This Frightening World


Tom Tomorrow has a list of things he’s been wondering about, but it’s actually a list of things I suspect but would rather not have confirmed.


  1. #1 Bill Dauphin
    July 30, 2007

    when is it OK to squeeze the demons out of your toddler?

    Yeah, as soon as I saw this story, I thought “I bet this will be a topic at Pharyngula today!” Dog help us, but I’m afraid those poor cops will get jacked up for violating the dead would-be exorcist’s “religious freedom.” [sigh]

  2. #2 Bill Dauphin
    July 30, 2007

    Why wasn’t the mother arrested?

    According to the story I read, there’s an ongoing investigation into criminal charges for her. In the meantime, I suspect she wasn’t arrested because she was hospitalized, along with her unfortunate daughter. I’m guessing it’s still something of a coin-flip whether the investigation will show her to be a perp or a victim in this tawdry affair: The fact that she was only 19 and the grandfather/exorcist only 42 leaves wide open the question of who was in charge of the situation.

  3. #3 Mats
    July 30, 2007

    Unfullfilled atheists keep confusing evolutionary superstition with true science (aerodynamics).

  4. #4 windy
    July 30, 2007

    (Suddenly I find myself wondering why, if the Tower of Babel was such an affront to God, all space projects from Sputnik to Apollo and beyond did not precipitate equally dire consequences and were not similarly struck down.)

    Perhaps humanity is not yet sufficiently united for God to feel threatened. Apparently, he hates world peace more than temporary human presence in celestial spheres.

    Another option is that God is resorting to subtle sabotage like he did the first time. The tower was not actually struck down, was it? The project was abandoned after the Lord & co. “confounded the language of all the earth”. That pound vs metric confusion that crashed the Mars Climate Orbiter, for example – was it God’s work?

  5. #5 Kseniya
    July 30, 2007


    The tower was not actually struck down, was it?

    I believe it was, yes. For corroboration, I offer this passage from the Wiki page on the Tower of Babel:


    It is not mentioned in the Genesis account that God directly destroyed the tower; however, the accounts in the Book of Jubilees, Cornelius Alexander (frag. 10), Abydenus (frags. 5 and 6), Josephus (Antiquities 1.4.3), and the Sibylline Oracles (iii. 117-129) do state the tradition that God overturned the tower with a great wind.

    (Tangentially: Tower of Babel: The Evidence Against the New Creationism)

  6. #6 Mats
    July 30, 2007

    It gets worse: Subsequent removal of prayer from schools led us directly to other mortally sinful activites such as landing on the moon.

    Landing on the moon is not the result of believing in unguided magical creative forces. Landing on the moon was (among other things) the result of design and engineering.

    Actually, one of the “fathers” of the US space program had this to say:
    “I find it difficult to understand a scientist who does not acknowledge the presence of a superior rationality behind the existence of the universe.

  7. #7 Rey Fox
    July 30, 2007

    Now he’s gunning for Non Sequitur of the Year.

  8. #8 Ritchie Annand
    July 30, 2007

    Kseniya, I’ve encountered milder, but equivalent, sentiments about landing on other planets. There was a Catholic lady who ran a store… I got along with her just fine, but I remember how affronted she got with the idea of sending men to Mars, because it was greed and a violation of God having given us the Earth for our own.

    Mats: Werner von Braun was confirmed into the Lutheran church and his mother gave him a telescope to commemorate the experience. His religious thought didn’t start creeping in until the 60s, but he certainly didn’t force it on people, and was by all accounts a pleasure to work with. When he started to take ill was when he ‘descended’ full-bore into religious thought in a manner unrecognizable to many of his cohorts.

    Over his life, he also made quotes like this:

    Science has taught us one most important lesson about God that we should never forget: We have learned that God does not interfere in the free order of life and nature which He created. If we do not accept this, we must abandon the entire concept of freedom …

    He was a man against the evils of the atomic bomb and the like. I think he would have been sad at how much we have reneged on the sort of dreams for humans in space he had.

    He was a smart man, but IMO mistaken about the existence of a Creator. I find physics and mathematics leave people more open to that particular illusion because the nature of the fields leaves one with a sense of the “definite”. (Engineers and doctors seemingly even more so) There are no equivalent surprises to those in biology like the discovery of equivalent neural proteins in sea sponges.


    That pound vs metric confusion that crashed the Mars Climate Orbiter, for example – was it God’s work?

    I laughed ­čÖé

    I never did understand why the confounding followed rules of linguistic change and migration. Why doesn’t Dutch sound like audio feedback instead of a relative of English, and why doesn’t Egyptian, say, sound like hooting owls?

  9. #9 Kseniya
    July 30, 2007

    Who let the Sphinx out? Who? Who, who who – WHO?

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