Pharyngula

Desecration: it’s a fun hobby!

i-b09551f6b7f071fa14c9437188995f78-quran.jpg

I am appalled. A man in New York was arrested for throwing a copy of the Quran in a public toilet. He deserved arrest—everyone knows it is vandalism and criminal mischief to clog a public toilet with debris.

Oh, hang on — the guy was arrested for a hate crime? Are toilets now on the list of victims targeted by fringe fanatics? What’s their slogan: “Bring Back the Open Trench!”? It is a shame to see innocent and useful toilets persecuted in this ghastly way …

Wait, never mind. He was arrested for being mean to Muslims, which also makes no sense. He destroyed a book and clogged a toilet. If some local nut started setting fire to copies of The God Delusion, I wouldn’t feel personally victimized — let her burn all the copies she can buy, it’s just more money in Richard Dawkins’ pocket. (If she started stuffing copies into the toilets, though, then I might feel oppressed. When you gotta go, you gotta go.)

You know, there is a tradition around here, one that I’ve practiced for a few years: overwrought sanctimony must be met with disrespectful insolence. So I’m thinking of picking up a cheap copy of the Qu’ran. And I’m thinking … what to do, what to do. It will, of course, be something in the privacy of my home, with my very own copy — none of this public vandalism and veiled threats to people who believe. It will just be a demonstration of my right to treat my property as it deserves and of my opinion of this silly book.

So here are a few ideas. Maybe you can think of some more.

  • I could simply urinate on it, but that’s old hat.

  • If I had a puppy, I could use the pages for paper training. But I do not have a puppy and I’m not going to get one for this horrible reason.

  • The traditional approach: keep it near the fireplace, and use the pages for kindling. Of course, there’s no way I’m going to start a fire in the fireplace in August in Minnesota, so that’s going to have to wait a while.

  • I could doodle cartoons in the margins and make my own crudely illustrated (I have no talent) version of the Qu’ran. Then I could put it on ebay and make a profit.

  • Here’s an artsy option: I could make a new cover and a bookmark for it … out of bacon.

That last one sounds fun, and I could also put up photos on the blog (there’s also a tradition there) but perhaps some of you can come up with a better suggestion.

(via Deep Thoughts)

Comments

  1. #1 Lulu
    July 29, 2007

    Ohh, bacon on the Quran. Enough to drive both Muslims and veg*ns nuts. DO IT.

    But I demand an equally artsy treatment of the Bible. Perhaps Canadian bacon?

  2. #2 Schwa
    July 29, 2007

    If you want to be culturally offensive, you could step on it a few times. It’ll leave it in good enough shape for other treatments, and Muslims have a pretty strong sense of the foot as dirty.

    Frying a few pages in bacon fat might be good, but I don’t know if it’s worth the waste of delicious, delicious bacon.

  3. #3 K. Engels
    July 29, 2007

    Technically, the ‘proper’ way to dispose of the Qu’ran is to burn it or place it in running water…

  4. #4 llewelly
    July 29, 2007

    Lulu, the equivalent treatment for the bible would be, of course, a squid bookmark, as they are an abomination …

  5. #5 Bob
    July 29, 2007

    /open rant
    Who’s the victim of this “crime”? I disagree with the hate crime laws like this, because they are criminalizing the thought behind the action. If the action isn’t a crime (other than clogging the toilet), how can the thinking behind it be a crime?
    /close rant

    Another fine use for the Quran or any other babbley book would be to post in the toilet, so when you need some paper, it’s available. I know, I know, this is more the old Sears-catalog-in-the-outhouse routine. Or since the pages are usually nice thin paper, use it for origami (origami pigs?).

  6. #6 cory
    July 29, 2007

    OK, don’t you already have one nutcase roaming America who just might mean to do you harm. Now you are deliberately gonna piss off millions of the touchiest people on the planet?
    You are braver than I!

  7. #7 Janine
    July 29, 2007

    I think it helps to know the culture that the book is a part of. One of my all time desecrations was done by a friend of mine. He nailed a baby jesus to a bible through the groin. He said it was a representation of what happened to him in catholic school.

  8. #8 MAJeff
    July 29, 2007

    geez, i just leave mine on the shelf, unread, next to my copies of the bible and the tao te jing (or however it’s spelled). I know it’s boring, but they’re books, and I have a hard time hurting them.

  9. #9 blf
    July 29, 2007

    I just file the bible, the qur’an, et al. in the fiction section. Never have made up my mind exactly what sort of fiction (other than bad), however; definitely not science fiction, nor classic literature, nor historical, maybe 10’ novels?

  10. #10 Dirk Diggler
    July 29, 2007

    Is this a hate crime?-

    At work I have 3 bibles(from the dollar store) glued together. When I don’t believe someone, I pull out my ‘stack of bibles’ and make them swear on it.

  11. #11 Anonymous, but you can probably guess
    July 29, 2007

    “The good Americans tolerate ideas they may find personally repugnant, keep them on the shelf and learn from them, and allow others to peruse them while they may argue vigorously against them. The monsters fear ideas with which they disagree, set them on fire, and rant against allowing anyone else to look at them…. I’d think it ironic that a People of the Book should be so blasι about destroying books”

    P.Z. Myers, 2004/07/13

  12. #12 Hank Fox
    July 29, 2007

    Good suggestions all!

    It’s funny, though, I just realized that, irreligious as I am, I actually feel a REVERENCE for books. For the whole of my thinking life, I’ve felt that it was just wrong to hurt a book, any book.

    Books bring light. They collect knowledge, and fuel understanding, and bring comfort. They help train doctors and teachers, engineers and researchers. They teach us the value of the individual, and of independent, individual thought. They’re the pillars of civilization, to me.

    (I feel a parallel reverence for libraries. You can quote me on this: “Libraries are the cheapest and best thing civilization has to offer.”)

    Thinking about it just now, though, I discover that the growing anti-intellectualism in certain parts of the world, the U.S. included, opens up a hole in the protective sphere of my book-reverence.

    Those books that fuel the anti-intellectualism – the Bible, the Koran, whatever others there are that spawn knowledge- and freedom-hating fundamentalists – they’re really sort of anti-books, aren’t they? Instead of light, they bring a darkness that destroys the light of civilization.

    In those places today where you find enemies of individuality and independence and freedom, you’re likely to find these sorts of books. They reverse knowledge, inflame the sort of intolerance that kills equality and respect for others. They comfort and aid those who would end so much of the good – science, and open schools, and the libraries where all those other books, the good ones, are collected.

    Hmm.

    Have at it, PZ!

  13. #13 Azkyroth
    July 29, 2007

    “Anonymous, but you can probably guess”

    Unfortunately, no we can’t; the list of people too rock-stupid to understand the difference between censorship and mockery is far too long. A more specific clue, please?

  14. #14 K. Engels
    July 29, 2007

    If you do decide to do this, at least pick up a copy of the Oxford University Press’s paperback edition. It is $12.95, which is slightly more than some of the paperbacks published by the fundie publishing houses in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, but at least the money from your purchase will go to a deserving place.

  15. #15 jimBOB
    July 29, 2007

    Why not draw flip-book movies on the pages? This takes a bit of time but is fun to do. You could show a guy eating a pig, or pooping/peeing/vomiting on a Koran. Or show God vomiting up the Koran. Use your imagination!

  16. #16 Sideways
    July 29, 2007

    The article also reports that someone (not necessarily Shmulevich) “scrawled racial slurs on a student’s car… and on a bathroom wall.” PZ and commenters, are you going to argue that the vandal shouldn’t be charged with hate crimes because cars aren’t on the “list of victims”?

    Hate crimes are determined by the criminal’s intent (and if you confuse this with “thought crimes”, consider the difference between first and second degree murder). Shmulevich’s intent is transparent. He didn’t drop those Qurans in toilets to protest indoor plumbing. He did it to make Muslims feel alienated and unwelcome–to send a message that their religion makes them targets.

    I’m disappointed in you, PZ. As Treebeard might say, a humanist should know better.

  17. #17 Dan
    July 29, 2007

    I think you should rip the cover off and replace it with one that says “Holy Bible.” Then, go and stick it in a hotel room. Lather, rinse, repeat.

  18. #18 PZ Myers
    July 29, 2007

    Racial slurs, sure, that’s hate. I have no problem with charging someone with trying to create an oppressive environment with that kind of behavior. That is trying to send a message to certain students of that school that they aren’t wanted.

    Destroying books, though, is not normally regarded as a hate crime, or we’d have a lot of fundie preachers in jail right now. This is discriminatory and a bad precedent — it says that pointed criticism of ideas is not allowed. Throwing a book of bad ideas in a toilet is not the same as throwing people into a toilet. In particular, protesting the undue reverence granted to religious texts seems to me to be a very good idea.

  19. #19 Tom @Thoughtsic.com
    July 29, 2007

    Hilarious suggestions, PZ. I would also suggest shredding it and recycling it or using it as confetti. But personally I like your doodle-and-Ebay idea the best.

    What bothers me about calling this a hatecrime is that Christians (and their political henchmen) aren’t persecuted for hatecrimes against gays. I’m not even gay, but I do consider it a hatecrime to disallow them the same rights guaranteed by marriage.

    ..not to mention the hatecrimes preached each Sunday when they suggest that everyone but them (and they assume all of their family and friends, too, of course!) is going to be burnt for all eternity. I touched on this briefly in my post titled, What Wearing a Cross Means.

  20. #20 Bill
    July 29, 2007

    Sorry, but this might be the only post I’ve ever read here that is absolutely, totally ridiculous. I’m hugely disappointed in you, PZ. I agree with your point that throwing the Quran into a toilet is NOT a hate crime, but you should have left it at that. What is the POINT of desecrating this book? Or any book? Frankly, you just make yourself sound as ignorant and intolerant as any fundamentalist Christian. A 12-year-old fundamentalist Christian, at that, since it’s hard to believe this is adult thinking.

    This is a rational response? What are we going to do next, start throwing book-burning parties? Burn religious texts and gospel CD’s? Maybe we can get together with the fundies and share a bonfire? How stupid is this?

    Sorry, but count me out. I will object, reasonably and rationally, whenever vandalizing your own property – whether a religious item or the flag – is made a crime. I will, calmly and politely (more or less), disagree with all religious claims that are not based on sound evidence (all of them, in other words). But I will also treat people’s beliefs with tolerance, even when I think they’re absolutely ridiculous. I WON’T become just as big a lunatic as my foes.

    This is America. My neighbor’s religious beliefs, if any, are none of my business, unless he tries to force them on the rest of us. And this is something Muslims, in particular, desperately need to learn. In the marketplace of ideas, I’ll attempt to present my own reasonable, rational objections to all magical beliefs. I certainly won’t try to out-loony the loonies and out-crazy the nutcases. And with any luck, my example will help uphold my arguments.

  21. #21 Tom @Thoughtsic.com
    July 29, 2007

    I apologize; here is the real link if anyone is interested. What Wearing a Cross Means.

  22. #22 Caledonian
    July 29, 2007

    I don’t believe PZ is in favor of destroying books to keep them away from people who might read them.

    Rather, he is concerned about the people who treat a book as something sacred, and the people who bow down before the zealots’ outrage about the destruction of their sacred book by declaring damaging it a hate crime.

    These objections of “O, you said book burning was a waste and a shame, so you’re contradicting yourself by looking for ways to desecrate the Koran” are just stupid.

  23. #23 Sideways
    July 29, 2007

    PZ–you’re absolutely right, destroying books is not normally considered a hate crime. This is not a normal destruction of a book, so I fail to see your point.

    I thought your post “Link to me, or the Bible gets it!” was hilarious. I wouldn’t have thought it was hilarious if you’d left a urine-soaked bible on the steps of your local church. See the difference?

  24. #24 forsen
    July 29, 2007

    I can’t believe no one has suggested the toilet paper solution yet. Flushing down the entire book will clog the toilet, sure… but one paper at a time?

  25. #25 Tanya
    July 29, 2007

    I know how I would desecrate the Koran or the Bible. I would find the most stupid and offensive passage and then I would tear the page out and roll it up into a very large sized reefer. Then I would smoke it. Maybe I could try to figure out which holy book makes the best rolling papers.

  26. #26 Erik Frederiksen
    July 29, 2007

    I have no idea how posts like these can be considered constructive in any way.

  27. #27 poke
    July 29, 2007

    I think seeing a Koran in the toilet could create an “oppressive environment” even for Muslims who don’t care about desecration or even for a non-believer from a predominantly Muslim country. It’s a fine line.

  28. #28 nemo ramjet
    July 29, 2007

    Paint a picture of mohammed on the cover, then barbecue it with some delicious pork steak. It’s three-solutions-in-one, and the paper could give the steaks a nice smoky taste.

  29. #29 snowgeek
    July 29, 2007

    How about putting a nice Quran copy on the shelf in the ‘historical reference’ section, next to a bible, a copy of Herodotus, a pre-plate tectonics geology textbook, a pre-Darwin biology text, etc…

    Books of that nature are fascinating for the perspective they allow on the ‘evolution’ of human thinking.

    I don’t think the Quran needs any sort of desecration, just proper context!

  30. #30 mommyrex
    July 29, 2007

    “Paint a picture of mohammed on the cover, then barbecue it with some delicious pork steak. It’s three-solutions-in-one, and the paper could give the steaks a nice smoky taste.”

    With that and the bacon, I petition for a new post title.

    “Desecration: it’s what’s for dinner.”

  31. #31 Heather
    July 29, 2007

    What a horrible thing to do! I can’t imagine trying to put a book – any book! – down a toilet. What on earth are you going to read in the bathroom if you are always throwing the reading material away? Now you can’t use the toilet, nor can you read.

    The nice thing to do would be to leave it there next to the potty so the next person to come in wouldn’t have to be so bored. Everyone knows fiction is more enjoyable in the john than non-fiction!

  32. #32 efp
    July 29, 2007

    I would take pages from both the Qur’an and The Bible, weave them into a quilt, and shoot gay porn on them.

  33. #33 forsen
    July 29, 2007

    efp, I think that was by far the most creative suggestion yet.

  34. #34 spudbeach
    July 29, 2007

    I’m with Hank Fox’s (#12) first thought — I have a reverence for books, all books, and hate the thought of destroying them.

    After all, how am I going to show that Adolf Hitler was a nut from the start without showing the very first page of Mein Kampf?

    While damning Islam, Christianity and other nutcase religions based on the evident stupidity of their followers may be enough, I still think that a sound case can be made by showing off the stupidity of their “holy” books. While the skeptic’s annotated bible and skeptic’s annotated koran are wonderful resources, sometimes only the printed work will do. Heck, just showing my kids that the bible says to stone disobedient children was enough for them.

    So, I think we are for the same cause. However, I think that an enemies printed words are our best friends. Save the book — it will be useful.

  35. #35 Tulse
    July 29, 2007

    PZ, I’m not clear on what you’re upset about. You seem to recognize that the orginal act of “public vandalism and veiled threats to people who believe” was somehow improper (as you seem unwilling to engage in it yourself), and that the original act was likely not just about “a demonstration of my right to treat my property as it deserves and of my opinion of this silly book”. So what is the issue here? There is no law, including hate crime laws, that would prevent you from doing what you suggest in private. So what is the big deal?

  36. #36 Brian
    July 29, 2007

    I think it helps to know the culture that the book is a part of. One of my all time desecrations was done by a friend of mine. He nailed a baby jesus to a bible through the groin. He said it was a representation of what happened to him in catholic school.

    Hilarious. Pretty much fits my Catholic school experience.

  37. #38 Norman Doering
    July 29, 2007

    PZ Myers wrote:

    Destroying books, though, is not normally regarded as a hate crime, or we’d have a lot of fundie preachers in jail right now. This is discriminatory and a bad precedent —

    I think you may have misread a badly worded article. It seems that the Koran in the toilet incidents were just part of a larger campaign to make Muslim students feel threatened. Only two sentences clue me in: “The incidents came amid a spate of vandalism cases with religious or racial overtones at the school… someone scrawled racial slurs on a student’s car at the Westchester County satellite campus and on a bathroom wall at the campus in lower Manhattan.”

    No one is going to arrest you for Koran abuse done in the privacy of your own home. It’s not threatening anyone.

    Granting that Muslims viewing treatment of the Koran as a sensitive issue and viewing the book as a sacred object and mistreating it as an offense against God boarders on being psychotic, preventing people from doing it is more akin to keeping people from throwing things at Gorillas in the zoo than enforcing thought crimes. It’s just dangerous.

  38. #39 Citizen
    July 29, 2007

    Now I’m picturing Professor Myers sitting in the library from The Breakfast Club and ripping up a Qu’ran while doing his best Judd Nelson impression.

  39. #40 Lover of Books
    July 29, 2007

    PZ, you’ve gone too far. Desecrating a book, any book, is a horrible thing to do, never mind that it shouldn’t be crime. If you want to say that you don’t think it should be a crime there are far better ways of doing it than to destroy a book.

  40. #41 jimBOB
    July 29, 2007

    Here’s a somewhat related real-world example of Quran “desecration” and the response to it. In their 1979 release “My Life in the Bush of Ghosts,” David Byrne and Brian Eno had been experimenting with overlaying found voice samples with music of their own devising. One voice sample they had was someone chanting the Quran. After the album was released, they got objections from muslims saying it was desecration for the words of the Quran to be presented this way. So on subsequent releases, they removed the offending track.

    So, was this a proper response? Should we accomodate such an objection? Can religious groups make such a strong claim to their words that they can reasonably request that they never be presented in any context but one they choose? (The musical track in question was trancelike but not overtly disrespectful.) Even if such a presentation does not harm any physical book or other object, and does not inconvenience any believer in any way?

  41. #42 DigressiveSteve
    July 29, 2007

    People who desecrate a public toilet should have the book thrown at them!! Anybody who’s ever had to do the squeezed cheek trot into a filthy public restroom only to find that someone has stuffed something into the toilet rendering it useless, understands. And yes,this happened to me! My alternative: The equally filthy, but functional womens toilet, where, after closing what was left of the door I read this slogan scrawled in grease or something like it: (Don’t bother standing on the seat, the krabs here jump 15 feet). I say this guy should serve 30 days as a public bathroom attendant!

  42. #43 RamblinDude
    July 29, 2007

    Here’s a plan: we all say that were going to buy Qurans and bibles in order to desecrate them, and then let slip our intentions to Bill Oreilly. Since Christians and Muslims both love a good fight, what results is a rush to retaliate in kind. Richard Dawkins makes lots of money, and the statistics regarding the number of atheist-rational-science books printed and sold go way up! (Of course, we save our money and let them do all the buying…)

    And while were at it, we say that were also going to rip up goofy new age books–astrology, Sylvia Browne, numerology, etc.–all the creationist books we can get our hands on, all of the idiotic “Left Behind” series, and a whole bunch of Baptists, Mormon, fundy ‘Jesus saves’ religious pamphlets. Why the bookstores might have a hard time keeping up with the buying frenzy…

  43. #44 cv
    July 29, 2007

    I think a lot are missing the point: it’s mostly about how they react to the desecration of a book. It’s completely ridiculous so the response is equally ridiculous to show that it is JUST A BOOK. From what I read he hasn’t suggested in anyway shape or form “book burning” in any other sense than one singular copy of a book that he pays for. To compare ridiculing bizarre reverance to a pile of papers to censorship is just weird.

  44. #45 uknesvuinng
    July 29, 2007

    So, does someone want to do a little performance art in a large city (I’d do it, but the small town in which I live would just praise Jesus and wave flags in response)? I don’t think it’d be too hard to build a platform with a functioning toilet that can be setup, allow the performance, and then move on.

    Of course, anyone can do this in the privacy of his/her own home, but that’s hardly speech, now is it? If you’re going to make a statement, it helps to actually have a chance of people seeing it, otherwise you’re no better off than staying silent.

  45. #46 Spanish Inquisitor
    July 29, 2007

    Here are some pre-made book covers left over from the Harry Potter craze. They might work if the book is the right size.

  46. #47 PalMD
    July 29, 2007

    Im with some of the earlier commenters…I love books too much to do them harm. The closest thing I feel to religion is reverence for books.

  47. #48 PalMD
    July 29, 2007

    Im with some of the earlier commenters…I love books too much to do them harm. The closest thing I feel to religion is reverence for books.

  48. #49 Ian H Spedding FCD
    July 29, 2007

    These charges sound excessive on the face of it, unless there is more behind them that we are unaware of as yet.

    The people responsible for bringing these charges, though, are the police and public prosecutors. If they are over-reacting to Muslim protests then it is they who should be the target of any criticism.

    Defacing or destroying any book can be defended as a legitimate exercise of the right to freedom of expression. To do so, or to encourage others to do so, simply to thumb your nose at a particular faith sounds a bit childish, though.

  49. #50 Tony P
    July 29, 2007

    I’m rather surprised that the authors of the Skeptic’s Annotated Bible, Quran and Book of Mormon aren’t being charged with a hate crime.

    I do like the suggestion of a bacon bookmark though. Makes me want to startup flash and do a movie with Mohamed and his sidekick God sharing bacon and eggs on a sunny morning.

    That whole episode where Muslims got offended by cartoons portraying Mohamed was ridiculous. Historians are pretty certain he was an opium addict. So they’re following the deranged rantings of an opium addict. Nice.

  50. #51 aiabx
    July 29, 2007

    Mmmmm, bacon!

  51. #52 mena
    July 29, 2007

    Well, it’s just a book. I’m sorry but I don’t revere books because nowadays there are millions of copies of a book out there so it isn’t like the old hand copied bibles and stuff. If my copy of the last Harry Potter book burned in a fire or got stuffed down a toilet we wouldn’t lose any vital information. That being said though, I don’t think that they should be handled totally recklessly but, in the spirit of making lemonade when life hands you lemons, there’s a genre of art that uses books. Some of it is very nice.

  52. #53 Calladus
    July 29, 2007

    PZ, you’ve gone too far. Desecrating a book, any book, is a horrible thing to do, never mind that it shouldn’t be crime.

    Oh man. NOW what am I going to do with all of these Yellow Page phone directories? I was planning on using them for paper mache’.

    Hum. That might be an idea, using the Quran to make a paper mache’ mask of a pig (for Halloween use). I’d do it, but I only have two copies.

    Is it sacrilegious to write in the Quran? I write notes in my “Holy” books. I use highlighter and bookmarks. Sometimes I quote other books in the margins to show why a particular passage is incorrect.

    Old college habits die hard.

  53. #54 Steve Sutton
    July 29, 2007

    It would’ve been a hate crime if he had shoved a Muslim’s head into the toilet. Dropping a holy book into a toilet is, at most, just vandalism. Books are just inanimate objects, not sentient beings.

    Freedom of expression shouldn’t be a crime.

  54. #55 philos
    July 29, 2007

    You say PZ is on the edge of being a book burner?

    This isn’t light-hearted mockery, he said it himself,
    ” . . . must be met with disrespectful insolence” – PZ Myers

    “I have no problem euthanizing books damaged by mildew or water or insects, but taking a book, no matter how repugnant its content, and intentionally destroying it as a strike against the ideas therein is simply alien to me. Censorship and book-banning and worse, book-burning are unforgivable evils.”

    – PZ Myers Jul 13, 2004

    Unfortunately, PZ’s supposed and sweet reverence story of books has its’ bounds.

  55. #56 Science Avenger
    July 29, 2007

    A friend once found, at his apartment dumpster, a foot high cross with a paper mache Jesus on it. We used to amuse ourselves by shooting blow darts into it while we chatted, much to the chagrin of the occasonal Christian visitor.

    So I say use the Koran as the backing for a dart board or target. However, if you have artistic talents, balls, and time, the best way to make a point about the Koran and the goofy Muslim ideas would be to illustrate the entire thing. This would, of course, include many depictions of the world’s most famous epileptic, er, prophet. Then mass produce them and sell them. What could be more offensive to a Muslim than a capitalist pi…, er, infidel profiting off pictures of He Who Shall Not Be Pictured?

  56. #57 MemePilot
    July 29, 2007

    You could shred it and make pinatas and fill them with pork rinds.

    You could incase several of them in pollyurathane and make a dog house, outhouse, a bench, shoe rack, or any other peice of furniture.

    Cut it up and rearrange the words to quote almost anyone you want; Darwin, Dawkins, Segan, etc.

  57. #58 philos
    July 29, 2007

    W o r d s o f a m e n t a l g i a n t :

    “And I’m thinking … what to do, what to do. . . .

    So here are a few ideas. Maybe you can think of some more.

    I could simply urinate on it (Qu’ran), but that’s old hat.”

    – PZ Myers

    Up there with Darwin, let me tell ya.

  58. #59 Brian X
    July 29, 2007

    There’s protest, and then there’s spitefulness. Merely burning a Koran would be protest. Desecrating one… well, since I have no particular attachment to it, I’d call it juvenile at best.

  59. #60 cm
    July 29, 2007

    Unfortunately, PZ’s supposed and sweet reverence story of books has its’ bounds.

    You did notice that this post was categorized under “Humor” and “Religion”, no?

  60. #61 Bill
    July 29, 2007

    Excuse me, please. I see that I need to clarify one small part of my previous post. If someone flushed his own copy of the Quran down his own toilet in his own house, that would be stupid and childish, but not a hate crime. But if he flushed it down someone else’s toilet, or down a public toilet, that may or may not be a hate crime, depending on the precise circumstances (though it would certainly be vandalism).

    I don’t know about this exact case, since I haven’t read the story. It’s not at all important to my main argument, and reasonable people can disagree about what specific incident is a hate crime and what is not. If you had a reasonable expectation that it was an attempt to intimidate, harass, or threaten an often-despised minority, then yes, the incident was no doubt a hate crime. The intention matters, so reasonable people may disagree. That’s why we have courts, after all.

    It would still be stupid and childish, of course – just like many of the proposals here. Muslims in particular have good reason to feel unwelcome and unwanted in America (somewhat like atheists, in that regard), and subject to feelings of persecution and intimidation. But Freedom of Religion means ALL religions – as well as non-belief, too. I don’t know any Muslims, but I have friends who are Christians. I disagree with them, but I don’t attempt to publicly humiliate them. We’re still friends. And I hope I’d treat members of any other religious group the same way.

    Your religious belief, or lack thereof, is your own business in America. I will resist any attempt to force it on someone else, and I’ll likely argue that it’s not based on reality, but I won’t perform stupid and childish tricks designed to anger and humiliate you.

  61. #62 Amit
    July 29, 2007

    Of course, anyone can do this in the privacy of his/her own home, but that’s hardly speech, now is it? If you’re going to make a statement, it helps to actually have a chance of people seeing it, otherwise you’re no better off than staying silent.

    There’s always youtube.

    -Amit

  62. #63 CalGeorge
    July 29, 2007

    What I would do:

    Magic marker out all the references to killing infidels, worshipping a non-existent fantasy god, and any other dumbass stuff, then donate it to a library.

    Let them throw it into a dumpster.

    Be sure to attach a global positioning device to the spine before donating, then trace it to its final resting place (preferably on the Internet for all to see).

  63. #64 Vince Williams
    July 29, 2007

    This post is jejune and sophomoric.

  64. #65 Tyler DiPietro
    July 29, 2007

    “This post is jejune and sophomoric.”

    You suck.

  65. #66 Crudely Wrott
    July 29, 2007

    Eh? Put what where?

    Lemme see here. I need to visualize the incident.

    I see the hole in the toilet. It is relatively small and round. I see the book, relatively large and rectangular.

    Now, altogether, what do I see next? (Hint, picture your first pegboard toy, the one with the holes and the pegs and the hammer.)

    This is silly, ain’t it?

  66. #67 Rey Fox
    July 29, 2007

    What’s the name of the variety of troll that spends his time poring over blog posts in order to trumpet what he sees as an inconsistency in the bloggers beliefs/statements?

    I think the evils of religion go way way beyond the books on which they’re based, so I’m rather unmoved by this sort of protest. As far as I can see, the basic idea is to rob a book, which in this case should be considered a symbol, of it’s sacredness. I’m not sure destroying said book is quite the right way to go, because how often do we actively destroy any other books? Even the worst novels that we get fed up with reading just go to Goodwill. I’m thinking maybe of using the Koran as a coaster to prop up a wobbly piece of furniture. Like in the classic In Living Color sketch with the Home Boy Shopping Network hosts selling TVs that they stole from hotels. The swivel attachment made the TVs rather wobbly, so they promised to throw in a stack of Gideon Bibles to every customer. It may not be as fire-breathing, but I can more get behind the sort of statement that the Koran, Bible, I Ching, whatever, is Just A Book.

  67. #68 Starchy
    July 29, 2007

    You could pit it against a copy of the Bible in a highly publicized Truth-Off!

    Which one weighs more?

    Which one would cover more surface area when disassembled into its individual component lies?

    Which one, uh, boils faster?

    And so forth! Don’t forget to include the Talmud, the Bhagavad Gita, Dianetics, and the Gospel of the FSM for fairness’ sake. Finally, a “scientific” way to test the truth-quotients (NOT the truthiness) of all the world’s great religions!

    And if you don’t do this, maybe I will.

  68. #69 sailor
    July 29, 2007

    “Treatment of the Quran is a sensitive issue for Muslims, who view the book as a sacred object and mistreating it as an offense against God. The religion teaches that the Quran is the direct word of God. ”

    Sounds to me rather like how many Amercians view their flag.

    I think free speech should allow people to desicrate both, but throwing any book down a toilet, without doing it page by page and flushing it often, should be considered a crime against the next person who wishes to use the toilet.

  69. #70 Colugo
    July 29, 2007

    Charles Merrill’s protest art using the Bible and the Koran
    http://www.advocate.com/news_detail_ektid47752.asp

    “Charles Merrill, the out Palm Springs artist who recently gained notoriety for editing the Bible with a black marker and a pair of scissors, recently made a statement against Muslim homophobia by burning an antique Koran valued at $60,000. “The purpose of editing and burning Abrahamic Holy Books is to eliminate homophobic hate,” Merrill stated in a press release posted online. “Both ancient books are terrorist manuals.””

    Specifically, it was a Thomas Kinkade Family Bible.

    More Koran art
    http://sunbreak.blogspot.com/2003/01/seattle-critic-turns-commissar-this.html

    “Gallery Roq la Rue featured a Koran in which artist Kurt Geissel had carved out the shape of a Buddhist figurine – specifically one of the Bamiyan Buddhas destroyed by the Taliban in the spring of 2001.”

    http://www.recordnet.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20051202/OPED0301/512020325/1001/NEWS01

    “Many Muslim students are upset over an artwork in the current show, “My Country, Right or Left: Artists Respond to the State of the Union,” at Delta’s L.H. Horton art gallery.

    Called “Kalashnikov Jihad,” the work by local artist John Lechner is a life-sized ceramic Kalashnikov assault rifle wrapped in pages of flowing Arabic script from the Quran.”

    Marilyn Manson once ripped up a Book of Mormon on stage
    http://www.billboard.com/bbcom/bio/index.jsp?pid=36874

  70. #71 Colugo
    July 29, 2007

    As an “appeaser” atheist, I hasten to add that while these acts of iconoclasm may be personally cathartic – especially for those who have been personally traumatized by religious extremists – they hardly contribute to an image of critics of faith as exhibiting calm composure, mature civility, and sophisticated argumentation.

  71. #72 tinyfrog
    July 29, 2007

    I wonder how someone can put the crucifix in a bottle of urine, call it art, but flushing the Koran down the toilet is “a hate crime”?

    Anyway, the YouTube user CapnOAwesome put up a video of him flushing the Koran down the toilet. It was flagged as ‘inappropriate’ and removed. But, this video has his flushing the Koran down the toilet again (in the last 15 seconds of the video):
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RB4we66KxcA

  72. #73 Harald Hanche-Olsen
    July 29, 2007

    Actually, as far as I am aware, according to Muslims a translation of the Quran is just a book: only the original Arab is the Quran and hence considered holy. Flushing a translation of it (such as shown in the illustration to this blog post) down the toilet shouldn’t upset them at all. In principle.

  73. #74 Orac
    July 29, 2007

    Put me on the side of those who think this post was incredibly childish and contemptible.

  74. #75 T. Bruce McNeely
    July 29, 2007

    Grind it up into little bits and put ’em in a box labelled “Koran Flakes”!

    (I also don’t like defacing books, but I also can’t resist stupid puns)

  75. #76 Kim
    July 29, 2007

    Yeah, I see why this war will continue. I am with Orac!

    Kim

  76. #77 Christian Burnham
    July 29, 2007

    Wrap the Quran and the Bible in the Stars and Stripes and then liberally douse in gasoline for a good fire. Videotape it and put it on YouTube.

  77. #78 Jorg
    July 29, 2007

    Several years ago, when I lived in Berkeley and was a poor student I did use both the Bible and the Book of Mormon for puppy training. I must report that the Bible paper was superior to the Mormon paper in all ways: softer, thinner, more absorbent. I even considered…nah, forget it.;)

  78. #79 Colugo
    July 29, 2007

    Christian Burnham: Yeah, that would make a statement all right.

    http://www.theonion.com/content/node/32141

    http://www.theonion.com/content/node/28231

  79. #80 RamblinDude
    July 29, 2007

    As an “appeaser” atheist, I hasten to add that while these acts of iconoclasm may be personally cathartic – especially for those who have been personally traumatized by religious extremists – they hardly contribute to an image of critics of faith as exhibiting calm composure, mature civility, and sophisticated argumentation.

    Hey, untrue! We are calmly composing, in a mature and civil forum, sophisticated arguments for the disrespecting of manuals of supposedly supernatural and divine origin. All very sophisticated and of the highest intellectual caliber.

    I like the ‘Koran Flakes’ best!

  80. #81 Christian Burnham
    July 29, 2007

    Y’know, I may dislike their religion- and all religions, but I have a lot of sympathy for Muslims in the West.

    e.g. see this article:

    http://observer.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,,2137144,00.html

  81. #82 Denis Loubet
    July 29, 2007

    An interesting message to send would be to pile up a bunch of copies of The God Delusion, and have Richard Dawkins toss the match and explain that if he is not insulted by the destruction of his own book, what does that say about the thickness of his skin compared to the skins of the purported god and its followers. It also demonstrates that a book is wood-pulp, and its intrinsic value does not compare to the intrinsic value of a human being.

  82. #83 Peter McGrath
    July 29, 2007

    ‘Sorry love you’ve got a monotheistic sacred text best appreciated in the original ancient Arabic stuck down your crapper. I’ll just go to the van and get my Koran wrench…’ Why did that never happen when I was a plumber? That would have been a story to knock ’em out with down the pub.

  83. #84 Bunjo
    July 29, 2007

    I think Bill (#61) has the right of it. Making a religious or political point (book flushing, flag burning, bumper stickers) is legally free speech in America…

    Anonymous book flushing, cross burning on the lawn, gang tag spraying, is at least vandalism – and if part of a larger set of activities or directed at a specific minority with the intent to cause fear – well that is not really free speech. Is it hate crime? Could be, YMMV.

  84. #85 ckerst
    July 29, 2007

    Alright I admit it, i take the bible out of my motel room and line my bird cage with it.

  85. #86 Iskra
    July 29, 2007

    Well if it is anything like the book of Mormon, it’s super thin pages work wonderfully for hand rolled “cigarettes.”

  86. #87 T
    July 29, 2007

    Y’know, I may dislike their religion- and all religions, but I have a lot of sympathy for Muslims in the West.

    I hope you have plenty of sympathy for people caught in the way of Muslims, too –

    About 70 members of a group singing qawwali, devotional music with rhythmic clapping, attacked Younis on Sept. 9, 2005, after he was accused of making derogatory remarks about Prophet Muhammad. About 26 men grabbed him from a billiards club the next day, physically abused him and his wife, threw bricks at his house and later set it on fire. Several of the 50 local Christian families later fled the area.
    “The police, in turn, registered a blasphemy case against me when I went to register the First Information Report (FIR) about the assault,”

    http://www.catholic.org/international/international_story.php?id=24494

    The mob stormed Chak 248’s lone church with guns, axes and wooden sticks at 5.00pm on 17 June, a Sunday, only one hour before the start of an evangelistic meeting. Christians inside the building fought back but were unable to prevent many of the congregation’s Bibles and hymn books being destroyed.
    http://www.crossrhythms.co.uk/articles/life/Pakistan__Mob_Confess_To_Church_Attack/28165/p1/

    The Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC), on Monday handed down a blasphemous writer a life term as well as other sentences, having found him guilty of the offence of defiling a copy of the Holy Quran, outraging religious feelings and propagating religious hatred among society.

    Sheikh was arrested by police in January 2005 for writing a book against the Islamic laws deviating from the teaching of Quran and Sunnah. The accused had negated the punishment of Rajam (Stoning to death in case of adultery) in his book and wrote contemptuous remarks against Imams of Fiqah.

    http://www.thenews.com.pk/daily_detail.asp?id=65594\

    These are just the tip of the iceberg.

  87. #88 Djur
    July 29, 2007

    I agree with Orac. This is a despicable post.

    The difference between desecrating a Christian holy symbol or book and a Muslim one is that Christians aren’t the target of a massive campaign of discrimination and demonization in the service of an imperialist war. Think of it this way: if I were to spraypaint generic obscene graffiti on the local lily-white Episcopal churches, that would be a completely different issue than if I went into black neighborhoods and systematically sprayed the same graffiti onto those churches.

    Targeting the Koran for desecration is not constructive when Islam is being used as an excuse for racist intimidation.

  88. #89 Amit
    July 29, 2007

    There’s the case of Taslima Nasreen and how she has been persecuted by fanatic Muslims. This is a danger that USA needs to wake up to soon.

  89. #90 Christian Burnham
    July 29, 2007

    T, read the article I posted:

    http://observer.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,,2137144,00.html

    In a remarkable interview for The Observer, British resident Bisher al-Rawi has told how he was betrayed by the security service despite having helped keep track of Abu Qatada, the Muslim cleric accused of being Osama bin Laden’s ‘ambassador in Europe’. He was abducted and stripped naked by US agents, clad in nappies, a tracksuit and shackles, blindfolded and forced to wear ear mufflers, then strapped to a stretcher on board a plane bound for a CIA ‘black site’ jail near Kabul in Afghanistan.

    He was taken on to the jail at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba before being released last March and returned to Britain after four years’ detention without charge.

    And yes- I have sympathy for all victims, but let’s not forget the enormous discrimination that Muslims face.

  90. #91 Ed Darrell
    July 29, 2007

    One of the things I find despicable in fundy preachers is the way they insist on adding insults to injury.

    Is there any noble purpose accomplished by defacing somebody’s scripture? Isn’t that tantamount to book burning? Do we really want to encourage such silly, but often hurtful, displays?

  91. #92 uknesvuinng
    July 29, 2007

    @#62: Point taken.

    @Various: “Attacking” their beliefs through criticism, whether the simple words or more creative means (however juvenile you may perceive them), is not an attack on the people. No one is advocating (at least as far as I have seen) taking copies of the Koran from their Muslim owners, or forcing Muslims to watch the desecration, or advocating violence against Muslims by any such speech.

    Furthermore, in a land of free speech, if someone feels unwelcome because their beliefs are criticized, well, that’s their own damn problem. Speech is protected, feelings aren’t. If they go crazy violent, it’s their choice. No one forces them to act that way but themselves. Let’s try not to blame victims here.

    So grab a Bible, Koran, and/or any other holy book you wish and desecrate away, and show them that their personal rules don’t apply to those of us that don’t believe. They’re welcome to their beliefs and ideas, but those beliefs and ideas are subject to criticism as much as any other.

  92. #93 August Pamplona
    July 29, 2007

    I actually don’t approve because I like books. Here’s an options, though:

    http://www.funforever.net/archives/dont-try-this-at-home

  93. #94 rjb
    July 29, 2007

    Send it to the “Will it blend?” guy.

  94. #95 caynazzo
    July 29, 2007

    I initially interpreted PZ’s post as crude and crass, but it was fleeting and now I see it for what it is–liberal backlash. Perhaps it is unfair to apply the golden rule here because I don’t maintain as sacred or worship things or ideas to the extent that I would hold in contempt someone who defacated on any of Voltaire’s or Paine’s works…turned-off would be about all I could muster. After all, it’s more than a fair price to pay for living in a free and democratic society.

  95. #96 Colugo
    July 29, 2007

    Djur: “The difference between desecrating a Christian holy symbol or book and a Muslim one is that Christians aren’t the target of a massive campaign of discrimination and demonization in the service of an imperialist war.”

    And Pakistani, Sudanese, and Egyptian Christians, and Indonesian and southern Thai Buddhists do not face mob violence, oppression, persecution and worse at the hands of Islamist fanatics? To say nothing Zoroastrians, Bahai, Mandeans, Hindus and other non-Muslim faiths in Muslim-dominated countries. Or for matter, the oppression of less dominant Muslim sects and ethnic minorities by co-religionists. Numerically, the greatest victims of Islamic terrorism and tyranny are Muslims. Some of the bravest voices, in both the West and the Islamic world, against Islamic theocratic brutality are Muslims.

    You are making a globally and historically blinkered argument for double standards.

    The problem is not all of Islam nor all of Christianity nor is it even theism itself. The problem is fanaticism, millenarianism, and tyranny, which can have an Islamic, Christian, Sikh (et.) or atheistic face.

    Desecrate all of the Korans and Bibles that you want, or construct fallacious arguments about why one activity is more justifiable (or worse) than the other, but you won’t be getting at the root of the problem.

  96. #97 Salt
    July 29, 2007

    PZ, you could fly to Mecca, burn it in public, and really make a statement.

  97. #98 Joshua
    July 29, 2007

    I say go for the cartoons. PZ Myers’ Illustrated Qur’an! Hell, you should try to get it published. I’d buy a copy.

  98. #99 Marcus Ranum
    July 29, 2007

    No… You guys are missing an important concept!!! Here goes:

    Since each of the major religions is sure their book is holy and the others are (more or less to some degree) wrong – produce your own that gets it right.

    Take a bible, a koran, a copy of playboy, and a copy of the book of mormon. Maybe even Dianetics. Select the pages that you think make some sense. Ha, ha, ha… Ok, I mean – select a few pages at random from each. Then bind them together. Collage the cover together out of pieces of the relevant texts – Maybe “The Holy Dianetics Koran” with a picture of naked Miss January on the front…

  99. #100 Moody834
    July 29, 2007

    Certainly, anyone has a right to damage or destroy any book he or she owns. If this act is seen as desecration by a group of people, they have a right to complain all they want, regardless of whether or not their reasoning is rational. Muslims, like Christians, like Jews, like Hindus, are people before anything else. Like anyone else, they have feelings, ideas and beliefs about the world in which they find themselves. They hold certain things sacred. Some of them go too far, attempting to force their beliefs on others in inexcusable ways. They ought not be allowed to do so, and it is such behavior that rational, thoughtful, open-minded people must fight against (“The price of Liberty” and all that).

    Frankly, I do not see how purposefully offending them by desecrating what they hold sacred will help in the fight. There is a fine line between standing up for yourself and the freedom to express your opinion, on the one side, and, on the other, making a group of varied individuals (united as they may be) feel that they are unwelcome and that others feel hostility toward them. It is obviously a lesson that many Muslims should learn, along with a great many Christians, etc. Do we atheists need to learn it as well?

    Put another way, there is a significant difference between Dawkins publishing a book that attacks the very idea of “God” and someone seeking to offend a group of people by desecrating what they hold dear. If you want to piss on the Koran in the privacy of your own home, that’s your business. But publicizing the act seems to me to be needlessly aggressive and openly hostile — not to the ideas of the people offended, but, especially in today’s socio-political climate, hostile to the people themselves.

    Naturally, there is nothing wrong with defending oneself against attack. That is why taking down the ID/creationists, who seek to undermine legitimate science with their lies and deceptions, is completely understandable and justified. And, when it’s close to home, taking on bigots and their ilk is called for. Sometimes that means defending someone we totally disagree with in the name of what we do believe.

    I admit that I am of two minds about this issue, insofar as I strongly dislike religions and find the idea of “God” ridiculous. Sometimes I worry that my willingness to hold my tongue and consider the whys and wherefores of others’ beliefs weakens me when they, with their black and white thinking, move to take control of my country. But I cannot imagine that becoming more like them is a good idea. Fighting fire with fire just means that more gets burned, no?

    Anyway, just my two cents.

  100. #101 Dan
    July 29, 2007

    I’m still going to stick with my original thought of swapping covers with the Bible. It’d be interesting to see how far into it someone would have to get before they realize that they are, in fact, not reading a Bible.

    I’m willing to bet there’s a whole heap of screeching Fundies out there who would wave such a book around for years without figuring it out.

  101. #102 Marcus Ranum
    July 29, 2007

    > What are we going to do next, start throwing
    >book-burning parties? Burn religious texts and
    >gospel CD’s?

    You’re right. That doesn’t sound very cool. But a “ridicule-in” might be fun. You know – selected dramatic readings from the holy books followed by chablis-sodden giggles, “what are they, retarded?” and deconstructionist editorial.

    Actually, a deconstructionist version of the bible/koran (they’d be interchangeable at that point) would be pretty damn funny. πŸ™‚

  102. #103 Reality Czech
    July 29, 2007

    I’d like everyone to compare Djur’s claims of discrimination to the mass-murder of 9/11 and the killing of Theo Van Gogh.

  103. #104 Kausik Datta
    July 29, 2007

    Orac at #74, you have my vote. This post was reprehensible. I am honestly surprised at this gaffe from the otherwise level-headed PZ.

    For all those going for that ‘it is just a book’ argument, pity that you don’t understand the context of historical or cultural symbolism. This book, or any other such, the bible, the bhagavad gita, the zend avesta and so forth, represents a belief set – however misguided – of a group of people; it is symbolic of the people, not of the belief set. One can and should attack the belief set strongly, with logic and reason, and point out fallacies and inconsistencies as vehemently as possible; but what would the symbolic desecration of one book achieve, except to give lasting offence to the people it is sacred to? What does that accomplish in the long or short term?

    And no, someone who points out an apparent inconsistency between PZ’s earlier stance on this and this current post – even if anonymously – does not automatically become a troll!

    In order to define what constitutes a racial slur or a hate crime, it is probably best to follow the current federal guidelines for defining sexual harassment at workplace, which states, “It is not the intent of action that matters, but the effect that such an action is wrought upon the victim.” If it hurts someone else, it is bad.

    And please don’t argue that they do it, too!!

  104. #105 Marcus Ranum
    July 29, 2007

    @Moody:
    >Frankly, I do not see how purposefully offending them
    >by desecrating what they hold sacred will help in
    >the fight.

    That’s simple. When you desecrate what they hold sacred, they usually reach deep down inside some reservoir of stupid and come up with truly amazingly goofy behaviors. You know, like the muslims who carried signs reading “BEHEAD THOSE WHO DISRESPECT ISLAM” in response to someone saying that islam promotes violence? Obviously, irony is lost on them – but pointing and jeering might make them pause and wonder, “Hey… Is that guy laughing at ME?!”

  105. #106 Scott Hatfield, OM
    July 29, 2007

    PZ:

    I support your right to destroy your own personal property. I also support your right to publicize what you’re doing, to put pictures of it on the Internet, etc. All protected speech.

    But, you know, as your namesake once remarked, all things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. Do you really want to stoop to the level of those who burn books, make pinatas of their enemies or dartboards of their images? Sounds like voodoo to me.

    Just my two cents, boss….SH

  106. #107 K. Signal Eingang
    July 29, 2007

    A famous African king (and pagan), after escaping from Muslim slave traders, kept a Koran bound with rope under the foot of his throne for the remainder of his reign. So there’s a classic example.

    For a slightly more laid-back modern approach, I guess you could wrap the thing with Bacon Tape? and use it to steady a wobbly coffee table.

    I’ve desecrated many a Gideon Bibble – usually out of boredom or necessity rather than any attempt to make a point, though. Methods included making paper airplanes and sailing them out the hotel window (award prizes for distance, accuracy, and most interesting flight path); cramming the book full of “jumping jack”-style fireworks, taping it shut and lighting the fuses — definitely an outdoor activity, and worth videotaping; and er, the less said the better but the phrase “cigarette papers” should get the point across.

    Oh, wait, I just thought of the best idea of all…

    Will It Blend?

  107. #108 anti-nonsense
    July 29, 2007

    why not just stick a warning label on it saying “this book is a work of fiction and contains descriptions of pedophillia, rape, murder and other things that could be offensive to some readers”? And upload a video of doing it on Youtube. Best of both worlds, you get to mock them without destroying a book, which I disapprove of, though of course you are welcome to do it if you want.

  108. #109 Maronan
    July 29, 2007

    Hm. I don’t have much in the way of suggestions, unless you’re willing to get a pair of Qurans and use them as shoes.

    As such, I’m commenting (mainly) to toot my own horn, and/or remark that I actually did doodle in a copy of the Bible that was handed to me by a bunch of Bible-distributing nutbars at school. After doodling in it, I slipped it back into the pile of Bibles for distribution!

    When I put the doodled Bible back, I exchanged it for a clean one, and took that. I doodled in that one too, but unfortunately, that Bible was accidentally left in my pocket when I put my pants into the wash, and was reduced to a soggy green pulp. Jesus, apparently, was not around to protect it.

    Maybe you could “accidentally” put your Quran through the wash?

  109. #110 Jsn
    July 29, 2007

    109 comments for silliness? Wow PZ, you touched a nerve.

  110. #111 Cogito
    July 29, 2007

    Ugh. The whole concept of hate crimes is stupid, even when the accused actually hurts someone. If an action is a crime, fine, lock ’em up. The whole thoughtcrime idea is scary.

    In any case, if you want to make that bacon book cover, I think you could adapt the instructions here. (I never thought I’d Google “bacon weaving.” Gotta love the internet.)

  111. #112 PZ Myers
    July 29, 2007

    “Touched a nerve” is the right phrase. Everyone who objects: what if I’d said I was going to perform this atrocity on a copy of The DaVinci Code? Would that make you curl up in horror, too?

    It’s clear that there’s way too much unwarranted reverence for an old book here. I may just have to doodle on it, wrap it in bacon, set it on fire, and piss on it to put it out.

  112. #113 tomk
    July 29, 2007

    PZ, no one hates religion more then me.

    But this is absolute crap. I would expect this from a bunch of christian airmen or skinhead thugs, not you. Muslims are largely the victims of imams and other religious leaders like that. Lets save the nastiness for the charletons abusing power, instead of the followers. Otherwise you are just being a bully.

    Also, if you are doing things like yearlykos or whatever its called, you should be extra civilized. This post is Bill O’Reilly bait.

  113. #114 abeja
    July 29, 2007

    I’m pretty sure Muslims are totally repulsed by menstrual blood, so….

  114. #115 Caledonian
    July 29, 2007

    Muslims are largely the victims of imams and other religious leaders like that.

    That’s like saying fundamentalist Christians are ‘victims’ of charismatic preachers.

  115. #116 RamblinDude
    July 29, 2007

    “For all those going for that ‘it is just a book’ argument, pity that you don’t understand the context of historical or cultural symbolism.”

    We do understand it. It’s the perpetuation of superstition. And it is, and has been, justifying and perpetuating atrocities and suppression of thought. The sooner we spotlight it and ridicule it into insignificance, the better.

    When the Muslims get over the shock of having their sacred, revered, hallowed, blessed, divine, sacrosanct, holy object scorned, it will be a step forward for them in joining the real world, and getting a clue as to what freedom is. Welcome to America.

    Dump the Quran in the same bin as the Book of Mormon, the Bible, astrology, creationism, numerology, and Bill Oreilly, and laugh and laugh.

  116. #117 Shawn S.
    July 29, 2007

    Use it as an animation flip book. Be sure to animate the ‘prophet’ Mohammed doing nasty things with pigs.

  117. #118 Lulu
    July 29, 2007

    > It will, of course, be something in the privacy of my home, with my very own copy —
    > none of this public vandalism and veiled threats to people who believe. It will just be
    > a demonstration of my right to treat my property as it deserves and of my opinion of
    > this silly book.

    I think this explains it perfectly, for anyone appalled at his suggestion. So it could be taken the wrong way. So what? PZ does his own thing anyway, many of those things falling in the realm of not taking one’s self seriously, and keeps his head up high. And PZ’s quote here is his forthright admission of his motives. All this pointing out of possible undue consequences of his action assumes that the person criticizing him will completely ignore his mindset and his rationale anyway. Should that cow him into doing just what said people want, and not exercising his right to protest a ridiculous prosecution?
    (No.)

    Though I do agree with the admonitions that there are good ways to desecrate it without ruining it (and therefore, theoretically, no integrity would be destroyed… or something like that), it still seems like a decisive way to say “I think this is a book. I don’t think we should revere it. So I will do something silly to make that point. However, you’re free to do whatever. Also, don’t kill me.”
    (That last part may have been added for his benefit. What can I say, I’d still like him around.)

  118. #119 Ian H Spedding FCD
    July 29, 2007

    PZ Myers wrote:

    “Touched a nerve” is the right phrase. Everyone who objects: what if I’d said I was going to perform this atrocity on a copy of The DaVinci Code? Would that make you curl up in horror, too?

    No, it doesn’t make me “curl up in horror”.

    What it brings to mind is an image of little PZ, with his fists clenched, jumping up and down on a copy of the Koran yelling “I hate you! I hate you!”

    Is that what you want?

  119. #120 raven
    July 29, 2007

    PZ got it wrong here. Desecrating a book like the Quran can’t be separated from intent and potential targets.

    It is just a book, paper and ink. It is also an important and emotion laden symbol for billions of people.

    Assume PZ wrapped the Quran in pig fat, and then jumped on it and tossed a match in his backyard and no one saw it or knew about it. Would anyone care? No, not even the book which is an inanimate object.

    Assume he did it in front of a mosque or put a video up on youtube. Again the book wouldn’t care. But the people who believe it has symbolic value and have an emotional attachment would care. Rightly or wrongly they would receive the message that PZ thinks our book is garbage, our religion is garbage, and they just might think, PZ hates moslems. Whether he does or not.

    Symbols that are important to other people shouldn’t be desecrated lightly. The American flag, religious books, religious symbols.

    Which isn’t to say one shouldn’t respect all symbols. Swastikas and the hammer and sickle would probably not bother too many people. It all depends on context, intended message, and audience reaction sought. The Quran tosser in the example clearly was expressing his prejudice and hatred against moslems.

    It’s also a juvenile stunt. I do have things to say to moslems. They should drop this dark ages medieval mentality, stop killing each other for sectarian reasons, and join the 21st century. There, said it (again) and no books or bacon were harmed by this post.

  120. #121 Amit
    July 29, 2007

    #1, Lulu, I can’t claim to speak for all vegetarians, but I’d have no beef with you if put bacon (or for that matter, beef) on Koran or any other religious text. Will it be free-range and organic? πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜€

  121. #122 Aki
    July 29, 2007

    What one does in one’s own privacy is totally up to you, no question. But the trouble is that, publicizing it in such a manner does seem a bit nauseating.

    I spent my undergrad days at Pace University’s downtown campus, and I’m fully aware of the tensions between Hillel Pace (The Jewish Student group) and the Arab-American Society, The Muslim Student Association, and what have you (having friends from all three made for fun barroom talks πŸ˜‰ ). That the flushing is only being carried out now (or reported now) is to me, somewhat suprising. I don’t think this was more just a moment of anger that can be construed as a hate crime, partially due to the political environment, and partially to avoid law-suits. Personally, and as someone raised as a Muslim but an atheist since my early teens, I think that it’s irresponsible to hold any literature/individual up on a pedestal, and this is something that even Mohammad mentioned. The riots that occured after the mention of the flushing at Camp X-ray, and after the cartoons, and the murder of Theo Van Gogh for what was a rather boring flick that middle-aged white fellows at Oxford would love, were horrible and hypocritical reactions from a community that to sort out its own affairs before throwing bricks through other glasshouses.

    That being said, the political climate is such that someone isn’t going to take the dismantling/destruction of religious material not as “I don’t care that they’re enjoying freedom of speech, they must suffer!” but “oh crap, they’re doing this because they think that all of us are to blame for September 11/London/Iraq/blahblah.” People who could be ‘visually identified’ as being of the muslim faith were harassed or beaten up after September 11th. Finding a number of the searches on google regarding the flushing to be fairly right-wing sites doesn’t help. Going through the comments at freerepublic.com and LGF made my skin crawl. Brrr.

    I’m not saying that getting rid of any religious book is a bad idea. It’s just that in light of what’s going in the world, Iraq and Afghanistan in particular, the idea just needs a wee bit more consideration and fine tuning.

  122. #123 GodlessHeathen
    July 29, 2007

    Assume he did it in front of a mosque or put a video up on youtube. Again the book wouldn’t care. But the people who believe it has symbolic value and have an emotional attachment would care. Rightly or wrongly they would receive the message that PZ thinks our book is garbage, our religion is garbage, and they just might think, PZ hates moslems. Whether he does or not.”

    I’m sorry…. but so what?

    I do not think it’s reasonable to expect everyone to gently tip-toe around anyone’s opinions. And religion is, at best, just that – a set of opinions. Would I be arrested for a hate crime if I were to toss a sport’s team’s pamphlets in a toilet? How about some literature form the Republican party? I doubt it, because folks are more reasonable about that. They know it’s a difference of opinion that I’m expressing – albeit in a rather extreme and childish fashion.

    A person has every right to say “your religion is just stupid” as much as the adherents to that religion have the right to say “You’re stupid for thinking that”. So long as threats of physical harm to person or property are not uttered, or carried out, it’s nothing more than an exchange of ideas.

  123. #124 Andy o
    July 29, 2007

    “Treatment of the Quran is a sensitive issue for Muslims, who view the book as a sacred object and mistreating it as an offense against God. The religion teaches that the Quran is the direct word of God. ”

    Sounds to me rather like how many Amercians view their flag.

    I agree. It’s ridiculous. “Patriotism” gets to be too much like religion in many cases, not just in the USA. And it IS seen like positive by a much larger percentage of people than religion is. I think it’s just as corrosive.

    To not just bash on United Statesians, in my country there was some desecration (graffiti) of ancient ruins, and some put it like un-patriotic, because it was probably done by locals. How about just uncivilized? How about just idiotic and childish, even a crime? But unpatriotic? Would it have been worse or better if someone from another country did it?

    At the place I work at (in Los Angeles), the old man who puts the flags out in the morning (the American, Californian and some others), got complained about by someone who was just passing by and didn’t care to mind their own business, because he put the American flag on the floor, while raising the other flags on their respective poles. Bear in mind he’s very old and he has trouble leaning down, so he just threw it. No harm done, right? Yeah, right. Some baby was offended in his/her dear sensibility. Even if he wasn’t old… whatever, it’s just a piece of fabric. Right?

    I really love this country (U.S.A.) or rather the part of it that I am in (cause I don’t know most other parts, so I don’t hate them either), and as in any other country, there are “good” and “bad” persons, but in the ridiculous scale, I would say some Americans have such great potential…

  124. #125 Kausik Datta
    July 29, 2007

    #119 Raven, well said.

    #115 Ramblindude, you are dribbling, dude!! Wake up!!

    When the Muslims get over the shock of having their sacred, revered, hallowed, blessed, divine, sacrosanct, holy object scorned, it will be a step forward for them in joining the real world, and getting a clue as to what freedom is. Welcome to America.

    So, shocking people and scorning their beliefs are what represent freedom in America? And it is okay to impose your version of freedom on other people? Bravo!! Spoken like a true dyed-in-the-wool fundie wingnut!

  125. #126 MK
    July 29, 2007

    Yeah….I find I’m more in agreement with the folks who see this as a surprising and immature temper tantrum from a respected secular humanist/atheist. Ugly to watch, as most here are usually fellow travellers in this world of intolerance and religious hatred.

    But, hey, I guess it was just humor?

  126. #127 CalGeorge
    July 29, 2007

    A lot of people seem to have ignored the humor tag that PZ stuck on this post.

    Lighten up!

  127. #128 Bunjo
    July 29, 2007

    Talking of desecration of flags…

    http://www.mountainx.com/news/2007/flagged_down_activists_arrested_in_row_over_protest_flag_allege_abuse_by_bu

    obviously some good ol boys don’t respect free speech quite as much as you might think.

  128. #129 Amit
    July 29, 2007

    #119, raven: I agree that symbols are important, but so is freedom of speech. If non-Muslim women visiting Saudi Arabia are expected to cover up, it’s not unreasonable to expect Muslims who live in the US to respect freedom of speech.

    Also, why should there be double standards? I know what appeasement to minority Muslim population has done in India (a secular country), and it’s not pretty. As a US tax-payer, I’m concerned and I think it’s important that the same thing doesn’t happen here.

  129. #130 MK
    July 29, 2007

    Ian Spedding…#118.

    Well said.

  130. #131 MK
    July 29, 2007

    CalGeorge,

    Problem is…PZ isn’t responding as if it were just humor.

  131. #132 RamblinDude
    July 29, 2007

    “So, shocking people and scorning their beliefs are what represent freedom in America?”

    Yes.

    I’m not advocating hating anybody or any group, and I’m certainly not trying to rouse people to violence. But being deferential and polite to something that enslaves minds would be dishonest on my part. I have the freedom of speech to say what I think of superstition, and I will.

  132. #133 Jeff D
    July 29, 2007

    Sorry I did not take the time to read any of the previous comments.

    “Hate crimes” have been punishable in N.Y. State as separate crimes only since October 2000, under a statute that is now Article 485 of the N.Y. Penal Law. I have always thought hate crimes legislation is a rather stupid bit of public relations grandstanding / handwringing: Legislatures create the impression that they are getting tough on “hate crime,” but instead of sensibly amending sentencing laws so that enhanced punishment would result if a hateful, bigoted motive by the perp were proven, legislatures pass laws that (you guessed it) increase the punishments for existing crimes whenever they are accompanied by the perp’s belief or perception about the race, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, or religion, etc. of the victim or some other person.

    In the case of the guy in N.Y. who allegedly flushed the Korans, it’s not clear whether he bought the copies that he flushed. If he did, then the “specified offense” that is part of the “hate crime” charged could not be criminal mischief, because that would require reckless or intentional damage to someone else’s property (unless damage to the publicly-owned toilet is alleged). Are we now perilously close to prosecuting thoughtcrime?

    From my reading of the N.Y. hate crime statute, it seems to me that if some fundie Christian or ultra-orthodox Jew found out that someone had flushed a mezzuzah, a copy of the Torah, a statue of the Virgin Mary, or a Bible, and if that person complained loudly enough (something that Muslims have learned to do very well), then the perpetrator of such an act could just as easily be arrested and charged with “hate crime.” The D.A. would just have to prove a motive of religious belief or bigotry, etc. as the impetus for the act.

  133. #134 CalGeorge
    July 29, 2007

    Things that are not safe from destruction:

    A Qu’ran in PZ’s house.
    A Bible in Saudi Arabia.

    Proselytizing by non-Muslims is illegal, including the distribution of non-Muslim religious materials such as Bibles.

    http://www.state.gov/www/global/human_rights/irf/irf_rpt/irf_saudiara.html

  134. #135 Amit
    July 29, 2007

    #124, Kausik:

    And it is okay to impose your version of freedom on other people?

    I think if someone moves to the US to live here, it’s incumbent on him to learn about the country (freedom of speech etc.) and live by them. There’s always Saudi Arabia if they want to live under sharia laws.

  135. #136 coathangrrr
    July 29, 2007

    I’m sorry, but as an atheist, if I were attending a school and all of the sudden anti-atheist graffiti started popping up on campus all over and then someone started flushing atheist books, I would not be so level headed as to say, “Oh, it’s just freedom of speech.” The point of hate-crimes is that they represent a threat to a specific group, in this case muslims.

    How much do you want to bet that the flusher was theist?

  136. #137 CalGeorge
    July 29, 2007

    Look, it’s symbolic flushing!

    That should make everyone happy.

    So far, the Bible is winning out over the Qu’ran, 6646 to 6067.

  137. #138 RamblinDude
    July 29, 2007

    “Look, it’s symbolic flushing!”

    LOL! Good one!

    “Flushaholybook.com was created to promote a serious dialogue about religion and belief.
    The flushing away of an icon is irrelevant, and may help us demystify the words of men.”

    Hey, they get it.

  138. #139 Tessa
    July 29, 2007

    Thanks for the link CalGeorge. What a hoot!!!!

  139. #140 Stogoe
    July 29, 2007

    Piss on their religion. But use the Koran as rolling papers. If you don’t smoke, let Skatje or Alaric have a go.

    And piss on the concern trolls. Fuck ’em if they can’t take a joke.

  140. #141 CalGeorge
    July 29, 2007

    Thanks for the link CalGeorge. What a hoot!!!!

    I hope people are flushing the Book of Mormon. It’s a distant fourth in the stats. Not good enough!

  141. #142 Kausik Datta
    July 29, 2007

    #131 Ramblindude… you’ve got zeal, but please stop for a moment and read what you wrote…

    I’m not advocating hating anybody or any group, and I’m certainly not trying to rouse people to violence.

    Reads a bit like double standards, no? You say you are not advocating hating anybody or any group, but you are perfectly content to take a symbol that these people identify with closely, and vandalize it or desecrate it at will, claiming freedom of speech?

    But being deferential and polite to something that enslaves minds would be dishonest on my part. I have the freedom of speech to say what I think of superstition, and I will.

    Dude, nobody’s saying that you should not speak your mind. You should, and vocally, too, against all forms of superstition, bolstering your arguments with reason and evidence. Attack their belief set by soundness of your science. But what is the need to make a statement – and indeed, what statement – by an action that suspiciously resembles a puerile prank by a bunch of smashed fratboys?

    Do exercise your freedom of speech, but you are free to do it intelligently. You know, you sound like most Americans who did not have to fight from their freedom but had it handed down from the forefathers, and therefore, do not understand what freedom truly means. Please read the First Amendment of the US Constitution, that incorporates the Freedom of Expression clause, and read the annotations thereof. The right to freedom of speech allows individuals to express themselves without interference or constraint by the Government. It does not protect seditious speech, libel, or words which by their very utterance inflict injury. The same Freedom of Expression clause also allows different religious belief to exist untrammeled.

  142. #143 Kausik Datta
    July 29, 2007

    #135 Amit, and your point is?

    Freedom of Speech is perhaps the most misunderstood of all the rights due to an American citizen! The Constitutionally protected right to Freedom of Expression does not indicate an unqualified right to say anything and everything. Since you indicated you are a US tax-payer, please take time to actually read the First Amendment of the US Constitution and its annotations, dude. I promise you, it is a very enlightening read. Then we shall talk, all right?

  143. #144 tinyfrog
    July 29, 2007

    I’m sorry, but as an atheist, if I were attending a school and all of the sudden anti-atheist graffiti started popping up on campus all over and then someone started flushing atheist books, I would not be so level headed as to say, “Oh, it’s just freedom of speech.” The point of hate-crimes is that they represent a threat to a specific group, in this case muslims.

    Burning the American flag should, therefore, constitute a hate crime because it represents “a threat to a specific group”, in this case, Americans. I hope foreign countries will show they oppose “hate crimes” by enforcing this. Right? And a KKK rally constitutes a “a threat to a specific group” i.e. blacks, and therefore, all attending the rally should automatically be charged with a hate crime. Right? I don’t support either of those cases, but I oppose making them “hate crimes”. I think there should be equality here.

    By the way, Stanislav Shmulevich, the guy who put the Koran into the toilet is being charged with two felonies: criminal mischief and aggravated harassment.

    When events like this happen – showing a double-standard in the US justice system – I have no defense when Christians complain that things that offend them are not prosecuted as crimes, but things that offend non-Christian religions are. The rule seems to be that if you offend 250 million Christians with piss-Christ, it’s freedom of speech, but if you offend 5 million American Muslims with flushing a Koran, it’s a hate crime. The very act of offending fewer people makes it a punishable offense – with jail time and a permanent mark on your record.

  144. #145 Steve_C
    July 29, 2007

    It’s just a book that people give way too much respect to.

    And freedom of speech does alow you to desecrate any book you wish.

    It’s just paper and ink.

  145. #146 Amit
    July 29, 2007

    #143, Kausik, how can I argue with your condescension and assumptions? πŸ™‚

  146. #147 RamblinDude
    July 29, 2007

    First, I haven’t actually flushed anything down the toilet, and if I were in an actual situation where people would be genuinely upset about it, I probably wouldn’t–I’m pretty much of a softy. But isn’t it interesting that merely mentioning doing so incites such concern and passion? This is the superstitious-religious mentality that I am referring to, that I see as a big problem in the world today.

    I despise the strong arm tactics of religions that force people to be obsequious and reverential against their better judgment, and I will continue to help chip away at the superstitious mindset even if it affronts people’s sensibilities. It needs to be done, and now rather than later. It’s just a book.

  147. #148 uknesvuinng
    July 29, 2007

    @#143: And that’s a serious misunderstanding of freedom of speech. Of course it gives you the right to say anything and everything (excepting speech causing tangible harm by slander, libel, or by directly inciting harm). Freedom is meaningless if it only extends to things that everyone’s ok with. Freedom of speech means you get to say what ever silly idea comes into your head however you want to say it as long as you do not harm the person or property of other individuals. When you start telling people what ways they can and can’t speak, you’re infringing upon that freedom. People have just as much right to desecrate a Koran as they do to reason against it. And those that hold the symbol dear have the right to be offended by the act and react in whatever manner they see fit as long as it doesn’t bring harm to the person or property of others. No one’s denying Muslims in America the right to buy up copies of any anti-Islam or anti-religion text and do whatever they want to those texts. Admittedly, it won’t have quite the same effect, as most atheists are capable of not intertwining their identities with their beliefs.

  148. #149 Altabin
    July 29, 2007

    114:

    I’m pretty sure Muslims are totally repulsed by menstrual blood, so….

    Jesus on a stick, man – when people pulled this kind of crap in Abu Ghraib, every right-thinking person wanted them court-martialled, or worse. Now you think that an acceptable way to show how open-minded and freethinking you are is to piss on the Quran and smear menstrual blood about the place?

    People need to take a few deep breaths, and consider the inhumanity they’re cheerfully embracing out of a desire not to appear superstitious.

    Not that I imagine it’s of any interest to anyone, but after two or more years of following PZ’s blog, I think this is the moment I tell myself “enough,” and take it off my bookmarks. Ian Spedding said it best above (119):

    What it brings to mind is an image of little PZ, with his fists clenched, jumping up and down on a copy of the Koran yelling “I hate you! I hate you!”

    Yep, kind of pathetic. And more than a little scary.

  149. #150 Bob
    July 29, 2007

    I am stunned that so many commenters here are so concerned about the feelings of a bunch of sheeple. How about when discussing religious topics, you strap a koran and babble to your feet. Speak from a small portable dais that way. But crikey, why get so upset about a damned fictional book. Not even good fiction at that. You are being proactive apologists of the worst order. Oh, what if they react poorly. Screw them, and prosecute them.

  150. #151 PZ Myers
    July 29, 2007

    You’re comparing defacing a book in the privacy of my home to Abu Ghraib?

    This is exactly the point of this exercise. Get some perspective, man. There is nothing in a mass-produced pile of print that describes utter nonsense that deserves the kind of reverence you are demanding. And no, there is no comparison: the horrors at Abu Ghraib were committed on human beings, not books.

    Talk about jumping up and down and screaming. That’s pathetic. That demeans the people who have been harmed in this war.

  151. #152 Mike Haubrich, FCD
    July 29, 2007

    I don’t think that this is so reprehensible, and I don’t get why so many atheists are chiding PZ here. The book is a book written by a man who claimed to have been visited by angels and had it dictated to him, it started yet another religion that teaches that non-adherents are lesser humans which justifies war and violence.

    I say, use pig’s blood and draw a Mogen David and a Cross on it, perhaps on the pages in which are written that Allah has hardened the hearts of the infidels and that they can’t be converted to Islam, so it’s okay to kill them.

  152. #153 Tessa
    July 29, 2007

    Like CalGeorge (#127) pointed out, the post is tagged HUMOR. Some folks commenting aren’t feeling very humorous today I guess.

  153. #154 Manzie
    July 29, 2007

    Have to agree with Sideways and say that I too am disappointed in this post. A new reader to pharyngula, I thought I had found an open minded and harmless collective of thinkers.

    We are aware that religion oppresses the urge to learn and discover, it inspires more hatred than love and most importantly it inspires segregation of humanity. But we are as bad as the Christians or the Muslims or any other religious sect if we do not allow people the right to practice thier religion in peace – provided it does no harm to others.

    Desecration of any method of any religious text is stooping as low as the religions we peacefully chose not to follow, preferring open thought and knowledge. It should not be encouraged, even in jest.

  154. #155 T. Bruce McNeely
    July 29, 2007

    “Treatment of the Quran is a sensitive issue for Muslims, who view the book as a sacred object and mistreating it as an offense against God. The religion teaches that the Quran is the direct word of God. ”

    But but but what about the 3rd Commandment?

    Isn’t desecration of the Koran (or the Bible for that matter) actually saving the faith-heads from damnation?

  155. #156 PZ Myers
    July 29, 2007

    And this denies anyone the right to practice their religion in peace…how?

    Desecration is meaningless. There is no sacred to begin with. Try to understand that, and then you’ll understand: this is me laughing at empty foolishness taken absurdly seriously.

  156. #157 Annamal
    July 29, 2007

    Burning a cross in general is free speech and should be protected, burning one in the South where people were being lynched a very short time ago has a very specific meaning.

    Painting a swastika in general is free speech and should be protected, painting one outside a Jewish centre not so much.

    Flushing a Koran in the privacy of your own home is one thing, flushing a Koran as a message to other students when you live in a country which is currently kidnapping and torturing (to death in some cases) Muslims has a very specific meaning.

    It’s a reference to Guantanamo and it’s a very strange thing to see so many self declared advocates of freedom speaking out in favour of deliberately trying to inspire fear in others.

  157. #158 Tulse
    July 29, 2007

    You’re comparing defacing a book in the privacy of my home to Abu Ghraib?

    PZ, the original behaviour you commented on was not done in someone’s private home, but was done publicly. As I asked earlier, what is it precisely that you objected to in the original story? There are no laws at all in the US that would prevent you from doing whatever you want to whatever book in private. If your objection is to classifying publicly damaging a religious book as a hate crime, that’s fine, but then your suggested response is meaningless, since it is in private. It is a silly, empty gesture. If you want to engage in civil disobedience against hate crime laws, then you’ll have to do your desecrating in public.

  158. #159 RamblinDude
    July 29, 2007

    “It’s a reference to Guantanamo and it’s a very strange thing to see so many self declared advocates of freedom speaking out in favour of deliberately trying to inspire fear in others.”

    The goal is not to inspire fear in others; the goal is to set all people free, including Muslims, from superstitious tyranny. It’s just a book.

  159. #160 raven
    July 29, 2007

    Racial slurs, it is a fun hobby!
    Why not call black people niggers or Asians Chinks or Gooks? The spoken sounds are arbitrary syllables and the written, just letters strung together.

    Flag burning, its a fun hobby!
    Why not bring an oil soaked US flag to your next company picnic or family reunion for a few yuks?

    Flag flying, its a fun hobby!
    Why not fly a nazi flag over your house and paint it on your garage door? The symbol actually looks cool and the germans stole it from the mayans anyway.

    Death threats, it is a fun hobby!
    As I recall PZ and a few dozen of his closest colleagues got some hilarious email from M. Korn. What is the big deal? They are just photons and electrons running around the internet.

    Deer heads in mailboxes, it is a fun hobby!
    Got any annoying neighbors or a real hatred of some group? Just find a road kill deer, cow, horse, dog, whatever, cut off the head, and stick it in their mailbox at 2:00 AM. Leave a note signed George Allen, ex-senator for some fun. No big deal, it is just dead meat and will go to waste anyway.

    Desecration, it is a fun hobby!
    Subject of this thread.

    1. Symbols that are important and emotion laden for people shouldn’t be desecrated lightly. It all depends on context, intended message, audience, and audience reaction sought and probable audience reaction. For moslems in the USA, the message of a desecrated Quran could be construed (depending on circumstances) as, “these people hate us, they are crazy, and has anyone seen the kids in the last 5 minutes”? Minorities not in high regard can be so paranoid.

    2. It is also sort of juvenile and stupid. If one has a point to make, there are any number of forums, spoken, written, electronic etc.. to make them. If one has problems with the US direction, as I sure do, why burn a flag and look like a moron when there are countless documents on the internet to copy and paste that indicate we are that close to a theocracy?

    3. Regarding the laws. A whole different subject, one question is, is it smart and worthwhile, the other is more complicated. IMO, flag burning is legal, should be. Seems stupid and makes one look like a moron but whatever. Ditto swastika flag.
    Death threats: They need to find M. Korn fast.
    Desecrating religious books. Let the cops and lawyers sort it out. In the backyard with the dog watching, who cares? In front of a mosque, or under someone’s windshield???

  160. #161 David
    July 29, 2007

    –A new reader to pharyngula, I thought I had found an open minded and harmless collective of thinkers. —

    Ha!

    Sorry, but I had a similar feeling. You learn to get over it after reading about a post or two.

    It’s a shame PZ doesn’t post more… actual science. The few times he has its been interesting. But I guess, like most shock jocks, it feeds his ego to have lots of people respond. And who am I to deny him?

  161. #162 Kagehi
    July 29, 2007

    Hmm. How about making a grill that “looks” like pages from the Quran then going out in public and making breakfast from it? Better yet, make on side of it a page from the Quran, and the other a page from the Bible. You can cook bacon on the Quran side and… shellfish? on the other (or something… What would piss off the Christians?). πŸ˜‰ lol

  162. #163 Altabin
    July 29, 2007

    You’re comparing defacing a book in the privacy of my home to Abu Ghraib?

    No, if you read my comment you’ll see that it was provoked by the suggestion to smear the book with menstrual blood because that would be particularly offensive to Muslims. And of course even that it not directly comparable to the actions at Abu Ghraib. But the attitude towards human beings which it implies is not that far removed from it.

    It may well be the case that Muslim veneration for the Quran is absurd superstition. In fact, since I’m not a Muslim or any other kind of theist, I would have to say that any veneration of a text because it has been dictated by God is misplaced and misguided. I will not hesitate to argue with anyone who venerates a text in such a way – and, indeed, I have done many times in the past.

    But a stunt like this – the one the provoked the OP, the ones PZ suggested, and the ones suggested by other posters – cuts out rational argument altogether, and expresses only contempt for one’s fellow human beings.

    I have, in the past, taught at a Catholic university. Some of the students believe that morality is what is in the Bible, or what their parish priest has told them, or whatever is taught in the Church’s magisterium, or in the latest papal pronouncement – or some combination of those. Now, I could have torn down the crucifix that is in every classroom, spat on it and thrown it in the garbage. That would have shown them how silly they were to cling to empty symbols! Instead, I read philosophical texts on the grounds of morality with them, starting with Plato’s Euthyphro, and got them to talk about what they read. And many of them developed more intelligent and nuanced understandings of ethics, and were perhaps a little freer from the deadening clutches of the Church – all without me even using phrases like “the deadening clutches of the Church.” The world is not a philosophy class – but the common civility whereby I did not deliberately trash a symbol to which they had an attachment – well, I hope that isn’t just considered “quaint.”

    We all have ill-founded, but cherished beliefs. Sometimes, we can be talked out of them. But holding them up to ridicule and contempt (and in a way that at least recalls recent human rights abuses) – well, that’s not going to change any minds.

    Somehow, though, I don’t think I’m going to change any minds here, either.

  163. #164 Annamal
    July 29, 2007

    “The goal is not to inspire fear in others; the goal is to set all people free, including Muslims, from superstitious tyranny. It’s just a book.”

    I suggest you ask your government to stop kidnapping and torturing them first…just as a goodwill gesture you know?

  164. #165 RamblinDude
    July 29, 2007

    “I suggest you ask your government to stop kidnapping and torturing them first…just as a goodwill gesture you know?”

    I agree with you.

  165. #166 Steve_C
    July 29, 2007

    A brief history of disbelief is on Thirteen in NY now.

  166. #167 sil-chan
    July 29, 2007

    If I were going to school and found anti-atheist epithets all over the place, I would do my research to find out who the perpetrator was and their philosophy, and begin responding to their own philosophy in kind.

  167. #168 sil-chan
    July 29, 2007

    Hey, and while we are arresting people for defacing Islam and Islamic ideas/symbols, let’s start with Dubya.

  168. #169 Dave Eaton
    July 29, 2007

    Think of it this way: if I were to spraypaint generic obscene graffiti on the local lily-white Episcopal churches, that would be a completely different issue than if I went into black neighborhoods and systematically sprayed the same graffiti onto those churches.

    I’m not so sure. Unless there were some reason to elevate this to hate crime status (and you did specify ‘generic’ obscenity) then is is just a crime. Hate crime legislation is sterner stuff, and needs to be carefully applied.

    Similarly, I agree with Calugo’s response to Djur. I don’t think anyone deserves blanket immunity from disagreement or ridicule based on ethnicity or religious belief. It is one thing to say Al Sharpton is a buffoon, quite another to say something about Sharpton because he is black. The clearly true fact that blacks are still treated differently and poorly in this country shouldn’t shield a demagogue who happens to be black or muslim or catholic or anything.

    I don’t know the facts of the case here, but I don’t think that being made uncomfortable is equivalent to being made to feel threatened. The main objection I have to desecration like this is that it is, to not put too fine a point on it, stupid.

    I think the whole idea of desecrating a religious symbol is kind of juvenile, and is generally indicative of a sort of malice, though of a bratty rather than sinister kind. It is designed to cause pain and discomfort to the religious, while not materially meeting the bogus claims of the religion with which one presumably takes issue. The fact that it really doesn’t advance the argument is why I wouldn’t do it. If I make a point in an argument, and someone feels stung by it, too bad. But I am not going to take a dump on his Koran or in his front yard just to get a lick in.

  169. #170 Hank Fox
    July 29, 2007

    If there was such a thing, seems to me this is a “Rorschach post.” The comments say more about the people commenting than they do about the original piece.

    Those people aghast at PZ’s comedic suggestions are indicating that they still revere the type of magical thinking that produces such holy books in the first place.

    If he’d said let’s do this to a copy of Playboy, or The Cat in the Hat, or a pair of New Balance shoes, or a picture of George Bush, would their responses have been any different?

    PZ made the point that the reverence for holy books should be equal to that given other common objects. And that the irreverence permitted in dealing with these other objects should, in a free society, also be allowed in dealing with holy books.

    Otherwise, not only are we still a lot of superstitious magical thinkers, but — and this is related — we’re also not free.

    Some people here have a long way to go in understanding that.

  170. #171 Mondo
    July 29, 2007

    “Those people aghast at PZ’s comedic suggestions are indicating that they still revere the type of magical thinking that produces such holy books in the first place.”

    Bingo.

  171. #172 David
    July 29, 2007

    –I think the whole idea of desecrating a religious symbol is kind of juvenile, and is generally indicative of a sort of malice, though of a bratty rather than sinister kind.–

    I agree. In fact, I would say that anyone who would do that to any book… in the privacy of their own home is acting rather juvenile. At least if you do it in public you show you have the courage to stand up for your convictions.

    But, I don’t expect to much out of PZ other than juvenile behavior when it comes to religion, and the rare post of actual science.

  172. #173 Altabin
    July 29, 2007

    Those people aghast at PZ’s comedic suggestions are indicating that they still revere the type of magical thinking that produces such holy books in the first place.

    Ahh, so this is just a piece of street theater, then…

    If he’d said let’s do this to a copy of Playboy, or The Cat in the Hat, or a pair of New Balance shoes, or a picture of George Bush, would their responses have been any different?

    Well, old-fashioned though it might seem, I do think that civilized people do not harm books. Any books. Even, or especially, ones they don’t like. So yes, when I hear of religious morons burning Harry Potter, I feel a little dispirited. I correct my children when they mistreat even a lousy paperback – because good people don’t hurt books.

    PZ made the point that the reverence for holy books should be equal to that given other common objects. And that the irreverence permitted in dealing with these other objects should, in a free society, also be allowed in dealing with holy books.

    Holy books are not ordinary objects – and asserting that proposition does not in any way involve magical thinking. I would be just as appalled if people here were advocating publicly taking a sh*t on a hijab or in turban – because, after all, they’re just bits of cloth, aren’t they? No one would mistake the intentions of such an act – contempt towards one’s fellow human beings, by destroying an object into which they have invested some of their self-identity (yes, yes, foolishly, mistakenly, without sufficient epistemic grounds). And also an implicit threat, given the appalling treatment our government has meted out to people who read the Quran, and wear hijabs and turbans. Sometimes by desecrating the aforementioned Qurans, hijabs and turbans.

  173. #174 Caledonian
    July 29, 2007

    contempt towards one’s fellow human beings, by destroying an object into which they have invested some of their self-identity

    All the more reason to destroy such objects.

    If you’re never willing to hurt other people’s feelings, if you let the boundaries they establish become inviolable barriers immune to analysis and ridicule, they can put whatever they like behind those walls at any time, and you become utterly impotent.

    Sarcasm, laughter, criticism, and cruelty are the weapons they have made it necessary for us to use – so let’s use them. As Samuel Clemens pointed out, a dead cat thrown into a church is worth a thousand syllogisms. Get swinging.

  174. #175 TW
    July 29, 2007

    I had the pleasure of seeing Carl Sagan give a speech in Austin several years ago. During the Q&A after, someone asked him which Star Trek he preferred, the original or the next generation. (Those were the only possible choices at that time.) He said neither because the show didn’t portray what always happens when two civilizations meet and one is greatly outclassed by the other. He said an accurate portrayal would have a large flyswatter sweep the Enterprise away and that would be the end.

    If we really are in a clash of civilizations, and I think we are, then I think it’s pretty clear who is the swatter and who is the swattee. Unfortunately, history shows that the swattee usually has to suffer a crushing defeat and obliteration of culture before turning away from the past and embracing the new paradigm. Post WW2 Japan is a recent example.

    Attacking political Islam by ridiculing its symbols is very subversive. Which is why the Islamic leaders (political and religious being one and the same in most cases) react so much when it happens. Flushing the Koran, and those Danish cartoons, strike directly at their authority. Once people give up belief in the symbols, questions will follow and the political authority of the mullahs will rightly vanish.

    Which, longterm, could also be interpreted as applying that swatter with a more loving swat than a harsh whip.

  175. #176 Tessa
    July 29, 2007

    Great comment Hank Fox (#170)! You really nailed the issue. It would appear that some folks that hang about in these parts aren’t “free”. It takes a lot of work, at least it did for me, to become free of superstitious magical thinking. Even now I have to guard against slipping and sometimes I’m not as “free” as I thought. One of the nice things about Pharyngula is that it allows you opportunities to reflect on your own reactions to topics – also on the reactions of others. Then you realize just how far you’ve come or maybe haven’t come.

  176. #177 raven
    July 29, 2007

    Hank Fox:

    Those people aghast at PZ’s comedic suggestions are indicating that they still revere the type of magical thinking that produces such holy books in the first place.”

    Nonsense. Hank Fox burning a pig blood soaked Quran in front of a mosque is thinking, “by burning this book I show that it is not magical and their religion is false superstition and they should all become atheists by nightfall.”

    What they are seeing is some doofus burning their holy book deliberately right in front of them. They don’t read minds. They aren’t going to abandon their beliefs because someone torched a Quran. They know that it is just a book and not full of magic.

    In lieu of mind reading they will simply react emotionally based on probabilities. Churchgoers: “Another Army of God terrorist or schizophrenic expressing his hatred of moslems. Is this the one that sent those threats to burn down the mosque? Someone call the cops and then check the fire insurance policy to see if it covers arson.”

    Magical thinking is assuming that burning a Quran in the backyard with the dog and a microbrew is going to enlighten moslems that Allah doesn’t exist and their book is just a story. It doesn’t get much better when you do it in public. They just think you are an idiot, bigot, or a terrorist.

    If one wants to enlighten the heathens, there are better ways. Acting like a normal worthwhile person with a brain is a good start.

  177. #178 Spaulding
    July 29, 2007

    Ooh, here’s an idea! Set aside that Koran and continue articulately arguing against the silliness of basing one’s life, opinions, politics, and world-view on an ancient book written by a bunch of inbred tribal shepherds.

    And then when you have a moment, write an article about how that sort of silly social context makes the destruction of certain privileged books seem shocking, rather than just disappointingly juvenile.

    I guess that’s exactly the discussion you’ve deliberately provoked with this article, but the shock tactic is clumsier than your usual angles.

  178. #179 Leni
    July 29, 2007

    Kausik Datta (#122 I think) wrote:

    Reads a bit like double standards, no? You say you are not advocating hating anybody or any group, but you are perfectly content to take a symbol that these people identify with closely, and vandalize it or desecrate it at will, claiming freedom of speech?

    How is this any different than the confederate flag thrust in the faces of African-Americans? Some states (I’ve heard) even fly it at the state capitals despite the fact that many people, of all stripes, see it as a symbol of slavery and racism. Some don’t. (I do, for the record.)

    Free speech does include both using and destroying symbols, even those that people hold very dear. Especially those symbols, and especially in a political context. Personally, I see this as exactly analogous to flag burning, or the Piss Christ of recent infamy. There are limits, of course. But typically for political or religious speech the lines are further out than they would be for things obscenity.

    This flushing is not nearly as frightening as a KKK rally would be, and yet those happen with disturbing frequency. I know that’s subjective, but this is the act of one student. Not a group of several hundred people marching through your home town streets.

    Someone mentioned above that the speech which requires protecting is not popular speech. No one cares about that. It’s unpopular, reviled, and sometimes truly loathsome speech that requires defending, unfortunately. It would be a lot nicer for everyone if the only thing that needed defense was the My Little Pony Brigade.

    (Then again- I am not a fan of hate crime legislation. I’m not totally oposed to it, but it always leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth, like some victims are more important others- and this strikes me as unfair when so many people are chosen not because of their race or gender, per se, but because they are simply vulnerable or weaker in some way.)

    That said, Pace is a private institution, no?

  179. #180 tomk
    July 29, 2007

    hank. You are wrong. I think an athiest of Arab decent would feel threatened by this type of thing, in the context of the interethnic conflicts. To me, I’m horrified because Ive been the victim of asshole bullies and pz here sounds like them. Annanal gets it right. If some skinheads threatened a lynching every day for a week, and a one of their cousins burned a cross in the traditional southern syle, I’d want him persecuted for a hate crime. Not because I care about the symbol, but becuase people shouldn’t be victimized like that.

    In the lynching case, it would be terrible to respond to the cross burning by joking about smearing the cross with urine and blood. Not because we give a hoot about the cross, but because its obviously racism and obviously designed to make people feel terrorized. I thought this would be the obvious secular humanist position. I’m disappointed to find its not.

    It

  180. #181 Bill
    July 29, 2007

    > Those people aghast at PZ’s comedic suggestions
    > are indicating that they still revere the type
    > of magical thinking that produces such holy books
    > in the first place.

    Bullshit! It indicates nothing of the sort, as I’m sure you know quite well.

    I must say that this whole thread is extremely disappointing. Pharyngula has always been one blog where I’ve read and enjoyed the (mostly) intelligent comments. Then, all of a sudden, we get something like this. Have we been invaded by a pack of pre-teens? Not only was PZ’s original post stupid, childish, and intolerant, a majority of comments have been the same. I guess even atheists are prone to mob behavior, huh?

    This is not about the criticism of magical thinking. It takes at least a hint of intelligence for that. It’s not a matter of humor, unless you think a burning cross in front of a black man’s home is funny. It certainly makes NO difference that some Muslims, elsewhere in the world, act with intolerance and violence. This is America. Yet we’re talking about the deliberate intimidation of a despised minority because of their religious beliefs.

    I’m embarrassed for Pharyngula. I would never have expected this here.

  181. #182 j.t.delaney
    July 30, 2007

    The thing is, it takes ZERO balls to desecrate a Koran in Morris, MN — hell, the local yokels will probably want in on the fun, too. The scarce Muslim population in rural Minnesota (i.e. Sudanese and Somali refugees) are the only ones in shouting distance who take this book seriously, and I assure you they aren’t exactly the most empowered people on Earth…

    If this is a free speech exercise, why not REALLY push some buttons? Why stop at desecrating a Koran and writing about it? Hey, why not wipe your ass with the American flag and then post the whole event on YouTube? I’m sure you can probably do something scatologically creative with one of those black POW/MIA flags, too. You certainly could burn a rainbow flag, too. What about burning a cross in front of your own house? Go on, wisely show people that these are all “just symbols”, and watch the world magically become a better place! I’m sure you’ll really get through to the targeted audiences.

    Vandalizing your own property(?) in your own house… in the heart of Jesus-fearing, lilly-white Lutheranistan isn’t the same as what Stanislav Shmulevich publicly did TWICE at in lower Manhattan with the school’s library copy. There’s more to the story than what we’re hearing, and
    it might be good to look for some more info before getting too jacked-up on righteous indignation.

  182. #183 CalGeorge
    July 30, 2007

    From the article:

    …Muslims, who view the book as a sacred object and mistreating it as an offense against God. The religion teaches that the Quran is the direct word of God.

    Is underlining permitted? Or is smearing the word of God with graphite also taboo?

    It’s a bullshit, intolerant religion that has gone out of its way to spew hatred for those who would disagree with its dictates.

    Make intolerance the cornerstone of your religion, people are going to react with scorn and mockery and toilet stunts. It’s human nature.

    I’d rather see toilet stunts than have everyone cowed into silence by idiotic pronouncements about the sacredness of a bunch of fucked-up religious bullshit.

  183. #184 Maronan
    July 30, 2007

    Although directed towards Bill (#181), this can apply to a number of other people.

    There have been comparisons made between desecrating a Quran and burning a cross on a black person’s lawn, etc.

    This comparison is faulty.

    Burning a cross constitutes a threat because of the context; it was a symbol of the KKK, which was responsible for a lot of real violence, and that association has now become part of the meaning and “message” of the burning cross. Waving a Confederate flag or swastika both carry similar meanings, because those symbols are associated with violence and threats thereof.

    PZ’s suggestion, however, was to desecrate a Muslim symbol. This act is considered wrong or illegal in the highest degree according to Islam’s silly rules, but it was never associated with violence and hate groups, and therefore carries no threatening message. Therefore, the only message the act would send is lack of reverence for Islam’s holy book, or lack of fear at breaking the silly rules described therein.

    Desecrating a Quran is not intimidation or comparable to cross-burning. The intimidation factor of a burning cross, swastika, or Confederate flag is part of the meaning of that symbol; the symbol means “I’m threatening you.” Desecrating a Quran isn’t a positive symbol itself; it symbolizes only rejection of the message of the Quran. It’s akin to the Confederate flag waver burning or desecrating an American flag, which all but the most freedom-hating wingnuts will agree is acceptable freedom of speech.

    Also, Bill, it’s kind of funny that you claim PZ is intimidating a hated minority. PZ is an atheist. Atheists are the most despised minority in America.

  184. #185 Dylan Stafne
    July 30, 2007

    “I could doodle cartoons in the margins and make my own crudely illustrated (I have no talent) version of the Qu’ran. Then I could put it on ebay and make a profit.”

    This is the best one. Destruction of books is disgusting, and I too was disturbed at the suggestion of destroying a Koran, a cultural (and mythological) treasure of humanity. It is the cornerstone of the Arabic language, and one of the most influential books of all time.

    I disagree with the other suggestions, but I would absolutely LOVE if you could do irreverent margin doodles and post it for sale. Please please please do that. This way you’re creating, not destroying.

  185. #186 Colugo
    July 30, 2007

    “The scarce Muslim population in rural Minnesota … they aren’t exactly the most empowered people on Earth…”

    It’s interesting to consider that Minnesota elected America’s first Muslim congressman. Or that those Somali and Sudanese refugees have likely fled Islamist fanatics. Or that the US ambassador to the UN is a Muslim (and longtime PNAC member). Or that Bush II, the great crusader, is midwifing two new Muslim quasi-states: Kosovo and Kurdistan. Or that one of the Western “anti-Muslim” military interventions most detested by al-Qaeda was the liberation of East Timor in 1999. (Freeing East Timor was a longtime progressive cause.) Or that the current progressive celebrated cause, Save Darfur, is enraging Islamists, and al-Qaeda has promised to wage jihad any intervening UN forces. Or that some of the most eloquent arguments against Islamic theocracy have been made by Muslims (if only you would listen to them rather than the trendy Islamist apologists). Complicated, isn’t it?

    It’s also strange that bans against headscarves (France) and anti-Muslim riots (Canberra) occurred not in allegedly xenophobic and bigoted post-9/11 America, but in the supposedly more enlightened lands of Europe and Australia. (Would you rather be a Mexican immigrant in the US or a Muslim immigrant in Europe?)

    A lot of people need to resist the temptation to think in terms of such simplistic and sweeping dichotomies: Evil imperialist West vs noble victim Muslims. Stupid bigoted America vs wise and progressive Europe. Enlightened theists vs troglodyte faith-heads.

    “There’s more to the story than what we’re hearing”

    Yes, isn’t that always the case.

  186. #187 Annamal
    July 30, 2007

    “Desecrating a Quran is not intimidation or comparable to cross-burning. The intimidation factor of a burning cross, swastika, or Confederate flag is part of the meaning of that symbol; the symbol means “I’m threatening you.” Desecrating a Quran isn’t a positive symbol itself; it symbolizes only rejection of the message of the Quran.”

    And I say again, the US government is currently kidnapping and torturing muslims. If you don’t believe that this is happening then now would be the time to point that out, if you do believe that this is happening then everything has to be viewed within that context.

    The Koran being flushed down a toilet has become one of the more eduring stories from Guantanamo and is now very much associated with it (and with the threat of being held indefininately without trial or oversight).

  187. #188 Annamal
    July 30, 2007

    “supposedly more enlightened lands of Europe and Australia.”

    Ummm I’m not really willing to speak to Europe but oh dear does this ever betray an ignorance about Australia. It’s a proud member of the coalition of the willing, there was the whole children overboard thing and then there was Pauline Hanson.

    Suffice to say that Australia does not currently have a glowing reputation for racial tolerance.

  188. #189 Chad
    July 30, 2007

    Very gutsy of you to post this. I hope the crazies don’t come after you.

    My suggestion: give a few pages of the book to one of your gay friends to use to clean up santorum after sex!

  189. #190 mas528
    July 30, 2007

    Amazing.

    The responses to this post were embarrassing. There was also the very real inverse relation of (value/length).

    The word “desecrate” is completely meaningless. It assumes that there is something sacred to begin with.

    And since PZ explained that, and people still used the word tells me quite a bit about the respondents. Kudos to the ones that used “deface” and “destroy”.

    I do sympathize somewhat with the book lovers. However, as someone pointed out early in the response chain (I could look at them, but reading these responses has made me tired all over), it is not as if it were the last copy.

    Then again, I doubt many of you would complain if I voided on a copy of mien kampf.

  190. #191 Hank Fox
    July 30, 2007

    As I said earlier, this piece looks to me like a “Rorschach post.” The comments illuminate the commenters more than they do anything PZ said, or intended.

    Good one, PZ.

    Speaking personally, I would never flush a Koran down the toilet.

    I have enough problems with my plumbing as it is.

  191. #192 Ron Sullivan
    July 30, 2007

    Burn a copy of the Koran? Flush it down a toilet? Piss on it? What the hell is the matter with you people? Is nothing sacred??

    Think of the trees! RECYCLE THE DAMNED THING!

    Oh — anyone who thinks that civilized people don’t harm books must be seriously sheltered from the realities of publishing. Do you know how many books get returned and pulped every year?

  192. #193 bernarda
    July 30, 2007

    Back in the 60’s, jesus-freak groups burned piles of Beatles records. This practice comes back from time to time only now it is CD’s.

    Remember when Tipper Gore founded the Parents’ Music Research Center which wanted to put warning labels on music CD’s? Her labels would certainly apply to certain “holy books”. As the title of her book suggests, “Raising Kids PG in a X-Rated Society”.

    Here is a cartoon on the toilet Koran issue,

    http://www.karikatur-cartoon.de/politik/politik63_newsweek_koran.htm

  193. #194 Kel
    July 30, 2007

    You could do some real good with this.

    1) Doodle on, desecrate etc. (perhaps not urinate on) said holy book.
    2) Sell on Ebay to one of your fans.
    3) Donate money to the JREF and/or RDF.

    I think you’d be surprised at how much a genuine PZ Myers defaced holy book would go for given the fanbase out there.

  194. #195 bernarda
    July 30, 2007

    I recently discovered a work by Voltaire “Mahomet ou le fanatisme”. It is not just about islam, but was recognized in its day as an attack on xianity as well.

    Voltaire said about it,

    “Earlier, in 1740, Voltaire had read this play aloud to Frederick of Prussia. Then he explained it further in a letter to Frederick, a few months before his Paris defeat: “The love of mankind, and the hatred of fanaticism, two virtues that adorn your throne, guided my pen…. They who tell us… that the flames of religious war are totally extinguished, in my opinion, pay too high a compliment to human nature. The same poison still subsists, even though it does not appear so openly…. In vain does human reason advance towards perfection, by means of that philosophy which of late has made so great a progress in Europe…. Why must I blindly follow the blind who cry out to me: hate, persecute all who are rash enough not to be of the same opinion with ourselves, even in things and matters we do not understand? … A spirit of indulgence would make us all brothers; a spirit of persecution can create nothing but monsters….””

    It was once again performed in France in 2006 and was protested by the usual suspects.

    It can be found on the web with a quick search.

    It is a bit difficult as it is written in archaic language and style.

  195. #196 bernarda
    July 30, 2007
  196. #197 Josh
    July 30, 2007

    Frank Miller on the urgent need to send Batman after Osama: “Almost half my country equates flushing a Koran down a toilet with sawing the head off an innocent contractor, or using airplanes those barbarians could never have invented to slaughter thousands of my neighbors.”

    In other words, if I find a Koran in a toilet, I am not going to think, “Oh, what an interesting blow against all the god-botherers’ cant about ‘sanctity,'” and more than finding a swastika on a synagogue will lead me to think, “Oh, some Hindus are wishing my people good luck.” Putting a Koran in a toilet for others to find is very likely to be a statement of allegiance to the Rush Limbaugh view of Gitmo and the LGF view of Those People; indeed, some commentators above have defended it on the grounds that People Just Like Muslim Students at Pace run some brutal theocracies.

    PZ’s use of the incident as a lead-in to some boilerplate snark about “desecration” reaffirms my sense that, on issues of racism, his sensitivity is equal to Ronald Reagan’s.

  197. #198 John C. Randolph
    July 30, 2007

    I think I see a business opportunity here. Printing the koran on toilet paper would serve both a practical and a symbolic purpose.

    Trying to flush a leather-bound volume just isn’t good for the plumbing.

    -jcr

  198. #199 Great White Wonder
    July 30, 2007

    It is just a book, paper and ink. It is also an important and emotion laden symbol for billions of people.

    So is Elvis, you sanctimonious dipshit.

  199. #200 catofmanyfaces
    July 30, 2007

    Wow, this is sad. unless there is overt threatening involved with the destruction of the book, IT IS FREE SPEECH.

    I will gladly die for the right to say horrable things in this contry. i hate neo nazi’s but damnit they can say whatever they want. (they just can’t make it a threat)

    There is no, i repeat, no legal power behind ‘offensive’. tough luck. If someone is offended at what i do, then they are free to offend me right back. (for instance, i’m sure my grammer and spelling offend several people here :P)

    Now, whether or not this will convert people is more debateable. i think it would. as less reverence for something is shown, people are better able to come to terms with their own questions about it.

    On the subject of hate crimes, it’s kinda a wierd idea. not many people do non money crime without hating someone. it seems a bit odd to add an aditional reason. i guess the best argument i have ever heard was the idea that a hate crime is intended to terrorise a group of people, beyond the direct victims, but it’s still a bit iffy to me.

  200. #201 NC Paul
    July 30, 2007

    Context and consequence are all important here.

    Destroying or defacing a symbol, any symbol, is free expression, unless it terrorises other people. There is no consequence to PZ peeing on a Koran in the privacy of his own home, aside from a soggy, smelly book.

    I’d even argue that in the context of an argument that there’s no difference between a holy book and any other book, PZ publically vandalising or destroying a Koran is protected expression*. Muslims will be offended, sure, but as long as they are not terrorised, no harm, no foul in a country that holds dear free expression. It may not seem so, but there’s a world of difference between being offended and being scared.

    The incident that sparked this post and discussion sounds like a case of the latter (harm) rather than the former (offence). While there’s nothing inherently bad about flushing a Koran down a loo, doing it in the context of a hate campaign (as this guy is alleged to have done) is not acceptable.

    All the discussions above about westerners oppressing Muslims and vice versa are tangential. They bear on this matter only in that, given the current political climate, any public desecration of a Koran without context is likely to be taken as a threat by Muslims. The problem there isn’t whether or not the book is peed on or not – it’s with the things that cause the contextless destruction of a book to become a cause of fear and terror. Those are the things we should be trying to fix, not getting annoyed that such and such a professor proposed the use of bacon fat and urine to point out that holy books aren’t.

    *: There is a whole tangential framing issue here, since it’s usually Bad People that destroy books – but even here, context is all. The Inquisition destroyed books because they were heretical and so had to be kept from being read because God said so. PZ is proposing to destroy a book, not because it’s heretical and shouldn’t be read, but to show people that ideas like sacrilege and heresy are silly.

  201. #202 Annamal
    July 30, 2007

    “All the discussions above about westerners oppressing Muslims and vice versa are tangential. They bear on this matter only in that, given the current political climate, any public desecration of a Koran without context is likely to be taken as a threat by Muslims.”

    Look if you put a Koran in the toilet then, whether you like it or not, you’re evoking Gitmo and yeah in the current climate that’s a threat.

    Other ways of destroying Korans are offensive but this particular action goes beyond that.

  202. #203 Annamal
    July 30, 2007

    “I will gladly die for the right to say horrable things in this contry. i hate neo nazi’s but damnit they can say whatever they want. (they just can’t make it a threat”

    And I say yet again, if you’re living in a country that is kidnapping and torturing Muslims and you do something that re-creates one of the more well known acts of humiliation perpetrated by agents of your government then you are making a threat.

  203. #204 David M
    July 30, 2007

    I would no more burn the Koran than I would bomb the Sistine chapel. The book itself is not the problem – it is incoherent as are most ‘sacred’ books; if read with an open, critically informed mind, the likely result is incredulity. The problem is the closed mind set of believers. It is doubtful whether hostile, provacative acts such as book burning will open closed minds.

  204. #205 Mike Haubrich
    July 30, 2007

    My last comment here:

    Defacing the Koran is not racism; it is an attack on Islam, not Muslims. It doesn’t suggest violence against people it suggests violence against abhorrent ideas. That Muslims would take offense is likely, but it is their choice to be offended. Yes, the treatment of the Koran by the captors at Guantanamo was an act of torture by humiliation, but no, such treatment by a biologist in Morris is not something done to get someone to “break” emotionally.

    Bible, Korans, Torahs, Kama Sutras and even national flags are only symbols of ideas and the fact that people hold them in greater reverence than that which they symbolize is the abhorrent feature of the response of the riots they engender.

    Consider the irony of suppressing freedom to protect a symbol of freedom (Flag Burning Amendments and violent riots to support a religion of peace.) You will see the folly of “protecting” the Koran from defacement. While the act of defacing it will raise hackles among the concerned, it will show that the world need not bow before Shari’ah. We’re not subject to their rules, dammit.

  205. #206 j.t.delaney
    July 30, 2007

    “The scarce Muslim population in rural Minnesota … they aren’t exactly the most empowered people on Earth…”

    It’s interesting to consider that Minnesota elected America’s first Muslim congressman. Or that those Somali and Sudanese refugees have likely fled Islamist fanatics.

    Actually, before I moved to Europe, I lived in South Minneapolis in Minnesota’s 5th congressional district, and I still consider Keith Ellison as my representative. I’m not so sure how familiar with Minnesota geography, but I can assure you South Minneapolis is NOT rural. Life isn’t always easy for the East Africans that call Minneapolis’ West Bank home, but I think they’ve got it better than their counterparts in rural Northwestern Minnesota. In the case of the Morris area, we’re talking about less than 1% of the population; the Lutherans up there are hardly facing any threat of impending Dhimmitude.

    From what I’ve seen here, I do wholeheartedly agree that Minneapolis is far more welcoming towards Muslims than most cities in the Netherlands. Living in a neighborhood that’s roughly 50% Muslim, I’ve gotten a chance to see how race and class plays out in “enlightened” Holland. As imperfect as American society is, I would say that pluralism is a far more universally accepted value back home than over here.

    Or that the US ambassador to the UN is a Muslim (and longtime PNAC member). Or that Bush II, the great crusader, is midwifing two new Muslim quasi-states: Kosovo and Kurdistan. Or that one of the Western “anti-Muslim” military interventions most detested by al-Qaeda was the liberation of East Timor in 1999. (Freeing East Timor was a longtime progressive cause.)

    Okay, I think we’re getting a little off-topic. Considering the role that American military hardware has played in supressing Kurds and the Timorese during the 70’s and 80’s (the former being not so much “midwifery” per se, as being a botched abortion), I find this a curious set of examples.

    …Complicated, isn’t it?

    Indeed it is. All the aforementioned examples show just how frequently different Muslim groups (and their neighbors) play unfortunate proxy roles in superpower geopolitics. However, I don’t see what this has to do with the juvenile & crass act of buying a copy of the Koran and defacing it to prove… um, well, I’m not sure what PZ is trying to prove.

    Getting back to the issue at hand, the original story involved some guy making a very calculated poltical statement, twice: he vandalized a school library copy of the Koran and dumped it into a toilet for somebody in the public (at a school with a large Muslim minority) to find — TWICE. This wasn’t done to “open dialogue” or “raise awareness”; it was done to intimidate and provoke. PZ can do what he pleases in his own home with his own copy, but it won’t exactly have the same gravitas, now will it? It seems like a remarkably useless waste of resources. If 99+% of the population already recognizes that the Koran as being something non-magical, then it’s hardly a revolutionary move. I don’t see how this is anything other than race baiting — something best left to the LGF crowd.

    It’s also strange that bans against headscarves (France) and anti-Muslim riots (Canberra) occurred not in allegedly xenophobic and bigoted post-9/11 America, but in the supposedly more enlightened lands of Europe and Australia.

    Actually, there are public bans on headscarves that cover the face in Belgium and Holland — not just in schools as in France. Casual racism is pretty common here, and not just against North Africans. Racist jokes are still considered funny here by a surprisingly large number of college-educated people. Old-school style anti-semitism pops up in surprising places, and you can still hear people stereotype Roma-Sinti people here as hatefully as anything to come out of Borat’s mouth. It’s pretty unpleasant in this regard.

    (Would you rather be a Mexican immigrant in the US or a Muslim immigrant in Europe?)

    Well, that’s a tough call. I think multiculturalism is something surprisingly hard for many people to grasp here, but I would say that the social safety net here is a little stronger. So maybe the more concretely: would you rather be a Mexican illegal immigrant picking fruit in an orchard in California, or a Moroccan illegal immigrant picking tomatoes in a greenhouse in North Holland? In both cases you are scapegoated and demonized, you have no real rights, and you will face a lot of discrimination. I think the wages here might approach subsistence more closely and healthcare might be more accessible, but still not truly universal. It’s really a tough call.

    A lot of people need to resist the temptation to think in terms of such simplistic and sweeping dichotomies: Evil imperialist West vs noble victim Muslims. Stupid bigoted America vs wise and progressive Europe. Enlightened theists vs troglodyte faith-heads.

    No arguement there. One thing I’ve learned over here is that no matter where you go, the average IQ is still 100. In America, right-wing politicians use wedge issues like gay marriage and school prayer, while over here it’s headscarves and pork sausage in school lunches. From my Turkish colleagues, I get the impression that it’s the same, tired song-and-dance there, too.

  206. #207 CalGeorge
    July 30, 2007

    I’ve changed my mind.

    The toilet is one of humanities greatest and most useful inventions.

    Flushing the Koran is nothing less than an despicable act of toilet desecration.

    Long live my toilet!

    Down with Koran flushing!

    You will not be surprised that the Internet offers a feast of nice poems for toilet worshipers like me. A sample:

    Ode to the Toilet

    Oh Japanese toilet, you technological dream
    Not a simple porcelein fixture on which to lean

    You plug into the wall and offer so many choices
    That even the sickest of bums rejoices

    You move up and down to the height that fits mine
    And allow me to adjust the seat back to recline

    You warm to a temperature that I can select
    And have a bidet option with water flow I can direct

    And if I don’t want others to hear
    You offer a ‘flushing sound’ that’s magic to the ears

    The shower feature still scares me a bit
    But my toilet and I, we make a good fit

    Ode to my Commode

    The way the swirling motion gobbles
    Up my stinky floating baubles,
    Makes me truly understand
    The brilliance of this porcelain stand.

    Your round full bowl!
    I love to wax,
    I caress it carefully,
    I imagine J-Lo’s ass,

    ….But alas!

    You’re much colder to the touch,
    And you don’t stink as much.
    I smile at you,
    You look back catty,
    An honor it is,
    To be your Poop Daddy.

    Of course there are days when my visits are few,
    I don’t eat enough fiber to come visit you,
    But after a day like that I know,
    Its only a few hours before my ass needs to blow

    Bounding in slow motion,
    I dive through the door,
    My ass is on fire,
    But my heart needs you more.

    I dive into the bathroom,
    And drop my trousers,
    A day! A week!
    I could sit here for hours!

  207. #208 bernarda
    July 30, 2007

    delaney, “From what I’ve seen here, I do wholeheartedly agree that Minneapolis is far more welcoming towards Muslims than most cities in the Netherlands.”

    Too bad it isn’t reciprocal. Fanatic muslim Somali cab drivers refuse to pick up people at the Minneapolis airport who are carrying alcohol, or having even seeing-dogs. What can you do with such assholes? I wonder how much female s-x-mutilation goes on in this population.

    The headscarf issue is important. It is the thin edge of the wedge by misogynist muslim radicals to gain influence in certain housing projects. If just few women and girls are going around in them, these fascist religious thugs will start intimidating others to follow suit.

    They will stop at nothing: beatings, disfiguration, rape, murder. It is essential to ban the headscarf. It has more than symbolic importance.

  208. #209 Bruce W
    July 30, 2007

    PZ’s suggestion, however, was to desecrate a Muslim symbol. This act is considered wrong or illegal in the highest degree according to Islam’s silly rules, but it was never associated with violence and hate groups, and therefore carries no threatening message.

    I suppose the Marine Corps at Gitmo don’t count…

    That is my issue with PZ’s suggestion. If it weren’t for abuse of unjustly incarcerated Muslims, I would have no problem with this other than that it seems to be offensive for offensive’s sake (though that shouldn’t stop others if they’re cool with that).

    It’s also strange that bans against headscarves (France) and anti-Muslim riots (Canberra) occurred not in allegedly xenophobic and bigoted post-9/11 America, but in the supposedly more enlightened lands of Europe and Australia.

    I actually live in Canberra, and I don’t recall any “anti-Muslim riots” in recent memory. The closest we’ve had was some infighting over the appointment of a new imam, and that’s now before the court.

  209. #210 Colugo
    July 30, 2007

    I meant Cronulla. Sorry.

    http://tinyurl.com/8pmnv

  210. #211 Bob
    July 30, 2007

    “PZ’s suggestion, however, was to desecrate a Muslim symbol. This act is considered wrong or illegal in the highest degree according to Islam’s silly rules, but it was never associated with violence and hate groups, and therefore carries no threatening message.”

    I suppose the Marine Corps at Gitmo don’t count…

    If that was the only thing they did, they would. I believe the distinction has been made in this thread between singular offensive acts, and acts as a part of a campaign. You might also consider the freedom of movement at a public toilet and the freedom of those prisoners in Gitmo. Stress positions not remotely comparable.

  211. #212 grendelkhan
    July 30, 2007

    I concur with MAJeff at #8–it seems wrong to destroy a book, any book, because it represents one of, if not the single most nifty idea ever conceived of by humanity, that our ancestors or our contemporaries can speak to us from half a world away, and destroying them represents something I hate. (Also Hank Fox at #12.)

    (Also, I’m reminded of Szilard’s fourth commandment, “don’t destroy that which you cannot create”.)

    That said, re-binding the book in bacon (or pig-leather–can you get leather from pigs?) is an excellent idea. It’s clever, it’s unlikely to be mistaken for a Nazi bonfire, and it’s delightfully arts-and-crafty.

    On the one hand, this post will likely mollify the critics who show up in every thread about Christianity whining that you aren’t castigating Muslims to the same extent. (‘Course, as Salt #97 and j.t.delaney #182 show us, some people will never be happy.) On the other hand, it’s superficially kind of Nazi. I know that burning a book to offend people is different than burning it to censor the content, and you know that, but doesn’t it set off your Godwin detector? I’m with Orac #74, here, but not because I think offending Islam is a bad idea; it’s because I hate, hate, hate the idea of burning or destroying books.

    And yes, I’d be bothered if you did it to The Da Vinci Code as well. I don’t care that it’s a holy book, I care that it’s a book. (So, yes to being offended for The Cat in the Hat, no to a pair of New Balance shoes, though I don’t like destroying anything. Hell, the printer-smashing scene in Office Space made me a little sad.) I vote for pig-leather binding, which at least avoids the already-mentioned jumping-up-and-down “I HATE YOU I HATE YOU” image.

    And besides, a situation where the LGF nutballs are giving you the thumbs-up should at least prompt you to consider that you may have said something stupid.

  212. #213 Bob
    July 30, 2007

    grendelkhan,

    It was a fax machine, and it deserved every blow it took.

  213. #214 grendelkhan
    July 30, 2007

    Bob, fax machines don’t say “PC LOAD LETTER”.

  214. #215 tony
    July 30, 2007

    I’m frankly amazed.

    I see reverence for the medium here that is completely at odds with everything I understand to be part of the rationalist mind-set.

    WTF? Defacing a book? So what – unless that defacement is merely a carrier for your hateful primary agenda… (Nazi,KKK, black power, Xian/buddhist/muslim/jewish/… ascendancy, …)

    As has been stated a number of times, the agenda here is simply to de-conflate the fact of the book as a book from the superstitious ideas held in reverence by followers of that book’s religion.

    I don’t care if you are offended by me or my statements. I will say it how I see it… and I expect the same from you. Perhaps we can have a dialog, even!

    But if you demand that I not say something, or say it only in a special way so as to avoid offending someone’s sensibilities…. then I say no way!

    And defacing a book is simply, in the end, making a statement.

    PZ is saying reverence for a symbol is crock. Reverence for an idea is crock.

    Respect for ideas is great — but you should still question all ideas, and your relationship to them, always and ever.

  215. #216 mjspear
    July 30, 2007

    Best thread yet

  216. #218 mtraven
    July 30, 2007

    Here’s the thing: you don’t get to decide what is sacred to other people. I know, you reject the whole concept, but again, you don’t get to make all the rules. I’m Jewish in background, and they too have the peculiar practice of sacrilizing a bunch of words on paper, so I know what I’m talking about. To hold something sacred is essentially to project your innermost self onto a physical object. So, desecrating a sacred object feels to the believer like an incredible violation, akin to physical violence or even rape.

    You’re playing with fire here, and I hope you at least realize the dangerous territory you are moving into.

  217. #219 Bob
    July 30, 2007

    PC LOAD LETTER? What the fuck does that mean?

    Sorry, for some reason I thought it was a fax. Must be something from my past.

  218. #220 Faithful Reader
    July 30, 2007

    The late great Detroit Free Press columnist Bob Talbert wrote a wonderful column once, I think in the midst of the 80’s flag-burning fracas. He went to a Bible college in NC and the first day of religion class, the professor walked in with a Bible and proceeded to tear pages out, to the horror of the students. His message was that the Bible as physical object was not worthy of reverence. The ideas were the important component (yes, there are some good ideas there, such as the second clause of the Golden Rule).

    This idolatry for objects– books, flags, whatever– ought to be mightily offensive to any god that may remotely exist.

  219. #221 Amit
    July 30, 2007

    #212:

    On the one hand, this post will likely mollify the critics who show up in every thread about Christianity whining that you aren’t castigating Muslims to the same extent.

    I see nothing wrong in treating all religions the same way for the same act. It’s a way to check against hypocrisy and to avoid giving special treatment to special groups based simply on their religion.

  220. #222 Tulse
    July 30, 2007

    tony:

    As has been stated a number of times, the agenda here is simply to de-conflate the fact of the book as a book from the superstitious ideas held in reverence by followers of that book’s religion.

    That’s PZ’s agenda, but the key point is that it is not at all clear that that was the agenda of the perpetrator of the original act — given the context, it appears that the original intent may have been to harass and intimidate a minority group.

    And that’s my problem with PZ’s suggestion — while under some contexts it is a reasonable act, in others it isn’t, just as one could wear a swastika armband around a synagogue as an expression of free speech, or as an attempt to intimidate the congregation. Context matters, and it seems particularly tone-deaf to me to promote an act, out of whatever reasonable motivations, that could be misconstrued.

    If you want to make the point that all religious books are just books, then perform an act that makes that clear, rather than attacking one particular group’s book, and thus implying that the group itself should be attacked.

  221. #223 Flex
    July 30, 2007

    Go get yourself a print of Picasso’s Guernica.

    Replace all the figures with trimmed pages ripped out of the bible and koran (shaded where necesssary).

    Frame.

  222. #224 mas528
    July 30, 2007

    Re #218 / mtraven

    Here is the real thing: they do not get to us that their writing is sacred at all.

    And do not even compare it to physical violence or rape. it demeans real pain that rape victims feel.

    PZ is not talking about damaging something like a hand-written torah, which is as much a work of art as it is a book, or a Gutenberg bible, or the hand written korans.

    He is talking about doing some minor damage to a mass-produced paperback.

  223. #225 cm
    July 30, 2007

    To those many expressing indignity at destroying any book–the “I was raised to respect books” motif: it is irrational. At best it is just a warm feeling you have about books, and that is fine, but there is no justifiable moral imperative to never destroy books. Books have no objective talismanic properties, they are simply stacks of glued-together paper.

    The only justification to criticize destroying a book is if you feel that book would have been put to better use by someone reading it. And then that too is something that you would have to justify, since it is demonstrable that most books in this world are not worth reading.

  224. #226 catofmanyfaces
    July 30, 2007

    ahh, 203, we are trying to stop gitmo.

    And in the mean time, PZ is not terrorizing, nor in fact torturing someone. he is not saying “Do X or else i crap on your book”. He is saying “Look, it’s just a book. If i crap on it, nothing happens, it’s just a bit smellier.”

    This is a big difference. INTENT. without using it, we couldn’t keep dogs as pets, after all, they used dogs in gitmo to right? We all know the difference is that no pet owner is owning dogs with intent to terrorize muslims. Same here.

    P.S. i do suspect that there are some idiots who are indeed training their dogs to attack muslims. i just hope that those people kill themselves with a gun accident or something. yay darwin awards.

  225. #227 David Vitter
    July 30, 2007

    You’re playing with fire here, and I hope you at least realize the dangerous territory you are moving into.

    Wow, you just made me fill my diaper.

    Thanks.

  226. #228 scorebert
    July 30, 2007

    “This idolatry for objects– books, flags, whatever– ought to be mightily offensive to any god that may remotely exist.

    Posted by: Faithful Reader”

    Why? Assume = ass you me. Get over your own idolatry of preconceptions of god before ascribing sanctimony to deities.

  227. #229 fred
    July 30, 2007

    Re the comedic nature of PZ’s post:

    This bit appears on Dennis Perrin’s site today:

    While the Y-Kos people have me slated to “speak on seeing the humor in the Mideast crisis,” which of course is a bona fide, laff-filled riot, I’m actually going to talk about how Arabs are treated in American comedy, as opposed to Israelis. Jewish culture in general and the more arcane features of Judaism are regularly sent up (Larry David is particularly adept at this), but I cannot count on one hand the times an Israeli prime minister was portrayed as a murderous lunatic on “SNL” or “Mad TV”, or Israeli aggression satirized on “The Daily Show”, or Zionist settlers lampooned by Leno, Letterman, or Conan. Indeed, I can’t recall any attacks on Zionism by a prominent American comic or comedy show. But there are plenty of comedy assaults on Arabs, Arab culture, and of course Islam, some of which are openly racist, and would never be done if the target was African-Americans, for example. On that front, I can come up with a dozen anti-Arab bits off the top of my head. But I’m having trouble finding the same consistent drubbing of Israel and Zionism by American humorists. Any help finding such routines and jokes on national shows would be appreciated, and will further enhance my presentation this Friday. Thanks.

    I think that it’s stupid to talk about Koran desecration as another way of spreading Free Speech or any other American Freedom, at least while the USA is carpet bombing two muslim countries and threatening to nuke a third one. But perhaps while the current god-fearing president pursues his divinely ordained crusade this kind of humor is patriotic.

  228. #230 Annamal
    July 30, 2007

    “And in the mean time, PZ is not terrorizing, nor in fact torturing someone. he is not saying “Do X or else i crap on your book”. He is saying “Look, it’s just a book. If i crap on it, nothing happens, it’s just a bit smellier.”

    This is a big difference. INTENT. without using it, we couldn’t keep dogs as pets, after all, they used dogs in gitmo to right? We all know the difference is that no pet owner is owning dogs with intent to terrorize muslims. Same here.”

    The thing is that he’s doing it in response to the arrest of a man whose INTENT appears to have been to terrorise muslims. I’d feel exactly the same way if he’d taken up cross destroying in response to a KKK arrest.

  229. #231 mtraven
    July 30, 2007

    Re: 224
    And do not even compare it to physical violence or rape. it demeans real pain that rape victims feel.
    You may be mistaking my intent. I’m not saying that people who feel their holy objects are being descrated are necessarily justified in feeling that they have been physically violated, I’m just saying that they do feel that way.

    PZ is not talking about damaging something like a hand-written torah, which is as much a work of art as it is a book, or a Gutenberg bible, or the hand written korans…He is talking about doing some minor damage to a mass-produced paperback

    So now we are supposed to make distinctions of sacredness based on binding and printing techniques? It’s OK to desecrate a mass-market paperback but not a book bound in rich corinthian leather? Where do you draw the line? Who gets to draw the line?

    I question the strategy of desecration. It seems juvenile and counterproductive, and at least borders on hate crimes.

  230. #232 Great White Wonder
    July 30, 2007

    On that front, I can come up with a dozen anti-Arab bits off the top of my head. But I’m having trouble finding the same consistent drubbing of Israel and Zionism by American humorists.

    Yeah, nobody ever makes fun of Jews.

    Right.

  231. #233 grendelkhan
    July 30, 2007

    Great White Wonder, did you even read the post to which you’re responding? Here, I’ll repeat it. Jewish culture in general and the more arcane features of Judaism are regularly sent up (Larry David is particularly adept at this), but I cannot count on one hand the times an Israeli prime minister was portrayed as a murderous lunatic on “SNL” or “Mad TV”, or Israeli aggression satirized on “The Daily Show”, or Zionist settlers lampooned by Leno, Letterman, or Conan.

    If you have an example, please do send it to Dennis Perrin, as he’s specifically asked for examples.

  232. August Pamplona @ #93:

    I really like the first two pictures on that page! The interlinked books are cool too, although I expect in person they’d have fairly obvious seams.

  233. #235 BlueMako
    July 30, 2007

    Here’s an artsy option: I could make a new cover and a bookmark for it … out of bacon.

    And waste perfectly good bacon?

  234. #236 Tessa
    July 30, 2007

    I think the Overton window is on the move! (marching drum sounds)

  235. #237 John C. Randolph
    July 31, 2007

    ” is an attack on Islam”

    NO.

    It is NOT an attack, it is an INSULT. If you are *attacked*, you are entitled to respond with force. if you are *insulted*, you are entitled to respond with words.

    -jcr

  236. #238 bernarda
    July 31, 2007

    People claiming that a hypothetical powerful invisible entity spoke to an illiterate brigand who systematically massacred people who didn’t believe in his delusions or who were business competitors is an insult to everyone.

    Mohammed even admitted he didn’t always know what he was talking about. That is known as the Satanic Verses. He decided that some things he had said he didn’t like, and so he had someone edit and revise him.

    How does anyone know that his revised revelations were not actually the ones inspired by Satan and the ones he edited out were really allah’s plan?

    Proselytizing this crap is indeed an insult.

    As for me, I don’t see how mocking a fraud is an insult.

  237. #239 Spaulding
    July 31, 2007

    Lots of strawmen getting tossed around here.

    No, destroying a single book is not equivalent to harming a person, although in certain contexts, it could be done in manner that suggests the threat of personal harm.

    No, pointing out that peeing on a book is a juvenile and inarticulate political statement is not an attack on free speech, nor is it motivated by reverence for the book in question.

    Hank Fox, please re-read Dylan Stafne (#185). Disdain for empty, juvenile destruction is a reasonable argument, and does not imply irrational fetishization of holy books.

    I’ve never read the Koran, yet I have no difficulty rejecting its claims of miracles and divine decrees. If it ever makes it to the top of my reading list, I’ll be a more informed person after having read it, though other books would likely be a better use of my time. To simply destroy something which can inform or entertain or inspire is a waste. I’m morally averse to waste. No supernatural reverence required.

  238. #240 DingoDave
    August 1, 2007

    Here’s a comment I posted over a RichardDawkins.net in respose to the same subject.

    “I suppose if someone stole my copy of “Origin of Species” and put it in a toilet that would be a hate crime as well? No. It would be theft and destruction of property.”

    “Any sensible person can see that the Ukrainian flushing a Koran in the toilet was not an act of intimidation but an act of contempt.”

    If the book was the property of the library, then perhaps he should be required to replace it and apologise to the the University for destroying public property.

    The writing of a book like the Koran, if it were perpetrated today, would rightly be considered a hate crime. Considering the Koran’s numerous invocations of violence, discrimination, and contempt for all non- Muslims, it is beyond me how anyone could have the gall and hypocricy to condemn someone who displays a similar contempt for this vile book.
    Why can’t we all agree to condemn invocations towards violence and discrimination wherever we find them? Whether they be in the Bible, or the Koran, or the pages of Mein Kampf.

    Many Muslims and Christians set their holy books and their holy prophets up as idols which must be worshipped and which must not be questioned.

    Idolator: n
    One who worships idols.
    One who blindly or excessively admires or adores another.

    The ex-preacher and counter-apologist Farrell Till describes people like these as ‘Bibliolators’.
    Forget the expression, ‘people of the book’, how about we start referring to people like this as ‘worshippers of the book’?

    I’m all for putting warning stickers on the covers of these holy books outlining just how hateful and discriminatory some of their contents really are. But then I suppose that we’d have a bunch of crazy Bibliolators threatening to blow up public libraries in the name of their ‘peaceful’ religion.

  239. #241 DingoDave
    August 2, 2007

    K. Engels wrote:
    “Technically, the ‘proper’ way to dispose of the Qu’ran is to burn it or place it in running water…”

    Then what’s the problem?
    A flush toilet contains running water doesn’t it? (at least some of the time). As does an open sewer (some of the time). At least a flush toilet gets rid of the filth discretely and hygenically, with minimal risk of infection.

  240. #242 Anton Mates
    August 2, 2007

    mtraven:

    Here’s the thing: you don’t get to decide what is sacred to other people.

    Exactly. And if other people decide that their copy of your holy book is not sacred, and ought to be urinated on or painted with polka dots for the sake of art or politics or entertainment, you don’t get to stop them.

    So now we are supposed to make distinctions of sacredness based on binding and printing techniques? It’s OK to desecrate a mass-market paperback but not a book bound in rich corinthian leather?

    mas528 didn’t suggest that any book was sacred. Vandalizing a Gutenberg Bible isn’t sacrilege; it’s simply a shame to destroy something of historical and artistic value. A mass-market paperback doesn’t have that value, in my opinion. You may disagree, in which case you’re welcome to preserve your Danielle Steel copies in a climate-controlled museum…or store them in an ark of sandalwood and myrrh, if that’s what their sanctity merits.

  241. #243 Anton Mates
    August 2, 2007

    No, pointing out that peeing on a book is a juvenile and inarticulate political statement is not an attack on free speech, nor is it motivated by reverence for the book in question.

    But it is irrelevant. Nobody has suggested peeing on a book as a political statement in itself. PZ has suggested (and dismissed) peeing on a book as one part of a political statement, which also involves explicit textual criticism of the position that such vandalism of a particular book can be a hate crime in itself. Taken in its entirety, this is a perfectly articulate statement.

    If PZ’s original post had simply read, “Islam sucks; I’m going to piss on a Qur’an”, that’d be different.

  242. #244 Anders
    August 2, 2007

    So what about playing with the text? I used a text dissociator to mix up some Koran chapters, Genesis, the Scientology OT III text and one of Ingersoll’s essays for good measure, producing a somewhat amusing jumble (see http://www.aleph.se/andart/archives/2007/08/the_improved_man_will_be_a_king_over_you_and_give_women_their_dowries_as_appointed.html ). The ultimate insolence is not to attack something, but to regard it just as much (or little) valuable as other things.

  243. #245 Nullifidian
    August 5, 2007

    He deserved arrest–everyone knows it is vandalism and criminal mischief to clog a public toilet with debris.

    Oh, hang on — the guy was arrested for a hate crime?

    Yeah, whose stupid idea was it to call an act of vandalism a hate crime?

  244. #246 Zuby
    August 13, 2007

    YOU NO WHAT U CAN GO FUCK URSELF, Y DON’T U TAKE A BIBLE AND SHOVE IT UP UR ASSHOLE ALL OF YA MOTHERFUCKERS WHO R MAKING FUN OF THE QURAN WILL REGRET IT SOON ENOUGH AND NOT TO MENTION BURN IN HELL.. AND MY GUESS IS THAT WHO EVER WROTE THIS BULLSHIT MUST BE A WHITE TRAILER TRASH PUSSY EATING MOTHERFUCKER…. FUCK OFF SHIT HEAD.. DONT EVER LET ME CATCH ANYWHERE IN PERSON……..

  245. #247 tenebrous
    August 13, 2007

    Ahhh

    There’s the loving peaceful religion we keep hearing about. Nothing says peace and love like hell fire and vague threats of physical harm.

    Have a cup of tea Zuby, put on some music and chill out.

  246. #248 123
    September 16, 2007

    Racistisch

  247. #249 Lucy
    January 28, 2008

    “Not one person is the same so why be treated differently for it.” One person does something wrong so now everyone is out to get them. That is wrong. I personally don’t like some of the stuff in the Quran, but that doesn’t give anyone the right to say all these things about them or their religion. Not every Muslim is out there to kill Americans. Like they have nothing better to do. Most of the Muslims in the US are Americans. Plus none of you are real Americans (except if you are a Native American). So who gives you the right to say any of these things about someone else’s beliefs? I now how much 9/11 hurt all of us, but not all the Muslims in the world are like those terrorists. How about those innocent children in the world getting killed, for something they had no chose over. Being born Muslim was their only mistake. Then how can “Americans” write all of this when America is a nation that helps others in need and whose arms are open for everyone.

  248. #250 A.B.D
    February 29, 2008

    This is a message to those who try to be funny and write stupid things about the holy books or do crazy thing against these books.
    First of all, people are free to believe whatever they believe in. Which means people from different religions don’t have the right to make funs on my religion, and I don’t have the right to make funs on other religions? Quran and Bible and other holy books mean a lot for people believe in them. So it is wrong to speak about the holy books in this way.

    Americans market the USA as the country of freedom. Is the freedom in America to hate diver people and to be racist ? Is it to fight in the Middle East and kill thousands of people, such as in Iraq and Afghanistan under the name of the freedom ? The Americans promoted the war in Iraq for the freedom from Saddam Hussein. Saddam Hussein died long time ago, so why the American Army still in Iraq (However, the real story is to steal the Iraqi Oil, it is not to give the Iraqis the freedom from Saddam Hussein). Americans have done a lot of mistakes in the world such as the boom in Hiroshima, the Vietnams war ………etc. and they talk about the freedom with cold blood.
    I don’t want to talk much about the Americans mistakes because I will need years and years to finish writing about their mistakes and I will end with lots of books.
    The link below shows how the Americans are really stupid and I don’t know how they vote for the Iraqi war and they don’t even know where Iraq is.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KFzMVvwVGFA

    Regards
    A.B.D

  249. #251 Sven DiMilo
    February 29, 2008

    ABD:
    There are more than 300 million of us “Americans” and I can assure you that we are not a monolithic bloc; many–probably most–of us are as disgusted as you are about some of our government’s actions in our names. Many of us know precisely where Iraq is and have a pretty good idea about what’s going on over there; we sure as hell never voted for it. Some of us are even divers! (that’s a joke, son)
    But yes, we do have some “freedom” here. We have the freedom to try and change our country for the better when we don’t like its direction–this is a slow and imperfect process, to be sure, but in principle, we the people can kick the bums out and start over. We also have the freedom to make fun of any books we want to, whether others consider them “holy” or not. Because a lot of us think that the whole idea of “holiness” is stupid.
    Sorry you don’t agree.

  250. #252 Damian
    February 29, 2008

    First of all, people are free to believe whatever they believe in. Which means people from different religions don’t have the right to make funs on my religion, and I don’t have the right to make funs on other religions? Quran and Bible and other holy books mean a lot for people believe in them. So it is wrong to speak about the holy books in this way.

    In a free society, A.B.D, we have the right to make fun of virtually anything we like. Indeed, I would suggest that it is essential that everything is mocked, as it provides a public service. Very little, in life, is of such importance that it needs be immune from either criticism or mockery. It reminds us all that life is too short to take things too seriously, and that much of what we hold dear is petty and futile – especially religion, which is taken far too seriously by far too many people.

    Now, of course, there is nothing wrong with sensitivity towards the feelings of others, and most people are very aware of that, but it requires a thick skin to live in a free society – there are many different people, from all different backgrounds that have to rub along with each other, and if we were all so sensitive, there would be mayhem.

    Think about it. What would happen if we all thought that the things that we hold dear should be immune from criticism and mockery? We wouldn’t be living in a free society any longer, that’s what.

  251. #253 phantomreader42
    February 29, 2008

    Am I the only one thinking ABD looks like a parody?

    First of all, people are free to believe whatever they believe in. Which means people from different religions don’t have the right to make funs on my religion, and I don’t have the right to make funs on other religions? Quran and Bible and other holy books mean a lot for people believe in them. So it is wrong to speak about the holy books in this way.

    Yes, we’re free to believe whatever we want, as long as we don’t believe anything that makes religious nuts uncomfortable!

    Is the freedom in America to hate diver people and to be racist ?

    Yeah, those damn diver people! Someone should punch holes in their scuba tanks!

    But yes, there IS the freedom to be racist. Banning racist beliefs doesn’t work. Nor would banning questioning supposed “holy” books as you demand. The government can’t regulate thought, not merely because doing so would limit people’s freedom, but because there is no reliable way to enforce it.
    ACTIONS can be regulated, and are when they present a legitimate danger. Thoughts cannot, as much as you’d like to.

    We’re free to believe anything we want. That means I’m free to believe that you’re an idiot or a fake.

  252. #254 A.B.D
    February 29, 2008

    This is to phantomreader42

    First I would like to thank you for showing how the Americans are rude, impolite, and racist, also the have bad-mannered.

    According to phantomreader42 ” Yeah, those damn diver people! Someone should punch holes in their scuba tanks!”

    The sentence above shows how the Americans extremely racist.
    I don’t think you know that we live in the Planet Earth and there are many countries in this world (not only the USA). And people believe in different things (Christianity is not only the religion on this Planet). This means you cannot force people to believe in your religion or they will be like what you said before ” those damn diver people! Someone should punch holes in their scuba tanks!”

    A.B.D

  253. #255 noncarborundum
    March 1, 2008

    A.B.D., it might help if we knew what you meant by “diver people”. Perhaps “diverse”? The word “diver” means “someone who dives”, hence the joke about scuba tanks.

    It might also help if you understood what the word “racist” means (click here), because nothing that phantomreader42 wrote remotely qualifies.

  254. #256 Ichthyic
    March 1, 2008

    First of all, people are free to believe whatever they believe in. Which means people from different religions don’t have the right to make funs on my religion,

    here’s the key, ABD:

    This:
    First of all, people are free to believe whatever they believe in.

    does not equate with this:

    Which means people from different religions don’t have the right to make funs on my religion,

    in fact, yes, they do. At the same time, you have every right to make fun of their silly religions too!

    that’s how freedom works; something you have yet to learn, I gather.

    freedom means not only freedom OF religion, but freedom FROM religion as well.

    There’s an old saying…

    “If you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen.”

    It’s something you should think about the next time someone makes fun of your beliefs, and you get all angry about it.

  255. #257 sin
    March 12, 2008

    WONDERFULL THOUGHTS! BUT DEAR LIBERALS HAVE YOU EVER THOUGHT THAT ONE DAY YOU HAVE TO DIE.AND U WD B BURIED AT A PLACE ALL ALONE WITHOUT THESE MONEY AND LIBERAL THOUGHTS.SO THAT IS THE DAY U WD REALIZE WHAT U WERE TALKING ABOUT.AND TO MY ALMIGHTY LORD THIS WORLD MEANS NOTHING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.EVEN NOT COMAPRED TO A DROP OF WATER OF THE OCEAN’S ND THE LORD HAS GIVEN YOU TIME OF MAX.150 YEARS!!!!!!!!!!THE MOST HEY LIBERALS IT’S A CHALANGE CN UR SCIENCE GIVE U MORE TIME.ha!HA! NEVER.SO U R THE WORLD’S BIGGEST FOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOLSSSSS. AND U R THE BIGGEST BEGGARS U DON’T EVEN KNOW THAT HOW MANY OF U HAVE DIED AFTER PUTTING THEIR THOUGHTS.HOW IGNORANT ND FOOLISH PEOPLE ARE THAT THEY EVEN DON’T KNOW OF NEXT MINUTES ND BUILDS PLAN FOR 60 YRS.HAVE U SEEN A BEE!!!!!!!!!!IF U GO SAY TO A STREET IN UR TOWN U DON’T KNOW U WD FORGET THE WAY BK TO HOME.BT BEES GO TO DOZENS OF KILOMETERS AND COMES BACK HOME HOW???????????????????????????????????????????????????????WHO TELLS IT THIS IS UR HOME.BT THESE THOUGHTS WD COME TO A PESON WHO IS INTELLIGENT NOT TO ASS ND PIGS BECZ THEY ONLY NO TO EAT ND PISS,ND HAVE SEX.SO, U PEOPLE R PROVING THT U R WORST THAN A PIG OR EVEN A DOG…..U R NOT URINATING ON ANYTHNG BT ON UR OWN FACE…YUP……
    AND I’M SURE THAT ALL OF U AFTER WRITING UR THOUGHTS WD B IN DEEP TROUBLE…………SO IF U R FINE AND R ALIVE DOGS……..DO MSG ME MY ID IS hutchboy1@gmail.com:-SO WILL WAIT FR UR REPLY ND IF U R ON RIGHT TRACK DO MSG ME AM WAITING……………….

    one more thing I WD ALSO BE WITH U ON THE GREAT JUSTICE DAY “THE DAY WHEN CHILD’S WD BECOME OLD WITH THE BURDEN OF THEIR DEED’S.WHEN EARTH WD B FOLDED ND SKY WD SCATTER WITH THE LORD’S FEAR,ND MOUTAINS WD ROAM AS IF WOOL’S BEING WEAVED.”

  256. #258 Ichthyic
    March 12, 2008

    ???????????????????????????????????????????????????????

    ’nuff said.

  257. #259 MAJeff, OM
    March 12, 2008

    That’s some highly-concentrated crazy.

  258. #260 Janine, ID
    March 12, 2008

    HAVE YOU EVER THOUGHT THAT ONE DAY YOU HAVE TO DIE.

    Part of becoming self aware is coming to the realization that one will die.

    AND U WD B BURIED AT A PLACE

    My plan is to be cremated and my ashes to be mix in the earth with a tree seedling.

    ALL ALONE WITHOUT THESE MONEY AND LIBERAL THOUGHTS.

    I’m dead! Why do I need my money? And my brain, even before it is turned to stream and ash, will no longer be capable of thought; liberal, conservative or otherwise.

    You bore me and so I am done. Buh-bye!

  259. #261 Janine, ID
    March 12, 2008

    There is no “r” in steam.

  260. #262 Michael X
    March 12, 2008

    That was one of the funniest things I’ve read in a while. Nothing like a 15 y.o. raised on the web to instruct you on, well, anything…

  261. #263 Owlmirror
    March 12, 2008

    I would have no problem with my ashes being poured into a stream, there to eventually become parts of reeds and grasses and moss and willow and algae and caddisfly larvae and fish and fungi and bacteria and beetle larvae and snails and frogs and crayfish and dragonfly larvae and… and so on and so forth, ever flowing, until the stream reaches the river, and the river, the sea.

  262. #264 sin
    March 16, 2008

    H MNKYS! KNW THT ,R FTHR,GRND FTHRS R MNKYS & R FR FTHRS WR MNKYS.BT NVR THGHT THT THSTS HV BRN F “DNKY”!HY !! GRT SGGSTN T MR!!!.PZ MYRS.”Y DNT PT THRY THT THST’S HV BRN F DNKY””???BT WT….. THNK DNKYS MGHT CLM WTH NML RGHTS THT THY HV SMRTR BRN THN THSTS…'”.BCS THY T WHT THR LRD HS TLD THM(.; plnts.hv sn dnky tng mt r fsh??) ND SPK TH WY TH LRD HS CMNDD,VN THGH F T’S NPLSNT.BT THSTS R TH BGGST FL N RTH THT THY DNT KNW WHT THY R TNG.DNKY SYS T MR.P Z MYRS ND THSTS ” LT M PSS.. N R MTH ND N R FC TS MR TSTY THN BCN,, YH ND LT M TLL MR.MYRS TH WY T GT NBL PRZ,LT M FCK R SS,MMS ND DGHTR ND NC PT MY SPRMS N THR PSSY THR WD B GNTC TRNSFRMTN ND CLL T ‘DNMYRS’ MNS DNKY ND MYRS,H!H!H!….

    LL LN WTHT THS MNY ND LBRL THGHTS.
    BY THS MNT FLS THT CN BY LF WTH R MNY ND CN R LBRL THGHTS GV MR TM T LV….GT T FLS …SCH DMB…. THST R….TRLY….@!!!!!

  263. #265 SIN
    March 16, 2008

    Nthng lk 15 y.. Mchl X
    Hy Mchl dd cmplt r schlng r r frm phlpns mght b frm frc r Thlnd….h h!.. vn dn’t ndrstnd nglsh.Hy Mr.Myr’s thght hv sm gd mnkys n r blg bt M rly dprssd thy ll sms t b wrst thn PGS… gn ts n nslt f pgs….. WRLD’S wrst crtr…… “THST”.

    DD MNT CN LV MR THN 150 YRS BCZ THR WS LDY N CHN SH LVD 129 YRS.S WS GVNG MR 21YRS.S CN R MNY R MR.MYRS R MR DRWN GV MR TM…… HHH!!!!!!
    LL R PSSNG N R WN FC……………..

  264. #266 SIN
    March 16, 2008

    HY wlmrrr R RLY N WL… H H H!!!!

    K F HV CHSN THT, GRT!! PLS NT TDYS DT SMWHR,BCS WD D WTH FR ND R DD BDY WD B N FR ND R SL N HLL.

    ND LSTN TH FR R GNG T D WD B WRST THN CLFRN WLD FR,ND WD B LV NTL R TNG ND PNNS WD B BRND.ND CLL MR. MYRS,DRWNS R BSH T HLP.NT T DD, THTS TH WY, MY LRD FLFLS SMN’S WSH ND FR T’S “”””””FR””””” .NW STRT CNTNG. TS FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR,FR.NLY FR N R NTR LF.CLL NTR WRLD T SV ….

    Hmmm……..S, THST DDNT ML M, WS WTNG FR R MLS…. S NJY R LF BT DN’T FRGT DTH S CHSNG .T R FFC,HM,STRTS,DSC,VCTNS.RN S FST S CN ND S FR S CN, G T SPC,G N SN,MN,MRS NYWHR TS CHSNG . SV RSLF F CNNNNNNNNNNNNNN……………………….BY TK CR MNKYS! ND WL RLY HV BRN F N WL SK R PRNTS T CHNG T.WLLLLLLL……

  265. #267 Rey Fox
    March 16, 2008

    …er…

    “and” is spelled with an “a”.

  266. #268 Charles Darwin
    March 16, 2008

    Thts nw wy f spllng nd=nd…. r frm thrd wrld Ry??????? vn dn’t knw t… sch n ss r…..

  267. #269 LanceR
    March 16, 2008

    Everybody, now!

    Fire, fire, fire, fire…

    Oh, wait…

    You’re right. That’s some serious crazy there.

  268. #270 dadi
    May 2, 2008

    maybe better instead of doing what u said,try to read and know what inside,as a biologist there is a lot to know about things humanity waited a long time to know and they still not knowing enough,secondly this book has no human author,so no money in someone’s pocket,its a book from Allah our God even if u don’t believe in,third u are just a prof thinking himself like doing something as a baby who discover that there is something called mind,thats mean there is a lot u should learn how to use it right,look up what people said about the Quran,so u can know its not just a book as u think even what making me feel sad about u,why do u insult a book by saying “silly book” is that a scientific way to criticize ,really u should get rid from the dust that hiding your mind to see things clear ,am just sorry for u,ah something,maybe some1 will take your pic and do some …things with,like u can find your self somewhere in a website,like gay ones or suspect ones, even do urinate on,there is a lot…do u think some1 can stop me?…but am telling u that am not,just because its not from my ethics,its easy to say what u said but its so hard to be thinking as the way u think,its just so naive and stupid….

  269. #271 dadi
    May 4, 2008

    this a way from many so u can undersatnd what quran says,take a look plz : http://talkislam.wordpress.com/truth-of-islam-through-reason-and-logic/

  270. #272 John Morales
    July 16, 2008

    This is a community service link.

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