Pharyngula

My crimes are being documented

So all these people are coming to my talks, and they’re reporting on me! Scott Hatfield caught my talk at the Berkeley IEDG meeting, and even has video of my conclusion. Geoff Arnold has a discussion of my talk at the Pacific Science Center last night.

One odd (or not so odd) thing. Both of those talks have focused entirely on the process of communicating science; I’m making a case for rhetorical strategies to combat the rising tide of creationist foolishness. They have not been about atheism, and I try to phrase everything as universally applicable to even the most devout scientist — I’m telling scientists to express their passions, get out there and be advocates for good science, and to tell beautiful stories.

And what are most of the questions about? Godlessness. Some people seem confused and even angry about the fact that I do not promote compromise with religion, even when I’m trying to promote tactics that are orthogonal to religious belief, and that if I’m asked about religion, I’m completely honest about the fact that it is indefensible bullshit.

Oh, well. I’m speaking on Friday to the Seattle Skeptics, and everyone will be pleased to know, I’m sure, that that talk begins with an introduction in which I trash the bible before moving on to discuss an example of a beautiful science story. Obviously, I need to embrace my inner atheist.

My mother is also coming to that talk. I hope she doesn’t grab me by the ear afterwards and give me a spanking…that would be so embarrassing.


Uh-oh. I’ve been caught on camera wearing bling and flashing gang signs.

Comments

  1. #1 Blake Stacey
    June 3, 2008

    Weird. When the link’s fixed, the comments vanish. Spooky are the ways of the Interwebs.

  2. #2 Glen Davidson
    June 3, 2008

    It’s not like you don’t have a certain reputation, PZ…

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

  3. #3 antijen
    June 3, 2008

    I enjoyed your talk, thoroughly, PZ, though the acoustics in that room were lousy. I’m not surprised that the questions focused on religion and atheism – it’s what you’re notorious for. Sure scientists should talk to the media and the general public with more enthusiasm and passion. I doubt if you’d find many scientists who disagree with you, even if we’re not particularly good at it. So, those are good tactics, but not controversial. Criticizing religion, now – that will get people’s backs up. Folks who have disagreed with you on that topic will be highly motivated to stand up and ask questions.

  4. #4 Dennis N
    June 3, 2008

    Eww look at the dropping someone left on Monkey Trials:

    Stan said…

    I see PZ more as a promoter of hatred than of science. If one must accompany the other, then ultimately science will choke on the hatred.

    A question. Is science a necessary and sufficient condition for Atheism and the attendant ridicule and personal attacks that Atheism produces? If so, as PZ projects, then science has a very dark side, one to watch very carefully and to afford some fear.

    I believe that science is ill served by PZ. Science is only one way to knowledge, and it is no way at all to wisdom. Atheism – PZ’s main product – is not science, nor is it scientific in the sense of being provable by science. Since science cannot conclusively prove that there exists nothing beyond material existence, it (science) is limited.

    The limitations of science will not be found coming from a source such as PZ. Nor is PZ a source of wisdom. The need to promote science is only a single need within the education community; there are many more, and science is not even a dominant force in the world of human affairs. However, Atheism is.

    As Fred said, “In the sciences and their rampaging child, technology, we are as remarkable as we think we are. Yet it is as if all our mind and heart have focused on these, leaving nothing for other endeavors. Among civilizations we are as specialized as Sparta, an idiot-savant.

    Today “information” is king, having usurped “wisdom” with the sheer power of ubiquity. Science doesn’t need the help so much as rational and critical thinking do. Those and an accurate view of history, how we as a civilization got where we are, the perpetual fallibility of man, and the wisdom that knowledge confers.

  5. #5 Jason Failes
    June 3, 2008

    “A question. Is science a necessary and sufficient condition for Atheism and the attendant ridicule and personal attacks that Atheism produces?”

    There does seem to be a connection between an evidence-based world view and a low tolerance for evidence-free bullshit.

    You’re too mean, PZ. Why can’t you just please the fundamentalists by being more like S J Gould: polite, NOMA-supporting, completely ineffectual at stopping the rise of fundamentalism in America, and dead?

  6. #6 Quasarsphere
    June 3, 2008

    Mate, in the event that your mother does embarrass you like that, you can take comfort in the fact that some people have it even worse!

  7. #7 Jeff Arnold
    June 3, 2008

    I was at the talk last night and really enjoyed it! You know, I was discussing with my friends at the bar afterward how the Q & A had very little to do with the subject of your talk and everyone was harping on atheism.

    I actually found that fairly disappointing as the subject of your lecture was interesting enough on its own to warrant a great disccussion.

  8. #8 Duae Quartunciae
    June 3, 2008

    I saw Scott’s account… and I was really impressed with that simple yet obvious point of fra… f… how to tell people that your subject is worthwhile. I’ve already posted on it at my blog: because it is beautiful. I’ll add a link back to here in a postscript.

    Kudos.

  9. #9 Jeff Arnold
    June 3, 2008

    And who is this Geoff guy with the disturbingly similar name to my own??

  10. #10 wazza
    June 3, 2008

    I’m probably going to get locked away for this, but there are times, reading the defenders of the omnipotent, that I seriously want to lay about me with a wet haddock.

  11. #11 wazza
    June 3, 2008

    Oh, and when atheists are “reasonable” (read: meekly accept everything dealt out by the religious and intolerant, and then make a point of saying that we’re probably wrong and that their views are just great and don’t result in anything bad at all) in defense of their views, they get ignored or called closet christians.

    So keep in breathing fire, PZ.

  12. #12 Dennis N
    June 3, 2008

    I’ll do my best to break down teh st00pidz from my earlier post that hurt me the most.

    A question. Is science a necessary and sufficient condition for Atheism and the attendant ridicule and personal attacks that Atheism produces? If so, as PZ projects, then science has a very dark side, one to watch very carefully and to afford some fear.

    Clearly this person already distrusts science. You can smell the loony a mile away. First, no, it’s not necessary OR sufficient. Atheism stands on it’s own and has been around since we evolved brains. Second, Atheism does not produce ridicule or personal attacks. People do. As an aside, atheism is much less effective as disassociating people into in-groups than religion any way you look at it.

    I believe that science is ill served by PZ. Science is only one way to knowledge, and it is no way at all to wisdom. Atheism – PZ’s main product – is not science, nor is it scientific in the sense of being provable by science. Since science cannot conclusively prove that there exists nothing beyond material existence, it (science) is limited.

    Science is only one (the most effective, also) way to knowledge and wisdom. There’s no reason it can’t arrive at wisdom. Either way, he unspoken false dichotomy here is that if science fails, you gotta trust in religion. Stan forgets philosophy and art and music and socialization. This is a further clue that Stan is an unbalance theist without any scope of the world.

    I can agree science is limited to material existence. But Stan is assuming without any reason that there IS more to existence. What is this based on? In the end, Stan is saying that science is limited to everything we know and have ever known. I’m ok with that.

    science is not even a dominant force in the world of human affairs. However, Atheism is.

    This one just hurts the brain. Science is one of the most dominant forces on the planet. I’m not even gonna take the time to address that, it’s almost a given. I’m flattered that Stan thinks atheism (why does he capitalize it?) is a dominant force. But I don’t see it. What is atheism doing on the world stage? Another clue that Stan thinks atheism is a grand threat to his religious worldview.

    As Fred said, “In the sciences and their rampaging child, technology, we are as remarkable as we think we are. Yet it is as if all our mind and heart have focused on these, leaving nothing for other endeavors. Among civilizations we are as specialized as Sparta, an idiot-savant.

    I don’t see this backed up. So we don’t produce art, music, literature, or philosophy? Or are you saying we’re just less religious? I don’t think the whole of our culture is focused on producing new technologies.

    Today “information” is king, having usurped “wisdom” with the sheer power of ubiquity. Science doesn’t need the help so much as rational and critical thinking do. Those and an accurate view of history, how we as a civilization got where we are, the perpetual fallibility of man, and the wisdom that knowledge confers.

    Explain the difference between information and wisdom. If not by science, how else will we learn an accurate view of history, the birth of civilization, and more knowledge? Science is it.

  13. #13 Aaron Boruff
    June 3, 2008

    Damn! I missed the talk at the Pacific Science Center. Thanks for posting the link to discussion of it!

  14. #14 Patricia C.
    June 3, 2008

    Good for you PZ! There isn’t any chance for compromise with the fundies. Why should we? They are batshit crazy. You can’t even get away from them by staying home. They pound on your door! Come out of the grocery store and there they are putting stickers on your car.
    If I was your mom I’d be proud of your courage. :)

  15. #15 Aaron Boruff
    June 3, 2008

    PS:

    Coincidentally, Carl Zimmer is at the Seattle Town Hall tonight.

  16. #16 amphiox
    June 3, 2008

    I’ve always considered religion to be a subset of philosophy. People only grant it a separate category because of habit, preference, and ubiquity. Just an exercise in vanity, really, like trying to say that humans should be considered as a distinct category from all the other great apes just because there are several billion of us and only a few hundred thousand of them.

  17. #17 Jason J Brunet
    June 3, 2008

    I loved the talk! The pub was a bit too noisy for my taste, though, but I guess that’s just how it goes.

    I very briefly summarized PZ’s talk on my site, but I really like the picture we took together. I got PZ to flash a gang sign: http://jeffthefish.com/2008/06/03/pz-myers-will-meet-you-at-village-inn/

    Thanks for being a good sport. It occurred to me that for all you knew, I could have been asking you to flash a creationist gang sign for an upcoming documentary…

    Also, PZ, I wanted to mention that if you have time you should visit the Seattle Aquarium. They temporarily have on exhibit a tiny red octopus, whose tank is right next to the giant pacific octo tank. He’s so tiny HE LIVES IN A BARNACLE! And if you go on Sunday, I’ll be volunteering there.

    Amen.

  18. #18 Alex
    June 3, 2008

    Anytime a religion is critically challenged to provide substance to its claims, they complain of persecution. A complete double standard. They insist from science actual video footage of whale evolution, but can’t even back the most straight forward of their claims without ultimately relying on belief. All they have are appeals to emotion and gobs of circular rhetoric. Pathetic.

    PZ and anyone afforded a voice and a spotlight should call them out on their bullshit at every turn – politely, sure fine. But always direct and specific. And always bear fangs the moment they start using deceit and dishonesty – which they always do in a debate setting.

  19. #19 Duae Quartunciae
    June 3, 2008

    Nice pic, Jason of jeffthefish, (comment #17). You have indeed outbearded PZ. But the bling! The BLING!!

    PZ, you are the man.

  20. #20 Josh West
    June 3, 2008

    “Today “information” is king, having usurped “wisdom” with the sheer power of ubiquity.”

    What exactly is ‘wisdom’ anyway? How is it different from intelligence? Unless you are talking about D&D or final Fantasy, its a meaningless sound byte.

  21. #21 Jason J Brunet
    June 3, 2008

    Did PZ bring his own bling or did Minion Hat Guy bring it?

    Oh oh oh, before I forget…Hat Guy (sorry, I don’t know your name) asked about resources for teenagers. There is a teenage girl in Denver who blogs about science stuff: http://splendidelles.wordpress.com/

    She is amazingly intelligent.

  22. #22 Dave
    June 3, 2008

    I think PZ, in the video clip, hit the nail exactly on the head when he noted that the average taxpayer, who actually pays for science, thinks what most scientists do is a waste of money. Granted, most tax revenues go toward military and social programs, but still it’s true that the average taxpayer kicks a couple hundred bucks into NIH and NSF every year. And PZ also hit the nail on the head when he noted that as a result of the need for scientists to increasingly justify what they do, the hype is getting out of control. This is bad for two reasons: 1) The public, conditioned to expect that every scientist is curing cancer, is inevitably disappointed when they learn the truth. 2) Typical hype for basic science often leads to inadvertently teleological descriptions. And here is where I think PZ’s argument for inherent beauty in nature might not work so well (with apologies in advance, since I obviously didn’t see his entire talk). I personally have learned to avoid talking about inherent beauty and admirable molecular arrangements, because it can be misleading. The catalyst for this was an interview I did for some work wherein I described a particular molecular arrangement as being particularly well-suited for it’s apparent purpose. These statements were actually twisted into a creationist argument and posted on several creationist websites. The particularly sad thing was: The proteins I was talking about were actually great examples of co-opted function paralleling roles seen in other cell types, and thus actually wonderful examples of how apparently masterful design can arise through simple evolutionary means. But the mistake was made, and I lost my chance to truly educate. So while i applaud what PZ said, I’m not sure we want to rest our argument for science on the inherent beauty of nature. Rather, I think perhaps the best approach is to go back to the old exploration analogy. Remind people that Columbus failed to find a short route to the spice islands, but America turned out to be useful anyway. So maybe we don’t always see the point of basic science right now, but history has taught us nonetheless that the best discoveries are most often made in the unlikeliest of places. NSF recognizes this better than NIH. And the one reasonable thing the Bush administration has done is push to increase NSF funding. But NIH is an easier sell.

  23. #23 Andreas Johansson
    June 3, 2008

    I’ve always considered religion to be a subset of philosophy. People only grant it a separate category because of habit, preference, and ubiquity.

    Nah. They do it because philosophy is commonly understood to be a purely intellectual affair, while religion, even theology-obsessed ones like Christianity, to a great extent are about ritual and social identity.

  24. #24 Richard Moore
    June 3, 2008

    Before PZ’s Berkeley talk, when we were visiting the NCSE, I spoke to Eugenie Scott about how we struggled over adding the word atheism to CVAAS (Central Valley Alliance of Atheists and Skeptics). She suggested it would prove to be a negative (hurting membership/fundraising etc).

    So far the evidence is mixed. A group in Modesto dropped the “A” word calling themselves CVS (Central Valley Skeptics), but has not been building membership as fast as CVAAS. (This could be due to other factors such as community size), but I have noticed that most of our membership issues have not been over atheism but skepticism. It is our criticism of homeopathy, ghost hunting, and ESP that has diminished our membership roles, not anti-theism. In fact, if I bring up Dawkins or Harris I get mild disagreement, but mention James Randi and people go ballistic.

    It is my theory that for the public at large (not the scientific community), atheism is seen as an aberration, correctable by a good round of “churching”, but skepticism attacks religious nonsense at the very core.

  25. #25 Will E.
    June 3, 2008

    Haven’t studies been done that show college-educated left-leaning people who subscribe to no religion are more likely to be adherents of, or less skeptical of, New Age woo? I know several folks in my own social circle (very much college-educated & left-leaning) who, while certainly skeptical of most if not all *religious* claims, have no problem with widely debunked alternative medicine practices. It kinda breaks my heart to agree about atheism with these folks, then they turn around and talk of homeopathic remedies, toxic cleansing, and repeat various urban legends.

  26. #26 uknesvuinng
    June 3, 2008

    I just wish people would stop treating atheism like it was some kind of philosophy or belief system. There’s literally nothing to atheism, and it’s only notable because it particularly lacks one thing (a belief in gods). I get why they do it though. To identify people by what they are runs the risk of understanding and possibly identifying with them, maybe even accepting them. But if you keep harping on how they aren’t “one of us” as if that’s their identity, then it plays into the tribalism tendencies of humanity. I just wish people would stop doing it, already.

    I also wish I had a pony and a plastic rocket.

  27. #27 Virgil Samms
    June 3, 2008

    Alleged atheist video game features prophet-hunting
    Oddly, neither the name of the game nor the name of the author are mentioned.

  28. #28 Geoff Arnold
    June 3, 2008

    Well, Jeff, you can see who I am from my blog link. I’ve been an atheist for 50 years, and a net atheist for almost 20 years. But who are YOU?

  29. #29 intelekshual
    June 3, 2008

    There did seem to be a bit of a disconnect between the talk and the questions, which could be related to the difficulties some people seem to have had listening for comprehension.

    I would have liked to see more discussion on the points PZ touched on regarding the need for scientists to deal with the problem of image in the public eye that they face.

  30. #30 raven
    June 3, 2008

    Before PZ’s Berkeley talk, when we were visiting the NCSE, I spoke to Eugenie Scott about how we struggled over adding the word atheism to CVAAS (Central Valley Alliance of Atheists and Skeptics). She suggested it would prove to be a negative (hurting membership/fundraising etc).

    Seems like you have made a strategic error. You have split your forces and are fighting too many battles on too many fronts.

    Humans almost always find something irrational or unsupported to believe in. Quack medicine, 9/11 conspiracies, creationism, anti globabl warming, perpetual motion, George Bush is not a moron, creationism etc.. And if you call them on it, it doesn’t work since by their reasoning, for example, mainstream medicine is fake and can’t cure everything. There is even an element of truth in it, modern medicine catn’t cure everything by any stretch of the imagination.

    I can’t get too worked up by people who believe in Bigfoot, UFOs, or ESP. They aren’t trying to overthrow the government or assasinating docs and scientists while trying to sneak their “theories” into our kid’s science classes. Need to pick your battles carefully.

    The fundie creos aren’t hiding anything. They want to destroy our society and they have made a good start.

  31. #31 Jeff
    June 3, 2008

    #24

    The term Free Thinker might attract a wider audience.
    CVAFT

    Too bad you need to market the truth…

  32. #32 Scytale
    June 3, 2008

    My friend and I caught your lecture/Q&A at the Seattle Centre last night and listened in at the pub afterwards. We were very pleased to have been able to attend.

    Thank you for making the effort and I hope to catch your lectures in person more often.

  33. #33 raven
    June 3, 2008

    Stan said:

    [Meaningless words deleted]

    If so, as PZ projects, then science has a very dark side, one to watch very carefully and to afford some fear.

    Stan is too lightweight a thinker. Fundie Xianity doesn’t have a Dark Side. It is the Dark Side. Forcing people to believe that irrefutable facts such as evolution or the Big Bang are wrong means it is based on pretending that primitive mythology is scientific truth. In other words based on lies.

    Most Xian denominations made their peace with science decades ago and moved on. The fundies only hope of winning is to destroy our civilization. While that solves one problem it produces another. Just about everyone is going to hate living in a new Dark Age and if they figure out who caused that, the fundies are toast.

  34. I was at the talk last night and I found it interesting. I think I may have been one of only two creationists that raised a hand. I was hoping someone there would want to practice their debate skills with me but no one talked to me. I’m timid so I didn’t talk to anyone either. I will be blogging my analysis of talk on my blog after work.

  35. #35 Joe Felsenstein
    June 3, 2008

    I was at the talk and asked one of those questions. The issue is not whether atheists should stop advocating for their views. It is whether, in his arguments against creationism, PZ is saying that if you support evolution you have to be an atheist. When thousands of churches across the country hold pro-evolution events, does PZ welcome this? Do we tell my friends who are Quakers and who are fine with evolution that they ought not join in efforts to oppose fundamentalism because they themselves are a bunch of religious fanatics? That may work to recruit a few people to atheism, but it sure is a suicidal approach to fighting creationism when about half of Christians (and most Jews and most Bhuddists etc.) support evolution. Telling them they’re not welcome in the movement against creationism until they choose between science and religion is not helpful. And since the issue is what you say when you oppose creationism, raising the issue is not out of place at a talk by PZ on communicating science.

  36. #36 Josh West
    June 3, 2008

    Off-Topic Alert

    http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1811307,00.html?cnn=yes

    Neat article, was wondering if anyone in that field might have
    more info on the subject.

  37. #37 Dennis N
    June 3, 2008

    I don’t think PZ is saying to support evolution you must be an atheist. I think he is saying that for him to support a cause, it must not be religious in nature. It is in line with his feeling that science and religion don’t mix.

  38. #38 Interrobang
    June 3, 2008

    Duae Quartunciae busted you, PeeZed. You’re good at that stuff whether you admit it or not.

    Back off, man. Don’t make me deconstruct your writing!

    What I can’t get over is how much the other person in the photograph at the “bling” link (that may be the first time I’ve ever typed the word “bling,” for what it’s worth; I feel dirty) looks like a younger, chubbier clone from the Master Pharynguloid Cell…

  39. #39 intelekshual
    June 3, 2008

    I don’t know if I’d say that it’s out of place to raise the question of theistic evolutionists at a PZ lecture, I think I’d say, instead, that it is somewhat silly. The Q&A format isn’t one set up for effective debate, and since I believe his stance on religion and science is fairly well known, it strikes me as just asking a question you know the answer to already. I’m not sure what the point it…

  40. #40 Ed Darrell
    June 3, 2008

    You don’t promote compromise between science and religion?

    Good on you! The only compromise ever asked is a compromise with the truth, a compromise on ethics.

    Wouldn’t that be a sin, to a religious person? (Yeah, like me.)

    Compromise? What would be left, then, just dickering about the price?

  41. #41 mxracer652
    June 3, 2008

    No one pointed this out yet, but The Shocker?

    Why, PZ, why?

    Use the corna next time.

  42. #42 Nicholas
    June 3, 2008

    A quest for the truth is always going to be a difficult thing since we, none of us, see eye to eye for very long.
    Even science has not escaped human corruption.

    Yet all and all, the atheistic way has more immediate merrit to a newcomer to the idea of religion and science having a go at each other, in fact I am as much a newcomer to the idea of religion and politics being at ends as I am to theism and atheism.

    Before you riddicule me, yes I do come from the middle of nowhere. I have never been part of this type of discussion.

    I think PZ is very millitant but I agree with most of what he says, I do not live in America and I dont know your theists, I have seen bits of the creationists and the id principle and I agree it seems a little like fairy tales.

    I find most religious texts cute and with moral lessons if read in a symbolic way, and I dont see man abusing religion any more than politics where I come from.

    At first I was surprised to hear people dont believe in God, then I realised that the definition of God becomes very nessesary before you can decide if God exists or not.

    I think the existence of a ALMIGHTY God is something no one can make a statement on, we know too little. I think the human coruption alone is a problem before we even look at things like politics, religion, fundamentalism and fanaticism all wrapped up in one. This is deffinitely something to be scared of.

    But then I see atheism also becoming a strong and numbered movement with prominent leaders speaking to large numbers of people, and I wonder if these speakers are above corruption and the need to manipulate the masses to their own needs.

    I have seen this and I wonder about it because it has reached even the back waters of this planet I live in.

    Keep up the good work PZ, but remember to set an example you would be proud of as if you would be able to see the true effect of your actions long after your demise.

  43. #43 Scott Hatfield
    June 3, 2008

    And what are most of the questions about? Godlessness. Some people seem confused and even angry about the fact that I do not promote compromise with religion, even when I’m trying to promote tactics that are orthogonal to religious belief, and that if I’m asked about religion, I’m completely honest about the fact that it is indefensible bullshit.

    I have to admit to having a smile on my face at that one, PZ. The fact is that in your Berkeley talk you went out of your way to avoid ‘the A word’. Your talk was narrowly focused on how to effectively promote science in a popular culture that is increasingly anti-science. Sure, you referenced creationism, but that was it. It was a very positive talk, that any one who didn’t have ideological goggles on would’ve perceived as unifying and positive.

    But what did you get? You got questions about whether or not Ken Miller, rather than you or Dr. Dawkins, is a better messenger. I could sense that you were a bit taken aback, and that you tried to respond in a very measured and gracious way. I think your response was spot-on, and of course (defensible or otherwise) our privately-held views on religion are not the stuff around which we can reasonably rally the troops. The key thing is to resist attempts to substitute faith-based arguments for scientific evidence.

  44. #44 Richard Moore
    June 3, 2008

    …Seems like you have made a strategic error. You have split your forces and are fighting too many battles on too many fronts.

    You may be right, and we have discussed this. The decision to combine atheism and skepticism was a pragmatic one, back when we first started, in an attempt to bring in as many members as possible. We never anticipated skepticism would be the issue.

    …The term Free Thinker might attract a wider audience.

    That was CVAAS 0.1 and it died due to lack of interest. What in the hell is a freethinker anyway? You need terms people google.

    I am really baffled by this. Atheism is attacked constantly, with elaborate proofs and such, all over the web, but skepticism is not (in general). I think skepticism is much more dangerous to theism than atheism, as it actively implies that theistic theories are, one by one, incorrect. But in personal discussions, atheism in rather benign, while skepticism will quickly remove you from the invite list.

  45. #45 JohnB
    June 3, 2008

    From post #17: “He’s so tiny HE LIVES IN A BARNACLE!”

    Sing it with me now:

    Oh, who lives in a barnacle under the sea?
    “Tiny red octopus!”
    Eight-armed, scarlet, and spineless is he
    “Tiny red octopus!”…

  46. #46 Mooser, Bummertown
    June 3, 2008

    that talk begins with an introduction in which I trash the bible

    Will you be using it for target practice? Or flushing it down a toilet? Without the fervor of heavenly belief, you’ll never be a good trasher of scriptures.

  47. #47 Jason J Brunet
    June 3, 2008

    @mxracer (#41):

    “No one pointed this out yet, but The Shocker?

    Why, PZ, why?

    Use the corna next time.”

    No!! It’s not the shocker! It’s “V.I.” for “Village Inn”!

  48. #48 James F
    June 3, 2008

    #22
    Dave,
    Those are excellent points. I also worry that emphasis on the beauty of science can be conflated with design arguments (or worse, the crackpot claim that evolution is a religion), but I think that a dual focus on the potential utility and inherent elegance of basic science research – tailored to the audience – is very powerful. Interestingly, this also reminds me of Randy Olson’s “don’t be such a scientist!” plea, getting at what our motivations are (apart from saving the world and winning the Nobel Prize, of course).

  49. #49 JJR
    June 3, 2008

    Joe @ #35 says:

    “Telling them they’re not welcome in the movement against creationism until they choose between science and religion is not helpful.”

    PZ has not done this, you’re putting words in his mouth.

    Rather, I read his position as being “It’s great that some theists want to support the study & teaching of evolution, but don’t think I’m going to stop/mute my criticism of all religion in other forums…”

    Theistic evolution supporters, you’re welcome aboard to defend Science standards against fundie encroachment, but don’t expect us anti-clerical atheists to SIT DOWN AND SHUT UP just to get your cooperation on this one issue.
    WE wouldn’t ask that of you, either.

  50. #50 Richard Moore
    June 3, 2008

    Do we tell my friends who are Quakers and who are fine with evolution that they ought not join in efforts to oppose fundamentalism because they themselves are a bunch of religious fanatics?

    Is all support welcome? I wonder how the Jews in Israel feel about the rabid support of Christian fundamentalists for the Jewish state, given that the fundamentalists feel that the rise and fall of the Jewish state is necessary for their salvation.

    I know I am paranoid, but when Christians hold out the hand of evolutionary friendship, I worry about what they are hiding in the other.

  51. #51 PZ Myers
    June 3, 2008

    Well, I think my position was fairly clear by what I left out: I was making a case for better promotion of science without mentioning atheism, so I think it should be obvious that we can do that. However, if atheism is discussed, I am not going to soft-pedal my position at all — that would be intellectually dishonest.

    And sure, it’s fair game to ask me questions like that, especially because of my reputation. I’m just thinkng that maybe it would be good for me to develop my arguments a little more fully in the lecture itself, because responding to questions is often so ad hoc…and you can’t follow through with too much detail without shortchanging the other people who have questions.

    As for the religious supporting good science — I am all for it, unless it comes with this unfortunate demand (and it always does) that getting their participation means the damned atheists better shut up. Their support isn’t worth much and is deeply insincere if they’re going to run away because us obnoxious freethinkers ask hard questions and say rude things about their superstitions. Do we know of any atheists who announce that their support for science is conditional on the kindness and generosity of theistic evolutionists? Do we even care about the opinions of such people, let alone allow their delusions to dictate how we will think about science?

  52. #52 Stan Ferguson
    June 3, 2008

    Oh man. Someone used my name to defend religion (I thought I was the only Stan in the universe–besides my dad…and Stan Lee).

    Anyway, this is being corrected now. Not that I’ve posted much in the past–as I am new here; but I’d hate for any confusion to live on.

  53. #53 thalarctos
    June 3, 2008

    No!! It’s not the shocker! It’s “V.I.” for “Village Inn”!

    Convergent evolution, anyone?

  54. #54 E in MD
    June 3, 2008

    Hang religion.

    A person’s religion should be between them and their invisible sky faerie of choice.

    That being said, why would you give a rats ass what any one particular delusion or another had to say about science? You’re not there to promote their delusions you’re there to promote good science and communication. The fact that they’re trying to force these arguments on you regardless of your actual purpose seems to indicate that you frighten them so they’re trying to shift the focus away from your topic to something that makes them feel warm and fuzzy.

    PZ, stop making the invisible purple unicorns cry!

  55. #55 Alex
    June 3, 2008

    It’s all they can do to make themselves and their delusions relevant. They understand very well that the scientific method – which actually works – has no need for belief systems, dogmas, or magic. That’s why ID wanted to actually change the definition of science.

    They are kicking and screaming for relevance. They should be denied every time.

  56. #56 Wicked Lad
    June 3, 2008

    What’s with the backward dollar sign, PZ? Is that some sort of protest?

  57. #57 Graculus
    June 3, 2008

    Haven’t studies been done that show college-educated left-leaning people who subscribe to no religion are more likely to be adherents of, or less skeptical of, New Age woo

    You have to cherry pick your woo to get that result. The right-wing sites are full of water-woo, techno-woo, Bible-oo and tinfoil. I’d say that in general the right wing is actually more prone to woo, it’s just not “NewAge” (rhymes with “sewage”) woo.

  58. #58 qbsmd
    June 3, 2008

    Dennis N, #12

    atheism (why does he capitalize it?)

    It’s a form of christian “turning the other cheek”; when we refuse to capitalize the name of their religion (as in this sentence), it is perceived as an insult, so their response is to try to be extra respectful of atheism.

  59. #59 Ann
    June 3, 2008

    Thanks for the interesting lecture, Prof. PZ! I was a little dismayed to watch the Q&A session turn into a discussion about atheism/religion, so I asked instead about current disagreements within the scientific community. Yay science!

  60. #60 Vince
    June 3, 2008

    Religions, supportive of science and evolution or not, are just so annoying. My favorite solution is to ignore them. Not always possible however.

    PZ, this statement from you hits the nail on the head for improving science education. “– I’m telling scientists to express their passions, get out there and be advocates for good science, and to tell beautiful stories.” Just add “and get the kids involved in learning science by doing science.”

    That’s it – be passionate about science, tell good stories, and get the kids involved.

    That’s how to improve science education. Too bad most of the teacher prep programs don’t get it. The best science teachers are left to learn this on their own. College professors too.

    Yes, I’m a retired science teacher. In October I will be speaking to the Central New York Skeptics (Syracuse NY) on teaching evolution to middle level students. They are expecting prospective science teachers in the audience. I’ll just have to use PZ’s quote. Credited, of course.

  61. #61 mcmillan
    June 3, 2008

    It was great having dinner and seeing you speak last night. I was glad FOSEP was able to be involved, just a little disappointed I didn’t have much a chance to chat afterward with you being swarmed by admirers and me getting into an interesting discussion with Geoff. I agree with others that is was kind of interesting how the questions veered into atheism even though the actual talk had such a different focus, though I guess it wasn’t that surprising.

    I had wanted to ask PZ if he had any specific thoughts on ways that scientists should become better advocates for their views. It seems lots of people are saying this is a good idea, but I haven’t seen much actually coming together. For any other Seattlites that want to hear more about this aspect, FOSEP is sponsoring a seminar later today on the UW campus, more info on the FOSEP website linked in my name. (I figure I can make up for not plugging FOSEP last night by doing it here instead:) )

  62. #62 Freddie
    June 3, 2008

    PZ,

    I didn’t get to ask this last night at the lecture, so I’ll throw it out now.

    On your list of things scientists should be doing, you listed “argue, argue, argue”. I love arguing, and find it a great way to discern what people really think. The problem is, arguing can often be a non-starter for good discussions.

    For example, my friends love to talk about things they hear or read in the news. Some people just like to hear themselves tell stories rather than discuss the content. When I ask questions about the content or the sources, or alternate ideas, often said storyteller will become frustrated and lose interest in talking about it anymore. It’s a real bummer. I was only trying to take interest in the story!

    Since many people get their info from short news blurbs, television, and blogs, (many of which are more for shock or entertainment value) how do we promote critical thinking and arguing if most people don’t have much real knowledge about many of the things we are trying to argue about?

    Are we turning into a society of generalists, only scratching the surface of the things we choose to talk about?

  63. #63 qbsmd
    June 3, 2008

    As for the religious supporting good science — I am all for it, unless it comes with this unfortunate demand (and it always does) that getting their participation means the damned atheists better shut up.

    Who is this referring to? Can someone provide a sample?

  64. #64 Kenny
    June 3, 2008

    >I’m completely honest about the fact that it is
    >indefensible bullshit.

    Dr. Myers I want proof. You sound more and more like a Nazi every day.

    At the end of the day it comes down to the very question does God exist and is there an after life?

    At this point I have too much proof and I cannot fit it on this forum. It would be too much to post.

    I will probably have to turn it into a web page.

    I think it is okay to be an Atheist, but it is not fine to use science to promote your world view.

    I do not think you know everything there is to know. There should be a division between science and your world view.

    You just say someone is stupid and write them off because you do not agree with them and without any evidence and then you try to promote your atheism using science.

    What’s next? All Jews and Christians must die because they teach ignorance? Yeah you have a lot in common with Hitler.

    Science is a great tool, it doesn’t need to promote your ignorance and your nonsense. I think that is why some scientists are a little upset.

    It is great to promote science, it is not great to promote ignorance.

    Science is already coming around with proof that other dimensions exist and there is research being done (objectivly) about dying.

    When you promote ignorance you take science back into a very limited mindset and you are no longer objective. Being objective is the entire heart of science, without that your research is useless.

    There is a reason that a ton of people (even scientists) do not respect you. You just keep digging that hole.

  65. #65 SC
    June 3, 2008

    I will probably have to turn it into a web page.

    Oh, please do. I’m not ashamed to say that would give me a real lift. Please turn it into a web page and link to it here.

  66. #66 Freddie
    June 3, 2008

    sheesh, just when I post an innocent question related to the topic of PZ’s lecture, this pile of garbage lands right after me.

    Hopefully we can just ignore posts like this…

  67. #67 Dennis N
    June 3, 2008

    What’s next? All Jews and Christians must die because they teach ignorance? Yeah you have a lot in common with Hitler.

    No, kenny, we don’t follow religious logic, so that wouldn’t be anything we call for. I don’t even have the energy to deal with the rest of your crap. A new website about NDEs? Will they cover Muslim NDEs?

    At the end of the day it comes down to the very question does God exist and is there an after life?

    No and no. But you want there to be, so you’ll believe whatever is fed to you to support it.

  68. #68 just pretending to be MAJeff, OM
    June 3, 2008

    blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
    (“near-death experiences” as “evidence”)
    blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
    (atheists want to kill christioans)
    blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah

  69. #69 MAJeff, OM
    June 3, 2008

    Posted by: Kenny | June 3, 2008 4:25 PM

    Please do form a web page. Then maybe you’ll shut the fuck up and leave us alone with your lying bigoted fairy tale nonsense. Begone fuckwit.

  70. #70 qbsmd
    June 3, 2008

    Kenny, #64,

    At this point I have too much proof and I cannot fit it on this forum. It would be too much to post.

    If you leave off all references to the bible, the argument from design, any unmoved mover crap, any mention of Pascal’s Wager, and the Argument from Temporal Lobe Seizure, will what you have left still be too large to post?

  71. #71 SC
    June 3, 2008

    raven @ #30,

    I wish I could be as unconcerned as you about non-religious woo. Reading Orac’s and ERV’s posts lately, though, has me thinking that some of these people represent a real danger. But I’m not sure.

    Richard Moore’s story is worrisome. I hate to give in to our East-coast stereotypes, but do you think it could be a California thing?

  72. #72 Zeno
    June 3, 2008

    At this point I have too much proof and I cannot fit it on this forum.

    Betcha Kenny also has an elementary proof of Fermat’s last theorem, but this forum is too narrow to contain it.

  73. #73 windy
    June 3, 2008

    At this point I have too much proof and I cannot fit it on this forum. It would be too much to post.

    Kenny, I love you. Will you have hot monkey sex with me?

  74. #74 Janine ID
    June 3, 2008

    Dr. Myers I want proof. You sound more and more like a Nazi every day.

    Kenny, you are no longer worthy of being laughed at. You are a sad, stupid and paranoid little dweeb. It seems that the only way you can make yourself feel like a human being is by imagining that all of us here want to murder you.

    Please go start your website with your “too much proof” and lay out everything. It will be good for you and it will be even better for the rest of us.

    Also, seek out therapy. There has to be a reason why you think atheist/nazis are hiding around the corner, out to get you.

  75. #75 Kermit
    June 3, 2008

    Kenny@64:
    “Dr. Myers I want proof. You sound more and more like a Nazi every day.”

    How so? Are you aware that saying “a belief in X is unsubstantiated” is different from saying that “people who believe in X should be killed”?

    “At the end of the day it comes down to the very question does God exist and is there an after life?”

    I thought the question was, is the world the dream of Brahma and we are all the King of Gods? Or maybe it was, is this a computer simulation, and we are all subroutines? Or was it, is there or isn’t there a Wheel of Rebirth? There are just so many darn questions… and none of them can be refuted or supported by the evidence.

    “At this point I have too much proof and I cannot fit it on this forum. It would be too much to post.”

    So provide a link.

    “I will probably have to turn it into a web page.”

    Kewl. You’ll be the first to provide proof in over 2500 years of trying.

    “I think it is okay to be an Atheist, but it is not fine to use science to promote your world view.”

    Did Prof. Myers support his stance with science? There. Is. No. Evidence. For. Gods. I mean no disrespect for that, but there isn’t. You don’t need science to notice that.

    “I do not think you know everything there is to know. There should be a division between science and your world view.”

    Scientists are typically acutely aware that they don’t know everything. But they want to know more, so they find out stuff.

    And if, like me, you think that assertions backed by verifiable evidence are the most reliable, science cannot be separated from one’s world view. Can you separate your religion from your worldview?

    “You just say someone is stupid and write them off because you do not agree with them and without any evidence and then you try to promote your atheism using science.”

    I’ll speak for myself: I sometimes run out of patience when someone insists “X is true” but offer no evidence, *and* they demand that I act on their belief.

    “What’s next? All Jews and Christians must die because they teach ignorance? Yeah you have a lot in common with Hitler.”

    I missed the part where PZ said that. Could you provide a link? Let me quote him: “My talks [...] have not been about atheism, and I try to phrase everything as universally applicable to even the most devout scientist — I’m telling scientists to express their passions, get out there and be advocates for good science, and to tell beautiful stories.”

    “Science is a great tool, it doesn’t need to promote your ignorance and your nonsense. I think that is why some scientists are a little upset.”

    In what way is scientific research promoting ignorance? IT seems to be Creationists who tell folks to stop investigating. ‘God said it and I believe it and that settles it!’

    “It is great to promote science, it is not great to promote ignorance.”

    We agree. If you mean it.

    “Science is already coming around with proof that other dimensions exist and there is research being done (objectivly) about dying.”

    Other dimensions are not Heaven.

    And the real research on dying does not suggest in any way that there is an afterlife, if that is what you are implying.

    “When you promote ignorance you take science back into a very limited mindset and you are no longer objective. Being objective is the entire heart of science, without that your research is useless.”

    So, where’s the objective evidence there are gods?

    “There is a reason that a ton of people (even scientists) do not respect you. You just keep digging that hole.”

    I respect him. If I were only respected by members of the reality-based community, I would be quite pleased with myself.

  76. #76 Kitty
    June 3, 2008

    I think Mae West must have met Kenny!

    As she said :

    “His mother should have thrown him away and kept the stork.”

  77. #77 Janine ID
    June 3, 2008

    Perhaps Brenda can pop up and explain how we all are biased against Kenny and how wrong and naughty we all are.

    Kenny wins the board!

  78. #78 Eric
    June 3, 2008

    Uknesvuinng, post #26 said:

    I just wish people would stop treating atheism like it was some kind of philosophy or belief system. There’s literally nothing to atheism

    Um, beg to differ, but yes there is. It’s the difference between methodological naturalism and philosophical naturalism. Atheism is a positive statement of belief that nothing non-empirical objectively exists (though if you want to slightly redefine that I’m not going to quibble over the words).

    In contrast, methodological naturalism makes the much smaller claim that science can only study physical things, and is essentially neutral, useless, or non-judgemental (however you want to phrase it) when it comes to metaphysics. At the risk of mischaracterizing my betters, PZ is an atheist, in contrast Ken Miller is a methodological naturalist.

    A more contentious way of phrasing the difference is to say: methodological naturalists think science is great way of getting useful knowledge about life, the universe, and everything. Philosophical naturalists (i.e. Atheists) think it’s the only way.

    Now, if you mean does atheism imply some specific morality or belief about the meaning of life or whatever, then no, its not that sort of philosophy. But it does have metaphysical baggage in that it makes a strong claim that nothing purely metaphysical exists in any objective sense.

  79. #79 Kenny
    June 3, 2008

    >Kenny, you are no longer worthy of being laughed at. You
    >are a sad, stupid and paranoid little dweeb. It seems that
    >the only way you can make yourself feel like a human being
    >is by imagining that all of us here want to murder you.

    I am sad and stupid and yet you can’t use common sense?
    Well Dr. Myers (blah forget the Dr. part, he doesn’t deserve it). Myers basically writes like he wants to get rid of religion and his lack of compassion with people is astouding. His lack of moral compass is downright disgusting.

    How can a person be intelligent when he is not objective nor reasonable?

    Look, I will be honest here. For the most part an Agnostic is more intelligent than an Atheist. At least they don’t see the world as black and white based on their views of science and God.

    >Please go start your website with your “too much proof”
    >and lay out everything. It will be good for you and it
    >will be even better for the rest of us.

    So what you are really saying is that you don’t care about proof that God exists or not. You would rather be ignorant because you don’t care and thus you are denying God.

    Well, that is your choice of course. You might want to change your mind before you die. That is just a little hint.

    Also don’t try to put people down who do believe in something and embrace it. Okay?

  80. #80 MAJeff, OM
    June 3, 2008

    Posted by: Kenny | June 3, 2008 5:08 PM?

    blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah

    more useless bullshit

    blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah

    paranoid fantasy

    blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah

    Insults he’s too stupid to understand are insults

    blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah

    passive aggressive bullshit

    blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah

    Pascal’s wager bullshit

    blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah

  81. #81 Lledowyn
    June 3, 2008

    I’m a little skeptical about that picture. Where are the demonic red eyes, the blood stained fangs, and the tentacles? ;-)

  82. #82 thalarctos
    June 3, 2008

    Dr. Myers (blah forget the Dr. part, he doesn’t deserve it)

    Really, this is the most fascinating concept I’ve seen yet among the entirety of Kenny’s exudate: A professor who doesn’t deserve the doctorate he’s earned?

    Who does deserve a doctorate, Kenny? I earned a doctorate; do I deserve it? MAJeff is finishing his doctorate; does he deserve it? And all the other commenters here with degrees–who deserves their earned doctorates, and who does not?

    Perhaps you could elaborate a bit more on this, Kenny, and even publish your standards. It would certainly save a lot of graduate students the trouble and expense of pursuing degrees they do not deserve.

    I can’t wait to hear your criteria.

  83. #83 Coriolis
    June 3, 2008

    Freddie, I think what you’re pointing out is an undeniable fact, few people really like to argue or have their views challenged. I don’t know that there’s much to be done about it. Although I have to mention as a 1st generation immigrant that Americans do seem to be less inclined then us eastern europeans in general, but I may be wrong about that. Too many feel that one cannot have an argument without being rude (including most of PZ’s detractors). Still some people do enjoy arguing and are knowledgeable enough to do so, and that can be great fun ;).

    A most important factor is to argue with someone roughly of your intellectual capacity, i.e. Kenny here would not be a good debating parter to anything other than maybe a talking chicken.

  84. #84 Scott Hatfield, OM
    June 3, 2008

    Kenny:

    My name is Scott Hatfield. I am a theist, so you don’t have to convince me that God exists.

    However, when you write….

    Dr. Myers I want proof. You sound more and more like a Nazi every day.

    ….Well, that is most unhelpful. PZ is a drinking buddy of mine. He’s always been helpful to me, even nice. Sorry if that wrecks someone’s carefully-cultivated image, but there it is. I’m going to have a hard time squaring my personal experience of PZ with your comment.

    Now, you write:

    At the end of the day it comes down to the very question does God exist and is there an after life?

    That’s not a scientific question, Kenny. I don’t think anyone would here would suggest otherwise, either. What’s the point of bringing it up? Everyone in the world could believe it but PZ, and it still wouldn’t have any standing in science.

    At this point I have too much proof and I cannot fit it on this forum. It would be too much to post.

    Hmmm. You are definitely outside science now. Science is not in the ‘proof’ business. We don’t claim to have any ultimate Truths with a capital ‘T’. We’re in the model-making and model-testing business, and we’ve found it’s very difficult to make or test models that rely upon untestable claims, or which have no testable consequences.

    Then, you write:

    I think it is okay to be an Atheist, but it is not fine to use science to promote your world view.

    Why not? Creationists appropriate science in behalf of their world view, though rarely coherently. Why would it be wrong for me to appeal to the evidence from nature in making any sort of argument, for any sort of thing? I mean, I don’t think anyone should say (dramatic baritone voice) “SCIENCE…..proves that God does/does not exist.” But I think it’s perfectly OK to point out that there is an absence of experimental evidence in a proposition’s favor. Why wouldn’t it be?

  85. #85 MAJeff, OM
    June 3, 2008

    MAJeff is finishing his doctorate; does he deserve it?

    Not until October or November (or whenever the defense is) he sure as hell doesn’t!

    :)~

  86. #86 MAJeff, OM
    June 3, 2008

    And I’m hoping it’s October. Sending off about 65 pages tomorrow.

  87. #87 Kenny
    June 3, 2008

    >How so? Are you aware that saying “a belief in X is >unsubstantiated” is different from saying that “people who >believe in X should be killed”?

    Because Myers is so intolerant of other’s beliefs. Do you even read half of the garbage on here? You sure dismis a lot of hateful and really sad garbage on this blog.

    >Scientists are typically acutely aware that they don’t
    >know everything. But they want to know more, so they find
    >out stuff.

    It is fine to want to know more. There is nothing
    wrong with this or unreasonable. The unreasonable part is
    when you start pushing your belief system (religion) on other people and using science as a base to back it up.

    I mean look at this blog, can you not see there is more
    garbage than science? He is pushing his atheist world view
    on other people and using science to try to prove him right.

    That is not what science is for. Science is a tool that
    helps us understand the universe and objects in that universe.

    It is not there to push an agenda.

    >And if, like me, you think that assertions backed by >verifiable evidence are the most reliable, science cannot
    >be separated?
    >from one’s world view. Can you separate your religion from
    >your worldview?

    This is a load of crap. It can be separated. You have to be objective. This is what science is all about. If you can not be objective you should not be a scientist period!

    >I missed the part where PZ said that. Could you provide a
    >link?

    I am tired with messing with simple minded people. His kind of talk was the same kind of talk that was the elimination of people.

    A lot of people claim that they are intelligent in here but they are not anywhere near the intelligence that they claim.

    >In what way is scientific research promoting ignorance? IT >seems to be Creationists who tell folks to stop
    >investigating. ‘God said it and I believe it and that
    >settles it!’

    I never said anything about them. I don’t think ID is science but I also don’t believe that most of what myers has posted is science either. The minority part of it contains bits of science.

    If Myers is supposed to be supporting science then he is doing a bad job at it because he is mixing it with his world view in ignorance and pushing that. Why do you think that many scientists are not backing him. He is a nutcase. He should have his degree taken away from him.

    It’s sad when you have to defend myers.

  88. #88 Dennis N
    June 3, 2008

    Doctor Myers basically writes like that he wants to get rid of religion

    Yes, he does. You act like that’s a bad thing. Remember, that’s admirable to us. DOCTOR Myers has good morals. Here’s what I know about him. I’ve read his denunciation of the murders of Leila Hussein, and her monstrous ex-husband. He’s happily married. I know of no immoral thing has he done. Spoke bad about religion? Violated the first(BS) commandment? Sure. YOU have the messed up compass. If God (undeniably God) told you to murder babies, would you?

    We do care about a proof for God. But based on your track recond, not from you.

  89. #89 thalarctos
    June 3, 2008

    He should have his degree taken away from him.

    How do you propose to do such a thing, Kenny?

  90. #90 MAJeff, OM
    June 3, 2008

    I am tired with messing with simple minded people. His kind of talk was the same kind of talk that was the elimination of people.

    citation needed. Link please.

    I mean look at this blog, can you not see there is more
    garbage than science? He is pushing his atheist world view
    on other people and using science to try to prove him right.

    Citation needed. Link please. Particularly with regard to pushing a worldview when you are voluntarily reading this blog.

    It is not there to push an agenda.

    Have thee no agenda, bigot boy who thinks his claims about my life as a gay man should somehow matter?

    This is a load of crap. It can be separated. You have to be objective. This is what science is all about. If you can not be objective you should not be a scientist period!

    and how again do you study NDEs? With a non-objective assumption positing the necessity of a deity for which there is no evidence? Definition of objectivity, please–with links and citation…

    He should have his degree taken away from him.

    too bad you don’t even have the skills or abilities to get one.

    Shorter Kenny:

    blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah

  91. #91 Dennis N
    June 3, 2008

    Worldview of ignorance? Can you pick something he has said that is ignorant so we can discuss it?

  92. #92 Dennis N
    June 3, 2008

    Kenny’s whole stance is that atheism is a closed-minded worldview because it doesn’t include the possibility of his god. However, that’s FALSE. The real problem, and I’ll make this short and clear, is: Reality doesn’t include evidence of his god.

  93. #93 Alex
    June 3, 2008

    Fucktard Kenny,

    Explain in detail without reference to the bible or koran, why you choose not to follow the writing of mohummad and worship Alah.

  94. #94 Janine ID
    June 3, 2008

    So what you are really saying is that you don’t care about proof that God exists or not. You would rather be ignorant because you don’t care and thus you are denying God.

    Posted by: Kenny

    No, you incredibly stupid, dense and paranoid fuckwit. If some one can, after all of these years, can prove that there is a deity or deities, I will pay attention. And it still would not prove that I should worship this being. And it would not prove the this being is inherently good. And it maybe something very different from mwhat you imagine it to be.

    But guess what, you one note little dumb ass dweeb, you are not the person to provide this proof. You are merely a gibbering idiot who insist on degrading people who are more intelligent and better educated then you. You are the stuff a scrape off my shoes. You are nothing. And I am tired of you. As are many other people here.

    But please, please keep calling the people here Nazis and murderers. Perhaps this will finally place you in the dungeon. You are beyond tedious and you drag down every thread you comment on.

    Please say yet again, you are merely trying to save my soul. I do not give a flying fuck. I am done with you.

    And I reserve the right to put down people who are as stupid and poisonous as you. FUCK OFF!

  95. #95 Kenny
    June 3, 2008

    >Really, this is the most fascinating concept I’ve seen yet
    >among the entirety of Kenny’s exudate: A professor who
    >doesn’t deserve the doctorate he’s earned?

    I didn’t say he didn’t earn it. I am saying that he has no respect from a lot of scientists and I have about as much respect for him as I do george w bush. Which is basically not much at all.

    He has no respect for human life, no tolerance for people and their beliefs. He pushes militant atheism instead of science and objectivity.

    He is what is wrong with some folks from the science community. He is like a cancer. He claims he is tolerant but then is intolerant of other’s world views.

    If he was a real scientist he would not be pushing his world view but would be pushing science instead.

    I don’t have a problem with science as a tool to make our lives better. How is he making any of our lives better?

    What is he doing to change the world and making it better?

    Do you think Hitler made the world a better place? Hitler thought he was making Germany better. Did he really make it a better place?

    So you can earn a degree but that doesn’t mean that there should be any respect behind it. I don’t respect him at all. His doctorate is meaningless to me.

    Atheism is okay by me. If you don’t believe then fine. My main consern is that he is being militant about it. He is using science to push his bogus beliefs on other people.

    You know what the differences are between a fundamentalist muslim and a fundamentalist atheist are?

    Well the atheist doesn’t want to die for his beliefs that is one and the other is a belief in Dawkins work instead of the Koran.

    I don’t respect myers for a lot of reasons. However, one is for failing to understand how humanity even works. He is doing a lot of the same things that fundamentalists do, but in the name of science.

    Everyone thinks that they are right and everyone has a source to back them up. It’s really simple, this is the human condition and militant atheism is the same thing.

    When I come to the blog, objectivity, reason, and common sense go right out the window.

  96. #96 Alex
    June 3, 2008

    I can’t believe Kenny is a real person. I just can’t believe that anyone who’s thoughts are so incomplete, circular, facetious, and just plain wrong would be able to feed themselves properly.

    Perhaps he is a persona that PZ “allows” to post when things get slow on Pharyngula?

  97. #97 thalarctos
    June 3, 2008

    When I come to the blog, objectivity, reason, and common sense go right out the window.

    Can’t argue with that.

  98. #98 MAJeff, OM
    June 3, 2008

    When I come to the blog, objectivity, reason, and common sense go right out the window.

    Kenny, you have never spoken truer words.

  99. #99 Lynch-mobber
    June 3, 2008

    Quoth Kenny:

    When I come to the blog, objectivity, reason, and common sense go right out the window.

    …and ain’t it the truth?

  100. #100 Dennis N
    June 3, 2008

    What scientists don’t respect him? How has he shown he doesn’t respect human life? Seriously, how? Where? I’ve never seen that. Do you read anything people say to you? You have the stance that everything is equally supported so you might as well pick what you like. Convenient how that helps your side of the argument, aka the side with no support.

  101. #101 Chris (in Columbus)
    June 3, 2008

    I rather liked what you had to say…I don’t really see why Stan was making a fuss about it. I agreed with it–not every little thing we do is deserving of world recognition, but it is beautiful in our own small world and our own communities.

  102. #102 MAJeff, OM
    June 3, 2008

    What is he doing to change the world and making it better?
    Do you think Hitler made the world a better place? Hitler thought he was making Germany better. Did he really make it a better place??

    Ben? Ben Stein? Is that you? You old dog you!

  103. #103 SC
    June 3, 2008

    When I come to the blog, objectivity, reason, and common sense go right out the window.

    Truer words have rarely been spoken.

  104. #104 thalarctos
    June 3, 2008

    Jeff, I *would* say “Jinx!”, if not for fear of summoning another notorious troll…

  105. #105 Kenny
    June 3, 2008

    >Fucktard Kenny,
    >
    >Explain in detail without reference to the bible or koran,
    >why you choose not to follow the writing of mohummad and
    >worship Alah.

    I have my own personal reasons. However, none of this goes to my point. This isn’t really at the heart of the matter. The heart of the issue here is why people can’t have their own beliefs without being told they are stupid and why militant atheism pretends to be enlightened and why it is just as ignorant as these so called religions are all about.

    If I had to give out a “simple mind” award the winners would come from this blog.

  106. #106 SC
    June 3, 2008

    Man, in the time it took me to type that, not one but three people beat me to it.

  107. #107 MAJeff, OM
    June 3, 2008

    Jeff, I *would* say “Jinx!”, if not for fear of summoning another notorious troll…?

    That almost has to be parody Kenny, because the commas in that final sentence make it just a little bit too perfect.

    I’m feeling like a good speziotomy for some reason :)

  108. #108 MAJeff, OM
    June 3, 2008

    If I had to give out a “simple mind” award the winners would come from this blog.

    Don’t you…

    Forget about me.

    Don’t, don’t don’t, don’t

    Don’t you…

    Forget about me.

  109. #109 Janine ID
    June 3, 2008

    Jeff, please do not call the incoherent asshat upon us.

  110. #110 Dennis N
    June 3, 2008

    When you have beliefs that contradict reality around you but continue to hold them despite all reason, you get mocked. Because it’s funny. If they were reasonable, we’d have a reasonable discussion with them.

  111. #111 MAJeff, OM
    June 3, 2008

    Jeff, please do not call the incoherent asshat upon us.?

    I spent a large chunk of the morning running with the runs. For some reason, gerry came to mind.

  112. #112 Janine ID
    June 3, 2008

    Just because you are suffering does not mean that the rest of us have to suffer with you.

  113. #113 Alex
    June 3, 2008

    “I have my own personal reasons. However, none of this goes to my point. ”

    It is the point you moron. What makes you think that I have to respect what you believe for your own “personal reasons”…especially when it can be SHOWN that what you believe is based on ignorance and is a poison to modern society. Yes POISON. Trying to change the definition of science? Indoctrinate lies to children? Subjugate and scorn followers of other “beiliefs”? Defending the murder of doctors? Flying planes into buildings? Your asinine beliefs are the scourge of human existence. That, can be SHOWN.

  114. #114 Brownian, OM
    June 3, 2008
    Explain in detail without reference to the bible or koran, why you choose not to follow the writing of mohummad and worship Alah.

    I have my own personal reasons.

    In other words, the little piece of bigot shit just follows the crowd at chow time, and the crowd he got borned into in this case happens not to live in Saudi Arabia.

    Go fuck yourself, you cowardly, lying bigot.

  115. #115 Falyne
    June 3, 2008

    *grabs popcorn*

    I do find it amusing that, as my atheist self was reading this thread, O Holy Night came on my iPod. See, being an atheist doesn’t mean we automatically denigrate the works of theists, be they good science or a powerful piece of music. We just think the belief is irrational, and lament what is sacrificed for it. No more, no less.

  116. #116 Kenny
    June 3, 2008

    >I can’t believe Kenny is a real person. I just can’t
    >believe that anyone who’s thoughts are so incomplete,
    >circular, facetious, and just plain wrong would be able to
    >feed themselves properly.

    Wrong, by whos standards? Yours?

    Common sense is incomplete now?

    Creating a society on Atheism has never worked in the past and I am sure it won’t work in the future. We have already tried that and it failed.

    Religion is the opiate of the people and Atheism is the blind ignorance of the people.

    I have to go to work now. I am sure I will be banned when I come back. Such as life. I do want to say that I still want to show off some of the evidence that I am building and I will have to use Morphing in case I am banned to show that evidence.

    Yes, I know once in ignorance always in ignorance and it is unlikely to change your mind, but it may make some of you think and not attack people so much about other peoples worldview.

    I really seriously doubt that anything can open your blind eyes at all. Even if God came to show you himself you still would not believe because it’s not about belief is it, it is about total rejection of anything supernatural. Even if anything found to conflict with your beliefs it still would not change your worldview.

    However, it would be nice to have you start treating people like they are human beings and respect their world view even if you do not believe in it. Myers needs to learn respect of other people and stop calling them stupid for not believing in something.

    Learn to RESPECT other’s beliefs even if you do not agree
    with them.

    The ONLY reason I am here and posting at all is to defend those who believe in something. I would not be posting here that much and only asking questions if this was not a religious bashing blog and was pure science instead.

    When your entire premise is to do religion bashing and then try to prevert science into pushing your bashing agenda that doesn’t help your case and only makes you look ignorant. You preach tolerance and then you fail to do what you preach.

    I am off to work now. You’all have a good day.

  117. #117 Brownian, OM
    June 3, 2008

    Fuck you, bigot.

  118. #118 Lynch-mobber
    June 3, 2008

    Quoth Kenny:

    Such as life.

    …and ain’t it the truth?

  119. #119 Falyne
    June 3, 2008

    *looks at nearly-full popcorn bag*

    *looks at leaving Kenny*

    Awwwwwwwwwwww, the fun’s over. Phoo.

    Also, PROTIP: Morphing is generally frowned upon, and you normally don’t advertise that you’re planning on it. Just throwing that out there.

  120. #120 Kenny
    June 3, 2008

    >It is the point you moron. What makes you think that I
    >have to respect what you believe for your own “personal
    >reasons”…especially when it can be SHOWN that what you
    >believe is based on ignorance and is a poison to modern
    >society

    One more post before I go to work because you still don’t get it.

    I don’t agree with their religious beliefs sure, but I am not intolerant to their beliefs and I don’t say they are stupid or retarded and I don’t bash their religion.

    You know it is possible for you simple minded folks to not have a belief in what someone else does and still respect them and what their belief is.

    I think the key word you are looking for is respect.

  121. #121 windy
    June 3, 2008

    You know what the differences are between a fundamentalist muslim and a fundamentalist atheist are? Well the atheist doesn’t want to die for his beliefs that is one and the other is a belief in Dawkins work instead of the Koran.

    That’s Dr-Dawkins-peace-be-upon-him, you infidel! Now excuse me, but I’m late for my evening prayer. Could someone remind me if I should face Oxford or Nairobi?

    PS. how about that hot monkey sex

  122. #122 Kenny
    June 3, 2008

    >Also, PROTIP: Morphing is generally frowned upon, and you
    >normally don’t advertise that you’re planning on it. Just
    >throwing that out there.

    PROTIP: The truth should be heard and evidence should not be silenced.

    Also, I already know the obvious. Thanks for trying to tell me what I already know.

  123. #123 Alex
    June 3, 2008

    “However, it would be nice to have you start treating people like they are human beings and respect their world view…”

    Fuck your world view. It’s all bullshit. All of it. Concocted stories thousands of years old uttered from the simple minds of ancient goat-herders. It would be one thing if all you myth-believers just kept it to yourself, but you want everyone to think its all true. You can’t show ANY of it to be true, so you try and change laws (subjugate), indoctrinate children, and out-shout anyone who challenges your feeble beliefs. Myth-believers are losing their seat at the table of relevance. The ideas you so fervently cling to are childish musings from a dysfunctional era in human history. Time to grow up and learn about reality. You know, the place where we all live? The place where science provides clean water and sterile food, refrigeration and vaccinations? Not any deity. No incantations. Just science. Just plain old sitting down and studying everything we can and using the knowledge to help better our existence.

    Religious beliefs are corrosive to productive society and prosperous human existence in this modern era.

  124. #124 MAJeff, OM
    June 3, 2008

    I think the key word you are looking for is respect.

    *whoosh*

  125. #125 Brownian, OM
    June 3, 2008

    I think the key word you are looking for is respect.

    I don’t respect cowardly bigots, you still-warm gob of gum stuck to the bottom of a bus seat.

    I truly hope you one day face the receiving end of the bigotry you sow.

  126. #126 ndt
    June 3, 2008

    But then I see atheism also becoming a strong and numbered movement with prominent leaders speaking to large numbers of people, and I wonder if these speakers are above corruption and the need to manipulate the masses to their own needs.

    No, they aren’t. One should never, ever, ever put unlimited trust in another human. Never follow a leader without question.

  127. #127 MAJeff, OM
    June 3, 2008

    PROTIP: The truth should be heard and evidence should not be silenced.?

    Shorter Kenny: ME ME ME ME ME ME ME ME ME

  128. #128 windy
    June 3, 2008

    I am off to work now. You’all have a good day.

    “Work” is our little code for hot monkey sex of course. Our love is a forbidden love.

  129. #129 Kenny
    June 3, 2008

    >Fuck you, bigot.

    So says the basher of religion and beliefs.
    You have no right to talk Sir.

    Oh and that was so very scientific.
    So much for intelligence. Anyone can curse.

    Again with Atheists on this blog–objectivity, reason, common sense, and tolerance goes right out the window.

    With that I have to leave for work now.

  130. #130 MAJeff, OM
    June 3, 2008

    oh noes, Kenny’s a liar in addition to being a bigot. That’s not showing yourself off to be a very good person.

  131. #131 Screechy Monkey
    June 3, 2008

    Dennis N @ 92:

    The real problem, and I’ll make this short and clear, is: Reality doesn’t include evidence of his god.

    Reality has a well-known atheistic bias.

  132. #132 Salt
    June 3, 2008

    RE # 84

    But I think it’s perfectly OK to point out that there is an absence of experimental evidence in a proposition’s favor. Why wouldn’t it be?

    I agree. Now, I have a question to the Pharyngulans here – Is experimental evidence the only kind of evidence of value?

  133. #133 Alex
    June 3, 2008

    Screech @ 131

    Perhaps not well known, as in known by many,…but at least well documented.

    What most god-bots fail to realize is that the argument is not about proving or disproving deities. It’s not a 50/50 split. There is zero evidence for the existence of a deity/deities. There are volumes of evidence that show deities to be, at best, irrelevant. But I like the way you summed it up. Reality certainly does have an atheistic bias. I’ll be using that.

  134. #134 OrchidGrowinMan
    June 3, 2008

    Back to reality (whoops, there goes gravity…), it’s too bad PZ didn’t wear the whole *Bling* outfit: http://www.cbebs.org/2008/03/23/pz-myers-the-elvis-presley-of-atheism/.
    What we NEED is some rock-star scientists, and I guess it’s “TAG! He’s it!”

    This is germane to what he was “preaching” last night: we need to stop with all the “such-and-such research might someday result in [cancer cure, spinal-repair, bigger computer displays, flying cars, faster computers,....].” The purpose of basic research is beauty and knowledge, COOLNESS: practical applications are NOT the proximate motivation in many cases, and it’s disingenuous to pretend that they are. Just as climbing a mountain, racing a bike around France, or composing a beautiful song is not primarily intended to yield some specific profit, we should allow Discovery to be its own achievement, even if practical applications are a long way off or inconceivable. Or even if they are near and obvious. For those lucky enough to have press-releases based on your work, PLEASE try to damp the tendency for reporters to add silly unsubstantiated speculations as to practical significance — it demeans the work and undermines public confidence and understanding when the personal rocket-packs don’t hit the shelves right away. “Expanding Human Understanding” should be a sufficient motivation.

    On another, related, note, something I wanted to ask PZ last night, is about the relation between theoretical and practical, Science and Engineering. Engineering is more (but not exclusively) concerned with discovery for practical purposes. It depends on Science (basic research) to make much progress though. In times of social stress, Engineering tends to dominate (war-time vs, peace, Roman Empire vs. Greek philosophers), and these times also tend to emphasize war and weapons. What is our current ratio between weapons research and basic research? How can we emphasize and convince regarding the inherent value of Science? I think our priorities (for spending, celebrity, education, etc.) are currently more out-of-whack than usual, and I’d like to see some discussion on how to shift the argument a bit.

    BTW, the same arguments apply to conservation topics: endangered species, genetic diversity, wild places, disappearing ecosystems, etc. If the only criterion of importance to be discussed is (immediate) economic/practical value, then conservation will generally lose.

    Oh, and yes, I’m the “MINION-HAT” guy….

  135. #135 ndt
    June 3, 2008

    Learn to RESPECT other’s beliefs even if you do not agree
    with them.

    Why? Why should I respect the beliefs of murderers and thieves?

  136. #136 Kermit
    June 3, 2008

    Kenny:
    “Because Myers is so intolerant of other’s beliefs. Do you even read half of the garbage on here?”

    [...]

  137. #137 Alex
    June 3, 2008

    “…Is experimental evidence the only kind of evidence of value?”

    Yes. And it is important that you understand why. Repeatability and independent verification. Anything less is anecdotal. It’s how you go about your daily life. You usually don’t trust one source of sensory information. You rely on multiple sources that cross-check each other. This is why we have more than 1 sense (we have 5). It is the very core of how we as beings process information about this realm. Truth in accuracy helps our survival. The best way to divine the truth is through rigorous skeptical inquiry.

  138. #138 raven
    June 3, 2008

    SC:

    I wish I could be as unconcerned as you about non-religious woo. Reading Orac’s and ERV’s posts lately, though, has me thinking that some of these people represent a real danger. But I’m not sure.

    Richard Moore’s story is worrisome. I hate to give in to our East-coast stereotypes, but do you think it could be a California thing?

    Not all woo is created equal. I see people die of alternative medicine occasionally and it is always an infuriating tragedy. Female, 33, picked up an early breast tumor from a screening program. At this point, her chance of a cure was >90%. She went alternative, dead at 34. The stuff she was taking was so lame it would be embarrassing to list.

    The HIV denialists are worse. Most of these are just psychotics, no other way or reason to put it.

    OTOH, it is a free country and people can believe whatever they want. Things like UFOs, 9/11 conspiracies, ESP, crystal power, astrology, magic spells, Bigfoot, and whatnot are more or less benign and don’t effect other people enough to worry about. No one is trying to take over the school boards and teach Bigfootism in anthropology classes.

    The Death Cultists have the most power, having controlled the government between 2000 and 2006. Two of my friends are dead in Iraq because of it.

    Woo is universal, not just a California thing. Their woo is more flamboyant and eccentric but the woo load is probably about the same everywhere. The south central USA just has a boring woo monoculture of creationists.

  139. #139 Rey Fox
    June 3, 2008

    “Kenny, you are no longer worthy of being laughed at. You are a sad, stupid and paranoid little dweeb. It seems that the only way you can make yourself feel like a human being is by imagining that all of us here want to murder you.”

    Quoted for truth. ‘Sall I’ll say.

  140. #140 ndt
    June 3, 2008

    I agree. Now, I have a question to the Pharyngulans here – Is experimental evidence the only kind of evidence of value

    No. Empirical evidence is the only kind of evidence of value.

  141. #141 Jeff Arnold
    June 3, 2008

    I may be off base here, but I don’t recall any instances of Dr. Myers treating people like non-humans because of their world-view. It’s not a person’s beliefs that inspire wrath in we atheists, it’s the crazy, anti-social bullshit that is constantly being done in the name of those beliefs!

  142. #142 Kseniya
    June 3, 2008

    Is experimental evidence the only kind of evidence of value?

    Define “experimental”.

  143. #143 room101
    June 3, 2008

    Alex #123:

    A-fk’n-men, brother. Very well said, sir.

    I’ll have you know I’ve copied your excerpt and pasted it into a text file as an example of a perfect rebuttal to theist bullshit. Succinct, and covers all the points.

    PS: Windy, please stop with all the sex teasing or I’m going to have to go rub one out… ;o)

  144. #144 Kseniya
    June 3, 2008

    Geez… get a room!

  145. #145 Salt
    June 3, 2008

    #142
    Is experimental evidence the only kind of evidence of value?

    Define “experimental”.
    Posted by: Kseniya | June 3, 2008 6:54 PM

    Ask Scott Hatfield (see comment #84)

  146. #146 Alex
    June 3, 2008

    Thanks room101 @ 143. They just really piss me off sometimes and I have to resort to acerbic language. Sometimes it seems that’s all they understand.

    Kseniya @ 142 good point. In my reply, I’m assuming that experimental is referring to scientific standards, which implies reliance on empirical data.

  147. #147 Bride of Shrek
    June 3, 2008

    “At the end of the day it comes down to the very question does God exist and is there an after life?
    At this point I have too much proof and I cannot fit it on this forum. It would be too much to post.”

    So Kenny

    are you really saying you have PROOF of God, because I mean for the last two milennia or so no one else has come up with any. Jeez, you should publish it or something or let others know but, you know, that makes you seem like you’re toting yourself as a prophet…you know someone who claims to personally have some sort of skinny on the big G. For your sake I hope you’re not making that bullshit up Kenny because that would make you a false prophet and, just quietly between you and me, your God has a really shitful way of dealing with false prophets.

  148. #148 MacArthurite
    June 3, 2008

    ndt (#140) is correct.
    I still think Robt. MacArthur said it best:
    “The only rules of scientific method are honest observations and accurate logic.”
    Experiments are essentially observations with the logic built in ahead of time.

  149. #149 Dennis N
    June 3, 2008

    All kenny wants are his beliefs respected! Even though they’re incoherent and unsupportable.

  150. #150 Chicken Little
    June 3, 2008

    Kenny here would not be a good debating parter to anything other than maybe a talking chicken.

    Hey, now there’s no need to get offensive.

  151. #151 SC
    June 3, 2008

    raven,

    I absolutely agree about the greater danger.

    I had in mind primarily the medical arena: the HIV denialists and anti-vaccine/autism-quacks. The HIV denialists have done terrible harm in South Africa, for example. Over at ERV last week, I called one of them a “whackjob,” and still feel terrible about it since he was a person with AIDS. But the fact that he’s going to die of stupidity and leave his child behind, and that people like him are spreading this nonsense to other people with AIDS who would otherwise be able to obtain treatment, just got to me.

    I know woo is universal, but I don’t think the “skeptic” label would turn people off here in Boston in the way he described in California. I guess I hate to think that in battling one form of delusional thinking, we aren’t ignoring others that also have noxious effects; or that no real progress is being made, as people are simply trading one form of delusional thinking for another (and could easily go back).

  152. #152 Janine ID
    June 3, 2008

    I am not so sure about a talking chicken. But what about a dancing chicken?

  153. #153 Richard Moore
    June 3, 2008

    …Atheism is a positive statement of belief that nothing non-empirical objectively exists…

    “A” = without, “theism” = belief in deity.

    Extraordinary how some people can co-op language to scaffold a simple word into a manifesto.

  154. #154 Zeno
    June 3, 2008

    Kenny: A lot of people claim that they are intelligent in here but they are not anywhere near the intelligence that they claim.

    [Holds up a mirror]

    Ha! Gotcha!

  155. #155 MAJeff, OM
    June 3, 2008

    I am not so sure about a talking chicken. But what about a dancing chicken?

    I’m a fan of fricasseed chicken. (I often make it with a red wine.)

  156. #156 Ichthyic
    June 3, 2008

    You’re too mean, PZ. Why can’t you just please the fundamentalists by being more like S J Gould: polite, NOMA-supporting, completely ineffectual at stopping the rise of fundamentalism in America, and dead?

    ROFLMAO

  157. #157 Etha Williams
    June 3, 2008

    @#87 Kenny –

    I am tired with messing with simple minded people.

    If you really feel that way, why do you keep coming back?

    Oh, right. The combination of a masochistic persecution complex and the need to publicly “defend” indefensible beliefs in order to prevent yourself from privately questioning them.

  158. #158 James F
    June 3, 2008

    #5

    Why can’t you just please the fundamentalists by being more like S J Gould: polite, NOMA-supporting, completely ineffectual at stopping the rise of fundamentalism in America, and dead?

    Now, now. *joins “MC” Stephen Hakwing in pouring one on the curb for his fallen homey*

  159. PZ is a fundamentalist.

  160. #160 Steve_C
    June 3, 2008

    Really? What does he require all atheists to adhere to? What makes one not a “true” atheist?

  161. #161 Eric Saveau
    June 3, 2008

    Do you think Hitler made the world a better place? Hitler thought he was making Germany better. Did he really make it a better place?

    What the fucking fuck does this fucking have to do with fucking anything here???????

    Seriously. Has someone – ANYONE – here been defending Hitler? Even subtly? No? Only Pastor John Hagee over on the Christian side of things?

    Yeah. That’s what I thought.

    Kenny, you’re a PERFECT example of the mindless hateful bullshit we complain about.

  162. #162 Rey Fox
    June 3, 2008

    Modern Discourse 101

    Fundamentalist: Someone who has opinions and the clarity of thought and intellectual honesty to state them.

  163. #163 raven
    June 3, 2008

    The HIV denialists have done terrible harm in South Africa, for example. Over at ERV last week, I called one of them a “whackjob,” and still feel terrible about it since he was a person with AIDS. But the fact that he’s going to die of stupidity and leave his child behind, and that people like him are spreading this nonsense to other people with AIDS who would otherwise be able to obtain treatment, just got to me.

    Yeah, AIDS denial is a weird and sick woo. Dealt with them for a while and decided they were too pathetic to bother with. There are very few in this country, maybe a few dozen at most, and they seem to fall into 3 classes.
    1. A very few people with HIV who are in denial about their future death. They will almost all die of AIDS anyway. Some already have.

    2. Truly vicious fundie xians who hope all gays get AIDS and die. They are just lying for satanic jesus.

    3. About half of them are just psychos babbling about something to fill up their day. They don’t have HIV or a life either.

    In other countries it might be different. South Africa is a bad example of mass denial. They also have a HIV rate of 20-30% and virtually all of those will get sick and die without treatment.

    I have no patience with AIDS denialists. After a long hiatus we just saw two, a couple. The girl, from SE Asia, waited too long, immune system gone, dead at 26. The guy is in better shape but is coming down with minor, treatable oportunistic infections. So far. He wouldn’t even talk about going on HAART. With HAART, he has 20 years left, without….not many.

  164. #164 Aquaria
    June 3, 2008

    [Holds up a mirror]
    Ha! Gotcha!

    Are you sure there’s a reflection?

  165. #165 Ichthyic
    June 3, 2008

    What the fucking fuck does this fucking have to do with fucking anything here???????

    don’t even bother responding, just give him “the sign”

    http://www.stfu.se/

  166. #166 Zeno
    June 3, 2008

    Aquaria: Are you sure there’s a reflection?

    Just because a person is not self-reflective doesn’t mean he lacks a reflection.

    Of course, his motives are transparent.

  167. #167 Ichthyic
    June 3, 2008

    The Kenny blurted his entire worldview:

    Common sense is incomplete now?

    short answer:

    duh.

    (always has been btw)

  168. #168 Walton
    June 3, 2008

    I’m not going to bother criticising the participants here for their (unnecessary) abuse towards Kenny. I just want to point out that all discussions on this forum regarding “does God exist and is religion valid?” tend to go round in circles, and that there is no point having this discussion again. Let’s just look at the established factual points, and then agree to disagree.

    1) There is no objective, conclusive proof or evidence for the existence of God. Nor can such existence be illustrated through scientific means or the analysis of material evidence. So asking for “proof that God exists” is meaningless, as is claiming to be in possession of such proof.

    2) “Near-death experiences”, and other religious experiences, are not proof, due to their personal and anecdotal nature, and the fact that a skeptic could plausibly ascribe them to hallucination. Thus Kenny’s focus on these is a red herring.

    3) The existence of God is, however, possible, provided that one accepts the premise that God is outside the realm of the material. Such a concept of God is inherently untestable and unfalsifiable, and is therefore outside the realm of science.

    4) Given points (1) and (3), some people choose to believe in God. Others do not. Both viewpoints are defensible.

    5) If one accepts the premise listed in point (3) and therefore concedes that God, if he exists, is outside the realm of the material and is not bound by material or scientific laws, then the existence of the specifically Judeo-Christian God, as described in the Bible, is not inherently implausible.

    6) However, there are a number of logical problems with such a God. Firstly, if he is both omnipotent and omnibenevolent, as Christianity teaches, then how does one account for:

    a) The problem of evil in the world (theodicy);

    b) The idea that Christ had to suffer and die in order to save humanity from the consequences of sin (why was such suffering necessary if God is omnipotent?);

    c) The idea that unbelievers, even those who live a virtuous life, are excluded from the kingdom of heaven (suggesting that God is either unable to save them – thus not omnipotent – or that he does not desire to, thus not omnibenevolent);

    d) The passages in the Old Testament (e.g. Numbers 31, or the entire book of Joshua) which seem to reflect a God who is petty and vengeful;

    e) The book of Revelation, which seems to depict a final war between the forces of good and the forces of evil. If God is omnipotent, why does he need to engage in such a war?

    7) All of the points listed in (6) can be resolved by accepting the premise that the Judeo-Christian God is not omnipotent. While his power is beyond human understanding, it is reasonable to conclude that his power is checked by forces of evil, though he will in the end triumph over these forces of evil.

    Just a few thoughts. I don’t want to get bogged down in the thoroughly circular discussion we had last time.

  169. #169 SC
    June 3, 2008

    raven,

    My concern isn’t limited to the US.

    In other countries it might be different. South Africa is a bad example of mass denial. They also have a HIV rate of 20-30% and virtually all of those will get sick and die without treatment.

    Not sure what you mean by this. Are you saying it’s a bad case of mass denial? In fact, it hasn’t really been mass denial so much as the denial of Mbeki and others in government who have thwarted the efforts of social movements to get access to adequate treatments. Are you saying denial hasn’t had any real effect, because none of those people who have been denied proper treatment because of “skepticism” would have received it anyway? That’s not correct, either.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2007/nov/06/southafrica.aids

  170. #170 Aquaria
    June 3, 2008

    He is pushing his atheist world view
    on other people and using science to try to prove him right.

    PZ’s not pushing it on anyone. Right at the top of his page, under the title Pharyngula, he outright states that he’s a godless liberal. This sort of tells you what his website will be about. It’s a warning.

    But let’s say you’re not the observant type, and didn’t see that. Now if you’re too stupid to look around a site for what it’s about before posting on it, then I’m sorry you landed on the shallow end of the gene pool where brains are sorta interchangeable with that of lizards. And if you’re even dumb enough to go into that person’s site and try to change what that person thinks (while also belittling and offending people who are there because they agree with his godless liberalism), and if you’re doing that because you’re ego is bigger than your shoe size and your IQ combined, well, you don’t really have anyone to blame but yourself when you sink under the weight of criticism and having your ass handed to you.

    Of course, what really gets me about these fundie whackjobs is how horrible their manners are, to go essentially into someone’s home and be insulting to hosts and other guests. Were they all raised by wolves? No, wait. Wolves have better manners.

  171. #171 BobC
    June 3, 2008

    Today’s news:

    MSNBC talks about world famous biologist PZ Myers: http://tinyurl.com/5cjq8u

    The New York Times talks about bible thumper Don McLeroy, the chairman of the Texas education board: http://tinyurl.com/4oumkx

  172. #172 Ichthyic
    June 3, 2008

    I’m not going to bother criticising the participants here for their (unnecessary) abuse towards Kenny.

    in your OPINION.

    :p

    you’re really going to hate not criticizing my abuse of you then.

    I just want to point out that all discussions on this forum regarding “does God exist and is religion valid?” tend to go round in circles

    actually, going around in circles would imply both sides of the issue have points the other could not address.

    is that really how you see it?

    sad.

    There is no objective, conclusive proof or evidence for the existence of God. Nor can such existence be illustrated through scientific means or the analysis of material evidence. So asking for “proof that God exists” is meaningless

    faulty logic here, as your conclusion does not follow from your premise.

    that there might not exist any evidence hardly implies it is meaningless to continue asking for it. How can you conclude there is no evidence at all? are you omniscient? ” Nor can such existence be illustrated through scientific means”

    how do you know?

    If you consider what you said for just a moment, you will see where it simply doesn’t make sense.

    Let’s just look at the established factual points

    bullshit.

    The existence of God is, however, possible

    so are unicorns, flying dragons, and any other fictional entity one could imagine. It’s entirely irrelevant.

    4) Given points (1) and (3), some people choose to believe in God. Others do not. Both viewpoints are defensible.

    you’ve just concluded that Flying Spaghetti Monsterism is exactly equivalent to any other theism.

    congratulations; you’re the 674,765,134th person to do so.

    It’s just in your case, you apparently didn’t realize it.

    a) The problem of evil in the world (theodicy);

    which is only a philosophical issue for the religious to begin with.


    Just a few thoughts. I don’t want to get bogged down in the thoroughly circular discussion we had last time.

    actually, the problem is it’s only circular in your own mind.

    seriously, watching you try to “help the discussion along” is like watching a 3 year old trying to help daddy balance his check book.

    sorry, but you exhibit poor logic, poor knowledge of the relevant issues, and over-reaching conclusions based on erroneous assumptions.

    grade:

    D

  173. #173 Eric Saveau
    June 3, 2008

    I’m not going to bother criticising the participants here for their (unnecessary) abuse towards Kenny.

    When something walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and looks like a duck, etc.

    I just want to point out that all discussions on this forum regarding “does God exist and is religion valid?” tend to go round in circles, and that there is no point having this discussion again.

    Actually the discussions don’t so much regard “does God exist and is religion valid” but rather a discussion of the evil done in the name of religion and of the unrelenting attempts by various and sundry religious organizations and individuals to stifle and derail scientific inquiry and education. Which are valid and important discussions to have. Which is why we have them. The only circles in those discussions are the ones spun by trolls who attempt to stifle or derail those discussions.

    Let’s just look at the established factual points, and then agree to disagree.

    With the exception of the aforementioned trolls, we DO look at the established facts. Agreeing to disagree sounds nice, but is frequently a sucker’s game so I will regard that plea with due suspicion.

    I don’t want to get bogged down in the thoroughly circular discussion we had last time.

    See above about circles.

  174. #174 ndt
    June 3, 2008

    Walton wrote:

    5) If one accepts the premise listed in point (3) and therefore concedes that God, if he exists, is outside the realm of the material and is not bound by material or scientific laws, then the existence of the specifically Judeo-Christian God, as described in the Bible, is not inherently implausible.

    Point 5 is where you trip up. The god you describe in point 3:

    3) The existence of God is, however, possible, provided that one accepts the premise that God is outside the realm of the material.

    is incompatible with the Judeo-Christian God described in the Bible. That God intervenes directly in the material world. Your point 3 God does not, because it is outside the realm of the material.

  175. #175 Janine ID
    June 3, 2008

    I’m not going to bother criticising the participants here for their (unnecessary) abuse towards Kenny.

    Posted by: Walton

    In an other thread, you claimed that you liked the “pithy put downs” of *nn C**lt*r. Yet now you dislike our verbal abuse of Kenny? Yet our insults of Kenny is based on the willful ignorance he proudly displays. *nn C**lt*r’s insults are based on her sick fantasies.

    Walton, a word of warning here, your defense of indefensible
    people is going to make you a target. It does not matter that you present everything in a polite way. You will get your ass handed to you. And you will deserve it. Do not waste your time on bad arguments.

  176. #176 Zeno
    June 4, 2008

    Walton: 7) All of the points listed in (6) can be resolved by accepting the premise that the Judeo-Christian God is not omnipotent.

    And Walton comes out of the heresy closet.

    Sorry, guy, a non-omnipotent God is entirely contrary to Christian dogma. The vast majority of Christians claim they believe in a God who is all-knowing and all-powerful. You can’t finesse that away and Christians (the vast majority) will not thank you for trying.

  177. #177 Wowbagger
    June 4, 2008

    Walton,

    The abuse of Kenny was justified. He keeps coming back here, claiming the same unsupportable things (though this time he hasn’t specifically mentioned NDEs, though he did allude to ‘proof’ for his claims) and abusing PZ and the other posters.

    It’s not like he’s new here – and his poorly-written, barely coherent ranting is getting very, very old. It’s amazing his keyboard still functions after all the spittle it’s absorbed from his frothing at the mouth.

    Your argument, while better presented, falls down in the same way as Kenny’s NDE ‘evidence’ does – how does any of it indicate which religion’s deity is the one existing outside of the material world?

    While it’s possible that there is such a being it seems kind of pointless to concern ourselves with attempting to interpret its nature. If all religious belief was hands-off deism then debate would be much more philosophical in nature.

    The existence of such a god, if it could be confirmed, wouldn’t bother me in the slightest; it’s his so-called adherents who irritate me when they make claims in his name or for his supposed benefit.

  178. #178 Etha Williams
    June 4, 2008

    @#168 Walton –

    3) The existence of God is, however, possible, provided that one accepts the premise that God is outside the realm of the material. Such a concept of God is inherently untestable and unfalsifiable, and is therefore outside the realm of science.

    But the Judeo-Christian god (and the gods of most world religions), immaterial as you may claim him(/her/it/they) to be, interacts fairly frequently with the material world. Shouldn’t there be testable, falsifiable evidence of these events?

  179. #179 Leigh
    June 4, 2008

    Kenny, for God’s sake (I mean that literally), shut the fuck up and go away. You’re the poorest excuse for an apologist I’ve ever heard, and believe me, that’s going some.

  180. As promised, I have posted my analysis of PZ Myers lecture in my blog — or why I thought it was funny.

  181. #181 Ichthyic
    June 4, 2008

    that wasn’t much of an analysis, or even a summary, Randy.

    are you sure that’s all you recall of the lecture?

    you must have a poor memory.

    bad for blogging.

  182. #182 Wowbagger
    June 4, 2008

    At least he can actually spell ‘Myers’.

  183. #183 epsilon
    June 4, 2008

    “5) If one accepts the premise listed in point (3) and therefore concedes that God, if he exists, is outside the realm of the material and is not bound by material or scientific laws, then the existence of the specifically Judeo-Christian God, as described in the Bible, is not inherently implausible.”

    And here is one of the places where you’re wrong. An immaterial god cannot be a god who intervenes in the material world, which is exactly what the “Judeo-Christian” god is supposed to do.

  184. #184 Leigh
    June 4, 2008

    Walton, these folks don’t want proof of God. They want evidence of God.

    We can’t offer them that, because our evidences are entirely subjective. Anecdotal evidence is none at all in science.

    Look at it this way: Science is a search to define our collective experience of reality. Such experience must be objective . . . that is, it must be repeatable in such a way that a sufficiently educated and reasonable person can reproduce the same results the original individual obtained.

    I can’t speak for you, but I can say that my experience of the Divine, such as it is, is entirely subjective. I can’t even always get the same results myself. It is, therefore, possible that I have experienced a neurological event which I then explained to myself in terms of wishful thinking and cultural conditioning.

    We can’t get around this problem in trying to convince others that our subjective reality is “real”. All we can do is to live our lives such that, at the very least, our behavior doesn’t contradict our stated beliefs. I think it’s also necessary that our stated beliefs don’t contravene ethical standards or contradict the data, so that they can withstand scrutiny by disinterested parties. In that case they may think we’re silly, but they won’t in justice be able to say that we’re evil. In other words, “by [our]fruits [they] will know [us].”

    Can you honestly contend that our religion survives that test? I can’t. I hope that individuals among us can meet the challenge; but we’d best clean our own house and weed the flower beds before criticizing the neighbors.

  185. #185 Owlmirror
    June 4, 2008
    Walton: 7) All of the points listed in (6) can be resolved by accepting the premise that the Judeo-Christian God is not omnipotent.

    And Walton comes out of the heresy closet.

    I approve of heresy.

    Realizing that religious dogma is logically inconsistent and contradictory, and coming up with heretical workarounds, is one of the steps towards Deism, agnosticism, and eventually, atheism.

  186. #186 Owlmirror
    June 4, 2008

    (and, I should add, a rationalist and skeptical disbelief rather than an emotional one)

  187. #187 Wowbagger
    June 4, 2008

    If they’d just made God super-powerful and vastly intelligent, rather than omnimax, they’d have fewer problems.

    How does a being that knows all, sees all and can do anything create imperfect humans who then go on to act in ways he couldn’t predict? He stuffed it up the first time and had to flood the earth for a do-over. Doesn’t sound too perfect to me.

  188. #188 Kagato
    June 4, 2008

    Walton @168:
    Your points are quite reasonably stated, but there are some gaps in your logic.

    5) If one accepts the premise listed in point (3) and therefore concedes that God, if he exists, is outside the realm of the material and is not bound by material or scientific laws, then the existence of the specifically Judeo-Christian God, as described in the Bible, is not inherently implausible.

    As others have already pointed out, your description doesn’t really match the Judeo-Christian God. And any intervention made in the physical realm could potentially leave material evidence, which would leave him subject to scientific study.

    Plus, while this God may not be any less plausible than any other, likewise it is not any more plausible than other gods.

    [...]
    7) All of the points listed in (6) can be resolved by accepting the premise that the Judeo-Christian God is not omnipotent.

    That’s one interpretation.
    The points could equally be resolved by accepting the premise that such a god is not omnibenevolent.

    Perhaps he could prevent evil and suffering, but he just doesn’t want to.
    That would seem more in line with the Old Testament, too.

    While his power is beyond human understanding, it is reasonable to conclude that his power is checked by forces of evil, though he will in the end triumph over these forces of evil.

    That doesn’t follow from your reasoning though. We can suppose a good-but-not-omnipotent god is opposed by an evil counterpart — but the only reason you think he will triumph is because his book says he will, and that’s a prediction of the future.
    If he isn’t omnipotent, there’s no guarantee he will win.

  189. #189 CosmicTeapot
    June 4, 2008

    Kenny said

    “At this point I have too much proof and I cannot fit it on this forum. It would be too much to post.”

    I mentioned on another thread, tell us this proof. Jokingly I said you would be responsible for the conversion of millions, maybe you will be made a saint.

    Seriously, put it on a web site and post a link. I will read it and let you know if I have converted.

    Stop telling us you have secret knowledge, because this makes me think you are a crackpot. And I really want to believe otherwise.

  190. #190 Kenny
    June 4, 2008

    >It’s not like he’s new here – and his poorly-written,
    >barely coherent ranting is getting very, very old. It’s
    >amazing his keyboard still functions after all the spittle
    >it’s absorbed from his frothing at the mouth.

    So are you saying that Atheists can’t be drama queens? I have seen less intelligence on here than the rednecks in the south.

    I am not “frothing at the mouth”. However, it would be nice to get something out of the simple minded kids on here. I mean all I have seen is insults. That doesn’t prove anything.

    “Your stupid and insipid! Anyone that believes in anything outside of reality and that I can feel is in a delusion! I am right and you are wrong!”

    This pretty much wraps it up. I poke my eyes out and now I can’t see any evidence of God!

    PROTIP: When you insult me, it doesn’t do any good because I have no respect for people like you. I mean if all you can do is put people down then how can I respect that?

    I have not seen one person who has made insults at my do anything for humankind on here (no I don’t mean like buy yourself something). Atheists have to be the most shallow people on the planet. They also don’t care about anyone other than themselves. They say they have morals, but a lot of them just have basic morals for NOW (i.e. do not murder).

    When they get rid of religion I do feel IN MY OPINION that morals will be next. I really feel atheism for a lot of people isn’t about proving anything about God. It is running away from God. Because that gets in the way of progression (in their eyes). However they will find that morals will also get in the way of progression.

    When I look at what an atheistic society lets say in Russia with Karl Marx which gave us Communism. I can’t say that I am at all impressed. We see what happens and it’s not very pretty. In fact I would call it a nightmare and it is very scary. I can’t limit my mind in the way an atheist does. I also can’t do without common sense like an atheist here does.

    Atheism itself just seems delusional and full of pride. That I can be the master of my own Universe in my own head. It’s like getting a pat on the back for winning a race in the special olympics.

    “I am better than anyone! I am smarter than anyone! I am the man! Science is god! Science is not a tool! It is going to save us all from death, we won’t die ever with science because it is god!”

    If only some of you would just listen to yourselves and understand that you are not being rational.

    Oh and I love science, but I think you kids have hijacked it. Just like the fundamental muslims have hijacked Islam.

    Science is about improving our lives but it does not know all the answers to everything and it will not save everyone on this planet. This planet is doomed and when science does come up with the answers it would have been too late. Even Steven Hawkings thinks that we will not be able to get out of this century without a huge bloodbath.

    This is why I can’t take most of the people on here seriously.

  191. #191 Kenny
    June 4, 2008

    >I think PZ, in the video clip, hit the nail exactly on the
    >head when he noted that the average taxpayer, who actually
    >pays for science, thinks what most scientists do is a
    >waste of money.

    That is a lie! Do he have evidence for this statement?

  192. #192 MAJeff, OM
    June 4, 2008

    This pretty much wraps it up. I poke my eyes out and now I can’t see any evidence of God!

    BRING IT MOTHERFUCKER! We’re still waiting for evidence and not for simple repeated bullshit claims.

    You have said nothing, and you say it over and over and over and over again.

    The reason you get called one is because you consistently demonstrate that you are one, that you are incapable of critical thought or reason. All you do is whine.

    Begone you worthless fuckwit.

    Any evidence for your “killing christians” nonsense? Or, is that another one of your opinions that is just plain nonsense?

  193. #193 MAJeff, OM
    June 4, 2008

    That is a lie! Do he have evidence for this statement?

    Oh, sweet irony.

  194. #194 JeffreyD
    June 4, 2008

    Gads, go away for a day and a half and the blog nearly explodes. Lots of good give and take and some of the usual nonsense. I see the K continues to drift on the water. Perhaps it is time to flush him.

    This blog has been fun for me, and I am sorry I came to it so late and will lose several months of it when I go back to work. I have added to my shallow knowledge of science by reading here and also further examined and reconfirmed my own views and “beliefs”, for want of a better word. One thing I like is that there are some intelligent people with a world view different from my own and they are worth reading. Others, like the K, are just a waste of electrons and bandwidth. Some mystify me because they obviously hate everything mentioned here but still come back to complain about the denizens. (shaking head)

    Anyway, an uncharacteristic fan letter by me to the many wonderful posters here and the man who created this blog.

    Ciao, y’all

  195. #195 Logicel
    June 4, 2008

    Kenny wrote: I think the key word you are looking for is respect.
    ______

    But, Kenny we do respect your humanity by disrespecting your stale, useless, dangerous religious beliefs. We are doing it for your own good as such beliefs are eroding your humanity. You are a shithead with potential, in other words. (This is my best attempt at borrowing a dysfunctional page from Kenny’s passive-aggressive book.)

    Having lived in a largely atheistic community for decades, I have been shocked by the amount of passive aggressiveness exhibited by Christians on the Web. Some have it in spades like Kenny (which I am guessing is one reason why people do tell him to fuck off, there is something so suffocating about passive-aggressive behavior, you just want it to end right away so breathing can recommence), and some like the self-labeled agnostic Walton (who apparently think agnosticism means you can wallow in irrationality, pretending to yourself you are still being “reasonable” as you self-medicate nonstop with the fallacy that there is an even probability of gods existing or not existing) who dribbles minor passive-aggressiveness at less frequent intervals.

    Passive-aggressivness is considered to be indicative of psychological dysfunction. And this psychological trait is seen often in Christians. Christianity is a group of dysfunctional folks pushing and pulling each other in their faith frenzy: yes, we are good because we are god’s children and he suffered terribly for us because we were bad children but we will go to heaven even though we getting there through immoral scapegoating. Yuck, just yuck.

    And Kenny wants the dysfunction to continue because he is stuck within it, just like the co-enabling members of a dysfunctional family who resent and protest and kick and scream when their dysfunction is challenged. Finally religion is being verbally challenged, just like dysfunctional families are.

    And, Walton, you insist not breaking the circular approach, but I can see why you would like a break from your routine as the resulting dizziness must be quite unpleasant.

  196. #196 SC
    June 4, 2008

    Very relevant to the subject of this post is the link provided in this comment (#13) from the next thread:

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2008/06/scienceblogs_has_a_book_club.php#comment-916155

    (P.S. JeffreyD, I’ve enjoyed your comments!)

  197. #197 Dinkum
    June 4, 2008

    Logicel, does that “largely atheistic community” have any properties available? Rentals? Someplace I can pitch a tent?

  198. #198 AJ
    June 4, 2008

    PZ’s Seattle visit made it to the front page of msnbc.com!

    http://cosmiclog.msnbc.msn.com/archive/2008/06/03/1101860.aspx

  199. #199 CosmicTeapot
    June 4, 2008

    Kenny said @ 190

    “I really feel atheism for a lot of people isn’t about proving anything about God. It is running away from God.”

    Strange, I became an atheist by running to god. I looked for the evidence, but did not find it.

    I am still waiting for Kenny to provide evidence.

  200. #200 Rob
    June 4, 2008

    How is it that I could tell Kenny’s first post long before the sig line?

    @Kenny:
    No room for proof? This is something called “the web”, there are things called “links” that are very short and could very easily be put here.

    I don’t have a problem with people’s beliefs, and I think many people here are the same. The problem is when they try to force those beliefs on us, either through law or force. Keep your beliefs your business, and you’ll hear a lot less from us “militant” atheists.

  201. #201 Dahan
    June 4, 2008

    Perhaps known to many here and off topic, but PZ is the also the main story in today’s Cosmic Log over at MSNBC.

    http://cosmiclog.msnbc.msn.com/archive/2008/06/03/1101860.aspx

  202. #202 thalarctos
    June 4, 2008

    Ciao, y’all

    I’ve enjoyed reading your contributions, Jeffrey, and look forward to hearing from you again when you get back. Stay safe, and we wish you all the best.

  203. #203 Jack
    June 4, 2008

    PZ, this statement from you hits the nail on the head for improving science education. “– I’m telling scientists to express their passions, get out there and be advocates for good science, and to tell beautiful stories.” Just add “and get the kids involved in learning science by doing science.”

    That’s it – be passionate about science, tell good stories, and get the kids involved.

    That’s how to improve science education. Too bad most of the teacher prep programs don’t get it.
    – Posted by: Vince (#60)

    Absolutely. Furthermore, I’ll second Vince’s observation about how sadly lacking that passion is among educators. At least in general, among elementary school teachers. And of course, there are exceptions. But in my short experience teaching (high school math), and longer experience married to an elementary school teacher, I found that the passion among elementary school teachers was for the kids. Many, many of them subscribe to “I am not in this profession to teach math or science or any other specific subject. I teach children.” Generally that means teaching them to read and hoping that will be sufficient that the children can learn other subjects with which the teacher is less familiar.

    Now, I’m not suggesting the passion for “teaching children” is bad. It’s not, it’s wonderful. Unfortunately, the dismissal of science and math leads to kids who are woefully underprepared for studies in those subjects which they should be developmentally capable of pursuing in high school and beyond.

  204. #204 Jack
    June 4, 2008

    Most Xian denominations made their peace with science decades ago and moved on. The fundies only hope of winning is to destroy our civilization. While that solves one problem it produces another. Just about everyone is going to hate living in a new Dark Age and if they figure out who caused that, the fundies are toast.
    – Posted by: raven (#33)

    LOL. Well put.

  205. #205 FastLane
    June 4, 2008

    Fucktard Kenny:

    I think the key word you are looking for is respect.

    (I should really do that in Comic Sans, huh?
    MAJeff, OM :

    *whoosh*

    Ya know, I build airplanes for a living and I don’t think they get the kind of speed and alttitude as the points everyone makes flying over Kenny’s thick little pinhead. =)

    Cheers.

  206. #206 Jack
    June 4, 2008

    Kenny,

    If you’re, like, 14 then I admire your persistence. 14 is my guess anyway. The 6:30pm start time for your work? I’m guessing fast food? Signing on for a quick comment before 7am then disappearing? To middle school? Last year there, huh? Next year you’re moving on up to High School? Congratulations.

    But seriously, “I am tired with messing with simple minded people”?

    Even when I disagree with the general characterizations of religion promulgated on this site, “simple minded” is not how I would classify this crowd. The depth of Dr. Myers’ knowledge, his passion for science and the accessible way in which he presents it is why I, non scientist that I am, come back and read what I find here. It really is fascinating.

    I think the key word you are looking for is respect.
    – Posted by: Kenny (#120)

    And as you, yourself point out so often, derisive abuse is not the way to get it.

  207. #207 Kseniya
    June 4, 2008

    I give Kenny a “A” for reaching the limits of his potential.

  208. #208 Kseniya
    June 4, 2008

    (wonders what Jeffrey does that will keep him away from the ‘net for months at a time…)

  209. #209 Janine ID
    June 4, 2008

    I give Kenny a “A” for reaching the limits of his potential.

    Posted by: Kseniya

    And an “F” for the potential available be worked on.

  210. #210 phantomreader42
    June 4, 2008

    Kenny’s opened the mother lode of tard! His powers of self-delusion, bullshitting and projection are far beyond those of mere mortal men! He’s STUPORTARD!

    Kenny the death-cultist troll:

    Dr. Myers I want proof. You sound more and more like a Nazi every day.

    Wow, Godwin in your second sentence! That’s some weapons-grade stupidity there.

    Kenny the death-cultist troll:

    At the end of the day it comes down to the very question does God exist and is there an after life?

    And judging from all available evidence, the answer is no.

    If you believe otherwise, you could try to offer some actual evidence for your position. But we all know you won’t, since you don’t have any.

    Kenny the death-cultist troll:

    At this point I have too much proof and I cannot fit it on this forum. It would be too much to post.

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHHA!!!

    Come on, Kenny, the only one here stupid enough to fall for that bullshit is you!

    You claim you have SO MUCH proof of your imaginary god that you’re unable to post it here? Have you ever even tried? There doesn’t seem to be any character limit, there was some nut who pasted in hundreds of pages of pure unadulterated batshit insanity.

    And how does having TOO MUCH proof prevent you from posting ANY OF IT? If you really have so much, just try picking out one tiny speck of evidence for your imaginary god, and post that here. Just a little bit of evidence. Any at all.

    You won’t even try, because you’ve got nothing. Just another Liar For Jesus?

    Kenny, Liar For Jesus?:

    I do not think you know everything there is to know.

    And when did he claim to, outside of your delusions?

    Kenny, Liar For Jesus?:

    What’s next? All Jews and Christians must die because they teach ignorance? Yeah you have a lot in common with Hitler.

    Oh, who said this? One of the voices in your head? Was it the same voice that told you about the vast gay conspiracy to exterminate christians? OR maybe the one that encourages you to lie about the ACLU?
    OR the one that whispers to you that you should murder everyone who dares question your imaginary friend?

    Kenny, you’re a master of projection, but totally, woefully, willfully ignorant when it comes to anything in the real world.

    Please go start your website with your “too much proof”
    and lay out everything. It will be good for you and it
    will be even better for the rest of us.

    Kenny, Liar For Jesus?:
    So what you are really saying is that you don’t care about proof that God exists or not. You would rather be ignorant because you don’t care and thus you are denying God.

    No, Kenny, that’s NOT what she’s really saying, although it’s not surprising that you’re too stupid to understand it.

    What she’s really saying is “You say you have proof? Show it. Put up or shut up.”

    If you actually had any of this “proof” you claim to have, you wuld’ve presented some of it by now. You haven’t. Therefore, it’s clear you have nothing, and know you have nothing. So when you claim to have proof, knowing you don’t, that just makes you a liar.

    Kenny, torture porn enthusiast:

    Well, that is your choice of course. You might want to change your mind before you die. That is just a little hint.

    Why? Because your imaginary friend might decide to torture us for all eternity? Yeah, I’m sure you’re typing one-handed fantasizing about that.

    Well your imaginary friend is an asshole. Even if it existed, it wouldn’t be worthy of worship.

    Kenny the black pot:

    I am tired with messing with simple minded people. His kind of talk was the same kind of talk that was the elimination of people.

    Well, if you don’t want to deal with simple-minded people, maybe you should stop talking to the voices in your head. They’re as stupid as you.

    And YOUR kind of talk is “the same kind of talk that was the elimination of people.” You’re the one who whines about being persecuted because you’re not allowed to persecute whoever you want.

    Kenny the irony-impaired:

    A lot of people claim that they are intelligent in here but they are not anywhere near the intelligence that they claim.

    You are one of them, probably one of the worst examples.

    Kenny the terminally irony-impaired:

    When I come to the blog, objectivity, reason, and common sense go right out the window.

    Quite true. Perhaps you should try looking in a mirror to find the problem.

    I can’t believe Kenny is a real person. I just can’t
    believe that anyone who’s thoughts are so incomplete,
    circular, facetious, and just plain wrong would be able to
    feed themselves properly.

    Kenny the death-cultist troll:
    Wrong, by whos standards? Yours?

    Wrong by the standards of reality. Not that you’d know anything about reality, since you’ve wrapped yourself up so tightly in your delusions.

    Kenny, Liar For Jesus?:

    I do want to say that I still want to show off some of the evidence that I am building and I will have to use Morphing in case I am banned to show that evidence.

    This is just a lie. You don’t have any evidence. You’ve never even tried to show any. You’re just making shit up.

    What’s the matter, can’t maintain the persecution complex without getting banned but can’t bear not being able to spew your bullshit here?

    Kenny the whiner:

    I really seriously doubt that anything can open your blind eyes at all. Even if God came to show you himself you still would not believe because it’s not about belief is it, it is about total rejection of anything supernatural. Even if anything found to conflict with your beliefs it still would not change your worldview.

    You could actually test this hypothesis if you had the slightest shred of evidence for the existence of your imaginary friend. But you don’t have any evidence. You never have, you never will. And that’s why you can’t stop whining, you can’t stand being asked for evidence, because you know you don’t have any.

    Kenny the utterly incompetent:

    The ONLY reason I am here and posting at all is to defend those who believe in something. I would not be posting here that much and only asking questions if this was not a religious bashing blog and was pure science instead.

    You’re not very good at it.

    You’ve shown you’re an irrational, delusional, dishonest, bigoted conspiracy theorist with a persecution complex and a mess of double standards. You make wild assertions and accusations without the slightest speck of evidence. You give religion a bad name. You’re not helping your cause. You’re a joke.

    Kenny the victim:

    PROTIP: The truth should be heard and evidence should not be silenced.

    There you go again, babbling about evidence. What evidence? If you have any, show it. Put up or shut up. We all know you’ve got nothing, you’re just a delusional lying idiot.

    Kenny the hypocrite:

    PROTIP: When you insult me, it doesn’t do any good because I have no respect for people like you.

    The fact that you think you can post that in the same thread as “Learn to RESPECT other’s beliefs even if you do not agree with them” and not get called out for it just goes to show how stupid you are.

    Kenny the opinionated:

    When they get rid of religion I do feel IN MY OPINION that morals will be next.

    And do you have the slightest shred of evidence to back up this OPINION?

    IN MY OPINION, Kenny is a pedophile and a murderer. :P

    When are you going to learn that screaming about your opinion doesn’t make reality go away? Oh, yeah, never, because learning is against your religion.

    Kenny the arrogant:

    Atheism itself just seems delusional and full of pride.

    And your belief that The Creator of the Entire Fucking Universe is watching YOU approvingly and will reward you (and torture anyone who dares doubt you) in the afterlife is not the least bit arrogant? What color is the sky on your planet?

    Once again, proof that projection is a core competency (if not THE core competency) for christianist whackjobs.

    Damnit, Kenny, look in a fucking MIRROR for once. You are everything you claim to hate. YOU are the militant one, YOU are the arrogant one, YOU are the intolerant one. The only reason you can’t see this is that you refuse to. You have to wrap yourself tightly in delusion to hide from reality.

  211. #211 Strakh
    June 4, 2008

    Ahhhh, I love the smell of demented, bat-shit crazy fucktards getting their tiny, shit filled pinheads handed to them in the morning….

    Oh, Kenny, you arrogant little fuck.

    You must secretly be a masochist.

    Not once has anything but shit poured from your mouth and the posters here have jet-blasted it right back into your ear with repeated skill and verve.

    Yet you return to say exactly the same things again and again and again. Granted, there is nothing new to the fantasy of religion, but you aren’t even coming up with new ways to say it…

    Keep it up, though. I’m getting lots of new ways to put the filthy shit of humanity that continues to pollute this planet with idiocy down with spectacularly brutal (and absolutely 100% true) insults.

  212. #212 cicely
    June 4, 2008

    Kenny @64:

    At this point I have too much proof and I cannot fit it on this forum. It would be too much to post.

    Okay, Kenny; make it easy on yourself. Break up this “too much proof” into bite-sized chunks and toss a couple onto the board. Your evidence, rather. Then, we can either concede that you have something besides opinion and anecdote to back your assertions, or refute your points.

    In other words, put up or shut up.

    And, as far as Dr. Myers “push(ing) his bogus beliefs on other people” goes, and leaving aside that this is his blog, in which he is as free to espouse whatever he wants in the same way that you would be free to espouse whatever you wanted on your blog, I gotta ask….by what means of coercion did Dr. Myers compel you to come here? How is he forcing you to read his blog? Because, if he’s got such a method, then he could become wealthy beyond, yes, I dare to say it, dreams of avarice, if he wanted to use this method in the service of politicians and advertisers.

    Anybody else here under compulsion? Anyone?

  213. #213 Alex
    June 4, 2008

    Nicely done phantomreader.

  214. #214 Dahan
    June 4, 2008

    “Anybody else here under compulsion? Anyone?”

    Well, yeah. PZ said I could read the first post for free, I didn’t know it was going to be so addictive. Now I’m hooked and I just KNOW he’s gonna start charging me for repeatedly checking back here. Damn you PZ!

  215. #215 JeffreyD
    June 4, 2008

    SC and thalarctos, thank you for the kind words. Looks like I will be around for a few more weeks, which I plan to enjoy reading, and once in a while posting on, this blog.

    Kseniya re your #208 (wonders what Jeffrey does that will keep him away from the ‘net for months at a time…). All you have to do is ask, see my email address (smile).

    Ciao y’all

  216. #216 Ron Sullivan
    June 4, 2008

    I’m trying to sift out the responses to the Ktroll who’s here humping PZ’s leg again and get to more interesting stuff, and Jack in #203 had one that struck me:

    But in my short experience teaching (high school math), and longer experience married to an elementary school teacher, I found that the passion among elementary school teachers was for the kids. Many, many of them subscribe to “I am not in this profession to teach math or science or any other specific subject. I teach children.”

    It’s unusual to have those passions–and talents–intersect in the same person, I guess, and there are plenty of malign or just crushingly-inert filters out there to further reduce the pool. Grade-school teachers, high-school teachers: they have to teach looking over their shoulders in a lot of schools, and that is exhausting. Class size, facilities, resources, surrounding microcultures, crazy school boards, insulting salaries, just plain social lunacies combine in various ways to wear teachers out. Having to worry about losing one’s job over assorted kinds of nonsense–how can they keep from being completely paralyzed, let alone be inspiring?

    I’ve been lucky to have had some really talented teachers in my life, and IME they’ve combined teaching talent, a habit of actually looking at the people they teach (seriously, that bit of attentive, personal communication is a sort of exchange of trust that opens the learning mind), the freedom to teach as they wanted, and a passion for the subject. They don’t even have to be experts in the subject; they just have to know something I don’t and be excited about it.

    “Teach children” isn’t quite a complete transitive-verb sentence. If you diagram it (hah) with the real world in mind you find an elided preposition, “to,” before “children.” So you still need an object, something to teach them. Something you yourself take visible pleasure in knowing.

    I got a chance to co-teach a class in environmental journalism some years back, and found I had a couple of basic things to tell the youngsters there.

    One: take science courses. Doesn’t much matter which; any subject there will give you a clue on how to research, and more important a sense of what’s likely and what isn’t, so you won’t be falling for the cranks.

    Two, as I’d been telling aspiring writers for years before I made money at it myself: Yes, get your writing chops and keep practicing. But look around the great big world and find something you love more than you love writing or words. That’s what you write about.

    Seems to me there’s something like that to apply to teaching. The example of joy and passion, that’s a great big deal. It doesn’t matter if your favorite thing isn’t something any particular student will glom onto; different things reach different people and seeing that it’s a pleasure to get into your subject is just as important as getting them past some standardized test. (More so, of course, but those damned tests, ugh, another bad filter.)

    I’m creeping up on 60 and have lately met rather a lot of hot seniors. One of the first things you learn in the field when birding is to attach yourself like a limpet to the various heads of white hair you encounter; same applies to gardening, a passion Joe and I came to via birding and what we write about for most of our income now. What I find common to the most knowledgeable people, the people who find out new things for all of us, is passion.

    Intelligence, IME, is not so much capability as it is appetite.

    Communicating that appetite, now isn’t that an interesting problem we have to play with?

  217. #217 Patricia C.
    June 4, 2008

    #55 – Alex, well said!
    #64 – Kenny, PZ is no where near the proper age to be a nazi. You say you have proof of god. OK I’m interested in seeing it.
    #116 – Kenny, you propose that even if god showed up no one would believe it. I will. Trot the old boy out, or have him show up in all his ball of light & thundering voice splender like he did to Moses…or heck even as he did in the cool of the evening in Eden. Stopping the Sun again would also work.(Said in a kind tone.)

  218. #218 Zeno
    June 4, 2008

    Kseniya: (wonders what Jeffrey does that will keep him away from the ‘net for months at a time…)

    I’m guessing that JeffreyD is an international spy or assassin. He goes about the world gathering intelligence and snuffing out stupidity.

  219. #219 Patricia C.
    June 4, 2008

    …Troll humping PZ’s leg again…! There went the tea through the nose!!!

  220. #220 Rey Fox
    June 4, 2008

    Mr. Myerrrrrs! Kenny is threatening to KILL us again! I mean, he didn’t say he was gonna, but he talks like he’s gonna! He’s not respectin’ us!

  221. #221 bbcaddict
    June 4, 2008

    Your Pacfic Science Center talk was really enjoyable.
    I don’t know if you remember but I was the disheveled blonde (straight from the gym to your talk) who shook your hand and thanked you for your blog- I really had nothing better to say at the time since I was tired and very hungry but I LOVED your talk.
    I should have added “Keep on being grumpy” or “Your blog makes me feel like I’m not alone in the universe” or something more interesting.
    But THANKS PZ. I’m sorry I couldn’t have gone to McMenamin’s for post-talk beers.

  222. #222 JeffreyD
    June 4, 2008

    Zeno re you #218 – “I’m guessing that JeffreyD is an international spy or assassin. He goes about the world gathering intelligence and snuffing out stupidity.”

    Zeno, damn, now I have to kill you, hang on while I roll up this magazine and find a ballpoint pen.

    Ciao, and I will miss you.

    (what? oh, yes nurse, I will take my meds now)

  223. #223 Kseniya
    June 4, 2008

    I speculate that Kenny’s proof will consist of bite-sized chunks of incontrovertible evidence like these:

  224. “I was hit by a car but didn’t suffer serious injuries – therefore, God!”
  225. “All kinds of stuff happens that I can’t explain but some of it’s good and I don’t know why – therefore, God.”
  226. “Millions of people have come back from the dead – therefore, God.”

    Ciao-in-advance, Agent D. I don’t plan (or wish) to compromise your anonymity, but maybe I’ll drop you a line. I’m a curious little koshka.

          \    /\
           )  ( ')
          (  /  )
           \(__)|
    
  • #224 John Phillips, FCD
    June 4, 2008

    JeffreyD, stay safe, or at least as safe as is possible out there. Your contributions here will be missed and I look forward to your eventual safe return.

  • #225 Ichthyic
    June 4, 2008

    When I come to the blog, objectivity, reason, and common sense go right out the window.

    that is the ONE Kennyquote(TM) I am going to save in my creationist file.

  • #226 Leigh
    June 4, 2008

    JeffreyD, you’re not gone yet and I’m already worried. Please stay in touch as you are able. You have my email address.

    We will really miss you.

    And all this is premature, because we’ll be able to enjoy your company just a little bit longer!

  • #227 David Marjanovi?, OM
    June 4, 2008

    Walton, what you propose is not the Judeo-Christian god, it’s the Manichaean good god… just FYI.

  • #228 David Marjanovi?, OM
    June 4, 2008

    When I come to the blog, objectivity, reason, and common sense go right out the window.

    My night is saved. Praise Kenny, who works miracles even before his resurrection.

    Though, will I be able to sleep with the cramp in my face?

  • #229 Ichthyic
    June 4, 2008

    Praise Kenny, who works miracles even before his resurrection.

    …and behold!

    he is risen:

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2008/06/here_come_da_judge_again.php#c918021

    he really IS Kenny.

    shall we try the microwave next?

  • #230 Kenny
    June 5, 2008

    >Damnit, Kenny, look in a fucking MIRROR for once. You are
    >everything you claim to hate. YOU are the militant one,
    >YOU are the arrogant one, YOU are the intolerant one. The
    >only reason you can’t see this is that you refuse to. You
    >have to wrap yourself tightly in delusion to hide from
    >reality.

    m nt rlly mltnt. jst dn’t lk t whn smn dsn’t rspct th vrg prsn. dn’t lk t whn smn s bng jrk bcs thy hv lck f ndrstndng bt smthng. dn’t lk t whn ppl lk y dn’t hv prpr cmmnctn sklls.

  • #231 spurge
    June 5, 2008

    Behold Kenny.

    Projection personified.

  • #232 mandrake
    June 5, 2008

    Um, Kenny… this evidence for your beliefs that you mentioned? That won’t fit in the comments? You do know that you can easily get a blogspot or livejournal for free, right? They’re prefab, even; no skillz needed. I think PZ would, in fact, be willing to leave up a link posted in the comments if it meant that you would either 1.share with the world possibly important and convincing evidence for a deity and/or 2.go away.
    I suspect you might know that, but just in case: livejournal and blogger.
    To everybody else: sorry for troll-feeding, I plead guilty to unwarranted optimism.

  • #233 phantomreader42
    June 5, 2008

    mandrake @ #232:

    Um, Kenny… this evidence for your beliefs that you mentioned? That won’t fit in the comments? You do know that you can easily get a blogspot or livejournal for free, right? They’re prefab, even; no skillz needed. I think PZ would, in fact, be willing to leave up a link posted in the comments if it meant that you would either 1.share with the world possibly important and convincing evidence for a deity and/or 2.go away.

    If it were not already painfuly obvious that Kenny is a lying sack of crap, it would be telling that he has not made any attempt whatseover to respond to the countless requests to present his evidence, even when such requests are in the same post he’s responding to another part of.

    This just goes to show that Kenny doesn’t have any evidence, and is lying when he says he does.

    You’re a lying sack of crap, you’re a lying sack of crap, you’re a lying, steaming, stinking scheming sack of liquid crap!

  • #234 Ophelia Benson
    June 6, 2008

    Drat, I’d have liked to go to that thing tonight, but I didn’t know about it so I missed the deadline.

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