My colleague, Michael Grant of the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Department, was one of the victims of the recent harassment, reported by Steve Reuland here. Professor Grant tells me that he has “been receiving these histrionic emails and books and packages for a year; he even comes into my office when I’m not here. He started with me and Jeff Mitton [chair of EEB] but expanded to the rest of the department and may have crossed a legal line with the rest. I have a huge stack of emails and packages and even a big fat paperback book from him.” I think that, by legal line, he means the threatening tone of the last e-mail below.
“Among other things,” writes Professor Grant, “he identifies me as a ‘child molester’ for teaching evolution and threatens to get me fired plus he threatens legal action on that front. In the most recent communications, he writes words many of my colleagues consider death threats.”
Update, 13 July 2007, 3.55 MDT. The Colorado Daily has released the name of the alleged perpetrator here .
His full name is Michael Philip Korn. He sometimes goes by his Hebrew name, Menachem (not Menacher). He lives in Nederland, a small mountain community west of Boulder. His Web site is http://www.jesusoverisrael.blogspot.com/, but it has not been updated in months. He says about himself,
I was born in America, moved to Israel after graduating from Harvard, enlisted in the Ba’al Teshuva movement, and joined a Messianic Chassidic cult (Breslov) from 1990-1999. Through the help of South African missionaries, I came to see that Jesus is the Jewish Messiah and Saviour of the World. I was baptized in a natural spring in the Israeli Galilee outside of the famous mystical city of Safed on 20 June 2000, and now I seek to introduce Jewish people to Jesus Christ, their Messiah whom they don’t yet know.
Michael Philip Korn is also cited at Southern Exposure here.
Further, as Steve Reuland notes, the story has been reported in the Denver Post as well as the Colorado Daily. The Associated Press has also picked up the story, as has Salon. You may find an earlier Panda’s Thumb report with comments here.
The affair is cited at Red State Rabble here.
I do not know what preceded the following, but here is an early e-mail sent to Professor Grant. The boldface and italics are in the originals, but I have spared you some very large typefaces.
your sarcastic attitude is not at all becoming to an Associate Vice Chancellor for Undergraduate Education of a major american university. judging from your response to me, you dont seem very skilled in human relations. i thought universities respected and cultivated a diversity of opinion. in fact that is why it derives from the root word universe. but apparently you lived in a close[d] mental universe. by denigrating the diversity that the university should represent, you show yourself sadly unable to perceive the grandeur of the universe itself. and maybe that’s why you support the nihilistic concept of Darwinian evolution.
Po-fresser Grant [if you don’t understand the Yiddish pun, i shall be glad to enlighten you: it means “Here is someone who pretends to be a professor of higher knowledge, but actually is no more than an animal”], concerning what you have written to me here:
I do not know why he makes terrible Yiddish puns, but to fress is to eat like a pig. The harasser is, in fact, a Messianic Jew Hebrew Christian, but we prefer not to state his name until it is made public.
Michael Grant … wrote: Mr. [name deleted]:
Would you please remove my name and Dr. Mitton’s name from all of your e-mail lists? Neither of us has the slightest interest in your perspectives about evolution nor, really, about anything else.
your attitude is simply unacceptable for an official of a PUBLIC university:
i happen to be one of the Colorado taxpayers who actually pay your salary, and therefore you should have some level of accountability to me and the rest of the citizens of this state.
therefore, i will be approaching Chanchellor (sic) Peterson to discuss your attitude to me. i spent a lot of my own money to collect SCIENTIFIC evidence debunking the major claims of evolution. statements from such eminent scientists as Francis Crick and Fred Hoyle are included, amongst hundreds of others.
you owe me the minimum level of courtesy of a reasoned response, and not just an arrogant withering insult. IN THE NAME OF THE LORD GOD OF ISRAEL, WHO CREATED YOU AND THE CHILDREN YOU ARE INDOCTRINATING WITH UNSCIENTIFIC UNSUBSTANTIATED DARWINIAN FILTH, I DEMAND A REASONED RESPONSE FROM YOU. you might laugh and mock at me, as you do to God who reigns above you. but we shall see who will be laughing after i speak with Chanchellor (sic) Peterson. i also will be approaching the Governor of the State, as well as the State legislature, who pay your salary and authorize your position, as well as the Regents. i will be speaking with my attorney as well, for i am planning to file legal charges against you, accusing you of child molestation. no, not of me, since although i am a child of God i also am an adult. but the children who attend your “university” and who are entrusted into your care, are being intellectually, morally, and spiritually molested by the bogus darwinian theories of nihilism and death that you teach in the name of “higher education”. young persons come to your university seeking guidance, direction and focus for their talents and energies. instead they find professors like you who teach them that life is purposeless, pointless, and meaningless. indeed i charge you and your devilutionist colleagues with being the source of every imaginable evil in our society: drugs, crime, prostitution, corruption, war, abortion, death, for the simple reason that you, the supposed elite of academia, teach our children that life has no higher purpose, value, or meaning. i charge you with being a murderer of souls. if you think i am joking, just wait till we meet in court. “Mr. Big Brains on Biology”: what a sad joke: the co-discoverer of a candidate for the world’s largest living organism, a grove of aspen clones in Utah, that led to a 1993 Discover magazine article titled “The Trembling Giant” can’t even see the forest for the trees. if you want to delude yourself, that is your tragic prerogative. but you cannot be permitted to defraud and deceive our children. you will be held accountable for your malicious actions, attitudes, and satanic beliefs. Sincerely in Christ, [name deleted] Cc: Chancellor Bud Peterson”
Finally, the following is an excerpt of what was recently sent to Professor Grant and several other faculty members in EEB. Many of the EEB faculty consider it very dangerous and possibly a death threat.
“Pastor Jerry Gibson spoke at Doug Whites New Day Covenant Church in Boulder. He said that every true Christian should be ready and willing to take up arms to kill the enemies of Christian society. But I believe it is far more effective to take up a pen to kill the enemies of Truth.
President GW Bush II (sic) is waging a global war on terror. But it seems he has overlooked the terrorists operating in our own backyard!
He likes to say “God Bless America”, and our Pledge of Allegiance says “One Nation Under God”. And of course our Federal Reserve issued money says “In God We Trust”.
But the EBIO [now EEB] Department at CU Boulder denies a Creator God and claims that life evolved from inanimate matter without Divine Direction, Oversight, or Providence.
Many scientists today have denounced Darwinian theories as bogus science. Yet the EBIO department upholds it as the Gospel truth and hides itself in a false cloak of intellectual arrogance. www.scienceagainstevolution.org
Academic freedom does not include the right to lie, obfuscate, and prevaricate. Yet this is exactly what these arrogant atheist professors do in the name of “higher education”!
EBIO professors are terrorists against America and against the true spirit of humanity, which consists of created beings beholden to their Creator!
EBIO Professors are also intellectual and spiritual child abusers of their young and impressionable students.
In addition, the New Testament states clearly that Adam and Eve were our original parents and that Noah’s Flood was an historical reality. So the EBIO department not only blasphemes God, who is invisible, but it blasphemes His Only Begotten Son and our Messiah, Jesus Christ, which is more unforgivable given the clear manifestations of His Godliness and Holiness and the confirmation of all He claimed to be through His historic Resurrection from the dead!
For all these reason all God-fearing and Truth-loving persons must say,
They must go!”
Robert Crowther of the Discovery Institute disbelieves the Denver Post story, suggests it is a hoax, and asks, “But where’s the evidence that the perps are actually creationists, or religious at all?” He likens the story to that of Paul Mirecki of the University of Kansas, who is alleged to have punched himself in the nose, no doubt to embarrass creationists.
Mr. Crowther’s “evidence” includes an interesting overinterpretation of a policeman’s comment, “It basically said anybody who doesn’t believe in our religious belief is wrong and should be taken care of,” which he conflates with something that the perpetrator wrote; need I add that the policeman was only paraphrasing?
If this is a hoax and the e-mails were not sent by a creationist, then the author is a veritable Alan Sokal.