Pharyngula

Poll time!

Do you think a class focusing on the Bible should be taught in public school? This is from a Virginia school that is trying to implement a Bible studies class — and if you’ve got some idea that maybe it’s an intellectual course which discusses the social and literary contributions of an important book in Western culture, it’s plugged as “the first step to get God back in your public school”.

Comments

  1. #1 me
    May 27, 2008

    There’s also a wee poll to crash at the bottom of that article.
    Should the bible be taught in public schools? Duh.

  2. #2 whoknows
    May 27, 2008

    The nation’s decline began when Madalyn Murray O’Hair and others like her took prayer and the Bible out of public school.

    But at least O’Hair’s son became a Christian, and has undone some of the worst of his mother’s work. His testimony is worth reading.

  3. #3 Mike The Englishman
    May 27, 2008

    Do you think a class focusing on the Bible should be taught in public school?

    Good grief, no! I remember always thinking (rather snobbily; blame my parents) that the only proven superiority of an American education was in the fact that there was no compulsory religious education or religious involvement in schools. I know better now, having grown up somewhat in the meantime, but the separation of church and state is still one of the best things going for American schools.

  4. #4 me
    May 27, 2008

    *facepalm* Should pay attention to the title of the post. Sheesh!
    PS. I remember when I was young, we actually had a ‘bible in schools’ class once a week. I was about 6 so this mainly comprised of singing songs and listening to watered-down biblical stories. I remember enjoying this but also thinking that it was pointless because I didn’t believe in god.
    So, even if they get this class into their school (which they bloody well shouldn’t), the non-believing kids will probably stay non-believing. Give them some credit.

  5. That ACLU , always interfering in Christian business.

    =P

  6. #6 Erik
    May 27, 2008

    Why these knuckleheads keep leaving Reese’s Pieces around for courts to follow all the way to “obvious violation of the First Amendment” is beyond me, although I guess we should be happy for that.

  7. #7 Doug
    May 27, 2008

    “The nation’s decline began when Madalyn Murray O’Hair and others like her took prayer and the Bible out of public school.”

    Ignore the fact that a lot of schools weren’t forcing students to read the bible or forcing prayer on students, and ignore the fact that numerous religious schools continued and continue to do so. Never mind that bible thumpers failed again in logic and common sense.

    You might as well blame society’s decline on the moon landing, but it’s sad to think fundies think society was a step up when we had slavery and lynchings.

  8. #8 Mike The Englishman
    May 27, 2008

    I knew *you* weren’t asking, PZ. I was just being… rhetorical? That doesn’t feel right there. Anyway.

    Sorry, I just had an attack of paranoia about looking stoopid.

  9. #9 QrazyQat
    May 27, 2008

    As long as they teach the controversy; I’ve got some class materials to sell them.

  10. #10 Glen Davidson
    May 27, 2008

    “At this point in time, it [the financial impact] is a nominal concern,” he said, but other school systems have given up on similar Bible programs when “continual litigation and the continual expenses to defend their constitutionality become more of a burden than they can bear.”

    Considering that, and the fact that the earlier class died for lack of interest, ought to be a sufficient answer to the question.

    And I seriously doubt that the ACLU is simply suing any time that a Bible class is taught, hoping to scare them out of it. Indeed, the fact that the earlier class died simply due to lack of interest would seem to support those doubts.

    The fact is that there is not much interest in classes which would discuss the Bible merely as history and literature. The interest in the Bible is primarily religious, so Bible classes eventually tend to violate the constitutionality tests.

    The crux of the matter is that schools are not crying out for material to teach. So why invite trouble, either by teaching the Bible with the proper skepticism, or by teaching it in a manner that violates church and state separation?

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

  11. #11 me
    May 27, 2008

    I find it interesting that so many U.S schools are trying to put religious classes into their curriclums. Do these people (already religious, I assume) not find it enough to go to their place of worship AND pray in their homes AND raise their children with religion? Why the fear of an education without more religion?

  12. #12 Dan
    May 27, 2008

    I’ve never been able to fully understand why these Christians can’t be satisfied with reading their fables at home or in church where they freakin’ belong.

    How many times do they have to be sued before they wake up and realize that this issue is more about respect than anything?

  13. #13 Richard Harris
    May 27, 2008

    whoknows @ # 2, why do you think that “The nation’s decline began when Madalyn Murray O’Hair and others like her took prayer and the Bible out of public school.”?

    That book is full of immoral injunctions, & suggests venerating an evil, jealous, amoral, misogynistic, magic spirit monster man..

    Or are you suggesting that exposure to such feckin’ nonsense, (it says that the Earth is flat!), might help make the kids become atheists.

  14. #14 Dan
    May 27, 2008

    Me and I seem to have the same question (Man! Now that was a fun sentence to write).

  15. #15 Etha Williams
    May 27, 2008

    Posted by: whoknows | May 27, 2008 4:14 PM

    Not you, that’s for sure.

  16. #16 gaby
    May 27, 2008

    Unfortunately, coming from that area of VA, that is a saying that is spread frequently. “Get GOD back” in schools, government, and life in general. Its a sad way to live trust me. These people actually believe that life would be better for all of us if an imaginary being ruled the world.

  17. #17 Michelle
    May 27, 2008

    what what what. Geeze, what part of “public” and “No religious shit” is so fucking hard to understand?

  18. #18 James F
    May 27, 2008

    Borrowing from Dan Dennett, an upper-level high school comparative religion course – or a module in a history or social studies class – would be useful for understanding human culture. Somehow I doubt that such enlightenment is the typical motive for such proposed Bible studies classes, however.

  19. #19 red rabbit
    May 27, 2008

    Yes, absolutely. You have to know what it says and what it means. As long as PZ has control of the curriculum.

  20. #20 Raynfala
    May 27, 2008

    Every single one of the people who voted “Yes” in that poll needs to be swatted twenty times on the rump with a rolled up copy of the U.S. Constitution.

  21. #21 Alcari
    May 27, 2008

    Sure, I think I class discussing the bible is pretty much a must in these days.

    BUT,
    It should simply be discussed as a work of literature, and there should be other classes covering other religions. Nobody ever got hurt by understanding the beliefs around them.

    To bad that’s not their intention though, so my vote is NO

  22. #22 Alcari
    May 27, 2008

    doing well so far:

    Yes 162 (19.42%)
    No 672 (80.58%)

  23. #23 Ryan F Stello
    May 27, 2008

    James F,

    Somehow I doubt that such enlightenment is the typical motive for such proposed Bible studies classes

    Exactly, the proposed course offers nothing to compare with the Bible, so it’s not comparative religion.

  24. #24 Turdus
    May 27, 2008

    Dan, #12
    For these Christian nutjobs, the issue isn’t about getting their own kids to read their fairy tales. I am sure they force their kids to do plenty of that at home. What these loons are really after is FORCING OTHER PEOPLE’S KIDS TO READ THE BIBLE. That is what they are really after. They know what is best for everyone else’s kids. Everyone’s kids will learn THEIR fairy tales. That is what this is all about.

  25. #25 me
    May 27, 2008

    James F,
    No, I don’t think that comparative religion from a sociological or anthropological perspective is what is on the minds of these people. There are thousands of religions on this planet, how long would a truly comprehensive comparative religion class take? :)

  26. #26 GDad
    May 27, 2008

    My prediction regarding the poll results…

    Poll is majority YES: “Hooray! The majority says we should teach the Bible in school. That makes it right!”

    Poll is majority NO: “Boo! This is firm evidence of our nation’s moral decline! We need more Bible in our schools to erase the taint of this godless secularism!”

  27. #27 Damned at Random
    May 27, 2008

    I studied the 23rd Psalm in a public school poetry class – I feel that was appropriate and sufficient.

    You have to wonder what kind of trouble it will cause when the parents hear that the wrong version of the Bible is being used- or that the teacher is a member of the wrong denomination.

  28. #28 Grog
    May 27, 2008

    I don’t object to courses on biblical studies per se – as long as there are certain caveats:

    1) The course is not mandatory
    2) It is comparative in nature – e.g. where different sects disagree, the different positions are given equal “air time”

    I’d like it to go a step or two further actually and embrace comparative religious studies. I’m sure that all of the squabbles between faith groups will do wonders for tangling things up more or less indefinitely.

  29. #29 tony (not a vegan)
    May 27, 2008

    There has actually been another 17 YES votes in under six minutes. But there has also been another 78 NO votes in the same time.

    Yay Freedom FROM religion.

    Yes 179 (19.27%)
    No 750 (80.73%)

    Also: from the article:

    “The school board approved this in 2005,” he said, though the class later was dropped because of a lack of interest.

    So why bring it back up?

    “Because a faculty member and seven students appeared and said they were interested in reinstituting the program,” Stephens said. Acting Superintendent Ron Gordon “took the responsible and reasonable approach to take that request to the school board again to make sure there was community interest and board approval,” Stephens said.

    I wonder – would a similar request from faculty and students to have a class discussing the history and imagary of the Bhagavad Gita get the same ‘reasonable’ treatment, or be dismissed out of hand?

  30. #30 tony (not a vegan)
    May 27, 2008

    Damn recalcitrant blockquotes….

    The last para is mine – and the Bhagavad Gita is merely a suggestion — I’d also like to see others in a real comparative religion class.

  31. #31 Kseniya
    May 27, 2008

    The nation’s decline began when Madalyn Murray O’Hair and others like her took prayer and the Bible out of public school.

    No, no, no. It began when “under God” was forcibly inserted into The Pledge of Allegiance.

  32. #32 James F
    May 27, 2008

    [Kids in the Hall]

    What weights more: the Bible or the Bhagavad Gita? Well worldy scholars and scientists have known for quite some time that the Bible outweighs the Bhagavad Gita here by a pound to a pound and a half sometimes, outweighs the Talmud sometimes by three to four pounds, outweighs that mighty Koran sometimes by five to ten pounds. You think about that.

    [/Kids in the Hall]

  33. #33 me
    May 27, 2008

    To all those who see a nation in decline:
    What was your high point? What are your criteria for said high point and also for insinuated decline?

  34. #34 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    May 27, 2008

    I can’t wait to hear what K-Toad’s OPINION is on this.

    From the National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools website page for “Is this Legal”

    hoooooboy

    There has been a great social regression since the Bible was removed from our schools.

    No no no our subject matter is about learning the bible as a piece of hhistorical literature. Um.. right.

    We need to refer to the original documents that inspired Americanism and our religious heritage. Historians say that religion has been the major motivating force in all of human history. When some people are trying to completely remove the Bible from schools, students’ rights are being violated.

    Project much?

    Textbook publishers are censoring history when they give us misrepresented versions, empty of religion.

    I’d love to see these history classes that completely ignore religions place in history. Not shockingly, this is an outright lie.

    Chief Justice Warren Berger said that the Constitution does not require complete separation of church and state. It mandates accommodation, not merely tolerance of all religions and forbids hostility toward any. While there are principals, teachers, and school boards who serve their communities in truth and fairness, many due to misunderstanding and misinterpretation have assisted in the denial of the Constitutional rights of students and teachers.

    Christian Persecution!!! OH NOES!!!11

    Love that reversal of truth via projection.

    We must know and reclaim our rights, and we must do this responsibly. As Woodrow Wilson said, “A nation which does not remember what it was yesterday, does not know what it is today, nor what it is trying to do. We are trying to do a futile thing if we do not know where we came from or what we have been about.”

    Yawn. More trumped up fear mongering.

    In 1963, the Supreme Court made a ruling, not against the study of the bible, but against the devotional, religious use of the Bible. Supreme Court Justice Clark stated,

    It might be well said that one’s education is not complete without a study of comparative religion or the history of religion and its relationship to the advancement of civilization. It certainly may be said that the Bible is worthy of study for its literacy and historic qualities. Nothing we have said here indicates that such study of the Bible or of religion, when presented objectively as part of a secular program of education, may not be effected consistently with the First Amendment.

    School District of Abington Township v. Schempp, 374 U.S. 203,225 (1963)

    Which would be fine if that was how it was used, as a means to explain one religion in a big fish tank full of different religions. But that is never the case.

  35. #36 Sili
    May 27, 2008

    I think you should start taking a page out of their book:

    “This is a secular nation. If you don’t like it, you can go live in England/Denmark/Poland/Iran/Jonestown/&c.”

  36. #37 Andrew
    May 27, 2008

    I found it amazing that in Queensland, Australia ‘Religious Education’ is taught in public primary schools. I had assumed it was some sort of cultural education class, but when the kids brought their text books home it was nothing but Christian dogma… of the most ridiculous kind. For example one exercise had the kids draw a billboard to inform everyone to get ready for Jesus’ return. And the kids got high marks just for filling in the blanks…with anything. One son had drawn stick figures on his billboard with speech bubbles: ‘Jesus is coming, look busy!’,’HELP,Jesus is coming!’, and ‘Arrrrrrrrrg!’ and got 90% for his effort :).

    You can opt out of these classes, and the kids get to sit at the back of the class doing nothing.

    This goes on and there is no public debate about it, NONE. No one questions it’s presence at a public school….

  37. #38 Kseniya
    May 27, 2008

    Turdus:

    What these loons are really after is FORCING OTHER PEOPLE’S KIDS TO READ THE BIBLE. That is what they are really after.

    Yep.

    (And a few generations from now, kids will be taught that Thomas Jefferson was a Congregationalist minister who entered public life to ensure that The Holy Bible was enshrined as an integral part of the foundation of the government of the United States.)

  38. #39 Ryan F Stello
    May 27, 2008

    From the article,

    …other school systems have given up on similar Bible programs when…continual expenses to defend their constitutionality become more of a burden than they can bear.”

    “It’s a backhanded way for the ACLU to deny some folks their constitutional rights” to have such classes, he contended.

    Which rights are those?

    No wonder these people won’t stop in their crusade to bring religion into the public sphere; they have an invisible, immaterial set of guidelines to match their invisible, immaterial father figure.

  39. #40 Chayanov
    May 27, 2008

    “It’s a backhanded way for the ACLU to deny some folks their constitutional rights” to have such classes, [school board Chairman James Stephens] contended.

    I must have missed the amendment to the Constitution that gave people the right to bring God back into the public schools through teaching the Bible.

  40. #41 foxfire
    May 27, 2008

    @ Kseniya #31:

    It began when “under God” was forcibly inserted into The Pledge of Allegiance

    AND when “In God We Trust” was added to U.S. currency.

    Aside: see here for a suggestion on how to “de-God” your money ;-)

  41. #42 foxfire
    May 27, 2008

    @ Kseniya #31:

    It began when “under God” was forcibly inserted into The Pledge of Allegiance

    AND when “In God We Trust” was added to U.S. currency.

    Aside: see here for a suggestion on how to “de-God” your money ;-)

  42. #43 mothra
    May 27, 2008

    And all this time I thought Thomas Jefferson’s claim to fame was having a species of Mammoth named in his honor. :)

  43. #44 Jason Dick
    May 27, 2008

    In principle this wouldn’t be a bad thing. As some have said, after all, there’s nothing like a thorough read through of the Bible to accelerate deconversion. If they were forced to ensure a detached study of the content of the Bible, instead of preaching of its contents, such a class might actually help deconvert some people! Somehow, though, I worry that far too many teachers would be not quite so dispassionate.

  44. #45 foxfire
    May 27, 2008

    Sorry for the double post – the link is:

    http://www.lava.net/~hcssc/godlessmoney.html

  45. #46 arachnophilia
    May 27, 2008

    in general, i’m all for getting people to read the bible, and bible classes, at least at the college level. it’s an interesting book, and is a big influence in western society and history. and, as an added bonus, education in the subject generally deters fundamentalism, and in many cases, promotes atheism.

    but i have a feeling these guys aren’t gonna be academically teaching the bible. i have a feeling it’ll be “bible study” and not studying the bible. and “bible study” is about the most useless thing ever.

    in any case, i’m not terribly sure where the constitutionality lies here. schools can (and do) support religious groups for students on campus. but teaching a class (even an elective one) is a little different in that agents of the state (teachers) will be the driving force. that said, reading the bible in school is not inherently religious — i read parts in my high school english class one year — as long as it’s treated in a literary way, and shown alongside other similar texts. so “equal opportunity” if not equal time, might end up being the standard. hard to say, but if i were a lawyer i would certainly have a much easier time arguing for unconstitutionality of it.

  46. #47 Jim Battle
    May 27, 2008

    When contemplating the idea of a high school course on Bible as literature, my reasoning about it goes like this:

    (1) Sure, that *could* be OK, in the same way that studying any work of fiction can still be enlightening.

    (2) The question then is: does it hold up as a work of literature? I think it fails for the most part. There are individual stories that have meaning, but the whole is not very well put together.

    (3) OK, if it isn’t literature, then why study it? Perhaps view it as a historical document. There, too, the signal/noise ratio is too low. The Iliad has a greater proportion of historical fact than the Bible, but few people read it is a historical document; they read it for the literary angle.

    (4) So if it isn’t good literature, and it isn’t good history, perhaps it can be viewed as a sociological document. Study what is it about this document that has so many people spellbound.

    Although #4 seems like the best justification, I doubt any HS curriculum will take that angle.

  47. #48 Moses
    May 27, 2008

    I’d like to teach all their kids Mormonism. :) That’d shut the project down right quick.

  48. #49 Mike
    May 27, 2008

    Well, yes, if it’s one step closer to getting public schooling abolished…

  49. #50 Blaidd Drwg
    May 27, 2008

    @me (#11)

    It certainly seems as though the ‘christians’ are terrified that their religion is so feeble that they cannot allow ANY countering information, lest it ‘confuse’ the poor little kiddies.
    Sound familar? Wasn’t that the same argument used by the Expelled folks for not including the views of the Christian scientists (not the sect, the scientists who happen to be Christian) in their ‘documentary’?

  50. #51 Marshall
    May 27, 2008

    Honestly, I think it would be a good idea, as long as it’s not taught in standard Sunday School style–the style that skips all of the contradictions, inconsistencies, and situations that put God and Jesus in a very negative light by modern moral standards–and keep the reading objective, God’s genocides and other atrocities abound. Maybe people will start to see that the Bible isn’t in fact perfect, and it’s got more loop- and plotholes than Swiss cheese.

    I voted yes.

  51. #52 BaldApe
    May 27, 2008

    OK, here are my suggestions for units in such a course:

    What is the evidence that Jews were ever enslaved in Egypt?

    Who was in Jericho when the Israelites entered Canaan?

    How much of basic physics, astronomy, chemistry and biology would have to be rewritten if the Genesis account were true?

    In fact, what evidence is there that any fact claim in the Bible is true?

  52. #53 Lyle G
    May 27, 2008

    I took a bible class in high school. It wasn’t fiercely evangelical, but it wasn’t really neutral either. The Bible is culturally important, and teaching about religion is not unconstitutional, but I suspect that the Bible classes the christian right wants are not intended to be neutral.

  53. #54 Fedaykin
    May 27, 2008

    My AP English class in high school had a segment that dealt with the Bible from a literary standpoint (thought he teacher was *very* into it). We read the book of Job and discussed it from a literary point of view. To this day I am not sure if the teacher was trying to sneak bible study into the class, or was really impressed with the literary quality of the Bible.

    In any case, choosing the book of Job was probably not a good idea if he was trying to convert us, for obvious reasons to anyone who has read that part of the Bible.

  54. #55 Blake Stacey
    May 27, 2008

    I like the idea of a “study bible” which disentangles the different sources which were slopped together to form canonical books. You’d start by separating the Pentateuch into J, E and P documents, for example, and in the New Testament unit, you’d have a chapter on the Pauline epistles, a chapter on the material derived from Q, a chapter on the material the synoptic gospels lard on top of Q, followed by a lesson on the Johannine books, and so forth. “Apocryphal” books would be treated on equal footing, of course, since somebody saw them as sacred, and the public schools shouldn’t judge whether they were right or not.

    Even proclaiming that you are going to teach “the Bible” is a violation of Church-State separation, since it asserts the primacy of a particular book going under that name. (And let’s be honest here: it’s gonna be the King James Version.) You think I’m joking? Well, maybe. But should the State lend its authority to legitimize the KJV and the Protestant book tally at the expense of, for example, Marcion’s expurgated canon, which consisted of a purified Luke and a few epistles; or the Diatessaron of Tatian, in which the inconsistencies among the gospels were ironed out to make a text about three-quarters the total length of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. People used this as their gospel truth for almost three hundred years!

  55. If anyone is interested, I drew up a letter and sent it into the School Board.

    It isn’t that I am opposed to the use of public school class time to prostelitize for a particular religion, I just want to make sure that my particular religion has been included in the puddle…

  56. #57 dave
    May 27, 2008

    There’s no better way to turn someone into an atheist than to have them study the bible really closely. Maybe not such a bad idea

  57. #58 DaveL
    May 27, 2008

    I am continually amazed at how some Christians can believe there’s this omnipotent, omnipresent being who somehow can’t be present in schools without special government sanction.

  58. #59 lovable liberal
    May 27, 2008

    The fundies want to get the camel’s nose under the side of the tent, but a substantive course about the Bible would move the camel in the other direction. Worked that way for my father.

  59. #60 Troff
    May 27, 2008

    That old joke that keeps going ’round: “you keep your bible out of our classrooms and we’ll keep our science out of your Sunday schools”…

    … I’ve only just gotten up (in the “Down Under”, I believe you American cousins call it) and the caffeine hasn’t had a chance to hit my bloodstream. So please be kind when you tear to shreds my suggestion/question.

    But my question is: is it really worth sticking to that aphorism? If they keep pulling crap like this, then why NOT go to churches? Why not wait for the local priest-or-whatever to say something provably false and then stand up and call him/her/it on it?

    I don’t expect the caffeine to hit maximum concentration in my bloodstream for another 30 minutes…

  60. #61 Kseniya
    May 27, 2008

    Why not wait for the local priest-or-whatever to say something provably false and then stand up and call him/her/it on it?

    WHAT?!!

    And risk being stuck by lightning?

    Better have another cuppa, Troff.

  61. #62 MikeM
    May 27, 2008

    I suppose it’s okay to bring up the Bible in a literature class, just so you have some background related to early American culture. Sure, I can see that. Maybe you spend a week or two on it.

    Then you move on to books that are written better, such as, well, pretty much all of them.

    And you wouldn’t spend a semester on, say, a single Mark Twain book. If someone gets far enough ahead in their college education, then sure, you might have a class on the works of Mark Twain, but it’d be an elective. But there ain’t a semester’s worth of good writing in the Bible.

    I voted no on the poll. Surprised?

  62. #63 echidna
    May 27, 2008

    Andrew@37,
    Bizarre though having a religious education class in primary school is, after having lived in both Aus and the US, I prefer the Aus version.

    Why? Because having everyone do the classes means that they are really watered down, and relatively inoffensive. But more importantly, their presence inoculates any fundie element that wants to tear down science.

    Why would you tear down science to get religion taught in schools when it is already there? It gave the ID people no traction with Brendan Nelson a couple of years ago, when they tried to get ID in science classes. The overwhelming response was to say if your going to teach ID, teach it in RE.

    In any event, despite, or maybe because of, RE, Aussies are not a particularly religious crowd.

  63. #64 guthrie
    May 27, 2008

    Score:
    182 vs 1796.
    Win to the No vote.

  64. #65 MikeM
    May 27, 2008

    #62: And by “college education”, I meant “high school education.”

    Oops.

    I should always preview.

  65. #66 Livingstrong
    May 27, 2008

    Should the Quran, the Tarot, the Jehovah’s Watchtower magazine, The God Delusion, be taught in schools?

    I certainly wish all schools could focus on science…only…please?

  66. #67 raven
    May 27, 2008

    Why not wait for the local priest-or-whatever to say something provably false and then stand up and call him/her/it on it?

    Lies and violence from the Death Cults are never too far below the surface. Why do you think they are called Death Cults? On a good day your car would likely end up torched. On a bad day, you would be in it while it burns.

  67. #68 Lord Zero
    May 27, 2008

    Reading about the bible it useless, unless
    you have a particular interest in ancient mitology…
    Anyway, the real purpose of those frigging religous
    its crystal clear, they have to be stopped right now,
    before they achieve their unholy goals. Poor kids,
    toying with their lives like that its abuse…

  68. #69 BoxerShorts
    May 27, 2008

    Should the Quran, the Tarot, the Jehovah’s Watchtower magazine, The God Delusion, be taught in schools?

    Yes, yes, yes, and yes. I’m a big fan of Daniel Dennett’s idea of teaching non-sectarian comparative religion classes in public schools.

    I certainly wish all schools could focus on science…only…please?

    So no art, literature, or language?

  69. #70 Lord Zero
    May 27, 2008

    I forgot, reason its winning over misticism, 326 a 1947…

  70. #71 Carlie
    May 27, 2008

    *Sigh*. Sometimes I think I read this blog just because it gives me reasons to swear a lot.

  71. #72 Mane
    May 27, 2008

    Speaking of religious nonsense, you’ve been challenged by Conservapedia:

    “Conservapedia message to evolutionist and atheist PZ Myers: Conservapedia has noticed that you have yet to point out a single error in the Conservapedia theory of evolution or atheism articles, let alone multiple errors. Also, in respect to your rather empty statement that you might address Conservapedia’s homosexuality article, we are not holding our breath. There is entirely too many citations in the Conservapedia homosexuality article from mainstream medical sources for you to contend with and let us not pretend otherwise.”

    I eagerly look forward to your response. :D

  72. #73 SEF
    May 27, 2008

    to get God back in your public school

    They don’t have evidence he ever attended and their god would certainly be a rather feeble, and not at all omnipresent, god to have allowed himself to be expelled. All he’d have to do if he really wanted to be in a public school is bother to exist and to turn up. Though, even then, it would make a lot more sense if he addressed the comparative religion issue rather than merely reading from a single story-book.

  73. #74 MikeM
    May 27, 2008

    Speaking of abusing children, CNN broke this story today:

    Humanitarian aid workers and United Nation peacekeepers are sexually abusing small children in several war-ravaged and food-poor countries, a leading European charity has said.

    Children as young as 6 have been forced to have sex with aid workers and peacekeepers in return for food and money, Save the Children UK said in a report released Tuesday.

    http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/europe/05/27/charity.aidworkers/index.html

    This is just hideous, if it’s true.

  74. #75 andrew
    May 27, 2008

    I hate religion

  75. #76 Ryan F Stello
    May 27, 2008

    From Mane’s copy-n-paste job (#72),

    Conservapedia has noticed that you have yet to point out a single error in the Conservapedia theory of evolution or atheism articles

    Speaking of inanimate objects/entities as if they are sentient must surely be a sign of dementia, no?

  76. #77 KiwiInOz
    May 27, 2008

    185 for, 2110 against. The No’s have it.

  77. #78 Troff
    May 27, 2008

    The caffeine has begun crossing the blood-brain barrier.

    Kseniya:
    > WHAT?!!
    > And risk being stuck by lightning?
    > Better have another cuppa, Troff.

    The lightning has to go through their roof before it hits. Tit-for-tat, I’m just saying.

    And don’t you worry. I’ve graduated to the chocolate-coated coffee beans.

  78. #79 Livingstrong
    May 27, 2008

    Post #74: I did hear about this horrible news. Isn’t religion hideous? Getting money from the gullible just to abuse children. Sad and pathetic.

  79. #80 PatrickHenry
    May 27, 2008

    How can you not teach it, when it leads to results like this: Florida churches urged to pray for rain June 1.

  80. #81 Kseniya
    May 27, 2008

    I don’t see what #74 has specifically to do with religion… “Save the Children said the perpetrators of sexual abuse of children could be found in every type of humanitarian organization at all levels.” Abuse knows no boundaries. It’s a people-problem. Some people abuse their positions of authority. That’s the problem.

  81. #82 Jennifer Ouellette
    May 27, 2008

    That blatant plug for “getting the Bible back in schools” is unfortunate, because I’m not actually opposed to teaching the Bible in the classroom — provided it’s taught as literature and not some thinly veiled attempt at spreading The Word (which the current case clearly is). Frankly, my Christian upbringing and all those nights of Bible study really paid off when I majored in English in college, because so much of Western literature (and art, and music) references Biblical passages. There’s some great stories in there, and some lovely lyrical passages (Song of Songs, eg).

  82. #83 True Bob
    May 27, 2008

    So to get our local feel, read this letter from Central Virginia, not atypical.

    “I am a teenage homeschooler…”

    http://www.fredericksburg.com/News/FLS/2008/052008/05272008/380702

    Nice how the paper let the anti-ACLU perspective have the last words.

  83. #84 Aegis
    May 27, 2008

    “It’s a backhanded way for the ACLU to deny some folks their constitutional rights” to have such classes, he contended.

    He contended incorrectly. It’s a forthright defense by the ACLU and others to defend what the constitution says.
    As for “the bible being taught as literature”, that will never happen. To treat it as literature is to (rightly) surmise that it is a storybook, at best a work based on actual events and (more likely) a fabrication that has become fact in the minds of the deluded.

  84. #85 Ichthyic
    May 27, 2008

    I can’t wait to hear what K-Toad’s OPINION is on this.

    really?

  85. #86 CrypticLife
    May 27, 2008

    The proposed Bible course law apparently specifically notes that there will be no religious test, including faith or lack of faith, to teach the course.

    It would be rather amusing to be an atheist certified to teach Bible courses. Could you imagine the reaction of the parents?

  86. #87 David Marjanovi?, OM
    May 27, 2008

    No, no, no. It began when “under God” was forcibly inserted into The Pledge of Allegiance.

    Not when the Pledge, that flagmaker’s slogan, was introduced in the first place?

    I always get that picture of the little girls in Yemen saluting the flag and cheerfully shouting “al-Thawra!” (The Revolution, that is.)

    or the Diatessaron of Tatian, in which the inconsistencies among the gospels were ironed out to make a text about three-quarters the total length of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. People used this as their gospel truth for almost three hundred years!

    Oh, gospel harmonies were common before the idea took hold that each gospel was inspired holy scripture and each word therein untouchable — and that took a while.

  87. #88 Suspect Device
    May 27, 2008

    The nation’s decline began when Madalyn Murray O’Hair and others like her took prayer and the Bible out of public school.
    Such research ineptitude – you rely way too much on apologetics of Christian nationalism. BJ=ust keep on accepting the red herring of Madalyn Murray Ohare. It keeps you uniform and ignorant – just the way your Christian Masters want you. Don’t do any research at all. Hell, don’t even take the time for a .0233 second google. (Ignore Engel v. Vitale)

  88. #89 Jorge666
    May 27, 2008

    Kseniya #31: Foxfire #41

    It began when “under God” was forcibly inserted into The Pledge of Allegiance
    AND when “In God We Trust” was added to U.S. currency.
    Aside: see here for a suggestion on how to “de-God” your money ;-)< \I>

    It really began when President Eisenhower gave North Korea and North Vietnam to those Godless Communists instead of A-Bombing them back into the stone age. Which coincidently enough was about the same time that God was added to everything. Go Figure…. Anyway on with the rant, It accelerated when President Nixon surrendered Vietnam to those same Godless Commies! And now look at the mess we’re in… I’m OK now thanks, these spells only last a couple of minutes. Can I get away with “the Devil made me do it?”

  89. #90 Latina Amor
    May 27, 2008

    Here’s a few reasons why the bible should not be taught:

    “This book, the Bible, has persecuted, even unto death the wisest and the best. This book stayed and stopped the onward movement of the human race. This book poisoned the fountains of learning and misdirected the energies of man.

    “This book is the enemy of freedom, the support of slavery. This book sowed the seeds of hatred in families and nations, fed the flames of war, and impoverished the world. This book is the breastwork of kings and tyrants – the enslaver of women and children. This book has corrupted parliaments and courts. This book has made colleges and universities the teachers of error and the haters of science. This book has filled Christendom with hateful, cruel, ignorant and warring sects. This book taught men to kill their fellows for religion’s sake. This book founded the Inquisition, invented the instruments of torture, built the dungeons in which the good and loving languished, forged the chains that rusted in their flesh, erected the scaffolds whereon they died. This book piled faggots about the feet of the just. This book drove reason from the minds of millions and filled the asylums with the insane.

    “This book has caused fathers and mothers to shed the blood of their babes. This book was the auction block on which the slave-mother stood when she was sold from her child. This book filled the sails of the slave-trader and made merchandise of human flesh. This book lighted the fires that burned “witches” and “wizards.” This book filled the darkness with ghouls and ghosts and the bodies of men and women with devils. This book polluted the souls of men with the infamous dogma of eternal pain. This book made credulity the greatest of virtues, and investigation the greatest of crimes. This book filled nations with hermits, monks, and nuns – with the pious and the useless. This book placed the ignorant and unclean saint above the philosopher and philanthropist. This book taught man to despise the joys of his life that he might be happier in another – to waste this world for the sake of the next.

    “I attack [the Bible] because it is the enemy of human liberty – the greatest obstruction across the highway of human progress. Let me ask you one question: How can you be wicked enough to defend this book?”

    — Robert Ingersoll”

    Kinda says it all, doesn’t it?

  90. #91 Wry Mouth
    May 27, 2008

    A poll asking, “do you think a class focusing on the Bible should be taught in public school?” on Pharyngula?

    Isn’t that a bit like the local authorities asking whether or not you voted for Saddam Hussein, back in the old days in Iraq?

    Or whether you think you could shoot those fish in that there barrell?

  91. #92 Wry Mouth
    May 27, 2008

    Ooops; almost forgot to register my vote — No; for severals of reasons. But if kids want to have some sort of Bible study or prayer group (a la MAGIC:The Gathering Club, or Goth Club), self-organized, that’s another matter. Yes.

  92. #93 Wry Mouth
    May 27, 2008

    Latina Amor: re: Robert Ingersoll quote.

    It says it all, but what does it say? I should think that here at this site (at least), hyperbolic, hysteric and historically inaccurate broadsides would be disavowed, ESPECIALLY from the atheistic side of the argument. I expect more from my (assumedly) rationally-based opponents. A knee-jerk diatribe is just that.

    But — I’m off to look up some more of this Ingersoll fellow, to see if he has anything more thoughtful to bring to the table. So there is that.

  93. #94 J-Dog
    May 27, 2008

    93% say no at this time… The Good People of Roanoke have spoken. And BTW, all Roanoke citizens will be thrown out of The South, and will be moving to MA immediately.

  94. #95 wrpd
    May 27, 2008

    Way back when I was a child I went to Catholic elementary schools for six years and I went to public school for two years. My exposure to the bible was minimal from the catholics and non-existent from the public school. I read voraciously and whenever I came across a reference I didn’t understand my mother would always say, “Look it up.” That sometimes meant a bus trip to the downtown Chicago library, but that’s what I did. This was way before the internets–we were still doing cuneiform writing. Kids who really care about literature will do the research or ask the questions, but most will just skip over it and go directly to the naughty parts.
    I really think that, with the quality of public school education today, trying to get kids to see how the bible influenced our laws (it didn’t) when they can’t find the United States on a globe is totally pointless.

  95. #96 Latina Amor
    May 27, 2008

    Wry Mouth, #93,
    Ahh, yeah…your inability to decode Ingersoll speaks volumns about the intellectual acumen of some Americans AND their failed institutions of learning. Your reply clearly demonstrated yet another reason why we should leave the bible unread.

    Please read as much Ingersoll as you can and report back here if you find something difficult to comprehend. We’ll do all we can to help you find your way.

  96. #97 Emmet Caulfield
    May 27, 2008

    A poll asking, “do you think a class focusing on the Bible should be taught in public school?” on Pharyngula?

    Isn’t that a bit like the local authorities asking whether or not you voted for Saddam Hussein, back in the old days in Iraq?

    More like asking a group of cardiologists and oncologists if they think it’s a good idea to give free cigarettes to schoolchildren.

  97. #98 drdrA
    May 27, 2008

    This has already been going on for a while in Texas (big surprise…)

    http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/01/education/01bible.html

  98. #99 Malcolm
    May 27, 2008

    Andrew #37
    We had RE in New Zealand too. When I was in the final year of primary school, once every fortnight or so a dude from the Sallies would come and babble on for a while. I got kicked out for questioning the morality of the whole Jesus thing. After that I had to go with the Hindu and Buddhist kids and draw pictures.
    I don’t think that the class had the effect they were after. I doubt anyone was converted, and the little Christians started to ask inconvenient questions so they could get out of there.

  99. #100 leboyfriend
    May 27, 2008

    One of the difficulties in assessing the efficacy of any poll is the way in which the question is framed. Should the Bible be taught in public schools? As what? As literature? As a fascinating document whose influence on Western culture has been unequaled by almost any other book? As a way of bringing people closer to God? I’m fine with the first two. It’s just the god thing I have a problem with. Thus a vote of ‘yes’ may be misconstrued.

  100. #101 notthedroids
    May 27, 2008

    Well, we seem to be winning the online polls.

    We’ll see if we can keep Roe v Wade.

  101. #102 Rob
    May 27, 2008

    @Fedaykin:

    Did you have my English teacher? He did the same (may not have been AP though), but it was pretty neutral. I had no problems with it being done in the manner he presented it.

  102. #103 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    May 27, 2008

    I can’t wait to hear what K-Toad’s OPINION is on this.

    really?

    sorry, for got to add

    /sarcasm

  103. #104 Jim
    May 27, 2008

    191 6% for to 3013 94% against. Some of us PZombies should vote yes to prevent suspicion of obviousness?

  104. #105 Moses
    May 27, 2008
    Textbook publishers are censoring history when they give us misrepresented versions, empty of religion.

    I’d love to see these history classes that completely ignore religions place in history. Not shockingly, this is an outright lie.

    Posted by: Rev. BigDumbChimp | May 27, 2008 5:07 PM

    Actually, I’d say it’s the truth. I think they should teach the atrocities by Christians for Christians. Let’s start with the “Colombian Exchange” and the genocide of the Arawak Indians in the Caribbean. How they were, officially, classified as “not human” or “sub human” and could, therefore, be enslaved, raped and killed at will. Or so said the Catholic Church.

    I think they’re right. I think history does not properly present religion. We read about Notre Dame, Bach, Mozart, the Sistine Chapel and other minor (relative to the misery they’ve caused) accomplishments. But seldom do we hear of the great travesties, conducted and/or supported by Christianity/Christians, that make the Godless Commies look like pikers.

  105. #106 Moses
    May 27, 2008

    #81

    I don’t see what #74 has specifically to do with religion… “Save the Children said the perpetrators of sexual abuse of children could be found in every type of humanitarian organization at all levels.” Abuse knows no boundaries. It’s a people-problem. Some people abuse their positions of authority. That’s the problem.

    Posted by: Kseniya | May 27, 2008 7:42 PM

    Only its hypocrisy. They’re the ones saying they’re morally superior and, therefore, should run our lives as they see fit.

    Yet in sexual abuse (including incest) we find that the greater toward fundamentalism the family worships, the greater the likelihood of a child being raped, sexually abused or incest-ed by their father/step-father. To the point that it is just slightly greater than twice as likely.

    The people least likely to conduct these heinous sexually deviant crimes are non-relgious/atheist. So while you say it’s a “human” issue. We find the worst of the humans being the most religious.

    Yet they parade themselves as “the best.”

  106. #107 Krystalline Apostate
    May 28, 2008

    Hey, I’m all for it.
    On the proviso that they choose a suitable companion volume to go along w/it, say like…Paine’s Age of Reason. Or just about anything from Ingersoll.
    Next time some nimbulb tells me about the resurrection, I’ll be sure to say, “Were you there?”

  107. #108 Autumn
    May 28, 2008

    As many others have pointed out, in an advanced class dealing with western literature, knowledge of a couple of dozen Biblical stories is absoloutly essential, as is knowledge of Greek/Roman mythology, the Illiad, Odessey, Aeneid, and Metamorphoses.
    What’s great is that to actually be conversant in the literary significance of these works, one has to be taught about the inherent symbolism in them.
    None of the “classics” makes a lick of sense unless the work is abstracted to the symbolic.

  108. #109 Wowbagger
    May 28, 2008

    #37

    I found it amazing that in Queensland, Australia ‘Religious Education’ is taught in public primary schools.

    I went to a public primary school in Queensland and had RE. At the time I belonged to the Uniting Church, which has a very mild approach as far as I can remember. Unfortunately, most of my other friends were Anglican so it was kind of annoying to be stuck with the other church kids, most of whom were kind of dull. And in the final years of primary school it was really frustrating, ’cause all the hot girls seemed to be in other denominations as well…

    But it didn’t help them indoctrinate me – at that age I was a terribly disruptive child and the older, rather quiet minister couldn’t deal with my energetic trouble-making. I distinctly remember being unable to accept that God was ‘inside us’, as he was insisting. ‘Did we eat him for breakfast?’ I inquired – to a roar of approval from the group.

    I’m still wondering just why it is the Xians seem to need to know the kids are having faith pushed down their throats at school. They’ve already got all the hours they don’t spend there to lie to them as much as they see fit.

    And they have the gall, when trying to push ID, to ask pro-evolutionists what they’re afraid of?

    No doubt they’d be ‘teaching’ the worst form of simplified apologetics, i.e. explaining what was ‘ really meant’ when they wrote about Job and Sodom and the other unpleasant stuff that’s in there.

    Part of it relates to the rather strange (to my mind) belief that many of these people have that simply reading the bible will make you love God, and that if they can trick your kids into browsing through choice passages then they’ll embrace the faith. It’s quite baffling, really.

    It kind of goes to show that they either haven’t read the bible they claim to love so much, or have glossed over the many, many sections that have led many a believer to atheism.

  109. #110 Kseniya
    May 28, 2008

    Wrymouth (#91) surely you are aware that the poll is not on Pharyngula, that it’s actually on the Roanoke Times website? How, then, is that like shooting fish in a barrel?

  110. #111 Kseniya
    May 28, 2008

    Moses, yes, I understand how a virtually unlimited and diverse body of fact undermines faith-based claims of moral superiority – we see evidence of that every day. Yes, I’m aware that conservative religiousity coupled with rigidly-defined traditional gender roles is the second-best predictor (behind drug and alcohol abuse) of incest. Do you happen to know if there is comparable evidence to suggest that similar correlations exist between conservative religiousity and perpetration of sexual abuse outside the family?

  111. #112 Monado
    May 28, 2008

    Maybe the school would like some study materials, perhaps from Religious.Tolerance.org? “Which came first, Noah or Ur-Napishtim?”

  112. #113 Ichthyic
    May 28, 2008

    Yet in sexual abuse (including incest) we find that the greater toward fundamentalism the family worships, the greater the likelihood of a child being raped, sexually abused or incest-ed by their father/step-father. To the point that it is just slightly greater than twice as likely.

    Have you run across a good cite for that?

    I’d like to add it to my collection, if you have.

  113. #114 Ichthyic
    May 28, 2008

    Yes, I’m aware that conservative religiousity coupled with rigidly-defined traditional gender roles is the second-best predictor (behind drug and alcohol abuse) of incest.

    …same question to Kseniya.

  114. #115 Ichthyic
    May 28, 2008

    I got kicked out for questioning the morality of the whole Jesus thing. After that I had to go with the Hindu and Buddhist kids and draw pictures.
    I don’t think that the class had the effect they were after.

    ah, so THAT’S why xians make such claims for their religion being the basis for good art.

    ;)

  115. #116 Kseniya
    May 28, 2008

    This is what I have in my notes:

    The source is “Sexual Abuse in Christian Homes and Churches”, by Carolyn Holderread Heggen [Herald Press, Scotdale, PA, 1993] which in turn cites the following:

  116. Brown and Bohn, 1989
  117. Finkelhor, 1986
  118. Fortune, 1983
  119. Goldstein et al, 1973
  120. Van Leeuwen, 1990

    I don’t have the source handy – this came to my attention in the form of an excerpt I ran across on the web a couple of years ago.

  • #117 Kseniya
    May 28, 2008
  • ah, so THAT’S why xians make such claims for
  • their religion being the basis for good art.

    k:-D

  • #118 Leigh
    May 28, 2008

    In 2005, Texas Freedom Network commissioned Dr. Mark Chancey, a professor in religious studies at SMU, to evaluate the Bible course this school district is planning to offer.

    He found that the NCBCPS curriculum is both biased and sectarian . . . and unlikely to survive a Constitutional challenge.

    Really, the thing is just horrifying in more ways than I can enumerate here. TFN used to have Chancey’s report up on the website, but I can’t find it now. If you’re interested in reading it, go to Chancey’s page at http://faculty.smu.edu/mchancey/public_schools.htm and look down his publication list for The Bible in Public Schools.

  • #119 Kseniya
    May 28, 2008

    Heck, may as well quote the relevant passage:

    A disturbing fact continues to surface in sex abuse research. The first best predictor of abuse is alcohol or drug addiction in the father. But the second best predictor is conservative religiosity, accompanied by parental belief in traditional male-female roles. This means that if you want to know which children are most likely to be sexually abused by their father, the second most significant clue is whether or not the parents belong to a conservative religious group with traditional role beliefs and rigid sexual attitudes. [emphasis in original]

  • #120 Wowbagger
    May 28, 2008

    It’s the flexible morality, isn’t it? When it’s okay for god to flood and smite and send bears to rip children apart and turn people into pillars of salt (why salt? I’ve often wondered about that) – as well as forgive people who doing similarly horrible things – once you’ve convinced yourself that you’ve got a line of communication to him then you can justify doing absolutely anything you want.

    If it’s what you can claim god wants (ethnic cleansing, killing abortion providers) then no problems whatsover; if it’s not what he appears to want (sex with hookers, man-love, incest – though that’s a bit debatable according to the bible) then all you have to do is appear penitent and he’ll forgive you.

    The ultimate get-out-of-jail-free card. And they say atheists can’t have a concept of morality without God.

  • #121 RamblinDude
    May 28, 2008

    if it’s not what he appears to want (sex with hookers, man-love, incest – though that’s a bit debatable according to the bible) then all you have to do is appear penitent and he’ll forgive you.

    And perhaps even more important, your fellow Christians will forgive you.

    I’ve seen men act like complete assholes and then get out of it by putting on an act of contrition: “Oh, Honey, I’m so sorry. I really want to change. Pray for me; here, let’s pray together…”

    Amazing how often that works.

  • #122 bastion
    May 28, 2008

    If the intent of the school is really to teach the Bible as literature, they should be careful what they wish for.

    My high school son’s Gifted and Talented World Literature class included a unit on the Bible. (The class also covered other mythologies.)

    I was fine with that, because my son had resisted all of my previous attempts to get him to read at least some of the more well-known Bible stories, which play such a large part in Western culture. I believe such knowledge is required for a broad, liberal education (not as a basis for some kind of spiritual belief.)

    So, this was really his first real introduction to the Bible stories.

    I was astounded at his reaction. He’d come home shaking his head and laughing, “It’s all bullshit!” And he’d tell me about something which he’d found to be particularly irrational or ignorant in whatever part of the Good Book they’d discussed in class that day.

    “How can people believe this stuff?!” he’d ask incredulously.

    And he then declared himself to be an Atheist, saying, “None of it is true.”

  • #123 Ichthyic
    May 28, 2008

    The source is “Sexual Abuse in Christian Homes and Churches”, by Carolyn Holderread Heggen [Herald Press, Scotdale, PA, 1993] which in turn cites the following:

    thanks, that’s a start.

    basically, I’m formulating an idea that the sexual abuse is a form of displacement behavior, and might result from the pressures of extreme compartmentalization many of these people seem to exhibit.

    It’s hard to do as merely anecdotal evidence, though, which is what I’ve seen regarding the issue up to now.

    for example, more recent research (like Maestripieri D., Schino G., Aureli F., Troisi A. 1992. A modest proposal – displacement activities as an indicator of emotions in primates. Animal Behaviour 44: (5) 967-979) suggested that displacement behavior might be a good measure of anxiety levels.

    Since then there has been an increasing body of literature evaluating the effectiveness of displacement behavior measures (also called self directed behavior, or SDB) as indicators of anxiety, and not just in animals.

    example:

    Troisi A., Belsanti S., Bucci A. R., Mosco C., Sinti F., Verucci M. 2000 Affect regulation in alexithymia – An ethological study of displacement behavior during psychiatric interviews. Journal Of Nervous And Mental Disease 188: (1) 13-18

    with the interest I’ve been gaining in these issues, I’m thinking I might go ahead and look into getting a third degree, this time in psychology.

    OTOH, considering the headaches involved, I might just continue to keep it a hobby.

    ;)

  • #124 Ichthyic
    May 28, 2008

    Amazing how often that works.

    indeed.

    isn’t GW a “born again xian”?

  • #125 Aquaria
    May 28, 2008

    I’m almost tempted to vote yes on this silly poll.

    Going to a Missouri Synod Lutheran school and having in-depth religious instruction, with a clear purpose of indoctrination, was what made me an atheist! Like the kid in the AP World Lit class up above, I actually had to read the bible–but, better yet, the MSLs insured I got exposure to the church’s ideas of how to interpret it. I might have accepted the darn thing if they’d just told me to read it and accept it (I was 11, after all), but it was the church’s interpretation that made me come away with the same epiphany as the AP kid: Bullshit. Christianity, the bible–it’s all bullshit!

    Better yet, the Missouri Synod Lutherans unwittingly did me a favor in introducing me to other faiths: Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism (before my mother moved us from an East Texas village to a bigger town, I’d thought the only religions were Baptists and Presbyterians!). Okay, so the only reason the MSLs mentioned those others was to excoriate them all, especially Catholicism. I don’t know what the official MSL position is, but its followers that I knew (teachers and the like) didn’t hate anybody more than they hated the Catholics. The point is that I learned other ways of thinking existed, so I later looked into those faiths for myself. After all, those MSLs had lied to me about Christianity; who says they were honest about other faiths? I didn’t come to believe in those, either, but definitely not for the same reasons as the MSLs. The others were also bullshit, although Buddhism seemed to have a little less bullshit than most.

    So on that score, I’m tempted to vote yes. Hey, religious education made me a disbeliever, why not others?

    Still, I know that these weirdoes in Virginia will cherry-pick the Bible, won’t encourage any real in-depth scrutiny, and won’t mention any other religions, etc., etc., so the vote is no.

  • #126 Kenny
    May 28, 2008

    >Only its hypocrisy. They’re the ones saying they’re
    >morally superior and, therefore, should run our lives as
    >they see fit.

    I see a lot of Generalisation, misdirection, misinformation and just a lack of common sense. Atheists are supposed to be more intelligent. Sorry, I couldn’t roll my eyes back anymore.

  • #127 Kenny
    May 28, 2008

    >The nation’s decline began when Madalyn Murray O’Hair and
    >others like her took prayer and the Bible out of public
    >school.

    I agree 100 percent with this. Not only that but the Liberals have helped make our schools worse and put them in serious decline. I mean it’s okay to get a new football stadium than give our kids a better education. Give them condoms and maybe that might work! yeah!

    >But at least O’Hair’s son became a Christian, and has
    >undone some of the worst of his mother’s work. His
    >testimony is worth reading.

    True. I mean she is not an atheist now.

  • #128 melior
    May 28, 2008

    Studying the bible for wisdom is like panning for gold with a sheet of toilet paper.

  • #129 Kenny
    May 28, 2008

    >That book is full of immoral injunctions, & suggests
    >venerating an evil, jealous, amoral, misogynistic, magic
    >spirit monster man..

    Thank you for proving that you have not only not read the Bible but that you can’t understand it. It’s not about evil, but Love. Sure people have done evil things in there but it also tells of what happens to them when they do evil things.

    How can you judge something and not know anything about it’s contents? Amazing ignorance and just pure simple minded bigotry.

    >Or are you suggesting that exposure to such feckin’
    >nonsense, (it says that the Earth is flat!), might help
    >make the kids become atheists.

    There is nothing about the earth being flat in the Bible.
    You might want to read it first before making seriously incorrect comments.

    The Bible was ment as a spiritual guide more than a science book. It is about how to raise your kids in a Godly way and how to deal with problems spiritually. It has some great poems to God. It tells how Israel got started and talks about the Messiah which is Jesus coming and it talks about the end times in which we are in now.

    You don’t believe in spiritual things and that is your point of view but please don’t try to be so ignorant and say everyone else is stupid.

    I would really hope that you would have better manners if people with faith would meet you in person.

  • #130 Kenny
    May 28, 2008

    >Studying The God Delusion for wisdom is like panning for
    >gold with a sheet of toilet paper.

    There, I fixed it for you.

  • #131 Laurel
    May 28, 2008

    Kenny, you gabbling limpet.

  • #132 Kenny
    May 28, 2008

    >Kinda says it all, doesn’t it?

    Not really. It’s all a bunch of lies and misdirections.
    Anything can be used for good or evil. Someone could go read “The God Delusion” and then go out and kill someone just because they don’t like their religious beliefs. Should we go down this path? This is a very slippery slope.

    The Bible can be used by people for Good and evil. The minority will use it to promote evil. The majority will use it for the good of humankind.

    I mean when someone buys a gun, is that gun evil?

    uh no. The person who uses it for evil is evil.
    You can use a gun in lots of ways. However, you can also use it for evil as well.

    That was an example that I used for the gun. (yeah, I know I shouldn’t have to explain that.)

  • #133 Kenny
    May 28, 2008

    >Kenny, you gabbling limpet.

    Are we like five now? We copy what someone else says.
    ahhh, just keep on going guys this only hurts you more than me. Just shows the level of maturity and the lack of intelligence.

    If anything it just exposes your lack of substance and rationality even more.

  • #134 JeffreyD
    May 28, 2008

    Re #133 and supra. To whoever you are, please seek therapy, worth the money.

    Ciao, y’all

  • #135 Kenny
    May 28, 2008

    >To whoever you are, please seek therapy, worth the money.

    Therapy for what? Brainwashing people that religion is horrible and we should erase it from planet earth? You mean that?

  • #136 Wayne Robinson
    May 28, 2008

    After finally getting through the Old Testament, I think that it is a very good idea, and it should be mandatory for the students to actually read it from cover to cover (that would do more to destroy religious superstitions than anything else).

  • #137 Kenny
    May 28, 2008

    >After finally getting through “The God Delusion”, I think
    >that it is a very good idea, and it should be mandatory
    >for the students to actually read it from cover to cover
    >(that would do more to destroy atheist superstitions than
    >anything else).

    I fully agree to this.

  • #138 JeffreyD
    May 28, 2008

    Re #135, no, I mean therapy for your sense of persecution, your inability to admit error (ACLU), your inability to do research outside of narrow confines, your apparent fear of death as evidenced by your obsessive focus on NDE, your apparent homophobia, your unwillingness to recognize that you are a figure of contempt and/or humour, your attack dog mentality, your hit and run tactics, your constant anger at yourself and the world around you, for wasting your time here when you contribute nothing and just attract mockery, for your wife whom I assume loves you and does not like seeing you huddled over the keyboard ranting about the people on this blog, for your bitterness about a harmless group of people – most of the bloggers here – who can write in a sensible manner even with people with whom they disagree – – witness replies to Walton, and finally, for your fear.

    No one cares if you want to be religious, but your beliefs do not repeat do not seem to be making you happy. All I see is fear, distrust, anger, unhappiness. Asking you to seek therapy is not insulting. I have done so twice in my life and am still under care now for depression. Both times, I have essentially been “forced” into it by my loved ones, and glad they cared enough to push me. I will be glad to explain the background and “whys” to you if you want. I am not ashamed and I do not hide it, I just doubt most people on here care to hear the stories so I am not going into detail unless asked. It is available if someone wants the details. If you really want to discuss the issue, will be glad to give you an email. Oh, what the hell, keltixx(at)yahoo.com – I have good spam filters up.

    Ciao

  • #139 Akheloios
    May 28, 2008

    I went to a UK school, and when my mandatory Religious Education classes were taught, we had the full catholic monty. No real discussion of other religions, I didn’t even know there was such a thing as ‘not’ believing in a god till I left.

    The two poor girls that weren’t catholic who attended the school were regularly spoken about in class for the heresies of being pro-choice, and any other evils they could attach. This without the right of reply as they weren’t in my class group.

    Yes, full religious education would be a great boon for showing the fallacies of religion, but it’s so easy to hijack.

    I think the reason I’m so bitter about religion now is that I remember those lies taught to me as *hehe* gospel truth, but I was one of the lucky ones who managed to find their way out. Most never do.

  • #140 Wowbagger
    May 28, 2008

    Kenny, not thinking very clearly, wrote:

    Thank you for proving that you have not only not read the Bible but that you can’t understand it. It’s not about evil, but Love.

    Yeah, I can see how flooding the earth to kill almost every person and animal that couldn’t fit into the TARDIS (sorry, Ark) is about love. And that’s only the beginning of the orgy of slaughter your god has embarked upon during his reign of injustice and terror. Read what you find here and let me know what you think.

    Yes, god loves. God loves killing – it’s all there in your bible, Kenny.

  • #141 Rev. BigDumbCHimp
    May 28, 2008

    I think they’re right. I think history does not properly present religion.

    I agree, but what I got from what they wrote is that history is completely removing religion from history, which is of course completely untrue.

  • #142 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    May 28, 2008

    that should read, history text books are completely removing

  • #143 Kseniya
    May 28, 2008

    Limpet gabbled:

    How can you judge something and not know anything about it’s contents?

    LMAO

  • #144 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    May 28, 2008

    Sorry I can’t help it, this is just too fucking stupid.

    I agree 100 percent with this. Not only that but the Liberals have helped make our schools worse and put them in serious decline. I mean it’s okay to get a new football stadium than give our kids a better education. Give them condoms and maybe that might work! yeah!

    Yeah it’s always only those big bad liberals pushing for more sports stadiums. We all get together and plan the next great football take over of Universities across the nation. No conservatives or Christians allowed in the meetings of course.

    Idiot.

    And look at the studies Kenny, you incredibly thick luddite, Abstinence only education does not = abstinence only kids.

  • #145 Scott
    May 28, 2008

    I would approve of a Bible Class for public school if it was developed by Julia Sweeney….

    A bible class taught truthfully would be the first step to getting god out of the minds of school children everywhere.

    I have no doubt that that school will f*** it up, royale.

  • #146 Troff
    May 28, 2008

    Kenny,
    the Book of Genesis talks about God’s mistreatment of Man. Specifically:

    – How God lied to Adam in book 2, God admits the Serpent told the truth in book 3.

    – How Adam was enslaved, but NOT chased out of Eden for disobeying God – I mean, taking the serpent’s true advice.

    – How Adam was THEN chased out of Eden in book 3 because living forever would make him MORE like God (more than knowing Good and Evil the way God did).

    – Oh, and how Man was building the Tower of Babel because Humanity wanted to make a name for itself and not be scattered, and God basically said “well fuck that, we can’t have them getting all uppity, let’s scatter them AND make sure they can never do it or anything good again”.

    – And don’t even get STARTED on Job.

    Kenny, notice please that I haven’t abused or insulted you in this post.

    Notice please that I HAVE read the books in question.

    Notice please that in these chapters God clearly doesn’t care for Man any more than he would for an uppity pet or social experiment. Or threat to God’s own superiority.

    Kenny, could you please explain to me why your perspective is supposedly right but the points I’ve made here – WHICH ARE IN YOUR BIBLE – are supposedly wrong?

    God is not love. God, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous, hateful, hurting, spiteful, selfish god.

    Fortunately, said God is also fictional, so we’re all safe.

    But you need to explain, please, how you and I can be reading the same books of the Bible and yet you come up with explanations and theories that do NOT come out of that same book. Because THESE, Kenny, are why you’re not getting any respect whatsoever on this site. If you COULD answer these questions of mine (and others), with answers that might be reasonable and make some sense, maybe THEN you’d get more respect.

    We think it’s not fair that you insult our “maturity and lack of intelligence” when we’re the ones pointing out things which you dismiss or contradict… when the evidence is on our side.

  • #147 Troff
    May 28, 2008

    Sorry, quick tangential side-step of topic. Anybody noticed this piece from New Scientist?

    http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn13983-religion-is-a-product-of-evolution-software-suggests.html
    Or, tinyurl.com/3p2r6p .

    Basically, software model outlining how religion developed “genetically”: with the help of non-believers.

    Before anybody thinks I’m advocating we help the religious, there’s one paragraph:

    [clip]
    But when Dow included the assumption that non-believers would be attracted to religious people because of some clear, but arbitrary, signal, religion flourished.
    [/clip]

    I would ask questions as to what that “clear, but arbitrary signal” would be. Something that Dawkins and Hitchens provide? Or, o Wowbagger, something Verity Lambert and Russell T. Davies provided?

    And now, Kseniya (Russian name?), I’m hoping the caffeine’s wearing off; I need to bed.

    Ah, Pharyngula: you bring me to wakefulness, you lull me to rest. If only I spent as much time on my OWN blog. Sigh.

  • #148 Kseniya
    May 28, 2008

    Troff, ya ukrainka-amerikanka. (My name comes from the Greek Xenia, meaning “hospitality” or “hospitable”(from xenophile), and is common in its various forms (Xenia, Kseniya, Ksenia, Ksenja, Ksusha, Oksana) in Eastern Europe and many former Soviet states. Not here, though. My parents may as well have named me “Xplthyzjk”.)

    Now, I’m afraid, I must temporarily put the lie to the meaning of my own name.

    Yeah, NCLB – that liberal idea that promotes mediocrity and rote learning over actual thinking. Yeah, liberals are always cutting school funding and pumping money into corporate incentives and military budgets.

    (But wait – I though education was dominated by the Liberal Elite? Why would this Elite undermine its own position?)

    Kenny, you gabbling limpet. You befuddled slug. You soggy, brainless, wormy piece of bark. You unscooped litterbox. You sour stain on the bedspread of rationality. You festering carbuncle on the face of reason.

    Kenny’s a grade-C fool and a rude, self-absorbed blockhead who delusionally sees himself as educated, reasonable, upstanding and well-mannered. Ignore him. He’s a brainwashed drone with nothing to offer but pink noise punctuated with drool. Tuning your radio between stations during a thunderstorm and lying face-up beneath the slobbering jowls of a diseased bloodhound will prove not only more enlightening, but far more entertaining as well.

    Google it if you don’t believe me.

  • #149 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    May 28, 2008

    Kenny’s a grade-C fool and a rude, self-absorbed blockhead who delusionally sees himself as educated, reasonable, upstanding and well-mannered. Ignore him.

    I know, I know. I can’t help it. Sometime the dumbfuckery is too much to stand. My severe case of SIWOTI takes over.

  • #150 Kseniya
    May 28, 2008

    SIWOTI syndrome? Yup yup yup. Hey, I responded too, didn’t I? I’m the last person who should be stowing thrones here. LoL

  • #151 bPer
    May 28, 2008

    Kseniya @#148:

    Since you brought up your name, can I ask how you pronounce your name? You’re probably my favorite commenter here and it frustrates me that, as you say, your name is little more than “Xplthyzjk” to me.

    BTW, I was going to tease you by calling you Xenia, our Warrior Princess, but then I saw the ‘i’. Damn, I have to quit procrastinating and take that prescription over to the opticians!

  • #152 Patricia C.
    May 28, 2008

    Ksenia and Ichthyic, Another good source for cases of abuse by the religious is ‘Freethought Today’ the newspaper put out by FFRF. I’ve gotten three issues so far and all of them have had a full two page spread. Frequently the clergy are abusing their own children. As an example, Rev. James l. Bevel, 71 Leesburg, VA. convicted – incest. For molesting his daughter from the time she was six years old – to “sexually orient” children and teaching the “science of marriage”… source: Washington Times 4/11/08 From the May issue of Freethought Today.

  • #153 Kseniya
    May 28, 2008

    Incest and other manifestations of abuse are hot-button issues for me. There’s been quite a lot of it in my extended family (but none, fortunately, in my immediate family). I don’t typically care much about the religious leanings of perps, but the predictors already noted here cannot be ignored or minimized.

  • #154 Nightsky
    May 28, 2008

    What I’d have loved to see in high school was a sort of Bible decoder ring class. Western lit usually comes stuffed FULL of Bible references/allusions/symbolism/puns; while most secular kids can learn the story of, say, David and Goliath through cultural osmosis alone, some of the more obscure ones can be stumpers. As it was, I remember a fair amount of my high school lit classes being devoted to explanations of this sort.
    So maybe I’ve just proved that it’s an unnecessary class… :)

  • #155 kmiers
    May 28, 2008

    There’s no better way to turn someone into an atheist than to have them study the bible really closely. Maybe not such a bad idea

    I couldn’t agree more. I grew up in Billy Graham’s Wheaton (down the street from the college) and I took the elective class “The Bible as Literature” in high school. Part of the course introduced us to such ancient religions as zoroastrianism and the rest of the course disected the bible as though it were any other work of fiction. Having God removed from “His Work” thusly was instrumental in steering me toward blissfully secular Sundays. I do feel, however, that this was not their intent *wink*.

  • #156 David Marjanovi?, OM
    May 28, 2008

    Ah, Pharyngula: you bring me to wakefulness, you lull me to rest. If only I spent as much time on my OWN blog. Sigh.

    Guess why I don’t have a blog. :-)

    (Xenia, Kseniya, Ksenia, Ksenja, Ksusha, Oksana)

    Are you sure Oksana belongs?

    NCLB

    Nononono — it’s NCBL: No Child’s Behind Left.

    Since you brought up your name, can I ask how you pronounce your name?

    Well, how? One letter after the other. :-)

    —————–

    Kenny, the Bible says “thou shalt kill” in lots of places. The God Delusion says so in… zero places. Analogy: ur doin it rong.

  • #157 Nightsky
    May 28, 2008

    >atheist superstitions

    Kenny, m’lad, I don’t think you grasp this whole “atheism” thing. (Hint: “atheist superstition” is an oxymoron.)

  • #158 ??????
    May 28, 2008

    bPer: Seeing as how I’m not the smartest or best-educated person in the neighborhood, I do appreciate the vote of confidence.

    Warning: recklessly off-topic comment ahead.

    As for the pronunciation of “Kseniya”, I’ll try to explain it. Keep in mind that the vowel sounds aren’t going to be quite what you expect from the spelling. The “e” sounds like a long “a” and the “i” sounds like a long “e”. Bolded vowels are stressed (accented).

    You’ve heard of Taxachusetts and Pennsylvania, haven’t you? Well, put ‘em together and imagine a little country called Taxania, rhymes with Pennsylvania.

    Taxania can also be spelled Taksania. Now drop the “Ta” and you’re left with Ksania. (Kseniya, sounds like Ksania – ksaynya. The “e” should really sound midway between “ay” and “ee”, but that’s a bit much to ask of an American – I don’t even say it that way myself).

    The “i” in Kseniya (ksAYneeya) is very soft, ghosted, even absent in the casual pronunciation suggested by the spelling “Ksenia”. This difference is very much like the difference between pronouncing Julia “Jool-ee-a” as opposed to “Jool-ya”.

    In English, the “ks” sound only occurs in the middle of words (like access or Texas), or where two words abut (as in black sand). It’s unnatural to lead off with that sound. The inclination for an Anglophone is to voice the K into “Kuh”. This is incorrect. It’s not Kuh-sayn-ya. Ick. (No kuss! No kuss!) The ks is like the ks in “lacks” – or in “Mack’s sane, yuh.” The ks can be whispered, but not shouted.

    Often, I just give up, let people drop the K, and settle for “Sayn-yah”. When I was growing up, this led to the inevitable “Insane-yuh” nickname. *eyeroll* Alternatively, many people just call me “K” (offline and on) which has led many a RL acquaintence to presume that my name is actually “Kay”. LOL. (Perhaps Kenny and I share this experience.)

    (After five years of “How do you spell that?” and “How do you pronounce that?” and “What kind of name is that? Did you make it up?” my parents caved in, and so my two younger brothers were given common, American-style names.)

    You might search YouTube for popular Russian performers such as “?????? ??????” (Kseniya Sobchak) or “?????? ??????” (Kseniya Larina) – or maybe just “??????” – and you’ll likely find a video in which someone actually says the name. (Cut and paste the Cyrillic for best results.)

    Or, you can play this mp3 (hmmm, shoulda googled this up front. LOL!) and hear a native speaker pronounce “Kseniya” and some of its diminutives (Ksusha, Ksushka, Ksushinka).

  • #159 Patricia C.
    May 28, 2008

    Of course I agree with you Kseniya. I’m not sure if the uptick in child abuse by the religious is do to reporting being somewhat more open – or if it actually has gone up. Women and gays get the crap beat out of them here where I live, if you speak out against it the fundies go completely batshit. My friends in Portland, Oregon say it’s like a different world.

  • #160 Kseniya
    May 28, 2008

    Are you sure Oksana belongs?

    ??, ? ???????, ? ? ????????-??????????. :-)

  • #161 Matt Penfold
    May 28, 2008

    One wonders how those wanting the bible taught would feel about having the kids study “Das Kapital” and “Mein Kampf”. Both books were hugely influential in the C20th.

    Somehow I think they would strongly object, and also I think it would the first book they got most upset about.

  • #162 bPer
    May 28, 2008

    Kseniya @#158:

    Wow! Thanks a million for the great response!

    I was close – in the absence of knowing any better, I pronounced your name “sen-ya”, having given up on trying to deal with the K. Linguistics is a passing interest (took an intro course in university), so your thorough break-down was welcome and familiar. I’ll have to work on the leading “ks” sound, though, being a native English speaker.

    The mp3 file was icing on the cake. It was no surprise at all after your description.

    On your first comment, I can understand where you’re coming from. We have such an amazing community of commenters here, and such a broad audience, that it is very intimidating to participate. Nevertheless, you bring your own talents to the mix. I can’t tell you how often I’ve formulated a response to someone, chickened out of posting it, and then read your response to the same person and thought “I’m glad I didn’t post; hers is so much better”. I’m sure I’m not the only one.

    Enough de-railing. Thanks again.

  • #163 Kseniya
    May 28, 2008

    Patricia, you gotta get outta there, girl. Out out out. Head for the coast. (The coast is the most. Ride the snake. To the lake.)

    As for the uptick, I’d guess reporting is more open.

    Note that the Heggen book cited last night was published 15 years ago, and the studies it utilized were between 3 and 20 years old at the time. I don’t mean to say that human behavior has changed significantly since 1993 – more to the point, it hasn’t, but the specific predictors described by Heggen were identified nearly a generation ago. Perhaps in another generation, the forces driving these cycles of abuse will be so well understood, that the cycles will begin to be broken.

    One hopes.

  • #164 Kseniya
    May 28, 2008

    bPer: I’m pleased you found my response useful…

    I can’t tell you how often I’ve formulated a response to someone, chickened out of posting it, and then read your response to the same person and thought “I’m glad I didn’t post; hers is so much better”. I’m sure I’m not the only one.

    Well, you must’ve left more than a few worthwhile comments here over the past year or two, for your handle is very familiar. Anyways – no, you’re not the only one. I get that feeling, too, when I read an more informed or eloquent version, penned by one of our fellow commenters here, of what I was trying to get at. (Unfortunately, though, I’ve usually already posted…heh.)

    It does take a certain amount of boldness to post here, regularly or not. I was shy at first, too, but I have to say that it was very useful to jump in and take a few licks on my sloppy thinking or lack of intellectual or scholarly rigor… I think it helped me clean up my thinking a bit, though I’m still a long way from being scholarly or erudite and I do think of this as a recreational as opposed to an academic or vocational endeavor… lol. (I suspect this frustrates a few of our fellow commenters from time to time.)

    More to the point, I encourage any reticent commenters or dedicated lurkers to jump in and test the waters. After a short time, one realizes that most criticism is constructive and that the bumps and bruises aren’t real and heal up pretty quickly. :-)

    (Now I miss t.m., and even Caled?nian… *sniff sniff*… yowza did those guys kick my ass… LOL)

  • #165 Wowbagger
    May 28, 2008

    #147

    Sorry, quick tangential side-step of topic. Anybody noticed this piece from New Scientist?

    http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn13983-religion-is-a-product-of-evolution-software-suggests.html

    Thanks for that. There are few things more satisfying than something that illustrates evolution, or a science-based hypothesis for religious belief – combining the two is a sure winner.

    Oh, and I suspect the bible would be much more exciting if it’d been written by Russell T Davies – especially if Jesus behaved a bit more like The Doctor. Or maybe Cpt Jack Harkness…

  • #166 Wry Mouth
    May 28, 2008

    #110 Kseniya: I did not mean that over at Roanoke, the poll would be shooting-fish-in-a-barrel; only that the responses *here* would be — predictable? No?

    #96 Latina: Thanks for the riposte, although, in re-reading the above, it still looks like a diatribe to me. I am not saying there is no place for diatribes in society. I *am* saying I don’t think of them as bases for intellectual development, and I continue to think that the more rational atheists among us here in Comment-land would say the same. I maintain, in my defense, that I probably pretty good at the “decoding” thing, especially when the writing doesn’t seem (to me) to be in any sort of code. That probably comes from studying cryptography and probability, though; it’s not for everyone.

    Again, as for the place of diatribes in our lives, I would suggest that Sam Kinison was a hoot, but not someone one would want to build a philosophy of living around.

  • #167 Latina Amor
    May 28, 2008

    Kenny said,
    “You can use a gun in lots of ways.”

    Well then why not explain to us about the friendly nature of bullets. Since you seem to enjoy firearms so much, perhaps you could perform a small study for us regarding bullets AND the afterlife: stare down the barrel of a loaded .300 Winchester while examining whether or not your big toe can fit in the trigger guard.

    Imagine, you could make real observations about bullets as friends and maybe get to the next world and see your buddy jebus while simultaneously performing a needed public service. Note: be sure to perform this experiment in a location that’s easy to clean up.

  • #168 Ichthyic
    May 28, 2008

    Kenny said,
    “You can use a gun in lots of ways.”

    for example, to shoot yourself in the foot, like Kenny does on a daily basis.

    The Kenny sez:

    Sorry, I couldn’t roll my eyes back anymore.

    try using your fingers.

  • #169 Ichthyic
    May 28, 2008

    Yeah, I can see how flooding the earth to kill almost every person and animal that couldn’t fit into the TARDIS (sorry, Ark) is about love

    wait…

    Dr. Who as “Moses”?

    LOL

  • #170 Ichthyic
    May 28, 2008

    …and seriously, I have to say, yet again.

    *plonk* Kenny.

    what a waste of human life.

  • #171 Owlmirror
    May 28, 2008

    Yeah, I can see how flooding the earth to kill almost every person and animal that couldn’t fit into the TARDIS (sorry, Ark) is about love

    wait…

    Dr. Who as “Moses”?

    No, no. Dr. Who as Noah.

    And of course, that explains both where all of the water went, and the formation of the Grand Canyon all at the same time.

    The Master was dinking around with time gates that the Doctor had to shift around.

  • #172 Latina Amor
    May 28, 2008

    Ichthyic,
    Ever read any Roy Baumeister? He was at Case Western but now I think FSU and was prolific for some time on suicidal behavior and its antecedents especially in teens. A little dated now perhaps but he led me to Leon Festinger and a few others who all somewhat covertly point at biblical babble as a source of behavioral anomalies, like suicide and other self-destructive behaviors…much like those Kenny displays. He also wrote some on humans “need to belong” which again points somewhat indirectly at religions…interesting stuff.

  • #173 Ichthyic
    May 28, 2008

    No, no. Dr. Who as Noah.

    *doh*

    of course, I got my fictional characters mixed up again.

  • #174 Ichthyic
    May 28, 2008

    Ever read any Roy Baumeister?

    it sounds familiar…

    However, I’m more familiar with the literature regarding animal behavior and psych; human pysch specifically is still a relatively unexplored realm for me.

    got something specific in mind?

  • #175 Latina Amor
    May 28, 2008

    Icthyic,
    Have you access to journal articles? He’s written mostly in that format, unfortunately. Here’s his home page:
    http://baumeister.socialpsychology.org/
    BTW, he’s very readable.

  • #176 Ichthyic
    May 28, 2008

    yup, found his homesite already.

    I’ll “add it to the list”

    so much to read, so little time.

    ;)

    thanks

  • #177 Latina Amor
    May 28, 2008

    Icythyic,
    You’re welcome.
    …his “need to belong” stuff was the last I’ve read. I can’t quite recollect it all but…remember faintly that if you were rejected from the group you needed to belong to…well, all hell breaks loose. He’s into why people do stupid things (i.e. like suicide, etc…)

    This sounds good, too:
    Baumeister, R. F. (1997). Evil: Inside human violence and cruelty. New York: W.H. Freeman. Hmmm, I wonder where that leads us?

  • #178 Ichthyic
    May 28, 2008

    He’s into why people do stupid things

    did you ever get a chance to read this one?

    http://www.amazon.com/Why-Smart-People-Stupid-Things/dp/0595187986

    on a more experimental note, early childhood experiences also tend to suggest answers to that question:

    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/316/5827/996

  • #179 Troff
    May 28, 2008

    Kseniya@148:

    Ya Rooski-Avstraleeyets. Which is why I have no problems with pronouncing your name.

    And I could never get the hang of properly transliterating Russian into English characters. And I’m even more impressed at your Russian keyboard skills. Born in Australia, I had to pick up all my now-creaking-from-disuse Russian from parents and Saturday morning classes whilst being rather young.

    In fact, I met a rather lovely young lady by that name in some of my classes…

    > My parents may as well have named me “Xplthyzjk”

    Oh, hell no. Then you’d get a whole lot of Superman Mxyzptlk jokes. How do you look in purple and yellow?

    >> Are you sure Oksana belongs?
    > ??, ? ???????, ? ? ????????-??????????. :-)
    What, does it really make a difference? You can’t bring the culture with you? :-)

    Wowbagger@147:

    a) You’re welcome.

    b) And probably much more admirable.

    But I also feel the Bible would’ve been better with an inscrutable Seventh Doctor Jesus, rather than this Tenth. Or even a crusty and occasionally obstreperous First.

    Don’t forget, a future incarnation of the Doctor is destined to become Merlin (gasp! That’s it! Merlin IS Jesus!). Anyway, methinks the Tenth Doctor has bought into his own legend a little too much.

    Lovely chap, all of them (well, except maybe the Eighth :-) ), but…

    Everyone else@everywhere else:
    … would it be worth just hitting Kenny et al. with polite requests that he/they answer such specific questions (like, for example, the ones I put above) and otherwise not allow them to discuss any “more advanced” topics until they answer those?

    … hm. Then again, I suppose that tactic really wouldn’t work on a board, would it? Any ways of implementing this reasonably?

  • #180 Ichthyic
    May 28, 2008

    would it be worth just hitting Kenny et al. with polite requests that he/they answer such specific questions (like, for example, the ones I put above)

    been there, done that.

    nope.

    like most xian whackadoos, he too tends to cherry-pick what he responds to, and usually only the things that continue whatever rant he happened to be on at the time.

    He’s just a god-bothering tub-thumper, nothing more.

  • #181 tony (not a vegan)
    May 28, 2008

    Ichthyic re Kenny:

    He’s just a god-bothering tub-thumper, nothing more.

    Your estimation of Kenny has improved, somewhat… Personally I don’t think kenny could find a tub during a guided tour of a barrel factory – but that’s just me ;)

  • #182 Ichthyic
    May 28, 2008

    Your estimation of Kenny has improved, somewhat

    hmm, then I must not be expressing myself clearly.

    ;)

  • #183 Latina Amor
    May 28, 2008

    Thanks for the reads, Ichthyic.
    …I’m an AAAS member, too…so I can access the second article. –off to read–

  • #184 Malcolm
    May 29, 2008

    The limpet gabbled,

    Thank you for proving that you have not only not read the Bible but that you can’t understand it. It’s not about evil, but Love. Sure people have done evil things in there but it also tells of what happens to them when they do evil things.

    This would be true for a given value of Love.
    Like when someone assures you that the reason they beat the crap out of you is because they love you.
    You have to remember that the basic tenet of Christianinanity is that their sky-daddy had a kid specifically so that he could be tortured to death so that we could all be forgiven for something we didn’t do, and thus avoid a punishment sky-daddy had arbitrarily imposed. Because he loves us.

  • #185 Kseniya
    May 29, 2008

    WryMouth:

    #110 Kseniya: I did not mean that over at Roanoke, the poll would be shooting-fish-in-a-barrel; only that the responses *here* would be — predictable? No?

    Ah. Well, yes, of course – but the point of the exercise (think of it as a field trip) was to make an impression there, not here. No? :-)

    Troff:

    Ya Rooski-Avstraleeyets. […] And I could never get the hang of properly transliterating Russian into English characters.

    ?? ?? ??? ?? ????????????? ?????? ?????????? ???? ???????. :-p

    Transliteration is fun, but sometimes I can’t decide which conventions to use. Duh. For example, I never use the “j”, even though doing so solves some ambiguities with the use of “y”… but I lean towards translits that are phonetically obvious to english-speakers. I’m mostly self-taught, so I’m probably wrong much of the time. I dunno.

    Learning the cyrillic keyboard was easier than I thought it would be. I made myself keyboard maps for the Russki and Uki layouts, and just messed around with them in my free time, and after a week or two found I had them memorized. I’m not fast, but I know them. The two layouts are essentially identical.

    I really need to take a couple of classes to get off the ground with the language. The other commenters here who know Russian are all seem to know more than I do – Etha, David Marjanovi?, Thalarctos to name a few. But I try to lean a little something every day, which is fun.

    Then you’d get a whole lot of Superman Mxyzptlk jokes. How do you look in purple and yellow?

    LoL… I had to look it up, but I do get the reference now. Spooky how similar that name is to “mine”… lol.

    What, does it really make a difference? You can’t bring the culture with you? :-)

    I’m not sure what you mean. “Oksana” is a common variant in Ukraine, but not quite so common elsewhere, apparently. My grandfather, however – who was from Kyiv – thought it very pretty, and he liked to call me that when I was younger, so yes he brought the culture with him. :-) But until the boys started catching up in 8th grade I was taller than just about everyone in my class, and self-consciously so, and didn’t want to be called Ox-anything if you know what I mean. :-p

  • #186 Autumn
    May 29, 2008

    For me, it’s the story of Abraham and his son.
    I can never be convinced that any being who used such a vicious ruse in order to test the loyalty of his followers was anything other than fictional.
    The truly disturbing thing is that the average believer in the Old Testament sees Abraham’s ability to murder his son as a positive sign of his character.
    Even before I became a father (the real kind, not the “of my flock” kind) I recognised the insanity of this test.
    Now that I am a father, I can not trust the judgement of anyone who identifies themselves with one of the Abrahamic faiths.
    Anyone who accepts that some god, which has already proven itself to be mind-numbingly amoral, is even in the running for “beings that I would rather listen to than the objections of my own feelings and empathy for other beings” is not a person (using the term loosely) with whom I would ever entrust my children (two are step-sons, but I love them enough to want them not to be murdered on the whim of an imaginary figure).
    Every person who is willing to testify that they are a “Biblical literalist” should be imprisoned.

  • #187 Troff
    May 29, 2008

    Kseniya! Gah! You’re tripping with my head!

    I got to the “??” before realising something wasn’t quite right. I got to the “???” before groaning. :-) I can’t actually remember ever reading anybody do that before.

    Conflicting convention is one of the reasons I don’t like to transliterate. Not to mention, as I said, my Russian is desperately rusty. My nickname is merely a contraction of my surname (prepend a “Pe”); but my Russian is still poor / rusty. Worse than yours, I’m prepared to bet.

    Re: the “make a difference” – I was just being a smartass. I like the Oksana name; I think that comment-reply is for somebody else.

    I had no idea there were so many Russian speakers on PZ’s P. Then again, I had no idea how many East-coast Australians there were here either.

    Zdrastvuytye, vih vsyeh!

  • #188 Ksenkiya
    May 29, 2008

    Interesting. We may have some common, distant ancestors of the son-of-pyotr variety.

  • #189 Etha Williams
    May 29, 2008

    @#186 Autumn —

    The truly disturbing thing is that the average believer in the Old Testament sees Abraham’s ability to murder his son as a positive sign of his character.

    Are you familiar with the Xian kids’ song Father Abraham, whose chorus is:

    Father Abraham had many sons
    Many sons had Father Abraham
    I am one of them and so are you
    So let’s all praise the Lord.

    Praise the Lord?! For having a deranged psychopath for a father? No, thank you.

    I think what I find most disturbing about the story is that god rewards Abraham with more children for doing this:

    The angel of the LORD called to Abraham from heaven a second time and said, “I swear by myself, declares the LORD, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. (Genesis 22: 15-17).

  • #190 Kseniya
    May 29, 2008

    So, let me get this straight: This allegedly unimpeachable value system offers rewards for unquestioning obedience, even in the face of senseless horror and extreme, undeniable moral and ethical dissonance?

    Sounds like a winner. No wonder it has been so popular with the ruling classes.

  • #191 Shawn Wilkinson
    May 29, 2008

    PZ,

    I have another poll we should crash. It’s about voting for you think are true patriots or traitors. Ironically,
    Bush II is listed as a patriot.

    The site is here. I vote for poll crashing: http://countryaboveself.com/

  • #192 Kseniya
    May 29, 2008

    Shawn, maybe I’m an idiot, but I don’t see how to “vote” – I can only vote to “support” the nominated patriots, and to “condemn” the nominated traitors. I suppose I could nominate the top vote-getting patriot (Alberto Gonzalez) as a traitor, but the sitemeister would probably just ban me for making an “obnoxious” nomination. It’s a total right-wing ideologue site.

    They do quote Molly Ivins slamming the Dems, though… LOL.

    And of course, Churchill:

    “Any man who is under 30, and is not a liberal, has not heart; and any man who is over 30, and is not a conservative, has no brains.”

    It amuses me to note how many conservatives love to quote this, and in doing so, tacitly (and, apparently, unknowingly) admit they have no, and have never had, a heart. College Republicans, anyone? Dartmouth Review? D’Souza? Ingraham? Coulter? Need I go on? LOL

  • #193 Kseniya
    May 29, 2008

    Click on the “Why can’t I vote?” link and you’ll see what I mean. People have been banned just for nominating Alberto Gonzalez as a Traitor. Yet, check out the small print under the banner:

    This site has nothing to do with ideology. Patriotism does not mean party, or ideological thought. Don’t assume a defensive position without knowing all of the facts; and the facts cannot be presented at this time. You must engage in reading, and deduction from what is here to conclude what this site is really about. It is NOT about Democrats. It is NOT about Republicans. It is NOT about Conservatives. It is NOT about Liberals. It is NOT about Progressives. It is NOT about politics. It is about country.

    Uh-huh. Then why does the Patriot list include every big-name conservative pol and pundit (Ann Coulter?) and the Traitors list includes every big-name liberal pol and pundit (Paul Krugman?).

    That’s Conservative Blogosphere for you – only one point of view allowed. What a pathetic heap of lies. Don’t waste your time.

  • #194 BlueIndependent
    May 29, 2008

    @ #192:

    Wouldn’t you be glad to know Churchill actually thought pretty low of republicans. He was once caught talking with an American government official that was getting on a plane to return to the US, quipping that he thought Eisenhower (a republican) was an idiot, or something to that effect. I wish I had the reference, but I read the quote somewhere online.

    Now, I honestly do not have a problem with Eisenhower, and Churchill’s comment may be borne from Ike’s known skills weakness in dealing with foreign countries. But Churchill is not the friend of repuublicans they think he is. Which makes them seem all the more oblivious than they already are.

  • #195 Troff
    May 29, 2008

    Kseniya @ 188 (or is Ksenkiya the slightly unconvential, adventurous version? :-) )

    … not impossible. But to be honest:

    a) Genealogy has never been my strong suit.
    b) My parents were “oh crap, we have to get out of here, let’s go to Australia as fast as we can” type.
    c) Go back far enough; you, me, PZ, everyone else here* and my cat Bella may share some common, distant ancestors of the son-of-prokaryote** variety.

    * In deference to the majority opinion, I’m prepared to accept the possibility that Kenny may not. Anyway, Kenny-himself probably prefers it that way.

    ** As mentioned in other threads, I am not a biologist. Feel free to correct me if it’s warranted.

  • #196 Kseniya
    May 29, 2008

    Ksenkiya is the late-night typo version. (My email address contains an “enk” string.)

    Yes, I realize that if we go back far enough, we’ll all related, but between the ??????(?) in your tree, and the ???????? in mine, there might be a more recent connection – maybe going back fifteen hundred years, tops. ;-)

  • #197 Latina Amor
    May 29, 2008

    Etha,
    Nice post on the song of Abraham.
    “Praise the Lord?! For having a deranged psychopath for a father? No, thank you”…that’s exactly what I say about god…he reportly could create the universe in six days but was so weak and vulnerable he had to forsake and sacrifice his son (“father why hast thou forsaken me”)…instead of just **poofing** away sin? WTF is up with that?

    God is omnipotent…yeah, right!

    Another way to look at it is he couldn’t save his own son…why would I take stock in thinking he could save me or anyone else?
    -chuckles-

  • #198 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    May 29, 2008

    Click on the “Why can’t I vote?” link and you’ll see what I mean. People have been banned just for nominating Alberto Gonzalez as a Traitor. Yet, check out the small print under the banner:

    This site has nothing to do with ideology. Patriotism does not mean party, or ideological thought. Don’t assume a defensive position without knowing all of the facts; and the facts cannot be presented at this time. You must engage in reading, and deduction from what is here to conclude what this site is really about. It is NOT about Democrats. It is NOT about Republicans. It is NOT about Conservatives. It is NOT about Liberals. It is NOT about Progressives. It is NOT about politics. It is about country.

    Uh-huh. Then why does the Patriot list include every big-name conservative pol and pundit (Ann Coulter?) and the Traitors list includes every big-name liberal pol and pundit (Paul Krugman?).

    That’s Conservative Blogosphere for you – only one point of view allowed. What a pathetic heap of lies. Don’t waste your time.

    If you look at the list and realize the voting rules, the only vote is for Stephen Colbert. A fake personality who makes fun of conservatives. I think if you chose to vote, that is the only clear one to go for.

    I’m surprised he is still up there and is gaining votes.

    We could destroy that poll easily.

  • #199 Leigh
    May 30, 2008

    Kseniya #149 — girl, you’ve outdone yourself. That’s a VERY nice line in imaginative vituperation you’re sporting.

    I’m totally copying that and using it sometime when you’re not looking.

  • #200 Ichthyic
    May 30, 2008

    I have another poll we should crash. It’s about voting for you think are true patriots or traitors. Ironically,
    Bush II is listed as a patriot.

    all you can really do there is bump up the republicans on the left, or bump down the democrats on the right.

    crashing that “poll” would have no good effect whatsoever.

    …and spending more than five minutes there is likely to cause the loss of many brain cells.

  • #201 Ichthyic
    May 30, 2008

    the only vote is for Stephen Colbert.

    who they laughingly call: “the conservative counterpoint to John Stewart”

    LOL

    that’s like calling satire the counterpoint to irony.

  • #202 Kseniya
    May 30, 2008

    Leigh (#199)

    Thanks, there is some satisfaction in composing a put-down without relying too heavily on profanity, but honestly I’m not too pleased with myself. Some I get fed up with things like repetitious erroneous drone, or blatant cruelty and abuse… you know what I mean. I always regret ripping into the merely dull, however, as opposed to the malignantly vicious, who actually deserve it. Sigh. I stand by my criticisms of Kenny’s content (such as it is) but I regret being so nasty to him personally. Sorry, Kenny.

  • #203 Leigh
    May 31, 2008

    Kseniya, it’s gracious of you to apologize for shooting the guy who brought a knife to the gun fight.

    Alas, in my experience such people seldom return the favor.

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