I mentioned earlier this week that sometimes I get positive email, and that it actually outnumbers the outright hostile hate mail. But both classes are greatly outnumbered by the most common kind of email I get, the cranks and crazies. Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce Woolsey, Stephen D Mr CIV USA — a perfectly representative exemplar of the crap clogging my in-box.
Yes, he’s posting from an army.mil email address, which may account for some of the strange stuff inserted in the text, but not all of it.
My name is Steve and I am in disagreement at several levels. Skeptic or
something else? I have heard most of this argumentation, and employed it
as a former Atheist, yet have had a change of heart.
To give the gist of many in the sciences “we believe in a Naturalistic
assumption despite evidence to the contrary.” (despite evidence to the
I would quote the source but I have heard it as a general statement made
by more than one scientist; both generalists and specialists. Even well
known Atheists will occasionally have a change of heart.
It is not an issue of evidence in the biological fields but in the a
priori assumptions we hold.
A Skeptic was traditionally a philosopher who questioned everything and
began the western age. Questioning everything when locked in a human
attitude of rebellion makes us ultimately worth nothing to even
ourselves. We must eventually question ourselves until we unravel
everything to include our original a priori.
Atheism lends itself to self destruction only and Faith in Christ begins
the process of answering the underlying questions.
Been there and done that- got the t-shirt.
However we intrinsically know that the least little intrusion of the
divine to our thinking and it is over for us. We must build walls of
self-deceit and ignorance IN THE FACE OF KNOWLEGE.
For me the start was the Sciences.
I began as a schoolboy at an archeology field day and was captured ever
since. Though I did not pursue the sciences as a vocation but as an
avocation I have found an interesting condition. Self imposed ignorance.
I would think this might even qualify as Forest Gump’s ” stupid is as
I have noted that I find some of the worst thinkers are in Academia.
“Get an education and get lazy as a thinker.”
I was a policeman and as such a scientist of sorts (assembling clues for
a completed story) and really enjoyed the forensics. And I say that to
say this; much of what is passed off in Academia as knowledge is nothing
more than sloppy thinking and guild protectionism.
I finally became a Christian after reading the monumentally foolish
paper by Stephen Gould on “Punctuated Equilibrium” that states
essentially that “the lack of evidence is our evidence.”
I cannot see that working in the court room no matter how Liberal the
judge. “Your Honor jail this man on my say-so only, I have no
evidence.” Isn’t happening!
To Dr. Gould the lack of a fossil record is the evidence for a
punctuated evolution! The judge in a court room would punish the
investigator but here is the difference; get a PhD after your name and
any load of bologna bears authority and no one judges it. We get away
with creating Myth.
Sloppy thinking and lazy protectionism. We risk much more than our ego
when we so commit.
I never reply to these people, because they’re just so hackneyed. Yes, yes, you’re more skeptical than I am because you believe in Jesus. Yes, yes, you’re a scientist because you were a policeman. Yes, yes, you’re smarter than me because you didn’t get an education — the academic degrees, they mean nothing. Yes, yes, reading science papers by atheists convinced you that Jesus is Lord.
I understand that these cranks are only motivated to write to me because they’re indignant that science reveals them to be misled, ignorant, and stupid, so that’s the kind of email I get.
By the way, they never tell me what “monumentally foolish” paper on punctuated equilibrium that they read, because I suspect they never read one. Was it Eldredge and Gould 1972, or Gould and Eldredge 1977, or maybe it was the detailed summary Gould published in 2002 in Structure of Evolutionary Theory? Mr Woolsey’s summary sounds like some garbled nonsense culled from a creationist web site.
Gould actually said that “Stasis is data”. What led Eldredge and Gould to propose punctuated equilibrium is the physical evidence of long term stability of form in the fossil record, with relatively rapid — on a geological scale — transitions. Not absence of evidence, but the presence of evidence.
I didn’t say a word to my fool of a correspondent, but he still followed up with another cryptic message a few minutes later.
…the year it was published. Ernst Haeckel was not only shown wrong but
to have lied about the material he published. This is not proof of
anything but sloppy research.
Oh, please, not Haeckel again. Haeckel’s theory of a biogenetic law was wrong, but his observations were mostly valid (overstated, but not entirely wrong), and they were also confirmed by scientists working long before and long after Haeckel. He did cheat on one illustration, and was caught at it and shamed, but that was not relevant to the core of his ideas. I’ve been all over the Haeckel story for quite some time now — I wish my correspondents would bother to look up and read what I’ve said about the man before regurgitating Jonathan Wells at me.
See why I don’t bother replying to these wackjobs? I could spend a whole week ripping into just one of them, and I’ve got a dozen others sitting in my mailbox from just this morning.