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I get email

In a previous “I get email” post, I mocked this bizarre list of 50 “proofs” that god exists: they were all nonsense and non sequiturs and bizarre falsehoods. The author actually dragged out the Lady Hope story as evidence for a god! Take a look and you’ll see how genuinely stupid the list was.

But there’s a stalkerish element to all this, too. Ever since, the author periodically writes me these weird pleading/sneering emails. She was very upset that I called her out on her raving foolishness, and has to remind me of that every once in a while. It’s rather stupid, since I’d basically forgotten the post — it was almost four years ago — but she can’t let it die and has to stir it up now and then.

So here we go again, to oblige the bizarrely obsessed Debra Rufini, here is one of her latest emails. I’ve posted it below the fold as a screen capture because there was no way I was going to try and imbed all those silly smilies.

If anyone knows her, get her some help, OK?

(Also on Sb)

Comments

  1. Lycanthrope says

    But I know this will go straight onto your website in the aim to make me look foolish

    Have you ever posted about her since the original “50 proofs” e-mail? This is the first mention I’ve seen of Debra Rufini.

    Again, wouldn’t you get far more respect if you were more like your CIVIL colleague, Prof Dawkins

    Wait, I thought Dawkins was a strident firebrand too…

    I think bearded men are really quite hot, & you’re [sic] photo is no exception to that

    Stalkerish element, indeed. He’s married, lady.

  2. truthspeaker says

    We would love to leave you to enjoy your fantasy world in peace, but you and your fellow believers won’t leave the rest of us alone. Stop trying to get your fantasy world taught as fact in public schools, stop trying to get your fantasy world special treatment and tax breaks from the government, and stop trying to impose it on other people!

  3. says

    She has sent me multiple emails over the years. I’ve ignored them and haven’t posted about her since the June 2008 post.

    But, you know, her persistence eventually earned her some recognition as a special kind of kook.

  4. Sastra says

    Oh … dear.

    There’s nothing here of any substance — unless you want to count a vague attempt at the “all inferences are based on faith so religious beliefs are legitimate” argument, which I won’t.

    She wants more attention. She also wants to avoid “personal” comments. If so, my dear Ms. Rufini, I suggest you post something of substance here in comments.

  5. Dr. Audley Z. Darkheart, liar and scoundrel says

    My eyes!

    I can’t even read that. The smilies are just too damned much.

  6. Lycanthrope says

    She has sent me multiple emails over the years. I’ve ignored them and haven’t posted about her since the June 2008 post.

    Right, that’s what I’m getting at. She clearly hasn’t been following your blog, or she’d know you haven’t posted about her since that one time three years and change ago. But despite your ignoring her completely, she’s somehow convinced that you consider her important enough to talk about all the time. Wow.

  7. Louis says

    The passive-aggressiveness of all those smileys makes me want to punch things. Does it show I favour aggressive-aggressiveness?

    ;-)

    Louis

  8. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    I think her playground analogy is apropos.

    Her “proofs” are pretty on par with that environment.

  9. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    You are a very strange man, Prof. Myers

    I’m sure he thanks you for the compliment.

  10. Randomfactor says

    Looks like she’s hawking a book on Dawkins getting religion, or something. I suggest in the second edition she ruthlessly edit out any smiley faces.

  11. says

    As one reads this disjointed “letter”, you get the impression that the writers meds seem to be wearing off as she writes. By the end the thought process seems so incoherent it is amazing that the sentences still contain some type of structure.

    Oh, can anyone explain to me what a “response to a circular” is?

    BTW PZ, you should move to vancouver!

  12. consciousness razor says

    I’ll tell you what else saddens me – I think bearded men are really quite hot, & you’re photo is no exception to that

    What are you going to tell the Trophy Wife™ when this idiotic succubus finally manages to seduce you?

  13. Gregory Greenwood says

    I think bearded men are really quite hot, & you’re [sic] photo is no exception to that

    Wow. Creepy, especially when paired with the smiley obsession and the bright blue text. It must be like being stalked by a middle-schooler…

    And all the stuff about leaving creationists to their own beliefs in their own little world? I am sure we would all be happy to if they stopped trying to get their blather taught in science classes, stopped using creationism to try to justify AGW denialism, and cut out all the homophobia and misogyny that seems to be so often associated with many creationist kooks.

    As truthspeaker says @ 2, we will leave them alone when they stop trying to force their delusions on us.

  14. michaelstone-richard says

    Why do many atheists shake their fists & spend so much time ranting & raving… why don’t they spend their lives partying…? Why don’t they leave this ‘God nonsense’ alone?

    Because people like Debra Rufini won’t go away and take their God nonsense with them.

  15. Sastra says

    Why do many atheists shake their fists & spend so much time ranting & raving… why don’t they spend their lives partying…? Why don’t they leave this ‘God nonsense’ alone?

    You party your way; we’ll party our way.

  16. Gregory Greenwood says

    She really needs to get out and get laid.

    And so the mindless misogyny begins. Here is a top tip, Larry; the fact that she is a woman is not relevant, the fact that she is a kook is. Recycling tired and bigoted variants on the trope of “stupid woman just needs a good seeing-to” will earn you nothing more than several invitations to intimate relations with a sadly deceased porcupine.

  17. Irene Delse says

    PZ, you should give the lady some props: her email was already in Courrier Sans! Think of all the formatting time saved for your blog!

  18. shouldbeworking says

    It must be your cephlapod magnetism at work again. Does your Trophy Wife(tm) know about the fringe elements of your fan club?

  19. leighshryock says

    How many creepy stalkers do you have, PZ?

    Guess any celebrity will attract them, even if you’re only known on the internet.

  20. Pierce R. Butler says

    So Rufini provided her own Comic Sans?

    Somewhere a font designer is opening a bottle of whiskey…

  21. screechymonkey says

    I love the contradiction of complaining about how mean and abusive PZ is while also whining that he doesn’t respond to her personally. It’s like that old bit with a customer complaining about a restaurant that “the food is terrible — and the portions are so small!”

  22. Alukonis, metal ninja says

    That is super creepy. At first she starts out with odd language that implies you’re a child (e.g. “naughty” and “big brave boy”) and then she switches to “bearded men are hot” and “feel free to belittle me further” like some kind of masochism, and signs it “Debra x” which, possibly, could be the kind of x that is shorthand for a kiss.

    I don’t want to read to much into this but I am SO GLAD I don’t get emails like this. What is even the steak.

    Also I’m sure PZ and Dawkins could come to a consensus on the origin of the baseball based on available evidence (sound of a bat, looking over the wall, etc) but I doubt that either of them would assert its origin without evidence. Just sayin’.

  23. says

    gregaxani:

    Oh, can anyone explain to me what a “response to a circular” is?

    In this context, a circular would be a letter or pamphlet of some kind. A response would be, well, a response.

    Why she should respond to PZ is a mystery. Why she should do so without any context is simply baffling. That’d be like me sending him a comment like, “Wasn’t the special on eggs in Sunday’s paper especially nifty?”

    Her quaintly oblivious, “Hi! I’m pestering you once again to ask why you just don’t ignore me? I’m waiting for an answer,” schtick is pretty damned funny, though. It’s a nice reflection/inversion of the basic Christian tactic of pushing idiocy that requires reaction, and then becoming outraged at the response.

    It just reminds me of a nice little song.

  24. Rey Fox says

    Col. Mustard: Are you trying to make me look foolish?
    Wadsworth: You don’t need my help for that.
    Col. Mustard: That’s right!

  25. says

    The trouble with the ball “analogy” is that we can very well figure out whether there was an explosion or not. Explosions sort of have a sound, and even the light from it probably would reflect so that you could have seen it.

    Plus, the real analogy would be if you said that the ball were perhaps thrown by known beings, perhaps blasted by an explosion, or perhaps hit by a bat, and someone else is saying that witches or unicorns must have made the ball fly over the wall by magic.

    We’ll consider the first set of causes, while we have no reason to consider what witches and unicorns might have done.

    Still calling down judgments on your idiotic claims, I see, Debbie. Maybe if you don’t like insults you should stop provoking them.

    Glen Davidson

  26. Moggie says

    It’s a pity smilies didn’t exist in Darwin’s day. They’d have made the Origin so much more convincing.

  27. mepmep09 says

    Ms. Rufini, do you happen to write elsewhere under the pseudonym Jean Teasdale? If so, let me just say that I’m a long time admirer of your writing (example) and avid follower of your Twitter-feed.

  28. jolo5309 says

    You could always buy her book on Richard Dawkins.

    Dealing with issues relating to mental health, she was able to express her feelings on that which she had suffered for many years. Being a Samaritan, she could identify with her client’s concerns. Debra writes poetry dealing with mental health and Christianity, (mainly focusing on creationism). She is passionate about educating people blinkered by evolution, and those with open ears willing to hear why she believes the alternative view to be the convincing case.

  29. Das Boese says

    I really wonder about the kind of mental process that would compel one to write this kind of inane rant… in Comic Sans. With smiley faces.

  30. says

    The ball analogy could be a good one, however it would be PZ and Dawkins that would be inferring a non-supernatural thrower or hitter of the ball based on what we know about balls, gravity and past experience of the natural world. Debra would be advocating the unicorn and fairy dust hypothesis.

    Occam’s Razor FTW!

  31. Randomfactor says

    Not that they’re for-certain the same person, but a Debra Rufini has also published a testimony as an “ex-lesbian.”

  32. says

    Dealing with issues relating to mental health, she was able to express her feelings on that which she had suffered for many years.

    Sigh. Help me. It might be my mind, but I can’t decode this.

    Is it

    “She is able to express her experiences suffering from mental health issues”

    “She has worked in/about mental health issues and expresses her feelings on issues relating to mental health?”

    “She provides feelings on mental health issues from the perspective of a patient?”

    “She provides feelings on mental health issues from someone who has been involved with the issues for a long time?”

    What…

    I don’t know if she has mental problems, or has spent a lot of time working with people who do, or studying mental health issues or what.

  33. Dr. Audley Z. Darkheart, liar and scoundrel says

    You know what else bugs me (besides the smiley abuse and the general idiocy)? When someone takes the time to write and email like that and uses ampersands. I mean, really? “And” is too tough for you?

    Also “summat”. *eye roll*

  34. says

    Being a Samaritan, she could identify with her client’s concerns.

    Because her client was also a Samaritan? Because she was empathetic? Because she dealt with mental issues to before helping others? But if that’s the case what does Samaritan have to do with it? Samaritan, if they’re not talking nationality/ethnicity just refers to as an altruist…why would that qualify her more than any other Samaritan trying to help those clients?

    Debra writes poetry dealing with mental health and Christianity, (mainly focusing on creationism)

    How the hell does that have anything to do with…what?

    She is passionate about educating people blinkered by evolution, and those with open ears willing to hear why she believes the alternative view to be the convincing case.

    What does that have to do with the mentally ill at all?

    Why do all these sentences have two parts, with the first seemingly requiring clarification but the second one just restating the first part.

    “She educates people on evolution and to those who want to hear her she educates on evolution”

    These are mobius sentences, Starting at the end and reading backwards gives the same information!

  35. scorpy1 says

  36. Irene Delse says

    She’s a Samaritan? A member of a small ethno-religious minority of Palestine who use an alternate version of the Torah as their Holy Scripture?

  37. NitricAcid says

    I do like the way that her book on Dawkins is considered by the publisher to be “related to” a book called “A Portrait of a Modern Day Loser”. According to the preview, it starts with a long drawn-out poem in which Jesus makes fun of Dawkins (You didn’t get the bike you prayed for? And that’s why you’re angry at God?). Yuck.

    Oooh- and then it switches to “Of course there’s a God! How else could everything turn out so neatly? Explosions don’t cause order, so this “Big Bang” stuff is clearly nonsense!”

  38. says

    I do like the way that her book on Dawkins is considered by the publisher to be “related to” a book called “A Portrait of a Modern Day Loser”. According to the preview, it starts with a long drawn-out poem in which Jesus makes fun of Dawkins (You didn’t get the bike you prayed for? And that’s why you’re angry at God?). Yuck.

    You know it’s creepy in light of learning that Dawkins was molested to hear people pull this argument on him. Do they not know or do they know and are just too gutless to go for the real meat of the issue?

  39. Moggie says

    Ing, Irene: in this context, I’m guessing that ‘Samaritans’ refers to the UK charity of that name, which operates a telephone helpline (staffed by volunteers) for people in emotional distress, particularly people contemplating suicide. Although it was started by a CofE vicar, it’s a secular charity. One occasionally hears criticism of it, but its public image is mainly positive, and it’s what (I believe) most British people will think of first when they hear the word ‘Samaritan’.

  40. Moggie says

    I don’t know if she has mental problems, or has spent a lot of time working with people who do, or studying mental health issues or what.

    Her publisher specialises in books by people with mental health issues. I’d never heard of them before, but they sound like an interesting outfit. Might be throwing some money their way.

    You mean that charity wasn’t made up for a joke by Red Dwarf?

    Everything in Red Dwarf is deadly serious.

  41. says

    Her publisher specialises in books by people with mental health issues. I’d never heard of them before, but they sound like an interesting outfit. Might be throwing some money their way.

    Here’s 20 bucks to bury the next Ruffini, I just doubled your profit…thank me later.

  42. pigdowndog says

    Her use of the word “summat” hints that she comes from Hitchens’ “favourite” county, Yorkshire.

  43. triskelethecat says

    Is this woman British? There are enough English terms in her writing (dummies, summat) that I wonder. And it’s kinda weird, reading about her book – she’s begging for interviews, saying she got involved in the “gay scene” (???) and other strange things. Poor thing. I hope she gets all the help she needs.

  44. NitricAcid says

    @Ing #57

    I think burying her would be a little strong….how about just burying the book?

  45. Tethys says

    Oh, please don’t pick on me further if I’ve spelt that wrong

    *snicker*

    Spelt (Triticum spelta) is a hexaploid species of wheat.

    I realize that it is acceptable if you are British, but as an uncouth American I found it rather amusing.

  46. Brownian says

    triskelethecat, the bio on that book says she was born in Hampshire, so yes, British.

    Wait, isn’t there a—nevermind, I answered my own question. I was thinking of Hampshire 2G.

  47. Brain Hertz says

    Oooh- and then it switches to “Of course there’s a God! How else could everything turn out so neatly? Explosions don’t cause order, so this “Big Bang” stuff is clearly nonsense!”

    It starts out that badly, and then goes downhill from there. Mercifully, it’s only a 58 page book, including the contents.

    http://books.google.com/books?id=Q3LG-2hIqXoC&pg=PA2&dq=%22Debra+Rufini%22&hl=en&sa=X&ei=nKMQT__oHeeRiAKdtsWwDQ&ved=0CDAQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=%22Debra%20Rufini%22&f=false

  48. says

    I understand why the “need to get laid” post is unwanted, crude, uncouth, pointlessly sexual, least common denominator, vapid, and above all, not funny. But why is it misogynistic? How is it over that particular line? Every day these topics arise and I understand the complaints less the more comments I read.

  49. NitricAcid says

    #69- Because nobody would ever dream of saying that about a man.

    Actually, people would say that about a man, but when someone says that a woman “needs” to get laid (whether she wants to or not), there’s the implication of rape/violence, and nobody worth having a conversation with would wish that on anyone.

  50. Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM says

    But why is it misogynistic? How is it over that particular line?

    Everybody correct me if I’m wrong (this is a line I’m less familiar with), but I think it’s a sexist meme. Women who are “crazy” often “just need a good fuck.” [WILD SPECULATION]Maybe it has to do with the history of women, mentally ill or just difficult, being diagnosed with “hysteria” and treated via “hysterical paroxysms”?[/WILD SPECULATION] You definitely hear people saying that men need to get laid, but the offenses for which a man merits that comment are different – no fun, stuck up, frustrated, etc.

  51. Rey Fox says

    I think “need to get laid” here means the same as when it is applied to men, i.e., that not having sex causes us to obsess over things or otherwise behave in an uptight manner. Can we call it progress that someone applies juvenile sexual attitudes to both sexes in the same way?

    If so, my dear Ms. Rufini, I suggest you post something of substance here in comments.

    I get the feeling that she is an older woman who has likely just started grasping the web and e-mail and thinks that the web is essentially like print publication and that the only way to communicate with an author is through mail (of the new electronic variety).

    Curiously, the one new technology that old people seem to take to like a fish to water is smileys.

  52. Rey Fox says

    Incidentally, don’t you hate it when someone makes some hackneyed one-liner and then fucks off while everyone argues about it?

  53. says

    rrpostal, this insult would not have been misogynistic aimed at a man (though it may have indicated a prejudice about men and/or sex).

    In this direction, it replicates a misogynist meme, and is thus a +1 for spreading sexism.

  54. cicely, Destroyer of Mint says

    GUMBY
    <Comic Sans> If we’re so stupid, just let us get on with our fairy tale beliefs, in our wibbly wobbly world of our own. Why be so angry at summat you just don’t believe in? Have some fun for goodness sake – we’re not worth getting an ulcer over, are we?!</Comic Sans>
    /GUMBY

    Oh, if only they could have their very own “wibbly wobbly world”.

    Someone needs to send this woman a link to Greta Christina’s Skepticon presentation.
    -
    I think a “circular” is one of those printed handouts (or these days, copy&paste emails) shared among the Faithful, and foisted upon the unwary.
    -
    Plus, of course, she wants free publicity for this book of hers.
    -

    But why is it misogynistic? How is it over that particular line?

    Because, all too often, when some woman is perceived as being in some way “wrong”, it obviously means that she needs more candlewick. “Bitchy”? All she needs is a good screw. Sad? All she needs is a good screw. Lesbian? All she needs is a bit of corrective rape good screw. Because nothing, but nothing, solves all problems like a dick.

    We’ve seen it too many times before.
    -

  55. rabbitscribe says

    As a rule of thumb, you can pretty much always just delete unread anything composed in Comic Sans. You have better things to do.

  56. 'Tis Himself, OM. says

    Curiously, the one new technology that old people seem to take to like a fish to water is smileys.

    As a 63 year old, I object to this libel. þ

  57. Gregory Greenwood says

    We Are Ing @ 49;

    True story, because of how I read I read Salarian at first…that made slightly more sense in context.

    Salarian? Perhaps, but clearly not a Scientist Salarian

  58. Brain Hertz says

    this part might be significant (from the website that publishes her book):

    Chipmunkapublishing is the Mental Health Publisher. Our mental health books give a voice to writers with mental illness around the world. We raise awareness of mental health and the stigma surrounding mental health problems encouraging society to listen. We are documenting mental health literature as a genre so history does not forget the survivors and carers of people with mental illness and disabilities.

  59. craigore says

    I tried reading that and I was like, “wait… what?”
    And also… the SMILIES! why does it have to be the smilies?…

  60. thunderbird5 says

    Busy girl, our Debs:

    (From Whitebook.co.uk Directory on Googs):

    KATE BUSH (DEBRA RUFINI) is an artiste/attraction specialising in LOOKALIKES / TRIBUTE BANDS.

    DebraKate is invited round to mine next Saturday (from Hampshire take the A35 to Honiton, then A30 around Dartmoor and ask the lorry driver to drop you off at the top of the lane with the yew that has that rusty chainfall hanging off it) for a special booking for us here at the Luxton and District Community Nurses Association, to do that Wilhelm Reich song off of “Never Forever” whilst demonstrating (and explaining to us science-hobbled tomato-throwers) a Samaritonian/Creationist take on that Orgone Accumulator thingy. We can sort out a basic physical framework for one if it helps – there’s a tepee left behind by those trustafarian surfers that vanished last year or one of Dopey Denzil’s MDF vardoes.

    I’m skint for fees and that but me and the other orifice-groping decubitus-scrapers will sort her out a proper dinner and session to follow at the lock-in.

  61. bastionofsass says

    From the description of the Dawkins’ book:

    As a sufferer of mental health herself, she has incorporated this topic within the volume.

    Ah. She might be encountering problems trying to alleviate the suffering caused by mental health. Sometimes, I can relate.

  62. StevoR says

    If anyone knows her, get her some help, OK?

    What for her fleas?

    Yeah, that’s a worry – just treated my pets for that. Horrible little blighters. (The fleas not the pets.)

    Honestly, its all just rather pathetic – in the pity-evoking sense of the word and the other one too – really.

    @ 83. craigore :

    And also… the SMILIES! why does it have to be the smilies?…

    Um, really what’s wrong with emoticons? What’s with the hating on the smileys by folks here? I kinda like them myself. I think they give text that extra dimension and work out pretty well. Now, okay, they can be used too much sometimes but in moderation, the odd smiley isn’t too bad is it?

    @Rey Fox :

    Incidentally, don’t you hate it when someone makes some hackneyed one-liner and then fucks off while everyone argues about it?

    I don’t think that poster – Larry – could respond even if they wanted to seeing as it seems that PZ has just banned him.

  63. gedwarren says

    I had a similarly bizarre string of letters from someone with a mental illness who thought I somehow caused all her problems. It was annoying but I felt sympathy for her more than anything – and I didn’t feel the need to ridicule her in public.