Religion—our maelstrom of ignorance

We’ve got a new Gallup poll on evolution to agonize over. It’s nothing but bad news—we are a nation of uneducated morons. Gary chose to weep over the political correlation: look how membership in the Republican party is tied to ignorance about science.


The clear majority of Republicans are screwed up. And you know, I’m not too happy with the Democrats, either. These results tell us that the population across the board is messed up, confused, lied to, and festering in ignorance—it’s just that right now the Republican party is a magnet for the stupid.

What’s the cause? Look a little more closely. Here’s another chart that exhibits an even more marked difference.


Yeah, being a Republican may not be causal, but going to church every week since childhood probably induces brain damage. This is just a correlation, of course, so how about asking those people who reject evolution why?

I believe in Jesus Christ 19
I believe in the almighty God, creator of Heaven and Earth 16
Due to my religion and faith 16
Not enough scientific evidence to prove otherwise 14
I believe in what I read in the Bible 12
I’m a Christian 9
I don’t believe humans come from beasts/monkeys 3
Other 5
No reason in particular 2
No opinion 3

The overwhelming majority credit their religion; the two secular excuses (“not enough scientific evidence” and “we didn’t come from no monkeys”) are common enough phrases among the creationists that I expect a majority of those are ultimately due to religion, too. So tell me, everyone: why are scientists supposed to respect religion, this corrupter of minds, this promulgator of lies, this damnable institution dedicated to delusion, in our culture?

Maybe we need to start picketing fundamentalist churches. Maybe it’s about time that we recognize religious miseducation as child abuse.


  1. #1 greensmile
    June 11, 2007

    But, according to no less an authority than Stanley Fish [blogging Sunday in the NYTimes] it is such a refined ignorance that Dawkins, Hitchins and their ilk can not lay a glove on it.. I post my disagreement. Fish is behind a paywall.

  2. #3 Brownian
    June 11, 2007

    Sorry Peanut Gallery, but freedom of speech also entails the freedom to say “So-and-so is a lying git and a crass bulshitter. Neither Jehovah, Zeus, or Triglav exist. Here’s why you should stop listening to So-and-so….”

    Unfortunately, it has been the religious who have excelled at book-burning, the labelling, torture and execution of ‘heretics’ and so forth.

    Nice inclusion of ‘Gestapo.’ I see you kept at least one history book out of the fireplace.

  3. #4 Brownian
    June 11, 2007

    “I wonder how many Americans believe that if things go very fast, they get longer.”

    I suppose it depends on the context, cm: relativity or sexuality?

  4. #5 Brownian
    June 11, 2007
    So tell me, everyone: why are scientists supposed to respect religion, this corrupter of minds, this promulgator of lies, this damnable institution dedicated to delusion, in our culture?


    Many do respect it.

    That doesn’t answer the question why.

  5. #6 Brownian
    June 11, 2007

    Sorry Piece of Advice, but don’t need to identify our good works to the great accountant in the sky.

    Furthermore, are you claiming that pastors do their job solely to ‘help hurting families’? If so, you completely fail to understand proselytisation or evangelism.

    To Critical Thinker: 15% of the US population identified themselves as having “no relion” in 2001. ( Subtract 15% from 100% and you get 85%, not 98%.

  6. #7 Ichthyic
    June 11, 2007

    There is nothing positive in calling someone stupid for having a differing viewpoint.

    ever hear the term: Marginalization?

    yes, there IS positive value in using epithets correctly.

    it just hasn’t been done LONG enough yet, as religion specifically has mostly been considered “untouchable”.

    Dawkins is doing fantastic work breaking that down, and getting folks to question why religion is given “special” status.

    so is PZ.

    valuable efforts to widen the breadth of discussion, if not the only avenues that are being pursued, certainly.

  7. #8 Brownian
    June 11, 2007

    But if you insists on thinking so then its no wonder why atheists have historically been in the minority.

    Actually, that’s because for centuries the church was not above torturing and murdering those it believed to have heretical beliefs.

    With such a poor understanding of history, I would really wonder who taught you?

  8. #9 Ichthyic
    June 11, 2007

    Warren Buffet is an agnostic not an atheist. Quite different.

    not nearly as different as an evangelical xian and an agnostic.

  9. #10 Ichthyic
    June 11, 2007

    But your answer affirms that there are NO atheist institutions that offer help to hurting families.

    actually, no it doesn’t.

    why not do a search on how many NGO’s have established positions as atheists, THEN figure out how many of those are dedicated to humanitarian causes, eh?

    now match that to the percentage of the population (in the US) that purports to actually be atheist (hint: less than 15%), and you might get a better answer to your question that is based on fact, instead of your idiotic rhetoric.

  10. #11 Brownian
    June 11, 2007

    Warren Buffet is an agnostic not an atheist. Quite different.

    You say that pretty definitively, Patrick.

    Are you sure Warren just doesn’t claim agnosticism to avoid the stigma attached to atheism, kinda like how Bill Clinton admitted to smoking a joint but “didn’t inhale”?

  11. #12 Ichthyic
    June 11, 2007

    Atheists sitting at home posting blogs that call 98% of the population stupid.

    Quite revealing.

    quite a strawman.

    btw, we write books too.

  12. #13 Brownian
    June 11, 2007

    I’ve told you already that 98% is incorrect, and provided evidence for it.

    If you’ve got evidence for your claim that 98% of the population is religious then pony up.

    Otherwise, use the correct data, or don’t say anything at all.

  13. #14 Brownian
    June 11, 2007

    Patrick, aka Critical Thinker won’t respond to my comments.

    He knows I know his game.

    Quite cowardly.

  14. #15 Ichthyic
    June 11, 2007

    Sounds like communism to me.

    for some reason, I can picture most things you disagree with to sound like “communism” to you.

    here’s one for your scrapbook:

    You’re an idiot.

    see how well that works, when there is supporting evidence?

  15. #16 Ichthyic
    June 11, 2007

    If history is any indicator, the atheists do not stand a chance.

    you don’t know your history very well.


    you will immediately come back and tell us that the evolution of communism in the USSR was all about atheism.

    am I wrong?

  16. #17 Ichthyic
    June 11, 2007

    Non religious is completely different than atheistic.

    no, it’s not.

    define atheism for us, if you would. perhaps that is where your logic train wrecked?

  17. #18 Ichthyic
    June 11, 2007

    I guess this is the time PZ deletes all my comments and keeps everyone’s hate on.

    yes, now that we’ve clearly shown you to be an idiot, feel free to now play the victim card before you inevitably run away with your tail betwixt your legs.

    won’t stop us from laughing at you, though.

  18. #19 Ichthyic
    June 11, 2007

    SERIOUSLY delusional, poorly informed and unintentionally harming not only America, but the world.

    Idiot sums that up for me.

    takes up less space, too.

  19. #20 Ichthyic
    June 11, 2007

    Playing basketball is a non-religious activity this does not mean that those who play basketball are condoning atheism.

    do you know what non-sequitor means?

  20. #21 Ichthyic
    June 11, 2007

    Besides it was merely a passing statement, you are the one that got hung up on it. Its almost like I pressed on an open sore.

    do you know what projection means?

  21. #22 Ichthyic
    June 11, 2007

    That’s a pretty clumsy strawman.

    it’s not a strawman at all. you need to look that word up too.

    Do you not at least affirm that theism (a belief in God) and atheism (a non-belief in God) are opposing worldviews?

    which, of course, missed his point entirely. He said that atheism simply isn’t a worldview at all.

    do you know what a worldview even is?

  22. #23 Ichthyic
    June 11, 2007

    ah, manly nailed it too.

  23. #24 Ichthyic
    June 11, 2007

    I will also tell to the atheists enjoying the evolution museums.

    we have evolution museums now?

    news to me.

    only creationists need to devote an entire museum to their shared stupidity.

    closest thing I can recall is that there are some fossil museums.

    somehow, I don’t think atheists were specifically involved in their production, however.

  24. #25 Ichthyic
    June 11, 2007

    yeah, we hadn’t even started on the counter argument to:

    “religious institutions are providing all charity!”

    sorry to hear of your story, but know that you are far from alone.

    more and more people are starting to associate religious indoctrination with it being essentially child abuse of a mental fashion, let alone the physical abuses that have been associated with it over the last centuries.

    I’m sure I speak for all when I say I’m happy you survived.

  25. #26 Torbjrn Larsson, OM
    June 11, 2007

    going to church every week since childhood probably induces brain damage.

    There is certainly a correlation between religion and miseducation/non-education and I suspect between miseducation/non-education and performing less well on analysis or planning, for the groups if not for specific individuals.

    Certainly it seems as religion is an indication of a problem. Of course, without specific evidence of involved phenomena one could also claim that brain damage could facilitate religion. Which is not so believable but less scary. 😮

    Evolution is not a matter of belief it is a matter of understanding the evidence.

    Philosophy can use belief to try to define knowledge (“justified true belief”). But that is too general and confusing here. This has more to do with accepting the justification than the degree of belief or even the degree of understanding the technical details of biology.

    So I prefer to say “accepting the evidence”.

    [Uh, and prompted by the discussion of stupidity of viewpoints: it is stupid not to accept the evidence scientists accept. Hints: disbelief or pseudoscience vs tested knowledge, amateurs vs profession of experts, …

    (But that doesn’t mean one accepts every peer-reviewed result out there, scientists doesn’t do that either. They may form a consensus however, or some schools of preferred models.)]


    an agnostic not an atheist. Quite different.

    How so? Philosophers prefer to conflate them ( ). So you must always define your atheism and agnosticism, at least roughly.

    More to the point, what would be the difference here, and what would non-belief in gods have to do with it? Both groups prefer to use non-religious organizations for these matters. “It’s like asking why there aren’t any organizations of astrology non-believers banding together to feed the needy”, indeed.

  26. #27 stnemmoc
    June 11, 2007

    Maybe it’s about time that we recognize religious miseducation as child abuse.

    Don’t get me wrong, I think you make good points about how religion can have a negative impact on society, but this particular statement just strikes me as a little… um… facile? I’ve heard this same sentiment from Ricard Dawkins and probably others before, and maybe it is a good rallying cry, but how is conflating creationism with child abuse going to make atheism sound like the voice of reason and science?

    *ducks and hides*

  27. #28 Ichthyic
    June 11, 2007

    uh, because there IS science behind it, and it’s not just an accusation?

    several papers have been published on the subject.

    I also posted a thread to discuss this very issue some time back, if you would care to catch up and contribute.

    if interested, I’ll post the link for you.

    like many HAVE pointed out, this issue is rooted in psychology, so it shouldn’t surprise you to find that legal issues of mental abuse, ala cults, have been leveled, and with good evidence in support.

    for a quick lesson, i suggest you watch a video of how Ken Ham teaches children.

    If a parent forces their kid to listen to Ham, tells them they are going to hell if they disagree with him, and says all other explanations are evil, can you really make the argument that is NOT abuse?

    *ducks and hides*

    why? afraid to explore the possibility?

  28. #29 cureholder
    June 12, 2007

    Thank you for the closing comment correctly labeling religious miseducation as child abuse. I grew up in a family and a community of christian fundamentalists (essentially, in “Jesus Camp”) and it took me until age 32 to get completely clear of it–and then I had to confront the fact that most of what I had been taught growing up was false, and that much of what I should have been taught was simply missing.

    In our society, any other form of abuse of a child–sexual, physical, psychological, nutritional, etc.–is roundly condemned, but people like my parents who intentionally bring up children to believe nonsense and fail to equip those children to live in the real world are praised as moral, caring, noble people. In reality, whether they do it out of fear, ignorance, laziness, or malice, they are simply terrible parents. Their children are victims, and until we overcome our inability to call religion for the unadulterated nonsense that it obviously is, generations of children will continue to have their lives destroyed.

    According to Dawkins (The God Delusion, Chapter 9), an infinitesimal percentage of children brought up in fundamentalism of any religion until the age of majority ever reject it, and according to census data they tend to have (and home-“school”) a far greater average number of children than do the rational among us. We already see the results of this imbalance (in both sense of the word) in presidential politics, and as time goes on and the disparity grows even greater, these fools will become an insurmountable majority.

    Let’s start openly calling this delusion for what it is, even (or especially) with the children. Maybe through intellectual challenge and open derision of the religious we can raise the percentage of people who escape fundamentalism in time to do something useful with their lives.

  29. #30 Ichthyic
    June 12, 2007

    cureholder, if you would like to discuss what happened to you further, we have an ongoing thread that periodically gets new additions.

    feel free to make your own contribution:;act=ST;f=14;t=2838;view=new


  30. #31 Ichthyic
    June 12, 2007

    oh, and don’t get thrown by the domain name; it’s actually a board to STUDY the anti-evolution movement, not support it.

    …as you’ll rather quickly see.


  31. #32 Ichthyic
    June 12, 2007

    so, chris, it would be perfectly acceptable not to remove a child from a Manson-style cult?

    there ARE legal issues here.

    suggest you take a closer look.

    mental abuse has been considered grounds for child removal for quite some time now.

  32. #33 Kseniya
    June 12, 2007

    Yes, Ichthyic, obviously, but the great leap that’s being proposed (and balked at by Chris) is the leap to a place where parents lose their children simply because they’re giving them what they believe to be an appropriate education. “Mental abuse” as you call it would have to be redefined in a rather drastic way for that to happen. Actually, what you’re talking about is psychological and emotional abuse. Perhaps “mental” (or “intellectual”) abuse is a yet-to-be-created category which would cover situations like cureholder’s. To avoid 1st amendment violations, however, it would likely have to be defined in terms of what was NOT being supplied to the child – specifically, an education that meets a certain minimum standard.

    Streamofconsciousat0300ly yours… K.

  33. #34 Ichthyic
    June 12, 2007

    Actually, what you’re talking about is psychological and emotional abuse

    so how is what happened to cureholder NOT psychological abuse?

    how is it in any way different from a Waco style cult?

    To avoid 1st amendment violations, however, it would likely have to be defined in terms of what was NOT being supplied to the child

    indeed, and inroads have been made in exactly that direction.

    the example i cited above with Ken Ham above is not extreme for these people in the least.

    this IS a psychological, NOT a religious issue. ergo, first ammendment protections really shouldn’t come into play.

    it’s the indoctrination that we all, as americans, bear that we automatically give “religion” a free pass when we consider things like this. funny, but this is exactly what PZ and Dawkins keep pointing out over and over again.

    when you spend time breaking it down however, much of the “jesus camp” stuff really is just a cult of a different color.

    yes, it’s a complicated issue, hence why i recommend people interested to check out that thread i linked to, but it can’t be readily dismissed, either.

    the evidence is mounting in favor of treating specific cases like cureholders as exactly what they are:

    cases of abuse.

    take a gander at some of the abuse laws in different states, and THEN tell me how far off I am.

  34. #35 Ichthyic
    June 12, 2007

    btw the term “mental” is meant to encompass both psychological and emotional abuse, not be separate from them.

  35. #36 Ferag
    June 12, 2007

    No-one seems to have noticed how the troll Peanut Gallery is going directly against the reported words of Jesus Christ here. I mean, look at Matthew 6: 1-4:

    [1] Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.

    [2] Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

    [3] But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:

    [4] That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.

    There again, I’ve noticed the reported words of Jesus Christ tend not to be important to those who are loudest about invoking his name. Even more amusing, by quietly going about their charitable work with whatever organisations there are, and not setting up exclusive “religious” charities, atheists are behaving in a more Christian manner than many Christians.

  36. #37 phdwannabe
    June 12, 2007

    Brownian said (way up in the thread): “Neither Jehovah, Zeus, or Triglav exist.”
    I have to correct that statement, as Triglav is the highest mountain and national symbol of Slovenia. Why the hell would you include it as a would be deity? hmm, apparently it’s also some online RPG game. guess it makes sense to include fictitious RPG characters as would be deities.

  37. #38 C. M. Baxter
    June 12, 2007

    Whether or not parents should be prosecuted for lying to their children about the nature of the universe (or anything else) would be, legally, very thorny. Better, I think, to follow Dawkins’ lead and get the word out in publications, books, public addresses, blogs, etc., that early religious indoctrination is tantamount to child abuse. This multi-pronged strategy will not only inform young people about how they’ve been lied to, it will put parents on notice that at some time in the future, the recently coined expression, “breathtaking inanity,” may be hurled at them by their own offspring. Though I will never see it (I’m 64), I envision the day when Christian fundamentalism is relegated to the stagnant backwaters of American thought.

  38. #39 Rey Fox
    June 12, 2007

    And good morning to you, Mr. Physicist. 🙂

    “Better, I think, to follow Dawkins’ lead and get the word out in publications, books, public addresses, blogs, etc., that early religious indoctrination is tantamount to child abuse.”

    I rather like this idea. Wielding the law as the club behind these “child abuse” accusations would be heavy-handed and wold probably produce a huge and terrible backlash. But currently, one of the more common questions of expectant parents is “What religion should we raise the child in?” How about “None of the above”? Maybe eventually childhood indoctrination could be seen as something like spanking.

  39. #40 Brownian
    June 12, 2007

    Brownian said (way up in the thread): “Neither Jehovah, Zeus, or Triglav exist.”
    I have to correct that statement, as Triglav is the highest mountain and national symbol of Slovenia. Why the hell would you include it as a would be deity? hmm, apparently it’s also some online RPG game. guess it makes sense to include fictitious RPG characters as would be deities.

    phdwannabe, Triglav is also a three-headed slavic deity:

    I know it’s ludicrous to have a three-part god, but some people believe very silly things.

  40. #41 Brownian
    June 12, 2007

    What these results say to me is that atheists were losers, are losers, and forever will remain losers.

    Oh my. Is this where we’re all supposed to start sputtering and go apopletic because (as you think) we know deep down inside that you’re right and we’re only denying god because we’ve been misled by satan?

    Are all you Christians clones or something. We’ve seen this a million times, and it’s tiresome. Go back to your church and feel free to tell them you struck a mighty blow against the atheists. I promise, I won’t mind.

    Leave now. There’s nothing for you here.

  41. #42 Brownian
    June 12, 2007

    Oopsie. The question about clones was meant to be punctuated with a question mark.

    Q. For everyone else, how are Christian trolls like stormtroopers?
    A. They’re all clones of each other, and their arguments, like blaster shots, are always way off the mark.

  42. #43 Brownian
    June 12, 2007

    Nope. Since you started teaching the kids that they are animals.

    Evil came after the Fall, and was in existence long before 1859.

    I should have known it would take a baptised Catholic like myself to school you New Agers in Bible study.

  43. #44 cureholder
    June 12, 2007

    Thanks to many people (especially Ichthyic) for reading my previous post regarding my religious indoctrination and providing thoughtful feedback and encouragement.

    I have a dilemma with my own situation, as I strongly believe in personal freedom and autonomy and in the right of parents to rear and educate their own children. That problem, of course, is what to do (if anything) when the parents’ idea of “education” consists mainly in passing along religious myths and skipping actual knowledge.

    In my own experience, I do not believe that governmental intervention would have been a proper solution. In retrospect, what I most needed was for sound, rational adults, upon encountering me after I left home at age 18, who would openly, caringly, and consistently but firmly tell me that what I had been taught was incorrect, and show me the reasons for rejecting it in favor of actual knowledge. My experience had taught me that all the adults I knew believed what I was taught to believe, and none of the non-believers ever told me or showed me that there were real and respectable adults who did not believe accordingly. To a child, that silence is tantamount to confirmation that “everyone” believes it.

    The problem, of course, is that we have a socially constructed taboo against calling out nonsense in the religious realm (while we are perfectly comfortable doing the same to nonsense in science, history, math, etc.).

    I do my part by not shying away from the problem or being squeamish when confronted with young people who have been brought up to believe nonsense. My works brings me into contact with hundreds of young people (usually 18-25), so I have many opportunities to try to offset the damage by putting a notch on the side of reason. Even if the parents are present, I do not hesitate to openly question why someone would believe something with no evidence in favor of it and lots of evidence against it. I am not mean or rude, but simply firm and reasonable . . . but I give no quarter to anyone who insists that “beliefs” should be respected simply because the person wants to hold them. These myths are not worthy of any level of respect, and to let such an idea hinder our interaction with young people is to give up any chance of helping them out of the abyss I was pushed into.

    I look back on my upbringing and young adulthood, and I am honestly convinced that if half a dozen people along the way had had the courage and strength to challenge my inherited “beliefs” openly, calmly, and rationally, it would have saved me a decade of doing it on my own.

    Maybe with the internet (which didn’t exist when I was growing up, and which makes cloistering children from real information more difficult) the process can be a little easier.

  44. #45 Brownian
    June 12, 2007

    Sorry Physicist, but calling a goose a duck doesn’t make it one.

    Reason is not spread through lies and indoctrination, despite your assertion that it is. Many people come to it spontaneously (I am one of them, for instance, despite years of church, religious schooling and so forth.) Further, unlike revealed religions, a rationalist’s mind can be changed through open discussion and the presentation of evidence. The only way religious thought cn progress, sans reason, is for a god to plop down another stone tablet, golden platter, burning bush, or the like. (By the way, why aren’t you a Mormon? You know they have the most up-to-date version of god’s word, don’t you?)

    Have you ever wondered why no spontaneous Christians have ever been found?

    Seems a god who truly cares about our salvation wouldn’t rely on a game of ‘telephone’ to get his important message across. It would be there for anyone to see without the prompting of priest-kings. (Pity the poor kid whose only access to the ‘truth’ might be a molesting priest. Where’s the spot in limbo for the Christians who got the ‘truth’ as told by some wacko like Rev. Moon?)

  45. #46 Brownian
    June 12, 2007

    Ken you fool, in short, no evidence of Jehovah has ever been found to support the delusional man-made idea that Jesus Christ’s supposed sacrifice has EVER redeemed any human’s sins, because it can’t happen.

    Don’t you see that your belief in the Xian god blinds you to the truth that is Praam?ius, M?nuo, and Perk?nas?

  46. #47 Brownian
    June 12, 2007

    Physicist, listen up. We have no interest in crushing religion. Believe in all the gods you want (specifically, the Hindu pantheon. There’s more Hindus than you, their religion has been around much longer, and there are so many more gods to make you happy.)

    If god’s message is so important and true, all the kids will discover it when they grow up. We just want to protect the little tykes from the molestings (both emotional, mental, and physical) that have been sanctioned by various churches throughout the ages.

    (Look, we know you know the truth, and all the other Xians of which I speak aren’t true Xians. But have some sympathy for the rest of us: all Xians say that, and we can’t really tell you apart.)

  47. #48 Brownian
    June 12, 2007

    Actually, I’ve got better advice for you, Physicist: stop attacking evolution. It’s not your primary target right now.

    A large majority of people are fed up by the bullshit propagated by all the false religions (you know which ones I mean; all the ones that aren’t the one you believe, including the 30,000+ or so Xian denominations that aren’t yours.) You get rid of all of those bad guys, and the rest of us will be happy to jump on board once we know the only Xians out there are true Xians. Then you can happily set about demolishing evolution.

    No need to thank me; knowing that I’ve helped you strike a blow for the One Truth is reward enough.

  48. #49 Brownian
    June 12, 2007

    You say:
    “value-neutral but potentially useful.”

    I say useful….. maybe, I guess that is up to the individual to make that claim.

    Kseniya says ‘potato’, Spaghettio says ‘thing what my mom makes French Fries out of’….

    Let’s just call the whole thing off.

  49. #50 Brownian
    June 12, 2007

    You could send the parents to re-education camps if they teach their children religion. Yes you are trying to crush religion with the State.

    Great ideas, but you’re holding back. As a religious man, you’ve undoubtedly got reams of ways to silence heretics, haven’t you?

  50. #51 Ichthyic
    June 12, 2007

    So if they choose to teach children what they believe to be true, it in no way harms the child even if they are wrong.

    please, go take a look at an accepted cult some time, and tell me that things people teach their kids do no harm, even if wrong.

    this is not only horribly simplistic on your part, but downright dangerous.

    why do you think we bother to battle the creobots at all, eh?

    It makes me wanna scream when people are so idiotic as to think that damage to the mind is somehow less important than damage to the body.

    you can see post after post from people like the one who posted his story of abuse above, and stil NOT get it.

    no wonder the fight against creobotism is taking so long.

  51. #52 Ichthyic
    June 12, 2007

    maelstom of ignorance, indeed. not just on the creobot’s side.

    anybody who is a psychologist weeps at the attitude expressed by those who think that cultism isn’t abuse.

  52. #53 Ichthyic
    June 12, 2007

    I’ve certainly never heard any Creationists speak this way about Evolutionists.

    don’t get out much, do you?

  53. #54 Physicist
    June 12, 2007

    no wonder the fight against creobotism is taking so long.

    Posted by: Ichthyic |

    All religion is not cult. For example true Christianity is a choice. Some of you want to not offer a choice. Me I don’t get into other peoples business of what they teach their children, but if I see a child being physically abused, I would step in, one way or the other.

    We have no way of knowing who is right. If you think you know erverything, it is a sure sign that you don’t know much (not a personal comment about you).

    Mental abuse, is a terrible thing, but I think teaching children how to love each other as we love ouselves is not mental abuse.

  54. #55 Ichthyic
    June 12, 2007

    All religion is not cult.


    never said it was.

    but, let’s take a specific example:

    why don’t you tell me how Ken Ham teaches kids does NOT fit the definition of a cult.

    surely you can dig up some of the videos of his teaching methods, right?

    fetch, boy.

    when you come back, and can point out exactly how what Ken Ham does differs from your garden variety cult leader, we have something to discuss.

  55. #56 Blake Stacey, OM
    June 12, 2007

    Wow, 320 comments in a little over 29 hours.

    We should be able to top that.

    Here, let me help: “Dilbert sucks!”

  56. #57 Ichthyic
    June 12, 2007

    Damn! can’t you read? and I don’t know who Ken Ham is and I don’t care. Pay attention son and learn something. When People speak the truth, I know it.

    then you don’t know dick about the state of religion in this country. So, feel free to rant on Bush (more a symptom than the disease), and you’ll find little disagreement, especially round these parts.

    going beyond that appears not to suit you too much.

    here, let me help you out as cheerleader:

    Bush Suxxorz!

    please, continue.

  57. #58 Ichthyic
    June 12, 2007

    Another recent poll clearly shows that a majority of scientists do not believe there is sufficient evidence to support the concept of macro-evolution as a construct,

    straight from the world of “I make shit up”.


    when can we expect your first work of fiction to be published?

  58. #59 Ichthyic
    June 12, 2007

    “If there is a hell, and all atheist go to hell. What is it to me? ”

    well, for one thing, you won’t get an invite to the endless bad sci-fi marathon.

    you wouldn’t want to miss that, now, would you?

  59. #60 Physicist
    June 12, 2007

    going beyond that appears not to suit you too much.
    here, let me help you out as cheerleader:
    Bush Suxxorz!
    please, continue.
    Posted by: Ichthyic | June 12, 2007 10:29

    Just as arrogant as Bush, sad, really, well you get what you ask for one way or another.

  60. #61 Ichthyic
    June 12, 2007

    oh, Jeff’s last post would be SO perfect for the blah-blah treatment:

    blah, blah blah blah biology blah blah, blah blah blah hundreds of us blah blah blah blah blah blah herd mentality blah blah origins PZ. Blah blah blah blah blah? Blah blah blah blah blah belief system blah, blah blah blah blah fundamentalism, blah blah blah despise blah blah God. “PZ blah blah blah.” Blah blah blah scientific worldview blah blah blah blah blah research blah origins. Blah blah blah blah humility. Macro-evolution blah blah blah theory blah blah blah blah fact. Blah blah.

    someone else want to try the Chthulu version?

  61. #62 Ichthyic
    June 12, 2007

    Just as arrogant as Bush, sad, really, well you get what you ask for one way or another.

    yes, yes, shake your fist a little harder. Otherwise, you might be in danger of making a point.

  62. #63 Ichthyic
    June 12, 2007

    “Blah blah… macro-evolution, blah blah. link.


    c’mon now, somebody do the Cthulu version so we can compare.

  63. #64 Physicist
    June 12, 2007

    yes, yes, shake your fist a little harder. Otherwise, you might be in danger of making a point.
    Posted by: Ichthyic | June 12, 2007 10:44 PM

    OK, wag your peter, I don’t care, after all isn’t God in control? Yes he is, because the blindness of the un-God types have left them with no sense of balance.

    When the summer and fall comes and Bush atttacks Iraq, remember me.


  64. #65 Ichthyic
    June 12, 2007

    When the summer and fall comes and Bush atttacks Iraq, remember me.

    oops. (psst), I think you missed something.

  65. #66 Caledonian
    June 12, 2007

    Dustin, Ichthyic: relax. He’s not worth it. Contempt is a dish best served cold.

  66. #67 Ichthyic
    June 12, 2007

    That’s apparently the treatment reserved for those whose arguments are too sound to refute with intelligence, or logic.

    I’d respond, but I’m waiting for someone to apply a different treatment to your latest so we can compare which method looks best when applied to trolls.

    btw, this isn’t Jeff Gannon, is it?

  67. #68 RavenT
    June 12, 2007

    hey ichthyic, don’t be inviting just *anybody* now.

  68. #69 Ichthyic
    June 12, 2007

    hey ichthyic, don’t be inviting just *anybody* now.

    unfortunately, I don’t make the rules.


    maybe if I get this gig big enough, I might propose some changes…

    first thing I’d do is make sure Fallwell gets the boot. He’s such a drag.

  69. #70 Ichthyic
    June 12, 2007

    I’ve missed something somewhere are you a research subject?

    you missed something alrighty.

    check out this thread:

    …and know that YOU are the subject of study.

  70. #71 Ichthyic
    June 12, 2007

    I still don’t get it, even after reading your link. I’m quite sure you’ve misread me or attributed someone elses writing to me, as I’ve said nothing about pediatric medical research.

    funny, I thought it was obvious. No, it indeed is directed at you.

    keep trying.

  71. #72 Ichthyic
    June 12, 2007


    I really think you might enjoy that thread I referred you to.

    nuff said.

  72. #73 Ichthyic
    June 13, 2007

    It’s my business to know many fine men and women

    you’re a hooker?

  73. #74 Jeff
    June 13, 2007

    Mondo and Ichthyic:

    Where is your content? Evidence? Again you resort to personal attacks, a favorite tactic of those who have no sound argument. At least I’m an honest Agnostic. It would not blow me away to discover I am wrong about a variety of things, including origins. On the other hand, you both seem to prefer ignorant personal attacks to spirited, intelligent discussion. Now I just know what’s coming. You can’t stand it. You’ve just got to respond with some personal dig, even though you don’t know me. The whole “we’re in the right, so everyone else is stupid,” is a big turn off and no substitute for real thought and, I suspect, a contributing factor to why most of America thinks you’re wrong, even if you’re right. If you are right, that’s all the more reason to change your tactic. You can’t win the day by piling personal insult and abuse on every thinking person who disagrees with you.

    How sad. Please, for all of us, especially if you’re right develop a winning strategy, even if you have to adopt the one of your victors, the Creationsists.

    Incidentally, to whomever implied I was pathetic because I consider ICR to be the victors, I am referring to what this post and thread are all about. At least in the field of public opinion, and particularly within the Republican party THEY ARE WINNING. That’s what we are supposedly responding to.

    You don’t win any converts saying, “You are all a bunch of uneducated morons,” especially since they know that they have men like me and a host of other well educated scientists of various disciplines basically on their side.

    That is really all for tonight.

  74. #75 RavenT
    June 13, 2007

    btw, this isn’t Jeff Gannon, is it?

    You may be on to something, Ichthyic:

    …men like me…–Jeff

  75. #76 Bartley Kulp
    June 13, 2007

    This comment is for sailer.
    Evolution is a belief like any other. Could you please explain to me in just what lab you are talking about? There is no lab.
    I am not debunking scientific techniques or theories that have been proven conclusively in nature, or at least demonstratable in lab conditions. I am not saying that natural selection is baseless. It is just that natural selection has never been remotely proven in cases where one species can actualy evolve into another. What exists is alot of circumstantial evidence i.e. bones in the ground.

    There is a big differance between rationalism and reason. The Greeks were very heavy on rationalism. They only believed in what could be seen. Thus they propugated the erroneous conclusion that the earth was flat. They based this on circumstantial evidence. They saw with there own eyes that the earth appeared flat, so it must be flat. Today we find bones in the ground. What is are conclusion? We evolved from them. This is rationalism, not reason. What is needed is hard core evidence as opposed to circumstantial evidence.

  76. #77 Bartley Kulp
    June 13, 2007

    I stand corrected

  77. #78 Ichthyic
    June 13, 2007

    You don’t win any converts

    I thought you said your job was meeting fine men and women?

    Now you’re saying you’re some sort of converter?

    are you a hooker or not, Jeff Gannon?

    Do you still beat your wife, Jeff?

  78. #79 Ichthyic
    June 13, 2007

    I don’t want to squander my chance to be herd.


    me neither!


  79. #80 Baratos
    June 13, 2007

    I will grant some belief in evolution within species but not between species.

    Ring species. Thank you, and goodnight.

    –If you are unable to find information on ring species, I suggest “The Ancestor’s Tale” by Richard Dawkins-look at the part about Salamanders. Or just check wikipedia.

  80. #81 MAJeff
    June 13, 2007

    -other than just “evolve” out of the aftermath of the “Big Bang”. I don’t see why that belief should be anymore credible than the Creation story.

    There’s this thing called “evidence” that makes it more credible.

  81. #82 Brownian
    June 13, 2007

    I do have to admit that I get a little irked at allegations of being a member of an unthinking ‘herd’ because I am convinced that the theory of evolution is a sound as any other scientific theory based on the evidence it explains and predicts. As I’ve stated elsewhere, I was baptised, raised and educated as a Christian. If I were of some sort of herd mentality, I fully expect I’d have remained a Christian to this day. As it turned out, even a young child can see the flaws in religious reasoning.

    For those of you on the religious side of things who accuse us of being close-minded and easily led, I have a question for you:

    If evolution were to be shown to be false, would you expect us all to ‘default’ to the Christian belief in Jehovah?

    If your answer is ‘yes’, then it is clearly you who does not understand what it means to be a rational, questioning human being. Of course, it also implies that you’re a bit of an uneducated bigot with respect to the hundreds of thousands of other faiths believed by the vast majority of humans on this planet, many of which answer the same questions Christianity purports to, many of which do so better.

  82. #83 Brownian
    June 13, 2007

    Sphagnum Mosster, if you’re trying to engage in a ontological or epistemological discussion about whether or not there is such a thing as objective ‘good’ and whether or not we can know it, there are clearer, more concise, and therefore more fruitful means of discussing such things.

    Your style of peripatetic obtuseness was fun when I was first-year student in university, but it mostly serves to piss people off and rarely produces anything meaningful.

  83. #84 Brownian
    June 13, 2007

    “You will not win us over by telling us how moronic we

    It’s got to be at least as effective as you trying to win us over by telling us how amoral we are.

  84. #85 Jeff
    June 13, 2007


    You haven’t read my posts. I have never accused anyone on the forum of amorality. That’s hardly an issue with me. You have me confused with someone else.

  85. #86 Brownian
    June 13, 2007


    You haven’t read my posts. I have never accused anyone on the forum of amorality. That’s hardly an issue with me. You have me confused with someone else.

    No, it appears you have not. I appreciate that. A very large number of theists and creationists have done so with no evidence to back up their claims, and it is tiresome.

  86. #87 Ichthyic
    June 13, 2007

    This was a very interesting discussion of evolution v. creation

    no, it really wasn’t anything more than basic kicks in the head to a troll who comes in with the same, tired, old arguments.

    surely, with a minimum of effort, you could easily find more enlightening discussions.

  87. #88 Ichthyic
    June 13, 2007

    oh, you can be sure that if someone they feel is a “true xian” told them that flying was a materialistic plot, they’d be out there trying to ban that too.

  88. #89 Ichthyic
    June 14, 2007

    But then something truly amazing was discovered. Replicating strands of RNA were still produced even when not a single molecule of viral RNA was added!

    see! it was a miracle!


    there ya have it: scientific proof of divine intervention!!!!

    can i get an amen!

    sorry, just had to.


    that post was a also a nice tribute to the recently departed Miller, btw.

  89. #90 The Spaghetti Monster
    June 14, 2007

    How about that? 🙂

    Posted by: kraant | June 13, 2007 11:13 PM

    How about that?

    Posted by: Kseniya | June 14, 2007 02:16 AM

    Yeah…. that’s awesomely awesome….

    Listen brighty brights, let’s cut to the chase. The real issue isn’t whether or not life evolves… everything must change in order to survive. Just look at all the change you have witnessed in your own pathetic life. The universe IS change, to exist is to change… evolve.

    Indeedy, the underlying issue that gets you brighty brights all hot and bothered is that some people choose to believe in a God. And for you, this belief that people have is unacceptable, therefore you claim that belief is synonymous with delusion. After all, with empirical evidence in hand, belief is not required. But, presumably people still ‘believe’ in all kinds of shit that they cannot prove. Let’s look at what your Lord and Savior ‘believes’…..

    “Because we exist in such a limited section of the universe, and given its enormous scale, I believe we cannot expect to be the only organisms within it”
    Richard Dawkins

    Hmmmmm, what next….? Do you think Dawkins next book will be titled “I was abducted by aliens”….? Probably not, after all, without the word “God” in the title, book sales would probably suffer…. I’m sure Dawkins realizes this, perhaps “I took a ride in a U.F.O. and was told by aliens that there is no God” would be better for $ales.

    God’s existence is either true or not. But calling it a scientific question implies that the tools of science can provide the answer. From my perspective, God cannot be completely contained within nature, and therefore God’s existence is outside of science’s ability to really weigh in.

    Even your Savior has this to say about God.

    “If there is a God, it’s going to be a whole lot bigger and a whole lot more incomprehensible than anything that any theologian of any religion has ever proposed.”
    Richard Dawkins

    What’s this…… “If” there is a God…… Well, it may be time to ‘jump ship’ brighty brights….. Your savior dropped the big “If”…..

  90. #91 Brownian
    June 14, 2007

    If [god(s)] exist out of time, are unknowable, unfathomable, beyond human comprehension in terms of morality, compassion, and design….how then is it possible for so many to speak in definite terms about what this [figurehead] likes to eat, likes to do in bed, thinks is yucky, or simply cannot stand? Further, why, in all the examples of these definites, do the [figurehead’s] preferences so clearly mimic and play upon humanity’s own prejudicial tendencies and discriminatory nature?

    Well put, Jefe. It’s the old ‘If my disease goes into spontaneous remission, it’s because God answered my prayers; if my disease doesn’t, God must have other plans for me’ AKA the ‘God works in mysterious ways’ loophole.

    I’m going to tie this in to SpaMo’s comment:

    “But if your mind is open about whether God might exist, you can point to aspects of the universe that are consistent with that conclusion.”

    So, if studies on prayer demonstrate that at best, prayer mirrors the placebo effect, and at worst, its effect on recovering patients is negative(1), why aren’t theists open to the idea that god doesn’t exist, or at the very least, s/he doesn’t care whether or not we pray, fuck, eat pork, wear veils, or torture heretics?

    1. Study of the Therapeutic Effects of Intercessory Prayer (STEP) in cardiac bypass patients: A multicenter randomized trial of uncertainty and certainty of receiving intercessory prayer
    Benson H, Dusek JA, Sherwood JB, Lam P, Bethea CF, Carpenter W, Levitsky S, Hill PC, Clem DW, Jain MK, Drumel D, Kopecky SL, Mueller PS, Marek D, Rollins S, Hibberd PL
    American Heart Journal- 2006 04 (Vol. 151, Issue 4)

  91. #92 Brownian
    June 14, 2007

    “On the contraire… and rather ironically, ‘belief’ in freedom and equality is not compatible within a Darwinian world view.”

    So sorry, but very untrue. There are a multiplicity of physiological features that suggest that cooperation was as important, if not more, than competition in hominid evolution. Language being probably one of the most compelling.

  92. #93 Brownian
    June 14, 2007

    For more specific information on cooperation within a Darwinian world, see

    If you’d like a more general introduction to what might constitute a ‘Darwinian world view’ I recommend reading some biology.

  93. #94 The Spaghetti Monster
    June 14, 2007

    “why aren’t theists open to the idea that god doesn’t exist”
    Posted by: Brownian | June 14, 2007 12:58 PM

    I have never met a theologian who has proclaimed with certainty that God exists. Who among us is without doubt? Sure, having faith, ‘belief’ in a creative force behind existence may seem a little crazy…. I’ll give you that. Like I said before, God either exists or does not exist. Who can make the claim that the decisions they have made in their lives have been based upon the right ideals?

  94. #95 The Spaghetti Monster
    June 14, 2007

    So sorry, but very untrue.

    For more specific information on cooperation within a Darwinian world, see

    Posted by: Brownian | June 14, 2007 01:33 PM

    What the f@^k does cooperation have to do with equality…….?

    Furthermore…. Take wikipedia and stick it!

    I’d rather light my hair on fire and chew on tin-foil….. sorry, I don’t “clicky” on links…… I’m more interested in what you think.

  95. #96 Brownian
    June 14, 2007

    What I think may be informed by facts, Spaghetti Monster, but it’s still only what I think.

    “I’d rather light my hair on fire and chew on tin-foil….. sorry, I don’t “clicky” on links…… I’m more interested in what you think.”

    I remember saying that when I was 19 and thought my skills in rhetoric made up for a lack of information. Man, did I fuck myself out of a lot of learning due to my own arrogance.

    You claim freedom and equality are not compatible within a Darwinian world view. You are wrong. You are, as many do, misquoting and misunderstanding Herbert Spencer (is that what you call telling us what you think?)

    Human culture is an evolutionary adaptation. Altruism is an evolutionary adaptation. Cooperation is an evolutionary adaptation. Nature is replete with examples of individuals that sacrifice their own reproductive fitness in order to enhance the fitness of close relatives or tribe members. Although the concept of equality is a humanly constructed ideal, its antecedents can be found throughout the natural world, as a result of evolutionary processes. Thus, a Darwinian world view must and does include explanations for altruistic behaviours.

  96. #97 Ichthyic
    June 14, 2007

    Furthermore…. Take wikipedia and stick it!

    you prefer Conservapedia, no doubt.

  97. #98 Brownian
    June 14, 2007

    Some human societies are less hierarchical than others though, Kseniya. Those cultures that aren’t hierarchical are (AFAIK) are based around hunting and gathering as economic activities, and tend to view social cooperation and harmony higher than wealth or status. A classical example of these would be the !Kung-San who have practices that reduce pride and social stratification among their members. (See ‘insulting the meat’, as described by Richard Borshay Lee.) A humorous first-person account of such a practice is given by RB Lee in “Eating Christmas in the Kalahari”:

    If anything, it seems to me an evolutionary world view demonstrates just how many possibilities there are for human behavour and society.

  98. #99 Kseniya
    June 14, 2007

    Brownian asked: “Why aren’t theists open to the idea that god doesn’t exist?”

    Spag replied: “I have never met a theologian who has proclaimed with certainty that God exists.”

    All theologians are theists, therefore all theists are theologians? I don’t think so.

    You can’t pretend the millions of believers who know little or nothing of theology don’t exist. We’re not talking about the learned tip of the iceburg here. This thread is about the masses, and what the masses believe and do not believe.

    You haven’t answered Brownian’s question at all. I wonder if you can possibly argue that there exists no signifcant number of believers (and do pay careful attention to the meaning of that word, please) who are without doubt. Faith is among the highest of all virtues, whereas doubt, while a forgivable human failing, certainly is not. That may not be universally true, but you can’t deny that it’s a common theme in a non-trivial number of religious doctrines.

  99. #100 Kseniya
    June 14, 2007


    Some human societies are less hierarchical than others though, Kseniya. […] If anything, it seems to me an evolutionary world view demonstrates just how many possibilities there are for human behavour and society.

    Yes, I understand, though I was trying to keep it simple, in an effort to whittle down Spag’s argument for the sake of clarity (or for the sake of my own understanding of what he was getting at.)

    Which is not to say that you haven’t taught me anything. Thank you; that’s interesting stuff. I’ve always been attracted to the lure of egalitarianism, while being wary of the lure of communism due to some horrific failures in its implementations. (My grandparents are from Kiev, you see…)

  100. #101 The Spaghetti Monster
    June 14, 2007

    I remember saying that when I was 19 and thought my skills in rhetoric made up for a lack of information. Man, did I fuck myself out of a lot of learning due to my own arrogance.
    Posted by: Brownian | June 14, 2007 03:03 PM

    That’s weird…. Cause I remember saying the same thing that you just said when I was nineteen. Then I went to Johns Hopkins and fucked myself out of a lot of money….

    Listen, perhaps I’m posting in broad general terms; indeed geared towards a more ‘social Darwinian’ world view. I guess I just like to argue.

    But you Kseniya (whoever you may be) intrigue me. You ask if I could possibly argue that there exists no significant number of believers who are without doubt. I will pay close attention to the word (believers) and can say with certainty; virtually all who claim to believe in God have doubt. This should be self-evident. People of faith are no different than anyone else; I guess that’s my point. You can argue that their belief leads to life decisions that are not based on sound rational evidence; you can site any number of examples of people committing horrible acts in the name of their ‘God’ but, I’m not sold on the idea that without God or religion the world would be any less violent. If not in Gods name…… whose? Money? Love? Power? The list could go on and on……

    ‘Knowledge and wisdom, far from being one,
    Have oft-times no connection. Knowledge dwells
    In heads replete with thoughts of other men;
    Wisdom in minds attentive to their own.’
    — William Cowper

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