Initial email to NSA sent by David Roemer
I am in a legal conflict with the Columbia University, and I am hoping the National Association of Scholars will take my side. I sent an email to the University Chaplain offering to give a learner-centered lesson on the arguments for God’s existence to students and faculty of Columbia. The handout I would use in such a lesson is attached.
The Chaplain’s response was to get the Department of Public Safety to threaten me with legal action if I contacted any of the “Religious Life Advisors” that the Chaplain appointed. The rejection of my offer and the threat were not in writing, but were orally made. I responded with a letter sent to the Chief Counsel of Columbia dated 9/23/16 and an email to the President of Columbia dated 9/22/16. See:
"Rational Arguments For God's Existence: Evangelizing Is Good and Proselytizing Is Bad" (http://www.newevangelist.me).
Since you are presumably committed to the NSA’s “Issues and Ideals,” I am hoping you will join my campaign to get the American Journal of Physics
to retract an article about evolution and thermodynamics that criticizes a Christian apologist’s mistaken ideas about this topic. The article disgraces every physicist in the United States because it includes an absurd calculation. Americans have a right to know how irrational the scientific establishment is about evolutionary biology and religion. See:
"Pseudoscience in the American Journal of Physics" (http://www.pseudoscience123.com).
I had a two-hour interview with James H. Fetzer on May 16. It was his 200th show and is titled, "Science and Religion."
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLsfS5KpYMzb20sCxyfSotfX1ELkIBrXZ3Email to Herbert London, Chairman of Board of Directors, sent on October 1, 2016
I’m interpreting your email to me to mean you are openminded about the question of whether the NAS should get involved with what is happening to me at Columbia. I believe my insight in this article is very important and should not be suppressed:
I’d like to explain why. As everyone knows, the Earth is 93 million miles from the Sun. If the number was 92 or 94, life would not have evolved. This raises the question: Why 93 instead of 94 or 92? The answer is: random chance and Newton’s laws. If someone does not understand this answer, you can give a lecture on probability and tell about all the other planets that are not in the “golden zone.”
Everyone also knows that life would not have evolved if the mass of an electron and the gravitational constant were not exactly what they are. Why is the mass of an electron 9.31 and not 9.30 or 9.32? The answer is: THERE ARE NO THEORIES.
Religious people leap for joy and say: There is an intelligent designer (God). Antireligious people get panicky and say: There are an infinite number of universes. My essay offers a theory explaining why everyone reacts irrationally to the “fine-tuning” argument for God’s existence.
I would also like to explain why my academic freedom was violated in my interactions with a physics professor at New York University:
It is as if I was applying for a job and NYU said, “We don’t hire wops.” Prof. Richardson did not use a racial epithet against me even though that is the best way to get someone’s goat. He did not know my ethnic background. However, he may have known that I did not make much money because I was only a high school teacher. He insulted me by saying I could not afford his services.
Very truly yours, David RoemerResponse from Herbert London sent on October 1, 2016
I certainly do not want to see your insight suppressed
HerbEmail to Herbert London sent on October 1, 2016
My insight is based on textbook physics and textbook metaphysics.
1) Textbook metaphysics is that the human soul is spiritual, not that human beings have souls. There is no evidence human beings have souls and the idea conflicts with the Christian doctrine of original sin.
2) Textbook physics is that the second law of thermodynamics only applies to liquids, solids, and gases. A pendulum is made of a string and a bob. The bob has a temperature and the string has a temperature, but the pendulum does not have a temperature.
My theory or insight is that pro-religion and anti-religion people think there is a connection between evolution and thermodynamics and that the Big Bang is evidence of God’s existence is based on this quote from Karen Horney:
Let us consider for example, a person listening to a paper and having critical thoughts about it. A minor inhibition would consist in a timidity about expressing the criticism; a strong inhibition would prevent him from organizing his thoughts, with the result that they would occur to him only after the discussion was over, or the next morning. But the inhibition may go so far as not to permit the critical thoughts to come up at all, and in this case, assuming that he really feels critical, he will be inclined to accept blindly what has been said or even to admire it; and he will be quite unaware of having any inhibitions. In other words, if an inhibition goes so far as to check wished or impulses there can be no awareness of its existence.
(Karen Horney, The Neurotic Personality of Our Time, New York: Norton, 1937, p. 55 )
Karen Horney is saying people have blind spots because of inhibition, which is a defense mechanism against anxiety. I’m saying people have blind spots because of cognitive dissonance. People believe human beings have souls or are collections of molecules. This conflicts with reality and causes them emotional and mental stress. They make themselves feel better by being stupid and irrational and behaving dishonestly.
Very truly yours, David RoemerEmail from Peter Wood, President of the NAS, sent on October 3, 2016
Dear Dr. Roemer,
Pardon my slowness in answering. I was travelling outside the country and, while I received your email, I had no opportunity to digest it.
It appears you have plunged into the “argument by design,” one of the age‐old proofs of God’s existence. Anyone who has taken a decent course in the history of philosophy is familiar with that argument and anyone who pays the least attention to the modern debates in philosophy and science is familiar with the updated versions. I would be deeply surprised if Columbia University’s chaplain, assuming that person went to seminary, would be ignorant of the basic argument or its modern adaptations.
And that throws no light at all on why the Chaplain would contact the Department of Public Safety, or indeed why the Department of Public Safety would take such a complaint seriously. Your seven‐page attachment, “Why People Believe God Caused the Big Bang,” offers no light on this either. Your attempts to publish a refutation on of Dawkins’ “Entropy and Evolution” in the American Journal of Physics is a little more enlightening. Typically scientific journals are a lot more open to atheistic declarations than they are to theistic arguments—at least at this point in our history. Battering that wall with repeated assaults seldom gets a hearing for theism. More often it gets the theist tagged as someone who is unwelcome. But I expect you know all this first-hand.
I take Dawkins’ declaration as a sign of the times. Doctrinaire secularism is both established as a kind of “religion” and eager to assert itself even more. Dawkins gives it a veneer of intellectual and scientific sophistication. Thus your determination to refute it and your increasing impatience with those who refuse you a hearing. Your essay, “An Analogy Between Nazi Germany and the United States” was an unfortunate and significant misstep. Perhaps you have heard of the informal adage known as Godwin’s Law, which asserts that in any online discussion someone sooner or later compares someone else to Hitler or an opinion to Nazism. Whoever does that instantly loses the debate. Most would add that the person who does that has also forfeited his credibility for a long me to come.
That’s rough justice, but it makes good sense. It is evidence that the person making the argument has lost his sense of proportion and his ability to stay within the bounds of civil argument.
I don’t think it is a reason all by itself that the Columbia Chaplain called the Department of Public Safety on you. Of course, I don’t know exactly what you said to him.
In addition to your venturing into Godwin’s Law territory, you have also involved yourself in what you describe as a “legal conﬂict.” I don’t know whether that means you have ﬁled a lawsuit, but it does put matters outside the reach of the National Association of Scholars. None of us in the administration and staff of NAS is a lawyer and we have never embroiled NAS in legal matters beyond FOIA requests and occasional expert testimony. Our world consists of trying to get colleges and universities to respect academic and intellectual freedom and to resist the temptation to become fonts of ideology. On those scores, you might have had a case in which we could have intervened, but you have gone too far too fast.
It appears on the basis of what you have told me you have been treated harshly by some officials of Columbia University. I wish they had had greater respect for the views you represent, but I’d also counsel you that a so er tone would go further. Theist argument is going to run into resistance in any secular university. Indignation won’t change that, nor will ﬁerceness . You can, however, win the right to be heard by presenting your points in a calmer spirit. That’s the best counsel I can oﬀer at this point.
Peter WoodEmail to Peter Wood sent on October 3, 2016
Dear Mr. Wood,
Thank you for responding to my letter. I would like to meet with you and explain why the NAS should get involved in my conflict with Columbia U. In this meeting, I would also explain my psychological theory about why people think the scientific arguments for God’s existence make sense. I would also explain why my analogy between Nazi Germany and the United States is perfectly apt and why it should stir your own conscience. I recall Gore Vidal calling William Buckley a Nazi on TV. Buckley did not respond, as you did, by citing the “Godwin law.” He threatened to sock Vidal in the face.
It appears you have plunged into the “argument by design,” one of the age old proofs of God’s existence.
I know Protestants use these arguments, but I was shocked to find out the Catholic Church was promoting these arguments through the Magis Center for Faith and Science. I asked to speak to the theology departments of St. John’s, Fordham, and Seton Hall, and to explain why the Magis Center was wrong. They refused my offer, and I realized I had to try to explain myself in writing:
And that throws no light at all on why the Chaplain would contact the Department of Public Safety, or indeed why theDepartment of Public Safety would take such a complaint seriously.
The Department of Public Safety was already involved in my offer to give a learner-centered lesson on God’s existence when I sent the attached email to the University Chaplain. My initial offer was in March 2016 to the Catholic Chaplain, who declined. I then wrote to the two undergraduate copresidents of the Columbia Catholic Ministry with my offer. The two students did not reply, but the Catholic Chaplain threatened me with legal action if I contacted them again. I told the Archbishop of New York that I was afraid the Chaplain’s behavior and my email scandalized the students. I also offered to give my lesson to St. Joseph’s Seminary, to no avail. My correspondence with the Catholic Church is here:
In August, I contacted the students again. My email expressed concern about their faith and threatened to contact their parents if they did not respond. They did not respond, and I contacted Mathew Patashnick of Family Engagement. He told me he could not contact their parents, but that he would contact the students. Instead, I got the attached letter from the Department of Public Safety threatening me with legal action.
I consulted with an attorney on JustAnsers.com about my legal rights. He said that the letter from the Director of Investigations and her verbal instructions barred me from using Columbia’s email system, telephones, and post office addresses to contact the other campus minsters under the University Chaplain. However, he also told me that I had the right to complain to the President of Columbia about the behavior of the University Chaplain and the Department of Public Safety.
What I want is for Lee Bollinger to answer my attached letter, which was sent to the General Counsel of Columbia with a certificate of mailing. Am I guilty of harassment or not if I send emails and call the other campus ministers? Either way, I win. If I can give the lesson, I'll be explaining the arguments for God's existence. If I can't give the lesson, it proves Columbia U. does not believe in academic freedom.
3 attachments: leebollinger.pdf, deidrefuchs.pdf, and jewelneldavis.pdfEmail from Peter Wood sent on October 4, 2016
Dear Dr, Roemer,
No, I don’t think so. You’ve made your case for NAS support and I have explained why we cannot get involved. Yours,
Peter WoodEmail to Peter Wood and Herbert London sent on October 4, 2016
Dear Mr. Wood,
Your emails indicate a lack of understanding of the legal conflict between me and Columbia U.
It appears you have plunged into the “argument by design,” one of the age old proofs of God’s existence. Anyone who has taken a decent course in the history of philosophy is familiar with that argument and anyone who pays the least attention to the modern debates in philosophy and science is familiar with the updated versions. I would be deeply surprised if Columbia University’s chaplain, assuming that person went to seminary, would be ignorant of the basic argument or its modern adaptations.
I agree that everyone has a superficial knowledge of the "arguments by design." However, anti-religion people think these arguments make no sense and many pro-religion people think they do make sense. My essay (“Why People Believe God Caused the Big Bang”) explains why the anti-religion people are right. It also offers a theory explaining why pro-religion people find the arguments persuasive.
Pro-religion people are just as irrational about the "arguments by design": Why is the mass of an electron 9.31 and the gravitational constant 6.6? Pro-religion people say there is an infinite being. Anti-religion people say there are an infinite number of universes.
I agree also that if my paper has no merit then there is nothing about the behavior of Columbia that should interest the NAS. Your comments indicate either that you did not read my paper. You picked up that I was pro-religion and assumed I was promoting the “argument by design.”
Your attempts to publish a refutation of Dawkins’ “Entropy and Evolution” in the American Journal of Physics is a little more enlightening.
My email to the University Chaplain did not mention my campaign to get the American Journal of Physics to retract the absurd article “Entropy and Evolution.” However, if I am mistaken about this article that is grounds for the NAS not to want to get involved with my legal conflict with Columbia.
However, my guess is that you are just assuming a peer-reviewed physics article published in the United States is not absurd. Did you ask a physicist about my criticism of the paper? Did you read my account of this scandal at http://www.pseudoscience123.com?
Hitler may very well be in Heaven because he may have asked God to forgive him for murdering all those people. However, you can’t ask God to forgive you for lying until you stop lying. When and if the AJP retracts the article, all the physicists I have contacted can ask God to forgive them.
Your essay, “An Analogy Between Nazi Germany and the United States” was an unfortunate and significant misstep. As I already told you, I want to meet with you and any physicist you trust to explain why the essay is not a misstep. In addition to your venturing into Godwin’s Law territory, you have also involved yourself in what you describe as a “legal conflict.” I don’t know whether that means you have filed a lawsuit, but it does put matters outside the reach of the National Association of Scholars.
The legal conflict is that I have a letter from the Department of Public Safety threatening me with legal action. I have complained about this letter to the President of Columbia.Email from Peter Wood sent on October 4, 2016
Dear Dr. Roemer,
You are in a legal dispute with Columbia University. That precludes any involvement of NAS. Yours sincerely,
Peter WoodEmail to Peter Wood and Herbert London sent on October 4, 2016
Dear Mr. Wood,
My initial correspondence was with Spencer who pretty much told me the same thing without looking foolish. Your responses pretty much shows that, like Columbia U., you don’t really believe in academic freedom. I’ll be informing all of your members I can contact about your decision.
Very truly yours,
David Roemer Email from Peter Wood sent on October 4, 2016
Dear Dr. Roemer,
Feel free to express yourself to whomever you like. This is not a matter of academic freedom. NAS takes up cases selectively. Yours has too many defects to deserve our time and attention. As I counseled you in my first email, you might get further in your pursuits if you acquired some manners. Trying to bully people is not a good way to attract support.
Peter WoodEmail from Herbert London sent on October 4, 2016
Your correspondence reveals a level of hostility that is not likely to win adherents.Peter tried to help but your response was decidedly ungracious.
HerbEmail to Herbert London, Peter Wood, Felicia Chernesky, Rachelle Peterson, Glenn Ricketts, Ashley Thorne, and Ivan Vajdle on October 4, 2016
Dear Herb and Peter,
You two are lying through your teeth. The other members of the NAS may not like what you are doing because I am creating a data base of people I correspond to about this with notes about our correspondence. I will also be putting your comments on my website.
Very truly yours, David RoemerEmail I sent to the following members of the NAS.
Daniel Asia, Jay Bergman, Peter Berkowitz, Felicia Chernesky, Ward Connerly, Midge Decter, George Dent, David Gordon, Gail Heriot, Donald Kagan, Spencer Kashmanian, Thomas Klingenstein, Robert Koons, Leslie Lenkowsky, Thomas Lindsay, Herbert London, Harvey Mansfield, B.Ong, Rachelle Peterson, David Randall, Glenn Ricketts, Norm Rogers, Barry Smith, Christina Sommers, Sandra Stotsky, Stephan Thernstrom, Ashley Thorne, Ivan Vajdle, Richard Vedder, Bradley Watson, Amy Wax, Keith Whitaker, Peter Wood
In my last email to Herb London and Peter Wyatt Wood I accused them both of “lying through their teeth” in telling me that the NAS was not interested in my allegation that the Columbia U. is violating the academic freedom of its students and faculty.
The initial negative response of the NAS to my request was verbal. My email says that I, a retired high school teacher, have something worthwhile to say about the arguments for God’s existence. My email also says that a peer-reviewed article about evolution in the American Journal of Physics
is absurd. The NAS’s initial response was perfectly understandable.
However, Mr. Wood took on the roll of defending Columbia U. by sending me a two-page email. Mr. Wood thought that I was promoting the “argument by design” when I am against this argument. My contribution to knowledge, I believe, is that I have a theory that explains why people think the “argument by design” makes sense. Mr. Wood also mentioned my article about Nazi Germany and the U.S. even though this has nothing to do with my accusation against Columbia U.
I responded to Mr. Wood by pointing out his errors. Instead of apologizing for his mistakes, he simply repeated his initial rejection. I am perfectly justified in thinking that Mr. Wood understands that Columbia U. and the American Journal of Physics are wrong and that I am right.
Thomas Aquinas said that to be in error is a moral flaw because we choose to be in error. If Wood and London are wrong they are liars, and if I am wrong I am a liar. A file of all my correspondence with the NAS is attached. I'v attached a revised version of the handout I would use in my lesson about God's existence.