November 3rd, 2009


An open letter to Ray Comfort

This morning I wrote a letter to christian super-evangelist, Ray Comfort, with regards to a point he has made a few hundred million times before, and which I felt I needed some clarification on. I thus present the complete text of the e-mail I sent him below.


Dear Mr. Comfort.

Earlier today, I read an interview with you on the topic of your abridged version of The Origin of the Species, and specifically your introduction to the book. In it, you made reference to the science of evolution's “undeniable connection” to the holocaust. This is not a new claim, and not one that I am not unfamiliar with, but on this occasion, I felt motivated to investigate the claim for myself. I found that, broadly speaking, there is some truth to what you say; some of Hitler’s stated justifications for the holocaust do indeed include his misinterpretations and misapplications of the science of evolution.

This says nothing whatsoever about whether or not the science of evolution is valid or true, though; merely whether or not it is of benefit to society that people be aware of it. Assuming, for the sake of argument, then, that you are correct, and that without having this body of knowledge to misinterpret and misapply as Hitler did, the holocaust would not have taken place (which I am dubious about; it seems to me that he would have found some other justification to hang his irrational hatred of “the other” on, just as so many creeds, philosophies and religions have been abused for the purposes of over the course of human history), I wonder if you will then apply this same standard to other bodies of knowledge without which he also could not have accomplished the horrible deeds that he did?

For example, will I hear a similar denouncement of the science of metallurgy for its undeniable connection to the holocaust? Without access to this body of knowledge, Hitler’s forces would have had no train tracks, no trains, no bullets, no gas chambers, no metal fences, among many, many other implements which were critical to his execution of the many “undesirables” during the holocaust.

Will I be hearing of your outrage at the science of masonry, and its undeniable connection to the holocaust? Without the ability to produce bricks and construct buildings of them, the nazis would have been unable to house the infrastructure of their murderous war machine, and their death camps would surely not have been the inescapable prisons that they were. Nobody will claim that masonry is not a valid field of knowledge, but neither can the claim be made that without it, the nazis would have been all but powerless to carry out their extermination regime.

Indeed, even the body of knowledge of language itself has the very same undeniable connection to the holocaust that the science of evolution does. Indeed, it has an even deeper and more fundamental connection; without knowledge of language, Hitler would never even have had access to the ideas that he did, would never have been able to convey them to the German people, and would never have been able to conduct his orders to the countless thousands of devout Christians who worked as death camp guards and operators*, without whose enthusiastic support, Hitler’s will could never have been executed. Will I therefore be hearing you tar language itself with the same brush that you apply to evolution? And if so, how do you plan on doing so without employing the Nazi-related science of language?

I ask these questions because I know that as a man of god and as a man of learning such as yourself, honesty, integrity and consistency are indispensable and invaluable, and that your condemnation of these bodies of knowledge must surely be merely waiting in the wings alongside your condemnation of the body of knowledge which is the science of evolution, and that you have simply not found the time or opportunity to make clear your moral outrage that these knowledges should be allowed to be taught, given their shared history of nazism. If this is the case, I am more than prepared not only to hear this condemnation from you, but to tell all who would listen that you are indeed a man of conviction, of principle and of integrity, and that you are willing to apply the same standards to all of the sciences which Hitler and his forces made use of in the same manner and to the same extent, and indeed for the same reasons.

I thank you for your time and attention, sir, and eagerly await your reply.

•    I realize that a lesser man than yourself might be tempted into falling prey to a “no true Scotsman” fallacy in responding to this point, but I have every confidence in your ability to rise above such obvious traps.

The Curse of the Rhino King - Chapter 10 (in astonishing Audio-Rama Format!)

This one has one odd little moment which I feel is worth commenting on. There's a minor and nameless character who appears around 3/4 of the way through the chapter, and I was working on this at the time that my friend Heather and her friend Jesse were briefly visiting. I asked Jesse if he'd do the voice of this character for me, and he agreed. There was one line, though, which begins "I suppose there's sense in that, sir...", which, even after twenty or so takes, he just COULD NOT NAIL. Each and every time, he inserted the word "a" between "there's" and "sense", eve though I corrected him after each and every take. Finally, I realized that there was simply something mis-wired in his head, and he would never get the line right, even if we did a thousand takes, and left it alone.

True story.

Anyways! I put a ton of work into this one, for reasons which will become clear at around the half-way mark. So, while I always appreciate those two or three people who regularly comment on new chapters, I would LOVE to hear from a couple of the others out there who are listening to and enjoying this work.
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