Pharyngula

Some people practice their own special brand of Christian tolerance.

In learning about Central Valley Cafe Scientifique, we stumbled upon a startling incident that may or may not reflect on the scientific climate in the Valley.

The cafe?s next speaker, Fresno State professor Dr. Ryan Earley, found his car tire punctured this week and with a nasty note on his windshield saying: ?Fuck you Darwinist. Take your car to heaven.?

Which side in this argument believes in turning the other cheek again?

Comments

  1. #1 Milo Johnson
    May 22, 2008

    Charming. Way to persuade the unbelievers, guys.

  2. #2 Matt
    May 22, 2008

    Typical bloody Xtianity. Their motto should be killing people in the name of love since 0.

  3. #3 SiMPel MYnd
    May 22, 2008

    What’s car heaven look like anyway? Does Jesus put it up on the rack for you? Does it only get Christian Rock music on the radio? And what’s the criteria for getting into car heaven? Do you have to wash the car with holy water? And if all dogs go to heaven, do they get to chase the cars? This just raises too many questions for me. I think they should just stick to one imaginary heaven.

  4. #4 H.H.
    May 22, 2008

    Religion gives people a purpose in life…hating others different than them.

  5. #5 Shaden Freud
    May 22, 2008

    As David Cross reports, angels drive cars in heaven.

    (NSFW!)

  6. #6 CButterb
    May 22, 2008

    I’m a bit confused about the course of action that the vandal suggested. Is the note just a general disparagement of the prof, with his property as a sort of an avatar for him–sort of a “fuck you and the horse you rode in on” kind of sentiment? Or is it supposed to be more of a direct threat–i.e., “Like this car you will end up harmed [slashed?] and in heaven”? But given a mindset in which Darwinism is an evil, why would the prof end up in heaven?

    It’s all very confusing.

  7. #7 bpaulson
    May 22, 2008

    I think the intended meaning was something like: You’re not getting into heaven by your own merit, so drive there in this fancy car SCIENCE made for you. ^^;

  8. #8 hje
    May 22, 2008

    First the F-bomb, then a bizarre directive. Very odd.

    Reminds me of the crazed rant that I overheard at the Desert Museum in Tucson when some middle-aged couple noticed a metal sculpture that (simplistically) depicted the evolution of vertebrates. I swear the old man was going to get a hacksaw and cut it down because he–as a good Christian in America–was *so* offended.

  9. #9 noodles
    May 22, 2008

    Seriously, it’s rather pointless to attempt to shame a Christian because YOU interpret his actions to not be consistent with how YOU think they should behave. Their ‘philosophy’ consists of a bunch of goofy fables, an imaginary angry-daddy in heaven, and a demon haunted world. If Christians are objectively pro-war, pro-torture, and pro-violence it’s hardly your place to say that their irrational make-believe fantasies aren’t consistent with a proper understanding of Christianity (which of course is simply irational supperstition to begin with). It makes as much sense as having a serious argument over how much Kryptonite it takes to kill Superman.

  10. #10 GDad
    May 22, 2008

    The mental illness drips out in nearly every word.

  11. #11 Starbix
    May 22, 2008

    What does “Take your car to heaven.” even mean? Why would this person assume that a “Darwinist” is going to Heaven? This is only about 45 miles away from me and the area of Fresno County and Tulare County (where I am) is referred to as the Bible Belt of California. Every one of the local election signs around here are proudly labeled “Conservative.” I’m not even exaggerating! Luckily there have been a few freethought groups springing up around here. There’s my Tulare County Atheists and Calladus’ Central Valley Alliance of Atheists and Skeptics.

    Starbix
    “Don’t Panic.” -Douglas Adams

  12. #12 raven
    May 22, 2008

    Another fundie with a knife story from the west coast. Sent by a friend. Fundies are sick and evil.

    Suspicious activity: 9:11 a.m., A man with a knife was spotted in the parking lot of an office supply business. The witness was sitting in a car in the parking lot when she saw a man get out of his car, walk over to another car and raise a large knife in the air. When the man realized he was being watched, he returned to his vehicle and drove away. Police stopped the man as he was leaving. The man said he was driving by when he noticed a “Jesus fish” with “Darwin” written in the center of it on the back of a parked vehicle. The man said he considered this to be a demonic symbol and intended to pull it off of the car with the knife but decided to leave when he was spotted by the witness. Police warned the man about his behavior and took no further action.

  13. #13 JRY
    May 22, 2008

    You see, they can do things like vandalism and bombing and other things because they are forgiven :P

  14. #14 CButterb
    May 22, 2008

    I think the intended meaning was something like: You’re not getting into heaven by your own merit, so drive there in this fancy car SCIENCE made for you. ^^;

    Ah! The intended message is coherent, after all, just stupid. So… The vandal is Amish?

  15. #15 Dutch Delight
    May 22, 2008

    Stealing some school kids artwork from a public school because it refers to evolution, then burning it and afterwards testifying in court (dover trial) that you “gleefully watched it burn” still takes the cake imo.

  16. #16 Alex
    May 22, 2008

    It’s a well-known fact that Creationists are douchebags.

  17. #17 Architeuthis
    May 22, 2008

    The central valley of CA, where I grew up is notoriously religious and conservative… only in the cities where there’s an ample supply of salt water do liberalism seem the norm. most of LA, Monterey, SF, San Diego…

    Sacramento, is smack dab in the valley, and it’s surrounded by foothills and insanity. They’re dumb, backward and religious. I grew up in a church there, and the central valley is one of the few places that creationists and fundies get a warm welcome.

    I moved to Raleigh after Sacramento, and found that a much friendlier place to freethinkers than Sac. (The high education, RTP and incredible bioscience industry there attracts very smart people). Now I live in LA, and there’s very little fear in dropping “fundie”, “godbot” or “darwin” in a normal conversation for the most part.

  18. #18 raven
    May 22, 2008

    Going to have to say it. The more vocal, activist creos and fundies are all just mentally ill. It takes a lunatic to choose lies over irrefutable and commonly known facts and then make the effort to spout them in one forum or another. Which is why when you think you are dealing with wacko lunatic fringers, you are.

    The rank and file may fall into that category as well but I doubt it. Most likely, they really don’t know or care. Whether the universe started with a Big Bang 13.4 billion years ago or is 6,000 years old doesn’t impact someone struggling with $4 gas, rising food prices, and their relatives getting shot at in Iraq.

    And not all conservative xians are wingnuts. A lot of the evangelicals and some of the pentecostals don’t have a problem with evolution.

  19. #19 Eximious Jones
    May 22, 2008

    Heaven? I thought Darwinists were going to hell.

  20. #20 jj
    May 22, 2008

    Stay away from Fresno… if the city one has to go through to reach it from he coast is any indicator… “Hey we are in Los Banos, almost to Fresno!” (No seriously, you have to go through Los Banos [the toilet for the monolingual] to get to the ‘No’ as we call it)

    CA’s central Valley is nothing like the coast or the northern redwoods

  21. #21 John Hamilton
    May 22, 2008

    Unfortunately the ‘Central Valley’ is larger than most states. I live in Stockton which, is very close to the geograhic center of the ‘Central Valley’, and it’s about a three hour drive to Fresno. Stockton is a very conservative city with its share of churches and I have had a Darwin Fish on my bumper and have made no secret of my atheism for the last twenty or so years without once having any vandalism. I have never been confronted nor threatened by anyone. No one has even tried to ‘save’ me.

    Jerks abound everywhere and we should not judge all Christians by this act any more than we would want to be judged by the acts of everyone else who shares the label ‘atheist’. I’ve met plenty of Christians I’d rather hang out with than some of the atheists I’ve met.

  22. #22 Sastra
    May 22, 2008

    Here we go again, persecuting Christians for defending their right to Believe What They Want. They’re just fighting back against MILITANT atheism. You know, that’s the atheism where atheists attack what people have the Right to Believe What They Want. Dr. Earley could be a Christian, and it makes no difference. It’s still MILITANT atheism if you tell people they can’t believe what they want. Darwinism isn’t what they want. They have a RIGHT to believe what they want.

    Or, perhaps, we are now persecuting Christians by implying that Christianity had anything to do with this at all. That guy was just a vandal anyway, looking for an excuse. It would or could or should have been some reason other than what it looks like, because Christianity is the everybody-be-nice religion. And we wouldn’t even have science if it wasn’t for Christianity.

    Take your pick. We’re not nice, so it’s our fault, I’m sure. Mea Culpa. Mea Maxima Culpa.

  23. #23 Glen Davidson
    May 22, 2008

    Of course that’s an isolated incident.

    But Expelled has about the same sentiments, sense, and contempt for unbelievers that this note had.

    When you don’t have evidence or arguments, about all you can do is shout “Nazi” and claim persecution. Never mind that just about all attempts to use force to get their way (via gov’t or otherwise) comes from their side.

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

  24. #24 Brownian, OM
    May 22, 2008

    I’ve told many a creo here to fuck off, and had whiny creo concern trolls comment on how mean we Darwinist atheists are, but I’ve never, ever, punctured someone’s tires or left a cowardly note.

  25. #25 Nick Gotts
    May 22, 2008

    Come on now, how do you know it was a Christian? Could have been a rogue Lamarckian!

  26. #26 Eximious Jones
    May 22, 2008

    They DO have the right to believe what they want; everyone does. They do NOT have the right to vandalize property or threaten harm to people. Those two things are illegal, even in the Valley.

  27. #27 Christianjb
    May 22, 2008

    I dunno,

    A little bit of me likes the fact that some Christians think we’re evil satanists.

    The most evil thing I’ve done this week is to spill some coffee in the physics break room.
    Do you think they’d be disappointed if they found out how mundane our lives really are?

    I think it’s just good publicity to let them think we engage in a few sacrifices from time to time. Makes us look dangerous.

  28. #28 Dave
    May 22, 2008

    Noodle@#9

    I agree that there is no way to shame the nutziod fundies that do this sort of thing. But that is not why this sort of thing should be publicized. Rather, it should be used to shame the silent moderates, for whom this sort of behavior is in contradiction to their concept of Chritianity, into finally stepping up and saying, “No, you nutziod can believe whatever you want, but that is not what the rest of us mean by Christian.” The nutzoids only have power because the moderates stay silent and allow the nutziods to represent christianity. The nutziods cant be shamed, but I have hope that the moderates can.

  29. #29 Doc Bill
    May 22, 2008

    What??

    Get laid AND take your car to Heaven?

    Score!

  30. #30 Sili
    May 22, 2008

    And here I thought the pressing question was whether dogs go to Heaven.

  31. #31 Optimus Primate
    May 22, 2008

    Luv thy naybore: ure doin it rong!

  32. #32 Zeno
    May 22, 2008

    I was born and raised in California’s Central Valley and most of my family is still down there, sprinkled around Fresno and Tulare counties. They and most of their neighbors are deep red (and I don’t mean communist!) when it comes to politics. The Central Valley still has lots of registered Democrats, but they’re Reagan Democrats who have lost their allegiance to the party of FDR (who was the much-admired president under whose administration my parents grew up).

    The Central Valley has a constant brain drain as young people head out for brighter opportunities elsewhere. It’s not only dummies who stay put (my brother, for example, is bound to the family farm he loves and operates), but most of the upwardly mobile have up and went. The Central Valley counties suffer a perpetual mini-depression (of both the economy and the mind). And they vigorously vote for people determined to maintain the regressive status quo.

    The towns with big colleges (like Fresno, Modesto, and maybe Visalia) have a leavening influence, but even those places are dominated by the right-wing. In Merced, where the 10th University of California is growing, local conservative activists are terrified that the campus culture will attract godforsaken liberals to their pristine territory. (Merced could become another Davis or — God forbid! — another Berkeley!)

    When I was a youngster it was still okay to vote for JFK or LBJ, but soon thereafter Nixon was the one and folks down there have never wised up about Bush. And the pastors in the pulpits (of which there are many) lace their sermons with denunciations of anything even slightly progressive. The priest in my home parish fulminated every Sunday. In retrospect, I think his rants made me take religion less and less seriously. Thanks, Monsignor!

  33. #33 Brownian, OM
    May 22, 2008

    John Hamilton @21:

    Of course no one should judge a group of people by the acts of a few or one.

    However, there is a claim made by theists that belief in God is a necessary (though obviously not sufficient) condition for morality. The existence of moral atheists contradicts this, and the existence of amoral Christians is evidence that there is either no relationship between the two at all, or (more likely, in my opinion) the factors influencing morality (one of which my be religion) are myriad and complex in their interaction.

  34. #34 SES
    May 22, 2008

    Architeuthis@#17 – Sorry, but San Diego scores pretty high on the conservative/fundie/loony scale.

  35. #35 Ichthyic
    May 22, 2008

    However, there is a claim made by theists that belief in God is a necessary (though obviously not sufficient) condition for morality. The existence of moral atheists contradicts this

    yes, but something I have learned here on this very blog is that when confronted with this contradiction, instead of thinking their premise of morality proceeding only from God might be mistaken, they rather conclude that the atheists in question are atheists in name only. That under the “skin” they really are true believers, just like they are. It’s their “anger” at God that makes them proclaim themselves atheists.

    so, contradiction resolved.

    *rolleyes*

  36. #36 Tully Bascomb
    May 22, 2008

    Fresno is saturated with evangelicals from top to bottom. At the recent National Day of Prayer (hosted by Fresno mayor Alan Autry), only evangelical churches were invited. Some choice quotes:

    ..I believe in separation of church and state…but if you have separation of god and state, you are doomed. (Alan Autry)

    and

    …I don’t see how a teacher working for me can be moral unless they accept jesus christ as their savior. (A local school principal)

    …his injuries could be worse, but fortunately he has a higher power to believe in (chief of police, talking about a police officer who was injured in the line of duty). The chief had some problems with an underage girl, but evidently was forgiven by the local mega church, so all was ok.

    The mayor also keeps the 10 commandments on the wall behind his desk, and sponsored an anti-same sex marriage demonstration at city hall. He also has guest-host on the Trinity Broadcasting Network.

  37. #37 John Hamilton
    May 22, 2008

    Brownian (#33)

    The only point of disagreement I have with you, their argument is that the existence of god is necessary for morality to exist. Not that belief in god is necessary to be moral.

  38. #38 Ichthyic
    May 22, 2008

    only evangelical churches were invited

    interesting.

    that’s a point that should be stressed, IMO.

    show that these fundies are fighting not only against “godless darwinists” but against any and all who don’t vehemently agree with them, including all other xian churches.

    J was, as usual, incorrectly claiming that the atheists should be embracing the moderates in this fight. It’s no that atheists need to embrace the moderate xians, it’s that the moderate xians need to get off their collective butts and join the fight on their own terms.

    Yes, YOU TOO, are being attacked by the fundies.

  39. #39 Zach Miller
    May 22, 2008

    The fundies are really doing a great job of making US the bad guys, here.

  40. #40 DingDave
    May 22, 2008

    Christianity is not a religion of peace, but a religion of DEFERRED VIOLENCE. Unfortunately some of it’s followers simply can’t wait to defer the violence to their ‘heavenly father’, and feel compelled to act for themselves on his behalf. Dr. Hector Avalos has written a book about the subject called, ‘Fighting Words: Origins of Religious Violence’.

    “It is a myth that religion is essentially good and that violence is a fundamentalist deviation from it. The foundation texts of the Abrahamic religions all, in places, endorse violence.
    For example, “You shall annihilate them , the Hittites and the Amorites, the Canaanites and the Perizzites, the Hivites and the Jebusites; just as the Lord your God has commanded” -Deuteronomy 20:17.
    or, “Slay the pagans wherever ye find them” -Koran, Sura 9:5.

    The New Testament supports DEFERRED VIOLENCE, promising that unbelievers shall be plunged into eternal torment. There are no similar explicit commands for genocide even in Hitler’s Mein Kampf.

    In these holy books you can find either a peaceful or a vengeful god. Both are in the text, both are equally unverifiable. Which bits of the texts do you choose to take literally? Take your pick – liberal or evangelical? Protestant or Catholic? Shia or Sunni? It’s all equally arbitrary and subjective, and all equally fundamentalist.

    Religious writers blame nationalism, secularism, colonialism and globalisation, anything but religion – for wars, but the holy texts all predate these modern phenomena. Avalos writes; “All three Abrahamic religions have imperialism, control of the entire earth, as a fundamental goal if one judges by their basic sacred scriptures. The Hebrew Bible speaks of God’s (Elohim) possession of all the earth (Psalm 82). Jesus commands the spreading of Christianity over the entire world (Matt. 28:18-19), thus following the model of the Roman Empire long before the rise of Constantine. Islam, likewise, envisions the whole world under the command of Allah. If there is anything essential or fundamental in all of the Abrahamic religions it is the idea that the particular god each worships has or should have universal dominion. A perfect formula for perpetual conflict.”
    -William Podmore, from here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Fighting-Words-Origins-Religious-Violence/dp/1591022843

    Also,

    ‘Fighting Words: Origins of Religious Violence’, by Hector Avalos.

    “I just read the book by Hector Avalos and am wondering if anyone else has and what they thought of it.
    My thoughts so far are thus:
    1) Concept of group and individual privilege.
    2) Concept of a “higher calling” and a monopoly on absolute truth and sacred spaces and/or texts.
    3) Concept of having God’s most perfect revelation(s).
    4) Concept of salvation and being “saved” from God’s wrath and judgement because of the beliefs followed.
    5) Very often, there is contempt for those who do not believe the “revealed truth”.
    6) Violence is an acceptable punishment – by believers or God(s) in the “now” or future (deferred violence when Christ returns in the Xian religions, for example).
    7) The belief or system of beliefs are considered the most important focus – more important than the here and now of life and what it offers – always looking for what is beyond this life and the “rewards” the afterlife supposedly contains.
    -From here: http://iidb.infidels.org/vbb/showthread.php?t=215125

    The guy who slashed the tyre and left the note was simply acting on his delusion, rather than suppressing it and merely imagining the prospect of his god inflicting violence on the infidel at some time in the future. He is the consequence of a violent myth. Of course, he’s also a ‘deluded fuckwit’(TM). ; )

  41. #41 Ichthyic
    May 22, 2008

    John Hamilton-

    The only point of disagreement I have with you, their argument is that the existence of god is necessary for morality to exist. Not that belief in god is necessary to be moral.

    that simply is NOT how most of them express this concept.

    see, for example, the post right above yours, where Tully was listing some choice evangelical quotes:

    …I don’t see how a teacher working for me can be moral unless they accept jesus christ as their savior. (A local school principal)

    This is far from an uncommon presentation of this idea. We see it all the time here on Pharyngula, and I’ve certainly spoken with enough fundies where I live to have seen the same argument myself.

    so, while you can find specific exceptions, this is NOT the way the argument is presented by a typical fundie.

    In fact, the way the argument is presented is much closer to the way Brownian presented it.

  42. #42 Mike O'Risal
    May 22, 2008

    People forget that California gave us Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon. Most of the state — geographically speaking — is very conservative. It’s mainly the largest population centers that are not so along with a few Redwood Empire and Sierra Foothills enclaves. Fresno definitely isn’t any of those.

  43. #43 Bob
    May 22, 2008

    John Hamilton (#37)

    “…their argument is that the existence of god is necessary for morality to exist. Not that belief in god is necessary to be moral.”

    In that case, just hit them with the Euthyphro Dilemma.

  44. #44 JStein
    May 22, 2008

    That’s where I’m going to college next year. Yay.

  45. #45 Michelle
    May 22, 2008

    Where’s the part about Christianity in this? Could be another religious group.

  46. #46 Ichthyic
    May 22, 2008

    4) Concept of salvation and being “saved” from God’s wrath and judgement because of the beliefs followed.

    having a few atheist jewish friends, I can tell you what they always tell me:

    “where the fundies went wrong is in thinking that it’s beliefs that make the man, instead of deeds.”

  47. #47 Fresno Native
    May 22, 2008

    Fresno is a sad dismal place if your are Liberal in pretty much any way. I have lived here all of my life, which right now is 32 years. I grew up in the foothills around it and moved to the city when I went to CSU, Fresno. What everyone says is pretty much true. Even the democrats in this area vote for things the republicans are supporting because not to would be political suicide.

    Needless to say as a Lesbian and Atheist I am not exactly liked around these parts, but my family is here and I am not leaving unless they do too. Still there are days, like the recent National Day of Prayer with our Mayor, that really get to me a lot.

    Where I grew up, in the foothills, well… lets just say that it makes Fresno look like San Francisco. I am pretty sure our high school principal at the time was an active KKK member, Mariposa is supposed to be a headquarters of sorts and so we had lots of them. Several of the businesses in town were owned and operated by Jehovah’s Witnesses. Churches were all over and poverty is pretty bad in the right places.

    I am not suprised by this story and I don’t have stickers, either Rainbow, Triangle, or Darwin, on my vehicle for just this reason. The most I am guilty of is throwing away Focus On Family when it occasionally ends up in our break room at work.

  48. #48 Tully Bascomb
    May 22, 2008

    Oh man, now you got me started. Some more of the official City of Fresno “the church is the state” philosophy:

    From the local paper (Fresno Bee)
    Police security decision saves Graham event about $80,000 …
    The Central Valley Billy Graham Crusade saved nearly $80,000 because Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer decided enhanced security was necessary in the wake of the terrorist attacks on the East Coast and the bombing in Afghanistan.

    Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer said his officers also will be making extra checks at selected places of worship that might be targets of attack.
    or

    Mayor’s stance ignites debate …
    Alan Autry, Fresno’s actor-turned-mayor, slips into a new public role this Sunday: cheerleader for the idea that marriage should unite a man and a woman and not homosexual couples.

    Autry will speak on the grounds of City Hall in support of the traditional definition of marriage at an event called Marriage Commitment Day. He also will conduct a ceremony in which heterosexual, married couples can renew their marriage vows

    Police chaplain growth pursued …
    Fresno pastor Elias Loera spent Friday night with police officer Jesse Herring and came to this conclusion:

    “Fresno needs help,” said Loera, 32. That’s exactly the point, Police Chief Jerry Dyer said, in launching his latest crime-fighting idea: an army of volunteer police chaplains giving solace to victims and their families and friends.

    or

    Autry leads Pledge rally ...
    A federal appellate court decision to remove the phrase “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance is “dangerous,” Fresno Mayor Alan Autry told a crowd at a rally Friday at City Hall.

  49. #49 Kseniya
    May 22, 2008

    Where’s the part about Christianity in this? Could be another religious group. ~ Posted by: Michelle

    True, it could be. But ask yourself: How likely is that?

  50. #50 Cuttlefish, OM
    May 22, 2008

    Come on! Don’t you see this is progress?
    Just take the historical view–
    It’s not, after all, like such pinheaded treatment
    Is even remotely brand-new.
    We ought to be grateful for punctures in tires–
    This change, it is all for the best.
    It’s not long ago that the note would be pinned
    To a knife that was stuck in his chest.

  51. #51 Starbix
    May 22, 2008

    Tully (#36)

    I never heard about the police chief thing. Was that Dyer? Could you send me a link on it? Also, what school’s principal was it that said that? I did see the NDoP footage and Bubba on a local televised church service. I still remember seeing the ad with him smiling vacuously and saying “God is good!” Every time I saw it I would inevitably subject my wife to another of my rants. She’s so patient with me.

    Starbix
    “Don’t Panic.” -Douglas Adams

  52. #52 S. Fisher
    May 22, 2008

    It’s OK……this person has learned all his morals and ethics from his Bible and his church. Leave it to atheists, who have no moral compass, to imagine that someone outside the pale of this persons religion is worthy of being treated with the same morals and ethics as real people.

  53. #53 Brennon
    May 22, 2008

    Maybe I missed part of the story…
    Does he know for certain it was a Christian that vandalized his van and left the note?
    Surely most of the instances of him receiving notes were, but it could have been anyone, even an atheist trying to make the religious look worse (which isn’t necessary). Just sayin’…

  54. #54 Brownian, OM
    May 22, 2008

    John Hamilton and Ichthyic:

    Both claims have been made.

  55. #55 Etha Williams
    May 22, 2008

    @#48 Tully Bascomb –

    From the local paper (Fresno Bee)

    If you want to see something really sickening, check out their “Faith & Values” section. The headline story is in praise of parents who indoctrinate their children young.

  56. #56 MikeM
    May 22, 2008

    That’s Fresno for you.

    Bakersfield’s worse.

    http://www.turnto23.com/news/15793197/detail.html

  57. #57 Randomfactor
    May 22, 2008

    I’m just down the road in Bakersfield. We’ve got a fundie high-school-board member just slavering over the chance to push ID Creationism. They tried it last summer at a small elementary school district just south of here and got spanked HARD by AU and a local parents’ group, though.

  58. #58 Neil
    May 22, 2008

    Ah, the Valley. The I grew up in the dead center of the southern half of the valley. A little town called Pixley, one hour north of Bakersfield, one hour south of Fresno.
    While I love my state in general, the Valley seems to relish its role as a disgusting fucking armpit of ignorance and standard conservative self-righteousness. There are more churches than schools, libraries, and book stores put together, and a nice hefty prison population as well. Many bright folks crop up every generation, but as noted before they all get the hell out as soon as possible.
    On a side note, I saw more crime and racial and social tension living in Bakersfield than I did living in the ghetto end of Hollywood. And don’t get me started on Fresno. More crime, more gangs, more cops and more religion than anywhwere I’ve ever seen. Amazing what religion and head-in-the-sand conservatism can accomplish.

    I have lived just two hours away on the coast for almost 15 years now, and while you see some of the same political trends, especially among the older or horribly ignorant folks, it’s almost like a different planet.

    In all fairness, there is a largish minority of moderate liberals who try to keep things sane, but between the crybaby farmers, ultra-conservative business owners, hundreds of thousands of hateful rednecks and hundreds of thousands of superstitious, patriarchal catholic immigrants, and of course the all-powerful evangelical/fundie flag-waving noise machine, it’s all they can do to keep the public schools from being entirely gutted.
    Best of luck to Prof. Early. I’ll go back and help when hell freezes over.

    One bright spot, though. All of the ignorance, apathy, and redneck jingoism has, over the last decade, sewn the seeds for a vibrant and growing metal music scene. All of that hopeless rage has to go somewhere, I guess.

  59. #59 Kseniya
    May 22, 2008

    Both claims have been made.

    Yes, indeed they have, and while neither claim is supported by even the barest shred of evidence, each is purported to be unassailably true, and each robs humanity of the possibility of any volition or invention with respect to its own common moral code.

    Amusingly enough, they are contradictory; as is the second with the popular variation of the first, which maintains that atheists have no morality, and that for them, “Anything goes.” This clearly contadicts the “moral field” hypothesis that underlies the second claim.

  60. #60 Etha Williams
    May 22, 2008

    @#25 Nick Gotts –

    Come on now, how do you know it was a Christian? Could have been a rogue Lamarckian!

    LMAO. Or maybe a rogue Lysenko-Michurinist. Yeah, that must be it. Those damn godless commies…giving True Christians™ a bad name with their anonymous crimes.

  61. #61 tim Rowledge
    May 22, 2008

    #20 – Oh Los Banos is not *entirely* bad; it has a really big reservoir that provides a great place to go slope soaring. My old model flying club (from when I lived in silicon valley) holds a big scale model glider event there each year.
    But in general it’s worryingly wingnuttish down there. To make a left turn off the highway you have to make three right turns….

  62. #62 Randomfactor
    May 22, 2008

    Oh, worse than *THAT*, Mike:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prussian_Blue_(duo)

    (Used to be a local group, moved to Montana or some other third-world area.)

  63. #63 Wowbagger
    May 22, 2008

    But their god is the god of love, remember? If the god that smites and floods and sends bears to maul children can do those things and still be just and all-loving then something as minor as giving an unbeliever a helpful message to turn away from his sinful ways then it must be okay. He wrote ‘take your car to heaven’ after all; all he’s doing is trying to help (because all good Xians feel bad that we’re going to burn in hell).

    Of course, there’s always the chance he’s not a True Scotsman Xian, though…

  64. #64 Emmet Caulfield
    May 22, 2008

    What’s car heaven look like anyway? Does it only get Christian Rock music on the radio?

    No, that’s definitely hell.

  65. #65 catman
    May 22, 2008

    I live in Fresno, too, and I have a pirate fish emblem on my car, but have had no vandalism (so far). My son’s car has a Darwin fish, and there’s been no vandalism against it in over 15 years. I wear a pirate fish patch on some of my t-shirts, a “Yo, God” god detector on others, and a Dawkinsian “A” on still others, and I also wear a baseball jersey with a big IPU emblem. Nobody even seems to notice.

    The closest I’ve come to a confrontation was few years ago when a stranger spotted the Darwin fish and asked me, “What if there is a God?”

    I asked him, “Who said there isn’t?”

    Then the light changed and he drove on with no further comment.

    The comments about Fresno, the turquoise on the buckle of the Bible Belt, are mostly correct. But our dear Mayor Bubba did something unusual this year at the National Day of Prayer. He violated the prerequisites laid down by the NDoP folks, and actually asked speakers from non-evangelical churches (and even [gasp!] non-xians) to speak. Tolerance, for the first time in a row.

  66. #66 Zeno
    May 22, 2008

    Neil @ 58: there is a largish minority of moderate liberals who try to keep things sane, but between the crybaby farmers, ultra-conservative business owners, hundreds of thousands of hateful rednecks and hundreds of thousands of superstitious, patriarchal catholic immigrants, and of course the all-powerful evangelical/fundie flag-waving noise machine

    Hey, Neil, my family intersects with only the three highlighted segments of your demographic list. As the Catholic influence wanes, however, we’ll probably pick up some of that fundie flavor through future marriages. Lordy, I fear so.

  67. #67 Joel
    May 22, 2008

    Reminds me of bumper sticker I once saw, “Lord, Protect me from your followers.”

    I know it’s an oldie, but I like is sooo much.

  68. #68 Facehammer
    May 22, 2008

    “Of course Silicon Heaven exists. I mean, where do all the calculators go?”

  69. #69 Sophia
    May 22, 2008

    I’m not surprised. I lived in fresno, california for 16 years. That’s so pathetic of the person who did that.

  70. #70 Fresno-GradStudent
    May 22, 2008

    This is quite unfortunate. Dr. Earley is a wonderful guy and one of the most popular professors at Fresno. Even as new faculty, his lab is packed with students.

    It is sad how educated people have to fear the ignorant.

    We have been working hard to educate the valley, but it has been no easy task.

    http://collegian.csufresno.edu/2008/04/09/brain-drain/

  71. #71 Lunacrous
    May 22, 2008

    Seriously, it’s rather pointless to attempt to shame a Christian…

    You could have stopped right there, given that Christians apparently have no shame.

  72. #72 Tully Bascomb
    May 22, 2008

    …..But our dear Mayor Bubba did something unusual this year at the National Day of Prayer. He violated the prerequisites laid down by the NDoP folks, and actually asked speakers from non-evangelical churches (and even [gasp!] non-xians) to speak.

    No, he didn’t. Interfaith protesters holding signs for TV embarrassed him into acknowledging their presence, so he brought a few up for a photo op. When one of them spontaneously gave a blessing, the pained look on his face was priceless. They were then quickly ushered off.

    I video-recorded almost the entire sordid affair. There were many more memorable “christianity good/all others bad” moments.

  73. #73 Wowbagger
    May 22, 2008

    #71

    You could have stopped right there, given that Christians apparently have no shame.

    Of course they do – when they’re caught. After which they ask for forgiveness and/or blame it on Satan.

    We should all take some satisfaction in knowing that it’s fairly likely the gutless sack of shit has a tiny penis – and is wracked with Xian guilt for touching it way too often.

  74. Its interesting how quick some of you are to sterotype a group of people based on the actions of a few.

  75. #75 Kseniya
    May 22, 2008

    You spelled “Pharyngula” wrong.

  76. #76 CalGeorge
    May 22, 2008

    People forget that California gave us Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon.

    And Aimee Semple McPherson.

  77. #77 Kseniya
    May 22, 2008

    Whereas Boston gave California Aimee Mann.

  78. #78 Ichthyic
    May 22, 2008

    Its interesting how quick some of you are to sterotype a group of people based on the actions of a few.

    just how many morons doing and saying the exact same thing, and exhibiting the exact same behavior, do you need before the stereotype more accurately resembles a definition?

    a thousand?

    ten thousand?

    30 million?

    why should exceptions, assuming there are any (and there certainly AREN’T wrt to ID as a “scientific theory”), define the labeling of a group who’s aims and methods have been entirely obvious?

  79. #79 Kseniya
    May 22, 2008

    Where, oh where, has Randy been through all of Kenny’s “Atheism leads to church arson and the putting of Christians to death” generalizations?

    Randy, it’s true that claiming “all Christians” are just like the tire-slashing dude is unsupportable, and true that there are millions of Christians who don’t slash tires and leave nasty notes on Darwinfishmobiles, but there is some pattern-recognition going on here.

    Maybe you can find us a report of a “Darwinist” slashing the tires of a car sporting a Jesusfish. No rush. Take your time.

  80. #80 DLC
    May 22, 2008

    Oh, right. those can’t be True Scotsmen, they don’t wear a kilt.

  81. #81 Eric Paulsen
    May 22, 2008

    “Fuck you Darwinist. Take your car to heaven.”

    Might they have MEANT to say “Drive your car straight to Hell”? I mean take your car to heaven makes zero sense – the man is, after all, a godless Darwinist. I really don’t understand the religious mind at all.

  82. #82 aporeticus
    May 22, 2008

    Seems like the Christian meant that the Darwinist isn’t going to get to heaven via the usual manner (salvation, etc.) so there is the sarcastic suggestion that he should try driving there.

  83. #83 Eamon Knight
    May 22, 2008

    What’s car heaven look like anyway?

    See for yourself.

  84. #84 Ichthyic
    May 22, 2008

    Might they have MEANT to say “Drive your car straight to Hell”?

    or maybe it simply meant: “Drive off a cliff!”

    who knows.

  85. #85 Kseniya
    May 22, 2008

    I agree with aporeticus‘s interpretation.

  86. #86 JamesR
    May 23, 2008

    I thinkthe writer must have meant this about the car.

    Our goodly friends the Monty Python boys. Watch to the end for the car scene.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l3mamLXkh-A

  87. #87 Monado
    May 23, 2008

    I was saving this for next Sunday’s blog entry, but I think you guys need cheering up: Satan’s corporate makeover.

  88. #88 Janine ID
    May 23, 2008

    People forget that California gave us Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon.

    Posted by: Mike O’Risal

    Nixon was from Yorba Linda, California. Reagan was born and raised in Dixon, Illinois. But he did spend most of his adult life in California.

  89. #89 catman
    May 23, 2008

    No, he didn’t. Interfaith protesters holding signs for TV embarrassed him into acknowledging their presence, so he brought a few up for a photo op.

    Yes, that’s true, and I should have stated that he invited a few to the podium. Considering that he’s a lock-step member of the Jesus-o-Rama Salvation Palace at Cedar and Herndon (as is most of the Fresno political establishment), even that small gesture of tolerance was out of character for our benighted city.

  90. #90 OriGuy
    May 23, 2008

    I had a similar experience, though much less malign. I was returning to San Jose from a trip through Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, Colorado, and Arizona in 2006. I stopped at the Harris Ranch restaurant in Coalinga. between Fresno and Bakersfield. I had a decal that said “Vote Democrat” and a homemade bumper sticker that said “Godless Liberal”.

    When I got out of the restaurant, there was a note taped to my rear window that said, “Vote Democrat if you want the terrorists to win.” That was the only negative reaction I had in 3000 miles through mostly red-state territory.

    Oh, and I had another homemade bumper sticker that said, “Orienteering is not a crime”, but that would only offend certain park rangers. (We have land-use issues in some places.)

  91. #91 Ichthyic
    May 23, 2008

    But he did spend most of his adult life in California.

    don’t let that confuse you. It was most assuredly CA conservative (namely neocon) money that got him into the governor’s chair, and was also instrumental in getting him the presidency.

    The Reagan presidency was a California “gift”, alrighty.

    I grew up in Orange County, and there are still a lot of people around those parts that are pretty proud of Reagan, as much as it sickened me to even know about them (I moved NORTH as soon as I was able).

    So, while you might argue whether or not Reagan is a “Californian” (like one might also argue if Bush is a “Texan”), there is no doubt that the Reagan presidency was manufactured there.

  92. #79, I don’t have time to follow you around and see what kind of mischief you are up to (wink).

  93. #93 raven
    May 23, 2008

    Maybe you can find us a report of a “Darwinist” slashing the tires of a car sporting a Jesusfish. No rush. Take your time.

    Since Mr. ID is mentally incapacitated forever, a common fundie trait.

    How about Rudi Boa who was stabbed to death by a creo Xian for accepting evolution?

    Or Paul Mirecki and Gwen Pearson who were beaten up for accepting evolution?

    Or Chris Comer who was fired for supporting science?

    Or Michael Korn who threatened to wipe out the U Colorado biology department and PZ Myers among others.

    Or the 7 MDs assassinated, 17 attempted murders, and 200 wounded, some seriously by Xian terrorists?

    It doesn’t take much for religious extremists to get violent and start killing people. The Reformation wars killed tens of millions. Or ask the Iraqis, world trade center bombers, and Afghanis about cult violence.

  94. #94 Ted
    May 23, 2008

    Earley “displays a bumper sticker of a Darwin fish chasing a Jesus fish” but thinks that the incident reflects “a misunderstanding that religion and science are at odds”.

    Is this not a contradiction?

    Seems like religion and science are at odds, and the Darwin fish stickers throw it in your face.

  95. #95 raven
    May 23, 2008

    Wannabe violent Xian cultist:

    Seems like religion and science are at odds, and the Darwin fish stickers throw it in your face.

    Oh gee, a fundie cultist is here. Thank Cthulhu.

    I saw a car with a fat Jesus fish eating a Darwin fish. So what is the proper Xian response. Should I have just slashed their tires? What if I don’t have a consecrated Jerry Falwell(TM) brand tire slashing tool handy? Is it OK if I just wait until they get out of their car and then run them over?

    So, what would Jesus do? Slash their tires, ram them, smash their windshields, or just run them over? Let’s hear the Xian perspective here.

  96. #96 Colugo
    May 23, 2008

    Something to piss everyone off: the theistic evolution fish.

    http://www.cafepress.com/logofishxr

  97. #97 Arnosium Upinarum
    May 23, 2008

    This is a PERFECT example of the basic mindset of the religious: it’s all about demonstrating their superiority or importance by cutting down the competition.

    This ass slashes a tire on the same motive which all YEC-asses operate on, by deflating the size and age of an entire universe…in order to feel more important and superior.

    One has to wonder just how big a fish-ass imagines it can be in such a LITTLE pond, a pond that’s over a factor of a million times shorter in duration and over 100 billion
    billion times smaller in volume. Time-wise this is like a single second in 12 days, but volume-wise it REALLY gets preposterous: it’s like the difference between a gallon goldfish bowl and a volume about 100,000 times larger than the Great Lakes combined. Just how important do they imagine they can they possibly be in such a brief and claustrophobically tiny realm?

    There’s only one way to balance the books: they have to have to exercise an arrogance and conceit that is 100 billion billion times larger than what the rest of us have to get by with on average, in order to compensate.

  98. #98 Janine ID
    May 23, 2008

    It was most assuredly CA conservative (namely neocon) money that got him into the governor’s chair, and was also instrumental in getting him the presidency.

    The Reagan presidency was a California “gift”, alrighty.

    I grew up in Orange County, and there are still a lot of people around those parts that are pretty proud of Reagan, as much as it sickened me to even know about them (I moved NORTH as soon as I was able).

    So, while you might argue whether or not Reagan is a “Californian” (like one might also argue if Bush is a “Texan”), there is no doubt that the Reagan presidency was manufactured there.

    Posted by: Ichthyic

    You are correct on all counts about Reagan. I grew up in Illinois, so there was a lot of pride about Reagan coming from these parts.

    Let’s just say that while California deserves much of the blame for RR, it does not deserve all. Share the wealth!

  99. #99 BaldApe
    May 23, 2008

    This incident may have been an isolated one, but only in the details. The first Darwin fish I displayed on a vehicle was vandalized- the feet were broken off. Apparently this is so common that you can order replacement feet.

    BTW, off topic, I’m seeing a new meme, or at least new to me. The claim is being made that atheists are motivated by a desire to throw off moral restrictions, particularly sexual restrictions.

    So fess up, how many of you got rid of your religious beliefs so you could get laid more? Did it work?

  100. #100 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    May 23, 2008

    “Fuck you Darwinist. Take your car to heaven.”

    I find that funny because everyone knows that Darwinists don’t go to heaven.

    And if they did would they need to get a driver’s license from here?

  101. #101 Richard Simons
    May 23, 2008

    “And what’s the criteria for getting into car heaven?”

    That reminds me of a story I heard about a city that had a ceremony in which each of the faiths blessed a car in their own way. When it was the rabbi’s turn, he cut six inches off the tailpipe.

  102. #102 Satan
    May 23, 2008

    I think the “Fuck you darwinists. Take your car to heaven.” is a reply to the bumper sticker that reads “When the rapture comes. Can I have your car.” Probably should have read “Fuck THE darwinists. Take your car to heaven.”

  103. #103 tony (not a vegan)
    May 23, 2008

    Rev@100: I looked there and found this gem:

    If you have given your allegiance to Jesus Christ, and you live your beliefs, you will go to jail. It is inevitable because the world will hate you.

    Man – what a bunch of total wingnuts.

  104. #104 Ted
    May 23, 2008

    #95 raven:

    Oh gee, a fundie cultist is here. Thank Cthulhu.

    Perhaps I wasn’t clear. I’m an atheist, and as appalled by the stupid religious violence as anyone here. My point was that a Darwin fish eating a Jesus fish is perceived as insulting/threatening by some christians, and for Professor Earley to then say to the newspaper that there is no conflict between religion and science is disingenuous and contradictory. There is a conflict – evolution undercuts large parts of Christian (and other religions’) mythology, and the Darwin fish celebrates it.

    I don’t have a Darwin fish on my car, because it won’t change any minds and just seems to antagonize people. I’d rather promote evolution education and explain to people in depth, when the opportunity arises, why I don’t want to believe in ridiculous religious lies.

  105. #105 LightningRose
    May 23, 2008

    I lived in the Central Valley of California for 12 years.

    The best thing I can say in favor of global warming is that the worst case scenario puts the Central Valley under 100 feet of water.

  106. #106 JonMcSkeptic
    May 23, 2008

    But Randy Olson told me that the anti-evolutionists didn’t say fuck or acted rude to evolutionists.

  107. #107 MTran
    May 24, 2008

    “And what’s the criteria for getting into car heaven?”

    Huh? I thought it was:

    You can’t get to heaven
    in any kind of car,
    Cause there ain’t no car,
    can drive that far.

    Oh the Deacon went down to the cellar to pray
    But got so drunk that he slept all day
    I ain’t gonna grieve, my lord, no more.

    I think there are hundreds of variations on the song. I learned this one in my third grade music class!

  108. #108 Etha Williams
    May 24, 2008

    @#103 tony (not a vegan) –

    Rev@100: I looked there and found this gem:

    If you have given your allegiance to Jesus Christ, and you live your beliefs, you will go to jail. It is inevitable because the world will hate you.

    Man – what a bunch of total wingnuts.

    They probably get the absurd notion from from this part of the Bible:

    Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child. Children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. (Matthew 13:12-13)

    Or this one:

    If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. (John 15:18-19)

    Or this one:

    I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. (John 17:14)

    Etc.

    The NT is kind of obsessed with persecution of Xians, and so now that they’re the ones in power, they don’t know what to do about it…hence, they make up crazy persecution fantasies.

  109. #109 Ichthyic
    May 24, 2008

    The NT is kind of obsessed with persecution of Xians

    http://muse.jhu.edu/login?uri=/journals/journal_of_early_christian_studies/v014/14.1tilley.html

    ~or~ from a slightly different perspective…

    http://hirr.hartsem.edu/sociology/rahimi.html

    short:

    martyrdom has a long history of political successes.

  110. #110 Etha Williams
    May 24, 2008

    @#109 Ichthyic –

    Thanks for the article links.

    If you want to see the death cult persecution complex in action:

    http://persecutionblog.com/

    The amount of sinister pleasure they get from talking about Xian persecution is really quite sick…you can practically hear them squeeing with delight every time they make another post about poor persecuted Xianity.

    Also, the title of the “Pray for Believers Affected by the Cyclone and Earthquake” post is just…weird. So now Big Meteorology is in on the persecution conspiracy too?

  111. #111 Ichthyic
    May 24, 2008

    So now Big Meteorology is in on the persecution conspiracy too?

    LOL

    we used to joke a few years back on Panda’s Thumb about why the creationists are so concerned about evolution, but haven’t anything to say about meteorology.

    We spoke too soon, maybe?

    you can practically hear them squeeing with delight every time they make another post about poor persecuted Xianity.

    er, yeah, pigs rolling in shit often squeal with delight, too.

    poor persecuted piggies…

    :p

  112. #112 Ichthyic
    May 24, 2008

    btw:

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

    a person who has a martyr complex desires the feeling of being a martyr for its own sake, seeking out suffering or persecution because it feeds a psychological need.

    In some cases, this results from the belief that the martyr has been singled out for persecution due to exceptional ability or integrity.[1] Theologian Paul Johnson considers such beliefs a topic of concern for the mental health of clergy.[2]

    ’nuff said.

  113. #113 zilch
    May 24, 2008

    I don’t know about taking your car to Heaven, but my brother did say this once:

    I don’ know but I been told
    Cain’t get to Heaven in a jello mold.

  114. #114 anonevang
    May 24, 2008

    Which side in this argument believes in turning the other cheek again?

    PZ, this shows you do not understand the passage.

    If your enemy strikes you on the right cheek, you offer him your left. That is defensive.

    But that doesn’t prevent you from beating the crap out of him.

  115. #115 Tully Bascomb
    May 24, 2008

    The gift that keeps on giving — more news from the Central Valley.

    Porterville to vote on official motto: ‘In God We Trust’

    Now city officials plan to ask voters to put God back into local government — or at least on city stationery — with the words “In God We Trust.” A measure on the June 3 ballot would declare those words the city’s official motto.