Hate Mail

ASU Coward

A lot of people (including Anonymous Brian, in the page preceding this one) have written complaining that I only post the worst, least rational examples of my Hate Mail. This is simply not the case. The worst of my Hate Mail looks a lot worse than most of the stuff on this page, and although I normally try not to do this, I feel compelled now to present the following example.

Note that I have no idea who this person is. The only names he gives are "Evil Roy" and "Man That You Phear", and he carefully concealed his identity using every means at his disposal. Not only did he give a Hotmail address, but upon closer inspection, I discovered that he was forging the E-mail headers so that it would only appear to come from Hotmail. In reality, he was sending the messages by making a direct SMTP connection to my mail host from computers located on the Arizona State University campus. I checked this with Hotmail, and they confirmed that the E-mail account in question did not exist and that he was carefully forging his headers.

It is not surprising that he would conceal his identity, since he introduced himself with what appeared to be an attempt at intimidation, and he also made a series of crank phone calls (which traced to cell-phones and Call Privacy-protected phone numbers in the same region of Arizona from which his IP addresses were located) at the same time that I received the first E-mail message. Anyone behaving in such an asinine manner would obviously want to avoid associating himself with his own actions.

So why do I call him the ASU Coward? It's because I honestly don't have any other information about him. He used the ASU computer network, he refuses to give his real name, and by expending such efforts to conceal his identity, he has shown himself to be a coward.

January 5, 2002:

Ev1L R0y 0wnz y0ur s0rry 4ss.

Phear me.

So long, Wong!


Th3 m4n th4t y0u ph34r

P.S. Say, "Go away, PLA!" on your s1lly l1ttle site and we may just show m3rrrrrrrrcy on your p00r p4th3t1c s0ul... 0r N0T!

Generally speaking, my response to this sort of attempt at intimidation is to simply ignore the source. People like this crave attention, and he's not the first (besides, an E-mail response would have been useless since he was forging headers from a nonexistent Hotmail account, and I wasn't about to comply with his demand that I communicate with him through my website). I simply delete this kind of E-mail in most cases, but I kept this one because any time someone goes to the bother of tracking down phone numbers and trying to harass you over a website he disagrees with, there's a possibility that you're dealing with a genuine psychopath.

January 25, 2002:

He made numerous crank phone calls over the next few weeks, and then he sent a creationist argument. Until that point, I had no idea what his beef was; for all I knew, he had a problem with my personal home page, my activities relating to sci-fi, or the fact that I am an Asian man married to a white woman. But I shouldn't have been surprised that he had a beef with the creationism critiques; he hails from a region which is known to be crawling with fundamentalists.

On your Creationism page, you ask:
"Why aren't environmentally specialized fossils found away from their native environments? A flood would easily disperse fossils over very wide areas irrespective of their original environmental suitability, yet we see no evidence of this dispersion."

Yet earlier, you ask:
"Why do the sedimentary rocks in the mountains contain fossils of ocean-dwelling creatures?"

Was that a typo, or were you answering your own question? Do you know of any mountain-dwelling starfish?

Again, it was impossible to answer him directly and I was not particularly inclined to do so anyway (given his crank calls and attempts at intimidation), so I'm not sure what he was hoping to accomplish by sending this argument. In any case, notice how he looks for imperfections (or what he sees as imperfections) in the leading theory, rather than asking which theory is better. Since the mountains in question were once part of the ocean floor (according to mainstream geological theory), it's obvious why they would accumulate sedimentary rock and ocean-dweller fossils.

However, if they were always inland and only underwater during a brief period during the Flood (as per creationist dogma), then they would accumulate little sedimentary rock (one does not need to be a genius to know that sediments will tend to fall in low-lying areas of the ocean floor, rather than compacting on the sides of mountains), and the vast majority of it would be land dwellers, since the vast majority of Flood casualties would obviously have been land dwellers rather than ocean dwellers. To be honest, I thought this to be obvious when I made the page, but it would appear that I overestimated creationist intelligence. Perhaps I should clarify the question from "Why do the sedimentary rocks in the mountains contain fossils of ocean-dwelling creatures" to "Why do they contain ancient ocean-dwellers instead of modern land dwellers?"

January 30, 2002:

How is it that you believe Evolution possible in light of its initial violation of the Second Law of Thermodynamics and the "Big Bang" singularity's violation (or sidestep) of the First Law of Thermodynamics? Even if the matter contained in the singularity was not created by the singularity, that matter came from somewhere. Since no natural agency could create it -- and yet it is here -- the only supposition left is that an agency independent of known scientific laws ("widely accepted theory" if you prefer) was the originator of that material.

I have never made any secret of my irritation when people send rebuttals which I have already addressed in my site. See [obsolete link - try the Arguments page now] for the Second Law of Thermodynamics argument and [obsolete link - try the Arguments page now] for his "something can't come from nothing" argument, although other rebuttals are sprinkled throughout the pages in this Hate Mail section, since both arguments are so common among creationists that the rest of us should just carry flash cards around with the same rebuttals. However, if you are impatient, I will summarize:

  1. Evolution does not violate the Second Law of Thermodynamics because organisms are not closed systems and entropy is not reduced when structural complexity increases (in fact, it tends to go up).

  2. The Big Bang does not violate the First Law of Thermodynamics because the matter in the universe did not have to come from somewhere. To assume creation requires that this matter did not exist at some point (hence requiring its creation), and since we don't know what did or did not exist before the Big Bang, there is no reason to leap to the conclusion that there must have been nothing at all (indeed, since astrophysical theories call for space and time to be created by the Big Bang, there was probably no "before" at all). In other words, why couldn't the universe have always existed?

  3. He assumes that if the universe came from somewhere, "no natural agency" could possibly be responsible. However, he gives no reason for dismissing natural agents; he simply states it as fact without bothering to justify it. How does he know that a natural agent could not have created it? How does he know we're not simply the result of a black hole implosion in some other universe, or something similar? See Stephen Hawking's "Black Holes and Baby Universes".

There's really nothing new in his argument, and nothing that hasn't been seen and addressed a thousand times before, by a thousand others. Frankly, I start to grow weary of creationists who keep sending me the same tired old arguments.

On another note, since you claim that there are, in fact, "transitional form" fossils, would you be so kind as to point out the sources on which you have based this assertion?

This is an old creationist rhetorical technique: demand that your opponent produce a list of paleontological references, or you will summarily declare the position of mainstream paleontologists to be invalid. Repeat for every other field of science. This is a bit like being challenged to produce a reference for the speed of light in vacuum being 3E8 m/s; it's found in every physics textbook and it has been verified numerous times by numerous independent researchers so that there is no reasonable doubt, and nobody bothers asking for sources any more unless they just want to annoy you or waste your time. One could simply answer "any paleontology textbook" and be correct, since the fossil record is full of extinct primitive versions of modern species, all of which are transitionals.

The Devonian lungfish, for example, is the transitional between sea dwellers and the first land dwellers, and I've seen modern lungfish with my own eyes (does that count as a reference? For him, probably not); the distant descendants of that ancient lungfish still have the characteristic hybrid breathing mechanism (as described in any biology textbook which mentions them), thus marking them as the key transitional before the first land dwellers. I suppose I could also rattle off a list of paleontology books as references or give the phone number to the local museum. Perhaps he'd prefer to be directed to the Transitional Fossil FAQ at talkorigins.org, which is fully referenced for the edification of those who would be arrogant enough to dismiss the findings of the entire paleontological community unless the names of their articles are presented personally to him in a nice list (as if he's seriously interested in reading them, which I doubt).

One last note: Please explain to us, if you have this information, who disclosed the forgery of "Piltdown Man" and the individual or group that disclosed the origin of the "Nebraska Man" tooth as porcine rather than primate.

We don't really expect you to respond on these issues; in fact, it is entirely unnecessary. Creationists have been seeking direct answers from evolutionists for decades, and received vague and contradictory responses to their questions when any responses were received at all.

Who cares? The point is that once the scientists realized their mistake, they admitted it and moved on. It is the creationists who obsess over these old cases, because they have no explanation for the rest of the evidence so they would rather not talk about it. Moreover, scientists no longer attempt to use Piltdown Man as evidence, while creationists continue to spout arguments (such as the Second Law of Thermodyanmics argument) which were debunked more than a century ago. Piltdown Man is actually an excellent example in favour of the open and honest nature of science, since the scientific community abandoned it once it was clear that it was a forgery (arguably, they should not have accepted it in the first place since it was discovered by an amateur who didn't use proper methods). But if the creationists would be just as honest, they would abandon all of their disproven arguments too. Unfortunately, they are not so honest.

The obsession with rare mistakes and/or forgeries (so infrequent that every creationist knows their names by heart and still relies upon them for evidence decades later) is another rhetorical technique, designed to distract from the fact that the creationists have no explanation for the bulk of the evidence so they attack the tiny portion which appears to be flawed. Holocaust deniers do the same thing with their endless, obsessive prattling about inconsistencies and apparent manipulation of evidence from Dachau, as if such criticisms (even if true) would somehow eliminate the entire bulk of pictures, films, Nazi records, and eyewitness testimony from survivors, camp guards, and soldiers for all sides regarding Holocaust atrocities in every other concentration camp (not to mention all of the public mass executions, Hitler's explicit declaration of war on the Jews in "Mein Kampf", etc).

If it were any species but humans, there would be no argument over ancestry. No one argues when confronted with the fact that dogs and wolves are related, or the theory that they both evolved from ancient canids; they are structurally and behaviourally similar, and they share most of their DNA. However, the fact that humans and apes (particularly chimps) are structurally, behaviourally, and genetically similar, both to each other and to primitive hominids, provokes a completely different response. If one or two fossilized primitive hominids are found to be flawed, then creationists leap into the air with triumph and declare that the rest of them are all bunk too, and all other connections are bunk by association.

If you must look into these particular cases (keeping in mind that one cannot generalize about all hominid paleontology based on them), I would suggest you check out the Piltdown Man home page and the Nebraska Man FAQ at Talkorigins.org.

January 31, 2002:

In your debate with Ben Bartlett, there is the following exchange:

"Many scientists, historians, and intellectuals have actually become Christians after studying the evidence."

"And after being surrounded by a culture of Christian indoctrination, from coworkers, acquaintances, parents, relatives, Sunday Schools, literature, television, and movies..."

Question: If scientists are influenced toward Christianity by their coworkers (who work in the same field) they are being influenced by others of scientific mind. This is circular logic.

Creationists have a habit of leaping to conclusions and generating false dilemmas, and this misguided person is no exception. Who says a scientists' coworkers must be fellow scientists? Does a chemist working for a plastics company work exclusively with other scientists? Zero contact with technicians, managers, secretaries, clerks, or salespeople? I had no idea that modern industry was so segregated! Scientists live and work with regular people, just like everyone else. The only thing we've learned here is that this person clearly has no idea what it means to be a scientist; does he think scientists live some kind of isolated monasterial existence, associating and working only with each other?

Further, the idea that scientists are being influenced toward Creationism or Christianity by the popular media is simply absurd. Christianity is almost universally portrayed by the popular media as a primitive, oppressive superstition in literature, film and television.

He's correct if we're talking about fundamentalist Christianity (society would be on the brink of a return to the Dark Ages if fundamentalists enjoyed such high levels of public support), but moderate Christianity is praised beyond all reason. In movies and television shows, all highly moral people pray, and skeptics about mysticism and the paranormal are almost always proven wrong and portrayed as close-minded and emotionally troubled and cold or worse yet, only pretending to be skeptics. A scientist in the movies is either an evil mad genius, a social recluse, or a menacing government agent who intends to perform dastardly experiments on someone or something. From ET to Jurassic Park, Deep Blue Sea, and far too many other movies, scientists are portrayed as irresponsible or malevolent, and scientific progress is portrayed as dangerous and arrogant.

And since these are scientists we're talking about, it is extremely unlikely that they are influenced by opinion and sensationalism rather than evidence and the scientific method. Of course, everyone is human and thus susceptible to propaganda, but as we see by your own example, those who hold a professional level of interest in the scientists are not as easily swayed by propaganda as the rest of us mere mortals. :)

Gee, and he assumes this isn't true? Appeal to ridicule? Did it ever occur to him that perhaps it is true that scientists are less easily swayed by irrationality, thus explaining why less than 1% of scientists subscribe to creationism? A few hundred believers may sound like a lot, but not when measured against many tens of thousands of scientists.

One last note: neither Creationism nor Macroevolution are acceptable as theoretical origins of specific origin qualify as theories because they are neither verifiable nor falsifiable. The trick that evolutionists use to claim verifiability for macroevolution is actually microevolution, or simple adaptation.

I'm starting to get bored of his endless repetition of old-hat arguments. Notice how he never tries to explain why he thinks evolution theory is unfalsifiable. Does he even know what it means to be unfalsifiable? A theory is unfalsifiable if it makes no specific predictions (like creation theory) or it makes predictions which cannot be tested. Evolution theory makes very specific predictions which have been tested repeatedly over the past 1½ centuries. It is falsifiable in numerous ways (for example, finding a single species which does not share our arbitrary cell membrane design and/or nucleotide base pairs, or a single incident of a "design feature" suddenly jumping from one branch of the evolutionary tree to another, as one might expect for "intelligent design"), and the fact that this has not happened is why the scientific community has great confidence in evolution theory. In fact, Darwin published two very clearly defined conditions for falsifying evolution 1½ centuries ago, and in all that time, no creationist has successfully met either of them (see the Jordan Srnec Hate Mail exchange, where he actually quoted Darwin's conditions and then tried to meet them).

As for the notion of verifiability, laypeople like this individual tend to assume there is only one way of verifying a theory: conducting an experiment in a lab (while wearing a white lab coat of course, just like they do in the movies). However, that is not the case. If it were, then the entire field of astrophysics could not exist, since we can hardly perform lab experiments on stars or galaxies! A theory can be verified if its predictions match new observations, regardless of whether those observations are of events which take place during our lifetime, events which took place millions of years ago, or experiments in a lab. Every paleontological discovery made since Darwin first wrote his theory of evolution has functioned as independent verification of that theory. Every new species discovered since Darwin first wrote his theory of evolution has functioned as independent verification of that theory. Experiments have also been performed of course, but he would dismiss them as "verification of microevolution, not macroevolution", since he obviously subscribes to the bizarre creationist belief that microevolution and macroevolution are different processes.

The best way to illustrate this is to examine a feature commonly found in humans alone: the opposable thumb. No other primate that I am aware of displays this feature, or even the beginnings of adaptation to this feature. If macroevolution is correct, how is this explained? Surely even transitional forms would show a transition from a lack of this feature to a display of it. However, since most "transitional forms" between primate and human have been discovered to be the result of error (subtle or blatant) or outright fraud, no verifiable example of this transition that I am aware of has ever been found.

Are you laughing yet? I know I am! He actually has the temerity to claim that "no other primate that I am aware of" has an "opposable thumb!" Unfortunately for our cowardly friend (who was apparently wise to conceal his identity, since no one in his right mind would want to be publicly associated with such astounding ignorance), there are a large number of primates (besides us) who do have opposable thumbs. Hasn't this guy ever been to a zoo? Chimpanzees, monkeys, and gorillas all have both opposable thumbs and opposable big toes, thus giving them dexterity superior to our own. Koala bears have two opposable thumbs on each hand, plus an opposable toe. In fact, far from being unique to humans among primates, opposable thumbs are one of the distinguishing characteristics of primates in general! We are actually an exception to the rule in that we lack opposable digits on our feet!

You may also notice that he claims "most" primitive hominids are fraudulent, based on a handful of examples. As I've mentioned before, this is precisely the same fallacy of "hasty generalization" that Holocaust deniers commit when they obsess over inconsistencies in the Dachau evidence.

If we are in error on this subject, please do correct us -- with sources, please. We relish "doing the homework" on this, but as our intellectual superior, you surely won't mind pointing us in the right direction.

I suppose this means he needs a "source" for my claim that I saw opposable thumbs on a gorillas and chimps at the zoo, or my explanations for why he is gravely mistaken about the scientific method. Sometimes, a request for sources is legitimate, but other times, it's just a delaying tactic. I have my own qualifications when speaking on matters of general scientific practice, and when one presumes to contradict mainstream scientific opinion or observations that any child can make at the local zoo, it is frankly facetious to ask an opponent for sources. This is a good example of the "burden of proof" fallacy in which the party who rightfully bears the burden of proof tries to shift it onto the other party.

February 3, 2002:

He finishes the same way he started. He began in a threatening tone, he became dismissive, and when I refused to be baited, he became frustrated and he let loose with a flood of insults, profanity, and general hatred. A real credit to creationists everywhere.

Nothing to say? Huh? You fucking pussy! You lame piece of camel shit! Come on! You like flame wars? Huh? Fucking gutterwhore! Let's have it! Flame on, you fucking beer-swilling, hockey-watching moose plooker! Let's go! Insult me, you pussy-assed pencik-dicked no-load numb-nuts stinking sack of steaming sheep shit! I had your wife, and your mother was better! Your father sodomizes field mice! I've got more than you'll ever have! Don't talk with your mouth full, bitch! You got nuts on your chin! Come on! Come and get me, you four-letter word with a two word vocabulary! You're so fucking stupid, you're only half a step above being French! Eat the corn out of my shit! How's your dog? Like 'em better baked or fried, you psychotic sycophant? I hope your wife accidentally buys psychotropic tampons! Your mother wears a hairpiece! Nobody loves you, not even your wife! If it wasn't for all the money you give her every month, she'd shoot you in the head and bury your sorry ass in the backyard, you worthless piece of shit! Haaa hahahahaaaa!!! Fuckers like you are the reason Evolution was invented -- your existence requires an explanation! Go win a Darwin Award, you ugly fuck! Go juggle chainsaws! Yeah! I'll tell you what, make you a deal, old buddy 0ld p4L! How about you go lick every toad you can get your hands on until you get to the toxic one!

Cyanide is good for you! It's great in coffee! Have some! Evolution IS correct, it's the only thing that explains your parents! Ya damn dirty ape! Unclefucker! Zut alors! Goddamn! Me stony, you savvy? What the FUCK is Tourette's? Hahaha! Bite shit, Chopper! My father stormed the bitch at Burgundy! Waaaa hahaha!

Put THIS on your page and smoke it! Fiddle dee doo, said Bartlett! If I ever see you, I'll buy you a drink! I light the dance phantasmic! I'm gonna beat the sheep and choke the goats, you motherfucker! You're so stupid, it's amazing you ever learned how to shit! ROTFLMFAO!!! RAH RAH R.A.H.! HURRAH! HARROO!

pla st1LL 0wnz y0u
4p0L0g1z3 f0r y0ur rud3n355
0n y0ur p4g3
m4k3 17 v151bL3
m4k3 17 kn0wn 70 4LL 7h47 y0u 3rr3d
7h15 w1LL c0n71nu3 un71L y0u d0
w3 w1LL n07 b3 f0und
w3 w1LL n07 r3L3n7
y0u w1LL c0mply
0r y0u w1LL 3ndur3 u5

This is the sort of useless E-mail that I have received periodically ever since I put this website on the Internet (it's also an example of why I'm reluctant to get involved with people who maintain anonymity, because anonymity gives people psychological license to conduct themselves in a contemptible manner, knowing they won't be held responsible for it). This is the sort of thing that I have kept to myself up till now, and this is an example of the worst kind of E-mail I get. The rest of the people on my Hate Mail pages, far from being the dregs that some readers might assume them to be, are either average or above average in their lucidity.

Last updated: February 27, 2001

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