Pharyngula

Solid Condell

i-824d0a2ab3c4ed3c7387a20b7523b2cb-PatCondell_Ad1.jpg

I don’t know about this. All this concentrated wit and venom in one place could be dangerous … and three straight hours of Pat Condell? Whew. Get copies for your local ministers, and either they’ll die of fuming apoplexy or they’ll give extremely animated and entertaining sermons the next Sunday.

That’s right, the Richard Dawkins foundation is selling a DVD containing the distilled, consecutive output of Pat Condell’s youtube rants. Get one for your mother. Play them at your atheist group’s next meeting. I might just rip out the audio and put it on a CD for my next long drive. Hey, we’ve got these loud chimes that play hymns every hour in my neighborhood — I could crank up the speakers, aim them out the window, and play Condell in reply. I can think of quite a few militant activities I could carry out with wall-to-wall Condell.

Comments

  1. #1 Brando
    April 29, 2008

    I love that he doesn’t pull any punches across the board. My conservative friends turned me on to him because of his criticisms of Islam, but I was astonished they’d completely missed his rants on Christianity. Selective hearing?

  2. #2 trimtab
    April 29, 2008

    The audio files can be had here:

    http://patcondell.libsyn.com/

  3. #3 Ward
    April 29, 2008

    I doubt this is a subtitle DVD for the deaf. Not too much of a problem because Patt Condell posts his videos complete with subtitles here.

  4. #4 Epinephrine
    April 29, 2008

    PZ -

    Hey, we’ve got these loud chimes that play hymns every hour in my neighborhood — I could crank up the speakers, aim them out the window, and play Condell in reply

    Hmm, depending on how the sound’s generated you could pull an XKCD and try to blow the speakers with a phase-shifted replica signal. That’d be fun, I’ve wanted to do that ever since I read the comic :D

  5. #5 MH
    April 29, 2008

    It’s great to see that he’s getting the recognition he deserves.

  6. #6 JJR
    April 29, 2008

    Awesome! I wish he’d do a book or a full-length documentary (or Mockumentary) next. Or he could do stand up at the next American Atheists meeting or FFRF conference, or?

    Anyway, he’s brilliant…truly a UK national treasure.
    But definitely more sympathetic than Christopher Hitchens, who’s such a mixed bag.

    Above all, he’s the pleading voice for common sense and reason in our darkening age.

  7. #7 Steve Zara
    April 29, 2008

    I have a very poor sense of humour. I just can’t tell what Condell’s angle is. Is he supposed to be funny? Just to show that I do love a good anti-religion rant, I am a fan of Marcus Brigstocke, and thought this was excellent:
    http://richarddawkins.net/article,1440,Can-the-rest-of-us-have-our-planet-back,The-Now-Show-Marcus-Brigstocke

  8. #8 bernarda
    April 29, 2008

    You should look up his episode “The United States of Jesus”.

  9. #9 Glen Davidson
    April 29, 2008

    I’m buying it for Baby Jesus, going to play it nice and loud.

    I hope he doesn’t cry, though.

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

  10. #10 Shawn McBee
    April 29, 2008

    Oh, this is great! Maybe I’ll set up an outside screen, projector and speaker combo and blast it throughout the land!

  11. #11 Glen Davidson
    April 29, 2008

    I have to put this in. Huge squid being dissected:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7374297.stm

    Glen Davidson

  12. #12 Moggie
    April 29, 2008

    @ #11:
    Dammit, man, show some respect: it’s a colossal squid!

  13. #13 Gareth
    April 29, 2008

    Pat Condell for next UK Prime Minister!

  14. #14 Glen Davidson
    April 29, 2008

    OT, news:

    Here is the ADL’s statement on Expelled:

    Anti-Evolution Film Misappropriates the Holocaust

    New York, NY, April 29, 2008 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today issued the following statement regarding the controversial film Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed.

    The film Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed misappropriates the Holocaust and its imagery as a part of its political effort to discredit the scientific community which rejects so-called intelligent design theory.

    Hitler did not need Darwin to devise his heinous plan to exterminate the Jewish people and Darwin and evolutionary theory cannot explain Hitler’s genocidal madness.

    Using the Holocaust in order to tarnish those who promote the theory of evolution is outrageous and trivializes the complex factors that led to the mass extermination of European Jewry.

    The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world’s leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.

    http://www.adl.org/PresRele/HolNa_52/5277_52.htm

    Did Mathis and Ruloff really think they could insulate their exploitation of the Holocaust with Stein, Berlinski, and other Jewish shills for rubbish?

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

  15. #15 stushie
    April 29, 2008

    Sounds like fun. Not as funny as Psalm 2 though..I mean, what a hoot!

  16. #16 Pierce R. Butler
    April 29, 2008

    Good for ADL (for a change)!

    What took ‘em so long?

  17. #17 Dan
    April 29, 2008

    Few things make me happier or give me hope like a good Pat Condell rant. Watching those videos reminds me of the conversations I should be having as opposed to discussing the consistency of pizza toppings or what have you.

  18. #18 room101
    April 29, 2008

    Yes…finally. Pat Condell is spot-on fan-tabulous!!

    RE: #13: Yes, I would like to see a Pat Condell/Thunderf00t ticket – sure winner.

  19. #19 Glen Davidson
    April 29, 2008

    Good for ADL (for a change)!
    What took ‘em so long?

    They may have feared giving them publicity too soon. Waiting until Expelled is already winding down might be a safer bet.

    Just a guess.

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

  20. #20 Colwyn Abernathy
    April 29, 2008

    You wouldn’t need to rip out the audio, PZ. You can get audio versions of his rants on his site. :)

  21. #21 Greg Peterson
    April 29, 2008

    Reading that loud local church chimes go off every hour reminded me of a line from Kurt Vonnegut’s short story, “Harrison Bergeron”:

    “And George, while his intelligence was way above normal, had a little mental handicap radio in his ear. He was required by law to wear it at all times. It was tuned to a government transmitter. Every twenty seconds or so, the transmitter would send out some sharp noise to keep people like George from taking unfair advantage of their brains.”

    I suspect the intended effect is much the same.

  22. #22 Greg Peterson
    April 29, 2008

    Just saw that post about the ADL damning “Expelled.” Here are some great things to say to Ben if you see him:

    http://www.insultmonger.com/swearing/yiddish.htm

    What a Schmendrick.

  23. #23 waldteufel
    April 29, 2008

    I ordered several copies of this DVD within minutes of reading your post about it.

    Thanks for the “heads up”. My son and I have enjoyed all of Condell’s YouTube offerings.

  24. #24 Brownian, OM
    April 29, 2008

    Bought mine as soon as I saw PZ’s link.

  25. #25 ThirdMonkey
    April 29, 2008

    I just watched some of Pat’s Youtube vids for the first time. He is awesome! I love British wit.
    Hey! Those in the England / Ireland area. How’s the job market for Software Engineers over there? Depending how the elections go I might want to relocate.

    Good news about the ADL! The announcement is a little short. I would’ve liked to have seen ADL rip into Expelled a little more.

  26. #26 Emmet Caulfield
    April 29, 2008

    Hey! Those in the England / Ireland area. How’s the job market for Software Engineers over there?

    In Ireland, extremely good: http://jobs.ie/it_programming_jobs.aspx

    The drawbacks are that it’s an expensive place to live, so the money isn’t as good as it looks at first glance, there’s no public transport, and the traffic is crazy.

  27. #27 Brownian, OM
    April 29, 2008

    Good news about the ADL! The announcement is a little short. I would’ve liked to have seen ADL rip into Expelled a little more.

    I thought it was a bit short too, but they weighed in on the parts they’re qualified to weigh in on, so I’m not disappointed. Besides, their opinion on ID is in the link Background & Resources on Intelligent Design under the “RELATED ARTICLES” section of the page.

  28. #28 ThirdMonkey
    April 29, 2008

    The drawbacks are that it’s an expensive place to live, so the money isn’t as good as it looks at first glance, there’s no public transport, and the traffic is crazy.

    So… just like Seattle then? It’ll be just like home! But with more hot red-heads and a much less puritanical view of alcohol. ;)

  29. #29 gex
    April 29, 2008

    Oh no! ThirdMonkey, you are breaking my heart! I’m here in MN and my girlfriend and I are talking about moving to the Pacific Northwest to try to get someplace more progressive. Is it no safer than Minneapolis?

  30. #30 Robin
    April 29, 2008

    Pat Condell is one of my new heroes!

  31. #31 ShemAndShaun
    April 29, 2008

    Plenty of software jobs in the UK too … CWJobs.co.uk

  32. #32 Emmet Caulfield
    April 29, 2008

    So… just like Seattle then? It’ll be just like home! But with more hot red-heads and a much less puritanical view of alcohol. ;)

    Hmmm… maybe. I’m Irish (as in born in Ireland and carry an Irish passport, not as in Bill Donahue’s “Irish” which really means “American with a distant ancestor who once saw a shamrock”), and after about a year and a half in Sweden, I’m pretty sure I prefer it here overall. Sure, there’s some things I miss about Ireland, but the day-to-day stuff works very well and the Swedes are, IMHO, considerably better-looking than us Irish. The attitude to alcohol is pretty much the same as in Ireland, except the Swedes feel guilty about it :o)

    A friend of mine was in Seattle, and went out for a few beers with his new boss when he arrived. In the course of the evening, he had 3 bottles of the piss-water you call beer. His boss called him in to his office the next day to talk to him about his “alcohol problem”. He’s a big guy who’d easily drink 10 pints; he’d been taking it very easy so as not to give the wrong impression :o)

    I’m sure the story is exaggerated somewhat, but there’s no doubt that social attitudes to alcohol here (Ireland or Sweden) are very different from what they are in the US.

  33. #33 ThirdMonkey
    April 29, 2008

    Gex – The Seattle area isn’t too bad. Far fewer militant Jesus freaks around here but we do have them.
    Washington is a “blue” state. I would say that it is progressive and very multi-cultural. I do see just about as many Darwin fish and FSM on cars as jesus fish and I had never heard of anyone’s car being vandalized about it until it was mentioned on pharyngula.
    However, Seattleites can also be very passive-aggressive and pretentious. Seattle did invent the “Starbucks” culture.
    If you are looking to get away from religious persecution and aren’t quite willing to expatriate then I’d say the Seattle area is a good bet. Just stay near the city. We do have our far share of nut-jobs and hicks in the rural areas.

  34. #34 Longtime Lurker
    April 29, 2008

    Good for the ADL, Ben Stein et al. are guilty of a Shonda for the Goyim.

    Funny how, in New York, Yiddish really colors the language. I liberally use terms such as gonif, picked up from my once-Catholic, currently “heathen” mother. Cursing, though, is properly done in Italian.

  35. #35 M. Lee
    April 29, 2008

    oh my sweet heseuss . . . I glanced at that pic with the dates and Pat’s name, and thought it was a memorial mention for his passing or something. After truly reading it, the sigh of relief may have been heard a half mile away. So the man’s got his own DVD out, hm? Cool beans ^_^

  36. #36 BrightonRocks
    April 29, 2008

    ThirdMonkey:

    Hey! Those in the England / Ireland area. How’s the job market for Software Engineers over there?

    It depends on your skills and the specific location. Try looking on JobServe to get an idea. Even though many of the agency roles are duplicates you will get a reasonable impression of where your skills are most in demand and what the salary levels are. Though you may also want to check out the cost of living, particularly here in the South East of England.

  37. #37 ThirdMonkey
    April 29, 2008

    Emmet – I’m sure the grass is always greener on the other side. ;)

    As for you friend, he should find a better boss and he probably wasn’t drinking the right beer. The Pacific Northwest is the center of the Micro-brew movement in the US. We are lucky enough to have the highest micro-brew per capita ratio in the country and they are all working very hard to pull us out of the beer dark-ages created by Prohibition over 80 years ago and perpetuated by the Macro-brews like Bud, Coors, and Miller. Available in just about any bar in Seattle worthy of the name you should be able to find excellent examples of beer in just about any style you desire, from Pales, Pilsners, IPAs, Porters, Stouts and Barley Wines all brewed locally by dozens of different breweries. I have traveled a great deal over the US and Seattle by far has the best beer selection of both local and import brews (including Belgian and Lambics yum). In fact, it always comes as a bit of a shock when I travel to other cities and see just how bad the beer selection is and it reminds me of just how good I have it in Seattle.
    Mmmmm beer…

  38. #38 Echidna
    April 29, 2008

    Gex,
    The SF bay area not half bad either. Around Stanford, the population is highly educated and technical (probably like Seattle), and with a large foreign contingent (from just about everywhere) it has escaped a lot of the US right-wing Christian groupthink.

  39. #39 Melonie
    April 29, 2008

    Just wanted to say hello to BrightonRocks. I grew up there and am pleased to see there are Pharyngula readers there.

  40. #40 BrightonRocks
    April 29, 2008

    Melonie:

    Just wanted to say hello to BrightonRocks. I grew up there and am pleased to see there are Pharyngula readers there.

    Thanks Melonie, Brighton is great, the friendliest place that I have lived, and that’s from a geordie as I grew up on Tyneside. No problem with religous persecution either if ThirdMonkey is still considering relocating, though I think that is true about most places in the UK.

  41. #41 Emmet Caulfield
    April 29, 2008

    I’m sure the grass is always greener on the other side.

    Well, there’s an away field advantage, I think. I’ve gone out with one or two girls here who wouldn’t spit on my if I was on fire back home.

    As regards, the beer, yes, I’m aware of the craft breweries in the US and the excellent beers that are available: a small amount of it even ends up here. The reference to “the piss-water you call beer” is obligatory when talking to Americans; my passport would be revoked if I didn’t say it ;o)

    American beers like Budweiser, Miller, Coors, etc. have traditionally been very insipid, explicitly intended to have as little flavour as possible. Given that they’re now sold all over the world, it’s pretty hard to shake off the cliché that “American beers are piss”, unfair as it might be to the modern microbreweries. To be honest, European macrobrews, like Carlsberg, Heineken, and Guinness, aren’t a whole lot better, but better they are nonetheless.

    My current favourite is Heaven. Not so very fond of the Belgian beers, I’m afraid, they have a characteristic flavour that I don’t particularly like, and it can be very strong indeed. Nice for a change the odd time, but I don’t think I’d go out for 6 pints of Kwak.

  42. #42 Alexander
    April 29, 2008

    ECHIDNA: totally agree about the SF bay area. I’ve had a FSM fish on the back of my car for about a year now and everybody has been cool. But I’m still seriously considering relocating permanently, most likely to Europe. This morning I turned on the TV and the first thing I saw was that retard of a president of ours saying that it’s Congress’s fault that the middle class is struggling. I almost threw my cup of coffee at the TV. And last night I was flipping through channels and unfortunately caught a few minutes of Glen Beck interviewing Ben Stein. I wanted to slap both of them across the face after listening to them for 30 seconds. And these imbeciles are on CNN: the freaking cable NEWS network! Don’t know how much more I can take of being almost completely surrounded by morons.

  43. #43 Etha Williams
    April 29, 2008

    @#29 gex –

    I’m here in MN and my girlfriend and I are talking about moving to the Pacific Northwest to try to get someplace more progressive.

    I grew up in Santa Monica, CA, moved to Chicago for college. They’re both great cities, and progressive, but in different ways. Santa Monica is so over-statedly progressive that it gets ridiculous. It seems everywhere you go, people are sipping their Caribou lattes (“we don’t frequent big chains like Starbucks”) and nodding at each other in mutual disgust at how backwards the rest of the country is, except for San Fransisco, the PNW, and certain parts of NY maybe. Also, it’s horrifically expensive to live there. (Only reason my parents could afford it is because we inherited our house and live below our means.)

    In Chicago, I’ve never run into problems being completely open about my atheism or my bisexuality. I also haven’t had to listen to people carrying on long sanctimonious conversations about how wonderful it is that we are so very open-minded. And the fact of the matter is, for all Santa Monicans talk about their hatred of Starbucks, etc, there are just as many Starbucks per-mile in SM as there are in Chicago. Oh, and it’s cheaper to live here. And better food, because everyone isn’t trying to show off how fantastically health-conscious they are (before they go back to their homes and privately scarf down pints of ice cream and bags of cheetos).

    My 2 cents.

  44. #44 ThirdMonkey
    April 29, 2008

    Emmet –
    I had certainly considered the “sexy foreign accent” aspect…
    No worries about knocking American beer. The reputation of piss-water is well deserved. I know that the micro-breweries have a long ways to go yet to change world opinion, but being a Northwest beer snob I can be a little sensitive and can’t pass up a chance to evangelize.
    I hear you about the Belgian beers, though. Especially the Lambics. They’re an awesome party of flavors, but it’s really hard to drink more then one.

  45. #45 Latina Amor
    April 29, 2008

    In a previous life, Pat Condell and I were seated next to each other in the colusseum to watch christians being eaten by lions. It was a warm sunny day, I recall. The red wine we shared was robust, full-bodied and highly intoxicating. Pat’s wit that sun-filled day was acerbic yet insightful and humorously entertaining.

  46. #46 Emmet Caulfield
    April 29, 2008

    But I’m still seriously considering relocating permanently, most likely to Europe.

    You could do worse than spend a couple of years here. Maybe you’d like it, maybe not. Not a lot to lose in any case.

    Move to a country where you don’t understand the language, that way you get to learn a new language and, more importantly, don’t understand the politics so it can’t get to you. You can be blissfully unaware of who’s running the country and how corrupt or stupid they might be. It works for me :o)

    Here, hardly anybody’s ever seen an FSM fish or a Darwin fish… because there are no Jesus fish… having a Darwin fish would be considered rather strange: going around proclaiming an obvious fact as if it were in some sense controversial, like standing on a street corner shouting that the earth isn’t flat.

  47. #47 ShemAndShaun
    April 29, 2008

    Though I am employed in the UK, I live in Italy, a country where Starbucks coffee shops are noticeable by their total absence. I have yet to see a single one :)

  48. #48 Pyre
    April 29, 2008

    PZ, what you need to do is get an old station wagon, mount huge music-festival-style speakers on the roof pointing in all four cardinal directions, paint slogans all over the vehicle (“Squids Rule! Ben Stein sucks!”), then drive that Myersmobile around the city in your spare time, sharing the Good Word of Pat Condell with all and sundry, especially any public assemblies or church picnics.

    Fair is fair, after all. We get the same treatment from religious wackjobs, might as well dish it right back to them.

  49. #49 Emmet Caulfield
    April 29, 2008

    I had certainly considered the “sexy foreign accent” aspect…

    I found out when I got here that, for some reason I don’t understand, the Irish are very well-liked in Sweden :o)

    For Americans, I’m not so sure any more. Some years ago, the USS JFK visited Ireland and anchored in Dublin Bay (too big for the port) for a week or so. The sailors were ferried on/off by tender to Dun Laoghaire. The joke at the time was that all the girls in Dun Laoghaire had got new dresses for the occasion: one Yank and they’re off!

    Nowadays, though, I think the strong anti-Bush sentiment has probably tarnished the “foreign sexiness” of ordinary Americans here, which is a bit unfair because Americans in Europe tend to be more sharply critical of the Bush regime and American foreign policy than even the most vociferous Europeans.

  50. #50 ThirdMonkey
    April 29, 2008

    I think the strong anti-Bush sentiment has probably tarnished the “foreign sexiness” of ordinary Americans here…

    Bush has done more damage to the US’s foreign opinion then any other president in history. You’d have to work hard to convince me that at the time the British hated Washington more. Bush has also greatly damaged America’s pride and changed what it means to be patriotic to the point of meaninglessness. Which is (even in jest) the only reason that can say the following:
    I figured if it came to it, I could always claim to be Canadian instead.

  51. #51 markomatic
    April 29, 2008

    OMG-I had not heard Pat before and just got back from a half hour or so at the UTube. I haven’t laughed that hard in a long time. I love the way you can say any kind of extreme statement and as long as it has a charming British accent it sounds like a Monty Python routine. But seriously, Pat, I’m worried about that Islamic rant, you must have seen what happened to Theo van Gogh when he talked that kind of smack in Holland. I don’t think those people appreciate the English humor thing.

  52. #52 Vince
    April 29, 2008

    This post is boring. But thanks PZ, for making us aware of Pat. Wonderful. He’s dead on.

  53. #53 Steve Ulven
    April 29, 2008

    This man is a genius. I’ve been waiting for a good excuse to spend money I do not have on the RD site so I can package up DVD’s. I also picked up “Growing Up In The Universe” which is an amazing video. I bought this because it is easily the best video series that explains evolution that anyone can understand and I want to pass it around to everyone I know.

  54. #54 Patricia C.
    April 29, 2008

    #15 – your remarks about Psalm 2 cracked me up after I brushed off my 15 pound bible and re-read it. Rather hard on the heathen.
    #29 – if you are thinking of moving to the PNW because it is progressive – get a grip man. Step one foot out of Portland, listen to one radio station other than KBOO here in the the great christian state of Oregon and you will get fundie slapped.
    Somehow Oregon has gotten this myth of enlightenment preached about it. I’m a native of the state. It simply isn’t true. Punch a hole in Oregon soil and a cross will come up.

  55. #55 Etha Williams
    April 29, 2008

    @#15 and #54 –

    Yeah, Psalm 2′s a real winner. I think my favorite part is

    Kiss the Chosen One, lest He be angry,
    And ye lose the way,
    When His anger burneth but a little.

    O the happiness of all trusting in Him!

    O the happiness, indeed.

    (Text taken from Young’s Literal Version)

  56. #56 Emmet Caulfield
    April 29, 2008

    Bush has done more damage to the US’s foreign opinion then any other president in history.

    Certainly more than any president in living memory: I can remember presidents from Carter onwards and none of them did nearly as much damage to the perception of America abroad, and some of them, Carter and Clinton, were quite popular internationally. Ideally, you expect any national leader to at least appear to be articulate, erudite, and measured in speech and action. Bush, I’m sorry to say, gives the impression of being entirely uneducated, an imbecile, and a redneck. I think a better president could even have invaded Iraq without polarising world opinion so strongly against the US, but Bush’s monstrously moronic swaggering arrogance makes it look every bit as bad as it possibly could. A better president again wouldn’t have done it at all, that’s another matter, but having done it, it’s hard to imagine anybody putting a worse face on it.

  57. #57 Etha Williams
    April 29, 2008

    @#50 ThirdMonkey –

    Bush has done more damage to the US’s foreign opinion then any other president in history.

    Yeah, I’d agree. Bush probably did more damage to America’s reputation in foreign nations, BS’s buddy Nixon probably did more damage to us American’s opinions of our own nation than any other, and between the two of them…I’d say we’re kind of screwed.

  58. #58 melior
    April 29, 2008

    I hope Pat raises enough for a North American tour.

  59. #59 Hematite
    April 30, 2008

    I think America’s biggest problem with international image is that the Federal Government is seen to represent the average American. For all the argument and politicking that goes on within the States, whatever action the Feds take is what the rest of the world sees as being supported by Americans.

    Foreigners who look slightly closer and follow the Republican/Democrat squabbling don’t get a much more sympathetic picture. Americans often talk about voting for the lesser of two evils, but from the outside it just looks like all your politicians suck.

    Speaking as a random New Zealander, Bush is reviled. We quite liked Clinton, but couldn’t he have found somebody prettier than Monica? He’s the leader of the world’s most powerful nation, for God’s sake. Maybe she has a great personality.

    I really like most of the Americans I talk to on the internet, and all of the ones I’ve met in person. There is definitely self-selection going on; anyone who travels here and meets the locals is obviously open minded and probably liberal. The web sites I hang out on have a similar bias but allow for more conservative and insular people. They’re still a great bunch by and large, and it’s depressing to see government they view with a range of opinions from loathing to luke-warm acceptance dragging their good name through the mud.

  60. #60 Nemo
    April 30, 2008

    I once saw an MTV News special with Monica Lewinsky… it turns out she actually does have a great personality. Also, she’s much prettier than that one stupid picture that everyone kept showing early on.

    To would-be expatriates: Seriously, if you made it through Bush II, I think you can deal with McCain, Obama, or Clinton II. No matter what happens, it’s going to be better.

  61. #61 OctoberMermaid
    April 30, 2008

    Pat is great at harshing the tards.

  62. #62 Emmet Caulfield
    April 30, 2008

    I think America’s biggest problem with international image is that the Federal Government is seen to represent the average American.

    I’d tend to agree with you up to a point. Certainly, the huge majority of Americans I’ve met in the flesh or online have been really nice people, with the exception of one or two wingnuts on a Swedish forum. A friend of mine spent a year on sabbatical in Oklahoma, met a lot of bible-thumping crazies, and they were all really nice, welcoming, friendly people.

    The part where I’d disagree is about the negative image being entirely to do with the Federal Government. I think things like the ongoing “debate” over evolution, the generally abysmal standard of highschool education, human rights issues (death penalty, torture, prison rape), social ills (poverty gap, healthcare, child mortality), and the media (FOX news) contribute somewhat to the negative perception of the US overseas.

  63. #63 Sigmund
    April 30, 2008

    I agree with Emmet Caulfield about Sweden. I too come from Ireland originally and have eventually relocated north to Stockhom. I’ve been gone from Ireland nearly 20 years now and every time I go home, despite the economic changes (which basically made everyone greedily obsessed with property values) I still get shocked by the credulity of the place regarding religion and other superstitions. Sweden is much better in this regard (and yes, compared to Ireland half the population up here look like supermodels) and the commitment to education and public amenities (public transport, parks community centers etc) has advantages in the low crime rate and general respect for democracy.

  64. #64 Emmet Caulfield
    April 30, 2008

    Sigmund,

    Agreed on greed, government, and supermodels, but the crime rate in Ireland is lower than in Sweden now and I’m not quite sure what you mean by “credulity … regarding religion and other superstitions”. With a few exceptions, the people I know back home, within 20 years of my age (either way), have little or no time for religion or superstition of any kind. That said, the reception Richard Dawkins got on the Late Late Show last year was truly embarrassing, mostly due to having the loudmouth cretin, Gerard Casey (Ireland’s Bill O’Donahue), on at the same time, a stuffed audience, and the general audience demographic. He got a much better reception on “The Panel”. Maybe I’m just lucky that atheism or weak deism seems to be the norm amongst the people I know.

  65. #65 Ramases
    April 30, 2008

    I am surprised that so many people are fawning on the ravings of someone who appears to me to be little more than an ignorant xenophobic bigot and a perpetuator of hate speech.

    I say this as an atheist who thinks it is great to have a strong intelligent and rational anti-religious movement. But there is a very big jump between arguing against religion and hijacking the atheist movement to encourage hatred towards a relatively powerless group of mostly immigrant people.

    Listen to what the guy actually says – he talks of the “demographic profile” of muslims and the risk they will overwhelm us because of their breeding patterns. (Would he have the courage to say this about Jews or Christians?)

    Well guess what Pat? Religions don’t have demographic breeding profiles – religion is about belief, no matter what ethnic group someone comes from. Talking about a demographic profile, and the risk they will overwhelm the rest of us is crossing a very important line, into the region of xenophobic and bigotry.

    Condel not only on distinction between moderate and extreme muslims, but also none between people who come from a muslim background and extreme muslims. I have some experience in this – I worked as a volunteer with refugees, many from muslim backgrounds for a number of years and won a human rights award for my efforts.

    I know the discrimination immigrants from muslim nations face, regardless of their personal beliefs. It is no longer a cool it once was to be alertly racist, so people pretend to be “anti-muslim”. In practice it works out the same.

    A friend of mine is a refugee from Iran. He was in prison in Iran for two years for opposing the government, and he regards himself as an atheist. Yet he stills gets abuse from the anti-immigrant right, who slag him off as a “bloody muslim”.

    Condel makes no distinction between extreme muslims and people who come from what is clearly an ethnic group not to his liking. He clearly represents the extreme anti immigrant right, and I am surprised the Richard Dawkins Foundation has anything to do with this kind of xenophobia.

  66. #66 Emmet Caulfield
    April 30, 2008

    Ramases,

    I agree that the supposed “Muslim threat” is grossly overstated and there is much scaremongering: Scott Atran is about the only person who’s actually studied radicalisation in European Muslims, and (some of) his conclusions are that groups who become radical radicalise themselves (i.e. there is no troupe of al-Qaeda missionaries radicalising young Muslims) and that radical Islam presents no existential threat to Europe or the US.

    That said, a poll in the UK last year revealed that over a third of young British Muslims thought that people who insulted the prophet Muhammad deserve to be killed. A recent undercover TV documentary recorded and broadcast horrific radical sermons in some of the biggest mosques in England. If you happen to live in Bradford, which is a majority Muslim city, that must be a bit worrying, no matter what your religion, to think that a third of your neighbours believe that it’s OK to kill you if you happen to offend their sensibilities.

    In the UK, the MCB (Muslim Council of Britain) has been sharply criticised for not condemning some radical Imams, but then again, has not been credited when it has. The progressive and laid-back Muslims are, of course, in the majority, but they do appear to be circumspect about openly criticising or condemning extremists and their support for the right to freedom of speech has been severely lacking.

    In Scandinavia, there are large, mostly Muslim, immigrant populations in some cities, and there is a public perception of a correlation between Islam and violent crime and of indolence in immigrant communities. Now, whether this exists at all, is due to social deprivation, or what the explanation is, really isn’t known, because it’s systematically covered up. There is some kind of problem: poorly-informed public opinion, availability of opportunities for immigrants, or (maybe) worse, but one thing’s for sure: whatever the problem, it cannot be addressed if it isn’t identified. If it’s being concealed, the people assume the worst.

    Your statement that “Religions don’t have demographic breeding profiles” is simply false. In Ireland, for example, Catholics on average have more kids than Protestants. There is no issue of race or ethnicity. I agree that statements along the lines that “we’ll be overrun by X”, whether X is a religion, a race, an ethnicity, or a nationality, are seldom (if ever) justified, but that doesn’t make the underlying birthrate statistics invalid or nonexistant.

    Finally, Pat Condell is a comedian, but he is saying what a lot of people in the UK are thinking. Condemning him as a racist and a xenophobe isn’t going to change that. He echoes the concerns of real people: labeling, dismissing, and demonising them hasn’t proved to be a successful strategy for changing their minds.

  67. #67 SteveF
    April 30, 2008

    He’s a comedian? I just watched the Islam appeasment video and, irrespective of what you think of the message, it simply wasn’t funny.

  68. #68 John C. Randolph
    April 30, 2008

    Pat Condell for next UK Prime Minister!

    Sure would make Prime Minister’s Question Time more entertaining…

    -jcr

  69. #69 MPM
    April 30, 2008

    M: Anyway, when I membership card and blazer badge back from the League of Agnostics, I shall urge the executive to lodge a protest against that religious racket! Pass the butter knife!

    W: WHAT??

    M: PASS THE BUTTER KNIFE!! (pause) THANK YOU! IF ONLY WE HAD SOME KIND OF MISSILE!

    http://mzonline.com/bin/view/Python/ChurchBellsSketch

  70. #70 Liam
    April 30, 2008

    I’m mid 20′s Irish guy and I don’t know anyone remotely close to my age who goes to mass, although some may quietly have weak/private deist-type opinions. About a year ago I met a girl at a party but people took me aside and warned me under their breath ‘she’s a christian’, as if they were saying ‘she’s in a cult’. So I’m pretty optimistic the church can only last as long as the current generation of old people are still around.

    Also, @#50 ThirdMonkey: “Bush has done more damage to the US’s foreign opinion then any other president in history.”

    I’m pretty sure this tarnish could evaporate pretty quickly with a change of leader. A lot of the negative opinion is directly against Bush and his corrupt crowd, change them for the better, and opinion might change sharply and for the better too.

  71. #71 Epikt
    April 30, 2008

    Hematite:

    I think America’s biggest problem with international image is that the Federal Government is seen to represent the average American. For all the argument and politicking that goes on within the States, whatever action the Feds take is what the rest of the world sees as being supported by Americans.

    An arguable point, but consider the 2004 US election. Bush et al were returned to power by a margin large enough that it’s hard to argue that the election was stolen. In other words, the electorate got the government it wanted; it is painfully, embarrassingly, even tragically representative.

    It’s tempting to believe that the relatively recent trend towards disapproval of the war indicates some kind of belated outbreak of morality, but I think it’s simply widespread irritation that the war wasn’t as easy as the neoclowns claimed it would be.

    Foreigners who look slightly closer and follow the Republican/Democrat squabbling don’t get a much more sympathetic picture. Americans often talk about voting for the lesser of two evils, but from the outside it just looks like all your politicians suck.

    People complain about having to choose between “the lesser of two evils” all the time, yet every attempt to form a viable third political party in living memory has failed.

  72. #72 Emmet Caulfield
    April 30, 2008

    About a year ago I met a girl at a party but people took me aside and warned me under their breath ‘she’s a christian’, as if they were saying ‘she’s in a cult’.

    But meaning “no chance of a ride” ;o)

  73. #73 Liam
    April 30, 2008

    Haha yeah that too…

  74. #74 type
    April 30, 2008

    I do not begrudge Dawkins, or anyone, the right to accrue as much wealth as they can, within some set of ethical limits. I am not prepared to say that Dawkins has passed those limits. But something has not happened that I think should have and this seemed a somewhat appropriate place to mention my (perhaps irrelevant) concern.

    Religious groups often make their literature available for free. I think that this is, in most cases, an altruistic gesture – from their point of view anyway. That is they have found something they think is true and important and wish to share it. While I find their truth to be absurd, I do find something redeeming in this giving away of information. Of course there are any number of blogs who deal with atheism, skepticism, etc, and RichardDawkins.net often gives away online copies of videos they are selling. This is good. What has not happened though, and something I find to be important given its visibility, is some sort of program designed to disseminate “The God Delusion” free of charge. I know, of course, that “The God Delusion” was published by a large house, who no doubt has a desire to earn money, and the Prof Dawkins spent a good amount of time writing it and deserves compensation. I have no issue with this. However I cannot help but think that this profit-taking should be balanced with some altruism, some giving away of information. I am not sure the best way to do this. Perhaps targeting the more liberal churches, or the Unitarian universalists, or perhaps a program to send copies to skeptical groups for dissemination at appropriate events.

  75. #75 Etha Williams
    April 30, 2008

    @#74 type –

    However I cannot help but think that this profit-taking should be balanced with some altruism, some giving away of information. I am not sure the best way to do this. Perhaps targeting the more liberal churches, or the Unitarian universalists, or perhaps a program to send copies to skeptical groups for dissemination at appropriate events.

    While I agree with the principle here, religions have a lot more money than atheist organizations, and can thus afford to print their books and distribute them freely. I think the most feasible thing that could be done with atheist literature right now would be to put copies of the texts on the web free of charge, if the authors would consent to that (I’d imagine some would, and some wouldn’t).

    In the mean time there are a lot of great resources on the web for scientific & humanistic information, though unfortunately often the majority of people reading them already have their minds made up to ignore it and revile it.

  76. #76 type
    April 30, 2008

    Etha,

    I realize that atheist groups are much underfunded compared to religious groups. This difference is one reason why I choose to target “The God Delusion”, and Dawkins. Dawkins is the author of a number of best-selling books, is in demand as a speaker and I assume charges significant speaking fees as a result. He and, I presume, his foundation are then in a unique economic position to give out, in a targeted way, copies of this excellent text.

    While you mentioned and I agree that there already a number of online resources available, and perhaps free pdfs (of various atheist texts) would be a nice addition, getting these materials would imply the the hypothetical recipient is aware of some fraction of them. I am thinking that there are probably a good number of people who have concerns/questions about faith but who would not desire or know how to find these materials on the internet. The internet is, in my opinion, a chaotic jumble of mostly unreliable information, that is unless you already know where to look. Handing someone a well written book, that makes a strong case, seems to offer a much better starting point than directing them to a jumble of loosely connected sites or even directing them to a pdf. While taking on a skeptical/athiest viewpoint requires some hard thinking, there is no reason not to make it as easy as possible.

  77. #77 Etha Williams
    April 30, 2008

    @#76 type –

    The internet is, in my opinion, a chaotic jumble of mostly unreliable information, that is unless you already know where to look

    Heh. You have a point there. I’m an internet junky (can’t you tell by the sheer number of posts I make here?) and given the odd way I think (jumping from subject to subject, going off and tangents, but somehow seeing it as a unified whole) the internet is perfect for me…but you are right, I probably cannot apply my own style of thinking to that of the general public :). And there’s also the issue of me being a member of the younger generation, which grew up with computers and the internet and thus has a better idea of “where to look”. (Sometimes.)

  78. #78 Nes
    May 1, 2008

    Oh, thanks Greg Peterson. I remember reading that short story in high school and have thought of it on rare occasions since then, but I couldn’t remember what it was called nor who wrote it.

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