Pharyngula

FYI

By their actions you will know them. We have had a number of raving angry Catholics in various threads here…or have we? I’ve had a moment to clean up a few threads and post some of the stuff that was held in comment moderation, and discovered that Naz, k8, promo, baker, PZ is a fool, Burns, rumrunner, Dobbs, NYTs, KKKAthiest, Andy, CDV, BradJ, Brett, b7, PCD, NVFU, Your daddy, facebock, baker and several other loud-mouthed asses who have been braying here are all one and the same person.

This is called sock puppetry. It is trying to generate the illusion of a consensus on one side of an issue by pretending to be a multitude. It is cowardly, contemptible, and stupid — not just because a blog owner can look at the stats and detect it, but because it suddenly diminishes your point of view. It makes you look so weak that you have to lie to put up a pretense of popular support, and it makes your side, in this case the fundamentalist Catholics, look like a troop of posturing frauds.

Thanks!

Comments

  1. #1 aleph1=c
    July 12, 2008

    This whole thing is truly top-notch entertainment. Thank you.

  2. #2 Sili
    July 12, 2008

    Heh heh heh

    The gift cracker that keeps on giving.

  3. #3 Ophelia Benson
    July 12, 2008

    Oi, puppets – thou shalt not bear false witness, remember?!

  4. #4 Sam B
    July 12, 2008

    It’s also a brilliant way of trolling.

    also, fyi.

    (I don’t why I felt the need to say that)

  5. #5 craig
    July 12, 2008

    Ha! Called it! Do I win a cracker?

  6. #6 Stephen Ockhamn
    July 12, 2008

    Hah, ‘big’ surprise right?

  7. #7 raven
    July 12, 2008

    We have had a number of raving angry Catholics in various threads here…or have we? I’ve had a moment to clean up a few threads and post some of the stuff that was held in comment moderation, and discovered that Naz, k8, promo, baker, PZ is a fool, Burns, rumrunner, Dobbs, NYTs, KKKAthiest, Andy, CDV, BradJ, Brett, b7, PCD, NVFU, Your daddy, facebock, baker and several other loud-mouthed asses who have been braying here are all one and the same person.

    Almost certainly isn’t even Catholic.

    Told you it was a mentally ill troll posting from his secure lockup cell with multiple IDs.

    And he will be back with a new collection within minutes. You’d think if they give the patients internet access, they could also provide a TV so they have something to fill their days with.

  8. #8 Dutch Delight
    July 12, 2008

    KennyisNOTdead:

    LOL! There are more people posting emails against Myers than there are active people on this blog.

  9. #9 craig
    July 12, 2008

    Incidentally, Kenny was here earlier and admitted to trolling with sockpuppets… so personally I think it’s all just him.

  10. #10 joeyess
    July 12, 2008

    Sockpuppets!!!! Yaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyy!!!! I wonder…… were they all Bill Donohue?

  11. #11 Zeno
    July 12, 2008

    PZ, you stubbornly refuse to perceive the miracle that is right before your eyes! While the Christian God has at best managed to work up a trinity, Naz et al. has shown up his own triune deity by manifesting himself as an n-headed sock puppet, where n is evidently unbounded. All hail the multitudinous singleton!

  12. #12 The Pink Unicorn
    July 12, 2008

    Ditto on #1

    I’ve seen so many catholics use the term “vile” to describe PZ’s views. Well, “vile” is a perfect adjective that describes the catholic doctrine.

  13. #13 Kobra
    July 12, 2008

    Well, I can’t say that I’m surprised that they did this but… THAT MANY names? What the fuck.

  14. #14 Nicole
    July 12, 2008

    But Jenn was a separate person? She was amusing.

    The more I think about it, the more I realize that cracker doesn’t make sense. It was more of a tasteless, dissolving wafer in my day.

    “Can’t you fit just one more wafer-thin mint?”

  15. #15 E.V.
    July 12, 2008

    I SMELL DUNGEON!!!

  16. #16 Tim
    July 12, 2008

    It’s not sockpuppetry, it’s miraculous multiplication!

  17. #17 Hans
    July 12, 2008

    #2: Surely you mean “the cracker that keeps on cracking.”

  18. #18 True Bob
    July 12, 2008

    So apparently there are no True Christians. I am shocked, SHOCKED, to learn of liars for cheeses on teh intertoobz.

    Now how about that super-dedicated/dessicated concern troll from Houston?

  19. #19 Tim
    July 12, 2008

    Sorry, link broke. Which rather screws up the joke. Oh well.

    First link here.

    I’ll get my coat.

  20. #20 Jim Et Al
    July 12, 2008

    The use of multiples is an all too common and unfortunate technique on a number of minimally moderated debate sites. It’s so good to see the perpetrators exposed for the fools they are. Congrats and hang in there on the Donohoe thing. Is there a contact authority where I can send a supportive email?
    .
    .
    Jim Et Al

  21. #21 Reginald
    July 12, 2008

    @ #10, probably!

    The entire Catholic League is essentially the biggest sockpuppet scheme of all time – who are the members of the Catholic League?

    Bill Donohue, and that’s it! BY the WAY Bill I flushed a eucharist craker down the toilet the other day in your honour!

  22. #22 Fitz Doubet
    July 12, 2008

    Can we just make Crackergate go away. I mean, come on, really. I can’t imagine the most devout priest in the world actually believing for a minute that a wafer turns into flesh…and still tastes and looks like bread. Hey PZ, can you get somebody to run a transubstantiated consecrated triscuit through some comatography?

  23. #23 Fitz Doubet
    July 12, 2008

    correction – “chromatography”

  24. #24 andy
    July 12, 2008

    Damn you sockpuppetteer… bringing shame upon others who would use this handle.

  25. #25 mothwentbad
    July 12, 2008

    Who would have expected a Catholic to have imaginary friends who agree with them about everything?

  26. #26 NanuNanu
    July 12, 2008

    was that Ron in Houston idiot one?

  27. #27 John Galt
    July 12, 2008

    Your mockery of others’ beliefs is shameful, but some are beyond shame. I fear that when most of you realize the error in your ways, it will be far too late. Seek help and have a blessed day. :-) JG

  28. #28 True Bob
    July 12, 2008

    Comatology – study of the peculiar phenomenon wherein religious believers put the inquiring portion of their brain into a coma.

  29. #29 Mena
    July 12, 2008

    So the answer to the sock puppetry question is “I am Legion”? Demon-possessed pig indeed.

  30. #30 Sili
    July 12, 2008

    Fitz,

    For the nth time: It’s the substance that’s transed – not the accidentals. Do read up on you Aquinas (it was Aquinas who did all this jumping through hoops, wasn’t it?).

    Sure it looks like a cracker, but it HAZ TEH SOAL UV JEEEEEEEBUS!

  31. #31 MAJeff, OM
    July 12, 2008

    Your mockery of others’ beliefs is shameful, but some are beyond shame. I fear that when most of you realize the error in your ways, it will be far too late. Seek help and have a blessed day. :-) JG

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

  32. #32 Tulse
    July 12, 2008

    Seek help and have a blessed day. Posted by: John Galt

    I sure hope that’s your actual name, because the irony of a religionist hectoring others about their beliefs and actions while using the pseudonym of an Ayn Rand hero would be just too rich.

  33. #33 True Bob
    July 12, 2008

    John Galt, Lifetime Membership in Smug Bastards for Cheeses.

    Watch out, Loki may be preparing some mischief for you. Have a damned day!

  34. #34 John Galt
    July 12, 2008

    Jeff, God bless you my friend. Peace. John

  35. #35 Escuerd
    July 12, 2008

    While we’re still on a related topic, a peculiarly ironic potential form of cracker abuse just crossed my mind. A few years ago, a Belgian artist created a machine called “Cloaca” that was supposed to simulate human digestion. Essentially it was a poop machine.

    Were anyone to construct a similar machine to be used on sacred wafers (as so many have suggested how disrespectful they find digestion and excretion), I could think of no name better than “Deuce ex Machina”.

  36. #36 Aureola Nominee, FCD
    July 12, 2008

    No, “Legion” was my nickname for Larry Fafarman… hey! Are we sure this troll WASN’T Larry Fafarman?

    Nah… no Monday morning lawyering.

    (FWIW, professor Myers, you have this Catholic-raised atheist’s support)

  37. #37 John Galt
    July 12, 2008

    Tulse, Alas it is not my true name, but I love irony.

    True Bob, God bless you too. JG

  38. #38 E.V.
    July 12, 2008

    To think he was so prolific typing with just one hand, because, obviously, he was masturbating with the other.

  39. #39 yakaru
    July 12, 2008

    “Your mockery of others’ beliefs is shameful.”

    And your taunting about my eternal damnation is just plain weird.

  40. #40 Kobra
    July 12, 2008

    #35:

    You, sir, have won the internet.

  41. #41 True Bob
    July 12, 2008

    JG, you just don’t understand. You have chosen…poorly. Picking the wrong god is an epic fail.

    I pity the sorry afterlife you will have. God of reason was the correct answer, thanks for playing. Here’s a nice parting gift cracker for you.

  42. #42 mewletter
    July 12, 2008

    Cool. Another vile idiot gets a one-way ticket to the Dungeon. Somehow, I find these actions very entertaining. Keep up the good work, PZ!

  43. #43 E.V.
    July 12, 2008

    “So the answer to the sock puppetry question is “I am Legion”?”
    Perhaps it meant “I have lesions”… All those syphlitic priests from the middle ages, you know.

  44. #44 Ron in Houston
    July 12, 2008

    Nanunanu

    Nope only 1 id for me. Idiot. Real nice. You’ve shown what a sterling debater you are.

    Raven

    Mental illness really isn’t a joke. I’ll be the first to agree that some of the people that continually post are probably somewhat mentally ill, but show a little sensitivity.

    I don’t know how many of you are also atheists, but a number of you are really pretty sophomoric.

    I tend to put a high standard on atheists because like PZ, they tend to be very educated and erudite people.

    If you’re serious about convincing anyone but yourselves about the necessity of atheism, then you need to lose the attitude and the sophomoric BS.

    I’m sorry that so many of you feel ownership of PZ’s blog and feel free to call people that disagree trolls, idiots, or the like.

    I’d much rather have a discussion with my nice but deluded theistic friends than with most of the people I’ve encountered here.

    This been an educational experience. There are a lot of very ugly atheists. If anyone thought I was being ugly, then accept my apologies.

  45. #45 Feynmaniac
    July 12, 2008

    To the dungeon!

  46. #46 Matt
    July 12, 2008

    Pwned.

  47. #47 Kevin
    July 12, 2008

    craig: Ha! Called it! Do I win a cracker?

    Hey, thats a great idea. PZ — you want to start offering a cracker as a prize, kind of like the OM?

    You can buy supplies at the wonderfully named site: http://www.kingdom.com/Communion_Supplies.

    They won’t have had the magic words said over them yet, but close enough. And cheap too: $5 for a few hundred.

    -kevin

  48. #48 aleph1=c
    July 12, 2008

    Oh, goody! The Houston guy is here. Wait… I’m going to make some popcorn. Please don’t start without me.

  49. #49 Kobra
    July 12, 2008

    #44:
    [There are a lot of very ugly atheists. If anyone thought I was being ugly, then accept my apologies.]

    I don’t think it’s so much that atheist are being “ugly” as it is that the are faced with a completely irrational decision and their brains can’t make heads or tails of it. The inanity is overwhelming and any attempts to rationalize the irrational cause them to become flippant and frustrated.

    http://www.kobrascorner.com/opine/wafers-donohue-catholic-league.php

  50. #50 Brownian, OM
    July 12, 2008

    Bah. One person with multiple sock puppets, lots of people with one identity each–who cares? They might as well be clones, for all the originality of thought they demonstrate.

    As far as I’m concerned, they all deserve ‘special screening’ from the security personnel at the nearest airport.

    Buncha fucking stupid assholes. John Galt included.

  51. #51 Kevin Hayden
    July 12, 2008

    I, too, have been a pantyhosing marionette. But I have also been Jesus H. Crispycritter and God, and let me tell you, it got me lots of hot dates with Catholic girls. So I’m sticking with that “eat of my body” pickup line.

  52. #52 E.V.
    July 12, 2008

    Ron, a mind is a terrible thing to waste, and a sense of humor is a wonderful thing to have. Get one.
    You said everything you needed to say in your first two posts, everything after that was just your attempt to control everyone elses’ behavior. Yes, we value your opinion, but not over our own individual opinion. Thanks for playing.

    -Ugly Atheist

  53. #53 Don
    July 12, 2008

    Ah, transubstantiation is a wonderful thing. Remember the Irish clergy asking for drink driving leeway because they had to finish the wine? “I don’t like to use the word wine, as it is Christ’s blood in the Eucharist, but it still has all the characteristics of wine when in the blood stream.”

  54. #54 Blake Stacey
    July 12, 2008

    At least John Galt isn’t offering to pray for us.

    (Keep the euphemism alive!)

  55. #55 John Galt
    July 12, 2008

    Thank you Little Paul, Brownian et al. This was my first experience here. Found it via Bill Donohue email -> wiki –> scienceblogs. In my view, you guys are pitiful. Probably just as you view me, but I’m still smiling.

    Off to yardwork, cookout with family and friends (real people), then Mass in the morning. If you’re ever in Pittsburgh and want to have a real conversation, I’d welcome it. ijohngalt@hotmail.com
    God Bless,
    JG

  56. #56 Kevin Hayden
    July 12, 2008

    “I don’t like to use the word wine, as it is Christ’s blood in the Eucharist, but it still has all the characteristics of wine when in the blood stream.”

    Moderation, my child.Too much of that has been known to cause cirrhosis of the savior.

  57. #57 Ron in Houston
    July 12, 2008

    Kobra

    I understand the frustration. You could feel it in PZ’s cracker post. However, it not about us. It’s about getting acceptance of atheism in society. If we don’t understand that premise, then nutjobs will continue to issue death threats and fly airplanes into buildings.

    I just happen to believe that PZ in his bit of frustrated satire went over some poorly defined line and worsened the acceptance of atheism in society. I really hope that some of the fence sitting Catholic I interact with don’t catch wind of the whole debate.

    I really don’t want to debate you guys. Popcorn sounds good to me also.

  58. #58 jb
    July 12, 2008

    Sooo, where do we go from here, seeing as the much-anticipated, foaming-at-the-mouth, starkravingmad Catholic mob never showed up? Are we off to spray-paint the Wailing Wall (“It’s just a f**king WALL, you stoopid Semites!!!”) or take a sledgehammer to the Kaaba (“You’re worshiping a METEORITE, you muthaf**king camel-humping *&%$#!!!”)? Where-o-where do we go, seeing as we’re fizzling out here? Personally, I’d like to see the Itsukushima Torii set on fire (“You built a GATE out in the middle of the water–you, you, you….*&%$# Asians!!!”)

    You see, the Taliban had the right idea when they dynamited the Buddhas of Bamyan a few years back: Who needs some religious wackos and their Sacred Cows in OUR backyard? Sure, they earned the opprobrium of the world, but afterall, that’s what the Buddhists get for thinking some ROCKS were, like, sacred or something.

    So: Go Taliban! Go Prof. Meyers!! More Götterdämmerung!!!

  59. #59 True Bob
    July 12, 2008

    Ron, the problem isn’t the discussion, you ought to check the place out once in a while. Drive by trolling, that’ll get some dander up. We take our umbrage early in the morning, see.

    RiH, you never seemed to consider any of the comments addressed to you. You never considered that there is more than one way to skin a cat. You assumed that your goals are common to PZ’s goals.

    Do you think all atheists have as their goal the quiet persuasion of theists that they are mistaken? Do you not realize many atheists are sick and tired of being treated as 3rd class subhuman entities (I won’t say citizens – care to guess why?).

    You are at least as rigid and unbending as the most devoted of those sock puppets. Can you not acknowledge that anger is a meaningful and useful emotion, or is the world all peaches and cream for you?

    BTW, are you still in the god-closet? Or are you out as an atheist? You don’t seem to want to rock the boat, that’s why my guess is you’re closeted. Do you fear upsetting someone’s tender sensibilities?

  60. #60 Bob Munck
    July 12, 2008

    A useful thing that Ace of Spades does — one of the few intelligent things on that site — is to hash the commentor’s IP address into a 5-character alphanumeric string and add it to the label. That means that sock puppets using multiple names from a single IP are exposed.

    They use a “one-way hash” which means that the result string for a given IP is unique but CANNOT be used to determine the IP; the hash cannot be done in reverse. UNIX has been using this trick to store passwords forever; the entered password is hashed and compared to the file.

  61. #61 PZ Myers
    July 12, 2008

    Oh, my…John Galt has friends who are real people. That puts him one up on us, who only know fake people.

    I’ll post photos of all the fake people at the Atlanta Pharyngufest late tonight! Unless, of course, god strikes us all dead, which could happen, since there is a rumor that someone went to mass this morning and is bringing a souvenir…

  62. #62 Brownian, OM
    July 12, 2008

    I’d much rather have a discussion with my nice but deluded theistic friends than with most of the people I’ve encountered here.

    This been an educational experience. There are a lot of very ugly atheists.]

    Fine. Bye. Don’t come back.

    Jeff, God bless you my friend. Peace. John

    Now this is a typical example of the kind of self-centered posturing that makes people hate Christians. It’s pretty evident to all but the most brain-dead, self-involved, morally-masturbating theist that saying ‘God Bless’ only offends atheists. If John ‘Kissing Ass for God’ Galt was really interested in bestowing peace upon us, he’d shut the fuck up, or at the very least say something to the effect of “It’s clear my presence here only upsets you; I’ll leave now. Peace.”

    Of course, since it’s obvious that he doesn’t really give a shit about whether we feel at peace or not, but instead is only interested in notching his little scorecard so he can run off to his Cathobot friends or pray to God later tonight and brag about how he “brought the message of peace to atheists, but they just wouldn’t listen,” he’ll just keep on repeating his insincere ‘God Blesses’ like a fucking parrot.

  63. #63 DrFrank
    July 12, 2008

    “I don’t like to use the word wine, as it is Christ’s blood in the Eucharist, but it still has all the characteristics of wine when in the blood stream.”

    “I’m sorry, Father, but your Blood Jesus Content is over 0.08%. I’m going to have to take you down to the station.”

  64. #64 Roko
    July 12, 2008

    Ron: “Off to yardwork, cookout with family and friends (real people)…”

    Oh, good to know that your family and friends are real people – unlike Jesus, god, angels, sockpuppets over here and whatnot.

  65. #65 Richard in Edmonton
    July 12, 2008

    Ron in Houston. I am curious as to whether you have ever considered taking the blasphemy challenge or do you think this to be in bad taste also?

  66. #66 Ron in Houston
    July 12, 2008

    E.V.

    You’re really a sad and pathetic individual.

  67. #67 Blake Stacey
    July 12, 2008

    One day, jb might realize that ancient works of art do not fall into the same category as mass-produced food products. Until then, we’ll, just pray for him.

  68. #68 FO
    July 12, 2008

    I’d much rather have a discussion with my nice but deluded theistic friends than with most of the people I’ve encountered here.

    Curious. You put “nice” in front of “deluded” when talking about “discussion”. I thought the “deluded” cancelled out any possibility of a meaningful “discussion”. Let me get this straight — to you, it’s better to wallow in ignorance and stupidity than to be harsh?

    Anyway, you had some typos in your last sentence. Let me correct them for you.

    If everyone thought I was being a retard, then accept my apologies.

  69. #69 Roko
    July 12, 2008

    Sorry, I cited John Gall and attribute the quotation to Ron. Once again, sorry Ron.

  70. #70 Blake Stacey
    July 12, 2008

    s/we’ll/well

    Pray for my slippery fingers! I don’t know what happened. They were certainly functioning well enough when they were clasped in prayer with your sister last night.

  71. #71 True Bob
    July 12, 2008

    Blake, perhaps your fingers got slippery while praying with said sister…

  72. #72 The Adamant Atheist
    July 12, 2008

    Saying “God bless” is just as preposterous as saying “Zeus bless.” John Galt and other religious people should realize that they adopt the beliefs they do out of custom/credulity/some other contingency rather than out of an objective view of the world.

  73. #73 Kevin Hayden
    July 12, 2008

    Oh looky, in the Anti-evolutionary decathlon, the Baptist entry is giving Donohue some stiff competition.

    (h/t to my non-sockpuppet brudder)

  74. #74 Calladus
    July 12, 2008

    Multiple pseudonyms from one person? Is this a bona fide miracle?

    I mean c’MON y’all! This is like the bread and fishes miracle all over again!

  75. #75 jb
    July 12, 2008

    Art, like religious objects, is in the eyes of the beholder, Blake: Are you saying that if the Eucharist were ‘prettier’ and ‘older’ it should be given more respect? Afterall, bread is bread; rocks are rocks; walls are walls (and how does the Wailing Wall fall into the “ancient works of art” category, again?).

    All of that aside, the principle should be the same: Sacred. Cows. Should. Be. Done. Away. With. PERIOD.

  76. #76 JoJo
    July 12, 2008

    If anyone thought I was being ugly, then accept my apologies.

    I’ll only accept your apology if you promise not to do it again.

    Your continual whining that PZ said something that you, personally, didn’t approve of went way past annoying. Your protestations that you didn’t want to put words in anyone’s mouth and, sometimes in the next sentence, demands that PZ clarify or withdraw his initial comment were quite arrogant. Finally, your insistence that you were the sole arbitrator of The One True Atheism were extremely aggravating.

    Go, my child, and sin no more.

  77. #77 Ubi Dubium
    July 12, 2008

    As much as I hate sockpuppetry and trolls in general, I would have to consider the alternate possibility that all those posters are not, in fact a single person, but are simply sharing time on a single computer. I have visions of the staff at Bill Donohue’s office sitting around coming up with venom to spew, and taking turns posing it. (In that case, though, they might just as well be one person, for all the independent thinking that would be happening.) I still think banning that address is justified; if they are indeed individuals, they should have the sense to go and post from their own computers.

  78. #78 True Bob
    July 12, 2008

    Ron,

    I’m trying to discuss different atheists’ goals and techniques with you. Why won’t you discuss this with me? I hope I didn’t offend.

  79. #79 The Pink Unicorn
    July 12, 2008

    “Your mockery of others’ beliefs is shameful.”

    Your religious beliefs are shameful, and deserves to be made a mockery of.

  80. #80 Brownian, OM
    July 12, 2008

    Sooo, where do we go from here, seeing as the much-anticipated, foaming-at-the-mouth, starkravingmad Catholic mob never showed up?

    JB, what fucking lobe did you just have removed? They did show up, fuckface, on cue, as predicted.

    I’ve got an idea for you and some dynamite; why don’t you hold a stick in your teeth and see if Jesus comes back before the fuse burns all the way through?

    Fucking willfully blind motherfuckers.

    I gotta take a break from these asshats. Apparently an H. pylori infection isn’t absolutely necessary for a peptic ulcer; constant exposure to abject stupidity works just as well.

  81. #81 Capital Dan
    July 12, 2008

    Jenn outed herself as a sockpuppet on the “I get email -special cracker edition” thread.

    Capital Dan. My comments started in the 200′s under another name, so no, you wouldn’t understand – mainly because it makes sense.
    Posted by: Jenn

    Don’t know if that should get her a seat in the Dungeon. I mean, I think she’s a cutter, and this might be enough to move her from razorblades up to steak knives.

  82. #82 Ron in Houston
    July 12, 2008

    Richard

    I really want to get away from all the highly unpleasant people on this blog. However, I do want to respond to your question.

    No, the blasphemy challenge is not in bad taste. It’s probably not productive to getting acceptance of atheism. But to anyone that wants to blaspheme the holy spirit blaspheme away.

    I’ll be the first to admit that there are a whole lot of religious people need to be metaphorically slapped. PZ does an excellent job doing that to creationists.

    However, just because someone is religious, in my opinion, doesn’t mean they should be alapped.

  83. #83 Sven DiMilo
    July 12, 2008

    I am shocked–SHOCKED!–to learn that there are sockpuppets posting comments on Pharyngula.
    Me, I can’t even type with my hand up a sock. It all ends up looking like this:
    kfemdsalkvcoortoiiuruygrthmzd;/;,xlkmbxzoij4,,jzfdbnvo[‘

    …which, come to think of it, is as good a Kenny parody as I used to do with all 10 fingers. *shrug*

  84. #84 aleph1=c
    July 12, 2008

    OK, is he gone now?

  85. #85 Richard in Edmonton
    July 12, 2008

    Ron in Houston

    So you believe that the ritual of a cracker taking on the “substance” of christ is off limits as a focus for ridicule but the blaspheming of the holy spirit is not? Why the duality?

  86. #86 The Adamant Atheist
    July 12, 2008

    I’m feeling very optimistic about this whole cracker “crisis”.

    Anything that focuses attention on the absurdity of religious claims is bound to help move the zeitgeist forward a bit. Superstition thrives in the dark.

    Expose religion and watch it shrivel.

  87. #87 Blake Stacey
    July 12, 2008

    jb, nobody here dynamites cathedrals. At most, we try to get people to consider the possibility that they’re wasting their time sitting in them.

  88. #88 LisaJ
    July 12, 2008

    hahaha, awesome. What a loser.

  89. #89 True Bob
    July 12, 2008

    Ron, Doesn’t that seem inconsistent? You approve of blaspheming the Holy Spirit, the ONLY unforgivable sin in christianity, but you are palpably upset with the notion of desecrating a foodstuff?

    Again I must say, it seems your sense of proportion is either entirely out of whack or inverted entirely.

  90. #90 NanuNanu
    July 12, 2008

    no ron, YOU are the idiots

    and then ron was a zombie

    people would take you more seriously if you didnt come into this whole thing claiming PZ was telling people to disrupt masses and other such nonsense

  91. #91 Ron in Houston
    July 12, 2008

    True Bob

    You really appear to be the type of person that I’d love to have a lengthy discussion with. If you have a blog or even would like to start one to have this discussion I’ll be happy to come by and chat.

    There’s just too much BS chatter on this place.

    Besides I’ve been told to leave and I really have no desire to stay.

  92. #92 True Bob
    July 12, 2008

    HA! Rob Zombie reference. I get jokes.

  93. #93 Demonic Gophers
    July 12, 2008

    “However, just because someone is religious, in my opinion, doesn’t mean they should be [s]lapped.”

    I agree. What about because they were issuing death threats?

  94. #94 franny
    July 12, 2008

    “Naz, k8, promo, baker, PZ is a fool, Burns, rumrunner, Dobbs, NYTs, KKKAthiest, Andy, CDV, BradJ, Brett, b7, PCD, NVFU,”

    What is Donahue’s IP address? That coincidence would be even more unimaginably megaLOL.

  95. #95 shiftysquid
    July 12, 2008

    Ron in Houston wrote (#44): If you’re serious about convincing anyone but yourselves about the necessity of atheism, then you need to lose the attitude and the sophomoric BS.

    “The necessity of atheism”? Meh. Secularism, maybe. But not atheism, necessarily. I wonder if you get what atheism actually is.

    You see, “atheism” is not really a thing at all. It’s not an idea, and it’s certainly not a “necessity.” It’s the lack of a belief in a deity. Nothing more. Nothing less. It requires nothing and expects nothing. It is a description of what we’re not, not what we are. In the end, in fact, it’s probably used too often and has become entangled with the notion of a belief system and a set of ideals. It has none of the above.

    Now, I think it would be ideal if religion disappeared yesterday. In itself, it does nothing worthwhile, other than give people false hope for ultimate judgment after themselves and others die. Letting go of that would be the best option. But it’s not necessary, if the people who hold onto these beliefs stop trying to insert it into everyone else’s life through public policy.

    Atheism would be nice, but it is by no means a “necessity.” Secularism is, for the health of the Republic.

  96. #96 raven
    July 12, 2008

    ron the concern troll:

    Raven

    Mental illness really isn’t a joke. I’ll be the first to agree that some of the people that continually post are probably somewhat mentally ill, but show a little sensitivity.

    Who is joking? You think someone who posts incoherent rubbish 24/7 with hundreds of IDs and threatens to kill people is sane?

    And no they are not somewhat mentally ill, they are seriously locked up somewhere crazy.

    On another website, long ago, there was a poster who was clearly having difficulties although he was much saner than the christofascist trolls who haunt these boards. He disappeared from the board and then disappeared for good. He was shot dead by the cops during a spectacularly inept daylight robbery of a jewelry store.

    People don’t self censor on anonymous threads and they don’t try to hide their internal mental states. If they seem crazy, they are.

  97. #97 PZ Myers
    July 12, 2008

    Since Donohue has never posted here, I don’t know. The sockpuppet’s IP is 68.231.166.138, though, which looks like it’s at least coming through Atlanta…which is not reassuring to me right now.

    Socky, you are NOT invited to the Pharyngufest!

  98. #98 Ron in Houston
    July 12, 2008

    NanuNanu

    Dude I wasn’t calling you an idiot. You did it and I was saying that such an ad hominem attack was just juvenile.

    Honestly it’s a total failure to communicate. I certainly have to take responsibility for my 1/2 of that failure.

    Maybe you’re s really nice person in real life.

  99. #99 True Bob
    July 12, 2008

    Well Ron, come back sometime. This has been a particularly firestormy few days.

    You’ll find lots less vitriol when the theist trolls aren’t lobbing their mortars of ignorance about.

    Most of the commenters around here are quite educated, and some are amazingly well informed in a number of subjects. Most are more than willing to have a nice pleasant discussion, with anyone. Legions (couldn’t stop myself) express themselves far more eloquently than I do.

  100. #100 Blaidd Drwg
    July 12, 2008

    One thing to remember when dealing with rabid fundies: They intentionally misspell the word “”Prey”, to make it appear more innocuous.

    So, the next time you get a message offering to “Pray for your soul”, just mentally correct the spelling, and see if you don’t get shudders up your spine…

  101. #101 Julian
    July 12, 2008

    ??? Ron, that post didn’t make any sense. Sure, the words had meaning, but you seem to have put them together incorrectly.

    Anyway, it’s rather obvious, from this post if not from your other ones, that you’re just here to troll and don’t really have an argument of substance or stance of conviction, so I won’t worry too much about the horrible lack of coherence this post has shown.

  102. #102 jb
    July 12, 2008

    Hey, Brownnoser OM: I’m quoting your prof: “We have had a number of raving angry Catholics in various threads here…or have we?” Who peed in your mother, that you’re too stupid to get the point of this thread? That link you provided is a bunch of “I’m-calling-your-college-president”s and “I-demand-an-apology”s. Where is the foam? The cacophony of voices calling for his literal, honest-to-goodness HEAD–not his job? IT. AIN’T. THERE. Prof himself had to *photoshop* a pic of Muslims (LOL) threatening death to someone: Why couldn’t he get himself a REAL one of the Catholic mob?

  103. #103 BobC
    July 12, 2008

    The sock puppetry was very obvious. Many people noticed it.

    Anyone here feel like ridiculing Christian fundamentalists? They have a thread about the cracker incident here: http://tinyurl.com/584lcx

    Registration is easy. Why not visit them and tell them what you think about Catholic terrorists who are willing to kill and/or ruin people’s lives to defend a cracker. While you are there you can tell them what you think about the fundamentalists who are even worse than Catholics.

    Typical comment from the fundies: “Knowing what Catholics believe, this is beyond hate speech. This is physical attack, along the lines of destruction of property.”

  104. #104 Julian
    July 12, 2008

    hmm, I suppose this is what I get for not updating my pages often. The post I’m referring to was #44

  105. #105 True Bob
    July 12, 2008

    Typical comment from the fundies: “Knowing what Catholics believe, this is beyond hate speech. This is physical attack, along the lines of destruction of property.”

    They do have vivid imaginations, don’t they? I suppose that’s a requirement.

  106. #106 FO
    July 12, 2008

    Yeah Ron, come back when you’re ready to use your brain and answer all those questions you’ve been dodging. What a thin-skinned retard.

    If you wanna go, then GO, and stop coming back.

    Good riddance.

  107. #107 Eric
    July 12, 2008

    According to the catechism textbook which I was forced to read and internalize as a child, the REAL miracle is that the cracker continues to appear to be bread after the priest consecrates it, even though it has in fact become deified flesh. As Aquinas explained, the substance of the hallowed cracker changes while its accidents remain the same. This divergence of substance and accident is entirely unique to the Eucharistic miracle. We should all stand in awe.

    So, for proof of God’s existence, look to the bread that miraculously appears to remain bread after the priest does his hocus pocus. If you aren’t floored by the truly amazing spectacle of bread continuing to be bread, you’re just not seeing with the eyes of faith.

    Just thought I’d put that out there.

  108. #108 Blaidd Drwg
    July 12, 2008

    Eric, I suppose that’s pretty much the same argument the fundies use to ‘splain creationism. It may LOOK LIKE completely natural evolution, BUT if you look with the eyes of faith, you will surely see the Hand of God(TM) at work.

    Right?

  109. #109 jb
    July 12, 2008

    Blake, are you serious? Atheists don’t dynamite cathedrals?* Pleeze.

    *http://members.tripod.com/rossiya_david/id21.htm

  110. #110 NanuNanu
    July 12, 2008

    @Ron

    I admit i was a bit out of line when insulting you but insults aren’t ad hominems
    I was insulting you because when you first showed up you falsely claimed that

    “I’m all for taking stands against plutocratic religions. What PZ did was take it one step further. He (perhaps tongue in cheek) advocated going into their sacred places and causing chaos.”

    He did no such thing, tongue in or out of cheek.

  111. #111 Moses
    July 12, 2008

    It’s the MIRACLE OF THE HOST!

  112. #112 Eric
    July 12, 2008

    Blaidd Drwg: Yes, that’s what I keep thinking. So why do they make such a fuss about evolution? Can’t they just say, look, the scientists have discovered the Hand of God, and be done with it?

  113. #113 Chalmer Wren
    July 12, 2008

    I thought you might enjoy our blog (MSCD atheists).

    http://metroatheists.blogspot.com/

  114. #114 jpf
    July 12, 2008

    According to here: http://www.networldmap.com/TryIt.htm?GetLocation

    68.231.166.138 is in Tucson, AZ

  115. #115 brokenSoldier, OM
    July 12, 2008

    …the REAL miracle is that the cracker continues to appear to be bread after the priest consecrates it, even though it has in fact become deified flesh.

    Posted by: Eric | July 12, 2008 1:41 PM

    I remember a funny story about this when I was in catechism class. The nun was teaching us that when the priest consecrates the bread and wine, it changes into the body and blood. At that point, curious little me raised my hand to ask a question. The nun recognized me and I asked (it’s a paraphrase – this has been a good 20 years ago) a question to the effect of “If it’s a sin to cast spells, how come the father does it right in front of the church?” For that particular misunderstanding, the back of my right hand got a larger than normal dose of slaps with the ruler.

  116. #116 Richard in Edmonton
    July 12, 2008

    Eric

    It is amazing is it not? Faith{belief despite the lack of evidence} is what is required to allow the claims of a priesthood{who’s livelihood is dependent upon faith} that the ritual they perform actually changes the cracker into the body of christ{for whom there is no real evidence either} and that to question what appears to be a silly notion is to demonstrate a lack of faith itself.

    One must simply hangs ones jaw slack and wonder how such reasonable, logical, coherent mental clarity such as this completely escapes we Crazy atheists.

    Perhaps my birth was more difficult that I have been led to believe?

  117. #117 MB
    July 12, 2008

    Thanks for trying to keep the hilarious euphemism alive, Blake…

    In the meantime, let’s all pray for Ron and John and jb et.al.

  118. #118 Neil Schipper
    July 12, 2008

    Good that that’s been resolved.

    Also noteworthy is the willingness of the loyal hounds to howl endlessly at the sock puppet, replying to each and every insult ten to one. How fascinating to read, about 2500 times, that the cracker is not real Jesus-flesh, that those who believe it are stupid and in need of psychiatric treatment, that assault and death threats are worse than giving offense, and that the Catholic church has a nasty history.

    It’s stunning how many Pharyngulites find these notions new and exciting. But to be fair, the folks who post 30 times a day may not be truly representative, but rather people with specific emotional and entertainment needs.

    So with all that clutter and noise in the comments, it’s maybe not so amazing that no more than 2% of all discussion touched on the specific cause of this firestorm that is surely sucking many hours out of the working life of a university president: PZ’s request to his readers to obtain, at the very least by deceitful means if not by actual disruption of a voluntarily attended legal gathering, one of these thingamabobs, and the promise to subsequently “abuse” it on the web.

    Again (and I have to repeat this because it’s clearly so easy for Pharyngulites to suppress this distinction): it was this request-and-promise that caused the other guys to be outraged (and please don’t tell me they’re uppity — yes, I really do get it); it was NOT the criticism and ridicule of their beliefs and their past and present misdeeds and hypocrisy, such criticism being long-standing and mainstream features of the public conversation.

    So, the question remains: did PZ’s request-and-promise cross a line? Did it come close?

    (The request-and-promise could charitably be interpreted as more rhetorical than actual, something PZ hinted at in a later interview, but PZ well knows the range of folks in his audience.)

    Where is your line, reader? Is an action that pushes the emotional hot-buttons of the people least likely to give your point of view serious consideration always a good thing? Does it matter whether your action has the redeeming feature of plausibly being persuasive to people “in the middle” or more tentatively on the other side?

    One more thing. I love that PZ drew attention to the Webster Cook story and the CathLeag reaction. In hindsight, what if instead of his request-and-promise, he had asked readers to snow the admin of Cook’s university and church (and media) with demands that the woman (people?) who laid hands on him be publicly identified and charged with assault?

  119. #119 Longtime Lurker
    July 12, 2008

    Gotta love the Ayn Rand lurvin’ religious dude. As a Catholic, the name “John Guilt” would be more appropriate.

  120. #120 watercat
    July 12, 2008

    #80
    I’m confused (not being aware of all internet traditions,and all). If that many of the posts were all from the same guy, how many are left? Is there really a horde of fundo-catholics or not?

  121. #121 Helioprogenus
    July 12, 2008

    I suppose if you’re means of communication is sock-puppetry, you might as well go on believing in an invisible being that lives in some etheral place in the heavens dictating your life through every whim and fancy. You might as well believe some idiot in Rome has moral, intellectual, and ethical supremacy over you. You might as well think a 2000 year old legendary dead jew whose blood you drink and flesh you eat is your savior. You might as well believe that you can be a lying, obnoxious, venemous, disrespectful human being, but if you go to a house of worship on a given day of the week and confess these acts to an idiot who can be a pedophile, your behavior is forgiven. Wow, I can keep going, but the poing is made. Reality’s so much better than this heap of shit these fundy bastards try to expell.

  122. #122 jb
    July 12, 2008

    Nanu, the Eucharist isn’t given out willy-nilly to anyone who wants it: it is strictly for Catholics ‘in good standing’ with the group as a whole. Thems the rules. Anyone else getting in line to receive it is a poser, and a fraud. Prof here asked for some posing, and encouraged fraud in order to illicitly get his hands on someone else’s sacred item, *regardless* of whether that sacred item is something given out literally millions of times everyday to millions of believers: It would have been no different than if he’d asked someone to make the hajj posing as a Muslim believer and bring him back the Ruknu l-Aswad for him to desecrate.

  123. #123 James F
    July 12, 2008

    Reginald @21 wrote:

    The entire Catholic League is essentially the biggest sockpuppet scheme of all time – who are the members of the Catholic League?
    Bill Donohue, and that’s it!

    Full disclosure, I’m firmly against desecration of the host (among other things, it involves taking something that someone else values without their permission), but I share this sentiment. Every now and then you hear about a different contact person at the CL, but it’s not like the DI, it’s practically all Donohue. It’s overused, I know, but he doesn’t speak for me.

  124. #124 Helioprogenus
    July 12, 2008

    Never mind the grammatical and spelling errors. No sleep and broken spell check makes for such disasters.

  125. #125 Apostle #3
    July 12, 2008

    PZ Myers! You horrible foolish person! First, you laugh at our crackers, then you insult our most ancient tradition!!!!!

  126. #126 Hank Fox
    July 12, 2008

    I haven’t been reading here as closely as I should, but I’m hoping you hold a contest for the best and funniest ideas of what to do with the Holy Cracker.

  127. #127 brokenSoldier, OM
    July 12, 2008

    @ jb in # 109:

    You weren’t seriously offering that example as defense of a position that seeks to equate atheists with those who bomb buildings out of religious fanaticism, were you? Because that would either be extremely intellectually dishonest on one hand, or ridiculously idiotic on the other.

    Stalin, in his destruction of that cathedral, was motivated by the desire to remove religion from life, to supplant it with Communism, not atheism. One ideology had no room for the other, specifically religion’s ability to inspire tenacity when faced with majority opposition and repression. He sought to control the national mind, so he removed religion as best he could and filled in its place with communist ideology. But go ahead, keep parroting the Stalin comparison – and throw in a few Hitler jabs too, just to make sure you’re keeping up with your contemporaries.

    Besides, all Blake said in the first place was that people here don’t dynamite cathedrals, so your reference to Stalin is plainly incorrect, along with being completely irrelevant.

  128. #128 Apostle #7
    July 12, 2008

    I totally agree with Apostle # 3 above. This is an outrage!

  129. #129 Demonic Gophers
    July 12, 2008

    Neil, your last comment makes it clear that you know full well PZ did NOT start this mess. Which means that describing his post as “the specific cause of this firestorm” is a lie, not a mistake. It may (arguably) have been an escalation, but it certainly wasn’t the cause.

    If you have to lie to make your point, your point is probably wrong.

  130. #130 Paul Johnson
    July 12, 2008

    Ron, its a comment chain, it’s going to be sophomoric

  131. #131 JoJo
    July 12, 2008

    I’m firmly against desecration of the host

    What’s your stance on death threats and pedophilia? I can’t be too impressed by all you Catholics whining about desecrating the magic cracker when I haven’t seen one single one of you on these boards denouncing the other Catholics offering to kill Cook and PZ. Nor have I seen any of you admitting that raping altar boys and trying to cover up the rapes might not be good in God’s eyes.

  132. #132 Apostle #11
    July 12, 2008

    “The fool says in his heart,
    “There is no God.”
    They are corrupt, their deeds are vile;
    there is no one who does good.

    So it is written. Psalm 14. The Bible.

  133. #133 Apostle # 2
    July 12, 2008

    The fool says in his heart,
    “There is no God.”
    They are corrupt, and their ways are vile;
    there is no one who does good.

    So it is written. Pslam 53 The Bible.

  134. #134 Capital Dan
    July 12, 2008

    According to here: http://www.networldmap.com/TryIt.htm?GetLocation

    68.231.166.138 is in Tucson, AZ

    Posted by: jpf

    It’s that dry heat. It makes people bat-shit crazy and turns their brains to jerky.

  135. #135 JimB
    July 12, 2008

    Now now. They can wish their god’s blessing on me all they want and I won’t take offense.

    As long as they don’t take offence when I bless them with

    And may the Great Cthulhu eat you and yours first“.

  136. #136 Moses
    July 12, 2008

    Posted by: Neil Schipper | July 12, 2008 1:57 PM

    Shorter Neil: Shut up you uppity _________ (oppressed group of choice) and stay the victim.

    Short Moses: You can’t win if you don’t fight.

  137. #137 raven
    July 12, 2008

    I’m confused (not being aware of all internet traditions,and all). If that many of the posts were all from the same guy, how many are left? Is there really a horde of fundo-catholics or not?

    Probably not. Most of the nonsockpuppet bigots and wingnuts are trolls using an excuse to be trolls and rant and rave and may be Catholic but probably aren’t. The fake priest probably isn’t even Catholic.

    I’m guessing there might have been 3 or 4 real Catholics but have no intention of counting them. They are also clearly outnumbered by lapsed and ex Catholics who find crackergate amusing in a morbid sort of way.

  138. #138 Dr Benway
    July 12, 2008

    PZ seems busy. So I’m taking care of the host desecration thing for him. Pic here: IMMA CHARGIN MAH WAFERS!!!1!

  139. #139 jb
    July 12, 2008

    #127: Ooooh, so a few fanatical atheists (like, say, Stalin, or Mao) don’t speak for the whole? *chuckle*. You aren’t nearly so forgiving when those ‘few fanatics’ are theists of some sort.

    “Stalin, in his destruction of that cathedral, was motivated by the desire to remove religion from life, to supplant it with Communism, not atheism.”

    Ummm, you *do* know that 19th and 20th C. Communism WAS atheist, right? And what THEY did reflects badly on atheists EVERYWHERE, if what some pedophile priests did reflects badly on Catholics everywhere, right?

  140. #140 brokenSoldier, OM
    July 12, 2008

    Prof here asked for some posing, and encouraged fraud in order to illicitly get his hands on someone else’s sacred item… It would have been no different than if he’d asked someone to make the hajj posing as a Muslim believer and bring him back the Ruknu l-Aswad for him to desecrate.

    Posted by: jb | July 12, 2008 2:00 PM

    Wrong. Fraud as you used the term is a criminal act, very strictly defined in the legal system, and certainly does not – in any way – conform to PZ’s actions and words. Either you used the word without knowing what it meant, or you know full well the legal definitions of fraud, and simply used it in a misleading fashion anyway. Either way, it makes you sound like a ranting hack who contributes nothing to the discussion.

    As for the comparison of the communion wafer to the Rukun I-Aswad, or Black Stone (which is claimed to be a relic from the time of Adam and Eve), it is equally ridiculous. A sacred artifact or text kept in a religion’s holy city is quite different from a small portion of unleavened bread given out to millions around the world each and every day.

    As Blake was trying to point out to you, the regulars here are much too intelligent to fall for a load of bullshit like you just dumped in that last post.

  141. #141 Apostle #13
    July 12, 2008

    But why is the RUM gone?

  142. #142 Terry
    July 12, 2008

    Not only is it easy for trolls to repeatedly comment under various names on a blog..it is also..

    super easy for supporters of the blogger’s position to post in opposition to the position in the most ignorant voices possible.

    Thereby making the opposition to the blogger seem all the more ignorant.

    Even bloggers have been known to do this on their own blog.

    I call bullshit on Meyers and his Klan, big time.

  143. #143 Feynmaniac
    July 12, 2008

    The Washington Times has now pick up the story . The comments are pretty much all the same from the letters PZ has been receiving.

  144. #144 jpf
    July 12, 2008

    Sorry for playing Junior PI, but I think the reason PZ got that 68.231.166.138 is in Atlanta is because it’s owned by Cox Communications which is HQed in Atlanta and he found this when he looked it up: “Cox Communications Inc. NETBLK-COX-ATLANTA-7 (NET-68-224-0-0-1)” Whoever is using that IP doesn’t necessarily have to be where his ISP is based. (I’m in WA and my ISP is HQed in Louisiana, so looking up my IP will show a LA address, unless you use that site I gave above, which gives my correct state and city.)

  145. #145 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 12, 2008

    Ooooh, so a few fanatical atheists (like, say, Stalin, or Mao) don’t speak for the whole? *chuckle*. You aren’t nearly so forgiving when those ‘few fanatics’ are theists of some sort.

    A few fanatical COMMUNISTS. You need to bone up on your history and what the driving force behind communism was. Atheism while part of the ideal was no where near as important as the paranoia, power grab and totalitarianism in the practice.

    Ummm, you *do* know that 19th and 20th C. Communism WAS atheist, right? And what THEY did reflects badly on atheists EVERYWHERE, if what some pedophile priests did reflects badly on Catholics everywhere, right?

    bad analogy. The communist did what they did because of power. Period. It was a means for control of the population.. Atheism is purely the non belief in a deity(s). Period. They did what they did despite or in no relevance to atheism. Stalin’s Paranoia is probably the biggest factor in his crimes.

    Pedophile priests were able to do what they did because of the church. The church enabled them to continue to do it. The church was supposed to protect those kids and not only did it not, it facilitated some priests ability to continue to do it.

  146. #146 True Bob
    July 12, 2008

    jb, lack of a belief in gods was not what communism was about.

    Also, as has more or less been accepted, about 1 in 25 priests were pedophiles (!). It’s not the crime, it’s the coverup, which went (and still goes) all the way up to Ratzinger.

    History: ur dewing it rong

  147. #147 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 12, 2008

    Not only is it easy for trolls to repeatedly comment under various names on a blog..it is also..

    super easy for supporters of the blogger’s position to post in opposition to the position in the most ignorant voices possible.

    Thereby making the opposition to the blogger seem all the more ignorant.

    Even bloggers have been known to do this on their own blog.

    I call bullshit on Meyers and his Klan, big time.

    yawn

  148. #148 MB
    July 12, 2008

    Below is the quote from PZ on “scoring” some crackers. Get me a frackin cracker because I can’t, I paraphrase. Then he makes reference to the grim nuns and armed guards and smuggling.

    Apparently the good Nazis, I mean Catholics, assume everyone else follows orders – literally – as they do. Please, any regular reader of this blog who didn’t understand the irony in this smuggling paragraph, speak up so we can remove sharp objects from your environment.

    To everyone complaining that PZ was encouraging anyone to be disruptive of any superstitious rituals, Catholic or not, you’re either praying liars or really stoopid, too stoopid to understand irony, and I’ll pray for you all.

    Geez people, get a praying life – score, smuggle, armed guards, grim nuns, heinous cracker abuse – you may not think it’s funny, but don’t pretend he’s a physical threat because you don’t have a witty retort.

    This isn’t the first time the moral police have accused PZ of “crossing the line” and if it’s the last, his readership will certainly shrink.

    “So, what to do. I have an idea. Can anyone out there score me some consecrated communion wafers? There’s no way I can personally get them — my local churches have stakes prepared for me, I’m sure — but 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. I shall do so joyfully and with laughter in my heart. If you can smuggle some out from under the armed guards and grim nuns hovering over your local communion ceremony, just write to me and I’ll send you my home address.”

  149. #149 Matt Penfold
    July 12, 2008

    To add to what BigBumbChimp has said, if the Catholic Church on becoming aware of allegations of child abuse by a priest informed the police, and removed the priest from duties involving the public until the investigation was complete then people would have accepted that in any large organisation there are likely to be people who behave in an unacceptable manner. The blame would be laid on the individuals, not the church.

    However when the church decided it would simply move priests to another parish, and when those priests continued to abuse children then the Church has to accept a good deal of blame.

  150. #150 Michael X
    July 12, 2008

    jb,
    Attacking PZ for his cracker comments comes out of Catholics belief that the cracker is Jesus in the flesh. It follows from the belief. Stalin and Mao’s actions do not follow from atheism. This is the key point: do one mans actions follow for the whole? Is communism and/or mass murder part of atheism? No. Are nonsense cracker beliefs part of catholicism? Yes.

    And thus by one, we may judge many. Unless of course there are a great many catholics who arbitrarily pick and choose what they will believe to be literal. Though their inconsistency in spite of their profession of belief in the truth of catholicism leaves them no better off intellectually than the cracker worshipers.

  151. #151 uncle frogy
    July 12, 2008

    >>>>Art, like religious objects, is in the eyes of the beholder, Blake: Are you saying that if the Eucharist were ‘prettier’ and ‘older’ it should be given more respect? Afterall, bread is bread; rocks are rocks; walls are walls (and how does the Wailing Wall fall into the “ancient works of art” category, again?).

    All of that aside, the principle should be the same: Sacred. Cows. Should. Be. Done. Away. With. PERIOD.<<<<
    jb

    you can not be serious I do not know if you mean that or are just being inflammatory.
    The Wailing Wall is actually very old as were the monuments destroyed by the Taliban. Should we then remove all thing that are old because they are old what is history and its study for. What about art? the symbolic representing of objects and ideas?
    No one would advocate going into any others private property and think it would be OK to commit any acts of vandalism.
    no one thinks that you should not be shocked or offended by what someone else says or does with there own property. You do not have to like it and unless it is a danger to others you probably can not stop it either.
    If I make an art work showing a “religious image” in a bucket of vomit you do not have to like it.
    If I obtain some “communion wafers” and feed them to my dog so what?
    It shocks you good that is the point!
    It is all about symbols and stories we use to help explain the experience of life and living to others. there are thousands of these stories they are just stories some are closer to “objective reality” than others. All of them illustrate the attitudes of those who made them up and /or the culture they came from about the place of humans in the world.
    the big problem occurs during periods of change from older understanding of the world to a new one. It appears that there are a lot of people who do not see a difference between a symbol and the thing it represents.
    I trust reason and science to help me understand what the hell is going on and to separate opinion from fact.

  152. #152 brokenSoldier, OM
    July 12, 2008

    Posted by: jb | July 12, 2008 2:15 PM

    #127: Ooooh, so a few fanatical atheists (like, say, Stalin, or Mao) don’t speak for the whole? *chuckle*. You aren’t nearly so forgiving when those ‘few fanatics’ are theists of some sort.

    No, you just – predictably, though – missed the entire point of the post. I simply pointed out that your argument that Stalin destroyed that cathedral for reasons driven by his atheism was patently false. Your argument attempts to portray Stalin as a sort of evangelical atheist, when he was, in fact, a man driven by power-lust and paranoia.

    Ummm, you *do* know that 19th and 20th C. Communism WAS atheist, right? And what THEY did reflects badly on atheists EVERYWHERE, if what some pedophile priests did reflects badly on Catholics everywhere, right?

    In the sense that they allowed for no god in their belief system, that is correct. What you fail to understand, though, is that in looking through your self-centered looking glass on the world, you project your own structured beliefs onto atheists. Atheism is not an affirmation of what something or someone is (as Christianity or any other religious system is), but rather an affirmation of what they are not – believers in the divine. Communism was an atheist ideology in the same way any other group that denounces the existence of a god or gods, many of which are very distinct from Communism – and each other, for that matter – in many different ways. Your attempt to define an organization or ideology on the basis of a belief that group has excluded is silly. Entities are necessarily defined by those things which they are and fight for, not what they don’t believe. For example, you’ll have a hard time finding atheists running to Stalin’s defense. In the case you mentioned, however, Catholics came out of the woodwork to defend these pedophiles and shield their crimes, not to mention the diplomatic and administrative gymnastics performed by the Church itself to do the same. That is precisely why your analogy does not work, and never will.

    But by all means, keep on sounding just like Bill O’Reilly, spouting off your assertions that something is a matter of record and that it is widely known, all the while failing to have a full grasp of the basic facts in your own head.

  153. #153 James F
    July 12, 2008

    JoJo @131

    Let me be the first, then. If I’ve given short shrift to death threats, it’s because I believe they are made by cowards and are highly unlikely to amount to anything (much as PZ does), but anything above and beyond a blog sock puppet or an anonymous email should be traced and prosecuted. So consider that batch of idiots condemned. And as for pedophiles and those who cover their crimes (and thankfully I’ve never encountered them even through second- or third-hand accounts), there aren’t suitable words to express how vile their crimes are – it’s a blight on the entire religion. Please don’t think I was equating host desecration with either – now if Donohue would get the message….

  154. #154 Keith B
    July 12, 2008

    The Apostle postings are lame. If I wanted to hear that nonsense, I would turn my TV to channel 7.

  155. #155 Mark
    July 12, 2008

    So when does the Koran desecration begin?

    I’m serious.

    This fellow should get..what…a consecrated Host, a Koran, a Torah scroll, something sacred to Hindus and Buddhists and desecrate them all at the same time.

    Will he? Is he that courageous?

    I somehow doubt it.

    And I doubt he will publicly address why he wouldn’t desecrate a Koran, either.

  156. #156 Fr. J
    July 12, 2008

    This will be my last comment. It is a waste of time trying to debate with toddlers. The same things said over and over again. Modern education has really declined. PZ has contributed to that.

    “By your actions you shall know them.” That cuts both ways PZ. Think about it. Look at what you are doing and how your atheist allies are acting. See how atheists act in China and North Korea. Look at what they do to religious believers. They make even the radical Islamicists look good. Also you might post some of the atheist sock puppets. Or do you imagine that atheists never have sock puppets? Once again you complain about something peripheral and avoid dealing with the substance of the criticisms against you.

    PZ, I suspect you are enjoying all of this. Much like any rebellious child who likes tormenting his parents. Some get tattoos or piercings. You have your own way to show what a “cool” rebel you are. In so doing you have violated your institutions code of conduct and the ethics expected of a professor. You have demeaned yourself and your profession. You have diminished all teachers. All for 15 minutes of infamy. What a legacy to leave behind. This is what you will be remembered for. How pathetic. How sad. Pax.

  157. #157 brokenSoldier, OM
    July 12, 2008

    History: ur dewing it rong

    Posted by: True Bob | July 12, 2008 2:26 PM

    Nicely put.

  158. #158 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 12, 2008

    So when does the Koran desecration begin?

    I’m serious.

    This fellow should get..what…a consecrated Host, a Koran, a Torah scroll, something sacred to Hindus and Buddhists and desecrate them all at the same time.

    Will he? Is he that courageous?

    I somehow doubt it.

    And I doubt he will publicly address why he wouldn’t desecrate a Koran, either.

    Mark you don’t know what the fuck you are talking about. Before you come to a blog and spout off about something it may be worth your time to do a bit of research.

  159. #159 Scienceman123
    July 12, 2008
  160. #160 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 12, 2008

    Fr J ,

    You’ve made exactly zero headway promoting this “good” religion of yours here. You are a failure of epic proportions.

  161. #161 Kobra
    July 12, 2008

    [They make even the radical Islamicists look good.]
    CITATION NEEDED

    C’mon people, BACK UP YOUR CLAIMS!

  162. #162 Mena
    July 12, 2008

    It looks like there is a 77% chance that that IP address is from the Tucson area.
    http://www.geobytes.com/IpLocator.htm?GetLocation

  163. #163 The Adamant Atheist
    July 12, 2008

    Atheism by itself can’t drive anyone to do anything. It’s simply not equipped for it. Atheism is just a state of disbelief in gods.

    Religion contains many affirmative beliefs and tenets on the other hand. One can cite its generally barbaric texts or else just say “my faith tells me so.”

    I don’t fault Stalin for being an atheist. He probably didn’t believe in elves, either. I fault him for being a murderous dictator.

  164. #164 jb
    July 12, 2008

    Rev: Try as you might, your mental calisthenics cannot separate Communism from atheism. Russian Communists were atheists, even if not all atheists were/are Communists.

    Broken: “In criminal law, fraud is the crime or offense of deliberately deceiving another in order to damage them – usually, to obtain property or services unjustly.” -Wiki on “Fraud”, quoting the trial of Ken Lay. Tell me again how the Prof’s actions aren’t legitimately encouraging a “fraud”..?

    TrueBob: You’re a liar. The study, “The Nature and Scope of the Problem of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Priests and Deacons,” prepared by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice and released in 2004, examined 94,607 priests for the period 1960-2002, finding 4,392 priests accused of abusing. (Read that again: *Accused* of abusing, not *convicted*.) That comes to less than 5% of the whole.

  165. #165 Kevin Hayden
    July 12, 2008

    Does it matter whether your action has the redeeming feature of plausibly being persuasive to people “in the middle” or more tentatively on the other side?

    No.

    If the point is to defend a student from expulsion, assault and battery and death threats, then the point is not to proselytize for atheism.

    It is because of attacks by religious extremists on individuals, on reason and on scientific discovery that people like PZ, other atheists and agnostics, and even more open-minded people of faith fight against.

    The notion that comment threads are populated by a monolithic group of atheist proselytizers, all with bad manners and persuasion skills, is patently absurd. With different ideas, different levels of education, experience and age, different motivations and different senses of humors, commenters here, like everywhere, do not conspire for one aim. We may debate, inform, mock, insult, play, introduce snarkasmic bursts of genius, resort to the gospel according to the Moe, the Larry and the Holy Curly, or seek to persuade. Many attempt to direct the conversation back to the original point, which was not about atheism but about fanatical excess towards a student based on a belief that a holy object had been ‘kidnapped’, which remains a logical impossibility.

  166. #166 MB
    July 12, 2008

    Thanks Feynmaniac for the link to the Washington Times article.

    Many (most, all?) of these religious types are simply projecting their behavior onto the rest of us.

    PZ has “followers” (not readers, as Peter Lusman notes) who will do as he orders because that’s the way their lives work. If you’re not following the pope, you must be following PZ or some mullah or Karl Rove – YOU MUST BE TAKING ORDERS FROM SOMEONE!!! because I am…

  167. #167 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 12, 2008

    Rev: Try as you might, your mental calisthenics cannot separate Communism from atheism. Russian Communists were atheists, even if not all atheists were/are Communists.

    jb Try as you might or rather.. aren’t, you can’t seem to grasp that that has nothing to do with anything.

    If a man kills his wife because he caught her cheating and he is a christian, is it Christianity’s fault? Even if the man’s reason had nothing to do with his Christianity but everything to do with his jealousy and mental illness?

  168. #168 Kobra
    July 12, 2008

    #166:

    The difference is that no one who reads PZ’s blog is willing to die for him, but someone who follows Catholicism is often willing to die for the Pope.

  169. #169 jb
    July 12, 2008

    “In the case you mentioned, however, Catholics came out of the woodwork to defend these pedophiles and shield their crimes[.]”

    What a crock. The *very* individuals involved in bringing the scandal to light and demanding accountability for the coverup were incensed Catholics, more than likely the very type that would demand the professor here be held accountable for *his* insulting of their faith.

  170. #170 Greg
    July 12, 2008

    Rev. Big Dumb Chimp:

    So you’re an anonymous commenter and blogger who spends all day on comment threads on the internet?

    Good for you. You’re a person I take seriously.

  171. #171 Michael X
    July 12, 2008

    Mark, when Hindus and Buddhists begin creating uproars on the scale of stupidity that the Christians, Catholics and Muslims operate on, then yes, they too will receive their share of concentrated scorn and ridicule.
    But, it only shows your ignorance to assume that PZ hasn’t criticized any of those religions before.

    But you miss the point in any case. The actions being railed against right now are those of Catholics. It would be non-sequitur to flush a Koran or complain about Hindus.

  172. #172 NanuNanu
    July 12, 2008

    jb is right. The rate of pedophilia in priests is less than 5% not the ridiculous and absurd 4% that truebob has slanderously stated

  173. #173 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 12, 2008

    Rev. Big Dumb Chimp:

    So you’re an anonymous commenter and blogger who spends all day on comment threads on the internet?

    Good for you. You’re a person I take seriously.

    Did you have a point gregy or were you just going to come in like a child and say something completely irrelevant?

  174. #174 Kevin Hayden
    July 12, 2008

    And I doubt he will publicly address why he wouldn’t desecrate a Koran, either.

    Dear nitwit;

    It was Bill Donohue who tried to get the kid expelled, not a Muslim, Hindu or Confucianist.

    Furthermore, Professor Myers has not, to my knowledge desecrated anything. He has exposed the hypocrisy of religious extremists. He has mocked extremists of many faiths, including Muslims. And he has more important things to do than to respond to childish dares to make his points quite successfully.

  175. #175 Demonic Gophers
    July 12, 2008

    “Try as you might, your mental calisthenics cannot separate Communism from atheism. Russian Communists were atheists, even if not all atheists were/are Communists.”

    Logic: ur doin it wrong!

    ‘C implies A, and C implies D, so A implies D!’ seems to summarize your train of thought. It’s like saying that gazelles eat only plants, and gazelles live on grassy plains, so all herbivores must be associated with living on grassy plains. See how absurd that is?

  176. #176 Mark
    July 12, 2008

    So he’s flushed a Koran?

    Really?

    Missed that.

    I don’t believe he’s getting death threats from Catholics. Not for one minute.

    Why should I? If he’s sophomoric enough to engage in this – why should I believe that any of this is authentic? Why should I believe that it’s all not just fabricated by PZ and his followers to “prove” a point?

    It’s been done in other contexts, and on the Internet, it’s very easy to do.

  177. #177 jb
    July 12, 2008

    Nanu: Blogger cut of the rest of the post. *Convictions* were at a painful .5-1%.

  178. #178 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 12, 2008

    So he’s flushed a Koran?

    Really?

    Missed that.

    I don’t believe he’s getting death threats from Catholics. Not for one minute.

    Why should I? If he’s sophomoric enough to engage in this – why should I believe that any of this is authentic? Why should I believe that it’s all not just fabricated by PZ and his followers to “prove” a point?

    It’s been done in other contexts, and on the Internet, it’s very easy to do.

    I believe mark likes to stare at his mothers ass. Why shouldn’t I? People like him do it all the time. Any protesting from mark is just him hiding his guilt. I also think that mark likes to wear woman’s clothing. There are pictures on the internet. Just go find them. Why won’t mark denounce men wearing woman’s clothing.

    See how easy that is?

    Now back up what you are saying.

  179. #179 brokenSoldier, OM
    July 12, 2008

    jb, not paying attention again:

    Broken: “In criminal law, fraud is the crime or offense of deliberately deceiving another in order to damage them – usually, to obtain property or services unjustly.” -Wiki on “Fraud”, quoting the trial of Ken Lay. Tell me again how the Prof’s actions aren’t legitimately encouraging a “fraud”..?

    Gladly. Maybe next time you should try to find a decent, less malleable source for your legal terms. For your benefit, I give you the definition of fraud as our courts have defined it.

    http://dictionary.law.com/default2.asp?selected=785&bold=||||

    fraud
    n. the intentional use of deceit, a trick or some dishonest means to deprive another of his/her/its money, property or a legal right.

    PZ’s “call” was for individuals to walk into a church, take an item – of no monetary value – that is given to them freely, and send it to him. While the action may be against your religion’s tenets of belief as to how the item should be handled, that has absolutely no bearing on criminal law. The item was free, therefore no fraud has been solicited.

    Rev: Try as you might, your mental calisthenics cannot separate Communism from atheism. Russian Communists were atheists, even if not all atheists were/are Communists.

    It takes no mental “calisthenics” at all to separate the two. Communism is an ideology, a political belief system built upon certain social and economic beliefs, and athesim is simply the lack of one belief. So your assertion that “Russian Communists were atheists,” while true in the ideological sense, still completely ignores the fact that the things done by Stalin perverted even the original purposes of the principles of Communism (had you read The Communist Manifesto, you would realize that), not to mention that his actions were in no way representative of the intentions of people identifying themselves as atheist.

    The whole reason this will not fit through your skull is because you insist upon shoehorning “atheism” into the box of your own faith. You have structured beliefs and spiritual leaders who guide the community. Atheists have no such thing, and never will. I find it funny that you and those of your ilk try so hard to denigrate atheism by equating it to a religion – just seems counter-productive to me. But by all means, continue, because I do enjoy the humor in it.

    P.S.: Sorry to butt in on that one Rev, but I couldn’t resist.

  180. #180 jb
    July 12, 2008

    Gophers, then why-o-why can’t we get a state that is either Communist without being atheist or atheist without being Communist? Why do the two go hand-in-hand, thick as thieves?

  181. #181 Bubba Sixpack
    July 12, 2008

    Perhaps they are all real? Just multiple facets of Bill Donohue’s personalities?

  182. #182 brokenSoldier, OM
    July 12, 2008

    oops…missed a HTML mistake on that one…sorry. I only meant to bold “completely ignores the fact…”

  183. #183 Ryan Cunningham
    July 12, 2008

    But it’s such a beautiful story!

    When Jesus then lifted up his eyes, and saw a great forum of atheists come unto him, he saith unto Philip, Whence shall we make posts, that these may read?

    Philip answered him, one account is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may read a little.

    And Jesus took the accounts; and when he had given thanks, he distributed posts across the internet, and the disciples to them that were set down; and likewise of the trolls as much as they would.

    When they were annoyed, he said unto his disciples, Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost.

    Then those atheists, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of a truth that douchebag that should come into the world.

    It brings a tear to my eye every time I read it.

  184. #184 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 12, 2008

    P.S.: Sorry to butt in on that one Rev, but I couldn’t resist.

    Butt in alllll you want brokensoldier. The weather is clearing and I’m about to head out for some photo projects shortly, so feel free to continue.

  185. #185 Blake Stacey
    July 12, 2008

    Moses (#111):

    It’s the MIRACLE OF THE HOST!

    Hey, I thought it was a pretty prayin’ good movie, but I’m not sure I’d call it miraculous.

  186. #186 Kevin Hayden
    July 12, 2008

    PZ has “followers” (not readers, as Peter Lusman notes)

    LOL. I can’t be the only one to notice the punmanship in that guy’s screenname. He’s religious repression personified.

  187. #187 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 12, 2008

    Gophers, then why-o-why can’t we get a state that is either Communist without being atheist or atheist without being Communist? Why do the two go hand-in-hand, thick as thieves?

    Jebus fucking Christ. Are you really that dense? Please go back and read what everyone has posted on the subject, hit yourself in the head with a frying pan three stoges style and then come back.

  188. #188 Matt Penfold
    July 12, 2008

    We have a communist state ?

    Where ?

  189. #189 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 12, 2008

    stupid typos in blockquote tags will be the death of me.

  190. #190 amphiox
    July 12, 2008

    Dear jb,

    Because Communism IS a religion. The “Great Leader” replaces god, and the party replaces the church. They borrow all the trappings of religion, from grandiose rituals, mass gatherings for worship, public shaming of the unfavored, lionization of the favored as “saints”, inquisitions etc.

    A communist state cannot allow any other religions to stick around and compete with it. Hence it suppresses all of them. Thus from the outside it appears to be “atheist.”

    It is “atheist” in the same way the Roman Catholic Church is atheistic towards Baldur.

  191. #191 jb
    July 12, 2008

    “The item was free, therefore no fraud has been solicited.”

    No, it isn’t ‘free’. It is strictly for Catholics in good standing with the whole. No one else. That is understood, even if the persons giving it out are acting in good faith, working on the assumption that if you are in line you are a said Catholic. If you are a person of goodwill, but not a Catholic in good standing with the whole group, it is understood that you are not in line.

    If I infiltrate a nursing home pretending to be a senior citizen that belongs there in order to receive one of their meals at mealtime, I cannot claim that, “Well, there was a long line of folks getting a plate and no one was checking IDs; ergo, it was being given out for free.”

  192. #192 Archbishop his holines raven
    July 12, 2008

    Fr. J the fake priest:

    This will be my last comment. It is a waste of time trying to debate with toddlers. The same things said over and over again. Modern education has really declined. PZ has contributed to that.

    What do you think about a noncatholic impersonating a priest? And then lying a lot while being dumb?

    Oh, that’s right, you are troll and trolls don’t think.

  193. #193 Mark
    July 12, 2008

    Okay, so let me get this straight:

    What you’re asking me to believe is that PZ Myers is telling the truth about the letters he is receiving and the comments being placed on this blog…without evidence?

    You are asking me trust PZ Myers with blind faith, without concrete evidence that any of this is based in real events or coming from people who really exist?

    Huh.

    I don’t know if I can really do that…..

  194. #194 robertm
    July 12, 2008

    John Galt,

    Your idea of irony is disgusting. The real Galt would have let you perish with the rest of the world. Thanks for the email, expect massive amounts of very offensive spam.

    PZ,

    Thanks for the IP, here it is again for a refresher 68.231.166.138, His crimes will not go unpunished, and much much lolz will be had. The lasers are charged, and the target is locked.

  195. #195 negentropyeater
    July 12, 2008

    Ah well, I tried to post a comment over at Vive Christus Rex !, I tried to be as polite and courteous as possible, but it got deleted, I guess it wasn’t in line with, as it says “the Roman Catholic Church’s Magisterium”.

    That tells you something about some of these Catholics doesn’t it ? They only will accept comments that are in line with the Catholics teachings on their blog !

    I wonder what would happen if PZ did the same. Only accept comments that are in line with “the Minessotean New Atheist Magisterium”.

    That would be refreshing.

    Any Catholics here who might want to comment on this kind of attitude of speech censorship ?

    BTW here was my comment which was deemed unacceptable by the blog owner, you will notice how offensive it was !

    Why do you bellitle your faith and react to this ?
    Actually this verse 27 takes much more significance in this version, especially after reading verse 24;

    “24And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.”
    “27Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.”

    It’s quite clear isn’t it ? Do not eat this bread if you are unworthy.

    If the non faithful takes the Eucharist and destroys it, there is nothing to worry about, it’s actually what they are supposed to do, so why react to this ?

    When Christ gave these instructions, they were never meant for the non faithful, they loose all significance, so why focus on ritual and forget the message ?

    Why can’t Catholics lead and behave according to the example of their own saviour instead of trying to force others to obbey their rules ? Isn’t it obvious that if you show the example and that you are above all of this you will be much greater ?

    Nothing stops you from continuing to enjoy and practice your faith according to its most sacred rituals. It’s only when you react to this kind of simple provocations that you belittle it.

    BTW, maybe some Catholics here might want to think about this, and comment, still haven’t managed to get an answer from any of them on this, rather than waste their time on trying to convince us that we should believe in transsubstantiation or something like that…

  196. #196 Matt Penfold
    July 12, 2008

    To add to what Amphiox has said, there is a good argument that political systems such as Stalinism, fascism and national socialism have a good deal of similarity to religions. The concept is called political religion.

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

  197. #197 Wolfhound
    July 12, 2008

    You’re right, jb. Now that you’ve put it that way, I can see that the threats of death and expulsion from school leveled against that kid were completely warranted.

    Twat.

  198. #198 Matt Penfold
    July 12, 2008

    “What you’re asking me to believe is that PZ Myers is telling the truth about the letters he is receiving and the comments being placed on this blog…without evidence?”

    Well there is a whole blog entry full of the emails PZ has received. You could always go and read those, and all the comments that have been left in response to the various blog entries. Just an idea, but you did say you wanted evidence and I thought maybe if you went and looked at some it might help.

  199. #199 Blake Stacey
    July 12, 2008

    Ah well, I tried to post a comment over at Vive Christus Rex !, I tried to be as polite and courteous as possible, but it got deleted, I guess it wasn’t in line with, as it says “the Roman Catholic Church’s Magisterium”.

    Better have a subtle knife handy when you go up against the Magisterium.

  200. #200 jb
    July 12, 2008

    Don’t wail at Jebus, Rev. Just name me a Communist state that wasn’t officially atheist, or some state-system set up by atheists that wasn’t Communist. That’s all.

  201. #201 brokenSoldier, OM
    July 12, 2008

    Why do the two go hand-in-hand, thick as thieves?

    Posted by: jb | July 12, 2008 3:10 PM

    Maybe you should do a little reading about Communism, and maybe the answer to your question will be a bit more obvious than it already is to the rest of us.

    One of the underlying assertions of Communism is that religion is immaterial, in that Communism concerns itself with the world as we live in it, and does not bother with unnecessary explanations of the supernatural. (As for your lack of understanding of what Communism actually is, I’d suggest reading John Cort’s “Christian Socialism: An informal history.” It would be a good read for you, and would shed light on the fact that you are ignorantly confusing Communism as an ideology with the perversions and crimes committed in its name that has made it a bad word in today’s society. But I wouldn’t expect comprehension of such deep reflection from you, considering that the intellectual depth of the ideas and comments you’ve posted so far, shown in your lack of willingness to consider valid and widely documented points, barely reach kiddie-pool levels.

  202. #202 the strangest brew
    July 12, 2008

    “No, it isn’t ‘free’. It is strictly for Catholics in good standing with the whole. No one else.”

    ahh…one of them private membership clubs down the ubiquitous back alley is it?…wot time will to the gud time gals git their kit off then…?..or is the entertainment only from gud time choir boys?

  203. #203 Matt Penfold
    July 12, 2008

    Well it is not an independent country, but how about Kerala ? You will of course know where that is.

  204. #204 Mark
    July 12, 2008

    I’ve read them.

    My point is how do I know they’re not all fabricated?

    How do I know that they were written by whom they purport to be written by?

    How do I know any of those people really exist?

    How do I know that this isn’t one big scam foisted on us by Myers and others for their own benefit?

    Just presenting something to me and saying, “Look, someone wrote this” doesn’t tell me anything about the truth of what’s written there or the authentic authorship.

    To present all of these emails and comments in this environment in which things like this can be so easily fabricated without firmer evidence that these writers are actually who Myers says they are is asking me to take Myers’ word..

    …on faith.

  205. #205 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 12, 2008

    jb you’ve 100% missed the point.

    100%. Please re-read everything above. I’m not typing it out again. I’ll be back later to see if you’ve had a sudden strike of rational thought or reading comprehension.

    I’m pulling for you. I really am. But just in case, I’ll hedge my bets and put some money on no.

  206. #206 jb
    July 12, 2008

    Wolfhound: Thank-you for proving that those in support of the professor are above making reductio ad absurdum arguments, you fab canine, you. Only those *against* him in this are capable of that, as we both know.

  207. #207 Matt Penfold
    July 12, 2008

    “I’ve read them.

    My point is how do I know they’re not all fabricated?

    How do I know that they were written by whom they purport to be written by?

    How do I know any of those people really exist?

    How do I know that this isn’t one big scam foisted on us by Myers and others for their own benefit?

    Just presenting something to me and saying, “Look, someone wrote this” doesn’t tell me anything about the truth of what’s written there or the authentic authorship.

    To present all of these emails and comments in this environment in which things like this can be so easily fabricated without firmer evidence that these writers are actually who Myers says they are is asking me to take Myers’ word..

    …on faith.”

    Fine.

    Don’t believe him then. I doubt it will bother him much.

  208. #208 cory
    July 12, 2008

    A Cat’lic doctrinal question for ya, Faddah. If the Host transsubwatchamacallits when swallowed, what happens to it, oh, 8-12 hours later?

    (Full disclosure: i’m a VERY fallen ex-Lutheran who was ejected several times from confirmation classes for asking questions that the pastor would rather i’d shut up about. That and the laughing box.)

  209. #209 Kevin Hayden
    July 12, 2008

    Gophers, then why-o-why can’t we get a state that is either Communist without being atheist or atheist without being Communist? Why do the two go hand-in-hand, thick as thieves?

    Communism, from dictionary.com:

    1 a theory or system of social organization based on the holding of all property in common, actual ownership being ascribed to the community as a whole or to the state.

    2.(often initial capital letter) a system of social organization in which all economic and social activity is controlled by a totalitarian state dominated by a single and self-perpetuating political party.

    Not a single reference to atheism. It does mention totalitarianism, however, which refers to absolute control. Therefore, any other source of authority is a threat to it, be it a commercial, political, military or religious authority.

    Atheists who are not communists, do not seek total control. But since communists in most instances have been totalitarian in their practices, they must seek to eliminate religious authorities. Not because they believe in God or ritual, but because religious leaders can influence people.

    It is entirely conceivable that a communist government can exist while permitting religious people to practice their faiths. This has already occurred. So long as the ministers of that faith do not challenge the communist control of capital, commerce and political power, some Communist governments have allowed – officially or unofficially – church services to occur.

  210. #210 E.V.
    July 12, 2008

    I was out communing with “real people” and family, so I missed Ron in Houston’s hysterical swipe. I notice he never aknowledged if he was out of the closet, so to speak, or if he has the stones to upset his god-deluded friends by being forthright and authentic rather than shushing us to not rile all the god-believin’ folk.
    Ron, your posts are the definition of “Concern Troll”. Your control/authority issues are annoying, it makes me wonder if you are abusive to your family.

    I’m not anti-religion as long as the followers don’t try to proselytize to me. I was religious. I ran around with Youth Evangelists and went to the Seminary, for chris’sake. Now, I’m anti superstition and anti ignorance.

    If believing in an eternal reward gets you through life, go for it, just don’t tell me I’m a bad person just because I no longer share your delusion. If you get in my face, don’t get pissy when I get back in yours. Turn the other cheek ? What idiot came up with that?=)

  211. #211 True Bob
    July 12, 2008

    jb, the 1 in 25 figure I got from a poster of the catlick apologist variety, the other day. You are correct, I should’ve carefully vetted the obviously lying source.

    HOWEVER, that was not the point. If there had been only one single pedophile priest, the good thing to do would be turn him in and let him stand trial, not shuffle him from parish to parish when the complaints arose. The church did a bad thing. As I noted earlier, it’s the COVERUP.

    Along the lines of communism being atheist. The library is atheist. The fire department is atheist. The police force is atheist. My country is atheist. My alma mater is atheist. The postal service is atheist.

    Do you see at all how they are not part and parcel of the same thing? You are blinded to the concept because your life is ruled by superstition. It’s a pity your mind is so blinkered. Perhaps you once had the potential to be a decent human being. Sad, really.

    Stalin’s favorite hobby was not collecting stamps. Now prove that it wasn’t.

  212. #212 GraceM
    July 12, 2008

    JohnGalt, since you and your fellow religious types never tire of telling us ad nauseam that god hates atheists, and we will all end up in hell, isn’t it somewhat redundant to say “god bless you”? Not to mention completely hypocritical?

  213. #213 Wolfhound
    July 12, 2008

    Mark apparently thinks he’s being somehow clever by trying to equate the written threats directed at PZ to scripture, listing many of the failings of proving the validity of the Bible as reasons for rejecting PZ’s claims.

    Better watch them mental gymnastics, sonny-boy’; you don’t wanna’ go a-straining yerself, do ya’?

  214. #214 jb
    July 12, 2008

    “i’m a VERY fallen ex-Lutheran who was ejected several times from confirmation classes for asking questions that the pastor would rather i’d shut up about.”

    Awwww–you martyr, you!! lol.lol.lol…

  215. #215 CityzenJane
    July 12, 2008

    Those enjoying this ‘tempest in a chalice’ (sorry I missed the name of the commenter..)

    You might enjoy this:

    http://cityzenjane.wordpress.com/2008/07/12/pz-meyers-and-the-wacky-wafer-kerfuffle/

  216. #216 JoJo
    July 12, 2008

    Thank you, James F, for finally doing in post #153 what the rest of your co-religionists posting here have steadfastly refused to do. Also I do realize that Bill Donohue is a professional victim pushing not only a religious agenda but a conservative political one.

    Most Catholics are upright, honorable people trying to live their lives as best they can according to the dictates of their consciences. What many Catholics, and other believers, either fail or refuse to recognize is that most atheists are living their lives in the same way. I don’t kill, rape, steal, defraud, or commit any other offenses against my fellow man. Yet many theists accuse us of having no morality because we don’t believe in a deity. After a while, it becomes very frustrating.

    I don’t know how many times I’ve tried to explain my beliefs, including moral beliefs, to a theist who refuses to accept that any such moralism is possible without a belief in God. What’s especially annoying is when these theists throw Stalin or Pol Pot at me but refuse to acknowledge Paul Shanley and John Geoghan, not to mention Cardinal Law’s coverup of them.

  217. #217 Feynmaniac
    July 12, 2008

    MB # 166,
    PZ has “followers” (not readers, as Peter Lusman notes) who will do as he orders because that’s the way their lives work. If you’re not following the pope, you must be following PZ or some mullah or Karl Rove – YOU MUST BE TAKING ORDERS FROM SOMEONE!!! because I am…

    I’m sorry but you fail reading comprehension. What Peter Lusmman here when commenting on someone using the term “followers” was: They’re called ‘readers’. Myers leads no cult, sect nor organization”. That is the exact OPPOSITE of what you claim he was saying.

    If you are taking orders good for you, but because you are taking orders from someone doesn’t mean everyone else is. If PZ gave me an order I wouldn’t follow it (I have yet to see him give orders to anyone). As for his request for communion crackers, I won’t be sending him any. Sorry but after years of a Catholic education I don’t have the stomach to sit through mass. PZ is merely a blogger many of us enjoy reading. He’s certainly not our pope and is nowhere near as evil as Karl Rove.

  218. #218 Matt Penfold
    July 12, 2008

    Is jb stilling trying to find out where Kerala is ?

  219. #219 Mark
    July 12, 2008

    That’s funny, I thought k8 was someone boasting about having completed both elementary and junior high school. For a fundie theologian, I have to admit, it’s an accomplishment, though it’s kind of sad that there clearly wasn’t much by way of retention.

    I guess this guy, or gal, puts the mental in fundamentalist. Crackers for Jesus, indeed (and thank you to whichever commenter who said that in the first round of this kerfluffle).

  220. #220 E.V.
    July 12, 2008

    Why does Mark sound EXACTLY like the other sockpuppets in tone and style? Hmmmmmm…..

  221. #221 MrMarkAZ
    July 12, 2008

    And by the way, the idiot posting as Mark in #153 is NOT the same Mark that posted at #219. I’ve changed my tag to remain a bit more distinctive. Sheesh.

  222. #222 dinkum
    July 12, 2008

    I was thinking the same about jb…

  223. #223 MrMarkAZ
    July 12, 2008

    I mean the idiot posting as Mark in #155 is NOT the same Mark that posted at #219. Sheesh x2.

  224. #224 Fergy
    July 12, 2008

    #131:

    What’s your stance on death threats and pedophilia? I can’t be too impressed by all you Catholics whining about desecrating the magic cracker when I haven’t seen one single one of you on these boards denouncing the other Catholics offering to kill Cook and PZ. Nor have I seen any of you admitting that raping altar boys and trying to cover up the rapes might not be good in God’s eyes.

    I spent a few minutes on the Catholic League site to see what they had published about the priest pedophilia issue. Not surprisingly, the content was almost entirely focussed on the shameful persecution of Catholics, the witch hunt by the media, the damage to the church. That’s really all you need to know about Billy Donahue and his ilk, isn’t it?

    By the way, Donahue seems to be delighted to have finally garnered our attention. Too bad I can’t say the same–I never heard of the guy until yesterday.

  225. #225 speedwell
    July 12, 2008

    I wasn’t going to post this, but since nobody has made the exact same point (that I could see), I figured I might as well…

    OK, my fiancé and I and a few college kids play a fantasy role-playing game (of the paper and dice variety) on weekends. In the sense I mean, “Fantasy” means loosely based on ancient myths, legends, fairy tales, and superstitions, and on comparatively modern novels in that vein such as Conan the Barbarian and the Lord of the Rings.

    Fantasy RPGs practically always involve some sort of system of deities that are active in the fantasy setting through direct and indirect intervention, often in the form of magically charged objects (such as magic swords or amulets). Typically the worshipers of these gods carry “holy symbols,” eat “holy food” at the temples where they perform their community devotions, and so forth.

    The pantheon of gods in our fantasy setting are few; there are a total of five, representing the four classical elements and magic energy. There is an equally powerful “adversary” whose goal is to dissolve the order imposed by the elemental deities and to create disreality and chaos. (Note that this is not the same as the usual good/evil dichotomy.) The priests of the “adversary” carry a magical amulet formed out of the desecrated holy amulets of the other deities.

    Now, this sort of thing only has power because magical energies and deities exist within the imaginary, storytelling setting. Desecrating a holy symbol is a cause for concern only for the fictional characters we create. If any of us playing the game slipped into a mental disease and began to lose their sense of the difference between improvisational theater and “away from the table” reality, we might act like these frightened Catholics.

    These Catholics seem to think that someone who takes their holy food and does something unintended with it is a moral monster who should be eliminated for the good of society. Hell, anyone who believes the Catholic story can’t help but think so. They are drastically unable to tell the difference between their imaginary game play and reality. They’re no different than some teenager who goes off the deep end and believes he is a wizard who can cast spells. They can’t fathom that spells themselves are imaginary, magic is imaginary, and religion is likewise imaginary.

  226. #226 Kevin Hayden
    July 12, 2008

    “What you’re asking me to believe is

    I didn’t hear anyone ask you to believe anything.

    How do I know that you’re not actually PZ Myers acting like a troll to pose ridiculous questions, solely for his twisted amusement?

    I don’t. I don’t put that much faith into what cannot be proven or disproven. But I do believe that Bill Donahue tried to get that student expelled. It made him look bad when that news account was published, he has clear motive to deny it if untrue, but instead of refutation, we’ve seen more of the same, directed at Professor Myers.

    You can understand why I believe that’s true. Do you believe it’s true? Or do you intend to continue to distract attention from the rotten way that student was treated?

  227. #227 Beowulff
    July 12, 2008

    jb said at #191:

    No, it isn’t ‘free’. It is strictly for Catholics in good standing with the whole.

    This makes me wonder: how can the priest tell? How does he know people aren’t just going along with it, trying to belong, while not really believing any of it? Do you have to take a polygraph test first before you can accept communion or something?

  228. #228 Wolfhound
    July 12, 2008

    Sorry, jb, while I AM, in fact, a fab canine, I have a hard time sniffing out which of the atheism=communism/ boo-hoo-hoo-poor-outraged-religious-nutbags is the most odious and then peeing on their legs. Probably why I’m a sighthound and not a scenthound.

  229. #229 Seraphiel
    July 12, 2008

    The Bible is just a book.
    It’s a book filled with violence, slavery, sociopathic tribalism, hatred of women, and irrationality.
    The Jesus character seemed like a decent fellow, though; it’s too bad most modern Christians are nothing like him.

    So it is typed. On the Internet.

  230. #230 dinkum
    July 12, 2008

    Maybe “in good standing” means “paid up,” and you get your hand stamped, or something.

  231. #231 E.V.
    July 12, 2008

    Mark and jb are WANKERS! Gettin’ a little chubby goin’ on by inciting the rational folk with silly deceptions and outright lies. Pullin’ their puds for Jebus.

  232. #232 brokenSoldier, OM
    July 12, 2008

    Don’t wail at Jebus, Rev. Just name me a Communist state that wasn’t officially atheist, or some state-system set up by atheists that wasn’t Communist. That’s all.

    Posted by: jb | July 12, 2008 3:27 PM

    Again, you’re being ignorant, quite deliberately. There has never been a Communist government, and there will never be a true Communist government, that has any sort of religion. The two are mutually exclusive. But that exclusivity in no way means that people identifying themselves as atheist are then somehow Communists.

    And as for your statement about state systems set up in absence of religious preference, we in the grown-up world call those secular states, which the US is supposed to be. I doubt you will ever find a state system based on the sole premise that there is no God – that makes for a shitty platform if you ask me. While some ideologies that exclude the idea of God may run governments, you will never find a nation solely based on a singular negative belief. For one, atheism is not a political belief, which are necessary to form a political ideology such as Communism. And second, atheists are far from united in the remainder of their viewpoints and political beliefs, specifically because the lack of a belief is not effective as a grouping criteria.

    And Stalin, like his other dictatorial counterparts in history, was a man devoted not to the eradication of religion, but merely power and greed. Religion was a roadblock to his ultimate – very material and selfish – goals, so he did what he could to remove it. That in no way defines his motivations as primarily atheistic. Just as religion was a roadblock to him, the lack of religion was a tool which he used to accomplish the removal.

    But if you want to talk about an evil government using an ideology to push their own, mundane and morally bankrupt agenda, I don’t think Communism is the example you need to be looking at. The different faiths all have examples that are much more interesting and quite a bit closer to home, from the ever-cited Crusades, to the current incarnation of our Chief Executive, who has done all of the following:

    - stated that God chose him for the office
    - stated that God approved of his decision to invade Iraq
    - hired, financed, and fielded a mercenary army (Blackwater) led by right-wing Christians to operate in a middle eastern war zone with impunity from either country’s laws or military regulations

    You can fret over atheism all you want, but the major threats we are dealing with in today’s world are hardly ones motivated by a lack of belief in a divine being.

  233. #233 Ted Powell
    July 12, 2008

    @60

    … hash the commentor’s IP address into a 5-character alphanumeric string and add it to the label. That means that sock puppets using multiple names from a single IP are exposed.
    They use a “one-way hash” which means that the result string for a given IP is unique but CANNOT be used to determine the IP…

    There is a (very slight) probability of false positives. Looking at comments on Ace of Spades shows that the characters used are just digits, upper/lower case letters, plus, and slash; 64 in all, meaning that the five characters can only encode 30 bits, while an IP address is a 32-bit quantity. Note that if there were only one IP corresponding to a given string, then it would be possible to discover that IP, by brute force.

    I’m all in favour of the Ace of Spades scheme, and I hope that scienceblogs will implement it. But keep in mind before jumping on somebody that multiple addresses can hash to the same string, and an ISP can assign the same IP address to different users at different times.

  234. #234 Citizen Z
    July 12, 2008

    Gophers, then why-o-why can’t we get a state that is either Communist without being atheist or atheist without being Communist? Why do the two go hand-in-hand, thick as thieves?

    Well, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Japan, and the Czech Republic would disagree about the “why can’t we get a state that is atheist without being Communist” part. But that is just a small point compared to the larger point that you continue to miss, jb.

  235. #235 Rey Fox
    July 12, 2008

    Huh. And here I was thinking the cracker worshipers had popular support. How wrong I was.

    “Posted by: Fr. J | July 12, 2008 2:38 PM”

    Yawn. Don’t let the front door hit ya on the way out.

    “Posted by: Mark | July 12, 2008 3:02 PM”

    Fatwa envy. Yawn.

    Neil Schipper:
    “So, the question remains: did PZ’s request-and-promise cross a line? Did it come close?”

    No. Maybe, maybe it would cross the line if we were to operate under the assumption that PZ commanded a horde of super-loyal followers. But I guess I’m crazy in that I believe that very little will actually come of PZ’s “request”. The worst that could happen is that he gets a few postal-service-smashed wafers in the mail. Many of them may not actually be consecrated (since there’s no way of telling whether they have been or not), and even if they were, most likely no one in the various churches will ever know. And if they do catch on, then maybe one or two stern lectures will be doled out at one or two Catholic churches.

    PZ’s post could be considered a call to disobedience. But really weak-sauce disobedience. Undisruptive disobedience. Victimless disobedience. And like I’ve said before, it’s not as if he’s actually going to do anything. I doubt he will. I think it was just hyperbole.

    “Ummm, you *do* know that 19th and 20th C. Communism WAS atheist, right? And what THEY did reflects badly on atheists EVERYWHERE, if what some pedophile priests did reflects badly on Catholics everywhere, right? ”

    Well, in my mind, the critical distinction is that atheism does not have a centralized organization that systematically covers up abuses made by its members. I am not affiliated with communism, or any communists, or Stalin, or Stalinists. I just don’t believe in any gods. There’s no atheist authority I report to, no atheist dogma I must follow, and moreover, no atheist church that will spirit me away from wherever I have caused harm. The Communists may have protected their own, but no other (non-communist, even right-wing!) atheists would likely give Stalin the time of day. Pedophile priests do not reflect badly on ALL Catholics everywhere, but the actual Catholic Magisterium has an awful bloody LOT to be held accountable for.

  236. #236 MB
    July 12, 2008

    Um, Feynmaniac #217, still, thanks for the link to the W Times article, but maybe someone needs to take the sharp objects away from you.

    In the paragraph preceeding your quote, note that it says the religious types are projecting their behavior. The paragraph you quoted was simply a view of that projection…

    I’m not praying for you – yet… and I guess I failed Irony 101!

    Call me a failure again and I will pray for you.

  237. #237 jb
    July 12, 2008

    I’d love to stick around, but this wanker’s got better things to do. (It IS such a sunny day and all.) I stopped by just to ask what the difference was between doing what the prof is asking and, say, spray-painting graffiti on the Wailing Wall and *then* getting upset if the ADL calls for your job. Or dynamiting Buddhas the way the Taliban has done and wondering why the international community calls it a crime. Or beating a hornet’s nest and getting angry at the hornets for, well, being hornets and wanting to defend their own. No one proffered a decent explanation, so I’ll assume there isn’t one and make my call anew: Go, Professor! Go Taliban! More Götterdämmerung!!!

  238. #238 brokenSoldier, OM
    July 12, 2008

    …on faith.

    Posted by: Mark | July 12, 2008 3:32 PM

    Here it is AGAIN!! If it truly were a leap of faith to believe PZ, it would seem to me that you and your religious peers would be adequately equipped to deal with it.

    Since, however, you’re trying to discredit PZ’s claims here with snide comments about blind faith, all you are accomplishing is equating the foundations of your religious belief with PZ’s claims, and calling them ridiculous for it.

    Again, we see this argument:

    “Since (atheist’s actions/ words here) is simply too much like religion, requiring blind faith and capitulation to higher authority, it is obviously ridiculous. Excuse me, I now have to go to church and eat a piece of flesh.”

  239. #239 Kobra
    July 12, 2008

    jb: Spraypainting a wall is vandalism.

    The fucking priest gave him the fucking wafer. It is now HIS. End of fucking story.

    Spraypainting a wall involves damaging another person’s property.

    THAT is the difference.

  240. #240 E.V.
    July 12, 2008

    MB:
    OK, I’ll play your silly little game: You’re a FAILURE! What do I win?

  241. #241 Rey Fox
    July 12, 2008

    “Posted by: jb | July 12, 2008 4:07 PM”

    Owned.

  242. #242 brokenSoldier, OM
    July 12, 2008

    Or beating a hornet’s nest and getting angry at the hornets for, well, being hornets and wanting to defend their own.

    Posted by: jb | July 12, 2008 4:07 PM

    Since you brought it up, you could do us all a favor and go personally research that whole hornet situation, and then come back and tell us exactly how the two situations differ. Just as in this case, I assume once you dive in and actually learn something about the subject matter, you’ll answer your own question.

  243. #243 MB
    July 12, 2008

    It’s really straight forward, E.V. #240 – I’ll pray for you.

    See #144 and #151 in this thread for a translation…

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2008/07/i_get_email_special_cracker_ed.php#comments

    I’m surprised that thread is still open.

  244. #244 James F
    July 12, 2008

    #216

    JoJo,

    You’re very welcome. I know what you mean – I’ve observed people on internet forums bring up the canard that morality is impossible without theism (generally in the context of the other canard that evolution = atheism). I think one strong argument is to point them toward the U.S. Constitution and all federal, state, and local laws and regulations, which are secular in nature and to a large extent codify ethics. They need to think for a moment about who is the better neighbor: the law-abiding, ethical person who doesn’t share their religious beliefs (or doesn’t have any religious beliefs), or the person stridently pushing specific religious beliefs upon others.

  245. #245 Max Verret
    July 12, 2008

    I don’t think the administration at the University of Minnesota has any choice but to impose sanctions on Dr. Myers. As a faculty member of a university for 16 years, I know it is a part of our employment agreement that we engage in no behavior, university related or otherwise, that would reflect negatively on the reputation of the University. The University of Minnesota is a public institution and as such is responsive to the people of Minnesota, many of whom are Catholic. Also, a significant part of the student body is Catholic. You simply cannot have a faculty member going around trashing their deeply held Eucharistic beliefs. The vitriol of the critique suggests underlying anger and hatred which could conceiveably place it within the purvue of a hate crime. Inviting people to steal a whole bunch of “crackers” is, at the very least, an attempted conspiracy to commit thief. In light of this, I don’t see where the university administration has any choice but to protect itself by imposing sanctions. Anything less than that would be negligence on their part.

  246. #246 karen marie
    July 12, 2008

    but just so we are all clear here:

    there was no desecration of any cracker by mr. cook.

    mr. cook went into the church for a service with his friend. he went up and received a communion wafer which he brought back to his seat to show his friend, to show him what it looked like. a “church leader” then grabbed his wrist, attempting to pry mr. cook’s fingers open to take the wafer from mr. cook. mr. cook and his friend left the church after the assault, mr. cook filed a complaint.

    the church officials then concocted a story to cover up the assault, going so far as to file a complaint against mr. cook, claiming he was a thief and a disrupter of church services. meanwhile, mr. cook took the wafer home.

    the church officials began spreading the malicious tale that mr. cook had come in, stolen a wafer and was holding it hostage because of his disagreement with distribution of school fees. the church officials lied to cover up the criminal assault which had been committed inside the church by a “church leader.”

    the only desecration that happened here was that committed by the church officials and the perpetrator of the assault on mr. cook, a “church leader.”

    this is all verifiable by looking at the various news stories and putting the details together. unfortunately “the journalists” “reporting” on this have failed, across the board, to do so in a responsible way. there are many stories which do contain actual information but it is buried down toward the middle to end whereas the lede sentences push the maliciously spun story that he stole the wafer to hold it hostage.

    he didn’t steal it. why did he not either put it in his mouth after leaving the church or throw it away? i don’t know. he held onto it. i can only imagine that once the insanity broke out he may have figured it was the only thing he had which would increase his chance of people listening to him. he gave it back.

    again, no desecration of any cracker occurred, only a desecration of a church sanctuary by a church leader who then participated in an outrageous series of lies, aided and abetted by that megaphone bill donahue and his catholic league to assassinate mr. cook’s character, credibility and reputation. the church officials did it to cover their asses for liability reasons, donahue did it as an attention-seeking event.

    all of the above resulted in mr. cook receiving death threats. pz myers, reading that, was justifiably upset that so-called believers in god and the bible were threatening to kill an innocent person who had been pointed out as a desecrator by … drum roll … church officials covering up an assault on mr. cook by one of their church leaders.

    now don’t let me come back here and find you still all chattering about desecration.

    let’s have a little outrage at the fact that mr. cook was assaulted in the church and the church engaged in a coverup which included smearing mr. cook and inciting others to violence.

    thanks.

  247. #247 JJR
    July 12, 2008

    Salute to brokenSoldier, OM for this:

    “that the things done by Stalin perverted even the original purposes of the principles of Communism (had you read The Communist Manifesto, you would realize that), not to mention that his actions were in no way representative of the intentions of people identifying themselves as atheist.

    The whole reason this will not fit through your skull is because you insist upon shoehorning ‘atheism’ into the box of your own faith.”

    Here here. The best spirit of Communism probably died when one of Stalin’s agents put an ice pick through Leon Trotsky’s skull in Mexico. Also the early deaths of Rosa Luxembourg at the hands of Freikorps thugs who tossed her body into the Spree River, and Antonio Gramsci’s passing after a long stay in Mussolini’s prison system.

    (Even Lenin was leery of Stalin, but that was too little, too late.)

    Oh, and Stalin was once a seminary student, for that matter.

    And the Russian Orthodox Church were among the wealthiest landholders in the years leading up to the revolution and just as keen on serfdom as the Russian nobility.

    Christians will also bring up that the Soviets diagnosed religious activists as mentally ill and forcibly incarcerated them and drugged them. While true, and while I firmly disagree with their involuntary and harsh “treatment” methods, I can’t knock the original diagnosis.

  248. #248 brokenSoldier, OM
    July 12, 2008

    I stopped by just to ask what the difference was between doing what the prof is asking and, say, spray-painting graffiti on the Wailing Wall and *then* getting upset if the ADL calls for your job.

    Posted by: jb | July 12, 2008 4:07 PM

    And the simple fact that you had to ask such a ludicrous question is evidence that you :

    A) honestly don’t know, which means you have absolutely no functioning moral compass or analytical skills, OR

    B) you already know it is a specious comparison, in which case you are simply the latest in a line of intellectually dishonest trolling apologists.

    I can’t tell which one. And honsetly, I don’t care, because either one supports the conclusion that you’re failing in the credibility department.

  249. #249 JoJo
    July 12, 2008

    jb @ 237

    I stopped by just to ask what the difference was between doing what the prof is asking and, say, spray-painting graffiti on the Wailing Wall and *then* getting upset if the ADL calls for your job.

    There is a species of speech knows as sarcasm. This is when someone is purposely rude to others. Sometimes sarcasm involves sneering at some object or ideal the targets of the sarcasm hold important.

    What PZ did was sarcastic. While he hasn’t said so, I believe that PZ was angered by a bunch of Catholics issuing a fatwa against a student who did something these Catholics didn’t like. So, in the spirit of sarcasm, PZ offered to up the stakes, if you will.

    Bill Donohue, a man who makes a very good living out of being a professional victim, thundered and screamed and whined about the supposed threat that PZ made against the magic cracker that you and your fellow Catholics hold sacred. As a blind follower of superstitious mumbo-jumbo, you jumped on your high horse and rode off in all directions. Which isn’t surprising, considering that in all the posts you’ve made at this website, you’ve proved that you’re a particularly stupid person.

    Incidentally, the above post is another example of sarcasm.

  250. #250 Kobra
    July 12, 2008

    Allow me to clarify on my previous post:

    Business and property laws, if my memory serves me right, is always based on transactions.

    For example, if I load a bunch of groceries into a cart, they aren’t mine until I have completed a business transaction. If someone hands me something and does not indicate that, for example, they are only letting me hold onto it for a second, then that counts as a transaction and it becomes my property.

    If I decide to eat at a buffet and walk out with food, I have to pay for the food I’m carrying out because I served it to myself. However, if the workers hand me a plate full of food, then it becomes my property.

    The wafer was given to the young man and it was expect of him to consume it then and there, but it was not legally REQUIRED. There were no contracts. He said a prayer, and handed the piece of bread dough to the young man, and it became the young man’s property.

    THEN, a bunch of people who did not like what he did with an item that was now his property got physical with him. THEN he received death threats.

    THEN, PZ Myers commented on this and tried to appeal to our common sense using “satire and protest.”

    THEN, he started receiving hate mail and death threats because he thinks the whole situation is silly.

    … and it has gone downhill from there.

    We know you’re offended, but you don’t have a right not to be. If you don’t want to be offended, DON’T READ HIS FUCKING BLOG!

  251. #251 Damian
    July 12, 2008
  252. #252 Feynmaniac
    July 12, 2008

    Call me a failure again and I will pray for you.

    I didn’t call you a failure, I merely stated you fail reading comprehension because the person you cited was conveying the exact opposite of you said he was. I stand by my words. If you wish to pray for me good ahead.

    Oh, and your welcome for the link.

  253. #253 brokenSoldier, OM
    July 12, 2008

    MB:
    OK, I’ll play your silly little game: You’re a FAILURE! What do I win?

    Posted by: E.V. | July 12, 2008 4:09 PM

    It’s really straight forward, E.V. #240 – I’ll pray for you.

    Posted by: MB | July 12, 2008 4:16 PM

    In layman’s terms, that means you win a brand new, shiny nothing.

  254. #254 negentropyeater
    July 12, 2008

    The fucking priest gave him the fucking wafer. It is now HIS. End of fucking story.

    But remember one thing : if you intend to do the same thing, don’t get caught whilst in the church’s premises, keep the fucking wafer in your mouth, go outside or otherwise, take it out, just do it so that you do not disrupt church services.

    Otherwise, the church can press charges for disruption of church services which is codified in the penal system in most states.

  255. #255 karen marie
    July 12, 2008

    i found this statement by mr. cook over at a website which, despite having posted this statement, persists in calling mr. cook a liar.

    this is mr. cook’s statement [not yet verified by me but appears to be legitimate]:

    I want you to read this, carefully:

    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”

    As you hopefully know, this is the beginning of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. Its general interpretation prohibits government from aiding religion in any way and from supporting a religious idea with no identifiable secular purpose. In a 1822 letter, James Madison called it a “perfect separation between ecclesiastical and civil matters”.

    Due to another part of our Constitution, known as the Supremacy Clause, the State of Florida is required to uphold this separation of church and state. All UCF Student Government Association funds are property of the State of Florida. Therefore, it is illegal to allocate funds to a religious organization, such as Catholic Campus Ministry.

    I also oppose public funding for NORML and the Chocolate Club; however, it is actually legal for them to receive it.

    This is only half of my problem with the Catholic Campus Ministry. If Sean Lavin was capable of broadcasting a complete and accurate story, you would know that the other half is their use of physical force against me.

    A member of the church grabbed me after I took a mere three steps from the altar. This physical aggression continued until I loudly asked them to “STOP TOUCHING ME” three times. A member of the Catholic Campus Ministry told me I was attacked because they thought I was going to use the holy wafer to perform WITCHCRAFT or BLACK MAGIC. In fact, I was going to show it to my non-Catholic friend and then consume it. Although my friend attended the mass, non-Catholics are prohibited from receiving communion, explaining the need to delay consumption.

    According to the organization, the Catholic Church mandates this policy of using physical intervention against people who fail to immediately consume the holy wafer. Therefore, the individuals who attacked me were enforcing the policies of their organization. This prompted me to file a student conduct violation against the Catholic Campus Ministry for personal abuse.

    Their initiation of physical force was inappropriate and unnecessary in this situation. It is also the reason I did not eventually consume the holy wafer. I will keep the holy wafer until I receive a sufficient apology and a meeting with the bishop to discuss the Catholic Church’s policies.

    Now I need to address your conclusion that I am an idiot.

    An idiot is someone who lacks intelligence, which is partially the ability to acquire and apply knowledge. Modern moral principles are a form of knowledge. I espouse moral principles that do not tolerate the use of physical force. Consuming or returning the holy wafer until I have addressed this violation of my moral principles, would constitute an inability to apply them, and therefore my knowledge.

    Before you apply an insulting term to someone, think about what the word actually means.

    This logic can also be used to create an argument for calling you an idiot. As I previously stated, intelligence is partially the ability to acquire and apply knowledge. As a journalism student at UCF, you are taught to write objectively using reliable information. Sean Lavin’s news stories are far from reliable. Basing your writing, and your reputation, on his two minutes of information is highly unprofessional and displays an inability to your apply knowledge. Unlike you, however, I’ll let the readers reach their own conclusion.

    Webster F. Cook
    Senator, Student Government Association
    University of Central Florida

    [found at http://fratres.wordpress.com/2008/07/06/webster-f-cook-video-of-a-thief-and-his-excuses/

  256. #256 Duvenoy
    July 12, 2008

    Stalin was an atheist — so what? Hitler was a Catholic and a one-time alterboy (which might have been why he walked funny). The former did not stamp out religion in the Soviet Union in spite of determined efforts, and the latter encouraged it as long as it was Christian.

    There’s two examples of vicious, historical douchbags, one for each side of the argument. I’m sure there are many more, although the hitleroids greatly out number the stalinarians, and always will because religion is such a handy tool for dictators to wield. Gott mit uns, eh? But it really makes no difference at all, does it, because, as so accuratly mentioned in previous posts above, it’s not about atheism/religion; it’s about control — power.

    Thus, Donohue, among many other demogogues past & present, gets a phony knot in his knickers over such silly shit as a completely symbolic bit of psuedo-magic and attempts to exert power over those who sneer at the whole, frackin’ thing, notably, but not limited to PZ, thereby strengthening his position amongst the believers.

    Me, I feel sorry for the cracker. What did the innocent thing ever do to deserve all this?

    doov

  257. #257 E.V.
    July 12, 2008

    Ok, I feel bad. I pontificated to Ron about being authentic. I was only in the Seminary for a semester and a half, over twenty-five years ago, but it pushed me into a deep state of agnosticism that eventually lead to my total lack of belief in the supernatural/mysticism. I had been a pious and zealous evangelical motherfucker throughout middleschool and high school though.
    There. I feel better now.
    Sometime I’ll regale you with tales of the types of people that tend to end up in Seminaries, some are altruistic and well-meaning, some are self-hating gays who think prayer and ordination will cure them, some are bullies/control freaks and ideological zealots, and some just want to please and pacify authority figures.

  258. #258 Kate
    July 12, 2008

    jb, I refute your hypothesis thusly:

    I am an atheist. I am not a communist.

    There you go. That is how the two can be separated… by not being a communist.

    Now, can you please shut up about subjects with which you are unfamiliar or those which you seem incapable of understanding?

  259. #259 Kobra
    July 12, 2008

    [Otherwise, the church can press charges for disruption of church services which is codified in the penal system in most states.]
    I don’t endorse taking a wafer home to make a political point, nor do I endorse holding it over your head Link from the Legend of Zelda series. Be discreet!

  260. #260 karen marie
    July 12, 2008

    this is the letter from mr. cook regarding his returning the magic cracker obtained from the same site as above (http://fratres.wordpress.com/2008/07/06/webster-f-cook-video-of-a-thief-and-his-excuses/) and which, although not verified, appears to be legitimate:

    Dear members of the Catholic Campus Ministry,

    I am returning the Eucharist to you in response to the e-mails I have received from Catholics in the UCF community. 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.

    I want to thank the individuals who explained the emotional and spiritual pain my possession of the Eucharist caused them to experience. They have demonstrated that the use of reason is more effective than the use of force.

    I was strongly assured by a woman that this action would help me obtain an apology and a meeting with the bishop. I hope her assurances were correct.

    Sincerely,

    Webster F. Cook

  261. #261 Rey Fox
    July 12, 2008

    I’m getting an odd whiff of a sort of cousin to Fatwa Envy in all those people who are calling on the University to punish PZ in his professional capacity. They’re mad that they can’t directly discriminate against or harass women or gay people in their workplace, so they take it out on PZ, who is, on his private non-university-affiliated blog, criticizing religious ideas.

  262. #262 Owlmirror
    July 12, 2008

    Being aware of All Internet Traditions™, I think we all know that no Internet Phenomenon is complete until it has been properly LOLCATIFIED.

    Thus, we present for ur lolz:

    WAFERGATE

    OR

    CEILING CATLOLIC IS WATCHING YOU MASTICATE

    Act I, Scene I
    University of Central Florida, Catholic Chapel

    PRIEST: JEBUS HAS A FLAVR!

    PARISHIONER 1: I CAN HAS JEBUS CRACKER?
    PRIEST: YES, YOU CAN HAS JEBUS CRACKER.
    PARISHIONER 1: NOM NOM NOM

    PARISHIONER 2: I CAN HAS JEBUS CRACKER?
    PRIEST: YES, YOU CAN HAS JEBUS CRACKER.
    PARISHIONER 2: NOM NOM NOM

    PARISHIONER 3: I CAN HAS JEBUS CRACKER?
    PRIEST: YES, YOU CAN HAS JEBUS CRACKER.
    PARISHIONER 3: NOM NOM NOM

    WEBSTER COOK: I CAN HAS JEBUS CRACKER?
    PRIEST: YES, YOU CAN HAS JEBUS CRACKER.
    WEBSTER COOK: YAY, JEBUS CRACKER SOOVENEER!
    PRIEST: WAIT, WHUT?
    WEBSTER COOK: KTHXBYE

    PARISHIONERS: NO! YOU NO CAN HAS JEBUS CRACKER! NOT YOURS!

    WEBSTER COOK: FEETS DON’T FAIL ME NOW

    PARISHIONERS: OMGWTFBBQ!!!!!
    PARISHIONERS: NOOOOOOO! HE BE STEALIN OUR JEBUS CRACKER!!!

    Act II, Scene I
    Diocese of Orlando

    GONZALEZ: HALP! JEBUS CRACKER IS KIDNAPPED!
    SUSAN FANI: STEALIN JEBUS CRACKER IS HAET CRIEM!

    Act II, Scene II
    Catholic League

    DONAHUE: STEALIN JEBUS CRACKER IS TERRIBLE HAET CRIEM!
    DONAHUE: EXPUL-SION-ATE! EXPUL-SION-ATE! EXPUL-SION-ATE!

    Act III, Scene I
    University of Central Florida

    EMAIL TO WEBSTER COOK: WE SAD
    EMAIL TO WEBSTER COOK: WE WANT JEBUS CRACKER
    EMAIL TO WEBSTER COOK: WE MAD
    EMAIL TO WEBSTER COOK: WE WANT JEBUS CRACKER
    EMAIL TO WEBSTER COOK: WE FIND YOU
    EMAIL TO WEBSTER COOK: WE RESCUE JEBUS CRACKER
    EMAIL TO WEBSTER COOK: WE BRAEK IN
    EMAIL TO WEBSTER COOK: WE RESCUE JEBUS CRACKER
    EMAIL TO WEBSTER COOK: WE KEEELL YOU
    EMAIL TO WEBSTER COOK: WE RESCUE JEBUS CRACKER
    WEBSTER COOK: DO! NOT!! WANT!!!

    Act III, Scene II
    University of Central Florida

    WEBSTER COOK: DO NOT WANT JEBUS CRACKER. TAEK IT.
    PARISHIONERS: YAY! WE CAN HAS JEBUS CRACKER!
    PARISHIONERS: WE GET COPS TO GAURD JEBUS CRACKERS NOW.
    WEBSTER COOK: WTF?

    Act IV, Scene I
    Pharyngula Headquarters

    PZ MYERS: WTFBBQ!!!
    PZ MYERS: CATLOLICS GO APESHIT OVER JEBUS CRACKER!
    PZ MYERS: IT’S A GODDAMN FRACKIN’ CRACKER!
    PZ MYERS: TEH STUPID, IT BURNZ!
    PZ MYERS: WANT CAN HAS JEBUS CRACKERS!
    PZ MYERS: DE-SE-CRATE! DE-SE-CRATE! DE-SE-CRATE!

    PHARYNGULA: LOL
    PHARYNGULA: SAD CATHOLICS ARE SAD
    PHARYNGULA: CONCERN TROLLS ARE CONCERNED
    PHARYNGULA: ANGER TROLLS ARE ANGRY
    PHARYNGULA: HATE TROLLS ARE HATIN
    PHARYNGULA: SOCKPUPPETS ARE SAD+CONCERNED+ANGRY+HATIN
    PHARYNGULA: WTF! SOMEONE IS WRONG ON TEH INTERNETS!
    PHARYNGULA: THEY SEE US SCOFFIN, THEY HATIN
    PHARYNGULA: (Repeat above 1000 tiems)
    SCIENCE BLOGS PHARYNGULA DATABASE: AAAAOOOOOGAAAAH! OVERLOAD!
    SCIENCE BLOGS PHARYNGULA DATABASE: ERROR 500 SERVER ERROR!
    PZ MYERS: WTF! NEW THREAD.

    Act IV, Scene II
    Catholic League

    DONAHUE: DESECRATIN JEBUS CRACKER IS WORSE THAN HAYT CRIEM!
    DONAHUE: EXPUL-SION-ATE! EXPUL-SION-ATE! EXPUL-SION-ATE!

    Act IV, Scene III
    Pharyngula Headquarters

    PZ MYERS: WILLAIM DONAHUE IS DEMENTED
    PZ MYERS: PHARYNGULA! HALP!
    PHARYNGULA: PZ MYERS IS TEH AWE SUM!
    PHARYNGULA: SAD CATHOLICS ARE SAD
    PHARYNGULA: CONCERN TROLLS ARE CONCERNED
    PHARYNGULA: ANGER TROLLS ARE ANGRY
    PHARYNGULA: HATE TROLLS ARE HATIN
    PHARYNGULA: SOCKPUPPETS ARE SAD+CONCERNED+ANGRY+HATIN
    PHARYNGULA: WTF! SOMEONE IS WRONG ON TEH INTERNETS!
    PHARYNGULA: THEY SEE US SCOFFIN, THEY HATIN
    PHARYNGULA: (Repeat above 1000 tiems)
    SCIENCE BLOGS PHARYNGULA DATABASE: AAAAOOOOOGAAAAH! OVERLOAD!
    SCIENCE BLOGS PHARYNGULA DATABASE: ERROR 500 SERVER ERROR!
    PZ MYERS: WTF! NEW THREAD.

    Act IV, Scene IV
    Pharyngula Headquarters

    PHARYNGULA: SECOND THIRD FOURTH FIFTH VERSE, SAME AS TEH FIRST
    PZ MYERS: HEY! SOCKPUPPETS! GET OFF OF MY LAWN!
    PHARYNGULA: (REPEAT SUM MOAR)

    TEH END…….?

  263. #263 Kobra
    July 12, 2008

    #260:

    http://fratres.wordpress.com/2008/07/06/webster-f-cook-video-of-a-thief-and-his-excuses/

    I have a problem with calling him a thief since, legally, he didn’t steal a goddamn thing!

  264. #264 ajani57
    July 12, 2008

    I went to a catholic wedding last week that included a mass where I observed the cracker and wine ritual for my first time. The cracker part was fine (didn’t realize its significance until PZ’s story broke later) but what had me gagging was that they all drank the wine from the same cup. All those microorganisms being transferred. Sure, a girl was wiping the cup between turns, but she was using the same part of the rag each time, so she wasn’t cleaning the cup, she was smearing the germs. I concluded right then and there that I would never want to be part of an organization that required the weekly drinking of backwash. Warm backwash. Gagging again. I’ll go have a disk o’jesus to settle my stomach.

  265. #265 Moses
    July 12, 2008

    Ummm, you *do* know that 19th and 20th C. Communism WAS atheist, right? And what THEY did reflects badly on atheists EVERYWHERE, if what some pedophile priests did reflects badly on Catholics everywhere, right?

    So is Democracy. So are free market economics. So is facism. So is any non-theocratic or divine right system of economics and/or governance. Seriously, it’s not a difficult concept to realize that religion isn’t responsible for every good or bad thing. And many things, are simply just outside religion.

    You’ve only proven you don’t get it.

    As far as the buggery is concerned, the problem isn’t the pedophile priests. It was the WORLD-WIDE CATHOLIC-CHURCH EFFORT TO HIDE THEM and KEEP THEM FROM THEIR LEGAL PUNISHMENT.

  266. #266 JeffreyD
    July 12, 2008

    OK, I am now convinced that the catholics are due an apology so here goes, and speaking only for myself:

    I am sorry that your vision of a god is so weak that he cannot protect his cracker form.

    I am sorry that you engage in idolatry in regards to said cracker.

    I am sorry that you are offended by people pointing out that religious people often believe things that many of us find silly at best and dangerous at worst.

    I am sorry that you have continued to hide evidence of crimes within your church, thus giving people easy targets during verbal and/or blog battles.

    I am sorry that you allow Bill Donahue to speak for many of you.

    I am sorry you do not have the courage to speak out against those who make you look bad, such as Donahue.

    I am sorry you hate gay and lesbian people – yes, YOU DO, you church requires you to hate them, or at least their “sin”.

    I am sorry your church continues to block AIDS awareness programs in places like Africa.

    I am sorry your church compels you to hate Africans by requiring you to believe that them not having condoms is somehow good for them.

    I am sorry you do not know what your own prophet and bible say.

    I am sorry you do not practice what Rabbi Ben Jesu asked you to practice – you do not love your neighbor as yourself, you will not eat with publicans and prostitutes – you condemn them. (No, there is no need to comment on the name folks, I do not really care, call him what you like.)

    I am sorry you are offended when someone tells you to fuck off after you offer to pray for our souls. As many have noted on here, “pray for you” often effectively equates to fuck you. On, to get ahead of the curve a bit, fuck you if you offer to pray for me.

    I am sure there are catholics that do not believe in the oppression of gays and lesbians or allowing Africans to die of AIDS. I am sure there are catholics who do not believe the cracker and wine are more than a symbol. I am sure there are catholics that are outraged by the protection of pedophile priests. I am sorry you do not have the courage to slip off your chains and take responsibility for your own life, your own morals, your own dealings with the world. This one makes me especially sad.

    Pax Nabisco

  267. #267 E.V.
    July 12, 2008

    MB:
    A prayer? Hmmm. I reread your post and it sounds like more of a threat, as in “call me that again and you’ll need to be prayed for. But, of course, you would never threaten anyone beyond eternal damnation for not believinging the way you do, now would you.
    Thanks, MB, but praying for me would be a tad onanistic – the only one involved would be you.

  268. #268 JoJo
    July 12, 2008

    Owlmirror @ 262

    Bravo!

  269. #269 AdamK
    July 12, 2008

    Try as you might, your mental calisthenics cannot separate Communism from non-belief in fairies. Russian Communists were non-believers in fairies, even if not all non-believers in fairies were/are Communists.

    Therefore what, you praying eejit?

  270. #270 Benji
    July 12, 2008

    Fuck over 20 nicknames? This guy must have had much time to lose…^o)

  271. #271 Moses
    July 12, 2008

    Rev: Try as you might, your mental calisthenics cannot separate Communism from atheism. Russian Communists were atheists, even if not all atheists were/are Communists.

    I have to agree with this statement from the perspective of you. That is, you’re irreducibly dense. But your ignorance and inability to comprehend isn’t his failure.

    There are, frankly, some people so brainwashed that they can’t be educated. No matter how long or hard you try.

    Even more than that, it may be a perceptual/cognitive defect that you possess. There has been shown, in some recent work I read in the Journal of Psychology, that some people (a large subset of the population) have a cognitive defect and are incapable of seeing a random universe. Their brain processes simply lack that ability.

    It’s early work. And was done with believers of ESP, not religion. But the author pointed out that it may explain why people made up religions to explain the universe that appeared so random and chaotic. Or, in other words, you’ve got a process-equivalent of “color blindness.” And while we can tell yo about red, you’re incapable of actually seeing it.

    Bad things happen because they do. Not because of original sin. Or that you’re an inherently bad person. Even if you are an asshole and could piss off the Pope. But just because “wrong place, wrong time.”

  272. #272 craig
    July 12, 2008

    Ron, you have absolutely no moral standing to criticize others.

    You spent all of yesterday blatantly lying about PZ, attributing things to him he never said.

    You repeatedly demanded that PZ retract his statements and revise them in a manner which you approved. You then repeatedly lied and said you wouldn’t think to tell a blogger what to say.

    At least once you said you would never dare tell PZ what to say, and then proceeded to make multiple DEMANDS that he do so within the span of a few sentences.

    You repeatedly criticized other commenters for the content and delivery of their comments, and then when yours were criticized, you told anyone who didn’t like what you said that they could just ignore your comments.

    You repeated this behavior ad nauseum, revealing yourself to be a dishonest hypocrite, your essential message being that everyone must agree with you and do as you say and no one must criticize you.

    Worst of all you repeatedly threatened to leave and then broke this promise.

    You have no standing to criticize. You have proven your words to be worthless. You put words into the mouths of others and then damn them for them.

    Who the hell cares what a lying hypocrite thinks?
    If we should care, then we need to worry about what Bill Donohue thinks.

  273. #273 Paul Burnett
    July 12, 2008

    Isn’t cannibalism – the eating of human flesh – illegal? Are there any cities or states here in the US where one could be prosecuted for deliberate knowing ingestion of human flesh? Anybody know what the law is on this?

    If there is such a law (and I would be shocked if there isn’t – does the name “Jeffrey Dahmer” ring a bell?) what is to prevent PZ (or somebody…) from humbly pointing out to the authorities that there is a cult performing ritual cannibalism right here in River City? Anybody?

    (Of course, when presented with the possibility of being arrested and charged with cannibalism, do you think some of these Death Cultists might waffle and say it’s just a cracker after all?)

  274. #274 sinmantyx
    July 12, 2008

    I wonder if some of the more aggressive/name-calling “ugly atheists” were also put-ons for attention.

    Seriously, I wanted to ask a few if they were teenagers.

    We have Godwyn’s Law for Nazi’s – I think there should be a law about making pedophile priest arguments.

    Ron seemed like a reasonable guy most of the time, and still a few attacked him mercilessly whilst characterizing people offended at what PZ suggested as being violent religious zealots.

    An evil little part of me would really enjoy observing the more ridiculous “players” (like the people that assaulted the student, Bill himself, and everyone actually sending threats) watching creative uses of unsubstantiated unleavened wafers.

    To the great majority of Catholics (whose only crime is being indoctrinated into the religion as children in the first place) – actually following through on the “cracker threat” would simply be cruel.

    I know those who are not religious and have never been religious can’t wrap their brain around it – but these people REALLY do think a consecrated “cracker” is incredibly precious.

    MOST of the letters I read in the previous post by PZ were people desperately trying to make PZ understand what the “host” meant to them emotionally. It’s just so incredibly sad.

    I do realize how it can be amusing, but in the end it IS just being hurtful for kicks.

    Also, I completely agree with Neil’s (#118) assessment of all this.

  275. #275 ajani57
    July 12, 2008

    Re: Moses @ 271

    I heard this somewhere and liked it:

    Nothing is either good or bad, but only thinking makes it so.

  276. #276 Kobra
    July 12, 2008

    #273:

    Do it! It will be the lulziest thing done in a long time.

  277. #277 E.V.
    July 12, 2008

    teh stoopid. iz not ur fawlt.

  278. #278 Max Verret
    July 12, 2008

    Re: #245

    What Mr. Cook did or did not do has nothing to do with Dr. Myers inviting people to steal a whole bunch of “crackers” and give them to him so he could desecrate them in public. It has nothing to do with “property rights” but with Dr. Myers invitation to others to commit thief. If Mr. Cook felt that his rights had been violated and that he had a cause of action he should have sought a remedy in law. What Mr. Cook did or did not do and Mr. Donohue intemperate remarks have nothing to do with the obligation of the University of Minnesota to hold Dr. Myers responsible for his actions. Dr. Myers does not have to accept responsibility for either Mr. Cook’s or Mr. Donohue’s behaviors.

  279. #279 --PatF in Madison
    July 12, 2008

    @245
    “In light of this, I don’t see where the university administration has any choice but to protect itself by imposing sanctions. Anything less than that would be negligence on their part.”

    Are you sure you work at at a university? Administrations don’t want to get involved with this. They want it to blow over as fast as possible. Maybe an assistant to the dean will scowl at PZ some day, but that’s about it.

    Let’s get this straight. Education is a very minor part of administrative activity and faculty evaluation is still less. Administrators are concerned with making sure they get their latest budget increase and looking good to the higher ups so they can get their next promotion.

    If an administrator gets mad at PZ, it won’t be because of his comments. It will be because he has interrupted the great game of bureaucratic navel gazing.

  280. #280 JeffreyD
    July 12, 2008

    Oh hell, Max poked his head out again and I am leaving for a showing of Hellboy II (The Golden Cracker) as soon as my son gets here.

    Well, Max, your concerns are noted. I will “pray for you”.

    Pax Nabisco

  281. #281 Kobra
    July 12, 2008

    #278

    What Mr. Cook did or did not do has nothing to do with Dr. Myers inviting people to steal a whole bunch of “crackers” and give them to him so he could desecrate them in public.

    READ THIS: http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2008/07/fyi.php#comment-980351

    If I’ve made a flaw in my argument (logic or facts only; let’s keep this intellectually honest), feel free to email me at kobrasrealm@gmail.com.

  282. #282 leeleeone
    July 12, 2008

    Has anyone seen this? http://www.koco.com/news/16860079/detail.html

    Church Cancels Teen Gun Giveaway
    Windsor Hills Baptist had planned to give away a semiautomatic assault rifle until one of the event’s organizers was unable to attend.

    The church’s youth pastor, Bob Ross, said it’s a way of trying to encourage young people to attend the event. The church expected hundreds of teenagers from as far away as Canada.

    “We have 21 hours of preaching and teaching throughout the week,” Ross said.

    A video on the church Web site shows the shooting competition from last year’s conference. A gun giveaway was part of the event last year. This year, organizers included it in their marketing.

    “I don’t want people thinking ‘My goodness, we’re putting a weapon in the hand of somebody that doesn’t respect it who are then going to go out and kill,’” said Ross. “That’s not at all what we’re trying to do.”

    Ross said the conference isn’t all about guns, but rather about teens finding faith.

    “You make a lot of new friends down here,” said Vikki Goncharenko, who attended the conference. “You get to meet new people. There’s a bunch of things that are going on. It’s just, you have a wonderful time.”

    Friday evening, Ross said the gun giveaway had been canceled. Pastor emeritus Jim Vineyard, who ran the event, injured his foot and wouldn’t be able to attend. The gun giveaway was also removed from the church Web site.

    Ross said the church would give the gun away next year instead. He said the church spent $800 buying the gun for the promotion.

    ————————————

    EEEEEK!

  283. #283 Brownian, OM
    July 12, 2008

    Hey, Brownnoser OM: I’m quoting your prof: “We have had a number of raving angry Catholics in various threads here…or have we?” Who peed in your mother, that you’re too stupid to get the point of this thread? That link you provided is a bunch of “I’m-calling-your-college-president”s and “I-demand-an-apology”s. Where is the foam? The cacophony of voices calling for his literal, honest-to-goodness HEAD–not his job? IT. AIN’T. THERE. Prof himself had to *photoshop* a pic of Muslims (LOL) threatening death to someone: Why couldn’t he get himself a REAL one of the Catholic mob?

    Hey, JB, fuckhead: learn to read dipshit.

    Here’s some foam from the emails in the post, you slavering Hooked on Phonics failure:

    I own 4 guns. I bet liberal vermin like you don’t own any.

    IT. AIN’T. THERE?

    Come on down to Florida. We know how to welcome bastards like you…..with a bullet.

    IT. AIN’T. THERE?

    You are really fucked now. Lock your doors at night, and check under your car before you turn the ignition key.

    IT. AIN’T. THERE?

    You will discover soon enough what your blasphemy gets you. Since you have said your hateful lies where me and my friends can see them, it will be sooner than you think. You’ll wish you had a cracker in Hell!

    IT. AIN’T. THERE?

    IF Catholics had half the testosterone of muzzies, the answer would be simple. Holy hollowpoint. But alas, I expect they will whimper and grovel as usual.

    IT. AIN’T. THERE?

    Go choke on your Padre’s cock, you fucking offal stain on the abattoir floor of humanity.

  284. #284 karen marie
    July 12, 2008

    i feel sorry for you, max verret.

    you have a lot of growing up to do.

  285. #285 MB
    July 12, 2008

    Have I been quote mined by Feynmaniac in my four sentence comment? What fun!

    I said
    “Many (most, all?) of these religious types are simply projecting their behavior onto the rest of us.”

    My next sentence was an attempt at constructing an example of how they think and might be projecting their behavior onto the READERS of this blog:

    “PZ has “followers” (not readers, as Peter Lusman notes) who will do as he orders because that’s the way their lives work. If you’re not following the pope, you must be following PZ or some mullah or Karl Rove – YOU MUST BE TAKING ORDERS FROM SOMEONE!!! because I am…

    Like I said, I apparently failed Irony 101. So sorry I didn’t spell that out!!!

    AND I really enjoyed the comments by Calludus #144 in the link below

    “The more I read, the more I realize that “I will pray for you” is just a euphemism for, “Fuck you!”

    It’s always said in the same way, the same tone. And it usually ends the conversation.

    Posted by: Calladus | July 11, 2008 8:02 PM”

    and #151 by Blake Stacey in the same link:

    “Calladus (#144):

    The more I read, the more I realize that “I will pray for you” is just a euphemism for, “Fuck you!”
    “Oh, yeah, well I’ll pray for you too!”

    “Yeah, well, I prayed for your mom last night!”

    “Shut your pray-hole, or I’ll pray for yo’ sister until she’s like, ‘Oh God oh God oh God oh God’!”

    Posted by: Blake Stacey | July 11, 2008 8:08 PM”

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2008/07/i_get_email_special_cracker_ed.php#comments

    So, I guess I’ll pray for all of you! But not your Moms or sisters – that’s too sexist, even if it is funny.

    Broken Soldier, I win a brand new shiny nothing for saying fuck you to Feynmaniac and E.V. because they didn’t understand my apparently feeble attempt at humor?

    I’ll keep my illusion that SOMEONE, SOMEWHERE understood what I was saying, thank you. And I’ll be like Mark and not believe any evidence to the contrary.

  286. #286 SC
    July 12, 2008

    Pray for me, Owlmirror, that was good.

  287. #287 Russell
    July 12, 2008

    Never underestimate the reach of the Old Religion:

    http://adamant.typepad.com/seitz/2008/07/put-another-heretic-on-the-barby.html

  288. #289 scooter
    July 12, 2008

    OMG!!!

    Somebody just issued a You Tube Eucharist challenge!!

    It doesn’t mention PZ Thank Gawd

    blessings
    -scooter

  289. #290 E.V.
    July 12, 2008

    Ok. I’m getting of my ass to print t-shirts:
    REASON IS THE ENEMY OF FAITH. – THINK ABOUT IT

    Who wants one?
    (my apologies if this slogan has already been used)

  290. #291 Kobra
    July 12, 2008

    #289

    I’m already going to get one made up that reads:
    I’m not the Antichrist, I’m just anti-Christ!

    That’s also the name of an article I recently wrote that outlines my beliefs:

    http://www.kobrascorner.com/philo/not-antichrist-but-anti-christ.php

  291. #292 craig
    July 12, 2008

    “The *very* individuals involved in bringing the scandal to light and demanding accountability for the coverup were incensed Catholics, more than likely the very type that would demand the professor here be held accountable for *his* insulting of their faith.”

    And the VERY individual who wrote the guidelines for hiding and protecting child rapists was YOUR FUCKING POPE.

    Not some isolated individuals, the infallible leader of your religion.

    Protecting child rapists is the official policy of the Catholic church and apparently the policy of protecting child rapists comes from God himself.

  292. #293 negentropyeater
    July 12, 2008

    There’s actually 3 parrallel cracker threads going on…

    So how many comments up till now on this cracker affair ?

    Let’s count :

    its_a_goddamned_cracker 1007
    now_ive_got_bill_donohues_atte 842
    fresh_crackers 807
    fight_back_against_bill_donohu 1227
    internet_getting_full_heres_a 596
    can_this_possibly_get_more_ins 554
    i_get_email_special_cracker_ed 1209
    fyi 271

    TOTAL = 1007+842+807+1227+596+554+1209+271 = 6513

    HOLY CRACKER ! MORE THAN 6500 COMMENTS, IS THIS A RECORD ?

  293. #294 Kobra
    July 12, 2008

    I forgot who said this, but:

    Why is it that when we fuck up it’s a “sin,” but when a member of the clergy fucks up, it’s called a “scandal?”

  294. #295 craig
    July 12, 2008

    “We have Godwyn’s Law for Nazi’s – I think there should be a law about making pedophile priest arguments.”

    The Nazis (the original ones anyway) are dead.
    The pedophile priests are still actively being protected by the church.

    Why on earth would a CURRENT policy of the church be beyond criticism? Because its a shockingly BAD thing they’re doing?

    “Oh gosh, no fair pointing out the really really BAD things the church does!” Yeah, that makes sense.

  295. #296 Coragyps
    July 12, 2008

    I sure hope someone has nentioned The Death Cookie by now…
    http://www.chick.com/reading/tracts/0074/0074_01.asp

    At least to Mr Donohue, that is.

  296. #297 Ted Powell
    July 12, 2008

    Unless I missed it, noone has yet drawn attention to this conversation between Jesus and Mo: http://www.jesusandmo.net/2008/07/09/wafer/

  297. #298 Moses
    July 12, 2008

    Glad this was posted for the simple minded so they could understand Communism:

    Communism, from dictionary.com:

    1 a theory or system of social organization based on the holding of all property in common, actual ownership being ascribed to the community as a whole or to the state.

    I shall now point out that is EXACTLY how the original church in Jerusalem was organized. That’s right, baby, the earliest Christian fathers were COMMUNISTS!!! It says so right in the bible. And when a husband and wife sold their property and withheld some of proceeds they otherwise were to give to the Apostles, and LIED ABOUT IT, they were STRUCK DEAD BY GOD. Don’t believe me? Here it is:

    Acts 4:32-5:11

    4:32 Now the whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one claimed private ownership of any possessions, but everything they owned was held in common.

    33 With great power the apostles gave their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all.

    34 There was not a needy person among them, for as many as owned lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold.

    35 They laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need.

    36 There was a Levite, a native of Cyprus, Joseph, to whom the apostles gave the name Barnabas (which means “son of encouragement”).

    37 He sold a field that belonged to him, then brought the money, and laid it at the apostles’ feet.

    5:1 But a man named Ananias, with the consent of his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property;

    2 with his wife’s knowledge, he kept back some of the proceeds, and brought only a part and laid it at the apostles’ feet.

    3 “Ananias,” Peter asked, “why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back part of the proceeds of the land?

    4 While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, were not the proceeds at your disposal? How is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart? You did not lie to us but to God!”

    5 Now when Ananias heard these words, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard of it.

    6 The young men came and wrapped up his body, then carried him out and buried him.

    7 After an interval of about three hours his wife came in, not knowing what had happened.

    8 Peter said to her, “Tell me whether you and your husband
    sold the land for such and such a price.” And she said, “Yes, that was the price.”

    9 Then Peter said to her, “How is it that you have agreed together to put the Spirit of the Lord to the test? Look, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out.”

    10 Immediately she fell down at his feet and died. When the young men came in they found her dead, so they carried her out and buried her beside her husband.

    11 And great fear seized the whole church and all who heard of these things. [NRSV]

    Really, where do you think Marx got Communism? I’ve often wondered if he copped it from the parts of the Bible you guys don’t read. I can’t prove it. But I really do wonder if that’s where it came from. Get back to the biblical ideal instead of the pursuit of money and the obvious evils of late 19th century capitalism.

    BTW, when Jesus was alive, they did the same thing with their funds. Judas, in fact, was in charge of the groups funds. Something for which is later used as, well, a way to disparage his character in Mark.

    But that’s not emphasised in the Bible. After all we’re a “God Fearing People” opposed to the “Godless Commies.”

    Ironically, though, when it comes to wealth and the early principles of the Church, the Commies were nominally closer to the Apostles and Jesus than the US and it’s love of Mammon. I mean, really, how many Billionaires did the Commies have? Exactly zero.

    Yet there are a number of preachers whose estimated worth is approaching that number, if it hasn’t exceeded it. (Robertson & Copeland are the two closest.) Never mind THE INCREDIBLRE RICHES of most large churches and just how LITTLE they act like Jesus or the Apostles when it comes to taking care of the poor and downtrodden…

  298. #299 E.V.
    July 12, 2008

    MB:
    So sad. That’s the problem with obscure inside jokes. Feeble…your words, not mine.

    ” Trust me”, now there’s a euphemism for “fuck you” that I like. As in: MB, you are the master of written humor – trust me.

  299. #300 craig
    July 12, 2008

    JB, lets concede, just for the sake of argument (and only for that sake because your actual claims are bullshit) that taking the “host” and not consuming it on the spot is theft.

    Well then, you and other Catholics are outraged to the point of tying to get someone fired over a half-serious joke that someone should steal A CRACKER.

    A fucking CRACKER. With everything else going on in the world, its important to threaten a man’s jobs for making a joke about “stealing” a cracker. Get some sense of perspective for chrissakes.

  300. #301 AdamK
    July 12, 2008

    @229: “The Jesus character seemed like a decent fellow, though…”

    Up until he used his awesome magic powers to kill a fig tree for no discernable reason, after which he just looked like another one of yer typical bilblical nutjobs.

  301. #302 AdamK
    July 12, 2008

    I meant “biblical” nutjobs. No, I meant “typical, destructive, fictional, biblical” nutjobs.

  302. #303 brokenSoldier, OM
    July 12, 2008

    MB:

    Broken Soldier, I win a brand new shiny nothing for saying fuck you to Feynmaniac and E.V. because they didn’t understand my apparently feeble attempt at humor?

    This one was freakin’ hilarious, in light of your attempt to claim that we somehow couldn’t understand you, because the plain fact is, I never said you’d win a damned thing. If you go back and actually read what was written, you’ll see that E.V. asked what the prize was for “playing your game” and calling you a failure, to which you replied that you’d pray for him.

    To which I commented to E.V. that he’d won nothing. To put it politely, it was a slight directed at the efficacy of prayer, just in case you still hadn’t caught it.

    Next time, before accusing others of failing to understand something, make sure you at least get the basics straight, and maybe even work on keeping with the discussion a little better.

  303. #304 Feynmaniac
    July 12, 2008

    MB,
    My next sentence was an attempt at constructing an example of how they think and might be projecting their behavior onto the READERS of this blog

    I feel stupid. I did not understand that was pardoy, it is difficult to tell sometimes on internet. I have been reading too many posts of trolls lately and mistook yours for one. Perhaps it was too good. I sincerely apologize MB. Please pray for me.

  304. #305 SC
    July 12, 2008

    MB: I’ll keep my illusion that SOMEONE, SOMEWHERE understood what I was saying, thank you.

    I did. How did it all get so praying confused?

  305. #306 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 12, 2008

    I don’t think the administration at the University of Minnesota has any choice but to impose sanctions on Dr. Myers. As a faculty member of a university for 16 years, I know it is a part of our employment agreement that we engage in no behavior, university related or otherwise, that would reflect negatively on the reputation of the University. The University of Minnesota is a public institution and as such is responsive to the people of Minnesota, many of whom are Catholic. Also, a significant part of the student body is Catholic. You simply cannot have a faculty member going around trashing their deeply held Eucharistic beliefs. The vitriol of the critique suggests underlying anger and hatred which could conceiveably place it within the purvue of a hate crime. Inviting people to steal a whole bunch of “crackers” is, at the very least, an attempted conspiracy to commit thief. In light of this, I don’t see where the university administration has any choice but to protect itself by imposing sanctions. Anything less than that would be negligence on their part.

    Well it’s a good thing you have absolutely no say so in the matter because you are incredible confused.

  306. #307 TSC
    July 12, 2008

    I guess I’ll stop all these alias atheist personas. Goddamnit, I was enjoying the Dissociative Identity Disorder component.

  307. #308 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 12, 2008

    I see that jb slinked off without addressing his utter confusion on the communism questions. Not surprising.

  308. #309 SC
    July 12, 2008

    Ah, good. Confusion among allies lifted. I can now go peacefully to the beach.

  309. #310 E.V.
    July 12, 2008

    Broken Soldier & Feynmaniac:
    Pig + singing lessons = wasted time + annoyed pig.
    Cheers!

  310. #311 craig
    July 12, 2008

    God help me, there’s just something intensely funny sounding about the phrase “Eucharistic beliefs.”

  311. #312 AdamK
    July 12, 2008

    “[T]he lack of a belief is not effective as a grouping criteria.”

    brokensoldier, as usual, makes a crucial point. (With the caveat that the singular of “criteria” should be “criterion.”)

    But the same mental defect that produces christian group-think, authoritarianism and illogic seem to make it impossible for them to understand that atheism is not a philosophy, religion, or organization, and that atheists are not a group.

    You can generalize about atheists about as much as you can generalize about people-who-are-not-in-love-with-redheads, a category that may have, for all I know, included Josef Stalin.

  312. #313 craig
    July 12, 2008

    Anyone who thinks atheists engage in groupthink is somehow intentionally not noticing the fact that we fight amongst ourselves almost as much as we fight the crazy.

  313. #314 E.V.
    July 12, 2008

    MB:
    If you were truly being facetious and not a troll, I apologize. Sincerely.
    (must. stop. can’t. resist.)
    Trust me=)

  314. #315 brokenSoldier, OM
    July 12, 2008

    (With the caveat that the singular of “criteria” should be “criterion.”)

    Posted by: AdamK | July 12, 2008 5:40 PM

    Indeed it is. As an english major, I hang my head in shame.

  315. #316 Alex
    July 12, 2008

    In light of recent events, it seems only appropriate…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UGf-sS4js5Y

  316. #317 Brownian, OM
    July 12, 2008

    Anyone who thinks atheists engage in groupthink is somehow intentionally not noticing the fact that we fight amongst ourselves almost as much as we fight the crazy.

    Bullshit, craig. Complete bullshit. You’re totally wrong.

  317. #318 sinmantyx
    July 12, 2008

    Craig:

    The Nazi’s aren’t dead. I met an old German man in the mall the other day. He told me about how being part of the “German Youth” gave him pride and congratulated me on having a blue-eyed blond-haired son.

    I didn’t mean to imply that the Catholic church’s handling of sexual abuse by priests is somehow “off limits” only that it is mentioned ALL THE TIME. If it is actually directly relevant to the discussion – mention it all you want.

    I just think if you are going to attack the Catholic Church (and more power to you!) – there are SO many horrible things they have done and are doing, that going straight for the crusades (the Children’s Crusade is the BEST) or pedophile priests seems unnecessary.

    Also, general crimes against humanity perpetrated by Catholicism and religion in general, in this case, certainly dilutes the conversation. (Of course, I hang out on “antitheism” on lj an hour or so a day – so I understand the appeal.)

  318. #319 TSC
    July 12, 2008

    Do you think these comments will make it to the floor of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals? If so, give me a case of Keeblers while they are read aloud through a loud (as loud as Donohue or Dinesh)tube amplifier. Mmmunching on Jaysus is the life for me…da da da da…

  319. #320 E.V.
    July 12, 2008

    Damn, Brownian, you win; you are the master of terse irony. Sincerely.

  320. #321 craig
    July 12, 2008

    Sin the reason I personally mention it a lot is because its the elephant in the room.

    When Catholics criticize others about supposed morality and ethics, yet have not taken strides to clean their own house and in fact make one of the prime architects of the heinous policy their Pope, their infallible leader, it seems to me that it’s not only valid but proper to raise the issue repeatedly.

    In my mind, an organization that not only has a still-current policy of hiding and protecting child molesters, but that actually makes the chief architect of that policy their infallible leader, has no business criticizing others, EVER.

    It’s only once they address that they they can even begin to presume to preach to others about morals.

  321. #322 craig
    July 12, 2008

    “I just think if you are going to attack the Catholic Church (and more power to you!) – there are SO many horrible things they have done and are doing, that going straight for the crusades (the Children’s Crusade is the BEST) or pedophile priests seems unnecessary.”

    Oh, and I should also mention that I am not intimately familiar with the Catholic church, so I also don’t mention other crimes of the church in part because I’m not familiar with them.

    So by all means, if there are more horrible things the church is currently doing, please fill me in.

  322. #323 AdamK
    July 12, 2008

    No shame, brokenSoldier. It’s a common enough phenomena!

  323. #324 Duvenoy
    July 12, 2008

    Well done, Owlmirror @ 262! CAN YOUR JEBUS CRACKER HAS PEANUT BUTTER for such a excellent effort!

    doov

  324. #325 Kobra
    July 12, 2008

    #313:
    You’re completely full of shit. :P

  325. #326 MAJeff, OM
    July 12, 2008

    Posted by: Mark | July 12, 2008 2:38 PM

    Another lying fuckwit whose never been to the site before.

    These right-wing liars for Christ certainly are dipshits.

  326. #327 craig
    July 12, 2008

    True, Kobra, but hopefully not for long.
    I just took some psyllium fiber.

  327. #328 Kobra
    July 12, 2008

    #327:

    I feel sorry for your plumber.

  328. #329 Carolus Hereticus
    July 12, 2008

    Lying for Jesus! Just as relevant today as it has been for 2000 years.

  329. #330 MB
    July 12, 2008

    Thank you so much SC – someone DID understand, (but, broken soldier, Feynmaniac and E.V. were not among him)!!!

    I’ll stop praying for you all and keep my praying for the religious – as long as I don’t have to trust E.V.

    I cracked up when I read the praying euphemism whenever that was (was it only yesterday?) and wrongly assumed more of you did also – and that more of you had actually read those comments in the 6000+ posts on this topic.

    I still really like the idea of saying, “No, I’ll pray for YOU.”

  330. #331 E.V.
    July 12, 2008

    Kobra:
    I saw the hate mail on your website. Makes you proud to be an American doesn’t it?
    Keep up the good work, you 18 y.o. atheist, you.

  331. #332 MAJeff, OM
    July 12, 2008

    So, I guess I’ll pray for all of you!

    Please do. It’s rather pleasant when y’all do nothing.

  332. #333 Norman Doering
    July 12, 2008

    Is PZ’s job in any real danger?

    I don’t think people who believe a cracker transconbobulates into the flesh of a deity deserve any intellectual respect, but they may deserve the kind of “respect” you give to rattlesnakes when you’re careful where you walk.

    Be careful, Catholickers — no one likes to be intimidated. If PZ does loose his job or anything else we’ll remember you for the vengeful ass-hats you seem to be.

  333. #334 sinmantyx
    July 12, 2008

    To those who think PZ should be disciplined:

    The balance between allowing freedom of expression on campuses while ensuring that students and faculty do not feel intimidated or threatened, is not an easy cut-and-dry issue.

    Generally speaking, if an allegation of violating the code-of-conduct of a school based on speech comes up – some sort of governing body decides whether or not the “speech” is so horrible that it interferes with the right of students and faculty to feel safe. I think that’s fair.

    What goes too far is to demand respect for ALL viewpoints. I think the new culture of putting two extremists on TV – let them yell at each other for half an hour – and call it “news” is eroding any sense of REAL honest debate.

    Honest debate makes you feel uncomfortable. REAL differences of opinion in the “marketplace of ideas” can be painful. Learning involves cognitive dissonance – not just memorizing a bunch of crap and then getting a piece of paper that says you bothered showing up and vomiting onto scan-trons.

    Honest discussion allows for a person to mention that women’s brains are physically smaller than men’s brains. Honest discussion allows the teaching of evolution. Honest discussion includes mentioning that Martin Luther hated Jews. Honest discussion includes the fact that King James was gay.

    I said it once and I’ll say it again: I, personally, will not be muzzled by institutional forces because I teach.

    There is NO evidence that PZ is constructing a hostile environment at UM-Morris.

    If you don’t like what he has to say, keep up the debate. Once you decide some authority of some sort should shut him up – YOU are the one who has crossed the line, not PZ.

    There will be no precedent that college teachers highly critical of religion cannot speak out without FEAR from above.

    I’ve had plenty of discussions after class with students who disagree with me strongly. It’s part of college life. To me, those were the best learning experiences in my college career.

    Having your ideas challenged is the whole frickin’ point.

  334. #335 Kobra
    July 12, 2008

    #331:
    Thanks. :D

    Why has none of the Catholics responded to this yet?

    #250:

    Business and property laws, if my memory serves me right, is always based on transactions.
    For example, if I load a bunch of groceries into a cart, they aren’t mine until I have completed a business transaction. If someone hands me something and does not indicate that, for example, they are only letting me hold onto it for a second, then that counts as a transaction and it becomes my property.
    If I decide to eat at a buffet and walk out with food, I have to pay for the food I’m carrying out because I served it to myself. However, if the workers hand me a plate full of food, then it becomes my property.
    The wafer was given to the young man and it was expect of him to consume it then and there, but it was not legally REQUIRED. There were no contracts. He said a prayer, and handed the piece of bread dough to the young man, and it became the young man’s property.
    THEN, a bunch of people who did not like what he did with an item that was now his property got physical with him. THEN he received death threats.
    THEN, PZ Myers commented on this and tried to appeal to our common sense using “satire and protest.”
    THEN, he started receiving hate mail and death threats because he thinks the whole situation is silly.
    … and it has gone downhill from there.
    We know you’re offended, but you don’t have a right not to be. If you don’t want to be offended, DON’T READ HIS FUCKING BLOG!

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2008/07/fyi.php#comment-980351

    I’m waiting. If Mr. Cook was guilty of a crime, why haven’t I received a response yet?

  335. #336 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 12, 2008

    So, I guess I’ll pray for all of you!

    Please do. It’s rather pleasant when y’all do nothing.

    My thought too. The more time they spend on their knees praying, the less they can muddle around in our lives.

  336. #337 craig
    July 12, 2008

    Kobra, just read your hate mail.
    Florida does indeed suck ass. I just escaped recently myself.

    Of course, maybe the jeebus is closer to Florida… after I left the state the nasty boils I kept getting went away. Either that it it’s just a nasty humid miasma down there.

  337. #338 Apostle #5
    July 12, 2008

    Ideology is a poor substitute for rational thought.

    So it is written. Afarensis 7:12 The Bible.

    Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.
    So it is written. Voltaire 12:25 The Bible.

    Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.
    So it is written. Seneca 19:51 The Bible.

  338. #339 Kobra
    July 12, 2008

    Excuse me. 335 ~= s/Why has/Why have/

  339. #340 Paul Johnson
    July 12, 2008

    I really don’t see what all the confusion is for. We know religious people tend to be crazy, so if they have a belief that says that the cracker is their god then you would think there would be significant outrage.

    Also I’m sick of the infallibility folly argument.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Papal_infallibility#Instances_of_papal_infallibility

    Also, the number of pedophiliac priests fits in nicely with the expected numbers when comparing priests to the rest of american society (this of course takes into account the fact that some are not revealed yet).

    Now i still dislike the catholic church overall but what specifically does it do to protect pedophiliacs? Of course i do not expect it to have a witch hunt, but it seems a rather hard thing to protect given the outrage even within the church itself.

    Also a church that preaches that people are imperfect, when found to have imperfect members is not going to suddenly collapse. The main point of contention should be that a lot of people think that they should do more to fight against pedophilia because somehow, by fitting in perfectly with the rest of society the church failed. But why before the scandal would you ever in your life expect it to meet some sort of moral high ground? Pedophilia should have nearly nothing to do with why you hate the church. There are dozens of broader and more complete reasons.

  340. #341 Kobra
    July 12, 2008

    #337:
    You mean this stale, moldy air I’m breathing? Sounds about right.

  341. #342 Orlando_Atheist
    July 12, 2008

    Owlmirror @ 262 FTW!
    You’re my fucking hero dude.

  342. #343 E.V.
    July 12, 2008

    MB:
    Sorry. The “pray for you’ euphemism was lost in a sea of k8s and SFGs. No hard feelings, and really -don’t waste any prayers on me.

  343. #344 Moses
    July 12, 2008

    262 is Molly for July.

  344. #345 craig
    July 12, 2008

    “Now i still dislike the catholic church overall but what specifically does it do to protect pedophiliacs?”

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2005/apr/24/children.childprotection

  345. #346 Carolus Hereticus
    July 12, 2008

    Lemme see …

    Theists making death threats and generally behaving badly … dozens.

    Atheists making death threats … umm, none?

    Behaving badly? well now, we’re already damned aren’t we? Were we SUPPOSED to behave?

  346. #347 sinmantyx
    July 12, 2008

    Craig

    #266 had a list of Catholic wrongs

  347. #348 pcrthis
    July 12, 2008

    re#262 Owlmirror:
    Long time lurker, but I lol’d so hard.

  348. #349 Kobra
    July 12, 2008

    #262:

    I was going to comment earlier, but then lightning happened.

    Epic win. Flawless victory.

  349. #350 Orlando_Atheist
    July 12, 2008

    #335:
    I mentioned that the priest gave him the cracker so it is not theft in this blog and no one has challenged me yet. It sounds like they just want to whine about us not respecting their idiocy but they don’t have a legal leg to stand on.

    http://blogs.orlandosentinel.com/community_ucf_area/2008/07/ucf-catholics-m.html#comment-121365866

  350. #351 raven
    July 12, 2008

    Is PZ’s job in any real danger?

    I don’t think people who believe a cracker transconbobulates into the flesh of a deity deserve any intellectual respect, but they may deserve the kind of “respect” you give to rattlesnakes when you’re careful where you walk.

    I wouldn’t think so right now. All he did was call a cracker a “frackin cracker”. Well within the 1st amendment.

    He should really drop the idea of doing something to a real, consecrated cracker. That may or may not be over the line. But you can be 100% in the right and still be wrong.

    There have already been a few dozen death threats. No point in finding out the hard way which ones were the serious ones.

  351. #352 the strangest brewn
    July 12, 2008

    #262

    As eloquent as a Shakespearean wotsit…and quite true to life…!

    A sad and cautionary tale…but such passion… such sadness… and such utter imbecilic waffle…truly the Catholic church at it’s very best…cos it’s dogma is the very worst….

  352. #353 Kobra
    July 12, 2008

    #350:

    Three cheers for logic. :D

  353. #354 MB
    July 12, 2008

    Welcome back MAJeff and Rev Chimp.

    But sweet fucking jesus, – you don’t know what that left hand is doing when we’re praying for you, now do you? Doing nothing, indeed. And have you learned nothing about Catholic priests and their preying? It wasn’t the priests on their knees…

    Please see #285.

    We all kissed and made up – you must have missed those posts… but broken solidier may still be pissed at me…
    I was NOT an English major and I took his “you” to refer to the immediately preceeding “posted by MB” rather than the aforementioned winner, E.V. So I thought I won, when in fact, E.V. had won. Story of my life.

  354. #355 True Bob
    July 12, 2008

    Thanks AdamK @ 323, I had just reconnected my irony meter, believing the worst was over…

  355. #356 dkew
    July 12, 2008

    I appreciate the tenacity and computer skills that some of the banned, mentally ill commenters use continue their sock puppetry. I’m thinking of Kenney and Davison, lately. Seems like Seed needs filters for IP addresses, or some tech answer I’m clueless about. Meanwhile, they are spoiled brats throwing tantrums, knowing that they they will get the attention they crave from the grown-ups, positive or negative. Which also makes me appreciate that most of those banned stay away.
    So, did all of the sock puppet comments of the past few days disappear? Maybe they could just be flagged as crap, because it would make the rest of those threads difficult to follow, given the numbering system and replies.

  356. #357 negentropyeater
    July 12, 2008

    O/T

    -”You’ve heard of mental depression; this is a mental recession,”
    -”We have sort of become a nation of whiners,”
    -”Misery sells newspapers, thank God the economy is not as bad as you read in the newspaper every day.”

    Former Sen. Phil Gramm, vice chairman of Swiss bank UBS, is co-chairman of Sen. John McCain’s campaign in an interview today with the Washington Times.

    http://www.washtimes.com/news/2008/jul/09/mccain-adviser-addresses-mental-recession/

    McCain does choose his advisers wisely !

  357. #358 Moses
    July 12, 2008

    Re: #245

    What Mr. Cook did or did not do has nothing to do with Dr. Myers inviting people to steal a whole bunch of “crackers” and give them to him so he could desecrate them in public. It has nothing to do with “property rights” but with Dr. Myers invitation to others to commit thief. If Mr. Cook felt that his rights had been violated and that he had a cause of action he should have sought a remedy in law. What Mr. Cook did or did not do and Mr. Donohue intemperate remarks have nothing to do with the obligation of the University of Minnesota to hold Dr. Myers responsible for his actions. Dr. Myers does not have to accept responsibility for either Mr. Cook’s or Mr. Donohue’s behaviors.

    Posted by: Max Verret | July 12, 2008 4:59 PM

    Off-duty, private time is off-duty private time. Game, set & match. Or, as I like to say: “Ought isn’t is.” Whether you think the University “ought” to punish him isn’t relevant. The University doesn’t have the power and could find themselves at the bottom of a deep, dark and very expensive hole if they try.

  358. #359 Rey Fox
    July 12, 2008

    “We have sort of become a nation of whiners,”

    Hey, as long as we’re not “bitter”, right?

  359. #360 NanuNanu
    July 12, 2008

    Owlmirror deserves 20 OMs for that play

  360. #361 robotaholic
    July 12, 2008

    Hey PZ – I support you!

  361. #362 craig
    July 12, 2008

    His taking the the cracker was theft because it was meant only for true christians and no true christian would take a cracker under the false premises that he was a true christian when he wasn’t a true chr

    aw fuck, I give up.

  362. #363 JoJo
    July 12, 2008

    Former Sen. Phil Gramm, vice chairman of Swiss bank UBS

    I doubt Gramm is worried about where his next Lexus is coming from. Like so many conservatives, he appears to deny the recession the U.S. is in. Apparently to admit the recession would cast doubt on the voodoo economics of the neocon leader, Shrub Bush.

  363. #364 MB
    July 12, 2008

    Speaking of disciplining PZ, does anyone know why school teachers can be fired for their social site postings?

    Does this guy not have a union or a contract or something? It seems school boards would have a hard time firing a teacher here in Cali over something like this – unless it really is porn? I know they don’t have tenure, but they still have unions and contracts, don’t they?

    http://www.local6.com/education/10838194/detail.html

  364. #365 Kobra
    July 12, 2008

    #362:

    Commendable, and probably not too far from what they would have eventually come up with.

  365. #366 Norman Doering
    July 12, 2008

    raven wrote:

    He should really drop the idea of doing something to a real, consecrated cracker.

    What about some non-consecrated crackers (how would anyone know?) with various Mr. Bill “Oh Nooo!” faces drawn on them (so you could switch them around during cuts)? And what if the cracker is blindfolded and water-boarded (is water-boarding torture?)

  366. #367 craig
    July 12, 2008

    there is no such thing as a consecrated cracker.

  367. #368 Leeobee
    July 12, 2008

    ”trolling with sockpuppets”

    That seminal prog-rock album by influential German band ‘Transubstantiation’ 1973…. heady days.

  368. #369 craig
    July 12, 2008

    “What about some non-consecrated crackers (how would anyone know?) “

    For some reason you just made me think of a video with a parody of the old “We’re replacing their coffee with Folger’s Crystals, will they notice?” commercial. You can see where I’m going with this.

  369. #370 Reinis
    July 12, 2008

    Owlmirror (#262) for a Molly or something!

  370. #371 truth machine, OM
    July 12, 2008

    If you’re serious about convincing anyone but yourselves about the necessity of atheism

    We aren’t, moron. Atheism is only a “necessity” as a consequence of the application of intelligence and reason, and no one can do that for you.

    then you need to lose the attitude and the sophomoric BS.

    We don’t need to lose anything, you hypocritical troll.

  371. #372 Citizen Z
    July 12, 2008

    I stopped by just to ask what the difference was between doing what the prof is asking and, say, spray-painting graffiti on the Wailing Wall and *then* getting upset if the ADL calls for your job. Or dynamiting Buddhas the way the Taliban has done and wondering why the international community calls it a crime. Or beating a hornet’s nest and getting angry at the hornets for, well, being hornets and wanting to defend their own.

    It’s a frackin’ cracker.

  372. #373 craig
    July 12, 2008

    “I stopped by just to ask what the difference was between doing what the prof is asking and, say, spray-painting graffiti on the Wailing Wall and *then* getting upset if the ADL calls for your job. Or dynamiting Buddhas the way the Taliban has done and wondering why the international community calls it a crime. Or beating a hornet’s nest and getting angry at the hornets for, well, being hornets and wanting to defend their own.”

    or posting your thoughts on your blog and having people threaten to kill you for it.

  373. #374 Richard in Edmonton
    July 12, 2008

    Hey Kobra.

    I was stumbling around the internet and happened to land on your site. I enjoyed the funeral pyre for the crackers and the commentary as well.
    Perhaps you could also add the following for the enlightenment of those who do believe. Why is it that christ,who is alive according to any christian I have met, is singularly incapable
    { in the same way that Mohammed, vis-a vis a certain Danish cartoon}
    of defending himself in the matter concerning this imagined desecration on his body rather than the zealots who worship his long dead ass?

    Please keep up the good work trashing such silliness and perhaps one day the ones who sit in the background of church pews wondering just what all the madness going on around them is about may also stumble upon your web page.

  374. #375 brokenSoldier, OM
    July 12, 2008

    but broken solidier may still be pissed at me…
    I was NOT an English major and I took his “you” to refer to the immediately preceeding “posted by MB” rather than the aforementioned winner, E.V. So I thought I won, when in fact, E.V. had won. Story of my life.

    Posted by: MB | July 12, 2008 6:34 PM

    I generally don’t get pissed until someone gives me reason, which you did not. I was merely pointing out irony of the fact that you accused others of completely misunderstanding what you said while at the very same time completely misunderstanding what I said.

  375. #376 Kobra
    July 12, 2008

    #374:

    I’m saving that for the hate mail. And there WILL be hate mail. :P

  376. #377 truth machine, OM
    July 12, 2008

    Unless I missed it, noone has yet drawn attention to this conversation between Jesus and Mo: http://www.jesusandmo.net/2008/07/09/wafer/

    It was here posted here previously — merely a few thousand posts ago.

  377. #378 raven
    July 12, 2008

    What about some non-consecrated crackers (how would anyone know?) with various Mr. Bill “Oh Nooo!” faces drawn on them (so you could switch them around during cuts)? And what if the cracker is blindfolded and water-boarded (is water-boarding torture?)

    Then it probably doesn’t matter. Just about everyone has access to crackers from their kitchen. Anyone can do whatever they want to their own crackers.

    I guess we will find out.

    Admins. have one main rule. Don’t rock the boat. PZ is rocking their boat. They may or may not be able to fire him because of tenure but they have infinite ways of making his life miserable.

  378. #379 Norman Doering
    July 12, 2008

    …a video with a parody of the old “We’re replacing their coffee with Folger’s Crystals, will they notice?” commercial. You can see where I’m going with this.

    I don’t know where you’re going… unless you’re thinking the video would occur in a church and you’d see communion taking place and then the announcer whispers to the audience, “we’ve secretly replaced their communion wafers with Satan’s freeze dried shit.”

    Now, what if you had the cracker saying, in a Mr. Bill voice, “Eat me! Eat me! I’m your savory Lard.”

  379. #380 craig
    July 12, 2008

    I don’t know where you’re going…

    “We’ve secretly replaced these worshippers hosts with new deChristinated wafers. Will they notice the difference?”

    “Pardon me… how was your Jesus?” etc.

  380. #381 truth machine, OM
    July 12, 2008

    I wonder if some of the more aggressive/name-calling “ugly atheists” were also put-ons for attention.

    Seriously, I wanted to ask a few if they were teenagers.

    Seriously, you’re a pathetic concern troll in need of prayer.

  381. #382 Kevin Hayden
    July 12, 2008

    Thanks, Karen Marie, for the fresh detail from Webster Cook.

    And OwlMirror, yr LOLcat gide wz purfik.

  382. #383 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 12, 2008

    “We’ve secretly replaced these worshippers hosts with new deChristinated wafers. Will they notice the difference?”

    “Pardon me… how was your Jesus?” etc.

    I immediately imagined the cast of SNL from 78 doing that skit / commercial.

    Awesome.

  383. #384 rich (richmanwisco)
    July 12, 2008

    Thing I find amusing about this whole thing (amongst many things) is the very palpable perception by the nutters that PZ is somehow a terrorist ringleader bent on overthrowing our government. Or maybe that’s just me.

    Or maybe…..

  384. #385 craig
    July 12, 2008

    I immediately imagined the cast of SNL from 78 doing that skit / commercial.

    Awesome.

    Yep Larraine Newman as one of the worshippers, etc.

  385. #386 truth machine, OM
    July 12, 2008

    Try as you might, your mental calisthenics cannot separate Communism from atheism. Russian Communists were atheists, even if not all atheists were/are Communists.

    And Vikings were air breathers. Of course, being a Viking is not separate from breathing air, but breathing air is separate from being a Viking.

    Cretin.

  386. #387 pcarini
    July 12, 2008

    I’d like to thank Jeffery D for his new signature “Pax Nabisco”. I got a hearty laugh out of it when I first read it early yesterday and I still get a good chuckle out of it now.

  387. #388 Neural T
    July 12, 2008

    They’re not even smart enough to use a proxy service to change their IP.

  388. #389 AJ Milne
    July 12, 2008

    HOLY CRACKER ! MORE THAN 6500 COMMENTS, IS THIS A RECORD ?

    Maybe. But let’s keep in mind some 2500 of them will probably turn out to be all from the same guy…

    (Which, come to think of it, is also probably a record. So never mind.)

  389. #390 truth machine, OM
    July 12, 2008

    Owlmirror, that was a prayin’ tour de farce! I still can’t reread it without a dozen involuntary LOLs. Definitely Molly worthy.

  390. #391 dubiquiabs
    July 12, 2008

    @ (#164) in which “jb” called “True Bob” a liar…
    Here, from the source quoted by “jb”:

    1. Estimated prevalence of Sexual Perps against juvenile victims
    (%, based on reports to civil or church authorities)
    Catholic priests 4.3
    US population, men 2.5

    2. Estimated prevalence of Sexual Perps against juvenile victims
    (%, based on surveys)
    Catholic priests 8.4
    Protestant clergy 0
    Psychotherapists (men) 0.2
    Educators (men) 0

    For a summary, see:
    Hidalgo ML
    Sexual Abuse and the Culture of Catholicism:
    How Priests and Nuns Become Perpetrators.
    New York, NY Haworth Press, 2007
    ISBN-13: 978-0-7890-2956-0

  391. #392 craig
    July 12, 2008

    dubiquiabs, that comment is worthy of a bookmark.

  392. #393 truth machine, OM
    July 12, 2008

    @brokenSoldier

    I was merely pointing out irony of the fact that you accused others of completely misunderstanding what you said while at the very same time completely misunderstanding what I said.

    Which just might have something to do with not having stated it clearly. You wrote “In layman’s terms, that means you win a brand new, shiny nothing.” … immediately following your quote of MB’s post. Since you meant “you” to refer to E.V., not MB, you should have written “In layman’s terms, that means E.V. win a brand new, shiny nothing.”

    BTW, it really isn’t “ironic” when two people make the same sort of mistake for similar reasons. Usually, one accuses someone of irony when they are the one making the mistake rather than the person being accused.

  393. #394 pcarini
    July 12, 2008

    SCIENCE BLOGS PHARYNGULA DATABASE: AAAAOOOOOGAAAAH! OVERLOAD!

    Ha! So full of win, that post was. Owlmirror needs a Lolly (LOL-inated Molly) for that!

  394. #395 kubenzi
    July 12, 2008

    It sucks that atheist are only gaining in numbers due to an influx of already atheistic immigrants from latin America….

    Oh wait,i got mixed up.that is what is going on with the catholics.

    you’re on your way out

  395. #396 Rey Fox
    July 12, 2008

    I was voting Owlmirror for Molly before it was cool.

  396. #398 Tosser
    July 12, 2008

    Is anyone else familiar with the sock puppetry master, Terry Burton? He is a Ray Comfort follower.

  397. #399 Skipbidder
    July 12, 2008

    The fool says in his heart,
    “There is no God.”
    They are corrupt, and their ways are vile;
    there is no one who does good.

    So it is written. Pslam 53 The Bible.

    Posted by: Apostle # 2 | July 12, 2008 2:07 PM

    Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back.

    So it is written Luke 6:30. A Bible (in this case, NIV)

    Give me $20. I take Paypal.

  398. #400 John Morales
    July 12, 2008

    #262 = Epic

  399. #401 truth machine, OM
    July 12, 2008

    I stopped by just to ask what the difference was between doing what the prof is asking and, say, spray-painting graffiti on the Wailing Wall and *then* getting upset if the ADL calls for your job. Or dynamiting Buddhas the way the Taliban has done and wondering why the international community calls it a crime. Or beating a hornet’s nest and getting angry at the hornets for, well, being hornets and wanting to defend their own. No one proffered a decent explanation, so I’ll assume there isn’t one

    You might as well have stopped by a tattoo parlor and had “I’m a cretin” engraved on your forehead.

  400. #402 brokenSoldier, OM
    July 12, 2008

    Which just might have something to do with not having stated it clearly.

    It’s clear enough when you read the comments prior to – rather than just poking in towards the middle – and realize that it was quite obvious who was talking about winning something.

    But please, more quibbling over ridiculous tangents…

  401. #403 jb
    July 12, 2008

    “2. Estimated prevalence of Sexual Perps against juvenile victims (%, based on surveys)
    Catholic priests 8.4
    Protestant clergy 0
    Psychotherapists (men) 0.2
    Educators (men) 0″

    EDUCATORS….0?!? LOL…

    “AP: Sexual Misconduct Plagues US Schools”

    “An Associated Press investigation found more than 2,500 cases over five years in which educators were punished for actions from bizarre to sadistic.

    “There are 3 million public school teachers nationwide, most devoted to their work. Yet the number of abusive educators — nearly three for every school day — speaks to a much larger problem in a system that is stacked against victims.

    “Most of the abuse never gets reported. Those cases reported often end with no action. Cases investigated sometimes can’t be proven, and many abusers have several victims.”

    http://www.newsvine.com/_news/2007/10/20/1037899-ap-sexual-misconduct-plagues-us-schools

  402. #404 truth machine, OM
    July 12, 2008

    It’s clear enough

    It wasn’t to MB. Or do you think he feigned misunderstanding?

    But please, more quibbling over ridiculous tangents…

    Congratulations on joining the ranks of the intellectually dishonest.

  403. #405 craig
    July 12, 2008

    Dammit theres nobody left here but us atheists.

    What’s wrong with these Catholics? No wonder they’re losing membership. They just don’t have the commitment to their crusades that they used to.

    Pushovers.

  404. #406 Boilermaker
    July 12, 2008

    Joe Blubaugh from Purdue:

    I am also a student at Purdue, though I am not a Pharyngulan.

    Care to have a discussion about this book: http://irrationalatheist.com/freedl.html

  405. #407 truth machine, OM
    July 12, 2008

    @BS

    P.S. “rather than just poking in towards the middle” and “But please, more quibbling over ridiculous tangents…” are both ad hominems that have no bearing on my points. I didn’t poke in towards the middle, I read the whole context. I had no trouble understanding what you meant, but MB clearly did, and the misplaced pronoun clearly contributed. Yet you felt free to “quibble over ridiculous tangents” and accuse him of “irony”. Apparently you live on a one-way street.

  406. #408 craig
    July 12, 2008

    Jb, thanks.
    It’s no surprise to me that some school teachers sexually abuse kids, having been the victim of it myself.

    There is a part missing from that article though. You know, the part about the massive coverup and attempt to protect the abusers, headed by the most powerful school administrators in the world.

    It’s pretty easy to reduce the numbers of of alleged abusers when one of the most powerful organizations on the planet is dedicated to that task from the very highest levels.

  407. #409 truth machine, OM
    July 12, 2008

    P.P.S. We’re pretty firmly in the territory of the tangential, the ridiculous, and the quibble (where not swallowing is theft) already, and have been for thousands of posts.

  408. #410 jb
    July 12, 2008

    So Dubi’s stats are bullshit. Got it. Thanks, Craig.

  409. #411 craig
    July 12, 2008

    “and the quibble (where not swallowing is theft)”

    Oh MAN… why the FUCK did I not think of that argument years ago?!?!?!?!

  410. #412 E.V.
    July 12, 2008

    TM:
    Let’s hope those people from Crete aren’t as touchy as those guys from Lesbos…

  411. #413 Feynmaniac
    July 12, 2008

    I have to join the chorus and say Owlmirror’s comment # 262, or Wafergate, deserves a Molly, or at least a Tony or an Osacar or some sort of award that is also a first name. It captured the past few days, 5 threads and 3000+ comments beautifully.

  412. #414 Norman Doering
    July 12, 2008

    Boilermaker wrote:

    Care to have a discussion about this book:
    http://irrationalatheist.com/freedl.html

    Not really, and not here.
    But you can leave a comment here:
    http://normdoering.blogspot.com/2008/01/just-one-more-of-vox-days-lies-andor.html

  413. #415 John Morales
    July 12, 2008

    Boilermaker #406. If ya want TiA discussion, try here.

  414. #416 craig
    July 12, 2008

    jb,
    The position of the Catholic church is that the pope is infallible.

    The position of the Pope is that allegations of child rape must be kept secret, and that alleged child rapists must be protected from prosecution.

    Therefore if its the position of the Catholic church, and its God, that alleged child rapists must be protected from exposure and prosecution.

    You are an adherent the the Catholic faith, so you are an adherent to your God’s commandment that alleged child rapists must be protected.

    You’re a good Catholic, you’re doing that job well with your “we don’t fuck THAT many kids” apologetics.

  415. #417 Carlie
    July 12, 2008

    The worst part about it all, as voiced by Kelly Bell in the other thread: All of these people going crazy over a cracker? These people vote.

  416. #418 SC
    July 12, 2008

    jb,

    Your mom told me she wants you to stop praying with yourself and come upstairs for supper.

  417. #419 E.V.
    July 12, 2008

    It’s eerily quiet. I guess there are a bunch of Pharyngulites sitting in a bar in Atlanta having a beer or three.

  418. #420 Pertel
    July 12, 2008

    I just got an idea: what if someone where to get ordained online and bless a whole bunch of crackers. They could have a party or something where people could get together and desecrate their hearts out. Even better, PZ could get ordained and do it himself – or it could be a youtube meme..!

    I wonder what it takes to be able to bless a cracker the “right” way?

  419. #421 True Bob
    July 12, 2008

    So Dubi’s stats are bullshit. Got it. Thanks, Craig.

    jb, those aren’t dubi’s stats, those are YOUR stats. He went to your cite.

    Fail.

  420. #422 Dutch Hedrick
    July 12, 2008

    Way to judge an entire group of people and their beliefs based upon one idiot. How enlightened you are. Do you treat other groups this way, too? Do you always argue against those who have the weakest arguments and credibility while ignoring those who challenge you the most?

    Why not argue against the theological teachings of the Pope? And when I say that I do NOT mean take his writings out of context and misrepresent them. I have little faith that you will do this, however. It would be too much of a challenge and would do little to inflate your own ego. I would take a bit of intellectual honesty, wouldn’t it?

    May God have mercy on your soul. (And no, I do not say this to imply that I’m perfect. We are all in need of his mercy.)

  421. #423 truth machine
    July 12, 2008

    I wonder what it takes to be able to bless a cracker the “right” way?

    Papal bull.

  422. #424 TSC
    July 12, 2008

    I just bought some whole wheat flour. teh good for the soul.

  423. #425 Kel
    July 12, 2008

    That’s quite funny, it’s nice to see people who are claiming the moral high ground partaking in underhanded behaviour in order to show that they have the moral high ground. Now THAT is parable material, is it time for another human edit of the bible? ;)

  424. #426 jb
    July 12, 2008

    “”The position of the Catholic church is that the pope is infallible. The position of the Pope is that allegations of child rape must be kept secret, and that alleged child rapists must be protected from prosecution. Therefore if its the position of the Cathol…blahblahblahadnaseum.”

    Whoa. Hold on. Shit! OMG. You are so right and logical and blessed with amazing gifts of perception because everything you said is TRUE. Absolutely, unequivocally, TRUE. What have I been thinking!

    Except…wait. No…no…you aren’t right about any of it. Damn. (Sigh. I sooo wanted you to be right.) Your A+B=C scenario was going alright until… BAM! Turns out the Pope’s not infallible about anything except the dogma of the Faith. “Dogma” doesn’t cover discipline of clerics.

    Oh, well–try again. And thanks for playing.

  425. #427 True Bob
    July 12, 2008

    Way to judge an entire group of people and their beliefs based upon one idiot.

    Please. There have been scads of catlicking idiots blathering on this. Which of those many idiots do you mean?

    And BTW, does the Pope believe in transubstantiation? Great, you’re infallible leader is a deranged idiot.

    Thanks for playing, have a free cracker, and don’t let the screen door hit ya where the dog shoulda bit ya.

  426. #428 Richard Simons
    July 12, 2008

    I haven’t been reading here as closely as I should, but I’m hoping you hold a contest for the best and funniest ideas of what to do with the Holy Cracker.

    Send it as a reward to the nut who makes the craziest comment. Most other ideas I have heard would delight people one one wing of the argument, enrage people on the other wing and result in making many people in the middle decide that PZ is just an ignorant, insensitive jerk. In short, very little, if anything, positive would be achieved.

  427. #429 jb
    July 12, 2008

    TrueBob, what ‘cite’ was that? I didn’t list a ‘cite’, but the John Jay Report. Dubi[ous]‘ stats are his own, not in said Report. TrueBob fails.

  428. #430 Paul Burnett
    July 12, 2008

    “I wonder what it takes to be able to bless a cracker the “right” way?”

    Go to the Universal Life Church (http://www.themonastery.org ) website which “welcomes all who ask to become an Ordained Minister.”

  429. #431 truth machine
    July 12, 2008

    May God have mercy on your soul.

    You’re asking a non-existent entity not to be cruel to a non-existent entity, but you talk of “a bit of intellectual honesty”? That’s on top of all your intellectually dishonest strawmen.

  430. #432 Moses
    July 12, 2008

    “AP: Sexual Misconduct Plagues US Schools”

    “An Associated Press investigation found more than 2,500 cases over five years in which educators were punished for actions from bizarre to sadistic.

    “There are 3 million public school teachers nationwide, most devoted to their work. Yet the number of abusive educators — nearly three for every school day — speaks to a much larger problem in a system that is stacked against victims.

    “Most of the abuse never gets reported. Those cases reported often end with no action. Cases investigated sometimes can’t be proven, and many abusers have several victims.”

    http://www.newsvine.com/_news/2007/10/20/1037899-ap-sexual-misconduct-plagues-us-schools

    Posted by: jb | July 12, 2008 8:25 PM

    Yeah. Here’s the problem with that article. You don’t know what the term “sexual misconduct” means and are falsely conflating it with molestation.

    31% of all the “sexual misconduct” that article is referring to is either between adults (typically prostitution stings) with no children/students involved. Or it’s stupid stuff, like urinating in public when you’re drunk. Things that until idiots like voted in morons that made them “sex crimes” weren’t and shouldn’t be classfied that way today.

    The vast majority of the rest is inappropriate verbal conduct towards students. Making an off-color comment about a girls boobs or a guy’s package. Sometimes they’re inappropriate e-mails, etc. Sexually graphic jokes is another category.

    Some are actually LEGAL sexual relationships where both parties are over the age of consent. However, it is still considered “sexual misconduct” because of the teacher/student relationship (even though they’re, like I said, over the age of consent).

    When it comes to actual child-raping pedophilia, like your catholic priests, the number is much smaller than the general population. One, because the MEN ARE SCREENED and those with issue kept out. But, mostly because the majority of teachers are WOMEN and they rarely commit pedophilia.

    The reason I know this is because Catholic Church apologists have been quote mining that article since it came out. So I did a bit of research and discover YOU’RE QUOTE MINING ASSHOLES LYING TO PROTECT YOUR FUCKING CORRUPT CHURCH.

    Man, I wish we had a kill file for this board… Because JB is one of the worst quote mining, ignorant, pointless trolls I’ve run into during this entire tet-a-tet.

  431. #433 jb
    July 12, 2008

    “Man, I wish we had a kill file for this board…”

    Thanks, Moses, for showing how rational, coolheaded and non-violent you are when compared to the Big Bad Theists!

    “The reason I know this is because Catholic Church apologists have been quote mining that article since it came out.”

    Ummm….since it came out…*less than a year ago*? Those wascally Catholics have been hiding behind that single article for the last 8 or 9 months, even tho ‘the scandal’ broke, like, 8 YEARS ago? Riiiight, pal.

  432. #434 Dutch Hedrick
    July 12, 2008

    True Bob:

    Which of these idiots did I mean? How about the idiot Myers was talking about in his entry? I’m sorry I didn’t spell that out for you. I assumed that one with so great an intelligence as yours would be able to connect the logic, but I suppose I was wrong. I shall not over-estimate your intelligence again.

    And your theological argument is impeccable. Since when is being dismissive a valid tactic in debates? Oh — since the New-Atheists have assumed the helm of “Rationalism.”

    As I said earlier: You guys aren’t intellectually honest enough to have a true debate about theology. As Christopher Hedges said, you guys are theologically illiterate and proud of it, too. Therefore, there’s not much point in debating theology with you. You don’t even know enough about it to make it worth the time.

    Perhaps you will find the humility to crack open a book by St. Augustine some day. I hope so, but I doubt it.

  433. #435 truth machine, OM
    July 12, 2008

    @SC

    Your mom told me she wants you to stop praying with yourself and come upstairs for supper.

    You’re good. :-) That reminds me a of gimmick “cal larrye” I went on where all the L’s and R’s were switched. There was one question about “election signs” — Sam Yorty was running for mayor of L.A. (yeah, it was long ago) — which actually referred to a construction site.

  434. #436 truth machine, OM
    July 12, 2008

    As Christopher Hedges said, you guys are theologically illiterate and proud of it, too.

    Indeed, we lack what it takes to accurately determine the number of angels dancing on the head of a pin.

  435. #437 Dutch Hedrick
    July 12, 2008

    ‘You’re asking a non-existent entity not to be cruel to a non-existent entity, but you talk of “a bit of intellectual honesty”?’

    Is that a scientific conclusion? If so, I’d like to see your experimental research. Don’t hide these things from us, Mr. Truth Machine. The Truth must be told to all!

    Do probably don’t belief in the existence of music, either, since one cannot PROVE music exists. After all, sound waves are provable, but music is not.

    Therefore, music does not exist since you cannot prove it does. Makes “rational” sense to me.

  436. #438 truth machine, OM
    July 12, 2008

    “Man, I wish we had a kill file for this board…”

    Thanks, Moses, for showing how rational, coolheaded and non-violent you are when compared to the Big Bad Theists!

    jb has reached the heights of self parody.

  437. #439 True Bob
    July 12, 2008

    jb, again, I erred in connections. Big deal. I made a mistake. I trust you understand the difference between a mistake and a lie.

    Still, the “under 5%” you mention is consistent with the 1 in 25 I used, as provided by one of your brothers (as an example of how little child-rape was occurring).

    Three kinds of lies, remember? Lies, damned lies, and statistics.

    Out of curiosity, why do you put scare quotes around cite? I get the impression you do not understand the word or are confusing it with another word.

  438. #440 Maldoror
    July 12, 2008

    Come to Japan! We only have a few Christians here, and as a result, it’s a really peaceful country!

  439. #441 Dutch Hedrick
    July 12, 2008

    “Indeed, we lack what it takes to accurately determine the number of angels dancing on the head of a pin.”

    What arrogance it takes to reduce an entire disciple to one argument and judge it based upon that. But then again, that’s what you guys do best, isn’t it? That’s what Myers does in his original posting — judging all Catholics based upon one person.

    That would be like me dismissing mathematics and saying, “Yeah — I don’t need anything so idiotic which would concern itself over whether one plus one makes two.”

    You accused me of using “strawmen” arguments, although didn’t demonstrate how. I accuse you of using reductionist tactics and have given two examples — yours and Myers — to prove my point.

    Who’s being more rationalistic then?

  440. #442 True Bob
    July 12, 2008

    Dutch, if you want an intellectual convo, let’s go.

    Please explain what a ‘god’ is? I want to be sure we have the same understanding.

  441. #443 True Bob
    July 12, 2008

    Dutch, I am still left with at least three idiots to choose from: Cook, the idiot catholic who didn’t follow the dictates of the ritual, Donoghue, idiot extroardinaire and professional WATB, or the multi-sock puppet idiot mentioned in this post?

  442. #444 truth machine, OM
    July 12, 2008

    Is that a scientific conclusion?

    It’s an empirical conclusion.

    If so, I’d like to see your experimental research.

    The entire body of empirical evidence is available to you.

    Do probably don’t belief in the existence of music

    See, here you make yourself out to be a completely dishonest idiot, since of course you believe that I do have that belief.

    either, since one cannot PROVE music exists. After all, sound waves are provable, but music is not.

    You have no idea what you’re talking about. Both sound waves and music can be defined in terms that make them objectively observable.

    Therefore, music does not exist since you cannot prove it does.

    You and I and everyone else agrees that music exists, moron, so your analogy is immediately dishonest. And I didn’t claim that God doesn’t exist merely because you cannot prove it does, that’s your idiotic strawman.

  443. #445 Dutch Hedrick
    July 12, 2008

    God is too complex to describe in a single comment. The best I can do is say that God is Perfect Reason and Perfect Love. I can, however, point you to the Catechism for answers to your questions. It would do a better job that I could:

    http://www.vatican.va/archive/catechism/p1s1c1.htm

  444. #446 Demonic Gophers
    July 12, 2008

    “[You] probably don’t belief in the existence of music, either, since one cannot PROVE music exists.”

    Music is a construct defined by the listener and society. After agreeing upon a description of what it means for something to be music, we can indeed prove that music exists.

    Unless, of course, we are using a non-standard description, and it does NOT exist, or is completely undetectable.

  445. #447 craig
    July 12, 2008

    “God is too complex to describe in a single comment. The best I can do is say that God is Perfect Reason and Perfect Love.”

    What about ponies? There have got to be ponies!!!

  446. #448 Dutch Hedrick
    July 12, 2008

    True Bob:

    I was referring to the sock-puppet idiot Myers mentioned in this post. I know of no other “idiots” Myers mentioned. I agree with Myers when he says that if the Truth is on one’s side, there’s no need to hide behind under-handed tactics.

    That’s why I agree with the Sock-Puppet being an idiot. I take exception, however, to Myers coming to the logical leap into concluding that this is an indication that all Catholics are idiots and Catholicism itself is idiotic.

    This, I believe, is intellectually dishonest. I cannot see it as anything but. Myers has set high standards which he himself has not met. I’m just holding him accountable to them.

  447. #449 wistah
    July 12, 2008

    You keep on keepin’ on, P-Zed. As a godless liberal liberal arts high school teacher, I can tell you that we need people with your irreverence, your intelligence, and your courage to keep the sheeple on edge. We’ll never make any progress otherwise.

  448. #450 E.V.
    July 12, 2008

    Dutch:
    “Who’s being more rationalistic then?”
    1.The word is RATIONAL, no ISTIC.
    2.Your music analogy is pathetically laughable.
    Understand there there is a properly vague line in determining music versus noise. Yet we can identify music through melody, harmony counterpoint, etc.
    If you’re trying to convince anyone that you are an authority on philosophy, physics, art or even religion, you’ve failed.

  449. #451 truth machine, OM
    July 12, 2008

    What arrogance it takes to reduce an entire disciple to one argument and judge it based upon that.

    That’s not what I did, moron. What I did was admit that we lack what it takes to provide that answer — the sort of answer that can be achieved from the study of theology. We also lack what it takes to answer esoteric questions about the finer details of astrology. But that’s not a lack of any significance.

    The best I can do is say that God is Perfect Reason and Perfect Love.

    I believe that meaningless drivel really is the best you can do, which is a sorry effort indeed.

  450. #452 True Bob
    July 12, 2008

    Dutch, your brief description tells me that “god” is thought and emotion. Not yet a physical entity in my understanding.

    I have my own copy of the catechism, but I will not read the entire thing, I thought you wanted to discuss. Now I’m left with a very specific discussion with the Vatican, not with you.

    Here’s something simpler:

    Why do you think a god* was necessary to create the universe?

    I do not, because all our observations (not me personally, of course) indicate no need for outside intervention. Every point at which the god argument is used, as Dawkins wrote, merely pushes the problem back a notch. If god was always there, why can’t the universe always have been there? If a god was needed because the universe is so complicated, what created this complicated** god that created the universe?

    *Whatever that is.
    *Perhaps an order of magnitude more complicated than the universe.

  451. #453 jb
    July 12, 2008

    “Still, the “under 5%” you mention is consistent with the 1 in 25 I used, as provided by one of your brothers (as an example of how little child-rape was occurring).”

    Not so–just take the stats with a pinch of salt, and keep them in context. Nonetheless, are you really interested in discussing this? Are you interested in what studies of ‘the scandal’ seem to suggest, like the fact that the majority of the cases involved ephebophilia (or the attraction of an adult to a post-pubescent minor) and not genuine pedophilia? After all, 78.2% of the cases involved victims between 11-17–those on the threshold of puberty or well after it.

    BTW–Are *you* trolling, TrueBob? You answered the post for “craig” as tho it were yours…

  452. #454 Dutch Hedrick
    July 12, 2008

    “And I didn’t claim that God doesn’t exist merely because you cannot prove it does, that’s your idiotic strawman.”

    Sorry — I was getting you confused with “Truth Machine.”

  453. #455 E.V.
    July 12, 2008

    “I take exception, however, to Myers coming to the logical leap into concluding that this is an indication that all Catholics are idiots and Catholicism itself is idiotic.”

    Did you even bother to read the original cracker thread? You’ve jumped in with both feet in your mouth. READ THE FUCKING THREAD that started 3000 comments ago. Then assess PZ’s motives. It’s all spelled out in black and white.

  454. #456 truth machine, OM
    July 12, 2008

    I take exception, however, to Myers coming to the logical leap into concluding that this is an indication that all Catholics are idiots and Catholicism itself is idiotic.

    He took no such leap, you lying moron. He wrote “it makes your side, in this case the fundamentalist Catholics, look like a troop of posturing frauds” — and indeed the behavior of the sockpuppet creates that appearance. As for Catholicism itself being idiotic, there are plenty of other reasons for that conclusion, which have been discussed at length here.

  455. #457 speedwell
    July 12, 2008

    Dutch… Hey, Dutch… Right up near the top of the page, there’s a link to a CURRENT article dealing with the scientific study of music. As a classical music major, I think it’s the best such article to come along in 30 years. Check it out:

    http://www.seedmagazine.com/news/2008/07/the_shape_of_music.php?utm_source=SB-bottom&utm_medium=linklist&utm_content=magazine&utm_campaign=internal%2Blinkshare

    In other words, way to shoot yourself in the foot with an ignorant analogy.

  456. #458 craig
    July 12, 2008

    “like the fact that the majority of the cases involved ephebophilia (or the attraction of an adult to a post-pubescent minor) and not genuine pedophilia?”

    Well gosh, that’s like hardly even bad, then. The people they molest are mostly TEENS!
    And the numbers of reported cases after the entire mechanism of the Church suppresses as many reports as it can according to official Pope policy, is hardly even more than normal people!

    And besides, those kids WANTED it, looking so… so virginal and everything.

  457. #459 truth machine, OM
    July 12, 2008

    “And I didn’t claim that God doesn’t exist merely because you cannot prove it does, that’s your idiotic strawman.”

    Sorry — I was getting you confused with “Truth Machine.”

    You’re confused, period. And a liar.

  458. #460 Feynmaniac
    July 12, 2008

    Dutch Hedrick whined #436,
    As Christopher Hedges said, you guys are theologically illiterate and proud of it, too. Therefore, there’s not much point in debating theology with you. You don’t even know enough about it to make it worth the time.

    Please refer to The Courtier Reply . We don’t need to know a thing about the royal fashion to tell you that the Emperor is naked.

  459. #461 True Bob
    July 12, 2008

    No trolling for me, thank you. I think you actually mean dubiq…, who spoke up in my defense. As I said, I made an error. But I post here semi-regularly, and no, I do not sock-puppet. I think one alias is enough.

    I personally am not big on the entire scandal thing. The qualifiers you are now tossing out sound much like the ones that reduce the % of educators in the same category. I am more concerned about the cover up and cash payoff aspects of it, in avoidance of actual criminal prosecutions. I would hope you would want these kinds of allegations pursued criminally, and appropriate justice meted out for those convicted, just like I would.

  460. #462 Dutch Hedrick
    July 12, 2008

    “If god was always there, why can’t the universe always have been there? If a god was needed because the universe is so complicated, what created this complicated** god that created the universe?”

    Because God is the Creator and the Universe is the creation. Included in the Universe is Time, which is also a creation. Nothing created God because God is the uncreated Light.

    This is also something St. Augustine discusses quite thoroughly.

  461. #463 John Morales
    July 12, 2008

    Nice. Go, Dutch!

    I’ve got the pomposity meter calibrated, and the irony meter offline. Logic modules are offline, too (they don’t handle continual resetting well) – but the Truth Machine is online elsewhere, so no problem there.

  462. #464 craig
    July 12, 2008

    Incidentally, the only name I EVER post under on this blog is Craig. My given name.

  463. #465 brokenSoldier, OM
    July 12, 2008

    We’re pretty firmly in the territory of the tangential, the ridiculous, and the quibble (where not swallowing is theft) already, and have been for thousands of posts.

    Posted by: truth machine, OM | July 12, 2008 8:36 PM

    I took a break from the screen for a while and read over the whole thing again after, and I see I was being a bit of a dick over a simple misunderstanding. I got all worked up over a different commenter, and I let it bleed over, so my apologies for that, MB.

    And TM, my street’s not quite one-way, though I do have to say that it can get congested at points. But thanks for the slap – it was quite needed.

  464. #466 Neil Schipper
    July 12, 2008

    Truth Machine, on the atheism-communism relationship, said (#386)

    And Vikings were air breathers.

    Multiple category errors there. Atheism and communism are related by their connection with human beliefs about people and the good life. Viking-ness is a condition one is born into, and breathing air is a biological necessity.

    See the dishonesty employed by the compulsion to pretend a complex question is trivial.

  465. #467 OctoberMermaid
    July 12, 2008

    “Because God is the Creator and the Universe is the creation. Included in the Universe is Time, which is also a creation. Nothing created God because God is the uncreated Light.”

    So basically God is like the ultimate, like, wow. Like God can touch everything except himself because he’s everywhere but nothing, like wow. He’s just like, the “is” of the world. Because you know, “is” is like a word, man. But GOD… God “is.” Right? Did I just blow your mind, bro? It’s awesome not having to, like, explain things or need evidence. Look at how cool my hands look when I wave them back and forth really fast. Woooooow.

  466. #468 Dutch Hedrick
    July 12, 2008

    Truth Machine:

    A liar, eh? How can you tell? You have special knowledge of what goes on in my heart? Is this another “empirical conclusion”? How does an “empirical conclusion” differ from a scientific conclusion? Does science not use empirical data to come to its conclusions?

    In short: You’re just guessing. And that’s what you presume to call “science.”

  467. #469 Demonic Gophers
    July 12, 2008

    “[...] That’s why I agree with the Sock-Puppet being an idiot. I take exception, however, to Myers coming to the logical leap into concluding that this is an indication that all Catholics are idiots and Catholicism itself is idiotic.”

    As well you might, if he had done so, which he didn’t. He said that this individual makes his side (not ALL Catholics) look bad. He did not say that it meant, or indicated, that everyone on that side is an idiot.

  468. #470 craig
    July 12, 2008

    Awesome, OctoberMermaid, you’re blowing my mind… but don’t bogart that joint. :)

  469. #471 truth machine, OM
    July 12, 2008

    True Bob: “Please explain what a ‘god’ is?”

    Dutch Hedrick: “God is too complex to describe in a single comment. The best I can do is say that God is Perfect Reason and Perfect Love.”

    Conclusion: Dutch Hedrick is too stupid to understand True Bob’s question.

  470. #472 Adrienne
    July 12, 2008

    Because God is the Creator and the Universe is the creation. Included in the Universe is Time, which is also a creation. Nothing created God because God is the uncreated Light.

    Your “argument”, or maybe St. Augustine’s, seems to boil down to this: The universe had to have been created because it was.

    So you are stating categorically that 1) The universe was created, 2) The universe had to have been created, 3) Time had to have been created and 4) God is uncreated without providing a shred of proof or even logical reasoning to back up your assertions.

    Nice try. Next?

  471. #473 spurge
    July 12, 2008

    Is there any part of theology that does not assume it’s conclusion?

  472. #474 True Bob
    July 12, 2008

    Dutch, “St” Augustine has missed out on a lot of technology, hasn’t he? Died in the 5th century? I don’t believe he’s a very good source.

    Your words mean nothing. Saying something is so doesn’t make it so. I think you are actually going backwards.

    Let’s get even more basic:
    What makes you think the universe needed creating?

  473. #475 craig
    July 12, 2008

    Adrienne, seems to me its even simpler than that.

    Their entire argument for their religion seems to boil down to “because I said so.”

  474. #476 truth machine, OM
    July 12, 2008

    In short: You’re just guessing. And that’s what you presume to call “science.”

    It’s called inference, you ignorant cretin.

  475. #477 Damian
    July 12, 2008

    Dutch Hedrick said:

    “Because God is the Creator and the Universe is the creation. Included in the Universe is Time, which is also a creation. Nothing created God because God is the uncreated Light.”

    And why should anyone accept that assertion based on no evidence?

  476. #478 Adrienne
    July 12, 2008

    Neil Schipper @466 wrote:

    Atheism and communism are related by their connection with human beliefs about people and the good life.

    Incorrect. Atheism says nothing either about people or what constitutes “the good life”. Atheism is merely disbelief in god(s); it is either 1) a lack of belief in god(s) or 2) A belief that god(s) do not exist.

    Communism may include atheism as part of its overall philosophy, but it is quite possible to be an atheist without being a Communist or believing in Communist utopias or the like. Ayn Rand is a prime example of an atheist whose beliefs in what constituted “happiness” and “the good life” were diametrically opposed to what Communism envisions.

  477. #479 OctoberMermaid
    July 12, 2008

    Dude, you guys are just scoffers and mockers. And it’s REALLY starting to harsh my mellow. I’m talking hardcore.

    You just don’t believe because you haven’t felt the truth. You gotta, like, open your heart and your mind and your lungs. You gotta see the things I seen and smell the things I smelled and inhale the things I inhaled. I mean, I know it to be true, like right in my heart area, bro. That counts for, like everything. Why would you heart lie to you, man? Benjamin Franlkin even said that a body divided can’t stand because it doesn’t have legs and he was a Christian, dog. I’m just saying.

  478. #480 Dutch Hedrick
    July 12, 2008

    OctoberMermaid:

    You guys are the ones who are making evidence your criteria for belief. Yet you can’t even provide the evidence for your own beliefs. You have faith that there is no God. I have faith that there is. It’s a simple as that.

    It’s a strawman to say that I’m insisting upon evidence for existence of abstract concepts. I’m not, but you guys are. So I’m just holding you to your own standards.

  479. #481 E.V.
    July 12, 2008

    Oh what a comforting notion that philosophical thought, not to mention science, have not progressed since St. Augustine…
    Catch up, Dutch. You’re living in the wrong century.

  480. #482 truth machine, OM
    July 12, 2008

    Multiple category errors there. Atheism and communism are related by their connection with human beliefs about people and the good life. Viking-ness is a condition one is born into, and breathing air is a biological necessity.

    a) you have no idea what the phrase “category error” means. b) Your “argument” here is an idiotic non sequitur to my point about logical relationships between sets.

  481. #483 dkew
    July 12, 2008

    The trolls persist, with or without the sock puppets: sectarian idiocy from jb and that aforementioned meaningless drivel from DH, as well as his illiterate reading of PZ’s words.

  482. #484 spurge
    July 12, 2008

    So Dutch.

    What is your proof Thor does not exist?

  483. #485 Caveat
    July 12, 2008

    Sock puppetry, eh? That’s hurtin’. One would almost think he was a member of the imaginary “pit bull lobby”, desperate times calling for desperate measures and all that.

    Betcha five bux he isn’t even an RC, which I suspected from the beginning.

    Polly want a cracker?

  484. #486 Feynmaniac
    July 12, 2008

    Dutch Hedrick #437,
    ‘You’re asking a non-existent entity not to be cruel to a non-existent entity, but you talk of “a bit of intellectual honesty”?’

    Is that a scientific conclusion? If so, I’d like to see your experimental research. Don’t hide these things from us, Mr. Truth Machine. The Truth must be told to all!

    I’m sorry but the burden of proof is on you. You are arguing that God and souls exists which means you need provide the evidence, not TM.

  485. #487 Adrienne
    July 12, 2008

    Dutch Hedrick @480 wrote:

    Yet you can’t even provide the evidence for your own beliefs. You have faith that there is no God. I have faith that there is. It’s a simple as that.

    And speaking of strawmen….

    OK, Dutch, I don’t believe in God, gods, or the supernatural. I do not say that God does not or cannot exist, only that I do not think there is a good reason to believe in God or the supernatural.

    See, I don’t need to provide evidence for this belief, because it’s not a positive claim. It’s merely the absence of belief. You, on the other hand, who claims there is a God, are the one with the burden of proving that. Good luck.

  486. #488 truth machine, OM
    July 12, 2008

    You guys are the ones who are making evidence your criteria for belief.

    Yes.

    Yet you can’t even provide the evidence for your own beliefs.

    You’re an idiot and a liar. Not sticking the entirety of scientific discovery into one blog comment is not the same as not being able to provide evidence.

  487. #489 Dutch Hedrick
    July 12, 2008

    E.V.:

    If God is unchanging — as we believe — then it is absurd to say that “philosophical thought” has not progressed since St. Augustine. That would be like saying that math has not progressed since Aristotle.

    Truth is eternal. There’s no need to “catch-up” with something that never changes.

  488. #490 jb
    July 12, 2008

    Call it what you will, Craig, you just can’t call it ‘pedophilia’. Disgusting tho it might be, an adult having sex with a 15 year-old is a compleeetely different thing than an adult abusing a toddler. (I mean, I am *supposing* we agree on that–it isn’t toooo hard to grasp, is it?)

    “I am more concerned about the cover up and cash payoff aspects of it, in avoidance of actual criminal prosecutions. I would hope you would want these kinds of allegations pursued criminally, and appropriate justice meted out for those convicted, just like I would.”

    If that is all you want, we’re on the same page. Personally, I wanted every priest guilty of abuse/sex with minor defrocked and thrown out, and their crony bishop-superiors laicized. I don’t know a Catholic who wouldn’t.

    However, it just don’t work that way. For reasons too long-winded to go into, the Church isn’t a corporation, and the pope ain’t a CEO. Different rules apply: Like the laws of charity and forgiveness [and yes, I am knowingly opening this post up to your guffaws on this, but t'is true]: charity even towards the priest-abuser, even tho the Church knows what that looks like, and that it’ll cost tons of money.

  489. #491 True Bob
    July 12, 2008

    Viking-ness is a condition one is born into…

    Not necessarily so. The word refers to coming from fjords, but by common usage, vikings were the Norse who went exploring, mostly pirating and pillaging.

    So you could become a viking though not from the fjords, or you could be from the fjords and not be a viking. Obviously, you are belaboring the point, as I am. I think the analogy is apt, in that there is no compulsory connection between communism, an ideology, and atheism, the lack of a certain ideology set.

    As I said before, my government is atheist, our libraries, fire departments, police forces, postal service, etc., are all atheist. Do they do good things because they are atheist? No. It only means they are not religious entities, and have no opinion on theology.

  490. #492 Damian
    July 12, 2008

    Victor Stenger said at the future of naturalism conference that he wishes that Carl Sagan had never said that an absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, because, actually it is pretty good evidence of absence.

    There is no reason for us to believe that there is a God, up to and including the point where evidence is discovered.

  491. #493 Adrienne
    July 12, 2008

    Dutch Hedrick wrote

    That would be like saying that math has not progressed since Aristotle.

    Umm, but math *has* progressed since Aristotle, dude. A lot, in fact. Just saying this makes you look even more ignorant than you were before, which I would have not thought possible.

  492. #494 Dutch Hedrick
    July 12, 2008

    Adrienne:

    Nice double-speak. Saying your “absence of belief” is not a belief is simply absurd. Belief does not have to be positive to be belief. Either you belief or you don’t or you’re not sure.

    If you don’t believe something, however, then you are asserting a belief that is negative. Nevertheless, it is still a belief.

  493. #495 E.V.
    July 12, 2008

    The burden of proof is on you to prove your god exists, just as the burden of proof would be on me if I claimed the world rode on the back of a turtle. By your standards anyone can make any outrageous claim without any empirical evidence to back up their claim besides a compilation of Iron Age texts and a few devoted followers who wrote opinions about it.
    Anyone up for Hinduism? Zorastrianism?

  494. #496 Adrienne
    July 12, 2008

    jb @490 wrote:

    Call it what you will, Craig, you just can’t call it ‘pedophilia’. Disgusting tho it might be, an adult having sex with a 15 year-old is a compleeetely different thing than an adult abusing a toddler.

    You are correct, it is called ephebophilia. See this URL: http://www.childmolestationprevention.org/pages/diffephebophile.html

    But it is not the same thing as homosexuality, if that’s what you’re trying to imply.

  495. #497 truth machine, OM
    July 12, 2008

    If God is unchanging — as we believe — then it is absurd to say that “philosophical thought” has not progressed since St. Augustine.

    You’re talking complete rubbish. “philosophical thought” refers to the thoughts of human beings, which have progressed since St. Augustine, whether you are familiar with this progression or not.

    That would be like saying that math has not progressed since Aristotle.

    Math is a human enterprise, you blithering idiot, and it has progressed a great deal since Aristotle. And if you’re trying to refer to math as some sort of Platonic ideal — which displays ignorance about the nature of axiomatic systems — it is transparently dishonest to conflate that with the human enterprise, which includes discovering inferences within such systems, a process that continues over time and yields fresh insights.

  496. #498 Dutch Hedrick
    July 12, 2008

    Adrienne:

    Math has progressed? Really! So — you mean that possibly one plus one was three until presto! it became two? Because that’s what I was talking about.

    There are mathematical laws which always remain unchanged. The laws are there for us to discover. We just need to discover them. The laws themselves, however, do not change.

  497. #499 Neil Schipper
    July 12, 2008

    Adrienne @ 478:

    Atheism says nothing either about people or what constitutes “the good life”.

    It’s a counterclaim to claims about explanations for the existence of the world, people and what people are supposed to do. Your definition is true, but in an uninteresting way, as in, “my coffee cup is atheist.” With your definition, it simply wouldn’t be a topic of discussion.

  498. #500 E.V.
    July 12, 2008

    Hey everybody, Dutch believes not believing in leprechauns is a belief. I guess you have a belief in no belief in Flying Purple People Eaters? Wow, what a powerful mind you have.

  499. #501 jb
    July 12, 2008

    “But it is not the same thing as homosexuality, if that’s what you’re trying to imply.”

    Interesting that you leaped to that conclusion on your own; I never mentioned it. Now that you have, tho, lemme ask you this: Why were 81% of the victims male, when bona fide pedophiles are indifferent as to the sex of their victims?

  500. #502 Adrienne
    July 12, 2008

    Dutch Hedrick digs the hole deeper @494:

    Saying your “absence of belief” is not a belief is simply absurd.

    Again, you state something categorically without backing it up. In fact, your statement merely shows the fact that you don’t understand the distinction between lack of belief in something and positively claiming that something doesn’t exist.

    Belief does not have to be positive to be belief. Either you belief[sic] or you don’t or you’re not sure.

    That’s the absurdity here, and it’s all yours. My disbelief in the supernatural is not a positive belief, just as bald is not an actual hair color. Get it now?

  501. #503 Dutch Hedrick
    July 12, 2008

    E.V.:

    “Hey everybody, Dutch believes not believing in leprechauns is a belief. I guess you have a belief in no belief in Flying Purple People Eaters? Wow, what a powerful mind you have.”

    I did not say that. You did.

  502. #504 True Bob
    July 12, 2008

    Dutch, a major difference is that, if presented with evidence, I, and many other atheists, would change our opinion. Unfortunately for your world view, the more we humans investigate, the more it is revealed that there is no need for any creator. It’s true that I cannot know everything, but I see less complicated answers than goddidit, so I believe there is/are no god/s.

    For believers, the response to evidence of natural processes is things like “God is unknowable” (which is true, but it deflates all religious authority) or “God is mysterious” or “God is the light” or “Open your heart to cheeses”. These phrases mean nothing in terms of evidence. If there’s no evidence, and it’s all based on faith, it’s all a guess. The more that humanity learns, the less guessing needs to be relied upon.

  503. #505 truth machine, OM
    July 12, 2008

    Victor Stenger said at the future of naturalism conference that he wishes that Carl Sagan had never said that an absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, because, actually it is pretty good evidence of absence.

    Indeed, as I have pointed out on this blog more than once, Sagan was wrong. Absence of evidence is not proof of absence, but it is evidence of it, and the greater the effort to find such evidence, the more its absence serves as evidence, i.e., “grounds for belief” in the negative proposition.

  504. #506 Adrienne
    July 12, 2008

    jb @501:

    Interesting that you leaped to that conclusion on your own; I never mentioned it.

    I’ve had enough dealings with your coreligionists to know that this is usually the direction that argument takes.

    Now that you have, tho, lemme ask you this: Why were 81% of the victims male, when bona fide pedophiles are indifferent as to the sex of their victims?

    Maybe because the Vatican has always allowed altar boys but altar *girls* weren’t common until the 1990s or so (and not in all parishes)? Boys were simply more available to the molesting priests than girls were.

  505. #507 John Morales
    July 12, 2008

    Adrienne, Dutch is right.

    See, beliefs are just like clothing :)

  506. #508 Damian
    July 12, 2008

    Yet you can’t even provide the evidence for your own beliefs. You have faith that there is no God. I have faith that there is. It’s a simple as that.

    So you believe in everything until it’s been shown that it doesn’t exist? That’s some crazy logic.

    What you’re really saying is that it’s justifiable to believe in God because it hasn’t been shown not to exist, and you’ve got that exactly the wrong way round. Just think about what that would mean if it were true.

    We are justified in not believing, just as both you and I are justified in not believing in any of the other God’s because there isn’t a single scrap of evidence for them.

  507. #509 Dutch Hedrick
    July 12, 2008

    Adrienne:

    “That’s the absurdity here, and it’s all yours. My disbelief in the supernatural is not a positive belief…”

    It’s not a positive belief — but it IS a belief. Get it now?

  508. #510 Adrienne
    July 12, 2008

    Neil Schipper @499:

    It’s a counterclaim to claims about explanations for the existence of the world, people and what people are supposed to do.

    Explanations about or at least assumptions about the origin of the world, universe, etc., I can agree to. But honestly, atheists really do differ quite a bit regarding their thoughts pertaining to 1) people, 2) the meaning of life, 3) what people are supposed to do with their lives, etc. Some are humanists, some are Communists, some are Objectivists, and so on.

    But your original attempt at conflating Communism (a subset) with all of those are atheist (the whole set) is faulty.

  509. #511 Dutch Hedrick
    July 12, 2008

    True Bob:

    I have to be going soon, but I just wanted to say that even though I don’t agree with your conclusions, I give you credit with being the most rational of those I’ve debated tonight.

    As far as I can tell, you did not resort to name calling. That is the sort of debate that I would expect from anyone claiming to be champions of reason.

    Have a good night, sir.

  510. #512 True Bob
    July 12, 2008

    jb,

    I think abuse of power was a major factor in the ephebophilia aspects. Powerful authority figure, performs magic rituals all the time, controls their church life and church future…

    Also, consensual is not the same as legal. Ask Roman Polanski* about that.

    *How’s that for a long lost reference?

  511. #513 E.V.
    July 12, 2008

    In your world, Dutch, the universe still revolves around the Earth. It’s called pre-Copernican thought. Galileo? Ever heard of him? I won’t bother with philosophers such as Descarte, Locke, Spinoza, Nietzsche – You would love Heidegger and despise Foucault.
    It is YOU(not the abstraction of the catholic church) who needs to catch up. What you don’t know is stunning.

  512. #514 truth machine, OM
    July 12, 2008

    There are mathematical laws which always remain unchanged. The laws are there for us to discover. We just need to discover them. The laws themselves, however, do not change.

    And there have been “discoveries” in philosophy since St. Augustine. But your understanding of both mathematics and philosophy is very poor. There’s a reason that we refer to physical laws but not mathematical laws or philosophical laws.

  513. #515 Adrienne
    July 12, 2008

    Dutch, you really ought to give up once you’ve started to blather thusly:

    Math has progressed? Really! So — you mean that possibly one plus one was three until presto! it became two? Because that’s what I was talking about.

    Let me guess, you’ve never taken a math class beyond high school, have you? Are you in high school now, by chance?

    It’s not a positive belief — but it IS a belief. Get it now?

    Right, just like there are all those bottles for “bald” color with the other hair dyes at my local drug store.

    At any rate, you are still dodging the question that has been repeatedly put to you: what is your evidence or proof for the existence of your deity?

  514. #516 Kate
    July 12, 2008

    Dutch, I don’t think the words you’re using mean what you think they mean.

    My position is that God does not exist. One can not prove something is non existent. The onus is on the person making the positive claim to provide evidence to back up his claim.

    This is how reality works. It is an unavoidable consequence of making a positive claim should you wish to prove your claim is true.

    So… Let’s see some evidence.

  515. #517 Feynmaniac
    July 12, 2008

    Dutch you stated in #494,
    If you don’t believe something, however, then you are asserting a belief that is negative. Nevertheless, it is still a belief

    Then in #503,
    E.V.:

    “Hey everybody, Dutch believes not believing in leprechauns is a belief. I guess you have a belief in no belief in Flying Purple People Eaters? Wow, what a powerful mind you have.”

    I did not say that. You did.

    You never said it but it logically follows from your earlier statement.

  516. #518 Ames
    July 12, 2008

    If anyone cares about the Lenski affair anymore, Schlafly’s back.

  517. #519 jb
    July 12, 2008

    “Boys were simply more available to the molesting priests than girls were.”

    *buzzer*. Wrong. You obviously have never worked in close contact with a priest, Adrienne. Priests have more access to boys in places like the sacristy, where yes, boys outnumber girls, but have *greater* access to girls in places like the confessional, which more girls frequent than boys. In the end, it wasn’t merely *access* to one sex over another, but a *marked preference* for one over the other.

  518. #520 truth machine, OM
    July 12, 2008

    As far as I can tell, you did not resort to name calling.

    What is with these cretins who equate insults with irrationality?

  519. #521 John Morales
    July 12, 2008

    Well, I think Dutch really has a point.

    Saying your “absence of belief” is not a belief is simply absurd.
    Saying your “absence of clothing” is not a garment is simply absurd.
    Saying your “absence of cancer” is not a disease is simply absurd.

    What’s to beef about? Sheesh.

    I support Dutch every bit as much as he values reason.

    Don’t go away, Dutch. Your clarity and cogency will enlighten the Pharynguloids.

  520. #522 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 12, 2008

    It’s not a positive belief — but it IS a belief. Get it now?

    Not believing in something is a belief?

    So my baldness is a hair color?

    My not collecting stamps is a hobby?

  521. #523 shiftysquid
    July 12, 2008

    Dutch wrote: It’s not a positive belief — but it IS a belief.

    No, it isn’t.

    Personally, I don’t believe there is no God. I assert the evidence does not support God’s existence. There is a difference, Dutch. If you had to prove anything didn’t exist in order to conclude that it didn’t, we would have to effectively believe in any crazy thing anyone ever dreamed up. You cannot prove a negative.

    Do you believe in unicorns? Why not? Can you prove they don’t exist?

  522. #524 Craig Holman
    July 12, 2008

    Dutch keeps harping on Augustine. I don’t think that anyone who does not specialize in the history of unworthy ideas needs to spend a moment of their lives reading or thinking about Augustine. He wrote a lot of drivel that ignorant apologists proclaim to be brilliant and inspired. They are wrong. Augustine is, at best, a footnote in the history of attempts to rationalize delusion.

    Theology, in general, is an utter waste of human time and energy. It consists of intricate webs of words that are about nothing – nothing real, nothing important, nothing worth reading, nothing worth thinking about.

    There are things worth reading, studying, and thinking deeply about. They are not to be found in religion.

    It is time for people to grow up and shed their childish superstitions.

    Religious people have a great deal to answer for. Whatever their intentions, they all perpetuate a dark pattern of willful ignorance and superstition that seeks to destroy curiosity, freedom, the search for truth, independence, and human dignity.

  523. #525 True Bob
    July 12, 2008

    Dutch,
    Thanks you for your kind words. I am uncharacteristically engaging today.

    Really there are folks here much more informed on all these topics than I am, and more eloquent, and at least as rational in debate.

    As you might guess, there’s a lot of annoyance here, and when arguments start becoming more and more repetitive, most of us, myself included, get rather annoyed. I think the last few days have been pretty intense. Come back another time and you’ll see another face to the community here, but still little tolerance for trolling and willful ignorance. The last part is sort of a warning to come prepared and flexible enough to bring or devise new arguments.

  524. #526 E.V.
    July 12, 2008

    Dutch:
    you said:If you don’t believe something, however, then you are asserting a belief that is negative. Nevertheless, it is still a belief.”

    I said: Dutch believes not believing in leprechauns is a belief. I guess you(Dutch) have a belief in no belief in Flying Purple People Eaters.

    Show me the flaws in my argument from your statement above.

  525. #527 Dutch Hedrick
    July 12, 2008

    E.V.:

    “In your world, Dutch, the universe still revolves around the Earth. It’s called pre-Copernican thought. Galileo?”

    Once again, it is not I who said this, it is you. You seem to like putting words into my mouth.

    On the subject of science and religion, St. Augustine always maintained that the Bible is not a source of scientific knowledge and shouldn’t be treated as such. He also warned that we should not hold on to scientific beliefs too firmly lest we grow to hate truth because of our love of error.

    In fact, the reason I know that quote is because Galileo used it. Galileo was not only arguing against the Church, but of the established scientific community of the time.

    As far as Descarte goes: He argued that everything — even animals — were merely complicated machines; and that when someone hurts a pig and it squeals, it’s nothing more than what happens when a wheel squeaks and is in need of oil! Is this philosophical progress?

    From Descarte on, it’s all downhill from there. Philosophical regression is more like it.

  526. #528 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 12, 2008

    You cannot prove a negative

    Technically not 100% correct but it doesn’t change the point you are making.

    I can prove that the shirt I am wearing is not red, because it in fact is blue.

  527. #529 Adrienne
    July 12, 2008

    jb@519 wrote:

    *buzzer*. Wrong. You obviously have never worked in close contact with a priest, Adrienne.

    And thank the FSM for that, too!

    Seriously, though, what opportunity would I have had, as a girl, to “work in close contact with a priest”???

    Priests have more access to boys in places like the sacristy, where yes, boys outnumber girls, but have *greater* access to girls in places like the confessional, which more girls frequent than boys.

    OK, jb, how many of these molestations took place in confessionals? Because honestly, having gone to confession many times over the years, I wouldn’t call it a very private situation. Whenever I went to confession, it was always with another group of children or later, teenagers. With people waiting in line outside, I might add. Not to mention, there is the divider/kneeler there (at least in my churches there were). So it would be quite tricky for a priest to molest a girl in that situation, both in terms of how easily it would have been to get caught, and in the physical obstacles said priests might have had to overcome.

    But you know, the altar boys hung out in the sacristy and went in the private rooms to get the vestments, etc. A would-be molesting Father would have plenty more “private” time with an altar boy than a confessing girl.

    In the end, it wasn’t merely *access* to one sex over another, but a *marked preference* for one over the other.

    Really? So where and what is your evidence that access to and availability of private time with boys had no effect on the outcomes of those whom the priests molested?

  528. #530 amphiox
    July 12, 2008

    Dutch Hedrick: The negative claim does not require evidence. It is the valid default position in the absence of evidence. Only positive claims require evidence.

    jb: Very well then, the Church has different rules. These rules are odious and unjust, and the organization that applies and maintains them exposes itself as a force for evil in the world in doing so.

    Forgiveness and charity are fine ethical standards, and I credit early Christianity for increasing their prominence in western society (but not for their invention).

    But modern expressions of this religion are another thing entirely. Charity, you say? What about charity for the victims and potential victims of these pederasts (as you have asked, I won’t use the term pedophile)? The Church did not just refrain from punishing these abusers, it kept them in positions of authority and hid the truth so that other children and parents could not take steps to protect themselves. In short, the Church actively facilitated the abusers’ ability to find new victims. How many abused children might have been spared this trauma if the Church had acted with A SINGLE SHRED OF COMMON CHARITY towards them?

    Forgiveness, you say? Sending death threats to a college student and advocating for his expulsion for not eating a cracker, and then trying to get a man who comes to said student’s defense fired does not sound like forgiveness to me.

    I think some of the ethical teachings attributed to Jesus of Nazareth are among the finest moral guidelines human beings have ever had access to, regardless of whether or not Jesus did nor did not historically exist. My problem is that so many of the people who profess to be christians DO NOT FOLLOW ANY OF THESE TEACHINGS IN ANY WAY AT ALL. And the more prominently they declare their faith, the more odious their actions seem to be.

    These are the actions of vile hypocrites, and you, jb, make yourself a hypocrite when you try to defend them.

  529. #531 truth machine, OM
    July 12, 2008

    One can not prove something is non existent.

    One can prove that logically impossible things are non-existent — like a greatest prime, a rational square root of 2, or a being that is both omniscient and omnipotent.

    And I agree with Dutch that “God does not exist” is a belief — but it is a particularly well-founded one, as the world is the way we should expect it to be if there is no God, and very much not as we should expect it to be if there were.

  530. #532 Kate
    July 12, 2008

    I just can’t understand why a large number of Christians have such a hard time understanding a lack of belief. There are billions of things they don’t believe in like magical shoe elves, or Santa, or Shiva, or Thor. They have already had intimate experience with a lack of belief, yet they can not extend that to being able to understand a lack of belief in god.

    It seems very simple and logical to me, so why can’t they get it?

  531. #533 Geoff
    July 12, 2008

    [blockquote]I can prove that the shirt I am wearing is not red, because it in fact is blue.[/blockquote]

    The shirt I’m wearing is also blue! Wow! What are the odds.
    Proof that God did it.

    Seriously, I know sock-puppet theists who think this way.

  532. #534 True Bob
    July 12, 2008

    It seems very simple and logical to me, so why can’t they get it?

    Well there’s the problem, right there.

  533. #535 geoff
    July 12, 2008

    I can prove that the shirt I am wearing is not red, because it in fact is blue.

    The shirt I’m wearing is also blue! Wow! What are the odds.
    Proof that God did it.

    Seriously, I know sock-puppet theists who think this way.

    (*big blockquote sigh*)

  534. #536 Dutch Hedrick
    July 12, 2008

    Truth Machine:

    “And I agree with Dutch that “God does not exist” is a belief — but it is a particularly well-founded one, as the world is the way we should expect it to be if there is no God, and very much not as we should expect it to be if there were.”

    Thank you, TM. That was exactly the point I was trying to make. As far as the world not being as we expect it if there were a God, I can only say that the world is as it is because of Free Will.

    “A Clockwork Orange” does a good job at presenting what it would be like if Free Will were taken away from us in order to force us to do good. Stephen Colbert had a good description of Free Will in his recent interview with Dr. Philip Zimbardo. (I know I’m not spelling his name right.)

    Anyway, I’ll let that be my last word for now. I’ve got to go. It’s been fun debating, though!

  535. #537 E.V.
    July 12, 2008

    ‘ Galileo was not only arguing against the Church, but of the established scientific community of the time.’ THE SCIENTIFIC COMMUNITY OF THE TIME.
    Exactly.
    And what did Galileo argue, Holmes?

    “From Descarte on, it’s all downhill from there. Philosophical regression is more like it.”
    WOW, What a huge world view you have. I bow to your erudition. Come back when you’ve graduated High School.

  536. #538 Neil Schipper
    July 12, 2008

    Adrienne @510:

    .. your original attempt at conflating Communism (a subset) with all of those are atheist (the whole set)..

    Respectfully, I believe I did not attempt that. I wanted to point out that the relationships between atheism and any other -isms that set out ways to live and which have animated human actions in history are interesting and complex, and that it’s common for people here to trivialize it.

  537. #539 truth machine, OM
    July 12, 2008

    It seems very simple and logical to me, so why can’t they get it?

    Because you’re wrong on this issue? Belief is assent to a proposition; it doesn’t matter whether the proposition is positive or negative. Consider the propositions “there are magical shoe elves” and “there are no magical shoe elves”. We aren’t neutral about these propositions; we deny the former and assert the latter. i.e., we disbelieve the former and believe the latter. There are propositions we are neutral about, such as “Bill Farber is a nice guy”. Since we have no idea who that is, we have no basis for a belief one way or the other. In the case of God, disbelief is only mere non-belief if one is truly neutral on the matter, as some agnostics claim to be.

  538. #540 True Bob
    July 12, 2008

    Oh don’t leave on the Free Will issue! Now we have to open the Can of Omniscient Worms.

    Ah well. Goodnight, Gracie.

  539. #541 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 12, 2008

    (*big blockquote sigh*)

    I suck and I am able to accept that.

    now, time for more beer.

  540. #542 Dutch Hedrick
    July 12, 2008

    E.V.:

    Way to avoid the substance of what I was saying in regards to Descarte and his mechanical philosophy of the universe. Intellectually dodgy to the end.

  541. #543 craig
    July 12, 2008

    “Call it what you will, Craig, you just can’t call it ‘pedophilia’.”

    Golly, you got me there, champ. I just can’t call it something that I didn’t ever call it.

    I feel so much better now about your church’s policy of protecting people who rape kids.

  542. #544 truth machine, OM
    July 12, 2008

    I wanted to point out that the relationships between atheism and any other -isms that set out ways to live and which have animated human actions in history are interesting and complex, and that it’s common for people here to trivialize it.

    You’re attacking a strawman. jb (like so many before him) attempted to attach the sins of Stalin to atheists. But the sins of Stalinists can’t be attached to other atheists any more than the sins of Vikings can be attached to other air breathers. The difference between being a Viking or air breather and being a Stalinist or atheist isn’t relevant; what is relevant is the set relationships — Stalinism isn’t representative of, or a necessity of, atheism, any more than being a Viking is representative of, or a necessity of, breathing air.

  543. #545 BobC
    July 12, 2008

    I just read #262 a second time. Most funny comments I read this year.

  544. #546 bybelknap, FCD
    July 12, 2008

    @ jb in #109. So those goddam religio tards ruined perfectly good swimmin hole to put up a fuckin useless cathedral? that is some douchebaggery of the most egregious sort.

  545. #547 Bill Anderson
    July 12, 2008

    Wow… I think I’d nominate Craig Holman for the Molly.

  546. #548 John Morales
    July 12, 2008

    re #262, I second the Lolly nomination by pcarini.

    I don’t care if it doesn’t exist.

  547. #549 S.Scott
    July 12, 2008

    May I complain about the flippin Baptists again for a moment? Some of them like to give away guns to teenagers.
    Idiots! F****ng idiots!

  548. #550 truth machine, OM
    July 12, 2008

    As far as the world not being as we expect it if there were a God, I can only say that the world is as it is because of Free Will.

    It’s not even the way we should expect it to be if there’s a God and free will. But there’s no contracausal free will — the evidence against it is very strong, and growing — neuroscience is a very active field, although that would be unknown to someone who thinks that “From Descarte (sic) on, it’s all downhill from there” and doesn’t value Descartes’ positive contribution to our understanding of the world, and especially the part of the world that does the understanding.

  549. #551 Dutch Hedrick
    July 12, 2008

    P.S., Since so many of you are questioning my credentials I’ll just mention that I took as my Philosophy requirement Normative Ethics at N.C. State under Tom Regan. I got an ‘A’.

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

    You may attack me for being a fool, but if I’m so foolish then how could I get an ‘A’ in Regan’s class? From your assertions, either I’m the fool, or Regan was foolish in giving me an ‘A’.

    I personally would vote for ‘None of the above.’

  550. #552 Adrienne
    July 12, 2008

    TruthMachine @539:

    Consider the propositions “there are magical shoe elves” and “there are no magical shoe elves”. We aren’t neutral about these propositions; we deny the former and assert the latter. i.e., we disbelieve the former and believe the latter.

    Yes, but consider upping the ante to the point where the magical shoe elves were given powers to escape human detection and otherwise make themselves invisible to human senses and machine detection. In that case, we’d have to say that we cannot say for sure that magical shoe elves do not exist, but we simply cannot differentiate for sure between their invisible, indetectable existence and their non-existence.

    In everyday speech, we’d probably say we don’t believe in magical shoe elves. But if a Magical Shoe Elf Believer pressed us on it, we’d have to admit that it’s beyond our capabilities to conclusively prove that Magical Shoe Elves do NOT exist or CANNOT exist.

    And that’s how I see Dutch et al.’s arguments for God. No, we can’t prove that an omniscient, omnipotent, untestable, etc., God does not exist. But because there is no real way to differentiate between His/Her/Its existence and His/Her/Its non-existence, then we can say that we don’t believe in Him/Her/It until such time as he have empirical evidence in favor of the positive claim.

  551. #553 jb
    July 12, 2008

    “Charity, you say? What about charity for the victims and potential victims of these pederasts[?]”

    Of course the Church has an obligation to treat the victims with the utmost charity! Simultaneously, it has no right to treat the abuser with a lack thereof–try balancing those twin duties yourself sometime, if ever you are in the position. Imagine if your father we suddenly thrust into the spotlight as a pederast–how would you (if you were bound to treat every person with charity, decency, respect, etc) juggle being sympathetic to the victim AND to decent to your father? Many in the Church couldn’t, and reacted in one way or the other: They wanted to crucify the abuser who needed help or wanted to ignore the victim who needed their care. I can’t help but think the (American) Church *still* hasn’t gotten it right–it merely slapped an American panacea on the issue by throwing money at it and hoping it has gone away.

    “How many abused children might have been spared this trauma if the Church had acted with A SINGLE SHRED OF COMMON CHARITY towards them?”

    Hear, hear. I agree wholeheartedly.

  552. #554 craig
    July 12, 2008

    Also, JB, forgiveness is understandable. I for example have long since forgiven those who abused me.

    The church’s policy has nothing to do with forgiveness, though.
    If it did, it would have involved making sure the victims were helped.

    It did not. Instead it involved moving priests away when there were hints of a problem so that they could simply molest others in new towns… it involved calling the victims liars. It involved blocking victims attempts to et justice.
    It involved a policy of silence that expired NOT when “forgiveness” was achieved, but when statutes of limitations had expired.

    The church’s actions had nothing to do with sympathy for the victims or even much for the perpetrators. The church’s actions were solely to protect itself from scrutiny, controversy, and above all to protect its hoarded riches.

    Say anything you want to defend this predatory organization, all it does is prove your devotion to the immoral.

    You show that not only are you deeply delusional, you’re deeply immoral.
    You say you disagree with these vile things… but did you do one thing about it?
    Did you lead a group of church members in trying to reform the church? Did you write letters of protest? Did you complain loudly? Did you resign from the church in protest? Did your views of the church change at all?

    No… what you DID do is come here to defend that church with all your heart.

    You’re not only an insane fuck, you’re a twisted sick fuck.

  553. #555 Adrienne
    July 12, 2008

    Oh drat, I kinda garbled my last post @552. Change the first part to this:

    Yes, but consider upping the ante to the point where the magical shoe elves were given powers to escape human detection and otherwise make themselves invisible to human senses and machine detection. In that case, we cannot say for sure that magical shoe elves do not exist, because we simply cannot differentiate for sure between their invisible, indetectable existence and their non-existence.

    In everyday speech, this would most likely translate into saying we don’t believe in magical shoe elves. But if a Magical Shoe Elf Believer pressed us on it, we’d have to admit that yes, it’s beyond our capabilities to conclusively prove that Magical Shoe Elves do NOT exist or CANNOT exist. But we could still say we don’t believe in them until such time as we get better positive evidence for their existence.

  554. #556 Dutch Hedrick
    July 12, 2008

    Adrienne:

    “In everyday speech, we’d probably say we don’t believe in magical shoe elves. But if a Magical Shoe Elf Believer pressed us on it, we’d have to admit that it’s beyond our capabilities to conclusively prove that Magical Shoe Elves do NOT exist or CANNOT exist.

    And that’s how I see Dutch et al.’s arguments for God. No, we can’t prove that an omniscient, omnipotent, untestable, etc., God does not exist.”

    I would not say that Magical Shoe Elves exist anymore than St. Augustine would argue for polytheism — and he wrote ten books in “City of God” arguing against it. If you’re interested in knowing those arguments, I suggest reading it.

  555. #557 truth machine, OM
    July 12, 2008

    Dutch believes not believing in leprechauns is a belief.

    Not believing in leprechauns is not a belief, but it’s fair to then ask whether you believe in leprechauns. To simply repeat that you lack a belief in leprechauns isn’t honest, unless you are completely neutral on the subject, which you surely aren’t. So buck up and admit that, not only do you not believe that there are leprechauns, but you believe that there aren’t any leprechauns. Kate came right out and said “My position is that God does not exist”. That means that she believes that there is no God. To deny this is, at the very least, confused.

  556. #558 OctoberMermaid
    July 12, 2008

    I’m not sure why Christians bring out the free will excuse for why the world isn’t the way we’d expect it to be if God were real.

    I also hear them say that the reason God doesn’t offer us proof of his existence is because that, too, would take away free will. I’m not sure if that’s what Dutch is implying, but that’s problematic for several reasons.

    For one thing, if God doesn’t want to give out proof for fear of messing with free will, how come he wasn’t shy about showing himself to everyone and their brother in the Bible? Dude was showing up constantly, miracle after miracle. Did he not care back then? But wait! God is unchanging! He’s eternal and the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. After all, he created time, as Dutch told us, so he must be outside of time, as well.

    But let’s say that ok, God changed his mind about showing himself now. Well then how come so many Christians say they KNOW in their hearts that God is real? If they know, doesn’t that destroy free will in and of itself? They say they have personal relationships with him. Wouldn’t that also destroy free will? And wouldn’t God apparently writing a book and saying “I WROTE THIS! I AM GOD AND THIS IS MY WORD” also destroy free will?

    Well, golly, this whole concept seems kind of flaky, doesn’t it?

  557. #559 jb
    July 12, 2008

    “Did you complain loudly? Did you resign from the church in protest? Did your views of the church change at all? No.”

    How the FUCK do you know what the hell I did or didn’t do, you stupid cunt?!? How the FUCK do you know I’m even Catholic, and not someone who is involved in criminal justice and has intensely scrutinized this particular case study?!? You are the most goddam ignorant motherfucker I’ve ever met…

  558. #560 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 12, 2008

    P.S., Since so many of you are questioning my credentials I’ll just mention that I took as my Philosophy requirement Normative Ethics at N.C. State under Tom Regan. I got an ‘A’.

    I too went to NC State and using an animal right activist to support your cred on a science blog may not be the best tactic.

    Just a suggestion.

  559. #561 OctoberMermaid
    July 12, 2008

    “I too went to NC State and using an animal right activist to support your cred on a science blog may not be the best tactic.”

    Haven’t you heard? All of us damn liberals are touchy-feely animal rights activists. Dude’s got some serious street cred. He’s cool now.

  560. #562 Adrienne
    July 12, 2008

    Dutch @556:

    I’m glad you don’t believe in magical shoe elves. Neither do I. So does that mean your lack of belief in magical shoe elves constitutes a positive belief in….something else?

    Good to know St. Augustine didn’t believe in magical shoe elves either. And no, I’m really not interested in reading his books. I’ve already read enough Catholic philosophy and “moral theology” to last me through the rest of my life.

  561. #563 Nicole
    July 12, 2008

    #262 FTW!!

    Are Donahue and PZ supposed to be Daleks there?

    EX-TERM-IN-ATE THE CRAC-KER

  562. #564 Dutch Hedrick
    July 12, 2008

    Rev. BDC:

    Ha! I never would have thought of that, but I forgot this was a science blog — especially since we’ve been discussing nothing but theology and philosophy on this thread.

    Is it because scientists take a dim view about animal rights activists who might argue against using animals in scientific experiments that you make your suggestion? I wouldn’t think Regans credentials as a philosopher are a matter for dispute.

    Incidentally, good to meet a fellow State grad.

  563. #565 Adrienne
    July 12, 2008

    jb@559,

    I think craig is a guy. That would make him a “dick”, not a “cunt”.

  564. #566 Feynmaniac
    July 12, 2008

    Dutch said in # 536,
    Anyway, I’ll let that be my last word for now. I’ve got to go. It’s been fun debating, though!

    And then he came back 6 minutes later. Is “I’m going” some sort of Trollism for “I’m staying”.

  565. #567 Katkinkate
    July 12, 2008

    “…I love that PZ drew attention to the Webster Cook story and the CathLeag reaction. In hindsight, what if instead of his request-and-promise, he had asked readers to snow the admin of Cook’s university and church (and media) with demands that the woman (people?) who laid hands on him be publicly identified and charged with assault?

    Posted by: Neil Schipper NO. 118.:

    HEAR, HEAR!!

  566. #568 aleph1=c
    July 12, 2008

    Well jb, did you?

  567. #569 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 12, 2008

    Is it because scientists take a dim view about animal rights activists who might argue against using animals in scientific experiments that you make your suggestion?

    bingo! But expand that to make sure that includes medical as well.

    I’d say how about that wolfpack… but well… We suck at everything right now. So I’ll refrain :)

  568. #570 SteveM
    July 12, 2008

    Is it because scientists take a dim view about animal rights activists who might argue against using animals in scientific experiments that you make your suggestion?

    No, its because animal rights activists have started getting much more violent recently.

  569. #571 John Morales
    July 12, 2008

    jb @ 559, it seems to me your posting here is unto like you wearing a cilice.

    Feel free to stop when you’ve done your penance.

  570. #572 truth machine, OM
    July 12, 2008

    Yes, but consider upping the ante to the point where the magical shoe elves were given powers to escape human detection and otherwise make themselves invisible to human senses and machine detection. In that case, we’d have to say that we cannot say for sure that magical shoe elves do not exist, but we simply cannot differentiate for sure between their invisible, indetectable existence and their non-existence.

    What’s this “for sure” crap doing on a science blog? There’s nothing we can say “for sure”, including that Lincoln was assassinated and George Bush sleeps in the White House. But I believe that no such powerful magical shoe elves exist, and as do you, and it would simply be dishonest to deny it.

    In everyday speech, we’d probably say we don’t believe in magical shoe elves. But if a Magical Shoe Elf Believer pressed us on it, we’d have to admit that it’s beyond our capabilities to conclusively prove that Magical Shoe Elves do NOT exist or CANNOT exist.

    So what? We believe all sorts of things that it is beyond our capabilities to conclusively prove one way or the other. But we have good grounds for our beliefs that magical shoe elves and Gods do not exist, grounds based largely in our intuitions as to what it means for something to exist and what sorts of things we should grant existence to.

    And that’s how I see Dutch et al.’s arguments for God. No, we can’t prove that an omniscient, omnipotent, untestable, etc., God does not exist.

    Actually, we can; it’s quite straightforward to prove that an omniscient, omnipotent God is logically impossible, as omniscience implies an unalterable state of affairs. Such a God cannot choose to make false what he knows to be true. To make that coherent, one must change the meanings of “omniscient” or “omnipotent” to be something else, Humpty-Dumpty-like.

    But because there is no real way to differentiate between His/Her/Its existence and His/Her/Its non-existence, then we can say that we don’t believe in Him/Her/It until such time as he have empirical evidence in favor of the positive claim.

    All rational beliefs are provisional. I believe there is no God, and I believe that there’s no flaw in Andrew Wiles’ proof of Fermat’s Last Theorem, but the FLT could be false nonetheless.

  571. #573 Dutch Hedrick
    July 12, 2008

    OctoberMermaid:

    You’re confusing Free Will with Faith. Just because one has faith doesn’t mean they don’t have free will.

    God does not change, but he does reveal himself to us in time. Just because God does not reveal himself at all times as he would with Moses or through Jesus doesn’t mean he “changes his mind.”

    If I show up at a friend’s door at times and not at other times, it does not necessarily mean that on the times I visited my friend that I “changed my mind.”

  572. #574 Bert Chadick
    July 12, 2008

    Kudos owlmirror! Do you have an agent?

  573. #575 Becca
    July 12, 2008

    Now now, PZ. You don’t know that. All you can say for sure is that many internet sigs came from one IP address, right?
    It could be a single computer in a Catholic seminary.

    Granted, sock-pupets are simpler.

  574. #576 E.V.
    July 12, 2008

    “Way to avoid the substance of what I was saying in regards to Descarte and his mechanical philosophy of the universe. Intellectually dodgy to the end.”

    No, it’s just I don’t have the time for you to catch up to modern arguments in order to have meaningful discourse, especially from your brilliant summation of Descarte. One philosphy course doesn’t really prove you can discuss philosophy intelligently, much less imagine yourself a philosopher, “A” or not. However, now I know who to go to when I need arcane info on Augustine…
    City of God, anyone? Anyone?… yeah, me neither.

  575. #577 NP
    July 12, 2008

    Only a matter of time before this happened:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iq_XZuF6Vsk

  576. #578 OctoberMermaid
    July 12, 2008

    “You’re confusing Free Will with Faith. Just because one has faith doesn’t mean they don’t have free will.”

    But I hear from many Christians (Baptists, admittedly. They’re who I have to deal with the most) that if we knew and had no need for faith, we would instantly lose free will. Why?

    And while you may have faith, most Christians I hear don’t say “I believe without evidence” when they say they have faith. In fact, they typically just say “I know that I know that I know” and that they know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God is real and they are saved. In fact, many of them have told me repeatedly that the only way to get into heaven is to know without doubt “in your heart” that God is real.

    That doesn’t sound like faith, which is just believing without evidence. That’s just knowing something without evidence, which is.. ignorant and/or crazy.

    I think the waters are deliberately muddy here because, well, it suits “people of faith.”

  577. #579 truth machine, OM
    July 12, 2008

    I’m not sure why Christians bring out the free will excuse for why the world isn’t the way we’d expect it to be if God were real.

    Because they need it to rescue their belief. Remember, for them belief comes first and argumentation comes later. That order is the difference between apologetics and reason.

  578. #580 Neil Schipper
    July 12, 2008

    truth machine @ 44:

    what is relevant is the set relationships — Stalinism isn’t representative of, or a necessity of, atheism, any more than being a Viking is representative of, or a necessity of, breathing air

    I make no claims about necessities. I do claim that Stalinism and atheism have some kind of non-trivial historical connection.

    What’s relevant is that about two hundred years ago, challenges to Abrahamism started to emerge in a big way, and occupied increasing numbers of thinking people, some quite brilliant. This “increase of rationality” led to non-supernatural claims about how people should live, claims often defended as scientific.

    The question raised is about the degree to which human minds, vessels of all kinds of beliefs with varying degrees of truth value, as they get emptied of Abrahamism (or any other supernaturalism), become vulnerable to new beliefs that threaten my genes.

  579. #581 Dutch Hedrick
    July 12, 2008

    ‘Actually, we can; it’s quite straightforward to prove that an omniscient, omnipotent God is logically impossible, as omniscience implies an unalterable state of affairs. Such a God cannot choose to make false what he knows to be true. To make that coherent, one must change the meanings of “omniscient” or “omnipotent” to be something else, Humpty-Dumpty-like.’

    To say that God “cannot choose to make false what he knows to be true” means that he lacks omnipotence ignores the concept of Divine Nature.

    “Nature” is a word that has had its meaning altered somewhat, but what I mean by nature is “what something TENDS to do.” Such as — A rock tends to lie still unless it is acted upon by an outside force.

    It is NOT in the nature of the rock, however, to get up and start singing show tunes. The rock is what it is. Similarly, it is not in God’s Nature to deceive. God cannot be un-Godlike, or otherwise he would not be God.

    To say that God is powerless for not behaving unlike God is absurd. God acts as it is natural for him to act. We just have to find out what that nature is.

    Theologically speaking, of course.

  580. #582 Craig Holman
    July 12, 2008

    What free will?

  581. #583 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 12, 2008

    Incidentally Dutch, if I’m not misremembering it, Regan was a good friend of my grandfather’s. He was a prof at NC State as well (entomology). Being that my grandfather was was in the biology field, a professed atheist and supporter of animal testing I think they had some spirited debates.

  582. #584 John Morales
    July 12, 2008

    Way to go Dutch!

    I think you’re getting through.

    It’s impressive seeing someone who got an ‘A’in Normative Ethics at N.C. State under Tom Regan operate.

    PS thanks for responding to my earlier entreaty, Dutch.

  583. #585 OctoberMermaid
    July 12, 2008

    “It is NOT in the nature of the rock, however, to get up and start singing show tunes. The rock is what it is. Similarly, it is not in God’s Nature to deceive. God cannot be un-Godlike, or otherwise he would not be God.”

    How do you know this? How do you know what God is like at all? Seems all you have to go on is a book and he DID in fact wrote it, it could be all or paritally lies. Yes, even the part where he says he is always truthful.

    Uh oh.

  584. #586 E.V.
    July 12, 2008

    “Remember, for them belief comes first and argumentation comes later. That order is the difference between apologetics and reason.”

    Worthy of putting on Billboards everywhere!

  585. #587 Dan J.
    July 12, 2008

    As Dutch said regarding a supposed ‘attack’ on theology:

    What arrogance it takes to reduce an entire disciple to one argument and judge it based upon that. But then again, that’s what you guys do best, isn’t it? That’s what Myers does in his original posting — judging all Catholics based upon one person.

    That would be like me dismissing mathematics and saying, “Yeah — I don’t need anything so idiotic which would concern itself over whether one plus one makes two.”

    I consider myself to be more of an agnostic than an atheist, but the Xtian god is certainly one I wouldn’t choose to believe in.

    Theology is the study of religion from a religious perspective. As such, it has no scientific relevancy. As far as I am concerned, it’s not a valid discipline, and the ‘angels dancing on the head of a pin’ comment sums it up perfectly. Theologists discussing issues related to something for which there is not a shred of valid, supporting evidence is, in my opinion, nothing more than mental masturbation.

  586. #588 Dutch Hedrick
    July 12, 2008

    OctoberMermaid:

    I agree with much of what you said here. There is a difference between Faith and Blind Faith. I do not believe in Blind Faith.

    Frankly, even the Pope does not believe in Blind Faith. He points to Doubting Thomas and how God (through Christ) allowed Himself to be questioned. (I think I’m getting that right, but I’m recalling from memory. I don’t have his writings in front of me.)

    I think it’s unfortunate that so many Baptists have given religion a bad name. Although I’m Catholic, I do know of some good Baptists — I think John Edwards is one of them. Anyway, they get picked on a lot because, unfortunately, there are so many of them here in the south and they seem to shout the loudest.

    There’s a good reason, however, the Church does not recognize their theology.

  587. #589 jb
    July 12, 2008

    Morales, you’re so right: these are nuthin’ but a bunch of pricks diggin’ into one’s flesh…’tards opining on shit they CLEARLY haven’t a clue about… Only Adrienne shows any familiarity with Catholicism, the object of the professor’s ire–it’s pathetic.

    Alph1: I am in law enforcement. I probably hate pedophiles worse than you. I testified on the stand regarding a case against a particularly notorious priest-abuser in Philadelphia which led to a conviction. The case was cited as one of the reasons the diocese of LA settled their land-mark case almost exactly one year ago. Long answer short: A helluva lot more than “craig” would believe, but he’s a little shit who’d like to snipe from the sidelines without doing even a modicum of research.

  588. #590 truth machine, OM
    July 12, 2008

    I do claim that Stalinism and atheism have some kind of non-trivial historical connection.

    You continue to miss the point. As I said originally “Of course, being a Viking is not separate from breathing air, but breathing air is separate from being a Viking.” The point of the analogy was that Stalinism has a historical connection to atheism, but not vice versa.

    What’s relevant is that about two hundred years ago, challenges to Abrahamism started to emerge in a big way, and occupied increasing numbers of thinking people, some quite brilliant. This “increase of rationality” led to non-supernatural claims about how people should live, claims often defended as scientific.

    But this does not show the sort of causal relationship that jb was claiming between atheism and Stalinism, or Communism. As I said, you’re arguing against a strawman. And as was pointed out by others, the original Christians were communists, and they lived a lot more than 200 years ago.

  589. #591 Rev. BigDumbCHimp
    July 12, 2008

    The question raised is about the degree to which human minds, vessels of all kinds of beliefs with varying degrees of truth value, as they get emptied of Abrahamism (or any other supernaturalism), become vulnerable to new beliefs that threaten my genes.

    Well, really. That can be asked about any shifting of beliefs. When a group of people stop believing in one thing the possibility of a new system taking its place is high. As can be seen throughout history large groups of people are sometime susceptible to being duped into believing in bad or wrong or crazy things. That or a small group of people start believing in new things an assert power to force others to be affected by their beliefs.

  590. #592 Adrienne
    July 12, 2008

    Yeah, Dutch, gotta echo what OctoberMermaid said @585: How do you know all this stuff about God’s nature? How do you know God cannot deceive because it would be unGodlike? How is it you fully understand the Divine Nature such that you speak with this authority? Seems to me the only way that could be true is if you were God.

  591. #593 E.V.
    July 12, 2008

    #580:
    Neil, your last paragraph. I’m intrigued. Please elaborate. How would your genes be threatened from the loss of supernaturalism?

  592. #594 SteveC
    July 12, 2008

    I’ve read all these threads and I have to admit, the theists have convinced me. They have convinced me beyond a shadow of a doubt. I wouldn’t have thought they could have convinced me of anything at first, but, wow. They have.

    They have convinced me — that they are idiots.

    I mean really the “arguments” the theists have presented do not just fail to be good. The fail to not be blatantly, in-your-face retarded.

  593. #595 Dutch Hedrick
    July 12, 2008

    Rev:

    “I’d say how about that wolfpack… but well… We suck at everything right now. So I’ll refrain :)”

    hahaha! Best laugh I had so far tonight! :)

  594. #596 Damian
    July 12, 2008

    Richard Carrier made what I consider to be an interesting argument about the distinction, or lack thereof, between atheists and agnostics:

    Atheist or Agnostic?

    Personally, I don’t care all that much if nonbelievers prefer to call themselves agnostics rather than atheists. I think by now most everyone knows these are the same thing (after all, either way, you don’t believe in God). And eventually the social stigma attached to the latter will float over and latch onto the former anyway, leaving no place left to hide. Well, okay, maybe the squeamish atheists will once again invent some new word to call themselves, so they can confuse a prejudiced society into not realizing they are (gasp!) really atheists. But that will just go the same way. In the end, the advantage will be lost, yet another word will have to be invented to hide behind, and ’round and ’round it goes. Good luck with that.

    For me, this is all just a social game, semantic trickery, that is hard to have sympathy for, but I can’t honestly criticize nonbelievers who want to avoid the social stigma falsely attached to a maligned word. Prejudice in this country, in some places and situations, is certainly real and harmful enough to justify a desire to dodge it. If black people could pretend to be white, I’m sure some of them would. This is frequently enough true for gays that they have a whole terminology of social disguise (like “in the closet” and “beard”). You can’t condemn this until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes.

    There is also a silly and heated debate (even so far as to cultivate outright rage) between atheists and agnostics as to who is really what. Of course, these terms don’t even have a single meaning. Just as “atheist” can mean “denier” or “unbeliever” (generating the rather lame, confusing, and misleading terminological distinctions of “hard” and “soft” atheist or “positive” and “negative” atheist), so can agnostic mean “undecided” or “dunno!” The latter is more etymologically and historically correct, since agnosticism is supposed to be the formal position that one cannot know whether God exists or not (whether by definition or as a contingent fact of a particular agnostic’s limited access to relevant evidence), but the former meaning is still very common in actual use, and both have crept into other contexts (so, for example, you can be an “agnostic” now, in either sense of the term, as to whether Robin Hood actually existed).

    I say more about all this in Sense and Goodness without God (see pp. 253-56). Beyond what I say there, technically I would prefer “undecideds” to call themselves anapophasists (the actual Greek for “without a decision”), so agnostics can be identified as those who formally claim not to know (since a-gnostikos means “without knowledge”), but you can probably see how these overlap a great deal. The line between them is certainly blurry. And at any rate, I have no illusions about my prospects for changing linguistic convention. My prospects are better in the other direction, since I prefer “atheism” to be used in its equally literal sense: a-theismos, without theism, i.e. without a belief in god. For in actual practice, this is how it is almost always used. And, as far as I see it, any other usage rhetorically violates the Law of the Excluded Middle.

    Some theists, however, who are often fond of playing word games, have tried to act the linguistic imperialist and insist (contrary to any etymological or historical or philosophical precedent) that “atheism” means only the positive denial of every god’s existence. In my opinion that’s just verbal thuggery, since it does not agree with English usage or actual fact and is basically a “special” definition invented solely for polemical purposes, not for any authentic aim, like knowledge or practical application.

    But even some atheists (or, I should say, “nonbelievers”) jump into this fray, usually with “agnostics” accusing “atheists” of playing verbal games when they deny this religiously contrived definition of “atheism,” or with atheists accusing agnostics of accepting it. It gets even crazier when either side starts rambling on about babies being either “atheists” or “agnostics” because they’ve never even heard of God and certainly have no “belief” in one, and eventually fictional cultures get invented where no one has ever heard of or thought up any notion of any god. No one seems to notice (or care) that examples like these constitute a kind of category fallacy, since there is a mountain of difference between someone who has a belief-state (of either belief or disbelief in some proposition) and someone who has no corresponding belief-state at all. You might as well argue that stones and trees are atheists. Sure, in a sense that’s true, but why should anyone care?

    This merry-go-round isn’t very common. The whole tussle is limited to a rather small segment of nut-headed youths and grumpy old men within the atheist community. But it’s all so silly that I find the whole “who really is an atheist?” debate rather pointless. In actual fact, every unbeliever is both an atheist who denies God and an atheist who merely doesn’t believe in God. So there is no sense in which anyone can just pick one and deny they are the other. Shocking thing to claim, you say? Well, it can be demonstrated quite easily.

    Let’s invent two gods, extreme cases each, but you should be able to see how all other gods fall on a continuum between them:

    Bumpypoo is a supremely powerful God, creator of the universe, who uses his powers to make sure you never have any reason to believe he exists.

    Can you deny the existence of Bumpypoo? Or do you merely lack belief in him? Assuming there is a difference, you can only assert the latter. Because you can never, even in principle, have any evidence against Bumpypoo’s existence. By definition he will ensure that the evidence always misleads you, therefore evidence of his absence is not at all predictive of his non-existence. This is true even for a devout Christian: it is logically impossible for you to deny the existence of Bumpypoo. You can only disbelieve in his existence. This constitutes what I call a “Cartesian Demon” in Sense and Goodness without God, so to learn more about that you can check the index there. But my point here is, everyone is an agnostic with regard to Bumpypoo. They haven’t any choice.

    Okay. Now consider this:

    Monkeybutt is a supremely powerful God, creator of the universe, who uses his powers to make sure you have tons of clear and undeniable evidence that he exists.

    Can anyone say they don’t outright deny the existence of Monkeybutt? It would be patently irrational to say you “merely” don’t believe in Monkeybutt, because you would have the vast evidence of your own direct experience against the existence of Monkeybutt. The absence of evidence in this case is not only highly predictive of his non-existence, it virtually entails his non-existence. Hence you can be as certain of his non-existence as of anything you claim to know about anything.

    Therefore, everyone is a soft/negative atheist vis-a-vis Bumpypoo and at the same time a hard/positive atheist vis-a-vis Monkeybutt. Therefore, there is never any real separation between an atheist and a formal agnostic. Any atheist who denies one god’s existence will also be an atheist who merely doesn’t believe in some other god’s existence, and vice versa, since everyone, always, does both. Ergo, no agnostic can ever claim they are not an atheist and no atheist can ever claim they are not an agnostic. Bumpypoo and Monkeybutt dash any hopes atheists or agnostics might have had of avoiding each other’s label.

    Of course, even Christians are, in a limited sense, atheists of both types, with regard to Bumpypoo and Monkeybutt (and thus agnostics with regard to Bumpypoo). So the only thing that separates believers in God from the rest of us is a belief in at least one god. Ergo, the only thing that can ever logically matter in distinguishing theists from “atheists” is whether we believe any god exists. Hence all that matters in defining an atheist is that an atheist does not believe in any god. Whether there are some gods atheists also deny is wholly irrelevant–because there are some gods everyone denies, even believers! And as long as we don’t believe in any God, we are not theists, and are therefore atheists. Unless you want to invent some new stupid word. But until you invent a mind-altering machine that can insert this new word into the brains of billions of people, your new word won’t be of any popular use. Indeed, even if you could accomplish such a thing, I doubt your stupid new word would even be useful.

    At most you can bicker about “which” gods certain atheists deny and which ones they merely disbelieve (again, assuming you can actually identify a difference). But how can that ever matter for whether you are an atheist or a theist? Even if Atheist A disagrees with Atheist B as to which gods can be denied and which merely disbelieved, it remains the case that the only thing distinguishing both Atheist A and Atheist B from all theists is that neither A nor B believes in any gods. Otherwise, both A and B deny some gods and both A and B merely disbelieve in some gods, and since we have no terminology in the English language to distinguish Atheist A from Atheist B (or from atheists C, D, E, etc., ad infinitum), there is no sense in trying to deny that A or B is “really” an atheist, or trying to claim A or B is “really” an agnostic, or really “not” an agnostic, or debating whether it’s Atheist A or Atheist B who’s the hard or soft atheist. They are always both. Because of Monkeybutt and Bumpypoo, they’re all of the above.

    Therefore, there is simply no such thing as a “soft atheist” who is not also a “hard atheist,” or a “hard atheist” who is not also a “soft atheist.” If you don’t believe in any god, then you will always be both. The only difference will be which gods you put where. Hence all unbelievers are both atheists and agnostics, and neither can deny either name. They can never be separated. Though these categories aren’t synonymous, you still can’t sort unbelievers into “atheists” and “agnostics” any more than you can sort them into “persons” and “people.” Thus it is simply stupid to debate which you are.

    Sorry, but I have to call it like I see it.

  595. #597 Neil Schipper
    July 12, 2008

    Katkinkate (#567): Be gone from this place! It’s unhealthy, fraught with danger, for the likes of you!

  596. #598 amphiox
    July 12, 2008

    jb, you missed my point completely. Forgiveness and charity to the offender is a wonderful thing to strive for, and the teachings attributed to Jesus on this point is one of the things I admire most, but at the same time you have an absolute responsibility to protect potential victims from the possibility of the offender offending again. If I found out my father had abused a child, I would try to find it in my heart to forgive him, even if it was my child who was abused, but I would damn well do everything in my power to make sure he never gets unsupervised access to children ever again!

    The Catholic Church could have moved the abusers out of the communities they harmed and assigned to positions where they would not have had contact with children, and supervise them to ensure that that they had no contact with children. I would have been satisfied with this plus compensation of the victims alone–no vindictive punishments, no public disavowals, not even a private reprimand. This would have been easy, EASY, for the Catholic Church to do. THEY DID NOT DO IT. THEY DID NOT EVEN TRY.

    By this failure, they forfeited in my mind any privilege they might once have had to be considered an organization worthy of respect.

  597. #599 OctoberMermaid
    July 12, 2008

    “I agree with much of what you said here. There is a difference between Faith and Blind Faith. I do not believe in Blind Faith.”

    The problem is on my end, because I can’t personally see a difference between faith and blind faith. Since faith is apparently “believing without evidence” isn’t that already blind? This has always been the sticking point for me with religion. I need evidence, something I can stand firmly on and say “This objectively proves that and so I can reasonably continue to believe it.” I’ve never found anything like that with Christianity (which, being the religion I was raised in, was understandably the religion I was seeking most desperately to hold on to during my initial time of doubting).

    I read Lee Strobel’s apologetics (basically saying that doubting is ok and offering a whole lot of “Well, we had a lot of eyewitnesses, apparently. The Jesus story would totally hold up in court!”) and I even sunk so low as to go to Answers in Genesis, but nothing has ever impressed me as being solid, objective proof for a God of any kind, much less the Christian God which was the one I had been primarily interested in.

    So that’s about where I stand on this. I tried the faith thing, but I’m a constant doubter and the one and only thing that has ever helped me with doubting, no matter what it is that I’m doubting about, is reminding myself of all the evidence. And when I don’t have it… well, maybe those doubts have a point.

  598. #600 splendidmonkey
    July 12, 2008

    Maybe there are more people alive than have ever died?

    (half of them are sock puppets)

  599. #601 Dutch Hedrick
    July 12, 2008

    Adrienne:

    Because my belief is in a God that is perfect Truth (rational) and perfect Love. It would not be truthful or loving to deceive. If it is not perfectly true or perfectly loving at once, then it cannot be God and should not be worshiped as God.

    Discovering Truth and Love is discovering God. I believe in Truth and I believe in Love. I need no proof for those things. That means the only question that remains is whether Truth and Love act as a person. That’s what the atheists — and I do not use that term as a putdown as so many theists would — must argue against.

    I know some, however, will go one step further and argue that Truth and Love do not exist. I will not debate that tonight. That’s outside the scope of my arguments.

  600. #602 Craig Holman
    July 12, 2008

    Again, Dutch blathers on about ‘god’ as if this is something real. It is not. Dutch should be ashamed of himself for wasting bits on such an unworthy topic.

    I doubt that we’ll ever be free of religion – too many people are infested with that particular complex of nasty memes – but I sure as hell don’t have to listen to this idiot spew forth his mindless and immoral theological diarrhea without calling a spade a spade.

    Life is too short to let this garbage go unanswered.

    If Dutch’s ‘god’ were to exist, it would be contemptible and unworthy of respect, let alone worship. It does not exist, however, so what would have been an interesting confrontation will never occur.

    There is no point in arguing with these people – they have been infected with something that renders them immune to reason and uncaring about truth.

    Simply put up quarantine signs warning the children to stay away.

  601. #603 Stuart Weinstein
    July 12, 2008

    Mark writes:

    “I’ve read them.

    My point is how do I know they’re not all fabricated?

    How do I know that they were written by whom they purport to be written by?

    How do I know any of those people really exist?

    How do I know that this isn’t one big scam foisted on us by Myers and others for their own benefit?

    Just presenting something to me and saying, “Look, someone wrote this” doesn’t tell me anything about the truth of what’s written there or the authentic authorship.

    To present all of these emails and comments in this environment in which things like this can be so easily fabricated without firmer evidence that these writers are actually who Myers says they are is asking me to take Myers’ word..

    …on faith. ”

    How about on logic and the principle of least astonishment. I could accept that either PZ or PZ and a cadre of sycophants spent hours of time and forged literally hundreds of letters and posts on Pharyngula or they are actually written by people with no sense of perspective.

    If you’re trying to put *faith* that PZ didn’t forge these letters on par with *faith* that the body of Christ materializes in the Eucharist, then you also have no sense of perspective and no clue.

  602. #604 Adrienne
    July 12, 2008

    OctoberMermaid @599: I had 12 years of Catholic religious education, six of them in an Opus Dei school. The Opus Dei education aimed for “faith based on reason”, which is different from the “blind faith” that Dutch spoke of earlier, in that it’s supposed to be faith based on reason or on what’s reasonable. As in, it’s reasonable to think that there is a God, that he wants to get to know His creatures, etc. But while certainly better than the “don’t question anything” blind-faith approach, ultimately the “faith based on reason” approach devolves into believing on faith those things that are supposedly beyond human understanding: Transubstantiation, the Nature of the Triune Godhead, etc.

  603. #605 OctoberMermaid
    July 12, 2008

    “Morales, you’re so right: these are nuthin’ but a bunch of pricks diggin’ into one’s flesh…”

    Wow, jb. I mean, I’m usually not the one to point out this sort of thing, but that’s such a fascinating, bizzare little word picture you painted there, I have to wonder… Some sort of secret fantasy or something? I wouldn’t be surprised if DeviantArt doesn’t have a chat group for that sort of thing.

  604. #606 Adrienne
    July 12, 2008

    Dutch Hedrick, I do believe you’re starting to grow on me.

    @601 you wrote:

    Discovering Truth and Love is discovering God. I believe in Truth and I believe in Love.

    But I believe in those things too, yet I have no problem in believing in them as abstract concepts that do not need to be instantiated in a supernatural being.

    I need no proof for those things.

    Actually, you can make a case in favor of each one without resorting to the supernatural. But even so, aren’t you basically admitting here that you have no real objective proof of your God, you just believe in Him as some sort of supernatural manifestation of these ideals?

  605. #607 Dutch Hedrick
    July 12, 2008

    OctoberMermaid:

    I see your point. It reminds me of what Pope Benedict wrote (when he was Cardinal Ratizinger) in the early part of “Introduction of Christianity.” He points out that with lack of firm evidence on either side — theism and atheism — one has to constantly question one’s own system of belief.

    The theist always has the question challenging him: “But what if it’s not true,” — and certainly, I have. But the atheist also, without firm evidence, question himself, “But what if it IS true.”

    I’m not getting into Pascal’s Wager here. Ratzinger’s point was that the question of God — or no God — is essentially the question about Life itself. Concerning the question of God we have three choices: Theism, Atheism, or Polytheism.

    Whichever choice we take — whichever we believe — is the path our lives shall take. But if we are to begin walking, we should at least have faith that the path we’re traveling upon is the right one.

  606. #608 MAJeff, OM
    July 12, 2008

    Because my belief is in a God that is perfect Truth (rational) and perfect Love. It would not be truthful or loving to deceive. If it is not perfectly true or perfectly loving at once, then it cannot be God and should not be worshiped as God.
    Discovering Truth and Love is discovering God. I believe in Truth and I believe in Love. I need no proof for those things. That means the only question that remains is whether Truth and Love act as a person. That’s what the atheists — and I do not use that term as a putdown as so many theists would — must argue against.

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

  607. #609 John Morales
    July 12, 2008

    OctoberMermaid, I must protest.

    The problem is on my end, because I can’t personally see a difference between faith and blind faith. Since faith is apparently “believing without evidence” isn’t that already blind? This has always been the sticking point for me with religion.

    See, blind faith is belief despite the evidence, faith alone is belief without evidence.

    The best kind to have is both, of course. I’m sure Dutch will support my metamathematical-metalogical pseudo-theological contention that surely [(faith) + (blind faith)] > [(faith) xor (blind faith)] in terms of raw faith.

    Not that I have an ‘A’ in whatever it was, but, still, it’s obvious. To have both is to be as faithful as one can be.

  608. #610 truth machine, OM
    July 12, 2008

    It is NOT in the nature of the rock, however, to get up and start singing show tunes. The rock is what it is. Similarly, it is not in God’s Nature to deceive. God cannot be un-Godlike, or otherwise he would not be God.

    There is so much wrong with this, not the least of which is that, through a process that took billions of years, rock turned into something that gets up and sings show tunes, and now we can, in a much shorter time, form rock into something that you can put on your desk that can display non-existent figures dancing and singing show tunes.

    The “nature” of rock is determined by observation and analysis of its components and how they interact, in light of what we know of physics and chemistry; it is a posteriori, not a priori. But there are no such grounds for these claims about “God”. It is certainly within the realm of logical possibility that the universe was created by a deceptive entity. And if one rules that out by fiat, then there’s all the more reason to think that this “God” does not exist, as its existence is well hidden and this book that people claim it wrote is full of falsehoods, as are the mouths of its proponents.

  609. #611 Dutch Hedrick
    July 12, 2008

    Adrienne:

    I do believe Him to be a “supernatural manifestation of these ideals,” in the sense that Plato spoke of when he spoke of Ideals. That’s why the Church sees a lot of truth in Platonism — even if it doesn’t agree with everything Plato said.

  610. #612 themadlolscientist, FCD
    July 12, 2008

    @ #142: What does it say about someone when they list google.com as their web page?

    (Of course, maybe I shouldn’t talk, since I don’t even have one. But WTF, I had to ask anyway.)

  611. #613 OctoberMermaid
    July 13, 2008

    “Whichever choice we take — whichever we believe — is the path our lives shall take. But if we are to begin walking, we should at least have faith that the path we’re traveling upon is the right one.

    I think I disagree with how you see atheism as kind of a belief, but I DO agree with the quoted section.

    I absolutely feel that way, but instead of faith, I need proof. Maybe it’s my own failing for being prone to doubt (I’m not about to say I’m smart or more rational than most people or even nearly as smart or nearly as rational as most of the people who comment here. The main reason I’m an atheist today is because of this tendency I have always had to doubt things. They led me to question stuff I don’t think I may have otherwise questioned. I really can’t say), but that’s the way I am and I can’t do anything on faith alone. For better or worse, I need to have objective proof for what I choose or believe.

    Granted, I make poor decisions and even have had a bad habit of ignoring or disregarding evidence at times in support of things I WANT to believe, but in the end, the doubts will eventually win out and the questions will come back. The only thing that can ever dispell that is solid evidence.

  612. #614 Dan J.
    July 13, 2008

    To say that God “cannot choose to make false what he knows to be true” means that he lacks omnipotence ignores the concept of Divine Nature.—Dutch

    Yes, and as a rational, thinking being, I choose to ignore concepts that have no scientific basis.

  613. #615 Adrienne
    July 13, 2008

    Dutch@611: Yes, and the Church still holds to Aristotelian/Thomistic principles of biology and philosophy, even though they are demonstrably false in light of modern science. The whole substance vs. accidents bit, for instance. The Church holds quite a lot of beliefs that do not hold up under logical scrutiny, Transubstantiation being one of them.

  614. #616 Dutch Hedrick
    July 13, 2008

    OctoberMermaid and Adrienne:

    I’ve just got to say that I’ve really loved chatting about these things with you because the questions you guys ask me get me to think about things I wouldn’t have thought of myself. It challenges me and helps me to learn and grow, so it’s been richly rewarding. I hope it’s been that way for you guys, too. It’s made me stay much later than I originally intended.

    Thanks, by the way, for putting up with my sloppy typing and spelling. I try my best. :)

    Here’s hoping we all find what we’re searching for in Life! Bye! :)

  615. #617 AlanWCan
    July 13, 2008

    OK, so now we know why Bill Donohue is so up in arms about the cracker business (aside from the clinical insanity, but I digress…).

    From the Guardian:

    Lourdes fears priestly scandal will make profits dry up
    t is called the ‘Zambelli Affair’ and for the town of Lourdes, one of the world’s most famous sites of pilgrimage, it could not have come at a worse time. Last week it was disclosed that Fr Raymond Zambelli, the priest in charge of the sanctuaries of Lourdes, was being investigated by financial police after a computer highlighted suspicious deposits in his personal account, amounting to £360,000. Rumours of money-laundering were soon rife and, since then, the town has waited anxiously for the next dramatic twist.

    Zambelli, at a hastily called press conference, denied all wrongdoing and explained that the cash was a donation from an ageing worshipper. But though he has been backed by the Bishop of Tarbes, Jacques Perrier, the damage has been done.

    ‘What every one fears is that the image of Lourdes will be tarnished,’ Francis Dehaine, who manages the Lourdes sanctuary and its £23m annual budget, said. ‘Nobody ever thought something like this could happen. And it’s the image of the shrine that suffers.’

    Lourdes is in the spotlight like never before. It is the 150th anniversary of the apparition of the virgin Mary to Bernadette Soubirous, a poor, illiterate local girl, in a cave beside the Gave de Pau river and a total of eight million pilgrims are expected at the shrine this year, a third more than usual: in September, Benedict XVI is coming. According to a leaked letter, prosecutors have even suggested soft-pedalling the investigation until after the pope’s visit.

    The Zambelli Affair has laid bare the long-standing resentment that seethes among the 15,000 inhabitants of Lourdes, where the residential and administrative ‘upper town’ has a sometimes tense relationship with the highly commercialised ‘lower town’, with its souvenir shops selling religious bric-a-brac.

    In the upper town, the investigation into Zambelli’s finances has unleashed a strong sense of Schadenfreude. Every visitor at the shrine spends around ?100 – manna from which those who are neither hoteliers nor souvenir shop owners are excluded. ‘Serves them right,’ said one waiter in the upper town. ‘About time they got their comeuppance.’

    For those selling Lourdes water for ?3(£2.50) a litre, the rosaries, the statuettes and the flashing plastic models of Bernadette , the fear is that the scandal will cost hard cash. ‘It’s like the Tour de France. One rider done for doping and the public think they are all on drugs,’ said Anton Dupont, a taxi driver.

    Church authorities have acted recently to restrain the souvenir sellers’ commercial excesses. Bottles of wine with the Virgin Mary on the label and place mats picturing the shrine’s famous cave were banned, though healing mints made with holy water from the Lourdes spring are still on the shelves.

    Nor is the Church itself immune to the fallout. For the priests, the fear is for the big donors. More than a quarter of the sanctuary’s revenue comes from gifts. ‘The pilgrims themselves will come whatever,’ said Dehaine. ‘But the donors might be affected.’

    Local prosecutors are now weighing up whether to act against Zambelli, who has not been suspended.

    ‘Without the shrine, most of us would be out of business, so we have to get on,’ said Philippe Bianco, head of the local Chamber of Commerce. There was also little sign that the thousands flowing up the long esplanade leading to the basilica, dropping a donation of a couple of euros in a box for a candle or queuing for the grotto were worried by the state of the Zambelli bank account.

    Must distract the flock. Keep that cashflow going.
    Same old same old..

  616. #618 Dutch Hedrick
    July 13, 2008

    Adrienne:

    Before I go, could you elaborate on the substance/accidents thing of which you speak? Thanks.

  617. #619 Cuttlefish, OM
    July 13, 2008

    P. Z. Meyers’ bad behavior toward the body of Our Savior
    Is at minimum appalling, and it’s blasphemy at most!
    This is more than merely naughty–this is Christ Almighty’s Body–
    There’s a special place in Hell for those who desecrate the Host!

    Dr. Meyers would be safer if he just ignored the wafer;
    ‘Cos the Prince Of Peace has followers who will not mess around.
    There’s no blogger, nerd, or hacker who can simply steal a cracker–
    These are people who have re-defined the phrase “too tightly wound”.

    Now it’s more than merely prattle, it’s a First Amendment battle;
    Can the Catholics demand the recognition of their views?
    And if transubstantiation is supported by the nation
    Will the other faith communities each, likewise, get to choose?

    When you lean toward theocratic, it is far from automatic
    That the legal recognition of your rituals will follow–
    If our goal is “not offending”, then the list is never-ending,
    And the spectrum of religions is too big a bite to swallow.

    If the nation acts as proxy for one form of orthodoxy
    Then the other True Believers could be truly in a lurch;
    But our brilliant founding fathers saw through this and other bothers
    And decided to prohibit the endorsement of one church.

    If believers were offended, that’s what Myers had intended–
    While it may not be polite, he has the right to be a jerk;
    It’s the nation’s Constitution that prevents his prosecution,
    Sure, it’s not the Holy Bible, but it kinda seems to work.

    http://digitalcuttlefish.blogspot.com/2008/07/all-this-over-ritual-cannibalism.html

  618. #620 truth machine, OM
    July 13, 2008

    But if we are to begin walking, we should at least have faith that the path we’re traveling upon is the right one.

    Utter nonsense. One doesn’t need any sort of “faith” to simply not waste time on one’s knees, in church, stupidly capitalizing words like “love” and “him”, or assaulting people who don’t swallow crackers.

  619. #621 themadlolscientist, FCD
    July 13, 2008

    Owlmirror @ #262 is win teh hol intarwebz x lebentylebenhunderd!

  620. #622 Dan J.
    July 13, 2008

    Before I go, could you elaborate on the substance/accidents thing of which you speak? Thanks.

    Accidents is the term used to refer to the appearance of the host after endergoing transubstantiation still being that of a simple wafer of unleavened bread. This is as opposed to the substance of the host actually being that of the body of Christ.

    And if you truly believe that those wafers are the actual body of a supposed prophet who died nearly 2000 years ago, and not simply a symbol, then you are not a rational being.

  621. #623 Adrienne
    July 13, 2008

    G’night, Dutch. I actually find your earnest manner rather refreshing, even if I do not agree with you. I’m going to bed too. If you’re still going to hang around Pharyngula (I’m sure there will be many more long comment threads after this one), we’ll discuss substance/accidents another time, OK? If you don’t hang around Pharyngula, tried googling the relevant terms and see where that leads you. Or go to catholicanswers.com. Best of luck in life to you too.

  622. #624 OctoberMermaid
    July 13, 2008

    #616

    Don’t get me wrong, I really DO enjoy discussing this stuff. The trick is for me to put aside my typical habit of being snarky or sarcastic. I’m used to talking to a very particular kind of theist and so I tend to go straight into “that mode” which is obviously not fair to people who really do want a discussion, and I just end up being a total dick. So I do appologize for that, because I came off pretty lousy for a while there.

  623. #625 Dutch Hedrick
    July 13, 2008

    truth machine:

    You don’t have to “swallow crackers” if you do not want to. As the Torah in the Jewish community contains the Word of God, Catholics believe the Eucharist IS the Word of God. If one were to go into a Jewish synagogue an take the Torah from the Ark and try to leave with it, I’m sure someone would make a fuss out of that.

    It is on that level of respect the Catholic’s hold the Eucharist. One does not have to agree with them; but it’s also true that one should not show such blatant disrespect for a religious group and its customs as that student did.

  624. #626 Dutch Hedrick
    July 13, 2008

    Not a problem, Adrienne. Good night! :)

  625. #627 Dutch Hedrick
    July 13, 2008

    Dan J.

    Thanks for responding. THAT — I understood. I was just wondering how science “proved” this platonic assertion to be false.

  626. #628 Craig Holman
    July 13, 2008

    Are they finally gone?

    Oh, what silly and tiresome creatures they are.

    They exchange utter nonsense and then praise themselves and each other for the service they’ve done to their ‘god’.

    Where are the Daleks when you need them?

  627. #629 dubiquiabs
    July 13, 2008

    @ #403 “jb”
    The data are prevalence rates, not absolute numbers. The comparison of abuse rates between catholic priests and educators shows a diff of at least an order of magnitude. These are not “my” data, they are from the source you had mentioned, and they are tabulated on page 25 of the citation I had posted (#391).

    The John Jay College (JJC) study you cited also states that the 4,392 out of 109,694 priests were “credibly accused of abusing children and youths…”.

  628. #630 Gûm-ishi Ashu Gurum
    July 13, 2008

    delurking to add my praise to 262. epic and hilarious.

  629. #631 Dan J.
    July 13, 2008

    It is on that level of respect the Catholic’s hold the Eucharist. One does not have to agree with them; but it’s also true that one should not show such blatant disrespect for a religious group and its customs as that student did.

    (Sorry if I have sounded too vitriolic over this at times.)

    I think many people have failed to read about the incident in question. The student is a member of the Catholic Church. He attended mass that day with an acquaintance who is not Catholic. He had intended to take the eucharist back to his seat and show it to his acquaintance, then consume it afterwards.

  630. #632 Dutch Hedrick
    July 13, 2008

    E.V.

    Sorry I missed this earlier, but I just thought I’d point out that if St. Augustine is now invalid because of its age, then Descartes will be just as invalid with time.

    Personally, I don’t belief that Truth has an expiration date.

    (And, truthmachine, I capitalize ‘Truth’ because I mean ultimate Truth, not just a particular portion of truth. So you see — my capitalizations DO have meaning behind them. You just refuse to acknowledge what I’m communicating with such capitalizations. That however is your decision and has nothing to do with me.)

  631. #633 Ichthyic
    July 13, 2008

    You don’t have to “swallow crackers” if you do not want to

    tell that to Donowhore, there, dutch.

    In fact, this whole thing arose BECAUSE apparently many Catholics do indeed feel one has to “swallow crackers”.

    so much so, that they apparently would be happy to kill you for not doing so.

    I just can’t believe, after thousands and thousands of posts, that there are STILL a few who refuse to comprehend the real issue at hand.

    Would you kill someone who attempted to remove a book from a box?

    seriously, I’m asking.

    Would you kill someone who removed the “torah” from the “ark”?

    why not?

  632. #634 Tom L
    July 13, 2008

    It’s not sock puppetry. Truly, it must be the miracle of the oafs and the phishers.

    Alert the Vatican!

  633. #635 Ichthyic
    July 13, 2008

    so much so, that they apparently would be happy to kill you for not doing so.

    …or even kill you for criticizing and ridiculing those who would kill someone for not doing so.

  634. #636 truth machine, OM
    July 13, 2008

    To say that God “cannot choose to make false what he knows to be true” means that he lacks omnipotence ignores the concept of Divine Nature.

    To say it is to state an analytical truth. “the concept of Divine Nature” is tantamount to admitting that God isn’t omnipotent. Which is fine — people who want to believe in “divine nature” should simply give up omniscience as a property of their god. Except that omniscience is part of the dogma, and so they aren’t allowed to give it up. So they cling to obviously inconsistent views even though they could make them somewhat less obviously inconsistent, and then blather about all of that being rational.

  635. #637 Dan J.
    July 13, 2008

    Dutch:

    Thanks for responding. THAT — I understood. I was just wondering how science “proved” this platonic assertion to be false.

    I don’t know that you could say anyone has scientifically proven it to be “false”, per se. As I see it, the accidents/substance issue is purely philosophical, and falls outside the real of scientific proofs.

    And now it’s off to bed.. 6am rolls around too damn early.

  636. #638 Dutch Hedrick
    July 13, 2008

    Dan J.:

    As someone who was brought up Catholic himself, he should have known better. His protesting school funds being used for the Church seems to undercut his argument that he had no intention other than to show his non-Catholic friend the Eucharist.

    If one wanted to see what it looked like, there are other ways of doing so. When I was young, I remember a priest letting us taste a non-consecrated communion wafer because we were curious about what it tasted like.

    The student obviously wanted a consecrated wafer because he knew what it means to Catholics. He just did a sloppy job at getting away with it.

  637. #639 Ichthyic
    July 13, 2008

    So they cling to obviously inconsistent views even though they could make them somewhat less obviously inconsistent, and then blather about all of that being rational.

    funny, I’ve used what you said there almost word for word as a description of religious apologetics.

    At least when feeling less than charitable about apologetics.

    well, OK, being honest that’s pretty much always.

  638. #640 John Morales
    July 13, 2008

    I wonder if I’m the first to congratulate Cuttlefish on another masterpiece?

  639. #641 Dutch Hedrick
    July 13, 2008

    Dan J:

    That’s what I was thinking, too — about the philosophical nature of Platonism. Thanks for your time, however! Goodnight!

  640. #642 truth machine, OM
    July 13, 2008

    (And, truthmachine, I capitalize ‘Truth’ because I mean ultimate Truth, not just a particular portion of truth.

    A stupid, meaningless notion.

    So you see — my capitalizations DO have meaning behind them.

    No, they have retardation behind them.

    You just refuse to acknowledge what I’m communicating with such capitalizations. That however is your decision and has nothing to do with me.)

    What I said was that one doesn’t need “faith” in order not to waste one’s time doing that. So yes, it is my decision and has nothing to do with you, moron.

  641. #643 John Marley
    July 13, 2008

    About xians understanding of belief and the lack thereof:

    (Note: this is an observation from personal experience with a fundie xian family, and may not apply to all fundies, although I suspect that it might)

    An atheist says “I don’t believe in X” and means “I don’t believe X exists”

    My xian relatives say “I don’t believe in X” and mean “I do actually believe X exists, but it is evil/sinful/demonic, so I oppose it”

    So certain commenters here, who have been asked to present evidence for the non-existence of Thor, leprechauns, unicorns, etc, may actually believe those things do exist, and are tools satan uses (or has used in the past) to lure man astray. They don’t understand the concept of non-belief because they really do believe in every crazy notion anyone has ever had.

    Again, this is just my observation of fundies I know personally, and only tentatively ascribe it to all fundies. I have neither the training, time, or funding to research this hypothesis on the general population of fundies.

  642. #644 truth machine, OM
    July 13, 2008

    The student obviously wanted a consecrated wafer because he knew what it means to Catholics. He just did a sloppy job at getting away with it.

    You’re obviously an ignorant jackass who is willfully ignoring the facts of the case, facts that have been discussed in these threads at length.

  643. #645 Ichthyic
    July 13, 2008

    The student obviously wanted a consecrated wafer because he knew what it means to Catholics

    are you denying that he actually had a buddy in the pew that requested the consecrated wafer for viewing?

    because if so, I’m sure the other witnesses, including the priest, never said that person wasn’t there.

    you are making rather grand assumptions about what the student’s intent was.

    all we know is what is presented in the articles, and in those articles, he says he took the cracker to show a friend sitting in the pew, and nobody denies that the “church leader” essentially assaulted him in order to try and get it back.

    that’s why there are counter-claims filed with the relevant UCF organizations.

  644. #646 Tom L
    July 13, 2008

    “If one were to go into a Jewish synagogue an take the Torah from the Ark and try to leave with it, I’m sure someone would make a fuss out of that.”

    I understand what you are saying about depth of feeling, though your analogy fails to take into account that the Catholics are GIVING these things out freely. It’s not at all like stealing the Torah from its Ark. It would be as if at the synagogue they were handing out Xerox copies of their Torah (made using a special kosher Xerox machine) and then sending death threats to the poor schmuck who dog-eared one of the pages so he could study it back at the dorm.

  645. #647 truth machine, OM
    July 13, 2008

    you are making rather grand assumptions about what the student’s intent was.

    What he’s doing is demonstrating that he’s just another vile Catholic. In his first post here he wrote “Way to judge an entire group of people and their beliefs based upon one idiot” … which is not what PZ did, but considering how often a little scratching under the surface reveals people like DH, it’s not all that unreasonable.

  646. #648 Neil Schipper
    July 13, 2008

    truth machine #590:

    But this does not show the sort of causal relationship that jb was claiming between atheism and Stalinism, or Communism. As I said, you’re arguing against a strawman.

    Spinoza and Voltaire challenge Abrahamism ==> atheism gains a foothold in European intellectual life, there is a profound malaise ==> Marx, bolstered by many scientific discoveries in biology and geology, claims a scientific understanding of society, feeds a powerful human urge for an end to pain and sorrow, gains many adherents ==> revolutions are attempted, some succeed ==> Stalinism.

    These are not simple causal relationships of abstract entities. Only a charlatan would make such a claim. But these relationships matter to me. And you trivialize them. Over and over and over.

    E.V. #580:

    How would your genes be threatened from the loss of supernaturalism?

    Roughly speaking, I think the massive loss of mechanisms and rituals that promote positive social interaction and mutual reliance can render societies vulnerable to grandiose ideologies and charismatic saviours whose solutions involve killing fields. (I am not saying that supernaturalism is the only conceivable source of positive social interaction. It doesn’t have an unblemished record, but it has had some darn good moments.)

  647. #649 OctoberMermaid
    July 13, 2008

    #643

    One entire side of my family acts and believes in the exact same way you described. When they say “I don’t believe in…” they mean they don’t approve of.

    They’re always vigilant about “not letting Satan get a foothold.” Apparently Satan loves his footholds and he’s always on the look out for the smallest ones.

  648. #650 sconnor
    July 13, 2008

    Naz, k8, promo, baker, PZ is a fool, Burns, rumrunner, Dobbs, NYTs, KKKAthiest, Andy, CDV, BradJ, Brett, b7, PCD, NVFU, Your daddy, facebock, baker.

    LLLLAAAAAAAHHHHHOOOOOOOOZERS!

    –S.

  649. #651 Dutch Hedrick
    July 13, 2008

    truth machine:

    Well — I believe in omniscience as I just defined it, i.e., being within his Nature. If it weren’t his Nature, then he wouldn’t be God. That is how Jews and Christians both understand God to be, which is what made it different from polytheism.

    Ratzinger explains all this very well in his “Introduction to Christianity” by explaining how humanity’s understanding of “God” has changed through time. (Not that “God” has changed, mind you, but our understanding has.)

    That’s why the Jews were considered “God’s Chosen People” because he chose to reveal these truths about him to them first. That was his way of introducing himself to humanity. Christianity was his way to spread knowledge of him throughout the world.

    Unfortunately, we humans are flawed and have done a bad job of communicating who he is. That’s where the trouble starts. The problem, however, isn’t the message, but the poor quality of the messengers.

  650. #652 Patricia
    July 13, 2008

    #126 – Hank Fox – gawddamit, you owe me three monitor wipes and an ice cold glass of sangria.
    What to do with the holy cracker my ….!
    At least two wine curdling blasphemys come instantly to mind. Dammit, cut that out. ;)

  651. #653 E.V.
    July 13, 2008

    Neil?… Hello?…Neil!
    Did you go away? I was sincerely interested in your exchange with Truth Machine. Remember your premise regarding the loss of supernateralism and the danger to your jeans?
    If you post, I’ll have to read it tomorrow.
    And Truth Machine, Dutch wanted me to remind you not to swallow the Torah, or something like that. He wasn’t exactly clear…

  652. #654 E.V.
    July 13, 2008

    Sorry, Neil, I caught your post after i posted. I’m reading it now.

  653. #655 Feynmaniac
    July 13, 2008

    Neil Schipper #648,
    Spinoza and Voltaire challenge Abrahamism ==> atheism gains a foothold in European intellectual life, there is a profound malaise ==> Marx, bolstered by many scientific discoveries in biology and geology, claims a scientific understanding of society, feeds a powerful human urge for an end to pain and sorrow, gains many adherents ==> revolutions are attempted, some succeed ==> Stalinism.

    Stalinism====> USSR getting Nuclear Missles and confronting JFK====> Oliver Stone makes movie JFK with Kevin Bacon. Yes, made it within 6! Never thought I would play that game starting with Voltaire and Spinoza.

  654. #656 Dutch Hedrick
    July 13, 2008

    Ichthyic:

    I most certainly am NOT denying that he had a friend there. Just because he had a friend there, however, does not prove that his intentions were what he claimed them to be.

    And TruthMachine — your assuming that I was denying the student had a friend there is a grand assumption in itself.

    Let’s look at what PZ said:

    “It makes you look so weak that you have to lie to put up a pretense of popular support, and it makes your side, in this case the fundamentalist Catholics, look like a troop of posturing frauds”

    So 1) the Sock-puppet looks weak because he has to lie, so 2) the Sock-Puppet’s behavior makes the “fundamentalist Catholics” (are there any other kind? If they’re Catholic, they believe the Church’s teachings) look like a “troop of …. frauds.”

    I disagree with PZ. I don’t think the sock-puppet’s actions reflect poorly upon anyone but himself. If PZ believes that the Sock-Puppet’s actions reflect anyone’s but his own, he should say something like, “Well, this was one idiot but he’s not speaking for all Catholics everywhere.”

    Instead, PZ implies that one person’s behavior makes the Catholics look like “frauds.” That’s his value judgment. But PZ’s judgement doesn’t make it objectively true.

  655. #657 Dutch Hedrick
    July 13, 2008

    E.V.:

    Your representations of my arguments only demonstrate how theologically illiterate you are. If you don’t know how the Torah is similar to the Eucharist in that they both represent the Word of God, then there are two explanations:

    1) You do not understand.
    2) You choose not to understand.

    In the first case, you’re simply ignorant. In the second, you’re willfully ignorant. I hope for your sake it’s the first case that’s true and not the second. After all, ignorance can be cured with a little knowledge. When it comes to willful ignorance, however, no amount knowledge could ever cure such a condition.

  656. #658 Patrick Orlob
    July 13, 2008

    PZ, with all this talk of threats to life and limb, perhaps it’s time you invest in one of these to watch over your house.

  657. #659 truth machine, OM
    July 13, 2008

    You don’t have to “swallow crackers” if you do not want to. As the Torah in the Jewish community contains the Word of God, Catholics believe the Eucharist IS the Word of God. If one were to go into a Jewish synagogue an take the Torah from the Ark and try to leave with it, I’m sure someone would make a fuss out of that.

    I carried a Torah around a synagogue when I was 13, but I don’t recall ever eating it, moron. However, had I dropped it, the little old men in their yarmulkes and talises might have reacted as crazily as the Catholic nutcases did to Cook.

    “Making a fuss” is a lovely euphemism for assault and death threats.

  658. #660 Dutch Hedrick
    July 13, 2008

    Tom L:

    I don’t agree with your analogy. Perhaps it is human nature to think that scarcity increases worth and lack of scarcity cheapens, that is not what Catholics believe concerning the Eucharist.

    That is because even when broken, the Eucharist is still One Bread — just as there is only One God. God does not become cheap because he gives himself freely — just as love does not become cheap because one loves more.

    Love is not a commodity to be bought and sold. One should not give God or love attributes that are similar to goods of trade. A different standard must be used.

  659. #661 windy
    July 13, 2008

    Spinoza and Voltaire challenge Abrahamism ==> atheism gains a foothold in European intellectual life, there is a profound malaise ==> Marx, bolstered by many scientific discoveries in biology and geology, claims a scientific understanding of society, feeds a powerful human urge for an end to pain and sorrow, gains many adherents ==> revolutions are attempted, some succeed ==> Stalinism.

    So it’s a bad and dangerous idea to challenge Abrahamism, to make scientific discoveries in biology and geology, or to try to end pain and sorrow?

    *headdesk* *headdesk* *headdesk* *headdesk*

    Webster Cook takes tiny wafer -> Catholics enraged -> PZ writes post -> attracts inanity -> my head hurts. Webster Cook made my head hurt!

    These are not simple causal relationships of abstract entities. Only a charlatan would make such a claim. But these relationships matter to me. And you trivialize them. Over and over and over.

    Care to examine the relationships between Christianity and the Holocaust?

  660. #662 Nibien
    July 13, 2008

    “Awwww–you martyr, you!! lol.lol.lol…”

    I saw this post and just felt it was the pinnacle of JB’s intellectual competence. Thirteen year old AOL users beware.

  661. #663 SC
    July 13, 2008

    jb:How the FUCK do you know what the hell I did or didn’t do, you stupid cunt?!?

    As the first generation in a French-Canadian family not to have her life directly damaged or indirectly ended by the Catholic Church, let me say – KISS MY ATHEIST ASS, you personification of medieval misogyny.

  662. #664 Tom L
    July 13, 2008

    “Roughly speaking, I think the massive loss of mechanisms and rituals that promote positive social interaction and mutual reliance can render societies vulnerable to grandiose ideologies and charismatic saviours whose solutions involve killing fields.”

    Like, say, the streets of Jerusalem in 1099? Or perhaps you mean the World Trade Center, Sept 11, 2001?

    One of the ways to reduce the effect of grandiose ideologies is an ever greater willingness to point and laugh when someone or some idea is obviously batshit crazy.

  663. #665 truth machine, OM
    July 13, 2008

    Well — I believe in omniscience as I just defined it, i.e., being within his Nature

    You mean apparently omnipotence, humpty fucking dumpty, but you don’t get to redefine words willy nilly. You believe in an omniipotent God, only it’s not omnipotent, only you say it is. That’s called lying.

    And TruthMachine — your assuming that I was denying the student had a friend there is a grand assumption in itself.

    The word is “you’re”, and I never said anything about a friend, cretin.

    Instead, PZ implies that one person’s behavior makes the Catholics look like “frauds.”

    This lie has been addressed more than once. He referred to “Catholic fundamentalists”.

    But PZ’s judgement doesn’t make it objectively true.

    Duh. But neither is your disagreement. Nor anything else you have to say, although much of it is objectively false. Unlike you, PZ is reasoned, informed, and intelligent.

  664. #666 Dutch Hedrick
    July 13, 2008

    TruthMachine:

    You seem to be trying to make me argue in favor of justifying those who would “assault and make death threats.” Nice try, but I can’t bring myself to do so for some reason.

    I understand that Jews and Catholics don’t see the Eucharist in the same way. I actually have more Jewish friends than Christian — living in a very secular environment as I do — and we’ve had this discussion several times. It’s difficult for them to understand because they don’t believe Jesus was Christ. Therefore, I wouldn’t expect them to believe that the Eucharist is the Word of God.

    To Catholics, the Eucharist is the Word of God because it is Christ. That’s why we have a tabernacle in place of the Ark, and that’s where the Eucharist is taken at the end of Communion.

    For some reason, my Jewish friends have been able to listen to me explain this to them without calling me names. I don’t understand why you find it necessary to.

  665. #667 SteveC
    July 13, 2008

    Dutch @ 601: “Because my belief is in a God that is perfect Truth (rational) and perfect Love. It would not be truthful or loving to deceive. If it is not perfectly true or perfectly loving at once, then it cannot be God and should not be worshiped as God.”

    2nd Thessalonians 2:11 ” And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:”

    So clearly, the God of the Bible is not the real God. Glad you could clear that up for us, Dutch.

  666. #668 Damian
    July 13, 2008

    Dutch Hedrick:

    I think that you have misunderstood. PZ is saying that the sockpuppet, using so many different pseudonyms, made it look as though there were many Catholics who were behaving poorly.

    While I certainly wouldn’t have thought that it was indicative of all Catholics, it certainly doesn’t reflect well. That was PZ’s point.

  667. #669 Tom L
    July 13, 2008

    “One should not give God or love attributes that are similar to goods of trade.”

    I could not agree more.

  668. #670 Michael
    July 13, 2008

    Care to examine the relationships between Christianity and the Holocaust?

    There is no pattern between the two, it’s just a political correct way of using certain labels to degrade another belief…The core base of Christianity is found only in the Bible, and there is no teaching that is similar to that of the holocaust for Christians to follow, unlike other religions such as Islam which states…

    “And slay them (the infidels) wherever you catch them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out, for tumult and oppression are worse than slaughter” –Quran Sura 2:191

  669. #671 truth machine, OM
    July 13, 2008

    atheism gains a foothold in European intellectual life, there is a profound malaise ==> Marx,

    What part of “The point of the analogy was that Stalinism has a historical connection to atheism, but not vice versa” are you too stupid to understand, Neil? Even if you want to blame Marxism on atheism, that has nothing to do with us disbelievers.

  670. #672 Dutch Hedrick
    July 13, 2008

    “You mean apparently omnipotence, humpty fucking dumpty, but you don’t get to redefine words willy nilly. You believe in an omniipotent God, only it’s not omnipotent, only you say it is. That’s called lying.”

    I’m not “redefining” words. I’m using the words as they were originally intended to be used. It’s Protestants protesting Catholicism and secular atheists who — over hundreds of years — have been doing the redefining. If you go back to the early theological writings you will see that omnipotences and omniscience as I used them are ideas that go back hundreds of years.

    Just because you guys wanted to re-write Webster’s doesn’t mean that should be any reflection upon me. That’s why Catholicism continues to use Latin. As G.K. Chesterton put it: “It’s the difference between a so-called dead language [Latin] and a dying language [English].” Or a deteriorating language to be more accurate.

    At least the Latin meanings never change.

  671. #673 RamblinDude
    July 13, 2008

    Cuttlefish! Good to see you again.

  672. #674 E.V.
    July 13, 2008

    Neil, I’m not sure I can follow your premise. As a species, it is doubtful we will ever lose our irrationality and tast for formalized superstition, though we are witnessing a modern conglomerization of religion/celebrity/politicians as ideological totems as well as bastardized cafeteria-style dogma. If mass education results in the loss of supernaturalism, then the ability to introduce the great unwashed to higher levels of reason and logic is dependent on our ability to maintain our current levels of civilization. Any major catastrophes and loss of technology will send us scurrying back to the dark ages in more ways than one. And once again their will be a struggle to extricate ourselves from mystycism and dogma. I say “ourselves”, there will always be a large contingency of people who follow religions (whether Abrahamic religions survive intact is speculative) despite the irrationality of it. As long as there is poverty, ignorance, university sanctioned theological study and people who isolate themselves ideologically – you guessed it.
    We are near to an equalibrium where we, as a species, will soon (decades?) face major ecological/meteorological crises that will hinder any major leaps forward for a time. We’ve piled the sand just so high and it will collapse and then eventually it will rise slowly again.
    Damn, now I sound like a apocalyptic doomsayer. I’m going to bed now.

  673. #675 Dutch Hedrick
    July 13, 2008

    SteveC:

    Now put that quote into context.

  674. #676 BGT
    July 13, 2008

    happy whistling, cane pole over shoulder, walking to riverbank:

    short time later…

    sitting on river bank, adjusts float to about 18 inches, clamps lead weight near hook, takes consecrated host and attaches to hook….

    swings line into river, and waits for float to bob…..

  675. #677 Brandon
    July 13, 2008

    Hello Professor Myers,

    My apologies regarding the Catholic League: They’re a bit hot under the collar for me. Everything seems to set him off to the point where it’s hard to take him seriously even when there’s a valid argument.

    In either case, I’m a Catholic that is respectfully asking you to respect our belief and leave us alone. We believe that piece of bread becomes the Body and Blood of Christ. If you don’t believe it, fine, but let us be.

    Some folks are calling each other idiots and whatnot, making widespread generalizations. I try not to do that.

    Honestly, I don’t care what your reasons are for wanting to take the most sacred thing to me and “play” with it. I don’t want to debate you on any point, much less argue. I don’t want to suggest that you shouldn’t say whatever you want regarding the Catholic faith, or any faith. I just ask that you please give me a little respect and let me have what is sacred to me.

    I don’t know what item in this world you consider the most sacred, special, or meaningful, but I promise you that if you ever feel threaten that I will do something to it, I’ll take back whatever action and apologize.

    Thanks in advance,
    Brandon Kraft
    A Catholic from The University of Texas at Austin

    P.S. I do apologize that a vocal section of Catholics aren’t being very nice right now. Not cool.

  676. #678 BGT
    July 13, 2008

    troll fishin….

  677. #679 truth machine, OM
    July 13, 2008

    “Care to examine the relationships between Christianity and the Holocaust?”

    There is no pattern between the two

    That wasn’t the question. Would you care to discuss, say, the role of the myths that Jews killed Christ and that they drank the blood of Christian infants?

  678. #680 truth machine, OM
    July 13, 2008

    In either case, I’m a Catholic that is respectfully asking you to respect our belief and leave us alone. We believe that piece of bread becomes the Body and Blood of Christ. If you don’t believe it, fine, but let us be.

    Why should he?

    I just ask that you please give me a little respect and let me have what is sacred to me.

    Why should anyone respect foolishness?

  679. #681 Dutch Hedrick
    July 13, 2008

    SteveC:

    Clever how you changed one word when quoting scripture — from “may” to “should.”

    It makes a big difference. The difference is that between me saying, “You may eat pudding,” and “You should eat pudding.”

    I’m sure you can work that difference out yourself.

  680. #682 PAK
    July 13, 2008

    Alright everyone,
    I’m an honest-to-God (no pun intended) Catholic, and am not a sock puppet (you can verify my IP and check). I’m an avid scienceblogs reader, and have been a reader of Pharyngula for a few months now.

    A few people have commented that there have been no Catholics that have come forward to denounce the actions of Donahue and others who have called for or issued death threats (either directly or indirectly) against PZ and Cook.

    I’d like to do so now – it’s abhorrent behavior. It might have been appropriate for them to ask Cook to leave the church and to not allow him back, but that’s it. Physical violence and death threats were not warranted and are frankly ridiculous.

    On Donahue, there is a relatively small minority of American Catholics who are members of his Catholic League (about 0.3%), and the organization has no official standing with the Church, although it has received endorsement from several prominent American Archbishops (surprisingly enough, some of the same bishops accused of covering up sex scandals). He isn’t even well liked among Catholics, and his League’s own newsletter publishes a “Hatemail” section which includes letters from Catholics who claim they decided to leave the Church after seeing Donohue speak.

    This isn’t the first time Donahue has issued threats, and it won’t be the last. Bill Maher hasn’t been attacked yet, and Donahue’s been doing this sort of thing to him for years, so I think PZ’s going to be safe.

    Donahue’s a windbag and a publicity whore, nothing more.

  681. #683 BGT
    July 13, 2008

    Damnit Brandon@677, get back in the water, you aren’t a troll!

    Or at least a very tiny one. I respect your not wanting to push your faith on the rest of us, and apparently asking for the ability to practice your faith with your own group, without pushing it on others.

    Go in peace.

  682. #684 BGT
    July 13, 2008

    Damnit, I go troll fishing and keep getting the little ones.

    PAK, thank you for your post, and this comes from an ex-Catholic.

    Go in peace.

  683. #685 SC
    July 13, 2008

    Atheism and communism are related by their connection with human beliefs about people and the good life.

    The fuck you say. You insist on ignorantly confusing communism with (state-)Communism. And you’re evidently unfamiliar with anarchism or anarcho-communism (ever heard “No gods, No masters”?). Two books by Peter Kropotkin:

    http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/4341

    http://dwardmac.pitzer.edu/Anarchist_archives/kropotkin/ethics/toc.html

  684. #686 Dutch Hedrick
    July 13, 2008

    I agree that William Donohue is a “windbag” and he makes Catholics look bad. Hopefully, for every Donohue there is out there, there’s a faithful Catholic such as Stephen Colbert out there as well who can present the best of us.

    One can only hope.

  685. #688 truth machine, OM
    July 13, 2008

    I’m not “redefining” words. I’m using the words as they were originally intended to be used. It’s Protestants protesting Catholicism and secular atheists who — over hundreds of years — have been doing the redefining. If you go back to the early theological writings you will see that omnipotences and omniscience as I used them are ideas that go back hundreds of years.

    Just because you guys wanted to re-write Webster’s doesn’t mean that should be any reflection upon me.

    You’re a dishonest fool. “omnipotence” means unlimited power. The history of scholastic sophistry of carving exceptions out of omnipotence, back at least to Aquinas, in order to protect the claim that God has it is thoroughly dishonest — the essential nature of religious thought.

    Here’s a clue for you: every one of your posts just further confirms the negative views of the religious among those who aren’t.

  686. #689 windy
    July 13, 2008

    Care to examine the relationships between Christianity and the Holocaust?
    There is no pattern between the two, it’s just a political correct way of using certain labels to degrade another belief…

    Michael, that was a bit dishonest, you cut my question out of context. Which is more far fetched: a connection between Spinoza and Stalin or a connection between Christianity and the Holocaust?

  687. #690 SC
    July 13, 2008

    So you see — my capitalizations DO have meaning behind them.

    No, they have retardation behind them.

    You’re no slouch yourself, tm :).

  688. #691 Dutch Hedrick
    July 13, 2008

    “Truth” Machine:

    “You’re a dishonest fool. “omnipotence” means unlimited power. The history of scholastic sophistry of carving exceptions out of omnipotence, back at least to Aquinas, in order to protect the claim that God has it is thoroughly dishonest — the essential nature of religious thought.”

    Omnipotence means unlimited power, yes, but it does NOT mean that power will be used contrary to one’s nature! God is not evil. God is Good. Evil does not come from God. It comes from TURNING AWAY FROM GOD!

    To say that God cannot turn away from himself is absurd! That’s like saying YOU can’t turn away from yourself or leave yourself. God is what he is. God cannot be not-God. This is because God is God.

    I don’t know what more I can do to explain this. But at least because you cannot grasp this I won’t resort to calling you a “fool”.

    Your insulting attitude and unwillingness to represent my arguments as I present them lend one to believe that it is YOU who is either dishonest or foolish.

    I offer you a clue in return: Your lack of civility demonstrates the negative views theist have of atheists. Keep on posting. You’re giving us more positive proof of why people need God in their lives!

  689. #692 truth machine, OM
    July 13, 2008

    Clever how you changed one word when quoting scripture — from “may” to “should.”

    Fuck but you’re dumb. There isn’t just one scripture, and googling that phrase brings up things like
    http://bible.cc/2_thessalonians/2-11.htm

    And it doesn’t matter in that context whether it’s “should” or “may”, as it isn’t normative; it means “will result in”.

  690. #693 Dutch Hedrick
    July 13, 2008

    “Truth” Machine (machine — as in operating mechanically without a soul?):

    OH! So are you trying to get me to argue for translations of the Bible which aren’t approved by the Catholic Church? Well, I hate to disappoint you because I’m not going to do it.

    I don’t acknowledge translations as being legit unless the Church approves — and even then I’d say it’s better to go back to the Latin or Greek.

  691. #694 truth machine, OM
    July 13, 2008

    BTW, google yields only one reference to “And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they may believe a lie”: http://mysticsaint.blogspot.com/2006/01/letter-of-malcolm-x-from-mecca.html

    So it seems that it’s you who are “cleverly” changing one word of scripture, asswipe.

  692. #695 Dutch Hedrick
    July 13, 2008

    http://www.usccb.org/nab/bible/2thessalonians/2thessalonians2.htm

    Look it up. And I will go ahead and say in advanced: “I accept your apology.”

  693. #696 Kobra
    July 13, 2008

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2008/07/fyi.php#comment-980609

    Come on! I wrote this several hours ago and you self-righteous Catholics are just ignoring it. Make this discussion a challenge!

  694. #697 Dutch Hedrick
    July 13, 2008

    Malcolm X: Good Catholic, I’m sure, but I won’t be defending his translations either. Nice try. Play again.

  695. #698 truth machine, OM
    July 13, 2008

    I don’t acknowledge translations as being legit unless the Church approves — and even then I’d say it’s better to go back to the Latin or Greek.

    You are beyond stupid and dishonest. The page I gave quoted the ISV the KJB, and a dozen other bibles.

    Again, every one of your posts just further confirms the negative views of the religious among those who aren’t. Your turnaround is irrelevant, if for no other reason than that this is not a theist’s site.

  696. #699 Neural T
    July 13, 2008

    Brandon Kraft:

    Again, why don’t you respect Hindus by not eating beef? Do you realize that you offend Jains whenever you kill a bug in your house?

    Why should we genuflect to lunacy?

  697. #700 SC
    July 13, 2008

    I don’t want to debate you on any point, much less argue. I don’t want to suggest that you shouldn’t say whatever you want regarding the Catholic faith, or any faith. I just ask that you please give me a little respect and let me have what is sacred to me.

    Sorry. Adults don’t get to have sacredity blankets. Grow up and get over it (and stop supporting an institution that oppresses and kills people, while you’re at it).

  698. #701 Ichthyic
    July 13, 2008

    I don’t acknowledge translations as being legit unless the Church approves

    what is this?

    night of the endless circular reasoning zombies?

  699. #702 Geoff
    July 13, 2008

    Your lack of civility demonstrates the negative views theist have of atheists.

    You mean as opposed to getting death threats for not eating a cracker?

  700. #703 God
    July 13, 2008

    Omnipotence means unlimited power, yes, but it does NOT mean that power will be used contrary to one’s nature! God is not evil. God is Good. Evil does not come from God. It comes from TURNING AWAY FROM GOD!

    To say that God cannot turn away from himself is absurd! That’s like saying YOU can’t turn away from yourself or leave yourself. God is what he is. God cannot be not-God. This is because God is God.

    Now I know that you’re going to be a great theologian, because that is the most awesomely incoherent description of My eternal and transcendent nature.

    God job, there.

  701. #704 truth machine, OM
    July 13, 2008

    Look it up. And I will go ahead and say in advanced: “I accept your apology.”

    You stupid fucking asshole, SteveC gave a quote using language which appears in numerous versions of the bible, but you accused him of changing a word — but that change doesn’t even change the meaning — it’s not about permission, but you’re too stupid or dishonest to comprehend that. And you blathered about Greek and Latin, but didn’t offer any to refute SteveC. You owe the universe an apology for being such a foul dishonest piece of shit.

  702. #705 Kobra
    July 13, 2008

    Just one thing to add to what #703 said:

    “God is what he is. God cannot be not-God. This is because God is God.”

    What the fuck? You call that an argument?

  703. #706 Dutch Hedrick
    July 13, 2008

    Kobra:

    I ran through many of those supposed “death threats” and I could barely find anything that could be considered to be legitimate treats.

    I remember when I put a pro-life bumper sticker on my car, my friends were telling me, “You’d better expect to get your tires slashed.” I didn’t, however, assume that they were “threatening” me with destroying my property.

    Of all those emails, only one or two could be seen as threatening in any way, but hardly anything to be concerned about. Only something like, “Better not go to Florida,” or “I’ve got 4 guns. Liberals like you probably have none.”

    For me, even this is over the line. If I were PZ Myers, however, I wouldn’t take them seriously.

    Like I said before, if you guys want me to defend “death threats,” I’m not going to do it. However, I think if Myers wants us to take him seriously when he’s asserting that his life is being threatened, he’s going to have to show me something more than what he did.

    A bunch of people saying that they’re praying for him hardly seems threatening to me.

  704. #707 truth machine, OM
    July 13, 2008

    What the fuck? You call that an argument?

    It’s what passes for an argument in the pus-filled cavity in his head.

  705. #708 Kobra
    July 13, 2008

    #706:
    I disagree, but let’s not split hairs. DON’T CHANGE THE SUBJECT.

    I paraphrased business laws in my posts, and not ONE Catholic has challenged it yet. I demand that someone (not necessarily you, mind) justifies their claim that Mr. Cook is a “thief” by addressing my post.

  706. #709 Dutch Hedrick
    July 13, 2008

    SteveC:

    I apologize for accusing YOU of changing the line in the Bible. I should have realized that it was a bad translation that you were using against us.

    In the future, when challenging Catholics on their beliefs, I suggest you stick to Bibles that Catholics recognize as being legitimate. It would save a lot of confusion.

    Happy now, “Truth” Machine?

  707. #710 Casey
    July 13, 2008

    Well, PZ, it’s also possible that it’s not sock puppetry at work here, but a person with a true psychological disturbance of multiple personality disorder.

    Really, is it so difficult to believe that such a person would find a comfy home with the Catholic League folks?

  708. #711 truth machine, OM
    July 13, 2008

    Happy now, “Truth” Machine?

    No, asshole, it’s beyond the point where anything you could do would make me happy.

  709. #712 Kobra
    July 13, 2008

    #708:

    Correction: Business/property laws.

  710. #713 Dutch Hedrick
    July 13, 2008

    Kobra:

    Oh! You’re arguing that the Catholic Church is a business! I see. Funny. I always thought it was a religion. Also, was there any legal tender exchanged for the Eucharist? If so, perhaps Mr. Cook should bring his receipt with him to court.

    It would help his case tremendously.

  711. #714 Kobra
    July 13, 2008

    #713:

    I would recommend refreshing to check for corrections. It doesn’t have to concern “legal tender” to be a “transaction.” Technically, borrowing a cup of sugar is a “transaction.” My point stands. Focus.

  712. #715 Kobra
    July 13, 2008

    If so, perhaps Mr. Cook should bring his receipt with him to court.

    It would help his case tremendously.

    Possession is 9/10 of the law. If he has the Eucharist in his possession and the Cult Church had no evidence that the particular piece of dough was theirs, it would be thrown out.

  713. #716 Owlmirror
    July 13, 2008

    Cuttlefish, OM @#619.

    *Jaw dropped.*

    MADE OF WIN!

  714. #717 truth machine, OM
    July 13, 2008

    And BTW, it’s not a “bad” translation, and it doesn’t matter which word you use, the point is the same — a point you evaded, fuckhead. As the New American Standard Bible says, “For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false”. The Bible in Basic English says “And for this cause, God will give them up to the power of deceit and they will put their faith in what is false”. It is your interpretation of clause that is bad.

  715. #718 SC
    July 13, 2008

    “God is what he is. God cannot be not-God. This is because God is God.”

    Jesus loves me, this I know
    for the Bible tells me so…

    “death threats,”

    I’ll pray for you. I mean that.

  716. #719 Dutch Hedrick
    July 13, 2008

    Truth Machine:

    That’s funny. I thought atheism was supposed to make civilization more — civilized. You seem to be getting progressively uncivilized when addressing me.

    Kind of blows that whole crazy-religious-people-are-the-source-of-all-aggression argument, doesn’t it?

  717. #720 SteveC
    July 13, 2008

    Dutch: I didn’t change anything.

    http://bible.cc/2_thessalonians/2-11.htm.may

    You have picked one particular translation which fits your agenda.

    Context?

    Ok, what exactly is the context that makes it ok for God, who never lies, to lie?

  718. #721 truth machine, OM
    July 13, 2008

    I thought atheism was supposed to make civilization more — civilized.

    You think a lot of things that are false, asshole.

    You seem to be getting progressively uncivilized when addressing me.

    I despise liars.

    Kind of blows that whole crazy-religious-people-are-the-source-of-all-aggression argument, doesn’t it?

    There is no such argument, asshole.

  719. #722 Kobra
    July 13, 2008

    #719:

    Ad hominem. Address the issues.

    http://www.johntreed.com/debate.html

  720. #723 Dutch Hedrick
    July 13, 2008

    SteveC:

    I picked the one particular translation endorsed by the American Catholic Bishops. If that happens to “fit my agenda,” then I guess it’s just a co-incidence.

    I’m sure that if you try to disprove my faith through more scripture using that version, you’ll find the same is true.

  721. #724 PAK
    July 13, 2008

    Kobra,
    I read your previous post. Mr. Cook has committed no crime, so there isn’t much to say. The church is within its rights to ask Mr. Cook to leave and not return. That’s about it. He was given the Eucharist, and while it is expected of Catholics that it is immediately consumed, he’s well within his rights not too. While it is asked that only Catholics receive Communion, there is no announcement to this effect, nor is it effectively communicated to visitors – only printed in the back of the hymnals. From reading details of his story, it seems like an honest mistake, and this whole thing has blown out of proportion because of some angry parishioners at the UCF church and idiots like Donahue.

    If it wasn’t innocent and there is someone legitimately trying to disrupt a service, that wouldn’t even really bother me – it shouldn’t be an issue as a church is private property, and they can disallow anyone they choose from attending (although, I believe I read somewhere that this particular church is on UCF property? If that’s the case, I disagree with more than just some of the response to this, as there should never be a church on public property… but that’s a different issue).

  722. #725 Kobra
    July 13, 2008

    #723: What do you call this endorsed translation?

  723. #726 Kobra
    July 13, 2008

    #724:

    Cool. A person capable of rational thought.

    That satisfies my criteria, but I was kinda hoping one of the batshit-insane guys would try to argue this point. Oh well. Thanks for making my day.

  724. #727 Ichthyic
    July 13, 2008

    Oh! You’re arguing that the Catholic Church is a business! I see. Funny. I always thought it was a religion

    well, see that’s where you keep getting all these things called “definitions” wrong.

    see, the Church IS a business (at least in this country), a non-profit 501c3.

    Catholicism is a religion.

    Or was that a freudian slip on your part to call the church itself a religion?

    dangerously close to heresy.

    btw, you’re a worse apologist than Phil Spaz, and that’s saying something!

  725. #728 truth machine, OM
    July 13, 2008

    I picked the one particular translation endorsed by the American Catholic Bishops

    Which version contradicts you just as well as any other, asswipe. “God is sending them a deceiving power”, you piece of garbage.

  726. #729 speedwell
    July 13, 2008

    D. Cuttlefish: That one was extremely pleasant to read out loud to my fiancé, and we enjoyed it very much, thanks!!

  727. #730 Feynmaniac
    July 13, 2008

    Dutch this is from the Vatican’s own website,

    “Therefore, God is sending them a deceiving power so that they may believe the lie, ”

    http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0839/__P10W.HTM

  728. #731 Dutch Hedrick
    July 13, 2008

    Oh really? Because THAT’S the argument all your heroes seem to make in favor of atheism. So I guess those are false also. I guess that means YOU GUYS believe a lot of things that are false.

    BTW — you Bible quoting also nicely avoided the one I acknowledge as being legitimate. There’s a big difference, as I said before, in saying, “You MAY eat pudding,” and “You WILL eat pudding.”

    To say that “may” means “will” does not hold up. This is a point you keep evading, so it seems.

  729. #732 SC
    July 13, 2008

    Oh! You’re arguing that the Catholic Church is a business! I see. Funny. I always thought it was a religion.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/7558375/

  730. #733 Dutch Hedrick
    July 13, 2008

    Just because God gives us the ability to turn from him doesn’t mean that’s what we SHOULD do. Free will and all that.

  731. #734 Kobra
    July 13, 2008

    #731: You’re splitting hairs and ignoring posts. Please take the time to address all of the posts that were addressed to you. Thanks.

  732. #735 Owlmirror
    July 13, 2008

    There’s an interesting cross reference at the bible.cc site. Let’s see, what does the “approved” translation say?

    1 Kings : Chapter 22 : Verse 23:
    “So now, the LORD has put a lying spirit in the mouths of all these prophets of yours, but the LORD himself has decreed evil against you.”

    Well, alrighty then. Obviously God wouldn’t deceive anyone just because he would put a lying spirit in the mouths of prophets. Nosiree, no deceiving going on there…

    Say, how about this line:

    Judges : Chapter 1 : Verse 19
    Since the LORD was with Judah, he gained possession of the mountain region. Yet he could not dislodge those who lived on the plain, because they had iron chariots.

    Real omnipotent God, there…

  733. #736 MikeM
    July 13, 2008

    I guess I’m guilty, too.

    In the name of humor, I posted as Phil Gramm. One time.

    Take it down if you want.

  734. #737 MikeM
    July 13, 2008

    Disregard that; I suck cocks.

    (Sorry, I just had to do it. This is Kobra.)

  735. #738 truth machine, OM
    July 13, 2008

    Because THAT’S the argument all your heroes seem to make in favor of atheism.

    You’re lying again.

    There’s a big difference, as I said before, in saying, “You MAY eat pudding,” and “You WILL eat pudding.”

    As I said, you dishonest asshole, that’s not what it means in this context.

    To say that “may” means “will” does not hold up.

    Looking at the other translations makes it clear that it does, asswipe.

    This is a point you keep evading, so it seems.

    You’re lying again.

    In any case, the may/should/will distinction is irrelevant. That I don’t believe you, George Bush, and other liars doesn’t mean you aren’t deceptive. From your precious fucking approved translation: “God is sending them a deceiving power”. EVERYONE here can clearly see that you’re the evader.

  736. #739 Dutch Hedrick
    July 13, 2008

    Kobra:

    Are you trying to equate the buying and selling of property to the distribution of Communion? It doesn’t work because the Eucharist is NOT property. We Catholics never claimed it to be property. We claim it to be God.

    That is our CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT under the first amendment. If you want to start writing laws that determine our theology, you’re going to have to change the Constitution first. (There’s another “meaninglessly capitalized letter for you, TruthMachine.)

    We have the right to worship as we see fit. You cannot write laws changing this without re-writing the Constitution.

    I suggest you guys pool your resources and work on that if you ever want to get somewhere.

  737. #740 Kobra
    July 13, 2008

    #739: Regardless of what you Catholics consider the Eucharist (and the law will disagree if the Church presses charges), Mr. Cook did not commit theft by walking away with the wafer. That is my point.

  738. #741 truth machine, OM
    July 13, 2008

    Just because God gives us the ability to turn from him doesn’t mean that’s what we SHOULD do. Free will and all that.

    That’s not the point, you lying piece of evading shit. According to your fucking precious bible translation, God set out to DECEIVE, whether or not anyone was deceived.

  739. #742 SC
    July 13, 2008

    Free will and all that.

    Ha! You didn’t capitalize “will”! The sentence is meaningless!

  740. #743 God
    July 13, 2008

    1 Kings : Chapter 22 : Verse 23:
    “So now, the LORD has put a lying spirit in the mouths of all these prophets of yours, but the LORD himself has decreed evil against you.”

    Actually, I told both sides of that particular argument that I had sent a lying spirit to the other, then watched how it played out.

    Funny!

  741. #744 truth machine, OM
    July 13, 2008

    There’s another “meaninglessly capitalized letter for you, TruthMachine

    It’s a proper noun, moron.

  742. #745 Kobra
    July 13, 2008

    #743:

    You cunning bastard.

    I must learn from you, oh master of dickery!

  743. #746 Ichthyic
    July 13, 2008

    It doesn’t work because the Eucharist is NOT property.

    which is why stealing one is not a crime, right?

    when, exactly, does the Eucharist become NOT property, such that a Catholic Church leader doesn’t feel obligated to assault someone in order to retrieve it?

    which way do you want it?

  744. #747 Dutch Hedrick
    July 13, 2008

    Truth Machine:

    Just because you don’t have the ability, it seems, to comprehend the Truth does NOT mean I’m lying. It’s an argument Christopher Hitchens constantly makes.

    And your understanding of how to interpret Scripture shows you have a profound ignorance of the history of the Church and other Christian denominations.

    There are several different translations for the same reason there’s several different denominations. Don’t give me a damned Protestant translation and expect me to justify it. I won’t. I’ll justify the translation approved by the Catholic Church because I’m CATHOLIC! Why do you fail to understand this?

    You seem intelligent. You CAN NOT be that dense that you do not understand this. There must be some other explanation.

    Could it be that YOU’RE the liar? You seem to be hitting that ball into my court so much that one suspects you’re trying to distract us from your own deceptions.

  745. #748 Bride of Shrek OM
    July 13, 2008

    “”God is what he is. God cannot be not-God. This is because God is God.”

    … and that there folks, after reading six and and half odd thousand posts, is the quote that finally did my head in.

  746. #749 Kobra
    July 13, 2008

    #747:

    Who’s Christopher Hitchens?

  747. #750 truth machine, OM
    July 13, 2008

    We claim it to be God.
    That is our CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT under the first amendment.

    One of the dumbest strawmen seen.

  748. #751 Ichthyic
    July 13, 2008

    You cannot write laws changing this without re-writing the Constitution.

    indeed.

    so why are the religious, like a former republican nominee for president who shall go nameless, trying to ammend the constitution in order to establish religion as law?

    funny, but I can’t recall anyone here, or any atheist EVER for that matter, suggesting we remove the freedom of speech clause from the constitution.

    you have a very large fantasy world.

  749. #752 Kobra
    July 13, 2008

    #748: I assure you: We all know your pain.

    #750: Isn’t it?

  750. #753 Siddharth
    July 13, 2008

    It doesn’t work because the Eucharist is NOT property. We Catholics never claimed it to be property. We claim it to be God.

    Except that it’s not. It’s just a piece of cracker. If you believe that it’s god, then you are deluded. There’s absolutely no difference between a normal cracker and the ‘consecrated’ one.

  751. #754 SC
    July 13, 2008

    I suggest you guys…

    Who gives a pillar of saltines what you suggest?

  752. #755 Dutch Hedrick
    July 13, 2008

    Here’s the explanation of that passage from 1 Kings according to the NAB:

    “The prophet Micaiah uses as a last resort to deter Ahab from his foolhardy design of fighting against Ramoth-gilead the literary device of describing false prophets as messengers of a lying spirit which God, after holding counsel with his angels, permits to deceive them.”

    Unlike many Protestants, Catholics are not literalists when it comes to the Bible.

  753. #756 Kobra
    July 13, 2008

    #751:

    Ichthyic, my fishy friend, was that last sentence inspired by Captain Obvious? On the other hand…

    “you have a very large fantasy world.”

    … the more I think about it, the more I realize that my fantasy world (D&D) is larger, but I’m not stupid enough to confuse it with reality.
    :P

  754. #757 truth machine, OM
    July 13, 2008

    Just because you don’t have the ability, it seems, to comprehend the Truth does NOT mean I’m lying. It’s an argument Christopher Hitchens constantly makes.

    Christopher Hitchens is not “all your heroes”, you lying piece of garbage; in fact he’s none of my heroes. And without you actually quoting him, your claim that he has made that argument is dubious, especially given how demonstrably stupid you are and quick to misinterpret arguments.

    There are several different translations for the same reason there’s several different denominations

    Continuing to evade, you foul piece of shit. As I noted repeatedly, your own approved version contradicts you. pus brain.

  755. #758 PAK
    July 13, 2008

    #751 – Huckabee is frightening. When even Donahue is disturbed by how far you’re going, you’ve crossed that threshold from evangelical to radical fundamentalist.

  756. #759 Dutch Hedrick
    July 13, 2008

    Bride of Shrek:

    That’s what comes from trying to explain theology to someone who refuses to think on a level higher than that of a child. Still, it has not been without amusement on my part.

  757. #760 Kobra
    July 13, 2008

    #755:

    You’d be hard-pressed to that that fallacious work of fiction literally. (Yet some people still do.)

  758. #761 Ichthyic
    July 13, 2008

    Catholics are not literalists when it comes to the Bible

    …just when it comes to magic biscuits.

    LOL

    at least you’re semi-entertaining.

  759. #762 Wowbagger
    July 13, 2008

    Dutch Hedrick wrote:

    The prophet Micaiah uses as a last resort to deter Ahab from his foolhardy design

    I’m confused. Is this from the bible or Moby-Dick?

  760. #763 Owlmirror
    July 13, 2008

    Are you trying to equate the buying and selling of property to the distribution of Communion? It doesn’t work because the Eucharist is NOT property. We Catholics never claimed it to be property. We claim it to be God.

    Well, you claim the substance to be God. Yet the accidents that lead to that must still be harvested, milled, baked, and transported, so all of that must be paid for and must be someone’s property, at some point.

    However, the accidents are then given away. Whee!

    I think Cook would be within his rights to assert that he took the accidents, and that the substance of God must have remained in church, where it belonged. What, are you going to disprove that?

  761. #764 386sx
    July 13, 2008

    Just because God gives us the ability to turn from him doesn’t mean that’s what we SHOULD do.

    Yeah but that’s a faith. You’re making it sound like you know what you’re talking about. But you don’t know what you’re talking about. You “believe” what you’re talking about.

    But you keep going on and on like you know what you’re talking about. This is a sure sign of kookiness. Sorry!

  762. #765 MacDhai
    July 13, 2008

    735 posts! Apparently there are a lot of angry catholics! We’ve got ourselves a bit of a donnybrook here!

  763. #766 truth machine, OM
    July 13, 2008

    Catholics are not literalists when it comes to the Bible.

    The ultimate evasion. But at least we all, even the NAB, agree that the passage means that God deceives, you stupid fucking piece of lying corrupt foul garbage.

  764. #767 Kobra
    July 13, 2008

    #763:

    Of COURSE! Fight fire with fire!

  765. #768 Dutch Hedrick
    July 13, 2008

    Ichthyic:

    I thought I mentioned it before: The Eucharist is God and God is not property.

    I know you have a hard time grasping the concept of God so you would therefore not know why God is not to be considered property. I suggest you go and pray on it before going to sleep tonight. It may come to you eventually.

    As far as our literal interpretation, just go to John, Chapter Six. Jesus never insists he’s not being literal when he speaks of eating his flesh. The Jews he’s talking to assume he’s being literal, but Jesus never says, “No! You misunderstand me! I wasn’t being literal! Come back! Let me explain…”

    No. He let them go. He didn’t argue he wasn’t being literal because he was being literal. See? Simple.

  766. #769 SC
    July 13, 2008

    Unlike many Protestants, Catholics are not literalists when it comes to the Bible.

    You’ve been freewheeling in your interpretation of the arguments here as well. Consistent, at least.

    BoS: I send you a virtual excedrin.

  767. #770 Geoff
    July 13, 2008

    Cuttlefish: You rock! Amazing. Thanks!

  768. #771 Ichthyic
    July 13, 2008

    Is this from the bible or Moby-Dick?

    Call me Ishmael, but I rather think our resident religious apologists are indeed chasing a rather large white whale.

    “All that most maddens and torments; all that stirs up the lees of things; all truth with malice in it; all that cracks the sinews and cakes the brain; all the subtle demonisms of life and thought; all evil, to crazy Ahab, were visibly personified, and made practically assailable in Moby Dick. He piled upon the whale’s white hump the sum of all the general rage and hate felt by his whole race from Adam down; and then, as if his chest had been a mortar, he burst his hot heart’s shell upon it.”

  769. #772 Dutch Hedrick
    July 13, 2008

    Truth machine:

    hahaha! You — calling ME foul-mouthed! [more laughing]

  770. #773 Kobra
    July 13, 2008

    #768:
    “I thought I mentioned it before: The Eucharist is God and God is not property.”

    Let’s stop assuming God exists for a second, for the sake of showing you what my point is:

    A man hands you a piece of bread. Or a sammich. Most people (especially hungry people) eat it there, but one person decides to pocket it and walk away. Is he stealing? No.

    Therefore, he is not a thief. Fuck what the Church thinks; I’m talking legally.

  771. #774 Siddharth
    July 13, 2008

    I thought I mentioned it before: The Eucharist is God and God is not property.

    And I thought I mentioned it before, it’s not. It’s only a piece of cracker.

    Just because you assert something as true, it doesn’t mean that it’s true. Even a child can understand that.

    To think you are mocking the intelligence of a child …

  772. #775 God
    July 13, 2008

    Don’t give me a damned Protestant translation

    I love religious conflict. Keep it up!

  773. #776 Kobra
    July 13, 2008

    #775: Are you by any chance related to Sarda? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/8-Bit_Theater

  774. #777 Brandon
    July 13, 2008

    Truth Machine@680

    In either case, I’m a Catholic that is respectfully asking you to respect our belief and leave us alone. We believe that piece of bread becomes the Body and Blood of Christ. If you don’t believe it, fine, but let us be.

    Why should he?

    Why? Perhaps there’s not a reason that would be satisfactory to all. Mutual respect? I won’t bad mouth what is to him the most meaningful object? The same reason that people wave to you when you let them merge their car in front of you–it’s a nice thing to do. I’m not claiming to have an argument that is free of some sort of “human element” (i.e. pure logic won’t win me the day, or if it will, in either case, I’m not going to go that route.)

    I just ask that you please give me a little respect and let me have what is sacred to me.

    Why should anyone respect foolishness?

    Foolishness, in this context, is completely subjective. Some people think people who enjoy model railroad are foolish for wasting time on such a hobby. Personally, I don’t see the appeal in building model railroads, but I can respect that someone else finds pleasure/enjoyment in that. If the Eucharist is such a foolish thing, why would the Professor care to waste any of his time on the subject at all? I’m sure he has better things to do.


    NeutralT@699:

    Brandon Kraft:

    Again, why don’t you respect Hindus by not eating beef? Do you realize that you offend Jains whenever you kill a bug in your house?

    Why should we genuflect to lunacy?

    Fair point. The Professor made a public statement asking someone to acquire an object held sacred to some for the purpose of acting upon the object in a way that is offensive to said group. I won’t parade around Hindus with a steak and I won’t go to someone else’s home to kill a bug if their offended by it (well, I don’t think I’ll ever go to someone’s home with the intention of killing a bug, but I digress).

    The next time I have lunch with a Hindu individual, I won’t eat beef.

    I’m not asking you to genuflect toward anything. I’m asking the Professor, and by extension others, don’t solicit a sacred object with the purpose of offending the people who hold it sacred.

    SC@700:

    Sorry. Adults don’t get to have sacredity blankets. Grow up and get over it (and stop supporting an institution that oppresses and kills people, while you’re at it).

    I didn’t say the Professor had to give me a blanket; it’s rather warm in Texas. In seriousness, perhaps adults should get a sacredity blanket. I think most of us agree that if someone’s spouse was murdered in a brutal fashion, people should tell the widow/widower “get over it-the funeral was yesterday”. Something about general respect toward each other. While you may not believe the Catholic Church has that respect (an issue in which we disagree), I still think it isn’t a bad thing for people to have reasonable boundaries.

    Regarding institutions that oppress and kill people, I did the best I could to get all of the taxes I paid into the IRS refunded back to me. I’ll try better next year. (Please take this in jest. My small attempt at humor.)

  775. #778 truth machine, OM
    July 13, 2008

    You — calling ME foul-mouthed!

    Just another lie. But certainly your mouth, as part of your foul whole, is foul, and what comes out of it, and from your fingers, is foul. My use of “foul” words are to describe you — that’s what it takes to properly do so.

  776. #779 Wowbagger
    July 13, 2008

    Dutch Hedrick,

    I believe tm called you a stupid fucking piece of lying corrupt foul garbage. That’s not the same as calling you foul-mouthed.

  777. #780 Ichthyic
    July 13, 2008

    I know you have a hard time grasping the concept of God so you would therefore not know why God is not to be considered property.

    funny, that church leader must have disagreed with your interpretation, given she felt the need to assault someone in order to attempt retrieval.

    I see you’ve made YOUR choice, though.

    It’s nothing.

    The churchlady, and the church, were wrong by your own dogmatic conclusions to have persecuted someone to return property that wasn’t really property to begin with.

    just want to keep that clear.

    you’re an apologist who agrees with Cook’s position, and our own wrt to what the Eucharist IS:

    nothing.

  778. #781 DLC
    July 13, 2008

    For Owlmirror @262:
    LolCatz FTW!
    I laughed my way through it. Thanks.

  779. #782 truth machine, OM
    July 13, 2008

    Foolishness, in this context, is completely subjective.

    Sure. So why should anyone respect what they consider foolishness?

    If the Eucharist is such a foolish thing, why would the Professor care to waste any of his time on the subject at all?

    Because these foolish beliefs do harm — which is how this came to be an issue here. Have you forgotten already?

  780. #783 Zarquon
    July 13, 2008

    11 And therefore God sends on them a power that deludes people so that they believe what is false,

    From http://www.catholic.org/bible/book.php?id=60

    pwned.

  781. #784 Dutch Hedrick
    July 13, 2008

    Kobra:

    If we lived in a country where religion were outlawed, then you might have a point. The thing is: The guy was on Catholic property and there at the pleasure of the Catholic community. All they asked from him was respect for their rules and customs.

    If I were to go into your house and start behaving contrary to your rules you would probably take objection, too. Depending upon what I was doing, you might even get upset enough to use physical force to prevent me from doing it.

    What complicates this is that Catholics do not believe the consecrated Eucharist is anything but God. If you start treating it in a way that shows it disrespect, you should expect them to act accordingly.

    Since we’re in America under this Constitution — with no further amendments — we have the right to worship as we choose. The State should not make any laws prohibiting us from doing so.

    So — if you guys want to pass a law saying that the Eucharist (consecrated) is just “property,” then you’re going to have to amend the Constitution to do so. Until then, whine somewhere else.

  782. #785 SC
    July 13, 2008

    I thought I mentioned it before: The Eucharist is God and God is not property.

    But Jesus can be had at the cost of minor exploitation:

    http://www.nlcnet.org/article.php?id=479

  783. #786 Owlmirror
    July 13, 2008

    “The prophet Micaiah uses as a last resort to deter Ahab from his foolhardy design of fighting against Ramoth-gilead the literary device of describing false prophets as messengers of a lying spirit which God, after holding counsel with his angels, permits to deceive them.”

    “Literary device”? So…. In other words, Micaiah was the one who was lying?

    I ask only for information.

  784. #787 Dutch Hedrick
    July 13, 2008

    New Jerusalem Bible — Ah yes, the one Tolkien helped to translate. Still, I’m sticking to the one endorsed by the Bishops. I’m assuming they chose that one for a reason.

  785. #788 SteveC
    July 13, 2008

    Dutch wrote: “Ichthyic:

    I thought I mentioned it before: The Eucharist is God and God is not property.

    I know you have a hard time grasping the concept of God so you would therefore not know why God is not to be considered property. ”

    And with that, you lose all credibility, and you are officially batshit insane. You argue a cracker is literally your god. That is completely, utterly, inexcusably idiotic. You’re an idiot. Period.

    Your beliefs deserve not respect, but ridicule.

    Tough shit, cracker boy.

  786. #789 Zarquon
    July 13, 2008

    All they asked from him was respect for their rules and customs.

    What planet are you on? They assaulted him and then threatened his study and his life.

  787. #790 wrpd
    July 13, 2008

    Re: Post #91. Did everyone miss Ron in Houston hitting on True Bob?
    And shoe elves? I’m still afraid of the Undewear Gnomes.

  788. #791 Dutch Hedrick
    July 13, 2008

    SteveC:

    Take your anti-Catholic bigotry to the next Klan rally, then.

  789. #792 Wowbagger
    July 13, 2008

    Dutch Hedrick wrote:

    we have the right to worship as we choose

    This is true – but you don’t have the right to make others worship as you choose, which is what the people in the church were trying to make Webster Cook do. Even if he was on church property.

    If a vegetarian comes to my house am I allowed to force him or her to eat meat?

  790. #793 truth machine, OM
    July 13, 2008

    From http://www.catholic.org/bible/book.php?id=60

    Too late … he finally remembered his ultimate dodge, that he doesn’t take the bible literally, so he can claim that his God by nature doesn’t deceive regardless of what his bible actually says. It’s rather bizarre, though, that he seems to think that the NAB’s mention of Micaiah — a character in the bible — using a literary device has something to do with not taking the bible literally.

  791. #794 Ichthyic
    July 13, 2008

    then you’re going to have to amend the Constitution to do so

    actually, since the only demonstrable thing it is a glutenous biscuit, no, we don’t.

    It’s yourself that would have to alter all laws regarding property in the US in order to claim that something that was purchased by a local church is not actually property of that church.

    and again, perhaps you should tell it to the church, members of which assaulted Cook to get the biscuit back, and insisted he return it or face dire consequences afterwards.

    so, what’s it gonna be?

    choose.

    will you now write a letter to the UCF Catholic church, insisting that your interpretation of Catholic Dogma means that they should not have asked for the return of the cracker?

  792. #795 Susan
    July 13, 2008

    #432: Man, I wish we had a kill file for this board

    I use Greasemonkey’s killfile (with Firefox) here; it makes things a lot easier.

  793. #796 Dutch Hedrick
    July 13, 2008

    Wowbagger:

    Even in the Army there’s a saying: “Take all you want, but eat all you take.”

    If that’s the rule of the house, you follow the rules. He knows better. After all, he calls himself a Catholic.

  794. #797 Brandon
    July 13, 2008

    TruthMachine@782

    Foolishness, in this context, is completely subjective.

    Sure. So why should anyone respect what they consider foolishness?

    If the Eucharist is such a foolish thing, why would the Professor care to waste any of his time on the subject at all?

    Because these foolish beliefs do harm — which is how this came to be an issue here. Have you forgotten already?

    What harm does my belief that a piece of bread turns into the Body and Blood of my savior do to anyone? I’m not trying to say that the folks in Florida did things the right way. I think situations like this require a certain bit of prudence, which I think should have been exercised in a much better fashion.

    In either case, I know I won’t convince you that I have a point worth any bit of respect. I respect that. I do hope that someday if you find yourself in a position where you need someone to respect you for no good reason, that someone will actually do so.

    Go in peace, Truth Machine.

    Wowbagger@792:

    Dutch Hedrick wrote:

    we have the right to worship as we choose

    This is true – but you don’t have the right to make others worship as you choose, which is what the people in the church were trying to make Webster Cook do. Even if he was on church property.

    If a vegetarian comes to my house am I allowed to force him or her to eat meat?

    If you went to a vegetarian’s home, are you allowed to demand from them meat?

  795. #798 Kobra
    July 13, 2008

    “The guy was on Catholic property and there at the pleasure of the Catholic community.”

    Are you saying that laws don’t apply in churches?

  796. #799 God
    July 13, 2008

    #775: Are you by any chance related to Sarda?

    Not in the least. Sarda is some imaginary, made-up, completely fictional, pretend entity.

    Whereas I am the completely real, transcendent, ineffable, inconceivable Almighty God.

    Although some people don’t know Me as well as they think they do…

    But they’ll find out.

  797. #800 Siddharth
    July 13, 2008

    Since we’re in America under this Constitution — with no further amendments — we have the right to worship as we choose. The State should not make any laws prohibiting us from doing so.

    Strawman. No one here suggested that worship should be prohibited. You are lying if you suggest that someone here said it. This is completely irrelevant to this topic.

    If I were to go into your house and start behaving contrary to your rules you would probably take objection, too. Depending upon what I was doing, you might even get upset enough to use physical force to prevent me from doing it.

    And that physical violence will be illegal, if you invite someone into your house, and freely hand over an object, then threaten to beat him up if he doesn’t eat it.

    What complicates this is that Catholics do not believe the consecrated Eucharist is anything but God. If you start treating it in a way that shows it disrespect, you should expect them to act accordingly.

    “accordingly”? Death threats? Threats of expulsion from school? Physical violence? All or taking a cracker which was freely given to him. If you really believe that such behaviour is acceptable, then you are a really vile human being.

  798. #801 truth machine, OM
    July 13, 2008

    Even in the Army there’s a saying: “Take all you want, but eat all you take.”
    If that’s the rule of the house, you follow the rules.

    Army == church? Close enough for authoritarian pus brains. But even the Army won’t throw you in the brig for not cleaning your plate.

  799. #802 Brandon
    July 13, 2008

    [Reposting of the first part of 797 due to some HTML problems... second attempt to get the blockquoting correct.]

    TruthMachine@782

    Foolishness, in this context, is completely subjective.

    Sure. So why should anyone respect what they consider foolishness?

    If the Eucharist is such a foolish thing, why would the Professor care to waste any of his time on the subject at all?

    Because these foolish beliefs do harm — which is how this came to be an issue here. Have you forgotten already?

    What harm does my belief that a piece of bread turns into the Body and Blood of my savior do to anyone? I’m not trying to say that the folks in Florida did things the right way. I think situations like this require a certain bit of prudence, which I think should have been exercised in a much better fashion.

    In either case, I know I won’t convince you that I have a point worth any bit of respect. I respect that. I do hope that someday if you find yourself in a position where you need someone to respect you for no good reason, that someone will actually do so.

    Go in peace, Truth Machine.

  800. #803 John Morales
    July 13, 2008

    I think I get it, Dutch: the Eucharist is God, and God is meant to be eatenworshipped through theophagy, because God is not property, so God can’t be stolen but he was…

    Wait, no. I’m still confused.

  801. #804 Dutch Hedrick
    July 13, 2008

    Truth Machine:

    My mistake. It’s a bit hard to keep up when it’s I-don’t-know-how-many-against one. I apologize for thinking you called me foul-mouthed.

    I would point out, by the way, that just because someone makes a mistake does not mean they’re a “liar.” You seem to make lots of rash judgments like that, however. Don’t you.

    Keep the insults coming, buddy. I need a good laugh.

  802. #805 Siddharth
    July 13, 2008

    If you went to a vegetarian’s home, are you allowed to demand from them meat?

    How is that analogy even remotely related to this topic. Please, enlighten me.

  803. #806 Etha Williams, OM
    July 13, 2008

    An unrelated FYI…

    This video is currently making the rounds on youtube as one of the most active. I don’t know what I find more infuriating about it: the obviously fabricated story, the terribly slow-paced and dull way in which it is told, the obviously faulty analogies used in telling it, or the terrible quality of the video itself, which is nothing more than the aforementioned awful text set to obnoxious music (and typed in a rather dull Arial font).

  804. #807 SC
    July 13, 2008

    I didn’t say the Professor had to give me a blanket; it’s rather warm in Texas.

    You’ve already got it.

    In seriousness, perhaps adults should get a sacredity blanket. I think most of us agree that if someone’s spouse was murdered in a brutal fashion, people should tell the widow/widower “get over it-the funeral was yesterday”. Something about general respect toward each other.

    Oh, sure, because mocking a cracker and a ludicrous belief that’s part of an authoritarian and patriarchal system is the same as cruelty toward a grieving spouse. You know, there’s someone here who recently lost his spouse tragically. I hope he never reads what you wrote. And screw your respect. I’ll respect the rights of women and gay people not to live circumscribed, guilt-ridden lives, people’s rights not to be infected with HIV,…

    While you may not believe the Catholic Church has that respect (an issue in which we disagree), I still think it isn’t a bad thing for people to have reasonable boundaries.

    No. This is a democratic society. No beliefs are sacred. Free your mind.

    Regarding institutions that oppress and kill people, I did the best I could to get all of the taxes I paid into the IRS refunded back to me. I’ll try better next year. (Please take this in jest. My small attempt at humor.)

    “Small” being the operative word. You’re obviously unfamilar with the past or present of your church. You should try to remedy that.

  805. #808 truth machine, OM
    July 13, 2008

    What harm does my belief that a piece of bread turns into the Body and Blood of my savior do to anyone?

    Read Carl Sagan’s “The Demon-Haunted World”.

  806. #809 Brandon
    July 13, 2008

    Although, I must point out… it really isn’t a cracker. When I think of cracker, I think of a saltines, or at least something crunchy,

    Most churches I’ve attended, it really isn’t like a cracker. It’s closer to a thick piece of bread crust on sliced bread. That’s not perfect either, but all this talk of crackers is making me hungry for something that isn’t really like the piece of bread we’re talking about here.

  807. #810 Wowbagger
    July 13, 2008

    Dutch Hedrick wrote:

    If that’s the rule of the house, you follow the rules. He knows better. After all, he calls himself a Catholic.

    I’m sorry, what? If I let someone into my house, and once they’re there I point a sign that says ‘thou must eat meat’ I can then force them to eat meat?

    What if, after the cracker was in his mouth, he decided he didn’t want to be Catholic anymore?

    Brandon wrote:

    If you went to a vegetarian’s home, are you allowed to demand from them meat?

    Who demanded anything in this story? Webster Cook certainly didn’t. The cracker was given to him freely.

  808. #811 truth machine, OM
    July 13, 2008

    it really isn’t a cracker

    That’s been mentioned many many times in these threads.

  809. #812 Ichthyic
    July 13, 2008

    Ah yes, the one Tolkien helped to translate.

    and that’s relevant, how?

    I-don’t-know-how-many-against one.

    poor, pitiful you.

    if your arguments had any weight behind them, you wouldn’t feel so outweighed.

    simple.

    What harm does my belief that a piece of bread turns into the Body and Blood of my savior do to anyone?

    I don’t know about YOU, but evidently believing in biscuit-deities can result in physical violence and death threats for many.

    sounds like one o them thar “dangerous ideas” to me.

  810. #813 Dutch Hedrick
    July 13, 2008

    truth Machine:

    You have a way of taking the superficial aspects of my arguments and presenting them as something I wasn’t arguing at all in the first place. You would do well in politics. Demand for guys who twist words as you do is high in that field.

    Do you do this because you have a hard time understanding the concepts I’m trying to explain? Or do you do this out of deliberate deception.

    When I was young, the Church taught me that any effort to deceive is considered a lie. So if you’re being deliberately deceptive, you’re lying.

    Are you lying?

  811. #814 Ichthyic
    July 13, 2008

    Most churches I’ve attended, it really isn’t like a cracker. It’s closer to a thick piece of bread crust on sliced bread. That’s not perfect either, but all this talk of crackers is making me hungry for something that isn’t really like the piece of bread we’re talking about here.

    could you actually poot your irrelevancies utilizing fewer words?

    makes it easier to ignore them.

  812. #815 truth machine, OM
    July 13, 2008

    I would point out, by the way, that just because someone makes a mistake does not mean they’re a “liar.”

    It becomes the default assumption after a long string of false statements and willful evasions, and when the person’s whole mental framework is essentially dishonest.

  813. #816 clinteas
    July 13, 2008

    Late to the party,but some of us have to work !

    Reading through the last 800 comments now and I have to say,the Catholics once more havent sent their brightest to fight the good fight ! (or have they?)

    Brandon,
    when you say “Go in peace’,is that like,”I pray for you”? Yeah thought so…

    Dutch Hedrick,
    I give you one thing,you are probably nice.But logic and sound argumentation isnt ur thing.
    And as to your No 784 :
    As someone 3000 posts before said : You have the right to call a cracker god,but I have the right to call a cracker a cracker !

  814. #817 Nick Gotts
    July 13, 2008

    That’s why the Church sees a lot of truth in Platonism — even if it doesn’t agree with everything Plato said. – Dutch Hedrick

    It does, of course, particularly like the totalitarianism, which it practiced just as long as it could, and would love to get back to.

  815. #818 shonny
    July 13, 2008

    | God is what he is. God cannot be not-God. This is because God is God.|

    Which confirms that Gegen die Dummheit kämpfen die Götter selbst vergebens.
    (We of the Germanic (Viking) tribes prefer LOTS of gods (hence Götter) that all are pretty much like ourselves, just with the powers we wish for. And when we celebrate them, it is with a Blotgilde, – not some lame crakers and piss-weak, sour wine, distributed by a pedophile ponce during a cannibalistic ritual.)

  816. #819 TomL
    July 13, 2008

    I think a closer analogy would be for a vegetarian to invite another vegetarian to his house, give him a salad to eat, then recoil in horror and attempt to forcefully wrest the meal back because the miscreant wasn’t using his salad fork.

  817. #820 Brandon
    July 13, 2008

    clinteas: “Go in Peace” was said to me awhile back in this forum, so I thought I’d repeat it. I literally meant go forward from this day in peace. What does peace mean? Whatever TruthMachine means it to be.

  818. #821 truth machine, OM
    July 13, 2008

    You have a way of taking the superficial aspects of my arguments and presenting them as something I wasn’t arguing at all in the first place.

    Yet another lie.

    When I was young, the Church taught me that any effort to deceive is considered a lie. So if you’re being deliberately deceptive, you’re lying.

    Too bad you didn’t apply that to your own behavior, as you have repeatedly been deliberately deceptive. In fact, your entire belief system can only be sustained through the application of deliberate deception.

    Are you lying?

    No.

  819. #822 BobC
    July 13, 2008

    News item: “Cook stored the Eucharist in a Ziploc bag for a week and then returned it last Sunday.”

    Right now the most famous cracker in world history is in some priest’s garbage can.

  820. #823 Dutch Hedrick
    July 13, 2008

    Ichthyic:

    I never said I felt “out-weighted.” I just said I was having trouble reading all your comments accurately enough.

    And must EVERYTHING I say be relevant? Is there no room in the atheists’ conversation for casually pointing out bits of trivia? Wow. What a joyless world you guys must live in.

    Or perhaps you’re expecting EVERYTHING I say to be relevant. If so, I’ve raised your expectations of me farther than I intended. To dispel any such notions I’ll just say: Sorry, I’m just another human being. You should treat me as such. I’m not a prophet. I’m just a Catholic who’s trying to understand God.

    Please respect that, and if you can’t: Stay out of the Church and let us worship as we wish.

    My only intention coming here was to explain Catholicism, not to argue. Also, not to call names. I may have toed the line at times, but hopefully I haven’t crossed it.

    Don’t get so angry though, truthMachine. Life’s too important to take it so seriously. :)

  821. #824 Tom_L
    July 13, 2008

    Merciful heavens! I just noticed that I have posted under “TomL” and “Tom L” What a lying sack of sockpuppetry I am!

  822. #825 truth machine, OM
    July 13, 2008

    Brandon,
    when you say “Go in peace’,is that like,”I pray for you”? Yeah thought so…

    I took it as sincere good will.

  823. #826 Dutch Hedrick
    July 13, 2008

    truthMachine:

    ‘Too bad you didn’t apply that to your own behavior, as you have repeatedly been deliberately deceptive. In fact, your entire belief system can only be sustained through the application of deliberate deception.’

    That is your opinion. That is your belief. You are free to hold it as I am free to hold mine. I’ll show you as much respect as you show to me.

    If you insist on being uncivil, then I’ll show you more respect than you show me. That’s just my nature, I guess. At least, it has been since my confirmation, so there’s probably something else behind it — just to give credit to where it’s due.

  824. #827 Brandon
    July 13, 2008

    SC@807:

    Oh, sure, because mocking a cracker and a ludicrous belief that’s part of an authoritarian and patriarchal system is the same as cruelty toward a grieving spouse. You know, there’s someone here who recently lost his spouse tragically. I hope he never reads what you wrote. And screw your respect. I’ll respect the rights of women and gay people not to live circumscribed, guilt-ridden lives, people’s rights not to be infected with HIV,…

    You’re right. I didn’t think of someone reading that post who just had lost a spouse. I apologize for that. My point is that if you think that it is proper to give respect to someone who has recently lost someone, you can’t say that nothing is “sacred”. To you, respect for a loss of life is sacred, whether you want to call it that or not. That was my point. I really am sorry if someone is hurt by that. I lost my father when I was 12 and I can understand how careless comments, like mine, can hurt someone. Again, I apologize.

    No. This is a democratic society. No beliefs are sacred. Free your mind.

    The belief that every person has the right to express what they think is sacred in a democratic society.

    “Small” being the operative word. You’re obviously unfamilar with the past or present of your church. You should try to remedy that.

    I’m very familiar with the faults of my church over the past 2000 years. I thought that issue was not on topic in this discussion, but I saw the very obvious joke that folks in the United States all support an institution that is known to do some nasty things itself.

  825. #828 truth machine, OM
    July 13, 2008

    My only intention coming here was to explain Catholicism, not to argue.

    Yet another lie, perhaps the most blatant of all. Just a glance at your first posts here, #422 and #434, will do.

    Also, not to call names. I may have toed the line at times, but hopefully I haven’t crossed it.

    More lies: “You guys aren’t intellectually honest enough to have a true debate about theology. As Christopher Hedges said, you guys are theologically illiterate and proud of it, too. Therefore, there’s not much point in debating theology with you. You don’t even know enough about it to make it worth the time.”

  826. #829 Brandon
    July 13, 2008

    Ichthyic@814

    Most churches I’ve attended, it really isn’t like a cracker. It’s closer to a thick piece of bread crust on sliced bread. That’s not perfect either, but all this talk of crackers is making me hungry for something that isn’t really like the piece of bread we’re talking about here.

    could you actually poot your irrelevancies utilizing fewer words?

    makes it easier to ignore them.

    Using less words:
    Trying to have a little fun while being the underdog.

  827. #830 Dutch Hedrick
    July 13, 2008

    hahaha :) How AMAZING! So it seems that there IS NO GOD that knows the sincerity of every man’s heart, but there is TRUTHMACHINE!

    Oh wow! Thank God — I mean thank Truthmachine! There we go, everyone! Prove that God DOES exist! And his name is Truthmachine!

    That’s great. Mystery solved! Now, I can go to bed.

  828. #831 truth machine, OM
    July 13, 2008

    That is your opinion. That is your belief.

    Gee, my posts reflect my opinions and beliefs … who woulda thunk it?

    Everything about you is phony, dishonest, and cowardly.

  829. #832 Brandon
    July 13, 2008

    Alright everyone:
    I’ve enjoyed this little back-and-forth, but the hour is late and I have other things to do before bed.

    I wish you all well and hope the rest of your days bring you closer to your desires in life.

  830. #833 Dutch Hedrick
    July 13, 2008

    TruthMachine:

    You argue like a child on a playground: “Liar! Liar! Liar!” Ah — but children are charming, though, aren’t they? :)

  831. #834 truth machine, OM
    July 13, 2008

    Now, I can go to bed.

    One can hope, but that’s what you said over 5 hours ago.

  832. #835 Dutch Hedrick
    July 13, 2008

    All hail TruthMachine! The One True God. He must be the embodiment of Truth. After all, it says so in his name.

    Or perhaps THAT’S a lie… Or at the very least, deceptive.

  833. #836 truth machine, OM
    July 13, 2008

    You argue like a child on a playground

    Just another lie.

  834. #837 Dutch Hedrick
    July 13, 2008

    “One can hope, but that’s what you said over 5 hours ago.”

    Ha! I never thought, however, that you guys would be so entertaining! I’d better go, though. Otherwise, you’ll accuse me of lying again!

    But if you say I’m lying, who am I to argue with the One who knows the hearts of all men?

  835. #838 Ichthyic
    July 13, 2008

    I never said I felt “out-weighted.” I just said I was having trouble reading all your comments accurately enough.

    *looks back*

    nope. not what you said at all.

    shocker.

    And must EVERYTHING I say be relevant?

    not why i asked.

    I’m just a Catholic who’s trying to understand God.

    and so of course, you came here.

    LOL

    you really can’t separate the lies in your own mind anymore, can you?

    oh well, enough for now. I’m sure you, or someone just like you, will be along tomorrow to provide us all with more Jester-like apologetic acrobatics.

    don’t forget to write the CC at UCF and tell them they were wrong to ask for that cracker back, now.

  836. #839 truth machine, OM
    July 13, 2008

    hahaha :) How AMAZING! So it seems that there IS NO GOD that knows the sincerity of every man’s heart, but there is TRUTHMACHINE!

    Oh wow! Thank God — I mean thank Truthmachine! There we go, everyone! Prove that God DOES exist! And his name is Truthmachine!

    All hail TruthMachine! The One True God. He must be the embodiment of Truth. After all, it says so in his name.

    If one is looking for immaturity, there it is.

  837. #840 Dutch Hedrick
    July 13, 2008

    “Just another lie.”

    Exhibit ‘A’. I rest my case.

  838. #841 truth machine, OM
    July 13, 2008

    who am I to argue

    You are indeed not up to it.

  839. #842 Dutch Hedrick
    July 13, 2008

    truth machine:

    You atheists take yourselves SOOOOO seriously.

  840. #843 truth machine, OM
    July 13, 2008