Pharyngula

The atheist marketing failure

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Darn it, here’s the atheist problem: we’re not easily commercialized, with nothing for the corporate world to sink their hooks into. Someone has noticed.

Look for atheist perfume and you’ll be looking for eternity. You won’t find the works of Bertrand Russell packaged like the latest issue of Self or Cosmo, as the publishing company Thomas Nelson does with the Bible. (“Becoming is the complete New Testament in magazine format, but it wouldn’t be a culture ‘zine if it didn’t address men, beauty, fitness and food!”) Look for the atheist equivalent to Christian yo-yos and Christian neckties and you will come up as empty-handed as Mother Teresa passing the plate at Christopher Hitchens’ dinner table.

No doubt the thought of atheist lip balm and atheist jelly beans is hard to reconcile for many freethinkers–one of the virtues of atheism is that not every aspect of one’s life has to be yoked to some clingy deity who feels totally left out if you don’t include Him in everything you do. Plus, there’s simply the logical disconnect: What do jelly beans have to do with atheism? Why not stick with books, rational arguments, reason?

I guess we need a money angle to line up the capitalists to back us up. Hmmm. Can we market some plastic bubble packaging containing a vacuum as an action figure?

Comments

  1. #1 Alison
    December 16, 2007

    Hey, it worked for pet rocks. . .

    I liked the article, even though it was far more mildly worded than the things I usually say about Christmas Consumerism (and Jesus Junk!)

  2. #2 Blake Stacey
    December 16, 2007

    Meh.

    Atheist/skeptical/secular tchotchkes are out there; you just have to find them. Every webcomic has a store, don’t ya know?

  3. #3 Bob O'H
    December 16, 2007

    Plus, there’s simply the logical disconnect: What do jelly beans have to do with atheism?

    Not really atheism, but the Tom Baker incarnation of Dr. Who is a good enough excuse for me.

    Bob

  4. #4 Sili
    December 16, 2007

    Heh – “Why not stick with books, rational arguments, reason?”

    I caught myself thinking “Huh? They’re nice, yes, but what do they have to do with anything?”, before I reread: “OH! Books. Silly me.”

  5. #5 kevin
    December 16, 2007

    Atheist/skeptical/secular/humanist/rationalist/bright

    I think any marketing effort should start with building a brand name we can all rally around.

  6. #6 Master Mahan
    December 16, 2007

    I’ll give him one thing – comparing jelly beans with atheism is definitely a logical disconnect. Of course, the writer here is the one who started blathering on about candy in the first place. This is a bit beyond straw man, and into sheer insanity.

    The fact is, I’m an atheist, and I love jelly beans. I enjoy classifying their innumerable variety and researching new bean combinations. I particularly look forward to seeing what new flavors will be introduced in the future. Sure, some people claim that all flavors were created at the same time and the assortment never changes, but everyone who claims that just looks silly, and claiming there’s a difference between “micro flavor variation” and “macro flavor variation” just makes them look silly.

  7. #7 Anatoly
    December 16, 2007

    I’m kinda interested in an atheist yo-yo actually, hm.

  8. #8 MH
    December 16, 2007

    “Look for atheist perfume and you’ll be looking for eternity.”
    Eternity by Calvin Klein is an atheist perfume? I’ll have to get some then.

  9. #9 Mike
    December 16, 2007

    Well, some onecan mfg a Richard Dawkins action figure with his superpowers of rational thought. The have an Albert Einstein one.

    Or a PZ Myers one with a pet attack Cthulhu!

  10. #10 Moopheus
    December 16, 2007

    “Not really atheism, but the Tom Baker incarnation of Dr. Who is a good enough excuse for me. ”

    Baker’s Doctor ate Jelly Babies, a British candy more like gummi bears than jelly beans.

  11. #11 Neil B.
    December 16, 2007

    Uh, rational and bright goes with “skeptical” – but believing in “other universes” with different laws of physics, which we have no true evidence for and sparse theoretical basis (not to be confused with different energy regimes fiddling a bit – I mean, really just plain different) is OK? Sure, the idiotic “celestial teapot” is supposed to insinuate that any given undemonstrated entity is somehow ridiculous and in any case is not to be believed in (well no, it depends of course on the arguments pro and con regarding any particular proposal…), but if someone needs entities to fight the anthropic principle, it doesn’t matter anymore …

  12. #12 DouglasFir
    December 16, 2007

    What people don’t understand often is that atheism isn’t supposed to be a methadone clinic for cultural Christians.
    I think that it’s wrong to think of secular interests as being a competing hegemon with theistic belief.
    Those who buy this “Jesus junk” are just trying to surround themselves with objects that are comfortable and mesh with their Christian upbringing.

  13. #13 Moopheus
    December 16, 2007

    Most consumer products are atheist, or at least nontheist,in the sense that they aren’t dedicated to any particular diety. Sure, some products can be marketed by putting a picture of Jesus on them, and then they’re “christian” products, but there isn’t any corresponding iconography that particularly says “atheist”. Why should there be? Do we really need products made specifically “for” us? The fact that it’s a difficult group to market to is a good thing.

  14. #14 Dan M.
    December 16, 2007

    You so are going to get flamed for claiming that bubble wrap contains vacuum.

  15. #15 SteveC
    December 16, 2007

    I would totally go to an Italian restaurant called “The Flying Spaghetti Monster.”

  16. #16 Sam Nesvoy
    December 16, 2007

    I think atheists need a midwinter holiday, since most of the different religions have one. I recommend Perihelion Day (usually Jan 3). Northern-hemisphere atheists would then have a good opportunity to show how common sense can lead you astray, but science gives the right answer: “Today the earth is as close to the sun as it ever gets. And yet it’s so cold… How can that be? Well, gather round children, and let me tell you a story about Isaac Newton and Johannes Kepler…”

  17. #17 Daniel Martin
    December 16, 2007

    Wasn’t part of the point of choosing the red A symbol so that the symbol could be made into some nice atheist bling?

    Doesn’t bling sort of imply paying a jeweler at some point? Where’s the DeBeers marketing team? Surely they could find a way to produce a commercial which boiled down to “you can only truly be said to have adequately rejected theism when you blow a huge amount of money on this carbon rock we dug up and stuffed into a red “A” pendant”.

    I can see it now:

    “Atheist’s Red A pendant”:
    Gold inlaid with red garnet in classic “A” design, with three board-certified diamonds solitaire at the feet and vertex of the “A”.

    The real question, though, is whether there can be atheist kitsch. That’s going to be a bit more difficult, but is absolutely crucial to getting stuff sold on QVC.

  18. #18 Blake Stacey
    December 16, 2007

    kevin (#5):

    I think any marketing effort should start with building a brand name we can all rally around.

    Why? This sort of thing always fails dismally. Instead, why don’t we try all the possibilities, put them each on a T-shirt, and let the free market sort it out? If this succeeds, then that’s good; if it fails, then at least we get another data point with which to rag the Libertarians. In fact, I’d rather like one line of iconography to indicate and advocate general skepticism, another to make explicit my atheism, a few more to uphold particular scientific discoveries, some coffee mugs and tree ornaments for a collection of Internet communities. . . .

    Hey, yeah — where is my Pharyngula swag?

  19. #19 Shelama
    December 16, 2007

    PZ …love your blog and agree with almost everything you say although not always exactly how you say it.

    Question: as labor-, angst-, and passion-intensive as the blog appears to be, how do you find time to research and teach? Or do either suffer at all?

    Happy Solstice

  20. #20 vjack
    December 16, 2007

    Man, that was one strange article! I think many people are already making a buck of the resurgence of atheism and this will continue to happen as long as our numbers keep expanding and more start taking pride in their escape from delusion. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If people want to wear t-shirts with secular phrases, etc., it is good that they can now find them. If they want to read books on atheism, the market for such books will grow. We should be a capitalist’s dream because we’re a relatively untapped market segment.

  21. #21 Dan
    December 16, 2007

    I don’t know. I’d buy my girlfriend a bottle of perfume if it was called “Rational Thought” or “Reality.”

  22. #22 Abbie
    December 16, 2007

    Come on, tell me you wouldn’t buy a talking Carl Sagan action figure.

  23. #23 Davis
    December 16, 2007

    This comic reminds me of an amusing sight in downtown Seattle last night: amidst the holiday shoppers stood a small group holding signs that read “Buy More Stuff!” and “Hurry!”

  24. #24 DiscoveredJoys
    December 16, 2007

    What you need is a whole range of goods branded “ffg” – pronounced eff eff gee, a bit like effigy – which stands for “free from gods”.

    You could make ffg T shirts, perfume, mobile phones. Produce a ffg sticker for goods produced without religious restrictions (non-kosher, non-halal, no hot cross buns, not produced by Belgian monks, etc). You could produce jelly beans stamped ffg, eat ffgs rather than M&Ms. Films, radio and TV channels could also bear a ffg logo to show that no gods were used or referred to in the production of the film or program.

    Even better you could put up road signs on the approach to Creationist museums – “Non ffg attraction ahead”. If the ID crowd used the ffg brand without permission (how likely is that?) you could sue the cardigans off them.

    The beauty of such a brand is that it does not deny the (possible) existence of god(s), it merely ignores him/her/it/them. As such atheists, agnostics, deists and moderate believers could all purchase ffg goods without qualms of conscience.

  25. #25 Tom Morris
    December 16, 2007

    I dunno. Have you seen Philosophy (“a lifestyle brand that celebrates feeling well and living joyously. endorsed by doctors, celebrities, and most importantly our customers, philosophy wants to inspire you to live a better life by being better to yourself”)?

    Since atheism challenges the existing moral conclusions of religion, atheism does allow publishers to sell lots of books about moral philosophy. Which is jolly good if you are a professor of philosophy, I guess.

  26. #26 tacitus
    December 16, 2007

    Oh, I don’t know. Go to any godless country in Europe and you can find millions of non-believers fully bought into celebrating Christmas without the trappings of the baby Jesus. Certainly the retailers don’t seem to have missed a beat even though religious observance has plummeted to insignificant levels.

    Also, don’t forget New Year’s Day. If anything, in places like the UK, ringing in the New Year has gained dramatically on Christmas as an important holiday to celebrate, especially since the Millennium.

    Of course, the Scots have long since understood that New Year’s Day is far more important than Christmas. It is a two-day holiday in Scotland, while they only get one day for Christmas. It’s the other way around in the rest of the UK.

    New Year’s Day is singularly a secular event, with little or no religious significance, and while it is not really a family-oriented event, it is as significant a holiday as Christmas in many parts of the world and it’s not far behind in the US).

  27. #27 Dave Drumstick
    December 16, 2007

    Finding this blog was a real bliss, since I was looking for pictures of Tiburonea-Big Red, then decided to look at the rest of the site, but I’m disappointed that this place is full of self-named “atheists”. If you people also call yourselves scientist, you should stop feeling bothered by what others do or do not do in certain times of the year.

    I’ve never seen a NASA engineer rambling and babbling about how sorry he feels for those who celebrate Christmas. If this celebration promotes selfishness and consumerism, let them be, let the world be; let them be happy and you stay happy with whatever you believe in, alright? Even Einstein and Carl Sagan hinted and even acknowledged God for the creation of things. So what’s the problem duders? Religion is fucked up, I know; and I love science. But scientist, real scientist don’t have time to discuss Christmas, people’s beliefs, capitalism and in general to cry and whine over this shit.

    If you people don’t believe in a god, that’s fine, be happy with it.

    I’ve come to realise that “atheists” and scientists are not the same people. Atheists are whinning snob pricks and scientists are people that work for the true understanding of things in the universe.

    So shut the fuck up already and let the people be happy in whatever way they want. Be at peace, mind your own shit; live and let be, live and die.

    Merry Christmas everyone! :D

  28. #28 qedpro
    December 16, 2007

    Best quote i heard about christmas:

    We all know the true meaning of christmas is to buy things that we neither need nor can afford and anyone who doesn’t do so is a godless communist.

  29. #29 PZ Myers
    December 16, 2007

    That was such a cluelessly stupid whine that I’m suspending the three-strikes rule. Go for it, everyone: open season on Dave Drumstick.

  30. #30 MAJeff
    December 16, 2007

    Even Einstein and Carl Sagan hinted and even acknowledged God for the creation of things.

    Bzzt! Try again, idiot.

  31. #31 Ken Cope
    December 16, 2007

    Sure thing, oh Cephalopod Overlord.

    Shorter Dave Drumstick:

    Whinning snob prick Athiests, STFU, just invent shit for me to buy, then die so I can lie about what you said. Peace.

  32. #32 spurge
    December 16, 2007

    “but I’m disappointed that this place is full of self-named “atheists”. ”

    Why? Are you a bigot?

    “If you people also call yourselves scientist, you should stop feeling bothered by what others do or do not do in certain times of the year.”

    What does one have to do with the other?

    I will stop there since you are probably a one post cowardly troll.

  33. #33 Rey Fox
    December 16, 2007

    “But scientist, real scientist don’t have time to discuss Christmas, people’s beliefs, capitalism and in general to cry and whine over this shit.”

    So presumably, you’re not a real scientist, since you have the time to bitch everyone out. If you aren’t, then you have no business defining “real scientist”. If you are, then for crying out loud, get your eye back on that microscope! We got secrets of the universe to unlock!

    “Religion is fucked up, I know”

    Hey! Quit your whining about religion, I said BACK TO WORK! *whipcrack*

  34. #34 CapitalistImperialistPig
    December 16, 2007

    The trouble with marketing atheism is that it’s damnably boring. It doesn’t offer anything, it doesn’t have a dramatic backstory, and the current congregation is a bunch of cranky old sourpusses. It’s definitely a religion for the committed loser. Anybody with anything going for them would rather be a Scientologist.

  35. #35 spurge
    December 16, 2007

    Where are all the quality trolls?

    These are just pathetic.

  36. #36 Skwee
    December 16, 2007

    DNFT DNFT DNFT DNFT

    That said, EvolveFish-the Jesus fish with legs that says “Evolve” or “Darwin” on it- is at least one example of an atheist market. But then again, it is not a mainstream market-I’ve seen it online, but not IRL.

    I usually like the simple, educational gifts. Books, documentaries, music, etc.

    Cthulhu bless us, every one! :)

  37. #37 dkew
    December 16, 2007

    12:
    What people don’t understand often is that atheism isn’t supposed to be a methadone clinic for cultural Christians.
    I love the metaphor, and agree in principle, but most of us do have theist backgrounds, and can not/ do not reject all the cultural baggage that goes with them.
    Happy Solstice.

  38. #38 Ken Cope
    December 16, 2007

    Anybody with anything going for them would rather be a Scientologist.

    I’m sorry, that last word comes up as a misspelling in this browser.

    In 1980 I lived on LA’s Lexington near Vermont, my bedroom basking in the glare from the ten foot tall neon letters from the former children’s hospital on Fountain Ave that at first seemed to be some sort of post office, since everybody walked around in uniforms that were both tacky and casual. An overly friendly neighbor clued me in by showing me her shrine to John Travolta. She was breeding a dwarf, but she wasn’t done yet.

    I regret that I could never get up the nerve to obtain a Christmas Story BB gun (“You’ll put your eye out!”) to shoot out one of the letters, but my partner in flourescently illuminated carnal couplings could never settle on which one to eliminate. Shoot out the L and the sign would read, $CIENTOOGY, shoot out the I and it would read $CENTOLOGY, but we could never agree on which would be funnier.

    As for having anything going for them, I can’t hear that cult’s ($cientology isn’t old enough to be a respected religion, like LDS) name without hearing the sound of Oprah’s couch springs morphing into cuckoo clocks. The only idol for me is Stephanie Miller’s voice deity, Jim Ward.

  39. #39 Mark
    December 16, 2007

    Atheism’s problem isn’t with marketing. The problem is that there’s nothing to market. It’s a dead-end ideology, more a sneer than a system of thought. The term ‘Bright’ says it all. Only a group that was cluelessly arrogant would even consider such a name.

    No doubt atheism has a public relations problem. Something to do with the fact that every explicitly atheist form of government since the 18th century has been systematically homicidal- the French Reign of Terror, Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot.

    Atheism is a fringe ideology because most people see it for the nonsense that it is. But Atheism’s most acute PR problem is its history.

  40. #40 MAJeff
    December 16, 2007

    Awww, aren’t they cute.

  41. #41 TSVN
    December 16, 2007

    How about a FSM action figure? Or a PZ Myers action figure?

  42. #42 Ken Cope
    December 16, 2007

    Atheism’s problem isn’t with marketing. The problem is that there’s nothing to market.

    You were done here, but then you bought back your sale.

    The fact that there is nothing to market is not a problem but a feature. But, then you go and try to turn nothing into something. Which is it?

    The fact that most people don’t see the mainstream ideology of Xtianity for the nonsense that it is, can only be due to PR, selling nothing as if it were something.

  43. #43 Mark
    December 16, 2007

    I see, Ken. The vast majority of people who have ever lived have been theists of one sort or another, and a third of humanity is now Christian. You claim that they all arrived at their ‘nonsense’ because of PR, whereas atheists are the only folks immune to PR who can see the truth.

    Western civilization is a product of Christiantity. Atheism’s most self-destructive rhetorical tic is it’s failure to address theism in general and Christianity in particular in any thoughtful way. There are profound issues here, and all atheists can do is call Christians stupid and gullible.

    We Christians are blessed by the incompetance of our opponents.

  44. #44 RamblinDude
    December 16, 2007

    I guess we need a money angle to line up the capitalists to back us up. Hmmm. Can we market some plastic bubble packaging containing a vacuum as an action figure?

    Seems appropriate, as the Catholic Church once denied that a vacuum could exist.

  45. #45 Marisa
    December 16, 2007

    I always figured that the consumerist crap surrounding christmas was the one thing atheists and christians could agree on. After all, all this holiday greed is not a longstanding christian thing as much as a modern capitalist thing.

  46. #46 Marisa
    December 16, 2007

    Ah… I mean rallying AGAINST all the consumerist crap!

  47. #47 Rey Fox
    December 16, 2007

    “We Christians are blessed by the incompetance of our opponents.”

    Must be why you’re so busy frantically circling the wagons and wetting your pants over Richard Dawkins and The Golden Compass.

  48. #48 dkew
    December 16, 2007

    Progress educating the theists? Mark didn’t include Hitler.

  49. #49 Ken Cope
    December 16, 2007

    Atheism’s most self-destructive rhetorical tic is it’s failure to address theism in general and Christianity in particular in any thoughtful way.

    If Mark followed his rhetorical overreach to its absurd conclusion he would be forced to admit that atheism is also a product of Christianity. Having been soaked in the dominant culture of religion all our lives, the surest way to become an atheist is to seriously examine the claims of religion and apply the methods of science to an examination of the world. Atheism is not a premise, it’s a conclusion. I have met few atheists who didn’t examine religion (which is not a subset of Christianity, BTW) in an intensely personal and thoughtful way. Nearly every atheist I’ve ever conversed with is an apostate. If you don’t know what apostasy is, you may wish to consider that it is one of the unavoidable products of seminary training.

  50. #50 CapitalistImperialistPig
    December 16, 2007

    Let me be slightly more explicit: I have nothing against atheism as a belief system. I do find Atheism, the church militant, a tiresome bore. Preaching against religion is like preaching against sex – you are tackling a fundamental human instinct.

    PZ Myers, Sean Carroll, and their like-minded friends are the Jehovah’s Witnesses of Church Militant Atheism. Despite many virtues, when they turn to their religion they quickly become an annoying noise in my head.

  51. #51 Ken Cope
    December 16, 2007

    I have nothing against atheism as a belief system.

    Then you have nothing against atheism, which is no more a belief system than bald is a hair color, or abstinence a sex act.

    Despite many virtues, when they turn to their religion they quickly become an annoying noise in my head.

    You were using your outside voice there. The noises in your head are your lookout, not mine.

  52. #52 RamblinDude
    December 16, 2007

    You claim that they all arrived at their ‘nonsense’ because of PR…

    Yes, PR and peer pressure. “God” doesn’t tell people what to believe, their fellow human beings do. Otherwise there would be no need for missionaries.

    …whereas atheists are the only folks immune to PR who can see the truth

    Interesting how the insistence on ration thought, critical thinking and clarity of perception strengthens your intellectual immune system.

    Atheism’s most self-destructive rhetorical tic is it’s failure to address theism in general and Christianity in particular in any thoughtful way.

    Of course, by “thoughtful” he means full of emotionalism, and a counter strategy that includes promises of rewards and punishments. I mean, if reality doesn’t offer you eternal joy then what good is it, right?

  53. #53 RamblinDude
    December 16, 2007

    There are profound issues here, and all atheists can do is call Christians stupid and gullible.

    That is not all we can do, and that is not all we are doing.

  54. #54 Max Udargo
    December 17, 2007

    Referencing the comic in the post:

    Jesus Christ! What the fuck does “Happy Holidays” or “Seasons Greetings” have to do with “political correctness?” People have been using those phrases since before anybody reading this blog was born! Listening to the whining, you’d think they were coined last year by Hillary Clinton.

    People have ALWAYS said “Seasons Greetings” and “Happy Holidays!” If the problem is that Christians are having trouble finding things to whine about, you sure the fuck could have fooled me.

  55. #55 Timothy
    December 17, 2007

    For several years now I’ve been thinking that I need to learn how to make brandy so that I can start a rivalry with Christian Brothers.

  56. #56 Josh
    December 17, 2007

    Jelly beans, huh. Aren’t they associated with the worshippers of Harlan Ellison?

  57. #57 DLC
    December 17, 2007

    And here I thought Trolls lived under bridges.
    Someone had to play the Stalin gambit sooner or later.
    And someone had to play the “atheists are nothing but old crabs” gambit. And then we got the “there are profound issues” card.

  58. #58 Rodolfo
    December 17, 2007

    I am now on board with Sam Harris after reading this post. I just realized how “atheism” and “atheists” can be so dense. I consider myself atheist but is there really any need to start shoving this word at everyone’s throat?

  59. #59 csrster
    December 17, 2007

    Jelly Babies = Dr. Who
    Jelly Beans = Ronald Reagan

    It is therefore absolutely essential you choose the rught confection. When buying Jelly Babies it is also a good idea to ask for boys only as they are better value for money.

  60. #60 Stephen Wells
    December 17, 2007

    How about a T-shirt with the slogan “Atheism: not selling anything except this t-shirt”?

  61. #61 Neil B.
    December 17, 2007

    DLC (does that mean what I think it does? ;-) ):
    No, I don’t think anyone here means that “atheists” in general or in principle are “nothing but old crabs”, but so many of them now are the analogy of Rush Loombowel or Ann Coldturd or culture whore-ior Bill O’Reilly, or even psychotic mouth-foamer Mike Savage (which, see, does not mean that “conservatism” has no value as an intellectual program etc, just because some of them are so obnoxious.) PZ and cruë are no Bertrand Russells or Leo Buscaglias (whose “The Fall of Freddie the Leaf” – see it at http://www.buddhistinformation.com/fall_of_freddie_the_leaf.htm – makes me a bit teary even though I don’t really accept that idea of finality – after all, if a computer program can “live on” even after the computer it originally ran on is gone, why can’t our minds? All they need is some computing space in the platonic computer network, which should “exist” if modal realism is true.) Oh, and Russell and Buscaglia were agnostics not atheists, right?

    BTW, did you “rationalist” materialist sophomores realize that it isn’t even logically possible to rigorously define “existence” for material stuff (in any but silly circular ways or ironically appealing ironically to conscious experience!) instead of mathematical entities like the roots of equations? And that for that reason, many folks are modal realists who believe that nothing but “mathematical structures” are real, and indeed that all of them do of course in the platonic multiverse of all possible MSs. They, like Max Tegmark, then say that our own universe is just a “mathematical structure” (yes, even with all the sizzling qualitative, conscious sensual experience that can’t really be just math, unless you are are near-schizophrenic “feigner of anesthesia” kook like Daniel Dennett, one of your undeserving heroes.)

    But Max incredibly but conveniently forgets that mathematical structures are, by logical necessity, deterministic systems. Hence they cannot produce the supposed genuine randomness of quantum mechanics, said to be events, like decay of structureless muon, “happening for no reason” at that time. (So-called random variables are a fiat specification not an actual structure for generating such numbers – you have to pick it out “by hand” with something like “Use the digits of the square root of 23″ and then you’d need to re-seed each time etc.) So, our universe is not a “mathematical structure” which just brings it back to the same old mystery it ever was (unless you can really make idiotic and ironic denials of our *empirical givens* like the many-worlds hypothesis work! I dare you….). Well, I’ll just leave that up in the air, since no one really understands such things, but at least the classic agnostics like Russel appreciated that.

    “tyrannogenius”

  62. #62 AC
    December 17, 2007

    There are profound issues here….

    Name five.

    This morning on the radio I heard an ad for a local church. The pastor said, in a nutshell, that many people who reject Christianity in particular and the supernatural in general nevertheless believe in UFOs, alien abduction, ESP, etc. His sales pitch was essentially that if you’re going to believe nonsense, you should believe Christian? brand nonsense.

    If you think people arrive at religious belief through careful consideration and flawless reasoning, you’re not paying attention.

  63. #63 AC
    December 17, 2007

    after all, if a computer program can “live on” even after the computer it originally ran on is gone, why can’t our minds?

    I’m a computer engineer; you don’t know what you’re talking about.

  64. #64 Wayne McCoy
    December 17, 2007

    @ Mark

    First of all, atheist doesn’t just mean not believing in the abrahamic god — Buddhism is atheist, and hasn’t started any wars or been involved in the wholesale slaughter of mankind like the megalomaniacs the Christians always trot out to show the evils of atheism. BUT — I defy any Christian to tell me just why it is I need to be saved. For eternal life? What if I’m just not bloody interested? Why do I want to spend eternity with something I don’t believe in? Circularity anyone? I don’t need Jesus to be happy, nor God to make my decisions for me. At age 69, I’ve been free of belief for 50 years. Coming closer to the end of my life, I look forward to it being just that — THE END.

  65. #65 Tulse
    December 17, 2007

    Mark:We Christians are blessed by the incompetance of our opponents.

    Rey Fox:Must be why you’re so busy frantically circling the wagons and wetting your pants over Richard Dawkins and The Golden Compass.

    Sadly, the Golden Compass film was pretty much incompetent.

  66. #66 Kseniya
    December 17, 2007

    Ah, but the ideas are what they fear, Tulse, and the books are already out there. Imagine that: a children’s book being a threat to a 2,000 year old religion practiced (or claimed, anyway) by a full one-third of the world population. When Islam “wins”, it will be the fault of Philip Pullman, J.K. Rowling, and Madeline L’Engle, dontcha know. (At least this fear has a little more rational basis that the claim that Islam is taking over Europe because of atheism – LMA0.)

  67. #67 Bill Dauphin
    December 17, 2007

    The real question, though, is whether there can be atheist kitsch.

    Now I’m desperately trying to cleanse my brain of the image of a painted plaster birdbath/lawn statue of St. Christopher Hitchens! [gouges eyes out]

  68. #68 BlueIndependent
    December 17, 2007

    #50: “…PZ Myers, Sean Carroll, and their like-minded friends are the Jehovah’s Witnesses of Church Militant Atheism. Despite many virtues, when they turn to their religion they quickly become an annoying noise in my head.”

    So…I guess the key figures of the Enlightenment and the forefathers of this country were nothing but militant anti-crown naysayers that didn’t want to accept the truth that was power by class, money and heredity, then? Your analogy is lacking.

    Think of it this way: What would you do if some random social group organized and came to your house shouting and shaming you and your family for being members of the X family (based on whatever your last name is)? Would you sit there and let them invade your porch, or would you use whatever you had at your disposal to fight their rhetoric? What if they were doing this to you in the press, on TV, on radio, on the internet, in thousands of their gathering locations across the land? Would you move and set up shop as far away as possible to avoid them? Who would come to your defense?

    Please cut the whiny bullshit about the “church of atheism”. There is no church, there is no animal-sacrificing belief system, there is no latent communistic impulse, there is no latent evil. Only one thing: a simple statement that is an assessment of reality as best humankind knows it. If a group is not allowed to defend itself against attacks, then what are they supposed to do? Lie down as you suggest and get bowled over? Should the forefathers of this country have simply stood arms folded with scowls at the docks as the redcoats pulled into harbor?

    Atheists have every right to defend themselves publicly and vocally against the, well, really quite lame attacks from religious communites. Attacks that are based almost entirely on supposition, distortions of history, assumptions not based in experience or direct contact, and from commands handed down to them by people exercizing illegitimate power from behind marble pulits.

    As #49 said, most atheists are apostate, myself included. I spent so much time in church up until I was probably 20 years old, and what did it get me? I had inklings of its failures prior to that age, but never decided to think really hard about it until the last few years. I’ve come to the conclusion that it really is not a terribly good vehicle for morality at all, and in fact simply shifts immorality into different areas in many cases.

    It is religion that creates the suppositions and charges. It is religion that has beat the drum. It is religion that held atheists as blasphemers first. It is religion (whatever flavor it may be) that fired the first volley. It is religion that burned witches and innocents, and it is religion that now finds its new witchhunt in atheism. Mistaking otherwise is foolish and dishonest.

    #43: “…and a third of humanity is now Christian…”

    How is this significant? A third of humanity is also Muslim. I noticed you left that inconvenient bit of information out.

    What I find curious is that Christianity itself (and even other religions) have been forced by the changing tides of western societies to modify (some would say, evolve) how they go about their business in order to try and keep up. Christianity has denounced everything from alcohol, to rock music, to women in the workplace, to women voting, to slaves’ rights, you name it. Yet in the end it conformed to meet all these things. Some would say that’s because the light of Jesus shone down on them and blessed them with courage and divine ability to move others. I would say it’s because none of these things was ever a direct threat to society, and would only/has only improved it. Do people have to honestly try to fool me that a Christian that thinks anyone regardless of race deserves human rights arrives at that moral determination via different means than an atheist who thinks the same? No. They both use the same street to get to that office: A street named Reason.

  69. #69 Tulse
    December 17, 2007

    Imagine that: a children’s book being a threat to a 2,000 year old religion practiced (or claimed, anyway) by a full one-third of the world population.

    Boy, to be threatened by a kid’s book that religion’s god must be pretty weak and old and feeble and likely senile and might blow away in the wind…hey…!

  70. #70 Will Von Wizzlepig
    December 17, 2007

    I wonder if they guys who made the deity action figure line made an atheist version- which was just an empty package?

  71. #71 RamblinDude
    December 17, 2007

    Shouldn’t it just be an empty package in any case, and you just use your imagination?

  72. #72 Neil B.
    December 17, 2007

    >> after all, if a computer program can “live on” even after >> the computer it originally ran on is gone, why can’t our >> minds?
    (Me)

    > I’m a computer engineer; you don’t know what you’re talking > about.

    Posted by: AC | December 17, 2007 12:45 PM

    Uh, AC, where’s the beef? You have at least said *something* about why you didn’t agree with that. If you mean that human mentality cannot be fully contained by formalisms like those of computer programming, then I salute you, but that raises its own interesting questions. BTW, what do you think of “modal realism”?

    Uh, BlueIndependent, you are comparing adolescent booger flickers like PZ Myers and Sean Carroll (well, he isn’t really all that bad) to “key figures of the Enlightenment and the forefathers of this country”?! Didn’t you learn anything at all from the distinctions I made above between the current Original Trolls and greats like Bertrand Russell and the sublime Leo Buscaglia? Can’t you understand that members of a general category are not all alike, that it matters, and that critics really often do care about such distinctions? Sheesh, what a bunker mentality around here.

  73. #73 bago
    December 18, 2007

    A computer is an execution engine linked to memory. A Program is a series of instructions for the execution engine that are loaded from memory. If the execution engine fails then the series of instructions that make up a program become meaningless, even though they might live on in memory. If the memory fails then the instructions making up the program become corrupted, and it is no longer the program that was written. Either way, no program can survive these failures.

  74. #74 Dave Drumstick
    December 18, 2007

    The reactions posted here to my comment were one of the possibilities I happened to foresaw, the few people who got offended by it reacted like the dumb kid in an elementary school classroom that yells “I’m not stupid!Why did you call me stupid” when the teacher says “some people can be stupid”.

    What I pointed out in my comment was no mere invention, it is what it is, self called atheists who think the rest of the world is submerged in stupidity.

    Ken Cope, you can do whatever you want, you see nobody cares, alright? Cool. Why do you listen to a cephalopod? Are you Dr. Dolittle? Getting mad at my rant -for you- is as dumb as listening to a barking dog behind a fence, but still you listen to the animal and get mad at it. “STFU”? I thought only kids watching porn forums would write acronyms like that, what’s next? “lol”, “ROFL”, “brb”, Grow up! And Shut the fuck up! That’s how it is said. You’re an ass…and a wanker.

    Spurge, try to read again my comment, since you have the intellect of a creature that feels challenged by being stared at directly in the eye (dogs, inferior anthropoids…), so you can actually get it.

    PZ Myers, is that all you got?

    MAJeff, do your own search, you angry fuck. Your reaction can only be compared with that of a nervous shrew. Open your mind to all the possibilities, that’s how science works.

    Rey Fox, I wasn’t whining about religion when I said it was fucked up. Religion is the worst thing that has ever happened to humanity in absolutely every way, and you know that; stating a truth is not whining, to think about people the way you do because of what they do, is. Saying that was an attemp to share my unbiased opinions, I was just trying to defend the millions of people that some of you cocky bastards look with contempt because of their beliefs. I once heard a Jehova’s Witness say “those who died in New Orleans died because they weren’t part of our congregation”; this remark is as unfair as what the sign in the cartoon that tops this thread says about those who celebrate Christmas.

    I’m guessing the people I pissed off were once disappointed kids who didn’t get what they asked for in Christmas, or were sexually abused by their local priests; but their scientology and atheism haven’t given them the tools to cope with that and live a life without resentment.

    John Lennon proposed a world without religion, your atheism is once again another way to divide people, you offended bastards are as noxious as a fool Jehova’s Witness, a pedophile Catholic priest, a racist jew or a muslim with avengful lust for blowing himself up. You atheist fucks.

  75. #75 Ken
    December 18, 2007

    I thought there was an atheist scent – it is called “eau contraire”.

  76. #76 John Phillips
    December 18, 2007

    Merry podmas to you too, Dave Drumstick, to use your own vernacular, you really are sad little fuck aren’t you. And no, I wasn’t abused by a priest as a kid, in fact quite a few were genuine friends of our family and were what I would consider genuinely good people, not like the filth that we see in the mega churches and their ilk. However, the fact that they were genuinely good people has no more bearing on the truth of god/gods existence than if they had not been good people. Nor did I not get that wanted xmas present, I simply reasoned my way to atheism when I first truly thought about belief in gods. What surprises me, and many atheist like me, which can lead to a level of contempt for those who believe in something without evidence, is just that. Believing in something without evidence simply because you have been told to (simply put, indoctrinated) and many others also do. Though if one thinks of it as an aspect of the herd instinct, i.e. wanting to belong, then it makes a kind of logical sense, especially when not belonging often meant ostracising or worse, doesn’t make it right though. As to atrocities carried out by supposedly atheistic societies, the usual Stalin et al garbage, it wasn’t done in the name of atheism, unlike most of the atrocities the believers are responsible for. Though I doubt you see the difference, or even want to as it would only highlight the paucity of your argument.

  77. #77 spurge
    December 18, 2007

    @ Dave D.

    Fuck off you sad pathetic troll.

  78. #78 Ken Cope
    December 18, 2007

    Double D troll in #74 again displays the capacity to type without one whit of comprehension, but that was apparent from his very first post here. Here he shows that he doesn’t have the wit to rise to the level of demented fuckwittery.

  79. #79 Neil B.
    December 18, 2007

    AC, bago – Did you know, there are all these “programs” lying around in BASIC, C++, Pascal, and even some in misbegotten Ada – we can even read them in books – and all they need is a compatible machine to run on. WTF have you dorks been smoking? Lead solder?

  80. #80 Dave Drumstick
    December 20, 2007

    I’m just going to say [if I haven't been banned from this forum], that I don’t support any of the existing religions; that I have profound respect for Science and those who apply the Scientific Method in their quest for knowledge and making it accessible to everyone. Professor Myers I deeply regret being agressive against you, for I didn’t notice your little photography on the left, since it was shadowed by the cartoon that entitles this article. I don’t pretend to erase what I stated here, I stick to my opinions firmly; I’m just apologizing in the humblest of fashions to someone who works for Science.

    No John Phillips, you’re wrong, I do tell one from another. The only accusation I made here, was the contempt in the way you people see the rest of humanity because they believe in something.

    As scientists, it is wrong of you to close the case on the existence of an ultimate creator; there’s no solid evidence that proves the existence of God but, since there’s no solid evidence to prove that God doesn’t exist either, I think it is wise to be open to any possibility. This case is far from close.

    I’ve seen nothing but a great lack of humility towards the Universe from you people. Thomas Lang, austrian drummer says “the more you learn, the more you know; the more you know, you don’t know, and the more humbling becomes the learning process”. You people estate in rock that God never existed, but never tried to prove this very fact.

    A computer well built with a well written piece of software is capable of working flawlessly. But not because Nature alone built the machine, it was built by an intelligent entity, human engineers. Nature is in itself a machine, in every extent, from cells to galaxies.

    Everything in our Solar System alone is a perfectly built working machine of elements that alone cannot wholy work the way they do. The densities and sizes of our neighboring planets has the exact magnitudes to keep life on Earth going. Is it coincidence that the features of Jupiter make it able to protect us from galactic killers such as Shoemaker-Levy? Is the Golden Section present in our fingers, flowers and animals an accident? Don’t you people see the intelligence behind this?

    We humans are so far the only ones in the Universe that have a brain powerful enough to reflect on itself and to be aware of its existence; is our super complex brain an accident? I just cannot accept, I refuse to believe that such a complex work of art as we humans are, are just nothing but an accident; that Life on a such perfectly balanced and working planet so beautifuly designed to be appreciated and contemplated by our equally perfectly designed mind is the product of chance.

    Does that make sense to you? Is a car product of an accident? Do houses just sprout from the ground on their own? Why are you using Science to justify your denial to the existence of something beyond your understanding? Since when humans have the authority to speak about the origins of the Universe if humans aren’t significantly old enough to do this? Humble before the vastness of the dark and invisible, to that yet to be discovered! Stephen Hawkins declared he was mistaken about the nature of black holes he had previously described, he humbly changed his perception of this phenomena, proving that Science can and has to be perfected, proving that not everything has been said.

    Not all the world sees Christmas the way most Americans do, as a time to buy goods like idiots and whatnot. Not everyone in the world thinks the true meaning of Christmas is the birth of Santa [Bart Simpson, from The Simpsons].

    The consumerism you condemn is not a constant in other countries. Other people celebrate the event that divided Human History in two. So, if the world is so fucked up, why don’t you people make your own calendar and count time starting from the Big Bang? [a concept still sitting on an unconfortable plastic chair of the "Theories Yet To Be Proven" waiting room].

    Once again, respect to Prof. Myers; and for the rest of you angry fucks: you can kiss my shiny metal ass [Bender Bending Rodríguez, from Futurama].

    Dave Drumstick, Nature and scientific contemplator.

    PS. No, this wasn’t me trying to cheaply fuse together Creationism and Science, that’s stupid and I hate it. I just tried to say Science representatives shouldn’t close this case yet and should depreciate the rest of the people who differ in their way of thinking, which is also ubber stupid, specially for “scientists”.

  81. #81 Dave Drumstick
    December 20, 2007

    “…I just tried to say Science representatives shouldn’t close this case yet and should depreciate the rest of the people who differ in their way of thinking…”

    I mistankely wrote “and should depreciate”

    What I meant to say was “and should not depreciate the rest of the people who differ in their way of thiking…”

    That said, have a nice day.

  82. #82 John Phillips, FCD
    December 20, 2007

    Dave Drumstick. You really are full of yourself aren’t you. Actually, I imagine that most here, like myself, have looked at the evidence for god, gods, fairies, Pink Unicorns, FSM, et al and found it sorely lacking. Now admittedly, lack of evidence is not evidence of lack. However, such a complete lack of evidence does mean that the probability of there being any of the creatures I mentioned is so small that it can, for all practical purposes, effectively be considered zero. Of course, unlike so many dogmatic religites, who close their eyes to any evidence that gets in the way of their belief, produce us actual real evidence for the existence of any of the creatures I mentioned and we will look at it and make our decision based on the quality of the actual evidence. I.e. we are not closed minded about the very outside possibility but until any real evidence appears we will just try and ignore the mewling of those feel hard done by because we don’t accept their beliefs as being based on anything real.

    However, certain of those who do believe won’t allow us to just forget it as they keep insisting on trying to gain political power or influence to enable them to control the way we live, irrespective of our beliefs or lack of. So until the day that they all retire we will continue to consider them a threat to civilisation as we know it as well as hold them in the contempt they deserve. As to your incredulity to the wonders of the universe ‘just happening’, well boo hoo, get over it. Unless, that is, you have more than your incredulity to offer us as evidence for it being any different to the way science posits it to date.

  83. #83 MAJeff
    December 20, 2007

    Christ, DD just keeps digging the stupid whole even deeper. Doesn’t understand much of anything. I wonder how deep the stupid goes.

  84. #84 MAJeff
    December 20, 2007

    What I meant to say was “and should not depreciate the rest of the people who differ in their way of thiking…”

    And it’s still wrong. You mean “depricate” (and I assume “thinking”).

    Keep it coming. Comedy gold.

  85. #85 John Phillips, FCD
    December 20, 2007

    DD, just one last thing I forgot in my previous post. The last thing you will generally find here is a lack of humility at the wonders of this incredibly awesome universe. All the way from the smallest organism to the largest cosmological structures or processes. This wonder is one of the few real constants in my day to day life that brings me a great deal of pure pleasure and joy just contemplating it all. It also never ceases to amaze me that we are, through science, able to understand at a near exponential rate an increasing amount of it. However, what you won’t get, and this is what I think you really meant to whine about, is the lack of humility we show to you or believers false understanding of the universe based on nothing but wishful thinking, incredulity or bronze aged myths.

  86. #86 John Phillips, FCD
    December 20, 2007

    However, what you won’t get, and this is what I think you really meant to whine about, is the lack of humility we show to you or believers false understanding of the universe based on nothing but wishful thinking, incredulity or bronze aged myths.

    Of course in my last post, the above should read, after replacing ‘won’t’ with ‘will’;

    However, what you will get, and this is what I think you really meant to whine about, is the lack of humility we show to you or believers false understanding of the universe based on nothing but wishful thinking, incredulity or bronze aged myths.

  87. #87 Neil B.
    December 21, 2007

    John Phillips, only one who is philosophically illiterate could make the following statement:

    “Actually, I imagine that most here, like myself, have looked at the evidence for god, gods, fairies, Pink Unicorns, FSM, et al and found it sorely lacking. Now admittedly, lack of evidence is not evidence of lack. However, such a complete lack of evidence does mean that the probability of there being any of the creatures I mentioned is so small that it can, for all practical purposes, effectively be considered zero.”

    Firsts, you don’t even bother to distinguish between the need for “evidence” and the need for “a justifiying argument” which are not at all the same thing. For example, there is (unless the 1976 Viking data was valid, and some tantalizing microscopic inclusions in some meteorites, which are in dispute) no “evidence” in the sense of empirical findings for the existence of life outside of the earth. One the other hand, the *argument* for why there is likely life beyond earth is very compelling, based on the idea that life-friendly conditions are likely on some planets, there should have formed some primitive life there if it can form here (or do you think the Earth is unique and special? ;-|) and it should have evolved in some sense, etc., right? (Oh, the irony …)

    As for God, there is no “evidence” but various arguments about necessary and contingent existence, etc., which few sophomoric scientism dittoheads even express any deep understanding of here as best I can tell. The quality or lack, of such arguments is the basis for how “likely” it is that God in some sense exists, not some empty arm-waving about unevidenced entities in general that doesn’t even take into account the specific credibility of each in turn. For example, God is defined usually as being a basis for the universe’s very existence, making It quite a different issue than whether some silly particular “supernatural being” with no ontological role, like a “fairy” exists. But you careless cocktail-party philosophers just lump them all together because of the vague similarity that “they are not material beings.” (Such fallacious “reasoning” leads to travesties like “the celestial teapot” argument.)

    BTW don’t forget that to argue about the subject in those terms at all is the doing of metaphysics, and it’s not like you can change the category of what you are doing because of having the “no” versus the “yes” answer.

  88. #88 Neil B.
    December 21, 2007

    PS, I am only so bitter sounding because of the way many of you talk about religious believers (and so often, neglecting the very different world of theological philosophers and the like minded, who are a very different third way in all this – I often feel like a libertarian in a scrap between conventional Democrats and Republicans, etc.) Don’t take it very personally – my *style* is best thought of as a parody of how many of you write about religious believers (you remind me of teenagers who like to beat up kids.) However, the philosphical critique is as serious as a heart attack.

  89. #89 Ken Cope
    December 21, 2007

    sophomoric scientism dittoheads

    Anybody who would employ such a phrase in response to the body of writing on this blog reveals that any potential intelligent contribution you might make would have to be unwitting and accidental.

    What’s the matter, were you afraid DD would beat you in a race to the bottom of the stupid pit? At least he may have the excuse of being naive and expressing himself in ESL, but you’re clearly here to reject anything that doesn’t accommodate the privileged status you demand for your trite medievalist twaddle.

    Parody? no. Invitation to mockery? With all the whack-a-mole with trolls around here lately, you’ll have to provide better material than that if you’re hoping for some sort of pile-on.

  90. #90 Rey Fox
    December 21, 2007

    “For example, there is (unless the 1976 Viking data was valid, and some tantalizing microscopic inclusions in some meteorites, which are in dispute) no “evidence” in the sense of empirical findings for the existence of life outside of the earth. ”

    That’s why most credible people say that there might be extraterrestrial life. Aside from some UFO cultists, no one says there must be life elsewhere in the universe, and we should act as if they’re watching us. And the likelihood of extraterrestrial life is extrapolated from the existance of life on this planet, whereas God and other mythical deities are extrapolated from sod all. I don’t know why people insist on equating these two issues.

    “For example, God is defined usually as being a basis for the universe’s very existence”

    Why does the universe even need a basis for existence?

    Yes, I realize that the reason God belief persists while leprechaun belief has largely fallen by the wayside is that God is made out to be Very Important and Vital to the Existence of the Universe, so you gotta believe in him, Or Else. Doesn’t make him any more likely to exist.

  91. #91 Brownian, OM
    December 21, 2007

    “For example, God is defined usually as being a basis for the universe’s very existence”

    By some.

    And, conveniently for many of those, the “God” who is defined as being the “basis for the universe’s very existence”, also happens to be the same god that listens to (but need not answer) their prayers, helps them win baseball games, and explicitly claims that all other people’s gods, many of which are also described as “being a basis for the universe’s very existence” are false, the worship of which merits eternal punishment.

    But I’m sure there’s some very complex theological reasoning that explains why the my-God-is-Real claimant is always right no matter which god they posit (unless the claimant is positing a different god than yours, in which case they’re obviously wrong.)

    I wouldn’t bother explicating any of that timeless and noble theology here, though. We’re all way too dumb to understand it.

  92. #92 windy
    December 21, 2007

    Not all the world sees Christmas the way most Americans do, as a time to buy goods like idiots and whatnot. Not everyone in the world thinks the true meaning of Christmas is the birth of Santa [Bart Simpson, from The Simpsons]. The consumerism you condemn is not a constant in other countries. Other people celebrate the event that divided Human History in two.

    LOL! I guess it’s not rampant consumerism when the Baby Jesus delivers presents instead of Santa Claus. (a custom which may have some interesting consequences for Christianity)

    And what about Europe? Are we included in the folks who still know the true meaning of Christmas? (in that case you’re in for a disappointment…) Or which countries are you referring to?

    Once again, respect to Prof. Myers; and for the rest of you angry fucks: you can kiss my shiny metal ass [Bender Bending Rodríguez, from Futurama].

    FRY
    Hey! These aren’t Xmas trees!

    FARNSWORTH
    Pine trees have been extinct for 800 years, Fry. Gone the way of the poodle and your primitive notions of modesty. Ah! Brisk!

    FRY
    This isn’t the way Christmas is supposed to be.

    FARNSWORTH
    There, there.

  93. #93 Neil B.
    December 22, 2007

    Brownian, OM – you are again confusing philosophers with religious believers, which I just explained was a fallacy. You folks here have such a hard time separating issues in themselves from your stewing over the various believers in them (and concentrating so much on the lowest level of such thought, just because it is more prevalent among the public, and therefore more politically (but not intellectually) relevant.) Philosophers who believe that God exists consider It a necessary being, having no particular relation to various religious traditions. You are also confusing notional “gods” talked about by various religions, (“which god”) with the definition, which would be whatever necessary being is behind the existence of the universe. Since that is by definition, it is in fact more fundamental than whether specific, but non-ontologically relevant entities like leprechauns, exist.

    As for other responses: Whether the universe can “just be” or not is a subject of much debate, sure, (For example, why would what exists be just like this, and not some other way instead, etc?) The important thing is, whatever is responsible if any is not logically comparable to other unobserved entities whether it “exists” or not.

    So: Basically, yes, most of you literally are either too dumb to understand it, or (more likely) you *won’t* because you are hung up in the lower-brow public brawl and your rough-draft philosophical homilies.

  94. #94 Ichthyic
    December 22, 2007

    (For example, why would what exists be just like this, and not some other way instead, etc?)

    the obvious response the cosmological IDists always hate to hear:

    why not?

    can be applied at whatever scale you wish to, from the cosmological to the biological.

    all of the answers to “why not?” coming from the IDers are always based on a preconceived notion that the universe is somehow statistically unique with absolutely nothing to back that up with.

  95. #95 Ichthyic
    December 22, 2007

    …cue Heddle for more cosmological inanity.

  96. #96 Neil B.
    December 22, 2007

    BTW, Ken Cope: Your comment expresses the common myth that someone who uses bitter/trite/vain/tasteless/clunky/whatever phrases just can’t make good points too. But talking like that is a function of personality, mood, etc., and not about arguing ability (which is manifested for example, in knowing better than to believe that very fallacy.) If you were right, then PZ certainly would be totally worthless, true? (As a high-level thinker, he in fact is, but isn’t bad as a biologist per se.) There are plenty of ornery bright people, and I am often the former and hopefully the latter nonetheless.

    As for the medievalist twaddle bit, most of you don’t appreciate the irony that you have to use philosophical reasoning of the same sort to make your points, and taking the opposite position doesn’t keep it from being just as metaphysical and just as uncertain.

    But I am open, OK: Why do *you* think there is a world like this, why was it this way and not some other “logically possible” way to be, are there then all the other possible universes in existence? (What do you think of modal realism? If you are erudite, you know what it means.) If all possible “worlds” exist, then why not all possible “beings”, including maybe some ultimate boundary condition example? – (See, you folks want to corral the multiverse into a nice suburb of physics-oriented realms, but how can you keep it so circumscribed?) You see what a can of worms gets opened up …

  97. #97 Neil B.
    December 22, 2007


    the obvious response the cosmological IDists always hate to hear:

    why not?

    Obvious? That is the kind of crap little kids say. It’s worthless.

  98. #98 Rey Fox
    December 22, 2007

    “You are also confusing notional “gods” talked about by various religions, (“which god”) with the definition, which would be whatever necessary being is behind the existence of the universe. Since that is by definition, it is in fact more fundamental than whether specific, but non-ontologically relevant entities like leprechauns, exist.”

    So God is fundamental because philosophers define him that way. Therefore, his existance cannot be dismissed out of hand like leprechauns…because philosophers say so. Whatever. I must be too dumb to understand the nature of imaginary beings.

  99. #99 windy
    December 22, 2007

    The important thing is, whatever is responsible if any is not logically comparable to other unobserved entities whether it “exists” or not.

    Except of course to SuperGod, who is responsible for God, and therefore ontologically most pertinent.

    But I am open, OK: Why do *you* think there is a world like this, why was it this way and not some other “logically possible” way to be

    World like what? Any material one? These physical constants? Stars and planets? Earth? Life? Humans? Us?

    If all possible “worlds” exist, then why not all possible “beings”, including maybe some ultimate boundary condition example?

    Whatever, but once you invoke the multiverse as support that such a “boundary condition being” may exist, such a being is then totally unnecessary to explain why our world is “the way it is”.

    (See, you folks want to corral the multiverse into a nice suburb of physics-oriented realms, but how can you keep it so circumscribed?)

    Well, since it’s a theory of physics…

  100. #100 Ichthyic
    December 22, 2007

    Obvious? That is the kind of crap little kids say. It’s worthless.

    exactly as worthless as saying the universe is “fine tuned” without having any conception of any kind of relevant probabilities involved past rampant speculation.

    indeed, the whole idea of cosmological ID IS the kind of idea that belongs on the playground.

  101. #101 Dave Drumstick
    December 23, 2007

    God has appeared in TV shows such as The Simpsons and Futurama. I once again quote these two becuse of one reason… the producers, writers and guionists of those TV shows are Science, Math and Physics specialists. They all graduated from fancy universities in these type of engineerings. There’re many easter eggs related to Math and Physics in those two shows.

    But here’s the thing… God has appeared at least once in both shows. This means that the producers, while Science specialist, have no beef with the existence of God. These people are not like you angry fucks criticizing other for what they believe in. You angry atheist fucks (AAFs) are as annoying as a “Daria” episode.

    We’re not getting anywhere with this discussion. For the AAFs here is easy to discard God because there’s no “scientific” proof of Him, but even easier is for them to not do anything at all to prove He doesn’t exist.

    Now, I’m not a believer because I do not attend any church, congregation or religious association; nor do I preach any system of ideas or beliefs, no fanatism here.

    I just think, and I quote myself, if a computer was made by an intelligent entity, why can’t the super complex machinery of Universe have a maker? Maybe you people hate this idea since “God” as a concept is related immediately to Catholicism and therefore to Christmas and then to greed and consumerism and so on.

    In the movie/novel “Contact”, Carl Sagan proposed a reality beyond human understanding. Meaning that -I quote myself again- humans aren’t old enough to judge over this matter specially to deny anything about it so harshly and inflexibly.

    Why isn’t there a Creator?
    Because there’s no evidence of that.
    But who are you to say that’s an absolute truth?
    What authority do you have?

    Another cartoon shows a duder wearing a white robe (a scientist) and the classic depiction of God as a super gigantic old man, in the cartoon only his foot is seen.
    The scientist says “we don’t need you no more, our science is enough, we can create and transform anything we want or need” Oh really? -says God- “then try to create a flower” -says He-, and so the scientist crouches to grab some dirt, but then God says “Wait! Create your own dirt first”.

    I’m not saying that God exists (I haven’t said at all), I’m inviting you AAFs to prove He doesn’t exist and to respect the rest of the people… AAFs, vegans, Jehova’s Witnesses, all the same to me, extremist critics and super cocky pricks.

    It’s all reduced to this, no need to speak pompously about cosmology, gnoseology or philosophy, it’s a matter of respect. You don’t wanna accept the existence of a creator, fine! But don’t shield yourselves with science to vomit all this crap over those who do not follow your paths, thou shall not use the name of Science in vain!

    And if you AAF feel compelled to write another anger-filled comment against me or anyone else just to say me or we are stupid, first go fuck yourself, when you’re done, post your angry reply.

    PZMyers your attitude towards this subject makes me wanna beat you up with your diploma, you make Science cry.

    Happy Holidays to you all, for you all are my brothers, and this is only a debate, and we debate because we humans pursue nothing but the Truth.

    PS. AAFs, I love you too.

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