Effect Measure

Rudolph “9/11″ Giuliani is banking on the good Republicans in Florida to save his sorry ass in the primary. Given the gang of bottom feeders running in that Party’s primary, you wonder how anyone could be stupid enough to vote in it, but there is ample evidence that they exist a-plenty in Florida. I don’t mean to pick on Florida. People with barely two neurons to rub together seem to be everywhere. They even have their own TV network, Fox. That way when MyFoxOrlando gestates a particularly redolent fecal load, they can relieve themselves through still other orifices — MyFoxColorado, for example:

Pastor Renee Brewster and her husband Bishop Winston Brewster are a very spiritual couple. But the site of their savior in a potato has reinvigorated their faith and their desire to help others.

[snip]

Renee says she had been looking for an excuse to get out of making potato salad. “I was hesitant about making the potato salad because Sister Frankie makes the potato salad at church and I said lord if it’s not for me to make potato salad then send me a sign.”

She thought she got her sign right off the bat. “The first potato I split in half and put it to the side because it looked rotten.

It was her 10-year-old granddaughter who made her give the potato a second look. “My granddaughter said Granny did you see that in the middle? I said what?”

And taking a closer look she saw the cross with Jesus in the middle. “It’s remarkable.” (MyFoxOrlando via MyFoxColorado)

I’ll pause in this inspiring story so you can go to MyFoxColorado to see these remarkable likenesses of Jesus on the Cross in the rotten potato for yourselves, here and here. Please do. I’d put them up here but Fox copyrighted the pics. Apparently Jesus on the Cross is a Fox property.

So what happened next? Not even The Onion could make this up:

Pastor Brewster froze the heart of that potato bearing Jesus. The rest was used to make the potato salad served during their weekly rescue mission.

How was that potato salad? “It was good. It was the best you ever made…it was almost as good as Sister Frankie’s,” said Bishop Brewster.

Sure. Put poor Jesus in the freezer, eat the Apostles, Mary Magdalen, Pontius Pilate, Barabas and assorted Roman Legionnaires with mayo and don’t even give poor granny the potato salad Palme d’Or.

Last summer PZ had the temerity to suggest we’re surrounded by “ignorant, deluded, wicked, foolish, or oppressed victims of obsolete mythologies in the United States.” This raised a ruckus with those who thought we atheists have to be nicer to the ignorant, deluded, wicked, foolish or oppressed victims of obsolete mythologies that surround us, so I want to be clear it was PZ that said this, not me.

I just agree with it.

Comments

  1. #1 hardindr
    January 27, 2008

    You don’t persuade people by calling them “ignorant, deluded, wicked, foolish, or oppressed victims of obsolete mythologies in the United States,” you just insult them. Such rhetoric is a waste of time and, frankly, offensive. It would be a lot better if atheists who know enough of science and have an idea of what is going on (i.e. pareidolia), would try and explain what is happening. Most religious people would not listen, but some might be persuaded. You get nothing but a bad reputation by making PZ’s types of statements, which atheism doesn’t need.

  2. #2 revere
    January 27, 2008

    hardindr: You assume all atheists (meaning me, in this case) are out to persuade people. I’m not a proselytizer. I’m OK with people believing what suits them as long as they don’t get in my way. I’m not for making it a requirement to own a rabbit’s foot to bring the nation good luck, but if you think stroking a rabbit’s foot will bring you good luck, stroke away. I’m still allowed to have opinions about it, just as you obviously have opinions about what I said. “Atheism” doesn’t need anything, because we aren’t a religion (silly comments to the contrary notwithstanding). We represent the absence of religion. Or as one wag put it, bald isn’t a hair color.

  3. #3 Isaac
    January 27, 2008

    hardindr,

    I’ve heard that argument a million times, and frankly it is just BS. The religious people you are referring to won’t be convinced with any sort of atheist rhetoric. The style of revere, and PZ work with a set of people who have some doubts about religion, but are as of yet unwilling to call themselves non-theists.

    I was in that exact position before I started reading revere, PZ, and Dawkins. I thought I needed faith of some sort, and the “militant” atheists made me realize that actually, I don’t. Faith is actually a hinderance to leading a happy and productive life. So, quit be so certain that inflammatory language hurts “the cause”.

    Finally, I think we all need to recognize that we are all ignorant and/or deluded in some ways.

  4. #4 revere
    January 27, 2008

    hardindr: Isaac brings up an important point I should have mentioned. While I’m not trying to persuade anyone, by saying out loud what many people would really think about this Jesus in the Potato crap if they were really thinking about it, I am legitimating the appropriate ridicule of mindless (or worse) nonsense on TV. Instead most people don’t think about it because it is just more noise in the background. So I’m calling attention to it and calling it what it is. I make no apologies , although I am happy to explain it. It’s no different than quackery or fraudulent health claims that also separate people from their money and good sense. You don’t complain that we shouldn’t be so hard on the poor quacks, do you? There are a huge number of people who believe in that stuff, too. Why should this nonsense get a free pass?

  5. #5 Cuttlefish
    January 27, 2008

    Should we be concerned that we offend people who religiously and devoutly see Jesus in a potato? Or should we point out the trend… we see these sacred sightings when they get somebody on the news. Half the news articles are about the discovery… the other half are about the subsequent auction on eBay.

    You say “potato”, and I say “Jesus”
    You say “hey, wait–Oh, just look at the pieces!”
    Right there in the bowl, he’s so wonderfully holy
    Let’s call the guys at Fox!
    You say “sandwich”, and I say “Mary”
    You think it’s grand, which I think is just scary
    But you need no urgin’ to see you a virgin
    Let’s call the guys at Fox!

    And Oh!–if we call the guys at Fox
    We’ll make the news.
    And Oh!–If we’re on the news,
    There’s no way we can lose

    So if you say “tortilla”, and I say “Jesus”
    I promise I’ll see a real face in the cheeses
    How lucky would we be, to be on the TV
    Let’s call the guys at Fox–
    Let’s call the guys at Fox!

    More at: http://digitalcuttlefish.blogspot.com/2008/01/pareidolia.html

  6. #6 toddahhhh
    January 27, 2008

    You’re feel to believe whatever crazy crap you want to, just as we are free to mock, ridicule and scorn you for those insipid beliefs you hold, that’s what freedom means folks.

  7. #7 rmp
    January 27, 2008

    I’m in Isaac’s court with this one. This website was very useful as I went through my deconversion. For ‘some people’, blunt honesty is helpful. Your mileage may vary.

  8. #8 Pierce R. Butler
    January 27, 2008

    But which (Republican, of course) candidate does Potato Jesus endorse in the Florida primary?

  9. #9 Zensunni
    January 27, 2008

    Assuming it’s an Idaho potato I’m guessing Ron Paul.

  10. #10 M. Randolph Kruger
    January 27, 2008

    And wouldnt the shit hit the fan Revere if someone ate said potato salad having cancer or what have you and suddenly they were cured? They dont call the South the Bible Belt for nothing and even the term atheist is frowned upon here.Let them know it and they’ll ram a Bible so far up your ass that you would pray for a waterboarding instead. But back to the salad… I would no more villify that than my own problem with gay Episcopal priests. But as I indicated, silly crap like this HAS resulted in absolutely amazing stuff happening before. In my opinion, too many things have happened that can be explained as natural phenoms that occurred just at the precise moment in time when it would appear as if God or a messenger of his needed too.

    Is it God or PZ? I havent a clue because folks like you are scientists and you are always looking for the smoke and mirrors. Me too. Fastest way to destroy a faith is to destroy what they consider to be the truth. Is God a smoke and miror act? Shit, scientifically speaking….yeah. But thats where faith comes in… Ever heard someone say that they know they are saved? Why? Because you have felt a rumbling deep in yourself for reason unknown and gone to be dipped in the river? Now there’s science for you. Did the potato salad have a little botulism in it? Its also presumptious of someone who says it to assume that God has put you on the college of the heavens acceptance list. If you want to do your baccalaureate degree work …. Liberty University and a few others have the right hand of our Lord on their shoulders…. Think not? Just ask them.

    I also make another couple of assertions here. Making a Mr. Potato head face doesnt flip my skirt at all. Now that Red Sea thing… Yup that would do it. It would also be scientifically explainable. Wind, quake, methane explosion, tornado could all be used and ensure a really good story 2500 years later…. Charlton Heston and Cecil B. DeMille all rights reserved. High tech for its time! But if that face had turned and said go ye out and collect the animals two by two……Even my own Bishop and priest say be skeptical when you see these things.

    No one has ever proven or disproven the existence of God. For scientists, its a -,0,+ equation. We start at zero, then because there is evidence that refutes the existence as all of the calculations, formulae, and scientific evidence make it provable in science it moves to the negative column. Without bumping into HIM and IT somewhere in there, we can scientifically prove so far that its a – and away from 0. Kind of like doing a paper on it. Yep, there aint no God scientifically speaking.

    On the other hand, you have all of this Bible/Koran/Talmud and others that based upon the writings passed down for as long as we have recorded things on clay tablets, papyrus, paper and now computers that indicates SOMETHING has been going on. Does it bring it back to zero or into the + column? No, even as a believer I cant say that it does. But that is where faith comes in. If we are a randomized existence in this Universe then it creates the higher likelyhood that we are not alone. It would also mean never have been. Why? There are so many places that life would surely simply by the numbers exist. They might be our fathers and mothers. But, take some of the teachings of the aforementioned and its mighty presumptious scientifically to assume we are the only ones.

    Thats where faith begins and science ends. Jesus said that he who believes in him shall not perish. Everything else that he did fell in behind that. Miracles or smoke and mirrors? Faith or science? Take your pick. I wont bash anyone up for not believing, advocating abortion or the right to it. Those are things that are both personal choices. It seems to be the mantra of those that would become the Simon the Zealot of our time. St. Simon was one of the first associated with proselytizing and apparently after the death of Jesus got himself killed for it.

    I often wonder what Jesus would do…..The answers are still very cloudy. I doubt that a potato in a very certainly fundamentalist church would be his re-appearance. But thats presumptious of me. Is this a -,0,+? Make the salad upon your faith and eat it even with the rotten potato. Feed it to a person who has cancer….If they get better its God, if not its the state prosecutor. -,0,+……..

  11. #11 Armchair Dissident
    January 27, 2008

    I think hardindr is also under the mistaken impression that it takes outspoken rhetoric to “offend” the deeply religious. As recent news articles have shown, the religious – as a group – are happy to take offense at the slightest perceived indiscretion.

    I still find it incredible that the religious are allowed to call everyone and anyone that isn’t of the same religious persuasion evil, immoral, hell-bound and even a “one of the greatest threats to humanity” (thank you Mr Archbishiop of Wales) with impunity, but call people with those beliefs ignorant or an idiot, and it’s you who’s upsetting the apple cart. I’ll never understand that.

  12. #12 Willem van Oranje
    January 27, 2008

    I’ve split millions of potatoes in my life and each and every time it reinvigorated my atheism: none of them showed any resemblance to any deity.

  13. #13 Matt Penfold
    January 27, 2008

    I note the article Revere cites from actually say “site” rather than “sight”. Fox’s fault, not Revere’s of course, he is just quoting verbatim.

    Am I alone in thinking a lack of a rudimentary grasp of English indicates a slight lack of intelligence. In native English speakers of course. Non native speakers would not make such an idiotic mistake.

  14. #14 Fernando Magyar
    January 27, 2008

    It would be a lot better if atheists who know enough of science and have an idea of what is going on (i.e. pareidolia), would try and explain what is happening.

    Trust me, no one with more than two functioning neurons, who encounters a moron who believes he or she has found Jesus in a half rotten potato is going to waste his or her breath convincing such an idiot of anything. The only thing to do is mock, mock and mock some more. I mean really!

  15. #15 Ed Darrell
    January 27, 2008

    They cut Jesus in half! Those satanic potato peelers cut Jesus in half!

    /feigned blasphemy mode off

  16. #16 Jit
    January 27, 2008

    Someone needs to do an experiment here. Just how easy is it to make a potato have a cross in it? Say make a couple of holes intersecting at right angles. Remove offending implement. Grow on potato. Harvest. Split. Instant celebrity?

  17. #17 garth
    January 27, 2008

    was it hilarious that these alleged adults were told, by a child, that there was a jeebus in their tater? and they just went right along with it?

    “ignorant, deluded, wicked, foolish, or oppressed victims of obsolete mythologies” is dead on.

  18. #18 JohnnieCanuck, FCD
    January 27, 2008

    No need to go to all that trouble, Jit.

    Even with zero artistic skills, you should still be able to paint something the pre-deluded will accept. Water colours or maybe acrylics should do it. No need to wait for months this way.

    It’s not like you have to get it past a scientific or even ecclesiastic investigator. If it is good enough for a faux tv reporter, you’re in. Otherwise submit a photograph.

    Hopefully no eagerly offended potatoes are reading this.

  19. #19 Atheist Since Birth
    January 27, 2008

    No comment, except to note this site:
    http://getbehindjesus.net/

  20. #20 Jeanette Garcia
    January 27, 2008

    Oh my sweet jesus! A potato? I think I saw an image of Allah seared into my pork chop. What does that mean?

  21. #21 C Decoy
    January 27, 2008

    You have to admit, though, it does look a lot like Jesus. Not that I think it’s anything more than a coincidence. I’m just sayin.

  22. #22 Matthew Skinta
    January 27, 2008

    unfortunately, the only resemblance I see between the pics and a millennia-past deceased rabbi is that both exhibit significant signs of decay (just a hunch on the christ corpse). I think it’s wonderful to not be alone on seeing such stories and wondering how the hell even a Fox editor thought it was newsworthy. Who cares about the views of folk that take such spuds seriously? Not I.

  23. #23 Caledonian
    January 27, 2008

    What is the point to eliminating the obsolete mythologies only to substitute new ones in their place? Mythologies are by their nature not tools for dealing with reality, they’re for denying and hiding from it.

  24. #24 neil
    January 27, 2008

    But they cut the potato in half. Wouldn’t one side be Jesus, and the other side be anti-Jesus, therefore annihilating the miracle?

    I’m waiting for the paint in my kitchen to weep and form a picture of the Virgin too..,

  25. #25 Ambitwistor
    January 27, 2008

    Jesus on a potato reminds me of this comic.

  26. #26 tacitus
    January 27, 2008

    What an odd coincidence. I was just watching an episode of the BBC comedy drama “Jam and Jerusalem” which covered this very topic! Dawn French (of Vicar of Dibley fame) plays a “nutter” who finds a potato that looks like the face of Jesus.

    Fortunately it’s on YouTube. The set up, which is a beautifully written scene between Rosie (Dawn French) and the local vicar where they discuss the hearing voices and getting signs from God (i.e. why is being hearing from God not a sign of madness?)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fI9kAZ5PTm4 starting at 1:40

    Later Rosie is digging in her allotment (a small vegetable garden), find the potato and brings it to the church:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZUS8cAaDr-8 starting at 8:50 and continuing into part 3.

  27. #27 Dillo
    January 27, 2008

    I gotta say, that as “$DEITY in a $FOODSTUFF” imagery goes, that’s actually a lot more detailed than you usually get in these sorts of stories. While it may take a lot of faith and imagination to believe how it got there, it takes practically none to see what everybody is making such a big deal out of.

  28. #28 craig
    January 27, 2008

    Its possible that it may be unproductive to openly label idiotic beliefs idiotic… I don’t really care, it’s not really my job to educate the willfully ignorant.

    But it’s certainly not offensive. It’s offensive to openly state the facts – that believing in crazy mythology is nuts? No. What’s offensive is to suggest that it’s improper to point out the obvious. It’s offensive to say that delusion should be treated with respect and deference and rational thought should be hidden.

  29. #29 Josh in California
    January 27, 2008

    Damn your lengthy post, Kruger. Oh well.

    But as I indicated, silly crap like this HAS resulted in absolutely amazing stuff happening before.

    Really? Like what? And how do you prove causation?

    In my opinion, too many things have happened that can be explained as natural phenoms that occurred just at the precise moment in time when it would appear as if God or a messenger of his needed too.

    I would say too many things have not happened. Every time I read about an innocent child dying, I think of god. For every “miracle”, there are a thousand non-miracles. Or more.

    You also have to be aware of sharpening and leveling. When someone prays, if what they want to happen happens, they chalk it up as prayer working and remember it. (That’s sharpening.) If what they want to happen doesn’t happen, they say that god’s answer to their prayer was “no” and forget about it. (That’d be leveling.)

    You won’t hear any of these loons talking about the hundreds or thousands of times they prayed for a miracle and got nothing, because they need to keep believing that someone is looking out for them.

    But thats where faith comes in… Ever heard someone say that they know they are saved? Why? Because you have felt a rumbling deep in yourself for reason unknown and gone to be dipped in the river?

    Reason unknown until someone cares enough to study the mental effects of participating in religious ritual… (Anyone wanna chime in with some refs? All I’ve got is stuff about drug-induced “religious experiences.”)

    I also make another couple of assertions here. Making a Mr. Potato head face doesnt flip my skirt at all. Now that Red Sea thing… Yup that would do it. It would also be scientifically explainable. Wind, quake, methane explosion, tornado could all be used and ensure a really good story 2500 years later….

    But why believe that story in the first place? If your culture wasn’t biased towards judeo-christian mythology, you would probably discount it completely. Just because something was written down a long time ago doesn’t make it true. What about Greek mythology? Or Chinese? Or Native American? (Not written down, but still passed down.)

    No one has ever proven or disproven the existence of God. For scientists, its a -,0,+ equation. We start at zero, then because there is evidence that refutes the existence as all of the calculations, formulae, and scientific evidence make it provable in science it moves to the negative column. Without bumping into HIM and IT somewhere in there, we can scientifically prove so far that its a – and away from 0. Kind of like doing a paper on it. Yep, there aint no God scientifically speaking.

    I fear that you’re about to suggest that there is a way of “knowing” about the universe other than rational inquiry.

    On the other hand, you have all of this Bible/Koran/Talmud and others that based upon the writings passed down for as long as we have recorded things on clay tablets, papyrus, paper and now computers that indicates SOMETHING has been going on.

    Yes, something has been going on. People who lack the tools to come up with natural explanations for phenomena have been making up supernatural explanations. And then given the belief that there was a big beard in the sky watching out for them, they proceeded to make up all kinds of stories that served purely social purposes. There’s really nothing more to it. I mean, we are talking about texts that say that the sun was made to “stand still” or that, after you die, a guy with a dog’s head will weigh your heart on a big set of scales.

    Does it bring it back to zero or into the + column? No, even as a believer I cant say that it does. But that is where faith comes in.

    Faith comes in and does what, exactly? Makes you feel all warm and fuzzy on the inside? (I’m not meaning to mock you–I know that warm, fuzzy feeling very well.)

    But, take some of the teachings of the aforementioned and its mighty presumptious scientifically to assume we are the only ones.

    No, science only rejects the existence of supernatural beings and phenomena. Nobody’s saying that our planet is the only one with sentient life. I certainly hope it’s not, provided the other guys are willing to play nice.

    Thats where faith begins and science ends. Jesus said that he who believes in him shall not perish.

    Let us know how that’s worked out for you in 50 or 100 years. ;-)

    Everything else that he did fell in behind that. Miracles or smoke and mirrors? Faith or science? Take your pick.

    It’s a good thing for people like the Reverend Huckabeee who reject science that we secularists are willing to share our technology and medicine with them.

    I often wonder what Jesus would do…..The answers are still very cloudy. I doubt that a potato in a very certainly fundamentalist church would be his re-appearance. But thats presumptious of me.

    Is it? Don’t be afraid to reject stupid ideas. Is god’s special effects budget running low? Has he really been reduced from things like parting the red sea (supposedly) to making some funny squiggles on the inside of a potato?

    Is this a -,0,+?

    It’s a negative indicator for the intelligence of the potato-worshippers.

    Make the salad upon your faith and eat it even with the rotten potato. Feed it to a person who has cancer….If they get better its God, if not its the state prosecutor. -,0,+……..

    That’s exactly how it works. If something good happens, it’s god. If not, blame it on something else. I know you’re trying to be intellectually “fair” and give all ideas equal consideration, but not all ideas are equally worth consideration. Still, I wish you the best on your intellectual journey.

    PS: You owe me a side of holy french fries for reading your whole post!

  30. #30 pauls lane
    January 27, 2008

    I realize this is entitled “Freethinker Sunday” and being new to this forum I am assuming that there just isn’t any new exciting public health issues on the nearby horizon to get all worked up or paranoid over or perhaps the public health issue here is eating rotten potatoes may be hazardous to one’s health? I also agree that the Republican candidates leave a lot to be desired, although not quite sure how that is a public health issue. For that matter I think the Democratic candidates are simply atrocious and if it wasn’t for the hilarious comedy being played out by the “progressives” of now suddenly hating Senator Clinton, where just a few short months ago, they loved Senator Clinton, I can see where they could cause severe mental damage simply by listening to them, say, well they hardly say anything meaningful do they? I do believe, and I have the utmost sympathy for them, that certain “progressives” just might have breakdowns because if they don’t vote for Obama they might be labeled racist or if they don’t vote for Clinton they might be tagged as sexist. What is a card carrying “progressive” to do? They could vote for Edwards I guess. Oh well, you public health professionals probably have answers to all these dilemnas so perhaps I shouldn’t worry so.

  31. #31 craig
    January 27, 2008

    It looks a lot like jesus? Are you kidding me? If that looks a lot like jesus, then the letter t looks a lot like jesus.

  32. #32 Joshua
    January 27, 2008

    Honestly, how many millions of times do we have to explain pareidolia before we’re allowed to just say, “You know what, people? I give up. You’re all goddamned retarded.”?

  33. #33 Tom Renbarger
    January 27, 2008

    “I know I shouldn’t eat thee, but,”

    *chomp*

    “Mmmm, sacrilicious…”

  34. #34 J. J. Ramsey
    January 27, 2008

    Armchair Dissident:

    I still find it incredible that the religious are allowed to call everyone and anyone that isn’t of the same religious persuasion evil, immoral, hell-bound and even a “one of the greatest threats to humanity” (thank you Mr Archbishiop of Wales) with impunity, but call people with those beliefs ignorant or an idiot, and it’s you who’s upsetting the apple cart. I’ll never understand that.

    To put it bluntly, you are complaining at how the religious can supposedly get away with unfairly characterizing their opposition while you are not allowed to get away with the same intellectual dishonesty. Furthermore, you further show muddy thinking by talking about the religious as if they were a monolith.

    While I’m not trying to persuade anyone, by saying out loud what many people would really think about this Jesus in the Potato crap if they were really thinking about it, I am legitimating the appropriate ridicule of mindless (or worse) nonsense on TV. Instead most people don’t think about it because it is just more noise in the background. So I’m calling attention to it and calling it what it is. I make no apologies

    No one here so far is knocking you for calling the Jesus in the Potato crap, but rather knocking you for following it up with another round of playing the game where you insinuate that theists are generally lunatics without outright saying it.

  35. #35 revere
    January 27, 2008

    pauls: we do it every Sunday. Don’t read it if you don’t like it. Our blog, after all.

    JJR: Fair enough.

  36. #36 Mike Haubrich, FCD
    January 27, 2008

    Here, JJR, I won’t insinuate. I’ll say right out that theists believe in something that by rights only someone who is generally a lunatic would believe if they weren’t brought up to believe it.

    Theists – they get ‘em while they’re young, you know. It all makes sense if that’s what the grownups tell you.

  37. #37 pauls lane
    January 27, 2008

    Revere, and I can’t mock you?

  38. #38 revere
    January 27, 2008

    pauls: LOL. You were mocking me? I thought you were just griping it wasn’t science. I didn’t bother with the rest of what you said because your knock on progressives was so uninformed and frankly preposterous. If you knew anything about progressive politics you’d know that Hilary Clinton is anathema to us. I don’t trust her and neither do most other progressives. She has always been right of center and her vote for the war before and the Iran atrocity recently were the real Hilary. On health care she’s in bed with the health insurance industry and was in 1993. As for Obama, the change of rhetoric will be nice. Of course I’d vote for either rather than any of the Repugnantcans, but that isn’t saying much. Seriously, though, if you want to mock me, it’s incredibly easy to start a blog. I would recommend Blogger. It’ll take you about 30 seconds to set one up and then you can mock away. I don’t run a very tight ship here. Lots of people criticize me, but if you just drop around to complain don’t come here. There are people of all political stripes here and free discussion is encouraged but there is mostly a lot of serious business to consider regarding pandemic influenza and other public health matters that don’t care what your politics are. They’ll kill you without asking. We do a Sermonette every Sunday and occasionally I rant about the war and the Bushies but mostly it’s about public health. You’re welcome here if you keep it within reasonable bounds. But it’s not a democracy. It’s our place and we run it the way we want to.

  39. #39 M. Randolph Kruger
    January 27, 2008

    Hey Josh! You want ketchup with those fries? You reaallllly need to see what I found in my damned tomato this morning….I got that cross and can someone please tell me what Jesus looked like? I dont want any impostors in my BLT sandwich. This guy sure looked like….shit… no….Oh crap….Its Mike Huckabee…..

    BTW-Mike is a good guy. I would vote for him if all he would do is close the bleedin’ border. I want a real sunovabitch as President rather than a wussy who lies and says we are strafing women and children, or one that says we need to repair our image. What image? Everyone I have spoke to for the last 25 years said they hated us. That includes the Swiss.

    As for that tomato…Film at 11. Please, leave the donations by the doorway. Tax deductible of course.

  40. #40 craig
    January 27, 2008

    To put it bluntly, you are complaining at how the religious can supposedly get away with unfairly characterizing their opposition while you are not allowed to get away with the same intellectual dishonesty.

    Wrong, wrong wrong.
    We are complaining that the religious get away with unfairly characterizing the non-religious, while we’re not allowed to FAIRLY characterize religion.

    To NOT characterize religious belief as totally batshit insane would be intellectual dishonesty.

    The belief that contrary to every bit of evidence, the universe was created by some magical being solely for the benefit of some creatures inhabiting a remote tiny dust speck, and that magic being cares so much about the little animated collections of molecules on that infinitesimally insignificant, remote dust speck that it listens to the thoughts in their heads… and will torture for eternity those little clumps of matter if they put their parts in the wrong places? And amazingly enough, these little clumps of matter are so special, that they LOOK like this all powerful mystic space wizard?
    Besides being narcissism taken to the ultimate degree, these beliefs are simply insane. Delusional. Wacky. Ridiculous.

    That is fact. Theists are by definition delusional. Now, everyone is delusional to some degree about some things (“he’ll stop beating me…” “I have a chance of winning this lottery…”) but pretending that religious belief is anything but flat out crazy is what is intellectual dishonesty. Unless you share that same delusion.

  41. #41 stig
    January 27, 2008

    What I want to know is how these people know what Jesus looked like. As far as I know he was never described in the Bible, or had his portrait painted or a bust made or anything while he was alledgedly walking the earth. The same goes for ‘tards who get all googly-eyed over the scorch marks on a burned taco “the Virgin Mary”, etc., etc. It’s nothing but the same kind of pattern-recognition that everyone experiences when cloud-watching or stargazing. Only these freaks think that a face on a taco or potato or the dimples on their asses mean anything.

    And they wonder why atheists laugh at them. I guess it’s true – you can’t fix stupid.

  42. #42 M. Randolph Kruger
    January 27, 2008

    One other thing… Revere is right about the health insurance thing. The Clintons were at their old game, first create a crisis, appear to solve it and then when it blows up you blame the Republicans. The were in the insurance gig up to their necks. Why do you think Hillary failed in her attempt at UHC? Because she stabbed them in the back and they turned on her when they found out what her game really was. Billy’s problems escalated rapidly after that too.

    No, if it got down to Obombme and Hillary it would be Obombme as far as I am concerned. But that is if I would vote for Demosocialists. Worst thing in my eyes is for Hillary to be the Vice President, Obombme would be dead within months but even he couldnt be that stupid.

  43. #43 thepoliticalcat
    January 27, 2008

    But where’s the potato with the guts to stand up and say Idaho? Sorry, that was unforgiveable. I’m just having a “Religion: It Makes You Insane” kinda day.

  44. #44 70
    January 27, 2008

    I’m surprised Revere…at the viscousness of the original post. A disappointment after reading your blog for over two years now. I guess I have a choice, that’s a democracy, unlike the liberal or progressive view…that there is no choice, to agree or leave.

    You do own the blog…but in being good at it, you assume a certain responsibility. When you are granted stewardship…use it wisely Revere, and pick your fights carefully

  45. #45 garth
    January 28, 2008

    70: Viciousness? Calling people who have patently foolish beliefs and see things in potatoes idiots is vicious? I call it tellin’ it like it is. As far as I’m concerned revere was too nice. You’re all allowed to have your stupid beliefs, but don’t expect to not be called names.

  46. #46 70
    January 28, 2008

    I’m sorry Garth…that you missed the point. My beliefs haven’t entered in to this discussion, so it’s irrelevant to call them stupid.

    Garth…these types of rants seem to be rife with blatant discriminatory remarks, to hear them coming from one such as Revere is disturbing, just as it is from the other side of the aisle.

    Have a good day.

  47. #47 Armchair Dissident
    January 28, 2008

    JJR:

    To put it bluntly, you are complaining at how the religious can supposedly get away with unfairly characterizing their opposition while you are not allowed to get away with the same intellectual dishonesty.

    To put it bluntly, I didn’t complain about anything. I merely pointed out the rhetoric of people we’re supposed to be nice about. The Archibishop of Wales can call my philosophy the greatest threat to mankind, and I can call him a demented idiot. It’s fair game. He’s not trying to convince me of anything, I’m not trying to convince him. He’s going to find as much offence in my calling him demented as he will in my calling his religion superstitious nonsense.

    Furthermore, you further show muddy thinking by talking about the religious as if they were a monolith.

    But to the extent that they are religious, they are a monolith. If you start talking about specific parts of a religion, then they cease to be monolithic; but to the extent that they hold a superstitious religious belief, they are monolithic.

  48. #48 pauls lane
    January 28, 2008

    revere – I was mocking your dishonesty. When I first came upon your site I thought it really was about health issues. My mistake.

  49. #49 Ian
    January 28, 2008

    Their religion seems a little starchy, but as long as they’re not completely fried, I think we should all chip in….

  50. #50 70
    January 28, 2008

    “Their religion seems a little starchy, but as long as they’re not completely fried, I think we should all chip in….”

    Now I have to clean the spit off my monitor…that was genuinely hilarious.

  51. I wonder if anyone got sick eating that potato fungus?

    In the frozen potato, the piece on the right looks like an anchor and the piece on the left looks like the mild face of a cow. Who’s that goddess who’s portrayed as a cow with milk squirting from her teats? That’s the one who sent the sign. The anchor commands her to take a long sea voyage…..

  52. #52 revere
    January 28, 2008

    pauls: It is about health issues. Why mock me for your mistake?

  53. #53 paiwan
    January 28, 2008

    Pauls lane

    Are you sure that religion and spiritual matters are not in public health area?

    So your definition of health is only physical, is it?

  54. #54 J. J. Ramsey
    January 28, 2008

    Mike Haubrich, FCD: “Here, JJR, I won’t insinuate. I’ll say right out that theists believe in something that by rights only someone who is generally a lunatic would believe if they weren’t brought up to believe it. [emphasis added]”

    Notice that you had to add the disclaimer “if they weren’t brought up to believe it,” otherwise your statement would be obvious balderdash Even then, you haven’t justified why mental illness is required for an adult to believe the sorts of things that theists believe rather than lack of education, lack of training in critical thought, the normal human glitches that lead to pareidolia, etc.

    Armchair Dissident: “But to the extent that they are religious, they are a monolith.”

    Not true. Not all the religious have even remotely similar agendas. You wrote, “the religious are allowed to call everyone and anyone that isn’t of the same religious persuasion evil, immoral, hell-bound,” as if, for example, modern-day Methodists were inclined to see the Presbyterians as “evil, immoral, hell-bound,” or that Buddhists thought the same of Christians, or that Reform Jews thought the same of Orthodox Jews. Obviously, there are plenty of religious people who do see those who are not of their faith as “evil, immoral, hell-bound,” but the religious are not monolithic in that respect.

  55. #55 Matt Penfold
    January 28, 2008

    J.J Ramsey,

    If someone was to claim they had be visited by aliens from another planet most people would consider it likely that the person was not functioning correctly from a psychological view point. Whilst the precise diagnosis maybe hard to make it is reasonable to conclude that such a person has aberrant mental processes going on.

    If the same person had said they had been visited by god there would be some who say that was a wonderful thing and be envious of that person.

    Quite why some people should think there is a difference in two escapes me.

  56. #56 J. J. Ramsey
    January 28, 2008

    Matt Penfold: “If someone was to claim they had be visited by aliens from another planet most people would consider it likely that the person was not functioning correctly from a psychological view point.”

    “Most people,” yes. Whether a psychologist or a seasoned UFO skeptic would is another story. Such a person would more likely than not be wrong, but that wrongness could be explained by more mundane factors, as the Skeptic’s Dictionary noted:

    Some of those who claim to have been abducted by aliens are probably frauds, some are very stressed, and some are probably suffering from a severe psychiatric disorder, but most seem to be fairly normal people who are especially fantasy prone.

  57. #57 pauls lane
    January 28, 2008

    I believe that there are more pressing public health issues for “senior public health scientists” to discuss than to somehow make the connection between a candidate for president, the percieved lack of intelligence of the people who live in a certain state, a television network, and people, perhaps good people, although certainly misguided people I grant you, who see the face of the Lord in a potato. This blog of “senior public health scientists” is no better than Kos or the Huffington Post. I guess I just expected more from “senior public health scientists” on a blog advertised as a “forum for progressive public health discussion” when in reality it is nothing more than the usual crap found around the Internet.

  58. #58 paiwan
    January 28, 2008

    pauls

    Pressing and importance are two criteria; at least you have recognized this is included in health category.

    Now you criticize that we are drinking root bear or our drinks are not good enough in this party; then bring your XO to share. But I bet that not everyone is fond of XO.

    Taste and style belong to art; senior public health scientists indeed need this part.

    Bring your XO, and then I will instruct you!

  59. #59 pauls lane
    January 28, 2008

    Paiwan
    You can mold it anyway you like but crap is crap.

  60. #60 paiwan
    January 28, 2008

    pauls

    You make me laugh, but not yet fall down from my chair.

    Let me ask you two questions, sincere:

    1. If you detect that people around you, either family member or colleagues close enough; and you have found that they have some mental disturbances; transference, depression, or slight schizophrenia, what will you do?

    2. If you feel that our society has the tendency of collective insanity, what will you do?

    By the way, your XO not bad. I am not the host, but I can whisper..

  61. #61 FRANKIEMOUSE
    January 28, 2008

    looks like a cylon to me.

  62. #62 highflyer
    January 28, 2008

    LOL.
    Finally. The potato-jesus-christians and the Flying-Spaghetti-Monster-worshippers find common ground.
    Its all about food.
    LOL

  63. #63 Armchair Dissident
    January 28, 2008

    JJR:

    Armchair Dissident: “But to the extent that they are religious, they are a monolith.”

    Not true.

    Quoi? To the extent that they are religious, they are not all religious? By definition a religious person is religious!

    Obviously, there are plenty of religious people who do see those who are not of their faith as “evil, immoral, hell-bound,” but the religious are not monolithic in that respect.

    Ah, I see you didn’t read the second part, “If you start talking about specific parts of a religion, then they cease to be monolithic;” So, we agree that not all religious people think and act the same way, but they are all religious, and – frankly – the religious notion in and of itself is reasonable justification for ridicule.

    Outside of that religious sentiment, religious people can be just as kind, gentle, heartless, or evil as the people with religious sentiment. Outside of religion, they can be deluded or rational. But nevertheless, irrespective as to how rational or reasonable they are outside of religion, they are still religious; there is still this one single aspect of their lives that makes them believe silly things, and to me as an outside observer those ideas are very silly indeed.

    But sticking with the subject of religiousity and reasonableness, I’d like to make a point: not all catholics (just to pick one denomination) agree that the pope is a terribly nice person, or agree with much of what he says. But – and it’s a big “but” as far as I’m concerned – every single catholic is counted as a person whose views are represented by the pope. Every single catholic who pays money to their local church is supporting a fundamentally bigoted and dangerous organisation irrespective as to whether they support its ideology. The entire political and financial power of that religious institutions could be supported by a majority of people who fundamentally disagree with that organisations principles but they pay for it anyway. And that’ not just true of the catholic church.

    So no, all religions are not equally laughable. Not all religious people govern their entire lives by ridiculous beliefs. But even those that are more moderate, and more sensible fund organizations that aren’t.

  64. #64 xiangtao
    January 28, 2008

    “Assuming it’s an Idaho potato I’m guessing Ron Paul.”

    Clearly you don’t know much about Idaho. That’s pure Mitt Romney country.

  65. #65 Dylan
    January 28, 2008

    “…too many things have happened that can(‘t) be explained as natural phenoms that occurred just at the precise moment in time when it would appear as if God or a messenger of his needed too.” – Kruger

    I’m that messenger from God, Kruger.

    And you know what his message is? I’ll tell you. Straight from the Throne. He’s giving it all up…packing it all in. That’s right. Everything. Know why? Because he just can’t stand it anymore. He has become a celestial laughingstock. A doofus. The saints all laugh about him, behind his back. He just can’t understand why Buddha gets all the smart people, while all he seems to be able to attract are the Billy-Bob, shit-kicking, inbred fucking hillbillies (his words, not mine). Or those people who watch Fox News. How can anybody — with half a fucking brain — believe that shit?

    He said that he never understood before why Buddha goes around smiling all the time. He said that it’s driving him crazy. And when the shit-kicking hillbillies aren’t following him around — begging for forgiveness for screwing their sister or their brother — he’s got dickwad fucking lunatic whackjobs like Fred Phelps explaining his policies to everybody (his words, not mine). Or that fucking nazi in the Vatican. Jesus Christ, how can anybody even get near that clueless fuck-tard without puking all over his shoes (his words, not mine). A guy who wears a dress, that the dumbest bimbo at the Academy Awards wouldn’t be caught dead in, is in charge of everything down there? How the fuck did that happen? It just makes him want to scream, and rip his beard out. He swears that he’s going to shove Satan right up that guy’s ass.

    And that smug fucking Allah — constantly reminding him about George W. Bush. He’s never going to live down the fact that Bush prones himself out, over the Presidential Seal on the rug in front of his desk, when he prays. Just like some dumb fucking, gibberish-spouting, camel-screwing Moslem. That drives him right straight over the fucking edge (his words, not mine)! He thought that Bush would get the message, after he had him pass out on that pretzel, and then had the dogs pull his pants down around his ankles and b-f him (his words, not mine). He always laughs, when he talks about that one. But did he get the message? Of course not! That Bush is truly one dumb motherfucker (his words, not mine).

    And then there’s the goddamned atheists! What the fuck is the matter with those people, anyhow (his words, not mine)? What do those assholes want from him, anyway? Didn’t he send his own son down there, to be scourged and crucified…just for them? Of course he did. What’s a father supposed to do, to get a little respect? He can’t even get the kid to leave the house anymore. He hasn’t kept an appointment for nearly two-thousand years. Krishna keeps telling him he should have had a daughter.

    So that’s it, Kruger. He’s leaving. He just doesn’t need it anymore. He says the whole gig is just one perpetual, cosmic fucking headache. And what for? It’s not like he doesn’t have a good retirement plan. He’s going to hookup with some babe — maybe that Theresa chick — and truck on down the line. He’s says if he never sees another Billy-Bob, shit-kicking, inbred fucking hillbilly again, for the rest of his life…it’ll be too soon.

    So, don’t blame me. I’m just the messenger.

  66. #66 pauls lane
    January 28, 2008

    Paiwan –

    1 – talk to them, try to make them see they have a problem. all the preaching in the world isn’t going to cure them, they have to know their sick, and get the help they need

    2 – same as 1 BUT not sure if going about it the way this particular post is going about is the proper method IF you are trying to convince me that our collective society is sick because politics differ. In fact that is an extremely arrogant view but I can see where it makes it easy to swallow when society doesn’t agree with your particular position. “Well, gee, this society is just sick, their idiots, their just plain stupid”. This is the position that ‘progressives’ take, not that they FAILED to convince but that others are stupid (or insane).

  67. #67 J. J. Ramsey
    January 28, 2008

    Armchair Dissident: “Ah, I see you didn’t read the second part, ‘If you start talking about specific parts of a religion, then they cease to be monolithic;'”

    No, I just used “monolith” to mean something along the lines of “being similar in mindset, having similar agendas.” To be fair, that isn’t quite correct on my part, since a more common definition is “an organized whole that acts as a single unified powerful or influential force.” Somehow this XKCD comic comes to mind: http://xkcd.com/169/

    You made an overgeneralization about religious people, period.

  68. #68 Armchair Dissident
    January 28, 2008

    JJR:

    Somehow this XKCD comic comes to mind: http://xkcd.com/169/

    Funnily enough, I had similar thoughts.

    You made an overgeneralization about religious people, period.

    No, I really don’t think I did.

  69. #69 Lewis
    January 28, 2008

    Being an atheist myself, I do not care at all whether theistic logic is ridiculed. It is irrational and deserves all the ridicule that we can heap upon it.

    However, I am somewhat concerned that self-professed scientists imply, by their behavior (e.g., “morons”, “idiots”, etc.), that ridicule of a person is an effective change agent for human behavior. There is a distinct difference between ridicule of an idea and ridicule of a person. Notwithstanding the personal anecdotes included in this thread, almost all of the psychological literature for the past 50 years refutes the argument that ridicule of the person is an effective change agent.

    Please, feel free to ridicule the irrational arguments of the religious all you want. I will join you, with pleasure. But, attempt to restrain you rational exuberance from moving into areas which relect a less flattering light upon your intentions.

  70. #70 M. Randolph Kruger
    January 28, 2008

    Dylan-and for every fucking dumb shit hillbilly fundamentalist that tries to ram religion up someones ass, there is an atheist who is trying to constantly prove that God doesnt exist by whatever science is out there. Still waiting for that proof. But I’ll give it to you for the time being that we havent bumped directly into Him yet.

    Its all about how you play the music Dylan, not necessarily about how its arranged. I just dont ascribe to the atheism sonata because its well balanced by those who are the Falwells of the world playing their hymn. I am in the middle seeking answers. They dont always come. They dont in science either.

    Am I saved as some of my Baptist brethren say? Not my decision. I try to be as good a person as possible and the fact is that it comes down to a draw each time it comes up. Whether its Allah, Buddha, or Christianity its always the same. It is their faith that keeps those groups and mine strong. Stronger in fact than atheists because they do vote as a group, they vote their conscience. They do make mistakes, but so do scientists who say that God doesnt exist. So who is right?

    I am a little surprised by your less than gracious approach to expressing yourself about God. Be it Buddha, Allah, or Jesus it is what I have come to expect every time this issue comes up and that is a lack of respect and attack from those who seem to think that their hand is stronger in this game. Believe what you want Dylan, but do try to do it respectfully. It is the same courtesy that those hillbilly fuckwads would afford you automatically.

  71. #71 J. J. Ramsey
    January 28, 2008

    Armchair Dissident: “No, I really don’t think I did.”

    Looking back you do have a point. You were only talking about what the religious were supposedly allowed to do, not whether they necessarily did it. My turn for the muddy thinking. :(

    Lewis: “However, I am somewhat concerned that self-professed scientists imply, by their behavior (e.g., ‘morons’, ‘idiots’, etc.), that ridicule of a person is an effective change agent for human behavior.”

    It can be effective, depending on the circumstances. The best ridicule simply calls attention to previously existing absurdity. The catch is that it is very tempting to ridicule by intellectually dishonest means, to exaggerate and oversimplify the absurdity rather than dealing with the real messiness of it.

  72. #72 Armchair Dissident
    January 28, 2008

    JJR:No worries. It was interesting, and gave me inspiration for a new post on my blog, which you may or may not agree with :)

  73. #73 pauls lane
    January 28, 2008

    Lewis
    My point exactly but you expressed it far better than I. Thank you.

  74. #74 Heather
    January 28, 2008

    Seriously? I thought Jesus didn’t appear in potatoes until AFTER they were turned into chips…or was that Mary?

  75. #75 J. J. Ramsey
    January 28, 2008

    Armchair Dissident: “It was interesting, and gave me inspiration for a new post on my blog, which you may or may not agree with :)”

    Which new post is it?

  76. #76 Lewis
    January 28, 2008

    J.J. Ramsey:

    “It can be effective, depending on the circumstances. The best ridicule simply calls attention to previously existing absurdity.”

    I agree with your statement. Moreover, I appreciate your civility. Although not recommended within formal settings, moderate scorn of logical absurdity has been frequently utilized within the framework of intellectual debate for… well, as long as we have written records. Further, attaching an emotional valiance to such scorn has proven to be even more effective.

    However, the issue to which I expressed my primarily concern was not that ridicule could be effective (it can: your point, and mine), or even that ridicule tied with emotion could be more effective (it can: added by me). The distinction of concern to me, and to decades of psychological research, is the object to which that scorn or ridicule is directed. People of all classes, levels of education, and most levels of intellectual functioning, are simply turned off and tuned out when they view their ‘self’ to be directly insulted. They respond viscerally, using the emotional, not logical parts of the brain. The generalized view for the person being ridiculed is: ‘I am being attacked for being myself!’

    If the point of the ridicule is to demean the person, to ensure that they hold the scorned behavior (thinking, logic, belief) even closer to their perceived self, then, by all means directly ridicule the person. But beware, hate of a very high intensity is engendered by such means.

    But, if one’s intention is to change their thinking, change their belief, change their behavior, then ridicule only the belief. Let them know, or at least leave unstated, your respect for them as a person. Allow them to ‘feel’ comfortable enough for the needed change to be perceived as possible within them.

    I continue to be saddened that, even within the ‘science’ community, rational exuberance for a logical and just cause moves all too quickly into irrational personal bias.

  77. #77 Wyatt
    January 28, 2008

    Dude, they spelled it “site!” The act of perception by vision is “sight” I believe. Fox News is an oxy-moron. You don’t learn anything useful.

  78. #78 Lea
    January 28, 2008

    Didn’t look like Jesus to me. Besides it’s the “Christ” that was supposed to been adorned, not the man Jesus.

  79. #79 paiwan
    January 28, 2008

    70/ Lewis: I hope that 70 will agree and is glad that certain civility is maintained (or restored) here for dialogues.

    Irrational personal bias most likely is from a person’s transference-his/her past bad experiences that transfer to look at you without deliberate judgment. Or we do to others. So, we need to be sensitive to this formation.

    pauls: Thanks for your response to my two questions. I personally believe that mental health is much relating to spiritual growth. The first stage of self-development is very hard, when you feel something wrong with your beloved ones’ mental disturbances, usually we will ask is this his problem or I have problem? The energy that you have spent will be enormous- you expand yourself to help his spiritual growth. Scott Peck (author of The Road Less Traveled) even said you need to have risk of love for the sake of other’s growth. The second stage we will review our connections with the world (people, shared responsibilities, etc)

    I see the chance that this thread could fulfill the above two functions.

    And of course, every place has his style and taste, Revere has not relinquished the use of 7 words, and I see sometimes, people talk back and is fine with him, reasonable enough.

    I appreciate pauls and hardindr for bringing critical perspectives. I am not new only 3 months old. As my friend in Montana convinced me this is the best blog for public health ( hopefully includes mental part:). So pauls enjoy your active participation.

    I hope that I am not in monologues.

  80. #80 jen_m
    January 28, 2008

    We had problems with our home potato crop this summer that resulted in the occasional large ‘tater with a cross-shaped hollow in the middle. Googling reveals that this may be an issue of irregular watering, akin to blossom-end rot in tomatoes. I am an atheist, albeit a mostly silent one – unless Jesus is really trying to tell me something by starch alone, I think the Floridians may be overreading a tad.

    I must bow to Cuttlefish, Master of Doggerel.

  81. #81 Dylan
    January 28, 2008

    all humor has a grain of truth to it

    Randy: You have my unqualified, express permission to say whatever you wish about atheism, or atheists. You can be just as specific as you desire, or as general. You can even begin with me. Honest. Please do.

    You can condemn me for stating the obvious. I have no problem with that.

    I really mean you no harm; you do understand that, don’t you?

    Your friend, Dylan.

  82. #82 M. Randolph Kruger
    January 29, 2008

    Dylan-What you dont understand is that this is the very thing that gets the “believers” backs up. I am pretty thick skinned as everyone knows. It takes a full on direct attack to get me to respond personally here. I do wish everyone would refrain from that kind of stuff. It gets in the way of good clean mean around. I support Revere’s right to speak atheist and its far beyond the fact that its his blog to say it.

    Shit Dylan, prove that God DOESNT exist… urps… new shit storm.

    But as for the post. My priest now Bishop said it best a few weeks ago when Revere was professing his views on atheism. The ole godless buzzard really started drawing the ire of those who believe. Ugly in the name of God is what he called it. The Bishop was pretty upset about how they were using Christianity as a gun on him. The Bishop said that he should ensconce loudly what he believes in or not. Even when he is on one of his rants its not a vicious attack. It points out some obvious “things” about religion. But in the same breath, I am sure he has always been respectful of the clergy and religion and they of him… unless it was one of those dimwitted, dumb inbreds that even I have a problem with.

    As it was in the time of Micheale Servetus. A little history lesson on a guy who was a renowned physician who drew the attention of the Catholics for his posture on the Bible, human physics and what his writings said. Sevetus said that the soul is in the mind and not in the heart. The heart was an organ and so his writings affected the people. Revere is like him. A thinker and someone who doesnt just accept things. He is a prove it to me type… Typical scientist.

    Sevetus didnt go with the flow. That was all interpretations of the Bible were what the Catholics said, (he was Catholic and questioning). Instantly he was at odds with the Church. Anything he wrote or said was heresy according to the Church and anyone caught with his rewritten Bible with interpretations of it was a heretic too. The same for Jan Hus who was Czech. Both were tried and fried. For thinking.

    What is an atheist? Simply put by the Bishop it is a person who has by whatever means and elimination of certain tenets dating back several thousand years, decided that God didnt and doesnt exist. The Bishop said he could live with it as there are those that proselytize at every turn. Its hard to convert someone who is an atheist because as I said, they havent bumped into Him yet. He also said that he would probably like to meet Revere and go and have a beer with him. Two very educated people sitting back as friends discussing the existence or not…. Neither getting pissed off because they dont or do. Revere would have a run for his money… they would toss for the bar tab.

    Proof? Nothing concrete and we are a touchy-feelie world. Where in Hell did Judeo-Christian law come from? Some bozo went up the hill in Palestine and came back with a hair brained story about some burning bush. This was after 40 days and 40 nights of a mountain top kegger. Wild party….

    We can also bring into question the issue of Noah. But now Jack Ballard of Woods Hole has proven that the area in and around the Black Sea was hundreds of feet more shallow and there are villages that are pristine under that water. Proof? Not just yet. That bump could be abrupt.

    No Dylan i dont take swipes at people. It always ends up in conflict. Go ahead as many do and rant about the incongruities of the teachings, who said it, when and why and with the history of the Church as we know it it will be deserved. I for one rank the continuous attacks on the values of the church(es) by those who think that we are all a bunch of dumb shit Southern dimwits is out of line. I am not a fundamentalist type, but I hold two degrees and I choose to believe. So dumb I am not. I dont believe as an insurance policy but I do feel that rumbling of a presence and its not what I ate that last night. I have done horrendous things in the military. Even to this day if it came down to it I could and would punch a button to take out a country with B. Flu or something like it to save millions. Now whats Christian about that? Not a damned thing is what….

    We are past that now but if it had become necessary I could have done it. The first to pipe up about it and/or the suggestion? Not some religious types… the atheists and all to the negative side. Go figure. No, I have a lot of atheist friends and so does the Bishop. We agree to disagree. We state our positions and move on because its a continously futile discussion. What do you do in a card game with four aces on both sides?

  83. #83 Dylan
    January 29, 2008

    “Dylan-What you dont understand is that this is the very thing that gets the “believers” backs up.” – Randy

    I do not care. Rationality has no reason to debase itself, and flinch in the face of ignorance. Ever. Very simple.

  84. #84 Lewis
    January 29, 2008

    paiwan:

    You are not in monolog.

    I seem to remember that one of Watslavics (sp?) early rules of communication was something like: When in the company of others, one cannot not communicate. Yet, truth be told, in this blog, not communicating is surely the least of the metacommunication issues of primacy.

    Welcome to the company!

  85. #85 paiwan
    January 29, 2008

    Lewis
    Have been in the company for a while, thank you for your warm welcome anyway.
    I understand that Revere is a benevolent autocrat leading the ruling party of Atheism with majority parliament members also.
    I am in the third party, because the opposition party led by Randy at this moment only bubble, :) So, 70 has the point, check and balance is weak. Result for two years has not been satisfactory to him, in terms of stewardship and quality of dialogues is counted.
    As a member of the third party, I presented guidelines of ‘ inclusive community’ and ‘creative minority’ to catalyze the common sharing ground which is interactive, imperative and exalting. But I ended up in monolog so far, some people laugh until falling down the chair.
    Your theme and tone seems monumentous (Obama has no copy right). If you don’t mind, I nominate you for leading the third party. Only one ideal, to make this blog a successful fourth estate of public health (included mental health, of course).

  86. #86 70
    January 29, 2008

    I don’t recall a better fight in quite some time…Just goes to show you, Liberals are fairly crafty folks and bear watching at all times, course anyone with a fish on their car pulls up, best to get your back against the wall as well.

    Since I am likely the last one posting on this subject, I think it’s only fair that I’m declared winner and as such I will now proclaim myself a deity as well. I’d appreciate you all taking time once a day, to kneel down, facing West of course, and chanting “Oh 70 who art in the West, we know you are the best!

    By the way you can forego the aforementioned if you elect to send me gifts, they’re tax deductible, and I’ll make good use of them.

  87. #87 paiwan
    January 29, 2008

    70:

    I bet that you are not the last one posting, OK?

    And I am not sure that you still can read clearly, “no one elected you”.

  88. #88 70
    January 29, 2008

    Paiwan…You haven’t been reading, Revere clearly stated this was a progressive blog site and not a democracy, elections aren’t allowed. So I made a proclamation, big difference.

  89. #89 paiwan
    January 29, 2008

    70:
    You shocked me. I am sorry; I thought that you were hallucinated.
    Just wanted to advise Revere if people take drug should take a break.
    Lewis has stressed the civility which we all treasure. So, look forward, don’t look back.
    Do you like ‘ inclusive community’ ? Please comment.

  90. #90 70
    January 29, 2008

    Paiwan I have decided to rescind my proclamation as a deity, too much work keeping up with all the prayer requests. You can take over if you want, but mind you, there’s a lot more requests than gifts…

    Inclusive community, you hit the nail on the head…I would have to say that type of community, in theory, would be very desirable, but I seriously doubt it’s ability to function on a large scale, just at the grass root level, with people of like minds, bound by whatever purpose. Take this subject of religion, it’s more than enough to divide the posters, as represented here on this particular blog. Inclusiveness is not allowed by strict followers of most faiths, only conversion, and this carries over to progressives, liberals, and conservatives as well. Convert or be ridiculed and cast out from the clan.

    The reason for my original post was to point this out to whichever revere…his/her good work is being diminished by not being inclusive of a huge population of the devout. Of which I am sure they are already aware. To then allow a group of “included” folks to make unrestrained and insulting comments further extenuates the same. I know Conservatives, Liberals, Progressives, Christians, Wiccans, Gays and whatever else in between, they all have one thing in common, for the most part, they are good people. Their desires, wants and ambitions aren’t much different than my own…We all love, cry, live and die just the same. Life beats a person up pretty good, it doesn’t require any assistance.

  91. #91 paiwan
    January 30, 2008

    70:
    I feel very comfortable that you rescinded that ‘proclamation’. Because in our tradition we only chant to dead person thru monks, you want to give to me, no, no.

    But if you say that every one has his/her priesthood(holihood); Christian-man has God’s image, Buddhism-every one can be Buddha, implying that every one has respective vocation (To be called in our living life. Then, I will buy into that, nevertheless very prudently)
    .
    Having said that, no man can be worshipped (IMO) as a deity- that is the prevention of idol, again it is a very paradoxical topic, something beyond our creative imagination. For instance, Christians believe that God become man- Word becomes Flesh; incarnation.; it is not a literal meaning. For participating this thread, I opened the books written by Paul Tillich, his Systematic Theology, Vol. 2 and 3. which I purchased 30 years ago. I wish that friends here can scan or read them, initially from Google.

    I like your comment on inclusive community, I can not add too much; reflecting your sensitive and responsive nature as an individual. One point, you mention about love; it is a very important word and often being abuse like the word faith. Love should be distinguished from catharsis (the feeling that we usually have for our puppy), love is involving with our integrity and imperatives for the one whom we care for his/her spiritual growth, for the beloved’s benefit.

    I hope that Revere is not upset that I bring the dialogue of inclusive community to this table, he is silent always about my inputs. I am not sure that Lewis’s ” so far.in this blog, not communicating is surely the least of the metacommunication issues of primacy” could be applied. If anything offensive, please let me know that I can tune myself.

    What do you think, Lewis?

  92. #92 Lewis
    January 30, 2008

    Paiwan / 70 ;

    My preference is for professional and civil conversations that include as many of the community participants as is possible. Such inclusiveness dramatically increases the probability that all viewpoints on a topic will be presented (particularly helpful for a PUBLIC Health blog). In the case of this particular thread, at this point I think that the goal of inclusiveness has been mildly to moderately successful.

    It is at this point that I remind readers that I am an atheist. I am unashamedly, unrepentantly, a nonbeliever in the supernatural. I say this because some may initially believe that my next few words are presented in support of religion thought. I respect people no matter what their beliefs. It is their beliefs that I may choose to disrespect.

    It is interesting that Paul Tillich’s insightful writings have been mentioned. Tillich, in his seminal work Dynamics of Faith (1957, Harper & Row), makes a distinction between the words ‘faith’ and ‘belief’, which I believe is central to the discussion here. Tillich sees belief as being based on verifiable evidence, that which can be proved. Faith is seen by Tillich as being much more broadly inclusive (almost too broad for a short statement). He states “Faith is not an act of any of his rational functions, as it is not an act of the unconscious, but it is an act in which both the rational and nonrational elements of his being are transcended”. (pg. 7). It is not coincidental that many call this the ‘leap of faith’.

    Tillich further states (pg. 33): “The dimension of faith is not the dimension of science, history or psychology. The acceptance of a probable hypothesis in these realms is not faith, but preliminary belief, to be tested by scholarly methods and to be changed by every new discovery. Almost all the struggles between faith and knowledge are rooted in the wrong understanding of faith as a type of knowledge which has a low degree of evidence but is supported by religious authority. …”

    I believe that much of rancor within this blog is that many scientists and many in the lay science public believe that religious persons can be convinced to ‘change their minds’ and throw off the yoke of superstition ‘if only’ they would ‘view the evidence’. If such a statement were actually correct, many, many more conversions away from religion would have occurred throughout the centuries. Rejecting one’s own ‘faith’ is much more complicated that simply viewing and understanding valid and reliable evidence.

    It is the frustration with their inability to ‘convince with evidence’ that leads some nonbelievers to insult, to denigrate, to view as somewhat less than fully human, the person of religious faith. When the religious person does not readily ‘convert’ some science minded persons almost immediately ‘leap to the conclusion’ that such behavior is evidence of mental retardation or mental illness (although, the concept of ‘suspension of disbelief’ inherent within religion does superficially mimic some forms of mental illness). I do not believe that it is coincidental the both the religious and the nonreligious make ‘leaps’ which demonstrate a serious lack of rationality and personal insight.

    With that said, I break for my afternon walk. The topic for today’s walk is ‘Gleen Miller: Will his swing help swing my mood’. (Just a little ‘In the Mood’ humor)

  93. #93 paiwan
    January 31, 2008

    Lewis/ 70

    Interesting!

    Though I am not a qualified atheist, and I am not accepted by evangelical Christians as a believer, so I remain as a member of the ‘third party’ is more comfortable :) And I fully respect your stance as an atheist. It seems that lots of language we speak is very similar.

    I have posted Paul Tillich’s messages in this thread about five times for the last two months.. In our time, his theology shall be very helpful, your interpretation of the difference between belief and faith perhaps will encourage people of this thread to look at it.

    In fact, he had some relevant comments on atheism; part of the reasons that had caused him to be rejected by evangelical Christians and labeled him as non-believer theologian.

    I like Paul’s another book, ‘ The courage to be’.

    In last century, Martin Buber’s book ‘ I and Thou’ deserves same weight of attention. I would be interested to having your comments if you see this request is proper.

    As for the development and inclusive community, I agree that this thread has valued for it and moderately sustained as you have pointed. If based on Scott Peck’s theory, there are four stages in developing of authentic community:

    1. Pseudo- community stage
    2. Chaotic stage
    3. Empty stage
    4. Authentic community stage

    I think that we are working very hard between stage 2: Chaotic stage towards stage 3: Empty stage. So, you are right that it is moderately achieved, nevertheless stagnant; forth and back between 2 and 3. But we are in the right direction.

    I would like to mention the following for helping moving forward:

    Three highlights here:

    1. In contrast to inclusive community, there are two excluding situations which against the community building; 1). You exclude some people from the community, 2). You exclude yourself from the community. The awareness of which situation that you are in will prepare yourself to build the community with others.
    2. The inclusive community building relies on every one. Everyone assumes the responsibility, not only the host or particular persons.
    3. The respect and compassion are the key, people relate to each other with respect and love.

    The above are my study and reflection. Hope that help.

    Randy:

    I forgot to tell you that the bubble is from champagne. :)

  94. #94 70
    January 31, 2008

    I’m not an atheist Paiwan, I just am not Christian in my beliefs. I like you…you have an unusual way of speaking. I think you are…is English your native language? I think not… Christianity leaves me lacking, way to easy to justify one’s actions as a Christian…

    But that doesn’t relieve revere from being responsible for speaking to all, and that is my complaint. He should be inclusive in his statements, he built this method of communication, it’s their stewardship now, their responsibility. They should manage it to be inclusive of all….if they want to communicate to all.

  95. #95 revere
    January 31, 2008

    70: I’m speaking my mind. It’s a blog. I have no responsibility or even interest in speaking to all. I am biased. I am a person of the Left and I am a public health scientist. I am biased in favor of public health. I am not trying to communicate with the Bushies. If you find the science stuff of interest here (I hope you do) then please keep reading. I’m not trying to “include” any body although anybody is welcome here.

  96. #96 M. Randolph Kruger
    February 1, 2008

    Amen Revere….Limitation of ideas aint his gig people. He wants a good discourse as long as everyone is pretty much respectful….

  97. #97 paiwan
    February 1, 2008

    70:

    I learned my English from Vietnam Pacifist’ teachers in the years of my freshman and sophomore, and lately regularly visit New York Times. So if there are something wrong with my English, you should blame these two:-) Or the other way round? :-)

    I think that I have the best legacies from my American teachers that have made feel that I have been obliged to this legacy, at the same I have inherited some good traits, I hope:) They taught me Paul Tillich and to be an reasonable idealist and learning to live with uncertainty and confusion, and a soft individualist, etc. I sincerely hope that I will not make them ashamed of me in the future.

    I am a Taiwan native, waiting to be a Thai citizen. I live in the US only 10 days. Thank you for your tolerance for my English and culture difference.

    Very happy to be here. I thought that you have done a good job: make me feel that there is no such bonding of sadism and masochism here in this thread. I am very sensitive to mental health, not kidding!

    In fact if I were Revere, I only can maintain two months. Two years, owh, great attempt! If not his sadism, then must be something very interesting to discover.

    I am sorry, Revere. If you felt offended that I said you are a benevolent autocrate.

  98. #98 paiwan
    February 2, 2008

    70:

    If you read my previous one about inclusive community development:

    “If based on Scott Peck’s theory, there are four stages in developing of authentic community:

    1. Pseudo- community stage
    2. Chaotic stage
    3. Empty stage
    4. Authentic community stage ”

    Then, I think that we are in stage 2, chaotic stage which is more advanced than stage 1, pseudo-community.

    The pseudo-community stage, everything looks harmonious and polite to each other with mask on face all the time. This kind of community is not authentic at all. I experienced some churches were in stage 1, they were many Sunday Christians only, pathetic!

    So, the stage 2 is important for people who stay in stage 1. I rate this thread is very helpful in this context.

    If we look forwards to stage 3, then certainly a lot of energy and homework has to be done; as individually and as the whole group (sort of group learning or organizational learning) are involved.

    We are learning, don’t be discouraged. What do you think?

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