Pharyngula

Fresh crackers!

Because performance all over scienceblogs starts to suffer when a comment thread gets too long, I’m closing the thread in which I grievously insult a cracker…but if you must, you can continue here.

i-bb255692cf4ccb6119a8bebbc7510cd4-behead-insult-crackers.jpg

Comments

  1. #1 D-
    July 10, 2008

    Hmm, turns out Jesus was a Cracker…wonder if he really had blue eyes too.

  2. #2 me
    July 10, 2008

    1. Poor kid takes home uneaten eucharist to show his friend.
    2. Church and catholics go batshit crazy.
    3. PZ thinks this is ridiculous and says so, also says he may do some things to a cracker.
    4. Church and catholics go batshit crazy.
    Teh end.
    Gives me my cheezeburgers. :)

  3. #3 drow
    July 10, 2008

    FSM save our noodles, and the meatballs among them, from the desecration of heathens, and of clerics and nuns, and of druids and rangers, and especially of favored souls, being a total munchkin class. amen.

  4. #4 Rarus.vir
    July 10, 2008

    I think we have missed the bigger picture in all this, and that is that Jesus is powerless agianst Zip-lock baggies. Superman has Kryptonite and Jesus has Glad bags. At least I know what to wear if I am ever compelled to attend church again.

  5. #5 kubenzi
    July 10, 2008

    its a miracle.i have witnessed “what? errr…” turned to “whine”

  6. #6 geoff
    July 10, 2008

    When I saw the words ‘cracker’ ‘eating’ and ‘Bill Donohue’ in the same post, I thought it was going to be about cannibalism.

    All this over some starch.

    *sigh*

  7. #7 Reginald Selkirk
    July 10, 2008

    How long will it take Bill Donohue to express his outrage over this activity in Wales?
    Weekend is sure to be a cracker

  8. #8 Richard Harris
    July 10, 2008

    Transubstantiation – it’s crackers. Feckin’ religious edjits!

  9. #9 Chiroptera
    July 10, 2008

    Thanks for continuing the comments, PZ.

    Dave S, #1006: Do you seriously suggest that Prof Wacko faces the same danger from Catholics here in Minnesota that he would if he tried a stunt like this in Mecca?

    Do you really think this is even relevant? I mean, how the hell does retarded Muslim intolerance excuse retarded Catholic intolerance? How does the fact that Saudi Arabia is a theocracy have to do with the fact that PZ Myers lives under a secular government despite the ill-wishes of our own Christofascists? Do you even have a coherent point, or is your intent to obfuscate the issues here with emotion-laden irrelevance?

  10. #10 BobC
    July 10, 2008

    The stolen wafer may have already been recovered. What will the priest do with it? Does he throw it into a sacred garbage can, eat it, or what?

  11. #11 Mark B
    July 10, 2008

    1. Poor kid takes home uneaten eucharist to show his friend.
    2. Church and catholics go batshit crazy.
    3. PZ thinks this is ridiculous and says so, also says he may do some things to a cracker.
    4. Church and catholics go batshit crazy.
    Teh end

    Nah, the cycle of batshit crazy is never ending. Your summary needed a question mark at the end:

    Teh end?

    I didn’t know that this was such a big deal thoughout histtor until reading the Wikipedia article on Host Desecration. Apparently, disrespecting this little (rather silly) bit of religious dogma has been used as justification for some rather extreme acts against groups that the Catholic Church despised.

    The first recorded accusation was made in 1243 at Berlitz, near Berlin. As a consequence all the Jews of Berlitz were burned on the spot, which was subsequently called Judenberg. Another famous case that took place in 1290, in Paris, was commemorated in the Church of the Rue des Billettes and in a local confraternity. In 1370 in Brussels, the charge of host desecration, long celebrated in a special fest and depicted in artistic relics in the Church of St. Gudule, led to the extermination of the Jews of the city.

    and on and on … One hopes the Catholic Church of today doesn’t resort to massacres and atrocities to protect its dogma as they did in the middle ages, but it looks like morons like Donohue long to a return to the good old days of the inquisition.

  12. #12 Brett
    July 10, 2008

    Congratulations….you have just committed career suicide!!!!

    PS- are you trying to be a “bad boy” of new atheism?

    Good luck, you hate-filled, ignorant chump.

  13. #13 Reginald Selkirk
    July 10, 2008

    SICOTI: Someone Is Crackers On The Interwebs. And it sounds so much like psychotic.

  14. #14 Sili
    July 10, 2008

    It’s a plot, I tell you. It’s a plot!

    They’re trying to bring down the SciBorg from within!

  15. #15 Chris P
    July 10, 2008

    How is one supposed to know all these stupid religious no-no’s? Are they codified in a book? It’s bad enough when they change the traffic rules in a city without telling anybody outside.

    Why don’t the relgious stop using their cell phones while driving – that’s flat dangerous. It directly affects my drive to work EVERY day. Having to spend effort checking for stupid behavior.

    My eating a cracker doesn’t affect your real safety in anyway.

    What total hypocrits.

  16. #16 Reginald Selkirk
    July 10, 2008

    Congratulations….you have just committed career suicide!!!!

    Dude,
    1) find a dictionary.
    2) Look up “tenure.”
    3) Eat your heart out.

  17. #17 Dutch Delight
    July 10, 2008

    I could look up the names but I’m to lazy, I’d say we’re up to 6 posters with confirmed koran envy and extremely self-centered delusions that indicate they actually think their specific religion is of special importance to atheists.

  18. #18 qbsmd
    July 10, 2008

    We should take bets:
    if PZ puts one sacred cracker on a webcam so it can be viewed live, how long would it take for Catholics to stop protesting? Would it go on for years or be over in a week?

  19. #19 H.H.
    July 10, 2008

    Brett, I’m pretty sure the hate-filled and ignorant ones are those making death threats over a cracker.

    Man, it’s like the cultists live in Opposite Land–all Orwell all the time!

  20. #20 Cary
    July 10, 2008

    This whole thing is lolworthy.

    PZ, you provide me with much entertainment. Don’t let these brainless idiots stop you. Ever.

    People like PZ Myers make me happy to be a University of Minnesota Alum :)

  21. #21 MH
    July 10, 2008

    For all those who are thinking of smuggling out consecrated crackers, don’t bother. Store-bought (or mail-ordered) ones are easier to get, and as the blessing process doesn’t change their physical properties in any way, the priests won’t be able to tell the difference.

    You can do what-ever you like to them (Jesus sculpture!), and in doing so, mess with the minds of the credulous hopefully to the extent that they realize how stupid their beliefs are. If you like, some-time afterwards, you can reveal that no Jesus was harmed.

    Oh what fun we shall have!

  22. #22 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 10, 2008

    Congratulations….you have just committed career suicide!!!!

    PS- are you trying to be a “bad boy” of new atheism?

    Good luck, you hate-filled, ignorant chump.

    Wow. And only comment #12.

    You sure cranked up “teh dumb” pretty quick.

    Care to provide us with a bit some expansion of your opinion or are you just a dumbfuck troll who decide to drive by and throw your 10 year booger collection at us?

  23. #23 qbsmd
    July 10, 2008

    Congratulations….you have just committed career suicide!!!!
    Posted by: Brett

    Because intelligent people care.

  24. #24 Dave S.
    July 10, 2008

    Chiroptera, My point is that you weasels do not have the courage to do this to the one religious group that WILL really kill you. Oh, and when you come back with your anti-Muslim taunt, please demonstrate that I am wrong by including your real name and home address so the jihadists can find you. Thank you.

  25. #25 midwifetoad
    July 10, 2008

    http://www.uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/louisiana-whats-the-big-deal/#comment-292251

    The Christian Love is oozing out all over.

    DaveScot

    07/10/2008

    12:52 pm
    Myers is playing Russian roulette. He just keeps pushing the envelope in seeing how many people he can possibly offend in the worst way. It’s just a matter of time before someone with a terminal disease, a month left to live, decides he hasn’t got anything to lose by taking out Myers along with him.

    I wonder what kind of Christian would think he has nothing to lose by committing murder. Or fantasizing about it.

  26. #26 BobC
    July 10, 2008

    After reading the host desecration article from Wikipedia I don’t see any difference between Muslim terrorists and Catholics. Both religions are insane, and both religions have a bloody disgraceful history.

  27. #27 Taz
    July 10, 2008

    Number of comments in the old thread is 661. Can’t we put 5 more in there?

  28. #28 ThePetey
    July 10, 2008

    Hmm, turns out Jesus was a Cracker…wonder if he really had blue eyes too.

    Jesus of Nabisco

  29. #29 craig
    July 10, 2008

    It just occurred to to me that if it weren’t for the selfishness of Catholics each wanting to ingest a little Jesus, they would just chew him up to make him sticky, get together and sculpt all the gobs back together so we could have Jesus back.

    But noooooooooo… they gotta EAT the guy. Sickos.

  30. #30 Brett
    July 10, 2008

    What exactly makes you people so vicious and hate-filled?

    I don’t quite get why you need to attack faith and physically go after believers; however, I think you would make excellent soldiers of Mao or Stalin in their “rational” liquidation of hundreds of thousands of religious peoples.

    PS – want to talk about tenure?

    Talk to Ward Churchill…a similar nutbag!

  31. #31 Mark B
    July 10, 2008

    Six six six comments in the previous thread. It has been transubstantiated!

  32. #32 Lucretious
    July 10, 2008

    Once again, Denyse O’Leary bakes a goddamn tasty cracker.

  33. #33 Michelle
    July 10, 2008

    Are you gonna close down the other thread too? It reached a beautiful 666 post count. :P

  34. #34 craig
    July 10, 2008

    “physically go after believers;”

    Who the fuck is doing that? You’re adding too many new delusions to your old ones.

  35. #35 386sx
    July 10, 2008

    It is hard to think of anything more vile than to intentionally desecrate the Body of Christ.

    I guess that means it’s not as bad as kidnapping the Body of Christ! Lol, what a bully.

  36. #36 Ken
    July 10, 2008

    Ok, Jesus of Nabisco has me laughing outloud. That is funny.

  37. #37 Chiroptera
    July 10, 2008

    Dave S, #24: My point is…

    …completely irrelevant to the fact that some kid who pulled a prank that harmed no one is being harassed and sent death threats by thugs who are little different than the ones you keep bringing up. That it’s safe to criticize the Catholics is due to the work of people who have worked hard to maintain a secular government and freedom of expression in this country, people who don’t seem to include either you or Donahue.

  38. #38 Big City
    July 10, 2008

    Didn’t the original title of the article say “Goddamn Cracker”? Was is changed? Am I dreaming?

    Hey, this is not my beautiful house! This is not my beautiful wife! How did I get here?

  39. #39 me
    July 10, 2008

    I don’t quite get why you need to attack faith and physically go after believers; however, I think you would make excellent soldiers of Mao or Stalin in their “rational” liquidation of hundreds of thousands of religious peoples.

    Wow, you fail reading comprehension. No where has anyone called for assaulting suckers the religious. In fact it’s just the opposite.

  40. #40 Brett
    July 10, 2008

    Invading a Church to physically steal Holy Communion IS physically invading/attacking a religious people.

    And you call religious extremists!

    Wow! How deluded…

  41. #41 Reginald Selkirk
    July 10, 2008

    I found this link in the comments to the Strib article:

    Eucharistic Miracle

    Ancient Anxanum, the city of the Frentanese, has contained for over twelve centuries the first and greatest Eucharistic Miracle of the Catholic Church. This wondrous Event took place in the 8th century A.D. in the little Church of St. Legontian, as a divine response to a Basilian monk’s doubt about Jesus’ Real Presence in the Eucharist.

    During Holy Mass, after the two-fold consecration, the host was changed into live Flesh and the wine was changed into live Blood, which coagulated into five globules, irregular and differing in shape and size…

    SICOTI.

  42. #42 Randy
    July 10, 2008

    If the Followers of the Cracker are going to make death threats… well, two can play at that game. I hold in my hand, right now, two orange-colored crackers joined in a Holy Bond of faux peanut butter. They have done nothing worse to me than to slightly stain my fingers and deposit Holy Crumbs on my lap. However, if Xers around the world do not stop saying and thinking things that I don’t particularly like, I will crush these innocent crackers between my molars.
    You have been warned.

  43. #43 me
    July 10, 2008

    Wow! How deluded…

    Project much?

  44. #44 Bert Chadick
    July 10, 2008

    Back off jebus boys or the saltine gets it.

  45. #45 Ray S.
    July 10, 2008

    I am so glad Crackergate has happened. Describing to my kids the inanity of the Catholics for believing such silliness has probably inoculated them from religion for life. Two new members of the reality based community. One not even a teenager yet.

  46. #46 AgnosticOracle
    July 10, 2008

    It occurs to me reading the original article if you wanted to cause a lot of chaos… Announce on a public forum that you’d taken (and not eaten) a cracker from the local Catholic Church. Ideally you have several people do this at several Catholic Churches. Whether you actually go to the trouble of actually going to the service is optional of course.

    But if they really believe this is is mortal sin that the whole community has to make reparations for, that will keep them busy for a while.

  47. #47 brandon
    July 10, 2008

    Invading a Church to physically steal Holy Communion IS physically invading/attacking a religious people.

    Brett as an ethical person, you ought to use thesauruses for good, not for lying and exaggerations.

  48. #48 K8
    July 10, 2008

    PuusssZy Myer,

    Don’t worry about Catholics, your uni president will soon hand you your ass…

    Good luck filling out those unemployment papers, Prof. Churchill….I mean, Myer!

    PS – I heard the KKK is looking for a resident science lecturer….

  49. #49 Fred Nurke
    July 10, 2008

    This reminds me of the scene in Angela’s Ashes where the boy (Frank?) gets sick and throws up the wafer, and the grandmother is upset because she’s got the body of Jesus all over the back yard LOL!!!

    When I was a kid, I had a friend who was an altar boy. We used to sneak into the church and take wafers by the bag and scarf them down for snacks.

  50. #50 tsg
    July 10, 2008

    Alakazam! *waves arms around* Omini domini!

    There, I just changed every box of Original Premiums into a box of Jesuses.

    You Catholics are going to be very busy, I suspect, trying to keep them all from being desecrated.

    And if you don’t believe I did it then you aren’t respecting my beliefs.

  51. #51 Epicurus
    July 10, 2008

    Jesus prefers Wheat Thins. How many goddamn, fucking times to I have to goddamn tell you? Goddamnit!

  52. #52 John
    July 10, 2008

    Invading a Church to physically steal Holy Communion IS physically invading/attacking a religious people.

    Who said anything about invading. They will be invited, heck, encouraged to come in. I bet if anyone here was told they were not welcome, they would leave.

    Wow, what a wack job

  53. #53 MH
    July 10, 2008

    Brett wrote “I don’t quite get why you need to attack faith and physically go after believers”

    Superstitious belief is dangerous, as can be seen when someone removes a cracker from a building or gives a teddy bear the wrong name. Death threats are the result. We don’t even threaten believers with violence, let alone ‘physically go after them’. We just laugh at their stupidity.

    You know those delusions in your mind; they’re multiplying.

  54. #54 me
    July 10, 2008

    Don’t worry about Catholics, your uni president will soon hand you your ass…

    I just love all these conservative religious hypocrites who complain about “free speech” when they aren’t allowed to hate on gay people at colleges, but the moment anyone says anything negative about religion, there’s a shit storm.

  55. #55 Sir Jebbington
    July 10, 2008

    Wow, #48. The incorporation of an insult into PZ’s name, the suggestion of unemployment, the reference to Winston Churchill, and a bonus KKK reference.
    Godwin, it won’t be long now.

  56. #56 craig
    July 10, 2008

    Ok, this thing is starting to piss me off a little.

    So, I am going to get my hands on some consecrated crackers (I have connections)

    And I’m going to make a piece of protest art out of them.
    Not sure what yet, “piss cracker” would be too derivative.

  57. #57 BobC
    July 10, 2008

    From wikipedia: “Mortal sin, according to the beliefs of Roman Catholicism, is a sin that, unless confessed and absolved, condemns a person’s soul to Hell after death.”

    Is not eating a wafer a mortal sin? Is this guy, according to Catholic beliefs, going to get tortured for eternity? I would think the Catholics would be satisfied with the torture, but they want to kill him too.

  58. #58 Mark B
    July 10, 2008

    Jesus told me that you shouldn’t chomp him and grind him with your teeth. It hurts! Just let his sit on your tongue until he softens, and then swallow the doughy mass. Use the communion wine to wash it down. Thank you.

  59. #59 Nonjebusbelievingheathen
    July 10, 2008

    Albatross, Get your Albatross! “Do you get any wafers wif’em?” Of course you don’t get any bloody wafers wif’em! Albatross!

    Now we know why he didn’t get any wafers with his albatross!

  60. #60 me
    July 10, 2008

    Actually it’s a reference to Ward Churchill made by someone entirely ignorant of the fats.

  61. #61 Rebecca Watson
    July 10, 2008

    All this talk about Jesus is making me hungry.

  62. #62 Paul W.
    July 10, 2008

    Agnostic Oracle @ 46

    Interesting plan. How about planting some hosts around in various places, and making it like a scavenger hunt to rescue the lost Jesus Pieces?

    You could put them in plastic eggs at Easter.

  63. #63 Mark B
    July 10, 2008

    Wow, #48. The incorporation of an insult into PZ’s name, the suggestion of unemployment, the reference to Winston Churchill, and a bonus KKK reference.
    Godwin, it won’t be long now.

    I believe he was referring to WARD Churchill, now Winston. But he’s probably too stupid to know the difference, so I withdraw my objection.

  64. #64 skyotter
    July 10, 2008

    huh. you’d think an omniscient deity would have seen it coming, and simply stayed out of the about-to-be-descecrated cracker in the first place. so, yes, we may safely blame the “victim”

    unless, of course, the deity doesn’t have a choice but MUST go into the cracker when the right magic words are uttered by the right person at the right time in the right place. in which case, blame the priest

  65. #65 craig
    July 10, 2008

    “Not sure what yet, “piss cracker” would be too derivative.”

    and too soggy.

  66. #66 MH
    July 10, 2008

    Brett: “Invading a Church to physically steal Holy Communion IS physically invading/attacking a religious people.”

    Firstly, no it isn’t, and secondly, no-one is advocating that. The priest/magician/whatever gives the crackers out freely. What people do with them after that is their business. They can’t force-feed people bits of ‘jesus’.

  67. #67 Richard Wolford
    July 10, 2008

    Anyone ever hear the Hayward Banks song “Big Buttered Jesus”? I’ll bet Big Butter Jesus would be great with Wheat Thins Jesus.

  68. #68 davery
    July 10, 2008

    Just fan the flames of trolldom…I find the kid’s stunt and PZ’s challenge hilarious. I also find the clueless ramblings of the deluded, I mean religious posters who have oozed over full of christian outrage equally hilarious, if not fully coherent. Please continue to rant.

  69. #69 Ray S.
    July 10, 2008

    I’ve made breadcrumbs before by putting Pepperidge Farms Goldfish crackers through my KitchenAid food grinder. Does that mean I’ve committed genocide? Did I cause a ripple in the Force?

  70. #70 jynnan_tonnyx
    July 10, 2008

    “Invading a Church to physically steal Holy Communion IS physically invading/attacking a religious people.”

    I call Poe! No real, sane person could claim that walking into a Church, taking Communion (do they check ID?), and smuggling the cracker out is “physically go[ing] after believers”. I hope.

  71. #71 K8
    July 10, 2008

    me scribbles: “made by someone entirely ignorant of the fats.”

    Which “fats” are we talking about, genius???

    The point that tenured professors CAN be fired — even if they need to find creative ways to do so.

    Remember how they got Capone – on tax evasion….

    Secular extremists really are sheltered aren’t they….too much time spend playing WoW in the basement?

  72. #72 Rebecca Watson
    July 10, 2008

    Also: the last time I let a guy transubstantiate down my throat he at least bought me more than a cap-full of his own blood beforehand.

  73. #73 HumanisticJones
    July 10, 2008

    So if we could get about 150 lbs of these… and make a statue… then fill it with 10 pints of communion wine… Would atheists then by definition have built the real Jesus?

  74. #74 The Biology of Immaturity
    July 10, 2008

    It appears that no one else has noticed, but you are really immature (and afraid of Muslims).

  75. #75 Sarcastro
    July 10, 2008

    Invading a Church to physically steal Holy Communion IS physically invading/attacking a religious people.

    So a cracker is your God and a building is your people?

  76. #76 splint
    July 10, 2008

    Once at a Catholic wedding (I’m not) I went up to take communion. I was about 20 years old and I didn’t know non-Catholics weren’t supposed to take communion because everyone was going up to do it. Apparently I did something (or didn’t do something) that tipped the fact that I wasn’t Catholic and the priest shot me a look like he was about to punch me in the face. But then he restrained like he knew he couldn’t prove anything or something like and wasn’t sure what to do. I’ll never forget that moment. It was the weirdest, strangest, creepiest moment of my life.

    Of course later I found out what the hubbub was all about.

  77. #77 Dutch Delight
    July 10, 2008

    Mao or Stalin in their “rational” liquidation of hundreds of thousands of

    You noticed the lack of rationality in those guys too?

  78. #78 Mike O'Risal
    July 10, 2008

    Waitaminnit… let me get this straight.

    These Crackertholics believe that their witch-doctors can invoke the magic of the Superfriend in the Sky to make the Prince of Darkness run screaming into the night… but they can’t stop a college kid from stealing their cookie?

    Something smells funky in the basilica, fraters et sorors.

  79. #79 Fletch
    July 10, 2008

    To all atheists:

    You describe Catholics as bigoted morons. Fine.

    But if we’re just matter, than our (deluded, intolerant, unenlightened, bigoted) behavior is just the result of the motion of electrons in neurons of our brain.

    So I have two questions
    a) how can you get angry at Catholics, if they are just matter?
    b) If we are just matter, then there is no such thing as “right” or “wrong”…we’re all just atoms in an expanding universe. In which case bigotry and intolerance are no more immoral than gravity or the weak nuclear force. On what grounds can you call these things “wrong”?

  80. #80 Sarcastro
    July 10, 2008

    #73, I am so going to make a Jesus cracker golem.

  81. #81 MrGadget
    July 10, 2008

    Never fails to amaze me how hypocritical these cretins can be. Doesn’t their bible say “each time you do this to the least of my brothers, you do this to me”? If their cretin god was in fact real, they’d ALL be bound for cretin hell.

  82. #82 Chiroptera
    July 10, 2008

    K8, #71: Secular extremists really are sheltered aren’t they….

    I guess so. I mean, who’d a thunk that Webster Cook would have received death threats because of a silly prank? I guess you should never assume that any religion is truly benign.

  83. #83 MH
    July 10, 2008

    “So if we could get about 150 lbs of these… and make a statue… then fill it with 10 pints of communion wine… Would atheists then by definition have built the real Jesus?”

    I think that would be the real DRUNK Jesus!

  84. #84 jynnan_tonnyx
    July 10, 2008

    K8 @ #48: “PS – I heard the KKK is looking for a resident science lecturer….”

    Too bad PZ wouldn’t work for a Christian organization…

  85. #85 craig
    July 10, 2008

    “Also: the last time I let a guy transubstantiate down my throat he at least bought me more than a cap-full of his own blood beforehand.”

    That does not sound at all safe. But somehow I admire you anyway.

  86. #86 Blake Stacey
    July 10, 2008

    Rebecca Watson (#72):

    Also: the last time I let a guy transubstantiate down my throat he at least bought me more than a cap-full of his own blood beforehand.

    And that’s why we love you. . . .

  87. #87 BenYachov(Jim Scott 4th)
    July 10, 2008

    You are lower than dirt Myers. You are nothing but a childish grandstanding bigot. This is rational behavior? This is the behavior of an overgrown child-man.

    Talk about being socially autistic!

  88. #88 Will Von Wizzlepig
    July 10, 2008

    It seems to me something is missing from the hate crime part of this.

    He went into the church and was let in.

    He waited in line and was GIVEN a cracker.

    He took the cracker with him.

    He didn’t follow the church’s rules because: HE DOESN’T HAVE TO.

    There are no laws governing what you can and can’t do with your crackers that have anything to do with the rules the church wants you to follow (wrt crackers.)

    This is, for some reason, making me think of that never-caught prankster in Germany who did a certain thing with little flags and piles of dog poop.

  89. #89 Snitzels
    July 10, 2008

    Invading a Church to physically steal Holy Communion IS physically invading/attacking a religious people.

    And you call religious extremists!

    Wow! How deluded…

    Posted by: Brett

    Bwaaaaaaaaaaaahahahahha!!!!! they’re going to have security guards passing out the precious lil crackers and bouncers at the door! Crazy extremists…

  90. #90 BobC
    July 10, 2008

    “They can’t force-feed people bits of ‘jesus’.”

    They might try. Didn’t they recently hire armed thugs to enforce the must-eat-wafer rule?

    Yes, it’s true. I just found this: One week after a University of Central Florida student snatched something sacred from church, armed UCF police officers stood guard during Sunday Mass to protect what Catholics call “The Body of Christ.”

    They have guns. Eat their wafers or die! Catholics are assholes.

  91. #91 me
    July 10, 2008

    Which “fats” are we talking about, genius???

    Ohhh… a spelling mistake. Way to prove your superiority.

  92. #92 craig
    July 10, 2008

    I’m just wondering… every time something riles up the religiots like this and they swarm the board in wave after wave for a while…

    Am I the only one reminded of “Dawn of the Dead?”

  93. #93 Mike O'Risal
    July 10, 2008

    Congrats, Fletch. That’s one of the dumbest things said on these threads yet. That takes some real effort, and you should be commended for it.

    Right and wrong are social and cultural agreements. There have been times and cultures that considered human sacrifice and cannibalism right. There have been others that considered the alleged celibacy practiced by the Catholic clergy wrong. These things aren’t dictated by disembodied spirits floating about and whispering in our ears.

    Oh, by the way, the Catholic church also once taught that it was right to torture and execute those with religious beliefs that deviated in small ways from those of the Pope. As far as I’m aware, that’s no longer practiced. So, what changed? Was it the word of God or social values? And if it was the latter, then when was the church acting against God’s word… when it burned heretics or when it stopped?

    Stick to your cookies. Trying to think will just get you in trouble.

  94. #94 Reynold Hall
    July 10, 2008

    Poster @84: Burn!

    It sure looks like all the self-righteousness expressed by the xian religous right about how uncivilized the Muslims acted over the Danish cartoons can be taken with just a few grains of salt now.

    And now, some more bufoonery:
    Blowins your horns for Jesus.

  95. #95 Randy
    July 10, 2008

    Rebecca @ #61:

    The only post in a long line of amusing posts that made me laugh out loud. Understated, yet evocative. The fine, (untransubstantiated), wine of cracker comments.

    K8 @ #71:

    What’s WoW? Is that like Truth or Dare? We atheists loooove Truth or Dare… and Spin the Beelzebub.

  96. #96 Dutch Delight
    July 10, 2008

    Fletch, thats a stupid game. You’ll just insist that a divine authority is needed and therefore exists, AND, you’ll even claim to know how he wants me to have sex and with whom.

    I find your derogatory remarks on matter rather childish when we both know your only argument against a material universe is your own incredulity.

  97. #97 John
    July 10, 2008

    how can you get angry at Catholics, if they are just matter?

    The anger is not at the at Catholics and their silly beliefs, but at the bad behavior and death threats that were discussed in the initial post.

    The beliefs seem to produce laughter, but not anger

  98. #98 Ray S.
    July 10, 2008

    Actually we describe bigoted morons as bigoted morons. Undoubtedly there are Catholics who think this whole situation is incredibly silly. As for the rest of your diatribe, you’re making the asinine assumption that a person can’t be moral with a bit of the holy cracker. More silliness.

  99. #99 BenYachov(Jim Scott 4th)
    July 10, 2008

    >He didn’t follow the church’s rules because: HE DOESN’T HAVE TO.

    Yes he does. I wonder how Myers would feel if I got up in the middle of his class & started chanting prayers in Latin? Or if I stole a picture of his mother from his wallet & used it to wipe my ass?

    When you go into a Church you follow the rules of that church otherwise DON’T go in.

    But then again what can you expect from an uncivilized bunch of jerks?

  100. #100 Blake Stacey
    July 10, 2008

    Fletch (#79):

    If we are just matter, then there is no such thing as “right” or “wrong”…we’re all just atoms in an expanding universe.

    Non sequitur.

    In other words, wrong.

    Right and wrong, beauty and ugliness, etc., etc. are constructions of the human mind, which matter to us because we are human.

  101. #101 qbsmd
    July 10, 2008

    Once at a Catholic wedding (I’m not) I went up to take communion. I was about 20 years old and I didn’t know non-Catholics weren’t supposed to take communion because everyone was going up to do it. Apparently I did something (or didn’t do something) that tipped the fact that I wasn’t Catholic and the priest shot me a look like he was about to punch me in the face. But then he restrained like he knew he couldn’t prove anything or something like and wasn’t sure what to do. I’ll never forget that moment. It was the weirdest, strangest, creepiest moment of my life.

    Of course later I found out what the hubbub was all about.

    Posted by: splint

    Since you brought it up, hopefully this will be useful to everyone who wants to send PZ holy crackers (assuming I remember everything correctly):

    Only old people let the priest put the cracker in their mouths; in Sunday school, I was taught to hold out my left hand palm up with my right hand under it. The priest says “the body of christ”, you say “amen”, he puts the cracker in your hand, and then you walk out of the way, and use your right hand to pick up the cracker and eat it, then make the sign of the cross.

  102. #102 craig
    July 10, 2008

    “You are nothing but a childish grandstanding bigot. “

    I’m sorry to have to say this again… but here goes.

    Criticizing a person’s race, gender, sexual identity, etc is bigotry.

    Criticizing a person’s IDEAS can never be bigotry. It can be correct, incorrect or somewhere in between, it can be rude, but its NEVER BIGOTRY.

    ALL ideas are fair game for criticism. And the really stupid, damaging and dangerous ones demand it.

  103. #103 Boosterz
    July 10, 2008

    Hmm, I wonder if Brett in #40 is the same Brettard that is always trolling around in the Amazon.com forums making a complete fool of himself.

  104. #104 MH
    July 10, 2008

    Fletch #79,

    So, if you lost your faith, you wouldn’t see any reason to be good? The Golden Rule not mean anything to you? In that case, please continue believing in your bronze-age magical nonsense, if it stops you from going out and causing someone harm. I guess the fact that we are able to be good without the threat of hell-fire proves that we are ‘more good’ that you.

  105. #105 Snitzels
    July 10, 2008

    @94

    can’t jeebus blow his own horn? ;) I laughed out loud at that one…

  106. #106 aiabx
    July 10, 2008

    If I wave my hands and mumble some latin, i wonder if I can transubstantiate some fried chicken into a deity? I like fried chicken better than crackers.

  107. #107 paul lurquin
    July 10, 2008

    Don’t tell me that this bloated bearded buffoon of bigotry speaks for all atheists!

  108. #108 HumanisticJones
    July 10, 2008

    #79
    a) I can be angry at them because the interactions of electrochemical processes in my brain that were evolved to perceive other organisms as threats to me and my in group or as general douche bags that wouldn’t be good reciprocators determine that Catholics are such due to this behavior.

    b) I call them wrong because one of the greatest human adaptations is the ability to work in cohesive units to accomplish more than one organism can alone. Genetic rules of thumb in my brain-meats perceive bigotry and intolerance as behaviors that have a negative impact on cohesive society… and like my response to pain which is wired to keep me in one piece, I respond to bigots and intolerance with a view that they are “wrong”.

    Also, human society has generally codified into laws that aggressive bigotry and intolerance are legally wrong and that people should face legal consequences as such. I tend to not like facing negative legal consequences

    Got any more questions Fletch? I’ve got enough materialism for days of this.

  109. #109 jj
    July 10, 2008

    @62
    “How about planting some hosts around in various places”

    Jesus Trees!

  110. #110 splint
    July 10, 2008

    “you say “amen”, he puts the cracker in your hand, and then you walk out of the way, and use your right hand to pick up the cracker and eat it, then make the sign of the cross.”

    Yeah, I’m pretty sure I didn’t do any of this.

  111. #111 Sid Rodrigues
    July 10, 2008

    That’s nothing. I once drank a whole bottle of communion wine and vomited it back up into a demijohn, re-fermented it and sold it back to the priest.
    That was the best First Holy Communion. Hmmm.

  112. #112 Mark B
    July 10, 2008

    What’s WoW? Is that like Truth or Dare? We atheists loooove Truth or Dare… and Spin the Beelzebub.

    Posted by: Randy

    WoW is Blizzard’s game, World of Warcraft. And the only people I’ve ever seen call it WoW in a public forum are people who play it. Just sayin’.

  113. #113 Mike O'Risal
    July 10, 2008

    By the way, we should draw something of a distinction here.

    Not every Catholic on the planet is upset that some kid stole a cookie and then some professor thought it was funny and not worthy of said student being attacked, etc.

    Most Catholics are relatively rational people. I must admit a certain fondness for modern Jesuits, for example.

    None of those are the ones freaking out about this. In fact, those that had an ounce of actual faith would trust that God would sort all this out and not be screaming and ranting and calling for blood after the fashion of Bill “Dances with Apoplexy” Donohue.

    I mean, heck, if God is supposed to know all and see all (ooh, spooky), wouldn’t he have simply withdrawn the Essence o’ Jesus out of the cracker as soon as the kid came up with the intent to smuggle it out?

    But nooooooooooooo… so convinced are these raving militants in the impotence of their own deity that they think THEY have to take action to protect him!

    No deity that needs human protection is worth worshiping.

  114. #114 BenYachov(Jim Scott 4th)
    July 10, 2008

    >Criticizing a person’s IDEAS can never be bigotry. It can be correct, incorrect or somewhere in between, it can be rude, but its NEVER BIGOTRY.

    I reply: I can critize the Koran all I want but stealing one from a Mosque & tearing it up & puting the pictures on the internet is hateful & vile & something an anti-Muslim bigot would do.

    This is the “rational” crowd eh? Wow! Talk about socially autisitic behavior.

  115. #115 Your_daddy
    July 10, 2008

    What the secularists on here really show their hate and desire to aggressively engage groups that are different from their established, godless norm….

    So much for rational, tolerant beings…

    Trotsky would be proud — the utopia will arrive soon!!! (after the cleansing and purge of resistors, that is)

  116. #116 Mark B
    July 10, 2008

    Don’t tell me that this bloated bearded buffoon of bigotry speaks for all atheists!

    It’s alliterative. I like it! And no, nobody speaks for all atheists. It’s not like we have a pope, or something.

  117. #117 Matt Penfold
    July 10, 2008

    “Do you really think this is even relevant? I mean, how the hell does retarded Muslim intolerance excuse retarded Catholic intolerance? How does the fact that Saudi Arabia is a theocracy have to do with the fact that PZ Myers lives under a secular government despite the ill-wishes of our own Christofascists? Do you even have a coherent point, or is your intent to obfuscate the issues here with emotion-laden irrelevance?”

    Chiroptera, You need to understand fundie/right-wing logic (if that is not an oxymoron, maybe I should say lack of logic).

    For the fundie/right-winger anything you do is OK as long as others are doing something worse. Thus it is ok to torture and kill muslims you think are terrorists, or just are bored, as long muslims are around who are doing worse. You see they set their moral and ethical standards not by saying there are things it is wrong to do, ever. They have moveable standards. Thus it is ok to execute murderers because the murderers behaved worse than you do in executing them. It is ok to torture people, if you think those you are torturing are kidnapping and beheading people. It is ok to assault someone who took a consecrated wafer, and make death threats against them because what they did is worse.

    I really really do not understand people like that.

  118. #118 Martin Wagner
    July 10, 2008

    Fletch #79: For the same reason that we can call you stupid. It’s backed up by the facts.

    Whether human beings are simply made of matter or your special magic godly pixie dust, we are (in some cases, that is) rational beings who live in a society with certain rules and moral precepts we’ve developed to help that society succeed and our species survive. What we are made of is irrelevant to the fact. The problem is that all the people who believe we are made of the magic pixie dust (or “insert equivalent religious superstition here”) whine a whole lot about “right and wrong,” yet have a disturbing tendency eagerly to do lots of stuff that’s wrong (in that it physically and emotionally hurts people) all the while thinking that it’s right, because it’s somehow in the service of their god. (And for those of you who still think Islam scares us, hey, Islam, I’m looking at you as well as the Catholics and the Klan.)

    The fact you’ve swallowed the whole childish “there’s no right or wrong if my sky fairy of choice didn’t create us with his magic dust” canard just goes to show how badly your religion has stagnated your intellectual maturation.

    Next?

  119. #119 Victor
    July 10, 2008

    You know, they get these crackers sent to them in huge bags. Nothing really special about them. A friend of mine who attended centenary use to snack on them all the time. I wonder how many are spilled on the factory floor during the manufacturing process?

  120. #120 jynnan_tonnyx
    July 10, 2008

    BenYachov(Jim Scott 4th) @ #99: “Yes he does. I wonder how Myers would feel if I got up in the middle of his class & started chanting prayers in Latin? Or if I stole a picture of his mother from his wallet & used it to wipe my ass?”

    Nobody disrupted a religious service or even suggested any such thing. Nobody stole or defaced any personal property. A better analogy might be if you went to PZ’s class and stole a pencil. Somehow I doubt that he would accuse of a horrific hate crime. I also doubt other students would harass you for it.

    And, really, if you can’t tell the difference between desecrating a cracker, and desecrating a picture of somebody’s mother, I feel kinda sorry for your mother…

  121. #121 luis
    July 10, 2008

    Hey, someone told me that a “cracker” can fetch EU 5,000 to those satanic cults, which seem to be plentiful in Barcelona, even that I have never seen the entrance to their temples… that would be good business, any one interested in sending me some?

  122. #122 Jason Dick
    July 10, 2008

    Brett,

    Holy crap, dude! You think that stealing a fucking cracker (instead of eating it) is physically attacking people? What kind of warped world do you live in?

    The offense here is entirely symbolic. There is no actual harm perpetrated to anybody. The only harm here is from Catholic nutbags who think that a fucking cracker is something that can be desecrated.

  123. #123 Dutch Delight
    July 10, 2008

    I reply: I can critize the Koran all I want but stealing one from a Mosque & tearing it up & puting the pictures on the internet is hateful & vile & something an anti-Muslim bigot would do.

    Are we talking about missionaries again?!

  124. #124 Matt Penfold
    July 10, 2008

    “I reply: I can critize the Koran all I want but stealing one from a Mosque & tearing it up & puting the pictures on the internet is hateful & vile & something an anti-Muslim bigot would do.

    This is the “rational” crowd eh? Wow! Talk about socially autisitic behavior.”

    Stealing a Koran would be a criminal offence. I am not sure where you are getting the idea anyone is advocating stealing anything. You seem to be the one who has brought up the idea. Have you had thoughts about stealing a Koran ?

  125. #125 Martin Wagner
    July 10, 2008

    Whiny bitch #115: Trotsky would be proud — the utopia will arrive soon!!! (after the cleansing and purge of resistors, that is)

    I was going to make another suggestion that mocking and criticizing the beliefs of religious kooks is not exactly the same thing as wanting to round them up and kill them (you know, like the Church used to do to Jews and unbelievers before the Enlightenment). But I realized this distinction would require a modicum of intelligence to comprehend, which is asking a little too much from the congenitally stupid and paranoid. So never mind.

  126. #126 Entropy
    July 10, 2008

    Sometimes following an idiot’s advice pays off. Who knew? A quick Google search on Ward Churchill yields the following results:

    He had written the essay shortly after the 2001 attacks.

    CU officials ruled that Churchill’s essay was protected by the U.S. Constitution.

    But the spotlight on Churchill revealed numerous complaints of academic misconduct that had been raised by other academics, but never addressed by CU. He was accused of plagiarism, inventing historical incidents and ghostwriting essays which he then cited in his footnotes in support of his own views.

    Those allegations were the ones that brought dismissal

    If PZ had made up the whole cracker story to support his anti-Catholic agenda, maybe Brett’s comparison would hold water. But one does not need to invent historical incidents or ghostwrite papers to show how batshit crazy Catholics are. All one has to do is look at the headlines.

    I understand that you would prefer to stone people for thought crimes against alleged pieces of Jesus, but the concept of constitutionally protected speech still exists.

  127. #127 Pleco
    July 10, 2008

    @113

    THIS

    The weakness of faith shown by the theists is astounding.

  128. #128 John
    July 10, 2008

    I can critize the Koran all I want but stealing one from a Mosque

    Who is talking about stealing anything? Again, unless you lie about the premise you cannot find solid ground for denouncing the behavior.

    They gave the kid a cracker. He can eat it, he can save it, he can throw it away.

    The same applies if you are given a Quran, you can do with it what you want, but you should not steal it.

    What foolish arguments

  129. #129 Tallie
    July 10, 2008

    I just stole two blessed communion crackers. I gave one to a homeless man with mono for a small burst of calories. Now Jesus has mono. The other one I tied to a wooden stake and lit on fire to remind myself of how rational and forgiving the Catholic Church has been and can be.

  130. #130 AdamNelson
    July 10, 2008

    “b) If we are just matter, then there is no such thing as “right” or “wrong”…we’re all just atoms in an expanding universe. In which case bigotry and intolerance are no more immoral than gravity or the weak nuclear force. On what grounds can you call these things “wrong”?”

    Living proof that you have a total lack of morals. The very thing that makes such atheists good people is that they base their morals and actions on the betterment of the lives around them, not because some god told them to do so under pain of damnation. All this Christian “morality” is garbage; you only perform good acts to buy your way to heaven, not because you’re a moral person. Anybody can do good things under the barrel of a gun, but true morality is held by people who work for the benefit of others knowing full well that they won’t receive some astral reward.

  131. #131 ben
    July 10, 2008

    “Most Catholics are relatively rational people.”

    Relative to *what*, exactly?

  132. #132 Rob
    July 10, 2008

    Do the crackers that undergo trans-substantiation have to be a specific Catholic cracker, or can a Priest use any sort of wheat-product? What happened if a church ran out of official pre-Jebus-crackers, could the Priest send someone to Kroger to get some Wheat-Thins? Could these be substituted as pre-Jebus-crackers and be trans-substantiated to Jebus-crackers in a pinch?

    These are serious questions for serious times.

  133. #133 llewelly
    July 10, 2008

    hm, PZ. Comment #1007 on the previous thread? Revealing, isn’t it? Makes it obvious that you’re a secret agent for British Intelligence. We all know Dawkins is British. Now you’re revealed as an agent of the British. Shows quite clearly that the Evil Atheist Conspiracy has secretly taken over the British Government. Only one way out. We’ll have to nuke the British!

  134. #134 jynnan_tonnyx
    July 10, 2008

    Your_daddy @ #115: “What the secularists on here really show their hate and desire to aggressively engage groups that are different from their established, godless norm….”

    You got all of this from somebody mentioning a desire to abuse a cracker? Wow.

  135. #135 BenYachov(Jim Scott 4th)
    July 10, 2008

    >Not every Catholic on the planet is upset that some kid stole a cookie and then some professor thought it was funny and not worthy of said student being attacked, etc.

    I reply: I don’t advocate unlawful violence or vengence. That is against the teaching of the Holy Church & more specifically the teachings of Augustine. But calling upon people to abtain a object that is held to be sacred by a particular groups for the purposes of defiling it is un-reasonable & vile.

    Threats against Catholics is not an example of “speaking out”.

    Now you will excuse me I am going to find a nice White Supremicist Website to troll because at least the brain dead bigots there will give me more intelligent responses than the brain dead bigots I have seen here.

    Myers you are a sick hateful person.

  136. #136 AdamNelson
    July 10, 2008

    By the way, since when is cannibalism, whether real or purposely simulated, a socially acceptable activity?

  137. #137 Maragon
    July 10, 2008

    Brett,

    I think YOU’D make an excellent solider for Hitler, he was, after all, a Catholic, like you are!

    OMG C WUT I DID THARE?

    Spare us your tired rhetoric, we despise all religions and sects equally – yours isn’t special, sorry peaches.

  138. #138 Greg
    July 10, 2008

    Fletch #79,

    Careful with the term “moron” or it might stick. You are confusing the real, rational, explainable and, perhaps most importantly, testable universe with human morality that can and does exist no matter what mythology a person chooses to believe or not. Our system of right and wrong come from our starting out in small family/tribal groups and discovering along the way what it takes to survive a little longer within the group.

    I think that if you just do a little research, you’ll find that most pack/pod/herd groups maintain a system of acceptable behaviors as well as unacceptable behaviors. It has nothing to do with a deity and everything to do with the biology of the group.

  139. #139 Reginald Selkirk
    July 10, 2008

    You should write some code that would limit all threads to a maximum of 666 comments.

  140. #140 Matt Penfold
    July 10, 2008

    Even if we accept that the wafer we were all talking about way back a million comments ago was stolen, given they seem to cost a few dollars for a thousand, what kind of crime would we be talking about ? Stealing something worth less than a cent ? Better call the FBI, the guy must be a big-time criminal.

  141. #141 AdamNelson
    July 10, 2008

    “Myers you are a sick hateful person.”

    Referring back to the title: It’s a frackin’ cracker!

  142. #142 CrypticLife
    July 10, 2008

    A lot of theists (well, Catholics) here have been referring to the hate atheists have for their religion.

    Well I, for one, want to make a stand as an atheist who wholly approves of the Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation. Further, I think Catholic should endeavor to instruct us in their doctrines to the extent possible.

    C’mon — it’s comedy *gold*. I guarantee if I went home and told my eight-year old son about it, he would flat-out think I was lying.

  143. #143 MrGadget
    July 10, 2008

    As a (fortunately) EX-catholic (and ex-altar boy and ex-lector)I am amazed at the hateful diatribes spewed out by these so-called xtians. While quite a few can be reasonable (unlike the idiot Donohue) and are likely embarrassed by the whole ordeal, the hypocrisy exhibited by so many is simply mind-boggling.

  144. #144 Geoff
    July 10, 2008

    Rebecca wrote:

    …the last time I let a guy transubstantiate down my throat he at least bought me more than a cap-full of his own blood beforehand.

    Priceless comment.

    I guess that Catholic girls are either cheap dates or lightweight drinkers. It doesn’t take much to get the holy spirit into them.

  145. #145 PCD
    July 10, 2008

    +++++++++++++++++++

    You people really are something!

    To deny the VERY natural human notion and desire for the transcendental is foolish.

    …and dangerous as shown by recent history – i.e. 100 million killed by the materialistic,utopian and atheistic regimes of the 20th cent.

    Do you realize how infantile and ridiculous you all sound for claiming absolute knowledge about life and creation.

    Must be a bunch of freshmen posting on there!

    Read a bit of philosophy – Charles Taylor or Philip Rieff – and have a bit of life experience and get back to me, kiddies….

  146. #146 Mark B
    July 10, 2008

    You should write some code that would limit all threads to a maximum of 666 comments.

    The spirit of Cthulu compels you!

  147. #147 Randy
    July 10, 2008

    Mark B:

    Thank you for the information. I thought I had at least basic nerd credentials, but evidently not. Too much time threatening crackers and not enough time lurking in my mother’s basement, I guess.

  148. #148 Dutch Delight
    July 10, 2008

    Do you realize how infantile and ridiculous you all sound for claiming absolute knowledge about life and creation.

  149. #149 Zeno
    July 10, 2008

    I’m sure that Vatican scientists must be hard at work on a Jesus detector that will sound an alarm if anyone tries to leave the church with an unconsumed communion host. When the alarm goes off, SWAT teams of ninja nuns will slide down from the church rafters on ropes, subdue the miscreant, reclaim the consecrated wafer, and Jesus will be saved!

    False alarms are going to be really embarrassing. So, mothers, no Triscuits or Wheat Thins in the purse for the kiddies. Just asking for trouble. Cheerios are probably okay.

  150. #150 SC
    July 10, 2008

    I wonder how Myers would feel if I got up in the middle of his class & started chanting prayers in Latin?

    Or stood just outside it frying up calamari!

  151. #151 tsg
    July 10, 2008

    Or if I stole a picture of his mother from his wallet & used it to wipe my ass?

    You can do it to mine. I’ll send you one. It doesn’t hurt my mother one bit. It only hurts me if I hold any value of the picture as a symbol of my mother, which I don’t. It’s a piece of paper. And the host is a cracker. See how easy that is? Not being offended is entirely within your control. Being offended is entirely of your own doing.

    But then again what can you expect from an uncivilized bunch of jerks?

    Off the top of my head, death threats for “desecrating” a cracker.

  152. #152 Slimy Joe
    July 10, 2008

    Just wondering – how do you folks feel about corpse-desecration? I mean, it’s just a frackin’ hunk of meat, right?

  153. #153 nvfu
    July 10, 2008

    “calling upon people to abtain a object that is held to be sacred by a particular groups for the purposes of defiling it is un-reasonable & vile.”

    I am an unbeliever; however, I see the logic of this and am quite embarrassed by the commenters on here.

    New atheism is not any different than old atheism – just more extreme and anti-intellectual.

    I count myself in the old guard, thankfully.

  154. #154 Badjuggler
    July 10, 2008

    Two comments:

    Most entertaining thread ever.

    Rebecca Watson abso-fuckinglutely rocks.

  155. #155 AdamNelson
    July 10, 2008

    “To deny the VERY natural human notion and desire for the transcendental is foolish.”

    HELLOOO! You’re pretending crackers and wine are flesh and ichor, then eating them! You’re playing cannibal!

    “…and dangerous as shown by recent history – i.e. 100 million killed by the materialistic,utopian and atheistic regimes of the 20th cent.”

    Hmm, I don’t remember the Soviets wearing belts that said “Atheism mit Uns,” or “Materialist pogroms”, or the “Utopian sacking of Constantinople”. Just because the USSR didn’t have a state religion doesn’t make it atheist, or that they killed folks to favour atheists. They killed people to reinforce the cult of personality, aka Stalin and Mao. They killed because they were megalomaniacs, not because they were atheists.

    p.s. Look up Soviet Union and Evolution together. You’d notice that the USSR unanimously rejected the Theory of Evolution because it too closely resembled free-market Capitalism. Idiot.

  156. #156 Rebecca Watson
    July 10, 2008

    @Matt, #140:

    ven if we accept that the wafer we were all talking about way back a million comments ago was stolen, given they seem to cost a few dollars for a thousand, what kind of crime would we be talking about ? Stealing something worth less than a cent ? Better call the FBI, the guy must be a big-time criminal.

    I saw this once in a MasterCard commercial.

    One box of generic crackers: 2 dollars
    One priest giving a blessing: 7 seconds
    One digestive system operating as usual: 6 calories
    Eating Jesus: priceless

  157. #157 Tom
    July 10, 2008

    http://www.offendedyet.com/2008/07/true-evil.html

    “Back off, or the cracker gets it!” (With apologies to Mel Brooks)

  158. #158 Dutch Delight
    July 10, 2008

    Just wondering – how do you folks feel about corpse-desecration? I mean, it’s just a frackin’ hunk of meat, right?

    Well, thats up to the next of kin isn’t it. It’s not of any use the person that died. Do you have any idea what happens to human remains in caskets btw?

  159. #159 Mozglubov
    July 10, 2008

    Quoting comment #79: “But if we’re just matter, than our (deluded, intolerant, unenlightened, bigoted) behavior is just the result of the motion of electrons in neurons of our brain.”

    I just thought someone ought to point out that it is actually positive ions moving across the neuronal membrane that lets your neurons fire action potentials… not that saying it was electrons is your only mistake, but it is one I didn’t see anyone else correct.

  160. #160 Chiroptera
    July 10, 2008

    PCD, #145: …and dangerous as shown by recent history – i.e. 100 million killed by the materialistic,utopian and atheistic regimes of the 20th cent.

    Thanks for putting all this into context, PCD. Suddenly a young man receiving death threats over a harmless prank seems all very acceptable.

  161. #161 Mark B
    July 10, 2008

    Too much time threatening crackers and not enough time lurking in my mother’s basement, I guess.

    I play WoW, but I have a regular job (home sick today), so I not playing 18 hours a day like a lot of the people that I run into all of the time while I’m playing. A lot of those people DO live in their mom’s basement, but those are also likely to be the people who think like K8. Which kind of sounds like a WoW nym.

  162. #162 craig
    July 10, 2008

    “I count myself in the old guard, thankfully.”

    Fat lot of good you guys did.

    Clue for you – if the religious are not outraged by you, then that means you’re so irrelevant as to have gone completely unnoticed.

  163. #163 PCD
    July 10, 2008

    Adam,

    You are angry and ignorant — i.e. the perfect atheist!

    As for atheism in the communist revolutions….it was absolutely essential to their doctrine and practice.

    To say otherwise is to be ashamed of your bloody atheist history! (in the name of progress and humanism, of course)

    And, why be ashamed is there is no god?

  164. #164 Heathen Matt
    July 10, 2008

    Pope Ratzis’ Cheese-Us Biscuits (Serves a whole goddamn multitude)

    2 cups self-rising Jeebus flour (ground-up communion wafers)
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    1 teaspoon sugar
    1/3 cup shortening
    3/4 cup grated sharp Cheddar
    1 cup buttermilk
    Salt
    1/4 stick butter, melted

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

    In a medium bowl, mix Jeebus flour, baking powder, salt, to taste, and sugar together using a fork; cut in shortening until it resembles cornmeal. Add cheese. Sir in buttermilk all at one time just until blended. Do not over stir.

    Drop by tablespoonfuls, or use an ice cream scoop, onto a well-greased baking sheet. Brush dough with melted butter. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes.

    He is Risen!

  165. #165 Rebecca Watson
    July 10, 2008

    To Blake Stacey, Randy, badjuggler, and others: thank you for the kind words. However, credit goes to my muses: my homie PZ and my favorite cracker Jesus.

  166. #166 Slimy Joe
    July 10, 2008

    Just wondering – how do you folks feel about corpse-desecration? I mean, it’s just a frackin’ hunk of meat, right?

    Well, thats up to the next of kin isn’t it.

    Let’s say next of kin totally hate the idea. And then I go ahead a desecrate that corpse anyway, really go to town on it, ripping it up and shitting in it and everything.

    When next of kin get really pissed at me, I can just say “Hey! It’s just a frackin’ hunk of meat, you retards!” and I win, right?

  167. #167 Matt Penfold
    July 10, 2008

    “To deny the VERY natural human notion and desire for the transcendental is foolish.”

    There are many things that are natural in humans that we do not encourage. It is natural for young men to have a propensity for violence. We do tend to discourage that though, as it tend to bugger up society.

    However there is a bigger hurdle you need to get past. Merely asserting something does not make it true, so what evidence do you have to support your claim humans need the transcendental ?

    “…and dangerous as shown by recent history – i.e. 100 million killed by the materialistic,utopian and atheistic regimes of the 20th cent.”

    I assume you are refering to Stalin, Mao and others.

    Well of course there is a strong argument those regimes were in fact religious in nature. Explore the concept of political religion. It was not a lack of god that led to the crimes against humanity those regimes committed. Sweden is a very secular country, with a low level of belief in god. If you are right it should be a place where genocide is taking place, and human rights are frequently abused. Of course it is nothing like that. Sweden is a rather civilised country, albeit with very expensive beer, that has far less violence than the US, which is of course a very religious country.

    “Do you realize how infantile and ridiculous you all sound for claiming absolute knowledge about life and creation.”

    I think you have atheists and theists confused. It is the religious who have certainty. Atheists just do not believe there is a god, but most will even concede they could be wrong about that. Richard Dawkins will admit there could be a god but he just sees no reason to think there is one, and no evidence to think there is one.

    Nor do scientists claim they know everything and have total certainty. In fact science thrives on what is not known, and all scientific knowledge is tentative. Even the most cherished theories, such as Evolution, Relativity or QM could be overturned tomorrow if evidence came to light that showed they were wrong.

  168. #168 tsg
    July 10, 2008

    Just wondering – how do you folks feel about corpse-desecration? I mean, it’s just a frackin’ hunk of meat, right?

    Doesn’t bother me.

  169. #169 jj
    July 10, 2008

    @145
    “Do you realize how infantile and ridiculous you all sound for claiming absolute knowledge about life and creation.”

    To whom is this directed?

  170. #170 craig
    July 10, 2008

    “Do you realize how infantile and ridiculous you all sound for claiming absolute knowledge about life and creation.”

    Yeah, those religious people sure do sound infantile, with their claims of absolute knowledge.

    Wait, they’re who you are talking about, right? Must be, because religions are the only institutions I’m aware of that claim absolute knowledge.

  171. #171 BJ
    July 10, 2008

    As Tom said,
    “Well it’s got to be a chocolate Jesus
    Make me feel good inside
    Got to be a chocolate Jesus
    Keep me satisfied”.

  172. #172 Matt Penfold
    July 10, 2008

    “Just wondering – how do you folks feel about corpse-desecration? I mean, it’s just a frackin’ hunk of meat, right? ”

    As far as I am concerned once I am dead anyone who wants a bit of my body to stick in someone else, or do some research on, or even just poke around a bit is free to do so. Any bits that are left over can be burnt.

  173. #173 Bouncing Bosons
    July 10, 2008

    Just wondering – how do you folks feel about corpse-desecration? I mean, it’s just a frackin’ hunk of meat, right?

    Well, thats up to the next of kin isn’t it.

    Let’s say next of kin totally hate the idea. And then I go ahead a desecrate that corpse anyway, really go to town on it, ripping it up and shitting in it and everything.

    When next of kin get really pissed at me, I can just say “Hey! It’s just a frackin’ hunk of meat, you retards!” and I win, right?

    oooooh, nice try. But the corpse is OWNED by the next of kin, the cracker was FREELY GIVEN away.

    Thanks for playing though

  174. #174 Brett
    July 10, 2008

    The death threat against some kid in Florida was NOT a common to Catholics and they were probably made by some kids on campus messing around…

    As for PZ, he seizes this minor incident to launch a hate-filled threats and advance his career as a ‘new atheist”

    What is the deal people? Why follow along with this charade???

    Read your comments and you will see that YOU are the extremists. (not the minority of your, either)

    Get lives, please…and stop being so sheepish and mob-like.

  175. #175 AdamNelson
    July 10, 2008

    “Adam,

    You are angry and ignorant — i.e. the perfect atheist!”

    Projection, eh? Nice try.

    “As for atheism in the communist revolutions….it was absolutely essential to their doctrine and practice.”

    No, you’re an idiot. Having taken four courses on Soviet history, two just in the past term, I’m a little more educated than you are on the subject. Soviet socialism was a grasp for power, the murders a way to secure power. It was never about god-images or atheism, it was purely about making sure that everybody worshiped Stalin as a god. Which is, of course, the antithesis of atheism.

    “To say otherwise is to be ashamed of your bloody atheist history! (in the name of progress and humanism, of course)”

    One word: Pogrom. One more: Inquisition. Here’s two more: interracial marriages. People are killed under the name of God or Yahweh or Allah, not in the name of a method of performing experiments.

    “And, why be ashamed is there is no god?”

    I have no idea what you’re trying to say due to your fractured grammar. But if I assume you mean “if” instead of “is”, I would say that I can be ashamed of things based on how my actions affect other people. Like I mentioned before, I base my morality on precepts founded on benefitting others, not appeasing som imaginary god to buy my ticket into eternal paradise. Or by pretending that I’m eating a dead guy.

  176. #176 BobC
    July 10, 2008

    BenYachov(Jim Scott 4th) said “But calling upon people to abtain a object that is held to be sacred by a particular groups for the purposes of defiling it is un-reasonable & vile.”

    It’s un-reasonable and vile to not eat a tiny wafer?

    I would never be caught dead in any church. Religious people disgust me. But I have no problem with somebody else going in there to refuse to eat their wafers. If it upsets the religious morons then it should be done. Religious assholes who mentally abuse their children with medieval nonsense deserve nothing but ridicule and contempt. Even the moderate Christians infect their children with their mental illness. Many Christians try to abuse other people’s children when they attack science education. What’s wrong with fighting back against these idiots?

  177. #177 Reginald Selkirk
    July 10, 2008
  178. #178 Heathen Matt
    July 10, 2008

    But the corpse is OWNED by the next of kin, the cracker was FREELY GIVEN away.

    And then there’s the indisputable, real-world fact that the corpse was at one point, a real HUMAN BEING, not a goddamned magical canape.

  179. #179 tsg
    July 10, 2008

    Get lives, please…and stop being so sheepish and mob-like.

    My irony meter just exploded.

  180. #180 Boosterz
    July 10, 2008

    “Just wondering – how do you folks feel about corpse-desecration? I mean, it’s just a frackin’ hunk of meat, right?”

    It sure as hell isn’t a cracker. Whoops, I think I stepped on the point you were trying to make. lol

  181. #181 JCHall
    July 10, 2008

    For people who claim to be so tolerant of others, it’s amazing the amount of hate that religion gets. We may not understand why Catholics believe the things they do, but to mock them because they don’t think like you or me is disgusting and puerile hatred that doesn’t belong in America.

  182. #182 BobC
    July 10, 2008

    Catholics believe an ancient man was a god. They believe he got executed, decomposed, rose from the dead, and flew up to heaven. That’s enough right there to lock them up in an insane asylum, but it gets worse. They also believe if a priest says the right magic words, a tiny piece of bread turns into the dead body of the god-man. Then they eat it. That’s way beyond insane. These people are total wackos.

  183. #183 AdamNelson
    July 10, 2008

    “We may not understand why Catholics believe the things they do…”

    It doesn’t matter one bit WHY they’re issuing death-threats. THAT is the true hatred here, and it is merely being called out for the farce that it is. This is literally the biggest joke since the “Behead those who claim Islam is a religion of violence” posters.

  184. #184 tsg
    July 10, 2008

    For people who claim to be so tolerant of others, it’s amazing the amount of hate that religion gets. We may not understand why Catholics believe the things they do, but to mock them because they don’t think like you or me is disgusting and puerile hatred that doesn’t belong in America.

    I agree. And first on that list of things that should not be tolerated is death threats against people who don’t believe the things you do, like that a cracker is sacred.

  185. #185 Heathen Matt
    July 10, 2008

    …but to mock them because they don’t think like you or me is disgusting and puerile hatred that doesn’t belong in America.

    It’s the hatred and the threats against life, limb, and employment, Stupid! For the thousandth time, they’re welcome to their beliefs, but they have no control over how they are treated in the rough-and-tumble outside world.

  186. #186 jynnan_tonnyx
    July 10, 2008

    JCHall @ #181: “For people who claim to be so tolerant of others, it’s amazing the amount of hate that religion gets.”

    To paraphrase Paul McCartney: “In the End, the hate you take is equal to the hate you make”.

  187. #187 CDV
    July 10, 2008

    Adam: “Having taken four courses on Soviet history, two just in the past term”

    That sure is impressive, honey…did you make mommy and daddy proud?

    The transference of a state religion did not come until the later stages of the revolution.

    Marx, Trotsky and the Red Army wielded atheism as a weapon against traditional peoples and committed genocide to advance the cause of a god-less utopia.

    Get over yourself, kid.

    Atheism is not excused from the atrocities of the 20th century as it enabled many millions of people to be liquidated in the name of, as you state, comrade: a “morality on precepts founded on benefitting others.”

  188. #188 BenYachov(Jim Scott 4th)
    July 10, 2008

    >But the corpse is OWNED by the next of kin, the cracker was FREELY GIVEN away.

    I reply: It’s given away to Catholics for the SOLE PURPOSE of eating it. You may eat it or leave it alone. If you tell the priest you don’t intend to eat it or you are not Catholic we won’t give it too you.

    Worst than morons the lot of you!

    Now I’m leaving.

  189. #189 Nerdette
    July 10, 2008

    “To deny the VERY natural human notion and desire for the transcendental is foolish.”

    Yes, that’s all it is, it’s HUMAN. Nothing more, nothing less, just a human thought planted in a bit of carbohydrate. It’s not unique (billions of them have been consumed), it’s not valuable, it’s just a bit of flattened bread that a man with self-given authority waved his hand over while speaking some magic words. That’s it. It’s comparable to going into a botany lab, stealing a leaf off of a plant, and walking out. The leaf is only valuable to the researchers, and while they might be mildly annoyed over a lost data point, it happens. Personally, I’d be more pissed that an unauthorized person entered my lab, but meh…

  190. #190 Slimy Joe
    July 10, 2008

    @173 That’s it? That tiny legalistic loophole is what this whole thing hinges on?

    @178 Yeah, *was*. Makes the whole the difference.

    OK. Say the corpse left his body to science, so next of kin don’t own it. And then after the med students have done with it, I take it and take a big old shit on it. Now next of kin are being totally retarded if they’re offended, right?

  191. #191 David
    July 10, 2008

    “Call the Church!”

    “Call the Police!”

    “Call the Church Police!”

    (sound of siren, screeching tires, hurriedly pious footsteps)

    “What’s all this then, amen?”

  192. #192 Hap
    July 10, 2008

    I have to ask: given that all the original person did was steal a Communion wafer, and all that Prof. Myers did was to condemn the stupidity and lack of proportion of the response, for which both have received death threats, I am sort of curious as to what motivates the threateners. I guess that “eye for an eye” crap (later overrruled, sort of, with “Love your enemies”) doesn’t really mean anything to them, which would imply that it isn’t exactly God’s honor they are defending.

    Given that their actions contradict what they claim to believe (love, forgiveness, all that jazz), it sure looks like that all the threateners believe in is the right to obliterate those with whom they disagree. Now that’s a principle worth killing for – as long as they don’t turn their backs, because it’s hard to know what their compatriots will take to be the next killing blasphemy. Of course, their actions will help the institutions whose honor they claim to defend…well, if by help, they mean “make a laughingstock of the world over” and “destroy any pretense at moral dignity it may have had”. I don’t think that was what they had in whatever lower brain structures are taking the place of their thinking brains, though.

  193. #193 Randy
    July 10, 2008

    Mark B:

    I didn’t mean to imply that you were posting from your mother’s basement. As I try to make clear on my own blog, that sort of insult gets saved for people who take Cracker Desecration seriously.

    Rebecca:

    I’m quite sure Gawd is beaming down upon you for taking up for his boy in this day and age when his followers are so grievously persecuted. May you always have Cheese Whiz for your crackers.

  194. #194 jynnan_tonnyx
    July 10, 2008

    BenYachov(Jim Scott 4th) @ #188: “Worst than morons the lot of you!”

    “Whoever Says “You Fool!” Shall Be in Danger of Hell Fire” – Matthew 5:22

  195. #195 Mark B
    July 10, 2008

    I reply: It’s given away to Catholics for the SOLE PURPOSE of eating it.

    So, there’s a EULA? Who knew?

  196. #196 Joe
    July 10, 2008

    Incidentally, did you know that Jesus is only soluble in gluten?

    http://catholickey.org/index.php3?article_id=2858&gif=news.gif&issue=20040409&mode=view

  197. #197 b7
    July 10, 2008

    “Myers, in an interview today, explained that the blog entry is more “satire and protest” than an actual threat to defile the Eucharist.”

    http://www.startribune.com/lifestyle/faith/24313139.html?location_refer=Editorials

  198. #198 Maragon
    July 10, 2008

    Every time one of these theist commenters feel the need to put every other poster down by referring to us as ‘kids’, you simply make our case stronger.

    I’m sorry that your doctrine is so ridiculous and your faith so shaky that the only way to feel good about it, and yourself is to verbally abuse the people who disagree with you and point out the flaws in your logic.

    Ad hominem attacks only serve to prove the point that you really have no credible arguments whatsoever.

    Thanks for doing the work for us, =)

  199. #199 craig
    July 10, 2008

    My dad is on the board of directors of a Catholic organization.
    He actually gets boxes of these wafers from one of the guys he works with each year at christmas.

    He says that he can’t think of a single person in his Catholic organization that would be so offended as to give a damn about all this kerfuffel, and says several of them would think it was funny.

    Bill O’Donoghue does not represent the Catholic church or the Catholic faith. Though I’m an atheist and think all religions are delusion, I do want to point out that this is NOT “all Catholics” coming down on PZ.

    It’s ONE, seriously megalomaniacal, seriously twisted and immoral ASSHOLE, a self-appointed defender of the faith, and his brown-nose followers. (All lunatics seem to have followers)

    Most Catholics wouldn’t give a flying fuck about this issue. And that is not said in defense of the loony beliefs all Catholics – and all religious people in general – share.

  200. #200 az
    July 10, 2008

    Nobody disrupted a religious service or even suggested any such thing. Nobody stole or defaced any personal property. A better analogy might be if you went to PZ’s class and stole a pencil.

    Not even that.

    More like, you took a test in PZ’s class and he gave you scratch paper and you took some of it home to show your friend what kind of scratch paper PZ gives out.

  201. #201 AdamNelson
    July 10, 2008

    “That sure is impressive, honey…did you make mommy and daddy proud?”

    Well, based on THOSE credentials, I truly am humbled… typical anti-intellectualism.

    “Marx, Trotsky and the Red Army wielded atheism as a weapon against traditional peoples and committed genocide to advance the cause of a god-less utopia.”

    I think you’ve got your names mixed up. Marx described religion as the perfect tool to control the uneducated by, and that’s how Stalin et al. played the game: they created cults of personality around themselves, becoming national, infallible heroes. Back your assertions up: name a single textbook that says that atheism was weilded as a weapon. You won’t, because you can’t, as you’re clueless. Get yourself educated and read a book that wasn’t endorsed by Answers in Genesis sometime.

    “Get over yourself, kid.”

    Ah, such sophistication and razor-sharp wit. I eagerly await your first published proverb collection.

    “Atheism is not excused from the atrocities of the 20th century as it enabled many millions of people to be liquidated in the name of, as you state, comrade: a “morality on precepts founded on benefitting others.”"

    So… killing hundreds of millions of people is for benefitting others? I’d think that’s more along the lines of harming others, but as a non-cannibal, I may be mistaken from the human-flesh deficiency in my diet. One final time now, I will correct you: Soviet socialism had nothing to do with religion; it was purely about securing power in the hands of a megalomaniac at the excuse of EVERY ethnic and cultural group that didn’t agree with Stalin. It had NOTHING TO DO WITH ATHEISM.

    Why don’t you point out YOUR 20th century Russian credentials?

  202. #202 Mark B
    July 10, 2008

    I didn’t mean to imply that you were posting from your mother’s basement.

    I didn’t take it that way, Randy.

  203. #203 5ive
    July 10, 2008

    “Just wondering – how do you folks feel about corpse-desecration? I mean, it’s just a frackin’ hunk of meat, right?”

    Excellent question!
    But I think “desecration” is too vague. Does autopsy count as desecration? Or use for students learning anatomy? Or organs used to save small, big-eyed children? How about tissue samples taken to help find cures for diseases? If it does, then, yeah. I can deal with corpse desecration.
    If you mean like exhuming a body and holding it your mouth til you get home, then I would only wonder about your motives and your immune system. The human corpse is NOT a pretty thing to behold.
    I was irritated that someone stole Ian Curtis’ headstone, but I sure as heck wouldn’t send death threats or call it the most vile thing someone could do.
    How do YOU feel about corpse desecration?

  204. #204 BobC
    July 10, 2008

    People interested in eradicating religious insanity from the world should never let the Catholics forget this cracker incident, especially the death threats. This breathtaking stupidity should be shoved into their faces for the next 100 years.

  205. #205 peter
    July 10, 2008

    @190 you seem to have this mania for excrement on dead bodies… Not spending a lot of time in med schools, I don’t know the answer to this, do they ever report back to the next of kin on the eventual disposition of the remaining protein? Or once you sign off on the cadaver you sort of assume no further interest…

    to a large extent, if your body’s been left to science you’ve left yourself open to the possibility that the cadaver might be sliced into very tiny pieces and dissolved in any number of different solutions and chemicals… what’s one more piece of shit on a body who’s not really worried about anything anymore. chances are pretty good that there was a bit left inside at time of death anyway…

    I would, however, tend to wonder about the state of mind of a person who seems driven to shit on dead bodies…

  206. #206 b7
    July 10, 2008

    “Ad hominem attacks only serve to prove the point that you really have no credible arguments whatsoever.”
    ————–

    Ah, the irony!

    Have you read the 500 posts by angry atheists? Ad hominem + hate-speech + a dash of rebellious juvenile sentiment…

  207. #207 Heathen Matt
    July 10, 2008

    @173 That’s it? That tiny legalistic loophole is what this whole thing hinges on?

    @178 Yeah, *was*. Makes the whole the difference.

    OK. Say the corpse left his body to science, so next of kin don’t own it. And then after the med students have done with it, I take it and take a big old shit on it. Now next of kin are being totally retarded if they’re offended, right?

    The point I was trying to make at #178 is that you don’t have to be deluded or crazy to agree that the poor bastard’s corpse was a human being. Whereas, with Jeez-Its, you do.

    Most atheists would be sickened by wanton disrespect shown toward a human corpse; it’s a completey human, if not entirely rational response. I am disgusted by kids who knock over gravestones merely on the principle that monuments to the people who lived before us are deserving of respect, without buying into any superstitious nonsense about ghosts or resurrection or invisible sky buddies.

  208. #208 Al
    July 10, 2008

    From the Wikipedia page on host desecration:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Host_desecration
    “It was widely believed that under certain circumstances, such as disbelief or desecration, the host could display supernatural properties.”
    That’s why they’re so upset! If the magic jebus biscuit doesn’t turn PZ into a pile of ashes then the giant sky pixie doesn’t exist!

  209. #209 TTT
    July 10, 2008

    DaveScot, #25:
    It’s just a matter of time before someone with a terminal disease, a month left to live, decides he hasn’t got anything to lose by taking out Myers along with him.

    But-but-but I thought atheists were supposed to be the ones who had no values and nothing to live for and nothing to stop the constant urges towards rape and murder that–according to most creationists I’ve read–are felt by all humans 24/7.

  210. #210 AdamNelson
    July 10, 2008

    “…at the excuse of EVERY ethnic and cultural group…”

    Supposed to be “at the EXPENSE”

    D’oh

  211. #211 Dutch Delight
    July 10, 2008

    @Brett | July 10, 2008 4:53 PM
    Get lives, please…and stop being so sheepish and mob-like.

    Brett don’t like atheists talking to each other? :*(

    You and your projections make me a sad panda man.

    On the other hand, it entertains me and countless others to no end when you keep trying to throw mud in the form of flawed comparisons with religion at us even though you are championing religion yourself.

  212. #212 MH
    July 10, 2008

    Hap #192 “…it sure looks like that all the threateners believe in is the right to obliterate those with whom they disagree”.

    A very nice summary of religion generally.

  213. #213 CDV
    July 10, 2008

    “So… killing hundreds of millions of people is for benefitting others? I’d think that’s more along the lines of harming others, but as a non-cannibal, I may be mistaken from the human-flesh deficiency in my diet.”

    Adam,

    You really are clueless…I was being ironic and is called a dystopia.

    Where did you say your are spending your freshman year away from mommy?

  214. #214 Fletch
    July 10, 2008

    First of all, please be patient with my admittedly feeble (if I can be so bold as to add to “stupid”, “childish”, “incredulous”, “deragotory”, “stagnated”) intellect.

    I appreciate the fact that morals can be tied to cultures, and that different cultures have had different moral norms, and that they may be a strategy for the success of the species.

    What I don’t get is why, if I am nothing but the some of my atomic parts, I should give a damn about what’s good for the society in which I live, let alone the species? If the evolutionary forces that prompt us to preserve the species are truly blind, what difference does it make if we ignore them? Humanity dies out. Big whoop.

    Yes, legal and social consequences to “immoral” actions are a good reason at a practical level…but what if I’m clever enough to avoid getting caught? Would it be OK to dump used motor oil down a storm drain if I knew I could get away with it?

    Blake:
    Right and wrong, beauty and ugliness, etc., etc. are constructions of the human mind, which matter to us because we are human.
    Exactly my point. If right/wrong, justice, beauty, ugliness are just constructs of the mind, then they are in fact nothing more than the movement of atoms in my brain. You say it should matter because we are human. Again, your premise is the preservation and overall good of the species. If we’re just matter, why does this matter?

  215. #215 AdamNelson
    July 10, 2008

    “it entertains me and countless others to no end when you keep trying to throw mud in the form of flawed comparisons with religion at us…”

    Agreed. Atheism is a religion just as not collecting stamps is a hobby.

  216. #216 Matt Penfold
    July 10, 2008

    “Atheism is not excused from the atrocities of the 20th century as it enabled many millions of people to be liquidated in the name of, as you state, comrade: a “morality on precepts founded on benefitting others.”"

    Are you really trying to claim that those millions were killed in the name of atheism ? That atheism is an ideology rather than simply the belief that there are no gods ? Has the concept of political religion totally escaped your attention ? Stalin was only motivated by the fact he did not think there was a god ?

    What a pathetic argument. I guess those historians who have studied Stalin, and found that it was desire to maintain power at any cost that led him to either directly killing millions through his actions, or allowing them die through his deliberate inaction are wrong. Have you told them yet ?

    As I have pointed out elsewhere, the least religious country is probably Sweden. Religious belief in Sweden is fast disappearing, and much of what belief remains is of the very liberal, religion as a philosophy for living kind of religion. We do not see much violence in Sweden. In fact we see less than in the US. We also see better healthcare, better social care, better child care, better care of the elderly etc etc. Care to hazard a guess as to why ?

  217. #217 protocol
    July 10, 2008

    I think you’ve got your names mixed up. Marx described religion as the perfect tool to control the uneducated.

    You’re pretty misinformed, aren’t you. I would stop digging if I were you. There are actually people here who have read (and teach) the stuff. Go read “Contribution to the Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right”, you idiot, carefully this time, to understand what Marx was trying to say. He never stated that “it was a perfect tool” for anything. Homework: go read it carefully and find out the flaws in your moronic interpretation.

  218. #218 Chiroptera
    July 10, 2008

    b7, #206: Have you read the 500 posts by angry atheists? Ad hominem + hate-speech + a dash of rebellious juvenile sentiment…

    Yes, calling PZ Myers a hate-filled bigot because he said he’s going to “desecrate” crackers is the exactly the same as calling someone a hate-filled bigot because they focus on PZ Myers, not on the fact that a kid who pulled a harmless prank is receiving death threats.

    Thanks for putting all this into context for us.

  219. #219 KKKAthiest
    July 10, 2008

    This is like a good ol’ Catholic beat down!

    It reminds me of the good old days of anti-Catholicism.

    I guess the bigots change (replace WASPs/KKK with militant atheists)….but the bigotry stays the same!

    I’m gona find me a Catholic….they are not getting away with this!

  220. #220 Randy
    July 10, 2008

    Peter @ #205:

    I’m glad someone else noticed that. I’d hate to think I’m the only person who worries about the mental stability of a guy named “Slimy Joe” with a fecal fixation.

  221. #221 Ktesibios
    July 10, 2008

    But the corpse is OWNED by the next of kin, the cracker was FREELY GIVEN away.

    Umm, no- at least with rpsect to the corpse.

    The prosecution of the people who plotted to steal the body of Abraham Lincoln and hold it for ransom ran up against this problem.

    It was established law that a corpse is not a person, so kidnapping charges were out. It was also established law that a corpse is not property, so theft was out as well. Illinois had no laws prohibiting grave-robbing at the time, so what to do?

    The solution was to try the conspirators for conspiring to steal the coffin, which was property and even had a known value- $75.00- enough to qualify as grand larceny.

  222. #222 jpf
    July 10, 2008

    Atheist: “I’m going to do disrespectful things to a cracker!”
    Theist: “I’m going to harass you, have you fired, have you arrested, and make death threats against you!”
    Atheist: “That’s insane! It’s just a cracker!”
    Theist: “Respect my beliefs! You do not understand the subtle mystery of Transubstantiation! Your criticisms, of which we are bored, were debunked centuries ago! I’m not explaining how! You are being childish! I am being adultish! You are not engaging in rational, intellectual debate! You are an angry, vile, sick, foolish, rebellious, un-American, hateful hate criminal! You’re probably a pedophile, too! And you play WoW in your basement! You do what you do because you secretly believe my religion is true! You wouldn’t disrespect a Koran because Muslims would kill you! This proves something! I’m not sure what! You are denying people their humanity! Your criticism of wrongdoing is hypocritical because, as a materialist, you are incapable of morality since you believe everyone is made only of atoms! You should join the KKK, you Trotskyite! You have a beard! Hitler was an atheist because he hated the Church! Only atheists hate the Church! 100 million people were murdered by atheists just like you! The Secularists’ anti-Catholic death purges will begin soon! Help! Help! I’m being persecuted! Respect my beliefs!”
    Atheist: “Wow, man… do you smoke the Host too?”

  223. #223 Matt Penfold
    July 10, 2008

    “What I don’t get is why, if I am nothing but the some of my atomic parts, I should give a damn about what’s good for the society in which I live, let alone the species? If the evolutionary forces that prompt us to preserve the species are truly blind, what difference does it make if we ignore them? Humanity dies out. Big whoop.”

    You have heard of this thing called evolution ?

    In social species co-operation confers an increase in fecundity. There can also be a reward in increased fecundity for those that break the rules of the society in which they live. Taking more food, and failing to share for example. Social species then evolve means of preventing freeloading. The evolution of morality, and of alturism is well studied and understood. That you do not understand it only indicates a gap in your education, not in human knowledge. It is a comples subject, and I have not done it justice here. A google on Richard Dawkins for “The Selfish Gene”, and Matt Ridley for “The Origins of Virtue” will get you started.

  224. #224 Brett
    July 10, 2008

    ===============================================

    The atheists are trumping up charges on “catholics” so that they can unleash their anti-catholic bile and hate speech.

    Sound familiar? (I think the Jews and Black have experienced similar mob reactions)

    As for the kid in Florida, one prank for “death threat” does not equal a FATWA!

    ===================================================

    You people are the true bigots…face it.

  225. #225 Dutch Delight
    July 10, 2008

    KKKAthiest seems rather preoccupied with catholicism and catholics for someone who doesn’t believe in gods. Either he was one, or he’s just a troll trying to prove himself to jeezus.

  226. #226 HumanisticJones
    July 10, 2008

    Fletch @ #214

    What I don’t get is why, if I am nothing but the some of my atomic parts, I should give a damn about what’s good for the society in which I live, let alone the species? If the evolutionary forces that prompt us to preserve the species are truly blind, what difference does it make if we ignore them? Humanity dies out. Big whoop.

    To the universe? It doesn’t mean a damn thing that a tiny fraction of the thin film of organized organic matter on a minuscule pebble swinging around a relatively small star might die. To an individual with a brain wired to care about such things, it means alot.

    Exactly my point. If right/wrong, justice, beauty, ugliness are just constructs of the mind, then they are in fact nothing more than the movement of atoms in my brain. You say it should matter because we are human. Again, your premise is the preservation and overall good of the species. If we’re just matter, why does this matter?

    As above, the preservation of humanity matters to humans because as humans we are wired to preserve humanity. You seem to be claiming that by knowing this, someone can suddenly decide that they don’t want to be human anymore. However your examples of still doing bad things while consciously avoiding getting caught are still wired to self preservation. In most social animals, being outside of the group support structure leads either to death or to an individual parasiting off of its own or others and doing so in a way so as to not be killed while doing it. Surviving to reproduce by parasiting on human society still counts for preserving human genes.

  227. #227 Heathen Matt
    July 10, 2008

    Shorter KKKAthiest [sic]:

    You guys mocking us for our lynch mob mentality over a purloined biscuit is anti-Catholic bigotry.

  228. #228 Matt Penfold
    July 10, 2008

    “agreed. Atheism is a religion just as not collecting stamps is a hobby.”

    My favourite is if atheism is a religion they way bald is a hair colour.

  229. #229 MH
    July 10, 2008

    Fletch #214 wrote “Yes, legal and social consequences to “immoral” actions are a good reason at a practical level…but what if I’m clever enough to avoid getting caught?”

    Wow, you really don’t have a conscience, do you? You do realize that’s not good?

    Az #200 wrote “More like, you took a test in PZ’s class and he gave you scratch paper and you took some of it home to show your friend what kind of scratch paper PZ gives out.”

    Exactly!

  230. #230 ndt
    July 10, 2008

    “You are nothing but a childish grandstanding bigot. ”

    I’m sorry to have to say this again… but here goes.

    Criticizing a person’s race, gender, sexual identity, etc is bigotry.

    Criticizing a person’s IDEAS can never be bigotry. It can be correct, incorrect or somewhere in between, it can be rude, but its NEVER BIGOTRY.

    ALL ideas are fair game for criticism. And the really stupid, damaging and dangerous ones demand it.

    Posted by: craig | July 10, 2008 4:16 PM

    WORD. Why is this so hard for some people to understand?

  231. #231 az
    July 10, 2008

    Nobody disrupted a religious service or even suggested any such thing. Nobody stole or defaced any personal property. A better analogy might be if you went to PZ’s class and stole a pencil.

    Not even that.

    More like, you took a test in PZ’s class and he gave you scratch paper and you took some of it home to show your friend what kind of scratch paper PZ gives out.

  232. #232 HumanisticJones
    July 10, 2008

    Matt @ #223
    You said that way better than I could have! Points to you!

  233. #233 Matt Penfold
    July 10, 2008

    Let me get it right!

    Atheism is a religion the way bald is a hair colour.

  234. #234 Maragon
    July 10, 2008

    “Ah, the irony!

    Have you read the 500 posts by angry atheists? Ad hominem + hate-speech + a dash of rebellious juvenile sentiment…”

    I’ve also read the 1000′s of posts by angry theists.

    Ad hominem + smug self-righteousness + a dash of magical pixie dust…

  235. #235 Ella Rache
    July 10, 2008

    You are lower than dirt Myers. You are nothing but a childish grandstanding bigot. This is rational behavior? This is the behavior of an overgrown child-man.

    Talk about being socially autistic!

    Well, you certainly are worked up into a religious zeal, aren’t you, BenYachov. Words are not magic. Neither was that cracker. Are you trying to accuse the man of wizardry or something? Are you trying to say the letters on this page are somehow magically wounding you? What are you getting at? Your magical beliefs are being questioned in the light of rational society. Get used to it if you’re going to come around places like this.

    Less whine, more brain, next time.
    Ella

  236. #236 jj
    July 10, 2008

    @187
    CDV
    “That sure is impressive, honey…did you make mommy and daddy proud”

    Way to make a stab at someone who’s knows more than you about something, and was working on bettering there life.

    BTY- Many of us go to college, pay our OWN way (if even not), to make ourselves proud (like myself), and guess what, you better fucking believe it makes my parents proud, probably more than you’ll ever do. Jerk

  237. #237 Slimy Joe
    July 10, 2008

    @203 How do YOU feel about corpse desecration?

    Oh I’m STRONGLY in favour of it, can’t you tell? I’m just wondering if I can count on you guys’ support, given that all the argument against is just so much irrational horseshit. I mean – it’s just a fackin’ hunk of meat! Who cares!

  238. #238 Dutch Delight
    July 10, 2008

    Well, I gotta go, had to laugh *a lot* these two threads. Especially when the arrogant Catholics started showing up demanding that we atheists spend all our valuable free time on destroying/attacking/undermining their specific brand of silliness.

  239. #239 CDV
    July 10, 2008

    ==========
    PZ writes:
    ==========

    “So no poll-crashing today. Instead, I would appreciate it if you would write a short note to President Robert Bruininks in support”

    I guess hate-speech and lynch mob tactics of atheists like PZ have a price to pay.

    Good luck, sucker…

    PS – calling all Catholics extreme because of a couple of fanticis (and their threats) is what is known as a “collective fallacy” – logic in which parts are confused for the whole.

    Atheists still believe in logic, dont they? ;)

  240. #240 IBY
    July 10, 2008

    Impressed by the catholic hypocrisy. They tell others that they are being “bigoted” when they themselves are reacting like a mob, sending death threats. Nice way to build up reputation for the church.

    Oh, and love your comments, Watson.

  241. #241 MH
    July 10, 2008

    Brett #224 “The atheists are trumping up charges on “catholics” so that they can unleash their anti-catholic bile and hate speech. Sound familiar? (I think the Jews and Black have experienced similar mob reactions)”

    What are these charges that atheists are trumping up? That Catholics believe in stupid nonsense? So what?

    The Catholics are charging the kid with “desecrating the Host”, which is a charge that Jews are familiar with, and it resulted in the murder of a great many of them.

    Throughout history, a number of groups have been accused of desecrating hosts; because of the religious importance of the consecrated wafer, the accusation is one of metaphysical evil and hostility towards God. Accusations against Jews were a common pretext for massacres and expulsions throughout the Middle Ages in Europe.

    See here.

  242. #242 Jon H
    July 10, 2008

    “Just wondering – how do you folks feel about corpse-desecration? I mean, it’s just a frackin’ hunk of meat, right?”

    Of course, a corpse was once a person. A cracker never was.

  243. #243 Jesus, called Christ
    July 10, 2008

    Hey there Catholics,

    I just want to have it on the record that I, the former Judean zealot who lived a couple thousand years ago and accidentally started a religion that would spread across the world, am not the son of God. I was the son of two ordinary human beings. I did not die to save you from “original sin”; I died because of Roman and Judean politics. Yeah, I was called the Messiah, the Anointed, which title was later translated into Greek as “Christ”, but you know, “Messiah” was code for “True King”, and was therefore as much a political phrase as a religious one.

    I do not “transubstantiate” into wafers when an ordained priest waves his hands and says some words. When you eat those wafers, you are not eating the essence of my body. My body decayed long, long ago. The whole “this is my body” business arose because at the time of that Passover meal, I was drunk out of my mind, on wine, and also on Judean politics and mysticism.

    All that having been said, you probably are “ingesting” the remnants of my body right now. But then, so is everyone else.

    When I lived, I ate food and breathed in oxygen. I also breathed out carbon dioxide. Oxygen and carbon dioxide are gases that circulate through the metabolism of living things all the time. So part of the air you breathe used to be part of me. You don’t need any special ritual to get it, and it doesn’t give you any special benefit, either.

    But there it is. The air you’re breathing right this instance, was once part of me.

    Just so you know.

    Oh, and some of the carbon and oxygen is also in the wafers and wine, but again, no more so than in any other bread product or fruit juice product. You can just as easily eat some toast and drink some orange juice at home, and it works out about the same.

    Bon appétit!

  244. #244 craig
    July 10, 2008

    I’m willing to sign over my body upon my death to anyone who wants to desecrate in any way they want to… Why should my family have to pay the cost of my disposal?

    Incidentally, I should point out that it is impossible to desecrate anything. Desecrate is a meaningless word… or at least, a word about imaginary things. Like unicorn.

    Feel free to desecrate my unicorn.

  245. #245 Matt Penfold
    July 10, 2008

    “PS – calling all Catholics extreme because of a couple of fanticis (and their threats) is what is known as a “collective fallacy” – logic in which parts are confused for the whole.”

    I am not sure where PZ said that. Can you point us towards the post where he called ALL catholics extreme.

    It is worth pointing out that of the people who have posted here claiming to be Catholics very few have bothered to condem the death threats made against PZ. I am not sure if that tell us much other than either they lied, or there are Catholics who are pretty vile people.

  246. #246 Chiroptera
    July 10, 2008

    CDV, #239: PS – calling all Catholics extreme because of a couple of fanticis (and their threats) is what is known as a “collective fallacy” – logic in which parts are confused for the whole.

    And when you use “lynch-mob tactics” to describe playing around with some crackers…what’s that called?

  247. #247 beagledad
    July 10, 2008

    Craig @ #92,
    Actually, it’s more like Shaun of the Dead.

  248. #248 jynnan_tonnyx
    July 10, 2008

    Brett @ #224: “The atheists are trumping up charges on “catholics” so that they can unleash their anti-catholic bile and hate speech. Sound familiar? (I think the Jews and Black have experienced similar mob reactions)”

    Except the Jews and blacks were often killed only for being Jewish or black. Catholics, in this situation, are being made fun of for accusing a kid who stole a cracker of “hate speech”, and, in some cases, threatening to kill him. I’m not sure this analogy is quite as apt as you think it is.

    Really, why are some Catholics (like Bill Donahue) OBSESSED with fantasies of being horribly abused and persecuted? If that’s what gets you off, hire a dominatrix or something, rather than hysterically accusing decent people disgusted by an over-the-top reaction to a trivial incident of being Super Klan Nazis, or whatever.

  249. #249 the strangest brew
    July 10, 2008

    “Marx, Trotsky and the Red Army wielded atheism as a weapon against traditional peoples and committed genocide to advance the cause of a god-less utopia.”

    Nonsense… it was to promote a one party political system of government….religion was not required to subdue the masses with threats and horror stories…just the gulags…

    “Atheism is not excused from the atrocities of the 20th century as it enabled many millions of people to be liquidated in the name of, as you state, comrade: a “morality on precepts founded on benefitting others.”"

    As could the same charge be levelled against the religious pogroms…and not just in the 20th century…like the crusades and the persecution of the Jews…the burning times also required a certain suspension of the Christian ethic… but the church does it for jesus so whoopidoo…!…bit like they are doing now with this palpable nonsense…

    “Get over yourself, kid.”

    Likewise… as in ‘heal thyself physician’

  250. #250 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 10, 2008

    WORD. Why is this so hard for some people to understand?

    Because they think they are appealing to some liberal leanings some of us have and that will cause some guilt.

    Criticism of an idea can not be bigotry. All religion is, is an idea. A loopy one, but an idea none the less.

  251. #251 Matt Penfold
    July 10, 2008

    I am quite sure there are Catholics who probably think Webster Cook was a silly kid but are not outraged about what he did. I imagine there are some who are also highly embarressed that their co-religionists seem to be having a collective fit that leaves them devoid of all reason.

    I just wish these Catholics would tell all those saying this is a hate crime to shut the fuck up.

  252. #252 Peter Mc
    July 10, 2008

    So at every Sunday mass in Minnesota, in the sermon Father Bunloaf will alert the faithful to the Myers plot, and will warn the faithful: ‘So at communion I will be watching to make sure everyone swallows and does not spit.’

  253. #253 Jon H
    July 10, 2008

    I wonder if PZ could come up with an experimental protocol involving eucharist wafers and zebrafish?

  254. #254 Matt Penfold
    July 10, 2008

    “So at every Sunday mass in Minnesota, in the sermon Father Bunloaf will alert the faithful to the Myers plot, and will warn the faithful: ‘So at communion I will be watching to make sure everyone swallows and does not spit.’”

    You owe me a beer. I just spat most of the one I was drinking across the room when I read that. Somehow I had the Catholic Church’s record on child abuse in mind at the time. You can fill in the gaps I am sure.

  255. #255 Pete Rooke
    July 10, 2008

    Let’s start this letter with a little quiz:

    1. Where is PZ Myers’s integrity?
    2. Why can’t PZ relieve his aching sense of inadequacy without having to turn us into easy prey fordevotees of conspiracy theories?
    3. Essay: Compare and contrast his scare tactics ["~the pious religious control the military] to those of unprincipled vagabonds, focusing especially on who is more likely to turn our country into a soulless cesspool overrun with scum, disease, and crime.

    Don’t worry; I’ll give you all the answers throughout the course of my time here as well as a wealth of other information about PZ. Before I launch into my rant, permit me the prelude caveat that just the other day, [figurative story - not literal] some of PZ’s lackeys forced a prospectus into my hands as I walked past. The prospectus described PZ’s blueprint for a world in which infernal wantwits are free to abrogate some of our most fundamental freedoms. As I dropped the prospectus onto an overflowing wastebasket I reflected upon the way that anyone — you or I or a Martian just arrived in a flying saucer — who wants to reinvigorate our collective commitment to building and maintaining a sensitive, tolerant, and humane community should realize that PZ has been known to say that Lysenkoism [the same as to believe in false science as a means to understand people and the soul] is a wonderful thing. That notion is so wanton, I hardly know where to begin refuting it. Unfortunately, I can already see the response to this statement. Someone, possibly PZ Myers himself or one of his assistants, will write a detestable piece about how utterly ultra-footling I am. If that’s the case, then so be it. What I just wrote sorely needed to be written.

    For those who argued for the desecration of the dead: How would you feel to have a loved ones body sexually violated? The necrophiliac does no literal harm by anyone else surely?

  256. #256 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 10, 2008

    The old Atheism was the main motivator of Communism and therefore responsible for the millions of deaths is indicative of someone who doesn;t know their history.

    Communism as practiced by Stalin, Mao, The Khemer Rouge etc.. was about power. Absolute controlling centrally concentrated power. Same with Fascism.

    Stalin’s atrocities can easily be attributed in large part to his paranoia brought on my a horrible childhood and massive desire for power.

    Atheism is a part of Communism the idea sure. No argument there. But as the driving force in how it was practiced and the horrible results of some of the practitioners is just ignorance, inability to comprehend or willful historical revisionism.

  257. #257 CDV
    July 10, 2008

    “As could the same charge be levelled against the religious pogroms…and not just in the 20th century”

    Numbers matter here, my friend.

    3000-5000 over 300 years of the Spanish inquisition etc. compared to 60,000,000 killed in Russia alone by dogmatic communism and its ENFORCED ideology of atheism.

    100,000,000 in only 100 years of modern secular/atheist rule or maybe couple 100,000 in thousands years or religious rule.

    Modern progress, eh?

  258. #258 Fletch
    July 10, 2008

    HumanisticJones #226:
    “To the universe? It doesn’t mean a damn thing that a tiny fraction of the thin film of organized organic matter on a minuscule pebble swinging around a relatively small star might die. To an individual with a brain wired to care about such things, it means alot.”
    So I think you agree with me… it only matters at the level of self-preservation of sentient atoms, not at any moral level.

    “the preservation of humanity matters to humans because as humans we are wired to preserve humanity.”
    You are completely right, of course. But if the wiring was done blindly, there’s no good reason to obey it’s resulting impulses.

    “You seem to be claiming that by knowing this, someone can suddenly decide that they don’t want to be human anymore.”
    I guess I’m claiming that if my conscience, via the wiring of my brain, told me to bring a holocaust on humanity, there is no grounds for claiming that I’m wrong, or even that my wiring is “faulty”.

    On a matter of equal gravity: teach me to indent quotes like you do…

  259. #259 JohnnieCanuck, FCD
    July 10, 2008

    Corpse desecration? Isn’t that what the communicants are doing when they ingest little pieces of their god?

    Flushing the remaining body parts down the Sacrarium to go mouldy under the church basement doesn’t sound too respectful, either.

    These people have even considered what to do with it when someone is so sick that they can’t swallow it. reference: liturgy.wordpress.com

    Seriously, this post needs a humour tag. Very funny comments and trolls.

  260. #260 Matt Penfold
    July 10, 2008

    CDV,

    Has something broken in your brain. Atheism is not the same as communism.

    As for progress ? Take a look at Sweden. It seems to be a pretty decent society. It also happens to have very little religion. Compare western countries, and look at how those with well developed and comprehensive systems of social healthcare and welfare nearly all seem to do better than the US, and all seem to be less religious.

  261. #261 windy
    July 10, 2008

    For those who argued for the desecration of the dead: How would you feel to have a loved ones body sexually violated?

    This question will become relevant after I start handing out bits of my loved ones’ flesh out to strangers and demanding that they EAT them.

  262. #262 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 10, 2008

    This question will become relevant after I start handing out bits of my loved ones’ flesh out to strangers and demanding that they EAT them.

    OH OH OH I want a thigh!!!

  263. #263 SEF
    July 10, 2008

    This breathtaking stupidityinanity

    Fixed that for you. ;-)

  264. #264 Greg
    July 10, 2008

    CDV wrote
    Numbers matter here, my friend.

    3000-5000 over 300 years of the Spanish inquisition etc. compared to 60,000,000 killed in Russia alone by dogmatic communism and its ENFORCED ideology of atheism.

    100,000,000 in only 100 years of modern secular/atheist rule or maybe couple 100,000 in thousands years or religious rule.

    Modern progress, eh?

    More like bigger weapons and the “Oh no! your god might have a bigger than my god so I must blow you to bits” mind set.

  265. #265 Matt Penfold
    July 10, 2008

    “You are completely right, of course. But if the wiring was done blindly, there’s no good reason to obey it’s resulting impulses.”

    Fletch, do you know the first thing about evolution ?

    You do know that evolution is not a random process ? If you do, why did you make such an idiotic comment ? And if you don’t, why the fuck are you spouting on about stuff you are totally ignorant of ?

  266. #266 C. M. Baxter
    July 10, 2008

    Priest:

    Here, kid, have a couple of crackers. Want more? Sure, help yourself. Go ahead and wash’em down with a few chugs of this wine. That’s it, drink some more. Good, good! What? Of course they’re blessed, I did that earlier. Well, how do ya feel, Son? Ok then, just turn around and bend over. Atta boy!

  267. #267 5ive
    July 10, 2008

    @237
    Can you please show me “all the argument against it”? I must have missed it. I only saw where people were fine if it was for scientific/medical advancement and was ok with the next of kin or the dead person themselves…
    I am also confused about the supposed “Irrational horsepucky”. I missed that, too. Show it to me and I will reconsider your response.

  268. #268 windy
    July 10, 2008

    OH OH OH I want a thigh!!!

    Excellent choice, sir! But they’re not quite dead yet…

  269. #269 CDV
    July 10, 2008

    Mr. Pinfold,

    Sweden, eh? I think that Denmark is the most cohesive and “happiest” society in the world and this is largely (according to experts) due to it’s monolithic nature and standard of living. (mostly Lutheran, btw)

    As for Communism and atheism, they are not the same; however, they are closely (disastrously) linked in history.

    OK, now, how about another personal attack to support your illogic?

  270. #270 StuV
    July 10, 2008

    Someone, possibly PZ Myers himself or one of his assistants, will write a detestable piece about how utterly ultra-footling I am.

    No, you’re just completely bugshit insane. With delusions of grandeur on top.

  271. #271 ROFLMA(theist)AO!!!
    July 10, 2008

    #40:
    “And you call religious extremists!”
    As far as I know I have never called a religious extremist. Have you? Does the government know?
    #48:
    “PuusssZy Myer,”
    Are you a zealous right winger or are you 5 years old? It’s hard to tell the difference most of the time. This is soooo grade school.
    #71:
    “Secular extremists really are sheltered aren’t they….too much time spend playing WoW in the basement?”
    What’s WoW? Is there math involved?
    #79:
    “So I have two questions
    a) how can you get angry at Catholics, if they are just matter?”
    You really don’t understand the difference between anger and ridicule, do you? You and the people who are trying to get PZ fired are GOOFY. We are laughing at you. Rolling on the floor. Tears are coming out of our eyes. People have sore sides. This comment was especially rich in you thinking that it was a clever observation (again, it was very grade school) but made even more funny by the projection and lack of observational skills.
    #99:
    “Or if I stole a picture of his mother from his wallet & used it to wipe my ass? When you go into a Church you follow the rules of that church otherwise DON’T go in.”
    What church do you go to? I’m never going to go there or eat anything made at one of their bake sales!
    #115:
    “What the secularists on here really show their hate and desire to aggressively engage groups that are different from their established, godless norm….”
    Actually what I’m seeing is hate and desire to aggressively engage groups that are different from their established, godded norm. No one is starting a letter writing campaign to get Bill Donahue fired, for starters, and no one is bragging on his blog (does he have one and does it even allow comments?) how they are such important people that they can do so. You too seem to be hearing shouting when you should be hearing the deafening roar of laughter.
    135:
    “Now you will excuse me I am going to find a nice White Supremicist Website to troll because at least the brain dead bigots there will give me more intelligent responses than the brain dead bigots I have seen here.”
    That’s because they will probably agree with you. They are devout Christians after all. You have a lot in common.

    Just for good measure, I think that I’ll throw in an extra helping of sacrilege.
    http://www.ghastlycomic.com/d/20040425.html
    On behalf of myself and the people in my family and my friends who are Catholic, Muslim, and Jewish, thanks for the laugh, ye offended ones. I haven’t been following this very closely but if all of the threads have as much silliness to them as I have seen so far on this thread I really have missed much. Oh, to have free time. :^(

  272. #272 Cheezits
    July 10, 2008

    To all atheists:

    You describe Catholics as bigoted morons.

    No, I don’t. Thought I’m guessing you’re one.

  273. #273 Hap
    July 10, 2008

    CDV – #257 has a hole big enough to drive a large truck through. Neither the Soviets nor the Russians killed most of their people because they wished to force the poupulations to become atheist – they killed to gain power and to make the world closer to what they thought it should be (if anything, one might argue that Stalin and Mao may have thought themselves gods, but I don’t know that for sure). (The Soviets and Chinese, among others, have attempted to suppress Christianity, though in nowhere near the numbers you present). The strongest argument you can make is that atheism (at least in the leaders) did not prevent them from believing in themselves enough to commit mass murder – but then again, Hitler’s Christianity didn’t much stop him, either.

    There is also the slight manner of weaponry – if you are unfortunate enough, the Indians and Pakistanis may dwarf your death tolls in one shot, in major part due to their religious differences (alloyed with nationalism, of course).
    I don’t think the people who led the Crusades would have restrained themselves from using whatever weapons they had against their enemies (their beliefs didn’t stop them from raping and plundering, after all) – with our weaponry, those totals would have been much higher. The reason that we have both the weaponry and the lifespans we do, of course, is because of the rise of science and intellectual questioning, brought in part by secularism. Thanks for playing.

  274. #274 Martin Wagner
    July 10, 2008

    Uh, CDV. You actually have any internal documents from the USSR specifically stating, “Because we are atheists, we order the killing of hundreds of millions of people.” Love to see that.

    I’m sure they didn’t believe in leprechauns in the Communist Party either. I imagine all their pogroms were rooted in enforced aleprechaunism!

    Yes, the Commies suppressed the churches, which no Western atheist thinks was right. They suppressed religion not for theistic reasons, though, but because they wanted no institutions in place to challenge their power. (Among the guys sent to the Gulags were scientists who supported Darwin’s theory.) As has been mentioned before, the whole goal in totalitarian societies is to set up the leader as a deific entity, a being to be revered and in extreme cases worshiped. This is what was going on in Stalin’s Russia just as it went on in ancient Rome, and in modern day countries like North Korea. And it’s not exactly a practice that jibes with rational, humanist atheism. If Stalin were around today, the Dawkinses and other atheists of the world would be just as harsh if not moreso in their criticisms of his actions than the religionists.

    Don’t expect any of that to slip past your religious fear-filters, but it’s always worth making sure facts get out there to contradict ideological spin.

  275. #275 Samuel
    July 10, 2008

    I, like many atheists, was raised in a religious family, and find that many fundamentalists have missed a few points that Jesus taught. Those of “love thy neighbor” and the like. Also, he had a lot to say about dogma. Fundamentalists get hung up on the dogma that has grown up around Christianity.
    The main point that Dr. Myers was trying to make was how absurd it is to get bent out of shape over removing a cracker from mass. How is that infraction so bad as to threaten death? I believe your boss would have something to say about death threats.
    As for the issue of militant atheists. It’s pretty hard to stay neutral and hide outrage when someone threatens your life or the life of anyone else over such a mundane thing as poking fun at the absurdity of this whole situation. When a group faces such hostilities for so many years, it’s natural for that group to push back. And as for militancy itself, the most militant atheists I’ve ever met are, in general, very mild mannered individuals. On the other hand, the most militant fundamentalists I’ve met are truly scary individuals.

  276. #276 Fletch
    July 10, 2008

    Hi Matt,
    I think Richard Dawkins (The Blind Watchmaker) would agree with me that natural selection is a completely blind process. The genetic mutations at the heart of the theory are nothing if not random. The macroscopic result is the passing on of “mutations” that confer a survival advantage.

    I’m not anti-evolution. I’m anti-materialism. There is, in fact, a big difference.

  277. #277 Adrienne
    July 10, 2008

    Mr. Fletch @276, Dr. Dawkins would absolutely not agree that evolution is a random or “blind” process. Mutations may occur at random, but the natural selection process that favors some mutations and culls out others is anything BUT random. Got that now?

  278. #278 decrepitoldfool
    July 10, 2008

    The ‘offense’ was entirely symbolic, and reprisal, if any, should be no more than symbolic. To threaten actual violence, in response to a symbolic act, is evidence of mob mentality and discredits any claims to ethical legitimacy the Catholic community would like to make.

    How about the church issue a stern warning that Cook’s immortal soul is in danger and leave it at that? But nooooo… they had to assault him in their sanctuary, their more extreme members had to threaten him and his property physically, and their yapping league bobblehead had to threaten the careers of anyone who didn’t kiss their asses. This is how they follow the putative Prince Of Peace?

  279. #279 Adrienne
    July 10, 2008

    And let me add to that, Fletch, that Dawkins would probably be more than a little appalled (as I am) at attempting to marshal your misunderstandings of evolution into the support of your irrational and ultimately silly world view.

  280. #280 windy
    July 10, 2008

    Sweden, eh? I think that Denmark is the most cohesive and “happiest” society in the world and this is largely (according to experts) due to it’s monolithic nature and standard of living. (mostly Lutheran, btw)

    With probably a majority of unbelievers, btw.

  281. #281 Martin Wagner
    July 10, 2008

    #276: I think Richard Dawkins (The Blind Watchmaker) would agree with me that natural selection is a completely blind process.

    Well, if you mean by “completely blind” the same thing as “random chance,” no. Natural selection is a “blind” process only in that there’s no need for a god to be involved.

  282. #282 5ive
    July 10, 2008

    #276,
    I think you and Matt are misunderstanding each other. Matt is trying to say that the actual SELECTION of traits that gets passed on is not random. That is the traits that make it to the next hundreds of generation to the point of dominance were random. They were “selected” for by survival and reproduction. This part of evolution is decidedly NOT random. The original combination of genes, yeah, that is pretty danged random.
    You also have to forgive Matt for misunderstanding. The whole “Evolution is random!! You must think we are meaningless and immoral!” thing is used a lot by creationists. Not surprising he figured you might think this as well.

  283. #283 Adrienne
    July 10, 2008

    How about the church issue a stern warning that Cook’s immortal soul is in danger and leave it at that? But nooooo… they had to assault him in their sanctuary, their more extreme members had to threaten him and his property physically, and their yapping league bobblehead had to threaten the careers of anyone who didn’t kiss their asses. This is how they follow the putative Prince Of Peace?

    Yeah, it strikes me that they must think very little of Jesus’s power, you know? I mean, their own savior got crucified and rose from the dead supposedly in triumph, but here he needs a goon squad to protect his cracker “body” from desecration. Just another thing about Catholicism that doesn’t add up.

  284. #284 Fletch
    July 10, 2008

    Adrienne:
    “Mutations may occur at random, but the natural selection process that favors some mutations and culls out others is anything BUT random. Got that now?”

    I’m sorry if this wasn’t clear when I wrote:
    “The macroscopic result is the passing on of “mutations” that confer a survival advantage.”

    “And let me add to that, Fletch, that Dawkins would probably be more than a little appalled (as I am) at attempting to marshal your misunderstandings of evolution into the support of your irrational and ultimately silly world view.”

    The judgements “irrational” and “silly” are apparently nothing more than constructs of the human brain and thus nothing to be concerned about. Thankfully, so is your indignation.

  285. #285 the strangest brew
    July 10, 2008

    “Numbers matter here, my friend.”

    yep! and making them up also seems to matter…to some folks…

    “3000-5000 over 300 years of the Spanish inquisition etc.”

    Not to mention the desecration and ethnic cleansing of the Incas and the rest in South America…all in the name of God and Gold…probably runs into a few million just on that continent before holy rome got it’s pernicious way…

    “compared to 60,000,000 killed in Russia alone by dogmatic communism and its ENFORCED ideology of atheism.”

    As opposed to the millions killed in the second world war by a religious commitment by the Waffen SS…yep they were religious enough to believe they had god on their side…check out their deaths head belt buckle…the design is symbolic of the fact that they believed they were from the first holy roman empire…do the research if you do not like the point…

    “100,000,000 in only 100 years of modern secular/atheist rule or maybe couple 100,000 in thousands years or religious rule.”

    Imaginary numbers do not win the argument…try to back up your maths with some facts…but whatever… the point is that religion kills in the name of God…Secular deaths…although not as high as you claim occur due to other inanities…but not because of some fairy story…simple like so…and according to some Christian bunnies on this thread they seem to get off on the thought of murder…still…that is the modern Christian for ya….

    “Modern progress, eh?”

    Seems not…!

  286. #286 K8
    July 10, 2008

    People, people….

    You are defending a publicity seeking FOOL!

    ==============================================
    The top atheists attack religion in the theoretical ground and would never stoop down to attacking actual sacred and physical objects of a tradition.

    Do you think Dawkins or Harris would pull a stunt like this?

    SO, why stand up for this fool if not for a sheer sheep-like mimetic desire?

    You are not doing yourselves any favors…you think outrages Catholics look “extreme,” take a look in the mirror…

  287. #287 Adrienne
    July 10, 2008

    And Fletch, exactly why should we not be concerned about constructs of the human brain, again? Yes, our “mind” is really the workings of our physical brain, but this doesn’t mean it’s irrelevant.

  288. #288 pissemov
    July 10, 2008

    You REALLY want to piss them off, try the Soggy Biscuit.

  289. #289 Adrienne
    July 10, 2008

    SO, why stand up for this fool if not for a sheer sheep-like mimetic desire?

    Because it’s just so funny (not to mention pathetic) when people like you get riled up over it!

  290. #290 Damian
    July 10, 2008

    CDV:

    Actually, only 31% of people in Denmark even believe in God.

    Now, tell me how it is logically possible to derive anything other than a lack of belief in God from non-theism? That is the only thing that you can possibly say about an atheist with any degree of certainty. Unless you can make the connection, you have no argument.

    We are atheists, not communists, and as has already been said, Stalin’s Russia was one of the most “religious” societies on earth, given that Stalin took advantage of hundreds of years of subservience to the Tsar. Lysenko’s miracles, heresy hunts, and cults of personality, are distinctly religious in nature.

    It’s not actually possible to base a society on atheism.

  291. #291 Owlmirror
    July 10, 2008

    The top atheists attack religion in the theoretical ground and would never stoop down to attacking actual sacred and physical objects of a tradition.

    Actually, pointing out that “sacred” is an incoherent concept is in fact an attack on the theoretical basis of religion.

    And recall that this whole brouhaha started because the defenders of the “sacred tradition” attacked an actual, real physical human being.

    Do you think Dawkins or Harris would pull a stunt like this?

    I’m sure they would (or are going to) point to it as yet another example of the insanity that is religion.

  292. #292 BouncingBosons
    July 10, 2008

    @190:

    @173 That’s it? That tiny legalistic loophole is what this whole thing hinges on?

    No, as has been pointed out, but pointing out those kinds of things is fun on the internets. Remember, they are serious business and all that. So, apparently, are delicious, delicious crackers.

    For the record though, I don’t really mind if you want to find and desecrate my corpse when I die, if it makes you feel better.

    (Whole thing now reminds me of the CAKE OR DEATH? bit for some reason…)

  293. #293 JohnnieCanuck, FCD
    July 10, 2008

    K8,

    I am extremely amused by the foolishness Catholics believe in. Does that count?
    ___

    So when those Danes decided to make a point and mocked the Muslims for their extreme sensitivity about their religious beliefs, what were this batch of outraged Christians doing then?

    Chuckling at the foolishness of the false believing Muslims? Rising in anger to demand respect for Mohammed? Pointing out the dangers of Islamic world conquest?

  294. #294 RAM
    July 10, 2008

    New campfire snack!
    Two Jebus crackers with melted marshmallow and chocolate!
    MMMMMMMMMM!
    Jebus smores!
    Double the Jebus, double the fun!

  295. #295 Heathen Matt
    July 10, 2008

    Do you think Dawkins or Harris would pull a stunt like this?
    I’m sure they would (or are going to) point to it as yet another example of the insanity that is religion.

    Actually, the bat signal has already gone out:

    http://richarddawkins.net/article,2848,PLEASE-WRITE-IN-SUPPORT-OF-PZ-MYERS,Richard-Dawkins-PZ-Myers-Pharyngula

    Thanks for playing, K8.

  296. #296 k8
    July 10, 2008

    =================================================

    Johnnie: “I am extremely amused by the foolishness Catholics believe in. Does that count?”

    That is your choice/belief and that is fine for you; however, the idea of coming into a place a worship to take and than desecrate an important part of that worship is really beyond the pale.

    If you people can not see that – as simply a basic form of decency – then I have doubts about your thought process and respect for your fellow citizens.

    (* and one random/stupid threat against some kid does not give validity to your or PZ’s claim)

    Anyone agree?

  297. #297 frog
    July 10, 2008

    Fletch: What I don’t get is why, if I am nothing but the some of my atomic parts, I should give a damn about what’s good for the society in which I live, let alone the species? If the evolutionary forces that prompt us to preserve the species are truly blind, what difference does it make if we ignore them? Humanity dies out. Big whoop.

    Have you heard of this little thing called empathy? Most of us care, well, because we do. We have empathy; we love others. Decent people don’t require a reason to be decent; we just are.

    Obviously, you’re another fine example of the sociopathy that uses religion to simply advance their own vacuous interest. I.e., you’re just one more potential serial killer hiding under your magic fairy’s skirt.

  298. #298 Mena
    July 10, 2008

    K8 @ 286
    People, people….
    You are defending a publicity seeking FOOL!

    Um, he puts the original posts up but he has only put a couple of comments up on the threads. How many posts have you made? Do you go by one name or are some of these other goofballs you too? You, Fletch, Pete Rooke, CDV, and BenYachov(Jim Scott 4th) are so quiet…

  299. #299 Hap
    July 10, 2008

    It’s sort of ad hominem, but why do the aggrieved posters all seem to love equals signs as separators? I’m just waiting to see some ASCII art while they’re at it.

    This isn’t USENET – the return key will work just fine.

  300. #300 Heathen Matt
    July 10, 2008

    …to take and than desecrate an important part of that worship…

    The kid did nothing more than what many recovering Catholics on this thread (and the two previous ones) say was a extremely common occurence. It is not “desecration” (assuming that word had any real-world meaning) to carry a cracker with you when you leave the church grounds, especially when it was handed to you by the priest, and MOST especially when the kid had no idea of the insane reaction he would provoke.

    The spittle-flecked, bugshit, ah-oogah ah-oogah overreaction to his actions, and to PZ Myers’s blog posts, is what is “beyond the pale”. If anyone wanted to demonstrate the proposition that religion, any religion, is nothing but brain-pureeing insanity, this brouhaha over A BISCIUT would be the perfect example.

  301. #301 Mena
    July 10, 2008

    Breaking news…
    http://www.startribune.com/lifestyle/faith/24313139.html?location_refer=Gophers
    and more stupid comments I’m sure. I haven’t read them yet but the first dozen or so seem sane but the last one mentions Hitler so I’m sure that tired canard is being used there too. The ten or twenty people who paid to watch Expelled sure do seem to have a thing for news about PZ…

  302. #302 craig
    July 10, 2008

    “For those who argued for the desecration of the dead: How would you feel to have a loved ones body sexually violated? “

    I would be grossed out, and I would be concerned that the necrophiliac get psychiatric treatment, as being sexually attracted to corpses is atypical and I think probably a sign of mental illness.

  303. #303 frog
    July 10, 2008

    strangest brew: Not to mention the desecration and ethnic cleansing of the Incas and the rest in South America…all in the name of God and Gold…probably runs into a few million just on that continent before holy rome got it’s pernicious way…

    North America may have had upwards of 20 million at the time of colonization — and Central and South America were much more heavily urbanized. The Caribbean was very densely populated. So between the Protestants and Catholics, a significant portion of the world population at a time when total world pop was about half a billion was eliminated in a couple of centuries.

    That’s not including such lovelies as the Albigensian crusade, where in one single cathedral, 20,000 heretics, men, women and children, were killed with the approval of the Vicar of Christ.

    We don’t even know the numbers killed in Northern Europe during the 8th – 10th centuries to eliminate the pagans; but we do know that in the 17th century, a quarter of the population of Germany was eliminated on exactly the question of the magical status of crackers.

    Yeah, baby, the genocides of the 20th century are almost unimpressive next to the continual history of genocide shown by the monotheists.

  304. #304 Fletch
    July 10, 2008

    Frog:
    “Have you heard of this little thing called empathy? Most of us care, well, because we do. We have empathy; we love others. Decent people don’t require a reason to be decent; we just are.”
    This is beautifully put. What you are implying is that your empathy transcends matter.

    You are no doubt an empathetic person, and I don’t believe that your empathy can solely be attributed to how evolutionary forces arranged the matter in your head. I think you have a free will which chooses decency, sometimes in spite of your genetic predilections. The corollary is that if I am a sociopath, I can not solely attribute that to my “wiring” (which is out of my control) but also to my freely made choices for which I am culpable.

  305. #305 Mike O'Risal
    July 10, 2008

    I really don’t get why the religious people here aren’t far more upset with Donohue than they are with anyone else.

    Donohue has stated that some college kid was capable of “holding the body of Christ hostage.” Doesn’t that count as… you know… blasphemy? Apparently Donohue thinks that some kid at UCF is more powerful than Jesus. If Jesus didn’t want to be held hostage, how does Donohue propose that said student would have been able to do so?

    And if God didn’t want the “body of Christ” to be held hostage, then surely God would have been able to do whatever was necessary to prevent or correct the situation (such as turning the thing back into a plain old cracker again), right?

    I mean, why is that God and Jesus need Bill Donohue to come to the rescue? If you believe in God in the first place, isn’t what Bill Donohue is saying in all of this is that he is capable of doing something that God couldn’t do?

    Isn’t that nothing more than Bill Donohue leading Catholics to violate the first commandment, the one about “Thou shalt have no other gods before me”? It looks a whole lot to me like Donohue is setting himself up as a bit of a golden calf here, if you catch my drift.

    More here, but that’s the gist of it.

  306. #306 terlenka
    July 10, 2008

    It’s amazing how weak the faith of Donahue et al must be if they think that what a non-believer does to a religious symbol matters or has any impact on the faith of the believers. Are they worried that the host will not do anything in response to PZ’s admittedly childish treatment of the host, dismantling in this way layers of superstition? Or will his abuse of the host make it less holy and irreparably harm their faith? (Analogous to what happens under The Gay TM, whereby the marriage of two otherwise heterosexuals suddenly becomes meaningless because Adam and Steve tie the knot.)

    On the other hand, if they believe that they have the right not to be offended by the actions of others, shouldn’t all believers and non-believers have that right? Why then does the Catholic mass include a prayer for the conversion of the Jews and other Christians (implying, when not stating explicitly, that they need to be converted to Catholicism in order to be saved)? Isn’t their stand on gay rights (or lack thereof) also offensive? Not to mention Galileo, the Inquisition, etc., etc., etc.

  307. #307 StuV
    July 10, 2008

    I mean, why is that God and Jesus need Bill Donohue to come to the rescue?

    Apparently, God needs defending. And money, I hear. 10% of yours would be a good start.

  308. #308 James
    July 10, 2008

    I remember a friend talking about his Muslim faith and how his father called for a jihad (holy war) on everything that pissed him off, or least 3 or 4 times a day.

    I cannot help but think that this is the way our country is going with its constant fear of offending people.

    When ever a cracker is stolen “Jihad!”

    Whenever a black man is arrested “JIHAD!”

    Whenever a gay man wants to marry another man “JIHAD JIHAD!”

    Take your guns.. GE – freakin – HAD!

    I mean where does this all end? At some point, someone needs to just tell these whiners to shut the hell up and stop being such babies about things.

    Listen, the world is made up of all kinds of people not just those called US or those called THEM. if you do not learn to live with difference instead of calling for everyone to accept only your ways, what you end up with is something we refer to as war.

    Now I know every religious text ends with something called the end times or the Apocalypse but has anyone ever thought that maybe the reason they all end this way is because that is where myopic eye of religion will always lead you?

    Maybe the whole point of religion is to teach the lesson each of us geeks learned from Joshua at a young age…

    “A strange game. The only winning move is not to play.”

  309. #309 Blake Stacey
    July 10, 2008

    Hey, it looks like Pharyngula is rarin’ to break the 100K page-views mark today. Maybe, once the drive-by trolls and persistent pests have all ebbed away to the intolerant mists from which they came, we’ll have a few more reasonable regulars.

  310. #310 jgfellows
    July 10, 2008

    I’m going to guess that the lack of contrary opinions is due to the editing system. However let’s give it a shot

    To those of you who want to scoff at Catholics, would you show the same lack of respect to muslims or jews? If so, you may want to focus more on what you believe and less on what you don’t believe.

    The Eucharist is the source and summit of our faith. You have free will not to believe but it is simply rude and intolerant to mock us or what is central to our faith.

  311. #311 frog
    July 10, 2008

    Fletch: This is beautifully put. What you are implying is that your empathy transcends matter.

    You really are slow — or so committed to magical explanations that you’ve lost contact with reality.

    No, my empathy is matter. It’s the way my momma raised me, it’s a 100 million years of mammalian evolution, it’s a lifetime of connecting with other people. No transcendence — just real, hard, matter filled life. No magic dust, no fairies with sticks chasing me.

    Really, stop following Socrates and those other legalistic fools from an age of barbarism — the Athenians laughed at them, why do you follow them?

    The corollary is that if I am a sociopath, I can not solely attribute that to my “wiring” (which is out of my control) but also to my freely made choices for which I am culpable.

    Your wiring is not out of your control — it is your control, and the effects of your control. Stop pretending that there’s a little man running the show, even a three year old has a more sophisticated understanding of will. You’re not a machine being run by a ghost — you are an active piece of meat that transforms itself continually.

    What’s your major malfunction that you hate yourself so — you hate the very essence of your existence and want to abandon it? I could see Augustine’s problem — it had to do with his momma, and his “uncontrollable” sexual urges. But in the 21st century? To still be pulling this crap, this exuding hatred of our very existence?

    Very sad. I blame it on your church and that SOB Plato.

  312. #312 ChrisKG
    July 10, 2008

    If you nail a cracker to a cross, does it not bleed?

  313. #313 Hugo
    July 10, 2008

    Forgive my religious ingorance (non-Catholic):

    A priest blesses a wafer, making it the Body of Christ (or some such), which you then swallow…

    Have I got this right?

    And by not swallowing it you a desecrating the Body of Christ because…

    Um…

    Anyone?

  314. #314 andyo
    July 10, 2008

    Hugo #313

    Um…

    Anyone?

    Exactly.

  315. #315 Andrew
    July 10, 2008

    #255 “Don’t worry; I’ll give you all the answers throughout the course of my time here as well as a wealth of other information about PZ.”

    Why wait, I want to know this wealth of info. Oh, and of course being the truthful young man I know you are you’ll also cite all references and provide accurate links right?

  316. #316 Mena
    July 10, 2008

    Um, jgfellows, there are plenty of contrary opinions. In fact half of them SAY THE EXACT SAME THING THAT YOU POSTED!!!! There has even been a discussion about why you guys think that it’s ok to harm people who disagree with you because other people are just as violent and intolerant as you are. Have you read any of the comments?

  317. #317 Fletch
    July 10, 2008

    frog:
    Indeed, I am really slow, but as you point out, this is just the result of matter failing to transform itself.

    Your wiring is not out of your control — it is your control, and the effects of your control.
    What, exactly, is controlling the matter in my brain? Is it only external matter (like how my mom raised me)? Because that is out of my control as well.

    that transforms itself continually.
    Again, sounds like your giving me a very valid excuse for my being stoopid– poor chemical reactions in my noggin.

    Where’s the part where I’m culpable for my malicious ignorance?

  318. #318 Owlmirror
    July 10, 2008

    The Eucharist is the source and summit of our faith.

    Why?

    Seriously, you’re an adult. You have the intelligence necessary to use a computer.

    Why do you, personally, believe something so absurd that a piece of baked dough can magically become part of the alleged creator of the universe? Why do you believe that the alleged creator of the universe wants you to think that he’s inside a cracker? Why do you believe that the alleged creator of the universe wants you to eat this cracker? Why do you believe that the alleged creator of the universe thinks that not eating the cracker is a bad thing? Why do you believe that the alleged creator of the universe could in any way, shape, or form, be harmed as a result of the cracker being damaged?

    You have free will not to believe but it is simply rude and intolerant to mock us or what is central to our faith.

    True, it is rude to mock.

    But it’s far ruder and more intolerant to threaten those who mock.

    And it’s far, far ruder and more intolerant and — I think “evil” would not be incorrect — to actually carry out those threats.

    Which has happened in the past, and might again, going by some of the threats being made.

  319. #319 jj
    July 10, 2008

    @310
    “To those of you who want to scoff at Catholics, would you show the same lack of respect to muslims or jews?”

    When they are acting like loons, sure thing! This is a place of opinions, deal with it. If you don’t like it, then don’t read it. It’s that simple.

  320. #320 JCHall
    July 10, 2008

    “It doesn’t matter one bit WHY they’re issuing death-threats. THAT is the true hatred here, and it is merely being called out for the farce that it is. This is literally the biggest joke since the “Behead those who claim Islam is a religion of violence” posters.”

    Criticizing people who send death threats is one thing, but to criticize an entire people simply because they believe in something you don’t goes beyond the mark. It doesn’t make you sound intelligent and it doesn’t convince anyone that you’re right. Mocking ideas is easy. See, look, I can do it, too.

    Evolutionists believe that in the beginning, there was nothing. That nothing exploded into everything. On one giant chunk of that now everything, a cell decided that it wasn’t happy being alone, so it decided to grow a body. That body one day decided that not being able to see was a bummer, so it magically grew eyes, somehow knowing that light reflecting off of other objects would then create images in its brain, that also just magically appeared from nowhere. Next the growing goop of life decided it wanted to taste, and feel, and hear, so it grew a mouth, hands and ears. A few years later, this new, hardening goop of life decided that life was boring if everything were the same, so it had babies that were different than he, some with hair, some with scales and some with wings. He was very creative. And to make a long story short, he eventually got tired of being a stupid, worthless animal and decided that being smart would be fun, and hence, humanity.

    You can make anything sound stupid if you want to. It’s really not that hard. It just demeans yourself.

  321. #321 JeffreyD
    July 10, 2008

    Frack my cracker, tired and time for bed.

    Some wonderful and funny posts. Sadly, many of the religious posts were not meant to be humorous.

    Pax Nabisco

  322. #322 Andrew
    July 10, 2008

    “To those of you who want to scoff at Catholics, would you show the same lack of respect to muslims or jews?”

    Sure, If you freely give me a Koran and Torah I promise I will not eat those either. Take that religion!

  323. #323 jj
    July 10, 2008

    @320
    “he eventually got tired of being a stupid, worthless animal and decided that being smart would be fun, and hence, humanity.

    You can make anything sound stupid if you want to”

    No you just sound stupid because you don’t understand the main principles of evolution.

  324. #324 JC
    July 10, 2008

    This episode of Cathocrazy reminds of the Red Hour in “Return of the Archons”.

    PZ – I will be glad to give you a ride when you get to the ATL aiport. When you come up the escalator from the train, just look for the Lawgiver holding one of those tubes that shoot the sparky things. That will be me. I will also be holding a box of crackers so you can tell me apart from the other Lawgivers.

  325. #325 jgfellows
    July 10, 2008

    I’m going to guess that the lack of contrary opinions is due to the editing system. However let’s give it a shot

    To those of you who want to scoff at Catholics, would you show the same lack of respect to muslims or jews? If so, you may want to focus more on what you believe and less on what you don’t believe.

    The Eucharist is the source and summit of our faith. You have free will not to believe but it is simply rude and intolerant to mock us or what is central to our faith.

  326. #326 CJO
    July 10, 2008

    You have free will not to believe

    Gosh, thanks, magic jeezus-cracker guy! You’re the bestest!

    but it is simply rude and intolerant to mock us or what is central to our faith.

    So what? Fuck you. That’s rude, too. Intolerant? Oh, I don’t know. None of us really care what you choose to do with your magic crackers in private on your cracker time. I’ll tolerate it. But I won’t respect it, because it’s bat-shit crazy, and the whole foundation of your faith is a deliberate and malicious lie.

    We’ll cop to rude, though. Tolerate it.

  327. #327 Andrew
    July 10, 2008

    #320 JC: “Criticizing people who send death threats is one thing, but to criticize an entire people simply because they believe in something you don’t goes beyond the mark.”

    I think I’m missing something but are you saying the second one is worse? Or that they are equal? I mean, I get your thoughts on why you don’t think it’s intellectual to criticize silly beliefs but in what relation to the death threats?

    It almost sounds like your comment is that criticism is easy but death threats, now that’s hard.

  328. #328 AJ Milne
    July 10, 2008

    You can make anything sound stupid if you want to…

    And then there are those who sound stupid quite independently of wanting to…

  329. #329 CJO
    July 10, 2008

    You can make anything sound stupid if you want to. It’s really not that hard. It just demeans yourself.

    But the great thing about religions is you don’t have to do anything at all. They all sound stupid, just the way they are.

  330. #330 Andrew
    July 10, 2008

    Nevermind, I get it now.

  331. #331 Nemo
    July 10, 2008

    #99:

    I wonder how Myers would feel if I got up in the middle of his class & started chanting prayers in Latin?

    First, it’s a bogus analogy. You’d be disrupting the class. Webster Cook didn’t even disrupt the mass.

    Second, I imagine he would feel that his remedies were limited to throwing you out of the class. No one disputes the right of the church to throw Cook out… but that’s where it should end.

    Or if I stole a picture of his mother from his wallet & used it to wipe my ass?

    Not analogous. Nothing was stolen.

  332. #332 frog
    July 10, 2008

    Fletch: What, exactly, is controlling the matter in my brain? Is it only external matter (like how my mom raised me)? Because that is out of my control as well.

    Nothing. But it’s not out of your control — there’s no frigging controller. Look, you posit a soul or some such magic fairy dust — that doesn’t solve your problem. What controls your soul? Why should you be morally culpable for what your soul does, since it was magically created by the space fairy? You then need a soul-soul, and a soul-soul-soul and so on ad infinitum.

    And, no, “free will” doesn’t get you out of this quandary, because you can just push free-will on to the meat, just as well as you can push it back for an infinite number of souls.

    No, you’ve created a non-existent problem, then deluded yourself you’ve solved it by pushing it back and claiming that magically this “other thing” is immune from the problem.

    There is no free-will problem. Free-will is a kind of analysis about the internal feedbacks within a system. It’s not a quality of you, it’s a quality of judgement about you, and the ways you affect yourself over time.

    You are responsible. There isn’t a reason for that — that’s an underlying assumption of any system of thought. You just pretend that you have a reason for it — but there can not be a reason for it, because it is the basis of having any kind of ethical conversation in the first place. Call it a grammatical rule if you will.

    It’s like your demanding “Why is ‘ed a sign of the past tense in English?” It’s a stupid question (unless your a philologist). “What gives me free-will” is exactly that kind of question — stupid and childish, at best an early step in recognized what the rules of conversation are.

    The Athenians knew it — that’s why the gave Socrates the hem-lock, because he went around asking childish questions and then claiming deep insight. Just legalistic and fundamentally incoherent nonesense.

  333. #333 Ray S.
    July 10, 2008

    Criticizing people who send death threats is one thing, but to criticize an entire people simply because they believe in something you don’t goes beyond the mark. It doesn’t make you sound intelligent and it doesn’t convince anyone that you’re right. Mocking ideas is easy.

    I suppose we should not mock those who insist the Earth is flat, or those who believe in Zeus or Thor. Get a grip. Silly ideas need to be mocked. The idea that someone can desecrate a cracker certainly seems like a silly idea to me.

    See, look, I can do it, too.

    Evolutionists believe that in the beginning, there was nothing. That nothing exploded into everything. On one giant chunk of that now everything, a cell decided that it wasn’t happy being alone, so it decided to grow a body. That body one day decided that not being able to see was a bummer, so it magically grew eyes, somehow knowing that light reflecting off of other objects would then create images in its brain, that also just magically appeared from nowhere. Next the growing goop of life decided it wanted to taste, and feel, and hear, so it grew a mouth, hands and ears. A few years later, this new, hardening goop of life decided that life was boring if everything were the same, so it had babies that were different than he, some with hair, some with scales and some with wings. He was very creative. And to make a long story short, he eventually got tired of being a stupid, worthless animal and decided that being smart would be fun, and hence, humanity.

    You can make anything sound stupid if you want to. It’s really not that hard. It just demeans yourself.

    See, you’ve just demeaned yourself because none of what you posted is remotely similar to the Theory of Evolution as scientists know it.

  334. #334 JoJo
    July 10, 2008

    JCHall #320

    Criticizing people who send death threats is one thing, but to criticize an entire people simply because they believe in something you don’t goes beyond the mark. It doesn’t make you sound intelligent and it doesn’t convince anyone that you’re right. Mocking ideas is easy. See, look, I can do it, too.

    I will omit the verbiage where you prove you don’t understand either the Big Bang or evolution.

    If a group of people believe that 75 million years ago aliens brought billions of people from The Galactic Federation to Earth in spaceships that looked exactly like DC-8s, stacked them around volcanoes and blew them up with hydrogen bombs, you’d probably think they were crazy. If someone asked your opinion of these people, you might quite likely mock this group for believing such a silly thing.*

    In a similar way, many of us here think that believing that a cracker becomes the body of a guy who died a couple thousand years ago is silly. Sorry if this does not meet with your approval.

    *If you’re familiar with Scientology, you’d know that I was describing one of their beliefs.

  335. #335 Peter Mc
    July 10, 2008

    Matt Penfold @254. I am in North Yorkshire, home of Timmy Taylor’s Landlord and Black Sheep bitter. Any time you are in the county, I am happy to buy you a pint to replace what you lost. Failing that, London and Cambridge in a week’s time.

    It could be a Pharyngulites sesh, anyone?

    As to the Catholic child abuse, up here we have a £4 million, 167 victim case simmering. (Pardon the tiny url, HTML tags don’t work for me on SB): http://preview.tinyurl.com/55ygnx

  336. #336 JCHall
    July 10, 2008

    “No you just sound stupid because you don’t understand the main principles of evolution.”

    And any Catholic could repeat the very same words back to you replacing “evolution” with “catholicism.” That’s the point I was making. The entire context and future pattern of this thread can basically be summed up thusly:

    Person 1: Man, you’re stupid because they believe that.
    Person 2: No, you’re stupid because you believe this.
    Person 1: Psh, you just don’t understand this.
    Person 2: Well, you don’t understand that.
    Person 1: (Random “It’s just a cracker” joke)

    And while it must seem intellectually stimulating to argue about the impossibility of religious reality, the response to this blog post is probably the most dumbed down and juvenile version I’ve ever seen.

    “I think I’m missing something but are you saying the second one is worse?”

    Yeah, that was the idea.

  337. #337 frog
    July 10, 2008

    JGFellows: The Eucharist is the source and summit of our faith. You have free will not to believe but it is simply rude and intolerant to mock us or what is central to our faith.

    No, it is simply rude or offensive. Intolerant would be declaring that eating magic crackers is a crime that could result in an execution (just like the Catholic Church declared for so many centuries that even questioning the magicness of the crackers was a death-penalty offense).

    Mockery is rude. So what? It’s not terribly rude — terribly rude would be going to your house and mocking you in front of your family; or going to your house on your day off early in the morning and haranguing you (as some of your splinter sects do) This mockery is only slightly rude — depending on how funny it is.

    Amazing how some folks find others speech intolerable, and then call that speech intolerant, particularly when that speech contains no threat of any kind, but simply mockery.

    Funny.

  338. #338 Cooder
    July 10, 2008

    I wonder if Jesus left a bitter taste in his mouth.

  339. #339 Andrew
    July 10, 2008

    “Forgive my religious ingorance (non-Catholic):

    A priest blesses a wafer, making it the Body of Christ (or some such), which you then swallow…

    Have I got this right?

    And by not swallowing it you a desecrating the Body of Christ because…

    Um…

    Anyone?”

    I’m still hoping someone will answer this. Any catholics want to take a shot?

  340. #340 Ray S.
    July 10, 2008

    jchall@336:

    And while it must seem intellectually stimulating to argue about the impossibility of religious reality, …

    Please, illuminate us with the reality of a common cracker turning into 2000 year old flesh. Perhaps the word reality does not mean what you think it means.

  341. #341 frog
    July 10, 2008

    Andrew: #320 JC: “Criticizing people who send death threats is one thing, but to criticize an entire people simply because they believe in something you don’t goes beyond the mark.”
    I think I’m missing something but are you saying the second one is worse?

    JCHall: “I think I’m missing something but are you saying the second one is worse?”
    Yeah, that was the idea.

    You’ve got a be a Poe. The depth of your moral depravity is more than even I would expect. Even Ratzi would find you despicable — and he was the head of the Inquisition for over a decade.

  342. Atheist: It’s a goddamned cracker!

    Theist: Yes, but what if the young man had gouged out the priest’s eyes and skull-fucked him before absconding with the cracker!

    Atheist: Did he?

    Theist: No.

    Atheist: So then we’re back to: It’s a GODDAMNED CRACKER!

  343. #343 Owlmirror
    July 10, 2008

    “No you just sound stupid because you don’t understand the main principles of evolution.”

    And any Catholic could repeat the very same words back to you replacing “evolution” with “catholicism.” That’s the point I was making.

    Your point is pointless and stupid.

    The body of knowledge that is science is based on observations of reality. If you bothered to study it at all, you could, at least potentially, duplicate those same observations yourself, or understand how the various observations fit together. Science is the best way that we have of understanding how the universe works.

    The body of beliefs that is religion is based on handed-down traditions. No duplications of observations is possible. There never were any observations in the first place, just some long-ago person pointing at some bible verse and saying that it’s important, and that it means something.

    There’s no there there.

  344. #344 Julie K
    July 10, 2008

    Good going all you screaming frenzied cracker protectors. That will show the world just how truly batshit insane religion is.

    Saying magic words over a communion cracker does no more than if I consecrated Goldfish crackers to Dagon. My goldfish don’t turn into magical crackers capable of turning me into a Deep One (pity that) and your crackers are still nothing more than bland unleavened wheat.

    Spare me your whines about being offended. Any attempt to claim the high ground ended at the death threats and physical assault. Mockery is a perfect way to counteract rampant insanity.

  345. #345 Mike O'Risal
    July 10, 2008

    Saying magic words over a communion cracker does no more than if I consecrated Goldfish crackers to Dagon.

    That actually works. I tried it, and you should see the size of my tentacles.

  346. #346 Julie K
    July 10, 2008

    Re my post #344.

    I just realized I used a word that might be offensive and I apologize to the bats of the world. Bats are not insane and are useful and inoffensive animals, quite unlike the screaming cracker hordes.

  347. #347 Andrew
    July 10, 2008

    In defense of JC Hall I did misread his comment and then figured it out like 5 minutes later. See #330

    I took it as Criticisms of Religion is beyond the mark of death threats. What he really said essentially the criticism of religion is worse the criticism of death threats.

    I don’t agree of course but I don’t want to imply he was saying something else. My mistake.

  348. #348 Mike O'Risal
    July 10, 2008

    Bats are not insane and are useful and inoffensive animals

    Bats need saving.

    Crackers do not.

  349. #349 Metamorphic
    July 10, 2008

    In response to Geoff, #6 as quoted here:

    “When I saw the words ‘cracker’ ‘eating’ and ‘Bill Donohue’ in the same post, I thought it was going to be about cannibalism.

    All this over some starch.

    *sigh*

    Posted by: geoff | July 10, 2008 3:23 PM”

    My response:
    Don’t know how many cannibals you’ve been around, Geoff, but I’ve been around a lot of them for years–all very devout church-goers. I have to disagree with you, this whole bunch of crap hitting the fan IS about cannibalism! Wonder what they’d have done if that dude took the blood of Christ out the door….maybe ALL hell breaking loose??

    Seriously, man….I think a lot of the churches are being reclaimed by fanatics, just like Islam has been.

  350. #350 386sx
    July 10, 2008

    And by not swallowing it you a desecrating the Body of Christ because…

    I don’t think it was the not swallowing part that was bothering the faithful that much. I think it was more the kidnapping part that got them all upset. They don’t want people going around and kidnapping the Body of Christ all over the place.

  351. #351 Elwood Herring
    July 10, 2008

    Happens every time – I’m AFK for a day or two and all hell breaks loose…

    Crackers, Gromit? Can’t have crackers without cheese…

  352. #352 Fred Watkins
    July 10, 2008

    I’m a CrackerJacker,
    She’s a CrackerJacker,
    Don’t you want’a be a CrackerJacker, Too?

    Let’s all go to a Mass and be CrackerJackers!! WooHoo!!!

  353. #353 wistah
    July 10, 2008

    Screed: 255

    For those who argued for the desecration of the dead: How would you feel to have a loved ones body sexually violated? The necrophiliac does no literal harm by anyone else surely?

    Probably about the same as I’d feel if someone took my loved one, ground and dried the remains into some sort of flour, and made a cracker out of it for people to eat with a little sip of wine?

    Your verbal stylizings aside, your logic leaves much to be desired.

  354. #354 Dustin
    July 10, 2008

    You know what would rock? Code the blog to automatically close a thread at 666 posts. That would rock. \m/

  355. #355 386sx
    July 10, 2008

    They don’t want people going around and kidnapping the Body of Christ all over the place.

    They don’t want people going around and kidnapping the Body of Christ all over the place up and down the street like it was going out of style.

    Jesus is very helpless when in the form of a cracker, and must be protected at all costs. And people should be sent to hell and other stuff like that.

  356. #356 Jeff
    July 10, 2008

    Fletch:
    Check out episode 20 of The Skeptics Guide to the Universe
    http://www.theskepticsguide.org/archive.asp

    It gets into some of the ideas you’re considering.

    There probably isn’t any kind of uncaused free-will. Your decisions are based on your genetic makeup and interactions with the world.

    You could go on a rampage over your disappointment in the non-existence of some kind of magic spirit based uncaused free will, but you’ll most likely experience negative consequences.

    My life, and the whole universe, may well be playing out the only way it ever could, but I still experience a good life. Works for me.

  357. #357 anti-nonsense
    July 10, 2008

    All this nonsense over a cheap cracker. Seriously.

    For those of you who object to the mockery of the various Catholic loonies, these people are making a huge fuss over a cheap, crappy cracker because they believe that cheap cracker is actually the body of some dead guy. That is patently absurd by all rational standards and when one sees absurd things, one is inclined to laugh at them.

    They threatened the guy with DEATH for “kidnapping” a cracker that was HANDED to him.

    Free speech and freedom of opinion means you are free to believe absurdities and I am free to laugh at you for believing absurdities.

    If somebody came up to you and announced that they were really an alien from Neptune wouldn’t you be inclined to laugh? Why should religious delusions be treated differently?

  358. #358 Brian Gregory
    July 10, 2008

    A cracker????!!!! Of course, if it’s a saltine I can understand.

  359. #359 DLC
    July 10, 2008

    Okay.. so.. the furor over a youth absconding with a bit of unleavened bread has now gone into two threads.
    Understand please, a piece of unleavened bread.
    I’m sitting here scratching my head and wondering.
    I’m just amazed. well, I’ll wander on off now and leave you to your amusement.
    (/move-along-nothing-to-see-here)

  360. #360 Brian W.
    July 10, 2008

    any decent god would be made of cheese. It would go much better with the wine.

  361. #361 Becca
    July 10, 2008

    SOooooooooooooooooooooo many comments!
    PZ, you broke the interenets!

  362. #362 Farrar
    July 10, 2008

    Here you are.

    http://www.kingdom.com/ProductInfo.aspx?productid=W

    And they’re cheap!

  363. #363 jgfellows
    July 10, 2008

    All this nonsense over a cheap cracker. Seriously.

    For those of you who object to the mockery of the various Catholic loonies, these people are making a huge fuss over a cheap, crappy cracker because they believe that cheap cracker is actually the body of some dead guy. That is patently absurd by all rational standards and when one sees absurd things, one is inclined to laugh at them.

    They threatened the guy with DEATH for “kidnapping” a cracker that was HANDED to him.

    Free speech and freedom of opinion means you are free to believe absurdities and I am free to laugh at you for believing absurdities.

    If somebody came up to you and announced that they were really an alien from Neptune wouldn’t you be inclined to laugh? Why should religious delusions be treated differently?

    Posted by: anti-nonsense | July 10, 2008 9:26 PM

    There’s a billion of us Catholics kiddo. Study up a bit and you’ll that delusional behavior ain’t that popular.

    Do us both a favor and focus on what you do believe and not so much on what you don’t.

    Better yet, you might want to actually learn about the largest religion in the World.

  364. #364 charli
    July 10, 2008

    Actually, Catholics (I think the others too, but I’m not sure about them), but Catholics to do think the cracker and wine are symbolic of the body and blood of christ, they BELIEVE IT IS THE BODY AND BLOOD OF CHRIST. This is not symbolic to them. Yes, they are all cannibals. Every last one of ‘em.

  365. #365 Julie K
    July 10, 2008

    Better yet, you might want to actually learn about the largest religion in the World.

    I’ve learned that it is no different than the religion that made people yell and scream over someone naming a teddy bear ‘Mohammed’.

  366. #366 Mike O'Risal
    July 10, 2008

    Do us both a favor and focus on what you do believe and not so much on what you don’t.

    Screw belief.

    It’s just a cracker.

    The number of people who believe some superstition make it no more correct. A billion people once believed that a precious stone could be found in the head of the common toad. Nobody ever got rich therefrom.

  367. #367 frog
    July 10, 2008

    jgfellows: There’s a billion of us Catholics kiddo. Study up a bit and you’ll that delusional behavior ain’t that popular.

    The old argumentum ad populam? A majority of European society (Catholic society) believed that Jews sacrificed Christian children for Passover — so I guess that’s not a delusion. Or that witches infested their societies — chalk up another venerable truth. Or that God wanted heretics put to death — I guess they were right.

    Lordy, once again, you must be a Poe. Either that, or shut the hell up — you’re humiliating your co-religionists.

    And they’ve had enough of that this week.

  368. #368 Fletch
    July 10, 2008

    frog: Nothing. But it’s not out of your control — there’s no frigging controller. Look, you posit a soul or some such magic fairy dust — that doesn’t solve your problem. What controls your soul? Why should you be morally culpable for what your soul does, since it was magically created by the space fairy? You then need a soul-soul, and a soul-soul-soul and so on ad infinitum.
    First of all, I appreciate you giving me an actual rebuttal before calling me childish and stupid. You’re A-OK, froggy. A less decent individual, er collection of atoms, would not waste their time on a troglodyte as myself.

    Anyway, your premise being that an immaterial soul is bound by material causality? There is no problem: free will is the cause of its own movement.

    I also appreciate your honesty in admitting that for the materialist, “responsibility” is just a matter of semantics.

  369. #369 Trent Eady
    July 10, 2008

    Gentle Jesus meek and mild
    The Lord’s one and only child
    Ate bread, drank wine, then all was lost
    They nailed him high upon a cross
    But don’t despair, it doesn’t matter
    Christ still lives within a cracker

  370. #370 Fletch
    July 10, 2008

    Jeff,
    I appreciate the link and the fact that you didn’t call me any names. I’ll check it out… but probably tomorrow. It’s the cocktail hour!

  371. #371 Wowbagger
    July 10, 2008

    A repeat of this whole mess can be avoided easily enough: just make everyone who receives the host sign a contract stating they will eat (or swallow or let dissolve – I’m unfamiliar with the mechanics of the process) the host and not doing anything else with it.

    Sure, it’ll slow the process down – and maybe result in a few court cases here and there – but if it’s to protect Jesus that’s a small price to pay, right?

  372. #372 John Farrell
    July 10, 2008

    Does somebody have a link to the alleged ‘death threats’ Webster Cook received after this obviously planned prank?

    PZ links to a story that says Cook felt threatened. But there are no quotes and no actual instinces of threat cited in the article.

    Or are there other stories that reveal this?

  373. #373 Mike O'Risal
    July 10, 2008

    but if it’s to protect Jesus that’s a small price to pay, right?

    Again… why does Jesus need protecting in the first place? I thought that he could take care of that himself, or at least that his father could. What can a contract do that Jehovah cannot?

    Silliness and tomboozlery.

  374. #374 Syn
    July 10, 2008

    “Forgive my religious ignorance (non-Catholic):
    A priest blesses a wafer, making it the Body of Christ (or some such), which you then swallow…
    Have I got this right?
    And by not swallowing it you a desecrating the Body of Christ because…
    Um…
    Anyone?”

    I have to say that I am also a non-Catholic and this was my first response exactly. However, I have another question. If Webster Cook asks for forgiveness then he is cleared of his transgression in the eyes of the Sky Daddy or is that only allowed in some other schism? You know the whole shake up the etch-a-sketch and all is forgiven routine?

    OH and Julie K thank you for this: “Mockery is a perfect way to counteract rampant insanity.”
    Fantastic!

  375. #375 Goldfishflakes
    July 10, 2008

    He-he-he…

    Jesus was manufactored not by Hebrews…but NABISCO!

    LMAO!!!!!!!

    Oh gah…that’s just too much…LMAO!!!

  376. #376 Andie
    July 10, 2008

    I’m so ashamed that this is happening at my university (which last semester had crazy Christians yelling and shoving abortion photos in our faces as we walked to class). We are in the 21st century, and these idiots are stuck in the 800s. Everyone needs a strong dose of reason and they need it now. Dr. Myers- you are awesome- thanks for writing this entry.

    Peace.

  377. #377 Brian
    July 10, 2008

    These crackers must be laced with real CRACK!

  378. #378 Wowbagger
    July 10, 2008

    Mike O’Risal, #373 wrote:

    Again… why does Jesus need protecting in the first place?

    Because he believed in and taught a doctrine of non-violence, forgiveness and peace…unlike his followers, apparently.

  379. #379 p.a.
    July 10, 2008

    Used to work in a town- Smithfield, R.I., that had a eucharist factory that supplied most of the East coast, I believe. Never had a reason to enter. Wonder if it was sanctified, like a kosher butcher? (Remember Carlin blessing his golf clubs in Dogma?) The Cavanaugh company, if memory serves. Met some of the owners. Very well off. Don’t know if there was a bidding process for the contract or if internal church politics was involved. Might make interesting research.

  380. #380 craig
    July 10, 2008

    “Any attempt to claim the high ground ended at the death threats and physical assault.”

    Like I said yesterday, I think they actually lost the high ground with that “protecting the child rapists” bit.

  381. #381 clinteas
    July 10, 2008

    Guys,Ive got to say,after reading most of the 2ooo or so posts about a cracker and seeing what collection of ugly hateful murderous christofascists propped up here in the last few days,I am more than a lil scared and worried about your country,and at the same time glad im not living in it.
    If what we have experienced here in the last few days is anything to go by,there are plenty of people in your country that are not only totally unhinged from rational thought and reality,but at the same time ready to grab a gun and kill for their delusions.Truly scary.

  382. #382 aratina
    July 10, 2008

    Body of Christ
    Sleek swimmer’s body
    all muscled up and toned
    Body of Christ
    O! What a body
    I wish I could call it my own
    Lord Almighty…
    You’ve left me so enticed!
    O! I wish I could have
    the Body of Chriiiist!

  383. #383 $curdizzle
    July 10, 2008

    Long time reader, first time poster here on the P. I noticed someone suggested a comic be done about this whole fiasco in the last cracker thread.

    *Raises hand*

    Check it out on my blog. I figure it would make a perfect “first content posting” for us since we just started. The theme of our work is going to be centered on finding common sense answers for the nuttiness of today’s world (kind of like PZ’s postings in most cases). Thanks.

  384. #384 BenYachov(Jim Scott 4th)
    July 10, 2008

    I think Myers is lying about receiving “threats”. Call the cops Myers if what you say is true. I dare you, coward.

    So the Eucharist is just a Cracker to you lot? Fair enough. The Mone Lisa is just colored oils on cloth but to millions it’s very valuable.

    The grave of any Atheist’s beloved deceased relative or spouse is merely the container of decaying organic matter. Does that mean it’s OK for someone/anyone to relieve themselves on it? If anyone DID such a thing would any normal person be surprised if that particular Atheist(& his relatives) responded to such an outrage with possible threats of violence toward the offender? Why would any being who claimed to be “rational” do such a foul thing in the first place to provoke such a reaction?

    I threated nobody but must I & my fellow Catholic be made to suffer watching what we love more then life being treated with such vile disrespect because of the provoked morally questionable actions of another?

    Only an irrational sociopath or sadist would say “yes”. Which pretty much describes Myers & His pet sycophants on this blog.

    Not very “Bright” people.

  385. #385 David Harley
    July 10, 2008

    The self-righteous sneering of fundamentalist atheists almost makes me ashamed to be an unbeliever.

    In the US, self-described atheists are a tiny minority. The proportion of people for whom Christianity is just a cultural identity is hard to gauge.

    Who thinks that any useful social change can be achieved without forming alliances with believers of various sorts? Atheists, mainstream Protestants and secular Jews won’t win any federal election.

    25% of the population consists of self-described Catholics. They are everywhere. Are they all idiots? Are they all reactionaries? Or is that just a bigoted stereotype, no more sophisticated than the tubthumping of a revivalist hellfire preacher?

    Whatever is the case, however, if every evangelical and every Catholic, whether politically liberal or conservative, is driven into the arms of the Republican Party, you can kiss the future goodbye.

  386. #386 orkneyearl
    July 10, 2008

    I’m not sure if someone already mentioned this (because I couldn’t be arsed to read every single post), but am I the only one genuinely nervous about getting a nun to guard the crackers? What if she brings her nun-chucks? Would they be made from a couple of hard wooden rulers and a rosary?

    I think the church should broaden the range of crackers to choose from. Maybe they could get some Triscuits in there, put ‘em on a tray with different varieties of cheese. In fact, the whole congregation could each choose their own, personal cheeses.

    All this kerfuffel over a cracker is so very lame.

  387. #387 Jim
    July 10, 2008

    I think everyone needs to seriously chill out. Just repeat to yourself: Crackers Don’t Matter!

  388. #388 PZ Myers
    July 10, 2008

    You love a cracker more than life? Are you INSANE?

  389. #389 Wowbagger
    July 10, 2008

    BenYachov (Jim Scott 4th)

    So much wrong, so little time.

    There is only one Mona Lisa, and it cannot be reproduced. It is also someone’s property – if I owned the Mona Lisa and gave it to you, you could do what you liked with it and I’d have no recourse. This does not apply to a cracker.

    There are laws against defiling corpses. There are no laws against defiling crackers. If you would like to introduce a law to protect magic biscuits, go for it. If it becomes a law then I will obey it.

    I, as an atheist, would decry the action of anyone, atheist or not, making threats of death or violence against someone for offending in the way you described. I doubt I am alone in this. So that blows your theory on that.

    I threated nobody but must I & my fellow Catholic be made to suffer watching what we love more then life being treated with such vile disrespect because of the provoked morally questionable actions of another?

    Do you eat meat? If so, that is offensive to some Buddhists – so you should stop doing it. Has that meat ever been pork? If so, that is offensive to Jews and Moslems – so you should stop doing it.

    Have you ever gambled? Smoked a cigarette? Drank alcohol? Enjoyed coffee, tea or coca-cola? Worked on the sabbath? Given someone a present?

    All of those things are against the beliefs of one of more religions.

    Will you stop doing them?

  390. #390 Matthew Saroff
    July 10, 2008

    It’s not a frackin’ cracker. It’s frakin’ ritual cannibalism.

  391. #391 Kel
    July 10, 2008

    So the Eucharist is just a Cracker to you lot? Fair enough. The Mone Lisa is just colored oils on cloth but to millions it’s very valuable.

    Wow, what a bad analogy. The Mona Lisa is important because it’s a piece of art, one of the most spectacular pieces of art ever made. It doesn’t try and claim to be anything else, it’s a painting, it’s all it was an it’s all it will be.

    The cracker on the other hand is claimed to be something else. It’s claimed the cracker becomes the body of Christ. Our contention is that it’s still a goddamned cracker.

    If you are going to compare it, at least compare it to something that is equivalent.

  392. #392 Marcus Ranum
    July 10, 2008

    Just wondering – how do you folks feel about corpse-desecration? I mean, it’s just a frackin’ hunk of meat, right?

    Never tried it. But if you’d like, I’ll will you my body and you can go to town. Will you cover the shipping, at least?

  393. #393 Godless Chemist in training
    July 10, 2008

    @#384
    Did you just compare not eating a cracker to peeing on my mother’s grave? If anything, my mother’s decaying body should be turned into a loaf of bread and you should be made to eat it. And in defiance you insult me by not eating said bread. After which I will be promptly outraged and call you an irrational sociopath.

  394. #394 frog
    July 10, 2008

    Fletch: Anyway, your premise being that an immaterial soul is bound by material causality? There is no problem: free will is the cause of its own movement.
    I also appreciate your honesty in admitting that for the materialist, “responsibility” is just a matter of semantics.

    No, you’re the one so caught up in semantics that you think the semantics are quasi-material.

    My point is that you don’t get out of the problem of causality by “declaring” the immaterial soul to not be bound by material causality. In short, it’s a cheat: you simply declare that causality doesn’t affect something and poof. I could declare the same about the material world — that “free-will” is an acausal material phenomena. So what? What have we gained other than soothing your need for fairy tales about a “non-causal” causality — which is what you want, you want something that causes without being caused.

    Why do you hate the interplay of causes that form reality? That’s just silly.

    Now, there you go again – responsibility is just a matter of semantics. There’s no damn just about — responsibility is necessary for their to be meaningful communication between human beings. That a friggin’ big just — much bigger than your “Oh, I might be punished”.

    That’s childish. The reality is that without semantics — there is no humanity. Even pre-humanity is impossible. My existence as a semantic entity depends on this.

    This dismissal of the material and of meaning is grotesque — your philosophy deforms you into dismissing the very bedrock of reality for escapism.

    The first mover — what an incoherent crock to escape this world; and in the end to escape true ethical responsibility.

  395. #395 David Harley
    July 10, 2008

    Susan Fani, identified in almost every news item about this story as a spokeswoman for the Catholic Diocese of Orlando, is no such thing.

    She is an employee of Bill Donahue’s lavishly funded Catholic League in New York. He draws a six-figure salary and he usually has a couple of female assistants on five-figure salaries.

    It is Ms Fani who has been making the most incendiary statements, while masquerading as the voice of the diocese.

  396. #396 Sauceress
    July 10, 2008

    So much wailing and gnashing of teeth by the CC!
    I’m sure it’s already been pointed out somewhere, but remember that it was in fact the consecration of the cracker by the human priest which entombed jesus into cracker and thus preventing his omnipotent escape from this kidnapping!

  397. #397 Marcus Ranum
    July 10, 2008

    I think Myers is lying about receiving “threats”

    Oh, boy!!! (Looking forward to a post of some of the Emails PZ gets containing “god’s tough love”)

  398. #398 God
    July 10, 2008

    I threated nobody but must I & my fellow Catholic be made to suffer watching what we love more then life being treated with such vile disrespect because of the provoked morally questionable actions of another?

    Actually, you could always just not watch.

    But you won’t. You human who believe various silly things never stop looking for things to make yourselves angry.

    And this amuses me greatly.

  399. #399 Zarquon
    July 10, 2008

    The cracker is a lie!

  400. #400 Fletch
    July 10, 2008

    frog:That’s childish. The reality is that without semantics — there is no humanity. Even pre-humanity is impossible. My existence as a semantic entity depends on this……responsibility is necessary for their to be meaningful communication between human beings.
    As I said before, so what? If we’re all just atoms, who gives a crap if humanity exists or doesn’t? If we’re just atoms, who cares if we communicate meaningfully or not? So we kill each other and die off and the pattern of atoms formerly known as “human” ceases. It’s inconsequential to the universe.

    My point is that you don’t get out of the problem of causality by “declaring” the immaterial soul to not be bound by material causality. There is no break with logic by suggesting that the immaterial not behave like the material. There is a break with logic by suggesting that “I could declare the same about the material world — that ‘free-will’ is an acausal material phenomena” because material phenomena are, by definition, deterministic.

    You keep calling my collection of neural atoms “childish”…do you also berate furniture?

  401. #401 Pierce R. Butler
    July 10, 2008

    May I humbly suggest that the Catholic Church might do well to borrow a hymn written by a renowned former member of its flock?

    A mighty cracker is our god…

  402. #402 KenG
    July 10, 2008

    …and for the final word

    http://www.jesusandmo.net/2006/06/09/bite/

  403. #403 Damian
    July 10, 2008

    BenYachov(Jim Scott 4th) said:

    Why would any being who claimed to be “rational” do such a foul thing in the first place to provoke such a reaction?

    I threated nobody but must I & my fellow Catholic be made to suffer watching what we love more then life being treated with such vile disrespect because of the provoked morally questionable actions of another?

    Only an irrational sociopath or sadist would say “yes”. Which pretty much describes Myers & His pet sycophants on this blog.

    Because some of us believe that it about time that people stopped being so bloody melodramatic over something that, deep down, most of them know doesn’t really become the body of Christ.

    I can’t speak for others, but I am fairly confident (which can change given the right evidence) that basing our decisions on “faith”, and not evidence, is not likely to be a good strategy for our species in the future. And this whole episode just adds to that conviction.

    There is no evidence that the cracker is anything other than a cracker, but that doesn’t stop people from becoming so irate that an admittedly very small minority decided to send death threats to other people, and a much larger majority became so incensed that they attempted to not only punish a young man for a simple prank, but then compound the ridiculousness of the whole affair by attempting to destroy the career of someone who was essentially saying, “come on now guys, ’tis but a frackin’ cracker”.

    I am under no obligation to cater for your sensibilities, and as harsh as that sounds, I am pretty sure that there are beliefs that others hold that you too find ridiculous, and wouldn’t think twice about telling them so. So, where do we draw the line, here? I say that we don’t. If you want me to respect your beliefs, there had better be some good evidence that they are worthy of respect, and I don’t honestly believe that is particularly controversial, or unfair.

    David Harley said:

    The self-righteous sneering of fundamentalist atheists almost makes me ashamed to be an unbeliever.

    It isn’t even possible to be a fundamentalist atheist, not least because there aren’t an fundamentals that we have to hold to (bar the obvious one), but also because criticizing religion does not make one a fundamentalist by any reasonable definition of the word. Not a good start, to be honest. Let’s see if it gets any better.

    David Harley said:

    Who thinks that any useful social change can be achieved without forming alliances with believers of various sorts? Atheists, mainstream Protestants and secular Jews won’t win any federal election.

    25% of the population consists of self-described Catholics. They are everywhere. Are they all idiots? Are they all reactionaries? Or is that just a bigoted stereotype, no more sophisticated than the tubthumping of a revivalist hellfire preacher?

    Whatever is the case, however, if every evangelical and every Catholic, whether politically liberal or conservative, is driven into the arms of the Republican Party, you can kiss the future goodbye.

    For a start, where is the evidence to suggest that being highly critical of religion is likely to prevent us from achieving political goals?

    And what if we aren’t interested in kowtowing to religious belief, and if our goals are for it to socially acceptable to identify as an atheist, first and foremost? Not to mention the fact that none of us have a problem with working with religious believers, but that isn’t going to stop us criticizing religion, and nor should it.

    If someone refuses to work with us because we criticize their beliefs, that, in my opinion, does not suggest that they were particularly interested in doing so in the first place, or that they are only interested on their terms, which is even worse.

    And don’t even bother to suggest that we won’t get anywhere this way. Not only does that ignore every lesson that history has to teach us, but it also ignores the fact that atheism has become more mainstream in the last few years, precisely because so many of us are not content to sit down, shut up, and pretend that we don’t have an opinion.

  404. #404 Gorge Soros
    July 11, 2008

    What could be dumber then thinking Dawanism is valid

  405. #405 Wowbagger
    July 11, 2008

    Felch, #400,wrote:

    It’s inconsequential to the universe.

    Congratulations! You got something right. Do you want a cracker? Oops, poor choice of words.

    To the universe it – and us, and everything else – is inconsequential. To humans, who have the ability to think and feel and empathise, it isn’t.

    Yes, we are made up of molecules that are, in and of themselves, without feelings. But when you put those together, you get something else entirely.

    Have you never heard the expression ‘the whole is greater than the sum of its parts’? The Germans have a great word for it – gestalt.

  406. #406 NanuNanu
    July 11, 2008

    I agree with Soros.

    Dawanism and the general worship of Dawans is ridiculous.

  407. #407 Brian
    July 11, 2008

    I wonder how much this cracker would go for on EBAY!

  408. #408 NanuNanu
    July 11, 2008

    I mean have you SEEN a Dawan?

    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2005/11/images/051110_sea_monster.jpg

    Not something I would worship, I tell you.

  409. #409 Sauceress
    July 11, 2008

    Gorge Soros
    “What could be dumber then thinking Dawanism is valid”

    Dawanism? What sort of crap is that?

  410. #410 sex_target
    July 11, 2008

    I can’t believe how crazy this shit is.

    Any of you guys on facebook? If you’re looking for more to read, check out the comments on the note regarding this topic that I posted. Feel free to add me if you want to comment yourself. I think you’ll get a kick out of some of the responses…

    http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/note.php?note_id=36356146536&ref=nf

  411. #411 Kel
    July 11, 2008

    “Sorry, you do not have permission to see this note.”

  412. #412 Steve Bloom
    July 11, 2008

    PZ, here’s why you’re in so much trouble:

    The particular bit of anatomy embodied (?) within this specific cracker was Jeez’s left testicle. IOW, you have half-emasculated their deity. As the right one never descended, the feminization of Jeez is complete.

  413. #413 Dale
    July 11, 2008

    Professor Myers is a cock sucking Fag. And what happened to Matt Shepard was not a hate crime but rough sex gone bad.

  414. #414 sex_target
    July 11, 2008

    Dale-

    Wow, a person’s opinions on crackers gives you the ability to derive their sexual orientation? Maybe next you could grind up some tea leaves and tell us his lucky numbers.

  415. #415 Fletch
    July 11, 2008

    Wowbagger: To humans, who have the ability to think and feel and empathise, it isn’t [inconsequential].
    Of course it is. Thinking, feeling, and empathy are (to the materialist) illusions. Macroscopic manifestations of microscopic atomic motion. How I’m treated by others is not consequential to “me” because there is no “me”– “I’m” just a collection of molecules. I like the expression “the whole is greater than the sum of it’s parts”, but you are deviating from materialist orthodoxy by claiming it…

    Your premise (and frog’s, and others) is that existence itself is good. That it is better for humanity to continue than to die out. On what grounds does the materialist make this claim? “Evolutionary wiring” gives us a cause for looking out for each other’s well being, but not a reason for claiming that it’s “good” or “right”.

  416. #416 Wowbagger
    July 11, 2008

    Felch, #415 wrote:

    Thinking, feeling, and empathy are (to the materialist) illusions.

    Er, no. They’re chemical reactions in the brain. No god required for that.

  417. #417 Spinoza
    July 11, 2008

    Ya know, Jesus wasn’t Caucasian, so the Catholic Church has got it all wrong.

  418. #418 Dahan
    July 11, 2008

    “What could be dumber then thinking Dawanism is valid”

    Not knowing that there is no such thing as Darwinism in the first place? That’s my first thought.

  419. #419 John
    July 11, 2008

    And I was all excited thinking I had a new post to read…

  420. #420 Dahan
    July 11, 2008

    Dale at 413,

    I don’t really know anything about you, except that you appear to be an ignorant asshole, but I’ll tell you this. I wouldn’t trade who I am, what I know, and how I live my life for a chance to be you with a hundred million dollars kicked in, ever. You’re trying to make us mad, but the vast majority of us just feel sad for you. You’re so pathetic. I know you don’t want our sympathy, but really, it’s about all I can muster for you. No harsh words for you, as I tend to do with others, just my sympathy that you’ve been robbed of a life of discovery to this point. You inhabit a small world made of lies, you’re controlled by fear and ignorance. That is sad. That’s what most of us are here to fight.

    Reading your comment is like seeing someone say “Look! You’re an idiot! I know 2 + 2 = 6! You all just suck balls cause you don’t see it!” How do you expect us to give any credence to what you say? I hate the people that made you what you are. I admit to that. I do hate…

    Do you hate what you are? Or are you proud of your ignorance?

  421. #421 Damian
    July 11, 2008

    Fletch, you have a very strange view of both humanity, and of meaning.

    Anyway, as I posted in another thread, what is your answer to the “Euthyphro dilemma”, where morality is concerned:

    Is what is moral commanded by God because it is moral, or is it moral because it is commanded by God?

    The first horn of the dilemma (i.e. that which is moral is commanded by God because it is moral) implies that morality is independent of God and, indeed, that God is bound by morality just as his creatures are. God then becomes little more than a passer-on of moral knowledge.

    The second horn of the dilemma (i.e. that which is moral is moral because it is commanded by God, known as divine command theory) runs into three main problems:

    First, it implies that what is good is arbitrary, based merely upon God’s whim; if God had created the world to include the values that rape, murder, and torture were virtues, while mercy and charity were vices, then they would have been.

    Secondly, it implies that calling God good makes no non-tautological sense (or, at best, that one is simply saying that God is consistent and not hypocritical).

    Thirdly, it involves a form of reasoning that G.E. Moore classified as a naturalistic fallacy; to explain the claim that murder is wrong (or the prescription that one should not commit murder), in terms of what God has or hasn’t said is to argue from what Moore classified as a putative fact about the world to what Moore classified as a value (see is-ought problem).

    Also, how do you objectively decide between all of the competing accounts of morality, not just between all of the various religions, but also within the same religion? By doing so, aren’t you essentially just choosing which account that you would like to follow?

    And what do you do about the thousands of modern moral dilemma’s that are not mentioned in the bible? I suppose that you could argue that the bible helps to guide you, but it’s a pretty weak defense.

    Also, how does morality and meaning manifest itself through a belief in God? In other words, unless you are actually biologically different from all non-theists — which there is no evidence for — why is believing in God superior, if you only have the bible to derive morality and meaning from, and we have the bible, as well as thousands of years of literature? What makes you different, in reality?

    Unless you can show us that you aren’t more than just molecules, you really don’t have an argument. It’s just what you hope to be true, which is of no use whatsoever.

  422. #422 commissarjs
    July 11, 2008

    Just wondering – how do you folks feel about corpse-desecration? I mean, it’s just a frackin’ hunk of meat, right?

    Negative sir! Sometimes it’s not a corpse, it’s an incorruptible corpse. Which is then put on display to be gawked at.

    http://www.overcomeproblems.com/incorruptables.htm

    Or chopped up and made into decorations:

    http://www.sacred-destinations.com/portugal/evora-capela-dos-ossos-pictures/index.htm

    http://www.sacred-destinations.com/czech-republic/sedlec-ossuary-kutna-hora.htm

    Or occasionally only a piece of the corpse is chopped off and kept as a sacred relic. Lovingly entombed in an altar.

    http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12734a.htm

  423. #423 Alfredo Louro
    July 11, 2008

    While I have no use for Catholic rituals myself and I don’t believe in supernatural entities of any kind, I do understand that certain things are sacred for Catholics. I don’t see the need for a childish provocation like this. If you pick a fight, you can’t blame the other party for responding.

  424. #424 Damian
    July 11, 2008

    Alfredo Louro said:

    While I have no use for Catholic rituals myself and I don’t believe in supernatural entities of any kind, I do understand that certain things are sacred for Catholics. I don’t see the need for a childish provocation like this. If you pick a fight, you can’t blame the other party for responding.

    I quite agree, which is why we originally responded to the harassment and death threats that a poor young man was facing, simply for walking out of church with a cracker!

    Oh, you didn’t know about that, did you?

    Never mind, you have essentially admitted that you support our actions, so welcome aboard!

  425. #425 tim Rowledge
    July 11, 2008

    |”Just wondering – how do you folks feel about corpse-desecration? I mean, it’s just a frackin’ hunk of meat, right?”
    || “Doesn’t bother me.”
    Well it should – think of the health hazards!

  426. #426 aratina
    July 11, 2008

    #384: BenYachov

    So the Eucharist is just a cracker to you lot? Fair enough. The Mona Lisa is just colored oils on cloth but to millions it’s very valuable. The grave of any atheist’s beloved deceased relative or spouse is merely a container of decaying organic matter.

    Let’s see, mass produced crackers compared with one unique painting and the rotting zombie corpse (or perhaps ashes) of one unique person. It is stunningly obvious which are more valuable. Go buy another cracker from Rottweiler.

    I threatened nobody but must my fellow Catholic & I be made to suffer watching what we love more then life being treated with such vile disrespect because of the provoked morally questionable actions of another?

    ROFLMAO! I never realized how deranged Catholics were! No wonder so many authentic Christians left your hokey, misguided sect.

  427. #427 Garry Lee
    July 11, 2008

    Firstly.

    It is NOT a cracker. It’s a wafer.

    Secondly, even though it’s only a wafer, you must remember that people are emotional as well as logical, so that while insulting them about their religion etc. may logically appear harmless, you may be surprised by the result.
    Your student who committed this logically harmless prank has displayed a lack of intelligence in not anticipating the result.

    So, while not sympathising with his persecutors in the slightest (I’m an atheist ex-Catholic (brought up that way)), I think that he should have more sense in the future.
    Equally, burning a Koran might be logically a harmless prank, but it would be illogical to not anticipate some trouble if you do it.

    A religious upbringing causes emotionally locked deeply ingrained beliefs, which are difficult to shake off, especially from the emotional point of view.

    Or burning an American flag,,

    Or desecrating a grave and so on.

  428. #428 commissarjs
    July 11, 2008

    BenYachov(Jim Scott 4th) @ 384

    Actually, no you don’t have to watch or listen as people on the internet mock you. You can ignore it when people mock you but you can’t actually stop them from mocking you. In fact Jeebus didn’t want his followers to resist those who would do them harm. Although in this case it’s actually not harm and more of a “HEY, you eat that host or give it back! This isn’t Chilli’s and there’s no curbside service!”

    At the famous Sermon on the Mount Jeebus himself said in Matthew 5:38, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.” Which was a call for his followers to be nonviolent. Why are you turning your back on the words of your messiah?

  429. #429 Wowbagger
    July 11, 2008

    Garry Lee wrote:

    Your student who committed this logically harmless prank has displayed a lack of intelligence in not anticipating the result.

    If the result had been polite chastisement by the church and some head-shaking from other believers then we wouldn’t be here. It’s because he received threats of legal action, physical violence and death that we’re making an issue out of.

    In anything resembling a civilised society murder is not the appropriate punishment for disrespecting someone’s beliefs – flag-burning, corpse desecration or anything else for that matter.

  430. #430 holierthanthou
    July 11, 2008

    PZ: “nothing makes them stupider than religion”…”I have an idea…I’ll show you sacrilege, gladly, and with much fanfare…will instead treat it with profound disrespect and heinous cracker abuse, all photographed and presented here on the web. I shall do so joyfully and with laughter in my heart…”

    Brave, very brave. And very stupid. This will only demonstrate that PZ is himself an insensitive, intolerant, hateful bigot. Not to mention generate death threats (what’s the count now?). It looks like PZ is among the latest to be made stupider by religion.

    “It takes the moral vacuum of a purblind ideological bigot like Bill Donohue to think that goring his sacred cow is the worst thing in the world.”

    pot calling kettle…

    As a Protestant, I disagree with many of the interpretations and traditions of the Catholic Church, and think they have gone overboard in their treatment of Webster Cook. That said, it’s one thing to disagree with or protest against or criticize or ridicule someone or some organization. But PZ promises to take it to a whole new level, to show us “sacriledge” by treating a religious symbol “with profound disrespect” and will do so “joyfully and with laughter”. And you think Christians are demented? Do these actions sound “rational” to all of you? For all its flaws, my religion teaches me to have at least a modicum of respect for others, regardless of differences due to race, gender, culture or religion. PZ epitomizes (religious) bigotry. “godless” is an apt description for PZ and his disciples, they demonstrate that they are no better than Christian fundamentalists. You all must be proud.

  431. #431 Wowbagger
    July 11, 2008

    Holierthanthou,

    If the people involved had limited their response to being disapproving, or even to go as far as to excommunicate Webster Cook from their church then this issue would not have been raised on this blog.

    However, it was brough to the media’s attention, and Cook was threatened with legal action, physical harm and death. PZ chose to comment on this – and was himself threatened with legal action, physical harm and death; ironic, considering the very figure at the centre of the religion involved is purported to have taught a lesson of peace and love.

    He reacted to that by suggesting an attack. Not on the believers themselves, but on their beliefs. He has not threatened any physical harm to anyone.

    He has, therefore, under-reacted – not gone overboard.

  432. #432 Nothing Sacred
    July 11, 2008

    “What could be dumber then thinking Dawanism is valid”

    Using the word “then” in place of “than,” for one.

  433. #433 Bronze Dog
    July 11, 2008

    Gary Lee, your logic sounds an awful lot like that I’ve heard from Muslims claiming that men will be incapable of restraining their boundless animal lust if they see a woman’s ankles.

    And holierthanthou, what sacred cow? Is it a sacred cow to believe that the ridiculous should be ridiculed and that people who so easily resort to violence should be vehemently opposed?

    This ‘don’t rock the boat’ attitude only condones the sort of terrorism these nuts are so eager to move to.

  434. #434 Susan
    July 11, 2008

    This should be easy enough to accomplish. I’ll bet you have a barrel of crackers within a week. When I was a kid, the priest put the wafer in everyone’s mouth, young or old– but the last Catholic funeral I attended, the priest (and various assorted assistants) were just handing them out, right and left. It should be no problem for your scattered minions to pretend to eat one (chew loudly) but save it for a later trip through the post office (pack carefully; they crumble easily).

    BTW, me and my brothers and sisters (all eight of us) used to play Mass. We’d make our heavenly hosts by pounding down slices of Wonder Bread and cutting circles out with a small cookie cutter. That was fun (and ours tasted better).

    I haven’t attended Mass willingly in about 35 years, PZ, or I’d help you out!

  435. #435 crackers and cheese for every one!
    July 11, 2008

    take a can of easy cheese with you and go to a mass and when they give you the cracker
    wip out the can and apply it to the cracker and while every one is looking at you eat the cracker with cheese on it ask them if they want some cheese too

  436. #436 SEF
    July 11, 2008

    threatened with legal action, physical harm and death; ironic, considering the very figure at the centre of the religion involved is purported to have taught a lesson of peace and love.

    It’s only really ironic in theory and for anyone still ignorant and foolish enough to expect otherwise, ie to have believed their lies that they teach and have been taught peace and love. For those of us who have long recognised that it’s actually a religion of hate (like nearly all other religions, apart from the non-religious ones!) the way their religion has actually made them behave worse than a “normal” person would (and quite possibly worse than those same individuals would have behaved with a better upbringing than a religious one and without a ready made gang of fellow sheeple) is entirely in line with expectation and thus not truly ironic. Their violent tendencies, deceitfulness, hypocrisy and demonstrably poor education are very predictable.

  437. #437 Sparky
    July 11, 2008

    The story doesn’t explain something: we know that he took this Jesus-flavored snack food product, but how do we know? How did anyone discover it? Did an alert priest notice he didn’t chew or swallow and follow him down the street? If he contacted the church after the fact and told them he had absconded with their starchy lord instead of swallowing him, why? What was his motive in doing so? Wouldn’t he expect some sort of inconvenient and possibly dangerous backlash by taunting a community who is obviously nuts? If he contacted the press, blogged about it, or otherwise made the information known himself, was he seeking publicity for it? I’m not surprised by anything in the story. I don’t give a rat’s ass if he took the cracker and spit on it and set it on fire – its his cracker, and it is just a cracker. But there is an underlying sense here that he was harassing these people or otherwise going out of his way to stir the shit. And while that might not be a hate crime it’s fair to say he got exactly what he asked for.

  438. #438 Samuel
    July 11, 2008

    So much anger over such a trivial issue. I’m forced to wonder why there is so much outrage being directed toward a a purloined communion wafer when said outrage could and should be directed towards real issues, such as millions dying every year from preventable diseases such as malaria and AIDS. How come a frenzy can’t be started to send letters to our congress and president to address issues such of importance, rather than waste precious taxpayer dollars in dealing with pilfered crackers?

  439. #439 Ichthyic
    July 11, 2008

    Did an alert priest notice he didn’t chew or swallow and follow him down the street?

    it’s there, in the original press release. You must have just missed it (and I’m being charitable in saying so).

    basically, the student was literally assaulted by a paritioner who saw him spit the cracker out of his mouth when he returned to his pew (after the priest first noted he originally didn’t swallow it, and grabbed his arm to make him put it back in his mouth). After being assaulted, the student left the building with the cracker. So, it was the paritioners and priest that reported the cracker leaving the premises. After the student literally received death threats, he offered to return the starchy biscuit.

    you should have read the original article more closely.

    But there is an underlying sense here that he was harassing these people or otherwise going out of his way to stir the shit

    just the opposite, actually. the student was assaulted, and death threats were leveled his way. the shit was all stirred by the religionuts, not by the student, who originally was just trying to take the cracker back to his pew to show his buddy, who evidently had never seen one before.

    you really need to learn to read things a bit more carefully, sparky. It’s all there in the original articles and followups.

  440. #440 Damian
    July 11, 2008

    holierthanthou said:

    Brave, very brave. And very stupid. This will only demonstrate that PZ is himself an insensitive, intolerant, hateful bigot. Not to mention generate death threats (what’s the count now?). It looks like PZ is among the latest to be made stupider by religion.

    So, PZ is “utterly intolerant of any differing creed, belief, or opinion?” Interesting, considering that he is a scientist who regularly has to fight his corner, accepting ideas that he hadn’t before supported, has regularly worked alongside religious believers in the fight against anti-science and anti-intellectualism, is a champion of many causes pertaining to the rights of others, and allows anyone to post almost anything in the comments section of his own blog, including those who call him a bigot.

    You might not be surprised to hear that it is my opinion that you have a pretty fucked sense of what bigotry actually is, and I’d be very interested to hear about how many homosexuals your own church has married recently, how many women there are in the highest echelons, and how much respect there is for a woman’s right to choose what she does with here own body? As well as what you have done about it, of course, if the answer to all of those questions are what I suspect them to be.

    And what, exactly, is wrong with intolerance of silly ideas, particularly when they are based on precisely zero evidence? You, like all people, are intolerant of a great many things, and so you should be. It seems that this accusation of intolerance is just an excuse, an easy thing to throw out there, so that you don’t actually have to make an argument.

    The idea that all beliefs, regardless of the evidence in there favor, are deserving of the same respect is a consequence of postmodernist thinking. What many don’t seem to realize is that by pushing this idea, they are essentially elevating all other religious beliefs, both good and bad, harmless and dangerous, to the same level.

    What it means, in essence, is that all religious beliefs are equally deserving of respect, equally as important, and in the end, equally as true as one another. That’s fine by me, but I’m not sure that was the desired result. After all, if you believe that you are a member of the one-true-religion, why on earth would you suggest that so many false beliefs should be elevated to the same level as your religion? Or maybe you don’t.

    Maybe you are essentially admitting that your religion has just as much evidence — in other words, none — in its favor, and that by demanding that we respect all religious beliefs, your own religion can hide behind all of the others, while at the same time, still telling everyone that it is the one true religion. By all means, keep pushing this idea of respect.

  441. #441 Sparky
    July 11, 2008

    Ichthyic, Thank you. My apologies. I did read the entire article linked first in this blog. (“Here’s a story that will destroy your hopes for a reasonable humanity”.)and I thought that was the original story. It left all questions above unanswered. A couple more paragraphs down is a second link I didn’t follow, which turns out to be the original story.

  442. #442 Erwin
    July 11, 2008

    I am waiting for somebody to post a video on youtube where a cracker is put in the hole where it naturally leaves the body.
    Goddamned religious maniacs. They must have a REALLY empty life to waste their time on such an incident. :-/

  443. #443 truth machine, OM
    July 11, 2008

    1. Poor kid takes home uneaten eucharist to show his friend.
    2. Church and catholics go batshit crazy.
    3. PZ thinks this is ridiculous and says so, also says he may do some things to a cracker.
    4. Church and catholics go batshit crazy.
    Teh end.

    You left out

    5. Concern trolls run amuck at Pharyngula, repeatedly berating Cook and mischaracterizing his actions.

  444. #444 the strangest brew
    July 11, 2008

    What kind of religion gets interpreted as a clarion call to bigotry…ridiculousness and hatred?…ahh yeah the Christian one….

    What kind of god fearing people pretend it is hunky dory with their religion to kill other people that do not quite accept their version of events?…oh that must be the Christians…well actually any religion really…
    Whatever …it seems that what a religion actually… does rarely if at all… has any relationship to their holy scriptures…

    They like to make it up then pretend it says so in their book…

    It would appear that being of the religious persuasion does not necessarily equate to mental balance…or indeed rationality…

    The Catholic league has made a fool out of itself quite comprehensively…do they never learn…obviously not…they have successfully made a complete mockery of their own delusion quite adequately all by their lonesome…they have held it up for mass ridicule…not only in the States but globally…anyone with the net can have a giggle at their expense…true moderate Christians must really despair of it…this has more likelihood of damaging the religious image far more then anything PZM could ever dream up…

    The CL moan and groan that their religion is being made a mockery out of…yet they set it up for the fall…time and time again…

    Films they end up promoting to the top of the box office…Harry Potter…The Golden Compass…The life of Brian…They even had a go at Lord of the Rings…and Tolkien was a Catholic…same with books…Da Vinci Code….being the latest of a long line of unwise belly aching…one does consider that they have stocks and shares in film companies and publishing houses with the sure win ploy of pompous declarations of blasphemy against Christ…thus ensuring mass popularity…and profit…

    This latest nonsense is to inane for words…a cracker…manufactured in the 21st century and magically transformed into their deity of choice from the 1st……and I thought they did not hold with magic…I suppose it is okay when they are communing with the arcane for jesus…idiots…

    Far to depressing and sad really…then they have the righteousness to brag about killing someone for this nonsense…which apparently is strictly against their religion…delusional folks are for the most part harmless…this lot are a decibel short or so of homicidally barking…may their god have mercy on them….they will need it…!

  445. #445 slang
    July 11, 2008

    Holy shit, I’m without intarwebz for 6 days, get back home, go here for a chuckle, and I find out I missed the most hilarious batshit fucking crazy idiocy ever seen here… With all the looney creationists here, it’s the catholics busting their nuts.. ROFLMAO. Nice one PZ, shows nicely that all religion can be stupid and dangerous. I’ll have to go see if I have some crackers in the house, to drag them through the cats litterbox before I nail ‘m to a makeshift cross. Mindnumbing idiocy… relitards.. will need to re-read the posts to check if I really read what I think I read.. Caths on crack, cracks me up :)

  446. #446 truth machine, OM
    July 11, 2008

    But PZ promises to take it to a whole new level, to show us “sacriledge” by treating a religious symbol “with profound disrespect” and will do so “joyfully and with laughter”. And you think Christians are demented?

    Pretty much, yes.

    Do these actions sound “rational” to all of you?

    They do to me.

    For all its flaws, my religion teaches me to have at least a modicum of respect for others, regardless of differences due to race, gender, culture or religion.

    Your religion teaches you to be dishonest. PZ has shown more than a modicum of respect for others. But not everyone or every belief deserves respect,and certainly crackers don’t.

  447. #447 truth machine, OM
    July 11, 2008

    With all the looney creationists here, it’s the catholics busting their nuts..

    Note that the 5 right wing religious fanatics on the Supreme Court are Catholics, not creationists.

  448. #448 truth machine, OM
    July 11, 2008

    Your student

    Uh, reading comprehension?

    I think that he should have more sense in the future.

    Which do you think will be more effective, the death threats your patronizing judgment that he will never read?

  449. #449 Ray S.
    July 11, 2008

    @384:

    The grave of any Atheist’s beloved deceased relative or spouse is merely the container of decaying organic matter. Does that mean it’s OK for someone/anyone to relieve themselves on it?

    My father was buried more than forty years ago. Do you actually think your petulant urination could do more damage than four decades of bacteria? Are you somehow expecting there is some kind of zone of protection around the grave to repel bodily waste from non-humans? Sorry to surprise you but I don’t worship the biologic remains that once held my father. All that he ever was is long since gone except in my memories and you can’t affect that even if you peed a Noah’s flood.

    I threated nobody but must I & my fellow Catholic be made to suffer watching what we love more then life being treated with such vile disrespect because of the provoked morally questionable actions of another?

    You must be so distraught at the potential cracker abuse that perhaps a call to the suicide hotline might be in order, given that you state you love the cracker more than life. I assume you were talking about your own life and not making an indirect threat against the lives of others. Actually I don’t think you speak for a majority of Catholics. I think it’s only a small, vocal minority, fearful that the cherished beliefs they cling to will be shown to be vacuous in their entirety, who are driven to apoplexy over a cracker.

  450. #450 negentropyeater
    July 11, 2008

    Gary Lee,

    think a little bit more about what you write.

    Who lacks more intelligence ?

    1) The one who burns a symbol that he does not wish to recognize in order to express his opinion that he does not wish to recognize said symbol ?

    2) Or the one who wishes to recognize said symbol but reacts with violence to the first one ?

    Nothing stops the second one to continue recognizing his symbol, even if the first one burns the symbol, so why does the second one want to force the first one to recognize his symbol with violence ?

    BTW this is exactly how the courts settle the issue, so if the first one burns the symbol, he is perfectly in his right, it is what the courts call “closely akin to pure speech”, but if the second one reacts with violence, then this would be breaking the law.
    Whatever symbol btw, US flag, cross, etc…

    But desecrating a grave is different, the 1st amendment doesn’t protect desecration of private property, so this would be clealry unlawful.

  451. #451 Ichthyic
    July 11, 2008

    What kind of religion gets interpreted as a clarion call to bigotry

    What kind of god fearing people pretend it is hunky dory with their religion to kill other people that do not quite accept their version of events?

    We do.

  452. #452 JeffreyD
    July 11, 2008

    OK, going to draw down accusations of being a concern troll, but I must speak out. People, show mercy and good sense and stop using batshit as part of an insult. Bats are lovable and wonderful creatures that eat tons of mosquitos, a big deal to those of us in the South in summer.

    (removes tongue from cheek)

    Pax Nabisco

  453. #453 John Warner
    July 11, 2008

    My letter: -

    “The University has undertaken significant reform in the context of an increasingly competitive global market for resources, talent, and ideas,” Bruininks said. “Our vision is to improve lives through the advancement of knowledge, and our strategic goal is aspirational, audacious, and, I believe, achievable: to become one of the top three public research universities in the world, with a deep and abiding cultural commitment to excellence in everything we do, across all our campuses, research and outreach centers, and offices statewide.” (http://www1.umn.edu/pres/04_biography.html)

    I’m aware, obviously, that you will be receiving quite a volume of e-mails and postal mail regarding Professor Myers recent article (yes, the crackergate scandal as Richard Dawkins’ has refered to it), so I shall try to keep this brief so as not to waste your time on a decision that I’m sure you have already made.

    I found the above quote on your biography page and it inspires me to believe that you will, without the public outpouring of support that the secular community is demanding, make the right decision. If your goals are as you outline, then I’m sure you aware that the retention of the services of such outspoken, clear minded individuals as Professor Myers is vital to their attainment. Whether you receive ten, ten thousand or ten million e-mails, letters, singing tellegrams, geurilla-grams or whatever form of contact is chosen by the Catholic sender, I would strongly (though I’m sure unecessarily) suggest you disregard them all as the rantings – no matter how erudite or succinct – of those to whom the words of Martin Luther, founder of the Protestant Church and a respected religious philosopher, “[That] Reason in no way contributes to faith. [...] For reason is the greatest enemy that faith has; it never comes to the aid of spiritual things.” make sense.

    In many ways, religion is at the forefront in the war on education and on scientific knowledge and I know that as a learned man, you will make the right decision, not only to support your Professor privately, but openly and without fear of reprise from religious fanatics that so often preach the necessity of the right to believe.

    Many thanks for reading,

    John Warner

  454. #454 StoopiditKillz
    July 11, 2008

    The one thing I hate about the internet is the fact that the Christian extremists come out of the wood work because they have the ability to be anonymous and spew their hatred.

  455. #455 Ichthyic
    July 11, 2008

    The one thing I hate about the internet is the fact that the Christian extremists come out of the wood work because they have the ability to be anonymous and spew their hatred.

    funny, I was just thinking the exact opposite:

    I love the internet because it allows fundies to show everyone what they really think, and shoot themselves so thoroughly in the head at the same time.

    it might be irritating, but it sure is educational.

  456. #456 maureen
    July 11, 2008

    AdamNelson @ 201

    However hard you may have worked on your recent courses, your grasp of history more generally leaves a lot to be desired.

    When Karl Marx wrote that thing about the “opiate of the people” he was sitting in the reading room of the British Museum – at the hub of the most technologically advanced capitalist society which then existed.

    Sit down for this bit – he was describing what was already happening all around him in that society. Remember, first volume published in 1867. He had observed for himself how religion was being used to induce humility – but only in the working classes – and to get in the way of any urge they might have to stand up for themselves, organise or demand better conditions of work.

    This message comes to you from the last (earthly?) home of a pastor and theologian who with his family campaigned against the disbenefits of early capitalism. Mind you, that was in the day when Baptists were lefties and radicals.

  457. #457 John Farrell
    July 11, 2008

    Okay, so the original story says this:
    ***
    “”When I received the Eucharist, my intention was to bring it back to my seat to show him,” Cook said. “I took about three steps from the woman distributing the Eucharist and someone grabbed the inside of my elbow and blocked the path in front of me. At that point I put it in my mouth so they’d leave me alone and I went back to my seat and I removed it from my mouth.”

    A church leader was watching, confronted Cook and tried to recover the sacred bread. Cook said she crossed the line and that’s why he brought it home with him.

    “She came up behind me, grabbed my wrist with her right hand, with her left hand grabbed my fingers and was trying to pry them open to get the Eucharist out of my hand,” Cook said, adding she wouldn’t immediately take her hands off him despite several requests.
    ***

    This is considered the death threat? A lady trying to grab his hands and take it back?

    Are there further stories/links? When specifically did Cook receive actual death threats? Is there another story where he provides evidence? Emails? Phonecalls. Did a big RC football player come up to him and threaten him?

  458. #458 severin
    July 11, 2008

    Fletch said:
    As I said before, so what? If we’re all just atoms, who gives a crap if humanity exists or doesn’t? If we’re just atoms, who cares if we communicate meaningfully or not? So we kill each other and die off and the pattern of atoms formerly known as “human” ceases. It’s inconsequential to the universe.

    People are not just atoms, they are atoms arranged into a unique living, feeling, form, that is cared about and cares about others. The specialness comes from the arrangement of the matter, not it’s substance. Kinda like how diamonds are not just graphite.

    I am one of those unique arrangements of atoms, and having empathy, and reason, I try to act in ways that minimize the suffering of others. That is the basis of my ethics. The universe may not care, but I do.

    But you seem to be intimating that you don’t. Are you seriously saying that if you were convinced you had no magic god-dust soul substance in you, you’d stop caring about yourself and others? You’d see no reason not to rape, murder, or kill? You’d see no reason to do good on earth if you weren’t to be rewarded with another, longer life with a sky-daddy?

    And you probably think we atheists are immoral.

    (Perhaps try this book: Sense and Goodness without God by Richard Carrier)

    I wonder what is it that you think is in your soul anyways…
    Is it your memories? Nope, they can go if your brain is damaged.
    Your personality? Nope, that can change if your brain is damaged.
    Your ideals, desires? Nope, they can change if your brain is damaged, or just as a result of living and learning.
    Your will? Nope, that can go if your brain is damaged (look up anterior cingulate sulcus).

    What’s left? All that remains for your soul to do is be God’s scorecard.

    Personally, I think I’m better off without one.

  459. #459 SEF
    July 11, 2008

    How about some rival marketing campaigns:

    “Those Jesus stains can be so hard to remove from ordinary consecrated communion wafers that you are constantly at risk of desecration. Try commutative wafers instead – they are fully interchangeable. Your Jesus can freely pass from one to another.”

    “Is your host playing host to more than the spirit of Jesus? Wash it down with Demon-Begone. (Fully compatible with Antabuse.)”

    “Concerned about prion disease? Try our priory-free wafers instead of your usual communion ones. Guaranteed untouched by mad cows.”

  460. #460 Ichthyic
    July 11, 2008

    This is considered the death threat? A lady trying to grab his hands and take it back?

    of course not.

    that’s what was considered, correctly, to be assault.

    Emails?

    yes.

    Are there further stories/links?

    yes, go to the original story link, and check the update links in that thread.

    *sigh*

    I’m too tired to even yell at you for being lazy.

  461. #461 severin
    July 11, 2008

    even without a soul, I could maybe do with a proofreader.

    i meant rape, murder, or steal

  462. #462 negentropyeater
    July 11, 2008

    JeffreyD, #452

    People, show mercy and good sense and stop using batshit as part of an insult.

    Certainly not !

    People do not back down, otherwise you will never make progress. Do not try to wiggle your way out of conflict when it is there, especially when you are in your rights.

    What is this, for once a beautiful occasion of civil disobedience and you back down and accept to obbey to the religious folks, geebus, you will never get any way with this.

    I’ll remind you what we had to endure in France in the 60s to get where we are today, with people like Jean Paul Sartre, who did much worse than this, and what happened next.

    Although PZ has no risk to get arrested or anything like that, just remember what President de Gaulle said when Jean Paul Sartre was getting ready to be arrested after having provoked and agitated so much the french people :

    “you don’t arrest Voltaire !”

    Well, rememeber that one, next time, this is maybe your Voltaire that you are trying to stop.

  463. #463 Christian
    July 11, 2008

    Of course it is. Thinking, feeling, and empathy are (to the materialist) illusions.

    No, they’re not. At least no more than to a non-materialist.

    Macroscopic manifestations of microscopic atomic motion.

    As opposed to what? Macroscopic manifestations of ectoplasmatic motion?

    How I’m treated by others is not consequential to “me” because there is no “me”– “I’m” just a collection of molecules.

    Well, you can see yourself as a (dynamic) pattern that is instantiated in matter. And if there is no “you” if the substrate of this pattern is “just” ordinary matter, there is no “you” either if this medium is replaced by some nonmaterial substance (whatever that may be).
    You can’t escape the fact that you are still a complex pattern no matter what medium you are instantiated in. So far no one has demonstrated that thoughts and feelings are processes that can only happen in a non-material medium.

    And above all, there is no description of the properties of this medium (and why it allows for patterns which are not realizable in ordinary matter) except that it is uhm… non-material. So there is no reason to assume that you won’t run into the same problems as with ordinary matter (e.g. the ghost in the machine is itself a machine which needs another ghost, etc.).

    A problem you will encounter, however, is the necessary interaction of the non-material with the material if your thoughts should have any effects on your body. And this interaction of the non-material with the organic matter of your brain has to be quite massive, even greater than the interaction of neutrinos with same clump of tissue – and we can detect the latter.

    I like the expression “the whole is greater than the sum of it’s parts”, but you are deviating from materialist orthodoxy by claiming it…

    Huh, materialist orthodoxy? What’s this, the 19th century?
    Methinks this “materialist orthodoxy” exists solely in your imagination.

    Your premise (and frog’s, and others) is that existence itself is good. That it is better for humanity to continue than to die out. On what grounds does the materialist make this claim? “Evolutionary wiring” gives us a cause for looking out for each other’s well being, but not a reason for claiming that it’s “good” or “right”.

    And on what grounds does a non-materialist make this claim?
    All he can say is that it is “good” or “right” according to some deity. But what are the reasons for this deity to claim that it is “good” or “right”?

  464. #464 JeffreyD
    July 11, 2008

    Negentropyeater at #462, I always enjoy your posts.

    Ciao, and Pax Nabisco

  465. #465 Peter Mc
    July 11, 2008

    ‘What could be dumber then thinking Dawanism is valid’

    Being illiterate and proving it in public, George.

  466. #466 John Farrell
    July 11, 2008

    Maybe I’m missing something in the ‘update’
    ***
    Cook said he just wanted to show the Eucharist to a friend he brought with questions about Catholicism before consuming it. But outraged Catholics across the globe didn’t believe him and suspected he intended all along to steal the Eucharist and bloggers sent out e-mail messages damning him to Hell.

    “I am returning the Eucharist to you in response to the e-mails I have received from Catholics in the UCF community,” Cook wrote in a letter to the church. “I still want the community to understand that the use physical force is wrong, especially when based on assumptions. However, I feel it is unnecessary to cause pain for those who are not at fault in this situation.”

    Cook said some threatened to break into his dorm room to rescue the Eucharist. Brinati said the Diocese of Orlando didn’t condone those threats, but was happy Cook had a change of heart and returned it.

    “We’ve been praying about that,” she said.

    It’s still not clear if the controversy is over. There is no word yet if either the Catholic students or Cook will drop their separate complaints filed against each other with UCF’s student court. The violations each side accused the other of could result in suspension or expulsion. Cook still disagrees with the more than $40,000 in student funds distributed annually to support Catholic and other religious groups on campus, but seemed conciliatory in his letter.

    “I want to thank the individuals who explained the emotional and spiritual pain my possession of the Eucharist caused them to experience,” he wrote. “They have demonstrated that the use [of] reason is more effective than the use of force.”

    Cook said he still hopes to meet with the local Bishop to discuss prohibiting the use of force to recover the Eucharist. He also wants an apology.
    ***
    Someone threatened to break into his room and steal it back. That’s a death threat?

  467. #467 Damian
    July 11, 2008

    John Farrell:

    I admire your skeptical approach, but could you not have simply used Google-fu to search for, “Webster Cook, death threats”, instead of asking on several occasions (which you now have) whether there is any evidence that he had been threatened?

    College Student Gets Death Threats for Smuggling ‘Body of Christ’

    A video describing the incident.

  468. #468 Ichthyic
    July 11, 2008

    , but could you not have simply used Google-fu

    I suspect he has ulterior motives.

    on a different note…

    from the article:

    Gonzalez said intentionally abusing the Eucharist is classified as a mortal sin in the Catholic church, the most severe possible. If it’s not returned, the community of faith will have to ask for forgiveness.

    so that’s what Gonzalez is up to these days.

    :p

  469. #469 Damian
    July 11, 2008

    By the way, I can personally vouch for the fact that his email address was being freely and carelessly displayed on at least two Catholic blogs that I followed links to, and there were people on those blogs who were saying some pretty nasty things about him, some of which were bordering on, and even manifesting in, threats of violence.

    Make of that what you will.

  470. #470 John Farrell
    July 11, 2008

    Damian, I appreciate the links. Again, the video just shows the same b-roll and news anchor claiming the kid feels threatened.

    Don’t get me wrong: if he received death threats, that’s evil, but I would really like to see something more explicit than Fox News filler.

  471. #471 Damian
    July 11, 2008

    Ichthyic:

    Did you know that the college that Gonzalez is now working at is under censure for violations of tenure and academic freedom?

    From Wikipedia:

    “Since 1963, the American Association of University Professors, an organization that represents the interests of college professors, has placed Grove City under censure for violations of tenure and academic freedom. In fact, Grove City has the distinction of having been on the AAUP’s list of censured administrations longer than any other college that is currently censured. In its report, the AAUP Investigative Committee at Grove City concluded that “the absence of due process [in the dismissal of professors at Grove City] raises…doubts regarding the academic security of any persons who may hold appointment at Grove City College under existing administrative practice. These doubts are of an order of magnitude which obliges us to report them to the academic profession at large.”

    It’s really old, and not particularly relevant or fair to bring that up, but it’s still rather amusing.

  472. #472 Matto
    July 11, 2008

    I think i might make a eucharist necklace for WYD, and eat them as i walk around the city.

  473. #473 Escuerd
    July 11, 2008

    Fletch @214 said:

    Blake:
    Right and wrong, beauty and ugliness, etc., etc. are constructions of the human mind, which matter to us because we are human.
    Exactly my point. If right/wrong, justice, beauty, ugliness are just constructs of the mind, then they are in fact nothing more than the movement of atoms in my brain. You say it should matter because we are human. Again, your premise is the preservation and overall good of the species. If we’re just matter, why does this matter?

    An “is” isn’t an “ought”, as I’m sure you know, and Blake Stacey’s statement does not address what “should” matter.

    You seem to have a preconceived notion that “ought” must be objective somehow. I don’t see why this should be so, and I don’t see why anyone would bring it up except to smuggle in what amounts to nothing more than an appeal to consequences.

  474. #474 Damian
    July 11, 2008

    Ichthyic:

    That’s strange. I had a comment held up with only one link in it.

    Anyway, have you heard that the college that Gonzalez has just been employed by, “is under censure for violations of tenure and academic freedom?”

    Since 1963, the American Association of University Professors, an organization that represents the interests of college professors, has placed Grove City under censure for violations of tenure and academic freedom. In fact, Grove City has the distinction of having been on the AAUP’s list of censured administrations longer than any other college that is currently censured. In its report, the AAUP Investigative Committee at Grove City concluded that “the absence of due process [in the dismissal of professors at Grove City] raises…doubts regarding the academic security of any persons who may hold appointment at Grove City College under existing administrative practice. These doubts are of an order of magnitude which obliges us to report them to the academic profession at large.”

    It’s an old charge, to be sure, but still rather ironic and worthy of a chuckle or two.

  475. #475 Dave2
    July 11, 2008

    In his Natural History of Religion, Hume has a great passage using bathos to hilariously exploit the sort of contrast on display here, between (i) a perfect being at the foundation of all reality, and (ii) a cracker. Here it is:

    “That original intelligence, say the MAGIANS, who is the first principle of all things, discovers himself immediately to the mind and understanding alone; but has placed the sun as his image in the visible universe; and when that bright luminary diffuses its beams over the earth and the firmament, it is a faint copy of the glory, which resides in the higher heavens. If you would escape the displeasure of this divine being, you must be careful never to set
    your bare foot upon the ground, nor spit into a fire, nor throw any water upon it, even though it were consuming a whole city. Who can express the perfections of the Almighty? say the Mahometans. Even the noblest of his works, if compared to him, are but dust and rubbish. How much more must human conception fall short of his infinite perfections? His smile and favour renders men for ever happy; and to obtain it for your children, the best method is to cut off from them, while infants, a little bit of skin, about half the breadth of a farthing. Take two bits of cloth, say the Roman catholics, about an inch or an inch and a half square, join them by the corners with two strings or pieces of tape about sixteen inches long, throw this over your head, and make one of the bits of cloth lie upon your breast, and the other upon your back, keeping them next your skin: There is not a better secret for recommending yourself to that infinite Being, who exists from eternity to eternity.”

  476. #476 Naomi
    July 11, 2008

    A cracker is the literal body of Christ that they eat, can we now consider them cannibals? Perhaps Webster is a vegetarian?

  477. #477 Dave2
    July 11, 2008

    Also there’s a famous quote from Tacitus’s Annals that seems apropos: deorum iniuriae dis curae — “Offenses against the gods are the concern of the gods”, or loosely “If it upsets God so bad, let Him take care of it!”.

  478. #478 negentropyeater
    July 11, 2008

    thx JeffeyD, I also enjoy yours.

  479. #479 Dave2
    July 11, 2008

    Fletch, a few things.

    1. A lot of your rhetorical questions turn on the assumption that material things do not matter. But this is clearly a question-begging assumption, for (as you must know) any materialist who thinks that some things do matter would never be tempted to accept it. So either back up the assumption or else stop relying on it in this discussion.

    2. Oh, and while we’re on that assumption, is it your view that animals have immaterial souls or is it your view that animals do not matter? I’m just curious.

    3. You sometimes gesture at a deep challenge that we materialists provide a philosophical demonstration that some things matter. But any such challenge is out of place, for the nasty philosophical difficulties lying at the foundations of ethics are there for all of us, theists included. The Euthyphro dilemma (and the related points going back to Ralph Cudworth) show pretty conclusively that theism offers no quick fix for metaethics. All of which means that pressing deep metaethical worries is about as appropriate as pressing deep skeptical worries drawn from epistemology.

    4. Sometimes it looks like you’re assuming that selfishness is automatically justified by default, and that altruism is in need of special justification. Or maybe you’re just attributing this assumption to materialists. But either way it’s a stupid assumption. If nothing matters, after all, then selfishness is no better off than altruism, and it’s not like murderous sociopaths get to chuckle with superiority at the poor saps who care about others.

    5. I don’t know why you think materialism is incompatible with free will. Usually people talk about whether determinism is incompatible with free will, and even there most people end up concluding that they’re compatible after all. Materialism seems like a red herring.

    6. If you start using ‘beyond my control’ arguments, then free will gets endangered really quick. God’s knowledge of the future starts taking away free will. Hell, even plain facts about what will happen in the future start taking away free will. Those are really implausible consequences, so better be careful with ‘beyond my control’ arguments.

    7. Supposing that we are immaterial substances, we either run on deterministic principles of ‘spiritual mechanics’ or else our spiritual activity is random and inexplicable. In neither case does free will make a great deal of sense, and the advantage over materialism is completely unclear. As for “free will is the cause of its own movement”, I don’t know what that even means.

  480. #480 the strangest brew
    July 11, 2008

    “deorum iniuriae dis curae”

    “If it upsets God so bad, let Him take care of it!”

    Well that is where the braying manically delusionally afflicted hit the buffers ya see…!

    They unconsciously realise that aint gonna happen because Gsus’s dad don’t really exist…but it feels nice to pretend he does…it is an infantile myth..along with all the other ghosties and ghoulies they have manufactured to order over the years…as such the only way they can extract gods revenge is to do it themselves…then blame their delusional god…tis a win win situation…

    They do what they want and tis god’s will…the truly ironic thing is they have not the wit to realise that fact…

  481. #481 Jim
    July 11, 2008

    Really? Is there something in these jesus biscuits that they don’t want us to find out about?

    Guys, here is a grip… Get it.

  482. #482 Ray S.
    July 11, 2008

    Something has me confused in this mess over liturgical alchemy. If the priests cause the cracker to change magically into the body of Christ by some incantation, can’t they reverse the process just as easily? Surely if you can make gold from lead then you should be able to undo it and make it lead again.

    I do so appreciate Saint Bill D the Flatulent and his merry band here; Through their silly indignation they have allowed me to show my children how stupid people can be in the cause of religion.

  483. #483 Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    July 11, 2008

    Holy cow. At least 1488 comments, and it’s still just *A FRACKIN’ CRACKER!*

    Imagine what whine the religionuts would have let out if it would have been the wine.

    And it’s all besides the point, which is that both Webster Cook and PZ Myers gets death threats over an object containing cellulose. In the name of a religion that is supposed to shun violence and makes a supposedly eternal sin out of killing.

    Nuts.

  484. #484 thelogos
    July 11, 2008

    Catholics are only outraged about this because inside they know that it’s just a stupid cracker and their mythology is crazy.

  485. #485 Blondin
    July 11, 2008

    Do animal crackers have souls, too?

    Just askin’.

  486. #486 Nick Gotts
    July 11, 2008

    Shows quite clearly that the Evil Atheist Conspiracy has secretly taken over the British Government. Only one way out. We’ll have to nuke the British! – llewelly

    Ha! How naive you Americans are to think your puny nuclear weapons would work against us Brits! The Evil Atheist Conspiracy is just the tip of the iceberg. Don’t you know that as Lyndon Larouche has discovered, the Duke of Edinburgh is the world’s top drugs baron? What’s more, as David Icke has revealed, the whole British “royal family” are actually shape-shifting alien lizards!

  487. #487 Catdance
    July 11, 2008

    Yeah, it’s easy to make fun of. But here’s the thing: the Catholic faith believes that ISN’T just a cracker. They believe that the host (not a cracker, it isn’t crisp) is actually the body of Christ. Not a symbol. The real deal. And all of us can take issue with that, and make cannibal jokes or whatever. But the fact remains that Catholics sincerely believe that during the Eucharist the priest changes the host into the body of Christ through the miracle of transubstantiation.

    I left the Catholic church and religion in general as soon as I possibly could, over 30 years ago. I think people like Donohue — and religious extremists of ALL sorts — are dangerous and fair game. But I think human decency and respect for others requires that we do not make sport of people’s sincerely held religious beliefs. While I don’t believe the host is the body of Christ, millions of good people do, and take comfort and joy in that. It was bad taste and bad manners for the kid to treat the host with disrespect. And it’s just bad taste and bad manners to make fun of the host the way you’ve done.

    We don’t want these religious assholes forcing us to live by their beliefs. By the same token, I don’t think any of us non-believers should spit on things that people of sincere faith revere.

  488. #488 EyeNoU
    July 11, 2008

    Wow. You would think conservatives would want PZ to “teach the controversy” about transubstantiation. After all, isn’t transubstantiation “just a theory”? PZ makes comments on his personal blog based on his religious beliefs , and receives an avalanche of hate mail and calls for his ouster. So much for free speech being alive and well……

  489. #489 MartinT
    July 11, 2008

    OH MY, errrr God? What the hell is happening in our society today. The good Christian Right is up in arms over gay marriage and such, and now over a stupid cookie. Some one shoot me, please. These are the same fools who thought the whole Muslim thing with the cartoon of Mohamed was actually funny and couldn’t understand why those “towelheads”, their words not mine, got so upset over a drawing. I don’t suppose anyone sees a correlation here, do they? Christianity in my book is a good cult gone bad. The other problem I have with the whole body of Christ thing is that for their to be a body, Christ would have actually had to have been a real person, he was not. There is actually NO reference to a Jesus Christ in the historical records from the first century and the Romans were some of the best at keeping historical records. If a man was out there performing miracles, you’d think someone would have written something about it. But then again, the bible is made up of a bunch of fantasies, like the Isrealites being slaves to the Egyptians, simply didn’t happen. There is NO historical record of that anywhere in any tomb or Egyptian writings anywhere. So, to me it’s still a cracker.. get over it.

  490. #490 ysubassoon
    July 11, 2008

    I think it’s very telling that the Catholic League and its supporters/minions are getting so upset over the fact that a young man entered the church to participate in a sacred Catholic tradition and refused to swallow.

  491. #491 Nick Gotts
    July 11, 2008

    Marx, Trotsky and the Red Army wielded atheism as a weapon against traditional peoples and committed genocide to advance the cause of a god-less utopia. – CDV

    Um, Marx died in 1883. The only revolutionary activity he witnessed at first hand was the “June Days uprising” of 1848 in Paris; his part being as a journalist. There is no evidence he ever killed anyone, let alone committed genocide. History FAIL.

  492. #492 Adrian Hodges
    July 11, 2008

    Regarding whether PZM would get worse treatment in Meca than Minnesota – he’s received death threats. Police say that most death threats come from bullshitters sounding off but not all, and it only takes one bullet, or knife slash, or getting hit by a car to do the job, so although the average Muslim fundamentalist probably means it more than the average angry Catholic – the threat is there and is real. Take care, PMZ – I admire your courage and conviction.

    PS. What I want to know is, why do people issue threats when they’re angry/offended? Do they not possess the intelligence to understand that their belief system is open to scrutiny in a democratic society? Is that lack of intelligence why they believe in something they have no proof of?

  493. #493 qbsmd
    July 11, 2008

    Actually, Catholics (I think the others too, but I’m not sure about them), but Catholics to do think the cracker and wine are symbolic of the body and blood of christ, they BELIEVE IT IS THE BODY AND BLOOD OF CHRIST. This is not symbolic to them. Yes, they are all cannibals. Every last one of ‘em.

    Posted by: charli

    25% of the population consists of self-described Catholics. They are everywhere. Are they all idiots? Are they all reactionaries? Or is that just a bigoted stereotype, no more sophisticated than the tubthumping of a revivalist hellfire preacher? Whatever is the case, however, if every evangelical and every Catholic, whether politically liberal or conservative, is driven into the arms of the Republican Party, you can kiss the future goodbye.
    Posted by: David Harley

    There are no laws against defiling crackers. If you would like to introduce a law to protect magic biscuits, go for it. If it becomes a law then I will obey it.
    Posted by: Wowbagger

    Catholics are only outraged about this because inside they know that it’s just a stupid cracker and their mythology is crazy.
    Posted by: thelogos

    I would actually bet that most Catholics don’t know a lot of the dogma they are required to believe. I went to Catholic Sunday school for many years, and didn’t learn about most of the batshit crazy stuff Catholics believe until after deconverting. Since the church has a growing priest shortage (most priests apparently joined during the Vietnam war, by complete coincidence) Sunday school is taught by whoever volunteers and is mostly feel-good “Jesus loves you” stuff, not Catholic theology.

  494. #494 Nick Gotts
    July 11, 2008

    PZ has been known to say that Lysenkoism… is a wonderful thing. – Pete Rooke

    Liar.

  495. #495 Michelle
    July 11, 2008

    @MartinT: “The good Christian Right is up in arms over gay marriage and such, and now over a stupid cookie”

    What the…. WOAH! WAIT A FUCKING MINUTE RIGHT THERE! Let’s not be so downright degrading. Please be respectful. You offend me deeply and you should be ashamed of yourself.

    Oreos are cookies. Chips Ahoy! are cookies. Hosts are paper sheets. They lack something called “taste”.

  496. #496 Ellen
    July 11, 2008

    I’m a Catholic. Yes, I do believe all that “crazy” stuff. Unlike a lot of the posters here, I never and I repeat NEVER insult anything that someone holds sacred. I don’t believe in the Koran – but I would never desecrate it. I don’t hold to Wiccan beliefs, but have a Happy Beltain you all.

    See, unlike some I could name, I have respect for what other people believe, even if I don’t share their beliefs. And that’s all I ask of anyone.

  497. #497 Wowbagger
    July 11, 2008

    qbsmd,

    I’m curious – why did you quote me in your post at #492? I’m not complaining, but i am wondering what you’re getting at.

  498. #498 Michelle
    July 11, 2008

    @Ellen: good for you hon. But when your side starts sending death threats and saying it’s the worst thing on earth and such, it’s on.

  499. #499 Matt Penfold
    July 11, 2008

    “See, unlike some I could name, I have respect for what other people believe, even if I don’t share their beliefs. And that’s all I ask of anyone.”

    You can ask it of us. And we can refuse. We can point out that simply calling your ridiculous ideas “sacred” does not mean they stop being ridiculous. You are free to believe what you want. You are not entitled to demand our respect for those beliefs, and your insistant that we do tells us a lot about you. It tells us that your ideas are so weak they cannot stand up to examination. If religion is so strong, as it adherents claim, why do they get so threatened when people refuse to take their silly claims seriously ?

    I will no more treat the idea that a wafer becomes the body of Christ with respect than I will the claims of people who say they have been abducted by aliens. Just because you have decided your beliefs are sacred does not mean anything to me.

    Further, I do not believe you. When you say “I have respect for what other people believe” I do not think you actually mean it. I doubt you have much respect for the view that the only role for women is as mothers and wifes. Do you respect the beliefs of sucicide bombers ? Do you respect the beliefs of those who think it is ok to kill doctors who perform abortons ?

    If you want respect do something to earn it. You do not earn it by whinging and saying your belief is sacred and so cannot be criticised.

  500. #500 TomJoe
    July 11, 2008

    @ Michelle: @Ellen: good for you hon. But when your side starts sending death threats and saying it’s the worst thing on earth and such, it’s on.

    Yes, because as we all know … if one person of a group acts like a dimwit, you should treat the rest of the group as if they’re dimwits too. Brilliant line of thinking there Michelle. Brilliant.

  501. #501 Deborah Kerr
    July 11, 2008

    This kind of insanity will never go away until God comes down to earth and CONFIRMS that he doesn’t freaking exist.

  502. #502 Henry
    July 11, 2008

    CCM is responsible for the conduct of the attendants (including Mr. Cook) according to the SAFE document that each organization holding an event at the UCF Student Union has to sign:
    “VI. Applicant Signature and Agreement:
    By signing below, the applicant understands and agrees to each of the following statements:
    ? To conform to the provisions of UCF Rule 6C7-4.0292 (Potentially Hazardous Events)
    ? To save and Hold Harmless the University of Central Florida from any injury or damage arising from this event except where applicant is a UCF employee or agent (acting within the scope of his/her employment or agency or is an individual who also falls under Florida Statutes 768.28.
    ? For student organizations:
    - To reimburse UCF in advance for any costs to the university arising out of the above.
    - That the University may withdraw its permission to hold this event at any time before or during the event if the applicant does not comply with all conditions or statements made in this application, by mutual consent, or in case of disruptive or unsafe situations.
    - That the organization is responsible for the conduct of all members, guests, visitors, etc. during the course of the event.
    - That the conduct of the organization it is under the purview of the Golden Rule and other applicable University policies. ”
    I don’t think CCM called the UCF police in that incident. Why does anyone demand that UCF takes any action against this student?

  503. #503 Matt Penfold
    July 11, 2008

    “Yes, because as we all know … if one person of a group acts like a dimwit, you should treat the rest of the group as if they’re dimwits too. Brilliant line of thinking there Michelle. Brilliant.”

    Well Ellen did demonstate she is not exactly the brighest bulb around. When she says she respects all views I question either her honesty or her sanity.

  504. #504 Ihateallreligionsequally
    July 11, 2008

    I don’t see how we need to respect someone else’s belief? They weren’t born this way like skin color. It’s like me saying, “hey i think your ideas are stupid and i think you’re stupid for believing them… also if i have the chance i’m going to show you how stupid your ideas are i’m going to do it.”

    i’m not ever going to show respect to religion because to me it’s like believing in santa clause… i generally don’t go out of my way to insult people’s beliefs, but i WILL support people who do it, and if asked about it i WILL tell them how retarded i think they are

    btw don’t you have to sit for like… 2 hours before the cracker part of the crackpot-fest comes up?… i think this man should be considered a hero just because he had to sit there and listen to mythology for 2 hours

  505. #505 Mr. Gerbz
    July 11, 2008

    While I find all this absolutely hilarious (OMFG HE TOOK OUR CRACKER HOSTAGE!1111!!!), I am also severely pissed off by this.
    When will we finally get rid of these cults… I mean religions, influencing our governments and media?

    Getting absolutely sick by the stupidity of cultists. Oh did I say cultists? I of course mean religious bastards.

    The only thing religions are good for are extra holidays.

  506. #506 Nick Gotts
    July 11, 2008

    I also appreciate your honesty in admitting that for the materialist, “responsibility” is just a matter of semantics. – Fletch

    Fletch, you are responsible for something if your actions or decisions predictably led to it. It’s that simple. No need for gods or even free will.

    Oh, and pretending to misunderstand someone is not, in general, clever. Only if it’s done in a way that makes people laugh with you, rather than at you.

  507. #507 Damian
    July 11, 2008

    Catdance said:

    But the fact remains that Catholics sincerely believe that during the Eucharist the priest changes the host into the body of Christ through the miracle of transubstantiation.

    But I think human decency and respect for others requires that we do not make sport of people’s sincerely held religious beliefs. While I don’t believe the host is the body of Christ, millions of good people do, and take comfort and joy in that. It was bad taste and bad manners for the kid to treat the host with disrespect. And it’s just bad taste and bad manners to make fun of the host the way you’ve done.

    Hi Catdance, while what you have said is essentially true, are you prepared to follow your own reasoning to its logical conclusion? Should everything, no matter how absurd or unpopular (as in a minority) a belief, be taken seriously, be afforded equal respect?

    How much more absurd can a belief be than in this particular instance? And are you serious about the fact that you would treat all beliefs of equal absurdity (on the absurdity scale, of course) consistently? Or is this really about the fact that Catholics are so numerous (it’s a relevant question)?

    And I notice that you haven’t mentioned even once in your post that the reaction to both Webster Cook, as well as PZ Myers, has been a litany of hate mail and several death threats. Is the sensitivity of Catholics more important to you than the threat of death? Of course, I don’t believe that for a second, but it really pisses me off when that isn’t mentioned, while at the same time berating PZ and the young man for such trivial acts by comparison. I realize that is not the impression that you were aiming to create.

    There are so many things that religious believers should be irate about, as well; so much poverty, so much needless death and suffering — it angers me when they time and again provide ample evidence that they have lost all perspective, and would rather focus on silly little issues like this. And there is nothing that you or anyone else can say that would convince me that, by comparison, this is anything but ridiculous. I am sure that you would agree.

    It is also my opinion that offending people from time to time does not have to be bad thing. As I’ve said elsewhere, if we are to live peacefully on this ever changing, ever more culturally diverse planet, there are plenty of groups that are simply going to have to grow a thicker skin, and learn to deal with it. I don’t mind helping that process along, if I’m honest. I dream of the day when nobody is offended by mere words, except in circumstances where the overwhelming majority would be in full agreement of the real and tangible offense.

    After all, if we never challenge sacred ideals, never present people with anything but the comfortably familiar, then nothing is ever likely to change. And while I would never, and have never, purposely offend anyone, someone has to be provocative, to risk making enemies of others, and yes, at times, whether purposely or not, offend others without first making the cost-benefit analysis, which would surely come down in favor of doing nothing at all.

    We can sit in our comfortable seats and remark, whether in support or not, but we will never be at the forefront of affecting change in society, because we neither have the courage nor the conviction to simply say, “to hell with all of this, its a Goddamned cracker.”

  508. #508 Nick Gotts
    July 11, 2008

    I think Myers is lying about receiving “threats”. – BenYachov

    I think BenYachov is lying about thinking Myers is lying about receiving “threats”.

  509. #509 Matt Penfold
    July 11, 2008

    Is Fletch still going on about morality and the like ?

    A few thousand posts ago I pointed to him towards where he could find out more information about the evolution of morality. It would seem he could not be bothered to go away and learn.

  510. #510 Beep
    July 11, 2008

    Hypothetical:

    So if I walked into your house, stole your dead mother’s ashes, and flushed the down the toilet, you’d be ok with that, right?

    Because those ashes are only a mass of calcium phosphates.

  511. #511 Matt Penfold
    July 11, 2008

    “So if I walked into your house, stole your dead mother’s ashes, and flushed the down the toilet, you’d be ok with that, right?

    Because those ashes are only a mass of calcium phosphates.”

    Those ashes are the remains of a human being. A wafer remains a wafer no matter what manner of words are spoken over it.

    Can you not see the difference ? The claim that wafer become the body of Christ during a Catholic Mass is an example of how religion allows a large number of people to delude themselves.

  512. #512 Beep
    July 11, 2008

    “I would actually bet that most Catholics don’t know a lot of the dogma they are required to believe.”

    Yeah, they really keep the cannibalism thing well under wraps. Like, how at every mass, when, during the consecration, the priest repeats Christ’s words about the bread and wine being his body and blood, and to take and eat it in memory of him, the priest’s assistant conveniently coughs, thereby obscuring the potentially embarrassing facts of the Catholic faith.

    Thank god you guys are here to set the 1 billion mass going Catholics straight! We’d never of figured it out without you!

  513. #513 Mary Herboth
    July 11, 2008

    If the Eucharist was just a cracker no one would care – no one would receive it, no one would protect it, no one would steal it, and no one would threaten to abuse it. Even for the atheist, its way more than a cracker.

  514. #514 Nick Gotts
    July 11, 2008

    Thinking, feeling, and empathy are (to the materialist) illusions. – Fletch

    You are either a liar or an ignoramus. Go and actually read some materialist thinkers before making a further fool of yourself.

  515. #515 Wowbagger
    July 11, 2008

    Beep wrote: So if I walked into your house, stole your dead mother’s ashes, and flushed the down the toilet, you’d be ok with that, right?

    The important difference, all the relative values of such things as crackers and ashes aside (i’ve learned that lesson on another thread), is that my house is a private residence and that my (hypothetically) dead mother’s ashes weren’t freely given to you.

    If I invited you into my house and gave you my mother’s ashes and you flushed them down the toilet I’d probably be a annoyed (though i’m not really the sort of person who’d keep them lying around, but i’ll play along) – but I wouldn’t call all of my friends and have them make death threats against you.

  516. #516 Jewel
    July 11, 2008

    Well it is a bit more than a cracker. There
    is the sybolism behind it, but the masses are
    over reacting. Okay terrible pun.

    Death threats, now how flippen
    Catholic is that?

    As a recovering Catholic I am once again ashamed of
    the faith my parents pushed upon me, when I was to
    young to choose.

    I once did the same thing when a teenager, so that I could show a Jewish friend what the host looked like.
    No one called me down for it, and when the parish priest
    found out about it, he gave me a unblessed host, so my friend could actually taste one. Never once did he throw a fit over what I did. Instead Father Earnest praised me for sharing my faith, while I in turn learned about my friend’s faith.

    I left the church because I wanted to live my life without
    having guilt piled on me by my parents in the name of the church. Never once have a I regreted it, and this story just confirms my belief that certain organised religions are nothing more than trouble. Their members simply CAN NOT pratice what they preach.

  517. #517 BrentG
    July 11, 2008

    We should start a youtube campaign that shows people NOT eating eucharists during church and then carrying them around during their daily business. Riding the bus with them, sitting at work with them, in the bathroom, you know whatever comes to mind.

    I think the best way to show a group of people that their fanatacism and ignorance is not welcome is to run their stupid idol right into the ground.

  518. #518 Beep
    July 11, 2008

    “Those ashes are the remains of a human being. A wafer remains a wafer no matter what manner of words are spoken over it.

    Can you not see the difference ? The claim that wafer become the body of Christ during a Catholic Mass is an example of how religion allows a large number of people to delude themselves.”

    Continuing the hypothetical:

    Those ashes are, to you, the remains of a human being, and therefore have certain meaning attached to them. If I believe that they represent nothing more than ashes, and, further, give no respect to your irrational regard for a box of burnt organic material, then why shouldn’t I flush them? From exactly what scientific rationale can you claim that I should have any respect for these ashes which now, by any rational/scientific analysis, bear zero actual relation to your living mother?

    As for whether or not the consecrated host becomes Christ, I agree with you that there’s no more sense to being attached to a piece of bread than a pile of ashes. But you can’t have it both ways. However, I do know that for somewhere close to 1 billion people, the host represents something exceedingly precious. As precious as the ink blotted pieced of paper known as the US Constitution, as the black box known as the Kaaba, or the hole in the ground known as Ground Zero.

  519. #519 Wowbagger
    July 11, 2008

    Mary Herboth, #513, wrote:

    If the Eucharist was just a cracker no one would care – no one would receive it, no one would protect it, no one would steal it, and no one would threaten to abuse it. Even for the atheist, its way more than a cracker.

    You don’t have to believe in something in order to understand that someone else believes in it. Any ‘threats’ made against the crackers relates to the impact those threats will have on the people who believe there is something special about them – not that what they’re threatening to do to the cracker will have any impact whatsoever apart from that.

  520. #520 Alex
    July 11, 2008

    My friend used to do some accounting for a Catholic church. It was a great gig because she could come in part time during the days when the church was empty and bring her small kids with her. When I spoke with her on the phone she was always distracted because she was trying to keep a eye on he kids and often times she’d say thing like, “Just a second, HEY! I TOLD YOU TO STAY OUT OF THE HOLY WATER! Ok, where were we?”

    One time her 2 year old daughter walks by eating what mom at first thinks is potato chips, then in a moment of panic realizes she’s eating the body of christ like they were cookies. Of course they weren’t blessed yet, but I was laughing so hard over the phone. It started a whole bunch of questions about them, because she told me these ones were made of “whole wheat because they are better for you”. I thought that was hilarious that saving your soul isn’t good enough, you should also have some fiber! She joked that maybe next they’ll have a “low fat non-carb” version.

    To which I replied, “Yes, and they can call it – I CAN’T BELIEVE IT’S NOT JESUS!”

  521. #521 Matt Penfold
    July 11, 2008

    “Those ashes are, to you, the remains of a human being, and therefore have certain meaning attached to them. If I believe that they represent nothing more than ashes, and, further, give no respect to your irrational regard for a box of burnt organic material, then why shouldn’t I flush them? From exactly what scientific rationale can you claim that I should have any respect for these ashes which now, by any rational/scientific analysis, bear zero actual relation to your living mother?”

    No, those ashes are actually the remains of a human being.

    The wafer NEVER becomes the body of Christ.

    Can you not see the difference ? This is the second time I have had to point it out to you, since twice you seem to have missed it. If you fail again I will just write you off as being to stupid to understand.

    In addition you seem unaware of the concept of theft. The ashes are not yours to take, and were you to do so you would be committing a crime. A wafer is GIVEN to the communicant.

    It seems your value system is broken. Your whole hypothetical scenario is a false one that I presume you intend to be analogous to the taking of the wafer by Webster Cook. If so you have failed miserably. It is nothing of the sort. The wafer had become Cook’s property. Unless they are given to you, the ashes of someone’s mother are not. Likewise I cannot destroy the US Constitution, (or rather the bit of paper it is written on as the Constitution is an idea not an object) since it is not mine to destroy.

  522. #522 Beep
    July 11, 2008

    “The important difference, all the relative values of such things as crackers and ashes aside (i’ve learned that lesson on another thread), is that my house is a private residence and that my (hypothetically) dead mother’s ashes weren’t freely given to you.

    If I invited you into my house and gave you my mother’s ashes and you flushed them down the toilet I’d probably be a annoyed (though i’m not really the sort of person who’d keep them lying around, but i’ll play along) – but I wouldn’t call all of my friends and have them make death threats against you.”

    This is incorrect from it’s base assumption that the host is freely given to anyone that wants it. There is literature in the Church which makes it clear that non-Catholics are not to receive Communion. The host is not handed out in a willy-nilly fashion. It takes a conscious series of actions to get it (standing up, waiting in line, taking it from a person ordained to hand it out) and a clear and conscious rejection of the activities of everyone else who engages in the same activity: i.e., immediately, and reverently consuming it.

    Yes, it can be “take” home out of ignorance, but any reasonably intelligent or perceptive person would be hard-pressed to find a reason to go up and take the host.

    It would be like going up to receive a diploma from a graduation ceremony “by accident.”

  523. #523 StuV
    July 11, 2008

    Mary:

    Even for the atheist, its way more than a cracker.

    No it is not. That’s the entire point.

    Oh, and don’t ever pretend to speak for me again. Thank you.

  524. #524 Randy
    July 11, 2008

    ChrisKG @ #312:

    Ummm… not according to my experiments.

  525. #525 Matt Penfold
    July 11, 2008

    “If the Eucharist was just a cracker no one would care – no one would receive it, no one would protect it, no one would steal it, and no one would threaten to abuse it. Even for the atheist, its way more than a cracker.”

    Mary, what a stupid thing to say. It was a cracker, it remains a cracker and has never been anything other than a cracker. Just because some people choose to believe it has additional properties does not mean we are all required to go along with their claims.

  526. #526 Sweet Meat
    July 11, 2008

    What if a person is on a gluten-free diet? Can the Holy Spirit infuse itself into a non-wheat cracker? Could I add gluten-free Peanut Butter (straight from Wal-Mart), just in case? When will Domino’s offer this deal: Buy a Jesus-laden, non-gluten crust pizza & get a second sacred pizza free?

    “Jesus of Nabisco”… hilarious. That reminds me of the classic joke store from Wisconsin, “Cheeses of Nazareth”.

  527. #527 Beep
    July 11, 2008

    “No, those ashes are actually the remains of a human being.

    The wafer NEVER becomes the body of Christ.

    Can you not see the difference ? This is the second time I have had to point it out to you, since twice you seem to have missed it. If you fail again I will just write you off as being to stupid to understand.”

    Sorry that you are so philosophically naive.

    The host and the ash are both proxies for dead people (at the very least.)

    Don’t be stupid.

  528. #528 Beep
    July 11, 2008

    “It seems your value system is broken. Your whole hypothetical scenario is a false one that I presume you intend to be analogous to the taking of the wafer by Webster Cook. If so you have failed miserably. It is nothing of the sort. The wafer had become Cook’s property. Unless they are given to you, the ashes of someone’s mother are not. Likewise I cannot destroy the US Constitution, (or rather the bit of paper it is written on as the Constitution is an idea not an object) since it is not mine to destroy.”

    The Eucharist is a contract. The host is given under the expectation that the person receiving it meets certain criteria. These include: being a properly baptized and confirmed Catholic who believes that the Host is actually the body and blood of Christ. It is also to be immediately consumed.

    These rules are readily available, both in the Church and without. Anyone in the Church would happily illuminate the confused.

    A ticket to a concert is just a piece of paper, but symbolically it represents everything from currency to nostalgia.

    Webster broke the contract, either wittingly or out of ignorance.

  529. #529 Matt Penfold
    July 11, 2008

    No, one is the remains of a dead person. Quite literally the burnt remains of a dead person.

    The other is made from wheat and never has the attributes associated with human remains, dead or otherwise.

    It is a simple question of fact. One is a wafer, one is burtn remains of a dead person. To think the two are in anyway equivalent is bizzare.

  530. #530 Dr Benway
    July 11, 2008

    Hi, Joe Catholic here. Listen, the consecrated host is special to us and we’d appreciate it if you respect that. Don’t take communion if you’re not Catholic. And if you are Catholic, please follow the ritual.

    If you don’t show respect during Mass that’s going to cause some upset. But I’m in favor of trying to understand why a person might say or do something disrespectful. I’m not in favor of using threats or force to scare people into pretending a respect they don’t feel.

    The death threats against that kid in FL and against Dr. Myers are wrong. Jesus would never advocate for that kind of behavior.

    As an American, I appreciate the First Amendment. Trying to get PZ Myers fired for expressing an opinion in his own blog isn’t right.

    Sincerely,
    Joe Catholic

    ****************
    OK, I made all that up. But surely my imagined Mr. Catholic exists, no? Where’s he hiding?

    Perhaps he’s having lunch with the moderate Muslims.

  531. #531 Crowbot
    July 11, 2008

    What actions exactly would these ARMED GUARDS the church now has guarding the mass ceremonies take should someone decide they do not wish to swallow the cracker?

    Swallow that cracker OR I’LL SHOOT? Seeing as it’s florida, and a university, perhaps there would be tasering involved?

  532. #532 Beep
    July 11, 2008

    “No, one is the remains of a dead person. Quite literally the burnt remains of a dead person.

    The other is made from wheat and never has the attributes associated with human remains, dead or otherwise.

    It is a simple question of fact. One is a wafer, one is burtn remains of a dead person. To think the two are in anyway equivalent is bizzare.”

    To give meaning to “burnt remains of a dead person” is bizarre.

    Since those burnt remains have no physical or chemical relationship to the formerly living person.

    The bread has just as much physical relationship to the dead Christ as the chemically-altered ashes do to the dead Mother. It’s just a question of proximity of time.

  533. #533 TomJoe
    July 11, 2008

    Where’s he hiding?

    He’s probably not here because he got disgusted by P.Z. Myers antics/rantings about his beliefs a long time ago.

  534. #534 Not that impressed
    July 11, 2008

    Oh, my goodness. Stop with the crackers already. What would you do for humor if Catholics stopped supplying you with ammo? Admit it. You need religion to supply your atheist hate.

  535. #535 Mike Williamson
    July 11, 2008

    You’re all missing the point, this Catholic intolerance is totally different from Muslim intolerance because Muslims have darker skin than the good Catholics do, so they’d actually kill him, whereas the Catholics just hide behind their screens and their Bibles and pray for his soul.

    My arse.

  536. #536 beep
    July 11, 2008

    Hi, Joe Atheist here. Listen, the consecrated host is special to Catholics and I’d appreciate it if you, my fellow atheists and non-Christians, respect that. Don’t take communion if you’re not Catholic. And if you are Catholic, please follow the ritual.

    If you don’t show respect during Mass that’s going to cause some upset. But I’m in favor of trying to understand why a person might say or do something disrespectful. I’m not in favor of using threats or force, either physical or pseudo-intellectual, to scare or shame people into disrespecting their sacred traditions, even if I don’t get or believe them.

    The constant bigoted berating of people of faith does little to advance science or knowledge.

    Sincerely,
    Joe Atheist

  537. #537 Carl from Atlantic City
    July 11, 2008

    I can understand how incomprehensible the reverence we Catholics give to Christ in the consecrated host must appear to the non-believer. And I don’t think any reasonable Catholic would expect those outside of the faith to treat the Eucharist as we do.

    What I don’t understand is the lack of civility in a ‘gleeful’ act of desecration of what others hold dear. I think Islam is a crock of sh*t, but I wouldn’t ‘delight’ in desecrating a Koran. Or to move outside the realm of religion, I wouldn’t delight in desecrating what the non-religious holds as sacred just for the sadistic fun of injury– wiping myself with the Constitution, say, just to agitate the patriotic or torturing animals outside of PETA headquarters. Mutual respect for each other and what we hold as sacred is all that holds civilization together. If you’re suggesting that we chuck civilization and get back to the down-and-dirty of the state of nature, then, with all due respect, you’re a heck of a lot crazier than I am, my worship of ‘a cracker’ not withstanding. Delight in desecrating the Eucharist FEELS TO ME no different than my hurting of a member of the Myers family, say, just because I knew it would infuriate you, would feel to you. [That's not a threat, by the way-- just a point of comparison]. Your disregard for the people with whom you share your community and country is not, after all, a form of dialogue or dissent. Its an act of profound injury and provocation and it severely damanges the dynamics of peaceful, civilized society.

  538. #538 Matt Penfold
    July 11, 2008

    “The bread has just as much physical relationship to the dead Christ as the chemically-altered ashes do to the dead Mother. It’s just a question of proximity of time.”

    Huh ?

    Do you really mean that ? Only it is so breath-takingly stupid it really is incredible to think you did.

    Were it necessary it would be quite possible to establish a chain of evidence that shows the ashes in a urn really are are ashes of a particular person.

    Can you do the same with a consecrated wafer ? Can you actually provide evidence that it really has become the body of Christ ?

  539. #539 icanus
    July 11, 2008

    Why is everyone getting so upset about this one guy who took it home, when millions of Catholics all over the world regularly immerse the Eucharist in strong acid for several hours, then flush the remnants down the toilet?

  540. #540 Paul
    July 11, 2008

    Re #536:

    Thanks, Joe Athiest, for a reasoned and compassionate post.

    Re #537:

    I agree with your post to a large extent. Thank you for a reasoned and respectful post.

  541. #541 FAWild
    July 11, 2008

    This is a wonderful example of what one can expect from liberals! When I grow up, I want to be just like you: respectful of others’ beliefs, tolerant of others who differ from you, and willing to celebrate the diversity that makes all of us special!

    Poor Paul, you are indeed an example of the old dictum: God puts limits on intelligence but not on stupidity!

  542. #542 Heathen Matt
    July 11, 2008

    Wow, the fun is still going on.

    I used to think of Catholics as the “reasonable” Christians, relatively speaking. This thread and the others before it have sure disabused me of that notion.

    So you actually have to ingest God in order for his magic to work. Who knew? If you think about it, that’s some seriously primitive mumbo-jumbo, there. I mean, he’s omnipotent and all, so why does he need to get eaten in order for the communicants to receive the salvific effect?

    Then there’s the whole matter of him knocking up a virgin by means of a ghost, so he can sacrifice himself to himself in order to appease his own anger at his imperfect creations, which he himself made the way they were, by reanimating his zombie corpse and wafting up into the sky. All of this folderol made necessary because somebody ate an apple and the blame for this alleged dietary faux pas was somehow passed down the generations (is original sin encoded in our DNA, somehow?). Yep, makes sense.

    Almost makes the magical snack foods seem the most rational part of it.

  543. #543 Priscilla
    July 11, 2008

    The reaction of Bill Donahue to Mr. Myers is not about Mr. Myers refusing to believe in the Eucharist as the real presence of Jesus Christ. It is about his disrespect toward those who hold this belief. As a professor at a University his demeanor should be professional and respectful of others. If Catholics believe in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, is it professional and respectful to hurl insults and profanities toward them about beliefs they hold to be sacred?
    Mr. Myers is displaying a seriously offensive attitude of religious intolerance and using his position at the University as a platform for this bigotry.
    If the University has any sense at all it will realize the behavior of Mr. Myers has been destructive to the credibility of the University as a respectful institution and it will feel the need to repair the damage Mr. Myers has done to its reputation.
    Whether or not Mr. Myers agrees with the Catholic Church about the real presence is irrelevent.
    I am shocked at the level of disrespect that has been displayed in these postings by commenters. The insensitivity revealed here is huge and I hope it is not an accurate representation of the University itself.

  544. #544 Matt Penfold
    July 11, 2008

    Carl from Atlantic City,

    Can we now expect the Catholic church to start supporting gay rights ? After all the continued opposition of the Church to gay marriage is a continued source of hurt to gay people. Since you have stated you do not want to hurt people, you clearly would not be a member of a church that does exactly that. I do trust it will be soon, as I would kind of like to know if you are just silly, or silly and hypocritical.

  545. #545 Matt Penfold
    July 11, 2008

    “It is about his disrespect toward those who hold this belief. As a professor at a University his demeanor should be professional and respectful of others. If Catholics believe in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, is it professional and respectful to hurl insults and profanities toward them about beliefs they hold to be sacred?”

    Why should belief that a wafer becomes the body of Christ be respected ? It is an idiotic belief, that anyone with even the most basic of science educations will know is false.

    I doubt you treat all beliefs with equal respect Priscilla. In fact I would be amazed if you do. So cut out the false demand for respect, it just makes you look dishonest.

  546. #546 Beep
    July 11, 2008

    “Huh ?

    Do you really mean that ? Only it is so breath-takingly stupid it really is incredible to think you did.

    Were it necessary it would be quite possible to establish a chain of evidence that shows the ashes in a urn really are are ashes of a particular person.

    Can you do the same with a consecrated wafer ? Can you actually provide evidence that it really has become the body of Christ ? ”

    OK, here’s a test. Take your mother, burn her up, and then put her back together again.

    Do you understand what the process of combustion does?

    The chain of evidence could at best prove that the body of the woman who once was your mother has now been chemically altered into a completely new substance, one that has absolutely zero relation to the living woman other than that her rotting body was the fuel for the fire.

    Very simply: this new substance bears as much physical relationship to the body of your living mother as does a toaster, a star, an amoeba, or a pile of dog shit.

    You attach meaning to it because you choose to.

    Just as Catholics (and more importantly, many protestants, who don’t believe in transubstantiation) choose to memorialize their dead loved one through a piece of bread.

    You can’t honestly claim that one act is rational and that the other one isn’t. So which is it?

  547. #547 beep
    July 11, 2008

    “Why should belief that a wafer becomes the body of Christ be respected ? It is an idiotic belief, that anyone with even the most basic of science educations will know is false.”

    Matt: Back to the kiddie pool for you. Come back when you evolve some flippers so you can swim.

  548. #548 Ralph
    July 11, 2008

    It is sad to see a community that presumes to have God’s given truth on morality and ethics attack the free speech rights of others it someone is critical of their superstitions.

    I’m just glad that the Catholic Church no longer has the secular authority to imprison, torture, and murder people.

    Keep up the good fight PZ!

  549. #549 Matt Penfold
    July 11, 2008

    “Matt: Back to the kiddie pool for you. Come back when you evolve some flippers so you can swim.”

    Ah Beep, I see you have finally reached the depths of your intellectual paucity.

  550. #550 Dr Benway
    July 11, 2008

    Hi beep. Joe Atheist need free speech to fight death threats and such. As a peace loving chap, he prefers words to violence.

    ****
    Perhaps the Internet will take note of crackergate. It holds lulzy promise.

    My proposal to the Anonymous powers-that-be: the Internets make the crackers an offer they can’t refuse. To wit:

    1. No bad stuff happens to that FL kid or Myers. No accidents. No hassles. No bad luck. It rains, they have an umbrella handy. Capiche?

    2. If anything unfortunate befalls Myers or the kid, some cracker gets it. Each and every time. Someone cuts ‘em off in traffic, a cracker dies. Painful hangnail, cracker takes a dirt nap. House pre-empted by American Idol, sayonara Mr. Cracker.

    The Internets, being everywhere, can strike without warning and at anytime. The ‘licks can hire all the ninja nuns they want.

    The Tubes of Web cannot be stopped.

  551. #551 has_te
    July 11, 2008

    Just over from Jesse…
    Hang in. !!

    Got to wondering if:
    you transubstantiated a bit of dry biscuit to
    say, Alabama….would it be a cracker’s cracker?
    And if…then?

    The possibilities, the potentialities are mind-boggling.

  552. #552 Carl from Atlantic City
    July 11, 2008

    Matt,

    First of all, if we’re actually going to have a discussion, let’s try to be civil and not beat each other over the head with name-calling instead of genuine point-counterpoint. That’s reasonable, right?

    First of all, there is a difference between the Church’s teaching ‘offending you’ and my physical desecration of something you hold sacred–like a helpless young gay kid being mistreated at the hands of bigots. I think its totally reasonable to disagree and completely understandable for Myers to think we’re out of minds. It’s the proactive injury of Eucharistic desecration that I am objecting to.

    As to your point about gay rights, I actually agree. I think the Church’s heavy-handed involvement in this issue is completely inappropriate. I don’t see any substantial or reasonable argument against civil equality for gays and straights, though I defend the Church’s right to teach to its voluntary membership on the nature and function of sexuality. But the truth is, gays run no more aground of Catholic teaching on sex than the vast majority straights in modern American society.

  553. #553 karen marie
    July 11, 2008

    does this comment thread break a record?

    given the historical nature of this thread, i want to be fully on the record here.

    [UPDATE: in the time it's taken me to compose my comment, the original thread passed the tipping point, so i don't get bragging rights to posting comment number 1101, but hey, maybe i'll hit 666 in the encore!]

    i’m a sporadic but consistent reader and sometimes commenter here, so when i read the post over at Sadly, No! about the cracker blowback (oh, man, you got some on my clean shorts!), i rushed right over to see what professor myers has done now to cause catholic, and other christianist, heads to explode.

    as i read all the background material here and elsewhere, i kept thinking about the story sally quinn told about how she “took communion” at tim russert’s funeral service, despite not being catholic AND a “founder” of the “on faith” blog published by newsweek and the washington post, a position which apparently erroneously presupposes that she would speak, write and behave in an informed way with regard to traditions of the various religions.

    it turns out that the response to quinn’s faux pas by donahue (http://www.catholicleague.org/release.php?id=1453) does not reflect his current sense of outrage. he does not even demand that sally quinn apologize, much less lose her job or her blogger duties at “on faith.”

    this is simply an excuse to go after professor myers.

    donahue and the rest of the hysterics should take a deep breath and review the long honored use of satire.

    as part of my review of background materials here, i also went over to youtube and reviewed some of the blasphemy challenge videos. egads! there’s bunches of them! and not a peep about it at the catholic league website (at least as far as i can determine by googling “catholic league statement blasphemy challenge youtube” — i’ve clicked through to their site too many times today already and i’m not willing to contribute to their site traffic and so enable them to make the false equivalency that they’re getting traffic ’cause they’re so awesome), much less a demand that youtube remove all the pointed challenges to catholicism.

    going after professor myers on this is simply a ploy to get their base to donate cash to “the cause,” and if it has the added benefit of sidelining someone whose words they fear, so much the better.

    fortunately, we are not yet quite that far gone, but good for donahue and the catholic league for at least trying to turn their otherwise embarrassing behavior into what they hope to be an enriching experience! (“hey, you hungry people, get out of here, this money is to buy ornaments for the baby jesus, and maybe a jacuzzi for the annointed, you’ll get something to eat if god wills it.”)

    i sent a politely worded email to president bruininks advocating on behalf of professor myers.

    there are plenty of left, democratic, progressive blogs whose comment threads are deeply embarrassing and shocking. my response is usually to simply read the posts and not bother reading the comments because they contribute nothing useful to the conversation. i stop visiting a blog altogether if i get a sense that the poster in any way encourages dialogue rendolent of ignorance.

    sure, hijinks ensue sometimes in pharyngula comment threads, as with the thread to the original cracker post, but generally the threads, as the posts, are highly entertaining, LITERATE, and enlightening.

    (one memorable and lengthy thread involved geology puns which left me gasping for breath and in awe of the knowledge base of the community here)

    thank you, professor myers, for your willingness to stand up front to point out and refute the dangerous ignorance which too many religious advocates work hard every day to increase.

    to close, i will just say that the catholic league and bill donahue are proof positive that god does not exist because no all-powerful, all-knowing and vengeful god would tolerate being hijacked by a mere mortal.

    “NOBODY expects the Spanish Inquisition!”

  554. #554 Dutch Delight
    July 11, 2008

    The chain of evidence could at best prove that the body of the woman who once was your mother has now been chemically altered into a completely new substance, one that has absolutely zero relation to the living woman other than that her rotting body was the fuel for the fire.

    Are you telling me alchemy is real?!

  555. #555 Beep
    July 11, 2008

    “Are you telling me alchemy is real?!”

    Yeah, here’s the forumla.

    Fuel + Oxygen –> Heat + Water + Carbon dioxide

    Shh, don’t tell anyone.

  556. #556 Jcostello@igc.org
    July 11, 2008

    Dear Matt,

    Calling BEEP stupid diminishes you and your argument.

    Regarding what I think in the basic point, It does not really matter if the ashes are really human or not, or if the wafer is not a symbolic Christ to a non-believer. It does not matter if the ashes were given or taken. It does not matter if the host was given or not. These all are incidental to the main argument. The crux of the matter is respect or lack of respect for something a person holds dear, or important, or sacred.

    Catholics hold the beliefs in the importance and sacredness of the host that have already been mentioned. If you had ashes of your mother on the mantle in your house, who would I be to make fun of that? Regardless of the chemical nature of the ashes, the ashes would be important to YOU. I might think your reasons for holding those ashes as a repository of value might be foolish and superstitious. But it would not be my place to destroy your beliefs in a mean spirit. It is the same with the host. If Catholics find the host sacred, who are many of you to make scurrilous fun of the that?

    As a former Catholic, I can appreciate anti-Catholic satire and humor (Tom Lehrer) as well as anyone. It is the mean spiritedness and coarseness, especially on a list of supposedly well-educated science students and teachers, that is dismaying. Calling people “fuckwits” and engaging in vicious vituperation reflects a poverty of mind and thinking. This brings me to my final point. To those of you who have responded so cavalierly and heartlessly to this issue;

    What are you afraid of?

  557. #557 Bad Ecology
    July 11, 2008

    On that “Mass supplies” website you can order “gluten-free” communion wafers. But since the wafer turns into the flesh of Christ there won’t be any problem with gluten! Somebody should complain to the Pope; that supply company is conning poor gluten-intolerant Catholics.

    If somebody DID have a problem with gluten intolerance it would prove that the wafer DOES NOT turn into the body of Christ. Thank God that will never happen — it would destroy the whole basis of Christianity. Phew!!

  558. #558 Joe Max
    July 11, 2008

    To both “Joe Atheist” and “Carl from Atlantic City” (wow, an atheist and a Catholic – together!):

    The point is not that the fellow who walked out with the communion cracker wasn’t rude. He was. What was disturbing was the over-reaction of Donahue (no surprise there) and the church’s leaders. If they had basically responded, “that was a rude thing to do and we’d appreciate it in the future if people didn’t do that,” there wouldn’t be a problem from a typical atheist’s POV. But the reaction was vastly disproportionate to the “crime”. It is not a “profound injury”, it was simply rude. Being rude is not grounds for death threats and calls for a college professor to be fired.

    There are people – the FLDS church comes to mind – who think that women exposing their ankles is a profound injury and provocation. But it is not attendant on another citizen of a secular society to acquiesce to demands that all women, even those who are not FLDS, to wear floor length dresses just because the sight of a female leg causes them discomfort.

    Your rules of religious comportment are only applicable TO YOU as followers of that religion. If the student, or PZ, were Catholics, then it would be within the rights of the Church to excommunicate them or otherwise punish them as the Church sees fit. (So long as they don’t violate secular laws – sorry, no iron maidens or thumbscrews.)

    If we follow your logic, we as a society would have to refrain from ANY activity in public that offends ANY given set of religious beliefs, whether we subscribe to them or not. Can you imagine a society where no one could do anything that offends anyone? We can’t play favorites and refrain from offending Catholics but are free to offend Muslims, FLDSers or worshipers of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. What it seems to me here is that the Catholics want special treatment because, well, because they are Catholics.

    The dynamics of a peaceful civilized society are damaged not by rudeness, but by intolerance. PZ hasn’t made calls for Catholics to be thrown out of their jobs or threatened them with death. That is a crucial difference you don’t seem to understand. To live in a secular society where all cisitzens are free to believe in any religion they wish means that some of them are going to believe in things you find offensive. Too bad. That’s the price we pay for religious freedom, and I think the benefits are worth the price.

  559. #559 Dr Benway
    July 11, 2008

    Jcostello: The crux of the matter is respect or lack of respect for something a person holds dear, or important, or sacred.

    Close, but not quite.

    The crux of the matter is the inappropriate sense of entitlement to respect that many believers seem to feel. People may give respect. But one cannot demand it.

  560. #560 Heathen Matt
    July 11, 2008

    What are you afraid of?

    Theocracy, frothing religious insanity, anti-science campaigns, death threats over baked goods, vicious and evil attempts to get students expelled and professors fired for exercising their First Amendment rights.

    The disrespect for crazy beliefs on display here came AFTER the death threats, etc.

  561. #561 Beep
    July 11, 2008

    “The crux of the matter is the inappropriate sense of entitlement to respect that many believers seem to feel. People may give respect. But one cannot demand it.”

    Who decides who’s entitled?

    You?

    sociopath |?s?s???pa?|
    noun
    a person with a personality disorder manifesting itself in extreme antisocial attitudes and behavior and a lack of conscience.

  562. #562 tockeyhockey
    July 11, 2008

    just to clear something up…

    according to catholics, he did not steal a cracker. he stole the body of christ. priests have the ability to turn the cracker not into a symbol of the body of christ, but into an actual piece of the body of christ.

    i know that sounds crazy. maybe because it is. but that’s the entire reason why the protestant revolution happened. regular, sane people back in the freaking 1500s realized that the cracker probably wasn’t actually part of christ’s body. lutherans took it upon themselves to say that the cracker “symbolized” the body of christ instead of actually being the body of christ. catholics, even today, insist that a priest has the ability to actually turn a cracker into a real piece of christ… it’s as crazy now as it was back then.

    and that is what we’ve been fighting over for the past 500 years.

  563. #563 Beep
    July 11, 2008

    “just to clear something up…

    according to catholics, he did not steal a cracker. he stole the body of christ. priests have the ability to turn the cracker not into a symbol of the body of christ, but into an actual piece of the body of christ.

    i know that sounds crazy. maybe because it is. but that’s the entire reason why the protestant revolution happened. regular, sane people back in the freaking 1500s realized that the cracker probably wasn’t actually part of christ’s body. lutherans took it upon themselves to say that the cracker “symbolized” the body of christ instead of actually being the body of christ. catholics, even today, insist that a priest has the ability to actually turn a cracker into a real piece of christ… it’s as crazy now as it was back then.

    and that is what we’ve been fighting over for the past 500 years.”

    How many minutes of study and copy and pasting did it take for you to come up with this completely and woefully inaccurate survey?

  564. #564 Carl from Atlantic City
    July 11, 2008

    One last thing, if I might.

    This is actually off the central topic of mutual-respect for traditions that aren’t your own as fundamental to a healthy, functioning, civil society, but the repeated failure on the part of the nay-sayers here to acknowledge the distinction between physical and spiritual change is troubling me.

    No one is claiming that the host undergoes any sort of alteration to its chemical or physical properties as a result of transubstantiation– that would be absurd. We’re talking about the ‘Platonic form’ of thing– its essence– all of its characteristics that cannot be measured scientifically. ‘How convenient’ many of you are no doubt saying, and if your experience of existence is limited only to what you can quantify then I understand that talking about the spiritual properties of something is entirely nonsense language to you. But there are those of us who engage the universe on multiple, complicated, sometime contradictory levels and who aren’t limited to an understanding of a thing on the basis of its measurable properties alone. Whether or not the host has gluten it, for goodness sake, is obviously beside the point. So the ongoing discussion about ashes, urns, alchemy and communion has missed the point entirely.

  565. #565 Heathen Matt
    July 11, 2008

    sociopath |?s?s???pa?|
    noun
    a person with a personality disorder manifesting itself in extreme antisocial attitudes and behavior and a lack of conscience.

    Like threatening to murder someone over a fucking biscuit?

  566. #566 Brownian, OM
    July 11, 2008

    But there are those of us who engage the universe on multiple, complicated, sometime contradictory levels and who aren’t limited to an understanding of a thing on the basis of its measurable properties alone.

    So you’d have no problem distinguishing a consecrated host from an unconsecrated one based on its spiritual properties?

    That’s fine with me. Just as long as you’re using ‘spiritual’ to describe some meaningful aspect of the universe as opposed to ‘stuff I make up and can’t be ascribed a truth value because I’ve defined it so’. Because if its the latter, you’re saying nothing, no matter how hard you wave your hands.

  567. #567 Carl from Atlantic City
    July 11, 2008

    Joe Max,

    “To live in a secular society where all cisitzens are free to believe in any religion they wish means that some of them are going to believe in things you find offensive. Too bad. That’s the price we pay for religious freedom, and I think the benefits are worth the price.”

    Point taken and largely agreed with. That anyone of any faith should impose on any other free person in a free society values that reflect their personal faith (or lack of) tradition I find extremely offensive. Here’s the rub in this case, though. We’re not talking about exposed ankles. We’re talking about a person IN A CATHOLIC CHURCH– not out in the world at large– in the midst of our sacred ritual committing an act that is extremely painful for and offensive to us with the materials of our own tradition. If Myers smuggles out the Eucharist from our own private space– our community’s sacred property and profanes it, that’s very different than a FLDS member getting all pissy about an exposed leg. That’s a proactive, premeditiated act of injury that one can only achieve by forcibly entering and violating the sacred space of our community. That’s not us overreacting to something that’s happening in the community at large [as is the case, as I have said, with the gay-marriage issue, in which I condemn the Church's overreach].

  568. #568 Clapton Is God
    July 11, 2008

    Biscuit means ‘twice baked’… which if four times ‘half-baked’. Does this mean four blessed crackers make a biscuit.

  569. #569 Norm
    July 11, 2008

    Catholics are cannibals!!!

  570. #570 Gabrielle
    July 11, 2008

    Atheism is a psychological condition, not a rational conclusion.

    The fact that the universe is comprehensible is proof that a higher intelligence is behind the cosmos.If you pound your fists on a keyboard and type a strings of random letter arrangements it would be incomprehensible. You can comprehend what you read this instant because you understand the “code” we call “English Language”. In order to comprehend the universe you need high degrees in mathematics to begin to comprehend its workings. The DNA code is comprehensible.

    Atheism is a waste of existence, simply because the purpose of human existence is to know God–our Creator. In the natural order, the law of communion governs all living things. In order to live you must eat. No food means no life.

    Living things are dependent upon nourishment from without. Humans are both body and spirit. Jesus Christ spoke about the food which leads to eternal life: “Unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood you will not have life in you”

    What you mock and disparage today will some day come to haunt you… Just watch this video:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UGpxfoF3SYg

  571. #571 Dr Benway
    July 11, 2008

    As a human being I’m happy to respect the customs and rituals of others, just as a general rule of thumb.

    It’s the death threats and the threat to get PZ Myers fired that rankle. That’s where my respect vanishes and my heart felt disrespect begins.

    When I’m told I’m wrong or sociopathic for expressing my disrespect in an Internet forum where such opinions are often discussed and debated, my disrespect seems to increase.

    When the sense of disrespect becomes strong enough, people generally will say things to let you know that they do not respect you.

    I’m off to eat a cracker or two, violently.

  572. #572 Carl from Atlantic City
    July 11, 2008

    Brownian,

    “So you’d have no problem distinguishing a consecrated host from an unconsecrated one based on its spiritual properties?”

    I’m not sure how else a person could distinguish them– the Church certainly doesn’t claim a chemical distinction. I think anyone expecting that the host is going to turn green and be emblazened with ‘Christ was here’ is a nut. But my experience of the Eucharist– of that spiritual distinction– has been profound and life-altering.

    “That’s fine with me. Just as long as you’re using ‘spiritual’ to describe some meaningful aspect of the universe as opposed to ‘stuff I make up and can’t be ascribed a truth value because I’ve defined it so’. Because if its the latter, you’re saying nothing, no matter how hard you wave your hands.”

    It’s an extremely meaningful aspect of the universe to me. I’m not sure what I’d gain by ‘stuff I make up and can’t [ascribe to a truth value]‘.

  573. #573 Evolving Squid
    July 11, 2008

    and the systematic attempt to sow fear in all members of that population.

    OK, I’ll accept that definition of hate crime.

    However, if that’s the reason, then the onus should be on the prosecution to PROVE beyond a reasonable doubt that the perpetrator was systematically attempting to sow fear in all members of that population. If that proof can be made, then perhaps there is ground for different sentencing.

    That onus of proof is much greater than “the perp said he wanted to beat up a fag.”

    I don’t believe, nor have I seen evidence for, the idea that the overwhelming majority of *-bashings have anything to do with an overarching attempt to instill fear in an identifiable population. Indeed, it seems that most of the *-bashings are committed by jackasses with too much free time on their hands who pick on someone because it is convenient to do so.

  574. #574 Dr Benway
    July 11, 2008

    Carl, you can distinguish a consecrated host from one not yet consecrated? Wow! I see a Nobel Prize in your future.

  575. #575 Heathen Matt
    July 11, 2008

    Atheism is a psychological condition, not a rational conclusion.

    Wrong. THEISM is a PSYCHOTIC condition, not a rational conclusion, without a shred of evidence to back it up.

    And threatening non-believers with eternal torture because we find no compelling evidence to subscribe to your fairy tales will not convince us of their truth. In fact, that egregious overreaction on the part of your deity to his creatures using their (supposedly God-given) intelligence to think for themselves, is a big reason why I began to reject your mythology in the first place.

    FAIL.

  576. #576 Beep
    July 11, 2008

    “It’s the death threats and the threat to get PZ Myers fired that rankle. That’s where my respect vanishes and my heart felt disrespect begins.”

    To use childish behavior as an excuse to act childishly is a pretty piss-poor rationale.

    Has the pope called down vengeance on the cracker-defiler?

    Does Bill Donohue have any actual relation to the Catholic Church? No, of course not. He’s just a loudmouth.

    The level of ignorance here is astonishing.

  577. #577 mrmyke
    July 11, 2008

    Those saying PZ is “sick” are wrong.

    He just isn’t very smart.

    What a monstrous thread. Folks, don’t get so worked up over the work of a mediocre thinker. My first visit to the place, and reading his work shows the guy just ain’t worth it.

    PZ’s best posts don’t reach the below-average mark.

  578. #578 Carl from Atlantic City
    July 11, 2008

    “As a human being I’m happy to respect the customs and rituals of others, just as a general rule of thumb.”

    …Good to hear.

    “It’s the death threats and the threat to get PZ Myers fired that rankle. That’s where my respect vanishes and my heart felt disrespect begins. When I’m told I’m wrong or sociopathic for expressing my disrespect in an Internet forum where such opinions are often discussed and debated, my disrespect seems to increase. When the sense of disrespect becomes strong enough, people generally will say things to let you know that they do not respect you.”

    …Understandable. No reasonable Christian could ever threaten the life or well-being of another person. In fact, when met with physical harm we are commanded to ‘turn the other cheek’. A person can call themselves whatever they like but if they do not conform to the espoused bedrock-philosophy of the group with which they identify, they are not the thing they claim to be, no matter how much they believe they are. Christianity ain’t easy and lots of times– particularly when we are hurt– and I speak from experience on this – we screw it up. So I don’t blame you for being offended. Just remember, we’re a big tent and lots of us are reasonable people.

    “I’m off to eat a cracker or two, violently.”

    …Not constructive to dialogue, but I suppose I’ll just get that other cheek primed.

  579. #579 Dr Benway
    July 11, 2008

    beep, where is the Joe Catholic I described? His silence is deafening. It’s his silence that incriminates all Catholics.

  580. #580 Beep
    July 11, 2008

    “And threatening non-believers with eternal torture because we find no compelling evidence to subscribe to your fairy tales will not convince us of their truth. In fact, that egregious overreaction on the part of your deity to his creatures using their (supposedly God-given) intelligence to think for themselves, is a big reason why I began to reject your mythology in the first place.”

    Well, since the Catholic Church doesn’t teach that non-believers are to be subjected to everlasting hellfire, your reason for rejecting the Catholic mythology is moot.

  581. #581 Priscilla
    July 11, 2008

    Dr. Benway,
    Who are you directing your disrespect toward? Catholics? Or only toward those persons who have personally threatened Mr. Mears? Your comments about violently receiving the Eucharist seem to be directed toward the Catholic Community since you would be directly offending them as a whole by your behavior and comments.

  582. #582 Beep
    July 11, 2008

    Dr. Benway:

    As a Catholic, I’m happy to step into your Interzone:

    Hi, Beep here. Listen, the consecrated host is special to us and we’d appreciate it if you respect that. Don’t take communion if you’re not Catholic. And if you are Catholic, please follow the ritual.

    If you don’t show respect during Mass that’s going to cause some upset. But I’m in favor of trying to understand why a person might say or do something disrespectful. I’m not in favor of using threats or force to scare people into pretending a respect they don’t feel.

    The death threats against that kid in FL and against Dr. Myers are wrong. Jesus would never advocate for that kind of behavior.

    As an American, I appreciate the First Amendment. Trying to get PZ Myers fired for expressing an opinion in his own blog isn’t right.

    Sincerely,
    Beep

    And I mean it.

    However, the same standard should be applied to all, believer and non-believer alike.

  583. #583 Facehammer
    July 11, 2008

    I read nearly every comment in the last post (it’s been a slow day), and honestly, I’ve never seen anything quite so demented, hysterical, underhanded and insubstantial as the reaction of catholics the world over to a man with a beard and a web page telling it like it is.

    Yet they continue with their outraged persecution complex, never having even an inkling that they’re doing nothing but fuel the fire.

    May this incident be blown ever further out of proportion until catholics are rightly ashamed to admit their faith. It’s a monstrous nugget of comedy gold, the biggest I’ve ever seen in these ‘ere mountains.

  584. #584 Cathy Herndon
    July 11, 2008

    I’m a Catholic woman convert with a science background who happened upon this discussion. I was raised to believe that all thoughts, beliefs, and hypotheses were to be scrutinized and certainly not belittled. To a Catholic the belief of Transubstantiation is core to our faith. This belief started at the beginning of Christianity with Jesus at the Last Supper. We believe that through the Priest, the host (not cracker) is changed through divine means (Consecration) to the flesh of Jesus. There is nothing worse to a Catholic than to desecrate a Consecrated host for you are violating Jesus himself. There is great power in a Consecrated host this is why Satanists try to take these from our churches and why we are so cautious about anyone doing this. This is not something to trivialize. To make fun of someone because of their different thoughts or beliefs is certainly not something I would expect out of the science community and certainly not out of an educator.

  585. #585 StuV
    July 11, 2008

    Gabrielle, what you’ve just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

  586. #586 Dallas
    July 11, 2008

    PZ, it may be a “cracker” to you, but to religious people, it represents something very sacred. I am an atheist, but I was raised Catholic and know full well the importance of the Eucharist in the Catholic church. So do you! You lost me when you threatened to deface something that other people revere. There is plenty of room on the planet for all of us, it is important to respect the beliefs of others whether you share them or not, and there are far greater challenges facing us as human beings than this petty little tempest. Your simple-minded threats only exacerbated the situation. Shame on you.

  587. #587 Carl from Atlantic City
    July 11, 2008

    “Carl, you can distinguish a consecrated host from one not yet consecrated? Wow! I see a Nobel Prize in your future.”

    If I told you that I could distinguish between them, would you believe me? Would I just be a nut? Would it matter? Is it at all pertinent to our discussion of the necessity for mutual-respect for differing beliefs in a reasonable, peaceful society?

    It would look good on my resume. What would I be up for? Peace? Physiology and Medicine? I doubt highly that the good folks in Oslo are the ‘engage the universe in multiple, complicated, sometimes contradictory fashion’ type anyhow.

  588. #588 StuV
    July 11, 2008

    it is important to respect the beliefs of others whether you share them or not

    No, no it is not. That’s the entire everloving point.

  589. #589 Beep
    July 11, 2008

    it is important to respect the beliefs of others whether you share them or not

    No, no it is not. That’s the entire everloving point.

    ***

    So who decides who gets to believe what?

  590. #590 Dr Benway
    July 11, 2008

    Thanks, beep, for opposing the threats to kill that FL kid or to get PZ fired.

    People like Donahue aren’t going to listen to atheists. But they’ll listen to a fellow Catholic. The more Catholics who speak out against the extreme reaction to that FL kid’s rude behavior, the better.

  591. #591 Carl from Atlantic City
    July 11, 2008

    That’s a slippery frickin’ slope, StuV. Millions of European Jews ‘believed’ their lives were sacred and, of course, the Nazis disagreed and didn’t feel particularly compelled to respect that belief.

  592. #592 Beep
    July 11, 2008

    “Thanks, beep, for opposing the threats to kill that FL kid or to get PZ fired.

    People like Donahue aren’t going to listen to atheists. But they’ll listen to a fellow Catholic. The more Catholics who speak out against the extreme reaction to that FL kid’s rude behavior, the better.”

    And the more atheists who condemn PZ Meyers ignorant, baiting hate speech and FL kid’s wanton act of disrespect will do much to bring peace and order to the universe.

    I’m sure that’ll happen soon.

    *Crickets*

  593. #593 StuV
    July 11, 2008

    Beep: everyone is free to believe whatever the hell they want. The entire point is that I am not obligated to respect those beliefs.

    But you knew that, and are just trolling now.

  594. #594 Dr Benway
    July 11, 2008

    Hi beep.

    Beliefs come in three flavors: yours, mine, and ours.

    You decide what goes in the “yours” category. I decide what goes in “mine.” If I propose some claim about the world for the “ours” set, I extend to you the right to double-check what I say. I expect you to return the favor.

    Social policies ought to rest upon facts in the “ours” set.

  595. #595 Heathen Matt
    July 11, 2008

    Well, since the Catholic Church doesn’t teach that non-believers are to be subjected to everlasting hellfire, your reason for rejecting the Catholic mythology is moot.

    That’s good to know. So the Dantean First Circle for enightened pagans is still official Church doctrine? I thought that was only for distinguished philosophers and savants, though. PZ Myers might make it there, but an ordinary schlub like me is probably not famous enough.

    All kidding aside, I thought all the stuff about a “lake of fire” and “wailing and gnashing of teeth” was pretty bedrock scriptural belief for all Christians, including Catholics. So what kind of deal do we hardcore unbelievers get?

  596. #596 Beep
    July 11, 2008

    “Beep: everyone is free to believe whatever the hell they want. The entire point is that I am not obligated to respect those beliefs.

    But you knew that, and are just trolling now.”

    Your accusing me of trolling leads me to believe that you’re getting backed into a corner. I’ll push a little harder.

    Let’s define our terms.

    Respect: Second Definition from my onboard apple dictionary.

    ? due regard for the feelings, wishes, rights, or traditions of others : respect for human rights.

    So, which noun (feelings, wishes, rights, traditions) do you deny the need to respect?

    All of them?

    Because at the moment your statement above

    “everyone is free to believe whatever the hell they want” stands in total contradiction to the completing statement:

    “The entire point is that I am not obligated to respect those beliefs.”

  597. #597 Dr Benway
    July 11, 2008

    beep, you must appreciate the sequence of events:

    1. A boy disrespected the Mass.
    2. Some Catholics over-reacted and threatened to make the boy’s life miserable and even threatened to hurt him bodily.
    3. PZ said, effectively, “You’re gonna kill that boy? Well two can play that game: I’m gonna kill yer cracker! Hahaha!”

    His response was humerous and harmless.

  598. #598 Beep
    July 11, 2008

    Matt:

    “Lake of fire” and “wailing and gnashing of teeth” was pretty bedrock scriptural belief for all Christians, including Catholics. So what kind of deal do we hardcore unbelievers get?”

    As best has been explained to me and from what I’ve read, Hell is only a reality for those to whom the truth of Christ has been revealed, and who make a conscious decision to reject what they know to be true.

    What happens to those souls? Eternal separation from God, which feels shitty for ever.

  599. #599 StuV
    July 11, 2008

    That’s a slippery frickin’ slope, StuV. Millions of European Jews ‘believed’ their lives were sacred and, of course, the Nazis disagreed and didn’t feel particularly compelled to respect that belief.

    That is the dumbest Godwin yet. Congratulations, moron.

  600. #600 TheoMobius
    July 11, 2008

    I admire your intellectual rigor and random biological ejaculations.

    This is why the University of Minnesota, Morris is one of the most esteemed academic institutions in the world.

  601. #601 NC Paul
    July 11, 2008

    Carl from AC: Is it at all pertinent to our discussion of the necessity for mutual-respect for differing beliefs in a reasonable, peaceful society?

    So is calling Islam a crock of shit (as you did in #537) part of your mutual-respect for differing beliefs?

    And how is a wafer being transformed into the Body of Christ (or any other New Testament miracle) any less of a crock of shit than anything in the Koran?

    Or are we into special pleading territory here yet?

    And while we’re on #537 how can you possibly equate torturing living animals or harming people to treating a wafer with disrespect?

    If anything is a threat to civilised peaceful society, it’s the idea that religious symbols are more important than human beings.

  602. #602 Beep
    July 11, 2008

    Dr. Benway:

    “beep, you must appreciate the sequence of events:

    1. A boy disrespected the Mass.
    2. Some Catholics over-reacted and threatened to make the boy’s life miserable and even threatened to hurt him bodily.
    3. PZ said, effectively, “You’re gonna kill that boy? Well two can play that game: I’m gonna kill yer cracker! Hahaha!”

    His response was humerous and harmless.”

    You have to understand that I am personally angry over the kid who stole the wafer, and that I was pretty pissed by PZs tasteless (ho ho ho) and really crassly insensitive rebuke of those who believe in the “cracker.”

    PZ was neither insightful, witty, or humerous, just crude and cruel.

    Sorry.

    We can still go fuck a mugwamp if you like sometime, but let’s leave religion out of it.

  603. #603 Bob
    July 11, 2008

    In honor of George Carlin,

    “The new nabisco host, with garlic jesus, sesame jesus and stoneground cinniman jesus”.

    The religious nuts need to go on a serious cracker diet.

  604. #604 Priscilla
    July 11, 2008

    Excuse me Dr. Benway but as a practicing Catholic who holds the Eucharist as the source and summit of the Christian life, I have not threatened anyone nor do I condone such behavior, but I am deeply offended by these remarks which I do not find to be humorous or harmless but incredibly insensitive toward Catholics!

    “Can anyone out there score me some consecrated communion wafers?” Myers continued by saying, “if any of you would be willing to do what it takes to get me some, or even one, and mail it to me, I’ll show you sacrilege, gladly, and with much fanfare. I won’t be tempted to hold it hostage (no, not even if I have a choice between returning the Eucharist and watching Bill Donohue kick the pope in the balls, which would apparently be a more humane act than desecrating a goddamned cracker), but will instead treat it with profound disrespect and heinous cracker abuse, all photographed and presented here on the web.”

    This is extremely hateful language by Mr. Mears and I am offended.

  605. #605 Ray S.
    July 11, 2008

    Carl from Atlantaic City pined @564:

    No one is claiming that the host undergoes any sort of alteration to its chemical or physical properties as a result of transubstantiation– that would be absurd. We’re talking about the ‘Platonic form’ of thing– its essence– all of its characteristics that cannot be measured scientifically.

    It’s up to you to provide something more than an assertion that there are any properties that cannot be measured scientifically. As you’ve been asked before, you need to demonstrate some reliable means of selecting consecrated wafers from a pile also containing unconsecrated ones. I don’t think you can do that, and neither does the invisible dragon in my garage.

    I don’t really care what religious rituals you want to do, but don’t expect any automatic respect for them. Contrary to what some comments on this thread have claimed, I’ve never seen any signs or documents in any of the Catholic churches I’ve visited explaining any of the so called obvious rules surrounding communion.

    And since several have tried the dead mother approach here, Beep being the latest, let me once again state that there is nothing you can do to desecrate the remains of my dead loved ones. I do not attach any special significance whatsoever to them.

  606. #606 Carl from Atlantic City
    July 11, 2008

    [i]That’s good to know. So the Dantean First Circle for enightened pagans is still official Church doctrine? I thought that was only for distinguished philosophers and savants, though. PZ Myers might make it there, but an ordinary schlub like me is probably not famous enough.

    All kidding aside, I thought all the stuff about a “lake of fire” and “wailing and gnashing of teeth” was pretty bedrock scriptural belief for all Christians, including Catholics. So what kind of deal do we hardcore unbelievers get? [/i]

    Dante’s poetic depiction of the afterlife has nothing to do with Church doctrine. Never did. His circles of hell are his own invention, however popularly engrained in the imagination of the Christian world.

    The answer to your question is extremely complicated and I can point you to a number of online sources for an extended answer if you like, but here’s the truncated version: God judges each individual perfectly in the context of their own lives, experiences, knowledge and moment in history. We don’t tend to advertise it but the Church holds that unbelievers CAN be saved outside of the Church. The more you understand the more you are expected to bring your will into union with the will of God. But the law of God is written on the human heart first and foremost and the Godly life is possible even without immediate knowledge of Christ. So pigmees and even atheists can be saved. It all depends upon their choices in life and encounter with Christ at the hour of Judgement. [Someone with an advanced degree in Theology feel free to ammend or correct me here.]

  607. #607 Heathen Matt
    July 11, 2008

    Hell is only a reality for those to whom the truth of Christ has been revealed, and who make a conscious decision to reject what they know to be true.

    So if you have heard the fable all your life, but find it an affront to logic and common sense, and without the least bit of independent historical evidence to back it up, and cannot in good conscience accept Pascal’s wager and pretend to believe something which you consider absurd, you get to spend eternity strolling about the Elysian Fields with Plato, Aristotle, Avicenna, Saladdin and assorted Neanderthals and Australopithecines? Cool. I guess it beats the imagined afterlife of the fundies, which they so delight in. But I thought part of the fun of Heaven was getting to watch the unbelievers turn on a spit for all time.

  608. #608 Dr Benway
    July 11, 2008

    Carl: If I told you that I could distinguish between them, would you believe me? Would I just be a nut? Would it matter?

    Of course it would matter.

    Humans have tried to study a number of supernatural claims under conditions that rule-out fraud or self-deception. So far, we’ve learned a few things about brain idiosyncracies that can lead to unusual feeling states, illusions, false memories, and beliefs. But we’ve learned nothing about any non-physical realm of spiritual beings or forces.

    If you can tell the difference between a consecrated host and one not yet consecrated soley through some inner, spiritual sense, you may win the world for Christ.

  609. #609 Beep
    July 11, 2008

    “So if you have heard the fable all your life, but find it an affront to logic and common sense, and without the least bit of independent historical evidence to back it up, and cannot in good conscience accept Pascal’s wager and pretend to believe something which you consider absurd, you get to spend eternity strolling about the Elysian Fields with Plato, Aristotle, Avicenna, Saladdin and assorted Neanderthals and Australopithecines? Cool. I guess it beats the imagined afterlife of the fundies, which they so delight in. But I thought part of the fun of Heaven was getting to watch the unbelievers turn on a spit for all time.”

    I think it comes down to: if you’re a total arrogant, ignorant dick about everything, you might get roasted. Not sure though.

  610. #610 NC Paul
    July 11, 2008

    Pricilla @ #604 “Excuse me Dr. Benway but as a practicing Catholic who holds the Eucharist as the source and summit of the Christian life, I have not threatened anyone nor do I condone such behavior, but I am deeply offended by these remarks which I do not find to be humorous or harmless but incredibly insensitive toward Catholics!…This is extremely hateful language by Mr. Mears and I am offended. “

    And that’s entirely your right in a free society and your offence is duly noted.

    However, as America is a free society, it’s also Prof Myers’s right to express his opinion about religion – yours or anyone else’s. Though your mileage no doubt varies, simple offence does not hate speech make.

    Living in a free society means that you will hear opinions that will offend you. I find most Catholic doctrine on contraception, abortion and homosexually deeply offensive. However, I don’t see there being much chance of the Catholic Church respecting my sensibilities in the way that you seem to demand us to respect yours.

  611. #611 Carl from Atlantic City
    July 11, 2008

    [i] So is calling Islam a crock of shit (as you did in #537) part of your mutual-respect for differing beliefs?
    And how is a wafer being transformed into the Body of Christ (or any other New Testament miracle) any less of a crock of shit than anything in the Koran?
    Or are we into special pleading territory here yet?
    And while we’re on #537 how can you possibly equate torturing living animals or harming people to treating a wafer with disrespect?
    If anything is a threat to civilised peaceful society, it’s the idea that religious symbols are more important than human beings. [/i]

    NC Paul,

    Go back and read all my posts. I never said we couldn’t disagree and debate and hold differing views of each others beliefs. I have said REPEATEDLY throughout this conversation that I can entirely see why people think we Catholics are full of sh*t and have no problems with that. And I explicitly said in #537 that despite my feelings about Islam I respect their faith in that I would NEVER dream of desecrating what they hold sacred. When we’re talking about Myers gleefully, intentionally profaning what is sacred to me and my objection not to his views but to his intended actions, yes, that is exactly what I mean by mutual respect for differing beliefs. I don’t have the time or inclination to get into a theological debate on Catholicism and Islam.

    As to the rest of your question, the point is simply this: everyone holds something sacred and anyone can profane what anyone else holds sacred. To intentionally hurt anyone by mistreating what is held sacred– animate or inanimate– is destructive and uncivil and so undesirable in a healthy society. To me the Eucharist is not a religious symbol– it is God himself embodied. You think that’s nuts, more power to you. But it’s no less important to me (and many others) than your own family is to you and we all have to treat with a certain amount of respect those things held sacred by the other. That’s all I was saying.

  612. #612 StuV
    July 11, 2008

    This is extremely hateful language by Mr. Mears and I am offended.

    What the hell is it with you kooks unable to spell? Myers. It’s not hard.

    Oh, about your being offended: you’re more then welcome to be offended. We are more then welcome to not give a crap that you are.

  613. #613 Owlmirror
    July 11, 2008

    We don’t tend to advertise it but the Church holds that unbelievers CAN be saved outside of the Church.

    While I appreciate the ecumenicalism, universalism, and apokatastasis, I’m pretty sure that the Church holds no such thing.

    So pigmees and even atheists can be saved

    If you doubt this is possible, how is it there are PYGMIES + DWARFS?

    Sorry, little joke there.

  614. #614 Billy Beck
    July 11, 2008

    I’m an atheist: all my life.

    You ought to be ashamed of yourself, Myers. This is disgusting. Hitchens was right: “Those who persecute religion are to be avoided at all costs. Antigone taught us to trust the instinct that is revolted by desecration.”

    (“Letters To A Young Contrarian”, 2001, p. 65)

    You’re as wrong as you can be.

  615. #615 StuV
    July 11, 2008

    I just cannot resist:

    There are Jews in the world.
    There are Buddhists.
    There are Hindus and Mormons, and then
    There are those that follow Mohammed, but
    I’ve never been one of them.

    I’m a Roman Catholic,
    And have been since before I was born,
    And the one thing they say about Catholics is:
    They’ll take you as soon as you’re warm.

    You don’t have to be a six-footer.
    You don’t have to have a great brain.
    You don’t have to have any clothes on. You’re
    A Catholic the moment Dad came,

    Because

    Every sperm is sacred.
    Every sperm is great.
    If a sperm is wasted,
    God gets quite irate.

    CHILDREN:
    Every sperm is sacred.
    Every sperm is great.
    If a sperm is wasted,
    God gets quite irate.

    GIRL:
    Let the heathen spill theirs
    On the dusty ground.
    God shall make them pay for
    Each sperm that can’t be found.

    CHILDREN:
    Every sperm is wanted.
    Every sperm is good.
    Every sperm is needed
    In your neighbourhood.

    MUM:
    Hindu, Taoist, Mormon,
    Spill theirs just anywhere,
    But God loves those who treat their
    Semen with more care.

    MEN:
    Every sperm is sacred.
    Every sperm is great.
    WOMEN:
    If a sperm is wasted,…
    CHILDREN:
    …God get quite irate.

    PRIEST:
    Every sperm is sacred.
    BRIDE and GROOM:
    Every sperm is good.
    NANNIES:
    Every sperm is needed…
    CARDINALS:
    …In your neighbourhood!

    CHILDREN:
    Every sperm is useful.
    Every sperm is fine.
    FUNERAL CORTEGE:
    God needs everybody’s.
    MOURNER #1:
    Mine!
    MOURNER #2:
    And mine!
    CORPSE:
    And mine!

    NUN:
    Let the Pagan spill theirs
    O’er mountain, hill, and plain.
    HOLY STATUES:
    God shall strike them down for
    Each sperm that’s spilt in vain.

    EVERYONE:
    Every sperm is sacred.
    Every sperm is good.
    Every sperm is needed
    In your neighbourhood.

    Every sperm is sacred.
    Every sperm is great.
    If a sperm is wasted,
    God gets quite iraaaaaate!

  616. #616 Carl from Atlantic City
    July 11, 2008

    I raised the issue of Pygmies [thank you for the spelling correction there Owl] only as a demonstration of those unexposed to the western world and the Christian faith– not as a suggestion that they are somehow particularly unsuited to salvation or some such insanity that might be ascribed to me.

    I have to bail, but Owlmirror the Church in fact holds that very thing. If you want me to point you to sources that affirm this, mail me: theatre_dynamics@yahoo.com and I will be happy to point you to reputable sources backing up this assertion.

  617. #617 Beep
    July 11, 2008

    Just building on my astonishment of the ignorance here:

    To PZ and friends, the cracker is just a cracker.

    But to many people (myself included,) the cracker is the BODY OF GOD.

    And to people of particularly reactionary constitution (not me… I’m more on a academic pussy like you all), disrespecting the BODY OF GOD is worth killing over. Or at the very least, kicking some disrepectin’ bitches ass over.

    Yes, this ass-kicking, although well-deserved, is probably contrary to the moral precepts put forth by the God-man whose body is supposed to be represented/housed in the cracker.

    But to be so PITIFULLY STUPID to not realize that antagonizing 1 BILLION PEOPLE who believe that the cracker is actually the BODY OF GOD might stir up a hornets nest is actually the funniest bit of irony in the whole mess.

    You guys rail on and on about how religion causes violence, and then are SHOCKED when you get blowback for actually antagonizing/goading 1 BILLION people into kicking your ass?

    Why not go dance on a fire ant mound, or fist a beehive, or hug a baby rhino?

  618. #618 Heathen Matt
    July 11, 2008

    I think it comes down to: if you’re a total arrogant, ignorant dick about everything, you might get roasted. Not sure though.

    So using your mind to think about things, and summarizing the case of the opposing side in a somewhat irreverent manner makes one a “total” arrogant, ignorant dick? Also good to know. If your faith can’t stand up to a little skepticism, it’s not very powerful, is it?

    Would you summarize Muhammad’s night flight to heaven on the back of Buraq in a totally respectful manner? Or Ganesh’s auspicious effect on new enterprises? Or the “discovery” by Joseph Smith of the magic plates whereon the Book of Mormon was inscribed? I thought so.

  619. #619 Beep
    July 11, 2008

    StuV

    “I just cannot resist:”

    Being not funny?

  620. #620 Dr Benway
    July 11, 2008

    …disrespecting the BODY OF GOD is worth killing over.

    Any right you claim for yourself you extend to everyone else.

    If you are entitled to claim something is sacred to God without any evidence that independent parties can corroborate, then so is Osama Bin Laden.

    If you are entitled to kill others in defense of objects you claim are sacred to God, so is Osama Bin Laden or any other religious leader.

    Our only real defense against the madness of crazy leaders and mass killings are the rules of evidence we use in court, in science, and in solving the ordinary, daily problems we all face.

  621. #621 Owlmirror
    July 11, 2008

    To intentionally hurt anyone by mistreating what is held sacred– animate or inanimate– is destructive and uncivil and so undesirable in a healthy society. To me the Eucharist is not a religious symbol– it is God himself embodied. You think that’s nuts, more power to you. But it’s no less important to me (and many others) than your own family is to you and we all have to treat with a certain amount of respect those things held sacred by the other. That’s all I was saying.

    And yet, this is saying that hurting a thing, an object, something with no senses, nervous system, thoughts, feelings, intentions, no mind, no brain, no awareness is exactly the same as hurting a human being with all of those things.

    This is insane.

    And while you sound reasonable and intelligent, this sort of thinking is exactly what leads reasonable and intelligent people directly to do all of the evil done in the name of religion.

    This is why I have come to agree with Professor Myers: I realize that people can indeed be strongly invested emotionally in their religious beliefs. But it is important and necessary to show, by all means, sometimes by reasoned argument, sometimes by mocking and scoffing, that it is the placing of beliefs as being on the same level as real things that is itself wrong: This leads to real cruelty, and real evil, against real people. And therefore religious beliefs must be constantly criticized.

    Even if the truth hurts.

  622. #622 Mel
    July 11, 2008

    So, I used to go to a Catholic church which had schismed from the Roman Catholic Church (we had a gay/married/female etc. pastoral team and no priest, among other things). Instead of wafers for Communion, one of the congregation members baked this amazingly good molasses wheat bread with sunflower seeds (and personally, I always found that bread more of a spiritual experience than mass-produced cardboard wafers).

    After the service, we’d take the leftover Communion bread–blessed, mind you–back for Hospitality, where people (mostly children) would descend upon it and eat the leftover “Jesus bread” along with cheese plates and brownies and so on.

    Oh, the horror!

    …I’ve got to bake some of that bread soon. So good.

  623. #623 Owlmirror
    July 11, 2008

    You guys rail on and on about how religion causes violence, and then are SHOCKED when you get blowback for actually antagonizing/goading 1 BILLION people into kicking your ass?

    Shocked? No.

    Disappointed? Yes.

    But religion is a constant source of disappointment to the rational.

  624. #624 Beep
    July 11, 2008

    I think it comes down to: if you’re a total arrogant, ignorant dick about everything, you might get roasted. Not sure though.

    So using your mind to think about things, and summarizing the case of the opposing side in a somewhat irreverent manner makes one a “total” arrogant, ignorant dick?

    No, not at all. But until you’ve read as much theology and philosophy as you have Darwin and PZ Meyers, I’d be a bit careful about making major proclamations about the validity of religion.

    “Also good to know. If your faith can’t stand up to a little skepticism, it’s not very powerful, is it?”

    The Faith is based on 4000 years of scholarship, philosophy, debate, and, yes, doubt. It shan’t be shaken by a blog. I’m as skeptical as anyone, and I guarantee you that my philosophical inquiries have taken me to places that you’d run away screaming from. So spare me your recycled skepticism. I’d rather read Voltaire than “Heathen Matt.”

    “Would you summarize Muhammad’s night flight to heaven on the back of Buraq in a totally respectful manner? Or Ganesh’s auspicious effect on new enterprises? Or the “discovery” by Joseph Smith of the magic plates whereon the Book of Mormon was inscribed? I thought so.”

    You don’t know me, I don’t know you. But for the record, I have great respect for Islam, having read the Koran and spent some time in the Middle East, and I’m in constant awe-filled study of Hinduism, especially it’s cycling cosmology. As for Mormonism, I find it interesting as a uniquely American religion, but I don’t find it’s history or theology very convincing.

    So what did you think, exactly? Oh, you didn’t think? You projected your reactionary bullshit onto someone you don’t know?

    That’s what I thought.

  625. #625 Owlmirror
    July 11, 2008

    It’s said that science will dehumanize people and turn them into numbers. That’s false, tragically false. Look for yourself. This is the concentration camp and crematorium at Auschwitz. This is where people were turned into numbers. Into this pond were flushed the ashes of some four million people. And that was not done by gas. It was done by arrogance, it was done by dogma, it was done by ignorance. When people believe that they have absolute knowledge, with no test in reality, this is how they behave. This is what men do when they aspire to the knowledge of gods.
    — Jacob Bronowski

  626. #626 TheGrave
    July 11, 2008

    WHAT A BUNCH OF CANNIBALS!

    1- The collage should be sued by the student.
    2- The church should be disbanded for being cannibals!
    3- Support freedom of expression – or we’re all doomed to religious censorship.
    4- I’m off to Iran to convert to a bigoted, female/homo hating Faither terrorist religion.
    5- Nuke ‘em all…..

  627. #627 Heathen Matt
    July 11, 2008

    Why not go dance on a fire ant mound, or fist a beehive, or hug a baby rhino?

    So, you basically just admitted that religion makes people as amoral and incapable of rational thought as “lower” animals.

    I seem to recall outrage from some rightwing Christians when Muslims used this excuse for rioting over the Danish cartoons: “look what you made us do! We had no choice but to go apeshit!”

  628. #628 Beep
    July 11, 2008

    It’s said that science will dehumanize people and turn them into numbers. That’s false, tragically false. Look for yourself. This is the concentration camp and crematorium at Auschwitz. This is where people were turned into numbers. Into this pond were flushed the ashes of some four million people. And that was not done by gas. It was done by arrogance, it was done by dogma, it was done by ignorance. When people believe that they have absolute knowledge, with no test in reality, this is how they behave. This is what men do when they aspire to the knowledge of gods.
    – Jacob Bronowski

    Nazism is applied biology

    - Rudolph Hess

  629. #629 Dr Benway
    July 11, 2008

    Pricilla: This is extremely hateful language by Mr. Mears and I am offended.

    As a general rule of thumb, I don’t like to offend people. But some people do need a slap. Much as it pains any of us, sometimes duty calls.

    Take, for example, murderers. I might say to a murderer, “Hey asshole, don’t kill people! Fucker!” or something like that.

    Take, for example, Catholics who threaten to kill a boy in FL for quietly walking back to his seat with the host in his hand and not in his mouth… That’s criminal threatening and deserving of at least a slap, if not some time in jail.

    Take, for example, Catholics with a strange sense of proportion – e.g., Catholics who are more upset over jokey cracker-abuse talk on a blog than they are about fellow Catholics threatening to kill a college boy in FL.

    Slap!

  630. #630 trancer
    July 11, 2008

    As others have pointed out it strange that the religious bring up Stalin and Mao and (often) Hitler as `proof’ that atheism causes murder.
    All of these people followed and were central to faith-based ideologies.
    Catholicism, Stalinism, Maoism, Pentecostalism, Islam etc. are all ideologies that are based on meritless beliefs and have one or more central figures that are venerated as gods or in a god-like manner.
    They have all resulted in needless suffering and death.

    Atheism is the non-belief in gods and it is not an ideology.

    Even if we reject the idea that some or all of these cults involve gods most of the people here have a scientific worldview. We are thinking, feeling people who reject faith-based ideologies, supernaturalism and magical thinking.
    Many of us go even further and assert that faith-based living is demonstrably foolish and unethical.

  631. #631 Beep
    July 11, 2008

    Heathen Matt:

    “Why not go dance on a fire ant mound, or fist a beehive, or hug a baby rhino?

    So, you basically just admitted that religion makes people as amoral and incapable of rational thought as “lower” animals.

    I seem to recall outrage from some rightwing Christians when Muslims used this excuse for rioting over the Danish cartoons: “look what you made us do! We had no choice but to go apeshit!”

    Matt, a good rule is to think before typing. You make a terrible debater. I hope you’re not considering politics.

    Religion, like football, vodka, and women, can make people predisposed to violence act violently.

    Religion, especially religions of peace, are supposed to help curtail those instincts. But sometimes people use the very thing that is supposed to curb their violent ways as an excuse for more violence.

    Religion, like football, vodka, and women, can make people predisposed to violence act violently.

  632. #632 NC Paul
    July 11, 2008

    Carl in AC @ #611

    Your post here illustrates the crux of this whole problem. One thing that I, as an atheist, can’t grasp is how you can so easily dismiss Islam, while holding such faith in Catholicism that you’ll regard a piece of wafer as an embodiment of a supreme being. There no more evidence for one set of beliefs than the other and the inconsistency in positions is baffling.

    I won’t pretend to speak to Prof. Myers’s motive here, but as I see it, in the case at hand, making a stand to show that a wafer is just wafer is a perfectly reasonable thing to do in the face of a truly incomprehensible conviction that this wafer is somehow so important that will drive people to wish harm on someone who doesn’t treat it with the respect a particular religious tradition demands.

    To give you some idea of how ridiculous this whole situation is – imagine a Hindu struck a holy cow at a ceremony and was threatened with harm by his fellow Hindus. Hearing of this, a professor declares that the situation to be so ridiculous that he will eat a steak in protest. Would it be right for the head of a notional Hindu League to try to harry the professor from his job in that case?

    To put it more succinctly, where do you draw the line on respect for other ideas? To the point where it limits the freedom of others?

    That the Eucharist embodies the essence f Christ is an idea – a deeply held and, for you, important idea – but an idea nonetheless. It seems to me that you think that your ideas should have the power to restrict PZ’s freedom of speech and expression simply because you believe your idea springs from a supreme being (a belief that’s entirely unsupported by evidence).

    In a free society, all ideas are fair game, even if criticism of them causes offence.

  633. #633 Bridey
    July 11, 2008

    You are in my prayers and the prayers of many other Catholics on this day. May the God you don’t believe in bless and keep you.

  634. #634 BAllanJ
    July 11, 2008

    OK, now…
    …the Eucharist is the core of the catholic church (or words to that effect)???!!!
    So, if the last supper wasn’t in the gospels then no one would have created the church. This blows me away. I thought the teachings of Jesus were the core of the church. I kinda figured the reason for the central position of the ritual in the catholic service was just because it was the easiest thing in the gospels to make a ritual out of. Not so easy to do a faith healing daily on demand, although I guess some churches do that, and 3 times on a Sunday would be harder.

    It seems weird to me that this causes more offense than PZ regularly telling them that there no god. Like god isn’t as important than the ritual (and the magic contained therein).

    BTW, I liked the story in #622 about the non-roman catholic church using the left over bread with cheese after the service. “Blessed are the cheesemakers (or manufacturers of dairy products in general)”

  635. #635 Beep
    July 11, 2008

    “As others have pointed out it strange that the religious bring up Stalin and Mao and (often) Hitler as `proof’ that atheism causes murder.
    All of these people followed and were central to faith-based ideologies.
    Catholicism, Stalinism, Maoism, Pentecostalism, Islam etc. are all ideologies that are based on meritless beliefs and have one or more central figures that are venerated as gods or in a god-like manner.
    They have all resulted in needless suffering and death.”

    Wow, two more spins of the old brain and you might have been able to put 1 and 3 together and realize that:

    - Mao, Hitler, Stalin, etc., were atheists (although Hitler was more of a pagan.)
    - The atheist societies that they attempted to create, when divested of god(s), naturally enshrined human leaders as god because
    - Humans are naturally predisposed to worship/venerate something “greater than themselves”
    be it

    a powerful man, a powerful state, a powerful idea, a powerful process

    and finally, that the scales (i.e., death rate) of religious states versus secular states (in the last 100 years) is weighted in 25 million or so skulls in favor of atheist and post-atheist states.

  636. #636 Beep
    July 11, 2008

    “Your post here illustrates the crux of this whole problem. One thing that I, as an atheist, can’t grasp is how you can so easily dismiss Islam, while holding such faith in Catholicism that you’ll regard a piece of wafer as an embodiment of a supreme being. There no more evidence for one set of beliefs than the other and the inconsistency in positions is baffling.”

    I can see why your baffled. It’s not like there are thousands of years of scholarship and theological texts explaining the different faith traditions, or that they are readily available at your local library or anything.

  637. #637 NC Paul
    July 11, 2008

    Beep @#636: Courtier’s Reply.

  638. #638 Beep
    July 11, 2008

    NC Paul:

    My ass.

  639. #639 ArwenEvenstar
    July 11, 2008

    the DISEASE of LIBERALISM has become diarrhea of the mouth for the author and most of those posting here… I am ashamed to even tell anyone I was born in Minnesota… I always thought Minnesotans were salt of the earth people that would never think of torturing or making fun of someone’s belief (you idiots voted in Osama’s cousin as your representative – ellison)… SHAME ON ALL OF YOU

  640. #640 Vince
    July 11, 2008

    Myers and a lot of the people on this forum are pretty disgusting and hateful of Catholic people.

    Okay, so you don’t understand the sanctity of the Eucharist, and think any one who believes in this thing you do not understand are stupid “and petty and hateful.” As a Catholic who does understand the Eucharist and its primacy to the Mass, I also find the attack on this disrespectful idiot who took it out of the church a way over the top reaction.

    So there. Can I still be considered a reasonable, level-headed guy who believes in science too? Can I join the cool kids’ club? Or do I have to get my kicks ridiculing every one of the millions of Catholic across the globe, and its clergy, to prove my bona fides?

    I particularly find hateful – and ignorant – Myers’ attack on those “grim nuns,” who supposedly, in his world, guard the Eucharist.

    My mother recently passed away at a ripe old age. She was old and infirmed, and as people get at that point, totally dependent and stinky and difficult to be around. My mother was brought in by the Carmelite nuns, a Catholic order dedicated to healthcare, particularly for the aged and infirmed. Our family could not have dreamed of more devoted, kind, competent care for my mother in her last years.

    These nuns, who have given everything away in their lives to dedicate themselves to some of the most unpraised but important work, treated my mother with respect, dignity, compassion and love. They were there to comfort her from the difficult moment she left her own home and independence and were there to comfort her at her bedside.

    These nuns are anything but “grim,” and instead are joyful and loving and kind. Some of them have a great sense of humor too. And they would never act hatefully even to Myers or others who go out of their way to be as hateful and hurtful to them as he and so many on this forum have. They would draw on their own well of compassion for you, and say a prayer for you sad, shallow people.

  641. #641 Mel
    July 11, 2008

    #634 — Well, it wasn’t always cheese–whatever people brought, really. But it was usually a pretty good potluck (better than donuts and coffee).

    I miss the community of that church a whole lot more than I miss religion (anyone was welcome to Communion, also, not just people who’d been baptized Catholic).

    #633 — Personally, despite being agnostic, I always welcome the prayers and positive energy of others. But I’m not sure that prayer offered in a condescending “See, we’re better people than you” tone qualifies as positive energy. Plus I kind of think it’s polite to ask if people not of your faith mind before you go praying for them, but I suppose that “respecting other beliefs” the way you want yours respected is just too much to ask.

  642. #642 Dr Benway
    July 11, 2008

    Everyone in my family is Catholic. I’m the only infidel. And although I can imagine any of them explaining why we treat the consecrated host as something special, I can’t imagine any of them being so literal-minded as to threaten to kill someone for a lack of reverence.

    A bus is about to hit a puppy. You’re holding a sacred host in your hand. Do you drop it to rescue the puppy or not?

    The Catholics I know would drop the cracker and save the dog. They’d figure God would understand. They’re fecking humans.

    I don’t recognize the Catholics here, srsly. These guys are more like Falwell and his ilk.

  643. #643 Mel
    July 11, 2008

    Vince–I’m with you on the nun-stereotyping. The nuns at my high school were some of the most awesome, funny people I’ve known, and clearly it agreed with them, because they were also freakishly youthful. And they were open-minded enough to let the theatre department have basically free reign–even to Greek tragedy–which cannot be said for most public schools.

    But I confess–and perhaps it’s that my background was not Roman and I’m used to bread (which doesn’t keep until next week, and which I can’t see the holiness in wasting)–I don’t quite see why taking the Eucharist out of the church is so offensive. What is done with all the blessed wafers not given out? Must they be specially destroyed? Are they reused?

  644. #644 Owlmirror
    July 11, 2008

    Beep wrote:

    Nazism is applied biology
    - Rudolph Hess

    O RLY?

    “I have followed [the Church] in giving our party program the character of unalterable finality, like the Creed. The Church has never allowed the Creed to be interfered with. It is fifteen hundred years since it was formulated, but every suggestion for its amendment, every logical criticism, or attack on it, has been rejected. The Church has realized that anything and everything can be built up on a document of that sort, no matter how contradictory or irreconcilable with it. The faithful will swallow it whole, so long as logical reasoning is never allowed to be brought to bear on it.”
    — Adolf Hitler

    and:

    “I am now as before a Catholic and will always remain so”
    — Adolf Hitler

  645. #645 Heathen Matt
    July 11, 2008

    I’m as skeptical as anyone…

    [I seriously doubt that...after all you believe in a magical snack food]

    …and I guarantee you that my philosophical inquiries have taken me to places that you’d run away screaming from.

    Why do the religiosos always assume that skeptics haven’t read widely in their favorite mythology, and are just as much familiar with the texts as they are (if not more so). I’ll put my knowledge of comparative mythology (including that of the Christians) up against your allegedly deep and wide erudition in a pissing match any day, “Beep”. Have you read the Gospels in the original Greek? Have you learned Arabic and read the Qur’an in the original? I have. What “philosophical inquiries” do you think I’d be afraid of? Wanker.]

    So spare me your recycled skepticism.

    [What makes you think your alleged reading and inquiries are so deep and original, and mine are just second-hand? Talk about arrogant. I could just as easily say "spare me your recycled orthodox bullshit", and I'd be far more justified in doing so: I don't see any evidence in anything you've dumped here of any exposure to facts or theories that would in any way challenge your received convictions.]

    I’d rather read Voltaire than “Heathen Matt.”

    [So would I if it came to that, and I'd certainly rather read him or G.K. Chesterton than you. But neither of them are posting comments here, are they? You certainly seem engaged in responding to everyone who ridicules you here, though. If we're so boring, please, go away. Nobody will miss you.]

    Matt, a good rule is to think before typing. You make a terrible debater. I hope you’re not considering politics.

    [You, on the other hand, are a Master Debater.]

    Religion, especially religions of peace, are supposed to help curtail those instincts. But sometimes people use the very thing that is supposed to curb their violent ways as an excuse for more violence.

    You just repeated my point, only more stupidly and with more words.

  646. #646 NC Paul
    July 11, 2008

    #638 Well, you can’t argue with that. I’m overthrown by your knowledge, wit and gluteal expansiveness, and I withdraw to weep, gnash teeth etc.

  647. #647 Bill
    July 11, 2008

    For years I have wanted to make a video in the style of one of those 1950′s education films (with the narrator, corny music and bad writing) about how communion wafers are made. I’ve gotten as far as the title: “A Visit to the Cracker Factory.” I think it would be marvelous to watch these “special” wafers be manufactured by the thousands, ingredients mixed by machines in huge batches, dough rolled and stamped, crackers sent down conveyor belts, packaged and boxed automatically and boxes moved around by forklift, soon to be shipped to A CHURCH NEAR YOU.

    Nothing turns something special into something ordinary like watching it be mass produced. Plus, I love just about every “visit to the factory” segment of just about any show I’ve ever watched. Wallboard, ice cream sandwiches, bread, baseball bats, or whatever else they want to show me. I love it all.

  648. #648 Dr. Glen
    July 11, 2008

    I believe that both sides of this issue have completely and totally lost their minds. I am catholic. Desecration of the Eucharist to a catholic is equal to someone burning the American Flag. It may be your belief that what the flag stands for is not just but Americans are going to defend our flag and country because it is ours and expect all others to respect it. You do not have to believe in the Eucharist but there is no reason to desecrate it. Catholics should uphold it’s holiness, but for such a commotion over it like this; do we not have more important things to waste our time on? Have all of you; both sides; gone completely mad?

  649. #649 Dr Benway
    July 11, 2008

    Dr. Glen, I reject your “both sides” statement. One side went nuts and issued death threats. The other side threatened a cracker in response.

  650. #650 qbsmd
    July 11, 2008

    qbsmd,

    I’m curious – why did you quote me in your post at #492? I’m not complaining, but i am wondering what you’re getting at.

    Posted by: Wowbagger

    Failure to proofread. I was going to make a different comment related to that quote, decided it was dumb, and accidentally included it in that post.

  651. #651 Owlmirror
    July 11, 2008

    I always thought Minnesotans were salt of the earth people that would never think of torturing or making fun of someone’s belief

    You mean like calling liberalism a disease, and diarrhea, and lying about who a particular Representative is related to?

    Yes, please don’t tell anyone that you’re from Minnesota. In fact, don’t tell anyone that you’re a sane human being.

  652. #652 Greg
    July 11, 2008

    Quit calling it a cracker, its a wafer, a fucking flat, dry wafer. And to us Catholics, its the actual, honest to God, body of Christ. Of course, for all the years I went to mass, and for all the times I went to Communion, many were the times when my young mind couldn’t help but wonder, what actual part of Christ’s body was I given to eat. Maybe that’s why I had such a hard time swallowing the Eucharist on any given day.

  653. #653 Owlmirror
    July 11, 2008

    Quit calling it a cracker, its a wafer, a fucking flat, dry wafer. And to us Catholics, its the actual, honest to God, body of Christ.

    (emphasis mine)

    I always enjoy the juxtaposition of true belief and the most physically crude obscenity.

    It’s like people almost know that it isn’t something to be taken seriously. They’re just right there at the border, and it just slips out unconsciously…

    And then they pull back, and say “No, no, it’s not make-believe. It’s the most important thing in the world! Really!”

    Come on. Take the plunge. Admit it’s all just pretend.

  654. #654 windy
    July 11, 2008

    I’d rather read Voltaire than “Heathen Matt.”

    The Voltaire who was fond of saying “Écraser l’infâme!”? Hmm, I wonder what he meant by that? Probably nothing as rude and disrespectful as “Crush the crackers!”

    (Seriously. Invoking Voltaire while arguing that we should not ridicule Catholic dogma: HISTORIC FAIL)

  655. #655 Norm
    July 11, 2008

    “Atheism is a waste of existence, simply because the purpose of human existence is to know God–our Creator.”

    How about: Mono-theism is a waste of existence, simply because to know one God would not fulfill the human need to know that there is a party of gods in heaven. Like anything on earth, things are created by a team of people, so why would the world not be created by a team of Gods? Zeus, Thor, Oden, Yaweh, Allah and of course GOD.

    Another brainwashed dumb dogmatic idiot.

    Use your brain and read: http://www.godisimaginary.com/

    Hopefully I have saved you from wasting your life and snapped you out of you holy trace.

  656. #656 LWJ
    July 11, 2008

    http://www.google.co.uk/search?q=christ+died+for+our+dunkin+donuts

    This is all I could think of when your story came out.

  657. #657 Owlmirror
    July 11, 2008

    (Seriously. Invoking Voltaire while arguing that we should not ridicule Catholic dogma: HISTORIC FAIL)

    WIN!

    “Écrasez l’infâme!”

  658. #658 Priscilla
    July 11, 2008

    Dr.Benway appears to be slapping a strawman. I don’t think he felt anything!

    Are there any Catholics here who feel physical threats are legitimate and be overlooked when dealing with the Eucharist?
    That would be opposing the Eucharist they are protecting!
    Nobody is condoning physical threats!

    My argument isn’t whether or not the Eucharist is more important then another human beings protection.

    It is about the blatant disrespect Mr Myers (I spelled it correctly this time even though nobody here seem to be able to spell my name) has shown to the Catholic Community by proposing his intention to take what they consider to be God present to us, from OUR Church and publish his desecration. This is hateful. To deny this is insane.

    It doesn’t matter what he believes about the Eucharist. Who cares! Any threats to him or the person in Florida should be legally addressed, but they do not justify Mr Myers behavior toward the Catholic Community.

    If you choose to try to slap me Dr. Benway, I shall turn the other cheek.

  659. #659 Jennifer (Et Tu?)
    July 11, 2008

    If it’s true that he is getting death threats, that is way out of line. But I don’t really understand where the vitriol is coming from. Religion is important to people. For many, of us is the very center of our lives, and it’s deeply distressing when we see that which is sacred to us profaned. Maybe we’re simple people, maybe we’re fooling ourselves, maybe we’re just plain stupid…but perhaps you could have some pity on us?

    “But will instead treat it with profound disrespect and heinous cracker abuse, all photographed and presented here on the web.”

    I’m not sure I understand what this would accomplish, other than making fun of us.

  660. #660 StuV
    July 11, 2008

    If you choose to try to slap me Dr. Benway, I shall turn the other cheek.

    Paging Dr. Freud…. paging Dr. Freud…

  661. #661 Owlmirror
    July 11, 2008

    More à propos Voltaire quotes:

    “Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.”

    “Doubt is not an agreeable condition, but certainty is an absurd one”

    “To pray to God is to flatter oneself that with words one can alter nature.”

    “It is dangerous to be right in matters where established men are wrong.”

  662. #662 TheoMobius
    July 11, 2008

    Seriously people. Show some respect.

    PZ is one of the leading biologists in the entire University of Minnesota, Morris.

  663. #663 Owlmirror
    July 11, 2008

    Religion is important to people. For many, of us is the very center of our lives, and it’s deeply distressing when we see that which is sacred to us profaned. Maybe we’re simple people, maybe we’re fooling ourselves, maybe we’re just plain stupid…but perhaps you could have some pity on us?

    The mockery does arise from pity.

    It is a pity to see people fooling themselves.

    It is a pity to see people thinking that beliefs indistinguishable from superstition are “sacred”.

    It is a pity that people become emotionally invested in their beliefs to the point where they feel distress when those beliefs are called nonsense and are publicly mocked.

    It is a pity that people make believe that they know something, and then make believe that they’re not making believe.

  664. #664 khan
    July 11, 2008

    There is nothing worse to a Catholic than to desecrate a Consecrated host for you are violating Jesus himself.

    Desecrating a Consecrated host is worse than rape torture murder…

    Is there some reason Jesus(tm) can’t protect himself?

    There is great power in a Consecrated host this is why Satanists try to take these from our churches and why we are so cautious about anyone doing this.

    If there is such “great power” in a biscuit, wouldn’t it harm the “Satanist” to even touch it?

    This is not something to trivialize.

    Biscuit Worship(tm) should be trivialized.

  665. #665 dondo
    July 11, 2008

    My email to President Bruininks:

    =======================

    I am dismayed with the flippant and disrespectful attitude that Mr. Myers displays in his post regarding the smuggling of the Eucharist. I respect his disbelief in God and consequent position that the Eucharist is, well, just a cracker. As it turns out, I agree with him. But that’s not the point; I also respect the belief of others, even when I disagree with them. Mr. Myers would benefit from learning that the path to understanding is lined with courtesy.

    That said, I think that disciplinary action is unwarranted. Yes, his words were disrespectful, but they were honest and provocative. Frightening ideas are thought provoking, but because they are scary they are instead dismissed as provocative. Fearless devotion to ideas is the paragon of science, and Mr. Myers has shown himself above everything else to be an unapologetic scientist.

    You should be proud to have him on your staff.

  666. #666 Dr Benway
    July 11, 2008

    If it’s true that he is getting death threats, that is way out of line. But I don’t really understand where the vitriol is coming from.

    The insane threats, basically. Without the threats, I’d have been sympathetic to the Catholics rather than the kid.

    Freaking out about satire and ridicule –orders of magnitude less damaging than trying to get someone fired or killed –kinda reinforces the above.

    What do you guys want, fake respect for all religious beliefs and practices, no matter what?

    Beware what you wish for.

  667. #667 Heathen Matt
    July 11, 2008

    Seriously people. Show some respect.

    PZ is one of the leading biologists in the entire University of Minnesota, Morris.

    And TheoMobius is Who the Fuck, Exactly? (And why should we care?)

    Pharyngula is only one of the most visited science blogs on the planet, that’s all…

  668. #668 khan
    July 11, 2008

    or torturing animals outside of PETA headquarters

    Fuck with my cat, and I’ll cut out your liver and feed it to the raccoons.

  669. #669 Dr Benway
    July 11, 2008

    Pricilla: Are there any Catholics here who feel physical threats are legitimate and be overlooked when dealing with the Eucharist? That would be opposing the Eucharist they are protecting!

    So you and Myers agree: threatening the Eucharist is not nearly so outrageous as threatening a human being.

    Glad there’s now a meeting of the minds.

  670. #670 Callahan
    July 11, 2008

    PZ and the rest of you, I say this as an atheist who loathes the Christian right: you are way the fuck out of line. I don’t give a goddamn where you teach, where you blog or how many degrees you have. It is disrespectful assholes like you that give the right all the fuel it needs to play the persecution card.

    The point isn’t and never was to destroy religion, though it will be a fine day when it’s finally gone the way of the dodo. The point is to maintain a secular state and a respectfully “secular” society. That’s it. When you stand up for secularism in the political/scientific/educational, it’s the battle of the righteous. But you when start mocking the religious for their beliefs in their own homes, churches, you’re taking the battle outside the public sphere – and you’re asking for a swift and richly-deserved kick in the nuts from Dobson and whoever else. You’re saying, “Fuck civility.” Well, fuck you too then.

    Does this garbage represent the peak of science-minded opinion? Christ, it’s blog posts like this that almost make me hope the Christianists win.

  671. #671 StuV
    July 11, 2008

    Ah, I love the smell of concern troll in the morning.

    Callahan: who the hell died and made you the judge?

  672. #672 Callahan
    July 11, 2008

    Nobody needed to die to make me the judge. As a sentient rational actor, I judge out of my own volition. As do the rest of you.

  673. #673 Airtightnoodle
    July 11, 2008

    Out of all the things one could do to a eucharist if one wanted to insult the Catholic church, smuggling one hardly seems to be the worst.

    And what will they do with the recovered eucharist anyway???

  674. So this is what the grand atheist cause has been reduced to? Isn’t burning/stabbing/urinating/[enter desecration of choice] a consecrated communion wafer on camera to post on the internet something you would expect of a petulant, rebel-without-a-clue teenager instead of a doctor of science at a major research university?

    Perhaps Dr. Myers will enjoy himself, but does he really think he is enhancing his status in discussions of matters of faith and science among people of good will? Or is that the point, that there can be no good will of atheists toward religious people? Or that there can only be good will toward religious people as long as they a) keep their faith in the tiny little box that secularism allows, b) not let that faith be a factor in any decision that atheists don’t agree with, and c) keep their mouths shut when atheists insult, belittle, misrepresent, and slander them and their beliefs, in public, up to and including this childish little exercise by Dr. Myers?

  675. #675 Rob Sterling
    July 11, 2008

    Wow, PZ. You’re an asshole. You’re an unmitigated, condescending asshole.

    I’m an atheist, raised Catholic, and it doesn’t bother me in the least that Catholics place such importance on the communion wafer. Why does it bother you? Why does it concern you? The punk you’re defending went into a religious service and did his best to cheapen it. Like you, he is a condescending asshole.

    He’s not a victim of anything: if he hadn’t gone looking for trouble, it wouldn’t have found him. You’re not a victim, you self-absorbed clown, you’ve deliberately poked people in the eye and they responded in kind.

    Mind your own business. Don’t be a jerk.

  676. #676 Owlmirror
    July 11, 2008

    I thought it went more like the Catholic League et al. saying “Fuck civility”, and PZ saying “Well, alrighty then!”

  677. #677 Callahan
    July 11, 2008

    [i]I thought it went more like the Catholic League et al. saying “Fuck civility”, and PZ saying “Well, alrighty then!”[/i]

    So Myers, man of science, is no different from the Catholic League. Is that really what you want to argue?

  678. #678 Ray S.
    July 11, 2008

    I can only be fair. If you want me to respect your religious beliefs, I feel I must accord the same level of respect to anyone’s beliefs. Unfortunately that leads to paralysis as there is little anymore that doesn’t offend someone. Do you really expect anyone to respect Catholicism the same as Fred Phelps (or vice versa)? Is there no religion out there that you don’t find a least a little crazy? If not, why do you stay in the one you’re in? Is it just convenience or possibly emotional baggage?

    Since the respect everything plan won’t work, you can expect me to mock anything that comes along that I find worthy of mocking. I’ll happily mock Scientology, Islam, Judaism or anything else that presents itself. A few Catholics are up right now, but somebody else will rate a turn soon. And I say a few because despite claims to the contrary, I don’t think all Catholics are really in solidarity over the level of outrage shown. Death threats seem a bit extreme don’t they? If not, surely you think the Muslims should have executed the young teacher for her heinous crime of misnaming a teddy bear, right?

  679. #679 Callahan
    July 11, 2008

    Point is: you’re free to be an asshole, but you’re helping no one by doing so. Enjoy your little blog.

  680. #680 Priscilla
    July 11, 2008

    Actually Dr. Benway we do not agree! I consider physical threats to be atrocious. Unlike you and Mr. Myers I also consider attacking what I, and billions of other Catholics, believe to be God, by public threat of desecration to be just as atrocious!

    There is no meeting of the minds here. Just blatant disrespectful intolerance. To come into our territory, take what we consider sacred for the purpose of hurting our community is hateful behavior that demands condemnation. Instead you criticize those whom Mr Meyers has hurt. If you hurt me does that mean I have the right to hurt your whole family? You would justify that?
    Never!
    Don’t be a hypocrite. If your criticizing those who threatened Mr. Meyers, then should also criticize Mr. Meyers threatening our Catholic Community! It is unjustifiable!

  681. #681 Owlmirror
    July 11, 2008

    So Myers, man of science, is no different from the Catholic League. Is that really what you want to argue?

    No. That’s what you want to argue.

  682. #682 Danielle
    July 11, 2008

    WITH Mary Immaculate, let us Adore, thank, implore and console the Most Beloved and Sacred Heart of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.

    O DIVINE JESUS! lonely tonight in so many Tabernacles, without visitor or worshipper . . . I offer Thee my poor heart. May its every throb be an act of Love for Thee! Thou art always watching beneath the Sacramental Veils, in Thy Love Thou dost never sleep and Thou art never weary of Thy vigil for sinners. O lonely Jesus! May the flame of my heart burn and beam always in company with Thee. O Sacrament most Holy! O Sacrament Divine! All praise and all thanksgiving be every moment Thine!

    Praise be Jesus Christ. Ever present in all the Catholic tabernacles of the world!

  683. #683 Owlmirror
    July 11, 2008

    I consider physical threats to be atrocious. Unlike you and Mr. Myers I also consider attacking what I, and billions of other Catholics, believe to be God, by public threat of desecration to be just as atrocious!

    And that is insane.

    Threatening a person is evil, because people are real.

    Threatening a God is not evil, because God is not real.

    And, just on the off chance that God were real, threatening God would be literally impossible. It would be like threatening the Local Group of galaxies. It’s completely absurd.

    If your criticizing those who threatened Mr. Meyers, then should also criticize Mr. Meyers threatening our Catholic Community!

    He didn’t threaten your community.

    He threatened a cracker.

  684. #684 khan
    July 11, 2008

    Blessed art thou among women
    And blessed is the Fruit of the Loom

  685. #685 Heathen Matt
    July 11, 2008

    Callahan, we’re supposed to be civil, timid, meek and mild, and take whatever shit the Christian Right dishes out to us, smile and say, “more, please”? Granted, that would make us more ‘Christian’ than the Christianists, but that actually is the way most atheists have historically behaved. Believers are welcome to get in our faces as much as they like, but ‘Heaven’ forfend if we respond in kind.

    Unbelievers have been reviled and discriminated against for a long time. Your strategy would gain nothing but more contempt and the conviction that we won’t stand up for ourselves. Well, no more.

  686. #686 Priscilla
    July 11, 2008

    “He didn’t threaten your community.
    He threatened a cracker.”

    Thank you for reiterating my point Owlmirror.

    Mr. Meyers doesn’t consider the Eucharist to be God but a cracker, so his threats are not directed at God or at a cracker, but at hurting the community! A direct attack on the Catholic Church and all believers including me.

  687. #687 Callahan
    July 11, 2008

    One heathen Matt to another Heathen Matt: honestly, all you and Myers are doing is making us all look like shrill little pricks to reasonable people. I am guessing you believe that we’ll be reviled no matter how we behave – so why try to maintain a modicum of civility? How about for the sake of pluralism, decency, and self-respect, eh?

    Priscilla – Apologies on behalf of my less-than-enlightened brethren. Please don’t think that all atheists are disrespectful punks and whiny little children. I’ve got no quarrel with your faith.

  688. #688 Owlmirror
    July 11, 2008

    Mr. Meyers doesn’t consider the Eucharist to be God but a cracker, so his threats are not directed at God or at a cracker, but at hurting the community!

    No, his threats are directed at the cracker.

    The community needs to understand that God cannot be hurt, and therefore the community should not be hurt.

    If even one Catholic sees the cracker being smooshed and has the sudden insight that God can’t possibly be in that cracker to be hurt, it will be worth it as a teaching experience.

  689. #689 Priscilla
    July 11, 2008

    Owlmirror it really doesn’t matter what you believe about the Eucharist and you should not care what I believe.

    What right do you have to force your beliefs down my throat? You don’t want anyone doing that to you, so please show the same respect for others.

    I realize this is not the behavior of all non-believers and no apology is necessary from Callahan although I do appreciate the good gesture. To bad Mr. Meyers does not have your ability to respect others!

  690. #690 Heathen Matt
    July 11, 2008

    Other Heathen Matt (Callahan),

    We actually don’t go around being deliberately hurtful to others; I have Catholic friends who are wonderful, kind, thoughtful people, and I don’t go out of my way to force my beliefs on them (one big difference with the Unco-Religious, right there–they tend to proselytize, we generally don’t), or to belittle their faith. I get along with people of all different beliefs; it’s only when I’m attacked or discriminated against that I get riled up. If someone’s beliefs are infringing my rights, I stand up for myself; otherwise, I really don’t care what they believe. The Christian Right is working day and night to make this a theocracy, though, and it is our duty to oppose them. Making nicey-nice with them will not stop them; already the military has been largely taken over by fundamentalist Christianists. (Don’t believe me, head over to Ed Brayton’s blog, Dispatches from the Culture Wars; he keeps close tabs on developments like that.)

    I am guessing you believe that we’ll be reviled no matter how we behave – so why try to maintain a modicum of civility? How about for the sake of pluralism, decency, and self-respect, eh?

    Sounds good. I’m all for pluralism. (See paragraph #1, above.) When we’re threatened with death, injury and the loss of livelihood, though it’s hard keep smiling and nodding. We didn’t start this culture war, and there are some out there who resent our very existence.

  691. #691 Priscilla
    July 11, 2008

    Heathen Matt,
    I would like to clarify that I am not out proselytizing. If you want to be an atheist thats your choice. Its a free country.

    I’m only voicing my opinion because the Catholic Community has been threatened by Mr. Meyers who want to take what we consider to be God, from our Churches and publicly desecrate it.

    I don’t know about the culture war your referring to, I respect your rights to believe as you wish. But this attack on my faith demands my attention as a Catholic. I was just minding my own business when Mr. Meyers made these public threats.

  692. #692 Owlmirror
    July 11, 2008

    What right do you have to force your beliefs down my throat? You don’t want anyone doing that to you, so please show the same respect for others.

    Yet you are shoving your beliefs down other people’s throats.

    If you weren’t, you would not be demanding that Professor Myers (and everyone else) show respect to the cracker.

    Where is your respect for atheism?

  693. #693 George Arrndt
    July 11, 2008

    Donahue tried to downplay the abuse of alter boys. And I wonder how many of those “decent, upstanding” Catholic parishioners are secretly drug addicts or alcoholics, cheat on their wives or abuse their children. But, somebody steals the communion “cracker”, an act that hurts no one and everybody gets so bent out of shape. We, as a species, put way too much emphasis on “sacred” artifacts.

    Getting death threats over something like this is no different than those than the outrage over desecrating the Koran.

    I’ve never been militant in my non-belief, but this makes my blood boil.

    07/11/08

    profiles.yahoo.com/curiousgemini25

  694. #694 Priscilla
    July 11, 2008

    Are you for real Owlmirror?

    How am I demanding Mr. Myers show respect for the Eucharist by asking him to retract threats to come and desecrate it? I’m asking Mr. Myers to respect my right and the Catholic Communities right to belief what we choose about the Eucharist and keep his hands off.

    Your statements are ridiculous. I’m not the one forcing my way into his business trying to take things from a community he belongs to in order to teach him a lesson or force my beliefs on him.

  695. #695 Harry R. Sohl
    July 11, 2008

    Footprint in the Sand

    I said “Lord, you said that once I decided to follow you, you would walk with me all the way. But I have noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life, there is only one set of footprints in the sand. I don’t understand why when I needed you most you would leave me.”

    And Jesus replied, “Didn’t you see the crumbs? There’s cracker crumbs all over the friggin’ place.”

  696. #696 Owlmirror
    July 11, 2008

    How am I demanding Mr. Myers show respect for the Eucharist by asking him to retract threats to come and desecrate it?

    By doing exactly that.

    Look, if some Jews pointed out that you’re desecrating the Sabbath by driving a car or cooking on Saturday, they’re pointing out a difference in religious beliefs.

    However, if they ask you to stop driving and cooking on Saturday, they’re demanding that you respect the Sabbath.

    See? Just like you’re asking that the Eucharist not be desecrated.

    I’m asking Mr. Myers to respect my right and the Catholic Communities right to belief what we choose about the Eucharist and keep his hands off.

    He’s not going to grab the Eucharist from your hands, you know.

    And you do indeed have the right to your belief about the Eucharist, and to demonstrate that right in your churches.

    And he has the right to believe that your belief about the Eucharist is insane, and while you can keep on believing it, he’s asserting that he has the right to demonstrate his lack of belief about the Eucharist, on his own property or in public.

    I’m not the one forcing my way into his business trying to take things from a community he belongs to in order to teach him a lesson or force my beliefs on him.

    Yes, you are. You’re doing it right now with these very comments.

  697. #697 TheoMobius
    July 11, 2008

    LOL @ University of Minnesota, Morris.

    Why don’t we ask the ESL teacher at the local community college to weigh in too?

  698. #698 Dr Benway
    July 11, 2008

    Pricilla: What right do you have to force your beliefs down my throat? You don’t want anyone doing that to you, so please show the same respect for others.

    Beliefs or claims about the world fall into three categories: yours, mine, and ours. You decide yours; I decide mine. For any claim that I want to be “ours” I extend to your the right to double what I say. I expect you to return the favor.

    Claims that are merely “yours” or “mine” cannot be given the same level of shared confidence as “ours.” They are more like matters of personal preference or taste than facts.

    You claim a cracker becomes God. Yet you cannot provide me with a means to corroborate this claim. Thus it is not “ours.” It’s yours alone.

    I only need to respect your personal preferences to a certain degree – the same degree to which you ought to respect my taste in hot sauce, perhaps.

  699. #699 Dr Benway
    July 11, 2008

    Me typos much.

    I meant to say, “For any claim that I want to be ‘ours’, I extend to you the right to double-check what I say.”

  700. #700 Priscilla
    July 11, 2008

    I completely agree with you about your beliefs, my beliefs and our beliefs being different. I do not care what others wish to believe. We will not have shared beliefs in some areas.
    But to come into my church with a disrespect for what I believe, take what my community has in communion for the purpose of desecrating it to make fun of my community for what we hold to be sacred is an outright attack on my faith. If you want to smash crackers at home that is your perogative, but to take something sacred from us to hurt us with is disrespectful no matter how hard you try to sugarcoat it.
    Believe its a cracker for all I care but keep your beliefs outside our doors. Don’t come in and try to force it on us.
    Thats the difference. Thats the problem with Mr. Myers.

  701. #701 Ichthyic
    July 11, 2008

    IA direct attack on the Catholic Church and all believers including me.

    no, it literally IS an “attack” on a cracker.

    It’s YOU who choose to interpret it as an attack on yourself and your fellow delusionauts.

    which is the point, actually.

    you’re delusional for transferring an attack on a cracker to yourself.

  702. #702 TheoMobius
    July 11, 2008

    Dr. Benway,

    This sounds clever when you say it:

    “I only need to respect your personal preferences to a certain degree – the same degree to which you ought to respect my taste in hot sauce, perhaps.”

    But do you really think that’s true? I think the key difference between hot sauce and religion is that people feel much stronger emotions about religion than they do about hot sauce (most people I mean — personally I hate hot sauce and have no opinion about religion). In fact, most religious people I know love their religion and most of the religious people I know who are Christians love Jesus.

    I think a better comparison than hot sauce, then, would be something else that inspires love in people. Ugly babies, perhaps. I can see my best friend’s baby. I know it’s ugly as shit. Yet I also know he loves the baby so I figure, what the hell, why point out the obvious if it’s going to hurt his feelings and cost me a friend? Similarly, why point out the obvious about Jesus and crackers when someone clearly loves Jesus and believes Jesus is a cracker?

    What I mean to say is, who gives a fuck?

    Why go out of your way to hurt someone’s feelings when they haven’t done anything to hurt yours?

    The only explanation I can come up with is that there isn’t an awful lot of actual science being done at the esteemed University of Minnesota, Morris and most people who end up as Associate Professors of Biology there probably wish they were Associate Professors of Biology somewhere else. Hence the chip on the shoulder and the exaggerated need to look like standard-bearers for rationalism.

  703. #703 Ichthyic
    July 11, 2008

    Believe its a cracker for all I care but keep your beliefs outside our doors.

    Show me where Myers intends to “invade” your church, and proselytize atheism within it. I’ll save you the trouble:

    nowhere.

    or do you think your “doors” enclose the whole world?

    again, that’s rather the problem with delusionauts such as yourself.

    you project your delusions outwards from yourselves, and fail to realize you are doing so.

    as for Catholics who actually recognize that holding a cracker as sacred is more than a bit delusional, I give you another of your fellow catholics, who posted to the first thread on this whole affair:

    Ok, this is craziness. I’m Catholic, and when I first read the story, I thought “Yeah, that guy was a bit rude for just taking the Eucharist like that”, and that was it. No death threats. No calls for people to be fired. No demands to have the host back (for what reason?? There are stacks and stacks of them in any church!!). Just a bit of a headshake, and that’s it. Why people are making such a huge deal about this, I have no idea. They’ve got nothing else on the go I suppose. It stories like this that don’t make me feel great about my beliefs at all. I don’t always agree with what your blog says when it comes to religion, but this time, I do.

    Posted by: Josh | July 10, 2008 5:14 PM

    so, will you try and have Josh excommunicated because he realizes your, and the position of Donowhore, is in fact delusional?

  704. #704 Ichthyic
    July 11, 2008

    Why go out of your way to hurt someone’s feelings when they haven’t done anything to hurt yours?

    the question really is:

    WHY are your “feelings” hurt by someone laughing about a cracker?

    again, I refer you to another catholic (posted just above), whose own opinions on the issue are pretty clear.

    it matters not whether someone has personally vested themselves in something completely irrational. It shouldn’t stop someone from pointing that out.

    what if you had decided, personally, that food without hotsauce simply shouldn’t be eaten.

    If someone laughed at you for that, and demonstrated the silliness of it by eating food with hotsauce all over it, should we all really be concerned if that hurts your feelings?

    I think not.

  705. #705 Ichthyic
    July 11, 2008

    correction:

    what if you had decided, personally, that food without hotsauce simply shouldn’t be eaten.

  706. #706 Ichthyic
    July 11, 2008

    Why go out of your way to hurt someone’s feelings when they haven’t done anything to hurt yours?

    I also think you are missing something here:

    this response was prompted by someone literally being assaulted, and having threats leveled their way because they took a cracker home.

    MOST Americans find that kind of response completely offensive, and intolerable in normal society.

    so tell me, who went out of their way to hurt whos feelings again?

    you’re projecting.

    stop it.

  707. #707 TheoMobius
    July 11, 2008

    I don’t think you understood my point, Ichthyic. I’m not offended by it. I don’t care. Make fun of crackers all you want. Make fund of Jesus all you want. Jesus is a big dumb cracker. See, I can do it too.

    My point is, the hotsauce analogy is not a good one. The ugly children analogy is better. Technically, a parent is wrong to think his ugly child is beautiful. Do you point that out too when you see it? Why not?

  708. #708 Ichthyic
    July 11, 2008

    to clarify, by “this response”, I of course meant PZ’s.

  709. #709 Priscilla
    July 11, 2008

    Mr. Myers needs a consecrated host from our church in order to desecrate it. He asked for someone to get him one. He wants somebody to go into our community with disrespect for our beliefs and our purpose of the Eucharist and take the Eucharist from our church back to his in order to desecrate it so that he can hurt our community.
    If its just a cracker and he doesn’t have the intent to hurt our community then why not consecrate his own cracker and then do what he want to it. But no, Mr. Myers want to take it from us so that we know it is from us because he wants to hurt our community.

    That is an attack. Shouldn’t religions in our country feel free to exercise their beliefs without having to be concerned someone who doesn’t like our beliefs is going to come in the midst of our community and take what we hold sacred to make fun of us and hurt us? Isn’t that what freedom of religion is all about? Don’t you want the same respect for your own beliefs?

  710. #710 Ichthyic
    July 11, 2008

    MOST Americans find that kind of response completely offensive, and intolerable in normal society.

    and by “that” I meant the response to Cook, consisting of assaults and threats.

    My point is, the hotsauce analogy is not a good one.

    actually it, is, but you’re being dishonest in saying that what I was addressing out of your post (twice, no less) is even related to that analogy.

    Technically, a parent is wrong to think his ugly child is beautiful.

    nope. not technically. you appear to not understand what “technically” means. In fact, it is suppositional and entirely dependent. which makes it a very poor analogy to use.

    not that, again, it has any relevance to the issue of:

    Why go out of your way to hurt someone’s feelings when they haven’t done anything to hurt yours?

    which is what I addressed in responding to your post.

  711. #711 Dr Benway
    July 11, 2008

    TheoMobius: I think the key difference between hot sauce and religion is that people feel much stronger emotions about religion than they do about hot sauce.

    People are passionate about many things. I know people who become hurt if you roll your eyes over their taste in music.

    But only with religion are we required to respect that which we do not feel, experience, or believe. This can’t be justified. Our understanding of the world has come to far for this kind of argument from authority.

    For claims to be real and compelling, they must be corroborated. This holds true for all claims, religious or otherwise.

    We are under no obligation to take seriously any claim that cannot be corroborated.

  712. #712 Ichthyic
    July 11, 2008

    If its just a cracker and he doesn’t have the intent to hurt our community then why not consecrate his own cracker and then do what he want to it.

    because that wouldn’t make the point now, would it?

    that belief in transubstantiation of a cracker is ludicrous.

    Don’t you want the same respect for your own beliefs?

    yes, actually. In fact, we demand it. That respect taking the form of someone notifying us when it becomes obvious that any particular belief is based on nothing more than superstition and delusion, combined with peer pressure reinforcement.

    seriously, we consider it doing a favor.

  713. #713 TheoMobius
    July 11, 2008

    Well, Icthyic, I suppose I gave you too much credit when I thought you had simply missed the point.

    Instead of asking questions that depend on you answering thoughtfully and sensitively, I’ll just make an assertion:

    It is childish and silly to devote this much energy to insulting something that some people feel very strongly and deeply about. You make yourself look like a mean-spirited asshole.

    As I said before, the best explanation for this anger that I can think of is that professors at the University of Minnesota, Morris are frustrated that their academic careers haven’t taken them anywhere worth going. So they grab the banner of rationalism and wave it as loudly and obnoxiously as they can.

    The sad thing is, in about 24 hours no one will care anymore. And you’ll still be stuck in Morris.

  714. #714 Priscilla
    July 11, 2008

    Its almost as if people have hearing problems here. Nobody expects anybody to take seriously or believe in the Eucharist. This is about respecting individuals. What right to any of us have to go out of our way to make fun of or hurt others for our own enjoyment. Why would anyone even want to do such a thing unless they lacked compassion for their fellow human beings? Something is seriously wrong with an individual who takes satisfaction in hurting others. Something is also seriously wrong with individuals who promote or support others who engage in this type of behaviors and attitudes.

  715. #715 Dr Benway
    July 11, 2008

    If its just a cracker and he doesn’t have the intent to hurt our community then why not consecrate his own cracker and then do what he want to it.

    It’s a tit for tat: members of your community have said they’d like to kill a boy in FL for taking a communion wafer home. PZ Myers has said he’d like to kill the would-be murderers’ cracker.

    Your strange sense of proportion is concerning.

  716. #716 TheoMobius
    July 11, 2008

    I agree you’re not under any obligation to take their claims seriously, Dr. Benway. And I think your music analogy is fairer than the hot sauce one because, yeah, music can stir something deep in the human whatever and there are people who feel quite strongly about their tastes in music. Still, I don’t roll my eyes at other people’s music either. And I think people who do are assholes and snobs.

  717. #717 Reine
    July 11, 2008

    Well, it was so lovely to see the tolerance and respect expressed in this article and among these comments.
    Catholics believe the host (the “cracker”) becomes the body of Christ and remains so when consumed. This is indeed a big deal for Catholics, and this was indeed an attack on what Catholics hold most sacred. Whether or not you think it’s silly, aren’t others entitled to the same respect and tolerance for their religious beliefs (or lack of religious belief) that you expect others to show you? No one is forcing any of you to believe that this “cracker” is anything but a “cracker”; but wouldn’t it be the right thing to do to show enough respect for those who do believe that by avoiding making fun of them and of the “cracker”?

  718. #718 Ichthyic
    July 11, 2008

    because that wouldn’t make the point now, would it?
    that belief in transubstantiation of a cracker is ludicrous.

    actually, I’m going to add on to that.

    It’s not JUST that belief in transubstantiation of a cracker is ludicrous, it’s also that when challenged on such a ludicrous claim, it evidently has become such an irrational delusion that people are apparently willing to kill for it.

    so there are TWO things that make it entirely needful of direct challenge:

    one – it’s entirely irrational on the face of it

    two – that evidently, clinging to this bit of irrationality can cause one to utilize physical violence it defense of it.

    It is for the benefit of ALL society that such claims to belief, that foment irrational violence, are not only called out, but marginalized.

    just like racism.

  719. #719 Priscilla
    July 11, 2008

    Shouldn’t a dr. know better?

    So if you hurt me, then I can justify hurting your entire family even though they have never hurt me nor have they ever desired to.

  720. #720 MAJeff, OM
    July 11, 2008

    Posted by: Priscilla | July 11, 2008 9:26 PM

    WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

  721. #721 Priscilla
    July 11, 2008

    Please Ichthyic with that rationality any atheist who gets angry and threatens another individual while protecting his belief would be guilty of believing in a system which causes hatred and should be abolished.

  722. #722 Ichthyic
    July 11, 2008

    Please Ichthyic with that rationality any atheist who gets angry and threatens another individual while protecting his belief would be guilty of believing in a system which causes hatred and should be abolished.

    hello?

    talk about missing the point.

    what, exactly, do you really think PZ is angry about?

    go back and look again.

    …and when you do, make sure you take off those glasses you are wearing, as the prescription must be WAY off.

    Shouldn’t a dr. know better?

    I dunno, why don’t you ask “Dr.” Kent Hovind?

    now, will you stop bleating, Mrs. sheep?

  723. #723 Reine
    July 11, 2008

    Well, it was so lovely to see the tolerance and respect expressed in this article and among these comments.
    Catholics believe the host (the “cracker”) becomes the body of Christ and remains so when consumed. This is indeed a big deal for Catholics, and this was indeed an attack on what Catholics hold most sacred. Whether or not you think it’s silly, aren’t others entitled to the same respect and tolerance for their religious beliefs (or lack of religious belief) that you expect others to show you? No one is forcing any of you to believe that this “cracker” is anything but a “cracker”; but wouldn’t it be the right thing to do to show enough respect for those who do believe that by avoiding making fun of them and of the “cracker”?

  724. #724 Ichthyic
    July 11, 2008

    why is it Jeff always says what I actually feel like saying?

    :p

    …and typically, he responds such where any rational argument inevitably ends up being wasted (at least on the poster it was directed at).

  725. #725 Dr Benway
    July 11, 2008

    TheoMobius: Still, I don’t roll my eyes at other people’s music either. And I think people who do are assholes and snobs.

    Oh I see. Mustn’t hurt the wanna-be murderer’s widda feewings.

  726. #726 Ichthyic
    July 11, 2008

    seriously, when people like Priscilla and Reine can completely ignore the entire basis for the arguments presented, even it’s FUCKING RIGHT ABOVE their own post, it’s hopeless to continue.

    there is little left but to point and laugh.

    “Ridicule is the only weapon that can be used against unintelligible propositions. Ideas must be distinct before reason can act upon them.”

    -Thomas Jefferson

    “When enough people share a delusion, it loses its status as a psychosis and gets a religious tax exemption instead.”

    - anonymous

  727. #727 Dr Benway
    July 11, 2008

    No one is forcing any of you to believe that this “cracker” is anything but a “cracker”; but wouldn’t it be the right thing to do to show enough respect for those who do believe that by avoiding making fun of them and of the “cracker”?

    I’m happy to show respect to people. But I have some standards.

    ANY DEATH THREATS AND YOU LOSE MY RESPECT, YOU TWATS!

    Mebbe shouting works?

  728. #728 TheoMobius
    July 11, 2008

    “Oh I see. Mustn’t hurt the wanna-be murderer’s widda feewings.”

    Oh come on. Do you really thing they actually intend to kill the guy? I will give you my left nut (for keeps!!) if that happens.

    Your whole team’s reaction just reeks of this science-envy I’m talking about. You seize on “death threats” that you know are not serious because you WISH the counterreformation was still on so you could fulfill your fantasy of being Galileo standing up for truth and empiricism. But the sad fact is, PZ Myers (and the rest of you I assume) are nothing like Galileo and never will be. You’re third-rate science teachers at a third rate institution. Every single thing you do will be forgotten by everyone, including specialists in your field and your own students, within about 30 years.

    The battle between religion and secularism is over and secularism won. You can relax now. Just treat the religious people like harmless village idiots. You don’t have to respect them, much less agree with them. But at least be nice to them.

  729. #729 Ray S.
    July 11, 2008

    Priscilla said @714

    Its almost as if people have hearing problems here. Nobody expects anybody to take seriously or believe in the Eucharist. This is about respecting individuals. What right to any of us have to go out of our way to make fun of or hurt others for our own enjoyment. Why would anyone even want to do such a thing unless they lacked compassion for their fellow human beings? Something is seriously wrong with an individual who takes satisfaction in hurting others. Something is also seriously wrong with individuals who promote or support others who engage in this type of behaviors and attitudes.

    Is it at all compassionate to be willing to help a stranger rid themselves of a stupid delusion?

    Maybe if one more different person says it you can get a grip on it. Prof. Myers never suggested he would enter a church to obtain a cracker. He only offered to desecrate one if it was sent to him., and then only in response to death threats sent to a teenager after an ill advised prank.

  730. #730 TheoMobius
    July 11, 2008

    Ray said: “Is it at all compassionate to be willing to help a stranger rid themselves of a stupid delusion?”

    It could be. But does anyone think compassion is what motivates Myers here?

    Doesn’t pass the smell test, in my opinion.

  731. #731 Gary M.
    July 11, 2008

    Hmmm…let me see. Catholocism brought us Mother Teresa. Materialism brought us Professor Myers. Gosh, let me think. Which one of these humans is the better model for life? Which showed tolerance and understanding for others? Which spoke with gentleness and gentility? Which engendered life and love, and which spawned profanity, hate, and ignorance? Tough call. Might have to think about that one for a nanosecond or two.

  732. #732 Ichthyic
    July 11, 2008

    Do you really thing they actually intend to kill the guy?

    who else’s head do you think you’re in, I wonder?

  733. #733 MAJeff, OM
    July 11, 2008

    Hmmm.

    Materialism brought us Charles Darwin and one of the most amazingly elegant ideas in human history, and the Catholic Church brought us Bernard Cardinal Law and Humberto Sousa Cardinal Medeiros, who protected child rapists and ensured they would have a steady supply of victims.

    Gonna have to think about which is the greater contribution.

  734. #734 TheoMobius
    July 11, 2008

    who else’s head do you think you’re in, I wonder?
    LOL. Is that really the best you’ve got?

  735. #735 Celtic Troll
    July 11, 2008

    If anyone of those self righteous christian catholics actually ever read the Bible, they would know that Jesus professed love. All he said was ‘love one another and all is cool’.
    It is the one’s that came after him that started all the wars (can anyone say Crusade?) that killed lots of people. If Christ does come back today, he would be kicking alot of holy righteous ass, like he did in the temple to the money changer tables….

  736. #736 TheoMobius
    July 11, 2008

    It is the one’s that came after him that started all the wars (can anyone say Crusade?) that killed lots of people.
    OH! OH! I can! I can!

    Kroo-Saaaah-Day

  737. #737 Ichthyic
    July 11, 2008

    Materialism brought us Charles Darwin

    …and electronics, cars, airplanes, washing machines, and air conditioning (yes i live in the frackin desert).

    It never ceases to amaze me how stupid people manage, in near perfect denial, to claim all good things fall under the purview of their superstitious nonsense.

    In fact, it was xians who were first responsible for burning the library of Alexandria. It was the CC that was most responsible as a single organization for inhibiting the enlightenment.

    …and didn’t mother Teresa claim to NOT believe at one point?

    anywho, for those thinking Teresa deserved sainthood by CC standards…

    http://www.konformist.com/blasphemy/mothert.htm

  738. #738 Dr Benway
    July 11, 2008

    Oh come on. Do you really thing they actually intend to kill the guy? I will give you my left nut (for keeps!!) if that happens.

    You mean if there is a murder?

    I cannot speculate regarding the seriousness of someone’s intent to kill the boy in FL. The evidence available suggests:

    1. The boy has received threats sufficient to convince him that his life might be in some danger.
    2. The suggestion in the news article that people might complain about him to school authorities is a further intimidation

    Given the provocation – a Catholic boy quietly trying to take the host with him to his seat rather than put it in his mouth – the response from the Catholic community is out of proportion. It’s bullying. I can’t respect it. In fact, I feel it’s my duty to disrespect it.

  739. #739 TheoMobius
    July 11, 2008

    It’s bullying. I can’t respect it. In fact, I feel it’s my duty to disrespect it.

    Funny. I can almost hear the organ strike up and your voice fall to a hush as you reach the serious part of the sermon. Whatever. Your concern is phony and overwrought and you’re still a mean-spirited asshole who simply can’t leave others’ beliefs alone because you WISH you lived in a world where they gave enough of a shit to persecute you. But no one does. You’re a glorified high school science teacher.

  740. #740 Dr Benway
    July 11, 2008

    TheoMobius: Your concern is phony and overwrought and you’re still a mean-spirited asshole who simply can’t leave others’ beliefs alone because you WISH you lived in a world where they gave enough of a shit to persecute you. But no one does. You’re a glorified high school science teacher.

    Actually, my concern is genuine. I am not mean-spirited. I do not wish to be persecuted. And I am not a science teacher.

    In contrast to most assholes, I try to keep straight claims supported by evidence verses speculation and wishful thinking.

  741. #741 Ichthyic
    July 11, 2008

    TheoMobius: Your concern is phony and overwrought and you’re still a mean-spirited asshole who simply can’t leave others’ beliefs alone

    let me quote a great thinker in response:

    “WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!”

    seriously, it’s by far the best response to your concern trolling.

    and yes, being an asshole is sometimes entirely relevant AND useful.

  742. #742 TheoMobius
    July 11, 2008

    All right. Well, whatever. Let’s all be friends then. I’m about out of steam here.

    Just want you to know I agree with you on Scientology though. Screw those guys.

  743. #743 TheoMobius
    July 11, 2008

    I mean Dr. Benway.

    Not you, Ichthyic. You’re a big dummy, and everything you said was boring.

  744. #744 Dr Benway
    July 11, 2008

    Drama llamas are best appreciated from a safe distance.

    How to spot them: “I like you but I can’t stand him” is typical -aka “let’s you and him fight.”

  745. #745 Dave2
    July 11, 2008

    To the offended people:

    1. Everyone knows about the doctrine of the real presence. We know that Roman Catholics say the consecrated host is literally the Body of Christ. So you can stop bringing this to our attention.

    2. Please stop assuming that all beliefs should be respected. That is exactly what is at issue. We think that truly ridiculous beliefs should sometimes be made fun of. You’re asking us to live in a world where no one makes fun of Scientology’s belief in brainwashed extraterrestrial spirits attached to your body, where no one makes fun of Joseph Smith ‘translating’ the Golden Plates with a seer stone while looking into a hat, where we can’t laugh at Fred Phelps’ obsession with feces and anal blood or at Martin Luther claiming that he could scare away the devil with a fart. A world without the Provincial Letters or A Tale of a Tub or Candide or The Life of Brian. Fuck that.

    2b. Beep’s rhetorical question “So who decides who gets to believe what?” has zero force. Here’s a parallel case: it’s okay to criticize people for being immoral. If someone asks the rhetorical question “but who decides what counts as immoral?” that in no way changes the fact that there’s nothing wrong with criticizing immoral behavior. Likewise, there’s nothing wrong with making fun of ridiculous beliefs, rhetorical question notwithstanding.

    2c. Gain some familiarity with the word ‘respect’. Carl from Atlantic City thinks disrespect is kind of like what the Nazis did to European Jewry. That would be news to Rodney Dangerfield.

    3. Start recognizing the difference between disrespectful behavior and criminal behavior, and start acknowledging that desecrating what is held sacred is not at all like physical violence. If atheists gang up and burn down your church or start putting Christians into camps, that’s one thing. But if atheists gang up and make fun of you, that’s another thing. If they burn the flag, use bacon as a bookmark in the Qur’an, or make a Hasidic gay porn movie, that’s not even close to a slap in the face. It’s protected speech, and hurt feelings aren’t the same thing as bruises.

    4. Notice that our willingness to desecrate what you hold sacred is not primarily a response to how ridiculous your beliefs are. No, it is a response to how ridiculous your offense/anger/indignation/outcry is. You should be able to laugh this shit off. If somebody desecrates something you hold sacred, then of course you won’t like it very much, but you don’t have to turn into a reactionary humorless prick. Most of us are willing to say “Hey, come on, man, what did the Catholics do to you, why do you have to pick on them and fuck with their Eucharist?”. But when the Catholics get all jacked up on “how dare you” juice, then fuck that, now I’m gonna stick a consecrated host up my ass and let a dog lick it out. Holding patently ridiculous beliefs to be sacred is one thing, but acting like a furious ape when someone disrespects those beliefs is just crying out and asking for it.

  746. #746 TheoMobius
    July 11, 2008

    How to spot them: “I like you but I can’t stand him” is typical -aka “let’s you and him fight.”
    By all means, maintain a unified front. The last thing I want to do is provoke disharmony within the ranks of the defenders of rationalism.

    He just happened to post while I was writing my post and I didn’t want him to think that my response to you referred to him.

  747. #747 TheoMobius
    July 11, 2008

    If they burn the flag, use bacon as a bookmark in the Qur’an, or make a Hasidic gay porn movie, that’s not even close to a slap in the face. It’s protected speech, and hurt feelings aren’t the same thing as bruises.

    I’m not saying your speech shouldn’t be protected. I’m just saying you’re an asshole.

  748. #748 Dave2
    July 11, 2008

    TheoMobius wrote:

    I’m not saying your speech shouldn’t be protected. I’m just saying you’re an asshole.

    I would agree on the asshole point if it was just desecration out of the blue, just to fuck with people. But if it’s in response to a lunatic overreaction, then it’s a matter of principle, like reprinting the Muhammad cartoons after the lunatic overreaction.

  749. #749 Dr Benway
    July 11, 2008

    I’ve no problem with “you’re an asshole.” The bit that’s over the line for me: “you’re an asshole and you better look behind you” or “you’re an asshole and my organization will make sure you lose your job.”

  750. #750 TheoMobius
    July 11, 2008

    Fair nuff. I still think that if you would actually go to the extent of putting a cracker up your ass and letting a dog lick it out, then you’re probably a little overly involved in this issue and might legitimately be thought of as an asshole. UNLESS you’re doing it strictly because it feels good, in which case … I mean, hey, we’ve all be THERE before and who am I to judge?

  751. #751 JD
    July 11, 2008

    Watch out for those penguins- they carry rulers. And they know how to use em’.

  752. #752 Ichthyic
    July 11, 2008

    You’re a big dummy, and everything you said was boring.

    why, I never!

    you done given me the vapors!

    LOL

    what next, will you call me a poopy-head?

  753. #753 TheoMobius
    July 11, 2008

    Yeah, well, I’m not on the same team as people who would threaten your job. I’m on the team of people who think you’re an asshole.

    Totally different teams. We wear the pinstripes.

  754. #754 TheoMobius
    July 11, 2008

    Poopy-head.

  755. #755 David
    July 11, 2008

    I certainly have not read everyone’s comments, but I have to write something on this topic:

    Just to put this comment into perspective: I just got back from receiving Communion. It has been a profound source of grace for me over the past year, since my return to the Catholic Church. To read something like this is incredibly disheartening.

    I am a physics student at a secular university. I can understand the strangeness and intellectual objections to my Catholic faith from outsiders. Heck, I used to be one who persecuted the Christians at my school. But I have (thankfully) come to know Christ through the Eucharist in a most unexpected way.

    I have two points I want to put out for consideration:

    1. To those scientists who have never actually tried to seek a Christian spirituality and who object to the idea based on its absurdity: I claim their objections to the faith are intellectually dishonest. How can you make a judgment call without every truly engaging your subject? For anybody trying to perform true experimental work, one must actively engage in learning the intricacies of the experiment at hand. Certainly PZ Myers has not done this with the Catholic faith. That fact in and of itself makes him unqualified to speak on the topic.

    Additionally, there are centuries upon centuries of incredible scholarship from some of the smartest people to walk this Earth that I’m certain could convince even the hardest skeptic that engaging a Christian faith is not a bad idea–if at the very least just to try it out. Throwing out all these writing, especially on the Eucharist for example, would be akin to dismissing all of Einstein and Darwin’s work–only because you didn’t like the explanations for it based on third-hand accounts from armchair scientists–without ever looking into it further. The Catholic church certainly does not dismiss science in general in the same way Myers so conveniently dismisses the Church (granted it took them awhile with Galileo, but we’ve at least learned from that). I mean, a Jesuit priest was the one who proposed the Big Bang!

    2. To those who dismiss the Catholic church based on the isolated conduct of its members: I cannot argue for the ills that have occurred. I only will offer this: no single Church on Earth is perfect. Man is not perfect, and thus cannot lead a perfect Church. However, I like to believe that it’s in a (hopefully) constant state of refinement. I do think, though, that it is also intellectually dishonest to dismiss the Church based on these incidents. Whether or not a truth is disseminated by proper means has no bearing on the validity of that truth. I’ll just leave you with a quote from a Fr. Greeley by ways of William F. Buckley:

    “Search for the perfect church if you will; when you find it, join it, and realize that on that day it becomes something less than perfect.”

  756. #756 swangeese
    July 11, 2008

    As an ex-Catholic, I find this all very stupid. It’s a frigging wafer and a bad tasting one at that.

    Any powers given to the host are imaginary. And I personally believe that it is an idol for the Church. It isn’t healthy to venerate a piece of bread.

    Even if you believe that a consecrated host is Jesus, certainly you must have faith that the holy spirit will strike/smite/whatever a person that uses the host improperly. A deity does not need protection from its earthly followers.

    And if it does, then it’s time to rethink the whole thing.

    Anyway from what I’ve gathered, the young man did not act maliciously and the parish handled the matter poorly. The church gave him the host and it was his to do with as he pleased.

    The more the Church freaks out, the more people will be tempted to secret away hosts out of spite. Nobody likes a bully even if the bully wears a religious dress.

    And of course Bill O’Donahue is a self-important publicity-loving useless windbag so naturally he inserts himself into this scuffle.

    Oh and I loved the ‘Reservoir Dogs’ reference in the other thread. It’s hard to keep track of who posted what where. All you would have to do is play the song with a host ‘tied’ to a doll chair.

  757. #757 Dave2
    July 11, 2008

    TheoMobius wrote:

    Fair nuff. I still think that if you would actually go to the extent of putting a cracker up your ass and letting a dog lick it out, then you’re probably a little overly involved in this issue and might legitimately be thought of as an asshole. UNLESS you’re doing it strictly because it feels good, in which case … I mean, hey, we’ve all be THERE before and who am I to judge?

    Well, if you know a better way to get an NEA grant, I’d like to hear it!

  758. #758 Dave2
    July 11, 2008

    David wrote:

    Heck, I used to be one who persecuted the Christians at my school.

    Wow, who was your dean, Nero?

  759. #759 TheoMobius
    July 11, 2008

    Well, if you know a better way to get an NEA grant, I’d like to hear it!

    LOL. Good one :)

  760. #760 Buffy
    July 11, 2008

    My better half suggested the rogue kidnapper photograph himself with the wafer and the current day’s newspaper, just to prove the wafer is still safe. After all anything could have happened by now….. ;-)

  761. #761 Ichthyic
    July 11, 2008

    Heck, I used to be one who persecuted the Christians at my school.

    dishonest debate tactic #19:

    Claiming membership in a group affiliated with audience members: debater claims to be a member of a group that members of the audience are also members of like a religion, ethnic group, veterans group, and so forth; the debater’s hope is that the audience members will let their guard down with regard to facts and logic as a result and that they will give their alleged fellow group member the benefit of any doubt or even my-group-can-do-no-wrong immunity

    well, aside from the fact that we don’t persecute people, just irrational concepts.

  762. #762 David
    July 11, 2008

    Ichthyic: Ok, then read the rest of my post assuming that I’m not a part of “your group.”

    I simply added my background because I felt it would be dishonest not to claim I’m a Catholic.

    Dave2: Haha! Surprisingly, he’s not.

    You both are reading one tiny minutia of my post, and in addition, you are reading into the literal words with perfect knowledge of my idea. That’s the same as many fundamentalists, who you are attacking ardently. Please consider the rest of the post. That’s all I ask.

  763. #763 Ray S.
    July 11, 2008

    David @ 755 writes:

    To those scientists who have never actually tried to seek a Christian spirituality and who object to the idea based on its absurdity: I claim their objections to the faith are intellectually dishonest. How can you make a judgment call without every truly engaging your subject? For anybody trying to perform true experimental work, one must actively engage in learning the intricacies of the experiment at hand. Certainly PZ Myers has not done this with the Catholic faith. That fact in and of itself makes him unqualified to speak on the topic.

    And of course if you haven’t fully researched all 26,000+ Christian sects, not to mention all the non-Christian faiths you’re not qualified to dismiss them either. I also suspect you have no idea how much PZ knows about Catholicism.

    When you start to try an analogy to Einstein, you miss one major difference, one i find suspicious for one who claims to be a scientist in training: Einstein, like all scientists, deals in objective evidence. When you’ve got some objective evidence the cracker becomes something more than a cracker, get back to us. I’ll carry your luggage for you at the Nobel ceremony.

    I wish I had a dime for every theist who claimed that atheists had never researched the sublime subtleties of their theology, and that if they just had done so, they would be persuaded. It’s a cheap argument that makes you look intellectually lazy, not the other way round. Courtier’s Reply.

  764. #764 Adrian
    July 12, 2008

    crackers are sacred, sperm are sacred – I think we should send apologies to Donahue complete with pictures of hostage crackers covered in semen.

  765. #765 Beep
    July 12, 2008

    Wow, I didn’t realize that PZ was actually encouraging someone(s) to steal a host so PZ could desecrate it.

    That’s at the very least unethical.

    As such, I join in the chorus of calls for PZ to apologize or to be fired.

    Out.

  766. #766 Andrew
    July 12, 2008

    The simple fact is you are an asshole. You should be called an asshole, repeatedly, directly to your face. Which you’ll of course blow off because, hey, that’s what assholes do. But it doesn’t mitigate the fact that you’re an asshole. Hopefully, you can just accept that. I know a lot of people can live with the fact that they are just assholes, so hopefully that’s how you feel. But don’t pretend there’s anything noble about your shtick, because there isn’t. It’s shallow in multiple ways, and basically, you’re just an asshole. It’s not complicated.

  767. #767 David
    July 12, 2008

    Ray S:

    1. You are correct, I haven’t “researched” all 26,000 sects of Christianity. But,I do not dismiss them, since most, I would say, are closer to “right” than many other things.

    2. Catholicism has never claimed that “knowing” leads to conversion. It’s “doing” that leads to conversion. You could be the most learned man on the topic of Christianity, but have never actually engaged Christianity. From the blog post, it is obviously that Myers has not engaged Catholicism in the sense I’m talking about. Again, it’s like reading up on an experiment without ever actually doing it!

    I sometimes think of theology as an inverse problem. You disturb your status in an intentional and known way and observe the results. However, you only have the ability to observe the boundary of your system. Then you reconstruct what’s going on in the interior. This no less objective a pursuit.

    Granted the results often take the form of an interior sensation or peace. But these are what I have objectively experienced. These are what have been predicted by centuries of theologians. I did the experiment and I came up with the results. Now, I also think the experiment is repeatable. Those who do the experiment correctly (i.e. seek with an honest, unbiased heart) will come to the same conclusion as I did. But there’s also numerous documented happenings that are probably miracles. Just for one: look at the Miracle of the Sun from Fatima. In particular, Stanley Jaki’s ideas are convincing in my mind.

    This is not to reduce religion to a science, because it is not–at least it’s not in a strictly positivist sense. If you only ascribe to a strict positivist/reductionist viewpoint, I understand how the idea of God is troubling or unbelievable. But, I don’t think it’s totally out of the question to say theology has scientific elements to it. This is why I do believe my analogy is pertinent.

    I’m not trying to convert; I am only trying to point out that there are common grounds in both pursuits. We are certainly not the “demented fuckwits” abhorrently generalized in the post. My only wish is that the polarization that is evident in the blog post would cease to exist. We are not crippling hopes for a reasonable world. It is the intolerance that Myers is advocating that is truly destroying those hopes.

  768. #768 Dave2
    July 12, 2008

    Beep wrote:

    Wow, I didn’t realize that PZ was actually encouraging someone(s) to steal a host so PZ could desecrate it.
    That’s at the very least unethical.
    As such, I join in the chorus of calls for PZ to apologize or to be fired.
    Out.

    Beep, are you seriously saying that if I go through a Eucharistic Liturgy and use smooth sleight-of-hand so that I end up receiving an unconsecrated host I’ve brought myself and pocketing the consecrated one, which I manage to sneak out with no one the wiser, then I’ve done something unethical? You think it’s ‘stealing’? And that if someone encourages me to do it, they should lose their job if they don’t apologize?

    I mean, really?

    Kirk out.

  769. #769 Dave2
    July 12, 2008

    David, by your principles none of us are in a position to dismiss the pantheon of ancient Greece or ancient Egypt. After all, since we live thousands of years too late, we’ve never really participated in the religious ceremonies and rituals of ancient Greece or ancient Egypt. We’ve never really had a chance to “engage the subject”, as you put it.

    But anyone reluctant to dismiss those pantheons is out of their mind. Therefore your principles are indeed fuckwitted.

    Also, if you think that your ‘honest heart / feeling peaceful’ “experiment” is best explained by invoking supernatural beings, maybe you should spend some time telling us why.

  770. #770 Owlmirror
    July 12, 2008

    Granted the results often take the form of an interior sensation or peace.

    Uh-huh.

    And how do you distinguish Catholic inner peace from Protestant inner peace from Coptic inner peace from Buddhist inner peace from Jewish inner peace from Hindu inner peace from Sikh inner peace from Muslim inner peace from [and so on] from the inner peace of an atheist who has just has really great sex from the inner peace of an atheist who has just had a really good beer from the inner peace of an atheist who is just lying on the grass thinking of nothing in particular besides the changing shapes of the clouds?

    Pax Zymurgia.

  771. #771 TheoMobius
    July 12, 2008

    Andrew:

    Very, very well said.

  772. #772 TheoMobius
    July 12, 2008

    Andrew:

    Very, very well said.

  773. #773 Owlmirror
    July 12, 2008

    Andrew:

    Very, very well said.

    O RLY?

    The simple fact is religious fanatics are assholes. Religious fanatics should be called assholes, repeatedly, directly to their faces. Which religious fanatics will of course blow off because, hey, that’s what assholes do. But it doesn’t mitigate the fact that religious fanatics are assholes. Hopefully, religious fanatics can just accept that. I know a lot of people can live with the fact that they are just assholes, so hopefully that’s how religious fanatics feel. But don’t pretend there’s anything noble about the religious fanatic shtick, because there isn’t. It’s shallow in multiple ways, and basically, religious fanatics are just assholes. It’s not complicated.

    YA RLY

  774. #774 Jennie
    July 12, 2008

    Quote taken from:

    http://www.catholicleague.org/release.php?id=1459

    “The Myers blog can be accessed from the university’s website. The university has a policy statement on this issue which says that the ‘Contents of all electronic pages must be consistent with University of Minnesota policies, local, state and federal laws.’ One of the school’s policies, ‘Code of Conduct,’ says that ‘When dealing with others,’ faculty et al. must be ‘respectful, fair and civil.’ Accordingly, we are contacting the President and the Board of Regents to see what they are going to do about this matter. Because the university is a state institution, we are also contacting the Minnesota legislature.”

    Really?! REALLY?! This is what it comes down to? People are trying to get a well educated man fired for threatening a cracker?! This country has gone mad. I think it’s time for Professor Myers to take his level of intelligence over to England and join Dawkins, I’ll follow. The U.S. may claim the land of the free until it’s blue in the face. I think England should be called the land of the intelligent and the home of the sane.

  775. #775 dick thickett
    July 12, 2008

    Haven’t had time to read all the posts so forgive me if this has already been said:

    If the cracker is “transubstantiated” and is now the “body of Christ” its time for a DNA test

  776. #776 Tony
    July 12, 2008

    Haha I can’t possibly read all of these but was linked here from Platitude of the Day, a wonderfully observant and amusing secular website from the UK.
    Well Done!! More experiments please. How about chemical analysis of holy water next time? (if you haven’t done it already), I’m sure that will reveal something spiritual and transcendent – Sacred Steam maybe? Holy Hydrogen? I’m on the edge of my chair in anticipation of a prodigous revelation… halleluyah & amen.

  777. #777 TheoMobius
    July 12, 2008

    Sorry Owlmirror, but I can’t be bothered getting into a flame war with you. Just re-read all the comments above where I repeatedly pwn Ichthyic and Dr. Benway and you can bask in the vicarious fail.

    Afterwards, if you want, you can still work yourself up into a seething rage because some people you don’t know believe in some shit you don’t care about.

  778. #778 Ian Kirwan
    July 12, 2008

    I’m disappointed to see some Catholics here actually calling for people to condem PZ Myers, in some cases as a deal for them to condem Bill Donahue. Don’t make deals with terrorists! These simple minded folk obviously can’t see that it would be pointless to condem Ayatollah Donahue if PZ Myers is condemmed, since the Ayatollah will have acheived his anti-constitutional aims already.

    Any Catholic that cannot see how uttely unreasonable the Catholic League are being, given the death threats and threats to Prof. Myers job, are themselves unreasonable and thus not worth engaging with.

    What on earth is the Catholic League anyway? This looks like a seedling empire being led by its own implicitly ordained pope. Of course he is not recognised by the Intergalactic Republic unlike the real pope. Chuckle…..

    I did however see a Catholic person say that he agreed with PZ Myers on his point on crackers, which was pleasing to see. Perhaps this should demonstrate to us that we should not be tempted to tar all Catholics with the same brush and a reminder that if we don’t generalise about a religion then we may find support on specific points amongst that religion’s adherents. i.e. Don’t condem all Catholics when a subset are misbehaving.

  779. #779 SEF
    July 12, 2008

    I think England should be called the land of the intelligent and the home of the sane.

    Unfortunately the UK has its own share of religious nutters being given unmerited privileges and being allowed to take money under false pretences (for jobs at which they’ve rendered themselves incompetent because they aren’t honest enough to leave them to their betters and, in this case, do the religious version instead).

    It’s mostly that the US, being bigger overall, has a greater number of more extreme religious nutters. Just like it gets more gold medals in the olympics than the UK does. The UK also panders to its religious nutters in slightly different ways than the US does (but then the UK also panders to the US – which it shouldn’t).

    England (and Britain in general) is more traditionally known as the home of the eccentric anyway, rather than the sane.

  780. #780 Ian Kirwan
    July 12, 2008

    SEF,

    You stated:

    Unfortunately the UK has its own share of religious nutters

    Don’t depair, things are significantly better in the UK than the US on the religion front as indicated by the Guardian/ICM poll. The trend is in the right direction even if it is two steps forward and one step back (a reference to the import of idiologies from 3rd world nations).

  781. #781 Ray S.
    July 12, 2008

    David @ 767 says:

    Granted the results often take the form of an interior sensation or peace. But these are what I have objectively experienced. These are what have been predicted by centuries of theologians. I did the experiment and I came up with the results. Now, I also think the experiment is repeatable. Those who do the experiment correctly (i.e. seek with an honest, unbiased heart) will come to the same conclusion as I did. But there’s also numerous documented happenings that are probably miracles.

    I’m disappointed to find that you think this is actually an experiment in any scientific sense. I’m further disappointed to see that you cannot distinguish between objective and subjective observations. This does not bode well for your future career. Maybe you could look into being a UFO researcher, where your credulity would be an asset instead of a hindrance.

    I do not know how to seek with an unbiased heart. I’m not aware that my heart could have biases at all. I did have a problem with my mitral valve but that’s been repaired thanks to technology and a good surgeon. Perhaps you can explain how your heart can be biased and how you’re sure whatever seeking you did was truly unbiased. I ask because I’ve had a sense of inner peace myself since I realized gods were make-believe and I no longer lie to myself. Though if you feel more inner peace by lying to yourself you’re welcome to continue to do it.

    I’m still waiting for some real evidence that there’s a difference in the consecrated and unconsecrated crackers so I can accompany you to Sweden to pick up your Nobel.

  782. #782 SteadyEddy
    July 12, 2008

    This is approaching the inanity of the expulsion incident.

    Here’s my favorite post so far… from Sauceress.

    Is one required to kneel when accepting *Jesus* into their mouth?

    Does the priest say:
    “Please kneel,open your mouth and it’s imperative that you swallow that which you are about to receive”?

    To which I’ll add…

    Jesus is coming and he doesn’t pull out.

  783. #783 Sharon Z.
    July 12, 2008

    FYI: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eucharistic_Minister

    We are ordinary folk, laity, or sometimes a religious who volunteer for this ministry, for which the Bishop gives permission lastin a few years. As Laity, or as any person with responsibility, we keep on eye on things, and, evidently, this fellow was making our job harder. The above link describes what we do.

    I happen to know, as a family genealogist, that some of our distant cousins helped populate the state of Minnesota, as Luxembourgers who brought the Roman Catholic Faith with them and built parishes there!

    As a citizen of Minnesota, and an employee of Minnesota, you should have respect for your fellows, your neighbors. We had a Minnesotan Catholic as our neighbor, who is now from Ohio, and she kindly keeps in touch wherever they live.

    The beautiful experience of Holy Communion and of being in Communion can be explained to you, perhaps, as being a great leveler. We are all one with God, and feel his presence. The young adult who acted as if he was not in Communion, had to tax the ministers with his behavior. Having to keep an eye on someone who receives the Blessed Sacrament, but, carries it off, and to continue with ministering the Eucharist which is consecrated, not blessed! … the article was not written by a person who is Catholic … is a terrible way to treat your neighbor, myself. You do not have to be a believer to understand that. Who saw this besides the Minister, I cannot imagine. Must have been those sitting next to him. One wonders how peaceful that person was, who could upset his neighbors.

  784. #784 Matt Penfold
    July 12, 2008

    Sharon,

    Do you condone members of the congregation assaulting people ? Is violence not worse that what this kid did ? Only to go by the reaction of the Catholic Church, we must conclude it is. Some very silly people even said it was hate crime, and Donohue said he had trouble thinking of anything more vile.

  785. #785 John Hoffman
    July 12, 2008

    No problem. ANY city of more than about 15,000 has a religious supply store. Visit yours, and purchase any religious supplies you might need, including your communion wafers. You’re welcome.

  786. #786 Sharon
    July 12, 2008

    If an older person grabs you on the elbow, it could be for any reason, and it may seem harsh at the time, but you give them some leeway don’t you? I have no idea why you consider that assault, but that you must live by yourself. Assault may be a choke hold, or it may be words. Jesus Christ is the founder of Western Civilization through the Church, the Roman Catholic Church. The Body of Christ, which is the Church is nutured with the Bread of Life, throughout all of these ages. What are you possibly going on about? Obviously Christians will fight for what they believe in. Your idea of Christ as being some kind of push-over, is wrong. See how He was upset with the money-changers in the Temple. Even so, Jesus loves us so much, that he is merciful.

  787. #787 MAJeff, OM
    July 12, 2008

    The beautiful experience of Holy Communion and of being in Communion can be explained to you, perhaps, as being a great leveler. We are all one with God, and feel his presence.

    blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blahblah blah blah blahblah blah blah blahblah blah blah blahblah blah blah blahblah blah blah blahblah blah blah blahblah blah blah blahblah blah blah blahblah blah blah blahblah blah blah blahblah blah blah blahblah blah blah blahblah blah blah blahblah blah blah blahblah blah blah blahblah blah blah blahblah blah blah blahblah blah blah blahblah blah blah blahblah blah blah blahblah blah blah blah

  788. #788 Sharon
    July 12, 2008

    If an older person grabs you on the elbow, it could be for any reason, and it may seem harsh at the time, but you give them some leeway don’t you? I have no idea why you consider that assault, but that you must live by yourself. Assault may be a choke hold, or it may be words, but hardly an elbow pull. Thankfully someone helped because the Eucharistic Minister, if it wasn’t him or her, is hampered a bit … and often waits until after Mass to confront. You are going against the foundations of Western Civilization, the Roman Catholic Church.

  789. #789 Matt Penfold
    July 12, 2008

    Sharon,

    So the simple answer is yes, you think it was OK for Webster Cook to be assaulted. A woman tried to prise the wafer out his hand. It is telling you are OK with that. And you wonder why people think the Catholic Church is fucked up ? You have just given us the reason. It is also telling there has not been one single comment from the Catholic Church condemning the death threats Webster Cook and PZ have received.

    And as for you claim the foundation of Western Civilisation is the Roman Catholic Church: what rubbish. Have you never heard of the Roman and Greek civilisations that pre-date Catholicism ? I imagine you have, and I also imagine you know the contribution they made to civilisation.

    Still since you claim to have an official position with the Catholic Church it is nice to have confirmation that assaulting a person you think has fail to swallow a wafer is OK. I suggest you look elsewhere than your church for your morals in future, as currently they have you condoning violence.

  790. #790 elgie
    July 12, 2008

    I was thinking… buying “normal” wafers (as in the ones that are not yet blessed) is relatively easy, but to commit the actual sacrilege you need the blessed ones… so here’s how you do it:

    1- Buy a tub of wafers.

    2- Wait for one of those festivities where people go to the church to bless the most craziest things (like, in the day of Saint Francis of Assisi, you can have any domestic animal blessed, or Saint Christopher, where people bless their cars. If I’m not mistaken the last one is on 25th july).

    3- Hide the tub of wafers in the object/animal to be blessed

    4- Et voila! Both the object/animal AND the wafers will receive the holy water and become blessed!

  791. #791 Jolene Cassa
    July 12, 2008

    Notice the lack of ideas, the anger and the hatred in this thread. I thought atheists were evidence-based, objective and rational? Question: What’s the rational basis for your calumny against Christians? How does insulting remarks and mockery that advance your position that you people represent a reasoned alternative against the Catholic worldview?

  792. #792 Matt Penfold
    July 12, 2008

    Jolele Cassa,

    No, atheism is simply the lack of belief in god or gods.

    It is true that many atheists do value evidence, objectivity and rationality but they do not define atheism. It is quite possible to be an atheist and reject those concepts.

    Where did you get misguided idea of what atheism is ?

  793. #793 Jolene Cassa
    July 12, 2008

    A lack of belief in god or gods because of…..a perceived lack of scientific evidence, right? I have yet to meet an atheist who doesn’t base their atheism on the idea that humankind sprang spontaneously from the primordial muck. Every atheist I’ve met or read, believes some form of this random chance “gospel” and bases it on evolutionary theory. They also tend to revere Dawkins, Hitchens, Darwin et al as saint-like figures.

    I just find it ironic that atheists have such irrational emotional outbursts in their dialogues with believers. Catholics, for example are much more level-headed and mannered.

  794. #794 Ray S.
    July 12, 2008

    Jolene:

    No, you’re still not getting it. Though the few atheists you may have met may have claimed their atheism stems from a sense of where the evidence leads them (and I am one of those), it is not the only way someone may consider themselves an atheist. Further, since atheism is only a lack of belief in gods, it is not a worldview, an ideology or a religion. It has no dogma, no canon and no central authority. Some Buddhists are considered atheists.

    Your description of the origin of mankind does not correspond with my understanding of evolutionary theory. The fact that you described it in terms more common to theological discussion (for example gospel, revere, saint) leads me to think you don’t have a very good grasp of evolutionary theory. It is not simple random chance. Since you don’t seem to understand it, I doubt you’re a good judge as to whether or not it describes reality, which is all scientists are really trying to do.

    Irony is indeed where you find it. I can’t recall any comments on this thread (I’ve read them all) made by an atheist that came anywhere close to the level of irrational required to believe a cracker can be transformed into the flesh of a 2000 year old dead guy.

  795. #795 Matt Penfold
    July 12, 2008

    “A lack of belief in god or gods because of…..a perceived lack of scientific evidence, right?”

    Neope, Someone has lied to you about what atheism is.

    Atheism is simply the lack of belief in god or gods. Nothing more. I have no idea why you persist in saying it is. Either you are ignorant or you are not honest.

    “Catholics, for example are much more level-headed and mannered.”

    Ah, like when they assaulted Webster Cook ? Or made death threats to him and PZ ? I think you may have a problem with the meaning of words, since I do not find making death threats, or attacking people, to be a sign of being level-headed and mannered. Maybe you are using those words in a specific meaning.

  796. #796 Ireland
    July 12, 2008

    All these comments just prove people are weak. In history we see the same acts over and over again. All good men suffer. Guess what? In-spite of education people as a species never change. PEOPLE CHOOSE TO HATE. It is a choice and no matter your color, shape, religion or nationality hate seems to just GROW. If you hate a particular person , place or thing, ask yourself, why? I am tired of people on soap boxes telling me they can solve all the problems if the can just get rid of ” ” you fill in the blank. We need to stop. Why are we so interested in telling people what they believe is wrong???? Why not appreciate and REPECT that they are just like us. They feel just like us. They are different yet the same. Why not look for the good in people and stop the constant tearing down of faith. All religions have people who hate. Individual choice. Hate is not the motive of FAITH its a flaw in people. People hate out of fear and pride. What is wrong with being KIND? Everyone is angry. You see it everywhere. What is it getting any of us? I don’t see any of this as positive. People need to think. Hate and anger do not improve the world period. An act of kindness is a blessing to EVERYONE.

  797. #797 Matt Penfold
    July 12, 2008