Pharyngula

Poor baby

Elle Jacobson is a high school student who is skipping school because she’s afraid of atheists. Some parents are joining in the fear, all because of one little incident:

“This boy got up and his visual aid was a Bible and a book. And he got up and started his speech by saying ‘Now, this piece of crap’ and pointed to the Bible.”

Jacobson said that she quickly felt threatened.

“He took the Bible and he said, ‘I’m going to do this because I can. I’m going to do something that your stupid, little minds aren’t going to be able to comprehend and he took the Bible and started ripping out pages.”

Ripping up a copy of your own book is perfectly legal. Freaking out because somebody tore pages out of a book is silly — while I can’t approve of destroying any books on general principles, the kids at that school learned a valuable lesson: nothing is sacred.

Comments

  1. #1 ERV
    December 30, 2007

    Jackal– I’m all for destroying holy books, but I don’t imagine it was an A-student giving a speech in which he referred to his audience’s “stupid, little minds.”
    I wouldnt have, because I would have been scared about getting kicked out of school and losing my >4.0 GPA. That doesnt mean I did not have those thoughts, and it does not mean I wouldnt support a student who did and got in trouble:

    From the article:
    “In a separate incident, following the punishment, three Parker High Students wore T-shirts asking for the student in question to be brought back after a punishment was levied against him. School officials made those students change clothes.”

    Buy that young man some Hitchens and Dawkins and he will learn how express his views more eloquently. Do not degrade him for expressing himself in a perfectly legal manner.

  2. #2 Blake Stacey
    December 30, 2007

    while I can’t approve of destroying any books on general principles

    Ahem.

    You Janus-faced devil, you! :-)

  3. #3 Blake Stacey
    December 30, 2007

    rjb (#17):

    It’s a one-sided account of the speech. I’d want some verification from the student, the teacher, and/or other students in the room before I assumed that the speech actually included that kind of language.

    Yeah. Where’s the kid with the camera phone when you need him?

  4. #4 efrique
    December 31, 2007

    I’m sure Richard Dawkins wouldn’t mind if the offended ones bought a few copies each of The God Delusion to tear up in response. If they wanted to tear up God is Not Great, Hitchens might even sign it first.

  5. #5 Ichthyic
    December 31, 2007

    sorry but i have to say it:

    comparing ripping up a bible to threats of bodily harm is fucking ridiculous.

    good luck with that argument in a court of law.

  6. #6 KM
    December 31, 2007

    Ichthyic @ 78: Hear, hear! That’s more or less exactly what I was going to write.

  7. #7 ansuzmannaz
    December 31, 2007

    I’d like to join the short line of people disappointed in those defending the actions of this young man. Despite what Ichthyic implies you do not need a verbal ultimatum of bodily harm to severely threaten people. Direct insults, a menacing tone and, to top it off, a display of violence against objects can come across as very threatening. Especially when the speaker goes out of the way to make a connection between that object and the people he’s talking to, making the expapyration of the bible a proxy for violence against his audience. Maybe it isn’t nearly so bad as threatening to blow someone’s brains out, but it’s still bad, and can still be frightening.

    Of course, there’s also the question of how atheists would react if that same student had done the same thing with a copy of The God Delusion and a class of atheists, calling them idiots for not believing and referencing Bertrand(?) Russel’s intestinally embedded collection of fine china. I imagine it wouldn’t quite have the same impact, but I imagine he would be described as a lame-brained Christobot with anger issues. Nobody would defend or care about his right to free speech. Propping this young man up as an example of atheist persecution is hardly symmetrical. There’s really nothing saying he isn’t a lame-brained atheistbot with anger issues. He’s not the sort of person we want representing the atheist cause, especially when he doesn’t get around to making logical points. Unless, of course, the atheist movement is about shocking and intimidating others into converting.

    Last time I checked, one of the reasons I was an atheist was that I was tired of religions doing the same thing. Don’t take that reason away.

  8. #8 QrazyQat
    December 31, 2007

    I’m sure Richard Dawkins wouldn’t mind if the offended ones bought a few copies each of The God Delusion to tear up in response.

    As George Harrison said in response to people burning Beatles records, “They’ve got to buy them before they can burn them”.

  9. #9 Tuomo Hämäläinen
    December 31, 2007

    Symbolism is bad? Burning symbol is like violence? Really?

  10. #10 Tuomo Hämäläinen
    December 31, 2007

    Duh. Links doesn’t work..

    http://www.abcnews.go.com/Nightline/Science/story?id=415444&page=2

    If I rip Bible is not bad. It is insulting. Yes. It offends many. Yes. But christians dont think that when their ragerally against almost everybody else. (Westboro Babptist Church etc. Ah They really show us the Way!)

    And yet they do it. And their christian fellas are not anry to them. Becouse it is kinda their right be insulting and offending.

    I live in Finland, it is great country to live. But there is blashemylaw. “Jumalanpilkkalaki”. That gives religious people advantage: Here is illegal insult religious group (big enough+which have holy book. Yes that is in law). But atheism. It is not religion. And evolution is not either. (Creationist’s shout that they both are, off course. But if we are talking about the blashemy law. No, there are the “special conditions”. And if you insult their belief, there is certain risk. Usually nobody sues enyone with this law, but if you are popular enough, there WILL be problems..)

    But i think it is a bit different in USA. There you can burn Bible. I must do it indoor. I got Jehovah Wittness stuff, and use it as toilet paper. OK, paper is hard, but if you rub it in your hands first, it get softer. (OK. that is really a joke. Rude, but i think it’s place is right there!)

  11. #11 Bing
    December 31, 2007

    Chris said:

    Didn’t Jefferson cut up the bible til there was nothing left when he was alive?

    Kurt Wise did pretty much the same thing in a story told by Richard Dawkins.

    He achieved the first part of his goal, but became increasingly uneasy as his scientific learning conflicted with his religious faith. When he could bear the strain no longer he clinched the matter with a Bible and a pair of scissors. He went right through from Genesis 1 to Revelations 22, literally cutting out every verse that would have to go if the scientific world view were true. At the end of this exercise, there was so little left of his Bible that . . .

    Source: Sadly, an Honest Creationist

    And Kurt now has Billy Dembski’s old job at the Fundy Bi-bull Collidge of the Appalachians.

    So it looks like there’s hope for the bible-tearing kid yet.

  12. #12 Tuomo Hämäläinen
    December 31, 2007

    Yes I think that ripping and burning is different thing. And other ways: It is different to insult and be free. (Sometimes freedom needs right to insult. But I think it is not the best way. Allmost ever.)

    ID:eers burn the “evolution”. I think anyone was scared. If someone says he dont scare Bible and rip it. Yes, it can really insult. And perhaps that is not what people are looking when they are protecting freedom. (I don’t want “freedom to beat puppies” or any other “freedoms” like that.)

    I think Boy should have “serious conversation”. About manners, *not* religion. And yes, I think in this story is a cottonlived girl, who have not seen life. (I don’t want first think that she is liar. I prefer to think she is a coward and “sissy”. That is much more understandable.)

    OK. I must confess. When i got my “white hat”, i burned those swedish language books. (All finns must learn that language. And I am poor in _all_ languages. And in sweden. I am the most poor.) So I burned my frustrations and painful hours. I even danced a little. Many laughed. No one scared.

    It is not just the ripping or burning. It is the whole mess; motivations and how it is made. From outside it is hard to tell what really happened. (Or more likely: How it happened.)

  13. #13 David Marjanovi?, OM
    December 31, 2007

    Using the approach of negation (think Zen, Jiddu Krishnamurti, or Karl Popper) where the truth is found by understanding the false

    Erm, no. In science, falsehood is found by understanding the false. Then, when we have eliminated the impossible, we apply Ockham’s Razor to the remaining possibilities, however improbable… till we find that we’ve overlooked some more possibilities.

    We may well find the truth, but when we have found it, we have no way to tell that we’ve found it. What would that be? Comparing our findings to the truth, which we don’t have?

    Science really does work one way.

    And if it turns out the kid was an Ayn Rand fan, I’ll be even less sympathetic.

    And I’ll be more sympathetic, because that would mean he’s ill (complete lack of empathy) and needs help, assuming it’s even possible to heal that condition…

  14. #14 David Marjanovi?, OM
    December 31, 2007

    Using the approach of negation (think Zen, Jiddu Krishnamurti, or Karl Popper) where the truth is found by understanding the false

    Erm, no. In science, falsehood is found by understanding the false. Then, when we have eliminated the impossible, we apply Ockham’s Razor to the remaining possibilities, however improbable… till we find that we’ve overlooked some more possibilities.

    We may well find the truth, but when we have found it, we have no way to tell that we’ve found it. What would that be? Comparing our findings to the truth, which we don’t have?

    Science really does work one way.

    And if it turns out the kid was an Ayn Rand fan, I’ll be even less sympathetic.

    And I’ll be more sympathetic, because that would mean he’s ill (complete lack of empathy) and needs help, assuming it’s even possible to heal that condition…

  15. #15 Blake Stacey
    December 31, 2007

    Tatarize (#165):

    As a firm materialist and staunch believer in the laws of thermodynamics I would be offended if a student stood up in front of class and created or destroyed matter or energy.

    LOL. Now, we just need Cuttlefish to put that into verse.

  16. #16 MAJeff
    December 31, 2007

    When I was an undergraduate, our concert choirs and orchestra were preparing to perform Orff’s Carmina Burana (man, that was fun). We had a young lady that sounds like this terrified young woman. She refused to perform the piece because it offended her Christian beliefs. She also got fussy because during a conversation, I refused to apologize for offending her by saying that the Bible wasn’t proof of anything.

    I don’t know the specifics of this case. It’s possible the student utilized the tearing of the Bible in a way that was in line with his presentation. Honestly, my money is really on the little Christian having her world view challenged and freaking the fuck out. I’ve seen that side of it far too often….but that’s merely speculation. However, there is a band of truly fuckwitted Christians out there–the spiritual warfare types–who see the entire world as a terrifying place trying to tempt them away from their sky daddy.

  17. #17 Moses
    December 31, 2007

    I’d like to join the short line of people disappointed in those defending the actions of this young man. Despite what Ichthyic implies you do not need a verbal ultimatum of bodily harm to severely threaten people. …

    He didn’t. And unless a threat is explicitly made, it’s not a threat. That you’re afraid is your problem and you can’t ban people because you’re afraid of them because you’re scared.

    For example, when I was a boy they integrated my all-white elementary school. Up until then my head had been filled full of crap about blacks by my very racist babysitter and her racist husband.

    When the blacks came to school, I was terrified.

    But nothing happened and I had an epiphany.

    Hopefully you’ll have one too.

    Last time I checked, one of the reasons I was an atheist was that I was tired of religions doing the same thing. Don’t take that reason away.

    Posted by: ansuzmannaz | December 31, 2007 3:15 AM

    Too bad you did it to yourself, by yourself. Because there is nothing reported where you can say there was any explicit threat. Only wimps to wimpy to handle crappy performance art. And the wimps who agree with their right to be wimps, apparently.

  18. #18 Blake Stacey
    December 31, 2007

    Don (#178):

    He might reasonably say to his classmates, ‘This book which contains all your morality, did you know that here it commands that civilian prisoners of war should be slaughtered except for under-age girls who are a bonus prize for the killers? Do you want that page in your book of life? Yes? No? rrrip. And this part, showing that the correct response to a mixed marriage is to run both of them through with a spear? Is that the morality you want? Yes? No? rrrip.’

    And so on. A lot. Some might feel frightened by that, but I think it would be a valid, if robust way of making a point.

    Exactly right.

    I’m not saying that is what happened, but if it were then I’d give the kid a passing grade or better.

    In a situation like this, there’s no crime in acting like a 1950s sci-fi computer and declaring, “INSUFFICIENT DATA FOR MEANINGFUL RESPONSE.” On the basis of one news story, and a rather incompetent one at that, we cannot make the judgment that the student did not perform (or at least intend to perform) an act like the one you described.

  19. #19 Blake Stacey
    December 31, 2007

    dh (#208):

    Don in #178, and Blake in #199, the two examples you give, are those not old testament text you are calling upon for examples?

    I don’t remember why, but I think that’s relevant here.

    Well, since Jesus Himself said that He wouldn’t change a jot or tittle of the Mosaic Law, I figure Old Testament references are perfectly cricket. (Or would you be willing to tear out the first half of every Bible you find?) Anyway, it doesn’t matter too much, since Don could easily have picked New Testament references, such as the endorsement of slavery (1 Peter 2:18, Luke 12:46 and elsewhere), God telling lies for the fun of it (2 Thessalonians 2:11), loathing of women (too many to even try listing, but I particularly like 1 Timothy 2:11 and the following verses), and in general more cruelty and violence than you could shake a crucifix at.

  20. #20 Carlie
    December 31, 2007

    If it had been the Koran or some icon of progressivism or freethought that he had torn up while issuing insults many of you would have a very different assessment of the deed.

    You’re kidding, right? Some of those same commenters suggested that very thing. There were several suggestions of ripping up Atlas Shrugged, a few that Dawkins and Hitchens would happily autograph copies of their books and help tear them up themselves. And where do you get off suggesting that atheists have any more reverence for the Koran than the Bible? The only reason we focus on Christianity more than Islam is because it’s the bigger threat to our own society at the moment.

  21. #21 MAJeff
    December 31, 2007

    Yeah, and how would you like it if I cam into your class room and started ripping tentecles off a live squid. Huh?

    Living creature vs. book. See the difference? Probably not.

  22. #22 Colugo
    December 31, 2007

    Carlie: “The only reason we focus on Christianity more than Islam is because it’s the bigger threat to our own society at the moment.”

    That’s part of it; there is also a common perception of Muslims as a “subaltern” / “Othered” group in imminent danger from domestic peckerwoods, so any assault on Muslim symbology constitutes a more plausible threat against Muslims than a parallel act would a threat against Christians.

    Certainly there are a variety of opinions here. But even I would wonder about the emotional or mental health of a teenager who angrily ripped up a copy of a book by Bertrand Russell or Richard Dawkins in a classroom while insulting freethought. It probably is just androgenized young male attention-seeking. But I would make sure that’s all it is.

  23. #23 Ichthyic
    December 31, 2007

    I used no vulgar language, I didn’t know the word VAGINA was an explitive.

    indeed i always thought the whole point of the Vagina Monologues was to point out that it is not.

    At least now we’re getting the other side of the story.

    and it makes it even more clear that the the girl in this case is playing up victimhood for attention.

    sure doesn’t sound like a demented teen whose intent was violence to me.

  24. #24 Ichthyic
    December 31, 2007

    he seems much more intelligent than many of the people who’ve shown up here to whine about him.

    yes.

    the reaction to the teen’s actions in that district, including the girl’s, are likely highly dependent on the sensibilities imparted by such people to begin with.

    it rather looks like a “circling the wagons” phenomenon.

  25. #25 Tuomo Hämäläinen
    December 31, 2007

    I take happily every single bible i can get (free). And I allways say “thank you”. And be nice. Reasons:
    1: Religious minded people actually have to print those books. And that costs money. And if i get something free, it is like taking money right from their chest.
    2: Bibles paper is thin. They are free cigarrettepapers. (Half of fun is the fingerwork, i don’t actually like the smoking part. But cigarrette rolling, it is so relaxing. After that I can be better person and even give some of them to te “nicotineaddict in need”. So religion really helps me to be nice to others! Thank you!)

  26. #26 fardels bear
    December 31, 2007

    I think the person who can be blamed for this whole fiasco is the teacher. I’ve taught public speaking for years, at the college and high school level. One standard assignment was the “hostile audience” speech. In other words, the speech was supposed to challenge the audience’s deeply held beliefs. So, I had atheist speeches, Jesus speeches, pro-eugenic speeches, anti-recycling speeches, pro-animal testing speeches, etc.

    The teacher has the responsibility to teach the speakers how to approach such a speech (hint: it doesn’t involve insulting the audience and calling them “idiots”) as well as the audience how to listen, (“You will be offended, that is going to happen/ Think about how you will deal with those feelings”).

    The point is to create an atmosphere in the classroom where students feel comfortable when they feel uncomfortable, if that makes sense. The teacher should have done a better job with the speaker AND with the audience in this case.

  27. #27 Shigella
    December 31, 2007

    This has already somewhat been addressed in the form of talking about symbols and what they mean to religious people, but when I was a wee fundy Christian, we had the literal fear of god put into us with regard to desecrating the Bible in any way, shape or form. Tearing pages out of the Bible, any Bible, was considered a grave sin, and there is a verse (sorry, don’t remember, think it’s in Revelations) that explicitly forbids mutilating or messing with the scriptures. This guy was probably intending to show, though in a poorly contrived manner, that he was not going to be struck down on the spot for tearing pages out of the Bible, and that he didn’t fear the wrath of a diety for ripping up holy books.

    I don’t know if that helps anyone understand, or if that was even his true intention, but this girl may have felt threatened because of the same kind of teachings that I had beaten into me back in the dark days. I sat down one night and ripped every single page out of my Bible, and it was the most liberating feeling I’ve ever had (and i didn’t get turned into a human souffle!)

  28. #28 craig
    December 31, 2007

    “If it had been the Koran or some icon of progressivism or freethought that he had torn up while issuing insults many of you would have a very different assessment of the deed.”

    Wrong. He can tear up any book he wants, I might disagree with his position, I might think he’s a jerk and an idiot, but I would never think that the tearing up of the book was something that shouldn’t be allowed, and I would never… COULD never possibly feel personally attacked by it. It is simply impossible for the tearing up of any book to make me react the way some are reacting to this one.

    That’s what the religious can never understand. That’s why they call atheism a faith, even science a faith. They simply can’t comprehend life without some icon, symbol, mystical language or beliefs holding a magical power over them.

    The most that could ever possibly happen if someone did a similar presentation with a book other than the bible is that I might conclude that I disagree with him.

    Nothing is sacred. That is a fact – there is literally no such thing as a sacred thing.

  29. #29 Colugo
    December 31, 2007

    craig: “It is simply impossible for the tearing up of any book to make me react the way some are reacting to this one.

    That’s what the religious can never understand.”

    I have always been an atheist or at most agnostic. Nearly two decades ago this was one of my favorite albums (LP first released in 1988).

    http://www.amazon.com/Drugs-Jesus-Christ-Christian-Death/dp/B0000DI4SS

    It’s not the sacredness of the object, it is the intent and message behind the act. Specifically, in the context of a high school classroom. If someone tore up a copy of Origin of the Species while telling his classmates how stupid they were for believing in evolution, I would suspect the individual to be, at the least, disturbed and hostile. If he had ripped pages out of the Bhagavad Gita or a copy of The Autobiography of Martin Luther King Jr. I would be very concerned. Same if he were stomping on Muslim prayer beads (or Catholic ones).

    Having said that, is this whole thing a tempest in a teapot? Looks that way.

  30. #30 Ichthyic
    December 31, 2007

    I would suspect the individual to be, at the least, disturbed and hostile.

    instead of your suspicions though, we actually have direct statements of purpose and intent from the teen who ripped up the bible.

    look at the statement he made, and tell me you then conclude he was “disturbed and hostile”.

  31. #31 craig
    December 31, 2007

    “I would suspect the individual to be, at the least, disturbed and hostile.” Depending on his demeanor, I might too. And I would yawn and consider it just another day of high school, and a comparatively mild one at that.

  32. #32 Dan
    December 31, 2007

    I think my favorite bit in all this is that the father yanked poor, terrified Elle out of school as a result of this kid’s antics.

    In a way, I feel sorry for Elle since it’s clear she stands little chance of ever becoming more intelligent than her father who seems to be a bit of a rube. However, on the other hand, the gas station here in South Milwaukee desperately needs some new clerks. I’ve literally got to wait forever just to buy a pack of smokes. It’s maddening.

  33. #33 Steven Sullivan
    December 31, 2007

    Wouldn’t it, like, be cool to get an account of what actually happened from someone who isn’t, like, *seventeen* and still enamored of Rush lyrics, or still in the thrall of Jebus stories?

    Seriously: the teacher who gave him a ‘B’ should pipe up.

  34. #34 truth machine
    December 31, 2007

    Dear truth machine,
    I went to a very good school.
    I am not impressed with you at all.
    I thought this was a nice blog where I could say things.
    Atheists are mean. :(

    You nailed it. Kristen labeled something I wrote aas “lazy thinking” — sorry, but I can’t find that in my book on rhetorical errors. Her double standards and special pleading, OTOH … if ripping bibles in class is condemned because it makes students defensive, then everything else that does that must be condemned too … like teaching evolution to fundies. Sorry, but that’s the wrong prescription.

    ERV is right; concern trolls like Kristen have some gall talking about this student’s actions being “inappropriate” when he’s being likened to a mass murderer. I would like to create an environment where it is safe for any student to stand in front of a classroom with a book that s/he owns and ripping pages out of it no matter how “sacred” it is to other students.

  35. #35 truth machine
    December 31, 2007

    If it had been the Koran or some icon of progressivism or freethought that he had torn up while issuing insults many of you would have a very different assessment of the deed.

    Sorry, bozo, but this is a blatant fallacy of a Contrary-to Fact Hypthesis. Damer’s “Attacking Faulty Thinking” says:

    This fallacy consists in making a poorly supported claim about what might have happened in the past if other conditions had been present, or about an event that might occur in the future. This is done in such a way as to treat hypothetical claims as if they were statements of fact.

    Thinking in fallacies leads to to false beliefs and makes you functionally stupid.

  36. #36 craig
    December 31, 2007

    Seventeen year olds in 2008 enamored of Rush lyrics?

  37. #37 truth machine
    December 31, 2007

    This child is obviously more mature than some of the “attention seekers” at the school

    As well as more mature than the concern trolls here.

    I think that people have more control than they think about how things offend them,

    Exactly. People who get all upset when things that are “sacred” to them aren’t given sacred treatment need to take responsibility for their own feelings.

  38. #38 truth machine
    December 31, 2007

    “You people should shut your mouth and stop talking about things you know nothing about. Anger management issues? Respect?! None of you know what the speech was about and how I delivered it. I used no vulgar language, I didn’t know the word VAGINA was an explitive. The bible was my property, i was defending the Ralph Waldo Emerson aphorism “So far as a man thinks, he is free”. I demonstrated my freedom as a thinking and rational being by refusing to conform to the ideas presented in the bible. I said it was not holy, because really, grow up people. I called the class a bunch of superstitious, simple-minded(I mean narrow-minded) ignoramuses. There IS a difference between ignorance and stupidity. And the people that got offended by what I said, even though they weren’t even THERE, just supports my argument.”

    Hands?

  39. #39 truth machine
    December 31, 2007

    More words from “the boy” … we should be proud of him, not condemn him.

    Yes I was belligerent with mad anger as I ferociously tore whole sections out of the bible. I read verses and mocked them. Hardly. I opened the bible and joked “In the beginning was the word, and the word became kindling” and I proceeded to tear a mere hundred pages from it, to make my point that since I do not adhere to the ideas presented in either the old or new testaments, I am free to desecrate it as I may. It is only a book. How much history did Christians from old Europe destroyed? Massive monasteries with libraries packed with rich literature and lore from long long ago. Who knows how much knowledge has been lost “in the name of God”. I don’t know where people are getting the idea that my speech was driven with hate towards Judeo-Christians. I was simply sharing a few ideas with the class, and I thought maybe they could be mature enough to handle the content. Sure I made a comments that some of their tiny little brains might not be able to comprehend the material and they were superstitious ignoramuses. Literally, FOR CHRIST’S SAKE, lighten up a bit. Kids get made fun at school for way crueler things, and some of these kids kill themselves. Day in and day out they get crap from other people. In one instance I share my ideas towards religion and religious people, and suddenly I have committed a hate crime. It’s a belief, it’s not like you were born with it and you can’t help it. Religion does not belong in the same sentence as race, sex, nationality. But none the less, religious people are protected in the United States, not irreligious white males.
    I read “post-columbine” in the letter to the editor and it irritated me a bit. We used to live in a pre-columbine world where maybe a handful of irreligious people went on shooting frenzies, and they did not usually hold grudges against religious folk. I do not need recount all the instances of mass murder and injustice that has taken place in the name of religion.

    Not only Christianity, though it’s the biggie, but cults of religious hogwash and (sorry) Islam too. Millions of Native Americans were killed between the 18th and 19th centuries, because since they were heathens anyway, it was Christian duty to send them to hell. We continue to see hordes of innocent people slaughtered each year in the name of some god or spirit or entity. There are not organizations or cults of irreligious people in America plotting a rebellion against the Christian mass. I’m terribly sorry my message of freedom and reason got misinterpreted into a hate-fueled rant towards Christians, but I’m not necessarily sorry that I made the speech. It is Paul Jacobson Sr. who looks a little silly and immature now. He seems to be the intolerant one holding stereotypes. He also made a remark of how I presented my speech on Pearl Harbor Remembrance day, when thousands of men and women died so I could make an ass of myself. Firstly, if you want to attach any meaning or significance to their death, freedom of speech certainly is not it. Secondly, I can not help that they were murdered and I am not going to accept this gift of blood that you say they offer. And whether you like it or not, freedom is free. No amount of death is going to change that every human is born into this world with absolute freedom, there are just some of those in power who want to take that freedom from you. There doesn’t always need to be a purpose when people die or get killed. Why do we feel the need to attach some noble cause to death? The same instance with Jesus, supposedly the Son of God, but yet he is God. I am supposed to accept this sacrifice or be punished unduly for ALL OF ETERNITY. Well, sorry, you can keep that gift Jesus. Jesus, like those on December 7th, 1941, were unjustly murdered. I’ll make an ass out of myself regardless of who has died in the past. I didn’t kill them, I didn’t kill Jesus, and neither will I die for them or some unknown someone in the future. I am free – whether you believe it or not – regardless or their actions. And how dare YOU, Paul Jacobson, for even likening that event to my speech. Grow up.

  40. #40 truth machine
    December 31, 2007

    It probably is just androgenized young male attention-seeking. But I would make sure that’s all it is.

    You’re probably a fool who treats his own opinions as evidence.

  41. #41 truth machine
    December 31, 2007

    This kids a scuzzball, just as willfully ignorant and closeminded as any bookburner.

    Compare the kid’s own words above to your own stupidity and ignorance.

  42. #42 truth machine
    December 31, 2007

    I’m not saying that the other students are not credible. I’m saying that we don’t know if those comments are actually made by other students in the class. I could go over to that message board right now and post my own version of what happened.

    I question the intelligence of anyone who thinks it likely that the messages referring to the events in the classroom and claiming to be from students aren’t from students. Of course it’s possible that they aren’t; many things are possible. But rationality (and science) is all about sound probabilistic inference.

  43. #43 Colugo
    December 31, 2007

    truth machine, I’ll be crying myself to sleep due to the onslaught of your prolific commenting.

  44. #44 truth machine
    December 31, 2007

    I have no reason to think this young lady lied. He boy did it in front of the entire class, so surely, if she was lying, some of the other students would have been said something about that by now.

    That’s quite an unstated argumentum ad ignorantiam: “because I don’t know that other students have contradicted her, they haven’t”. Far too many people think this way, assuming that what they know of is all there is.

    There was plenty of reason to suspect that she did not give a full and accurate accounting of what happened. Talking about feeling threatened frames her factual statements and colors the way people interpret them. Had we read the comments by the young man before ever hearing from Ms. Jacobson, it’s likely that people would have viewed her comments quite differently.

  45. #45 truth machine
    December 31, 2007

    truth machine, I’ll be crying myself to sleep due to the onslaught of your prolific commenting.

    I’m impressed as always by the cogency of your argument.

  46. #46 bernarda
    January 1, 2008

    It’s funny that xians talk about “pagans” and “heathens”. Those two words simply mean “rural people”, that is people living in the countryside. They seemed to prefer their homegrown gods to the imperialist monotheistic one.

    The real book burners in America have been the xians. Over the years there have been many auto da fes of bonfires of secular books – Darwin is a popular victim – and satanist CD’s. There is one example in the following video montage.

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

  47. #47 ndt
    January 1, 2008

    Sebastian, what you don’t seem to be getting is that a Bible is NOT a symbol of Christians, it is a symbol of Christianity.
    Violence towards a Bible is no more symbolic of violence against Christians than ripping up the Declaration of Independence is symbolic of violence against Americans.

  48. #48 Tatarize
    January 1, 2008

    @168, Blake, Who needs cuttlefish?

    Some of you have thought him crass,
    Destroying beliefs in front of the class?
    Before you insult the possessors of Grace,
    Perhaps you should think of yourself in their place.
    As a believer in the material world,
    And the laws which govern how matter is hurled.
    I would object to violating physical law,
    Removing the heat and watching things thaw.
    Energy creation or matter destroyed.
    Nothing from something or something to void.
    I freely admit,
    my beliefs are secured.
    Not hissy-fit,
    But science endured.

  49. #49 kristen in montreal
    January 1, 2008

    I’m flummoxed. Anyone who comes on this board and politely says that she disagrees with you is a… “concern troll”?

    What does that even mean? You guys are weird.

  50. #50 kristen in montreal
    January 1, 2008

    I think some of you are really overreacting to what I wrote. You need to calm down. It comes down to a simple difference of opinion about the propriety of the young man’s presentation. And we don’t even disagree *that much* about it. Based on his own account of what happened, I would have found it in poor taste. I wouldn’t want him to be punished for it. I wouldn’t have felt offended personally (because I’m not a believer), and I certainly wouldn’t have thought he was a threat. And I don’t want to “ban” book tearing or offensive statements, as poor agitated truth machine implied. I was just saying there are better ways to make a point, and in an oral presentation, people shouldn’t say the audience has “tiny little brains” and that they are “superstitious ignoramuses.” These are personal insults, and it is poor form to resort to personal insults in public speaking (or on internet message boards). A comment to the student on his evaluation paper or in person would have done it.

    I think that my different feelings on this issue might be because of the different social environment in which I live. In Quebec, the Church hasn’t held any significant power since the Quiet Revolution of the 1960s. People here just aren’t that religious. So I don’t share your knee-jerk reaction to these kinds of issues. If anything this province is on the crest of a new wave of secularism. People want to ban head scarves in public schools, ban doctors from wearing yarmulkes, and ban teachers from wearing saris. People want to ban praying in public places and block immigrant citizenship until they can demonstrate proficiency in French. I think most of these policies are unreasonable, though they are supported by the Opposition party and some very powerful lobbies.

    In spite of all of this, on the island on Montreal ~35% of students attend private schools, most of which are religious. This is because of a government policy that promotes school choice by subsidizing schools which adhere to provincial guidelines and hire licensed teachers. I think this is a good thing. (Someone who insulted me earlier said that comments like mine were the reason he is a supporter of school choice. Ironically, we are on the same side on this issue.)

    I prefer a more traditional flavor to a school, though this doesn’t necessarily mean religious. Obviously many of you would disagree and prefer a different school. And I think that’s fine and good. I guess because of where I come from, I don’t see the need for there to be such a wicked fight about it. Because religion isn’t a “threat” to me locally, I find it difficult to sympathize with the kind of presentation this young man made.

  51. #51 AJS
    January 1, 2008

    Couldn’t resist this gem from the Gazette site:

    There was a time when Creationists rejected the Theory of Evolution outright. Now the environment is making such demands that in order for Creationists to survive (at least in a quasi-rational sense) they must rely on a hardwired ability to adapt -adapt by way of some semblance of reasoning:

    Creationists concede that evolution exists but at the same time claim that it is not continuous and that the occasional imposition of God is required to make it complete. This thinking is evidence of an intermediary state of adaption: like the proto-eye that could detect light but could not yet see the finer details of that light’s source.
    (Posted by gazettefan)

  52. #52 Bob Evans
    January 1, 2008

    “What is upsetting about what this boy did is exactly what is upsetting about much of American culture to me. It’s all about shock value, getting a rise out of someone, drawing attention. “Where’s the substance? Where’s the hard work?” (kristin in montreal-#158)

    An astute observation, Kristin. If your theory on the state of American culture is correct, could this be why “Fifteen-year old U.S. students ranked lower, on average, than their peers in sixteen other countries,…out of 30 industrialized nations, on the 2006 Program for International Student Assessment, or PISA.”

    The educational model that worked so well in the past in the U.S. is long gone. In terms of the standards you mention, we actually had that here in the past. You seem to be harkening back to the 50′s, 60′s, 70′s and, I believe, most of the 80′s when a state of decorum was actually demanded of students in a public school classroom here. And most of the teachers weren’t afraid to stand up to a rare disruptive student. I know, because I was there and my children were there throughout the 80′s. It wasn’t until the early 90′s that one of my children was assaulted on a school-bus and the ‘perp’ got off with “a talking to.”

    What we have in the U.S. today, I think, in large part, are the fruits of the obsession many of our kids have for the violent video games. Many young parents today are the products, themselves, of the first wave of these games. It seems that the vast majority of parents are responsibly monotoring their kids involvement with these games, but many are not. They don’t realize that a lot of these kids are walking time bombs. Not necessarilly this boy, but it’s apparent to me that this incident could have had a very ugly ending. Who among us has not observed that occasional zombied-out kid, oblivious to everything other than the game on the screen? Little wonder that our kids consistantly rank in the lower percentile among developed countries on these tests.(the website characterizes our kids performance as:”Middling”

    But, the irate kid didn’t hunt down any of the theist kids with a gun after school, so, how can this episode be a safety issue? What’s wrong with incidents like this in the classroom, as long as no one is murdered or seriously maimed? There’s no way that that conceiveably could be the outcome of a similar incident in the future, right?

    As for the kids right to tear pages from the Bible or the Koran or the Talmud or “The God Delusion” or “War and Peace” or whatever, for the purpous of hurling verbal invective at his classmates as he excoriates them for their belief system, be it theist, atheist, agnostic or otherwise, (assuming that’s what actually transpired here)I’m reminded of a quote from G. K. Chesterton: “To have a right to do a thing is not at all the same as to be right in doing it.”

    This boy could have been effective with a vociferous and forceful presentation of his views, had he done it in the proper manner, sans the invective, if indeed he said the things that were reported. His articulateness, as evidenced in the transcript provided to us in #269 should have enabled him to do that.

  53. #53 Bob Evans
    January 1, 2008

    “What is upsetting about what this boy did is exactly what is upsetting about much of American culture to me. It’s all about shock value, getting a rise out of someone, drawing attention. “Where’s the substance? Where’s the hard work?” (kristin in montreal-#158)

    An astute observation, Kristin. If your theory on the state of American culture is correct, could this be why “Fifteen-year old U.S. students ranked lower, on average, than their peers in sixteen other countries,…out of 30 industrialized nations, on the 2006 Program for International Student Assessment, or PISA.”

    The educational model that worked so well in the past in the U.S. is long gone. In terms of the standards you mention, we actually had that here in the past. You seem to be harkening back to the 50′s, 60′s, 70′s and, I believe, most of the 80′s when a state of decorum was actually demanded of students in a public school classroom here. And most of the teachers weren’t afraid to stand up to a rare disruptive student. I know, because I was there and my children were there throughout the 80′s. It wasn’t until the early 90′s that one of my children was assaulted on a school-bus and the ‘perp’ got off with “a talking to.”

    What we have in the U.S. today, I think, in large part, are the fruits of the obsession many of our kids have for the violent video games. Many young parents today are the products, themselves, of the first wave of these games. It seems that the vast majority of parents are responsibly monotoring their kids involvement with these games, but many are not. They don’t realize that a lot of these kids are walking time bombs. Not necessarilly this boy, but it’s apparent to me that this incident could have had a very ugly ending. Who among us has not observed that occasional zombied-out kid, oblivious to everything other than the game on the screen? Little wonder that our kids consistantly rank in the lower percentile among developed countries on these tests.(the website characterizes our kids performance as:”Middling”

    But, the irate kid didn’t hunt down any of the theist kids with a gun after school, so, how can this episode be a safety issue? What’s wrong with incidents like this in the classroom, as long as no one is murdered or seriously maimed? There’s no way that that conceiveably could be the outcome of a similar incident in the future, right?

    As for the kids right to tear pages from the Bible or the Koran or the Talmud or “The God Delusion” or “War and Peace” or whatever, for the purpose of hurling verbal invective at his classmates as he excoriates them for their belief system, be it theist, atheist, agnostic or otherwise, (assuming that’s what actually transpired here)I’m reminded of a quote from G. K. Chesterton: “To have a right to do a thing is not at all the same as to be right in doing it.”

    This boy could have been effective with a vociferous and forceful presentation of his views, had he done it in the proper manner, sans the invective, if indeed he said the things that were reported. His articulateness, as evidenced in the transcript provided to us in #269 should have enabled him to do that.

  54. #54 PeteK
    January 1, 2008

    Nothing is sacred – except the idea that nothing is sacred. The argument breaks down, in its own self-reference

  55. #55 JanieBelle
    January 1, 2008

    Good on ‘im. He’s thinking for himself and exercising his First Amendment right. He’s learning, which is exactly what he’s supposed to be doing in school.

    I’m sorry if that offends someone… on second thought… no I’m not. I’m tickled pink that it offends someone. Mostly, I’m tickled that it offends the mindless sheep that are demanding that he be respectful of 15th century superstitions.

    Pfft. Bite me. (I hope you find that just as offensive.)

  56. #56 truth machine
    January 1, 2008

    And I don’t want to “ban” book tearing or offensive statements, as poor agitated truth machine implied.

    Perhaps you need a lesson in basic semantics. When you say that something is inappropriate for the classroom, that means you want it banned from the classroom.

    Have you read what this young man wrote that I quoted in #269 yet?

  57. #57 kristen in montreal
    January 2, 2008

    Uhm. Dude. No it doesn’t.

    Why is it every time you feel the need to refute me you also try to insult me? It makes it very difficult to discuss anything with you.

    I wrote that I didn’t think it was right to punish him, and I didn’t think it was right to “ban” the action. I just would think it was in poor taste and probably would have said something to him about it or written a comment on his evaluation sheet. That doesn’t ban book ripping any more than it bans poor spelling.

    And yes, I read what he said. In my last comment, you’ll notice that I took my quotations directly from his apparent statement.

  58. #58 kristen in montreal
    January 2, 2008

    What I find distasteful about what he did is exactly what I find distasteful about your comments. It’s rudeness without any cause for rudeness. It doesn’t add anything to your argument, it just makes me wonder if you weren’t raised better.

  59. #59 truth machine
    January 2, 2008

    Uhm. Dude. No it doesn’t.

    Naysaying is not an argument.

    I wrote that I didn’t think it was right to punish him

    So what? That’s a non sequitur. You also said it’s not appropriate. If you think it’s not appropriate, then you think it shouldn’t be allowed. If you think it shouldn’t be allowed, then you think it should be banned. If you deny that, you’re simply being dishonest. I don’t give a flying fuck if you think that’s rude; being rude is a lot better than your bad faith.

    What I find distasteful about what he did is exactly what I find distasteful about your comments.

    I don’t give a flying fuck what you find distasteful. What you find distasteful is of interest to only one person, and that’s your pompous self.

    it just makes me wonder if you weren’t raised better

    “raised better”? What kind of fucking priss are you?

  60. #60 kristen in montreal
    January 2, 2008

    Wow.

    Uhm.

    I don’t really know what to do with that.

    Yikes.

    See, I think schools should teach students how… uhm, NOT to do what truth machine just did.

  61. #61 kristen in montreal
    January 2, 2008

    Here, try again. Read what I said and see how it doesn’t require the manning of anything:

    I wrote that I didn’t think it was right to punish him, and I didn’t think it was right to “ban” the action. I just would think it was in poor taste and probably would have said something to him about it or written a comment on his evaluation sheet. That doesn’t ban book ripping any more than it bans poor spelling.

    If you can, leave out the four letter words.

  62. #62 kristen in montreal
    January 2, 2008

    Sorry. *banning*

  63. #63 kristen in montreal
    January 2, 2008

    OK – well, anyway, I’m off for the next few days to visit friends in the great white north, so I guess I’m letting truth machine have the last word here. (I shudder to think of what might be said in my absence, but somehow I will sleep at night. Perhaps some heavy medication and booze shall do it.)

    Some parting comments:
    - Mr. Machine, you used the phrase “non sequitur” incorrectly. What you meant was “contradiction.” What I said isn’t a contradiction, either, but at least this word would have made sense.
    - I am not religious. Not everyone who disagrees with you is doing it because they are religious. You need to understand that.
    - I asked you what a “concern troll” was… no answer. One more question: What exactly is a “flying fuck”? Is this a reference to the mile-high club, or what?

    Cheers,
    Kristen.

  64. #64 truth machine
    January 2, 2008

    I don’t really know what to do with that.

    As it says up at the top: Poor baby.

    See, I think schools should teach students how… uhm, NOT to do what truth machine just did.

    I am capable of doing otherwise, you insufferably pompous twit, but as an adult I choose to do as I do.

    Read what I said and see how it doesn’t require the manning of anything

    What kind of stupid fucking moron are you? You wrote “ripping up a Bible in front of a class is not something that is appropriate for a high school presentation.” If you think it’s not appropriate, then you don’t want it to be allowed; there’s no other way to interpret “not appropriate”. Writing a negative comment on an evaluation sheet is a coercion; it amounts to a ban, just like laws that impose a fine for speeding constitute a ban on speeding.

    - Mr. Machine, you used the phrase “non sequitur” incorrectly.

    No, I did not, you moron. I had just said that declaring something inappropriate is the same as declaring that you want it banned. You said no it isn’t, and then said that you wrote that you didn’t think it was right to punish him — but that has no bearing on my claim, thus is non sequitur. “contradiction” applies to your “no it doesn’t”, but that isn’t what I called non sequitur. You correct me on something that I wasn’t wrong about, and then say that your correction doesn’t make sense — that might make someone who wasn’t so pompous and arrogant pause for a moment. But like so many fools, you have no grasp of the depths of your foolishness.

  65. #65 truth machine
    January 2, 2008

    I am not religious. Not everyone who disagrees with you is doing it because they are religious. You need to understand that.

    It looks like you already drank that booze. In #152 I asked if you’re a believer; in #154 you said you aren’t. Since then I not referred to your beliefs in any way. So don’t tell me that I “need to understand” things that I have given no reason to think I don’t … that’s bad faith, which your education seems not to have covered.

  66. #66 kristen in montreal
    January 2, 2008

    Look, you’re not getting it.

    It’s like in debating. At the McGill Debating Union, we frown upon too many points of information (interruptions or comments during the other person’s speech). If they are done sparingly and elegantly, then that gives you points. If they are done to the point of being disruptive and rude, then they’re frowned upon. That doesn’t mean that asking too many PIs is “banned” – it just lowers the level of debate and gets annoying. After it’s over, the judges might make a comment like, ‘a few of those PIs were out of order.’

    You see? I think the student was out of order, but he had the right to stand up there and do it. Just like the teacher has the right to comment on it after he’s done and suggest the student approach the argument with more decorum.

    See?

  67. #67 kristen in montreal
    January 2, 2008

    truth machine,

    you referred in 289 to my “bad faith” !

  68. #68 truth machine
    January 2, 2008

    That doesn’t ban book ripping any more than it bans poor spelling.

    Uh, right. So the fact that poor spelling results in a poor grade on school work means that poor spelling is allowed/permitted/not banned (these all mean the same thing) on school work? Uh sure. So just what would it mean for something not to be allowed? How would you go about banning some behavior? If you mention some more severe penalty than the reprimand that you’re claiming isn’t a ban, then you’re going to have to explain just how severe of a penalty it takes for something to be banned. It’s a hopelessly ad hoc enterprise. The fact is that any behavior that is penalized is banned behavior — it is not permitted. If you give permission for some behavior, that implies that you won’t impose a penalty for it.

    Like I said, you need a basic lesson in semantics.

  69. #69 kristen in montreal
    January 2, 2008

    ARGHT. I’ll be late for my flight. Byebye.

  70. #70 truth machine
    January 2, 2008

    Look, you’re not getting it.

    Wrong, fool.

    you referred in 289 to my “bad faith” !

    And again in #295.

    I thought you had somewhere to go? Do you need a lesson in what “parting thoughts” means?

  71. #71 kristen in montreal
    January 2, 2008

    And I’m not suggesting a more severe penalty than a reprimand or a comment – that’s what you’re not understanding. It’s just an encouragement to the student to make his argument better. That really isn’t a “ban.” A ban would be suspending or giving a detention or giving an F to the offending student.

    Can’t you see the subtlety of it?

  72. #72 kristen in montreal
    January 2, 2008

    yeah i keep trying to leave but you keep not understanding me. ok, that’s it. now I’m going. Have a good day.

  73. #73 truth machine
    January 2, 2008

    If they are done to the point of being disruptive and rude, then they’re frowned upon. That doesn’t mean that asking too many PIs is “banned”

    It does if sanctions are imposed. And if you deny it, you need to say what would constitute banning. Just repeating your claim again and saying I don’t get it does not suffice … it’s bad faith.

  74. #74 truth machine
    January 2, 2008

    And I’m not suggesting a more severe penalty than a reprimand or a comment

    I know you’re not. That you write that shows your poor reading comprehension.

    that’s what you’re not understanding

    Uh, no, I understand that just fine — it is you who do not understand.

    A ban would be suspending or giving a detention or giving an F to the offending student.

    No, something cannot be banned or not banned merely on the severity of the penalty — that’s an arbitrary distinction.

    Can’t you see the subtlety of it?

    It is you who do not grasp the subtlety of it.

    yeah i keep trying to leave but you keep not understanding me.

    Yeah, if I disagree I must not understand. Typical bad faith charge.

  75. #75 truth machine
    January 2, 2008

    No, something cannot be banned or not banned merely on the severity of the penalty — that’s an arbitrary distinction.

    And I already made this point in a way that should be accessible to those of even the most feeble mental capacity, when I mentioned speeding. All illegal behavior is banned, regardless of the severity of the penalty. All penalized behavior is banned behavior — behavior not permitted — behavior for which permission is not granted.

  76. #76 truth machine
    January 2, 2008

    Another example: anything for which that you would yell “no!” at a child or dog is banned behavior. It doesn’t require “suspending or giving a detention or giving an F to” the offender.

  77. #77 truth machine
    January 2, 2008

    You see? I think the student was out of order, but he had the right to stand up there and do it. Just like the teacher has the right to comment on it after he’s done and suggest the student approach the argument with more decorum.

    See?

    I see your bad faith. No one punishes the teacher for commenting on it. No one claims that such comments by a teacher are “not appropriate”.

  78. #78 truth machine
    January 2, 2008

    Finally, I would like to note that this whole silly discussion came from a bad faith response to this comment of mine:

    I don’t think you’ve fully considered the consequences of banning from the classroom anything that makes people angry, insulted, or defensive.

    The point was clear enough: I don’t think that Ms. “in montreal” has fully considered the consequences of deeming “inappropriate”, reprimanding, making negative evaluation comments, etc. etc., anything in the classroom that makes students angry, insulted, or defensive.

  79. #79 Steven Sullivan
    January 2, 2008

    kristen & truth machine : please get a room. I can’t be alone in skipping all of your exchanges at this point.

    I read the kid’s screed. It’s about as coherent as I’d expect from what I’ve read of this dust-up so far. Which is to say…only kinda sorta. To wit: “I was simply sharing a few ideas with the class, and I thought maybe they could be mature enough to handle the content. Sure I made a comments that some of their tiny little brains might not be able to comprehend the material and they were superstitious ignoramuses.”

    That’s a curious application of the concept of maturity.

    And: “How much history did Christians from old Europe destroyed? Massive monasteries with libraries packed with rich literature and lore from long long ago.”

    Huh?

    And then there’s “Freedom is free.” That sounds nice as a slogan, but what does it mean, and is it historically accurate? Seems to me freedom has been anything but ‘free’ for much of humanity.

    So while his heart is in the right place from a freethinker POV, I’m still wanting to read a less ‘invested’ account of his presentation. Clearly he/she thought this kid did a good job (that’s what B used to mean when I was in high school). I’d like to hear the teacher’s side of the story.

  80. #80 tigtog
    January 2, 2008

    truth machine,

    you referred in 289 to my “bad faith” !

    For shame, someone continually referring to debating society rules not recognising that “bad faith arguments” have nothing to do with religion.

    http://research.lawyers.com/glossary/bad-faith.html

  81. #81 tigtog
    January 2, 2008

    Bugger, bollixed the HTML on the quote. The second line above should also be part of the blockquote.

  82. #82 TW
    January 2, 2008

    While I dont really have that strong an opinion one way or another over this (basically the kid was a bit over the top but the “offended” students really need to get over themselves), I am intrigued by one thing.

    How is commenting on his evaluation not a form of (admittedly very mild) punishment?

  83. #83 late to the fray
    January 2, 2008

    “But how does that make you any different than the crowds that cheer on book burners?

    This kids a scuzzball, just as willfully ignorant and closeminded as any bookburner.”

    I get that this idiocy was spouted long ago, but as a resident of a school district where the uberchristians routinely attempt to burn books–that is, seek to have them barred from school libraries and removed from reading lists–I just want to say that the inability to distinguish between destroying a single copy of a book, and acting so as to prevent everyone from reading it, speaks to an ignorance and illogic so deep that I’m surprised the speaker is capable of actually typing it. Actually, I would suspect s/he requires assistance to remember breathing. Despite all the knotted panties and horrified cries of incivility–which apparently is to be prized above all knowledge and experience–perhaps this student’s actions will enable a classmate to avoid the drooling stupidity evidenced by the above commenter.

  84. #84 truth machine
    January 2, 2008

    For shame, someone continually referring to debating society rules not recognising that “bad faith arguments” have nothing to do with religion.

    Good grief, is that what she meant? I hadn’t imagined she was that ignorant.

  85. #85 truth machine
    January 2, 2008

    I can’t be alone in skipping all of your exchanges at this point.

    You could well be, as this thread is ancient by Pharyngula standards and is about to scroll off the front page. In any case, I couldn’t care less what some random person chooses to skip.

  86. #86 kristen in timmins, ON
    January 3, 2008

    I’m sorry I did not understand what you meant. 99% of the time I debate in French, and I don’t think there is an equivalent term to “bad faith.”

  87. #87 anti-nonsense
    January 3, 2008

    Well I do think the presentation was a bit over the top for a high school demonstration and that he should have at least made intelligent arguments for why the Bible is wrong while ripping it up, and preferably not ripped it up at all, because I disagree with destroying books in general, rather then insulting his classmates’ intelligence, I would agree that feeling “threatened” by his presentation is an overreaction.

    If he’d done his thing at home and uploaded onto Youtube that would be OK, although I still don’t agree with ripping up books personally, but doing it at school was the wrong place and time to do it.

    Also, I disagree with the statement that “no word of the Bible is true”, the Bible does have a fair amount of good moral advice, although even that is mixed with bad moral advice, but as far as science and history goes, the Bible fails hardcore.

  88. #88 Pyre
    January 5, 2008

    Wobert @ 62: “… the lad in question has just shown that he knows more about the US constitution and has more balls than anyone on the Republican side of politics.”

    And at least half the Democrats in Congress.

  89. #89 San
    January 6, 2008

    “Heck, I’m afraid of theists– they’re irrational and always saying creepy things about this invisible guy who killed his kid for me and threatening eternal damnation…
    but no one ever protected me from them.” (#81)

    Thanks ‘ungodly goddess’ for that . Exactly my feelings.

    And believe me I have more reasons to feel threatened: they now have their own “museum” (the Creationist museum http://www.uglydoggy.com/2007/09/sci-fi-goes-museum.html) and nobody moved a finger to have that place renamed? Call it Creationland, Bibleland, anything but museum!.

    So if that girl felt threaten, bad luck, it is her problem. He has the right, he was probably fed up, he may have just want the shock value, who knows? He did nothing illegal, he was expressing himself.

  90. #90 Schroedinger's Dog
    February 14, 2009

    Reminds me of that one time when I was staying in Florida. My host’s wife, a fundie christian, found some Lovecraft books on my night table.

    When I came back from the beach, I found her in the garden, burning my books. When asked why, she said these were the work of the devil.

    How come no parents feared for my safety at the time? (Safety which was probably more at stake than in PZ’s account)…

  91. #91 Sven DiMilo
    February 14, 2009

    Just curious, Dog:
    How did you find this thread?

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