Pharyngula

Speak it, brother!

Clenched fist salute to Pat Condell:

Exactly.

Comments

  1. #1 Chris Anderson
    November 28, 2007

    That was a beautiful thing.

  2. #2 Moses
    November 28, 2007

    I like this guy.

  3. #3 Tessa
    November 28, 2007

    It looks like Pat’s been busy.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pat_Condell

  4. #4 Rick Schauer
    November 28, 2007

    I give Pat a 10!

  5. #5 tsig
    November 28, 2007

    religion delenda est!

    dogma= dog ma.

    If your dog was your ma then…

  6. #6 Casey S
    November 28, 2007

    My god, that video has over 1,300 comments! Good to know that this whole atheism business is stirring things up.

  7. #7 steve99
    November 28, 2007

    Well, in principle, yes. But what about those of us, or friends of us, who have aged relatives with belief? Or who (to give a real example) work to provide medical care to people? Do we say to them “I give your religion the finger”, when they are in desperate need of care and consolation?

    This is not about moderate atheism – it is about dealing with individuals with sympathy and respect.

  8. #8 Jack Rawlinson
    November 28, 2007

    Pat just gets better and better. That summed up my position exactly.

  9. #9 Dan
    November 28, 2007

    “What a waste of an Enlightenment.”

    That’s a perfect line, and I am definitely going to start squeezing it into my everyday conversation. I may use it as an insult: “You are a complete waste of an Enlightenment.”

    Anyway, that was a great monologue.

  10. #10 Christianjb
    November 28, 2007

    I agree and disagree.

    There’s nothing wrong with being polite and respectful. The problem with using mockery is that there’s no correlation of the degree of the insult with respect to the accuracy of the argument. I imagine that Pat could be just as biting in arguing a viewpoint I don’t agree with- but that wouldn’t mean that he was right.

    Ultimately, the only reason I am an atheist is because the arguments convince me. It has nothing to do with the wittiness of the insults that famous atheists have concocted. That doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy a good insult from time to time.

    I am in complete agreement that religion deserves no more respect than astrology. However, I’m more inclined to feel sorry for the ‘ordinary’ people who have been conned into believing that nonsense.

  11. #11 LisaS
    November 28, 2007

    Wow! Pat Condell is great. I hope he performs in the States some time.

  12. #12 noncarborundum
    November 28, 2007

    religion delenda est!

    Ooh. So close. ‘n’ littera delenda est.

  13. #13 AuroraD
    November 28, 2007

    Word Word McWordity Word.

    (Obviously we can all agree that Pat Condell is brilliant, witty, charming and a true hardass, in the best sense of the term. My 40-something girly question is: Is Mr. Condell straight and, if so, single?)

    Seriously, he’s not only my new favorite speaker/thinker, but also quite the middle-aged hottie!

  14. #14 jdb
    November 28, 2007

    steve99: “This is not about moderate atheism – it is about dealing with individuals with sympathy and respect”

    I don’t interpret anything Pat said — or anything PZ, or Dawkins, or Hitchens, etc. have said — as meaning that atheists shouldn’t have social graces or treat people without sympathy or respect.

    “But what about those of us, or friends of us, who have aged relatives with belief? Or who (to give a real example) work to provide medical care to people? Do we say to them ‘I give your religion the finger’, when they are in desperate need of care and consolation?”

    Pat is giving religion the finger in the public sphere. If Grandma doesn’t want to hear what Pat has to say, she doesn’t have to watch his YouTube videos, or read Pharyngula. Nobody’s saying you should barge into Grandma’s hospital room and browbeat her about how her beliefs are a bunch of poorly written fairy tales, any more than you should barge into Grandma’s hospital room and browbeat her with your views on politics or any other topic.

    But if Grandma asks you to pray with her, there’s nothing unsympathetic or disrespectful about saying that you don’t believe. If Grandma wants to lecture everyone over Thanksgiving dinner about what a great president Bush is, there’s nothing unsympathetic or disrespectful about voicing your disagreement if you so choose.

  15. #15 Janine
    November 28, 2007

    It is so rare when I hear someone sum up something that I so dearly believe in such a tight little package. “God can go know himself in the biblical sense.” That made me so happy.

    Oh, concern troll steve99, you can go fuck yourself. Do it deep, long and hard. What Pat Condell was talking about was not going to dying people and being disrespectful. Basically, he said that just because you have a religious belief does not mean that you are to be respected because of that. Pat does not give a fuck what you believe and neither do I. But you are an asshole who cannot follow an argument. And you are asshole for then accusing atheist of doing something we do not do.

  16. #16 rootlesscosmo
    November 28, 2007

    I part company where he asserts that if atheists had taken a strong line with religious nonsense sooner, we wouldn’t have the situation we have, any more than with astrology and palmistry. (Lots of people believe those sorts of nonsense too.) I see no evidence that prompt opposition (when, exactly?) would have interfered with the rise of fundamentalisms of various kinds. I don’t mind Condell’s on-the-muscle ‘tude, or even (very much) his unconsidered equation of “balls” with courage, but as an explanation for why religious belief declines in some periods and thrives in others–as a sociology of knowledge, which I submit we need if we’re to make real headway against ignorance and bigotry–he doesn’t have anything to offer; I admit there’s a certain visceral satisfaction of seeing an expert reviler do his stuff, but it wears off quickly.

  17. #17 Hank Fox
    November 28, 2007

    Whew, wonderful! I second the admiration for the line “What a waste of an Enlightenment.”

    steve99: Well, in principle, yes. But what about those of us, or friends of us, who have aged relatives with belief? Or who (to give a real example) work to provide medical care to people? Do we say to them “I give your religion the finger”, when they are in desperate need of care and consolation?
    This is not about moderate atheism – it is about dealing with individuals with sympathy and respect.

    Steve, I agree that relatives deserve sympathy and respect. I’m sure Condell is not suggesting you spring this on your grandmother on her deathbed.

    What he IS suggesting is that we all stop just taking it and taking it and taking it, while the dangerous know-nothings continue to steamroller us with their aggressive idiocy.

    He’s saying that WE have the right to sympathy and respect too. It’s been a one way street for millennia. Time we had the freedom to be ourselves, without fear of being killed (a real possibility in some places) – or even just socially tormented – for being the BEST we can be.

    Years back, most everybody in my family knew I had my misgivings about religion. Their response was to put me on the spot at EVERY family-gathering dinner: “Would you say the blessing?” I had to swallow my own feelings and conclusions and do what they wanted – betray myself by becoming a temporary pitchman for religion – or risk causing an unpleasant scene that would ruin the holiday for everybody (most especially me).

    It was emotional blackmail, pure and simple. But they thought they were RIGHT to do it.

  18. #18 Ichthyic
    November 28, 2007

    But if Grandma asks you to pray with her, there’s nothing unsympathetic or disrespectful about saying that you don’t believe.

    which inevitably leads to the question from grandma/relative/friend:

    why not?

    whereupon the only honest response is the one Pat gives, insulting or not to the person who asked the question.

    I myself finally gave up trying to be dishonestly polite or evasive in such circumstances (the question ends up just being asked again at a later date), but at least have learned only to go as far as the questioner is willing to extend themselves – only when it comes to friends/relatives, though.

    If it makes grandma feel bad on her deathbed that she wasn’t able to convert me, so be it. It would be worse to lie about it, yes?

    In fact, i have found that people WANT to hear reasons not to believe, even if they themselves can’t accept them at the moment, and get all defensive in the immediate sense. They seem to come back for more…

    might be just curiosity, or it might be that they themselves doubt their own faith, and want to see how the other side “lives”.

    when asked about comforting the aged, instead of encouraging them to look at a fantasy future past death, i always make them look back at the many great things accomplished during their LIFE, which is all that really matters.

    the comfort should come from whatever experiences one has managed to squeeze out of one’s current life, not some sweet lies about a future trip to a non-existent place.

  19. #19 Christianjb
    November 28, 2007

    Janine: It strikes me that Dawkins, Randi, Dennet and numerous other famous atheist/skeptics have managed to write powerful treatises on atheism and skepticism in strident but polite language. I’d even include Pat Condell as someone who is effective at getting his point across without resorting to gratuitously offensive language.

    You however are resorting to using sexually graphic language in an attempt to humiliate someone with an apparently honest question- since the person in question doesn’t rise to your self-evaluated level of atheistic purity.

    I know it’s the internet and all- but do we really have to behave like someone with Tourette’s syndrome?

    I think there’s something to be said for the Oscar Wilde/Winston Churchill school of witty put-downs. I’m not so sure about this current trend to just (metaphorically) violently attack anyone you disagree with with unthought-out profanity.

  20. #20 rrt
    November 28, 2007

    Steve99 said:

    “Do we say to them “I give your religion the finger”, when they are in desperate need of care and consolation?”

    Oh for crying out loud, man, of course we don’t! Every time this sort of thing comes up we get someone handwringing like this, ala D’Souza’s asinine response to the VT tragedy. I’m know you mean well (which is more than I can say for D’Souza), but pay attention. Very few, if any, of us have advocated what you fear. Your worry is unfounded.

    Certainly I’ll argue in other circumstances that religion shouldn’t be prized as a great solace to the suffering. But I give those in desperate need of care and consolation…care and consolation. If it’s religion they demand, I defer to someone who can provide it.

  21. #21 mike
    November 28, 2007

    “Believers” deserve sympathy but NO respect. Do you “respect” someone who has “faith” in astrology?

  22. #22 Michael
    November 28, 2007

    I always love to see his videos on pharyngula. He has me laughing every time with how right he is. i only wish i could strap some friends down and make them watch the videos.

  23. #23 Hal
    November 28, 2007

    I doubt his main point is reconstructing the sociology of religion or reviling it randomly at his leisure. I thought he declared, quite clearly, that he felt no restraint in shouting back against the incessant yapping by privileged hucksters of the supernatural, using whatever abusive terms he felt suitable or necessary, that religious messages are lies and that mouthpieces for religion had better get used to being publicly derided. Moreover, if they can’t take the evaporation of religious privilege, the religion they peddle is more contemptible.

  24. #24 Aris
    November 28, 2007

    “I part company where he asserts that if atheists had taken a strong line with religious nonsense sooner, we wouldn’t have the situation we have, any more than with astrology and palmistry”

    Pat is quite right actually. Yes, there are still people who believe in astrology, and you can even find horoscopes in otherwise respectable newspapers. But most of those who control public discourse (the editors and the newsmen and the pundits, etc.) while they can be very stupid very often, wouldn’t admit to believing in astrology or palmistry to anything else that has been tagged as nonsense. Yet, they will profess religious faith at the drop of a hat without embarrassment.

    The simple reason is that most supernatural nonsense has been ridiculed for a while and eventually all the insults stuck. Conversely, everybody has been so reverential when it comes to religion that it has escaped a similar fate. It’s time to change that, and I do think all the dismissive atheists who’ve been ridiculing religion are having an impact — when you we get one religion apologist after another writing transparent defenses of mystical mambo jumbo week after week, the work of those who won’t take religion seriously is obviously having an effect.
    ___________________________

  25. #25 Marcus Ranum
    November 28, 2007

    But what about those of us, or friends of us, who have aged relatives with belief? Or who (to give a real example) work to provide medical care to people? Do we say to them “I give your religion the finger”, when they are in desperate need of care and consolation?

    How about, “I guess you’ll know soon enough if you’re right.”

    C’mon – giving people false consolation is an insult to their intelligence. It’d be like giving a late-stage cancer patient accupuncture. It’d be like telling them that “when you die, the spider man is gonna web-sling you to his secret lair.” Or maybe you could tell them, “because you’re old and mentally infirm I’m gonna treat you like a child.” How about that?

    See? Lots of options.

  26. #26 foxfire
    November 28, 2007

    This guy rocks. Spits it out like it is.

    I just ordered another “Science Rocks” T from Skeptic.com – sorry guys, it’s available in womens’ sizes only (why is that?).

    Seriously, I don’t care what people believe as long as they don’t get in my face with their beliefs, hurt my family or friends, attempt to redefine how science is done (include the non-falsifiable), or try to deny, distort or obfuscate scientific evidence. If somebody wants to not believe scientific evidence, that’s OK with me. If they want to teach that non-belief in a science class, it not OK with me, Big-Time.

    Unfortunately, live-and-let-live doesn’t seem to be an option. Too bad. I intend to keep on living.

  27. #27 Mena
    November 28, 2007

    Janine (#15):
    I don’t think that the phrase “concern troll” means what you think it means. He brought up a situation that people do encounter every day, and he did so in a polite way. You came off like a Bill O’Reilly wannabe, ranting because someone said something that you don’t agree with and he has the audacity to think that being considerate of other people when they are in a crisis point in their lives is a good thing. That nogoodnik librul!

    AuroraD (#13):
    I’d probably agree with you if he didn’t look so darn much like my father!

  28. #28 poke
    November 28, 2007

    More ridicule! Less debate! I like it.

  29. #29 rootlesscosmo
    November 28, 2007

    aris (#24): This 1995 article by Richard Dawkins

    http://tinyurl.com/496jw

    quotes, without disagreement, a newspaper headline asserting that astrology has never been such big business as at present. True, it’s not quite as respectable as religion; it’s not a make-or-break qualification for public office in the US. That may be because, like palmistry, it’s acquired a down-market aroma, or because its place has been filled by other kinds of bunkum like Scientology; I don’t know. But vigorous ridicule, starting with Aristotle, hasn’t loosened its grip. On the other hand, it’s generally acknowledged that religious belief declined dramatically in Western Europe during the 20th century; if we want to encourage a similar decline (and I do) we ought to spend some time figuring out why.

  30. #30 rrt
    November 28, 2007

    Sure, Mena. And the fact that he proceeded from the unfounded assumption that we aren’t considerate of other people when they are in a crisis point in their lives had nothing to do with Janine’s reaction.

    Now if you excuse me, I’m late for dinner. Mmmm. Roast puppy.

  31. #31 Christianjb
    November 28, 2007

    Hmmm… I’m torn. Some of these comments have reminded/persuaded me that ridicule can be a good thing, but I still don’t like insults.

    I think the difference between ridicule and insult is that ridicule is attacking the opinion, whereas insult is attacking the person. I also tend to think of ridicule as being a little more witty than insults.

    Can anyone clear this confusion up for me?

  32. #32 rmp
    November 28, 2007

    I don’t know if Steve99 is a concern troll or not. That being said I do deal with his described dilemma. As a 48 year old who’s been raised in the Lutheran church, served as it’s treasurer, been a Sunday School teacher and has a 89 year old mother in a nursing home, I think I can speak with some authority regarding the complexities of life for someone who has been raised/indoctrinated for the better part of 50 years and has a family that is still deeply religious.

    I’ve been going through a deconversion for the last couple of years. My immediate family contains 2 believers and 2 athiests. Call me hypocritical if you want but when I take lunch to my mother every Friday, I say a prayer before we eat. It pleases her and that is what is important to me.

    Lest I seem like a wet blanket, I thought the You Tube video was great.

  33. #33 rmp
    November 28, 2007

    Crap, I just realized I’m 49. Ignore everything I said before. Obviously I’m becoming senile.

  34. #34 Dahan
    November 28, 2007

    Steve99 states:

    “This is not about moderate atheism – it is about dealing with individuals with sympathy and respect.”

    Please explain to me what “moderate atheism” is. I’m an atheist by definition because I don’t believe in a god or gods. What is it that would make me “moderate” or “liberal” or “conservative” in this regard. If I lied about what i believe because the idea bothers some people, would I become a moderate? Come on now! Moderate atheism, my ass. That’s like saying I should be a less vocal and therefore “moderate” heliocentrist because some people gain solace in the thought of a geocentric solar system.

    I don’t think so.

  35. #35 Jsn
    November 28, 2007

    Mena,
    “AuroraD (#13):
    I’d probably agree with you if he didn’t look so darn much like my father!”

    Now there is a solid bit of reasoning. Oh, you were trying to be humorous…

    Janine took Steve99’s response to be disingenuous because his response seems much too naive for someone in a “medical profession”. Although Janet may have jumped to conclusions and sniped back a too hard, it is not difficult to surmise that Steve99 might be a troll, and is using a technique in which he pretends to be concerned ..oh never mind…
    I feel that Steve99’s response was probably kneejerk and not too well thought out – much like your post. I admire your willingness(gullability) to come to his aid, but honestly, “Bill O’Reilly”???!!…WTF?

  36. #36 chris rattis
    November 28, 2007

    I stopped this about a minute in…

    So I could get popcorn and a drink. I’m glad I did, because it was better than some of the stuff hollywood puts out.

    It was beautiful.

  37. #37 MAJeff
    November 28, 2007

    Do we say to them “I give your religion the finger”, when they are in desperate need of care and consolation?

    How about when the asshole believers give us the finger when in need of care and consolation? Oh, that’s right. We don’t matter.

    Slag off. I’m sick of worrying about the sensibilities of the fairy tale set when they’re not willing to extend any similar courtesy.

  38. #38 MAJeff
    November 28, 2007

    oops…too many links…let’s just say that those who think we should take more care of the sensibilities of the fairytale set, while they feel free to ignore ours, during the same times of need…well, fuck ’em and fuck those who would have us continually shut up.

  39. #39 Christianjb
    November 29, 2007

    There is nothing to indicate that Steve99 is a concern, or any other type of troll. He stated his dilemma in a respectful and questioning manner, without denigrating anyone else.

    Not sure where all this hoopla is coming from over his post. It’s an old question, but it does genuinely come up in real-life situations. Maybe the jaded readers of this blog have grown tired of this particular question because it’s been asked so many times, but I don’t think that’s Steve’s fault.

  40. #40 Alex
    November 29, 2007

    Pat Condell sucks, to put it bluntly.

  41. #41 Janine
    November 29, 2007

    Well, in principle, yes. But what about those of us, or friends of us, who have aged relatives with belief? Or who (to give a real example) work to provide medical care to people? Do we say to them “I give your religion the finger”, when they are in desperate need of care and consolation?

    This is not about moderate atheism – it is about dealing with individuals with sympathy and respect.

    Posted by: steve99 | November 28, 2007 9:44 PM

    Christianjb and Mena, like everybody else, I have dealt death in the family and family members who been under medical duress. And I am sure that you know it can be dealt with without resorting to a deity. Yet this person suggests that we would give them the finger in a time of stress. Oh you atheists better not act rude and give religion the finger in front of sick people.

    So, yeah, I informed that person he could fuck himself. Where in what Pat said even suggests that militant atheists might engage in this behavior?

    And Mena, if I were to act like a Billo wannabe, I would have to have everything set up where I can believe I am complete control of my own little area. And that I could shut up who ever agrees to enter my little kingdom. I acted a hothead who was pissed off at a pissant who could not understand a well spoken rant. Then that pissant suggested that be might then be rude to dying people. I won’t be rude to a dying family member. But I will be rude to that fool.

  42. #42 inkadu
    November 29, 2007

    Steve99–

    In similar vein to your question, I have to ask, why do religious people have such a strong tendency to flay the living flesh off of atheists in a public square? I’m not talking figuratively, but actually skin peeling, preferrably preceded by stoning. I also sometimes wonder why all religious people seem to rape and kill women at such high numbers and why priests like to molest little boys, often by inserting their penises into the tightly puckered anus of the youth after promising to let him drive the parish Cadillac if he takes a deep breath and relaxes after applying the holy oil. I think it may just be endemic to religion itself. What do you think?

    At any rate, unlike some Billy O’Ratheists here,I welcome your contribution to advancing the debate in a serious and civilized fashion.

  43. #43 Ichthyic
    November 29, 2007

    If I lied about what i believe because the idea bothers some people, would I become a moderate?

    I always ask these people (self described “moderate atheists”), when I meet them, if it would be sympathetic of me to not point out to an extreme OCD sufferer that their particular affliction is entirely based on something that is treatable.

    would it be sympathetic of me to not try and convince someone suffering from severe delusions that the things they are seeing aren’t real?

    If I truly believe that someone is suffering from a religious-inspired delusion, is it really sympathetic to let them wallow in their delusions?

    Or is it really doing them a disservice not to point it out?

    Isn’t it even doing a disservice to those they might try to convince their delusions are real?

    why is what I try to do any more or less sympathetic than someone who firmly believes I am going to hell trying to convince me to believe?

    I’ve certainly met many people convinced they are doing me a grand favor by preaching the gospel at me. Surely they are convinced they are in the end being sympathetic towards me, right?

    I can feel empathy and understanding towards those who have fallen for the great delusion, but no, I feel no desire to be sympathetic towards their position at any time, and in fact really do feel I would be doing a disservice to them if I did.

  44. #44 Christianjb
    November 29, 2007

    Janine wrote:

    I have dealt death in the family

    Is that a confession? Now I’m worried!
    (Warning- this post may contain humor.)

  45. #45 rmp
    November 29, 2007

    Ichthyic, I suspect that if I knew you I’d like to buy you a beer. However, I’m not planning on taking you to lunch with my mom at the nursing home 😉

  46. #46 Jason
    November 29, 2007

    “We’re sorry, this video is no longer available”

    I missed out?? any alternative source?

  47. #47 Alex
    November 29, 2007

    Ichthyic, that type of thinking is the same that fundamentalist Christians use to justify preaching their BS all the time. There’s a time and a place to discuss those things, regardless of how “delusional” you believe someone else to be, and going up to religious people and telling them that they’re delusional is just as stupid as a religious fundamentalist going up to random people and telling them they’re going to Hell. Well, not quite, but close enough. My point is we’re all humans, and atheists such as yourself are just as capable of believing utter lies as theists are. Theists don’t have some sort of disorder that impairs their ability to reason, they just hold an unjustified belief, often much more strongly than they should. That’s common for humans and it’s a human flaw, not a flaw unique to theists.

  48. #48 rmp
    November 29, 2007

    To Alex’s point, I’d say many people (until recently myself) suffer from a variation of Stockholm Syndrome. Be gentle.

  49. #49 Susan
    November 29, 2007

    @Jason — try it again — it’s working for me. Or you could try going directly to youtube and search for Pat Condell (that’s what I did, because when I tried to watch it here, it stopped half way through.)

    Perhaps there were too many people watching at once? Dunno.

  50. #50 Janine
    November 29, 2007

    Janine wrote:

    I have dealt death in the family

    Is that a confession? Now I’m worried!
    (Warning- this post may contain humor.)

    Posted by: Christianjb | November 29, 2007 12:23 AM

    And what did I say before that? ‘Like everybody else’. In other words, I am not unique, this is a common event. Millions of atheists have dealt with death and illness. But how often does anybody hear about people acting as steve99 suggests?

    Perhaps you are in the need of confession? You seem to be projecting that need onto me?

    (Warning- this posy may contain humor and teeth.)

  51. #51 Mike P
    November 29, 2007

    I’d suggest ignoring Janine. Obviously just an angry person with more smarts than sense, and neither one in spades.

  52. #52 MAJeff
    November 29, 2007

    But how often does anybody hear about people acting as steve99 suggests?

    I’ve got a post in moderation about going to my grandmother’s funeral in NW Iowa last week (couple posts on my blog–click my name and scroll down). I was the good son and stayed closeted as a liberal, a gay man, and an atheist. i even let mom get away with a homophobic erasure of my aunt’s wife so as to not offend the “good christian” bigots.

    But of course, again, it’s we atheists who are the problem, as a starting definition.

    So, yeah,, steve99, slag off.

  53. #53 Mike P
    November 29, 2007

    MAJeff,

    This isn’t an attack, but I’m honestly wondering: why the bitterness? I’ve read and re-read steve99’s post, but I still can’t find anything that would prompt a euphemistic “fuck off”. In fact, it sounded very much like the opening volley of a discussion. Perhaps even a heated one. But instead of engaging in debate, it’s “slag off”? I’ve seen you in engage in plenty of rational discussion around these parts, so is there something I’m missing?

  54. #54 MAJeff
    November 29, 2007

    Mike P,

    It was the same refrain as always, “Do you atheists go on the attack in every social situation?” We always get it. I was at a funeral last week where I was the good tolerant one and the Christians were the bigots. But, of course, Steve’s opening volley is, “What, are you atheists attacking all the time.”

    Sick of it. Period. Get a fucking clue. We’re human beings and we go through funerals and try to tolerate our relatives and just get through like everyone else. But, toss out the A-word and all of a sudden we’re these monsters looking to pick fights at every family gathering. Steve’s was just one more string in the same line…and I’ve had it. Maybe it’s a long day after a long couple of weeks, but could we please get over that shit and the stupid assumptions…and the just plain stupid and insulting question.

    That answer it?

  55. #55 Hank Fox
    November 29, 2007

    Janine, you may have read past the slight typo – the missing word “with” in the sentence you actually posted:

    “I have dealt death in the family,” instead of

    “I have dealt WITH death in the family.”

    Christianjb was gently poking fun at the actual sentence, which makes it sound like you’ve made a practice of killing family members.

  56. #56 Janine
    November 29, 2007

    Mike P, I promise I will ignore you.

    MAJeff, I feel I should have given you my condolenses last week when you brought it up. Suffer from a lose and then having to deal with all of the insults. You should have recieved some kind words, even if it was from a stranger.

  57. #57 MAJeff
    November 29, 2007

    Janine,

    Thanks,

    I was on the phone, even texting, the entire week, including while in Iowa, with my family–even while spending time with relatives. I had to cancel family thanksgiving plans (one of my dearest friends in the world) to deal with relatives and their bullshit. I’ve got a post on it planned for later in the week (the family/relative thing from a queer theoretical and lived perspective)

  58. #58 Ichthyic
    November 29, 2007

    I’m not planning on taking you to lunch with my mom at the nursing home 😉

    actually, what you would hear from me is only asking your mom to recall the many assuredly amazing adventures she has had during her life.

    that’s about it.

    surely you do the same to comfort her, yes?

    My pop is also very religious (heh, moreso as he gets older), but it’s all I do with him any more when he asks me why I am an atheist. seems pointless to drag out the obvious answer as he, like I’m sure is the same with your mom, has already heard the reasoning.

    Instead, it’s of great comfort to him to relate already many times told tales of his adventures overseas in the Merchant Marines, the wonderful times spent with his wife of many years, etc.

    the point being not to focus on the negative, other than to answer direct questions, but to focus on what is actually REAL – the very life that person has lead to date.

    like i said, I only drive the issue of atheism as far as the other person in the conversation wants to question me about it.

    btw, for Alex, that is NOT the same thing at all as preaching a fantasy delusion to people without asking, is it.

    my point is we’re all humans, and atheists such as yourself are just as capable of believing utter lies as theists are.

    that is very true, hence why I would hope someone would have enough respect for ME to point out any unsupported delusions I was suffering from.

    right?

    However, going into detail, that might not actually be the case. There is some evidence that there are measurable differences in susceptibility to delusional thinking in humans, just as there are measurable differences in susceptibility to alcholism, or addictive behavior, for example.

    I think you might be falling into the “fair and balanced” trap so often brought up here on Pharyngula.

    see, the difference is that someone preaching the gospel at me to ‘save my soul’ is in fact, suffering from a delusion, while my trying to point that out to them is not an equivalent measure.

    see?

    it’s not like preaching competing religions at all. the situation you describe is more like if I was a muslim, and trying to convince a xian he was wrong and going to hell.

    I’m not trying to replace one delusion with another, ergo I’m not doing the same thing at all as the xian trying to convince me I’m going to hell without Jeebus in my life.

    so, I pose the question to you:

    If you knew someone suffering from schizophrenia, do you feel any responsibility at all to suggest they seek treatment? that they might be suffering from delusions?

    Have you ever seen, “A Beautiful Mind”?

    if you met John Nash, do you feel you would be doing him a favor, or not, by pointing out to him that his delusions were not real?

    what level of responsibility would you feel for that?

  59. #59 Janine
    November 29, 2007

    Hank Fox, thank you for taking the time to point out what I did write. I did not go back to reread what I have posted. Yet again, I wish there tools here I could use to edit my comments.

    Christianjb I am sorry about the last post I directed at you.

  60. #60 inkadu
    November 29, 2007

    But instead of engaging in debate, it’s “slag off”? I’ve seen you in engage in plenty of rational discussion around these parts, so is there something I’m missing?

    * yawn *

    I see my earlier attempt at mirrored parody failed.

    Steve99’s question may have been honest, but it’s stupid. He may be sincere, but it’s a non-sequitur. It’s like debating nuclear non-proliferation, and having someone ask, “But without nukes, people could just come into your house and eat the ice cream right out of your freezer. What do you do without nukes? Just stop buying ice cream?” I mean, what the hell does one thing have to do with another? It’s a starting point for debate yes, but the debate is, “What is wrong with you that you think atheism somehow entails giving the finger to bald chemo patients while their raspy death rattles echo down the empty hospice halls?” It’s certainly not a continuation of the debate — “how do we stop religious values from destroying the enlightenment?”

    So — in practice — the diagnosis: concern troll.

  61. #61 Mike P
    November 29, 2007

    MAJeff,

    Yeah, I guess. I guess I’d just feel bad if this was Steve’s first time here or something and he hadn’t already had all that explained to him. And yeah, it’s not your job to explain and I could see how that could get really damn annoying over and over, but I’m just not sure what good snapping at him like that does, you know? And maybe it’s not his first time here and maybe he really does deserve it; maybe you’ve seen him around here and this is repeat behavior. I just didn’t read his post as intentionally insulting, but I’ve been wrong before.

    And of course you’re free to do whatever you feel like anyway because this is the internet and it’s just a freakin’ blog forum, so it’s really not all that big a deal. But anyway, I’m sorry for your recent loss. I’ve done the atheist-deals-with-death thing myself, but luckily my experience was much less negative.

  62. #62 matthew
    November 29, 2007

    RE: the video

    THIS is what you get when throw away “The Frame.” In a word, you get honesty.

  63. #63 Ichthyic
    November 29, 2007

    But, toss out the A-word and all of a sudden we’re these monsters looking to pick fights at every family gathering.

    or party

    or just about any kind of social gathering, for that matter.

    meh, you get used to it after a while, or you become a closet atheist.

    I wonder if all the “coming out of the closet” jokes 20 years down the line will be about atheists?

  64. #64 Mike P
    November 29, 2007

    inkadu,

    Alright, I guess I see your point; I just didn’t see that particular post as necessarily representative of the concern troll variety. He was off the mark, to be sure, but I was just put off by the sheer nastiness of the criticism directed at him. If it were me, I’d save that bile for the truly odious, not just the honestly confused.

  65. #65 rmp
    November 29, 2007

    Ichthyic, I think I realize the one major factor in the equation that I haven’t made clear. Since my deconversion is so recent, my mother isn’t aware. In a sense, I’m ‘in the closet’.

    I’m starting to talk to people openly/honestly about my atheism but NOT MY MOTHER. ARE YOU CRAZY? NOT GONNA HAPPEN.

    Other than that, we are completely honest with one another ; ).

  66. #66 Venger
    November 29, 2007

    This is not about moderate atheism – it is about dealing with individuals with sympathy and respect.

    Never really understood why we should treat faith with respect, and sometimes I wonder why we should treat those with faith with respect. We don’t respect the guy in the psych hospital who believes he’s Napoleon. We call him insane, mandate that he gets medical treatment and we probably lock him away so he can’t hurt anyone including himself. The only substantive difference between his illness and faith is the number of people who share the belief.

    If we find more than one person who thinks he’s Napoleon does that make it a religion? Is there a set number of wanna be Napoleons when it becomes faith and not insanity? I don’t think so, there could be millions of people who genuinely belief they are Napoleon, they’d all still be insane. Faith is no different, these are people who actively believe in a delusion, they need medical treatment and locking away so they can’t hurt anyone including themselves.

    That faith isn’t seen as and treated as a mental illness only tells us that the inmates are running the asylum and that they out number the rest of us. But faith itself deserves no respect, and people who have it may deserve our sympathy, but how can you honestly be an atheist and respect that they have faith? That’s like talking to our would be Napoleon and respecting that he has delusions of grandeur.

  67. #67 MAJeff
    November 29, 2007

    I read it as one more deployment of the same intellectually dishonest and dehumanizing (of atheists) questions we get surrounding this topics on every single thread.

  68. #68 Tom Foss
    November 29, 2007

    It seems to me that some people are confusing the beliefs with the people believing them. The beliefs deserve neither respect nor sympathy, and often indeed deserve outright and unashamed ridicule. The individual people who hold those beliefs, on the other hand, deserve respect (when earned) and sympathy (when needed).

    Part of basic human respect is that whole thing about treating other people the way you’d want to be treated if the positions were reversed, which seems to me to entail a measure of decorum. I don’t scream “God is fake! Fake, I tells ya!” in the face of every believer I meet. I’m sure that few would, and I’m equally sure that Pat’s not condoning such a ridiculous action. After all, I would prefer that believers not shove their beliefs down my throat, and so I offer the same.

    I’d also prefer that other people were not dishonest and condescending, so I don’t treat people with such behaviors. If asked my opinion on matters of faith and other fairy tales, I’ll be honest and perhaps a bit blunt. If engaged in intelligent discourse, I’ll do much the same. And if asked to violate my principles in order to satisfy someone’s smug need to hold some high ground on their deathbed or in order to spare Great Aunt Margaret the pain of knowing the truth about my heresy, I’ll politely decline.

    Yes, there’s a time and a place for insults and ridicule, and a time and a place for silence. Much less often is there a time and a place to give up principles to spare someone else mild discomfort

  69. #69 Ichthyic
    November 29, 2007

    Perhaps you are in the need of confession? You seem to be projecting that need onto me?

    not to drag it out, but i rather think he was playing on a typo where you left out the word “with”:

    Janine wrote:

    I have dealt death in the family

    Is that a confession? Now I’m worried!

  70. #70 MAJeff
    November 29, 2007

    I don’t scream “God is fake! Fake, I tells ya!” in the face of every believer I meet. I’m sure that few would, and I’m equally sure that Pat’s not condoning such a ridiculous action.

    Just imagine, Pat is engaging in public discourse. Indeed, so public that it’s become intertextual in the way multiple blogs are linking to it and commentators in different locations are talking about it. He’s created a public.

    At a funeral, we’re talking about private conversations, deeply personal relationships.

    I wonder why that distinction is so hard for some people to grasp, and to note that the types of conversation, the topics, the modes of address, etc. are all dependent upon the discursive situation.

  71. #71 Mike P
    November 29, 2007

    MAJeff,

    You know the answer to that. People had been afraid for so long that atheists were evil, malicious and violent that when we turned out to be civil, normal people–if a bit peeved at the state of things–they had to invent something else to tar us with. Hence, the myth of the militant irrational atheist.

    I think deep down most of the atheist-bashers don’t believe we’re like that, but they have to have something to joke about with their religious friends.

  72. #72 Christianjb
    November 29, 2007

    People here are always comparing religion to fairy-tales like it’s a bad thing.

    Fairy tales are great! They’re a vital part of our mythic internal landscape.

    Liking fairy tales is fine. Believing that they’re the literal truth and that people who prefer other fairy tales should be flayed alive- well that’s a problem.

  73. #73 Janine
    November 29, 2007

    Ichthyic, Hank Fox brought that to my attention. I already left an apology to Christianbj for my reply post.

    Back to the main point, steve99’s was not an honest question. I was the same tiresome bullshit about “Why aren’t you atheist nicer?” And this is without bother to know that many go through his “hypothetical” question everyday. And I do not go up to everybody that I see to state that I am an atheist. And I do not deny this fact when the topic comes up. And I do not constantly question believers about why they believe. I am not rude with my atheism. I am rude to loaded questions.

  74. #74 MAJeff
    November 29, 2007

    MikeP,

    I would have been shunned had I uttered one of two sentences: “I am gay,” or “I am an atheist.” My aunt and her (legally married in Canada) wife were shunned at my other grandmother’s funeral a couple years ago.

    These are “good Christians.” They are not, however, good people. And make no mistake, the are far more common than we like to think. This group is among the 24%ers, complaining about brown people and Massachusetts liberals and the French. But they’er also anti-evolution and the whole shit. There are a lot more of them than us.

  75. #75 jdb
    November 29, 2007

    MAJeff: [i]I wonder why that distinction is so hard for some people to grasp[/i]

    Me too, but I notice that it seems limited to discussions of atheism. If I write on my blog that Political Candidate X is a nutter whose policies are dangerous and illogical, the X supporters may descend on me with endless rebuttals, but it’s unlikely that anyone is going to say “oh, I agree with you about Candidate X, but do you have to be so RUDE? I know I would never think of walking down the street looking for X signs on people’s lawns so I can ring their doorbell and lecture them on their candidate’s nuttery. But that’s just me, I’m a moderate anti-Xer.”

    Most people understand that writing about politics in a public forum doesn’t mean that you’re an obnoxious twit about it in private. But somehow with atheism those assumptions go out the window.

    Maybe the idea is that “religion is such a [i]personal[/i] thing, that criticizing it is rude no matter how public the forum,” but that’s just the theists trying to have it both ways: they can brag publicly about their faith and how it gives them values and makes them fit for office, etc., but when a dissenting voice is raised, suddenly it’s a private matter after all.

  76. #76 Atilio
    November 29, 2007

    PAT RULES!!!

  77. #77 Jeanette Garcia
    November 29, 2007

    Jeezits! My first introduction to this Pat, fellow. How invigorating to hear someone tell it like it is. I will certainly be googling him.

  78. #78 bernarda
    November 29, 2007

    Who is “giving the finger” to whom or what? I would say it is some hypocritical sky pilot who blesses the soldiers before they go into battle and later comes around to “console” them when they come back with missing body parts or dying.

    Also, organizing group prayers in the army or, say, sports teams, regardless of who might be in the group is giving the finger to some.

    The word “to bless” has an interesting source.

    “WORD HISTORY The verb bless comes from Old English bl?dsian, bl?dsian, bl?tsian, “to bless, wish happiness, consecrate.” Although the Old English verb has no cognates in any other Germanic language, it can be shown to derive from the Germanic noun *bl?dan, “blood.” Bl?dsian therefore literally means “to consecrate with blood, sprinkle with blood.” The Angles, Saxons, and Jutes, the early Germanic migrants to Britain, used bl?dsian for their pagan sacrifices. After they converted to Christianity, bl?dsian acquired new meanings as a result of its use in translations of the Latin Bible, but it kept its pagan Germanic senses as well.”

    A little Eric Burden: “Sky Pilot”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F_LjjI8TcQ0

  79. #79 Jennie
    November 29, 2007

    Re. the people who think we want them to berate poor old dying grandma about the irrationality of her beliefs: I think there is some confusion about the scope of the negation here.

    What is being said is that religion should not command automatic respect. This is different to the assertion that ‘religion should command automatic not-respect’.

  80. #80 Cerandor
    November 29, 2007

    Well, in relation to the moronic beliefs of the god of the desert and a little bit of blasphemy, this could be of interest:

    http://forum.newsarama.com/showthread.php?t=137609

    That’s right folks – revealed at last, the secret origin of Yahweh!

  81. #81 bad Jim
    November 29, 2007

    My immediate family is non-believing. When my father was dying there was no illusion that he was moving on to another life, and he faced his end with regret but not fear.

    The next year his mother died, and my mother attended her funeral mass. The priest prevented one of my cousins from taking communion, which pissed off my mother so much that she got in line and ate a sacred matzoh. (The priest probably didn’t realize that this particular Mrs. Sweeney was a lapsed Lutheran.)

  82. #82 steve99
    November 29, 2007

    Ok come on… some of you seem to be trying to defend what you want to have heard from Pat, rather than what he actually said. I have not the slightest doubt that PZ, Pat, Dawkins, Hitchens and others are polite and respectful to elderly religious relatives and others with quiet religious beliefs.

    However, that is not the point. Listen again to what Pat actually says….

    “Believe whatever you want, but if you want me to believe it, provide evidence or expect mockery and ridicule. Do not expect polite debate.”

    I mean, honestly. Why NOT respond with polite debate?

    Sorry, but this is just rudeness for the sake of it. If someone wants polite debate about religion, I’ll engage in it.

    I generally like what Pat says in his videos, but in this one he just comes across as plain rude.

  83. #83 Susannah
    November 29, 2007

    Re comforting aged and dying relatives; in the last year of my Mom’s battle with Alzheimer’s, I often heard Dad telling her of their “blessed hope”, of eternity with Jesus, of the celestial city, or of the hope of even escaping death via the rapture. “We’ll have wings,” he would tell her, “we’ll meet in the air!”

    I never saw her respond to this, even though it was what she had believed all her life. But she couldn’t think that far ahead any more; all her attention was on the here and now. I gave her my dessert; my brother played the piano for her. Sometimes we took turns taking her for wheelchair rides around the building. She smiled then; she could feel that.

    “Pie in the sky, by and by” is the cruelest sort of comfort; it neither works now nor brings joy later.

  84. #84 jdb
    November 29, 2007

    “Ok come on… some of you seem to be trying to defend what you want to have heard from Pat, rather than what he actually said. I have not the slightest doubt that PZ, Pat, Dawkins, Hitchens and others are polite and respectful to elderly religious relatives and others with quiet religious beliefs.

    However, that is not the point.”

    Funny, it was certainly the point of your first comment in this thread. I’m not surprised that you’re running away from it now, but try to be honest about it.

  85. #85 Louis
    November 29, 2007

    I don’t see what the problem is, Pat said it right out front:

    “You can believe what you want, but if you expect me to believe it then you better present some evidence otherwise you’re going to get mocked and ridiculed”*

    Clear?

    Louis

    *I hope that’s an accurate transcribing after just one hearing. The jist is correct but I might need to correct a tense or a word or soemthing.

  86. #86 steve99
    November 29, 2007

    “Funny, it was certainly the point of your first comment in this thread. I’m not surprised that you’re running away from it now, but try to be honest about it.”

    Running away from what? When did I claim that Dawkins and others were hostile to everyone?

    I have only mentioned and reacted to what Pat says in this video. I think what he says is crass and rude just for the sake of it. I have no personal way to know what he is like as a person (how could I?)

    And, how about responding to what I actually wrote, rather than making stuff up about “running away”? Would you tell someone who was trying to discuss religion with you politely (even if it was to convert you), to “get lost”? Would you “give them the finger”? Or would you try and at least be civilized and politely discuss the matter, explaining your point of view?

    It is the difference between acting like a mature, intelligent adult, following the Golden Rule, and acting like a brat…

  87. #87 MartinM
    November 29, 2007

    “Believe whatever you want, but if you want me to believe it, provide evidence or expect mockery and ridicule. Do not expect polite debate.”

    I mean, honestly. Why NOT respond with polite debate?

    Because, oddly enough, without evidence there’s not much to debate, politely or otherwise.

  88. #88 steve99
    November 29, 2007

    “Because, oddly enough, without evidence there’s not much to debate, politely or otherwise.”

    Ah, but Pat is not saying ‘don’t debate, as there is nothing to debate about’. He is saying ‘respond with mockery and ridicule’.

    Maybe it is just me and my English manners, but if someone approaches me politely, I respond politely, at least at first. Someone may be deluded, but that is no reason to be offensive from the start.

  89. #89 Don
    November 29, 2007

    If you are an atheist you have already insulted the religious. Anything you add is just a rhetorical flourish.

  90. #90 inkadu
    November 29, 2007

    Steve99 — I guess it’s because of English dunderheads like you that the most brilliantly outspoken atheists are from the UK.

    You clearly can’t see the difference, as many people have stated, between public and private discussion. Pat sez: and if you expect me to believe it, expect nothing but mockery and ridicule. There are many times when religion is brought up where there isn’t an expectation that you wil believe it. Pat is talking in the context of very public debate — where theater shows are closed down because something is offensive to Arabs, when blasphemy charges are brought in an effort to censor free speech. Pat made his context pretty clear, and if you don’t get that, you can take your polite british manners and shove them up your ass.

    SusanH – There’s no standard internet warning for , but there should be. That was very touching. I don’t know how you feel about your dad — if your pissed or whatever — but he’s struggling to deal with the loss himself, and it sounds like most of his reassurances to your mother were about him being unable to accept her loss to him. It’s very sad, but refusing to accept reality is the cornerstone of religion… but I still have a lot of sympathy for him.

  91. #91 Ken Shabby
    November 29, 2007

    Ridicule is a good start, but why not call them out for their lying? Their arguments are lies, their reasoning is lying, and their tenets are lies. When somebody lies to you, your civic duty is to call them out, not kiss their ass.

  92. #92 Peter Ashby
    November 29, 2007

    I gave the address at my father’s religious funeral, I spoke his life in essence. I made absolutely no mention of god in it, none, nada, not even a hint. My mother was sitting in front of me and she would have known any such thing to be a lie. I had a job to do, one I happened to be best suited to do and it did not involve preaching things I did not believe in. There was a minister and half my family to do that.

    Afterwards our mother thanked us all for being ‘so genuine’. My aged mother might seriously desire my conversion before she dies but she also does not want me to lie to her. If you have not the fortune to grow up in a family where you are allowed to be what you want to be (though you may have had to argue for it). Then I am sorry for you, but don’t like that to people, for your own sake. You will not feel good about it.

  93. #93 gerald spezio
    November 29, 2007

    Islamo-Nazis???
    Taking over the Brit media and gov?
    No Zionist Nazis???
    Zionists haven’t infiltrated and taken over already?

    Be careful, the Zionist peeyar tentacles are everywhere.

  94. #94 steve99
    November 29, 2007

    “Steve99 — I guess it’s because of English dunderheads like you that the most brilliantly outspoken atheists are from the UK.”

    Way to miss the point. They are brilliantly outspoken, but they are not rude to those they disagree with unless provoked. There was a wonderful discussion between Dawkins and the Bishop of Oxford. They debated politely and with good humour.

    “You clearly can’t see the difference, as many people have stated, between public and private discussion. Pat sez: and if you expect me to believe it, expect nothing but mockery and ridicule. There are many times when religion is brought up where there isn’t an expectation that you wil believe it. Pat is talking in the context of very public debate — where theater shows are closed down because something is offensive to Arabs, when blasphemy charges are brought in an effort to censor free speech. Pat made his context pretty clear, and if you don’t get that, you can take your polite british manners and shove them up your ass. ”

    Look… you can invent a context to try and support your self-satified “Cool Angry Atheist” stance, but unlike you, I react to what people say, not what I want to believe they said.

    Unlike you, those outspoken atheists are usually polite in their debate. You need to follow their example.

  95. #95 CalGeorge
    November 29, 2007

    The 3/4 (or whatever) of the population of world that believes in deities is sleepwalking.

    The proper response to people who are asleep is:

    WAKE UP!

    The Pope and every other authoritarian nut misleading people into religion get a:

    WAKE THE FUCK UP, YOU MANIPULATIVE, LYING SCUMBAG!

  96. #96 Matt Penfold
    November 29, 2007

    Steve99,

    Why do you seem to be ignoring your own advice ? In your post post in this thread you managed to show incredible ignorance. The same way that creationists who come out with the same tired excuses such a the second law of thermodynamics, or why are there still monkeys, are not engaging in polite debate. If you come to a debate there an expectation that you come equiped with the knowledge to handle yourself in that debate. If you come ignorant of the subject under discussion you deserve to be insulted. An d Steve99, that is just what you did, you came unprepared spouting ignorant bullshit and then whinged when people called you on it.

  97. #97 gerald spezio
    November 29, 2007

    Before I read PZ’s post I did not know anything about Condell.
    Condell’s specific statements knocking Islam speak for themselves.

    Ask yourself an obvious qestion.
    Wouldn’t the Zionists’ massive and successful anti-Islam dis-information campaign be ecstatic with Condell’s stated Islamophobia.
    Talk about obvious imbalance.
    There is not a trace of anti-Zionism or mention of the murdering of Palestinians in the video.

    PZ, it is surely a worthy exercise to pursue my hypothesis that Condell’s words are flagrant Zionist propaganda in the guise of well-phrased anti-theism.
    If this is not true, Condell can state his position precisely and explicitly.

    As far as I can see, not one blogger mentioned Condell’s blatant Israeli propaganda pitch.

  98. #98 John Knight
    November 29, 2007

    Refreshingly honest in its contempt for rational debate, though I find it a tad ironic to see an atheist complaining about “unexamined certainties.”

  99. #99 steve99
    November 29, 2007

    Matt.

    I am puzzled at to where I have shown ignorance. You have not responded to a single point I have made, not given a single counter-argument.

    Pat puts out these videos, and they are often entertaining, and a good source of support for atheists. I have watched most of what he has done with no problems. But this one was different. I think he slipped up, and went too far. The right behaviour if you encounter someone who politely tries to convert you to a religion, no matter what the context, is to politely either say you aren’t interested, or engage in debate. Anyone who responds with mockery and insult in such a context is, to put it bluntly, a yob (good English word, that).

    And, although I may be ignorant in some way as yet unspecified, I don’t consider ignorance a reason to insult. I find it pretty shameful that anyone would, don’t you?

  100. #100 Matt Penfold
    November 29, 2007

    gerald spezio whinged;

    “As far as I can see, not one blogger mentioned Condell’s blatant Israeli propaganda pitch.”

    That could be because there was not one. Bloggers tend not to blog about the figments of your imagination.

  101. #101 Matt Penfold
    November 29, 2007

    “Well, in principle, yes. But what about those of us, or friends of us, who have aged relatives with belief? Or who (to give a real example) work to provide medical care to people? Do we say to them “I give your religion the finger”, when they are in desperate need of care and consolation?

    This is not about moderate atheism – it is about dealing with individuals with sympathy and respect.”

    Steve99, you are at it again. Insulting us by not remembering what you have already said. The above was your first comment on this thread. Nowhere in that video is anything said that could possibly be construed as Condell saying you should tell your dying relatives their religious beliefs are a load of bollocks. Thus when you made a post saying that is what was being said the conclusion must be drawn either you knew that and were being dishonest, or you really did think that was what was being said, in which case your level of ignorance should have precluded you from thinking you had a point to make in the first place. If you want to join a debate it is for you to ensure you know enough to take part. It is not for others to educate you. If you lack the knowledge or understanding to take part then don’t. You decided to take part anyway, thus showing either you were just outright lying or so ignorant that you were not taking part in the debate honestly.

  102. #102 Matt Penfold
    November 29, 2007

    “And, although I may be ignorant in some way as yet unspecified, I don’t consider ignorance a reason to insult. I find it pretty shameful that anyone would, don’t you?”

    Your ignorance is insulting to the rest of us, and yes, that is a reason for you to get insulted back. If there is any shame to be shared out around here the majority share belongs to you, but you lack even the manners to see that.

  103. #103 Janine
    November 29, 2007

    Let us see, this statement;

    “Believe whatever you want, but if you want me to believe it, provide evidence or expect mockery and ridicule. Do not expect polite debate.”

    quite naturally leads to this question;

    Or who (to give a real example) work to provide medical care to people? Do we say to them “I give your religion the finger”, when they are in desperate need of care and consolation?

    Nice slippery slope.
    Fuck you.
    And I am not apologizing for being rude to steve99.

  104. #104 rrt
    November 29, 2007

    Steve99: Your dishonesty continues. I hope you’re lying to yourself as much as to us here…and I do mean that politely, sir.

    You said: “Do we say to them “I give your religion the finger”, when they are in desperate need of care and consolation?”

    Essentially all of the posts that gave critical response to you focused on this one aspect, the idea that we want to kick grieving/suffering people while they’re down.

    Then, in your defense, you said: “I mean, honestly. Why NOT respond with polite debate? Sorry, but this is just rudeness for the sake of it. If someone wants polite debate about religion, I’ll engage in it.”

    From this point on, you now focus on the general concept of rude public atheists vs. polite public atheists, ignoring the original “kick ’em while they’re down” theme.

    See the problem? Now I agree with the others here about the new argument you’ve shifted to. Yes, politeness is important and effective, but ridicule can be too, and I say we need more of it. But that isn’t what you were saying at first, and that isn’t what we were responding to. Now, if you’d like to claim you didn’t mean your original statement quite that way, well…I won’t kick you while you’re down…

  105. #105 gerald spezio
    November 29, 2007

    Condell clearly and uneqivocally states at the beginning of his video; “Islamo-Nazis who are trying to drive a fundamentalist wedge into British society.”

    If Condell had stated that “Zionist-Nazis are trying to drive a fundamentalist wedge into British society,” how should we respond?

    A fundamentalist wedge by any name is…?

  106. #106 rrt
    November 29, 2007

    Heh, beat me to it, Matt.

  107. #107 steve99
    November 29, 2007

    “Nowhere in that video is anything said that could possibly be construed as Condell saying you should tell your dying relatives their religious beliefs are a load of bollocks.”

    Look Matt. If someone makes a general point on a video, they should expect it to be taken as a general point.

    We have to deal with what people say, not what we think they said, or some hypothetical context.

    Whether or not he would act in a certain way to elderly relatives (and I have no reason to believe he would be anything other than polite), what Pat said was crass.

    If some polite chap came up to me in the street and wanted to introduce me to Jesus, I would say a polite “no thanks” in return. I would not follow Pat’s advice and mock.

    If we are going to proclaim that we get our morals from principles like The Golden Rule, we should follow such principles.

  108. #108 steve99
    November 29, 2007

    “Now, if you’d like to claim you didn’t mean your original statement quite that way, well…”

    I did mean my original statement. It was meant to illustrate the problem with making crass general statements like Condell’s.

    I realise all here are sophisticated adults, with refined behaviour, who would not insult anyone without good cause. But Condell’s rabble-rousing generalisations are open to quite a range of interpretations.

    There is a simple question to ask yourself: Does what Condell says here, unqualified, constitute a good way to behave in a society where friends, family and colleagues are religious?

  109. #109 Science Goddess
    November 29, 2007

    As opposed to most of you (I hope) I actually HAVE been on my deathbed – more than once. When you’re dying of liver failure in the hospital waiting for a transplant that may or may not arrive in time, life looks very different to you. You’d do ANYTHING to get another few days, sick as you are. When the preacher comes to your room to ask if he can pray with you, are you going to give him the finger? I told him I was an atheist, but he stayed with me for a while anyway. My brain was turning into celery, so I couldn’t marshall any good arguments or discussions, but he was nice enough to provide me with some company and (one-sided) conversation. He was a kind, religious man, and I don’t feel comfortable with giving him the (Pat Condell) finger.

    SG

    PS, the liver did arrive in time – 19 years now!

  110. #110 Matt Penfold
    November 29, 2007

    Condell clearly and uneqivocally states at the beginning of his video; “Islamo-Nazis who are trying to drive a fundamentalist wedge into British society.”

    If Condell had stated that “Zionist-Nazis are trying to drive a fundamentalist wedge into British society,” how should we respond?”

    By pointing out they are not ?

    Just a little point but last time I checked there was no Jewish movement in the UK wanting to impose Jewish religous laws on the UK. There are such Islamic organisations, who avowed aim to to turn the UK into an Islamic state under Sharia law. Now of course this is not something that supported by the majority of Muslims in the UK but there does seem to be a not insignificant number who would support just such a move. In the video above Condell makes it clear that he does not think all Muslims support such moves when he says he has been contacted by Muslims supporting his view.

    So to summarise, there is a current Islamic threat to the UK. There is not a current Jewish threat to the UK. Is that simple enough for you ?

  111. #111 Janine
    November 29, 2007

    steve99 = weasel

  112. #112 steve99
    November 29, 2007

    Janine: shame on you. This is a site of a respected scientist, and instead of engaging in debate, you post that.

    If you disagree with any particular point I have made, at least have the decency to explain why.

  113. #113 Matt Penfold
    November 29, 2007

    “If some polite chap came up to me in the street and wanted to introduce me to Jesus, I would say a polite “no thanks” in return. I would not follow Pat’s advice and mock.”

    That “polite chap” is nothing of the sort of course. He is not being polite at all, he is being incredibly rude. He has no business approaching anyone in the street, or on their doorstep in an attempt to discuss religion with them. That is not how polite people work.

    It seems I have found the source of your problem understanding why people are taking against you so. You do not share the same standards of what constitutes polite behaviour that the rest of us do.

    I would also point out that I consider people who approach me in the street wanting me to give money to their charity to be rude as well. I refuse to deal with such people. If charities, or churches, want to talk to people why don’t they set up a stall and leave it up to the individual as to whether they take up the offer and approach the stall ?

  114. #114 Matt Penfold
    November 29, 2007

    “There is a simple question to ask yourself: Does what Condell says here, unqualified, constitute a good way to behave in a society where friends, family and colleagues are religious?”

    Yes.

    Do you have any other questions will incredibly simple answers ?

    Of course it does not matter how polite atheists are, the religious will still do what they do. Richard Dawkins would seem to have an infinite resource of patience given how he failed to tell the likes of Ted Haggard to fuck off. Of course Dawkins being so polite and civil makes not one bit of difference to how the likes of Haggard behave. The religious still spit out their bigoted vitriol.

  115. #115 rrt
    November 29, 2007

    Maybe, steve99, the “why” is your continued insistence on reading your fears into Pat’s and our statements. And at this point, looking at your latest statements, I agree with Janine. Your behavior is consistent with that of a concern troll. You take us to task for reacting to what we think was said vs. what was said, then insist that general calls for “more ridicule” and the like means we want the approach applied to ALL situations…which clearly wasn’t stated. And indeed it’s become quite clear in this thread that most of us–Pat’s intended audience in calling for more ridicule–don’t mean that, and took it for granted that Pat didn’t. That you stick to your guns despite this fact… Well, I give up. I have more productive things to do.

  116. #116 Matt Penfold
    November 29, 2007

    “If you disagree with any particular point I have made, at least have the decency to explain why.”

    She did. Other did. You were to obtuse to understand. As as been explained to you countless times, your reading of what Pat was saying was so far from what he actually said that no reasonable person could have reached that conclusion. Either you were ignorant to an extent that was insulting or you lied.

    And do you not feel any shame at all ? Does being so ignorant not make you wince ?

  117. #117 steve99
    November 29, 2007

    “You do not share the same standards of what constitutes polite behaviour that the rest of us do.”

    Perhaps not.

    “I would also point out that I consider people who approach me in the street wanting me to give money to their charity to be rude as well. I refuse to deal with such people. If charities, or churches, want to talk to people why don’t they set up a stall and leave it up to the individual as to whether they take up the offer and approach the stall ?”

    I guess it is the culture I am from. In the UK we generally don’t consider such people rude. At least I don’t.

    “Yes.

    Do you have any other questions will incredibly simple answers ?”

    Actually no. I appreciate your answer. I just don’t think it is that simple.

    Let’s think about another situation. Suppose a member of your family had a new partner who was religious. You are all sitting down at a meal together. That partner asked you “and have you found Jesus yet?”. How would you react? Would you, at that meal, mock this person? Or would you try and find some polite way to indicate your disbelief?

    What I am trying to show here is that the simplistic views implied (at least, to me) by this video aren’t sufficient to deal with the real world.

  118. #118 steve99
    November 29, 2007

    “As as been explained to you countless times, your reading of what Pat was saying was so far from what he actually said that no reasonable person could have reached that conclusion. Either you were ignorant to an extent that was insulting or you lied.”

    You still don’t get the point I am making.

    If Pat makes a general statement that we should not engage in friendly debate with those who would try and convince us about religious belief, then he should expect that general statement to be taken as such. Perhaps he should have limited it to ‘those pesky preachers’, but he didn’t.

    As I keep saying, you can’t just put your own personal limits on the consequences of what he says. If he put those words out on the internet, we have to discuss those words, not our own subtext.

    “And do you not feel any shame at all ?”

    For what? For entering into discussion? For challenging the words of Pat? (Whom, I am sure, would have no problem entering into debate about such words, without resorting to insults like some here).

    “Does being so ignorant not make you wince ?”

    I think you are confusing the meaning of the word “ignorant”. It means lacking in knowledge, not disagreeing with you.

  119. #119 Stevie_C
    November 29, 2007

    Does spitting out my mashed potatoes while laughing count?

  120. #120 Matt Penfold
    November 29, 2007

    Steve99,

    I think you really do need to go back and this time actually listen to what Pat is saying.

    He is NOT saying that all approaches by the religious should be dealt with using mockery and ridicule. It is you who claimed he did say that, and you were lying when you did so.
    So in answer to your question, no, I would not use mockery or ridicule. I would however make it clear that I am an atheist and regard religious belief as being delusional.

    Your continued insistence, in the face of numerous attempts to inform you otherwise, that Pat thinks the use mockery and ridicule are how the religious should always be dealt with has now gone beyond the possibilty you were simply ignorant. It has become clear you are a grade one lying scumbag who would not know the truth if it jumped up and ripped you another arsehole.

  121. #121 windy
    November 29, 2007

    Of course we wouldn’t tell religious people on their deathbeds that their beliefs are ridiculous. After all, no religious person would ever think of questioning the convictions of a dying atheist. It’s only fair that we return the courtesy.

  122. #122 gerald spezio
    November 29, 2007

    Here is Pat Condell spouting vicious anti-Muslim propaganda on a Zionist website.
    http://foehammer.net/2007/10/pat-condell-strikes-again.html

  123. #123 steve99
    November 29, 2007

    “And indeed it’s become quite clear in this thread that most of us–Pat’s intended audience in calling for more ridicule–don’t mean that, and took it for granted that Pat didn’t.”

    I am sure you do take that for granted, and that is because you are good, reasonable, people.

    All I am trying to say is that Pat should be more careful. His words here were not helpful, implying a degree of bullying agressiveness. This may well not have been intended, but then he should have been more careful. I think.

  124. #124 Peter Ashby
    November 29, 2007

    steve99 opined:
    “Whether or not he would act in a certain way to elderly relatives (and I have no reason to believe he would be anything other than polite), what Pat said was crass.
    If some polite chap came up to me in the street and wanted to introduce me to Jesus, I would say a polite “no thanks” in return. I would not follow Pat’s advice and mock.”

    In the public space that is only common sense, but did you ever wander around speaker’s corner in Hyde Park when it was allowed? Was the mockery directed at many of the speakers rude? or was it simply part of the cut and thrust of robust debate that has characterised British life for centuries?

    However if someone comes and knocks me up in my own castle (ooh missus), then they are rightly risking ridicule for invading my personal space. The last lot got some mild ridicule and they took it in good humour and we wished each other well as they went in search of more compliant victims, or at least less obstreperous ones 😉

    People who ring me up and attempt to sell me things get treated much worse, especially since they shouldn’t be ringing us as our number is registered with the telephone preference system indicating I do not wish to be cold called.

    Pat Condell’s videos on YouTube are today’s equivalent of speakers corner and he seems to relish the comments he gets and responds to them. I call that good robust debate in the secular sphere. Remember nobody is forcing anyone to watch and listen to him. Just like you could easily avoid speakers corner if you were unwilling to be exposed to the views. Similarly in the street I have the right to avoid and ignore the sellers of everything, including religion. Think about that.

  125. #125 Stevie_C
    November 29, 2007

    Your concern is noted.

    Now get over it.

  126. #126 Peter Ashby
    November 29, 2007

    BTW steve99 we had a good game of Mornington Crescent in here yesterday so if you think you are a lone brit voice in a den of arrogant yanks, think again.

  127. #127 steve99
    November 29, 2007

    “So in answer to your question, no, I would not use mockery or ridicule. I would however make it clear that I am an atheist and regard religious belief as being delusional.”

    Good. I expected this. I had no reason to doubt that you are a decent person.

    “Your continued insistence, in the face of numerous attempts to inform you otherwise, that Pat thinks the use mockery and ridicule are how the religious should always be dealt with has now gone beyond the possibilty you were simply ignorant.”

    No, you are missing the point yet again. I am not claiming anything about what Pat thinks. How could I? All I am dealing with is the actual words he used on that video.

    I am sure you realise how often the words of prominent atheists are taken horribly out of context. What Pat has done here is to give the religious a gift…I can just read the statements: “an atheist says that even polite attempts to talk to him about religion will be met with abuse”. I think his words were a mistake.

    “It has become clear you are a grade one lying scumbag who would not know the truth if it jumped up and ripped you another arsehole.”

    This makes me sad. I had assumed that we were starting to enter into a discussion.

  128. #128 Matt Penfold
    November 29, 2007

    “If Pat makes a general statement that we should not engage in friendly debate with those who would try and convince us about religious belief, then he should expect that general statement to be taken as such. Perhaps he should have limited it to ‘those pesky preachers’, but he didn’t.”

    The whole point is that it is a GENERAL statement. In other words NOT applicable in all circumstances. Your continued insistence that he intended it to apply to people on their deathbeds is simply you lying.

    “For what? For entering into discussion? For challenging the words of Pat? (Whom, I am sure, would have no problem entering into debate about such words, without resorting to insults like some here).”

    Shame for lying. Most people consider lying in circumstances like this to be wrong. Clearly you do not. But then we have already established that your sense of what is polite is abnormal.

    “I think you are confusing the meaning of the word “ignorant”. It means lacking in knowledge, not disagreeing with you.”

    I know what “ignorant” means. And you are it. You simply do not understand what Pat said, and you chose instead to lie and claim you did rather than admit he level of discourse was way above your level of comprehension. And since you are rather stupid, I did intend that to be an insult.

    The simple fact is you refuse to understand what Pat was saying and have chosen instead to lie about it. That is why people are taking issue with you. And you deserve all you get.

  129. #129 gerald spezio
    November 29, 2007

    PZ, you posted the video by Condell.

    After the first twenty seconds I couldn’t believe that you did it.

    I think that you have made a mistake.

    Your update is mandatory.

  130. #130 steve99
    November 29, 2007

    “Pat Condell’s videos on YouTube are today’s equivalent of speakers corner and he seems to relish the comments he gets and responds to them. I call that good robust debate in the secular sphere”

    Good, that is healthy. Unlike the “how dare you criticise him” response from some here…

  131. #131 steve99
    November 29, 2007

    Matt:

    There is a debating technique often used by Christopher Hitchens, one of those good assertive British atheists. It is called ‘give them enough rope’. It consists of being very polite in a discussion, but letting your opponent rant on enough until their ranting reveals enough of the quality of their personality and argument….

    Have a nice day.

  132. #132 pshaw
    November 29, 2007

    Instead of “Peace and love to all,” he should have ended it with “And God bless.” Just because it would have been funnier that way.

  133. #133 Stephen Wells
    November 29, 2007

    To this gerald spezio fellow: you appear to be assuming that because Condell mocks Islam, he does not mock Zionism. This is false; if you look around through his other videos, you’ll observe that he is even-handedly dismissive of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Quit whining.

    A few years ago one of The Onion’s little snippets had this little gem concerning the israeli-palestinian conflict: “Why can’t they all just get along? Oh yeah, it’s because they all think they’ve been specially chosen by god.”

  134. #134 Peter Ashby
    November 29, 2007

    Nobody is saying ‘how dare you criticise him’ Steve. They are saying criticise what he actually says and not what you choose to infer from it. Your blatant attempt to say that he says you should insult the beliefs of sick and dying people is the prime exemplar of this. He says no such thing as others have pointed out to you

    Your refusal to concede this point makes you look stupid, you have also been told this. I suspect you are simply too proud/arrogant to admit where you have made an error. Be a man and concede, your position is patently untenable and you are looking like a prize pillock. Stop letting the side down, be a man and walk before the umpire raises his finger.

  135. #135 Matt Penfold
    November 29, 2007

    “No, you are missing the point yet again. I am not claiming anything about what Pat thinks. How could I? All I am dealing with is the actual words he used on that video.”

    Ah I see your problem. You are unable to understand when making an argument there some things that do not always need to be articulated. No doubt you would think that someone who, say, opposes the death penalty does not think murder is wrong unless they say so explicitly when arguing against the death penalty. When you first entered the conversation and Janine took issue with you others thought she had gone to far. I suspect that is because although what you had said indicated a fair degree of ignorance they assumed you were just a bit confused. They were reading behind what you actually said you see, and assuming that although you had something stupid you were not actually stupid. No doubt most have now decided they were wrong, and that you are indeed stupid.

    How can you read books if you only go on what is actually being said in the words written ? Well you cannot, that is the simple answer. Similarly you cannot understand any form of communication unless you also take into account the person who saying it, and the context of the societal norms in which they do so. Communication assumes that there are things that are already understood by the speaker and the listener. You do not understand that it would seem. The idea that you would think anyone in their right mind would think telling a dying person who is religious that their god does not exist and that they are deluded for thinking so shows that you simply do not comprehend normal standards of behaviour.

    Do you have an autistic spectrum disorder ? And if do not, do you not think it might me an idea to have yourself checked out. The reason I say this is that the inability to read behind what people are saying is a common problem for such people.

  136. #136 Matt Penfold
    November 29, 2007

    “PZ, you posted the video by Condell.

    After the first twenty seconds I couldn’t believe that you did it.

    I think that you have made a mistake.

    Your update is mandatory.”

    Why ?

    Your stupidity is not PZ’s problem or fault.

    Deal with it yourself.

  137. #137 Matt Penfold
    November 29, 2007

    gerald spezio,

    One more thing:

    Your response to my earlier post explaining why Pat considers elements of Islam more threatening to the UK that elements of Judaism is mandatory.

  138. #138 steve99
    November 29, 2007

    “They are saying criticise what he actually says and not what you choose to infer from it.”

    That is exactly what I have been doing. Others have inferred contexts and inferences that were not present inthe video.

    “Your blatant attempt to say that he says you should insult the beliefs of sick and dying people is the prime exemplar of this. He says no such thing as others have pointed out to you.”

    The point I am trying to make is subtle. Throw out crass generalisations, and they will be interpreted in all kinds of ways. That is why you should not throw out crass generalisations.

    “Be a man and concede, your position is patently untenable and you are looking like a prize pillock.”

    A real man does not mind looking like a prize pillock. If I do look a pillock, then fair enough. What is the point of debate unless you are prepared to look a fool?

    And I find it hard to concede, as what I am expressing is my reaction to his video. If I had that reaction, others will too. It would be dishonest to say I did not have that reaction.

  139. #139 gerald spezio
    November 29, 2007

    Stephen Wells, I did look around as thoroughly as possible.
    I found another anti-Muslim video by Condell here;
    http://foehammer.net/2007/10/pat-condell-strikes-again.html

    Mr Penfold suggests that subjectively “reading in” is the way to arrive at the real meaning of what a speaker says.

    If Pat Condell says what he clearly says, should we ask Yogi Berra what he means?

  140. #140 Damian
    November 29, 2007

    As an extremely polite Englishman, I simply don’t understand Steve’s point.

    Firstly, Pat Condell is a comedian. He should be taken as such. Secondly, Steve, you seem to have forgotten that the UK, while valuing politeness, has a long and illustrious history of mocking other peoples fantastical beliefs. It is our way of keeping people who think that they have all of the answers, in check. We mock religion, politics, celebrity culture; you name it, we mock and ridicule it!

    It is a terrific tool for making sure that people don’t get ideas above their station. It makes sure that people remain humble. Now, I simply don’t see how you can project what Pat has said and apply it to all of the situations that you have come up with? It wasn’t you that sent Pat a mail, was it, Steve? I am beginning to wonder.

  141. #141 Colugo
    November 29, 2007

    Hey Spezio, are you the individual who posted the easily debunked lie “Only Israeli/Americans can have “dual citizenship” in both Israel and the U.S.
    It is a very special U. S. LAW for very special people.”

    http://sandwalk.blogspot.com/2007/10/do-you-think-iran-will-get-messsage.html

  142. #142 steve99
    November 29, 2007

    “Firstly, Pat Condell is a comedian. He should be taken as such.”

    I know he is a comedian, but these videos don’t come across as humorous. Me, I am more of a Marcus Brigstocke fan.

    “Secondly, Steve, you seem to have forgotten that the UK, while valuing politeness, has a long and illustrious history of mocking other peoples fantastical beliefs.”

    Of course I have not forgotten that. But there is a difference between, say, a comedian on stage or cartoonist mocking someone and being abusive to someone in person.

    “Now, I simply don’t see how you can project what Pat has said and apply it to all of the situations that you have come up with?”

    Well, I can. I am not saying he would apply it to those situations. All I am saying is that his words could be taken that way.

    “It wasn’t you that sent Pat a mail, was it, Steve? I am beginning to wonder.”

    Why on earth would I have sent him ‘a mail’?

  143. #143 Matt Penfold
    November 29, 2007

    Steve,

    “And I find it hard to concede, as what I am expressing is my reaction to his video.”

    Your reaction is NOT to what is in the video. Your reaction is to what you CLAIM was in the video. We have already established that you lied about what was said. Now it is possible you really do think he said what you think he said. If that is the case then you are to be pitied for your intellect would be seriously impaired if that were the case. If your intellect is normal then we must conclude you are lying.

    Damian,

    I rather suspect that Steve has never heard of Jonathan Swift, don’t you ?

  144. #144 steve99
    November 29, 2007

    We have already established that you lied about what was said.

    You have? When?

    Look, if I turns out I have misquoted him, then I will apologise and accept I have been wrong, and look foolish.

    So.. go for it 🙂

    I rather suspect that Steve has never heard of Jonathan Swift, don’t you ?

    How crass. Assume that anyone who disagrees with you is ignorant.

  145. #145 Colugo
    November 29, 2007

    More of Spezio’s post excerpted above:

    “Let’s you goyim and Iran fight for our Zionist right to the Palestinian’s land.

    Let’s you goyim murder the Muslims.
    Whaddya mean it “smacks” of anti-Muslimism.
    It’s an effective frame, isn’t it?
    Not nearly as bad as ANTI-SEMITISM with its vitriol and hatred.

    Pro-murder is a tough frame to push, but we are trying.

    Just don’t you dare call me a murdering hateful Jew – that’s anti-semitism.
    I’ll see you in court.
    “Hello; Alan, Alan Dershowitz.”
    “Alan, I’ve been horribly injured by anti-semitism. I demand justice.””

  146. #146 gerald spezio
    November 29, 2007

    The Israelis have almost two million Palestinians locked in a concentration camp in Gaza.
    The Palestinians are starving and dying.
    Is the Israeli God more powerful?
    Or is the Israeli Lobby more powerful?

    The Condell video as presented is propaganda pure and simple.

  147. #147 Matt Penfold
    November 29, 2007

    “Mr Penfold suggests that subjectively “reading in” is the way to arrive at the real meaning of what a speaker says.

    If Pat Condell says what he clearly says, should we ask Yogi Berra what he means?”

    No need. Pat Condell tells you what he is saying, if you take the trouble to listen. Clearly you think that is optional.

    Now if you are stupid enough not to know a bit about Condell you might, I suppose, if you are really really stupid, misunderstand what his message is. Of course only idiots do not try to understanding something about the person who is making arguments such as Condell does. It is hardly much effort to google the man’s name and find his website is it ? Did you bother doing that ?

  148. #148 Matt Penfold
    November 29, 2007

    “You have? When?”

    When we pointed out to you that NOWHERE did he say it was a good idea to tell dying people that god does not exist. You claimed that is what he was saying. We have shown you, more than once, that he was not. For you to continue to claim he did is a lie on your part.

    So we have established you lied.

    “How crass. Assume that anyone who disagrees with you is ignorant.”

    No, is it not that you disagree with me that makes you ignorant. Is that you made an ignorant claim from the off, and have continued to do so. That would seem to be evidence that you are, in fact, ignorant. Statements of fact cannot be crass.

    The simple fact is you are ignorant, you are a liar and you are rude.

  149. #149 Colugo
    November 29, 2007

    Spezio on the ‘Save Darfur’ movement:

    http://tinyurl.com/ytu4hk
    “The well-orchestrated Darfur Scam by the Lobby is falling on its arse just like Dershie.”

    http://mindbodypolitic.com/?p=226

    “If the part of the population who would agonize over the death of innocents is occupied with Darfur, they may not focus their energies of the genocide in Palestine and Irag.”

    Spezio calls the Holocaust the “Halocaust” – presumably because the Israel Lobby strives to put halos over the heads of Jews, or some such thing. I think the misspellings are an attempt to convey a New York Jewish accent.

    http://tinyurl.com/2hrclm

    “The smaht Zionists are laughing their arses off as working class mericuns on the fascist dole get blown to smithereens. All for the promised land and the chosen people. Smaht.

    Memba, smaht lawyer Joe Lieberman, the Zionist Senator from Israel, was Al Gore’s running mate just six years ago. And keep focusing on the oil too. And the Halocaust – the Halocaust. The only Halocaust. Not the Palestinian Halocaust. No, not the Palestinian or the Iraqi Halocaust. Not even the Armenian whatever.”

  150. #150 inkadu
    November 29, 2007

    Steve99:

    Look… you can invent a context to try and support your self-satified “Cool Angry Atheist” stance, but unlike you, I react to what people say, not what I want to believe they said.

    Steve99:

    Well, in principle, yes. But what about those of us, or friends of us, who have aged relatives with belief? Or who (to give a real example) work to provide medical care to people? Do we say to them “I give your religion the finger”, when they are in desperate need of care and consolation?

    Logic: you’re doing it wrong.

  151. #151 steve99
    November 29, 2007

    When we pointed out to you that NOWHERE did he say it was a good idea to tell dying people that god does not exist. You claimed that is what he was saying. We have shown you, more than once, that he was not. For you to continue to claim he did is a lie on your part.

    Suppose a dying person was trying to convert you to their religion… it was their last wish. Now listen to Pat’s words again. Carefully.

    Sure, this is extreme, but ideas are tested in such cases.

    As I keep saying, but for some reason it does not sink in – I don’t believe Pat meant to say that or imply that, but it was a really poor choice of words.

  152. #152 inkadu
    November 29, 2007

    Peter Ashby (and any other far-side-of-the-ponders) –

    What is a game of Mornington Crescent? I just know the song from my beloved Belle & Sebastian.

  153. #153 gerald spezio
    November 29, 2007

    Condell is a comedian and therefore…?

    What Condell says isn’t what Condell says?

    There is NOT a clear propagandistic bias in Condell’s video?

    If there is a video of Condell exposing murdering Zionist-Nazis, where is it?

    If Condell had said Zionist-Nazis instead of Islamo-Nazis, would any objective scientist been able to respond any differently as to Condell’s bias.

  154. #154 steve99
    November 29, 2007

    Ok, I give up. I thought I was raising a minor issue about a poor choice of words. I had forgotten the level of ire that disagreement can raise on the Internet. I hoped for discussion, but got insults; I have not encountered such ranting and offensive rudeness for a long while. If I caused offense, none was intended.

    Take care all.

  155. #155 gerald spezio
    November 29, 2007

    PZ; if you had it to do over, would you post Pat Condell’s video?

  156. #156 inkadu
    November 29, 2007

    Gerald Spezio —

    Since you seem clearly too retarded and blinded by your anti-semitism to use google:

    Pat Condell asks, What about the Jews?

  157. #157 Colugo
    November 29, 2007

    More Gerald Spezio on the Israel lobby and the ‘Save Darfur’ movement (my earlier comment held because it has more than two links):
    http://tinyurl.com/ysd57f

    “I didn’t pay any attention to the Demos phony debate. I avoid any further waste of brain cells paying any attention to paid off Israeli politicans/agents, especially lawyers Hillarious and Obama. According to you, they did agonize about DARFUR.

    I am, of course, supposed to believe that all this focus on DARFUR is the result of pure chance and/or ethical concerns for human suffering?”

    Google searches to try: “gerald spezio” and “darfur;” “gerald spezio” and “halocaust;” “gerald spezio” and “goyim”

  158. #158 Luis
    November 29, 2007

    This is concentrated eloquence. Thank you Pat and PZ.

  159. #159 Matt Penfold
    November 29, 2007

    “What is a game of Mornington Crescent? I just know the song from my beloved Belle & Sebastian.”

    It is a game played as part of a long running BBC Radio 4 program called “I’m Sorry, I Haven’t a Clue”. It is a humorous panel game program. The joke about Mornington Crescent is that the rules are supposedly difficult and rather lengthy when in fact there are no rules.

    I have not explained it very well. Wikepedia does a better job here:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mornington_Crescent_%28game%29

  160. #160 Rey Fox
    November 29, 2007

    Gerald Spezio: “Don’t you hate PANTS?”

    (Apologies to those who haven’t seen the Simpsons episode I’m referring to.)

  161. #161 Matt Penfold
    November 29, 2007

    Steve99,

    The door is over there. Please close it as you leave. You will not be missed.

    God Bless,

    Matt

  162. #162 windy
    November 29, 2007

    Logic: you’re doing it wrong.

    LOL!

    Suppose a dying person was trying to convert you to their religion… it was their last wish. Now listen to Pat’s words again. Carefully.

    Suppose that Pat is dying, and his last wish was to make a strongly worded video about atheism and post it on YouTube.

  163. #163 Damian
    November 29, 2007

    Right, Steve, this is what I could do with something that you have said:

    “I give your religion the finger, when they are in desperate need of care and consolation”

    It is clearly taken completely out of context, but as you seem to be talking about people who can’t quite grasp that language is contextual and has metaphorical value, I could use this to behave incorrectly and then say that it was you that had prompted me to do so.

    Pat makes a new video roughly once a fortnight. I watch them, leave a few comments, and go away understanding that it has been an over-the-top rant that is designed to entertain, spark debate and, of course, promote his own career.

    I agree with the vast majority of what he says, but I understand that it is impractical to apply it literally to my own life. I cannot help it if others don’t also possess that ability. What I will not accept is that people should cease to say such things for the sake of those who can’t quite grasp that there is a context to all things that are said and written.

    In this day and age, it is often those who are most offensive and outspoken that affect change in the world. Whether that is a good thing is open to debate, but there is no excuse for anyone who blames another person for their own actions.

  164. #164 Matt Penfold
    November 29, 2007

    “Google searches to try: “gerald spezio” and “darfur;” “gerald spezio” and “halocaust;” “gerald spezio” and “goyim”\”

    Will I learn anything new if I try those, given I already know he is a moron ?

  165. #165 Colugo
    November 29, 2007

    “given I already know he is a moron ?”

    No, not really. Maybe the depths of his idiocy.

    People like Spezio don’t like to be reminded of their slime trails.

    Like this one:
    site:scienceblogs.com/insolence posted by:bernarda

  166. #166 gerald spezio
    November 29, 2007

    Islamo-Nazis is a comedic statement open to interpretation.

    Zionist-Nazis is an anti-semitic statement, period.

  167. #167 Colugo
    November 29, 2007

    Note: I am not claiming that Spezio and bernarda are the same individual – they’re not; rather, they both have unflattering comments histories.

  168. #168 Mena
    November 29, 2007

    Jsn (#35):
    Mena,
    “AuroraD (#13):
    I’d probably agree with you if he didn’t look so darn much like my father!”
    Now there is a solid bit of reasoning. Oh, you were trying to be humorous…

    And you were trying for what exactly?

  169. #169 Peter Ashby
    November 29, 2007

    It is a scurilous lie that there are no rules for Mornington Crescent. Young people today, thinking Wikipedia is some inerrant source of information. I despair.

  170. #170 Stevie_C
    November 29, 2007

    Shove off Gerald. You’re not going to brow beat anyone here into doing anything you want done.

  171. #171 inkadu
    November 29, 2007

    Re: Mornington Crescent.

    Interesting. I’m trying to think of a similar American game, but it doesn’t exist. American’s, in general, don’t like complicated games. I happen to be one of them — an occasionally I visit friends playing monstrous Avalon Hill Style games and simply try to get as drunk as possible as soon as possible.

    Gerald – Take a deep breath. We all know you’re a self-hating jew, and that’s the very worst kind. Relax. Go to schule. Put on a yarmulkah. Listen to some Klezmer. Heck, maybe evict a few arabs from one of your many real estate properties. Make a high interest loan to friends. Get in touch with your inner jew. Then maybe you’ll see that Pat’s not really a Zionist tool.

  172. #172 mayhempix
    November 29, 2007

    “Pat Condell sucks, to put it bluntly.”
    Posted by: Alex | November 29, 2007 12:05 AM
    ……………………..

    Just because Alex has this reoccurring sucking fantasy doesn’t make it any more real. But maybe if he asked Pat nicely Pat would let him suck away.

  173. #173 Onkel Bob
    November 29, 2007

    One thing that is rarely asked, do you believe that “ministers” such as Benny Hinn, Falwell, Haggard, et al., actually believe in their god? I suspect that they do not, rather are simply use their followers’ belief to enrich themselves. (yeah, Falwell needs to be referred to in the past tense, but you get the gist.) The way I see it, we’re locked in mortal combat with the forces of the intelligent good and the intelligent evil. We (the good) try to guide the ignorant to do things that alleviate their ignorance and lead them away from self-destructive behavior. They (the evil) manipulate the ignorant, lead them into self- destruction and continued ignorance for one reason, to enrich themselves. Hinn, et al, can’t truly believe. Even if they are so self deluded, they must recognize that if there was some divine retribution, their behavior would warrant the most severe of punishments. Therefore, I propose they are closet atheists, knowing full well that the here and now is all that is and ever will be. They then use that knowledge to their advantage. As such, any arguments with them are futile as they are sociopaths who are immune to reason and logic. Mocking should be the least punishment they receive.

  174. #174 steve99
    November 29, 2007

    I watch them, leave a few comments, and go away understanding that it has been an over-the-top rant that is designed to entertain, spark debate and, of course, promote his own career.

    That is what I was, obviously ineptly and clumsily, trying to say. More or less.

    I did not realise that these rants were designed to entertain. I knew he was a comedian, though not a particularly well known one. I assumed these videos were sort of free-wheeling rants; I assumed no particular tone.

    I would have have dared suggest these where to promote his career… that would have seemed too cynical.

    OK, so if these were designed to entertain, then I can see how I must have looked like someone with his head up his backside 🙂

    OK, so I guess I got it wrong.

  175. #175 thalarctos
    November 29, 2007

    (@everyone except Ichthyic–I apologize in advance for a personal message here, but I’ve got no idea how to reach Ichthyic otherwise. As this is the best way I can think of to reach him, I’ll keep it short, and get back on topic afterward.

    @Ichthyic–woo-hoo! Guess what? I spent 6 hours in the ER yesterday, because my hernia refused to reduce, as it typically does on its own. That’s great news, because it had the optimal outcome–it did ultimately reduce, so I didn’t have to have emergency surgery on the spot, but will have to in the foreseeable future. That means I have time to plan the surgery and recovery with the surgeon and a dive medicine doctor as well, so–if all goes as I hope, I’ll be back in a wetsuit (only one at a time, though) sometime in late 2008! /off-topic)

    Science Goddess, congratulations on your survival with the new liver–that is a great thing!

    As another who has looked into the abyss (blood clot in an especially bad place to have one, not that anywhere is actually good), when I was in the hospital for a month, I wish the Christian nurse and the Falun Gong nurse had shown as much restraint about barraging me with their beliefs and proselytizing as the atheists I know typically show to other people, especially in such a vulnerable situation.

  176. #176 inkadu
    November 29, 2007

    I wish the Christian nurse and the Falun Gong nurse had shown as much restraint about barraging me with their beliefs and proselytizing as the atheists I know typically show to other people, especially in such a vulnerable situation.

    When I went to the hospital ER with heart trouble, the last person I wanted to talk to was a religiot. I wanted to talk to a soulless cadaver-stealing anatomist. Nothing, and I mean nothing, makes me more personally grateful for science and reason and more angry about religion than having a life-threatening illness.

  177. #177 gerald spezio
    November 29, 2007

    steve99, I did not see anything bizarre or un-intelligent in any of your very reasonable comments.
    I unhesitatingly claim to be as passionate about objective science as anybody.
    I always try to understand what conditioned the fundamentalist’s errors.
    I am always thankful that I was fortunate enough to have had the benefits of a modern scientific education with all of its objective trappings.
    Some of the vituperative comments directed at you were unsavory and completely intolerant to say the least.
    I shudder when some of my scientific colleagues make such narrow and pompous pronouncements.

  178. #178 neodavenet
    November 29, 2007

    So…upon review, does this mean I can walk up to people on the street and ask “did you know Jesus is a big lie?” and that would be polite discourse?

    Cool. Be back in an hour or so.

  179. #179 Stevie_C
    November 29, 2007

    Sniff snitt. Is widdle gewald gonna be ok?

    What a tool.

  180. #180 Matt Penfold
    November 29, 2007

    neodavenet,

    Well if you want to subscribe to Steve99’s ethics and morality I guess it would fine. I rather suspect the rest of us would think you were acting like a total arsehole.

    But then we already know Steve99’s idea of polite is buggered beyond repair.

  181. #181 Vitis01
    November 29, 2007

    @neodavenet #178

    O.o Huh?

    @steve99

    While I found your take on Condell’s rant to be a little obtuse, I felt that the mode and tone of your posts were reasonable. I especially liked what you said about not debating if you are not ready to look like a fool. I think that attitude helps to avoid having your ego do your arguing for you. On the other hand I have a serious question. Do you think that the level of venom that was directed at you had anything to do with changing your position? If everyone had been cordial and polite do you think that you would have just continued politely arguing your same argument?

  182. #182 John Knight
    November 29, 2007

    Group 1: “All religion is just like radical Islam.”

    Group 2: “Anyone who is concerned about radical Islam is a Zionist pawn. No, I’m not antisemitic.”

    These folks deserve each other.

  183. #183 Norman Doering
    November 29, 2007

    Ichthyic asked:

    If I truly believe that someone is suffering from a religious-inspired delusion, is it really sympathetic to let them wallow in their delusions?

    Can you really stop them from wallowing in their delusions?

    There comes a point where you don’t have to keep telling the schizophrenic that they’re crazy, they already know what you think — and you still don’t have a cure.

    Confrontation is not always the best policy. I think what we need to do is more research.

    http://normdoering.blogspot.com/2007/11/how-to-end-islamic-terrorism-by.html

  184. #184 gerald spezio
    November 29, 2007

    Mad dog Islam and mad dog Zionism both stink.

  185. #185 Matt Penfold
    November 29, 2007

    Vitosi,

    With regards neodavenet, I think you may have missed the fact he was being sarcastic. Earlier Steve99 had said he thought someone approaching you in the street asking if you had found Jesus was being perfectly polite in doing so. neodavenet was merely reversing his argument to make his point Steve99 was being idiot.

    “While I found your take on Condell’s rant to be a little obtuse, I felt that the mode and tone of your posts were reasonable. I especially liked what you said about not debating if you are not ready to look like a fool. I think that attitude helps to avoid having your ego do your arguing for you. On the other hand I have a serious question. Do you think that the level of venom that was directed at you had anything to do with changing your position? If everyone had been cordial and polite do you think that you would have just continued politely arguing your same argument?”

    He did not have an argument. That was the whole point. He made up stuff (read lied) about what Condell said and then tried to argue about that. Steve showed that his view on what was polite behaviour was not in accordance with what other here, and I suspect generally, would regard as being polite. You also choose to neglect the fact Steve chose from the very start to insult us, by lying about what Condell said. It was NOT what Steve thought he said and Steve had no reasonable basis for thinking Condell had said what he thoight he said. So when it comes to setting standards of behaviour, why should Steve get a free ride ? Hy lying is ok, but people who call him a liar are rude ? It seems you also lack any understanding of polite behaviour.

  186. #186 Matt Penfold
    November 29, 2007

    “Group 1: “All religion is just like radical Islam.”

    Group 2: “Anyone who is concerned about radical Islam is a Zionist pawn. No, I’m not antisemitic.”

    These folks deserve each other. ”

    There is a flaw here. Group 1 exists only in your imagination. Please desist from using us to perpetuate your delusions.

  187. #187 Norman Doering
    November 29, 2007

    neodavenet asked:

    So…upon review, does this mean I can walk up to people on the street and ask “did you know Jesus is a big lie?” and that would be polite discourse?

    No. It would not be polite discourse — but it would be a great title for a book or a blog for that very reason: because you can’t talk about it with the average person.

  188. #188 Booger
    November 29, 2007

    Well, when Auntie is dying, maybe she should have a deathbed conversion…lamenting all the time and life she squandered waiting for the big hairy sky fairy to greet her with milk and cookies after it’s all over. In Nelson Muntz voice: HA HA

  189. #189 Tom Foss
    November 29, 2007

    “Believe whatever you want, but if you want me to believe it, provide evidence or expect mockery and ridicule. Do not expect polite debate.”

    I mean, honestly. Why NOT respond with polite debate?

    I guess it’s just obvious to me: if you approach Pat wanting him to believe what you believe, and you provide no evidence, you should not expect polite debate on how many angels can dance on this or that, you should expect to be told that without evidence, expecting others to share your beliefs is ridiculous.

    Pat is merely side-stepping the debates that often happen with theists in which people argue over Biblical contradictions or contradictions between religion and reality or questions of ultimate morality and how people can be good without God, and he’s saying “I’m not going to argue on your terms about things for which there is no evidence.” Instead, he’s going to mock said beliefs and the believer’s sentiment that anyone would be convinced without evidence.

    To Gerald: perhaps you should watch some of Pat’s other videos. For instance, the one Inkado recommended, called What About the Jews?

  190. #190 Vitis01
    November 29, 2007

    Yikes Matt. Go easy man.

    First, I think that your idea of “lying” and “making stuff up” is skewed compared to mine. As someone mentioned earlier (maybe you), if context is understood then there are certain things that do not need to be articulated yet are assumed to be understood. In context, Condell is entertaining us and it is not his intention to present a flawless philosophical argument that will withstand every extreme scenario or need be applied as a blanket ideology. Conversely, if context is misunderstood then those unarticulated things may still be assumed but they will be wrong. Now, if the person has not misunderstood the context purposefully and maliciously (which we see a lot of) then s/he has not “made stuff up” or lied, IMO. They are still wrong of course.

    Second, my question to steve was suggesting that he may have not been motivated to revise his view if he had not been confronted with a far bit of rudeness. I think this is what Condell is getting at. If you are polite then people just argue back politely. Sometimes you have to get emotional and rude to make folks reconsider their assumptions.

  191. #191 Matt Penfold
    November 29, 2007

    Vitiso1,

    Sorry if I came over a bit heavy. Dealing with Steve99 can do that to you.

    You are correct, Condell was not intending to put forward a totally reasoned argument that covers all eventualities. However Steve99 was clear this was what he was expecting. It is clear Steve99 did not understand the context of what Condell was saying. My contention is that his understanding was so skewed it could not come from simple lack of comprehension. His expectations of what Condell was saying were totally unreasonable. It is the depth and scale of his lack of comprehension that makes me call him a liar. No reasonable person could have come to conclusion that Condell was saying what Steve99 was claiming he said. Now that also does not mean Steve99 was lying, but it does seem to be a choice of that, that he was simply mistaken this time or he really does lack the intellect to understand. If it really is the latter I will apologise to him but would also submit that he should not take part in discussions like this. If he had made a simple mistake he had the chance to admit that and move on. He chose not to do so.

    So sorry if I was a bit agressive.

  192. #192 Scrofulum
    November 29, 2007

    I was congratulated by my wife just the other day for going easy on a bible-thumper who espoused the imaginary virtues of religion to me. At the time I felt a quiet pride in my restraint, but after watching that I’m a little ashamed of myself.

    It’s like when you see someone drop litter and you don’t have a go at them for it. Anything for a quiet life but it gnaws at you for a couple of hours afterwards.

    I think I’m giong to revert to my older, rightful tendencies of lambasting the religious at every given opportunity, lest they clog up my subconscious with spiritual litter.

  193. #193 Matt Penfold
    November 29, 2007

    One thing does strike me. I imagine Pat Condell would be a brilliant person to go down the pub with. You could have a good argument about something (In my case it would not be religion as he and I seem to agree about that), get somewhat pissed and go home feeling you had a good evening.

    Steven Fry recently wrote a blog about how a significant number of Americans seem unable to understand how two people can have a real difference of opinion over a drink and yet remain friends through out. And that would include calling each other’s ideas a pile of tosh or crap. Is something like that happening here ?

  194. #194 Matt Penfold
    November 29, 2007

    Scrofulum,

    I get the JW and Mormon’s coming round to my door. I have the policy of simply saying “No thanks, I do not believe in god and I do not wish to discuss the matter with you”. They then leave. Of course the fact that they keep coming around, and I keep telling them the same thing either speaks volumes for their tenacity or suggests they are really really slow to learn.

  195. #195 steve99
    November 29, 2007

    Steven Fry recently wrote a blog about how a significant number of Americans seem unable to understand how two people can have a real difference of opinion over a drink and yet remain friends through out. And that would include calling each other’s ideas a pile of tosh or crap. Is something like that happening here ?

    I think it is.

    I am sure I could have a good chat with Pat Condell in the pub. However, you, with your tendency to call anyone who disagrees with you an autistic liar, may have a problem confronting anyone who disagrees with you 🙂

    You need to calm down, mate. This is supposed to be a debate here, not a rant.

    No matter how much we have disagreed here, I have no animosity against you. When you get as old as I am, you learn how to deal with these things.

    Best wishes….

  196. #196 Matt Penfold
    November 29, 2007

    Steve99,

    You cannot help but lie can you ?

    I have not called everyone who disagrees with an autisitc liar. That is simply you lying again, like you breathe it would seem.

    I did call you a liar, and I did question if you had an autistic spectrum disorder (not quite the same thing as calling you autistic, but then truth matters not to you). The reason I queried autism is because you showed such inability to comprehend what Condell was saying, and you insistence that only the words he used in video could be considered lent support to that. That is typically how people with ASD behave, they take everything at face value and do not think about context.

    So Steve, I do have a personal animus towards you. I really do think you are a lying scumbag.

  197. #197 Vitis01
    November 29, 2007

    No problem Matt. I though Steve’s point was pretty bizarre as well, but I took Steve’s comment #174 to be sincere. Was your feeling that it was not?

    Also re: #193, I constantly run up against situations where I am accused of being “angry” when talking with friends in bars about contentious subjects. I try to explain that I was just excited/ passionate about the discussion we were having. I seems to be the case that if I a) disagree with somebody AND b) give reasons for why I think they are wrong, then I am being “mean” or “aggressive”. I would love to live somewhere or know people where that is not the case.

    BTW- I’m a West Coast Yank.

  198. #198 Matt Penfold
    November 29, 2007

    Vitoso1,

    To be honest I don’t think the was, although I may be mistaken on that.

    And with regards having excitement/passion mistaken for anger, I think you need to come to the UK and visit a few public houses (aka pubs). There you will find plenty of passion and exitement on show, being expressed in ways that leaves no one in any doubt about how the speaker feels. Often such discussions are about football (soccer to you, but I hate using that word. Football is football and American football is for people who are too wimpy to play rugby!) but other topics get discussed. The debate can be robust to say the least but normally very good fun.

  199. #199 Peter Ashby
    November 29, 2007

    “Steven Fry recently wrote a blog about how a significant number of Americans seem unable to understand how two people can have a real difference of opinion over a drink and yet remain friends through out. And that would include calling each other’s ideas a pile of tosh or crap. Is something like that happening here ?”

    Hear, hear, The original coffee shops in London during the Enlightenment got shut down eventually as they were becoming far too disputatious for the authorities’ comfort. Remember that, THEY want us to be quiet and polite and non confrontational. It makes us easier to control. Some of my best memories of times in the pub have involved very good, ding dong arguments. With of course a parting with hearty good wishes and thanks for a good time afterwards.

  200. #200 Vitis01
    November 29, 2007

    Matt,

    Ya, you’re not the first person to say that. Too bad you guys don’t have many vineyards over there. And btw, since I understand the context ;p you can call it football and I’ll know what you mean.

    Alright, I need to do something so my boss might suspect I’m at work. Later folks.

  201. #201 Ichthyic
    November 29, 2007

    Norman:

    Can you really stop them from wallowing in their delusions?

    It’s been done before; surely you know that. An intervention doesn’t mean that the person who intervenes is necessarily the one who then becomes the one qualified or responsible for treatment, only that they encourage the person suffering from delusions to question and then hopefully to seek treatment (the form of which would obviously depend on what kind of delusion we are speaking of). For example, if an acquaintance is suffering from the “DT’s”, surely you can tell them that the delusions they might be suffering from aren’t real, and that they can seek treatment for the underlying cause. In the case of extreme religious behavior, the underlying causes are not as clear (see below).

    There comes a point where you don’t have to keep telling the schizophrenic that they’re crazy, they already know what you think — and you still don’t have a cure.

    the point is not for me to “cure” them, but simply to get them to seek treatment to begin with. I think you meant this rhetorically, though, since of course there are many different treatments for schizophrenia.

    Confrontation is not always the best policy. I think what we need to do is more research.

    of course it isn’t, sometimes confrontation can be positively dangerous to both parties. that wasn’t the question though, the question was:

    how much responsibility do you feel to intervene?

    …and yes, of course more research is needed (hence why I mentioned that the underlying causes of extreme religious delusion aren’t exactly clear at the moment).

    always.

    I would, however, like to see a stronger emphasis placed on researching the underlying psychology involved in extreme religious behavior. There are just too many parallels in symptoms with other psychological disorders to suggest that this wouldn’t be a productive direction of research. so far, there are only a handful of published studies looking into the issue. These are suggestive, but much more needs to be done.

    not for the first time, I would ask those involved in debating creationists and evangelicals (of all stripes) to notice the tremendous amount of denial and projection employed as defense mechanisms. anyone who has ever taken even a frosh level psych class knows these are indicative of an underlying pyschological malady, however benign.

    IMO, a LOT of extreme religious behavior is simply a case of religion acting as an enabler of an underlying psychological malady. Others become involved out of a sense of belonging, or peer pressure.

    Not the first time it’s been discussed, but analyzing cult formation and maintenance is, I believe, quite instructive in beginning to form an understanding of the religion meme itself.

    of course, the knee-jerk negative reaction in this country towards anything smacking of “mental health issues” probably dooms looking at religion from a psychological perspective in at least the near future.

  202. #202 Matt Penfold
    November 29, 2007

    Peter,

    I think that does rely on all parties putting forward cogent arguments though. It does not really work if one side is handicapped by the fact their argument is not an argument at all. I would have trouble having a good ding-dong argument as you describe so well with someone who was trying to claim the earth is only 6000 years old. There is nothing to get stuck into there! When you come away thinking that the other person may be wrong, but has a point and it may well be you who is wrong, that is when those pub arguments work best.

  203. #203 Ichthyic
    November 29, 2007

    I shudder when some of my scientific colleagues make such narrow and pompous pronouncements.

    BRAVO!

    now THAT is a classic case of concern trolling.

    nice job, Gerald.

  204. #204 stogoe
    November 29, 2007

    Any time someone uses the term ‘Zionist’, you pretty much know they’re wacko crazy bonkers. Ahem.

    friends playing monstrous Avalon Hill Style games

    Oh, I love the monstrous Avalon Hill games. Betrayal at House on the Hill was loads and loads of fun. Too bad they stopped production on it.

    Also, Pat Condell is effing metal.

  205. #205 Matt Penfold
    November 29, 2007

    “Ya, you’re not the first person to say that. Too bad you guys don’t have many vineyards over there. And btw, since I understand the context ;p you can call it football and I’ll know what you mean.”

    Oh we have some vineyards, and in blind tastings even the French have been forced to admit some English wines are pretty good. The decent stuff does not come that cheap though 🙂

    If you really want to learn a bit more about English wine, look for Nyetimber, Three Choirs and Camel. All produce excellent stuff, mostly white due to the climate and there are some sparkling wines that make even top notch Champagne look ordinary.

  206. #206 Ichthyic
    November 29, 2007

    @tharlactos:

    heyo! great news.

    I’ve got no idea how to reach Ichthyic otherwise

    fisheyephotos@hotmail.com

    I look forward to perhaps planning a dive with ya in the next year or so?

  207. #207 Ichthyic
    November 29, 2007

    ..btw, going through Gerald’s other “posts”, he is in violation of both the antispamming rule, and the concern troll rule.

    I nominate him for the dungeon.

    those in favor?

  208. #208 Janine
    November 29, 2007

    Janine: shame on you. This is a site of a respected scientist, and instead of engaging in debate, you post that.

    If you disagree with any particular point I have made, at least have the decency to explain why.

    Posted by: steve99 | November 29, 2007 10:17 AM

    You stupid piece of shit! Please note, posted this earlier.

    Let us see, this statement;

    “Believe whatever you want, but if you want me to believe it, provide evidence or expect mockery and ridicule. Do not expect polite debate.”

    quite naturally leads to this question;

    Or who (to give a real example) work to provide medical care to people? Do we say to them “I give your religion the finger”, when they are in desperate need of care and consolation?

    Nice slippery slope.
    Fuck you.
    And I am not apologizing for being rude to steve99.

    Posted by: Janine | November 29, 2007 9:49 AM

    I addressed what I though of your little stunt. You pulled a nice logical fallacy on top of you asking why don’t we mean atheist act mean to dying relatives.

    In other words, you are stupid and slimy. I feel no shame. But your act is shameful. And once more I say to you, Fuck You!

  209. #209 Abel Pharmboy
    November 29, 2007

    Wow, this post has already made it to Condell’s Wikipedia bio with PZ’s, “Speak it brother!,” endorsement.

  210. #210 Dr. Strangelove
    November 30, 2007

    I’ve visited Pharyngula quite a bit over the past year or so, and I’ve recommended it to quite a few people, but reading the comments section on this topic makes me quite sad.

  211. #211 Quiddam
    November 30, 2007

    [quote]Years back, most everybody in my family knew I had my misgivings about religion. Their response was to put me on the spot at EVERY family-gathering dinner: “Would you say the blessing?” I had to swallow my own feelings and conclusions and do what they wanted – betray myself by becoming a temporary pitchman for religion [/quote]
    I am only to happy to say grace. I have one prepared: “For the pleasures of good food and wine and the joy of family and friends we give thanks”
    I know those whom I am thanking – every one of my ancestors, back to a single celled organism, who got lucky, survived, mated and raised descendants, others may choose to thank their imaginary friend.

    I’m quite proud that my ancestor was snuggled up in a pile of other warm furry mammals, mating like crazy and enjoying life while that meteor took out the dinosaurs. That’s worth raising a glass for.

  212. #212 whypatcondellisntfunny
    February 2, 2008

    Pat Condell has the right to speak his mind.

    He does not, however, have the right to call himself funny.

    http://whypatcondellisntfunny.blogspot.com/

  213. #213 Christopher
    January 21, 2009

    That was powewrful Pat, very powerful. Well done.

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