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Vin Suprynowicz’s Selective Double-Standard

When it comes to certain subjects, intellectual honesty takes a hike.

Vin Suprynowicz has a sizable reputation among many who highly esteem individual liberty, free markets, and limited government.  He’s written hundreds of columns, most of which first appeared in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, and many of which subsequently turned up in two of his three books, Bring in the Waco Killers, and The Ballad of Carl Drega.  The man certainly has a wit and a way with words.  More importantly, he usually has his facts straight.

The operative word is “usually.”

Prejudiced Blinders, Part 1

It’s certainly forgivable for a columnist—no less than anyone else—to get something wrong once in a while, and Mr. Suprynowicz ought to be no exception.  Even a man with his perspicacious and comprehensive grasp of things historical and legal is allowed to err occasionally.  But sometimes more is revealed by a man’s conduct when his error is pointed out than by the error itself.

Such was the case in January 2004, when I noticed that Mr. Suprynowicz’s 12/23/03 began with the following statement:

“We all know how the Renaissance church dealt with heretics who had the nerve to ask how the scriptural creation story could be made to jibe with the evidence of modern science.”

Being a student of both history (including the history of Christianity) and science (including the on-going origins controversy), I naturally found this statement to be rather curious.  I was unaware of any documented cases in which the “scriptural creation story” was questioned vis-á-vis “the evidence of modern science” during the Renaissance—let alone how the “Renaissance church” “dealt with” anyone raising such questions.

So I wrote to Mr. Suprynowicz (in part):

There's no denying that some truly unconscionable acts were committed under the guise of being in the name of “the church” or “Christianity,” but actually, no, we don't “all know how the Renaissance church dealt with heretics who had the nerve to ask how the scriptural creation story could be made to jibe with the evidence of modern science” -- and I must question whether you can produce unequivocal documentation from an unimpeachable source, to the effect that what you think we “all know” happened.

(I'll wait here.)

You only do something like this occasionally (which is at least more tolerable than Neil Smith's incessant parroting of his evolutionist mantra), but it still displays a peculiar double-standard, which is at once disappointing (you haven't done ALL your homework) and reassuring (you ARE still only human), coming from a man who is otherwise meticulous about getting his facts straight before putting pen to paper.

It has taken me a few years -- and a lot of studying -- to ramp up to an informed and reasonably distilled libertarian mindset. I suggest that, based on your statement (cited above), perhaps you may likewise need at least some adjustment to certain aspects of your understanding of both history and science.

I'm now both a staunch libertarian AND a Christian. It so happens that, not only have my studies led me to reject “mainstream” American politics, but I've also spent a few years studying the creation v. evolution debate in some detail, and have assembled some of my more compelling findings at (in case you have some time to kill, and some...objectivity for the journey).

Just as neither of us partakes of the carefully filtered and spoon-fed “news” of the self-styled gatekeepers of “mainstream” media, government, and academic channels, so should the same objective, rigorous analysis be applied to the version of “history” and “science” with which these same institutions have been “educating” our generation for decades. (caveat emptor, and all that.)

Otherwise, keep up the great work!!

Mr. Suprynowicz responded with not one, but three emails, totalling some 11,000+ words, the majority of which appeared to have been cut-and-pasted from his favorite anti-Christian “history” resource and peppered with his usual wit — but none of which actually addressed the topic of his claims and my inquiry.

Noteworthy is the fact that Mr. Suprynowicz did not at any point produce (or cite) a single item of compelling corroboration for his claim that the Renaissance church dealt [in any specifically documented way] with heretics who had the nerve to ask how the scriptural creation story could be made to jibe with the evidence of modern science.

The full text of Suprynowicz’s first reply has been archived here for the fair-use purpose of documenting the details of the present article.  The essence of his response was the same dismissive and condescending sarcasm he usually reserves for those who champion the statist agenda of the bipartisan monopolist leeches in Washington and elsewhere — except that in this case, Suprynowicz apparently presumed that “burying” me with a mountain of cut-and-paste “facts” about Renaissance church atrocities, was a viable alternative to corroborating the one specific assertion of his for which I originally sought substantiation.

In a further attempt to justify his failure to answer, Mr. Suprynowicz assumed the posture of an important “grown-up” being put-upon by—and too busy to “educate”—an insignificant and slothful child, complete with a suggestion that my mother failed to raise me properly (what well-mannered pup would dare to question an historical claim made by Vin Suprynowicz?!)

After studying Suprynowicz’s lengthy “rebuttal” (and finding therein no citations corroborating his original suggestion that “the Renaissance church dealt [in some well-known fashion] with heretics who had the nerve to ask how the scriptural creation story could be made to jibe with the evidence of modern science.”), I wrote him again (in part)...

Thanks so much for your prompt response — in three volumes, no less.  (Had your tone been less patronizing, I suppose I would actually be flattered!)

> I am not retained to teach you the history of your
> own body of institutionalized superstition and myth...

The assumption that I belong to such a body is erroneous, and your presumed capacity to “teach” with any measure of objectivity and/or comprehensive knowledge on the subject of “the church” grows increasingly questionable (see below).

> ...much altered through a multitude of translations...

Says who?  On the basis of what authority or knowledge?  Most importantly, what exactly are the specific “much altered” passages, and what specific historical and/or doctrinal details were so “altered” as to differ from that of the originals?

(Again, I'll wait here.)

Noteworthy is the fact that Mr. Suprynowicz did not produce (or cite) compelling corroboration for his apparent claims about the Christian scriptures (i.e., to the effect that they were much altered between the time of their origin and the present).

I've often heard — and once-upon-a-time personally parroted — such tripe before, but a compelling, reasonably objective, corroborating source remains suspiciously elusive.  Various discrepancies and copyist errors pepper the many existing manuscripts, but no unequivocally documented “alterations” with significant (i.e., “much altered”) impact on major issues of historical fact or doctrine.

You could have spared yourself all that copy-and-paste labor by more accurately defining your terms up front.  As it turns out, you’ve now amply rendered your definition of “the church” as the so-called Roman Catholic Church.  But you are no more historically accurate in presuming Rome to comprise “the church” than Rome itself is/was.

As I already acknowledged in my first message, unconscionable acts were indeed committed, supposedly in the name of “the church” or “Christianity,” and the deeds you hastened to cite certainly fall into that category.  But these acts do not ipso facto represent “the church” any more than the holocaust represents “Germany” or than the current U.S. Federal Government represents “the People of the United States.”

By ignoring the distinction between Rome and the non-Roman church (which carried out none of the deeds you cited), you perpetuate the popular myth that the Roman regime was/is representative of authentic, biblical Christianity and (therefore) comprised/comprises “the church” in general.

[So much for giving a damn about presenting your subject matter with unrelenting accuracy — but, oh yeah, you’re predisposed against this subject (i.e., biased, prejudiced), and that makes it okay... {moral relativism — it's not just for leftists anymore}]

...and yet it is somehow supposedly I to whom you attribute “ongoing ignorance” and whom you accuse of being “too lazy — or afraid”...

As for the origin of “modern science”...

An early hypothesis of the fathers of modern science (see below) was that since God is the Creator and moral Law-Giver, His creation must also operate under ordered laws.  If the likes of Copernicus, Newton, Linnaeus, and others hadn’t subscribed to — and tested — this hypothesis, there wouldn’t likely even be a basis for a scientific method today.  We have a reasonable expectation that observation, repetition and measurement will produce consistent results under consistent conditions because of their initial assumption that God’s handiwork would function with some semblance of consistency.

Louis Pasteur discovered that many diseases were caused by germs and showed that life comes only from life, Gregor Mendel discovered genetics, and Carolus Linnaeus developed the modern classification system.  And even today, many scientists, including biologists, contribute greatly to their field despite [nay, because of] their belief in biblical creation.

I take my turn at supplying copied-and-pasted web fodder, this from



  Francis Bacon (1561–1626) Scientific method
  Johann Kepler (1571–1630) Scientific astronomy
  Athanasius Kircher (1601–1680) Inventor
  John Wilkins (1614–1672)
  Walter Charleton (1619–1707) President of the Royal College of Physicians
  Blaise Pascal (1623–1662) Hydrostatics; Barometer
  Sir William Petty (1623 –1687) Statistics; Scientific economics
  Robert Boyle (1627–1691) Chemistry; Gas dynamics
  John Ray (1627–1705) Natural history
  Isaac Barrow (1630–1677) Professor of Mathematics
  Nicolas Steno (1631–1686) Stratigraphy
  Thomas Burnet (1635–1715) Geology
  Increase Mather (1639–1723) Astronomy
  Nehemiah Grew (1641–1712) Medical Doctor, Botany


  Isaac Newton (1642–1727) Dynamics; Calculus; Gravitation law;
    Reflecting telescope; Spectrum of light (wrote more about Bible than science)
  Gottfried Wilhelm Leibnitz (1646–1716) Mathematician
  John Flamsteed (1646–1719) Greenwich Observatory Founder; Astronomy
  William Derham (1657–1735) Ecology
  Cotton Mather (1662–1727) Physician
  John Harris (1666–1719) Mathematician
  John Woodward (1665–1728) Paleontology
  William Whiston (1667–1752) Physics, Geology
  John Hutchinson (1674–1737) Paleontology
  Johathan Edwards (1703–1758) Physics, Meteorology
  Carolus Linneaus (1707–1778) Taxonomy; Biological classification system
  Jean Deluc (1727–1817) Geology
  Richard Kirwan (1733–1812) Mineralogy
  William Herschel (1738–1822) Galactic astronomy; Uranus
  James Parkinson (1755–1824) Physician
  John Dalton (1766–1844) Atomic theory; Gas law
  John Kidd, M.D. (1775–1851) Chemical synthetics


  The 19th Century Scriptural Geologists, by Dr Terry Mortenson
  Timothy Dwight (1752–1817) Educator
  William Kirby (1759–1850) Entomologist
  Jedidian Horse (1761–1826) Geographer
  Benjamin Barton (1766–1815) Botanist; Zoologist
  John Dalton (1766–1844) Father of the Modern Atomic Theory; Chemistry
  Georges Cuvier (1769–1832) Comparative anatomy, paleontology
  Samuel Miller (1770–1840) Clergy
  Charles Bell (1774–1842) Anatomist
  John Kidd (1775–1851) Chemistry
  Humphrey Davy (1778–1829) Thermokinetics; Safety lamp
  Benjamin Silliman (1779–1864) Mineralogist
  Peter Mark Roget (1779–1869) Physician; Physiologist
  Thomas Chalmers (1780–1847) Professor
  David Brewster (1781–1868) Optical mineralogy, Kaleidoscope
  William Buckland (1784–1856) Geologist
  William Prout (1785–1850) Food chemistry
  Adam Sedgwick (1785–1873) Geology
  Michael Faraday (1791–1867) Electro magnetics; Field theory, Generator
  Samuel F. B. Morse (1791–1872) Telegraph
  Charles Babbage (1792–1871) Operations research; Computer science;
  John Herschel (1792–1871) Astronomy
  Edward Hitchcock (1793–1864) Geology
  William Whewell (1794–1866) Anemometer
  Joseph Henry (1797–1878) Electric motor; Galvanometer


  Richard Owen (1804–1892) Zoology; Paleontology
  Matthew Maury (1806–1873) Oceanography, Hydrography
  Louis Agassiz (1807–1873) Glaciology, Ichthyology
  Henry Rogers (1808–1866) Geology
  John Murray (1808–1892) Publisher
  James Glaisher (1809–1903) Meteorology
  Philip H. Gosse (1810–1888) Ornithologist; Zoology
  Sir Henry Rawlinson (1810–1895) Archeologist
  James Simpson (1811–1870) Gynecology, Anesthesiology
  James Dana (1813–1895) Geology
  Sir Joseph Henry Gilbert (1817–1901) Agricultural Chemist
  James Joule (1818–1889) Thermodynamics
  Thomas Anderson (1819–1874) Chemist
  Charles Piazzi Smyth (1819–1900) Astronomy
  George Stokes (1819–1903) Fluid Mechanics
  John William Dawson (1820–1899) Geology
  Rudolph Virchow (1821–1902) Pathology
  Gregor Mendel (1822–1884) Genetics
  Louis Pasteur (1822–1895) Bacteriology, Biochemistry; Sterilization; Immunization
  Henri Fabre (1823–1915) Entomology of living insects
  William Thompson, Lord Kelvin (1824–1907) Energetics; Absolute temperatures;
    Atlantic cable
  William Huggins (1824–1910) Astral spectrometry
  Bernhard Riemann (1826–1866) Non-Euclidean geometries
  Joseph Lister (1827–1912) Antiseptic surgery
  Balfour Stewart (1828–1887) Ionospheric electricity
  James Clerk Maxwell (1831–1879) Electrodynamics; Statistical thermodynamics
  P.G. Tait (1831–1901) Vector analysis
  John Bell Pettigrew (1834–1908) Anatomist; Physiologist
  John Strutt, Lord Rayleigh (1842–1919) Similitude; Model Analysis; Inert Gases
  Sir William Abney (1843–1920) Astronomy
  Alexander MacAlister (1844–1919) Anatomy
  A.H. Sayce (1845–1933) Archeologist
  George Romanes (1848–1894) Biology; Physiology
  John Ambrose Fleming (1849–1945) Electronics; Electron tube; Thermionic valve


  Dr. Clifford Burdick, Geologist
  George Washington Carver (1864–1943) Inventor
  L. Merson Davies (1890–1960) Geology; Paleontology
  Douglas Dewar (1875–1957) Ornithologist
  Howard A. Kelly (1858–1943) Gynecology
  Paul Lemoine (1878–1940) Geology
  Dr. Frank Marsh, Biology
  Dr. John Mann, Agriculturist, biological control pioneer
  Edward H. Maunder (1851–1928) Astronomy
  William Mitchell Ramsay (1851–1939) Archeologist
  William Ramsay (1852–1916) Isotopic chemistry, Element transmutation
  Charles Stine (1882–1954) Organic Chemist
  A. Rendle-Short (1885–1955) Surgeon
  Sir Cecil P. G. Wakeley (1892–1979) Surgeon
  Dr Larry Butler, Biochemist
  Prof. Verna Wright, Rheumatologist (deceased 1997)
  Arthur E. Wilder-Smith (1915–1995) Three science doctorates

[Care to furnish a counterpart list of atheist and/or anti-Christian fathers of “modern science”?]

Noteworthy is the fact that Mr. Suprynowicz did not produce (or cite) a list of even one atheist or anti-Christian father of  modern science.

...So the false notion that “the church” (other than perhaps the ever popular, and easily targeted, Roman aberration) was somehow an obstacle to the advent of modern science is readily diffused by the historical facts — but only for those who are willing to shed their own “ongoing ignorance” and refuse to be “too lazy — or afraid” of what they will find...

> ...I have spent hundreds of hours over a period of
> some of the great libraries...reading
> every history of these matter on which I could lay
> hands...

It is truly remarkable that a man of your perspicacity should so easily recognize how the present form of the U.S. government fails to comply with the constitutional framework within which it was originally conceived, and yet fail — after all those “hundreds of hours” — to perceive that the past and present Roman Catholic Church fails to represent the will and body of the Person who founded “the church” in the first place.  One would be hard pressed to find a better example of selective critical analysis ... you suspend your otherwise strong commitment to accuracy when writing about the matters involving the history of Christianity.

The cause of liberty will never be well served by the zealous — but ignorant — bigotry of any metaphysical persuasion.

How did Mr. Suprynowicz react to my comments?  With another 900+ words, actually addressing neither my original specific questions, nor any of my subsequent specific statements or questions.  In effect, Mr. Suprynowicz, much like a government bureaucrat, seemed to presume himself to be above answering for the questionable nature of his assertions — exempt (on some unidentified basis) from any accountability for making historically uncorroborated claims.

I offered the following in response to Mr. Suprynowicz’s contemptuous and dismissive response (which he answered with a very telling silence):


You wrote:

> So, I'm continue your education...?

I have, of course, suggested no such obligation on your part, nor even a request to that effect. You flatter yourself in presuming to somehow be qualified to “educate” me, or to have furnished “educational” content in your correspondence to date.

> When there's no sign you've read and digested the
> stuff I already took the trouble to send you?

I did make the observation that the deeds you cited were acts of the Roman Catholic Church, and not “the church” in general, or even “the Renaissance church” in particular -- which happens to have been the main point I was heading for. That observation could only be made after reading the stuff you sent.

But hey, since you went to so much “trouble” -- dropping your “gainful employment” and all -- why don’t we just take a gander at the content of your “11,000+ words”...


Giordano Bruno “was not condemned for his defence [sic] of the Copernican system of astronomy, nor for his doctrine of the plurality of inhabited worlds, but for his theological errors.”
“It is often maintained that Bruno was executed because of his Copernicanism and his belief in the infinity of inhabited worlds. In fact, we do not know the exact grounds on which he was declared a heretic because his file is missing from the records. Scientists such as Galileo and Johannes Kepler were not sympathetic to Bruno in their writings...
“It appears that he did not understand astronomy very well, for his theory is confused on several points. In De l'Infinito , Universo e Mondi, he argued that the universe was infinite, that it contained an infinite number of worlds, and that these are all inhabited by intelligent beings.”
“The exact charges that were brought against Bruno by the Catholic Church authorities are unknown...”

So it is in fact an *error* to suggest that we all “know” Giordano Bruno was snuffed by the Roman Catholic Church because he “had the nerve to ask how the scriptural creation story could be made to jibe with the evidence of modern science.”


[She was a “Protestant,” which attests to the fact that Rome is/was not “the church” but merely the *Roman* Church]
“The Bible says to reject heretics, and that their own heresy condemns themselves, while Roman Catholic tradition says, in essence, ‘A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition execute’”
[ the Roman Catholic practice differed from both the Bible and non-Roman churches of the same period, because they adhered to biblical principles.]

There is no evidence here suggesting that anyone can “know” that Dona Isabella was cruelly terminated by the Roman Catholic Church because she “had the nerve to ask how the scriptural creation story could be made to jibe with the evidence of modern science.”




There is no mention here that anyone at all was slaughtered by the Roman Catholic Church because s/he “had the nerve to ask how the scriptural creation story could be made to jibe with the evidence of modern science.”

And in fact, the balance of your grand treatise of “11,000+ words” mentions not a single individual who died for having “had the nerve to ask how the scriptural creation story could be made to jibe with the evidence of modern science.”

Golly, Vin -- you’re really batting a thousand here!  Did you happen to “read and digest” this stuff before dispatching it to me?

> You appear to be not only unread, but an extremely
> arrogant and impolite version of the smug and
> sneering young boor...

You presume an awful lot about me, and can’t accuse me of being “extremely arrogant and impolite” without indulging in unmitigated hypocrisy. And your condescending attitude notwithstanding, you’re not likely to be more than just a few years older than me -- though it’s not easily discerned from the patronizing, sophomoric tone of your correspondence.

> Have you no mother? Were you never taught any manners?
> What church teaches you that you can place an
> obligation on others by merely crossing your arms,
> curling your upper lip, and saying, "I'm waiting"?...

If this smarmy caricature is how you hasten to perceive and portray my posture, then perhaps you’ve misread me (with perhaps no small measure of prejudice?). I don’t use “I’ll wait here” with either crossed arms or curled upper lip: It’s a Dustin Hoffman line (from “Little Big Man”), which I use regularly to mean... “I’ll wait here.” You’re the first to find it so offensive. Lighten up.

> You gratuitously sent me an insult, contending I could
> not back up a statement made in one of my columns. I
> have documented it PROFUSELY...
> You claimed I could not document any mistreatment
> by "the Renaissance church" of scholars whose views on
> the cosmos differed from that of the church, contending
> I related such calumnies without doing any research.

Look again, Vin. Your “11,000+ words” yielded a whopping “0” documented cases in which even one individual was martyred specifically and unequivocally because he/she “had the nerve to ask how the scriptural creation story could be made to jibe with the evidence of modern science” [see above]. Where I come from there’s nothing “PROFUSE” about an abject failure -- except the failure itself.

You also seem to persist in your failure to recognize that the Roman Catholic Church never did and never will qualify as or represent “the church” or even “the Renaissance church.” Your failure to attribute the evil deeds of the Roman Catholic Church to the Roman Catholic Church -- attributing them instead to an ill-defined “Renaissance church” -- suggests either an uninformed opinion, indifference to factual detail, or some combination of both.

> I sent you prodigious documentation of the treatment of
> Giordano Bruno -- and the torture and death of many other
> "heretics"...

Well, actually, no you did not [see above]. Only a handful of individuals were actually named in your “prodigious documentation” -- not one of whom was shown to have been victimized because s/he “had the nerve to ask how the scriptural creation story could be made to jibe with the evidence of modern science.”

> You really don't know that the text of the Bible was
> changed in many aspects -- in some cases probably
> inadvertently, and in other cases so massively as to
> defy any "accidental" explanation -- when translated
> from the Aramaic to the Greek to the Latin to the
> vulgate?

[I believe it was you who first accused me of changing the subject, but be that as it may, I’m willing to proceed briefly with your newest rabbit trail...]

There are surely those “scholars” who speak of your allegedly “massive” changes.  It’s no small coincidence that every last one of them rejects the essential, fundamental gospel of Christ, which forms the core of the Christian faith.  How convenient that they should find reason to suggest that “massive” changes were made.  Sounds a lot like trusting the current U.S. federal government to tell us what the Constitution means.

I have my reasons for believing you haven’t spent much time studying the work of those scholars whose evidence and conclusions differ from your paradigm of presuppositional choice.  And since you see fit to cite the “Latin” and Jerome’s “Vulgate” separately, I wonder what you perceive to be the difference between them.

> Early versions of Paul's letters to the Corinthians
> identify the recipients of those letters as female
> leaders of churches in Greece, while later versions
> are altered to create the impression all these
> church leaders were male...

It would add some credibility, if even only temporarily, were you to provide at least a compelling, corroborating reference or two for such far-fetched claims.

Paul’s first and second letters to the Corinthians are addressed “to the church of God which is at Corinth” and “to the church of God which is at Corinth with all the saints who are throughout Achaia” respectively, identifying the recipients as Christians in general, without explicit reference to gender or leadership.  In fact, all but four of Paul’s letters were addressed explicitly to churches and not individuals of any position or gender.

What specific references to “church leaders” in these letters were “changed” from female to male?  And on what empirical basis do we “know” that these “changes” were made?

NOTE:  Suprynowicz produced no corroboration or documentation for these claims of his.

> Are we to believe it's a sheer coincidence this
> happened at the same time the church was becoming
> more male-dominated, more misogynistic...?

Again, I think your question would be much more compelling, were it accompanied by some corroborating documentation -- and by that I do not mean somebody’s revisionist “history” as influenced by the West’s feminization; I do mean scholarship that has withstood rigorous empirical analysis.

The scriptures don’t advocate hostility towards women, or “male-domination.”  There's a profound difference between an assigned role of headship/responsibility and “male-domination,” and the biblical model of the family no more advocates “male-domination” than the U.S. Constitution advocates “president-domination” or your local grocery store operates under a “manager-domination” paradigm.

> the "root of all sin and
> evil," paving the way for the witch burnings?

Again, some compelling references would certainly lend some credibility to your case.  (If I’m starting to sound like a broken record, it’s only because you persist in raising unsubstantiated claims.)  This stuff is boilerplate fodder for the anti-Christian [“skeptic”] community (of which I was once a member).  Projecting Rome’s excesses onto the non-Roman church and attributing every other cultural/historical evil to a biblical mandate are both devices that rely more on persistent, willful ignorance than corroborating empirical fact and/or sound logic for their credibility.  But it’s oh so easy, isn’t it?  Why, you barely have to do any real in-depth research at all!

> You really don't know that many early versions of the
> Bible use the plural "elohim," which can hardly have
> been translated to the singular word "God" by accident?

The word “elohim” appears not just in “many early versions” but throughout the history of the Hebrew scriptures.  It perplexed the Israelites, but they respectfully preserved it nonetheless.  Both the “Old” and the “New” Testament attest to the Creator’s multiple manifestations, with the “New” putting a finer point on it:  Father, Son, and Spirit, all of whom have existed together in unity throughout eternity.  Studied what the most reputable Hebrew scholars have had to say on the traditional meaning and use of the word “elohim,” have you?  I didn’t think so.

> That in the Aramaic, the women ask those looking for
> Jesus in the tomb "Why do you look here for he who has
> gotten up and left?" using the verb "achuta," which in
> Aramaic has no connotations of any supernatural act of
> rising from the dead?

First, it wasn’t “women” who ask “those looking for Jesus in the tomb” -- it was angels who asked the women who were looking for Jesus (cf. Mark 16:1-8; Luke 24:1-9).  Second, for a dead man to “get up” is indeed a supernatural act.  The context makes a tremendous difference.

> Read a lot of Holger Kersten, have you?
> Jonathan Campbell's book on the Dead Sea Scrolls?
> I didn't think so.

No -- nor any Erich von Däniken, Daniel Klein, Hugh Schonfield, or Rael, et al.

Though it flies in the face of sound logic, you apparently have no problem presuming that because something has seen print in English, and because you’ve read and embraced it without exploring a contrary position to any measurable depth, then it must be true, and no other position can be reasonably documented.

Done a lot of objective critical analysis of Kersten and Campbell, have you?  I didn’t think so.

(The New Age faithful likewise have a whole stable of “the ‘REAL’ truth” about historical Christianity and the Bible.  Just like you, they don't bother exploring whether their esteemed authors might themselves be inventing or parroting fabrications -- ancient and otherwise -- that don’t hold up under rigorous empirical scrutiny.)

See for what may be your first glimpse at the background of one of Kersten's most popularly embraced tales among the anti-Christian faithful.

> You appear unprepared to debate such matters, because
> you have not done any of the underlying research and
> reading.

Again, your having read certain books doesn’t ipso facto render them -- or your point of view -- either historically accurate, or based on unassailable “underlying research.”  You furthermore presume to know what I’ve studied, and assume the posture of learned teacher, purely on the basis of such readings.

> To how early a version have you been able to track the
> "Petrine passage," which claims Jesus said that he was
> establishing his church on the "rock" of Peter (a good
> pun only in Greek)?

Are you aware of the extent to which the people of Jesus’ time and geographic proximity were still familiar with, and used, the Greek language?

And even were Greek entirely foreign to the Galileans of Jesus’ time, what would be the inherent scandal of a pun being manifested in the Greek rendition of an Aramaic statement?  And what would prevent a sovereign God from marshalling precisely such a process?  [And in case you haven’t grasped it by now, I don’t embrace the official Roman Catholic “interpretation” of the Peter/rock declaration.]

Jesus said, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away” (Matt. 24:35).  I have yet to find a compelling basis for doubting His ability to make it so, regardless of the apparently potential effects of what are ostensibly uniquely human activities.

In any case, the Hebrew scriptures also contain numerous such plays on words.  There is furthermore much recorded in earlier scriptures that wasn’t fully understood by those who wrote and preserved them, yet they knew God’s purpose would find expression in due time (cf. I Peter 1:12; Eph. 3:4-7).

> You will not answer, because you have done none of the
> research. You will merely sneer, deny, make new demands
> and counteraccusations...

Wrong again, Vin.  I began by asking you to take responsibility for your own words, and that is all I continue to do.  No sneers or denials are involved, though reasonable requests for compelling substantiation should be expected.  “[N]ew demands and counteraccusations” have appeared only where you have peppered this exchange with ad hominems and new claims, the credibility of which depends largely on the availability of compelling empirical corroboration.

> Apparently now I am supposed to defend my supposed failure
> "to believe in the creator God of the Bible."

Apparently you’re projecting (at worst), or presuming (at best).  It is not your “failure to believe” that is at issue; it’s your failure to have your facts straight before putting pen to paper.

> ...Tim doesn't care. He just assumes whatever he pleases,
> and throws out accusations. Now Tim, let us hear you
> defend your belief that it's OK to bugger young altar boys.
> Come on! I'm waiting!

Once again you are (erroneously) projecting the deeds of the Roman Catholic Church onto all of Christendom in general, and onto me in particular -- and you apparently find this perfectly reasonable.  You betray an ignorance-driven hostility towards authentic, biblical Christianity by pretending that non-Romans are somehow culpable for the crimes of Rome.  You irrationally refuse to recognize that a distinction exists between those who exploit and victimize others, allegedly in the name of Christ, and those who genuinely and accurately practice the biblical Christian doctrines.

Carrying your logic to its proper end, why not snuff all Germans as restitution for the holocaust?  After all, it was “Germany” that committed that evil.  Or why not fine the inhabitants of every U.S. State that belonged to Confederacy as restitution for slavery?  After all, it was an institution practiced and defended only by “the South” until “the North” so mercifully set us all straight...

> It is clear that no matter how much documentation is
> set before you, you have no interest in doing this
> research and calmly discussing these scholarly findings
> -- that you will simply dismiss anything that conflicts
> with your received superstitious beliefs as "tripe."

Having failed to furnish compelling documentation in the first place, you are in no position to judge how “clear” my response would be to some legitimate corroboration for your claims, should you manage to supply it.  “Scholarly findings” in defense of either your column with which I originally took issue, or your subsequent accusations -- or your own “received superstitious beliefs,” for that matter -- have yet to appear in your correspondence.

Webster defines superstition as “an irrational abject attitude of mind toward the supernatural, nature, or God.”  You have provided no compelling evidence that your own worldview is not based more on superstition and ignorance than a truly knowledgeable, objective point of view.  You hasten to generalize all of Christendom as guilty of Rome’s vile conduct, projecting your hostility towards me as if I could only be a Roman Catholic (I am not), in effect redirecting attention away from your indefensible claims and towards some contrived responsibility you expect me to bear on behalf of an institution with which I have never been formally or informally associated.

> It appears you now conveniently claim to belong to
> some "church" other than that which was headquartered
> in Rome from the time of Constantine to the time of
> Luther. Good for you. I have no idea to which splinter
> denomination you adhere, nor do I care.

“It appears”?  It appears that you have “conveniently” turned a blind eye to the facts I have been presenting to you [i.e., the unadulterated facts of history itself], in order that you might appear justified in persistently venting your anti-Christian hostility as if I were a representative of Rome.  The Roman Catholic Church did not cease to be headquartered in Rome after Luther, by the way.  Based on the balance of your correspondence, it is no surprise that you don’t care what church I am affiliated with, for you apparently see fit to irrationally wrap in a mantle of Roman Catholic guilt anything that professes Christ.

> My reference was to "the Renaissance church." The
> Renaissance is generally held to extend from 1454.
> There were no Protestant churches with any legal
> power to speak of until 1550, by which time the
> Renaissance was half over...

There were non-Roman churches before, during, and after the Renaissance and before, during, and after Luther’s lifetime.  Rome’s undue power and prominence did not render Rome “the church” or “the Renaissance church” no matter how much Rome tried, and no matter how much you may wish to believe (and presume to “teach”) that it did.  The Inquisition itself was devoted largely to ferreting out and dealing death to Christians who failed to confess Rome as the only game in town.  But you seem determined not to let such facts get in the way of your cherished beliefs.

> And I consider your habit of attaching "lists" of
> great thinkers, who you contend would agree with
> whatever your beliefs may be, to be the height of
> arrogance.

I send you one list, and you immediately brand it a “habit”?

Your distaste for lists notwithstanding, a rational man, equipped with some knowledge of science history, would recognize from the names in that list that authentic Christianity has had no problem with science.  Each of the cited individuals embraced the biblical Christian worldview (most embraced the Genesis Record as accurate, straightforward historical narrative).  They were not tortured, killed, or even excommunicated.  And most significantly, many of them are the founders of the applied “modern” sciences.

> The researches of Thomas Jefferson and George
> Washington confirm your belief that the Renaissance
> church never tortured and executed those who
> disagreed with its cosmology and doctrines?

No.  Had you read my correspondence with a modicum of the perspicacity you’ve exhibited elsewhere, you would have observed that I quoted Jefferson and Washington explicitly to show that they differed with your religious sentiments.  First you attempted to divert this exchange away from your erroneously equating Rome to be representative of all Christianity during the Renaissance.  Now, you persist in parroting your false belief that Rome qualifies as “the Renaissance church” and, invoking more of your twisted logic, unreasonably concluding that the quotes were meant to justify a belief which I have neither espoused nor expressed -- i.e., that Rome “never tortured and executed those who disagreed with its cosmology and doctrines.”

> The writings of John Adams and Frederic Bastiat
> offer documentation for your airheaded belief that
> the Bible hasn't been altered and revised at each
> translation?

Heretofore I made no comment concerning whether the Bible was “altered” or “revised” -- yet you persist in changing the subject, erroneously suggesting that the topic is alterations and revisions of the Bible, and presuming that my quoting of Bastiat and Jefferson is somehow supposed to serve as evidence that the Christian scriptures have not been corrupted.  You’ll have to provide more compelling evidence than these vacuous red-herring defenses if you want to present a compelling case.  A six-grader could understand my reasons for quoting the men I quoted, yet Vin Suprynowicz ostensibly has a reading comprehension problem.

I will welcome an exchange on the topic of whether “the Bible hasn’t been altered and revised at each translation” -- but not until you have first recognized and acknowledged that the Roman Catholic Church does not and never did uniquely represent “the church” of Jesus Christ at any time in history, including the Renaissance.

> You are not interesting. You are dull, uneducated,
> and boring. Go away.

You certainly excel at colorful ad hominems, Vin.  And I don’t doubt that you would like me to just “go away.”  I’m willing to honor your wishes, however.  I’ll just have to let my readers judge how “dull, uneducated, and boring” I am -- and how intellectually honest you are.

Though we still agree on many matters, and though you surely couldn’t care less, know that the over-inflated ego and stubborn, willful ignorance displayed in your correspondence have cost you at least one fan.

Mr. Suprynowicz apparently considered himself fully vindicated and excused from answering [via a tangle of obfuscating rabbit trails and false accusations] a “dull, uneducated, and boring” reader’s request for corroboration of Suprynowicz’s claim that “the Renaissance church dealt [in some well-known fashion] with heretics who had the nerve to ask how the scriptural creation story could be made to jibe with the evidence of modern science.”  For I heard not another word from him.

(Go figure.)

Enter L. Neil Smith

But wait! There’s more!

Apparently Suprynowicz was so annoyed that one of his favorite historical “facts” that “we all know” was called into question, that he saw fit to forward my original correspondence to his anti-Christian ally and evolution advocate, science fiction (fiction being the operative word here) author L. Neil Smith, who supplied his own obtuse contribution, which has been archived here.

Mr. Smith,

Thank you for sharing with me your comments to Mr. Suprynowicz, to which I am pleased to respond herewith.

> ...I'm not an "evolutionist" at all, any more
> than I am a "gravitist" or an "oxygenist"...

Your denial notwithstanding, your religious dogmatism is robustly displayed in the balance of your text [see below].

> ...I'm always tempted to ask people like this to set
> aside their pathetic anti-evolutionary hoaxes...

One can'’t help wondering whether you’re ever tempted to set aside your own pathetic pro-evolutionary hoaxes (like “Nebraska Man,” “Piltdown Man,” “Java Man,” Haekel’s “embryos,” the classic Peppered Moth photos, National Geographic’s “Archaeoraptor,” etc.)

For more details, see:

> ...and tell me just what part of the phenomenon of
> evolution by natural selection they don't believe.

No problem:  The part that isn’t corroborated via objective, rigorous, critical analysis vis-à-vis the facts of empirical science -- namely, every last bit of Neo-Darwinian macro-evolution, to be specific.

> ...Do they not believe the existence of DNA, for
> example? Then they have to ignore the last half
> century of biology and medicine...

I invite you to name a single aspect of Neo-Darwinian macro-evolution that made a positive and unequivocal contribution to the study of DNA, biology, or medicine, in any way other than merely reinforcing the dogma of Neo-Darwinian macro-evolution.  Such disciplines of the applied sciences were conceived and have functioned and flourished just splendidly quite apart from any dependence on your belief system concerning origins.

> Or are we scientifical types simply wrong, and DNA
> cannot be mutated...

Mutation is not a synonym for Neo-Darwinian macro-evolution.  To suggest that I reject the phenomenon of mutation as an empirically established phenomenon is to erect a straw-man argument, betraying an under-informed perception of the origins dispute in general.

For more details, see:

> ...immutable, like ... the Pope's personal opinions
> about things...

I have already addressed, in my reply to Mr. Suprynowicz, the error of presuming that the history and/or tenets and/or deeds of the Roman Catholic Church are somehow representative of “Christianity” or “the church.”  Rome is understandably a popular target among the intellectually lazy, for it is far easier to heap derision on a bumbling caricature than the real thing, which requires such challenges as lengthy, in-depth study and objective analysis.

> ...those mutations will be expressed in new lifeforms...
> some very few of which will be more successful critters
> than their forebears. Stack enough of the successful
> mutations on end over a few million years, maybe add a
> little "punctuated equilibrium" (or maybe not) and what
> have you got?
> Evolution, by cracky.

Neo-Darwinian macro-evolution, to be specific (sans the punctuated equilibrium add-on), and yes, that’s the myth in a nutshell.

By cracky.

Unfortunately for your cherished belief-system, however, mutations have NOT been empirically demonstrated to add unequivocally new, substantially functional, and persistent information to an organism, let alone to a population.  Mutations (not to be confused with genetic variation) only degrade -- or at best “rearrange” -- the existing information contained within DNA.  It remains an evolutionist fantasy that mutations are capable of adding (in ANY amount of time) such an informational increase as would be necessary to transform amoebas into men.  Not even the tiniest of steps in such a process has been observed, let alone repeated or measured -- these three (observation, repetition, and measurement) being essential pillars in any truly scientific endeavor.

(For more details, see the URLs cited above.)

Natural selection is another empirically established process to which evolutionists erroneously assign “magical” characteristics beyond what has been scientifically observed.  Being only capable “selecting” from what is there (as opposed to what is NOT there [i.e., new information]), its observable result is the removal of the random informational degradations commonly known as mutations.  Other than facilitating shifts in genetic variation within populations (which, again, is empirically established, but has no demonstrable relationship to Neo-Darwinian macro-evolution), there's little else that natural selection accomplishes.

As I’m sure you’re aware, these two (natural selection and random mutations) comprise the alleged “mechanism” of Neo-Darwinian macro-evolution. 0 Empirical science has yet to actually corroborate the story by demonstrating the capability of these two phenomena, either singly or in concert, to generate such unequivocally new, substantially functional, and persistent information to an organism (let alone to a population) for the informational increase necessary to transform amoebas -- in ANY amount of time -- into men.

> I don't mean to debate this. The case has been made
> and proven over the past couple of centuries...

You’re not alone in your reluctance.  Even many evolutionist scientists are reluctant to defend your common beliefs in a bonafide debate, and for much the same (real) reason as you:  It is far easier to repeat boilerplate dogma (e.g., “case has been made and proven”) than to actually allows one’s beliefs to undergo the kind of robust critical analysis required of genuine matters of science -- especially when the other side actually gets to say something.

Instead of dishing out tired slogans, perhaps you’d care to surpass your peers by providing compelling and scientifically satisfying answers to such challenges as:

1) Neo-Darwinian macro-evolution calls for the development of life itself and subsequent life forms from a purely natural process.  Life does not function without the strictly controlled conversion of raw solar energy into useable energy.  What are the specific, empirically evident original mechanism/process and pathway of specific, empirically evident mechanisms/processes that led from zero such conversion capability in raw matter to the multiple and varied mechanisms and processes that are inherent in every living organism as we know them?

2) Neo-Darwinian macro-evolution calls for the development of ever more volume and ever greater variety and complexity of data in the genetic code of living organisms as they allegedly first emerged, then progressed from, the simplest forms to the present broad spectrum of variety.  What specific, empirically evident original mechanism/process and pathway of specific, empirically evident mechanisms/processes have led from zero genetic data in raw matter to the vast array of voluminous genetic data inherent in living organisms as we know them?

3) Neo-Darwinian macro-evolution is popularly cited as the “backbone” of modern biological science.  Name a single aspect of Neo-Darwinian macro-evolution that has made a positive and unequivocal contribution to the study of biology in any way other than by reinforcing the dogma of Neo-Darwinian macro-evolution.

> ...the grand revelations of Darwin and Wallace
> ...and their successors is a vastly more wonderful,
> deeper, and more colorful story...

And a “colorful story” is ALL that it is.

> ...thousands upon thousands...find themselves educated
> by my work.

Which only proves that thousands upon thousands have confused “education” with “indoctrination” (yet truth is not decided by a majority).

Noteworthy is the fact that Mr. Smith did not produce (or cite) compelling corroboration for the three fundamental assumptions (dogmas, really) of the popularized evolutionary belief system [requested above].  Instead, like his colleague Vin Suprynowicz, he went conspicuously silent.

It speaks volumes that Suprynowicz and Smith each failed (refused? was unable?) to provide straightforward answers to a handful of straightforward questions concerning matters which they apparently profess to be “educated” (or at least informed).  Having each been availed an opportunity to defend the beliefs they have claimed to be unquestionable, documented, empirical fact (or something very close to that), they both went conspicuously silent instead.

Regardless of the measure to which one may otherwise agree with the political inclinations of these men, their resorting to such an intellectual double-standard on any subject should naturally give pause to folks who’ve routinely given them the benefit of the doubt, trusting that their commitment to the truth was of the same caliber as their commitment to personal liberty, free markets, and limited government — for it obviously is not.

Vin’s Free Market Double-Standard

But that’s not all!

Empty “Censorship” Claims

By early 2005, Mr. Suprynowicz’s new book, The Black Arrow, was in print.  As may be reasonably expected from any published author, he took appropriate opportunities to advertise the book, occasionally quoting favorable reviews in his regular mailing list dispatches.  By all appearances, it was getting a generally favorable reception from folks with libertarian inclinations, and was destined to be a classic.

But then something happened that revealed how tentative and limited was Mr. Suprynowicz’s commitment to free markets:  Laissez Faire Books, a major outlet for libertarian books, had the nerve to decline to stock The Black Arrow, citing “sexual content...inappropriate for a significant segment of our market.”

And what was Mr. Suprynowicz’s “pro-free market” response?  Instead of allowing the folks at Laissez Faire Books the liberty to choose what they will or won’t buy and sell, he issued a vindictive, inflammatory “News Flash” accusing Laissez Faire of  “censorship”!

cen'•sor  n.  an official or office that executes the removal or prohibition of materials deemed objectionable;  —v.t.  to examine and remove or prohibit in the capacity of a censor

What’s wrong with this picture?

Did Laissez Faire Books “remove or prohibit” Mr. Suprynowicz’s book from public access?  Well, no.  They simply made a free choice concerning what materials they would inventory.  Were the folks at Laissez Faire Books awarded — or did they act in — an “official capacity” (i.e., as a public or government institution)?  Well, no.  They’re a private firm, that simply made a free-market choice.

This one merchant’s independent, sovereign, free-market decision has no bearing on the availability of Suprynowicz’s book through other channels, vendors, merchants, etc.  Laissez Faire Books does not control the general availability of any books, other than those in their own inventory.  Their independent, free-market decision to not carry The Black Arrow is no more “censorship” than Wal-Mart’s independent, free-market decision to not carry The Black Arrow (or any other product).

It appears that Mr. Suprynowicz’s shorts get wrapped around an axle when the free market doesn’t do what he wants it to do, and — mysteriously — his commitment to free markets is darkened by the storm clouds of a “censorship” tantrum.

One would like to think that after writing so many columns in which he tells others that they can’t have it both ways, Vin Sprynowicz might have the presence of mind to recognize that one choice made by one player in a free market does not constitute “censorship.”  On the other hand, as the balance of this article has brought to light, he appears to have become rather adept at invoking a double-standard wherever the truth becomes “inconvenient” to his beliefs or wishes.

Free-Market Contracts v. “Rights” & Culture?

In his May 29, 2005 column, Mr. Suprynowicz whined about the enforcement of deed covenants, expressing his wisdom-infused perspective at the end of that portion of the column with:

Ah, yes. Land of the free, home of the brave. But please check your rights -- and your culture -- at the community gate.

But once again, Suprynowiczs misguided contempt is aimed at the free market, rather than an actual case of government-coerced compromising of anyones rights or culture.

I dont personally know of a single case of a home-buyer signing a community deed covenant at the point of a gun.  Such covenants are between and among home-buyers in a given community, in which they voluntarily and legally contract to adhere to a written set of standards, established prior to the contracts signing.  In many communities they are mandatory, but no one is under compulsion to buy a home in those communities and (therefore) sacrifice his/her rights and/or culture.

I dont personally care for the concept myself, and wouldnt buy a home in such a community, but — again — thats what a free market is all about.  To my knowledge, nobody has been compelled to buy a home or take up residence in such a community.

In fact, Dr. Mary Ruwart, libertarian author and columnist for Advocates for Self-Government, has written the following on this topic:

In a libertarian society, people concerned about how neighbors might use their property would buy in an area where deeds are restricted by covenant (contract).  Condominiums, for example, often prohibit owners from commercial activities to maintain the area's residential nature. Buyers voluntarily accept these restrictions as a condition of sale.

Houston, Texas, uses restrictive covenants instead of zoning. Zoning can change overnight according to political whim, radically altering your property value.  Covenants, on the other hand, are binding, enforceable contracts.  If your neighbor starts a pig farm or other activity that is prohibited by covenant, you can sue.  If your neighbor wants to violate zoning laws, he or she can often convince the zoning board to grant a variance — and you will have no recourse.

In summary, voluntary contracts among neighbors protect property values better than zoning enforced by government.

It appears that Mr. Suprynowicz the columnist (who has awarded himself the title The Libertarian), may not have the only (or even the most sensible) libertarian perspective around.  And in fact, he once again has displayed more hostility than informed commitment to a free market and all its workings.

Prejudiced Blinders, Part 2

Mr. Suprynowicz’s ill-informed hostility towards “Christianity” foamed up again in his column of October 31, 2005 (entitled “Thoughts on the Occasion of the October Moon”), once again showing more passion for his personal beliefs than historically corroborated truth.

This time Vin wants his readers to share his half-baked belief that (among other things) “Christianity” was responsible for the deaths of “millions” of falsely-accused “witches” during the middle ages.

To ask him on what sources he bases his claims (we now know from personal experience) would needlessly invite an abundance of Vin’s patronizing sarcasm, yielding not an ounce of the requested documentation — unless you count obscure and uncorroborated “history” books that pepper the libraries of anti-Christian zealots in much the same way as Jewish conspiracy “history” books pepper the shelves of Nazis.

Whatever it is that drives Vin to stew in (and occasionally vent) such irrational hostility towards his favorite caricature of “Christianity,” it certainly isn’t historical or empirical fact.  For in order to champion such tunnelvision to his readers with some measure of persuasiveness, he must ask them to join him in willfully ignoring several key facts, the honest consideration of any one of which would threaten to unravel his carefully woven yarn.

By blurring the distinction between the various forms of witchcraft (whose definition shall we use?), satanism, an

Conclusion:  Caveat Emptor

This article would never have seen print if Vin Suprynowicz hadn’t exhibited the conduct which it documents.  I generally have better things to do with my time than criticizing people whose political views are in large part close to my own.  But no matter how he may wish to rationalize such conduct, I find it unbecoming of someone who routinely writes columns lampooning others’ failures to exercise principled consistency and/or intellectual honesty.

Am I suggesting that anyone should stop reading Vin Suprynowicz’s columns or books?  Not really.  Should his readers believe whatever he says, without exercising any critical analysis?  In light of the above, probably not.  The bottom line amounts to the classic warning:  caveat emptor — buyer beware.  As with any product, editorial or otherwise, it would behoove Vin’s readers to check out whatever they’re not personally sure of, before swallowing or repeating his assertions on matters of historical fact or economic principle.

Tim Wallace


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