Once more Nullifidian has spotted a great example of theistic madness. On the “Dear Alice” post there is an excellent send up of the nonsense a “concerned” reader has sent to a newspaper. This was funny enough, I decided to have a quick look round the internet to see if I could find out the source of the letter and any more details on it.Isn’t the internet grrrrreat.
It seems the letter was sent to the Peninsular Clarion, a newspaper which covers the Kenai Peninsular (The Kenai Peninsula is a large peninsula jutting from the southern coast of Alaska in the United States, Wikipedia). I wont stoop to discussing the perils of inbreeding for remote communities, but suffice it to say the Clarion’s letters pages make entertaining reading. Fortunately, the vast (and I mean vast, the cranks are only a tiny minority of the letters) majority of letters seem to come from sane, reasonable people (whatever their religious beliefs). Not so fortunately (although it does provide me with hours of merriment) there are still a vociferous few who rant nonsense!
The one Nullifidian picked up on was from Alice Shannon (read original) and was so funny I have to post it in it’s entirety here:
Itâ€™s time to stomp out atheists in America. The majority of Americans would love to see atheists kicked out of America. If you donâ€™t believe in God, then get out of this country.
The United States is based on having freedom of religion, speech, etc., which means you can believe in God any way you want (Baptist, Catholic, Methodist, etc.), but you must believe.
I donâ€™t recall freedom of religion meaning no religion. Our currency even says, â€˜â€™In God We Trust.â€ So, to all the atheists in America: Get off of our country.
Atheists have caused the ruin of this great nation by taking prayer out of our schools and being able to practice what can only be called evil. I donâ€™t care if they have never committed a crime, atheists are the reason crime is rampant.
It really defies belief. Freedom of Belief means “you must believe.” Wow. This was added to the next day by another example of religious tolerance from Robert Ralls, in which he complains about the Islamification of America. (Seriously). I think he has taken most offence at a situation in Michigan in which a Mosque has applied for permission to play the call to prayer five times a day. This is an interesting enough side topic that I think I will look at it on its own in a new post.
Anyway, Mr Ralls opens his letter:
It seems to me that the American people need to wake up to the fact that the Muslims are trying to dominate our way of life. If we let Muslims decide our politics, we as a society will be in trouble.
Dont you just love appeals to fear mixed with the slippery slope? It is interesing how people, desparate to save the democratic system they seem to love, also seem so happy to remove its benefits from others:
Recently a Muslim was elected to our Congress, they know the way to dominate the American people is through getting elected to higher positions, where they can influence our politics.
Just goes to show how wonderful religion is. It is obviously the source of all tolerance and moral behaviour.
Last but not least, it seems evolution rears its ugly head a few times. I didn’t read the original but there is a letter from Pamela Brodie which does a good job explaining the basics of evolutionary theories and the nature of science. She writes:
Saddest of all is her ignorance of the differences between science and religion. Scientists discard or modify a hypothesis if evidence shows it is untrue; religion is based on revelation and faith, not on evidence. (…) Americaâ€™s future looks bleak if our schools canâ€™t do a better job of teaching our children to seek knowledge rather than assuming that what they donâ€™t know does not exist, and to evaluate information with logic and an open mind, rather than deciding as high school sophomores that they are already â€œtiredâ€ of one of the most important debates in human history.
I thought that was quite well put. Interestingly this letter got a response from Jane Simons which is well worth reading. Ms Simons claims that what scientists see when they watch virii “evolve” is not evolution but mutation. Wow. Really. I am sure Ms Simons is aware that evolution is a process of mutation and natural selection, so when the virus mutates into a new strain, the ones which are sucessfull survive and prosper, the rest die out. It is a shame she seems to think:
My understanding of evolution is that it maintains, that through a long process it can go from (for example) an amoeba to a fully developed and complex human. This is not consistent with her [Ms Brodi] example of a virus. It would be like expecting a virus to evolve into an enzyme.
This is a fallacy prevalent among the anti-evolutionists. To ensure there is no doubt about her religious persuasion, she continues:
On the other hand, what she describes is, a virus mutating as â€œit passes from one person to another, or reproduces within an individual.â€ Mutation is consistent with creation.
After all; created within Adam and Eve were all the genes DNA, chromosomes etc. that were needed to provide all the different characteristics of â€œmanâ€ â€” different color of skin, eyes, hair, different personalities, race, blood type, etc. â€” but still human and made in the image of God, by the way.
She also includes a link to answersingenesis.org/home/Area/isd/marcus.asp which is pretty much creationist nonsense, so nothing more on that needs to be said. The ray of hope comes in that she finishes:
Thank you for letting me put my 2 cents in. I could be misinformed on some of my opinions, if so, show me. I like to think I have an open mind.
I hope she is telling the truth. Sadly, there are more creationists in the readership than you may think. Most are pretty crackpot and I am running out of time to address them in detail. Hopefully some one else will have a look and do the good deed.
Now, in the interests of fairness, there are a lot of email in response to the nutjob who got me started here (good old Alice Shannon) and they appear to demonstrate that the nuttery she promotes is a minority among the Clarion’s readership. I am not going to address (or quote) each one, this post is already long enough but here are the links if you are interested:
- Reader: We must not send people away
- Writerâ€™s interpretations leave him wondering
- Hate speech isnâ€™t right
- Letter shows ignorance, intolerance are still alive
- Itâ€™s gotta be satire. Right?
- Reader: Irrational drivel deserves a response
- Letter as funny as Taliban (has the wonderful quote: “Wow, itâ€™s rare to see such ignorance, bigotry and hatred without having the TV tuned to the Fox News channel.”)
- Putting things in perspective
- Fear a relic from McCarthy era
- Ignorance lies at source of hatred
- Countryâ€™s arms open to everyone
- Freedom for all citizens?
- Writer: Diversity is countryâ€™s strength
- Reader asks why itâ€™s so hard to accept differences
- Writer disagrees with letter
- Skip the categories, just see the humanity
- We should all agree on tolerance
So, fortunately, it seems Alice Shannon is not in the majority – although, worryingly, lots of the responses are from outside the Peninsula… Sadly, most of the creationist drivel comes from within the peninsula, so maybe the inbreeding joke could be used after all.