An Open Letter to Bill Nye

Not from me, but from the Secular Coalition of Australia. It’s hilarious. After the letter there’s an explanation of why it was written. Gotta love those Aussies!

(More on the Nye/Ham debate later.)

An open letter to Bill Nye, the Science Guy

Sunday 2nd Feb 2014

Dear Bill,

We’re sorry. We’re really sorry.

We know how you American rationalists think of us Aussies. You think we’re all so busy clinging on to the bottom of the world with our fingertips that we don’t have time to waste concerning ourselves with silly creationist ideas – that we’re a haven of straightforward logical thinking, secular education, free healthcare and good-looking half-clothed beach bunnies.

But we’re really sorry, Bill – Ken Ham is our fault, and it’s time we took responsibility for him. We, the people of Australia, have allowed our zealots to escape to your fair shores. It’s not just Ham, either. Fine specimens like Gary Bates, who left for the forgiving climes of Georgia, still manages to send his tentacled pods back over the Pacific and feed our kids rubbish about how the earth is only 6000 years old – a particular head-scratcher for our Indigenous population, whose families have been here since 50,000 BCE. I mean, talk about breathtakingly rude.

We’ve been slack, Bill. Our practically secular society let us get complacent; we didn’t notice years ago, when the scripture classes that had slid in sideways last century were commandeered by proselytising evangelicals who set about “making disciples” of our children. We let slide our government handing over of wads of tax dollars to create a raft of fundamentalist religious schools who teach kids the kind of hogwash that you will have to endure from Ken Ham in your debate.  In fact, Bill, just this week, when Professor Marion Maddox nailed a copy of her exemplary new book Taking God To School to our doors, it was a stark reminder of just how much we’d let our secular-ish, sunburnt paradise go.  And now, any attempt to reverse the process has been met with squealing about “our Christian heritage” from people who often don’t understand either Christianity OR heritage.

To our shame, decades of preoccupation with things like Olympic medal tallies and football players has made Australia into the “Typhoid Mary” of Creationism: we were rubbishing America for its anti-evolutionists and didn’t even notice that we were the ones exporting young-earth evangelism to your great nation, where unfortunately there is no tariff on craziness. We are so, so sorry.

So on Tuesday, when you’re roasting the Ham and his patently ridiculous ideas on the rotisserie of logic, tell him you’ve got a message from Australia. Tell him from us that we used his state-issued Akubra hat to cover a hole in the national chookhouse shed, that he is no longer entitled to use his formal Australian name (Kenno) and that he is now forbidden any Tim Tams – ever again. Also, that whenever his name comes up at Christmas, while we sit around drinking white wine in the sun, there will be a formal awkward silence of twenty to forty seconds, until someone brightly offers everyone pudding. And if you could manage to kick him in the shins and tell him and his ilk to leave our kids alone, Bill – we’d owe you one.

Best Regards,

Secular Coalition of Australia (SECOA)
on behalf of the sensible people of Australia.

P.S. We take no responsibility for Ray Comfort. He’s a Kiwi.

h/t: Gregory


  1. gbjames
    Posted February 2, 2014 at 9:24 am | Permalink


  2. Posted February 2, 2014 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    The US has unfortunately become a dumping ground for Christian nuts from all over the world. There is a very strong current of selective migration of fundamentalist christians from everywhere—even places like China and India where there are very few Christians.

    • Posted February 2, 2014 at 10:03 am | Permalink

      Could it be due to the large ready made audience along with the huge amounts of dosh available from both the gullible (xchuns) and the government?

    • Posted February 2, 2014 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

      It began with the Pilgrims, so it has a fairly long history of that.

  3. Posted February 2, 2014 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    Brightly offering pudding? Count me in :)

    what an wonderfully hilarious letter.

  4. Posted February 2, 2014 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    O, funny.funny.funny !

    Thank YOU, Gregory et al ( .Reasonable. ) Aussies !


  5. Posted February 2, 2014 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    I’m not sure how to do this but I’m sending you a picture of a cat.

    He’s so cool he’s wearing shades!

    • Posted February 2, 2014 at 9:58 am | Permalink

      That didn’t work the way I intended. You can delete these comments if you like.

  6. Posted February 2, 2014 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    The drongos, mugs, and the nongs are as mad as a cut snake.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted February 2, 2014 at 9:55 am | Permalink

      “mad as a cut snake”. I like that. I’ll remember that one!

      • Posted February 2, 2014 at 10:50 am | Permalink

        Sure beats “mad as a wet hen” all to hell !!!

      • Posted February 2, 2014 at 11:01 am | Permalink

        There’s another version — mad as a cut ca-…. um, forget I spoke.

  7. Steve
    Posted February 2, 2014 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    Good on you, mates! No worries…I still hold Aussies in high regard. Organizations like the SCoA and individuals like Tim Flannery more than compensate for the occasional freak of nature.

    • marcusa1971
      Posted February 3, 2014 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

      Thanks. Many of us are rational down here (eg, look at our campaign against AIDS in the 80′s, among the most successful in the world), but occasionally one of our failed genetic experiments escapes.

      • Posted February 4, 2014 at 8:33 am | Permalink

        “… but occasionally one of our failed genetic experiments escapes.”

        Yipes, I just finished reading Oryx anc Crake, so escaped genetic experiments sounds really scary!

      • Steve
        Posted February 4, 2014 at 8:52 am | Permalink

        I concur. Maybe the gov should re-think their policy on GMOs.

  8. Diana MacPherson
    Posted February 2, 2014 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    The letter is full of great humour (I especially thought the Ray Comfort P.S. was funny) but it does raise some serious points about religion creeping into secular education. The “Why did we write this letter” section at the end of the letter outlines in detail how religion pollutes Australian education: creationist teachings have espoused “science denial aimed at children”, and “beliefs of creationists deny the heritage of the original inhabitants of this continent”.

    One paragraph that I relate to as a Canadian reads:

    Most educated people falsely assume that Americans are the primary source of the contagion of biblical literalism. However, the facts show that Australians are a major vector of this contagion, both at home and, even more inexcusably, in many other countries, including America.

    I referenced this paragraph it on my response to the letter in a post I wrote this morning for Canadian Atheist to warn Canadians not to be so superior!

  9. Posted February 2, 2014 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    Dear SCOA,

    You have no idea how fortunate you are to only have the Hamster to vicariously embarrass yourselves by.


    Every rationalist in America.


    • justrodwilldo
      Posted February 3, 2014 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

      Thanks Ben for trying to cheer us up. The main thing for both you guys and us is to start fighting back – especially in our schools, where the next generation of either educated or ignorant voters is being produced right now.

    • justrodwilldo
      Posted February 3, 2014 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

      Oh, and btw it’s SECOA, not SCOA :)

  10. gravityfly
    Posted February 2, 2014 at 10:15 am | Permalink

    Awesome letter! Love those Aussies!

  11. Allen
    Posted February 2, 2014 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    But does that mean we Canadians are responsible for Ted Cruz? We’re a small country, we can’t handle Cruz, beiber, and Mayor Ford at the same time.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted February 2, 2014 at 10:36 am | Permalink

      Funny, Chrystia Freeland (MP for Toronto Centre) was on Real Time Friday night & Bill Maher brought up those three. She said Canada can’t take responsibility for Ted Cruz.

    • Posted February 2, 2014 at 10:51 am | Permalink

      Saw this Photo Shop of Mayor Ford and Beiber. Had to share. Photo Shop

      • Merilee
        Posted February 2, 2014 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

        Saw a similar one making the pair look like Laurel and Hardy. Add Cruz and we can get the 3 Stooges.

    • Grania Devine
      Posted February 2, 2014 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

      Benny Hinn?

    • Steve
      Posted February 2, 2014 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

      And, Sye Ten Bruggencate?

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted February 3, 2014 at 4:09 am | Permalink

      Send Beiber and Mayor Ford out for a night on the tiles ; Ford getting the gear ; Beiber the designated driver.
      Your problem count is likely to decrease.

  12. exsumper
    Posted February 2, 2014 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    Just a thought generated by the last sentence in para 3?

    How dare these creationists suggest that the cultural histories of Native Americans, Black Americans, The Bushmen of the Kalahari and the Aboriginal people of Australia are falsehoods!

    Time to call these rascists out methinks??

    Should people who hold such bigoted and rascist views be allowed on to state boards of education?

    • Posted February 2, 2014 at 10:52 am | Permalink

      We should of course respect those cultural histories, but that doesn’t mean we should necessarily treat them as factual. For instance Native Americans often say that they have inhabited their historical territory “since the dawn of time” ( see for example ) and many British lakes (often quite shallow) are traditionally said to be “bottomless”.

      • John Scanlon, FCD
        Posted February 6, 2014 at 4:30 am | Permalink

        That’s enough of your Scientismianism! How dare you doubt the eyewitness testimony of authentic witnesses to the Dawn of Time? Were you there?

  13. George
    Posted February 2, 2014 at 10:39 am | Permalink

    I still think Australia got the better deal. As some have said before, the United States got the Puritans and Oz got the convicts. I would have preferred the convicts.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted February 3, 2014 at 4:10 am | Permalink

      Actually, Oz only got the convicts when the Americans went all independent on us. Until then … transportation was to the Virginias and Carolinas.

  14. Posted February 2, 2014 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    Well I had to study Creationism in high school when I was growing up in Australia. There was a brief period in the 1980s when two states introduced legislation requiring it.

    I didn’t learn much at high school, but I did learn that Duane Gish was a drop kick.

    • George
      Posted February 2, 2014 at 11:22 am | Permalink

      You would have to mention “drop kick” on that most sacred of American holidays – Super Bowl Sunday. My mind immediately turns to this song – which xians take seriously:

      If you do listen to that song, try some Kinky Friedman to clean your palate –

      • Posted February 2, 2014 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

        OR … … to scrape clean that … s-(c)-h-(*)(a)-t … … offo’ yer local lut’ern – pew**’s Sunday pumps ‘nd ‘owboy boots !

        As much as I love ( m.u.c.h. ) country mu – sick, O what a nightmare – memory these songs’ve brought back: “ a lowly bench** – warmer I PRETENDED ( .NOT. ‘ I’m contented ‘ ) to be,”


        ps Kinky’s the Texan … … as in football and, most especially, schoolbooks ! Bobby’s an Ohioan !

  15. Nick
    Posted February 2, 2014 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    Surprised this article on Nye/Ham from yesterday hasn’t appeared here (or maybe I missed it).

    Apparently & are going to stream the debate and have a reporter there.

    Prof C-Cat is quoted, there is a poll, and it has about 2000 comments in 24 hours (mostly stupid).

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted February 2, 2014 at 11:28 am | Permalink

      Nice to see 71% side with Nye so far.

    • Nick
      Posted February 2, 2014 at 11:28 am | Permalink

      Sorry, when I went to bed this a.m. there were almost 1800 comments so I made an estimate of 2000. Just checked and it now says 1300+.

  16. Posted February 2, 2014 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    Can I please move to Australia? I promise to help encourage the remaining creationists to leave! Maybe I’ll drop in for the next Australian Open — tennis is my passion after science.

    • stuartcoyle
      Posted February 3, 2014 at 3:07 am | Permalink

      If you try to come here you are liable to be put in detention on Manis island. Seeking refuge from religious extremists does not seem to convince the government that you are a genuine refugee.

  17. bonetired
    Posted February 2, 2014 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    To be fair the Aussies did give the world the excellent Tim Minchin in compensation !

    ( yes yes I know he was UK born …..)

    • MorsGotha
      Posted February 2, 2014 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

      “…at Christmas, while we sit around drinking white wine in the sun…”

      I think that was a reference to a Tim Minchin song, unless he had taken the name of his song from an australian saying?

  18. Posted February 2, 2014 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    I’m in the UK and am not feeling particularly generous towards Australians at the moment (it’s a cricket related grudge) but I did enjoy the letter.

  19. Richard Jones
    Posted February 2, 2014 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

    Australia has given us the late Nellie Melba and Joan Sutherland. I will forgive them Ken Ham for the gift of these tremendous sopranos.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted February 2, 2014 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

      Yeah but they also gave us Mel Gibson & he kinda went off toward the end there.

      • Frizzle
        Posted February 2, 2014 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

        Mel was actualy a return to sender US-born fruitcake. We can’t take the “credit” for that piece of work. Still doesn’t let us off the hook for the Hamster. Oh the shame. First time I’m rootin’ for the yank in an Oz vs. US contest! GO BILL – STICK IT RIGHT UP HIM !!!!!!

      • Posted February 2, 2014 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

        Wasn’t he born in the US?


        • Posted February 2, 2014 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

          * Yep: Peekskill, NY.

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted February 2, 2014 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

          Yes, to an Aussie mom.

          • Frizzle
            Posted February 2, 2014 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

            OK, we’ll take half the blame. His father was a hardline Catholic anti-semite dirtbag. Seems the apple didn’t fall far from that tree.

  20. David Schilling
    Posted February 2, 2014 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    Where in Australia do we send the letter apologizing for sending them Meryl Dorey…?

    • Thanny
      Posted February 3, 2014 at 10:19 am | Permalink

      That was my first thought as well. I think she’s done far more concrete damage than Ham has.

  21. BilBy
    Posted February 2, 2014 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

    No Tim Tams?! That’s a bit harsh, even for Ham.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted February 2, 2014 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

      I’d be more sad to be denied Violet Crumble! I ask anyone coming back from Australia to get me some!

      • BilBy
        Posted February 2, 2014 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

        What about Cherry Ripe? I could post some, but they’d all get eaten on the way home from the shop I’m afraid

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted February 2, 2014 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

          Haven’t tried that one. I think I amused customs when they asked what I had with me & I said it was candy – the bag was a big one.

  22. Chrysoprase
    Posted February 2, 2014 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

    Give me your poor benighted masses, yearning to spew bullsh!t.

  23. Posted February 3, 2014 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    Hilarious letter!

  24. Andrew Lucas
    Posted February 4, 2014 at 10:00 pm | Permalink

    I met Ken Ham a couple of times in the 1970s when I was a teenage creationist foot soldier in South Australia and he was a high school teacher in Queensland who would sweep down to us now and then and offer moral support. (Pity his poor science students! But that was the Bjelke Petersen days and Qld had the worst education system in Aust)

    The Ham and I have both moved on since then….

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