Every once in a while I'll get an e-mail or a letter from some young earth creationist who will tell me about going to hell. Some will tell me to go to hell and others have gone so far as to try and cause trouble at my work place. Here's an e-mail I received from one 'B. Deas'---at least that's the identity in the e-mail address:
Please refrain from babbling at the table. We do not want to hear your evilutionist (me: don't you just love that term!) fairytales or your mindless jabs at an honest, courageous, just, trustworthy man of God. You are a blind man feeling an elephants leg and calling it a tree. Either shut up and listen, or go back to the kids table!
No doubt this comes from a fan of one Dr. Kent Hovind, a young earth creation evangelist who was recently convicted on 58 counts of tax fraud. In addition to his tax fraud conviction, "Dr." Hovind obtained his Ph.D. from a degree mill called Patriot University. Hovind makes some very outrageous claims about science and the bible that are criticized by other young earth creationist groups. All of this may seem like a simple ad-hominem attack on Kent Hovind. I would argue that these document poor scholarship and a reasonable distrust of Hovind's motives. Thus, I give this information and let the reader decide whether or not his message is worth following.
The writer might also be a follower of creationist Walt Brown. I have been in a dispute with Brown for some time now regarding a debate challenge. Walt also has some very active devotees. One went so far as to write a letter to the chairman of the department where I work (and I believe cc'ed to the Dean of my college). The letter was lengthy, but the import was clear enough. He was trying to cause me some trouble as an untenured professor. Here's the part of the letter, from one Bill Wells that was most striking:
"As time goes by more people will learn of these widespread distortions that I am certain do not reflect favorably on his academic integrity, on the University of Florida, or on the Department of Geological Sciences. While there are people of integrity on both sides of this issue, Professor Joe Meert poorly represents honest evolutionists (me: I thought all evolutionists were liars??) and the University of Florida"
Wells was complaining about my website discussing Walt's challenge to evolution. I e-mailed Walt Brown asking if this is the sort of action he condones of his followers, but he never replied. These are typical letters I receive as I continue the battle for solid science education in the US.
I have come to expect such things, but I am very curious about one aspect of the hate mail. According to the document that these people follow, they are called to "love your enemy". It's clear that a pro-science stance that calls young earth creationism what it is, is an enemy to their world view. That's too bad because there is so much beauty and fun in science that is missed by trying to force fit the science into a narrowly conceived biblical framework.
On a separate note, the New York Times had an article on 'future plate tectonics' (see my blog of Jan 7, 2007 on supercontinents).