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Professor goes Ape at UConn over sign “Evolution is a Lie”, then preaches a pantheist revival

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Christian evangelist Don Karns of Hampton, Virginia, said Boster approached him as he was holding a sign about evolution, mocked him, and then became confrontational.

“He asked me if I had accepted Darwin as my lord and savior,” Karns said. “He was very agitated, very demonstrative… it was very unbecoming of a professor.”

Within minutes, Boster, who began teaching at UConn in 1997, also began to openly mock campus tour coordinator Scott Smith of Schoolmaster Ministries of Raleigh, North Carolina, as he preached.

“As I was pointing to Christ—I was talking about the sin nature—I said, ‘There’s probably some people out there—maybe even professors—who think they descended from monkeys,’” Smith stated. “[Boster] jumped off the ground and came running over and basically started screaming, ‘I did not come from a monkey! I came from an ape!’”

“He got about two inches from my nose,” Smith noted. “You could tell he was going to pop.”

Karns said that Boster then confronted him a second time, using profanity and getting in his face. Andrew Rappaport of Striving for Eternity Ministries in Jackson, New Jersey, said he witnessed Boster present a speech in an attempt to agitate the students.

“He started to address the students as ‘My brothers and sisters of Darwin,’” Rappaport said.

“I want you to join me in saying, ‘Praise Darwin!’” Boster mocked, as students echoed his refrain. “Amen!” Boster proclaimed.

Boster then told students to “feel your spiritual kinship not just with other humans, but also with your fellow mammals.”

“We are all bonded together in that great spiritual web. The divine saturates nature the way that gravy saturates cornbread,” Boster said.

According to the report, as Rappaport began preaching, Boster became increasingly agitated and, at one point, began screaming in Polish.

“He literally got two inches from my face and started yelling at me that I was ignorant,” Rappaport said. “I start trying to transition to the gospel and he then tried to get the crowd to tell me to shut up.’”

“He was being rude. He was talking over me,” he continued. “He was yelling at me, and I tried to say, ‘Can we have a reasonable discussion?’… But he asked a question and then talked right over me.”

Rappaport said that though Boster claimed he was going to conduct “open-air Darwinism” on campus because of the preaching, he then pivoted and said he would be open to exchange emails for future discussion.

Christian News Network said that Boster, who earns $119,486 per year, could not be reached for comment.

HT
TS Erik

31 Replies to “Professor goes Ape at UConn over sign “Evolution is a Lie”, then preaches a pantheist revival

  1. 1
    tjguy says:

    Well, Boster is passionate about his beliefs, that’s for sure.

    I don’t believe in molecules to man evolution, but I’m not sure a sign proclaiming evolution to be a lie is the best approach. To back that up would take a lot of time and even then many will choose to believe in evolution after hearing the evidence.

    So perhaps without that background, a sign like that would do more to ostracize people than reach people.

  2. 2
    Axel says:

    Firstly, the text is duplicated in the post, Sal.

    I don’t believe human nature is so predictable, tjguy. I personally doubt that a polemical approach, seeking to avoid upsetting people who believe themselves to be the scions of apes, will not win them over. Far from it.

    Sometimes bullies only respond to a right-royal smack-down. Believe it or not, sometimes they even seem grateful. Not that they are genuinely won over, of course, but because you behave in a way they recognize as familiarly human (or ape-like, as the case may be). Does ‘simian’ cover both monkeys and apes, I wonder?

    Often(times*), a person will subliminally learn from a Christian’s preaching, and draw on it at a later date, when he becomes converted to the faith. In my case, it was the Bible-readings and prayers at our daily, morning assemblies at school.

    Since our simian friend, Boster, would seem to be Polish, I suspect he is ‘kicking against the goad’, and is currently undergoing a spiritual crisis. Expect a reconversion fairly soon!

    * A redundancy favoured by Americans, which is more than merited on aesthetic grounds, even grounds of the euphony of its subtle assonance … not to put too fine a point on it. It has a lovely ‘down home’ lilt to it, doesn’t it?

  3. 3
    Barb says:

    I was expecting this to be satire but, no, it really happened.

    On Reddit (r/atheism), the good professor has responded:

    I believe that this account does not accurately reflect what actually transpired. The street preachers who came to UConn did not show respect for the values of the university community they visited and so received from me all the respect that they earned. If you Google “Boster Waorani” you will find that I have praised Christian missionaries for their work for in ending a seemingly endless cycle of revenge killing among the Waorani, a group of native South Americans. I believe that genuine Christians are very impressive human beings if you actually happen to meet one. They are the ones who have read and have acted in accordance with Matthew Chapter 5 in their daily lives. These recent guests to our campus were rude and insulting: they claimed that UConn students and faculty (not themselves) were all sinners, they singled me out as having descended from a monkey, and stated that the subject I teach (evolution) is a lie. But I rose to confront them when they told a student that he was going to hell. In much the same way that most of you would probably be willing to defend those who you see as members of your community, I properly defended the members of mine and the values of the university. I answered the street preachers using the tone and rhetorical style that they had used themselves. I had not “gone ape” but instead was engaging in street theater geared to respond to the tone that they themselves had set. Given that almost all of you were not there and did not observe for yourself the entirety of what actually happened. I suggest that you not judge lest you be judged and not to bear false witness. –James Boster

    “Engaging in street theater”? Really? No, professor, you lost it. Completely and utterly. Grow up and behave like the six-figure scholar you proclaim yourself to be.

  4. 4
    scordova says:

    >Firstly, the text is duplicated in the post, Sal.

    Fixed, thanks!

  5. 5
    scordova says:

    What I have sometimes forgotten is those that reject the creator are often worshippers of Nature. The religious impulse is still there.

    At the end he looked like he was leading an old style tent revival, and what struck me was the students pretty much saying “Amen”. The culture is obviously polarized. I don’t see reason for that to change…

    At the beginning, he was behaving like a total loon. At the end, he looked like a preacher at a tent revival.

    Not to be irreverent, but I don’t like screaming preachers in Christian churches either. I prefer the soft spoken meek variety. Someone with Michael Behe or Stephen Meyer’s personality.

    Boster reminds me of some Christian preachers I’ve seen over the years. They looked just as unhinged as him. It’s a miracle I’m still a Christian given some of the stuff I’ve seen in the church.

  6. 6
    NickMatzke_UD says:

    As usual, fundamentalists don’t get the joke. Apparently screaming at people, calling scientists just doing their jobs liars, literally standing on a soapbox bothering everyone who happens to walk by — these obnoxious behaviors are totally OK when a Christian fundamentalist is doing it. But when an annoyed professor parodies them, oh then, that’s what’s shameful? Get a grip guys!

  7. 7
    OldArmy94 says:

    Nick, I don’t see anyone here proclaiming that Dr. Boster had no right to project himself into the debate. He has every right to stand up and yell “Hail Darwin”. But, his comments are telling:

    “they claimed that UConn students and faculty (not themselves) were all sinners,”

    Now, IF these individuals were preaching that they themselves were not sinners, then I say “anathema” and may they be silenced by God for their heresy. However, if they were proclaiming the universality of sin, then they are merely “guilty” of offending the politically correct viewpoints of those present.

  8. 8
    bornagain77 says:

    Nick (literate bluffing) Matzke takes umbrage at a Darwinist being called a liar? Why is that not surprising? 🙂 I can see where that would be a sore spot for Matzke.

    Nick Matzke Admits His Quote Mining Accusation Was False; Instead of Apologizing Tries to Change the Definition of “Quote Mining” to “Refusing to Agree With Me” – Barry Arrington – December 2013
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....e-with-me/

    A Graduate Student (Nick Matzke) Writes – David Berlinski July 9, 2013
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....74221.html
    A One-Man Clade – David Berlinski – July 18, 2013
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....74601.html
    Hopeless Matzke -David Berlinski & Tyler Hampton August 18, 2013
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....75631.html

  9. 9
    scordova says:

    Apparently screaming at people, calling scientists just doing their jobs liars, literally standing on a soapbox bothering everyone who happens to walk by — these obnoxious behaviors are totally OK when a Christian fundamentalist is doing it. But when an annoyed professor parodies them, oh then, that’s what’s shameful? Get a grip guys!

    I actually agree. When had a table set up to proclaim God’s creation on a university campus some years ago, I didn’t get in peoples faces and have a sign that said, “Evolution is a Lie”.

    I had a photo of Charles Townes saying something favorable about cosmological ID and one of Richard Smalley saying Darwinism was false.

    But in the interest of open inquiry, has anyone here at UD been persuaded by soap box tactics and signs saying, “Evolution is a Lie?”. I’d be surprised to hear it, but you just never know…

    Most of the pre-internet generation were often converted in debates or formal speaker visits. When Behe visited George Mason many years ago, it began to put me on the road to studying ID. He was meek and scholarly.

    When I’ve hosted outreach events, I try to go through polite channels where people can come of their own free choosing.

    That said, Boster still looked unhinged. I get called a liar every day, but I don’t react like Boster…

  10. 10
    TSErik says:

    As usual, fundamentalists don’t get the joke. Apparently screaming at people, calling scientists just doing their jobs liars, literally standing on a soapbox bothering everyone who happens to walk by — these obnoxious behaviors are totally OK when a Christian fundamentalist is doing it. But when an annoyed professor parodies them, oh then, that’s what’s shameful? Get a grip guys!

    As usual, the point of this flies entirely over your head. Whether or not on agrees with the Christian advocates isn’t the issue.

    It is the fact that this is an educator. An educator. You claim he was acting some aggressive parody, but the man lost it.

    It is often claimed that those who espouse belief in religion are “less than”. That they have no true faculties of logic, or reason. That they aren’t in control of their emotions. That they are crazy. Crazy is the worst thing you can call someone, Nick. It is entirely dismissive of them as a human.

    The point of highlighting this situation isn’t to state the Christians in this event are right, and this crazy professor is wrong. No. It is to show that people can, and do abandon logic, reason, composure, common sense, and dignity for any reason. It is not a trait or cause from religion, or religious believers.

  11. 11
    TSErik says:

    Should read… “Whether or not one agrees with the Christian advocates isn’t the issue.

  12. 12
    TSErik says:

    Ugh. Responding from my phone while tired is not a great idea. The line should read, “The point of highlighting this situation isn’t to state the Christians in this event are right, and this crazy professor is wrong.”

    Kinda loses my point if the darn irony italics don’t show up.

  13. 13
    Barb says:

    Nick writes,

    But when an annoyed professor parodies them, oh then, that’s what’s shameful?

    Yeah, no. He wasn’t parodying anything. He’s trying to save face now that he realizes that his meltdown was caught on tape and has gone viral.

    And even if the Christians are behaving in a manner unworthy of Christ by yelling or screaming, then who says that the professor has to sink to their level? He could have remained calm and walked away or ignored them.

  14. 14
    TSErik says:

    And even if the Christians are behaving in a manner unworthy of Christ by yelling or screaming, then who says that the professor has to sink to their level? He could have remained calm and walked away or ignored them.

    Exactly. Tu quoque is not a valid defense.

  15. 15
    AVS says:

    Yeah, actually Scordy guys like these show up on campuses pretty regularly.

  16. 16
    Axel says:

    ‘But when an annoyed professor parodies them, oh then, that’s what’s shameful? Get a grip guys!’ – NM

    You mean like Hitler playfully parodied the Jews at his Nuremburg rallies? And was a bit more boisterous on Kristallnacht? What penetrating insights you regale us with, NM.

  17. 17
    Mapou says:

    scordova:

    I actually agree. When had a table set up to proclaim God’s creation on a university campus some years ago, I didn’t get in peoples faces and have a sign that said, “Evolution is a Lie”.

    Since science is all about politics and ideology, I think it’s perfectly OK to carry a sign that says, “Evolution is a Lie.” Personally I don’t think the message is powerful enough. My sign would say “Evolution is a Goddamn Lie!” And the reverse side would say “All Evolutionists are Stupid Liars.” I think that would send a slightly stronger message. LOL.

  18. 18
    Axel says:

    A graduate student trying to make a name for himself, running before he could walk.

    Be careful what you pray for, Nicholas. No name is better than ignominy.

  19. 19
    Axel says:

    Mapou and Joe: our attack-dogs! Just to provide a certain balance, of course.

    Go get ’em, lads!

  20. 20
    AVS says:

    Did you really just compare this guy to Hitler?
    What is wrong with you?

  21. 21
    AVS says:

    Mapou and Joe: your attack gods with an extra 21st chromosome.

  22. 22
    Axel says:

    Tell me, AVS, are you familiar with the term, ‘hyperbole’ and its satirical usages?

    What is wrong with me is that, sometimes, I bother to respond to deplorably shallow posts, AVS. You know the saying: ‘Argue with a fool and you make two fools.’

    What’s more, your opponent will then beat you with his experience. I unreservedly bow to your superiority in the matter.

  23. 23
    AVS says:

    Well at least you’re admitting to being a fool right along with me. =)
    Why is it that I seem to find nothing but fools on this site?

  24. 24
    JWTruthInLove says:

    This is reminiscent of the “God Hates Fags” vs. “Cthulhu hates Chordates” situation.

  25. 25
    TSErik says:

    Mapou and Joe: your attack gods with an extra 21st chromosome.

    Whoa. Wait. A Down’s Syndrome joke? So when you want to insult someone and their worth (and cannot spell properly) you say they have Down’s Syndrome. You aren’t ashamed by that?

    Such a brave man. You stay classy AVS. And calling it trisomy-21 doesn’t make you look smart, it looks like you’re trying to hard in your bigotry.

  26. 26
    TSErik says:

    Honestly, UD should have a zero tolerance for stuff like that. Using a handicap as an insult is not conducive to ANY discussion.

    AVS contributes NOTHING to any discussion and only attempts to pettifog, detract, and derail. I’ve been content to let him spout off as it shows how foolish he and his ilk are by randomly posting stuff they don’t understand, hoping to bluff by simply defining processes and terms, and link/literature bluffing. However, this seems like a place where a line should be drawn.

    It shows a complete absence of any kind of character, or decorum.

  27. 27
    AVS says:

    Oh I’m so sorry Erik, did I hurt your feeelings?
    Go ahead ban me. BA has resorted to name calling before so go ahead and look like a bunch of hypocritical asses.
    Welcome to the internet, get over yourself.

  28. 28
    Jehu says:

    Aw c’mon don’t ban AVS, it’s no fun when zero Darwinists show up. Anyway I haven’t seen the paid Darwin pumpers around much lately, maybe their funding was cut.

  29. 29
    TSErik says:

    Oh I’m so sorry Erik, did I hurt your feeelings?
    Go ahead ban me. BA has resorted to name calling before so go ahead and look like a bunch of hypocritical asses.
    Welcome to the internet, get over yourself.

    It has nothing to do with the act of insulting, but what you chose to use as the insult. Funny, a smart guy like you should be able to figure that out.

    Welcome to the internet, get over yourself.

    Spoken like a true Reddit keyboard warrior.

  30. 30
    AVS says:

    Let me know when you’re ready to talk about organic/biochem/cell bio Erik!
    I won’t hold my breath.

  31. 31
    tjguy says:

    Again, the “liar” approach just doesn’t seem very effective to me and it is a bit judgmental as well I’m afraid. If they have a specific instance they are referring to, that’s fine, but the generalize and call evolutionists liars. Well, to be fair, they call evolution a lie, which is a bit different than calling those who believe in it liars. That is an important distinctive.

    I would call evolutionists sincerely deceived.

    And yes, the guy totally lost it and is now embarrassed about it. Imagine how we will feel when we stand before God and our sins are replayed before our very eyes for all to see! Nothing is hidden from the eyes of God. This is a vivid reminder of that. If he would have known that his behavior would be caught on tape and broadcast over the internet, I imagine he would have changed his approach.

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