SEB Mailbag: “Feel sorry for you” edition.

Got the following this morning:

From: “Baumann, Brent”
Subject: Feel sorry for you

I am a geologist who has watched the creation show a few times and I certainly have not heard any of the claims you are making but I have studied creation science and worked as a geologist in the “real world” for many years and the more I work and the older I get the stronger my faith becomes in intelligent design.  I have worked in mines two miles underground and mapped above ground throughout Montana, Wyoming and Idaho.  It all points to a creator.

Maybe in your infinite wisdom you can explain thousands of feet of coal beds supposedly laid down over millions of years of time containing “polystrate” fossils but containing no rock debris.  Or maybe you can explain why scientists are constantly finding and covering up geological anomalies in rock strata throughout the world with the convenient phrase “unconformities or non-conformities”.  You will probably have to look those words up in the dictionary.

I probably check out this site again because I am not talking to people with any credibility or desire to learn about intelligent design or a creator.  All you want to do is spout your anti-Christian point of view.

Understand this, there will be a day of reckoning and a place of judgment.  You were created in God’s image and despite the fact that you despise Him, He desires that you come to a knowledge of the truth which can only be found in Jesus Christ.

My reply is somewhat lengthy so I’ll post it after the jump.

Here’s what I sent back to Mr. Baumann:

Mr. Baumann,

Nice to hear from you. I see you claim to be a geologist, but you don’t provide any information to back up that claim. You’ll pardon me if I’m skeptical, but you use terms such as “polystrate” which isn’t a geological term and is used almost exclusively by creationists. That leads me to think that your background in geology comes entirely from reading Creationist materials, but I could be wrong and you might have a perfectly legitimate degree in geology. There’s also the fact that you do not show up in the Wyoming Board of Professional Geologists roster (http://wbpg.wy.gov/roster_search.asp) to make me skeptical, but perhaps you’ve never bothered to apply. I did notice that you have a Wyoming government email address, but you never bothered to say what it is you do for the great state of Wyoming. If you’re going to lay claim to the mantle of Geologist then it would do much for your creditability to actually say why you feel it’s a legitimate claim. Do you really expect me to just take at face value the claims of some random person on the Internet?

I make no claim to being a geologist, amateur or otherwise, as I am but a lowly computer support technician, albeit a fairly well-read one. I have read a lot of material from both professional geologists and various Creationists, which is why I recognize the term “polystrate” which you used previously. As I recall it is most commonly argued as being an example of fossilization geologists are unable to explain. The truth is that geologists in the 19th century had already figured it out (see “Polystrate” Tree Fossils by Andrew MacRae at http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/polystrate/trees.html) and the method in which such fossils come to exist is well understood. It doesn’t take infinite wisdom to figure such things out.

You go on to claim that ‘scientists are constantly finding and covering up geological anomalies in rock strata throughout the world with the convenient phrase “unconformities or non-conformities”.’ Why it’s a world-wide conspiracy! Unlike the term “polystrate” you threw out earlier, the terms “unconformity” and “nonconformity” are actual geologic terms and they refer to a gap in the geologic record usually caused by erosion. There are actually four main types of unconformity of which a nonconformity is one of them. The other three are the Angular Unconformity, the Disconformity, and the Paraconformity. You can find a nice brief write-up of each of them in the article “Unconformities: Gaps in the Record” by Andrew Alden (http://geology.about.com/od/geoprocesses/a/unconformities.htm). They really aren’t that hard to understand and are far from being a cover up by scientists.

Nice dig there at the end of the paragraph suggesting I’ll have to look the words up in the dictionary. Your presumption that I am ignorant of the topic at hand is telling of your biases. It’s interesting that you would attempt to insult my intelligence and then make such a very basic error in your very next sentence. You write: “I probably check out this site again because I am not talking to people with any credibility or desire to learn about intelligent design or a creator.” I’m guessing you meant to say that you won’t be checking out my site again. Which is fine with me as it’s clear you have nothing to offer beyond the usual cut-and-paste nonsense from various Creationist literature and assumptions as to my motivations, both of which are wrong.

Though I will posit one question to you to see if you are able to provide an answer. If Intelligent Design is a proper theory, as you and many others like to claim, then please provide me with one example of a testable prediction that it makes. Evolution has come up with countless predictions over the years, but I’ve yet to see one from Intelligent Design theory which seems to be able to offer nothing beyond “I can’t explain how this happened so it must be designed.”

And finally we come to the traditional YOU’RE GOING TO HELL closing paragraph wherein I am once again warned of my pending day of Judgment by an all-powerful creator who loves me so much he’ll send me to eternal torment if I don’t believe in him. Again you are arrogant enough to presume to know my feelings towards your non-existent sky fairy. I don’t despise God for the same reason I don’t despise invisible pink unicorns. They don’t exist. What’s truly amusing to me is how ignorant of your own arrogance you are in presuming to know much of anything about me from a single entry on my weblog. Not only do you think you’ve got geology all figured out, but you think you’ve got me all figured out as well.

That’s the problem with faith in things unseen. It leads you to false certainty without need to actually learn anything about the subjects you’re passing judgment on. You presume to know whether or not I have any desire to learn about ID or a Creator, you presume to know that I wouldn’t understand the terms “polystrate” or “unconformities and noncomformities”, you presume to know that I despise God and that I only wish to spout anti-Christian viewpoints. You are so certain of all of that after reading one blog entry and without ever having said one word to me directly. Your knowledge of me is almost God-like considering how little you’ve actually interacted with me.

Have you ever stopped to consider how that makes you look to others? Have you ever considered whether or not Jesus would approve of such an approach? I don’t know that you have or haven’t, but I’d be willing to make a guess…

Sincerely,

Les Jenkins

 

29 thoughts on “SEB Mailbag: “Feel sorry for you” edition.

  1. Well If I do say so myself that was a straight kick in the face for him.

    Mmm-yes.  I’d give it a 10.

  2. “Understand this, there will be a day of reckoning and a place of judgment.”

    Typical Christian. What a fucking stupid asshole. Threatening people with his invisible friend.

    The world will become a much better place when the Christian death cult is eradicated.

  3. Brent’s last paragraph renders anything he says unintelligible.  That it is irrelevant and doesn’t fit invalidates his position.

    Good reply from you.

  4. Baumann’s missive seems to have all the ingredients of a classic drive-by troll. The guy really needs to work on his critical reasoning skills. The ad hominem attacks at the end only confirm his complete lack of credibility.

    Les, we can always count on you to articulate a well-reasoned reply. Nicely played.

  5. Much to my surprise Baumann has responded. I am unsure whether to start a new blog post or just post the reply as a comment here. Perhaps I’ll ask him.

  6. Well articulated response. Let’s see if the reply makes more sense than the post. Subscribing.

  7. I’m just wondering if Brent Bauman’s name is misspelled in the “From:” declaration to you. I’ve found a Brent Bauman who presented a paper as a component of his degree study at James Madison University regarding the “Gaia Hypothesis” in 1998. That guy’s obviously some sort of mining geologist, but operating out of the West Virginia/Virginia/Pennsylvania area. I can only guess that that Brent Bauman played a lot of SimEarth as a guide to his entry into geology.

    On the other hand, there’s a AV guy with the name of Brent Bauman that’s apparently heavily involved in church ministries too that I can’t connect to either of them. And if I were to use my real name then someone would inevitably find that I share the name with a Death Row inmate with a weird “bad poetry from behind bars” web presence.

  8. He does establish his bona fides as a geologist of the working order, as opposed to the scientific research order, but beyond that he continues to toss out some pretty standard Young Earth Creationist claims. When he starts in on evolution he clearly doesn’t have a good grasp of the theory.

    The email is unremarkable in the claims made, but interesting as a look into the thought processes that accept those claims as true.

    For example, at one point he brushes off the fact that the term “polystrate” isn’t a geological term as being mere semantics when just a paragraph earlier he was seizing on the phrasing used in one of the links I provided. He sees great significance in the words “We can now imagine… the stories we come up with… include that possibility” as being somehow indicative of scientists just making shit up as they go along.

    I’ve not formulated a reply as of yet because I’ve been somewhat busy here at work, but when I get around to it I’ll take the approach DOF suggested.

  9. He feels sorry for you? He should feel sorry for me.  The following is absolutely true.

    I was in the prison showers when the big black guy next to me dropped the soap…

  10. Subscribing, though I am amazed that I have nothing to actually add to the conversation at this point.  I must be getting sick.

  11. I’m at a loss as to how a creationist who had taken even so much as an entry level geology class would refer to common geologic terms as “convenient.” The terms are descriptive, and not in any way value laden.

  12. Les,

    Its good to see someone has the willingness to “debate” the issue with these guys. I’m just too impatient and would rather say, “Dumb-ass!” and have done with it. Good on you.

    On the mans email, if he’s sending this from an official state address then it might behoove him to move the conversation to another address. I know in my work the state really frowns on using “official” email for personal business to avoid the “could be construed as endorsing x” faux-pas. Just sayin’.

  13. First off, obvious kudos to the response. Once again I’m forced to roll my eyes at the people who give a really bad name to the Christian faith and applaud your dismantling of them.

    And now an open question having nothing to do with religion: Why is the word “polystrate” not a legitimate geologic term?

    The wikipedia entry for the word gives what appears to be a solid writeup of the concept, and a definition…but includes the disclaimer that it’s mostly a creationist word.

    To quote wikipedia “Polystrate fossils of a single organism (such as a tree trunk) extend through more than one geological stratum.

    How is that concept not a legitimate geological term, and how is it a creationist term? To me, it looks like the “acausal” symptom my doctor referred to me having, or the ever popular “UFO” of aviation—both job-speak for “didn’t fit what we have expected to see.”

    Just curious.

  14. JethricOne said:

    How is that concept not a legitimate geological term, and how is it a creationist term?

    It’s my understanding (from my previous experience as a Born Again Christian/Creationist/Lunatic) that Creationists use polystrate to “prove” that the geological strata were formed by the Great Flood, not millions of years of sedimentary buildup like, ya know, Geologists say. 

    To them, the tree you mentioned disproves Geological strata explanations and proves that the flood did it because they can’t comprehend how a tree that was fossilized could possibly be found in multiple layers of strata so obviously it had to happen really quickly. 

    Nevermind that there are tons of actual explanations for how it occurred, they just cover their ears and say Godditit! Pretty much the same thing they do with all scientific evidence that contradicts their dumbass 6,000 year old earth idea from their 5,000+ year old oral tradition that was written down in a book some 3,000+ years ago.

  15. A quote I ran across today while looking for something else:

    “In mathematics, we say ‘suppose’ all the time and see if we can end up with something patently untrue or self-contradictory” – Isaac Asimov

    The trouble with religion is; they don’t say “suppose” or “we can now imagine” (as intellectual honesty would require).  Instead, they say; “scripture says” or even “the spirit is witnessing to my soul on this”.  Pretending certainty where none can exist.

    Well you can’t go looking for the patently untrue or self-contradictory in scripture or in the witness of the Holy Spirit now, can you?

  16. Have you-all chap’s noted the Landover Baptist website? At the risk of preaching to the converted, this is a church Betty Bowers Herself claims membership in, where signed up folk compete to pretend Creationism and Extreme Intolerance to gain Reputation amoung thier fellow “True Christians(tm)” – no breaking of character is tolerated by the Pastors, who enforce infractions rigourously. The real fun starts when *genuine* religious folk stumble into this pious Hornets Nest, and are accussed of being lie-beral, sickular, homer, joo Jesus haters.

    Hilarious!

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