Suing for teaching evolution

Oy, the emails I get. I found this one, from one David Roemer when I woke up this morning. I ask you, is there anything besides religion that could make so many people this demented about evolution? My theory, which is mine, is that there would be virtually no opposition to evolution in a world in which religion had never arisen.

Open Letter to Physics and Biology Teachers

I filed a lawsuit against Columbia University and a government agency for violating the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States and disseminating misinformation about evolutionary biology (Docket No. 17-818, Second Circuit).  Upon information and belief, the science establishment in the United States is suppressing the following four scientific truths:

Human beings did not evolve from animals. What evolved from animals are hypothetical creatures without free will and the conscious knowledge of human beings. See: https://www.academia.edu/23340072/WHY_PEOPLE_BELIEVE_GOD_CAUSED_THE_BIG_BANG

Natural selection only explains the adaptation of species to the environment, not common descent.

Charles Darwin contributed nothing to science. He was only a propagandist for eugenics.

The American Journal of Physics published an article titled “Entropy and Evolution” that disgraces every physicist in the United States. See:

https://www.academia.edu/20939526/An_Analogy_Between_Nazi_Germany_and_the_United_States

David Roemer

http://www.newevangelization.info

74 Comments

  1. Diana MacPherson
    Posted October 11, 2017 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    Open letter to David Roemer. You use your way of figuring out reality, and we will use ours. Let’s see which one gets the best results.

    • Jacques Hausser
      Posted October 11, 2017 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

      He doesn’t “use his way of figuring out reality”. He already knows what it is. God told him.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted October 11, 2017 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

        That’s okay. We’ll see which one works out best. He can’t cheat and use ours either so no science-based things like airplanes, computers, anti-biotics, etc.

      • Posted October 11, 2017 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

        No. He told himself…which i guess makes him his own god. Woah!

      • Posted October 11, 2017 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

        No. He told himself…which i guess makes him his own god. Woah….

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted October 12, 2017 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

        Almost certainly, his “pastor” (other ranks are available) told him what he (Roemer) should think that god (hawk, spit) says.
        People like this rarely have functional minds of their own.

  2. Randy schenck
    Posted October 11, 2017 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    As Donald Trump has shown many times, stupidity does not win many lawsuits.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted October 12, 2017 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

      … just presidencies.
      [SELF tries to fit the Trump on the amoeba-to-MayBot scale.
      Even in a hypothetical, I feel compelled to apologise to amoebae insulted by the association.

  3. Steve S
    Posted October 11, 2017 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

    Oh my. I hope the courts dismiss this quickly and get to important cases.

  4. Posted October 11, 2017 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    Shhhhh, quiet…
    although not rare in these parts, the wild Dunning-Kruger frightens easily and retreats to alcoves and altars, infesting further minds out of sight and out of mind.

    • Mark Sturtevant
      Posted October 11, 2017 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

      Wait… I think I see it!! It is sniffing the hindquarters of a Cognitive Bias to see if she is receptive for mating. But having been already mounted by a spectacular specimen of Special Pleading I don’t think she will go for it.

      • Posted October 11, 2017 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

        Notice first, the ritual prancing and facial flushing, generally followed by the blathering.

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted October 11, 2017 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

          If startled it will start to Gish Gallop.

          • gravelinspector-Aidan
            Posted October 12, 2017 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

            As long as the Onan outpouring falls on unfertile ground.

            Y’know, since there is nothing to genetics, biology, and indeed science, I wonder why the areas around Fundamentalist Idiot trailer parks aren’t rich in hybids between teenage boys and common yard plants. Or am I a generation late in asking that question?

  5. Heather Hastie
    Posted October 11, 2017 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    FFS. I don’t think he even knows what a “scientific truth” is going by his four.

    I bet he sees himself as some big brave hero standing up for God in the face of the godless. It’s pathetic really.

    • darrelle
      Posted October 11, 2017 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

      Sounds like an easily terrified little person.

      • Heather Hastie
        Posted October 11, 2017 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

        I hope you mean him and not me! 😀

        • darrelle
          Posted October 11, 2017 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

          Of course!!

          🙂

    • nicky
      Posted October 11, 2017 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

      ‘Pathetic’ is the operative term indeed.

  6. Paul S
    Posted October 11, 2017 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    The first link points to the Uchicago email server.
    I’m sure this lawsuit will be as successful as when he sued NYC BOE.

    • Paul S
      Posted October 11, 2017 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

      Now I’m sorry I read the papers.

  7. DrDroid
    Posted October 11, 2017 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    I think we will see more of these religious challenges to science and secular law now that our AG has make it OK for the religious to ignore Jefferson’s wall separating church and state. I wonder what they will say when Scientology and Islam lay claim to the same privileges as Christians? There is a reason Jefferson wanted to keep religion out of government.

    • Posted October 11, 2017 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

      … our AG has make it OK for the religious to ignore Jefferson’s wall separating church and state.

      Actually, what made that possible was the laughably misnamed “Religious Freedom Restoration Act”.

      Many, many Democrats supported and voted for that. Blame them as much as Sessions.

  8. Posted October 11, 2017 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

    This guy is quite eccentric. I have read that he will harrass you endlessly if you get on his radar. Good luck.

    • Paul S
      Posted October 11, 2017 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

      I’m guessing he has a lot of time on his hands.

    • DrBrydon
      Posted October 11, 2017 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

      I think you mean “crank”:

      We might define an eccentric as a man who is a law unto himself, and a crank as one who, having determined what the law is, insists on laying it down to others.

      • Posted October 11, 2017 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

        I’ve also heard the difference between a crank and an eccentric is a million dollars in the bank.

        • Diane G.
          Posted October 12, 2017 at 3:55 am | Permalink

          Ha!

          • Posted October 12, 2017 at 11:28 am | Permalink

            This is in a way adopted by the DSM, which makes *functional impairment* necessary to diagnose delusions. (IIRC- I’m not a mental health expert.)

            • Diane G.
              Posted October 13, 2017 at 1:28 am | Permalink

              So many perks for being rich! Guess you can outsource your functioning…

              Along the same lines is the oft repeated remark that one person believing in invisible ghosts is delusional; thousands doing so are just religious.

  9. Desnes Diev
    Posted October 11, 2017 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    I wonder how this (pretty confident) ignorant will defend that adaptation of species could occur without some kind of common descent? Does he think that birds grown wings because they were falling for trees?

    • Randy schenck
      Posted October 11, 2017 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

      +1

    • Carl Powers
      Posted October 11, 2017 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

      Actually it was the dinosaurs who grew wings; and they weren’t falling, they were jumping! 🙂

    • jaxkayaker
      Posted October 12, 2017 at 11:35 am | Permalink

      You can get adaptation during anagenesis, his argument is against cladogenesis, whether he knows those terms or not.

  10. Posted October 11, 2017 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

    OMG. I just read “An Analogy Between Nazi Germany and the United States”. This guy is a real whackadoodle.

  11. Rob Amstutz
    Posted October 11, 2017 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    I have to say for an embarrassingly long time I bought into those arguments from David Roemer. I was never a young earth creationist, but I bought into the “changes within a kind, but no changes between kinds” and “all the major phyla appeared suddenly in the Cambrian Explosion” and “there are no transitional fossils” and “what use is half a wing” arguments. It wasn’t until my daughter majored in Biology that I really started thinking about these things and noticing things. Then I read Darwin and more recently I’ve watched your lecture on youtube. I don’t know how anyone who actually thinks about this and listens to your lecture can not understand how evolution is true and how beautiful it is. I just wanted you to know I appreciated your lecture on the subject and how it lays out in the most basic ways for the most lay person what evolution really is and what it says. These facts are so obvious that it’s amazing it took until the 1850’s for someone to put it together and write it down. So many people do not even know what it says even today and things like what this David Roemer is saying just confuses and polarizes people. I really hope we don’t have to start teaching special creation as an alternative theory alongside evolution. Christopher Hitchens had some nice analogies to that. Let’s teach alchemy alongside chemistry and astrology alongside astronomy. Anyway thanks for sharing and sorry for the long comment.

    • BJ
      Posted October 11, 2017 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

      “I don’t know how anyone who actually thinks about this and listens to your lecture can not understand how evolution is true and how beautiful it is.”

      Well, I think that’s the biggest problem, both with this issue and every other where scientific truths are rejected in favor of myths upon which people were brought up and/or have never been subject to significant challenge within their own social bubble. To think about the possibility that a long-held belief is wrong requires both exposure to evidence and the courage to examine one’s thoughts (knowing that they may turn out to be wrong). What you did was expose yourself to possibly contravening evidence regarding a belief you held for a long time, and you had the courage to do so and to admit to yourself that a belief was wrong.

      We all, to some extent or another, suffer from this problem, but some suffer from it far more than others. And some simply live in a world that never even exposes them to evidence of the possibility that they’re wrong about a particular belief.

    • Posted October 11, 2017 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for sharing your story. I’m glad to know that facts and evidence can turn people from creationism.

    • Diane G.
      Posted October 12, 2017 at 4:10 am | Permalink

      Yes, thanks for sharing! I suspect you’d also enjoy reading the namesake of this website, Jerry’s book, Why Evolution is True. It really drives home the fact that there is just so much evidence demonstrating evolution that to doubt it is simply irrational.

      I find it interesting that your change of mind began with your daughter majoring in biology. This implies that you two have a great relationship and a great deal of respect for each other. I’m impressed that you went straight to Darwin to continue satisfying your curiosity. It’s very heartening to hear a story like yours.

    • Posted October 12, 2017 at 4:22 am | Permalink

      Well, thank you, Rob; I’m glad I helped you abandon your erroneous beliefs about biology and even gladder that you’ve embraced not just the truth of evolution, but its beauty. If you haven’t yet read Richard Dawkins’s “The Blind Watchmaker”, I’d recommend that for a further dose of beauty–and amazement.

      cheers.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted October 12, 2017 at 4:56 am | Permalink

        I second that recommendation of Blind Watchmaker – Dawkins has a literary style that makes for compulsive reading.

        If I may demur slightly on the subject of ‘beauty’, [the theory of] evolution is only beautiful in the academic sense that it explains the development of species and their inter-relatedness so satisfyingly. Considered as a process of development, evolution by natural selection really is a shockingly inefficient method with staggering collateral damage (Lamarckism would be much better, if only it worked), and it can just as easily produce horrific results as beautiful ones (ask any caterpillar preyed on by a parasitic wasp).

        But I do find it wonderful that aimless undirected processes can create such functional and complex systems.

        cr

  12. Jenny Haniver
    Posted October 11, 2017 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

    I see him described as an “attention-seeking serial pest and nut case.”

    I looked up synonyms for “crackpot” and found a site that lists 120 of them.

  13. Frank Wagner
    Posted October 11, 2017 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    I checked the case file in the Southern District. Case no. 17-CV-00703-PKC-AJP. The complaint was dismissed as frivolous. He then moved to disqualify the Judge, which was denied. He has now filed (or attempted to file, unclear if done properly) an appeal of the denial of his motion to disqualify the judge. He eventually paid the $505 filing fee for the appeal, which will be denied, with more waste of the courts’ time.

    • Geoff Toscano
      Posted October 11, 2017 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

      In the UK the case could be dismissed as frivolous, or without merit, or lacking standing, before even considering the issues. In time a litigant may be regarded as ‘vexatious’, I suppose an apt description of creationists. I’m guessing the US is little different.

      • eric
        Posted October 11, 2017 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

        That sounds similar to the US system. But most judges are very hesitant to label someone vexatious. AIUI it’s seen as a very big deal not to be used lightly. So folk like this are able to file many many idiotic motions and lawsuits – probably for years – before the courts will stop them.

        • Diane G.
          Posted October 12, 2017 at 4:15 am | Permalink

          Probably the better side to err on, despite all the crackpots it encourages.

  14. Dave137
    Posted October 11, 2017 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    “Religion poisons everything.”

  15. Kiwi Dave
    Posted October 11, 2017 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    Of course, we all know that if PCC(E) were less strident, then Mr Roemer would accept evolution. 🙂

  16. nicky
    Posted October 11, 2017 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

    Jerry, I think it is not really, how shall I say, justified? to consider a theory that formulates what nearly all of us here, and many more outside of here, already know for a long time, and have been clear about, yours. Maybe I misunderstood ‘which is mine’ as ‘mine alone’, but of course religion is the main obstacle to the acceptance of evolutionary theory, 100% agreed. What else could it possibly be?

    • Paul S
      Posted October 11, 2017 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

      I thought it was a reference to the Monty Python skit: Theory on Brontosauruses by Anne Elk

    • Diane G.
      Posted October 12, 2017 at 4:20 am | Permalink

      Yes, as the above comments suggest, it’s just a running joke here based on the Monty Python skit. 🙂

      (I’m actually not sure but what your comment, too, was intended to be tongue-in-cheek.)

  17. Posted October 11, 2017 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    I can see how it would rational of the god bothered to attack the 1st amendment, I have read, and this is not mine, this will happen with more intensity and frequency, not unlike the hijacking of the 2nd amendment by the NRA.

    He could be dismissed as a freak but he could also be seen as a warning if the above has any truth to it. There are always individuals smarter and loaded with these, $$$.
    $$$ & ignorance can and has equalled power unfortunately for the US… the pot is being stirred and a pointless waste of resources, disruptions could be the outcome if nothing else.

  18. Raymond Little
    Posted October 11, 2017 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

    I hope David ends up paying Columbia’s legal costs.

  19. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted October 11, 2017 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

    Largely agreed, but Scientific American has an interesting article on non-religious people who object to evolution.

    https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/cross-check/dubitable-darwin-why-some-smart-nonreligious-people-doubt-the-theory-of-evolution/

  20. Posted October 11, 2017 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

    “My theory, which is mine, is that there would be virtually no opposition to evolution in a world in which religion had never arisen.”

    What if the emergence of religion was the necessary prerequisite for evolution to be recognized as the principle of all living things?
    How many atheists have existed 500 years ago?
    Perhaps a few philosophers and scholars. But 99 percent of the population was certainly deeply religious.
    And today?
    According to the Eurobarometer 2010, 20% of the citizens of the then 27 EU countries believed neither in God nor in a spiritual force, that is 100,000,000 people!
    Such developments require time, education and, above all, prosperity.

    To complain that there is so much ignorance and stupidity about evolution is about the same thing as complaining that people, while still possessing a great deal of knowledge, still behave unreasonably.

  21. DrBrydon
    Posted October 11, 2017 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

    He has a Facebook page. It says he has a PhD in Physics from NYU (’71). I don’t think he has any standing to sue, since this is a university and not a grade school.

  22. Ken Kukec
    Posted October 11, 2017 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

    Mr. Roemer is as ignorant of constitutional law as he is of biology: Columbia U is a private school and, thus, outside the purview of the First Amendment.

    • Xuuths
      Posted October 12, 2017 at 10:38 am | Permalink

      I’m not impressed with his so-called understanding of Physics, either.

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted October 12, 2017 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

        Mr Roemer is the sort of person I’d pay to see on a “one jump” parachuting training course. Teach him some *strong* prayers, tie on an impact-resistant tape recorder, and take him up in the plane with fewer doors than door-frames.

  23. alexandra Moffat
    Posted October 11, 2017 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

    My theory, which is mine, is that there would be virtually no opposition to evolution in a world in which religion had never arisen.

    OF course
    and we would be way less likely to be suffering in so many ways from over population

  24. loren russell
    Posted October 11, 2017 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

    OK, He’s correct that Darwin didn’t address mechanisms for speciation in the Origin. He did of course claim that speciation is necessarily implied by the existence of species of common descent.

    A bit of work has been done on speciation and natural selection in the past 150+ years. In fact “someone” has written a BIG Book entitled Speciation. Perhaps he can find time to read it when he’s finished with the Watchtower version of evolution..

  25. Posted October 11, 2017 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

    “My theory, which is mine, is that there would be virtually no opposition to evolution in a world in which religion had never arisen.”

    That is a hypothesis not a theory and would be very difficult to test

  26. Hempenstein
    Posted October 11, 2017 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

    Not sure whether to compare this guy to a tumor or an embolism.

  27. Posted October 11, 2017 at 11:15 pm | Permalink

    “in a world in which religion had never arisen.”

    I think that depends what world would be if religion had never arisen.

    If religion specifically never arisen, I think the resistance against evolution would certainly be less that we have today. However, I think we’ll have some sort of resistance in one way or another. We have plenty of irrationality that it’s not the same thing as religion but it’s related, such as complementary and alternative medicine and astrology. Religion, astrology and CAM are all superstition.
    It can be argued that CAM offers resistance to evidence based medicine – those cancer patients that try CAM often die sooner than those who don’t try it.

    As a second possibility, much more dramatic than the first, would be no religion and no other forms of superstition. In that case, we’d be obvious that we would not have resistance against evolution at all. However, I’m not sure how we would be like.

  28. Posted October 12, 2017 at 5:11 am | Permalink

    Can any legal eagle explain why a litigant such as this would sue just one university (in this case Columbia) when presumably all (proper) universities teach evolution.

    I’m curious because I was sued (unsuccessfully but time- and money-wastingly) in Texas for $51 million, for writing (decades earlier) that creationists were all either ignorant, stupid or insane (a simple statement of fact, not necessarily an insult).

    Is the litigant’s idea to pick one victim at random in the hope of setting a legal precedent?

    • Xuuths
      Posted October 12, 2017 at 10:41 am | Permalink

      It is difficult to know why a complete moron of a litigant does what they do.

    • CJColucci
      Posted October 12, 2017 at 10:46 am | Permalink

      He is suiong Columbia because he wanted to deliver a lecture there and was told that no one was interested in his services.

    • thegarlicks
      Posted October 12, 2017 at 11:43 pm | Permalink

      Er, make that Kukec. I always get that wrong.

    • rpenner
      Posted October 16, 2017 at 11:36 am | Permalink

      David Roemer started with 17-cv-703 filed in The Federal Court for NY Southern District. (filed Pro Se on 01/30/2017 , dismissed as frivolous on 02/24/2017). The complaint has nothing about an injury resulting from Columbia’s teaching of evolution. Roemer was just pissed that he couldn’t finagle an invitation to lecture an audience about his views of “cosmology” and God. He is suing not Columbia University but the “Attorney Grievance Committee” (of the NY Bar?) for failing to take action on his ethics complaint about letter from an attorney that he cease his escalating behavior lest it be seen as harassment. I think he is suing personally the attorney and university president as well, despite no alleged facts connecting them to a deprivation of a protected right.

      The (Federal Appeal) second circuit case 17-818 is an appeal not against the dismissal but against the 03/22/2017 order denying the motion to disqualify the judge. (Roemer goofed by appealing the wrong issue and tried to change the subject in his appellate brief.) In it (document 10) he clarifies that his desired outcome is not a cessation of teaching of evolution or any other action by Columbia University, but an order from a judge forbidding the attorney from advancing civil or criminal action against his continued behavior that could be construed as harassment; a license to crank.

      17-cv-703 documents:
      PACER: https://ecf.nysd.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/DktRpt.pl?468320 ($$$ Subscription Required)
      RECAP (For free distribution of court documents already obtained. Mostly empty): http://archive.org/details/gov.uscourts.nysd.468320/

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted October 16, 2017 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

        You know they’re out of their tree when they start suing lawyers and trying to get judges overruled. 😎

        cr

  29. Nell Whiteside
    Posted October 12, 2017 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    Excruciatingly, I encounter people like David Roemer on an almost daily basis. I think they have an ulterior motive i.e. so-called ‘eternal life'(whatever that means?).

    This reward may be obtained only by people who believe utterly in the writings in the bible. Any deviation from this is a fast track to the ‘other place’.

    Crazy/daft and completely closed to either evidence or reason. In their smugness they miss SO much.

  30. Posted October 12, 2017 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    In politics, the rule is “follow the money.” Same is true for religion but power is probably a better term, even though in the US money = power.

    The religious have decided that evolution and fundamentalist Christianity can’t both be true. I have not seen a single word written in a scientific article on the theory of evolution mention a conflict with faith-based communities.

    The fundamentalists are correct, but the scientific community wouldn’t have noticed if they hadn’t made a “thing” of it. The effect would have been much less (That which you oppose, you make stronger. Sun Tsu) The religious community has noticed the effect, though, namely because their religion doesn’t correlate well with reality and have decided to go on the offensive (as soon as Darwin published, actually). Someone needs to ask them “How’s that going for you?” Because they were “punching down” before and have elevated the contest into “Either evolution is true or the Bible is!” which is a little like putting your balls on the table and passing around hammers (sorry for the vulgarity). It can’t end well for them.

  31. Posted October 16, 2017 at 5:57 am | Permalink

    I tend to find creationists are wilfully ignorant. They *might* actually be quite clever in some ways, except when confronted with facts and evidence that contradicts faith-driven doctrines.


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