Re: [asa] Letters to Sam Harris a "Maladjusted Misotheist"

From: Janice Matchett <>
Date: Tue Dec 05 2006 - 12:37:36 EST

At 03:38 PM 12/4/2006, Pim van Meurs wrote:

>... Poor logic and no substitute. ...I find it
>fascinating that in this day and age we still see people argue that
>volcanoes emit CFC's, or that since there are natural variations in
>temperature and ozone holes, this shows that there cannot be a human
>component. ~ Pim

@ I see you're dragging another red herring across the trail either
out of poor logic, ignorance, or a deliberate attempt to mislead
careless, uncritical readers. The record will show that neither I,
nor any scientist I have quoted, have said that "there cannot be a
human component."

The ASA archives of my posts on this subject are available for all
who are interested in the truth of the matter.

>As to Sam Harris's book, ... Harris's book uncovers some of the
>flawed logic we find amongst parts of our population. ~ Pim

@ What arrogant atheists / secular humanists like Harris and their
books uncover / expose, are their own flawed logic and ignorance
about what constitutes the orthodox Christian

~ Janice

>----- Original Message ----
>From: Janice Matchett <>
>To: Pim van Meurs <>
>Sent: Monday, December 4, 2006 10:54:05 AM
>Subject: Re: [asa] Letters to Sam Harris a "Maladjusted Misotheist"
>At 12:10 AM 12/2/2006, Pim van Meurs wrote:
>>..So far her postings on scientific issues like global warming .." ~ Pim
>@ "Global Warming" is the red herring you drag across the trail --
>either in actual ignorance -- or in the hope that most people are
>careless readers and will go sniffing off in the particular
>direction you want them to go.
>So once more I will bring you back to the subject of all of my posts
>on the subject, ie: "Human -induced global warming / global cooling", etc.
>As you well know, this is the sort of thing I ALWAYS post, because I
>agree with these sorts of sentiments:
> From 1640-1715 or so, the Royal observatories in England recorded
>not a single sun spot. That timeframe was referred to as a mini ice
>age. Afterward, the sun spots resumed their 11-or-so year cycle, and
>temperatures on Earth returned to normal. The hubris of these people
>that think we can cause global warming. We can not affect the sun,
>the size of which could hold a million earths, with individual sun
>spots (magnetic anomalies) each the size of our entire planet. The
>core of the sun is so dense that it takes 200,000 years for the
>photons generated at the core to reach its surface. Once it exits
>the sun, the photon only takes 8 minutes to hit the earth, 96
>million miles away. We are so insignificant in the whole scheme of
>things. Global warming freaks are one of two things:
> * Megalomaniacs showing their Hubris el Grande, or
> * Dictator wannabe's forcing global govermnent down our throat.
>I suspect the latter.
>Transcript from the Oral Arguments Presented before the Supreme
>Court [Re: CO2]
>05-1120. Massachusetts v. EPA 11/29/06
>>...Sam Harris's book, based on letters he actually received from
>>Christians should be a powerful reminder of Augustine's wise
>>words. ...." ~ Pim
>@ I doubt if Harris would agree with you:
>4. "...Augustine, laboured to show, that we are not corrupted by
>acquired wickedness, but bring an innate corruption from the very
>womb. It was the greatest impudence to deny this. But no man will
>wonder at the presumption of the Pelagians and Celestians, who has
>learned from the writings of that holy man how extreme the
>effrontery of these heretics was...."
>11. "...Augustine hesitates not to call those sins natural which
>necessarily reign in the flesh wherever the grace of God is wanting. ..."
>10. "...Augustine justly derides some who arrogate to themselves a
>certain power of willing, as well as censures others who imagine
>that that which is a special evidence of gratuitous election is
>given to all (August. de Verbis Apost. Serm. 21). He says, "Nature
>is common to all, but not grace;" and he calls it a showy acuteness
>"which shines by mere vanity, when that which God bestows, on whom
>he will is attributed generally to all." Elsewhere he says, "How
>came you? By believing. Fear, lest by arrogating to yourself the
>merit of finding the right way, you perish from the right way. I
>came, you say, by free choice, came by my own will. Why do you
>boast? Would you know that even this was given you? Hear Christ
>exclaiming, 'No man comets unto me, except the Father which has sent
>me draw him.' "
>13. "..Augustine uses these words, "Every good work in us is
>performed only by grace," (August. Ep. 105).
>14. ".... [Augustine] presses Pelagius to confess that gratuitous
>grace is necessary to us for every action, and that merely from the
>fact of its being truly grace, it cannot be the recompense of works.
>But the matter cannot be more briefly summed up than in the eighth
>chapter of his Treatise De Correptione et Gratia, where he shows,
>First, that human will does not by liberty obtain grace, but by
>grace obtains liberty. Secondly, that by means of the same grace,
>the heart being impressed with a feeling of delight, is trained to
>persevere, and strengthened with invincible fortitude. Thirdly, that
>while grace governs the will, it never falls; but when grace
>abandons it, it falls forthwith. Fourthly, that by the free mercy of
>God, the will is turned to good, and when turned, perseveres.
>Fifthly, that the direction of the will to good, and its constancy
>after being so directed, depend entirely on the will of God, and not
>on any human merit. Thus the will (free will, if you choose to call
>it so), which is left to man, is, as he in another place (Ep. 46)
>describes it, a will which can neither be turned to God, nor
>continue in God, unless by grace; a will which, whatever its ability
>may be, derives all that ability from grace.
>How embarrassing:
>B&N Customers Who Bought This Book [Letter to a Christian Nation by
>Sam Harris] Also Bought
> *
> <>The
> God Delusion
> * Richard Dawkins
> *
> <>The
> End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason
> * Sam Harris
> *
> <>Breaking
> the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon
> * Daniel C. Dennett
> *
> <>The
> Greatest Story Ever Sold: The Decline and Fall of Truth from 9/11 to Katrina
> * Frank Rich
> *
> <>American
> Theocracy: The Peril and Politics of Radical Religion, Oil, and
> Borrowed Money in the 21st Century
> * Kevin Phillips
>What People Are Saying
>"Sam Harris's elegant little book is most refreshing and a wonderful
>source of ammunition for those who, like me, hold to no religious
>doctrine. Yet I have some sympathy also with those who might be
>worried by his uncompromising stance. Read it and from your own
>view, but do not ignore its message." Sir Roger Penrose, emeritus
>professor of mathematics, Oxford University, author of The Road to Reality
>"Reading Harris' Letter to a Christian Nation was like sitting ring
>side, cheering the champion, yelling 'Yes!' at every jab. For those
>of us who feel depressed by this country's ever increasing
>unification of church and state, and the ever decreasing support for
>the sciences that deliver knowledge and reduce ignorance, this
>little book is a welcome hit of adrenalin." Marc Hauser, Harvard
>College Professor, author of Moral Minds: How Nature Designed Our
>Sense of Right and Wrong
>"I can't sign my name to this blurb. As a New York Times best
>selling author of books about business, my career will evaporate if
>I endorse a book that challenges the deeply held superstitions and
>bigotry of the masses. That's exactly why you should (no, you must)
>read this angry and honest book right away. As long as science and
>rational thought are under attack by the misguided yet pious
>majority, our nation is in jeopardy. I'm scared. You should be too.
>Please buy two, one for you and one for a friend you care about."
>Unsigned, New York Times best selling author "It's a shame that not
>everyone in this country will read Sam Harris' marvelous little book
>Letter to a Christian Nation. They won't but they should." Leonard
>Susskind, Felix Bloch Professor in theoretical physics, Stanford
>University, author of The Cosmic Landscape: String Theory and the
>Illusion of Intelligent Design
>"We all know about good things that have been derived from bad
>ideas. Modern religions serve many social goods such as health care
>for the poor. The problem is that is also services many
>reprehensible ideas. Harris blows the whistle, pointing out the
>religions of the world are based on human generated vengeful
>stories. Read this book and you decide your stance for the
>future." Michael S. Gazzaniga, Director of the Sage Center for the
>Study of Mind, University of California, Santa Barbara, author of
>The Ethical Brain
>"Sam Harris fearlessly describes a moral and intellectual emergency
>precipitated by religious fantasies--misguided beliefs that create
>suffering, that rationalize violence, that have endangered our
>nation and our future. His argument for the morality, the honesty,
>and the humility of atheism is galvanizing. It is a relief that
>someone has spoken so frankly, with such passion yet such
>rationality. Now when the subject arises, as it inevitably does, I
>can simply say: Read Sam Harris' Letter to a Christian
>Nation." Janna Levin, Columbia University, author of How the
>Universe Got Its Spots and A Madman Dreams of Turing Machines
>This book review excerpted below sounds to me like something that
>could just as easily have been written by certain people on this list:
>November 15, 2006
>Review of Letter to a Christian Nation by Sam Harris
>"..Unlike his first book, The End of Faith, which addressed religion
>and faith in general, this book is very specifically aimed at those
>Christians who believe the God and Jesus are real beings whose
>nature and history are at least in part accurately described in the
>Bible and thus these are Christians that believe the bible to be a
>font of truth and a guide to moral behavior. Harris acknowledges
>that not all people who call themselves Christians hold these
>beliefs, but he produces good evidence that there are scores of
>millions of them in the US who do believe just that. It is to them
>that Harris is taking the fight.
>Much of the book takes on the idea that the Bible in fact is any
>kind of moral guide at all. Harris agrees that there are some fine
>and decent moral precepts in the book, but that there are also many
>moral laws and dictums that are just as strongly worded and which we
>all find abhorrent in modern society. ....
>...Basing your life on the myths and stories that provide faith
>leads to viewing the world through an unrealistic lens.
>~ Janice
>>On Dec 1, 2006, at 8:42 AM, Janice Matchett wrote:
>>>Letters to a Maladjusted Misotheist
>>>Responding to Sam Harris and his book, Letter to a Christian
>>>(Sam Harris is a graduate in philosophy from Stanford University
>>>and has studied both Eastern and Western religious traditions,
>>>along with a variety of contemplative disciplines, for twenty
>>>years. Mr. Harris is now completing a doctorate in neuroscience. )
>>>Nine different reply "letters" were done this month and there will
>>>be a couple more at least this coming month. ~ J. P. Holding
>>>~ Janice ... Sigh... Why do scientists and secular humanist
>>>philosophers make exactly the mistake St Augustine warned
>>>Christians against regarding science:
>>>Usually, even a non-Christian knows something about the earth, the
>>>heavens, and the other elements of this world, about the motion
>>>and orbit of the stars and even their size and relative positions,
>>>about the predictable eclipses of the sun and moon, the cycles of
>>>the years and the seasons, about the kinds of animals, shrubs,
>>>stones, and so forth, and this knowledge he hold to as being
>>>certain from reason and experience. Now, it is a disgraceful and
>>>dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian, presumably
>>>giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking nonsense on these
>>>topics; and we should take all means to prevent such an
>>>embarrassing situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in
>>>a Christian and laugh it to scorn. The shame is not so much that
>>>an ignorant individual is derided, but that people outside the
>>>household of faith think our sacred writers held such opinions,
>>>and, to the great loss of those for whose salvation we toil, the
>>>writers of our Scripture are criticized and rejected as unlearned
>>>men. If they find a Christian mistaken in a field which they
>>>themselves know well and hear him maintaining his foolish opinions
>>>about our books, how are they going to believe those books in
>>>matters concerning the resurrection of the dead, the hope of
>>>eternal life, and the kingdom of heaven, when they think their
>>>pages are full of falsehoods and on facts which they themselves
>>>have learnt from experience and the light of reason? Reckless and
>>>incompetent expounders of Holy Scripture bring untold trouble and
>>>sorrow on their wiser brethren when they are caught in one of
>>>their mischievous false opinions and are taken to task by those
>>>who are not bound by the authority of our sacred books. For then,
>>>to defend their utterly foolish and obviously untrue statements,
>>>they will try to call upon Holy Scripture for proof and even
>>>recite from memory many passages which they think support their
>>>position, although they understand neither what they say nor the
>>>things about which they make assertion. [1 Timothy 1.7]

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Received on Tue Dec 5 12:38:51 2006

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