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