brain sizes: Einstein's and women's

Bob LeChevalier lojbab at
Fri Sep 13 22:00:05 EST 2002

"John Knight" <jwknight at> wrote:
>I'm sitting here reading this letter from Mr. Jefferson from almost two
>centuries ago, and lookit what I see:
>"In our village of Charlottesville, there is a good degree of religion, with
>a small spice only of fanaticism.

That means no nutcases like YOU.

>What a HOOT!!

I rather think other parts are a hoot.

>Was Mr. Jefferson not aware that Sandra Day O'Connor, Ginsberg, and the ACLU
>would frown upon such a vile use of "public property"!?

I doubt it.  There are religious meetings on public property even
today.  The supreme court says that it is fine, after school hours, if
the property is made available to non religious groups as well, to
make the facilities available to churches.

[rant which makes nonsensical claims based on no evidence deleted]

>To Dr. Thomas Cooper
>Monticello, November 2, 1822
>DEAR SIR, -- Your favor of October the 18th came to hand yesterday. The
>atmosphere of our country is unquestionably charged with a threatening cloud
>of fanaticism,

That's YOU nincompoop.

 lighter in some parts, denser in others, but too heavy in
>all. I had no idea, however, that in Pennsylvania, the cradle of toleration
>and freedom of religion, it could have arisen to the height you describe.
>This must be owing to the growth of Presbyterianism. The blasphemy and
>absurdity of the five points of Calvin, and the impossibility of defending
>them, render their advocates impatient of reasoning, irritable, and prone to

The 5 points of Calvinism are:

>The sovereignty of the election of God,
>the substitutive definiteness of the atonement of Christ,
>the inability of the sinful will to good,
>the creative energy of the saving grace of the Spirit,
>the safety of the redeemed soul in the keeping of its Redeemer,

Do you find these to be absurd and blasphemous and indefensible?


>In our university you know there is no Professorship of Divinity. A handle
>has been made of this, to disseminate an idea that this is an institution,
>not merely of no religion, but against all religion. Occasion was taken at
>the last meeting of the Visitors, to bring forward an idea that might
>silence this calumny, which weighed on the minds of some honest friends to
>the institution. In our annual report to the legislature, after stating the
>constitutional reasons against a public establishment of any religious
>instruction, we suggest the expediency of encouraging the different
>religious sects to establish, each for itself, a professorship of their own
>tenets, on the confines of the university, so near as that their students
>may attend the lectures there, and have the free use of our library, and
>every other accommodation we can give them; preserving, however, their
>independence of us and of each other. This fills the chasm objected to ours,
>as a defect in an institution professing to give instruction in all useful
>sciences. I think the invitation will be accepted, by some sects from candid
>intentions, and by others from jealousy and rivalship. And by bringing the
>sects together, and mixing them with the mass of other students, we shall
>soften their asperities, liberalize and neutralize their prejudices, and
>make the general religion a religion of peace, reason, and morality.

Jefferson feel that the way it is permissible for religion to be
taught in a university is for the churches to appointed their own
professors to teach.  This is acceptable since it keeps church and
state separated.  Even today, despite your LIES, schoolkids pray at
prayer meetings on school grounds before and after school and this is
quite legal.

Here's the part I find a hoot:
>The article of
>discipline is the most difficult in American education. Premature ideas of
>independence, too little repressed by parents, beget a spirit of
>insubordination, which is the great obstacle to science with us, and a
>principal cause of its decay since the revolution. I look to it with dismay
>in our institution, as a breaker ahead, which I am far from being confident
>we shall be able to weather. 

In other words, old TJ was complaining about teenagers in exactly the
same way that modern adults complain about teenagers.  Society seems
to have managed pretty well despite 200 years of constant "decay".


More information about the Neur-sci mailing list