Thursday, January 28, 2010

We don't make this stuff up, gang

Lately we've been getting a series of barely literate emails from a guy who's following the usual pattern: Asserting his beliefs as facts, backing them up with variants of "Look at the trees!" and "Study the Bible!", then bitterly protesting how rude we are for dismissing him as a dimwit. Here's one excerpt for you to get the general gist.

You see why do you insult me, that shows that your mine is block.
You see finding the truth comes with humility not pride. So i think you should write with respect.
well it looks like you have not really studied the Bible, you call it a book of fairy tales.
While one of the greatest scientist like isaac newton call it the word of God and studied it.
Thats kind of surprising to here those words from a renowned scientist.

And it goes on like that. Amusing, I suppose, the way utter ignoramuses think they're so humble the way they spout ignorance with smug condescension. But that's what religion offers: the confidence of faith in ignorance over actual knowledge.


  1. Beautiful! A "mine" is a terrible thing to waste.

  2. I propose a mandatory basic grammar test for the following rights:

    1) telecommunications (outgoing)
    2) application for any job not primarily concerned with manual labor
    3) direct access to potable water
    4) public speech (including religious speech)
    5) parenthood
    6) ownership of any firearm
    7) voting

    Tests must be repeated every 10 years and egregious grammatical infractions will carry a penalty of $10,000USD or 1 year imprisonment.

    I think the world would be a better place.

  3. Mythnam: I hope you mean that for adults. I just picture trying to administer that sort of test to a newborn.

  4. I don't want to catch this blog posting excerpts from challenged theists in any way other than what you have just done.

    Comic Sans with no indentation is such a beautiful way to quote those.

  5. This email is ridiculous yet hilarious!

    The argument from trees, the presupposition that the Bible is the infallible word of God, and an argument from authority at the end.

    Wow, I don't know which is more ridiculous though, the grammar in this email or the ignorance this person displays?

  6. At least he spelled "renowned" properly. Quite a lot of folks might have gotten that wrong.

  7. I'd call Poe, but that's from e-mail. Newton? Really?

  8. @ Mythnam

    I hope there's some exception for those of us with dyslexia who have basic grammar understanding but are plagued by chronic spelling snafus?

  9. I always have mixed feelings on these people- I definitely want to rip into them because they are so arrogant and inflammatory, but I also feel a bit guilty about arguing with someone who is pretty clearly mentally challenged. Plus, I am likely wasting my time on them.
    That said, it is pretty entertaining to read these things, so keep posting!

  10. Haha, Comic Sans indeed. One step closer to the scribbles of a 5-year-old.

  11. @Noadi: of course; you can't expect a child to have good grammar before they can speak. But if you're a baby, then your parents had to have passed the test to earn the right to parenthood, so you're good anyway. And if the York County public school system is at all representative, there's absolutely no excuse for failing the grammar test if you're an adult.

    @Ing: a verbal test should suffice anyway, but lenience would be shown to those with impairments; "egregious" is open to interpretation based on the circumstances.

  12. Another laughably abysmal excuse to try and rub the validity of science off onto brittle beliefs and fragile fantasies. Don't rub too hard; they'll fall apart.

    It's bewildering how calling the Bible a book of fairy tales can only mean you haven't studied it. If anything, honestly studying the Bible is the worst thing to ever happen to the Bible.

  13. You see why do you insult me, that shows that your mine is block.

    Eh, I can't really add to that. It's just mean at this point.

  14. Amazing. Simply amazing. An "animateur de pastorale" (don't know the right word in English, basically a non-priest guy who is paid to preach in school) once told me at school in my then Catholic Québec that "intelligence was not important". No wonder Christianity is popular: it flatters the ego of stupid people.

  15. @Mythnam - I agree with your basic grammar tests for most rights, but not potable water!

    Http:// I'm raising funds to build a well in the developing world. I'll be baptized in the name of whoever makes the largest donation :)

  16. An "animateur de pastorale" (don't know the right word in English, basically a non-priest guy who is paid to preach in school) once told me at school in my then Catholic Québec that "intelligence was not important".

    Not that I would ever defend such a ridiculous comment, but may I ask what the context behind that statement was?

  17. @Angie: if I had checks or a credit card, I'd donate in a heartbeat, but I don't. I'll share on Facebook, though, and hopefully someone there can help out.

  18. @magx01-I can't remember what the context was, apart from the fact that it was a conversation outside his preaching time. What brought him to say something like that, I don't know, but I remember he mentioned people with mental disabilities and from a difficult background (like himself, from what I know). He was saying that intelligence was not important for human beings, compared to love, faith, compassion and so on. Basically, judgment was for him... divinely inspired, or something. I told him that if one lacked intelligence, he risked lacking love and compassion. I was a believer then, and I still knew he was speaking rubbish, and so damn sure about it, which shocked me.

  19. @Guillaume:

    Thanks for getting back to me. I think something I would have asked him is whether he though love and faith or intelligence were responsible for the improvements we have seen in our lives throughout history, and especially in the last 150 years.

  20. @magx01-Well, yes, I regret not giving him that kind of answer, but that was 15 years ago, and I was still a believer. I still knew he was not a first class mind, but I was not smart enough myself to make mincemeat of his claim.

  21. @Guillaume- you might not have "made mincemeat" of his claim, but it sounds like it might have started or helped you along your road to disbelief. especially since it stands out in your mind. i think most converts have some of those memories. when i was in college, my mom mentioned how a client didn't believe in "sin" and even tho i was still a believer at that time, it was enough to jar me because i said "what!? of course there is sin" but then i had to think about it- what is sin? like a lot of people, i was only a believer so late into life because i never really took much time to consider it. christianity was all i knew.

  22. Let's be explicit about the problem with the Newton claim then. I count at least six problems.

    First, Newton is not an expert on theology, so this is a classic bad argument from authority. Second, he came with a general set of beliefs from the same culture that he grew up in. One could thus for example point to very skilled scientists who were religious Jews or Muslims and thus had other scriptures. Third, Newton's own beliefs were very non-standard and almost certainly would not at all agree with the emailer's beliefs. Fifth, Newton had many strange beliefs completely separate from his non-standard form of Christianity. Thus, for example would the emailer think that one should look at alchemy in detail because Newton spent many years studying it? Sixth, if one is trying to make an argument about Newton as a scientist then one can easily point out that Newton lacked much of the data we have today (such as modern Biblical criticism and archaeology). Indeed, Newton almost certainly knew little to no Hebrew, so he couldn't even have read most of the Bible in the original.

    Sixth, one can point to many scientists who are atheists. Indeed, scientists are more likely than the general population to be atheists or agnostics. See for example, . So if this sort of argument from authority had any validity it would fail massively and actually argue for the other direction.

    Was that a waste of time?

  23. @Guillaume: Those are the moments we all wish we could go back to. Sometimes for idealistic or valiant reasons, and others for the selfish reason of wanting to deliver a good PWN. I have a few of those in the closet myself.

    @gfunkusarelius: Intersting anecdote. It's amazing how the smallest little things can put that little crack in the dam...

  24. @ Joshua

    I argue your point 1. Newton had as much qualifications on theology as anyone.


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