? It’s all very well to recognize that this is an isolated crank. But it seems to me that the IDers should be making much stronger statements that they do not condone this behavior by anyone. Their tepid “oh, quit whining and get a restraining order” (that’s a paraphrase, not a real quote) attitude is at best unhelpful. It may even egg a few nut cases on. If they had come out four-square, saying “this is not what we stand for, and we beg anyone who is tempted to behave this way to get help,” it would have immeasurably increased my respect for the IDers, if not for their science.

Comment #187276

Posted by brightmoon on July 12, 2007 8:12 AM (e)

that’s scary
i had a former neighbor like that

i once put up with a 6-hourslong cursing & rage-filled rant because this nutcase heard my toilet flush (i lived upstairs)

he would call my phone so often that i couldnt call out
bang on the ceiling all night so that nobody got any sleep,
throw rocks and other debris at my kids (they were 6 and 12 at the time)

if he heard me walking around upstairs he’d start with his hourslong screaming rants

over the years it just got worse and worse……he went from harassment and threats to violence against all the neighborhood kids and chasing some local women with knives and a gun and he was slick enough to appear calm when the cops showed up (he also waited until there were no witnesses around)

the harrassment and abuse didnt stop until i put him in jail twice

been there, done that

yeah, i think they should treat this nutcase as a potential serious threat especially, because hes a creationist and THEY encourage their people to harrass “evolutionists”

order of protection or a restraining order especially if hes calling on the phone (the phone company was a big help….. they dont like letting their equipment being used to abuse people and THEY will press the charges)

Comment #187278

Posted by minimalist on July 12, 2007 8:54 AM (e)

Dawkins and Dennett are also inhabitants of a rational world where child abusers are, at worst, imprisoned and hopefully counseled by an impartial judicial/law-enforcement apparatus that represents civilized society.

Contrast it with, say, this unhinged fellow making vigilante death threats, which is rather the entire point. Not surprised an uber-dense fundietroll might miss it.

Comment #187279

Posted by ben on July 12, 2007 8:55 AM (e)

If a self-described “evolutionist” had written to the Disco Institute in the same threatening and irrational tone, would biologists be passing off the incident in the way ID proponents are now?

No true scotsman, of course–anyone who would do this isn’t a real Christian nad/or IDer, so it can’t have anything to do with them. And like you say, if an atheist/scientist/satanist (same thing) had acted this way, it would be a clear indictment of anyone and everyone they don’t like, all who tried to argue otherwise would be banned from their forum, and the resulting apparent lack of dissent would be trumpeted as evidence that their assertions are irrefutable.

If they had come out four-square, saying “this is not what we stand for, and we beg anyone who is tempted to behave this way to get help,” it would have immeasurably increased my respect for the IDers, if not for their science.

While one’s respect for IDers’ character could always be improved, you can’t respect that (ID science) which does not exist.

Comment #187282

Posted by raven on July 12, 2007 9:08 AM (e)

Blasphemy Challenger:

Say, don’t atheists like Dawkins and Dennet label creationists child abusers?

Kansas troll again. Don’t christians frequently threaten to kill people they don’t like? YES!!
Don’t they occasionally murder people they don’t like? YES!!!
Sample quotes from thousands below.

Nice perverted twisting of a religion. BTW, K-troll, we have your measure now. You are mentally ill, a harrasser, a stalker. Using Xianity as a cover to act out your sickness. Get help or someday society will start locking you up for it’s own protection like the CU, Boulder wannabe killer is heading.

We will find you, we will try you, and we will execute you. I mean every word of it.
[Randall Terry, founder of Operation Rescue, at the Aug 8, 1995 U.S. Taxpayers Alliance Banquet in Washington DC, talking about doctors who perform abortions and volunteer escorts

“Pastor Jerry Gibson spoke at Doug Whites New Day Covenant Church in Boulder.

He said that every true Christian should be ready and willing to take up arms to kill the enemies of Christian society.

Comment #187283

Posted by Blake Stacey, OM on July 12, 2007 9:09 AM (e)

Neglecting everything else, the language geek in me has to note that university does not come from the word universe, but rather from the Latin universus meaning “whole” or “entire”. This became universitas which in Late Latin meant “corporation” or “society”, giving eventually the Old French universitei (attested in the 13th century) which entered English around the year 1300. Universe, meaning “the whole world” and equivalent to the Greek-derived Cosmos, is not attested in English before 1589.

University is not the descendant of universe; they are, rather, verbal cousins.

Comment #187286

Posted by raven on July 12, 2007 9:28 AM (e)

The DI is acting about as predicted. Not too sure what their stance is exactly because several versions are circulating. And I’m not about to visit their website. Visiting the internet slums of some creepy reality denier trolls isn’t IMO a good idea.

1. Blame the victim. Claim it is a hoax to discredit them.

2. Silently or not so silently celebrate. These guys want to set up a totalitarian society anyway. It is right in the damn Wedge document.

The DI is part of the “who would Jesus maim, torture, rape, and kill” branch of Xianity. I doubt if they can destroy the religion but ultimately they will probably do it some serious damage. When xians glorify ignorance, violence, lies, and evil, who would want to be one?

Just guessing, but the horrific islamic violence in the ME and elsewhere probably doesn’t make too many people want to convert to that one.

Comment #187292

Posted by Matt Young on July 12, 2007 9:52 AM (e)

While this person may be a Hebrew Christian, they are probably not a Messianic Jew.

My apologies to Rabbi Bernay - he is more likely a Hebrew Christian. The distinction is sometimes blurry and (to me) only slight, but a Messianic Jew is a Jew who accepts Jesus as the Messiah, whereas a Hebrew Christian, though possibly ethnically Jewish, probably identifies himself or herself as a Christian. Messianic Jews do not call Jesus “Christ,” but rather “Yeshua.” As far as I know, they would not cite the so-called New Testament as an authority. Yeshua or Yehoshua is the presumed Hebrew name of Jesus.

(that’s a paraphrase, not a real quote)

Please don’t paraphrase. The people at the DI do not understand paraphrases.

Comment #187325

Posted by SLC on July 12, 2007 12:27 PM (e)

Re Matt Young

1. Joshua of Nazareth is, in fact, the correct name. The name Jesus is the Latinization of the Hebrew name Joshua.

2. Messianic Jews consider all the Christian churches to be apostates because they don’t follow such things as Jewish dietary laws or practice circumcision (after all, Joshua of Nazareth did both).

Comment #187328

Posted by raven on July 12, 2007 12:42 PM (e)

We will find you, we will try you, and we will execute you. I mean every word of it.
[Randall Terry, founder of Operation Rescue, at the Aug 8, 1995 U.S. Taxpayers Alliance Banquet in Washington DC, talking about doctors who perform abortions and volunteer escorts

“Pastor Jerry Gibson spoke at Doug Whites New Day Covenant Church in Boulder.

He said that every true Christian should be ready and willing to take up arms to kill the enemies of Christian society.

As the Book says, by their words ye shall know them. BTW, Terry’s symphathizers murdered more than a few health care workers. Rev. Paul Hill was executed for one of them.

Kansas Troll:

From the sound of your post, raven, you sound pretty vicious yourself.

You have also crossed over in to libel.

Society in general and individuals within have a right and a duty to protect themselves from those who want to overthrow the US government, set up a theocracy, and head on back to the dark ages. Like you.

Your twisted perversion of xianity doesn’t resemble in the slightest what I learned in sunday school years ago. An insult to the religion to even use the same name.

About that libel accusation. So sue me. You can even use the voices in your head as witnesses.

Comment #187329

Posted by Flint on July 12, 2007 12:42 PM (e)

If there was no religion, it likely would be something else enabling his behavior, but the structure of religion lends itself to be used in this fashion.

I agree entirely. This does not sound like a matter that has any inherent relationship with religion, or creationism. It sounds like a nutcase. So I can understand the DI saying it’s not necessarily religious. What I don’t understand is why the DI doesn’t emphasize this same point - that this behavior is abusive and destructive of religious formalities, and should be condemned immediately. Both sides here seem to be trying to twist this case into ammunition for their religious orientation, and they’re equally guilty of self-serving distortion. This isn’t a religious matter, it’s a psychological issue escalating into a legal matter.

Comment #187339

Posted by Glen Davidson on July 12, 2007 1:59 PM (e)

I looked at GuyJ’s link to the DI piece, and while I agree (as should be obvious to anyone around here the past couple days) with Flint’s response, I feel the desire to comment on how Crowther’s writing is even more obtuse than the usual fare coming out of the DI:

According to Boulder Police:

“It basically said anybody who doesn’t believe in our religious belief is wrong and should be taken care of.”

As one colleague pointed out, that is hardly the way religious believers refer to their own belief system. Rarely do Christian groups refer to their own “religious beliefs” — it is mainly secularists who refer to beliefs with the modifier “religious.”

Of course the Boulder Police weren’t quoting anybody or anything, they were paraphrasing at most, and probably should be considered only to be giving the barest gist of the message. Likely they didn’t want to offend the group with whom the criminals were identifying (nor rewarding criminal activities with publicity for their “message”), and so they used the term “religious” instead of, say, “creationist”, or some particular sectarian term.

Can Crowther really not understand this, or is he just treating it as if it were a quote in order to score points with those who wouldn’t understand?

In all the years of the ongoing evolution debates, nothing like this has ever happened that I’ve heard of, at least not from creationists. When such things have happened in the past, it was a Darwinist who claimed to be physically attacked by creationists. Remember Paul Mirecki at University of Kansas? (Need to jog your memory? Here, here, and here.)

Um, yes, actually the Mirecki case is very much like this one in substance. Only the particulars, the pathetic level of detail that IDcreos ignore whenever convenient, differ. Apparently Crowther’s going to hang his claim that “nothing like this has ever happened” on the largely irrelevant (to the comparison) details now, since of course the substance is very similar.

I suspect that if these guys are ever caught, they won’t turn out be creationists, or even very religious people.

I’d certainly lay good odds that it would be creatonists, and rather more that religion drives them every bit as much as it drives Crowther to make absurd statements based on the lack of understanding of the difference between a judicious paraphrase and a quote, as well as on the inability to recognize how much better analogy the Mirecki case is with this one than the typical DI or ID analogy is to whatever science it is that they can’t address head-on.

Glen D
http://geocities.com/interelectromagnetic

Comment #187362

Posted by Paul Burnett on July 12, 2007 3:13 PM (e)

Yikes! Have you guys heard about this one:

“Three protesters disrupted a prayer by a Hindu chaplain Thursday at the opening of a Senate hearing, calling it an abomination and shouting slogans about Jesus Christ…. The three started shouting when guest Chaplain Rajan Zed, a Hindu from Nevada, began his prayer. They shouted “No Lord but Jesus Christ” and “There’s only one true God,” and used the term “abomination.”

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/07/12/prayer.pr…

Another demonstration of what these whackos are up to.

Comment #187364

Posted by Torbjörn Larsson, OM on July 12, 2007 3:39 PM (e)

anonymous, likely AKA Kansas Troll:

anonymous wrote:

In your case it is “Christians”…many of whom you KNOW do not agree with this reprehensible behavoir [sic].

Read raven’s comment again. Nowhere will you find that she is describing all christians. In fact, you can take her arguments as support for actions safeguarding the religion from such conflation.

Your allegation exist, I’m afraid, only in your head.

Which, if you are the KT, is only par for the course.

Comment #187366

Posted by Torbjörn Larsson, OM on July 12, 2007 3:43 PM (e)

Blake Stacey, OM wrote:

University is not the descendant of universe; they are, rather, verbal cousins.

Now, now, you can’t expect a creationist to understand common descent. All their trees are unrooted and the ‘root’ is whatever they point at; ‘man from chimp’,’cat from dog’. Not unlike their ‘goddidit’ pointing, btw.

Comment #187385

Posted by harold on July 12, 2007 5:21 PM (e)

I’m sure the university and the local law enforcement people are fully capable of handling the situation. What about getting a restraining order and/or surveillance cameras? By the way I am an ID proponent.

This is a reasonable comment, but it does betray an eagerness to minimize the situation.

Why do people insist on referring to Jesus Christ as if it was historical fact that he existed. There is NO evidence that he actually did.

I don’t want to get into a flame war with either traditional atheists or traditional Christians, but the Biblical figure of “Jesus”, whether fictional, historical, or a composite, is a coherent advocate of a philosophy of compassion, humility, non-violence (by humans), social concern, and non-hypocrisy. This philosophy, as expressed by the character, is blended with faith in the God of Judaism. You can disagree with the message, or the faith, but that is what the character in the Gospels expresses.

Many “Christians” do indeed violate the specific and obvious teachings of Jesus, be he a historical figure or a symbolic one.

Here’s an obvious expample…

From the sound of your post, raven, you sound pretty vicious yourself.

You have also crossed over in to libel.

In times past, there have been those who labeled the “other” as a threat…in some cases Jews, or blacks, or Catholics, or gays, or, more recently immigrants.

In your case it is “Christians”…many of whom you KNOW do not agree with this reprehensible behavoir.

You KNOW this, but you continue. So you are also a liar.

The person who said this is dishonest, hateful toward his fellow human being, filled with hubris and eager to avenge a perceived insult, yet he calls himself a “Christian”. I’m sure that this hypocrite would tell you that he “takes the Bible literally”, too.

Say, don’t atheists like Dawkins and Dennet label creationists child abusers?

That’s odd, you forgot to include a quote from Dennet or Dawkins.

Because you’re trying to imply, lyingly, that they spoke of physical abuse, when what they really said is that it is a lesser form of “abuse” to raise children with certain types of traditional religious settings. I actually disagree with that use of the term “abuse”, although there may be extreme cases where that’s fair. I can’t remember that part of the Bible where Jesus says to lie. I even seem to think he endorsed a commandment about that.

What difference would it for this story make if “Dawkins” really did call you a child molestor (assuming you’re not, or if you are, that Dawkins wouldn’t have reasonable grounds for knowing it)?

This story is about a specific madman whose authoritarian creationist beliefs have led him to violate basic decency, Biblical teachings, and the law to threaten and harrass hard-working college professors. He may have the excuse of mental illness.

Your clear implication is that the madman’s actions are excused because Dawkins did something wrong too - and then you lie about what Dawkins did.

Comment #187397

Posted by Gary Hurd on July 12, 2007 6:15 PM (e)

This is not very on topic but

Case in point: there are no documents pointing to the existence of the Library of Alexandria from the time of the Library’s existence (those would have been in the library for safekeeping), but we have plenty of evidence for the existence of the Library nonetheless.

The claim above is simply not true. Scholars and translators circulated catalogs of texts that they had access to from the Alexandria Library. These often contained samples of the offered texts. Much of what we know of the existence and contents of the library come from these catalogs which are “documents pointing to the existence of the Library from the time of the Library…”

Comment #187400

Posted by Coin on July 12, 2007 6:24 PM (e)

Raven when you label all Christians with the rantings you quote

I don’t see anywhere that Raven did anything like this.

Comment #187405

Posted by Sir_Toejam on July 12, 2007 6:49 PM (e)

But, moreover, it is the mark of the liar, because you know the vast majority of Christians repudiate the acts you describe.

too bad you can’t count yourself as part of the majority of xians then, eh?

Comment #187424

Posted by raven on July 12, 2007 8:42 PM (e)

Raven:
The DI is part of the “who would Jesus maim, torture, rape, and kill” branch of Xianity. I doubt if they can destroy the religion but ultimately they will probably do it some serious damage. When xians glorify ignorance, violence, lies, and evil, who would want to be one?

Harold:

I don’t want to get into a flame war with either traditional atheists or traditional Christians, but the Biblical figure of “Jesus”, whether fictional, historical, or a composite, is a coherent advocate of a philosophy of compassion, humility, non-violence (by humans), social concern, and non-hypocrisy. This philosophy, as expressed by the character, is blended with faith in the God of Judaism. You can disagree with the message, or the faith, but that is what the character in the Gospels expresses.

Harold expresses the cognitive dissonance of mainstream protestants and catholics when confronted by the cultists. From what I remember, the emphasis was on blessed are the peacemakers, social justice, love your neighbor, feed the poor, do unto others.., let he who is without sin cast the first stone, judgement is up to god not man, etc..Actually positive uplifting ideals that even atheists could agree with even if they don’t believe in the messenger.

Then you see the others. MD murderers, CU, Boulder stalker, DI professional liars, christian identity racists, KKKers, etc.. You read about their plans to murder various groups for various reasons, overthrow the government, set up a hell on earth theocracy, and bring back the dark ages.

At that point, you wonder what bible they’ve been reading or rather not reading. The answer, IMO, is that there are really two christian religions, the worldwide mainstream one and the south central USA cults. They have little in common except the same name.

As I posted before, in the long run the lies and hate crowd will probably ultimately do some serious damage to the religion but that is about all. It is hard to imagine the USA putting a noose around its neck and jumping just because Falwell and Robertson want us to. OTOH, Toynbee pointed out that 19 of 22 civilizations fell from within. Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.

Comment #187476

Posted by Torbjörn Larsson, OM on July 13, 2007 12:32 AM (e)

harold wrote:

the Biblical figure of “Jesus”, whether fictional, historical, or a composite, is a coherent advocate

Not that I find it important if it is used in an argument, but I have to agree with Larry, it is an irritating habit. It lowers the quality of the communication, and indirectly it drags the argument down.

The reason is that a fictional candidate doesn’t say or do anything outside the fiction.

And if it is indeed a historical figure, we doesn’t seem to know these things either. AFAIK the historical sources that can, or can not (seeing the jury is still out), be used as reference doesn’t cover that much.

Blair:

Blair wrote:

Larsson, you might take a look at Ravens 9:08 a.m. post.

Since PT uniquely and consequtively number the comments, it wouldn’t have hurt if you used that identifier instead.

Blair wrote:

She talks about christians frequently threatenting to kill people, etc.

I have to say the same as harold said in comment #187351: you’ve “made an argument that denies simple statistics”. Out of spite, or out of ignorance.

raven doesn’t mean that every christian is threatening. There is variation, but the population has an observable greater mean frequency for making threats.

[And, I think the statistics agree. There are correlations religious - less education and, I think, less education - more violence (implying more threats). So it is feasible, and would not be surprising, that it could be true.]

But your’s, or anonymous’, task was to find her describing all christians as, say, making threats.

Comment #187486

Posted by raven on July 13, 2007 1:37 AM (e)

Pat Robertson: wikipedia
Hugo Chávez“ I don’t know about this doctrine of assassination, but if he thinks we’re trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it. It’s a whole lot cheaper than starting a war, and I don’t think any oil shipments will stop.

We will find you, we will try you, and we will execute you. I mean every word of it.
[Randall Terry, founder of Operation Rescue, at the Aug 8, 1995 U.S. Taxpayers Alliance Banquet in Washington DC, talking about doctors who perform abortions and volunteer escorts My note. Terry’s sympathizers have, in fact, murdered more than a few health care workers.

“Pastor Jerry Gibson spoke at Doug Whites New Day Covenant Church in Boulder.

He said that every true Christian should be ready and willing to take up arms to kill the enemies of Christian society.

bcseweb.org Rushdooney:
Our list may not be perfect but it seems to cover those “crimes” against the family that are inferred by Rushdoony’s statement to Moyers. The real frightening side of it is the interpretation of heresy, apostasy and idolatry. Rushdoony’s position seems to suggest that he would have anyone killed who disagreed with his religious opinions. That represents all but a tiny minority of people. Add to that death penalties for what is quite legal, blasphemy, not getting on with parents and working on a Sunday means that it the fantasy ideal world of Rushdoony and his pals, there will be an awful lot of mass murderers and amongst a tiny population.

We have done figures for the UK which suggest that around 99% of the population would end up dead and the remainder would have each, on average, killed 500 fellow citizens.

Chalcedon foundation bsceweb.org. Stoning disobedient children to death.Contempt for Parental Authority: Those who consider death as a horrible punishment here must realise that in such a case as
….cut for length
Rev. William Einwechter, “Modern Issues in Biblical Perspective: Stoning Disobedient Children”, The Chalcedon Report, January 1999

When The Hate Comes From ‘Churches’
ASHLAND, Ore. - A recent spate of crimes points up a growing connection between hateful actions and organizations calling themselves churches.
Two brothers from northern California reportedly linked to such a group were charged this week with the killing of two gay men near Redding. Benjamin Matthew Williams and James Tyler Williams also are suspects in the firebombing of three synagogues in the Sacramento area last month.

According to personal acquaintances as well as law enforcement officials, the Williams brothers were involved in Christian Identity, a religion that holds Jews and nonwhites to be subhuman and is closely tied to the Aryan Nations white-supremacist group based in northern Idaho.

Meanwhile, officials are investigating the links between Benjamin Smith and the World Church of the Creator. Over Independence Day weekend in Illinois and Indiana, Smith shot Asians, Jews, and an African-American (killing two and injuring nine) before killing himself.

Fundie cultists frequently publish lists of groups they plan to or would like to kill. From above quotes, we have MDs, “enemies of christian society” (whoever they are), heresy etc., disobedient children but only by stoning, gays, Jews, nonwhites, the topic of this thread-scientists and others.

If the truth is ugly, way it goes. By their words, ye shall know them, The Book.

To make things worse, they occasionally do murder people.

This doesn’t happen with mainstream christian denominations that I know of. Our church always talked about world peace and eliminating poverty. If you would have suggested drawing up a list of groups to hate and kill and arms and ammmunition to buy, well, it would be inconceivable.

Comment #187550

Posted by harold on July 13, 2007 8:17 AM (e)

Torbjorn Larsson

Why do people insist on referring to Jesus Christ as if it was historical fact that he existed. There is NO evidence that he actually did.

the Biblical figure of “Jesus”, whether fictional, historical, or a composite, is a coherent advocate of a philosophy of compassion, humility, non-violence (by humans), social concern, and non-hypocrisy. This philosophy, as expressed by the character, is blended with faith in the God of Judaism. You can disagree with the message, or the faith, but that is what the character in the Gospels expresses.

Not that I find it important if it is used in an argument, but I have to agree with Larry, it is an irritating habit. It lowers the quality of the communication, and indirectly it drags the argument down.

The reason is that a fictional candidate doesn’t say or do anything outside the fiction.

I’m not sure we have an argument here, since what you say is obviously technically correct - a fictional character cannot act outside of fiction. (I’m not conceding that the Biblical figure of Jesus is definitively fictional, although that makes no difference to me.)

Buddha, Socrates, Lao Tzu, the characters in the Bhagavad Gita, and Jesus are all examples of figures who may be fictional, legendary, or quasi-historical.

All have been preserved, not as definitive historical figures along the lines of Henry VIII or something, but as symbolic proponents of coherent and sophisticated philosophical explorations. (In this way they differ from many “legendary” characters like Robin Hood and the like, whose primary attributes are special physical abilities and adventures.)

It is certainly unlikely to be fruitful to obsess over questions about the exactness of the historical accuracy of the presentation of such figures. It is a very arbitrary and non-scientific thing to “accept on faith” that such figures are historical (although one could insist on “believing” that the young Siddhartha encountered exactly four people on his first journey into the outside world or the like without denying current scientific reality). I don’t do either of these. Whether it is “irritating” for others to do so is a subjective judgment; to me, sometimes it is, and sometimes it isn’t, it depends on the context.

What is always irritating to me is the misuse of the names of such figures to justify a policy of harming others.

Comment #187552

Posted by Popper's Ghost on July 13, 2007 8:29 AM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'kwickxml'

Comment #187554

Posted by Popper's Ghost on July 13, 2007 8:31 AM (e)

As a matter of fact, while the historical question of the existence of Jesus is still an open one, there are several specific theories relating to the non-existence of Jesus which are largely discredited. I am no historian (though I have a secret love for history), but the largest portion of the reason these theories are discredited do not come from the presence nor absence of any documentation surrounding the person of Jesus, but from the fact that these theories rely upon the missing documentation.

You are talking nonsense.

Case in point: there are no documents pointing to the existence of the Library of Alexandria from the time of the Library’s existence (those would have been in the library for safekeeping), but we have plenty of evidence for the existence of the Library nonetheless.

Aside from that being false, it’s not a “case in point”.

Comment #187556

Posted by Popper's Ghost on July 13, 2007 8:42 AM (e)

I’m not sure we have an argument here, since what you say is obviously technically correct - a fictional character cannot act outside of fiction. (I’m not conceding that the Biblical figure of Jesus is definitively fictional, although that makes no difference to me.)

Buddha, Socrates, Lao Tzu, the characters in the Bhagavad Gita, and Jesus are all examples of figures who may be fictional, legendary, or quasi-historical.

All have been preserved, not as definitive historical figures along the lines of Henry VIII or something, but as symbolic proponents of coherent and sophisticated philosophical explorations. (In this way they differ from many “legendary” characters like Robin Hood and the like, whose primary attributes are special physical abilities and adventures.)

That’s a nice fairy tale.

Why appeal to a fictional character as “a coherent advocate of a philosophy of compassion, humility, non-violence (by humans), social concern, and non-hypocrisy”? Why not just act compassionately, with humility, etc., as you best understand them? What if it turns out that you missed something in this “coherent” fiction and it doesn’t exactly match your own view of what is good and right behavior? There’s a very real sense in which your view is similar to Mark Hausam’s, who trusts in the bible because, he claims, it’s a perfect match to how the world seems to him.

Comment #187557

Posted by Popper's Ghost on July 13, 2007 8:59 AM (e)

Because you’re trying to imply, lyingly, that they spoke of physical abuse, when what they really said is that it is a lesser form of “abuse” to raise children with certain types of traditional religious settings.

Uh, no, they didn’t say that. For instance, Dawkins wrote

The mental abuse constituted by an unsubstantiated threat of violence and terrible pain, if sincerely believed by the child, could easily be more damaging than the physical actuality of sexual abuse. An extreme threat of violence and pain is precisely what the doctrine of hell is.

Stop making stuff up, even if it’s stuff that you intend as a defense of our guys.

Comment #187605

Posted by Matt Young on July 13, 2007 10:52 AM (e)

The Panda’s Thumb gets its name in the paper in a follow-up article in the Denver Post here: http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_6362396 .

Comment #187625

Posted by Imlac on July 13, 2007 12:16 PM (e)

In addition, the New Testament states clearly that Adam and Eve were our original parents and that Noah’s Flood was an historical reality.

The NEW testament? Is that a typo? Does the NT reference Adam, Eve and the Flood? Or does this guy biblically, as well as scientifically illiterate?

Comment #187626

Posted by harold on July 13, 2007 12:17 PM (e)

Popper’s Ghost -

I’m going to clarify what I said.

Why appeal to a fictional character as “a coherent advocate of a philosophy of compassion, humility, non-violence (by humans), social concern, and non-hypocrisy”? Why not just act compassionately, with humility, etc., as you best understand them?

There is no reason not to, and I did not wish to imply that there is, nor that one should necessarily refer to a “fictional” or symbolic character when doing so.

I would also agree that one can simply meditate and live by humane values, and that technically, no reference to the character “the Buddha” is necessary, as a further example of this point.

I was essentially making two points - 1) those who claim to be inspired by the character Jesus, yet who behave in ways that are contrary to the very obvious and coherent philosophy endorsed by that character are hypocrites (this is obviously true whether or not Jesus is historical) and 2) factually, for whatever reason, it is commonplace for philosophical systems to be associated with symbolic, legendary figures; Jesus is one example of many.

What if it turns out that you missed something in this “coherent” fiction and it doesn’t exactly match your own view of what is good and right behavior? There’s a very real sense in which your view is similar to Mark Hausam’s, who trusts in the bible because, he claims, it’s a perfect match to how the world seems to him.

We happen to know that Mark Hausam is a brutal SOB who believes in full blown authoritarian dictatorship based on his perverted view of “Biblical Law”, which includes, of course, execution of homosexuals and similar things. We know that because I exposed him while everyone else was talking about the age of the earth. Of course, they were talking about the age of the earth because Mark Hausam also lies about physical reality.

You may have mistaken me for a traditional but liberal Christian, which I’m not. However, there are plenty of people who actually are traditional Christians who would, and in fact have, given their lives in protest against the likes of Mark Hausam. The comparison would not be appropriate even if I were an Anglican priest.

It was with some difficulty that I controlled the rage that I felt when I saw myself compared to Mark Hausam; I have freely and strongly expressed support for human rights and dignity even in times and places where it served me ill, and I have dedicated a great deal of effort to the humble and valid pursuit of scientific knowledge.

Please feel free to level all the fair criticisms at me that you wish.

It might be fair to say something along the lines of “Although you vehemently reject the authoritarian brutality and hypocritical denial of science that Mark Hausam stands for, in some other less obvious way, you are like him…”, but I would prefer to have my points addressed without any comparitive reference to Mark Hausam, or any other inappropriate figure.

Because you’re trying to imply, lyingly, that they spoke of physical abuse, when what they really said is that it is a lesser form of “abuse” to raise children with certain types of traditional religious settings.

The mental abuse constituted by an unsubstantiated threat of violence and terrible pain, if sincerely believed by the child, could easily be more damaging than the physical actuality of sexual abuse. An extreme threat of violence and pain is precisely what the doctrine of hell is.

Stop making stuff up, even if it’s stuff that you intend as a defense of our guys.

I stand corrected for accidentally misrepresenting the degree of Dawkins’ overstatement.

I actually agree that children should not be threatened with hell.

I don’t agree that it constitutes “abuse”, necessarily, although in extreme cases it certainly may. I certainly don’t agree that being threatened with the possibility of hell, even to a degree that may constitute abuse, is remotely as serious a form of abuse as being seriously beaten or sexually abused.

Nevertheless, it is true that I implied (and honestly misremembered at the time) that Dawkins, like me, saw threats of post-mortem spiritual punishment as less severe than overt physical or sexual abuse. You have now demonstrated that he seems to equate the two; I’m sure victims of physical and sexual abuse might disagree.

My post was fundamentally correct, though. Dawkins does not, in this quote, accuse creationists of physically and sexually abusing children, but rather, of psychologically abusing them, as I said. I did mildly misuse the word “lesser”, implying that both Dawkins and I see the latter as lesser, when in fact, I do, but Dawkins may not.

My other, and obviously major point - that wrong actions by Dawkins, even if they occur, do not neutralize the immorality of violent behavior by creationists - is valid as originally stated.

Comment #187847

Posted by raven on July 14, 2007 2:19 PM (e)

It is the Jihadi troll from Kansas. Seeing as how your co-cultists have published their to murder lists, why don’t you publish yours? Since you are not very bright or sane, in the likely event you can’t write a coherent thought, just copy someone elses. Pat Robertson has dibs on Hugo Chavez, that one is off the table.

Pat Robertson: wikipedia
Hugo Chávez“ I don’t know about this doctrine of assassination, but if he thinks we’re trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it. It’s a whole lot cheaper than starting a war, and I don’t think any oil shipments will stop.

We will find you, we will try you, and we will execute you. I mean every word of it.
[Randall Terry, founder of Operation Rescue, at the Aug 8, 1995 U.S. Taxpayers Alliance Banquet in Washington DC, talking about doctors who perform abortions and volunteer escorts My note. Terry’s sympathizers have, in fact, murdered more than a few health care workers.

“Pastor Jerry Gibson spoke at Doug Whites New Day Covenant Church in Boulder.

He said that every true Christian should be ready and willing to take up arms to kill the enemies of Christian society.

bcseweb.org Rushdooney:
Our list may not be perfect but it seems to cover those “crimes” against the family that are inferred by Rushdoony’s statement to Moyers. The real frightening side of it is the interpretation of heresy, apostasy and idolatry. Rushdoony’s position seems to suggest that he would have anyone killed who disagreed with his religious opinions. That represents all but a tiny minority of people. Add to that death penalties for what is quite legal, blasphemy, not getting on with parents and working on a Sunday means that it the fantasy ideal world of Rushdoony and his pals, there will be an awful lot of mass murderers and amongst a tiny population.

We have done figures for the UK which suggest that around 99% of the population would end up dead and the remainder would have each, on average, killed 500 fellow citizens.

Chalcedon foundation bsceweb.org. Stoning disobedient children to death.Contempt for Parental Authority: Those who consider death as a horrible punishment here must realise that in such a case as
….cut for length
Rev. William Einwechter, “Modern Issues in Biblical Perspective: Stoning Disobedient Children”, The Chalcedon Report, January 1999

When The Hate Comes From ‘Churches’
ASHLAND, Ore. - A recent spate of crimes points up a growing connection between hateful actions and organizations calling themselves churches.
Two brothers from northern California reportedly linked to such a group were charged this week with the killing of two gay men near Redding. Benjamin Matthew Williams and James Tyler Williams also are suspects in the firebombing of three synagogues in the Sacramento area last month.

According to personal acquaintances as well as law enforcement officials, the Williams brothers were involved in Christian Identity, a religion that holds Jews and nonwhites to be subhuman and is closely tied to the Aryan Nations white-supremacist group based in northern Idaho.

Meanwhile, officials are investigating the links between Benjamin Smith and the World Church of the Creator. Over Independence Day weekend in Illinois and Indiana, Smith shot Asians, Jews, and an African-American (killing two and injuring nine) before killing himself.

Fundie cultists frequently publish lists of groups they plan to or would like to kill. From above quotes, we have MDs, “enemies of christian society” (whoever they are), heresy etc., disobedient children but only by stoning, gays, Jews, nonwhites, the topic of this thread-scientists and others.

If the truth is ugly, way it goes. By their words, ye shall know them, The Book.

To make things worse, they occasionally do murder people.

This doesn’t happen with mainstream christian denominations that I know of. Our church always talked about world peace and eliminating poverty. If you would have suggested drawing up a list of groups to hate and kill and arms and ammmunition to buy, well, it would be inconceivable.

Comment #187879

Posted by Sir_Toejam on July 14, 2007 7:27 PM (e)

An extreme threat of violence and pain is precisely what the doctrine of hell is

sounds more like the definition of terrorism.

However, seems plausible that subjecting children to terrorism constitutes abuse.

Comment #187937

Posted by harold on July 15, 2007 9:44 AM (e)

An extreme threat of violence and pain is precisely what the doctrine of hell is

Yes, it is. I don’t consider it unethical to involuntarily “believe in” or “fear” hell, neither of which I do of course, but I do consider it grossly unethical to take any pleasure or satisfaction in the thought of another person suffering in hell.

sounds more like the definition of terrorism.

I agree that there is a possible weak analogy between terrorism as usually defined, which inflicts brutal violence on fairly random people who are either innocent, or guilty of some trivial, unreasonable offense in the mind of the terrorist (happening to live under a government the terrorist perceives himself as “resisting”, whether justifiably or not, for example), and the hypothetical idea of brutally punishing people for eternity after their deaths. In both cases, the people affected are severely harmed for no possible reason. However, in the case of hell, the harm is imaginary and comes “after death”.

Thus, there is an obvious difference. I don’t care if some guy tells me I’m going to go to hell, but I care very much about not being blown up.

However, seems plausible that subjecting children to terrorism constitutes abuse.

Subjecting children to actual, physical, worldly terrorism, as Timothy McVeigh did and as happens every day all over the world, is unspeakably despicable; “abuse” is a gross understatement.

Even merely threatening children with the type of physical harm associated with “terrorism”, eg threatening to kill them with a suicide bomb (or a “regular” bomb), or fly an airplane into the buildings they occupy, or any other such thing, would surely constitute legitimate psychological abuse. In the US or Canada, a parent who threatened to set off a suicide bomb at the dinner table or some such thing would be likely to be deemed unfit, and almost certainly deservedly so.

Telling children that, unless they obey some set of rules (or “repent” or “confess” when they break them), they face the risk of hell after they are dead, may seem rather regressive. In very extreme cases, I might call it “abuse”. If it were very extreme and the child was demonstrably psychologically harmed, relative to appropriate control children.

I understand, although don’t entirely accept, the argument that “involuntary religious indoctrination of children” is in itself, hell or no hell, a rarified form of “abuse”. (Of interest, the church I was more or less raised with as a child requires voluntary “adult baptism”, so technically, I have never been a member.)

This is all partially semantic. I agree that indoctrination in a single religion is suboptimal, as are “threats” of hell, all things considered. But I consider “abuse” to mean something so bad that it deviates from minimal social norms, not merely something “suboptimal”.

Thus, I don’t agree that every child brought up, for example, as a Catholic, is being “abused” or subjected to “terrorism”. (Sexual scandals involving Catholic clergy are not relevant as those are examples of abuse that, whether or not related to celibacy, or whether or not over-reported relative to similar abuse in other settings, is actually contrary to Catholic teachings).

If we lower the definitions of “terrorism” and “child abuse” to the degree that merely being raised in a Catholic or Orthodox Jewish home, for example, is “abuse” or “terrorism” for a child in and of itself, then a great deal of other quotidien things become “abuse” and “terrorism” as well. (Incidentally, although some branches of my family are Catholic, I have never been in a Catholic church except for a wedding or once as a tourist.)

Of course, “child abuse” is, from a pragmatic perspective, a legal term. It really doesn’t matter much if Dawkins thinks that taking children to Anglican Sunday school is deserving of the same condemnation as beating or sexually abusing them. Legally, a distinction is made.

I’ve googled “Dawkins” and “child abuse” a little now, and it seems that indeed I was initially half wrong, as Popper’s Ghost pointed out - Dawkins speaks of religion as psychological abuse, but does resort to hyperbole, as far as I can tell, and “equate” it with such things as beatings and sexual abuse. I consider this hyperbole to be ill-advised. It is appallingly insensitive to people who have suffered true physical and sexual abuse, and who would be delighted to have been “abused” merely by being exposed to the rituals of some tradional religion.

Comment #187953

Posted by Grant on July 15, 2007 1:14 PM (e)

Wow, I’m a Christian and this is some sick shit! The bible doesnt teach to hate people who dont agree with you. I hope they catch this person and put their ass in jail for harassment!

Comment #188052

Posted by Torbjörn Larsson, OM on July 16, 2007 2:25 AM (e)

harold:

Sorry, the usual weekend hiatus happened.

harold wrote:

Whether it is “irritating” for others to do so is a subjective judgment; to me, sometimes it is, and sometimes it isn’t, it depends on the context.

On the subjective judgment, agreed; but at the same time it is an objective reality that such habits is discussing like the reader is in the in-group, which is often a (deliberate) mistake and either childish or nerdy.

For example, between

”Followers’ of Aragorn such as this rarely worry about what Aragorn said or did - not if there’s a chance of bringing about a society where everyone does what Aragorn said.’

and

”Followers’ of Middle Earth such as this rarely worry about what Tolkien wrote - not if there’s a chance of bringing about a society where everyone does what Tolkien wrote.’

I prefer the latter which is an out-group, neutral description for the general public.

harold wrote:

In very extreme cases, I might call it “abuse”. If it were very extreme and the child was demonstrably psychologically harmed, relative to appropriate control children.

I think Dawkins point is that it is threatening to a child, threats of violence no less (“burn in hell if you don’t do as you are told” et cetera), and systematic use of threats of violence (and violence) is referred to as terrorism. I am still trying to analyze this (I would prefer to have some research - for example, is this part of the explanation why religious groups fare less well in education and tests) but it seems to me Dawkins can be in the right.

Comment #188094

Posted by Seamus James on July 16, 2007 8:32 AM (e)

It’s times like these that I ask myself, “Is civil war really THAT bad?” Those who have attended CU are likely to recall the fundamentalist that hangs out around the Dalton Trumbo fountain at the start of the school year proselytizing, berating, and generally humiliating himself. Perhaps that fellow should be looked into as well?

Comment #188097

Posted by harold on July 16, 2007 8:55 AM (e)

I think Dawkins point is that it is threatening to a child, threats of violence no less (“burn in hell if you don’t do as you are told” et cetera), and systematic use of threats of violence (and violence) is referred to as terrorism. I am still trying to analyze this (I would prefer to have some research - for example, is this part of the explanation why religious groups fare less well in education and tests) but it seems to me Dawkins can be in the right.

I am actually opposed to the use of the concept of hell myself, except by people who believe in it for some involuntary reason and can’t help themselves. Likewise I think that children should be raised in an atmosphere that encourages skeptical, independent thinking and is tolerant of diversity (whether or not they also attend some kind of traditional rituals). My apparent disagreement with Dawkins is not on these points.

If his view actually is that mentioning hell at all and/or involving children in the rituals of a traditional religion amounts to “terrorism” and/or “abuse”, then I must stick to my guns, and say that I see him as guilty, on this point, of exaggeration and hyperbole.

I think it’s obvious that people who were raped or beaten as children, or people who have been maimed or lost loved ones in actual acts of terrorism, would most certainly not see trivial verbal threats of post-mortem punishment (which can be avoided by “repentance” or “confession”) as equal to the abuse or terrorism which they have endured. “Abuse” and “terrorism” are strong words, and it doesn’t make sense to dumb them down to mean less, at least not in my view.

I’m by no means “anti-Dawkins”; I even own one of his books, but I do note that he sometimes seems to make use of intentionally loaded and exaggerated language to stir up controversy, especially when discussing other peoples’ religious practices. (My major complaint with him is not this, but his tendency to leave molecular biology out of his books on evolution, but that’s not relevant here.)

I also note that there is a fairly strong tendency by some posters here to perceive Dawkins as oppressed and unfairly attacked. (It is true that Dawkins endures a good deal of unfair verbal attack, but it is also true that he is a wealthy celebrity.)

Anything that can be construed as “criticism” of Dawkins, or “misrepresentation” of Dawkins, brings “knights in shining armor” riding quite vigorously to his “rescue”, and can lead them to strained defenses of his more deliberately controversial passages.

I actually already knew that and didn’t want to start a “Dawkins war”.

What happened here is that I corrected a creationist poster who implied that Dawkins accuses people of physical child abuse. But in correcting that poster, I said that Dawkins accuses the religious of “lesser” psychological abuse. Popper’s Ghost rather abruptly drew my attention to a subtle logical issue. Although Dawkins describes psychological abuse, and although I consider the type of activity he describes to be at most “lesser” than physical abuse, Dawkins himself does apparently imply that it is no “lesser” that outright physical harm.

Hence, I have conceded my lack of clarity in the original post, and I have also noted that I consider Dawkins’ apparent claim of equality between verbal threats (and not even verbal threats of physical harm but of imaginary after-death harm) and actual physical violence to be an exaggeration. This is despite my own disapproval of raising children with threats of hell or intolerant religious teachings.

Comment #188649

Posted by tom wible on July 18, 2007 8:47 AM (e)

nonono, jesus lives in siberia:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/art…

Comment #188670

Posted by anon on July 18, 2007 10:36 AM (e)

just so you know, the link with text “disbelieves the Denver Post story” is wrong; it needs an “l” at the end (htm –> html)

Comment #188748

Posted by Torbjörn Larsson, OM on July 18, 2007 10:53 PM (e)

Again I fail to check in timely on ongoing threads. Sorry.

harold wrote:

“Abuse” and “terrorism” are strong words, and it doesn’t make sense to dumb them down to mean less, at least not in my view.

I agree that they shouldn’t be dumbed down - as I noted on another thread, conflating normal terrorists with nutcases means that the later can get the wrong treatment. (Normal terrorists works in cells, while violent nutcases can be immediately isolated if it is necessary.)

But following the agreed upon definitions for abuse and terrorism, it is cases of both. It is also indicative of the problems - psychological abuse is harmful for children as well as adults. And the most damaging part of physical abuse is the psychological part AFAIU, which shows why it is important to point it out.

What would remain is a discussion of degree of harmfulness between discussing sin and damnation et cetera.

Finally, I’m not sure why we need to go into Dawkins as a person. But for what it is worth, as most active atheists he is IMO often attacked as “militant” or something such for expressing his views instead of being aggressive.

Comment #189102

Posted by Popper' Ghost on July 21, 2007 2:07 AM (e)

It was with some difficulty that I controlled the rage that I felt when I saw myself compared to Mark Hausam

Yes, well, that’s part of your sickness and your intellectual dishonesty. I said there was a “very real sense” in which you are like him, and it isn’t the sense that you got so defensive about. Your rage is a very convenient way of missing my point.

Comment #189103

Posted by Popper' Ghost on July 21, 2007 2:22 AM (e)

My post was fundamentally correct, though. Dawkins does not, in this quote, accuse creationists of physically and sexually abusing children

No, it was not fundamentally correct, because the terrorist wrote “EBIO Professors are also intellectual and spiritual child abusers of their young and impressionable students” – nothing there about physical or sexual abuse – and Blasphemy Challenger wrote “Say, don’t atheists like Dawkins and Dennet label creationists child abusers?” And in that limited area, BC was correct. And yet you wrote

That’s odd, you forgot to include a quote from Dennet or Dawkins.

Because you’re trying to imply, lyingly, that they spoke of physical abuse,

Which was a completely false charge against BC. BC deserves many things, but not that response. You, in all your preening arrogance about what a Christ-like figure you are and how all those other “Christians” aren’t really Christians because they don’t practice all those wonderful principles – you who are so full of rage – felt perfectly justified in smacking around someone who actually made one valid point – that Dawkins uses language similar to the terrorist in that one instance. See, I like Dawkins and I dislike the terrorist and BC, but that doesn’t require me to be dishonest about them.

Comment #189105

Posted by Popper' Ghost on July 21, 2007 2:34 AM (e)

What happened here is that I corrected a creationist poster who implied that Dawkins accuses people of physical child abuse. But in correcting that poster, I said that Dawkins accuses the religious of “lesser” psychological abuse.

Here again you repeat the falsehood. The poster never implied any such thing … it was only your claim that there was such an implication, based on nothing at all. You have written nothing to support that claim, only to repeat it. Ah, but it must be true because you think it, just as it must have been true that Dawkins thinks religious indoctrination is lesser abuse, because you thought that’s what he thinks, not because you had any evidence of it. And yet you so hypocritically criticized Blasphemous Challenger for not offering a quote, when you yourself offered no quote to support your counterclaim. Who offered a quote? Me. I actually bothered to look into the matter. I actually believe in the importance of evidence, no matter whose position it supports.

Comment #190425

Posted by Dave on July 27, 2007 1:01 AM (e)

But I believe it is far more effective to take up a pen to kill the enemies of Truth.

I think you mistake this for a physical threat. He is saying he will do battle with the written word, not that he will stab you with a Scripto. And he has every right to pursue you as far as the courts will allow. I have heard that he has scared some folks, but if you ask me it, is his zeal, no matter how misplaced you deem it, that scares you, not the possibility of physical harm. Perhaps you should counter sue him and we could retry the Scopes matter again. LOL! I dare you.