Pharyngula

One of the reasons we atheists have to be loud and assertive is that we are floating alone in a vast sea of ignorance. Case in point: here is an artist who has obviously never met an atheist.

i-67b604fadd32e1e23447983bc781099e-Reward_of_the_Atheist.jpg

I am expressing my feeling towards the very Idea of Atheism. I almost pity those who have such beliefs. I’m not saying they are wrong or right. I’m just saying that what they believe in is more depressing than any other possibility.

So I made this simple picture to express my feelings for somebody who believes in nothing.

here we see a person sitting in a blank room without any doors or windows. What is most troubling is the fact that this person wants to be here, and is unwilling to move from his chair. Alone, neglected, and lost to the ravages of time. without anything to grab onto and hold as a symbol of his own identity. Those who seek nothing as a reward shall ultimately receive it.

I don’t think Atheists can even believe in love, which is the saddest part.

If this picture offends you, remember that it is not directed at you. Even if you are an atheist.

Atheists don’t believe in love? Where does this nonsense come from? This fellow is a fool who sits alone himself, imagining what atheists must think, and he conjures up this ridiculous picture based on the idea that atheists are lonely nihilists who believe in nothing. I know a lot of atheists, and no, his portrayal is not accurate.

I’m not offended by the picture — I’m just sickened by the smug ignorance of its creator. There are a lot of comments over there, too, all of which are getting hidden away by the host, which tells us who has got his eyes firmly closed in this debate. I think he needs to retitle his picture to “Self Portrait.”

This atheist simply believes in all that is (which is quite a lot), and doesn’t believe in that which isn’t (which denial, to some theists, seems to represent a complete denial of the universe…which tells us more about their deluded mindset than ours.) Since the artist doesn’t understand that we do believe in something (including love), here’s a short, simple creed for the godless.

An atheist’s creed

I believe in time,
matter, and energy,
which make up the whole of the world.

I believe in reason, evidence and the human mind,
the only tools we have;
they are the product of natural forces
in a majestic but impersonal universe,
grander and richer than we can imagine,
a source of endless opportunities for discovery.

I believe in the power of doubt;
I do not seek out reassurances,
but embrace the question,
and strive to challenge my own beliefs.

I accept human mortality.

We have but one life,
brief and full of struggle,
leavened with love and community,
learning and exploration,
beauty and the creation of
new life, new art, and new ideas.

I rejoice in this life that I have,
and in the grandeur of a world that preceded me,
and an earth that will abide without me.

Comments

  1. #1 MissPrism
    March 7, 2008

    Well, this bit certainly calls for a Python quote:

    I’m just saying that what they believe in is more depressing than any other possibility.

    Oh, it’s not as nn…nnnn…nnn…no…no…noo…not as nasty as something I just thought of, sir.

  2. #2 Chris A.
    March 7, 2008

    Considering the rest of their ‘art’ is furry and anime trash, I would not have even bothered posting this.

  3. #3 Cappy
    March 7, 2008

    The artist(?) has it all wrong. For the Atheist (or even Agnostic, where I more fit) there are no walls. The above is the state of the Theist, only there are pretty pictures painted on the walls and the person sitting there thinks it is the real world.

  4. #4 Janeothejungle
    March 7, 2008

    Anyone else find it ironic that the website it called ‘Deviant Art’? Seems like just another sheep to me……

  5. #5 pixelfish
    March 7, 2008

    It’s like Plato’s Cavern all over again. This guy seems to think that we’re all just staring at the walls of the cave.

    I personally like to think of myself as a thermodynamic miracle. (From Watchmen: Dr. Manhattan’s speech to Laurie while on Mars.)

    Doctor Manhattan: Thermo-dynamic miracles… events with odds against so astronomical they’re effectively impossible, like oxygen spontaneously becoming gold. I long to observe such a thing.

    And yet, in each human coupling, a thousand million sperm vie for a single egg. Multiply those odds by countless generations, against the odds of your ancestors being alive; meeting; siring this precise son; that exact daughter… Until your mother loves a man she has every reason to hate, and of that union, of the thousand million children competing for fertilization, it was you, only you, that emerged. To distill so specific a form from that chaos of improbability, like turning air to gold… that is the crowning unlikelihood. The thermo-dynamic miracle.

    Laurie Juspeczyk: But…if me, my birth, if that’s a thermodynamic miracle… I mean, you could say that about anybody in the world!

    Dr. Manhattan: Yes. Anybody in the world. ..But the world is so full of people, so crowded with these miracles that they become commonplace and we forget… I forget. We gaze continually at the world and it grows dull in our perceptions. Yet seen from the another’s vantage point. As if new, it may still take our breath away. Come…dry your eyes. For you are life, rarer than a quark and unpredictable beyond the dreams of Heisenberg; the clay in which the forces that shape all things leave their fingerprints most clearly.

    Or I like listening to Carl Sagan’s Pale Blue Dot. Because while he reminds us how small the earth really is, the breadth of the universe just makes my thermodynamic miracle more cool.

    Sure, it won’t last forever. Nothing does. But it can be beautiful while it lasts.

  6. #6 BigBob
    March 7, 2008

    Struth! If I had the ignorance of that artist, I certainly wouldn’t want to broadcast the fact. There’s more mystery and beauty in my atheistic world than in any theist’s bumper book of fantasies.
    BigBob

  7. #7 DaveX
    March 7, 2008

    I’m not sure this even meets the high standards of “clip art”… let alone any sort of art proper!

  8. #8 MAJeff, OM
    March 7, 2008

    I believe in beer and wine and good food. What more does one need?

  9. #9 Bob
    March 7, 2008
  10. #10 PixelFish
    March 7, 2008

    Janeothejungle: Actually I have an account at DeviantArt too. Sure, it’s a silly name, but it’s actually been a decent resource for newbie artists. Please don’t judge all DeviantArt folk by the one.

  11. #11 Vic
    March 7, 2008

    He could improve it immensely by retitling it to one word – “PROJECTION”

  12. #12 Sastra
    March 7, 2008

    I don’t think Atheists can even believe in love, which is the saddest part.

    There’s a lot of unpack in this very common assumption held by a lot of religious people.

    I think at least part of the problem has to do with their misunderstandings of abstractions, and what they are. They think atheists only believe in solid, concrete objects they can hold and observe. They throw that together with “You can’t see love under your microscope, Mr. Smarty Pants Scientist” and they apparently arrive at the conclusion that atheists “can’t believe in love.” It’s a difficultly in dealing with levels of categories.

    The other thing that’s interesting about the belief that atheists must not be able to feel love or joy of any kind is the tacit admission that “faith” is really based — not on facts — but on wishes. Happy, optimistic people CHOOSE believe in God: those who don’t, must be unhappy, pessimistic.

    Notice how cavalierly the cartoonist says “I’m not saying they’re wrong or right” and quickly moves on to his main point, which is that the view is depressing. Clearly, it’s not really depressing — whether God exists or not wouldn’t effect the existence of all the things in the world that indicated to the believer that God existed in the first place. But in dismissing the importance of whether a view is true or not and focusing only on its personal benefits, the writer doesn’t say much for the warm, loving background from which he thinks ‘faith’ springs. It’s just cold, calculated self-interest, dressed up.

  13. #13 tceisele
    March 7, 2008

    #3 – and, to put on the final touches of turning it into a picture of a Theist, there needs to be a trapdoor on the bottom leading to a lake of fire.

  14. #14 brettbooth
    March 7, 2008

    Janeothejungle and Chris A. you are making the same assumptions this artist is. I’m on Deviant Art, it’s just an art site with a strange name (that’s what drew me to it in the first place, pun intended.) I like drawing Anthro characters or Furry to you, it’s just something I like to draw no harm in doing it. The artist is completely wrong but you should not give him/her crap for some art they like to do when the problem is they don’t understand what being an Atheist is.

    Best,

    Brett Booth

  15. #15 Escuerd
    March 7, 2008

    Evidently the author hasn’t grasped the difference between atheists and a certain group of German nihilists.

    “We believe in nothing, Lebowski, nothing.”

  16. #16 Andrew
    March 7, 2008

    OMG…an Atheist’s creed!!!!!

    made me tingle! love it! Im surrounded by so many theists that I feel like Im the only one out there! Thanks!

  17. #17 Escuerd
    March 7, 2008

    I also love the “if this picture offends you, it’s not directed toward you” disclaimer. That way they can make all the stupid statements they want and when called out say “Oh, well YOU weren’t the type I was talking about.”

  18. #18 Christophe Thill
    March 7, 2008

    Hey ! What’s wrong with all of you ? He said : don’t feel offended, the picture is not about you ! He forgot to add that it’s because it is about some kind of ghostly atheist who exists only in his imagination (proof that it’s a ghost : he looks all fuzzy and blurred). So let’s not feel offended !

  19. #19 eyesoars
    March 7, 2008

    #11++

    Awesome, PZ! I love the ‘Morris Creed’! Or is it the ‘Pharyngula Creed’? In any event, it speaks to me.

    -eyesoars

  20. #20 GodlessHeathen
    March 7, 2008

    All comments on the piece have been hidden. I think the challenge to his or her perception isn’t being well received.

  21. #21 MissPrism
    March 7, 2008

    I fixed it for him!
    Here!

  22. #22 Michelle
    March 7, 2008

    It’s on Deviant Art. There’s already no credibility right there. Any little 12 years old schmuck can post ugly stuff on there. And then they feel all big and interesting because they are OMG ONLINE.

  23. #23 BB
    March 7, 2008

    Very nicely worded creed. What’s the source?

  24. #24 CalGeorge
    March 7, 2008

    The artist is happy for the publicity:

    thanks to some idiot Atheists who love to take it personally and think by putting me on a quaint little site:[link] that they will hurt my feelings.

    Far from it.

    Thanks for displaying me like I was some type of Circus freak. My pageveiws have never been higher!

  25. #25 Sarcastro
    March 7, 2008

    Take away the stool and put the little dude in the lotus-position and you’ve got a decent illustration of satori.

  26. #26 The Other Dan from Milwaukee
    March 7, 2008

    Re: an atheist’s creed

    I wanted to follow that up with “Amen”, but somehow that just doesn’t seem right. ;)

  27. #27 RamblinDude
    March 7, 2008

    I’ll tell you makes me sad. In fact, it scared the hell out of me when I was a little kid (still does). Spending all of eternity in a city with seven gates made of pearls and paved with gold, and the overbearing, demanding Hebrew God as company–now that is frightening.

    It’s very, very telling that those who reject fairy tale beliefs are seen as “believing in nothing.”

  28. #28 Andrew
    March 7, 2008

    PZ, that’s a wonderfully written creed. I googled “atheist creed: to see if I could find the author and came up with many “creeds”, ranging from the mildly humorous to the just plain dumb. I want to use it, but have a terminal case of the attribution compulsion. Is it yours?

    Best,
    Andrew

  29. #29 tyaddow
    March 7, 2008

    Wow, so much marvelous nonsense. I almost feel bad when small-minded people fall prey to the scathing scrutiny of Pharyngula readers, and this is no exception. Ignoring the fact that some teenage kid probably put this together, and one who was indoctrinated with nonsense to boot, there is really no excuse for the lack of thought put into it. Apparently the “Idea of Atheism” consists of sitting sadly in a dark little prison believing in nothing. What does that even mean? If only I believed in love, then I would be similarly inclined to understand other people.

  30. #30 Greg Peterson
    March 7, 2008

    Atheists not “believe in love”? I refute it thus: Every time I am with my children, I get loopy with the stuff. When I sing the Flaming Lips song “Do You Realize,” the most beautiful face in the world–that of my girlfriend– appears in my mind’s eye and impels on me the most powerful desire to be with her. Every time I talk to my parents, with whom I have major differences and a sprinkling of resentments, but feel the miles erased by a natural affection and mutual concern, I demonstrate how powerfully an atheist loves. The fact that I acknowledge that love is an epiphenomenon arising from motion and matter and pattern doesn’t diminish in the least the qualia, my experience of it. Unweave your goddamn rainbow, you stick figure hack.

  31. #31 Virginia
    March 7, 2008

    I assume that by “love” this fellow is referring to the the love that comes from a God who threatens us with infinite torture for acting on our God-given sexual urges in an unapproved way.

  32. #32 Plastic Nag
    March 7, 2008

    Why do these theist tracks seem to love using Comic Sans, that infamous and hated font?

  33. #33 phantomreader42
    March 7, 2008

    Another masterpiece of projection!

    But the whole “If this picture offends you, remember that it is not directed at you” is actually true. It’s directed at a delusion that exists only in the artist’s own mind. No connection to the real world whatsoever.

  34. #34 MAJeff, OM
    March 7, 2008

    I assume that by “love” this fellow is referring to the the love that comes from a God who threatens us with infinite torture for acting on our God-given sexual urges in an unapproved way.

    There’s an out–the human sacrifice of the offspring of God and teenager he raped, and the ritual consumption of that offspring in order to confirm one’s acceptance of the sacrifice.

    I’ll take beer.

  35. #35 RamblinDude
    March 7, 2008

    MissPrism, Hey! Masturbation is a sin, too!

  36. #36 Brother Richard
    March 7, 2008

    Great creed! Who wrote it? I would like to know because I am going to steal it and would like to give credit to the right person.

    The picture reminds me of a old Sagan quote:

    “In some respects, science has far surpassed religion in delivering awe. How is it that hardly any major religion has looked at science and concluded, ‘This is better than we thought! The Universe is much bigger than our prophets said, grander, more subtle, more elegant. God must be even greater than we dreamed?’ Instead they say, ‘No, no, no! My god is a little god, and I want him to stay that way.’”

    Could anything be more true?

    Richard
    http://lifewithoutfaith.com

  37. #37 AL
    March 7, 2008

    When a theist says an atheist doesn’t believe in love or is not capable of it, ask the theist what love is. You’d be surprised how often love is defined by them in some nebulous airy-fairy magic woo-woo way that essentially makes their claim correct — we atheists don’t believe in that notion of “love.”

  38. #38 meandering
    March 7, 2008

    Mr. Myers, do you know the name of the author for that Creed? I would very much like to credit them and Google is of no help.

  39. #39 Phoenix Woman
    March 7, 2008

    It’s like Plato’s Cavern all over again. This guy seems to think that we’re all just staring at the walls of the cave.

    When in fact he’s the one trapped in the cave, staring at the pictures others have put up and which he’s embellished.

  40. #40 Glen Davidson
    March 7, 2008

    Let me tell you about heartache and the loss of god, Wandering, wandering in hopeless night.

    Jim Morrison

    I relate to that, and to Nietzsche’s madman.

    Atheism isn’t necessarily the great freedom it’s often portrayed to be, certainly not to a lot of people. I’m fine with godlessness now (had reconcile to it, since I wasn’t willing to live a dishonest life), but however much one points and laughs at the narrow-minded silly little picture above, it’s still how godlessness seems to many people. It’s the author’s view of it, probably an honest enough one. It simply doesn’t account for the benefits of living honestly at all.

    Of course the text betrays what a mindless little wanker his belief has made him. For, it may be true that an atheist doesn’t “believe in love,” which is because one needn’t “believe first” once one has left behind religion and metaphysics, one simply loves. It’s the old “belief in evolution” mistake these buffoons make, that things must be “believed” to somehow take on reality (kind of like God keeping reality safe by constantly observing it).

    Indeed, that’s what leaving religion behind is all about, you not only do science empirically, you live in a kind of empirical existence that is foreign to the “believers.” You accept “reality,” you don’t believe in a reality that you impose upon all experience.

    But giving up that magical “reality” that supposedly works if you believe in it is often not easy, and may lead to the kind of despair meant to be depicted in that picture. Science (IIRC) had a recent article about a creationist who learned paleontological science and thus had to give up his creationism. He said that he tried atheism, but he did find it to be too depressing, so he’s a kind of theistic evolutionist. The gains of giving up religion are worth it, at least to many of us, but sometimes the losses are too much for those contemplating the loss of their sky pixie.

    We should laugh at the narrow-minded view of this author, but we should not forget that it’s not infrequently the only way these people see the loss of god. The loss of any worldview can be difficult, and the loss of one that seems to animate the universe in a way that science does not can be even more difficult.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7

  41. #41 Sastra
    March 7, 2008

    thanks to some idiot Atheists who love to take it personally and think by putting me on a quaint little site:[link] that they will hurt my feelings. Far from it. Thanks for displaying me like I was some type of Circus freak.

    Huh?

    Persecution complex? Someone draws an editorial cartoon which shows atheists as unhappy, bitter, unloving “freaks” and he takes reasonable critique as attempts to “hurt his feelings?”

    We don’t CARE about you, personally. We’re disputing the theme you were expounding on, and explaining why. If this helps your pageviews, that’s fine. I’m bothered by the IDEAS you express, not YOU. I hope you have a wonderful day, and a happy life. And that we persuade you to change your mind — not drop over and cry.

    It really IS all about him, isn’t it? I remember my daughter told me once that someone in her civics class said “I’d consider atheism, but there’s nothing in it for me.” She asked “What do you want — a toaster?”

    Nothing about considering what’s true or likely to be true. No. What matters is if it provides the happy.

    Sheesh. Get over yourself.

  42. #42 Ubi Dubium
    March 7, 2008

    Yes, I also think it’s actually a picture of a theist. But those walls should be made out of bibles (preferably King James version). Perhaps one of our commenters can re-edit it for us?

  43. #43 Lilly de Lure
    March 7, 2008

    Of course, imagining yourself, your friends and all of the Universe entirely and inescapably in the grip of a vicious, irrational dictator who sentences people to an eternity of Hell for acting on impulses he gave them in the first place isn’t depressing in the slightest.

    Theists: Please at least try to see what life looks like without your imaginery friend in the way – you never know you might even like it!

  44. #44 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    March 7, 2008

    thanks to some idiot Atheists who love to take it personally and think by putting me on a quaint little site:[link] that they will hurt my feelings. Far from it. Thanks for displaying me like I was some type of Circus freak.

    Nah not a circus freak, just a proudly ignorant little twit.

  45. #45 RamblinDude
    March 7, 2008

    But the whole “If this picture offends you, remember that it is not directed at you” is actually true. It’s directed at a delusion that exists only in the artist’s own mind. No connection to the real world whatsoever.

    I beg to differ. This delusion does not exist only in this artist’s mind; this delusion is propogated vigorously by mainstream religion in this country.

  46. #46 Matt
    March 7, 2008

    His “art” sucks. Extremely poor perspective (that is, his 2D rendering of 3D AND his idiotic view of atheism).

  47. #47 Echo without Bunnies or Men
    March 7, 2008

    Why are theists so bad at art and creativity in general? There is nothing remotely original or compelling about this ‘art’. It’s as bland and predictable as ‘christian rock’

  48. #48 PZ Myers
    March 7, 2008

    Well, you won’t find it on google yet, because it is my creed, which is mine, which I just wrote down this morning.

  49. #49 Bronze Dog
    March 7, 2008

    You can expect me to rage when I get home. I’m currently containing it as best I can by playing a continuous loop of “All You Need is Love” by the Beatles in my head. Meanwhile, here’s a link.

  50. #50 MAJeff, OM
    March 7, 2008

    Why are theists so bad at art and creativity in general?

    Not to get into too huge a war, but: Bach.

    (and yes, Christian rock is a vile abomination unto music itself)

  51. #51 RamblinDude
    March 7, 2008

    But the whole “If this picture offends you, remember that it is not directed at you” is actually true. It’s directed at a delusion that exists only in the artist’s own mind. No connection to the real world whatsoever.

    I beg to differ. This delusion does not exist only in this artist’s mind; this delusion is propogated vigorously by mainstream religion in this country.

  52. #52 eric taylor
    March 7, 2008

    I love that picture! “Rewards for an atheist” is exactly the reason so many people believe in god.

    What do you get if you’re an atheist? Eternal bliss? Virgins? A moral code from god? A sexual code ordained by god? (and even better) dirty sex not ordained by god? No.

    That’s why people believe in god. For all these extras. You get NOTHING from atheism. Nothing except for one tiny little thing. Truth. That’s all you get. And it’s a lonely little room.

  53. #53 Alex
    March 7, 2008

    I think the use by the artist of the word “simple” reveals all that we need to know. Though I think one or more of the word’s synonyms would be more appropriate descriptors.

  54. #54 RamblinDude
    March 7, 2008

    Oops, sorry for double posting. Gotta restart my computer.

  55. #55 T. Bruce McNeely
    March 7, 2008

    Full of fail: the rendering, the message, the intelligence.

    Full of win” the Atheist’s Creed. As an agnostic, I also can wholeheartedly identify with it.

  56. #56 Comstock
    March 7, 2008

    I’m not so sure I believe in time. What the hell is it?

  57. #57 Adobedragon
    March 7, 2008

    Well, for what it’s worth, while, like just about everything else on the internet, DeviantArt has its share of untalented hacks and addle-brained teenagers, there is good stuff therein.

    Take for example, Ursula Vernon’s gallery, featuring, among other things, all sorts of wonderful tentacled things. (“Walking the Kraken” among others.)

  58. #58 GreedyAlgorithm
    March 7, 2008

    On accepting human morality: The Fable of the Dragon-Tyrant

  59. #59 bob koepp
    March 7, 2008

    I don’t think it has much, if anything, to do with atheism or theism (or agnosticism…), but the “atheist’s creed” starts out rather badly. Just what is it to “believe in time”? That’s almost spookily metaphysical. Also, to believe in _both_ matter and energy seems a bit extravagant, if we’re interested in paring down our ontological commitments. And, since our atheist friend also “believes” (in the warm, fuzzy sense of ‘believes’) in reason and evidence, perhaps the evidence based rationale for believing (in the assertoric sense) in time, matter and energy couled be provided. Half-baked ideas, even if the ingredients are top quality, don’t satisfy the discriminating palate.

  60. #60 Cay Borduin
    March 7, 2008

    The art isn’t even good. Who the heck would want a print of it?

  61. #61 Aric
    March 7, 2008

    You call that a chair? I demand lumbar support.

  62. #62 wÒÓ†
    March 7, 2008
  63. #63 PZ Myers
    March 7, 2008

    You don’t believe in time? I don’t know exactly what it is, but it sure seems to be passing by. There’s nothing metaphysical about it — but it’s something we do have to deal with.

  64. #64 PixelFish
    March 7, 2008

    Commenting on the use of the word Reward:

    Even when I WAS religious, I rather thought the idea of doing something good FOR A REWARD defeated the whole point of why you should be good. You shouldn’t be nice to your neighbour because God was preparing your mansion in heaven, you should be nice to your neighbour because, hello, they’re human beings with feelings too. You shouldn’t NOT kill people because God would unleash his wrath, but because it was the only life that person would have.

    Which is why I refute the idea that atheists lack a moral compass. An atheist who does good in the world, who strives to make the world a better place without hope of reward, seems pretty damn moral to me. A lot more moral than somebody who does the bare minimum out of fear and hope of a nebulous reward.

  65. #65 Richard Eis
    March 7, 2008

    I didn’t realise i was here to be rewarded. What absolute arrogance that would be.

    I can have more fun quietly using my brain even in an empty room than he will ever have going to church and being told what people want him to think. This just reminds me of the statue “The Thinker”.

  66. #66 Rey Fox
    March 7, 2008

    “#3 – and, to put on the final touches of turning it into a picture of a Theist, there needs to be a trapdoor on the bottom leading to a lake of fire.”

    Ideally, the trapdoor should also be a painting.

    The comments section is the funniest thing of course. They always get so hilariously defensive when anyone tries to call them on their BS. Sorry, the “not directed at you” is not a get-out-of-criticism-free card.

    At least she didn’t pull the bit about how atheists can’t have morals. That tends to annoy me, the notion that we don’t believe in love is just funny. And the notion that we’re so lonely because we don’t have an imaginary friend is even funnier.

  67. #67 Janeotheungle
    March 7, 2008

    PixelFish and Brett Booth: I’m not bashing the site, merely the fact that someone with that particular outlook would place themselves in the ‘deviant’ category. Let’s look at the bigger picture instead of nitpicking, shall we?

    Cheers.

  68. #68 Genuinely Doug
    March 7, 2008

    I don’t think Atheists can even believe in love, which is the saddest part.

    This fellow has obviously not seen PZ and his cephalopods. Speaking of which, isn’t today Friday?!

  69. #69 K
    March 7, 2008

    Bob #59

    I believe the lines go together…”I believe in time, matter and energy.”

    Heres the reference: Einstein, Albert. “On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies”. Annalen der Physik 18: 639-641

  70. #70 Carl Buell
    March 7, 2008

    I did go to his site and he lists his interests as “none at the moment”. I so hope that changes. Perhaps in time, if he does take a real interest in something, his work will improve. I’m certainly not the brightest bulb on the chandelier, but every single day of my life has in some way been an investigation of interesting things and ideas.

    Seeing his work exhibited, I wish him well, he’s only 21, and his whole adult life is in front of him. But it also makes me wish there were some word for what I do other than “art”.

  71. #71 October Mermaid
    March 7, 2008

    Well, this’ll probably annoy most people and I almost feel like I’m giving ammo to the “enemy” for even saying so, but I’m gonna have to say that as an athiest, I personally AM kind of the lonely nihilist. But the reason for that is, I guess, I spent so much of my life believing in false promises offered by religion, and now that I’ve lost them, there’s nothing to fill the gap.

    That doesn’t mean I’ll start believing in fairy tales or comforting lies to get by. If there was some comforting reality or something I could prove that pointed to an afterlife, I would be happy and content, but there’s not and I’m not going to pretend there is to please myself.

    I’ve heard other athiests talk about how they get through life and how they deal with mortality and brain death wiping away our memories and personalities, etc., but what those people find comforting does absolutely nothing for me.

    So, I don’t really know what else to say. I guess I’m the nihilist they mention, but I have the problem of not being able to believe a lie, even if it might make me happy.

  72. #72 CalGeorge
    March 7, 2008

    ani difranco says it for me, Krensada:

    but what
    what if no one’s watching
    what if when we’re dead, we’re just dead
    what if there’s no time to lose
    what if there’s things we gotta do
    things that need to be said

    [...]
    I mean what
    what if no one’s watching
    what if when we’re dead, we’re just dead
    what if it’s just us down here
    what if god is just an idea
    someone put in your head

    Very sad that you feel the need to use the Bible as a symbol of your identity. There’s so much more out there. Get out of your shell. Don’t fence yourself in. Unlock your mind!

  73. #73 Bob L
    March 7, 2008

    LOL he’s got the comments hidden. What a chicken shit. He’s certainly behaving to stereotype for a Christian and a furry.

  74. #74 MAJeff, OM
    March 7, 2008

    I did go to his site and he lists his interests as “none at the moment”. I so hope that changes. Perhaps in time, if he does take a real interest in something, his work will improve.

    Maybe he should paint emo-Jesus.

  75. #75 Sam
    March 7, 2008

    Three ‘I believe’s in the Atheist’s Creed? So Atheism is just another belief system?

  76. #76 Janine
    March 7, 2008

    I would have to say, his traffic spiked today.
    Views
    Total: 5,770
    Today: 2,931

    As for what is sad, believing in a being so petty, it eternally punishes subjects that cannot possible harm it. That’s not love, that’s the Stockholm Syndrome.

  77. #77 Peter
    March 7, 2008

    Just before Christmas there was a long article in the Franfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) about TGD, which towards the end asserted that Dawkins can have no appreciation of Mozart because he’s an atheist. Astoundingly presumptuous :- there was not the slightest indication that the FAZ author had any evidence for this. I was surprised to get to the end of the article and find Dawkins hadn’t been accused of having a poor sex life. There’s a tradition of this in England: “Don poor at table, worse in bed, Don that dared attack my Chesterton..”
    I’m with the others who think that those who imagine an eternal bliss on the other side are the ones more likely to suffer from a stunted sense of wonder at creation and appreciation of what man has achieved on this side.
    Peter

  78. #78 MAJeff, OM
    March 7, 2008

    Just before Christmas there was a long article in the Franfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) about TGD, which towards the end asserted that Dawkins can have no appreciation of Mozart because he’s an atheist.

    Funny, last night I was just posting my favorite scene in opera, the finale from Mozart’s Don Giovanni. Guess I’m not really enjoying it since it has Hell and stuff.

  79. #79 SpotWeld
    March 7, 2008

    You could re-title it “A Life Without Sin” and you’d pretty much capture the ideals of the monastic life.

  80. #80 Che
    March 7, 2008

    Just so you know, technically there really isn’t such thing as love. It’s a made up emotion. Typically love is infatuation or attachment; everything else is a cultural invention.

    There’s nothing wrong with that, since the idea feels good and makes us happy (which is really all that matters), it’s just a pet peeve of mine to see a fellow Atheist proclaim “Atheists do too believe in love!”

  81. #81 CleveDan
    March 7, 2008

    I am looking for some clip art of a man having homosexual sex while claiming to be heterosexual and doing heroin with his “masseuse” with the text “pastor of a mega church”

    does anyone know where i can find it?

  82. #82 Mary Aloyse Firestone
    March 7, 2008

    A masterpiece, PZ. Thank you.

  83. #83 justawriter
    March 7, 2008

    Now all we need is some budding Bach or Mozart to set the Credo to music. Any volunteers? It might help to translate it into Latin first, though, to sneak it past the censors.

  84. #84 Jason Failes
    March 7, 2008

    “I’m just saying that what they believe in is more depressing than any other possibility.”

    This from people who believe that everything that’s wrong with the world (including predation and disease) is caused by our “sin”.
    How’s this for non-depressing? Atheists believe in a universe that’s NOT OUR FAULT!

    Otherwise, good post, PZ, although note that many Singulatarians are atheists and wouldn’t accept future mortality with any more resignation than you would accept death from a treatable bacterial infection.

  85. #85 Wallace Turner
    March 7, 2008

    Theist Creed

    A blind man in a dark room
    looking for a black hat
    which isn’t there

  86. #86 xebecs
    March 7, 2008

    Three ‘I believe’s in the Atheist’s Creed? So Atheism is just another belief system?

    There’s a difference between “This thing makes sense to me” and “I was brought up to believe in this thing so I believe it even though I’ve never thought about whether it makes sense”.

  87. #87 K
    March 7, 2008

    Che–”Just so you know, technically there really isn’t such thing as love. It’s a made up emotion. Typically love is infatuation or attachment; everything else is a cultural invention.

    There’s nothing wrong with that, since the idea feels good and makes us happy (which is really all that matters), it’s just a pet peeve of mine to see a fellow Atheist proclaim “Atheists do too believe in love!””

    Are you saying that emotions aren’t real? How can you have a “made up emotion”? If love is attachment, then doesn’t it exist? Aren’t you demeaning the word attachment by suggesting that it doesn’t have value? If love is attachment and attachment exists then love exists.

    Your argument is semantic. I “believe” in love because I do love my kids, husband, and a couple other people. If you want to say I’m deeply attached, it’s ok but the argument is still semantics. And really, has nothing to do with athiesm.

  88. #88 Cliff
    March 7, 2008

    Those who are upset by PZ’s use of the term “believe” just need to replace it with “acknowledge.” There – all fixed.

  89. #89 MAJeff, OM
    March 7, 2008

    Now all we need is some budding Bach or Mozart to set the Credo to music. Any volunteers? It might help to translate it into Latin first, though, to sneak it past the censors.

    I’ve been trying to find a decent video (w/English) of Iago’s “Credo” in Verdi’s Otello. Such awesome evil!

  90. #90 MyaR
    March 7, 2008

    Maybe he should paint emo-Jesus.

    Made me laugh out loud. OK, snicker quietly, I’m in an office full of nerdy programmers and sales guys.

    October Mermaid, I wish I could offer you something, but I found atheism liberating partially because there’s no afterlife. This is what we’ve got, so let’s get on with making it interesting and enjoyable.

  91. #91 Greg Peterson
    March 7, 2008

    Che, just so you know, there’s no such thing as “music.” Those are just patterns of sound that we recognize and call “music” out of cultural convention.

    Dude, don’t be a putz.

  92. #92 J
    March 7, 2008

    Ah, what do you expect from a furry?

  93. #93 SteveM
    March 7, 2008

    More and more I think that religion and belief in a diety in general is simply a desire to remain a child. A child with a loving parent that will never die, will tell you what is right and wrong, hug you when you’re sad, tell you fanciful stories of how thunder is angels bowling and rain is god’s tears etc.
    Atheists have simply “grown up” and decided to face the world like an adult. To reason what is right and wrong, to find out what really makes thunder and rain, and to find others to whom to give their love.
    This artist is still a child (regardless of his true age)who can’t imagine what it would be like to be an adult without an eternal parent to watch over him and give him everlasting unconditional love. That is what he means when he says, “I don’t think atheists can even know love”. To him, love is what comes from his parents, not an emotion he may feel for another. So he imagines that without god he would not know love, just like a 5 year old would imagine his parents leaving him.
    Time to grow up and realize that God really is just Santa Claus for children who only think they are adults.

  94. #94 Andrew
    March 7, 2008

    @80 What are you talking about? Atheists do believe in love.

    Happiness isnt all that matters. Were you not reading the rest of the comments? You can be a tool bag theist and still be happy, it doesnt mean that belief system is valid though.

    What you are saying is a pet peeve of mine.

  95. #95 benji
    March 7, 2008

    In comparison to the transcendant-omnipotent being frozen in the theist mind (and hence, in some ancestral part of my being) it is true that atheists may feel weak and powerless towards the world.

    Until they realize that in fact, the power they thought they had through God was just… nothing. It was cowardness and weakness.

    So if the atheist is to be drawn in a box sitting on a bench, his back must be straight, and he must be proud of what he is. And if he’s still on the bench, it is only because he was sleeping earlier in the soft, easy-relief, bubble that his theist peers had made for him, at birth.

  96. #96 SteveM
    March 7, 2008

    Why do these theist tracks seem to love using Comic Sans, that infamous and hated font?

    Posted by: Plastic Nag

    PZ does that to distinguish them from well reasoned quotes.

  97. #97 Cuttlefish, OM
    March 7, 2008

    “An atheist cannot believe in love”
    This statement puts me at a loss for words–
    I’d really like to see him try to prove
    His thesis; clearly it’s absurd.
    Imagine, for a moment, God existed–
    Omnipotent, Omniscient, Everywhere–
    And just as preachers always have insisted,
    God indeed was loving, and did care.
    This love from God would dwarf our mortal hearts;
    Your spouse’s love is nothing next to His.
    The whole of human love, the smallest part
    Of God’s, for His is all there really is.
    I love. That is a fact, not mere faade;
    Yes, love exists, which can’t be said of God.

    (additional rant at http://digitalcuttlefish.blogspot.com/2008/03/love-love-love.html )

  98. #98 Holbach
    March 7, 2008

    It is no wonder that the religious insane perceives us
    atheists as basket cases and themselves as enlightened
    and destined for eternal rewards in the ether. I have
    never felt more alive and attuned to this temporary state
    of random existence than when I finally sloughed off all
    religion and embraced atheism, so tuned to the natural
    order of everything in the Universe. Atheism is the natural state; religion and all that it insanely entails
    comes only later by way of indoctrination and unsound
    thinking. To the religiously insane, there is no further
    explanation and none will be sought.
    The Atheist’s Creed, as offered by PZ could not express
    it any more eloquently.
    One statement by the retards is so assinine as to be so
    incredulous whenever we hear it: “Here lies the Atheist,
    all dressed up with no place to go” Though they mean it to
    be derogatory, the statement just falls back on them!
    That is the point: “No place to go”! The dumb fools see it
    as a loss of everything with no hereafter rewards! Leave it
    to religion to pose an idea that in effect makes them all
    the more ridiculous!

  99. #99 Glen Davidson
    March 7, 2008

    The idea that love is some made-up emotion, or transformation of another drive or attraction, sounds altogether too Freudian to me.

    Yes, yes, the satisfied breast-fed baby is really flushed with sexual pleasure, you know, because they’re at the oral stage. Women love their babies as a sublimated sexual attraction, leading to the Oedipal complex, blah blah.

    It didn’t have any evidence for it, or make any sense, when Freud first claimed those things, and subsequent study has made it all even less likely than then. “Love” may not be a “single emotion” or anything like that, but it covers a range of states which are quite real, and which go beyond the sublimation of sexual desire (what some like to bring out, people will die for love, they almost never will for sex).

    Only in the sense that love is not “one thing alone” would I agree that love is not, say, “a real thing in itself.” However, it certainly applies to real and related states of mind, so it is as real as the collection of parts and systems that we call a “cat.”

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7

  100. #100 RamblinDude
    March 7, 2008

    What’s interesting to me is that his comments are a perfect reflection of his religious conditioning.
    “I don’t think Atheists can even believe in love, which is the saddest part.”

    This isn’t original; it’s just one of the things Billy Graham, Pat Robertson, etc. say. (Billy Graham got knighted for saying stupid shit like this!)

    Sunday sermons have been pounding this message into people’s brains for so long that it is taken as an obvious truth. This guy isn’t exploring reality; he’s just repeating dogma–and he would be doing it no matter what kind of mood he was in.

    In the world of religion, everything about the human condition is used to redirect the attention to the images and dogmas of the belief system.

  101. #101 extatyzoma
    March 7, 2008

    i dont see a man sitting in an empty box i see a man on a stool incredibly balanced on the edge of a solid 4 sided pyramid with its top chopped off, the painter is really saying we are very clever circus trick people.

  102. #102 extatyzoma
    March 7, 2008

    i like the caption ‘rewards of the atheist’ so if that were the theistic version there would be (and here it depends if we are looking at a room or a truncated pyramid so either in or on)lots of wine, and jesus and virgins caressing his testes yes?? funny how theism is all about rewards, rather like being in nursery school with those little gold stars.

  103. #103 Jay
    March 7, 2008

    I’m not as insulted as an atheist as much as I am insulted as an artist. This work is tragically bad. It’s not even worth further commentary.

  104. #104 has
    March 7, 2008

    If this picture offends you

    That’s not offensive; this is offensive:

    http://furryjesus.ytmnd.com/

    (Caution: contains audio and saturated FAIL; not safe for anyone with any self-respect.)

  105. #105 Ray Ingles
    March 7, 2008

    Of course atheists can believe in love. I have a whole screed on it on the chunk of my website devoted to atheism. Short form: Duh, atheists feel love too. Even if they didn’t, love can be seen by its effects on behavior. (How many songs are there about the difference between saying you love someone and actually acting like it?)

    BTW, Che – I define love as “the condition where the happiness of another becomes important or essential to your own.” And yeah, that exists outside of cultural construction. Oy.

  106. #106 Interrobang
    March 7, 2008

    I looked at that and thought, “Yeah, okay, I can have a lot of fun sitting alone in a room.” I don’t actually consider that sort of thing to be a punishment; it gives me time to think. Then again, if one is a theist, time to think is its own punishment, more often than not.

    My mother always said that left to their own devices, only stupid people get bored. Intelligent people can always find something to do. (Even if they’re stuck alone in a bare room by a teenage dumbshit.)

  107. #107 Wrought
    March 7, 2008

    How dare he draw a cartoon depicting my beliefs in this way! Time to start burning people alive and bombing churches! Oh wait, sorry, I forgot… atheists have ethics based on community values. Let’s sit him down, buy him a pint and explain where he’s going wrong.

  108. #108 Jer
    March 7, 2008

    I loved the creed, PZ. Thanks for posting that.

  109. #109 has
    March 7, 2008

    Oh, and here’s Brunching Shuttlecocks’ most excellent “Geek Hierarchy” diagram for reference (although it doesn’t include ScienceBloggers for some reason):

    http://www.brunching.com/images/geekchartbig.gif

  110. #110 RamblinDude
    March 7, 2008

    i dont see a man sitting in an empty box i see a man on a stool incredibly balanced on the edge of a solid 4 sided pyramid with its top chopped off, the painter is really saying we are very clever circus trick people.

    I see a man exploring special relativity: sitting in a box that is accelerating smoothly through space at one G and achieving incredible speeds—and all the while feeling like he’s still sitting in a room on earth.

    Exploring our amazing reality; the rewards of atheism.

  111. #111 Hap
    March 7, 2008

    Posit the Bible as true. What did people do before Jesus wandered along? They had kids, families, kept animals, partied, wept, lived and died. These things happened even to the other people who didn’t believe in God (they may or may not have believed in other ones). So if love wasn’t possible without God, then why were these people able to go on, to reproduce and and do all (well, most) of the things we do today? In addition, it seems like various groups claiming to believe in God came to opposite decisions on the morality of their actions, so their belief in God did not help them behave morally, because some of them did not. Again, how did societies manage to exist and not destroy themselves without a belief in God? History seems to indicate that people can live and live morally without the belief which the artist claims is necessary for such life – either history is wrong, or the artist is.

    P.S., Artist: You know, if you want to deal with reality through art, then you need to be willing to deal with criticism of your art and defend it. If you haven’t the courage to deal with the issues your art raises, there’s no reason for anyone to spend their time pondering your art, because it isn’t likely to say anything deep enough about life or anything else to be worth the time. If you persist in your art you will have to confront a world unlikely to believe or perceive what you do, and if you cannot deal with that confrontation, then you should choose another method of self-fulfillment.

  112. #112 K. Signal Eingang
    March 7, 2008

    I admit to being a little sickened by the image, but that is mainly down to shoddy execution. There’s a twisted and ruined perspective on display here in more ways than one.

    What kind of artist is so friggin’ incompetent they can neither render nor shade a simple cube? (Oh right, a deviantartist.)

  113. #113 defectiverobot
    March 7, 2008

    Boy, that picture brings back memories.

    Years ago I had a friend tell me that it was sad that I didn’t believe in god. “So empty and alone,” was how I think she put it.

    My response? “I’m not in the box…I’m OUT OF IT!”

    Or, to quote Austin Powers: “It’s freedom, baby, yeah!”

  114. #114 Brownian, OM
    March 7, 2008

    What did people do before Jesus wandered along?

    I sometimes think that’s why hominid evolution is so hard to accept by theists (and some philosophers). It sure is hard to posit statements like “the purpose of life is to praise God”, or “the nature of man is…” when you’ve got all these pesky generations for whom such statements do not hold.

  115. #115 Hank
    March 7, 2008

    Attention to deviantart users is like crack to a junkie.

    Case in point:

    Thanks for displaying me like I was some type of Circus freak. My pageveiws have never been higher!

  116. #116 Tayi
    March 7, 2008

    I just wanted to say that I think the atheist’s creed you wrote is quite beautiful.

  117. #117 Sastra
    March 7, 2008

    For some reason, talk about the unavoidable “God-shaped hole” we have to fill with God always reminds me of those days when women were routinely informed that the entire point of their existence was marriage and motherhood. If you could not find a man, or have a child, your life could only be an empty wasteland, and existence was ashes. Everything else the world had to offer — all creativity, love, exploration, wisdom, beauty, achievement, and pleasure — was denied to the barren woman.

    It’s not enough that marriage and children are one means of fulfillment, and not to everyone’s taste — no, they are the sine qua non of existence. It’s all — or it’s nothing. And if you don’t find belief in God to be the ONLY thing that makes life worthwhile, that speaks to the poverty of your viewpoint, instead of my own.

    If you’re told something like that often enough, you tend to buy into it. Even if it makes no sense.

    Instead of “Rewards of the Atheist” you could re-caption the picture as “The Rest of My Miserable Life If Bobby Doesn’t Ask Me to the Prom.”

    As SteveM said, grow up.

  118. #118 Kyle R.
    March 7, 2008

    So I was walking with my buddy Jesus one day, on the beach of all places, and I noticed that there were two sets of footprints behind us, one set belonging to me, the other to Jesus.

    I spoke to Jesus, “Lord, I’m looking back over these footprints of my life. And I noticed something: sometimes there are only one set of footprints, and each time that occurs, it is always during the hardest times of my life. Why is that?”

    He replied, “Kyle, my son… that’s when you were downtrodden and I had to get the fuck out of Dodge before you started bringing me down, too.” Then he stuck his sandal out and tripped me up — laughing heartily as I ate sand.

    That Jesus, always cracking jokes.

  119. #119 Kyle R.
    March 7, 2008

    You guys better not tell Jesus I told you that, or there will be footprints on my ass instead of in the sand. For serious.

  120. #120 Carlie
    March 7, 2008

    If this picture offends you, remember that it is not directed at you. Even if you are an atheist.

    If it claims to be about atheists, but isn’t directed at atheists, then who the hell is it directed at?

    Oh, right, the religious people who want to feel superior to everyone else.

  121. #121 Joolya
    March 7, 2008

    A more apt illustration would be the athiest on a stool on a tiny Little Prince-style planetessimal, with the vastness of the universe opening up around him/her on all sides.

    This image would still scare the shit out of most theists, though, don’t you think?

  122. #122 Sonja
    March 7, 2008

    If you just drew a piano in front of him, it wouldn’t be that far off.

  123. #123 garth
    March 7, 2008

    heh

  124. #124 BGC
    March 7, 2008

    PZ-
    Love your Atheists Creed! I couldn’t help but think of “Ulysses” by Alfred Lord Tennyson which concludes:

    There lies the port; the vessel puffs her sail;
    There gloom the dark, broad seas. My mariners,
    Souls that have toil’d, and wrought, and thought with me,–
    That ever with a frolic welcome took
    The thunder and the sunshine, and opposed
    Free hearts, free foreheads,– you and I are old;
    Old age hath yet his honor and his toil.
    Death closes all; but something ere the end,
    Some work of noble note, may yet be done,
    Not unbecoming men that strove with Gods.
    The lights begin to twinkle from the rocks;
    The long day wanes; the slow moon climbs; the deep
    Moans round with many voices. Come, my friends.
    ‘Tis not too late to seek a newer world.
    Push off, and sitting well in order smite
    The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
    To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
    Of all the western stars, until I die.
    It may be that the gulfs will wash us down;
    It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
    And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.
    Tho’ much is taken, much abides; and tho’
    We are not now that strength which in old days
    Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are,–
    One equal temper of heroic hearts,
    Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
    To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

    We atheists need to live up to the last three lines…
    BGC

  125. #125 Sonja
    March 7, 2008

    Well, you won’t find it on google yet, because it is my creed, which is mine, which I just wrote down this morning.

    PZ, I’m hearing of a hint of Ann Elk, from the classic Cleese Python sketch:

    “Well, this is what it is – my theory that I have, that is to say, which is mine, is mine”

  126. #126 Karey
    March 7, 2008

    This guy can’t be more than 22 with that kind of sophomoric attitude. At least he got one thing right. It most definitely isn’t directed at atheists, its just preaching to the choir for other religious freaks. They enjoy spreading lies about other people amongst themselves.

  127. #127 rijkswaanvijand
    March 7, 2008

    Nice quotation pixelfish!
    As for theists, too believe in an allmighty god is a definite product of fear. Fear of not being omnipotent, fear of not knowing all that is.
    Where science tries to solve mysteries, religion rather cloaks them in an illusion involving an omnipotent projection of a man-like ruler or creator…
    And still..
    If god is everything.. This “universe” might have created perceptive organisms (organs better yet) to gaze upon itself.
    And if so, god sure as goddamned hell wouldn’t want us to ignore the whole scenery.

    Post scriptum: drawing sucks nuts

  128. #128 peter garayt
    March 7, 2008

    Dear ‘October Mermaid’

    I’m a bit of a lonely atheist myself, just not the same resons.
    When I am feeling a bit lost I go into nature, and I mean some lively nature, not a city park.
    After observing and absorbing for a while I kind of get a recharge of sorts. An, OK I get it again thing.
    You do have an afterlife. Just not a conscious one.
    A drag for one’s ego but great for the universe.
    Every on of your atoms will become part of an infinite number of other things an infinite number of times.
    To me that beats heaven hands down
    peter

  129. #129 bipolar2
    March 7, 2008

    ** The “madman” is not emo. **

    Nietzsche’s “madman” appears in section 125 of “Die Froeliche Wissenschaft” — Kaufmann translates as “The Gay Science.” [The primary meaning assigned to 'gay' between 1954 and today has altered considerably; it has to be mentioned.] Perhaps “The Exuberant Science” would work.

    Of course the “madman” is not insane at all. He is looking for “God” with a capital G exactly the same way in which Diogenes the Cynic, lantern in hand, looked for the Platonic form of “Man.” The Platonic idea, Man, cannot be found because it does not exist. The “madman” knows that God is dead.

    It is this knowledge, lacking in a xian-saturated culture, which he cannot convey to his listeners in the noisy marketplace of worthless ideas. Though the mob itself was the murderer of God. The deed and its consequences (war on an international scale, widespread social disorder) were light-years away. Sadly, World War I was only 26 years off when N became incurably insane in 1889.

    Also, it’s important to read sections 108-127 inclusive in FW to understand just what N is doing in section 125.

    After Buddha died his shadow was shown in a cave . . . .

    bipolar2

  130. #130 Nevyn
    March 7, 2008

    You know how much a studio that size would cost in the East Village? And I get if for free being an atheist? Sign me up!

  131. #131 BJN
    March 7, 2008

    PZ, if you’ve got nothing better to do than find insignificant stuff like this and hammer a confused adolescent, the battle of ideas must be going a lot better than I thought.

  132. #132 Sarah
    March 7, 2008

    BJN, lighten up. The kid in question needs a good intellectual bashing.

  133. #133 peter garayt
    March 7, 2008

    Dear ‘October Mermaid’

    I’m a bit of a lonely atheist myself, just not for the same reasons.
    When I am feeling a bit lost I go into nature, and I mean some lively nature, not a city park.
    After observing and absorbing for a while I kind of get a recharge of sorts. An, OK I get it again thing.
    You do have an afterlife. Just not a conscious one.
    A drag for one’s ego but great for the universe.
    Every one of your atoms will become part of an infinite number of other things an infinite number of times.
    To me that beats heaven hands down
    peter

  134. #134 Me
    March 7, 2008

    “This atheist simply believes in all that is (which is quite a lot), and doesn’t believe in that which isn’t …”
    But doesn’t KNOW what all is or isn’t, but never-the-less has great FAITH in what he BELIEVES is or isn’t, and will shout such from the roof-tops as do all the truly wise members of his species.

  135. #135 K
    March 7, 2008

    How but a theist in a room shackled to the cross. He has blinders on his eyes and the cube is completely dark. Above him a light shines from the ceiling. Unable to identify it’s source, the theist mistakenly identifies the light as god.

  136. #136 ME
    March 7, 2008

    “Every one of your atoms will become part of an infinite number of other things an infinite number of times.”

    No, eventually the universe will suffer heat-death and all your atoms will stay in what-ever state they are in forever. Permanent stagnation.

  137. #137 Pete M
    March 7, 2008

    The artist’s intent with this picture actually does prove his point. Religion is more comforting than atheism. Ofcourse it is. If only it were so easy as choosing to believe. Right? Who would be an Atheist? But truth requires more than belief. This human need for comfort and purpose is clearly shown by this work. So when I saw this post I was reminded of the psychological role religions and gods play for us. Religion provides you with comfort, allows you to connect with something much larger than yourself, and gives your life meaning. This does NOT mean that it is true though. Scientific verification does that. It simply means we are biased to believe in religion because it does so much psychologically. So much that some even feel bad for atheists because they are missing out on all the love and wonder. I strongly disagree with this pity. On the contrary, I find the natural world incredibly amazing and inspiring as is. No god necessary…

  138. #138 mooglar
    March 7, 2008

    Apparently, that little room has an endless loop of Queensryche’s “I Don’t Believe In Love” playing, ’cause, you know, since atheists don’t believe in love, it’s like our anthem and stuff.

    But heck, Jedi don’t believe in love either, and I’d totally trade love for cool Force powers and a lightsaber. We atheists are totally getting ripped off! No love and no smacking people around with telekinesis either! Jeesh!

  139. #139 Michael X
    March 7, 2008

    If this picture offends you, remember that it is not directed at you. Even if you are an atheist.

    I see what the artist is trying to do here. He’s trying to clarify the difference between the holder of a view, and the view itself. He’s simply giving his nonsense idea of atheism, but doesn’t doesn’t wish for Jon Doe, who’s also an atheist, to think of this as a personal attack.

    Now he fails in being upstanding and even handed in two places. One is that while realizing that this could irritate people, he has refused to have an open discourse about it. This not only cuts off any revision of his own thoughts, but it also cuts the rest of the world off from hearing his reasons. Basically, he’s acting like a chickenshit.

    The other reason is that while we can criticize views without speaking of those who hold them, the knowledge that “I” am not being attacked personally doesn’t stop me from being irritated that “my” position has been attacked. Since, I’m the holder of it, “I” am indirectly being criticized. So it’s still going to cause a stir. He expects that by giving a disclaimer for one type of offense, he has diffused them all.

    So fine, the kid doesn’t want any of us to think this is an attack on us as people. I’m fine with that. But he isn’t going to defend his nonsense, and doesn’t realize that it’s still going to irritate us as it is an attack upon our views, even if he isn’t attacking us as view holders.

    So at the end of the day he remains ignorant, acts like a coward, and doesn’t even have the goodwill to try and save us nihilistic atheists from our delusions. Well done.

  140. #140 The Flying Trilobite
    March 7, 2008

    Man alive! All the disses to deviantART are crazy. It’s a great place to showcase work and get in touch with other artists.

    I’ve got a gallery there, The Flying Trilobite Gallery
    and PixelFish is no slouch either. Dismissing deviantART artists is much like dissing anyone using WordPress or Blogger.

    That said, this work is pretty immature. It shows the same level of care and control and striving toward quality that his arguments do.

    Now please, throw some pageviews toward PixelFish and myself. It’s for the good of atheist-artists everywhere. :-)

    (PixelFish, you rock. I’m adding your gallery to my blogroll.)

  141. #141 poke
    March 7, 2008

    I like and agree with your creed, PZ.

    I don’t get this “believe in love nonsense.” People talk about believing in love or happiness but never about believing in pain or exasperation or itchiness. Presumably people usually mean they believe that love or happiness can be achieved or can endure. The claim that materialists can’t believe in love is something else though; I’m not sure how to make sense of it. I think it’s just a case of people conflating two different ways of using the word “believe.”

  142. #142 Karey
    March 7, 2008

    For more depth on this guy’s definition of love (archived on fstdt since he’s hiding the comment on his site):
    http://www.fstdt.com/fundies/comments.aspx?q=35828

    Summary: community charity work is the opposite of a loving act and a waste of time and we better stop it before its too late.

  143. #143 Me
    March 7, 2008

    An atheist’s creed

    I believe in time,
    matter, and energy,
    which make up the whole of the world.(Well, and “space” also … actually the 4 dimensional space-time that Einstein talked about … but, of course, there could be 11 or 13 dimensions of space as the string theorists say … but that’s just theory, and I don’t BELIEVE in theory, only FACTS, but then when it comes down to it everything is science is theory, and I know FOR SURE that I believe in science! And science says there is matter and energy, or rather maybe matter and energy are two aspects of the same thing, but that’s all in the realm theory not fact, which is what I believe in … now where was I? Ah yes, I believe in facts, facts provided by science. It is rather inconvenient that science only provides me with theories …

    I think I’ll go eat lunch and write my creed some other time.

  144. #144 Rory Tate
    March 7, 2008

    The following perfect quote comes to mind whenever I hear yet another religious person equate atheism or non-theism with nihilism, depression, anger, etc.

    “We are all tolerant enough of those who do not agree with us, provided only they are sufficiently miserable.”
    - David Grayson

    That picture/concept is simply the only way some religious people have been able to resolve living among people who think differently. Their loss….

  145. #145 RamblinDude
    March 7, 2008

    The claim that materialists can’t believe in love is something else though; I’m not sure how to make sense of it. I think it’s just a case of people conflating two different ways of using the word “believe.”

    I don’t see the problem of using the word “believe”, either. I believe I exist. I could use a bunch of other words and phrases to get the idea across, but “believe” is what it boils down to. I believe I get hungry and cold and feel emotions. The point is: my beliefs are not set in stone. I don’t depend on them for psychological security. It may turn out that I am wrong, and that many of my beliefs are illusory. I’m okay with that. The truth is more important than my beliefs.

    The word belief doesn’t always mean “ideology”.

  146. #146 dave
    March 7, 2008
  147. #147 ChrisGose
    March 7, 2008

    The artist who drew the picture speaks volumes about a lot of theistic mentality.

    All they care about are some petty rewards more than anything else.

    They’re more concerned with getting doggie buscuits for having faith even though they could have a fat juicy steak for having reason.

  148. #148 Michelle
    March 7, 2008

    @Flying Trilobite: I agree. Dev is a great place to show furries, fetishes and lame “omg i wanna draw japanese” kiddie art.

  149. #149 blue
    March 7, 2008

    I can’t believe that this post (of all the wonderful things posted here) finally brings me out of lurkdom!

    It’s true that DeviantArt contains a lot of silliness, but it also contains quite a bit of very nice art. Full disclosure: I have a small gallery there, myself.

    There’s also a nice variety of cephalopod art. Here’s one of my favorites – absolutely adorable!

  150. #150 Spaulding
    March 7, 2008

    This atheist simply believes in all that is

    Don’t buy into their terminology. Accepting the world as it is does not resemble “belief” in unsubstantiated stories. Some atheists may well have beliefs, but atheism is not about beliefs. It’s about confident, provisional acceptance of interpretations of the world that are best supported by evidence.

    Belief is too frivolous a word for something so simple. “Belief”, like “faith”, implies a confusion between “is” and “ought”, and suggests a lack of a filtering system to differentiate between true and false. The evidence-based “acceptance” that I describe above is not a similar means of constructing a worldview. Terminology should reflect this enormous difference in methodology.

  151. #151 What a COCK!
    March 7, 2008

    What a FANNY!

    LOL!! This JERKOFF will no doubt be eaten by wolves or be discovered roughly penetrating some poor child in the not-to-distant future. I would dearly love to ACTUALLY spit in his/her contorted face. Get FUCKED dickwad!!!

    LOL!!!

  152. #152 RamblinDude
    March 7, 2008

    It’s not that there isn’t any truth to the picture, or that it doesn’t pertain to atheists. It encapsulates what is a component of the human condition–not just the atheist condition. And that’s what is so irritating about it.

    Everybody feels like this at times, but religion tells you to paint whimsical murals on the wall that show lions lying peacefully with sheep, and the sweet face of Jesus (so full of goodness, and understanding, and infinite compassion)–all in an effort to cover up the four walls and pretend that the lovely pictures are infinite, wide open spaces. The only problem is all the nose bleeds that result.

    Atheists are more interested in examining the walls to see what they’re made of. And besides, all those fantasy pictures are annoying; they may be covering up a door!

  153. #153 akshay
    March 7, 2008

    I was googling to see if the Mahatma Ghandi quote at the end of the webpade linked was legitimate when i came across this website.

    http://www.richardbewes.com/comments-6.html

    HE WRITES:

    SEVEN STEPS FOR ATHEISTS
    By Richard Bewes

    You’re hard at it, my friends – some of you; but you need a more vigorous recruiting method if you’re to have a hope of turning the world atheist. For all the efforts of a number of your champions, you’re falling behind on a number of fronts. Ought you not perhaps to disown some of your more prominent up-front spokespersons – who only seem to be turning out the well-worn slogans and boring cliches of many centuries? As an outsider to your cause, then, here are a few tips – nothing too heavy:

    1. Up-grade your message
    The BBC, here in the UK, does you a good turn from time to time, in sticking an atheist on its ‘religious’ morning programme Thought for the Day. As a Christian I’ve done a number of Thoughts myself for them.But why do your representatives come up with such daft and stale utterances as that given by your Richard Dawkins? – “Humanity can now leave the cry-baby stage and learn that it has finally come of age.” We’ve heard this sort of thing before. My goodness – we would like to see some substantial indication of the truth behind Dawkins’ statement. When was the turning point of our growing-up supposed to have taken place?

    It was the celebrated Professor C.E.M. Joad who thought that the point was being reached quite early in the twentieth century; that our problems could be dealt with as circumstantial – relating to environment, lack of education and the ‘growing pains’ of the human race. But Joad completely back-tracked in 1952, after the experience of two world-wars. In his book Recovery of Belief, he admitted that such a theory “has been rendered utterly unplausible by the events of the last 40 years. To me, at any rate, the view of evil implied by Marxism, expressed by Shaw and maintained by modern psychotherapy, a view which regards evil as a by-product of circumstances, which circumstances can therefore alter and even eliminate, has come to seem intolerably shallow.”

    So, in the face of today’s escalating wars, conflicts and atrocities on a bewildering variety of fronts, it’s a suggestion (only a suggestion) that you do what we Christians have done. Despite all the world problems that perplex us, we at least have worked out a framework of thinking that takes account of how evil entered our world, what God has done about it and how we may confront it. Suggestion: let the ‘growing-up’ argument be tactfully ditched, and some re-thinking be done. If not Dawkins, then someone else should try a little harder.

    2. Be positive about your atheism

    I once did a debate with a group of atheists and agnostics in Harold Wood, Essex, years ago; they were the Havering Humanists. I wasn’t too surprised when, some years later, they folded up – because in the debate I was aware, not of what they were for, but only of what they were against -and that was Christianity.

    It doesn’t add much to the argument when one of your representatives, Philip Pulman, declares, “Without a doubt Christianity will cease to exist in a few years.” Does he not know that the Emperor Diocletian even had a medal struck at the turn of the third century AD, to celebrate the end of Christianity? In the end it was the Roman empire that bit the dust. Voltaire some two centuries ago prophesied that the Bible would soon be obsolete. He would have been surprised if he had known that his own Parisian residence would one day be turned into a Bible depot.

    No, the historian T.R. Glover is nearer the mark in his words, “The final disappearance of Christianity has been prophesied so often as to be no longer interesting.” See to it, then; surely you atheists can improve on these clapped-out sentiments?

    And it is absolutely no answer at all, when asked what your world-view is, to answer “I’m an atheist”; what we would want to know is not what you don’t believe, but what you do believe, about life and its meaning, on this world. How do you interpret your own existence? What is life for?

    It was Mahatma Gandhi years ago who was once asked to organise and promote an atheistic cult. He replied, “It amazes me to find an intelligent person who fights against something in which he does not believe.” Exactly. Atheism is a denial – and if it simply stays as that, then its only reason for existing is parasitic. So my tip for the atheist is, See if you can develop a positive message which does not rely on an adversary to keep its momentum going! Otherwise, all you will do is to harden and strengthen the defences of your opponents. So what do you believe – positively?

    3. Be creative about your atheism

    Forget what you’re trying to attack; there’s no lasting future in that. Instead, start to express your atheism creatively; to address sonnets to it, to create sculptures – and dedicate concertos to it. I’m not sure you have done much in this field of sheer creativity yet; symphonies, paintings, statues, poetry? Most of the art galleries in Europe seem to be stuffed with the work of Christians. See if you can fill the beautiful museums of this world with vivid and attractive expressions of your belief-system. Anything else? –

    4. Be populist in your appeal

    Rallies, for example. Oh, you need to do more than book a London theatre for an esoteric debate with some religious cleric. That will only feed yourselves. No, think towards filling the biggest football stadiums you can – with people who are ready (and even longing?) for something better than what they are living for now. Like Billy Graham has done at Wembley Stadium. Why you might even emulate him as he did in Korea, and have a million in your audience at a disused airfield! He and Pope John Paul; they did tend to think big. Work a little harder.

    Can you do the equivalent of BBC Television’s Songs of Praise? Let’s hear your atheistic music with its positive lyrics than can lift, inspire and give new hope to millions!

    5. Show us your virtues

    It would be a help if you can show us around atheistic youth clubs and camps and summer houseparties and any work you may be doing among orphans; let’s see your family and play groups, and community centres.

    Could you take us on a tour of your work among the down-and-outs and the homeless, and your equivalent of the Salvation Army’s soup kitchens? And your centres for Aids sufferers? And the hospice movement – had you thought of getting any homes established, and staffing them yourselves?

    And – if we can be really adventurous – take us abroad for a peep at your leprosariums? I remember meeting Dr. Dennis Burkitt (of the Burkitt Lymphoma fame) out in Tanzania. He told me that he had been all over the tropics. Every single one of the leprosy hospitals he had ever visited were begun and run by Christians. Surely there must be one, run by an atheist organisation?

    You see, I’m not absolutely sure that we have seen all that you have done, or could do, for suffering humanity. It’s only my tip….

    6. Can you develop a ritual?

    Every movement of substance needs a form of celebration, if it is to appeal to great masses of people. I suppose that the only really big atheistic movements in recent times were Communism and Fascism. And indeed for a while they did pull young people into their ranks, with marches, flags, songs, parades, medals and orchestrated adulation of the leadership. Have you plans for a similar exercise? Always assuming, I hope, that you would avoid the persecution of non-adherents – the burning of books, the pulling down of buildings and destruction of family life that seemed to go hand in hand with these organised movements?

    So, I’d be glad to see how you celebrate your atheism. Which leads me to my last and seventh tip:

    7. Let’s see some joy in your lifestyle

    Oh we Christians have sometimes been accused of being kill-joys! Perhaps that has occurred when our beliefs have become rigidly nominal and mechanical. But visit a community which bears a close and personal relationship with Jesus Christ, and I would then ask whether you too have an infectious enthusiasm and joy that overspill with songs, love and practical service into the surrounding society, as theirs do, in community after community, in country after country – even when the government and the media try to shut down their operation. We have millions of martyrs on our roll of honour. I have known some of them. They were honoured to die for Christ. How far would you be prepared to be killed for your beliefs?

    Are your prophets and your champions happy people? Do they come across that way? For they – and you also – will certainly need to show some joy, if others are to be drawn like a magnet into the sheer satisfaction of an atheistic world-view that really holds together and makes sense of the universe!

    So, try a little harder. Seven tips, my friends. I wonder if this helps.

  154. #154 Zelc
    March 7, 2008
  155. #155 akshay
    March 7, 2008

    Its highly unsettling to see that many relgious people who use the language of religiousity to describe their motivations behind generosity assume arrogantly that an atheist devoid of the religious context should not have any motivation to do good things.

  156. #156 June
    March 7, 2008

    Ode To Atheism

    Sacred God of Evolution!
    Once again we seek advice,
    And to show our resolution
    We present a sacrifice.

    We have come to offer PZ
    On the altar of the gore.
    Take his blood and cut his heart out!
    Split his body into four.

    Never mind his screams and protests.
    Never mind he runs away.
    He’s the one who wrote the Credo.
    He’s the one who has to pay.

    No not us, we’re minor minions,
    Lurkers, trolls, and not to blame.
    We just comment with opinions.
    He’s the one who has the fame.

  157. #157 PixelFish
    March 7, 2008

    The Flying Trilobite: Awwww…thanks for your kind words. Oh, and I saw your comment over there first, before seeing this one here.

    *hi-fives all around for atheist artists*

    Blue: I enjoyed yer Cephalopods in Love. The murky quality of the water and the little glowing animals are great. I like the greens and blues you used.

  158. #158 phantomreader42
    March 7, 2008

    Karey @ #142:
    For more depth on this guy’s definition of love (archived on fstdt since he’s hiding the comment on his site):
    http://www.fstdt.com/fundies/comments.aspx?q=35828

    Summary: community charity work is the opposite of a loving act and a waste of time and we better stop it before its too late.

    That quote is an even greater masterpiece of projection than the picture!

    Here we have a person who derides atheists for being nihilists who don’t believe in love, without actually going to the trouble of meeting a single atheist to see if this characterization bears any resemblance to truth or not.

    And what does this person reveal about himself by his comments (which he hides to avoid criticism)? He reveals that he is a nihilist who doesn’t believe in love!

  159. #159 blue
    March 7, 2008

    PixelFish:

    Glad you liked the picture, but it’s not one of mine! Although I wish I’d done it.

    My gallery is here

  160. #160 Sandy
    March 7, 2008

    This atheist has a MySpace page. If the “artist” wants to see love, I’d gladly give him the URL so that he can visit the page that has parents, children, grandchildren, family, friends and a message of love to her children on her blog.

    Instead of viewing atheists as you are conditioned to view atheists, how about actually walking a mile in my atheist shoes and see if that doesn’t make you want to advance your art with more accuracy.

  161. #161 PixelFish
    March 7, 2008

    Blue: Ooooo…nice work too. I’m glad you came out of lurkitude.

  162. #162 Sastra
    March 7, 2008

    Karey #142:
    Wow, that’s some link. Assuming this is the artist, it certainly spells out his/her position on how we understand what it is to love:

    It’s all just dirt. Lousy dirt. money, your friends, your home, your family. all just dirt. and you will lose all that you have gained. because none of it is real. none of it will last forever, but I don’t need to explain that to you. you will find out for yourself.

    Love is apparently only “real” if it is “rewarded” by lasting forever. If it disappears, it never existed in the first place.

    I was raised without religion, and I never learned to think this way. I find this scorn for the “temporary” not just hard to understand, but as depressing and nihilistic as he credits atheism. In order to value God, the artist has managed to work up a hatred and contempt for all the love and beauty he or anyone else has ever experienced in this world. Very sad.

    If love means nothing if it lasts for a moment, where does it get its value if it lasts forever? This is not deep and wise — it’s shallow and callous. And more than a little frightening when you think THIS attitude is supposed to be the only foundation for understanding what “real” love is, and this sort of reasoning is why atheists always end up at the bottom of every poll on acceptance and tolerance taken. We “have no reason” to care about anything, and we don’t “get” where meaning comes from.

    Can you say ‘projection?’

    I copied this from a Christian site once because I thought it was funny:

    “I think we Christians should look at this world as being a filthy restroom at a roadside gas station. Fate has brought us here, we try to touch as little of it as possible while doing our business, we hope to leave quickly, and we don’t ever plan on coming here again until it’s under better management.”

    Yeah — and that’s how we learn values and avoid nihilism. Draw that.

  163. #163 Rey Fox
    March 7, 2008

    From the FStDT comment @#142, a real masterpiece of phrasing:
    “I would trade your life for the one I live any day.”

    I bet you would.

    And you’ll know they are Christians by their love.

  164. #164 RamblinDude
    March 7, 2008

    “the Reward of the Atheist”.

    The greed aspect of religion is something I’m very familiar with. I grew up surrounded by people who spent their lives trying to have the “faith of a grain of mustard seed” so they could get whatever they ask for. In church, many of them would utter the usual Christian catchphrases like “God is truth” or “the truth will set you free”, but the gleam in their eyes was about getting rewarded for being obedient.

    They cultivate sadness and pity for atheists, and remind themselves often that heathens and unbelievers won’t be rewarded in the after life. We stubborn deniers of “The Truth” will never know the joy of Jesus stroking our heads and saying, “Well done thou good and faithful servant.”

    Religion quite often epitomizes the merchant mentality, but greed for heavenly rewards is not spiritual, and it’s certainly not beautiful–it’s just greed.

  165. #165 Rey Fox
    March 7, 2008

    “In order to value God, the artist has managed to work up a hatred and contempt for all the love and beauty he or anyone else has ever experienced in this world. Very sad.”

    And yet this person is not living an ascetic life of religious study in a monastery somewhere. He/she’s in some comfortable house or apartment somewhere on the internet, and probably has a bunch of friends from church that he/she loves and possibly even a boyfriend/girlfriend. Drinking deeply of the cup of the same earthly pleasures that he/she scorns for their impermanency.

    I say, put up or shut up, dirt people.

  166. #166 Kyle W.
    March 7, 2008

    Glen Davidson is going to make me have to love someone if he keeps quoting my man Jim. :)

    Here’s my take at a fix, if no one else has beat me to this version (sorry if you have!)

  167. #167 Stanton
    March 7, 2008

    Religion quite often epitomizes the merchant mentality, but greed for heavenly rewards is not spiritual, and it’s certainly not beautiful–it’s just greed.

    It’s painfully ironic that this was one of the main reasons why Jesus Christ threw that temper tantrum in the Temple in the first place.

  168. #168 Pixelfish
    March 7, 2008

    Sastra’s comments made me think a little more about what our wee theist is trying to say. (And makes some good points about valuing love.)

    Theist sez: “But it’s not the love I know. a love that is immortal and will transcend this short life. thats the love I believe in.”

    I know logic isn’t his strong point, but if you believe that A) God exists and B) God’s love is eternal, then why does the atheist get excluded from that? If something is eternal, why would it stop existing for the atheist just because the atheist doesn’t believe in it. That would make the atheist more powerful than God’s love, and I’m pretty certain that’s not possible in the theist world-view.

  169. #169 Kseniya
    March 7, 2008

    Dude! Comment #152 really says it for me. Well done.

  170. #170 Dark
    March 7, 2008

    Just because the kid is delusional and ignorant and spouts a load of crap, there’s no need to insult 1. furry artists, 2. anime artists, 3. DeviantArt, or 4. his art specifically. It’s always an easy, cheap shot to throw in “And you can’t draw, either!” to something like this, but it is inappropriate and has nothing to do with the issue; it’s only intended to hurt the guy who offended you, which will make him slightly less amenable to reason.

    In any case, I actually reported him to DeviantArt and asked if this constitutes hate speech/offensive content under their Terms of Service I pointed out if it were titled “Reward of the Jew” and talked about how sad he felt for Jews because they locked themselves away from Jesus, it would be prima facie offensive and in violation. I asked for some follow-up to see how they feel about pieces attacking atheists. We’ll see how it goes…

  171. #171 tom j lawson
    March 7, 2008

    What more could an atheist want than a stool to sit and think? All else is excessive. That is a picture of Sam Harris meditating…

  172. #172 Charly
    March 7, 2008

    Kyle W. said:

    Here’s my take at a fix, if no one else has beat me to this version (sorry if you have!)

    That’s more like it!

  173. #173 PixelFish
    March 7, 2008

    Dark@168: Funny you should mention the DeviantArt TOS, because the bit you quoted on your website includes this:

    b. to upload, post, or otherwise transmit any material that is obscene, offensive, blasphemous, pornographic, unlawful, threatening, menacing, abusive, harmful, an invasion of privacy or publicity rights, defamatory, libelous, vulgar, illegal or otherwise objectionable;

    (I say funny, but maybe the blasphemy part is something we should consider getting DevArt to excise from their TOS. Hey, if Britain kicked their blasphemy laws today–as reported elsewhere on Pharyngula–DevArt might consider it too.)

  174. #174 Kseniya
    March 7, 2008

    Sastra:

    I find this scorn for the “temporary” not just hard to understand, but as depressing and nihilistic as he credits atheism.

    Yes! It’s all part of the same thing. I genuinely worry about people who claim there’s not love, no compassion, no altruism, no meaning, no morality without a god. Is their “faith”, regardless of how flimsy or robust, the only thing standing between them and hatred, discompassion, avarice, nihilism and amorality? It’s frightening and sad.

    I know a few Christians who believe that life on Earth doesn’t particularly matter, because it’s just a way station en route to the eternal. If that’s not a kind of nihilism, I don’t know what is. How can they claim to be “pro-life” when life means so little to them in the first place? They’re just killing time ’til time returns the favor.

  175. #175 Kseniya
    March 7, 2008

    Heh.. PixelFish, Dark, and others who’ve brought up the TOS:

    I gotta say, that TOS doesn’t strike me as very “Deviant”. LOL

    (With that said, I defend DevArt for being a fun and useful site for reasons already stated by others, above. The innertoobz are a better place with DevArt than without it. IMOSHO.)

  176. #176 K
    March 7, 2008

    As Krensada often identifies himself as “me” on his profiles like: http://krensada.sheezyart.com/ for example. I’d say he might be lurking at #134

  177. #177 mona
    March 7, 2008

    I just posted some of the lyrics to Imagine there.. And then I got carried away with other stuff and posted your adorable cephalopod.

    It looks like the comments are arranged differently when you log in, as opposed to browsing as a guest. In the latter case, you have to clock through 29 pages of hidden comments until getting to the recent, un-hidden ones. When logged in, the most recent comments are listed first.

    its satre but there ya go.

    The only thing I can’t tell is, whether this is supposed to say that the picture is satire, or a reference to Sartre. Which wouldn’t make much sense, but would be quite amusing to me.

  178. #178 Bronze Dog
    March 7, 2008

    I tend to see Deviant Art the way I see Blogger. 90%+ of just about everything is crap. Sift out the bits you like.

    That said, rant of mine.

  179. #179 Brownian, OM
    March 7, 2008

    YGUTMA: You guys use too many acronyms.

  180. #180 mmusic
    March 7, 2008

    O ME! O life! of the questions of these recurring,
    Of the endless trains of the faithless, of cities fill’d with the
    foolish,
    Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I,
    and who more faithless?)
    Of eyes that vainly crave the light, of the objects mean, of the
    struggle ever renew’d,
    Of the poor results of all, of the plodding and sordid crowds I see
    around me,
    Of the empty and useless years of the rest, with the rest me
    intertwined,
    The question, O me! so sad, recurring-What good amid these, O me,
    O life?

    Answer.
    That you are here-that life exists and identity,
    That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.

    ~Walt Whitman
    I prefer this one, it is similiar to PZs, but much better written :)

  181. #181 HairyRatTail
    March 7, 2008

    #164, nice correction.

  182. #182 Monado, FCD
    March 7, 2008

    I diagnose that the artist has a Tooth-Fairy-shaped hole in his heart.

  183. #183 Dark
    March 7, 2008

    Pixelfish@#171: Yeah, “blasphemy” sort of jumps out atcha and makes you go “What’s THAT doing there?!” I considered making a separate issue out of that, but hey, one thing at a time. ;) I’m waiting to see if DeviantArt notes me back to see where they stand on the whole issue. Though I’m not going to be remotely surprised if it’s something along the lines of “We defend against religious hate speech, and atheism isn’t a religion, lol sorry. You godless heathens are on your own. :D”

    Kseniya@#173: DeviantArt is the least deviant art site you could possibly find. You want deviant art, you google y!gallery.. I guarantee you’ll find something to blind you within the first five minutes. (Disclaimer: Not because of the gay. Gay is great. I love the gay. But Dragonball Z BDSM porn, I could live happily without ever even contemplating the existence of. ..Although, hilariously enough, even y!gallery bans the furries.)

  184. #184 Dark
    March 7, 2008

    Oh no!!

    “[Comments have been Permanently disabled for the reason of my message inbox being flooded...and I just don't care to hear your opinions anymore...I'm quite tired of hearing the same thing over and over.]”

    Sadness. :(

  185. #185 Loki
    March 7, 2008

    Just in case anyone cares he’s given up and turned off the comments.

  186. #186 Kseniya
    March 7, 2008

    “I’m quite tired of hearing the same thing over and over”

    Aren’t we all.

  187. #187 Loki
    March 7, 2008

    This is what I get for turning into a falcon: slow typing.
    What say we dig out his e-mail and start sending objections to that?

  188. #188 meandering
    March 7, 2008

    Well, thank you for posting it. The indent before the creed made me think it was a quote of someone else’s work.

  189. #189 Someone who is not Loki
    March 7, 2008

    And here it is on the front page: Krensada@gmail.com
    Might be childish to fill his inbox but it would also be funny.

  190. #190 Kseniya
    March 7, 2008

    I’m rather fond of Madalyn Murray O’Hair’s statement at the top of the legal complaint which initiated Murray v. Curlett. Most of you are probably familiar with this, but for those who aren’t, check it out. It’s not only good, it’s historic:

    “Your petitioners are Atheists and they define their lifestyle as follows. An Atheists loves himself and his fellow man instead of a god. An Atheist thinks that heaven is something for which we should work for now – here on earth- for all men together to enjoy. An Atheist accepts that he can get no help through prayer but that he must find in himself the inner conviction and strength to meet life, to grapple with it, subdue and enjoy it. An Atheist thinks that only in knowledge of himself and a knowledge of his fellow man can he find the understanding that will help to a life of fulfillment.

    “Therefore, he seeks to know himself and his fellow man rather than to ‘know’ a god. An Atheist knows that a hospital should be built instead of a church. An Atheist knows that a deed must be done instead of a prayer said. An Atheist strives for involvement in life and not escape into death.

    “He wants disease conquered, poverty vanquished, war eliminated. He wants man to understand and love man. He wants an ethical way of life. He knows that we cannot rely on a god nor channel action into prayer nor hope for an end of troubles in a hereafter. He knows that we are our brothers’ keepers in that we are, first, keepers of our lives; that we are responsible persons, that the job is here and the time is now.”

    The job is here, and the time is now.

    That kinda says it all, for me. Those are words to live by whether one believes in a god or not.

    People like our little artist buddy who think life is dirt obviously don’t get this.

  191. #191 Brownian, OM
    March 7, 2008

    I can’t believe that we shouldn’t spam his Gmail. However, I’ll fake belief this time and say that it shouldn’t be done.

    Okay, maybe just one little email each to remind him that our outrage ‘is not directed at’ him.

  192. #192 Stanton
    March 7, 2008

    Last I checked, which was 15 seconds ago, the artist has already deleted it.

  193. #193 Kseniya
    March 7, 2008

    Henceforth he shall be referred to only as “The Artist Formerly Known As ‘Dirt’”.

  194. #194 Bob L
    March 7, 2008

    LOL, he pulled it down because he claims it violated the Deviantart TOS

    http://krensada.deviantart.com/journal/

    A poor artist who doesn’t know perspective and a coward. What a loser.

  195. #195 Loki
    March 7, 2008

    So not only is he an idiot and a goit he’s a coward?
    Spam him.

  196. #196 Diablitabuena
    March 7, 2008

    Excellent… I’ll save this and show it to my future grandchildren someday. Thank you

  197. #197 Tressa
    March 7, 2008

    Wonderful creed.

  198. #198 Loki
    March 7, 2008

    Also, we could be cunning and have all the e-mails be thanking him for taking down the offensive art and then a second set explaining atheism so he’ll know not to be offensive next time. You know, spam disguised as an attempt to help and make peace.

  199. #199 Dungeon Inhabitant
    March 7, 2008

    “l’enfer, c’est les autres”)

  200. #200 Kseniya
    March 7, 2008

    Great idea, Loki! Good thing this is a private blog, so nobody will know what we’re up to.

    *whistles tunelessly*

  201. #201 Dark
    March 7, 2008

    Aw, it took a little too long, and now he’s gone and deleted the piece, but I drew him some fanart.

    http://kaiwolf.deviantart.com/art/Rewards-of-Krensada-79375927

  202. #202 Brownian, OM
    March 7, 2008

    Also, we could be cunning and have all the e-mails be thanking him for taking down the offensive art and then a second set explaining atheism so he’ll know not to be offensive next time. You know, spam disguised as an attempt to help and make peace.

    Like missionary work? Cool. You get to work pilfering their gold and silver to line our cathedrals, I’ll start destroying their heathen artwork. Anybody want to take on the job of handing out smallpox infected blankets or splitting up families by kidnapping children and incarcerating them in residential schools?

  203. #203 Rey Fox
    March 7, 2008

    Although the piling-on is starting to get a bit much (I mean, at least the guy is being a twit on his own turf), I finally clicked on his main DA page from home and got a load of the stamps thereon (anyone with that many really needs to go outside), and one of them says “I’m a Christian and proud of it.” Funny, I seem to remember that being one of their deadly sins. *facepalm*

  204. #204 Loki
    March 7, 2008

    That’s the first time anyone has ever told me to pilfer anything since that last time-
    You don’t need to know about that.

    Let me get my pirate hat and I’ll be on my way!

  205. #205 BJN
    March 7, 2008

    What a bunch of bullies and adolescents we have here. PZ, do you really support the abusive tactics that crashed down on this unwitting target? What a proud moment for Pharyngula.

  206. #206 peter g
    March 7, 2008

    re: ME #136
    I was offering some comfort, not exact science.
    Geeez.

  207. #207 Nick Cleary
    March 7, 2008

    Effing twit.

    “A recent study by the Barna Research Group throws extreme doubt on these estimates. Barna released the results of their poll about divorce on 1999-DEC-21…Divorce rates among conservative Christians were significantly higher than for other faith groups, and much higher than Atheists and Agnostics experience” (http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_dira.htm).

  208. #208 Spaulding
    March 7, 2008

    Dark (#168), I think that the artist’s drawing and writing is imperceptive and silly, and that this reflects a narrow experience.

    But there’s certainly no reason to appeal to third party censorship as a solution. Just look at the art as an opportunity to discuss and educate.

    Also, your analogy which substitutes “Jews” for “atheists” is a bit of a cheap shot, since Jews are an ethnic group who have faced persecution not just for their religious ideas, but for their ethnicity. Criticizing an idea, whether religious or secular, ought to be fair game. Criticizing an ethnicity is not a comparable thing.

    So let the misguided kid criticise the idea of atheism. Hopefully, exposure to actual atheists and their ideas will help him to see beyond his caricatures.

  209. #209 Loki
    March 7, 2008

    Alright, so. I sent him the e-mail you see under this line (as I can’t do html).

    =-=-=-=-=-

    I got sent a link to one of your pictures (http://img341.imageshack.us/img341/4581/rewardoftheatheistxo8.jpg) and tbh it annoyed me a bit.
    I mean, the description on your site is all about how you think Atheism is depressing and you’re welcome to that, but then you said that Atheists can’t love and also that they’re alone and neglected and all that.
    Seems a bit mean really. I mean, I could say “religious people can’t love and are silly sods” and it’d be the same kind of thing: a blanket statement that people would find offensive.
    I would say I’m glad you took it down when you realised how offensive it was, but did you really have to draw it in the first place?

    Oh yeah, before I forget, maybe you should research the differences between Atheism and Nihilism, ’cause your picture might be better received if it was titled “The Rewards of Nihilism”.

    Loki

    PS: Love doesn’t have to be believed in as it can be proven to exist.
    PPS: Also, Atheists just don’t believe in God: everything else is fine.

    =-=-=-=-=-

    I thought my e-mail was quite kind. This is his response:

    =-=-=-=-=-

    From: Travis Brown (krensada@gmail.com)

    yes…cause it proved i was right about you all. Truth hurts.

    http://www.farmillia.com/
    =-=-=-=-=-

    I say we try and get his site taken off the web. Also, I’ve sent him the “Rewards of Krensada” image Dark made.

    @ BJN: There’s one adolescent bully (true fact: I’m 18) and bully is stretching it a bit. ‘Sides, I don’t remember PZ telling anyone to do anything. I just think this guy deserves a bit of a rattle for being a fool and/or a goit.

  210. #210 Dark
    March 7, 2008

    Spaulding@#206: I dislike censorship intensely generally, however: 1, I am desperately curious about how DA would react to this, that is, whether they would treat it the same way they would offense against another group, and 2, this guy is censoring all the comments to the picture, anyway. I hate censorship, but I think I hate even more when someone spouts utter nonsense in a public forum and then denies anyone else the opportunity to contradict him.

    You could substitute another religion if the Jew analogy is uncomfortable (though I think it stands, purely on the basis of the Christian belief that not believing in Jesus = hell). It was the first religion to come to mind since I’m not exactly sure how Christians view Islam in those terms (since they believe in Jesus, but not as the messiah). But the effect would be the same if you picked on Hindus or Buddhists, though Christians often seem much less likely to attack them then atheists (or muslims).

    BJN@#203: I don’t condone bullying. However, if you say something which is wrong and insulting, I don’t have much sympathy for you when the group you’re targeting tries to defend themselves. It’s not our fault he didn’t realise the number of people he was targeting with those remarks. I’ve already said nasty comments about his art (or choice of art subjects) were over the line. And in my own defense, he thought my fanart was funny. :) He mostly just seems, to me, frustrated that he was overwhelmingly shot down instead of praised; I don’t think many people were engaging in bullying (though some were insulting, which was inappropriate and juvenile, I agree).

  211. #211 Bob
    March 7, 2008

    The “madman” knows that God is dead. It is this knowledge, lacking in a xian-saturated culture, which he cannot convey to his listeners in the noisy marketplace of worthless ideas.[#129]

    I’ve always thought the cool part about The Madman is that he’s actually talking to atheists in GS, #125 — and after his “rant,” they all look at him in astonishment.

    That part always cracks me up.

  212. #212 markbt73
    March 7, 2008

    For some reason I have Robin Williams’ “You’re just a kid” monologue from Good Will Hunting going through my head after all this. His profile lists his age as “over 21,” but I’ll bet it’s by weeks or months, not years.

    No one has said anything bullying here. Arrogant little shits need to be taken down a peg or two sometimes, and if you don’t agree, it’s because it never happened to you. With any luck, he’ll think, and study, before shooting his mouth off next time. If so, that’s a battle won.

  213. #213 Kseniya
    March 7, 2008

    “yes…cause it proved i was right about you all. Truth hurts.”

    Stupid, silly, shallow little boy! He missed the point about as completely as a point can possibly be missed!

    Also, your analogy which substitutes “Jews” for “atheists” is a bit of a cheap shot, since Jews are an ethnic group who have faced persecution not just for their religious ideas, but for their ethnicity. Criticizing an idea, whether religious or secular, ought to be fair game. Criticizing an ethnicity is not a comparable thing.

    I dunno, Spaulding. I’m sympathetic to your point of view and to and the sensitive nature of casting Jews in the role of the damned in the context of an overtly Christian outlook, but am not convinced you are correct in this case. I think the “shot” may be valid. The topic is religious belief, not ethnicity. The artist is a Christian, and outspokenly proud of being one. What defines a Christian? Is it not central to Christian doctrine that only in accepting Jesus as ones personal savior can one find salvation? Doesn’t that condemn all adherents of Judaism to The Fiery Lake?

    What if we instead of “Jew” we replace “Atheist” with “Muslim”, “Hindi”, or “Buddist”? Aren’t the all the same with regard to their view of the divinity of Jesus? Why do we exempt Judaism – a creed, not an ethnicity – from eligibility for use in these counter-examples?

    I suppose one could argue that the topic is atheism vs. theism, and therefore substituting anything – even “agnostic” – for “atheist” would be invalid, if we presume the artist is addressing lack of belief in a deity, not lack of belief in his own particular flavor of religion.

    I also suppose that you might be right, and that I might be wrong. But there’s my current POV, anyways. :-)

  214. #214 Kseniya
    March 7, 2008

    Whoa. I’m waaaay behind Dark on this point. Never mind!

  215. #215 Alison
    March 7, 2008

    I don’t know why he would think his picture would represent anything bad for an atheist. I mean, if we can’t believe in love, we can’t believe in loneliness or ennui, either, so some quiet time to think wouldn’t be much of a punishment.

  216. #216 PZ Myers
    March 7, 2008

    PEOPLE:

    NO SPAMMING THIS PERSON.

    I can’t believe you’re advocating that kind of obnoxious attack.

  217. #217 Rey Fox
    March 7, 2008

    Yep. Pretty unclear on the whole “pride” thing. Not worth wasting any more time on.

  218. #218 kittenchasesyarn
    March 7, 2008

    Just one small thing…the person who drew this picture is young, immature, and has a wrong conception of atheists. Fine.

    But please don’t write him off as “what do you expect from a furry?” That’s just as off-handedly dismissing him the way her off-handedly dismissed us.

    thank you, I shall return to lurking now.

  219. #219 kittenchasesyarn
    March 7, 2008

    *delurks to correct her grammar*

    …dismissing him the way he dismissed us.

    *scampers back into lurking*

  220. #220 CalGeorge
    March 7, 2008

    “Last I checked, which was 15 seconds ago, the artist has already deleted it.”

    If mistake no. 1 was creating it, mistake no. 2 was taking it down.

    I hope he puts it back. It was doing what art should do: provoking discussion!

  221. #221 Sastra
    March 7, 2008

    I wouldn’t complain to DA about a violation of any “hate speech” criteria because I don’t believe in restricting criticism. I hate hate speech rules. The artist’s attack on atheists was an attack of ideas, not a violent physical attack. Why do what we scorn when they do it?

    As for whether he or she deserves to be “taken down a peg or two” — certainly. With skill. And that means intelligently, courteously, and thoughtfully. No spam attacks. Or dirty tricks. We don’t need those; they’re signs of a weak position.

    It is never a mistake to be nicer and kinder than you need to be. If you gain no credit from your opponent, you gain credit from observers. If you gain no credit from observers, you gain credit in your own eyes. You won that one. And, at some level, they know it.

    Drives them nuts.

  222. #222 John Morales
    March 7, 2008

    PZ, I’m reminded of this.

  223. #223 Robert Maynard
    March 7, 2008

    ..I don’t understand why everyone’s getting so upset over something on DeviantArt.
    As we’ve seen, this furry-drawing twat’s traffic has spiked, and he’s taken down his tepid, harmless drawing to placate the thousands of atheists who saw it and actually decided to sit down at a keyboard and complain to him about it. So now he thinks his ‘work’ struck a nerve (and it would seem like that’s true for some commenters here), and he’s gotten his first taste of ‘reckless iconoclasm = traffic’. Two bad lessons for the price of one!

    Pharyngula (and RD.net) have readerships large enough to consider throwing around their ideological weight to influence things, sort of like an atheist lobby. But I don’t think it’s necessarily a good idea to hate-bomb specific examples of the stupid shit that can be found anywhere on the internet. When this kind of power is used to affect constructive changes in the public eye – in the town square of discourse, as it were – this is a good thing. It’s also a good thing when it can be used to rally around a cause, like someone who’d really benefit from a heap of drop-in-a-bucket style donations. Pharyngula has been used to promote causes of both of these kinds.
    When it’s used to abuse a member of deviantART, who is literally a model of irrelevance and harmlessness, it’s bad. You’re not inspiring anyone, you’re not changing anyones mind, you’re not engaging in any kind of battle of ideas. You’re just bashing someone in an alley. Unfortunately it seems as though some of you find that rewarding.

    In #132, Sarah insists that people who think tormenting this kid is a waste of time should ‘lighten up’ and join in the ‘intellectual bashing’. The key difference is that it’s okay to inflict suffering as long as it’s ‘intellectual’, and sometimes, y’know, people need that. Why focus on larger issues we can independently advocate, when we could be gang-bashing a single individual because of his ideas?
    The tragic thing is that all it would probably take to change this guys mind, and explain the problem with his analogy, is a conversation, one on one. Probably any of us could do it with some civility.
    Unfortunately, because it was highlighted here, hundreds of us initiated what was (to us) a one on one conversation with him, but what he received was a 100 on 1 shout-down, which he could not possibly hope to engage in, leaving him feeling battered, overwhelmed, and threatened. As Loki will inform us later, declining to even try and interact meaningfully with hundreds of people speaking at you one after the other makes you a coward.

    By #151, we hit the first strikingly earnest attempt at dehumanising the individual, or at least relishing in the thought of his suffering – drawing comedy out of a future (brutally violent, as usual) demise, and fantasising about him being exposed as a pervert.

    In #168, the irony of asking whether a piece specifically expressing pity is ‘hate speech’ is missed. This comes after secularists proudly (and rightly) defended the free speech of Danish cartoonists, whose caricatures of Mohammmed were clearly interpreted as hate speech by Muslims. This comes after (rightly) defending the right to deface a book like the Koran by throwing it in a toilet (so long as it’s private property). It’s not hate speech. Wipe your eyes.

    From #185 we get people suggesting that unsolicited e-mails (spam) would be a great way of getting our message across. My giant, permanently erect penis agrees. Maybe if we send him enough e-mails, he’ll see that he was wrong to ignore and delete the previous ones! You guys are an inspiration. We’re going to change the world – one DDoS style attack at a time!

    #193 informs us that filtering comments from unwelcome strangers makes you a coward. Note that this is said on Pharyngula without any irony. I guess I’ll see you at Loki’s house party.

    Finally, it took only 207 comments before we hear the first call to censor free expression, by lobbying to get people we disagree with removed from the internet. We made it folks! Jeez, hold on.. I’m tearing up. This calls for a slow clap.

    What I’m basically suggesting is that you’ve acted like a mob of browbeating thugs (again), aaand I find it disgusting. It’s a striking contrast with the lovely little creed PZ wrote.

  224. #224 wooddragon
    March 7, 2008

    I dunno, it looked to me like a young man, a teen probably, exploring art and his belief system. I don’t agree with what he said, but we probably don’t need to turn the full force of our ‘greater wisdom’ on him…

  225. #225 Ichthyic
    March 7, 2008

    but we probably don’t need to turn the full force of our ‘greater wisdom’ on him…

    bah.

    heat, kitchen, etc.

  226. #226 kemibe
    March 7, 2008

    Regarding #11 and others – “projection illustrated” was exactly what came to mind when I looked at the picture. If you took away believers’ god you’d be taking away not just a belief but a chunk of their identity; it would be safer and less messy to tear a turtle from its shell.

    Not only that, I’ve never met a theist who can truly conceive of what it’s like to not believe. (Those who do generally give up theism eventually, as long as they’re in the right sort of environment.) So it’s not surprising that they go their whole lives convinced that atheists carry bleak and hopeless outlooks. An important corollary is that theists, despite how they appear to people like me who could never believe in gods even if offered a million dollars, are not trying to say incredibly stupid and inconsistent things; it’s either this or be threatened with a terrifying loss, so shutting down cognition is a no-brainer.

  227. #227 Hematite
    March 7, 2008

    Comstock (56): I’m not so sure I believe in time. What the hell is it?

    Don’t worry, unlike some anthropomorphisms I could mention, Time doesn’t need you to believe in it ;)

  228. #228 K
    March 7, 2008

    He lists his birth year as 1982 in another site…just so you guys don’t feel guilty tomorrow about harrassing a child.

  229. #229 Gallstones
    March 7, 2008

    I have a deviantart account. I am a member of more than one online art community. Hey, we all have our various interests.
    http://coyotlprole.deviantart.com/art/Alternative-Garnishes-63508109

    The atheist cartoon is gone now. I guess he removed it. Still, I can’t advocate censorship. The guy has as much right to create whatever art he wants as I do. I have an image in my gallery that utilyzes what looks like a swastika (schwarze sonne). And I didn’t receive any hate comments. What I found interesting–and encouraging–in this case, was the volume of atheist advocates that posted comments. Maybe this kid will actually talk to some atheists and get an accurate perspective on it now. Maybe this is an opportunity for some education. I see this as a potential positive.

  230. #230 wildlifer
    March 8, 2008

    File Not Found

    No page exists at your destination address, http://krensada.deviantart.com/art/Reward-of-the-Atheist-72157628?offset=20, but the deviantART home page should help you to find what you need.

  231. #231 Kseniya
    March 8, 2008

    He lists his birth year as 1982

    Gawd! Then he’s two years older than I am. Feh.

    Spamming him is still a bad idea. (For the record, I hope it’s clear that when I said “Great idea!” above, I was being sarcastic.) While we’re on the subject, let’s not be too hard on Loki, who at 18 is likely the youngest person posting on this thread by at least a couple of years.

  232. #232 Heather Kuhn
    March 8, 2008

    MAJeff:

    There’s an out–the human sacrifice of the offspring of God and teenager he raped, and the ritual consumption of that offspring in order to confirm one’s acceptance of the sacrifice.

    I’ll take beer.

    Heh.

    There were three men
    Came from the west
    Their fortunes for to tell,
    And the life of John Barleycorn
    As well
    They laid him three furrows deep,
    Laid clods upon his head,
    The these three men made a solemn vow
    John Barleycorn was dead.
    They let him die for a very long time
    Till the rain from heaven did fall,
    Then little Sir John sprang up his head
    And he did amaze them all.
    They let him stand till the midsummer day,
    Till he looked both pale and wan.
    Then little Sir John he grew a long beard
    And so became a man.
    They have hired men with the scythes so sharp
    To cut him off at the knee,
    They rolled and they tied him around the waist,
    The served him barbarously.
    They have hired men with the crab-tree sticks,
    To cut him skin from bone,
    And the miller he has served him worse than that,
    For he’s ground him between two stones.
    They’ve wheeled him here,
    they’ve wheeled him there,
    They’ve wheeled him to a barn,
    And they have served him worse than that,
    They’ve bunged him in a vat.
    They have worked their will on John Barleycorn
    But he lived to tell the tale,
    For they pour him out of an old brown jug
    And they call him home brewed ale.

  233. #233 Heather Kuhn
    March 8, 2008

    You realize of course, that “I’ll take beer” was supposed to be inside the first blockquote, but for some reason MT didn’t want to do it. I tried. Honestly, I tried.

  234. #234 Gullible Jones
    March 8, 2008

    I wonder what hole this guy’s been hiding in. I mean, when popular rock bands mention atheism and love in the same song:

    I don’t have faith in faith
    I don’t believe in belief
    You can call me faithless
    But I still cling to hope
    And I believe in love
    And that’s faith enough for me…

    Yeah… Some deep, dark, and very well soundproofed hole it must be.

  235. #235 Peace Almego
    March 8, 2008

    Lets rather believe the Lord, then to our own understanding and own ways….lets look up to the Lord….Jesus a Saviour….and praise Jehovah the God Almighty….Jesus is the way the truth and the light….no one goes to the father except through him Jesus Christ……

  236. #236 Mandeline Ponik
    March 8, 2008

    I pray for all those people who are lost with no God….believing in nothing….don’t push God away for material things… lets rather lift our heads high ….. and open our hearts to the Lord….

  237. #237 Loki
    March 8, 2008

    @more or less everyone: Yeah, I know, spamming is wrong and I shouldn’t do it and I won’t.

    Also, while I’m sure that I guess I’ll see you at Loki’s house party. was sarcastic, you’re all welcome to come. Just bring your own booze. And don’t wreck too much stuff.

    Also, I’m feeling like a git now. Stupid conscience, ruining my fun.

  238. #238 Michael X
    March 8, 2008

    I refuse to be riled by this person, as his intent was never to do so, no matter how insipid his art and philosophy is, and naive he was about any stir it may cause. No simple attack on my thoughts will be met with anything other than the like: thoughts. Frankly, my mind is perfectly capable of defending itself when all it is up against is another mind(s). Anything more like bullying is simply out of the question ethically. Nor is it befitting anyone who would wish to count themselves among intellectuals, freethinkers, rationalists and the like.

    We use our minds.

  239. #239 Michael X
    March 8, 2008

    Holy Shit. Are #235 and #236 serious?
    You guys are just screwing with us right? Otherwise, you happen to be some of the funniest satire artists I’ve seen in a few hours.

    Find. New. Shtick.

  240. #240 Marc
    March 8, 2008

    I can think of one thing more depressing than being an atheist. Living in a world that is full of senseless dying, killing, cancer, horrible diseases, starvation, natural disasters, etc. and believing that there is an omnipotent, omniscient guy in the sky who has made all this stuff part of the plan. I don’t know, if you ask me that god doesn’t seem worthy of worship.

  241. #241 UmmoSirius
    March 8, 2008

    PZ, your creed made my day. I hope you don’t mind but I couldn’t help but share it immediately. (I gave you credit of course, and linked this blog post.)

  242. #242 Strakh
    March 8, 2008

    Thank you, PZ for that wonderful creed. I too have shared it with the smugly ignorant people who seem to think that I have no joy or poetry in my life.
    In the end, it is the smug ignorance of these willfully uneducated boobs that is the most frustrating. But then again, if they were not willfully uneducated, they wouldn’t be believers…

  243. #243 RD
    March 8, 2008

    The blurry lil’ fella in the box doesn’t look upset, he looks content, albeit sleepy, on his stool. He’s not being harassed by a Jehovah Witness. He’s not being picked on by a bully. He isn’t answering a slew of annoying questions that have no purpose. He’s not eating a bad meal. He’s not watching bad TV. He’s not reading a shitty blog. He’s not cleaning up a mess.

    Actually, what you can’t see is that he’s sitting in front of a two way glass, watching (insert name of any high brow Christ monger) orally dispose of his sermon. He’s counting how many people are paying attention vs the ones who aren’t. He’s surprised by the numbers. He’s confused about the message being delivered as it doesn’t make much logical sense. Prosperity preaching? So if I give Mr. Pastorman a check for such and such, I’ll receive it back seven fold? Now, he doesn’t have a calculator in that room but he’s doing his math. He’s now able to discern who’s ‘really’ a believer and who isn’t based on price of their shoes.

    Then, after a while, the blurry fella begins to feel alone and sad. He’s not really sure why, it sort of hit him at once. He finds himself longing to be part of the crowd, to belong, to leave his box and venture into the sanctuary and be part of the commonality. He feels a little sick by it. He realizes this isn’t the first time he’s felt this way, feeling crappy is just part of the human experience… normally brought on by other humans.

    His cell phone rings, it’s a text message from his wife telling him to stop watching the freak show and go pick up the kids from karate class.

    The end.

  244. #244 MH
    March 8, 2008

    “Rewards of the Atheist”? What, space to think? I realise that thinking is scary for some people, but for me, sitting quietly and pondering aspects of our fascinating Universe is something I find immensely pleasurable.

    I imagine that the theistic version of that picture would involve the believer being tied to the chair, his/her eyes held open la Clockwork Orange, and the Bible/Koran/Tanakh/Dianetics etc being unceasingly projected onto the wall in front of him/her, until the words get burnt into the very core of their mind.

    I think I’ll stick with atheism.

  245. #245 Tom Canavan
    March 8, 2008

    I run a non profit that helps poor people get houses and I often get letters congratulating the idea/work and immediately crediting what I do to some god or another. I clear it up right away with a response that I’m an atheist. That always creates a funny response. I always get a response to that with sayings like, god is working through me, that I have to be christian to do what I do, I’m a christian I just don’t know it yet, there is a special place in heaven for me. It use to bother me, now it doesn’t. Like heaven, god the bible and all those churches out there I simply have no more use or thought for them.

  246. #246 lauram
    March 8, 2008

    Sastra @162, I once wrote something very similar to your quote from the Christian – but, not surprisingly, with a different punch line: http://sanguineinseattle.blogspot.com/2007/04/thus-spake-grady-mcmurtry.html

    Um, but wouldn’t feeling that this life is the ONLY life (as opposed to an after-life) give this life FAR MORE VALUE? Wouldn’t you treat it as sacred and special and not just a rest-area on the way to the final Heavenland vacation? If it were me, and someone told me that the rest-area was all I got and that I would never leave it and go someplace more magical, I might paint the walls, put up some curtains, make a few knick-knacks and have some people over for beer and popcorn. I wouldn’t just take a dump, kick the vending machine and throw trash on the floor on my way out.

  247. #247 Lightbulb
    March 8, 2008

    Greetings Atheists and Agnostics:

    From my reading of this blog, there seems to be as much confusion on your side of the fence as mine. I would appreciate it if some of you could answer some questions for me: 1) were you born atheist or agnostic? 2)If you adopted your beliefs, at what age and under what circumstances (discipleship, life problems, parents, friends)? 3) Were you ever a Christian from age 12 up? 4) Have you ever read the bible? 5) Have you ever owned and studied a bible dictionary or bible commentary? 6) Are whatever beliefs you have based on personal study, analysis, obervation and application? 7) With whom do you communicate your deepest thoughts and questions?

    I think that will be enough to help me understand. If I can do the same for you, please ask. By the way, if you have the capacity to love, you have God, whether you want Him or not. Feel free to thank Him every now and them.

  248. #248 Stephan
    March 8, 2008

    An American atheist’s creed

    I believe in time,
    (So I waste it away in front of my TV)
    matter, and energy,
    (Which I do little-to-nothing with)
    which make up the whole of the world.
    (Or as much of the world as my TV shows me)

    I believe in reason, evidence and the human mind,
    (As proven by the Discovery Channel)
    the only tools we have;
    (We don’t use, atleast not for good cause, our handle lie idle, our mouths froth at junk, and our eyes we choose to no longer see with, the brain that once was)
    they are the product of natural forces
    (And we will use those forces for nothing)
    in a majestic but impersonal universe,
    (that I refuse to care about because my credit cards need paid)
    grander and richer than we can imagine,
    (but my greed will always chase my imagination)
    a source of endless opportunities for discovery.
    (But I’m too busy trying to get paid to seek out those opportunities and discover anything)

    I believe in the power of doubt;
    (and I doubt that my life will ever get better, it seems like I have less money every day)
    I do not seek out reassurances,
    (except from the bank)
    but embrace the question,
    (Can I purchase more Baubles?)
    and strive to challenge my own beliefs.
    (Money is my god)

    I accept human mortality.
    (So I must work to buy more, before I die)

    We have but one life,
    (How Will I ever buy everything I want for?)
    brief and full of struggle,
    (To buy things my TV tells me to buy)
    leavened with love and community,
    (of which we lie, because we know nothing about, but it’s a fantastic idea)
    learning and exploration,
    (and we’ve been dumbed down by our masters the ruling elite)
    beauty and the creation of
    (BMW has a new model out in 09)
    new life, new art, and new ideas.
    (more things to buy)

    I rejoice in this life that I have,
    (Because I have a nice car and five credit cards, and my car is nicer than his)
    and in the grandeur of a world that preceded me,
    (they worked hard for my freedom, so I dont have to)
    and an earth that will abide without me.
    (So I will sit back and do nothing, but important things… like pay my bills, and buy new things, and protest, and question nothing, Except everyones beliefs and religion.)

  249. #249 spurge
    March 8, 2008

    “If I can do the same for you, please ask. By the way, if you have the capacity to love, you have God, whether you want Him or not.”

    There is no god listening to you no matter how much you pray.

    Wow, making unfounded assertions is fun.

    Maybe there is something to the whole god thing.

  250. #250 MAJeff, OM
    March 8, 2008

    I love the fact how there’s always the “Have you read the Bible?” nonsense. I’ve read it several times. That you can get “God is love” from the genocidal bastard in that book is amazing.

    God is love–so he destroyed the planet with a flood.
    God is love–so he wiped out and required the destruction of several different peoples
    God is love–so he condones the ownership and murder of other humans
    God is love–so he required the murder of “his own son”
    God is love–so he’ll force you to burn for eternity if you don’t accept that you’re so broken you have to “accept” the murder of his son.

    What a vile monster.

    What have you done that’s so evil another human has to be killed for it? And how are you so deluded that requiring that murder equates love? It’s all in your own book.

  251. #251 Sastra
    March 8, 2008

    It’s getting kind of late in the thread to get off on whole new tangents, I think, but very nicely asked, so ok:

    lightbulb #247:

    1) were you born atheist or agnostic?

    My parents were freethinkers when I was born, and I was raised with no particular religion, but exposed to different ones.

    2)If you adopted your beliefs, at what age and under what circumstances (discipleship, life problems, parents, friends)?

    I held various views at different times, including agnostic, atheist, liberal Christian, New Age, Jehovah’s Witness, Quaker, “spiritual but not religious,” Transcendentalist, and, eventually, secular humanist by age 25 or so. It was a gradual process, motivated by time, friends, circumstances, and study.

    3) Were you ever a Christian from age 12 up?

    I considered myself one a few times as a young adult, though not a fundamentalist or Born Again.

    4) Have you ever read the bible?
    Yes. New Testament twice; started on Old Testament and stopped somewhere, I think, in Kings.

    5) Have you ever owned and studied a bible dictionary or bible commentary?
    Yes, while reading the Bible. I have also read approximately a dozen books about the Bible and history of the times — some designed to persuade (ie Evidence That Demands a Verdict ; others by scholars ie Randall Helms and Bart Ehrman)

    6) Are whatever beliefs you have based on personal study, analysis, obervation and application?

    As far as I can tell, yes. My experiences with Christians and churches have been almost uniformly positive.

    7) With whom do you communicate your deepest thoughts and questions?
    No single person or venue. Husband, friends, parents, teachers, writers, internet.

    Stephen #248:

    You forget that the term for “love of wisdom” is “philosophy.” Religion is simply one form of philosophy. There are religious people who fail to think deeply or live their lives with attention, and non-religious people who do both. And, as you point out, vice versa.

    You describe a way of living which is not very wise. If you expect atheists to recognize that, then you’re appealing to values we already hold without the belief in God.

  252. #252 Steve_C
    March 8, 2008

    What is with Stephan and his obsession with consumerism?

    Ever notice how all the big preachers seem to be large consumers of expensive luxury goods?

    Don’t know what he’s talkin about. Why is it so hard for godbots to understand how easy it is to not believe in myths and be happy? They do it everyday and yet they act like we must be miserable with out a sky daddy. It’s so… juvenile.

  253. #253 Janine
    March 8, 2008

    We have but one life,
    (How Will I ever buy everything I want for?)
    brief and full of struggle,
    (To buy things my TV tells me to buy)

    Posted by: Stephan | March 8, 2008 11:03 AM

    You do realize that the current president, an evangelical christian, informed americans it was their patriotic duty to go out and spend in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks.

    One could go through point by point and show how full of shit you. But frankly, you are not worth the time.

  254. #254 Lightbulb
    March 8, 2008

    On further reading, I must add that there is great confusion about who is God and who is not God. A married evangelical leader who has homosexual sex and does drugs monthly is not God. Pastorman who promises a sevenfold return on your investment is not God. Anyone who cares not for God’s earth in view of God’s Heaven (or for any other reason) is not God. In fact, no one on this earth is God or anything like Him. It is folly to look upon any person or titleholder, or any other thing in an attempt to make a comparison with God.

    This is principally because we have two things God doesn’t have, sin and free will. I’ll take the easy one first. God doesn’t lie. Whatever He said He would do He has done or will do. He literally is His Word. We can and do change our minds on an hourly basis, God can’t and God doesn’t. Consequently, He is truthworthy and reliable. We are not; we always disappoint.

    Sin is despicable to God. He has tried so many things to deal with us, fire, floods, damnation, curses, etc. None of it worked. And yet he still loved our bad a—– anyway and decided on a plan of salvation, His only Son. We even have an attitude about that. Why can’t there be another way? How can this lowly carpenter be the savior of the world when there are Queen Elizabeth’s and Bill Gates’, and Warren Buffett’s, and Oprah’s. Now they have power.

    God’s job is harder. He’s trying to get you straight forever, not just get you warm this winter. That is much harder to accomplish than paying a light bill and building a house. Everything we have and want is destructible and must be cared for, cleaned, protected, insured, maintained, replaced, etc. And all of it is one tsunami, hurricane, fire, tornado, flood, etc. from going back to ground zero. Not so for you. Once your body is destroyed by death, no set of blueprints on earth can build you back. You are not replaceable. No one can fix you or help you. Only you can complete the plan God made for you. I’m fairly sure you already know how to start.

    Accept Jesus as your Savior, this time by learining about Him for yourself. Once you learn about Him, you will believe that He died so that you can be saved forever. Confess that you have been WRONG. Don’t sweat it. He is not the a– that we are. He loves you no matter what.

  255. #255 MAJeff, OM
    March 8, 2008

    That’s some high-density crazy.

  256. #256 MAJeff, OM
    March 8, 2008

    I haven’t done anything I need to be saved from or over. I have done nothing so heinous as to require the murder of another human. I’m not so arrogant that I think the universe revolves around me and my continued existence after this body dies.

    Grow up.

  257. #257 spurge
    March 8, 2008

    Yawn.

    Got any evidence for your particular version of god Lightbulb?

  258. #258 Sastra
    March 8, 2008

    Lightbulb #254 wrote:

    On further reading, I must add that there is great confusion about who is God and who is not God.

    On further reading your post, I should point out that you appear to be confused about what we atheists are and are not asking about God. We are not asking “who is God and who is not God?”

    We start out by asking “Does God exist?” And we have come to a different conclusion than you. If you wish to meet us on common ground, you must go back to this first question — is there a God?

    Tell me — might the answer be “no?” If it is, would or could you both discover and accept that, if you have only asked yourself questions about what God is like?

  259. #259 anon
    March 8, 2008

    PZ

    Thanks for making me cry at the simple beauty of your creed.

  260. #260 hyperdeath
    March 8, 2008

    Stephan wrote:

    An American atheist’s creed
    I believe in time,
    (So I waste it away in front of my TV)
    matter, and energy,
    (Which I do little-to-nothing with)
    which make up the whole of the world.
    (Or as much of the world as my TV shows me)

    [drivel snipped]

    That is one of the most miserable and stupefyingly-limited things I have ever read. Is your worldview really so blinkered that you see religion and consumerism and absolutely nothing else?

    Can you really see no difference between love and “lie[s] that we no nothing about”? Can you really see no difference between beauty and crass consumerism? Is Muhammad/Zeus/Jesus all that separates these things in your eyes? If so how? Are you unable to experience love without a god watching in the background? Are you unable to appreciate beauty without constantly thinking that “god did it”? If so, I truly pity you.

    You remind me of the most pathetic sight (in both the literal and more usual sense of the word) that I have ever seen. It was in Birmingham (England) about five years ago, and shortly before Christmas (which, yes, most atheists celebrate, even if they don’t take the virgin-rape but seriously). Happy people (a good fraction of them atheists, if British demographics are anything to go by) were milling around, preparing to spend a happy day with their families and loved ones. Standing out from the crowd, however, was an old man with a look of abject misery on his face. He was holding a sign which read, “The fear of God is all the love that man needs”. Needless to say, he was completely alone.

  261. #261 Janine
    March 8, 2008

    I haven’t done anything I need to be saved from or over. I have done nothing so heinous as to require the murder of another human. I’m not so arrogant that I think the universe revolves around me and my continued existence after this body dies.

    Grow up.

    Posted by: MAJeff, OM

    But Jeff, you are missing the point completely, it is not about your actions. It is completely meaningless what you do. It is what you believe at the time of your death. The mass murderer who accepts Jesus on the deathbed is more worthy of praise and an eternity of be a yes man for god then the atheist who attempts to live an ethical life and has done much to improve the life quality of the people around that person.

    On a different tangent, this is what I hope Lightbulb looks like.

  262. #262 Lightbulb
    March 8, 2008

    MAJeff # 250

    Have you read the book of Isaiah? What you mention is not the half of what God is willing or able to do. He is just kind enough to have a soft spot for us. The people murdered Jesus, obviously not realizing that they were following a plan that would benefit “the world” forever. To the extent that it hurt Jesus at all, He was large and in charge just three days later. If they had realized the truth….it wouldn’t have mattered. Things have to go God’s way in the end.

    Thanks Sastra. We can’t understand each other or life unless we ask and study. Blogging is enlightening, too.

  263. #263 MAJeff, OM
    March 8, 2008

    Things have to go God’s way in the end.

    Just so.

  264. #264 spurge
    March 8, 2008

    I am still waiting for some actual evidence for lightbulbs version of god.

  265. #265 MAJeff, OM
    March 8, 2008

    I am still waiting for some actual evidence for lightbulbs version of god.

    Well, you feel love. Therefore, God.

  266. #266 Sastra
    March 8, 2008

    Lightbulb #252 wrote:

    Thanks Sastra. We can’t understand each other or life unless we ask and study.

    You’re welcome, Lightbulb :)

    I asked:

    Could you be wrong? Is it possible that God does not exist?
    If so, how would or could you both discover and accept this?

  267. #267 spurge
    March 8, 2008

    I have been told that as an Atheist I can’t feel love.

    What to do with my dreary empty life.

  268. #268 MAJeff, OM
    March 8, 2008

    What to do with my dreary empty life.

    Beer? Clam Chowder? Not a bad start.

  269. #269 spurge
    March 8, 2008

    A nice hot cup of coffee will have to do for now.

  270. #270 Sastra
    March 8, 2008

    (1) Atheists don’t believe in God, so they must be very unhappy.

    (2) Atheists don’t believe in God, because they’re much happier not believing in God.

    You know, I wish they’d pick a horse and ride it. One or the other. Not both.

  271. #271 Rick T.
    March 8, 2008

    Lightbulb,

    You are very deluded if you think that you can waltz in here and spout the Bible and explain God to us and in your dark little mind think “they probably don’t know this and when I tell them they will all fall to their knees and repent and be saved.” We don’t live in your imaginary world and has been mentioned to you, you will have to go back to the beginning, back to “Is there a God?”.
    Leave out the crap about quoting the Bible. We’ve read it, found it to be unfounded, sometimes evil, mostly boring and very little of it of value. Stop trying to explain to us who God is and what character values he has. He’s imaginary. No amount of fleshing out a story book character will make us believe that he’s real.
    You are like an American in Paris who thinks that if he speaks LOUDER and s l o w e r that he will be understood. Chances are the Parisians can understand you but find you obnoxious and ignorant. You need to learn the language first. Come back when you can speak evidence and reason.
    You just sound like a dumb ass now.

  272. #272 windy
    March 8, 2008

    The people murdered Jesus, obviously not realizing that they were following a plan that would benefit “the world” forever. To the extent that it hurt Jesus at all, He was large and in charge just three days later.

    That’s not the way it’s usually pitched. Greatest sacrifice, or greatest minor inconvenience?

  273. #273 Steve_C
    March 8, 2008

    How fucked up is that?

    God punked his own son on the cross to save us.

    Fuckin twisted bullshit.

    He loved us so much he had his son tortured… makes perfect sense.

  274. #274 MAJeff, OM
    March 8, 2008

    He loved us so much he had his son tortured… makes perfect sense.

    And we get to eat him and drink his blood (sometimes real, sometimes symbol, sometimes somewhere in between), and then live forever!

  275. #275 spurge
    March 8, 2008

    I just looked outside.

    Does anyone have an ark handy?

  276. #276 spurge
    March 8, 2008

    Not only did he sacrifice his son …god and his son are one and the same.

    Not to mention their friend the holy ghost.

  277. #277 Janine
    March 8, 2008

    Rick T, I doubt that Lightbulb has any intention of saving we heathens. Call it the safest way for a true believer to face down the forces of hell in order to show how pure his faith is. I am sure that in the evangelical realm, they think of us as being the worst degenerates.

  278. #278 Anon
    March 8, 2008

    @254

    Sin is despicable to God. He has tried so many things to deal with us, fire, floods, damnation, curses, etc. None of it worked. And yet he still loved our bad a—– anyway and decided on a plan of salvation, His only Son. We even have an attitude about that. Why can’t there be another way?

    I love my kids, but they just don’t see it. I’ve tried beating them, spanking them, starving them, locking them in the closet for weeks on end… None of it worked. I love them anyway, of course. So I’m thinking of just killing the dog. They’ll probably have an attitude about that, too.

  279. #279 Bunk
    March 8, 2008

    Just in case anyone hasn’t seen it, especially you guys in the #273 area, take a look at Mr Deity, Episode Two, “Mr. Deity and the Really Big Favor” at http://www.mrdeity.com.

    PZ, the creed is a big hit and I think it’s worthy of permanent placement somewhere on your site. I posted it in the main think tank at http://www.atheistthinktank.net (with proper attribution, of course) and people are already making bumperstickers with it.

  280. #280 Dr Aust
    March 8, 2008

    For some reason this all puts me in mind of Monty Python’s celebrated “Galaxy Song” (easily found on Youtube):

    Just remember that you’re standing on a planet that’s evolving
    And revolving at 900 miles an hour
    That’s orbiting at 19 miles a second, so it’s reckoned
    A sun that is the source of all our power
    The sun and you and me, and all the stars that we can see
    Are moving at a million miles a day
    In an outer spiral arm, at 40,000 miles an hour
    Of the galaxy we call the Milky Way

    Our galaxy itself contains 100 billion stars
    It’s 100,000 light-years side-to-side
    It bulges in the middle, 16,000 light-years thick
    But out by us it’s just 3000 light-years wide
    We’re 30,000 light-years from galactic central point
    We go round every 200 million years
    And our galaxy is only one of millions of billions
    In this amazing and expanding universe

    The universe itself keeps on expanding and expanding
    In all of the directions it can whiz
    As fast as it can go, at the speed of light you know
    Twelve million miles a minute and that’s the fastest speed there is
    So remember, when you’re feeling very small and insecure
    How amazingly unlikely is your birth
    And pray that there’s intelligent life somewhere up in space
    Because there’s bugger all down here on Earth

  281. #281 eugene_X
    March 8, 2008

    @ #50: Why are theists so bad at art and creativity in general?

    While the answer of Bach is right on, and relevant, the question still should be asked of art today (witness Christian Rock, or Thomas Kinkade). Part of the answer is that in the days of great theist works of art of yore (Bach, Michaelangelo, etc.) The Church was the entity with all the money. If you wanted your art funded, you made it for The Church. Just because Michaelangelo painted the Sistine Chapel for the Vatican does not mean his heart of hearts resembled that of Jerry Fallwell. In fact, both Leonardo and Michaelangelo were probably gay, and if they were around today, and had the freedom of lifestyle choice we enjoy (for now at least) they would be living in lofts in Chelsea and attending openings at Dietch Projects, not living in Colorado Springs and making devotional murals for Ted Haggard.

    The reason we are not seeing anything resembling good art out of the religious masses in this country is because of the general intellectual and creative bankruptcy of religion. In other words, the people with the get-up-and-go who have got up and gone, because they now have the choice. Smart, creative people migrate to centers of higher education and urban areas where they are exposed to a variety of opinions, and, when given the option, frequently jettison their simplistic beliefs.

    I know a lot of artists. None of them are Christians, few of them are theists at all, and none of them are Republicans either, for that matter.

  282. #282 Rick T.
    March 8, 2008

    Rick T, I doubt that Lightbulb has any intention of saving we heathens. Call it the safest way for a true believer to face down the forces of hell in order to show how pure his faith is. I am sure that in the evangelical realm, they think of us as being the worst degenerates.

    Posted by: Janine

    Your right Janine. I posted a comment similar to yours a few weeks ago. I simply thought that my little rant would point out the absurdity of coming to a web site with little or no knowledge of what we are about here, how educated we are on these topics and even what an atheist or agnostic is. Such ignorance of all this is like bringing a knife to a gun fight but also not knowing who you are fighting or for what reason. Total, willful ignorance.
    Just because Lightbulb can make sense of a fable in his head (if it’s not scrutinized too closely) doesn’t make it true or plausible. Explaining the ins and outs of the fable to us, like it would make us have a lightbulb moment, is comical but also insulting.

  283. #283 Sastra
    March 8, 2008

    eugene X #281 wrote:

    I know a lot of artists. None of them are Christians, few of them are theists at all, and none of them are Republicans either, for that matter.

    Interesting. I’m an artist and most of the ones I know are surprised to find out I don’t believe in God. They don’t understand how an artist can be an atheist because how else can I explain beauty?

    Of course, I’m in a small town and we’re not usually dealing with High End Art or artistes. Or, I might add, high end apologetics.

  284. #284 Michael X
    March 8, 2008

    Sastra,
    I actually find myself surrounded by a vague new age vibe at my theater. While they all are perfect heathens in regards to jeebus, they still hold onto all sorts of woo. I do hear alot of the “kill to dissect” rhetoric though. Apparently, you can’t be an artist without a love for mystery. Or as they would say, “letting the mystery be.” It’s rather frustrating sometimes.

    Though I can agree that I know next to no artists that are republican. But they do span dems, independents, and greens.

  285. #285 Jefrir
    March 8, 2008

    @ No. 247
    1) were you born atheist or agnostic?
    No, I was born a baby without religious beliefs. I was, however, raised in a largely atheist household (and a mildly Christian school) with a good understanding of various religions. I was raised to question what I was told by parents who would accept any beliefs I might come to.
    2)If you adopted your beliefs, at what age and under what circumstances (discipleship, life problems, parents, friends)?
    I have more or less always been an atheist, with some wavering towards a sort of vague pantheism in my teens. My atheism has grown stronger as I have given more consideration to these matters.
    3) Were you ever a Christian from age 12 up?
    No
    4) Have you ever read the bible?
    Yes – I never got round to reading it right through, but I was brought up knowing it well and have studied various bits of it since. I probably have a better understanding of what it actually contains than many Christians.
    5) Have you ever owned and studied a bible dictionary or bible commentary?
    Yes, have owned and briefly studied – but got fed up because it was deciding what had happened in prehistory based purely on the content of the Bible, and gave no consideration to inaccuracies in translation.
    6) Are whatever beliefs you have based on personal study, analysis, obervation and application?
    Yes, almost entirely. I see no evidence for the existence of God, and no-one has yet provided me with any. I also choose not to worship the Christian God because, as presented in the Bible and by most Christians, he is a tyrant, and I do not worship tyrants. Any God worth worshiping would not punish me for using my senses and reason and living my life as best I can.
    7) With whom do you communicate your deepest thoughts and questions?
    My boyfriend, parents, brother, housemate, the internet, friends – various people, depending on circumstances.

  286. #286 Kay
    March 8, 2008

    @ 261
    “But Jeff, you are missing the point completely, it is not about your actions. It is completely meaningless what you do. It is what you believe at the time of your death. The mass murderer who accepts Jesus on the deathbed is more worthy of praise and an eternity of be a yes man for god then the atheist who attempts to live an ethical life and has done much to improve the life quality of the people around that person.”

    WOW! And you theists have a hard time wondering why we don’t accept your religion…Let’s see… a lifetime in eternity with a mass murderer…It sounds so tempting!

    Poor me. I guess I’m doomed to eternal hell with the ethical athiests.

    Do you people ever stop to listen to yourselves?

  287. #287 RamblinDude
    March 8, 2008

    1) were you born atheist or agnostic?

    Of course, everybody is. I was born without the knowledge, or belief in, any religion’s god. Knowledge of deities, and the cult of worshipping, came later–and solely from human sources.

    2)If you adopted your beliefs, at what age and under what circumstances (discipleship, life problems, parents, friends)?

    Around 15. I heard a radio show with people from various religions and denominations arguing about the, then new, Jesus Christ Superstar. They were pointing out the musical’s flaws and character distortions, and arguing among themselves over whose particular worldview was the path to salvation. They sounded silly and childish. I looked around and saw other disturbing things. I couldn’t explain it, but there was something wrong with religion, too many contradictions. There was something “untruthful” about it all.
    A few years later I opened a book by J. Krishnamurti, and a light went on. Krishnamurti said stuff like this, “In oneself lies the whole world and if you know how to look and learn, the door is there and the key is in your hand. Nobody on earth can give you either the key or the door to open, except yourself.”

    And this,

    “”Truth is a pathless land.” Man cannot come to it through any organization, through any creed, through any dogma, priest or ritual, not through any philosophic knowledge or psychological technique.”

    I realized he was right, and I lost interest in religion and organized “paths to truth”.

    3) Were you ever a Christian from age 12 up?

    Not really.

    4) Have you ever read the bible?

    Parts of it. I grew up in church. I’ve read enough to know that if you can make people believe that the bible is the literal, inerrant word of God then you can make them believe anything.

    5) Have you ever owned and studied a bible dictionary or bible commentary?

    I don’t think so.

    6) Are whatever beliefs you have based on personal study, analysis, obervation and application?

    Absolutely. So is my lack of beliefs.

    7) With whom do you communicate your deepest thoughts and questions?

    Myself.

    I think that will be enough to help me understand. If I can do the same for you, please ask. By the way, if you have the capacity to love, you have God, whether you want Him or not. Feel free to thank Him every now and them.

    Why is God a “Him”? Has it occurred to you that the mystery behind existence may not be a personality?

  288. #288 MAJeff, OM
    March 8, 2008

    heard a radio show with people from various religions and denominations arguing about the, then new, Jesus Christ Superstar. They were pointing out the musical’s flaws and character distortions, and arguing among themselves over whose particular worldview was the path to salvation.

    You know what I loved about Superstar (and Kazantzakis’s “Last Temptation”) is that they both fleshed out and made a more complex, more human character out of Judas. He really did get screwed, especially for doing exactly what we’re supposed to believe was his duty from God. (Then again, he could have been an asshole, too. Or a plot device.)

  289. #289 Kseniya
    March 8, 2008

    Kay (#286): Janine (#261) was being sarcastic. I think that means you two are in pretty close agreement on the subject.

    Lightbulb #247:

    1) Were you born atheist or agnostic?

  290. Of course. Aren’t we all?

    2) If you adopted your beliefs, at what age and under what circumstances (discipleship, life problems, parents, friends)?

  291. I “adopted” Christianity at a very young age, because that’s what I was taught. As I have matured, I’ve come to seriously question some of the central claims and precepts of this religion and of religions in general.

    3) Were you ever a Christian from age 12 up?

  292. Oh yes.

    4) Have you ever read the bible?

  293. Yes.

    5) Have you ever owned and studied a bible dictionary or bible commentary?

  294. Owned? No. Studied? Yes, but not in great depth.

    6) Are whatever beliefs you have based on personal study, analysis, obervation and application?

  295. Of course.

    7) With whom do you communicate your deepest thoughts and questions?

  296. With people I trust.
  • #290 Kseniya
    March 8, 2008

    Oh, I almost forgot:

    By the way, if you have the capacity to love, you have God, whether you want Him or not.

    What utter, baseless, condescending bullshit.

  • #291 Kseniya
    March 8, 2008

    You know what I loved about Superstar (and Kazantzakis’s “Last Temptation”) is that they both fleshed out and made a more complex, more human character out of Judas.

    I totally agree! My dad gave my mom a copy of the original London cast of Superstar as a Christmas present back in ’03. I’d never heard it before, so on New Year’s Day I sat down in the living room with the rest of the family and listened to it, end-to-end, lyric sheet in hand. It was amazing. I didn’t know Webber had it in him. True or not, the story as told made for great drama, and the Jesus/Judas relationship was its tragic core. It was overwhelming; I had to take a break in the middle. I suppose that sounds silly, but it really moved me, as human story.

    He really did get screwed, especially for doing exactly what we’re supposed to believe was his duty from God.

    Right. This raises an very important point. It was all supposed to happen, right? The betrayal, crucifixion and resurrection all went down right on schedule, yes? And what was Judas’ reward for playing his part as expected? To suffer in the bowels of Hell forever! And we’re supposed to focus on how Jesus suffered and died for our sins? No, no, no. It’s Judas who has done the dying and suffering for us. No other conclusion is possible.

    That makes Jesus the guy who sets up his best buddy to take the fall, and then spends eternity reaping all the benefits of the alleged crime.

  • #292 RamblinDude
    March 8, 2008

    No, no, no. It’s Judas who has done the dying and suffering for us. No other conclusion is possible.

    Hey, never thought of it like that!

    Praise Judas!

  • #293 MAJeff, OM
    March 8, 2008

    And what was Judas’ reward for playing his part as expected? To suffer in the bowels of Hell forever! And we’re supposed to focus on how Jesus suffered and died for our sins? No, no, no. It’s Judas who has done the dying and suffering for us. No other conclusion is possible.

    That makes Jesus the guy who sets up his best buddy to take the fall, and then spends eternity reaping all the benefits of the alleged crime.

    I read Kazantzakis the summer between HS graduation and going off to college. The humanization of Judas, and the injustice of what he actually suffered (if this whole “God’s plan” shit is true), was really what started me along a questioning path that led to eventual atheism. I’d never really been taught anything about textual analysis–or narrative structures or anything–in my little rural high school (that rotten old ex-nun was a hideous teacher; I learned from our texts despite her). We just read shit. So, digging into this on my own, and comparing it with the characterizations I’d been taught…well something wasn’t right.

    I discovered Superstar later. Judas is the star of the show. And it’s better than Webber is.

  • #294 RamblinDude
    March 8, 2008

    I like Superstar, too. The music is very 70′s but still compelling. I went through a period where I listened to it quite a lot just to absorb the power of the music and the singing.

  • #295 AlHusseinWest
    March 8, 2008

    “Those who seek nothing as a reward shall ultimately receive it.”

    And the meek shall inherit the earth?

    Depression never stems from belief. And now that blasphemy is legal again in the UK after several hundred years, I’d just like to make the point that I am goddamned well having hot anal sex with Jesus, and Mary is flicking her bean in the background.

    Hey, maybe I should make a cartoon of that…

  • #296 Kagehi
    March 8, 2008

    I’m not as insulted as an atheist as much as I am insulted as an artist. This work is tragically bad. It’s not even worth further commentary.

    Oh come on. I am sure it would look very nice on a road sign or the stall in a bathroom. lol

    As for one other point. Stop complaining about furrys people. They don’t all fall into one stupid category of ideas. Yes, some of them are fracking nuts, and its almost a contradiction to have one this right wing stupid and not offended by the very concept of furry art, but you get just as many wackos among those that call themselves liberals, and no small number among atheists. The word furry doesn’t automatically mean some loser who played one of the background people on the CSI episode, or any of the other stereotypes. Fact is, the number of them I have talked to that fall into that category amount to about 1-2%. A persistently annoying and stupid enough 1-2% for me to finally get fed up with their posting political BS and stuff barely more coherent than mister 80k, and delete the server from my usenet client. I went for the art. I got a few loud mouth idiots, a few very prolific transgender artists, one moron that did nothing but post collections of stuff he picked up every place else (most of it porn versions of animal based Disney stuff), and a lot of people that liked to talk, but rarely posted any art. It wasn’t worth staying around for the 90% of the “normal” ones that liked the art, sometimes posted some good stuff, but mostly just complained about how many arguments I got in with the lunatics and idiots who did nothing but post conspiracy theories, bad theology and stuff that makes 9/11 denialism or the crazier anti-Bush arguments look sane.

    Point being. 90% of them where “normal” people that liked the art. Less than 1% of them where fur suiters. And less than 1% (a different 1%, but slightly overlapping, where completely batshit nuts or incomprehensibly ignorant and irrational).

    This clowns furry interest is probably the *only* thing we know about him that might be taken, by any one here, as sing of some vaguely positive world view. Sadly, its like being locked in a freezer and only finding an unlit match to help you keep warm.

  • #297 SteveM
    March 9, 2008

    @295: “Those who seek nothing as a reward shall ultimately receive it.”

    Magenta: We ask for nothing.

    Frank N. Furter: And you shall receive it; in abundance!

  • #298 Ichthyic
    March 9, 2008

    And what was Judas’ reward for playing his part as expected? To suffer in the bowels of Hell forever!

    oh all you bible bangers with your “hell must be eternal suffering” spiel.

    seriously, haven’t you ever considered that maybe he’s having a ball there?

    all the great film festivals, all you can eat buffet…

    what’s wrong with that?

    I don’t want to give too much away, but the reason xtards think hell sucks is because we didn’t want you morons there to begin with.

  • #299 Kseniya
    March 9, 2008

    Errr… You mean The Inferno wasn’t a travelogue?

    Never mind.

  • #300 Rick R
    March 9, 2008

    MAJeff wrote- “I discovered Superstar later. Judas is the star of the show. And it’s better than Webber is.”

    Agreed. This is the same Webber who wrote “Phantom of the Opera”? And (egad!) “Starlight Express”?

    He should’ve quit while he was ahead.

    (Though “Evita” isn’t bad, and feels more like “Superstar Webber”.)

  • #301 Michael X
    March 9, 2008

    Oh how adorable! An internet quiz! It’s like a MySpace bulletin, but for atheists only…

    1) were you born atheist or agnostic?
    I was born in the default. If this question is actually asking about the beliefs of our parents yet won’t admit it, I was born to a then hells angel father and a non-religious mother.

    2)If you adopted your beliefs, at what age and under what circumstances (discipleship, life problems, parents, friends)?
    I adopted christianity from my father when my mother divorced him and I went to live with him at 6. He was infected by his mother when he was in depression from the divorce. (I wish he had taken up bowling) I learned it was nonsense when I moved out of his house and was allowed to, well, learn.

    3) Were you ever a Christian from age 12 up?
    I was a leader of a 500 member youth group in N. California.

    4) Have you ever read the bible?
    Which my assumptive friend? Apocripha, Quran, Book of Mormon, eastern religions, etc? In any case, I’ve read all the ones you could possibly refer to. Aside from their astounding lack of truth, I find that they are also badly written. So not only is god a liar, he’s also a terrible writer. Like salt on a wound that is.

    5) Have you ever owned and studied a bible dictionary or bible commentary?
    I have an entire ceiling high bookshelf dedicated to just that. Though, I do view the Hal Lindsay section as more “comedy” and less “biblical studies.” I nearly have as many biblical dictionaries/concordances as I have complete works of Shakespeare. Nearly.

    6) Are whatever beliefs you have based on personal study, analysis, obervation and application?
    Yes. But with a disclaimer. Being human I realize that many of my opinions may not be based upon study. Though I can easily tell you which are and which arn’t upon questioning. The point is that I can always freely admit where I am ignorant and in fact, I just tend to stay silent. As far as the god question goes, I’ve looked into it throughly. And I’m always looking for a better argument. So feel free to provide one.

    7) With whom do you communicate your deepest thoughts and questions?
    Minus speaking to an imaginary friend, I probably speak to the same people you do.

    And by the way Lightbulb (cringe inducing moniker noted), you were doing fine here until the moment you posted your addition. That was some sorry evangelizing friend. When trying to convince atheists about the existence god, remember not to beg the question. That will be a big help for you in the future.

  • #302 abeja
    March 9, 2008

    I love reading people’s answers to the questions that were posted. I hope more people join in! My answers aren’t as interesting as some I’ve read here, but here they are (deepest apologies for the length):

    1) were you born atheist or agnostic?
    Yes, I was born a blank slate, like all people are. But if the question was intended to ask what kind of household I was raised in, my answer is that I was raised Catholic. My mom is a die-hard Catholic and we never missed church. I went to catechism classes every week for 10 years. I realized my father was an atheist when I was young. I loved him dearly and felt terrified for him because I figured he wasn’t going to heaven.

    2)If you adopted your beliefs, at what age and under what circumstances (discipleship, life problems, parents, friends)?
    This is a very long story that I wrote out, but upon hitting the “review” button, realized was much too long to tell here. My road to non-belief was long, hard, complicated, and filled with surprising twists and turns. Suffice to say, there wasn’t any kind of tragedy in my life, anger at “god” or anything of the sort. I did an honest evaluation of my beliefs, and this is where I ended up. My dedication to honesty and integrity is what led to my atheism. It also cost me friends and family members. My mother disowned me.

    My doubts about the existence of a god started well before I got the internet, but the final nail in the coffin of any possible god-belief for me came when I discovered atheist websites. I started reading what atheists had to say, and when I stumbled upon Pharyngula, I was reading the words of an atheist scientist and his many commenters! Science was always my first love, and scientifically minded people have always gotten the deepest respect from me. The pro-science commenters on Pharyngula, the atheist commenters (not always one in the same), deeply influenced me. People like raven, Kseniya, MAJeff, Ichthyic, RamblinDude, Sastra, Steve_C, and many, many others here. I can’t possibly name them all (I’m terrible with names!), but all of the Molly winners and many who haven’t yet won a Molly but deserve to do so. Their wit, passion, rationality, and yes, even the stinging barbs from some commenters toward those who don’t believe as they themselves do–backed up by intelligence, humor, explanations, sources, facts, criticism and skepticism, allowed me to embrace the lack of belief that had taken root in me so long ago.

    3) Were you ever a Christian from age 12 up?

    Yes.

    4) Have you ever read the bible?
    No. I realize others vehemently disagree with me on this, but I don’t believe it’s necessary to read the bible or any other “holy” book to justify my lack of belief in a god.

    5) Have you ever owned and studied a bible dictionary or bible commentary?
    No.

    6) Are whatever beliefs you have based on personal study, analysis, obervation and application?

    Yes, but the details would make this comment much too long!

    7) With whom do you communicate your deepest thoughts and questions

    People close to me, people I trust, my therapist. Depends on the situation. For those issues that I don’t want to reveal to an actual human, the issues that believers might pray to a god about, I either tell my dog, (he’s a great listener, doesn’t mind tears, and can keep a secret), write it down, or just sit and think to myself, working out any possible answers on my own. My brain is capable of doing that without any “help” from an imaginary being.

  • #303 Benjamin Franklin
    March 9, 2008

    Messages aside, I just thought that it was piss-poor art that I wouldn’t use to grace the bottom of a bird cage.

    I was similarly unimpressed with Krensada’s other works, as I never felt that amine-type cartoons represent significant art, they are more on the level of coloring books, not even up to the level of a first rate comic book.

  • #304 paiwan
    March 9, 2008

    New discovery.
    The new definition of an atheist is who is a true soft individualist and able to surrender to anything, any idea which includes love, beauty of course. Except, except the term God.

    Jesus Christ, you beat me!!!

  • #305 MAJeff, OM
    March 9, 2008

    New discovery.
    The new definition of an atheist is who is a true soft individualist and able to surrender to anything, any idea which includes love, beauty of course. Except, except the term God.
    Jesus Christ, you beat me!!!

    blah blah blah.

  • #306 paiwan
    March 9, 2008

    Then, can we use numinous or thou to describe ‘love’?

    Quote Martin Buber to say happy birthday to Mr. & Mrs. PZ Myers, “He who loves a woman, and brings her life to present realization in his, is able to look in the Thou of her eyes into a beam of the eternal Thou.”

    Evolution at least has three levels:
    Inorganic: decaying, entropy goes down;
    Organic: natural selection, entropy does up;
    Spiritual: transformation, healed and salvation.

    Education and love belong to spiritual level which dominated by Thou. Without consulting to Thou from time to time, we steal at our conveniences, love is crippled. Therefore, the revelation of Trinity is essential and ecumenical. How do you sort out this concern in dealing with love?

    I admit that I am not a qualified atheist.

  • #307 spurge
    March 9, 2008

    That is some concentrated BS.

    Can I have some for my plants?

  • #308 MAJeff, OM
    March 9, 2008

    Education and love belong to spiritual level which dominated by Thou. Without consulting to Thou from time to time, we steal at our conveniences, love is crippled. Therefore, the revelation of Trinity is essential and ecumenical. How do you sort out this concern in dealing with love?

    It’s like you just strung a bunch of words together in random order.

    I think your problem is not that you aren’t a qualified atheist, but just a piss-poor thinker.

    “Revelation of Trinity?” Nothing there. Meaningless statement. I do like Carrie Ann Moss, but I can think of other people I’d like to reveal.

    “Without consulting to [sic] Thou….love is crippled.” What? Oh, that silly-ass “god is love” bullshit.

    There’s no there there in your “thinking.”

  • #309 David Marjanovi?, OM
    March 9, 2008

    What more could an atheist want than a stool to sit and think? All else is excessive.

    No. Empirical research trumps sitting and thinking any day of the week and twice on Sunday.

    If you took away believers’ god you’d be taking away not just a belief but a chunk of their identity; it would be safer and less messy to tear a turtle from its shell.

    That, however, is an exaggeration! The turtle shell consists of, among other things, the ribs, collarbones, and back vertebrae. If you had said “armadillo”… :^)

    He has tried so many things to deal with us, fire, floods, damnation, curses, etc. None of it worked.

    Yep, the doctrine of omnipotence is younger than at least some parts of Genesis.

  • #310 David Marjanovi?, OM
    March 9, 2008

    What more could an atheist want than a stool to sit and think? All else is excessive.

    No. Empirical research trumps sitting and thinking any day of the week and twice on Sunday.

    If you took away believers’ god you’d be taking away not just a belief but a chunk of their identity; it would be safer and less messy to tear a turtle from its shell.

    That, however, is an exaggeration! The turtle shell consists of, among other things, the ribs, collarbones, and back vertebrae. If you had said “armadillo”… :^)

    He has tried so many things to deal with us, fire, floods, damnation, curses, etc. None of it worked.

    Yep, the doctrine of omnipotence is younger than at least some parts of Genesis.

  • #311 Blake Stacey
    March 9, 2008

    Kseniya (#291):

    It was all supposed to happen, right? The betrayal, crucifixion and resurrection all went down right on schedule, yes? And what was Judas’ reward for playing his part as expected? To suffer in the bowels of Hell forever! And we’re supposed to focus on how Jesus suffered and died for our sins? No, no, no. It’s Judas who has done the dying and suffering for us. No other conclusion is possible.

    You should read “Three Versions of Judas” by Jorge Luis Borges (assuming you haven’t already).

  • #312 Stanton
    March 9, 2008
    If you took away believers’ god you’d be taking away not just a belief but a chunk of their identity; it would be safer and less messy to tear a turtle from its shell.

    That, however, is an exaggeration! The turtle shell consists of, among other things, the ribs, collarbones, and back vertebrae. If you had said “armadillo”…

    No, it’s not an exaggeration. These people have fortified their mental insulation with their faith, thus rendering them resistant, if not immune to reason. I mean, really, you do know how hard it is to reason with a person who has literally been taught to regard “reason” as the whore of the Devil, right?

    Evolution at least has three levels:
    Inorganic: decaying, entropy goes down;
    Organic: natural selection, entropy does up;
    Spiritual: transformation, healed and salvation

    This is wrong on all levels. There is no such thing as “Inorganic Evolution”: decay is the event when a substance is broken down through chemical reactions and mechanical damage, such as weathering and dissolution of rocks and minerals, or decomposition and digestion of organic materials. And entropy goes up in decay because the substances that are decaying are entering into a disorganized state, especially when living organisms are involved, because living organisms maintain their ordered states by contributing to the entropy of other ordered states.
    “Evolution” as defined in Biology is “Descent with modification.” Evolution is the changes that accumulate with each passing generation of organisms: Entropy does not apply to evolution at all.

    Now, if you were in a science class, and tried to pass your crappy definitions off in there, you would be slapped with an “F” grade so fast and so hard that people will mistake you for an understudy trying out for “The Scarlet Letter.”

    Education and love belong to spiritual level which dominated by Thou. Without consulting to Thou from time to time, we steal at our conveniences, love is crippled. Therefore, the revelation of Trinity is essential and ecumenical. How do you sort out this concern in dealing with love?

    This is mystery cult propaganda bullshit. If God gave us the ability of critical thought, why do we need to consult Him for His explicit permission whenever we wanted to expand our knowledge? To claim that we have to ask God’s permission whenever we wanted to learn or love something would be exactly like a child having to ask her parents’ permission to take one step.

    I admit that I am not a qualified atheist.

    Actually, you sound as though you have great difficulties mustering up the will power to tie your own shoelaces on your own.

  • #313 Kseniya
    March 9, 2008

    Blake: No, I haven’t. Thanks for the recommendation!

  • #314 paiwan
    March 9, 2008

    Stanton: You should understand the evolutionary epidemiology to comment on inorganic evolution and perhaps basic Systematic Theology in understanding the coherent structure of knowledge.

    Your viewpoint of scientism is very boring, lack of creative imagination of dialogues, and a dead end mind-set.

    Try to learn the convergence of science and faith perhaps is important for your career.

  • #315 MAJeff, OM
    March 9, 2008

    Try to learn the convergence of science and faith perhaps is important for your career.

    Of what importance is faith? Where does it help us? Why is it necessary? What does it add?

    You take as a given that “faith” is a good thing, yet you haven’t established that in any way. Nor have you established that “faith” is justified.

    Come back once you’ve established a basis–something, anything–for your statements.

  • #316 Stanton
    March 9, 2008

    Paiwan, you do not understand science, period. You gave out incorrect definitions. Faith is irrelevant to understand science, and that you can accuse me of lacking creativity or imagination without even looking at what I do proves that you are nothing more than an arrogant moron who can not tell the difference between willful ignorance and faith.

  • #317 windy
    March 9, 2008

    I love reading people’s answers to the questions that were posted. I hope more people join in!

    As requested!

    1) were you born atheist or agnostic?
    As others have pointed out, babies don’t have religious beliefs, but I was baptised as a Christian.

    2)If you adopted your beliefs, at what age and under what circumstances (discipleship, life problems, parents, friends)?
    IIRC, I arrived at atheism (at least a vague sort) in my preteens as a result of starting to think about the nature of things. My parents probably aren’t atheists but we never discussed God at home.

    3) Were you ever a Christian from age 12 up?
    Nominally yes, believing Christian no.

    4) Have you ever read the bible?
    Of course, as a kid, to find all the kinky and gory stuff. I think I’ve read all together most of it but may have skipped some of the “begats”.

    5) Have you ever owned and studied a bible dictionary or bible commentary?
    I think we studied Luther’s small cathecism in school at some point. The Skeptic’s Annotated Bible has some nice bible commentary.

    6) Are whatever beliefs you have based on personal study, analysis, obervation and application?
    Yes (except “application”? Not all beliefs have direct practical applications)

    7) With whom do you communicate your deepest thoughts and questions?
    Friends, lovers, drinking buddies.

    And I hope that the thoughts and questions I communicate through science are not all entirely shallow, but that’s probably not the sort of question you mean.

  • #318 Ichthyic
    March 9, 2008

    Try to learn the convergence of science and faith perhaps is important for your career.

    you forgot to add:

    …at BIOLA.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biola_University

  • #319 MAJeff, OM
    March 9, 2008

    Looking at people’s responses to our fool, it seems friendship is amazingly important. How shocking!

    Screw that.

    We’re a social species and people talk to each other about their shit. Maybe the problem is a denigration of real friendship and not the refusal to accept imaginary friends.

    Wow, that’s amazingly difficult to grasp.

  • #320 Ichthyic
    March 9, 2008

    swim to the shallow end, Jeff, quick!

    :p

  • #321 Stanton
    March 9, 2008

    swim to the shallow end, Jeff, quick!

    :p

    Try baiting him with some vintage Merlot.

  • #322 MAJeff, OM
    March 9, 2008

    Try baiting him with some vintage Merlot

    Something potable, please. Then again, maybe something vintage will have a taste.

    Oh, ichthyic, loved the Carlin. Watched it last night. I wanna get to be an old fuck, but right now I guess middle-aged fuck will have to do. And DC, here I come (not warm, but paid by miles).

  • #323 Sastra
    March 9, 2008

    paiwann #313 wrote:

    Your viewpoint of scientism is very boring, lack of creative imagination of dialogues, and a dead end mind-set.

    On the contrary, if you are going to use the language and terminology of science and pretend you are not just making poetry, you have to play by the rules in science. That is not unfair or “scientistic.”

    If you want to claim that evolution has a “spiritual” component you need to make your case for that from the ground up. Doing so takes creative imagination, an open mind, and actual work. You can’t just assume before you start. Trying to shoehorn theology into a well-developed science theory in order to make something which looks vaguely like it fits together is superficial, and will always result in a dead end, scientifically and philosophically. It’s sophistry.

    Remember, an open mind is not defined as one that is “eager to believe” or “willing to bend itself into pleasing shapes.” It is defined as one that can say “I might be wrong, and IF I was wrong, here is what would change my mind.” That’s science, not scientism.

  • #324 Ichthyic
    March 9, 2008

    Something potable, please. Then again, maybe something vintage will have a taste.

    I’ve always looked, uh, sideways at Merlot after seeing Sideways. I love it for cooking, though.

    I wonder if that will be Carlin’s last?

    70+ and still funny.

    amazing.

  • #325 MAJeff, OM
    March 9, 2008

    I’ve always looked, uh, sideways at Merlot after seeing Sideways. I love it for cooking, though?

    If ya ain’t willing to drink it, why cook with it?

    Whoopi’s most recent Broadway/HBO special was also awesome–a return to the character standup of 20 years ago–including Fontaine.

  • #326 Ichthyic
    March 9, 2008

    If ya ain’t willing to drink it, why cook with it?

    simple answer:

    2 buck chuck.

  • #327 MAJeff, OM
    March 9, 2008

    simple answer:
    2 buck chuck

    I thought that ended with grad school.
    *Walks away dejected*

  • #328 Ichthyic
    March 9, 2008

    I thought that ended with grad school.

    which?

    using cheap wine to cook with?

    poverty in being a scientist or academic?

    Bronco Winery’s attempts to undercut the wine industry in CA with the Charles Shaw label?

    *shrug*

    no to all of the above.

    *Walks away dejected*

    you have lots of company.

  • #329 MAJeff, OM
    March 9, 2008

    poverty in being a scientist or academic?

    That’s the one.

    OK, time to get serious about the sugar-daddy hunt. Maybe I’ll meet a big-money K-Street lobbyist next weekend. I could sell my soul for some good sex and financial security….I think…

  • #330 Janine
    March 9, 2008

    What soul?

    ‘raspberry’

  • #331 spurge
    March 9, 2008

    “Maybe I’ll meet a big-money K-Street lobbyist next weekend.”

    You do know that they will probably be a Republican right?

  • #332 MAJeff, OM
    March 9, 2008

    You do know that they will probably be a Republican right?

    Of course. I’m talking about money, not love.

  • #333 spurge
    March 9, 2008

    Just wanted to make sure you were going in with eyes wide ;)

    Have fun in DC.

  • #334 MAJeff, OM
    March 9, 2008

    Just wanted to make sure you were going in with eyes wide ;)

    Get him to move to MA. Marry him. Get my student loans paid off. Divorce. Yup :)

  • #335 Ichthyic
    March 9, 2008

    OK, time to get serious about the sugar-daddy hunt.

    or get really serious about your work itself. not like I’m saying anything new, but it’s quite hard to make a living at this stuff (and very easy to get distracted). However it’s certainly not impossible. Having been in the “biz” for 20 years now, my personal experience has been that about 10% of those going into science related fields manage to make a primary career of it. For me, it’s been more of a secondary career; part time academic stints and independent research with NGO’s. Your best chance is still academia, but there are also other options.

    one step at a time, though. finish your thesis and then start looking at potential post-doc positions you might be interested in.

    or, since you teach well, focus on that after you finish your thesis. Much easier to focus on a career in teaching.

  • #336 Stanton
    March 9, 2008
    If ya ain’t willing to drink it, why cook with it?

    simple answer:

    2 buck chuck.

    Well, my answer is that I’m trying to make some vintage Merlot from the Merlot grape vine I bought at Home Depot 4 years ago. Right now, I’m at the “sugared Codeine” stage.


    Well, then, Mr Jeff, would you be patient and willing enough to wait until May, or so, for the fruit of my Californian Desert grapevine to ripen, so I can make something potable out of that, instead?

  • #337 Ichthyic
    March 9, 2008

    Californian Desert

    *double take*

    oh?

    Palm Springs, here.

    you?

  • #338 spurge
    March 9, 2008

    “Get him to move to MA. Marry him. Get my student loans paid off. Divorce. Yup :)”

    An excellent plan.

  • #339 MAJeff, OM
    March 9, 2008

    or, since you teach well, focus on that after you finish your thesis. Much easier to focus on a career in teaching.

    LOL. My dad had his wine-making time. Whenever people would come over, he’d offer up a bottle. I’d be like, “Please! We like these people!” Sugared codeine sounds familiar (but it went straight to sour)

    Good luck with the vines, the grapes, and the vintages!

  • #340 Janine
    March 9, 2008

    Those lobbyists have to be good for something.

  • #341 MAJeff, OM
    March 9, 2008

    Your best chance is still academia, but there are also other options.

    Some time may be spent in some research on this next week (incl potential policy research work)

    Mostly writing, but a night at the symphony, a day at the Holocaust/VietNam Memorials, a day of checking some potential places out, and 3 days of writing. And eggs benedict with bloody marys.

  • #342 Ichthyic
    March 9, 2008

    An excellent plan.

    now, now, we know you just want to ruin the political career of another upright conservative.

    oh wait, you’re right.

    good plan.

    :p

  • #343 spurge
    March 9, 2008

    Jeff

    Make sure you get a pass for the Holocaust museum ahead of time. Sometimes they run out.

    http://www.ushmm.org/visit/

  • #344 Stanton
    March 9, 2008

    Californian Desert
    *double take*

    oh?

    Palm Springs, here.

    you?

    Yes, that’s what I typed, “Californian Desert grape,” Vitis girdiana

  • #345 spurge
    March 9, 2008

    I have been to Palm Springs for a lab automation conference.

    Nice town.

  • #346 MAJeff, OM
    March 9, 2008

    Jeff
    Make sure you get a pass for the Holocaust museum ahead of time. Sometimes they run out.

    thanks. This will actually be my second trip there. The first was during the last display of the full AIDS quilt, back in something like 94ish(?) So, I figure it’s time for another visit.

    Yeah, I believe in the importance of collective memory.

  • #347 Ichthyic
    March 9, 2008

    Yes, that’s what I typed, “Californian Desert grape,” Vitis girdiana

    just hoping YOU might be local; appears not to be too many pharyngulites in this particular neck of the non-woods.

    no?

  • #348 Stanton
    March 9, 2008

    Oh, I live near Los Angeles.

  • #349 spurge
    March 9, 2008

    I did not get in the first time I tried and it was my last day in DC.

    Very disappointing and I did not get back for quite a while.

  • #350 Ichthyic
    March 9, 2008

    Nice town.

    meh.

    it has its moments. mostly it’s pretty boring, though. Most of the good clubs have shut down over the years, along with most of the decent pubs as well.

    Lots and lots of golf…

    good photography and hiking, though (at least 3 months of the year, anyway).

    actually, if Jeff was even half serious about the “sugar daddy” thing, he wouldn’t go far wrong scoping out Palm Springs:

    http://gay-palm-springs.info/

    very diverse community, and tons and tons of cash (and yes, mostly Republican). Kinda far from MA, though.

    not my cup o tea, but always happy to share info.

  • #351 Ichthyic
    March 9, 2008

    Oh, I live near Los Angeles.

    ah.

    the only other Pharyngulite (though he doesn’t post here often) I know of in So. Cal is Gary Hurd.

    Lives near Dana Point, IIRC.

    hard to get together; still quite a bit of distance involved.

  • #352 MAJeff, OM
    March 9, 2008

    actually, if Jeff was even half serious about the “sugar daddy” thing, he wouldn’t go far wrong scoping out Palm Springs:

    As much as I joke about it, I couldn’t do that kind of both self- and other-hatred that is required of the upper-class gay republican. I can whore, but I can’t shut myself down to that degree.

    I could humiliate one of ‘em for a night, though :)

  • #353 spurge
    March 9, 2008

    I guess it seems better to a visitor.

    It sure is warmer there in January than Mass.

  • #354 MAJeff, OM
    March 9, 2008

    It sure is warmer there in January than Mass.

    And as someone who came to Mass from MN, I always joke that people around here really “don’t know cold.”

  • #355 Ichthyic
    March 9, 2008

    I could humiliate one of ‘em for a night, though :)

    LOL

    hey, I dunno, maybe that’s exactly what they want?

    actually, I have to retract that a bit; there is a huge contingent of rethuglican escapees from Orange County around these parts, but I can’t say i really know what the political affiliations are of most of the gay community itself.

    I just projected from the numbers of registered republicans in this area in general.

    In fact, there has been a general acceptance of the gay community here, oddly (considering, as i said, the preponderance of rethuglicans), and most of the community seems to be fairly open and relatively happy, AFAICT, which again doesn’t really mesh with them being mostly republican.

  • #356 spurge
    March 9, 2008

    MN cold?

    No thanks.

  • #357 Ichthyic
    March 9, 2008

    It sure is warmer there in January than Mass.

    …and february, march, april…

    it’s over triple digits here over half of the year, and pushes 120 for june-august (at least).

    heat will keep you housebound just as easily as cold.

  • #358 spurge
    March 9, 2008

    That is why I like the North East.

    It never stays too hot or too cold for long.

  • #359 Ichthyic
    March 9, 2008

    West or East, the closer you are to the coast, the more moderated the temps are by the ocean itself.

    … now if only that were true of housing prices.

  • #360 spurge
    March 9, 2008

    “… now if only that were true of housing prices.”

    You don’t want to know what I paid for my 400 square feet.

  • #361 Kseniya
    March 9, 2008

    I’ve been to Joshua Tree…

    The Fels, it ain’t. I sure did like it, though.

  • #362 Ichthyic
    March 9, 2008

    Been hiking Joshua Tree since I was 15; fantastic place IMO:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/83147904@N00/sets/280089/

    Going up there again next week, i think.

  • #363 Kseniya
    March 9, 2008

    I loved Joshua Tree. I had a rather exciting drive thru Joshua Tree in an SUV with my dad. (I was sixteen, and had a chance to go to SoCal with him on one of his business trips, so I did.) We stayed well past sundown…

    Lots of sky out there. I could see some light-spill from Palms Springs to the south, but the level of sound pollution was zero. Nada, zilch. When we turned the car off, it was completely silent out there in the middle of the park. Even the jet planes going overhead were too high to hear.

    It sure is a tight squeeze getting between the boulders on that rocky road that cuts through the park from the center to the southern edge. We barely got through, what with it being pitch-black except for the headlights, but we “walked” the SUV through with nary a scratch. It was a good thing it was just him and me; my mom would have lost her mind over how stupid it was for us to even try. (I thought it was a great adventure, and loved it. If we’d scratched the rental car, then yeah, it would have been very stupid. LOL.)

    We got back to the hotel in Irvine at about 3:00 A.M. Pacific Time, but it was only midnight according to our bodyclocks. :-)

    Fantastic pix, Ichthy… Gorgeous! The closeup of the horned toad is amazing… it’s like a baby styracosaurus, or maybe a sort of ankylosaurid. I luvs dem critters.

  • #364 MAJeff, OM
    March 9, 2008

    Oh, yeah Jesus of Montreal

    I haven’t seen horned toads since my childhood in West Texas. Dad was in the Air Force when I was age 1-5. We were stationed at Webb AFB. Lot’s of horned toads, rattlesnakes, black widows, lots of freaky things we didn’t have when we moved to Iowa.

    I still remember running home in terror, leaving my trike behind, after seeing a black widow spider at the play ground.

    That, and the cat bringing home a dead rattlesnake; and deciding to hide under the car hood during a thunderstorm–she got caught in the engine as it started, and had loose stomach skin for the rest of her life, but we had her for about another 12 or so years.

  • #365 Ichthyic
    March 9, 2008

    thanks; that was the first attempt with a new digital camera I had recently purchased.

    I too was pleased with the results. I hardly do anything in film any more.

    the horned lizards are pretty common on the North side of Joshua Tree (near the Blackrock area), not so common elsewhere.

    http://digital-desert.com/wildlife/horned-lizard.html

  • #366 MAJeff, OM
    March 9, 2008

    It’s funny looking at your pics and link, and googling “horneytoads” which is what we knew the critters as….I’m just having fun and thinking about plants and animals I haven’t seen in over 30 years. I can’t say I have any desire to return to the West Texas deserts, but this is kind of neat.

    This is one of the things I love about this site. Just random coolness and interesting shit.

  • #367 Ichthyic
    March 9, 2008

    Just random coolness and interesting shit.

    ayup.

    keeps life interestin’

  • #368 Kseniya
    March 10, 2008

    Indeed. :-)

  • #369 Hap
    March 11, 2008

    #363: That’s why my cats do not leave the house – not that one of them doesn’t try (when the small gray-and-white cat sits on our deck).

  • #370 Laraken
    March 11, 2008

    #5:
    Actually, sperm don’t really do a whole lot of anything. They actually wait until the egg comes down to them. They don’t swim very far at all. It’s a common misconception, and one that often leads to the female reproductive system as being “faulty” or “less amazing” in some way. So I thought I’d just clear that up.

    And I totally get that you were quoting someone else, but I thought I’d just elaborate. :)

  • #371 thepoetryman
    March 15, 2008

    The artist expresses precisely what is wrong with the majority of Theists. Ignorance. Most I know and have had the pleasure of being “witnessed to” are boxed in (the irony of the box was palpable), close-minded, intolerant, confused and pious. But I repeat myself…

  • #372 noblecaboose
    March 18, 2008

    Hi. I really loved this.
    I hope you don’t mind, but I borrowed your atheist creed (giving you full credit) to make a video response to this piece of ignorant tripe: http://www.youtube.com/v/Pl1kIFwNiM0&hl=en

    You can see my video here:
    http://www.youtube.com/v/APReXnvU2zY

    I hope that’s o.k. If you have any objection, I will take it down.

  • #373 Jordan
    November 8, 2008

    through up some Jesus wallpaper and you have Christianity.

  • #374 ILoveTits
    November 13, 2008

    How can you pity an atheist they have intelligence while you have ignorance.

    Atheist have no invisible friend to kill people.

    Atheists are moral in there actions, unlike theists that kill and rape steal and lie and when they are done they pray and do it all over again.

  • #375 Sven DiMilo
    November 13, 2008

    Actually, sperm don’t really do a whole lot of anything. They actually wait until the egg comes down to them. They don’t swim very far at all.

    What? No, sorry, that’s just wrong. Fertilization occurs in the upper part of the oviduct. Oviducts in humans are about 10 cm long, and the uterus is about 6-7 cm from the external orifice of the cervix to the entrance of the oviduct. A sperm therefore has to swim at least 12 cm (5 inches) to fertilize an egg cell. That’s a very long way for a cell that is only 55 micrometers long (including the “tail”)!

    55 micrometers is to 12 cm as 1 foot is to a half mile (approx.)

  • #376 Patricia
    November 13, 2008

    Ichthyic! Welcome back, I’ve missed you. :o) How’s the new water?

  • #377 Tsuki
    December 17, 2008

    It’s more the catholic or protestant or whatever closed inside the walls, I would say… the atheist is free.

  • #378 Jeremy
    January 15, 2009

    Atheist views are more depressing than religious views??? So the idea of a “loving god” sending non believers to burn forever in a lake of fire, that’s not depressing to you???

  • #379 Insightful Teenager
    January 18, 2009

    Actually I know several agnostics and several atheist, and the sad truth is that the true atheist don’t believe in love anymore, they only believe in lust and reproduction; that’s as close as they get. The agnostic friends are just slowly numbing themselves to the world, but can still feel love, at least most of them ( I am a hardcore christain) I feel the need to ask, “Why… why must we be hated by you for believing in something more, how can you say that we’re wrong when none of the self-proclaimed atheist out there really know anything about the Bible and aren’t even willing to consider the fact that there could be flaws in past theories in science; it would explain why so many things don’t fit and can’t be fully explained by darwinism… he himself said that his research didn’t apply to people. There are Christians out there, as well as other religions, that are trying there hardest to understand where you are coming from and what is going on inside your head to have made you so cold, and trying to find the weak points in science so that it can be bettered. I mean the first thing that you all target is the creation story, did it ever occur to you “higher intellects” that it was a metaphor? How would explain being ageless to someone from the B.C. timeframe, how could you explain your viewpoint of time, to a person, who’s time in life in comparison would be like a grain of sand on a vast beach? Then there is the fact that science has changed their answer more times than can be counted, with the most recent ones being life mutating from crystals due to the heat of the planet, and life being planted on Earth by “someone/something else” (if you ask me those sound like science fiction…in all likelihood we’re both wrong and have only gotten part of it right; after all we’re only human) Oh and on the whole non-believers go to hell thing; you do know that they get like an extra year or so during Revelation (end of the world) to make things right( as they see them, they just choose not to…miracles, plagues, and all; the majority remains unchanged

  • #380 Sastra
    January 18, 2009

    Insightful Teenager #378 wrote:

    There are Christians out there, as well as other religions, that are trying there hardest to understand where you are coming from and what is going on inside your head to have made you so cold, and trying to find the weak points in science so that it can be bettered.

    Well, to start with, if you are really interested in understanding where we are coming from, you will need to recognize that we do not consider our position to be “cold,” nor do we consider ourselves “cold.” Keep in mind that any world view which tells the insider that the people who disagree with them are not just mistaken, but seriously defective, is not going to be able to reach out and “understand” the other side. They are demonizing the other side, for their own purposes.

    Be careful about making sweeping judgments about any group. Also, be careful you don’t assume that any conclusion which doesn’t please you, flatter you, or reassure you — must therefore be false. Although theists often insist that atheism is human-centered and arrogant, I think it is the other way around. Reality has no obligation to be just as we want it to be.

    A question for you (assuming you’re going to stick around for more than the one post):

    If it turns out that evolution did in fact happen, would you change how you think of God — or would you feel as if you had to throw God out, as a falsified hypothesis?

  • #381 africangenesis
    January 18, 2009

    Insightful teen,

    You will find that the atheists here are trying to fill a hole in their hearts with a sense of community. All the contempt and vitriol may make it seem like something different than “love”, but the shared hate gives them a sense of “belonging”, which is fills some of the same needs as love. But the need for belonging and agreement makes them vulnerable to “wrong agreement”, a concept you should be familiar with. Their emptiness creates a need for structure and control, hence their gravitation to progressive-marxist central control ideologies. Their need for agreement promotes the uncritical acceptance of Anthropogenic Global Warming, environmentalism and the daemonization of humanity, even though they conflict with claimed humanitarian beliefs.

    But there is a different atheism than what you see here, that is at peace with evolutionary origins and the religious nature of modern man, that respects the individual and his circumstances, and recognizes the need to never lose sight of the vulnerability to fanatical collectivism that our aborted evolution has left us with.

  • #382 Insightful Teen
    January 18, 2009

    (first off to answer the question of why I’m here, my friends that I spoke of asked me to do it, after they came across the sight; they find me “exceptionally open-minded” as they put it) In response to the other question….No, I don’t really think my outlook would change, considering that my belief is radically different from what is considered the norm, in fact it would most likely only strengthen the views that I now currently hold on both sides of the issue.hahaha Because in all honesty I believe that evolution did occur at some point and at some rate, but I just don’t believe that it happens as the scientists say… it just isn’t consistent with their other theories, so I try to find the point where scientific and biblical collide; that is where I think I will find a more realistic truth. But there is no doubt in my mind that there is a higher power… the universe(even at the microscopic level) is just too well organized and functions to smoothly for it to be explained otherwise… scientist are still trying to explain where some cellular material is coming from, and how a black hole works(I don’t think we’ll ever know the answer to that one, but it is extremely fascinating to think about isn’t it?) I do apologize about the usage of the term ‘cold’, but I was at a loss for words and well, lets just say that my friend here doesn’t have the best mastery of his vocabulary (one of my friends was over, I’m not sure of his views on religion…doesn’t seem religous though, anyway I’m digressing; and I ended up quoting him)

  • #383 Insightful Teen
    January 18, 2009

    TO africangenisis:

    I thank you for that; you’re right I’ve been there and it hurts, and you just want anything to make it go away…the hole in the heart with the pain that stays; See this kind of conversation would never have happened face to face at my school… because of all the problems the issue causes it would’nt have gotten past hello…. thank you :)

  • #384 Nerd of Redhead
    January 18, 2009

    Insightful Teen, you look at the universe and see god. I look at the same universe and see no reason for god. Everything can be explained in terms of natural processes without a need for god. If you want a fuzzy Deist god who set the universe in motion and left it on its own, including abiogenesis and evolution to happen, more power to you. We scientists do tend to get irritated when people say god interferes the things in the present day, but then never show any evidence for their claims. Science is all about the evidence, and god claims tend to have none, so science ignores god. Science can neither prove nor disprove god, just as religion can neither prove nor disprove science. But religion begins to look silly if their claims appear to have no basis in the real world that science describes.

  • #385 Steve_C
    January 18, 2009

    Emptiness? My cup is quite full, thank you very much.

  • #386 PZ Myers
    January 18, 2009

    Africangenesis and “insightful” teen: go find a jebus-worshipping site for your circle jerk. I will evict you both for godbotting if you keep this up.

    Africangenesis, you are a lying scumbag. Go away.

    Insightful teen, you are shallow and pretentious. Stereotyping atheists like that tells me you know very little about us.

  • #387 Sastra
    January 18, 2009

    Insightful Teen #381 wrote:

    Because in all honesty I believe that evolution did occur at some point and at some rate, but I just don’t believe that it happens as the scientists say… it just isn’t consistent with their other theories, so I try to find the point where scientific and biblical collide; that is where I think I will find a more realistic truth.

    Thanks for answering. Theistic evolution — the belief that God works through evolution — is a stance a lot of religious people have taken. If one can use metaphor and symbol, it’s rather easy to make religious views consistent with whatever science discovers. The trick, I think, is to derive religious views from applying the scientific method.

    That’s where the conflict lies, between theism and a science-based atheism. It’s not that atheists are necessarily hostile to the idea of God (or that they’re different in personality from theists); it’s that we’re very cautious in how we approach truth claims, including those of religion. When looked at as objectively as possible, God is an unnecessary hypothesis.

    Given how often human beings are mistaken, it should be a hypothesis. Faith gives individuals too much power, allows them to justify too much. The problem is not really the conclusion that God exists, but the method used to decide that.

    Although I’d agree that the atheists who hang out in the comments section of Pharyngula are looking for a “sense of community,” that’s not all that insightful, or significant on understanding ‘what atheists are like.’ After all, everyone who hangs out in the comments section of any blog — or bulletin board, or website, or what have you — is looking for an internet community. That just describes people in general, I think.

    (africangenesis, by the way, does not much like the blog, or the people who frequent it. I’m not saying you should therefore ignore him or discount him, of course — but he’s not speaking for the majority, so you need to consider this, if you’re trying to draw conclusions about PZ Myers and the atheists who are more sympathetic to his approach.)

  • #388 Stanton
    January 18, 2009

    Hey, africangenesis, did it ever occur to you that the vitriol you’ve received here is due to you making ignorant and vacuous statements that betray your gross stupidity?

    To say that the only reason that the atheists gather on PZ’s blog is to fill a hole in their collective hearts suggests that you have hole in your head that you aren’t bothering to fill. I mean, have you actually met an actual, living atheist before? I really doubt it.

  • #389 africangenesis
    January 18, 2009

    Sastra@386,

    Your point about blogs and belonging is well taken, but you have to admit that the excess of contempt and vitriol is in need of an explanation. Scientists usually pride themselves on focusing on substance however fervent the discussions. If you’ve every been at a white board at Caltech or MIT, you know what I mean. Perhaps it is the fratboy contempt demonstrated by the fearless leader that has set the tone here. I haven’t been to the huffington post, so perhaps it is common in the progressive blogosphere, and I shouldn’t be singling out this one.

  • #390 africangenesis
    January 18, 2009

    Stanton,

    You are right, I’m sorry. I can’t believe you ever had a hole in your heart. Is there any chance you could be the exception however?

  • #391 Stanton
    January 18, 2009

    …you have to admit that the excess of contempt and vitriol is in need of an explanation…

    So, then, can you explain how and why you know for certain that atheists here have “holes in their heart” that they fill by heaping ridicule and contempt upon you?

  • #392 Stanton
    January 18, 2009

    Stanton,

    You are right, I’m sorry. I can’t believe you ever had a hole in your heart. Is there any chance you could be the exception however?

    Please explain why you feel entitled to make ridiculous and moronic (as well as false) blanket statements and judgments, and then complain about the resultant, and rightly deserved hostile response, especially when a certain person whom you allegedly admire said something along the lines of “judge not, lest ye be judged in return”?

    Or, is that statement of yours about “atheists having holes in their hearts” actually you projecting your own shortcomings onto what you assume are convenient scapegoats?

  • #393 africangenesis
    January 18, 2009

    Stanton@390,

    First I wasn’t thinking of the “personal” attacks on me, but rather the general tone of the site. I have had some substantive discussions here and hope I have made a contribution, especially to the understanding of the less than certain state of the evidence for AGW.

    At an ostensibly evolution science site, I think it is appropriate to hypothesize about the unually high levels of contempt and vitriol. These are legitimate human emotional reactions, that presumably have contributed as much to human fitness as what are generally regarded as more positive emotions in western/judeo/christian culture. Does a hole-in-the-heart feeling also contribute to fitness, if perhaps it makes one seek the community so helful to a social animal’s survival and reproduction. Perhaps it is just a pop psychology hypothesis. Did it hit too close to home? It was intended to be understanding, and to suggest that there was a human reason to be treating other humans so disrespectfully.

  • #394 africangenesis
    January 18, 2009

    PZ@385,

    I may have made mistakes, and I hope I have owned up to them, but what makes you think I have lied?

  • #395 DamianP
    January 18, 2009

    Actually I know several agnostics and several atheist, and the sad truth is that the true atheist don’t believe in love anymore, they only believe in lust and reproduction; that’s as close as they get.

    This is, I’m afraid, utterly false and betrays a kind of bigotry on your part. It doesn’t particularly bother me, but I would certainly suggest that you don’t have the first idea about what atheism is, or how atheists feel.

    “Why… why must we be hated by you for believing in something more, how can you say that we’re wrong when none of the self-proclaimed atheist out there really know anything about the Bible and aren’t even willing to consider the fact that there could be flaws in past theories in science; it would explain why so many things don’t fit and can’t be fully explained by darwinism… he himself said that his research didn’t apply to people.

    Once again, you are projecting your own opinions/ biases (bigotry?) on to atheists. Just because we don’t necessarily treat people like children who need comforting doesn’t mean that we hate you, or anyone else for that matter. I can categorically say that I don’t hate anyone.

    And you are simply not correct that atheists don’t know anything about the bible. Indeed, most atheists were former Christians — often for several decades — and it is often the case that they spent years studying both religion(s) and the bible searching for answers to the questions that they had.

    There are certainly flaws in both past theories in science, as well as current. But you need to consider what you are implying, here. There are undoubtedly flaws in your understanding of your loved ones, but that doesn’t mean that you have no understanding at all, or that you can simply make it up as you go along, does it?

    As both a methodology and an epistemology, science is unrivaled in its success. Now, unless you wish to argue that the success of science is an absolute fluke and that it isn’t reliable in mapping our beliefs to reality, I can’t really understand the point that you are making.

    There are Christians out there, as well as other religions, that are trying there hardest to understand where you are coming from and what is going on inside your head to have made you so cold, and trying to find the weak points in science so that it can be bettered. I mean the first thing that you all target is the creation story, did it ever occur to you “higher intellects” that it was a metaphor?

    I am sorry to have to say this but I see little evidence that most believers are trying at all to understand atheists or atheism. If what you say is true, why are we so often misrepresented and why are beliefs about atheists and atheism so often the polar opposite of what the atheist really believes?

    We know that the creation stories are metaphor, but perhaps you might want to explain that to the tens of millions (of Christians, Muslims, etc) who disagree with you, and would like to see it being taught in the science classrooms all over America. It would be fantastic if all believers accepted this truth as you do, but it is simply a fact of life that they don’t.

    Then there is the fact that science has changed their answer more times than can be counted, with the most recent ones being life mutating from crystals due to the heat of the planet, and life being planted on Earth by “someone/something else” (if you ask me those sound like science fiction…in all likelihood we’re both wrong and have only gotten part of it right; after all we’re only human)

    Absolutely spot on (well, kind of). Science hasn’t fully figured out how life first arose yet, but it will be science that eventually does. Religion — as you seem to have admitted — has absolutely nothing to say, scientifically, about how the first replicators appeared.

    Don’t forget, anything that we currently understand about the nature of the universe has come about using various scientific methodologies. Religion has contributed almost nothing to the debate, apart from, perhaps, inspiring some scientists to understand the mechanics of the universe, and thus, the “mind of God”.

    Oh and on the whole non-believers go to hell thing; you do know that they get like an extra year or so during Revelation (end of the world) to make things right( as they see them, they just choose not to…miracles, plagues, and all; the majority remains unchanged

    Well that makes everything alright then. What happens if I don’t wish to put myself under a celestial dictatorship? I find this belief to be utterly immoral. I would gladly go to hell, rather than accept such a monster.

  • #396 Sastra
    January 18, 2009

    africangenesis wrote:

    Your point about blogs and belonging is well taken, but you have to admit that the excess of contempt and vitriol is in need of an explanation.

    If you compare Pharyngula to the boards at CalTech or MIT, then you’re right. It’s quite different in tone and style. But, compared to many similar blogs and internet forums, aimed at the general public, I think it’s pretty much par for the course — and much better than some. I guess it depends on what you’re used to. Or what you’re expecting.

    The fact that PZ frequently argues that both the science community and atheists in general need to get over the tendency to treat those who attack them with kid gloves and an undeserved respect, probably contributes to the Tortuga atmosphere. Some of it is excessive, at times (well, it’s Tortuga — enter at own risk). But I’ve noticed that, if someone argues with content, they will get rebuttals with content. Don’t mistake style for substance — or put too much focus on it.

    I’ve mentioned before that I think religious people tend to place a disproportionate amount of emphasis on how pleasant a person is, or how nice the community, when determining the truth of what they claim. This might be because, with churches, you’re supposed to judge their truth by how closely to seem to adhere to and share the Love of God. A Holy Prophet that does evil is automatically a false prophet. A scientist who is a jerk in personal life is not automatically wrong in the science. In fact, that’s not supposed to be relevant.

  • #397 Nerd of Redhead
    January 18, 2009

    AG, one mistake, as far as I am concerned, and I suspect PZ too, had to do with anti-AGW posts. Both PZ and I are scientists, and much of the evidence used by the AGW deniers doesn’t pass scientific scrutiny. Like lists of how believes and who doesn’t. That isn’t science. Note that I challenged some deniers on another thread, asking for only one citation to the primary peer reviewed scientific literature to back up their claims. The evasions were masterful, but damning for their cause. There may be more. PZ can speak for himself on that.

  • #398 Stanton
    January 18, 2009

    First I wasn’t thinking of the “personal” attacks on me, but rather the general tone of the site. I have had some substantive discussions here and hope I have made a contribution, especially to the understanding of the less than certain state of the evidence for AGW.

    “Contributions”?

    Like when you claimed that Agriculture and Animal Husbandry had very little contributions from Evolutionary Biology?

    Does a hole-in-the-heart feeling also contribute to fitness, if perhaps it makes one seek the community so helful to a social animal’s survival and reproduction. Perhaps it is just a pop psychology hypothesis. Did it hit too close to home? It was intended to be understanding, and to suggest that there was a human reason to be treating other humans so disrespectfully.

    A) Please show us exactly where you discovered that the atheists here have “holes in their hearts”
    B) Please explain to me how you discovered that I’m an atheist, even though I am not an atheist, but a theist who does not believe in using his spirituality as an excuse to be a bigoted moron like yourself.

    I may have made mistakes, and I hope I have owned up to them, but what makes you think I have lied?

    Like the parts where you were denying that AGW occurs or claiming that atheists “have holes in their hearts” simply because the local posters here take umbrage to your arrogant stupidity?

  • #399 africangenesis
    January 18, 2009

    Nerd@396,

    Since my problems with the evidence for the quite plausible AGW hypothesis, is based on the near total dependence upon models. I have plenty of peer reviewed evidence, starting at the IPCC diagnostic subprojects themselves that were available to the AR4 Working Group I authors, and there has been much published since then that make the inadequacy of the models to the task at hand evident. If you review my postings on the subject, I don’t think you will doubt that I can back them up. The most recent substantitive discussion was here:

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2009/01/open_season_on_fresh_meat.php

    and there was an earlier long interchange that I can’t find. Something about “the ways of the bush administration” or something like that. I don’t think that you will find that I evade.

  • #400 africangenesis
    January 18, 2009

    Stanton,

    A whole in the heart is thought to be part of the human condition, and I am not talking about patent foramen ovale. Even non-existentialists have experienced “existential dread” at one time or another. It can be intellectual such as with the existentialists, or it can alienation or loneliness. Atheists are social animals with needs like all the others.

    Is there really a need to revel in EVERY emotion evolution has left us with? We didn’t evolve in mass-society nation states, but the 20th century should have made it clear how vulnerable human nature is to us-vs-them daemonizing and dehumanizing excess. These cultures also felt the were entitled to their “negative” emotions and were united by them. I guess, if they had won, then those emotions would have proven their worth. However, even this history needs to be kept in perspective. Pinker has pointed out that even with all the excesses of destruction of the 20th century, modern western man was still statistically less likely to die at the hands of his fellow man that in traditional hunter/gatherer societies.

  • #401 africangenesis
    January 18, 2009

    Stanton,

    I still don’t get how knowledge of evolution has contributed much to animal husbandry. Can you be very explicit with your examples?

  • #402 Nerd of Redhead
    January 18, 2009

    AG, if you find the models deficient, either publish the rebuttals in the peer reviewed primary scientific literature or shut up. That is how science is done. Put, or shut up.

  • #403 Glen Davidson
    January 18, 2009

    I still don’t get how knowledge of evolution has contributed much to animal husbandry.

    You seem not to understand Lysenkoism in the Soviet Union, or the manner in which humans think about these things.

    Animal husbandry and crop breeding are possible without resorting to theory. Genetics certainly is a great help, but evolution isn’t, or anyway wasn’t, all that important–except that humans think theoretically when possible.

    Hence, when it became evident that evolution was responsible for life’s forms, the basis for evolution played a role in understanding genetics. Lysenko had a flawed, basically metaphysical, notion of how life changed through time, and so he inferred that genetics didn’t operate according to strictly “physical” causes. This meant that idiotic ways of transforming crops were employed in the Soviet Union.

    It is undoubtedly true that ID wouldn’t have the same effect, mainly because it sneaks non-teleological evolutionary predictions into its own dishonest “ID predictions.”

    The fact is not so much that evolutionary theory changed ag breeding so much, as that it was consistent with the merely empirical (and largely unexplained, prior to Darwin) approach that came beforehand. It no doubt sharpened the application, or perhaps more precisely, it no doubt guided discovery and applications of genetic factors which increased our understanding of crop and animal breeding.

    For myself, I’d be less inclined to credit evolutionary theory with any great leaps in ag breeding prior to around a half century ago, rather as something far more important to understanding genetic engineering–because relatedness is an important factor when understanding interactions of genes introduced into organisms separated from those genes by considerable amounts of time.

    Nevertheless, evolutionary theory would have to assist in breeding for agriculture, because although evolutionary theory came partly out of empirical knowledge gained from breeding, it enhanced people’s causal understanding of what they had already been doing. More importantly, perhaps, it killed off any hopes that design or “Lamarckism” played any role in evolution or in breeding for agriculture (early in the 20th century), hence it kept people from going down the wrong paths, as they had sometimes done previously.

    Merely destroying wrong notions can be of considerable advantage, and that probably was the primary practical benefit from evolutionary science in the early days.

    Beyond that, Dobzhansky was right, nothing in biology makes sense, except in the light of evolution (that would be true of, say, biochemistry, as well). Empirical knowledge would increase even without evolutionary theory, however it would be less and less capable of handling the exponentially-increasing knowledge that biology is producing.

    Evolution is the simplifying, organizing system that is (as a biological theory) unique to biology. Even Jerry Coyne has stated that it wasn’t of a great deal of practical use in its earlier days, but it is increasingly important to both discovery and application today.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/6mb592

  • #404 africangenesis
    January 18, 2009

    “Shut up”? Do “I” have to publish myself, or can I rely upon other peer review literature? Does Andreas Roesch count?

    Roesch, A. (2006). “Evaluation of surface albedo and snow cover in AR4 coupled climate models”. J. Geophys. Res.. DOI:10.1029/2005JD006473.

    “The mean annual surface albedo of the 15 AR4 models amounts to 0.140 with a standard deviation of 0.013. All AR4 models are slightly above the mean of PINKER (0.124) and ISCCP-FD (0.121).”

    “The annual mean surface albedo of the AR4 models is 0.140 with a standard deviation of 0.013. All climate models are slightly above the average derived from t he PINKER and ISCCP climatology. The participating models all capture the large-scale seasonal cycle of the surface albedo quite well. However, pronounced systematic biases are predicted in some areas. Highest differences between the models are found over snow-covered forested regions. The winter surface albedo of CNRM-CM3, averaged over the latitude zone from 50N-70N, is nearly 0.3 lower than in MIROC3.2 and INM-CM3.0. Comparisons with ground-based and remote-sensed data reveal that most AR4 models predict positive biases over primarily forested areas during the snow period. These substantial deviations are still far too high to meet the required accuracy of surface albedos in GCMs.”

    Does Scambos count? He coauthored “Arctic Sea Ice Decline: Faster Than Forecast?” with Julienne Stroeve published in JGR:

    “Because of this disparity, the shrinking of summertime ice is about thirty years ahead of the climate model projections,”

    Stoeve herself said: “The actual rate of sea ice loss in March, about ?1.8 percent per decade in the 1953 to 2006 period, was three times larger than the mean from the computer models,”

    How about Tung and Camp:

    “Currently no GCM has succeeded in simulating a solar-cycle response of the observed amplitude near the surface. Clearly a correct simulation of a global-scale warming on decadal time scale is needed before predictions into the future on multi-decadal scale can be accepted with confidence.”

    http://www.amath.washington.edu/research/articles/Tung/journals/solar-jgr.pdf

    Here they collaborated with Zhou on some more recent work, also finding the models lacking:

    http://www.amath.washington.edu/research/articles/Tung/journals/tung-zhou-camp08.pdf

    There is of course, much more.

  • #405 africangenesis
    January 18, 2009

    I just found this old one that I had been looking for for awhile, by Lucarini

    “This study suggests serious caveats with respect to the ability of most of the presently available climate models in representing the statistical properties of the global scale atmospheric dynamics of the present climate and, a fortiori, in the perspective of modelling climate change.”

    In particular, when considering the total variability of the wave fields of the GCMs, we have that the biases on the intraseasonal and interannual variability are positively linearly correlated: for larger average signals the variability tend to be larger. When considering the process-oriented metrics, we have that the baroclinic waves are typically overestimated by the climate models, while the planetary waves are usually underestimated. This closely resembles the results of many diagnostic studies performed in the past on global weather forecasting models (Tibaldi, 1986). The climatologies of the wave activity of only two models ? GFDL-CM2.1 and MIROC(hires) – are statistically consistent with that of the reanalyses both for the global and process-oriented metrics.”

    http://arxiv.org/abs/physics/0601117

    The presence of structural uncertainties (due to the choices made when a model is built on which processes and feedbacks are described and how they are described) and of parametric uncertainties (due to the lack of knowledge on quantities which characterize the climatic system), implies that every model used to generate projections about future climate change is a priori false, or better, weak in its descriptive power.” (Lucarini, V. (2002) Towards a definition of climate science, Int. J. Environment and Pollution, Vol. 18, No. 5

    Lucarini may be more pessimistic than I am. I have hope the models can be ready in another decade or so.

  • #406 africangenesis
    January 18, 2009

    Glen@402,

    I am well aware of Lysenkoism, he wasn’t very tolerant of disagreement. I think he must have had some contempt for his opponents. I agree that evolutionary insights are becoming more important and practical.

  • #407 Stanton
    January 18, 2009

    I am well aware of Lysenkoism, he wasn’t very tolerant of disagreement. I think he must have had some contempt for his opponents.

    If you ever bothered to read about Trofim Lysenko, you would know that he did not tolerate disagreement because A) because he was Stalin’s pet biologist and agronomist, what he said about Biology and Agriculture was what Stalin said about Biology and Agriculture, and to oppose what Stalin said in Soviet Russia was to ask for annihilation, B) Trofim abused his position in order to strike out at his enemies and rivals, and C) Why is bringing up Trofim Lysenko’s intolerance and persecution of his opponents directly relevant to discussing the fact that Lysenkoism is a failed agricultural discipline?

    I agree that evolutionary insights are becoming more important and practical.

    From the way you’ve been posting here, one gets the impression that you came to this conclusion only with extreme reluctance 5 minutes ago.

  • #408 africangenesis
    January 18, 2009

    Stanton, One would be wrong if one came to that conclusion. I’ve been following genome analysis results for insights into evolutionary details and metabolic relationships for quite some time. I am still too lazy to guess what makes you think evolutionary theory is so surpassingly important to animal husbandry. Perhaps you were just guessing.

  • #409 DamianP
    January 18, 2009

    Er, africangenesis, you do realize that the paper that you linked to by Ka-Kit Tung and Charles D. Camp is actually consistent with the climate models?

    Conclusion
    Using NCEP reanalysis data that span four and a half solar cycles, we have obtained the spatial pattern over the globe which best separates the solar-max years from the solar-min years, and established that this coherent global pattern is statistically significant using a Monte-Carlo test. The pattern shows a global warming of the Earth?s surface of about 0.2 K, with larger warming over the polar regions than over the tropics, and larger over continents than over the oceans. It is also established that the global warming of the surface is related to the 11-year solar cycle, in particular to its TSI, at over 95% confidence level. Since the solar-forcing variability has been measured by satellites, we therefore now know both the forcing and the response (assuming cause and effect). This information is then used to deduce the climate sensitivity. Since the equilibrium response should be larger than the periodic response measured, the periodic solar-cycle response measurements yields a lower bound on the equilibrium climate sensitivity that is equivalent to a global warming of 2.3 K at doubled CO2. A 95% confidence interval is estimated to be 2.3-4.1 K. This range is established independent of models.

    Ergo, the extra warming due to the sunspot cycle simply adds to our problems. Honestly, do you even bother to either read or investigate the papers that you link to. Or do you, as I suspect, simply swallow the “analysis” (in all its dishonesty) that the denialist sites provide?

    Come on, africangenesis, I shouldn’t have to do this for you.

    And the second Ka Kit Tung, Jiansong Zhou, and Charles D. Camp paper that you linked to is also consistent, as well.

    It is seen that, compared with our derived constraint, most models assessed by IPCC AR4 have too low a TCR, even lower than that derived from the station data.

    [...]

    Transient Climate Response (TCR) is defined in
    IPCC 4th Assessment Report (AR4) as the global mean
    warming in response to 1% per year compound increase in
    CO2 at the time of its doubling. TCR is deemed more
    relevant in calibrating models on their ability to predict the
    warming resulting from transient increases in CO2 than the
    Equilibrium Climate Sensitivity (ECS), which is defined as
    the equilibrium global mean surface change at doubled
    CO2.

    In other words, “most models assessed by IPCC AR4 have too low a” [...] “global meanwarming in response to 1% per year compound increase in CO2 at the time of its doubling”

    Is it any wonder that people claim that you are dishonest?

  • #410 Stanton
    January 18, 2009

    Did it ever occur to you that a few of the reason why I’ve been so strident about Evolutionary Biology having great importance and application in Agriculture and Animal Husbandry is because I read several Evolutionary Biology textbooks that talked in length about examples in Agriculture and Animal Husbandry, as well as reading numerous articles in books and magazines about how Evolutionary Biology best explains how overhunting and overcollecting causes great harm to species by removing the most fit individuals from the gene pool?

  • #411 Stanton
    January 18, 2009

    DamienP said:

    Is it any wonder that people claim that you are dishonest?

    No doubt africangenesis will attempt to shift blame of this shortcoming onto me, as well.

  • #412 africangenesis
    January 18, 2009

    DamienP,

    Yes, I still wonder that be people claim I am dishonest without being more sure of your ground and their analysis. The fact that there should be more solar in the models doesn’t increase the problem, because that is the models not the climate. It means there should be less of something else in the models, perhaps sensitivity to CO2 forcing.

    You should also note that Tung, et al, believe the models get the TCR too low, is because, as is well known, they are storing too much heat in the oceans. This points out problems with any projections of sea level rise due to thermal expansion of the oceans and probably is a result of the coupling of the CO2 forcing to the whole mixing layer of the ocean just as solar is. Solar penetrates tens of meters into the tropical oceans, while the wavelengths of CO2 only penetrate microns, more of skin effect. This may also be why the models only reproduce about a third of the increase in precipitation that is observed in the climate. As a skin effect, CO2 might be more efficient at evaporation.

    There is good news in the models under representing solar. The conclusion that CO2 is responsible for most of the recent warming may be wrong. It may turn out that the unusually high level of solar activity during most of the 20th century is not just a coincidence and some of the recent warming should be attributed to it. The good thing about an UNUSUALLY high level of solar activity, is that it is unlikely to continue. Solanki in the journal Nature, gave it only a small chance of lasting past 2050, given the statistics on unusually high activity in the proxy record. This article refers to the last 8 cycles as a “grand maximum”:

    http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2008/2008GL035442.shtml

    The supporters of the solar hypothesis are not in any better position than the supporters of the AGW hypothesis. With a complex non-linear system, they also need models with the skill to attribute under 1W/m^2 of energy imbalance. I’d like to see that skill on the order 0.1W/m^2 globally and annually averaged, wouldn’t you? The models are 10s of Watts per meter squared off. I see one hope for more insight into the causes of the recent warming, that might be available before the model advances, and that is if the next solar cycle is an extremely low one, something like the Dalton minimum. We would learn much more about solar variation and if it has a larger than expected impact on the planet, what coupling accounts for this surprise. It could also put the controversy to rest in favor of AGW. Either way it would be an interesting time.

  • #413 africangenesis
    January 18, 2009

    Stanton,

    Yes, it occurred to me that you were making the mistake that lots of animal husbandry in evolutionary biology texts, probably means that there is lots of evolution in animal husbandry texts. It doesn’t follow.

  • #414 DamianP
    January 18, 2009

    oh, by the way, I’m struggling to understand what africangenesis believes is included in the Roesch, A. (2006). “Evaluation of surface albedo and snow cover in AR4 coupled climate models” paper that is so devastating?

    Here’s the full abstract:

    Surface albedo (ALB), snow cover fraction (SCF) and snow water equivalent (SWE) of state-of-the-art coupled climate models are compared and validated against ground-based and remote-sensed climatologies. Most IPCC AR4 climate models predict excessive snow mass in spring and suffer from a delayed spring snow melt while the onset of the snow accumulation is generally well captured. This positive SWE bias is mainly caused by too heavy snowfall during the winter and spring season. Seasonal cycles of snow cover area (SCA) at continental scales are captured reasonably well by most participating models. Two models clearly overestimate SCA over both Eurasia and North America. Year-to-year variations are reasonably well captured over both Eurasia and North America in winter and spring. The most pronounced underestimation in the interannual SCA variability is generally simulated during snow melt. The pronounced negative SCA trend that has been observed from 1979 to 2000 is only partly reproduced in the AR4 model simulations. Furthermore, the computed trends show a large spread among the models. Results from time slice simulations with the ECHAM5 climate model suggest that accurate sea surface temperatures are vital for correctly predicting SCA trends. Simulated global mean annual surface albedos are slightly above the remote-sensed surface albedo estimates. The participating AR4 models generally reproduce the seasonal cycle of the surface albedo with sufficient accuracy while systematic albedo biases are predicted over both snow-free and snow-covered areas, with the latter being distinctly more pronounced. The study shows that the surface albedo over snow-covered forests is probably too high in various state-of-the-art global climate models. The analysis demonstrates that positive biases in SCA are not necessarily related to positive albedo biases. Furthermore, an overestimation of area-averaged SWEs is not necessarily related to positive SCA anomalies since the relationship between SWE and SCF is highly nonlinear.

    How friggin’ else does africangenesis expect the models to be corrected for minor biases? I mean, if this has supposedly persuaded africangenesis to reject AGW, I give up. Nothing will convince him/her.

    You would think, would you not, that intellectually honest scientists would want to evaluate their models and correct them accordingly? Does he/she expect that there should be no error?

    Damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

    I know bugger all about climate science, but it took half an hour of searching and reading to understand that africangenesis ain’t got nothin’.

  • #415 Nerd of Redhead
    January 18, 2009

    I know bugger all about climate science, but it took half an hour of searching and reading to understand that africangenesis ain’t got nothin’.

    That’s why I give much more weight to scientists actually working in the field, compared to scientists out side of the field, or laymen. I trust the scientist to be much more honest with their statements. I keep getting the feeling that AG has an agenda, and AGW is not part of it.

  • #416 africangenesis
    January 18, 2009

    DamienP@413,

    One of the points is, this bias was in all the AR4 models, and won’t be corrected for another model generation, and this “small” positive albedo bias, amounts to an average of 3W/m^2 for all the models. The energy imbalance as of the warmest year in the recent warming (1998) was only 0.75W/m^2 per Hansen. Because this is correlated error in all the models, it won’t be cancelled out by combining the models into ensembles as is usually hoped.

    You can apply the downward solar irradiance at the surface of 198W/m^2 to the albedo error yourself if you like:

    http://www.grida.no/publications/other/ipcc_tar/?src=/climate/ipcc_tar/wg1/fig1-2.htm

    Yes, I agree, that this type of analysis of the models is exactly what we want going on. It is science at its best. It doesn’t mean the models are ready for the task of attributing and projecting this small and energy imbalance yet.

  • #417 africangenesis
    January 19, 2009

    nerd@414,

    Perhaps you should less trusting and review the evidence for yourself.

  • #418 Seraph
    March 27, 2009

    The creator of that image is so ignorant that I don’t intend to waste my breath describing all the idiocies in his statement.

    ps: note the irony of my name.

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