Last month, an anonymous theist coward with e-mail address “DrIntellectual@hotmail.com” sent e-mail to at least 35 members of my department, informing them that I am an atheist (gasp!), and trying to get me fired.
This isn’t the first time this happened. About twenty years ago, some local evangelicals were actually picketing outside the gates of my university with the same goal. They failed, but everybody had a good time laughing.
I am happy to say that DrIntellectual’s plan also backfired. Nearly everybody ignored DrIntellectual’s message, except the Dean, who wrote me to offer his support. I guess DrIntellectual has never heard of “academic freedom” and what it entails.
The two things that drove DrIntellectual to inchoate rage seem to be my review of Stephen Meyer’s book, Signature in the Cell, and my review of Patrick Glynn’s book, God: The Evidence. But DrIntellectual offers nothing against the views I presented there, except some variations on “Wow! Oxygen! Hence, God!”. This is literally an 18th century view: it was Dartmouth’s founder, Eleazar Wheelock, who reportedly once offered the prayer, “O Lord! We thank Thee for the Oxygen gas; we thank Thee for the Hydrogen gas; and for all the gases.” But it’s the 21st century now. We don’t burn witches any more, either.
Why is DrIntellectual driven to act like this? I don’t know, but it’s typical behavior for a certain species of theist. This kind of person is so steeped in Jeebus that it’s literally inconceivable that anyone could believe differently. Furthermore, anyone who disbelieves must be evil, and therefore no tactic against them is too slimy. (It’s the same method used by Scientologists on what they call “suppressive people”.) Luckily, these dirty tricksters are usually too impotent to do much harm.
What DrIntellectual is really saying by his actions is that my book reviews are powerful. They represent such a threat to his insecure world view that he has to resort to this kind of poison-pen attack. He can’t simply leave a comment on my blog or write his own rebuttal. No, the rest of the world has to coddle DrIntellectual’s weak faith by removing all obstacles to it. He even resorts to implicit threats, writing “in the end, there will be a test, a very important test. Don’t fail it.” Threats like these are the theist’s weapon of choice.
The Internet is the most powerful weapon against this kind of theism ever devised. When people of good will see the kinds of tactics some theists have to resort to, they know very well who is winning the argument. We are.