Pharyngula

Stop it NOW, please

So I have this new policy of posting email that threatens violence with full identifying information. I may have to retract that, since it looks like it’s getting abused. The idea was that I would have a public record of the threat, and that the smart people commenting here would be able to do a little sleuthing for me.

It is most definitely not intended to incite harassment. I do not want you to be dunning these people with email, threatening them back, signing them up for spam, or otherwise being a jerk. For one thing, we can’t be certain that an innocent’s account hasn’t been hijacked; for another, we’re supposed to be better than that. With the size of the readership here, any reaction by you is likely to be repeated a thousand-fold and turned into an over-reaction. I welcome any suggestions from you all but let me take care of any writing back.

I’m going to have to rethink my policy, which is unfortunate. Exposing roaches to the light is usually a good way to get them to scuttle away, but it’s not so good if people use it as an opportunity to swing sledgehammers in the kitchen to squash them.

Comments

  1. #1 Jeff
    July 14, 2008

    This is sadly how the internet works. Someone makes a post, and masses of people get involved in something that’s none of their business. Too many people are looking to get involved and cause trouble.

  2. #2 Josh West
    July 14, 2008

    For the record, I only sent an email to 1800flowers to notify them of the situation. I though I was pretty polite about it.

    Countering abuse with further abuse isn’t any good, though the paranoid part of my brain wonders if the local troll weren’t doing the abusing in our name. It works for Scientologists.

  3. #3 Scholar
    July 14, 2008

    PZ, you can’t have your crackers and eat them too.

  4. #4 paulemaule
    July 14, 2008

    Thank you PZ, I have been waiting for that post…

  5. #5 James F
    July 14, 2008

    Perhaps just posting IP addresses rather than email addresses? Email addresses will inevitably lead to someone sending something….

  6. #6 Lago
    July 14, 2008

    I thought people would be clever enough to know not to do the above. I do agree with Josh West in what he did, but the other things only make us look like they…

  7. #7 pradeep
    July 14, 2008

    PZ, this is the price of fame, and the price of having raving heathen hordes ready to consume your foes like locusts at your disposal. But this post should calm your restless readership a bit.

  8. #8 Matt
    July 14, 2008

    I’m disappointed and quite frankly a little sickened that commenters here would do that. We’re meant to be better than that.

  9. #9 Glen Davidson
    July 14, 2008

    Where do people get the time to harrass even the idiots?

    I only sent one email to Bruininks, and one to the webmaster at UMM (politely urging timely re-link of Pharyngula, presumably with disclaimer). You couldn’t get me to do more.

    Any chance this will all go away any time soon?

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

  10. #10 Jason
    July 14, 2008

    Can I suggest you add a request to the top of the “Mail Dump” post asking people not to contact the two email addresses? Otherwise people may continue to do so. The are close to 1000 comments on that post so it’s safe to assume people won’t read all of them before acting.

  11. #11 Mooser, Bummertown
    July 14, 2008

    Gosh, and just when I had my thoughts aimed in the right direction, you pull the plug, and save those crum-bums from the levitious effects of my full concentration. Oh well, a mind is terrible thing to waste, don’t you think?

  12. #12 Sven DiMilo
    July 14, 2008

    Pharyngula these days reminds me of a Grateful Dead tour circa 1987-88. All the cool people who made it a worthwhile scene are still around, but rapidly getting outnumbered by new folks, some of whom don’t…quite…get it.

    so it goes.

  13. #13 geoff
    July 14, 2008

    I’m afraid I saw this coming. People are likely to overreact given highly emotional topics such as death threats. I suspect that the type of individual that could send a death threat is every bit as malicious as to get someone else in trouble for it.

  14. #14 Mooser, Bummertown
    July 14, 2008

    Sorry, Sven, I don’t want to spoil the party. Oh well, they didn’t like me at the Grateful Dead concerts, either.
    I got it bad and that ain’t good.

  15. #15 Ron Sullivan
    July 14, 2008

    Nice metaphor at the end there. Just sayin’.

  16. #16 Patricia
    July 14, 2008

    All right! For once being a complete computertard has kept me out of trouble.

  17. #17 kmerian
    July 14, 2008

    PZ, I hope you use this as an opportunity to see that human nature is what it is. That your fellow “godless atheists” are no better (and no worse) than us “lunatic” Christians.

    There are extremists and downright wackos in every group. Yes, the Catholics that sent death threats to that student, and who are sending them to you, are a lunatic fringe that is hardly representative of Catholics. by that same token you have opened a door where people are threatening those who threatened in order that you can show that threatening is wrong (whew!)

    My advice to you is that you rescind your request for people to send you Eucharistic hosts to desecrate and be the intelligent and mature man many know you are and say “It ends here, it ends now.” And let this all go away.

  18. #18 J
    July 14, 2008

    You’re meant to be better than that? Says who? I’ve long known that many Pharyngula readers are just as wild, aggressive, stupid and in their own way faith-based as any typical Catholic fundamentalists.

    Faith-based? Yes, faith-based. Political correctness is morphing into a secular dogma.

  19. #19 unicow
    July 14, 2008

    PZ, you should probably just scrub the email addresses from the mails. They’re so trivial to forge that I’d be surprised if even the most careless fool would use his own email address in a death threat.

    By all means leave the rest of the headers, though. They’re a lot harder (though by no means impossible) to manipulate, and are far more valuable information-wise than an email address anyway.

  20. #20 Sven DiMilo
    July 14, 2008

    some of whom.
    some of whom.
    I point no fingers…most of you-all are OK by me, and I mean that.

  21. #21 Brownian, OM
    July 14, 2008

    Whatevs. I’m merely “visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate” us.

    Anybody know the emails of Stephen’s kids, grandkids, and great-grandkids?

  22. #22 Bjorn Watland
    July 14, 2008

    Now you learn that you can’t control the hordes. Breaking convention and social norms can become habit forming. Maybe people feel that since they were not respectful, and harassing, that they only deserve the same back, even if it is jumping the gun by assigning guilt.

  23. #23 Dlux
    July 14, 2008

    Yep.

  24. #24 Bob Holness
    July 14, 2008

    So you did not see that coming?

  25. #25 Brownian, OM
    July 14, 2008

    You’re meant to be better than that? Says who? I’ve long known that many Pharyngula readers are just as wild, aggressive, stupid and in their own way faith-based as any typical Catholic fundamentalists.

    Faith-based? Yes, faith-based. Political correctness is morphing into a secular dogma.

    Wank, wank. The reality is that you’re generally shitty at argumentation and the wrath you incur is a result of said lack of skill and talent.

    However, knowing that you’ll merely take it on faith that you’re being persecuted for being the lone dissenting voice standing up for apple pie and the American Way, I say:

    Fight on, thou lonely freedom fighter, fight on!

  26. #26 Cujo359
    July 14, 2008

    it’s not so good if people use it as an opportunity to swing sledgehammers in the kitchen to squash them

    I like the metaphor, and agree with it. Harassing these people is the wrong way to express outrage. Express it publicly, here or elsewhere. Don’t become the thing you despise.

  27. #27 SC
    July 14, 2008

    You should never underestimate people’s capacity to behave stupidly. It’s one thing to hope that they don’t, but it’s unwise to act on the expectation that they won’t. I would think a parent would know this :).

  28. #28 Neural T
    July 14, 2008

    Yeah, did you think was going to happen, PZ? Shows massive ignorance on your part.

  29. #29 E in MD
    July 14, 2008

    If you’re getting physical threats I’d report it to the FBI and/or the postmaster general and leave it at that. Posting the things publicly only gives the assholes that sent them a boner for more publicity. Where as if you file a complaint you might be able to actually see these douchebags in court.

    On the plus side, in most jurisdictions you are now permitted to app for a gun carry permit because you have received death threats.

  30. #30 Neural T
    July 14, 2008

    BTW, PZ, your solicitation of hosts to desecrate, even if facetious, was just as juvenile as the reactions of your readers.

  31. #31 MAJeff, OM
    July 14, 2008

    You should never underestimate people’s capacity to behave stupidly.

    true dat.

  32. #32 Phil
    July 14, 2008

    While I agree with PZ, remember that blogging about a cracker is not the same as threatening someone with death. Being harassed after threatening someone is not the same as threatening to kill someone over a cracker.
    Now I do think we can complain to a company if an employee is using their email to say they want to kill someone, don’t you? But grow up children. No juvenile emails to them.

  33. #33 Steve_C
    July 14, 2008

    Oh fuck off Neural. He’s posted things before and it didn’t happen.

  34. #34 brokenSoldier, OM
    July 14, 2008

    My advice to you is that you rescind your request for people to send you Eucharistic hosts to desecrate and be the intelligent and mature man many know you are and say “It ends here, it ends now.” And let this all go away.

    Posted by: kmerian | July 14, 2008 4:12 PM

    Wrong. The kind of harrassment PZ is referencing here is over the line. The communion wafer, however, is – as has been so aptly put – just a cracker. There is no crime in soliciting people to send you something that is given away freely. Conflating the two is, besides being the crux of this ‘debate’ over legal action, also quite dishonest.

  35. #35 pzph
    July 14, 2008

    Well, what the hell did you think was going to happen? Buddha on a cracker! (Oops! Bad choice of terms.)

  36. #36 kryptonic
    July 14, 2008

    This is not new. High profile nutjob bloggers out there post email addresses with the specific intent of inciting their wingnut zombies to harass and intimidate (probably hoping even for physical confrontation/violence, without explicitly stating it). Michelle Malkin comes immediately to mind.

    Posting IP addresses, as suggested, may be the way to go. Or eliminating the header information altogether.

    Hope this all doesn’t result in any legal issues.

  37. #37 Dan
    July 14, 2008

    @ #24

    Yeah, I thought the same.

    Seriously PZ, you didn’t see this one coming when you posted their emails?

  38. #38 IceFarmer
    July 14, 2008

    A good way to still post and list things would be to simply to do the following:

    1. Post First Name and last initial or Webname

    2.City of origin

    Both of these would show authenticity.

    3. Initially withhold the exact email address.

    4. Once you have posted their email, you can send them one informing them that you have posted their vile, vulgar and insipid comments but have withheld their email addresses so as to keep their mail boxes from being flooded with comments. Include a question in closing as to whether they would prefer to have their email addy published or not so that they may receieve whatever responses that may come as a result of theirs.

    This would have you doing a lot more work than than you’d prefer but allow you to keep the moral high ground and keep the “discussion” flowing. Something like this may work.

    P.S. I like crackers (especially salted ones) with nice, thick creamy soups. You may have to wait until fall to get your full enjoyment. They can be a touch heavy in the hot summer months.

  39. #39 Bill Dauphin
    July 14, 2008

    On the plus side, in most jurisdictions you are now permitted to app for a gun carry permit because you have received death threats.

    Aside: Oh, wonderful… a the existence of violent enemies is a good reason to let someone have a gun?!?! Are we trying to maximize the chance of gunplay on the public streets?

  40. #40 CrypticLife
    July 14, 2008

    Keep the policy; it’s sound. It’s not like you’re forced to post the information, it’s just a warning that you can. Not that such a warning is technically necessary anyway.

    Incidentally, as soon as you post an email address, in whatever form, on a webpage you’re potentially subjecting it to spam anyway. Robots will come along and recognize it as a potentially viable email address and stuff it into mailing lists.

    You should also consider what you want the effect of the policy to be. You could just as easily have sent the emails to the police, or contacted 1800 flowers directly. Maybe these types of threats should be in your policy.

  41. #41 J
    July 14, 2008

    However, knowing that you’ll merely take it on faith that you’re being persecuted for being the lone dissenting voice standing up for apple pie and the American Way, I say:

    Fight on, thou lonely freedom fighter, fight on!
    As usual, you resort to guttersnipe-level misrepresentations. All I ever said is that there is an undesirable, irrational, anti-everything-American climate on Pharyngula. I’m not an American, and I hate the Bush Administration and most aspects of America’s foreign policy since WW2. Despite your lies, this is hardly equivalent to “standing up for the American Way”.

    This relentless intellectual dishonestly only serves to bear out my theory. Your reaction, Brownian, is exactly that of a fundamentalist when his creed is under attack.

  42. #42 Village Green
    July 14, 2008

    Form a committee of select trusted “sleuths” who have the knowledge to track down Who Dunnit. If actual death threats, then let the authorities investigate.

  43. #43 paradoxbomb
    July 14, 2008

    On the spam front, any email address that is posted in a web page will inevitably be scraped by bots and put on many spam lists. To confirm this, create a fresh email account, post the address here in comments, and see how long it takes before the deluge comes.

    In any case, obfuscating or removing the email addresses would likely remove the bot aspect.

  44. #44 pzph
    July 14, 2008

    We’re meant to be better than that.

    Posted by: Matt

    All walks of life are stained by the presence of a small number of idiots and assholes who are very vocal/visible. No group is immune from them and no group has more or less than any other. What matters is if you portray the idiots and assholes as representative of the rest. We already know how people here portray the idiots and assholes among Christianity.

  45. #45 Chris Granade
    July 14, 2008

    That really is sad. I would have thought that the whole point was that we on the “it’s just a cracker” side were driven by rationality in some sense. It still seems that many are, but as with any group, I guess we freethinkers can get out of hand too.

  46. #46 Blake Stacey
    July 14, 2008

    kmerian (#17):

    PZ, I hope you use this as an opportunity to see that human nature is what it is. That your fellow “godless atheists” are no better (and no worse) than us “lunatic” Christians.

    It’s not every day that one gets to see through a portal into a parallel universe where signing somebody up for gay porn-spam is as bad or worse than threatening to kill them. For that experience, I thank you.

  47. #47 brokenSoldier, OM
    July 14, 2008

    J ranting:

    You’re meant to be better than that? Says who? I’ve long known that many Pharyngula readers are just as wild, aggressive, stupid and in their own way faith-based as any typical Catholic fundamentalists.

    J tapdancing:

    All I ever said is that there is an undesirable, irrational, anti-everything-American climate on Pharyngula.

    No, what you said was that Pharyngula readers were just as dependent on faith in their argumentation than religious believers are, which is a common, and quite tired, accusation from those who have nothing else with which to rebut an argument. Intellectual dishonesty indeed…

  48. #48 Monti0
    July 14, 2008

    I agree that this harassment should be stopped.

    Mail-bombing these people only diminishes PZ’s point. I believe that in cases like this you should ALWAYS take the high ground… You know, sinking to their level, etc. etc.

    What if a misguided / crazy reader of this blog threatens the people who mailed the threats to PZ?

  49. #49 gburnett
    July 14, 2008

    PZ, I think that you have made your wishes clear and so it should not be a problem in the future. However, you can’t blame those of us that suffer from the actions of religious nutjobs to leap to the attack. We ARE better than they are, but perhaps it is time we stop bringing knives to gunfights.

  50. #50 Chris Granade
    July 14, 2008

    @46: While I think that kmerian #17 was trolling, that doesn’t mean that we should accept bad behaviors from our own just because there’s someone worse out there. Sending gay-porn spam to someone is rude, especially when it’s their work e-mail. Yes, the guy is a jerk. We had an opportunity to show that we were really much better by taking proper formal actions, like notifying his/her employer. Should we really celebrate that we only intentionally harassed someone en masse? Of course sending gay-porn spam is nowhere near as bad as death threats, but that doesn’t make it good either.

  51. #51 WoodenBadger
    July 14, 2008

    *Knock Knock*

  52. #52 Dlux
    July 14, 2008

    #44: “All walks of life are stained by the presence of a small number of idiots and assholes who are very vocal/visible. No group is immune from them and no group has more or less than any other.”

    No group is immune, certainly, but *some* groups have more than others. (Of course, it depends on a generally-accepted definition of ‘idiots and assholes’.) A bigger issue is how to weed them out of the group you’d like to be part of. Not an easy or simple task, by any means.

  53. #53 Raynfala
    July 14, 2008

    I recommend posting the emails sans originating email address & IP address, but also forward the emails with full headers to a trusted group of people who are both willing and able to do some follow-up investigation and/or act as “witnesses”.

    The sad fact is, there are some nutters out there who would like to do nothing better than damage the collective reputation of atheists, and would probably stoop to sending equally violent and repugnant emails to the alleged senders under the pretense of “supporting” you.

  54. #54 Blake Stacey
    July 14, 2008

    Chris Granade (#45):

    It still seems that many are, but as with any group, I guess we freethinkers can get out of hand too.

    Shit happens.

    Social problems are hydra-headed, and policies must be revised over time to reflect the lessons learned from painful experience. This is only a fundamental problem if you believe you started off in possession of Absolute Truth. A pragmatic rationalist can begin with a good idea, see how it works and replace it with a better idea to handle the ways it failed.

    And on that note, I’m curious: P-Zed has issued a clarification that some actions (comparatively tame ones, even, which can be stopped by a decent spam filter) are ethically over the line. Has Bill Donohue done likewise? Where’s the Catholic League press release saying, “Ixnay on the eth-day eats-thray, you guys, we’re meant to be better than that”?

  55. #55 Holbach
    July 14, 2008

    Cracker here, cracker there; hey who wants a cracker? Get them while they are still wafer thin and easy to swallow! Spread them with cheese or jam or anything you like for they will still be the same when your stomach gets to work on them and passes them along to the rectum where they will be evacuated as holy shit. Morons!

  56. #56 Monti0
    July 14, 2008

    #53 Total agreement. Something should be done, but not a “mob mentality” type backlash.

  57. #57 Chris Granade
    July 14, 2008

    #54: Don’t get me wrong… I’m not trying to concern troll. I understand that shit happens and that this is an opportunity to do better. I support PZ on this one. I’m just somewhat disappointed that he has to tell us, his commenters, to calm down. It should be obvious from the get-go that this is nothing to harass people over. If it’s serious enough to involve authorities, then it is. If not, then it’s also not serious enough to harass.

    Obviously we can and should learn, and PZ did better than Donohue (not hard there), so no, I don’t think that “we’re no better.” Just that this didn’t show our best side.

  58. #58 Hal in Howell MI (not far from Hell, MI)
    July 14, 2008

    Echo #4. Thanks, PZ.

  59. #59 Patricia
    July 14, 2008

    #17 – Your advise is as useful as your prayers for PZ. Fuck off.

  60. #60 Orac
    July 14, 2008

    What on earth did you expect, P.Z., posting the e-mails and the entire headers?

    Clearly you didn’t think things through.

  61. #61 J
    July 14, 2008

    No, what you said was that Pharyngula readers were just as dependent on faith in their argumentation than religious believers are, which is a common, and quite tired, accusation from those who have nothing else with which to rebut an argument. Intellectual dishonesty indeed…
    I was addressing Brownian’s “American Way” comment, dumbass. What I said in my last post was to be interpreted in that context. Obviously I wasn’t denying what I plainly stated in post #18.

  62. #62 stogoe
    July 14, 2008

    I can’t feel particularly bad about the spam. I tried, but I can’t.

    Death threats are vastly worse than spam spam spam spam eggs and spam. They called down the thunder, well now they got it.

  63. #63 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 14, 2008

    Teh Intartubes for the win once again.

  64. #64 Peter
    July 14, 2008

    Here is an idea. Release the email, block the identifying information for 1 month (until the post is buried) and then unblock the identifying information. That way the response will be less reactionary.

  65. #65 Norman Doering
    July 14, 2008

    unicow wrote:

    PZ, you should probably just scrub the email addresses from the mails. They’re so trivial to forge that I’d be surprised if even the most careless fool would use his own email address in a death threat.
    By all means leave the rest of the headers, though. They’re a lot harder (though by no means impossible) to manipulate, and are far more valuable information-wise than an email address anyway.

    No, scrub everything, all headers, use just the message text. There is no need for us readers, who could be any kind of loons (who knows how many people I have buried in my backyard?), to have that kind of information. The people better trusted with that information is the FBI.

    Don’t count on every single one of so many readers being sane.

    And by the way, PZ, what are you planning to do with all those saliva soaked, half dissolved, consecrated Communion wafers people have been sending you, if any? Have you thought about sending them to Bill Donohue with an apology about how you just didn’t know he and his followers that dangerously crazy?

  66. #66 IceFarmer
    July 14, 2008

    Hey Blake,

    I agree with you but I somehow don’t see Bill Donahue wanting people to tone down the threats and rhetoric for quite some time. Sure, if this gets enough negative press (and he won’t) he may release some sort of half hearted statement against it. It would be a purely political move. The Catholic League is banking on the religious fervor and anger growing and spreading. Freedom of speech and expression is a beautiful thing but Pharyngula loyalists should be vocal, literate, logical and firm in our resolve. Stepping into the gutter with the venemous cretins will only stiffen their resolve, close their ears and resort to the mud slinging that makes me for one puke. We’re in this for the long run, it’s best we stay the course.

  67. #67 Barklikeadog
    July 14, 2008

    A trisket, a trasket, a red and yellow basket. What happens when the turned around collar guys sneezes on the crackers? Do they still eat those?

  68. #68 J
    July 14, 2008

    No, what you said was that Pharyngula readers were just as dependent on faith in their argumentation than religious believers are…
    That’s a lie. I never said that. I was referring to “many” Pharygnula readers, not “most” — let alone “all”.

  69. #69 The Physicist
    July 14, 2008

    Just forward them to the FBI, PZ, there are no Catholics there.

  70. #70 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 14, 2008

    I agree with you but I somehow don’t see Bill Donahue wanting people to tone down the threats and rhetoric for quite some time

    So we should feel justified in behaving like Donohue?

    I hold my self to a higher standard than that.

  71. #71 Blake Stacey
    July 14, 2008

    Chris Granade (#57):

    I didn’t think you were concern trolling, so no worries. I’d say we agree on the important point. Yeah, it’s a bitch that people have to be reminded to shut up and think with an organ above the neckline. Every sizeable fandom needs a whack like this, now and then (I recall some Dresden Dolls fans got rather uppity when their favorite band decided to tour with Panic! At The Disco, but at least we got a music video out of the resulting kerfuffle).

    Live and learn, I say: should our host get any more threatening letters, Isis forbid, he can redact the senders’ last names, let’s say, and publish only the domain part of the e-mail addresses. Transparency is a powerful tool, and like anything with sharp double edges, it requires practice — and a hilt! — to use properly.

  72. #72 Barklikeadog
    July 14, 2008

    I have a very good friend in the FBI that is catholic.

  73. #73 The Physicist
    July 14, 2008

    I have a very good friend in the FBI that is catholic.

    Well if he would send them to the information specialist there, he wouldn’t foward them over to the heritics division, I’m sure.

  74. #74 IceFarmer
    July 14, 2008

    Rev. BigDumbChimp,

    It seems that you may have misread my last post. I was writing that threats are a tactic that seems to work for them as it gets the masses all riled up and that WE shouldn’t stoop to that level. Perhaps you’d care to read that latter half of my last post, maybe the previous one too. Thanks.

  75. #75 John Robie
    July 14, 2008

    I agree that it may be a bad idea to post the full email address, but perhaps a compromise would be to XXXX out the name but leave the domain and IP address.

    I was going to email the 1800Flowers executive committee when I got home to let them know (respectfully of course) that either one of their employees was sending death threats from work, or they likely had a computer that was compromised. I would wait till I got home to keep MY employers IP out of this mess. Now I’ll refrain even from that.

    While internet retribution might be fun in a childish way, it’s ultimately self-defeating especially against the religious. It just inflames the rhetoric and feeds into their delusions of persecution.

  76. #76 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 14, 2008

    It seems that you may have misread my last post. I was writing that threats are a tactic that seems to work for them as it gets the masses all riled up and that WE shouldn’t stoop to that level. Perhaps you’d care to read that latter half of my last post, maybe the previous one too. Thanks.

    Ahh yes. Sorry. I’m way off today. In that case I agree.

  77. #77 Blake Stacey
    July 14, 2008

    Hey! Cut it out with the bad vibes, everybody. Recriminations solve nothing. Here: panda/kitten therapy.

  78. #78 The Physicist
    July 14, 2008

    Bark
    A trisket, a trasket, a red and yellow basket. What happens when the turned around collar guys sneezes on the crackers? Do they still eat those?

    Hrmmm? a good question, why don’t you ask your good friend.

  79. #79 Seeker
    July 14, 2008
  80. #80 Rarus.vir
    July 14, 2008

    Cutting edge blogging sometimes get’s noticed, as in this case. I hope sweeping policy changes don’t follow, although I know they always do. But hell, where else can you get quality education and entertainment all at once? At least I know you’ll never moderate comments, there’s too many. But it has become a zoo in here lately. It’s getting so bad, I hardly found time to work today. Perhaps you need to be a little less cutting edge, eh? LOL

  81. #81 Brownian, OM
    July 14, 2008

    Your reaction, Brownian, is exactly that of a fundamentalist when his creed is under attack.

    You’ve yet to define anything other than in terms of ‘bad’ when you don’t like it, and ‘good’ when you do.

    You’ve shown yourself to be little more than a concern troll at every opportunity J, so forgive me if I don’t fall down in a rapturous seizure when you fling the word ‘fundamentalist’ around.

    You bitch so much about what everybody else is doing, I’m starting to wonder if you shouldn’t do it professionally. With all of use juvenile and fundamental atheists around, I’m sure Donohue could use a lackey like you.

  82. #82 Barklikeadog
    July 14, 2008

    Bark
    A trisket, a trasket, a red and yellow basket. What happens when the turned around collar guys sneezes on the crackers? Do they still eat those?

    Hrmmm? a good question, why don’t you ask your good friend.

    Posted by: The Physicist | July 14, 2008 5:18 PM/

    Might do that but my point was sarcastic. But he would just fail to answer just like he does when I ask about other secret stuff. You know the guvmnt!

  83. #83 mayhempix
    July 14, 2008

    Good idea that PZ posted a new lead message on the “Dump” thread. It was like “Groundhog Day” with late readers not checking earlier comments to see what had already transpired.

    While not one of the, shall we say “excited ones” that sent off emails or phoned, I would posit that having previously clearly stated to send a message to the university president and not clearly stating what he did or did not want done when he posted the email headers, the eagerness of the response was not entirely a surprise.

    The trolls who are trying to equate it with the hateful and threatening emails PZ received obviously don’t see the difference. But then again they think a fucking cracker is the flesh of Jebus so I’m not surprised.

  84. #84 Dave W.
    July 14, 2008

    On scrubbing: the cat’s out of the bag this time around. Given that Melanie Kroll’s name appears on at least three other blogs already according to a quick Google (gotta love Greg Laden’s suggestion to prank call the company, which will cost them some cash), who knows how many places it appears (with contact info?) that Google hasn’t re-indexed in the last few days? Melanie is probably going to have to get used to a brand-new email address (whether she’s innocent or not).

  85. #85 Jim
    July 14, 2008

    “They called down the thunder, well now they got it.”

    Actually, no, they didn’t. They reacted to what they considered a threat. Had PZ not made the call to arms, these people wouldn’t even know who he is and never would have emailed him.

    You’re entitled to your opinions. But based on what has been written about Webster Cook (cited by PZ), you know exactly how Catholics feel about the Eucharist. You can’t make the types of threats that were made and not expect a reaction. Those two emails were out of line. They were wrong. But you can’t exactly claim that they “called down the thunder”. They reacted based on human instinct rather than with a cool head. But they didn’t exactly start it.

  86. #86 Blake Stacey
    July 14, 2008

    It is, in fact, the perpetual whining of the concern trolls which is pushing me towards declaring that whatever P-Zed can do to a cracker, I can do worse. Moreover, if you push me to that point, I will announce my intention in song — and, Gentle Reader, you do not want to hear me sing.

    “Anything he can do to a damn cracker / I can do harder and faster, it’s true. . . .”

    Please, people, think of the children. You have the power. Don’t let this happen.

  87. #87 speedwell
    July 14, 2008

    I’m kind of surprised at all this. When someone is simply and demonstrably wrong (the Catholic doctrine that a cracker actually, really, becomes human/divine flesh), and their wrongness leads them to be a danger to others, sometimes you have to resort to loud noises and bright colors to get their attention and make them stop hurting people. That’s all PZ did. What else would you have him do, step up to his local priest with his had held humbly in his two hands and say, “I’m sorry, Father, but I disagree with you”?

  88. #88 speedwell
    July 14, 2008

    HAT. Sheesh.

  89. #89 Nick Gotts
    July 14, 2008

    All I ever said is that there is an undesirable, irrational, anti-everything-American climate on Pharyngula.

    Well that’s not quite true. Nearly, but not quite – you’ve also said Islam is given an easy ride due to “political correctness” (and to forestall the inevitable accusation of lying, you’ve said a few other things as well). You’ve repeated both your main claims numerous times – but they are still just as false as the first time you said them, and much more boring.

  90. #90 Blake Stacey
    July 14, 2008

    Pharyngula has an “anti-everything American culture”? Feh. I hereby proclaim my fervent support for apple pie. Now, I will be satisfied with nothing less than total evisceration from other commenters, followed by summary banning by PZ.

  91. #91 Blake Stacey
    July 14, 2008

    Blast. s/culture/climate

  92. #92 SC
    July 14, 2008

    I hereby proclaim my fervent support for apple pie.

    If you have it with a nice slice of cheddar, for breakfast, you can even be an honorary Yankee :).

  93. #93 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 14, 2008

    anti-everything-American

    What the hell does this even mean?

  94. #94 jj
    July 14, 2008

    Hey PZ,
    I’d suggest still posting the threatening emails you receive, but definitely remove the headers, and their email address, or at leased the domain. I think you should make it public how these so called Catholics are reacting. The header of the message gives a lot of info, and as a person running an exchange server, when I saw the version number and IP pop up in that header, i dreaded to think what could happen if that was my server (granted you can get this info from sending a bunk email, but making that info public isn’t very good).

    And that 1800Flowers guy, if he really is using his corporate email for sending threats, you should contact the company and let them know that this is abuse of their network, and that they are responsible for whatever comes through that server. I believe the telecommunications act of 1996 title V (AKA Communications Decency Act) made it illegal to send threats via email, IM or telephone, but that may have been overturned in the US Supreme Court, but it’s never a bad idea to let a company know someone is abusing their network. Like I said, I admin an email server myself for as large corporation, and if I saw that on my server, you’d bet I would let management know.

  95. #95 True Bob
    July 14, 2008

    Apple pie? APPLE PIE?!?!11!1! That’s fricking repellent, you sock-puppet commie bastard from hell. It’s GOT to be Key Lime Pie or nothing, for an actual Murrican Pie!

    Now pray off or I shall taunt you a second time.

    /silly

    I was glad at least some of the commenters (seemed like the more regulars*) were arguing patience and non-interference all through the mail dump thread. It’s too bad some people charged off into moronville without hesitation, but I hold out hope for the future – think of the children!**

    *as opposed to the constipated nubes?
    **apparently the close silly tag didn’t take

  96. #96 Blake Stacey
    July 14, 2008

    SC (#92):

    Six years in Boston, and I better qualify as a damn Yankee. I mean, if I’d lived with the same people all this time, I’d practically have a common-law gay marriage by now.

  97. #97 windy
    July 14, 2008

    For one thing, we can’t be certain that an innocent’s account hasn’t been hijacked

    Which is another argument in favor of not posting the email addresses.

  98. #98 Dlux
    July 14, 2008

    #94: “And that 1800Flowers guy, if he really is using his corporate email for sending threats, you should contact the company and let them know that this is abuse of their network…”

    It never ends, does it?

    Rev. BigDumbChimp, you know the drill…

  99. #99 Mort
    July 14, 2008

    Wow. For a bunch that prides themselves on being brilliant and “bright” and rational, and all…this is pretty funny.

    PZ declares war on a religious symbol – a rude, disrespectful thing to do.

    PZ is cheered on by hundreds, who in the process of the spewing, also spew plenty of invective and hatred of those who value the religious symbol.

    (Please don’t pretend that the hate isn’t there. It is. Y’all hate Christians, and especially Catholics. Hate.)

    And now PZ is fluttering, “Well, I never!” when in this heat hecreated, an environment defined by hate, some folks decide to retaliate on his behalf?

    Oh, for heavens sake.

    Oops. Sorry about that.

    Not much clear thinking among the rationalists here.

  100. #100 MH
    July 14, 2008

    IMHO, forward threatening emails to the FBI and lets move on from Crackergate. Plenty more interesting stories out there.

  101. #101 Brownian, OM
    July 14, 2008

    Pharyngula has an “anti-everything American culture”? Feh. I hereby proclaim my fervent support for apple pie. Now, I will be satisfied with nothing less than total evisceration from other commenters, followed by summary banning by PZ.

    Blake, that’s exactly what J would expect a fundamentalist to say.

    Further noteworthy things that have been said to J that he considers exactly like what a fundamentalist might say (a damning indictment indeed): J’s mom once chastised him for not brushing his teeth; a primary school teacher of his once marked his answer “4 + 19 = 24″ on an exam as wrong; a cop who pulled him over for speeding let him off with a verbal warning; and those little notices on McDonald’s coffee cups that state “caution: contents are hot”–all these are dirty, despicable fundamentalist tactics that he and he alone fights.

  102. #102 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 14, 2008

    Rev. BigDumbChimp, you know the drill…

    I’m tired of explaining. I need to write a macro.

  103. #103 SC
    July 14, 2008

    Blake Stacey,

    Are you right in Boston, by the way? I’m to the south, on the wateh.

  104. #104 jj
    July 14, 2008

    @#98
    Sorry, don’t really understand that reply, but yeah, just saying if that was my company, being the ISM, and liable for everything that passes through my server, I would not stand for threats being sent on my MX. Of course, I don’t allow replies to craigslist on my corporate accounts either, so I run a tight operation…

  105. #105 True Bob
    July 14, 2008

    Mort, you couldn’t BE more wrong. It isn’t hate, it’s contempt of the preposterous rituals, rules, and beliefs held by any religion. Beyond that, the real concern that most atheist folks I ever encountered have nothing to do with religious worship and everything to do with the human desire to force compliance and conformity.

    So please, go pray off.

  106. #106 MH
    July 14, 2008

    @#94

    {head desk}
    {head desk}
    {head desk}
    .
    .
    .

    Can we please conclude that the “Mail Dump” experiment was an initially fun failure?

  107. #107 PeteC
    July 14, 2008

    It is most definitely not intended to incite harassment.

    But as a *net veteran you must have suspected that harassment would ensue.

    Of course, it’s not your responsibility, any more than the comments here are your responsibility – but it is worth keeping in mind that there is a huge readership here and you would not want to meet up for Pharyngubeers with all of them.

  108. #108 jj
    July 14, 2008

    @99
    “Please don’t pretend that the hate isn’t there. It is. Y’all hate Christians, and especially Catholics. Hate”

    That’s not the case. We may dislike and disagree with the fundies out there, especially on this topic, but I for one don’t hate anyone. I personally do have a belief in ‘spirituality’ although it in no way resembles a Christian belief, and in no way results in an almighty god. People can have their beliefs, and just because I find them funny and ridiculous, doesn’t mean I hate them. I think it’s you that hates us.

  109. #109 OctoberMermaid
    July 14, 2008

    Luckily for me, I’m too lazy to email random people or whatever.

    I do like how the theist trolls are trying to use this as an excuse to say “See? People can be bad on both sides! That means that we both have valid points of view, I guess, so um respect mine and remember that any bad is just due to the crazies.”

    Yes, granted, there ARE crazies and jerks on all sides in ANY issue, but that doesn’t make all sides equal and it certainly doesn’t forgive religion for its great sin of demanding irrational thinking of its followers, which, if anything, makes it simpler and much quicker for people to act based on emotion and do those “crazy/violent” things that all people are capable of.

    Religion rewards belief without evidence and opens the door to all other irrationalities. Once you start believing one huge silly, unbelievable, unprovable thing, what’s to stop you from believing more and more? Where do you draw the line? And at what point do you decide that it’s ok to do ANYTHING, no matter how violent or seemingly crazy to defend and propagate those beliefs.

  110. #110 John
    July 14, 2008

    I’m sure there’s about 50 comments in the hundred so far that say this, but I’ll say it anyway:

    Sanitise the emails. No headers and no signature means no identifiable information. Keep it yourself, report it to the police as a threat, and post it for our amusement, just leave the identifiable information off it.

  111. #111 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 14, 2008

    PZ declares war on a religious symbol – a rude, disrespectful thing to do.

    Not surprisingly, you conveniently left out the first part of this story.

  112. #112 Sven DiMIlo
    July 14, 2008

    (Please don’t pretend that the hate isn’t there. It is. Y’all hate Christians, and especially Catholics. Hate.)

    You got us all wrong, Mort. If the beliefs are stupid, then are not the believers also stupid? At least in that respect?
    I do not hate the stupid. Stupidity evokes something along the scale from befuddled mild amusement to head-bonking exasperation, depending, but not hate. Even hypocrisy doesn’t evoke hate so much as revulsion and maybe even anger.
    You have to add cruelty and violence, whether implicit or explicit, to your stupidity and hypocrisy to get me to hate you.
    Death-threateners qualify, whatever their religion.

  113. #113 Ghost of Minnesota
    July 14, 2008

    Keep the current policy, but use it only in extreme cases. In the event of particularly heinous, persistent email harassment, allow yourself the option of unleashing the horde.

  114. #114 Sven DiMIlo
    July 14, 2008

    Thanks, True Bob…”contempt” was the word I wanted where I used “revulsion.”

  115. #115 Brownian, OM
    July 14, 2008

    (Please don’t pretend that the hate isn’t there. It is. Y’all hate Christians, and especially Catholics. Hate.)

    Wrong, stupid. I hate Evangelicals and Baptists at least three times as much as I hate Catholics. (In fact, I used to have a soft spot for the dogans, having been one myself.)

    Oddly enough, this vehement hate is relatively new; I was totally live-and-let-live until I began to encounter the most ‘faithful’ of the followers. (Y’know, the ones who seem to be incapable of live-and-let-live and particularly enjoy watching Africa suffer in service to their god. Like pretty well all of your religious leaders.)

    If you’re at all curious as to why you guys seem to earn such invective from non-believers, perhaps you might consider reading Matthew 7:3-5. If you still think you’re entitled to criticise any-fucking-body else ever, read it again. And again. And again. And again. Then maybe consider following it. Then read it again. And again. And then maybe consider following it. Then read it again. Ad infinitum.

    We’d all be a helluva lot happier (although Bill Donohue might have to find himself legitimate work).

  116. #116 kmerian
    July 14, 2008

    While the communion wafer is given away freely, it is not given away freely to anyone who wants it. It is for Catholics (and Orthodox) only. It is to be consumed when it is recieved. One could make the legal argument that then utilizing it in a manner in which it was never intended is theft. So, the professor is encouraging people to committ theft for him. But, I will admit, that is a bit of a stretch.

    If you don’t believe what we do, fine. Why do you care? If you think it is just a “cracker”, then don’t go to a Catholic Church, just as if you believe the Qu’ran is just a book, stay away from a mosque. It’s called common politeness.

  117. #117 True Bob
    July 14, 2008

    Well personally, it takes a lot to make me hate someone. It’s not like I am overflowing with love for all, but dadburnit, hate takes energy, and that goes against my strict creed of laziness. Those I do hate are individuals, not groups as a whole (well, maybe excepting the shrubco incorporated “administration”).

  118. #118 OctoberMermaid
    July 14, 2008

    “If you don’t believe what we do, fine. Why do you care? If you think it is just a “cracker”, then don’t go to a Catholic Church, just as if you believe the Qu’ran is just a book, stay away from a mosque. It’s called common politeness.”

    You’re completely missing the point. On its own, we would find the whole eucharist thing silly but ultimately harmless and we wouldn’t give it another thought.

    What DOES concern us, however, is the insane reaction that people who proclaimed to be Catholics had toward the kid in question, including the death threats and the attempts to get him expelled.

    And then we remembered that they’re doing it all… for a cracker. That’s where the “frackin’ cracker” part comes into play.

    Did you really not know all of this or are you just being dishonest?

  119. #119 SC
    July 14, 2008

    Sven DiMilo @ #12,

    I was at a couple of those shows! I was one of the “new folks” (couldn’t be helped, as I was still young; on the other hand, I had cut my teeth to some extent at Max Creek shows). But I got it…and kept it :).

  120. #120 J
    July 14, 2008

    You’ve yet to define anything other than in terms of ‘bad’ when you don’t like it, and ‘good’ when you do.
    An unsupported assertion like that can be dismissed with an unsupported assertion such as this: Nonsense.

    You’ve shown yourself to be little more than a concern troll at every opportunity J, so forgive me if I don’t fall down in a rapturous seizure when you fling the word ‘fundamentalist’ around.
    I voice disagreement more than I cheerlead and preach to the choir. That’s because I find the former orders of magnitude more productive than the latter. What’s the point in saying “Christianity is bullshit!” or “creationists are ignorant!”? Almost every reader here knows that well.

    If you want to define “concern troll” to mean “someone who frequently disagrees with consensus opinion”, then yes, I suppose I’m a concern troll. But if you’re going to use the word in that sense, how it could possibly be a pejorative label as you intend it, unless you think the consensus opinion on Pharyngula is something which shouldn’t ever be challenged?

    Well that’s not quite true. Nearly, but not quite – you’ve also said Islam is given an easy ride due to “political correctness” (and to forestall the inevitable accusation of lying, you’ve said a few other things as well).
    That’s distinct from my comments on “anti-Americanism”.

  121. #121 Ermine
    July 14, 2008

    Wow ‘J’, I’d love to see some cites for your claim of an ‘irrational, anti-everything-american climate on Pharyngula’.

    I can’t think of a single post that met that criteria. I’ve seen a lot of rational jabs at specific problems with America or its people, but I can’t think of any individuals who have been irrationally anti-EVERYTHING-American. (Or even rationally so.) Can you point out a few? By your own words, you don’t apparently mean simply dislike of the Bush Administration or American foreign policy, so what DO you mean by ‘anti-everything-american’?

    I mean, there would certainly have to be more than a few people/posts for it to be a CLIMATE of anti-Americanism, right? For that to be the climate here, I’d expect at least 1/10 of the posts to show some sign of it, but I don’t see it. Can you find some? Even just 10, say, from the last year or so? 5?

    Yes, it looks like some people overreacted. I’m glad that PZ said something once he realized that there was a problem. Several other people also spoke up when they realized that some others were going overboard – I think that puts the atheistic hordes several steps ahead of the religious already!

    I looked through several blogs and newspaper comment sections over the past few days, and didn’t see ANY religious folk urging caution or asking people to -think- before posting. At most I’ve seen 2, -maybe- 3 (out of literally THOUSANDS of posts) that even noticed that their side was sending *death threats*, much less asked anyone to stop or think about what they were doing.

    Come on J, surely you can do better than that?

    Ermine

  122. #122 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 14, 2008

    If you don’t believe what we do, fine. Why do you care? If you think it is just a “cracker”, then don’t go to a Catholic Church, just as if you believe the Qu’ran is just a book, stay away from a mosque. It’s called common politeness.

    We care because your belief system seeks to impose it’s narrow view of the world on everyone via it’s own little twisted version of morality.

    Now I personally would never go to a catholic (or any) church except for ceremonies like weddings, baptisms and funerals and certainly wouldn’t dream of playing any kind of prank (which this incident is looking more and more like it was a simple case of curiosity blown up by the violent actions of the church members there) but unfortunately the church’s reach extends beyond those four walls.

  123. #123 Dr Benway
    July 14, 2008

    Hating or opposing ignorant or bad ideas that harm people seems appropriate to me.

    Those who want to defend the bad ideas but can’t often accuse the opposition as unfairly persecuting the people who accept the bad ideas. They do this to derail the argument from a discussion of ideas to a discussion of people.

    If someone says, “I don’t hate Catholics but I hate this notion that a cracker is of greater value than a human being,” it doesn’t help for the pro-cracker camp to say, “No you hate Catholics.” They also have to show that the anti-cracker camp doesn’t have some valid reason for hating the idea that’s on the table for debate.

    In sum: people who want to shift a debate from ideas to people need to make sure the argument over the ideas has been fully addressed.

  124. #124 Derek Colanduno
    July 14, 2008

    Is there a feature in your blog settings that allow you to create a ‘ban’ list of IP’s?

  125. #125 J
    July 14, 2008

    how it could possibly be a pejorative label as you intend it…
    I got the “it” and “could” the wrong way around there.

  126. #126 Recall
    July 14, 2008

    Lurker weighing in. Send it to the FBI. Do it for every email that’s even vaguely threatening. Don’t give it a second thought. Keeping these things to yourself only encourages the offenders to escalate the situation.

  127. #127 AlanWCan
    July 14, 2008

    Well, you made reddit, so the common sense:number ratio went way, way down…

  128. #128 Patricia
    July 14, 2008

    kmerian – Texas Catholic – enjoying collecting tidbits here for your website? Mighty christian of you, cracker snapper.

  129. #129 craig
    July 14, 2008

    Didn’t send emails, been on the net too long to do that kind of crap…

    but I am wondering, though – where is Dobson’s “PLEASE STOP NOW!” plea?

    Oh wait – he actually ASKED people to flood the college and PZ with complaints.

    Yeah, J, we’re exactly like the religious.

  130. #130 Dr Benway
    July 14, 2008

    One could make the legal argument that then utilizing it in a manner in which it was never intended is theft.

    That’s a legal argument?

    I use all sorts of things in ways not necessarily indended by the person I got the thing from. For example, I’ve taken business cards not because I cared about what was on the card but because I needed a piece of paper to jot down an email address or phone number.

    I think if someone wants to place a use restriction on a thing after the gift or sale, they need to establish an explicit contract up front. They also need to enforce breaches of the contract in a non-arbitrary manner.

    A written use restriction on a cracker is just silly, I’m afraid. You’d be laughed out of court.

  131. #131 True Bob
    July 14, 2008

    If I used everything as intended, Sears would never have replaced those two Craftsman screwdrivers.

  132. #132 Max Verret
    July 14, 2008

    Re: #25

    PZ: I don’t think that the wrath (consequences) you incur is the result of lack of skill or talent. No fair person would accuse you of lacking in either. It may be a lack of reflection or foresight. There are several posts here saying that this issue should “move on” or “go away”. That happens often when someone charges into an issue and then when the proverbial stuff hits the fan and the consequences are looming in front of him, he wants it to go away so that he can move on. It avoids a lot of anxiety when the consequences are anticipated beforehand.

  133. #133 Capital Dan
    July 14, 2008

    Pharyngula has an “anti-everything American culture”? Feh. I hereby proclaim my fervent support for apple pie. Now, I will be satisfied with nothing less than total evisceration from other commenters, followed by summary banning by PZ.

    Posted by: Blake Stacey

    Your bravery and patriotism has inspired me, Blake. In fact, I will state proudly that up until now, I was a closeted hot-dog eater.

    Wait… That came out wrong.

    I like hot dogs! And baseball… And, apple pie.

    Not a big fan of Chevy’s though.

  134. #134 Matt
    July 14, 2008

    I did, per PZ’s open request, write a letter to President Bruininks. I didn’t mention how the amount of vitriol PZ puts up with in comments from detractors is a positive sign for the actual nature of PZ’s writing & intentions, but J’s comments make me think I should have

    I’ve got to disagree with Matt though. Neither disappointed nor sickened by reaction to the e-mail dump. Some of us may be better, some not, but neither makes us any less prone to regular human sentiment/reactions.

    Also, Craig @ #129, is completely spot on with the hypocrisy of the Catholic League. At least PZ is trying to reign in his supporters.

  135. #135 Brownian, OM
    July 14, 2008

    If you want to define “concern troll” to mean “someone who frequently disagrees with consensus opinion”, then yes, I suppose I’m a concern troll. But if you’re going to use the word in that sense, how it could possibly be a pejorative label as you intend it, unless you think the consensus opinion on Pharyngula is something which shouldn’t ever be challenged?

    Nice strawman, but concern troll NE freedom fighter, or however you see yourself.

    (Further, as an example of someone who disagrees with the community way more than you do, is unapologetically impolite about it, infuriates and pisses off people as much if not more than you do, and yet won a Molly for it, please see any of the comments by the Truth Machine.)

    No, a concern troll is one who uses ‘concern’ for the community as an ostensible platform for whining. It’s cloaking one’s childish attention-getting with legitimate issues.

    Having watched (and occasionally participated) in a number of threads in which you poorly formed an argument critical of the community, got ripped into for it, and then assumed we must all be dittoheads for disagreeing with you, I can pretty safely state that you’re much more Brenda than Truth Machine.

    By all means write this comment off as coming from a fundie PZ crony though; it’s what you consistently do with those who disagree with you.

  136. #136 J
    July 14, 2008

    By your own words, you don’t apparently mean simply dislike of the Bush Administration or American foreign policy, so what DO you mean by ‘anti-everything-american’?
    Yes, I dislike the Bush Administration, but I’m not going to obsessively pretend that it’s an evil imperial regime, as many people here do. I’m also not going to let my aversion to Bush cloud my judgment to such an extent that I would blame the Muslim-on-Muslim violence in Iraq on him. His club-footed clumsiness gave the Iraqis an opportunity to begin massacring one another, and they only too eagerly seized upon it. There’s no evidence whatever that he wanted this brutality to happen, so it’s absurd to hold him responsible for the actual killings and ignore the agency of the actual murderers.

    Another example: I often see snide comments on specifically American ignorance and scientific illiteracy. I think it’s plain that the vast majority of people in every country on the planet are scientifically illiterate. Is there any evidence that creationism is so widespread in America mostly due to inferior education and increased ignorance (relative to the rest of the developed world)? I don’t think so. The vast majority of Europeans I know don’t call themselves creationists, and yet know next to nothing about evolution. My suspicion is that Europeans are so irreligious just for complicated social reasons and not because of superior scientific knowledge.

    The “anti-Americanism” I refer to is best described as a gleeful, exaggerated emphasis of America’s flaws.

  137. #137 OctoberMermaid
    July 14, 2008

    #128

    Ooh, interesting. I hope he decides to pray for me! I love when people tell me they’re doing that. It means they’re wasting time doing nothing when they might otherwise be using their wacky beliefs to make some kind of impact on the world.

    And just so kmerian doesn’t freak out, I’m not saying that I think religious people shouldn’t be out doing stuff, I’m saying that I don’t personally like it when they base their decisions on things that their holy books tell them* or go out and evangelize.

    *The whole “love everyone” stuff is all well and good, but apparently you don’t need to be religious to be a good person. Shocking!

  138. #138 J
    July 14, 2008

    Further, as an example of someone who disagrees with the community way more than you do, is unapologetically impolite about it, infuriates and pisses off people as much if not more than you do, and yet won a Molly for it, please see any of the comments by the Truth Machine.
    You mean the ultra-leftist, fanatical wingnut? He fits in well here. The only reason he seems to disagree with the consensus is that he’s an extremely unpleasant person.

  139. #139 Blake Stacey
    July 14, 2008

    SC (#103):

    Are you right in Boston, by the way? I’m to the south, on the wateh.

    Fuckin-A, mush! I’m up in Cambridge. Y’know, it’s probably past time that we had another PZ-in-absentia Pharyngufest. . . .

  140. #140 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 14, 2008

    The “anti-Americanism” I refer to is best described as a gleeful, exaggerated emphasis of America’s flaws.

    Disregarding the descriptors which are purely there to prop up your argument, dissent is core to being American. Would you like us to “gleefully” ignore flaws?

  141. #141 J
    July 14, 2008

    No, a concern troll is one who uses ‘concern’ for the community as an ostensible platform for whining. It’s cloaking one’s childish attention-getting with legitimate issues.
    Speculation. You have no way of knowing I’m trying to do that. Who do you think you’re fooling?

    I’ve made my point now. If people cut it out with the infuriating misrepresentations, I’ll gladly disprove your “attention-getting” hypothesis by disappearing from this thread.

  142. #142 Holbach
    July 14, 2008

    Mort @ 99 Is “Mort” for mortal, mortician, or mortified? The last word seems to fit your reaction to rationalists who question your form of insanity. Religious symbol in the form of a cracker that is the epitomy of religious dementia? I will be rude and disrespectful to any thing that smacks of insanity, especially ascribing to a wafer of ordinary flour and dough a transubstantiation into an imaginary nothing and then building an aura of demented reverence for this incredible symbol of all that is insane and incredulous! Besides our mockery of this insane idea, you are pissed that anyone would ever dare to question your whole moronic relgious bullshit. Why don’t you get your imaginary god to quell our sensible diatribe against you and your demented ilk? If I were a supreme being, and any of my creations questioned my existence and poked fun at my insane creations, I would be down in a flash and spread them out with a layer of crackers. Let’s see your god. It will never happen because there is no imaginary god, but just what is formed in irrational minds. Come on, bring this shit god of yours down to smite us all. In the meantime, we will wait for it and have a huge cracker party with all the trimmings, especially Cheesewhiz to transform the bland taste into something palatable. I will be waiting with a mouthful, snicker, of cracker crumbs, waiting for your dumb crumb to appear.

  143. #143 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 14, 2008

    Another example: I often see snide comments on specifically American ignorance and scientific illiteracy. I think it’s plain that the vast majority of people in every country on the planet are scientifically illiterate. Is there any evidence that creationism is so widespread in America mostly due to inferior education and increased ignorance (relative to the rest of the developed world)? I don’t think so. The vast majority of Europeans I know don’t call themselves creationists, and yet know next to nothing about evolution.

    Who you know means exactly shit.

    I personally know two people from turkey who both accept evolution because they are educated.

  144. #144 spurge
    July 14, 2008

    Another Pharyngufest would be fun.

  145. #145 True Bob
    July 14, 2008

    The “anti-Americanism” I refer to is best described as a gleeful, exaggerated emphasis of America’s flaws.

    Well that’s hardly “anti-” now is it? I love my country, Murika, very much. It troubles me greatly how corrupted the gummint is, and it bothers me greatly that anyone could justify torture. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what happened. My America doesn’t torture, my America believes in habeas corpus, my America believes no searches without warrants supported by reasonable suspicion, etc. My America doesn’t wear the black hat. Unfortunately, this current administration joyfully put on the black hat and became that which we despise. Go ask Dick about “the dark side”. I see these guys as traitors.

    Tell me, who’s the real patriots, the Archie Bunker slobs waving flags? or the people with the guts to work for real change.

    Aside, it’s a human characteristic that it is generally easier to find negative characteristics than positive. Besides, the positive things about my country are NOT what needs fixing.

  146. #146 Scott C.
    July 14, 2008

    I am proud to say I never emailed them. Good post PZ. We need to keep thing civil.

  147. #147 jj
    July 14, 2008

    @#143
    I agree

    I actually don’t know a single person [well enough] that doesn’t see evolution as the most accurate theory for our existence (note I didn’t say ‘believes in evolution’ as with scientific theories, they are forever changing). I have a good buddy who lives in the Netherlands, and he isn’t a ‘creationist’, nor are any of his friends [that I know]. Maybe it’s because I was raised in a family that found education to be the utmost of importance, worked to help me get into a reputable [public] college and ended up with a degree in science (GO UCSC!).

  148. #148 SC
    July 14, 2008

    Y’know, it’s probably past time that we had another PZ-in-absentia Pharyngufest. . . .

    I’d be down for that.

  149. #149 Mike Haubrich, FCD
    July 14, 2008

    I think the proper way to handled the situation is to send a letter to Dr. Bruininks in support of PZ’s right to be PZ, without having people calling for his job or his neck. I have some actual letters people have sent at Support PZ and will continue to publish copies of letters to Dr. Bruininks as they are sent to me at the address on the Support PZ blog.

  150. #150 True Bob
    July 14, 2008

    …a single person…

    AHA! It’s all the MARRIED ones!

  151. #151 windy, OM
    July 14, 2008

    Is there any evidence that creationism is so widespread in America mostly due to inferior education and increased ignorance (relative to the rest of the developed world)? I don’t think so.

    Good thing, then, that most of us have been arguing that it’s due to greater religious influence on American society. But thanks for once again building a gigantic strawman out of some rare comments to the contrary.

  152. #152 Crudely Wrott
    July 14, 2008

    The cockroach metaphor that PZ uses strikes me as apt. He argues that it is good to expose the scuttling little vermin to the light of public exposure and that it is bad to squoosh them satisfyingly under foot by personal attack, e-mail or otherwise.

    He’s right. And he’s right in a way that Christians must be able to appreciate. Might even feel a bit compelled to appreciate?

    We all know that a Christian is exhorted to “let his or her little light shine.” By showing the nature of Christ in their own lives, in their dealings with their neighbors and broader community, they give a powerful witness for the love of their savior. Likewise, if we limit our response to the cockroaches to exposure to the light of reason, and reason’s daughter, The Law, then we are making a powerful witness for the point of view that the wall of separation is a fence that indeed makes good neighbors.

    Just as the early Christians heard Jesus tell them to respect the laws of the places wherein they dwelt as well as to render unto Caesar what was legally his, we today are so counseled too. Hard to take in some cases, but it allows the rule of law to run its course. Since there are many laws at various levels that address making a death threat, it is reasonably certain that offenses of the law could be found quickly.

    By applying this metaphor we gain several things. First of all we have the distinct pleasure of shining the light of public scrutiny on behavior that is universally condemned and is therefore against the law. Additionally, this simple act is often all it takes to put a stop to the behavior. A slightly less satisfying squoosh, but a squoosh just the same.

    Second, we comport ourselves is a way that any reasonable person, and any reasonable Christian, there are not a few, would recognize and in general approve of. Possibly, some might even be moved to emulate our example. This give us major points in the general public, helps reinforce such civilized behavior among us baby eaters and are less lethal friends who value life without the woo.

    And thirdly, if they ever get the point and see the approval that we receive in the public and political arena, the irony will drive the true believers bat shit! hee hee

    We will be “as cunning as a serpent and as harmless as a dove.”

    E Pluribus Unum

  153. #153 MAJeff, OM
    July 14, 2008

    Y’know, it’s probably past time that we had another PZ-in-absentia Pharyngufest. . . .

    I’d be down for that.

    Hellz yeah!

    Can’t plan it this time, though. Dissertation and job search are leaving little time for that sort of stuff (and the nat’l conf is coming up fast)

  154. #154 J
    July 14, 2008

    Who you know means exactly shit.
    No it doesn’t. Not when there are myriad other sound reasons to believe what the knowledge extracted from my acquaintances suggests. For instance, in Britain the theory of evolution appears on the curriculum only at GCSE level. In my school it was covered in only one or two lessons. I did very well in GCSE Biology, and I still knew almost nothing of evolution until I encountered Darwin and Dawkins a few years later. (This was purely extra-curricular reading, I should add.)

  155. #155 MAJeff, OM
    July 14, 2008

    maybe we could even have some fetus sashimi at the Pharyngufest.

  156. #156 FW
    July 14, 2008

    You could provide these people some degree of protection by keeping their email addresses confidential, but just because they get spammed after their info is posted on your blog doesn’t mean you the one spamming them, and you shouldn’t take more blame than you deserve.

    The denizens of communities like somethingawful and 4chan (and there are definitely a few 4chan people reading) will go after anyone doing something stupid on the internet- and using a personal email address to send a death threat to a blog with a disclaimer like yours is way, way stupid.

    You warned them and they had no common sense (like starting a hotmail or gmail account to spare their normal address). To everyone saying “we’re supposed to be better than that”, you are. The internet at large however, is not nor are you in any way responsible for their actions.

  157. #157 The Physicist
    July 14, 2008

    I really don’t care wht you do POZ, but you puzzle me.

    On the radio you said:

    Myers: The response has done nothing but confirm it: I have to do something. I’m not going to just let this disappear. It’s just so darned weird that they’re demanding that I offer this respect to a symbol that means nothing to me. Something will be done. It won’t be gross. It won’t be totally tasteless, but yeah, I’ll do something that shows this cracker has no power. This cracker is nothing

    Well maybe you are right, and maybe you are wrong. But when talking to you, I understand where you come from. I hope you don’t expect me to pick the lice off your apes, then tell them taste like chicken. I expect men to rise above such mundane practices. I believe it is better to give a bone, than to take one, I have dogs and understand animals, and you,live up to acting like one, and have never bridged that gap of evolution.

  158. #158 The Physicist
    July 14, 2008

    I really don’t care wht you do POZ, but you puzzle me.

    On the radio you said:

    Myers: The response has done nothing but confirm it: I have to do something. I’m not going to just let this disappear. It’s just so darned weird that they’re demanding that I offer this respect to a symbol that means nothing to me. Something will be done. It won’t be gross. It won’t be totally tasteless, but yeah, I’ll do something that shows this cracker has no power. This cracker is nothing

    Well maybe you are right, and maybe you are wrong. But when talking to you, I understand where you come from. I hope you don’t expect me to pick the lice off your apes, then tell them taste like chicken. I expect men to rise above such mundane practices. I believe it is better to give a bone, than to take one, I have dogs and understand animals, and you,live up to acting like one, and have never bridged that gap of evolution.

  159. #159 Blake Stacey
    July 14, 2008

    MAJeff, SC and others:

    In default of finding somebody who has the time and ability to, you know, organize an event, we could just provide a Pharyngulan contingent at Boston Skeptics in the Pub.

    And on that note, I bow out. Enough of ScienceBlogs until all this blows over. Everybody has their own line drawn in the sand, and it’s too damn tiring to remember where they’ve all been put. Will any of these postures and counter-postures resolve or improve anything? Hah. I’ve got a journal article to write and a DVD box set of The Prisoner which won’t watch itself. Catch you all on the flipside.

  160. #160 The Physicist
    July 14, 2008

    I expected better of you. My fault.

  161. #161 andyo
    July 14, 2008

    Wow, for professional faith-heads, these people calling us religious or faith-based surely don’t understand the meaning of the words “religious faith”.

    The only times I’ve see most commenters here have faith is when they have faith that you are stupid (and that’s just the “rabid” ones). And sometimes even that’s not faith-based.

  162. #162 The Physicist
    July 14, 2008

    The only times I’ve see most commenters here have faith is when they have faith that you are stupid (and that’s just the “rabid” ones). And sometimes even that’s not faith-based.

    You must be knew.

  163. #163 SC
    July 14, 2008

    In default of finding somebody who has the time and ability to, you know, organize an event, we could just provide a Pharyngulan contingent at Boston Skeptics in the Pub.

    Yeah, maybe. Something smaller and less formal is more my speed, but I can’t expect others to do the work. It was a nice thought – perhaps another time.

  164. #164 True Bob
    July 14, 2008

    Mmmmm, Lice Pilaf

  165. #165 Christopher Waldrop
    July 14, 2008

    I’ve tried to read through all the comments here as carefully and with as calm a head as I can, and, as I was doing so, one thing occurred to me. PZ has asked his readers to be better people; he’s asked us (I’ll be so bold as to include myself in that company) to take the high ground and not behave like the jerks or idiots most of us have a problem with. He’s asked us to be sensible and reasonable.
    Has Bill Donohue done that? Has Bill Donohue encouraged his readers, his followers to not resort to threats of violence? To follow up on an earlier poster who complained there was nothing but “hate” here, has Donohue asked his readers to demonstrate the Christian virtues of love and forgiveness?
    Dr. Myers might quibble with the idea of “Christian virtues”, but I believe he’s calling for sensible, rational responses to people who have gone way over the top in trying to portray themselves as a bunch of martyrs.

  166. #166 dogheaven
    July 14, 2008

    I am concerned for PZ’s safety and I read through this thread and found the following comments the most constructive.
    #42, Village Green has the answer. There are lots of sleuths in your readership that you can use and will not abuse the situation but make you safer.
    #53 Raynfala continues with the same good advice.
    394 JJ – Apparently PZ needed somehelp from readers to ensure it was a legit address. He needs people on a non public
    list to check these things out for him and then send info to the authorities and also the companies.
    #113 Ghost of Minnesota, I agree with this as well.
    #124 J. has another good idea.
    #145 True Bob, here here

  167. #167 seastark
    July 14, 2008

    …we’re supposed to be better than that

    But who is the ‘we’ that he speaks of? Definitely not pzs heathen crew since the bowling jackets haven’t come in and definitely not ‘The Athiests’ as there is no ‘atheist agenda’. The we is everyone. The baseline of humanity…

    I wish I could rely on a skyman to tell me it’s ok to hate ‘them’ and protect ‘us’ but I gave that dream up years ago.

  168. #168 Cephus
    July 14, 2008

    You really can’t keep the e-mail addresses attached, even if we’re going to assume that all the good atheists are going to behave and not sign them up for spam, we can’t for a second trust the theists who may sign up their brethren and blame us for it.

    Would we put it past them? HELL YES!

  169. #169 clinteas
    July 14, 2008

    I agree with Orac,I dont think PZ thought this one out very well to start with,and it was probably predictable what would happen.

    Im just a bit dumbfounded that people still kept insisting on sending spam,phoning or posting real names on the web,after PZ asked them mid-threat not to,and I spent my whole Sunday getting called names by those dicks when I argued against it.

  170. #170 truth machine, OM
    July 14, 2008

    we’re supposed to be better than that

    PZ = Brandon? This phrase is meaningless.

  171. #171 Santa
    July 14, 2008

    Begging your pardon, but doesn’t that sound a little hypocritical? When a person retaliates to your comment in an overreacting or uncharitable way, you raise the benefit-of-the-doubt and better-than-that cards. Yet when the Church allegedly overreacted in the original case reported by your earlier blog post, you publicly insulted them and threatened to pour oil in the flame in the manner you described in the same blog post. Where is the better-than-that and charity cards in that case?

    Or am I wrong in pointing out this apparent hypocrisy?

  172. #172 Nobody
    July 14, 2008

    we’re supposed to be better than that.

    Oh, good effing luck with that. They take after your model, PZ; profane, arrogant and sanctimonious (not to mention amoral). If you think the aroused Catholic population is the only one afflicted with brainless morons, you clearly need to think again.

  173. #173 Caveat
    July 14, 2008

    I was a little surprised that you actually posted the emails.

    This isn’t a private club, you know. It’s open to anybody in the world who feels like dropping by. In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me if the trolls themselves picked up that ball and ran with it.

  174. #174 True Bob
    July 14, 2008

    Santa, you must believe in yourself.

    The members of the church were just as allegedly overreacting as the doofus catholic kid was allegedly taking helpless cheeses away. When you capitalize the Church, doesn’t that really mean the papacy, the vatican, et al? AFAIK, they haven’t yet chimed in.

    How do you feel about Donohue? A well tempered proportional response? It sure was thoughtful when he asked his minions to tone down the vitriol,wasn’t it? Oh, right.

    Pray off.

  175. #175 truth machine, OM
    July 14, 2008

    I dont think PZ thought this one out very well to start with,and it was probably predictable what would happen.

    Obviously and obviously.

    Im just a bit dumbfounded that people still kept insisting on sending spam,phoning or posting real names on the web,after PZ asked them mid-threat not to,and I spent my whole Sunday getting called names by those dicks when I argued against it.

    Dumbfounded, indeed. An intelligent person would infer from being called names by those he lectures not to do something that at least some of them would continue to do it, perhaps even more determinedly. And not even the Pope can manage to get his flock to obey him, so one should hardly expect PZ to be able to.

  176. #176 True Bob
    July 14, 2008

    Dadblast it.

    Looky looky, atheist made a mistake!!!1! Hosed up the close tag on italics. I wanted it to look like this:

    The members of the church were just as allegedly overreacting as the doofus catholic kid was allegedly taking helpless cheeses away.

    When you capitalize the Church, doesn’t that really mean the papacy, the vatican, et al? AFAIK, they haven’t yet chimed in.

  177. #177 brokenSoldier, OM
    July 14, 2008

    I was addressing Brownian’s “American Way” comment, dumbass. What I said in my last post was to be interpreted in that context. Obviously I wasn’t denying what I plainly stated in post #18.

    Posted by: J | July 14, 2008 4:59 PM

    Obviously not…’cause you said you weren’t, is that how it works? Far be it from me to keep you from weaseling out of a statement you can’t back up – I actually enjoy watching you try. For future reference, when you start a sentence with “All I ever said…,” be forewarned that people will infer that you are restating what you said.

    And that evasion still doesn’t do anything to support the claim that you made in your first post – that commenters here are just as faith-based as religious believers.

  178. #178 truth machine, OM
    July 14, 2008

    Yet when the Church allegedly overreacted in the original case

    Good on tossing your credibility out of the window.

  179. #179 Patricia
    July 14, 2008

    #164 – Gawddamit True Bob, I switched threads after you busted me up with that fundament ‘crack’. And now here you go again. I’ve spit sangria down the front of my well filled blouse. Dammit man, post a warning! ;)

  180. #180 scooter
    July 14, 2008

    Posting the Long Headers on a website during a major flame war not only excites the techs and the trace route crowd, but also the flamers.

    That was not very well thought out.

    Also, the format of this Blog is linear not threaded, which causes a cyclic repetition of information. I would advise looking into a threaded mode to prevent runaway errors in the future.

    I realize PZ is under a lot of stress, and busy as hell, so these are honest mistakes, but it’s healthy to comment on them so perhaps they are not repeated.

    Sort of like the Scientific Method

    ciao
    —————
    You Tube Eucharist Challenge

  181. #181 The Physicist
    July 14, 2008

    Might do that but my point was sarcastic. But he would just fail to answer just like he does when I ask about other secret stuff.

    before I die I want to know about all that secret stuff, because we all know those dirty Catholics publish the Catechism in pig Latin, a non Kosher language, so the Jews and Muslims won’t have a clue.

  182. #182 truth machine, OM
    July 14, 2008

    “Further, as an example of someone who disagrees with the community way more than you do, is unapologetically impolite about it, infuriates and pisses off people as much if not more than you do, and yet won a Molly for it, please see any of the comments by the Truth Machine.”

    You mean the ultra-leftist, fanatical wingnut? He fits in well here. The only reason he seems to disagree with the consensus is that he’s an extremely unpleasant person.

    You’re simply wrong about that being the only reason, although it’s convenient for you to say so rather than address the point being made. And as was shown in depth in a previous thread, you have no grasp of the range of political thought or of the meaning of terms such as “leftist” or “ultra-leftist”. SC, for instance, is considerably to the left of me, and both of us are considerably to the left of many people at this site. Even so, the “ultra-leftist” positions that I promote here tend to be things like opposition to torture, support of reproductive choice, and a rejection of wars undertaken on the basis of lies — positions in line with the views of a majority of Americans.

    P.S. FWIW, I happen to side with you over brokenSoldier in your little dispute; that is, I think he has misunderstood or misrepresented your statements. Of course, that’s just me being extremely unpleasant.

  183. #183 Ryan Cunningham
    July 14, 2008

    Re: All of this talk of “We’re meant to be better than that” being a stupid and pointless sentiment.

    An immediate call for better behavior and setting a high standard of ethics is EXACTLY the appropriate reaction. Unless we demand that everyone act like a grown up, nobody will. The non-stupid jerks have to keep the stupid jerks in line. This is precisely where prominent Catholics failed.

    If you’re so cynical and anti-social that it grates on you when a man chastises those in the wrong and demands we strive to be better people, can I make a suggestion? Go live alone in a cave somewhere. Clearly social interaction is not for you.

  184. #184 truth machine, OM
    July 14, 2008

    P.S.

    The only reason he seems to disagree with the consensus is that he’s an extremely unpleasant person.

    I suppose that my taking PZ to task for his blatant intellectual dishonesty and pathetic cherry picking of Obama’s 2006 speech on religion, for which he threatened to ban me from the site (just before awarding me (and Mrs. Tilton) the Molly) was only a matter of being unpleasant. PZ was no better in that thread than you are … most of the time, and yes I do get “unpleasant” about dishonesty.

  185. #185 truth machine, OM
    July 14, 2008

    The non-stupid jerks have to keep the stupid jerks in line.

    You’re fantasizing if you think you have the power to do that.

    If you’re so cynical and anti-social that it grates on you when a man chastises those in the wrong and demands we strive to be better people, can I make a suggestion? Go live alone in a cave somewhere. Clearly social interaction is not for you.

    Oh yeah, that’ll work.

  186. #186 mdh
    July 14, 2008

    You should never underestimate people’s capacity to behave stupidly.

    None of us is as dumb as all of us.

  187. #187 Jon H
    July 14, 2008

    Josh West wrote: “For the record, I only sent an email to 1800flowers to notify them of the situation. I though I was pretty polite about it.”

    And this was needed… why?

  188. #188 truth machine, OM
    July 14, 2008

    SC: You should never underestimate people’s capacity to behave stupidly.

    mdh: None of us is as dumb as all of us.

    More often than not, the use of group nouns and pronouns involves a category error, attributing to the group the actions of its individuals or v.v. (And I’m not innocent of this error, not by a long shot.)

  189. #189 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 14, 2008

    None of us is as dumb as all of us.

    I so wanted to get my boss that poster.

  190. #190 SC
    July 14, 2008

    tm,

    I must be suffering from burnout after the past few days. Could you please explain mdh’s post @ #186 and yours @ #188?

  191. #191 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 14, 2008

    SC, look at the link I posted.

  192. #192 truth machine, OM
    July 14, 2008

    the claim that you made in your first post – that commenters here are just as faith-based as religious believers.

    That’s a misrepresentation as long as you leave out the word “many”. Add that word and then it’s proper to ask him to support the claim by explaining what he means by “political correctness”, why it’s a bad thing, and what his evidence is that it’s a matter of dogma rather than considered opinion … for “many” people here, with some indication of just how many that is. But, having a good idea of what the result would be, I wouldn’t bother.

  193. #193 Dexter Fox
    July 14, 2008

    It is frequent that we consider ourselves and our co-believers to be better than our opponents. We are reasonable people who have reached reasonable conclusions. Would not our adherents be likewise reasonable?

    Religious belief is not a prerequisite for being a jerk, nor an indicator thereof. We can all get carried away with ourselves, thinking that being correct implies a higher underlying morality. We rely on our certainty of belief – religious or secular – to justify our questionable actions, particularly when faced with an adversary.

    We go nuts when a sacred symbol is threatened by Other. We go nuts when an anonymous student is threatened by Other.

    And we are more alike than we see.

  194. #194 SC
    July 14, 2008

    Thanks, Rev. BDC – links needed for us non-corporate types (for this one, at least) :).

  195. #195 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 14, 2008

    Majorly OT.

    I’m sitting here editing a bunch of photos and have the home run derby on in the background. It’s a long shot but, is anyone watching it and did you just hear what that dumbfuck said?

    I don’t mean to derail but this might be the dumbest thing I’ve heard a sportscaster say this year, and that is quite the accomplishment. He’s talking about josh Hamilton who is putting on a show at a meaningless contest. Hamilton beat a drug addiction and being out of the big leagues for three years, is back in the majos and having an all-star season. This is what one of the talking heads just said. I hope I’m wrong but I think it was John Kruk

    He beat Cocaine and Heroin addiction, found Religion and made it back to the bigleagues. It’s a terrible night to be an atheist.

    /facepalm

    Ok sorry. my wife is asleep so I had to vent.

    continue with your regularly scheduled programing / riling.

  196. #196 brokenSoldier, OM
    July 14, 2008

    Posted by: truth machine, OM | July 14, 2008 10:12 PM

    That’s a misrepresentation as long as you leave out the word “many”.

    True, I should have put ‘many’ in there. Still, I’d almost be tempted to put ‘any’ in there, considering the arguments that he’s come up with – and ignored – during his appearances here. He draws a lot of invective, but usually because there’s more than the normal share of ignoring valid points and arguments on his part.

    I still don’t get the tactic of trying to discredit atheists by equating their beliefs to faith. Since when is comparison to self an insult?

    But, having a good idea of what the result would be, I wouldn’t bother.

    Good point.

  197. #197 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 14, 2008

    Thanks, Rev. BDC – links needed for us non-corporate types (for this one, at least) :).

    No problem. That site has some funny stuff. I picked up a “this glass is half empty” mug. With a little half empty line and everything. It shows that I’m the coolest of the cube dwellers.

  198. #198 truth machine, OM
    July 14, 2008

    Could you please explain mdh’s post @ #186 and yours @ #188?

    I’m not certain about mdh’s post. It could be interpreted as saying that, if n people out of the group send spam, that’s worse than any single person sending spam. If that wasn’t the intent, then perhaps it should have been that none of us is dumber than all of us, because the actions of “all of us” includes all the dumb actions of any of us. But then, they also include all the smart actions.

    My point was that the attributes of groups and the attributes of individuals are different categories. For instance, no person contains hundreds of people, and no group of people picks its nose. For a real life example, “the Democrats betrayed us on FISA” ignores the fact that only a small fraction of Democrats are members of Congress, and a majority of those voted against the bill. Or “The Democrats could have stopped the FISA bill from passing if they wanted to” — but groups don’t have mental states, only people do. In fact, those Democrats who wanted to stop the bill tried to do so by voting against it, but votes don’t equal outcomes — a vote isn’t a veto. And the individual Democrats who, because of their positions, could have stopped it, e.g., Steny Hoyer, didn’t want to. And when, e.g., we say “the Catholic Church did X”, we really mean that the end result of the combined actions of individual members of the church hierarchy resulted in X. It’s important to keep this distinction in mind, even when all those individuals are acted on by the same forces, resulting in similar actions that create an illusion of the group acting as a single entity.

  199. #199 Paul
    July 14, 2008

    Instead of posting threatening emails here, you should be forwarding them to your local police department.

  200. #200 truth machine, OM
    July 14, 2008

    I still don’t get the tactic of trying to discredit atheists by equating their beliefs to faith.

    I don’t get what you don’t get; atheists disparage faith as irrational, and so they vociferously reject the notion that they operate on faith. And J apparently also rejects faith as irrational, and is claiming that many atheists are as irrational as “typical Catholic fundamentalists”.

    The particular sort of “faith” he is accusing many atheists of having is a “secular dogma” of “political correctness”. But just because dogma is often accepted on faith doesn’t mean they are same thing, and I have no problem with being politically correct. It’s worth noting that the term was originally used as a jibe in left circles for people who took their politics too seriously, such as feminists who slept with women even though they preferred men. But the meaning was turned on its head through a concerted campaign of magazine articles by rightists in the Atlantic and elsewhere. As far as I can tell, the modern meaning is “not a racist/misogynist asshole”.

    Since when is comparison to self an insult?

    I’m not getting you. J compared atheists to “typical Catholic fundamentalists”, not to “self”.

  201. #201 SC
    July 14, 2008

    I had originally thought something more along the lines of collective action, and couldn’t understand how it applied here. Going by the poster, though, it actually meant that individual people, when they come together in groups, can, due to this, come to behave even more stupidly than they would have on their own. So in this case, some people said stupid things, or did stupid things and then reported them to the group, which then led others to do stupid things that they wouldn’t have done on their own, either because they wouldn’t have thought of these actions independently or because they wouldn’t have been so riled up. I think this dynamic may well have been a factor here, and the possibility of it should probably have been considered before posting the information. In any event, it’s a funny poster.

  202. #202 BT Murtagh
    July 14, 2008

    When King Henry II asked “Who will rid me of this troublesome priest?” who could have predicted what would happen to Thomas a Becket? Well, pretty much anybody, really.

    Had he added, “Nobody without my express permission, that’s who!” then the history of England might have turned out a tad differently. Quite a bit differently, really.

    Just head up future such posts with instructions to the horde not to take precipitate action, Your Tentacularity. It’s all part of the Minion / Dread Lord relationship, really.

  203. #203 JM Inc.
    July 14, 2008

    I can’t say I didn’t see this coming. It’d be nice if everybody behaved nicely to everybody, but you can’t rely on it. I thought this would happen the moment the death threats were posted publically, and it’s a real shame, because it was a good idea, except in a large enough group there’s always somebody who thinks they’re a Batman and decide that a little of the old vigilantism is called for.

  204. #204 Robert Maynard
    July 14, 2008

    What happened is not surprising – the reaction to the mail dump post was not the work of a wrathful community, because the Pharyngula readership is simply not a community, even in the net sense. There can’t be any expectation that “we’re” supposed better than that, because there is no “we” – the sharing and consolidation of information is so low, no one is greeting them when they arrive to the party and says “Okay, here are the facts we’ve learned so far. We’ve all discussed how we should respond to this, and this is what we’ve decided on.” You get a comment about how commenters should not go over the top, to not harass the threatening people, then three messages between a troll and a counter-troll, then someone says lol guys i just signed them up for gay porn, then someone agrees with the earlier poster about etiquette. You get different people arriving and making comment number 900-and-something a verbatim echo of what someone else had already said in the first 20 comments, you get people still thinking Kroll is a guy.
    No decisions are made on etiquette or ethics that anyone can be held to (and the only one that ever can is PZ), no one is punished for being stupid unless PZ has the patience to read through the comments (and who would want to?), and as a result viciousness is far more contagious than level-headedness.

    What community? We’re just a crowd of people yelling in front of a bulletin board.

    We (insofar as “we” are atheists) should be better than what actually happened, but I’m sure everyone by now has met an atheist that’s just a little too zealous, a little too over-the-top, a little too fucking stupid. Because there’s no code to it, atheists are sure to have a fair bit more moral and philosophical flexibility and variation in our numbers. Haven’t we already established this in countering the ol’ Stalin/Mao nonsense? You can’t tell an atheist how they’re supposed to behave.. they have to want to behave first. :|

  205. #205 Krubozumo Nyankoye
    July 14, 2008

    @162

    You must be knew.

    Posted by: The Physicist | July 14, 2008 8:07 PM

    Yeah, you’re a physicist… right.

  206. #206 Bride of Shrek OM
    July 14, 2008

    Completely and utterly OT but, for Australian Pharyngulites a heads up to SBS on Wed night at 8pm. There’s a show called My Generation and this week its entitled “Y God” about how mass numbers of generation Y’ers are turning away from religion.

    Scheduled during “Yoof Week”- coincidence, I think not. Methinks there’s a shitstirrer at SBS. Anyhow it looks interesting, maybe worth a watch.

  207. #207 fsb
    July 14, 2008

    “…you get people still thinking Kroll is a guy.”

    Or, ‘Hey, guys, I think mkroll works for 1-800-Flowers.’ Good grief.

  208. #208 SC
    July 14, 2008

    He beat Cocaine and Heroin addiction, found Religion and made it back to the bigleagues. It’s a terrible night to be an atheist.

    Ugh. On a more positive note, my favorite line by a sportscaster was from years ago, when West Virginia had first joined the Big East and was playing UConn. WV still had a really low-budget mascot back then – just a guy dressed as a mountaineer, carrying a musket. The announcers were the local WV sportscasters, and they were naturally supporting the local team. Sometime during the second half, UConn was like 50 points ahead and gaining. But one of the announcers just wasn’t giving up hope. He kept saying things like “There’s still time. They could make a comeback.” The other announcer, finally exasperated with this ridiculous optimism, finally responded “Only if the mountaineer takes his musket and fires it at Ray Allen.” It was classic.

  209. #209 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 14, 2008

    HA! Nice

  210. #210 CortxVortx
    July 14, 2008

    Re: #157-158

    Absence has not made the Phys any more coherent.

  211. #211 ~C4Chaos
    July 14, 2008

    “we’re supposed to be better than that”

    i whole-heartedly agree. it’s just disappointing to me that you had a mental lapse in applying this kind of thinking when you threatened to desecrate a “goddamned cracker.” you’re better than that PZ. you’re better than that.

    a consecrated host is not just a cracker, same way as a flag is not just a piece cloth. deal with it. http://bit.ly/4qDxfW

    ~C

  212. #212 Donovan
    July 14, 2008

    I agree, PZ. We are better than these violent and hypocritical nematodes; far, far better. It is sad that they may get to hide in complete anonymity and continue to feed hate into this world. Understanding religion, I can definitely see how ignoring these deluded parasites is the best way to deal with them, until they pose a real threat, where the law will work best to demonstrate their religion’s inherent evil.

  213. #213 Mena
    July 14, 2008

    I agree with Blake Stacey. The posts over the past couple days had me longing for the good old days of Usenet, where a simple control+K could clear out any particular users who were being obnoxious and the threads that they generated. People who urged moderation were called concern trolls and were told to go fuck themselves. No one was reading anyone else’s comments, it just looked like a bunch of screaming. By the way guys, you may want to consider that trolls come here (the real ones, not the ones who are just simply people who have a different opinion than the louder more reactionary posters) because it’s so easy to get people to eventually start screaming and posting tons of stuff about straw men, true scotsmen, Poes, and ad hominems after the usual “you’re stupids” are done with. It’s almost like there’s a script these days and it’s getting really boring. Well, enough “concern trolling” (please go to the dungeon to learn what it really is) from me. See ya all in the future.

  214. #214 craig
    July 14, 2008

    “a consecrated host is not just a cracker, same way as a flag is not just a piece cloth. deal with it.”

    A flag IS just a piece of cloth. What, are you one of those lunatics who thinks people shouldn’t be able to burn the flag?

  215. #215 andyo
    July 15, 2008

    The only times I’ve see most commenters here have faith is when they have faith that you are stupid (and that’s just the “rabid” ones). And sometimes even that’s not faith-based.

    You must be knew.

    Posted by: The Physicist | July 14, 2008 8:07 PM

    Been here for years already, but yeah, maybe I forgot there are some creationist and religious apologist regulars. Then again, I did say “most,” and that’s what I meant.

    Have you ever seen one of the regular “atheists” here state something for which there’s no evidence as a sacred truth?

  216. #216 ~C4Chaos
    July 15, 2008

    @craig: “What, are you one of those lunatics who thinks people shouldn’t be able to burn the flag?”

    nope. i’m happy to live in a country where even flag burning is not outlawed. but just because you can do it doesn’t mean that it’s a good idea to do it. there’s a place and time for protest. threatening to desecrate something sacred (for other people, in this case Catholics) is not a protest. it’s going down the rabbit hole with Bill Donohue. a more conscientious rational person would know the difference.

    ~C

  217. #217 shane
    July 15, 2008

    Bride of Shrek, Hack on Triple J are also doing a series on belief 5.30 weeknights this week. The shows are also streamed on-line and can be downloaded as a podcast and can be found here.

  218. #218 Dlux
    July 15, 2008

    And sure enough, newcomers to the Mail Dump thread CONTINUE to send complaints to 1-800-Flowers! Posting those headers and addresses didn’t just open Pandora’s Box, they opened Pandora’s Regional Distribution Center and backed up a hundred semis to the loading docks.

    To whose who still beat your heads against your desks when you hear this, do what I do – set up a mannequin head on a hinged strut and attach a reciprocating motor. Saves wear and tear on the ol’ forehead…

  219. #219 shane
    July 15, 2008

    Another thing for the Aussies. I posted this already on another thread but it bears repeatin’…

    The federal court in Oz has just rejected the Popefest WYD anti-annoyance laws.
    A couple of guys from the No To Pope Coalition challenged the laws in court so we are now free to wear our offensive t-shirts and hand out annoying condoms without worrying about the 5 grand penalty.

  220. #220 brokenSoldier, OM
    July 15, 2008

    Posted by: truth machine, OM | July 14, 2008 10:50 PM

    The particular sort of “faith” he is accusing many atheists of having is a “secular dogma” of “political correctness”.

    It doesn’t matter what form of faith you are discussing – conflating atheists’ motivations for believeing what they do about the world with “faith” is a tired and inaccurate representation of a category of individuals that hardly lends itself to such group categorization in the first place. While there may be atheists who display great zeal in support of their beliefs, you’d be hard pressed to find many that would define their beliefs in that which cannot be proven or disproven, thus requiring the leap of faith in question. That is what my criticism is cenetered around, mostly because these objections to atheism as just another type of dogma arise not only in this kind of debate, but they also crop up in the debate over evolution and ID curriculum. It seems to be a talking point, and though it really holds no water, it gets repeated again and again.

    I’m not getting you. J compared atheists to “typical Catholic fundamentalists”, not to “self”.

    That wasn’t pointed at J, specifically because he did not bring himself into it (I even separated the paragraph and left his name out, just to be sure), but rather was an aside brought up by what we were discussing that concerns the ridiculous amount of religious advocates that seek to marginalize atheism by equating it with a belief system that is based on the very thing their own is based on – faith. It’s a bit like saying “You can’t listen to that guy – his hat is blue,” all the while wearing a blue hat.

  221. #221 eddie
    July 15, 2008

    This is probly a coincidence, but I notice that 1800flowers.com stock is plummeting;

    http://www.investorguide.com/stock-charts.cgi?ticker=FLWS

    http://quote.morningstar.com/Quote/Quote.aspx?ticker=FLWS&SC=Q

  222. #222 pzph
    July 15, 2008

    And sure enough, newcomers to the Mail Dump thread CONTINUE to send complaints to 1-800-Flowers!

    And yet, PZ refrains from actually doing the easy and right thing and FUCKING REMOVE THE DAMN EMAIL ADDRESSES. HEL-FUCKING-LO!!! How fucking dishonest! I hope 1-800-Flowers sues your ass, PZ, for enabling this continued harassment and and hiding behind some flimsy, meaningless pleas for people to stop.

  223. #223 Liberal Atheist
    July 15, 2008

    What did PZ expect?

    My suspicion is that PZ expected intelligent, enlightened people to be, well… intelligent and enlightened. Weird, eh?

  224. #224 pzph
    July 15, 2008

    My suspicion is that PZ expected intelligent, enlightened people to be, well… intelligent and enlightened. Weird, eh?

    Yeah, it’s almost as if the loudly, frequently self-proclaimed “intelligent, enlightened” people are nothing of the sort.

    Odd, that.

  225. #225 Liberal Atheist
    July 15, 2008

    Yeah, it’s almost as if the loudly, frequently self-proclaimed “intelligent, enlightened” people are nothing of the sort.

    Some of them really are, while others are in fact religious instead.

  226. #226 Kseniya
    July 15, 2008

    This has happened before, and will happen again. I suggest that Dr. Myers not post the contact information of these, ah, objectionable private citizens, for that information will inevitably be abused by someone. It doesn’t matter how many of us wouldn’t abuse that information – of the hundreds, the thousands of people who visit this blog every hour, every day, maybe only a handful would actually indulge in harrassment, but it only takes a handful to cross boundaries that should not be crossed, and to send messages that should not be sent.

    OWO.

  227. #227 pzph
    July 15, 2008

    Some of them really are, while others are in fact religious instead.

    I completely agree. Very religious. And following the example of their religious leader.

  228. #228 NanuNanu
    July 15, 2008

    Desecrating so called “sacred symbols” IS protest and to think otherwise is just idiotic.
    pzph: Bugger off unless you have something new or coherent to say.
    The Physicist: Stop concern trolling.

    Frankly the only people within the Pharyngula readership that we should be ashamed of are the individuals who sent the spam or signed people up for porn.

    And everyone complaining about PZ’s lack of foresight regarding the mail dump should be aware that he is, obviously, human and makes mistakes. I don’t think any of us would state otherwise. But, from what I have seen, he is also an extremely intelligent individual who owns up his mistakes and tries to right them.

    From past experience I am confident that he will do the right thing with the email situation, whatever that may be.

  229. #229 shane
    July 15, 2008

    pzph, I completely agree. Very religious. And following the example of their religious leader.

    Sarcasm eh. Very witty.

  230. #230 Brownian, OM
    July 15, 2008

    Speculation. You have no way of knowing I’m trying to do that. Who do you think you’re fooling?

    Fooling? Fuck off J. Your body of comments stands on its own. You’re a fucking whiner, and you have been since you’ve been here.

    You’re a parrot of Nisbet and Mooney. We’ve heard their arguments (the provision of which places them both a step above your juvenile tear-jerking) and we don’t find them compelling.

    Either provide evidence for your arguments, or stop wasting our time. It’s getting tedious.

  231. #231 Brownian, OM
    July 15, 2008

    but it only takes a handful to cross boundaries that should not be crossed, and to send messages that should not be sent.

    Look Kseniya, I don’t know how many times I’m expected to apologise for that. As I said, at that time in my life I was very confused and it seemed perfectly reasonable that Bride of Shrek might be sending me subliminal messages of love and the only way to reciprocate was to send those Shakespearean sonnets via boxes of stuffed field mice dressed as Georgetown Hoya cheerleaders performing semaphore. She agreed to drop the charges and I submitted myself for psychiatric evaluation as per the court’s order.

    We’ve all moved on; why can’t you?

  232. #232 Scott Hatfield, OM
    July 15, 2008

    This comment is for, shall we say, those sympathetic to religion and is a response to this:

    “Please don’t pretend that the hate isn’t there. It is. Y’all hate Christians, and especially Catholics. Hate”

    I would like to first go on record and say that this doesn’t jive with my experience. Unlike many here, I am a Christian. If we take the Pharyngula audience to represent ‘y’all’ in this claim, then we would expect that a substantial number of commenters here would treat me hatefully.

    But that hasn’t happened, and I don’t expect it to happen. What does happen is that religion is treated very critically, and often mockingly, and certainly without any deference. But religion, even Christianity, is not singled out for skeptical treatment. Pharynguloids have been known to go after patent medicines, spoon bending, astrology and other things more or less mendacious.

    Besides, I have enjoyed wonderful, cheerful, informative and friendly correspondence with many of the blog regulars. And I have personally broken bread with PZ. He’s not such a bad fellow, once you overlook the tentacles around the beer stein. And, in all seriousness, I have found PZ and other Pharynguloids have been good colleagues and allies.

    So here’s some advice for my fellow believers: grow up! If someone criticizes this or that aspect of your faith or its practice, that is not a personal criticism nor does it amount to hate speech in and of itself. It is simply criticism of your beliefs. And, frankly, we believers are not entitled to immunity in that department. It is really depressing to observe people who call themselves believers, and yet whose faith is so weak that you can’t engage non-believers civilly and without taking things personally. If you can’t do that, you have no business here, frankly, because you are a poor representative of your faith….such as it is.

  233. #233 Brownian, OM
    July 15, 2008

    Scott, you’re the best.

  234. #234 Scott Hatfield, OM
    July 15, 2008

    Scott, you’re the best.

    You’re very kind, but then I have to ask: the best what?

    BTW, I think our wires got crossed. The love that dare not speak its name was in the form of haikus, inscribed with dried molasses, on the backs of Gumby dolls dressed up as members of the Texas A&M football team’s ’12th Man’.

  235. #235 Bride of Shrek OM
    July 15, 2008

    Brownian

    Heh? Subliminal. Damn, I’m more subtle than I thought. I would have said “overt” myself…..

  236. #236 Ryan Cunningham
    July 15, 2008

    What crawled in your ass, truth machine? Are you an anarchist or something?

  237. #237 Kseniya
    July 15, 2008

    Brownian, you are priceless! And you’re right, Scott does… errr… geez, I have trouble saying that such a mind-mannered fellow “rawks”, but hey, you know…

    Geez, a few more ellipses and I’ll start sounding like a fundie.

    Oh, one more thing, for all you diction nazis:

  238. cracker (n) 1. A thin crisp wafer or biscuit
  239. wafer (n) 1. A small thin crisp cake, biscuit, or candy.

    That said, “communion wafer” is the commonly used term for the cracker in question. But everyone already knows that. Therefore, those people who are saying “cracker” must be doing so not from ignorance, but for a purpose. Imagine that!

  • #238 clinteas
    July 15, 2008

    Bride of Shrek,No 206 :

    Ty for the tip hun,will check it out !

    Shane,No 219 :

    That is not entirely correct from what I hear,the court just found that the definition of”annoying” was too broad and ill-defined,seems that some things are still off limits.

    @ pzph and Liberal Atheist:

    Stop scratching your respective nuts you dumbwits,its rather unfunny.

    And finally,about this :

    //Please don’t pretend that the hate isn’t there. It is. Y’all hate Christians, and especially Catholics. Hate”//

    I agree wholeheartedly with Scott Hatfield,and would like to add this point:
    A lot of christians seem to take any mockery,criticism or questioning of their particular belief system as a sacrilege and mistake it for “hate”,and are often utterly unable to comprehend that one would treat their particular belief just as any other belief,I assume that is where all these calls to desecrate a muslim item came from.

  • #239 uriel
    July 15, 2008

    We’ve heard their arguments (the provision of which places them both a step above your juvenile tear-jerking) and we don’t find them compelling.

    See, and here’s the exact problem. Sure, equating ‘faith’ with atheism is a reach.

    But Pharyngula is not just a community of atheists. It’s a collection of people whose common beliefs extend well beyond any simple propositions regarding the existence of god, to include rather large group of opinions that have nothing to do with rejecting that existence but to proscribing and- dare I say it- evangelizing a set of supposedly proper reactions and actions based on that disbelief. Thus the endless, authoritative and universal appeals to “real atheists this” and “proper atheists that,” is every bit as ridiculous as conservapedia on it’s worst day.

    This call to his readers to provide Eucharist for the purposes of desecration, and the ready acceptance and vehement defense of the same is a perfect example. It has nothing to do with disbelief or free thinking, and everything to do with acquiescence to dogmatic group-think and authority.

    But, just mention the concept of respect, restraint, or anything resembling or tolerance and just see how quickly the facade of rationalism and free thinking fades into vindictive rhetoric, usually in one of a fairly limited and repetitious denunciations. Look at how many atheists are rejected out of hand around these parts for holding a philosophically incorrect position. Simple fact is the number of people who have read this blog for more than a week and aren’t mind-numbingly aware of its idiosyncratic, value-laden references to “Nevile Chamberlain atheists,” “Nisbet and Mooney” and (a generally inaccurate definition of) “concern troll,” just aren’t paying attention.

    Unfortunately, all of this eager embracing of atheism as requiring or benefiting from dismissiveness , conflict or contempt is supported by exactly… nothing. Apart from a completely wishful belief in its correctness, utility- nay, it’s unquestioned righteousness- as a matter of course. In other words- faith. It’s inevitable when you try to transform a personal belief into a movement.

    Merely clinging to this fiction that, “I am an atheist, therefore faith has no hold on me,” while eagerly parroting and supporting every deceleration of supposed authorities, peer groups- or even one’s preconceived notions- as completely infallible, is not only the height of self-delusion, it requires a level of dishonesty every bit on par with that of the DI or Focus on the Family. Once you do that, then yes- you are open to arguments regarding your ‘faith’ or ‘fundamentalism.’

    I’m not saying it’s universal to all commenters here- but its a pretty evident consensus to anyone who’s looking objectively.

    And just to save everyone the trouble, I’m a Nevile Chamberlain concern troll who’s totally in luv with both Nesbit and Mooney. So, that’s out of the way.

    Although, in closing, I might mention Scotsmen…..

  • #240 Sleestak
    July 15, 2008

    #17: “PZ, I hope you use this as an opportunity to see that human nature is what it is. That your fellow “godless atheists” are no better (and no worse) than us “lunatic” Christians.”

    No better than? I recollect that one of the arguments against atheism is that a person could not possibly be moral without God in their heart. So…you are saying that being filled with the love of God and a moral compass makes you just as much of a jerk as a person without?

    What’s the benefit?

  • #241 andyo
    July 15, 2008

    uriel #239.

    If you really think we condone PZ’s cracker abuse just because he’s an “authority”, and it goes unquestioned, it’s because of the three-thousand or so comments, the ones you paid attention to were those who agreed. What about the other atheists that disagreed?

    So, some of us agreed (admittedly, vehemently), others disagreed. We have our reasons, but the ones who get scandalized or the ones dismissing it as childish at best aren’t getting the big picture. It’s not the freaking act, it’s all the absurdity that led to it. It’s about ridiculing the ridiculous.

    People attacked a guy for a cracker. Other people responded by encouraging an attack to a cracker for the guy. It’s just a ridiculous act to point out a ridiculous belief. I don’t care about most reasonable people’s religious beliefs, but when they start assigning more value to a cracker than a guy, it’s time to call out the idiots. Do you think that assigning a guy more value than a cracker is also a faith-based position?

  • #242 John Morales
    July 15, 2008

    Cripes!

    I lurk >> than I post, but I’ve never seen the gentle side of truth machine (to my recollection).

    Wow. truth machine is a facilitator. Wow.

  • #243 demallien
    July 15, 2008

    I don’t have time to read all the comments, but as my point of view hadn’t popped up in the first 50 or so, I thought I’d put it out there, and apologise in advance if someone else has already made the same point:

    The whole point of publicising the full header details of the emails that are being sent to PZ was ‘Exposing roaches to the light is usually a good way to get them to scuttle away’.

    But here’s the thing – it’s not enough to expose these people on this blog. To refer back to the metaphor, that’s around about the equivalent of lighting a birthday candle, when what you need for a cockroach is at least a 60W lightbulb, and preferably daylight.

    The internet equivalent of daylight would be to make sure that people connected to this person – boss, colleagues, family and friends – get to see what the person is saying, ie, they get to see a full copy of what the person wrote, with attribution.

    Abusing the person, spamming their email account, and other ways of making that person’s life miserable are really not fair game.

    I guess PZ just needs to be more explicit about exactly what he wants when he posts these kinds of emails. He probably needs to outline that he just wants us to find contact details for those around the author, or whether he wants each of us to contact said acquaintances with a copy of the author’s ‘works’, or some other action.

    There will of course be twits that go beyond what PZ would want – well, it’s a free world, but hopefully their number will be greatly reduced.

  • #244 Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    July 15, 2008

    Oh, we are likely better than that/them. On average.

    Contrary to expectations, reality sucks some times. There are Pharyngulatards as well, however rare they are.

    But do keep on trying the new policy before dropping it. It may work on the creotard end.

    PS. The “sizzle” post is read only – the links doesn’t work (for me).

  • #245 Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    July 15, 2008

    I just read demallien’s comment, as it popped up before mine, and he has put more reading and analyzing effort into it than my rushed effort – it is an excellent suggestion.

    It won’t block a tard from being a tard, but it can help people who about to make honest mistakes in an effort to help.

  • #246 clinteas
    July 15, 2008

    Torbjorn Larsson,

    I somehow doubt PZ posted this at 530 am,and this is the second time in a few days a thread doesnt load,wonder whats going on.

  • #247 Michelle
    July 15, 2008

    Good words, PZ, and you’re totally right. We’re supposed to be above that and a few people obviously were too childish to think that bit up themselves.

    Unfortunately, there’s always idiotic tools on both sides.

  • #248 David Marjanovi?, OM
    July 15, 2008

    On the plus side, in most jurisdictions you are now permitted to app for a gun carry permit because you have received death threats.

    How stupid. What if the other guy draws faster? Did they really never think about that possibility?

    If you buy anything, buy a fucking bulletproof vest!

    Are we trying to maximize the chance of gunplay on the public streets?

    Sure. The best way to settle such little quarrels is a good old Wild West duel, the argument seems to go, even if it’s not at high noon.

    anti-everything-American

    What the hell does this even mean?

    Anti-{everything that is American}.

    As opposed to “anti-everything American”, which would be American and anti-everything. The hyphen was invented for a purpose. :-)

    I’m also not going to let my aversion to Bush cloud my judgment to such an extent that I would blame the Muslim-on-Muslim violence in Iraq on him. His club-footed clumsiness gave the Iraqis an opportunity to begin massacring one another, and they only too eagerly seized upon it. There’s no evidence whatever that he wanted this brutality to happen, so it’s absurd to hold him responsible for the actual killings and ignore the agency of the actual murderers.

    Yes and no. The Misadministration should have anticipated the possibility of this brutality and should have at least tried to prevent it. No such thing was done.

    There is such a thing as criminal incompetence. Given the evidence that was at their disposal, the Busheviki had no right to believe the war would be a cakewalk. Yet they ignored it all. That’s not in their job description.

  • #249 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 15, 2008

    Anti-{everything that is American}.

    As opposed to “anti-everything American”, which would be American and anti-everything. The hyphen was invented for a purpose. :-)

    Oooooooooooooooooh. Well. Thanks for clarifying.

    Now he makes perfect sense.

  • #250 Nick Gotts
    July 15, 2008

    It’s a collection of people whose common beliefs extend well beyond any simple propositions regarding the existence of god, to include rather large group of opinions that have nothing to do with rejecting that existence but to proscribing and- dare I say it- evangelizing a set of supposedly proper reactions and actions based on that disbelief. uriel

    Of course you can say it, uriel, but it’s tosh. Quite a number of regulars have been urging PZ not to desecrate any crackers, and criticising his posting of two email addresses from which death threats appeared to originate. When there are no godbots* around to argue with, we happily argue with each other. And I for one only evangelize when evangelized against!

    *By “godbot”, I don’t mean just any religious believer, some of whom are fine people, but those who come here with an attitude of arrogant sneering or condescension, convinced we’ve never heard their arguments before. Respected regulars and one-thread visitors include a few non-atheists (e.g. Scott Hatfield, Mrs. Tilton, Brandon).

  • #251 pzph
    July 15, 2008

    But, from what I have seen, he is also an extremely intelligent individual who owns up his mistakes and tries to right them.

    So then why hasn’t he simply removed the email addresses from his blog? That would pretty much immediately and permanently put a stop to the shenanigans and would be the simplest solution. All this post and his amendment to his post with the email addresses do is attempt to herd cats.

  • #252 Nick Gotts
    July 15, 2008

    “anti-everything American climate” – J

    I confess I have been rude in jest about baseball, and in deadly earnest about the sacred cola, but I love both Tom and Jerry and Laurel and Hardy, and eagerly await every episode of Desperate Housewives! My wife and I watch the latter while eating her toothsome vegetable stir-fry, and drinking gin-and-tonic (her) and red wine – which is sometimes Californian – (me).

  • #253 clinteas
    July 15, 2008

    @ 251,

    you are what SvenDeMilo called the weird new crowd at the Grateful Dead concert,pzph,and you should go find a new playgroup mate.

    Btw,I actually agree with you on this one thing,PZ should have removed those emails,or at least the headers,instead of putting disclaimers up.
    Your interpretation of the thread? What I said at the beginning.

  • #254 windy
    July 15, 2008

    Simple fact is the number of people who have read this blog for more than a week and aren’t mind-numbingly aware of its idiosyncratic, value-laden references to “Nevile Chamberlain atheists,” “Nisbet and Mooney” and (a generally inaccurate definition of) “concern troll,” just aren’t paying attention.

    That whole “Neville Chamberlain” controversy is so last year. I sincerely doubt that you’ve seen many references in the last few months, let alone a week.

    As for Nisbet, I don’t see what’s wrong with making value-laden references if their gist is accurate: Nisbet has made his opinion of vocal atheism clear and recently likened PZ to a famous racist. (It may not be fair to lump Nisbet and Mooney together, since the latter never really clarified his position on the breathtakingly stupid “PZ needs to step down” idea)

  • #255 Iggy
    July 15, 2008

    [[It is most definitely not intended to incite harassment. I do not want you to be dunning these people with email, threatening them back, signing them up for spam, or otherwise being a jerk. For one thing, we can't be certain that an innocent's account hasn't been hijacked; for another, we're supposed to be better than that.]]

    You are? You gleefully desecrate someone else’s religious object, like Antiochus Epiphanes sacrificing a pig on the Jewish altar, and you think you have a claim to be “better” than someone? You’re an overgrown adolescent throwing a tantrum.

    Of course, you also acknowledge more than you realize: you can’t “desecrate” something unless it’s sacred. You’re need to hurt a host is an admission that it isn’t “just a frackin’ cracker.”

    Sad.

    Grow up.

  • #256 Luna_the_cat
    July 15, 2008

    Fuck sake, people, I don’t usually speak up here (haven’t for a while, anyway, because I got fed up) but I feel it’s worthwhile to second, thrid, fourth, fifth, or nth one thing that has been pointed out a few times — email addresses are stupidly easy to spoof and way too easy to steal. Speaking as someone who has had this happen to a previous address of mine (I had to abandon it because it got stolen by a spammer), it is somewhere between “possible” and “probable” that at least one of those death threats posted previous was sent using a spoofed addy, and you lot have called down a shitstorm on an innocent and (previously) uninvolved person.

    Way to fight for your cause, people. Haven’t you posted things in the past along the lines of “innocent casualties are not acceptable”?

    I think PZ should have expected this, but really, if everyone hasn’t stopped responding to the email addresses already, please do. You have no guarantee of who you are targetting.

  • #257 Jack
    July 15, 2008

    “It is most definitely not intended to incite harassment.”

    It isn’t? Spare me. You don’t publicly publish email addresses unless that’s EXACTLY what you intend. OBVIOUSLY.

    You just “wanted a public record”?

    “I didn’t know that if I printed emails people would actually send emails.”

    Yeah, right. Stop insulting my intelligence.

  • #258 John Phillips, FCD
    July 15, 2008

    Iggy, no it’s an admission that the reaction toward Cook (the Student in the original story) by the catholics was an overreaction, i.e. the assault and death threats. PZ made his post about his threatened cracker desecration to highlight how ridiculous it was that xians were assaulting and sending death threats over a ‘fracken cracker’. In return, PZ also received death threats, how xian of those catholics. Of course, conveniently, both of these main points seems to be missed by most of those criticising PZ.

  • #259 Iggy
    July 15, 2008

    “Iggy, no it’s an admission that the reaction toward Cook (the Student in the original story) by the catholics was an overreaction, i.e. the assault and death threats.”

    Those people are assholes. So is PZ. That fact that one group behaves like idiots doesn’t mean that there is no idiotic behavior in the other direction.

    And yes – if it’s “just a frackin cracker,” you ignore it. Desecrating it is as much a claim as worshipping it is.

  • #260 Kilo
    July 15, 2008

    “I think that PZ is an asshole when it comes to religion, and I think that he deliberately provoked this shitstorm. He didn’t just say something offensive; he made a very deliberate effort to provoke people. I think this whole mess is the result of a very deliberate, calculated action on his part.”

    From #3 on the Top 5 readers picks of scienceblogs posts in your sidebar.

  • #261 Kseniya
    July 15, 2008

    In return, PZ also received death threats, how xian of those catholics.

    Yes, and unlike Mr. Cook, he hasn’t even actually done anything yet. Now he’s catching more heat for posting email addresses than are the people who sent the threats to him in the first place.

    See anything wrong with that, anyone? Anyone? Stein?

    The threats made against Mr. Cook are what started all this. Grow up? How about first getting honest about that, Iggy and your ilky? I haven’t noticed you chirping about that. Why not? Do you advocate or condone violence against Mr. Cook or Dr. Myers? If so, why? If not, why haven’t you vocally objected to the threats that have been made?

    Frankly, I think Catholics ought to welcome a public desecration of the Host. That’ll give God a chance to pull one of those “blood spurting from a cracker” miracles that were once so effective in infidel territories. Wouldn’t that be a spectacular way to settle the question once and for all?

    This is not to say that I advocate or even condone any such desecration. I suppose this shows my pro-Catholic bias, for I fully support the work of Danish cartoonists. I welcome all Catholics or other interested Christians to call me on my contemptible hypocrisy.

  • #262 Kseniya
    July 15, 2008

    (Ah. I should have refreshed. Please modify the content of my #261 in light of Iggy’s #259.)

  • #263 J
    July 15, 2008

    I suppose that my taking PZ to task for his blatant intellectual dishonesty and pathetic cherry picking of Obama’s 2006 speech on religion, for which he threatened to ban me from the site (just before awarding me (and Mrs. Tilton) the Molly) was only a matter of being unpleasant. PZ was no better in that thread than you are … most of the time, and yes I do get “unpleasant” about dishonesty.
    Won’t let that go, will you? But I remember the speech. It contained a dopey “respect all religions” mentality, which is understandably irritating to many atheists. It also contained some laudable parts, as was highlighted by a different video of the same speech in a later thread. Of course, the concept of having mixed feelings about something is far and away too subtle for your fanatical black-and-white mentality.

    As far as I can tell, the modern meaning [of politically correct] is “not a racist/misogynist asshole”.
    Then about half of Britain must be racists and misogynists, given the ubiquity of the term here. You’re talking nonsense, of course. It’s trivially easy to furnish examples of excessive political correctness. For instance, two Glasgow firemen had to face disciplinary measures after they refused to attend a gay pride march. What about the punishment of firms that don’t meet strict “diversity quotas”? And then there’s the ongoing bent-over-backwards appeasement of Muslims, which was demonstrated well by the conferring of a knighthood to Iqbal Sacranie, a man who publicly remarked that Salman Rushdie deserves a fate worse than death.

    You know you’re guilty of diehard politically correctness, hence you don’t want to accept that it exists. It’s really that simple.

    And as was shown in depth in a previous thread, you have no grasp of the range of political thought or of the meaning of terms such as “leftist” or “ultra-leftist”. SC, for instance, is considerably to the left of me, and both of us are considerably to the left of many people at this site.
    Well let’s put it this way. I’m pro-choice, anti-Bush, anti-imperialism, anti-religion, pro-science, pro-welfare, and I’m in favour of gay marriage, free healthcare and education, etc., etc. I still think you’re considerably to the left of me. The reason is that you go absolutely ballistic in response to anything which even slightly, even in some vague, ill-defined sense, appears to depart from leftist ideology.

  • #264 clinteas
    July 15, 2008

    Kseniya,

    too much effort hun,I get a yawn attack reading comments by Iggy/Kenny/Dobbs/Jack now,after a week of crackergate.

    //You’re need to hurt a host is an admission that it isn’t “just a frackin’ cracker.”//

    *headdesk*

  • #265 pzph
    July 15, 2008

    I’m wondering exactly what PZ did intend by publishing those email addresses. I can see no other logical reason other than to incite intimidation and harassment.

  • #266 Nick Gotts
    July 15, 2008

    Then about half of Britain must be racists and misogynists, given the ubiquity of the term here. – J

    That could well be right. The point being made is that this is a term which was, quite deliberately, co-opted by the right as an all-purpose sneer that could be applied to anything they disagree with. It was, in fact, a dishonest but highly successful attempt to shift the (political) Overton window to the right.

    For instance, two Glasgow firemen had to face disciplinary measures after they refused to attend a gay pride march. – J

    It was part of their job to attend, in order to hand out leaflets on fire safety

    http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2006/jul/06071902.html Is this really your best example?

  • #267 Nick Gotts
    July 15, 2008

    I’m wondering exactly what PZ did intend by publishing those email addresses. – pzph

    You could try reading what he wrote in the post concerned.

  • #268 Jur Snijder
    July 15, 2008

    It shows that there are mindless hordes with torches and pitchforks on both sides of the debate. A wiser move might have been to only show the text of the threat mails here, and send the full emails to the authorities to deal with. Do we really need a lynch mob on our side in the battle? I’d think we prefer reasoned arguments instead.

  • #269 J
    July 15, 2008

    The point being made is that this is a term which was, quite deliberately, co-opted by the right as an all-purpose sneer that could be applied to anything they disagree with.
    You use the term “racist” much in the same way. It’s not my fault that the wingnuts (on both sides) abuse perfectly good words.

    It was part of their job to attend, in order to hand out leaflets on fire safety.
    Handing out leaflets in a gay pride march is really an essential part of a fireman’s duties? What if these firemen were Muslims? Do you think they would be disciplined then?

    What about the hysterical reaction to E.O. Wilson’s Sociobiology. Don’t you think that’s a clear-cut example of excessive political correctness?

  • #270 radical sapphoq
    July 15, 2008

    P.Z. have you gotten in touch with the F.B.I.???
    Cuz I don’t want you to die.

    And folks, let’s not lose sight of one of the very mostest
    disturbing questions about the hostest:

    Why dint Jebus jist teleport outta da plastick bag?

    radical sapphoq

  • #271 Matt Penfold
    July 15, 2008

    It is a pretty common occurrence in the UK for the fire service to attend events in order to get over the message on fire safety. I imagine that fire services up and down the UK have been, and will be, attending fêtes, caruvals, steam rallies vintage car rallies and all manner of other events over the summer. Why should gay pride events be any different ?

  • #272 Matt Penfold
    July 15, 2008

    J,

    Yes it is part of a fire officers job to be involved in getting the fire safety message across. Where and how that is to be done is down the senior officers. Attending public events is a common method used.

  • #273 Nick Gotts
    July 15, 2008

    J@269. “Politically correct” was, as has been pointed out to you, originally a term used within the left to poke fun at the overly-solemn. It was then quite deliberately hijacked by the right. “Racist” has no such history. And to say I use “racist” as an all-purpose sneer can only, I think, be a deliberate lie. I challenge you to back up that claim with specific examples, or withdraw it and apologise.

  • #274 Brownian, OM
    July 15, 2008
    The point being made is that this is a term which was, quite deliberately, co-opted by the right as an all-purpose sneer that could be applied to anything they disagree with.

    You use the term “racist” much in the same way. It’s not my fault that the wingnuts (on both sides) abuse perfectly good words.

    That’s the response you’re going with: You guys use the same smear tactics as I, so there? Fine I guess, but you really ought to consider how that is supposed to boslter your argument that you’re somehow standing up for free and critical thought when you do it, but we’re all a bunch of fundies when we do it.

    If the misuse of words on both sides is so stifling to rational discourse, then why is it you so gleefully toss the words ‘fundamentalist’ and ‘politically correct’ around?

    There’s no plainer way of saying it than this:

    J, everyone disagrees with you not because we’re sheep, but because you say really stupid things.

  • #275 Nick Gotts
    July 15, 2008

    Handing out leaflets in a gay pride march is really an essential part of a fireman’s duties? What if these firemen were Muslims? – J
    A large part of a firefighter’s duties consist in educating the public on fire-safety issues. How the fuck should I know whether Muslim firemen would have been treated the same? They certainly should be if they refuse legitimate instructions.

    What about the hysterical reaction to E.O. Wilson’s Sociobiology. Don’t you think that’s a clear-cut example of excessive political correctness? – J
    I’ve never read it, and don’t recall exactly how hysterical the reaction was, so I can’t judge this particular case. I might well condemn it as irrational and intolerant, but I would never use such a stupid term as “political correctness”. since its highjacking by the right-wing media, it has no meaning whatever beyond “this is lefty and I don’t like it”.

  • #276 J
    July 15, 2008

    Why should gay pride events be any different ?
    OK, let’s just suppose the event “offended” the firemen in question. Irrational offense, but no more irrational than Muslims’ attitude toward alcohol, which cashiers are now free to refuse to handle.

    And to say I use “racist” as an all-purpose sneer can only, I think, be a deliberate lie. I challenge you to back up that claim with specific examples, or withdraw it and apologise.
    That’s easy. You once tried to demonize me by calling me a racist, yet you have precisely zero evidence that I am one. I’m proudly an Islamophobe, but that is emphatically not anything like the same as racism, as you know very well. You use “racist” just as freely and irresponsibly as the right uses “politically correct”.

    Moreover, in this thread it looks like you’re veering toward Truth Machine’s insane position that any believer in the existence of political correctness is a racist or misogynist.

  • #277 J
    July 15, 2008

    since its highjacking by the right-wing media, it has no meaning whatever beyond “this is lefty and I don’t like it”.
    Suffice to say, I disagree. I think it’s a useful term. Admittedly it’s sometimes used too freely, but then so are many words, “racist” being one of them.

    I really don’t care about its etymology. I can’t see how that’s relevant.

  • #278 J
    July 15, 2008

    That’s the response you’re going with: You guys use the same smear tactics as I, so there?
    Read again. That’s not when I’m saying. You’re distorting my post, as you’ve done this several times on this thread already. At bottom, you’re no better than the fundamentalists you persistently ridicule.

  • #279 Nick Gotts
    July 15, 2008

    J,

    Even if I was wrong about you being a racist (and I only have your word, on which I do not place a great deal of reliance, for that), I used the term to mean “racist”, not as an all-purpose sneer. Your tu quoque claim therefore falls.

  • #280 brokenSoldier, OM
    July 15, 2008

    Posted by: J | July 15, 2008 12:37 PM

    I’m proudly an Islamophobe, but that is emphatically not anything like the same as racism, as you know very well. You use “racist” just as freely and irresponsibly as the right uses “politically correct”.

    And as such, I/m sure you reserve judgement on all Arabs when you see them so you can make sure they are Islamic before you start hating them…But then again, the fact that you don’t think racism and hating/ fearing Islamics are even similar shows your limited mental flexibility and comprehension. Here, let me help you out. The two are exactly the same, in that you are prejudging a group of people for a characteristic they all share. See, that wasn’t so hard, was it?

  • #281 J
    July 15, 2008

    Even if I was wrong about you being a racist (and I only have your word, on which I do not place a great deal of reliance, for that), I used the term to mean “racist”, not as an all-purpose sneer. Your tu quoque claim therefore falls.
    “Politically correct” can’t be used to mean “magic space lobster”, so it’s clearly not “all-purpose”. It’s not even an all-purpose put-down, as it doesn’t mean the same as, say, “charlatan”.

    I assumed by “all-purpose” you were exaggerating for effect and really meant “widely-encompassing”. Which is exactly how you use the word racist.

    This is wearing me down, and Truth Machine hasn’t even rejoined the party line yet. The members of the ragtag mob I’m being assailed by are exactly the people I referred to in my first post (#18).

  • #282 Nick Gotts
    July 15, 2008

    J,
    So, what does “politically correct” mean, over and above “this is lefty and I don’t like it”?

  • #283 brokenSoldier, OM
    July 15, 2008

    At bottom, you’re no better than the fundamentalists you persistently ridicule.

    Posted by: J | July 15, 2008 12:46 PM

    Listen, could we work out a symbol or something for you to use in lieu of this tired-ass remark? Just like the fundies, just like the fundies… I’m sure we’d all get along better if you could just put a mark in your signature for that phrase. That way, you get your rocks off spouting talking points, and we don’t have to read that intellectually vacant bullshit every time you decide to play around at argumentation and try to make a coherent point.

  • #284 Brownian, OM
    July 15, 2008

    Read again. That’s not when I’m saying. You’re distorting my post, as you’ve done this several times on this thread already. At bottom, you’re no better than the fundamentalists you persistently ridicule.

    Fuck yourself, you lying asshole. Read it again your own damn self. That is exactly what you’re saying, fuckwit. Nick pointed out the use of ‘politically correct’ as an all-purpose sneer, and you hand-waved away his criticism by Gish galloping off to whine about the term ‘racist’ being used in the same way, as if that is somehow relevant to your constant use of the terms ‘fundamentalist’ and ‘politically correct’ to disparage those you disagree with.

    My point stands whether you want to examine your own actions yourself or not, you fucking ‘fundamentalist’ piece of shit.

  • #285 Nick Gotts
    July 15, 2008

    J,
    you have not established any instance in which I used “racist” to mean anything other than “racist”.

    The members of the ragtag mob I’m being assailed by are exactly the people I referred to in my first post – J

    Oh shut your whining, please.

  • #286 Matt Penfold
    July 15, 2008

    It has been my experience that most people who claim to have been persecuted over political correctness have in fact made sexist or racist remarks and resent being told by others that they do not approve. They also often say things like “I am not a racist but ….”.

  • #287 brokenSoldier, OM
    July 15, 2008

    They also often say things like “I am not a racist but ….”.
    Posted by: Matt Penfold | July 15, 2008 1:06 PM

    You mean they say things like “I’m not a racist, but I do hate me some Muslims…and its not the same thing!” Intellectual dishonesty at its finest, indeed.

  • #288 J
    July 15, 2008

    One last post:

    Fuck yourself, you lying asshole. Read it again your own damn self. That is exactly what you’re saying, fuckwit.
    Invective intensity goes up as content density goes down, eh? You are continually pulling cheap con-artist stunts, while being evidently unable to notice this.

    You made the following claim:

    That’s the response you’re going with: You guys use the same smear tactics as I, so there?
    Naturally, I didn’t say that. You can’t argue fairly, so once again you ascribe to me something I never said.

    The right-wingers (of which I’m not one) abuse “politically correct”, and the leftist wingnuts like you and Nick Gotts abuse words like “racist”. That’s what I was getting at, as should be sufficiently clear to anyone with the merest scrap of intellectual integrity.

  • #289 Christopher Waldrop
    July 15, 2008

    At bottom, you’re no better than the fundamentalists you persistently ridicule.

    Posted by: J | July 15, 2008 12:46 PM

    Really?. While many people here may dislike fundamentalists they don’t act violently or encourage anyone else to commit acts of violence against fundamentalists. While many people here may dislike fundamentalists, they’re at least willing to be open-minded and debate the issues. The problem is fundamentalists consistently back down and cry “persecution!” when their beliefs are challenged. And, backed into a corner, they claim that it’s okay to threaten, intimidate, and even kill people who disagree with them because, you know, just because they think the Ten Commandments should be posted everywhere doesn’t mean they expect to actually abide by them.
    In an earlier comment I tried to make the point that PZ has called for civility. He’s even considered changing his policies. Donohue and his supporters have made threats. Yeah, I think I have a pretty good idea who really is the better person.

  • #290 J
    July 15, 2008

    While many people here may dislike fundamentalists, they’re at least willing to be open-minded and debate the issues.
    Oh yes, we’ve seen lots of open-minded, reasonable and civil debate in this thread.

    OK, that’s really my last post.

  • #291 Brownian, OM
    July 15, 2008

    Naturally, I didn’t say that.

    No, what you said was the logical equivalence.

    You haven’t a fucking clue what words mean, do you?

    Glad you’re done.

    Bye, whiner.

  • #292 William Meinertzhagen
    July 15, 2008

    I’m an ex-Catholic, now a Muslim. If you go ahead with what you’re planning, I do hope someone slots you. You will have deserved it. Roaches such as yourself deserve to be squashed. But you knew that already. I wonder if you will dare to offen Muslims, next? Probably not. Catholics, who are a pretty docile bunch these days, are unlikely to strike out against scum such as yourself.

  • #293 Nick Gotts
    July 15, 2008

    OK, that’s really my last post. – J

    [Loud cheers, prolonged and stormy applause.]

  • #294 Nick Gotts
    July 15, 2008

    William Meinertzhagen@292
    Hey, vicarious fatwa envy from a Muslim – now that is new!

    Mr. Meinertzhagen, I’m sure you were just as loathsome when you were a Catholic as you are now.

  • #295 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 15, 2008

    You mean they say things like “I’m not a racist, but I do hate me some Muslims…and its not the same thing!” Intellectual dishonesty at its finest, indeed

    Let’s be sure that we differentiate between hating Catholics and hating Catholicism or hating Muslims and Hating Islam.

    There is a difference.

  • #296 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 15, 2008

    I’m an ex-Catholic, now a Muslim. If you go ahead with what you’re planning, I do hope someone slots you. You will have deserved it. Roaches such as yourself deserve to be squashed. But you knew that already. I wonder if you will dare to offen Muslims, next? Probably not. Catholics, who are a pretty docile bunch these days, are unlikely to strike out against scum such as yourself.

    You may be ex-Catholic and now a Muslim, but you are full dumb.

    Use the search button dummy.

  • #297 Matt Penfold
    July 15, 2008

    “You mean they say things like “I’m not a racist, but I do hate me some Muslims…and its not the same thing!” Intellectual dishonesty at its finest, indeed.”

    Brownian,

    I can see you have met such people as well!

  • #298 Steve_C
    July 15, 2008

    Yeah, Catholicism wasn’t demanding enough for him, way too tolerant.

  • #299 Matt Penfold
    July 15, 2008

    “Let’s be sure that we differentiate between hating Catholics and hating Catholicism or hating Muslims and Hating Islam.

    There is a difference.”

    Yes there is a difference.

    In the UK anti-Muslim rhetoric is often a cove for racist rhetoric. Most Muslims in the UK come from the Indian sub-continent, and the likes of the BNP and the right-wing of the Conservatives have taken to talking of Islam rather than race when making it clear they do not like the idea of such people being full and active citizens of the UK.

    The tactics of the likes of the BNP means those of us who object to religion in general need to be careful when it comes to criticising Islam. It does not mean we need to avoid such criticism though. One way we can differentiate between ourselves and the racists is to make it clear we disapprove strongly of discrimination against all groups. Another is to make sure we are as outspoken against the stupidity of other religions. I am quite clear that I object to the misogynists in the C of E who object to female bishops, or the ordination of gays as I am of those Muslims who want to introduce sharia law into the UK.

  • #300 Matt Penfold
    July 15, 2008

    “Yeah, Catholicism wasn’t demanding enough for him, way too tolerant.”

    Too tolerant of gays and women is my bet. Probably got offended going to mass and having to sit next a women who, god forbid, might have her period.

  • #301 kmerian
    July 15, 2008

    It appears that some have gone from threats to actual crimes:
    http://www.caller.com/news/2008/jul/15/eucharist-taken-cathedral-tabernacle/

    Say what you will about Catholics, this is getting out of hand. Dr. Myers, the time has come to retract your request and put an end to this. It needs to stop, NOW.

  • #302 Matt Penfold
    July 15, 2008

    “Say what you will about Catholics, this is getting out of hand. Dr. Myers, the time has come to retract your request and put an end to this. It needs to stop, NOW.”

    Indeed it does. I will not condone this theft, and hope the person is caught.

    Have you also demanded the that those who assaulted Webster Cook, and called what he did a hate crime be dismissed. I expect you did, I imagine I just missed it. If you could just point me to where you did so I would be happy. I would not like to think you are not being even-handed here.

    Of course the theft does lead one to wonder why, if the consecrated wafers are of such importance to Catholics they just leave them around for anyone to take. Me, I ensure things that are valuable to me are not left where someone wondering in of the street can grab them.

  • #303 Christopher Waldrop
    July 15, 2008

    While many people here may dislike fundamentalists, they’re at least willing to be open-minded and debate the issues.
    Oh yes, we’ve seen lots of open-minded, reasonable and civil debate in this thread.

    OK, that’s really my last post.

    Posted by: J | July 15, 2008 1:24 PM

    That’s probably just as well since you never took an actual position or tried to debate. You just made snarky comments which pretty well proved my point. Like the fundamentalists you defend you expect everyone to just accept your word as law without actually providing a reason to do so.

  • #304 Steve_C
    July 15, 2008

    Whoa whoa. What evidence is there that this has anything to do with PZ.

    None.

  • #305 Matt Penfold
    July 15, 2008

    I thought the definition of fundamentalist was they that did not allow debate over those beliefs they hold to be fundamental. Thus a biblical fundamentalist holds that the bible is the literal word of god, and will not entertain the possibility that it could be the work of men many years after the events described writing down their own interpretation of the tales that were handed down to them and thus, whilst aiming towards the truth, might not actually be a true account of events.

  • #306 Christopher Waldrop
    July 15, 2008

    Matt, you’re fundamentally right, but there’s even more to it than that. Many fundamentalists, including some who have posted here, believe that the nature of their beliefs justifies any actions by them. Therefore it’s wrong to mock religion, but it’s okay to threaten or physically harm someone who mocks religion because…well, I still don’t know why. This is something that I’ve never gotten a fundamentalist to answer.

  • #307 Brownian, OM
    July 15, 2008

    Matt Penfold, indeed I have, but brokenSoldier wrote that very excellent description, not I.

  • #308 Check out this guy!
    July 15, 2008

    It’s starting to sound like this guy is posting here.
    I don’t know if it’s the subject matter or the fact that I can’t stand country music but does this song truly suck? Not just in what he’s trying to say but in the music and singing. I gave up and just read the lyrics. What a dumb man preaching to the choir at the church of dumb.

  • #309 Brownian, OM
    July 15, 2008

    kmerican, others have pointed out that we don’t know whether then theft has anything to do with PZ or not, so I won’t belabour the point.

    Nonetheless, I’d like to state for the record that there is no justification for the theft, and I hope the perpetrators are caught and punished according to the law (also, that I am thirty-two flavours and then some.)

  • #310 kmerian
    July 15, 2008

    I may not have posted it here, but the threats against both Mr. Cook and Dr. Myers are uncalled for. This should be used as an opportunity for education. There are extremists in every group, these extremists claiming to be Catholic are violating the basic rules of the church.

    I don’t know that the theft has anything to do with Dr. Myers, but it is interesting that it happened within 2 days of his call for someone to send him Eucharists. And a search of Google news shows that this is the first theft of this kind that I could find. After all, why would someone pass up the brass and copper accessories, ignore the donation box and go right for the one thing in the room whose value is purely spiritual?

    That is why there is no security, the Eucharist is only valuable to Catholics, monetarily it is worthless, who would want to steal it?

  • #311 Brownian, OM
    July 15, 2008

    I don’t know if it’s the subject matter or the fact that I can’t stand country music but does this song truly suck?

    Yes.

  • #312 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 15, 2008

    who would want to steal it?

    A criminal and an idiot. This is a completely different set of circumstances than the original crackergate cracker.

  • #313 frog
    July 15, 2008

    I’ve been thinking about this Eucharist thingamagig (Yeah, thinking!).

    Now, it’s fairly clear that the entire Christian mythos is a re-enactment of the Jewish sacred calendar, particularly passover — a kind of “Passover for dummies” version for the semi-literate hellenized diaspora Jews of the Roman empire in the face of the destruction of the Temple.

    One would therefore expect that in its “essence” (joke), the myth would be thoroughly Jewish — and it is, except for this blood thing. Kosher, and all Jewish rituals, are expressly and adamantly opposed to drinking blood in any form — it is ritually unclean. Drinking blood is expressly banned by the ritual decalogue.

    So how the hell does a Jewish prophet ask folks, even symbolically, to drink his blood? It would be as if Josh had asked the apostles to eat a kid and goat cheese sandwich in remembrance of him — obviously absurd.

    Was there a Canaanite/Phoenician blood drinking ceremony in opposition to the mainline of Jewish tradition? Was there any period where the Eucharist was controversial in the early Christian community? Or is there something missing about this entire mythology?

  • #314 Brownian, OM
    July 15, 2008

    That is why there is no security, the Eucharist is only valuable to Catholics, monetarily it is worthless, who would want to steal it?

    Not that there’s any evidence that this is the case, but it could very well be a stupid prank (nor is that intended to be a justification.)

    When I was a teenager, I knew of a fellow who scaled the glass walls of a local greenhouse to steal a wind anemometer because we some other guys dared him to.

  • #315 Duncan
    July 15, 2008

    One of the commenters at the theft article blames satan worshippers. I guess we’re safe for now!

    And just so people realize, those crackers haven’t yet gone through their magical transubstantiation, so they’re no different from any other box you can buy from a church supply house (or a box of Ritz). It’s only after someone called a ‘priest’ performs some incantations that they become all Jesusy with a hint of the divine.

  • #316 William Meinertzhagen
    July 15, 2008

    Silly little roaches. I suppose that’s the best reply you folks can come up with. No matter. I guess my next question is, when your time comes (and you know it is coming soon, God willing), to whom are you going to pray?

  • #317 IceFarmer
    July 15, 2008

    I love how outlandish and unsubstantiated some of the claims are! Was it stolen by Satanists? As a prank? By some cruel atheist? Was PZ involved? Was is some poor homeless dude that was hungry? Could it be the result of all the recent media attention? Who the fuck knows? If they ever catch the guy we may find out. Seeing that they hadn’t “become” the body of Christ yet (I can’t believe I just typed that, it’s a symbol people, holy crap…)there are usually a lot of other items inside a Catholic church of an expensive guilded nature that could have been removed and not so easily replaced. All we know about the second incident is that some went missing. Let’s lay off the finger pointing and ASSumptions.

    Glad to know that the priciples of gathering facts in evidence before passing judgement are alive and well in Western free nations.

  • #318 IceFarmer
    July 15, 2008

    Screw that last post, if it happens in Florida I’m all for blaming the El Chipocabra. We can all rally behind getting everyone to kill that things ass! Give people something…. constructive, yeah, constructive to do for a while.

  • #319 Duncan
    July 15, 2008

    (Yeah, I know, hungry trolls and all that…)

    “I guess my next question is, when your time comes (and you know it is coming soon, God willing), to whom are you going to pray?”

    I don’t know. Which god will you choose? Please show your work.

  • #320 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 15, 2008

    Silly little roaches. I suppose that’s the best reply you folks can come up with. No matter. I guess my next question is, when your time comes (and you know it is coming soon, God willing), to whom are you going to pray?

    I’m not praying to anyone. Whom are you are your priests going to prey on between now and then?

  • #321 IceFarmer
    July 15, 2008

    Duncan,

    I think we’d have to proceed via a process of elimination to get the best results. My first set of eliminations would be foodcentric. I love to eat all manner of different and interesting things and I’ve enjoyed things I thought I wouldn’t in my travels.

    There tend to be too many food restrictions for my liking in Judaism, Christianity and Islam so I may need to pass there.

    I definitely couldn’t pray to Buddha. NO WAY, never. Any dude that can fast under a tree for forty years is definitely diametric to my gastronomic inclinations.

    I think FSM wins this category but I need to do more research.

  • #322 William Meinertzhagen
    July 15, 2008

    You do realise, of course, that your prank is making people laugh at you? Sure, people hate you too. But for the most part people are just shaking their head and telling one another that you should increase your medication dosage. You know, to deal with those daddy issues that keep haunting you. For my part, I would like to know, when your last moment finally comes (and it is coming soon, God willing, if only to put you out of your misery), from whom will you ask for mercy?

  • #323 Rey Fox
    July 15, 2008

    “I’m an ex-Catholic, now a Muslim. If you go ahead with what you’re planning, I do hope someone slots you. You will have deserved it. Roaches such as yourself deserve to be squashed.”

    This would be that peace and submission I’ve heard so much about, right?

    “You do realise, of course, that your prank is making people laugh at you?”

    THEY’RE ALL GONNA LAUGH AT YOU! Not really.

    “But for the most part people are just shaking their head and telling one another that you should increase your medication dosage.”

    The amount of pants-wetting we’ve seen around here lately tells otherwise. Just a couple comments ago, you yourself were all rage and bluster. You’re just changing your tune now that you’ve seen how unimpressed we are.

  • #324 frog
    July 15, 2008

    BillyBob: You know, to deal with those daddy issues that keep haunting you. For my part, I would like to know, when your last moment finally comes (and it is coming soon, God willing, if only to put you out of your misery), from whom will you ask for mercy?

    Talk about Daddy issues! Haven’t you nut-cases never heard of projection?

  • #325 IceFarmer
    July 15, 2008

    William,

    Who here has been a part of this prank? None have admitted to it though many have commented. I think you may be hard pressed to find the culprit of this prank here. Perhaps you should reference my previous posts. In general, we could all use a little more laughter.

    As for your repeated calls for the Lord to end our existence, I will accept the “Lord’s judgement” should it mysteriously come when/if/if never it comes. I’m a secular humanist agnostic (quite a mouthful I konw) so if God exists in the form and manor as you claim to believe, I will be judged on the quality of life I’ve lead and not by your judgement. I don’t think your God would hate me, and others like me, as you claim. The quality of life lead is more important and mine for one, contains common sense, open mindedness, logic and above all, a large dose of humor. If I believed in God as you do, my God would be less fire and brimstone ready to take my soul.

    Happily, your seeming interpretation of God is not what I share or would ever desire to. As an agnostic, I think that your interpretation of God is misguided and hypocritical as seen by your repeated damnations against many posters here. Is you God not supposed to be our judge? When did she/he appoint you to judge others in his stead? Look at your own life. If posting here disheartens you, don’t come here, your God gave you the power of choice. Save your judgements for yourself and see where you sit in your own eyes, then ask yourself if you own introspection is true. All the best to you.

  • #326 Steve_C
    July 15, 2008

    I’d ask Thor for mercy. I don’t wanna be hit with that big ass hammer.

  • #327 IceFarmer
    July 15, 2008

    Ooooooo, I never thought of Odin and the crew. What do Vikings eat? The hammer and lightning thing could be a deal breaker anyway but I’m willing to explore all options.

  • #328 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 15, 2008

    You do realise, of course, that your prank is making people laugh at you? Sure, people hate you too. But for the most part people are just shaking their head and telling one another that you should increase your medication dosage. You know, to deal with those daddy issues that keep haunting you. For my part, I would like to know, when your last moment finally comes (and it is coming soon, God willing, if only to put you out of your misery), from whom will you ask for mercy?

    PEOPLE HATE ME?!?!?

    OH NOES!!! WHAT FOREVER SHALL I DO?

    /yawn

  • #329 True Bob
    July 15, 2008

    IceFarmer, I think the Vikings ate all sorts of nasty salted fish.

    Villy, you should be worshiping Thor at least. He’s going to save the world in the final struggle between good and evil, although he will die in the act, and HE won’t come back. Now there’s a guy willing to make a real sacrifice. Not like some three day layabout zombie.

    Oh yeah, and Villy? Pray off!

  • #330 frog
    July 15, 2008

    IceFarmer & BillyBob,

    Well, according to Diamond in Collapse of Civilizations, the Vikings problem was that they wouldn’t eat the nasty fish — they insisted on bovine and bread, and so they failed in Greenland when the climate turned, even though the Eskimos faired well.

    But that was after the had become God-fearing Christians. So maybe they had become more stupid via conversion?

  • #331 True Bob
    July 15, 2008

    frog, I think you meant me, but I also think BillyBob was a moniker assigned to Villy (William Lotsalettershere fromer christer current muslim).

    And I thought they more settled Iceland, and cut down all the trees to build churches.

  • #332 frog
    July 15, 2008

    TrueBob — yup, my fingers thought faster than my brain. BillyBob bad, TrueBob good!

    They did settle Iceland and cause themselves some ecological damage — but they went on to Greenland from there (the story of Eric the Red whose parents were among the Icelandic settlement is about his colonization of Greenland). From there, the next generation attempted to colonize N. America (which obviously failed).

    The Greenland colony survived for several centuries during a period of relative warmth in the N. Atlantic (until the early 15th century I recall).

  • #333 windy
    July 15, 2008

    Well, according to Diamond in Collapse of Civilizations, the Vikings problem was that they wouldn’t eat the nasty fish — they insisted on bovine and bread, and so they failed in Greenland when the climate turned, even though the Eskimos faired well.

    That was an interesting suggestion, but it turns out that stable isotope ratios in Viking bones don’t support it:

    The diet of the first settlers consisted of 80% agricultural products and 20% food from the surrounding sea. But seafood played an increasing role, such that the pattern was completely turned around towards the end of the period–from the 1300′s the Greenland Norse had 50-80% of their diet from the marine food chain. In simplified terms: they started out as farmers but ended up as hunters/fishers. Some archeologists have claimed that the Greenland Norsemen succumbed because they–being culturally inflexible–either could not or would not adapt to changing conditions and therefore came to a catastrophic end, triggered by deteriorating climate. This hypothesis may now be refuted.

  • #334 Scott Hatfield, OM
    July 15, 2008

    Was there a Canaanite/Phoenician blood drinking ceremony in opposition to the mainline of Jewish tradition? Was there any period where the Eucharist was controversial in the early Christian community? Or is there something missing about this entire mythology?

    Off the top of my head, the answers are yes, yes, and yes.

    #1 There are specific prohibitions in the Pentateuch against the consumption of animal blood, which apparently was practiced by some non-Israelites.

    #2 The Eucharist was subject to abuse early on, and at least one of the Pauline epistles claims that illness and dissension within one community (I forget which) were tied to their mishandling of the ritual.

    #3 The big thing is that a widely-accepted practice (animal sacrifice) in many cultures (not just among the Jews) was essentially reworked into a symbol (the Lamb of God). Read for a discussion of what this entailed for early Christians.

    For a great read that alludes to the ‘Suffering Lamb” and food taboos as an outgrowth of the local culture’s feeding ecology, consider Marvin Harris’s classic Cannibals and Kings.

  • #335 Dlux
    July 15, 2008

    “I’m an ex-Catholic, now a Muslim.”

    You do realize that you’ve used up all your religion-changing credits now. Once you’ve gone Muslim there’s no backing out. Hope you like raisins.

    “For my part, I would like to know, when your last moment finally comes (and it is coming soon, God willing, if only to put you out of your misery), from whom will you ask for mercy?”

    Mercy?!? Mercey is for little babies. I want to see God’s Pant-Bulging Wrath! Come on, God, or Allah, or whatever you’re going by this millenium, STRIKE ME DOWN, YOU PANSY!!!

    There, William – if I come back to post again tomorrow then your god is even weaker and more useless than most of us thought. What do you think of that?

    PS: http://mwillett.org/atheism/Smitecam_IV.htm

  • #336 Brownian, OM
    July 15, 2008

    I guess my next question is, when your time comes (and you know it is coming soon, God willing), to whom are you going to pray?

    Duh. That question was answered millennia ago, you bloodthirsty savage:

    Ganesh, of course. Or haven’t you heard the Good News?

  • #337 Brownian, OM
    July 15, 2008

    William, in order to save you a little misery, I suggest you stop trying to buffalo us with lame stupidity.

    We’ve survived centuries of your totalitarian tyrannies of idiocy; we’ll survive this one, no matter how dumb you make yourself.

    May you hear the Dhamma and free yourself from the Cycle of Rebirth.

  • #338 True Bob
    July 15, 2008

    Cannibals and Kings

    Am I the only one who saw that as Cannabis and Kings?

  • #339 kmerian
    July 15, 2008

    The Eucharists that were stolen were stolen from the tabernacle, so yes, they had already been consecrated. The unblessed ones are usually in a cabinet in the side room off of the altar.

  • #340 Wowbagger
    July 15, 2008

    As soon as the Cook story broke I suspected that this might inspire someone to do something like this – well before PZ made his ‘requests’. I wouldn’t count on there being any link – if kids are looking to quasi-famous atheist biology professors to get inspiration for anti-social pranks then we’re got some very weird kids out there.

  • #341 Dlux
    July 15, 2008

    “The Eucharists that were stolen were stolen from the tabernacle, so yes, they had already been consecrated.”

    You sure about that? I thought they had to be blessed and mumbled over by a priest as part of the mass ceremony before they took on that meaty Jesus flavor. So some priest left Our Savior unprotected while attending other matters?!? Shouldn’t that deserve a lightning bolt or two?

  • #342 kryptonic
    July 15, 2008

    Corpus Christi Police Lt. Raymond Lara said the Eucharist, the consecrated bread used in Catholic Mass, was taken after someone entered the church through an open door. The exact time of the theft has not been determined and there have been no arrests made in the case, Lara said.

    Really? I smell a catholic church rat. I think Bill Donahue sent out a memo.

    Or maybe the son of a bitch carpenter jesus just went out for a stroll. The cracker is the body of christ, after all, right?

  • #343 Brownian, OM
    July 15, 2008

    I’m pretty sure kmerian is right. The host kept in the tabernacle has already been consecrated. The priest doesn’t do it during the mass, he does it beforehand.

  • #344 kryptonic
    July 15, 2008

    kmerian is right.

    What’s really disgusting to me is that the leftovers, including, get this, crumbs that the altar boy catches in a sort of circular, brass, drool tray, are put back in a chalice and locked up in the tabernacle after communion. It’s kind of a necessary part of the ritual.

    …as he throws up in his mouth…

    At least that was how it was done when I was an altar boy.

  • #345 frog
    July 15, 2008

    SH: #3 The big thing is that a widely-accepted practice (animal sacrifice) in many cultures (not just among the Jews) was essentially reworked into a symbol (the Lamb of God). Read for a discussion of what this entailed for early Christians.

    Well, yes animal sacrifice was pan-Mediteranean, but the symbol of the lamb as the sacrifice, particularly of the “first-born”, is emblematically Jewish, and central to the Passover. It’s not a Hellenistic innovation, but at most a Hellenistic rework of a Jewish motif.

    I’m curious because the answer to this question would really go to the root of Christian origins. If it’s a surviving marginal ritual associated with the less-than-orthodox Jews (semites — whatever you’d want to call them), then Christianity comes from an internal opposition to Priestly Judaism, one outside the historical record. Possible but surprising — it indicates that things were even more complicated than we already know they were.

    On the other hand, if the central ritual of Christianity came from outside Judaism later in the first century, then basically Christianity has nothing to do with the ideology of the original Christians. Less surprising than the first.

    Finally, if the Eucharist is actually the central innovation of the early Christians but opposed to all earlier Jewish thinking, then who the hell were these people? What could their ideology have been? Some esoteric reversal of meaning? It wouldn’t fit with any model I’ve seen of early Christian development. It would indicate some essential missing scholarship.

    In any case, it would seem that mainstream understanding of Christian origins is outright wrong if it doesn’t address the issue of why the central Christian ritual is not just not very Jewish, but actually repulsive to Judaism, while the rest of the symbology is essentially Judaism translated into Greek.

  • #346 frog
    July 15, 2008

    Windy: That was an interesting suggestion, but it turns out that stable isotope ratios in Viking bones don’t support it:

    Thanks for the update.

  • #347 Dlux
    July 15, 2008

    I haven’t been to mass in decades. Last I remember, the preist sets up his cup and wafers and little flask of wine, waves his hands some and then slugs down a quick pop before facing the unwashed. Isn’t *that* when the magic happens? Or does he perform some sort of bulk transubstantiation at the beginning of the week and puts the lil’ Jesus snacks into storage? That hardly sounds like the sort of reverent ritual worth dying over.

    Don’t the Bodies of Christ start to decay or anything while they’re sitting there at room temperature?

  • #348 Dlux
    July 15, 2008

    (catching up)

    “What’s really disgusting to me is that the leftovers, including, get this, crumbs that the altar boy catches in a sort of circular, brass, drool tray, are put back in a chalice…”

    Well then. I’m gonna head on over to communion (as far as I know, I’m still a catholic) after eating a big ol’ plate of shelfish and beef stroganoff (meat/dairy), and when the wafer is placed on my tongue I’ll gag a little and spit it onto the floor along with parts of my meal. What the hell are they supposed to do with it then?

    And what is the official church position on anyone receiving communion who throws up before full digestion? How about explosive diarrhea? On an IV? Wheat gluten allergies? Erectile disfunction?

  • #349 Dlux
    July 15, 2008

    Ok, I’m kind of fascinated with this now. One last comment for today (before God/Allah/Cthulhu strikes me down) – has Bill Donahue sent his flying monkeys after Jack Chick? Can we get the two of them into a cage match? Because it’s unlikely that PZ can outdo the master when it comes to bashing catholicism:

    http://www.chick.com/reading/tracts/0074/0074_01.asp

  • #350 E.V.
    July 15, 2008

    “when your last moment finally comes (and it is coming soon, God willing, if only to put you out of your misery), from whom will you ask for mercy?”

    Is someone here in a hospice? Who would I ask for mercy? I assume Dr. Kevorkian is out…
    William, since I don’t fear death and I’m absolutely POSITIVE there is no afterlife, what is this crap about mercy? For what? Rejecting a man made concept?

    William,
    Even the idea of existing in Heaven would eventually become hellish – eons of unrelenting, unchanging bliss . It is preposterous, if you really examine it.
    William, when you die -when anyone dies, they’re dead. period. no heaven. no hell. no conciousness, nada, niente, n.o.t.h.i.n.g. All anyone leaves is a legacy for those that remember them.
    Wishing us dead reveals you to be a petty, thin-skinned, impotent would-be tyrant. Is that the legacy you want to leave behind?

  • #351 brokenSoldier, OM
    July 15, 2008

    Brownian & kmerian,

    As a cradle Catholic myself, though now very much an atheist, I still have my catechism instruction buried in my head (as much as I’ve tried to free up some much needed space on the old hard drive, childhood indoctrination is a terribly difficult thing to erase). And as I remember, and as has been noted in comments earlier on this thread, the reality of transubstantiation is dependent on the faith of the individual taking communion. Catholics may rail on and on about how only those Catholics that are “in good standing” may take communion, but the simple truth is that once you take your first communion, and you continue going to Mass, there is no questionnaire at the door to the services to weed out the ones not in good standing. Like so many of the other rituals in Catholicism, it is expected of Catholics to rise and take communion, and I did so many times without actually believing that I was consuming the flesh and blood of Jesus. I took a more rational, symbolic approach to it, and viewed the ceremony of a recreation of the Last Supper, and held it with reverence and respect. But Catholic doctrine clearly states that if the person handling the host does not have true faith that it has transubstantiated following the priest’s consecration, then the “presence of God” is not there. A very well respected priest in my church in Jackson, TN counseled me on my doubts about faith, of which transubstantiation was a major aspect. I, at 15 years of age, was worried that if I consumed the wafer without believing it was actually the body of Jesus then I was committing a grave sin. He assured me, citing the same source as was cited in an earlier post here, that the key element is faith in the process, and absent that, whomever is handling the wafer, consecrated or not, is not in the presence of God.

    So, to me, this boils down to two possibilities:

    1) The Catholics calling for harsh action to be taken against Mr. Cook and PZ are doing so out of a critical misunderstanding of their own doctrine, OR

    2) They are doing so in full knowledge of their doctrine in order to manufacture a situation in which they are the ones being persecuted. And they will inevitably use that contrived persecution as a platform to inject their own specific religious agenda into the framework of our government.

    In the first case, they are grossly misinformed, which wouldn’t be bad except for the fact that their misinformation in this case has led to their commission of criminal acts (death threats) in defense of a doctrine they do not understand.

    In the second case, they are simply acting along with the institutional status quo of the Catholic Church. Exaggerated indignation is a useful tool for guilting society into unduly respecting your assertions – a tool perfected over the last 2000 years by that very same church.

    So whether the wafers were consecrated or not, it shouldn’t matter to a Catholic truly versed in their own church’s teachings on the sppecific subject of transubstantiation. And besides, if it is such an offense to God, let him deal with it if that time ever comes.

  • #352 Owlmirror
    July 15, 2008

    But Catholic doctrine clearly states that if the person handling the host does not have true faith that it has transubstantiated following the priest’s consecration, then the “presence of God” is not there.

    Wait. Isn’t that what I inferred with a long, drawn-out, logical syllogism, only to be told that it was “flawed”?

    Comment #23, here:

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2008/07/unrepentant_science_heathen.php

    There were some replies by Jim, and me trying to get him to cough up what exactly the flaws were, and so far, Jim (and other Catholics) seems to have decided to ignore the argument, because I’m not a believer.

  • #353 brokenSoldier, OM
    July 16, 2008

    Wait. Isn’t that what I inferred with a long, drawn-out, logical syllogism, only to be told that it was “flawed”?

    Posted by: Owlmirror | July 15, 2008 11:00 PM

    It indeed is, and yours was the comment I was referencing by mentioning the prior comment that made the same point, and more thoroughly. It was well stated one, though in retrospect I probably should have at least thrown your name and the comment number in there.

    And as to the “flawed” remark, I translated it from fundie-speak into english, and it reads:

    Fundie:
    “Your argument is flawed, and it would be a waste of time to try to explain to you”

    Translation:
    “You have left me with no rational basis for my arguments, so therefore I’m feigning both intelligence and understanding, coupled with a oh-so-typical smattering of condescension to hide the fact that I cannot admit I may be wrong.”

  • #354 Rey Fox
    July 16, 2008

    “In the second case, they are simply acting along with the institutional status quo of the Catholic Church.”

    Exactly. Spooky stories, guilt, mind control.

  • #355 Joe Max
    July 16, 2008

    I don’t know if it’s been mentioned on any of the previous threads, but PC World reports that Melenie Kroll has been fired.

  • #356 truth machine, OM
    July 16, 2008

    You do realize that you’ve used up all your religion-changing credits now. Once you’ve gone Muslim there’s no backing out. Hope you like raisins.

    LOL! Or should I say “Hur hur hur!”

  • #357 Uriel
    July 16, 2008

    I don’t know if it’s been mentioned on any of the previous threads, but PC World reports that Melenie Kroll has been fired.

    Well, let’s all raise our glasses in a toast to the rise of rationality and free-thinking!! Kuddos one and all!

    Thank PZ that there is absolutely no question about the righteousness of this action! Clearly, the path of progress is now that much clearer without the dastardly influence of mkroll’s taint on the domain of 1800flowers!At last, children can breath free, lovers can dream, and the elderly can rest assured that the future they pass on is clean and pure…

    And hey, even if it was a mistake- NO BIG DEAL!!! Because she probably deserved it anyways! And PZ posted a disclaimer! So, even if it turns out melanie was nothing more than the victim of sloppy work habbits and the blind idolatry of an internet mob… It’s not PZ’s fault! In fact, it’s a grand victory for one and all!

    Cause he washed his hands!!!!! And there’s lots of disagreement here! And in the end, the important thing is PZ kept _his_ job! Huzzah! And presumption of innocence be damned!

    Everyone involved should be very, very proud! Especially PZ! Righteousness is ours!!!

    Now give me a couple of seconds to unroll my eyes- they seem to become unavoidably stuck due to excessive involuntary activity…

  • #358 Uriel
    July 16, 2008

    #241:

    I don’t care about most reasonable people’s religious beliefs, but when they start assigning more value to a cracker than a guy, it’s time to call out the idiots. Do you think that assigning a guy more value than a cracker is also a faith-based position?

    No, I think its the height of lunacy-

    On either side.

  • #359 uriel
    July 16, 2008

    Wait- screwed that up- I read misread your second sentence as a mirror of your first. For the record, the question I thought I was responding to was:

    Do you think that assigning a cracker more value than a guy is also a faith-based position?

    The way you phrased it seems like a fairly reasonable conclusion.

  • #360 truth machine, OM
    July 16, 2008

    any of the comments by the Truth Machine.
    You mean the ultra-leftist, fanatical wingnut?

    What crawled in your ass, truth machine? Are you an anarchist or something?

    I’ve never seen the gentle side of truth machine (to my recollection).
    Wow. truth machine is a facilitator. Wow.

    I contain multitudes.

  • #361 reuben
    July 16, 2008

    Posted by: Uriel | July 16, 2008 3:44 AM
    Well, let’s all raise our glasses in a toast to the rise of rationality and free-thinking!! Kuddos one and all!… and on and on etc etc etc …Everyone involved should be very, very proud! Especially PZ! Righteousness is ours!!!

    Well, thanks for the lovely sentiments Uriel, but I don’t see anyone here rejoicing in the fact that Ms. Kroll lost her job.

  • #362 John Morales
    July 16, 2008

    Uriel

    Kuddos one and all! [...] So, even if it turns out melanie was nothing more than the victim of sloppy work habbits and the blind idolatry of an internet mob… It’s not PZ’s fault! In fact, it’s a grand victory for one and all!
    Cause he washed his hands!!!!! And there’s lots of disagreement here! And in the end, the important thing is PZ kept _his_ job! Huzzah! And presumption of innocence be damned!

    Five exclamation marks. A would-be sarcastic rant.

    Did it occur to you to simply write “I think PZ is to blame for everything”?

    It’s every bit as stupid, but much shorter and pithier.

  • #363 Damian
    July 16, 2008

    Just in case others miss this, and as an opportunity to test out my new HTML skills:

    Woman Fired Over Death Threat Sent From Work E-mail

    “An employee of 1-800-Flowers.com has been fired after an e-mailed death threat was linked to her account.

    The crudely worded e-mail was sent Sunday to Paul “PZ” Myers, an associate professor of biology at the University of Minnesota Morris, who is known for his criticism of religion and creationism. It was one of several hostile messages he had received following a controversial July 8 blog posting. The address on the e-mail showed that it came from Melanie Kroll at 1-800-Flowers.com, an online floral delivery service.

    The note gave Myers until the first of the month to resign from his position at the University. “You have two choices,” the e-mail read. “[Y]ou can quit your job for the good of the children. Or you can get your brains beat in.”

    On Monday, Kroll send Myers a confusing e-mail, explaining that while the threat was sent from her computer, but that she didn’t write it. “It seems an e-mail went out from my work account,” she wrote in an e-mail message obtained by IDG News. “I apologize and will look into the issue.”

    She said that her work e-mail was set as the default address on her computer and that is why the it appeared to come from her, adding that the threat was “empty” because “the people who could have used my PC are harmless.”

    After an internal investigation, the Internet retailer decided to terminate Kroll’s position, according to Steven Jarmon, the company’s vice president of brand communications. “All 1-800-Flowers.com associates are instructed that any misuse of company systems or equipment for personal purposes is potential grounds for dismissal,” he wrote in an e-mail.

    Kroll did not respond to an e-mailed request seeking comment for this story.

    Myers, a self-described “rabid new atheist,” had been getting hate mail after blogging in support of University of Central Florida student Webster Cook, [cq] who is facing suspension after removing a communion wafer from a Mass held on-campus. Once blessed, these Eucharist wafers must be consumed immediately and Church leaders have said that Cook’s actions were offensive.

    In the post, Myers wrote that the Eucharist wafer, which for Catholics is the transubstantiated body of Christ, was “just a cracker.”

    After being inundated with threatening e-mail, he decided to start posting full technical details of the messages, including the IP addresses of the mail servers involved. Although the sender address in e-mail messages can be spoofed, the IP address showed that Kroll’s mail came from a mail server on 1-800-Flowers.com’s network.

    Myers did not take any satisfaction in Kroll’s dismissal. “This was not my intent to get somebody fired,” he said. “She apparently did something stupid which I don’t have sympathy for. I would just rather not see people getting fired over an e-mail message.”

  • #364 truth machine, OM
    July 16, 2008

    You know you’re guilty of diehard politically correctness, hence you don’t want to accept that it exists. It’s really that simple.

    No, I do accept that I’m not a racist/misogynist asshole.

    I’m proudly an Islamophobe

    But one without an axe to grind, eh? That’s how you compared yourself to Nick.

    Truth Machine’s insane position that any believer in the existence of political correctness is a racist or misogynist.

    That’s not at all what I said, but then your poor grasp of logic is well established.

    Here’s a different version of my definition of PC: “protective of minorities, the oppressed, and victims of the tyranny of the majority”. One can find anecdotes where it is carried to excess, but the underlying point remains, that “accusing” people of being PC is essentially calling them decent human beings. That doesn’t mean that the people who use the charge aren’t — many of them have simply been propagandized; as I said, the creation of this category was a result of a conscious, intentional campaign by the right wing. But people who don’t merely use this phrase casually but rather build an ideology around it — people like you, J (eremy?) — are indeed first class jackasses.

  • #365 uriel
    July 16, 2008

    Well, thanks for the lovely sentiments Uriel, but I don’t see anyone here rejoicing in the fact that Ms. Kroll lost her job.

    Of course not, now that it actually happened. Now that it’s actually real.

    Now look up thread, and in the previous one, and tell me how many people felt fully justified in engaging in all sorts of crrrraaaazzzy behaviors. Try searching for “gay porn.”

    Or don’t. It’s human nature not to be particularly fond of self examination….

  • #366 truth machine, OM
    July 16, 2008

    Well, thanks for the lovely sentiments Uriel, but I don’t see anyone here rejoicing in the fact that Ms. Kroll lost her job.

    That fact, or any of the other facts about the variety of views and behaviors of the people here, won’t make it past the thick protective layers of ideology in Uriel’s brain to affect any of his beliefs.

  • #367 truth machine, OM
    July 16, 2008

    Won’t let that go, will you? But I remember the speech.

    Typical J(eremy?) dishonesty. Here was the context:

    J(eremy?): The only reason he seems to disagree with the consensus is that he’s an extremely unpleasant person.

    TM: I suppose that my taking PZ to task … was only a matter of being unpleasant.

    Obama’s speech wasn’t the subject, J(eremy?)’s claim was.

    That’s why people here dislike you J(eremy?); it’s not because of some secular dogma they all share, but because you’re a fundamentally dishonest person.

  • #368 John Morales
    July 16, 2008

    I hope my view that the person directly responsible for Ms Kroll’s dismissal would be the writer of the death threat rather than PZ is not controversial.

  • #369 uriel
    July 16, 2008

    Did it occur to you to simply write “I think PZ is to blame for everything”?

    It’s every bit as stupid, but much shorter and pithier.

    Sure, it occurred to me. But why leave out the efforts of all the multitudes of supporters/enablers? Why slight the cheerleaders and the chorus? Not to mention the tireless efforts of the apologists?

    Come on, man- it was a group effort! Everyone involved deserves equal credit!

    I mean, you don’t really think she got fired over _one_ email do you?

    BTW- since you’re so smart, just thought I’d ask- how would you pick up the pieces if you were mkroll? I’m sure she’s in the market for pithy and short bits of advice…. And since she actually happens to be a _real_human_being_, as opposed to some internet abstraction, its the least she deserves. Think of it as a community project- kinda like getting her fired was.

  • #370 uriel
    July 16, 2008

    That fact, or any of the other facts about the variety of views and behaviors of the people here, won’t make it past the thick protective layers of ideology in Uriel’s brain to affect any of his beliefs.

    And what would those be, TM? Since you seem to speak so authoritatively on the subject?

  • #371 uriel
    July 16, 2008

    Sorry about the botched tags, TM. For the record, My responce was:

    And what would those be, TM? Since you seem to speak so authoritatively on the subject?

  • #372 John Morales
    July 16, 2008

    Uriel, I’m only “that smart” compared to you. I know where I stand in the rankings here.

    I’m smart enough to tell you I have no information upon which to hypothesise what I would do in Ms Kroll’s position.
    I’m not sorry I can’t comply with your request, since I suspect it was rhetorical in intent.

    You should’ve by now have figured simplistic bullshit doesn’t pass muster anymore than subtle bullshit.

  • #373 truth machine, OM
    July 16, 2008

    And what would those be, TM?

    They would be any of the other facts, just as I said, moron. My statement wasn’t addressed to you, it was to John Morales and others who aren’t so stupid and blind.

  • #374 John Morales
    July 16, 2008

    Well, I’m feeling magnanimous on whim.

    Hey, Uriel, compose your messages offline and spell-check them. Don’t worry about the grammar checker, I suspect you will find it confusing.

    Then post them, and thus spare us the sight of your oblivious semi-illiteracy.

    Just a heads-up.

  • #375 truth machine, OM
    July 16, 2008

    Everyone involved deserves equal credit!

    I never sent any emails or made any phone calls, nor encouraged anyone else to do so, and the same is true of the majority of posters here, many of whom actively discouraged such actions, contrary to your “In fact, it’s a grand victory for one and all!” So, you’re a stupid fucking piece of shit lying asshole troll, and are achieving nothing other than to make that view universal.

  • #376 uriel
    July 16, 2008

    I hope my view that the person directly responsible for Ms Kroll’s dismissal would be the writer of the death threat rather than PZ is not controversial.

    And I would hope that the reasonable readers here would recognize that responsibility is not a matter of either/or, blame is not a conserved property, and guilt is not a zero sum game.

    Hell, just look at the title of this post- seem like PZ admits that some of his followers exceeding the bounds. Of course, he doesn’t take any of the blame, but it’s human nature to throw our fellows under the bus when expedient.

    In fact, I’m confident many will get all this. But I’m wildly dedicated to the principals of free thought and rationality. That’s just the way I am.

  • #377 Lilly de Lure
    July 16, 2008

    Uriel said:

    I mean, you don’t really think she got fired over _one_ email do you?

    Well, I don’t know how they do things at your place of work Uriel, but if it was brought to my employers attention that a death threat had been sent via my work email address from someone sitting at my workstation they might well take a pretty dim view of my continued employment with them. As, frankly, would any responsible company who wished to retain a decent corporate reputation.

    Ms Kroll got fired because 1-800-Flowers did not want an employee whose negligence allowed a death threat to be sent via the company email system (if she is telling the truth and didn’t send the email) or because they did not want an employee who sends death threats on company time (if she is lying). The pharyngulites did not send that email, nor are they responsible for 1-800-Flowers decision, taken as it was after an internal investigation of this matter, therefore they are not responsible for her getting fired.

  • #378 uriel
    July 16, 2008

    I never sent any emails or made any phone calls, nor encouraged anyone else to do so

    Than you aren’t one of the people I’m talking to.

    I think I was fairly clear about who it was I was referencing…

  • #379 truth machine, OM
    July 16, 2008

    I hope my view that the person directly responsible for Ms Kroll’s dismissal would be the writer of the death threat rather than PZ is not controversial.

    According to the news report — which cannot be trusted to provide all the salient facts — Ms. Kroll was fired because she admitted to letting her computer be used to send the email, contrary to her company’s policy. She made the excuse that the death threat was “empty” because “the people who could have used my PC are harmless”, but that isn’t relevant to the company’s policy.

    Personally, I find the company’s actions excessive, and I think that those here who sent her email and called her employer acted badly, and that it was foolish of PZ to post those emails and imagine that no one who saw them would retaliate, and I’ve said so more than once. His “Stop it NOW, please” was closing the barn door after the horse was gone.

  • #380 clinteas
    July 16, 2008

    I didnt realise until I stuck my head into the thread to write something down the lines of”we’re still flogging this dead horse”,that the woman had been fired.
    Im not sure what to think of it,on the one hand her answer to PZ and statements ive seen so far dont convince me and sound more guilty than not,on the other hand despite PZ asking people to keep cool some went ahead and sent emails and phoned,which ultimately led to her getting fired.And that with PZ asking people not to go overboard,and without any proof that she sent the mails.
    I think I lean to the opinion,that this should not have happened,and that people went way overboard.Now,were they Pharyngulites,or religionists posing,to undermine our reputation? Who would know.
    Its all just very unfortunate IMO.

  • #381 Nick Gotts
    July 16, 2008

    It would be as if Josh had asked the apostles to eat a kid and goat cheese sandwich in remembrance of him — obviously absurd.

    Quite – the sandwich wasn’t invented until the 18th century ;-)

  • #382 truth machine, OM
    July 16, 2008

    I think I was fairly clear about who it was I was referencing…

    Yes you were clear … everyone here.

    The fact is that you’re a festering pile of pus who couldn’t care less about Melanie Kroll but are merely using her as an excuse to bash PZ and the people who post here.

  • #383 truth machine, OM
    July 16, 2008

    I think I was fairly clear about who it was I was referencing…

    Yes:

    Think of it as a community project- kinda like getting her fired was.

    You were referencing the “community”, as a cooperative body, led by PZ, you dishonest sack of shit.

  • #384 Lilly de Lure
    July 16, 2008

    Uriel said:

    Hell, just look at the title of this post- seem like PZ admits that some of his followers exceeding the bounds. Of course, he doesn’t take any of the blame, but it’s human nature to throw our fellows under the bus when expedient.

    Granted, he didn’t want people actively harrassing the senders of the death threats, or indeed doing anything – he tried to name and shame senders of death threats and it backfired badly. However you have yet to show any evidence that the Pharyngulite’s emails, however inappropriate it was to send them (and yes I believe that it was extremely inappropriate, I agree entirely with PZ on this) to Ms Kroll or her employers had any effect on their decision to fire her.

    Once the matter had been initially brought to their attention (and I think that PZ did that himself with one polite email before he published the emails) they set up an internal investigation that resulted in her being fired. That is their decision based on information received about the email, the only way this could be regarded as PZ or anyone here’s fault is if you try to claim that the company only knew about the death threat because PZ told them about it. Which is fair enough, but do you really believe that companies should not be informed that someone is using their email system to threaten the lives of their fellow citizens?

  • #385 clinteas
    July 16, 2008
  • #386 truth machine, OM
    July 16, 2008

    some went ahead and sent emails and phoned,which ultimately led to her getting fired.

    It’s not like the Nestle boycott. Her employer didn’t fire her because a handful of Catholic-bashing atheists threatened their business, she was fired because they judged her to have violated company policy.

  • #387 John Morales
    July 16, 2008

    truth machine @379:

    According to the news report — which cannot be trusted to provide all the salient facts [...]

    Exactly. And her admission could have entirely different interpretations depending on additional information.
    Ditto for the company’s action.

    I presume your judgement at this point is still tentative.

  • #388 uriel
    July 16, 2008

    Well, I’m feeling magnanimous on whim.

    Hey, Uriel, compose your messages offline and spell-check them. Don’t worry about the grammar checker, I suspect you will find it confusing.

    Then post them, and thus spare us the sight of your oblivious semi-illiteracy.

    Just a heads-up.

    Blah blah blah.

    BTW- “I’m feeling magnanimous on _a_ whim.”

    also-

    “Would find it” would be the preferred construction, here.

    Lastly, your comma usage is a bit dicey throughout.

    Just in the interest of common courtesy…

  • #389 Damian
    July 16, 2008

    uriel:

    I’m slightly puzzled about what it is that you are trying to achieve, here?

    If Melanie Kroll sent death threats to PZ from her works computer, is that not a sackable and indeed criminally actionable offense?

    Even if someone else managed to use her computer to send the message, was it or was it not reasonable to inform 1-800-Flowers that death threats had been sent from one of their computers?

    As truth machine has already said, it was a handful of people that bothered to send emails, most of which were out of concern for PZ. I agree with PZ that it is a shame that she has lost her job, even if she is guilty of sending the death threat, but I am still confused about what it is that you believe should have been done. Ignore them? Not inform 1-800-Flowers?

    I have to say that you are on pretty shaky ground, morally. There is little that any of us could do once the company had been informed, but if you are suggesting that they shouldn’t have been, I suggest that you need a new moral compass.

  • #390 uriel
    July 16, 2008

    Has this been posted here?

    Confession of the guy who sent the mail.

    And it just gets worse….

    Wanna take some of that back, TM and JM?

  • #391 John Morales
    July 16, 2008

    Hm. While I was posting, I see further information became available.

    <sigh>

  • #392 truth machine, OM
    July 16, 2008

    Hell, just look at the title of this post- seem like PZ admits that some of his followers exceeding the bounds.

    You must think everyone here is as stupid as you are. PZ didn’t “admit” it, he recognized it and asked them to stop.

    Of course, he doesn’t take any of the blame, but it’s human nature to throw our fellows under the bus when expedient.

    What a stupid fucking piece of dishonest shit. You’re here throwing the “community” under the bus and then jumping in and driving all over them. PZ simply asked those posters who were doing something bad to stop doing it — something you think is bad, something that you wanted them to stop. Even your “doesn’t take any of the blame” is bullshit, as his post is full of implicit self-blame for being mistaken about how people would act and for coming up with a policy that didn’t work.

  • #393 John Morales
    July 16, 2008

    Take what back, Uriel?

    That the guilty party in the sacking is the author of the post? Or that evidently you can’t spell?

  • #394 truth machine, OM
    July 16, 2008

    Wanna take some of that back, TM and JM?

    No, moron, it has no bearing on anything I wrote, even if the claims in that post are all correct — which is subject to considerable doubt.

  • #395 uriel
    July 16, 2008

    Hey guys, remember this?

    For one thing, we can’t be certain that an innocent’s account hasn’t been hijacked; for another, we’re supposed to be better than that. With the size of the readership here, any reaction by you is likely to be repeated a thousand-fold and turned into an over-reaction.

    Re-read it.

    Now, ask yourselves- who exactly is it you’re defending?

  • #396 John Morales
    July 16, 2008

    Uriel, I am not defending. I am laughing at you.

  • #397 truth machine, OM
    July 16, 2008

    I presume your judgement at this point is still tentative.

    To varying degrees for each of the numerous points to be considered. That Uriel is a festering sack of shit troll I have no doubt at all. That Ms. Kroll’s company’s response was excessive seems pretty clear, regardless of whether there really is a “C. Kroll” who sent the email — and that post is very fishy. That PZ was foolish, that some people here acted badly, that PZ recognized his error too late but tried to stop further damage — these all seem fairly uncontroversial.

  • #398 clinteas
    July 16, 2008

    uriel,

    what are you trying to achieve here?
    Someone fucked up and got Melanie fired for letting a (?) family member post hatemail via her job mail account.
    Its not good,it should not have happened,PZ underestimated the response the posting of those mail headers would create.

    But she broke company policy to start with,and it might deter future cowardly threats of death or violence.

    Im sure PZ learned a lesson from it,he had no role in all of this apart from being a bit naive,now get over it.

  • #399 reuben
    July 16, 2008

    Posted by: uriel | July 16, 2008 5:41 AM
    Now, ask yourselves- who exactly is it you’re defending?

    uriel, are you seriously claiming that somehow “we” are to blame (I’m guessing you don’t mean me personally, as I didn’t support the action of emailing the company) for Ms. Kroll’s firing, not the person who actually sent the death threat?

  • #400 Lilly de Lure
    July 16, 2008

    From the Actual Sender’s Confession:

    The email account used to send the email was used by mistake, I sent the email from what I thought was my private account, not the 1-800 email account that was used. I had simply clicked on the link to the professors email in the article.

    Can someone with better IT skills than I explain how this could happen? I’m just a tad confused how someone could “accidentally” hack into a corporate email system and use it to send an email via one of the employee’s accounts, again apparently without noticing. Isn’t IT security supposed to make this as difficult as possible for someone outside the organisation to do deliberately, never mind via an accidental misclick?

    Also, I thought the IP address of the computer used was a 1-800-Flowers computer, or can this be accidentally faked as well?

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m perfectly willing to believe that this guy was, as he claims, the one who sent the email rather than Ms Kroll. I’m just a bit confused as to his claims about how the email happened to come via her email address by pure accident in the first place. This part of his story just doesn’t make sense to me but maybe it does to someone whose grasp of IT is better than mine.

  • #401 JeffreyD
    July 16, 2008

    This uriel person is funny as all get out. Marvelous impersonation of a lying concern troll. Excellent satire.

    Pax Nabisco

  • #402 truth machine, OM
    July 16, 2008

    Re-read it.

    Why? I agree with it, you fucking cretin.

    Now, ask yourselves- who exactly is it you’re defending?

    Defending? I’m not defending, I’m attacking your fucking trolling bullshit about “community project”, you pathetic stupid asshole.

  • #403 clinteas
    July 16, 2008

    Lilly,

    I believe a lot of those 1800-flower people work from home,so it would have been possible for the guy to walk in and send a mail not realizing he was using Melanies account,if she was logged on to her flowers server at the time.

  • #404 truth machine, OM
    July 16, 2008

    uriel, are you seriously claiming that somehow “we” are to blame (I’m guessing you don’t mean me personally, as I didn’t support the action of emailing the company)

    He does mean you personally, since he said it was a “community project” and that (sarcasticly) “one and all” deserve kudos and “Thank PZ that there is absolutely no question about the righteousness of this action!” But if you confront him personally, he’ll say “Than you aren’t one of the people I’m talking to. I think I was fairly clear about who it was I was referencing… ”

    The technical term for that is “lying sack of shit troll”.

  • #405 truth machine, OM
    July 16, 2008

    it would have been possible for the guy to walk in and send a mail not realizing he was using Melanies account,if she was logged on to her flowers server at the time.

    A guy who just happens to have the same last name?

  • #406 Lilly de Lure
    July 16, 2008

    *Waves at Clinteas*

    Ah, I see – thanks for clearing that up for me.

  • #407 uriel
    July 16, 2008

    No, moron, it has no bearing on anything I wrote, even if the claims in that post are all correct — which is subject to considerable doubt.

    So, guilty until proved innocent, then? Nice credo.

    As for your constant harping on spelling, JM- nice to see you have a hobby. Good for you. Now, can you move on? Lets address this:

    That the guilty party in the sacking is the author of the post?

    Care to ante up your proof?

    And, while we’re at it- can anyone provide a single shred of proof that it was only “a handful” of readers that sent objections? Keep in mind PZ’s past poll bombing activities (which I admit I gleefully took part in), and this:

    With the size of the readership here, any reaction by you is likely to be repeated a thousand-fold and turned into an over-reaction.

    Now, does that sound like someone reacting to ‘a handful’ of responses?

  • #408 reuben
    July 16, 2008

    Posted by: truth machine, OM | July 16, 2008 5:57 AM
    The technical term for that is “lying sack of shit troll”

    Thanks for clearing that up TM, much appreciated :)

  • #409 clinteas
    July 16, 2008

    truth machine,

    we should really call you truth sceptic lol….

    Hey,I guess it could have been her husband,or brother,or son,god knows.I thought it sounded like he was telling the truth,and that he was a lil freaked out to have gotten her into this shit.Just my impression from reading his post.

  • #410 Matt Penfold
    July 16, 2008

    Lily,

    It is possible that Melanie Kroll had access to her company e-mail account set-up at home using the same mail client as the families regular e-mail account. Using Outlook or Outlook Express you can then select which account you want to send an e-mail from.

    The scenario that seems to be suggested in that e-mail is that a family member sent an e-mail and used the wrong account with the mail client to send it.

    It is not really a very good practice as it is very easy to use the wrong account by mistake. I have e-mail accounts I use for business and personal use, and not only do I not use the same mail client, I don’t even have the accounts on the same machine.

  • #411 John Morales
    July 16, 2008

    Lets address this:

    That the guilty party in the sacking is the author of the post?

    Care to ante up your proof?

    It was an assertion, not a proof.
    How exactly am I supposed to “ante up”?

    This is hard for you, isn’t it?

  • #412 truth machine, OM
    July 16, 2008

    Can someone with better IT skills than I explain how this could happen?

    The only thing that makes sense to me, if this isn’t a fabrication, is that “C. Kroll” is someone who lives with Melanie Kroll and sent the email from her home computer (or a computer shared by them), and she had the sender address in her mail agent set to her work email.

  • #413 reuben
    July 16, 2008

    And, while we’re at it- can anyone provide a single shred of proof that it was only “a handful” of readers that sent objections?

    Care to provide your subsequent proof that any emails sent from Pharyngula readers to 1800-flowers resulted in Ms. Kroll being fired?

    BTW, PZ commented that it was likely to be repeated a thousand-fold and turned into an over-reaction, because he disapproved of the action, something you agree with!

    What are you doing here?

  • #414 uriel
    July 16, 2008

    uriel, are you seriously claiming that somehow “we” are to blame (I’m guessing you don’t mean me personally, as I didn’t support the action of emailing the company)

    He does mean you personally, since he said it was a “community project”

    No, he doesn’t, numbnuts. He means those who eagerly joined the fray without consideration of the outcome.

    Sorry you can’t wrap your head around this. But at this point it’s your problem, not mine. If you can’t parse sarcasm…. well good luck in life. Be prepared to be very angry for a looooong time. Have fun with that.

    And now, to my several interlocutors, and especially TM and JM, I’m afraid I’m going to have to say good night. Maybe we can pick this up tomorrow…

  • #415 John Morales
    July 16, 2008

    Uriel, it doesn’t take much technique to expose you.

    Go, recover and have a think.

    Cheers.

  • #416 truth machine, OM
    July 16, 2008

    we should really call you truth sceptic lol….

    You can’t be rational and not be skeptical.

    I guess it could have been her husband,or brother,or son,god knows.

    You guess? You think it more likely that it’s a co-worker who happens to have the same name?

    I thought it sounded like he was telling the truth,and that he was a lil freaked out to have gotten her into this shit.Just my impression from reading his post.

    You must be one of those people who watch TV court dramas and are convinced that the actor is innocent because he’s so sincere.

    It’s easy to sound like you’re telling the truth; that means nothing. Rather, one must make in inference to the best explanation, based on all the evidence.

  • #417 reuben
    July 16, 2008

    Ok, uriel, we get it.…those who eagerly joined the fray without consideration of the outcome are fools, it was a stupid thing for them to do. I agree.

    A few fools does not, however, qualify as a “community project”. When you come in here and suggest (sarcastic or otherwise) that the majority of readers here are happy about this outcome, be prepared to be called out on it. That kind of thing is what truth machine is best at.

    Good night.

  • #418 truth machine, OM
    July 16, 2008

    He means those who eagerly joined the fray without consideration of the outcome.

    By which you meant the whole community, in concert, working on a “community project”, you lying sack of shit troll.

  • #419 Nick Gotts
    July 16, 2008

    I think I was fairly clear about who it was I was referencing – uriel

    Indeed you were – you regard just about everyone commenting here as unthinking acolytes of PZ Myers, and so collectively guilty:
    “Pharyngula is not just a community of atheists. It’s a collection of people whose common beliefs extend well beyond any simple propositions regarding the existence of god, to include rather large group of opinions that have nothing to do with rejecting that existence but to proscribing and- dare I say it- evangelizing a set of supposedly proper reactions and actions based on that disbelief. Thus the endless, authoritative and universal appeals to “real atheists this” and “proper atheists that,” is every bit as ridiculous as conservapedia on it’s worst day.

    This call to his readers to provide Eucharist for the purposes of desecration, and the ready acceptance and vehement defense of the same is a perfect example. It has nothing to do with disbelief or free thinking, and everything to do with acquiescence to dogmatic group-think and authority…

    I’m not saying it’s universal to all commenters here- but its a pretty evident consensus to anyone who’s looking objectively.” uriel@239

    “But why leave out the efforts of all the multitudes of supporters/enablers? Why slight the cheerleaders and the chorus? Not to mention the tireless efforts of the apologists?

    Come on, man- it was a group effort! Everyone involved deserves equal credit!” – uriel@369

    There’s something that has apparently not occurred to you uriel – or maybe it has, but would have got in the way of your smug self-congratulation (“I’m wildly dedicated to the principals of free thought and rationality. That’s just the way I am.”) If PZ had taken any action that lead to Kroll’s employer discovering that a death threat had been sent from her work email address (like reporting it to the police, or the company itself), she would almost certainly have been fired. Companies tend to be touchy about that sort of thing, if only because they are legally liable for email from their address, and their insurers would probably insist on dismissal. Of course, PZ could have simply ignored the threat, but I certainly would not have done so – it looks like it could be seriously intended.

  • #420 clinteas
    July 16, 2008

    tm,

    //You must be one of those people who watch TV court dramas and are convinced that the actor is innocent because he’s so sincere.//

    Im a sucker for Boston Legal mate,dont think bad of me…:-)

  • #421 negentropyeater
    July 16, 2008

    Clinteas #385,

    how “nice” of this Mr C Kroll to wait until Ms M Kroll gets fired before he confesses to having sent the email himself (supposedely by mistake !) and now tries to put the blame on PZ !

    Also note the false apology to PZ.

    Typical irrational deluded Christian response, as well of course as misrepresenting PZ’s position on Islam and other religions.

  • #422 Damian
    July 16, 2008

    It’s likely that 1-800-Flowers is in possession of far more information than we are. And while it’s certainly possible that they have completely overreacted, if C. Kroll is a relation, as seems fairly obvious — and if there really even is a C. Kroll — then he is the one who has gotten her the sack, not us.

    I don’t have a problem with the people that informed the company, even if I wish that she hadn’t been fired. It’s the people that signed her up for spam that I disapprove of, and that has no bearing on the incident, whatsoever.

    Sending threatening emails from a company account, whether done by the guardian of the account or a member of their family, was always going to lead to disciplinary procedures.

  • #423 truth machine, OM
    July 16, 2008

    “No, moron, it has no bearing on anything I wrote, even if the claims in that post are all correct — which is subject to considerable doubt.”

    So, guilty until proved innocent, then? Nice credo.

    Do you even have a measurable IQ? Nothing I said came anywhere near that assumption.

  • #424 John Morales
    July 16, 2008

    If you can’t parse sarcasm [...]

    <wince>

    Sheesh, I should’ve added “and use a dictionary when you don’t understand a word!”.

  • #425 truth machine, OM
    July 16, 2008

    I don’t have a problem with the people that informed the company, even if I wish that she hadn’t been fired.

    There’s a reasonable argument that people should have left it to PZ to act. However, it sure would have helped if, when he posted the emails, he had explicitly said that he would take all necessary action and had requested that no one else do so.

  • #426 uriel
    July 16, 2008

    uriel, are you seriously claiming that somehow “we” are to blame (I’m guessing you don’t mean me personally, as I didn’t support the action of emailing the company)

    He does mean you personally, since he said it was a “community project”

    No, he doesn’t, numbnuts. He means those who eagerly joined the fray without consideration of the outcome.

    Sorry you can’t wrap your head around this. But at this point it’s your problem, not mine. If you can’t parse sarcasm…. well good luck in life. Be prepared to be very angry for a looooong time. Have fun with that.

    And now, to my several interlocutors, and especially TM and JM, I’m afraid I’m going to have to say good night. Maybe we can pick this up tomorrow…

  • #427 truth machine, OM
    July 16, 2008

    Sheesh, I should’ve added “and use a dictionary when you don’t understand a word!”.

    He did use sarcasm, but the way a very very stupid person would:

    Well, let’s all raise our glasses in a toast to the rise of rationality and free-thinking!! Kuddos one and all!

    Thank PZ that there is absolutely no question about the righteousness of this action! Clearly, the path of progress is now that much clearer without the dastardly influence of mkroll’s taint on the domain of 1800flowers!At last, children can breath free, lovers can dream, and the elderly can rest assured that the future they pass on is clean and pure…

    And hey, even if it was a mistake- NO BIG DEAL!!! Because she probably deserved it anyways! And PZ posted a disclaimer! So, even if it turns out melanie was nothing more than the victim of sloppy work habbits and the blind idolatry of an internet mob… It’s not PZ’s fault! In fact, it’s a grand victory for one and all!

    Cause he washed his hands!!!!! And there’s lots of disagreement here! And in the end, the important thing is PZ kept _his_ job! Huzzah! And presumption of innocence be damned!

    Everyone involved should be very, very proud! Especially PZ! Righteousness is ours!!!

    Now give me a couple of seconds to unroll my eyes- they seem to become unavoidably stuck due to excessive involuntary activity…

  • #428 truth machine, OM
    July 16, 2008

    #414:
    And now, to my several interlocutors, and especially TM and JM, I’m afraid I’m going to have to say good night. Maybe we can pick this up tomorrow…

    #426:
    And now, to my several interlocutors, and especially TM and JM, I’m afraid I’m going to have to say good night. Maybe we can pick this up tomorrow…

    Troll.

  • #429 John Morales
    July 16, 2008

    If I were kind, I’d refrain from highlighting his homophonic tendencies. “Principals” indeed.

  • #430 Nick Gotts
    July 16, 2008

    Sending a death threat is also a criminal act in itself; and one which, if ignored, often leads to repetition and escalation to systematic harassment or even actual violence. Arguably there is a moral duty to report such threats.

  • #431 truth machine, OM
    July 16, 2008

    Good one, Nick — that quote really nails Uriel to the wall on his lies.

    Uriel: Thus the endless, authoritative and universal appeals to “real atheists this” and “proper atheists that,” is every bit as ridiculous as conservapedia on it’s worst day.

    I’ve never seen those phrases used here, let alone “endless”ly. Has anyone?

  • #432 John Morales
    July 16, 2008

    truth machine, I hope Uriel is just a troll, for his sake. I begin to wonder.

  • #433 truth machine, OM
    July 16, 2008

    Oh, he’s not just a troll.

  • #434 Damian
    July 16, 2008

    truth machine, OM said:

    There’s a reasonable argument that people should have left it to PZ to act. However, it sure would have helped if, when he posted the emails, he had explicitly said that he would take all necessary action and had requested that no one else do so.

    Yeah, on reflection, I agree. And therefore that means that those who did take the matter in to their own hands were acting inappropriately, and while I would have personally informed the company, in this particular instance, it should have been left up to PZ to decide.

  • #435 negentropyeater
    July 16, 2008

    So far there is still no evidence of the “special power of the holy Eucharist”.

    But there is some evidence that the completely irrational adoration of a Catholic for the holy Eucharist, and his completely irrational reaction to the mere threat of desecrating it expressed by a humble godless biologist on his blog, has caused one of his loved ones to be fired.

    I hope 1-800-FLOWERS will reconsider its decision, and that C Kroll will understand this lesson.

  • #436 True Bob
    July 16, 2008

    WRT uriel

    What are you doing here?

    He’s mass debating.

    badump bump

  • #437 truth machine, OM
    July 16, 2008

    Im a sucker for Boston Legal mate,dont think bad of me…:-)

    I grew up on Perry Mason and am addicted to L&O, and catch myself doing the sort of thing I described … which makes me all the more aware that sincerity can readily be faked: “Sincerity is everything. If you can fake that, you’ve got it made.” — Groucho Marx

  • #438 clinteas
    July 16, 2008

    tm,

    it just seems to make sense tho,and rings true,that some dickhead catholic gets all redhot over PZ’s comment,jumps onto the family PC and sends off a hatemail.Then PZ posts the mail header,some morons here think they can impress people by knowing how to use traceroute and whois,go after Melanie,she gets fired,and C Kroll our deluded home hater gets scared and embarrassed to have been caught out,and posts his apology.
    L&O,love it,watching it now,less than impressed with my new TV tho….

  • #439 uriel
    July 16, 2008

    By the by- just to clear up the situation for all of those who are asking, the main point I’m making here is fairly simple:

    A human being, possibly answering to the name mkroll, has now had her life torn to sheds in this kerfuffle. And, frankly, despite the anonymous nature of the internet, JM’s appeals to ignorance regarding the steps she should take to piece that life back together, or TM’s knee-jerk vehemence and disdain regarding that cost, that can not now be undone. It’s in the public record, and then some- I mean, do you really think 1800flowers remains a viable reference for her, regardless of the ultimate responsibility for the email?

    And it’s solely because of PZ’s little pr stunt, and nothing more. To argue otherwise is, frankly, absurd.

    I mean, do you really think if this minor back and forth occurred on the blog of Dr. Ima knot knotable that anyone would have been fired?

    You can disregard that as you will, for whatever reasons you choose. But don’t pretend the outcome is anything other than what it is. A life was ruined.

    If your only consolation is that it wasn’t PZ’s life, or that the participating parties were on the side of the angels or whatever, well then- Good for you. You win.

    Frankly, for my part, that little victory seems a bit pyrrhic….

  • #440 truth machine, OM
    July 16, 2008

    “With the size of the readership here, any reaction by you is likely to be repeated a thousand-fold and turned into an over-reaction.”

    Now, does that sound like someone reacting to ‘a handful’ of responses?

    Yes, moron. It’s a prediction, not an observation. It’s also hyperbole, something useful when trying to dissuade people from doing something.

  • #441 truth machine, OM
    July 16, 2008

    the main point I’m making here is fairly simple

    The point you’ve made, loud and clear, is that you’re an intellectually dishonest cretin and asshole. Everyone’s got it.

    TM’s knee-jerk vehemence and disdain regarding that cost

    You’re a lying sack of shit. I have repeatedly said that her company overreacted, and have never disdained any cost. This is how it goes with you and people like you: you have an ideological “point” and no contradictory facts need apply. It’s called apologetics.

  • #442 truth machine, OM
    July 16, 2008

    If your only consolation is that it wasn’t PZ’s life, or that the participating parties were on the side of the angels or whatever, well then- Good for you. You win.

    Frankly, for my part, that little victory seems a bit pyrrhic….

    That this is your “simple point” proves that you’re a festering sack of pus.

  • #443 Lilly de Lure
    July 16, 2008

    Uriel said:

    And it’s solely because of PZ’s little pr stunt, and nothing more. To argue otherwise is, frankly, absurd.

    Well, at the risk of absurdity I’d argue that it’s solely because this CKroll person decided to post death threats on her computer whilst it was logged on to her company account.

    Just a thought, but maybe your righteous ire over this would be better targetted at the twerp who committed a crime using her computer rather than at the person against whom the crime was directed?

  • #444 John Morales
    July 16, 2008

    aaaawwwww….

    To be fair, that Uriel’s point would be simple was inevitable.

  • #445 uriel
    July 16, 2008

    And before I do my Keyser Söze here, I’d just like to point all of your attentions to title of the OP:

    “Stop it NOW, please”

    Does that really sound like someone appealing to a insignificant handful of readers? Or does it sound like someone attempting to restrain a significant group?

    Guess we’ll never know… but I know what side my bets would stand.

  • #446 JeffreyD
    July 16, 2008

    uriel, I already complimented your satirical concern troll postings, don’t try to overreach now. You are funny, but don’t push the joke or it will get tedious. However, I especially like the part where you keep saying goodnight – priceless.

    Pax Nabisco

  • #447 truth machine, OM
    July 16, 2008

    And it’s solely because of PZ’s little pr stunt, and nothing more. To argue otherwise is, frankly, absurd.

    Stupid stupid stupid lying stupid fucking pus-ridden dishonest cretinous fucktard.

  • #448 reuben
    July 16, 2008

    Posted by: uriel | July 16, 2008 7:00 AM
    Frankly, for my part, that little victory seems a bit pyrrhic….

    Who is claiming that this is any kind of victory? Please name one person.

  • #449 truth machine, OM
    July 16, 2008

    Does that really sound like someone appealing to a insignificant handful of readers? Or does it sound like someone attempting to restrain a significant group?

    It sounds like there’s pus in your head where a brain belongs. Otherwise you could comprehend that it’s obviously an attempt keep a small group from becoming larger.

  • #450 True Bob
    July 16, 2008

    urinel

    And it’s solely because of PZ’s little pr stunt, and nothing more. To argue otherwise is, frankly, absurd.

    Do you really believe this nonsense? Step back, take a deep breath, and think (I know it pains you, but do it – it’s for your own good).

    Q: Who took the action of sending that threatening email?
    A: Possibly someone related to M Kroll, or M Kroll herself. The death threat originating from her account is what caused her dismissal.

    Q: Who’s function is it to protect that email account from abuse?
    A: M Kroll, that’s who. For that violation of company policy alone, she could be sacked. She either sent the threat herself, or she failed to secure that account.

    Personally I think the company overreacted, but that is up to 1800flowers and 1800flowers alone. Their company, their email account, their reputation. They did what they thought was right.

    Now pray off.

  • #451 truth machine, OM
    July 16, 2008

    Please name one person.

    Uriel.

  • #452 reuben
    July 16, 2008

    Does that really sound like someone appealing to a insignificant handful of readers?

    uriel, who cares how many people it was? Really, what does it matter? Someone (“C Kroll”) committed a crime using M. Kroll’s work email account. This was against company policy (with good reason).

    One person or fifty informing the company, what difference would it make, to you or anyone else?

    What are you trying to prove?

  • #453 negentropyeater
    July 16, 2008

    Uriel,

    And it’s solely because of PZ’s little pr stunt, and nothing more. To argue otherwise is, frankly, absurd.

    How can you misrepresent the facts so evidently ?

    So in your opinion this C Kroll who used M Kroll’s email account to send the death threat had no responsibility in getting her fired ? And who waited until after she got fired to make his confession in an attempt to repair the damages he had caused ?

    What a moron.

  • #454 reuben
    July 16, 2008

    Posted by: truth machine, OM | July 16, 2008 7:17 AM

    Please name one person.
    Uriel.

    hahahahahahaha! awesome work as always TM.

  • #455 John Morales
    July 16, 2008

    Bah. The troll made me look up Keyser Söze.

    Now that’s a victory.

    Enjoy, troll.

  • #456 truth machine, OM
    July 16, 2008

    before I do my Keyser Söze here

    You can’t fade away by repeatedly returning to the scene of the crime.

  • #457 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 16, 2008

    Personally, I find the company’s actions excessive, and I think that those here who sent her email and called her employer acted badly, and that it was foolish of PZ to post those emails and imagine that no one who saw them would retaliate, and I’ve said so more than once. His “Stop it NOW, please” was closing the barn door after the horse was gone.

    Exactly TM. Agreed on all points.

  • #458 reuben
    July 16, 2008

    I wonder if uriel is doing a Keyser Söze is the sense that he has been lying the whole time… just a thought.

  • #459 clinteas
    July 16, 2008

    Rev BDC,

    second that.
    I wonder what came out of PZ’s talk to the UM overlords,guess we will find out.
    Im off to the Casino,I feel lucky.

  • #460 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 16, 2008

    A human being, possibly answering to the name mkroll, has now had her life torn to sheds in this kerfuffle. And, frankly, despite the anonymous nature of the internet, JM’s appeals to ignorance regarding the steps she should take to piece that life back together, or TM’s knee-jerk vehemence and disdain regarding that cost, that can not now be undone. It’s in the public record, and then some- I mean, do you really think 1800flowers remains a viable reference for her, regardless of the ultimate responsibility for the email?

    And it’s solely because of PZ’s little pr stunt, and nothing more. To argue otherwise is, frankly, absurd.

    That’s ridiculous. I was one of the people asking that no one email mkroll until we knew more because if she was innocent then it would be a prime example of mob mentality lynching the wrong person. However, she, if the email from c kroll is to be believed and he sent the email from her account, is guilty. No matter what PZ did that is no excuse for those actions by her or her buddy c kroll.

    The IT policy at my company, that I helped write and I enforce, is that using someone else’s account / login or allowing yours to be used is 100% against IT use policy. Infractions are judged on each incident but this type of thing would result in my suggesting termination.

  • #461 Matt Penfold
    July 16, 2008

    I would just like to ask all those who decided to e-mail the company what it is they thought they would be achieving.

    If someone makes a threat and genuinely means it, is it likely that their getting sacked will increase the risk they pose, decrease it, or leave it unchanged ?

  • #462 John Morales
    July 16, 2008

    If someone makes a threat and genuinely means it, is it likely that their getting sacked will increase the risk they pose, decrease it, or leave it unchanged?

    If it stressfully alters their circumstances, I would consider it would increase both the risk of an incident and of exposure.

    But I know stuff-all of the evil that lurks in the hearts of men, so I’m guessing.

  • #463 Nick Gotts
    July 16, 2008

    I mean, do you really think if this minor back and forth occurred on the blog of Dr. Ima knot knotable that anyone would have been fired? – uriel

    Er, yes, of course. Negligently allowing a death threat to be sent from a company email account (which is the least M Kroll is guilty of), will likely get you sacked from any company under any circumstances. Sending a death threat is a criminal act, and a company cannot afford to appear to condone it. Companies have insurance against being sued or prosecuted for their employees’ deliberate or negligent actions, and it is very likely 1800Flowers’ insurance policy would include a condition that anyone found to have negligently allowed a criminal email to be sent, should be sacked.

  • #464 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 16, 2008

    I just realized the seemingly cognitive dissonance in my last two post regarding the actions of 1-800-flowers and what I would do at my company. I guess that means I’m not sure that 1-800-flowers was excessive when they terminated her. All kinds of problems can result from someone who should not have the account privileges is suddenly given them without the proper authorization.

  • #465 John Morales
    July 16, 2008

    Rev, surely the company would not have acted in such a way that it’d expose itself to a wrongful dismissal claim?

  • #466 Dan
    July 16, 2008

    Sorry PZ, i didn’t mean to be part of the problem.

    i only sent an email to the “Flowers” person, and i was polite and non-offensive, but even so i can see how it would damage our reputation.

  • #467 Matt Penfold
    July 16, 2008

    One point to keep in mind is that it is all very well having IT policies and guidelines but on their own they are not enough. If you allow people to access their work e-mail from home then you should provide guidance to them on how to prevent unauthorised access from the home PC.

    I have no idea what happened is this particular case, but it is pertinent as some are saying such unauthorised access is a sacking offence. It could be, but not if the company had told the person how to secure their PC.

  • #468 negentropyeater
    July 16, 2008

    Rev.

    I respectfully disagree.

    It’s now up to 1-800-FLOWERS, C KROLL, M KROLL, to sort out this situation and they should by now have all the evidence to decide what to do.
    They even have as evidence this very post, maybe PZ should also send them an email which even more clearly indicates that he had no intention to accuse M Kroll, but to find the real perpetuator of the death threats.
    In what sense did those who sent her emails and call her employer act badly ? This has now enabled that apparently the real perpetuator has come out of the woods and has confessed to his wrong doings.
    So now, obviously it is up to 1-800-FLOWERS to take it up with both of them and to decide what course of action they wish to take. Will they maintain their dismissal now that all the evidence seems to be on the table ? Note that for the time being they seem to have been more worried about company IT security policy, and that this one could be broken to issue death threats.

    I agree that if the real perpetuator has been found, 1-800-FLOWERS should reverse its decision.

  • #469 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 16, 2008

    Rev, surely the company would not have acted in such a way that it’d expose itself to a wrongful dismissal claim?

    Well, unless I missed something, we’re still working off assumptions here because ckroll’s letter isn’t confirmed as being from any one actually involved right?

    At my company every single employee signs the IT use policy when they arrive. In that it states that any violation of the policy can result in anything from reprimand to termination. This type of thing would reult in my suggesting termination, but again that final decision would be up to HR.

    We had a former employee who was using our mail system and computers to harass an ex girlfriend going so far as to hack her Yahoo email account. I was able to prove this and her was fired because in our IT policy it states that such actions are prohibited. I would bet that 1-800-flowers has a similar IT use policy and that was what was used to determine whether she was fired or not. If that is the case, and granted IANAL, I doubt any claim of wrongful dismissal would be valid.

    again, IANAL.

  • #470 John Morales
    July 16, 2008

    I can’t even quibble about what you just said, Rev – I concur utterly.

    So, we wait and see. I’ll check back :)

  • #471 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 16, 2008

    her = he was fired

    If you allow people to access their work e-mail from home then you should provide guidance to them on how to prevent unauthorised access from the home PC.

    I missed that it was from her house? Is that the case? Either way the 1-800-flowers system was used (if all of the details we know are true) and that is against our policy. I have no idea what their policy is, and that could be an important point.

    In what sense did those who sent her emails and call her employer act badly ?

    I’m not saying all acted badly, but some did. I guess my original request was that people not email her and act like assholes or email 1-800-flowers and do the same. There are posts in the one of the previous threads where someone posted an email they sent her, and it was out of line (I can go find it if you REALLY want me to). And I’m sure there were plenty of emails we didn’t see. I still think emailing her was more than needed to be done, but that’s just how I acted. I don’t pretend to be the moral compass for anyone but myself. Often that compass points away from magnetic north. Sending an email to 800-flowers to respectfully ask them to look into it IMHO was fine, and personally I thought letting PZ handle it was fine. I know that wouldn’t be the case because this is TEH INTARTUBES and people are going to do what they want, for good or to satisfy some need to act like children. What I was worried about was that someone who was innocent would be harassed and possibly lose their job over something they were not involved in. The fact that it is looking like she was involved in some manor doesn’t change that.

  • #472 Damian
    July 16, 2008

    Rev, from the article that I posted at #363:

    After an internal investigation, the Internet retailer decided to terminate Kroll’s position, according to Steven Jarmon, the company’s vice president of brand communications. “All 1-800-Flowers.com associates are instructed that any misuse of company systems or equipment for personal purposes is potential grounds for dismissal,” he wrote in an e-mail.

  • #473 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 16, 2008

    Thanks Damian. Somehow I scrolled right past that giant block of blue colored lettering.

  • #474 kmerian
    July 16, 2008

    brokensoldier,

    Sorry, but the presence of Christ in the Eucharist is not dependent on the faith of the person “handling” it. I don’t doubt that a Priest told you that, but he was not doing you any favors by trying to spare your feelings.

    Church doctrine is that Christ is present in the Eucharist, period.

  • #475 300baud
    July 16, 2008

    We’re not so good.

  • #476 windy
    July 16, 2008

    I mean, do you really think if this minor back and forth occurred on the blog of Dr. Ima knot knotable that anyone would have been fired?

    Yes, if even a single person had informed 1800Flowers that a DEATH THREAT had been sent out from one of their work addresses and made public! Sheesh.

    Does that really sound like someone appealing to a insignificant handful of readers? Or does it sound like someone attempting to restrain a significant group?

    It sounded like someone ineffectually trying to appeal to his regulars, most of whom had not sent any e-mails, while this someone foolishly left the email addresses up while it was clear that the trigger-happy newbies didn’t bother to read the whole discussion, but as has been pointed out over and over, the cat was out of the bag anyway. But the people who sent emails WERE a numerically insignificant handful of all readers, dumbass.

  • #477 Dr Benway
    July 16, 2008

    The confession from ckroll does not reassure me. I would explain but prefer not to muddy the waters further.

    PZ, it is in your best interests to forward the matter to the FBI. They’re in the best position to investigate and sort fact from fiction. They also can do background checks re: prior convictions. And they can advise you as to how you ought to deal with the several similar threats you will be receiving over the years to come.

  • #478 negentropyeater
    July 16, 2008

    Rev.

    come on, this doesn’t make any sense. My first reaction, if I had been M Kroll and I had been receiving all these harrassement emails would have been to immediately;

    1) conclude that someone had breached into my job email account
    2) check first within my household if someone had breached into my email account (which is usually the easisest way it gets done when computers are shared and passwords are stored on computers at home)
    3)inform my company that there has been a breach of my email account
    4)inform this Mr PZ Myers that my email account had been missused and that I had nothing to do with this email

    Actually, receiving a lot of harrassment mail on your company email account over an issue on which you are innocent is a very efficient warning signal that something terribly wrong is going on and that you should take immediate action in order to avoid to get caught in this mess.

    What my guess is that this person never ever read these emails, probably doesn’t use this job email account (What is her position at 1-800-FLOWERS ?), never felt harrassed, and then was all surprised when her superior informed her that her email account had been breached to issue death threats.

  • #479 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 16, 2008

    I see your point, it is one way to handle it, but I just don’t agree that that is the best tactic to take. I think just contacting 1-800-flowers to let them know is the way I would handle it if I were PZ.

    This has been rehashed over and over, so at the risk of repeating myself and others…

    Posting the email addresses here imho was a bad move. But that’s done and done.

    People contacting mkroll imho was the wrong way to handle it. Every company as large as 1-800-flowers has an IT department perfectly capable of determining where and how emails come and go through their system. Companies do not take these things lightly. If it was determined that the email came from her account, they would take action.

    Again, this is my opinion of how I would have handled it. Bombarding a possibly innocent person with all manor of emails doesn’t do much other than satisfy one’s personal need to get involved. Contacting the company and their IT department would probably have resulted in the same outcome without the risk of harrasment of an innocent person. The fact she may now actually be guilty doesn’t change this.

    But again, none of this mess would have occurred if the emails were not posted and PZ handled it himself.

    Actually, receiving a lot of harrassment mail on your company email account over an issue on which you are innocent is a very efficient warning signal that something terribly wrong is going on and that you should take immediate action in order to avoid to get caught in this mess.

    That’s a good point and one I’ve used to determine issues with my users accounts. But so it having the IT department call you and ask you about an email that seemingly came from your account.

    What my guess is that this person never ever read these emails, probably doesn’t use this job email account (What is her position at 1-800-FLOWERS ?), never felt harrassed, and then was all surprised when her superior informed her that her email account had been breached to issue death threats.

    Huh? Maybe I’m misunderstanding you. Never uses her work email account? That may be a possibility but I seriously doubt it. Companies the size of 1-800-flowers main form of communication with their employees is email. She’s already responded to emails from people here before she was fired. People posted her replies in other threads. I doubt that she never used this account is the case.

  • #480 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 16, 2008

    bah typos, as is par for the Rev.

    Sorry

  • #481 Dlux
    July 16, 2008

    My reciprocating headdesk machine just threw a bearing.

  • #482 Nick Gotts
    July 16, 2008

    I’m still having trouble understanding the viewpoint of those Catholics (perhaps a small minority) who are “outraged” by threats to “desecrate the host”. We’ve heard today that someone was able to walk into a church and steal a whole tabernaclefull of “consecrated hosts”. Now if the Church authorities thought any actual harm could come from them being desecrated, clearly they would long ago have ordered security precautions. So can the “outrage” be any more than the equivalent of the reaction of a teenage gang member when their tag is defaced?

  • #483 Dlux
    July 16, 2008

    In other news, I’m still here!

    So to William Meinertzhagen, yesterday I dared your weak and puny god to strike me down, and he did nothing. I’m supposed to beg mercy from that loser? I think you should evaluate your authority hierarchy and perhaps start worshing me instead.

  • #484 johannes
    July 16, 2008

    > Was there a Canaanite/Phoenician blood drinking
    > ceremony in opposition to the mainline of Jewish
    > tradition?

    Ripping apart a cultural or religious hero and esting the bits looks like a Thracian tradition – the same thing happened to Orpheus. Hellenism – which came on the tip of a Macedon sword – was probably more Macedon than classically Greek, and Macedons, while superficially hellenized, were more than just Greeks with funny Taliban hats (although their Persian name, Greeks with shields on their heads, actually means exactly that). Macedon culture included Thracian, Celtic and Illyrian as well as Greek elements, and many of those traditions spread to the middle east in the Hellenist era – note, for example, the existence of warrior queens in Hellenist states, shockingly alien to Greek tradition, but not very unusual by Celtic or Thracian standards.
    This already syncretistic Greco-Macedon culture mixed and mingled with the native middle eastern Iranian and Semitic cultures and traditions, producing an even more syncretistic middle eastern Hellenist culture. Christianity, Islam and even Judaism as we know it today arose in and from this highly syncretistic Hellenist environment.

  • #485 IceFarmer
    July 16, 2008

    There is only one person responsible, perhaps two, for M Kroll’s termination from 1-800-FLOWERS. I imagine that the guilty party will be sleeping on a nookieless couch for quite some time or at least until she finds gainful employment once again. His name need not be spelled out here. For those that are none too bright, it’s not PZ.

    M Kroll is slightly to blame for not protecting her work email at home. I have access to my work email but it’s password encrypted. My wife can’t access it, even if she could, she would have no reason to and would know better. Unauthorized use of my email is grounds for termination.

    PZ seems to be taking a fair bit of flack for posting the hate mail and threats. Why wouldn’t he post them? I have been threatened before and I told everyone with a laugh and heavy sarcasm. If you threaten someone, then expect that it won’t be kept a state secret. You have just painted a bit target on your head. If you fly off the handle in response and decide to join the death threat game, congrats, you’re stupid and just as bad as the party that started it.

    PZ didn’t do anything wrong. Attempts at sourcing him as the problem or guilt by association are flawed. He exercised his freedom of speech to make a point regarding the said “cracker.” If that warrants endorsements of his death then I’ve got a long list of people whom I have to hunt down and make pay, we all have. If you are truly insulted by his comments don’t endorse, read, share, etc. his blog or writings. Don’t talk about it or tell your friends and it will all go away. All the attention is just getting the word out there further and further creating a bigger impact on both sides.

    KEEP POSTING THE HATE MAIL PZ! IGNORANCE (ON WHATEVER SIDE) DESERVES TO SEE THE LIGHT OF DAY. I LIKE THEM BEST ON MONDAY MORNINGS, THE LAUGHS THEY GIVE ME ARE ALMOST AS GOOD AS MY A.M. CAFFEINE SHOT.

  • #486 Dlux
    July 16, 2008

    I think some people here should learn the definition of ‘joe job’. Some bad things simply cannot be prevented, and a presumption of innocence is the way this society works, like it or not.

    Whether or not any ‘Kroll’ is guilty of the offending emails is independent of the reaction that some people set in motion. Please try to keep that in mind, and take it to heart if you should ever be unfortunate enough to have your identity stolen.

    (Note that I’m neither defending nor condemning anyone named Kroll. That is for people with more information at hand to determine. And to this skeptic, the definitive story still remains to be told.)

  • #487 frog
    July 16, 2008

    johannes: Christianity, Islam and even Judaism as we know it today arose in and from this highly syncretistic Hellenist environment.

    In philosophy – yes, I’d agree. They’re all essentially neo-Platonic, as opposed to the indigenous Semitic philosophy.

    But in ritual? No, not till later. Most of the ritual of all three look to me thoroughly indigenous, with a bit more input from the West in Christianity. That’s why I find the Eucharist so jarring — unlike the rest of the structure, it just doesn’t seem to fit it’s time and place.

  • #488 brokenSoldier, OM
    July 16, 2008

    Sorry, but the presence of Christ in the Eucharist is not dependent on the faith of the person “handling” it. I don’t doubt that a Priest told you that, but he was not doing you any favors by trying to spare your feelings.

    Church doctrine is that Christ is present in the Eucharist, period.

    Posted by: kmerian | July 16, 2008 8:57 AM

    In light of not being able to remember the verses he read with me concerning the absence of grace in a “lapsed soul”, I humbly retract my statement. But actually, I agree that he didn’t do me any favors, not because he somehow gave me false doctrine, but only because he rationalized a patently ridiculous notion of doctrine that has no definite basis in the scripture in the first place, which delayed somewhat my eventual departure from religion.

    The argument that Christ said at the Last Supper that “This is my body” and “This is my blood” doesn’t hold water, because you can find multitudes of examples in the same text where he speaks in non-literal terms about himself.(i.e.,I am the bread of life – John 6:48, I am the resurrection and the life – John 11:25, I am the true vine – John 15:1) And – as is always true with the bible – interpretation is a very subjective and malleable practice. The minute someone presumes to know when and where he was speaking literally when using such language is the very minute someone steps firmly into the realm of speculation. And while speculation in some cases is fine, when a person or group purports to enforce their speculative interpretation of an ancient text onto me in order to tell me how I should conduct all the aspects of my life, that is when I stop listening to them.

  • #489 Leo Schlosser
    July 16, 2008

    It should be pointed out to the visitors that PZ is in error when he says the host is freely given. It is given with the understanding that the recipient has both a belief in and reverence for the Eucharist. That is why non Catholics attending a Mass are asked not to present themselves to receive the Eucharist.

    Professor Myers may have other problems if as stated in an earlier post, number I did not note, that someone stole some hosts for him. He could face criminal charges for instigating a crime and if he now has the hosts, of being in possession of stolen property. I would suggest to him that he apologize for his instigation and insensitivity and return the hosts to the nearest Catholic Church.

    PS To # 488 Read some good apologetics on the Catholic position of the real presence as regards scripture and you will better understand that He did really mean that He would be present in the Eucharist.

  • #490 Dlux
    July 16, 2008

    “Read some good apologetics on the Catholic position of the real presence as regards scripture and you will better understand that He did really mean that He would be present in the Eucharist…”

    …according to those Catholics.

    I think the people here can read from the original source (to the extent that there is only one, and faithfully translated over the millenia) and make their own determination. Reliance on supposed ‘authorities’ for knowlege where direct evidence is lacking can be problematic.

  • #491 brokenSoldier, OM
    July 16, 2008

    Posted by: Leo Schlosser | July 16, 2008 3:34 PM

    Professor Myers may have other problems if as stated in an earlier post, number I did not note, that someone stole some hosts for him. He could face criminal charges for instigating a crime and if he now has the hosts, of being in possession of stolen property.

    First of all, the stolen wafers and PZ Meyer’s statement are two separate incidents. PZ did not tell people to break into tabernacles and send him the loot – he suggested that those who are willing to do so should attend Mass – since he would more than likely be noticed and ‘expelled’ (sorry PZ, couldn’t resist it…) from any service he tried to attend – and “smuggle” them out of services, which is hardly a call for breaking and entering in order to get them. Second, for there to be a legal case against him, it would have to be proven that PZ’s call was the direct motivation for the theft of the wafers from the tabernacle.

    I would suggest to him that he apologize for his instigation and insensitivity and return the hosts to the nearest Catholic Church.

    While your earlier statement included the word “if,” the above statement includes no such qualifier. What it does contain is an implication that PZ actually has the wafers in question, which is patently false. Making such a statement about PZ being involved in this criminal act without any evidence is a false, malicious representation of the situation – or in legal terms, libel.

  • #492 frog
    July 16, 2008

    brokenSolder: But actually, I agree that he didn’t do me any favors, not because he somehow gave me false doctrine, but only because he rationalized a patently ridiculous notion of doctrine that has no definite basis in the scripture in the first place, which delayed somewhat my eventual departure from religion.

    It’s worse than that. Once the priest himself has been magically blessed, he has the magical powers despite anything he may do. It’s been a recurring problem for the CC, since a priest can be ordered to not do sacraments if he’s married or becomes a voudoun priest, but the magical spells he applies are still “legal”.

    That is a little trick they caught themselves up in the 5th century (the Donatist controversy). During a period where there was a revolt against Christianity, many priests became collaborators — they named names, gave up scriptures to be destroyed, etc.

    Unsurprisingly, many of the flock and some of the hierarchy wanted those guys punished and removed from office after they won the war. But more of the hierarchy wanted to protect their own asses from retribution, so they declared that the magic was not dependent on the priest himself, but only on the proper ceremony when he joined the club — being in the club was more important than say, not being a child molesting sob.

    Interestingly, the part of the church that disagreed with this (the Donatists) were primarily located in N. Africa — the region where Islam quickly displaced Christianity a few centuries later. Connected? Who knows?

  • #493 Owlmirror
    July 16, 2008

    johannes: Christianity, Islam and even Judaism as we know it today arose in and from this highly syncretistic Hellenist environment.

    In philosophy – yes, I’d agree. They’re all essentially neo-Platonic, as opposed to the indigenous Semitic philosophy.

    But in ritual? No, not till later. Most of the ritual of all three look to me thoroughly indigenous, with a bit more input from the West in Christianity. That’s why I find the Eucharist so jarring — unlike the rest of the structure, it just doesn’t seem to fit it’s time and place.

    Perhaps johannes was trying to allude to the rituals surrounding Dionysus — for example:

    The modern scholar Barry Powell thinks that Christian notions of eating and drinking the “flesh” and “blood” of Jesus were influenced by the cult of Dionysus. In another parallel Powell adduces, Dionysus was distinct among Greek gods as a deity commonly felt within individual followers.

    Dionysus presumably having spread with the other Hellenic mystery cults throughout the Mideast.

    But more research may be called for.

  • #494 brokenSoldier, OM
    July 16, 2008

    frog,

    I vaguley remembered reading something about the Donatist Controversy, but your post got me interested in looking into it again, and it’s quite interesting to read about one particular aspect of their beliefs,especially considering the Roman Catholic Church’s problems with pedophile clergy.

    http://gbgm-umc.org/UMW/Bible/heresies.stm

    Ultimately, at Constantine’s referral, a bishop’s council that met in Arles, Gaul (314) rejected the Donatists’ argument that a morally unworthy clergyman could not perform valid ecclessial actions.

    The morally unworth clergy they’re referring to there are the ones that had succumbed to Diocletian’s edict in 303CE to destroy Christian churches and scripture, one of which had since been elected Bishop of Carthage. It makes me wonder, though, that if the situation had turned out differently, would the Catholic Church – this new one that considered moral worth to be a requirement for ordination – have handled the child-molesting priests in the appropriate way? It is possible, but then again, that still would have left almost 1700 years for the ones in power to become so corrupt as to make it a policy to cover up the moral shortcomings of their own club at the expense of their own followers.

  • #495 frog
    July 16, 2008

    brokenSoldier:

    Yeah, the CC is a very interesting example of the bureaucratic history of religions. You can say a lot of things about the early Christians, but they hadn’t yet succumbed to bureaucratic corruption and asinine dogmatism it appears.

    It’s similar to watching what has happened to the protestant churches, particularly the fundamentalist churches which started as popular movements committed to individual conscience (yeah, some killed their enemies, but always in a “People Powered” way), and have become exactly the bureaucratic dogmatic monsters they battled against.

    Makes yeah think about the history of other bureaucratic entities such as the US. Recall Jefferson’s comment that the Tree of Liberty must be watered with the blood of revolution by every generation; it looks like he understood this problem of bureaucratic scleroticism. After two centuries, it appears that bureaucratic systems become not only sclerotic, but positively demented if they have inadequate mechanism for significant institutional reform.

  • #496 frog
    July 16, 2008

    owlmirror: Perhaps johannes was trying to allude to the rituals surrounding Dionysus — for example:
    The modern scholar Barry Powell thinks that Christian notions of eating and drinking the “flesh” and “blood” of Jesus were influenced by the cult of Dionysus. In another parallel Powell adduces, Dionysus was distinct among Greek gods as a deity commonly felt within individual followers.
    Dionysus presumably having spread with the other Hellenic mystery cults throughout the Mideast.
    But more research may be called for.

    My problem is that it is still so un-Jewish, as opposed to the rest of Christianity. Maybe that’s where the innovation came in.

    So, we could speculate that an important element of Platonic philosophy missing from Judaism, that Judaism had difficulty absorbing, was the idea of enlightenment. Under Platonic philosophy, the great philosopher was able to put himself into a kind of gnosis with the world of essences, beyond the world of forms. Socrates had his daemon, for example.

    In the Hellenistic mystery religions this was ritualized by the death-and-rebirth of the convert through the eating of the form of the God in his own death and rebirth. The convert no longer lived in The Cave, but had direct access to the World of the Sun by taking part in the gnosis of the God.

    However, in Temple Judaism, the only person who could directly partake of YHWH was the high priest in a yearly ritual where he entered the Holy of Holies with the name of God on his forehead and become a temporary avatar linking the two worlds. The prophets did not do this — they were inspired by YHWH, but they couldn’t be identified with YHWH; that would have been severe blasphemy.

    But the Christians innovated. Jesus became the High Priest who could be become YHWH’s avatar. Then he shared himself in a non-Jewish ritual where the blood of the sacrificial victim, who was simultaneously the God himself, was drunk by the others. This would have been deeply heretical — it would have to be secret.

    It openly broke the rule of Passover from the Ritual Decalogue, where the drinking of blood was banned. Maybe it could be incorporated because all other sacrifices were sacrifices of earthly things to YHWH — but this sacrifice was YHWH sacrificing himself, therefore his blood would be the only non-impure blood imaginable. That would also make it possible for Christian-Jews to continue the Temple worship without the Temple; the pharisaic Jews replaced the Temple with the Torah, but the Christian Jews replace the Temple worship with the Temple worship itself.

    As always, it’s all poetic nonsense. But poetry does demand a certain kind of aesthetic coherence. Whenever you find something that appears to not cohere properly within ritual, you find the crux (HaHa!) of the matter.

    It’s interesting that a religious figure who was so unimportant in his own time would be able to make such a crucial transformation of the rituals. That’s what bugs me about this, and it’s relationship with the transformation of the Semitic and Hellenistic worlds via their merging in Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Something still seems to be missing.

  • #497 Owlmirror
    July 16, 2008

    However, in Temple Judaism, the only person who could directly partake of YHWH was the high priest in a yearly ritual where he entered the Holy of Holies with the name of God on his forehead and become a temporary avatar linking the two worlds.

    Are you sure about this?

    I’m pretty sure that if the High Priest was an avatar of anything at that time, he was an avatar of the Children of Israel, petitioning for forgiveness for the nation from YHVH, not an avatar of YHVH himself. As you say, that latter would have been literally blasphemous.

    It’s interesting that a religious figure who was so unimportant in his own time would be able to make such a crucial transformation of the rituals. That’s what bugs me about this, and it’s relationship with the transformation of the Semitic and Hellenistic worlds via their merging in Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Something still seems to be missing.

    Hm. Perhaps the Egyptian mystery cults?

    Going by what I recall, Hellenic mystery cults and Egyptian mystery cults spread and intertwined and syncretized, cheerfully absorbing each other’s mythos and rituals (as I recall, Osiris was syncretized with Dionysus). Judaism, while spreading beyond the boundaries of Judaea, remained separate. The non-Jews were interested in Judaism’s absolutist, mysterious, aloof, and unique God, and the written record of his various acts of power, but were put off by the taboos and the necessity of painfully intimate surgery that were involved in forming the same sort of contract with this God that Judaism required.

    But I think the historical tendency to syncretize Hellenic myths with those of other nations meant that the conditions were actually ripe for syncretizing those traditions in turn with the formerly separate myths of Judaism.

    That’s off the top of my head, and again, would require getting deeper into the history of the era than I have at this time. Maybe Moses knows; he seems to know a lot about early Christianity. But he hasn’t been in this thread; it’s been way too hectic recently for everyone, I think.

  • #498 frog
    July 16, 2008

    owlmirror: Here is wiki on Kohen Gadol (yeah, I know wikipedia)

    The vestments that were unique to the High Priest were:
    Me’il (“Robe of the Ephod”)–a sleeveless, purple robe, the lower hem of which was fringed with small golden bells alternating with pomegranate-shaped tassels in blue, purple, and scarlet – tekhelet[10], argaman, tolaat shani.
    Ephod–a richly embroidered vest or apron with two onyx-stones on the shoulders, on which were engraved the names of the tribes of Israel
    Hoshen (Breastplate)–with twelve gems, each engraved with the name of one of the tribes; a pouch in which he probably carried the Urim and Thummim. It was fastened to the Ephod
    Tzitz (crown)–a gold plate inscribed with the words “Holy unto YHWH” which was attached to the front of the Mitznefet, so that it rested on his forehead

    This is from a people who would replace YWHW in the Torah with euphemisms like Adonai — a man wearing the Name of God on his forehead, coming out of the Holy of Holies where the “literal” presence of God was supposed to reside!. When he did, he changed his clothing four times, an obvious reference to being dressed in Tetragrammaton. The Temple Jews obviously didn’t call him an avatar; but I’m not sure what other interpretation you can make of the poetry of such a ritual.

    And I just noticed that on Yom Kippur, the High Priest did this and did a blood offering in the Holy of Holies! Makes me think even more that the Jesus tale is not only the Passover ritual, but also the High Priest Yom Kippur ritual all rolled up into one, and then somehow Platonized.

    Maybe even the “anointed title” (messiah) wasn’t early on a Davidic reference, but a Priestly one? Joshua as Aaron come back?

  • #499 Owlmirror
    July 16, 2008

    The Temple Jews obviously didn’t call him an avatar; but I’m not sure what other interpretation you can make of the poetry of such a ritual.

    Purification.

    The Old Testament is filled with rituals and sacrifices meant to purify oneself, and of course, the priests had to be even purer. The dietary restrictions, separation from the dead, lack of physical blemishes, the sacrifices: everything was meant to make the priests the most pure people of the Children of Israel.

    The High Priest wore the sign saying “Holy unto YHWH” as a declaration of his purity, and changed clothes so as to maintain his purity.

    Because if he wasn’t pure, YHVH would be angry. God might well strike him dead on the spot for the mortal sin of entering the Holy of Holies while impure, and even if not, his request for forgiveness might well be denied.

    The sign “Holy unto YHWH” was not meant to take the name in vain; it did not mean that he was going to be a vessel to be filled by God. It meant: “God, I have made myself as pure as possible so to be worthy of being in your presence.”

  • #500 Jet
    July 16, 2008

    The email protocol, SMTP, is easily spoofed. Why I can send an email, easily, using telnet and an open email server. Its not rocket science and only a fool would send a death threat using their own address. One can further complicate the trail by using a proxy server[s] to use a web based email account.

    As for IP addresses I can tell you from working as a IT person that one IP address can be assigned to many different computers because even though the IP address is the same the MAC address [of the network card] is different.

    Now, Mr Myers, you knew full well what would happen when you went messing around with peoples beliefs. You created this controversy then further inflamed it by posting email addresses which has further aggravated the issue. Have Mr Cook send the cracker back, with his apologies.

  • #501 John Morales
    July 16, 2008

    Jet, you would’ve had a point a couple of days ago.

    All you’ve raised has already been discussed extensively.

    Events have progressed since then.

    Try to keep up, will ya? ;)

  • #502 me
    July 17, 2008

    PZ originally posted the emails as a matter of record. Presumably he did this as a contingency for the unlikely, yet possible, situation that one of the threats was taken further somehow. To achieve this in future, I suggest he save the email(s) to a file then run some kind of hashing program on the file, e.g. md5sum . He could then post the sequence of letters and numbers that is output along with the email text with the headers removed.

  • #503 me
    July 17, 2008

    Jet, you are wrong. IPs cannot be arbitrarily spoofed without hacking a router or the machine delivered to, except on a local network. Even then, you need to hijack the gateway’s IP somehow, e.g. spoof traffic from it, and just using a switch would prevent this. I guess you could spoof the gateway’s mac address, but I’m pretty sure a switch would just ignore you.

    As for Wikipedia, perhaps both conventional usage and pedantry can be satisfied by writing it Wiki’ ?

  • #504 truth machine, OM
    July 17, 2008

    I suggest he save the email(s) to a file then run some kind of hashing program on the file, e.g. md5sum . He could then post the sequence of letters and numbers that is output along with the email text with the headers removed.

    That wouldn’t achieve anything; you can’t recreate the email from the message digest. Producing the message digest is redundant with producing the original message, which he would have to do eventually.

  • #505 truth machine, OM
    July 17, 2008

    Have Mr Cook send the cracker back, with his apologies.

    He returned the cracker, with apologies, shortly after he took it, ignoramus.

  • #506 Ash
    July 17, 2008

    I’ve tried to show we’re not all evil by setting up this goodwill petition:

    http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/Kroll-Myers/

    If you’re interested, please sign.

  • #507 Richard Lentini
    July 17, 2008

    Stop it NOW, please

    I guess I didn’t think ahead either. I would have thought that nearly all readers of this blog would react in a mature fashion and NOT act like “jerks” by responding to the “crazies” in like manner. I am a fan of PZ, Dawkins, Harris, and Hitchens and would have expected better from readers of this blog.

    Too bad we couldn’t measure the ratio of jerks on both sides. That is, the ratio of those who are fans of PZ yet have “jerk” tendencies, and those religious fundamentalists who react as “crazies”. Hopefully, there would be a significant difference. But could that be a mistake also?

  • #508 DingoDave
    July 17, 2008

    Melanie Kroll has posted an online defence of her husband’s actions. Or rather, a pathetic excuse for them.

    It appears that Melanie Kroll believes that Chuck is ‘just an excitable boy’, and not some kind of fanatical nutcase. However, she admits that Chuck regularly goes into violent rages towards anyone who disagrees with his political or religious views. From what Melanie has written, it appears that Chuck IS an unstable fanatic who experiences regular violent outbursts, and amazingly, this doesn’t seem to worry her in the slightest.

    Melanie Kroll wrote:

    “First off, it is amazing at all the speculation out there. Number one, i will not be leaving my husband due to this mistake. Number two he is not a crazy lunatic, but a very passionate man when it comes to his party and his religion. He’s a great person, great father and yes feels absolutely horrible about what has happened to me. As his wife, am i worried about any threats.. no i am not as i know it was just a rage via email. Did he directly threaten anyones life, no he did not…My husband went on to the drudge report site that he reads and clicked on a link and came across that man pz’s notice and responded as he always does when he is upset. Everyone has their opinions but the things that have been posted about my company and myself are herrendous (sic) and quite frankly is making me physically ill. Please enough with the harsh comments about me, my husband and my former employer. ”
    http://scienceblogs.com/gregladen/2008/07/pz_myers_death_threat_confessi.php#comment-988489

    I’m afraid that any sympathy I might have once had for Melanie’s predicament, has evaporated since reading her claim that Chuck’s e-mail did not constitute either extortion or a death threat against PZ Myers (either resign from your job, or die). If Melanie believes that any person could survive having his ‘brains bashed in’ for not resigning from his job, then she is just as delusional as her husband.

    Here is what Melanie is defending:

    From: mkroll@1800FLOWERS.com
    Subject: your short life
    Date: July 13, 2008 8:07:31 AM CDT
    To: myersp@morris.umn.edu

    Subject:your short life
    “well sir, you don’t get to blaspheme and walk away from this. You have two choices my fucked up friend, first you can quit your job for the good of the children. Or you can get your brains beat in. I give you till the first of the month, get that resignation in cunt.”

    I’m not at all surprised that 1800FLOWERS.com wants to dissasociate themselves from such lunacy.

  • #509 Spinoza
    July 17, 2008

    Too bad we couldn’t measure the ratio of jerks on both sides. That is, the ratio of those who are fans of PZ yet have “jerk” tendencies, and those religious fundamentalists who react as “crazies”. Hopefully, there would be a significant difference. But could that be a mistake also?

    Yep. The numbers are clearly exactly identical, unfortunately. Belief or non-belief in a deity is no indication of stupidity, maturity, etcetera, which are evenly distributed in any population.

    It’s been a recurring and interesting phenomenon, for me, to see the “fans” of Myers and Dawkins who have misunderstood the words of the people they claim to admire or idolize, and yet they try to follow these words in an utterly religious way… it’s disturbing… since I’m the last person on earth who would EVER construct (fallaciously) an argument against something Myers or Dawkins has said or written by arguing that they are encouraging “fundamentalism” amongst atheists, and attempt to back that up by saying “just look at some of the comments in the blogs.”… that would be stupid, but unfortunately the average person DOES think like that… and will hold it against atheism in general that some “fans” of atheists happen to be just as rude, immature, and stupid as the rude, immature, and stupid theists we love to criticize.

    It really is unfortunate that as a matter of principle and logic, atheism’s being true is protected from this stupidity, but atheism’s being accepted and treated fairly in the world is tied directly to such stupidity. (A Catch-22 if I’ve ever seen one).

  • #510 Torbjörn Larsson, OMa
    August 8, 2008

    Life intervened, but finally returning to old threads FWIW:

    @ clinteas:

    Torbjorn Larsson,

    I somehow doubt PZ posted this at 530 am,

    Have you heard of scripts? You can get one to automagically post on a blog.

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