Many of my posts related to the Webster Cook Affair received a great deal of attention. In fact, the blogospheric activities related to the PZ Myers CrackerGate showed up as a noticeable bump in the internet and blew out a couple of those Middle Easter cables that are always breaking. This post is selected from this larger set, as is the next one I will post.


  1. #1 GhostOfIdeaPast
    December 27, 2008

    “How can you tell a Christian is lying? His mouth is moving.”

    Seriously? What sort of dumb thing to say is that? All Christians are liars? I’m not a Christian, but come on … I hope you’re smarter than actually believing what you write. Sheech!

    It this sort of nimrod statement that makes people think atheists are idiots.

  2. #2 Miguel
    December 28, 2008

    Thanks GhostOfIdeaPast, your concern is duly noted.

  3. #3 Xavier
    December 28, 2008

    GhostOfIdeaPast: Have you read the post or do you just read titles then make idiotic statements about them?

  4. #4 GhostOfIdeaPast
    December 28, 2008

    Well, perhaps the title should be just a little more informative, eh?

    Then again, this is just an echo chamber.

  5. #5 Aquaria
    December 28, 2008

    They don’t even have to have their lips moving to lie. Just breathing pretty much does the trick.

  6. #6 GhostOfIdeaPast
    December 28, 2008

    And for the record, I had read the original post … it has the same idiotic title.

  7. #7 Bjorn Ostman
    December 28, 2008

    I must admit I also find the title offensive. I am atheist, but have lots of great friends who believe weird things. They don’t lie all the time.

    It doesn’t really matter that this post, or any other with the same title, isn’t as provocative as this. A title stands on it’s own, as it is too often the only thing people will read, and is assumed to be representative of the main content. It might not be, but it surely puts off many people.

    And fact is that the statement is false.

    P.S. Please don’t give me crap about how it really is about someone specific. I know the case, and yet the title says “a Christian”, and you know what that means, so come a get it!

  8. #8 Greg Laden
    December 28, 2008

    And for the record, I had read the original post … it has the same idiotic title.

    Ghost: I would hope so. This post (the one you are reading now) is merely a pointer to the old post, as part of a year in review series (click the category
    “Year in Review” above, under the title, to see all of them so far). It is supposed to have the same title. But my suggestion to read the post applies to the actual post as well.

    Bjorn and others: This title is a “literary” allusion to something. That is its meaning. I will explain how I can write a post that says: “There are a lot of Christians that I trust and love” that is titled “How can you tell a Christian is lying.. etc. etc.”

    But first I will note that getting the conflict, understanding that this post is about a painful reality, a contradiction, etc requires reading not only the title but also THE FIRST SENTENCE!!! .. and as as Buzz Lightyear would say … AND BEYOND!!!!!

    The expresseion to which this alludes is “How do you tell a drug addict is lying … his mouth is moving.”

    The meaning of that statement is not that drug addicts cannot tell the truth. Rather, it means that drug addicts are imprisoned in a world in which they need to do whatever they can to get the fix, and that will mean lying to a loved one, etc. etc.

    Now, a Christian is not the same as a drug addict … the nature of the problem is different. But a Christian is similar in that the Christian will lie knowingly to individuals that one should not really be lying to and do so because of the characteristic that, like the addiction makes the addict an addict makes the Christian what s/he is, is their religious essense as a human being. Faith justifies or requires the lie.

    I am fully aware (and you must know this!) that a title like this will turn off a certain number of readers before they get to the first sentence, and will engage others, and in all cases it is a strong statement.

    Just think of me as a lefty shock blogger and it may make more sense.

  9. #9 Bjorn Ostman
    December 28, 2008

    Just think of me as a lefty shock blogger and it may make more sense.

    Well, I think more of you as science blogger, so in that light it makes less sense.

  10. #10 Greg Laden
    December 28, 2008

    Well, I yam what I yam. Life is complex, and so am I. A little, anyway.

  11. #11 Pyre
    January 7, 2009

    Aren’t we all cousins (Nth cousins M times removed), unless even more closely related (parent/child/sibling/etc)?

  12. #12 Mike Haubrich, FCD
    December 19, 2009

    Or, we could all just take it as a joke, right?

    Nah, because Science Bloggers don’t joke.

  13. #13 John Swindle
    December 21, 2009

    Way back in the stoned age, That joke was about lawyers. They didn’t like it either, and said stuff like “… I hope you’re smarter than actually believing what you write” and “I have lots of great friends who are lawyers. They don’t lie all the time.”
    Meanwhile, the rest of the population thought it was mildly amusing, and recognised the tiny kernel of truth in it. Even some lawyers, who didn’t take themselves as seriously as Ghost and Bjorn do, thought it was funny.

    It seems that christians, though, don’t recognise that in the space where theocrats and atheists interact, one of the most obvious traits of christians is their lying.

  14. #14 Greg Laden
    December 21, 2009

    Actually, I remember it as “How do you tell an addict is lying?” but I’d believe the lawyer explanation.

    With lawyers, it was:

    “What do you call 10,000 lawyers on the bottom of the sea?”

    “A good start”

  15. #15 John Swindle
    December 21, 2009

    During the time those many, many lawyer jokes were making the rounds, a lot of older, non-lawyerly jokes were dusted off and reissued in a form intended to sting lawyers. Find someone old enough, and they might be able to tell you about the phenomena of elephant jokes and shaggy dog jokes. Some of those were given new life as lawyer jokes. Of course, nobody would have thought a pile of shaggy dogs at the bottom of the sea was funny… but lawyers? Sure.
    By the way, Greg, your recent use of Fred and Ginger as an example of double standards made me smile. I bet it was lost on some of your younger readers, though, who might need to be reminded that she had to do all the tricky steps that he did, but backwards and in high heels.

  16. #16 ildi
    December 21, 2009

    I thought the original butt of the joke was politicians.