A creationist writes in

Although over the years I’ve become largely inured to the invective I get from creationists as well as Woke Leftists, it takes an effort of (nonfree) will to not react to mushbrained emails like the one I got yesterday. I enclose the email address since it appears to be fake. (I’m not sure which post this miscreant is replying to, but perhaps an enterprising reader can find it.)

Hey Coyne,

Your response to “charles darwin was not a scientist” proves one thing: only a “professor” can come up with such total stupidity. You’re as ignorant as you are phony. You sing to your choir. Outside that choir you’re a complete moron when it comes to science. You don’t seem to know the mountain of evidence that proves conclusively evolution never happened. Wake up!

My temptation was first to reply to this guy, but what would be the point of that? His mind wouldn’t change, even if I told him about Why Evolution is True. Should I express my own feelings to him? I thought about sending the following email, but in the end just decided to ignore him (I’m assuming the correspondent is male, which has about a 97% probability of being correct).

AUTOREPLY FROM J. COYNE

Dr. Coyne is out of Chicago until January 18. However, he does not respond to the many emails he gets from ignorant morons so cowardly that they lack the guts to give their real names. You have been auto-identified as one of these morons, and there will be no further communication from this site as your email address has been blocked.

But that’s still a response, and what these people want is attention. Perhaps he’ll see his email here (I have no idea if he reads this site), which does constitute a kind of attention, but so be it.

Perhaps I should prepare some kind of checklist to explain why an email is being ignored. Francis Crick used a mailed reply card; I presume he circled the relevant request:

74 Comments

  1. ploubere
    Posted January 10, 2019 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    It’s also likely that this is a Russian troll, or just a generic one. Best to ignore it.

    • Posted January 10, 2019 at 10:50 am | Permalink

      Most unlikely.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted January 10, 2019 at 11:25 pm | Permalink

      Why would a Russian troll bother or care?

      Far more likely an American fundie troll.

      cr

    • Posted January 11, 2019 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

      No reason to consider him Russian.

  2. GBJames
    Posted January 10, 2019 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    FWIW, is an actual server.

  3. Posted January 10, 2019 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    Absolutely do not respond. A response of any sort is exactly what a cretin like this wants.

    • Posted January 10, 2019 at 10:49 am | Permalink

      I do like your proposed autoreply, though.

      • Posted January 10, 2019 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

        The “autoreply” is perfect for this kind of person. He craves YOUR attention; he’ll be miffed if he thinks the attention of a robot is the only thing he’s earned.

      • Joe Baldassano
        Posted January 14, 2019 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

        Dr. Coyne: I agree with darwinwins on both issues as stated.

  4. Randall Schenck
    Posted January 10, 2019 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    This could very easily be an American moron, I would not attempt to blame this on Russia. I think completely ignoring this type is the best way to go. Hit delete and move on as if nothing has happened because it hasn’t. Time is too important to be wasted and this was certainly a waste.

    • Blue
      Posted January 10, 2019 at 11:39 am | Permalink

      +1. Perfect, Randall.
      A lesson for Us All: I G N O R E. Utterly.

      These people are attention – *astards; and
      I quite frankly within my decades’ time
      ‘ve had my fill of trying.trying to be
      with them civil and, reason – forbid, helpful
      to them.

      N O T worth any of my effort and time. Squat.

      Blue

    • rickflick
      Posted January 10, 2019 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

      Yes, hit delete and move on. We’re not getting any younger.

    • Posted January 10, 2019 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

      Where’s your sense of fun? A note like Jerry’s “autoreply” is entertaining.

      • Posted January 10, 2019 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

        Any reply serves to validate PCC’s email address to the sender. Best not to reply in situations like this.

        • Posted January 10, 2019 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

          Jerry’s email is already publicly known.

          • Posted January 10, 2019 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

            I was speaking generally about the risk of replying to an unwanted email. In this particular case, we don’t know if the owner of the bot personally obtained Jerry’s email address. They might have bought a list of websites with authors’ email addresses on the dark web. Such lists undoubtedly contain at least some unreliable information. Regardless, the simple rule of not replying to undesirable emails is the best to follow, IMHO.

            • Posted January 12, 2019 at 11:26 am | Permalink

              I also like the suggested autoreply. But, apart from the risk of replying to unrequested emails, I would block them and abstain from reacting at all to such an unfriendly text starting with such a condescending greeting: “Hey You”.
              .-

  5. Posted January 10, 2019 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    Ignoring such emails is the best policy. Block the email addresses too. 🙂

  6. A C Harper
    Posted January 10, 2019 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    A crude Google search:

    Evolution never happened: about 127,000,000 results

    Evolution happened: about 394,000,000 results.

    Hardly a mountain of conclusive evidence that evolution never happened – unless you *only* count the books/articles that support your point of view.

    • Desnes Diev
      Posted January 10, 2019 at 11:39 am | Permalink

      Following your idea, I got 263,000,000 results fo “God existence”. So God existence may be more subject to discussion than the reality of evolution.

  7. Steve Kern
    Posted January 10, 2019 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    A possible response…

    “One purpose of this site is to share information about our evolutionary heritage. The level of the information offered calls for a modest level of understanding of evolutionary changes that have occurred over time for all species, including the long line of human ancestry. I would encourage you to consider returning to the site when you have gained that requisite level of understanding.”

  8. Posted January 10, 2019 at 11:03 am | Permalink

    That email triggers my “bot” sense. It may be an automated email since it contains nothing that reflects you personally or a particular context. I see no reason to respond.

    • Posted January 10, 2019 at 11:09 am | Permalink

      The “Hey Coyne” part also makes it sound like a bot-generated email.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted January 10, 2019 at 11:38 pm | Permalink

        I don’t think it’s a bot. It’s too coherent and well-phrased. If it were a bot I would expect it to be slightly more generic and the fill-in-the-blank specifics more obvious – I would expect a slight clunkiness in the way it reads, which isn’t there in this example. In fact, aside from failing to capitalise “Charles Darwin Was Not a Scientist”, I can see nothing at all wrong with its grammar or vocabulary.

        cr

    • Posted January 10, 2019 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

      I’m surprised some people think this is a bot. It is context-specific and very much the sort of thing a creationist would write.

      • Posted January 10, 2019 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

        I’m imagining a bot that examines new posts on a huge list of websites for which it has email addresses of authors. If that new post contains certain words, such as “evolution”, it sends a generic anti-evolution email like the one we see, customized by the name (“Hey (name)”).

        • Don Mackay
          Posted January 10, 2019 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

          In NZ a bot means ‘board of trustees’. Each school has a bot to run its affairs. But what is bot in USA?

          • Posted January 10, 2019 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

            The word “bot” is short for “robot” which is pretty much used in the internet world for any automated process that does things that a human might ordinarily do, such as send email. In some circles they may use a finer-grained vocabulary but there are so many possibilities that the generic term works better, IMHO.

    • A C Harper
      Posted January 11, 2019 at 3:12 am | Permalink

      You could argue that (if you believe in a creator/maintainer god) since you were specially created for the task of worshipping your creator then you are indeed a ‘bot’ made out of meat.

      • Posted January 11, 2019 at 6:55 am | Permalink

        Yes, all creatures are bots made of meat, “meat” interpreted broadly, but I don’t believe there is a “creator/god”.

        • George Atkinson
          Posted January 11, 2019 at 11:06 am | Permalink

          Michael Flanders in The Reluctant Cannibal: “If the juju had meant us not to eat people, he wouldn’t have made us of meat.”

  9. Serendipitydawg
    Posted January 10, 2019 at 11:03 am | Permalink

    You don’t seem to know the mountain of evidence that proves conclusively evolution never happened. Wake up!

    Well come one then, let’s have some links so we can all become as edumacated as you so obviously are.

  10. nwalsh
    Posted January 10, 2019 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    The “Hey Coyne” would have got him flushed at my place.

  11. Geoff Toscano
    Posted January 10, 2019 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    If your correspondent were to read WEIT then he would understand evolution, and anybody who understands evolution accepts its truth. The trouble is that creationism doesn’t even amount to a viable hypothesis, in the sense of making meaningful predictions that can be tested. On the whole I’d agree that ignore is the best policy for those whose IQ is clearly challenged.

  12. CJColucci
    Posted January 10, 2019 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    Evelyn Waugh, I have read, had a printed reply card that said: “Mr. Evelyn Waugh sincerely regrets that he cannot do what you so kindly suggest.”

    • David Coxill
      Posted January 10, 2019 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

      One of the horrors that WWI was responsible for was the pre-printed form where you cross things out or tick boxes .
      Form A 2042,was the official name for it .
      All them WW1 poets like to make fun of it ,even Joseph Heller in Catch 22 had a go .

    • Frank Bath
      Posted January 10, 2019 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

      And Lord Sandwich: Dear Sir, I have your letter before me, it will soon be behind me.

  13. Serendipitydawg
    Posted January 10, 2019 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    It is nice to be in a choir though.

    • Paul Davies
      Posted January 10, 2019 at 11:13 am | Permalink

      Yes, but choirs usually sing, they don’t get sung to. But I agree, nice to be in it, especially as I wasn’t allowed in the school choir.

      • Serendipitydawg
        Posted January 10, 2019 at 11:24 am | Permalink

        Indeed… see 15 by Ken. He couldn’t even get that right – I think Ken is being very polite to assume that sing to the choir is anything other than an idiotic misquote.

      • GBJames
        Posted January 10, 2019 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

        “they don’t get sung to”

        Well… during rehearsals maybe?

  14. Posted January 10, 2019 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    • Mark Sturtevant
      Posted January 10, 2019 at 11:53 am | Permalink

      Perfect!

      • Merilee
        Posted January 10, 2019 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

        +many😻

    • Diane G
      Posted January 10, 2019 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

      Lol, love it!

    • Caracal
      Posted January 11, 2019 at 7:30 am | Permalink

      Thanks for the good laugh. I have a cold so any humorous distraction is welcome.

  15. Ken Kukec
    Posted January 10, 2019 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    Should I express my own feelings to him?

    Nah, that would be — to employ your correspondent’s own mangled metaphor* — to sing to the tone-deaf.

    __________
    *I’ve always heard (and used) the idiom as “preach to the choir” — viz., to endeavor to persuade those already committed to the cause. I don’t know what “sing to the choir” might mean, but it must be something else.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted January 10, 2019 at 11:25 am | Permalink

      I was thinking this guy should be good for at least undersecretary in the current administration. Which department handles singing choirs?

  16. Roo
    Posted January 10, 2019 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    My first instinct when I see things like this is usually to be kind of sympathetic, as I have a handful of people with schizophrenia spectrum (or bipolar, those two diagnoses seem to shift back and forth depending on the doctor) disorders in my life. I can kind of picture them writing things like this on a bad day and mostly it would mean they were experiencing a lot of psychic pain over the thought of some sort of “conspiracy” or Unseen Forces causing them harm. That sense that “someone is out to get them” can be really painful and they look for a general direction to channel it, something to defend against.

    When I turn to despair and temporarily lose my faith in mankind is when on a message board, comments section, etc., that kind of “Oh this is sad, this person has mental health issues” comment gets made and then a bunch of people jump in like “Yeah!” “Right on!”, and so on, and I am at least relatively sure the supporters are not all sock puppets or trolls. This I do find distressing – but, I try to use it as a lesson in empathy. Sometimes in day to day life, especially if you’re healthy and make a decent salary, it’s easy to self-select away from much of the world. Such comments can be a good reminder that A) These sentiments do continue to exist and B)Not everyone can just self-select away from them (hence the empathy part – if I were dealing with that on a daily basis I think I’d be a different person, and not in a good way.)

  17. Posted January 10, 2019 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    What I usually answer to evolution-deniers is “You and your ilk certainly did not evolve. Everyone else did!” 😀

  18. Joe Hahn
    Posted January 10, 2019 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    Yes, Dr. Coyne, just ignore them else you only encourage them to continue to bait you.

  19. Posted January 10, 2019 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    It reads like a parody of a rant on Car Talk.

  20. amyt
    Posted January 10, 2019 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    I would “Ignore” root word for “Ignoramus”.

  21. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted January 10, 2019 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    The style is similar to our current prez., and one might think that he wrote it. But the grammar is slightly better.

  22. Posted January 10, 2019 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

    I wouldn’t bother answering. After all, if you’ll pardon the expression, it seems that this correspondent is not acting in good faith. 😉

  23. Minus
    Posted January 10, 2019 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    I am once again reminded of one of the oldest and best internet maxims: Don’t feed the trolls.

  24. Pete
    Posted January 10, 2019 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

    In her memoir, Rod Serling’s daughter, Anne, indicated he was tempted to respond to nonsense letters with the following:

    “Dear Friend, I just thought you ought to know someone is sending out crank mail under your name.”

    • Nicolaas Stempels
      Posted January 10, 2019 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

      Good one! Still, ignoring is best.

  25. Posted January 10, 2019 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    🐾

  26. davidintoronto
    Posted January 10, 2019 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    Don’t YECs actually need some degree of evolution to account for the biodiversity that emerged after the Flood? (E.g., a breeding pair of the cat “kind” differentiated into the lion, tiger, cheetah, snowy leopard, etc.) So this stipulates, it seems to me, that at least those parts of evolution that serve the YEC agenda are sound enough. And that’s a far cry from “proves conclusively that evolution never happened.”

    • Posted January 10, 2019 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

      Oh, that’s only microevolution!

      /@

      • Posted January 10, 2019 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

        Which makes me think, if YECs accept only microevolution as being true, why do they also use the term “macroevolution”? Why isn’t it just “evolution”? Eh? Eh?

        /@

  27. Mark R.
    Posted January 10, 2019 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    The deluded have very thin skin; this is a new observation for me. Either way, it’s best to avoid the deluded.

    • mikeyc
      Posted January 10, 2019 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

      I think this because in many cases crazy people know they are crazy and don’t like it pointed out.

      • Mark R.
        Posted January 10, 2019 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

        Sounds logical to me.

  28. Posted January 10, 2019 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    Well, credit where credit’s due — he did manage a correctly apostophised “you’re”, instead of the standard Creationist orthography. I’m impressed.

  29. Roger
    Posted January 10, 2019 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    No point in arguing with invisible omnipotence.

  30. grasshopper
    Posted January 10, 2019 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    Miss Otis regrets she’s unable to lunch today, madam.

    • Posted January 10, 2019 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

      Wow. Not what I expected.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted January 10, 2019 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

        “You know, with Jose Feliciano, you’ve got no complaints.”

  31. Posted January 10, 2019 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

    Ignore all such letters. Never know how unbalanced they may be.

  32. Posted January 10, 2019 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

    …ignoring his rant,
    Send a link on how to hit a high C,
    ….the choir requires an audition, failing that, try the following,

    Why does inhaling helium change your voice?
    The lighter gas will help you with resonance.
    Yes indeed inquirer, we found mountains were good for our yodelling enthusiasts.
    Thank you.

  33. Posted January 11, 2019 at 3:43 am | Permalink

    Can PCC[E] cure my disease? 🙂

  34. Pray Hard
    Posted January 11, 2019 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    “Mountain of evidence” is typical now. I see it all over social media. Crea’tards and flat-earthers poison every science article I read with their comments. Some days I simply reply with “You ignorant slut …”.


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