Hate Mail

T. Kathrmann

[Editor's note: nothing special about this one]

June 29, 2001:

First, I want to tell you that I like your site very much. Your article on Creationism vs Science is also interesting. While I do not doubt that earth may be five billion years old, I think it is pretty unfair to take the whole intellectual design stuff and mark it as "pseudoscience", "questionable references" etc.

How is it unfair? The intelligent designer argument is precisely that: pseudoscience. It employs a lot of scientific terminology and facts, but it uses them only to create enough "reasonable doubt" to justify a bizarre and totally indefensible leap of faith to the conclusion of a supreme being.

Your lottery example is interesting, but misleading.

Yes. It is actually too charitable to the creationist probability folks, by humouring their moronic belief that chemical reactions are completely random. I included it only to show that even if we do humour that belief, we can still show that not only are they wrong, but they should have failed high school math.

Also your information on the intellectual design theory seems to be incomplete.

No, the intellectual design theory itself is incomplete. It contains no terms which can be observed, measured, or evaluated in any way. It has no predictive capabilities. It describes no mechanisms. To describe it as a "scientific theory" is to commit blatant fraud.

In truth, it is nothing more than a vague cloud of "reasonable doubt" that creationists attempt to generate about any and all evolution-related scientific theories. It resembles a scientific theory no more than a clay model of a car resembles its engineering designs: it has style but there are no working parts inside.

Of course no one argues that DNA has to be instantly created from nothing. The problem begins with the "evolution" of the most basic organic enzymes. The probabilities involved are extremely low.

Yes, but only if we assume that hydrocarbon chemical reactions are completely random despite centuries of knowledge that they follow very specific rules.

Of course there are factors we do not know. We do not know how many possible sets of enzymes would work. The problem is, that when we change only one or two amino-acids within an enzyme, most of the won't work anymore. This reduces the number of hits that produce a working enzyme to a dramatically low amount.

Of course an enzyme doesn't work if you rearrange it! An enzyme is a protein which acts as a catalyst for a particular chemical reaction. Each enzyme is therefore suitable for a specific reaction, and if you alter it, it obviously won't work for its original reaction any more.

But chemical catalysts are very common in nature, and you are putting the cart before the horse: a very common intellectual mistake of "intelligent design" adherents. You are assuming that sets of chemical reactions were pre-ordained, and that enzymes had to be "designed" in order to catalyze these pre-ordained chemical reactions.

That is an ass-backwards approach. Suppose random formation of chemical catalysts produces a mixture which tends to catalyze somewhat different chemical reactions than the ones which are used for life as we know it? Do you know for a fact that life could not possibly have developed along those lines instead? Of course not. You assume that all paths but our own are dead ends because you subscribe to the notion that the requirements for life were pre-ordained.

This follows from the religious belief that life had to move along a pre-ordained path in order to reach a pre-defined goal (homo sapiens), which was presumably defined by God. However, it does not follow from any logical, scientific thought process.

[Editor's note: Actually, I'm glad he brought up enzymes, since they are an excellent example of creationist assumptions proven wrong by observation. To be specific, bacteria have evolved not only to withstand antibiotics, but also to feed off certain forms of industrial waste, using ... <drum roll please> ... new enzymes. Enzymes which appeared during the last few decades, through the process of evolution]

Of course most of the examples are simplified. However, the simplification works in both directions. Ok, there may be more possible hits, on the other hand, we need not only 2 lottery but several dozens of lottery winners.

So what? Here's where you obviously misunderstand the lottery analogy: in real life, we have had hundreds of lottery winners, haven't we?

Also you state, that this whole argument is void, because the process involved is deterministic. My argument is the following: You say, the tornado going through a field full of airplane parts argument is null and void. You then prove, that in fact there is not a field of airplane parts, but a airplane-manufacturing factory, that will automatically produce an airplane. IMHO, that an airplane factory appeared just from nowhere without a designer is even less probable than the 747.

Nice attempt to transform a stupid analogy into an even more stupid analogy. Now you're saying that the nature of chemical reactions is tantamount to a manufacturing plant? What a crock; the nature of chemical reactions is driven by the innate characteristics of matter and electromagnetism, and it doesn't resemble a "factory" any more than the laws of addition and multiplication resemble a calculator.

We will never find the proof for the existence of God, that will be sufficient to anyone, but since all times seeking God (or the truth) was a personal issue and decision. It was pretty dangerous sometimes (e.g. during the Inquisition, where you had to accept a set of traditions which was dictated by men) and is pretty harmless in the USA and western Europe today (the greatest danger is becoming engaged in flame wars on the internet :) )

Of course. But religion and creationism are not synonymous.

Creationism is not about "personal decisions". It is about spending large amounts of time and money to promote and publicize blatant fraud. It is about trying to abuse the school system in order to promote religious beliefs as science. It is about injuring the cause of genuine science, by misrepresenting its methods and its motives. It is about promoting ignorance and stupidity. It has no redeeming characteristics whatsoever.

An other point is your discussion of biblical morale.

The bible is pretty clear about the order of the commandments: Mark 12,29 "The most important one," answered Jesus, "is this: `Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.

[Editor's note: if you haven't read my page on Biblical morality, at one point I castigated the Ten Commandments for putting "Thou Shalt Not Kill" way down at number six, behind no less than four separate commandments about obeying and worshipping God, not to mention one about obeying your parents. He refers to Mark 12:29 because that one contains Jesus' version, in which he said commandment #1 was to love God, and commandment #2 was to love your neighbour. People like to quote that when they want to make the Bible sound good, even though it bears no resemblance whatsoever to God's original Ten Commandments]

No, that was Jesus' heretical rewriting of God's original commandments (he was killed for heresy, remember?). Read Exodus to see the order of the original ten commandments, as supposedly spoken by God himself.

However, you seem to think that the "modern humanistic morale code" (which is not pretty modern, the Greeks had something like that morale code about 300 BC) is better than the biblical one - ok. that's your choice.

I never said it was original, and you are correct that it flourished before Christianity, in the Hellenic era. However, it was essentially obliterated for two thousand years and it has enjoyed a recent resurgence, hence the fact that I tend to refer to it as a modern development.

[Editor's note: it should also be pointed out that while the Hellenic era had philosophy and religious freedom, it also had slavery, while slavery is considered abhorrent in the modern era. Not all ancients were savages, but we have come a long way]

However, you do exactly the same thing, that you accuse the people that believe in the biblical code: You condemn them, because they don't think like you.

Typical dishonest, insulting strawman argument. You assume that I condemn everyone who thinks differently than I do, but I challenge you to provide a shred of evidence for this slanderous claim.

In reality, I condemn the Bible itself, for numerous very specific reasons. People who follow this book are therefore only condemned by association to the extent that they are willing to defend its hatred.

That's why I make a point of differentiating between fundamentalists and the rest, because the fundamentalists take the ludicrous position that God is perfect, and that the entire Bible is absolutely true. This means that they have no choice but to defend the Bible: ALL of it, including the parts in which God instructs his followers to butcher women and children for the "evil" of belonging to a different tribe with different beliefs.

July1, 2001:

[Quoted] "Now you're saying that the nature of chemical reactions is tantamount to a manufacturing plant? What a crock; the nature of chemical reactions is driven by the innate characteristics of matter and electromagnetism, and it doesn't resemble a "factory" any more than the laws of addition and multiplication resemble a calculator"

Sorry for being stupid. Please explain me, where the "innate characteristics of matter and electromagnetism" come from?

Ah, so you're going to resort to the "unsolved mystery" fallacy, eh? Who said that the innate characteristics of matter and electromagnetism had to come from somewhere? Why couldn't they be eternal, requiring neither creation or explanation?

In order to show that the characteristics of matter and energy must have come from someone, you must show that at one time, they did not exist, hence the need for a moment of creation (there are a lot of other leaps in logic in order to conclude that God was responsible, but we must start somewhere). Do you have a shred of evidence for your implicit assumption that at one time, the innate characteristics of matter and electromagnetism did not exist? Or is this just your religious dogma speaking?

[Quoted] "But religion and creationism are NOT synonymous."

Absolutely true. Religion and faith are NOT synonymous, too.

Oh yes, they are. Religion requires faith. Science discourages it. That is no small distinction, and I challenge you to produce evidence that religion is not based upon faith. Do you seriously believe there is genuine empirical evidence for religious beliefs?

[Quoted] "Creationism is NOT about "personal decisions". It is about spending large amounts of time and money to promote and publicize blatant fraud."

Ok, but teaching evolution as if it is an undisputable fact and not a theory is similar.

Wrong. Evolution is both a theory and a fact. It is a process which has been observed in action, thus making it a fact. The theory of evolution describes the mechanisms which drive this process. Its predictions are consistent with the fossil record. Contrast this with creation theory, which describes no processes and no mechanisms, which contains no terms which can be evaluated or observed in even the most superficial way, and which has no predictive power whatsoever. I made this point in my previous message, which you chose to mostly ignore.

[Editor's note: wow, what a truly original argument! It's just a theory! If only that incredibly stupid argument hadn't already been dealt with on this site as well as every other evolution science-related site in the world, I might be impressed!]

[Quoted] "No, that was Jesus' heretical rewriting of God's original commandments (he was killed for heresy, remember?). Read Exodus to see the order of the original ten commandments, as supposedly spoken by God himself"

I have read Exodus. The first commandment is "You shall have no other gods before me." which means exactly that: God comes first. This is exactly the same meaning,

I notice that you "accidentally" skipped over the fact that the second commandment in Exodus is "thou shalt make no graven images", but in Jesus' version, it is "love your neighbour as yourself". Do you still think it is consistent?

As I said, the Bible's original Ten Commandments are full of hatred for other religions, and Jesus' altered version was actually heretical. Not that there's anything wrong with heresy; it is free thought, which opposes mindless, blind obedience, and which is not something to fear or attack.

I don't say you condemn everyone who does not think like you,

Don't lie to me! You finished your last message with the line: "you condemn them, because they don't think like you". Don't you realize that I save old E-mail messages?

but you condemn the people that beleive in the biblical code.

Because the Biblical code is horrific. I also condemn people who believe in white supremacy; is that another form of bigotry in your mind? There is nothing wrong with condemning an unethical belief, and if those who subscribe to it are condemned by extension, then that is completely just and fair.

You personally, provide the "shred of evidence" in the next sentence: "In reality, I condemn the Bible ITSELF, for numerous very specific reasons. People who follow this book are therefore only condemned by association to the extent that they are willing to defend its hatred."

You condemn the Bible, and you state that the people who follow this book are condemned. You condemn the people who follow the Bible by condemning the Bible.

Convenient exaggeration and misrepresentation on your part. Belief in the Bible is not an all or nothing proposition. There are those who completely ignore the Old Testament, for example. So I reiterate, since you were apparently reluctant to recognize my point the first time around: I identify and condemn Biblical atrocities, and Christians are only condemned to the extent that they would defend those atrocities. In other words, the hate mongers would be condemned. The liberals would not.

If one defends the Old Testament massacres of helpless women and children, then that is blatantly immoral. Can't you see that? Or are you so blinded by your religious dogma that you can't see your way clear to the obvious fact that it is wrong to butcher helpless people for the sake of one's religion, and it is also wrong to defend such butchery?

[Quoted] "That's why I make a point of differentiating between fundamentalists and the rest, because the fundamentalists take the ludicrous position that God is perfect,"

Pretty interesting. Beleiving that God is perfect is a ludicrous position.

I don't "believe" that it is ludicrous to claim that God is perfect. I have concluded that it is ludicrous to claim that God is perfect, based on the evidence at hand. Even if we take the Bible at face value, God is obviously not perfect. He is admittedly capable of error, and evil. He is confessedly vengeful and jealous. He is unjust, visiting punishment for Adam's harmless "original sin" upon his children's children and their children into all eternity. He is a mass murderer, wiping out entire cities and even the entire human race save for one acolyte, in the Great Flood. He would condemn everyone who displeases him to an eternity of agonizing torture, which makes him the most horrifyingly vindictive and cruel entity I have ever heard of.

And what is the great, loving, redeeming characteristic of God that we discover in the New Testament? He is willing to graciously refrain from subjecting us to eternal torture, IF we will swear allegiance to his son! In other words, "give me your loyalty or I'll make you suffer forever", and this is supposedly the kinder, gentler God! It boggles the mind.

[Editor's note: there is precisely one difference between the Old Testament God and the New Testament God: the New Testament God is willing to wait until the afterlife before he starts committing his atrocities]

[Quoted] "This means that they have no choice but to defend the Bible:"

Oh, I do have a choice. But I want to beleive in it, because I know that following the word of God has made my life much better (not easier, to avoid a misunderstanding).

So you think God is a great guy despite his incredible litany of atrocities, his unjust and cruel nature, and his promise to come back someday and kill everybody?

[Editor's note: notice the incredible selfishness of his argument. In effect, he says: "God is great because he's been good to me". The fact that he has made millions of others suffer and die is irrelevant, because he's supposedly been good to Thomas Kathrmann, and that's the only thing that matters]

What should I say - that the bible clearly states that the old convenant was imperfect and required imperfect measurements to protect Gods people?

Aren't you the one who took exception to my conclusion that it is ludicrous to think God is perfect, even though you now admit that God's Old Testament decisions were "imperfect?" How does a perfect being make imperfect decisions?

And by the way, "imperfect" is an incredible understatement for the horrifying atrocities of the Old Testament. That's like saying Hitler's Holocaust was "imperfect".

That God knew exactly every heart and every life of every person living in that tribes? That the only way to better understand Gods love and works by looking how Jesus lived and talked?

By that, do you refer to his admonishment to slaves that they should be content with their lot in life [Editor's note: because they'll supposedly be first in Heaven], or his characterization of Canaanites as "dogs", or his reluctance to perform healing miracles on non-Israelites, his dictum that every Christian should regard members of other faiths as "enemies", or his statement that it would be better for a man to have a millstone hung around his neck and be sunk to the bottom of the sea than to let him teach children to disobey God?

[Editor's note: the relevant Bible references are Matthew 20:27, Matthew 15:26, Matthew 10:5, Matthew 10:34, and Luke 17:2. He also ranted that "I have come to bring fire upon the Earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!" in Luke 12:49. It should also be noted that Paul echoed Jesus' sentiments on slavery in 1 Timothy 6:11 and 1 Corinthians 7:21, and this is really just a small sample of the disturbing material in the New Testament, which is still far better than the Old Testament!]

It probably also would not help if I tell you, that my Grandfather, who was an SA member was an atheist

Ahh, so you supposedly know of a single atheist in the SA (did you mean SS?), and this somehow nullifies the fact that the German majority which gave Hitler power was a Christian majority, or the fact that Hitler himself was a Christian? Does the term "hasty generalization" mean anything to you?

[Editor's note: interesting logic, eh? He claims to know of one atheist Nazi, so he thinks this proves that the Nazis were pagan or atheist despite a public policy of Christian theocracy. In an organization of millions it's easy to find exceptions, but the real issue is one of public policies and majority opinions. There were some Christians in the Soviet Union; does this mean that the Soviets were a Christian organization? As an aside, if he is closely related to a Nazi, that might help explain why he isn't as repulsed by Old Testament atrocities as I am]

and Hitlers pro-catholic statements where probably because he knew that the catholic church was a power in Germany that would be useful for his purposes (which it was).

Obviously, you subscribe to the notion that Hitler only pandered to the Christians because it suited his goals. There are three obvious rebuttals to that tired apologist defense:

  1. If it suited his goals to pretend to be Christian, then this would only mean that the Christian majority in Germany was amenable to Hitler's message, which hardly exonerates them.

  2. Worldwide church reaction to Hitler's ruthless persecution of the Jews was virtually nonexistent, whether we're talking about Catholics or Protestants. Have you ever heard of the Voyage of the Damned? Imagine sailing around the world looking for a safe harbour to get your children away from the Nazis, only to be turned away repeatedly. Imagine being a rabbi in America and having to buy full-page ads in the newspaper to publicize the horrors of the Holocaust because no one in the publishing industry thinks it's newsworthy!

  3. Have you ever read "Mein Kampf"? Hitler repeatedly professed his admiration of Jesus and of the Christian church in that infamous screed. You can check it out at your convenience; it's on line, at numerous hate mongers' websites.

That the catholic church also puts tradition before the bible. That the Nazis started to reinvent ancient German pagan rituals.

So what? Did you know that Christmas was originally a pagan holiday? The fact that certain Nazis were willing to incorporate pagan occultism into their particular variation upon Christianity hardly erases the fact that the Nazis instituted Christian school prayer, rode a wave of popular support to power in a country with a large Christian majority, made a place for the church in the government, were run by an outspoken Christian, and carried on the longstanding Christian tradition of persecuting Jews.

Last updated: August 5, 2001

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