On Dan Jarvis, And
Hovind's 300 Creationist Lies
From: Johan Grahn
To: Positive Atheism
Sent: Monday, July 03, 2000 12:31 PM
Hi again Cliff!
I was reading your improved letter section and came across a letter from Dan Jarvis. In this letter he mentions the so called challenge from Kent Hovind. I'm not sure whether you are familiar with this character or not, but since I know that you put truth ahead of all other things, I'd figured I'd tell you that Hovind is the most devious and lying creationist that ever existed. A hobby scientist read/sat through his material and compiled a response which he named "Hovind's 300 lies." This guy doesn't know the difference between science and a grapefruit and not even fellow creationists listen to him. To win his prize you have to do the logically impossible, namely prove that evolution is the only possible way for life to happen. Also, you have to reproduce the Big Bang in a laboratory and the applicant needs to convince a jury that consists entirely of Hovind selected characters.
If this is a subject that interests you, I suggest you to go
for a very interesting read.
By the way, if I understand your position correctly you say that as long as religious groups stay out of the government they are free to do whatever they want and that you have no wish to "deconvert" anyone. In theory I agree completely, after all, who are we to tell them how to live? In practice however, do you think it's possible? After all, they think that they have the truth and that their way is in every way superior to ours. I don't know.
In the words of Dennis McKinsey, we have to give them something else to believe in. I never "preach" in Christian chatrooms or send mails to religious homepages unless they publish outrage lies to further an agenda. I DO chat in atheist newsgroups and if religious people enter I try to make them think before they leave. I also notice that I at this point am rambling and I shall therefore finish this letter.
If you should find the time to answer this letter, could you please send it to the following address instead of this one:
Thank you for your time.
From: "Positive Atheism" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: "Johan Grahn"
Subject: Re: Positive_Atheism_Letters_Section
Date: Monday, July 03, 2000 2:33 PM
A hobby scientist read/sat through his material and compiled a response which he named "Hovind's 300 lies."
I have added a response from the James Randi Educational Foundation to Hovind's claims. I will also add your response, and will eventually create a new file that will excerpt his original comment on Hovind, my initial response, the Randi Response, your response, and any others we get.
I also linked Buddika's
300 Creationist Lies on our Web Guide -- despite the fact that it is
a GeoCities page. I wish more atheistic groups would host such pages rather
than doing the self-promotion that they seem to spend so much space on.
We will be weeding out about a megabyte of graphics and will be trimming
some other material so we can afford to put more timely stuff on our site
-- which has now grown to over 44 megabytes.
BTW, if I understand your position correctly you say that as long as religious groups stay out of the government they are free to do whatever they want and that you have no wish to "deconvert" anyone.
Our only position on religious groups is this: that they be held to the same laws as the rest of us. In other words, if it is illegal to neglect my child's health by refusing to give it medical care, then the same should hold for a Christian Science practitioner. If it is legal for a Native American to eat peyote, it should not be a crime for me. I also side with Joseph Lewis when he says that "faith healers" such as Oral Roberts ought to be held culpable for fraud when it can be proven. Currently, we allow such frauds to go uncompensated in the name of "religious freedom." But a crime is a crime, wither it is a white-collar crime or a black-collar crime. Otherwise, even if they want to be bigots, we shouldn't "stoop" to that level and try to change them, thinking our way to be superior. Every theist holds what he or she thinks are valid reasons for believing.
Otherwise, our position regards our government: It is the government that should not entangle itself with religion -- by sponsoring prayer services, by printing religious mottoes, by sentencing "alcoholics" to attend the patently religious Twelve Step programs and treatment methods, by giving money to faith-based charities (when it is everyone's job to take care of the poor, so the government should erect centers to help the poor when it is our money that is involved), by giving money to religious schools for any reason.
The government should also not prevent the free practice of religion (except when such practice violates a law that the rest of us would be punished for violating -- then we need to reexamine the law, not the religion, and decide if it is a crime, and punish any who commit that crime, religious or not). This means that if a prisoner is a Satanist, he or she should be given the same opportunity to practice his or her faith as a Roman Catholic would. And Episcopalians should be allowed to drink real wine for Communion. This does not mean that a representative of the government, while on duty, is allowed to use his or her official position to propagate or to enforce his or her private religious beliefs: Judge Roy Moore is wrong for posting -- in our courtroom, not his -- an abbreviated reading of the Protestant version of the First Stone Tablets edition of the Ten Commandments. (Have you read what the Second Stone Tablets allegedly said?) Teachers cannot lead prayer and city bus drivers cannot hand out pamphlets while on duty.
Nonetheless, we are not out to "de-convert" anyone. Our target
audience consists of those who are already atheists. While we will not
and cannot prevent theists from visiting, and we will grant theists the
same dignity we would atheists (and treat both with the same standards),
our target audience consists of atheists. Notwithstanding, we do publish
and post lots of material that has been written by theists. For example,
our last three issues (April, May, and the upcoming June edition) have
featured pieces written by theists. In doing this, we hope to open doors
of communication between atheists and theists. However, we speak only to
atheists, and really have nothing to say to theists; we speak to theists
only when spoken to.
In the words of Dennis McKinsey, we have to give them something else to believe in.
To paraphrase Madalyn Murray O'Hair and many others, No we don't.
We can let them believe what they want. We can do this without fear
that they will "take over." All we need to do is be diligent
in educating ourselves about our rights, seek out theists (and atheists)
who agree with the concept of religious liberty, and work with them to
ensure that these liberties remain intact.
I never "preach" in Christian chatrooms or send mails to religious homepages unless they publish outrage lies to further an agenda. I DO chat in atheist newsgroups and if religious people enter I try to make them think before they leave. I also notice that I at this point am rambling and I shall therefore finish this letter.
Methinks you are not rambling. You are here putting into practice the core values of "Positive Atheism."
This is very important, and I could only wish that I had known these values when I used to go into chat rooms several years ago. All I can do now is hope that other atheists will learn from your stated values and set a better example: I am tired of answering to other atheists' "crimes" when it is not me who is spiteful and vindictive. However, the accusation that many atheists are spiteful and vindictive is a just one, and the activities in the chat rooms don't help our situation any.
In fact, if you would like to come up with a rough draft of your "Chat Room Etiquette," I will comment on it and send both out to our list. Perhaps we could come up with a final version of "Chat Room Etiquette" -- Positive Atheism style -- and popularize it. Gaud nose I have made every mistake in the book when it comes to chat rooms (both atheistic and Twelve Step) and this is one way I can redeem myself of my past sins!
"Positive Atheism" Magazine
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