Pharyngula

Yet another example of religious insanity:

A British primary school teacher has been arrested in Sudan, accused of insulting Islam’s Prophet by letting her class of 7-year-olds name a teddy bear Mohammed, her school said on Monday.

Colleagues of Gillian Gibbons, aged 54 from Liverpool, told Reuters they feared for her safety after receiving reports that young men had already started gathering outside the Khartoum police station where she was being held.

I don’t know why they’re blaming the teacher. Clearly, all of those 7-year-olds need to be hauled out of their homes and stoned to death.

Comments

  1. #1 Lycosid
    November 26, 2007

    Religion is a subset of irrationality, a concept that strive to limit in our day to day lives.

  2. #2 Azkyroth
    November 26, 2007

    I’d better not say what I’ve named my plush octopus, then

    “My plush octopus?” As in, you have only one? This has been a severe day of disillusionment. :(

    WRT Scott’s comment:

    The supernatural claims of religion (the factors, in other words, that distinguish a “religion” from, depending on the religion in question, a “philosophy,” a “political movement,” a “community service organization,” or a “street gang”) satisfy the technical definition of “delusion” (or would if the definition weren’t arbitrarily written to exclude it) but I would contend that it is in many cases is properly classified as a similar phenomenon to “hallucinations in the sane.” This is not one of them.

    I wish I could say I was surprised. Any word on whether the British government is going to be able to get her out of there?

  3. #3 Brownian, OM
    November 26, 2007

    Boy, JeGodvAllah’s got a thin skin. Perhaps He/She/It would feel a little more self-confident and a little less self-conscious if He/She/It stopped using so many aliases and prophets and started speaking for Him-/Her-/Itself.

    My psychiatrist’s been coaching me for years to just come out and say what I mean. Couldn’t hurt for the Big Guy to join some sort of therapy group and learn how to communicate.

  4. #4 Rey Fox
    November 26, 2007

    “God, would you ever shut up about religion and creationism.”

    God has actually been curiously silent on the subject.

  5. #5 Brownian, OM
    November 26, 2007

    You’re the worst creationist of the lot, your attack on James Watson recently put you firmly in the leftist race-creationist camp.

    D’uh, typing is fun.

  6. #6 Sarcastro
    November 26, 2007

    They conveniently ignore the evidence which indicates that “the vast majority of believers” are utterly warped and deranged by their religion.

    Fixed that for ya Jaime.

  7. #7 Richard Harris
    November 26, 2007

    An ‘expert’ on IQ said on BBC radio 4 recently that the average IQ of people in that region is about 85. If he’s correct, that might help explain their behaviour.

  8. #8 Jamie
    November 26, 2007

    They conveniently ignore the evidence which indicates that “the vast majority of believers” are utterly warped and deranged by their religion.

    Fixed that for ya Jaime.

    No, I meant what I said. The vast majority of Muslims are utterly warped and deranged by their religion. Muslims. Most Christians I know are relatively harmless. Most Muslims, on the other hand, as a mild example, believe that apostasy should be punishable by death. All the statistics indicate this.

  9. #9 zer0
    November 26, 2007

    Why aren’t the Christians rounding up all the latinos named Jesus? Religious fundamentalism is fun!

  10. #10 PZ Myers
    November 26, 2007

    “Seperated[sic] by over 40,000 years”? I’ve always wondered where that idea came from. Were humans distributed along racial clines all enforcing anti-miscegenation laws or something?

    How about “humans have been interbreeding and interacting liberally for tens of thousands of years and in the absence of some kind of (magical) genetic isolation mechanism we’d expect similar capabilities distributed throughout”?

  11. #11 SEF
    November 26, 2007

    I don’t know why they’re blaming the teacher.

    She’s a foreigner. In some places that makes her fair game for all blame (especially various Arabic and Islamic places, from which I’ve heard of previous such legal injustices before). It’s probably also particularly damning that she’s a female. Again notably applicable in the same places but hardly unique to them.

  12. #12 CJO
    November 26, 2007

    ‘races seperated by over 40,000 years of evolutionary history and facing wildly divergent selection pressures magically evolved identical IQ levels’
    And precisely the same magical number of fingers and toes!

  13. #13 Brownian, OM
    November 26, 2007

    Or what about the idea that our linguistic and cognitive abilities evolved prior to the divergences that account for the superficial differences between races? How about that intelligence (being coded for at a large number of loci) could be under stabilising selective pressures, and thus would remain roughly consistent under a thousand generations.

    I mean, we’ve all got the same number of legs, arms, fingers and toes, and that didn’t happen by magic. The evolution of the human brain from our last common ancestor with chimpanzees (~5-7 MYA) to tool using (~2.5 MYA) took 4.5 to 2.5 million years. How fucking fast do you think brains evolve, anyway?

    At any rate, there is no reasonable need to rehash this argument. And since there is no valid scientific reason to abandon the hypothesis that there is no significant difference in intelligence among ‘races’, your comparison of a person who does not to a creationist is frankly wrong.

    How is it that the people who argue the hardest for intelligence differences between the ‘races’ seem the stupidest, anyway?

  14. #14 andromeda
    November 26, 2007

    ow about “humans have been interbreeding and interacting liberally for tens of thousands of years and in the absence of some kind of (magical) genetic isolation mechanism we’d expect similar capabilities distributed throughout”? mostly seperate. most british people today are descended form the origninal inhabitants. any interactions that occur are at the extreme periphery.

  15. #15 Brownian, OM
    November 26, 2007

    most british people today are descended form the origninal inhabitants

    Like the Gauls, who inhabited a large swath of western Europe and were the progenitors of the “original” Celts? And don’t even get me started on those Normans and Saxons. All dirtying up them pure Anglos.

    No, no interbreeding there at all.

  16. #16 Kerlyssa
    November 26, 2007

    It’s England, not Australia. People have bloody well swum the channel, and it was narrower in the not so distant past. Armadas have invaded England, raped, conquered and settled the ‘English’ for two thousand years. It is one of the worst examples of a genetically isolated population outside of the Mediterranean area.

  17. #17 PZ Myers
    November 26, 2007

    most british people today are descended form the origninal inhabitants. any interactions that occur are at the extreme periphery.

    Like, wow. That is one of the more spectacular self-immolations I’ve witnessed here.

  18. #18 Brownian, OM
    November 26, 2007

    most british people today are descended form the origninal inhabitants.

    What an extraordinarily untrue statement!

    Perhaps by ‘original inhabitants’ Andromeda really means ‘kinds’.

    That would make the truthfullness of the claim on par with the rest of the creationists’ bullshit. At least we now know why Andromeda’s so pissed off at PZ for being anti-religion and anti-creationist.

    What Andy really means to say is, “I know you are but what am I?”

  19. #19 David Marjanovi?, OM
    November 26, 2007

    mostly seperate. most british people today are descended form the origninal inhabitants. any interactions that occur are at the extreme periphery.

    Yes, but they never cease. Humans fuck, almost like bonobos. Which is why all human variance is clinal.

    The only reproductively isolated group of humans ever were the inhabitants of Easter Island for about 400 years. It would make a lot more sense to divide humanity into two races, Native Easter Islander and Everyone Else, than any other scheme that has ever been advanced (and dozens, if not hundreds, of contradictory schemes have been proposed, and often religiously believed in).

  20. #20 David Marjanovi?, OM
    November 26, 2007

    mostly seperate. most british people today are descended form the origninal inhabitants. any interactions that occur are at the extreme periphery.

    Yes, but they never cease. Humans fuck, almost like bonobos. Which is why all human variance is clinal.

    The only reproductively isolated group of humans ever were the inhabitants of Easter Island for about 400 years. It would make a lot more sense to divide humanity into two races, Native Easter Islander and Everyone Else, than any other scheme that has ever been advanced (and dozens, if not hundreds, of contradictory schemes have been proposed, and often religiously believed in).

  21. #21 windy
    November 26, 2007

    …young men had already started gathering outside the Khartoum police station…

    Now, before you criticise these young men, remember that they are motivated by faith, just like scientists! Right?

  22. #22 kevinj
    November 26, 2007

    andromeda,
    care to elaborate?
    Although DNA research as shown that, in the areas where used, that local inhabitants lines can be traced back to prehistoric there is also a large amount of new blood coming in (well apart from in Norfolk where rumour has it a descendant of the beaker tribes is looked at funny) eg, well the amesbury archer (to save you the effort a skeleton found at stonehenge dating back to 3200 bc who lived in the alps as a child.

  23. #23 Master Mahan
    November 26, 2007

    You’re presenting England as isolated? Really? They’ve been invaded and colonized by pretty much the entirety of Europe. Ever notice how similar German is to English? That’s because the Anglo-Saxons were originally made up of by invading Germanic tribes, and they only came after the Romans, who weren’t the original inhabitants either. Not that it was one tribe, either – that apostrophe is there for a reason. The Angles and the Saxons were separate tribes.

    Then of course you have your various Danes, your Franks, your Norse, and your Normans – who owed their origins to both France and Scandinavia.

    I look forward to seeing what you come with next. There’s nothing quite like misinformation tetherball.

  24. #24 Dustin
    November 26, 2007

    When is Coathangrrrr going to come in and scold us for ridiculing Muslims?

    I suspect as soon as he/she/it is done hashing out the ethics of removing lint from one’s navel elsewhere on the intertubes.

  25. #25 Master Mahan
    November 26, 2007

    I’ve also bought books by Robert Bork, Al Franken, Burdick & Lederer (The Ugly American), Michael Moore, Dinesh D’Souza and a bunch more. I find them interesting and like to delve into the footnotes, the arguments, the logic, etc.

    I understand completely. I study the various species of wingnuts because it’s a great way to train one of God greatest gifts (sic), critical thinking. They’re like logic problems written by the severely disturbed.

  26. #26 DLC
    November 26, 2007

    Wow. see what you miss when you go away for a few hours?

    First off: Sudan is not alone in being a theocracy.
    See Also: Iran. Saudi Arabia is not far behind as the royal family can’t ignore the clerics without setting up a religious revolution. The United States is still quite a ways from a theocracy, so long as the Constitution and the Bill of Rights stand. Get rid of either of those documents and it’ll be game over before you can blink.

  27. #27 Janine
    November 26, 2007

    I know that I am stating the obvious here but andromeda is one of the most ignorant trolls to show up here. Betty is more intelligent. (While being more deluded.) Making an argument about the British Isles while knowing nothing about the history of the British Isles. Truly staggering.

    If one is going to try to make the racist argument about the Anglo-Saxons, at least know the history. Thought one would be hopeful that such historical knowledge would knock the racist leanings from you.

  28. #28 Brownian, OM
    November 26, 2007

    I’ve noticed a common them here among scientific racists, creationists, and climate change denialists.

    As a general rule, they tend to glom on to the ideas of the lone or few who dissent from the general scientific consensus and insist that the rarity of said dissenters and the paucity of their refereed scholarship is due to The Great Censorship Conspiracy of Academia. Secondly, they respond to any criticism of such dissenters with some vague ad hominem attack accusing the critic of an inability to think outside the PC/liberal/leftist box (because, um, it takes a really novel, free-thinking mind to suggest that people of a different ethnicity or race might be somehow sub-par).

    Unfortunately, in nearly every case I’ve seen here, the general level of knowledge demonstrated by the ‘free-thinkers’ outside of what they’ve read in The Bell Curve or on Climate Audit is nearly nil.

    For people who like to accuse others of dogmatism, they give every indication of being dilletantes who happened to stumble upon a book or resource that validates their racism, creationism, or climate change denialism.

    Haven’t these people ever heard of getting a second opinion?

  29. #29 Blake Stacey
    November 26, 2007

    For some off-topic comic relief, Tyler DiPietro has a nice rendition of “Shorter Bill Dembski“:

    The accusation that I stole Harvard’s video is false. In reality I just circumvented distribution restrictions by copying it off the internet, modified it and made it look like my own work. BTW, comments are disabled, fuckers.

    Read the original at your own risk, and be alert for Teh Burning Stupid.

  30. #30 Abbie
    November 26, 2007

    The only reproductively isolated group of humans ever were the inhabitants of Easter Island for about 400 years.

    What about Tasmania? IIRC it was home to the longest-isolated group of people known.

  31. #31 Molly, NYC
    November 26, 2007

    It’s not just the dogma that makes people nuts. You have to wonder what sort of lives these people are living where they have nothing better to do than go down to the local precinct and threaten someone who’s already locked up.

  32. #32 John Scanlon, FCD
    November 26, 2007

    re. #s 56 (David Marjanovic)

    The only reproductively isolated group of humans ever were the inhabitants of Easter Island for about 400 years,

    #72 and #76 were correct, #81 brings in a red herring. David did write ‘only…ever’, so Tassie must have slipped his mind.
    Given the small size of the effective population before contact (and consequent low genetic variability, it can be inferred), the absence of extant ‘pure-blooded’ (sic) Tasmanians probably doesn’t mean much additional genetic diversity has been lost there… except for Tasmanian Y chromosomes, which are probably completely extinct.
    Isolation occurred at some unknown time after the end-Pleistocene sea-level rise, either when Bass Strait became unnavigable in bark canoes or when the Tasmanian population lost that technology – unless occasional mainlanders got blown south from time to time, which I concede is not totally unlikely over such a long timescale.

  33. #33 Stoic
    November 27, 2007

    And won’t YOU feel bad when they actually do it.

  34. #34 Marcus Ranum
    November 27, 2007

    On the BBC they were saying that she’s apparently in line for a sentence of 40 lashes.

    Sheesh, you’d think she was a marijuana smoker, with a sentence like that.

  35. #35 Bob O'H
    November 27, 2007

    Gah! Ignore the extra dot!

  36. #36 MAJeff
    November 27, 2007

    Sheesh, you’d think she was a marijuana smoker, with a sentence like that.

    What?

    Huh?

    Hey, who’s got the chips?

  37. #37 Dale
    November 27, 2007

    David Marjanovi? wrote…

    “The only reproductively isolated group of humans ever were the inhabitants of Easter Island for about 400 years.”

    The aboriginal Tasmanians were isolated for what is generally agreed to be around 10,000 years, so you are out by a factor of 25 (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tasmanian_aboriginals).

  38. #38 MikeM
    November 27, 2007

    Everybody find someone who doesn’t look like you and fuck ‘em.

    Luckily for my wife, mission accomplished.

    Lucky for me, too.

    What a fascinating conversation, though. My mom was raised in England from Irish parents, and it don’t mean a thing. My dad has lots of stuff going on. My wife is Chinese.

    I was hoping our kids would turn out darker than they did, but, alas, they have to wear lots of sunscreen too. And they are way, way smarter than I was at their age.

    I attribute that to something else covered today: Theosophy. Yup, I went to a Waldorf school. What a waste of money that was. When people talk about Moby Dick, well, we didn’t read much at Waldorf. Worst school ever.

  39. #39 andromeda
    November 27, 2007

    well myers, maybe you should check out ‘blood of the isles’.

    “the episodes of group migration into the British Isles were remarkably few between the Norman Conquest of 1066 and the beginning of modern mass immigration after 1945: the French Huguenot refugees, the modest flow of Ashkenazi Jews, and a few others. Nevertheless, in recent years the politically-correct elites on both sides of the Atlantic have begun to promote the improbable contention that Britain has always been a land of immigration. Ironically, just as this has become an article of faith, genetic evidence has begun to pile up about how profoundly wrong it is. Not only did immigration after 1066 play a vanishingly small role in the makeup of the offshore islanders, but even the famous invasions of previous millennia–Normans, Vikings, Anglo-Saxons, and Romans–merely added a fairly minor overlay to the prehistoric gene pool. The family trees of the English, Scottish, Welsh, and Irish are overwhelmingly indigenous to the British Isles since far back into prehistoric times. The title of Sykes’ first chapter, “Twelve Thousand Years of Solitude,” summarizes this finding. The “average settlement dates” in the Isles for the ancestors of modern British and Irish people, he estimates, were around 8,000 years ago.”

    http://www.vdare.com/sailer/070415_diverse.htm

    a self-immolation. wait, what?

  40. #40 Azkyroth
    November 27, 2007

    (Wikipedia on [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vdare]the website[/url] and [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steve_Sailer]author[/url] of his source, for whatever that’s worth).

  41. #41 Azkyroth
    November 27, 2007

    Azkyroth, remembering which medium he’s writing in this time:

    (Wikipedia on the website and author of his source, for whatever that’s worth).

    Basically, this seems to be an intensely partisan site and individual, advocating a position (race predicts intelligence, etc.) that has been, in general form, so intensely afflicted with observer and confirmation bias, and innumerable, blithely ignored confounding factors, that it’s become a running joke. Do better, plsthx.

  42. #42 Darwin's Minion
    November 27, 2007

    “…but even the famous invasions of previous millennia–Normans, Vikings, Anglo-Saxons, and Romans–merely added a fairly minor overlay to the prehistoric gene pool”

    Wow. Now that’s one big, misleadig pile of horseshit.
    Of course the invasions of the British Isles by the Normans, Vikings etc. didn’t do much to change the prehistoric gene pool – because everybody in the whole of bloody Europe comes from the same prehistoric genepool. There just isn’t any way that you can determine if somebody is from Denmark, England, Europe or Italy just by looking at their genes.

    …but then, being super-special and pureblood feels so good, doesn’t it?

  43. #43 Kerlyssa
    November 27, 2007

    NelC: They will pay millions as a ransom in slightly prettier language.

  44. #44 raven
    November 27, 2007

    Heterosis

    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    (Redirected from Hybrid vigor)

    Not to be confused with Heterotic string theory.
    Heterosis is a term used in genetics and selective breeding. The term heterosis, also known as hybrid vigor (or hybrid vigour) or outbreeding enhancement, describes the increased strength of different characteristics in hybrids; the possibility to obtain a “better” individual by combining the virtues of its parents.

    Heterosis is often the opposite process of inbreeding depression, which increases homozygosity.

    What is wrong with being outbred? Geneticists knew decades ago that hybrids frequently show “vigor”, enhancements in fitness. This is why double hybrid corn is planted and why mutt dogs are considered the most intelligent. The stereotypes that hillbillys from isolated locations are inbred and dumb has a grain of truth in it. It is recommended that you do not marry your sister, mother, or cousin.

    The USA has been a melting pot for so long, that many or most citizens are wildly mixed. Last I heard, we were the world leader is science and the last superpower. Although we are on a slide right now, the Bushes are a good example of ethnic inbreeding.

  45. #45 Stephen Wells
    November 27, 2007

    Speaking as a current inhabitant of Britain, whose ancestors include Huguenots, English, Scots, Irish and at least one Pole that I know of, who was born in South Africa, and with an Asian wife, I find it hilarious that andromeda actually claimed that the British are genetically isolated. Citing white-supremacist websites completed the death spiral on that one.

  46. #46 Suricou Raven
    November 27, 2007

    Islamic fanatics are what fundamentalist christians seek to be like – utterly devoted to their religion, believing in it without the slightest trace of doubt, working the Word of God into every area of their lives both personal and public. They are unable to see the simularity though, because they are able to focus only on the differences.

  47. #47 PixelFish
    November 27, 2007

    My plush octopuses are named Xenu and Ocho. What’s wrong with—?

    Oh, shit. I think there’s Scientologists at my door.

  48. #48 David Marjanovi?, OM
    November 28, 2007

    A bit OT, but Tasmanians were possibly isolated for thousands of years.

    Good point — I did forget about them –, but has any research on this been done?

    Good point also about the Sentinelese; they clearly are isolated, but nobody knows since when.

    There just isn’t any way that you can determine if somebody is from Denmark, England, [Germany] or Italy just by looking at their genes.

    To be fair, it does work with twenty Hungarians. Not with one Hungarian, though.

  49. #49 David Marjanovi?, OM
    November 28, 2007

    A bit OT, but Tasmanians were possibly isolated for thousands of years.

    Good point — I did forget about them –, but has any research on this been done?

    Good point also about the Sentinelese; they clearly are isolated, but nobody knows since when.

    There just isn’t any way that you can determine if somebody is from Denmark, England, [Germany] or Italy just by looking at their genes.

    To be fair, it does work with twenty Hungarians. Not with one Hungarian, though.

The site is currently under maintenance and will be back shortly. New comments have been disabled during this time, please check back soon.